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One Week to COP26 Climate Summit; U.K. Prime Minister Urges Vaccinations as COVID-19 Cases Surge; Supply Chain Chaos; Movie Set Tragedy; Haiti Kidnapping; Sicily Migrants Case; Stuck in Afghanistan; Next-Gen Weapons; California Extreme Weather. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 24, 2021 - 00:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers all around the world. I am Paula Newton.

Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, one week ahead of the COP26 climate summit and a major announcement from Saudi Arabia to curb its carbon emissions.

A candlelight vigil for a cinematographer killed by actor Alec Baldwin on set.

Could Baldwin or other crew members face criminal charges?

Plus, busted: Colombia's most feared drug lord now behind bars.


NEWTON: We are one week out from the U.N.'s COP26 climate summit a major gathering of world leaders aimed at tackling climate change. And one of the world's largest energy suppliers and polluters is now making a bold new promise.

Saudi Arabia has set a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2060. The crown prince made the announcement Saturday at the Saudi green initiative in Riyadh, that is ahead of the Glasgow conference. Listen to his announcement.


MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, SAUDI CROWN PRINCE (through translator): I announce today that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to reach net zero in the year 2060, through the carbon circular economy approach, in line with its development plans and enabling its economic diversification and in accordance with the dynamic baseline.

While preserving and reinforcing the kingdom's leading role in the security and stability of global energy markets.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: So the Saudi state run Aramco oil company produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any other, nearly 60 billion tons pumped into the atmosphere over the past 50 years. On Saturday, its chief executive said the company's commitment to net zero emissions would require global cooperation.


AMIN NASSER, CEO, ARAMCO: Our investments are not going to be enough. The rest of the world need to make the right investment now. Otherwise, you will end up with a global economic crisis.


NEWTON: So he is sounding like a climate convert there.

Meantime, Britain's Prince Charles delivered a keynote address at the Saudi event. Speaking by video, he warned of a, quote, "dangerously narrow window" to tackle the climate crisis and said it was imperative the upcoming COP26 summit lead to concrete actions.


CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: The experts are telling policymakers that COP26 must pursue ambitious, nationally determined contributions, that have clear baselines and net zero by 2050.

We simply must heed this message and, above all, consider the kind of future existence that we are bequeathing to our grandchildren and their children's children.


NEWTON: Now world leaders will have an aggressive agenda at the Glasgow summit. They will aim to finalize rules of the Paris agreement, collectively raise $100 billion a year to finance climate projects, speed up collaborations among governments, businesses and people, keep within that global warming limit, this is crucial now, of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

And of course, protect areas that are already at risk or are already suffering from the effects of climate change.

Helen Mountford is the vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute. She joins me now from Washington.

Good to see you, especially as we are getting this announcement from the Saudi government.

How -- we will get to the larger conference in a moment -- but how significant is this announcement and their pledge to slow, really not even to slow -- pardon me -- production -- at the end of the day, they're not slowing production and they're not even ending the exploration of oil and gas.

HELEN MOUNTFORD, VICE PRESIDENT FOR CLIMATE AND ECONOMICS, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE: So thank you, Paula. It is important it is an important announcement from Saudi Arabia, signaling that they are going to net zero emissions by 2060.

But really, to make that believable, what we now need to see is what's their plan to get their, what are their emissions reductions going to be in 2030?

How do they get onto the right trajectory to get there?

So to be really credible with this net zero commitment, we need to see all the steps that will happen in between and the policies starting to being enacted to actually achieve that.


NEWTON: I mentioned there that the oil minister in Saudi Arabia sounded like a climate convert.

Do you think there's been a real change there?

MOUNTFORD: I think what we're seeing around the world is actually governments, business leaders, academics, civil societies are all waking up to the climate crisis. The fact that things are changing, that we have this very narrow window to actually make the shifts that we need to do.

But we're also starting to see the markets are simply moving. So interestingly, I mean, as we move toward more electric vehicles around the world, much faster than anyone thought possible, you know, 3-4 years ago. It's really taking off.

And as we do that, the demand for oil is going to be shifting. It's going to be going down. Similarly, as we go to renewable energies, we're going to need much less demand for fossil fuels.

So I think we're seeing a wakeup in the markets, in the finance sector, which is also leading to some of these countries and some of these leaders realizing, they need to shift themselves and they cannot continue to rely on the old economy.

NEWTON: Right, which would all be good news if we felt as if time was on our side.

How do you tell us to measure success at this meeting?

Tangible targets, pledges?

What are you looking for?

MOUNTFORD: I mean, there's three real things that we're looking for the moment.

One is about ensuring that, as countries come back -- this is the first time countries are coming back since the Paris agreement was signed. They're coming back and indicating how they're going to strengthen their own ambition, their climate plans for 2030. So we've already had about 144 countries come forward with updated plans.

Many of those stronger; some, not so much, they're about the same. And a couple that actually backslid.

And so the question is, as we get the rest of those forward, we're still waiting for China, for India, as I mentioned Saudi Arabia and a number of others, as we get those 2030 plans forward, what does that add up to?

And how far are we towards, getting toward keeping that goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius in terms of global warming alive?

Can we actually get close to that?

So that's first.

The second is really on the finance. Countries, rich countries, agreed over 10 years ago, that by 2020 they would be mobilizing $100 billion per year, to support developing countries, to adapt to effects of climate change and to green their economies.

The latest report from OECD suggests we are not on track for that. In 2019, it was more around $80 billion.

So the big question is how are they going to close that financing gap?

When are they going to do it by?

Are they going to make up for the losses, the reductions in 2020 and 2021?

And then third, of course, there's some key issues to be resolved through the negotiations, really about how countries will work together, collaborating together, such as on international carbon markets or how they agree when they're going to set new climate targets, et cetera. So that's the third piece.

NEWTON: They seem to have a lot on their plate and I will point out what many people have been seeing. Climate change is happening now and yet what's also happening now is the so-called energy crisis.

China and the U.S. have this renewed dependence on coal and Russia being encouraged to really provide more energy for the rest of the world. I mean, it seems to be at odds with what we know is a climate emergency.

MOUNTFORD: Indeed it is. And to some extent, this is actually a very short-term crisis and it's linked to what we're seeing around the world with supply chain disruptions, there's some geopolitics there.

But in fact, what I think it actually makes glaringly obvious is that relying on fossil fuels and imports of fossil fuels is actually really risky for our economies. You get these price surges; when they're shortages, people are not able to have the energy that they need to power their homes or their businesses. And so, in some ways, I think one of the big signals out of this is

actually going to be the need to shift much more rapidly to clean, local renewable energy. You're not going to have the same challenges there.

NEWTON: So interesting because you really trying to tell us that, look, the economic imperative will drive this and hopefully drive it for the better. Helen, I have to leave it there. But thank you so much for all your insights.

She is with the World Resources Institute, thank you so much.

MOUNTFORD: Thank you.


NEWTON: Now one world leader who will be conspicuously absent from COP26 is, of course, Russian president Vladimir Putin. But the Kremlin says he may participate virtually. CNN's Sam Kiley takes a closer look now at why Mr. Putin may have decided not to go to the high profile summit.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has refused to attend the global climate conference. He's cut communication with NATO. He's accused of strangling Europe's natural gas supplies and of snubbing the G20 summit.

Is Vladimir Putin, the Russian bear, lashing out?


KILEY (voice-over): Or a wily arctic fox, spreading the blame?

Skyrocketing European gas prices are up over 500 percent this year. Putin says that's not Russia's fault. And it's easily fixed if Europe allowed gas to flow to Germany down Russia's new pipeline Nord Stream 2.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Of course, if we could increase deliveries through this route, this would substantially ease tension on the European energy market.

KILEY (voice-over): The Europeans have been slow to adopt the pipeline, fearing dependence on Russian gas.

Russia closed its diplomatic mission to NATO on Monday, officially in response to NATO's expulsion of eight of its diplomats, whom NATO accused of spying earlier this month. But Putin is also reacting to tensions in the Black Sea and NATO muscling into alliances in Eastern Europe, which he sees as Russia's back garden.

PUTIN (through translator): We did not come to the suburbs of Washington or New York to conduct drills. They came to us and conducted them at our borders. How should we react to this?

KILEY (voice-over): Russian troops illegally occupied territory in neighboring Georgia and Ukraine.

GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: United States will continue to provide assistance to enhance the maritime capacities of not only Ukraine but also Georgia, Romania, and Bulgaria. We have long understood the importance of cooperation and unity among allies and partners to deter Russian aggression.

KILEY (voice-over): Not perhaps an incentive for Putin to play nice at the G20 and the global COP26 climate summits.

DMITRI TRENIN, DIRECTOR, CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER: This is a positive message to those who are inviting him. If he decides that he would rather have a video conference with a certain group of people, that also tells you something.

KILEY (voice-over): Raising tensions abroad may be a useful way for Putin to distract attention from the critical COVID crisis at home, where death tolls are breaking records daily.

Putin has ordered all Russians off work for a week at the end of this month and Moscow will face tight restrictions on movements next week. Russia's vaccination program still hasn't reached about two-thirds of the Russian population. That it seems is the fault of Russians.

PUTIN (through translator): Unfortunately, we see the dangerous consequences of the low level of vaccination in our country.

KILEY (voice-over): But as winter approaches and Russia suffers international isolation, many Russians may begin to tire of their leader's snarls -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.


NEWTON: The fate of a jailed businessman is the latest flashpoint between Turkey and its NATO allies. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expel 10 ambassadors and that includes envoys from U.S., Canada and France.

They're calling for the release of the man on this poster. Osman Kavala has been held without a conviction since 2017. He was acquitted on charges stemming from a protest eight years ago. But that verdict was overturned and he now faces charges for alleged involvement in the 2016 failed coup. Here is Mr. Erdogan defending his crackdown.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): You cannot dare to come to the Turkish foreign ministry and give orders here. I give the necessary order to our foreign minister and say what must be done. These 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once. We will sort it out immediately.


NEWTON: So Germany is one of those European countries calling for his release. Its foreign office had a relatively staid response to Turkey's threat, saying it's taking note of statements by Mr. Erdogan and consulting with the other countries involved.

But Berlin's ambassador to the U.K. went a heck of a lot further, tweeting this.

"Turkey to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata had to deal with Turkey and difficult bilateral relations in the past. This is unprecedented. To move against U.S., Germany and others in this way cannot be in Turkey's interests. Let us not forget a NATO partner."

COVID cases are surging in the U.K., as prime minister Boris Johnson encourages more people to get vaccinated. The U.K. is now averaging more than 45,000 new cases a day, some of the highest numbers since July.

The health secretary warned this week the daily cases could in fact top 100,000 in the coming months. Some health experts have called on the government to reinstate stricter COVID rules.

Mr. Johnson says a new lockdown is not in the cards. Instead, Downing Street has ramped up calls for vaccinations and booster shots. One doctor says most of the cases, his colleagues see now, are among the young and unvaccinated.


DR. ABHI MANTGANI, PHYSICIAN: The good thing is that because of the significant number of people being vaccinated, it will not be turning out to be hospital admissions.


MANTGANI: But if you ask my professional colleagues in the hospital, they will tell you that the people who are going to the hospital are (INAUDIBLE) people who are been vaccinated. So the vast majority of the people who have been admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated and (INAUDIBLE) the population.

Twelve months ago, it was we were all popular for older people, vulnerable people. Now we take the unvaccinated younger people who are becoming (INAUDIBLE) people.


NEWTON: Now despite some of the new concerns in the U.K., it's now, in fact, easier for fully vaccinated travelers to enter England. As of Sunday morning, they can use a cheaper lateral flow test instead of a more expensive PCR version.

The new rule applies to fully vaccinated people and most people under 18 years old, coming from non-red list countries. Now just 7 countries, all in Latin America, are still on the U.K.'s red travel list.

U.S. COVID vaccination numbers, in the meantime, inching up ever so slowly. As of Saturday, over 57 percent of Americans were fully vaccinated. That is just half a percentage point higher than this time last week.

But those numbers could go up, significantly, in the coming weeks. If Pfizer's vaccine is approved for children 5 to 11years old. FDA and CDC advisers, will discuss the issue over the next two weeks, meaning, some 28 million children, potentially, could be eligible for the vaccine. That could be a big relief, for many parents.


ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: We know that 6 billion kids have had COVID-19. Over 1 million in the last six weeks. They can get, it they can spread it.

There was -- there have been thousands and thousands, to tens of thousands of kids hospitalized. So I think it is great news for families. But of course, talk to your pediatrician, if you have got questions.


NEWTON: So when you hear a politician received a slap in the face, you, logically, assume that they're speaking figuratively, right?

Not in the case of one governor in Iran. It was literal. Take a look.


NEWTON (voice-over): Unbelievable. That man, walking up to the governor and smacking him during a speech on Saturday. Security guards, quickly, whisked the man away.

An Iranian news agency, said the attacker was upset because his wife received a COVID vaccine from a male doctor, not a female one.

The governor, later, said that the men will have to face legal consequences.


NEWTON: Now the pandemic is contributing to what, analysts say, is a crisis in the global supply chain, ahead of the crucial holiday season. More than 2 months ahead of Christmas and some toys, yes, toy stores, in the United States, are already warning, shoppers may not get the presents they're looking for. CNN's Clare Sebastian, visiting one store, just trying to survive.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Staff at this New York City toy store had no idea they would get this delivery of books and toys today or that all of the orders would be incomplete. CHRISTINA CLARK, TOY STORE OWNER: We are placing orders, every day,

constantly. As many as we can think of. One of my bigger companies, I ordered a huge order in February and it just shipped, a couple weeks ago. So it is so hard to determine when and if things will come.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The enticing displays here, masking an unprecedented inventory problem. Many items, running out.

CLARK: I have 3 of these and no more downstairs. I have 3 of these, no more downstairs.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Others, in oversupply.

CLARK: I have around 20 times that in my basement.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Behind the scenes?

CLARK: This is what my messy office looks like, with shipping out to be done and shipping in, to process.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Christina Clark says, she was warned by suppliers to stockpile ahead of the holidays; 85 percent of all toys, sold in the U.S., are imported, according to the toy association.

Right now, the ships that carry them, mostly from Asia, are stuck in a giant, maritime traffic jam. The result of surging demand, as economies recover and ongoing COVID related disruptions.

It's not just a shipping crisis affecting the to supply chain, there is also port congestion, piling on and a shortage of truck drivers to get them to their destination.

STEVE PASIERIB (PH), PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE TOY ASSOCIATION: That combination of online shopping, COVID shutdowns, re-supplying, things that were out of stock and the holidays together have all combined into what really is a crisis of shipping and consumer products.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): And, it sends costs skyrocketing.

PASIERIB (PH): The average shipping container, going from somewhere around $3,000, to around $24,000, on the stock market.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Christina Clark says many of their suppliers raised prices twice this year and some, tacking on a shipping surcharge. Most of which, she is not passing on to our customers.


SEBASTIAN: Financially, how does this affect you?

CLARK: Well, I just have a lot of debt, I have a huge amount of debt and hope, hope that it will be covered.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Her message to customers?

Start your holiday shopping now. This will not be over by Christmas -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: Still to come on CNN, new details about the timeline surrounding the tragic death of a movie crew member, accidentally shot to death by actor Alec Baldwin. Stay with us.





NEWTON (voice-over): You are looking at a candlelight vigil, honoring the movie crew member, accidentally shot to death by actor Alec Baldwin, on a film set. Now police say Baldwin, unknowingly, fired a live round from what was supposed to, be a prop gun. Killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, on Thursday.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov, was at the vigil in Albuquerque in New Mexico. She spoke to people mourning Hutchins and has new details now about the timeline, surrounding her death.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People have gathered here in downtown Albuquerque to mourn the passing of Halyna Hutchins, just 42 years old, a rising star in the film industry, whose life was cut so tragically short.

A lot of the people here are part of the industry. This vigil, in fact, was organized by the union representing film and television employees. So a lot of folks know, firsthand, what happens on film sets.

And so many here are affected by this one death, because this is a close-knit community where people know one another. They are brothers and sisters. As one location manager told us, who is very much impacted by this tragic killing, even though she wasn't on set, she knew almost everyone in the room, she says. Take a listen.

REBECCA STAIR, FILM LOCATION MANAGER: I just hope this talking does something and I hope my talking with you gets amplified and we get the changes that we need for a safe set. I'm sure you know we were about to strike this past Monday for safer conditions. And if the world didn't believe us about what was going on, maybe they believe us now.

KAFANOV: People should be able to go home after performing their job.

STAIR: Yes. The child should have a mother.

KAVANAUGH: Again, a lot of unanswered questions. So far, we've been some getting new details from an affidavit that's been released about the evidence that was gathered on that location and a little bit of the rough timeline.

We understand, the head armorer, the person in charge of prop weapons, on any film set, placed three weapons on a tray, outside of a structure --


KAFANOV: -- where, on Thursday, Alec Baldwin and the rest of the film crew were rehearsing or filming. We understand that the assistant director picked up one of the prop weapons, walked it inside the structure, handing it to Mr. Baldwin, shouting, "cold gun," which, in the industry, means it should not have had any live rounds.

Unfortunately, something terrible followed. We understand, according to the affidavit, Mr. Baldwin fired the weapon and that is when the fatal shooting took place.

Alec Baldwin was wearing Western style clothing. This was for, again, for an 1880s period piece film. Police say the clothing appeared to be stained with blood. They confiscated that as part of their investigation.

And we know from sheriffs, authorities have been combing every inch of that location, that films set. They've been interviewing witnesses, gathering electronic material, any film of iPhones, iPads, anything that can help them piece together, exactly, what took place that fateful Thursday afternoon -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.



NEWTON: For more on the legal fallout from this tragedy we want to bring in Neama Rahmani. He is a former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and he joins me now From Los Angeles.

It's good to have you weigh in on this. Everybody understands this was a tragic accident. But even so, do authorities have to look at the fact that there may be some criminal liability and charges are possible?

NEAMA RAHMANI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND PRESIDENT OF WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS: No question, Paula. Even tragic accidents can give rise to criminal liability, when there is gross negligence or criminal negligence.

That is how you get manslaughter charges. So if Baldwin, the armorer or the assistant director or any or all of those people were involved with the loading of that prop gun, with a live round, that rises to the level of criminal negligence and is grounds for manslaughter charges, in New Mexico.

NEWTON: Manslaughter is a serious charge. RAHMANI: No question. It's just short of murder. Obviously, if there

is actual intent, if whoever loaded that prop gun with a live round, intended for Baldwin to use it and to shoot it, then, they may even get first degree murder charges. That is premeditation. I don't think we are there yet. But manslaughter is a certainly real possibility.

NEWTON: What has been disturbing is the information from some working on this movie, that they were dissatisfied about safety protocols.

When you hear that, on a legal level, what is the production company's responsibility?

RAHMANI: When you hear about lack of safety and so forth, that is a civil matter. Generally, that's simple negligence that precautions were not in place. For there to be criminal charges, you need more than that.

You need intent, mens rea, a guilty mind. So if there's was just a lack of safety precautions, it is certainly not something that anyone condones. You are looking at civil liability or a wrongful death lawsuit there.

NEWTON: But, in terms of the actual company itself, you are saying, actually, they would need to see the actions of the individuals involved?

Beyond, that you're looking at civil liability, not criminal responsibility.

RAHMANI: Generally speaking, it is very hard to charge an entity criminally. Criminal prosecution will focus on the actual individuals, who were involved in arming this weapon and loading the live round.

NEWTON: We have seen, obviously, heartbreaking photos of Alec Baldwin, distraught. Uncomprehending of how this could have, possibly, happened. Yet, as producer of the film, he, also, could be held legally responsible in some way, right?

RAHMANI: No question. As an employer, he is responsible for the actions of his employees, in the course and scope of the employment. We're talking about civil liability there. What's important, if you look at that search warrant, that affidavit in support of the search warrant, law enforcement, specifically, said that when Baldwin was handed the weapon, the assistant director said, "cold gun."

Baldwin's reaction, afterward, is all consistent with someone who did not know the gun was loaded. That is why, I think, he will avoid criminal liability, ultimately. But civilly, another story altogether. He will be responsible for the actions of his employees in loading that weapon civilly.

NEWTON: Before I let you go, the search warrant was wide-ranging. I think it surprised some of us that a search warrant even had to be issued.

Are we wrong. It seems to me that they would've already been on the crime scene and had access to everything that they wanted, in terms of evidence.

RAHMANI: That's generally the most prudent course of action if you're in law enforcement. You don't want to rely on folks cooperating. You want to make sure you go to a judge, you get that search warrant signed off so you can seize all the weapons, test everything and any other evidence is not destroyed or disappeared.


RAHMANI: So you want to lock in that evidence right away. So it is prudent that law enforcement went to prosecutors and they went to a judge there, in New Mexico, to get a search warrant right away.

NEWTON: Yes, and from that search warrant, we found out already some facts of the case. Neama Rahmani, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

RAHMANI: Thanks for having me, appreciate it.


NEWTON: A U.S. missionary group is struggling to cope with a kidnapping of its members in Haiti. Next, you will hear how Christian Aid Ministries is dealing with the crisis.

Plus, outrage in Ecuador after a beloved Olympic athlete was shot and killed. What we know about the crime after the break.




NEWTON: A U.S. missionary group says the kidnapping of its members in Haiti is taking an emotional toll on the rest of the organization. Now 17 members of Christian Aid Ministries are being held by a notorious gang that made kidnappings its signature crime. Its leader is threatening to kill the hostages, unless he receives $17 million in ransom. Matt Rivers has more.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has now been more than one week since 17 missionaries who were a mission trip here to Haiti were kidnapped by gang members just east of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where we are right now.

And for family members of those kidnapping victims, going through this horrific tragedy, this is obviously a very difficult time for them. We did get an updated statement from Christian Aid Ministries, which is that group that those missionaries were working on behalf of here in Haiti. They sent out an updated statement, late on Saturday evening.

WESTON SHOWALTER, SPOKESPERSON, CHRISTIAN AID MINISTRIES: Today, marks one week since our workers and loved ones were kidnapped in Haiti. This group is still being held hostage. It has been a week of many tears and thousands, if not millions, of prayers.

RIVERS: Christian Aid Ministries actually sharing some quotes from a few family members, unnamed family members, of these kidnapping victims.

SHOWALTER: We are interested in the salvation of these men and we love them. As a family, we are giving forgiveness to these men. We are not holding anything against them.

RIVERS: Meanwhile, as we look ahead to the beginning part of the week here in Port-au-Prince, we're going to get a reminder just how difficult life is right now for the people who live in this country.

There's going to be a general strike by a number of different groups, everything from transportation workers to ordinary businesses. Basically, we're expecting the capital city of Port-au-Prince to largely shut down on Monday and perhaps even on Tuesday and going into the week.


RIVERS: It is a form of protest, basically, against not only the overall security situation here in Haiti which has made daily life so dangerous, especially with this kidnapping, but also, specifically about the fuel shortage.

There is a massive fuel shortage right now in the capital region here and that is affecting daily life in a number of different ways, driving up consumer prices and making getting around that much harder.

And that is affecting the country that is already dealing with so much poverty. And so, this protest, this general strike as it's being called here in Port-au-Prince, is designed to highlight some of those issues, that ordinary Haitians are dealing with -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


NEWTON: The most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia has been captured. In a joint operation with the military, Colombian police apprehended the leader of the so-called Clan del Golfo drug cartel, a man named Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel.

Colombia's president confirmed the capture in a televised interview on Saturday, calling it the hardest blow that drug trafficking has suffered this century. Joining me now from Bogota, journalist Stefano Pozzebon.

Stefano, good to see you. Colombia's president is using a lot of hyperbole there. He described him as one of the most feared drug lords in the world.

And yet do you believe that it will actually prove a blow to drug trafficking in Colombia and beyond? STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think we need to divide the differences between the capture of Otoniel himself, as everybody here in Bogota and the rest of the country calls the drug trafficker, and the hate (ph) toward drug trafficking itself.

But this is definitely a massive boost for the Duque administration, who had come under fire in recent months, because coca production in the country is still at record highs. Security, especially in the countryside, is waning. They have been advising the growing number of massacres and the feeling in most of the areas outside Bogota, is outside the main cities is that the state is in the back feet (ph).

This has definitely been a boost, the fact that the Colombian forces were able to capture, arguably, the most wanted man in the country since the end of the Colombia civil conflict in 2016.

That said, what we've seen in the past is that one king is killed, another king rises. And the kind they go for is a massive leave of powerful operation that moves enormous amount of cocaine out of Colombia toward the north.

And it's hard to see that just the capture of one man will be able to stand with that. Paula?

NEWTON: Interesting, Stefano. Before I let you go, shocking news out of neighboring Ecuador after a celebrated Olympic sprinter was fatally shot.

What more are we learning now?

POZZEBON: Yes, Quinonez was one of the most celebrated athletes in Ecuador, the first Ecuadorian sprinter to reach the Olympic final in London 2012. He was killed by a gunshot in Guayaquil, just on Friday night.

And then perhaps is taking the news is rally in Ecuador is at the worst possible time, Paula. Just the last Monday, the Ecuadoran president, Guillermo Lasso, declared a state of emergency over a rising number of violent deaths, of rising crime.

And you probably remember, less than a month ago, a clashes inside one of the largest Ecuadorian prisons left 118 inmates killed. So a growing sense of insecurity also in Ecuador, probably at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, a lot to deal with there. Stefano, appreciate the update.

Now a caravan of migrants and protesters is on the way to Mexico City after pushing their way through a wall of Mexican National Guard. Now several hundred troops and police in riot gear trying to stop the group from proceeding on Saturday. After some went through, the line of police gives way to the crowd.

You see what ensued there. The caravan of about 2,000 people is headed to Mexico City, hoping to pressure the government to fast-track their asylum petitions and be allowed to move to other parts of the country.

Italy's former interior minister is lashing out at the start of his trial, over his role in blocking a ship of migrants from docking. Matteo Salvini is accused of kidnapping 147 migrants in 2019 after he denied their ship permission to disembark in Italy.

Prosecutors say that left the migrants stranded at sea, putting their lives at risk, a claim Salvini denies.


NEWTON: The right leaning politician attacking the seriousness of the allegations due to the presence of American actor Richard Gere on the witness list. Gere visited the migrants on board, while they waited off the coast of Italy.


MATTEO SALVINI, ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Being put on trial for just doing my duty is surreal. I'm sorry for that. Richard Gere will come, now you tell me how serious is a trial where Richard Gere comes from Hollywood to testify on how bad I am.

I hope it lasts as short as possible because there are more important things to take care of.


NEWTON: The Biden White House is clearing the way to let private citizens, and many of them military veterans, sponsor Afghan refugees so they can get into permanent homes. And this is according to former Delaware governor, Jack Markell, who became the administration's point man on Afghan resettlement.

Now the program allowed veterans with ties to Afghans, as well as others, the opportunity to bring them to their cities and serve as a support network as they get their lives started in the United States.

Now currently, those other responsibilities of a refugee agency. The move marks the biggest change to the resettlement program since 1980.

Many U.S. veterans, of course, want to see the people they worked with brought to safety but for one U.S. soldier, the race to get Afghans evacuated was deeply personal. CNN's Alex Marquardt has the story of a translator turned U.S. intel officer, who scrambled to get his family out of Kabul.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It was from this quite Virginia cul-de-sac that Fahim Masoud, a lieutenant in the National Guard, orchestrated a dangerous evacuation halfway around the world in Afghanistan.

2ND LT. FAHIM MASOUD, ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD: It was incredibly difficult. It was -- I mean, I cannot tell you how many challenges, security challenges you have to go through.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The mission could not have been more personal. Masoud's family was desperately trying to get out. Lieutenant Masoud is an intelligence officer in the Illinois National Guard. He became the U.S. citizen after serving as an Afghan interpreter for American troops and then moving to the U.S.

His family stayed in Afghanistan. As the Taliban took over, his parents and siblings needed to escape. Their connection to him making them targets for the Taliban.

Masoud's family headed to the Kabul airport, like thousands of others, just as an ISIS suicide bomber attacked, killing almost 200 people, including U.S. troops.

MASOUD: I saw they had definitely been killed immediately. I went into a panic and started calling my sisters.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): They were OK, nearby, on a bus sent by the CIA. They waited at a gas station, as Masoud, helped by a CIA contact inside, tried to find another way for them into the airport.

MASOUD: A lot of my family members have worked for the U.S. government in the last 20 years in Afghanistan. I thought the process would be a lot easier than it was.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Masoud was desperate. He was cold calling everyone he could think of.

MASOUD: I reached out to very, very senior government officials, senators, Congress men and women, a number of U.S. military generals, including General Milley, General McConville (ph).

MARQUARDT: Who you didn't know?

MASOUD: Who I did not know. And here is the most junior officer in the United States army reaching out to these senior, senior government officials.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): His efforts, underscoring the chaos and, now, the widespread criticism that the Biden administration has not done enough to evacuate the families of Afghan American troops.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): If you look at prioritizing, of course, any American citizens but certainly family members of the United States military should be of the highest priority.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Congress man Michael McCaul believes there are around 100 family members of Afghan American troops, like Masoud, still in Afghanistan.

MCCAUL: Our embassy is not there anymore. We have no military on the ground. And if we have to rely on the Taliban to get them out, that's not a good assurance.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Masoud's calls worked. His family was directed to a secret CIA controlled gate at the airport. But the State Department official refused to let them pass, as Masoud, a former CIA official and a National Guard colonel all pleaded on the phone.

MASOUD: I told them look, this family is a special -- I have a special case.

And when he said, "Everybody's special," I said, "You have to hear me. You have to know who I am and where I come from."

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Masoud managed to convince the official. His family was through, escorted to a waiting C-17. His sister's worried face turned to joy. They were on their way to the United States.

MASOUD: I broke down. I said I just can't believe that so many people came together for so many hours, essentially for so many days, to make this happen.

MARQUARDT: Masoud told us that he will never be the same again after going through that ordeal to get his family out. Really, the message that he was driving home was that the official channels were not working.


MARQUARDT: They were overwhelmed. He had to do this himself with his own connections, like so many others -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington,


NEWTON: Nigeria is dealing with a massive prison break. They say a gunman attacked a jail in the country's Oyo state late Friday gaining entry into the prison yard, by blasting the walls with dynamite.

More than 800 inmates were freed by force. Officials, say most are still missing.

Fast, agile and hard to detect, all the features of the next generation weapon, called the hypersonic missile. You will hear why some countries are determined to build one.




NEWTON: For a second time this month, Russia and China flex their military muscle in the Western Pacific. Moscow says their navy has finished weeklong joint patrols, Saturday. Russia and China, having been building stronger military and diplomatic ties, as relations with the West sour.

In the meantime, a number of countries are working to build a new type of weapon, called hypersonic missiles. Earlier this week, the Pentagon said its test of a rocket for a hypersonic projectile failed. Those weapons could be game changers, because they fly extremely fast

and low and are hard to detect by missile defense systems. Earlier this year, both Russia and North Korea, claimed they successfully tested hypersonic missiles. And, according to the "Financial Times," China followed suit, this month, even though Beijing denies it.


NEWTON: Joshua Pollack is a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and he joins me live from Washington.

Been quite a week on this. China denied that what they had on their hands was a supersonic (sic) missile, saying, in fact, it was a spacecraft. The "Financial Times" reported, the U.S. was alarmed and that, even though they officially had no comment.

What is this technology and, why, could it potentially spark an arms race?

JOSHUA POLLACK, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, the missile in question, if you read the accounts in the "Financial Times" closely, is a sort of a weaponized version of the space shuttle.

It is a big rocket with a glider on it. The glider, reenters the atmosphere and instead of coming in for a landing, however, it would attack a target.

This is not a new concept. It is so big that the United States explored, starting in the 1950s. But it is a fairly inefficient way to deliver weapons across the ocean. I think that is why most countries have not played with this particular technology.

I don't know why anyone should consider it more alarming than ballistic missiles of the sort that China already has.


POLLACK: But certainly, it does demonstrate high proficiency in space technology.

NEWTON: I guess the issue is, how do you defend against something like this?

Especially if the United States, apparently, had been trying to do this. The U.S. Senate had its own tests on Friday and it failed. I give you that it may not have been the same test but the Pentagon admits, these tests are the backbone of developing highly complex, critical technologies.

What is the significance, of perhaps, the U.S. failure?

POLLACK: The U.S. test was a failure of a rocket booster, not of the experimental weapon. Rockets are, at some level, just rockets. So the problem is not the ability to develop new technologies; it is just getting the details right in testing.

I hesitate, though, to draw connections between these two things. The American system is not designed to deliver nuclear weapons. It is not designed to cross the Pacific. It is a much more tactical sort of weapon; whereas, the Chinese system is global in reach.

And it is, presumed, I think, that like their other long range weapons, it would be nuclear armed although, you can't be sure of that.

I think that we lump these things together too much. The fact is, the United States has been able to hit any part of China ever since we have had ICBMs in the 1960s. China has been able to return the favor since the mid 1990s at the latest.

So what has changed?

What's new here?

The answer is the United States is deploying a lot of new missile defenses and the Chinese want to ensure that they can maneuver around them so that they would be able to retaliate against any American nuclear attack.

NEWTON: Right, they don't want to be declared impotent, in terms of what the United States might throw at them.

Having said, that there is no question that not just when it comes to China, Russia as well, they have been substantially more confident and aggressive, in the military sphere. A lot of what they have done has been completely conventional.

But where do you think that they sit, now?

I'm speaking specifically about China, in terms of where they go forward, from here?

As you mentioned earlier, in your answer, China has been advancing quickly.

POLLACK: It is one or two tests, demonstrating a new technology. We don't know if they will deploy it. We don't know what numbers they will deploy it in if they do. But what we can say, based on published accounts, is that this is designed to get around missile defenses.

We have long said, our missile defenses are not designed to stop China's long-range missiles, only North Korea's or Iran's, if Iran should build them. So I would ask if that is a real problem for us.

If the Chinese make doubly sure, that they can beat them, I do not think it, is necessarily. And, I don't think that we should get too concerned about specific technological achievements, absent some indication that they have a very different way of thinking about nuclear weapons now and I have not seen that yet.

NEWTON: Hopefully, that will never come. I take the point in many of these matters is a strategic stalemate, which is usually best for everyone. Joshua Pollack, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Thank you so much.

POLLACK: Thank you.


NEWTON: Now parts of the western United States are hunkering down, as yet another storm system approaches. The latest from CNN Weather Center, after the break.





NEWTON: Flood warnings posted for parts of northern California, currently, suffering from extreme drought. The extreme weather could include something called a bomb cyclone. It is the third round, in a series of strong storms.


NEWTON: I want to thank you for spending part of your day with me, I'm Paula Newton, stay with, us. "INVENTING TOMORROW" starts after a short break. You are watching CNN.