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Movie Set Tragedy; U.S. Capitol Insurrection; FDA Advises On COVID-19 Vaccines For Kids; U.K. Prime Minister Urges Vaccinations As COVID-19 Cases Surge; Russia-China Navy Patrols In Western Pacific; Next-Gen Weapons; Sicily Migrants Case; One Week To COP26 Climate Summit; California Extreme Weather. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 24, 2021 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Could Alec Baldwin and others face criminal charges for the fatal shooting on the movie set?

I'll ask a former federal prosecutor.

Plus there is a new headliner on the Democratic campaign trail; well, old and new. His name is Barack Obama. What he had to say about the Republican Party -- that's coming up.

And the fate of a jailed businessman is the latest flashpoint between Turkey and its NATO allies. We are live in Istanbul with the latest.


NEWTON: Mourners paid tribute Saturday to the crew member who was accidentally shot to death by actor Alec Baldwin.


NEWTON (voice-over): These are images from a memorial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, honoring Halyna Hutchins. She was killed Thursday when Baldwin unknowingly fired a live round from what was supposed to be a prop gun.


NEWTON: CNN's Lucy Kafanov was there at the vigil. She spoke to people mourning Hutchins and has new details now on that crucial timeline leading up to 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 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.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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.


NEWTON: 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.

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: Meanwhile, "Rust" cast member, Hayes Hargrove told CNN he had no direct knowledge of the events that led to Halyna Hutchins' death but said movie sets are, quote, "by nature dangerous environments."

He also said "A bright, talented, striking, fierce mother was killed and Alec Baldwin's life is forever ruined."

Meantime, Dave Halls, the assistant director on the film set was the subject of complaints over safety, during two other productions in 2019. That's according to Maggie Gold, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician who worked with Halls. She says the complaints included disregard for safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics used during the filming of Hulu's "Into the Dark." In a statement to CNN, Gold said, "The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapons presence was because the assistant prop master demanded they acknowledge and announce the situation each day."


NEWTON: There are reports of other safety protocol violations and allegations even of sexual misconduct against Halls as well. He has not yet responded to CNN's request for comment about Gold's allegations against him.


NEWTON: He's back: former president Barack Obama was out on the campaign trail for the first time this year, appearing on Saturday with the Democratic governors of Virginia and New Jersey. Both are facing Republican challengers in November.

And many Democrats see both as must-wins ahead of next year's midterms. Obama told the crowds that Republican ideas are unpopular with most Democratic voters, so they're trying to suppress voter turnout instead. Here's what he said in Virginia.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you've got good ideas, people will flock to your ideas. But that's not what they try to do. Instead, you're trying to rig elections because the truth is people disagree with your ideas.

And when that doesn't work, you start fabricating lies and conspiracy theories about the last election, the one you didn't win. That's not how democracy is supposed to work.


NEWTON: Now CNN's Athena Jones has more on Obama's effort to generate enthusiasm among a weary base.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. President Obama hitting the campaign trail again on Saturday, campaigning in Virginia and New Jersey, the only two states that have governors' races this year. Both of these races are being viewed as a harbinger of what Democrats may face in 2022.

And, of course, Democrats are hoping to keep both of these statehouses in the blue column. The focus of the New Jersey event was on early in- person voting, which is being allowed for the first time in New Jersey.

For years, people had been able to early vote by mail but now they can do so in person. So President Obama coming out to urge people to turn out, to show up, to tell their friends and neighbors to vote for Phil Murphy and make him the first Democratic governor to win reelection since the late 1970s.

As we heard the president do in Virginia, we also saw him in New Jersey, try to tie Murphy's Republican opponent to president Trump. He slammed Jack Ciattarelli for speaking at a Stop the Steal rally. Here's some of what he said.


OBAMA: When you've got a candidate who spoke at a Stop the Steal rally, you can bet he's not going to be a champion of democracy.

Apparently, Phil's opponent says, well, he didn't know it was a rally to overturn the results of the last election. Didn't know it.

Brother, come on. When you're standing in front of a sign that says Stop the Steal and there's a guy in the crowd waving a Confederate flag, you know this isn't a neighborhood barbecue. You know it's not a League of Women Voters rally. Come on. Come on, man.


JONES: So there you have President Obama trying to tie Jack Ciattarelli, Murphy's opponent, to president Trump, who is not nearly as popular in New Jersey as he is in other parts of the country.

Bottom line here, though, this is all about turnout. This event was held in Newark. Newark is in the heart of Essex County. Essex County is a Democratic stronghold in New Jersey. It has the most Democrats registered of any of the counties here.

And the whole goal is to make sure those people vote early, in person, on Election Day. Either way, they want to make sure they get to the polls -- Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: Now we have new developments in the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection probe. Video obtained by CNN shows one of the defendants speaking last month at a right-wing rally in Arizona.

Now also at that rally, more than a dozen members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group, which a federal judge specifically told the defendant to avoid. It comes as lawmakers in Washington are looking to follow the money behind the insurrection. CNN's Marshall Cohen has details.


MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly 10 months after the January 6th insurrection, the investigation continues, both in Congress and in the courts.

House Democrats are moving full speed ahead with their Select Committee. They are zeroing in on the money trail, the finances behind those Stop the Steal rallies that fueled the Big Lie last year and all the way up to January 6th.

And the House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote, held Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt for defying a subpoena and they now want the Justice Department to bring a criminal indictment.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have charged more than 650 of the rioters. One couple from Kentucky was just sentenced a few days ago to pay $10,000 in fines for their role in storming the Capitol.


M. COHEN: The judge in that case said that he was getting threats and threatening messages from Trump supporters, who still believe the Big Lie. He said the rioters that have been downplaying and whitewashing the attack are inspiring these continued threats.

One rioter, who is part of that group of people that are staying defiant, Micajah Jackson, he was charged with four misdemeanors. He pleaded not guilty. He was released but he was told to stay away from the Proud Boys because of his ties to the far-right group.

He spoke at a political rally in Phoenix last month that was attended by more than a dozen members of the Proud Boys. His lawyer said that he didn't know they would be there and that he's complying with the conditions of his release. But, regardless, take a listen to what he had to say at that event.


MICAJAH JACKSON, CONVICTED CAPITOL RIOTER: On January 6, the radical U.S. government weaponized the FBI, the Capitol Police, D.C. Police, Antifa, BLM and Democratic activists to set up a coup against patriotic Americans like myself and hundreds and thousands of others that are still being persecuted, watched and heard.

And that's disgusting. That is KGB stuff right there going on.


M. COHEN: Obviously those are ridiculous and false conspiracy theories. Prosecutors could use that material against him in court to make the case that he's not sorry for what he did and that, if he is convicted, he should deserve a harsher punishment.

That's something they've done in other cases; use rioters' words against them -- Marshall Cohen, CNN, Washington.


NEWTON: Straight ahead for us, millions of U.S. children could be eligible for a COVID vaccine soon. When to expect a decision and why experts say it is so important even younger kids get that vaccine.

Plus, Turkey's president lashes out at NATO allies again, why he's planning to expel 10 diplomats, when we come back.





NEWTON: 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: And now to the millions of Americans are eligible -- will be eligible for a COVID vaccine booster. The approval also came with some new guidance about exactly who should be getting another dose. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen breaks it all down.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The FDA and the CDC have now greenlit boosters for all three vaccines that are available in the U.S. -- Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Moderna is the most recent. Let's take a look at the rules at who is eligible for a Moderna booster.

If your original vaccine was Moderna, then you're eligible for a booster if you're at least six months past your second Moderna shot and either you're age 65 or older; or you can be any age and a front line worker, doctor, teacher, someone more likely to become infected with COVID-19; or people of any age with an underlying medical condition; for example, being overweight is an underlying medical condition or having certain heart ailments.

The FDA and CDC already approved boosters for Pfizer and J&J recipients. Let's look at the rules for Pfizer. The same conditions are what we just laid out for Moderna. For Johnson & Johnson, it's different. It's two months after the original shot. That's when you become eligible.

And it's for all recipients. You don't have to be a certain age or have a certain medical condition.

Now the FDA and the CDC have made it clear that, yes, vaccine immunity is waning. But really, the vaccine is still quite good. It is still quite protective, will help keep you out of the hospital, will help keep you from dying of COVID-19. But still for these groups, they're eligible to go out and get their boosters now.


NEWTON: Elizabeth Cohen there. Thank you very much.

Meantime, COVID cases are surging in the U.K., and prime minister Boris Johnson is encouraging 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.

But if you ask my professional colleagues in the hospital, they will tell you that the people who are going to the hospital are younger people who are unvaccinated. So the vast majority of the people who have been admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated and a younger population.

Twelve months ago, it was we were all popular for older people, vulnerable people.


MANTGANI: Now it is the unvaccinated younger people, who are becoming the vulnerable people.


NEWTON: The problem, there it is now, 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.

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 Osman Kavala, who 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: CNN's Arwa daman joins us from Istanbul.

Erdogan has been emboldened to do this in recent months. The message For allies is clear, stay out of our domestic affairs.

How could this escalate further, Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are a number of concerns, Paula, that this could escalate, transcend diplomacy to a degree and whether or not these 10 ambassadors are actually declared persona non grata.

You also have the reality that Europe is Turkey's biggest trading partner. Therefore, Europe is not as heavily reliant on Turkey when it comes to the economy as Turkey is on Europe.

And against that backdrop, also worth mentioning the Turkish economy has been struggling for quite some time now. So should Europe choose to do so, it does have a number of other potential pressure points that it can try to put on Turkey.

That being said, this ongoing back and forth over the detention of Osman Kavala has been going on for some time with a number of countries calling for his release, with this fairly unprecedented it must be said statement that was signed by the 10 countries asking for his release, asking for the decision that was taken by the European Court for Human Rights to be upheld.

That was a decision that called for Kavala's immediate release. And Turkey, being a member of the European Council is, in theory, supposed to uphold that decision. A lot of human rights organizations, outside observers, analysts are calling this a political move to try to continue to tamp down on voices of opposition and dissent throughout Turkey. Kavala is hardly the first person who has spoken out against the

Turkish government to find himself behind bars. This country is notorious for the jailing of journalists and opposition members. But this right now, what's happening is being called a diplomatic spat but it has the potential to escalate into something that is much, much more serious, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, Arwa, appreciate the update on that. Good to get that from you and we will continue on here at CNN NEWSROOM.

Fast, agile, hard to detect, a nuclear payload, all the features of the next generation weapon called the hypersonic missile. We'll hear why some countries are determined to build one.

Plus, a Hollywood star on the witness list. Why an Italian court wants to hear from actor Richard Gere. That is next.





NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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 have 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.


POLLACK: 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. 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: Italy's former interior minister, lashing out 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. 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.


NEWTON: For more on this I'm joined by CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau, coming to us from Rome.

It is really quite a case, especially because Salvini has put the presence of Richard Gere potentially in this case front and center.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's really the one who has drawn attention to this star witness. You know, Richard Gere visited these migrants, brought them food and water and really called attention to the crisis on board that ship when it was happening.

That was August 2019, 147 people, who were rescued off the coast of Libya by a NGO. Matteo Salvini is arguing Italy shouldn't be trying the case; they should have taken them to Spain. The next round is December 17. We don't know when Richard Gere will testify, whether it will be by video or if he'll come to Sicily and do it in person.

But he'll be able to give a glimpse of what it was like on that ship and whether the migrants were in danger, if their lives were in danger. They were running out of food and water, in extremely cramped conditions and were expected to disembark on Lampedusa.

Salvini was against irregular migration while he was interior minister and was trying to block it and get all the NGO ships that didn't have an Italian flag to take the migrants to the countries where they came from.

This trial is going to bring migration and the crisis that continues, 49,000 people have arrived so far in Italy by sea this year alone, it's going to bring that front and center. A lot of people are watching to see what happens next because they want to see what Richard Gere has to say. Paula?

NEWTON: It will also be interesting to see if the E.U. weighs in on this, perhaps before or after this court case is over. Barbie Nadeau, we really appreciate that update.

Now just days before the COP26 summit in Scotland, one of the world's largest polluters makes a bold announcement on achieving its own net zero emissions. Those details straight ahead.





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. Take a listen.


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.


NEWTON: 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: 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: 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. Now earlier I spoke about this with Helen Mountford of the world

resources institute. She said even oil-producing states like Saudi Arabia are waking up to the reality of the climate crisis as well as the growing market for alternative energy. Take a listen.


HELEN MOUNTFORD, VICE PRESIDENT FOR CLIMATE AND ECONOMICS, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE: I mean, 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.


That was Helen Mountford of the World Resources Institute. She was speaking to us a little earlier.

A programming note. CNN will have extensive coverage of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 1st through the 12th. You will want all the latest climate news and COP26 developments, head to

Now a massive storm system is threatening parts of the western United States. Details on the extreme weather hitting the region next.





NEWTON: Several states in the western U.S. are bracing themselves for a major storm. It's set to hit in the coming hours and last through Monday. Millions at risk of severe weather at this point. It's the third round in a series of strong storms.



NEWTON: Now rescuers are amazed by a 4-year-old boy who survived a 20- meter plunge with nothing but cuts and bruises. The young boy had slipped away from his family while hiking in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. But he tumbled off a cliff, striking several ledges as he fell.

This is just heart stopping as a parent. His dad found and carried him to a highway, where they met an emergency crew. Now rescuers say the boy just kept talking about superheroes. But of course, the rescuers say that boy right there, he is the real superhero. Wow. What a relief that is.


NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton. I want to thank you for your company. Kim Brunhuber picks things up from here. More CNN NEWSROOM straight ahead.