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Protesters Return To Sudan's Streets To Oppose Coup; China Clamps Down On Outbreak 100 Days From Winter Games; Brazil Lawmakers Push Top Charge Jair Bolsonaro For COVID Response; U.N.: Most Countries Not Cutting Emissions As Promised; Flood Warnings Issued For Parts Of Southern Italy. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 27, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm John Vause.
Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, in cities across Sudan, pro-democracy demonstrators take to the streets burning tires, manning barricades, as opposition grows to a military takeover.
Just a handful of new COVID cases brings the harshest of restrictions in China, as officials push for zero COVID, 100 days out from the Beijing Winter Olympics.
And if every country which has promised to reduce carbon emission makes good on that commitment, we're still heading for a future climate disaster.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.
VAUSE: Across Sudan, tens of thousands of people have taken part in angry and defiant protests. Others have answered the call for widespread civil disobedience.
In the capital, many businesses shops, schools and banks were closed Tuesday, part of a general strike as nationwide opposition to a military takeover grows stronger.
Sources say key opposition leaders and the brother of the foreign minister have now been detained with the general who now claims to be the leader of the country, promising to appoint new government ministers and judicial appointments within days.
U.N. Security Council called an emergency session Tuesday with the Secretary General condemning what he called an epidemic of coup d'etat in Africa and Asia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY GENERAL, U.N.: My appeal, obviously is for specially the big powers to come together for the unity of the Security Council in order to make sure that there is effective deterrence in relation to this epidemic of coup d'etats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Sudan's deposed Prime Minister and his wife were allowed to return home Tuesday and remain under heavy security while other government officials are still being held.
CNN's Nima Elbagir is tracking the very latest developments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sudan's military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, leader of the unfolding coup d'etat on Tuesday came out in defense of the Army's actions. The detention of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and other government officials, he said, were to protect the country from civil war.
GEN. ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN, SUDANESE MILITARY LEADER (through translator): Realistically, we looked and met together and found that this situation is causing a split. Some have started talking on racism, which all suggested that the country was being led into a civil war, which will destroy the country's unity.
ELBAGIR: Thousands of protesters again took to the streets, burning tires and barricading roads, demonstrating against what they see as a betrayal of the 2019 pro-democracy uprisings that toppled former head of state Omar al-Bashir.
General Burhan helped facilitate the takedown.
Monday's violence saw at least eight civilians killed and more than 140 injured as they marched on the Army's general command. The Sudanese Central Doctor's Committee aligned with the now dissolved Sovereign Council blamed the military for the shootings.
CNN could not independently verify these claims. Speaking for the first time since the coup, Sudan's Foreign Minister described to CNN, the upheaval in the streets.
MARIAM AL SADIQ, SUDANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: I see columns of smoke all around the place from where I'm staying, and I know because my children and my -- the children of my relatives and my neighbors are on the street. I know they are outside and reporting that they are being shot at by tear gas and all that.
ELBAGIR: Burhan with allies in Egypt, the Gulf states and wants the defense attache in China remained defiant in the face of domestic and international criticism.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned the military takeover.
GUTERRES: I urge of course, all stakeholders to exercise maximum restraint. But the prime minister and other officials that were unlawfully detained must be released. ELBAGIR: Meanwhile, the United States said they were withholding $700 million in aid. Crucial lifeblood for a nation on the brink of economic collapse, funds the State Department said we're intended to support the country's democratic transition.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, London
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: With now 100 days out from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and authorities are imposing some incredibly harsh measures to cross a small number of new COVID cases linked to the Delta variant, including restrictions on travel in and out of the capital. Stay at home orders for entire apartment blocks and some tourist sites across China have been closed.
Most testing is underway in 11 provinces and in Lanzhou capital Gansu Province, more than four million people are now under a strict lockdown order after six new cases were reported on Tuesday.
CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jiang joins me now with more. So, how much of this response is to do with the government zero COVID policy? How much is being driven by wanting a COVID-free Olympics?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I think they're interconnected, right? And I think John, I have to give it to you. You caught it. I remember we talked -- we were talking about this a few months ago -- a few months ago, you said this would be no fun games, right? I think you're right.
But this time, at least they have a legitimate reason that is the COVID pandemic. And as we draw closer to the opening ceremony, they have just announced protocols concerning participants to the games. And basically, they're going to create a huge bubble here in the city and outside of the city in some of the competition zones.
And this bubble is going to encompassing not only all the competition venues, but also Olympic villages and the media centers and dozens of hotels accommodating incoming visitors.
Now, if you are fully vaccinated, you will be sent straight to this bubble once landing at the Beijing Airport and you will not be allowed to come out of bubble for the duration of the games.
Now, you will be allowed to travel between different zones in the bubble only in dedicated transportation provided by the authorities. And when the game's over, you're going to be sent straight to the airport to fly out.
And also, of course, not surprisingly, they're not allowing any international spectators and the domestic audience will be the numbers will be strictly limited. And then, their health status will be strictly vetted. And they will also be kept very much separate from people inside the Olympic bubble.
Now, these games are shaping up to be some of the most controversial in recent time, not only because of these strict COVID policies, but also because of growing geopolitical tensions and pressures with of course, China's human rights record and its controversial policies on a whole range of issues from Tibet to Xinjiang to Taiwan and Hong Kong, again, under growing international scrutiny.
But of course, the authorities here are very much trying to push past all those criticisms. And there's little doubt of course, said they were going to be able to put another spectacular show to around the world without a pageantry and performance trying to highlight their success in not only containing this virus but also to reaffirming their status as the world's next emerging superpower.
But of course, this time without a strict COVID policies helping them keep protesters away. And the journalists in check, John.
VAUSE: Yes, I think I said no fun games because of 2008 when there wasn't even a pandemic. But Steven, thank you. our Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jiang there live, we appreciate that. Thank you.
Anne Rimoin is a professor of epidemiology at UCLA School of Public Health. She is with us this hour from Los Angeles.
Anne, good to see you.
ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA: Nice to be here.
VAUSE: OK, so compared to warnings leading up to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, why isn't there the same level of concern about the Winter Olympics potentially being a super spreader event? It's just like the Summer Games but cold. I mean, people spend more time indoors, right?
RIMOIN: Well, exactly. I think that there's reason to be concerned about the games. For the same reasons we worry about a surge in the winter time, people -- it's going to be cold, people are going to be indoors, they're going to be in close proximity.
Now that said, they have very strict COVID protocols in place. They're requiring vaccination with very few exceptions for medical exemptions. They're going to be doing a lot of testing. They're going to have a very tight bubble and these things do a very good job at being able to contain COVID.
But China is doing -- is being very proactive right now, they're just a few cases, as you mentioned, and they are going into very, very strict pandemic mode here.
RIMOIN: And so, that's what we really are going to have to be looking at. You know, I think that we're going to see, probably what we saw at the -- at the Summer Olympics, that there was a lot of very strict monitoring and protocols ongoing, and that really does make a difference. But it is going to be colder, and so, it will be more complicated. VAUSE: It's not exactly a surprise for the OIC, it's insisting there's no link between the Summer Olympics and a surge in the number of COVID infections across Japan in the weeks after the Tokyo Games. That seems to low end right to bring that outbreak under control pretty quickly.
But is there enough data out there to know if one led to the other or one did not lead to the others, is there a definitive word out there?
RIMOIN: Well, I'm not aware of any studies that have really linked one to the other. But I do think that the games in Japan really did show that if you do a good job of monitoring, if you do a good job with testing, if you have vaccination in place, you can do a good job of controlling COVID, we know what works. We know masking works, we know as vaccination obviously is the number one thing that we can do. We know about social distancing, we know about ventilation. So, we have the tools to be able to control COVID.
It's just a matter of whether or not we can employ all of them to make it work. And it seems like China is going to be doing a very diligent job of monitoring this and having good testing protocols in place.
So, I mean, I think that there's a lot of -- a lot of hope that this could be done appropriately. But you know, we'll see.
VAUSE: Well, when it comes to containing any flare ups, it seems China has one tool, it's a hammer, pretty harsh on the response. It's a point not lost on head of the IOC, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT: The determination of China and the Chinese people is impressive. And China does not only want to contain the virus, it wants to eradicate the virus. And this is being done with a great efficiency with very strict measures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Beijing has a zero COVID policies clearly pushing quite literally zero COVID for the Winter Games. Is that possible?
RIMOIN: Well, you know, I mean, I think that the thing about COVID is it's so contagious. And the variant that we have circulating globally right now is so contagious, if you have one case, it very easily can spread to people no matter what you -- what you have in place. We've seen this happen in New Zealand, we've seen this happen in Australia, we've seen this happen in China.
So, I'm not sure that we're ever going to be able to get to zero COVID given that there will be people coming in and you can't control the factors around you.
But they're going to get pretty close. And they're doing a very, very good job by using very strict measures to be able to make it so.
You know, we have the tools, masking, vaccinations, social distancing, ventilation, all of these things work. We know how to get to a better place with COVID.
China is actually using these methods. And when they're using it in such force, they're able to really bring it down to just a very few number of cases.
VAUSE: Yes, very effective. One of the other tools they have is vaccines, and now they're authorizing vaccine for 3-year-olds, who have children over three years of age will soon be vaccinated.
And a panel advising regulators here in the United States have recommended Pfizer's vaccine for five to 11-year-olds, but one advisor who voted in favor, thought it should come with some kind of restrictions or contingency, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CODY MEISSNER, PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, TUFTS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I'm just worried that if we say yes, that the states are going to mandate administration of this vaccine to children in order to go to school, and I do not agree with that, I think that would be an error at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I didn't really understand the concern, because why would a COVID vaccine be any different to other vaccines which are already required for kids to attend public school?
RIMOIN: Listen, this vaccine has been tested in adults, it's been tested in adolescents, it's now been tested in children, but there still is, you know, if the studies are small, they're called bridging studies. But, you know, the thing I think that he's bringing up is that there's a lot of hesitancy among parents or about a third of parents that are really ready to get their children vaccinated immediately, according to several studies, including I think the the Kaiser Foundation, Family Foundation.
And so, I think that the, you know, the issue is, is that there are a lot of parents that are concerned there's going to take -- it's going to take some time to get parents to talk to trusted health providers, the pediatricians, for example, really get the information out so that parents are comfortable being able to give this vaccine to their children.
You know, adults are -- have a higher risk threshold at getting vaccinated themselves than what they're willing to do with their kids. And this vaccine has proven to be very safe.
But given the fact that it is going to be controversial amongst parents and that all parents are not going to want to get their children vaccinated immediately and the risk is lower in children though, it is not zero, it is definitely lower in children.
This particular person was arguing to maybe take some time before coming to mandate which may or may not be the case. VAUSE: Yes, it's a risk benefit analysis which everyone's going to have to do for themselves and hopefully they'll come back on the let's get vaccinated side because that's what we need.
Anne, as always, thank you so much.
RIMOIN: Thank you, it's a pleasure.
VAUSE: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is one step closer to facing criminal charges for his failed pandemic response, and the lawmakers approved the findings of a Senate investigation.
More than 600,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, the world's second highest death toll and that Senate report accuses Bolsonaro and his government of intentionally allowing COVID to spread in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity.
CNN's Shasta Darlington has details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Brazilian Senate Committee has voted to recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with nine crimes including crimes against humanity, alleging it was his reckless mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.
The report was produced after six months of inquiry that included testimonies and allegations of corruption.
The final document also accuses the president of misusing public funds, charlatanism and provoking an epidemic resulting in death.
More than 600,000 people have died of COVID 19 in Brazil, the second highest death toll in the world.
Now after the report was made public last week, Bolsonaro said he wasn't guilty of any crimes and told a crowd of supporters that he did the right thing from the first moment.
Before approving the final report, the Senate committee made some changes to the document, increasing the number of people accused to 78 and that includes some governors and mayors and three of Bolsonaro's sons.
The committee also added a recommendation for Bolsonaro to be banned from social media for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
The committee approved to the report by seven to four votes.
Now, it's not clear, however, that the recommendation will actually lead to any criminal charges. The Senate commission will now send the document to the attorney general who's considered an ally of Bolsonaro.
Nonetheless, the inquiry has taken a toll on Bolsonaro. Live television coverage of the proceedings was watched closely by Brazilians and the investigation contributed to a sharp drop in his approval rating, making his bid for reelection next year look increasingly difficult.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We're taking a break, but when we come back, we have the very latest on the dire climate warning coming from the U.N.
Also, flash flooding turning one Italian city's roads into rivers and (INAUDIBLE) cars submerged as well. The latest on the climate crisis in a moment.
VAUSE: Police in Ecuador's capital use tear gas to break up a crowd of protesters. Five police officers were injured during clashes and 37 people were detained according to officials.
Ecuadorians are angry over the economic policies of the president, especially a hike in fuel prices.
One spokesman says the protesters have the right to take to the streets and demonstrate but they must respect law at all.
Another alarming report on the climate crisis with the U.N. again warning current commitments to reduce carbon emissions to keep global warming under the dangerous level of 1.5 degrees Celsius are now way short of what's needed to avoid disaster.
This comes just days before the start of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, the first meetings of world leaders begins Monday. Dozens of countries have not officially updated their emissions pledges as they've agreed to do as part of the Paris Climate Accord.
G20 countries account for 80 percent of the world's emissions but the U.N. report says only six had promised further reductions.
Six others Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, South Korea and Australia never met their original targets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTERRES: So, is the title of this year's report puts it the heat is on. And as the contents of the reports show, the leadership we need is off and far off. We know that humanity's future depends on keeping global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
And we also know that so far, parties to the Paris Agreement are utterly failing to keep this target within reach.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Bill Weir is CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent and host of "THE WONDER LIST". He is with us this hour from New York. Bill, good to see you.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, John.
VAUSE: OK, so here's a little more from the U.N. Secretary General on where the world is heading right now. And that's if all 120 countries which have made commitments to reduce carbon emissions, actually follow through, here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTERRES: The 2021 emissions gap report shows that with the present nationally determined contributions and other firm commitments of countries around the world, we are indeed on track for a catastrophic global temperature rise of around 2.7 degrees Celsius.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It seems this is a pretty grim warning more so because the chances it seems of every country making good on those commitments, would be slim to nonexistent, right? So, even if they do, we're heading to disaster.
WEIR: Well, it's all relative, and you know, every fire that goes off, and every spark plug and every engine around the world, you know, adds to the ultimate pain that will be tasted by our forebears.
The good news is thanks to the boom in cleaner energy, humanity has bent that curve. Before the Paris Accords of 2015, we were headed towards about 3-1/2 to four degrees. And as he said, it's now -- 2.7 to 3.1. They say we're on track four now.
I mean, it really comes down to if we had hit peak emissions around the year 2000, it would be to use a scheme metaphor of bunny slope to down to holding at 1.5.
Now, because we've kicked this can so far down the road to mixed metaphors. It's like a double black diamond in order to meet these goals. Still can be done. Much, much, much more difficult.
VAUSE: Well, so, the bottom line is that if every country does follow through, we're looking at a reduction in predicted emission levels by 2030 of 7.5 percent. To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, 55 percent reduction is needed.
And I'm just wondering, so did countries sign on to the Paris accord? Did they actually agree to reduce emissions by a certain amount or to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius?
WEIR: Yes, both and because it's just relative according to countries, the biggest emitter historically is the United States and has to do a much steeper curve than countries you know, in Bangladesh or small countries in Africa obviously. But you know, really, it's all about the way the economic system is set up in the developing world, until CEOs are paid a bonus for the coal they didn't dig or, or the oil they didn't burn, these are just pledges.
And so, it takes an overall structure that will be a theme on full day to talk about finance in Glasgow, there as well. But yes, and just to put it in perspective, of the almost 200 countries that signed, only the Gambia is really practically on course in real time to meeting their goals.
And the hope was that people would wake up to the enormity of the challenge and really heed these latest alarms. As the U.N. put out this week, we've now have an atmosphere that is similar, hasn't been this dense with sort of planet cooking, pollution, CO2 since three million years.
WEIR: And you know, back when sea levels, the planet then was so warm, sea levels are much higher, there were camels in the Arctic. Of course, we don't want that.
And so, you know, whatever steps are taken to head that off is a plus.
VAUSE: If there's another plus to look at here, at least there's no more debate on whether or not climate change is real, that's over. And we hope for the U.N. Executive Director of the Environment Program over at the United Nations, saying at least we now have a plan. Here she is, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGER ANDERSEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM: The point is that we know what we need to do, we even know how to do it. We know the timeframe in which we need to act. We know the benefits of action and the consequences of inaction. The case for climate change is essentially closed. So, it's time to get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Get it done. But what we're looking at here right now, get it done in eight years, half carbon emissions in eight years. That's something we've been unwilling to do in more than 30 years.
WEIR: Exactly. And it would touch every sector of the economy. So, it's such a massive job. And there is no real enforcement mechanism right now for even some of these pledges.
I mean, just the most recent countries to make news in the Middle East, the Saudi Arabia pledges they will pretty much stop emitting by 2060. They want to match the Chinese promise, but they're not counting all the oil they're going to export.
But not to be too cynical, you know, because you have to believe that if somebody at least wants to make a promise, we have to root that they're going to work towards it.
The Saudi's burned so much of oil per capita, I think they're 41th in the world in population, but bore -- you know, forth in terms of oil consumption.
If they could electrify a country like that using giant solar arrays and changing from a Petro state to a sun energy state, it would be massive for humanity.
Now, that's the thing. There will be some mitigation, which is to solve the problem. There'll be some adaptation, which has to adjust to the changes that are already baked in, and then there will be pain.
And so, what combination of those three things is entirely up to the political will?
VAUSE: Yes, look, these are some difficult choices to be made. And they have to be very, very quickly. We'll see what happens at COP26.
But Bill, thank you. We really appreciate you being with us.
WEIR: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Queen Elizabeth, who will not be in Glasgow who to greet (PH) world leaders at COP26. Buckingham Palace says her Majesty will send a video message instead.
On Tuesday, she met virtually with Swiss and Korean ambassadors. The palace says she's following medical advice to rest nearly a week after night in hospital for preliminary investigations.
Right now, parts of southern Italy are under extreme threat of additional flooding. Cars were submerged during flash floods Tuesday at Sicily. A government official cause of situation very critical.
Let's go now to a meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with more on the details out. the pictures are stunning. What's the latest?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: My goodness. You know, the storm system here exhibiting, John, what we call about once a year we see these kinds of storms. It's known as a medicane, which is kind of an informal term kind of taking hurricanes into the Mediterranean.
Of course, the waters are not warm enough to support tropical systems. But these systems do exhibit some tropical characteristics waters, but generally to the say upper teens and to the lower 20s the warmest they get in spots here. But yet not warm enough to support that.
But plenty of activity here over the last several days to bring systems like this across this region. We've had at least three systems that have skirted right across the Mediterranean, you notice where the current placement is of the heaviest of the rain makers here over the next 24 so hours.
And the concern is that on top of what has already come down, which incredibly is upwards of a half a meter of rainfall across portions of Eastern Sicily into the Calabria region just towards the north, you're talking 400 to 500 millimeters.
Some of these areas see about 500 to 600 millimeters in an entire year. So, that really speaks to the intensity of the rainfall here and that's why you're seeing the scenes play out across portions of the Mediterranean with the flooding that has been in place.
But the system very slow to move here. Again, usually we see one to two medicanes on average per year. And typically, it happens between September into January. So, it is prime season to see these storms really intensify.
And you'll notice, Cantania in particular sees about 580 millimeters on average per year, over the next couple of days could see as much as 150 to 200 millimeters on top of what has already come down. The southern tier of the island here could see possibly over 250 millimeters.
John, good news as this finally moves out of here come Friday into Saturday. Dry weather expected this weekend.
VAUSE: Pedram, thank you. We appreciate the update. Pedram Javaheri there with the railings.
Well, still to come here on CNN, social media bosses were grilled on Tuesday over online safety for children.
We'll have some of the big takeaways from that U.S. Senate hearing in just a moment.
Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
European and U.S. authorities say they've busted an opioid trafficking ring operating on the dark web, and have arrested 150 people. The operation netted drugs, weapons, more than $31 million in cash and virtual currencies.
Operation Dark Hunter targeted traffickers and other criminals who peddled killer pills, counterfeits laced with deadly drugs like fentanyl.
The operation involves several U.S. agencies, as well as the E.U.'s law enforcement agency, Europol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-PHILIPPE LECOUTTE, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EUROPOL: We are sending a strong message to these criminals on the dark web. No one is beyond the reach of the law, even on the dark web.
More arrests are to be expected, as Europol continues to work with its American and European partners to unmask these criminals and to make our world a safer place. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Authorities say during the pandemic, more Americans turned to the dark web than ever before to buy drugs, and the U.S. CDC reports deaths from drug overdoses in 2020 increased by 20,000 on the previous year.
On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of senators grilled executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on safety concerns to young people using these platforms.
The executive said the companies are already taking significant steps to protect children, but they admit more work needs to be done.
Here's CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube in the hot seats on Capitol Hill.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Why do you need all of this personal data? Especially on our children?
O'SULLIVAN: The platforms questioned about how kids use social media, how they're affected by it, and what the companies do to protect teenagers and children.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Parents of America cannot trust these apps with their children.
O'SULLIVAN: It's the first time TikTok and Snapchat have been called before Congress. They were grilled about content their apps suggest to kids' accounts.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): I'm sure the articles about the porn stars were accurate and fact-checked, and I'm sure that the tips on why you shouldn't go to bars alone are accurate and fact checked. But that's not my question. This is about whether it's appropriate for children ages 13 and up, as you certified.
JENNIFER PARK STOUT, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY, SNAPCHAT: Absolutely, and Senator, I think this is an area where we're constantly evolving, and if there are any instances where these publishers are surfacing content to an age cohort that is inappropriate, then they will be removed.
O'SULLIVAN: One big message: we're not Facebook.
STOUT: Snapchat is different. Snapchat was built as an antidote to social media.
MICHAEL BECKERMAN, VP AND HEAD OF PUBLIC POLICY, TIKTOK: Our leadership makes safety and wellness a priority, particularly to protect teens on the platform.
O'SULLIVAN: But lawmakers warning the executives just because they're not Facebook doesn't mean they don't have a lot of work to do.
BLUMENTHAL: That bar is in the gutter. What we want is not a race to the bottom but, really, a race to the top.
O'SULLIVAN: Facebook has been plagued this week by the disclosure of internal documents which paint the company as harmful to society, including running algorithms that funnel harmful content to children.
BLUMENTHAL: There has been a definite and deafening drumbeat of continuing disclosures about Facebook, and there will be accountability.
O'SULLIVAN: The internal documents also show Facebook has been losing younger users for years, while sites like Snapchat and TikTok may be even more popular with kids and teenagers than with adult users.
Just last month, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration specifically called on Snapchat and TikTok to do more to stop the online sale of drugs that include fentanyl. That's according to "The Washington Post."
Lawmakers did not appear to be satisfied with what the social media companies claim they've done to stop illegal drug sales.
STOUT: We have stepped up, and we have deployed proactive detection measures to get ahead of what the drug dealers are doing. They are constantly evading our tactics, not just on Snapchat but on every platform.
O'SULLIVAN: With Senator Amy Klobuchar suggesting they may be more inclined to do something if the law was changed so they would be held liable.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I think there's other ways to do this, too, creating liability when this happens. So maybe that will make you work even faster so we don't lose another kid.
O'SULLIVAN: Illegal drugs are not the only concern that some lawmakers asked about the social media sites' effects on teenagers, including mental health, especially eating disorders.
BLUMENTHAL: In effect, the algorithms push emotional and prerogative content, toxic content that amplifies depression, anger, hate, anxiety, because those emotions attract and hook kids and others to their platforms.
LESLIE MILLER, VP OR GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY, YOUTUBE: We prohibit content that promotes or glorifies things such as eating disorders. It has no place on our platform.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Facebook officials regularly bemoan the fact that companies like TikTok and Snapchat rarely get as much attention and scrutiny as Facebook does, but unfortunately for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the spotlight is going to stay on them for another while yet, because Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, documents from her, are continuing to be released in newsrooms all around the world. And we will keep you updated as that continues to happen.
Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: On Monday, she was a princess, living in a palace, crown title, the whole shebang. Today, she's just Mrs. Komura. Now Japan remains divided, though, over the marriage between royalty and a commoner.
VAUSE: Like most newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Komura would like to get on with their lives a day after a simple's ceremony at a registry office in Tokyo. But for this former princess and her commoner husband, that may be easier said than done.
CNN's Selina Wang spoke with some super royal fans.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most royal weddings are a time for celebration. But not this one. Japan's Princess Mako gave up her royal title to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, without any fanfare. Instead, they held a press event.
MAKO KOMURO, FORMER JAPANESE PRESIDENT (through translator): I apologize for any burden I may have caused because of this marriage. K's existence is irreplaceable to me.
KEI KOMURO, HUSBAND OF FORMER JAPANESE PRINCESS MAKO: I love Mako. I want to spend my one life with the person I love.
I would like to start a beautiful family with Mako and do whatever I can to support her.
WANG: We have been waiting outside of the closed event. No live questions were allowed. The palace said Mako felt strong anxiety, just imaging answering the questions verbally. She's been diagnosed with complex PTSD, because of the relentless scrutiny in Japan.
But in written remarks, the couple said they felt horrified and scared by the false information that's been taken as fact.
Their wedding was delayed for three years, after rumors emerged about financial disputes involving Komuro's family. The gossip spiraled. Public opposition grew, even causing people to rally against their marriage in the streets, dividing the public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People fear the image of the royal family will be sullied. RYOSUKE SHOJI, TOKYO RESIDENT: I have a hard time feeling genuinely
happy for them.
TAKAKO TANAKA, TOKYO RESIDENT: I feel sorry for her. I just want her to be happy.
WANG: So does royal superfan Fumiko Shirataki. She's been staked outside of this hotel for hours, waiting to catch a glimpse of Mako. Eighty-one-year-old Shirataki has been chasing the royals for 28 years, snapping tens of thousands of photos. Even following the current empress and her daughter up the mountains on their private hikes.
Shirataki started crying when I asked her about Mako's marriage.
"I feel a sense of relief," she told me, "that Mako is finally able to get married after three years of waiting."
Japan's royal women are barred from the throne, and if they marry commoners, they have to abdicate and leave the royal family.
Mako is entitled to a $1.35 million payment in taxpayer money to help her start a new life. But she's not taking the money.
The couple will be moving to New York, where Komuro works at a law firm, escaping this backlash at home.
Shirataki wishes Mako could have had the traditional royal wedding, but even without the celebration, for Shirataki and many in Japan, this wedding will be unforgettable. A reminder of duty and society's expectations, clashing with love.
Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
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