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Protesters Back in the Streets of Sudan; BioNTech Building Facility in Africa; China Implement Massive Testing and Lockdown; Brazilian Committee Wants Jair Bolsonaro be Held Accountable; No Justice Yet for Halyna Hutchins' Death; European Countries Seeing Cases Rise; Biden Wants Climate Legislation In Place Before COP26; Queen Elizabeth To Address COP26 In Video Message; Flood Warning Issued For Parts Of Southern Italy; Protecting Kids Online, Top Social Media Companies Under Fire; Facebook Under Fire, Failing To Cut Down Hate Speech In India; United Nations Officials Call On Billionaires To Help Ease Crisis; Dark Web Drug Busts; Lin Manuel Miranda Supporting The Arts. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 27, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead on CNN newsroom, a very small number of new COVID cases leads to a lockdown of millions in China.

Roads turned to rivers as heavy rain pummels paths of Southern Italy.

Plus, more than 100 people arrested in a global darknet drug bust. How authorities on three continents managed to pull off this massive operation.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

Well, angry and defiant protesters returned to the streets of Sudan denouncing a military takeover even as troops push forward with a new wave of arrests. Sources say key opposition leaders, and the brother of the foreign minister were detained on Tuesday.

Sources also say military personnel escorted Sudan's prime minister and his wife back to their home after the couple were detained on Monday. It's still not clear if they are able to move about freely.

CNN's Nima Elbagir is tracking the latest developments.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 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 Abdalla Hamdok and other government officials, he said, were to protect the country from civil war.

ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN, SUDANESE MILITARY LEADER (through translator): Realistically, we looked and met together and found that the situation is causing a split. Some have started talking about racism, which all suggested 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 is 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 Doctors 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 places that were unchanged. And I know because my children and the children of my relatives and my neighbor are on the streets, 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 once a defense attach in China remained defiant in the face of domestic and international criticism. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned the military takeover.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I ordered of course all stakeholders to exercise maximum restraint. But the prime minister and other officials that were unlawfully detained must be released.

UNKNOWN: The United States --

ELBAGIR: Meanwhile, the United States said they will withhold $700 million in aid, crucial lifeblood for a nation on the brink of economic collapse, funds the State Department said were intended to support the country's democratic transition.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


CHURCH (on camera): And CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is tracking developments and joining us now from London. Good to see you, Salma. So, what more are you learning about the latest on the situation in Sudan? SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: People are waking up to yet another

day of questions, Rosemary, in Sudan. Yesterday, protesters going out again, trying to face off with the army. These are pro-civilian protesters taking to the streets demanding that the military recognize and respect the transitional government, to return to that period of transition.

But the question is now, Rosemary, is has it all gone too far? And what happens next? The military for its part says it has released the prime minister. Prime Minister Hamdok and he is back at his residence.


He was urged, we hear from sources on the ground, he was urged to support the military coup. Instead, he went online, of course, and pushed for more demonstrations, called on protesters to, quote, "defend the revolution."

So, you have these two opposing sides right now. The prime minister, civilian government, civilian actors and activists being arrested we hear from sources on the ground as troops go house to house to try to suppress this movement against the coup.

And on the other hand, you have the military really digging its heels in, saying that they arrested or held, rather, the prime minister at -- for his own safety at the request of the head of the military. We are also hearing that they've taken control. They say the military in order to bring stability and security. And that they will continue to maintain that control until elections are held in 2023.

And you have outside of the country, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, other international actors condemning this. And in some cases, that is turning into real monetary consequences on the ground.

Take the United States, for example, saying they are now going to cut much-needed aid to Sudan. The bottom line here is, Rosemary, is that if you are an average family right now in Sudan, you simply don't know what's going to happen next. And in the meanwhile, you are caught between these parties, unsure what future your country holds. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Salma Abdelaziz, bringing us up to date on the situation on the ground in Sudan. I appreciate it.

Parents here in the United States are another step closer to protecting their children from COVID-19. Vaccine advisers to the Food and Drug Administration are recommending the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 5, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.

About 28 million children could be eligible for the shot once the FDA and CDC give the greenlight. Meanwhile, BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer on their vaccine, says it will build a COVID vaccine production facility in Africa next year.

The German pharmaceutical company says the project could help ease vaccine inequalities in the region. Many African countries have struggled to secure COVID vaccine doses. And most still have not vaccinated even 10 percent of their population.

We are now 100 days out from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics. And authorities are imposing some incredibly harsh measures to crush a small number of new COVID cases. Mass testing is underway in several provinces and in a northwestern city, more than four million people are now under strict lockdown orders after just six new cases were reported on Tuesday.

CNN's Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang joins me now. Steven, good to see you. So just 100 days to go, and some pretty severe action on the part of Chinese authorities. Talk to us about these lockdowns.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Rosemary, this is really a return of some of the harshest measures that we have previously only seen during the peak of the pandemic last year. Now, of course you are talking about citywide lockdowns, as you just mentioned, but they also are adopting a lot of the measures from their familiar playbook, mass testing, extensive contact tracing, closing down tourist attractions, and imposing growing travel restrictions across the country, but especially into Beijing.

And one particular issue during this outbreak is thousands of tourists are actually now being trapped in small but popular destinations because of local cases. And now of course, those places are ill equipped to deal with this influx of people very much overstating their intended itineraries and the facing shortage of food, medicines, and other supplies.

But all of this of course is very much related to the upcoming Winter Olympics as the authorities here just don't want to take any chances as they stick to the zero COVID policy. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And I wanted to ask you, too, just how ready China is for the Winter Olympics?

JIANG: Well, they have just announced some very strict protocols concerning participants of the games. So, if you are fully vaccinated you will be sent straight to this bubble they are creating in and around Beijing, encompassing all the competition venues but also Olympic villages, dozens of hotels and media centers.

Once you are in, you are sealed off from the rest of the city and the rest of the country. And when the games are over you will be sent back to the airport to flown out -- to be flown out. And of course, there are no international spectators allowed, only domestic audiences who have been vetted in terms of their health status and their numbers severely limited and also kept separate from people in the bubble.


But these strict measures are not the only controversy. These games of course are shaping up to be controversial also because of geopolitical tensions and pressures with China's human rights record and its policies on a whole range of issues again under growing international scrutiny.

But there is no doubt that President Xi Jinping and his government are able to put out another spectacular show without a pageantry and performance especially with a COVID policies this time really helping them keep protesting in bay and reporters in check. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Steven Jiang joining us live from Beijing, many thanks.

Eastern Europe is facing a deadly pandemic winter. Cases are skyrocketing across the region. And on Tuesday, both Russia and Ukraine reported record high daily death tolls. The surge is now threatening to overwhelm health care systems that are already stretched too thin. And yet, doctors say many people won't do the one thing that could keep them out of the hospital.


CHURCH (voice over): In Russia, some hospitals are beginning to buckle. Doctors working overtime to treat patients that could have potentially prevented their infections.

ROMAN MIRONOV, DEPARTMENT CHIEF PHYSICIAN, VOLZHKIY HOSPITAL NUMBER 1 (through translator): At the moment, the hospital is completely full. It has 540 beds and 540 patients. Most of the patients are 98 to 99 percent are not vaccinated.

CHURCH: At this hospital in south Russia, medical staff say new COVID infections seem to be more severe with more complications than before. As a fourth wave of coronavirus sweeps Russia more than 1,000 people are dying each day from COVID-19, the highest numbers since the start of the pandemic.

Russia's recent COVID surge follows a trend across eastern Europe where several countries are breaking records for new cases. And coronavirus deaths are among the highest in the world. As governments struggle to contain the outbreaks, part of their battle it seems is against skepticism.

UNKNOWN (through translator): If I am not forced, I will not get vaccinated.

CHURCH: Ukrainian authorities are urging weary citizens to get the jab, mandating vaccines for some government employees and restricting access for the unvaccinated. In Latvia, police are seen patrolling the streets to enforce a nationwide lockdown that began last week, checking documents and permits of those outside their homes.

Monday marked the start of reintroduced night curfews and mandatory health passes for most venues. It comes as hospitals there also struggle with an influx of patients. In Romania, Latvia, and Russia, vaccination rates are far lower than the European Union average.

Also, Ukraine, where just over 15 percent of the population has been fully inoculated, citizens of formally Soviet bloc countries might be particularly suspicious of getting the jab, some analysts say, after decades of communist rule that eroded areas of public trust.

Now as the pandemic surges through the region restoring faith in authority maybe as difficult as containing the virus itself.


CHURCH (on camera): And we are joined now by Keith Neal, he is a professor emeritus of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham. Thank you, doctor, for all that you do.


CHURCH: So, as we just heard, countries across eastern Europe are struggling to cope with COVID-19 even as other parts of Europe and the world are seeing infections, hospitalization and deaths fall. How much of this is about low vaccination rates due to vaccine skepticism?

NEAL: I think it's large -- it must be largely due to the poor uptick of the vaccines. In Britain, we got a very high testing rate particularly of young children which makes our case looks substantially higher than other countries when in reality it's everybody tested on the scorcher to the like we are in the U.K.

Our disease rate, their disease rates would be higher. The rate in Latvia despite that is higher than it is in Britain. And we can't be sure that the disease will be very high in the other countries. We disconnected the deaths from cases, essentially, by the vaccine by protecting those people most vulnerable and essentially, get vaccinated become safer.

CHURCH: So, doctor, what are Eastern European countries need to do then to overcome the skepticism? Because it's one thing to say, get vaccinated. We are seeing that here in the United States. I mean, a third of the country are saying no. How do you convince those people in Eastern Europe that they need to get this jab?

NEAL: I think it's complex. And I don't -- there are different parts, different societies, and different parts of society respond to different messages. I think that in Britain, we had a number of high- profile people, as you have, Dr. Anthony Fauci get vaccinated and other respected figures actually have it done it themselves.


And I think that's probably the best way for some people. There is also a lot of misinformation flying around. And I struggle to understand why somebody fails to believe people, experts who have actually seen the data rather than their friends on Facebook who basically post something that someone else has posted as fact.

CHURCH: Yes. It is something we all struggle with how that could possibly be. But doctor, let's talk about children. Because a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has just voted to recommend that kids between 5 and 11 years of age should be eligible to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine saying, the benefits outweigh the risks. Do you agree with that decision and, what could this mean worldwide?

NEAL: I think the only way we will ever receive worldwide hard immunity is to vaccinate younger children. I haven't seen the safety data in this age group, but I suspect that the rate of side effects will be incredibly low and probably much lower than the disease itself.

Because although myocarditis has been shown to be caused by the vaccine, you get 10 times as much with natural disease. I think there is a very strong case for very young children -- for children of any age, whether you've got the data, if you live with somebody who is vulnerable, that I would include anybody over the age of 65 or those undergoing specific therapies such as cancer.

CHURCH: And doctor, the CDC here in the U.S. now says not people with compromised immune systems may even need a fourth mRNA COVID-19 shot. And this comes just after the CDC authorized a third dose for that same group. What is your view on a fourth dose and could this signal an ongoing need for regular COVID shots do you think?

NEAL: There's two separate questions. I think an ongoing need is probably an easier one. That's relatively easy to answer because we'll see how much COVID is around just before next winter and can organize a drop off of the vaccine. We've known for many, many years, if you are immunocompromise you do not make such a good immune response.

And in Britain, because we can access health care records anonymously, and I mean stage (Inaudible) anonymously, we could actually look at the risk factors for COVID postvaccination. And we have come out with two major risk factors, one is down syndrome and the other is people who had chemotherapy in the last year.

And therefore, it's very logical to give another dose of the Pfizer vaccine which is what we are using in Britain, or what everywhere has used in the United States and other countries to top it up because it is certainly, and it will certainly should help their immune systems cope within it if they catch COVID.

CHURCH: Some great messages there, Dr. Keith Neal, thank you so much again for what you do and for joining us. I appreciate it.

NEAL: Thank you.

CHURCH: A debate is brewing over COVID vaccines at the Australian Open. The premier of the state of Victoria where the tennis tournament is held says, unvaccinated players won't be allowed to compete this January. But that contradicts Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said earlier unvaccinated players could compete, as long as they get an exemption and quarantine for two weeks.

But Premier Daniel Andrews says his state will not be applying for any exemptions. Organizers of the Australian Open are hoping for a strong field, but some top players, including defending champ Novak Djokovic won't say whether they are vaccinated and could miss out on the Grand Slam event. Still ahead, lawmakers say Brazil's president didn't just mismanaged

the COVID pandemic, they claim he intentionally let the virus run rampant, and now they want him criminally charged.

Plus, what red flags caused a long time Hollywood insider to turn down a job on the movie "Rust," the film where a crew member was fatally shot.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Brazilian lawmakers have approved a damning report that recommends criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for his handling of the COVID pandemic. They allege his government intentionally allow the virus to spread like wildfire in a failed bid to achieve heard immunity. COVID has now killed more than 600,000 Brazilians, the second highest death toll in the world.

CNN's Shasta Darlington has our report.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Brazilian Senate committee has voted to recommended 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 sons. The committee also added a recommendation for Bolsonaro to be banned from social media for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The committee approved of 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 is 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 sharp drop in his approval rating making his bid for reelection next year look increasingly difficult.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sau Paulo.

CHURCH: Iraqi officials are blaming ISIS for a deadly attack on a village east of Baghdad. At least 11 people were killed and six more were wounded by gunmen on Tuesday. Iraq's joint operation command says the attack targeted defenseless civilians. Iraq's president called it a cowardly terrorist attack that was aimed at destabilizing the country.

Fears of Afghanistan again becoming a haven for global terrorist. The pentagon warns by next year ISIS-K could be ready to attack the U.S. and Al-Qaeda isn't far behind. ISIS-K carried out the suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 150 Afghans during the Kabul airlift in August.

Since then, the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for attacks on mosques in Kabul, Kandahar, and in northern Afghanistan. A U.S. defense official told lawmakers about the potential threat on Tuesday.


COLIN KAHL, U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: The intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and Al- Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations including against the United States, that neither currently has the capability to do so.


We could see ISIS-K generate that capability and somewhere between 6 to 12 months. I think the current assessments by the intelligence community is that Al-Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability.


CHURCH (on camera): Counterterrorism analysts believe ISIS-K has about 2,000 fighters, but that number could grow. Many captured ISIS-K members who were held in prisons near Kabul were released by the Taliban as they took over.

Iran says things are returning to normal after a cyberattack shut down the government system that runs fuel stations across the country. Witnesses tell CNN card readers at petrol pumps failed to work. Instead, they displayed part of the phone number of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini's offices.

No one has claimed responsibility, but the attack comes just a few weeks after the anniversary of the 2019 mass protest of a fuel crisis increases.

And district attorney in New Mexico, is not ruling out criminal charges in the deadly shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film, "Rust." The D.A. says investigators are trying to determine who loaded Baldwin's gun before it was discharged killing crew member Halyna Hutchins.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov has more of the investigation in Santa Fe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These maybe the last image of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins alive on set with Alec Baldwin while filming the movie "Rust." Posted on social media by a crew member. Filming now halted indefinitely according to a letter from the production team obtained by CNN as chilling details emerged about what may have happened in the hours leading to the fatal shooting.

UNKNOWN: Two people have been accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.

KAFANOV: One of the actors on "Rust," Ian Hudson opening up about frightening moments on set.

IAN HUDSON, ACTOR: When the rounds were released when they shot at me, I actually did feel the blanks hitting my face and my body. And I could feel the wind from the shotgun, you know, being discharged. It was heavy. It was strong. I would talk to my fellow cast members afterwards. And we all agreed how intense that was and how scary and real it was.

KAFANOV: This, as The Wrap citing a source with knowledge of the set reporting that hours before the cinematographer was killed some crew members used guns with live ammunition for target practice to pass the time.

SHARON WAXMAN, FOUNDER & CEO, THE WRAP: There is this past time that crew member sometimes do what's called plinking and they go out into rural areas and they shoot at beer cans, this is with live ammunition.

KAFANOV: CNN has not been able to confirm the report. In a statement, the producers of "Rust" said they were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set and will be conducting an internal review of procedures while production it shut down.

According to the report, one of the guns used was later handed to actor Alec Baldwin who is rehearsing for a scene. Court documents obtained by CNN show ammunition was found on the set and seized by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's office. Authorities seized three revolvers, nine spent shell casings, ammo, and 14 swabs of suspected blood.

Court documents don't reveal the type of ammunition whether it was live or blanks. According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Dave Halls, the assistant director of the film, grab one of three prop guns that were prepared by the films armorer, Hannah Gutierrez.

BILL DAVIS, ARMORER, FIREARM TRAINER FOR FIELD & TV: Live ammo has no place on a motion picture or television studio set. It has no place on a set anywhere at any time.

KAFANOV: Neither Halls nor Gutierrez responded to a CNN request for comment. A veteran prop master tells the L.A. Times he turned down a job on the movie "Rust" saying the film was an accident waiting to happen. Neal Zoromski speaking to NBC News this morning. NEAL ZOROMSKI, PROP MASTER WHO TURNED DOWN JOB ON RUST: I turned the job opportunity down on "Rust" because I felt it was completely unsafe. I pressed upon them that there were great concerns about that and they really -- didn't respond to my concerns about that.

KAFANOV: Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


CHURCH (on camera): Time for short break, but still to come, Joe Biden heads to Europe this week and he is hoping to have some new plans for fighting climate change to share with world leaders.

Plus, flash flooding in southern Italy turns some roads into rivers. We are back in just a moment.




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S. President, Joe Biden, leaves tomorrow to meet with G20 leaders in Rome before heading to the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. And he's hoping to have the details of his legislative climate plan in place when he arrives.

Democrats in Congress are trying to hammer out an agreement on a larger social safety net bill and sources say the climate portion of loan could total over $500 billion. The president has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is also important to note that we have made a significant amount of progress and we are almost there and that the president is on the verge. We are all on the verge of passing a bill that is the largest investment in addressing the climate crisis in history. And of course, global leaders take note of that too.


CHURCH: The COP26 Summit begins this weekend with the first meeting of world leaders in Glasgow on Monday. Meanwhile, a new U.N. report finds climate pledges from almost every country fall far short of what's needed. The U.N. Emissions Gap report says updated pledges will cut emissions by only an additional 7.5 percent by 2030, but a much greater cut of 55 percent is needed to meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Sticking to current targets would warm the planet by almost twice that.


INGER ANDERSEN, EXECUTVE DIRECTOR, U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME: The point is that we know what we need to do. (Inaudible) 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.


CHURCH: Queen Elizabeth will not be greeting world leaders in person at COP26. Buckingham Palace says she will record a video message instead. Her majesty met virtually on Tuesday with Swiss and Korean ambassadors. The palace says she is following doctor's advice to rest nearly a week after she was admitted to hospital for preliminary investigations.

Well, right now, some areas of Southern Italy are under extreme threat of additional flooding. These dramatic images show cars submerged in water as flash floods engulfed the city at Catania, in Sicily on Tuesday. A government officials calls the situation very critical.

So, let's bring in CNN contributor, Barbie Nadeau in Rome and meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, who joins us here in Atlanta. Good to see you both.

Barbie, let's start with you. So, what is the latest on the flooding in Southern Italy?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Well, they are really trying to clean up the mess right now. There are going, you know, building to building to make sure no one is trapped inside.


Many of these businesses are completely inundated with water. All the schools are closed in the city of Catania. The businesses are closed today. The central area of town is completely without electricity. And you can them, those images, people were just taken by surprise, overwhelmed by this incredible amount of water and moisture that came down.

And that they are expecting to have a little bit more rain later on today. Now, they've confirmed one deaths so far. A man who was swept away in his car. There are at least two missing people, we are being told from authorities. But they are really just trying to clean up the mess right now before the next inundation of water comes. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Alright. Barbie Nadeau, many thanks to you. Pedram, let's get the latest on the forecast. More flash flooding, of course, expected in Southern Italy. What are you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. You know, at least, the next two to three days, Rosemary, the storm system unfortunately is really not going to go anywhere anytime soon. Very slow-moving, persistent pattern here that has been in place. And the system in question right now is kind of part of an area where we are drawing in humid air, we are drawing in plenty of moisture, a lot of gusty winds, north of this area as well, as much as 70 plus kilometers per hour. And a lot of the storm resemble what we call a medicane, and you'll

hear this as we -- as referred to this at least, once or twice per year. The storms typically between the months of September to January. You can take on characteristics that are tropical in nature but these storms are cooled court.

Remember the (inaudible) tropical system, they are warm chord, because the warm water they interact with. Waters across this region, especially this time of year certainly not that warm. But still, exhibiting some of these characteristics with very strong winds and of course, on satellite imagery, looking very impressive as well.

And look at the rainfall totals. Almost tropical in nature, right, 400 -- 500 millimeters. These are 48 hour observations across eastern area of Sicily, into Calabria, just to the north. You notice in Catania in particular, 580 millimeters is what an average year brings. And forecast models here, you bring in as much as 100 to 200 millimeters on top of the several hundred that has come down.

So, essentially, some parts of town certainly could see about a year's worth of rainfall within this week. Now climatologically speaking, when you go into September, October, and November, this is the wet season, but even then, 50 or 60 millimeters what you expect this time of year, certainly not several hundred in a matter of a few days.

Forecast, looks such from Wednesday into Friday, you'll notice 60 to about 100 percent chance here over the next several days that will keep the conditions unsettled around the region. And again, Rosemary, it's that pesky nature of the storm system that just remains put.

The steering environment is such that we are not seeing much movement until at least Friday or Saturday. Do those gusty winds are going to be felt as well along this region, along with all the powerful rain that's instore over the next couple of days. That's a story certainly worth following into the weekend.

CHURCH: Most definitely is. And we appreciate you keeping a very close eye on that. Pedram Javaheri, many thanks.

Well, still to come, social media executives were grilled on Tuesday on online safety for children. Some of the big takeaways from that Senate hearing. That's next.



CHURCH: On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of Senators grilled executives from YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat on the safety concerns the young people using this platforms. The executive said, their company are already significant steps to protect children, but admitted there is more work to be done.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan reports.


Snapchat and YouTube, in the hot seats on Capitol Hill.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Why do you need all of this personal data especially on our children?

O'SULLIVAN: The platform's questions about how kids use social media, how they are 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 kid's 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 at ages 13 and up as you certified.

JENNIFER PARK STOUT, V.P. OF GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY, SNAPCHAT: Absolutely and Senator, I think this is an area where we are constantly evolving. And if there are any instances where these publishers are surfacing content to and age cohort that is appropriate, then they will be removed.

O'SULLIVAN: One big message, we are not Facebook.

PARK STOUT: Snapchat is different. Snapchat was built as an antidote to social media.

MICHAEL BECKERMAN, V.P. AND HEAD OF PUBLIC POLICY, TIKTOK: Our leadership makes safety and wellness a priority, particularly to protect teens on the platform.

O'SULLIVAN: The lawmakers warning the executive just because they are 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 hasn't 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

specific 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 claimed they've done to stop illegal drug sales.

PARK STOUT: We have stepped up and we have deployed proactive detention measures to get in ahead of what the drug dealers are doing. They're constantly evading our tactics, not just on Snapchat but on every platform.

O'SULLIVAN: With Senator Amy Klobuchar suggesting there 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 to 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. Some lawmakers ask what the social media sites effects on teenagers, including mental health, especially eating disorders.

BLUMENTHAL: And in fact the algorithm, pushed emotional and provocative content, toxic content, that amplifies depression, anger, hate, anxiety, because those emotions attract and hook kids and others to their platforms.

LESLIE MILLER, V.P. OF 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: 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. Yes, because Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, documents from her are continuing to be released in news rooms all around the world and we will keep you updated as that continues to happen.

Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And another big issue revealed by the Facebook papers is the company's inability to address hate speech and misinformation in non- English languages. Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, provided documents showing violent post and false information slipped through the cracks in some countries as there weren't enough staff to monitor it.


And the few employees, the teams did have, weren't familiar enough with many international languages.

CNN has correspondents in India and Kenya, following this story. First to Vedika Sud, in New Delhi.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): India's Facebook single largest market by audience size, it has more than 400 million users across its various platforms. According to lead documents which are part of disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and provided to Congress unredacted form by Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen's legal counsel, researchers flag that the company system has failed to control hate speech, misinformation, and fake news in India.

A consortium of 17 U.S. news organizations including CNN, has reviewed the redacted versions received by Congress. So, how does Facebook control and pull down harmful content? One that relies on a combination of artificial intelligence and human reviewers.

Artificial intelligence portals are train to detect and remove contents such as hate speech, using sample words or phrases known as classifiers. This requires an understanding of local languages. According to an internal presentation by the researches, the lack of Hindi and Bengali classifiers, which are the two most popular languages in India lead to harmful content going unchecked.

India is a country of 1.3 billion people and 22 official languages. According to Facebook spokesperson, the company added hate speech classifiers for the Hindi language in the year 2018, and for Bengali in the year 2020.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.



LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): I'm Larry Madowo in Nairobi. The Facebook papers shows that Facebook knew that its social network was potentially being used to cite people to violence in Ethiopia and it did not do enough to stop it. Ethiopia has been in conflict in the north of the country since November last year in Tigray, where thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Facebook is widely used in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation and yet, Facebook did not have tools to detect hate or misinformation in two of the most widely spoken languages there, Afar, Oromo, and Amharic. The social network denies that.

A spokesperson told CNN, its (inaudible) Ethiopia, in more local language speakers to detect and flag any offensive content, also in Somali and Tigrinya, which is spoken in the north. But activists have also accused the social network of not doing enough to protect human rights, and this is not just in Ethiopia but in many other languages spoken widely in Africa. Swahili, for instance, which has tens of millions of speakers. Facebook does not say, how many people speak those languages and how much is invested to try and remove that content?


CHURCH: A U.N. official says, the world's two richest men could make a major impact on ending global hunger. The Director of the World Food Programme is calling on Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to offer up just a fraction of their net worth to help solve the crisis.


DAVID BEASLEY, DIRECTOR, U.N. WORLD'S FOOD PROGRAMME: The billionaires need to step up now on a onetime basis, $6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally are going to die if we don't reach them. It's not complicated. And this is what is heartbreaking. I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year. We have a onetime crisis, a perfect storm of conflict, climate change, and COVID. It is a onetime phenomenon.


CHURCH: A World Food Programme report found half of Afghanistan's population, nearly 23 million people face an acute hunger crisis, and more than 5 million people need food in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

Well, from Europe to the U.S., a major crackdown on dark web drug dealers. Details on the global operation and the underground market.



CHURCH: European and U.S. authorities say, they have busted a darknet opioid trafficking ring and made 150 arrests. Operation Dark Hunter netted more than $30 million in cash in virtual currencies, as well as dozens of weapons and some 230 kilograms of drugs like fentanyl, met, and ecstasy. The sweep targeted vendors, buyers, and sellers who peddled killer pills which a counterfeits lays with deadly drugs.


LISA MONACO, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: In the United States alone, this operation seized over 200,000 pills, 90 percent of which were found to contain counterfeit opioids or other narcotics. O put this in perspective, just two milligrams of fentanyl, a size so small it could fit on the tip of a pen, that's considered a deadly dose.


CHURCH: Europol and U.S law enforcement agencies made the bulk of the arrest in Germany, Britain and the United States.

James Trusty, is the former chief of the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Gangs Section. He joins me now from Maryland. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, as reported, 150 people have been arrested accused of participating in international darknet opioid trafficking. And in that same law enforcement operation, weapons, drugs, and more than $31 million in cash in virtual currencies were also seized. That is a significant haul and operation. So, how difficult would it have been to nab these internet drug traffickers?

TRUSTY: Well, it's very difficult. I mean, this really is kind of the wave of the future. You know darknet based criminal activity, the darknet is designed for anonymous behavior and anonymous communications, and it's a tough nut to crack. And it looks like in this case, you've got multiple countries and multiple districts within the U.S. Attorney Offices in the United States that came together and pulled off a pretty big takedown.

CHURCH: You mention those multiple countries, I mean, how do you coordinate an operation like this and keep it quiet so that you can eventually make arrests and seizures on this magnitude?

TRUSTY: It's very difficult. I mean, I certainly have experience with that at DOJ. And it's not really just about kind of a territorial behavior by different prosecutors, it's really a practical issue. You know, every criminal justice system is on a different timeline with different procedural restraint and timings.

And so that makes it really challenging to coordinate the timing of takedowns, but also the point beyond. You know, when it comes to dealing with discovery issues, with sharing information, it might be exculpatory for a defendants halfway around the world.

So, the challenge is big for the takedown, but it's a real ongoing difficult dance to master all of the evidence across all these different countries and present independent cases wherever you are.

CHURCH: And you mentioned that this was the way of the future. So how much harder is it to deal with internet crime, and how much more challenging is it compared to what happens on the streets?

TRUSTY: I mean, I think the fundamental part is that, you know, there is a big difference between identifying a human being committing a crime, and recognizing a screen name. And that's what this, you know, dark network relies on is essentially screen names and validating each other as legitimate customers, but not face to face communications, or face to face context.

So, one of the big challenges for law enforcement across the world in this case is putting an identity to the screen name. And the U.S. cases looking at the indictment. A good number of them involve -- either controlled deliveries of drug packages, where they'd show up at that screen name's house, and be able to identify them by him taking possession of the drugs, or by using undercover's. You know, tipping somebody into the network and allowing for

undercover operations where you could have those face to face communications over those concessions that I, Joe defendant, I'm also screen name X. It's a big challenge. It's sounds easy, but it's actually pretty fundamentally difficult when you're crossing country lines and dealing with cybercrime.


CHURCH: In a way though, with internet crime, is it a little easier to go undercover in those sorts of operations for a while, at least, where a face isn't necessarily required?

TRUSTY: Yeah, but it's a real cat and mouse. You know, when you are dealing with these dark web platforms, they don't just let strangers show up and start talking to them about buying fentanyl or something else. They tend to have a hierarchy, an organization that requires some validation for that new person that shows up on the website.

So, I don't want to make it sound like it is too easy to crack cyber based crime, because they are pretty smart kids that are on the other end of the line.

CHURCH: And so what controls and procedures need to be put in place to make it perhaps easier for law enforcement to catch these internet criminals or is that not possible, do you think?

TRUSTY: You know, I think that's going to be a real challenge. I mean, you are always balancing privacy interest, but here you have got international players that are using an automized (ph) network. It's very difficult. You have to do what they did in this case, you have to get cooperation from the home countries, and hope that that kind of tips the scales where you can infiltrate and identify the people that are taking administrative roles within these dark web sites.

CHURCH: James Trusty, thank you so much for talking with, we appreciated it.

TRUSTY: A pleasure.

CHURCH: Actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda can add another (inaudible) to his long list of accolades. Saving a piece of American theater history. On Tuesday, Miranda joined New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio in celebrating the reopening of the Drama Bookshop. A New York theater staple more than 100 years old. Miranda is one of the store's new owners, and was honored with a proclamation for efforts to restore the shop, and bring the arts back to New York. Miranda says, the shop has always held personal meaning for him.


LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT: When I could not afford Broadway tickets, I would sit on the floor of the Drama Bookshop and read the Librettos and listen to the scores. I welcome you to utilize the space as a resource to gather and to dream.


CHURCH: The Hamilton Playwright says he feels safe on Broadway after the show reopened during the pandemic, Miranda said he will never take theater for granted ever again.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues now with Isa Soares.