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Biden And Xi Hold Critical Talks Amid Rising Tensions; New Sanctions On Belarus As Migrant Situation Worsens; France & Germany Caution Moscow Over Military Moves; Belarusian President Denies Creating Border Crisis; Worldwide Demonstrations In Support Of Cuban Activists; Judicial Panel: Killing Of Unarmed Protesters Was A Massacre; Counter-Terrorism Officers Investigating Deadly Blast. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, you're watching CNN Newsroom. Coming up this hour, soaring tensions, low expectations, as the Presidents of China and the U.S. hold their first face-to-face virtual side. With Russian troops massing on Ukraine's border, Paris and Berlin pledged unwavering support for Kiev, and warned the Kremlin of serious consequences for any further escalation. Doctors taken off COVID duty to treat scorpion stings of the hospitals in Egypt were flooded with hundreds of patients attacked by the fat-tailed scorpion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: In the lead up to the summit, expectations were so low. The fact that leaders of the United States and China were even talking was seen as a win. And from the outset, the public remarks were friendly and civil. Xi Jinping referred to Joe Biden as old friend, even though the U.S. president had earlier made it clear he was not. Instead, Mr. Biden talked about the dire need to avoid conflict, and both men agreed better communication was essential.

This first face-to-face virtual meeting ended more than an hour ago. They talked for almost three and a half hours. A readout from the White House says Biden raised human rights concerns over Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. He also stressed the need for freedom of navigation and trade in the Indo-Pacific. And then there's Taiwan.

Sources said it would be a top priority for Xi Jinping at this summit. The White House says Biden told the Chinese leader, U.S. is still committed to the One-China policy. But Washington opposes changes to the status quo and the tensions in the Taiwan Strait. For his part, Chinese state media report that Xi said sensitive issues need to be managed in a constructive way to avoid relations falling out of control.

Well, for the very latest CNN's 0:02:19 is live this hour in Hong Kong. They talked about a lot. What did they actually achieve?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they did talk about a lot in a very long-awaited highly anticipated meeting at the very highest level between these two world leaders. It comes during a time of high tension and high hope that somehow this would write the ship that this would stabilize a rocky relationship and improve the tone of the U.S.- China relationship. We have received details from the White House about what went down during this meeting. U.S. President Joe Biden did express his concerns over human rights as well as unfair trade practices.

He also did reaffirm America's commitment to a One-China policy. We have also received and been translating a very lengthy statement published by Xinghua, its reaction to this virtual summit that just wrapped over an hour ago and in it the state renews agency of China says that, "We hope that Mr. President Biden will exert political leadership and bring U.S. policy towards China back to a rational and pragmatic track."

At the start of this virtual summit, which kicked off a few hours ago, we heard from the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who reiterated his call for mutual respect, for peaceful coexistence for both sides to be able to achieve a sort of win-win cooperation. We also heard from President Joe Biden who reiterated his call for the need and the importance to manage this very intense rivalry and competition with guardrails in order to avoid any misunderstanding or conflict.

Look, no deliverables, concrete deliverables were expected or apparently achieved. But it did achieve one thing. I want you to listen to this from Paul Hanley.


PAUL HAENLE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NSC CHINA DIRECTOR: In the near term, it can certainly help to reduce risks in the relationship, uncertainties in the relationship, put the relationship on more stable footing. We have to keep in mind, however, that the sort of the long- term structural challenges between the U.S. and China have really yet to be addressed. This could be the start of a process for that to happen.


LU STOUT: As you heard there from Paul Haenle, this is a start of a process. There could be areas of cooperation going forward between U.S. and China, but there still exists some deep structural challenges to the relationship. John?

VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout following all the very latest developments there at that summit live for us in Hong Kong. We'll stick with the story a little longer.

Go live to Washington. Jonathan Ward is with us once again. He's the founder of the Atlas Organization which advises governments and business on U.S.-China competition. He is also the author of "China's Vision of Victory." Welcome back. JONATHAN WARD, FOUNDER, ATLAS ORGANIZATION: Hi, John. Thank you.

VAUSE: OK, so last hour, we talked a lot about Taiwan, but there are a lot of issues here which I did discuss, and there seems to be a common thread no matter what that issue is and it's redefining what this relationship is especially in light of China's military build-up and what many countries would describe as a growing threat from Beijing, which would explain in many reasons why this summit went for almost three and a half hours, which was a lot longer than expected.


WARD: Yes. So, I mean, I think you're right to bring up the military build-up here. I mean, the basic problem that I think we're facing, and this is a challenge, not just for the United States, but for the whole of Asia, and more broadly, for the whole world is the conversion of China's economic ascendancy into military power. And the fact that Beijing has a series of territorial disputes in its region, and also is building, you know, force structure that it will enable it to project power around the world. So that's, I think, a key concern for many countries.

Also, China's partnership with Russia, I mean, really at this point, talking about two countries coming together to probe the sort of, you know, test the limits of American power in both Europe and Asia. So this is a challenge the United States in a very large way. Beijing's economic ascendancy is now really underpinning this challenge to the U.S. led order as a whole into the world's democracies.

So we're going to see geopolitical changes on a scale that we haven't seen really, in my opinion, since the early Cold War. So to have a summit like this, to have this meeting, I think is an effort to establish some kind of dialogue, but at the same time, the underlying issues are absolutely, you know, of an enormous magnitude.

VAUSE: Xi Jinping, in his opening remarks, talked about this need to work together on common issues like climate change, and the global pandemic. Then he added this. Listen to Xi Jinping, here he is.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translation): China and the United States should respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation. I stand ready to work with you, Mr. President, to build consensus.


VAUSE: Yet respect for each other is usually Chinese Diplo talk from -- but out of our internal affairs. Taiwan human rights abuses in Xinjiang, right?

WARD: Well, that's right, John. I mean, this is sort of the old diplomatic language win-win peaceful coexistence. I mean, these are the ways that Beijing has tried to sort of, in a sense, pull the wool over the eyes of the United States. And that was, I think, you know, reaped a lot of rewards for them over the past couple of decades. I mean, they -- their technological ascendancy, their industrial power, I mean, all of this comes through engagement with the West.

But the issue now is that the United States, I think, has really begun to see the light on this issue, and certainly in national security, certainly across the U.S. government, in the U.S. Congress. You know, there remains a different view of China in the U.S. business community, I mean, that I think it has to be worked out over time, so that our business leaders have a more realistic understanding of the challenge that China presents.

But I think Beijing's old diplomacy of win-win is really from a bygone era. I mean, the engagement eras is really, I think, over at this point.

VAUSE: When China's granted to special status and entry into the World Trade Organization, there was this belief that, yes, this economic development, those changes would end up changing China. Instead, China's end up changing the world.

WARD: Yes. I mean, this is something that I think many people look on -- look back on and think why did we do this? I mean, this came after we saw the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square, I mean, soon you had permanent normal trading relationship. And, you know, most favored nation status, and then ultimately, the WTO entry. And the changes that that created in the global economy, I think, in my view, are ones that need to be addressed now.

I mean, this is the underlying competition for power between China and the United States is very much about economic capability, the ability to turn economic might into military power has always been, you know, one of the main, you know, elements of major power competition, and we're going to really have an upcoming battle for the world economy. Whether or not the world economy remains essentially, the preponderance of it remains in the hands of the U.S., in our allies and democratic states or whether or not China succeeds at certain strategies, like dual circulation made in China 2025, or the Belt and Road.

I mean, this will determine the shape not only of the economy, but ultimately of the power structure of the world. So, America, you know, has to get busy on that subject. And we have to do that with our allies from Europe to Asia and beyond. Beijing already has strategies to achieve a long-term outcome on that basis. And it's us that need to get in the game.

VAUSE: With the saying that the Chinese play chess, the Americans play checkers. We'll see what happens. Jonathan Ward, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate your insights.


VAUSE: Well, a raft of new sanctions have been approved by the European Union to punish Belarus for officials have called the weaponizing of migrants. Details will be released in the coming days but Belarusian officials are suing airline even the airport in Minsk will reportedly be targeted. Part of an attempt to stop Belarus funnelling thousands of migrants mostly from the Middle East onto Europe's doorstep.

Right now, thousands of people remain stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. As CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, Poland is standing firm, refusing entry to all of them.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The standoff at Poland's border with Belarus is intensifying. Poland's government saying it has thwarted hundreds of attempts by migrants to force their way into the E.U. Poland says the migrants moves are controlled by Belarusian security forces.

Text and voice messages obtained by CNN from a migrant inside the camp, provide more evidence to bolster those accusations. "The Belarusian forces are forcing us to try and break the barrier and are directly threatening the youth. We are afraid to tell them anything that pressures us," the text says. And goes on, "The checkpoint must be stormed. We are looking for a way not to listen to them."

Later we also receive this video from the same person. "We young people are sitting here. We don't know what they're going to do to us. They are forcing us to cross the border or something else we don't know," he says.

The government of Belarusian strong man, Alexander Lukashenko, has consistently denied instigating and fanning the border crisis. But Polish authorities have released videos that they claim shows Belarusian forces breaking down parts of the border fence and using strobe lights and laser pointers to impede the work of Polish troops trying to prevent breaches.

The spokeswoman for Poland's Border Force tells me their forces are on constant high alert.

KATARZYNA ZDANOWICZ, POLISH BORDER GUARD SPOKESWOMAN (through translation): We have observed that it is mainly groups of young men that are trying to force it because of the border and the Belarusian services are assisting them by giving them equipment to cut through the fence and giving them tear gas which is used against our border guards.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The E.U. and NATO accused Belarus of weaponizing the plight of migrants to destabilize the region. Poland has put up a barbed wire fence deployed around 15,000 border guards, police officers and soldiers to fortify the border.

(on-camera): Poland has created several large military bases here in the border region with Belarus. The Polish government says it is not going to back down in the situation. They also say they could deploy even more forces to this region if the crisis continues.

(voice-over): Very few migrants make it across into the E.U. Some end up in this shelter in the town of Bialystok. Harreth (ph) from Iraq who asked us to hide his face and only use his first name says he was beaten by Belarusian security forces on the trek to the border. "It was a daily disturbance," he says. "If you said you couldn't get up or that you were sick, they would grab us and beat us with sticks until we fell and couldn't get up again."

The Belarusian government insists it has handled this crisis in line with international law and instead accuses Poland of a heavy-handed approach. As both sides dig in, with hundreds of migrants caught in the middle.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kuznica, Poland.


VAUSE: Tensions are also high on the border between Russia and Ukraine. Western leaders are warning Moscow about their military build-up in the area. France and Germany are urging Russia to be transparent, say any attempt to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity will have serious consequences. NATO Secretary General also warning allies to be realistic about potential aggression from Russia.

Jill Dougherty is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent. It's good to see you. It's been a while.


VAUSE: OK. Now well, France and Germany, they're warning of serious consequences for any breach of Ukraine's sovereignty by Moscow. The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson added that support for Ukraine, though, will not come without cost areas.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I hope that others may recognize, other European countries may recognize that a choice is shortly coming between mainlining evermore Russian hydrocarbons in giant new pipelines, or sticking up for Ukraine and championing the cause of peace and stability.


VAUSE: So in other words, you got Russian gas on the one hand, and Ukraine sovereignty on the other. If European nations have to make that calculation, how long will their resolve last?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, it really is complicated, because don't forget, you have the energy equation right now in the context of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline agreement with Germany and Russia. Then you have the build-up on the border with the United States and the West say is a major build-up of Russian forces along the border with Ukraine. And then you have Belarus.

So a lot of people are kind of joining these issues, and it has become very convoluted. But you can definitely say that there is an enormous and very loud chorus coming from the United States, Europe and basically the West in general, warning Russia, don't do anything with Ukraine do not invade. Russia at the same time saying, "Don't worry, we have no intention. And how dare you say that anyway?"


VAUSE: Yes, and saying, pinpointing to NATO troop movements in recent days and weeks, as you know, sort of look what you're up to. But this Russian troop build-up has been seen by some maybe as a diversion from this ongoing immigration crisis with Belarus, funnelling thousands of migrants illegally into the E.U. And on Monday, the E.U. announced that there has -- there was an agreement among Member States on a new round of sanctions on Belarus. Listen to this.


JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: By expanding the scope of the sanctions, we will be able to target those responsible for exploiting vulnerable migrants and for facilitating illegal border crossing into the E.U.


VAUSE: So let's make this a little more complicated. If this list of which is expected include officials from Belarus, Syrian airline and possibly the airport at Minsk, but if they were really targeting those responsible, then why not sanction Vladimir Putin, who has been accused by a number of NATO countries as being the mastermind of this migrant crisis?

DOUGHERTY: Because not everybody agrees with that. I mean, let's look at this situation kind of backup. Europe has dealt with migration problems for a long time, what 1.3 million people coming in 2015. There aren't that many on the border right now, the situation is terrible. But technically, there aren't that many. So why is it different this time?

Because the West is saying this is really the weaponization of migration by Lukashenko. But Russia and Belarus have an odd relationship sometimes. And you saw a certain dissonance just the other day when Lukashenko said, if this doesn't sound (ph), we're going to cut off natural gas from Russia to Europe, which goes through Belarus right now. And Vladimir Putin said, I don't think that is a very good idea.

So it's murky, and Russia is playing, excuse me, at this point, a very, I'd say, deliberately unclear role, denying that it's doing anything really bad, but not really explaining what it is doing in these circumstances.

VAUSE: That's interesting, too, because, you know, there's this perception that Lukashenko serves at the pleasure of the Kremlin in many ways. And what we're hearing, though, is that many of the migrants who are now trapped in this sort of no man's land on the, you know, the Polish-Belarusian border, we know that from the Middle East, and then from countries like Iraq, and it's how this whole scheme has been working a legit (ph) scheme. I want you to listen to the Iraqi foreign minister talking to CNN. Here he is.


FUAD HUSSEIN, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: Belarus is using these immigrants as a political tool against European Union and European countries. We cannot forbid our people to travel abroad. So they are free. And that this is according to our Constitution. But when they are right there in Minsk, we feel that there are some organizations there, and they are organized for them to get them to the border.


VAUSE: Yes. It also sort of makes -- rips a little for exposes, you know, the absurdity of any denials coming from Lukashenko that he's actually behind this crisis.

DOUGHERTY: Absolutely. And, you know, John, it gets even more complicated, because you can say, in a way, if it's not that many people, why don't you just let them into Poland? I know this is a gross exaggeration. But in a way, it feels like it could be a manageable situation. But you have Poland now, vigorously defending its borders, and asking the E.U. and NATO and all of the West to support it, and it is getting that support.

So, Poland right now is very glad to get the support from Europe by standing up as they would argue for Europe and protecting Europe from these invaders. So there is a -- there's a lot of signaling, there's a lot of posturing, and there's a lot of finger-pointing.

VAUSE: And there's a lot of really murky confusion out there as to where this will end up and where those all going. But we'll find out and we will find out along the way with you. Jill, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

DOUGHERTY: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: U.S. State Department has condemned Russia's anti-satellite test is reckless and dangerous. It says it threatens the interests of all nations. Moscow flight (ph) a missile, it's one of its own satellites over the weekend. The U.S. says the test created hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris.


Crew members on board the International Space Station had to take shelter in their adapt (ph) capsules for several hours just as a precaution.


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: This test will significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as to other human spaceflight activities. Russia's dangerous and irresponsible behavior jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of outer space, and clearly demonstrates that Russia's claims of opposing the weaponization of space are disingenuous and hypocritical.


VAUSE: Russia's space agency downplayed any danger to the International Space Station tweeting it's now the Green Zone. We'll take a short break. When we come back, raising the terrorism threat level in the U.K. after a deadly explosion at the hospital. The latest on the Liverpool blast, that's up next.

Plus, a rallying cry silence. The communist regime in Cuba putting an end to opposition protests before they even began.



(Speaking Foreign Language)


VAUSE: Around the world, signs of solidarity for anti-government protesters in Cuba. From these demonstrators in Madrid to Miami's Little Havana neighbourhood where crowds weighed the Cuban flag and criticized Cuba's communist leaders. But in Cuba itself, where they plan for weeks, maybe even months to stage nationwide anti-government protests, there was nothing.

The protest is running cry was quickly silence with dozens of activists saying they'll be located in their homes by government supporters. Some were even arrested. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more now reporting in from Havana.

PATRICK OPPMANN CNN CORRESPONDENT: The island wide protests that Cuban activists had called for appeared not to come about on Monday as Cuba sent a massive number of police into the streets to prevent those protests from taking place. Activists had hoped that Cubans would take to the streets by the thousands as they did in the spontaneous rolling protests in July.

But this time around, the Cuban government had the advantage of today, had been warned that the activists had first tried to actually get permission to carry out of these protests. And that allowed the Cuban government to prepare to lock up some of those opposition activists to send their supporters out in the streets, keep those activists from actually being able to leave their homes and arrest and threaten many of the people in the dissident community who were expected or who said they would take the street.

There were other people on Facebook who posted their support for the protest, but it was, by and large, very few people actually risked arrest understandably by going out in the street and demanding change all the same. Even though the Cuban government is breathing a sigh of relief right now, activists say they'll continue pushing that this is not the end that they will continue what they say is their long fight for change and for their ability to have basic liberties in Cuba.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


VAUSE: More than a year after Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters and the findings from a judicial panel, but blunt, it was a massacre, followed by an attempted government cover up. October last year in Lagos, protesters had gathered angered by police brutality, though mostly young, the demonstration peaceful, but then the military opened fire.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has details on the findings.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been much anticipated and much delayed. But finally after over a year, the report by the panel of inquiry into the events that Lekki toll gate in Lagos in October of last year has finally been released. And the report makes for grim reading. Its key findings are that the protesters who gathered at Lekki toll gate to give voice to their frustration at what they claimed was police brutality, harassment, and kidnapping, in addition to hostility, that the protesters were largely the report found peaceful.

They also found that there was no reason for the army to be deployed to Lekki toll gate. In addition, the 309 page report found evidence of cover up by authorities that soldiers and other officers at the scene had removed bullets and bodies. One particularly heartbreaking piece of testimony came from a protester who spoke of being shot and thrown in a van with other bodies presumed to be dead. She said she counted 11 bodies in the van, another witness counted seven bodies being taken into the van corroborating the first witness's testimony.

In addition to that, they also said that there was an attempt to cover up by Nigerian authorities that the authorities had tampered with CCTV footage. Much of what was in this 309 page report tallied with what CNN had found in our investigation at the time. In fact, CNN was cited 37 times in the report. Nigerian authorities accused CNN of misinformation, fake news and of using doctored videos in our reporting.

But in this report by the eight person Commission of Inquiry set up by Lagos state government, the finger is actually pointed at Nigerian authorities accusing them not only of a cover up, but of cleaning up the scene and taking away key evidence. So what now, many of those who survived that night tell us that they haven't even seen this report. But the general sentiment was that they are really concerned, they're worried that the recommendations of this reporting sanctioning of those from the armed forces and the police were present at Lekki and apology to those victims and survivors of that horrible night at Lekki toll gate.

An investigation by the government into how this all unfolded, all of that puts too much back in the hands of the very government that spent much of the last year, obfuscating, denying and obstructing this very inquiry. CNN has reached out to Nigerian authorities for comment, and has not yet received a reply to our request.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

VAUSE: The U.K. has raised a terrorism threat level to severe after a deadly explosion outside a hospital in Liverpool. CNN has a plane surveillance video from the scene of Sunday's blast and a warning it is disturbing to watch. CNN's Scott McLean has our report.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a hospital where thousands of babies are born each year, they're used to emergency deliveries, but not this kind. A taxi delivering a passenger just 10 minutes after he was picked up, exploded Sunday morning outside the Liverpool Women's Hospital. Even more stunning is that the driver somehow manages to stumble out of the vehicle. He was injured but less than 24 hours later, he's already been released from the hospital.

The suspect who police identified as 32-year-old, Emad Al Swealmeen died in the vehicle as it quickly burst into flames. Police say he brought a homemade explosive device into the cab. Authorities believe it was an act of terror.

RUSS JACKSON, ASST. CHIEF CONSTABLE, COUNTER TERRORISM NORTHWEST ENGLAND: Now our assumption so far is that it was built by the passenger in the taxi. The reason why he then took it to the Women's Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The bomb detonated moments before 11:00 a.m. when a Remembrance Day moment silence was held at the Liverpool Cathedral less than a mile away


JACKSON: We cannot at this time draw any connection with this, but it is a line of inquiry which we are pursuing.

MCLEAN: In the hours that followed, four arrests were made, all men in their 20s, at a property where Al Swealmeen lived a mile north of the hospital. All four were out arrested under the British Terrorism Act which allows police to arrest suspected terrorists without a warrant.

Police also searched the Victorian home, Al Swealmeen had been picked up from. Police say he had rented it recently. Significant items were found there, something police found was destroyed in a controlled explosion in a park nearby.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is a stark reminder of the need for us all to remain utterly vigilant.

MCLEAN (on camera): The U.K.'s Domestic Intelligence Service raised the national terror alert level to severe, meaning a further attack is very likely.

The Prime Minister also held an emergency meeting of his security chief. This is the second terror attack on British soil in just the past month, after a British MP was killed in October.

Scott McLean, CNN -- Liverpool.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's a simple calculation -- more infections equals more restrictions. When we come back, across Europe, tough new measures are coming back to slow the spread of the latest outbreak of the coronavirus. And in some places, that means entry denied for the unvaccinated.

Those details, all after a very short break. You're watching CNN.


VAUSE: Welcome back, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

We have the latest on the virtual summit between the U.S. and Chinese presidents. A senior Biden administration official says Joe Biden and Xi Jinping had a healthy debate in talks that lasted close to three and a half hours, much longer than planned.

A readout from the White House says Biden raised human rights concerns over Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong and stressed the need for freedom of navigation and trade in the Indo-Pacific.

Ahead of the summit, Chinese officials made it known, Taiwan would be their top priority. And on that, President Biden said the U.S. remains committed to the One-China policy. And Xi reportedly said sensitive issues need to be managed in a constructive way. Meantime, officials in Taiwan say they have been promised a full briefing by the U.S.

For more on that, CNN's Will Ripley is live this hour in Taipei, Taiwan. So is that the usual sort of how these things play out, and the U.S. tells Taiwan everything that happened?


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. At least according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Taipei. The standard operating procedure after a summit like this is for the United States at a ministerial level to give a briefing about what has been discussed, and you know, specifically how that pertains to the very complicated relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, and the U.S. and China because this he self governing island, which China has claimed as its own territory for more than 70 years often finds itself kind of caught in the middle of however the political winds are blowing between Washington and Beijing.

So certainly there's a lot of interest here John, in Taipei as to what was said, and what it's going to mean for the future of U.S.-Taiwan relations, and also of course for the escalating cross-strait tensions that they say -- the foreign minister here set at their highest level in 40 years.

VAUSE: Will thank you. Will Ripley, live for us there in Taipei. We appreciate the update. Thank you.

Well, Biden and Xi have met several times beginning when both were vice presidents. In 2011, Biden spent several days in China, met with Xi in Beijing and at an irrigation system near Chengdu.

When Xi visited the United States, the vice presidents met in Washington at a school near -- and a school near Los Angeles. By 2013, Xi had become president when Biden traveled to China for talks in Beijing.

Two years after that Biden and Xi met again in Washington, on Xi's first state visit with the Chinese president.

Tougher restrictions are being reintroduced in some countries where COVID cases are on the rise. In the United States infections in children, up 22 percent over the last 2 weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Child cases now account for more than a quarter of all new U.S. infections.

And in the coming hours, the German state of the Bavaria will ban all unvaccinated from restaurants, hotels, other public spaces. The various minister presidents says it's the last step before the situation becomes completely uncontrollable.

Germany is now seeing a record rate of new infections with more than 300 cases reported for every 100,000 people. And it's not just Bavaria that is singling out the unvaccinated. Other governments are trying similar measures, as the public patience wears thin.

More now from CNN Salma Abdelaziz.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A traditional Christmas market in Austria. But, this year, in order to wander through these holiday stalls, visitors must first show that they are fully vaccinated.

Austria, like a growing number of countries with surges of new COVID- 19 cases, is getting tougher on the unvaccinated. It recently ordered a temporary new lockdown that only applies to those who have not followed government advice and received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Police have been stopping vehicles to check for COVID-19 certificates. Though people under the age of 12 or those who have recently recovered from the virus are exempt.

Critics say the new rules will be hard to enforce. Under the targeted restrictions, the unvaccinated can only leave their homes for specific reasons, like going to, or shopping for essential supplies. People are divided over the policy.

MARTIN GOGEL, SALZBURG RESIDENT (through translator): I would say, it would be difficult to control. You cannot differentiate between people that way. It creates two classes in society. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think it is right. It

would be nice to put an end to this. And scientists and data shows that this is possible through the vaccine.

ABDELAZIZ: Imposing consequences on the unvaccinated is gaining momentum especially in places where health care systems are strained with record numbers of coronavirus patients and, where vaccination rates have stalled.

The German state of Bavaria, rolled out new restrictions, banning the unvaccinated from restaurants, and hotel, starting Tuesday. The Russian government is considering legislation that would make health passes mandatory to access bars and restaurants.

A proposed bill is before parliament, that would require people to prove that they have been inoculated, recovered from the virus, or have medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated before entering these public spaces.

Singapore announced last week, it will stop paying medical bills for COVID-19 patients if they are unvaccinated by choice. A move that many Singaporeans support.

WESLEY TEO, SINGAPORE NATIONAL SERVICEMAN: It's billions of people, you know, billions of people have been taken in. I think, you know, it's about -- it's about time now that people started realizing, ok, you know what, this isn't that bad.

ABDELAZIZ: Patience, wearing thin, as the virus keeps coming back. With some governments deciding there should be a price to pay for not getting vaccinated.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: Health care workers in Greece staged protests on Monday, under the surge of COVID patients they say they're overworked, underpaid, understaffed. They want better wages and more staff after mandatory vaccinations for health care workers earlier this year led to many leaving their positions. The government has asked private doctors to volunteer in hospitals as a way of helping out.


VAUSE: A Maori tribe in New Zealand says anti-vaccine protesters should not be performing the haka as a way to spread their message. The protesters have been performing the war dance, which is often done before the all blacks play an international rugby matches.

But on Monday, the tribe which owns the rights to the haka called for the protesters to stop using it immediately saying they do not want their tribe associated with that message of anti-vaccines.

A Chinese tennis star accused a former top government official of sexual misconduct and has not been seen since. When we come back, reaction from tennis authorities, and also from the world's men's number one.


VAUSE: At least eight people have been arrested in India after a 16- year-old girl said she was forced into sex work, raped hundreds of times.

CNN's Vedika Sud joins us now live from New Delhi.

This keeps happening. What are the details?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Well John, at the very outset, I want to mention that the details of this incident are extremely disturbing. We are talking about a 16-year-old girl in the western state of Maharashtra in India who has recorded a statement with the Child Welfare Committee. In that statement, she has alleged that she was raped by at least 400 people.

Now, we spoke with an official from the Child Welfare Committee, and he said to us that the girl probably doesn't know how many people raped her and how many times, but he is certain that she can identify at least 25 people, alleged perpetrators of the crime.

After speaking to local police officials and the representatives of the Child Welfare Committee, here is what we know.

The girl was married when she was only 13 to a 33-year-old man. That itself is punishable by law here in India. And she has gone on to claim to the local police that she was sexually abused by the man who she married.

She left his house, and then started living at a bus stand where three men forced her into sex work, and again allegedly raped her.

And now we do know that this case is being investigated by the local police. In her statement to the Child Welfare Committee, she has also allege that two police officials also sexually assaulted her while she initially went to complain about the crimes that were taking place against her.

Now John, we do know of the 2012 gang rape case, that not only shook India but the world. Gruesome details if you remember of a student who was gang raped in India's capital, after which there were huge legal reforms made to the Indian laws, anti-rape laws in particular.

And, because of that, one would expect the laws to act as a detriment, when it comes to rape crimes against women. But, according to the latest data by the Indian government, a rape is reported every 17 minutes in India.


SUD: Now, we are hoping that if the details of this case are true, and the case goes to fast-track court soon enough, the perpetrators of this crime are caught in time.

But the biggest challenge, of course, will be getting all of them punished by the law, John.

VAUSE: Vedika, thank you. Vedika Sud there from New Delhi.

In the coming hours a jury in Wisconsin will begin deliberations in the case of a teenager charged with fatally shooting two men, wounding another during a politically charged protest against police brutality last year.

Kyle Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all counts including intentional homicide. The prosecution says he was an armed vigilante. He instigated the shootings during the Kenosha protests.

But, his lawyers have argued, he fired in self-defense.

Here is more now from the prosecution.


THOMAS BINGER, ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN: And I've got to stop here, for a moment and highlight the hypocrisy of the defense. Because, according to the defense, if someone has a gun, they are a threat. If someone points a gun, they are a threat. There's only one exception to that, the defendant.

By their logic, he gets to run around with the gun all night. But, oh, we're not supposed to take him as a threat. He gets to point the gun at everyone. But oh, we are supposed to take him as a threat. No, it doesn't work that way.

The same set of rules apply to the defendant as everybody else. There is no exception to the law for Kyle Rittenhouse.


VAUSE: 12 people from the jury pool of 18, will be randomly selected and then decide Rittenhouse fate.

The governing bodies of women's and men's tennis are expressing concern over the fate of a former doubles champion. Earlier this month, Peng Shuai used her Weibo account to accuse a retired Chinese vice premier of sexual assault. Her post was quickly removed. She's been out of the public eye ever since.

Tennis authorities have issued statements saying they want a fall and fair investigation into Peng's allegations and say she deserves to be heard not censored.

Men's world's number one, Novak Djokovic, also weighing in.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, PRO-TENNIS PLAYER: Honestly it's shocking, you know, that she is missing. I mean more, that it is someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times. So I mean, there's not much more to say, then hope that she will be found, and that, you know, that she is okay. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: According to Peng, Zhang Gaoli, a former member of China's Politburo Standing Committee, pressured her into having sex. She admitted, she had no evidence. CNN has not been able to reach Peng or Zhang for comment.

We will take a short break. When we come back, unrelenting rain causing a lot of flooding in the Pacific Northwest. Details on the situation, along the U.S.-Canada border, that is next.

And the field is now set for next year's presidential election in the Philippines. A former prize fighter, nickname Pac-Man says he's ready to KO the old political elite.


MANNY PACQUIAO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: It's like boxing, Ivan. I have a lot of competitors and, you know, we fight inside the ring. But outside of the ring, we are friends.



VAUSE: After spending six months in a notorious Myanmar prison, American journalist Danny Fenster is now on his way back to the United States.

He was arrested back in May, one of dozens of journalist detained in Myanmar since February's military coup.


VAUSE: Last week he was sentenced to 11 years in prison on trumped-up charges. His release was negotiated by former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson and they arrived in Qatar, Monday night on their way back to the U.S.

Fenster says he is feeling good, despite his ordeal.


DANNY FENSTER, JOURNALIST DETAINED IN MYANMAR: I'm feeling all right physically. It's just the same things privations and things that come with any form of incarceration.

You just go a little stir crazy. The longer it drags on, the more worried you are that it's just never going to end.

So, that was the biggest concern. Just staying sane through that.


VAUSE: We are expecting to hear a lot more from Danny when he arrives in the U.S. in the coming hours. And we're glad he's released. Right up to the filing deadline, voters in the Philippines were kept guessing about who would be running in next year's election. Among the prominent political name a much love sporting icon who might just be their biggest challenger yet.

Ivan Watson has details.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A professional boxer, the son of a notorious dictator, and a city mayor who once starred in steamy movies -- just three of the many candidates currently running for president in upcoming elections in the Philippines.

JAMES JIMENEZ, COMELEC SPOKESPERSON: So, 97 aspirants for the position of president.

RICHARD HEYDARIAN, PHILIPPINES POLITICAL ANALYST: This looks like a circus. But in fact even worse than a circus. This looks like a chaotic race.

WATSON: Perhaps the most famous in this crowded field, Manny Pacquiao, a senator and recently retired world boxing champion.

(on camera): Which politician presents the most competition for you?

PACQUIAO: It's like boxing, Ivan. I have a lot of competitors and, you know, we fight inside the ring. But outside the ring, we are friends.


WATSON: The unpredictable political landscape in the Philippines, shaken by last-minute announcements from the family of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.

He is constitutionally barred from running for a second presidential term. His daughter, Sarah, filed for candidacy for vice president.

Briefly, the elder Duterte threatened to also run for the same job, until he backtracked from competing against his daughter, instead announcing a last-minute bid to become senator.

The election doesn't take place until May of 2022 but in this political system the stakes couldn't be higher.

HEYDARIAN: Let's not forget in the Philippines, we have no run-off (ph) elections. All you have to do to become the president is to win more votes than everyone else.

WATSON: A front-runner in the current polls, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. His father declared martial law, ruling the Philippines with a terrible human rights record, until a popular uprising ousted him in 1986. His mother, Imelda, is still famous for her shoes.

HEYDARIAN: The Philippine political landscape has been dominated by two groups, right since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship -- political dynasties, celebrities. And for a while, the celebrities presented themselves as kind of a self-made alternatives to political dynasties.

WATSON: One critic of political dynasties, boxer turned politician, Manny Pacquiao.

PACQUIAO: That's my promise to the people, to the Philippine people, to end poverty, to end corruption.

WATSON: He calls corruption a cancer in society.

PACQUIAO: All those corrupt officials should be jailed.

WATSON: Pacquiao has been in a public brawl with Duterte, criticizing his administration's handling of the COVID pandemic. And he accuses the Marcos family of stealing money during their decades in power.

(on camera): If you are president, would you try to get some of that money back for the people of the Philippines, from the Marcos family?

PACQUIAO. That is definitely -- I will.

WATSON: The veteran boxer, preparing for the fight of his life, in his country's political arena.

Ivan Watson, CNN.


VAUSE: Severe flooding impact the U.S. Canada border in the Pacific Northwest. Evacuation orders in place in parts of British Columbia and Washington state.

In Canada, the entire town of Merritt, population 7,000 has been ordered to evacuate. South of the border in Washington state, streets are submerged as thousands of households are without power. Hundreds of people have been displaced, north of Seattle.

Let's get the very latest now from CNN meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri. This is what -- the time of year when this flooding happens or is this unusual. What's the deal?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This is -- it is the wettest time of year, right down here in November typically we see the most rainfall. But what we're seeing take place here with these atmospheric river patterns essentially a concentrated band of moisture directed across this region of the pacific northwest.

Of course, an area that has been very drought stricken in recent years, and had significant wildfire activity in recent months. You put this together with excessive rainfall, very little vegetation left here to absorb a lot of the moisture in some of these areas that we're seeing significant flooding take place as a result.

[01:54:49] But again, tremendous volumes of water coming down, just in the last couple of weeks. Now in advance of these graphics, we're going to show you exactly how things have played out here because when you look at these atmospheric river patterns, in parts of the western United States, we see about 10 to maybe 15 percent of our annual rainfall come out here from this region of -- just from these storms alone.

But the maps and motion here kind of show you that moisture that is directed towards this region. That's about two miles above the Pacific Ocean, but transports as vapor, about 20 times the water that the Mississippi River can transporters liquid. That is what atmospheric rivers essentially are. So this moisture source has been abundant, directing as much as 20 centimeters, where about 8 inches of rainfall, across parts of the Pacific Northwest, in a matter of just days.

In fact, look at Neah Bay, that's where the northwestern corner of Washington state record since 1977 -- new record set for both the 24 hour and the 48 hour amount of rainfall. 12 centimeters, in about 20 centimeters, respectively. Which is about 5 to 8 inches that has come down in the last couple of days across this region.

So all of this really points to a very concerning set up here when it comes to what has happened in recent days. And we do expect that additional rainfall to continue over the next several days around the Pacific Northwest, forecasting across this region of the western United States. Keep one system, after another, coming in.

And John, upwards of 150,000 plus customers, without powering in the area as well. We've had some wind gusts, above Hurricane Forbes. So it has been a very, very wild winter because late autumn technically, across the western United States.

VAUSE: Imagine, you have reported on a lot of downpours, a lot of thunderstorms, and their aftermath, right, in your career?

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Have you ever reported on one that -- not just a thunderstorm and flash flooding, but then, deadly scorpions as well? Because that's what happened in the Egypt in the city of Aswan.

More than more than 500 people, actually stung here.

You know, this is in the city of ASWAN, right? Look at that. So, apparently, so many people were stung, they were rushed off to be given these anti-venom injections and doctors, actually were relieved for a time from COVID duty. So they could take care of those who are stung. And by these fat tailed scorpions. Look at that, Pedram?

JAVAHERI: I have heard of stories like that, I've certainly not reported on one. So, it's the first we've been here reporting it on with you on.

VAUSE: Well, I'm glad I could get -- a first of you, thank you. See you tomorrow.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm John Vause.

Rosemary Church is up next. See you tomorrow.