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Two Explosions Rock Uganda's Capital; New COVID Cases In Kids Up 22 Percent; Countries Imposing Consequences On The Unvaccinated; Hard-Hit European Nations Consider New Rules Amid Surge; COVID Workers In China Kill Dog; Military Crackdown In Myanmar; American Journalist Danny Fenster Freed; New Sanctions On Belarus As Migrant Situation Worsens; Extreme Weather Along U.S.-Canada Border. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, jury deliberations start this morning in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Their job made harder after dramatic closing statements and confusing instructions from the judge.

Amid soaring tensions, the U.S. And Chinese presidents met for more than three hours in a high-stakes virtual summit. With so many complicated issues on the table, we'll tell you if they were able to break any ground.

Plus, Donald Trump's onetime top adviser appears in court for stonewalling Congress. But will this make Steve Bannon talk? We'll take a look.

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

CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. Just hours from now, a jury in Wisconsin will begin deliberating the fate of a teenager accused of fatally shooting two men and wounding another during protests last year. Five hundred National Guard troops are on standby outside Kenosha as the high-profile trial starts to wind down.

Kyle Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to all counts against him, including intentional homicide.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has been following the trial and has more now from Kenosha.


THOMAS BINGER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, KENOSHA COUNTY: In this entire sequence of events from the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020, all the way after that, everything this community went through, the only person who shot and killed anyone was the defendant.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After about two weeks, the prosecution and the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse had one last chance to leave an impression on the jury.

BINGER: You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create.

JIMENEZ: At one point during closing arguments, the prosecution even demonstrates the moment where they say Rittenhouse pointed his weapon prior to the fateful chase that ended in the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum, even pointing out that in the aftermath, people believed Rittenhouse could have been an active shooter and that the crowd had a right to defend itself that night.

BINGER: How are we supposed to know where he's going next? And I 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're a threat. If someone points a gun, they're a threat. There's only one exception to that -- the defendant.

By their logic, he gets to run around with a gun all night, but we're not supposed to take him as a threat. Doesn't work that way. There's no exception in the law for Kyle Rittenhouse.

MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Garbage. Just like his case.

JIMENEZ: The defense doubled down on its argument this was self- defense.

RICHARDS: The state wants to call my client an active shooter. Kyle was not an active shooter. That is a buzzword that the state wants to latch onto because it excuses the actions of that mob. He runs two blocks from 63rd to 61st, scene two, without firing his weapon.

JIMENEZ: Attorney Mark Richards argued Rittenhouse did what he did because he had to, especially in regards to Joseph Rosenbaum, the first of the two killed that night.

RICHARDS: Kyle shot Joseph Rosenbaum to stop a threat to his person, and I'm glad he shot him because if Joseph Rosenbaum had got that gun, I don't for a minute believe he wouldn't have used it against somebody else. He was irrational and crazy. My client didn't shoot at anyone until he was chased and cornered.

JIMENEZ: But during rebuttal, the prosecution argued there were plenty of steps Rittenhouse could have taken before shooting Rosenbaum.

JAMES KRAUS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN: No one is saying that Mr. Rosenbaum should have chased Mr. Rittenhouse. No one is saying that Mr. Rittenhouse did not have a right to defend himself. This case is about the right to use deadly force. Hit him, kick him, knee him, anything else. And Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Rittenhouse are alive.

JIMENEZ: In total, Rittenhouse faced six charges until the misdemeanor of a minor in possession of a weapon was dismissed early in the day over the gun not being long enough under Wisconsin statutes to be considered illegal in the hands of a minor.


But Rittenhouse still faces five felony charges, all of which he pleaded not guilty to, the most serious comes from the shooting and killing of Anthony Huber, second of two people killed that night. Rittenhouse faces first degree intentional homicide, but the lesser offenses of second-degree intentional homicide or first-degree reckless homicide could also be considered.

Those offenses could be considered if the jury is not satisfied of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the original charge. In regard to the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz who survived after being shot, Rittenhouse is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon, the judge said the jury could consider the lesser offenses of attempted second degree intentional homicide and first degree recklessly endangering safety.

On top of those two charges, he also faces two counts of recklessly endangering safety tied to the shootings either at or near two people who were not killed and first-degree reckless homicide for the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum. The jurors now get to decide the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse over a year after he killed two people and wounded a third.

BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WISCONSIN: Members of the jury, the time has now come when the great burden of reaching a just, fair, and conscientious decision in this case will be placed totally with you jurors.

JIMENEZ: Omar Jimenez, CNN, Kenosha, Wisconsin.


CHURCH (on camera): Areva Martin is a CNN legal analyst and the author of "Make it Rain." She joins me now from Los Angeles. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So jury deliberations begin in just a few hours from now in the Rittenhouse trial after the defense and prosecution wrapped up their closing arguments. The prosecution saying Rittenhouse went looking for trouble in Kenosha last year, the defense saying he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed two men and wounded another. What's your assessment of those two very different arguments?

MARTIN: Well, I think the prosecution did a really effective job. They introduced this concept that Kyle Rittenhouse was this active shooter, and that term, active shooter, is used typically in like mall shootings or these mass shootings that occur on school campuses.

So, I think by painting him as an active shooter, it really gave the jurors a visual of someone who was, you know, going from location to location, firing this weapon in a reckless way and wreaking havoc on this entire event that was going on, this protest.

So, I think the prosecutor was extremely effective in that narrative because their narrative is he was the provoker. He was the provocateur, that he set in motion everything that happened that night, that Kyle Rittenhouse, because he was walking around with that AR-15 rifle, because he left the location of that auto supply store, and because he pointed his rifle at Mr. Rosenbaum, that's why he ended up killing two people and wounding a third person.

But then we heard a very different story, Rosemary, on the side of the defense, who says, no, that he was acting out of fear for his life and that his conduct was reasonable and proportional. So, the jurors are going to have a lot to think about.

CHURCH: So how difficult do you think it will be for the jury to fairly assess what to do and what would you expect the outcome to be, especially considering the judge dismissed the sixth charge of illegal gun possession?

MARTIN: Yes, you know, a lot of pundits are scratching their heads as to why the judge dismissed it so late in the trial. It definitely could convey to the jurors that the prosecution overcharged the defendant, and they had to dismiss one of the charges. And there was also, you know, the thought that that charge, the misdemeanor gun charge, although it only carries up to a year in jail, might have been a compromise for those that couldn't decide if there really was self- defense in this case.

I think, you know, Wisconsin has this very different self-defense law. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that Kyle Rittenhouse didn't act in self-defense, and there were some holes quite frankly in the prosecution's case. Some of its own witnesses were actually corroborating witnesses for Kyle Rittenhouse's narrative.

But the big picture, when you look at the big picture, here's a 17- year-old who is in illegal possession of a weapon. He crossed the state line. He inserts himself into a volatile protest. He says he's there to provide medical care even though he has no medical training. He says he's there to protect the building, the owners of the building didn't invite him there to protect the building.

And then he goes out into the street and he's with this very intimidating weapon that's strapped to his body and there's evidence that he did point that rifle at Mr. Rosenbaum. So the provocation jury instruction that was given to the jurors is really important for the prosecution.

I think the case for the prosecution has been made, but, you know, Rosemary, jurors are very hard to predict, particularly in a trial that's been as contentious as this one, and that involves issues, I think, where we see this country polarized.


Those that are in favor of open carry laws and gun laws see Kyle Rittenhouse as a hero. Those that disfavor the number of guns that are in the street think that this is the perfect case to send a strong message about public safety.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean so divided. And Areva, I wanted to mention this because the judge has received a lot of attention for his outbursts directed at the prosecution and questionable comments, including a racist remark. What did you make of his behavior, and what impact could it have potentially on the outcome?

MARTIN: I thought his behavior on many occasions was just reprehensible. He inserted himself, Rosemary, into this trial in a way that a judge should never do. He made himself the center of attention which took away or undermined some of the attention that should have been placed on the facts and on the law and on the parties of this case.

And that's not the role of a judge. You know, the comment that he made, the urgent -- Asian racial slur, again, completely inappropriate. And he also did something that could have, you know, swayed the jurors.

He singlehandedly -- or he called out one of the witnesses for the defense because he was a veteran, acknowledged his service to the country, and then actually clapped for him in open court.

Again, that kind of conduct is not appropriate for a judge, and jurors are watching everything. They're watching the judge. They're watching the lawyers. And they're getting their signals from the judge, and the judge should be a neutral, a neutral arbiter, should not be someone that comes off as biased for either side. So I think the judge's conduct, you know, was textbook on what a judge shouldn't do.

CHURCH: Areva Martin, thank you so much. I appreciate your analysis.

MARTIN: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Monday turned into a long day for U.S. President Joe Biden. He started out the week signing a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill. And hours later, he held his first summit with the head of the world's second largest economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It was a largely closed event, and from what we saw, things looked cordial. But according to the Chinese, there was some tough talk on Taiwan. And according to the foreign ministry, Mr. Xi said Taiwan's desire for U.S. support is driving tensions. And after record Chinese military activity near the island, China's president warned whoever plays with fire will get burned.

CNN is covering this story from around the world. Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang is live in the Chinese capital. And international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us live from London.

Good to see you both.

So, Steven, what's China saying about what came out of this virtual meeting between the two presidents? STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, just a little

while ago, state media actually quoted a senior Chinese official who is in attendance of this virtual meeting, a vice minister of foreign affairs is saying there were two important points of consensus out of this summit.

One is that both sides agreed this relationship is extremely important and, two, neither side is seeking to have cold war. So, the fact that those very basic and minimal agreements can be potentially cause for celebration is really a reflection of how bad things had become, which was why even before this meeting began, a lot of people said the whole point of this virtual summit was to put a floor on this free fall in this relationship, which obviously began long before Mr. Biden took the White House.

But after he became president, his decision to keep most of his predecessor's harsh China policies and measures as well as him talking about, you know, building this coalition of willing especially with likeminded democracies to counter a rising an increasingly aggressive China.

Obviously, it did not sit well with Xi Jinping and his government. So, the fact that those men who did have a history of personal as support of one rapport in the past were able to have some face time was considered a positive step, and this obviously allows the two governments to keep communication channels open at the very top to avoid any misjudgments, strategic miscalculation that would obviously cause harm not only to bilateral relations but even global peace and prosperity.

Now, at the end of the day, the two leaders very much stuck to their respective governments' talking points on a whole range of issues. But they did have a candid discussion on all of those sensitive issues from trade disputes to human rights, and, as we mentioned, Taiwan.

But on that front, for example, the Chinese in their readout said Mr. Biden pledged to stick to the U.S. government's official one China policy, but they did not say Mr. Biden said that policy is very much guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, which obligates the U.S. government to provide Taiwan with weaponry to defend itself. And the White House very much highlighting Mr. Biden's remarks about not wanting to see any unilateral change in the status quo.


So it is very much a he said/he said situation, but the fact the two men are talking and hopefully re-establishing some sort of personal rapport is going to be important.

And the best -- the best result out of this, the most concrete result, if you will, is probably both governments now agreeing to set up or resume dialogue between lower ranking officials to have discussions and talks again on a series of concrete issues. And given how low the bar is or was before the meeting to judge improvement in this relationship, Rosemary, that is indeed progress. Rosemary? CHURCH: Thanks for that. And Nic, with such low expectations of any

concrete outcomes from this meeting, what is the best that can be achieved from this new dialogue, or is it just that -- dialogue?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it's the guardrails that President Biden talked about, as if those lower level officials can establish because it seems that President Biden does want to establish a mechanism or a conversation to make sure that there is no -- as President Xi sort of framed it, you know, coming off track in the relationship over the tensions over Taiwan, particularly when, you know, both nations have military either aircraft or, you know, ships, battleships in that area, in numbers, at times. That can be misinterpreted.

So, I think, you know, if over time we see an emergence of a common dialogue between lower-level officials that emerges into something that can, you know, potentially provide -- you know, I use the expression hotline because hotline is often used between capitals to reduce tensions and make that quick phone call if something is about to be misinterpreted.

If the tensions in sort of military terms on the ground continue to ramp up, then having that sort of diplomatic track, the guardrails as President Biden is talking about, if that's established, that's something there.

I think, you know, one of the -- one of the sort of, standout comments that we've heard quoted to President Xi was describing, you know, when you have two vessels like the United States and China moving forward together against the wind, then neither ship should yaw, should stall.

So, the indication there is really that President Xi is framing both countries as equal but should maintain these parallel tracks and should not sort of cross into each other's lanes.

Again, this really sort of focuses down on Taiwan. What Steven is saying, absolutely correct there about these lower-level meetings that may generate the next level of conversation. But from an international perspective, from an international diplomatic perspective, the conversation was good to have had.

The fact that the conversation was necessary to have a bad -- represents a bad state of affairs and nothing has changed that we see overnight tonight that is -- that is actually really changed that dynamic. The potential is there, but nothing so far has changed.

CHURCH: All right. Nic Robertson, many thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Well, Donald Trump's former chief adviser, Steve Bannon, says he's going on the offense. More of his fiery reaction to contempt of Congress charges just ahead.

And U.S. President Joe Biden celebrates a major policy victory. We'll look at whether it's just what he needed to boost his sagging poll numbers. Back in just a moment. [03:20:00]


CHURCH (on camera): Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon will not be held in custody until his trial on contempt of Congress charges. Bannon made his first federal court appearance on Monday. He agreed to hand over his passport, check in weekly, and notify the court of any travel outside the jurisdiction. He'll be arraigned on Thursday. Outside the court, Bannon had some pointed comments for top Democrats.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden. Joe Biden ordered Merrick Garland to prosecute me from the White House lawn when he got off Marine One, and we're going to go, we're going to go on the offense. If the administrative state wants to take me on, bring it.


CHURCH (on camera): In a major legislative win for his administration and fulfilling a key campaign promise, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package into law on Monday. The legislation includes money for roads, bridges, trains and broadband among other things. And President Biden said it will also help ease supply chain issues.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The bipartisan law will modernize our ports, our airports, our freight rail, to make it easier for companies to get goods to market, reduce supply chain bottlenecks as we're experiencing now, and lower costs for you and your family.


CHURCH (on camera): So, let's discuss this further with CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Thanks so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So, at last, a win for president Biden after all the infighting, the low approval ratings, and high inflation. He can now tout his new infrastructure law. But will it be enough, do you think, to turn his fortunes around?

BROWNSTEIN: Necessary but not sufficient, right? I mean, clearly if this plan collapsed, if the Build Back Better plan, which is still awaiting congressional approval, collapsed, conditions would be worse for him politically.

But the history is that these kinds of big legislative wins -- and this is indeed a big legislative win that has the potential to affect the lives of many Americans, the Build Back Better plan even more so. Those kinds of legislative wins can help you in your re-election. It's really hard, though, to have legislative success in year one, translate into political success in year two.


After all, republicans lost seats in the House the year after Ronald Reagan passed his tax cuts in 1981. Democrats lost seats in the House the year after Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009.

What the president needs for his short-term political interest is an improvement in the conditions that Americans are worried about, primarily COVID and inflation. But this does lay down some important achievements that probably will be unfolding in a way that will be useful for him if he's running for re-election in 2024.

CHURCH: So, what's likely to happen next with Joe Biden's Build Back Better proposal? How are its prospects looking, and when will Americans find out how it actually impacts their lives.


CHURCH: Because at the moment when they're being polled, they don't see that it's going to make their lives any better.

BROWNSTEIN: Exactly. You know, the Democrats are in a situation very similar to the problem they faced in 2009 and 2010 when they were kind of caught in the legislative Vietnam of trying to pass the Affordable Care Act, which ultimately became very popular, but at the time, Americans did not see it directly connected to their concerns about the recovery from the financial crash of 2008.

And I think they do face the same challenge here where voters so far do not see a connection between their concerns about essentially returning to normalcy under COVID and also getting inflation under control and this agenda.

Now, the Build Back Better agenda does have a lot of programs in it that will relieve financial stress on average working families from allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs, to reducing child care expenses and health care subsidies, so there is a lot there if they can get it done.

And you know, that question kind of pivots on the same -- on the same dime that we've been kind of watching for months. What does Joe Manchin want, and what is he willing to accept? I don't think anybody in the Democratic Party has a full answer to that. They believe in the end he wants something to pass because he recognizes that failing to pass anything would be potentially catastrophic to the Biden presidency, and he doesn't want to be responsible for that.

But clearly, he has a very different vision of what this should be than essentially everyone else in the Democratic Party at this point, including even Kyrsten Sinema.

CHURCH: And meantime, of course, on the other side of the political spectrum, Trump ally Steve Bannon turned himself in to the FBI after a grand jury indicted him for contempt of Congress last week. He came out fighting, though, threatening to topple Joe Biden and make the charges against him, in his words, a misdemeanor from hell. How will this likely play out, and could the January 6th committee have handled this better perhaps?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I was just really struck by Bannon's arraignment and his language today, coming at the same time that President Biden was talking about the fruits of bipartisanship at the White House, you know, in unveiling this deal, which was, in fact, an agreement across party lines.

I think the Bannon language is more a reflection of what the default is on almost all questions in Washington, and really to me, the significance, it's not surprising that he would use this in a kind of agile proper way to try to rally the Trump base.

The more surprising and distressing dynamic is that so much of virtually the entire Republican Party in Congress has been willing to side with Trump and Bannon and the others trying to stiff-arm this committee, trying to downplay what happened on January 6th, kind of rewriting history.

And it suggests that there is a kind of bending to the knee that is still going on 11 months after the election to Trump and all sorts of, you know, challenges ahead in terms of the Republican willingness in Congress to stand up for fair and free elections.

It's just a pretty ominous sign if they are unwilling to support a congressional committee for no other reason than defending the institutional prerogative to compel testimony from those that they need to hear from. We are on a -- we are on a rocky and potentially dangerous road, and each day kind of takes us farther down that path.

CHURCH: All right. Ron Brownstein, thanks so much for your analysis. I appreciate it as always.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And still to come, as new COVID infections reach record levels in parts of Europe, some countries are laying down the law to keep the unvaccinated out of public spaces.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Breaking news out of Uganda, two explosions rocked the capital Kampala on Tuesday. The first happened around 10:00 a.m. local time near the central police station. The second blast went off less than 30 minutes later, near parliament.

And CNN's Larry Madowo, joins us now live from Nairobi, Kenya. So, Larry what more are you learning about these two blasts?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Rosemary, we don't know a whole lot about these explosions at this time, except that we have seen social media video and some eyewitnesses who claim there are bodies on the scene. We have seen police use sniffer dogs. We have seen some medical personnel remove some survivors from the scene of these two explosions and take them for further medical attention.

This area has been corded off according to eyewitnesses and local media reports. And at this time, police have not yet given a statement about the cause of this explosion. How many people are injured or how many casualties at this stage. They are still working to and a lot more of really what happened here.

But these two twin explosions in the center of Kampala. One at the center police station, very close to it. Another on Parliament Avenue, near a major insurance company which is now tweeting Jubilee Insurance that they can confirmed there were two explosions close to where their offices are, and their staff are accounted for.

This happened very close to the parliament of Uganda. And the parliament of Uganda had now said that they have canceled today session and advising members of parliament of Uganda not to report to the premises today. So still very little information at this stage.

But some quick background for you, Rosemary. Last month there were two other explosions in Kampala, one at a bar and another in a bus that was headed up country in another part of the country. And these two were blamed by police at the time on the rebel allied defense forces which is an affiliate of Islamic State.

CHURCH: Alright, we will, of course, continue this breaking news on those explosion. Those two explosions in the Ugandan capital. And we will bring those details as they come into us. Many thanks to Larry Madowo, joining us from Nairobi.


Well, COVID infections have risen more than 20 percent in U.S. children over the last two weeks according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And children now account for about a quarter of all new cases in the U.S.

In Europe some countries are imposing restrictive new measures on the unvaccinated to fight a recent surge of new cases. Starting today the German state of Bavaria is banning anyone who has not got the jab from restaurants, hotels, and other public spaces. The move comes just after one day after Austria imposed a lockdown on its unvaccinated residents, 12 and older.

For more on this we are joined by CNN's Salma Abdulaziz, joining us live from London. Good to see you, Salma. OK, so first Austria, now Germany the unvaccinated singled out for lockdowns in a move that perhaps could help motivate more people to get their shots. What is the latest on all of this and of course, reaction?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Well, Rosemary, let's start with the example of Austria. Because these are the toughest restrictions we have seen against unvaccinated people across the European region. There's about a vaccination rate of 65 percent in Austria that is a lot lower than what you see in most Western European countries.

And it was agreed in September by authorities that if the ICU capacity for COVID patients reach 30 percent in Austria then rules would be put in place against the unvaccinated. And that is exactly what happened. You are going to see please do spot checks to try to find out if people on the streets have their proof of vaccination or not.

But again, Austria is not the only country doing this. A lot of European countries now trying to beat back this rise in infections by targeting those that are not yet immunized. Take a look.


ABDELAZIZ (voice over): An additional 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 vaccines. 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 work, or shopping for essential supplies. People are divided over the policy.

MARTIN GOGEL, SALZBOURG 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.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I think it is right. It would be nice to put an end to all of 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 they have been inoculated or covered 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 Singaporean support. WESLEY TEO, SINGAPORE NATIONAL SERVICEMAN: It's been almost a year,

you know, billions of people and I think, you know, 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.


ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Now, Rosemary, you're hearing that debate again over the right of authorities to curb civil liberties depending on whether or not you are vaccinated. That debate over whether it creates two classes. But here's the bottom line, the World Health Organization says that Europe is the only region for two consecutive weeks now that has seen a rise in COVID cases.

And what authorities are trying to do is to find a way to live reasonably with the virus while still allowing the economy to resume, normal life to resume, and particularly now we are edging towards the holiday season. So rather than these nationwide lockdowns, we are going to see more and more authorities considering targeted restrictions towards the unvaccinated, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And I suspect the vaccinated will be cheering them on. Salma Abdelaziz, joining us live from London, many thanks.


Well, coming up. Major outrage on Chinese social media after COVID prevention workers killed a pet Corgi, whose owner was in quarantine. We're back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Well, now to a disturbing story out of China. COVID prevention workers caught on camera killing a quarantined woman's pet dog. The woman eventually tested negative. And the incident has sparked a massive outcry on Chinese social media.

CNN's Will Ripley, joins us live this hour from Taipei to talk more on this. So, Will, such a disturbing story. It's just heartbreaking. What is being said about this across China?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): And we do want to warn our viewers some of them might be very disturbed by the video that were going to show here in a few seconds. So, I just want to give you a heads up but we are showing it, we've made the decision to show it because this is important.

It is important because it speaks to the misinformation about COVID-19 and animals that appears to be rampant in some parts of the world including in China. And it speaks to the fact that even more than a year and a half into this pandemic, it's a kind of thing is still happening, and people and animals sometimes are suffering. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY (voice over): Even in China with some of the world's harshest pandemic protocols, what you are about to see crossed a line. Security footage from Southeast China Friday sparking outrage on Chinese social media, shared by a devastated dog owner. Some viewers may want to look away.

COVID prevention workers forced their way into a lock apartment. One with a plastic bag the other a crowbar. Did the leader say we need to settle it right on the spot one says?

Yes the other replies. Before taking a swing at the head of a small quirky cowering behind a table. The dog whimpers runs to another room and the workers off camera finish the job.


ASHLEY FRUNO, DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, PETA: Absolutely heartbreaking, shocking, and totally brutal.

RIPLEY: And in your view completely unnecessary.

FRUNO: There is no justifiable reason why this should ever be done to a companion animal.

RIPLEY: The dog owner in quarantine. No pets allowed. A handful of people in her building tested positive for COVID. She tested negative. Her dog was never tested. Some Chinese cities like Shanghai allow people to quarantine with their pets.

In many places, pet owners are forced to leave their animals behind. A local government statement confirms the Corgi was killed as part of a need to thoroughly disinfect homes in the area. The workers safely disposed of the dog, the statement says.

They apologized for failing to fully communicate with the owner. Both no longer on the job. CNN reached out to the dog owner and authorities, so far no response. Other pets have died in China's zero COVID crackdown including these cats in September, killed without their owner's consent. She was in the hospital with the virus.

FRUNO: There's no scientific evidence that dogs and cats can spread COVID to humans. There is a risk if an infected person were to touch or handle a cat or a dog but that would be exactly the same risk as if you were touching a doorknob after an infected person.

RIPLEY: Less than three months before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China accused of extreme measures to fight a fresh outbreak. Millions of people under mandatory lockdowns. Just over 1,300 reported cases nationwide.

Chinese authorities under tremendous pressure to eliminate the virus. Some call this a heartbreaking example of unchecked government power in the name of public health.


RIPLEY (on camera): And this woman who owned the dog doesn't have COVID. She tested negative. There were a few people in her building who tested positive. Everybody went into quarantine as a precaution. The dog was never tested. The health workers had no idea if the dog had COVID or not. This was simply what they did to try to disinfect.

Animal rights activists point out that disinfecting that apartment while keeping that dog alive would have been as simple as rinsing off the dog under hot water maybe with some shampoo. That would have eliminated the risk.

But Rosemary, people don't know. There's still so much fear out there about COVID and particularly in China where they have this zero COVID strategy. There is so much pressure on these local governments to eliminate the virus that some people at the local level have apparently given orders just get rid of everything, including this woman's dog as she was in a nearby quarantine hotel watching it all live on a webcam unable to do anything about it.

CHURCH: The consequences of fear and misinformation there. Such a brutal act as your guest said. Will Ripley, joining us live from Taipei, many thanks.

Well, the diplomatic pressure on Belarus is building with thousands of migrants looking for a way out of the standoff at the border with Poland. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: The military rulers in Myanmar have now charged Former State Counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, with election fraud. State media report she's one of 16 people facing that charge including the country's former president. A military appointed council says laws were violated during last year's elections. Suu Kyi and her party won a majority of seats in that vote before being ousted in a military coup.

Well after spending almost six months in a Myanmar prison, American journalist, Danny Fenster is on his way back to the United States. Fenster was arrested in May, one of dozens of media workers detained in Myanmar since February's military coup. He was sentenced last week to 11 years in prison on Trumped-up charges. His release was negotiated by former U.S. Diplomat, Bill Richardson.

The European Union is planning to impose new sanctions on Belarus as thousands of migrants remain stranded at the Poland/Belarus border. The German chancellor and French president made calls to the Belarusian and Russian leaders pushing for humanitarian aid and an end to the stand-off.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on the situation at the border.


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 received 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 strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, has consistently denied instigating and fanning the border crisis. But Polish authorities have released videos that they claimed 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 translator): We have observed that is mainly groups of young men that are trying to forcibly cross 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: 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.

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 this situation. They also say they could deploy even more forces to this region if the crisis continues.

Very few migrants make it across into the E.U. Some end up in this shelter in the town of Bialastar (ph). (Inaudible), from Iraq, who asked us to hide his face and only used 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, (Inaudible), Poland.


CHURCH: Now to severe flooding along the Canada/U.S. border. The entire Canadian town of Merritt, population 7,000 has been ordered to evacuate. And south of the border in Washington State, streets are submerged and thousands of households are without power. Hundreds of people have been displaced north of Seattle.

I want to thank you for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues now with Max Foster.