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Tensions Flare in Trial of Men Accused of Killing Arbery; Defense Teams Called for Mistrial Over Civil Rights Leaders; Violence Erupts at Poland-Belarus Border; American Journalist Released from Myanmar Jail; Two Explosions Rock Uganda's Capital; British Prime Minister: Fully Vaccinated Should Include Booster. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Now a jury is set to deliberate the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse. In the coming hours, 12 people from the jury pool of 18 will be randomly selected to decide the verdict. Do stay with CNN for coverage of the trial throughout the day.

President Biden will take a victory lap across the nation selling the benefits of his newly signed infrastructure bill. On Monday he signed his $1 trillion bipartisan legislation. Lawmakers will now shift their focus to passing the president's Build Back Better deal.

In the coming hours, the medical examiner will testify in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial. That's after the judge denied the motion but all three defense teams to declare a mistrial. They claim the presence of civil rights leaders might distract and influence the jury. Reverend Jesse Jackson sat with members of the Arbery family in court on Monday, which Arbery's mother called an honor. She also spoke about the gun used in her son's shooting.


WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: A lot of evidence finally got a chance to see the actual shotgun that killed my son. I often imagine how the firearm looked and I finally was able to see the actual weapon, so that was kind of hard to process. But I'm glad I was granted the opportunity the chance to see it.


FOSTER: CNN's Ryan Young has details on the trial and some testy exchanges in the courtroom.


TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF GEORGIA: And I will say that is directly in response to Mr. Gough, to statements you made, which I find reprehensible. RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The judge presiding over the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery ripping in to defense Attorney Kevin Gough today.

WALMSLEY: The Colonel Sanders statement you made last week, I would suggest, maybe something that has influenced what is going on here.

YOUNG (voice-over): Judge Timothy Walmsley reacting to statements like this one from Gough, who is representing William "Roddie" Bryan.

KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN: That's it. We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here or other Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family, trying to influence a jury in this case.

YOUNG (voice-over): That comment in response to Reverend Al Sharpton appearing in court Thursday, not Jesse Jackson.

YOUNG (voice-over): He did apologize, but then today --

GOUGH: We have always community leaders fearful that the city is going to burn down.

YOUNG (voice-over): This time, civil rights icon, Reverent Jesse Jackson, was in the room, and Gough again taking issue.

GOUGH: Which pastor is next? Is Raphael Warnock going to make -- be the next person appearing this afternoon? We don't know. Your honor, I would submit with all respect to Reverend Jesse Jackson that this is not different than bringing in police officers or uniformed prison guard in a small town where a young black man has been accused of assaulting a law enforcement police or corrections officer.

WALMSLEY: I'm done talking about this, Gough. I have heard the motion. I understand what your position is. And if it's simply just to point out that an individual is in the gallery, it has been done.

YOUNG (voice-over): All three defense attorneys asking for a mistrial.

GOUGH: I move for a mistrial.

WALMSLEY: Based on?

GOUGH: Based on the presence of people in the courtroom.

YOUNG (voice-over): Well, the judge is denying their request and Jackson isn't going anywhere.

JESSE JACKSON, BAPTIST MINISTER: I'm by people who are in need and whose backs against the wall. It's what we do. So, we are going to keep sitting with this family. It is a priority focus of ours now.

YOUNG: Look, the back and forth in this case have been ...


FOSTER: We want to take you to the Poland/Belarus border. Matthew Chance has breaking news for us -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has come to me right at the border between Belarus and Poland. I'm going to flip the camera around. Because some very dramatic scenes playing out as you can see. The migrants angry at their reception by the Polish authorities. Are being disallowed from getting into the European Union have reacted angrily.

They started throwing stones -- oh, my God, we're being blasted by water cannon from the Poland side. Tear gas as well. There are flash bangs going off. You can see a helicopter up there. (INAUDIBLE) advanced into this area across (INAUDIBLE) I should say to push back the protesters who are over here -- if I can show you over here -- in their makeshift camp near the border fence throwing stones and charging the barricades that are being manned by the Polish border authorities.


You can see some migrants there actually sort of throwing -- approaching the Poles and throwing stones as the water cannon there blasts out, ouch, what is acrid water, I have to say. It got in my eyes. To push the migrants back. So, a very dramatic situation here.

Of course, the migrants have been very sort of angry at the fact that they've been stuck in these camps for more than a week in freezing conditions, very little food, very little water. Yesterday they marched en masse onto the Polish border but have been refused entry by the Polish guards that stood (INAUDIBLE) this whole crisis is being manufactured by the Belarusian authorities. To put pressure -- excuse me. To put pressure on the European Union as punishment, as revenge for the economic sanctions that have been imposed against the Belarusian state for its human rights abuses.

But as you can see, there is no sign at this stage of the Polish authorities, the EU, of backing down and allowing migrants to (INAUDIBLE) this outburst, this boiling over of frustration into violence here on the Belarus/Poland (INAUDIBLE). So, I'm just wiping the -- as I just say, it's quite acrid water. I've got some here, I don't know what. But it's sort of stinging (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: OK, we're going to leave it there. Obviously, they're changing scene. Matthew needs to get sorted and get some attention there. We'll be back with him, of course, with any updates once it's safe to bring it to you.

American journalist, meanwhile, Danny Fenster is expected to speak publicly in the coming hours after being freed from a Myanmar prison. His release on Monday was negotiated by former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson. It comes just days after Fenster was sentenced to 11 years behind bars by military court. He was arrested back in May. One of dozens of media workers detained in Myanmar since February's coup.

For more we're joined by senior CNN international correspondent Ivan Watson in Hong Kong. He did come out a lot more quickly than everyone expected -- Ivan. IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He did. Because

it was Friday that Fenster was sentenced to 11 years in prison for three different charges and he had yet to be formally prosecuted for a much heftier potential charge of violating Myanmar's counterterrorism law which could have gotten him life behind bars. And then suddenly on Monday this announcement which was clearly brokered in part by the former new Mexico Governor and Ambassador Bill Richardson that Fenster would be released.

Now, he was first detained back at the end of May when he was trying to fly out of Myanmar back to his home state of Michigan. He was the managing editor of an online publication called "Frontier Myanmar." And he is just an example of more than 100 journalists that have been detained since the military staged a coup overthrowing a civilian- elected government on February 1st.

Now, when he touched down for his layover in Doha alongside Bill Richardson what look like a private plane, he did speak briefly to journalists. Take a listen to what Fenster had to say.


DANNY FENSTER, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: I'm feeling all right physical. It's just the same privations and things that come with any form of incarceration. You just go a little stir crazy. The long it drags, the more worried you are that it's just never going to end. So, that was the biggest concern, just staying sane through that.


WATSON: He said he wants to keep the focus on others who still remain behind bars. Meanwhile, I just want to point out the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken put out a tweet saying that he had spoken with the American journalist who he says is free from prison in Burma and on route to reunite with his family in the U.S. And he shared the very best wishes from all of us at the State Department and looks forward to welcoming him home.

A happy ending for a journalist -- for one journalist. The U.N. says there are still dozens languishing behind bars and it's effectively a crime under the current military regime in Myanmar to practice journalism in public. CNN, we know, of journalists who have gone into hiding or have even fled the country since the February 1st coup -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, absolutely, Ivan, need to keep the attention on those guys still stuck. Thank you.


Breaking news out of Uganda meanwhile. Two explosions rocked the capital of 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.

CNN's Larry Madowo joins us from Nairobi, Kenya. The early days in this, but what do we know?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, there is more we don't know than what we do know. So, let me talk to through what we know. Is that there were two explosions within 30 minutes of each other in the heart of Kampala in the Ugandan capital. One very close to a central police station, another on Parliament Avenue. In fact, the Ugandan Parliament was canceled today say to the MPs not to go to Parliament because the security forces have cordoned off that area, as a try to figure out exactly what happened here.

We have seen some social media video which showed -- appeared to show some bodies lying on the ground. There have been ambulances ferrying people who are injured from the scene to hostels around there. And that's as much as we know right now.

There's been nobody claiming responsibility for this attack as yet. We don't know if it's a bomb or some other kind of explosion at this stage. Police have not yet given a statement. They said they will be having a comprehensive update later on. Obviously, we'll have that more information at that stage.

But some important background, Max. A month ago, there were two other explosions in Kampala. One at a bar and another on a bus that ferried people to other parts of the country. And police at the time said they had arrested three people and blamed it on a terrorist attack that they blamed on the rebel allied defense forces. That is an ISIS affiliate that has been operating in Uganda for some time.

So, to be clear, we don't know who is responsible for what happened in Kampala today, we're still working to understand exactly what happened and waiting for authorities to tell us more.

FOSTER: OK, Larry, Madowo, thank you very much. We'll be back with you of course as soon as you do get those updates.

Now just ahead on CNN, the British Prime Minister pushes for every eligible person to get a COVID booster shot. Will it really happen? We'll discuss.



FOSTER: Growing cases of the coronavirus have some countries tightening restrictions once again, whilst others feel confident in loosening theirs. India has opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers for the first time in nearly 2 years. Those who aren't vaccinated must get tested upon arrival and quarantine for a week.

Meanwhile some countries in Europe are imposing restrictive new measures on the unvaccinated. Starting today the German state of Bavaria is banning anyone who hasn't got the vaccine from restaurants, hotels and other public spaces.

And here in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the definition of fully vaccinated needs to change to include a COVID booster shot but didn't clarify when that would be recognized.

Salma is with us with more on all of this. I mean, similar things happening in these countries in terms of numbers, but they have different strategies. It's going to be interesting to see which one works.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. Europe right now is the epicenter of a surge. The World Health Organization says this region and this region alone saw for two consecutive weeks now a rise in the number of cases and the number of deaths. So now you have all of these authorities scrambling to figure out how to curb the surge in cases. Here in the U.K., the British authorities have been clear. There is only one way forward for them, and that is booster shots and increasing vaccinations. I want you to take a listen to what the Prime Minister said.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's very clear that getting three jabs, getting your booster will become an important fact and it will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways. And we will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination to take account of that. And I think that is increasingly obvious. The booster massively increases your protection. It takes it right back up to over 90 percent. And as we can see from what's happening, the two jabs sadly do start to wane.


ABDELAZIZ: There is the interesting part there, right, Max. What constitutes a full vaccination? We are already showing our proof of vaccination everywhere. Are we going to begin showing proof of booster shots if you are eligible? That's the question. And it shows the insistence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's policy, which is, again, no more restrictions. Remember that promise, cautious but irreversible and we're edging towards the holiday season. And British authorities simply do not want to put social restrictions in place. You're going to see them really emphasizing the booster shots.

But I would have to say the U.K. is alone in pursuing this policy across Europe because other countries are looking at putting in social restrictions but targeting the unvaccinated. I'm going to give you the example of Austria. Starting Monday now those who are unvaccinated must stay at home except for essential reasons to go to the shops to get their basic foods, to go to work. Otherwise, they will be spot- checked by police to show that proof of vaccination. And that's a country again, Austria, where you only have 65 percent of people are vaccinated. So, authorities are saying, look, there's going to be a consequence if you don't get that shot -- Max.

FOSTER: Isn't that partly, though, to encourage vaccinations? Because the other argument is that, you know, the vaccinated can still transfer the virus.

ABDELAZIZ: It is absolutely partly to encourage more vaccinations, but is also to say, listen, this is not a decision you make alone. This is a decision that impacts society at large, and there will be consequence for the choices you make.

FOSTER: Salma, thank you very much indeed.

Now, rescue efforts are underway after severe rain and floods drench both sides of the U.S./Canada border. We'll have details on the deluge for you next.



FOSTER: Extreme weather in certain parts of the U.S./Canada border. In Washington state, streets are submerged and hundreds of people are being displaced. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 14 counties. And further north, hundreds of people trapped along a British Columbia highway, but they have now been rescued we're told. Powerful winds are also a worry. Look how it pushed over this semi- truck which is leaning dangerously against an overpass.

CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri tracking the extreme weather for us.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Max. Our friends across the Pacific Northwest dealing with an incredible storm system over the past several days. The scenes across Oak Harbor, Washington, as another classic atmospheric river pattern lines up across this region.

And we talk about these narrow bands of moisture situated about 2 miles above the Pacific Ocean. They transport about 20 times the liquid that the Mississippi River does, but they do so as vapor and, of course, as it moves over portions of the Northwest, we have clouds and cool, condense, and tremendous amounts of rainfall deposited across the region.

But you'll notice flood alerts widespread across the western half of Washington state. Portions of Interstate 5 having to be shut down as a result of this. And you'll notice 4 to 6 inches widespread again across Puget Sound and the northern half of Washington state. Neah Bay, it's in the northwestern corner of the state, previous records have been held since the 1970s, broken for not only a 24-hour observations, but even a 48-hour observations. Eight plus inches coming down in just a matter of a couple days.

Now some good news. The rainfall that's heaviest access of the moisture shifts a little farther towards the south and kind of gives Washington state a break. Parts of Oregon do get in some heavier rains there going into this weekend.

But the wind element also a story to note across the area with a lot of coverage of high wind alerts. Some winds could certainly see tropical storm force. We've had gusts that pushed it up close to hurricane force into that range across parts of Washington state. So certainly, going to be a windy blow. And we know that some 140,000 customers, at least this number have seen outages across parts of Washington on into the state of Idaho as well. So, when it comes to the forecast, Seattle again improving conditions.

Notice temperatures stay below average. The wettest remaining day looks to be Thursday.


The weekend dries up just a little bit. Temps gradually climbing back up close to 50 degrees.

For the national view, Omaha room temperature, 72 degrees. Memphis not bad one at 76. In Dallas, Texas, warming up a little bit. Highs up to about 80 degrees, Max.

FOSTER: Thanks to Pedram. Now we're watching events in Kenya where U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in Nairobi. It's his first Africa trip since becoming an America's top diplomat. The visit comes against the backdrop of a coup attempt in Sudan and growing conflict in Ethiopia. In the breaking news today about explosions rocking the Ugandan capital as well. On top of Kenya, Blinken is set to visit Nigeria and Senegal as a regional visit.

Updating you on the breaking news out of Eastern Europe. Violence at the Poland/Belarus border where thousands of migrants have been trying to enter the EU. This was the scene just a few minutes ago when Polish authorities fired water cannon and tear gas as Migrants trying to charge the barricades. They've been stuck there for more than a week trying to enter Poland and gain asylum in the EU. None have got through as far as we are aware.

And before we go, New York City's mayor is expected to make a big announcement today. Time Square will be open to New Year's Eve revelers again this year. Bill de Blasio says the city has been through so much fighting COVID and is now turning a corner. Details are still to come, but it is likely party goers will have to prove they've been vaccinated or provide a COVID test to get in there. Time square was virtually empty last year as the city battled the pandemic.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Christine and Laura up next. You are watching CNN.