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Journalist Danny Fenster Freed; Interview with Committee to Protect Journalists Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney; U.S.- China Summit; Artists Frida Kahlo's Painting Auction Record. Aired 2- 3a ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 02:00:00   ET




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

Just ahead, CNN has been on the scene as a polish security forces fired water cannon on rock throwing migrants at the border with Belarus.

Schools and colleges in around India's capital are closed until further notice, as the country battles its massive air pollution problem.

And while one family celebrates, a journalist released from a Myanmar prison, a record number of others remain behind bars around the world for simply doing their jobs.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

Well, the migrants stranded along the Belarusian Polish border are facing another day of uncertainty after Tuesday's melee.

CHURCH (voice-over): That's when their frustration over not being allowed into Poland and the rest of the European Union boiled over. Migrants threw rocks at Polish border guards who responded with water cannons and tear gas.

Belarus claims the cannons fired toxic chemicals, and Poland has accused Belarus of equipping the migrants with stunned grenades.


MARIUSZ CIARKA, POLISH POLICE SPOKESMAN (through translator): There are people throwing stones, but also grenades. These grenades are not taking from Iraq, Syria, or other countries. These grenades can only be handed over to those who threw them at the policeman by representatives of the services of the Belarusian regime. CHURCH: The E.U. is calling on Belarus to take urgent action to restore security, while the United Nations calls conditions at the border, catastrophic. Matthew Chance has our report.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This humanitarian crisis in Belarus is now a physical assault on Europe's borders.

Migrants in desperate conditions here are trying to force their way in. throwing rocks at polish border guards who are pushing back, and pushing back hard.

CHANCE (on camera): I just got blasted with a water cannon. And tell you the tension has really started to raise here as you have seen on the border between Belarus and Poland. You got all these migrants angry at their situation.

Throwing stones, breaking down the fences on the border. Furious, furious that they are not being allowed in to the European Union, into Poland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If them give us flower, we will give them flower. But if them give us gas, we will give them stones.

CHANCE (voice-over): At times, the violence seemed to surge out of control. These young migrants, desperate to enter Europe tore the barricades in fury.

CHANCE (on camera): Well, last night, when we left this place, it was a peaceful scene. But now, the women and children have been pulled back and the young men, angry, have come to the front.

CHANCE (voice-over): Belarus is accused of orchestrating this crisis, directing vulnerable migrants, mostly from the Middle East to provoke these scenes, to make Europe look weak and inhumane. What they got was a dangerous escalation on an international frontier.

CHANCE (on camera): They are throwing stones, and see the poles are responding with water -- with water cannon, covering us in water, sometimes that water is quite acrid, it has some sort of pepper component in it. And so, it sort of stinging your eyes a little bit.

They are smashing rocks on the ground to get smaller pieces, and they're using those rocks to throw at the polish lines.

CHANCE (voice-over): But however, manipulated these people have been, their raw feelings of desperation of having nothing to lose are real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are fighting to stay alive here.

CHANCE: To stay alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, to stay alive.

CHANCE: Will you go back in (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One day -- one day.

CHANCE: Will you go back to Iraq?




CHANCE: But after these events, they may have no choice. Poland has made it clear it will not let them in. It's Belarus that may have to back down.

Matthew Chance, CNN, on the Belarus, Poland border.



CHURCH: Belarusian forcers have cleared the area outside the border checkpoint where migrants were camp. Official say at least some were taken to a processing center to be given shelter and receive medical attention.

Authorities in Belarus say a decision has not been made yet on deporting the migrants. There are fears this crisis could destabilize the region. The E.U. announced a new round of sanctions against Belarus on Monday, Minsk is backed by Moscow, which controls 40 percent of the E.U.'s natural gas imports.

On Tuesday, Germany paused, certifying a controversial gas pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2, and that send already high natural gas prices soaring. The pipeline links Russia with Germany while bypassing Ukraine, where there's been a recent build-up of Russian forces near its border.

CNN International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson joins us now from London to work through all of this. Nic, what are the ramifications of Germany's suspension of approval for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and what's Russia's role in all of this?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on camera): Yes, it's an interesting move by Germany, it's a technicality, because the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the company that runs it is not legally based in Germany, it's legally based in Switzerland.

So, under German law, you know, to operate -- to get authority to operate from German authorities, it would have to have it its legal basis in Germany. So, that's a technicality.

Which is interesting that it's come about right now, because Germany has been pressing the United States very hard to get sanctions lifted from the North Stream 2 pipeline to allow it to be completed.

In fact, Angela Merkel won that sort of round of diplomacy, push and talk with President Biden a few months ago. President Biden pulling back, withdrawing some sanctions there. But the real point about the pipeline that President Biden's been making, we heard from Boris Johnson, just within the past 48 hours, essentially make the clear point that to allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to work is to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty. And that was his message essentially, to the European Union.

So, while you have Russia, amassing troops, again, at the border of Ukraine, and concerns being expressed in Washington and other Western capitals that Russia might be doing this with an intention to invade part of Ukraine. Russia denies this, of course.

That, you know, why you have this sort of apparent pressure on one border of Ukraine from Russia. At the -- at the other diplomatic end, what can be done to help shore up and not undermine the government in Ukraine? And that is not to allow this pipeline to go through, the pipeline bypasses Ukraine, the current Nord Stream -- the current Nord Stream pipeline that brings gas from Russia, to Europe, to Germany, as well, of course, goes through Ukraine.

Ukraine collects significant funds from the passage of that gas, Nord Stream 2 would bypass it. So, it does seem that this -- that this is a very strong diplomatic message from Germany, to Russia, about their destabilizing influence on the border of Ukraine.

And the question marks about their -- you know, about their support for what Lukashenko is doing with the migrants in Belarus at the -- at the Polish border.

CHURCH: Of course, though, by delaying this, this would impact Germany and other European nations, wouldn't it?

ROBERTSON: Yes and no. You know, the North Stream 2 pipeline, it's a bigger pipeline, it comes through the Baltic Sea, it can bring more gas into Europe. But the gas pipelines from Russia to Europe at the moment are still have gas flowing through them, and not at capacity.

Europe, certainly, like many parts of the rest of the world, seeing gas prices surge. I mean the U.K., for example, improve in the last few years alone. When it's come run short of gas, it has turned to Russia to shore up that supply.

So, Europe is still depends quite significantly on gas from Russia. But the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a more efficient way of delivering more of that gas to Europe. But it's not needed at the moment. It supplements what there is at the moment. So you -- so, you can see how it becomes a political tool in this context.

CHURCH: All right, many thanks to Nic Robertson, joining us live from London. Appreciate it. The World Health Organization warns new COVID infections are on the rise around the world up at least six percent from last week.


CHURCH: In its weekly report published Tuesday, the WHO recognized Europe, the Americas, and the Western Pacific as region showing a six percent or higher increase in new cases.

The U.S. is hoping a new COVID antiviral pill made by Pfizer will help turn the tide. The White House announced a purchase of 10 million doses of the drug, which has not yet received emergency use authorization.

Countries in Europe are doubling down on restrictions in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID -19. Starting Thursday, all pubs and nightclubs in Ireland will have to close at midnight after the country recorded its highest case numbers since January.

In Germany, more states putting restrictions on the unvaccinated by requiring both shots, or proof they have recovered from the virus in the last six months to enter some public venues.

And two regions in France are now requiring masks outdoors to slow the spread of new infections.

So, let's go live to Paris now with CNN's Cyril Vanier is standing by. Good to see you, Cyril. So, what is the latest on these news -- new restrictions as COVID cases spike across parts of Europe?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, look, it's undeniable that there is a fifth wave that has begun within Europe. And countries are trying to battle it taking new restrictive measures. And what we're seeing is that the cases are going up whether countries are highly vaccinated or not. Now I need to finish that, of course, because they're going up a lot higher when countries have a lower uptake of vaccination.

And they're going up. Not as fast in countries like France, for instance, where 75 percent of the population is vaccinated, that is 90 percent of the eligible population, 12-year olds, and above.

Still, we are seeing cases rise everywhere with multiple countries experiencing record highs or near record highs in infection numbers and creeping up also are the hospital admission rates.

That is why in Ireland, we heard yesterday that midnight curfew on the hospitality sector. In Austria, they have taken the rather drastic step of imposing a lockdown on the 2 million unvaccinated people.

The German chancellor saying this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And we're expecting further announcements today from Belgium as well that could be aligned with what we've been hearing since the beginning of the week from other countries, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, Cyril, I was going to ask you that because how likely is it that this focus on locking down the unvaccinated will actually become the new strategy right across Europe to not only keep them out of public spaces, but also to motivate the unvaccinated to get the jab.

VANIER: The Austrian chancellor has made no mystery of the fact than the Irish leader as well that their strategy is aimed at pushing the unvaccinated into getting the vaccine. So, at this stage, they're trying everything but legal coercion, it's highly incentivizing the vaccinated and punishing them on the other side if they don't get the jab.

So, really, that seems to be what many countries are implementing. There isn't really a Plan B at this stage. The only countries that have some latitude and that can wait a little bit before implementing these more drastic measures are countries with a higher uptake of vaccinations.

So, in France, for instance, in Spain and Italy, they can wait. Cases are going up but they've just got more leverage that they've got more leeway, sorry. They can wait until they impose more drastic vaccinations which led the French government spokesperson yesterday, Rosemary to say that for the moment. They're not thinking of lockdowns now or in the future.

So, those countries that currently have a high vaccination uptake, you find them mostly in Western Europe, as I said, France, Spain, Italy, among them first and foremost, they can wait a little longer before they take drastic action.

CHURCH: All right, Cyril Vanier, joining us live from Paris. Many thanks.

Well, parts of Asia are also taking precautions to slow new infections. Beijing is now limiting all flights from medium and high risk areas to just one per day due to outbreaks of the Delta variant. Anyone entering the city must test negative for COVID.

And Hong Kong Disneyland closed its gates Wednesday after a park guests tested positive for COVID-19. All park workers are now being tested, and the government is requiring testing for any guests who will present at the time.

Well, right now India's Supreme Court is taking up the issue of pollution in the nation's capital. A thick smog has been choking New Delhi and its surrounding areas for days. Now, the government is introducing new measures to reduce the toxic haze.

Schools and colleges in and around the capital city will remain closed and work at all non-essential construction sites and thermal plants will be halted.

CNN's Vedika Sud, joins us live from New Delhi. Good to see you, Vedika. So, what measures will the government put in place to help reduce this pollution and what will the Supreme Court likely do?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Rosemary, before I get to that, you know, in 2019, you and I had a very similar conversation, the issue was the same, it's just that the yield has changed quite essentially, because the matter still persists in Delhi and surrounding areas when it comes to air pollution.

Now, you've mentioned most of the measures that have been put in place since late Tuesday night with immediate effect. Adding to those, there will also be a ban on construction of non-essential needs in the city and the surroundings. And trucks with non-essential supplies will also not be allowed to enter the coming days into Delhi.

Now, there's nothing about these measures, which is extraordinary. These are temporary measures, as usual. And it's nothing that the Delhi government or the central government couldn't have done without the Supreme Court intervening. And that's the point here. Why does it take for the judiciary to step in every time for such measures to be put in place for people to at least try and read easy in Delhi and the surrounding areas?

Today, the air quality index stands are very poor, it's supposed to slip into the severe category by this evening. The coming days, there's going to be no breather quite literally from the air pollution surrounding us.

Now, the issue at hand according to environment experts also is that this is not only Delhi's problem. It's the problem of neighboring states as well. And that's what an environment experts said to CNN a couple of hours ago. Let's listen in.


ANUMITA ROYCHOWDHURY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY, CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT: The challenge of Delhi is just not challenge of Delhi. It is a challenge of this region. If you look at India right now through satellite, you will find that the entire indo- Gangetic Plain in northern India is wrapped in a blanket of smoke. And this is because this time of the year when you don't have integrated plan for the entire region and aggressive action to address each and every source of pollution in the entire region. That's where we have to step up the action.


SUD: Representatives from the central government and the other stakeholders including the Delhi government, Rosemary, are in Supreme Court today. They are responding to the Supreme Court's questions over what is being done today. And in the coming days to reduce the levels of pollution in and around Delhi.

This has to be a long term solution, Rosemary. These quick fixes will not do any more for people in Delhi to breathe easy which is their right. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Certainly is. Vedika Sud, joining us live from New Delhi. Many thanks.

In the Pacific Northwest, at least one person has died after heavy rain and flooding triggered mudslides in British Columbia. Hundreds were rescued after they were left stranded on a major highway. Evacuations are underway throughout parts of the Canadian province as floodwaters continue to rise.

So, let's bring in CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He joins us now. Good to see you, Pedram. So, what is the latest on this deadly flooding in Canada?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST (on camera): You know, we've seen this for about six weeks. The tremendous amount of rainfall, Rosemary that has continued across the Pacific Northwest. Now, the axes of that moisture kind of shifting away and pushing in towards portions of British Columbia where we've seen some very heavy rainfall in the last 48 or so hours. And you see the end result.

This is Highway One. Parts of this highway now shut down. And this is the Trans Canadian highway that spans about 1,000 kilometers across portions of British Columbia that has been severely impacted by it.

And you see the aerial perspective. Very elevated terrain, of course, very lush landscape, but the amount of rainfall here has been incredible to say the least and the moisture content through the roof.

And we often talk about these atmospheric river patterns. And essentially what you're looking at here is a narrow band of moisture and I talk about this, it's located about two miles above the ocean, and it transports as vapor, you know, save about 20 times the amount of water that the Mississippi River does as liquid.

So, it is an incredible amount of water that has been transported across a landscape. And of course, as this interacts with a terrain across this region, you can certainly see rainfall and the flooding become exacerbated.

And the incredible aspect of some of this is when you look at this region in British Columbia we talked about this area. This is the area that we saw historic temperatures in the month of June, a 43-degree observation observed, even a 50 observation was observed nearby in the town of Abbotsford. And the reason I point out this town is because just 140 days ago, that's when that record high temperature happened. And now we have the single wettest day on record, doubling the previous record. As from 1998, there about 50 millimeters.

So, again speaks to the aspect of kind of climate change and we talked about the extremes getting more extreme, and within a matter of just a few months, Rosemary, the same community seeing its hottest day and its wettest day and incredible run of weather across this region.

CHURCH: Unbelievable, isn't it? Pedram Javaheri bringing us the very latest on that. Appreciate it.


CHURCH: And still to come, activism India demand punishment in the case of a 16-year-old girl who claims she's been raped 400 times.


CHURCH: Women's rights activists in India are demanding strict action against all culprits in a horrific rape case. A 16-year-old girl claims she was raped hundreds of times by as many as 400 people, including two policemen. Official say the girl was begging for money at a bus station when she was allegedly forced into sex work. Police say they have registered cases against eight people including one minor.

Yogita Bhayana is an anti-rape activist and founder of the group People Against Rapes in India. And she joins me now from New Delhi. Thank you so much for talking with us.

YOGITA BHAYANA, ANTI-RAPE ACTIVIST: Thank you so much for inviting me, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, in the wake of yet another horrific rape taking place in India, this time, a 16-year-old girl who says she was raped hundreds of times, you and other anti-rape activists are demanding strict action against all 400 of those perpetrators involved. How likely is it that this will actually happen?

BHAYANA: It should happen. The kind of voice we are raising, we are very hopeful. The more pressure we build, I think governments will be able to kind of -- I'm talking about the state government there in Maharashtra and the central government that both should take a (INAUDIBLE) direction, and we want the investigation which is ruled by the central agencies, which is called CBI in our country, should definitely take over because it's horrendous to understand what the kind of trauma she must have gone through.

She must have been raped at least twice every single day by these men. I mean, and including the policeman. I mean, that's one of its own kind of horror we have seen in our history.

So, I am pretty sure the kind of pressure we are building will see definitely all these 400 plus police personnel to be arrested, punished severely. This is what we are demanding.

CHURCH: It is simply shocking to think what this young teenager went through. So, why is it that so few rapists in India ever end up in prison and what needs to be done to change that?

BHAYANA: It's just, you know, the kind of vulnerability we learn to live with because we have seen in last few years, where we saw it took nine years for that Nirbhaya case, which was the most highlighted case to get justice.

So, we know that -- you know, somewhere down the line the perpetrators, the potential criminals, potential rapist, they know that they will get away in the sense, the investigation is so slow, the judicial system is so slow. So, they tend to get motivated in the sense they get confidence and it keeps happening.

So what we are demanding as activist is time bound justice. We know justice will be given, but if justice is delayed, justice is denied. So, if you have to set an example, you have to give the exemplary punishment as soon as possible the moment the crime is proven. You have to really --

If the person is guilty, one has to be hanged or whatever the punishment is, and under this case, (INAUDIBLE) this girl was a minor, there is a very strict punishment as per law, but the implementation has an issue. The time length has an issue.

I mean, so that's where we are trying to build a gap in the sense we are trying to push the governments. So, we have enough laws, but we need right implementation and we need to work on the mindset I keep, again, like my focus as an organization is to kind of focus on the prevention.

We are doing nothing as prevention, you know, as a country. So, we need to work on that level. Also, we need to have resources, we need to change the mindset.


CHURCH: Right.

BHAYANA: Which actually prohibits rapes.

CHURCH: So, what is the likely outcome of this particular case, involving this 16-year-old girl, and what will likely happen to her now?

BHATANA: She is under protection of child welfare. So, she is now a state's responsibility. Her future and rehabilitation is state's responsibility. And definitely, they have their own way of going about it. I wish as an organization, I could do something but they're there because she is a -- she is a child. She becomes a state responsibility. And definitely, all the perpetrators if investigation goes in the right place, all (INAUDIBLE).

It's actually a nexus. It's a proper trafficking. It's a racket, which has really broken her trust. It's not about one individual. I think all of them should be punished, the whole system should be punished. And one should really get into the details and help this girl getting justice. And we are on that.

CHURCH: All right. Yogita Bhayana, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

BHAYANA: Thank you so much. Thank you.

CHURCH: ISIS is claiming responsibility for two suicide bombings in Uganda's capital that killed at least three people and injured dozens more on Tuesday. The explosions rock Kampala's city center. The first happened near the city's central police station.

Then, just moments later, two more bombers attacked near parliament. Police say they also managed to thwart another would be bomber before he could attack.

Officials are urging people to remain vigilant saying the country is still facing active bomb threats.

Well, coming up, after nearly six months in a Myanmar prison, journalist Danny Fenster is finally free, but dozens of others are still behind bars. We will look at how some countries are cracking down on press freedoms, just ahead.



CHURCH: Journalist Danny Fenster is back in the United States after spending almost six months in a Myanmar prison. His family greeted him with hugs when he landed in New York on Tuesday. Fenster was released Monday, after Myanmar's military government negotiated with former U.S. diplomat. Bill Richardson.

Fenster was convicted of visa breaches and spreading false information as he covered the military coup in Myanmar earlier this year. Fenster says, despite that isolation in prison, he knew his family was working to get him freed.


DANNY FENSTER, JOURNALIST: I was able to get little hints of what was going on occasionally throughout the experience. If I was outside of the prison in court, maybe some police aid that could speak a little bit of English would flash a picture on his phone of my entire family wearing t-shirts with my face on it on CNN, which was a pretty bizarre thing to see, sitting in a courtroom there.


CHURCH: Fenster says he was not physically mistreated while in prison.

Robert Mahoney is the deputy executive director about the Committee to Protect Journalist, he joins me now from New York.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, American journalist, Danny Fenster, arrived back home in the United States Tuesday after being released from a Myanmar prison where he spent almost six months while his family fought furiously for his freedom. And this came just days after he was sentenced to 11 years in prison on those trumped-up charges. So, how was he successfully released just after that sentencing?

MAHONEY: Well, I think the work was done before the sentencing, the continuous lobbying, as you say, by his family who were wonderful, particularly his brother, Bryan Fenster, and with the Richardson Center, the former governor New Mexico who helped organizations like mine, the Committee to Protect Journalists. We have kept the pressure up and the spotlight on the arrests of journalists since the coup in February. And the numbers of journalists in Myanmar who were in prison has just soared since that coup, Danny was one of them, who was caught in the crackdown.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. And, of course, it doesn't always end as well as it has for Danny. Your organization released a mid-year prison census for Myanmar, showing that as of July 1, 2021 there is 32 journalists behind bars making Myanmar, of course, one of the world's worst jailers of journalists. So, how many still remain behind bars? And what happens to those local journalists who don't have anyone to help with their release?

MAHONEY: Well, most of the journalists who are in jail are local journalists are at least 24, 25 there. That may be a very conservative estimate because some are in hiding and we can't count them. And also, we discovered that media owners sometimes when the staff were arrested, they don't want to publicly name them, these journalists, fearing that that would actually complicate things for them with the military that was holding them.

So, it's probably at least a couple dozen journalists are still behind bars. They released 15 journalists in October. But Myanmar is now one of the world's worst places to be a journalist in terms of getting jailed, it's right up there with China or in Egypt, Turkey, and Iran. And, you know, just a year ago before the coup, we could only count one journalist in jail in Myanmar.

CHURCH: Yes. That is quite a compressing (ph) isn't it? You mentioned the top jailers across the world. But let's look globally. How many journalists are imprisoned for simply doing their job? And you mention, there, China and Turkey and others, that they tend to be the big jailers, but there are many other countries as well, aren't there?

MAHONEY: Oh, yes. This is a growing problem. Last year, we saw record numbers of journalist jailed for the second or third year in a row. It's part of I would call a closing of the democratic space across the world in which journalist operate, growing authoritarianism And China is at the top of list. But countries that weren't on the list a few years ago are now jailing journalists. And we find a lot in places like the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, Turkey. It's a form of censorship which is becoming more and more the go-to tool for dictators and authoritarian leaders.

CHURCH: Right. And, of course, you mention that uptick in the jailing of journalists across the globe. What is the International Community need to be doing to put protections in place for journalists?


MAHONEY: Well, one of the things that we do at the Committee to Protect Journalists is simply to report on the jailing of journalists and keep the spotlight on those who are in jail so that they don't go forgotten or, you know, unremembered by the wider community. It is absolutely essential, in our experience, in getting better conditions for journalist whilst they're in prison, and hopefully getting them out of jail, that we keep the spotlight on them. That's the first thing that we can do.

Governments can also use their -- whatever pressure they have, diplomatic, commercial, or other forms of influence that they may be able to wield over people who rule countries that are jailing journalists. They need to put human rights, freedom of expression, and a free press on the agenda. So, we're looking to those countries that have a relatively free press to try to stand up for those values in their dealings with those countries that just have no respect for free speech.

CHURCH: Yes, it is critical of course. Robert Mahoney, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate.

MAHONEY: My pleasure. Thank you.

CHURCH: The U.S. and China have agreed to ease visa restrictions on journalists from each other's countries. An issue that's been a source of contention between the two sides. This development comes one day after the high stakes summit between U.S. President, Joe Biden, and Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Under the agreement, the countries will issue visas good for one year, up from the current three months, and will allow multiple entries. The issuing of new journalist visas was largely halted after China expelled a number of American journalists during Donald Trump's last year in office.

Another positive step following that meeting, according to President Biden, progress on the issue of Taiwan. The two leaders spent a good part of the summit, Monday, discussing Taiwan, which has been source of risen tensions amid Chinese military aggression. Mr. Biden said, Taiwan "makes its own decisions," and later clarified a comment when it came to its independence.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I said that they had to decide. They, Taiwan, not us. And we are not encouraging (INAUDIBLE) that they do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires. That's what we're doing, that they make up their mind, period.


CHURCH: The president of Chile has survived an impeachment vote and will remain in office. Sebastian Pinera's allies secured enough votes in the Senate, Tuesday, to keep him in power. He had been accused of tax evasion after the Pandora Papers revealed he may have used his influence to secure the sale of a mining company in 2010. Pinera is not up for reelection when Chileans go to the polls this Sunday. His term ends in March.

And coming up, a painting by Artist Frida Kahlo smashes an auction record in New York. We will have the winning bid just ahead.

Plus, a transatlantic trip like no other, one brave adventure is hoping kite power will carry him across the ocean.



CHURCH: "Sesame Street" will soon be welcoming a new friend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JI-YOUNG, SESAME STREET: Thanks for the intro, everyone. I'm so excited to play with all my friends.


CHURCH: Ji-Young seven-year-old Korean-American character, part of a new special called "See Us Coming Together." It celebrates the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander communities as part of "Sesame Street's" Racial Justice Initiative. The special will debut next Thursday, which is Thanksgiving here in the United States. Ji-Young will also be seen in future seasons of "Sesame Street."

A self-portrait by Artists Frida Kahlo, has set an auction record. The oil painting, "Diego and I," sold Tuesday night for nearly $35 million. The highest price paid to date for artwork by Latin American artist. Kahlo is seen teary eyed in the painting, which also depicts her husband, Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, on her forehead.

Sotheby's identified the buyer as Eduardo Costantini, the founder of a museum in Buenos Aires.

And on Monday, art lovers spent over $675 million at Sotheby's auction. The most valuable single owner sale ever staged, a Rothko abstract sold for more than $82 million. The work titled "Number 7" was painted in 1951. It's the second highest price ever for one of his pieces.

Jackson Pollock's "Number 17," 1951, sold for just over $61 million, a new record for his work. The auctioned pieces come from the Macklowe Collection acquired by real estate mogul, Harry Macklowe, and his wife, Linda. They filed for divorce in 2016 and the judge ordered them to sell the collection.

A Portuguese kite surfer is setting sail on a daunting journey, a 6,000-kilometer track across the Atlantic= Ocean fueled entirely by kite power. Francisco Lufinha said he wanted to challenge himself with the journey, which will take him from Portugal to the Caribbean Island of Martinique. Lufinha will use 11 kites on a rotating basis. He says kite power is more efficient than traditional sales and can be used to harness more wind. But the trip is not without its challenges.


FRANCISCO LUFINHA, KITE SURFER: I'm very much afraid of lost containers in the ocean, because if I hit the containers with my fiberglass boat, it will sink. Also, another kind of trash in the ocean, that's one of my biggest problems during this crossing.


CHURCH: The kite surfer has already traveled 1,300 kilometers from Portugal to La Palma, a five-day journey, well done.

Well, thanks so much to joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll back in 15 minutes. World Sport is coming up next. Don't go anywhere.