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Peng Shuai Purportedly Seen In New Videos; Panic At Atlanta Airport After Accidental Weapon Discharge; COVID-19 Lockdowns In Europe; Jailed Chinese Activist Said To Be Near Death; Holiday Travel Rush; Heavy Rain Wreaks Havoc In India; Agreement Reached To Restore Sudanese Government; Chile Presidential Elections; NASA To Test Anti- Asteroid Defense System. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 21, 2021 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I am Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story: police in Atlanta, Georgia, are searching for the man who fired a gun inside the airport on Saturday.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This was the scene in the security screening area, as people hit the floor just after the gun went off. Officials say the man had the weapon in his bag when he went through airport security. But when TSA agents stopped him, he lunged for the gun, firing it before taking off with the weapon.


BRUNHUBER: On Saturday, Atlanta police identified the man as Kenny Wells, a convicted felon. They say several warrants have now been issued for his arrest.


JUDITH FOUTS, TRAVELER: People just came flying through. And just were like, run, run, run. And then people were just running. And we all just ran outside this door right here and made our way across to the side of the airport and just -- it was organized chaos.


BRUNHUBER: Officials say no one was shot but at least three people were hurt in the rush to get out.

Meanwhile, here's what the situation was like on a plane that had just landed before they knew the full details and that no one had been shot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not parking the airport at the concourse out of an abundance of caution for your safety. Again, we've got an active shooter situation in the airport. We're not parking at the terminal out of an abundance of safety for yourselves.


BRUNHUBER: On Saturday, Atlanta police identified the man with the gun as Kenny Wells, a convicted felon. They say he managed to escape the airport with the weapon and officers are searching for him.

Now the situation also unfolded during one of the busiest weekends of the year, as Americans travel ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. CNN's Nadia Romero has more.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting back to a sense of normalcy here in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after the security incident that happened at about 1:30 on Saturday.

So we know that there was a passenger, who had a gun that was in his bags. And at some point during the security checkpoint with TSA, it was an accidental discharge. We're still trying to figure out the details as it remains under investigation.

But we do know that that passenger, during the confusion, the chaos that ensued thereafter, fled the airport. Investigators are trying to track him down to investigate and speak with him.

Now that created a domino effect of confusion and, at some points, chaos in the airport, as people learned that there was an active shooter. And later they found out it was an accidental discharge but that rumor spread very quickly throughout the airport and on social media. And it stopped everything in its tracks.

There was a temporary ground stop here at the airport. And now that caused some flights to be delayed and it impacted travel, which is why Delta Airlines is offering a waiver to passengers whose flight plans were interrupted.

This is already going to be, was supposed to be a busy travel weekend ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Now you add in this accidental discharge that really disrupted what was supposed to be happening throughout this weekend.

Now the TSA has already reported that they're seeing an alarming rate of guns trying to go through different checkpoints. In the first 10 months of this year, some 4,650 firearms were spotted at checkpoints by TSA.

And in the first 10 months of the year, we've already surpassed the record number of more than 4,400 back in 2019. That's a concern not here just in Atlanta but all across the country. But again, things seem to be getting back to normal, as the investigation continues as to how this happened on Saturday afternoon -- Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.


BRUNHUBER: On Saturday, CNN spoke with someone who was in the middle of all of that chaos. He was walking into the airport when unconfirmed reports of an active shooter began sweeping through the crowds of travelers. Listen to this.


KEVIN HELGREN, WITNESS: I was in Atlanta for a wedding this weekend and had just wrapped up, so I was taking the train from downtown Atlanta south into the airport.

I had just gotten off the train and was walking through one of the main entrances in the domestic terminal, alongside baggage claim, making my way toward security.

And I had gotten all of 20 steps down the hallway before a combination of other passengers and airport security folks told me that I needed to stop walking. So I stopped, I turned around and I retraced those 20 or so steps that I had taken.


HELGREN: And then I was sitting at the corner of that hallway for the next, maybe three to five minutes. And folks were having conversations about an active shooter. Some folks said that they had heard gunshots.

But for the most part it was calm. And then we saw someone turn the corner and just barrel down that hallway. And that was the point at which all chaos kind of broke out.

Everyone was dropping their suitcases; folks were running in any possible direction, away from what we thought was the center of action. People were sliding under rails and jumping over barricades, just trying to get out of what we thought was harm's way.


BRUNHUBER: So as you heard earlier in Nadia's report, a record number of guns have been confiscated at security checkpoints across the U.S. this year. CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem tells us how that can happen and what's supposed to happen.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: A gun at a security checkpoint in Atlanta is happening more than once a day at this stage; 450 people -- or firearms have been captured in the last year alone.

So people are doing stupid things; they are not abiding by federal law. So this is the criminal laws that you are looking at. TSA rules are pretty clear, that you have to check it. You're allowed to travel with guns or have guns on the other end; you're just not allowed to have them on your lap in the airplane, thank goodness. And so I think that, you know, there's an automatic violation right

there, a criminal law and then he clearly has a felony past that may have -- that probably prohibited him from maybe having a gun and that was why he lunged after it. We don't know right now but this is what has to be determined at this stage.


BRUNHUBER: And as more people in the U.S. are traveling, the problem is growing. The TSA reports catching more than 4,600 firearms, a majority of them loaded, at security checkpoints in the first 10 months of 2021.

And that number surpassed the full-year record of more than 4,400 set in 2019; 450 guns were intercepted at Atlanta alone in the first 10 months of this year.

New video from Chinese state media claims to show missing tennis star Peng Shuai alive and well. You'll remember, Peng hasn't been seen since she's accused one of China's most powerful leaders of sexual assault three weeks ago.

One clip just published to social media shows Peng greeting young tennis fans and signing autographs on oversized tennis balls reportedly at Sunday's junior tennis finals in Beijing.

And this video is said to have been Peng having dinner Saturday with her coach and friends at a Beijing restaurant. CNN hasn't been able to independently verify when any of these videos were taken. For more on this, let's bring in Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Kristie, are these videos going any way toward reassuring the international community?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely not easing conditions but just raising more questions. Look, over the weekend, you have several individuals linked to Chinese state media sending out fresh video of the Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai, using Twitter, which is not available in China.

So these videos are being aimed squarely at an international audience. In a series of clips that were released earlier today, we see Peng Shuai, apparently at a youth tennis tournament, sponsored by Fila.

In a series of clips that were released last night local time, we see Peng Shuai apparently at a popular restaurant in Beijing, a Sichuan government restaurant. She's there with a Chinese tennis tournament director and two women.

In a 45-second clip, Peng is not talking but the others are. And they're making sure to emphasize the date. They mention November 21st, which is, of course, today's date. It was about three weeks ago, November 2nd, when Peng Shuai made that accusation against a very powerful man, the former vice premier of China, accusing him of forcing her to have sex with him. She made that accusation on her Sina Weibo account. It was quickly

taken down within 30 minutes. And she has been censored on social media since. She has been under blanket censorship.

There is no coverage of the allegations that she made since then on Chinese state media or social media.

The Women's Tennis Association has continually expressed concern about Peng Shuai and her situation, has said that they're willing to put their business in China on the line for her and also reacting to this fresh video of her that has surfaced this weekend. Let's bring up a statement from the Women's Tennis Association.

In it, they say, quote, "While it's positive to see her, it remains unclear if she's free and able to make decisions or actions on her own without coercion or external interference. This video alone is insufficient," unquote.


STOUT: On Friday, Steve Simon, the CEO and chairman of the Women's Tennis Association, told CNN that he wrote a letter expressing his concerns to the Chinese ambassador of the United States.

The WTA says they have yet to receive a response in regard to that. But it's not just the WTA that's concerned about Peng Shuai's situation; it's also the United Nations, the White House, the international tennis and sporting community. Now is a very delicate time because of the Beijing Olympic Games, now just 2.5 months away.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much for that update on that story, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, appreciate it.

A short time ago, CNN asked Robert Kuhn, a longtime adviser to Chinese leaders, for his thoughts on Peng Shuai and how the Chinese government is reacting to her sexual assault accusations. Here it is.


ROBERT KUHN, AUTHOR AND CHINA ADVISER: This is unprecedented in China, for an ordinary citizen to level this kind of accusation against a senior leader, albeit retired but nonetheless, a senior leader, much revered in China.

That said, the whole approach of China will be to protect the system because China believes that its system is responsible for all the success. China is the second largest economy, bringing 800-plus million people out of poverty, now moving toward what they call common prosperity.

All of those things, they say, are completely dependent upon the leadership of the party, which has been strengthened recently but at the sixth plenum, in their political meeting, where the party is in charge, Xi Jinping is the core of the party, Xi Jinping thought will lead the party's ideology. So all of that -- and we're heading toward the Winter Olympics, which is very important in China, and, suddenly, this comes on the scene. So China will do everything possible to lower the heat on this story but will not compromise its core point about the absolute leadership of the party, which means that it will not be subject to pressure or make compromises with the so-called independents, what they say, is Western values.

I think that is the one thing we can be sure of.


BRUNHUBER: And our thanks to Robert Kuhn for his insights there.

Well, we're getting new details about the fatal shooting in Jerusalem's Old City. Israeli authorities now say the shooting that killed a 35-year-old man and injured four other people was a Hamas operation. Authorities say the alleged assailant was killed.

They say it happened near the chain gate entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque, also known as the Temple Mount. Hamas issued a statement, describing the gunman as a local leader of the movement and said the shooting was a response at the attempts to desecrate Al-Aqsa mosque.

The Austrian people have been through lockdowns before and now many are furious they'll have to stay home again and get vaccinated, whether they like it or not.

Plus, images from the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan cost this citizen journalist her freedom but her family worries they could cost her her life. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Europe is grappling with some of its highest numbers of COVID infections since the pandemic began. And that's because so many Europeans have refused to get vaccinated. So lockdowns and new restrictions are rolling out across the continent, none of which are popular.

Compounding the surge, the declining effectiveness of vaccines after several months. Even a country like Portugal, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, is seeing troubling upticks in new cases.

Cases have been going up in the U.S. as well. With the Northern Hemisphere now heading into winter and people gathering indoors for the holidays, booster shots are becoming more important than ever.

So for more on the escalating crisis in Europe, let's bring in Barbie Nadeau, live from Rome.

This spike in cases in Europe led to more restrictions and mandates and that has led to these sometimes violent pushbacks. You've been looking at what exactly is driving all of this anger on a couple of fronts.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We've been focusing a lot on Austria, which is going to have the tightest anti-COVID restrictions anywhere in Europe. They're going into a full lockdown on Monday, whether you're vaccinated or not.

And on February 1st, everyone has to be vaccinated for COVID. But they're not happy about it. Let's listen.


NADEAU (voice-over): It's the last weekend before a nationwide lockdown, in Austria. Tens of thousands of people, in Vienna, protested the new COVID-19 restrictions.

One protester, says, "I want my freedom back. One would think we live in a democracy but now, this is a coronavirus dictatorship."

Austria is introducing some of the strictest measures in the region, to try to contain the virus. As of Monday, all residents, whether vaccinated or not, are back under a stay-at-home order. No one is allowed to leave home, except to work, shop for essentials or exercise. And, in February, COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory.

The decisions have infuriated some in the country. Even though Austria, like many countries in Europe, is experiencing staggering numbers of new infections. The demonstration in Vienna was organized by the country's far right Freedom Party, which says it will combat the new measures, though, the party head couldn't attend, after testing positive for COVID-19.

In the Netherlands, city workers in Rotterdam, are cleaning up, after a night of violent protests over a proposed corona pass, which would limit access to indoor public venues to people who are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.

Rioters burned cars and threw rocks at police, who responded with warning shots and water cannons. Some residents say they are appalled by how out of control the rally became.

One man says, "I am very angry about it. They renovated the center of the town and a bunch of idiots destroyed it."


NADEAU (voice-over): Crowds, are also, filling the streets of the capital of Croatia, opposing a COVID passport, for government, in public buildings, which goes into effect on Monday.

Loud, agitated, pockets of discontent around Europe as governments, increasingly, lose patience with vaccine resistance and take more drastic measures, to try to stop the spread of the virus. As people gather indoors, because of the colder weather.

The World Health Organization, saying that another 500,000 people, in Europe, could die by March, unless urgent action is taken. The rallies for personal freedom and against the restrictions taking place in cities across Europe, as strained ICUs across the region, struggle, to keep up with the number of COVID-19 patients, some of them just fighting to stay alive.


NADEAU: You know, everybody across Europe is watching the numbers creep up and watching these restrictions and incredibly worried about the coming months, when people are gathering indoors. Nobody wants to give up another holiday season like last year, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. And people in this country watching what's going on there with attention, as well. Barbie Nadeau, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Zhang Zhan is a Chinese citizen journalist, who documented overcrowded hospitals in Wuhan, China, during the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic. Now her work landed her in a Chinese prison, where she has been on a months-long hunger strike. And, as David Culver now reports, her family hopes that they can save her before it's too late.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Traveling alone to the original epicenter, in the height of China's COVID-19 outbreak last year, she documented the plight Wuhan residents under a brutal lockdown.

For that, 38-year-old Zhang Zhan has been languishing behind bars for 18 months. Now on a hunger strike and on the brink of death, her family and lawyer filing a petition for medical parole in the hope of saving her life.

In early February 2020, Zhang, a lawyer turned activist, highlighted harsh realities on the ground. She posted more than 100 clips on YouTube, showing hospitals flooded with desperate patients and shops empty.

ZHANG ZHAN, JAILED CITIZEN JOURNALIST (through translator): Maybe I have a rebellious soul.

Why can't I film that?

I was just documenting the truth.

Why can't I show the truth?

CULVER: In May of last year authorities from Shanghai detained Zhang, then putting her on trial for picking quarrels and provoking trouble. A charge often used to silence government critics.

According to the verdict seen by CNN, officials accused Zhang of "recklessly fabricating and spreading content that distorted the coronavirus control measures in Wuhan" and "for seriously disturbing the public order."

Last December, a court sentenced her to four years in prison. Family members say Zhang went on a hunger strike soon after her arrest. Her condition in jail rapidly deteriorating. Authorities here enforced to put in a feeding tube.

The 5-foot-10 journalist now weighing less than 88 pounds, a skeleton of her former self. On Twitter, her brother posted she may not survive the coming cold winter.

Zhang not the only one targeted for trying to expose the realities in Wuhan. Chen Qiushi, another lawyer who posted videos critical of the authorities' early mishandlings, disappeared for more than a year, only recently resurfacing in public. Chen Mei and Cai Wei jailed for 15 months after they archived news reports of the Wuhan outbreak that had been censored.

Others like Fang Bin, who uploaded the video of body bags in a Wuhan hospital, have simply vanished from public view.

Also silenced, numerous whistleblowers; the most famous, Dr. Li Wenliang. Police had reprimanded him for spreading rumors when he first tried to tell friends and colleagues about the then mystery illness. His eventual death from COVID made him a martyr in China, with the government begrudgingly embracing him as a hero.

To counter all the critical voices, the propaganda czars later even deployed more than 300 state media journalists to Wuhan, pulling out all the stops to reclaim the narrative, an effort that's continued to this day, as state media breathlessly cover other countries' COVID debacles and conspiracy theories on the virus origins, trying to sow doubt and deflect blame.

As for Zhang Zhan, she's never wavered in believing her own innocence, with her lawyer telling CNN --

ZHANG KEKE, ZHANG ZHAN'S LAWYER (through translator): She told me that she thinks her arrest, prosecution, trial and detention were unlawful. Only by going on a hunger strike did she feel she could express her frustrations.

CULVER (voice-over): A desperate call for attention on China's growing intolerance for unfiltered information.


CULVER: We did reach out to Zhang's family to see if they wanted to comment on record. They declined our request for an interview. They don't want to anger the government any further so as to potentially worsen the situation -- David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


BRUNHUBER: The Thanksgiving travel season is underway but a storm system may cause delays for those making the journey. We'll have a live report from the CNN Weather Center, next.

Plus, a new list is out, ranking the world's most polluted cities. When we come back, who tops the list and how the government plans to handle it. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Back to our top story: police in Atlanta, Georgia, are searching for a man who fired a gun inside the airport on Saturday.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This was the scene in the security screening area, as people hit the floor just after the gun went off. Officials say the man had the weapon in his bag when he went through airport security.

And when the TSA stopped him, he lunged for the gun, firing it before taking off with the weapon. On Saturday, Atlanta police identified the man as Kenny Wells, a convicted felon. They say several warrants have now been issued for his arrest.


BRUNHUBER: The chaos at Atlanta's airport came amid the busy Thanksgiving travel period. According to the TSA, Friday broke pandemic air travel records in the U.S. More than 2.2 million people went through security screenings. In all, the TSA expects more than 20 million people to pass through U.S. airports during the holiday rush.


BRUNHUBER: And there could be more trouble on the way for travelers with a significant storm system threatening to disrupt flights in the coming days.


BRUNHUBER: And the Thanksgiving period in the U.S. usually marks the start of the big holiday gift-buying season before Christmas, which is so crucial to retailers' bottom line. But supply chain disruptions this year have left companies and shoppers scrambling. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, would you like to come meet Santa? TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over 2 billion times, that's how often the words "out of stock" came up as researchers tracked just 18 different product categories online in October.

That's worse than last year and much worse than two years ago.

Among the hardest hit items, according to Adobe Analytics, electronics, jewelry, clothing, home wares and pet supplies. The trend has been driven in large part by months of people sitting at home, shopping online in the pandemic. And the holidays are amping it up.

JONATHAN GOLD, VP, SUPPLY CHAIN AND CUSTOMS POLICY, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: The demand for the products as well as the materials to make those products is just far outpacing the available supply of those products and materials and what's needed to move those products through the supply chain to the consumer.

FOREMAN: Imported goods are especially vulnerable. Not only are manufacturers and shippers navigating a maze of periodic shutdowns but even when their cargo arrives, they are piling up in ports waiting to unload.

Rosemary Coates is a supply chain expert.

ROSEMARY COATES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESHORING INSTITUTE: There's a shortage of truck drivers. There's a shortage of warehouse space and workers all along that supply chain. So this is not, you know, a snap your fingers and organize a solution.

FOREMAN: That means for consumers, the day after Thanksgiving could be more like bleak Friday with some products hard to find and prices rising.

Best tips?

Shop early. If you see what you want --

GOLD: Buy it now.

COATES: Buy it. Definitely. Buy it now.

FOREMAN: And have faith, just like many retailers, that the holidays will wind up happy anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you ready to fly to Grandma's?


FOREMAN: Retailers met at the White House recently, trying to corral the Grinchiness of this supply chain problem. But experts say it is unlikely we will see anything like normal until after the holidays, maybe in time for Christmas 2022 -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


(MUSIC PLAYING) BRUNHUBER: More than 20 people are dead as heavy rains wreak havoc in southeastern India.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): The air force conducted this dramatic rescue, lifting people stranded in a swollen river after a flash flood.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Heavy rains have swamped the Andhra Pradesh state since Thursday.

And New Delhi is still dealing with air pollution that's so bad that officials are considering restricting the use of private vehicles on alternate days. Schools in the Indian capital have been closed this week.


BRUNHUBER: And just over the border, Lahore, Pakistan, topped the list as the most polluted city in the world. As the thick, acrid air continues to take a toll on living conditions, the government launched a new effort to combat the problem.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Smog so dense you can only see a silhouette of this building that's just a few yards away. On the streets, people are waving through the thick smog. One resident says it's so bad people are covering their eyes and walking right into traffic.

This is Lahore, Pakistan, which regularly ranks among the most polluted cities in the world.

NORMAN SAHIR, LAHORE RESIDENT (through translator): Now this city, which we call the City of Flowers, the City of Gardens, is gripped by smog. It is engulfed in smog.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): On Saturday Lahore topped IQAir's daily ranking of the world's most polluted cities again, a rank often challenged by New Delhi. Residents cough; everything smells of smoke. According to a paramedic at a local hospital, patients are coming in with sore throats because of the smog, not COVID.

As the haze grips the city in a chokehold, residents are getting desperate.

TAHA KHALIK, LAHORE RESIDENT (through translator): When we leave the house in the morning, the pollution causes irritation to the eyes. It's hard to breathe. The government should find a solution to the smog.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): A local report says anti-smog squads have been deployed across Lahore. they are identifying and sealing factories that aren't meeting the city's standards. In neighboring New Delhi, smog towers in some areas are sucking

pollutants from the air. Residents are now asking the government to install more, as the smog continues to affect people's health and livelihoods, like this rickshaw driver's.

BHAJAN LAL, AUTO-RICKSHAW DRIVER (through translator): The whole day I drive around without any passengers. There are passengers; they prefer cabs. Ask them, "Where are you going?"

They say "No, there's too much pollution, we will take a cab."

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Despite some measures to fight smog, the increasing pollution makes the sight of a clear sky still a distant dream.


BRUNHUBER: All right. Much more to come on CNN, including developments out of Sudan, where the ousted prime minister is set to return to power. We'll have the latest in a live report.

Plus, polls open soon in Chile's presidential election and political divisions run deep, both among the voters and the candidates. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Nearly after a month after a military coup toppled Sudan's government, a deal has been reached to released detained civilian leaders and restore the prime minister to power. Sudan's military has faced intense pressure since it grabbed power on October 25th, both internationally and from inside the country.

Let's bring in CNN's Larry Madowo in Nairobi.

What are you hearing?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing already several opposition groups rejecting this political agreement between ousted Sudanese prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and the military ruler, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.

And these opposition groups say there will be no legitimacy, no partnership and no deal between the coup plotters and the civilians. One of the most important statements has come out of the Forces of Freedom and Change. This is the same opposition body that was instrumental in the appointment of Abdalla Hamdok back in 2019 after popular protests led to the ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir.

Now they're saying that the crime of undermining the legitimate regime, overthrowing the constitution, killing female revolutionaries and other peaceful revolutionaries, enforced disappearance, excessive repression and other documented crimes require the leaders of the coup, the opportunists and the remnants of the former regime, who formed this coup authority, to be brought to immediate trial for justice.

They say that has nothing to do with this agreement. They're call the coup plotters a gang and that they will use all peaceful means to make sure they are removed from power and that there's a trial for them.

So we're seeing other statements, from other opposition groups, protesters, who say they do not recognize this deal, which, according to our reporting, Hamdok and Burhan met into the early hours of Sunday morning to hash out this political agreement, where the former prime minister will be reinstated and General Al-Burhan will restore the council of ministers that he himself got rid of back on October 25th, when this coup took place, and that there would also be a unified army set up, that there will be investigations into the 40 people who have been killed in protests and more than 100 people injured.

And they will restructure this power-sharing agreement, with civilians in the lead but also with some kind of agreement with how many military members there would be in that deal.

So already, strong condemnation, from people who have been on the streets since this coup first took place on October 25th.

BRUNHUBER: So, I mean, the ingredients of this agreement were generally what the international community and the Biden administration have been asking for. But with this opposition to this, I'm wondering what happens next.

MADOWO: This is going to be a difficult one for Hamdok and Burhan to walk, because if you've already seeing the civilian movement rejecting this deal before it's even officially announced -- we expect it to be announced in the coming hours -- and they also need international legitimacy. They need the European Union, the African Union, the U.S. and the U.N. to say this is exactly what they've been asking for.

But it seems to fall short of that, because it seems to give some legitimacy to the military, to the coup plotters, who overthrew and aborted the democratic transition. So it will be really difficult to convince international partners and the protesters that this is the best deal they can get and they can stop protesting.

So far it seems the cause for civil disobedience will continue until the civilians get full control of what they want, a civilian-led transition and a trial for the military, who led, who took over their democratic transition.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. Well, listen, thanks so much for the update on this developing story, Larry Madowo, appreciate it.

Polls will open in Chile's presidential election in just about 15 minutes from now. Many voters hope the results will bring stability after years of turmoil. But if none of the seven candidates wins a majority, the top two finishers will go into a runoff next month.

Now many observers expect that will be a young leftist and a staunch conservative, sometimes compared with Donald Trump. Rafael Romo looks at those two front-runners and whether either one can unite a deeply divided country.



RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): October 2019, Santiago, Chile; a democratic country long known as one of the most stable democracies in Latin America erupts into chaos.


ROMO (voice-over): The government of Sebastian Pinera declares a state of emergency in a desperate attempt to contain violent clashes between security forces and protesters as well as widespread acts of vandalism.

PINERA: (Speaking Spanish).

ROMO (voice-over): It was not until President Pinera asked for forgiveness for his country's inequality and promised to hold a convention to write a new constitution that protests calm down. But by then, there had been tens of deaths.

The byproduct of these protests was a profound polarization and a sense of turmoil that set the current stage as Chileans go to the polls Sunday.

ROBERT FUNK, UNIVERSITY OF CHILE: What is at stake is how all these things will sort themselves out in the context of a new government, a new president and, of course, the main candidates tend to be people who really are quite different from what we have been used to in Chile, in politics up to now.

ROMO (voice-over): Out of seven presidential hopefuls, two polar opposites stand out; unless one wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday, the two will advance to the second round to be held on December 19th.

Gabriel Boric is a candidate of the hard left, who describes himself as a democrat. He supports abortion rights, champions a welfare state model and leads a coalition that includes Chile's Communist Party.

FUNK: The Communist Party has been part of a governmental coalition before. It was in a governmental coalition between 2014 and 2018. But it was much more of a junior partner and, in this coalition, it plays a much more important role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

ROMO (voice-over): In a campaign video, he says his platform is based on issues like decentralization, feminism, the climate crisis and dignified jobs for everyone.

Jose Antonio Kast is a candidate of the hard right, who has proposed to build a ditch or moat on Chile's border to stop the flow of migrants from other countries.


ROMO (voice-over): He promises to be tough on immigration. Those who are in the country illegally, he says, "will be invited to return to where they came from or we will provide transportation to do so."

FUNK: He comes from the UDI party, which is the party that basically are the intellectual or -- and political heirs of the Pinochet dictatorship. And he left that party several years ago, about 3-4 years ago, he left that party and founded his own party, the Republican Party.

ROMO: And even though there may be a surprise, Funk says that out of those two extremes, the voters are trying to find an answer to the original demands of the 2019 protests.

Then as now, they are seeking political change, better social services, a stronger government that will deliver better pensions, education and health care in addition to a fill the bumps out attitude, a desire to get rid of the traditional parties the same way it has happened in other countries in recent years -- Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


BRUNHUBER: NASA has developed technologies it hopes will protect the planet from life-destroying asteroids. And it's set to embark on its first test mission this week. We'll have that story after the break. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: If weather permits, NASA will send a craft into space on Wednesday with an unusual mission, to crash directly into a near Earth asteroid.


BRUNHUBER: It will be the first test for a system scientists hope will protect the planet from the kind of disaster that killed the dinosaurs and is still the stuff of movie blockbusters. Our Michael Holmes has the story.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a space story seen several times in the movies, like in the 1998 sci-fi film, "Armageddon."


HOLMES (voice-over): An asteroid threatens Earth; the military, astronauts, even oil rig drillers try to save mankind. Some cities don't make it but, in the end, the planet survives.

A Hollywood ending, which NASA is hoping to make a reality with its first planetary defense test mission. Scientists say they have identified the kilometer-wide asteroids, like those shown in the blockbusters, and there are no dangers of them hitting Earth in the coming centuries.

But NASA says it wants to study what could be done if an Earth- threatening asteroid is discovered.

On Wednesday, it will launch a mission called DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test. It will send an unmanned spacecraft into space and, if successful, it won't return home. DART is set to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will travel through space for the next nine months. Its destination, a near Earth asteroid named Didymus and its moonlet.

NANCY CHABOT, DART COORDINATION LEAD, APL: These asteroids are not a threat to the Earth. There are not a danger to the Earth, they are not on a path to hit the Earth in the foreseeable future. That makes them an appropriate target for a first test.

HOLMES (voice-over): Traveling at a speed of 6.6 kilometers per second, DART will then deliberately crash into the moonlet to try to jolt it from its regular orbit. Scientists back on Earth will monitor the collision using satellite imagery and ground-based telescopes, to see how much the moonlet changes the course.

ANDY CHENG, DART INVESTIGATION TEAM LEAD, APL: If one day an asteroid is discovered on a collision course with Earth, we have an idea of how big that asteroid is and how fast it's coming and when it will hit, that kind of information.

Then we will have an idea how much momentum we need to make that asteroid miss the Earth.

HOLMES (voice-over): The targeted moonlet is a little larger than one of the pyramids in Egypt. NASA says there are 10,000 known asteroids that are just as big or bigger that could, potentially, caused major regional damage if they ever hit the Earth.


HOLMES (voice-over): Although none of them are tracking this way.

DART's kamikaze mission could provide lifesaving data, if anything ever does get too close -- Michael Holmes, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Some breaking news coming from the world of sports. English Premier League club Manchester United confirms that Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager. This follows a 4-1 defeat to struggling Watford.

Afterwards, Solskjaer acknowledged the team's performance was nowhere near good enough. A statement on Manchester United's website says Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to end the season.

Before we go, a woman with COVID defied doctors by waking up from a coma on the exact day her family was going to take her off life support; 69-year-old Bettina Lerman went into a coma after more than two months on a ventilator.

Her family was told she wouldn't make it so they planned her funeral and began to grieve. But then on the day she was scheduled to the die, they got a call from the doctor.


ANDREW LERMAN, BETTINA LERMAN'S SON: He goes, "Well, I need you to come up to the hospital right away."

I'm like, "What? Is something wrong?"

And he goes, "Well, your mother just woke up."

I literally dropped the phone.

I was like, what? I mean, because we were supposed to be terminating life support that day.


BRUNHUBER: Her son tells us that his mother is slowly improving and will be vaccinated as soon as she recovers.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. For our international viewers, "LIVING GOLF" is next and for our viewers here in the United States and Canada, CNN's "NEW DAY WEEKEND" next.