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Novak Djokovic Won in Australia's Court; Australians React to Djokovic's Release; New York fire Killed 19 People; Hospitals in dire need of Staff. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 10, 2022 - 03:00   ET




UNKNOWN: This is CNN breaking news.

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

And I want to get straight to our breaking news. The world's top men's tennis player has just won a legal battle in an Australian court. A judge in Melbourne overturns the cancellation of Novak Djokovic's visa and ordered him to be released from immigration detention.

The ruling comes one week ahead of the Australian Open and just days after Djokovic's visa was cancelled on arriving Australia. At that time authorities determined he did not qualify for a medical exemption from the country's COVID vaccination requirements for entry.

And CNN is covering is covering all the angles. Our Phil Black is in Melbourne following the latest developments, and CNN world sports Patrick Snell is joining us from here in Atlanta with what could come next for Djokovic, because it's not over yet of course.

So, Phil Black in Melbourne, let's go to you first. Talk to us about the decision here and how it came to be, because it has surprised all of Australia and a lot of people outside of the country.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Rosemary, Djokovic's lawyers spent a good part of the hearing today, arguing that the process in which Novak Djokovic had been pulled aside at the airport last Thursday morning questioned, left alone in a room, ask to present his case, ask to provide evidence on why he should be let in and so forth.

That whole examination that scrutiny that he went through when he first arrived, his lawyers have argued that the procedures there was wrong, that it was unfair, that it was often unreasonable that proper rules and process hadn't been followed.

And crucially, when it comes to one key point in the timeline there the lawyers really focused on the fact that at one point in the morning Djokovic had asked until 8.30, 8.30 a.m. Melbourne time on Thursday morning to be able to speak to lawyers and so forth before he was able to give any further comment on the questions that were being put to him. And the border official's intention they said at that point, to cancel his visa.

Instead, they were told -- he was essentially told that it's now or never. And at this point it was still only around 6 a.m. in the morning, they said there's no point in waiting any further, had you got anything further to say, he said, no, I can't, there's nothing else I can add.

And so, he didn't get that extra time that he was asking for. And based upon that period of time, that difference of say two hours or so, the judge has found that he was treated unfairly, unreasonable. And for that reason, has overturned the decision to cancel his visa and ordered that he should be free within half an hour of that verdict.

That means he is free now somewhere in Melbourne. The question is will he stay that way. And that is really up to the federal government and specifically the immigration minister, Alex Hawke. Because it was flagged in court by the government's lawyer that Alex Hawke could still and would consider using his own personal power in order to separately cancel Djokovic's visa.

That would come, it was acknowledge in court with a three-year entry ban on returning to Australia. That would obviously be hugely significant for the world's greatest tennis player who tends to come here every year around January to compete in the Australian Open.

The world's number one tennis player would suffer directly as a result of that. And that explains I think why the judge commented in court that that would represent an escalation of where we were before as opposed to a de-escalation based upon the events that have taken place in the courtroom today.

But we wait to hear now because it does come down to the Australian government to determine what that next step will be. Will they accept the judgment or will they not? If they do not, then he could be in custody again this evening. If he does, then he is free presumably to begin his preparations unmolested in any way to start playing in the Australian Open next week, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And of course, you know, we mentioned at the start what a surprise this was for Australians who have had to endure lockdowns, Melbourne in particular 260 days in total lockdowns there. People have had to abide by pretty draconian rules and now we see the top male tennis player allowed to stay even though he was not vaccinated. He was told at the end of 2021 that they were the conditions and he hasn't abided by them. So, talk to us about the reaction across Australia to this decision.


BLACK: Well, the context that you describe there is exactly right. And I think it goes a long way towards explaining the initial outrage when Djokovic first declared that he was coming here and had received an exemption to play. There was a lot of anger, there was a lot of frustration because this

is a country that has in many ways on an individual personal level been tough in the course of the pandemic. There have been long lockdowns, there had been long international border closures, and also long state border closures as well. Families have been separated for long periods of time. Businesses have suffered. People have been stranded overseas, and so forth.

And so, there is one rule for everyone else and another rule for the world's number one tennis player. That triggered the outrage. And that, I think, also to some way inspired the government's response, which was rules are rules and they should apply to everybody equally. And perhaps also explains the scrutiny that Djokovic underwent when he first arrived at the border.

So, it is unlikely that this decision today by the court will not be met favorably by broad sections of the Australian public. And it is certainly, I think an embarrassment on some level to the Australian government which had backed the decisions that were made at the border last Thursday morning very, very strongly.

So that is why it will be fascinating to see what the Australian government decides to do next, whether or not they accept this, accept this order and the embarrassment that comes with it or they're prepared to go out of their way to look strong as they possibly can. And through the immigration minister essentially cancel his visa unilaterally perhaps with the implication that it means Novak Djokovic would no longer be able to return to Australia within the three -- withing the coming three years, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Patrick Snell, let's go to you now. You're here in Atlanta. Let's talk about the implications here for the world of tennis because this has a lot of impact on other tennis players there who did abide by the rules, who did make sure that they were vaccinated and do as they were supposed to do.

So here we have a situation where Djokovic was not vaccinated. He apparently had a positive COVID test on December 16th. There's a lot of questions about that as well, but talk to us about what this means for him as a player and the other players who were preparing for the Australian Open.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yes, it really has been a momentous last few days. And you do suspect, Rosemary, that there could well be more plot twist ahead. be This is potentially an ever- changing situation. Who knows? But, look, I just think it speaks volumes that Novak Djokovic was willing to put himself through what he has done for the last few days. Why? Because he's absolutely desperate to compete at the Australian Open.

He wants to win a tenth Aussie open crown, but in addition to that he knows if he can win once again in Melbourne, it would give him a 21st Grand Slam title and that would make him the most successful player in men's tennis history in terms of Grand Slam titles.

But look, other players have been weighing in. Let's just put up a school -- a full screen of the major tournaments that are coming up later on this year. As of right now Djokovic is going to be competing in the Australian Open. But as I say, we still need that to be fully rubber stamped. That one starting a week today, by the way.

Then we got the French open in Paris, Wimbledon later on this year in London and the U.S. Open in New York City. So that's the time line for Djokovic in terms of Grand Slam opportunities trying to get number 21. But Rafa Nadal, the Spanish legend, also trying to get to number 21.

A day ago, he must have thought his path potentially to that title looked a lot clearer. Not so as of right now but we shall see. There's other quality players out there. Nadal actually is pretty interesting because he came out showing what a decent guy he is. He is showing off his sympathy as well.

He was saying, look, I do have sympathy to some degree for Djokovic, this was a few days ago, but saying, look, the solution, he knew it well, was simple. He could have avoided all of this, Rosemary, said Nadal, if he just got vaccinated to enter Australia.

CHURCH: Yes. Exactly right. Phil Black in Melbourne. Patrick Snell here in Atlanta. Many thanks to both of you for joining us. I appreciate it.

All right. I want to bring in David Law now. He is co-host of The Tennis podcast and joins us live from London. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So how is this Australian court decision playing out around the world even as people of course only now start to digest what it actually means and as we wait to see if this is the end of it and whether, indeed, Djokovic does eventually play in the Australian Open?


LAW: I think it's very much a mixture. I think confusion, I think amazement really at what a mess has been made of this whole process from the fact that he was stopped at the border and told his visa was canceled and then the ensuing days that have followed. In as much as there is still not clarity whether he's going to be able to play or not.

Apparently, there are police at his lawyer's office right now and there are discussions undergoing as to whether he's going to be re- arrested and deported and his visa canceled again without any further process other than the ministers in Australia deciding that his situation is not in the public interest.

So, there's confusion. I think there's also annoyance that the fact that more 90 percent of the players are vaccinated and he is not, and that he is able to play with an exemption potentially. Within Australia, particularly in Victoria, there's more than 90 percent vaccination. I think there's anger that the fact that he may be able to play on

that level. And I think there is anger from many of his supporters and some of the players as well that he is being detained in this way when, as the judges said, what more could this man have done other than get the exemption that he got, presented it, and that he should be allowed to go and play. There's just mass confusion. Frankly, it's a mess.

CHURCH: Most definitely is. But Australia has of course been extremely tough when it comes to requiring COVID vaccinations for the Australian Open and other events. And Djokovic was told at the end of 2021 that he would need to be vaccinated. That message was very clear.

Now we're getting this very mixed message from the courts and if the government of Australia pursues this, I mean, they've already got egg on their faces, haven't they? So, this could end up being incredibly messy.

LAW: It could. And it's difficult to know which is the best course of action for them. As you say, they've made a royal mess of this. At the same time, they don't want to back down, it seems, and they don't want to be saying to the Australian public, we've messed this up, we've left him in, here he is play tennis and live this incredible life again whilst all of you who are vaccinated who have been made to be vaccinated have to go about your business in a different way.

So, which course of action do they take, do they send him home which on one level given a judge has presided over the case and said that he has done nothing wrong seems the wrong thing to do, or do they let him in when they've also made it very clear that they don't think that he should be in?

It's an impossible position that they've got themselves into which he hasn't helped. If you believe that he should have been vaccinated, and frankly the tournaments say that you should be. The authorities say that you should be. That that's the best course of action. He says he doesn't want to be and he appears to not be required to be if this exemption is to be believed. But the whole thing is just full of muddy water unfortunately.

CHURCH: Yes. Very mixed messages. David Law joining us live from London. Many thanks.

And coming up here on CNN Newsroom, as the Omicron variant drives up COVID cases across the U.S., we will take a look at how it's disrupting education and pushing hospitals to the brink.

Plus, we are following the aftermath of a deadly apartment fire in New York. The latest on the investigation after this short break. Stay with us.



CHURCH (on camera): At least 19 people including nine children are dead after an apartment fire in New York City. Authorities say it broke out Sunday morning in the Bronx, quickly spreading throughout two floors. An open door at the apartment where the fire started sent heavy smoke throughout the building. Many people could not find their way out.


DAISY MITCHELL, BUILDING RESIDENT: I panicked. I was scared. I was really scared. I was scared. I mean, that's what really hit me. By the time I got to the exit and I had the mask on, I couldn't even see. I thought I went blind. I couldn't see. Because I was banging on my door to get back in.


CHURCH (on camera): The fire commissioner says 32 people were also sent to hospitals with life threatening conditions. New York's mayor calls the fire one of the worst the city has seen in modern times.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It took only hours for fire investigators to locate what's being described as physical evidence that confirms that it was a space heater that initially started this fire that quickly broke out just before noon on Sunday. When that fire broke out investigators saying that it wasn't the flames that caused so much death and destruction, but it was the smoke.

In fact, some of the pictures that you're able to see from the scene, you can actually see how that smoke was billowing out of windows even on the top floors of a 19-story building. We now know that at least 19 people confirmed dead and there is concern that that death toll could potentially continue to rise.

And we also know that many of the dead are children simply adding to that heartbreak and much of that heartbreak the governor of New York actually seen firsthand as she spoke to some of those affected families.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): We are indeed a city of shock.


HOCHUL: It's impossible to go into that room where scores of families who are in such grief who are in pain. To see it in a mother's eyes as I held her who lost her entire family.


UNKNOWN: Jesus Christ.

HOCHUL: It's hard to fathom what they're going through, but I went table to table, helped children make their ramen noodles and eat their pizza and let them know one thing, that the mayor and I are united in this. We will not forget you. We will not abandon you. We are here for you.



SANDOVAL (on camera): And in the days ahead the community continues to come together. In fact, late Sunday night we can actually see as many members of the community are coming together going to a neighboring school that was serving as a temporary shelter making sure that those affected families have not just a warm place to stay, but also a warm meal. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. We turn now to the COVID pandemic and a dire warning from experts on the U.S. health care system. New data from the Department of Health and Human Services show nearly a quarter of U.S. hospitals have a critical staffing shortage. Some states have deployed National Guard troops to cover staffing shortfalls at hospitals and testing sites as health care workers get sick with COVID themselves.

The explosion of the highly contagious Omicron variant has pushed hospitalizations to near record levels. Children are also being hospitalized at record levels especially kids under five years old who are still too young to be vaccinated. Experts warn many hospitals are being pushed to the brink.


ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: The health care system is not just designed to take care of kids with COVID, of course it does that, it's designed to take care of kids with appendicitis and with people who have heart attack, some getting into car accidents.

And all of that is going to be much, much more difficult. Because we have a large proportion of the population that is not vaccinated. Plenty of high-risk people are not boosted. That combination sets up a large pool of people who as they get infected will end up really straining the resources, we have in the hospitals today.


CHURCH (on camera): Dr. Eric Topol is a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. He joins me now from San Diego. Thank you, doctor for talking with us and for all that you do.

ERIC TOPOL, PROFESSOR, MOLECULAR MEDICINE, SCRIPPS RESEARCH: Thanks, Rosemary, always good to be with you.

CHURCH: Thank you. So, in Los Angeles and of course elsewhere, we are seeing skyrocketing COVID cases in kids, particularly those not yet able to get vaccinated because they're too young, but also school-aged children whose parents have chosen not to give them their shots. So how concerned are you about this situation?

TOPOL: It is very concerning, Rosemary. Because seeing a rise in kids not just in L.A. or in United States and other countries as well. It is almost all in the unvaccinated. But as you said, many of these kids age five and older in this country could get vaccinated.

The other thing with Omicron is that there's a lot of upper airway replication of the virus. And these are small airways in young children. So even those people who have a vaccine breakthrough could have some trouble as well.

CHURCH: And of course, there's also concern about mental health issues for kids who will be forced into learning virtually again because schools will be shot down if too many teachers and indeed students get infected. So, what is the solution here?

TOPOL: This is a tough one. The transmissibility of Omicron as you well know is unprecedented. It's hard to imagine we'll ever see a virus that can transmit at this level. So, there are things that we know work may not be fully effective. We need better masks. It's hard to get young children to wear masks so faithfully, but bringing them together.

The other thing of course that we don't do enough of is the rapid testing, not just one-off testing but frequently ideally every day or every other day. but they're in very short supply and they're a good screening tool but, again, the practical aspects are holding us back.

CHURCH: Yes, that is a big concern, isn't it? And we're also seeing major disruptions at hospitals across the United States with health care workers calling in sick due to COVID leaving many hospitals struggling to actually fill the various shifts and forcing the closure of some urgent care facilities.

California's solution is to allow health care workers who have tested positive but are asymptomatic to return to work but that, of course, is raising its own set of concerns. What is your response to this -- and what do you think needs to be done in this situation?

TOPOL: Well, we'd like to limit the time of isolation, but we don't want to promote further spread, especially in the health care environment. So having two tests as used in other countries would be a better way to say it's safe to go back. We're making compromises and that's not good.

I think one of the other problems we're having is that in the United States because of the lower vaccination rates and lower boosters we are seeing much more trouble than has been seen for severe disease in countries that have high vaccination and high booster rates.


CHURCH: And let's talk about that because in the United States about 85.5 percent of all Americans 18 and over have received at least one vaccine shot which means in a few weeks, months maybe that will be fully vaccinated, we could be looking at 85 and a half, maybe 90 percent. Does that give you some sort of hope that this could perhaps be the beginning of the end of this pandemic?

TOPOL: We never want to lose hope. We certainly want to hope that this population level immunity which is going to be bolstered through Omicron will help get us there. But the problem of course is there are still going to be tens of millions of people unvaccinated. There's the children below age five where there's no sight of a vaccine for many months to come. And there's the under use of vaccines in children between ages five and all the way up through 17.

So, we have a significant problem, that there's a lot of holes in that story of having this population level immunity that those who aren't vaccinated basically can derive benefit from.

CHURCH: Do you think the parents of those children can ever be convinced or have we just reached a point where this is what we're going to have to learn to live with?

TOPOL: Well, that's a really good point you're making. Because just this week the CDC advisory meeting there was a review of the myocarditis cases in children ages 5 to 11 and it was remarkable that there are only 12 cases in nearly nine million doses and it's much less than one-tenth of the rare cases that we're seeing in the teenage group.

So, that was the main concern, and those 12 cases were self-limited. There were no long-term sequelae so we should have much more confidence now with these nearly nine million doses in the U.S. that children should get vaccinated. That's going to help our schools be able to stay open and thrive.

CHURCH: Hopefully we can get that message out to all of those parents who remain reluctant to move forward with these vaccines. Dr. Eric Topol, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it and appreciate you.

TOPOL: Thank you. Thank you very much.

CHURCH: And still to come here on CNN, top ranked tennis star Novak Djokovic has won a major legal battle in an Australian court. We'll have more on this breaking news after the break.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. More now on our breaking news story this hour.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic has won his visa appeal and can now remain in Australia to play in the Australian Open. The ruling comes just days after Djokovic was detained in Melbourne over issues with his COVID-19 vaccination exemption.

An for more on this we want to turn to Ben Rothenberg, he joins us live from Melbourne. He is a senior editor at Racquet magazine and the host of No Challenges Remaining podcast. Thank you for joining us, Ben.

BEN ROTHENBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, THE RACQUET: Thanks, Rosemary. CHURCH: So, this court decision, it has shocked Australians, but it's

not over yet. What is the government's likely next move? And how much messier could this potentially get?

ROTHENBERG: So, Christopher Tran who is the counselor representing the government in this hearing today made it clear as soon at the ruling came in favor of Djokovic that the government and its minister could very quickly re-cancel Djokovic's visa basically. He won this round but it could only be one of the proceedings here.

They have opportunity they're saying, to re-cancel the visa and restart the proceedings anew. Because the cancel -- the ruling in favor of Djokovic that was really unfairly, you know, small technical grounds and procedural grounds on what happened when he was being retained at the Melbourne airport that he wasn't given proper time to consult with people, proper access to his phone, proper documents, to things like that.

And so I think the Australian authorities could say, hey, if that was not right the first time, let's re-cancel it and do it all over and we'll get you this time. They're not letting it go just yet.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, it has to be said, Australia has been particularly tough when it's come to sticking to the rules and requiring COVID vaccinations for all players at the Australian Open, and indeed other events. And Djokovic was told at the end of 2021 that he would need to be vaccinated if he wanted to participate. So, what message does this court decision send?

ROTHENBERG: I think it sends a message that's pretty antithetical what the government wants. So now the government, Scott Morrison's government wants to be seen as being tough on COVID and tough on border safety related to COVID and maybe more generally.

Having someone like Djokovic be able to, sort of, essentially talk his way into the country without a proper vaccination like is required to people at the border and using an exemption that was granted by one party but not recognize by another is probably seen as pretty flimsy and saying they want to stop.

And this has become a very high-profile case. And Novak Djokovic has become a real political football in Australia. He is someone fairly easy to score points. They think he's not the most popular player here at the tournament. He is someone who is seen as trying to be above and around the rules.

And Victoria, especially having its long history during the pandemic of collective sacrifice of lockdowns of high vaccination rates, there's not a lot of sympathy or not a lot of time for someone as Djokovic who's seen as sort of flaunting his own individual wishes to do his own thing and not be part of the collective effort to get out of this pandemic together which really has been the ethos down here.

CHURCH: Yes. And of course, the federal government made it very clear where thing stood. But then these mixed messages came from the government of the state of Victoria and from tennis America. So who dropped the ball here and what will the consequences likely be?

ROTHENBERG: I mean, for most, I think Djokovic dropped the ball just by not being vaccinated. By taking this very hard stance he made life much tougher for him. None of this would have been happening if he had just gotten vaccinated like at least 97 percent of his tennis playing peers have done right now. We think among the top players.

It's been a very high acceptance gradual, slowly but now they did do it in large part because they understood that vaccination would be required to come play the year's first Grand Slam in Australia. So, Djokovic made life tougher for himself there off the bat.

And then, also, tennis Australia clearly not communicating well to him just how loaded the landscape would be here. I think he really dug himself a hole by sort of victoriously announcing before he got on the plane, hey, I'm coming, Australia, with my permission exemption.

And it really, sort of, let Australia get 24 hours to man their battle stations of resistance against him now to defend and to try to stop this. Because it was a very angry reaction that that announcement got that he was coming down for a tennis tournament.

This really outraged Australians pretty much across the board. And it was not a popular decision. And so, I think Djokovic and tennis Australia really misread the temperature of the country and the national mood right now for what it would be for his very contested arrival.


CHURCH: Australians have endured some pretty draconian lockdowns so it's pretty tough when someone comes in and gets away with this. So Ben Rothenberg, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

ROTHENBERG: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: Well, the fate of Ukraine hangs in the balance as critical talks get underway between the U.S. and Russia in Switzerland. We are live in Geneva and Kiev. That's coming up.

Plus, a health system on the brink. How Afghanistan is struggling to provide even the most basic health care.


CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. Well, senior U.S. and Russian diplomats are behind closed doors at this hour discussing the fate of Ukraine. The high stakes talks began a short time ago in Switzerland. The Americans want Russia to end its troop buildup near the Ukrainian border and the Kremlin wants guarantees Ukraine won't join NATO. Both sides have downplayed expectations.

Here's the U.S. secretary of state speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: What about moving U.S. Heavy weaponry out of

Poland, moving missiles, limiting the scope of U.S. Military exercise? Are any of those on the table?

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Look, first, Jake, I don't think we're going to see any breakthroughs in the coming -- in the coming week. We're going to be able to put things on the table. The Russians will do the same, both directly with us, at NATO at the OSC and we'll see if there are grounds for moving forward.


CHURCH (on camera): Well for the latest, CNN's Sam Kiley is live in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and Nic Robertson is in Geneva, Switzerland. So, Nic, these are high stakes talks. What are the challenges ahead of finding ways to avert war?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the challenges are extreme, and I think they're exemplified by the positions that both parties go into these talks. We just saw a few minutes ago Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman coming into the same room as Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister in Russia.

They're both leading their respective delegations that include not only diplomats but military experts and security officials. And that tells you something about the nature of these talks. But the United States is coming into these talks saying nothing about you without you to its allies and partners Ukraine and its NATO and European allies and partners.

That is designed to send the message to Russia that they're not going to talk about -- about broader issues that are outside of a very natural, narrow bilateral relations with the United States that could potentially include missile reductions in the future as long as they're reciprocal.

And the Russians come into this thinking that they must get the United States to agree to changes in NATO's posture so that the United States can help, you know, if you will, force that through NATO. The Russian belief is that the U.S. holds a sort of most power at NATO and without the United States on board and they also believe that the United States is responsible in part for past errors of NATO and expanding eastward.

So, they want to single out the United States and get them to agree to something, whereas, the United States is going into this saying it is absolutely aligned and lashed up, fully lashed up with all its partners pointing out the Secretary of State Antony Blinken has had conversations with all those partners over the past few weeks.

So, even going into this before you get down to the very nature of the conversation both sides come at this from opposite perspectives. These are going to be very, very tough talks even to get off the ground. CHURCH: And, Sam, to you now in Kiev. What is the situation there as

tensions rise and of course, Russian troops amass at the Ukrainian border?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, you've got over 100,000 Russian troops massed not just on the eastern border but the northeastern border effectively surrounding a lozenge of territory, large amount of territory in Ukraine poised there now for several months.

The front line in eastern Ukraine is quiet for now, but the Ukrainian foreign minister, Mr. Kuleba has just issued a statement referring to the talks going on not just in Geneva but the talks that the Ukrainians are going to have bilaterally with the NATO secretary general also today in this week of frantic diplomatic activity, saying in a tweet in English just few hours ago, let's call a spade a spade.

He said the Russians are demanding effectively an abrogation of the sovereignty of large number of east European state, and indeed, Ukraine. And by that, he means this Russian demand that NATO pull back effectively to the status quo and going back to 1997, a period in which a large number of east European states began to join the European Union, cut ties with the Soviet Union and eventually join NATO to come in under the security blanket of the nation such as the Baltic states, very anxious, indeed, almost perpetually about a future Russian invasion.

Very keen there for the states to join NATO. And of course, that is what has so angered Vladimir Putin. So, the two sides, as Nic was saying, very, very far apart. With the Ukrainians reinforcing this idea that no talks should be conducted about or even concerning their sovereignty without them being at the table.

And that's going to be a leap throughout this week and indeed, that's been the Ukrainian position as indeed it is of all the other E.U. member states. And indeed, Georgia which is also be meeting later on this week with alongside NATO at the NATO meeting with the senior military officers.

CHURCH: All right. Our thanks to Nic Robertson in Geneva and Sam Kiley in Kiev.

Well, Kazakhstan's president is calling the recent violent protests in the country an attempted coup but says constitutional order has been restored. He made the remarks during a virtual summit with leaders of the Russian-led military alliance that he called in to restore calm.

At least 164 people are dead and nearly 8,000 others are being detained after the crackdown on protests. The demonstrations began over a spike in fuel prices but expanded to anger over government corruption, poverty and unemployment.


Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The International Rescue Committee aid group warns that more than 90 percent of the country's health care centers are on the verge of collapse. It's due largely to the suspension of international aid since the Taliban swept back into power.

Earlier, CNN spoke with a representative from Medicins Sans Frontier or Doctors Without Borders and she said they are seeing the impact of the crisis every day.


ANNA CILLIERS, MEDICAL COORDINATOR, MSF AFGHANISTAN: The people of Afghanistan in the first place is beautiful people and they are really resilient people. So, they continue with coping but as I want to mention last night, for instance, we received the body of a woman who delivered at home. She could have delivered safely at our facility but most likely she did not have the transport to come to our facility and then she complicated at home and she died at home.

And this is daily stories that we receive about people who are really suffering and cannot access health care because of problems with income, problems with transport and inaccessibility.


CHURCH (on camera): And she also said Afghan families are foregoing vaccinations for their children against diseases like measles because they have to spend the little money they have on food.

A court in Myanmar has sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in prison on several charges including smuggling walkie talkies. Suu Kyi is on trial for a number of cases with possible combined sentences of more than 100 years.

In December she was sentenced to four years on charges of incitement and breaking COVID-19 rules. That sentence was later reduced to two years. She denies all charges.

And still to come here on CNN, while parts of the U.S. prepare for some bitter cold weather, others have dealt with the threat of tornadoes. We will go to the CNN weather center for the forecast just ahead.



CHURCH (on camera): As the Omicron variant pushes COVID case numbers up around the world, some governments are imposing strict new measures to stop the spread. Starting today, Italy will require a super green pass to access most public areas. It's only granted to those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID with no option for a negative test.

And Italian officials say vaccinations have tripled among people 50 and older. Last week the government made the shots mandatory for that age group. Well, frigid Arctic air is in store for parts of the U.S. Around 13

million people are under wind chill threats across the upper Midwest and northeast.

A lot to get our heads around here. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now to break it all down. What are you seeing, Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, an incredible setup when it comes to the extent of this cold air, where it will end up in the next couple of days. We're talking about in some spots as much as 40 degrees below average. And of course, it is the middle of January. So, you expect temperatures for even averages to be very cold as they are.

But when you bring that to this value, we're talking about in places these wind chills are 45 below zero. That's around northern Minnesota into Monday morning. Even Minneapolis could see some wind chills approach 35 below zero which, by the way, at these values school closures typically are set in motion there.

Any time you get to 6 a.m. in Minneapolis and wind chills are at 35 below or lower, that's typically when school closures are in place, of course you don't want kids outside waiting for a school bus in such temperatures. And the values will get quite close too here into the morning hours across cities such as Minneapolis, and certainly to the north of that region as well.

But look at these lows. Low temperatures when you don't factor in the wind chill. on Tuesday morning in Minneapolis will get down to five below. Nine above is what is average at this of year. Chicago only one is what we expect to wake up too on Tuesday morning. That is 19. Nineteen is what is the average for this time of year. And you kind of see that kind of play out over the next couple of days.

Even on into the northeast where temps drop down into the single digits. And that cold air, quick mover. It does end up here as early as Tuesday morning into Wednesday morning. That's when the heart of the cold is in place. Windchill advisories in interior portions of New England could get as low as 35 below zero. So, again, very dangerously cold wind chills and about a couple of weeks in advance that when we typically see the coldest air on North America.

Climatologically that happens in late January into early February. And of course, we're approaching the middle of January, so we're a week ahead of time. But when you look at Central Park its forecast high temperature on Tuesday afternoon. The National Weather Service put Central Park at 15 degrees for the afternoon high.

Last time it was this cold in the afternoon three years ago back in January of 2019. Incredibly, since 1986 temps this cold in the afternoon in Central Park, Rosemary, have only happened on 10 occasions. So, you think 30 plus years of weather across this region and only a handful of times have we seen it get this cold. Pretty incredible stuff.

CHURCH: It really is, isn't it? Unbelievable. Pedram Javaheri, many thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Well, the Golden Globes was a private event this year with no televised ceremony, no audience and no live stream. Organizers said the scaled down event was due to the surge in COVID-19. NBC announced last year it would not broadcast this year's awards following a controversy over the lack of diversity.

Among the winners announced online Sunday were Jason Sudeikis for "Ted Lasso," Jean Smart for "Hacks," Will Smith for "King Richard," and Oh Yeong-su for "Squid Game." The first Golden Globe ever for a South Korean actor.


Well, Actor and comedian Bob Saget has died. The 65-year-old star was found deceased in an Orlando area hotel room on Sunday. Authorities found no signs of foul play or drug use and say a cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner. Saget is perhaps best remembered as the star of television's "Full House." during an interview last year he explained how he landed that role.


BOB SAGET, COMEDIAN: I was doing audience warmup for "Bosom Buddies" as a comedian when I lived in L.A. trying to get my career going. And then "Full House" was an accident. I got fired from a job on CBS and was asked to be in "Full House" and was an avail then I got the show. And it was made by the producers of Happy Days, which was another show. It was Tom Miller and Bob Boyett and they made Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, all of these classic sitcoms. So, I was kind of the Richie Cunningham on "Full House, and Stamos was Fonzie and Dave was Ralph Rapatzi (Ph).


CHURCH (on camera): CNN's Chloe Melas has more now on Saget's legacy.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Danny Tanner was my dad, he was everybody's dad. Right? And so, Jeff Franklin, the creator of "Full House" was telling me that, you know, it was this cultural phenomenon where people in other countries learned English by watching "Full House," right?

That this wasn't just some show that we watched here in the United States, this was something that was playing on for years in syndication and reruns all over the world.

CHURCH: And in a statement his family says, quote, "he was everything to us and we want you to know how much he loved his fans performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with love.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. CNN Newsroom continues now with Isa Soares.