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Djokovic "Grateful" Visa Cancelation Overturned; No Major Breakthrough at U.S. Russia Meeting in Geneva; China Puts More Cities on Lockdown as Omicron Spreads. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 11, 2022 - 01:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. Ahead here on CNN Newsroom, why Novak Djokovic's big win could turn into a terrible loss. There's still one thing that could stand between him, the Australian Open.

A new climate report says the past decade has seen some of those extreme warming ever. Our weather team is here to break down the how, why and what's next.

Nearly two years in the making, Expo 2020 is finally in full swing, and we will take you on a trip to Dubai.

Novak Djokovic says he's now focusing on playing at the Australian Open, but Australia's immigration minister is still considering whether to remove the tennis star from the country one day after a judge overturn Djokovic's visa cancellation. Now, the visa was first revoked after authorities determined the tennis star didn't qualify for an exemption from the country's COVID vaccination rules. His family says he's already back on court practicing but the ATP says the events leading to Djokovic's court hearing were "damaging for his tournament preparation." Here's how the Premier of Victoria views the situation.


DANIEL ANDREWS, VICTORIAN PREMIER: This tournament is much bigger than any one person. It's a Grand Slam, it's the biggest thing in tennis in the first quarter of the year, every year. It's a massive event for us. And it's bigger than any one person whether that be, you know, in the court or on the court.


NEWTON: On the court or in the courts. CNN's Phil Black is tracking developments and joins me now live from Melbourne.

You have to wonder, you're right. What is the Australian Government thinking in terms of how they will weigh in this decision? And what kind of issues they think will come to the fore?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT Well, Paula, we heard initially yesterday evening from the immigration minister who said he was considering what to do here. A short time ago another statement from his office said that he is still considering what to do as the matter is following process, why so much consideration? Well, I guess having been beaten in court significantly yesterday, if the government is building a further case for canceling his visa and deportation, then logically they will want to get that watertight and beyond any sort of legal criticism. But it is also a reality that the government doesn't face any good options here. Regardless of what it chooses to do next. It is likely to result in, I guess what Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal refers to as the circus of this whole affair.

And so, the government is likely to pay a political price for its overall handling of this. What this means, though, in practice for Novak Djokovic is that he is still in limbo. He is free to train, free to prepare for the upcoming Australian Open. But Paula, he still can't be sure that in a week's time, he's going to be allowed to walk out onto set a court.

NEWTON: Yeah, and obviously a lot at stake here. And let's make a point of it, right? It's not about sports at this point, you know, better than anyone how much Australians have sacrificed during all of this right? And then for them to hear that perhaps he tested positive in mid-December, but then there were pictures of him maskless at events, some of the details of this did come out in the affidavit during the court. I want to ask you though, is no one investigating this. I mean, there's Tennis Australia, any other sanctioning body not care about what kind of behavior was exemplified there?

BLACK: Yeah, so what you're referring to there, Paula, is the fact that supposedly after his positive test on December the 16th, which in the affidavit he says he was aware of that result on that day, social media posts show him on that day and successive days, attending public events and appointments. I'm not aware of any formal investigation at this stage, but there is no doubt that Novak Djokovic will be called to answer questions about this because logically, there are only two significant possibilities here. One is that it's a really important discrepancy in his version of events. A factual discrepancy, the other points to a pretty serious disregard for other people's safety.


So, Novak Djokovic will be asked why he decided to attend these public events after being aware of a positive test on the day and all the day before. Why? He decided to surround himself or allowed himself to be surrounded by children at an award ceremony. The day after he tested positive. These questions and perhaps his answers to them are very likely to follow him for some time. Paula.

NEWTON: OK, Phil, appreciate that. Just after five o'clock there in Melbourne, I know you'll be following developments there if there are any late breaking news headlines, I appreciate it Phil.

Now, we will have more coverage just ahead when we're joined by a tennis expert and CNN World Sports Patrick Snell. That's coming up in about 20 minutes.

And as we just said, we are tracking developments as well. In Italy, where the President of the European Parliament has died. David Sassoli had been in the hospital since December 26. He fell ill with his office says was a serious complication with his immune system. A spokesperson says funeral plans will be announced in the next few hours. We will continue tracking this development story and bring you the latest.

Now, as the U.S. was gearing up for critical talks with Russia on averting a war in Ukraine, it was also signing off on a new security deal for Kyiv. Sources say the Biden administration quietly authorized $200 million in weapons, ammo, and other supplies late last month. Meantime, that high stakes meeting between the U.S. and Russian diplomats wrapped in Switzerland on Monday. More talks so are set for Brussels between Russia and NATO on Wednesday. The Geneva talks yielded no major breakthroughs. But the U.S. says they were frank and forthright.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are two paths for Russia to take at this point, for President Putin to take. He can take the path to diplomacy. There's two more rounds of talks this week. We've seen them as a package of three which I think they also reiterated from their side or there's a path of escalation. We are certainly hopeful that the path to diplomacy is the path that they will take.


NEWTON: CNN's Alex Marquardt has more on the U.S.-Russia talks from Geneva.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): High Stakes discussions to pressure Russia not to invade Ukraine after almost eight hours of talks, the U.S. couldn't answer a key question whether Russia intends to draw down their 100,000 troops that are menacingly positioned all along Ukraine's borders.


MARQUARDT: The Russian side warned the growing risks of confrontation. He told reporters here in Geneva, the Russia has no plans to attack Ukraine, while complaining that their demand the Ukraine never join NATO is falling on deaf ears.

RYABKOV: We underscore that for us is absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never ever becomes member of NATO.

MARQUARDT: On Sunday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken told Jake that is not on the table and Russia has a clear choice.

TONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: There are two paths before us. There's a path of dialogue and diplomacy to try to resolve some of these differences and avoid a confrontation. The other path is confrontation and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression on Ukraine.

MARQUARDT: Those consequences would be unprecedented, expansive economic sanctions on Russia, as well as more military assets moving into Eastern Europe and Ukraine. While both sides emerged without any real victory, discussions did move forward on other issues, including the positioning of missiles that point at each other, and how the two countries could carry out military exercises with more transparency. But it remains to be seen whether Russia is taking this diplomacy seriously or intends to invade Ukraine regardless.

ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, SR. FELLOW, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: We have to be prepared that Russia was using this week of diplomacy and especially the meeting with the United States as a pretext for conflict that they very well may walk away from these discussions and declare that diplomacy has failed.

MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN, Geneva.


NEWTON: Susan Glasser is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Staff Writer at The New Yorker. She joins me now from Washington.

OK, Susan, so far, everything is pretty much gone as expected, right? No breakthroughs. Let's try and push forward, though, to what kind of common ground we might look forward to, especially in the days to come given, you know, the length of the discussions really?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's right. This is set up as really a week of, you know, diplomatic engagements between Russia and not just the United States, but NATO members, key European allies. The problem, of course, is that Ukraine is the country with 100,000 threatening Russian troops on its border and has not been made a party to these discussions, negotiations, whatever you want to call them. And so, one of the big question hanging over this is, you know, what is the point of the talks in the first place? You know, Wendy Sherman, the lead of the American delegation came out of nearly eight hours of talks with the Russians today in Geneva and said, we're not even engaged in negotiations. So, I don't even know what we're supposed to be calling this. But it's not clear that it can prevent a war if a war is in fact, what Vladimir Putin has his heart set on.


NEWTON: And that's still -- the answer to that question, it seems no one knows, perhaps not even Putin himself and in terms of him trying to recalibrate here after this week and decide what he wants to do. And to make a fine point of it, Susan, it has been two decades certainly since I first met Putin since the West was introduced to Putin. Strategically he is seem to outplay the U.S. and European allies. And Susan, OK, I'll admit the word, appeasement is obviously a dirty word. But can the U.S. and Europe perhaps look at things from the Russian perspective? And maybe, you know, cover some ground here. It's not like the United States would welcome Russian military influence in its near abroad. Let's say Cuba, or even Venezuela. So, at this point, do you think the Biden administration is pivoting at all to try and avert what happened in Crimea?

GLASSER: Well, I again, what happened in Crimea has nothing to do. Is not the fault of the United States. And I think that shows the success of Putin and his propaganda, that he has consistently framed this completely manufactured crisis. And I can't emphasize that enough. NATO is not in fact, doing anything differently now than it was doing a year ago. There is no precipitating cause for this, except that Vladimir Putin has decided for a variety of reasons probably having to do with both, you know, his internal politics in Russia, as well as his foreign aspirations to launch into this crisis at this moment in time, he talks about NATO. But NATO is no closer to admitting Ukraine today than it was in 2014, when he invaded Ukraine the first time.

And so, I think part of the problem is, it's not clear, even if the United States and its allies engage with Russia, that Russia can't be trusted to keep its word. Remember that Russia is the only party in these talks that actually made a written commitment to guarantee Ukraine sovereignty in the Budapest memorandum in 1994 and broke its word. So, you know, it's not really -- it could be NATO today. But even if it didn't exist, this crisis might be happening.

NEWTON: You know, arguably, except for Ukraine, Europe seems to me has the most to lose out of any outcome here, you know, and yet, they've been talking to both sides of their mouths for years, certainly trying to contain Russia militarily, but also remaining dependent on Russia for energy in so many ways. I mean, certainly that isn't something that's gone unnoticed, right, in the Biden administration?

GLASSER: Absolutely. And in fact, one of the main flashpoints, as you alluded to has been the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, that's nearing completion to Germany that would bypass Ukraine, which is something that Ukraine has lobby time and again, with Germany about the Germany has refused, basically entries, the United States has officially been against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the Biden ministration, has stopped short of issuing very stringent sanctions on those who are taking part in the completion and the construction of that. So that's something that could happen right now as a pre-obvious first order consequence of Putin's military buildup against Ukraine. But up until now, you're right, the Germans have been very reluctant to engage in this level of sanctioning.

And there really are much more stringent measures that could be put into effect against Russia in response to this, and that the Europeans and the United States held off doing after the 2014 invasion of Crimea in the first place. And so, one of the things that you're seeing here in Washington is the Biden ministration having taken stock of what went wrong in 2014, or what they could have done in the Obama administration, that was tougher, and I think determined not to make those seem what they now see as mistakes again.

NEWTON: Yeah, it will be an interesting week to come. I'm not convinced we're going to end up in any different destination at the end of the week, but we'll all be watching it from the sidelines. Susan Glasser, I appreciate your perspective.

GLASSER: Thank you.

NEWTON: Kazakhstan's president says the Russian led military alliance that came to help restore order will completely withdraw over a 10-day period. Now, he had asked for their help during the protests that began last week. The Interior Ministry says nearly 10,000 people have been detained in the unrest.

Meantime, parliament has confirmed the President's nomination for a new prime minister after the former prime minister resigned during the protests. Fred Pleitgen has details from across the border in Kurdistan.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the situation in Kazakhstan appears to have somewhat calmed down, it's certainly still is very fragile at the same time apparently also very fast moving as well.


On Monday, Nicole with leaders from the region, the Kazakhstani president, he called the events that unfolded in Kazakhstan over the past week or so the protests that took place in so many cities there, an attempted coup, and he also said that he believes that a lot of that was induced from the outside and by outside forces.

Now, so far, the Kazakhstani government has not provided any sort of evidence that that could be the case. However, they did say that they would be providing evidence very soon. So that's certainly something that many people are waiting for and waiting to see what that evidence could be.

At the same time, the Kazakhstan government has also reacted to some of the international criticism for what some perceived to have been a very heavy-handed approach and a very heavy-handed reaction to those protests, a senior Kazakhstani official, he spoke to our own Christiane Amanpour. And here's what he had to say.

ERZHAN KAZYKHANOV, KAZAKH SPECIAL REP. FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The problem started with the fact that the peaceful protest unfortunately has been hijacked by perpetrators, terrorist groups, both domestic and foreign, and that created a big problem for the country so that the President announced their emergency situation, and he assumed the office of the chair of the National Security Council.

PLEITGEN: And it certainly doesn't appear as though the Kazakhstani government is changing its line or changing that approach that is taking at the same time the death toll is also shooting up as well. The authority saying that 164 people have been killed, 103 of those in Almaty alone. That of course, was really pretty much the hardest hit city of those protests. And it was also where some of those very troubling images came from of soldiers, apparently sweeping through the streets there and apparently also opening fire as well. Now, the Kazakhstani authorities are saying that the situation is coming under control. A day of mourning was put in place on Monday. The internet was also restored at least for a while, but they also acknowledged that a lot of that calm is now happening because there are foreign forces on the ground. Of course, the largest contingent of that are Russian forces and the Russians are saying their forces will remain on the ground for as long as needed. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


NEWTON: North Korea has carried out what's thought to be its second weapons test of the year. The South Korean military says the North fired unidentified projectile to the east and that it was likely a ballistic missile. Now, North Korea's leader vowed to strengthen the military in his New Year's message. Last week the North announced it had test fired, a hypersonic missile, although experts doubt that claim.

Now, new lockdowns, booster shots and tighter restrictions go into effect in the Pacific. Governments across Asia now trying out new public health measures to stop the Omicron variant of COVID-19, a live report from the region straight ahead.

Plus, Italy rolls out its new super green pass, what it means for people who are not fully vaccinated. And we'll have the story of the British Prime Minister and the BYOB, you know, bring your own booze party while the rest of the country was in lockdown.



NEWTON: The goal is the same, right? Countries around the world are struggling to contain the Omicron variant of COVID-19. But they have very different strategies. Australia has surpassed more than a million total cases now, that was after lifting some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world.

Now, hospitals in some states are treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before. Meantime, China, Hong Kong and India are tightening restrictions as new cases spread. CNN's Anna Coren is following all of this from Hong Kong. And some very significant new restrictions not just in China, just ahead of the Olympics, but also there in Hong Kong where you are?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, that's right. Paula here in Hong Kong, which is adhering to that zero COVID strategy, which we're seeing on the mainland, remembering we have very strict quarantine rules if you want to come into Hong Kong. Authorities are anticipating this fifth wave. Now, at the moment, numbers are only at about 24 new cases that was reported yesterday. And yet we heard from the Chief Executive Carrie Lam today saying that she has now decided to close kindergartens and primary schools starting on Friday.

When we heard from her last week, she said that she was going to do everything in her power to keep these schools open for the mental health of children. Clearly something has changed, last week, they bought in restrictions for dining and restaurants after 6 p.m. That is no longer allowed flights from eight countries where there is a huge Omicron outbreak like the United States, the UK, Australia, those flights are banned to and from those countries. So that is what we are seeing here in in Hong Kong.

In mainland China, you know, authorities very concerned about the Omicron outbreak, particularly in Tianjin, which is a municipality that borders Beijing. You know, the port city of Tianjin is only about 130 kilometers from the Chinese capitol, which is going to host the Winter Olympics in just over three weeks starting on the fourth of February.

Now, 45 cases have been detected in Tianjin since Sunday, including these locally transmitted cases and that is causing real concern. You know, those two cities, Tianjin and Beijing you could get there within 26 minutes on the fast train, that train no longer operating. Most trains are not as the city of 14 million people goes into this partial lockdown and testing, you know, is underway. Particular neighborhoods have shut down whereas in central China in Henan province, two cities, Anyang and Jiaozuo (ph) have been completely shut down. And that is where we are seeing that the largest outbreak in China. Paula.

NEWTON: Yeah, it's so interesting just to see the diverging strategies there and the fact that even with Omicron they are doing what they can to make sure they don't get to that exponential growth in cases. Anna Coren, again, thanks so much.

Now, Sweden is the latest European countries to tighten its COVID restrictions requiring restaurants, bars and cafes to close at 11 p.m. starting Wednesday. The prime minister also set new attendance limits on indoor public events, and she wants people to work from home. Things are getting tougher in Italy as well where the health minister says two thirds of hospital ICU beds are now filled by the unvaccinated. CNN's Cyril Vanier reports on how the government is responding.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You could call this a quasi-lockdown on the unvaccinated. Italy is among European countries tightening restrictions on those who refuse to get immunized against COVID-19. A super green pass came into effect Monday raising the bar for access to many areas of public life. Whereas the negative COVID test was sufficient until now to gain access to things like bars, restaurants and other everyday activities. Proof of full vaccination including a booster will now be needed. So, whether it's hospitality, cultural events, gyms, religious ceremonies, even public transport as of now unvaccinated Italians are barred from all of those.

Another measure that will come into effect this one next month, mandating vaccines for over 50s and they're already signs that it's working two days after the announcement, the number of over 50s getting vaccinated tripled, and the number of people across all age groups getting a first dose increased by 60% all this in a country that has a high rate of vaccination because nearly 90% of Italians over the age of 12 are vaccinated.


Yet Italy is still posting record high infection numbers. The tiny minority the 10% that are not vaccinated occupies two-thirds of the beds in intensive care, according to Italy's health minister. Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


NEWTON: There's your trouble for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over another party at Downing Street during the country's first COVID lockdown, a leaked email from one of his top officials invited staff to a BYOB, bring your own booze party in the Number 10 Garden in May of 2020.

Now, the Prime Minister refuses to say if he attended. An investigation is already underway and claims the Downing Street held several events in 2020 despite local restrictions against them.

I had for us here on CNN why Australia's immigration minister can still cancel Novak Djokovic's visa just days before the Australian Open. Plus, why Djokovic is COVID vaccine exemption and visa issues are sparking worldwide debate.


NEWTON: More on our top story this hour, tennis star Novak Djokovic is back training after a judge overturned the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa. But Djokovic's legal battle now it's not over yet. Australia's Immigration Minister still has the authority to cancel the tennis stars visa.

Joining me now here in Atlanta is World Sports., Patrick Snell. Patrick, this has just brought into so many issues and the sporting issues are just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, the ATP, right, the governing body here for the players, I mean, where do they stand in all of this and especially when it comes to player vaccinations?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah, yeah, Paula, you know, this plot twist every step of the way, right? And we're expecting more potentially, who knows the way this has all been going, but you're quite right, we have now heard from the men's professional tour that's the ATP, which is really interesting insight from them, calling the series the whole chain of events leading up to Djokovic's court hearing a Monday, "damaging on all fronts," as it put it, including Djokovic's overall well-being and preparations of course for the years first Grand Slam tournament. Why is this highly significant because the Serbian superstar is going for a record 21st Grand Slam title to become the most decorated men's player in history, at least in terms of Grand Slam titles.


Right now, he's level on 20 with a certain Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. A statement from the ATP saying it's clear Novak Djokovic believes he has been granted the necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

Something else in that statement that we found very interesting indeed, big picture scenario in terms of vaccinations. "More broadly, ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time. We are encouraged that 97 percent of the top 100 players were vaccinated, leading into this year's Australian Open."

Of course, that was the whole narrative, wasn't it, ahead of the Australian Open? Was Novak Djokovic actually vaccinated? Well we know from those court documents that we heard in the hearing on Monday that that was not the case indeed.

PAULA NEWTON CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And interesting, presenting stats, that still means three players are not vaccinated, including Novak Djokovic.

You know, rival here, Rafa Nadal really being quite blunt about what he thinks about the situation.

SNELL: Yes, mention Nadal off the top there, like Djokovic on 20 Grand Slam titles himself going into this year's Aussie open looking for number 21. Don't discount the man from Majorca, either.

And he, you know as we were speaking earlier, weren't we today Paula, he has been very vocal indeed on this particular topic. The Majorcan himself fully vaccinated, yet he tested positively recently. He has overcome injury as well. He is in good spirits.

He should be at a weekend win Down Under in Australia, but he has been coming out and he has been weighing in on the Djokovic situation following the hearing on Monday.

This is what the Spaniard had to say, "In the end it has grown into a bit of a circus, like in many other stories, whether or not I agree with Djokovic on some things, justice has spoken, and has said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open. And I think it is the fairest decision to do so if it has been resolved that way. I wish him the best of luck."

Nadal, a 20-time major winner also weighing in. Now earlier in the week he has kind of critical of Djokovic, hasn't he? He said yes, look, I do feel sorry for him. I do have some sympathy for him. But the way to have avoided all of this was simply to get yourself vaccinated before coming down under to Australia. That was Rafa Nadal before the hearing on Monday.

So look, this is happening. This is fast moving. Every step of the way we're following all the developments, you can be sure of that.

NEWTON: Yes. And more developments to come, perhaps even just in the next hour or two as we await that decision from the Australian government. Patrick Snell, thanks for staying up with us here at "WORLDSPORT". Appreciate it.

Now, Novak Djokovic's case has attracted worldwide attention and sparked anger from his critics. Here's what some residents are saying in Melbourne.


KEITH MOORE, MELBOURNE RESIDENT: I'm appalled. The judges seemed to have no understanding of public requirements in respect to Djokovic. He is a selfish, non-vaccinated and I think, he is strays from the truth.

ORI RUSSO, MELBOURNE RESIDENT: I think it's also strange that the government keeps changing their mind about things. I don't understand why there's such a big fuss about it. You just let him play.

JASON ROBINSON, MELBOURNE RESIDENT: Without knowing all the details. On the surface of it, it doesn't feel right. It doesn't seem to pass the sniff test. It looks like he's doing whatever he likes. We've had to go through vaccination protocols and lockdowns for such a long time and this one's in and can pretty much do what he likes because he's the world's best tennis player.


NEWTON: Now for more on all the (INAUDIBLE) for this case we want to turn to Ben Rothenberg, who's in Melbourne for us. He's a senior editor at "Racket Magazine" and host of "No Challenges Remaining" podcast. Thanks so much for being here.

You know, we heard diverse opinions there in Australia, but you do also get the sense that the government is not off the hook here, that they are part and parcel of, you know, what Nadal called the circus.

BEN ROTHENBERG, EDITOR, "RACKET MAGAZINE": Absolutely. There's a big breakdown in communication between state and federal government, and also Tennis Australia the governing body that runs the Australian Open and the federal government.

Miscommunicating to Djokovic that he what he said it would be when he landed without vaccination here. He had gotten a clear impression from Tennis Australia via the Victoria government, that his exemption would count at the border, that he would be in good shape to get into the country.

And the federal government, you know, upon hearing that he was coming with an exemption made it clear that he wouldn't be, and upon scrutiny of it at the airport determined he couldn't enter. He got his appeal granted on procedural grounds but Djokovic is still by the letter of the law and how things are being practiced currently and preached by the politicians in charge, he is still not in great standing if they do choose to review his case.

[01:34:55] ROTHENBERG: He still is unvaccinated, which should not be allowed as an exemption that he applied for, having had COVID recently. It's not something the immigration authorities say they're going to accept as a reason for getting into the country unvaccinated.

NEWTON: Yes. And we could still have a decision on this in the coming hours or perhaps days. Now, I want to point out, Tennis Australia seems very protective of Djokovic right now. I mean do they share in the responsibility of these issues?

And from what you know, what is their posture here? Because they're not really seeming to come down the middle here. They're squarely in his corner.

ROTHENBERG: No, they've been quiet. They've been, they've been pretty squarely in his corner, right. but it's also be3en -=- he's not someone they're celebrating necessarily either. Djokovic has been conspicuously absent from all the various promotional materials and posters all around the city. You can't really find Djokovic's face anywhere.

And lot of other players, and this is someone, again, who's going for a 10th Australian Open title to defend his title, 21st record -- all- time's men's singles record he's going for here. Indeterminate really it's kind of a bit -- it's hard to say embarrassed but certainly not proud of his participation it seem like.

You know, the practice today was completely behind closed doors. They locked all the doors to Rod Laver Arena, turned off the cameras. So there's definitely some discomfort here, even if clearly people at Tennis Australia wanted him here and created exemption rules and processes in the hopes that Djokovic would be allowed to come.

They built in these processes for him to be able to come despite his vaccination stances. But really it does seem to have backfired on them pretty spectacularly. And cast sort of a weird pall over the whole tournament and it's awkward scenes now with him getting to the tournament, being in the player gym, interacting with other players, there's certainly just you know, an elephant in the world room, to put it mildly when he's --


NEWTON: Yes. As you said, awkward. And perhaps even a public health risk. I want to talk to you about that is well. I mean these are governing bodies in the sports. And athletes have been punished for much less and other sports here in the United States and around the world.

I mean look, he either was positive with COVID-19 in mid December and then endangered other people's health, or he's not quite coming clean about when he had COVID. Is there no one in the tennis world in terms of governing bodies that's going to investigate this or question him about that?

ROTHENBERG: You know, this is the kind of the thing in tennis. Sort of a lot of these disciplinarian conduct issues can fall between the cracks. It's a very disparate sport. It moves around the world constantly between different legal systems, different immigration systems in this case, different COVID procedures. And so the ATP, for example, covers rank and file men's events, then each of the Grand Slam federation's hold remain over their spot in the calendar.

So something like misbehavior in the off-season in Serbia, you know, in terms of going near kids when you're purportedly COVID-positive is obviously not something people want to endorse or be happy with. But there's also no clear answer, you know, for Djokovic, who is answering to it in terms of being culpable or, you know, responsible for that sort of behavior.

So there's sort of a leadership vacuum in the sport and responsibility vacuum, the accountability vacuum in the sport. We've seen a few different times during the pandemic emerge in different ways. And this is certainly one of the uglier and longer incidents of this and it keeps dragging on and doesn't make anybody in the sport look good, that's for sure.

NEWTON: Absolutely. Good perspective there in terms of insights about how it is governed. And such a shame, given all the sacrifices so many people in Australia have made. They just want to watch tennis, right? They just want to watch the elite play tennis.

Ben Rothenberg, thanks again. Appreciate it.

Now Novak Djokovic is not the only tennis player with these issues in Australia. A Czech player had her visa canceled and left the country on Saturday without appealing the decision. Now, she had a vaccine exemption from recovering from COVID-19 last month and was detained in the same hotel as Djokovic. She didn't realize though that she could challenge the visa decision. Take a listen.


RENATA VORACOVA, CZECH TENNIS PLAYER: I cannot say that it is anger, but I am really sad that this happened, you know. As I mentioned, I mean it's one of the biggest tournament, Grand Slams I prepared, and you go there and then these things happen, you can't even imagine that it is possible in 21st century to happen, you know, in this country.


NEWTON: Now, she said she was questioned for six hours about her visa and afterwards, quote, "really didn't know what she was supposed to do."

Coming up here on CNN, a new report finds global temperatures on the rise and they are nearing a catastrophic breaking point.

Plus last year's climate disasters cost the U.S. billions of dollars, and of course, hundreds of lives. We will break down the numbers ahead.



NEWTON: Now, a pit of fire in Turkmenistan that has burned for decades may soon be extinguished. The inferno-like site is officially called the Darvaza creator after the town where it is located, but many people refer to it, in fact, as "the gates of hell".

These pictures give you a clue as to why the apocalyptic looking attraction was created in the early 1970s when the ground collapsed underneath the soviet gas drilling expedition.

Geologists lit the hole on fire to stop the spread of the gas, expecting the flames to fizzle out in a few weeks.

Now the country's president has ordered scientists to find a way to snuff out the famous fire, according to state-run newspaper. The government says even though it's a popular place, it's damaging the environment and infecting the health of people who live nearby.

Earth is reaching the point of no return as global temperatures continue to rise. A new report from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service found the last seven years were the warmest on record, with 2021 being the 5th warmest year ever.

Global temperatures may have dropped last year, but researchers still worry about the overall warming of earth's atmosphere. Now, right now the average temperature is 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That's nearly three-fourths of the way to the critical 1.5- degree threshold that scientists have warned we must stay under. If not, we will see the worst impact of a fevered planet.

But almost every corner of the world is already feeling its effects, right. From arctic melting to deadly floods to historic droughts and unprecedented heat waves and these extreme weather disasters will only become more common.


FREJA VAMBORG, SENIOR SCIENTIST, COPERNICUS CLIMATE CHANGE SERVICE: We are expecting to see more frequent heat waves or more intense heat waves, and also there is already observational evidence that's in Europe due to the warming that is taking place already. Heat waves have already become more intense.


NEWTON: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more. And you don't have to convince any of us of that. I mean just looking at some of the temperatures from this summer in North America, just that will convince you.

PEDRAKM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, the broader perspective showed you exactly how things have played out, Paula. And as you noted the 5th warmest on record and what this particular study really wanted to highlight was don't look at the year by year numbers and see the small variations between say 2021 being the 5th warmest when the warmest was 2016 those are negligible because they're so close to one other. It's the broader trend and the fact that just the past seven years. All of them fall in line within that warmest category.

It gives you a sense of scale. And of course, it's not just seven years of data. You look decade after decade and you see that upward trend and again you'll notice those small variations. These are because of ocean patterns, these are because of the atmospheric patterns whether it be el nino or la nina.

These can make variations around the world where you had years -- worst temperatures globally are slightly cooler than just before it. But the overall trend is a linear one. You see the spike between 2010 and 2020. Again, slight variations, up and down over the last say 24 or so months but when you look at the overall trends since the 1980s, about $30 billion disasters took place in that decade.


JAVAHERI: In the 1990s that number went up into the 50s. In 2000 to 2009, that number went up into the 60s and we see where we have been in the past decade or so, 123 of these billion dollar disasters, of course, the cost continues to rise.

And it's not just because of the carbon dioxide levels that are increasing. You know, animal agriculture, a large part of an increasing CO2 emissions. That has also increased, and oil and gas production, a large part of this as well. Methane which is about 80 times more potent than CO2, that has also increased about 10 percent at an alarming rate here in the past two decades.

All of this leads these events where we see extreme heat, extreme fires. Europe, as we noted here, the hottest year on record in 2021, and was the same around North America as well into the United States. So all of these really sobering here, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. Data points that are absolutely very difficult to ignore.

Pedram, thanks for that update. Appreciate it.

And you know, as he was just saying -- hurricanes, out of season tornadoes, non stop wildfires, are costing the United States hundreds of billions of dollars. The price tag for last year's weather disasters, just last year, was higher than previous years both in dollars and, of course, in human lives.

CNN's Rene Marsh breaks down the numbers.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From a rare winter firestorm and historic drought to devastating hurricanes and unusual late season tornado outbreak, and unprecedented snow and ice. The full range of billion dollar weather disasters seen across the nation in that past 12 months is now quantified in a newly released climate report. 2021 was deadlier than 2020, and one of the most expensive years for billion-dollar weather disasters.

That's according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Nearly 700 people died in 20 separate billion-dollar disasters. That's more than double 2020s deaths.

The staggering economic toll totaled $145 billion. The new data crystallizes the human and financial impact of climate change now.

DR. RACHEL CLEETUS, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: It's an alarm bell. And I should point out why we should've taken action years ago but now absolutely we have to do this.

MARSH: The new report only captures the most costly disasters, which is only about 80 percent of the total economic loss. Hurricane Ida, a deadly Category 4 storm that slammed Louisiana and triggered tornadoes and flooding as far north as New York City, was the most expensive, costing the U.S. $75 billion.

The winter storm that froze the deep south including Texas last February was the second costliest at $24 billion, and the western wildfires cost the U.S. $10.6 billion.

CLEETUS: We cannot adapt to runaway climate change. That's why we have to do sharply curtail our heat trapping emissions.

MARSH: In 10 years these disasters have caused the United States just over a trillion dollars. To put this in perspective, that's double the cost of the currently stalled climate legislation, the climate provisions in the bill aimed to slash greenhouse gases by half of 2005 levels.

VICTORIA SALINAS, FEMA: If the Build Back Better bill passes, those are all tools to make sure that we are leveraging our dollars and our taxpayer dollars to have more communities be safer.

MARSH: FEMA, the federal disaster response agency, is now doubling down on helping communities better prepare on the front and issuing grants for more weather resistant infrastructure.

But climate change is also spawning unusual weather phenomenon and weather whiplash that is difficult to predict and prepare for. Like this rare event in Colorado. Late last month, flames fueled by warmer temperatures, drought conditions and 100 mile per hour winds were smothered less than 24 hours later, by several inches of snow.

Scientists say if we don't cut emissions the root cause of climate change we are facing a losing battle.

CLEETUS: Let's make the investments ahead of time so we're not just picking up the pieces.

MARSH: Well, the other part of the devastating impact of climate change in the United States is the compounding impact of the frequency of these climate events. In the 1980s these events were happening every 82 days, and now, they are happening every 18 days.

Rene Marsh, CNN -- Washington.


NEWTON: An update now on one of the deadliest home fires New York has ever seen. Authorities now say 17 people were killed, including 8 children, when flames broke out in a Bronx apartment building Sunday.

The National Fire Protection Association says this is now the second deadliest U.S. house fire in nearly 40 years. It was started by a faulty space heater. Now the apartment doors didn't close automatically like they should have, causing smoke to spread throughout the 19th story building. Investigators are looking at the doors as well as potential issues with the fire alarms.


NEWTON: Los Angeles police officers rescued a pilot from his crash landed Cessna seconds before a train hit the wreckage Sunday. The officers' quick action was captured in dramatic video and we warn you it includes graphic images of the pilots injuries.

You can see just how quickly all of this unfolded. Here's a view. Another slow motion view. Take a look.


The officers said there was no time to think.


CHRISTOPHER ABOYTE, LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICER: I did not have any idea where the train was. My primary focus was just talking to the pilot and keeping him calm and alert.

It wasn't until I heard one of my coworkers from behind me say the train is coming in we need to get him out now.

DAMIEN CASTRO, LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICER: It's pretty surreal. Again, at the time the incident actually occurred we just acted and then upon viewing the (INAUDIBLE) video we realized how close we actually were.


NEWTON: Gosh. It's so frightening. Local media reports that the pilot that you saw there that was injured is in stable condition. And miraculously no other injuries were reported.

Ok. Expos have been called the greatest show on earth. Introducing the world to all sorts of new technology and ideas, and this week, China's offerings are taking center stage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NEWTON: The art, culture, technology of China were on display Monday at the 2020 expo Dubai. Festivities marking the national day of China pavilion were held in the centerpiece (INAUDIBLE). The China Pavilion has reportedly received some $800000 visitors from around the world since its opening.

The 2020 expo Dubai got underway just a few months moments ago after the pandemic delayed it by more than a year. Now, the head of the event spoke to CNN's Richard Quest about the challenges they have overcome.


REEM AL HASHIMY, DIRECTOR GENERAL EXPO 2020 DUBAI: I think we delivered on what we committed to doing, and we were able to, alongside 192 nations, really bring the world together at a very auspicious time.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In that sense it's even more important, isn't it? Because what could have been just a big fair and a big whatever became something much more significant.

HASHIMY: There is definitely a symbol of human solidarity, of connecting with one another at a difficult moment, but also recognizing that only through collaboration, through a strong connection, through the sharing of best practice, of knowledge, of information, can we actually overcome some of these global challenges.


NEWTON: Now, Richard Quest takes a closer look at world expos and how they have been giving us a glimpse of the future for more than 170 years.


QUEST: The first world expo was designed to dazzle visitors with the wonders of industry from around the world. Held in London in 1851, the great exhibition welcomed more than 6 million people, introducing them to all the latest technology, everything from printing presses to textile machines. It's that very goal that remains at the heart of these events.


QUEST: So much technology comes from an expo. Take the one that was held here in what is now the natural history museum in London. It was in 1862. On display at that event, submarine cables, the electric telegraph, the forerunner to the refrigerator, and one of the world's earliest computers.

It's not only technology, though. The events celebrate goal development and design and architecture. The Paris Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary addition for the 1889 "Exposition Universal", now of course it's the heart of the city's skyline. World fairs and expos leave landmarks around the world, quite literally in the case of New York. The Eunice Fair is left over from the 1964 Worlds' Fair the year was another one in the city in 1939.

As for this extraordinary monument, I've lived in city for years and I've seen it going to and from airports, but I have never been up close.

The great exhibition is meant to capture the public imagination. Educating, but also bringing a level of excitement to this city and of course a little bit of fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, literally, is the greatest show on earth. This year bigger and better than ever.

QUEST: The New York State Pavilion had two observation towers back in 1964. They became famous in their own right. And then fell into disrepair, but they are now being restored. Of course they have also become famous in movies.

TOMMY LEE JONES, ACTOR: We agreed that we conceal a lot of the evidence of their landing.

WILL SMITH: So these are real flying saucers in the world's fair, which is a cover-up at Atlanta.

JONES: That's why we often we hold it in Queens.

QUEST: Now it is the turn of Dubai, an expo meant to start in 2020, started a year late, kept the original name, and is designed to be in touch with the times. Once again, showing us, perhaps, the way forward.


NEWTON: Our thanks to Richard Quest there.

And you can join "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" live from the 'Dubai Expo 2020" every night this week. He'll be joined by some of the biggest names in business, including the CEO of Emirates, the chairman of DP World, and the founder of the Mack Properties (ph). That's only on CNN.

want to thank you for watching us here. I'm Paula Newton. CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague, Rosemary Church. That's after a quick break. Stay with us.