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European Nations Clamp Down On The Unvaccinated; Vaccine Skepticism Drives Spike In Cases in Romania; Human Rights Groups Demand Access To Stranded Migrants; WTA Threatens To Pull Business Out Of China Over Tennis Star; Israel Welcome U.K.'s Push To Ban Hamas In Its Entirety; U.S. House Passes $1.9 Build Back Better Spending Bill; Indian Farmers Celebrate Win After Year Of Protests. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 10:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Back to square one. Austria reintroduces a nationwide lockdown as coronavirus cases in Europe


And bigger than business. The Women's Tennis Association threatens to ditch China if they don't get answers on missing tennis star Peng Shuai.

And India farmers score a big win. President Modi's government reversing course following a year of protests.

Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Becky Anderson. Welcome to CONNECTING THE WORLD.

Well, the worsening COVID surge in Europe is prompting nations to clamp down on the unvaccinated. Austria is going back into a national lockdown.

You can see police checking shopper's COVID vaccination status. And with one of Europe's lowest vaccination rates, the chancellor is looking to

impose a national vaccine mandate.

Germany is also seeing a dramatic spike in cases as you can see here. It's Upper House has approved tightening measures like requiring people to show

proof of vaccination, recovery or negative tests on public transit and at work. The state of Bavaria has even cancelled Christmas markets this year

to combat the surge with the tradition brings in billions of dollars every year.

Greece is also imposing more rules for the unvaccinated. Starting next week, unvaccinated adults are banned from entering cinemas, theaters,

museums or gyms with or without a test.

Well, for more on this growing clampdown, I'm joined now by Melissa Bell in Paris.

Good to have you with us, Melissa. So this is a huge development, the first nation in Europe, which will make vaccination mandatory countrywide.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Lynda. And you only have to look at the way that this happened in a very staggered manner to

get an idea of how these very fast rising COVID figures have really taken European governments by surprise in many ways. Austria had begun by

announcing, you'll remember on Monday, it had begun a lockdown on the unvaccinated. Then the idea was that two regions were going to have

lockdowns. And by today that announcement of a full lockdown, as you say, the first of its kind in Europe.

Have a listen to what the Austrian chancellor had to say.


ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We have decided now to initiate a nationwide compulsory vaccination very quickly.

This is a plan to apply starting February 1st, 2022. Sustainability increasing vaccination rates I think we are all agreed on this is our only

way to get out of this vicious circle of virus waves and lockdown discussions once and for all. We don't want a fifth wave. We don't want a

sixth wave.


BELL: So that is the answer of the Austrian authorities that as he explained during that press conference they had hoped that people would go

and get vaccinated by choice. In the end, they were going to have to be forced if the pandemic were to be brought to an end. So by February 1st,

Austria will be the first country where you have to be vaccinated by law -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes. Incredible. Just take us through the numbers. What is the vaccination rate? Which pockets in the country are most being targeted

right now in terms of high populations that are refusing to get the vaccine?

BELL: Well, that is one of the characteristics of the restrictions that we've seen these last few days that have been brought in throughout Europe.

Not simply that they are aimed at targeting the unvaccinated. But also that there is a recognition that entire countries are not hit in a uniformed

way. So, for instance, in Germany, where they have spoken of the emergency in which they are for 12 consecutive days, Lynda, of record COVID-19 case


They are looking at those fresh restrictions, some nationwide, but in those areas that have the highest incidents, they're going to take away, for

instance, access to leisure and cultural activities for the unvaccinated. So again, targeting the unvaccinated. Meanwhile, those countries that have

pretty high vaccinate rates, like France, for instance, we've heard from the French president today saying, look, we will not need a lockdown

because we've had this vaccination pass.

Still, there will be a determined effort here as well as in other European countries, Lynda, to make those boosters available to people because part

of this story is not just the unvaccinated, it's also the reigning immunization levels of those who got vaccinated earlier this year.

All of that has combined to create this storm, the fifth wave for many countries, the fourth as Germany considers it, but rising COVID figures and

governments scrambling to find ways of bringing them down without damaging the economy too much -- Lynda.


KINKADE: Absolutely tricky, very challenging. Good to have you with us, Meliss Bell, for us. We will speak to you again soon.

We're going to stay on this story. And the vaccine skepticism of course is bringing heartbreaking consequences to Romania. The country is now in its

fourth wave of COVID-19, and the death toll hit record levels this month as intensive care units reached their breaking point. Romania has the second

lowest vaccination rate in the E.U. and one of the highest COVID mortality rates in the world.

Well, Ben Wedeman is in Bucharest and has been looking into what's behind all of this and joins us now live.

Good to have you with us, Ben. It is fascinating and not surprising, really, when you consider that Romania has amongst the lowest vaccination

rates in Europe and now sadly one of the highest death rates in the world?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, really, Romania is something of a cautionary tale. This is a country which in

December of last year had a fairly good anti-viral vaccination program. But since then, it has fallen victim to misinformation, demagoguery and

suspicion and superstition. And as a result now, every day here, hundreds of people are dying from the disease.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): There is a jarring finality about death from COVID-19 in Bucharest University Hospital. Workers nail coffins shut, spray them

with disinfectant.

Anguished echoes from the next room, a woman sees her loved one for the very last time.

(On-camera): This is Bucharest's biggest hospital. The morgue has a capacity for 15 bodies. But within the last 24 hours alone 41 people have

died. The overflow ends up here in the corridor.

(Voice-over): Every day more COVID dead are wheeled into the morgue. Nurse Claudiu Ionita is closed to the breaking point.

They keep coming, they keep coming, he says. We're working for nothing. We can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And dark is Romania's tunnel. The country is in its fourth wave of COVID. Its worst yet. The death toll from coronavirus hit a record level this

month, intensive care units are strained to the limits. Hospital director Catalin Cirstoiu tries to put the death toll in perspective.

DR. CATALIN CIRSTOIU, MANAGER, BUCHAREST'S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: In Romania, each day we have 400 patients who's dead. You know? 400 people, it's a huge

number. It's a community. It's a village, you know.

WEDEMAN: Romania has one of Europe's lowest vaccination rates against the disease. There are no lines at this Bucharest vaccination center. Medics

say they struggle against fake news, suspicion and superstition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a lot of doctors, myself included, that work with COVID patients, and we are trying to tell people that this disease

actually exists.

WEDEMAN: Parliament member Diana Sosoaca has even tried to physically block people from entering vaccination centers. "If you love your children," she

says, "Stop the vaccinations. Don't kill them." The vaccines have been extensively tested in children and proven to be safe and effective. But she

and others have sent wild rumors and magical thinking swirling through social media.

Colonel Valeriu Gheorghita, a doctor, runs the country's vaccination program.

COL. VALERIU GHEORGHITA, HEAD OF ROMANIA'S VACCINATION CAMPAIGN: We have unfortunately hundreds of death each day. So it's -- this is a reality and

more than 90 percent of patients who died were unvaccinated patients.

WEDEMAN: Nearly 36 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. In rural areas, however, it's half that. The village of Bosanci is an hour's flight

from Bucharest and a world away. Religion holds sway here. Many put more faith in God than science. Village mayor and Pentecostal pastor Neculai

Miron refuses to be vaccinated.

We're not against the vaccine, he insists. But we want to verify it. To be reassured. Because there have been many side effects. We don't think the

vaccine's components are very safe. It's not a safe vaccine.


Experts say the vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19. And just down the road, Dr. Daniela

Afadaroaie has vaccinated 10 people on this day.

No, she tells me, we haven't seen any side effects in any patients we've vaccinated.

In the county of Suceava, fresh graves in the cemetery stark evidence of a recent surge in deaths. Every day in Romania, a village is dying.


WEDEMAN: And in recent weeks, the Romanian government has considered the possibility of implementing a sort of green pass like Italy has, whereby

people who aren't vaccinated cannot go to work. But because of public opposition, they stepped back from implementing that -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, we'll see if they change their mind on not going forward depending on how these cases rise.

Ben Wedeman, thanks so much for that report.

Well, the U.S. is also battling its fair share of vaccine skepticism. But the FDA has just authorized booster shots for the Pfizer and Moderna

vaccines for all adults. Now it goes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the final approval.

Well, to learn more, you can head to and while you're there, watch this story about an unvaccinated COVID patient who woke up after a

month in a coma. It's the same day her family was planning to withdraw her from life support.

Well, the prime minister of Poland says he's spoken to leaders in Iraq about the ongoing migrant crisis at its border with Belarus. And the Iraqi

prime minister promised he would take steps to return Iraqi citizens who are stuck at the border and bring them home. That's as Belarus houses some

of the migrants who failed to get into the E.U. in a giant warehouse, which is close by.

We're showing you some live pictures from that warehouse right now where about 1,000 migrants remain. Well, Iraqis who have already been sent home

are clearly disappointed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The reason for my return is I traveled to the Lithuanian border area and I had only two options, either

to die in a slow death or return. I chose to return. This is a temporary passport. The Belarusian army took my passport away so to be forced not to

return to Belarus. I will return this summer through Turkey. I don't have any business here in Iraq. I don't have a job and no salary. What should I

do? I spent $12,000, sold my car and I will try to leave even if it takes me 20 times.


KINKADE: Well, my next guest says human rights group made immediate access to the region because, quote, "The humanitarian and human rights situation

along Poland's border with Belarus is alarming. Urgent action is needed to protect the lives of people stranded in the border regions."

Well, Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner of the Human Rights of the Council of Europe, joins us now live.

Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So I understand you've just returned from a four-day trip to Poland. You visited the eastern border. You met and spoke with migrants.

And I should point out that this was organized by the Polish foreign minister. Just explain for us what you saw.

MIJATOVIC: Well, I've seen scenes that are not really something that we should be proud of here in Europe. There is a humanitarian crisis and I

think the lack of access for humanitarian organizations but also for media, for journalists, is creating even more problematic situation because there

is no transparency and we do not know what is actually happening in this so-called exclusion.

So I met migrants. I have witnessed clear signs of the painful ordeal of people who have been in limbo at a border area, exposure to extreme cold,

exhaustion, stress, all this is something that I witnessed and this is really problematic, but what I also seen is something that really gave me

more energy and hope.

I met with an amazing human rights defenders, young people, that are working in order to help in a very difficult circumstances, themselves

facing obstructions and insults, and doctors that are doing extraordinary work, Polish citizens, local governments.


But at the same time, what we see here in this discussion about crisis on the border, it's more security narrative. The narrative that is present and

important, those geopolitical games are ugly and dangers and they are affecting people. But somehow I feel that human rights are missing in these

discussions. Somehow I only thought that the only issue that is raised here is related to the security, which, of course, is important. But we have to

put human rights and human dignity at the center of this discussion.

KINKADE: Absolutely. And it's important to remember that we talk about the numbers of migrants, but people, including many children, have been dying

along that border from hunger, from hypothermia. How many migrants and aid workers have you spoken to over the last few days? And what are they

telling you?

MIJATOVIC: As I said, many dozens, the stories they told me are stories that I heard also at the other places that I visited when it comes to the

issue of migration. I went to the islands in Greece, to (INAUDIBLE), to migrant camps, also to my home country Bosnia and Herzegovina, the border

with Croatia. People are going through extremely difficult situations. In Europe, we are failing to see a policy that would offer more legal routes

in order to avoid suffering.

And then, of course, at the end, we see situations where all these policies, all this recommendations that we are currently stating and

repeating are not working in practice. And this particular moment in Poland I think it's an alarm call for Europe in order to change something when it

comes to migration.

The winter is coming. COVID is also still present. And it's not going to disappear. And we have this terrible situation at the border with Belarus.

But this is not the only place where people are suffering when it comes to migration in Europe. Polish authorities have a huge responsibility and this

is also something that needs to be taken into account.

KINKADE: Yes. We are seeing some live pictures of those migrants in a shelter right now. Many, many young kids among the thousand migrants there,

Europe has given no indication that it will accept any of these migrants. And as we've been discussing, there's been a lot of criticism of Belarus

for creating or pushing this humanitarian crisis but in terms of Europe, in terms of Poland, what could they do better right now?

MIJATOVIC: Well, I mean, Belarus should be criticized. I mean, it's reprehensible what they are doing. But at the same, this is not an excuse

to cancel human rights when it comes to Europe, comes to Poland, and the responsibilities that we have when it comes to European Commission of Human

Rights, respect of human rights of migrants and poor people.

I do not think this situation cannot be solved. I do not think this is a catastrophe. But the narrative, hatred that is being targeting migrants, is

also disinformation at the same time, is something that is really problematic and of great concern, not only to me, but to many working on

human rights issues. The first thing that should be really done is to open the exclusion, the so-called, you know, zone that is not allowing

humanitarian organizations and media to the border with Belarus.


KINKADE: That is certainly key. We'll have to leave it there, Dunja Mijatovic. We really appreciate your time, your perspective after having

done that trip.

Commission of Human Rights at the Council of Europe, thanks so much for your time.

Well, the Women's Tennis Association is telling CNN it's willing to pull its business out of China if Peng Shuai isn't found safe. She's the tennis

star who seemed to vanish more than two weeks ago after accusing China's former vice premier of sexual assault. She hasn't been seen in public since

November 2nd.

CNN's Will Ripley is following the story for us.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Silenced and disappeared for speaking out. That's what many fears happened to Peng Shuai, the 35-year-

old, one of the top ranked doubles players in the world, accusing China's 75-year-old former vice premier of coercing her into having sex.


Peng's shocking claim erased within 30 minutes from Chinese social media. That was more than two weeks ago. Peng vanished from public view ever

since. Her WEBO account with more than half a million followers blocked. The tennis world outraged. Serena Williams tweeting she's devastated,

shocked, saying this must be investigated.

On Wednesday an e-mail claiming to be from Peng released by a state-owned broadcaster. The e-mail retracts her allegations saying, "I'm not missing,

nor am I unsafe. I just have been resting at home and everything is fine." The man who received the e-mail, the head of the Women's Tennis

Association, is not convinced.

STEVE SIMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION: For us to see an e-mail that basically denied what happened and said it didn't and that all

is great, I'm just struggling to agree to that and don't believe that's the truth at all.

RIPLEY: The WTA is demanding proof Peng is OK. A probe into her allegations and says it is prepared to pull out of China, potentially losing a

lucrative 10-year deal.

SIMON: There's too many times in our world today when we get into issues like this, that we let business, politics, money, dictate what's right and

what's wrong.

RIPLEY: The fury comes just weeks before another high-dollar event. The Beijing Winter Olympics. Peng, a three-time Olympian. The IOC staying out

of it. "Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution."

NATASHA KASSAM, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC OPINION AND FOREIGN POLICY, LOWY INSTITUTE: The WTA has been quite bold compared to other organizations that

have interests in China. They've really come out swinging.

RIPLEY: China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, refusing to comment.


RIPLEY: U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott to Beijing Winter Games. The Chinese patriarchy has long been accused of

suppressing the rights of women and minorities. Government censors cutting off CNN's coverage of Peng Shuai's disappearance but China cannot censor

away the outrage and growing demands for answers.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, the U.K. takes action against Hamas, bringing its stance in line with the U.S. and the European Union. What the militant

group has to say about it just ahead.


KINKADE: Israel is welcoming a push by the United Kingdom to ban Hamas as a terrorist organization.


Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the move in a tweet saying, quote, "Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to

extensive and sophisticated training weaponry as well as terrorist training facilities. That is why I've acted to prescribe Hamas in its entirety."

Well, previously, Britain has outlawed only the group's military wing. Patel is expected to outline the expanded Hamas ban in the next hour during

a speech in Washington, D.C.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robinson joins me now from London.

Good to have you with us, Nic. So this move will bring Britain into line with the United States and the European Union. It just has to be approved

by parliament. Right?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does. And certainly at this stage, we haven't heard any significant British politicians

speaking out against this, and the way that Priti Patel is framing it, that it will, you know, it will cut down on anti-Semitism in the U.K. is a

message that's going to resonate well here. It's hard to see how this wouldn't pass.

Look, I mean, the U.S., Canada and the E.U., and if we go back a year and a half, almost two years now Britain was part of the European Union. So

really what the U.K. is doing here, what Priti Patel is doing, is bringing the U.K. back into line with the position that it would have had under the

European Union previously.

But I think when it gets to parliament, you know, undoubtedly in the nature of the discussion, there will be concerns raised. But I don't think at this

stage anyone is expecting it not to pass.

KINKADE: Right. So in practical terms, Nic, what does this mean for supporters of Hamas? This has serious ramifications, right?

ROBERTSON: Very serious. 14 years in jail. If you're a supporter of Hamas after this gets legislated, potentially if you're out there waving a Hamas

flag, supporting the organization by helping organize meetings, hosting meetings, anything of that nature that, you know, you're breaking the law.

And the maximum sentence could be 14 years. So this is, you know, this is serious territory.

This is, you know, as Priti Patel says they have extensive, she believes, extensive access to sophisticated weaponry, to training facilities. That

this is a terrorist organization. That there's no difference really between Hamas the political organization and you know the military wing. So, yes.

It would be, in essence, akin to any other association or affiliation with any other terrorist organization as prescribed, al Qaeda, ISIS, all of


KINKADE: Right. All right, Nic Robertson, for us, as always, good to have you with us, live from London. Thank you.

Well, U.S. lawmakers pulled an all-nighter thanks to this man.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't know if this speech is going to make a difference.


KINKADE: Well, it didn't really. Minutes ago the Republican leader in the House lost his battle against the Democrats' social spending bill. But will

his party win the war? We'll have the details ahead.

And they staged some of the biggest protests India has ever seen. Now the nation's farmers are celebrating. The prime minister backing down from some

divisive measures.



KINKADE: Well, the U.S. just gave President Joe Biden's agenda a big boost.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The Build Back Better Bill is passed.


KINKADE: The vote for the $1.9 trillion bill went along party lines. However, it now faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate. Democrats to

vote on it Thursday night. But House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy went on an 8 and a half talk-a-thon to delay the vote. We found out that being

the longest speech in the chamber's history.

As for the bill itself, it expands social programs and addresses the climate crisis. The legislation includes universal pre-kindergarten,

extending the child tax credit and expanding access to healthcare.

Well, CNN's Melanie Zanona joins us now from Washington, D.C. with this breaking news.

Melanie, so it may pass the first step.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. I mean, this is a huge deal for Democrats in advancing Joe Biden's economic agenda.

There were moments where it looked like this wasn't going to pass. Democrats could only afford to lose three votes in the House. They ended up

only losing one, that's Jared Golden of Maine, a Democratic moderate.

And look, this is a massive, massive bill. It would include child tax credit expansion, it would include universal pre-K, it includes provisions

to fight climate change, expand access to healthcare, lower prescription drug prices, paid family leave. These are the core components of Joe

Biden's economic agenda.

But as you mentioned, Lynda, it faces a much more uncertain fate in the Senate and that's because Democrats can't afford to lose any Democrats. And

Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, he has a lot of concerns with some of these provisions. He's also concerned about the

impacts on inflation. So it's likely that the bill is going to be changed in the Senate. And it will have to come back to the House side and will

have to either swallow what the Senate sends over or make changes to themselves.

So we're looking at a long process here. But no doubt, this is a big step forward for Democrats and Joe Biden's party.

KINKADE: A long process but probably isn't as long as that speech last night. Over eight hours from the minority leader.

ZANONA: Yes, that's right. This is a delay tactic. Kevin McCarthy, he is the leader of the Republican Party. He was not trying to change any minds

or hearts. What he was doing here was trying to push the vote as long as possible.

Ironically, he ended up I think giving Democrats a little bit of a boost here because instead of passing this bill in the dead of the night, they

ended up passing it in the morning where it's getting more attention, it's getting more focused, people are awake and seeing what's happening.

But McCarthy was not concerned about that. McCarthy was trying to show his members that he was fighting against this bill. And that's because he's

been getting some criticism on the right for not going hard enough at Democrats on a number of other issues, including the bipartisan

infrastructure bill that just passed last week with the help of some of McCarthy's Republican members.

And so he wanted to show his members that he was fighting. I think he wanted to show maybe Former President Donald Trump that he was fighting

against this as well. So this had a lot more meaning than just what he was saying on the speech.

KINKADE: Certainly do. But gosh, it was a long speech.

ZANONA: It certainly was.

KINKADE: Good to have you with us. Melanie, thanks so much.

ZANONA: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, in a surprise move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced he's willing to repel a series of controversial agricultural laws

that set off a year of protests.


NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Today I'm requesting all of our protesting farmers. Today is the Holy Day of Guru

Purab festival. Please return to your homes, return to your farms, return to your families. Let's start a new beginning.


KINKADE: Well, farmers across India welcome the news. They've relentlessly protested the reforms, which were meant to deregulate the sale and pricing

of crops. Farmers fear the new rules would cut into their revenue. But the news comes ahead of key elections early next year. But some farmer unions

are remaining cautious. The laws still have to be repealed in parliament.

Vedika Sud joins us now from New Delhi for more on all of this. And this as I said has been going on for a year.


Now a surprise U-turn by Modi, certainly a huge relief for farmers.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for tens of thousands of farmers, Lynda, who have been out on the highways for almost a year, it is a welcome

move. It is a relief. But like you said, they're being cautious, especially their leaders who have come out to react to the prime minister's

announcement today. They said that until these laws are not officially repealed in parliament, they will continue with their protest.

Another contentious faceoff and cause for concern for the farmers has been the MSP, which is the minimum support price that is the price that they

want an assurance from the government on in the coming days because they fear that they might not get what they deserve if the prices of crops fall,

given, you know, and it's depending on different reasons really when that happens.

So, yes, they are happy. They are welcoming this move. But they are very, very clear, we're not going anywhere. We will protest where we are in the

coming days and weeks and months if we have to until these laws are not passed or rather withdrawn rather in parliament in the coming days --


KINKADE: And Vedika, the government has been defending these laws. They said they might look at amendments, but they were never considering taking

a complete U-turn. Talk to us about the timing. Why now?

SUD: Well, it's quite obvious, isn't it? And political analysts have all spoken to us today and they say that Prime Minister Modi and his government

have elections on their mind. In the coming year, there are going to be two very important states that goes to polls. One is going to be Punjab and the

other is the state Uttar Pradesh. Now both these states have a significant population of farmers, Lynda, and they already met with Modi dispensation

and this is no time to risk even angering them further.

So according to political analysts, and we spoke to one today, here's what he had to say.


GILLNES VERNIER, POLITICAL ANALYST: The timing indicates that there is an electoral motive behind a repeal of these farm laws. But it's not obvious

how the government is doing to convert a policy loss into electoral gains.


SUD: It's a very rare move by Narendra Modi, India's prime minister. Very rarely do you see him going back on laws or policies. It's only happened

once while he's been the prime minister of the country in 2014. That happened with a land acquisition bill.

But a lot of people are surprised with this move, no doubt. The position has been hailing this as a huge victory for the farmers while a lot of them

have also indicated that this is purely for political gains by the ruling party, Agenda Party, the leader of which is Narendra Modi.

Only time will tell, Lynda, whether this is going to actually translate into electoral gains on the ground for the prime minister and his party or

will the farmers still hold a grudge against the BJP -- Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, good to have you with us. Vedika Sud, we will speak to you again on this story soon.

Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. The U.S. says it stands with the Philippines after China

admitted it used water cannons to block Philippine vessels in the disputed South China Sea. In a Thursday news conference, Beijing said its coast

guard doused two Philippine resupply boats this week, causing them to turn back. Outraged Philippine officials said no one was injured.

Colombia's highest court has delayed its ruling on decriminalizing abortion. Well, it comes after the four-judge panel voted to remove one of

their colleagues. The court had been expected to rule by Friday. But it's unclear now if that will happen.

Well, Brazil has arrested six people accused of stealing horses for slaughter and selling the meat to restaurants disguised as beef. Officials

say the gang distributed more than 800 kilogram of hidden horse meat per week to restaurants by saying it was beef, steaks and hamburgers.

Well, still to come, North America gets a show in the sky. Why the moon has stargazers seeing red? And an F1 driver using his helmet to make a powerful




KINKADE: Well, North America just got an out-of-this-world event that hasn't been seen in nearly 600 years. A partial lunar eclipse made the moon

look blood red. It was unusual because the sun, earth and moon were near perfect alignment with the earth blocking sunlight from lighting up the

face of the moon. And it lasted about six hours. This eclipse was the longest since the 1400s.

Well, imagine fighting climate change simply by enjoying a pint of beer. Well, a brewery in Australia is using a new greener way to produce the suds

that does just that. Young Henry's Brewery in Sidney captures the carbon dioxide produced by fermenting hops and feeds it to microalgae. When the

algae reproduce, the greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming, is turned into oxygen. Well, these huge tanks which produces much oxygen as

two-hectares of bush land. Incredible.

Well, it's a helmet with a powerful message. F1's Lewis Hamilton is supporting LBGTQ rights by wearing a rainbow helmet ahead of this weekend's

Qatar Grand Prix. Well, same-sex relationships are legal there and Hamilton says he feels dutybound to raise awareness.

Alex Thomas is here with more details. And Alex, certainly, a lot of fans praising Lewis Hamilton for wearing this helmet with the symbol of gay

pride in a country where homosexuality is criminalized.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Formula 1 is in a hugely exciting finale to its season. Just three races to go. The title race is very

exciting. He's the world champion. Young Max Verstappen is ahead of him in the driver's table. They know that with the eyes of the world on them, now

is the time to make that sort of statement. They perhaps can't stop Formula 1 choosing to take the mega money on offer from Middle Eastern countries as

rich as Qatar and next week Saudi Arabia both hosting F1 races for the first time.

Instead, he can stick to his principles and highlight inequalities in this way. And we can hear from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in "WORLD

SPORT" in just a moment.

KINKADE: Excellent. We look forward to it. Good story. Alex, thanks so much. We'll see you on the other side of the break.





THOMAS: And I think if we're talking about showtime, we showed (INAUDIBLE) yet, Lynda.

KINKADE: Sounds good. Alex Thomas, as always, good to see you. Thanks so much.

And stick around we're going to have much more CONNECT THE WORLD after a very short break.