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Connect the World

European Countries Tighten Rules for Unvaccinated People; Blinken: Nigeria Needs More Transparency; WTA Threatens to Pull Business Out of China Over Tennis Star; Israel's R-Rate Reaches 1.0, COVID no Longer in Decline; Modi Backs Down on Controversial Farm Laws; Japan's Shohei Ohtani Wins American League MVP. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Atlanta, this is connector world.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to "Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson.

Good to have you with us.

We begin this hour with Europe's growing clamp down on unvaccinated people participating in public life. Austria is headed back into a national

lockdown; COVID cases there are surging and its government is looking to impose rules that would require every single person eligible to get

vaccinated. Take a listen to what the Chancellor said a short time ago?


ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR: We have decided now to initiate nationwide compulsory vaccination very quickly. This is plan to

apply starting February the 1st, 2022 sustainably increasing vaccination rates and 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 six wave.


KINKADE: Well, Germany also seeing a dramatic spike in cases as you can see here, its opera houses approved tightening measures, like requiring people

to show proof of vaccination recovery or negative tests on public transport and at work.

Well, for more on the battle against Europe's COVID surge I'm joined now by our Melissa Bell in Paris. Melissa, this is a huge development for Austria

not only is the entire country going into lockdown, to deal with this fourth wave, but it's one of the first to make vaccination mandatory for


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Certainly not the first in Europe. And it's going to be really interesting to see how this pans out? Of

course, the entire country goes into lockdown from Monday that lasts for 10 days.

But once that's lifted if the fingers allow, what the Chancellor has made playing is that those who are unvaccinated will remain under lockdown.

That's how serious the Austrian authorities are being about bringing that pressure to bear. Looking ahead to that February 1 deadline when it wants

all Austrians to be vaccinated whether they like it or not.

Of course, the trouble is Lynda that the further you go down this route, and the closer you get to those populations that are not just hesitant but

outright opposed to getting vaccinated, the more likely you're going to meet resistance and even at travel on the streets.

We've heard from the Austrian Chancellor when he spoke earlier today, referring to those political forces in the country that have been resisting

vaccination. And of course, now that is what he's trying to stamp out.

But it is interesting to see just how far the Austrians are prepared to go. And those changes that have been brought over a very short space of time.

So alarmingly fast have these figures been rising. You mentioned also Germany, we've been hearing from the Acting Health Minister there who said

that it is essentially an emergency that they are under.

He said there are for now about 200 to 300 people dying Lynda every day from COVID-19 related illnesses in Germany. But he said given the fact that

over the last 12 days, you've seen these records rise since the pandemic began, that is likely to worsen still, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, it's an incredible surge we're seeing. We just saw that graph again of the cases in Germany. But it's certainly one of a number of

countries in Europe, placing more and more restrictions on people who refuse to get vaccinated.

BELL: That's right. And there's a big difference, I think between those countries where there are large proportions of the population, relatively

large proportions as in Austria, as in Germany, who have yet to be vaccinated and those countries where the vaccination campaigns have

actually been pretty effective.

We've been hearing from the French President, essentially explaining that the COVID past that you'll remember, Lynda, he had fairly controversially

introduced in France back in July, had in fact allowed the country to get its vaccination rates up. And yet, cases here too, are rising to alarming


But for the time being no need, he says, for the kind of lockdown that we're seeing in other countries, so very much an emphasis on getting those

that have yet to be convinced to get vaccinated. But in those countries where it hasn't happened, it's having big implications.

We've been hearing these last couple of days from the Greek Prime Minister, also where they've also brought in fresh restrictions. He's been saying -

he has been saying, look, if we in Greece had the vaccination rates that they had in Portugal, our intubation levels would be five to five times

less than they are it gives you an idea of the part that he believes the unvaccinated are playing in this particular part of the pandemic, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Melissa Bell for us staying across that COVID surge in Europe thanks so much.


KINKADE: Well, fewer than 40 percent of people in Romania have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and that's pretty devastating fourth wave of

the Coronavirus to the country. There are now no Intensive Care Unit beds left and the death toll hit record levels this month.

Romania has the second lowest vaccination rate in the EU and one of the highest COVID mortality rates in the world. Our Ben Wedeman takes a look at

the heartbreaking situation in the country.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's a jarring finality about death from COVID-19 in Bucharest University

Hospital. Workers nail coffin shut, spray them with disinfectant. Anguish echoes from the next room a woman sees her loved one for the very first


WEDEMAN (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. Every day more COVID deaths are wheeled into the morgue. Nurse - is close to the breaking point.

WEDEMAN (voice over): 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 with death, you know, 400 people it's a huge

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

WEDEMAN (voice over): 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: That all a lot of doctors myself included that work with COVID patients and we are trying to tell people that this is actually


WEDEMAN (voice over): Parliament member - has even tried to basically block people - 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.

COLONEL VALERIU GHEORGHITA, HEAD OF ROMANIA'S VACCINATION CAMPAIGN: We have, unfortunately, hundreds of deaths each day. So it's - this is the

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

WEDEMAN (voice over): Nearly 36 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. In rural areas however, it's half that. The village of - is an

hour's flight from Bucharest and the world away. Religion hold sway here, many put more faith in God and science.

Village Mayor and Pentecostal Pastor - 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 vaccines 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 - has vaccinated 10

people on this day. No she tells me we haven't seen any side effects in any patients we vaccinated.

In the - fresh graves in the cemetery stark evidence of a recent surge in deaths every day in Romania a village is dying Ben Wedeman, CNN, Romania



KINKADE: Still to come on "Connect the World" the United Nations and the tennis world are demanding answers on the whereabouts of a start Chinese

player. Up next, what the Women's Tennis Association is warning Beijing? Plus, Antony Blinken talks to CNN about the U.S. strategy for Africa in his

first trip to the continent as U.S. Secretary of State.



KINKADE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is on a tour of the Middle East is currently in Bahrain. And while he's in the region, there's no

question that trying to revive the nuclear deal with Iran will be a major topic. Here's what he had to say just prior to his trip.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's not lost on me that this trip comes at a time when Iran is stoking tensions and undermining stability in

the region. We remain deeply committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And I've said before no problem in the Middle East gets

easier to solve with a nuclear armed Iran.


KINKADE: Austin reiterated the U.S. will defend itself as well as "Our partners and our interests against threats from Iran and its proxies".

While Lloyd Austin is touring the Middle East, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling through Africa. Earlier in the Nigerian capital

of Abuja Blinken said the EU - the U.S. is ready to support swift and sustained diplomacy to strengthen democracy around the world.

Right now the African Continent is suffering from infighting and conflict, like the war in Northern Ethiopia and the recent military coup in Sudan.

Well, during his trip Blinken sat down with CNN and discussed those issues starting with Ethiopia.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There's no military solution to the challenges in Ethiopia, none of the different combative parties can

prevail by military means that's a path to destruction for the country, and misery for the people of Ethiopia who deserve a lot better.

So I hope that all of the leaders starting with, again the leader of the country, the Prime Minister, will do that bring people together and work

through these problems politically.


KINKADE: Well, Blinken also commented following the release of a much anticipated report from a Nigerian judicial panel into the killing an

unarmed protesters at Lekki Tollgate. The report concluded its soldiers did carry out a massacre which the government tried to cover up. The report

cited CNN's reporting 37 times.

When asked whether the report would change the U.S. decision to provide arms to Nigeria. This is what Blinken said.


BLINKEN: If there is genuine transparency, accountability and change that follows from these incidents and from these abuses. I think that's very

important not only to our administration, it's important to Congress in making judgments about continuing to provide assistance to the security



KINKADE: Well, the Prime Minister of Poland has spoken to leaders in Iraq about the migrant crisis at the Polish border with Belarus. He says the

Iraqi Prime Minister promised he would take steps to return Iraqi citizens who were stuck at the border back home.


KINKADE: That says Belarus some of the migrants who failed to get into the EU into a giant warehouse near the border crossing. Iraqis who have already

been sent home clearly disappointed.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: 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 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, EU leaders blame Belarus for orchestrating the crisis at Europe's doorstep in retaliation for sanctions on the Lukashenko

government. But in an exclusive interview with CNN the Belarusian Foreign Minister says that's not true. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNNS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At the airport in Minsk, a first repatriation flight waits to board. The passengers, mostly Iraqi

Kurds didn't make it to Europe. But at least their ordeal in Belarus is that. This is the nightmare they left behind.

Officials confirmed this forest camp on the Polish border is now empty. The shocking images of desperate migrants languishing in the cold here have

left their mark. Now for the first time CNN is able to hold a Senior Belarusian Official to account.

VLADIMIR MAKEI, BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: And to see how they suffer? It's very difficult for normal human being. We are not interested in having

this situation here in the Belarus.

CHANCE (on camera): But you say you don't want to see these things. But you're accused Belarus is accused of orchestrating this whole crisis of

encouraging these migrants to come here and of directing them towards that border. You created these scenes.

MAKEI: Yes, we have heard a lot of accusations towards Belarus. This is false assessment of the situation.

CHANCE (voice over): Also false according to the Foreign Minister, U.S. and European allegations that Russia, which recently flew the strategic bomber

flights over Belarusian support is really behind the crisis, encouraging its ally to distract the West while preparing military plans elsewhere in


MAKEI: With regard to this migrant crisis, I can definitely say Russia has nothing to do with it.

CHANCE (voice over): But it was President Putin he tells me who set up telephone calls between the German and Belarusian leaders this week,

helping to defuse the crisis. And it needed defusing. This was the scene when angry migrants tried to force their way into Europe, past Polish

border guards. The refusal of Belarus to intervene fuelled rumors, they encourage these attacks.

CHANCE (on camera): The European Union says that Belarus has created this crisis to punish them in revenge for the sanctions that the EU is imposed

against Belarus for its crackdown on the opposition. How do you answer that allegation?

MAKEI: It's lie. It's an absolute lie. Belarus has shown the dark side of the European democracy. And you've seen yourself what was happening at the

border within the last two or three days?

CHANCE (voice over): It's showing the strength of European unity too. The now remaining migrant in Belarus is being housed in this giant heated

warehouse back from the volatile border. But with Europe refusing to back down, it's Belarusian that must now keep them or send them home. Matthew

Chance, CNN, Minsk.


KINKADE: Well, new developments now in a story about China's #Metoo tennis star who seemed to vanish more than two weeks ago. Chinese state media

claiming to show photos of Peng Shuai but CNN can't independently verify pictures, that those pictures are from her or that they're current.

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

hasn't been seen in public since accusing China's Former Vice Premier of sexual assault. Well CNN's Will Ripley is following this story for us.



WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORESSPONDENT (voice over): Silenced and disappeared for speaking out that's what many fears happening 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 Weibo 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 email claiming to be from Peng released by a

state owned broadcaster. The email does not retract her allegations saying I'm not missing, nor am I unsafe. I've just been resting at home and

everything is fine. The man who received the email, the Head of the Women's Tennis Association is not convinced.

STEVEN SIMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO WOMEN'S TENNIS ASOCIATION: For us to see an email that basically denied what that 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 (voice over): 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 (voice over): The Fury comes just weeks before another high dollar event. The Beijing Winter Olympics - 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: And WTA has been quite bold compared to other organizations that

have interest in China. They really come out swinging.

RIPLEY (voice over): China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs refusing to comment.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Is not a foreign affairs matter.

RIPLEY (voice over): U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games. The Chinese patriarchy has long been

accused of suppressing the rights of women and minorities. Government censors cutting off CNN coverage of Peng Shuai's disappearance, but China

cannot censor away the outrage and growing demands for answers. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


KINKADE: Well, the UN is adding its voice to those demands calling for proof of the tennis stars whereabouts. CNN's Patrick Snell is also watching

a story for us and joins us now live. Good to have you with us, Patrick. So the UN is demanding proof like many organizations, the big question is

where is she right now?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: That is the big question. You know we saw those social media posts those photos and social media account confirms

their authenticity over. But look, but without just to send it out for our viewers worldwide Peng without question one of China's most recognizable

sports stars, I can't emphasize that enough.

She's a two time Grand Slam Doubles Champion. Here's what we do know for sure, Lynda, the 35 year old not been seen in public for a number of weeks

since she made those allegations that were detailed a little earlier.

And I do want to focus in more on the stance and it's a very strong and really hard hitting stance being taken by the Women's Tennis Association,

Steve Simon is saying and really spelling it out in no uncertain terms that.

He is absolutely willing to lose what could well be hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of business in China if Peng is not fully accounted for. And

her allegations are not properly investigated.

Just to broaden this out a little bit further China is slated to host 10 high profile events on the women's circuit next year. There's this highly

lucrative WTA finals slate a 10 year one decade plan worth hundreds of millions of dollars. That's what's on the table here. That's what's at

stake. So let's hear more now from Steve Simon.


SIMON: We're at a crossroads with our relationship obviously with China and operating our business over there. There's no question about it. It's

something that's actually very sad because we have some amazing relationships over there and have developed some unbelievable programs.

They're really introducing the sport to a lot of young Chinese players that want to become the next - the next Peng Shuai.

And all of those types of things. So it's very exciting. And we've had a lot of success over there. You know I think that when you look at this

though you - 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.


SIMON: And when as you reflected earlier, when we have a young person who has the fortitude to step up and make these allegations, knowing full well

what the results of that are going to be for us to not support that, and demand justice as we go through it.

You know, we have to start as a world making decisions that are based upon right and wrong period. And we can't compromise that. And we're definitely

willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it. Because this is certainly - this is bigger than the business.


SNELL: Yes, as I said, Lynda, very powerful, hard hitting words. Then of course, Lena who was referenced there, she was a real pioneering

groundbreaking career have owned two times Grand Slam Singles Champ when she won the French Open in the Australian as well.

KINKADE: And Patrick, it's interesting to point out how there's so much interest in his story at any time CNN discusses it in China, our TV screens

either go to black or they go to color bars. I give us a sense of how the world is reacting, Patrick?

SNELL: Yes, we've seen a growing momentum over the last few days of high profile athletes weighing in making their stance and of course really few

bigger names other than the American global superstar Serena Williams.

She had a powerful tweet as well. You know, when Serena speaks Lynda, the world of tennis and beyond, really does sit up and take notice and rightly

so. Serena, tweeting, I'm devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer Peng Shuai I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible.

This must be investigated. We must not stay silent, sending love to her and her family during this incredible difficult time with a #whereispengshuai I

mentioned other big names from the sport where again.

We had Japanese Superstar Naomi Osaka really the first to get the ball rolling in a variable very powerful way early in the week a giant to the

men's game to Andy Murray of Scotland as well. There is no question.

Not only is this growing, this is continuing but the international concern for Peng as well growing. I mentioned earlier, she's not just a two time

Grand Slam doubles champ. She's a three time Olympian. She's represented China at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, London, 2012 and Beijing in 2008. Of

course Lynda Beijing has the winter games coming up to early next year.

And with that in mind, we got this statement earlier to CNN from the International Olympic Committee and the IOC distancing itself from putting

pressure on Chinese authorities to give clarity as to the situation saying.

"Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for questions of such nature". This explains why the IOC will

not comment any further at this point. That statement earlier this day from the IOC into us here at CNN back to you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly a lot of concerns for Peng Shuai's welfare we will stay on this story Patrick Snell good to have you with us thank you. Well,

still ahead the UK is taking action against a must bring it stance in line with European Union and the U.S. What the militant group has to say about

it just ahead?



KINKADE: Returning to our top story, the rise in COVID cases around the world, Israeli health experts have worried that COVID may be about to surge

in their country to the R-rate, which measures how many people are infected by each COVID patient has risen to one that means COVID is no longer in


But the number of new COVID cases each day remains lower than it was a few months ago. And officials hope the rollout of vaccines for younger children

could help slow the spread. So is Israel on the verge of a fifth wave of COVID cases I want to talk about that with the Chair of Israel's expert

panel on COVID. Ran Balicer, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So Israel's R-rate the reproduction rate has hit one, meaning the spread of the virus is growing again. Take us through the latest data.

BALICER: Israel has seen in our below one basically since September, after a very successful rapid booster vaccination campaign that reached over 90

percent of the elderly and many of the young.

But for the last 10 days, the decline stops and we see a stable rate of about 500 patients, new patients per day. Now, it's important to note that

before the fourth wave that was caused by a combination of the Delta variant and waning immunity, we had only about 40 cases per day.

So this holds in the decline is a little bit too early for us. And we hope that trends will not reverse to see resurgence. But we are much more

protected now from a fifth wave because of the booster component and because of the enhanced immunity that we've gained because of that


KINKADE: Yes, talk to us more about that immunity because Israel had one of the fastest optics of vaccination, does this suggest that immunity could be

waning? Or could there be another variant of COVID emerging?

BALICER: So we have not seen anything like that. I mean, there's no new variants that are of concern that we know of that could explain this. What

we're seeing right now is basically kind of equilibrium between the effects of the protective effect of the 4 million people that had their booster


And additional people that has been vaccinated in the last six months and therefore is fully protected. And we hope that the --that sheer amount of

people that are protected, they're going to allow us to maintain this level.

But no doubt since next week, we're starting to vaccinate our younger children between the ages of five and 11 and since about 50 percent of our

daily infections are occurring in that age group of below 11.

We think that this vaccination campaign could actually turn the tide, and perhaps bring us back to a downslope if we have a good uptake, as we hope

that we will.

KINKADE: And Ran, just what is the vaccination rate right now in Israel? Because it seems like Israel, like many countries, most people with serious

cases of COVID most people ending up in hospital with COVID-19 people who have not been vaccinated.

BALICER: That is true and that had changed. You know, one of the first signs of waning immunity is when you see that within the proportion of your

severe illness, you start to see an inclination and arise in the percentage of those who are vaccinated.

Indeed, before the booster campaign, we had 70 percent of our severe cases among the vaccinated at that time in two doses, because over 90 percent of

the elderly were vaccinated with two doses.

But now it is closer to 20 percent that are occurring among the vaccinated and that's because the vast majority of the elderly that have been

vaccinated were vaccinated with three doses. So as we look at this right now, in the most vulnerable age groups, it's over 90 percent of the

population with three doses.


BALICER: So I think if that matter, we are pretty much in the clear, we will have to make serious decisions soon about whether or not to start a

booster campaign for the adolescents 16 to 18 that have been basically vaccinated about five months ago.

KINKADE: Right. Is there a generally that the elderly got vaccinated, got off of the booster five or six months after their second vaccine dose,


BALICER: Indeed, remember, Israel was the first to vaccinate its population back in December, January. And six months later, around July, we started

feeling the effects of waning immunity before the rest of the world.

And because of that, we were the first to start a booster campaign in August that a month later was already encompassing over 90 percent of our

elderly and protecting them and causing the vast decline that we've seen for two months. That brought us right now to this very low level for three

days in a row.

Now we had zero deaths. And that's, I think, a very valuable sign of the effect of the decisive, determined vaccination a booster vaccination

campaign, when the effects of waning immunity are seen to such an extent.

KINKADE: And just quickly, you're expecting to vaccinate children over the age of five in the coming days. What sort of uptake do you think you'll

see? And what sort of impact will that have?

BALICER: So it is very difficult to make these types of predictions. One can only work with sentiments. So my sentiment is that I think the majority

of families will choose to follow the recommendations and up and take the vaccines for their children.

I know I will do that with my family. And I think that overall, we are talking about a balancing risks. And I think that the risks from the

detrimental effects of the disease among these young, younger children, as the healthy ones as well, are superseding dramatically the potential risks

associated with the vaccine.

So I think when one makes their own, you know, informed decision, it makes more sense to protect yourself from the disease than to bear the risks that

are associated and I think most of the Israeli public will take that decision.

KINKADE: All right, Ran Balicer, good to have you with us Chair of Israel's expert panel on COVID. Good to get your perspective. Thank you.

BALICER: Thank you so much.

KINKADE: Well, 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, "Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as

well as terrorist training facilities.

That is why I have acted to prescribe Hamas in its entirety. Well, previously, Britain has outlawed only the group's Military wing. Well,

CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson joins us now from London. Nic, this move will bring Britain into line with the United States

and the European Union. But it has to be approved by parliament, right?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does. But it's not expected at this stage that it will face huge pushback, undoubtedly, some

MPs will raise some questions of concern. Priti Patel is framing this partly, as you saw there, because they have access to terrorist facilities,

training facilities, weapons, extensive access to weapons, but also she says that they are fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic.

She says that this should help protect the Jewish community in the UK, who would rightly feel feared if they saw people flying Hamas flags. And I

think on this part, she is going to find broad support, it will be difficult to find MPs who would be willing to challenge her on that on that

particular point.

So yes, it has to get it has to go through Parliament through that process. But at the moment, we're not hearing any senior politicians in the

opposition speaking out against it.

KINKADE: And Nic, in practical terms, what does this mean for supporters of Hamas, because it sounds like pretty serious ramifications?

ROBERTSON: Sure, very serious, 14 years in jail maximum sentence, if you're found to be supporting Hamas, waving a flag, you know, fundraising,

organizing an event hosting an event for them. These are the people who could, you know, fall foul of that new law.

So when it comes into effect, I don't think it's likely that somebody who waves a flag is going to get 14 years in jail. That's the maximum sentence

but yes, it is a very strict sentence. But then terrorism, as in so many countries, is taken very seriously.

And I think really what we're seeing here in the UK, you know, the Military wing of Hamas has already been prescribed terrorist organization here.

Until a couple of years ago, Britain was a member of the European Union.

The European Union has already prescribed Hamas as a terrorist organization, so in a way this is the UK sort of falling back into line

with the rest of the European on this.


KINKADE: All right, Nic Robertson for us, our international diplomatic editor. Good to have you with us. Thank you. Well, after months of protests

across India, a big win for farmers, why they're celebrating the Prime Minister's reversal of a controversial farm law.

Plus her images from the early days of the COVID outbreak in Wuhan cost this citizen journalist for freedom, but her family worries it could cost

her, her life.


KINKADE: India's Prime Minister's bowing to demands from the nation's farmers after more than a year of widespread protests. The surprise

announcement from Narendra Modi settles celebrations in the streets. Modi saying he would repel three controversial agriculture laws which farmers

said hurt their bottom line.

But organizers say they're not letting up just yet protests will continue until the laws are officially repealed in Parliament. Well if this is

happening just months ahead of key elections in several Indian stapes, Vedika Sud gives us more perspective from New Delhi.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Celebration on top of tractors of one of the main protest sites bordering Delhi, where tens of thousands of

farmers have been protesting for almost a year. India's Prime Minister finally bowing to the demands of protesters now says three controversial

laws designed to modernize the agricultural industry will be repealed.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER: Today I'm requesting all of our protesting farmers. Today is the holy day of Guru PERB festival. Please

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

SUD (voice over): The Indian government had repeatedly claimed the laws which relax the rules around the sale and pricing of produce. Well good for

farmers. But farmers union said they fear the reforms would encourage corporations to manipulate prices which in turn would hurt their income.

SUD (on camera): Despite all these assurances, farmer leader have said the protest will continue till these three of the partial laws are officially

repealed in parliament which is - late this month.

SUD (voice over): The other sticking point is something called the minimum support price, a price guarantee set by the government which gives farmers

a kind of safety net when crop prices fall. More of these about face come ahead of state elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Both have significant

farmer population.

GILLES VERNIER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, the timing indicates that there is an electoral motive behind the repeal of these farm laws but it's not

obvious how the government is going to convert a policy or policy loss into electoral games.


SUD (voice over): While farmers have welcomed the government's move, there's still a lack of trust.

JAGTAR SINGH BAJWA, FARMER: This government changes even clothes based on political convenience. Of course, they have the upcoming election in mind.

SUD (voice over): Braving the winter, the COVID-19 pandemic and the heat, these men and women left their homes to join the fight against these

government reforms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let anyone spend a day on the road and see how difficult it is to survive. And we've been here for a year through everything.

SUD (voice over): But only time will tell these farmers India's biggest voter bloc reinstate their faith in Modi's government in the upcoming state

elections. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


KINKADE: Well, Reporters without Borders is recognizing a Chinese citizen journalist for her courage and raising global awareness of the COVID

pandemic. Zhang Zhan documented overcrowded hospitals in Wuhan during the earliest days of the outbreak, but her work also landed her in a Chinese

prison where she's been on a month long hunger strike. As David Culver reports, her family hopes they can save her before it's too late.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Traveling alone to the original epicenter in the height of China's COVID 19 outbreak last year,

she documented the plight of Wuhan residents under a brutal lockdown.

For that 38 year old Zhang Zhan has been languishing behind bars for 18 months now on a hunger strike and on the brink of death, her family and

lawyer filing a petition for medical parole and the hope of saving her life.

In early February 2020, Zhan, a lawyer turned activists highlighted harsh realities on the ground. She posted more than 100 clips on YouTube showing

hospitals flooded with desperate patients and shops empty.

ZHANG ZHAN, JAILED CITIZEN JOURNALIST: Maybe I have a rebellious soul. Why can I film that? I was just documenting the truth. Why can't I show the


CULVER (voice over): In May of last year, authorities from Shanghai detain Zhan then putting her on trial for picking quarrels and provoking trouble,

a charge often used to silence government critics.

According to the verdict seen by CNN officials accused Zhan of recklessly fabricating and spreading content that distorted the Coronavirus control

measures in Wuhan and for seriously disturbing the public order.

Last December, a court sentenced her to four years in prison. Family members say Zhan went on a hunger strike soon after her arrest. Her

condition in jail rapidly deteriorating, authorities even forced to put in a feeding tube, the five foot 10 Journalist now weighing less than 88

pounds, a skeleton of her former self.

On Twitter her brother posted she may not survive the coming cold winter. Zhan not the only one targeted for trying to expose the realities in Wuhan,

Chen Quishi, another lawyer who posted videos critical of the authorities early mishandlings disappeared for more than a year only recently

resurfacing in public.

-- jailed for 15 months after they archived news reports of the Wuhan outbreak that had been censored. Others like Fang Bin, who uploaded the

video of body bags in a Wuhan hospital have simply vanished from public view, also silenced numerous whistle-blowers, the most famous Dr. Li


Police had reprimanded him for spreading rumors when he first tried to tell friends and colleagues about the dead mystery illness. His eventual death

from COVID made him a martyr in China, with a government begrudgingly embracing him as a hero.

To counter all the critical voices, the propaganda czars later even deployed more than 300 state media journalists to Wuhan, pulling out all

the stops to reclaim the narrative and effort that's continued to this day as state media breathlessly cover other countries COVID debacles and

conspiracy theories on the virus origins trying to sow doubt and deflect blame.

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

ZHANG KEKE, ZHANG ZHAN'S LAWYER: She told me that she thinks her arrest, prosecution, trial and detention were unlawful, and only by going on a

hunger strike. Did she feel she could express her frustrations?

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

CULVER (on camera): We did reach out to Zhang's family to see if they want to comment on a record. They declined our request for an interview. They

don't want to anger the government any further to as to potentially worsen the situation. David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


KINKADE: Well, the woman who has waged hunger strikes while jailed in Iran has been honored with a "Courage Under Fire" award. Nazanin Zaghari-

Ratcliffe is a British Iranian charity work of an autonomous Reuters Foundation.

She's been detained for more than five years. Iran accuses her of working with organizations allegedly attempting to overthrow the government. The

Magnitsky Human Rights Awards in London honored her for "her bravery as a survivor of torture" in Iran.


KINKADE: Her young daughter accepted the award on her mother's behalf. Well, still to come, and Japan reacts to one of its honor in winning the

biggest individual prize in American baseball. Stay with us.


KINKADE: Well, Shohei Ohtani is the most valuable player of Major League Baseball's American League. The Japanese superstar won the award Thursday

in a unanimous vote and that's happened only one other time since the AL started in the 1990s, Ohtani's unique a player who both pitches and hits at

the highest level.

And fans in his native Japan say he's the best baseball player since the legendary Babe Ruth. CNN's Blake Essig has the story.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There are a lot of great baseball players but few have the ability to break down barriers change

what people think is possible and inspire quite like Japan Shohei Ohtani.

DR QT, SHOHEI OHTANI SUPERFAN: He just enjoys it. He just enjoyed spring ball.

ESSIG (voice over): On the mound and at the plate, he's almost larger than life. And the fans, they just can't get enough of Japan's two sorted

superstar from artwork displaying Ohtani as an actual superhero to this music video. His worldwide following is enormous.

QT: To me, Shohei is like, alien is like super PDF from somewhere you know that from this?

ESSIG (voice over): Although was extra-terrestrial origins are debatable.

HIRONOBU KANNO, SHOHEI OHTANI SUPERFAN: Number one MVP. He did it. Congratulations Shohei.

ESSIG (voice over): Hironobu Kanno who lives in Ohtani's terrestrial hometown of Oshu City says his success on and off the field is fun to


KANNO: We are so proud of his MVP title here in his hometown. He's not just a professional baseball player. He's a two sword player, doing something

that nobody has ever tried before.

ESSIG (voice over): That of course isn't exactly true. But unless you were around more than 100 years ago, it's probably new to you. This bat jersey

and signature on display at Japan's Baseball Hall of Fame belong to Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, and the only other

true two way player in baseball history to pitch and hit throughout a single season.

SHOHEI OHTANI, 2021 AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP: I feel humbled and I'm even being compared to Babe Ruth. He was known as a player that put up big numbers and

that's what makes him especially amazing. It's rare to become an athlete that is remembered forever.

ESSIG (voice over): A comparison that Hall of Fame Curator, Yuto Inoue says will likely follow Ohtani throughout his career.

YUTO INOUE, CURATOR, THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM: Many Japanese people are paying attention to Ohtani. His game results are broadcast on TV

every day. And even people who aren't interested in baseball are paying attention to him. He shows how big of an impact he's having in Japan.

ESSIG (on camera): Well, Shohei Ohtani isn't enshrined in Japan's Baseball Hall of Fame just yet. Exhibits like this with game used items from his

early playing days already lined the halls.


ESSIG (voice over): We've got his older uniform gloves, a bat and spikes on display and as Ohtani continue to rack up stats records wins and awards.

This collection and his legend will only continue to grow. Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.


KINKADE: Well, now to a valuable player in the fight against climate change a brewery in Australia is using a new Greenaway to produce it suds. Young

Henrys fury in Sydney captures the carbon dioxide produced by fermenting hops and feeds it to micro algae.

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

oxygen as two hectares of bush land.


OSCAR MCMOHON, YOUNG HENRYS CO-FOUNDER: As an urban carbon sequestration and oxygen producing solution, it's mind blowing. We could knock down our

whole site and plant trees.

And those trees that would take years before they did the same amount of carbon sequestration and oxygen creation as those two bioreactors that we

can start them up within a week and they're creating oxygen.


KINKADE: Always good when you can feel good about drinking beer with the Young Henry's team has joined out with a livestock group to see if algae

farming can be useful beyond beer production.

They're looking into whether micro algae can reduce those nasty methane emissions from cows. What innovation there, cheers to that. Well, that was

"Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade, thanks so much for joining us. "One World" with my colleague Zain Asher is up next. Have a lovely weekend.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST, ONE WORLD: America's top diplomat has a message for Ethiopia's Leader. Here is what's coming up.


BLINKEN: None of the different combative parties can prevail--