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British Prime Minister Faces Pressure for Parties in Breach of COVID-19 Restrictions; Interview with Dr. Angelique Coetzee on Her Discovery of Omicron Variant; Biden Democracy Summit; Tribunal Rules China "Committed Genocide" against Uyghurs; Japanese Billionaire Tours International Space Station; ESA Says World Leaders Need to Regulate Musk in Space; Royal Couple Attend Christmas Carols Service. Aired 10-10:40a ET
Aired December 09, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Pressure increases on Britain's prime minister, as investigators begin their -- begin investigations into
claims over how his staff ignored lockdown rules.
And she was the first to alert the world about the Omicron variant in South Africa. How the symptoms she was seeing led to its discovery.
And the U.S. President says it is the biggest challenge of our time. Joe Biden holds a democratic summit after a big week, going head to head with
Russia and with China.
FOSTER: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster.
Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson may feel as though he's being haunted by three parties of Christmas past. A trio of COVID rule-breaking
gatherings allegedly held last Christmas across the U.K. government during lockdown are being investigated as pressure grows on the prime minister.
CNN understands that Mr. Johnson himself gave an impromptu speech at one of them and an alleged December 18th party is already sending shock waves
through Downing Street, along with outrage across the country.
As the backlash intensifies, the prime minister quickly rolled out what he's calling plan B, a tightening of pandemic rules to curb the spread of
the Omicron variant. He's advising people in England to work from home if possible and he's also expanding mask wearing and mandating the use of
vaccine passports in large venues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Let's do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones this winter and to reduce the pressures on our
As we learn more, so we will be guided by the hard medical data around four key criteria: the efficacy of our vaccines and our boosters, the severity
of Omicron, the speed of its spread and the rate of hospitalizations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Timing of this so-called plan B is sensitive. Some critics and Boris Johnson's own Conservative Party claim he's using it as a way to
distract and deflect from all of the controversy. CNN's Scott McLean is at Downing Street for us.
By setting up this investigation, he's basically had the effect of prolonging the story because now we're waiting for the outcome of the
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I wonder when is the last time you heard of British politician or any politician calling for an investigation into
whether or not there was a party at their own home residence?
It is undoubtedly a bizarre, seemingly ridiculous story that is dominating British politics right now. Of course, the whole reason this is
controversial is because, at the time of that alleged party in December, the 18th last year, London was under a kind of lockdown.
You weren't allowed to hold indoor gatherings. And more than 500 people died on that very day. In fact, the next day, the prime minister went and
extended those restrictions across the whole of England.
And so this undoubtedly really hampers his ability to sell this new plan B, these indoor mask mandates and immunity passports for large gatherings,
because we know, Max, Boris Johnson has sort of presented himself to the public as a likable everyman.
And so this one, these allegations of him sort of being above the rules, potentially, may end up hurting him more than some of his previous
FOSTER: Yes, he's always been protected by his popularity. But that appears to be waning, if you look at the polling numbers. And actually the
Conservative Party can be pretty ruthless with their leaders if they don't remain popular.
MCLEAN: Yes, we'll have to see what happens. But it seems like it is one thing after another.
There was a lobbying scandal not long ago. Just today the British electoral commission announced that the party was being fined over failure to
disclose refurbishments to the prime minister's flat, that had been given by -- or paid for partially by a donor.
And, in fact, a new poll actually shows that a majority of people polled thought that the prime minister should resign over this latest scandal. And
that includes one-third of people who actually voted for the Conservative Party.
And it seems, as you mentioned, that some lawmakers are also getting a little bit tired of the prime minister's scandals as well. Sajid Javid, the
health secretary, yesterday was supposed to do a round of interviews with British press to promote the booster shot.
MCLEAN: He said that he was too upset after seeing the video of his press secretary shot last year, seeming to make light of this alleged party to
actually go out and do that. And so Sajid Javid seemingly unwilling to go out and defend the prime minister's line or his defense on this.
FOSTER: Scott, thank you.
Meanwhile, Finland's prime minister is apologizing for socializing at a crowded night club after being exposed to COVID-19. Sanna Marin was told
Saturday, while at a restaurant, that she and two other ministers were exposed at a meeting with the foreign minister, who had tested positive for
When photos of her later at the night club surfaced, the prime minister acknowledged she ignored advice to go home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANNA MARIN, FINNISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I do, of course, apologize for my behavior and actions. I haven't acted the best way
possible. And for that, I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: All three ministers have since tested negative for COVID.
Some encouraging news on the vaccine front. Two Israeli studies find booster doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine reduce infections and deaths by
90 percent or more. This is one of several new pieces of evidence that say, yes, boosters are still protective, even against new variants.
But the World Health Organization's top scientist says wholesale boosting is not the solution right now. There are still too many people in the world
who have been unable to get their hands on a first dose. Now senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me with more.
Elizabeth, which variant were the Israeli scientists specifically examining?
There are a couple dominant right now.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, so they were looking at data from around the time that Delta was the predominant
variant, which is still the case. So this is still very relevant data.
Let's talk about why we're looking at this data. Israel started a booster program before most other countries did. They started it back in August.
And they also have a national health service, as do many countries. But that centralized data allows them to do a thorough job of looking at data.
There is two reasons why this data is so important. So let's look at what the Israelis found out when they looked at severe illness. So when they
looked at people who were ages 60 plus, they found those that got the booster, the third shot, were nearly 18 times less likely to get severe
When you look at people ages 40 through 59, those who got a booster were nearly 22 times less likely to get severe disease.
And if you take a look at death, this covers ages 50 plus, this was more than 800,000 people, those who got two doses, there were 2.98 deaths per
100,000 person days. Don't focus too much on person days; that's just a unit of measurement.
Those who got three doses, those that got the booster, it was 0.16 deaths per 100,000. Both of those you can see that the booster has an effect.
You can sort of take this data apart and did they adjust for certain things?
But more and more data coming through indicating two things: one, the first set of vaccinations, the original vaccinations, they're most
important ones. Get shots one and two. That's the most important thing.
The boosters do seem to help but they're not nearly as important as getting that original set of vaccinations -- Max.
FOSTER: It does appear countries are relying increasingly on the Pfizer vaccine.
Why is that?
COHEN: I think that all the data that has come out over the past year or so, coming up on the first anniversary of the first vaccination, has shown
the strength of the mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer.
It is not to say the other ones aren't as good. But you know, it is -- these are the two that have sort of gotten sort of the highest marks in
many ways. So especially I can speak mostly for the United States, the emphasis really more and more is to get one of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer or
FOSTER: Thank you so much for your insight there. We'll keep watching all the developments.
The WHO says Africa accounts for 46 percent of almost 1,000 Omicron cases reported globally. My next guest was the first doctor to alert the
authorities in South Africa that she was possibly seeing a new variant in her patients.
She was right. And that variant was eventually dubbed Omicron. Dr. Angelique Coetzee joins us from Pretoria, South Africa.
Thank you for joining us. Take us through how you spotted it.
DR. ANGELIQUE COETZEE, CHAIR, SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Thank you, Max, for asking this. And thank you or good afternoon from Pretoria to
your viewers and listeners out there.
So it is just a different clinical picture that morning that rose from the clinically student that (INAUDIBLE) came to me (ph).
COETZEE: It didn't fit in with what he thought was his reason or account of why he felt the way he did. Also to see it (INAUDIBLE) that early in the
morning with (INAUDIBLE) also is not something that we are -- you know, that's not custom in the area where I am practicing.
So after examining him, I decided to (INAUDIBLE) this doesn't make sense. And he tested positive. The family tested positive.
Thereafter that same day, I got seven more patients and I thought the symptoms were much more toward a Beta variant and maybe a new variant as
So part of that was (INAUDIBLE) on the vaccines and I walked up to my colleagues and I said, listen, something strange is happening here today.
This -- I've seen patients here that has got total different picture of Delta.
And I think some people still think that I was mistaken but I have seen 600 Delta patients.
COETZEE: I know the Delta clinical picture. And that's when it started.
Also, the lab technicians in the background from one of the (INAUDIBLE) laboratories also picked up that it was a problem with the PCR testing. It
didn't -- you know, it's supposed to have three genes and it was only two genes.
So (INAUDIBLE) all at the same time. And our scientists looked at it and only confirmed it about (INAUDIBLE) indeed. And that's a variant of very
much concern because of the (INAUDIBLE) mutations.
But (INAUDIBLE) also said we don't know, we still need to see what is the clinical picture and what is going to happen that, yes, we (INAUDIBLE)
concern. But remember, by that time, we have already seen in family practice. We had already five days head start and we are starting to see
the clinical picture emerging.
And all the colleagues in the area, because we are sitting in the hot spot where it started.
FOSTER: You are. The world owes you -- the world owes you a great debt because you spotted this because of your close work with these patients.
And, therefore, the researchers were able to get ahead of this as quickly as possible. You've got to know patients and their symptoms early on.
You got the most experience arguably of working with symptoms -- with patients with these symptoms. Just describe how the symptoms compare to
COETZEE: Yes. It is actually -- once if you know the symptoms and if you see the patients it actually very easy. Three dominant or major -- clinical
picture of complaints. One is the fatigue or, you know, the tiredness. The one is the headache. It is a very severe headache. And then they may
(INAUDIBLE) aches and pain or the muscle pain.
So that is the three things that they will come in and complain about. It is -- and they might have a sore throat or a scratchy throat, might have a
bit of a dry cough, that's not the predominant symptom. These other first that I mentioned is the predominant symptom.
While with Delta, you will have either loss of smell, loss of taste and you will have, already in the beginning, you will see an elevated pulse rate.
You will also have maybe a bit of a diarrhea, they will have the sore throat, will have sort of a blocked nose or a runny nose.
So there is more symptoms with this variant and also very important, with your Delta patients, we normally let them come back for a follow-up between
day four and day seven, depending on the co-morbidities.
And as we know and we saw that they were reported crash, they will crash on you around about between day seven and day 11-12. And you need to make sure
that you have got oxygen for these patients, that you know what to do if there is not hospital beds available and that you walk the patients through
this horrible episode that they are going to experience.
FOSTER: On the symptoms -- sorry to interrupt.
But in terms of the symptoms that you're seeing between Omicron and Delta, do you feel that the world is overreacting to Omicron?
COETZEE: (INAUDIBLE) for sure. What we, you know, and this -- it is marked symptoms. So everyone asked me how -- what type of person do you admit,
patient do you admit?
We cannot tell you because we don't admit them. I had about half an hour ago, I'm part of the group that nearly got -- of leaders, of the primary
COETZEE: And I (INAUDIBLE) them again and said, guys, I'm still seeing the following, any of you, any hospitalization, any oxygen requirement.
And this is leaders in the family practitioners space. And they are all coming back to me and saying, no, they still have the same picture and they
also have not admitted.
Although in another group that I'm part of, it is a small group that we trace outcomes, hospital outcomes, there was three -- two patients admitted
early in the disease but they're all back home.
And I noticed that people are classifying them as COVID positive while actually people are -- or patients are being admitted for something
different in the hospital.
FOSTER: We could talk to you all day and the world owes you a great debt for spotting this first and getting the researchers on it. We really
appreciate your time today. Sorry to cut you short but we need to move on. Thank you very much for joining us.
COETZEE: Thank you so much.
FOSTER: With authoritarianism on the rise, how could democracy flourish?
The White House looking for answers today. Ahead, more on what President Biden calls the defining challenge of our time.
And a bombshell ruling by an unofficial panel of jurors in London. It claims that China committed genocide.
FOSTER: As Russian troops amass near the Ukrainian border, U.S. President Joe Biden is planning a phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr
Zelensky. Mr. Biden has ruled out sending U.S. forces to Ukraine if Moscow invades. Russia seen as one of the countries where authoritarianism is
A couple of hours ago, Mr. Biden convened a virtual global summit, aiming at fighting that way by strengthening democracy. Without naming names, he
said trends are moving in the wrong direction. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These trends are being exacerbated by global challenges that are more complex than ever and which
require shared efforts to address these concerns.
By outside pressure from autocrats, they seek to advance their own power, export and expand their influence around the world and justify the
repressive policies and practices as a more efficient way to address today's challenges.
That's how it is sold, by voices that seek to fan the flames of social division and political polarization and, perhaps most importantly and
worrying of all, most worrying of all, by increasing the dissatisfaction of people all around the world with democratic governments, that they feel are
failing to deliver for their needs.
In my view, this is the defining challenge of our time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: CNN's John Harwood is at the White House following this summit for us.
FOSTER: Is this a talking shop or is something solid expected to come out of it?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I don't think anything solid is expected to come out of it, Max. I think this is an effort by the
president to highlight what he considers, as he said in that clip you just played, the challenge of our time and also the challenge of his presidency.
Because the battle to preserve democracy is not just one that takes place in other countries around the globe. It is taking place within the United
States right now, because you've got a former president in Donald Trump and a Republican Party that has turned away from protection of democratic
elections and looking for ways to -- that are akin to those that authoritarians use.
There is an authoritarian bent to the modern Republican Party. In fact, some foreign policy experts raised questions about why the president would
be holding a summit like this when people around the world point to the United States and say, you've got your own problems to deal with.
Indeed, Russia and China are saying just the very same things, that it is hypocritical of the United States.
Nevertheless, the president is saying that he's trying to vindicate democracy at home by showing that Congress can work. He passed the
infrastructure bills, got another economic bill coming. And he's trying to stand up to China and Russia in particular, although he didn't single them
out today, as authoritarians whose illiberal actions he wants to confront.
Russia is right now menacing Ukraine. The president is engaged in diplomacy and a little brinksmanship with Vladimir Putin to try to prevent that from
happening. And China is doing the same thing with Taiwan. Taiwan is -- was invited to participate in this summit.
So it is a sensitive moment within the United States and also around the world. And President Biden's trying to highlight the need for the assertion
and the continued elevation of democracies, which we have taken for granted since the fall -- the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War,
that democracy had won.
And we all remember the president, George W. Bush, making it a cornerstone of his administration to try to promote democracy abroad. And yet less than
a generation later, we're seeing democracy on the defensive and authoritarianism rising.
FOSTER: John Harwood, interesting summit, at least. Thank you very much for joining us from the White House.
Now a country absent from the U.S. democracy summit, China, country under fire from all sides. Four countries have now joined the diplomatic boycott
of the 2022 Beijing Games. That means their athletes can compete but government officials won't attend.
France says it won't boycott the games in the spirit of keeping politics and sports separate. As Kristie Lu Stout reports, that may not be that
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: As more nations join America's diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, Beijing is
saying they, too, will, quote, "pay the price."
On Wednesday, the British prime minister Boris Johnson announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, set to begin in February in
Beijing. The U.K. joins Canada, Australia and the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the games.
This is not a full boycott, meaning that athletes will still be allowed to compete. We have also learned that France will not join the diplomatic
On Monday, the U.S. announced its diplomatic boycott, saying it was a statement that gets human rights abuses in China, including the charge that
China is committing genocide of predominantly Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, an allegation that Beijing denies.
China said that the U.S. will pay the price for its diplomatic boycott and warned of, quote, "resolute countermeasures."
Today we heard from the ministry of foreign affairs spokesman. He said the U.K., Australia and Canada will also pay the price.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Canada used the Olympics
for political manipulation. It cannot win the hearts of the people and are isolating themselves. They must also pay the price for their mistaken acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: China has yet to articulate what the price would be -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
FOSTER: China also reacting furiously today to a judgment from an independent body here in Britain on the treatment of Uyghurs. The
nongovernmental Uyghur tribunal in the U.K. ha ruled that China committed genocide against the Uyghurs and other minorities through policies like
And it claims the country's senior leaders, including President Xi Jinping, ultimately are responsible. The vote comes just a day after the U.S. House
of Representatives passed a bill, blocking the import of Chinese products made using forced labor by Uyghurs and other minority groups.
Ivan Watson following the story from Hong Kong.
Ivan, massive accusations here.
How is China responding?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they don't like this. And they haven't liked the Uyghur tribunal since it first came into
WATSON: So angry at it, in fact, that they issued sanctions against several of the top judges and people who were working as effectively
volunteers, pro bono, on the Uyghur tribunal.
They accuse it of being funded by a Uyghur exile group that they claim is a terrorist organization. As for the tribunal itself, it came to this grim
conclusion after hearing many testimonies, talking to many experts and looking at leaked Chinese government documents, accusing the Chinese
government of genocide. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY NICE, CHAIR, UYGHUR TRIBUNAL: On the basis of evidence heard in public, the tribunal is satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the PRC,
by the imposition of measures to prevent births, intended to destroy a significant part of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang; as such, has committed
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Now, Max, they also went on to say that they had heard evidence that torture and rape and sexual violence were perpetrated in the penal
system, that there was a comprehensive policy of destruction, of physical religious sites, a systematic attack on Uyghur religiosity, that there was
an extensive network of detention that imprisoned hundreds of thousands, possibly more than a million people, without just cause.
As well as this effort to reduce the birth rate through forced abortions and sterilizations and implanting of IUDs into women. A long and
uncomfortable list of allegations here that, again, the Chinese government has consistently denied, insisting there are no human rights abuses
whatsoever in Xinjiang.
Where can this go from here?
The Uyghur tribunal has no jurisdiction. It admits that. It is trying to kind of bring some moral clarity, to put pressure on governments to
recognize the human rights abuses that are taking place there.
And what we're seeing is that's growing. As you just heard, there is a growing diplomatic boycott, led by the U.S., citing the alleged genocide in
And another place where there is a lot of discord, the House of Representatives in Washington just last night passed two laws, with
overwhelming bipartisan support, bills, 428-1, lawmakers voting for a bill to prevent the U.S. import of goods made with alleged forced labor in
Xinjiang -- Max.
FOSTER: Ivan, thank you.
Chinese property developer Evergrande is facing a downgrade, thanks to not paying its debt. The ratings company Fitch says the company hasn't met its
debt obligations, totaling around $300 billion. Chinese business analysts are worried it could trigger a wider crisis in China's entire property
Coming up, Elon Musk continues to launch satellites into space.
But who is regulating all this?
We ask the head of the European Space Agency -- next.
FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster in London. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
A new billionaire has entered the space race. The Japanese e-commerce entrepreneur now settling in at the International Space Station. You can
see he blasted off in a Russian built capsule from Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning for 12 days in orbit.
He joins Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in a billionaire space race that also includes British business magnate Richard Branson.
Space tourism booming but the real money is getting satellites into orbit. Musk's Starlink plans to launch more than 40,000, five times more, than
that that humans have already shot into space.
My next guest, the head of the European Space Agency, this week urged governments to rein in the CEO of Tesla.
He told the "Financial Times," "You have one person owning half the active satellites in the world. De facto he is making the rules. Colonization or
just doing things in a completely deregulated space is a concern."
Josef Aschbacher joins me now from Paris.
Thank you so much for joining us. First of all, outline any regulations that might be for private individuals out there in space.
I guess it is difficult, isn't it?
Because it is not a national space.
JOSEF ASCHBACHER, EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY: Thanks, first of all, for having me. Yes, it is difficult because it is a new space and, therefore, this new
space, of course, is occupied by who comes first.
And this is -- I'm not saying this is pretty much the case; there are regulations. There's the ITU voice, responsible for allocating frequencies.
There is also national NTDs (ph) who do regulate. But it is still at I would say an early stage.
And I think also on one side you have the formal administrative part of regulation. On the other side, you have the facts. That means people
already using satellites and putting them into orbit.
Let me just get one message right. What I did say in the "Financial Times" is that, de facto, Elon Musk makes the rules. And this is a fact. But let
me clarify that. I like the guy. I have a lot of admiration for him and I think this should not be as understood as anything against Elon Musk; the
I've seen his company in SpaceX in California enough to say it is it is very, very impressive. And if I were not already (ph) working in space, I
would think what he's doing is fascinating.
But I'm having two points I would like to address. One is that we're in the midst of a space race and Europe needs to catch up. And the second point is
that space is so essential for our daily life. And we need to make sure that we preserve it, preserving because we need it.
We need space for everything, for meteorology for weather forecasts; more than 70 percent of our data comes from satellites, for agriculture, for
fisheries, for navigation, for disaster management, also for climate monitoring.
Without satellites we couldn't see many things. So this is really at stake that we need space as our essential space from where the satellites
operate. And it is getting very crowded. And I think that really is the issue, that we need to do something about it in order to preserve this
space, which is so valuable for all of us.
This is exactly what is the message that I'm giving, that we need to do something about this.
FOSTER: If I can summarize your argument, it appears to be that it is fine, you know, if the good guys are in control. But it is not so fine if
bad guys then take control and there are no regulations in place, no form of democracy in place.
So you know, what would you like, you know, governments down here on Earth to do, to rein in on this?
How can they catch up?
ASCHBACHER: That's exactly the point. And really, thank you for raising this. What needs to be done, yes, regulation certainly needs to be done.
And this is clear.
But for regulation, you need to get all the governments on board, all the players on board and that is a long and very important process.
In parallel, what needs to happen is that we need to have an active policy of keeping our orbits clean in the sense that we should remove existing
debris from orbit, the ESA, the European Space Agency, is having one satellite that is being developed now called ADRIOS that will actually
remove debris from orbit.
ASCHBACHER: We also need to support in-orbit servicing so that we can extend the lifetime of satellites by fueling them or servicing them in
Also, for example, in ESA, we are promoting a net zero pollution or net zero contribution to space debris policy by 2030; meaning that, if we put
one satellite in, we take another one out or we make sure the one that is put in is deorbited in a controlled fashion.
Also automated collision avoidance systems are needed. So there's a lot of things that need to be done. But yes, we cannot just leave it alone. We
have to really proactively look at this. And we are addressing this also in Europe in particular, the European Space Agency, we have just a few weeks
ago got endorsement from our ministers that we should focus on accelerators and inspirators.
And these accelerators are accelerating the use of space for our people. And one of them focused on protecting our space assets. And that's exactly
what needs to be done.
FOSTER: There are huge issues that need to be resolved before we worry about sending people on holiday into space.
Is it a frustration to you that all these billions are being spent on space tourism when they could be better spent on, you know, real issues you've
outlined, which help everyone?
ASCHBACHER: Of course there are different ways of putting your money and using it in space. But certainly in Europe, we focus a lot on
sustainability and sustainable use of space. And especially in the European Space Agency, we have a policy that we really want to put our space assets
at the service of people.
And I don't need to underline the importance of the current crisis we have, the COVID crisis, where it has also shown once more that climate change and
the closeness of human life and animal life may be the source of some of the environmental or health issues we are seeing right now.
So yes, we need to make sure that our satellites are at the service of people and this is certainly a way how we work a lot in Europe, the
sustainable use of our space assets for the benefit of people but also, once you are in orbit, making sure that the space orbits are used in a very
FOSTER: Josef Aschbacher, really appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us today.
Of course, not every billionaire is using their wealth to blast off into space. Becky Anderson will be back with the show tomorrow. She recently sat
down with a Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who said there are enough problems to solve on Earth first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Should these billionaires be focusing as you are on the problems on Earth rather than chasing the race into space?
BILL GATES, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Well, the space race, a lot of that is commercial market, having great internet connections --
throughout Africa it's a good thing -- using observation satellites to see what's going on with agriculture and climate change.
So that's not philanthropically motivated altogether.
You know, I do hope that people who are rich and will find ways to give their wealth back to society, with high impact. Clearly they have got
skills, you know, they can't -- or shouldn't want to consume it all themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Watch that full interview with Bill Gates tomorrow, only here on CONNECT THE WORLD.
In other space news, astronomers found a planet orbiting a pair of stars that are so big and hot it's challenging how scientists understand planet
formation altogether. These are an artist's conception of the planets and photos of its double stars, the hottest and most massive binary system ever
It is 355 light years away, with its giant exoplanet 10 times the size of Jupiter. While the photos were captured from a telescope, the binary star
system can be seen with the naked eye.
A man who walked on the pitch during a woman's Champions League match gets a surprise payback. Coming up, we'll show you how one player took matters
into her own hands, making highlight reels the world over.
FOSTER: The unsung heroes of the pandemic were celebrated with Christmas carols at London's Westminster Abbey on Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER (voice-over): Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge there, attending the event. They listened to children singing and greeting people together
at Christmas service. In a tweet, the couple said organizations and unsung heroes have helped others in the face of extraordinary challenges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)