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Connect the World

President to Police: "Open Fire to Kill Without Warning"; Australia: Tennis Star Djokovic is "Not Being Held Captive"; UK Government Sends Military to Help London Hospitals; Nation on Edge After Deadly Anti- Government Rallies; Actor, Civil Rights Activist Sidney Potter Dies at Age 94; World's Best Female Player on Barcelona's Remarkable Season. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired January 07, 2022 - 11:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: --he said just a few hours ago.


KASSYM-JOMART TOKEV, KAZAKHSTANI PRESIDENT: I gave the order to law enforcement agencies and the army to open fire to kill without warning.

Abroad there are appeals to the parties to negotiate for a peaceful solution of problems. What nonsense. What kind of negotiations can there be

with criminals with murderers, we have to deal with armed and trained bandits, both local and foreign, namely with bandits and terrorists.

Therefore, they need to be destroyed. And this will be done shortly.


GORANI: Well, Russian lead forces are fanning out in the wake of this week's unrest. Now we're hearing Russian President Vladimir Putin has been

in close contact with Kazakhstan's President and other leaders in the region and we're getting word that the airport in the flashpoint City of

Almaty is closed now until Sunday. CNN's Nic Robertson filed this report as the protests were unfolding.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): On - streets in a hard to verify social media posts an openly overnight

crackdown. People scream and scurry for cover. Panic, as well as bullets in the air. They're dead. They're dead; a man says emotionless body just out

of safe reach stretched out on the freezing ground.

In the same city, the country's biggest protesters fought pitch battles with uniform forces casualties accumulating on both sides. Law enforcement

appearing to gain the upper hand with arrests and killings police claimed they took deadly action overnight, describing an as yet on verified shadowy

shoot first ask questions later crackdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night, extremist forces attempted to storm the administrative buildings and police department in the City of Almaty dozens

of attackers were eliminated and their identities are still being verified.

ROBERTSON (voice over): The man is burnt out office in Almaty apparent testimony to the ferocity of the battles fought without offering proof. The

Kazakh President claiming protesters are foreign-backed terrorists and often use trope to deflect blame. But the Russian government is also

repeating a characterization rejected by protesters.

We are neither thugs nor terrorists. This woman says the only thing flourishing here is corruption. We want the truth this protester says the

government is rich. But all of these people here have loans to pay. We have our pain. We want to share it.

But truth and facts here are in short supply the internet down for a second day. Residents reporting scary quiet, braving government warnings to stay

indoors to go out and search for open shops to buy essential.

Russian state media reporting heavily on allegedly rampant looting by some protesters, as well as highlighting violence against Kazakh law enforcement

as part of a regional security agreement, Russian paratroopers began deploying to guard state and military facilities. The fourth consecutive

day of protest, gunfire and explosions still rocking Almaty.


GORANI: Well, Nic Robertson is following developments for us from Moscow, and we don't talk about Kazakhstan a lot. It's not often in the news. We're

all kind of - I mean, I personally it's been a crash course for me, but it's such an important country because first of all, its size. It's the

size of Western Europe.

Secondly, it's got so many natural resources, including oil, gas, uranium, this is an incredibly important country strategically and Putin would not

want this country to slip out of his orbit, right?

ROBERTSON: He really wouldn't. You know, just a week or so ago, at the end of last year, he had a big round table with a sort of Former Soviet

Republics. Now the CIS and Kazakhstan is one of the biggest, most important geopolitically, you know, sits between Russia and China.

They both have mutual interests in the country. They also see it as affecting its sphere of influence. So any moves that would become more

permanent for Russian troops and Russian influence inside Kazakhstan is going to resonate in Beijing for sure.

And Putin himself is not going to want to see unrest on the streets like this in the same way that he didn't want to see it in Belarus, because any

unrest in any of the sort of Former Soviet Republics and I know we're throwing back 30 years - 30 years ago, but Putin feels that sphere of

influence that world is here is it sort of Russians Russia.


ROBERTSON: So any protests there could be emulated potentially in Russia and this is something that Putin this past year in particular, with Alexey

Navalny has been a pain to put down hard.

GORANI: And let's talk about the talks that we're expecting between the U.S. there and Russia scheduled for January 10th so in three days-time.

We're hearing from our reporters in D.C. that the White House says it's continuing to monitor what's going on in Kazakhstan. But they don't expect

it with the developments in Almaty and elsewhere in the country to derail the talks that are planned for January 10th Nic?

ROBERTSON: Yes, what's happening in Almaty and Kazakhstan is probably weighing more heavily on President Putin's attention than President Biden's

for sure. It's his forces potentially getting in harm's way. And that political liability at home, the U.S. obviously concerned about the

potential for lengthening Russian presence or human rights violations at the hands of Kazakh or other forces inside Kazakhstan.

When it comes to those talks about Ukraine, obviously Russia's true presence in the close to the border with Ukraine 100,000, much bigger than

what's going on in Kazakhstan at the moment. So the U.S. position is one of making sure that its allies are all lined up in United.

And we've heard that just in the last hour or so coming from NATO headquarters, where foreign ministers of NATO meeting and it's been

reaffirmed their unity, because it appears that Russia would like to try to speak separately to NATO, to the United States to the OSC, the Organization

of Security and Cooperation in Europe, because it feels there are differences between those positions.

And perhaps the daylight between those positions Russia feels can be an opening for it, to get what it wants over Ukraine, which is a lessening of

NATO's influence, in fact, legal guarantees to say that NATO won't allow Ukraine to join.

So what we're hearing and the U.S. position is unity amongst allies and partners going into those talks Monday.

GORANI: All right, very important time to be monitoring talks like the ones we're expecting in a few days between the two sides. Thank you, Nic

Robertson, in Moscow. And I'll be speaking, by the way with a human rights lawyer from Kazakhstan. She says peaceful protesters are being persecuted

and scapegoated. And we will do that a little bit later this hour.

Let's talk now about Novak Djokovic, the world's number one tennis player is thanking his fans for what he calls their continuous support as he faces

a visa dispute in Australia. The country says Novak Djokovic cannot come in because he doesn't meet its COVID vaccination requirements.

His supporters have slammed the government's action and Djokovic is trying to overturn the decision. So he's still in Australia in a detention center.

A detention center, which is shedding light on the country's refugee crisis among other things, more than 30 people are staying in the same hotel as

this ultra-famous number one tennis player. CNN's Anna Coren spoke to one man who fears that once the tennis star leaves, those who remain will be



ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Behind tinted windows of this four-story hotel in the heart of Melbourne, is where the world's number one

men's tennis star is staying. It's a world away from what Novak Djokovic is accustomed to from his previous trips down under.

As the defending Australian Open champion arrived to claim his 10th title, and break the all-time record for 21 Grand Slam wins.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS STAR: The love affair kids going thank you so much.

COREN (voice over): Instead, the 34 year old unvaccinated Serbian who has been very outspoken about his anti-vaccine views was given a serious dose

of reality by the Australian Border Force when he attempted to enter the contrary, on Wednesday night.

They cancelled his visa despite Djokovic receiving an exemption from two panels of medical experts and ordered for the tennis star to be deported.

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Rules are rules. And there are no special cases.

COREN (voice over): But rather than getting on a plane home to Belgrade, Djokovic's lawyers are fighting for him to stay in the country and compete.

And while they wait for Monday's hearing, this is where Djokovic must stay an immigration detention facility.

TARA, AUSTRALIAN SERBIAN JUNIOR TENNIS PLAYER: So I didn't say why it's fair and I didn't say why he should be stuck wanting to detention center

and everyone has their own freedom of choice vaccinated or not.

COREN (voice over): The Serbian government is demanding he be moved to nicer hotels, while his parents say their son is being treated like a

prisoner and held captive for his beliefs.


KAREN ANDREWS, AUSTRALIAN HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER: Mr. Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia he is free to leave at any time that he chooses

to do so and border force will actually facilitate that.

COREN (voice over): But Novak Djokovic is not the only resident of the Park Hotel previously used as a quarantine hotel for returning Australians. For

the past year it's been a detention facility for more than 30 refugees and asylum seekers languishing inside waiting for their cases to be heard.

MEDHI, REFUGEE FROM IRAN: This is where I live.

COREN (voice over): After spending years in offshore detention centers for attempting to enter Australia by boat. Like Mehdi who belongs to a

persecuted religious minority from Iran turning 24 years old today.

MEDHI: We are suffering right exhausted and we are tired. We've been in detention for more than eight years.


COREN (voice over): Famous Australian footballer turned activist Craig Foster says the country's treatment of refugees is a national embarrassment

and hopes Djokovic will use this ordeal to become a voice for the voiceless.

FOSTER: Those refugees are trying to reach out to Novak and you know as an athlete with incredible privilege and status and fame. Perhaps he can bring

some visibility he can grow or develop some understanding about the way Australia is treating these people and bring that story to the world.

COREN (voice over): Whether Djokovic decides to fight for those forgotten refugees and restore his public image remains to be seen. But for the

majority of Australians, there is little sympathy for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Djokovic is millionaire scumbag who has rightly incurred really about anger of a lot of people in Australia.

COREN (voice over): This is a country that has endured some of the toughest quarantine and border restrictions in the world; the City of Melbourne

hosting the Australian Open lockdown for a total of 256 days in its battle against COVID. As a result, 92 percent of Australians over the age of 16

are now fully vaccinated, and they have little tolerance for a privilege sport star expecting special treatment. Anna Coren, CNN.


GORANI: CNN's Alex Thomas joins me now in London. So what is the - how will he appeal? What is Djokovic's teams strategy here with Australian


ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: I don't think that'll become completely clear Hala until we see what happens in court on Monday, but there seems to be a

difference of opinion between the promises made by the Australian Open Organizers, Tennis Australia, and the State of Victoria.

Djokovic, feeling like he was granted a medical exemption in the same way as anybody else would have done. But that was contrary to what's the

officer on charge of border control when he tried to arrive in Australia earlier this week felt in terms of the paperwork and evidence of

vaccination or no vaccination as we seem certain we know that Djokovic he's never confirmed. He's been vaccinated.

We know he's got long standing anti-vax views that he's publicized. So I think as Rafael Nadal pointed out earlier this week, if he had been

vaccinated, as we know from the ATP tour, that's 95 percent of players are, this controversy wouldn't be happening right now.

GORANI: So what are his anti-vax positions? Why, why does he not want to get vaccinated?

THOMAS: He's someone that just has a real spiritual belief in the power of positive energy ahead of medical science. He's been a great believer in the

change in diets he underwent probably almost a decade ago now as contributing to the huge success he's had.

This is why he's been singled out really. He's on the verge of greatness in the world of tennis level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand

Slam singles titles, he's won the Australian Open nine times. So they're going for a 10th title, and he'd be an overwhelming favorite to get it.

But instead, we're in this strange position where he might have to just leave the country if his appeal fails, and it could put a huge question

mark over the rest of his career.

GORANI: Have we seen any pictures or video from inside this detention hotel? Do we know how he's living?

THOMAS: Not from him? The only comment he's made since this all blew up when he arrived in the country or tried to get in a couple of days ago, has

been a post on Instagram stories. One sort of wishing fellow Serbians Happy Christmas because they said a race it now not back on December 25th, like

much of Western Europe.

And also saying thanks for all the support. I'm aware of it. I really appreciate it. But he's staying very cagey as you'd expect to have a legal

case. Although we know from past experience, when he has his say he will do it the way he wants to and at length.

GORANI: And there was a female player as well who was - who was denied access that was denied a visa to compete.

THOMAS: Yes. A little known doubles player, but I think it kind of strengthens the opinion certainly on the Australian authorities aside that

Djokovic hasn't been singled out for political reasons. He's just being treated the same way as any other visitors to Australia.

We know Australia and New Zealand neighboring country in that part of the world have been very strict during the global pandemic when it comes to

even letting its own citizens come back to the country.


GORANI: Alright Alex, thanks very much. Different countries are taking wildly different approaches to controlling this virus, ahead on the show

why the UK has sent in the Military to help hospitals in London.

Plus, we speak to a global health expert about the UK Prime Minister's desire to start to "live with COVID-19". We'll be right back.


GORANI: Austria's chancellor has tested positive for COVID-19. I interviewed him a few months ago; he was very much in favor of vaccine

mandates. He tweeted that the infection had come through a member of his security team.

Karl Nehammer says he's quarantining and conducting official business virtually. It's reminding us once again that no one is completely safe from

this virus especially with this very contagious Omicron variant.

And neighboring Germany for example, more than 44 percent of cases are the Omicron variant compared to just 15 percent the week before and multiple

countries are facing hospital staffing shortages.

A top hospital in New Delhi has suspended non-essential services after hundreds of doctors became infected. And this is despite COVID

hospitalization rates remaining relatively low in India. And remember the flight we told you about yesterday that arrived in India from Italy and 125

of 160 people on board tested positive.

While now Indian authorities say they're looking for at least 10 of those passengers who have evaded quarantine. This COVID surge is also putting

pressure on Britain's health care system.

The government has sent 200 Military personnel to help manage more than 4000 patients hospitalized in London and making matters more difficult.

England is seeing hospital staff absences, up 60 percent in a week due to COVID-19 and two dozen of England's hospital trusts have declared critical


Now lawmakers are warning the crisis must be fixed. We all knew that. But the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says in his words, we can live

with COVID without letting our guard down.

Joining me now from London is Dr. Anthony Costello, Professor of global health and sustainable development at University College London. Thanks for

being with us. What do you make of what the Prime Minister is saying that we can learn to live with COVID without letting our guard down? Did you

agree with that approach?

DR. ANTHONY COSTELLO, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, suddenly we're in a different position now with Omicron. This you know we only knew

about this six weeks ago and it's exploded it's doubling every two days. It's three times more transmissible than Delta; you're five times more

likely to be re-infected.

And it's now the dominant I mean more than 90 percent of cases in the UK are now caused by this is new variant.


DR. COSTELLO: So it's a different situation now, because it is going to be far more difficult to suppress it in the way that in the first year of the

pandemic, we very much supported a full suppression, if you like a zero COVID policy, which worked very well in the East Asian States, because

they've had much, much lower death rates.

But with this far variant, it's extremely difficult to suppress. Having said that, I don't fully agree with the British government, I mean, we had

so called Freedom Day back in June last year, or July last year.

And since then, we have been much more lacks in introducing any real restrictions, and in you know, implementing masks and things like that on

public transport compared to our European neighbors. You know, what we have to do at the moment is to communicate much better with the public.

I mean, still, many people don't know about the risks of COVID, many of them don't really understand the symptoms of Omicron, because they're

different from Delta. Fortunately, it's more of an upper respiratory tract infection than the lower about social contacts, of course, protecting

people with high quality masks, lateral flow tests, and the like.

GORANI: Yes, and the other thing as a journalist that I'm not seeing necessarily communicated very clearly, is that the hospital wait lists for

non COVID treatment and procedures is so long, that even if you don't catch COVID, if you get in a car accident, if your parents, you know, have a

heart attack or a stroke, or a loved one has a medical emergency, they might have to wait a very long time before they get treatment.

Worst case scenario, they could die if they have to wait too long for an ambulance. Are you sometimes frustrated that the messaging on that level

doesn't seem to be cutting through?

DR. COSTELLO: Yes. Well, I think you're absolutely right. The National Health Service, although we're seeing, you know, lower levels of

hospitalization, although they're up at first wave levels, but they're not at second wave levels. But we've got massive backlogs, as you say, we've

got staff shortages, the staff are tired, the staff are off sick, and now an awful lot of them are isolating.

So it's, well over double the number of absences of last year. And for all those reasons, I mean, having a few soldiers come in, is going to help with

some of the behind the scenes action.

But at the end of the day, we should be able to mobilize enough doctors and nurses to manage this, this particular wave of the infection and get

through it. But you're right, the damage to the longer term functionality of the health service is a big worry.

And we've got to think because, you know, a lot of people are thinking that this Omicron is the end. But you know it doesn't create herd immunity. We

hope it's going to get milder. But you know --

GORANI: Why doesn't it create - sorry, why doesn't it create herd immunity if one in 10, or one in eight people are infected?

DR. COSTELLO: At the moment because, you know, the assumption is that if you get to a certain level, say, 70 80 percent, that suddenly you don't

have a circulating virus. Well, that's not the case with Omicron. And we know that it's escaping vaccines, we're going to need new vaccines.

And we're going to need different kinds of vaccines that have longer lasting impact and also attack this variant in different ways, not just the

spike protein that's going to take time. But you know is it going to solve the problem itself and mutate down to a common cold?

It might do but this is a different virus from a cold. And the other Coronavirus is we've been living with for hundreds of years, and it may

have taken much longer than we think to get down.

So we may face similar waves, we may have to get used to the fact that during surgeries, we're going to have to have masks, ventilation,

occasionally social distancing, but we've got to keep the economy going. And in that respect, I agree with the Prime Minister.

GORANI: A quick last one here, if you were advising the Prime Minister, what approach do you think the government should be taking in order to try

to minimize the damage that Omicron is doing?

DR. COSTELLO: Well, at the moment, I mean, we advise the government before Christmas to introduce a range of what were called Step Two restrictions,

and they didn't do that. So we're now going to have to face the surge that we're seeing now and hopefully that will die down in the next four to six


But one thing that the government could be doing is to support the idea of a vaccine waiver. You know, only less than 4 percent of people in low

income countries are being vaccinated and that means millions will die, but it means that all of us are threatened by new variants.

It's continually coming we live in a global world. And at the moment a few companies are making billions of dollars protected by patents.



DR. COSTELLO: Now, actually, President Biden and the Pope and China and Russia have all said we need to expand the production of this. But there's

been no agreement and actually the UK, Germany, Japan and Canada block that. So I think that's something that we need to be tackling as well as

the problems at home.

GORANI: Absolutely. Thank you very much, Dr. Anthony Costello. More now on India, the Capitol is about an hour away from a brand new curfew. The

restrictions are aimed at stemming, yet another surge. CNN's Vedika Sud is in New Delhi.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: India's Health Ministry has reported over 100,000 new cases of COVID 19 Friday and over fivefold increase in seven days and

the highest since June last year. India's capitol has reported over 15,000 fresh cases of the virus. New Delhi will start its weekend locked on Friday

night to Monday morning.

Financial capital Mumbai has also reported its highest daily count since the outbreak of the pandemic with over 20,000 cases. Hundreds of healthcare

workers are testing positive in hospitals in both these cities.

While the health ministry has not announced the third wave across India, a member of Maharashtra's COVID-19 Task Force has told CNN that Mumbai is

experiencing its third wave and has asked people not to panic.


DR. HEMANT P THACKER, MAHARASHTRA COVID TASK FORCE MEMBER: This is a warning to my colleagues and to my patients and community at large. Don't

run to hospital. You know people have panic in their hearts and Omicron in their minds and money in their pockets.


SUD: According to the health ministry's revised travel guidelines it is now mandatory for international passengers to hope quarantine for seven days.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

GORANI: Ahead on the program what is the secret to reaching the top of your profession while belief in your own abilities that never hurts. So it says

the world's best female footballer her conversation with Becky is coming up.


GORANI: Welcome back appeals for restraint in Kazakhstan are falling on deaf ears clearly as the President today basically ordered Police to shoot

to kill protesters.

Kazakhstani forces are cracking down after days of anti-government protests. And you can see some of the aftermath and Amati regional forces

led by Russia have arrived in the country to help the President out. They say they're acting in a peacekeeping role.


GORANI: I want to bring in Bota Jardemalie; she's a Kazakhstani human rights lawyer and political refugee, who were living in exile in Belgium.

She has been tweeting about the situation on the ground.

Bota thanks for being with us. One of the things you told our producers is you say the government is sending in some troublemakers, some violent

elements into the crowds to be able to blame the protesters for being violent themselves.

BOTA JARDEMALIE, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Exactly, this is what's happening, so called looters and provocateurs that are burning the cars, breaking the

windows, beat people and go really aggressively against the Police.

And with all of a sudden they have weapons; they were like, very organized. They actually are gangs like really criminals that are organized by the

secret services. And this is done because in the biggest city, Almaty, a lot of people came on the streets to the Main Square, as well as an OC just

around Kazakhstan.

And they needed the regime needed to discredit the protests. Otherwise, it was too peaceful. So they said those people, and we've seen similar

situation like in Ukraine during the Ramadan in 2014, is we had the same situation in Kazakhstan in 2011, in like during the protests, peaceful

protests in the oil towns and - in western Kazakhstan.

So this is a trick that the regime is using in order to describe the protests and start using firearms. And we see that a lot of Police and

Military, they're siding with people they don't want to shoot. So they needed to kind of turn it into violence.

GORANI: And Bota, there was an internet blackouts. I imagine it's very difficult to communicate with anybody inside the country. But have you been

able to touch base with some of the protesters, some of the dissidents inside of Kazakhstan? What are they telling you?

JARDEMALIE: Yes, it's the government turned off the internet and mobile connection around the country. So they control the information for that

comes out of the country, and really, the general population has no clue what's happening. They only hear the state propaganda that there are some

criminals on the street. And they should be careful.

So from time to time the internet goes on because it's necessary for water state services. It goes on and we managed to get information from all over

the country. It's the hardest is to get from the Capitol, actually.

In order places people very much determined to stay. And of course, they're afraid of Military suites, but they determined to stay. And in our marches,

there are protesters; they're kind of good between those screaming house and the Police and Military that shooting right now.

So they are on the outskirts of Wal-Mart, and they're trying to coordinate through us and how to find the chairs call to get together.

GORANI: And even though Russia, just sorry, sorry, to jump in, but I'm just curious. Even though Russia essentially has jumped in to help the President

TOKev, the demonstrators and the protesters are still determined to go out and protest is what you're saying that you're hearing from people inside

the country?

JARDEMALIE: Yes, this is what the regime in order to save itself to maintain the status quo. They asked Putin to intervene which indeed, so

gladly. And right now this is something that is was is a struggle against the corrupt TOKev's regime is turning into a different type of struggle.

And one of the things now people demand is to pull out the troops; they can see the regime to be traitors, because everyone understands when Putin

comes he never leaves.

And this is absolute, like a serious, serious changing the geopolitical situation. And of course, it's now we have to kind of people feel that

that's occupation of our country. It's something way more dangerous.

GORANI: All right, thank you so much, Bota Jardemalie, who is joining us from Brussels with more on what's happening inside your country, very

difficult times right now, thank you. One of Hollywood's biggest stars has passed away. We'll take a look at the life and career of the legendary

Sidney Poitier. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Trailblazing actress Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94. He was the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. CNN's Sara

Sidner looks back at his life and legendary career.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sidney Poitier was so much more than a film Legend. He is revered not just because of what he did on

screen, but also because of his tremendous impact off screen as a champion of civil rights.

SIDNEY POITIER, HOLLYWOOD ACTOR: We believe in the essential dignity of every human being.

SIDNER (voice over): The son of a Bahamian tomato farmer, Poitier lived a life of first, the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor and one

of the first black people to become a true Hollywood star among the greatest of all time.

POITIER: We have lots and lots and lots of African American actors. Now, when we didn't have any, I appeared not because I brought so much because

but because the time was right.

SIDNER (voice over): But his career almost ended before it ever began. As a teenager, Poitier audition for the American Negro Theatre, but he was

quickly thrown out because he couldn't read. He was tone deaf, and he had a thick Bahamian accent.

POITIER: He says, you know - we got next to the door he opened it pushed me out and slammed.

SIDNER (voice over): A determined Poitier would spend months perfecting his acting skills and modifying his speaking voice. His hard work would pay off

in a big way.

POITIER: I was right, I know I was right.

SIDNER (voice over): In the 1950s he appeared in more than a dozen films beginning with no way out and including an Oscar nominated performance in

The Defiant Ones.

However, it was his portrayal of a former G.I. in the 1963 movie Lilies of the Field that broke Hollywood's color barrier, earning him the coveted

Oscar for Best Actor.

Poitier never overcame his tone deafness, lip synching the song, amen in the famous Lilly scene, the songwriter jester Hairston actually did the

singing. Poitier was considered a bankable star in 1967, starring in a landmark film to serve with love.

POITIER: Those kids are devils in - I tried everything.

SIDNER (voice over): Playing characters that would force audiences to confront racial prejudices.

POITIER: They call me Mr. Tibbs.

SIDNER (voice over): But he would also challenge the Hollywood establishment forcing a change in his iconic role as Detective Virgil Tibbs

in the 1967 Academy-award winning In the Heat of the Night because of a scene that would require him to acquiesce to a racist character.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to take you over to Brownsville and put you on the bus myself.

POITIER: You aren't taking me anywhere you dig. You're holding the wrong man.

SIDNER (voice over): That same year, he would star in the watershed film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner alongside Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.


SIDNER (voice over): The film that only depicted a successful interracial relationship; it also foreshadowed future progress in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you given any thought to the problems your children are going to have?

POITIER: Yes. And they'll have some. And we'll have the children otherwise; I don't know what you'd call it. But you couldn't call it a marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the way Joey feels?

POITIER: She feels that every single one of our children will be President of the United States and they'll all have colorful administrations.

SIDNER (voice over): It's only fitting that in 2009 Sidney Poitier would be presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Poitier once called his driving purpose to make himself a better person. He did. And he made us all a little bit

better along the way.


GORANI: Sara Sidner there, attributes are pouring in for the legend. The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus just tweeted, we are deeply saddened by the

news of Trailblazer humanitarian and cultural icon Sidney Poitier's passing, may his memory be a blessing.

Whoopi Goldberg tweeted if you wanted the sky; I would write across the sky and letters that would soar a thousand feet high to serve with love, Sir

Sidney Poitier R.I.P, he showed us how to reach for the stars.

George Takei, best known for Star Trek paid this tribute. Sidney Poitier the first black man to win an Oscar has died at the age of 94. The star of

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Lilies of the Field" for which he won Best Actor was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he

opened the very doors of Hollywood.

Bernice King whose father was Martin Luther King tweeted, Sidney Poitier a Poor People's Campaign, Resurrection City, Washington D.C., May 1968,

powerful beyond the stage and screen and then posting that picture of Poitier in 68.

Alright, well Rest in Peace, Sidney Poitier along and consequential and significant life. We'll be right back after break.


GORANI: The world's second largest economy could soon see new tax cuts. China's premier says they're needed to get the first quarter off to a

stable start. The Chinese government may be looking for ways to boost spending and revive the service sector which has been hit hard by COVID.

The World Bank recently lowered his growth forecast for China from 5.4 to 5.1 percent, while Western countries would love those growth rates when

they which would mark China's second slowest growth rate since 1990.

Now the pandemic has also been causing well documented delays in shipping channels and hurting the global supply chain. But that's creating new

opportunities for an old method of transportation freight trains. Here is Cyril Vanier.



XAVIER WANDERPEPEN, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, EUROPE-CHINA TRAINS, SNCF: This train arrived last night to Paris and will be unloaded today.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At this freight station outside the French capital, the end of a journey across two continents.

VANIER (on camera): So this train carried consumer goods all the way from China to France, headbands, electric bikes, sweatshirts, shoes, you name

it, but also items that are used in industry.

Components and spare parts like steering wheels, like valves, tubes, and then all of them are going to be trucked to their final destination.

VANIER (voice over): Rail only accounts for about 5 percent of goods transported between China and Europe. That number though, set the tick up

as an old trading route is brought back to economic relevance.

Beijing has been promoting even subsidizing it part of its Belt and Road initiative aimed at increasing trade ties and China's economic clout, more

than 6000 miles from the city of Xi'an through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and further into Europe. An odyssey usually completed in

less than a month.

WANDERPEPEN: The trainee says this advantage to be able to have circulation within three or four weeks between Europe and China. So time is quicker and

time is money, of course.

VANIER (voice over): The value of time not lost on businesses, especially those that ship expensive cargo; luxury French furniture brand Ligne Roset

sells its iconic sofas around the world with 20 percent of exports going to China, usually by boat.

VANIER (on camera): So this container full of furniture is about to leave for - Xing Tao on China's east coast, it should get there in about 50 days.

Now a similar container left yesterday by train and that should get there in 35 days.

VANIER (voice over): These last few months the maritime route has been a nightmare says the group's transport director. Shipping has become two or

three times more expensive and a lot slower. Europe, China by sea is now taking up to 70 days compared to 40 previously. The pandemic has thrown the

global supply chain into disarray.

An increase in demand and a shortage of labor to work the ports and drive the trucks has led to scenes like these, a bottleneck of cargo and so the

good old fashioned freight train is making a comeback.

Near Paris the Director of Development here expects the number of trains plying the Europe China routes to double by the end of the decade. The only

spanner in the works, even trains build is more reliable or not completely immune to the pandemic. This one arrived two weeks late after multiple

German operators came down with COVID.

WANDERPEPEN: We leave with pandemic like everybody, as we said in French Salovey.

VANIER (voice over): Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


GORANI: Despite COVID-19 cases rising in parts of China, the Beijing Winter Olympics are going ahead as planned. The opening ceremony is 27 days away,

on February 4. The World Health Organization says China's strict lockdown measures to stem the outbreak appear to be working and it doesn't expect

any increased risk associated with the games.


DR. MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, W.H.O. HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAM: Certainly at this stage, given the arrangements that have been put in place

for the athletes and the by the organizers, we don't perceive that there's any particular extra risk in hosting or running the games.


GORANI: While so many of us are taking stock of how things went in 2021 and in the world of sport, there is no doubt Barcelona's women's team had a

phenomenal year. Their star player Alexia Putellas, the midfielder scored lots of goals in 21 and captained the team to glory. You can see from this

footage, you know the talent that she is.

She capped off a remarkable season by winning the 2021 Globe Soccer Awards Women's Player of the Year. And before the ceremony, she sat down with my

colleague Becky Anderson in Dubai to discuss a whole host of issues.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your team Barcelona is absolutely killing it at the moment game after game you are producing astounding

performances. What's the secret at this point?

ALEXIA PUTELLAS, SPANISH FOOTBALL PLAYER: Well, I believe that it's the daily work. It believes in us, believing in our way of playing. We trust

100 percent that this will take us to success.

ANDERSON: The future for the women's team looks very bright for Barcelona at the moment. The men's team though is struggling; it's the first time in

20 years that it hasn't qualified for the Champions' League Group Stages.


ANDERSON: Why do you think there is such a stark contrast? And can you explain what's gone wrong with the men's team?

PUTELLAS: Well, I think it's complicated to be winning so much for so many years. Barsa has been almost a decade winning titles every year. And it's

very complicated to keep this level. It's normal that there are changes in generations.

It's been a time with players from the house that is really good, and transfers and signings that were also helping. And at the end, it's

complicated to keep up this level. So I believe that now a moment of slight descent is coming to soon be able to rise again. And that Barsa can have

the titles like it has been having these past years.

ANDERSON: I have to wash you, should they have let messy go earlier?

PUTELLAS: Well, in the end, it stages it stages. Unless you had earned all the rights in this world to say what it was best, the club was and is in a

complicated, economic situation. So many things happened that before the pandemic were unthinkable. And after the Pandemic, many things changed,

like in life too.

ANDERSON: So much of the money goes towards the men's team. And right now the books don't look very good at all. Are you happy with the way that the

finances are run at the club?

PUTELLAS: In the end with us, it's begun an investment. And over the years we've been recovering this investment. It's something that makes me proud

because Barsa has created the structure for an elite female squad top globally to be self-sufficient. It's a lot of work, a lot of good

professionals and successes that are necessary.

ANDERSON: Is it a club that believes in equality?

PUTELLAS: Me from the inside, they treat me 100 percent like a footballer, the gender does not matter. Nowadays, it's complicated to find that in any

of the clubs, there were great installations; great professionals that help us get better. We have support, we have everything and they really treat

you like a footballer.

I believe that football is one way of managing to and many historical inequalities of women, or how we see women. And really, football can be a

reflection of society. So I believe it's perfect to help us get many things like that women are free to decide if they want to be a professional in any

sport, not just football, and get what we have achieved with Barcelona.

ANDERSON: Your Success does come with the responsibility, of course at this point, because you are a standard bearer for the women's game. When you

look around the world, are you satisfied that enough is being done for women's football?

PUTELLAS: I believe there's still a path, there's more to be done. It's correct that in this moment, they are taking the steps that are being

consolidated. But I think there's still a long way to go. And now I know that I have an important voice.

In fact, I'm here for this, to give this visibility to the entire world in countries that perhaps don't have a project yet to make women able to

become footballers. And this is the most important.

ANDERSON: So what's your message to other young women girls watching this today?

PUTELLAS: To tell them that if they really want to play football, never stops dreaming. Surely it won't be the easiest thing in the world as if

they were a boy. But they should be strong. And know that us even if we did manage to become professionals, we too will help and what we can and in the

end, this is also the responsibility that we have.

ANDERSON: You recently paid tribute to your late father. He was a massive supporter of yours. How would he have felt about this year for you?

PUTELLAS: Well, it was complicated. Because when my dad passed, I was 18 years old. And I was starting in professional football. And the truth is,

what hurts me is that he wasn't able to live to see everything that's coming to me now, playing with the club that we've always supported, and

everything that's happening, all the titles. This is what I pity. but it's also a reason to continue and to keep doing it. And until I retire that is

what I will do.


ANDERSON: There has been an awful lot of disgusting racism and online abuse and social media we've seen is an ill as well as a good. What's your

message to people out there who troll celebrity footballers who treat celebrity footballers or just other footballers, with disrespect? What's

your sense? What's your message?

PUTELLAS: The theme of social media is complicated, because until its anonymity is not regulated, it's very easy. So you can't penalize a racist

comment from someone, you can sanction the account when an account is not physical. So it doesn't really exist. So it is complicated.

Until they solve this of sanctioning really the person who deserves it, because they can't make these comments on social media or in stadiums.

Obviously, there's freedom of speech, but always with respect. And you can't cross the limit where you offend someone, be it a footballer, a

referee or whoever.

ANDERSON: Have we yet reached a point when women's football is treated and respected the same way as men's football around the world? And if we

haven't, how long is it going to take finally?

PUTELLAS: I believe that every time we're getting closer, but it's still lacking. Because 20 years ago, it wasn't the same as it is now. And I'm

sure that not even in 20 years, but in five years, it will change even more. And the profession of a woman footballer will have the respect in the

entire world, despite the different cultures that exist or different religions. I trust that the next five years will be so much better than



GORANI: All right, well, thank you for watching "Connect the World". I'm Hala Gorani. "One World" with Richard Quest is coming up next.