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US Judge Rejects Prince Andrew's Bid to Dismiss Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit; NATO Chief, Still "Significant Differences" with Russia; Russia Gives Update on Critical Meeting with NATO on Ukraine; Djokovic Admits False Info On Forms, Breaking Protocol; UK PM Apologizes for Attending Party During Lockdown; China Fights to Contain COVID Ahead of Beijing Olympics; 80 Americans Stuck in Afghanistan as Taliban Blocks Flights; Music, Water, and Light Come Together in Dubai Water Feature; Tokyo Zoo Shows Off Twin Pandas. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 12, 2022 - 11:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. We do begin with more breaking news on Prince

Andrew. The Royal will have to face a civil sex assault case after a U.S. judge rejected Andrew's bid to have it dismissed. It was filed by Virginia

Giuffre who alleges that she was sexual trafficked to the Duke of York when she was underage.

Prince Andrew vehemently denies the allegation. Our Royal Correspondent, Max Foster, is following the case and joins us now outside London. Good to

have you with us, Max. So take us through this judge's ruling.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well on various levels Prince Andrew has tried to have this case thrown out through out the, you know, last few

months really. And the latest attempt was to argue that Giuffre had entered an agreement with Epstein back in 2009 not to pursue cases like this. But

various arguments were given on both sides, Giuffre's and Andrew's, and the judge has said well Andrew can't use that 2009 agreement to have this New

York case thrown out.

So all those attempts to have the case thrown out or ended now goes onto depositions. Prince Andrew could potentially or I'm sure will be asked to

depose. Will he accept or not? Then it potentially goes to trial in the autumn, so worst case scenario really for Prince Andrew. He was hoping this

would all be over this week. Far from that, it's going to linger all year potentially going to a guilty verdict where he won't face prison but he

could be - could face large damages.

The question now, Lynda, does he reach an out-of-court settlement with Giuffre before we get to that point? Will she accept that? So many

questions but all very bad news for Prince Andrew and the way it's reflected as well on the Royal brand. He does deny all of these charges

laid to him by Giuffre.

KINKADE: Yes, it's certainly not great for Buckingham Palace or Prince Andrew. Take us through the response from the Palace.

FOSTER: Only that they're not commenting because it's a legal process and that was the expected response. You can't have a monarchy, Head of State at

the top of it getting involved in a legal process and trying to interfere with it. And I have to say whenever you speak to the Palace they just refer

you to Andrew's legal team. Not quite washing their hands of him but basically saying we are completely separate from this process.

But as you say it's negative for the brand. You know he's a senior member of the Royal Family. There are sorted allegations and it reflects very

badly on the brand at a time when they're trying to build up positive sentiment around the Queen's Jubilee this year. That was meant to be the

big moment this year. And this will cast a cloud (ph) on that will be talking about these allegations around the Jubilee.

So it's negative for the Royal Family, it's an embarrassment for the Royal Family and it's potentially very damaging for Prince Andrew specifically.

KINKADE: Yes and it certainly is. All right, Max Foster, we are going to stay on this story. We will have a guess on this later in the program. Good

to have you with us. Max Foster joining us from London.

Well we are waiting to hear from Russia shortly on its talk with NATO today about Ukraine. NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg, says the alliance urged Moscow

to deescalate its military build up near the Ukrainian border. He said NATO would not compromise on its core principles including respecting the

territorial integrity of European nations.

But despite significant differences he says the two sides should keep talking. Now the U.S. echoed that sentiment.


WENDY SHERMAN, US DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: We put some ideas on the table, they weren't proposals, we weren't beginning to negotiate. We were

basically saying to the Russians some of the things you put on the table are non-starters for us. We are not going to agree that NATO cannot expand

any further. We are not going to agree to go back to 1997. We are not going to agree that everything that is in Europe has to get out of Europe.


There is a lot we can however work together on.


KINKADE: Well CNN's Alex Marquardt was in the room in Brussels as both Wendy Sherman and Jens Stoltenberg and we are updating our reporters. We

also have Matthew Chance with us from Moscow.

Good to have you both with us. I'll start with you first, Alex, we just heard there from the Deputy Secretary of State for the U.S. We also heard

from the NATO Secretary General. And after hour upon hour of talks it doesn't sound like they're much closer to an agreement.

You got to pose a few questions to them. What was your take?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR US SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, I think the most interesting part of what we heard from Deputy Secretary Sherman,

after these talks, was that there was no commitment from the Russians to deescalate. That had been the big question coming into this week whether

anything that was talked about would get the Russians to pull back their troops.

Sherman told me that there hasn't - there was no commitment. But nor was there no commitment - nor was there a commitment to stay on the border.

It's unclear to the U.S. and the rest of NATO whether, you know, the Russians plan to walk away from diplomacy.

Sherman said rather interestingly that perhaps the Russians themselves don't know which is essentially alluded to the fact that only one person is

really going to be making the decisions in this case and that President Vladimir Putin.

So as you heard in that sound bite there are a number of things that were off the table that are not up for discussion. And that includes Ukraine's

membership in NATO. But there are a number of things that were able to be discussed. That is things like arms control, transparency, more

conversation about military exercises.

Sherman did note that there was nothing really of substance that the Russians brought to the table. Nothing new of substance I should say. But

at the same time they came to the table, they have spent now two days discussing the various options. They spent four hours at the table this


So I think there's a success that can be argued because the talks are still ongoing. But at the same time there was no major breakthrough. And so it

remains to be seen what the Russians decide because NATO clearly wants to keep these conversations going and they have yet to see whether Russia

wants to do the same. Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, yes, let's get that perspective now. Alex, good to have you with us. I also want to get that perspective from Matthew Chance in Moscow.

So as Alex was just outlining Russia was hoping that NATO would agree not to expand further east and would agree that Ukraine could not join NATO.

But as we've heard time and time again from NATO, from the U.S. those are - those are the hard lines, red lines that won't be crossed.

So what is Russia hoping to achieve here?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well they weren't just hopes from Russia. I mean these were - these were hard demands that

Moscow has made of the United States and of the NATO military alliance to stop any further eastward expansion of the military alliance because they

say it threatens Russian's national security.

And even more than that, to pull back military forces inside NATO countries that join the alliance since the collapse of the Soviet Union. You know

these were demands that there was no chance whatsoever, if you talk to any western official, that were ever going to be accepted. You know, but, you

know, it got the talks going in the first place. There are other areas where there's a possible - there are possible compromises from the - from

the western side.

Remember we're not talking about any Russian compromises in this negotiation just western compromises. Talks about reviving Missiles Treaty,

more transparency, possibly a diplomatic reset not many people have talked about. But when it comes to the United States and Russia, you know, they

reduced their diplomatic contingents in each others countries by hundreds and they want that to come back up again to normal level.

And so there's all sorts of compromises that the Russians can shake from the diplomatic tree by using the threats of force against Ukraine that they

are using.

And on the Russian side, I think the compromise that they've got to offer is they've got tens of thousands of troops on the border or near the border

of Ukraine and surrounding Ukraine and to some extent inside Ukraine as well is you look at the Crimean Peninsula. They could scale back that

military presence, you know bring those forces a further distance away from the Ukrainian frontier. And that would be perceived as a major de-

escalation and a major compromise on the part of the Russians.

So, I mean look, Lynda, the big question, which we don't know the answer to is whether when it comes to the end of this week and the negotiations have

taken place today at NATO, tomorrow at the OSCE in Vienna. Whether, you know, when Vladimir Putin, the Russian President looks at it and sees that

his core demands have not been met but there are other possible areas of compromise. Whether he thinks that's acceptable to take those compromises,

to move on with more talks, to see what else he get perhaps.


Perhaps scale down a little bit in the east - near the east of Ukraine. Or whether he decides that, no, this was a red line, this is a red line for

Russia. These core principles, these core demands, you know, are not being taken seriously by the western military lands (ph) or by the United States.

And that he will now press ahead with imposing what he says is his military technical response. We don't exactly know what that means but we can kind

of guess.

And there is, as Alex said, only one man who can answer that question and that's Vladimir Putin. Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. All right well we will see how this plays out tomorrow during the talks. No doubt we will chat again. Matthew Chance for

us in Moscow, Alex Marquardt in Brussels, good to have you both with us.

Well for now we are going to stay on this story. My next guest is a Ukrainian politician and former professional boxing world champion, Vitali

Klitschko has been the Major of Kiev since 2014. He's been a vocal critic of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and fears Russia will invade Ukraine

again. He also - he is also calling on the west to stand up to Russia a quote, "Tough unwavering response".

And Vitali Klitschko joins me now from Kiev. Good to have you with us.

VITALI KLITSCHKO, KIEV MAYOR: Good afternoon. Regards from Kiev.

KINKADE: Thank you very much. So over the past few weeks there's been much discussion as to whether Russia is saber-rattling? Whether Russia is

bluffing? Whether it's playing games or if indeed it is serious. That it is planning to attack Ukraine as it has in the past with the annexation of


What's your take on what's happening right now?

KLITSCHKO: Yes, of course, we are (ph) in Ukraine very upset what happens right now with - in Switzerland discussion between the United States and

Russia without Ukraine. We understand there's geopolitical (ph) gain but it's - we - everybody talking about Ukraine without Ukraine, first point.

And second point, we were worried about the military forces in Port (ph) of Ukraine and of (inaudible) our country from east from Russian Federation.

And some discussion, what is it? If Russia prepare for attack to our country or is just muscle game from Russian Federation. Yes, of course, we

not under - we don't know exactly the plans but we prepare for any case.

Yes, of course, instead 2014 where Ukraine decided to take a European direction of development of our country. It's not - it's Russian Federation

and Mr. Putin is not happy with this decision because his idea to rebuild Soviet Empire. We don't want to be back to U.S.S.R. We see our future as

democratic European country. It's is reason what has happens, European direction of development of our country.



KINKADE: Major Klitschko, I want to ask you about your training with Ukraine's military reservists in anticipation of a potential conflict. Talk

to us about these military simulations. How prepared do you feel Ukraine is right now?

KLITSCHKO: We prepare for any cases. We don't know how develop the situation (ph) in next couple of days, couple of weeks, couple of months.

And we prepare for worst case also. We hope - we hope - we hope it's never happens, this is worst case. But we have to be prepared.

I am responsible also for Capital of Ukraine, Kiev is Capital of Ukraine as well as the largest city in our country. And full case (ph) if escalation

go up and we have to be ready to defend our independency, (inaudible), integrity (ph) of our country.


And civil defense also have to be prepared.

KINKADE: Major Klitschko, can I ask you to stand-by just a moment. I understand the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister is speaking right now. We

just want to listen in.


ALEXANDER GRUSHKO, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: (Through Translation) (Inaudible) Russian system to make of (inaudible). And therefore today's

meeting was devoted to analyzing all the factors affecting the degradation of European security that we are observing in recent years.

At this meeting, which was made possible thanks to the Russian Initiative and we appreciate the General Secretary's agreement to hold the meeting

with Russia. Our delegation included the military, which was - who were led by Colonel General Fomin. And we gave our assessment of the European - of

the security landscape and which effects all the states and of course it is important to us - especially important to us as the security of Russia.

And one of the factors that has a systemic influence is the evolution and the return of NATO back to the Cold War situation returning to the patterns

of the Cold War and setting the tasks of deterring Russia. This attracts colossal resources. There is no hiding that this is the main task of the

alliance and this is a destructive factor. It destroys any attempt to construct security.

And the second factor that has a serious affect and causes deterioration of security is NATO's expansion. I will recall that in 1997 only one country

was knocking on NATO's door that was Poland and now NATO includes lots of countries and that (inaudible) and their territory is being used from all

strategic directions. And this also has a serious affect on our security and is creating unacceptable risks which we will count.

The third factor is complete degradation of arms control. There is no secret here it is well known everything began with the U.S. quitting the

Anti-Missile Treaty and then the destruction of the negotiations. And under the pressure from the U.S. the START Treaty was torpedoed and also the Open

Skies Agreement which was one of the main instruments of transparency in military interaction.

And I would add that the U.S. and its allies are trying to achieve supremacy in all operational environments using NATO language, that's the

land and the sea and the air and the cyber space, all the possible theater and also military technical means. The threshold for using nuclear weapons

keeps being lowered and various exercises are including the nuclear and this also causes great concern for us.

And finally one of the elements, which is quite sad, is the fact that NATO's expansion has led to an end to all cooperation in the areas of

common interest. We have no common agenda, absolutely none.


And that is clear because we can't have the positive agenda that we used to have such as combatting terrorism and increasing security in Afghanistan,

combatting drugs, training and anti-piracy measures and joint monitoring of the air space. All that is in the past and we understand why that is

because this cooperation does not befit this new twist, the return towards deterring the Russian Federation.

We were very honest and direct. We did not try to avoid sharp corners or without any political correctness we pointed out that any further sliding

of the situation will lead to serious consequences in European security. Russia does not agree to this scenario and the Measures that we propose

today in the form that they are outlined in the draft agreement that we proposed call for a radical change in the situation. Returning to efforts

to construct European security on common positions, principles and this will increase not only Russian Federation security which is fundamental to


But also obviously will improve security for NATO countries especially those who are calling themselves frontline states. And I would say that the

conversation was very frank, forthright. It was a deep conversation. It was very meaningful. But at the same time -- it was intense, but at the same

time there was quite a few differences on fundamental points. And one of the main points was that NATO understands the principle of the

indivisibility of security but it understands it selectively.

The indivisibility of security only exist for members of the alliance and NATO is not going to consider the security of others. We are based on the

fact that the indivisibility of security should consider the interest of all and attempts to construct security against Russia without Russia is

counter effective, counter productive and we don't want to do that. If NATO pursues a policy of deterrence then we will respond with counter

deterrence. And any intimidation will meet counter intimidation.

And any chances that will need to ensue in Russian policy then they will do so.


KINKADE: You've just been listening to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko. Who was speaking about Russians concerns for its own

security during these lengthy conversations with NATO in Brussels. We heard there that the discussion have been frank, direct, meaningful. But we heard

from the Foreign Minister of Russia say that there is no common agenda, absolutely none.

He went on to say there's been no positive agenda when it comes to combatting terrorism and ensuring security in Afghanistan. Things that

would have been sum sort of alliance and common ground in the past. He said there was a lot of fundamental differences.

We have standing by for us the Major of Kiev who I was speaking to just before we went to Russia's Foreign Minister. I want to welcome him back.

Vitali Klitschko, I understand you were just listening in as well. And we know from the get go, even before these talks began, that Russia had some

hard line points. Its doesn't want to see NATO expand eastward. It doesn't want Ukraine to join NATO.

I put it to you, does Ukraine want to join NATO? And if that were to happen what sort of support would you expect from NATO?

KLITSCHKO: We have to defend our country and we need stability. And it Russian Federation talk about stability right now it's nobody doubt what

happens in east of Ukraine. In last couple of years more than 13,000 people, Ukrainian died. Occupy (ph) Luhansk Oblast (ph) region and

everybody understand clearly because without weapons delivering to this region, without financial support, without propaganda this conflict will be

never ever happens.


Everything's happens under control of Russian Federation. It's actually -- it's political gain what we listen right now from Deputy of Duma. It's our

cross point (ph). We defend our country. We not aggressive country. We doesn't have nuclear weapon. But we have to support our integrity and we

need the help. We really appreciate for our European and world partners who support Ukraine, support our wishes to be European country, to be

democratic country.

We don't want be back to U.S.S.R. and the idea to rebuild Soviet Empire we not accept it.

KINKADE: All right, fair enough. Kiev Mayor, Vitali Klitschko, good to get your perspective. We wish you all the very best and thanks so much for your


KLITSCHKO: Thank you very much.

KINKADE: Well the drama surrounding the world's number one tennis star just keeps growing. A pair of French sports journalists want to know why they

were not told Novak Djokovic had COVID. Djokovic sat down for an interview with them a day after a positive COVID test. In a social media post, he

said doing the interview and not isolating was an error in judgment. He also denied knowing he was positive before going to other events including

this youth tennis award ceremony.

Australia's Border Force is investigating all these events and possible inconsistencies in Djokovic's visa documents. He called those human error

and not deliberate.

Well Paula Hancocks joins us now from Melbourne. Thanks so much for staying up so late for us there in Melbourne, Paula. So Djokovic spent four days in

a detention center, a judge cleared him to stay in the country. But we keep getting this trickle of new information about whether he might have had

COVID or then went to these events and whether some of the documentation to enter the country was wrong.

Take us through this timeline around this positive COVID test and what he was getting up to back in December?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Lynda, from the statement from Novak Djokovic he says that on December 14th he went to a basketball game in the

Serbian Capital Belgrade and he said after that a number of people tested positive. So he took a PCR test on December 16th. He said on the 17th he

then took a rapid antigen test. He says it was negative and did attend a number of public events. We saw him photographed at those events not

wearing a mask and surrounded, at one point by many young people.

And he says that it was only after those events that he learned that the test - the PCR test had come back positive. And yet the next day, December

18th, he still went ahead with a media interview and a photo shoot and didn't inform the (inaudible) that he was in fact COVID-19 positive. Now he

does say that that was a lapse in error of judgment after the event. But that's what he said this Wednesday in the statement. He did not inform that

team afterwards that he had in fact been positive.

So this is one of the questions, one of the many questions that had been swirling around this visa issue when exactly he knew that he had tested

positive. And this is what Djokovic said this Wednesday in a statement on social media. But of course there is also the travel declaration. The fact

that he has admitted there was an error with that as well though he did point out that wasn't him that filled it in it was his support team.

But where it said have you travelled, will you travel in the 14-days before arrival they had ticked the box no. And in fact it's turned out that he was

in Spain and in Serbia. Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, a lot of inconsistencies. We will continue to follow this closely. Paula Hancocks, thanks very much. Joining us there from Melbourne,


Well there were political sparks flying at Boris Johnson a short time ago. The British Prime Minister coming under fire from U.K. lawmakers including

member of his own Conservative Party when he confirmed that he was indeed at a Downing Street gathering in May of 2020. And that of course was when

England was under a strict COVID lockdown.

Here is what the Prime Minister had to say about it.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary

sacrifices over the last 18 months. I know the anguish that they have been through unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they

want or to do the things they love.


And I know the rage they feel with me, over the government I lead, when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly

followed by the people who make the rules.


KINKADE: Well, during a heated weekly session of prime minister's questions the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer called on Mr. Johnson to resign.

Well, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has been watching the Downing Street COVID scandal develop for weeks. She joins us now from London.

So, and we have been discussing this, Salma, for weeks. And for weeks the prime minister denied going to any of these sort of parties or couldn't

recall attending them. Now he's apologized. How strong are the calls right now for him to resign?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, REPORTER, CNN LONDON: It's a significant about-face, Lynda, now this is not the apology his critics would have wanted. You have

to remember in that apology Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not admit to any wrongdoing, he did not admit that his administration violated any COVID


He even said that it was probably within the framework of what was allowed for him to be in attendance at that May 2020 event. But he admitted that

the perception of it was wrong. That he regretted his actions. But still not admitting to being guilty of any violations. However, it's still a

major move here, Lynda.

Because for weeks as you said, the prime minister has said no parties, no parties, no parties. Even as this body of information kept growing. First,

there was Christmas parties, then there was a leaked video of joking about the Christmas parties. Then there was summer parties, then there was a

picture of a said summer party even among all of that.

Now the prime minister, of course, finally making an admission he was in attendance himself. There's two questions here. How does he handle this

politically? Does his party continue to support him? And then publicly?

You're talking about two-thirds of the British public according to a recent snap poll want to see the prime minister resign. How does he win back

hearts and minds? It's difficult to imagine it, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly is. All right, Salma Abdelaziz in London for us. We will stay on that story as well. Thanks very much. Well, still ahead on

the show a worst-case scenario for Prince Andrew as a judge hands down a stunning rejection. I'm going to speak to a CNN legal analyst about what

today's decision means for the royal.



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center, and you are watching Connect the World. Good to have you with us. Well, we are

following the breaking news on Prince Andrew. A case against him in New York can now move ahead. It comes after a U.S. judge rejected the royal's

bid to have a civil sexual lawsuit thrown out.

It was filed by Virginia Giuffre. She alleges that she was sexually trafficked to the duke of york when she was underage. Prince Andrew has

consistently denied the allegation. Well, CNN Legal Analyst Ariva Martin joins us now live to talk us through all of this. Ariva, firstly take us

through the judges decision.

Rejected this motion to dismiss the case against Prince Andrew. Explain why.

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Yes, Lynda, what we saw happened in the court today was a New York judge in a civil court said that this settlement

agreement, a settlement agreement entered into in 2009 by Virginia Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein where she alleged that he sexually assaulted her or

arranged for her to be sexually assaulted.

And there was a phrase in that settlement agreement that says that the settlement agreement covered potential defendants. Other people that could

have been named in the lawsuit against Epstein.

Prince Andrew was relying on that statement in that settlement agreement as the basis for his motion to this New York court saying look, judge, this

case was already settled in 2009, Virginia already received $500,000, she should not be allowed to move forward with the lawsuit against me because I

benefited from that lawsuit. And the court rejected that argument. The court found that the language in the lawsuit -- the language in the

settlement agreement between Virginia and Epstein was ambiguous, wasn't clear.

Could be subjected to different interpretations and that a jury should be able to look at the language in that agreement, look at the circumstances,

and determine whether that agreement does indeed apply to Prince Andrew. And essentially allowed this case to move forward to a civil jury trial. A

huge blow to Prince Andrew and his legal team.

KINKADE: Yes, and as you would were just taking us through it, that settlement -- that money that she was paid was a result of her trying to

sue Epstein, the late financier for trafficking her. He paid the sum of money, right, for her to drop these claims. But Prince Andrew's name was

never mentioned in these documents, right?

MARTIN: That's correct. There is no mention of Prince Andrew anywhere in the settlement agreement between Virginia and Jeffrey Epstein. There's just

this vague language about potential other defendants, other people that potentially could have been included in that lawsuit but were not.

And Prince Andrew staked his legal position on that language, which the court found to be ambiguous. And, again, subject to various

interpretations. So, this lawsuit gets to move forward, it is in civil courts. So, criminal penalties are not an issue but he could face

significant monetary damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Very serious allegations, Lynda, in this lawsuit. Essentially Virginia is saying that Prince Andrew raped her, sexually assaulted her on three

different occasions between 2000 and 2002. And all arranged and facilitated by Jeffrey Epstein.

KINKADE: And, of course, Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied these allegations. How is this case going to play out for him? How soon could it

go to trial?

MARTIN: It could go to trial anytime, by the end of this year, maybe the beginning of next year. But it's going to allow the public to learn more

about the allegations. In civil lawsuits you are allowed to submit written questions, those are called interrogatories. You're allowed to take

depositions under oath.

There are so many people that could be brought into this lawsuit who may have information about Prince Andrew's, you know, his whereabouts on the

days that the plaintiff is alleging that she was sexually assaulted by him. He says he was at home with his children on one of the dates at issue.

So, his children could potentially be deposed. His ex-wife, other members of the royal family, anyone that has information about the allegations of

rape and sexual assault could be brought into this lawsuit.

KINKADE: There will be a lot of interest covering this case no doubt. Areva Martin, good to have you breaking that all down for us. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, China is battling to contain COVID cases ahead of the Beijing Winter Games. The city of Tianjin about 100 kilometers from Beijing

began a second round of testing for 14 million people who live there. About two million people are under lockdown. And that's after the city reported

just three dozen new local symptomatic COVID cases.


Now David Culver joins us now from Beijing for more on this. So, we're now seeing this order for 14 million people in the city to be re-tested and I

understand public transport from the city to Beijing is also being suspended.

DAVID CULVER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, and, Lynda, that's just one case in point in that what has now been a series of outbreaks going across China.

You've got multiple cities in this wartime mode. And it is a commuter city, Tianjin, not too far from here. You mentioned about 80 miles from this


So, you have folks who on a daily basis would come in and out of Beijing. That, of course, is coming to a halt. Heavy restrictions are in place for

those individuals, particularly if they're in what's considered a medium or high-risk area.

Now, to qualify for that you have to have just one person in your district or city who has a confirmed case, and then you cannot travel for 14 days

into Beijing. That's how strict they are about this. Beijing has been a fortress since the beginning of this outbreak. And it's something that

they're trying to protect now more than ever because of what we have here in roughly three weeks, The Winter Olympics.

And this was supposed to be that opportunity for the leadership here to showcase to the world that they're sometimes extreme measures, the targeted

lockdowns, the mass testing, the contact tracing, the border surveillance and control, all of that came together to contain the virus. That's what

they really wanted to show.

However, now you're seeing this outbreak in multiple different locations, and that's what's really concerning is they really thought that perhaps it

was going to be imported and it was going to be those who are part of the Olympic teams. Perhaps even some of the staff or media that would be the

biggest threat.

Now they've got it outside of the so-called Olympic bubble. And so, that's why they're really trying to put out as many of these up -- cases that are

coming up, particularly from coming into Beijing. And these travel restrictions are also coinciding, Lynda, with what is supposed to be the

busiest travel time of the year and that's the Lunar New Year.

So, that is, again, that usual perfect storm where, obviously, they don't want people coming together but that's where you have 100s of millions

traveling shoulder to shoulder in train stations and airports and going back to their home provinces. And now they're encouraging and sometimes

they're even ordering people not to do that.

They're trying to still show the rest of the world that China is moving openly and technically they are but the heavy restrictions are going to

keep people in place. And it's likely that that will continue well through the Olympics, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, no doubt. We will be following this closely over the next three weeks ahead of the Beijing Games. Good to have you with us, David


CULVER: Right.

KINKADE: Well, China has reported case count is extremely low compared to France. Which saw a record of more than 368,000 new reported cases on

Tuesday. The French health minister says the actual number of new cases could have exceeded half a million. He warns the peak is yet to come.

And while France is doubling down on vaccines a teacher's union says the protocols currently in place are not enough to keep them safe, the

students, or their families. The group warns its upcoming strike will close half the country's elementary schools. Our Correspondent Melissa Bell is

joining us now from Paris, more on all of this.

And Melissa, so, the French government has already watered down the rules relaxing COVID protocols in an attempt to avoid shutting down schools and

closing classrooms. But the teachers are not happy with that at all.

MELISSA BELL, PARIS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right and, in fact, we've just been hearing from the French prime minister speaking at the French

Parliament saying look, it was about a -- loosening those rules, we're making them so that they could work, we're shutting down schools and the

French economy once again.

And that was simply not an option. But you're right, that relaxation of the rules, that essentially means that in order to stay in class kids will have

to self-test rather than go out and get a PCR test or an antigen test in a pharmacy. Does mean that there's a great deal of anger from teachers.

Now, what we expect tomorrow is that 75 percent of primary and kindergarten school teachers will be on strike and that half of all of France's primary

and kindergartens will therefore be closed.

We expect also demonstrations in the street and what they complain about is not only changing rules but the fact that they consider they've been

turning into sort of daycare centers where proper learning cannot take place as a result. But it is that difficult balance that the government's

trying to strike as ever.

With this new wave especially driven as it is now by the Omicron Variant here in France, and given its very high contagion we've been hearing from

French authorities saying look, it is going to be very difficult given the contagiousness, given the speed with which it spreads to contain the spread

of Omicron entirely.

And essentially what authorities are leaning to do, Lynda, is try and live with it, with all the difficulties that it entails when you're on the

frontline as a teacher, for instance, or a healthcare worker.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Those healthcare workers are no doubt very concerned given that the WHO is warning that Omicron could infect half the population

across Europe in the next two months.


BELL: That's right, Lynda. You mentioned a moment ago those -- that record that was sent once again on Tuesday. Nearly 370,000 people testing

positive. I mean, when you look back at the previous waves here in France, the first, the second, and the fact that we would sometimes get close to

50,000 cases a day gives you an idea of just how fast it's spreading. And, of course, France isn't alone.

This is a particular variant of the virus that is spreading at such a speed that authorities are having to adapt. On one hand, you're right, trying to

make their vaccine strategies all the harder to get more and more people vaccinated. Because, of course, we know that that helps bring down the

levels of hospitalizations and the numbers of entries in ICU.

Here in France at the moment in Parliament, they're debating a very contentious move that would mean that the vaccine pass that at the moment

allows you to get into restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters. But that where you can take a PCR test rather than get vaccinated is going to turn into a

just vaccine pass.

That's proving controversial and fairly difficult to get through Parliament. But it is part of the strategies of so many governments to try

and get as many people vaccinated as they can. Even as they dread with what has become in the worlds of the health administrator a tsunami rather than

simply another wave, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. All right, Melissa Bell for us in Paris. Good to have you with us, thank you. Well, Quebec and Canada is another place

getting fed up with the unvaccinated. And warning that if they choose to remain a risk to society they'll have to pay a price.

The province announced that unless unvaccinated people have a medical exemption they will be hit with a significant fine in the coming weeks.

Because they are putting a huge burden on the public healthcare system.


FRANCOIS LEGAULT, QUEBEC PREMIER: It's a question also of fairness for the 90 percent of the population who made some sacrifices. I think we owe them

this kind of measure.


KINKADE: Well, the government says nearly 90 percent of eligible Quebecers have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. And last week Quebec

announced that only the vaccinated are allowed to buy alcohol and cannabis. The health minister says vaccine appointments spiked as a result of that


Well, still ahead on Connect the World CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has made it into the capital of Kazakhstan. What he's seeing there in the wake of those

deadly protests. Stay with us.


KINKADE: We have no common agenda, absolutely none. That is a Russian diplomats assessment after a four-hour meeting with NATO. Alexander Grushko

accused the alliance of returning to its Cold War pattern of deterring Russia.

Grushko also NATO's expansion has created an unbreakable -- unacceptable risk. And the head of NATO said he urged the Kremlin to deescalate the

situation with Ukraine.


Russia is currently believed to have upwards of 100,000 troops positioned near the Ukrainian border. Well, Russia is also in the middle of another

foreign policy crisis in Kazakhstan.

The Kazakhstani president says a Russian-led military contingent sent there to help quell the unrest will be out of the country within 10 days. CNN's

Frederik Pleitgen and his team made it into the capital of Kazakhstan. A little earlier he talked with Kaitlan Collins about what he's seeing there.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm actually right in front of the entrance to the Presidential Palace. And there's a big

security force outside of that palace, of course, after some of those protests took place. Otherwise, though the security presence here in the

capital city of Nur-Sultan is actually not that big.

But this sort of also wasn't one of the epicenters of the protests. That was the city of Almaty and there is also where you have those big

international forces that are led by Russia on the ground and patrolling there as well.

I was actually able to speak to a senior Kazakhstani official just a couple of minutes ago and I asked them, look, how close was this to you guys

losing control and losing control of the situation? He said it was really close. He said that they were dangerously close to losing control of the

biggest city of Almaty.

That's where more than 100 people were killed in that city alone. And he says that it was those Russian-led forces that really did turn the tide

because they secured a lot of areas and freed up some of those Kazakhstani forces that then, of course, went after those protestors.

That was also, Kaitlan, where we saw some of those really troubling images of soldiers going through the streets, of soldiers opening fire in the

middle of those streets as well. The Kazakhstani government has defended that, they say that this was an anti-terror operation.

And you're absolutely right to point out the Kazakhstanis are also saying that they have the situation under control to a point now where they

believe that those international forces that are led by Russia that they can leave.

On the one hand, though they are saying those forces are going to start withdrawing but that withdrawal is going to take at least 10 days though if

everything goes according to plan.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Frederik Pleitgen. Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now. Lebanon's central bank boss

is now banned from traveling over corruption allegations. That's according to the state-run National News Agency.

It says a judge ordered the ban because of what she calls important data that surfaced in her investigation of Riad Salameh. He's accused of

financial misconduct at home and abroad. About 80 Americans who want to leave Afghanistan are still stranded there. That's according to U.S.

Congressional sources.

(Inaudible) and evacuation flights have been grounded by the Taliban for the past month. And it's unclear when the flights will be able to start up

again. Well, still to come, testing the waters at the World Expo in Dubai.


RICHARD QUEST, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: They call it surreal and it really is.


KINKADE: Our Richard Quest shows us the monumental water feature when we come back. And ready for a close-up, Tokyo Zoo lets lucky visitors see

their fluffy twin attractions.


KINKADE: Music, water, and light. The elements come together and somehow defy gravity in a massive water feature at the Dubai Expo. It's actually

become one of the biggest stars of the event. CNN's Richard Quest had to go and check it out.



QUEST: They call it surreal and it really is. It's the idea of earth, fire, water all coming together. There is a simplicity and joy to this that's not

really describable. Because at the end of the day, it's water being chucked down a hill. With music written by the same guy that wrote the theme for

Game of Thrones. (Inaudible).


KINKADE: That does look fun. We can join Quest Means Business live from the Dubai Expo 2020 every night this week. He'll be joined by some of the

biggest names in business including the CEO of Emirates, the chairman of the DP World, and the founder of DAMAC Properties. Only on CNN.

Well, what's cuter than one baby panda? Twin pandas, of course. And visitors at Tokyo Zoo are getting their first glimpse. Lei Lei and her

brother Xiao Xiao are just six months old. But as you can see, they're already getting used to being the center of attention. Unfortunately due to

COVID tickets are only available through a lottery.

So, good luck to the would-be visitors. Well, thanks so much for watching. I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center. Stick around One World with my

colleagues Zain Asher is up next.