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Hala Gorani Tonight
American Sunisa Lee Wins Women's All-Around Gymnastics Gold; Source: Joe Biden to Announce Vaccine Requirement for U.S. Federal Workers; England Prepares to Drop Quarantine for Some Travelers; U.K. Reports Slight Uptick in COVID-19 Cases after Week-long Drop. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 29, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Hello everybody, thank you for joining us live from CNN in London, I'm Cyril Vanier in for Hala Gorani. Tonight, all eyes were
on the gymnastics all-around competition at the Olympics, but mental health and COVID cases are still top of mind. We're live in Tokyo in a moment.
Then to encourage or to mandate. That's the question as President Biden blames the unvaccinated for spreading COVID-19. And later, he took to
Instagram to flaunt a luxury lifestyle funded by fraud. How the Nigerian influencer known as Hushpuppi cheated victims out of millions. So, we begin
tonight with a message for everyone as cliche as it is true. Don't give up. You never know what's waiting around the corner. Take team USA's Sunisa Lee
She took gold today in the women's all-around gymnastics competition in Tokyo. She is only 18 years old. She was being supported by the legendary
Simone Biles who cheered her on from the stands earlier. So, Lee says she almost quit the sport, but she's proud of herself for sticking with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNISA LEE, U.S. GYMNAST: This medal definitely means a lot to me because there was a point in time where I wanted to quit, and I just didn't think
I'd ever get here, including injuries and stuff. So there are definitely a lot of emotions, but I'm super proud of myself for sticking with it and
believing in myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: But the debate over the mental health of athletes as well as rising COVID cases remains serious issues that threaten to overshadow the sports
and medals in Tokyo. Selina Wang is in Tokyo with more on all of that. Selina, there have been new COVID infections reported at the Olympic
Village. What do you have on that?
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, what we're seeing is that COVID-19 is not derailing the entire games, but it is shattering individual
dreams, ending Olympic journeys early, including a new case among U.S. athlete pole vaulter Sam Kendricks. He was seen as a strong contender for
gold. He is now out of the games after testing positive for COVID-19. And there are knock-on effects for these positive tests. Fifty four members of
the Australian track and field team briefly had to quarantine after three of their members were considered close contacts to the U.S. track and field
athlete that tested positive.
They are now in the clear. But Cyril, it just reminds us how complicated these games are because of COVID-19 and how much more complex they could
get as more and more athletes continue to arrive for other events. This is as they're now around 200 COVID-19 cases in Japan tied to the Olympics. And
as CNN has tallied around 30 athletes are out of the games because of COVID-19.
VANIER: Selina, there's another health concern in Tokyo at the moment, and that's the heat because some of the athletes have really been struggling
WANG: The heat here is brutal. And if it were not for COVID-19, this would be the biggest health story that we would be talking about and athletes
already are struggling under the heat. Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa had to stop at the middle of her match because of heat stroke, she left the
court in a wheelchair. Novak Djokovic said that the conditions here are brutal and incredibly challenging atmosphere for these athletes.
WANG (voice-over): Sweaty, hot and humid. That's a Tokyo Summer before the pandemic, heat stroke was the biggest health risk for the Tokyo games held
during the hottest time of year in Japan. Natsui Kowikawa(ph) knows the risks of heat strokes all too well. A former professional runner, she
passed out during a 1995 marathon in Japan and almost died. It took her more than a year and a half to recover and she never returned to a major
marathon race again. Now, a professor and track coach at Juntendo University, she's been researching the dangers of competing in the heat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Heat stroke can happen to anyone, and it's a very common cause of death. It may be extremely difficult for
athletes to give up competing in the middle of the game because the athletes are representing their country and the stage of their dreams. The
title athletes that are having the courage to quit is the best way to prevent heat stroke.
WANG: Back in 1964, the Tokyo games were actually held in October in order to beat the heat, and it's only gotten hotter since then. According to a
report from the British Association for Sustainable Sport, temperatures in Japan have increased three times as fast as the world average since 1900.
MAKOTO YOKOHARI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO: When you take into account not only the temperature, but also humidity, I would say that the Tokyo
Summer is the worst in the history of the Olympic games.
WANG: In a statement to CNN, the IOC said it provides shade and water supplies at venues because the health of athletes is quote, "at the heart
of our concerns." Still, we have already seen athletes struggle under the sun during these games, with Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva being treated
for heat exhaustion.
KIT MCCONNELL, SPORTS DIRECTOR, IOC: A lot of the competition schedule has been built, where possible, depending on the sport, to accommodate the --
you know, avoid the hottest parts of the day, but that's not possible with every sport.
WANG: On Wednesday, Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev was visibly struggling when the umpire asked if he could continue, he replied, "I'm a
fighter, I will finish the match, but I can die." Later in comments posted by Tokyo 2020, he added, "I couldn't breathe properly. I think that was the
most humid day we have had so far." Later that day, Spain's Paula Badosa retired from her match with heat stroke. She had to be escorted off the
court in a wheelchair. In response, the International Tennis Federation said that matches will now begin later in the day due to these weather
conditions. But Yokohari(ph) says that isn't enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having Olympic games in mid-Sumner in Tokyo is not something that you should do, and we should postpone it until like October
WANG: But in the future, it might not just be Tokyo. According to a commentary published in "The Lancet", by 2085, the number of large cities
that would be considered low risk to hold the Olympics in Summer months would be extremely limited. In the meantime, Kowikawa(ph) says athletes
must stop if they feel the onset of heat stroke. As it's better to put their Olympic dreams rather than their lives on the line.
WANG: Now, Olympic organizers months before already moved the marathon hundreds of miles north to Sapporo to give them a little bit of reprieve
from the incredibly brutal Tokyo Summers, but Japan often has these deadly Summers. In fact, in 2018, more than a 1,000 deaths were recorded for that
year's heat wave, and actually this year, just from July 19th to 25th, more than 8,000 people have been hospitalized for suspected possible heat
VANIER: Well, Selina, that's really thought-provoking. This notion you put in your report that within a few decades, well, granted, you know, 50, 60
years, but still, there will be only very few cities in the world that will be temperate enough in terms of climate to hold the Summer games. Thank you
very much for your reporting. Selina Wang in Tokyo. It appears the U.S. is jumping on the vaccine enforcement bandwagon. A source tells CNN, President
Joe Biden is about to announce a requirement for federal employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
The source says otherwise, they will have to face strict safety protocols, including regular testing, masking and other mitigation measures. There
have been similar moves at Google and Facebook which will also require staff to be vaccinated in order to return to the offices. Jeff Zeleny is in
Washington with the political implications of President Biden's announcement. Richard Quest is in New York. Jeff, let's start with you,
here in Europe, we've seen the carrot and stick approach taken by quite a few governments now. Encourage people to get the vaccine and then make it
uncomfortable for them not to.
What are we looking at in the U.S.? Is it a gentle nudge from the federal government or is it, in the words of our Italian correspondent, a hard
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It's probably somewhere in the middle of that actually. There's been gentle nudges really
for the last several months. We've heard President Biden really beg and plead and cajole. Now he's going to do a little bit more than that. Doing
more than simply asking Americans to get the vaccination. He's going to require them to, at least, the ones under his purview, and that is the 2
million or so people in the federal workforce, of course, many of them already vaccinated, some of them are not, and members of the military also
are not all vaccinated.
So, they are not going to be specifically subjected to this requirement today we are told. But the rest of the federal workforce is -- so, simply,
it is an attempt to do what the president can do, but bigger than that, we're told to send a signal to private businesses, to send a signal that
private companies should be requiring their employees to get vaccinated.
And they do believe that, that could have the biggest effect yet on vaccine hesitancy, simply either making it more uncomfortable, you know, requiring
masking, requiring frequent testing or in some cases, you know, they could be fired if they are not receiving these vaccinations. So, that's where we
are told the president is going to do when he delivers a speech in just a couple of hours here at the White House, really take a dramatic step
The word mandate is something the White House has never wanted to use or talk about because it has a deep political implications and not positive
ones for the White House. But they do believe now with his Delta variant, this is a step they need to take largely to send a signal to private
businesses to also require and in some cases even more than that, shove their employees into getting the shot.
VANIER: Yes, we'll get back to that word. That mandate word in just a second. But let's bring in Richard. Richard, on the business side, this is
an easier call to make, isn't it? They don't have to worry so much about the fallout of their decisions. The Googles, the Facebooks, the Netflix.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Oh, I wouldn't say that as such. And remember, when we're talking about private companies, aware we're
talking around the world here, and therefore, different rules, different laws, different regulations apply. In the United States, providing you
don't fall foul of the American Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act and a few other pieces of legislation, you probably -- and a final extreme
moment, you probably could fire somebody for refusing to be vaccinated after you'd make sure there was no other work they could do and all sorts
of other things -- yes, you probably could fire them.
But that really begs the point. Employers don't want to do that. They want their employees vaccinated, but they're sick and tired. It's time to get
back to business. It's time to move forward. And with the Delta variant, creating a whole raft of new problems with the number of breakthrough
cases, albeit small, starting to rise, private companies are basically saying, listen, we're running a business, a corporation. We need to get
back to business. If we can accommodate you, we will. But if we can't, and you're not prepared to get vaccinated and you won't wear a mask or any of
the other things that we can do, then good-bye.
VANIER: Jeff, back to you. How do you expected that federal -- so, it's not a mandate. What -- how would you even term it at the moment? It's not a
mandate. It's a -- it's not a -- it's what? It's a strict guidance, perhaps just something short of a requirement? How is that going to play with the
ZELENY: Well, there has been a lot of thought gone into specifically what word to use. You're right, it's not a mandate. It is basically a
requirement or a very harsh suggestion, if you will, because again, if you do not, then you have to be subjected to regular frequent testing, masking
requirements and some other perhaps punitive measures. So, it's basically a requirement. Well, look, what the White House is trying to do is encourage
other governments, other states and again, private businesses to join in on this. And there has already been a bit of movement in that respect.
You could ask, why didn't this start earlier? If this had started earlier, would this have sort of slowed the rise of the Delta variant? All good
questions, perhaps it would have. But again, the White House has really tried to, you know, not inject politics into this because this whole
pandemic has become so political here. They believe that they are not the best messenger. So, they've really gone out to entertainers, to
celebrities, to clergy members, to doctors, to family members trying to urge the hesitant or unwilling to step up and get a shot. That hasn't
really worked in that wide of a lever, so that is why they are taking this step here. But again, it will stop well short of a mandate, so we will see
if it is enough or not.
VANIER: Richard, back to the business side. The biggest names that we were mentioning, Google, Facebook, et cetera, everybody wants to work for them.
So, they do this, if some people are annoyed and maybe stop sending in their resume which I'm not even sure would happen, they can probably
weather that storm. That's one thing for them to do it. But what about the small businesses, the proverbial mom and pop stores?
QUEST: Well, you have to remember, it all depends where the law falls down on this in the end. If the law falls down and it's finally determined that
you can fire people, that's the end of the subject. The problem is at the moment, there's an element of ambiguity. Now, what you're asking, of
course, is whether small mom and pop businesses will be able to attract people if they have a vaccine mandate. The answer is, yes, because at the
end of the day, the number of people who are pertinaciously, stubbornly refusing to be vaccinated is still on the low side.
And if the France experience and the Italian experience of carrot and stick plays through, then that will happen here. You're still talking about a
relatively few number of people -- relatively -- who are absolutely, implacably never vaxxers.
It is this middle ground that Jeff was talking about who have thought, well, maybe I will, maybe I won't. Well, let's wait for it to become -- you
know, it's no longer emergency authorization. It's proper fully authorized. They are the ones you're going for, and in that situation, the small mom
and pops should be just fine too.
VANIER: Richard Quest, Jeff Zeleny, a pleasure speaking to you both today, thank you so much for coming on the show. Now, Israel has announced plans
to offer a third COVID vaccine shot to people over the age 60. It comes after a panel of experts strongly recommended this move. The prime minister
says the decision was based on research as well as the risk of the highly contagious Delta variant. A source says Israel's healthcare system is
preparing to begin the boosters on Sunday. Let's get more on this from CNN's Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem. Hadas?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Cyril, Israel will begin offering this third booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine to anyone over the age of 60
who received their second dose more than five months ago. The Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett making the announcement this evening in a live
statement on television, saying that they decided to do this because of concerns that the data may be showing that the vaccine may be losing its
efficacy overtime, especially in light of the Delta variant. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: The decision was based on considerable research and analysis as well as the rise and risk of the
Delta variant wave. Israel has already vaccinated 2,000 immunosuppressed people with a third dose with no severe adverse events. And now we're
rolling out a national third dose campaign. We'll share with all the information we have with the rest of the global community as we make
progress. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: So, I want to walk you through some of the data that contributed to this decision to offer this third booster shot. Now, the vaccine drive in
Israel started in December, mostly with this older population. And health ministry data shows that those people who received their second doses by
the end of January in the past few weeks, the efficacy of the vaccine, on being able to prevent infection dropped to 16 percent. That's compared to
people who received their second doses by the end of April. Their vaccine efficacy at preventing infection was at 75 percent.
Now, there's still good news, in that the vaccine, even for those who have received their second doses by the end of January was still quite effective
at preventing severe illness, somewhere around 86 percent effective at preventing severe illness for those people who received their second doses
by the end of January. But there's increasing concern about the fact that the vaccine might lose its efficacy over time, and that's why this third
booster dose is now being offered. But there's still some debate over this, because Israel is doing this before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
has given recommendation about a third booster shot.
And typically, the Israeli Health Ministry follows FDA recommendations. So, essentially, Israel is creating for itself a sort of test -- it's turning
itself into the test case for the rest of the world to see how they will handle, how everything will react to this third booster shot. Cyril?
VANIER: Look, absolutely, Hadas. It's everybody who is looking at this right now, it's the U.K., it's the U.S., both of which have said they don't
currently have enough data. That's why what you said is so interesting, they said they don't have enough data yet to make that recommendation. So,
I wonder, would Israel potentially extend this to younger groups of the population, under 60-year-olds?
GOLD: Well, right now, they are starting as they have been vaccinating those who are immunocompromised no matter the age group. For example,
people who have received organ transplants. People whose immune systems are already compromised. And now, they're starting with the over 60 age group,
and there could be a time where the full third booster shot will be offered to more people. They're still waiting to see more data, but the data that
they are showing is showing concern that people who received their second vaccines more than five months ago, that the vaccine efficacy may be
The Israeli Prime Minister is trying to convince every -- all the Israelis to call their parents, call their loved ones and get them to g out and get
that third booster shot. In fact, the first person who is age 60 or up, who will receive that booster shot tomorrow will be the Israeli President,
VANIER: Right, so now we have a COVID experiment in the U.K. on the effects of full reopening and a COVID experiment in Israel on the potential effects
of administering a second booster or a third shot. Hadas Gold, thank you for your reporting. We'll have more COVID coverage later this hour. England
is opening up to some vaccinated travelers. We will be walking you through with the new rules and the caveats, that's coming later. But first, a
diplomatic shift. China is stepping up its relations with the Taliban as the U.S. moves out of Afghanistan. We explain what it means, next.
VANIER: Relations appear to be warming between China and the Taliban. Senior leaders of the Islamist group met with China's foreign minister in a
Chinese coastal city on Wednesday. This as the Taliban is retaking large swaths of Afghanistan and the U.S. is pulling its remaining troops out of
the country. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us now. Nic, was this perhaps inevitable? I mean, war against the Taliban has
failed so China is trying engagement.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think what China is doing is recognizing the same thing that the other countries around
Afghanistan are recognizing. Indeed, the government in Kabul recognizes that the Taliban are going to be part of the political future of
Afghanistan. The problem for the central government in Afghanistan is that they don't believe at the moment that the Taliban want to negotiate. The
Taliban, they believe just want to barge them out of the way. China's stake in this will be multifold.
It will and does have concerns about different jihadist groups that operate out of -- that operate out of Afghanistan. Baluch groups who will attack
and have attacked Chinese interests in Pakistan. The EITM, another group that wants to attack Chinese authorities because of their -- because of
what they're doing to Uyghurs in China. So you know, what the Chinese government will be wanting to do here will be to hear from the Taliban that
Afghanistan is not going to be used as a base for attacks against China and Chinese interests.
And that was the message from the Taliban. And it's the same message they gave to the United States, and it's the same message that they have given
to Iranian officials when they've been to Iran for meetings. It's the same message that they've given when they've been to Moscow for meetings there
and in some of the other neighboring countries. You know, we also understand from the Taliban that they talked about political issues,
economic issues, you know, the current developments and situations, but the headline for both of them here is that the Taliban are telling China
they're not going to attack their interests or at least Afghanistan is not going to be used as a base to attack their interests.
Now, the United States will be -- look at that very likely and say, we had promises from the Taliban about negotiating in good faith with the Afghan
government and they didn't pan out.
VANIER: Right, so, do you think -- and this is a workable partnership, if that's the right word for it?
ROBERTSON: China has a border with the very northeastern tip of Afghanistan. It's about 50 miles long compared to the size of China, it's
pretty small. And the Taliban have recently taken control of that particular border area. The Taliban now control five out of six of the
major border crossings outside of Afghanistan. Is it really a workable relationship? Look, China's interest is its belt and road initiative. It's
the economy. It's the central Asian states, it's been able to get products from central Asia to the large Indian Ocean, poor facility that they've
built in Pakistan at Gojra.
They've invested a huge amount of money in that. This is the big vision that China has at the moment. Stability in Afghanistan would be a key part
of enabling that port to make profits, for Afghans to make profits or Pakistan to make profits. So stability there is very important to China. So
this, you know, is sort of almost an inevitable engagement that we're seeing from other countries with the Taliban as, again, I come back to the
point that the Afghan government themselves recognize that there is a place within the political make-up of Afghanistan for the Taliban and for their
The problem at the moment is that the Taliban wanted all, and they want it through a military victory, and the Afghan government isn't willing to
negotiate. But this is real politic. What you're seeing in that meeting with the Chinese is real politics. They want stability in Afghanistan. They
don't want their interests targeted whether it's in China or Pakistan. And they want to be able to make profit out of the port that they've invested
so heavily in.
VANIER: Our Nic Robertson, thank you very much for your analysis tonight. And still to come in the show, Britain jettisoned COVID restrictions and
COVID case numbers tumbled. But now they're inching back up. We'll have details on that. Plus, an Instagram celebrity flaunted his Rolls-Royces,
his private jet flights and shopping sprees to his 2 million followers, but now, he could face 20 years behind bars. Find out why? Next.
VANIER: The British foreign secretary says England can relax its travel rules due to a high uptake of vaccines in the country. Fully vaccinated
travelers from the U.S. and most of the E.U. will no longer have to quarantine on arrival from Monday. Previously the U.K. only recognized
vaccinations offered by its National Health Service.
There are some important caveats, though. Salma Abdelaziz is in London to explain.
Salma, it can be really hard to keep track of, let alone understand the U.K.'s travel policy. So run us through it.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Cyril. This is supposed to be a simplification to make things easier. For the last few months, you've
had to face a number of restrictions to visit the U.K. if you're coming from the U.S. or European countries under the amber list.
You'd have to quarantine for five days, run multiple tests. All of that is lifted if you're double vaccinated. You no longer have to quarantine if you
have proof of that double vaccination.
If you are in the United States from the Food and Drug Administration; if you're in the E.U. from the European Medicines Agency. But as you said,
there are quite a few caveats here.
You're still going to have to take a PCR test before you depart and show a negative test at the airport to your airline before you take off. You'll
also have to take a day to test once you arrive here.
And these rules don't apply for all of the U.K., just England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is separate and there's one big exception and
that's France. This does not apply to France. It remains on the amber plus list.
So anyone coming from France, even if they're double vaccinated, still has to quarantine. And there's no reciprocity here. The United States remains
with tougher restrictions in place. It will not reciprocate that.
But it does begin to open up the gates. And it does begin to set up a system of recognizing those who are double vaccinated, giving them more
benefits. And this is something that the airline industry, the hospitality industry, families like me, who have friends and relatives back home, have
really wanted to see.
So it's the beginning of a bit of freedom, Cyril.
VANIER: We're rooting for you and your family, you guys to be reunited. Tell us about France.
Why is France excluded from all this reopening?
ABDELAZIZ: It does feel like it's kind of the stepchild here, put aside, a real big exception. The reason why is because, just a few days ago, France
was put on the amber plus list. It's the only country on that list.
At the time, U.K. authorities did it because of the presence of a variant there, the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa. But the numbers
for that variant appear to be going down. French officials say it now accounts for less than 2 percent of coronavirus cases.
So there's an expectation that British authorities will move France off that amber plus list. But as long as it's on that amber plus list, those
travelers, even if double vaccinated, will have to go through the isolation procedures.
Why wasn't it all taking place at the same time?
It's a matter of bureaucracy. Two separate committees; one committee decides the list, another committee decided who gets to lift isolation
procedures. So a bit of bureaucracy there. But in the next week or so, we should see that change.
VANIER: All right, Salma, thank you very much.
Hey, Salma, have you been on the phone to Mom?
Is she coming over?
ABDELAZIZ: Well, my mom is in Egypt so she's still redlisted but fingers crossed for her.
VANIER: All right. Fingers crossed then. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you very much.
The U.K. seeing a slight uptick in new daily COVID cases after a seven-day drop. Health officials confirmed just over 31,000 new infections Thursday.
The second day in a row cases have gone up. CNN's Phil Black reports the case numbers actually tumbled just after England lifted restrictions 10
days ago. But what happens next is anyone's guess.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the first week of England's hands-off, mostly unrestricted policy of living with the coronavirus,
something extraordinary has happened: the U.K.'s growing wave of cases has suddenly, unexpectedly fallen away.
The drop has been quick and dramatic; compared to the previous week, the total number of confirmed cases is down 36 percent. Scientists admit no one
saw this coming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not something I expected or predicted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a surprise to a lot of people to see something that's come down this quickly, this much in synchrony.
BLACK (voice-over): So they only have theories on why this is happening. The end of the European soccer championships means no more big emotional
crowds. A recent stretch of good weather encouraged people to stay outside.
Schools are out this summer, closing what some scientists believe is a significant environment for transmission. Awareness of surging cases may
have inspired more cautious behavior.
And there is also the possibility vast numbers of people are still being infected; they're just not following up with tests because they don't want
to cancel plans and stay at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the issue is, is what we're seeing in terms of a reduction in cases a true reflection of the community levels of infection?
BLACK (voice-over): Scientists feel confident on one point: vaccines are helping but it's too soon to attribute the drop to herd immunity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to remember, only 55 percent of our population are fully vaccinated. The rest are either partially vaccinated or not
vaccinated at all.
BLACK (voice-over): The delay between infection and symptomatic illness means the figures don't yet reflect the consequences of England throwing
away its pandemic rules on July 19th.
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It is very, very important that we don't allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about this.
BLACK (voice-over): But the sudden changes are fueling hope the U.K. will not experience the grim, difficult summer many predicted -- Phil Black,
VANIER: In Cuba, mass trials are underway for those who took part in anti- government protests less than three weeks ago. Many have already resulted in convictions. Patrick Oppmann reports from Havana.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the largest protests since Fidel Castro's revolution swept Cuba, the Cuban government quickly struck back,
carrying out mass arrests.
Some protesters were forcibly detained as a they chanted. The song has become the anthem of frustration with the Communist state. One of those
arrested was photographer Daniela Troya, who filmed part of the music video in Havana.
Less than two weeks after the protests, Troya was tried, convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. His mother said he told the court he did
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).
OPPMANN (voice-over): "He said, 'How is this just when I haven't even seen a lawyer and I'm innocent?' he says. Immediately one of the police in
civilian clothes came and handcuffed him.
"I said, 'My love, be calm. You're not alone.'"
The Cuban government refuses to say how many people have been arrested or face trial for taking part in the unprecedented protests. An activist group
put the number at almost 700.
The government maintains those arrested are detained for attacking police, like in this video, where protesters pelt cars with rocks. And not just for
challenging the rule of the Communist Party, the only political party allowed on the island.
"Having different opinions including political ones doesn't constitute a crime," he said.
"Thinking differently, questioning what's going on, to demonstrate is not a crime, it's a right."
But on the streets of Cuba, elite special forces commandos, known as the Black Berets, who were recently placed on the sanctions list by the Biden
administration for alleged acts of oppression, prevent further protests from breaking out.
OPPMANN: Many of the relatives of the people who were arrested would not talk to us on camera. They were too afraid. But some did tell us that their
loved ones did nothing other than peacefully demonstrate or simply record and upload videos of the historic protests as they took place.
OPPMANN (voice-over): Odette Hernandez (ph) was arrested days after the protests, relatives say, for posting the video of the demonstrations to
Facebook that have now been viewed over 100,000 times.
Among the charges she and her husband face is instigation of delinquency. Her cousin spoke to several people, who were around her during the protests
and told us their accounts from his home in Paris.
"They weren't violent. They didn't throw rocks at anyone," he says. "Then special troops came to get them at their home, a commando unit with many
Many of Cuba's top artists have criticized the government crackdown and called for amnesty for nonviolent protesters.
Amidst the mass trial, some signs of leniency as, a day after we visited his home, photographer Daniela Troya was released on house arrest while
awaiting appeal. The government here, though, says, it has only just begun to prosecute those who broke the law as all of Cuba seemingly holds its
breath and waits to see what comes next -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
VANIER: And a Nigerian Instagram influencer could spend the next two decades behind bars. Ramon Abbas, AKA Hushpuppi, flaunted his health online
to his 2 million plus followers, posting images of his flights on private jets, luxurious cars, shopping sprees.
But was it all a facade?
He's now pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court to money laundering. Let's get more from Larry Madowo.
Larry, I've been going through this Instagram account. It's like your typical influencer bling account. It's the cars, the clothes and, shocker,
it's not authentic.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not only not authentic.
MADOWO: He claimed to be a real estate developer who seemed to have an appreciation for the finer things in life, be it private jets, the luxury
everything and now pleading guilty to defrauding a Qatari business man of $1.1 million.
When they did get that money, he spent $230,000 to buy an expensive watch. He also spent another $50,000 to bribe somebody in St. Kitts and Nevis and
faked a marriage certificate to get citizenship there.
And the Department of Justice in the U.S. saying that he's admitted to his role in a ring of cyber scams, money laundering that led to losses of $24
million. So while he was pretending to be this high-flying business man on Instagram, he was in fact defrauding people, according to the U.S.
VANIER: So Larry, how often do scams like this happen?
MADOWO: Cyril, they are actually much more common than you might think. Last year, according to one study, almost $2 billion was lost to business
email compromise scams, which is where essentially where a scammer pretends to impersonate somebody who is a legitimate business contact and tries to
trick them to send money into a wrong account.
And these happen all the time. In the case of Ramon Abbas, he's accused of having done repeatedly with other companies, this including one 38 year-old
Kenyan. He was previously arrested last year and accused of helping launder nearly $50 million that was stolen from a foreign financial institution.
And the interesting thing, when he was arrested in this scene that looked like a movie by Dubai police before he was handed over to U.S. authorities,
they found $41 million in cash. They found 13 luxury cars worth nearly $7 million.
They found even the addresses of almost 2 million victims. And on Instagram, he was posting Hushpuppi, his last post, he said, "Thank you,
Lord, for your blessings," and continued to shame those "who are waiting for me to be shamed."
So I wonder what he would say now, considering that his shame is global and complete.
VANIER: Well, maybe the lesson we can all learn from this is, if it looks too good to be true, maybe it's not true. Larry Madowo, reporting live from
VANIER: -- thank you very much, Larry, talk to you soon.
And thank you for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.