Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
UK's COVID Response Labeled A "Public Health Failure"; COP26 Chief Calls On Countries To Step Up On Climate; JPMorgan Chase CEO Blasts Bitcoin As "Worthless"; Coroner Rules Gabby Petito's Cause Of Death As Strangulation; Taliban's More Tolerant Image In Stark Contrast To Harsh Actions; Screams Lead Police To Human Cargo In Guatemala. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 12, 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: In for HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A damning report labels the U.K.'s COVID response as a public health failure. I'll be
speaking to British MP Greg Clark who helped chair the inquiry. Then countries must step up and take action on climate. That is the message from
COP26 as presidents today will be live in Paris with the latest. And later, is bitcoin really worthless? According to JPMorgan CEO, it is. We'll have
more from New York on that story just a little later on in the show.
So, step up and take action. That was the message today in a speech by the COP26 Climate Summit President Alok Sharma, called out the G20 countries
lagging on their commitments to reduce carbon emissions. He's wasting no time, setting the tone ahead of the big conference in Glasgow, Scotland,
due to take place later this month. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALOK SHARMA, PRESIDENT, COP26 CLIMATE SUMMIT: All eyes will be on the G20 leader's meeting at the end of this month. We know we can only tackle
climate change if every country plays its part. So I say to those G20 leaders, they simply must step up ahead of COP26.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: And today, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will be investing nearly $35 billion in a wide-reaching green economy plan.
CNN's Melissa Bell joins me now from Paris. Melissa, really, the plan is to level up the French economy a part of that money, a good almost half of
that money is going to greening the economy. Where is the money going? What's it for?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the idea, and this is a tough sell at this stage, remember that Emmanuel Macron, Cyril, is just six months
away from a presidential election that looks uncertain to say the least, given the number of candidates and how messy it's looking already. His aim
really here is to sort of reset the agenda beyond the election towards what he hopes will be his re-election with the plan that the French government
hopes will do two things. First of all, bring more jobs back to France, re- industrialize, job creation on one hand, but by making the economy greener on the other.
That is the plan that he's trying to sell to the French, and of course, feeding into that idea that France being the country in which that famous
Paris climate accord was signed back in 2015 continues to want to be a leader in this. Emmanuel Macron announcing for instance that when it comes
to green house emission, targets, France will cut them by 35 percent by 2030. So, one of those countries according to the COP26 president speaking
who was speaking, that his speech earlier on here today, one of those G20 countries that has upped their commitments.
Emmanuel Macron announcing that will be the case. But yes, trying to sell it to the French electorate on the grounds, not that this is going to cost
the economy, but that by plowing these 30 billion euros back into it, they can manage to make it at once more productive with more jobs being brought
back to France, and greener at the same time. We'll hear more in the details of course in the coming days, but that is the sell that he's
bringing to the French people just six months away from his election campaign. Cyril.
VANIER: And Melissa, France is also moving towards cutting plastics almost entirely as early as next year. What changes are you going to see there?
BELL: That's right. This was part of a different law that was passed back in February that is all about recycling and trying to, again, promote
something that France hoped to be at the forefront of which is how changes can be made to help the environment. So, the idea is that, that packaging
that we all see in fruits and vegetables and supermarkets will be gone over the coming months, staggered for some other fruits and vegetables that are
particularly fragile. But the idea is that, what can be removed from supermarket shelves in order to be greener will be.
But it is all part of that drive, you're quite right to be at the -- remain at the forefront of something the French have been saying for a long time,
the world needs to be doing more on, with Emmanuel Macron really calling on other leaders over the course of the last few years to do more. And as you
say, ahead of that particular conference in a couple of weeks in Glasgow, the pressure really on those G20 countries that have not yet gone as far as
they should in terms of upping their commitments with regard to the COP26. Cyril.
VANIER: And Melissa Bell reporting live from Paris, thank you so much. And there's another part of this conversation that we'll be having with our
chief climate correspondent Bill Wier following those comments by Alok Sharma and that call to increase climate commitments ahead of the COP26.
That's a little later on in the show.
Now, let's go to London where an inquiry into how the U.K. handled the early days of the coronavirus pandemic has called it one of the worst
public health failures in U.K. history. The report put together by members of parliament blasted the government's response as slow. It called some of
its policies fatalistic and cited many notable failures like not imposing earlier lockdowns, not imposing border controls early or effective test and
To remind you, the U.K. has reported around 138,000 deaths from COVID-19, that is the second highest in Europe. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is with us from
London with more details. Salma, that is shocking, I think most people don't realize this, that the U.K. has the second highest death rate from
COVID just behind Russia when we're talking Europe here. According to the report, why is that?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is an absolutely damning report, and it comes after 18 months of mistakes and failures, according to this
report. But it all starts at the very beginning of the pandemic. That's where the issue lies. In the first few weeks, the U.K. authorities,
according to this report, willfully ignorant. The report describes a veil of ignorance that is self-inflicted. And why does it say that? Well, the
report says that in the early weeks of the pandemic, rather than try to suppress the virus, the authorities tried to manage it.
Essentially, they pursued a policy akin to herd immunity. The idea that the virus could spread through the population in a controlled way, develop
immunity, and that, that was the way to deal with the pandemic. Well, why wasn't there any dissenting voices? The report also answers that question.
It says that there was a sense of group-think. Not that opposition voices weren't allowed, but that everybody seemed to be following the same idea,
and that meant there's very little room for other ways of handling the pandemic.
That led, as you said, to lockdowns being announced late, restrictions coming in too delayed. The first lockdown going into place in March, that
was few weeks too late. The report says tens of thousands of lives could have been saved. And I want to point out here that Prime Minister Boris
Johnson fell ill with COVID-19 himself in April. So, essentially you had no drivers -- no driver in the driver's seat. This is the Prime Minister who
had admitted to shaking the hands of coronavirus patients, that's how the pandemic started. And from there, you can imagine with that sense of group-
think, that veil or that self-inflicted veil of ignorance as described in the report, that there was mistake after mistake made.
I'm going to point out here to another key moment in the pandemic, the announcement of the Kent variant that was just before Christmas last year.
There again, there was a lot of frustration over how late the government acted. And we're not just talking about failures in policy here, we're
talking about human life. And that's why we've heard from the group bereaved -- bereaved family members who wanted to be included in this
report, but criticized it for not taking their part -- I'm going to read you a part of their statement here. "For those of us who lost loved ones as
a direct result, this is a painful confirmation that they might still be with us today if different decisions were made.
These failings must now be investigated by independent judge-led inquiry in which our perspective is listened to." So Cyril, this is really just the
beginning as you mentioned, 138,000 people who lost their lives. It's not proportionate, most of them are elderly, most of them come from more
difficult backgrounds. There will be more demand for accountability here.
VANIER: All right, Salma Abdelaziz, thank you very much for summing up the report and reminding us that really everything happened at the very
beginning of the pandemic. Those countries that didn't take swift action, they paid the price and that price was measured in lives. Salma, thanks.
Let's bring in British MP Greg Clark; he's the co-chair of this Commons Inquiry into the Pandemic. He joins us live from London this evening. Sir,
what was the biggest failure in your view, inevitably, some 10, 20, 30 years down the line, you are going to be asked, what was the biggest
failure in this pandemic when the world turns to how to prevent future pandemics. What will your answer be?
GREG CLARK, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Well, the biggest failure paradoxically was also the biggest success. Which is to say,
anticipation and preparing ahead. What do I mean by that? Where we failed, it was to not have prepared adequately to cope with an emergency like this.
We prepared for a flu pandemic. We didn't think that the transmission would be or could be asymptomatic. So we didn't put in place the testing capacity
to be able to test people who didn't have symptoms as to whether they did or didn't have COVID.
And that lack of preparedness really hampered the efforts to contain the pandemic. But where we did things well, and it's -- the report points out,
the success of the development of vaccines and the deployment of vaccines, it was because we anticipated well. So right at the beginning of the
pandemic, in fact, before that, work had been taking place in Oxford University on the development of vaccines in response to MERS and SARS.
That was used to develop vaccines that were -- became effective against COVID. And what the U.K. government did very successfully was to put in
place procurement and manufacturing for those vaccines long before we even knew whether they were going to be successful and approved. So you've got a
contrast where you do anticipate and prepare, you do very well. When you fail to do it, you are trying to catch up and that never really happens and
lives can be lost as a result.
VANIER: But can you reasonably anticipate governments, all governments, to be prepared for all types of pandemics? Because that's what we're talking
about here. Remember, early 2020, what happened to us and what happened in this country as in around the world was something that the vast majority of
governments had never suspected could happen to them.
CLARK: You're absolutely right. And it is important to emphasize that not just our government, but governments across Europe and in North America,
everyone was confronted by an emergency that we didn't expect and to a very large extent didn't understand. And so, it was completely impossible to get
everything right, and we should be clear about that. But it is possible to prepare even for the unexpected. And, actually, as it happens, the
experience of east Asian countries in having experienced MERS and SARS led them to be better prepared for the viruses of that type than those of us in
the west were.
And beyond that, the -- what we do know in terms of responding to emergencies, is that you have to do it boldly, with agility --
VANIER: Yes --
CLARK: Be able to cut through a lot of the normal --
VANIER: So, sir, this is --
CLARK: Time-consuming process --
VANIER: You speak of agility -- I'm sorry to cut you off, but this is I think an interesting point that the report makes. The report says there was
a bad case of group-think, that nobody in government challenged the scientific advice that they got at the time, and that, that led them to
make slow decisions. So, number one, where did the scientific advice go wrong?
CLARK: So again, I think we have to be respectful of the fact that serious scientists were giving an honest and expert view of what they thought was
the right thing to do in response to an emergency. One of the problems was that it was assumed that in the -- in the U.K., and I think perhaps in
other western countries, that the kinds of draconian restrictions that were very quickly imposed in China, for example, simply wouldn't be tolerated
here. But actually, I think if we'd thought more carefully and perhaps listened more explicitly to what was going on in east Asia, countries with
very vigorous democracies like Korea and Taiwan, where people are used to freedoms, nevertheless, they were prepared to accept quite fierce
And so, it turned out we're the U.K. people. But the anticipation that it wasn't possible to be as draconian as some countries to the east was an
honest but a mistaken assessment of the -- of the tolerances in the U.K. So that's one example. The other aspect is, in developing testing capacity, we
were slow to turn -- again, what was scientific leadership -- in Britain, we were one of the first countries to develop a test for COVID, but it took
us months to be able to develop a quantity of tests to be able to roll that out. And that meant we were flying blind.
Because if you're not testing people, you don't know how quickly the disease is spreading, who's got it, how severely it's impacting on people.
So these were problems that were there initially. But they reflected on advice that was given in good faith, but I think we need now to, in looking
back, to make some changes to how we take scientific advice. To build in more challenge to wherever there's a consensus. To be more global. To be
more international in our perspectives.
These are things that we should -- lessons that we should learn without diminishing our respect for the public service that the scientists made and
the difficulty it was to see into the future at that time.
VANIER: What is, if any, the prime minister's responsibility in the slow response in calling a lockdown late relative to other countries? And I know
that the focus of your report is not on apportioning individual blame, I know you don't want to get into the politics. Nonetheless, the main decider
at the end of the day is the prime minister who was in power at the time, and that was Boris Johnson. And we know from media reports, from insider
accounts, that he was lockdown averse.
CLARK: Well, you're absolutely right. But in any democracy, the ultimate responsibility rests with (INAUDIBLE) -- what the prime minister did and
what the government did, was that they were very clear from the outset that they were going to follow scientific advice. And we looked into this in
great detail. And the principal scientific advisors told us that in those first few months of the pandemic, there was no material instance in which
the government departed from that advice. And we went into some detail in our inquiry as to how difficult it was for the non-scientists, for policy
makers, ministers and officials, to challenge what was a very strong at least official consensus amongst scientists.
Now that shouldn't be the case, and I repeat that it is the responsibility ultimately of those in elected office to take decisions and to cross-
examine evidence and to challenge advice that was given. But it's not easy when you have a difference in expertise. And that was very much reflected
in what witnesses told us happened in government during those first few months.
VANIER: Greg Clark, co-chair of the Commons Inquiry into the Pandemic, thank you so much for coming on CNN today to explain what's in your report,
a year of work went into making that report, so, we appreciate your time. Thank you.
CLARK: Thank you for inviting me on.
VANIER: Now, back to our top story today, the COP26 president urging countries to step up on climate. I want to bring in our chief climate
correspondent Bill Weir who is in New York. As promised, we want to get his take on what Alok Sharma has been saying today. The president of the next
climate conference, Bill, calling on nations that haven't yet done so to increase their pledges, their climate pledges. So, what I wanted to ask you
is this, where are we right now? Big picture in terms of climate commitments around the world. Are you encouraged by what you're seeing or
you alarmed by what you're seeing?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: I think anybody who's watching this space, Cyril, is alarmed by the huge gap between what the scientists
are asking for and what is actually happening. Either they're being promised or pragmatically happening in these economies around the world.
Just for a little bit of context, almost 200 countries signed on to the commitment to try to keep those global temperatures at 1.5 above pre-
industrial levels. The only country that is currently on track, in real time, is the Gambia, the tiny African nation.
Everyone else is woefully short or hasn't even really started. The U.K. is the closest to making real progress among the developed countries and, of
course, they're hosting the conference of parties, the inelegantly named COP26, which is going to happen in Glasgow. And that I guess gives, you
know, the President Alok Sharma a little bit of the moral high ground to scold the other countries to come along on this. And, of course, in the
United States, if you look at the big polluters -- the big contributors to this problem around the world, China is going through a massive power
squeeze right now, they have a coal shortage, thanks ironically to climate- driven flooding which has shutdown dozens of coal mines there.
Ironically, you know, the fuel source that made the flooding worse is stopping them from digging more coal which is then having them re-evaluate
their promises to de-carbonize. In the United States, the Biden administration is struggling mightily against Congress to try to get this
infrastructure bill and all the climate provisions within it passed. In the meantime, they did sort of crow yesterday that they have 32 countries which
have joined a pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Methane is if you imagine carbon dioxide as an average size blanket, an
average thickness around the earth.
Methane is a blanket that's 2.5 meters thick. It's much more potent in the near term, and it's much easier to cut off. So, these are the countries
among those with the EU, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq among those saying yes, we'll do the same at home. That means
controlling the methane, the natural gas leaks around drilling sites and also land-fills it comes from, big agriculture creates a lot of methane,
cows burp it out. But notably, the four countries that are not joining in this pledge are China, India, Russia and Brazil, which are the four biggest
emitters of methane.
And so, you know, there are so many complications as you can imagine to changing the global economy in a completely new direction under the gun.
VANIER: Bill, there's another climate-related headline that I wanted to get your take on, because this one is potentially precedent setting. Listen
to this, a group of climate lawyers is accusing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of crimes against humanity. They say his actions against the
Amazon rainforest are so bad that the International Criminal Court, the ICC should be investigating. CNN's Isa Soares actually recently showed us what
is happening in the Amazon. And I want to remind you and our viewers of her reporting on this. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN flew over some of this year's hardest hit areas to see the devastation for ourselves. From above, our cameras
capture the damage of these increasing fires. The demarcated lines, a sign of human destruction at work. As the forest is cleared for agriculture or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: So, Bill, what is so interesting to me about this legal petition that has been brought to the International Criminal Court is the notion
that a head of state is not only accountable to his electors, but also potentially via climate and via climate disruption to people around the
world and even to future generations because that's what the legal petition alleges.
WEIR: Right. Eco side is a new, I guess, word of the modern age. That's the accusation there and as you say, there has been actual homicide from
those trying to stop the rampant deforestation down there over the recent years. And the numbers are pretty staggering. Just last month, a 1,000
square kilometers, that's 280 square miles of Brazilian rainforest was cleared. When you factor in what's happening also in Peru and Colombia,
Suriname, averaging -- going back the last few years, it's 200,000 acres a day, 800 square kilometers a day of, essentially earth's air conditioner.
You know, the -- if this tips over, as it has historically in earth's history, from rainforest to desert, there's no getting that back. And the
results would be catastrophic. But to put it in context, this complaint, any person or organization can ask the International Criminal Court to look
into something like this. Right now, they have 12,000 such petitions and there's no guarantee it'll go anywhere.
VANIER: All right, Bill Weir; chief climate correspondent, thank you for coming on. Now, new revelations in the case of a missing American YouTuber
are expected in just a few minutes when the coroner will release the results of Gabby Petito's autopsy. The 22-year-old was found dead last
month following a road trip with her fiance who has since gone missing, sparking a nationwide manhunt. Petito's death was ruled a homicide, but
little has been made public about how she died or what evidence was found. So, we'll bring you those live when they come.
Still to come tonight, numbers don't lie or do they? Cryptocurrency bitcoin is showing us the receipts amid a new criticism that it is worthless. Stay
VANIER: Now, the billionaire CEO of JPMorgan Chase says that your bitcoin investment, if you have one is worthless. That said, his own bank still
allows clients to buy and sell the cryptocurrency. Now, bitcoin clapped back on Twitter, saying it's trading at more than $56,000 right now, it
doesn't seem so worthless to us, the company says. All right, let's go live to New York and our business editor-at-large Richard Quest is standing --
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes --
VANIER: To arbitrate, Richard, this dispute. I want to show you one number we have on the one hand Jamie Dimon saying bitcoin is worthless, on the
other, here's the market value for bitcoin, $1 trillion, value of bitcoins currently in circulation, who's right, who is wrong, Richard?
QUEST: Oh, both are -- both are in the sense that yes, a market is worth what you will pay for it. For instance, what would you give me for this
fine tie, Mr. Cyril. The -- so there is value in that. But on the other hand, bitcoin is backed by nothing, there are no assets per se standing
behind it. There is no central bank. There's no horde of gold. There's simply the belief that this thing is worth something, and there is a
limited amount because of the way the algorithm has been set up. So there is scarcity built within it. So what Jamie Dimon is saying -- and you know,
typical Jamie Dimon, what he's saying is look, this is my view, this is what I think, it's worthless.
In previous times he's called it a fraud, but he had to apologize for that. He is saying it is not an investment he would go for. But then, he goes on
to say, the bank's customers are adults, they know what they want to do, and, therefore, we make these things available, but I wouldn't do it.
VANIER: But aren't we past the point, Richard, where we can still say, argue, air the view that cryptocurrency is just a flash in the pan, just an
abnormality. Aren't we past --
QUEST: Yes --
VANIER: That point now?
QUEST: If you take it as that question yes, we are past that point. But now, we come to the question, what is a crypto? Is it a currency? In which
case, does it evince any of the characteristics that you expect from currencies? Not least of which is for anything that's going to be used
property, a store of value with stability. Bitcoin does not enjoy that. Look at it, down 2.5 percent. I promise you, the dollar is not usually down
2.5 percent in any given day and certainly doesn't enjoy the sorts of swings that this has. So, that's the first thing. Is it a currency? And if
it's not a currency, is it an asset class?
Well, yes, it is an asset class because people are using it. But then what's its safety, what's its regulation? And that's the other point that
Jamie Dimon was saying. That the regulators are going to regulate, as he put it, the hell out of this thing in the fullness of time. I can hear,
Cyril, I can hear viewers frothing at the bit at all of this. But those are the questions, is it a currency? Is it an asset class? Is it regulated and
do widows and orphans enjoy protection if it all goes wrong?
VANIER: Richard, we've got to run, so just a yes --
QUEST: Yes --
VANIER: Or no question on this one --
QUEST: No --
VANIER: And an honest answer. Did you believe in bitcoin when it first appeared? Honestly.
VANIER: All right, one no was enough. All right, Richard Quest, thank you. Always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you. Have a great evening over
there in New York. We'll see you on there shortly.
And we'll be back after this break.
VANIER: All right. And we have just been listening to a very significant update from the coroner in the state of Wyoming in the case of Gabby
Petito's death, confirming, as you just heard there, that the cause of her death was strangulation. We're back with more international news right
VANIER: The Taliban's push for international support is making progress on several fronts today. The militants got a financial lifeline from the
European Union at a virtual G20 summit. It pledged an additional $800 million in emergency aid for Afghanistan.
This comes as the Taliban held their first face-to-face talks with a joint U.S.-European Union delegation in Qatar. The E.U. called the meeting an
informal exchange, on key concerns, including women's rights and security issues. It said the talks did not recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's
The Taliban know they need the international community's assistance and they've worked hard to project a kinder, gentler image. But as CNN's
Clarissa Ward found out, there's more to this story than meets the eye, especially once the cameras go away. Here's her report from Ghazni. We warn
you, it does contain disturbing images.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the image the Taliban want to project, friendly and pious, bringing peace
On the streets of Ghazni City, Taliban official Maldavi Mansour Afghan (ph) goes from shop to shop, talking to the owners.
He asked how the security situation is with the Taliban in charge.
"The situation is good, praise be to God," the man says.
It may well be a performance for our cameras but it is telling the Taliban wants to show they have changed.
WARD: When you're talking to the men and some of them don't have long beards, are you saying anything to them about their beards or does it
matter right now?
WARD (voice-over): "We tell the people that this is the Prophet Muhammad's sunnah and make them aware," he says, "but we don't want to force the
people to do this."
In another part of the market, the newly resurrected much feared religious police are also keen to show they are taking a lighter touch.
They gather the shopkeepers to introduce themselves and warn them about the importance of following the sharia.
"Make sure your women cover themselves," one Talib tells the crowd. "They should not travel without a close male relative."
A man stands nearby casually smoking a cigarette, a punishable offense under the previous Taliban regime. But no one says a thing.
Back at their headquarters, at the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the men are still settling in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
WARD (voice-over): Up until recently, this was the Ministry for Women. The man now in charge seems leery of my presence and refuses to meet my eye.
He says their mission is to help Afghans embrace Islamic rule.
WARD: And what do you do if they're not following your interpretation of sharia law?
MAWLAVI ABDULLAH MOHAMMAD, TALIBAN MINISTRY OF PROPAGATION OF VIRTUE AND PREVENTION OF VICE (through translator): We act with accordance to sharia
law. Firstly, we inform people about good deeds.
We preach to them and deliver the message to them in a nice way. The second time, we repeat it to them again. And the third time, we speak to them
WARD (voice-over): If his words sound like talking points, that's because they are.
As we leave, he hands us a newly issued Taliban booklet, outlining the group's gentler approach.
WARD: So he says that this book contains the rules for how they should carry out their work.
WARD (voice-over): But old habits die hard and, back in Kabul, it's clear, not everyone is following the new guidelines.
WARD: It's badly bruised.
WARD (voice-over): In a secure location, "Wahid" shows us the ugly marks left behind after he says he was whipped by Taliban fighters. We've changed
his name for his protection.
He tells us three fighters stopped him at a busy traffic circle for wearing Western style clothing. They took him into a guard hut and demanded to see
his cell phone.
"WAHID" (through translator): I had photos in my phone related to gays. Also, the clothes I was wearing were a gay style. They took me and covered
my mouth. Two of them held each of my hands. And the third hit me, first with a whip and then, with a stick.
WARD: What reason did they give for doing this to you?
"WAHID" (through translator): When they were beating me, they kept saying that I was a gay and I should be killed.
They had very scary faces. They were enjoying beating me.
WARD (voice-over): That lurid brutality was on full display weeks earlier in the western city of Herat, when the bloodied bodies of four men were
hung in public for all to see.
The Taliban said they were kidnappers killed during a raid. On one man's chest, a grim warning, "Abductors will be punished like this."
Remarkably, many in the crowd seem to approve of the Taliban's medieval display.
"People are really happy about this decision," this man said, "because people believe that by doing this, kidnapping can be removed from this
In another grotesque display, two alleged criminals, their faces painted, were humiliated before a jeering crowd, punishment the Taliban favors for
After the corruption of the former government, the group has seized on a frenzied desire for swift justice. But they are savvy enough to know how it
looks to the rest of the world.
Back in Ghazni, our attempts to see the justice system in action are repeatedly stonewalled. We're told that the sharia high court is closed,
despite the people waiting outside.
WARD: We're trying to show you (INAUDIBLE).
WARD (voice-over): As we tried to persuade the Taliban to let us in, we see two men head into the court. Our Taliban minder relents and lets us
But in the courtroom, the judge makes it clear we are not welcome.
"Tell them to stop," he says.
We are quickly ushered out.
WARD: We've been trying all day to get into the sharia court. They're not letting us but they also won't give us a reason.
WARD (voice-over): It may be that what happens behind closed doors here doesn't fit the Taliban's new, carefully cultivated image and that the
movement, born in conflict, is still brutal at its core -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, Ghazni.
VANIER: Human smugglers who take migrants to the U.S. are known as coyotes. It seems some of them abandon their human cargo in Guatemala
before arriving at their destination. Our Rafael Romo is following the story from Mexico City.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It was a complaint, what first led police to the migrants. The complaint had to do with an abandoned semi-
truck on the highway in Guatemala's Escuintla province, less than an hour away from Guatemala City, the capital.
When police first arrived Saturday morning, they could hear screams coming from inside the semi-truck's cargo space. And once they opened it, they
found 126 undocumented migrants altogether.
According to police, the vast majority, 106 were from Haiti, but there were also some from faraway places; 11 had come from Nepal in South Asia and
nine from Ghana in West Africa.
According to the Guatemalan national civil police, they were all given aid before being transferred to shelters that belong to the country's migration
institute. They also made it clear that all 126 migrants will eventually be returned to their countries of origin.
How did the migrants end up in an abandoned container?
Police say they were left there by so-called coyotes, as human smugglers are known in Central America and Mexico.
ROMO (voice-over): Guatemalan authorities say, so far this year, they have detained nearly 6,000 migrants of different nationalities in their
territory, most of whom were traveling by land, with the hope of reaching the United States.
The flow of migrants has continued unabated through Central America and Mexico, in spite of efforts by the governments of the region to stop them.
And the fact that the U.S. government deported thousands of Haitians last month, who had made it all the way to its southern border -- Rafael Romo,
CNN, Mexico City.
VANIER: Now to the coronavirus pandemic and the debate over booster shots.
It's raising the question of what should take precedence, a booster for those with special needs or a first time dose for someone else?
The World Health Organization is weighing in and David McKenzie has the details.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This news may seem counterintuitive at first because, for months, the WHO has been saying countries should not
give out booster shots because vaccines are still not widely available in low income countries.
But they are specifying that these are not booster shots; they're extra doses for those who are immunocompromised, including those with HIV/AIDS or
diabetes type 1, lupus. It's saying it's important to boost that specific population's immune response to prevent severe illness. They are still
saying that booster shots shouldn't be given.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. KATE O'BRIEN, WHO IMMUNIZATION DIRECTOR: At this time and as the director general has called for a moratorium on booster doses for the
general population, because giving those booster doses to individuals who already have had the benefit of a primary response is, as has been
explained before, like putting two life jackets on somebody and leaving other people without any life jacket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Despite that, the U.S., and some countries in Europe and Israel are giving out booster shots. This decision by the WHO is kind of academic
for many countries because many people haven't even received their initial shots of COVID-19.
And this issue of vaccine inequality is persisting so many months into this pandemic -- David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.
VANIER: Yes, and the World Health Organization has long been advocating or calling on rich countries to help amp up the vaccination drive in poorer
countries, to only limited effect so far.
Thank you for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.