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Hala Gorani Tonight

Europe Battles Rising COVID Cases As Some Countries Reimpose Lockdowns; India Administers 1 Billion Vaccine Doses; Surgeons Successfully Test Pig Kidney Transplant In A Human; Haitian Kidnappings; Investigators Face Dangerous Conditions In Laundrie Search; Colombia Ramps Up Exports For Medical Marijuana; Leader Of Haitian Kidnappers Says He'll Kill Missionaries If Demands Are Not Met; Successful Transplant Of Pig Kidney To Human. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 21, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Cases rising from Russia and the U.K. to Barbados and the

Dominican Republic. We'll bring you up to speed on COVID around the world and speak to the assistant director of the Pan American Health

Organization. Then Putin's new strategy declining international invitations, threatening to make it a cold Winter for Europe. What is the

Russian president's end game? We'll analyze.

And a medical breakthrough. You'll want to watch this one. I will speak to the doctor who successfully tested transplanting a pig kidney into a human

patient. That's coming up later in the program. The COVID crisis is definitely not behind us as Winter fast approaches for Europe. The

continent is already seeing an alarming spike in cases. The World Health Organization warns that it is the only region in the world where COVID-19

numbers rose last week.

Various countries are trying to decide how to deal with this latest deadly surge. Ukraine is setting a new record for cases and deaths in the country

while Moscow and Latvia reintroduced lockdowns to try to bring the numbers under control. In the U.K., cases are spiking ahead of other western

European nations, and a grave warning from the British Medical Association that the government must act now in order to save lives. Let's bring in our

senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen for more on all these developments across the region. And let's start with the U.K. The prime

minister is saying no additional measures, even though cases -- case numbers are exploding in this country.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and they certainly are, Hala. And I think we just saw those graphs, and they really

are probably surprising to many people who see them because you do see that in places like Germany and France and Italy as well, the numbers are also

on the rise, and that is also causing some concerns in those countries as well. But nowhere near as fast and as explosive as they are in the United

Kingdom. And if you look at those numbers that are on our screen right now, you can see that they've been rising very quickly not just very recently,

but really it's been going on that way for some time.

In fact, the United Kingdom has been above 40,000 daily new cases for the past at least eight days. Now, on Monday, it was 49,000 new cases in a

single day. Now the U.K. Health Secretary, just to make sure our viewers understand, the government here also sees it that way, that this is a very

dangerous situation. The U.K. Health Secretary just yesterday says that he believes that it could get as bad as a 100,000 daily new cases as the

Winter progresses, and of course as the Winter months progress as well.

Nevertheless, Boris Johnson, the prime minister, he came out just a couple of hours ago and he said, no, the U.K. at this point in time will not

employ what it called its plan B, more strict measures because they said, yes, things are getting worse, but it is still well within the parameters

that they had been thinking that it would be at this point in time. Listen in to what he had to say.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: The numbers of infections are high. But we're within the parameters of what the predictions were,

what SPI-M and the others said where we would be at this stage given the steps that we've taken. So, we're sticking with our plan.


PLEITGEN: Now, sticking with the plan, despite all the criticism that they're getting from the British Medical Association, also from some senior

people at the National Health Service here in this country as well, who are saying, yes, that plan B really does need to be implemented very quickly,

including mandatory mask-wearing, including social distancing as well. The government, however, as we just heard, not planning to do that. Their

strategy right now is to vaccinate people faster. Of course, there are also some unvaccinated people in this country. But really, they're saying they

want to offer booster jabs to people who are eligible as fast as possible as well. Hala.

GORANI: Right, and we've seen the evidence on boosters really being very effective.


GORANI: Let's talk about Russia where cases there are really very concerning and the rest of Europe as well, Fred.

PLEITGEN: Yes, I mean, Russia, you're absolutely right. Russia, the situation really is very concerning, and it certainly had -- took a while

for the governments to come around and really acknowledge how bad things are.


And one of the things that they've made or the main thing that they've made responsible for the situation that they're in right now, we see the seven-

day average there of coronavirus deaths in Russia, those also very high as well. Is they say it's the low vaccine uptake in that country. There still

is a lot of distrust toward this -- the vaccines that are made in Russia that have been developed in Russia, especially the Sputnik V vaccine, which

of course is the main one that is being handed out there. But you know, from having reported from that country for such a very long time,

especially during the pandemic, there are also quite a number of people there who do underestimate just how deadly and just how transmissible the

COVID-19 or the coronavirus is.

So the Russians are coming up with a new lockdown for the Moscow area, and they also say that they're going to have a non-working week starting

November 28th, which has been endorsed by the President, by Vladimir Putin. And he also said to people or to officials in regions where it's

exceptionally bad, he would say they could even start earlier. Another country, really quickly, is also Latvia, that's also not doing well at all,

they've now come out and said that they have the highest incidents rate in the entire world, and they're also coming up with new lockdown measures as

well, Hala.

GORANI: All right, Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much. Let's move on to Latin America, 41 percent, that is the percentage of people in that part of the

world in Latin America and the Caribbean who are fully vaccinated, according to the Pan American Health Organization. But some countries have

much more vaccine coverage than others, and the Dominican Republic and Barbados are reporting a sharp rise in new cases. Rafael Romo joins me now

from Mexico City for a pan-regional look. And all these inequalities really have -- are becoming apparent even in the vaccine rollout in countries

across the region.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Specifically an increase of over 40 percent in the number of confirmed cases in two Caribbean countries, the

Dominican Republic as you mentioned and Barbados. And according to Carissa Etienne; director of the Pan American Health Organization, the case of

Barbados, half of the Caribbean islands' cumulative COVID-19 infections since the pandemic have been reported and by last month. In the case of the

Dominican Republic, there were nearly 900 new cases reported Wednesday in the country of less than 11 million and its health department reported an

increase of 32 percent in the number of COVID-19 patients who require a ventilator.

According to Etienne, cases are also rising in smaller island nations in the Caribbean like Trinidad and Tobago. This goes against the recent trends

in the rest of Latin America. Here in Mexico, the positivity rate went from 41 percent in early August to 23 percent in the first week of this month, a

similar situation is happening in Central and South America with the exception of Bolivia and Venezuela according to data, also from a Pan

American Health Organization. When it comes to vaccinations, the organization said that 41 percent of Latin America and Caribbean residents

have been vaccinated against COVID-19, although Carissa Etienne, its director pointed out that coverage has still not been evenly distributed

across the region.

There is also good news, Hala, a new shipment consisting of 4.6 million vaccines from the COVAX initiative will reach Latin America and the

Caribbean by the end of the week. So, it's a mixed picture. Most of the region has good news. Hala, back to you.

GORANI: All right, Rafael Romo, thanks very much. Let's talk more about coronavirus in Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa; is the

assistant director of the Pan American Health Organization, part of the World Health Organization, he joins me now live, he is in Washington. Why

are we seeing such a spike in cases in places like the Dominican Republic and other parts of Latin America? What's going on?

JARBAS BARBOSA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The situation in Latin America and has always been a kind of a mosaic. In some

countries they were experiencing peaks while other countries had the less transmission. So, not only have in Dominican Republic, a new pick is the

third pick, is a very important increase in the number of cases, but unfortunately, the number of deaths are not that high, probably because

Dominican Republic has already vaccinated around 47 percent of their population. What the cause probably be, they started opening up their

economy, two reasons, sometimes people think that the pandemic is over. So it's important to call their attention that the pandemic is still there.

GORANI: Right, we see that in many countries actually. Last year, "The Lancet", the medical journal called COVID in Latin America a humanitarian

crisis partly because of income inequalities and inequalities in terms of access to healthcare and to vaccines.


Has that improved in the last year, and if so, why?

BARBOSA: The response in Latin America was shaped by the social and economic turbulence that we have there. With the formality in economy, with

the poverty, with the slums in the big cities, the main public health measures were challenged to be implemented in an effective way. The

situation now is better because the country is having more access to vaccines, but we still have some challenges. Some countries that are still

-- is struggling to get the vaccination to cover the list of more vulnerable groups. So, from the beginning, PAHO, who has been a strong

advocate to call the attention that the epidemiological data that we had presented that the Latin America being the epicenter of the pandemic for

many months showed they require more attention and more access to vaccines to protect the population.

GORANI: So let me ask you, how much damage did the president of Brazil, for instance, he's not the only one, but he's the most vocal one, who has

expressed vaccine skepticism, who has expressed mask, anti-mask positions. I mean, his own government is saying that he is responsible for hundreds of

thousands of deaths. How much damage does it do when a leader like Jair Bolsonaro acts in the way he has acted during the pandemic to the public

health of an entire region?

BARBOSA: We have worked very closely with the ministries of health of every country in the region including Brazil, of course, presenting the

evidence, presenting the recommendations that W.H.O. and PAHO have made during this process. Of course, that when we don't have a clear message

from the authorities, when we have in some countries political dispute among wearing masks or not, been vaccinated or not, this can damage the

response. The -- in a situation that is so critical, it's not only a public health problem but also an economic and social challenge, very important to

run to the societies -- even the authorities cannot come together and cannot deliver a clear message that is better, beyond the best evidence

that we have. Of course --

GORANI: So it was damaging --

BARBOSA: Many people will think about --

GORANI: It was damaging -- this could -- this could -- this could not have been a situation that helped at all when it came to delivering critical


BARBOSA: Yes, I think did.

GORANI: Yes, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, thank you so much for joining us, he's in Washington. He's the deputy head of the Pan American Health Organization.

We really appreciate your time. Let's turn to Asia now. India has given over a billion vaccine doses, but just under 30 percent of people are fully

vaccinated. There are still millions of people who haven't gotten a single jab. Vedika Sud has more.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (on camera): India has administered over 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it began its vaccination drive in

January this year. A remarkable feat, especially after a second wave of infections killed thousands across the country. Indian Prime Minister

Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations to the nation, calling it a triumph of Indian science enterprise, and collective spirit of 1.3 billion

Indians. The Indian government has set an ambitious target of fully- vaccinating its adult population by the end of this year.

However, according to data from the health ministry, at least 30 percent of India's eligible population is fully vaccinated while at least 74 percent

have received just one dose. The health ministry has acknowledged a sizeable number of beneficiaries are yet to receive another dose, and have

directed states to ramp up administration of the second vaccine. Almost 41 percent of India's population is under the age of 18, and remain

unvaccinated. A rollout of vaccines for this age group is expected in the coming months. Vaccine production has seen a significant increase since


From January to August, India administered 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and achieved the same target within the next three months. The

ban on vaccine exports, which was put in place in April at the peak of India's second wave, has also been lifted. Lauding India's efforts, the

chief of the World Health Organization tweeted Thursday to congratulate the Modi government on its achievement. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.



GORANI: And look at the spike in cases in Singapore, it's nowhere near as many total cases as we're seeing in Europe. But officials are worried about

the pressures on healthcare systems. Manisha Tank has that.


MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST: It's a sad fact that living with COVID-19 as is the policy here in Singapore has led to an increased number of fatalities

as a result of the disease. Many of those who were developing serious complications are still unvaccinated or have underlying health conditions.

A vast majority of the cases that are circulating locally are in fact recuperating at home and are only developing a mild form of the disease.

And that is showing that vaccinations are working 84 percent of the population here are vaccinated, and now more are being encouraged to get

boosters as well.

The government has extended restrictions on movements around Singapore for another month to help curb the spread of the disease further. But it's also

acknowledged that most cases are local. They are not imported, and that's one of the reasons why it's now added eight countries to its vaccinated

traveling list, including the United States. Although interestingly this week, the United States has issued a travel advisory about Singapore

related to COVID-19 defining it as high risk in terms of a destination.

All of that said, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel with more people returning to Singapore's shores, that could bring in some

really important business for an economy that has been battered over the last two years due to the severe restrictions to control the spread of this

disease. But none of that takes away from the sadness that many not just here in Singapore, but around the world feel for those who are being lost.

Manisha Tank for CNN, in Singapore.


GORANI: Still to come, just this week, Russia's Vladimir Putin has cut ties with NATO, giving two major summits the cold shoulder, and made EU

officials furious. What might be behind all of this? We'll discuss his strategy. And later, I'll be speaking to the lead surgeon whose team just

successfully tested the transplant of a pig's kidney into a human patient. You don't want to miss this, that's later in the program. We'll be right




GORANI: The Russian president's recent actions on the global stage are drawing a lot of scrutiny. So let's take a look at Vladimir Putin's

strategy right now. Just in the last couple of days, the Russian president has cut ties with NATO, declined to attend the G20 Summit as well as the

COP26 Climate Conference in person, and indicated that Russia will not be sending more gas supplies to Europe after all. Jill Dougherty used to be

our Moscow Bureau chief and is now adjunct professor at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, and she joins me now live. So,

Jill, what is Putin's strategy right now?


the Valdai Conference. And that's where he goes on for a number of hours, talking about his ideas, and it would be interesting to ask him that

question. But I think there are a number of things going on. I mean, let's start with G20 and also the climate summit. Now, President Putin says or at

least his people say that he will be participating virtually.

And the reason they're giving is because of COVID. And you know, realistically, Russia right now is having some of the highest levels of

both infection and deaths. In fact, the president had to announce that they're going to have another paid non-working week, which is essentially a

lockdown. And yes, that's very serious. There were about a dozen members of his entourage who just recently were infected with COVID, the president had

to quarantine.

So, this is a serious issue. Now, whether it's a fig leaf for these meetings or not, I think it is a legitimate factor. But you know, you look

at some of the other things, NATO, I think, is more serious where you have Russia saying that they are going to stop any activities at the main

headquarters of NATO in Brussels, that they're going to end the credentials for any NATO reps in Moscow, et cetera. This is more serious, I think it's

a real break, and it's not a good sign.

GORANI: And it's not a good sign. What about the natural gas issue? I mean, Russia could choose to leverage Europe's need for Russian natural

gas. It's saying it's not going to be sending any additional shipments over the Winter. What's going on there?

DOUGHERTY: Well, it's a complicated situation because, actually, they could, I'm not convinced this is the last thing that we will hear from

Russia. You know, President Putin uses that, we had the controversy recently over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and President Biden,

interestingly, decided to go with the Germans who wanted to continue -- to complete the construction of it. And that was -- that was different. But I

think in the energy policy, President Putin uses this not only in a very direct way of the energy and supplying energy, but in a geopolitical way,

especially when you come to countries like Ukraine, you know, which, up to now, has been main conduit for gas.

So I think, you know, to be continued, but he's definitely sending signals. And President Putin is all about sending signals.

GORANI: Is he feeling the heat domestically? He's jailing his opponents, Navalny is just one of them, and then obviously there have been killings

outside of Russia of people who have spoken out against the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. And his popularity is down, and it seems as though COVID

might be also taking a toll on his popularity at home. How nervous is he about that, do you think?

DOUGHERTY: You know, they just had Duma elections, the Duma being basically the Congress of Russia. And these were significant, you know,

there -- it's about the Duma, but they were nationwide elections. And a lot of the tea leaves are being, you know, read from those elections. And there

were official results, and let's say, unofficial results. The unofficial results and the official results do show that the turnout was probably

lower than the Kremlin was saying, and also support of the Kremlin party, the party allied with the Kremlin, United Russia, was lower.

And also an uptick in support for communists. Now these are not the old- fashioned --

GORANI: Right --

DOUGHERTY: Communists, but this is a very interesting trend. So I think that what they are trying to do right now is keep things stable because the

date that they are looking at is 2024 when President Putin can run gain for president. It's a very important time. And right now, I think they are

worried about stability. Navalny, unfortunately at this point, you know, he is in prison, and he is not that a factor.


But people who support him and even the communists, some of them --

GORANI: Yes --

DOUGHERTY: You know, was saying, Navalny, so you've got a lot of ferment on the basic level.

GORANI: Thank you, Jill Dougherty as always for joining us with more on what might be Vladimir Putin's thinking these days. Thanks so much. Shares

in Evergrande are taking a hit after a deal to sell a part of the business collapsed. The Chinese real estate giant is buried under a mountain of

debt, debt worth about $300 billion. Selina Wang is in Tokyo for us. Selina.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Things went from bad to worse for China's most indebted developer, Evergrande. Its shares

plunged after an opportunity for a cash injection fell through. Investors were waiting for hops in development, another Chinese development firm, to

take a controlling stake in Evergrande's property services unit for about $2.6 billion. But the two sides said they couldn't agree on the terms of a

deal. The big question is what happens next? How will Evergrande sort through this mountain of $300 billion in debt?

We are just days away from a dollar bond deadline that could push Evergrande into default. Evergrande has been trying to sell its different

assets, but so far it hasn't been successful in finding buyers. But when I talked to analysts, they say that they think Beijing will ultimately bail

the company out while making it look like it was done by the private sector. That's because the stakes here for Beijing are incredibly high.

This has become one of the biggest risks to China's economy. It sent a wave of panic throughout global financial markets and it's fueled fears of

contagion throughout China's broader property sector.

Several other property firms have also indicated they're struggling to pay their debts. Now, what happens in the property sector is critical because

this sector has super-charged China's economy in recent decades. And now it accounts for as much as 30 percent of Chinese GDP, and nearly three-

quarters of household wealth in China is tied up in property. Beijing here is in a tricky position. It wants to limit contagion for Evergrande, but

it's also trying to rein in excessive borrowing in the real estate sector. Economists say that what's really important here is what this all signals

in terms of Beijing's future plans.

It signals that this high-growth economic model fueled by debt in the property sector is coming to an end. That growth model now poses a risk to

the country and the party. Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


GORANI: South Korea has launched its first domestically made rocket just days after North Korea tested a submarine-based missile. It's a three-stage

rocket called Nuri Rocket. It was developed entirely in South Korea. It reached about 700 kilometers but failed to deploy its dummy satellite into

orbit. Still, South Korea's president called it a success. That came as North Korea accused the U.S. and the U.N. of, quote, "tampering with a

dangerous time bomb". The U.N. Security Council met yesterday to discuss the North's latest missile launch. Some members called for strict sanctions

enforcement, but the U.S. said it has not given up yet on diplomacy.

Lots of rockets going off in that part of the world. Still to come tonight, held hostage in Haiti. A priest kidnapped by the same gang now holding 17

missionaries shares his story with CNN. And investigators staged a dangerous search through a reptile-infested nature park after discovering

human remains in their hunt for Gabby Petito's fiancee. We'll go live to the search site.




GORANI: A human rights organization in Haiti says at least 119 people were kidnapped by gangs during the first half of the month alone. And that

includes the 17 foreign missionaries, whose plight has captured the world's attention. CNN's Matt Rivers talked with one former hostage about his

terrifying ordeal.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking into the suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets, where the abduction of 17 missionaries has stunned many

around the world. But in Haiti, the event is not so shocking.

Gang-related kidnappings here carried out by gangs, including 400 Mawozo, are brutally common, something French priest Michel Briand knows firsthand.

We met him in a church compound in Port-au-Prince, where he told us about the day that same gang took him and others back in April.

He says, "We had to go through Croix-des-Bouquets to get to a work event and, on our way there, we were intercepted by young men with guns. The gang

forced our driver to follow them. That's when I knew we were being kidnapped. I just kept calm."

They were taken to a more rural area; at first, forced to sleep outside on cardboard under a tree. Then they were moved to one abandoned house and

then another, in difficult conditions, to say the least.

He says, "It was like a dark hole, like a prison cell. The last place we were in with no windows.

"At the beginning, they were giving us food once a day. But by the end, they stopped feeding us. They forced us to go hungry," he said, believing

it was a negotiation tactic.

A source in Haiti security forces tells us that he believes these 17 missionaries could be going through a very similar situation right now

somewhere several miles down that road, made even more difficult by the fact that five of them are children, with the youngest being just 8 months


It remains impossible to know how long the 17 missionaries will remain captive inside whatever location the gang has placed them. For Father

Briand, it was nearly three weeks in total.

He says, "The kidnappers play with time. They test the nerves of their victims, especially when they are negotiating. So the victims can't lose

faith. They need to keep their hopes up. In our case, our faith was our best ally."


GORANI: Matt Rivers joins me now live from Port-au-Prince.

We're hearing from the families of the abducted missionaries.

What are they saying?

RIVERS: Yes, Hala. In Ohio, outside the office where the Christian Aid Ministries headquarters is, some of the families of those kidnapped read a



RIVERS: They didn't take any questions from the media.

They said, "God has given our loved ones the unique opportunity to live out our Lord's command, to love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do

good to them that hate you."

We also learned that the people who are kidnapped are from six different U.S. states and Ontario, Canada; the U.S. states being Wisconsin, Ohio,

Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

In one of the things, in my conversation with the priest, that priest here, he's been living in Haiti for decades. He speaks the language.

One thing he said, obviously, will make the situation is that they haven't lived here for decades, they hadn't been here for very long, presumably

they don't speak Creole and he said that can make their situation that much harder.

Very tough time, not only for the 17 people that were kidnapped but also for their families in the United States and Canada.

GORANI: And that 8-month-old and the very small children as well in that situation. Matt, thanks very much.

Matt Rivers is reporting live from Port-au-Prince.

Investigators at a Florida nature reserve are contending with alligators, rattlesnakes and chest-deep water as they search for Gabby Petito's

fiancee. Teams are combing an area where human remains and items belonging to Brian Laundrie were discovered. CNN's Nick Valencia is at the search



NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dark turn in the search for Brian Laundrie.

MICHAEL MCPHERSON, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI, TAMPA: Investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items, such as a

backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Investigators making the grim discovery at a Florida nature reserve, saying it could take some time to confirm the

identity of the remains.

MCPHERSON: These items were found in an area that, up until recently, had been underwater. It's likely the team will be on scene for several days.

VALENCIA (voice-over): It's not certain the remains are those of Laundrie but the family's attorney told CNN Wednesday it's likely they are.

STEVEN BERTOLINO (PH), LAUNDRIE FAMILY ATTORNEY: The probability is strong that it is Brian's remains. But we're going to wait until forensic results

come in and verify that.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Brian Laundrie disappearing, according to his parents, nearly five weeks ago, shortly after returning home alone from a

trip out West with his fiancee, Gabby Petito. Her body was found in a remote rough camping area in Wyoming on September 19th.

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: They want to complete this homicide investigation. They want identify the body obviously and confirm

that it is in fact Brian Laundrie. But they also want to see if there is some helpful forensic evidence.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Laundrie's parents notifying their attorney, Steven Bertolino (ph), they planned to go to the nature reserve on Wednesday that

Brian said he was headed to on September 13th.

The attorney saying he thought it was best to notify law enforcement and said the North Port police met the Laundries at the entrance of the park

and accompanied them into the reserve. The lawyer also told CNN, Laundrie's father discovered his son's bag in the park.

BERTOLINO (PH): Chris (ph) didn't want to pick the bag up because he wanted the law enforcement to see it. Chris (ph) couldn't find the law

enforcement because they didn't have a site, because Chris (ph) had been in the woods.

So he didn't want to leave the bag there with the news reporters standing nearby. So he picked it up; he did meet up shortly with law enforcement.

They looked at the contents of the bag.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Earlier this week Petito's family saying they want to hear from the Laundries, who could possibly provide some answers about

what happened to their daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think silence speaks volumes because I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information. I

would love to just face to face ask, why are you doing this and just tell me the truth.


GORANI: Nick Valencia is near the reserve in North Port, Florida, right now.

What are authorities saying about the remains that were found, how close are they to identifying those remains?

VALENCIA: Well, it all depends on the condition that that body or those partial remains were discovered. We don't know; they're not giving many

details. And for as much activity as there's been out here, just outside the entrance of the Carlton reserve, they're being very cagey about the

details and what they're doing here in this nature preserve behind us.

We're standing about two to three miles from where that discovery of the partial remains were made. All day, we've seen multiple law enforcement

vehicles come in and out of this area, including a K-9 unit. We also have seen an FBI response team.

For many people, the fact that Brian Laundrie's parents were with law enforcement when this discovery was made was a very curious development.

Gabby Petito's parents, they say they want vengeance and they want justice.


VALENCIA: And they believe and they feel in their hearts, they say, that Brian Laundrie's parents know more than they're telling.

GORANI: The question is, why search this area only now, if the parents themselves say that this is where their son said he was headed?

It's taken several weeks.

VALENCIA: That's right. And there has been an ever-evolving timeline to their narrative, according to the spokesperson here for the North Port

police department. They are not being so veiled in their response and their suspicion of these parents.

I wouldn't be surprised if that investigation begins now to pivot toward Brian Laundrie's parents themselves.

GORANI: All right, Nick Valencia, thanks very much.

Nick is in North Port, Florida.

The man charged with the murder of British lawmaker David Amess appeared at a magistrate's court in London today. He left in a police van a few hours

ago. The prosecutor told the court that the suspect was an ISIS supporter and had planned to kill a member of Parliament for years.

The suspect, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, will appear at a criminal court on Friday, tomorrow.

Still to come tonight, an incredible medical breakthrough, as doctors successfully test a pig kidney transplant in a human. I'll be speaking to

the lead surgeon in this operation after the break. Stay with us.




GORANI: Devastating floods and mudslides are ripping through northeastern India and western Nepal, the result of massive monsoon rains. Take a look.


GORANI (voice-over): This is how bad it got. Rescuers had to form a human chain as they struggled to pull residents who were trapped out of the

floodwaters. Disaster officials say at least 73 people have died in India, 77 in Nepal, just in the past few days.

Forecasters say more rain is on the way, unfortunately, although they predict it won't be nearly as intense.


GORANI: In Colombia, the nation infamous for an illicit drug trade, now wants to be a international supplier of medical marijuana. Stefano Pozzebon



STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like many farmers in Colombia's countryside, Beatriz Pariah's (ph) family grows coffee.


POZZEBON (voice-over): But this 29-year old have turned her focus on another plant, marijuana.

Beatriz (ph) oversees cutouts at this medical weed farm in rural Colombia. She says her parents used to be skeptical of her job. But now, they are

proud her daughter is working in the blooming industry of legal marijuana.

This farm is made of 18 hectares of open greenhouses for over 125,000 plants. Colombia legalized cultivation five years ago, but only this summer

it allowed the exports of the dried flowers, which represents over 50 percent of the demand in markets like the U.S.

According to the government, this puts Colombia the forefront of medical marijuana regulation. And for that reason, over $250 million of foreign

investments have poured and 1,680 licenses have been issued.

With 12 hours of sunlight year-round and no seasons, Colombia enjoys the perfect climate for the production of marijuana.

ANDRES FAJARDO, CEO, CLEVER LEAVES: If you think about it, greenhouses in other countries are trying to emulate the natural conditions we get here

for free. So, that's a big advantage.

And that implies, you know, you have to invest a lot less in your power costs, of course, you know, factor cost in terms of laborer is

significantly cheaper here. So, there's a significant cost advantage in ongoing costs basis.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Over 300 people work here. Like Beatriz (ph), the majority are single mothers with few job opportunities in this region.

POZZEBON: Just standing in a place like this, in a country like Colombia, over only 10 years ago would've been completely unimaginable. And that is

the idea of how profound this turnaround is, not on economics but also on social terms.

POZZEBON (voice-over): For decades, Colombia has waged a brutal struggle against drug traffickers, claiming thousands of lives and resulting in no

reduction in illicit drugs production action in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will wipe out drug traffickers.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Switching from eradicated to legalizing marijuana was a sobering recognition.

POZZEBON: Some people say that you changing reproach, as you say, you had another vision.

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, FORMER COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT: I was a hardliner. I have fought against drug trafficking in every way possible and we have failed. I

have failed. Colombia has failed. The world has failed. The U.S. has failed.

We must accept, when you lose, you must except that you lost and you must try to find new ways to approach the problem.

POZZEBON (voice-over): This for the step in the legalization of marijuana production opens new opportunities, not only on medical exports but also in

other sectors like clothing and cosmetics. About two-thirds of Colombians support the move to legalize marijuana for medical use.

So far, regulation is designed to attract foreign capital and bans recreational use. Pharmaceutical licenses here are cheaper than in other

markets, but still out of reach for most Colombian farmers who continue to grow illegally.

And projects to replace coca plants with medical cannabis have now taken up. The transition is not yet complete, but the door is opening for a

change -- Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Colombia.


GORANI: And we'll be right back.





GORANI: Breaking news from Haiti. The leader of a gang holding 17 foreign missionaries is threatening to kill them if his demands are not met. He

appeared in a video posted on social media just a short time ago.

The 400 Mawozo gang wants a ransom of $17 million to release the hostages. The youngest of the hostages is just 8 months old. So a very chilling


A world first in medicine this week.


GORANI (voice-over): You're looking at a remarkable medical breakthrough. In a trial, a kidney from a pig has been successfully transplanted onto a

human. I'm not saying into a human and you'll understand why in a moment.

In the experiment, a patient on life support, who was brain-dead, received the organ without her immune system immediately rejecting that organ. And

this development could eventually help solve the problem of donor organ shortages.

The procedure was done at NYU Langone Health in New York by a team of surgeons and leading that study was a transplant surgeon, who joins us on

the phone.

We hope to have you on vision but we will get the information all the same. The kidney that was in the pig, that was eventually attached to this human,

came from a kidney that was genetically modified.

DR. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, NYU LANGONE HEALTH: That's correct. The pig had a genetic edit that was done, that removed a sugar molecule from all of its

tissues. And that sugar is responsible for a very vigorous immune response by humans to pigs.

That sugar was lost during evolution from pig to human. And we have natural antibodies circulating in our blood that are sort of poised and ready to

attack that sugar when our blood encounters it.

So that's been the main barrier to realizing, you know, the promise of transplantation across species. So we used a kidney that did not express

that gene. And it worked immediately and continued to work throughout the period of the study as if it were a transplanted human organ.

And when we took biopsies of the kidney and looked at it under the microscope, we did not see any evidence of this type of antibody rejection.

GORANI: So that's remarkable. And this pig kidney stayed attached to the human body of the recipient for 54 hours. And the immune system of the

patient did not reject it.

Could you have left it there longer?

Why 54 hours?

MONTGOMERY: So that's a great question. You could understand that this is a new form of, you know, donation after death. So this brain-dead person

was maintained on a ventilator during the course of this study. So we had to decide what was a reasonable amount of time to continue this.

So we consulted a group of ethics experts. And they said basically that, to begin with, since it takes about two or three days to allocate and procure

organs for transplantation, that they thought that would seem like a reasonable starting point in terms of how long we would continue to conduct

this study.


GORANI: And, very briefly, how many more years until we could potentially see this used on patients who need kidneys?

MONTGOMERY: Yes, so I think this is going to really accelerate things. And I'm going to predict that it's going to be a year or two before we see the

first attempts at doing this in living humans.

GORANI: All right. Well, this is really just an absolutely fascinating advancement. Doctor Robert Montgomery, thank you so much for joining us on

the phone.

MONTGOMERY: Thanks for having me.

GORANI: Thank you.

And before we wrap up this hour, let's go back to Haiti. Matt Rivers is in Port-au-Prince, with more on this video that has been posted on social

media, featuring the leader of the gang that abducted these missionaries -- Matt.

RIVERS: Yes, Hala, when we were talking to you just a few minutes ago, CNN was still trying to verify the authenticity of this video.

And in the moments after, we were able to verify the authenticity of this video, speaking to a source in Haiti's security forces. This video was

posted to Facebook. We are choosing as a network not to show this video nor quote directly from it.

However, in this video, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, the gang that authorities say is responsible for this kidnapping, does make direct death

threats against the hostages that he now has.

He basically says that, if he doesn't get what he is demanding, which we have previously reported to be $1 million per person as a ransom, if he

does not get what he wants, he says he is not afraid to kill the people that he has in his control.

He also says the video was taken on Wednesday during a funeral here in the Port-au-Prince region. In the video, he says that that funeral was for gang

members that were allegedly killed by Haiti's national police.

The Christian Aid Ministries, the group that these people were working for, they have declined comments on this. The White House didn't directly

comment on the video, at least they haven't yet.

But they said they're working with Haitian authorities to do whatever they can to bring these people home safely. But this is a startling development

and not a very good one, at that.

GORANI: Matt Rivers, thanks very much.

Well, in just a few hours, the American President Biden will take his case for an ambitious agenda directly to the people. He'll appear on this stage

in Baltimore at a CNN town hall. Tune in for that, 8:00 pm Eastern. That's Friday at 1:00 pm in London on CNN.

Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with Max Foster is coming up, next.