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Hala Gorani Tonight
Rebel Forces In Ethiopia Advance On Capital; Twenty Three Countries Pledge To Phase Out The Use Of Coal; COVID Cases In Europe Continues To Soar; U.K. First Country To Authorize Merck's COVID-19 Pill; Europe's Infection Rates Of "Grave Concern"; New Study Shows Effectiveness Of HPV Vaccine; China Blasts Pentagon On Nuclear Capabilities; Cuba Protests; Using Bamboo In Sustainable Architectural Designs. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 04, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Governments across the world are calling
for a de-escalation in Ethiopia as the threat of civil war looms. We'll have the very latest on the conflict. Then countries pledge to slash their
dependence on coal, but will that help vulnerable nations bearing the brunt of the climate crisis? I'll speak to the Secretary General of the
Commonwealth on the program.
And later, an alarming spike in COVID cases across Europe. I will speak to the World Health Organization's director for Europe as he issues a grim
warning. You want to stay tuned for that especially if you are in this region. Tigrayan rebel forces say they are gaining more ground as the
conflict in Ethiopia moves closer and closer to the capital. It is happening one year to the day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an
assault on the Tigray People's Liberation Front in the north of the country.
The conflict has now decidedly moved south, rebel fighters claim to have taken two towns, several hundred kilometers from the capital. Ethiopian
lawmakers have just approved a six-month state of emergency, it allows for conscription of citizens of military service age and arrests of people who
communicate with quote, "terrorists groups". All of this threatens to destabilize not just Ethiopia, of course, but the entire horn of Africa.
And Tigrayan civilians have already suffered atrocities in the conflict have the most to lose here. David McKenzie brings us the latest from
Johannesburg. Where do we stand now on this story, David?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, I think the government has been at pain throughout the day to push back on those claims from the rebel
groups, the OLA and the TDF that they had the ability or capability to move on to the capital. But you did see evidence of the Tigrayan defense force,
several hundred kilometers away from Addis, which I think shocked many diplomats and regional players that they were able to get so far out of
But there's this moment now, this kind of pause, I believe, where there's diplomatic push from the U.S. to try and get people to sit around the
table. But it all comes a year after this conflict started, that initially, the prime minister wanted to end swiftly.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Through a year of bloody conflict, Ethiopia's crisis was centered mostly here in Tigray, the far north. That's changing fast.
Tigray Defense Force rebels shown in Dessie this week just 250 miles from Addis Ababa. They are threatening to move on the capital and in an unlikely
alliance, they've joined up with the Oromo Liberation Army, that has links to the country's largest ethnic group.
ABIY AHMED, PRIME MINISTER, ETHIOPIA: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MCKENZIE: United against this man, Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed promised the conflict would be swift. Now he's asking
citizens to take up arms to defend Addis, and the nation is in a state of emergency.
AHMED: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MCKENZIE: But this conflict has embarrassed Abiy and threatened the very makeup of Ethiopia, a key U.S. ally in the region. The U.S. has sent a
senior diplomat to try and stave off the collapse.
NED PRICE, SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We are gravely concerned by the escalating violence, by the expansion of a fighting that we've seen in
northern Ethiopia and in regions throughout the country. We are concerned with the growing risk to the unity and the integrity of the Ethiopian
MCKENZIE: The conflict has been marked by allegations of awful human rights atrocities and indiscriminate killings highlighted by CNN's reporting. And
the government is accused of withholding food aid to desperate Tigrayans facing famine, something they deny.
MICHELLE BACHELET, UNITED NATIONS COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: We have reasonable grounds to believe that during this period all parties to the
Tigray conflict have committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law. Some of this may amount to war crimes and
crimes against humanity.
MCKENZIE: Abiy came into power promising to unite Ethiopians under a new national identity. He squeezed the Tigrayans out of political power, but
Ethiopia is a fragile collection of regions, often with their own ethnic loyalties and militias. And Abiy's military strike on Tigray after their
attempt to break away from federal control set up this titanic struggle. On Wednesday, the capital was calm, people going about their business as
An Ethiopian government official blamed the international media for an alarmist narrative, but this side of these rebels calmly walking through a
major city far from Tigray gives no doubt that Abiy is under threat.
MCKENZIE: Well, I think that the pressure on Abiy is as much political as it is military at this point. There's a feeling that the rebels aren't
looking to push on Addis immediately, at least, that's the feeling today. But of course, this could all change in a very fluid situation, Hala.
GORANI: And you mentioned the U.S. envoy there trying to diffuse this situation. What's the latest on that effort?
MCKENZIE: They're having two days of meetings, this is the Horn of Africa envoy, the State Department, a very senior State Department official
meeting with the prime minister, of course, and others. The U.S. is a key ally, Hala, of Ethiopia, gives a lot of both humanitarian and military aid
through successive administrations in the U.S. And they've threatened to withdraw the very lucrative AGOA trade deal, which allows Ethiopia to
export textiles to the U.S. tariff free. That is something very important to the economy and to Abiy politically.
So, they're, I think using the stick approach at the moment --
GORANI: Yes --
MCKENZIE: Whether it has any bearing on the prime minister who has said he refuses to step down and there hasn't been any concrete moves to talks with
any rebel groups. It remains to be seen, Hala.
GORANI: All right, we'll see -- we'll see how much influence the U.S. really has because it's doing -- it's pushing right now. We'll see what
that leads to. Thanks very much, David McKenzie reporting live with the very latest on our top story. Now, let's bring you up-to-date on COP26,
several countries signing up today to break their dependence on coal. It is the latest pledge made at the climate summit, but as some big coal burners
as we've been reporting, China, the U.S., India have not signed on. Here's the COP26 president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALOK SHARMA, PRESIDENT, COP26: I think we can say with confidence that coal is no longer king. Coal financing has been well and truly choked off. It is
uneconomic, the G20 will end its financing for international coal this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, U.N. scientists say even if we stick to those promises, it's not enough. All the COP26 pledges so far, all the money promised will not
fix the problems, the flooding, the fires, the droughts, according to a new report. And it's important to understand just how difficult the transition
away from coal will be. Even the early adopters of renewable energy still have a lot to learn. CNN's Phil Black takes us to one plant in Austria.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two power stations near the Austrian city of Graz, the one on the left is retired. A silent monument to
a recent time when the country burned coal for some of its electricity. The neighboring, shiny, new gas field facility now does the work. The upgrade
is significant. Austria is one of only three countries in Europe to shut down all coal-fired plants, replacing coal and natural gas isn't carbon
free, but it's a step in the right direction.
CHRISTOF KURZMANN-FREDI, OPERATIONS MANAGER, MELLACH POWER PLANT: This true footprint of this pop-on is much lower than this footprint.
BLACK: About 60 percent lower, but gas can only be an interim move if Austria is to achieve its green power ambitions. Christof Kurzmann-Fredi
manages this site.
(on camera): Austria wants to be 100 percent renewable by 2030. Does that mean this will close down by 2030?
KURZMANN-FREDI: I'm not sure.
BLACK (voice-over): Austria embraced a big renewable energy source decades before the first warnings about climate change. Most of its electricity
comes from hydro power.
MICHAEL STRUGL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, VERBUND: We also have to build new capacity in solar power and wind power as well.
BLACK: Michael Strugl; the CEO of Austria's largest energy company says even with a big head-start from hydro, getting to 100 percent renewables in
under a decade won't be easy.
STRUGL: It's ambitious for sure.
BLACK: And you don't necessarily have all the answers yet.
BLACK: But it's important to try.
STRUGL: We do not have all the answers. We have to do research. We have to put strong efforts on innovation as well.
BLACK: Much of the research, innovation and hope in Austria is focused on green hydrogen. The basic idea is on windy or sunny days, you use excess
electricity to make hydrogen gas which can be stored or transported, then when it's cloudy or the turbines aren't spinning, you turn the hydrogen
back into electricity using a clean chemical reaction.
MARKUS SARTORY, RESEARCH & PROJECT MANAGER, HYCENTA HYDROGEN CENTER, AUSTRIA: Yes, we have many questions to solve.
BLACK: Markus Sartory is a project leader at Hydrogen Center, Austria.
SARTORY: Of course, it's a very complex system, but we have the possibility to incorporate the renewables and to build up a new sustainable green
energy system. And this is -- this can be done with actual technologies, but it will cost us.
BLACK: At the power station in Graz, hydrogen's potential is being tested with a pilot project. The possibilities are vast, so are the challenges.
(on camera): It's a potential game-changer, do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do think so.
BLACK: And crucially, there's still so much work that needs to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you're right --
BLACK: Just to up its scale because it's just too expensive right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's too expensive, but we have to do the first steps. And this is one of the first steps.
BLACK (voice-over): Austria's coal habit was pretty modest compared to some other European countries. Poland for example still mines and burns it for
around 80 percent of its electricity. And yet, even with Austria's strong starting position, early commitment and willingness to innovate, the
ultimate success of its low carbon transition is still uncertain. Phil Black, CNN, Graz, Austria.
GORANI: So, let's consider all the promises that we've heard so far to reduce coal use to limit deforestation, reverse it even in some cases, to
reduce methane production. If all of those promises are kept, will that be enough to help the vulnerable poor and island nations on the front lines of
this climate emergency? Baroness Patricia Scotland is the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and she joins me now live from Glasgow.
Thank you for being with us. So many of the commonwealth countries including the one you were born in, Dominica, are really at the front lines
of this crisis because they are bearing the brunt of these severe weather events, Hurricane Maria being the hurricane that demolish 90 percent of
structures in Dominica. Are the richer countries really listening, do you think?
PATRICIA SCOTLAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH: I think they have to listen now. Because if you think about the evidence, the empirical
evidence that is being produced, they can see it with their own eyes. And I think we had some very powerful statements. As you know, the Commonwealth
has 54 countries, that's 2.6 billion people and 60 percent of those people are under the age of 30, but 32 of those states are small states, as you
say, on the front line of the war on climate change.
And you were right to mention the country of my birth, Dominica, we lost 226 percent of our GDP in 2017 when Maria hit. And at that stage, Maria,
was the biggest hurricane we've ever seen. But look at what has happened in the years since. In the last four years, we've had six of the biggest
hurricanes we've seen in history. And it's no longer a once in a life-time event, it's happening almost every other year. So I think what we hope that
they are hearing now here in part is this 1.5 to stay alive is exactly what it means. Because if we do not --
GORANI: Yes --
SCOTLAND: Keep to that 1.5, many of our countries will no longer be here.
GORANI: The current pledges don't get us to 1.5 though.
GORANI: Do you think they'll go further because it will require -- and also we're still at the promises stage, and many of the promises made in Paris
were not kept. I wonder where you still --
SCOTLAND: Absolutely --
GORANI: Find hope here looking into the future.
SCOTLAND: I think because what we have done in our Commonwealth family is we've not just looked at promises. We've asked a different question. So now
what do we do? How do we guarantee that the money that's promised is actually going to be delivered? How do we come up with the sorts of new
transformative technological and devices and changes that we need to make.
And you know, when you think about it, human genius got us into this total mess.
GORANI: Yes --
SCOTLAND: And human genius is going to have to get us out. So we are taking the practical, the evidential roots that we need to put the technology and
the knowledge into the hands of our member states to be the difference they need to be if we are to get there.
But we can't just have promises, we've got to look behind those promises and say action. So am I hopeful? Well, I am only to this extent. That it's
not just member states on their own. At last, business is starting to understand the business case with the green and the blue economy. As we
push this agenda, as it becomes cheaper and easier and better to go green as opposed to fossil fuels, the economy is going to be driven by this --
GORANI: But --
SCOTLAND: New agenda, we don't --
GORANI: Baroness, we don't have to look too far into the future, we can actually look at the present. OPEC is being pressured to increase
production of petrol, of gas by the president of the United States, was repeatedly pledged to help the world wean itself off of its dependence of
harmful fossil fuels.
So leaders are saying one thing, but then they clearly when it comes to their own perhaps political popularity don't want gas prices to go up too
high and are now pressing oil-producing companies to pump more oil out of the ground. What should we make of that?
SCOTLAND: I think we've got to hold everybody to account as to the responsibility that they have. And you know, I'm a lawyer. So what do I
say, give me the evidence. Give me the evidence. And we've got to call them out. We've got to challenge, we've got to say this is what you've promised.
Now listen, how are we going to together deliver it? But it's not about pointing fingers. It's about accepting that this is tough, politically
It's tough because every country wants to do the best, and what we really need to help people to understand is we can't leave anyone behind. This is
not my world nor your world. It is our world. And we only have one world. So if we allow our small states to disappear, then larger states are next,
and we're seeing --
GORANI: Right --
SCOTLAND: The cost of non-action. So we've got to quantify that and make sure it really matters. So, am I --
GORANI: All right, well, yes --
SCOTLAND: Pessimistic? Yes, am I optimistic as well? Absolutely. Do we have any choice of working together? No, we don't, so let's do it.
GORANI: Baroness Patricia Scotland; the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, thank you so much for joining us from Glasgow.
SCOTLAND: Thank you very much.
GORANI: A lot more to come this evening. A Chinese tennis champion is openly accusing a retired top government official of forcing her to have
sex and the government is responding quickly by trying to make her complaint disappear. Also historic requests show HPV vaccines are almost
completely effective at preventing cervical cancer. So, who is eligible to get one? How does it work? We'll have a live report coming up, stay with
GORANI: A Chinese tennis star is making explosive MeToo allegations against a former top government official, and the Chinese government is working
furiously to bury them. One time Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion Peng Shuai has gone online to accuse a retired vice premier of pressuring
her into having sex. But as Salma Abdelaziz reports, authorities are racing to wipe all of it from the internet.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Explosive claims from one of China's top tennis players accusing a former top communist party leader
of sexual assault. The post appearing briefly Tuesday on Peng Shuai's verified Chinese social media Weibo account before a swift censorship moved
in. Long enough though, to spark wide-chatter across the Chinese internet. In more than 1,600 words, the former Wimbledon and French Open doubles
champion makes MeToo allegations against retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
The 35-year-old athlete writing that the now 75-year-old former senior official pressured her into having sex. "Why did you have to come back to
me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you?" The post reads. "Yes, I did not have any evidence, and it was simply impossible to have
The post reads as an open letter to Zhang, alleging a first encounter more than ten years ago and an extra-marital relationship over the past three
years. CNN cannot independently verify its authenticity, and we've reached out to Peng as well as Zhang, his wife and the Chinese government for
FERGUS RYAN, SENIOR ANALYST, STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA: This is a very big deal. It's a massive story. These are two extremely high profile
people caught up in this story.
ABDELAZIZ: China has had other high profile MeToo cases. Most recently, rape allegations surfaced against Canadian-Chinese pop star Kris Wu. That
scandal was allowed to gain huge traction on social media, dominating top trending topics on Weibo for days. Wu was later arrested. But Zhang seen
here in 2012 introduced by Xi Jinping was part of China's ruling elite before retiring in 2018. He was once a member of China's seven-person
Politburo Standing Committee, the country's supreme leadership body.
The private lives of senior Chinese officials is typically shrouded in secrecy. Their reputations often shielded from tarnish. Though President Xi
Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption campaign has at times exposed the supposed extravagances and misdeeds of numerous officials.
RYAN: It's incredibly damaging for the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP presents its leadership as unimpeachable. And this story reveals dishonesty
and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of power.
ABDELAZIZ: Peng's post sparking an unprecedented level of censorship while her verified account remains online, it has been blocked from searches. All
comment sections under her previous posts shuttered, even a Weibo discussion page about tennis was closed for comments. Her pain-filled words
difficult to forget, even if erased online. "I know that someone of your eminence, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you said you were not afraid", Peng
writes, "but even if it's just me, like an egg hitting a stone, a moth flying into flames, courting self-destruction, I would tell the truth about
Many social media users have voiced support for Peng using vague terms. Though censors later catch up and purge those comments too. The scandal
surfacing just days before a crucial meeting of communist party elites in Beijing. A state media touts the achievements and virtues of the party's
leadership. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
GORANI: Australian police have charged a 36-year-old man in the kidnapping of Cleo Smith. The suspect appeared in court today, police say he tried to
harm himself while in custody, and at one point needed medical treatment. Officials believe he acted, quote, "spontaneously", unquote, when he
allegedly took four-year-old Cleo from her family's camp site.
You'll remember she was missing for 17 days. Officials say she's been spending lots of time sleeping, eating and cuddling since being reunited
with her parents. Listen to the moment she was found in a remote part of Australia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got her. We've got her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, buppy!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got you, buppy, what's your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name? What's your name sweetheart?
CLEO SMITH, WAS ABDUCTED FOR 17 DAYS: My name is Cleo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your name is Cleo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're all right buppy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello Cleo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Cleo's mom says their family is whole again, an opportunity to hear us -- hear that police officer who asked her three times, on the
third time she said, "my name is Cleo". I guess that's at that point that he 100 percent knew he had the right child. Still to come tonight, Europe
is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic again. I'll ask the World Health Organization's European director why. What is going on?
And we have the first ever real world results for the HPV vaccine, and it's working even better than experts had hoped. I have the medical story coming
GORANI: There will be some new vaccination requirements in the United States. They will affect more than a 100 million workers. They will go into
effect on January 4th. The White House made the announcement after the U.S. hit 750,000 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The U.K. meanwhile has become the first country to authorize a COVID-19 antiviral pill. A potential game-changer. It's made by Merck and Ridgeback
Biotherapeutics, and during clinical trials, it cut the risk of hospitalization or death from the virus in half.
Now infection rates are on the way down in much of the world. But Europe is seeing the opposite, especially in areas where vaccinations have not caught
up. Kim Brunhuber has the story.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters clashing with police in the Hague this week. They were angry over new COVID measures
after the Dutch prime minister announced that starting November 6th masks will be mandatory inside most public spaces like museums and gyms. Citizens
will also need proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to get in.
In the Netherlands, new COVID infections are surging, rising in the months since previous social distancing measures were eased. It's just one of
several European countries fighting new waves of the pandemic.
In Germany, infections, deaths and hospitalizations all growing. The health minister says the country is experiencing a massive pandemic of the
Now at least one border town is tightening rules as cases surge. Clubs and other entertainment venues will be off limits to anyone who has not been
In Greece, there were more than 6,000 new COVID infections Wednesday. The country's most in a day since the start of the pandemic. Russia and the
Ukraine also reaching record high numbers of new infections.
Some European countries like Spain, Italy, France and Portugal have avoided the same trend but the continent's overall average of new cases has been
rising for more than 5 weeks while infections seem to be declining in the world's other regions.
Tides are changing once again in the pandemic as countries in both east and western Europe struggle with new waves -- Kim Brunhuber, CNN.
GORANI: Dr. Hans Kluge is the World Health Organization's European director and says this trend is of grave concern and is now urging the continent to
act immediately. Dr. Kluge joins me live.
Thank you for being with us. This map shows the countries where the number of cases is going up the most. We see obviously Germany, countries
surrounding Germany. Italy not doing too well.
What's going on right now?
DR. HANS KLUGE, WHO EUROPE: I will say the two main factors, one is the vaccination coverage, which is staggering (ph). Number two is the
relaxation of the public health and social measures. And then we have to take into account the seasonality. People are more indoors, confined.
And not to forget the Delta variant is the dominant variant in European region.
GORANI: So Germany in Western Europe seems to be doing much worse than other countries.
What's going on in Germany?
KLUGE: It's tricky. To say something about a particular country, because success today, the history has shown us, does not mean success tomorrow. So
what needs to be done is clear.
We can and know more than a year ago. The vaccination uptake has to be increased. It's the top priority to decrease the vaccine skepticism by
engaging the communities and look for influences but, at the same time, still to put pressure on the virus like Portugal and Spain have been doing
successfully, not giving up for example on masks.
It will increase the universal mask coverage up to 95 percent like some Asian countries are doing. We estimate that up to 188,000 lives could be
saved from the projected about half a million of that could happen by the first of February.
GORANI: So 95 percent mask uptake would help reduce the number of deaths and cases, is what you're saying. But if you go farther east, Romania,
hospitals very much struggling to keep up with the number of cases.
Also case numbers going up in other countries in that part of Europe. Obviously, Russia, as we have been discussing now for many weeks, is seeing
a very, very difficult situation, managing a difficult situation. You mentioned vaccine uptake. It's very low in countries like Romania.
KLUGE: Absolutely. Actually, we have a very strong team in Romania this week. The vaccination coverage the last weeks has been drastically
increasing, about 40 percent. We still have two countries below 10 percent.
KLUGE: But this is a comprehensive approach. So the uptake has to be increased and the production has to be scaled up and then the sharing, the
solidarity between countries, because there are some countries in the European Union which have a surplus, which need and are being shipped.
I must say we see a lot of solidarity these days.
GORANI: But I think there's a bit of fatigue, too, because last year, before we all started getting our vaccines, people were told your vaccines,
taking up the vaccine is your way out of this nightmare.
Now even in countries where 60-70 percent of people are fully vaccinated, we're seeing case numbers hit record levels.
I'm wondering if, at this point, we should think, well, the case numbers are up but the hospitalization numbers are not going up as much as previous
peaks. And the death numbers are also, relatively speaking, low.
Are we just going to have to learn to live with this virus now?
KLUGE: Absolutely, we have to learn to live but, before that, the hospitalization rates in the last week have doubled. It's true that in the
countries with the higher vaccination rate the mortality rate is lower and the people who die in hospitals are mainly the unvaccinated.
In fact, there was never a promise that vaccines would interrupt transmission. The vaccines are still doing what they are supposed to do.
They decrease mortality and severe diseases. So -- I always like to look at positive examples. So Portugal, but also Spain, have the highest
vaccination rate in the world, 85 percent.
And 98 percent in the elderly but still keeping the pressure with the mask ventilation. I think ventilation is something which is largely
underestimated. Very important also in schools. We need to keep the schools open. So there's no secret. We have to look at the countries which are
pulling it off.
GORANI: Yes, masks, ventilation, vaccinations.
KLUGE: And vaccination of younger children. So between children 18, because there's more and more evidence growing about the spread in the schools. So
that's a more important element as well.
But of course, ones at the high-risk groups are vaccinated first. And then the population and then coming to the children 12 years and under. And
maybe in the near future, from 5 years (INAUDIBLE) but this is evidence that's still not there. But being very close to look at.
GORANI: Right, it's a multipronged approach and we're still in it almost two years in. Thank you very much, Dr. Hans Kluge, the World Health
Organization Europe director.
We're staying in the medical field here. Getting an HPV vaccine early could cut the risk of cervical cancer for girls by nearly 90 percent. That's
nine-zero. It's a new study out of the U.K. Researchers say the Cervarix vaccine led to hundreds fewer cases of cancer and thousands fewer cases of
Other HPV vaccines could work even better. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me now.
This is even better than what some experts hoped this vaccine could achieve.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. This is interesting work that they have done in the U.K., looking really sort of
big picture at what this vaccine has done over the years.
It was introduced in the U.K. for girls in 2008. So they wanted to know how many cases of cervical cancer did we prevent by vaccinating girls. So let's
take a look at what they found.
They found that, in the vaccination program, from 2008 through mid-2019, there were 448 fewer cases of cervical cancer because of the vaccine. That,
obviously, is a very high number. They found the vaccine was 87 percent when it was given to girls ages 12 to 13.
Interestingly, they found it was less effective when it was given to 14- year olds or 16-year olds or 18-year olds. It's not because the vaccine is less effective at that age. There's no sort of biochemistry here involved
in those ages.
What it is, girls, you have to get the shot before you're sexually active. So if you give the shots to girls when you're 12 or 13, you're more likely
to get them before they start having sex so therefore the shot is more effective.
GORANI: So this wouldn't work on adults?
Is there perhaps some hope for older populations in terms of the vaccine being effective on some level?
COHEN: It would work on adults but it wouldn't work on them retroactively.
COHEN: In other words, if you vaccinate a 30-year old, it's not going to help if she contracted HPV in her 20s. That's not the point of a vaccine.
It you vaccinated a 30-year old and she then had sex and contracted HPV years later, sure, the vaccine could help her out.
So the vaccine is -- can be effective at any age but you have to give it to someone before they are exposed to HPV.
GORANI: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much. Encouraging news out of that study.
Still to come tonight, threats, ridicule and harassment, how the Cuban government is pressuring activists ahead of a new round of street
demonstrations. We're live in Havana.
GORANI: China is not happy about an American military report about its nuclear capabilities. Yesterday the Pentagon report called China's
expanding nuclear arsenal "concerning" but Beijing says the United States is the true threat here. Selina Wang has that.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China says the Pentagon's report on its future nuclear capables is full of bias and turns a blind eye to the facts.
China has repeatedly accused the U.S. of overhyping the threat posed by China's military modernization program.
The key data point in this new Pentagon report that has Washington concerned is a claim that China intends to have at least 1,000 nuclear
warheads by 2030. That's a dramatic increase from last year's projection.
U.S. officials are also worried about the intent behind this nuclear stockpile. While China maintains a no first use policy when it comes to
nuclear weapons, a senior U.S. official briefing reporters said China has suggested there are instances when this would not apply.
This comes on top of reports about China testing a hypersonic weapon over the summer and satellite imagery CNN has reported on that shows three
suspected silo fields in China that could eventually be capable of launching long-range nuclear missiles.
China has not responded to requests for comment on that right. The Pentagon report also claims that China's military modernization is deeply
intertwined with its broader goal to match or surpass U.S. power and global influence by 2049.
Experts say part of China's strategy here is to try to deter the U.S. from intervening if Beijing ever uses force to take Taiwan. The report says, if
China can reach the 2027 military goals, it could give Beijing a range of options, including blockading Taiwan or an amphibious invasion of the
WANG: Important context is that even with this accelerating nuclear expansion, Beijing are lagging far behind the U.S. when it comes to the
size of its nuclear arsenal. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China has 350 nuclear warheads in its stockpile,
compared to 3,750 in the U.S. or Russia's 4,630.
In response to the Pentagon report, Chinese officials have repeated that their nuclear strategy is just for defense -- Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
GORANI: Just how much Cuba's government is willing to tolerant dissent is again being put to the test. The Cuban government cracked down after
massive street protests in July. Now an activist group is planning a peaceful demonstration, set for November 15th.
But organizers say they are being harassed, publicly ridiculed and even threatened. The Cuban government accuses them of plotting with anti-Cuban
exiles and the United States to change the political system.
They say that's not true, that's not what they are doing. But it's all turned a popular playwright into public enemy number one. Patrick Oppmann
spoke with the leader of the protester.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You may remember after those protests, Cuban officials came out and said that Cubans do have the right to protest
but they have to ask for a permit first and promise to keep things peaceful.
One activist decided to put that to the test. Instead of receiving permission to protest, he instead is on the receiving end, he says, of
threats and a campaign of intimidation.
OPPMANN (voice-over): In the aftermath of widespread unprecedented protests in Cuba in July, the Cuban government arrested hundreds of people and
carried out mass trials.
Afterwards, government officials claimed the Cuban people have a legal right to protest peacefully, even though demonstrations here are quickly
broken up by police. Some activists sensed an opening.
"Cubans have spent too much time in silence," he says. "It is time to open our mouths with liberty and say what we think."
Yunior Garcia Aguilera is an award-winning playwright and actor, who has put on shows approved by the Cuban government.
But Garcia Aguilera says he is increasingly being treated as an enemy of the state, after he took part in this protest outside Cuban State TV in
Havana in July and was arrested. He says he still doesn't know if he will face charges.
A group he helped form, called Archipelago, announced peaceful protests across Cuba in November. Cuban officials have threatened the playwright and
other organizers with prosecution, alleging they work for Cuba's cold war nemesis, the United States, something Archipelago organizers have denied to
"Its promoters, the political projections and ties with subversive organizations or agencies financed by the U.S. government," he says, "have
no open intention of changing the political system in our country."
Garcia Aguilera says he is increasingly being harassed by the Cuban government ahead of the unauthorized protests.
After apparently tapping his phones, Cuban officials aired a call of Garcia Aguilar's on TV. They say it shows he has been in touch with Cuban exiles
abroad. Garcia Aguilera alleges that, although he is under constant police surveillance, someone placed these dead birds on his doorstep, apparently
as a warning.
Cuban officials have not responded to his allegations of harassment. Even his group's name is apparently forbidden. After activists told me about it,
I thought I would give it a try. I'm attempting to text from one phone to another the name of the group in Spanish, Archipelago, and the date of the
protest and the texts simply don't arrive.
Apparently, Cuba's state telecom provider is blocking all information about the group's protests, as it often does with words and terms that are
considered to be too politically sensitive.
The Cuban government announced the island will now carry out large- scale military exercises on the same date Archipelago had planned a protest for.
Protest organizers say that, by putting armed government supporters into the streets, the state is trying to scare demonstrators into staying home.
Garcia Aguilera says his demonstration will now take place five days earlier but he says, he may be arrested and face a lengthy prison sentence
before he ever has a chance to publicly demand change.
OPPMANN: And the Cuban government has said very firmly, this protest will not go forward. They said U.S. government is behind it.
OPPMANN: They said the CIA is pulling all the strings here. But many Cubans I have talked to are sick and tired of the economic conditions on this
island, the lack of the ability to go out and peacefully call for change, which is a right that people enjoy everywhere around the world, really,
many, many countries.
They say they will go forward with this. They do expect to be arrested and perhaps face some of those heavy prison sentences that we see other Cubans
receive, simply for going out in the street over the summer and calling for change.
The U.S. government has said that, if the Cuban government cracks down on protesters, there will be more sanctions potentially for the Cuban
government. But as you know, the Cuban government is already under a barrage of U.S. sanctions. It's really hard to see what additional
sanctions would do to change things here, if at all.
GORANI: Patrick Oppmann, live in Havana.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
GORANI: In the push toward using more sustainable building materials, bamboo is becoming a big favorite with designers. In this edition of "Going
Green," we venture to Bali in Indonesia to see what a greener future might look like.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Nestled amongst a tropical forest on the Indonesia island of Bali, the green village stands (INAUDIBLE) to the
landscape that surrounds it.
Inspired by nature, these whimsical towering structures are made almost entirely from bamboo.
ELORA HARDY, DESIGNER (voice-over): I'd say the most rewarding aspect of working with bamboo is the opportunity to learn how to dance with
something, to work with a material that you can't actually fully control. We're in the first decades of taking bamboo seriously as a construction
material. And so it's showing us so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): The development is the brainchild of Elora Hardy, the founder and creative director of IBUKU, a design studio
that uses bamboo and other natural materials to create sustainable homes.
HARDY (voice-over): Bamboo is an incredible material because it grows in most continents in the world. It grows so bountifully here in Asia and
across the tropics especially. It grows from a little shoot to a full mature pole within just three years.
HARDY (voice-over): So that's an extraordinary thing for sustainability, for regenerativeness (sic), abundance and for the chance to be able to work
and build with something that you're not worried about not using too much of, that you're not feeling constrained about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): While showing ambition, Hardy's creations serve as a monument to the possibilities of bamboo and its potential to
revolutionize the building industry. Here, what was considered a humble, prosaic material, is elevated to new heights.
HARDY (voice-over): Bamboo is not new. It's been used in the tropical parts of the world especially for tens of thousands of years. It wasn't taken
seriously as a long-lasting, useful material because it wasn't durable.
And it's only now that we have safe, natural treatment solutions that we can consider building like multistory buildings or homes that should last
for decades or even centuries.
I think as designers we have a responsibility to reinvent everything. In the coming decades, you'll see skyscrapers and even whole cities that can
be built out of bamboo. They won't look like anything you've seen built out of bamboo before because what we have done here is just one little
We need to think about what we want the future to look like and design that, instead of trying to tweak the past.
GORANI: These are absolutely magnificent structures. I wouldn't mind spending a few days in one of those. I wouldn't mind spending a few days
anywhere in Bali, actually.
Make sure to look up at the sky this week. You may be treated to a beautiful surprise. The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights,
are putting on a show across the globe. It's all thanks to geomagnetic storms, which cause the beautiful phenomenon.
The stronger the storm, the more likely the lights are to paint the skies.
Now where can you see them?
I caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Iceland, though I kind of had to leave my camera on for a few seconds in order to get the full effect.
Not with the naked eye but these images were taken in New Zealand. They have been spotted over Scotland, Canada and over some parts of the United
So keep your eyes peeled and look up.
Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. We'll have a lot more news for you after a quick break. I'll see you next time. Do stay with CNN,
though. "AMANPOUR" is coming your way next.