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Hala Gorani Tonight

France And U.K. Pledge Action After 27 Migrants Drown While Trying To Cross From France To The U.K.; Iranian Foreign Minister Cites "Good Agreements" Were Reached With The IAEA; New COVID Variant In South Africa Causes A Serious Concern; Capital Of Solomon Islands Shaken By Protests; WHO Warns Of More Than 2.2 Million COVID Deaths In Europe By March; CITGO 6 Held In Venezuela; Macy's Annual Parade Back In Full Swing After COVID Year. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 25, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, welcome, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Grief and anger after 27 migrants

drowned trying to cross from France to the U.K. CNN is live this evening on both sides of the channel with the latest. Then the future of Iran's

nuclear program hangs in the balance. I'll be speaking to the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he has just returned

from talks in Tehran and admitted there was little progress.

And later, more lockdowns and more record-setting case numbers across Europe. I'll be speaking to the World Health Organization as they issue

another stark warning of what lies ahead. Well, after that absolutely tragic drowning yesterday, France and the U.K. are pledging more action to

prevent dangerous crossings on the English Channel after the deaths of 27 people, including at least one pregnant woman and children.

Officials say they drowned in the bitterly cold waters near France after their boat capsized on Wednesday. Among the victims were 17 men, three

teens, seven women, and as I mentioned, one of them was pregnant. Officials say most were Iraqi citizens who were desperately obviously, to reach U.K.



EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (through translator): These women and these men fled their country and wanted to get to the British coast. They

fled their country, they fled their families because they suffered for misery, political oppression for some and absence of freedom. And they were

the victims of the worst system which is that of the smugglers and traffickers of human beings, because it is that which operates on the

European soil today.


GORANI: Well, France and Britain say they will step up their fight against trafficking networks, and so far, five suspected smugglers have been

arrested. But both countries are also accusing each other of not doing enough to secure the area. We're covering this, as I mentioned, from both

sides of the channel. Our Nic Robertson is in Dover, England, Cyril Vanier is with us from Wimereux in France, not far from where that dinghy, that

inflatable boat set off before the tragedy occurred in the waters off of France.

And I'm going to start with you, Nic, because so many people are desperate to come to the U.K., and we're talking about thousands of crossings every


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And the numbers has been growing and it's been spiking as the weather has been getting worse.

The British Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was a dreadful shock, but at the same time not surprising. It is something that many people who have

been watching these migrants take to the seas in flimsy boats have been predicting for some time.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A tragedy, yet predictable. So many dead so quickly. The rescue in the frigid waters rapidly becoming a recovery


CHARLES DEVOS, VOLUNTEER IN RESCUE OPERATION (voice-over): We were on patrol, so we recovered six bodies adrift. The rest was unfortunately like

fighting a losing battle.

ROBERTSON: In the immediate aftermath, finger pointing across the channel. France blaming the U.K. for not helping them enough.

GERALD DARMANIN, INTERIOR MINISTER, FRANCE (through translator): The response should also come from Great Britain. The resources that Britain

gives to France but which remain minimal compared to the resources that we put in.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Our offer is to increase our support, but also to work together with our partners on the beaches, on

the landing, the launching grounds for these boats. And that's something I hope that will be acceptable now in view of what has happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With permission, madam speaker --

ROBERTSON: At home, Johnson's conservatives taking heat for failing to deliver on promises to curb illegal migration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened yesterday was a dreadful shock, it was not a surprise.

ROBERTSON: The local lawmaker where many migrants come ashore in the U.K., adamant this isn't her party's fault.

(on camera): Why has it taken the government so long to reach this point of realizing those policy hasn't worked?

NATALIE ELPHICKE, BRITISH MP FOR DOVER: The situation that we have is that we have criminal activity where the French are standing by where people are

getting into boats, and they're not stopping them.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The French say they're doing all they can.

(on camera): Reality is, the migrant issue is nothing new. I was here in Dover, the closest port to France, 21 years ago when 58 Chinese migrants

were found dead in the back of a truck in the port. What has changed since then with tighter port controls is the way that migrants are coming,

risking their lives in flimsy dinghies across a dangerous sea.

(voice-over): In recent weeks, migrant crossings to the U.K. have spiked, around 1,000 migrants crossed in a single day. Earlier this month, unusual

for the time of year. Unclear why? Possibly calmer seas. More than 25,000 people have crossed the channel in small boats so far this year, three

times the total in 2020. France and the U.K. saying they've prevented some 19,000 crossings already this year.

How to combat the criminal gangs behind the smuggling bedevilling authorities both sides of the Channel. This tragedy, despite cross-channel

bitterness, perhaps galvanizing change.

MACRON: We are holding this border for the U.K.

ROBERTSON: Macron and Johnson vowing to work together to break the smuggling networks beyond both their borders.

MACRON: We need to work as partners, and we need to reinforce the cooperation with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, but also Great Britain.

ROBERTSON: Away from the high level wrangling, the human face of the tragedy emerging. Most of the 27 victims were Iraqi according to the Calais

Port director. Among the dead, a pregnant woman, according to volunteers who helped in the rescue operation. Not the first time and likely not the

last, migrants desperate to reach the U.K. will be mourned.


ROBERTSON: So President Emmanuel Macron has called a meeting of the French, the German, the Belgian, the Dutch and the British governments in

Calais the weekend to address this issue. But just look at what's happening in the past 24 hours. Boris Johnson says we'd like to help the French and

put -- and have troops on the beach. Priti Patel; the Home Secretary, said the same thing again in parliament today. Yet, even before she said that, a

French -- senior French politician have said we don't need them, we have enough there, that's not the issue. The two principal parties here are

still it seems talking past each other, Hala.

GORANI: Right, and in the middle, of course, these victims, these people literally risking their lives, some of them dying, trying to across. Cyril,

before I get to you, I want to show our viewers that in front of the Home Office, the Interior Ministry in London, there are protesters, some of them

are holding up little signs, others are saying, no more channel deaths. So, this story has really struck a nerve. Talk to us about the people who died

yesterday. Do we know where they came from, who they are?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do, Hala. We have some information on that. They were mostly Iraqis, 27 people from Iraq, that's according to

French authorities, but it was also confirmed by the Kurdish authorities in Iraq, there are two people who survived, Hala, and of those, one was Iraqi,

one was Somali. This tells us a couple things. It tells us first of all that this last leg of their journey, right, between France and England,

comes after what has been a long, treacherous, dangerous journey.

So, we wonder -- when we look at this, we wonder why they get on these inflatable dinghies, why they would risk their lives that way. But, Hala,

these are people who have been risking their lives in many ways for weeks if not months to get to this point. So, when they're 30, 40 kilometers away

from their final destination, from what they see as their El Dorado, and they're presented with a solution, they get on that boat. And that's what

we see.

And look, the other reason that they do it -- and I don't think we say this enough, is that many of these boat-crossings are successful. On the day

that the 27 people drowned in the Channel, in the English Channel yesterday, there were also 200 who made it across. And I think as long as

that route continues to actually work for enough migrants, then you will see more attempting it almost daily.


GORANI: And we have about a minute here, but -- because in a little bit, I'll be speaking to a young man who actually made it across the Channel

last year, a Syrian-Kurd. But earlier, I saw you showing our viewers a dinghy, like a typical inflatable boat, Cyril, that was disabled, I guess,

by coast guards. Can you give us a quick look again to see what it is exactly that these --

VANIER: Well --

GORANI: Migrants are boarding.

VANIER: So, I've had -- so we have had to step away from that spot briefly, momentarily. But I was actually surprised. Look, we targeted a

beach from which we knew that boat migrant-crossings had taken place. And littered across the beach, we saw not one, not two, not three, but four,

four inflatable boats, Hala, that had been -- those had been intercepted.

They had been slashed in fact, by French law enforcements so they could no longer be used. I was surprised, one, by the size of them, they're 10

meters long, and they can fit dozens of people, especially, smugglers are known to put too many people there, of course, making it even more


The other thing is, those boats, because they're inflatable, when they're deflated, when you buy them, they come in a box, so, you can bury them, and

that makes it easier for smugglers to then put them somewhere along the beach, very difficult for law enforcements to locate. The migrants can find

them, inflate them and then put them to sea when the time comes for them to make the crossing.

GORANI: All right, Cyril Vanier, thanks very much, is in France, Nic Robertson is in Dover, and as I mentioned, I'll be speaking to an asylum

seeker from Syria who is in the United Kingdom now and who actually crossed the English Channel last year on a dinghy similar to the one that sank

yesterday off the coast of Calais. Let's bring you an update on critical talks over Iran's nuclear program. Iran's Foreign Minister said on Twitter

Wednesday, that he had reached, quote, "good agreements on continuing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency."

Now, that came hours after the IAEA's chief said that negotiations with Iran were, quote, "inconclusive, and that no real progress had been made."

All of this just days before Monday's resumption of talks in Vienna on just trying to bring back from the dead the nuclear deal of 2015. Can it happen?

Is it still potentially alive?

Rafael Grossi is the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he joins me now live from Vienna. Thanks for being with us. What

you and the Iranian Foreign Minister are saying, if we bring up his tweet, and they don't sound like two people who were at the same meeting. Because

the foreign minister is saying --


GORANI: Cordial, fruitful talks --

GROSSI: I can guarantee that we will, I can guarantee that --


GROSSI: We will at the same --

GORANI: Very different takes. Different takes. .

GROSSI: Not necessarily. I think, we -- you know, one of the reasons behind my trip there to Tehran was first of all to establish contact with

them. This is a new government, as you know very well, a government --

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: That has very firm opinions about their nuclear program and the way in which they have been dealing with the agency and also with the --

you were talking in your introduction about the JCPOA and the talks that are about to start here in Vienna in a few days. So, it was very

important, indeed necessary, for me to get to know them, to sit down --

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: And to listen to them, to listen to their take on things, and also to be able to say what I believe needs to happen. We had -- I had a series

of meetings, of course, one of them was with the Foreign Minister Amir- Abdollahian, and then our negotiations were inconclusive, as I said. So, I hope that we can come to an agreement, I read the tweet that you kindly

read as well. And I hope that this means that perhaps they are now willing to come to an agreement. And I would be the first -- if necessary, I will

go back --

GORANI: So, what's the sticking point? I understand that you want to go back to Tehran if there's hope. The foreign minister is saying a meeting

will be held soon. Where's the big sticking point? Because from what the IAEA is saying, it seems like the Iranians are not opening up all the

facilities. And in some cases you said that you were concerned with incidences of agency inspectors being subjected to excessively invasive

physical searches by security officials at nuclear stations --

GROSSI: Yes, there are a -- there's a --

GORANI: It doesn't sound like they're being as open as you want them to be, and the talks restart in a few days.

GROSSI: No, exactly. I would agree with that, and I hope they will be. I hope they will be. Because I think it's in their own interest to re-

establish certain monetary numerification capacities that we used to have there. And we are talking about this. So, it is my hope that we will be

able to solve this. This is urgent. And then there are a number of more, you know, long-term issues that we have been discussing with you.


And I had an opportunity to discuss them with you a few months ago, I remember.

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: So, a number of issues that still need to be clarified with regards to the nuclear activities in Iran. So, it's about as much substance

as process. So, it's to --

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: Have a channel of context. And when you're talking about an agreement is to talk about a certain basic understanding we need to have on

how we need to work.

GORANI: No, I mean --

GROSSI: Because since -- yes --

GORANI: I just want to, because we have limited time. I know you have to run to another meeting. But I want to ask you about the U.S., the U.S. is

the one that pulled out of the JCPOA, we know under the Trump administration, there's some willingness to rejoin. If rejoining this

agreement on the U.S. side is predicated upon allowing inspectors to do their checks, and the Iranians are not letting the inspectors do their

checks -- you're saying it yourself. I mean, it doesn't sound hopeful going forward that this deal can be revived, and it cannot continue to exist

without America, can it?

GROSSI: Well, this is why we have to have an agreement, precisely for the reasons you mentioned. I don't think --

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: This is -- this is the view from the IAEA of course, not the view -- I mean, the United States will talk for themselves and as well as the

other partners in the JCPOA. But I believe that in order to walk again into an agreement, and important, far-reaching agreement like the JCPOA, you

need to have the basic facts right. And the only organization that can tell you what's going on is the IAEA.

GORANI: Yes --

GROSSI: If you don't open your doors to the IAEA, then you don't have the facts. So, this is why I believe we have to see eye-to-eye with the

minister. I had a very good meeting with him, and I hope that he's talking about a new meeting, I will be happy to receive his invitation. If this

happens, I will come and then we will have to have an agreement. So far, it's been inconclusive.

GORANI: All right, the director general of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, thanks very much for joining us from Vienna.

GROSSI: Thank you --

GORANI: Appreciate it --

GROSSI: My pleasure, my pleasure. Thank you very much.

GORANI: All right, you -- we are all following COVID, we have to, because we're all inhabiting the same planet and this pandemic is affecting us all.

So, I don't have such a great news for you. There is growing concern right now over a new variant of the coronavirus that appears to be spreading

rapidly in parts of South Africa. The country's health minister says it's also been detected in Botswana and in someone who travelled to Hong Kong

from South Africa. A top South African researcher says the variant has an unusually high number of mutations.

It is not clear yet if that might help it better evade the body's immune defenses or vaccines, so that's an open question. CNN's David McKenzie is

in Johannesburg with the latest.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, here's why this news is really worrying. This particular variant that's been discovered here by scientists

in South Africa which has been -- seem to be in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong, has many mutations, more than 30 mutations they

say under spike protein alone, which is very critical in possibly assessing whether it can break through previous infections, through immunity, or have

any kind of negative effect on the efficacy of vaccines.

So far though, they don't know exactly what the impact will be because it's very early days. But the signs are such that this variant is expanding here

where I'm sitting in Gauteng Province, and in some other parts of South Africa. And that means it could potentially be displacing the Delta

Variant, which is highly transmissible. But it is, again, too early to say. South Africa also was expecting a fourth wave of COVID-19, there are not

enough people vaccinated, less than 40 percent, in fact.

So, this underscores, say scientists, the importance of rolling out vaccines quickly to try and stop the development of these mutations and

potentially stop, of course, people going to hospital and getting severe illness. Hala?

GORANI: All right, thanks very much. Still to come tonight, the deaths of 27 people crossing the English Channel may not keep thousands more from

trying to make the journey. We'll speak to someone who took that risk and ask him why and how he made it to the other side. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Even though the -- crossing the English Channel can be a deadly choice, many people feel that it's their only one. My next guest knows the

risks firsthand. He took that treacherous journey last July, traveling from Syria through Europe before crossing the Channel by boat. Khaleel is now

seeking asylum in England, he joins me on the phone, he doesn't want us to use his last name or show his face for fear of affecting his asylum case.

But he wants to explain why, from his perspective, people are determined to make the dangerous trip.

Khaleel, If you can hear me, thanks, first of all, for being with us. Could you explain what your journey was like, what it was like getting on that

inflatable boat and crossing the Channel with other people in a very small dinghy?

KHALEEL, CROSSED ENGLISH CHANNEL IN JULY 2020 (via telephone): Good afternoon, Hala, and thanks for having me and giving me the chance to share

my experience with you. So, from my point or from my experience, I could tell you personally for me and some of my friends, the last one that we

tour, we said to each other, before we take that boat is you know what, guys? We don't have anything to live for. So, either we make it to the

other side today or we die and we finish, we'll put an end to our suffering because none of us can go back to his country.

And in Europe, like the majority of us had tried to go to another country where they rejected us and kicked us out of the country, asked us to leave.

So, it was, like, the last option after we tried all the other means or ways. And like I said, like we were going to -- and he was like even if we

die, it will be better than living like this.

GORANI: How old are you?

KHALEEL: I'm like 30.

GORANI: So, you were saying this when you were still in your 20s that I either die or I make it to the other side --

KHALEEL: No, this was like a year ago, a year and a couple of months we made that goal --

GORANI: Yes, so, just before you turned 30. Tell me about the smugglers because the world leaders who are discussing this thing, are saying, it's

the fault of the smugglers. How do you contact a smuggler? How much money do they ask you for? Do they tell you how dangerous it is?

KHALEEL: So, basically, like they try to assure you that it's going to be safe and that they're not going to like overload the boat. But all those

are lies when it comes to the real moment, you end up with too much people in the same small boat. How you find them is like you go to -- like, one of

the cities where people or all people get together and come, and then you just ask.

And then like they're going to show you a guy or like this guy -- so, basically like, you just go there and you ask, you say that I want a

smuggler, and they're like everyone -- because everyone is trying to pass, and they know who's doing that kind of jobs or businesses.

GORANI: Yes --


KHALEEL: And about how much I paid, personally, I paid 2,500 pounds to close, but I know some people with me in the same boat, they paid around

5,000 pounds.

GORANI: That's -- and who are -- do you know who they are? I mean, do you know what countries they come from, are they locals, who these people are?

KHALEEL: So, honestly, to be honest with you, the guy that was -- we dealt with him, he was like Iraqi guy.

GORANI: Right --

KHALEEL: So, it could be anyone. But we don't know if he's like the main guy or he's just like contact person because you don't know.

GORANI: And then they bring you to -- do they give you a meeting point? They say, be at this place at this time and the boat will be ready? How

does it then work?

KHALEEL: So, basically, when you manage everything through the money, and I assume that you know what it means, like black transfer money, when they

make sure that you have the money and if you make it to the other side, you can pay them. They got -- you have to wait for their call and then they

call you and tell you like get ready, we are coming to pick you up by a car.

GORANI: So, they pick you up and drive you to the beach where you launch from -- no --

KHALEEL: Yes, not exactly to the beach, to a close point to the beach. Yes, still, you have to walk for one or two hours in some cases.

GORANI: Wow. Tell me what it was like on the boat. I know that you said before setting off, either we make it or we die trying. What it was like on

the boat because there were women -- were there any children with you?

KHALEEL: Yes, we had two children. Me personally, so basically I'm afraid of the sea, I have like kind of phobia for the sea, I can't swim. But,

like, when you're in the middle of the Channel in that cold night, in that cold water, it doesn't matter how much you are good in swimming, because

like the results are obvious. But after we start like in half an hour, we realized that the water is leaking into the boat because there was somehow

a hole in the boat, maybe when they transferred it or set it up, so, we start thinking what we're going to do? We're going to sink, but we start

like throwing water using like plastic cups or water bottle or whatever, just trying to survive.

And also, you have like the issue of the big ships and ferries that they -- are crossing the Channel because when they are passing by you, the waves

that they make could easily flip our boats, so, we had to avoid that. It wasn't easy because like it was cold, it was wet, like so many things, but

I can't tell you. It's an experience that no one should go through. And like, in the morning when the waves get high and more and more water was

coming into the boat and we could not deal with it anymore, like, yes, as you mentioned, one of those ladies that she had a baby, she was like

begging and telling everyone, please help my baby, please, if something happens, let me die but save my baby. Help my baby like I don't know --

yes, tell me.

GORANI: No, well, I mean -- I just -- I'm speechless because what you're describing is an incredibly traumatic experience and a story of complete

and utter desperation where you would just rather, you know, take the deadliest possible risk than stay where you are in France because you're

saying you tried to apply for asylum in other countries. And when you arrived in the United Kingdom, what happened then to you? You're now

applying for asylum.

KHALEEL: Yes, so now, I'm applying for asylum, I'm still waiting for a decision, like the U.K. government still like checking my case, and I'm

still waiting. So, yes, I'm waiting. But, like, even after we arrived here, it's not that much easy. It's not that much easy even like, somehow like

they deliver us to some company that they managed so many things, and those companies do not treat us as a human or with a dignity. Like it's a big

issue here also. Like yes, we made it to safety, but still we're not able to have a normal life.

GORANI: And where are you in the process now of applying? What are they telling you?

KHALEEL: So, I'm now in the stage of waiting a decision from the Home Office where they would tell me if I can stay here or no. So, I'm waiting

for the answer, for the final answer or for the final decision --

GORANI: When you -- and when you saw the story yesterday about the boat capsizing and these 27 victims drowning, what did you think? You went

through the same experience, but of course you made it. But you -- it could have been -- it could have been you.


KHALEEL: Yes, like I was almost going to cry and I felt a lot of pain inside of me. And I was so sad for them because I know, like, if they had

any other options -- like I heard also that there are women and kids of the casualties, if had any other option, they would not take it, but they are

people, they are just looking for a safe place to start a new life because they lost everything.

GORANI: Well, Khaleel, thank you very much. We wish you the best of luck. Thank you for sharing your story as well.

KHALEEL: Thank you.

GORANI: Giving us an idea of what it's like. Now we hear a lot from the politicians. We hear a lot from the people who are -- who have opinions

about immigration one way or the other. And it's important to hear from the people who are actually truly at the center of this story. So, thank you.

Still to come tonight, we're going to talk about COVID again. COVID cases are surging in Europe, as the World Health Organization warns that 700,000

more people may die by the end of winter. I speak to the WHO vaccine envoy, Carl Bildt, about whether vaccination is really the golden ticket out of

the pandemic.

And also ahead, some violent protests on the Solomon Islands. We'll bring you that as well.


GORANI: Antigovernment protests are shaking the capital of the Solomon Islands for the second day. The unrest began Wednesday over the prime

minister's lack of response to a citizen petition, which was filed in August and included a number of demands.

Australia is sending military and police personnel to the island to support local authorities and they're not the only major nation involved.


GORANI (voice-over): Cheering crowds surround buildings engulfed in flames, as plumes of thick smoke billow above. Parts of the Solomon Islands'

capital were set ablaze Thursday as fresh antigovernment protests shook the city for a second day.


In defiance of a 36-hour lockdown, rioters torched several buildings in Honiara, including a building on the grounds of the Solomon's parliament

demanding the prime minister resign. They also targeted the Chinatown district, as anger escalates in part over the government's relations with


Now China is calling on the Solomon's government to take, quote, "all necessary measures to protect its citizens" and is warning that

demonstrations will not affect ties with the Solomon Islands.

ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The one China principle is the basic consensus of international relations.

In the two years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, the relationship has flourished. Any attempt to disrupt

the normal development of China-Solomon Islands relations will be futile.

GORANI: The Solomon Islands' prime minister Manasseh Sogavare welcomed a diplomatic shift toward China in 2019, cutting ties with Taiwan for

economic gain.

On Wednesday protests erupted after he allegedly ignored a citizens' petition that includes demands to limit relations with China, respect the

rights of the self-determination of the Malaita people, and to resume several domestic infrastructure projects, as calls grow louder for his

resignation and violence ensues.

Sogavare has asked for help from the Australian government. The prime minister agreed to send more troops with a clear understanding.

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Our purpose here is to provide stability and security. Our presence there does not indicate any position

on the internal issues of the Solomon Islands.

GORANI: As foreign nations work to help calm the unrest, turbulence continues on the Solomon Islands, as the people of a small South Pacific

nation demand their voices be heard.


GORANI: All right. COVID-19 cases are shattering records in parts of Europe. The winter months hitting the block hard. It's not even winter, by

the way. Germany has now reached a grim milestone, 100,000 coronavirus deaths. It is struggling with a fierce fourth wave and one of the lowest

vaccination rates in Western Europe.

In Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic has announced a state of emergency in response to spiraling cases and hospitalizations. And just minutes ago, we

learned that the country's president Milos Zeman has been taken back to hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. And this happened hours

after he was released after six weeks of treatment for other health problems.

Neighboring Slovakia has gone into lockdown, as it records one of the world's highest COVID infection rates. And France, meanwhile, which so far

has resisted imposing new lockdowns or curfews, is strengthening rules already in place. It's expanding its booster campaign, doubling down on

mask wearing and health passes. And to continue your tour of Europe, Italy is tightening its restrictions on the unvaccinated, all but banning them

from bars and indoor venues.

The World Health organization is issuing a stark warning that Europe could face as many as 700,000 more deaths by the end of winter.

Let's talk about that and also vaccine accessibility around the world. Carl Bildt is the World Health Organization's special envoy for collaboration

that's accelerating equitable access to COVID-19 treatments and tests and vaccines.

Thanks for being with us. Can you hear me? I know we had a bit of a technical issue, but I can see you very clearly, so hopefully we're



GORANI: Let's talk about Europe, and then we'll move on to vaccine equity around the world. What do you think is going on in Europe? Why two years in

are we setting still record numbers in this part of the world?

BILDT: I think it's a very stark reminder of the fact that we are -- we are fighting a living enemy. It's adapting. And it is devious in the way that

it behaves. And this can happen in Europe, where our vaccination rates are higher than most other parts of the world, it really brings home the

message that we must be very much on the watch, very much careful, and not thinking that -- we are at the best halfway through the pandemic, and

Europe reminds us of that. It is a grim situation.

GORANI: But you were the prime minister of Sweden, a seasoned politician. You know that people after two years of lockdowns and restrictions are kind

of tired of having these limits imposed on their freedoms.


Rightly or wrongly, how do you communicate to people? You've got two vaccinations. You've got a booster. You still have to wear a mask. You

still have to, you know, abide by certain restrictions. How do you do that?

BILDT: Well, it has to be done. And unfortunately, the most effective message is pointing fingers. I mean, we see infection rates raising fairly

fast. We are thankfully in a situation where due to vaccination it's not as bad in the hospital. (INAUDIBLE) dying as of yet. But the fact that the

people that get infected are not vaccinated. I think that's an important message.

And then the fact that we should not just think it's over. We have to be careful. We have to wear a mask where that is appropriate. We have to keep

social distancing. And when this is happening in Europe, what could happen in other parts of the world?

GORANI: And I want to talk to you about this. Now the World Health Organization is requesting $23.4 billion to distribute anti-COVID vaccines

and tools worldwide, requesting that from the G20. Where are you now on that figure?

BILDT: Well, Hala, we are as a matter of fact nowhere because this is a figure that we're going to need for next year. And we are, in the beginning

I was just on the call for sort of preparing to go to the G20 and other countries and to say that we need 16 for start to reach that particular

figure. It's a very small figure if you look at the effect on global health and the effect of the global economy of this being under control.

But we hope we'll have a couple of funding events in the next few weeks and perhaps month or two in order to get that money. And it's not only

vaccines. It's testing. It's treatment. It is the real possibility of new variants also coming and making things even more difficult than they

already are.

GORANI: Just last question. You saw the new variant reported in South Africa in Botswana. And that's got to be a big cause for concern. Do you

think manufacturers of drugs are doing enough to make their drugs available, to allow generic versions of the vaccines, et cetera?

BILDT: Well, we've had the discussion of that on the vaccines, and I think more can be done in order to share technology. We have the new antivirals

that are coming, and I think it's extremely important that we get a fair distribution of those so that we not just have the big rich companies

that's buying up everything.

GORANI: The pills, you mean. The pills. The pills?

BILDT: The new pills.


BILDT: Right. They're not yet approved, but that are very promising. But if all of those are taken up by the richer countries, and South Africa now

doesn't get a fair share, it's going to be bad.

GORANI: All right. Carl Bildt, thank you so much for joining us, special envoy at the World Health Organization. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Five Americans and a U.S. resident have now been detained for four years in Venezuela, convicted of corruption in a closed-door trial. All of

them were executives at CITGO, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela state oil company. But an investigation by CNN has established that the men known as

the "CITGO 6" were lured into going to Venezuela and then tried on trumped up charges.

Isa Soares reports.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carmen clings to a photo of her husband Jorge Toledo.


SOARES: The same way she hangs on to his every word. This voicemail, the very first time the world is hearing from him.

JORGE TOLEDO, CITGO EXECUTIVE DETAINED IN VENEZUELA: (Speaking foreign language) I was allowed to make a phone call, a friend ceded his time and

so I wanted to talk to you a little bit.

SOARES: Since he left on a business trip to Venezuela, yet to return.

C. TOLEDO: After four years I think that, yes, that U.S. government has failed us.

SOARES: Jorge Toledo and his colleagues left Houston on November 19th, 2017, called to a meeting in Caracas by CITGO's parent company PDVSA. As

they gather in a conference room, Venezuela's feared military intelligence sweep in and arrest the five Americans and a U.S. resident. General Manuel

Christopher Figuera was a senior intelligence officer, very close to President Nicolas Maduro. Until he turned on him and fled to the United

States. He says the CITGO 6 were set up.

CHRISTOPHER FIGUERA, FORMER HEAD OF VENEZUELAN INTELLIGENCE (through translator): It was a well-prepared trap to arrest them. There was no

arrest warrant.

SOARES: Initially the six were held at a prison controlled by the agency Figuera was part of. Now in the United States he tells us he takes

responsibility for his actions.

FIGUERA (through translator): I feel responsible not just for them but because I was part of that nefarious structure that today is destroying our


SOARES (on-camera): Their families and lawyers tell us they're being kept in overcrowded cells, no windows and in the most unsanitary conditions.

They said they've had to buy everything from food to water, tooth paste to even toilet paper. Have a listen to what Toledo asked for just a few weeks


J. TOLEDO: (Speaking foreign language) For the weekend we will need a bar of soap to shower.

SOARES (voice-over): Early this year the CITGO 6 were moved to house arrest only to be thrown back in prison in October hours after a Maduro ally was

extradited to the United States. Throughout, President Nicolas Maduro has accused them of theft and embezzlement, of taking kickbacks from an elicit

debt deal.

NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): A few days ago as head of state I requested an urgent investigation given the serious

claims that I was made aware of, of embezzlement of our company CITGO of a blatant and massive robbery at CITGO.

SOARES: The main accusations against the six that they had tried to renegotiate the CITGO debt without consulting with PDVSA or Maduro. The

military officer behind their arrest said in court, the Venezuelan authorities had received information from its intelligence sources in the

U.S. but offered no proof.

CNN obtained documents showing that the board of CITGO's parent company PDVSA explicitly authorized negotiations. In addition, look closely. Only

one of the six, Jose Pereira, was part of the conversations. The deal, by the way, never went ahead. And the company that was mediating the

refinancing move, Mangore Sarl, says no money was ever exchanged. Still, they were convicted.

The arrests of the CITGO 6 took place after protesters began pouring onto the streets in 2017. Venezuela's once booming oil industry was on its

knees, the country under a mountain of debt. And sanctions imposed by President Trump PDVSA's ability to move profits from CITGO back into



As the flow of cash dried up, the regime's blame and fierce strategy kicked in.

TAREK WILLIAM SAAB, VENEZUELAN ATTORNEY GENERAL (through translator): they're saying this is all part of an internal struggle. What internal

struggle? This is corruption, corruption of the worst rotten kind.

SOARES: Former Venezuelan oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, ran PDVSA for a decade under Hugo Chavez.

RAFAEL RAMIREZ, FORMER VENEZUELAN OIL MINISTER: (Speaking foreign language) What he cares about is being in control.

SOARES: Once an ally, he became a threat to Maduro's rise to power and a potential challenger to the presidency when their leader and mentor, Hugo

Chavez, died suddenly in 2013. He fled into exile when he received word Maduro wanted to arrest him on corruption charges, charges he denies.

RAMIREZ (through translator): The arrest order and the way they were detained is an instruction by Maduro to spread terror, to generate fear.

SOARES (on-camera): So they were set up?

RAMIREZ (through translator): Yes, of course. This spread fear throughout PDVSA, throughout the country. A feeling of fear and terror with regards to

the security forces started to grow around the country.

SOARES (voice-over): A fear that only increased with the purge of PDVSA employees, 15 arrested since 2017, according to the Venezuelan NGO


BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It seems that they have been used as, you know, as bargaining chips.

SOARES: Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Bill Richardson, is navigating this mine field in an effort to win the freedom of the CITGO 6. He tells me

what he believes Maduro's intentions are.

RICHARDSON: They don't want any further sanctions. They want sanctions lifted. But, you know, the relationship has been so poor in the last four

to eight years that I'm the one that's talking to the Venezuelans. The U.S. government doesn't talk to them.

SOARES: Since he took office, President Biden has said little on Venezuela. Its policy, some say, is inexistent. A very different approach to former

President Trump.

For Carlos Anez and the families of the other five in Venezuela, the fight for justice has been lonely, with silence, they say, from the U.S.


CARLOS ANEZ, SON OF DETAINED CITGO EXECUTIVE JORGE TOLEDO: I always apologize to my dad for, you know, not having delivered this how I feel. I

feel like I haven't delivered until he's home. And if he's not home, then I'm not applying the right kind of pressure or I'm not getting my mission


SOARES: A battle that will continue as long as the CITGO 6 is seen as a valuable bargaining chip for a regime that has few options left.

Isa Soares, CNN.


GORANI: In response to CNN, the U.S. Department of State said it continues to, quote, "seek the unconditional release of the CITGO 6" and urges

Maduro, quote, "to allow them to return to their families in the United States," unquote.

Still to come tonight, today is Thanksgiving, one of the biggest U.S. holidays and one of its major traditions is back in full swing after COVID

shut everything down last year. We'll be right back.



GORANI: It's Thanksgiving in the U.S., the holiday where families and friends sit around the dinner-lunch table eating turkey and pumpkin pie and

hopefully avoiding any arguments. Kicking it all off this year is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's back after a very muted event last


As Miguel Marquez shows us, there's a special energy in the air today.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it is an amazing, amazing day to be out here. Not only is the weather perfect, but the crowd

is enormous and in the most great mood. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


MARQUEZ: People have started lining up here since 4:30 in the morning. They've been chanting happy on that side, Thanksgiving on this side. It's

just been a lot of fun. They've been cheering for the police, for the sanitation workers who are cleaning up this entire parade afterwards.

I want to show you one of the big themes obviously of this parade that makes it so unique are these big balloons that come down. They have 15 of

them this year. There's Papa Smurf obviously. They have four new ones as well. So people are very excited about that. They have 10 different bands.

Here's one of the marching bands we're seeing going by now. They have 28 floats, 300 pounds of glitter. 2.5 million people lining the route, or at

least that's what they're preparing for.

And tens of millions of people watching on TV around the world. After the difficult, difficult couple of years that New York, the U.S. and the world

have had with the pandemic, last year's parade was truncated to just a couple of logs, there was no audience. It was for TV only. Today feels like

we're just starting to get somewhere in the vicinity of getting back to normal -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Miguel, thanks very much. We like getting back to normal.

And finally, is this a glimpse into our future? Take a look at this. It's a 3D printer at work printing prosthetic eyes. A London man has become the

first person in the world to get a 3D printed eye. He has needed a replacement eye since he was 20 and finally had one put in today. It looks

great. A 3D printed eye is more realistic than a traditional acrylic model.

I cannot tell which one is the 3D eye, so I guess that's the whole point.

Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. After a quick break, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming your way.