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Hala Gorani Tonight

Omicron Variant Spreads Globally, Prompting Travel Bans From Some Countries; Tensions Soar Between Ukraine And Russia; Ghislaine Maxwell's Sex Trafficking Trial Starts In New York; NATO To Tackle Polish-Belarusian Border Crisis; Iran Nuclear Talks Resume After Long Break; Twitter Co- Founder Jack Dorsey Steps Down As CEO. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 29, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London on this Monday, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. The world braces as the

Omicron coronavirus variant spreads globally. We will speak this hour with the South African doctor who first suspected we were seeing a new variant


Also this hour, tensions rise between Ukraine and Russia over a suspected plot to oust President Zelensky. And the long-awaited trial of Ghislaine

Maxwell begins in New York. She is accused of sex-trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein. We'll have the very latest. Scientists are now

rushing to learn more about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

But health experts are warning it will most likely take a few weeks before we get definitive answers to the most pressing questions such as whether it

will cost serious illness, and whether very crucially whether current vaccines protect against it because if they don't we might be in much

bigger trouble.

Here is what we do know about Omicron. Based on early evidence, it appears to be spreading quite quickly, less than two weeks since it was detected in

South Africa, it is now the dominant strain there and it has spread to at least 16 countries with Spain the latest to report a case.

The World Health Organization says the variant is likely to spread to more places and poses a very high global risk. Dozens of countries are

responding by banning travel from southern Africa where the variant was first sequenced, but South Africa's president says the travel bans are

punishing the region for a problem it did not create.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT, SOUTH AFRICA: Now, these restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and

our southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of

this variant.


GORANI: David McKenzie joins me now live from Johannesburg. So there is some anger is South Africa. They alerted the world to this new variant and

they feel they are being punished for it, right?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. And Hala, let me read through some words from scientists and officials over the last few

days that we've been talking to. Outrageous, disgusting, frustration, and spectacular exercise in futility. Just today, a scientist telling me. Now,

you would expect some level of patriotism and, of course, anger at the economic impact of these travel restrictions, but the scientists I've been

speaking to are also pointing to the science.

While President Biden is saying that it buys their country time to try and figure out what to do with this variant, for many scientists, they say,

well, the time has already run out, that this variant is probably widespread despite the alarm from scientists here very quickly. And you've

also seen some evidence, Hala, of a community transmission possibly in parts of Europe, and travelers from regions far outside of southern Africa

including Nigeria and Egypt are testing positive for this variant. So, the horse has bolted, they say, and that these restrictions aren't helpful and,

in fact, are punitive towards the countries that alerted the world. Hala.

GORANI: And we are going to be speaking, by the way, with the doctor who first suspected this may be a new variant in just a few minutes. But how

are people in South Africa dealing with this big jump in cases? Because it does appear that this variant is certainly more transmissible.

MCKENZIE: Well, we don't know for sure. That is the suspicion. And just to tell you what the state of play is right now, yes, there is a sharp

increase in cases, particularly where I am sitting in this province, but not yet a real push or rush on to the hospitals in this country that we saw

in previous waves. Not yet, because, you know, possibly, it could take two to three weeks before that is seen, say scientists. But we just also don't

know whether this variant is more severe, the same severity or less severe than previous variants of COVID-19.


One piece of good news, you know, the scientists and vaccine specialists I've been speaking to over the last few days believe that there will be

some level of protection against this variant from the existing vaccines. And already, data is showing that the vast majority of people who are in

hospital at this time in South Africa are those who are unvaccinated, even though this variant is starting to dominate these regions. So, there is

some optimism, but still a great deal needs to be found out about just how dangerous this variant is. Hala.

GORANI: David McKenzie in Johannesburg, thanks very much. Let's get the global reaction to the Omicron variant. We start with Salma Abdelaziz, she

is here in London. And in the U.K. now, and England, they have announced that booster shots, that all-important third dose, will be expanded to many

more age groups.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Hala. We heard from the Health Secretary just a few hours ago, and he says that what the country is trying

to do, what its strategy is now is to buy time for scientists to figure out, as you said, the transmissibility of this variant, the severity of it,

how it interacts with our existing vaccines, and also to create a layer of defense. So, the U.K. taking some extraordinary steps, and I say

extraordinary because this is a government that has so far refused to put in social restrictions, that's all going to start changing tomorrow.

Masks will become mandatory on public transport and in shops. PCR testing will be required for all arrivals in the U.K., anyone coming from outside

the country will have to take that PCR test by day two and must isolate until they get a negative result. If they are positive with this variant,

they'll have to isolate for ten days. You are also looking at expanded travel restrictions of course here in the U.K., a bigger red list against

South Africa and various other neighboring countries.

But crucially, as you said, the government strategy here is vaccinate. So, today, the Health Secretary announcing that booster jabs will now be

recommended for all people over the age of 18. Second shots are going to be recommended to those between 12 to 15 years old. People with severe immuno

deficiencies who have already had their booster shots may become eligible for a fourth shot. Authorities also recommending reducing that gap between

the second vaccine dose and the booster shot. It used to be six months --

GORANI: Yes --

ABDELAZIZ: That recommendation is now down to three months. Again, all of this as the authorities sort of preemptively strike against what are

already cases that are in the country, and they fear that those may spread further, Hala.

GORANI: What about the rest of Europe? How are they dealing with this new variant?

ABDELAZIZ: That's the key question here because you have to remember Europe was already right in the grips of yet another wave of COVID-19 when this

announcement came with the new variant over the weekend. Several countries identifying cases already, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy. This is by

no means an exhaustive list, but now those restrictions that we already saw in place over the last couple of weeks are now expanding to try to target

specifically those -- this new variant.

Countries putting in travel restrictions against South Africa and neighboring countries, and even -- I'm going to give you an example, a

country like Norway, where they have yet to identify cases, they're taking what they call offensive measures, Hala, again, all of this coming off the

back of the World Health Organization saying there is a global risk this will spread. So all of these European countries preparing for the worst

even as they wait for more information from scientists.

GORANI: All right, Salma Abdelaziz in London, thanks very much. We've been talking about bans on travel from Africa's southern region, and the anger

in that part of the world about that where some countries say, look, we have fewer case numbers than European countries that are now blocking us

from traveling. That doesn't make sense. So, there's some anger in that respect. Japan is one of the few countries that is denying entry to all

travelers from other countries, not taking any chances. Paula Hancocks has the details.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It was just a matter of days ago that we were talking about living with COVID. So many countries in Asia

were starting to ease their border restrictions. They were moving away from a zero COVID policy and starting to open up. That has now all come to a

screeching halt because of this new variant. Now, for example, Japan, this Monday, has announced that they are going to suspend the entry of all new

arrivals of foreign nationals.

They say that it is temporary until they can figure out exactly what they're dealing with, with this new variant. The prime minister saying,

quote, "in order to avoid the worst situation". Australia, which has been fairly isolated with its strict border controls throughout the pandemic,

they have started to open up, but they are putting the next phase of opening up on hold. They were going to from December 1st allow

international students, skilled workers, some eligible tourists to go into the country.


That's been pushed back now to December 15th. They have already identified five positive cases of this new variant. And when you look at Hong Kong,

they've reported a third case of the Omicron variant. One country that's not having to make any changes is China, and that's because China really

has among the strictest border controls of any country in the world at this point. One infectious expert saying, quote, "no major impact on China at

this time."

So from talking about living with COVID, we are now seeing a very sharp about-turn from many of these Asian countries, all of the officials saying

the same thing, they just need to buy more time they feel to figure out exactly what they're dealing with. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


GORANI: Let's go now to Dr. Angelique Coetzee in Pretoria, South Africa; she's the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association and she was

one of the first in the country to suspect a new variant was making people sick. Thanks so much for joining us. First of all, what made you suspect

that maybe you were seeing or observing another variant?

ANGELIQUE COETZEE, CHAIRWOMAN, SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Good evening Hala, from South Africa. Yes, I've been in private practice for 33

years, seeing patients on a daily basis. So my clinical skills are quite developed by this time at my age group. So what happened is, for the past

eight to ten weeks, we really didn't see any COVID-19 after our third wave with the Delta variant.

So subsequently, on that day, on the 18th of November, this young man came in, was my first patient of the morning. Came in and said to me, doctor,

look, I'm not feeling well, I'm extremely tired and, you know, body aches and pains with a bit of a headache -- we call it normally, malaise in our

medical terms. And he couldn't really give me anything more, and said but he thinks it was because -- so I went back to the clinical notes and


He said it was because it was extremely hot the past few days in South Africa, and he was working in the sun and he thinks it's got to do with,

you know, that he was too long in the sun.

GORANI: Right.

COETZEE: So didn't make any sense. A 30-year-old guy coming to you with that type of history. So I did a quick rapid test on him myself, and during

the rapid test, you know, he was positive on the rapid test. That was the shock of my life because I actually didn't expect to get a positive test.

And his family --

GORANI: Because of the symptoms -- sorry to just jump in so people can follow, but because of the symptoms that you were observing, that were not

consistent with symptoms that usually observe -- you usually observe in COVID patients, you thought this person is probably COVID negative. And

when the COVID test came back positive, you were surprised?

COETZEE: I was so surprised. Really, you know, the first thing that went through my mind was, oh, God, not another wave. Because --


COETZEE: You know, we have just been through it, and I know -- I think all doctors will feel the same, you know, is that, pretty, is this type of

feeling coming in and say, not again. So his family also -- you know, his wife and one child also had an appointment. I tested them, they were

positive, and they had a baby of 4 months old, he said, the baby, they asked me to test the baby and the baby was positive. But that was how it


So that was how my morning started, a total chaos. So, what then happened is during the rest of the day, I saw new patients coming in, you know, I

then decided, you know, if you're coming in, you have just anything remotely vital in your upper respiratory tracks or just something remotely,

I will test. And I tested them, and I found seven more patients. So because I am part of the advisory committee and, you know, we meet and you know,

I'm part of that panel, so I just Whatsapped the guys and I said, listen, something very strange happened today.

Haven't seen COVID patients, all of a sudden, this patient and this presented to me today, symptoms not very suggestive of Delta, more of --

GORANI: Right --

COETZEE: Beta, and maybe a new variant, you know.


But none of us were aware that there is a new variant, but simultaneously in the background, one of the labs, Elon State(ph) Lab, one of the

technicians also noticed something strange on the PCR testing that they --

GORANI: Right --

COETZEE: That he was doing for some other doctor with another patient, and he also alerted them earlier and his team. And then, I looked into all of

this, we put a clinical picture together with this, and this is -- this is how we said, OK, this is the new variant because symptoms not similar to

the Delta variant --

GORANI: Yes --

COETZEE: And at this stage, clinically at the primary care level, this is still more or less the picture that we see, young people coming in --

GORANI: So, just to --

COETZEE: And not severely ill --

GORANI: This is fascinating to me just how you came to this conclusion and how in the laboratory in parallel, there was also the realization that you

may be looking at a new variant of this virus. Now, what were the symptoms? Because what you're describing doesn't sound like there's loss of taste or

smell, it doesn't sound like there are respiratory issues. You're talking extreme fatigue was the main symptom. And then in younger --

COETZEE: That's right --

GORANI: People as well. So --

COETZEE: Yes, exactly --

GORANI: Should we see that as encouraging -- should we see that as encouraging that this variant seems to be potentially more transmissible,

but not causing the deadly symptoms that require hospitalizations?

COETZEE: Yes, I think you will need to look at it from two ways. The one is to say, there's a hideout there, let us just wait and see what the clinical

picture are like. And the other thing is to say to the public out there, listen, if you have this extreme fatigue, this malaise type of feeling, I'm

not feeling very well, something is wrong. And the other thing that they also will tell me is that what is -- this sort of a scratchy throat, it's

not a sore throat, it's just a scratch. They call it scratchy. It's very interesting.

GORANI: Yes --

COETZEE: And a sort of a dry cough, but it's not the same dry cough that we have seen previously. It is like an irritation, not very prominent either.

So that is -- if you are -- as a patient out there, are suffering from any of these type of very mild symptoms, the idea is, please go and get

yourself tested.

GORANI: Absolutely, it's so much to take in. There are so many questions that our viewers will all want to know. So, the main one I think is, if

people have been vaccinated, will their vaccines protect them against this new Omicron variant that you have helped identify?

COETZEE: So, here's the trick. The -- what we keep on saying -- and this is what we say in South Africa. We keep on saying to people, the vaccines are

supposed to protect you against severe disease, death and hospitalization. We tell our patients, it is not going to protect you that well against mild

disease. So what are we now seeing at this stage? Remember, it can change going forward because it's early days, but at this stage, this is exactly

what we see.

Because I have seen patients who have been vaccinated with Pfizer, and most of the -- very interesting, round about August, the ones that have been

vaccinated round about August seemed to me to be more susceptible of getting infected at this stage. But, again, very mild symptoms. The same

sort of type of symptoms, not really feeling very sick.


COETZEE: And that's what you -- want. You want actually that type of profile if you have been vaccinated. You don't want the severely ill

patient that is not vaccinated --


COETZEE: Or vaccinated, but severely ill. You don't want that.

GORANI: I've got to ask just this one last question because you saw how countries outside of your part of Africa have reacted, travel bans, Japan

closing its borders to all travelers, South African travelers banned from traveling to many countries now. Do you think that this is an overreaction

then based on the fact that the symptoms are so mild and that you in the first place were the ones in South Africa to raise the alarm?

COETZEE: So, yes, you have to -- but you have to understand. With science, it's early days. We're only working in the next week or two, which we'll be

able to see how unvaccinated people react and how sick they can get as you move into the older groups.


But for now, it's predominantly the younger groups, non-vaccinated people. Also important to understand that some of these young people who has not --

what we call public sector patients, in the Barracuda hospital, they have seen quite a few of them coming in. Some of them have been tested today,

they tested 14 that was in the normal medical --

GORANI: Right --

COETZEE: Ward for something else and they just tested positive. So, again, not severely ill, but therefore something else. They do see --they do have

a few patients in the ICU, also not sure whether that is Omicron or Delta.

GORANI: Right --

COETZEE: But the public-private sector, at conference, where we are working. We saw a bit of a different picture regarding, you know, the

patients from the street coming in and say, doctor, I'm a bit fatigued, I don't feel well, you know.

GORANI: Yes --

COETZEE: Just test me now. Because I have heard, doctor, that this is what you are saying out there. And, yes, that is what should happen. You should

test, but you should never --

GORANI: Yes, doctor --

COETZEE: Be allowed into the -- that it's going to be fine.

GORANI: Dr. Angelique Coetzee, we are so grateful for being able to speak to you this evening. We're very much in a wait-and-see pattern, but we have

the information from you directly. One of the doctors that realized something was going on. And thanks for alerting the world. We'll be right

back. Ukraine has a new warning about the threat from Russia just hours before a key meeting of NATO foreign ministers. That and more coming up.

Stay with us.


GORANI: Ukraine's foreign minister warns that Russia could invade his country, quote, "in the blink of an eye". Dmytro Kuleba told reporters

today that a coup plot could be part of Moscow's plan to destabilize Ukraine. On Friday, Ukraine's president said he expected a coup attempt to

take place this week.

Russia is denying it, but its military build-up around their shared border is raising some alarm bells across the west. And that situation is expected

to dominate a big NATO meeting in Latvia. Matthew Chance is following all these developments from Kiev. Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, thanks very much. Well, you're right. I mean, it was already a lot of concern that's

been expressed around the world from United States as well about the build- up of Russian forces close to the Ukrainian border which potentially raises the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.


And something by the way that the Kremlin and Moscow has categorically denied. But then, you know, as you mentioned, late last week, the Ukrainian

President Volodymyr Zelensky poured fuel onto the flames as it were, by saying that his security services had uncovered a plot to undertake a coup

in the country with Ukrainians and Russians plotting to overthrow his government.

So, when I got the chance earlier today to speak to the Ukrainian foreign minister, I asked him about what the latest concern was about that, whether

there was still a real threat or whether it dissipated somewhat since the claim was made by the Ukrainian president.

He said, look, you know, our security services, they're looking at the assessment, they're still kind of judging what's going to happen. They said

they're going to make an announcement soon on the latest developments. But he did warn that before any kind of military action by the Russians, there

would be an attempt -- is their assessment -- there would be an attempt to try and kind of stir unrest inside the country.

And so, you know, that's something the Ukrainian government is currently warning about, the possibility of civil unrest inside the country

potentially ahead of some kind of Russian military action. Of course, you know, we're monitoring closely and we'll see what actually materializes on

the ground, Hala.

GORANI: Thank you very much, Matthew Chance. I want to speak now to the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, he joins me now live from

Budapest. Thanks for being with us, foreign minister.

PETER SZIJJARTO, FOREIGN MINISTER, HUNGARY: Good evening, thank you very much for your invitation.

GORANI: Let's start with COVID. Your country has a pretty low vaccination rate. What are you doing now to make sure that more people get vaccinated?

I understand you've rejoined the EU program to get some Pfizer doses delivered after having suspended that in May.

SZIJJARTO: Look, we are at 70 percent currently. Of course, we would like to reach a 100 percent. Physically, it's possible, given the fact that we

have millions of jabs in the storages. You do not even have to register in order to get the vaccine. You just have to walk to a vaccination point, and

there within a couple of minutes you get the vaccine. So it's open for everybody. We hope that we can convince more and more people in the

remaining 30 percent to be vaccinated.

But there's one category where we are number one in the European Union currently, and this is the booster shots. So the third --

GORANI: Yes --

SZIJJARTO: Shots basically, around 35 percent, 36 percent of those who are eligible for vaccination have been vaccinated by the booster also, which is

now becoming more and more important because of the --

GORANI: Yes --

SZIJJARTO: New variant. So actually, you know, we were very quick at the beginning. We were the first EU member state to reach -- or among the first

ones to reach 60 percent of vaccination rate. That was very important because with that, we could re-launch economy and reopen the country and

get rid of the restrictions. Since then, we could add another 10 percent, and we hope that we can climb higher.

GORANI: So speaking of the EU, they're still very unhappy with your government, as you know. Some people accuse the Orban government of anti-

democratic practices. I understand a letter has been sent from the commission to your country, asking for answers to some questions on rule of

law concerns that they have. Questions about, for instance, how EU funds have been used, have they been used in ways that were not a 100 percent

transparent. Did you respond to the letter?

SZIJJARTO: We will definitely respond because this is the way, how it should work in the European Union. European Commission has questions, we

definitely answer. But, you know, our debate with Brussels and with the European Commission goes deeper than that. There are basically two reasons

why these debates are getting -- let's say, more and more severe. First --

GORANI: Yes --

SZIJJARTO: There is a total different opinion on both sides about the future of the European Union. Brussels with some member states obviously

want to create a United States of Europe with more competences brought to Brussels, taken away competencies from the member states. We definitely

oppose that. And we -- I have to admit that we are in minority now. So, those who --

GORANI: Yes, but you are --

SZIJJARTO: Want European Union to be based on strong member states --

GORANI: You are in the minority --

SZIJJARTO: And want to bring back some competencies to the -- to the member states.

GORANI: You are in the minority which brings me to the next natural question which is you're part of this club and you're not necessarily

abiding by all the rules of the club. So, why be a member of it?



If for instance you pass laws that are seen as anti-gay and lesbian, Viktor Orban, your Prime Minister becoming very close to China with business

deals, blocking even the E.U. from issuing a statement condemning China's backing of anti-government crackdown protests in Hong Kong. Why be a member

of a club whose rules you don't seem to want to follow?

SZIJJARTO: So I think here, we do definitely have to stick to the facts. Otherwise, we go into a discussion, which doesn't make any sense. These

kinds of accusations are out there against Hungary for a long --

GORANI: What was factually incorrect about what I just said --

SZIJJARTO: And it -- yes, but I mean, I would be really grateful if I could just answer one part of your question. So if you are really curious about

our position, then I can tell you that we are committed members of the European Union, we want European Union to be strong, stronger than

currently for sure. But our position is that with creating the United States of Europe, it's not going to be possible. We need strong member

states, because strong European Union can be based only on strong member states.

There's a very, very serious ideological debate between Brussels and thus we are definitely a right-wing, patriotic government, Christian Democrat,

which goes totally against the liberal mainstream, and it is successful. And we understand that this cannot be digested by Brussels. We have not

passed. We have not passed any kind of anti-gay law in this country.

The Hungarian Parliament, which has been elected democratically, has passed a law on protection of the children. And this law ensures that the right of

sexual education of the children is an exclusive right of the parents. It doesn't say anything about the LGBT community. That's lie. That's fake


GORANI: OK. Well, there are differences of opinion on the interpretation of the law. Quick last one on something you told the Financial Times, you were

quoted as saying that you believe the United States will interfere or will try to interfere in your elections next spring. Do you really believe that

the Americans are going to meddle to try to get your party that's been in power for quite some time to lose next year?

SZIJJARTO: Look, this is another classical example how fake news are being spread. You should watch the video. It's -- it is to be found on internet

in many websites, what I have answered to those questions and they have they have put quotes into my answer, which I have never said.

What I said was the following and I hope that I can say it here clearly now, that we are living in Central Europe, we are not living on the moon,

we are not living on the Mars, this -- in this region, we always have to count on the west and east. So, both sides willing to put influence on this


Unfortunately, this is our history about, we have a clear understanding and clear lessons of history and these kinds of attempts to have influence on

this region are continuous and we will be here with us in the future also. And I can tell you that, yes, there are embassies who are openly financing

articles on internet against the government. Yes, there are embassies who go on tenders to give money for so-called free press, which is always

against the government.

You know, we have our secret services, which have already detected some preparations. In this regard, that certain countries, certain entities,

certain organizations would like to influence the public will in Hungary, even regarding the elections, but these services out of which one is in my

portfolio, have the duty to go against such kind of attempts to interfere and we will do our best of course to make it sure that it is going to be

exclusively the Hungarian people who will decide about the future of this country.

GORANI: All right. So you believe there are efforts to interfere. The Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, thank you very much for joining

us live from Budapest in Hungary this evening.

SZIJJARTO: Thank you very much.

GORANI: Still to come tonight. World powers are at it again as Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna. We'll tell you who's at the negotiating table and

what is at stake. Is there hope left for that deal? We'll be right back.



GORANI: Well, Iran says it's willing to reach a deal but what can we actually expect from the nuclear talks that resumed today in Vienna? It's

been almost six months since the parties involved were at the negotiating table, even as Iran has moved forward with its nuclear program.

Our International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is watching this story and joins us now with details on how day one played out and the Americans

and the Iranians are not speaking directly to each other.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're not. The Americans are on the outside, the Iranians, the French, the Germans, the

British, the Russians, the Chinese in there together. And, you know, at the moment, all we know is that they talked, they met for about three hours.

But according to the Russian diplomat in the room, their meetings were quite successful. They've agreed further immediate steps to take. But three

hours compared to all the problems that have laid before this and the difficulty getting to this point seems quite a short space of time.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Iran's uranium enrichment, a possible path to making a nuclear bomb, is way beyond internationally agreed levels.


ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Iran has been using this time to advance its nuclear program.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Talks to head this off stalled late June with the election of a new hardline president in Iran, but will finally restart

Monday. The outcome is uncertain, the stakes high, the U.S. insisting Iran must move forward.


NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN FOR THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: This window of opportunity will not be open forever.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The 2015 Iran nuclear deal called the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was a signature achievement of the Obama-

Biden leadership.


BARACK OBAMA, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: Cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Years of fraught negotiations cut Iran's pathway to a bomb by limiting uranium enrichment and committing them to international

inspections. It wasn't perfect, but U.N. monitors confirmed it worked. Until 2018, when President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Iran's response up its uranium enrichment, stymie some inspections. Tensions rose. The U.S. killed Iran's top general. Tehran

strikes back at U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran's top nuclear scientists mysteriously shot dead.


Tehran blames Israel confirmed by the U.S.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapon.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): And since getting into office, Biden has been trying to get back into the agreement and limit Iran's missile program.

Iran has been playing hardball. Six rounds of negotiations stalling, even as they ramp up enrichment, more us lead our Gulf.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): the main issue in upcoming negotiations is actually removing all the illegal sanctions against Iran.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): And since the last round of talks, an added uncertainty, Iran has a new U.S. skeptic government with new negotiators.


ROBERTSON (on camera): At the recent G20. Summit in Rome, President Biden met with European partners to firm up a plan if the talks stall again. And

for sure Iran will exploit any differences. The clock is ticking. And so far, Iran's calculation appears to be the talks for lack of them are going

in their favor.

GORANI: And so, Nic, I mean, what is the expectation? Can this deal be revived?

ROBERTSON: You know, a lot of it seems to be about the sequencing. You heard there, Iran wants the sanctions lifted, United States wants Iran to

get back into compliance with the original terms of the deal. What appeared to stall it out in the summer was a change of government coming in Tehran.

But also, you know, that lack of trust that the United States would keep its word, that Iran will keep its word. So, who moves first?

And just after the talks broke up in the summer, it was interesting, because the United States took two Iranian weapons experts off the -- off a

sanctions list, which seem to be the appearance of an act of good faith, a part of a sequencing perhaps. Anyway, there's been no output of that

sequencing publicly that we've been able to see. But it seems to lie in there. But what we're hearing from diplomats is, look, the more that Iran

runs the clock down on this process and gets closer to making a nuclear weapon, possibly, it means that the JCPOA just has a lesser value.

And right now, you know, Western diplomats on the side of United States are saying that if this doesn't work out, then it's Iran that's going to be

crashing this deal down. Iran, of course, does feel the pressure of those economic sanctions. Certainly does.

GORANI: Nic Robertson, thanks very much.

Nic, you use Twitter. I do, too. We all do. It's kind of part of a journalist's job. And Twitter confirms that its founder Jack Dorsey is

stepping down as CEO and is being replaced effective immediately. The social media company says Dorsey will remain on the board until his term

expires next year. Dorsey is sharing some of the reasons behind his resignation on his own Twitter account. He says "Twitter needs to break

away from its founders."

CNN's Paul La Monica is in New York with more. So what impact will this have on twitter then?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think, Hala, it's going to be very interesting to see whether or not Twitter morphs even more into a tech

company and less of an advertising focused firm in light of the fact that its Chief Technology Officer is the one who's taking the reins from Jack


That's going to be, I think, one thing Wall Street will be watching because, you know, Twitter has struggled to really gain users at the same

sort of level that companies like Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, as well as Snapchat, and of course, tick tock. All of these are

social media juggernauts, and Twitter's still more of a niche type of offering. You mentioned journalists love Twitter, it sometimes seems like

we're the only ones, and politicians for that matter.

GORANI: We use it. It doesn't mean we love it. Thank you very much. It's just a necessary part, I think, of our job. Thank you very much, Paul La

Monica. Oops, and I'm almost falling off my chair at the news.

Still to come tonight. A jury has now been sworn in for Ghislaine Maxwell's trial. It's expected to shed more light on Jeffrey Epstein, one of the most

notorious sex offenders in years. We'll bring you the very latest. It's the first day today.



GORANI: Ghislaine Maxwell's trial is getting underway right now in New York. The British socialite is accused of creating a network of underage

victims for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. These are charges she denies.

Epstein was a convict convicted sex offender who was arrested in 2019 and was found dead in his prison so shortly afterward. Maxwell could face up to

70 years in prison if convicted.

Brynn Gingras is following this much awaited trial for us. What is happening on day one?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Hala, they have already seated the jury and right now they're listening to the opening

statements from the government side. We expected them to start around 2:00 after the lunch break here, Eastern Time, and take only about 25 minutes.

So we're just getting -- waiting for some updates from inside the courtroom. But we expect the defense then obviously to go next. Their

opening statements are expected to last about an hour. And then the jury could hear some testimony from the government side beginning early this

evening before crap -- court wraps up for the day.

But, of course, this is opening statements. This is when both sides pretty much lay out the arguments for their case. We're expecting the government

to talk about the four alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein in this Conspiracy Trial of Ghislaine Maxwell to testify on the government side, or

I'm sorry, on the defensive side. We're expecting them to bring forward a witness that will talk to the possibility of forgetting things over time

since these alleged incidents happened more than a decade ago.

So, those are just little snippets of what we're expecting. But it's a six- week trial. Of course, there's a lot that could come out in this trial, particularly when we're talking about Jeffrey Epstein, the people that he

knew including, Ghislaine Maxwell, so we'll wait to see what comes out. But certainly, this will be a long trial. And she is facing, like you said, up

to 70 years in prison.

GORANI: And there are no cameras in this courtroom?

GINGRAS: No, there's no camera or no communication whatsoever. Because it - - because they are federal charges in a federal courtroom. So really, reporters have to leave their cell phones right at the door before even

going in. So that's how it's a little bit delayed with getting all the updates for the trial.

But certainly another part of that is because we will be hearing from some of these alleged accusers whose identities want -- they still want to be

concealed. There'll be pseudonyms for them. So there's a lot of reasons why there's no cameras primarily because it is a federal courtroom.

GORANI: Brynn Gingras, thanks very much reporting from New York on day one of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Still to come, a fashion legend who set an

example has passed away. An amazing example. We will look at the life and influence of Virgil Abloh. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Tributes are pouring in for a fashion trailblazer who died over the weekend. Virgil Abloh had battled a rare form of cancer since 2019. In

secret what he achieved despite that is pretty mindboggling over the last several years. He was the first black person to become an artistic director

of Louis Vuitton. Before that, Abloh founded the cult street wear label Off-White.

He was also active in the music scene as a DJ. He played at venues all around the world. He was a creative director for the rapper, Kanye West's

design agency and he designed some of his album covers as if it wasn't enough everything else that he was doing. Also, designing those album

covers. Here's how Abloh described his work to CNN a few years ago.


VIRGIL ABLOH, AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER: Essentially, I think of things and I make them, you know. I try to think about a body of work more importantly

than the medium. I come from like a -- what I feel as like an emerging scene of art and in large part design Miami Art Basel, I sort of like a

showcase of things that are already certified incredible and my idea is to showcase this energy next to the establishment.


GORANI: He was so young. 41 years old. The British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful says Abloh was born in the United States to Ghanaian

parents opened the door to art and fashion to more people who looked like him and representation obviously is important.

The Korean super band BTS says it was an honor to work with the man called a true creative genius. The model Hailey Bieber wrote that Abloh was a once

in a generation creative mind.

And before his untimely death, he was working on plans for Louis Vuitton fashion show in Miami. A presentation of his collection will go ahead on

Tuesday. And as I mentioned Virgil Abloh, extremely young, died at just 41 years of age.

If you've ever wondered how to properly discard of your used cooking oil, a company in Egypt is making it easier to have it recycled using some pretty

simple technology. Here's CNN's Anna Stewart.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A common sound in kitchens around the world, hot sizzling cooking oil. Throughout the year, the average human

consumes around 20 kilograms of vegetable oil. In Egypt, that number is even higher.

And once used, most of it's discarded but not always.


NOUR EL ASSAL, CEO, TAGADDOD: I have this waste produced. Now I have to figure out what to do with this oil.


STEWART: Back in 2013, Nour El Assal created Tagaddod, a Cairo-based startup that recycles used cooking oil to produce fire fuel, a low carbon

alternative source of energy.


This year, Nour decided to look into more ways of simplifying the collection at home.


EL ASSAL: We are enabling waste collection through technology, through creating an Uber-like platform that connects collectors with households.


STEWART: When the Frying is done, it takes a few clicks on the app to get a collector to come and pick up the used oil. The customer also gets

something in return, such as bottles of new cooking oil ready for their next meal, making the system more profitable and eco-friendly as well.


EL ASSAL: So we process thousands of requests on a daily basis. And these are mainly happening across different parts of Egypt. So we think that

there's a huge impact that is done on the environmental level.


STEWART: Biofuels can be used as an alternative to petrol in cars and other transportation. With over 10 million vehicles on the road in Egypt, an

efficient waste oil collection could lead to a greater adoption of biofuels.


EL ASSAL: I think biofuels can be used here in Egypt in the very near future, mainly to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and to be able to be

part of the climate change movement.


STEWART: For now, Nour plans to expand his business across the Middle East and North Africa with the hope that less people will pour his idea of a

greener future down the drain. Anna Stewart CNN.


GORANI: And finally, tonight, the original Taj Mahal was built as an expression of love. No, why don't we just -- let's -- expression of love

for a ruler's late wife.

Now one man in India decided to build a replica of the Taj Mahal, as a home for his living spouse. Let's not wait until she has departed. Check it out.

It's about one-third of the size of the original which was built as a home in the 17th century on the orders of a grieving emperor. This time, the

man's wife helped consult on the project which is slightly less sad than building the original one after the death of his beloved.

It reportedly costs about $260,000 to build so it'll buy you a very small studio in London.

Now to a stunning story about an airplane stowaway authority say a man hid inside the landing gear of a commercial flight from Guatemala City to Miami

on Saturday and survived. Video posted on social media shows the 26-year- old appeared dazed after he emerged from the plane. He was sent to a hospital obviously for a medical evaluation.

And this is the area of the plane where he managed to hide for over two hours during the international flight. My goodness. It is still unclear how

he got onto the plane undetected, but he did and survived. And I'm obviously glad he didn't seem too badly hurt.

That's going to do it for me. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next.