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Hala Gorani Tonight

World Health Organization: Omicron Appears To Be "Very Transmissible"; Taliban Government Issues Decree On Women's Rights; Firearms Expert Challenges Alec Baldwin's Claim; Nine-Year-Old Girl Sold Into Marriage Rescued By Non-Profit; Facebook Sold Ads Comparing Vaccine To Holocaust; Scientists Excited About Potential Of Synthetic Lifeforms. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 03, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London on this Friday, I am HALA GORANI TONIGHT. The Omicron variant

appears to be, quote, "very transmissible" according to the W.H.O. We'll break down what that really means for you. And a new decree from the

Taliban. A woman is not property.

Is this a step forward for women's rights in the country? I will be speaking to former Afghan member of parliament Farzana Kochai. And later,

experts casting doubt on Alec Baldwin's claim that he did not pull the trigger in the fatal movie set shooting. We are live in Los Angeles for


And let's start with COVID once again as we do most days. The World Health Organization says the Omicron coronavirus variant appears to be very

transmissible. They point to the sharp rise in case numbers in South Africa since it was first detected. Now, yesterday, the country's health ministry

recorded more than 11,000 new cases, 11,000, compare that to 2,500 a week ago. British scientists say Omicron could produce a very large wave of

infections and they are trying to bolster vaccination rates, though we don't yet know whether current vaccines will need to be altered to respond

to this variant.

Eleni Giokos tells us what scientists are learning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, everyone.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An early Zoom call, a familiar sight when it's run by South African scientists in the Omicron

age, the world watches with bated breath.

MICHELLE GROOME, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, SOUTH AFRICA: Some preliminary data that we have, there's definitely evidence

that it is more transmissible, and that there is some immune escape. But I think it's not necessarily that, that is related to severity. I think we

need to have more information over the next two to three weeks.

GIOKOS: That question of severity hangs over policymakers around the world. The South African experts caution not to draw early conclusions from

the fact that most cases they see now are mild.

WAASILA JASSAT, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, SOUTH AFRICA: Our data, you know, tells us a little bit about patients in ICU, ventilated

on oxygen, but it takes time for the -- you know, admissions to unfold and for the severity measures to come about. What we also see is that severity

is always low in the early and late part of the wave. So, I think even if we are seeing a slightly less severe disease right now, it's too early to

say that, that's a characteristic of this variant.

GIOKOS: Swiss leaders are taking no chances. Geneva has seen mass protests against restrictions in recent weeks, but health authorities still said

Friday, they're quarantining 2,000 students and staff after two cases of the Omicron variant were detected at a local school, linked to a family

member returning from South Africa. U.S. President Joe Biden says he'll step up testing efforts and require international arrivals to get tested

just 24 hours before boarding a plane.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: This tighter testing timetable provides an added degree of protection as scientists continue to study the

Omicron variant.

GIOKOS: The CEO of BioNTech who helped create the Pfizer vaccine says he believes the current inoculations are still effective.

UGUR SAHIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BIONTECH: Based on the mechanism of our vaccines and vaccines in general, we know, and we anticipate that

infected people who have been vaccinated will still be prevented against severe disease.

GIOKOS: Access to those vaccines remains critical.

SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: There's a clear relationship between inequity and access to vaccines and the

development of variants.

GIOKOS: The World Health Organization's chief scientist with a stark warning on Friday.

SWAMINATHAN: And this is going to keep happening again and again, so even today, it's not too late for us to look back and really sort out this once

and for all, and make sure that going forward we do distribute both vaccine, but also diagnostics and drugs.

GIOKOS: Eleni Giokos, CNN, Johannesburg.


GORANI: CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard joins me now with more. Now, despite the fact that we don't know for sure if vaccines will shield us

against this new variant, scientists and experts are saying, get vaccinated and get boosted if you can.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Absolutely, Hala. That's the takeaway message, if you're unvaccinated, get vaccinated, get your booster

if you're eligible, because we do know that this -- vaccines could provide some protection even though we don't know how much Omicron may impact

vaccine efficacy or vaccine effectiveness right now. The message is to boost your protection as much as possible.

Now, we do need more data on this. Here are the questions that we still need to answer. There are signs that Omicron could be highly transmissible.

We need more data on that. We already have Delta, which is highly transmissible, so how does Omicron compare with Delta? That's where

scientists could really do more research. How sick does Omicron make people? We have seen or heard from South African doctors that Omicron seems

to be causing more mild or moderate symptoms, but we need more data on this.

We need to see how sick it makes people. How does it impact vaccine effectiveness? Like you said, Hala, we need more information there. And

then we have heard about the possible risk of re-infection. This is where we need more data, but here is one of the World Health Organization's lead

experts on this topic. Have a listen.


MARGARET HARRIS, SPOKESPERSON, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The other thing that's becoming clearer is that people who were infected with other

versions of the SARS COVID-2 virus can be re-infected with this one. So we're seeing that, that previous natural infection isn't protecting people

against being re-infected with this one.


HOWARD: So, that was W.H.O's. spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris. And as she mentioned, there could be this possible risk of re-infection with the

Omicron variant which, Hala, if, you know, we don't have natural immunity from being previously infected with another coronavirus variant, then

that's even more reason to get vaccinated if you're unvaccinated to build up your immunity, Hala.

GORANI: Well, because Delta is still very much an issue, Jacqueline Howard --

HOWARD: Absolutely --

GORANI: Thanks very much, in Atlanta, thanks for that report. Now, as we were discussing with Jacqueline, doctors don't know how well existing COVID

vaccines are at protecting people against Omicron. But they're saying people shouldn't wait to get either a vaccine if you're unvaccinated or a

booster shot if you've had two doses. Even while Omicron makes headlines, the Delta variant is still a major problem, boosters seem to be working in

those cases.

A study published this week found that a booster dose of the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine lowers the risk of infection by 80 percent or more, and that is over and above the protection from the first two doses. So, I'm

loath to use the term good news when it comes to COVID because we're all in this, you know, kind of global nightmare, but yes, if we had to -- if we

had to define this development as anything, I would call it good news.

So, booster shots, especially when they're Pfizer and Moderna, work at increasing, at fortifying your immunity against at least the Delta variant.

All right, let's turn our attention now to the United States, and a very hot topic there, immigration. Here is a story that has some people

scratching their heads. The Biden administration has to resume a foreign policy that the president himself once called inhumane. The Remain-in-

Mexico program, as it's known, was originally introduced under President Trump and now has to be reinstated, not because of an executive order, but

because of a judge's court order.

Starting Monday, the U.S. will again send migrants to Mexico to await their immigration court hearings. Matt Rivers is in Mexico City and he's

witnessed firsthand how some of these people waiting to be able to apply for asylum live on the Mexican side of the border and how unsafe it is for

many of them. Matt.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, and what you're seeing here is President Biden basically having to reinstate what you could argue was the

signature immigration policy for President Trump during his time in office. Just to remind our viewers, Remain in Mexico was this policy instituted by

President Trump that forced tens of thousands of people who were trying to apply for asylum in the United States to await their -- that legal -- or to

wait out that legal procedure, not in the United States as has always been the case in the past, but rather in Mexico.

They were essentially temporarily deported to what you could argue are some of the most dangerous cities on earth. Mexican border cities can be

extremely scary places where trans-national criminal organizations operate with near impunity, and yet, tens of thousands of people trying to apply

for asylum into the U.S. were forced to wait there. Upon taking office, President Biden, a few months after he took office canceled that program,

but it was over the Summer that a federal judge basically ruled that in unwinding that program, the Biden administration had not followed federal



As a result, he reinstated the program. The Supreme Court declined to take up the case, to change anything. So basically, after they came to a new

agreement with Mexico in the past few days or so, Hala, the Biden administration now says as a result of that court order, they are going to

reinstate this program starting on Monday. However, it could be temporary because the Biden administration is saying that they're continuing to

appeal the judge's ruling, and as soon as the judicial system in the United States allows the Biden administration to terminate the Remain-in-Mexico


The Department of Homeland Security says they will do so. They have plans to do so, but functionally, starting on Monday, people who want to apply

for asylum in the United States are going to be waiting in Mexico while they do that.

GORANI: So, you've reported on these migrants and these asylum applicants on the Mexican side of the border. They don't -- many of them aren't

Mexican. Many of them come from other parts of Latin America, and you have told us that some of the towns and villages and areas that they're forced

to wait in are some of the most dangerous in the whole region. Can you describe what it's like for them waiting on that side of the border for

their application to be processed?

RIVERS: Yes, absolutely. I mean, what you saw, Hala, is just tent cities that sprung up. As soon as the Biden administration -- excuse me, the Trump

administration first instituted this program, you had thousands of people, many of whom who didn't even know what was going on, especially early on in

the program's implementation, who got to the United States and they were kicked back to Mexico. Well, what happened, Mexico didn't have the

infrastructure to take care of those people, they still don't have the infrastructure to take care of those people, and so, these tent cities


The people were living in squalor, even if people who could make it inside of shelters, there are multiple documented cases of cartels, drug cartels

going into these shelters and kidnapping not only sometimes the priests who were running these shelters, but also the migrants themselves and holding

them for ransom or extorting their families back in the countries where they come from. So you have the crime threat, an increased risk of sexual


You have these tent cities where people sprung up with no money, no infrastructure, nowhere to stay, and that's where they were forced to wait

out these asylum programs. That is why there were so much criticism of the Trump administration for implementing these policies. But what people are

saying now is that even though this is a judge forcing the Biden administration to do this, there are still a lot of criticism to be levied

at the Biden administration for not doing this right in the first place, for not truly unwinding the program in a way that followed federal law, and

the result is going to be more and more migrants having to exist in maybe those same conditions that they were living in under the Trump


GORANI: All right, Matt Rivers, thanks very much. Let's discuss this court ruling that has forced the Biden administration's hand with Elie Honig;

he's a senior CNN legal analyst and former assistant U.S. Attorney. So, for all of our viewers around the world, Elie, who have observed and followed

the U.S. system of government, foreign policy and immigration policy is really in the hands of the executive branch. That's the belief that most

people have. So, how can a court order, a court ruling force the hand of the executive branch when it is trying to repeal what is an immigration

policy on the border with Mexico? How does that work?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Hala, the way that you're taught here in the United States in law school is that foreign policy is

one of the core functions, core powers of the executive branch, the president. However, in reality, and we've seen this recently, not just in

the case we're talking about here, but in another recent case involving the Dreamers Act, we've seen that courts have been willing -- including the

U.S. Supreme Court have at times stepped in and said to the president, essentially as the Supreme Court said to Joe Biden here, you might be

allowed to do this, but you have to do it in a certain procedural way.

And if you don't comply with all those procedures, then we're going to block you. So, the reality is, the judiciary has, especially in recent

years, weighed in and at times essentially blocked whatever the president wants to do in terms of executive function with relation to foreign policy.

GORANI: But how -- I mean, these are politically-appointed judges, right? So, you might have a conservative judge block programs and policies that a

liberal president wants to implement and vice versa. What are the appeal options for the Biden administration here?

HONIG: So, it's important to understand where we are sort of procedurally here. The U.S. Supreme Court, the federal courts all the way up to the

Supreme Court have said temporarily, we're putting this on hold, temporarily. And that's what Matt was talking about when he said normally

when the Supreme Court has ruled something, that's it. But this is just temporary. There are still the case itself, the merits case, which has

got to go through the federal courts, now, that's going to take a long time.

That takes months or years. So the Biden administration is still going to have a chance to essentially appeal this, the case in full. But the

question you raised, you know, yes, our federal judges are all appointed by the president, whatever president happens to be in office.


And we've seen this really go both ways in terms of Democrats and Republicans, to take the DREAMER'S ACT docket, Deferred Action for

Childhood Arrivals, that was an Obama policy that Barack Obama created by executive order in 2012 that gave protections to certain people who arrived

here as children through no fault of their own, protected them from deportation. When Trump took office, he said, I want to get rid of that,

and the Supreme Court stepped in and said, no, you haven't done it the right way procedurally.

GORANI: Right --

HONIG: It's actually almost the exact same ruling we're seeing here, just the party is reversed, and in fact, in the decision that the Supreme Court

gave us on the Biden administration, they cited their prior ruling stopping the Trump administration from doing the same thing.

GORANI: All right, thanks for explaining that so clearly. Elie Honig --

HONIG: Yes --

GORANI: Joining us live, have a great weekend. All right, let's talk about Afghanistan now. One of the most defining features of the Taliban rule in

Afghanistan is the repression of rights for women and girls. But the Afghanistan Taliban government under pressure from the international

community has just issued a new decree. It says women should not be considered property and must not be forced into marriage. The decree

appears to be progress on paper, but it does not mention a woman's right to work outside the home or girls access to education.

I'm joined now by an outspoken advocate for women and girls rights in Afghanistan, Farzana Kochai; she was a member of parliament before the

Taliban takeover. She is now joining me from Norway. Thanks for being with us Farzana Kochai. First, do you believe the Taliban when they issue this

decree? The text is, "a woman is not a property, but a noble and free human being", it reads.

FARZANA KOCHAI, FORMER AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Yes, thank you so much. Let's think about this. When the Taliban are saying that women are free

human being as men are, but they are just abandoning them, locking them in the houses just in order to not disturb like the system of the Taliban,

which is going on, but then they mean it, and then -- but, do not disturbing the men in the society and one -- or some kind of like --

they're saying that the men won't disturb the women.

But what kind of a noble human being we are that we are just so much afraid of these men? So here, the question arises that, are the men not human

being or we are not human being or it's something so lie that we can see in their words, but in the action, in the ground, we are seeing something so

different than their words.

It's not something so special. It's as a -- based on my opinion as I have already talked about that in some platforms like social media and so on,

that it's just attention-grabbing for the international community in order to just see that, OK, we, the Taliban are talking about women. And then --


KOCHAI: And the reality they're not talking about the women.

GORANI: Yes. So, I --

KOCHAI: Yes --

GORANI: Understand you believe these are so far words, they're not actions, and also, importantly, there's no mention of the right to work for

women outside the house. There's no mention of --

KOCHAI: Yes --

GORANI: Girls education, only loose promises of maybe next Spring that were certainly not included in any official decree. So, ultimately, you

don't sound very hopeful here.

KOCHAI: No, I'm not hopeful and we can't be hopeful if someone is talking about our rights as a free human beings and we are not allowed to have

access to education, we are not allowed to have access to work market and to be -- to participate in the society and everything else. So we don't --

like, we -- how to believe that?

GORANI: Yes. Now, your particular case, you were a member of parliament, and in the beginning you vowed to stay even after the Taliban takeover, and

you are now in Norway. Would you consider going back to Afghanistan or is it too unsafe for you, do you think?

KOCHAI: Personally, every day, I wish that I can be there. It's not something so easy for me or any of us to be like just a refugee outside

your country and do not do anything even for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for your country, and the people who always, all the time,

every day are reaching you and they need your help, but you can't do anything because you are stuck with yourself somewhere.


So, no one wishes to continue with this situation, no one in the world. You will find -- you will find that they will wish to continue the situation.

Every day, every moment, every second, every minute, wish that I would be able to stay there and live there even if I was not allowed to work. But

you know, it's not something on the ground that we're seeing.

When we were in Afghanistan, and the women who are in Afghanistan, and the men who are staying in even by choice or they don't have any option,

they're staying in Afghanistan, every day they're receiving like warnings, phone calls, and they're reaching them by civil ways to threaten them to

warn them to -- like do something to them to harm them --

GORANI: And I can -- I can -- Farzana, I can --

KOCHAI: You have seen enough of these stories, that they are just making people so feel bad in Afghanistan, especially the famous people. There's no

guarantee. There's no nothing. Like it's not something possible even if we wish, and we wish that, of course.

GORANI: I really feel your pain, I have to say. I feel your pain. You feel helpless. You're in Norway. You would -- sounds like you would give

anything to go back to your country that you love clearly, and -- but these threats are ongoing. The people who have stayed, as you said, even though

the Taliban are promising, we won't harm our opponents, we've forgiven our -- that's not happening. People are being threatened and they are --

KOCHAI: Yes --

GORANI: Being also, you know, I guess, the --

KOCHAI: Yes --

GORANI: Word is they're being -- they're being made to feel unsafe in their own country.

KOCHAI: Yes. And not just being threatened and warned, but we are losing so many good people every day, which is not covering by the -- was not

being covered by the media, and there's no one to cover. Everyone is at risk -- themselves, so we are losing -- we are in contact with the people.

We are losing so many good people, young people who are committed to the country. Like it's not something that I did that, the collapse of

Afghanistan. It's not something that everyone did that, but it was something big that happened.

But we are losing so many lives there --

GORANI: Yes --

KOCHAI: Who were somehow part of this all government and democracy, and the development of Afghanistan in past years. And those who just did so

many good things, like they were at least trying, but it's not safe.

GORANI: Yes, I understand. And the brain drain that you describe as well. Such a tragedy for Afghanistan, for so many countries where --

KOCHAI: Yes --

GORANI: The best and brightest are forced to leave. Thank you so much, Farzana Kochai who is a former member of parliament joining us this evening

from Norway. The Taliban say child marriage is outlawed and yet it happens, even to girls not old enough to understand the concept. Ahead, we'll bring

you a follow-up to a heartbreaking story, a CNN exclusive about a 9-year- old sold into marriage. This one though has a relatively happy ending. We'll be right back.



GORANI: A veteran firearm's expert says he doubts Alec Baldwin's claim that he did not pull the trigger in the movie set shooting that killed a

female director of photography. In an interview with "ABC News", Baldwin says he only pulled the gun's hammer back, then released it, and then the

gun inexplicably fired. But Steve Wolf tells CNN Baldwin must have had a finger on the trigger and maybe didn't realize it.


STEVE WOLF, THEATRICAL FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: When you pull the hammer back, which is an intentional act, click. Now the hammer is set. When you

pull the hammer back and let go, as you can see, I'm not holding this, you know, the hammer doesn't go anywhere. When you press the trigger, which is

-- I'm going to deal with this finger so you can see what a minute act that is, it takes very little to press the trigger there.


GORANI: How a live bullet got into the gun, a live bullet. You're not supposed to have those on a movie set. That is what remains a huge mystery

that investigators are still trying to solve. For his part, Baldwin says he is haunted by the shooting, but that he doesn't feel guilty, that it wasn't

his fault. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Los Angeles for us with more. And Baldwin said many other things that he believes basically his career is

finished as an actor.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, this was a very tell-all kind of interview. He sat down, was very frank in this exclusive

interview with "ABC" anchor George Stephanopoulos. Now, Stephanopoulos asked Baldwin whether he felt that this is the worst thing that's ever

happened to him. Baldwin said yes without any hesitation. Stephanopoulos also asked him whether he was feeling grief, of course, Baldwin said yes.

But when it comes to whether Baldwin is feeling guilty and that issue of responsibility, here is what Baldwin said. Take a listen.



ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: No. I feel that there is -- I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's

not me.


CHEN: Attorney Gloria Allred is representing script supervisor Mamie Mitchell. Mitchell is the one who called 911 that day on the set. Gloria

Allred said to CNN that as far as Baldwin is concerned, he should look in a mirror to see one of the people responsible in this situation. She felt

that he should step up and take some responsibility there.

Now, let's get into what Baldwin means when he said he never pulled the trigger. In this interview with "ABC", he described those final seconds

before the gun fired, saying that the cinematographer, Helena Hutchins had been asking him to basically cheat the gun, slightly off camera so that she

could set the camera angle.

And in that moment, he cocked the gun, he said he never pulled the trigger, and that the gun went off. And as you mentioned and showed that clip from

the safety expert, the theatrical safety expert, Steve Wolf, he explains to CNN why he believes that's not likely. But Baldwin says really, the only

thing left to find out at this point is how a live round got in that gun? And of course, the Santa Fe investigators tell us that it may be months

before there's a development to release to the public, Hala.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Natasha Chen. Still to come tonight, a young girl sold into marriage in Afghanistan has regained her childhood

for now. We'll bring you a CNN exclusive story and talk with a spokeswoman whose group was involved in the rescue. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Last month, we brought you a distressing story about child marriage in Afghanistan. Many of you were particularly disturbed by the case of 9-

year-old Parwan, who was sold into marriage to a 55-year-old man for around $2,000. Her father said this was his only option to feed his starving

family. CNN was granted rare permission to document the disturbing sale and the handover. And after an international outcry following our story, a

U.S.-based nonprofit, Too Young to Wed, got involved and ultimately rescued Parwana. CNN was there to document that and Anna Coren brings us this

exclusive report.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An Iranian love song plays from a cassette, as a driver navigates his way through the snow dusted Layman Valley in

northwestern Afghanistan. Ground in the back of his station wagon is a mother and her six children who've just left behind a life of constant

struggle and hardship. All they've ever known. Among them, 9-year-old Parwana. Our cameraman Siddiqui asks her how she's feeling. "I'm so happy,"

she says with a beaming smile.

CNN met Parwana dressed in pink, in an internally displaced camp in Badghis Province back in October. Her father claims he was selling her to feed the

rest of the family as a humanitarian crisis grips the country. He'd already sold his 12-year old into marriage and told CNN that unless his situation

improved, he would have to sell his four remaining daughters as well, including the youngest, just two.


"If I didn't have these daughters to sell," he asks, "What should I do?" Parwana's buyer, who lived in a nearby village, confirmed he was taking the

9-year-old as his second wife.


QORBAN, BUYER OF PARWANA (through translator): I'm 55 years old. I have a wife with four daughters and a son. I bought her for myself. I will wait

until she becomes older.


COREN: CNN was granted rare access to film the final payment and handover. The buyer asked for it to take place at a house in his village and not the

cab for security reasons. He paid a total of 200,000 Afghanis, just over $2,000 for Parwana, in land, sheep, and cash. "This is your bride, please

take care of her," says Parwana's father. "Of course I will take care of her," replies the man. As he drags her away, she whimpers. Moments later,

she digs her heels into the dirt, refusing to go, but it's hopeless. CNN's story caused an outcry.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- world right now in a distressing story out of Afghanistan showing the harsh reality --


COREN: The network was inundated with offers of help from the public, aid organizations, and NGOs wanting to assist Parwana and the other girls

featured in our story. The U.S.-based charity, Too Young to Wed, took the lead.

Its founding Executive Director, Stephanie Sinclair, has been working to end child marriage and help vulnerable girls around the world for almost 20

years. She says the perfect storm is brewing in Afghanistan, and it's the girls that are suffering.


STEPHANIE SINCLAIR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TOO YOUNG TO WED: I know the stories are difficult to watch and they're difficult to do, and they bring

around a lot of concern. But at the same time, we need to keep people understanding that this is happening, we need to keep ringing the alarm

bell. Understand these are real girls and real lives and they can be changed.


COREN: Within Badghis Province, there was widespread backlash towards Parwana's father and the buyer after our story went to air, with claims

they brought shame on the community. Even the Taliban told CNN the practice is forbidden.


MAWLAWI BAZ MOHAMMAD SARWARY, HEAD, BADGHIS INFORMATION & CULTURAL DIRECTORATE (through translator): I request everyone not to sell their

children. Child Marriage is not a good thing. And we condemn it.


COREN: Women's rights activist and U.S. citizen Mahbouba Seraj, who chose to stay in Kabul after the Taliban swept to power in August to run her

women's shelter, says Parwana's case is just the tip of the iceberg.


MAHBOUBA SERAJ, AFGHAN WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: There is a lot of misery, there is a lot of mistreatment, there is a lot of abuse is involved in

these things, and it will keep on happening with the hunger, with the winter, with poverty.


COREN: As a result of the controversy caused by the story and intervention from the charity, Parwana was allowed to return home after almost two weeks

with the buyer's family.

"Since Parwana has been rescued, I'm very happy for that," says Parwana's father. He admitted to CNN that under duress from the community and some

local media outlets, he changed his story out of embarrassment for what he had done and apologized. The buyer is unreachable for comment, but the debt

is still outstanding. Too Young to Wed then organized to have Parwana, her mother, and siblings removed from the camp with the father's permission

before our journey to neighboring Herat Province was broken up with some childhood fun.

Before arriving at the motel for children who've only ever lived in a tent, the novelty of being warm, fed, and safe wasn't wearing off. "They rescued

me. They've given me a new life," says Parwana. "I think the charity for helping me."

A few days later, they moved into the safe house. Parwana's mother, 27- year-old Reza Gul, has never lived in a house. She was sold into marriage at 13 and has since had seven children, six of whom were girls. Most days

in the camp, she would beg for food and often her family would go to sleep hungry. Now all she wants is to give her children a better life. "I have a

dream, a wish they go to school and start an education," she says. "I have a lot of wishes for them."

Too Young to Wed has already begun distributing aid to Parwana's impoverished camp among others. While the small charity is prepared to

bridge the gap, they're calling on the large aid organizations to step up.


STEPHANIE SINCLAIR, FOUNDER, TOO YOUNG TO WED: These are communities that have relied on international aid for the last 20 years. And so with a lot

of that stopping, these people didn't stop needing support. We can't let them pay the price because ultimately girls always pay the biggest price.


COREN: I speak to Parwana on Zoom through my colleague, Bisia.



COREN: Hello Parwana, I'm Anna.

PARWANA (through translator): How are you? How are you feeling?

COREN: I'm very good. Thank you. How are you?

PARWANA (through translator): I'm fine. I'm so happy. I'm safe. I rescued.


COREN: Then she asks, "When are you sending me to school?" She wants to study and become a doctor or a teacher. But fairytale endings are few and

far between for girls in Afghanistan, even more so now than ever. Anna Coren, CNN.


GORANI: Let's talk more about this powerful story with Julianne Nicholson, the Emmy winning actress as a spokeswoman for Too Young to Wed, who got

great reviews for her work on Mare of Easttown among other projects. Thanks for being with us. What was your reaction when you saw that the

organization that you've been working with, for some time now, was involved in this rescue?

JULIANNE NICHOLSON, ACTRESS & SPOKESPERSON FOR "TOO YOUNG TO WED": First of all, thank you for having me. And I have to say it doesn't surprise me at

all to one of the reasons I have come on board with too young to wed is because they are a mighty group, small but mighty, I like to say, where

they actually get work done. They're saving individual lives and affecting policy and that whatever I can do to help support that, and thanks to CNN,

I thought the piece -- the pieces you've done, have been beautiful and so moving and calling attention to this very important issue that people

aren't really hearing about.

GORANI: Yes. And how important is it to raise awareness in your work, you're in the United States? It -- I mean it's important that people know

this is going on, it's essentially sort of child rape, really, not child marriage. What do people say when you tell them that this is something that

goes on? It cuts across religion, ethnicity, it happens in many parts of the world.

NICHOLSON: I think for most people, they don't think about it at all. They don't know that it's happening to the degree that it is. There's a

statistic every two seconds around the world a girl is forced into marriage, which is just too big a number to think about. So I think it's

very important to use whatever visibility I might have to tell my friends about it, to tell strangers about it. We are having a virtual event next

week to bring as much attention to this as we can to try to help eliminate it.

GORANI: So how does the work happen for people who would like to support this group and similar initiatives? Because these are sometimes very remote

areas, they're small villages, they're very far removed from big cities, how do you get to the actual victim in this case, and rescue the person so

that she's returned to her family?

NICHOLSON: Well, I would say the first thing to do is to go to and just read about what they're doing. They have very

clear examples of the work that they do and how everyone can support. I don't know about the intricacies of going into these villages and working

with the people on the ground of the place women in Afghanistan to find out the best way to -- and the most sensitive way to do this.

I'm learning as I go and talking to Stephanie educates me every time but if you go there, you see, you know, depending on how much you can donate, what

that dollar amount does, and what that can give people. They have already helped 700 people, women and girls in their families evacuate from

Afghanistan, they are supplying food, they are setting up ways of trying to help people find vocations so that they can then support themselves,

educating communities, as well as -- I mean, that's what they're doing in Afghanistan right now.

But Too Young to Wed has been around for almost 10 years and they work all around the world in Nepal, in Kenya, and India. And they do photo. They

bring girls together who are survivors, as we like to call them, of child marriage and how you can support them and empower them and educate them to

help stop it once and for all.

GORANI: And one of the things you brought up is so important because after the rescue, there's a lot more work that needs to be done, right?

Education, making sure that these girls are not immediately then sold back into some other horrible situation.

NICHOLSON: Right. So for instance, right now, I believe Parwana and her mother and five or six of her siblings are in a safe house. And there'll be

there for now. So at least it's a place to start, right? They have -- they're safe every night. They're being fed.


But then, OK, so where do they go from here? How can we keep that in place? I know she wants to go to school, you know. Education is a huge part of

this also. It all, you know, starts with poverty. And there's just so much -- Afghanistan has -- is in such a dire situation right now. You know, the

U.N. just came out saying that probably one million children will die before the end of this year, before the end of this month due to


GORANI: Julianne Nicholson, a spokesperson for Too Young to Wed and it's -- the website is tooyoungtowed, is I just want to make sure I

get this right.


GORANI: .org.

NICHOLSON: org. And there is -- I will say there's a virtual event next week with some very interesting guests. And it's a way to celebrate the

work that they've been doing, and to be able to support them as they continue because they are really an amazing group for the few amount of

people that they have. It is an international community, and they get stuff done.

GORANI: All right., Julianne Nicholson, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

NICHOLSON: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

GORANI: All right. Still to come tonight, Facebook is accused of putting profit before the public good by selling controversial anti-vaccination

ads. We'll explain.


GORANI: We have an update on Tuesday's school shooting in Michigan. Prosecutors have now charged the suspected shooter's parents with

involuntary manslaughter. Experts say it's rare for parents to be charged like this. Prosecutors were likely to try to show that the parents were

criminally negligent. The 15-year-old suspect is accused of killing four students with a gun that investigators say his father bought just four days

prior to the killings.

Facebook is coming under fire again. It turns out the company has sold ads not just promoting anti-vaccine messages, but comparing Washington's

response to the pandemic to Nazi Germany and other ads were pushing for political violence. Donie O'Sullivan is taking a closer look at this for

us. Donie.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Hala, yes, some of these ads really concerning quite disgusting, frankly. You can see they're comparing

COVID restrictions here in the United States to Nazi Germany, comparing the vaccine to the Holocaust. Other ads that we found showed --


One showed "make hanging traitors great again," that, of course, coming just a few months after we saw gallows outside the U.S. Capitol and people

chanting hang Mike Pence, the former Vice President of the United States.

We brought these ads to Facebook's attention. And they said that the ads comparing the vaccine to the Holocaust and the Nazi Germany comparisons,

that they did go against Facebook's vaccine misinformation policies, and they took these ads down, but incredibly, that "make hanging traitors,

great again" ad doesn't seem to go against Facebook's policies.

And look, Facebook will often like to put this debate, their problems into a framework of, it's about free speech and we can't capture or moderate

every single post that's on the internet. But these are very different. These are ads that Facebook is running on its platform. They are taking

money to have these ads run and to target users here in the United States. So it is a very, very different issue than just some random posts.

The head of Instagram, Instagram CEO, is due to testify before the U.S. Congress here next week. So it will be very, very interesting to hear what

he has to say about all of this and many of the other issues that the company is facing. Hala.

GORANI: Thank, Donie. Still to come, they may look like Pac-Man, but they're actually alive, a new kind of synthetic life form. We'll hear from

the scientist who helped create these xenobots.


GORANI: We've heard a lot in recent days about strange things called xenobots. American scientists have created a bunch of the synthetic life

forms from frog cells. And now they say they can actually reproduce themselves in a way animals and plants do not. So what exactly are these

creatures? If you can even call them that. We spoke with one of the scientists who created some to try to understand what they are.


JOSH BONGARD, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: We show that with just skin cells under certain conditions, this clump of skin cells will grow small

hairs known as cilia. And they beat these hairs like flexible oars, and they will swim themselves through the water. Just for fun, we took a swarm

of these xenobots, put them back in the dish and we sprinkled some very small pellets into the dish.

What we saw was, as these xenobots move around, they happen to push these pellets into piles which led us to the idea of what happens if you replace

these pellets with more loose frog cells, which is that they will push these frog cells into piles. Cells under certain conditions are sticky, so

the cells in the pile will adhere or stick to one another. And over about five days, if the pile is big enough, it will also sprout these small hairs

and the pile itself will start moving. And that's a "child xenobot."

Maybe in the long term, we're able to create biobots from human cells, and they might have -- actually have medical application. In the much more near

term, it's probably going to be underwater applications. These are, after all, frog cells. They're perfectly happy in freshwater. You can imagine

them inspecting root systems in vertical farms or hydroponic plants, reducing the cost of producing freshwater and desalination facilities,

hoping with wastewater treatment, sewage, anything underwater, they may be useful in the not too distant future.

GORANI: That is wild.

And finally tonight, the German military said goodbye to outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel in style with a ceremony featuring a selection of

music that she chose. The pic that raised the most eyebrows, Nina Hagen's "You Forgot The Colour film."

The communist era hit by the godmother of punk was a nod to Merkel's East German roots. Before you hear the German military's version, listen to the

original released in 1974.

I love it. And now here's the band's version. She describes the song as a highlight of my youth, no doubt a full circle moment as she leaves power

after 16 years. I was trying to think, if I had a big departure ceremony, what would I ask a military band to play? And I thought the highlight of my

youth was probably, I don't know, Kiss by Prince. I think that would do very well with a military band. Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN.