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Hala Gorani Tonight

President Biden Makes Closing Remarks At Democracy Summit; Pressure Mounts On British Prime Minister Boris Johnson To Resign After His Staff Violated COVID Lockdown Rules; A U.K. Court Rules In Favor Of Extraditing Julian Assange To The U.S.; Source: Zelensky Less Than Impressed With U.S. Promises; Truck Crash In Mexico Kills At Least 55 People; Donald Trump Rails Against Former Ally Benjamin Netanyahu. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 10, 2021 - 14:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I hope that each of our countries are going to measure the results of our efforts so that we can

report back on our progress at the second Summit for Democracy next year. And I hope to welcome each of in person. For our part as I said yesterday,

the United States is committed to strengthening our democracy at home and to working with parties around the world, around the globe to prove that

democracies can deliver for people on issues that matter most to them.

Here at home, that means working to make real the full promise of America, including by enacting both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis

Voting Rights Advancement Act, because what's true around the world is also true in the United States, the sacred right to vote, to vote freely, the

right to have your vote counted is the threshold liberty for democracy, for every democracy. With it, anything is possible. Without it, virtually

nothing is possible.

So we have to come together and get it done, and we will. The United States is also going to continue efforts to beat the pandemic. Working with the

World Health Organization, COVAX, and other partners to save lives, vaccinate the world against COVID-19, and advance health security for

everyone. We're leveraging our democratic partnerships like the G-7 and the Quad to amplify our shared capacity to produce and deliver vaccines and

help get shots in arms for everyone everywhere.

We're taking on climate crisis -- the climate crisis with a seriousness and urgency, responding with more -- with more clarity, we're seeing coming

from young people around the world, and we're affirming the democratic values that are at the heart of our international system, and which had

been the foundational elements for decades of global growth and prosperity. And we're committed, we're committed to working with all who share those

values to shape the rules for the road, they're going to govern our progress in the 21st century.

Including our nations of cyber security and emerging technologies so the future generations continue to reap the benefits of liberty and democracy

as we have. And the final message I want to impart as we close out this Summit for Democracy is that we know how hard the work is that's going to

be ahead of us. But we also know we are up to the challenge because I've said before, and as this gathering has demonstrated, the democratic world

is everywhere.

Autocracies can never extinguish the ember of liberty that burns in the hearts of people around the world in every portion of the world. It knows

no borders. It speaks every language. It lives in anti-corruption activists, human right defenders, journalists, peaceful protesters, and the

frontlines of this struggle all around the world. And lives in town council meetings, union elections, daily small acts that occur around the globe

whenever people come together to solve problems and to bridge differences.

And in all the way civil society empowers individuals to have a direct say in the issues that impacts on their lives, impact on them personally. And

so defending democracy demands a whole of society effort, requires all of us, the leaders of governments, we have a responsibility to listen to our

citizens, strengthen the guardrails of democracy, and to drive reforms that are going to make transparent accountable governments -- governance more

resilient against a buffering and the buffeting forces of autocracy. And those who want and make a pursuit of power ahead of the public good.

You know, we have to work together with the private sector to combat corruption, to build more equitable economies where more people can share

in the benefits. We have to empower our citizens to hold accountable -- for all of us accountable the highest ideals and to make sure actions align

with our words. And as we close out the first gathering, let's together reaffirm our determination that the future will belong to those who embrace

human dignity, not those who trample it, who unleash the potential of their people, not those who stifle it, and who give their people the ability to

breathe free, not those who seek to suffocate their people with an iron hand.

You know, as the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote, "once in a life time, a long fought tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history

rhyme." That tidal wave doesn't come out of nowhere. It doesn't happen by accident. It happens because people unleash the irresistible power of their

dreams and their determination. Democracy is what makes it possible for hope and history to rhyme, and today, hope and history lie in our hands.


So let's raise up our ambitions and rise up to meet the challenges together. Thank you, and I look forward to us following through in the next

year on all the commitments we'll be making individually. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden, it's likely you just --

HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: The U.S. President Joe Biden delivering his closing remarks at the summit for democracy in Washington

D.C., the music is coming by the way, from Washington -- oh, the president is still talking.

BIDEN: And I think you'll see a change sooner, quicker than -- more rapidly than it will take, than most people think. Every other aspect of

the economy is racing ahead, it's doing incredibly well. We've never had this kind of growth in 60 years. But inflation is affecting people's lives.

But if you take a look at it, if we were -- if and when, God-willing, we get the Build Back Better proposal. If you look at -- what's inflation all

about for people? They're paying more for things they need than they had to pay before. That's the bottom line.

Now, if they're paying considerably less for child care, considerably less for health care, considerably less for insulin, considerably less and go

down the list, of being able to take care of their parents, all of the things that are in the Build Back Better plan. The reason why people think

it's going to -- economists think it's going to in fact, diminish the impact on inflation is because it's reducing cost for ordinary people,

reducing costs for ordinary people.

So I think it's -- but in the meantime, in order to get that up and running, and we don't have a single Republican willing to support it yet,

in order to get that up and running, it's going to be focused all on the downside.

The downside is, prices have gone up because of supply chain concerns. We've worked hard on the supply chain concerns. I think you're going to see

-- you've already begun to see and you're going to see over the next couple of months, oil prices, gas prices at gas pump come down. You know, the

biggest -- one of the -- a third of the increase in inflation is used automobiles.

So, I mean, it is a real problem, but the point is that has to do with supply chains as well, but it also has to do with the fact that not

everybody is looking for a used automobile, but those who are, they're paying higher prices because there's few of them because of COVID and what

was sold out and the like.

So, I think it's -- it really is -- it's a real bump in the road and does affect families. When you walk in the grocery store and you're paying more

for whatever you're purchasing, it matters. It matters to people. When you're paying more for gas, although, in some states, we've got the price

down below 3 bucks a gallon. But the point is, it's not gone down quickly enough, but I think it will.


What's the follow up, I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On board with the inflation numbers this high with the Build Back Better bill?

BIDEN: Well, I don't know the answer to that. I'm going to be talking to them again in a week, and I think if you look at what most people are

saying, most of the economists are saying, this Build Back Better bill is not going to increase inflation. It will diminish inflation. It has a

negative impact on inflation, not a -- it doesn't raise inflation. But that's hard for people to think about right now. Because Inflation is up

and there's a direct correlation in most people's minds, but why is there inflation? Well, government is spending money.

Well, that's not the reason for the inflation. The reason for the inflation is that we have a supply chain problem that is really severe, and is

causing a significant increase in prices in things that are in fact hard to get access to, because at the bottom of it all is COVID. COVID has had

adverse serious impact on the ability to produce a whole lot of necessary products, particularly those imported from the Pacific and other places.

I'll take your question and start --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what's your response to the Supreme Court leaving the Texas abortion law in place, and what specifically are

you going to do?

BIDEN: Well, my problem is I haven't seen -- I just got back -- I just walked here from delivering Bob Dole's eulogy. So, I haven't seen the

report, I will take a look at what the Supreme Court said. I don't know what it said. I don't know what it said because in the last three hours,

I've been involved with Bob Dole's eulogy and funeral. And -- but I'll have a comment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill remains intact?

BIDEN: Well, I don't -- I'm not going to comment on something I don't know yet, but I will comment. Thank you all so very much.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to --

GORANI: OK, the president took a few questions there, it wasn't expected. The president there delivering his closing remarks after the Summit for

Democracy that he organized that -- which a long list of countries -- to which a long list of countries were invited. Said he hopes that promises

made at this summit will be implemented in the coming year and hoped that a summit next year would be held in person, COVID permitting obviously.


He also mentioned COVID vaccines, took a few questions on inflation in the United States, called inflation a bump on the road to economic recovery,

and did not comment on the Supreme Court ruling, upholding a Texas abortion law, saying he had not had time to read the ruling. Let's bring in CNN

White House reporter Kevin Liptak, he's been listening to the president's remarks. First, a word on this summit for democracy.

The U.S. President -- at a time by the way, when the U.S. is having its own convulsions in certain parts of the country. Well, what is -- what is the

aim here for Joe Biden in organizing this summit now?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's really meant as kind of a show of force against global authoritarianism. It's something that the

president has been talking about a long time. The summit was actually convened before he became president, when he was a candidate. Since then,

there have been increased concerns about democracy in the United States, and it is something that this summit was criticized for, that the president

was focusing on global democracy before he sort of got his own house in order in the United States, and you saw him address that in his remarks

today when he talked about attempts to get voting rights legislation passed in the United States Congress.

Of course, that still a very steep uphill climb. The president didn't necessarily address how hard that's going to be going forward. Republicans

are almost unanimously opposed to that legislation that's making its way forward. But the president really trying to sound the alarm on what the

White House has said is democratic backsliding around the world. And what's been interesting this week is hearing the president talk about that in sort

of a theoretical during the summit while also confronting the very real world questions of authoritarianism with his call with Vladimir Putin and

the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine's border.

And so you hear the president talking about things like collective action and the fact that democracy knows no borders when in reality, most of his

time this week has been spent on the phone with European allies, on the phone with Ukraine's president, and on the phone with Vladimir Putin to

really kind of put this question into effect of democracy versus autocracy. And this summit really kind of punctuated that as he closes the week.

GORANI: All right, Kevin Liptak, thanks so much, joining us from Washington. In the U.K., the British Prime Minister is coming under more

heavy criticism after new reports that his chief press officer not only attended but gave out awards at one of the parties allegedly held at

Downing Street last December in complete violation of lockdown rules when most of us were, you know, spending Christmas alone in some cases and far

from family.

London's Metropolitan Police say that they will now be investigating any of the numerous claims of illicit gatherings, but the news is doing little to

calm public fury with polls showing over half of the U.K. adult population now believe that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign. Scott

McLean joins me now, he's been following this story in London. So, it's obviously damaging to the prime minister. Will he survive it politically?

Will his party turn on him at this stage or not yet?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are undoubtedly some rumblings from the back benches about new COVID restrictions that conservatives are not

happy with, about the scandal over the refurbishment of his Downing Street apartment in which he's accused of lying over what he knew about soliciting

donations that were undeclared for that flat. And now, of course, you have this issue with the Christmas parties.

You know, it's hard to imagine Boris Johnson having a worse week, despite the fact that he had a new baby daughter born yesterday, Hala. I mean,

there's this sort of drip of new information and no real clear indication that any of this is going away any time soon. Of course, you have this CNN

affiliate reporting, "ITV" saying that his press chief was giving out these sort of mock awards, giving a speech at this party attended by up to 50


And remember, as you said, indoor gatherings were banned in London specifically at the time, and then the next day, the prime minister

announced that, that would be extended across England, effectively, canceling Christmas. And you know, new polling shows that most voters in

the U.K. are having a hard time believing what the prime minister says about this, which is that, you know, he's been told that there was no party

inside of his house.

But 71 percent of Brits believe that there was a party, including a majority of people who actually voted conservative in the last election.

And what's even more worrying perhaps for Boris Johnson is that more than two-thirds of people in the U.K. say that this is important to them. It is

important whether or not there was a Christmas party then. And this might help explain his reversal in fortunes in the general election polling as

well, which shows the Labor Party -- the opposition Labor Party leading for the first time since 2019.

Now, as you said, the Met police are saying they're not going to investigate, but the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan got on the radio this

morning and said that they should be investigating.


We checked with the police force just before we came on the air, and they said their earlier statement stands. They still have no plans to

investigate right now. The big issue obviously, Hala, is the moral authority that the prime minister may or may not have right now, given the

fact that he's asking the British public to adhere to new regulations, a mask mandate indoors which took effect today, more that will come next


But does he have the moral authority to say that given that there's plenty of indications that his own staff couldn't follow the rules.

GORANI: All right, Scott, thanks very much. Scott McLean. Well, speaking of Britain, it's holding an emergency meeting, the government here, to

discuss COVID data and coordination. The numbers are quite depressing, frankly. The U.K. Health Security Agency says the Omicron variant is

expected to become the dominant strain by mid-December, just a few days away. More than a million people could be infected in the U.K. by the end

of the month.

And they warn without the booster dose, the vaccine is much less effective against the Omicron variant. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth

Cohen joins me now with more. So, two jabs probably not enough to protect us from Omicron. You really need that booster. Is that the conclusion we're

coming to now?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Hala, I don't mean to get sort of wordsmithy here. But it kind of depends on what

you mean about protection against Omicron. What Pfizer and the lab in South African found is that two doses of Pfizer actually does a pretty good job

of giving you -- a significant job as one research told me, at protecting you against severe disease, and keeping you out of the hospital, at keeping

you alive.

But when you want to talk about protection against infection or mild disease, no, they don't seem to be doing great, either AstraZeneca or

Pfizer. So let's take a look at something that came out from the U.K. government. And what they say is that two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca

are insufficient to give adequate levels of protection against infection and mild disease. So, in other words, two doses of either of those is not

going to keep you from getting mildly ill.

And they say that a booster with either Moderna or Pfizer, in other words, you already got two AstraZenecas, you got two Pfizers. Boosting with

Moderna or Pfizer increases the immune response substantially. So, that's from the U.K. Health Security Agency, Hala?

GORANI: So, what about -- so, are we looking at a vaccine that will be necessary every six months to a year where we have to boost on a regular

basis or is it possible that this will be a three-dose vaccine? Do we know yet?

COHEN: Hala, we don't know yet. I know it sort of feels like, wait a second, I just got my two doses, I don't know whatever it was --

GORANI: Yes --

COHEN: If you got it in April or May, I've got to get another one? What's going on here? Am I going to have to keep doing this? The answer is we

don't know. And I think that we're not used to that, right? I mean, vaccinations in all, you know, developed countries in the U.S., Europe or

wherever, there's literally a schedule. You can look it up online. There's literally a schedule of what you need to get when, and that's because they

had years, sometimes decades to get those together.

This is, you know, we're watching the sausages get made. Researchers are learning as we go. This may be a three-dose vaccine, and we don't need a

fourth or a fifth or sixth or it may be, you know what? It's like a flu shot and we need to get this every year. You know, I know personally, I'm

feeling like what does it matter? What does it matter if I have to go to my local pharmacy every --

GORANI: Yes --

COHEN: Six months and when I go get my toothpaste and my shampoo, I roll up my sleeve and get a shot, who cares? I'm just glad that we have these

vaccines, some parts of the world are not so lucky.

GORANI: That's very true. And it will always be -- it will always be better than getting COVID, and we're hearing so much about long COVID as

well these days --

COHEN: Right.

GORANI: Thanks very much, Elizabeth Cohen. As always a pleasure. Still to come tonight, a major legal setback for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

We'll talk with a CNN expert about a British high court ruling that he should be sent to the U.S. to face espionage charges. Plus, the U.S. has

promised to help Ukraine fend off a possible Russian invasion. But Ukraine officials tell us President Zelensky is still worried. We'll tell you why?



GORANI: All right. So it's a major legal setback for Julian Assange, and his lawyers, the lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder say they're going to

quickly appeal a British high court decision allowing his extradition to the United States. The court ruled that the conditions the U.S. agreed to

are sufficient to protect Assange from threats to his mental health. The U.S. has charged Assange with obtaining and publishing secret government

documents that it says put lives at risk.

His supporters, some of whom were outside the court today, say the allegations violate his rights to freedom of the press. Amnesty

International is calling the court's ruling a travesty of justice saying the American assurances are not quote "worth the paper they are written

on." Assange's lawyers say those conditions will be the focus of his appeal. The U.S. has agreed that Assange would not go to a maximum security


That was one of the assurances. That if convicted, he could serve any sentence in Australia and that he would receive clinical and psychological

treatment. Let's get more now from CNN legal analyst Paul Callan in New York. He's a former New York State prosecutor. Paul, you heard there me

quote Amnesty and Assange's lawyers saying these assurances are not worth the paper they're written on. When the United States assures a British high

court that these conditions will be met. Will that be the case?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think historically, the United States has kept its word when conditions are set down on extradition cases. It's

very dangerous for the U.S. to back out of such an agreement because over the long run, there will be other people that we will be extraditing from

Great Britain and other places. And we're only -- can be trusted as long as our word can be taken at face value.

GORANI: So, Assange can appeal, he can appeal to a higher court in the U.K., but he can also appeal to the European court of human rights. What

are his chances there?

CALLAN: Well, he has a number of options available to him. The case would technically next go to the British Home Secretary who has to make a

decision to approve the extradition. Now, that has not occurred yet. And there are two additional appellate courts that are available to Assange in

London. One is the British Court of Appeal and the other is the U.K. Supreme Court. So, he has lots of other options available of course in

addition to the European courts. So, we're far from the end of the trail on this Julian Assange case.

GORANI: And if he is extradited, what kind of trial would he face in the United States, on federal charges?

CALLAN: Hala, he's facing very serious charges. He's facing 18 charges, 17 of those have to do with hundreds of thousands of highly classified

documents that he in conjunction with a member of the military, the American military named Chelsea Manning leaked in connection with the

WikiLeaks scandal in the United States. And one of the final charge against him has to do with misuse of a computer, a computer hacking type charge.


He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison on all of those charges if convicted and sentenced to the maximum. The U.S. however has agreed that he

could serve that sentence in Australia if, in fact, he was convicted. That's part of the assurances that have been offered by the U.S. government

if Great Britain approves the extradition to the United States.

GORANI: So he's facing a maximum of 175 years, but realistically, what can we expect as a sentence if he's found guilty in a case like this one?

CALLAN: Well, many of these charges have been sentenced to people convicted and sentenced to about 63 months in prison. But I have to tell

you that these are among the most serious charges that I've seen for violations of the Espionage Act because usually you'll have a single

violation of the act, some document being turned over to the enemy. Here you have hundreds of thousands of documents.

GORANI: Right.

CALLAN: So I think it's a mistake to look at other cases in deciding how serious the sentence would be that would be imposed on him. And of course,

Hala, he's been essentially imprisoned for the last almost ten years, I believe --

GORANI: Right, yes --

CALLAN: While he's been fighting extradition to the United States -- held up in the Ecuadorian Embassy for a while and he's been in British prisons

and he's even -- he's had two kids while he was in prison.

GORANI: Yes --

CALLAN: I mean, he's been living --

GORANI: It was a surprise to most --

CALLAN: A life in prison --

GORANI: Most of us --

CALLAN: Yes --

GORANI: Exactly that he --

CALLAN: Yes --

GORANI: Fathered two children while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy. And a last one. His supporters, his lawyers, human rights groups say this is a

chilling precedent to set, that this is not the person -- you are not prosecuting the person who stole the documents, you're prosecuting the

messenger. Are they right to be worried?

CALLAN: I think it's a legitimate criticism for those who fear that it could have an effect on freedom of the press. Normally, you don't see a

journalist arrested for the publication of documents that have been handed over to him by somebody else. That's rather unusual, particularly in the

United States for that to happen because we have very strong guarantees of a free press in the United States under the constitution.

And I think if he fights these charges in the United States, he'll be able to lodge some very strong constitutional argument under U.S. law. So, I

wouldn't say this case is over by any means for Mr. Assange, even if he is extradited to the United States.

GORANI: Thank you so much Paul Callan, as always, pleasure talking to you.

CALLAN: Thank you, Hala.

GORANI: Thank you. Still to come tonight, a deadly accident in Mexico that has killed dozens of Central American migrants. Authorities are trying to

figure out just what happened and why the death toll was so incredibly high. Also ahead, China touted an ambitious policy to eliminate coronavirus

within its borders. A zero COVID strategy it was called. We'll take a look at how it's working when we return.


GORANI: Well, we're learning that Ukraine's leader thinks that America isn't doing enough to stop a future Russian invasion if one takes place. On

Thursday, the country's president spoke by phone to talk about U.S. steps to safeguard Ukraine's borders as Russia builds U.S. troops near -- builds

up its own troops nearby. The U.S. has promised tough sanctions against Russia if it invades and to provide military aid to Kiev. But Ukraine's

President appears less than impressed by that. Matthew Chance explains.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, publicly, the Ukrainian government is thanking the U.S. for its support amid threats of

another Russian invasion. But behind the scenes, there are signs of some frustration. On their recent call, President Biden gave his Ukrainian

counterparts a rundown of his discussions with Vladimir Putin of Russia, including details of tough sanctions the U.S. would impose on Russia if it


But a Ukrainian official, with knowledge of the call told CNN, that President Zelensky of Ukraine was less than impressed, saying that Zelensky

told Biden he didn't believe prospective sanctions would deter Russia, as the Kremlin would have already factored in the risk.

According to the official, Zelensky told Biden that he would prefer sanctions upfront with a delayed implementation, and with the option of

rolling them back if Russia behaves. Some frustration was also expressed on the call, apparently, about the slow pace of U.S. weapons shipments to

Ukraine, the official told CNN, especially with a Russian invasion, according to the U.S.'s own intelligence potentially coming as early as

next month.

And the official told CNN there was some disappointment on the issue of NATO membership of the Ukraine. President Biden assuring the Ukrainian

President that the Kremlin would not be given a veto on that process, but also telling him that Ukraine's membership of the Western military alliance

would not happen before 2030 at the earliest. Matthew Chance, CNN, Kiev.


GORANI: Now the death toll is absolutely staggering. At least 55 people are now confirmed dead after a truck crash in southern Mexico. The accident was

so horrific that most of those victims died at the scene and it's not clear what caused it yet, but officials are saying that a trailer full of Central

American migrants overturned. There were about 160 people crammed inside. It happened Thursday in Chiapas State.

Matt Rivers joins me now live from Mexico City with more on what we know. And I mean 55 people in a single accident. What more are you learning,


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a staggering number, Hala, and this is in a country where accidents, involving unfortunately migrants who are

making their journey north like this, they're not all that uncommon, but this accident is certainly the worst that we have seen in years in this

regard. As you said, it happened Thursday afternoon in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, which is a state that borders Guatemala. It is also a

place where many migrants also, you know, they travel through that state on their way north, oftentimes in different vehicles that are arranged for

them using a smuggling network.

We don't know exactly what happened with this particular accident. But as you said, there were dozens and dozens of migrants who were crammed into

this trailer. As the trailer went through one of the larger cities in the state, it collided with another truck according to state authorities, that

caused it to flip over and that killed so many migrants. And if the question here is well how did so many people die, how did so many people

get injured, you have to remember how these people are usually transported, how migrants are usually end up being transported in these smuggling



They're not sitting in seats, they're not using seatbelts. Oftentimes, these people are just crammed quite literally into the back of these

trailers, sometimes standing shoulder to shoulder for hours and hours on end. And so when the trailer tipped over, there were simply no safety

precautions for these people.

So as of now, the death toll stands at 55. But that number could well go up because of the number of injuries we're talking about here. You know, of

that fifty-five, we know that six people actually died in the hospital after being transported from the original scene. We know that many people

still have severe injuries. And, Hala, I think this just goes to show you it's a horrific example of how dangerous this journey can be for so many

migrants on their way north.

We know that Guatemalans are involved. The Mexican Foreign Minister said yesterday that citizens of several different countries are involved here

and this is just a horrific reminder of how dangerous this journey can be.

GORANI: OK. So they -- have they made any connections with any the smuggling network in order to kind of work their way back to who was

responsible for cramming all these people in that truck or any arrests? What's the latest on that?

RIVERS: As of now, no, nothing that's been put out publicly. But I think you can bet that Mexican authorities are going to look into this, if only

because of the extremely high level of publicity that this case has received here in Mexico. It is the number one news story of the day without

question, and authorities are going to be asked those questions.

But I can tell you just, from our own experience from reporting on these stories, it's almost assured that this was part of a smuggling network

because of the amount of people involved, because of how they were being transported. This is the kind of thing that we do see all the time, whether

it be tractor trailers, whether it be mini buses, whether it be individuals using cars, motorcycles, I mean, these smuggling networks use any different

means of transportation to get people north.

And the common theme, the tragic theme across many of those situations, unfortunately, is that the safety of the migrant is not taken into account.

They simply look at these people, these smugglers, as dollar signs and so how many people can you smuggle in a trailer, how many people can you cram

in there? That just means that these smugglers make that much more money per trip? Unfortunately, that is the reality here in Mexico, and yet

thousands and thousands and thousands of people continue to make that trip northward trying to leave the countries wherever they came from.

GORANI: All right, Matt Rivers live in Mexico City. More now on the Coronavirus as the world grapples with the newest variant. China has been

sticking to a very stringent approach what it calls a dynamic zero COVID strategy. While millions of people are under restrictions and mass testing,

Beijing is struggling to keep the number of effective infections at zero as promised. Kristie Lu Stout has our report.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A resurgence of COVID-19 in China, from north to the southeast, Coronavirus testing Beijing's commitment to

its zero COVID strategy, a policy to eliminate the virus within its borders. And for all its ambitious efforts, locally transmitted cases have

been above zero for more than seven weeks.


WU LIANGYOU, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CHINA'S BUREAU OF DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL (through translator): The dynamic zero-case policy we stick to

doesn't mean there is no infection in the country. It means stopping any infection in a timely manner.


STOUT: China sticking to its guns, a justification from the head of its COVID-19 Response Team. Different ideologies lead to different strategies.


BEN COWLING, CHAIR PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Right now, because of the threat posed by Omicron. And before that by

Delta, I can understand the rationale for keeping the zero COVID strategy in place. There's a lot of benefits for zero COVID but there's also the



STOUT: That toll has been heavy millions in. China living under some kind of movement restriction, either bound to their neighborhoods, or worse to

just their homes like Nanjing, where more than nine million are advised not to leave the city, or Harbin where a population of 10 million is largely

banned from leaving the city. And Manzhouli in China's Inner Mongolia, where the recent outbreak began in November, has left more than 60

neighborhoods sealed. Add to that, multiple rounds of mass testing for millions.


COWLING: I think we do have to think about the sustainability of the zero COVID strategy, the costs that it incurs, the travel restrictions that are

necessary to -- as part of that strategy.


STOUT: The restrictions have had a ripple effect. In the past seven weeks, thousands of tourists stuck in a snap lockdown for days. Shanghai

Disneyland temporarily shut down, high speed trains ground to a halt. Yet the benefits of the strategy are clear, China's overall caseload pales in

comparison with those of many countries, including the United States, and the country has not reported a COVID related death since January.


But with Omicron posing a threat and the Beijing Winter Olympics right around the corner, China's dynamic zero COVID strategy is here to stay.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


GORANI: Meanwhile, countries are once again shutting borders and slapping travel restrictions amid the spread of new cases of Omicron. With the

holidays approaching, the changes of putting tourists in a bind, in some cases, maybe you're one of those people whose travel plans are changing at

the last minute. Eleni Giokos reports on the chaos at airports worldwide.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Passengers in South Africa's Johannesburg Airport stand in long queues, many looking stressed and anxious. They

aren't waiting to enter the country, but trying to score a ticket out. South Africa is one of several African countries on the travel red lists of

many airports across the world.

The detection of a new COVID-19 variant has countries changing rules and adding new travel bans and restrictions, making it, again, more difficult

to plan trips. These bans are evoking pushback from African leaders and much uncertainty for travelers coming in and out of those countries.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: South African scientists discovered, as President Macky Sall was saying, Omicron, the new variant.

And what is the result? The northern countries impose a ban to punish the excellence that comes from Africa.


GIOKOS: Some of the countries that have enforced bans on those African countries are tightening other travel regulations like mandatory

quarantines, costing some tourists extra dollars. The U.S. is requiring all inbound international travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within a day

of departing.

In Norway, after tiring flights, these passengers wait in line in Trondheim Airport. The government is requiring them to take a COVID-19 test upon


In Poland, Deputy Health Minister announcing travelers coming into the country from outside the E.U. Schengen passport free zone will need to show

proof of a negative test starting December 15.


GIOKOS: When I now arrived in Greece, the Greek government were extremely helpful and by the way, the Greek government is paying for the entire 10-

day quarantine juxtaposing that against the U.K. quarantine rules where one person has to pay 2,200 pounds for a 10-day quarantine which means that it

makes it a very expensive exercise if you're a tourist that is now stranded in South Africa trying to get back home.


GIOKOS: In Brazil, Vaccine passports have been ruled out, but unvaccinated visitors will have to quarantine for five days. With holiday season fast

approaching, more changes to travel policies around the world may be installed.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: When the ban was put on, it was put to give us time to

figure out just what is going on. Now as you mentioned, as we're getting more and more information about cases in our own country and worldwide,

we're looking at that very carefully on a daily basis. Hopefully, we'll be able to lift that ban within a quite reasonable period of time.


GIOKOS: Eleni Giokos, CNN.


GORANI: And still to come tonight, the former U.S. President, Donald Trump, has often expressed outrage when he's felt slighted. Now he's doing it

again. But this time directed toward one of his closest international allies. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Donald Trump has choice words for ex-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was once a very close political ally. And some of

the -- those words are too profane for TV news. In an interview series with an Israeli journalist, the former American president says he felt betrayed

by Netanyahu. Why? Because according to Trump, Netanyahu was "very early to congratulate Joe Biden on his presidential victory in 2020." "Earlier than

most world leaders," Trump said.

Well, this isn't true. Netanyahu waited two full weeks after the election to call President Biden. CNN's Hadas Gold joins us now from the southern

Israeli Port of Eilat and with more on this. I wonder what -- have you heard any reaction to these words by the former president?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, they've made a big splash here in Israel, not only because of how harsh these words were, as you noted,

some of them not appropriate to say on television, but also because they put a crack, a dent in what was seen as this huge affinity between these

two world leaders. Keep in mind that during some of Netanyahu's campaigns, there were huge billboards in Israel showing Trump and Netanyahu together.

Now Donald Trump told the Israeli journalist, Barak Ravid, that he felt betrayed by Netanyahu calling Joe Biden, congratulating him on winning the

2020 Election because of everything that Trump felt he did during his administration in Israel's favor. These are things like recognizing

Jerusalem as Israel's capital, recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

I'll read you some of what Trump said. He said "It was early, OK? Let's put it this way. He greeted him very early, earlier than most world leaders.

I've not spoken to him since. F him." Now, to be clear, as you noted, Netanyahu was not one of the first world leaders to call Joe Biden and

congratulate him. Actually, that delay that you're talking about, that two- week delay was actually criticized here in Israel, people saying that he should have called Joe Biden sooner to congratulate him.

Now in the past few hours, Benjamin Netanyahu, who's now the opposition leader, has issued a response. He said "I highly appreciate President

Trump's big contribution to Israel, and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the United States. And

therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming president."

And, Hala, I think what you can see in that statement is Netanyahu really trying to straddle this fine line between keeping the Trump fans happy, of

which there are many still in Israel, but also protecting his future political ambitions, because Netanyahu has said over and over again, he

wants to be Prime Minister again, and becoming Prime Minister again, his relationship with the United States will be very important, no matter who

is in the White House, Hala.

GORANI: But Netanyahu has his political ambitions, but he has legal problems. I mean, would he be able even to pursue a political career beyond

those legal issues that he's having to face?

GOLD: Well, his corruption trial is ongoing. And, Hala, it's going to take -- continue and going on for a very long time. It is very possible that

there will actually be another election before his corruption trial wraps up. There are dozens upon dozens of witnesses. They've only gotten through

just a few. Each of them can take weeks. So there could be a long time coming now.

There are a few bills that people are trying to pass that would somehow prevent somebody like Netanyahu, somebody who's potentially been charged --

seeing these charges coming into office, but as of right now, as it stands, he could still become prime minister again.

GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold, thanks so much.

Here is a new sign of the Coronavirus pandemic's impact on the U.S. economy. We heard the U.S. president allude to it. He answered a couple of

questions about it and that is inflation.


It has hit a level not seen in nearly four decades. The Labor Department says the Consumer Price Index, what Americans pay for goods and services

essentially, rose by 6.8 percent in November compared to a year ago. Some of the main reasons is shift in demand because of the pandemic. So what

people didn't spend last year, they spent this year. That bumped up prices, obviously, a shortage of available workers. And now investors are wondering

when will the Federal Reserve roll back its stimulus program and put interest rates back up.

Obviously, higher interest rates, it becomes more expensive to borrow money and that, technically speaking, limits spending and therefore should have

an impact on inflation. Will the Fed act in that way? Will it? And if it does, when? All open questions. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: The Maldives, the chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, has world- class restaurants but few of them highlight the local cuisine. Anna Stewart has the story of one chef with a recipe to change that.





ADIL: How are you doing today?


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chef Mohamed Adil overseas five restaurants at this Maldivian resort. Recently, he's been on a mission, to

cook more Maldivian dishes with the country's quintessential ingredients.


ADIL: OK. Thank you. If I have a fresh tuna, I would like to -- people to see that how fresh it is. And so that's where my inspiration begins. You

can see how fresh they are even though the gills are removed, it's still bright red. I mean this is the first thing that I will check if I want to

see how fresh the tuna is.

So what we are going to make is kandu kukulhu. It literally means chicken of the ocean. And there's a thin slice of tuna and it is marinated with a

spice blend. This is black peppercorn, some cinnamon, and this is fenugreek.


I've heard that it's not an ingredient which is very popular, but some people do it and this is something I learned from my grandma. This is not a

dish that you have every day. It is usually made on special occasions. So this is something that I've seen when I was a child.


STEWART: Mohamed has been working his way up through the restaurant industry for 10 years. He's cooked at several hotels across the country,

experience that's helped hone his skills, but also given him a new perspective on Maldivian fare.


ADIL: Even though we have many resorts in the Maldives, very few highlights on the Maldivian cuisine. I think we, Maldivians, have to take the blame on


When you are Maldivian, I think it becomes your responsibility to showcase what your grandparents had passed down to you and it becomes your

responsibility to give that experience.


STEWART: Mohamed hopes to bring more recognition to Maldivian cuisine by traveling the nation to learn about regional recipes, and then featuring

them back here.


GORANI: Finally from Saudi Arabia, a tale of Beauty and the Beast. The beasts involved are camels, and which ones are the most beautiful is up to

the judges at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival. But now 43 camels have been disqualified because their owners injected them with Botox or silicone

and done other unscrupulous beauty enhancing things. More than a hundred others are being investigated and at stake is $66 million in prize money.

Maybe that was a big motivator in this case. Poor camels.

Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. A quick break and then "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming your way.