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Hala Gorani Tonight
France Changes Rules As COVID Cases Soar; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Warns The Unvaccinated; Prince Andrew's Accuser's Settlement With Epstein Unveiled; FDA Authorizes Boosters For Children 12-15; Prime Minister Resigns, Warns Country's Survival At Risk; City's Largest Remaining Independent News Outlet To Close. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 03, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone live from CNN in London, I am HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A new year with a familiar challenge.
Record COVID cases forced France to reassess its rules. We'll have that and the latest from across Europe. Also, a warning from the British Prime
Minister to the unvaccinated. That could be you in the ICU. And U.S. travel chaos. COVID sickouts coupled with Winter weather create a perfect storm a
airports. All those COVID headlines in just a moment.
But first, I want to tell you what we're learning about a settlement agreed between sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and one of his accusers Virginia
Giuffre. These new details are important since they could affect Giuffre's civil suit against Prince Andrew. Here's a reminder of what we know.
Virginia Giuffre Roberts at the time says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends including Prince Andrew.
He has always strongly denied the allegations and has never been charged with a crime. Now, the settlement released just moments ago does not
mention Prince Andrew directly, it says Giuffre will quote, "release liability for any other person who could have been a defendant connected to
Epstein." We're going to ask a legal expert what that means and how it could impact Prince Andrew's defense in this civil suit.
Did Giuffre in 2009 sign an agreement agreeing not to pursue anyone involved with Epstein at the time? We will be exploring that question in a
little bit. But this document was just unsealed by a New York court just a few hours ago. So let's talk about COVID before we get to that. Once again,
have one more COVID news day as the world is weary of COVID battles, a new highly transmissible variant is making the start of 2022 sound a lot like
the first days of 2021, unfortunately, despite growing evidence that Omicron causes less severe disease than the Delta variant,
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning of considerable pressure on hospitals. The sheer number of people that Omicron is infecting
means that hospitalizations are rising. In his new year's message, Mr. Johnson urged people to get boosted. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: And I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. The people who think the
disease can't hurt them. Look at the people going into hospital now. That could be you. Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless
suffering of those who did not get their booster. That could be you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, CNN's Nada Bashir is here in London. Well, the Prime Minister is telling his fellow citizens that could be you, but at the same time
sticking to plan B which is not imposing more restrictions on movement and socializing just as Omicron is raging.
NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Hala, that's right. We're hearing two different messages from the prime minister. The first and many had expected
those tougher measures to come into force after the new year celebrations. And now as the U.K. closes off on those festivities, there aren't any
further restrictions coming into force except for a new advice for school students. They are being asked to wear face masks in classrooms and of
course an increase in testing for both students and teachers.
And the prime minister has said that the U.K. is in a far better place than it was this time last year. And while we are seeing a rise in both hospital
admissions and new cases, and we're not seeing it at the same rate we were seeing last year. And as you mentioned, the prime minister also warning
that many people could be going into ICU, and that is the concern now, the pressure on the healthcare sector. We heard from the prime minister earlier
today as he was visiting a vaccination center and he warned that over the coming weeks, we could be seeing intense pressure on hospitals further
hospitalizations and indeed ICU admissions.
And that is the real concern now, the prime minister focusing more on the booster vaccine campaign as a key line of defense against the Omicron
variant and against those rising hospital admissions, encouraging people to go out and get their jab. And today, the country has now recorded more than
34 million people have received that booster dose and more than 90 percent of people over the age of 12 have at least received one dose.
So, there are some reasons to hope there, but of course, the prime minister really giving that message of caution as we continue to see those rising
GORANI: Sure, all right. So that's a little more than 50 percent of Britons boosted. Thanks very much Nada Bashir. Now to France. And the French Health
Minister says that while record-breaking case numbers will continue to climb, this may be the last one. Cyril Vanier is in Paris with the latest.
About the situation in France and in Europe, tell us more Cyril.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, here in France, Hala, the numbers of infections last week were 250,000 new daily cases. Compare that
to what we -- what had been the record prior to that, just 80,000. You see the exponential increase in cases fueled by the Omicron variant, by a
factor of four or five. And the health minister that you just mentioned there, saying that that's only the tip of the iceberg. The numbers -- the
real numbers are actually much higher when you take into account infection numbers that are not detected by the testing.
We looked at what new measures France has just put in place to try and adapt to this new reality of much higher daily infections, Hala. Here is
VANIER (voice-over): As Omicron continues its steady rise across Europe, France has reported record infections with daily tallies surpassing 200,000
in recent days. Health Minister Olivier Veran told French radio on Monday, that figure in reality could be more than double and about to heap further
pressure on a health system already under strain. The government focused on maintaining public services in the face of so many daily infections.
Infected patients who are fully vaccinated must isolate for seven days but may leave after just five days provided they have a negative COVID test.
And no need to self-isolate should a fully-vaccinated person encounter someone with COVID. And with schools reopening, rules have been relaxed.
Children in France will be able to stay in school after a classmate tests positive for the virus, provided they take three COVID tests in four days.
JEAN-MICHEL BLANQUER, MINISTER OF EDUCATION, FRANCE (through translator): Children really aren't the priority in French society, so we must keep the
schools open because school is not a small thing, it is not a minor thing. It is crucial for children, so I don't have any regrets opening the
VANIER: Likewise, British Health authorities have urged all secondary school students to get a test before returning to school this week Boris
Johnson told reporters Monday that pressure on the health service will be considerable over the next couple of weeks as Omicron cases surge.
Nonetheless, the way forward is to continue on the path we're on, he said, resisting calls to impose additional restrictions on large gatherings.
JOHNSON: It will be absolute folly to say that this thing is all over now by the shouting. We've got to remain cautious. We've got to stick with plan
B, we've got to get boosted.
VANIER: In Ireland, one in nine ICU staff are on leave with coronavirus, just as hospitals brace themselves for a sharp post-holiday rise in
infected patients. Ireland recorded more COVID-19 cases during the period between Christmas and new year's day than all of 2020. Also, on Monday,
travelers trapped on a cruise ship for days following positive tests among some passengers and crew were allowed to disembark in Lisbon. The German
operator pulling the plug on the trip en route to the island of Madeira for new year's eve celebrations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Well, it's a risk we took. It's our risk. If you travel in these times, you have to expect it. That's why
we're actually relaxed.
VANIER: Relaxed or not, as 2022 begins, European countries are firmly in the grip of a new reality, one very much shaped by the Omicron variant.
VANIER: The silver-lining, Hala, is that over time, the Omicron variant which is more contagious but less severe, may actually lead to a higher
level of protection and immunity within the population, but that best case scenario only plays out over the long term. Short term, countries,
governments here in Europe still worried about potentially overwhelming their health system and strangling the economy with the number of cases
GORANI: All right, thank you, Cyril Vanier live in Paris. Now, the spread of Omicron is prompting a number of developments, including a move towards
a vaccine pass in France and a new mask rule for secondary students here in England as we've just reported.
For more on what's happening across Europe, let's bring in Oksana Pyzik; she's a global health expert at University College London. Thanks for being
with us. First of all, Boris Johnson is saying Omicron is, quote, "plainly milder". Do you agree with the British prime minister?
OKSANA PYZIK, GLOBAL HEALTH EXPERT, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, certainly, the preliminary data thus far does show that there is a
reduction in hospitalization rates, but the W.H.O. has warned that we are early in this Omicron wave. And as this new variant of concern spreads
across a wider spread of the population, that we could see that it is a bit more -- that it could be just as bad as Delta.
I think it's perhaps a bit premature to definitively state that. It is certainly part of the projections. But the U.K. Health Security Agency has
actually leveled this as low confidence in their own analysis.
GORANI: Right. So what does take mean going forward? What are the biggest risks here because hospitals are once again at risk of being overwhelmed,
because if even just a small percentage of a huge population of infected people checks into hospital, you might again be faced with huge issues
PYZIK: Absolutely. So, even if we see that Omicron is milder, as many of the preliminary studies indicate, we still have so many more people being
infected all at the same time because of its enhanced transmissibility. But let's not also forget that Delta is currently co-circulating as well. So,
we have both variants, and Delta also associated with higher rates of hospitalization. So here in the U.K., many hospitals have already declared
a critical incident. We have seen a little bit of a dip compared to last week's --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: Steady incline --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: But certainly not a turning point. Ambulances have pressure, and perhaps while our population is now safer because of the boosters and high
rates of vaccine coverage, we have our staff issue that means that we could have unsafe care being delivered.
GORANI: Absolutely. Well, on that note, the reduction in the isolation period that -- for instance, in the United States, health authorities there
are saying, you know, that people who are recovered, asymptomatic, can reduce their isolation period. We're seeing similar announcements in other
countries. What do you think about that? Is it -- is it unsafe to allow people, even if they're asymptomatic to go out, potentially infecting
PYZIK: Well, 85 percent to 90 percent of transmission occurs within the first five days of infection, and we are most infectious just before -- if
the person is symptomatic, then just before the symptoms arrive and really early in those infectious period. However, this policy is really --
ideally, we would like to have the full ten days, but we have to deal with the staffing crisis that will -- could grind so many sectors to a halt. So,
the policy is really balancing the lowest amount of -- you know, reducing that risk of transmission while also dealing with real-world problems.
So, the policy in this instance has to take into consideration sort of these knock-on consequences that are occurring due to enhanced
transmissibility of Omicron. So while, again, in an ideal world, we would like to ensure that you have --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: The full ten days --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: I think testing is probably the right way to go however in order to exit that isolation.
GORANI: Sure, and I find it interesting that kids are increasingly affected by Omicron, much more so than Delta it seems. The numbers in the U.S. are
very clearly indicative of that trend. Why is that happening and what should parents know and do when it comes to protecting their children do
PYZIK: Well, we saw similar effect in South Africa as well in terms of younger children being affected. Certainly wearing face masks and ensuring
that all of these other layered precautions are taken here in the U.K. There are 7,000 filters that are going to finally be installed within
schools, and that's something that healthcare professionals have been calling for, for over two years now.
GORANI: Sure --
PYZIK: But we will -- it will take time to see how the impact of long COVID affects kids, but preventing infection in children is just as important as
preventing infection in adults.
GORANI: And I want to ask you about -- you mentioned this briefly, but the plateauing of numbers in London, for instance. That was really the
epicenter of Omicron. Are we seeing a similar trajectory of the virus do you think in a city like London that we saw in South Africa that reported
its first Omicron case earlier than the U.K.? Or is this the light at the end of the tunnel? I'm begging you to tell me yes here, basically.
PYZIK: So, Omicron compared to Delta --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: The shape of the curve is going to be very different. We're going to more likely see a hairpin curve where it is a very steep incline, and then
it will come down equally rapidly. I don't think --
GORANI: Yes --
PYZIK: We're quite there yet with the U.K. I think that this is -- we're still going to see the effects of new year's, so this -- the lower number
of hospitalization, I don't think this is over just quite yet. But we are looking also at a sooner recovery period than for other -- what we saw with
previous waves, if we compare to last Winter, for instance.
GORANI: Sure. And as you mentioned, we are waiting to see the effect of the New Year's Eve celebrations on hospitals and infections. Thanks so much as
always for joining us. Oksana Pyzik of the University College, London, really appreciate your expertise. Well, China is still pursuing a very
rigid zero COVID strategy especially with those Winter Olympics approaching. And that is causing some very serious tension.
Take a look at this video posted on Weibo. This is a man being beaten by COVID-19 Prevention workers at a residential compound in the locked down
city of Xi An after he allegedly left home to get steamed buns because he was so hungry. People aren't allowed to leave their homes. Police
acknowledged the assault. The government says it's working to provide food for local residents, but many say they do not have enough to eat. And this
is how authorities are treating citizens in Xi An.
Still to come, Prince Andrew could face a civil trial in the U.S. this year, but his lawyers are hoping a document unveiled today will help his
case. That's next. And later, Tesla is off to a roaring start in 2022. How the electric car giant has managed to navigate a global chip shortage to
deliver record sales once again, its shares surging once again. Richard Quest will join me.
GORANI: A U.S. court has just revealed a settlement agreement between convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, and it could
affect Giuffre's civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew. She says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends including
Prince Andrew, and she says the prince knew she was under age. He has always strongly denied all these allegations.
The 2009 settlement between Epstein and Giuffre that was made public today does not mention Prince Andrew directly, but it says that Giuffre will
quote, "release liability for", quote, "any other person who could have been a defendant against her claims."
Oral arguments in the case against Prince Andrew begin tomorrow, and the prince's legal team is expected to argue for dismissal based on this 2009
settlement. CNN's legal analyst Paul Callan joins me from New York with more.
What do you think the chances of Prince Andrew's legal team are in court tomorrow? They're basically saying Giuffre signed a deal in 2009 promising
not to pursue anyone connected with Epstein. What do you think?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They actually have a very strong argument, a compelling argument that they're going to assert on behalf of Prince
Andrew. And an agreement like this, a settlement agreement like this is not at all unusual. As a matter of fact, in most civil cases when they are
settled, the defendant, the person who is being sued, is always afraid that there will be other suits that will be coming out of the same incident. So
if they can, they negotiate an agreement like this that, hey, this is the end of the case if we're going to pay you this amount of money. They paid
her $500,000 apparently back in 2009, I believe it was --
GORANI: Yes --
CALLAN: When the settlement agreement was made.
GORANI: OK, so, this is the exact language, I'm going to read it to our viewers. "Giuffre signed a deal in which she agreed to remise, release,
acquit, satisfy and forever discharge the said second parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant from
all and all manner of action and actions of Virginia Roberts" -- that was her name at the time, "including state or federal cause and causes of
action." Does that include civil suits?
CALLAN: Oh, yes, that would most definitely. And that is really aimed at civil suits because --
GORANI: Right --
CALLAN: You cannot contract away criminal charges. That would be obstruction of justice if you did that.
CALLAN: So this is intended to apply to civil cases. But here is the argument that her attorneys are going to make. They're going to say that
the case against Prince Andrew is different than the case against Epstein, and accordingly, it could not have appropriately been brought as part of
this settlement agreement and, hence, it's not covered. That's what the lawyers will be arguing about from a technical standpoint.
Now, of course, her attorneys will be -- will or rather, Prince Andrew's attorneys will be saying, hey, that's absurd. He could have been named as a
co-defendant in the case just as Maxwell was named as a co-defendant in the case.
GORANI: Sure. What if Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty on five of six charges against her, decides for instance, to talk about anything
involving Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre, could that affect Giuffre's civil suit against Prince Andrew despite the 2009 settlement that she
CALLAN: I don't think it would affect Giuffre's civil suit. It would, of course, mean that he could be charged possibly with criminal charges,
depending upon, of course, what Maxwell has to say. You know, there are statute of limitation issues here in this case, and there are also issues
with respect to some of the sexual conduct that's alleged that the prince is alleged to have engaged in was in London, and the laws are different in
England than they are in the United States with respect to statutes of limitations and so forth.
GORANI: Sure. Now, we've been following obviously this case and Giuffre's team has asked Prince Andrew's team to provide proof that he was suffering
from some sort of medical condition that prevented him from sweating. You'll remember in a "BBC" interview, he said Giuffre's claims are
implausible and improbable because she claimed he was sweating profusely in a nightclub, and he said, I couldn't sweat.
If he cannot produce evidence and proof that he was, in fact, suffering from this rare and unusual medical condition, can any of that have an
impact on any civil suit that Giuffre's team brings against Prince Andrew?
CALLAN: Well, if the judge in this case looks at this general release and says, you know something? It's not going to bar Prince Andrew from being
sued by Giuffre. If that's the case then this sweating issue actually is going to become a huge issue in the case.
And it will be very important because she says he was sweating profusely when the sexual encounter occurred and, of course, he says that medically
he can't sweat. So that's why Giuffre's attorneys have -- they want his medical records. They want to see proof of this bizarre condition that
would present -- prevent him from sweating.
GORANI: Lastly, if the judge agrees with Prince Andrew's team and rules that this 2009 settlement, in fact, shields Prince Andrew from any civil
suit brought by Virginia Giuffre, is that the end of it for him? Is he in the clear?
CALLAN: It's the -- it's the end of it from the standpoint of a civil action for money damages. However, criminal liability might still lie
because depending upon where she says the sexual misconduct, sexual abuse occurred, the statute of limitations might still be alive.
And it really depends upon the details of that and what the law was in the jurisdiction at that time. So, yes, he may still have criminal liability.
He's not out of the woods yet even if the judge rules in favor on this issue.
GORANI: All right, Paul Callan, as always, thank you so much for joining us, and I hope --
CALLAN: Thank you, Hala --
GORANI: You have a happy new year.
CALLAN: OK, you too --
GORANI: All right, let's get to -- thank you. Let's get to CNN royal correspondent Max Foster, he is in Hampshire for more on -- now, more
pressure placed on Prince Andrew and it's a really critical day tomorrow for the British royal.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, because as you've been hearing, that is the day the judge rules on whether or not this case should be
thrown out or not. There are all sorts of technicalities that you were discussing there that need to be gone over.
And he's not named specifically in this agreement, Prince Andrew, but royalty is named. But it will -- all of this debate is really academic at
this point. It's really down to the judge to decide what the court makes of this document, whether or not it should stand in this case.
But incredibly difficult of course, for Prince Andrew. You've got the legal case here, but you've also got the court of public opinion, and the longer
this goes on, the more sordid details, the more we analyze whether or not he can -- he sweats and whether or not there are documents to back up that
sweating, it's just very sordid information, which all reflects on the royal brand which -- we're not hearing anything from the palace or the rest
of the family.
They're trying to project it all on to Prince Andrew's legal team, but they're inextricably linked, of course. And of course -- we're also hearing
from voices within the military bubbling up, in the British newspapers saying he should be losing his remaining military titles because it's so
embarrassing for everyone involved.
GORANI: Well, what does he do now on a daily basis? He's not doing anymore charity work. He's not a working royal. You talked about these military
voices calling for some of his -- you know, his status, his positions within the military to be removed. What is -- what is he doing?
FOSTER: Well, it's very difficult to know what is happening behind the scenes. I can't imagine the queen, for example, would strip him of those
remaining titles, which do give him a public role. I think what would typically happen behind the scenes is that she might ask him to resign from
those roles. There might be those debates going on behind the scenes. I think what he's trying to do is trying to stay out of public view, frankly,
because even a photo of him driving through Windsor in his car makes front page news at the moment.
The rest of his family is currently skiing. He would normally join them, he's not there because he knows there will be photos. This is affecting
every part of his life. He is trying to stay out of public view. I think, frankly, at the moment, if you took a poll in the British public, they'd
probably want him to stay out of public view permanently. But perhaps this is a debate for what happens out of this case, you know. Let's see what the
result is and whether or not he can rebuild that image, but the longer it goes on, I think the harder it is.
GORANI: All right. And again, reminding our viewers Prince Andrew has always denied any wrongdoing and he is not charged criminally. This is a
civil suit brought by Virginia Giuffre. Thanks very much for that, Max Foster. News from a high-profile trial in the U.S. The jury in the case of
Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of failed blood testing startup Theranos, says it is unable to come to a unanimous verdict on three of 11 counts
Holmes has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. At issue allegations that she
plainly lied to investors, doctors and patients about her company's capabilities. The judge has ordered the jury to continue deliberating to
try and reach a verdict. Still to come, Israel battles a fierce fifth wave of COVID with more vaccines. The latest on a second round of boosters.
Plus, U.S. President Biden is supporting Ukraine while up to 100,000 Russian troops stand at the Ukrainian border at this very moment. The
latest after this.
GORANI: So in the U.S., children aged 12 to 15 are now eligible for boosters. The FDA has just authorized a third Pfizer vaccine dose for them,
as well as for some immunocompromised children as young as five. The agency also shortened the waiting time between everyone's initial Pfizer shots and
a booster from six to five months. The CDC is set to meet Wednesday, presumably to sign off on that.
Meantime, the CDC is facing some pushback against its new isolation guidelines for many COVID patients. It now recommends asymptomatic patients
can end their isolation after just five days with without a negative test. It's also facing concerns that this guidance was motivated not only by
science, but also to get people quickly back to work. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the agency is trying to strike the right balance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There's no doubt that you do want to get people out into the
workplace, if they are without symptoms. And in the second half of a ten- day period, which would normally be a ten-day isolation period, the likelihood of transmissibility is considerably lower in that second half of
a five -- of a ten day period. And for that reason, the CDC made the judgment that it would be relatively low risk to get people out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Right. Well, America's airlines are among those hoping to get their workers back on the job because they're suffering from some major
shortages. They've canceled more than 2,100 flights today and almost 18,000 since Christmas Eve. They're blaming a combination of COVID and now bad
And those cancellations and delays just got a little bit worse. Heavy snow around Washington DC has triggered ground stops for incoming flights at two
major airports. Our aviation correspondent Pete Muntean is at one of those, Reagan National.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Hala, 70 percent of flights here at Reagan National Airport have now been canceled the most of any airport
across the country. The FAA just instituted ground stops for flights coming here to Reagan National Airport, also to BWI.
We have not seen the end of these cancellations. More than 2,600 across the country today, 13 percent of Southwest Airlines schedule, 10 percent of
SkyWest, which is a regional airline that operates as important commuter flights for Delta, American, and United, also about 10 percent of the
schedule at JetBlue, airlines are working hard to try and clear runways right now and the ramps.
But just not enough because so much snow has come down across the Mid- Atlantic and they're trying to notify people before they arrive at the airport.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SLOTNICK, SENIOR TRANSPIRATION REPORTER, BUSINESS INSIDER: It's a tough situation right now, when it's -- the weather especially, it's hard
because that could happen last minute. With the COVID cancellations, at the very least, a lot of those are happening, usually about a day in advance,
sometimes sooner, but usually with enough time that you can try and figure things out, you know, before you're heading to the airport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUNTEAN: Hala, this is just part of overlapping issues that we have seen. Not only are there crew shortages because of the Omicron variant, but also
because of the snowstorm. 18,000 cancellations in total going back to Christmas Eve and United Airlines says about half of all those
cancellations are because of crew shortages, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Pete Muntean, thanks.
Tesla is kicking off the New Year with a stellar day on Wall Street after reporting yet again, record sales. Despite a global computer chip shortage
and supply chain disruptions, the electric carmaker delivered more than 300,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter. That's up 71 percent from a year
earlier. For all of 2021, it delivered nearly a million cars. So Tesla's stock jumped on the news. It's now up more than 10 percent. Let's bring in
Richard Quest, host of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS on CNN, which will be airing in 25 minutes.
So talk to us about how Tesla is managing to do all of this with supply chain shortages and a shortage of chips around the world.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's doing very simply, it's going back to basics. It's got new management at the top, not just off the very
top, but obviously there's been changeover, they recognized the issues that they had with Giga factories with production, and with those, sort of,
things, and they were laser focused in dealing with them.
Tesla is a textbook, in a sense textbook case of what companies need to do when they've identified problems and how they go about solving them. And
it's even more remarkable in this sense, Hala, because EVs, electric vehicles, are, you know, the beauty of every company, every major
manufacturer has them.
There are lots of slowdowns and lots of difficulties elsewhere. But Tesla, focused, and I think you have to sort of say Elon Musk gets a lot of the
credit in that sense with his -- the nature of the man to force the company to focus.
GORANI: Yes. This video that I'm going to show our viewers made me wonder what happens to Tesla's when they're 10, 15 years old. Obviously, like
everyone else, I am tempted by the idea of buying an electric vehicle. But one Finnish owner bought a 2013 Tesla a year and a half ago. He said it
would cost $22,000 to fix the battery. Instead, he decided to blow up his car. What happens? I mean, we're still at the very beginning of this
electric car trend. What do we do with all these batteries?
QUEST: Good question. I guess the first thing you do is try to make it so that the cars do not require such large batteries. Well, you've got battles
going on, Hala, here. On the one hand, you need batteries for greater range. So now you've got the question of the balancing act between range
versus size versus cost versus recharging. Tesla has been very good at sorting out that.
Then you've got the question of how big can you realistically make the battery, what charge to people, what the sweet spot, if you will, and then
finally, what to do with them where -- when they're finished. And to that extent, we had this problem with refrigerators, with the Freon gas within
All we are doing is substituting one for the next. But that's being slightly mealy-mouthed because we are solving other problems on the way. We
are solving the carbon dioxide problem. We are solving the carbon in the air problem. And so I think you have to see what Tesla has done.
And one other final point, Hala, I've got a second, we talk about Tesla as being Elon Musk, and about a tech company. But it made a million cars last
year. Think about that. This is a vast industrial enterprise manufacturing on multiple continents and that alone tells you it is a tech company that's
GORANI: Right. Well, it's all very interesting. Elon Musk has --
QUEST: Well --
GORANI: -- even more money now, even more money to his name.
QUEST: I sold -- I --
GORANI: Maybe he will end up solving world hunger just by selling one percent of his shares. Who knows?
QUEST: Yes. Well, I sold my Tesla shares at $350 a share. I thought I was making a profit then, which I was, and now they're over $1,100. Don't
listen to me, Hala.
GORANI: There you go. As long as you make as long as you make a profit. All right. Thank you very much.
QUEST: Thank you.
GORANI: we'll see you at the top of the hour, Richard Quest. Thank you.
Still to come tonight, the military is once again in full control of Sudan after the Prime Minister calls it quits and issues a dire warning.
Plus the Free Press in Hong Kong under more pressure than ever, what it means for the future of democracy in this city, as China bears down once
GORANI: That devastating fire at the South African Parliament in Cape Town has restarted unfortunately after firefighters work for hours to put it
out. Here's a look at what happened at the parliament just a little while ago. And by the way, a man is now under arrest in connection with the blaze
which started to yesterday. No one was hurt. Parliament wasn't in session, and police say the suspect will appear in court Tuesday on charges
including arson and theft.
Sudan appears to be sliding back toward full military dictatorship. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has stepped down. Nima Elbagir tells us about his
ominous parting words.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, Sudan's civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, stepped down, but not before
releasing a dire warning, not just for the people of Sudan, but for the international community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDALLA HAMDOK, FORMERE SUDANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our country is going through a dangerous turning point that may threaten its
entire survival if it is not urgently remedied in light of this Diaspora and conflicts within the political forces and between all the components of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: Hala, sources both close to Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and those within the broader civilian political leadership paint a very
similar, very daunting picture of a military that seems hell-bent on returning the country to the former dictator LED status quo.
Some of those sources tell us that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was holding on to the basic tenet of his November agreement with Sudan's
military, the principle of non-interference in his choices in government, in his political appointments from cabinet level down. We're told that the
military refused to adhere to that principle.
And it was that, coupled with the announcement several days ago, in the waning hours of the old year, that Sudan's notorious intelligence service,
NISS, which had been wielded as part of the apparatus of oppression by the former ousted dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was returning rebranded as GIS.
And that it would be given renewed authorities. This, we're told by sources, was a red line. The question is now what?
Many of those in the international community in the last few hours have been saying that they are willing to oversee a process of mediation and
negotiation, but many of those we're speaking to in Sudan's pro-democracy movement want to know, negotiation with whom and for what.
They believe that Sudan's military has proven that it cannot be trusted, and they tell us the process, the bloodshed on Sudan's streets, Hala, will
GORANI: All right. Thanks so much, Nima.
More bad news for the free press in Hong Kong. Citizen News, the last, very last major independent news outlet says it will shut down on Tuesday. Anna
Coren has more.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The media landscape in Hong Kong took another blow on Sunday, as independent online outlet, Citizen News,
announced it will permanently close down. The crowd-funded pro democracy website was formed in 2017. It blamed the closure on major changes in Hong
Kong's society, the deteriorating media environment, and the need to protect its staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS YEUNG, CHIEF WRITER, CITIZEN NEWS: Overall, media is facing a -- an increasingly tough environment. And for those 1who are being seen as
criticals, or troublemakers, they are more vulnerable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: This comes just days after the closure of another independent outlet, Stand News, which closed down after seven people were arrested in
connection to alleged seditious content published by the website. Nearly $8 million worth of assets were also frozen.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the arrests, saying they had nothing to do with journalistic work. The government maintains that
freedom of the press still exists in the city. Last year, the controversial National Security Law was imposed on the city by Beijing, outlawing
sedition, secession, and subversion. The law has resulted in sweeping changes in Hong Kong, with pro-democracy lawmakers arrested and activist
groups and independent media outlets closed down.
The biggest casualty from the new law is Apple Daily, Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy publication, which closed over the summer after the arrest of
multiple journalists and the freezing of assets. Founder Jimmy Lai is currently in jail, and last week was handed a new charge for seditious
publications on top of existing charges, which could seem spending the rest of his life in prison.
As the media landscape narrows even further, journalists in Hong Kong are also expected to face more restrictions, as the government is planning to
introduce a Fake News Law. The rapid eroding of media freedoms in Hong Kong is seen as a drastic turnaround for a city, which for decades was home to a
free and vibrant press. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Next, a decisive response if Russia further invades, that is the promise that the American President is making to Ukraine. What does it
mean? We'll explore that question next.
GORANI: The American President, Joe Biden, is telling his counterpart in Kiev that Washington and its allies "will respond to decisively if Russia
further invades Ukraine." Those exact words are from the readout of Sunday's call between the two provided by the White House. As many as
100,000 Russian troops are along the border with Ukraine.
Mr. Biden had a call with Russia's Vladimir Putin just a few days earlier and raised the threat of new economic sanctions if Russia decides to go
into Ukraine. And President Zelensky, who had that conversation with President Biden, is very worried about that.
Nic Robertson is in Moscow with the very latest on that. So I mean, these this decisive action, is it limited to sanctions, or what? What is Biden
promising Zelensky and is Zelensky a little more relaxed following that phone call?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he's promising him very close coordination and cooperation, as the United States has with
all its NATO allies, and it has to be said taken in the light of how the United States handled its exit from Afghanistan with its NATO allies. That
comes as a little surprise, but they are trying specifically to be very lined up and coordinated with NATO across the spectrum with Ukraine.
President Zelensky said that he was grateful for what President Biden had said, this decisive action, grateful that the United States has reaffirmed
its support of Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity. But beyond those economic sanctions, what we've been learning about from the United
States, and today, more details coming from the Pentagon, is military consequences of Russia invading Ukraine, and that, perhaps, will get
Vladimir Putin's attention, because that is -- it involves NATO. And that is what he's expressly trying to avoid, is trying to minimize and rollback
NATO from Russia's Western Europe's eastern borders, and deny Ukraine the right to join NATO.
So what is the U.S. proposing here? Specifically the rapid reaction force of NATO in Europe that's kept in reserve, that's being put on a sort of a
five-day trigger rather than a seven-day trigger. And the various sort of land, air, and sea options are being kept open for the United States to
deploy more troops to the Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, also possibly to Poland and Romania as well. So this is all adding up to what
Biden hopes is his very, very clear message of what a resolute response might be to an invasion of Ukraine.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson, live in Moscow. Back to COVID now, Israel is hoping a fourth vaccine shot for vulnerable people
will help it battle back against an aggressive fifth wave of COVID. But at the same time, the country is easing some quarantine restrictions. Elliott
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fourth time's the charm? Israel's immunosuppressed began receiving their second booster shot on New Year's
Eve. On Sunday evening, almost two weeks after trumpeting the plan, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said they'd now be joined by those over 60 and
health care workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort. Omicron is not delta. It's a
different ballgame altogether. We must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an
open country as much as possible throughout this pandemic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOTKINE: To that end, Bennett also announced that quarantine requirements would be lifted completely on people exposed to an Omicron carrier, so long
as they test negative and their vaccinations are up to date. Yet with long lines outside testing centers and cases doubling every few days, Israel is
bracing itself for the full force of its fifth COVID wave. The only bright spot, it may not last.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERAN SEGAL, PROFESSOR, WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE: Our projection is that this wave is going to be rather quick and that within about three
weeks, I estimate that at least two million people here in Israel, which is about one-forth, of the population is going to be infected. And that may
lead to a sort of herd immunity. After which, we may see a slowdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOTKINE: For now though, Israel is hoping Omicron's possibly lower level of severity, together with the rollout of the second booster, will help keep
the number of serious cases down and that like other COVID waves before it, this one too shall pass. Elliott Gotkine, CNN Jerusalem.
GORANI: Well, you'll remember that horrendous wave that India went through a few months ago last year? Well, it is also trying to extend and expand
its vaccine rollout. 15 to 18-year-olds began getting their shots today Monday, with schools doubling as vaccination centers. It comes as new COVID
cases have quadrupled. Vedika Sud is in New Delhi.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: India's Health Ministry has reported 33,750 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, a fourfold increase since last
Monday. This is the highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases since mid- September last year.
New Delhi and Mumbai have seen an exponential hike in cases and this capital has reported a tenfold increase while Mumbai has reported a nine-
fold increase in COVID-19 cases in just eight days.
Authorities in both cities say most cases are asymptomatic. Amid rising Omicron cases, vaccination for children between ages 15 and 18 commenced
Monday, a booster dose for healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities will kick start next week.
As many as 14 states and union territories have implemented COVID restrictions. However, the biggest fear remains the spread of the virus and
political gatherings. With elections in several key states this year, politicians have been addressing public meetings with many attendees
without masks and little social distancing. Vedika Sud CNN, New Delhi.
GORANI: And Vedika is in New Delhi, air pollution there is adding to the misery for so many people on top of COVID. In fact, in November, air
pollution, some doctors say in New Delhi, is the equivalent of smoking 10 cigarettes a day forced some schools and construction sites to close. So
you can imagine that on top of COVID, they have that to worry about.
Thanks very much for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow but do stick around. After a quick break,
it is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.