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Hala Gorani Tonight

Putin, Xi Meet In Beijing In Show Of Solidarity; Beijing Winter Olympics Now Officially Underway; Five Aides To Boris Johnson Resign; Researchers Breeding Pigs For Human Transplants; Pentagon: Single Bomber Carried Out Kabul Airport Attack. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 04, 2022 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London on this Friday, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A united front in Beijing

as Presidents Putin and Xi meet with the world's eyes watching. What was said? We'll have those details. Then a rocky end to an already tumultuous

week as the fifth aide in Boris Johnson's team resigns.

And we'll take you to Munich where researchers are set to breed pigs for human heart transplants. We'll show you how later in the program. It was an

international show of warmth and solidarity and a united stand against the U.S., the West and NATO. As the presidents of China and Russia met today in

Beijing. Russia's Vladimir Putin became the first foreign leader to meet with Xi Jinping in two years since the COVID pandemic began.

They vowed to support each other's efforts to safeguard their nation's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. Obviously, a thinly-

veiled reference to NATO, Ukraine, and what's going on with Taiwan. The meeting came hours before the Winter Olympics opened in Beijing with Mr.

Putin attending that ceremony. As CNN's David Culver reports, there was little doubt the two leaders' focus was on the United States.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mesmerizing opening ceremony attended by two strong man leaders. Traveling in from Moscow,

President Vladimir Putin landing in Beijing to meet with his counterpart, Chinese President Xi Jinping. No handshake due to the raging pandemic, but

their countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defiance of the West. Despite lingering disputes over issues such as economic interest in the Middle

East, Beijing and Moscow managed to see past those differences.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): Our bilateral ties are an example of a sound relationship that helps the two sides grow, and

at the same time, support each other in their development.

CULVER: United to focus on one common adversary, the United States, which has launched a diplomatic boycott of the games over Beijing's human rights

record. And as tensions rise between Russia and NATO over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, Beijing has publicly backed the Kremlin. In a

recent phone call with U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that Russia's reasonable security

concerns should be taken seriously and resolved.

(on camera): This marked the 38th time that President Xi and President Putin have met since President Xi took power here back in 2013.

(voice-over): These frequent interactions, a sign of increasingly close bilateral ties despite how different the two leaders are. The images tell

it all. The pair in 2018 happily sampling together a traditional Chinese pancake. A few months later, they made a Russian version of the dish,

complete with Caviar and Vodka. They visited with China's iconic pandas the following year, and took in an ice hockey game. Later, basking in a sunset

boat tour. The cozy China-Russia relationship not stopping the U.S. from trying to sway China on the Ukraine crisis.

VICTORIA NULAND, U.S. UNDERSECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: We are calling on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to urge diplomacy.

CULVER: But analysts say Beijing sees little benefit to side with the West.


actually the desire to undercut U.S. credibility to drive a wedge between Washington and its allies.

CULVER: Other democracies and U.S. allies like Taiwan will be watching closely. As China steps up its military activities across the Taiwan


RUSSEL: If the people in Taiwan saw that despite all of Washington's efforts and all of NATO's tough talk that they didn't succeed in deterring

Putin, they're going to ask themselves, can we on Taiwan really count on the United States in a crisis.

CULVER: After the U.S.' disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ukraine presents the latest test on the U.S. capability to maintain global peace

and security, and the outcome may further convince China and Russia of an emerging new world order that both have long sought. David Culver, CNN,



GORANI: And our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Moscow for us. What does Putin want out of this relations, and specifically this

trip at this time, Nic?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, he seems to have got a considerable amount because it's really a platform to stand on and be

supported by an influential world leader, President Xi. To be able to have a leader that would stand beside him and say what he is saying, that it's

NATO that's causing the problems in the east of Europe, that NATO needs to stop in its expansion.

That really reinforces Putin's central narrative that the United States is causing the security problems. I think that certainly is a good platform

and a good boost for him and good to push that view. The economic side of it, perhaps, you know, it will be less significant going forward, but it's

useful for him at the moment to be at a sort of -- essentially, show to those who might put heavy sanctions on it.

The United States and the Europeans who are threatening heavy sanctions if he invades Ukraine, that he has other avenues to create revenue in the

short-term. They were touting, you know, a 100 million barrels -- a 100 million tons of oil supplied by Russia to China. You know, the exact

amount that's actually new that's sort of unclear. But that sort of deal to announce that shows that his signaling that he has access to this wealth

alternate funds of money certainly are not -- certainly not enough going forward to stop him hurting under sanctions.

And I think the other area was to say, you know, this cooperation, strategic -- deep strategic coordination going forward will have an impact

on the world, you know, signaling that the war with China on high-tech developments, on green tech developments, they'll work together on issues

that will help Russia going forward, but perhaps help both countries combat what they could face in the future, more of, which is sanctions that fall

back on control of access to the dollar.

That's a much longer-term issue. But --

GORANI: Yes --

ROBERTSON: At the moment, this is a great platform for Putin to push his central narrative on security in Europe.

GORANI: Nic Robertson, live in Moscow, thank you. Now, speaking of China, obviously, the Beijing Winter Olympics are officially underway today as

you've all seen. The opening ceremony wrapped up a few hours ago in the birds nest as the stadium there is known. The ceremony included the

traditional lighting of the cauldron, and one of the two athletes chosen to do it is a Uyghur. Now, that's a big deal.

Because China has been accused of massive human rights violations toward that ethnic minority, and it's one of the main reasons why some western

governments are imposing that diplomatic boycott on the games. That's on top of COVID-19 which has led to all sorts of restrictions. Our Beijing

bureau chief Steven Jiang joins me now with more. Before we get to the politics and the diplomacy, talk to us about this opening ceremony and how

different these games are going to be this time around.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Hala. You know, also the ordeal spectators have had to go through just to attend the ceremony,

and one of those spectators was me. You know, just to be eligible to go, you had to be in Beijing at least for 14 days beforehand, and be fully-

vaccinated and boosted and taken four COVID tests, two before and two after the event.

Then on the day for us, at least involved, two bus rides, multiple security checks, and then a lot of waiting and walking. Then, you were seated

outdoors in this environment, temperature dropping to minus 10 Celsius. And so, it was just quite an ordeal because of all the cold and the security

concerns you mentioned. But, of course, the show was spectacular, directed by one of China's most famous movie directors.

Combining a lot of cultural elements and high-tech presentations and all the pageantry and fireworks, you can imagine. But one thing that struck me

as you alluded to was for a government that's been lashing out at the U.S. for politicizing this event, by staging that diplomatic boycott, Beijing

seemed to be sending a lot of political messages, not only by selecting that Uyghur athlete to be a torch bearer to light up the Olympic cauldron,

but also with their TV announcers actually calling the self-governed democratic island of Taiwan, China Taipei.

Really implying Beijing's sovereignty over the island. And then, of course, as you mentioned, Putin was Mr. Xi's most important VIP guest next to him,

and probably as a reflection of this increasingly close relationship between the two leaders and two governments.

When the Russian team walked out during the parade of athletes, I heard a lot of cheering around me from the Chinese audience, but when the Americans

walked out, it was notably silent with Chinese spectators sitting next to me, for no apparent reason just commenting out loud the Americans are

always so arrogant. So, it seems that it's just really difficult to separate politics from sports at these games, Hala.

GORANI: Does really give us a great sense of what was going on inside the stadium. Thanks so much. Quick question though, on the Putin-Xi meeting, we

discussed with Nic Robertson, what Vladimir Putin wants out of a closer alliance with Xi Jinping.


What does China want from Russia?

JIANG: You know, Xi Jinping really could benefit on multiple fronts. One, of course, this whole crisis in Ukraine pushes Russia further closer to

China as reflected in that joint declaration they just issued. Then of course, this could distract or potentially distract the U.S. government

from focusing on dealing with challenges posed by rising China. So, this really is another indication how Putin and Xi are increasingly seeing eye-

to-eye on dealing with a common adversary, that's the United States, because they are just so resentful --

GORANI: Yes --

JIANG: Of the U.S. strategy of forming alliances in their respective regions to basically encircle them. Hala?

GORANI: Our Steven Jiang, thanks very much. It's very late where you are, past 3:00 in the morning. Good luck with those late night shifts during the

games. The French President Emmanuel Macron will hold face-to-face talks with Vladimir Putin next week, intensifying his efforts to try to help de-

escalate the standoff between Russia and the West. He's due to visit Moscow on Monday, followed by talks in Kyiv a day later.

Ukrainian officials meantime are speaking out about those U.S. allegations that Russia could stage a fake attack on its own forces and blame it on

Ukraine. The Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says they're waiting for more details, but what has been made public, quote, "does not surprise us."

Ukraine's defense minister also spoke about those alleged false flag plots with our Melissa Bell today, and she joins us now live from Kyiv with more.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, we were in Chernobyl today, was of course, the site of the catastrophic 1986 Soviet nuclear disaster. And we

were there to watch live training exercises by Ukrainian troops preparing for that possible invasion by Russia. That's why the defense minister was


And because there's been this distance between both the appreciation of the threat posed by Russia and the way it's been explained between Ukrainian

authorities and American authorities these last few weeks, we wanted to ask him whether he had seen any evidence to support this latest claim that

there had been a false flag allegation given those differences of assessments so far. Here's what he had to say.


OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, DEFENSE MINISTER, UKRAINE: It's perception. For me, I'm basic. I'm trying to conduct my understanding on the facts. So, as I

mentioned before, on this moment, on this moment, on this day of this day, Russians didn't foment the striking forces That's it. But there is core

threats we have still. We had them from 2014, then they occupied Crimea, then they made aggression against Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk.

So the risk, in fact, we have still, and they can foment this striking formation. But they need the time for that, and they will see if they will

start this formation. So that, I mean that the numbers of the armed forces of Russians alongside our border at this moment are very same that was

before the eastern day in the last week. That's the difference. So we have the same facts, but the different perception or different estimation.

BELL: The differences is on the question of intention. You don't believe they intend to invade.

REZNIKOV: I hope that in Kremlin, they didn't make their decision still.


BELL: So Hala, as you see, he didn't answer to the specifics of the question of whether any evidence had been provided by Washington to back up

this latest claim about a false flag operation. But he did speak to that wider difference of assessment. The fact they say are similar, although he

did point out that as far as the Ukrainian assessment goes, the troops that Vladimir Putin would need in order to carry out an invasion are not yet in


It is a question of intent as far as he's concerned, Moscow has yet to decide. But look, Hala, we were in Chernobyl to watch these live training

exercise of the Ukrainian army because they believe that they need to send a signal, he explained, to Moscow to show that they are ready in a way that

they simply weren't back in 2014. Hala.

GORANI: All right, Melissa Bell live Kyiv, thank you. Still to come tonight, 10 Downing Street hemorrhaging top staffers. We'll bring you the

latest in the political crisis engulfing Britain's prime minister. And a surprisingly strong jobs report out of America despite that COVID surge. Is

it a glimmer of hope for other countries also trying to bounce back from this endless -- seemingly endless pandemic? We'll be right back.



GORANI: The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not lost control of Downing Street. That is according to a spokesperson, and the reason they're

having to deny this is because of this. His office is bleeding staff. Five of Mr. Johnson's aides have quit since yesterday alone. The exodus comes

after the release of the Sue Gray report we covered a lot over the last few weeks detailing multiple boozy parties held at Downing Street while

everyone else was in lockdown.

One of Mr. Johnson's long-serving colleague has left over comments the prime minister made about the opposition labor leader Keir Starmer. And

this comes as more conservative lawmakers are writing letters of no confidence. Bianca Nobilo is here in London with us to break it all down.

So, if you are -- you know, closest aides are having to deny that you're losing control and losing your grip on power, things can't be going too

well at this stage for the prime minister.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they don't protest too much, Hala. Even though Number 10 is trying to spin this hard, like the prime minister

is delivering on his promise to his party that he would reshape and rejuvenate the number 10 operation in the wake of partygate, it just

doesn't read like that.

To have five aides leave in less than 24 hours, and not to have replacements for them, just looks like a power vacuum. It doesn't look like

a big shake-up and new direction. And without the people who can balance the prime minister's sort of tendencies and characteristics and think about

the pragmatics of the situation, it does get harder and harder to see how he can remain in his post. All this happening as you mentioned, against a

back-drop of more public condemnations.

Another of his MPs earlier today announcing that he'd sent in a letter of no confidence after consulting with his local association, and the

chancellor and health secretary, Hala, publicly distancing themselves a bit from the prime minister which is a marked departure from what we've seen in

recent weeks.

GORANI: These five aides, these five resignations, how senior are they?

NOBILO: So four of them are very significant. Some of those, however, were expected. So Munira Mirza who was the head of policy is really the most

significant name to be looking at. She had worked with Boris Johnson since 2008, been with him while he was mayor of London. He actually described her

in an interview as one of the five most influential women in his life a few years ago. And the other women, I believe included Malala Yousafzai and



So, clearly, a very significant person in his life, and I'm sure that what was written in her letter cut very deep. And that is going to leave a big

hole. Those who know the prime minister well are all saying that. We also have the resignation of another member of the policy team. Now, those two

were entirely unexpected and not linked in any way to longer-term plans of resignations. Some of the other staff members had planned to be on the out.

And, in fact, his director of communications and chief of staff, somewhat embroiled in the partygate scandal. One of them saying that it's taken such

a toll on him and his family life, that it wasn't unexpected, but what I understand is that once we had the resignation of Munira Mirza and all, it

seemed like the prime minister was in control of events, it then precipitated the resignations that were in the pipeline because --

GORANI: Sure --

NOBILO: He wanted to look like this was a plan rather than chaos.

GORANI: So now if you have more conservative MPs writing letters and requesting a vote of no confidence, you -- we haven't reached that critical

stage yet, but if a vote of no confidence does take place, can the prime minister still survive it?

NOBILO: It's possible. I speak to MPs who believe that currently he would survive it, and they say it would need more members of the cabinet or

certainly ministers to be more outspoken to delineate what they have as problems against the prime minister in order to sort of change the tide.

Also if there was an obvious success -- and now Rishi Sunak does -- the chancellor does enjoy the broader support amongst the Conservative Party,

and the way that events are unfolding, it's pointing to him as a potential successor. But because the prime minister is very good at pulling himself

back from --

GORANI: Yes --

NOBILO: The brink, he could potentially survive leadership contests. But Hala, once the prime minister has withstood that level of attack from his

own party, that level of political damage doesn't leave you, so you're pretty much a lame duck after that point. And I don't think it's feasible

that he could continue, although, the prime minister told "The Sun" newspaper at the weekend that he does plan to fight the next election in


So he's doubling down, the spin operation is kicking into a high gear. And that, to your first question, Hala, really does --

GORANI: Yes --

NOBILO: Indicate that the wheels are coming off.

GORANI: All right, Bianca, thank you very much. Now to the U.S. which experienced a surprise boost to its jobs recovery after some pretty dismal

predictions from economists. The latest jobs report shows more than 460,000 jobs were added in the month of January. All of this obviously as we're

seeing a big Omicron surge and still very high death numbers in the United States. By the way, the percentage of boosted people in the U.S. is much

lower than Europe.

So, the question is how did experts get it so wrong? Could this be a glimmer of hope for the global economic recovery? Joining me from New York

is Richard Quest. So what explains this big jump in the monthly numbers today, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I think it's a fine question that doesn't lend itself to an easy answer. There are some various

technical factors about the way the population was counted that sort of give you room to say well, the number would have been higher. But that

doesn't get to the heart of it. The reality is, everyone was taken by surprise.

And you can see that, Hala, by the fact that the November and December numbers were quite dramatically revised upwards. The U.S. economy is

stronger. The job growth is stronger. The work of participation is stronger, and the increase in hourly earnings is stronger than previously

thought. Two sides to the same coin. Grist to the mill for the Fed to raise interest rates next month.

GORANI: So, what does that tell us about the recovery -- well, about -- because this was --

QUEST: Yes --

GORANI: About recovery, yet, it's there, but you have other issues as well that you have to deal with. As you -- we've discussed, inflation is a

problem, interest rates will have to go up, but what about the rest of the world? What does that tell us?

QUEST: It tells us that the engine of the -- the motor in the engine that can help drive the rest of the world into good growth is working well. You

have to -- I think viewers need to understand, life is de facto normal in this country at the moment. And less for those people who are

immunosuppressed or have issues, but by and large, most of us are going about our normal business, restaurants are open, subways run.

Sometimes you're masked, sometimes you're not. So unless there is an exigent event related to the -- to a new variant, the U.S. is going to

continue to grow with this strong growth. And yes, we saw a slight uptick in unemployment, again, that's technical factors. That's actually more

people looking for work. So I'm not saying it's completely rosy. Don't get me wrong. There are a thousand --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: A million problems here. But on the economic front at the moment, the economy is strong, robust enough, albeit slowing, hence Facebook's

share price and Netflix's share price and all that stuff, but it is growing.


GORANI: But I did notice there was a rebound on the market. And it was a significant one for tech stocks as well. I wonder, is there a sense --

QUEST: Amazon --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: Did this --

GORANI: Is there a sense that perhaps the decline was overdone?

QUEST: Forgive me while I get one of my props out, Hala.

GORANI: It's been so long, Richard --

QUEST: That's the market. That's the market.


I mean, when do you ever just go like that? It doesn't. We went down and now we're swinging back up. And now we'll go down, and this will be the

volatility that we will see for several more weeks until we get clarity. But over time, it will reach the equilibrium where the market believes

stocks are fairly priced.

GORANI: And what about other sectors of the economy because when we see such a big positive jobs number, where is the engine here? What's playing

the growth?

QUEST: Well, hold on. So this -- so this was interesting because it was all over. You know, you look at November and December, it was seasonal

factors that drove --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: That. But there are seasonal factors in January as well. Re- stocking and the like which all took place because remember, stocks have been -- I mean, physical stocks in warehouses have been down. So we're

waiting to see whether it's health care, tourism will come back in the Spring. That will pick up the slack. There is -- again, one hates to be

Pollyanna, because as you said in your introduction, you know, 2,000 to 3,000 people a day are losing their life in the United States from COVID.

And I have to be blunt. Most people are not talking about it. Most people don't know that, and it seems to be a lot of people don't care.

GORANI: Right, well, we were yesterday discussing one of the reasons behind that, and the low booster percentage in the U.S. definitely is one

of the factors according to experts, because there are less than 27 percent --

QUEST: Yes --

GORANI: Fully boosted. Compare that to the U.K., over 50 percent fully boosted. In France, in the 40 --

QUEST: Well, it's all related -- hang on --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: That's all related because --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: Only 63 percent or 65 percent of the country are fully-vaccinated. And therefore, if you take that number and extrapolate it into those parts

of the country which are showing 80 percent, 90 percent, 95 percent, northeast, West Coast --

GORANI: Yes --

QUEST: That's where you see the higher levels of boosting.

GORANI: Sure, thank you very much Richard --

QUEST: Thank you --

GORANI: We'll see you on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" --

QUEST: You will --

GORANI: At the top of the hour.

QUEST: You will.

GORANI: Still to come tonight, with the West threatening harsh sanctions if Russia attacks Ukraine, Vladimir Putin signs some new lucrative deals

with the largest energy consumer in the world. And could pigs be the future of transplant medicine? We look at the groundbreaking but obviously

controversial, ethically questionable some way, possibility of using pigs for human transplant. We'll be right back.




GORANI: Back now to our top story, Russia and China announced a new strengthened Alliance today that reflects what they call a shift toward

redistribution of power in the world. Obviously, they mean away from Western countries.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingping held a summit on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics, each one support for some top priorities, including

Russia's demand that NATO stop expanding. The countries are also strengthen -- strengthening their economic ties, signing new gas and oil supply deals

worth tens of billions of dollars.

Anna Stewart is following that part of the story from London. So how much could each country benefit from the other economically as a result of some

of these deals?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, the deals are pretty interesting, sizeable increases, I think, both in oil and gas. But really, this is a

continuation of a pivot from Russia to China that we've seen now for some years. Naturally, over the last year, we've seen this trading relationship

really grow, it was worth some $146 billion last year. And that was a huge increase both in terms of exports and imports. And a huge chunk of that, as

you can see now on your screen, a huge chunk of that is to do with energy.

Now, it's interesting that of course, Russia is looking to pivot towards China, particularly at this time when tensions with the West are so

obvious, and particularly when it comes to energy, because Europe is Russia's biggest market for gas at the moment. So it's completely

understandable why they want to further, bolster this relationship with China.

Now, it would be difficult, though, to really increase it much more than they already have. They have announced an additional 10 billion cubic

meters longer term, that brings it to about 48, I believe, by 2035. That is a tiny fraction compared to the gas that Russia currently sends to Europe.

And here's why. We can show you the pipelines that currently exist. There is the power of Siberia pipeline that goes from Russia through to China,

but it's really lacking capacity.

At the moment, it only carries around 10, 10.5 BCM a year, it will ramp up but it'll never rival the pipelines that go to Europe. But you can see

there that they're looking at something called the power of Siberia, too, and this is a bit of a pipe dream, Hala. You know, this isn't even in the

works in terms of being made, that would significantly increase that relationship. It is a very big pipe like going through Mongolia, into


But there's a lot of talk about this. And a lot of the deals really perhaps are optics, Russia showing the West that it has got this very important

trading relationship, and it is looking to increase it.

GORANI: And what they want to be able to do is obviously do business and grow economically by bypassing some of the sanctions that are imposed on

countries like Russia, the banking system have their own sort of parallel system. But we're far from that, aren't we?

STEWART: I think we probably are really far from that. It'll be interesting to see. And I think it would take sanctions on Russia just to see how

advanced their payment system is. And China's which, of course, they're hoping to interlink.

The last time we saw sanctions on Russia in 2014, with the annexation of Crimea, China was very much Russia's ally on the political stage. They

defended Russia. They were against all the sanctions. But when you looked at what happened to trade, it was really interesting, direct investment

into Russia fell and trade between them slumped by 29 percent.

Now since then, they have been trying to work through their own sort of payment system that could replace Swift. They have been working on some

other measures. But frankly, you got to look at this from China's perspective. Russia is a tiny trading partner for China. It represents two

percent of overall trade. Their big trading partners are the U.S. and Europe and their economy is slowing. So they also have to factor in the

damage that would be done if they did --


STEWART: -- try to help Russia out too much in the event of sanctions, Hala.

GORANI: It is a global system, isn't it? Thank you very much, Anna Stewart.

Now for a look at some of the groundbreaking and controversial research into transplants, animal to human transplants.


How important might pigs be to the future of modern medicine. Take a look.


GORANI: These common farm animals could be the key to ending the global shortage in human organs. Researchers at a university in Munich, Germany

plan to clone and then breed a genetically modified species of these pigs to serve as heart donors for humans.



have to introduce genetic modifications, namely switching off three (INAUDIBLE) genes and adding at least two human genes.


GORANI: It's complicated, but possible. This surgery happened just a few weeks ago. American David Bennett became the first person in the world to

receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. The surgery was successful. For now, doctors say he's doing well, but then it is not out of

the woods yet. There are risks of infection, high blood pressure, and even organ rejection.

It was a groundbreaking surgery, one which Professor Wolf calls an important step forward. The U.S. donor pig had 10 genetic modifications.

But Wolf says his team is taking a simpler approach with fewer modifications, and a natural breeding program.


WOLF (through translator): The donor pig that was used in the USA was a cloned pig. This is certainly not the right way to go through routine

clinical use because cloning itself can also have side effects, which we want to avoid. We will definitely create our donor pigs through breeding.


GORANI: But the use of animal donors is controversial and raises serious ethical concerns. While they have the potential to save thousands of human

lives, some say the cost to animals is much too high.


KRISTINA BERCHTOLD, SPOKESPERSON, ANIMAL WELFARE ASSOCIATION MUNICH (through translator): An Animal Protection Association, we of course find

this ethically very questionable and not justifiable because animals should not service spare part storage for humans.


GORANI: Still thousands of people are in need of organ transplants in Germany alone. Professor Wolf's team plans to have its new modified pig

species ready for transplant trials by 2025.


GORANI: STILL to come tonight, some public universities in Afghanistan are reopening to male and female students. We'll speak to a human rights

activist about the state of girls' education in the Taliban controlled country.

Plus, one of the world's most famous Chinese dissidents is speaking to CNN, what he's saying about the Winter Games in Beijing now that they've

officially kicked off, stay with us.



GORANI: The Pentagon says that the deadly attack at the Kabul Airport last August was the result of a single suicide bomber, not a complex attack

officials initially described. You'll remember the death toll was staggering at least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 American service members

were killed by what U.S. officials now say was a single explosive device.

They initially believe that the attack involved ISIS-K gunmen as well. It happened as U.S. and foreign troops were conducting those chaotic

evacuation efforts after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

Some of Afghanistan's public universities are reopening for the first time since the Taliban takeover in August. And importantly, female students are

being allowed back in though in separate classes. Since the Taliban seized power, human rights activists have worried that women and girls would not

be allowed to study, but a Taliban spokesperson says education officials are working on a plan to start secondary girls schooling next month, though

we've heard that really over the last several months and it hasn't happened yet.

Pashtana Dorani is the founder and executive director of LEARN, an NGO for girls education in Afghanistan, and she joins me now from Wellesley,

Massachusetts. Thanks, Pashtana Dorani, for being with us. First, your reaction to some of these public universities reopening and allowing some

female students to attend so long as they remain separate from their male colleagues.

PASHTANA DORANI, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTION, LEARN: Thank you, Hala, for having me. Yes. The news confirmed that universities have opened up in

Kandahar, Laghman, Nangarhar, and Paktika. That's what the research -- the sources told us in the warmer regions, these places are open, I think it's

something that we have to welcome because it was not expected. And if they have done it, it's -- it should be welcomed.

But at the same time, as a person who had to leave the country, because my university was not open, it does hurt a little bit that majority of my

friends and our collegemates had to leave because our university was closed down.

GORANI: So how many universities are now allowing women? What are what are you hearing?

DORANI: So these are the public universities, we are talking about private universities are already allowed to function and they were functioning

because they have the resources and everything. So we already have a student in the Medical Institute in Kandahar. So we know the process there.

But overall, these are public universities we are talking about, government-led, and these universities attend opening day before yesterday.

And this is a welcome step. But then at the same time, it depends on the resources on how much they will be able to, like, you know, stretch the

resources. It's a welcome step. But at the same time, we have to see what happens next, or whatever the curriculum, the faculties, everything like


GORANI: Yes. And also there's a big difference between allowing women to return and women actually returning, they could be intimidated -- right,

they could be intimidated by men in their villages or their cities, and being made to feel bad for going back.

DORANI: It's more -- I think people who are already enrolled in places like Laghman or places like Paktika or Kandahar even, I don't think it would be

more the men discouraging, it's more like, you know, the whole policy in a country is discouraging girls at secondary level from going to school does

affect students. And if the teachers are harassed, if education overall is discouraged, it does affect the student's enrollment in -- on that level,

on graduate level.

It's a welcome thing, but at the same time, we have to look at the psychological effects. At the same time, how many people have fled, how

many women have fled, how many people cannot afford it anymore, how many scholarships have dropped, all those things are very important. And most

importantly, it's discouraged right now. So we have to understand. In the past, it has been encouraged. Now, it's discouraged. So it does affect a


GORANI: Yes. That's a very important point to make. And also the secondary schools are still not allowing girls.

DORANI: Yes, yes. So the secondary schools, people are very happy about the fact that they are opening it in March. And I hope they do. But then at the

same time, one whole academic year has been wasted. And in the warmer regions, the promises that I just mentioned, the schools were supposed to

open now and they were supposed to close in the end of March or in the starting of April.

So the -- this one whole academic year is only wasted for the girls from class 7 to class 12 and just so you know, we won't have a new batch to

enroll into the -- those undergrad or graduate studies because the girls never graduated from high school. So nobody's answering these technical

questions and we have to ask them on bigger platforms. Yes.

GORANI: Can I ask you personally for you, I mean, seeing that some women are allowed back into university that hopefully secondary education will be

open to girls again.


Would you consider going back to a Taliban-led Afghanistan or would you not go back so long as they're in power?

DORANI: I'm going to be honest, I always have political differences, not only with Taliban, any person who has politicized girls' education in

Afghanistan, I will always have differences and opposition to those people. But at the same time, I just can't abandon my people and my students

especially, and I will do anything to go back. And I'm hoping to go back. I just am waiting for my graduation. So, yes.

GORANI: All right. Well, Pashtana Dorani, thank you so much for joining us. It's always a pleasure talking to you and getting your thoughts on what's

going on in your country, especially with the news coming out of Afghanistan on public universities. Thank you.

I want to talk to you about a dramatic rescue effort taking place in Morocco. Crews are trying to reach a 5-year-old boy who has been trapped

inside of a well since Tuesday. So that's three -- more than three days now. Workers have dug deep down and now they're digging across. It's been a

very delicate operation as they try to make sure the ground doesn't collapse around this poor little boy. Food, water and oxygen have been sent

into the well. The mission has captivated Morocco as people are praying and hoping that the little boy comes out safe.

Austria is now the first country in Europe to enact a strict and controversial vaccine mandate. All residents eligible to receive the COVID

vaccine are now required to do so. This mandate comes after parliament approved the legislation on Thursday, the officials will begin conducting

compliance checks next month, and those in violation will face increasing fines. Jim Bittermann has those details.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the signature of its president, Australia's put into place one of the strictest COVID

laws in Europe, requiring everyone over the age of 18 to be vaccinated or face stiff penalties. The mandate, which will not be enforced until mid-

March, specifies that anyone without a vaccine certificate or an exemption could first be slapped with a 600 Euro or about $680.

But in cases of continued noncompliance, the penalties go up to as much as 3,600 Euros or $4,000 and they can be imposed up to four times a year for

continued refusal to get vaccinated. The major comes after weeks of debate and at a time when many European countries like here in France, Sweden,

Switzerland, Denmark, and others are lifting some or all of the COVID restrictions as infection and hospitalization rates in many places seem to

have passed their peak. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

GORANI: And still to come tonight, a bridge in the Netherlands has become a battleground over Jeff Bezos. Is the request to dismantle the historic

landmark a bridge too far to accommodate his yacht? We'll explain the controversy.



GORANI: While the focus is on the athletes at the Winter Olympics, controversy still looms over these games. The U.S., Britain, Canada and

Australia are among the countries staging that diplomatic boycott over China's human rights records. Selina Wang looks at who's in and who's out

and what China is saying about all of it.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin bringing the eyes of the world with him to Beijing. Like the Russian president who has silenced his

critics at home and threatened his enemies abroad, many of the dignitaries at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics do not have a glowing

record when it comes to human rights and freedoms. It's a constant charge leveled at host China.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: We should not be here at all.


WANG: While athletes from 91 teams will compete, far fewer will be represented by visiting VIPs at the opening ceremony, and most of those

places are considered either not free or only partly free by U.S. rights group Freedom House.

From Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt's Abdel Fattah el- Sisi, the autocratic leaders of countries like Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. They're all filling a gap left by the United States and like-minded

countries who are staging a diplomatic boycott department.

Washington says China's rights record, particularly the alleged genocide of its Uyghur Muslim minority, means it cannot contribute to the fanfare of

the games. Despite mounting evidence, the Chinese government says it's not persecuting the Uyghurs.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of

the PRC's egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply can't do that.


WANG: A far cry from 2008 when George W. Bush sat shoulder to shoulder with Chinese officials.


BRENNAN: Saying basically to China, we despise your repressive, awful regime. We hate what you're doing with human rights abuses. We are not

going to validate your Olympic Games. And we're not coming, but we're sending our athletes to do what they do. So it's really the perfect answer.


WANG: But to Beijing, the party won't be spoiled by its many notable absentees. The 2008 Games were a moment for China to prove to the world

what it was capable of. But this time around, the country isn't asking for approval, and the world is well aware of China's might.


WANG: The U.S. believes its diplomatic snub will keep Beijing's rights record in focus. But as the West turns its back on China, Xi Jinping is

finding friends elsewhere, friends who won't be so quick to criticize. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


GORANI: Ai Weiwei is criticizing China's ruling Communist Party and the International Olympic Committee. The famous Chinese artists helped design

the venue used in the opening ceremony. And he's also known for being an outspoken critic of the Chinese government. So he doesn't live in China

anymore. He now lives in Europe. A short while ago, he told us that he thinks the IOC is not focused on the safety of athletes.


AI WEIWEI, ARTIST & ACTIVIST: I would tell IOC first, they never remained as a neutral position. They're always standing next to the authoritarians,

or business. Business is the first target for them. So they have been -- since 2008 Olympics, they have been working with the government's

propaganda. And this time, they're even more.


GORANI: Ai Weiwei there speaking to CNN earlier.

It's not often that a bridge becomes the basis of a controversy, but this one does involve Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder is reportedly building a

super mega yacht. It's more than a super yacht. It's a super mega yacht in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It's going to be so huge that the ship

builder has asked to partially disassemble a historic bridge so that they're able to sail it out to sea and that is triggering a fair bit of



CNN's Nada Bashir has those details.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The super yacht reportedly commissioned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is under construction in Rotterdam. But in order

to get it to the ocean, the Dutch city's historic Steel Bridge will have to be temporarily dismantled, a feat that is proving not quite as simple as an

Amazon delivery, with some accusing Basil of going a bridge too far.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more money you have, the more power you get, even though it goes against principles of the city. The city says we're not

going to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What can I say? I guess big money wins again, as always, but it will also create some employment of course,

and I think that's important for this region as well.


BASHIR: When the bridge known to locals as De Hef was last renovated in 2017, local officials promised the 19th century landmark would never again

be dismantled. According to Dutch public broadcaster, Rijnmond.

Authorities have acknowledged that the super yacht is a significant project for Rotterdam, considered Europe's with maritime capital, benefiting the

local economy and creating jobs. Bezos and shipbuilding company Oceanco would also need to foot the bill. But some including, Rotterdam's Green

Party, have questioned why the city should be forced to dismantle an iconic landmark for Bezos's personal gain.

One local Green Party counselor said "This man has earned his money by structurally exploiting staff, evading taxes and avoiding regulations, and

now we have to take down our beautiful national monument? That is really going a bridge too far." Thousands have even signed up to an event shared

on Facebook calling for locals to throw eggs at the super yacht once it finally sets sail.

The request has also sparked debate further afield. U.S. House Representative Adam Schiff tweeting, "If Jeff Bezos can pay to dismantle a

bridge in the Netherlands to fit his super yacht, then his company should have no trouble paying its fair share in taxes so we can build bridges in


For now, the request is still under consideration, which could mean a shipping delay for Bezos. Nada Bashir, CNN, London.

GORANI: All right. And while Jeff Bezos is doing that, his ex wife, MacKenzie Scott, has donated millions and millions of dollars of the

settlement she got -- the money she got as a part of the divorce settlement. She's donated in fact $133 1/2 to educational nonprofit

communities in school. So there you have it. Quite the contrast between the two. Thanks for watching tonight. Do stay with CNN. I'm HALA GORANI. "QUEST