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Hala Gorani Tonight
Russia Lists Demands For De-Escalation In Ukraine; Belarusian Skier Banned From Competing Flees To Poland; Ottawa Trucker Protests Inspire Copycat Demonstrations; Over 1,000 Tickets Issued In Canada Trucker Protests, Nearly 2 Dozen Arrested; Women's Education In India; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Responds After Another Party Photo Emerges. Aired 2- 3p ET
Aired February 09, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in New York, I am Zain Asher. Tonight, Russia lays out its demands for de-
escalation in Ukraine, we'll be live in Kyiv with details. Then to the Olympics where political tensions simmer just below the surface with one
Belarusian skier fleeing to Poland. I'll bring you more on why?
Plus, Canada's COVID-19 trucker protest goes global. I'll bring you the latest from Ottawa and Detroit, Michigan. All those stories are ahead. But
first, we want to begin with a CNN special report. Last August, at the height of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a deadly terror
attack at Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members, and at least 170 Afghan civilians. The Pentagon investigation into the attack released last
Friday said everyone died as a result of the blast.
The work of a lone suicide bomber. But a four-month CNN investigation into that horrific airport attack now raises serious questions if it has been
investigated fully. Nick Paton Walsh joins us live now. So, Nick, CNN spent about four months conducting this investigation, looking at medical
records, talking to about 70 eyewitnesses including doctors and hospital staff. And it turns out that even though the official line was that
everyone was killed in this suicide bomb blast, that might not be the whole story. Walk us through it.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Certainly, the Pentagon's narrative is that everybody was killed by the bomb, but we have
spent, as you said, months speaking to a number of eyewitnesses, medical staff in Kabul, Afghans who the U.S. investigators have said they did not
talk to who paint a different picture or certainly one that raises many questions for the United States military. I should warn you our report does
contain some graphic images.
WALSH (voice-over): The blast tore into the dense crowd.
MORSAL HAMIDI, SURVIVOR OF KABUL AIRPORT BLAST: The very high bomb blast sound and dead people, I saw a lot of hands, legs without their bodies.
WALSH: At least, 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops died after an ISIS suicide bomber struck outside Kabul airport. A Pentagon investigation of the attack
released Friday said everyone died in the blast.
KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The single explosive device killed at least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. service members by
explosively directing ball bearings through a packed crowd and into our men and women at Abbey Gate.
WALSH: A reviewed unearthed this brief glimpse of bomber. CNN spent four months investigating the incident, reviewing medical records and analyzing
video photos and audio of the scene and speaking to over 70 witnesses or families of the dead. Doctors, hospital staff and survivors who insist some
of the dead and wounded were shot. The analysis and testimonies raised hard questions as to whether the bomb can explain all the deaths.
NOORULLAH ZAKHEL, SURVIVOR OF KABUL AIRPORT BLAST: When the soldiers came directly and they started firing, I lied down when they started firing like
WALSH: CNN spoke to doctors and medical staff at five hospitals who spoke of seeing or treating what they say were gunshot wounds. An Italian-run
emergency hospital told CNN in a statement about that evening, their doctors assessed, quote, "gunshot wounds on nine victims who arrived dead
in the hour after the blast." Seven were shot in the head, they said. But there was no autopsy done for those, are rare in Afghanistan.
So, they assessed the appearance of the wounds after an Afghan military hospital, a doctor recorded two other victims that were, quote, "dead due
to gun-shot injuries and blast injuries from the airport attack." Then, there are the survivors. One Afghan survivor was treated in the U.S.
military's own Walter Reed hospital outside Washington.
He showed us his medical records, asking to be anonymous for his safety. They recorded a gunshot wound to the left chest and blast injuries, too.
Another survivor. Morsal Hamidi had a bullet injury to the left side of her face, say her records from the Italian hospital in Kabul.
M. HAMIDI: I realized that the blood was coming from my face like water out of tap. I was hit by a bullet in my face, in my right jaw here, and the
blood extracted from this part of my throat.
WALSH: Dead and wounded flooded into hospitals. We spoke to a doctor who treated patients at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, one of the biggest in Kabul.
He said he pulled bullets out of four injured patients from the airport that night. He said he found gunshot wounds on many other dead bodies he
examined, suggesting the number of people shot may be much higher. He asked we hide his identity for his safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was two kinds of injuries. People burned from the blast with lots of holes in their bodies, but with a gunshot, you can see
just one or two holes, in the mouth, in the head, in the eye, in the chest. I removed bullets from four or five injured.
WALSH: U.S. military investigators insist that was not the case.
LANCE CURTIS, U.S. MILITARY INVESTIGATOR: There were absolutely no gunshot wounds. During the course of our investigation, we found no evidence that
post-blast, U.S. service members killed other U.S. service members or Afghans.
WALSH: But investigators admit they did not talk to any Afghan civilians.
CURTIS: During the course of our investigation, we did not have an opportunity to speak with Afghans on the ground.
WALSH: Yet, dozens of Afghans assert there was deadly gunfire after the bomb hit here at Abbey Gate. We've built a 3D model of the scene, here's
the canal outside the gate 45 minutes before the blast. And then just before the device detonated, it's packed and the Marines are bunched up.
The U.S. military said the device was sophisticated and sent ball bearings flying into a dense crowd surrounding the bomber at the time of ignition,
and could be reasonably expected to have killed all the people.
Here's one of those ball bearings removed from a victim's shoulder. The U.S. military told CNN, that doctors might have mistaken wounds made by
these ball bearings for bullet wounds, adding they were too similar to tell apart without study of the internal wounds and the finding of the
projectile that caused it which the Afghan hospital could not do in a mass casualty event. But the doctor who said he pulled bullets out of four
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to my 15 years of surgery in Afghanistan, bomb and bullet injuries are very different. When a ball bearing enters the
body, it makes a big hole, different from a shot bullet. When a bullet enters, it makes a small hole with a specific border. And when it leaves,
it makes a big hole.
WALSH: Other staff at his hospital told CNN, they, too, had seen bullet wounds. There is no dispute there was some shooting. Some in this video
three minutes after the blast. You can hear three gunshots but not see who is shooting. There's chaos and fear. U.S. Marines are likely tending to
injured near the gate. Children are being carried away, some crouched for cover. U.S. military investigators released drone video, they said started
just after this.
It is patchy, but they said their analysis of the footage showed nobody running away and panic from gunfire or any evidence of shooting. The U.S.
and U.K. militaries have said there were three bursts of gunfire, both at some point just after the blast. U.S. troops noticed a suspicious military-
aged male across the canal soon after the blast. U.S. Investigators said they fired four warning shots. A U.K. defense official told CNN their
troops on top of a tower fired warning shots at about the same time to prevent a crowd surge.
The U.S. Investigators said the British fired 25 to 35 rounds over the crowd from two positions. Another Marine team fired again, this time at a
male on a roof armed, they said with an AK-47. Investigators couldn't say how many rounds they shot. The U.S. and British military say all the shots
were fired over the crowded canal, but did not hit anyone.
(on camera): Now, it's important to remember, that none of the dozens of eyewitnesses we've spoken to have recalled seeing any other gunman, be it
ISIS or Taliban in that scene in the aftermath.
(voice-over): A U.S. official also said, no other gunman fired in the aftermath, but one Marine did talk to "CBS News" in September, recalling a
fire fight with an assailant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's blown off his feet, and still has his wits about him, shot through the shoulder, immediately recovers his weapon and puts
the opposing gunman down.
WALSH: A U.S. official CNN spoke to now assert the Marine spoke in error, adding no other troops investigators interviewed recall that incident
occurring. Doubts over the Pentagon's story also emerge from Afghan survivors. They also recall troops opening fire, but say civilians were
hit. Morsal was there with her sister, Shogofa in the trench 3 meters from the blast, she said.
M. HAMIDI: I heard from -- was falling into my hands, and I just put it on the other dead people.
WALSH (on camera): You saw the soldiers on the wall of the trench shooting down into the trench?
M. HAMIDI: Yes. They shoot at the trench.
WALSH: And when the shooting started, did you see it or did you hear it?
SHOGOFA HAMIDI, SURVIVOR OF KABUL AIRPORT BLAST: Yes, I saw the soldiers exactly. Some came to save their own colleagues, others stood there and
fired directly towards people.
WALSH (voice-over): Noorullah Zakhel said he was also in the trench, hit in the head by the blast and tried to flee with his cousin Sahel(ph).
ZAKHEL: I talked to my cousin, Sahel(ph) run. We run together when I tried to go climb out from the canal, I succeeded, but I think my cousin escaped.
The soldier came directly and they started firing.
WALSH (on camera): When did you find out that Sahel(ph) was dead?
ZAKHEL: In the morning time. When I called my family, is Sahel(ph) OK? They said he's murdered.
WALSH: And how was his body? What were the injuries on his body?
ZAKHEL: They were just shot, two bullets, one hit on this side and taken out from this side, and another one on shoulder.
WALSH (voice-over): One survivor didn't want to be identified, and said he was also in the trench. He said he saw his cousin shot in front of him.
Medical reports we cited earlier confirmed his brother and cousin were declared as having been shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe five minutes after the blast, I tried to help my brother and cousin out of the canal, but I wasn't able to. They were alive
until that point. But when the firing started, a bullet hit one of them in the head. This is what I saw with my own eyes. He died right there on the
WALSH: A total of 19 survivors CNN has interviewed said they saw people shot or were shot themselves. The U.S. military said the witnesses we spoke
to had, quote, "jumbled memories" from a concussive event and are doing their best to piece together what their brain is unlikely to remember
clearly, and that no other facts backed up claims people were shot. The volume of testimony from Afghan survivors though does present questions as
to how so many witnesses could make such similar claims.
CHRIS COBB-SMITH, FORENSIC BLAST ANALYST: I feel like I know the area backwards already, having looked at all that footage.
WALSH: CNN hired a forensic blast analyst, former U.N. weapon inspector and a war crimes investigator Chris Cobb-Smith to see what the scene could
tell us about the bomb.
COBB-SMITH: It does indeed look as though the bomb was filled with ball bearings.
WALSH (on camera): That it was quite small, right?
COBB-SMITH: Yes, it's most certainly a small device. It was actually nothing of the concrete infrastructure of this area, but has been damaged
significantly by a big blast. I do not believe that bomb was big enough to kill 180 people at all.
WALSH (voice-over): That remains under contention, and there were other experts who believed the bomb could have killed all those people. The
Pentagon's investigation aims to provide answers for the families of Americans lost here, but in Afghanistan, the survivors of the blast and its
aftermath dispute the American narrative and suffer with their memories.
M. HAMIDI: Every night, it's like a nightmare for me. I cannot sleep. It's very terrible for me, but I just try to remember all my hopes, all my wish.
WALSH: So there is still this gulf between what the Pentagon says happened during that event and what we heard from dozens of interviews with Afghan
civilians, medical staff, witnesses, relatives of the dead about what they heard occurred in the aftermath there. I went to the Pentagon in January
for a 3 and a half hour briefing with seven members of the investigative team who explained their point of view.
We've had countless exchanges since then. But still there remains this gap between what the U.S. says happened according to their version of events
from speaking to their own personnel and looking at open source and their own video material, and that which we heard from Afghans who were also in
the aftermath witnesses as well.
Afghans who the U.S. accept they did not speak to. So, fundamentally, Zain, the question now is, is this the end of the investigation for the United
States or do they think that this gap in their knowledge is something that means they should investigate further? Because I have to tell you,
listening to the volume of testimony we heard from Afghans whose lives were fundamentally changed, who lost loved ones in that moment, there are a lot
of questions still to answer.
ASHER: Yes, and we saw those very emotional interviews in that piece, Nick, hopefully, we get more answers from the Pentagon and for our
audience. You can learn more by going to cnn.com. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for that very thorough investigation.
Right, still to come here tonight, Russia makes its demands, find out what it wants from the West as it masses more forces around Ukrainian borders.
Plus, Beijing's Winter sports industry is booming, thanks to the Olympics, we'll see what China is doing to make sure fans stick around long after the
ASHER: After months of a Russian military build-up around Ukraine's borders, Moscow is now spelling out exactly what it would take to pull back
from the brink. Today, it listed demands for a de-escalation of tensions. Russia says armed deliveries to Ukraine must stop. Western military
advisors must leave Ukraine. All joint Ukrainian-NATO military exercises must end, and all previously delivered weapons shipments to Kyiv must be
Yet, take a look here. This was a scene at Kyiv airport today. A new shipment of defensive weapons and military trainers arriving from the U.K.,
and while Russians demand Ukraine stop drills with NATO, it's getting ready to officially begin vast military exercises with Belarus on Thursday. NATO
says its Russia's biggest deployment to the ex-Soviet state since the cold war. Our Melissa Bell has been following all of these developments tonight
So, Melissa, obvious what the West or NATO is certainly not going to meet or give into Russia's demands here. I understand that you've been looking
into the many varying factors that would affect, if, how, and when Putin decides to strike. Walk us through that.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Zain. Even as the world waits to find out exactly what he intends to do as we watch that military
build-up in Belarus, as you say, there's 30,000 Russian troops that American Intelligence says could be heading there. The more than 100,000
troops now near the Ukrainian border that we've been covering now for some weeks, that have been continuing to mass 2,000 sent in the last 24 hours,
according to American Intelligence.
The real question is whether this is just about pressure not only on Ukraine, but of course, also on NATO and on Europe or whether there are
plans for an actual invasion. The worry is that the way troops are being massed right now, that could be entirely possible fairly quickly and with
devastating effect. Now, one crucial factor, Zain, you're quite right, would be the weather and how it will impact both the ground and the skies
above Ukraine over the coming weeks.
BELL (voice-over): Across much of Ukraine, it's been a mild Winter, still plenty of snow, but much of it turning to slush. This year, Varsovia, less
icy than normal for the beginning of February. According to the latest data, temperatures are running between 1 degrees and 3 degrees Celsius
higher than the 30-year average. And that just might make a difference to any Russian military offensive.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For them to move in and occupy the whole country, particularly from the north from Belarus, it's -- he's
going to have to wait a little bit with the ground frozen.
BELL: The view in Washington is that a Russian offensive needs frozen ground given Ukraine's landscape.
MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Prominent terrain includes flat open plains. And there are an abundance of rivers and lakes,
and there's a high water table. And when that high water table freezes, it makes it for optimal conditions for cross-country track and wheeled vehicle
BELL: It's not so much that modern tanks get bucked down in wet conditions, but the support they need can do.
JOHN WILLIAMS, SENIOR DEFENSE RESEARCHER, RAND CORP.: More importantly than the tracked vehicles themselves is what they need to sustain
themselves, which is fuel and ammunition which are very heavy and are generally carried by wheeled vehicles that need good roads.
BELL: Even the Russians admit that in some areas, wet conditions can be a factor.
VLADIMIR CHIZHOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO EUROPEAN UNION: If you studied geography of the area, actually, the southern part of Belarus are close to
the Ukrainian border, is a very swampy area which is hardly fitting for a certain active engagement of tanks and other heavy weaponry.
BELL: It's not just the conditions on the ground. It's the skies as well. Clear skies are important for reconnaissance and Intelligence gathering and
for landing assault troops.
WILLIAMS: Cloudy weather, rain, snow, all of that would inhibit the reconnaissance measures that you would use to find the targets. And if you
can't find the targets precisely, then the effect that your fires are going to have are going to be diminished.
BELL: But in the initial phase of any conflict, some experts say that Russia would likely opt for weapons that can operate in any weather. Long-
range artillery, ballistic missiles, they would seek to take out Ukrainian command and control, not frontline forces. Satellite imagery indicates that
such weapons have been brought forward to positions near the Ukrainian border.
BELL: And Zain, for the time being, Ukrainian officials have continued to urge caution. We heard from the Ukrainian foreign minister today who said
look, we were promised a war in December, in mid January, at the end of January, It still hasn't happened. And for the time being, diplomacy
appears to be working. It is certainly allowing Ukrainians to show that they have friends, that they have allies, and that they're getting
But clearly, that statement from the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry extremely worrying since they are now placing the question of any de-
escalation on the shoulders of the Ukrainians. Clearly, for the West, that's a non-starter. What they're placing any possibility of de-escalation
on is the de-escalation on the Russian side. And that is extremely worrying. Clearly, all eyes very much now on what not so much what Vladimir
Putin is going to decide to do since no one knows that for sure.
But what he can do, and certainly in terms of the troops massed around Ukraine, it is an extremely worrying picture, Zain..
ASHER: Yes, but the world is watching closely. Melissa Bell, thank you so much for that. Olympic organizers want everyone's focus on the sports, but
politics are never far from this Winter's games. The latest political headline, a cross-country skier from Belarus has fled to Poland. Seventeen-
year-old Darya Dolidovich was barred from competing in this year's Winter Olympics, and she tells "Reuters" it's because of her involvement with the
opposition movement in her home country.
As well as politics, there's also the business of the Olympics. China has poured billions of dollars into its growing Winter sports industry. CNN's
David Culver has more.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beijing playing host to its second Olympics. But these are the first Winter games
held in China's capital city. Given that many parts of China rarely see below freezing temperatures, Winter sports are traditionally not as
popular. But that is changing.
Eric Zhang, and his toddler twins just got back from a ski trip in northeastern China. Growing up in southern China, Eric never even saw snow
until he moved to the U.S. for college. It was there he started skiing, and now as a dad, he's made it a family hobby.
ERIC ZHANG, SKI ENTHUSIAST: I heard of so many friends around me, and they are starting to learn skiing. They are starting to learn snowboarding,
CULVER (on camera): Even as adults they --
ZHANG: Even as adults, right? And then so, we are bringing our kids on to the snow so that the industry is going to be booming.
CULVER (voice-over): Booming in typical China fashion. Take Zhang city Shanghai, the lack of snow and ice, not a problem. Artificial skating rinks
like this one are built annually with the help of snow-making machines, giving kids in today's southern China a luxury generations before them
never experienced. Getting a feel for the slopes on these ski simulators in the past five or so years, more than 100 of these climate controlled
machines have sprung up in Shanghai alone.
(on camera): As people across China warm up to the idea of Winter sports, you've got more and more indoor ski facilities like this one here in
Shanghai that are opening up. And with that you have a rapidly expanding market for it.
(voice-over): As part of its Olympic campaign, the Chinese government unveiled an ambitious Winter sports development plan in 2016, aiming to
construct 650 skating rinks and 800 ski resorts by the end of this year. And to grow the scale of the industry, to top $150 billion by 2025, a
lucrative market that attracts both domestic and international businesses. China is proud of the surging craze since Beijing won its bid for the
Winter Olympics 7 years ago, the government says it has successfully motivated more than 300 million Chinese to participate in Winter sports.
A target set by Chinese President Xi Jinpiing in 2014. "We should take the opportunity to popularize ice and snow sports", Xi stresses, but China's
speedy growth also brings problems, the quality and service of its ski resorts are still relatively behind more traditional ski resorts in the
West. There are also environmental concerns. The massive artificial snow- making and ski resorts, stretches already exhausted water resources. Back at his Shanghai apartment, ski enthusiast Eric Zhang hopeful for what's
ZHANG: I think Winter Olympics is going to be a strong booster for this. You are going to see the huge boost in enthusiasm and passion of the
Chinese people in this Winter sport.
CULVER: An Olympic ambition for a once rural nation primed to make Winter sports mainstream, to last long after the closing ceremonies. David Culver,
ASHER: We'll have much more on the Beijing Olympics later on in the show. We'll look at some of the biggest underdogs and the most surprising upsets
as well. Also ahead, from the Canadian capital to a major border crossing and around the world. How the protests in Ottawa are inspiring a global
copycats. That's next.
ASHER: Police in Ottawa have made nearly 2 dozen arrests and issued 1,300 tickets to demonstrators. But the protests clogging Canada's capital show
no sign of slowing down.
In fact, a new front opened up this week. Vehicles are still holding up traffic at the Ambassador Bridge, a key crossing point between the U.S. and
Canada. Protesters are demanding an end to COVID restrictions.
On Monday, the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, told the demonstrators, this has to stop, but clearly no one is listening. Paula Newton joins us live
Paula, there you are in downtown Ottawa, a stone's throw away from parliament. Truckers are blocking busy thoroughfares.
What should and could Canadian authorities have done to prevent it from getting to this point?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The issue is they tried to defuse the situation. They didn't want it to escalate. And of course they
have a right to protest, to free speech. But it seems in trying to thread the needle and come to a compromise, this is what you ended up with.
And these streets, as you said, just right outside Parliament Hill, are completely blocked of traffic. Businesses have had to close. Residents have
complained they feel like they're being taken hostage.
It's really a carnival-like atmosphere, like a street party. I want you to listen to some of the people we spoke to, in terms of what is behind this
protest. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON (voice-over): Freedom: it's the mantra here and what has become an eyesore of a parking lot in front of Canada's parliament. It stretches for
blocks. It's gone on for days. The message the same: we're done with COVID and staying until the government is, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until the end, until everything is over, until problems get solved.
NEWTON (voice-over): For Dorn (ph), behind this rig for 17 years, the vaccine is the problem. He says he's vaccinated but feels he was forced
into it. He wants the freedom to choose. As a father, he admits he is stressed, losing hundreds of dollars every day he's out here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there is something more important in this life than the money. If you don't make any changes now, we're going to lose all
NEWTON (voice-over): But here's the thing: it's not just truckers. It's not just about the vaccine mandates. These Canadians drove five hours and
are here to have their say because the truckers tapped into a pandemic fatigue they say they can no longer endure. And they say they're
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Double dose. Got my QR code.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I even made and sold masks at the beginning of this. But when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a
different result, that's the definition of insanity. We are insane right now. We keep doing the same things over and over again. Nothing is
NEWTON (voice-over): To get change, they say they're staying put. No one has brokered a way out of this.
NEWTON: And now political leaders and police have learned the hard way that these kinds of truck blockades can pop up anywhere right across the
country in a moment's notice.
NEWTON (voice-over): The latest effectively paralyzing one of the most important supply chains across any border in the world, the Ambassador
Bridge between Windsor and Detroit. Police officials say it may seem easy to resolve but confrontation and violence is a real risk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so everyone here is trying to deal, at least on our side, is trying to be sensible, fair and reasonable, recognizing that we
live in a democracy and that protests and demonstration is a natural part of a democracy.
But also recognizing that it doesn't mean you can take your protest to the point of shutting down the busiest economic corridor between the United
States and Canada.
NEWTON (voice-over): But what's at stake couldn't be clearer for both the United States and Canada, a movement of truckers that can stand their
ground, it seems anywhere, and sow chaos. It's for that reason that auto industry executives are joining other high-profile Canadians in warning
American supporters of this protest to back off.
FLAVIO VOLPE, PRESIDENT, AUTOMOTIVE PARTS MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION: Let's see if tech crews or the attorney general in Texas or any other
number of American personalities are going to stand up for the manufacturers in Michigan, who can't get their products exported, or the
petrochemical companies in Texas, that rely on sending parts suppliers turning those petrochemicals into plastic parts and sending them north of
NEWTON: You know, the message is clear. This movement, the effects of it, are moving far beyond the borders of Canada. It is turning into a national
security issue at this point and also, may threaten the economy.
Having said that, the protesters say they're here to stay until all those restrictions are lifted.
ASHER: There's no way for Justin Trudeau to do that without looking as though he's caving into their demands. He has said this has to stop. He was
back in parliament saying the words. Nobody is listening. You talked about the fact that, by police officers trying to forcibly remove people, that
could lead to violence.
So what is the way out of this?
NEWTON: I mean, look, in speaking to many people here, they do want to hear from the prime minister, even if for, in a lot of cases, he's not even
responsible for the restrictions they want lifted. It's a provincial restriction.
But they say they want the respect of people coming out here and trying to mediate. And for the prime minister's part and others, they're saying this
is a dangerous precedent. We don't cave in to angry crowds.
I have to say, we have to mention this.
They are health workers right around here that are absolutely exhausted and are looking at this and thinking, what will end it?
If you think we have pandemic fatigue, those health workers are saying we have pandemic fatigue. And we need people to show some kind of compliance,
adherence to these measures for just a little bit longer.
ASHER: As you mentioned, it's not just Canada that's been affected by all of this. You've also got copycat protesters we're about to talk about in
other countries as well. Paula Newton, thank you so much.
What began, as Paula was saying, as a protest by Canadian truck drivers has been seized upon by COVID conspiracy theorists and far right activists
around the world.
In New Zealand, a convoy of trucks and camper vans took part in a similar protest near the country's parliament on Tuesday.
In the U.K. the country's opposition leader was swarmed by demonstrators on Monday. They shouted anti-vaccine and far right messages.
And here in the United States, controversial Republican House member Marjorie Taylor Greene shared her support for the convoy on social media.
As Paula mentioned, the economically critical Ambassador Bridge between the U.S. and Canada is being targeted this week. The border crossing links
Detroit, Michigan, with Windsor, Ontario. It is hugely important. I can't emphasize that enough. Hugely important as a link for trade between both
Miguel Marquez is there live for us.
Miguel, when you think about it, it's about 30 percent of trade between the U.S. and Canada travels via the Ambassador Bridge that you are near. Just
walk us through the economic impact on the United States, especially given that you're having a lot of conservatives that are voicing their support
for the protests.
It certainly could easily backfire on Americans.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it could. We're only a couple days into this at this point. But the bridge is extremely
important to trade to both sides of the border.
Tens of thousands of cars, both passenger and commercial vehicles, pass over this bridge every day. Hundreds of millions of dollars in goods pass
over this bridge every day to both sides. They are using alternative crossings at this point.
But that causes delays. There's a crossing here about an hour north of here. But it takes several hours for trucks to get over the bridge because
it's not built to carry that much traffic. Too many trucks, not enough bridge.
There's a tunnel under Detroit where cars can get through; that's not nearly as bad as the bridge situation. So there are other ways to do it.
But you can't keep doing that indefinitely.
You can sense the growing frustration on the other side of the border, the Windsor mayor holding a press conference today and basically saying, look,
we have great patience for democracy, great patience for protests.
But we are running out of patience at this point. They've asked now for provincial and national assistance to come into Windsor to help them with
this situation, basically saying they are patient but they are not going to wait forever.
What they don't want to do is come in with two tactics that are too hard, that would invite more protesters to come in. Keep in mind, they say
they're dealing with about 100 protesters, 50 to 75 cars on the other side of the that bridge.
And that has shut down access to the bridge. It is rolling; there are trucks coming in from Canada. It's a trickle of what they normally have
across this bridge. But it is coming through. There are certain roads open that truckers can access on the Canadian side.
The U.S. side has shut off all traffic at this point until it's resolved on the Canadian side.
ASHER: Yes. And as you mentioned, even though there are other sort of alternative routes, it causes delays inevitably. Walk us through what we're
seeing in terms of copycat convoys in the United States.
MARQUEZ: Well, shockingly -- and I've covered Michigan quite a bit -- we're not seeing anything here yet. I'm a little surprised. I would have
expected we might have seen that. But there are calls now from California, from everyone, from former president Trump to Republican members of
Congress and others, who are calling for a similar truck event to descend on Washington D.C.
We've seen this in the past in the U.S. over the decades, where farmers or truckers will descend on D.C. for a protest. Nothing like you see in
Ottawa, with truckers camping out and taking over the city.
So it's yet to be seen where this goes. All of this, interestingly enough, happening as cities and states across the country, the U.S., anyway, are
starting to reduce the number of COVID restrictions and mandates. So that's also cutting across all of this as well.
We're also seeing that in many countries. All of this in a week may look like sort of a bad distant memory.
ASHER: Miguel Marquez live for us, thank you so much.
All right, still to come tonight, no masks, no tests, no rules. Sweden pivots toward living with COVID.
Plus we'll take you to London to find out what Britain's prime minister is proposing. That's next.
ASHER: Protesters across India are showing support for Muslim students, facing a hijab ban. Last week several colleges in the southern state of
Karnataka denied entry to Muslim women wearing hijabs, prompting outrage and large demonstrations. One Muslim student explains what she's protesting
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judge me by what's in my head, not by what's on my head. An hijab is our right. This is a fundamental right now (ph). We can
say proudly that hijab is our parliamentary rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: This has drawn the attention of girls' education activist Malala Yousafzai. She tweeted, "Indian leaders must stop the marginalization of
As much of the Western world begins to pivot to living with COVID, many countries are easing restrictions and more. Sweden has entered a new phase.
So beginning today, it's dropping almost all the COVID restrictions, including curfews and limits on large gatherings.
Sweden also cutting back on widespread COVID testing. Now only health care workers and at-risk patients who show up or show symptoms will get tested.
Meantime, Britain's prime minister says England might lift all of its restrictions later in February instead of in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to
end the last domestic restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive, a full month early.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Some of England's most severe restrictions were in place when Johnson's government was holding numerous parties during COVID lockdowns.
Despite the encouraging news, Johnson still faces pressure to resign.
CNN anchor Bianca Nobilo is following his troubles for us from London.
So I want to start with this news about self-isolation and the easing of restrictions in the U.K. For people watching from other countries, this
might sound surprising. Let me get this straight.
If you test positive for COVID-19 in England, you no longer have to self- isolate. It's sort of going to be like the flu, whereby it's recommended that you stay at home but you don't necessarily have to.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That is right. So this was always telegraphed that the government wanted to move in this direction.
But this was going to come into place at the 24th of March. And the guidance would still remain, urging people to work from home if they did
test positive for COVID-19.
But as you mentioned, they would no longer have to. It's a very significant departure, I think psychologically quite difficult for some people to get
their heads around. But it will come as music to the ears of many of the prime minister's back benchers, who have been resistant to restrictions
These are people who believe more should be up to freedom of choice, restrictions infringed on people's liberties too far. Those are the MPs
that might be sending letters of no confidence to the 1922 committee against the prime minister.
So I'm not suggesting that the prime minister has been politically motivated by this. But there are obvious political advantages. Also the
fact that the country at large, large swaths at least, will probably respond quite well to the news and the Conservative Party have been
trailing in the polls between sort of 7 points to 10 points behind the opposition Labour Party.
So I would imagine Johnson and his team will be hoping this news and the possibility of returning to a pre-COVID normality will be giving them a
boost in revival in the polls as well.
ASHER: All this coming as another photo of Boris Johnson partying, I believe from the 15th of December, 2020, emerges. I believe we have it.
He's with a couple members of staff. One of them has tinsel around their neck.
Are there those who believe that these new announcements we're hearing from Boris Johnson are an attempt to distract from some of the criticism that
NOBILO: Oh, without question. We've been hearing that refrain from the Labour Party. I've heard it from voters. I've heard it frankly off the
record from some Conservative MPs.
This is politics. So quite clearly, he's going to try to divert attention from the scandals which are plaguing him. He couldn't call himself a
politician if he wasn't trying to do that.
And as this Partygate scandal rolls on, more and more MPs are saying they don't see how his premiership is ever going to be able to have a proper
reset or even a go with maybe a second life, unless this party scandal finishes.
But it just doesn't seem like that's likely to happen. You describe the photograph, where there is alcohol in it, too. It's added more fuel to the
fire of the Met Police investigation as well.
The prime minister, although he was dismissive about that photograph which was published by the "Daily Mirror" in the House of Commons, implying that
it had perhaps already been seen by the investigation and it wasn't a big deal, well, later today we had a statement from the Metropolitan Police,
saying they're going to look at that event again now that they've seen this photo.
So that doesn't mean that he necessarily did break restrictions but it means they're going to be examining it one more time.
Then the prime minister's former right hand man Dominic Cummings turned fierce adversary tweeted there are much worse pics than that, to paraphrase
him, available. So we can imagine more leaks will happen.
There's been a steady trickle of photographs and incriminating evidence over the last couple of months. This is making MPs very tired. But saying
as a final point on the prime minister survivability right now, there's a parliamentary recess starting tomorrow.
So I think if the latter threshold isn't met, by then, then Parliament is going to recess for about another 10 days. That will give the prime
minister another sort of moment of reprieve, where MPs aren't congregating and perhaps coordinating about how they might be able to end his
premiership and put someone else in his place.
ASHER: So he can have a breather. But this has been embarrassing for him. Although for the Labour Party, this is the gift that keeps on giving.
Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much.
Still to come here tonight, the U.S. has finally won its first gold medal in the Beijing games. We'll have more on Wednesday's big winners. That's
ASHER: West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma is losing sponsors and facing a police investigation over a video that's sparked outrage online. In a clip
first published by "The Sun," he is filmed throwing shoes at a cat, slapping it and kicking it. CNN has not independently verified the video.
Zouma has apologized, saying he regrets his behavior and that there are no excuses. West Ham says it condemns the actions and they fined him. Still,
the club is coming under a lot of fire for allowing him to play in Monday's match.
Let's go back to the Winter Games in Beijing now. Team USA managed to win the first gold medal. Lindsey Jacobellis took the number one spot in
New Zealand is celebrating the first ever gold at any Winter Olympics ever. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott placed first in snowboard slope style event over the
ASHER: Finally, this year's Brit awards were a big deal for Adele; not only did she win Song of the Year, she also won Artist of the Year and
performed her song, "I Drink Wine."
(VIDEO CLIP, "I DRINK WINE")
ASHER: All right. Thank you so much for watching tonight. That does it for us here. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.