Return to Transcripts main page
European Countries Raise Concerns Over AstraZeneca Effects; People Need to Know the Facts on AstraZeneca; Italy Back to Strict Lockdown; Alexei Navalny Imprisoned in Russia's Notorious Penal Colony; Londoners Outrage Over Sarah Everard's Murder; Children Voicing Their Freedom; Syria A Living Nightmare After Years Of Civil War; Crisis In Myanmar, At Least 94 People Killed in Two Days; Brazil Appoints Fourth Health Minister Since Pandemic Began; My Freedom Day, Sign The Pledge To End Modern Day Slavery; Women Make History With Oscar Nominations; International Renewable Energy Agency, $131 Trillion Needed To Cap Global Warming At 1.5 Degrees Celsius By 2050. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 16, 2021 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, experts are set to meet today on the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as major countries paused injection.
The police officer charge with the kidnap and murder of London woman Sarah Everard is expected in court later today. We will have a live report.
And finally, it's My Freedom Day. CNN's yearly initiative where students can take a stand against human traffickers.
Thanks for being with us.
Well Europe's rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is plagued with mounting problems. Health officials say Europe now has nearly eight million doses of this vaccine sitting unused, throwing the continent's slow rollout into deeper disarray. And a growing list of European nations are pausing the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine amid reports of blood clots in some who were vaccinated.
The company says its data shows no evidence of an increased risk in vaccine recipients, and Australia's government is even backing them up. It just announced they are confident in the vaccine and see no current evidence that it causes blood clots. Some people on the streets of London don't seem too concerned either. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I believe in scientific advice. Scientific advice is that what we should be taking it. So, I will be taking it.
UNKNOWN: Well, I mean, if the World Health Organization say it's OK, I think it would be OK. I think it's just the Dutch from what I heard on the news this morning that seem to think that there is a problem with it.
UNKNOWN: I think they're all more less the same. I don't think that the (Inaudible) was on the others.
UNKNOWN: At least from what I've read.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): Well, Cyril Vanier is in London, Frederik Pleitgen is in Berlin covering the growing concerns over AstraZeneca's vaccine. They both join us. Welcome.
So, Cyril, let's start with you. The U.K. rollout of AstraZeneca's vaccine has been very successful so far, but now more European nations are suspending its use. What's the company saying about these reports of blood clots, and can they explain why we are not hearing the same results regarding other COVID vaccines?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the vaccine maker, AstraZeneca, hasn't addressed anything about other vaccines and vaccine makers. However, it has thoroughly defended its own product based on scientific evidence.
I want to read you a part of their Sunday statement, Rosemary. They say that looking at the data, available safety data, more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated that is both in the European Union and the U.K. with AstraZeneca, that data has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or thrombocytopenia, all of those are blood clots, your blood coagulating, in any defined age group, gender, batch, or in any particular country.
So, Rosemary, what that says is, yes, there are adverse health effects that occur, but they happen in any group of the general population. There are blood clots in any group of the population. And they are no more frequent within the vaccinated population, than they are within the non-vaccinated population.
The U.K. agrees with this, the Europeans Medicines Agency, it's worth noting, agrees with this, and so does the World Health Organization at the moment. On the other side of this argument, you have now a majority of European countries that have partially or fully suspended using AstraZeneca because they have seen a number of cases that trouble them.
Now, we're talking about just a handful of cases, but some of them are deaths, and they don't have a good answer on why these people who had no known illnesses died shortly after receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. And why some of them presented a highly unusual combination of symptoms. Blood lots, bleeding, and a low platelet count.
So, they decided to put things on pause until they get a thorough assessment from the European Medicine Agency which is expected Thursday, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. Cyril, thanks for that. And Fred, we turn to you. Germany, also temporarily halting AstraZeneca vaccinations pending this investigation. What has been the reaction there?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it's pretty catastrophic here in Germany, Rosemary. One of the things that we have to keep in mind is that Germany really had a spluttering vaccination campaign since it started in late December. And one of the reasons for that was actually public distrust in the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The German medical agency at the beginning only approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 65. Because they said there simply there wasn't enough data to approve it for people in age groups above that.
That already hurt public trust in the vaccine. They then reverse that decision and public trust was just starting to happen, and now of course that is taking a huge blow again. And the AstraZeneca vaccine, Rosemary, was going to be key in trying to speed up Germany's vaccination campaign.
Because you have these big vaccination centers here in this country and the vaccinations are really going pretty slow there because that's all the points that the Germans have to vaccinate right now. And according to their strategy, they were going to speed that up by allowing general practitioners officers to also start administering vaccines, and that vaccine was going to be the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Now, of course, that is not going to be happening for the foreseeable future. There is a lot of criticism here in Germany against that decision made by the German government. There are some medical experts who are saying, look, here in Germany, there were seven cases of blood clotting among 1.6 million injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were administered.
And so, there are many who are saying, look, they believe that the benefits of still administering this vaccine would outweigh the risks. But of course, the German government going in a very different direction as it's taking heat already for a slow vaccination campaign. Of course, many Germans really right now are tired of having been in lockdown, some form of lockdown since November.
And at the moment, especially with this happening now, not many of them are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And of course, this is already, Rosemary, having big political ramifications here in this country as well. There were two regional elections this weekend and Angela Merkel's party did not do well, as we can see a big erosion of public trust in the German chancellor, in her political party, and in general, in the governing coalition here in this country, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. Right. Frederik Pleitgen bringing us the very latest there from Berlin. Many thanks.
And for more on this, let's bring in Sterghios Moschos. He is an associate professor of molecular virology at Northumbria University. Good to have you with us.
STERGHIOS MOSCHOS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN CELLULAR & MOLECULAR SCIENCES, NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY: Good morning.
CHURCH: So, more European countries are now suspending AstraZeneca vaccinations, while authorities investigate whether it's linked in any way to 37 reports of blood clots including several deaths. Is this what needs to be done or is it an overreaction given some 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered so far, saving tens of thousands of lives. And we're talking about 37 reported blood clots.
MOSCHOS: I think it's excellent that you are emphasizing only 37 people out of 17 million have actually developed a blood clot. So, whether you are looking at the numbers or in Germany alone that were reported just a moment ago, or we should be looking at international numbers. That equates to approximately 0.0002 to 5 percent chances of getting a blood clot because of the vaccine.
If you compare that to your chances of getting a blood clot because of COVID if you get infected, those are at 2 percent. So, the difference is about 10,000 times higher if you do not get the vaccine. Let's put that aside because that's something that's very serious to consider. That if you get the disease, you have a 2 percent chance of getting a clot on the damage that cause.
So, let's put that aside, and think for a moment that in the general population, if you have not received a shot (Ph) of the vaccine, your chances of getting a blood clot are about 0.0001 percent. So, there are about half. This is not yet possible to confirm statistically, but it's a key take home message.
You really don't have a risk of developing a blood clot because of the vaccine. Now last week when these things were starting to be brought to everybody's attention, both the European Medicines Agency which is the authority across Europe was to look at the data alongside Pfizer -- sorry -- AstraZeneca, and say you know what, there is nothing different here. And we've all hope --
CHURCH: So, did -- so what is --
MOSCHOS: -- (Inaudible) come unanimous on this.
CHURCH: How long will it take them then? Because this is the problem. You got millions of doses sitting on the shelf waiting to be used. You've got all of these people across Europe waiting for their injection, waiting to return to a life, a normal sort of life and then you got lockdowns occurring.
So, clearly, you say this is an overreaction. How long is it going to take them to check into this and see if there is any link from these 37 reported blood clots when you consider, again, we got to look at those numbers? Seventeen million administered doses. How long will this take?
MOSCHOS: It should not take more than a few days. Not, I mean, if it takes more than a week, and it's -- we are already heading to about a week since Norway raise the flag and (Inaudible) raise the flag, if it takes more than a week then they are not doing their job right I'm afraid. And it's not anymore scientific issue, it's a political issue. And you can read whatever you like into that. I'm European by the way, I live in Britain. That's all.
CHURCH: Right. And in the meantime, pausing one particular vaccine like this has an impact on confidence and trust. Not only in the AstraZeneca vaccine itself but potentially the other vaccines when some people are already a little hesitant when it comes to COVID vaccines. Would it have made more sense to continue administering this vaccine while also investigating it?
MOSCHOS: From that point, I actually agree with the idea than an independent authority needs to pause, quickly have a look at the data thoroughly and then make a decision because we are in a time of crisis. We can't have a piecemeal approach to this. First of all.
Second of all, it's appropriate to do the pause because we have come into the pandemic with a burden on measles vaccine and whatnot vaccines and people generally are being afraid of vaccination, which is all totally unfounded. So, even the slightest mistake will actually damage public confidence on this. So, it's appropriate to show that we are doing this correctly and safely.
However, once that information has been disclosed, and it's openly, and it's critical to point out at this juncture that all the vaccines have similar risk of generating a blood clot. By the way, this is been all, you know, arm waved. That's all it is. There's a difference to the rest of the vaccines that have published their data. And it's actually less that what's encountered than a normal life.
So, let's just please come a bit rational about this and continue with the vaccination because we all want to get back to normal life. This is a primary chance of succeeding this.
And also, to add one more thing. For those of you that have received the vaccine already, please don't rush out to meet your friends the day after, the week after, the month after. Wait at least three weeks after the second dose because that's critical in ensuring that you are fully protected and you minimize transmission for the people should you be carrying the virus.
CHURCH: Very good advice. Sterghios Moschos, thank you so much for talking with us. I appreciate it. MOSCHOS: You're very welcome.
CHURCH (on camera): Well, these people in Rome were among the last to get their shots on Monday before Italy made the decision to join other nations and suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This, coming as Italy fights a new wave of infections. Most of the country is back under lockdown ahead of the Easter holiday.
The scenes are eerily similar to last March when Italy became the first European country to restrict movement due to the coronavirus.
CNN's Melissa Bell has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Italy aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19 once again. In Rome, as in Milan, Venice and half of Italy's regions authorities began on Monday morning enforcing a new lockdown.
MARCO SAN GIOVANNI, DIRECTOR, ROME POLICE PATROL SQUAD (through translator): Essential travel or health reasons, these are the exceptions. Our job is therefore to verify whether citizens are actually obeying the law.
BELL: For Italians who hoped until the last variant driven uptick that a corner had been turned, the new lockdown which will last until April 6th is a massive blow.
ETTORE TOMASELLI, OWNER, DAL BOLOGNESE RESTAURANT: One year later, and it feels like it never changed. We closed in March last year and now back again. Closed and working only with delivery and take away.
BELL: Difficult also for those on the frontline. The healthcare workers who dealt with the first wave and who are now having to deal with the third.
ALESSANDRA SPEDICATO, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: We are exhausted. We are, our feelings are very close to depression. We are not allowed to have holidays or leaves during this year. We experience the death of our patients, the illness in our colleagues. So, maybe, I could say that we are facing a PTSD.
BELL: The pressure is now on Italy's new prime minister. Mario Draghi has made improving the vaccination rollout his priority, and wants 80 percent of Italians vaccinated by September.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL (on camera): Italian authorities are hoping that their new vaccination strategy will be a game-changer. They announced over the weekend that their aim is to give 500,000 injections per day. Here this vaccination center just outside of Rome airport, they have been delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine. But just as we arrived, officials here were given the word that they
were no longer allowed to distribute it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL (voice over): One lady who had been turned away told us I was already unsure about it because Germany had stopped at this morning. AstraZeneca, she said, I won't do it. "I have a pacemaker, so I wasn't too sure about it. And now, even less."
A fresh blow to the vaccination campaign of a country that is so far only fully inoculated 3 percent of its population.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Rome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): And still to come, CNN takes a trip to the harsh penal colony were Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is set to spend the next two years.
And more protests in London as hundreds march for a third night in a row after a woman's murder. A live report after this.
CHURCH (on camera): Forty million people around the world are trapped in modern day slavery. But students across the globe are saying no more. No more force prostitution. No more bonded labor. And, yes, to freedom.
Today is My Freedom Day, a student-led day of action against modern day slavery. Young people around the world are taking to social media pledging to end this terrible practice. Here is what some of them are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: We are the grade 12 and this is our freedom.
UNKNOWN: We are the grade 8th, and to us freedom is --
UNKNOWN: We are the grade 10, and this is our freedom.
UNKNOWN: To me, freedom is --
UNKNOWN: To me. freedom is --
UNKNOWN: To me, freedom is the ability the right to speak, think, and do as one wants to.
UNKNOWN: Being able to express yourself or talk without being restrained or stopped.
UNKNOWN: To have a choice in your words and your actions.
UNKNOWN: My name is Taveh (Ph). I'm from Kurdistan. Freedom to me means traveling around the world without anything stopping me.
UNKNOWN: My name is Sonomi (Ph). And freedom to me is free speech.
UNKNOWN: My name is Voz (Ph). I'm from Germany. And I'm against modern day slavery.
UNKNOWN: My name is Fabian (Ph). And I'm from Germany. And I promise to take action to help end slavery.
UNKNOWN: I want to become a chef because I like to cook. boys are free to be chefs.
UNKNOWN: When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter. Girls become firefighter. Because I am free to work (Inaudible).
UNKNOWN: I want to become a ballerina because I love dancing. And I'm free to be a dancer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): And you can share your pledge on social media using the hash tag My Freedom Day. And tune in this weekend for a special My Freedom Day global forum hosted by Becky Anderson. Hear from hundreds of students across five continents on their efforts to spread awareness and eradicate modern slavery.
Well, Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has made his first comments from inside one of Russia's most notorious prisons, describing it as a concentration camp. The penal colony is a harsh unforgiving place a few hours from Moscow.
Matthew Chance spoke to a former prisoner there and tried to pay the prison a visit. A warning his report contains videos some may find disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): OK. So, we're coming up now on the penal colony where Alexei Navalny is going to spend the next two and a half years. It's actually only a couple of hours from Moscow, so it's going to be much easier for his friends, his family, and his colleagues to come and visit him here.
But that does not mean that Russia's opposition leader is getting an easy ride because this particular penal colony in the Vladimir region is one of Russia's most notorious.
Hidden behind a corrugated fence and rusty razor wire, colony number two looks like a grim unwelcoming place. You can't see much from outside, but Putin critic Navalny his head shaven has already aired his impressions on Instagram.
I had no idea it was possible to arrange a real concentration camp so close to Moscow, he posted. And the team behind Navalny who is already survived a nerve agent poisoning before being put behind bars has also broadcast these drone images from above showing the bleak barracks where penal colony prisoners eat, work, and sleep. Fifty to 60 people crammed into a single dorm, say former inmates. Not ideal during a pandemic.
UNKNOWN: This is the church.
CHANCE: This is where you were, this is where you stayed?
Konstantin Kotov (Ph) says he'll never forget his ordeal on the inside. He has been imprisoned here twice, he told me, after being arrested at anti-Kremlin protests, and during nearly a year what he described as psychological torture. It won't be easy, he says, for Alexei Navalny either.
They forbid you to talk with other convicts, he tells me. You're only feet all day from 6 a.m. to 10 pm. and never allowed to sit down. You can't even read or write letters, he says, for weeks on end. And if you break any tiny rule, you'll be disciplined, humiliated, and isolated even further, he says.
Russian prison authorities insist that Navalny will be treated like any other prisoner and won't be singled out, but scrutiny here isn't welcomed.
This is the front gate of the prison colony where Alexei Navalny is been interned. You see these guards are waiting for us, one of the guys shaking his head there with a lovely dog.
Is it possible to register to be in this area?
It's because it's the territory of the prisoners they said we can't even register to be here. Russians are notoriously secretive about their presence because they know the conditions inside are pour. Not just in this one, but in prisons around the country.
This disturbing video posted by a Russian newspaper shows prisoners being cruelly beaten by guards in a penal colony in Yaroslavl, the region next door to where Navalny is being held. The Russian court has convicted several people of involvement in what has become a national prison scandal. But it is common knowledge among inmates that these kinds of beatings are widespread.
Most staff then would unscrew a chair leg and hit people on their heels, the former inmate tells. But after the scandal of his poisoning they probably want to keep Navalny healthy, he says, their purpose is to restrict his communications and deprive him of his voice.
No, it's forbidden. OK. All right.
And to keep Russia's most high-profile Kremlin critic firmly hidden from view.
All right. Thank you.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Vladimir, Russia. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): More protests in London on Monday as the U.K. continues to reel over the kidnapping and murder of London resident Sarah Everard.
Chanting we are not the problem. Many gathered outside parliament calling for reform on how violence against women is treated.
Our Nina Dos Santos was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They came to stand up for their right to protest.
UNKNOWN: We can protest whenever we want. Your rules will not stop us.
DOS SANTOS: But after gathering under the only statue of a woman in parliament square, they ended up walking around London for hours to be able to do so.
DOS SANTOS: By keep on moving the people said they wanted to make the police task of reminding them that they were in breach of COVID rules more difficult, which in turn made the very different scenes to Saturday's vigil in honor of the Londoner, Sarah Everard.
It took police just one hour to break up a peaceful protest in a south London suburb. Yet, these demonstrators have been on the streets near parliament for around an hour and a half already. And so far, there has been no intervention. This, despite the fact that they blocked a bridge over the River Thames, and are now heading towards Scotland Yard.
Metropolitan police said they hadn't wanted to break up the event on Saturday, but felt the need to protect people from the pandemic. As women showed their anger at London's police force, the government went to head with a bill it had been working on for some time. Proposing new sweeping changes to the justice system that critics said protective statues better than women.
BELL RIBEIRO-ADDY, BRITISH LABOUR M.P.: What kind of message does it send out that if you violate a woman, you are likely to get no time at all or a very, very minimal sentence, that if you violate a statute which is made of stone or metal, and usually it's a statue of a man that you are going to get up to 10 years.
DOS SANTOS: Parliament will vote on a new bill this week with the opposition saying it's not expected to pass. Then again, neither is the heartfelt anger of a woman's right to safety in the U.K.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): Now let's bring in Nina Dos Santos, joining us live from London. Nina, you were outside the courthouse with the suspect in Sarah Everard's murder. We'll have a hearing very soon. What is the latest on this, what are you hearing?
DOS SANTOS: Well, Wayne Couzens, 48-year-old is a diplomatic protection officer, so he is part of the elite section of the metropolitan police that you see on outside sensitive locations like Downing Street, and also some of the more diplomatic embassies missions across London.
He will be appearing, as you said, here at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court for the second hearing so far after being charged last week with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard who disappeared from the streets of London now 14 days ago.
He did sustain a head injury in custody last week and was unconscious in his cell. That is the subject of an internal police investigation. But we also know now that the police are also the investigatory bodies looking into another officer for -- who is guarding the perimeter of the search area in Kent where Sarah Everard's body was found in connection with that sight.
And he has apparently shared some sort of graphic with other officers on social media and they raise that to the attention of some of their superiors. The met said in a statement overnight that this was not a specifically any material that was related to Sarah Everard but they are still looking into it.
So, this has prompted a broader conversation about the metropolitan police. We have various independent investigations into this officer's said, but also, into the conduct in the metropolitan police when it comes to Saturday night's vigil.
All of this as you could see there has stoke ire on the streets. You had four days worth of protests. There is likely to be more protests, perhaps later on this afternoon.
But in the meantime, the focus here on the criminal investigation will be on Wayne Couzens, 48 years old, as the investigation continues it pays to understand how exactly Sarah Everard made her way from the moment she was last seen walking down a residential street that was well lit at 9.30 p.m. in a south London suburb before ending up, sadly, dead in Kent. A part of the country 30 miles away which is also where Wayne Couzens was arrested from and lives with his family. Rosemary?
CHURCH: It is a horrifying story. Nina Dos Santos bringing us the very latest there live from London. Many thanks.
Well, 10 years of war has left millions of Syrians with no home and no hope.
Coming up, I will speak with Jan Egeland. What the former U.N. relief chief says needs to be done to help millions of Syrian refugees.
CHURCH (on camera): A decade of destruction, and despair, with no clear path forward. 10 years on from the start of Syria's civil war, the U.N. secretary general said the country remains a living nightmare, with devastation, impossible to fathom. It began with a peaceful protest, quickly crushed by the government. Years of unimaginable horror followed with hundreds of thousands of people killed. Millions have fled the country, and are displaced from their homes.
Large parts of Syria are left in ruins from relentless battles, bombings, and the ISIS reign of terror. Today, a 10 U.S. cease-fire, reached a year ago, has cap down on the killing. But no one inside, or outside of Syria, can predict if it will last, or lead to any permanent peace.
So, what is next for Syria? Well, much of it depends on the stakeholders, and there are many. Russia has helped the Assad government, Turkey and Iran, also play a part, as do the U.S., and Israel while the country's poured in scores of refugees poured out. And that is fueling anti immigration sentiment.
Our Ben Wedeman, looks back at the last 10 years of conflict, and suffering. A warning though, his report contains disturbing video.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Al- Assad, or we burn the country, regime loyalists like to chant. And over the last 10 years, as Syria has plummeted deeper into the abyss. The country has burned. And President Bashar al-Assad has clanged to power. In an uprising that started peacefully, has left as many as half a million dead by some estimates. United Nations gave up counting five years ago.
More than half the population has been driven from their homes, or has fled the country. Unwilling to concede that this dynastic regime, and decades of oppression were to blame, Assad called it a foreign conspiracy. And indeed, the uprising has become a multinational bloodbath. The U.S., and its Gulf allies, initially providing the divided opposition with just enough money, and weapons, to keep fighting. But never enough to win.
And the failure of that opposition opened the door to ISIS, and its brutal brand of madness. Which brought American and European boots, into Syrian soil. Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah, came to Assad's aide, followed by the full might of Russia. Turkey, also joined the fray, along with Israel. Syria today is a
kaleidoscope of conflicts. Pitting superpowers, regional powers, local power against one another. Now, in a stalemate. A quagmire, where it has become costly to stay, perhaps even more costly to leave. Dreams of freedom, faded long ago. Syrian American, author and journalist, Alia Malek witnessed the early years of the conflict.
ALIA MALEK, SYRIAN AMERICAN, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: It's order, and stability, I think had emerge as things that are more important to the international community then the messiness of the true sort of open, or Democratic society. The fear of like ISIS type Islamist, militants, is psychologically terrorizes people more than the idea that they butcher in an Armani suit.
WEDEMAN: The official Syrian media portrays Assad survival as a victory. That has left him ruling over just part of his devastated country, a traumatized population, and an economy in free fall, due to corruption, and sanctions. If this is victory, what is defeat? Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
CHURCH (on camera): So, let's discuss this further with Jan Egeland. He is the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, and a former U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs. Thank you so for joining us.
JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Thank you.
CHURCH: So, 10 years since the start of the civil war, what comes next for Syrians still living in a country devastated by war, and for the many Syrian refugees forced to leave their home, because of this conflict?
EGELAND: Well, having this saddest of milestones, 10 years of war, longer than the first and the Second World War combined. It should lead to action to end the stalemate. You know, a boy, or a girl, who fled from the violence in Syria 10 years ago had grown from 10 to 20 years. Should that boy or girl become 30, 40, 50, or 60, before we end it?
So, what we need is the diplomats, the politicians, the generals to do their job. Namely, in the stalemate, get political deals so that the conflict can be rebuilt so that people can return, so that the cruelty against civilians can end.
CHURCH: Do you think that will happen, though?
EGELAND: Well, the way it is going now, it cannot continue so, but precisely, I mean, Russia, Iran, Turkey. And for that matter, the Western donors will have to end this stalemate where nobody is moving. You know, I have been traveling many times in Syria, you go around Damascus to places like called east (inaudible) and so on. These are cities that now look like (inaudible), or Stalingrad after the Second World War. It is hundreds of thousands of apartment buildings, leveled to the ground. Where are these people? They are sitting and miserable tent camps in
(inaudible) valley in Lebanon, they are sitting, waiting in Turkey, and in Jordan, or, in horrific conditions around in Idlib, in the northwestern Syria which is, still, in opposition-controlled territory. And where we still can see a gruesome battle.
So, why is not the political talks led by the U.N. in Geneva going anywhere? Well, because the parties do not want to move, the government is taking positions that are untenable, and the international sponsors that have brought (inaudible) this prior now for 10 years are not pushing the parties to make deals so that the boy, and the girl, who has now grown from 10 or 20 years in this war can have a future. Either in Syria, or integrate to somewhere else.
CHURCH: Yes, because the people still living inside Syria, and the many refugees, feel abandoned by the international community. Why did it not do more to stop the deaths, the suffering, and the devastation?
EGELAND: They feel completely abandoned by everybody. If I was a boy and girl now have grown from q0 to 20 and only knew war, I would be angry, really. So, there is a lot to blame, of course the government has started to shoot and repress their own people. Many of the armed groups who became extremists, and also, becoming cruel on their side of the battle.
But what about these countries that talked became cheerleaders to opposing sides and we're willing to fight each other to the last Syrian woman and child? You know, of course, it is a damning verdict of these international sponsors, and those who have the greatest influenced are Russia, Iran, and Turkey.
But really, we also need the Biden administration, which has shown little interest so far, to concentrate on leading in Syria. It's one example, I mean, the western donor say, we will not reconstruct anything until there is a constitutional agreement, which means also, in agreement on the future of who leads Syria.
But I would say, the children in, and around eastern Ghouta which is leveled to the ground need a school. They need a clinic. They need electricity. They need running water. And the political stalemate should not prevent that.
CHURCH: It is a tragic story, Jan Egeland, thank you so much for talking with us, hopefully something will be done. Going forward. Many Well, there are renewed urgent calls for and end to the escalating violence in Myanmar. One advocacy group says, in the past few days, security forces killed nearly 100 people. And the assistant association for political prisoner says, in total, at least 183 people have been killed, in protest that began after last month's military coup. The spokesman for the U.N. secretary general says that he is appalled by reports of recent killings.
More funerals for the victims are planned for today, protesters have defied authorities, and take into the streets for more than a month of demonstrations to speak out against the military coup.
And CNN's Paula Hancocks, is following the situation for us from her vantage point in Seoul. She joins us, live. So, Paula, so many protesters have been killed, and yet, they remain defiant against the military. What is the latest on all of this?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Rosemary, we are definitely are seeing a worrying uptick in the amount of people that have been killed, as you say. That number, the AAPP, the Burmese advocacy group had for the death toll, doubled in just two days. Which just shows the level of violence that the security forces are using against protesters is, definitely, increasing.
It is something we have been seeing as days go on, but past weekend, really was, particularly deadly, and funerals now are the norm in Myanmar. We are seeing funerals almost every day as protesters bury their colleagues, or as loved ones bury their family members.
Now, we did hear from the U.N. secretary general, who is spokesperson, saying that he is appalled by what is happening, and the increased violence, but also saying that he wants the military leadership to allow his special envoy to Myanmar to go into the country. He wants her to be able to start a conversation with the military leadership. And he says, the goal would be a return to democracy.
But of course, it's not clear at this point, although it is clear to many protesters on the ground, whether or not the military would be willing to have a return to democracy. They have said that they will have free and fair elections, as they call them. They did in the past say that would be within a year, but at then at the same time, there are a large number of members of the NLD, the National League for Democracy, whose Party won a landslide in last November's election, that are currently behind bars.
Some have also died in under the custody of the Junta. So, the call from the international community for talking is falling on deaf ears at this point. As we are seeing the level of force used by security forces, once again, being stepped up on the streets of Myanmar. Rosemary?
CHURCH (on camera): Alright Our Paula Hancocks, bringing us the very latest on what is happening in Myanmar. I appreciate it.
Well, COVID cases surge across Brazil, plunging the country into the worst stage of the pandemic yet. We'll have more details coming up.
And as we mentioned, it is My Freedom Day, CNN is partnering with young people worldwide for a student-led day of action against modern day slavery. And we are asking young people to make a pledge, promising to take action to help end slavery. And here are just a few students who have already signed the pledge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Hi, my name is Jenna Blizzard (ph), and today I signed the
my freedom pledge. It aims to protect against human trafficking, and to make sure we are aware of where we are getting our goods from.
UNKNOWN: My name is Britney (inaudible), I'm from San Diego California, and today, I signed the My Freedom Day pledge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back everyone. In Brazil, the pandemic is spiraling out of control. New cases, continue to climb. And in the past week, the nations set another record, nearly 13,000 new deaths, and more than 464,000 new cases. Hospitals are at the brink of collapse with many ICUs, so full that they are closing the doors and turning patients away.
Officials say the country will run out of oxygen soon, there is also a crisis in leadership as the government appoints yet, another, health minister. Matt Rivers, has more.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For the fourth time since this pandemic began, Brazil has a new health minister. President Jair Bolsonaro, made the announcement on Monday night, saying now former minister, and the much criticize former general, Eduardo Pazuello, has been replaced with cardiologist, Marcelo Queiroga. Queiroga obviously a medical doctor, has medical experience.
Pazuello was appointed to the post having no public health experience and Queiroga will set to -- try and turn around the perceptions that surround this administration, which has been criticized, right from the very beginning of this pandemic for its response to this ongoing crisis. But more severely, recently, because of just how bad things are right now. We are unquestionably in the worst days of this pandemic for Brazil since this all began.
If you look all around the country at this point, nearly two dozen Brazilian states are reporting ICU occupancy rates that are at least 80 percent or higher. Many of those states -- their hospital systems are at risk of collapse. When Queiroga takes -- you know, starts his job today, he will have a lot of work cut out for him.
Though one of the last statements that we heard from now former Minister Pazuello was about vaccines though. And with that announcement, there was good news and bad news on Monday when he said that the Brazilian government has now closed on contracts for 138 million doses to be delivered by the end of the year, the vaccines coming from Pfizer, and from Johnson & Johnson. That's the good news.
The bad news, is about the timeline. The majority, the bulk of those doses, are not expected to arrive here in Brazil until well into the second half of the year. That is months for now. Those vaccines are needed right now, because of how bad things are.
Pazuello, the former minister, also admitted that there exists a possibility for delays in those shipments which could push that delivery schedule back even further. But still, that is a little bit of good news here in Brazil, for Brazilians, who really need some good news about vaccines that are so desperately needed during these, the worst days of this pandemic for Brazil, so far. Matt Rivers, CNN, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
CHURCH (on camera): Every year, for the past five years, CNN has partnered with young people, worldwide, for a student-led day of action against modern day slavery. And today is My Freedom Day. This year, we are asking young people to make a pledge, promising to take action, to help end slavery. CNN's Becky Anderson, spoke to some students from the American community school of Abu Dhabi about the actions they are taking. Take a listen.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): You both have been working on an initiative together, tell me about it.
SHARIF HASSEN, 11TH GRADER: Yes. Aden and I were both part of the leadership of the modern Dubai nations program here is yes, which has really been a staple of the high school for a couple of years now. And part of that is because the sim body is so active, politically, and socially.
And so, what we do is we simulate a U.N. committee, and a general assembly, and other sorts of committees, and there are debates on a plethora of world issues. And so, by providing this opportunity to students, we allow them to come and collectively solid issues from multiple (inaudible) perspectives, or t something that they are really passionate about.
ANDERSON: Looking at this, through the prism of this sustainable development goals as I understand it?
ADEN COPPENS, 11TH GRADER: Yes. Recently, we held a panel with our service coordinators, and people that have done real change in the world, and we had an interview with them to talk about how anyone can sort of walk the walk. And we were able to discuss the different types of STDs that we can incorporate into our mission, like our everyday lifestyle.
So, we talked about no poverty, we talked about STD as well which is diminishing like (inaudible) and then 16 institutions. We (inaudible) anyone kind of serves a platform for that. We are able to talk about change, and hopefully inspire people in the future to continue with that urge.
ANDERSON: Amazing. You know, using the modern united nations to work through the ideas behind, one they say were so important, very briefly, so, I just want to hear from you, what do you do? What are you up to?
MATTHEW AYOUB, 9TH GRADER: Well, here we are in 2021, and people are still being deprived of their most fundamental human rights. The right to be free. In this past year, I have been taking activism, and I've really come to realization that the younger generation is the main leader of change. And we are capable to change a lot and spread awareness. We also, we represent peace, and we represent the future, and if we work together, we can eradicate modern slavery, and make the world a much better place.
ANDERSON: Matthew, you sum it up, thank you everybody, these are the members of the student council. There are lots of other initiatives and importance that I am not be able to get to you. Matthew, really just summing it up there, this is a generation that is impassioned about change, and impassioned about helping us in the (inaudible) that is modern day slavery.
CHURCH (on camera): And you can share your pledge on social media, using the hashtag, by My Freedom Day, and tune in this weekend for a special, My Freedom Day global forum, hosted by Becky Anderson, here, from hundreds of students across five continents on their efforts to spread awareness, and eradicate modern day slavery.
This year's academy award are just over a month away, and this year, more women than ever have a chance of winning an Oscar. Let's take a look.
CHURCH: A new report says that an enormous investment in renewable energy is needed to cap global warming over the next few decades. The international renewable energy agency says $131 trillion is needed between now, and 2050, to achieve the goal of the Paris agreement. Ahead of the agency says the window of opportunity is closing fast. And that is despite the world, already heading peak demand for oil.
So, let's bring in CNN's John Defterios, he joins us live from Abu Dhabi, good to see you John. So, this jump in renewable investment is needed, but is it s achievable, and how challenging is the road ahead?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): Well, I would say it is tough, but doable, Rosemary. We often throw around this target of 1.5 degrees centigrade in terms of the temperature rise around the world to cap it by 2050. Look at this report by Irena as a detailed road map, or a master plan which to do so. And the Director General Irena Francesca La Camera, was saying that we need scale, and speed. There's no time to waste.
And let's bring up these numbers again, we're talking about what, $131 trillion between now, and 2050. Averaging investment of over $4 trillion each in every year. Across the value chain, if you will in renewable energy. That's solar, wind, hydrogen, battery storage, energy efficiency. Then they're suggesting, if we want to hit that target, we have no choice but to take oil to man, which is 100 million barrels a day in 2019 before the pandemic, and see that slide all the way down to 20 to 25 million barrels a day.
That would have grave implications for the oil producers of the world like Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Angola, Libya, no doubt about it. And there was great concern again by Irena that emission started to shoot up at the end of last year, it started to grow out of the pandemic. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCESCO LA CAMERA, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY: We are going in the wrong direction. We are going to a pathway of 1.5, spiraling. So this is the first message that we would need, very clearly. And then we put the question to the government, we want to really go for the 1.5. These are the options that you have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS (on camera): And think about it, Rosemary. There are no options but to go to 1.5 degrees maximum, because the result would be calamitous if we go above two degrees centigrade by 2050. L camera was suggesting here, they'll having the Biden administration on board makes a huge difference, visa-vis the Trump administration which is a climate denier, in its policies.
But the idea here is to get the five top emitters on the same page for cap 26 at Glasgow at the end of the year. Number one is China, and then you have United States, and then India, Russia, and Japan. If you have those five on board and saying we commit to net zero by 2050 here is the investment roadmap, it would make a mark difference going forward. And we have to think about the geopolitical risk with the oil producers that I was talking about not having the ability to have that massive production over the next 30 to 40 years. Clearly that's going to be a profound shift.
CHURCH: Yes. Most definitely, John Defterios, many thanks for joining us, I appreciate it.
Well, women are making history at this year's academy awards with a record breaking 76 nominations in total. And two women, nominated for best Director for the first time ever. Among the nominations announced on Monday, Netflix's Hollywood drama Mank leads the crowd with 10 nominations. Notably, best picture, director, and actress. The Korean drama, Minari was nominated for best picture, along with five other nominations, including best supporting actress for Youn Yuh-jung who said that she never dreamed she would be nominated for the coveted award.