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U.S. President Joe Biden to Announce Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan by September 11; German Cabinet Approves Act for Uniform COVID-19 Restrictions; Deaths Outpacing Births in Some Brazilian Cities; Third Night of Unrest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; U.S. Intel Community Warns of Global Threats; U.S. Pauses J&J Vaccine over Blood Clotting Concerns; Egypt Seizes Ever Given, Asks for $900 Million. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired April 14, 2021 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thanks for staying with us. I'm John Vause. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Coming up, getting out of Afghanistan after almost two decades. The U.S. president set to announce an unconditional withdrawal by September. We are live with the latest.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine on hold in the U.S., Europe and South Africa while U.S. regulators investigate a possible connection to dangerous blood clots.

In India, millions gather together for a religious festival while the country sets record highs for daily new cases.


VAUSE: After almost 20 years and more than 2,000 dead troops and 20,000 wounded, after hundreds of thousands of Afghans were maimed or killed, after spending $2 trillion, President Biden has decided the United States has seen enough of the war in Afghanistan.

Hours from now, he will announce the last remaining U.S. forces still in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by the very symbolic deadline of September 11th. A U.S. exit does not mean an end to the conflict. The country remains on a knife's edge with a weak central government, sparking fears that the progress made for women's rights may be lost to the Taliban. Nick Paton Walsh is live in Kabul.

It's not just women's rights which are under threats with the resurgence of the Taliban. It's civil society itself.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Obviously women's rights are a key tenet of U.S. presence here but only a fraction of what many in Afghanistan fear they may lose if the United States leaves this war.

It's important to characterize it that way. The war will not end because the U.S. decides to depart. It will just take on a new phase.

Joe Biden has always been, since Barack Obama, in office, a man saying that the sustained U.S. presence here would not bring adequate rewards for the United States. Time has proven him correct but vast amounts of money have been spent and thousands of Afghan and American and other nations' lives have been lost in the fight.

That announcement, key in the symbolism, will make sure, it seems, the U.S. won't spend 20 full years in Afghanistan. But it also feeds into a broader strategy about political negotiations.

They are trying to get the Taliban to agree to come to a peace conference in Istanbul. It seems the Taliban for the second time in 48 hours made it clear they didn't seem that keen on attending. This may simply be further negotiations.

More broadly, the fact that this departure is set without conditions has many here concerned the Taliban may choose to seize on their territorial advantage militarily. The Afghan government weren't exactly put on the forefoot with this decision.

President Ghani through his spokesperson said he is still waiting to hear details on a phone call from President Biden. But all of this is policy. The key question is what does it mean to Afghans? We have been taking an in-depth look at a town that many will remember from this long war in the southern province of Helmand.


WALSH (voice-over): If America is leaving Afghanistan, after nearly two decades of blood and treasure lost, what world does the U.S. leave behind for ordinary Afghans?

Taliban stronghold Musa Qala is where many American and British soldiers died. Now it's a snapshot of how the Taliban will run Afghanistan as they gain power. We asked six men living there, two on camera anonymously in safety, what it's like.

In short, bleak for women, a few smartphones but, for all, Taliban justice and Taliban taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are consequences. If you don't pay, they beat you or imprison you.

WALSH (voice-over): A broadly medieval society then, considering all the billions spent. Except just recently with the odd smartphone allowed. That's how we got pictures of the streets. Taliban roam the market U.S. Marines once patrolled 10 years ago.

The Americans were based here, a location you can see on the satellite images not far from the empty shop where the Taliban have their temporary courts, which they call the room, dispensing swift, brutal justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Punishments depend on what they want. If the plaintiff gives a murder, the court might not give a sentence. But if it's demanded they may, for example.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Around four years back, three people were hanged to death from the electricity pole on the road out of town for people to see. They had been arrested a few times for robbery but they did not stop.

WALSH (voice-over): This footage from a drive around town heads out to the refugee camps by the river, from where U.S. Marines used to get shot at. And it's clear few women are allowed on the streets.

They still don't go to school. Nobody even dares ask about that, we're told. But most men we asked said women had it good. This is what they meant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They are not allowed to do business outside their house. When they go out, they need to dress according to sharia law. So for them, it's more important to take care of their homes than working outside.

WALSH (voice-over): Women can also get a rough justice in this backward world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One woman pleaded guilty for adultery and she has been in prison for the last five years now. No one knows what will happen to her in the end. The man caught with her was killed by his in-laws for bringing shame to his marriage.

WALSH (voice-over): Fighting is rare here now and the Americans must just watch from jets or drones above.

WALSH: In fact, we were told the Taliban only allowed some smartphones in Musa Qala because peace talks meant that U.S. airstrikes there had slowed down. The Americans had been using smartphones to track Taliban fighters.

WALSH (voice-over): Taliban rule in these streets, means they set taxes from opium harvests or shops, we were told, or ask for bread or clothes for their fighters when in need. But some said feuds between Taliban groups mean people can pay more than once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Many people have been taken to the Taliban room, locked up for a night or two or have been beaten up. There are different groups of Taliban. It would be better to have a single official getting tax. But every group tries to take tax for their own pockets. That's one problem for people now.

WALSH (voice-over): Life then goes on, much as it did much before the Taliban were removed from power after 9/11. It's just a lot of Americans and Afghans lost in the battle in between.


WALSH: You might be asking yourself, what about the main objective of the United States coming to Afghanistan in the first place nearly 20 years ago, the defeat of Al Qaeda?

They've proliferated around the world and even here in Afghanistan a U.S. Treasury assessment on January the 4th of this year says the Taliban are comfortable, growing, gaining funds under some sort of umbrella provided by the Taliban here.

There are varying assessments. But you cannot find one that says the Al Qaeda problem in Afghanistan has been dealt with conclusively. The issue is the details. We will hear more from President Biden in the hours ahead.

The key question is how does this play into the peace process?

Many believe that the Taliban possibly do want to see a negotiated settlement because they want legitimacy and to be part of an internationally recognized government to keep aid money coming in.

With governance comes responsibility and the need to feed people, infrastructure, things like that. But Afghanistan is already struggling. The peace process diverges on two tracks. The Afghan government, they want to see elections first. The president says he will not run it.

The U.S. and Taliban, on the few things they share an opinion of, want to see a transitional government first and then elections. That has to be resolved quick or we will not see much progress in Istanbul.

But utterly vital, the details from President Biden and the key part of the message, that the U.S. is going, regardless, before September the 11th, possibly even before.

I have to warn you, we've heard similar noises from the previous occupant of the White House and even Barack Obama. Still, U.S. troops are here. But Joe Biden probably has the most experience in this country. And he is very clear and always has been. He didn't think America should have been here this long and he wants out -- John.

VAUSE: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.


VAUSE: New pandemic restrictions are in place in Germany and France, the latest efforts to slow a surge of COVID cases. Germany's government will soon implement a more centralized approach for the authority to order a nationwide lockdown as well as curfews if case levels rise above a certain level.


VAUSE: Angela Merkel says that should be in the country and will be able to make significant progress in controlling the pandemic.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We need to break the third wave of the pandemic and stop the rapid rise in infections. People understand regional differences very well but they expect traceability and clarity.

I'm therefore convinced this is necessary to take a new path. That's exactly what will happen with the legislative process forged today.


VAUSE: France has suspended all flights from Brazil until further notice because of Brazil's COVID variant, which is much more dangerous and contagious. Jim Bittermann live this hour.

Good morning, Jim.

Suspending these flights, is that like closing the door after the pandemic has bolted?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: It's largely symbolic. The people coming from Brazil, up until now, have had to quarantine anyway and people can probably figure out a way to get from Brazil to France without going directly.

So suspending it seems to be a symbolic gesture. And there is another symbolic gesture under the surface, which is that we are hearing that there is going to be a meeting as early as tomorrow, of high level advisers to the president and they will be talking about ways to reopen the country.

When you look at the numbers, it's difficult to believe the reopening is going to happen anytime soon. There is up to 37,000 new cases per day on a 7-day rolling average. ICU beds are over 100 percent occupied by COVID patients.

So it really doesn't seem to be a point where the government should be talking about ways to reopen. But it does give people hope and maybe that's something that's in short supply.

VAUSE: Jim Bittermann, thank you in Paris.

India reporting a staggering new record in daily coronavirus cases. The health ministry has just announced almost 185,000 people tested positive in the past day. This comes as the country's wealthiest and most industrial state heads toward what they say is a new lockdown for the next 15 days.

Tough new restrictions will take place 8 pm local time, including in the financial capital, the city of Mumbai. Vedika Sud is live from New Delhi.

The other concern is what impact the surge in cases is having on the manufacturing of vaccines, considering how crucial India is when it comes to the producing this stuff.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Good question, John. India is the powerhouse for vaccines and we've all known India has been producing vaccines that have been exported to so many countries out of India. A lot of countries in the past have depended on India for vaccine supplies. But there are quite a few states who have been reporting a shortage in

vaccine supplies. The ministry of health affairs here in India has completely denied that.

On the other hand, it's quite interesting to note that, as of yesterday during the press conference held by India's health ministry, they did mention that India is open to approving vaccines for emergency use in India for those vaccines that have been approved by the WHO, by Western countries, in Japan, in the coming weeks and months.

Clearly, they are opening up the country to more vaccines and we could soon hear of more vaccines coming into the country like Pfizer and Moderna. Yesterday, the Sputnik vaccine was also approved for emergency use in India.

Now India has three vaccines that can be used for emergency use. The Russian vaccine is one of them. But 155,000 cases, a staggering number indeed, coming at a time when the state has announced a near lockdown in the state.

At the same time, if you actually just put the images in contrast with the state of Maharashtra, that is already under partial lockdown, together, you would really be amazed to see the number of people at that one festival in northern India, which continues to the end of this month.

Over 3,000 people have been infected since the 1st of April, when the festival began. It's a very auspicious day for the Hindus at that location because they are ready to take a dip into the holy river and they believe their sins will be washed away.

The last time this took place was on Monday when all but 2 million pilgrims were spotted at the venue. Social distancing has been a huge logistical nightmare for officials and that's what they claim. Today we are expecting more than 2 million people to be at the venue, flouting social norms they have to follow at this point in time, given the staggering numbers being reported from India.

VAUSE: Vedika Sud, live in New Delhi.


VAUSE: In Brazil, the current global epicenter of the pandemic, some cities, the number of dead from COVID-19 is outpacing the number of births. Nearly 4,000 COVID related deaths reported Tuesday alone. Details now from Stefano Pozzebon.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The health situation in Brazil is going from bad to worse. Just on Tuesday, a new report revealed that, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second largest city, there were more deaths than births for the sixth month in a row.

This is just to give you an idea of what a dramatic impact the coronavirus is having on the Brazilian population. In Brazil, much like elsewhere in Latin America, it still has a very young population. On any given day, you would expect to see more births than deaths in a population to grow.

But for the last six months, the coronavirus has reversed that trend. It is a chilling statistic to analyze.

To make things even worse, also Tuesday, the Brazilian health minister declared that up to 1.5 million citizens are at risk of losing the immunization effect of the vaccine, because they did not receive the second dose of the vaccine in time.

They did not reveal an explanation for this incident and urged as many people as possible to attend the national vaccination campaign. Brazil has so far been able to only vaccinate 6 million people out of its own population of over 200 million. It's currently going through the worst outbreak since the pandemic began -- for CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


VAUSE: Protesters in Minnesota are demanding police accountability after a young Black man was shot dead by an officer during a traffic stop. The family of Daunte Wright are also speaking out and they are furious.

Also, a new report makes a dire economic picture of the long-term effects of the pandemic. That's just ahead.




VAUSE: Police and protesters in Minnesota have clashed for a third night over the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.


VAUSE (voice-over): Outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, peaceful daytime demonstrations turned violent as night fell. Water bottles and fireworks were thrown by protesters while police used flashbangs to try and disperse the crowd.

Police have declared the protest an unlawful assembly and many have been arrested for defying curfew. The protests come the same day as the police chief as well as the officer who shot and killed Wright submitted their resignations.

Officials say a decision on charges could come this Wednesday. Meantime, the mother of Daunte Wright has spoken about the heartbreaking moment she learned police had shot and killed her son.


KATIE WRIGHT, MOTHER OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: I never imagined this is what was going to happen. I just thought maybe he was being arrested.


WRIGHT: And then when I called back, the girl who he had in the car answered the phone and it was on a FaceTime. And she said -- she was crying and screaming and she said that they shot him.

And she pointed the phone towards the driver's seat. And my son was laying there, unresponsive. That was the last time that I'd seen my son. That's the last time I heard from my son. And I have had no explanation since then.


VAUSE: While tensions flare in Brooklyn Center, the defense for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, has started presenting its case in Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, a use of force expert said Chauvin was justified in kneeling on Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes and did not use deadly force. Here's part of that testimony.


BARRY BRODD, USE OF FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified and was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy in current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.


VAUSE: During cross examination, the prosecuting attorney tried to pick apart the testimony which contradicts their case.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: If this act of what we are looking at here in Exhibit 17 could produce pain, would you agree that what we are seeing here is a use of force?

Do you agree with the proposition that, in law enforcement, once someone's in your custody, they are in your care?

BRODD: I agree.

SCHLEICHER: In situational awareness, then, would you agree, sir, that includes being aware of the subject's medical condition?


SCHLEICHER: Particularly if they're exhibiting signs of distress.


SCHLEICHER: Loss of consciousness.


SCHLEICHER: Inability to breathe.


SCHLEICHER: Loss of pulse.



VAUSE: The defense case expected to last just a few days; closing arguments expected next week.

The presidents of the United States and Russia have been talking security issues as well as a possible summit in a third country. According to the White House, Joe Biden called on Russia to de- escalate tensions with Ukraine during a phone call on Tuesday with Vladimir Putin.

Russia has been massing tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border and in Crimea. Mr. Biden reiterated the United States' unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty.

The Kremlin confirms that President Biden also proposed a face-to-face meeting but did not indicate whether President Putin would accept.

Iran says uranium enrichment will increase to 60 percent, that begins in just a few hours. Tehran made the announcement just days after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility attack. They accused Israel of sabotage and want revenge. Israel made no official comment.

Escalation enrichment will push Iran closer to the 90 percent level which is needed for a nuclear weapon. Indirect talks to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal is set for Thursday in Vienna.

Insights into Iran's nuclear ambitions and warnings about Russia and China are all part of the Annual Threat Assessment from the U.S. intelligence community. This year it's also warning of the devastating long term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Alex Marquardt takes a closer look.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is an annual report from the intelligence community, except we didn't see it last year under president Donald Trump.

This report says the intelligence community assesses as the biggest threats to the United States in the coming year. They talk about China becoming a near peer rival of the United States; Russia and what it's doing to undermine influence; North Korea, Iran; all of this against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

That's where we see some of the most dramatic and distressing language and predictions in this report. The intelligence community writes, "The economic and political

implications of the pandemic will ripple through the world for years. The pandemic is raising geopolitical tensions and great powers are jockeying for advantage and for influence."

Russia and China, it says, are trying to take advantage through so called vaccine diplomacy, gaining influence around the world through the distribution of their vaccines.

The report goes on to list other dire ways the pandemic will hurt countries, particularly lower income countries, writing, "Some hardhit developing countries are experiencing financial and humanitarian crises, increasing the risk of surges in migration, collapsed governments or internal conflict.

The pandemic has driven food insecurity worldwide to its highest point in more than a decade. It will increase the likelihood of additional health emergencies, especially among vulnerable populations in low income countries.

This report traditionally comes out before the heads of the intelligence agencies testify in front of Congress. But the last time that we saw those officials testify together was in 2019. Then under Donald Trump, they contradicted what he had said about Iran and North Korea and he was furious about it. He told them in fact on Twitter, to go back to school.


MARQUARDT: So last year, 2020, an election year, very contentious year, the intelligence agencies didn't want to anger the president again. Essentially, they didn't want to put themselves out in public to become a target again for the president.

So they pushed back on that hearing. The Director of National Intelligence at the time offered to do it behind closed doors; that was rejected by the Senate. Frankly, last year, the American people missed out on an important hearing.

Americans and people around the world need to hear what these intelligence officials have to say. For example, in 2019, the report and the hearing predicted that the U.S. was vulnerable to a flu pandemic that would be very deadly. Of course, that turned out to be true.


VAUSE: New setbacks for a global herd immunity with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine now on hold in the United States, Europe and South Africa from fears of deadly blood clots.

Also Egypt sends almost $1 billion dollar bill to the owners of the container ship which blocked the Suez Canal last month.




VAUSE: Serious problems for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Public health officials in the U.S. will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday after rare and severe blood clots developed among a small number of women who received the shot from Johnson & Johnson, just six reported cases out of nearly 7 million doses, which have been administered in the United States.

But the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended a pause until more is known.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: What we are trying to figure out right now, is whether or not these unfortunate cases of clots are in fact related to the vaccine itself.

The fact that this is on pause, it tells you something about how seriously we are taking adverse events and how safety is going to be a critical priority when it comes to moving this larger campaign forward.


VAUSE: We should note there is no definitive link as of yet between the blood clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Countries who planned to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, millions of doses have been ordered worldwide. More than 200 million for the African Union, 500 million for the global COVAX program. The Johnson & Johnson rollout is also on hold in Europe. Earlier, I spoke with Dr. Celine Gounder, on how this might impact vaccine hesitancy.


DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: You have two major drivers of lack of confidence in vaccines, one of which is worry about safety and efficacy.

The other is a lack of trust in the health system and in government.


GOUNDER: It's really crucial that the CDC and FDA take this seriously, even if the risk is minuscule, to demonstrate to the public that they are doing everything possible to keep our vaccine supplies safe and effective and that they, as institutions of the government, can be trusted to look out for the public interest.

While this may create perceptions of risk in the short term, in the long term, it's well worth taking a pause here.

VAUSE: The question now, for those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, what's next. Here is Dr. Anthony Fauci. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: Someone who maybe had it a month or two ago would say, what does this mean for me?

It really doesn't mean anything. You are OK. If you look at the timeframe of when this occurs, it's pretty tight, from a few days, 6 to 13 days, from the time of the vaccination.


VAUSE: We have narrowed it down to women, younger people and now to anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine up to 13 days ago.

What should the vulnerable people be watching for in terms of symptoms?

GOUNDER: The symptoms to look out for are headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, that occur 7 to 14 days, 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination. A lot of people are getting headaches, fever, a number of other mild side effects with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well as with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Those are not symptoms to be worried about. It's really at the one or two week mark after vaccination that we are seeing all these complications occur.


VAUSE: South Africa also suspending the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. David McKenzie live this hour in Johannesburg.

We are hearing the U.S. has plenty of vaccines. This is not the case in places like South Africa, which already had bad luck with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly this will be another blow here before they've even started the rollout of vaccine in earnest.

Hours after the announcement by the FDA, the U.S. said they will suspend the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They ordered more than 50 million vaccine doses. There has been a large-scale trial.

With the 90,000 odd health workers that have received the vaccine there have not been cases of the rare blood clot. The health minister says they expect this to be a few days' suspension and then move on. But it doesn't help an already jittery public in South Africa.

VAUSE: Where does this leave South Africans when it comes to vaccine hesitancy?

Is their concern people avoid getting the vaccine because of the problem so far? MCKENZIE: That is a worry. The AstraZeneca vaccine was going to be rolled out here, 1 million doses arriving with much fanfare, only to be sold to the African Union because it was shown to be not effective for mild and moderate cases in the strain of the virus that has dominated in South Africa.

The big push was for Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Already there has been some level of hesitancy with health care workers who have been part of the large scale trial. There will have to be a big push to convince people that the one vaccine was sold, another has been paused and the major rollout hasn't happened, especially since, at the moment, South Africa is going through a lull in cases.

There will be a real push needed to convince people to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But it's all theoretical. The large-scale doses have not arrived yet. And that's the big criticism of the government, the delay of the vaccine, not which vaccine will be used.

VAUSE: David McKenzie live in Johannesburg, thank you.

Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, Egypt has a message and a bill for the owners of the container ship which blocked the Suez Canal: pay up or you won't get the ship back.





VAUSE: Another twist in the saga of the Ever Given the, giant container ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal for 6 days last month. An Egyptian court has ordered the owners to pay almost $1 billion to cover the cost of the rescue operation.

The ship has been impounded. We are live to John Defterios in Abu Dhabi.

You've got the boat that's being held. On the ship is $3.5 billion of cargo. It seems like a ransom situation here.

Is this hardball or what?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It seems like it's hardball. You can almost call it a hostage situation because it took six days to dislodge the vessel. We don't know when it will finish to go free. We know now the dollar amount the Egyptian authorities are looking for, they started 10 days ago around $916 million.

Here's the calculation they are making. It's a loss of reputation and the salvage operations at up to two-thirds of the total of $916 million. There is a consortium of insurers representing the Japanese ship owner, saying the sum is excessive. They think they put a fair offer on the table. If you want some

sequencing, a U.K. club put up the offer and it was rejected by the Egyptian authorities, then the arrest of the vessel and the crew came into place.

The Suez Canal Authority suggests the investigation will finish by the end of the week and they are looking for the compensation in that same timeframe.

What happens if they don't reach settlement?

That's the real question.

And reputationally, is this overreach?

That's a huge question people are asking. They made $5.5 billion last year in revenue and they're asking for about a sixth of that for one week of work.

VAUSE: In many ways this explains the complicated legal situation with cargo ships. This is a Japanese owned, Taiwanese operated, Panamanian registered vessel. The crew is people from Germany and India. So it's a multinational situation.

At the end of the day, who has to pay here?

Someone will obviously need to pay.

The question is who?

DEFTERIOS: This is pretty clear. The negotiations are being handled by attorneys hired in this operation. The U.K. club acting on behalf of the Ever Green was the charter group that took out the Ever Given. Most of the crew members were Indian with the exception of the captain.

There is also the issue of responsibility and right now it doesn't seem like the Suez Canal Authority thinks it should take any responsibility. We don't know who cleared the vessel to go into the very tight passageway in the southern entrance.

Did they take the advice of the pilots that were put in by the Suez Canal Authority, the recommendations?

Right now we don't see them taking any responsibility. There is national pride at play that we should note. Because they were able to dislodge the vessel in six days, the Egyptians feel like they did their part on behalf of world trade. And taking care of the artery is in pride.


DEFTERIOS: Has that national pride led to an overreach of asking for $1 billion?

They have their own reputation to protect in the future of not being desperate for funds but getting a fair settlement with international players. This is a relatively murky business on the international seas and it's good to get a clean settlement by the end of the week and let the Ever Given go free.

VAUSE: The story that keeps on giving. John Defterios, thank you.

Bitcoin has surged to a new record high as the currency exchange coin base makes its debut on the Nasdaq. The digital currency craze is making some people very rich and it's taking energy to power the process. Clare Sebastian explains.


DREW VOSK, CRYPTOCURRENCY MINER: People are getting rich buying cryptocurrency.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drew Vosk is so passionate about bitcoin, he has let it take over his house.

VOSK: This white crypto miner noise, I never escape it.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The YouTuber and full-time crypto miner has spent the last few years filling his Virginia home with these mining computers, custom designed to unearth new bitcoins by performing endless mathematical calculations and to support the network by approving transactions.

VOSK: I was lost in my electric setup in my garage mining farm. My friend and my neighbor next door is my friend and I told him, I am going to add some electricity to your basement.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Once you pay off your equipment, electricity is the biggest cost. His monthly bill is about $1,000. Right now, with bitcoin's price up 700 percent in the year, he says it's worth it.

VOSK: I make about $200 a day mining cryptocurrency. It's worth hardware that was previously making maybe $60 a day.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Bitcoin has always been energy intensive. You can see the power of the miners at this Russian bitcoin farm I visited in late 2017.

SEBASTIAN: It's very noisy in here, very windy (ph).

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Does the price of bitcoin has risen exponentially since then it has become more and more profitable to mine. That means more energy consumption. The website that tracks bitcoin's energy usage estimates it now uses more than Belgium in a year.

ALEX DE VRIES, DIGICONOMIST: You have a network that's already consuming 100 percent of global and just because consumption we can expect the number to double while it's still not capable of serving even the tiniest bit of the world's populations. It can only do 5 transactions a second. SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Visa's payment network by contrast can handle

more than 65,000 transactions per second, a discrepancy is noted by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a recent "New York Times" event.

JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: It is an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions. And the amount of energy that's consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.

SEBASTIAN: Research shows most of that energy is fossil fuels, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. This month, 65 percent of bitcoin mining is happening in China, dominated by coal.

Yet, as mining companies search the globe for the cheapest power, some are hitting on renewable resources, like the Canadian province of Quebec, almost entirely powered by hydroelectric dams.

JONATHAN COTE, HYDRO-QUEBEC: There was this timber (ph) gold rush we had in 2018. About 300 companies phoned us or wrote to us wanting to get power.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): In response, the region's government put a moratorium on new crypto mining projects and introduced a selection process. In Virginia, Drew is also looking to renew. His goal is to eventually run his entire mining operation using his own solar panels.

VOSK: If you slap some solar panels on your roof, you can mind for free.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Decentralized energy for decentralized money, a sustainable solution to bitcoin's growing energy problem -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is next. Stay with us.