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Protests Against Vaccination Policies in Greece & France; Fast- Spreading Delta Variant Driving Up Cases Globally; Soldier Says Accused Colombians Were Hired To Protect Pres. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 15, 2021 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause. Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM. COVID comeback. For weeks, Coronavirus infections have been dropping, but now numbers worldwide are once again on the rise. And it's not just the new Delta variant behind the sure. Europe unveils its ambitious blueprint to more than half carbon emissions within nine years. Will the rest of the world now follow their lead? And Britney Spears is back in court. She wants her life back and her father charged with abuse.

If there is one thing we've learned these past 18 months, it's this, the Coronavirus pandemic and suddenly an unexpectedly pivot, often with deadly consequences. Worldwide, the number dying each day from COVID is once again on the rise after nine straight weeks of decline. Infections, too, are increasing. Almost three million recorded cases worldwide last week. With countries here in dark red seeing dramatic spikes in infections compared to a previous week. And here you see the regions where cases are increasing. The blue line is Europe. The yellow is the United States.

Infections appear to be falling in Latin America, the red line at the top there, but Africa remains a concern. Its death toll rose 50 percent last week from the week before. And the World Health Organization's Regional Director warns the highly contagious Delta variant is expected to make the situation much worse.


MATSHIDISO MOETI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, W.H.O. OFFICE FOR AFRICA: I think well, you know, in already very frightening phase of a rapid increase and it's rather difficult to predict when the peak on a continent will happen. But we are continuing to see an increase because we have -- if I think about the reasons why we have these variants, now increasingly predominant in African countries.


VAUSE: Meantime, there's growing opposition to newly announced vaccine mandates in both France and Greece. So far, health care workers in those countries are required to get the shots. But even that is not sitting well with these crowds. Thousands of anti-vaxxers marched through Athens chanting "Take your vaccines and get out of here." And "We say no." They're also trying the Prime Minister's resignation, while in Paris, the demonstrations turned violent. Riot police used tear gas on protesters who were turning over garbage cans and setting fires. The French president announced Monday that people still soon need a vaccine certificate or health pass to go to bars, restaurants and movie theaters. And that motivated many French citizens to go out and at least get an appointment for a vaccination. The French protests came during festivities for Bastille Day, which marks the anniversary of a pivotal moment in the French Revolution.

To Los Angeles now, an Epidemiology Professor, Anne Rimoin, from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Professor Rimoin, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. So the world is looking a lot like it did in some ways, like it was a year ago. infection rate is surging. Many are not wearing masks. They're not practicing social distancing. Only now there are effective vaccines. There's a lot of them and many people have been vaccinated. But then at the same time, vaccination rates are falling. So it's a little different. We lead two potential futures here right now, the worst of the pandemic could soon be over in some parts at lease, or this could be the eve of another summer surge and our behavior, in terms of masks and avoiding large groups, could also remain determine what happens?

RIMOIN: Well, John, you know, we have good news and we have bad news. The good news is of course we have these great vaccines that are there that are going to be able to help us in terms of being able to prevent severe infection, severe disease, hospitalization, death, but the problem is we've got this much more contagious, much more transmissible variants -- variant like the Delta variant that's circulating.

This variant is so contagious. It is very easily spread from person to person. And so we have these unvaccinated people who are at great risk. But we also have to remember that while the vaccines are fantastic at preventing us from having those serious consequences of the virus, it doesn't mean that you're a hundred percent protected. And so we're seeing that this virus is now starting to spread globally. Again, you're right, we're kind of in a similar situation that we were last year.


VAUSE: Well, the latest research has found that the Delta variant might spread faster than other strains of the Coronavirus because it makes more copies of itself inside our bodies quicker than the other strains of the Coronavirus. Chinese scientists detected Delta viral loads that were about 1260 times higher than earlier strains on initial positive tests. And I want you to listen to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to explain what that kind of means in the real world. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are going to start to turn into a situation where you have not vaccinated and unvaccinated in this country, you're going to have vaccinated and infected. This is an unforgiving variant.


VAUSE: So will those clusters of unvaccinated people, either by choice or because they don't have access to the vaccine, essentially turn into a sort of Coronavirus incubators for potentially more contagious, more deadly variant?

RIMOIN: This is very possible. I think that what Sanjay Gupta says is absolutely correct. We have people who are vaccinated, who are well protected against these very serious effects. And those people who are not vaccinated are at more risk than ever before because this variant is so contagious, so easily transmissible. For those people who were not vaccinated, it means you're much more likely to actually get this virus now than a year ago.

VAUSE: Well, a nurses' union in the United States wrote an open letter this week. They're warning the panoramic is far from over despite what a lot of people feel and think right now. They're urging everyone to continue to wear face masks, regardless if they've been vaccinated or not. And they're criticizing the CDC for moving way too slow, recognizing that the Coronavirus spreads through airborne transmission. Part of the letter reads "The CDC's refusal to fully recognize aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which is the Coronavirus, has led to weak guidance, leaving workers and the public unprotected.

As a result, nurses and other healthcare workers, in addition to countless workers in every industry, have been infected, leading to many cases to hospitalization, death and long term health impacts. And it was only in April this year that W.H.O. and CDC conceded that the virus was airborne. But just months into the pandemic, many scientists were adamant. It was. It couldn't be spreading so quickly if it wasn't. So, you know, this is a big deal. And it doesn't seem to be getting the publicity that it needs to be done because people need this information if they're to make the right decision about their health and what they should be doing.

RIMOIN: I agree with you completely. And I think that this letter brings up some very important points. The first of which is this issue about masks. And I've been having this conversation regularly with my family, with my friends with my colleagues, you know, the bottom line is, is that there's a lot of virus starting to circulate again, and it's virus that is much more contagious. So, wearing a mask matters. Right now what we have are people who are vaccinated, which is fantastic. But we have all of these social distancing measures, but the mask measures all just going by the wayside, and a much more contagious variant.

So it means that we just have much more opportunity for this virus to spread, it makes sense. If you have the option to wear a mask, wear a mask, it's going to double up that protection for those people who are vaccinated so that they don't have a breakthrough infection and protect people who aren't vaccinated either by choice, or because they're not yet eligible. We have to remember that we have a good 20 percent of the population, all the kids who are under 12 years of age who cannot yet get vaccinated, and the potential for, you know, older people who may start to have some waning immunity who may also be vulnerable.

So, it's really not the time to be throwing everything away, believe me. I, too, would like to take that -- take away the masks and to be able to get back to normal life. But we're just not there yet. We're -- the pandemic is not over as much as we wish there was.

VAUSE: I'd put my mask away for the most part. I'd be getting it back out after tonight. So Anne Rimoin, thank you. Good to see you.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. President who ordered the invasion of Afghanistan now predicts the pullout of U.S. troops will have dire consequences for Afghan women and girls. George W. Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. He now says the return to Taliban rule would be disastrous.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Sadly, I'm afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a mistake, the withdrawal of --

BUSH: You know, I think it is, yes. I think -- because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad. And I'm sad. And I spent -- Laura and I spent a lot of time with Afghan women and they're scared.


VAUSE: We're now seeing the impact from a Taliban offensive in Afghanistan as they take control of a number of districts. Female journalists are among those being targeted and killed by the militant group. CNN's Anna Coren reports now from Kabul.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Among the wildflowers and thistles, a sacred place in the heart of Kabul. The distant sounds of the city blocked out by the high walled compound. Mohammad Kagiri and his son walk through the gates. Waiting for them, three mounds of Earth only a month old.


They pick up rocks and tap on the gravestones, tilling the soles, "I am here and praying for you." Mohammad's world was shattered last month when his wife and two daughters were killed in a car bomb attack. As Hazaras, an ethnic minority persecuted by the Taliban and other insurgents groups, they have always been the target of terror.

"When I heard that, I didn't know the sky and I didn't know the land," he said. "Everything went dark on me." However, his 23-year-old daughter Mina, a news anchor at a local TV station, had been receiving death threats for months. Her blossoming career and appearance on radio and television, a repudiation to the Taliban. "Since it happened, I really hate this country. But what can I do? I see the future of this country is finished, there is no future."

Over the last twenty years, the one industry where Afghan women have thrived is the media. Female anchors present the news alongside their male colleagues, an enormous step forward in this culturally conservative country. But it hasn't been without sacrifice. The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 53 journalists have been murdered in Afghanistan since 1992. Local groups say the true number is more than double.


NAJIB SHARIFI, AFGHAN JOURNALISTS SAFETY COMMITTEE: We earned our press freedom at a very, very significant cost. I don't think any other country has sacrificed as many journalists as Afghanistan has.


COREN: But the rise of an emboldened Taliban is now an existential threat to many Afghans, including local journalists, who know if the militants come to power, they will not be spared.

While the targeted killings and death threats have become commonplace here in Afghanistan, it's the deteriorating security situation that is unnerving many in the media industry. But despite these fears, there is a defiance, particularly among female journalists who say they will not be silenced.

Among them is Mina's best friend and colleague, 23-year-old Zahra Siddiqui. She too has received threats. And while she can't remember life under Taliban rule, this young woman refuses to be terrorized into submission. "We're Afghans and we will continue to do our job, she tells me. The goals that Mina had in raising our people's voice, I want to continue that for Mina, voice pleading to the world to never abandon the freedoms this country has fought too hard to achieve." Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.

VAUSE: And for thousands of Afghan translators and their families who helped U.S. and NATO forces for the two decades long war moves now underway to relocate them to safety. The Biden administration has announced Operation Allies Refuge. Many are terrified as the Taliban take more territory. The U.S. has not made public how many will be evacuated or where they will go. Many live in rural areas and there are questions about how to get them to the capital Kabul for flights out of the country.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can confirm that flights out of Afghanistan for SIV applicants who are already in the pipeline will begin in the last week of July and will continue and our objective is to get individuals who are eligible, relocated out of the country in advance of the remove -- of the withdrawal of troops at the end of August.


VAUSE: The Pentagon says 95 percent of U.S. forces have already left Afghanistan. President Biden promised during a speech last week to stand with all Afghans who stood with the U.S.

Well, the mystery surrounding the assassination of Haiti's President continues to grow. The head of security at the presidential residence is now in police custody. An associate of Dimitri Herard tells CNN, police told Herard the order to hold him "Came from above." And that's not all, a retired Colombian soldier claims the men accused of killing Jovenel Moise were actually hired to protect him. Stefano Pozzebon has details.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: After 26 Colombians were accused of being involved in the assassination of Haitian president, Jovenel Moise, a retired Special Forces soldier here in Bogota has told CNN that they were actually hired to provide security for the leader and that he himself was approached for the job by a U.S. based company. According to Matias Gutierrez, the approach came via WhatsApp from a fellow veteran who added him to a group with the recruiters.


MATIAS GUTIERREZ, RETIRED COLOMBIAN SOLDIER (through translator): They only mentioned the company based in the U.S. and a job as a private security in Haiti, private security for the President of Haiti.


They were not working in the inner circle. A country would never put the safety of a president in the hands of a stranger. The inner circle is always a group of presidential guards or Secret Service. Our group was uniformed and working in support of the inner circle.


POZZEBON: The Colombian police have accused the Haitian-born American citizen name Christian Sanon to have hired a company based in Miami called the CTU security to hire the Colombians to kill the president. But in Bogota, Gutierrez and the relatives of several of the Colombians accused of the crime believe that their loved ones were victims of a plot in fear they will never see them again. And after more than a week since the body of President Moise was found in his residence, there are still many unanswered question in the story. For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

VAUSE: A concession of thought -- of thoughts from Cuba's communist rulers in the wake of unprecedented nationwide protests. Restrictions on travelers bringing in food, medicine, and hygiene products will be lifted, customs duties will be waived for the rest of the year. On Sunday, Cubans packed the streets in protest frustrated by the

economic crisis and the lack of food and medicine. Cuba's president has cracked down on protesters but has also said the government needs to improve conditions in poor neighborhoods.

South Africa is reportedly planning to deploy up to 25,000 soldiers to try and restore law and order after days of looting, arson, and violence. Well, the protests were triggered by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma last week. They've evolved into an outpouring of anger over economic inequality in the country, 27 years after the end of apartheid. Warehouses and shopping malls are being ransacked, but in the sign of public backlash, residents now arming themselves to protect that property as the violence continues. CNN's David Mackenzie has more now reporting from Soweto.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the end, after the mayhem, there is nothing left for the looters to take. It's almost incomprehensible what happened here. The alarms are still going off. This was the center of life in Soweto. It's like a bomb went off here. Everything is destroyed. Everything is taken. And it took just a few hours.

The President vowed to arrest and prosecute those responsible. He called for calm, but few listened. In Durban, as city center left guttered. Aerial footage showing the sheer scale of destruction. In this food line, they are only allowed to buy 15 items each because there just isn't enough.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has failed the people and all his government workers, that includes the army and the police have really failed us. And it's so sad to see that the communities have to protect themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We say no to looting of our own establishments.

MCKENZIE: Just describe what it has been like to try and defend the small --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys there have been shooting at us for the last four days.


MCKENZIE: Vigilantes did what the police did not. Nhlanhla Lux says they battled armed attackers through the night to save Maponya Mall, the pride of Soweto.


NHLANHLA LUX, SOWETO COMMUNITY LEADER: We said the men in Soweto will rise, or unite, or come together and make sure that the business the communities, the woman and children are protected.


MCKENZIE: Protected. But now Petronella is forced to buy bread from a truck.


PETRONELLA: Very sad. Otherwise, we're going to end up not -- actually, we are going to end up not having food for the next coming days and weeks.


MCKENZIE: Dudhan Korsi forced to pick through the debris and run to salvage anything from a pharmacy. But there was nothing left to save. David McKenzie, CNN Soweto, South Africa.

VAUSE: Still to come, details on alleged plot to kidnap a U.S. journalist from New York City and to take her to Iran. Court documents suggesting it was all backed by the Iranian government. Also ahead, hiccups for days. And now Brazil's President has been admitted to hospital. We'll have the very latest on his condition.



VAUSE: Four Iranians have been charged accused of planning to kidnap a U.S. journalist critical of Iran's leadership and forcibly taking her to Iran. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday in a New York Federal Court and CNN's Brynn Gingras has details.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The FBI foiling an alleged Iranian government backed plot to kidnap a U.S. journalist. And tonight, these four men at the center of the movie-like scheme still wanted.


MASIH ALINEJAD, IRANIAN JOURNALIST: The details were shocking.


GINGRAS: Masih Alinejad telling CNN this morning she was the target. U.S. attorneys with the Southern District of New York don't name her in the indictment. But prosecutors say the plan started around 2018 when the Iranian government offered to pay Alinejad's relatives in Iran to lure her out of the U.S. When her family refused, the plan allegedly picked up last year.

The group of Iranian men led by an intelligence agent hired an American private investigator by falsely claiming they were looking for someone who owed debts, prosecutors say. The team who are each facing a number of conspiracy related charges instructed the investigator to track Alinejad, her family, even strangers and take "quality pictures so that we can see license plate on car," and "Send two pictures and one video every hour," adding he wants pictures of faces of everyone visiting the address, even if they are marketers and sales people.


ALINEJAD: When I saw the picture of myself, I got goose bumps because I was watering my son's flowers. They took picture of my stepchildren.


GINGRAS: They are also accused of researching how to rent a military style speedboat that could bring Alinejad to Venezuela then ultimately Iran. The U.S. Attorney noting in her statement, "where the victims fate would have been uncertain at best." A woman from California who allegedly funneled money in the scheme was arrested.

Alinejad posted this video on Twitter Tuesday showing a police presence outside what she says is one of many safe houses she and her family have lived in recent months. Her nightmare began eight months ago when she says the FBI alerted her to the plot.


ALINEJAD: And I have five million followers on my Instagram. I have one million on Facebook. What I do, I give voice to these people.


GINGRAS: Alinejad she uses social media to give voices to the women of Iran. Her activism and outspokenness of the regime's autocracy is why she and authorities believe she was a target. The Iranian Government calling the claims baseless. "This is not the first time that the United States has undertaken such Hollywood scenarios," a spokesperson told CNN. The White House responding.


PSAKI: we categorically condemn Iran's dangerous and despicable reported plot to kidnap a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.


GINGRAS: And you saw those wanted pictures, the four before Iranian men are still on the run. The FBI not saying if they even know their current whereabouts. And as for that California woman, she was arrested and she has appeared before judge pleading not guilty to the charges in the indictment. Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.

VAUSE: Pope Francis is now recovering at the Vatican after colon surgery. The two-week long stay, the Pope was discharged from a Rome hospital on Wednesday. Before heading home though, he went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray for the sick and said he's grateful for the successful procedure.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in hospital after a chronic case of the hiccups, which led to the discovery of an obscuration in his intestines, but we're told he won't need emergency surgery.


He was sent in for testing on orders from doctors who treated him after a stabbing in 2018. Shasta Darlington has more now from Sao Paulo.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, transferred to a hospital in Sao paulo on Wednesday, after doctors found and intestinal obstruction. Bolsonaro took to Twitter calling his current medical issues the consequence of a failed assassination attempt from 2018 when he was stabbed during a campaign rally. The attack happened while he was being carried on the shoulders of a supporter. He suffered knife wounds to the abdomen and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

It marked a turning point in his campaign as he posted pictures of himself from the hospital bed and he surged in the electrical poles. Since then, he's had interventions to remove a colostomy bag, unblock his intestine, and for hernias. For this latest health issue, Bolsonaro was originally taken to a hospital in Brasilia to look into the cause of chronic hiccups and pains in the abdomen. He'd been complaining about hiccups for over a week.

On Wednesday, he tweeted a new photo of himself in a hospital bed with the caption, "We'll be back soon God-willing, Brazil is ours." All of this at a time when Bolsonaro is arguably facing the biggest crisis of his presidency, with his approval rating at an all-time low and a senate inquiry into his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.

VAUSE: Well, still to come, the European Union takes a world lead in getting serious about climate change, offering a grand blueprint to reach carbon neutrality. But turning that vision into action, still far from a done deal. More in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. The numbers are out. China's economy grew almost eight percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier. That's significantly lower growth than China reported in the first quarter of this year, when the numbers reflected just how much the economy had slumped a year before when the Coronavirus outbreak began. The second quarter growth rate was slightly lower than many economists had expected, but the People's Republic still on track to exceed its annual growth target.

The European Union has unveiled an ambitious and detailed plan to cut emissions on the continent by half by the end of the decade with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. But getting all 27 Member States on board will be a huge challenge. Heavy taxes on fossil fuels and stiff tariffs on certain imports could be a tough sell. But the head of the European Commission believes the Fit for 55 plan is necessary and could become a way for the rest of the world to follow.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: -- imports could be a tough sell. But the head of the European Commission believes the Fit for 55 plan is necessary and could become a way for the rest of the world to follow.



URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Europe is now the very first continent that presents a comprehensive architecture to meet our climate ambitions. We have the goal, and now we present the roadmap to how we are going to get there.


VAUSE: This E.U. plan has a lot of critics. Some complain it's too much, it goes too far. Others fear it's not enough.

CNN's Anna Stewart has details.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If Europe is to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050, a massive overhaul in climate policy is needed, and the E.U. Commission is proposing this. They're calling it the European Green Deal.

It is a package of policies that would have huge implications for industries, right across the block.

The cost of using non-renewable fuel could soar for businesses in the E.U. due to higher taxes and also lower caps on carbon emissions. To ensure that those businesses are made less competitive than their non-E.U. rivals, the commission actually proposes some tariffs on certain imported goods. They're calling for a carbon border.

There's a big focus on transport here. That accounts for over a fifth of the E.U.'s emissions, so no surprise there.

Cars and vans are to be emission-free by 2035, which effectively means banning combustion engines and actually even putting hybrid cars on the endangered list.

Aviation and shipping are set to be taxed for using polluting feels for the very first time. And AOSO (ph), which is the association representing airlines, have told us that, actually, taxation, they say, is counterproductive. They say it could destroy jobs.

So there's likely to be pushed back also politically. Officials have told CNN that actually getting the E.U. commissioners to agree to the deal is a struggle. And this one needed approval from the E.U.'s counsel and Parliament to become law.

Decarbonization is going to be more costly for some member states. They could oppose the plans at the E.U. leader level.

And then, in the E.U. parliament, there are some NEPs that say it goes too far. This would make the E.U. uncompetitive. There are others who say the proposals don't go far enough. Of course, any vote in the E.U. can also become a proxy for other

divisive issues, from human rights, to migration, to the rule of law.

So this is an ambitious plan. It is one that is time-sensitive. If Europe is to become climate-neutral by 2050. But this plan could take years to be negotiated.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Joining us now is Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental group and author of "Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet."

Bill, welcome back. Good to see you.

BILL MCKIBBEN, FOUNDER, 350.ORG: It's good to see you, as always.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Here's how the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, described the scope of this E.U. plan, and the potential impact it could have. Here she is.


VON DER LEYEN: Change on this scale is never easy, even when it's necessary. And for that reason, there are some who will say we should go slower, we should go lower, we should do less. But when it comes to climate change, doing less, or doing nothing, literally means changing everything.


VAUSE: At the risk of letting the great be the enemy of the good, the overall criticism of the whole package appears to be the targets are too low. They should be increased.

A reduction in net emissions should go to 65 percent, not 55 percent. Renewable energy right now stands at 40 percent under this plan. It was a 50 percent, it would do a lot more for the climate. So how do you see it?

MCKIBBEN: Well, look, we're so far behind in the climate race that we are never going to be going fast enough. We're losing this race, and badly.

I'm glad that the E.U., and today the U.S. Senate, have begun to set new, more ambitious plans for tackling climate crisis. But as Greg Tuber (ph) pointed out today, the science is the final arbiter here. We need to go as fast as we possibly can. We need to borrow a metaphor from the eternal combustion age. We've got to put the pedal to the metal.

And it's good to see these countries speeding up. The problem is that the -- the heat waves are speeding up just as fast.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, do you think that, now that the E.U. has made this commitment, others will follow this example? Because at least somethings getting done?

MCKIBBEN: I think that it probably ups the stakes for the Glasgow meeting in November. And I think one of the interesting things that happens today is that both the E.U. and the U.S. Senate began talking about putting tariffs, or border penalties, or things on countries that aren't taking carbon seriously.

And so we're beginning to see this kind of ratcheting up, around the world of commitments. Or definitely, a lot further than a year -- I mean, this time a year ago, even Donald Trump telling us that climate change didn't exist. So we're ahead of where we were and behind where we need to be. And that's where -- you know, that's the horrible drama of the moment in which we live.

VAUSE: There's new added emergency in a way to all of this, there's a study which came out this confirming the Amazon reinforces is now emitting more carbon than it can absorb. Has this been taken into account of those climate change models, or will they have to be revised?

MCKIBBEN: No. What's happening now, John, and it's very scary, on many fronts, is that though we understand morae or less how fast the temperature is increasing on the planet, we haven't really understood is what type of damage comes at each level.

So we've increased the temperature of the planet about one degree Celsius now. And that's doing far more damage than we thought.

Along with that new study from the Amazon, I think the other really scary thing of the last few weeks, have been these massive heat waves in western North America, particularly the one two weeks ago that saw the highest temperatures in Canada at 121 degrees Fahrenheit. That we've seen since the Pleistocene.

Those steps, two, three, four, five degrees higher than the old records, those indicate there's some kind of phase shift underway. That things are really, really starting to -- to move on planet Earth.

VAUSE: I want you to listen to -- Sorry.

MCKIBBEN: We have to move fast.

VAUSE: Very quickly, here's the response to the E.U. plan from the auto industry in Germany.


KURT-CHRISTIAN SCHEEL, GERMAN ASSOCIATION OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY (through translator): First of all, it has ramifications for the consumer. The freedom to choose will be restricted for the consumer. The freedom of innovations will be restricted. And we consider that problematic. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Yes, it's true there will be limited choice, just like when lead was removed from paint. Consumers could no longer choose the paint which caused brain damage or death, a sacrifice most seemed happy to make.

When you listen to this, the arguments against, sort of limiting action on climate change, just seem to have run their course, don't they?

MCKIBBEN: The fight here has always been between the forces of the status quo. The fossil fuel industry, the automakers, people who just want to keep on doing sort of what they've been doing, in physics. And physics is beginning to exert increasing pressure.

You know, the idea that it's going to be problematic for automakers. I mean, OK, we're talking about the existential crisis on planet Earth. If you want to talk problematic, go sit in 121 degrees Fahrenheit some place in northern Canada.

VAUSE: That's a good point, Bill, thank you. As always, great to have you with us. I appreciate it.

Coming up, Britney strikes back. A legal win for Britney Spears, and she also lashes out at her father in court and wants him to be charged.



VAUSE: More powerful courtroom testimony and a big legal win for Britney Spears. She now wants her father charged for abusing his role as conservator, the essentially court-ordered guardian of her finances and much of her life.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has details.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britney Spears is one step closer to potentially taking back control of her life. Judge Brenda Penny granted the singer's request to choose your own lawyer. Wasting no time, former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart was in court on behalf of Spears.

MATHEW ROSENGART, ATTORNEY FOR BRITNEY SPEARS: We feel that today was a big step in the interest of justice.

ELAM: Judge Penny accepted the resignations of both Samuel Ingham, Spears' court-acquainted lawyer since 2008 and Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm and the court-appointed co-conservator of her estimated $60 million estate.

Calling into court, Spears was emotional, sobbing as she spoke for about 20 minutes, saying she wants to get her father, Jamie Spears, removed from the arrangement and charged with conservatorship abuse, saying, quote, "If this isn't abuse, I don't know what is." She added, "I thought they were trying to kill me."

Her new lawyer echoing some of her sentiments.

ROSENGART; Pursuant to Britney Spears' instructions, we will be moving promptly and aggressively for his removal. The question remains, why is he involved? He should step down voluntarily, as that is in the best interests of Britney.

ELAM: The last time Spears spoke in court about three weeks ago, she railed against the conservatorship, calling it abusive, demoralizing, and embarrassing.

She also claimed she was forced to perform, take medication, including birth control, and get therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey-hey, ho-ho, Conservatorship has got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey-hey, ho-ho, Conservatorship has got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey-hey, ho-ho, Conservatorship has got to go.

ELAM: Her fans have intensified their calls to free Britney from what they deem a toxic situation, gathering outside the courthouse as news spread of Spears' victory.

Before the hearing, Spears gained some key support, too. Her mother, Lynne Spears, said in court filings that Britney is able to care for herself and is in a much different place than when the conservatorship began in 2008.


ELAM: That's when multiple health and psychiatric issues landed Spears in the hospital that January.

Her father maintains he's acted in the best interests of his daughter.

But critics of the arrangement argue that, if Britney can work, then she can also handle her own affairs.


ELAM: And in recent years, she's kept busy, releasing several albums; headlining her Las Vegas residency; and serving as a reality competition judge, all while under the conservatorship, and as her mother's petition states, earning, quote, "literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity."

(on camera): And Britney Spears making it clear she is not willing to be evaluated again to remove her father from the conservatorship, and she does say that she wants Jody Montgomery, the conservator of her person, who's been with her for many years, to stay on with her, to help her transition back into the real world. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: And after the hearing, Britney Spears took to Instagram, saying she feels gratitude and blessed. And she thanked her fans for their support.

I'm John Vause. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT is next.