tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 27, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST
♪ i feel stressed out ♪ ♪ i want to let it go ♪ ♪ there's no way out ♪ ♪ face down, losing all control ♪ ♪ here we come here we go, we got to rock ♪ in the united states and around the world, i'm paula newton. ahead, a new covid variant spreading around the globe and bringing with it fear. health experts worry it could be more transmissible and question how vaccines will work against it. that variant has markets tumbling as countries shut down travel from affected regions just in time for the holidays. we will have the latest. and the president of ukraine warns there are plans for a coup against him.
the suspects -- he says powerful ukrainians and, yes, russia. what the kremlin has to say about it . and we begin, of course, with a new coronavirus variant that is, of course, unsettling so many around the world. the w.h.o. is calling the variant a variant of concern as they designate it. it was first identified in south africa and has been detected in several other countries in the region. cases have also been confirmed further afield. that includes israel, hong kong, and belgium. it's not yet known whether it's any more deadly or whether it can blunt vaccine efficacy or natural immunity. scientists fear it could be more contagious, and health experts
say more research is needed right now. >> this variant has a large number of mutations, and some of these mutations have some worrying characteristics. right now there are many studies that are under way. there's a lot of work that is ongoing in south africa and in other countries to better characterize the variant itself in terms of transmissibility, in terms of severity, and any impact on our countermeasures like the use of diagnostics, therapeutics, or vaccines. so far there's little information, but studies are underway. we need researchers to have the time to carry those out. >> and it will be at least a few weeks before we hear anything about that. government around the world have responded by limiting or banning flights and travelers from several south african countries, and all of that, of course, made global stock markets jittery. our cnn producer is in london following all the reaction from europe. and europe is already dealing with an absolutely punishing summer in covid cases. how are they proposing to deal
with this next challenge? >> reporter: that's exactly right, paula. in the last week alone we've seen record-breaking figures in several countries across the continent reporting record-breaking numbers in daily cases. and of course yesterday that confirmed case, the first confirmed case in europe of this new variant in belgium. so there are serious concerns now over how the governments in europe can keep control over the pandemic, particularly as we move into the winter months. we've seen in previous months during the pandemic the impacts like the variant identified first in the uk which had an immense impact on the health care infrastructure across europe. hospital falling under massive pressure, and the rate of hospital admissions rising exponentially. so that is a serious concern. of course, with the delta variant which has been highly transmissible. so there are serious concerns over what the risks posed by this new variant will be. part of that effort to bring that under control is, of course, these travel restrictions that we've seen
just yesterday announced by the european union, a collective to restrict travel from the southern african region following on from the uk. of course, there will be national measures that need to be taken into consideration. for now, that focus really is on that international effort. take a listen -- >> as concerns mount over the spread of a new coronavirus variant named omnicron by the world health organization, european union states have agreed to halt air travel from south africa where the variant was first identified and other neighboring countries in the region. >> it is now important that all of us in europe act very swiftly, decisively, and united. all air travel to these countries should be suspended. they should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant. and travelers returning from this region should respect strict quarantine rules.
>> reporter: the uk was one of the first nations to make the announcement. >> we will be suspending all flights from six southern african countries, and we were adding those countries to the travel red list. those countries are south africa, namibia, swatini, and zimbabwe and botswana. >> reporter: the move prompted swift criticism from south africa. tweeting the decision seems rushed, a decision that comes despite warnings from the world health organization against hasty travel restrictions. >> countries can do a lot in terms of surveillance and sequencing and work together with affected countries or globally to work scientifically to fight this variant and to understand more about it so that we know how to go about -- so at this point, again, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against, and taking a
risk based scientific approach. >> reporter: with cases confirmed in several places includingble jerusalem, israel -- belgium, israel, and hong kong, there are growing concerns over the transmissibility of the variant and its impact on vaccine efficacy. and with winter ahead, world leaders are acting quickly to stop the situation from once again spiraling out of control. that is the concern, the spiraling out of control that we've seen in the past. there is an emphasis on european leaders to make the national measures that we've seen in the past tightening restrictions. some countries now going into lockdown. that will be the focus as health expert continue this investigation into the risks posed by this new variant. paula? >> yeah, absolutely chilling really to see what europe is dealing with considering the caseload there. i want to thank you. we now go to asia and will ripley who is in hong kong where two people tested positive for the variant. will, this is in the quarantine
hotel that you're currently in right now, right? >> reporter: two floors down from me. it was a surprise to check in and hear about this plethora of cases on the fifth floor. i'm up on the seventh. and it is having a pretty big impact for the people in those two rooms, a south african man in his 30s, and a man in the room across the hallway in his 60s, both of whom tested positive within one week of each other. when they tested for the virus in the hallway, they found traces of the virus even though these two men did not have physical contact with each other, authority ies say, and we vaccinated. initially they said one was wearing a mask that they think is improper, it has a valve allowing for air to escape. every time we open our doors, we're supposed to change the mask every single time. put on a new mask whenever you open the door to put out your food, put out the trash. or in my case, i stuck my arm out the door and took video down the hallway to show people what the conditions are like in this hotel.
the door was only open for a few seconds, and then i had hand sanitizer and the whole nine yards, doing our best to stay safe here. you could see every single plastic covered chair down the loophole way is a room with -- down the hallway is a room with someone quarantining. there are hundreds of it guests in the regal airport hotel. on the fifth floor, many of the people in the adjacent rooms to the two positive cases, once they complete either their 14 or 21-day quarantine will will have to do an additional 14 days of isolation at a government facility at penny bay. why is doing this? they have one of the strictest quarantine procedures in the world. even if you are fully vaccinated, the minimum that you're going to quarantine in hong kong is 14 days. i came from taiwan. most people have a 21-day quarantine. some countries are blocked altogether because of different, you know, outbreaks in those countries. certainly we can expect to see hong kong authorities tightening their rules as they try to get in sync with mainland china which has also some of the more strict quarantine progress in the world. they have this zero-covid strategy. they won't accept any covid in
the community whatsoever. that could prove to be a challenge if this new variant is as contagious as some scientists fear. >> yeah, i want to talk to you about that. one of the problems in south africa now is the fact that there's a good portion of the population there that is not vaccinated. that's also true in some regions in asia. do you think that might change the posture toward that? >> reporter: i'll tell you from what i've observed, there is nothing that gets people motivated to get vaccinated more quickly than a major outbreak. that's what happened in taiwan. i was there at the beginning of may. they had less than 1% of their population fully vaccinated at that time. they were having a hard time getting vaccine shipments into the country. you now fast forward to where we are now, they have 77% of the population has had at least one dose, and well over 50% are now fully vaccinated in taiwan. people were motivated because they had their worst outbreak of the pandemic in may after having many, many months with almost no local transmission whatsoever. here in hong kong it's a similar situation.
the local case numbers are very low. certainly news of a potentially new, more con table us on, more dangerous omnicron variant even though scientists don't know a lot about it yet, but the possibility of the fact that you have guests in different hotel rooms catching this certainly has people in hong kong alarmed. will it lead people to get those vaccine doses or booster shots that the territory's offering, only time will tell. >> will, you've been tracking this virus for nearly two years now, and there you are right now again giving us very important information on the ground there live for us from hong kong. appreciate it. to help us sort out everything we're learning about the new variant, i'm joined by dr. peter droback, infectious disease and global health expert in oxford, england. do you believe this could potentially be the variant that we've all feared, right, that this is the one that evades the vaccines? >> well hi, good to be with you. i think there's real rope for
concern. we've -- real reason for concern. we've seen that with scientists, with the aggressive response that some countries have been taken around travel bans. the answer is we don't know, but there are some concerning signs, some real cause for concern and for vigilance. the two things that have worried us about this particular variant are, number one, all the high number of 32 mutations on the spike protein, the part of the virus that the vaccine trains the immune system to fight. and so if, you know, some of our fears bear out, that would make the vaccines potentially less effective than they are right now. the second thing is that based on very limited evidence so far from the tremendous surveillance being done in southern africa, this variant appears to be out-competing the delta variant, at least in the area around johannesburg. and that suggests that it may be more transmissible or has a survival advantage. now remember, if we go back a few months to the spring/summer, there were a couple of different variants that we werre worried
about. then delta became the dominant strain because it was more infectious and was able to outcompete other rare yants. there's a concern that this could be the case, but the the answer is we don't know yet. things like border measures that have been taken might buy us time. those won't be tremendously affected. i think the most important thing we can do now is to continue to push on vaccinations and take other measures to drive down transmission until we know more and see what happens. >> and what about that? what if we do find that these vaccines just do not work as well against this variant? is it possible that even though we've seen more breakthrough cases that the vaccines that we have right now will still protect against severe disease and death? >> yeah, i think that's actually very likely. remember that immune escape, the term we use for the vaccines or the virus being able to escape
vaccine-generated immunity, is one of the degrees. it's not like turning a light switch on and off. if we have a vaccine that's currently 90% effective, you know, with the new variant that could decrease by any sort of measure. it's very likely that will there will still be some protection, as you say, you know, the really tremendous thing about our vaccines is they're very strong protection against severe illness and death. there's certainly no evidence so far that this new variant causes more severe disease. we just don't know enough yet. i think it's very likely the vaccine still will have some effectiveness and be a very important tool in our toolkit. all of the customers making vaccines are already starting to tailor their vaccines to the genetic code of this new variant. and so if need be, you know, new versions of vaccines could be just months away. but only time will tell. >> yeah. in fact, doctor, moderna announced it is rapidly trying
to advance its -- this specific variant, that booster candidate that they already have. pfizer says it's also working on a potential solution. what i want to ask you, though, is should this alleviate our fears really, or should we still be concerned about those billions throughout the world that are still unvaccinated, whether they're unwilling or in most cases have not even had access to a single dose of vaccine yet? >> yeah. i'm so glad you asked that. right now there are about 100 million doses of vaccine going unused in wealthy countries that are set to expire next month. so we continue to hoard vaccines. we've got more than we can use while around the world there are billions who have not received a first dose. in south africa, only 25% of the population has been fully vaccinated. south africa's a middle-income country that's had the resources, they just haven't been able to get the vaccines. we have to remember that a situation in which we have high levels of transmission, where there's lots of virus
replicating, and relatively low levels of vaccination create the perfect conditions for the emergence of new variants. and so allowing this to continue to -- in this fashion around the world is actually putting all of us at risk. so probably the most important thing we could be doing globally right now is working in more solidarity, trying to get vaccines to everybody who needs them around the world. and we have to radically increase our supply to do that. >> okay, we'll leave it there for now. i'm sure we will be talking about this every hour to come in the next few days and weeks. thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you. still to come on "cnn newsroom," why the french president is accusing the british prime minister of not being serious about tackling the migrant crisis. plus, ukraine's president warns there is a coup planned against him set to be carried out in just a few days. who he says is behind the plot. p number 360 smart bed. what if i sleep hot? or cold? no problem, the sleep number 360 smart bed is temperature balancing
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french president macron has accused the british prime minister of not behaving seriously in his words after boris johnson tweeted a letter he sent to mr. macron laying out ways to prevent future crossings. [ speaking foreign language ] >> translator: i am surprised at the methods when they are not serious. we don't communicate between one leader to another on these issues by tweeting and writing letters and making them public. we are not whistleblowers. come on, come on. >> and here's where it gets memess y -- france has a key weekend meeting on the migrant crisis. this comes after 27 people died wednesday while attempting to cross the english channel. cnn's jim bittermann joins me now from paris where he is following developments. you know, britain suggest friday that letter that we looked hat the joint patrols with france, more intelligence sharing. what about that suggestion that the migrants, if they do make it to the uk, should be sent
directly back to france as a deterrent? >> reporter: well, i think the friend would say to that that that's not in -- in line with the kind of international treaties and agreements that are already in place. basically when a person applies for asylum, they're supposed to stay where they are until they -- their asylum claim can be evaluated. and the fact is the french, i think, would say that that wouldn't be the case if you were sending people back. they have suggested -- and this is something we've heard from the french side -- that the british send asylum evaluators over to france and have the claims being evaluated in france. but they don't like the idea of this lack of sovereignty that they would have over the claims if they were simply, the british were simply turning back the asylum seekers when they arrive at great britain without processing them. that's the violation they would
say of the international agreements on asylum. so that i think is part of it. the other new england is -- and i think that rankled the french about there whole affair over the letter that boris johnson published was something that the government spokesman said yesterday, and that is that they felt the british were being two faced, that they had said one thing, that boris johnson said one thing in his private television conversation with emmanuel macron, and that the letter seemed to say a different thing, and -- and because of that they felt like the dealings with britain have been underhanded. and of course it comes after all the acrimony that we've seen all this fall over phishing and over the submarine deal and all of that. so relations right now are not in particularly good shape. paula? >> yeah. and not at all, and geffen the fact that not everyone -- given the fact that not everyone who should be at the table is there, that is obviously going to slow things down in terms of finding a solution. jim bittermann in paris, appreciate that. now, the solemn islands are
reporting the first casualties after days of anti-government riots. police said they found through bodies in a burned out building in the chinatown district. police say the city is still tense, and it's starting to get back to normal now. they also say more than 100 people have been arrested since rioting began on wednesday. meantime, an australian army unit landed in the capital while pap what, new guinea, deployed a security team to help the rallies from the prime minister that protesters want to resign. ukraine's president says the government has unacccovered a c to be carried out in a few days. it comes amid heightened tensions over the recent build-up of russian troops along the ukranian border. matthew chance explains. >> reporter: these are disturbing allegations from the ukrainian president. a serious and new threat posed
by russia against his government. we have metro station that will soon be a -- information that will soon be a coup in our country, he announced at a round table discussion with journalists. it's in just a few days, he said, on the 1nd or 2nd of december. the kremlin denies any such plot. it's dram tick escalation in the war of words as russia is accused of amassing forces near ukraine's borders poised to invapd which the kremlin also denied. now president zelinsky says he has intelligence including an audio recording of russians and ukrainians discussing the plot against him. no evidence has been made public. he also suggested ukraine's richest man, this powerful oligarch, who had several media outlets may have been involved, something strenuously denied to cnn by akmatov himself. the metro information made publ
about attempts to draw me into a coup is an absolute lie, he said in this written statement. as a ukrainian citizen, the country's biggest investor, taxpayer, and employer, he continues, i will defend a free ukraine and do everything i can to prevent authoritarianism and censorship. for years now ukraine has been facing enormous pressure from its powerful russian neighbor, fighting a trench war with russian-backed rebels in the country's east. it was the threat of holding back u.s. military aid that led to former president trump's first impeachment. now u.s. officials say russia is engaged in destabilizing activities inside ukraine, as well, against the zelinsky government. it's one of the reasons the ukrainian leader seems on edge. conscious he has enemies outside the country and within. but there are also fears he's
using real concerns about russia to crack down on his opponents, too. matthew chance, cnn, london. now u.s. president joe biden says he's concerned about mr. zelinsky's comments on the alleged coup inside ukraine. meantime, the u.s. and its nato allies will be discussing ways to further deter russia from its aggression toward ukraine at a summit in latvia this week. nato's secretary general says the military build-up on the border is raising tensions. he's calling on moscow to deescalate the situation. take a listen to what he told cnn friday. >> what we see is a significant russian and military build-up and usual concentration of forces, heavy weapons, battle tanks, drones, armored vehicles, and also electronic warfare systems and many, many combat-ready troops. of course, this is serious also because it's the second time
this year. we don't know the russian intentions, but what we do know is that russia has used force against ukraine before. they annexed crimea. they destabilized eastern ukraine, and they have conducted hybrid and cyberattacks against ukraine many times. so this is serious, and therefore we need to monitor very closely and assess this actively. >> so he also told cnn there will be consequences if russia wa once again uses force again ukraine. the russian president is urging migrants stranded at the border with poland to push on into the european union if they want to. promising that he and his military will not force them to go back to their home countries if they do not wish to return. now the comments came as mr. lukashenko's first public appearance at the border since the migrant crisis began. a crisis the eu says he created by granting belarusian visas in
the mideast and pushing thousands of migrants to the border with poland. it's a claim he denies. >> translator: if the migrant crisis in belarus is not solved now it will grow much bigger, not only in spring but winter. we understand that a large flow of people will be arriving here in belarus, and it will be hard to hold them on the border. this problem must be solved now before it grows much bigger. >> now while mr. lukashenko encourages migrants to just go into the european union, neighboring countries are struggling to deal with the growing crisis. lithuania on friday said it may shut down its border crossings altogether if more migrants attempt to cross over from belarus. in poland, police video seems to show migrants rioting at a detention center in the western part of the country trying to break down a fence and smashing windows. polish authorities say the migrants were demanding better conditions and to be transferred
on to western europe. still ahead here on "cnn newsroom," more travel restrictions going into effect over the new omnicron variant. the latest on which countries are being impacted. plus, fears also send global markets tumbling. the dow just saw its worst day in more than a year. and dries quickly. goes r no mess. just the soothing vicks' vapor for the whole family. introducing new vicks vapostick. frequent heartburn? not anymore. the prilosec otc two-week challenge is helping people love what they love again. just one pill a day. 24 hours. zero heartburn. because life starts when heartburn stops.
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have now tested positive for covid at at airport in the netherlands. dutch health authorities say those positive test results will be examined as soon as possible to see if they're potentially infected with the new omnicron variant. that i'll remind you was first identified in south africa. meantime, world health authorities and health officials are scrambling to contain the potential spread of a new covid variant, and for that reason more than two dozen countries will be curbing travel in the coming days by limiting or banning flights and foreign travelers from several southern african countries. those travel restrictions are already being felt in the country where the variant was first identified, as we just told you, south africa. cnn's david mckenzie has more on how the global reaction is playing out there. >> reporter: in a world fatigued by waves of covid-19, now renewed fear. in south africa, scientists
identifying a troubling new variant of the virus that is dominating infections here. >> variant of serious concern which is now driving this spike in numbers. >> reporter: more than 30 mutations, say scientists, in the spike protein alone. it's a worrying sign. scientists are working in labs like this one in south africa scrambling to confirm if the variant evades immunity from previous infections or crucially if it weakens vaccine efficacy. definitive answers could take weeks. >> we think it may be a more transmissible virus, and it may have some immune escape. we don't know that for sure, but that's what it looks like. >> the european commission has proposed to member states to activate the emergency brake on travel from countries in southern africa. >> reporter: even without clear answers, the world is shutting its doors. countries all across the globe
rapidly banning travelers from parts of africa. they say to curb the spread of the variant. now thousands are likely stranded. in the airport in amsterdam, hundreds of passengers from south africa forced to sit on the tarmac for hours after landing. then crowding in a covid testing site after the netherlands bans travel from south africa. the international air transport association saying restrictions are not a long-term solution. they already lost billions to the pandemic. anger in south africa where officials call the bans draconian, kneejerk measures. >> what i find so disgusting and really distressing actually from here was not just the travel ban being implemented by the uk and europe but that that was the only reaction or the -- the strongest reaction. and there was no word of the
support that they're going to offer to african countries to help us control the pandemic. >> reporter: countries in africa, now israel, hong kong, and belgium have so far confirmed cases of the variant. david mckenzie, cnn, johannesburg. a closer look at the new travel restrictions being implemented by the u.s. on those southern african nations. more now from nantucket, massachusetts, where president biden is spending his thanksgiving holiday weekend. >> reporter: president biden described his decision to enact new travel restrictions on south africa and seven other african countries as a cautious one as concerns are growing about the new coronavirus variant known as omnicron. the president spoke to reporters on his vacation saying he had a 30-minute conversation with his top medical advisers including dr. fauci thundanthony fauci, a arrived that the restrictions
were necessary but acknowledged there is much to be learned about the variant. take a listen. >> i've decided that we're going to be cautious. we don't know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern. seems to spread rapidly. and i spent about a half hour this morning with my covid team led by dr. fauci, so that was the decision we made. >> the new travel restrictions will not impact american citizens and legal permanent residents. and the ban is set to go into effect on monday. officials say they need that time in order to put all of the proper protocols in place to implement this, working directly with the tsa and airlines that will be impacted. ultimately officials believe they are working as quickly as possible. they are hoping that these new restrictions will give the administration more time to learn more about the variants. the president also stressed that now is the time for the unvaccinated to go out and get their vaccine shots, and for those who have already been
vaccinated, to get boosters in order to protect themselves against the coronavirus that's currently in the u.s. and any other variants that may come here. cnn, traveling with the president in nantucket, massachusetts. those travel restrictions limit who can enter the u.s. but don't require flights to be halted. delta and the united airlines both say they have no plans to stop service to and from south africa, and an airline group says it has many unanswered questions about the new measures. now the omnicron variant is also rattling, as you can imagine, global markets. wall street fell sharply with the dow suffering the worst day in more than a year. the price of oil followed the slide. brent crude, the global oil benchmark and u.s. oil, have both fallen with u.s. crude plunging 13%. richard quest now has more on what's behind the drop. >> reporter: markets love certainty, and they've just been given an enormous dose of the
opposite. great worries about what's likely to happen next with the omnicron variant. the market fall started in asia. it went rapidly through europe and into the united states. now to be fair, it was a shortened trading session the day after thanksgiving, and it was thin markets. so volatility was to be expected. but that shouldn't deny the underlying concern that there is. will there need to be more restrictions, more lockdowns, more measures as a result of omnicron which could stifle the recoveries under way? so far travel restrictions from various african countries have been put into place even though the w.h.o. says that's cou counterp counterproductive. it's easy to see why western politicians are more concerned with appearing to do the right thing and shut the door rather
than whether it's going to be effective. cnn, new york. so if it seems like you're seeing help wanted signs everywhere you look, of course you're right. millions of americans have called it quits during the pandemic. ahead, what prompted the great resignation and how it's affecting the labor market. plus, canada's westernmost province is still recovering from catastrophic flooding last month. here's the thing, though -- a new system is threatening even more rain. with a round head. so does my oral-b my hygienist personalizes my cleaning. so does my oral-b oral-b delivers the wow of a professional clean feel every day. i'm jonathan lawson here to tell you about life insurance through the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three ps. what are the three ps? the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price.
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actually quit their jobs during this pandemic. we have more on the great resignation. >> reporter: a simple task, kate picks up her 7-year-old daughter, grace, from school. something she's waited years to do. do you recall how often you were able to pick your daughter up from school? >> oh, my gosh. never. >> reporter: that all changed in april. she quit her 15-year career in sales to be home full time with her kids. >> i was working endless hours and traveling a lot. >> reporter: if covid didn't happen, do you think that you still would have quit your job? >> no. no. i think i'd still be there, yeah. without a doubt. >> reporter: she's one of millions quitting the work force in recent months. a record 4.4 million quits in september. it's being called the great resignation. >> we had so much time that we had to be sitting at home and
spending time with, you know, people that we live with and just shifting priorities. >> reporter: and she's one of 4.7 million business applications filed from january through october of this year. a 34% increase from the same time period in 2019. she founded monmouthmoms, a resource guide for parents. >> it allows me to take off if i need to bring, you know, my kids to the doctor or, you know, offer my flexibility in terms of when i can even schedule appointments for them. >> reporter: it's not just moms leaving the work force. americans are retiring in greater numbers, too. >> what am i looking at behind you guys right now is. >> that's our rv. >> that's our rv. you got in the background. >> reporter: scott and mary banks retired early this september at at 7 and 59 -- 57 and 59 respectively and are road tripping across the country. >> packed up, strapped down, ready to head down the road. >> reporter: scott left finance and mary left real estate.
>> i said, what would you funding we did it now instead of waiting three more years? >> i pushed all my chips in. i'm all in. >> reporter: 1.5 million americans were on pace to retire during the pandemic. instead, that number more than doubled to 3.6 million. >> it was just that thought of, gosh, wouldn't it be just a tragedy if we spent all this time working for our retirement and then right near the finish line you catch a horrible disease and die and never get to enjoy your retirement? >> reporter: so they capitalized on the hot housing market, sold their home, and hit the road. how is life on the road compared to the jobs that you left behind? >> gosh, i wish i could say it was tough, but no. it's great. i do not miss at all working right now. >> reporter: now the industries with some of the highest quit rates are transportation, education, and leisure and hospitality. these are industries that were suffering from labor shortages before the pandemic and now they're feeling them much more
acutely. americans that we spoke to who quit those industries say that they now are looking for better wages and more flexibility at work. just clearly showing how much this pandemic has transformed the way americans are willing to work and what they are willing to do. back to you. >> more great work there, following closely the economic fallout from this pandemic. now, american taxpayers are not getting their fair share from oil and gas companies that drill on federal lands and waters, so says a review of the federal leasing program by the interior department. it's urging the government to consider raising the fees for those kicompanies to help fight climate change. president biden ordered the review as part of his effort to tackle the climate crisis. some lawmakers and environmental groups say the proposal just doesn't go far enough. now, environment canada has issued its first red alert for british columbia as another dangerous weather system rolls
in. now earlier this month the western province was slammed by catastrophic floods and mudslides that forced evacuations and wreaked havoc for homeowners, and look at the roads -- now three atmospheric rivers are threatening to dump more heavy rain on the saturated ground. the prime minister visited the effected area on friday as authorities work proactively to close secondses of the highways. stephen sondheim was a master of words and music on the american stage. but now, stephen sondheim has died at the age of 91. the life and career of one of broadway's greats when we return.
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stephanie elam looks back at his extraordinary career. ♪ >> reporter: stephen sondheim was one of musical theater's most prolific and successful writers, winning eight tony awards, eight grammy awards, an academy award, a pulitzer prize for drama, and in 2015 the presidential medal of freedom. sondheim was born on march 22nd, 1930, in new york city. his parents divorced in 1942, and he moved to pennsylvania with his mother. in pennsylvania, he became friends with james hammerstein, the son of lyricist oscar hammerstein. throughout his teen years, his relationship with his mother deteriorated, and eventually the two became estranged. oscar hammerstein was a constant figure, encouraging sondheim's musical talents throughout high school and college. >> if it hadn't been for the
hammersteins, i don't know where i would be, if i'd even alive. ♪ >> reporter: sondheim's big break came when he wrote the lyrics for the broadway show "west side story" in 1957. then in 1962, he expanded his repetoire, and for the first time he wrote the lyrics and composed the music for "a funny thing happened on the way to the forum." in 19700, sondheim became a clap riegds with theater producer hal prince that lasted more than a decade. their 1973 play, "a little night music," was composed mostly in waltz time and became one of their biggest commercial successes. it featured the hit "send in the clowns," one of sondheim's best-known songs. ♪ you here at last on the ground ♪ >> reporter: in 1979, sondheim wrote what was probably broad
way's first musical thriller -- "sweeney todd." the story of an english barber and serial killer. ♪ >> what's great about the theater is it's a living organism, whereas movies and television are as if in amber. it's not that they're dead, but they're only alive in one shape, form, and tone. every time you see a movie, they're giving the same performance as they did the last time you saw them. not true of a show. >> reporter: inspiration was everywhere for sondheim. in 1984, moved by a famous pointing by surat, he penned the lyrics for "sunday in the park with george." ♪ for that inventive stage craft, he won the pulitzer prize for drama. in 1987, he wrote the broadway
hit, "into the woods," based on the fables of the brothers grimm. ♪ >> reporter: late in sondheim's career, lin-manuel miranda approached him with something he was working on -- a musical then called "the hamilton mix tape." sondheim mentored miranda just as hammerstein had done for him. from walts to rap inspired by everything from serial killers to fairy tales, sondheim's impact on american musical theater spanned decades and created some of the world's most popular musicals. >> stephen sondheim there, and our thanks to stephanie elam. i'm paula newton. thank you for your company. "cnn newsroom" continues next. stay with us.
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♪ live from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, welcome to all of you watching us here in the united states, canada and around the world. i'm kim brunhuber. this is "cnn newsroom." a variant of concern. health officials around the world are working to learn more about the covid omicron variant. meanwhile, more countries are restricting flights from southern africa. plus, what's being done to invite a rash of smash and gra
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