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Violence Escalates in Myanmar as Crackdown on Protesters Intensifies; WHO Warns of Worrying Spike in European Cases; Italy Blocks Export of Vaccine Doses to Australia; New Zealand Downgrades Tsunami Warning; Beijing to Tighten Grip on Hong Kong as Parliament Opens; Oil Prices Surge After OPEC Extends Production Cuts; Pope Francis Leaves Italy For Landmark Trip To Iraq; Soon: Pope To Visit Baghdad Church Attacked In 2010; Duke Of Edinburgh Recovering After Heart Procedure; Fate Of Voting Rights Bill Unclear As it Heads To Senate; "QAnon Shaman" Says He Was At Capitol To Spread Positivity, Rioter Seen With Feet On Pelosi's Desk Has Court Outburst. Aired 2- 2:45a ET
Aired March 5, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protest songs in Myanmar as demonstrators refuse to back down despite police opening fire on peaceful gatherings like this.
New COVID lockdowns in Europe along with a new alliance to develop and produce vaccines.
Plus, the pope is in the air on his way to Iraq. We will show you what he will find when he visits Iraqi Christians.
(On camera): Hello. Welcome to "CNN Newsroom," everyone. Appreciate your company. I am Michael Holmes.
Pro-democracy demonstrators in Myanmar are back on the streets despite a surge in deadly violence. In the last few hours, they have peacefully gathered to sing songs of defiance and faced off with police. It comes just days after dozens were killed when security forces opened fire with live ammunition.
The United Nation says at least 54 people have been killed since the February coup, but the actual death toll is likely much higher, a number of children among the victims. UNICEF says five kids have been killed and more than 500 others have been arbitrarily detained.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developments for us from Seoul. Paula, it was interesting. Amnesty International's deputy director for regional research said everything points to troops adopting shoot to kill tactics to suppress the protests. Is that what you are hearing?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly what we've been hearing on the ground and from those who have been at the protests, Michael, and also from those families of people who have been killed at those protests.
There was a feeling, over the past few days, that the level of force that was used by security forces had substantially increased. Certainly, that is borne out by the number of fatalities that we know about. Clearly, many activists feel that that death toll is a lot higher.
One interesting thing, what Amnesty also said is that the silence of the military leadership behind this what they call the shoot to kill policy, suggests that it comes from them. That, certainly, is what we have been hearing, as well.
I spoke to the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, on Thursday, and he said that it is clear now that protesters are being killed in cold blood and saying that -- when I asked, is anybody safe? He said no, because he said journalists are being targeted, protesters are being targeted, ambulance workers.
There was image chorus of security force, dragging three ambulance workers, charity workers out of their vehicle and severely beaten. So there really is a sense that something has changed on the ground since last weekend.
HOLMES: And Paula, give us a sense of who is taking part. Who is the core of the protest movement? And also, how organized are they?
HANCOCKS: It is an awful lot of young people who are out on the streets at this point. These are young people who know the risks that they are up against at this point, as well. We have spoken to many families, as I say, of those who have been killed, and those who have been killed have been young.
We spoke to the family of a 22-year-old on Thursday, who had been killed on Wednesday. There was a 19-year-old. We spoke to the doctor, who had treated her. And we really are seeing the youth is pushing this movement forward at this point, the civil disobedience movement.
And the 19-year-old, for example, was killed on Wednesday. On her Facebook page, she had already posted her blood type, she had already posted her parents' details so that people knew how to connect with her parents if she was injured or worse at a protest, which unfortunately she was.
So it is a young -- a young set of protesters we are seeing. It is across the board. We are seeing doctors. We are seeing civil servants.
HANCOCKS: We are seeing many different people coming into the cities from rural areas, as well, to be part of these protests. It is a real grassroots movement. HOLMES (on camera): Yeah, yeah, it appears to be an enormous courage on display. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, appreciate it, thanks so much.
Now, the United Nation Security Council is expected to meet in the hours ahead. This coming as more world leaders are calling for action to be taken. Earlier, CNN spoke with international human rights lawyer Jared Genser about what could be done to hold those responsible accountable.
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JARED GENSER, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: I think that we are seeing the crimes mounting in a way that we are rapidly going to be able to conclude that what is going on here are most likely crimes against humanity.
What we are talking about here is mass disappearances, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings committed in a widespread systematic and horrific way directed against the civilian population of the country. As the numbers mount and the scales mount, it is much more likely that we can conclude mass atrocities are being committed.
You know, I think an arms embargo is an important first start, but also, we need the situation in the country refer to the international criminal court to hold accountable general men online who runs the Burmese military and other generals in the country not nearly for what they are doing right now but, of course, for the prior acts they have committed against the Rohingya and the acts of genocide against their own people that they were brought to the world court about and where ironically and quite sadly Aung San Suu Kyi had stood in their defense.
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HOLMES (on camera): Now, a year into the pandemic, Europe's hopes that the worst is over are being crushed by the slow vaccine rollout. Now, there is a worrying spike in coronavirus cases mainly in Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary is taking action by imposing another lockdown starting Monday. Most shops will be closed and schools will do remote learning.
Now, the E.U.'s vaccine shortage has country seeking out their own. Austria and Denmark have agreed to launch a joint fund with Israel for the future production of COVID vaccines. Meanwhile, Cuba says its own vaccine candidate is now ready for phase three trial and a second Cuban vaccine could be there soon.
And the Italian government has blocked the export of a quarter million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia on Thursday.
Melissa Bell is following this for us from Paris. Melissa, it is good to see you. I mean, the first time the U.S. blocked an export like this. You got Australia now crying vaccine nationalism. What is behind it all?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That is right. You will remember that it was back in January, Michael, that very unseemly (INAUDIBLE) between the European Union and AstraZeneca, when it emerged, that AstraZeneca was not going to be able to deliver all the vaccine doses that it had promised in its contract with the E.U. in the first quarter. That led to this (INAUDIBLE). It led to the European Union announcing an export ban.
Essentially, the European Union was concerned that even as it lacked the vaccines it had been promised as part of the contracts it signed with those companies whose vaccines have been approved for marketing in the E.U., was worried that vaccines being produced in European countries might be exported elsewhere.
At the time, the fear was that the United Kingdom was benefiting from vaccines that have been produced in the E.U. at the expense of European consumers. This time, of course, it is Italy keeping a close eye on those vaccines, adding further afield this time to Australia.
But it is perhaps no surprise that this came from Italy. We have seen the new Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, make that vaccination program and its rollout a priority. Also, speaking to European leaders at last month's summit, saying that Europe needed to apply its export bans, introduced early at the end of January, far more strictly.
So far, there have been 174 requests, applications for the export of vaccines from the E.U. to exterior countries. Hundred and seventy-four were accepted. This time, this one was denied. The Italians explained why. It was to do with a lack of vaccines in Italy. But also, they said the size of the order, 250,000 vaccines leaving Italy, even as Italians were lacking AstraZeneca vaccines. Michael?
HOLMES: And before I let you go, tell us more about the sort of change of advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine and how badly Europe needs it.
BELL: That's right. In so many European countries, Michael, the vaccination program has essentially had to grind to a halt or seen severe delays for lack or shortages. There have been shortages in many countries of the Moderna vaccine, of the Pfizer vaccine, delays and deliveries.
But it was that initial advise in so many European countries that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to people over the age of 65 that really caused a number of blockages here in Europe, first of all, because AstraZeneca was one of the largest and the first contract that Europeans had signed. But, of course, it wasn't approved until the end of January.
BELL: Now, that advice has changed in so many European countries, which means that the AstraZeneca vaccine in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, for instance, can now be used in people over the age of 65. So that is why right now, these European countries that are having such a hard time getting their vaccine programs up and running really need those vaccines and the reason also, I suspect, behind the Italian's decision to block this particular shipment. HOLMES (on camera): Yeah, indeed. Melissa, it is good to see you. Melissa Bell is there in Paris for us.
Now, New Zealand has downgraded its tsunami warning after three powerful earthquakes earlier on Friday, the strongest a massive magnitude 8.1.
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HOLMES (voice-over): What you hear there are tsunami sirens, which rang out emergency alerts on people's phones, urging them to evacuate and they did. Residents have since been assured they can safely return home. But officials are warning people to stay away from bodies of water and watch out for strong currents and unpredictable surges.
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HOLMES (on camera): Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins me now to tell us more about this. Hey there, Derek.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yeah, the tsunami threat for the South Pacific is diminishing as we speak, but there is still a threat for portions of the Americas, and I will get to the details in that in just one moment.
But this was a very powerful 8.1 magnitude earthquake and because it occurred under water, it displaced the ocean and allowed for this thrust, the plates, the Pacific and the Australian plates actually merging together and creating this thrusting action, so that displaces water, allows for that water to propagate in the form of a tsunami wave.
By the way, if you are on the surface of the ocean, in the middle of the ocean, you wouldn't even notice the difference in the wave height. But as you get closer to the shoreline, that is when things change because the depth of the ocean floor and the coastline shape determines how much and how large that wave actually builds as it reaches the shoreline, impacting coastal communities.
But look at this, a magnitude 8.1. It was a series of three major earthquakes, two of which, the largest two, were actually related to each other. One was a foreshock prior to the 8.1 that rocked the region. But look at the propagation of the tsunami wave across the entire Pacific Ocean. Again, the threat diminishing across the South Pacific, but now, we focus in on the Americas, specifically Mexico, into Nicaragua, as well as Chile.
Within the next six hours, we have the potential for about a third to upwards of a meter of a wave height that is above normal tidal levels. Potentially, according to tsunami.gov, you can see that forecast height from Mexico to Ecuador and Chile although we are seeing signs that perhaps this tsunami threat continues to diminish.
But nonetheless, there will still be aftershocks rocking this region because of this tectonic plate that emerges within this area. You can see the clusters just north of the North Island and about 560 kilometers to the northeast. That is where the major 8.1 occurred.
By the way, there have been over 62.5 magnitude earthquakes since the beginning of all of this, and there are still more to come. So, the potential for additional tsunamis and additional aftershocks continues. Michael?
HOLMES: Yeah, yeah. We call them aftershocks but they are earthquakes, as you point out. Derek --
VAN DAM: That's right.
HOLMES: -- good to see you, my friend. Thanks for that. Derek Van Dam there.
VAN DAM: Same to you.
HOLMES: And we will take a quick break. When we come back, China's biggest political event of the year on the way in Beijing with control of Hong Kong at the top of the agenda.
Also, Pope Francis now on his way to Iraq for a landmark visit. He wants to comfort those suffering in the region, especially those attacked just for practicing their faith.
You are watching "CNN Newsroom." We will be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back. The Chinese premier just opened up this year's session of Beijing rubber-stamp parliament, touching on a number of issues, including economic growth.
But the main focus of the National People's Congress seems to be tightening Beijing's grip on Hong Kong. Chinese state media had been running editorial saying -- quote -- "electoral loopholes will be plugged." And officials have said only -- quote -- "staunch patriots should be governing Hong Kong."
Let us bring in our own Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong to talk more about this. First of all, what are the headlines? What do we expect from the Congress?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): A number of headlines, including plans for electoral reform for Hong Kong, once again, the political fate of the territory, being altered by Beijing.
Earlier today, it was announced at the National People's Congress that electoral reform plans will be put into place that would make sure that the usually pro-Beijing election committee that usually selects Hong Kong's top leader will be able to nominate and select members of the legislature here in Hong Kong.
This effectively cements Beijing's ambition to make sure that Hong Kong is run by patriots, by people who love Hong Kong, who love China, and who love the Chinese Communist Party.
Now, given everything that is happening in the world these days with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, climate change, economic downturn in many economies around the world outside of China, why is Hong Kong the priority? Well, it all has to do with the 2019 Hong Kong protests and perceived chaos in the territory. I want you to listen to this.
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WANG CHEN, VICE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS STANDING COMMITTEE (through translator): The chaos in Hong Kong society shows that there are obvious loopholes and deficits in the current electoral system and mechanism of the Hong Kong SAR, which provides an opportunity for the anti-China forces in Hong Kong to seize control of the Hong Kong SAR.
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LU STOUT (on camera): And that was Wang Chen, vice chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. I should also add that he is on the U.S. sanctions list for his role in national security law legislation for Hong Kong.
Earlier today, we heard from China's premier, Li Keqiang, who delivered the work report for 2021. He issued a GDP growth target for the year. That China will achieve above six percent growth. Last year, China did not give a GDP target because of disruptions caused by the pandemic.
He also announced plans to create 11 million jobs, urban jobs, in the year ahead, also military spending. Defense spending in Hong Kong -- I'm sorry, in China, will increase some 6.8 percent this next year.
We also heard details from the National People's Congress this day about the five-year plan. This is China's bold plan to recharge economic growth by boosting domestic spending and reigning in China's reliance on overseas technology. Year on year, for the next five years, in 2021 to 2025, they will increase spending on research and development seven percent.
This is significant. This means that China will invest heavily in high tech areas that it lags in like semi-conductors and ships and operating systems while continuing to maintain its leadership in areas like 5G and AI. Michael?
HOLMES: Before I let you go, I mean, how do you think President Xi sees himself in a historical context? I mean, does he view himself as a pivotal historical figure in the making? I mean, focus as much, I guess, on his own legacy as anything else?
LU STOUT: Xi Jinping is the core leader of China, and he will continue to be the core leader of China. Look, his term as the head of the Chinese Communist Party is supposed to wrap up in November of next year. There is no successor that is emerging now or during the National People's Congress to take over. It seems that Xi Jinping is going to be the successor for Xi Jinping.
LU STOUT: He is in a position of strength despite the many challenges that China faces, increased scrutiny over the initial bungling (ph) of the coronavirus, the origins of the coronavirus, and that investigation, you know, increased outcry over Xinjiang human rights abuses there, as well as Hong Kong, building in the South China Sea.
The economy is strong. The coronavirus pandemic is under control within China's borders. It plans to achieve above six percent GDP growth next year. It is rolling out its own Chinese-made vaccines in China and all around the world, including here in Hong Kong.
China is in a position of strength. Xi Jinping is in a position of strength. And again, it seems like Xi will be the successor to Xi. Back to you.
HOLMES: All right. Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, appreciate it, thanks so much.
I want to talk a little bit more about all of this with Willy Lam in Hong Kong. He is an author and adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I appreciate you being with us, sir.
As the Congress gets underway, I wanted to ask you if can give us the sense of how the Trump years changed China's dynamic with, not just the U.S., but in a geopolitical sense, as well.
WILLY LAM, AUTHOR, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Well, Beijing has emphasized its contribution to the international community. Obviously, it wants to one day set the rules for international financial and other (INAUDIBLE).
Beijing is also investing more in huge intercontinental projects like the (INAUDIBLE) initiative and so forth. So, in both hard and soft powerful projections, Beijing has been focusing on a mission, so called Chinese dream, the (INAUDIBLE) nation of the Chinese people.
HOLMES: We were just talking with Kristie about Hong Kong. What do you expect to hear at the Congress in terms of plans, strategy, and for that matter, rhetoric regarding the Hong Kong situation?
LAM: Well, there will be a thorough restructuring of the unilateral system of the Hong Kong legislature as well as for the special election college which will elect the next chief executive.
So, the most important thing is that they will set up a committee to vet the qualifications of potential applicants, potential people who want to run for the legislative council and so forth, which means that most of the pro-democracy activists and politicians will, in fact, be disqualified.
HOLMES: President Xi said that the U.S. is China's biggest threat. He was quoted as saying that the biggest source of chaos in the present day world is the United States. Is that brinkmanship or a sincerely held belief? How does President Xi see the U.S. and how might he move ahead strategically?
LAM: Well, on the one hand, Beijing is optimizing (ph) its military arsenal. So, that is why at the national (INAUDIBLE), they announced the budgeting increase for the (INAUDIBLE) of 6.8 percent. We expect the actual military expenditure to be much more than that.
Beijing has taken an aggressive posture, geopolitical posture, in the South China Sea, Taiwan, as well as the East China Sea. At the same time, however, Premier Li Keqiang in today's reports emphasized a more conciliatory attitude.
Even though he does not address the United States as such, he says that nations should cooperate on a mutually beneficial basis to build what he calls a more just and rational international governance system. He says that in there. He discussed climate change and so forth. There are rooms for corporations between China and the U.S.
HOLMES: It is true, isn't it? I mean, China takes the long view, and you mentioned the road initiative. They look decades down the road while many in the west take perhaps a much shorter term, more immediate view. How does that impact what way we see play out in terms of China's strategy?
LAM: Definitely, Beijing has laid out not only the 14 to 15-year plan (ph), which helped us (INAUDIBLE), but also the long term development plan (INAUDIBLE) when the GDP in 2035 is supposed to be above 2020, last year.
So this, and of course, the fact that Beijing is showing that it has the determination and the capability of narrowing the gap with the U.S. by the time of 2049, when they celebrate the centenary of the People's Republic of China.
At the same time, they are trying to get the U.S. out of the Pacific area by ordering differential policies, favorable trading with countries in the Pacific region, particularly the Southeast Asian nations.
So Xi Jinping knows that if he wants to hang on to the top position for as many as 20 years, he needs to stoke the flames of nationalism, which is one of the key pillars of legitimacy for the Communist Party.
HOLMES: Willie Lam there in Hong Kong, good to see you. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
LAM: Yeah. Thank you.
HOLMES: Now, oil prices are surging after OPEC's decision to extend production cuts through April. Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate are both shooting up after the announcement. You can see both still very much in the green there. OPEC and its allies agreeing to limit supply until the global economic recovery is on more solid footing.
CNN's emerging market editor John Defterios is live in Abu Dhabi for us. Good to see you, John. I guess with all prices rising, investors were pretty sure that more oil would be coming from the major producers of the world. What happened here with the surge in prices overnight?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it is interesting, Michael, because oil investors had one view of what was going to happen, and it was not in alignment with Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC plus players. They were in the wrong side of the bat.
We have had a huge surge, nearly six percent, between Thursday and Friday. We were marching very close to $70 a barrel here for North Sea Brent. I call it the Saudi Arabia zero risk strategy. Don't do anything until you are clear that the demand is going to be there. They may have to react maybe in June, because prices are rising pretty quickly here.
What have they done now, Michael? Look at the chart, 6.85 million barrels for the OPEC plus group of 23. Saudi Arabia is keeping with this additional cut of one million barrels through the month of April. That means in the last year, Michael, since the start of the pandemic, they have been cutting production by seven to 10 million barrels a day. That is how bad the pandemic has been.
They even cited yesterday the lockdowns recently announced in the north of Italy, the challenges in Switzerland and in Germany, the U.S. job market proving to be a challenge. And if they need to, they are going to meet again in April.
If the climate does change rapidly, they think that they are a kind of rapid defense force here against the oil market, they can respond, accordingly, and change production targets for May. Right now, this market is red hot.
HOLMES: Yeah, pollution levels are down, I guess. Anyway, is there a link between what OPEC decided and the expectations for the U.S. jobs report?
DEFTERIOS: Yeah, they are directly linked because we have had the job market spluttering for the last two months, at the end of 2020 and the first month of January. That is why we are watching these expectations for the jobs day Friday in the United States. It should be a much better report than the month before.
Let us take a look at the expectations. We have 182,000 jobs created in February, as the consensus on Wall Street, after only 49,000 in January. Michael, this number is stark. You know, 9.7 million people are still without a job since February 2020.
And this is why Jay Powell, the Central Bank chief, said that the recovery may be slow, but he didn't really answer why interest rates are rising because of the concerns over inflation. So, we see Asian stock markets lower, a major sell off on Wall Street yesterday.
So there are concerns here that the economy is going to be overheating. And oil, by the way, plays into it because the price rise has been 70 percent since November. So, very tenuous times, as you can see in my narrative here.
HOLMES: Yeah, absolutely. John, always a pleasure. Good to see you. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi there.
DEFTERIOS: Thank you.
HOLMES: I appreciate it.
We will take a quick break. When we come back, Iraq is about to welcome a pope for the first time ever. Pope Francis says he wants to support Christians who have been waiting for far too long. It is also his most dangerous visit yet.
We will have that when we come back.
HOLMES: Pope Francis is about to become the first pontiff to visit Iraq. He left Rome a short time ago he's supposed to arrive in Baghdad within the next few hours. The Vatican has been planning for this trip for decades and many thought it would be canceled because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and of course always the risk of terror attacks.
Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman joins me now live. Yes concerns about the Coronavirus concerns about security but the pontiff going ahead how our preparations are on the ground and the mood?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Preparations have been pretty intense Michael. We've seen here in Baghdad, and also in Northern Iraq in Erbil and the Town of Qaraqosh that roads are being repaved streetlights are being fixed.
Vatican and the Iraqi flags are going up along the route to the pontiff will be taking during this whirlwind trip. Keep in mind this is an 84 year old man who's really going to the four corners of Iraq during this visit.
And of course his focus will be more than anything else to express solidarity with the dwindling community of Iraqi Christians, who at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 numbered about 1.5 million now maybe 300,000. One of his first stops after the official sort of meets and greets with Iraqi leaders will be a certain church here in Baghdad.
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WEDEMAN (voice over): The image of Pope Francis Grace's the blast walls protecting Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church, the messages of brotherhood a facade perhaps to the bitter memory of the worst ever massacre of Christians in Baghdad.
Each one of these red squares represents the spot where somebody died in October 2010. A total of 58 people were killed in the attack. Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq, the precursor to ISIS burst into the church during evening mass.
Deacon Lewis Clements was inside and recalls the attackers made their purpose clear. Their intention was evil. It was to kill he says they considered everyone in the church and infidel deserving of death. CNN's Arwa Damon reported from the church in the immediate aftermath.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the attackers stormed and half of the congregation came back here into this room trying to keep themselves safe.
DAMON: They had barricaded the door but the attackers were throwing grenades in. There's blood on the walls here. People have been leaving candles throughout the evening. Here we were told the residue of one of the grenades exploded and all over the ceilings and the walls just splattered with blood.
WEDEMAN (voice over): Deacon Clements shows us exactly where he was cowering on the floor with his son and dozens of others taking cover during the attack. Shrapnel ripped into his head. We stayed here for four hours in terror and fear he recalls.
We had surrendered to fate and put our lives in the hands of the Virgin Mary. Grainy amateur video shows the panic and trauma moments after Iraqi anti terrorism troops stormed the church. The massacre was the final straw for many of Baghdad's Christians.
Since the attack almost everyone is left says - a survivor before mass was held three times in the morning and twice in the evening. Now, there's just one massive a day. The specter of terror has receded for now yet corruption, political paralysis, chaos and perceived discrimination have left the Christian community desperate for help.
We need someone to stand with us as Deacon Clements because we live in a jungle, a jungle controlled by political monsters, a jungle in need of saints.
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WEDEMAN: And certainly the Christian community is quite excited about this upcoming visit by Pope Francis and many Muslims as well who see this as an opportunity to sort of turn a page on the past the past 40 years of wars, sanctions and just bloodshed and chaos that is really plagued this country for decades, Michael.
HOLMES: Absolutely. Good to have you there Ben thanks for that. Ben Wedeman in Baghdad for us. Britain's Prince Philip recovering in hospital after undergoing a heart procedure just ahead we'll be live in London with Anna Stewart with a check on his condition say with us.
HOLMES: Britain's Prince Philip will be in the hospital for a few more days. Buckingham Palace says his procedure for a pre existing heart condition was successful. CNN's Anna Stewart live birth in London so it's still in the hospital what more have we learned about his condition in this procedure and treatment so far?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Michael. And a very good morning is to given that good news from the Palace. As you said, we know that Prince Philip underwent a successful procedure for a pre existing heart condition on Wednesday.
Now, we don't know much more information than that we didn't know what the procedure was. We don't even know what the pre existing heart condition is. We do know though, that Prince Philip had a stent implanted about well, quite a few years ago in 2011. That was for blocked coronary artery, so it's entirely possible. It's something like that.
Now we do know also from the palace that he is expected to stay here at St. Barts (ph) for a number of days. That's for treatment, rest and recuperation. He's also been treated for an infection as well. And that is why he's been in hospital for such a long time. 17 nights now it makes it the longest stint that Prince Philip has ever had in hospital.
You can imagine, though, that even though that procedure was successful, I'm sure that doctors are treating it with an abundance of caution. Kevin Prince Philip is 99 years old and just a few months shy of his 100th birthday, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes, and then so what about the rest of the royal family? Have there been any visitors?
STEWART: Not that I have seen I am keeping a beady eye out, of course, Michael. But we do know that Prince Charles, of course went to visit him in the last hospital that was a much smaller private hospital. The guidelines here for visitors given COVID-19 are really quite strict.
There are only four reasons you can visit a patient. One is if the patient is a child. Another is that the patient is giving birth, and then it is for those patients who are at the end of their life or are lacking capacity.
So in many ways, if we were to see a visitor here at St. Barts, we'd be quite concerned unless of course an exception was made. Given it is the Royal Family but no visitors yet. Hopefully Prince Philip will only be in here for a few more days, and can return to Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, but we're wishing him all the very best for his health, Michael.
HOLMES: Of course, of course you keep an eye out and they're not beady by the way Anna Stewart. Good to see my friend. All right now, throughout the pandemic, I mean, how many times have you felt like you need to scream preferably without anyone hearing you?
Well, we've got a potential new COVID test that might help it's an airtight booth that you go in and you screaming as you can see yelling and singing work as well. A Dutch inventor is currently assessing the contraptions effectiveness near an actual COVID test center in Amsterdam.
According to the inventor, Peter Van Wheeze the machine collects particles one spreads when shouting and test them for the virus in three minutes. It's not yet been proven to work, but the unusual invention is certain to help alleviate some of your pandemic stress.
We just go to the voiceover booth downstairs and ringing. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company spending part of your day with me. I'll be back in about 15 minutes with more of a CNN Newsroom "World Sport" coming your way next.