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CNN NEWSROOM

Pressure On Buckingham Palace To Respond To Harry And Meghan's Claims; China's Actions On Uyghurs Violate Genocide Convention; Myanmar Military Moves Against News And Media Companies; Less Restrictive CDC Guidelines For Vaccinated People; Palace Faces Crisis over Racism Allegations; Brazilian President Says He Won't Order National Lockdown; Vaccinated Israelis Getting "Green Passes", More Freedoms; Women Around the World Rally for Equality, Security; Spreading Empowerment Message; Pope Francis Returns from First Papal Trip to Iraq. Djokovic Tops Federer for Most Weeks Spent at #1. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 9, 2021 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

JOHN VAUSE, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: The royal racism row. Queen Elizabeth holds crisis talks under growing pressure to respond to Harry and Meghan's stunning tell-all interview with Oprah.

A young, vibrant, free press in Myanmar now on life support with dozens of reporters detained and the military trying to shut down independent media companies.

And the case for genocide. Why China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims is a blatant and stark violation of the Genocide Convention and why Beijing's leaders are the ones who should be held to account.

The silence from Buckingham Palace has been deafening. Nothing on the devastating allegations of racism and neglect leveled by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in an emotional and revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey which is now being broadcast across the U.K.

Harry and Meghan sat down for that interview which was first aired in the U.S. on Sunday drawing a huge TV audience of 17 million viewers.

On this Tuesday morning across Britain the tabloids have gone into overdrive with headlines declaring -- "one of the worst royal crises in 85 years." Another headline said the couple delivered enough bombshells to sink a flotilla.

CNN's Isa Soares has details now from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DUCHESS OF SUSSEX, MEGHAN MARKLE: And then there are non-senior members --

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unprotected, unloved. And according to the royal couple, undermined by the firm. MARKLE: I just didn't want to be alive anymore. And that was a very

clear and real and frightening constant thought.

SOARES: A feeling so intense, it drove the duchess to consider suicide.

MARKLE: We had to go to this event and I remember him saying him saying I don't think you can go. And I said I can't be left alone.

OPRAH WINFREY, CBS HOST, THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW: Because you were afraid of what you might do to yourself?

SOARES: But the onslaught continued with negative coverage of Meghan Markle. The royal family, she says, didn't lift a finger to defend her.

One of the more shocking moments involved a conversation Harry says he heard with an unnamed member of the royal household about their first born son.

MARKLE: And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born.

WINFREY: What?

MARKLE: And --

WINFREY: Who is having that conversation with you? What?

MARKLE: So --

WINFREY: There is a -- hold, hold up. Stop right now.

MARKLE: There's -- there's several conversations.

WINFREY: There's --

SOARES: A stunning revelation that is tonight rocking the royal household. Which is yet to issue a response.

WINFREY: Yes. And he did not share the identity with me but he wanted to make sure that I knew and if I had an opportunity to share it, that it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather that were part of those conversations.

SOARES: So who said it? And why did the royal family decide to deny Archie, their son, a royal title and refuse to provide him with security?

MARKLE: The idea of our not being safe and also the idea of the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.

SOARES: As ever, the couple has polarized the nation.

PIERS MORGAN, CO-ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING, BRITAIN": This is a two-hour trash-a-thon of our royal family.

SOARES: This a reminder of the attacks they have tried to shield their growing family from. Attacks that they say drove them to step down as a working royals and start a new life in America.

Away from a family and a father, Harry says, who wasn't there when he needed him the most.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I feel really let down because he's been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like and this is -- and Archie's his grandson.

SOARES: The wounds still rule (ph). And while Harry says he wants to heal this rift, the couple's scathing words could have the opposite effect.

SOARES (Voice Over): Isa Soares. CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Let's go live now to Windsor and CNN's Anna Stewart is standing by. And you are standing by like everybody else, waiting for some kind of statement there from the royal family. And that could be some time yet.

ANNA STEWART, CNN JOURNALIST: Well, it's been over 24 hours now, John. But I have to say we only actually saw the full interview in the U.K., at least most the public did, last night. So perhaps they're now wading through all of that.

But yes, no response yet. And this is where the story has now shifted.

Yesterday, the papers were filled with going through every detail that emerged from that interview, every revelation, every claim.

[01:05:00]

Now, take a look at the front pages and not just the tabloids.

Here we have "The Guardian" saying, "Palace in crisis following devastating [... ] claim[s].

The "Daily Mirror" calls it the "worst royal crisis in 85 years" -- so worse than anything that they saw with Princess Diana.

"The Times" -- "Palace in turmoil over Meghan's [..] claims."

And "The Independent," a very similar one -- Palace faces crisis over racism claims.

How are they going to deal with this crisis? Pressure is really mounting for some sort of response.

And as Prince Harry actually said in the interview, he says the royal family live in fear of the press, particularly the tabloid press. And pressure is now mounting.

People want to know what they're going to say about such serious allegations; both the racism claims but also the issues around Meghan's mental health. The fact that she asked for help and didn't receive any.

VAUSE: You know what's interesting in all this is how it hasn't just been received in the U.S. with audiences here compared to the audiences in the U.K. but how the U.K. is sort of almost split between the tabloids who are pro-Harry and Meghan and those who are pro-Queen, if you like.

So how is this sort of falling now in the U.K. in terms of reaction? How are you seeing it?

STEWART: Well, I feel that the reaction here in the U.K. is far more split, splintered, really, than you have in the U.S.

Certainly there's a lot of empathy for Meghan particularly over these awful issues and racism and mental health. But there's also another side of it. And actually, some people aren't sympathetic at all.

And I want to show you a clip of Piers Morgan, who I mentioned last hour, he is one of the lead morning shows hosts here in the U.K.

And this is what people woke up to yesterday morning.

MORGAN: This is a two-hour trash-a-thon of our royal family, of the monarchy, of everything the Queen has worked so hard for. And it's all being done as Prince Phillip lies in hospital.

They trash everybody. They basically make out the entire royal family are a bunch of white supremacists.

STEWART: That is a particularly incendiary review. But I have to say there is one point in there that is quite widely shared.

And that is the fact of the British public generally love reading stories about the royal family, they love to get a glimpse of their private lives. They even like a bit a scandal. But they're very protective of it.

Her Majesty the Queen is the head of state. They're not seen as celebrities in the same sense as you have, for instance, in California. And Meghan made that point in the interview.

People are protective of a queen who has been here had been queen since 1952. And so there is a feeling here that was this the best way for the couple to express their opinions. It is so damaging to the royal family and that's it. It is a family as well as a business.

And I'll say one more point. Some people are saying that, listen, Prince Harry has said that he felt trapped when he was in the royal family. He says Prince Charles, Prince William and the rest of them are trapped, they can't speak out. And they've made claims against the royal family that perhaps they

can't really answer. But that is just one opinion here in the U.K. Of course, it's been played out very differently all across the world.

VAUSE: Yes. And the chairs, you can buy them at Costco, which I thought was the most interesting part. Anna, thank you. Anna Stewart in Windsor. Appreciate it.

Italy's COVID death toll has now topped 100,000. It's the sixth country in the world to reach that number and only the second in Europe.

Officials there are also seeing a rise in infections, especially from the variant first found in the U.K.

But the prime answer is promising to speed up the vaccination rollout saying it's the key to ending the pandemic.

In the U.S., those who have been fully vaccinated now have fewer restrictions to worry about. New CDC guidelines say they can safely meet other vaccinated people without masks as well as some groups who haven't received a dose.

But people are still encouraged to take precautions and avoid non- essential travel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, U.S. CDC DIRECTOR: Every time that there is a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country.

We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places and we know that the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Globally, at least a dozen COVID vaccines have been approved for use in various countries.

But when it comes to the antiviral medications to treat COVID patients, the cupboard is almost bare. In the U.S., for example, just one antiviral, remdesivir, has been authorized for emergency use. And there's been little work on developing new therapeutics.

But that might be about to change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: This is really the beginning of the phase of looking in a strategic way for direct-acting antivirals which are going to be used to prevent people from progressing in their disease, namely, keeping them out of the need for hospitalization.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Anne Rimoin teaches epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health and she joins me now from Los Angeles.

Professor Rimoin, thank you for being with us. It's appreciated.

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Nice to be here.

VAUSE: OK. This seems almost like an area of strategy which kind of failed a bit. There was this sort of focusing on repurposing existing drugs like hydroxychloroquine, which was (inaudible) failure, and the WHO now recommending to end all research in relation to COVID for hydroxychloroquine.

[01:10:00]

I want to hear a little more now from the White House chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, on this long-term strategy. And it's based on the success in treating HIV.

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: This has led to now an extraordinary number of drugs which when used in combinations have transcribed -- has transformed, excuse me, the life of HIV-infected individuals giving them almost a normal lifespan although the drug needs to be given, essentially, for the rest of their lives.

Next slide. That same principle is now being applied to SARS-COV-2.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So we've focused on the vaccine for so long, it's the holy grail, it's going to solve all of our problems, once it's here, everything's going to be back to normal. But it's not.

There are so many other things that go into controlling this pandemic especially antivirals, for treating the people who are sick because at the moment there's no treatment for anybody who isn't even in hospital with COVID -- that's suffering from the coronavirus. There's nothing.

RIMOIN: Well, you're absolutely right, John. And I think that this is -- during this pandemic what we focused on was vaccines. And that was really the focus of Operation Warp Speed whereas we didn't have that same kind of focus in developing anti-viral drugs.

No, we all are aware that COVID is -- luckily, we're very happy to see it on the downslide but we're not out of the woods yet.

And the fact is, even when we do get this under control, it's not going to away. We are going to be living with COVID-19. And what that means, is that we're going to need to have other things, other tools in our toolbox besides vaccines so that, if you do get sick with COVID, that there are solutions, better solutions available. There is going to come a time where we may even have antivirals, for

example, like we have for influenza that could be taken outside of the hospital. So that COVID becomes something like influenza where you have vaccines that are going to prevent severe disease, death, hospitalization.

But also if you get the virus, that there will be something available to be able to get to treat you where you can also avoid being very, very sick or dying.

VAUSE: Yes. Because we still have a situation where those hospital admissions are declining dramatically but there's still a huge number of patients in hospitals even though -- if you look at the admissions, I think, over the last six weeks they've dramatically declined -- look at that graph right there -- in the U.S. and Europe.

There's still this fear that the variants will reverse those gains. Especially the variant which was first detected in Brazil.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS & EVALUATION: If it starts to spread a lot then all bets are off.

Because not only does all that -- 20, 25 percent of people who've been infected in the past, they're now susceptible, but the vaccines we have currently are less effective. Put those two together -- we really want to try to keep the Brazilian variant from spreading too far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: This is one of those things I think that clearly there is an urgency here which isn't really being made clear to the public.

Because there is this risk from the variants that they will much more stronger against the vaccines, the vaccines (inaudible) much less effective. And that is why you need development of these antivirals.

And that's why I guess Dr. Fauci is now saying that this is that new part of that strategy. And it's almost like they're starting from scratch, in a way.

RIMOIN: Well, they're not exactly starting from scratch. We have a lot of time that we've passed, we now understand the virus so much better. We now have vaccines that are going to bring the number of cases way down.

And while we do have variants that are circulating, right now the news about the variants that we have is fairly good, that we do know that the vaccines are covering -- are not going to be significantly affected by the variants that we see right now.

But this virus is still spreading very rapidly. There is a lot of room for additional mutation, for additional variants. We always have to keep our eye on the ball.

And the thing about a pandemic is you're going to have to be working on multiple fronts. That was one of the problems from the very beginning here.

We started going down one lane, we focused very heavily on vaccines. We didn't focus enough on therapeutics, we don't focus enough on the public health measures.

That's the problem with a pandemic is that you have to be moving in several directions at the same time and well coordinated. It's difficult to do. And that's what we're going to have to do for the long term.

We're not at the end of this story yet. We're definitely moving in the right direction but we have a long way to go.

VAUSE: Yes. And not only all these moving parts together but kind of predicting two weeks ahead of everything that might happen because you're not too sure because of the two-week period, asymptomatic patients.

Just finally, we had this guidance today from the CDC on what vaccinated people can and cannot do. They're kind of punted when it came to travel. What's your thought on that?

[01:15:00]

RIMOIN: I've seen both sides of it there. I understand that there was some -- there was a desire for the CDC to go further, to be able to say hey, listen, you've been vaccinated, go ahead, travel, do what you need.

But I understand the perspective of the CDC. We are -- we only have 10 percent of the population vaccinated. And Andy Slavitt said today on the press conference he said listen, this is the guidance for today.

We have 10 percent of the population vaccinated. And these guidance, the guidance that we have, is going to be tied directly to the percentage of people vaccinated. It's going to change.

So two, three weeks from now we could have 20 percent of the population fully vaccinated. At which point we can revisit.

We still have very high rates of virus transmission ongoing, there are several states here that are opening up. We could be seeing a lot more infections coming our way soon.

We have this issue with the variants that you already brought up, we still have high rates of hospitalizations and deaths. So I just think that this step-wise approach makes sense.

It's tiring, I know we're all tired of the virus, we all are ready to get to the other side of this. But a few more weeks of caution, I think, is the prudent thing to do.. We don't want to lose any of the gains that we've made and any lives that we can save are important to save.

VAUSE: Yes. It is very tiring and there is that fatigue out there for so many people. Professor Rimoin, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

RIMOIN: It's my pleasure. Thanks.

VAUSE: Coming up next here on CNN NEWSROOM. Myanmar's steps up its crackdown on protesters and the news media, trying to cover the increasing violence there.

Also claims of Uyghur genocide like they've never been laid out before. A blistering new assessment making the legal case that Beijing is responsible.

Our exclusive report. Just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CNN HIGHLIGHT)

JACK FORSTER, EDITOR-IN CHIEF, HODINKEE: The IWC big pilot's watch is a modern version of a navigation watch that was made in very, very small numbers during World War II. It was a kind of watch -- what's called a Beobachtungs-uhren, an observation watch, and it was designed for navigation in the cockpit.

So the modern big pilot's watch was not a reissue, not an identical reissue to the original, it had a new mechanism but it was sort of an expression of the connection between IWC and its history as a maker of aviation watches.

It's a watch that really is all about legibility and precision in the air. As a navigation instrument, there's simply no room for error.

And it remains today one of the icons of modern watch design and one of the watches that helped to really kickstart the big watch crave of the early 2000s.

(END CNN HIGHLIGHT)

VAUSE: Myanmar's military has moved to end news coverage of the now daily violence, effectively kill what was a young and vibrant free press.

Five independent media companies have seen their licenses revoked.

Meantime, security forces surrounded a neighborhood in Yangon forcing hundreds of protesters into overnight hiding on Monday. Activists say they've now been allowed to leave.

Live to Seoul and Yanghee Lee, the former U.N. special rapporteur for Myanmar.

X Thank you for being with us.

YANGHEE LEE, FORMER U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: Thank you for having me back, John.

VAUSE: Well, the latest word we have. At least two of those five media outlets which had their licenses pulled are still operating, one via the Internet, one is still broadcasting. At the same time, dozens of reporters have been detained in the last couple of weeks.

Will it be as easy for the generals to reimpose -- or how easy will it be, I should say -- to reimpose the censorship which they enjoyed during their five decades before the civilian government was there, before the free pass was allowed to flourish?

LEE: I think that it won't be that easy this time. Because we have Internet services now and we can always broadcast from wherever we are. And so it won't be that easy.

[01:20:00]

But I must say that the recent crackdown on the media and detaining reporters, and especially female reporters -- and I'm not just going to say just female reporters, but what's been the trend now is that the security forces are arresting more women and detaining them and many parents not knowing where their daughters are.

And this is alarming and this should not go on, it should be stopped and it should be condemned world over.

VAUSE: Where are those reports coming from and is there any more details on the numbers here that we're looking at and under what circumstances these women are being arrested?

LEE: Yes. I have a very credible and very viable report that in one township about 300 women were detained, were rounded up and detained.

And we see more reports coming in to us saying that women are being more targeted in this -- recent crackdowns. And many of them are in (inaudible) prison and, of course, many are elsewhere too. And as I said, many of the families don't know the whereabouts of their daughters.

VAUSE: That's terrifying. How concerned are you with reports that security forces have established a temporary presence in hospitals, universities, religious temples; is this sort of the start of a sustained counter insurgency operation, if you like?

LEE: Yes. And I have to remind the security forces that children, schools and hospitals are zones of peace.

And I think what they're trying to do is to prevent the doctors and hospital staff from joining the CDM, at the same time maybe blocking injured protesters from getting the necessary medical attention. And I think this is something that they are doing. I think six hospitals have been sieged and many others around the

world (phonetic) and as you saw that last night in Sanchaung township in Yangon, as you said in your opening, it was a complete lockdown.

And in many parts of the country, we hear random gunfires, gunshots. And this is to stoke fear in the people.

VAUSE: The pro-military newspaper, "The Global New Light of Myanmar," has this ominous headline. "Effective rule of law to be enforced for benefit of the State," -- and people.

That old security law which was repealed by the previous civilian government is now back which the paper reports means -- "security forces will effectively carry out inspection in wards and villages in accordance with the amended laws to find those who are hiding and are being prosecuted for their anti-state activities."

In other words, they've give themselves the legal right to go anywhere and do anything?

LEE: Yes, that's what it sounds like. And that administrative tract directive has been amended, seems like, and they're going to go in wherever.

And I wonder if what they're doing is targeting with snipers and shooting some -- aiming at the head and young children were shot in the head and finally died and bruised -- and many people who are injured. I wonder if that's what they are saying that they're going to secure and protect the people and the safety of the people by shooting and killing?

It's really -- their behavior and actions are more like a terrorist group behaviors.

VAUSE: Yes. Except the terrorists are the ones in control. It's horrendous.

Yanghee Lee, thank you for being with us. We appreciate your insights.

Well, a new damning report makes the legal case that China bears responsibility for the genocide of Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority in China's western Xinjiang province.

Dozens of experts came to this conclusion from open source evidence gathered from Chinese state media. As well as leaked state communications, satellite images and testimony from witnesses.

The independent report accuses China violation of the U.N's 1948 Genocide Convention and committing systematic atrocities.

Ivan Watson live in Hong Kong with some exclusive details on this. Ivan, you've -- you've reported extensively, I should say, on the plight of the Uyghurs and Xinjiang.

This is something which is happening out in the open, for all to see. The camps out there, the only dispute is what they do in those camps.

China says they have vocational learning, everyone else around the world seems to think that they're internment camps.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SNR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's so out into the open. The restrictions on movement and access from independent observers and Xinjiang is absolutely monumental.

[01:25:00]

And CNN journalists have seen that first hand with the policy of harassment and intimidation by security forces when they've travel to the region.

But, yes. The report which CNN got an advance copy of is from the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy.

This is basically the first time a non-governmental organization has made an independent legal analysis of the case for genocide against the Chinese government.

And, as you mentioned, it makes use of a lot of official statements and documents from the Chinese government as well as a lot of reporting by organizations like CNN and testimonies from victims as well.

And it argues that there are a number of Chinese state policies that amount to what it alleges is genocide.

They include government-mandated home stay. So that's been a policy that the government has been very public of more than a million Chinese government officials, Communist Party officials actually staying in the homes of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, where they don't get a choice to say no.

Mass internment; allegations of more than 1 million people rounded up and put in internment camps.

A mass birth prevention policy which the Chinese government insists is voluntary where you have spikes of women getting sterilization procedures and contraceptive devices implanted.

The forceable transfer of Uyghur children to state-run facilities. Eradication of Uyghur identity, community and domestic life. We've documented the destruction of Uyghur cemeteries, for example. And the selective targeting of intellectuals and community leaders.

All of this report alleges, amounts to meeting five definitions of genocide. So it doesn't have to be the mass gas chambers or killing people with machetes but destroying elements of Uyghur culture.

Now the Chinese government, it denies any allegation whatsoever of a single human rights abuse in the entire Xinjiang region.

And the Chinese foreign minister addressed allegations of genocide just a couple of days ago. Take a listen. WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Translator): The claim that

there is genocide in xinjiang could not be more preposterous. It is just a rumor, fabricated with ulterior motives and a thorough lie.

Over the past four decades and more the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has more than doubled from 5.5 million to over 12 million.

WATSON: He's right. The Uyghur -- the Xinjiang population has grown over 40 plus years. But look what happened between 2017 and 2019, according to Chinese government statistics. The birth rate plunged by almost half.

Now the Chinese government insist that this is because it's teaching people in the region family planning.

So there's always this combatted narrative. The Chinese government insists it is combatting terrorism and extremism and it's also conducting poverty alleviation programs.

The many interviews I've conducted with people who've escaped from the region, from relatives who've lost contact from with their own family members -- parents, siblings, children -- describe a much darker, much more sinister policy of social re-engineering.

The big question is going to be what impact could this have going forward?

The outgoing Trump Administration accused China of genocide. The parliaments of Canada and the Netherlands passed non-binding motions accusing China of genocide.

Will governments actually want to pick a fight with the world's second largest economy on an issue that Beijing vehemently rejects and could be willing to impose economic punishment if somebody tries to go down this road. John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson live for us again in Hong Kong.

Earlier I asked the lead legal adviser for this report about China's denial claiming there's no genocide because, as Ivan was just saying, the Uyghur population has dramatically grown along with life expectancy and an economy.

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN PACKER, DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA: I think this is really kind of a common misconception that genocide means the extermination of the group entirely or as a whole. So if you see some kind of statistical increase, then it can't be.

But the Genocide Convention, first of all, doesn't specify that. It actually says explicitly, "in whole or in part." Now it has to be the significant part, but that may be in context. And you have to read the convention, even legally, formally, the words in context. So if we look at the actual situation where, of course, don't forget

the whole population of China has grown tremendously, we have to look at what's really happening and what I would characterize as an insidious, fiendish, determined, complex policy.

And if you look at it item by item and as a mosaic altogether, you realize this is really aiming at destroying the group as such.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That was principal adviser and international law professor, John Packer.

Well still to come, the pass to a normal life, the green pass in Israel for the vaccinated enjoyed the freedoms and the immunity can offer.

[01:29:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

We have more now on the crisis facing Britain's royal family after the stunning allegations of racism leveled by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan's sit-down, tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey aired first in the U.S. over the weekend and was seen on British television in the past few hours setting the notorious tabloids into overdrive.

The couple claims one of the royal family, asked about the skin color of the yet to born Baby Archie. They refused to say who it was. Meghan also revealed she felt so isolated, she thought about suicide. Well, the U.K. press has been hard on Harry and Meghan some Londoners say they can sympathize with the duchess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACY, LONDON RESIDENT: This wouldn't happen if it wasn't for her skin color. It was Kate Middleton, it wouldn't have gone this far. But she's clever to get out of it while it's still early, because it could've built up into something as terrible as Princess Diana.

KAREN LOUISE, PHOTOGRAPHER: So for example, when Kate was pregnant it was, oh, Kate's cradling her baby bump, it's so lovely. And then when it was Meghan, it's how why don't Meghan stop touching her belly. You know what I mean, she got a lot of negative press over here.

So I can see why they decided to denounce themselves from the royal family because it's just not worth the hassle, is it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Author and playwright Bonnie Greer has a unique perspective on all of this -- an African American who's lived in the U.K. for the past 35 years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONNIE GREER, AUTHOR: The things that you learn when you live here, and I have lived here half my life, is that the British tend to have a different tone when they are speaking about things that we as Americans are much more direct about.

There is no question that this was brought up, but what did they mean? And that is always the question I think when you're a foreigner here, especially Americans because we think we speak the same language and we don't. And so who knows with the royal family meant. It was outrageous, whatever they meant, and it just added to her trauma which the tabloid newspapers, and Piers Morgan's breakfast show really helped her to feel that she didn't belong here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:35:03]

VAUSE: Earlier I spoke with Diane Clehane, royals editor for the online magazine "Best Life". I asked her how and when the palace might respond.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANE CLEHANE, "BEST LIFE": It's going to have to be addressed in some way. I can't imagine with racism and suicide in the mix, it's just not something that can go away.

So I think they have to be careful. But I think they have to be careful not to do anything. They have to do something, however they decide to do it.

VAUSE: And if they ignored it, what would be the damage done to the royal family?

CLEHANE: I think their silence would speak volumes. I mean we have to remember when they were unresponsive when Princess Diana died. I mean the people in Britain were just so riled up, and London was full of people in the streets that were angry.

I think with this, there's some sense of what's really going on here. You know, Harry and Meghan are not super popular right now in the U.K. So, that's a different sort of setup than what we had when Diana died.

But they want answers. I mean the whole -- there is about to be a big cultural shift in that country when Charles becomes king. So there's a lot going on in the royal family and I think people are looking for the queen to offer some stability. And, to offer something.

VAUSE: Yes. It seems there's been sort of equal parts praise, equal parts criticism for the duke and duchess.

Here is Piers Morgan, he does something in Britain these days after his CNN show was canceled. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, TV HOST: The timing of this couldn't be more grotesque. It's all about Meghan and Harry. It's all about their mental health, how they're feeling, how they're being treated. They want the world, in the middle of a pandemic that's killed 2.5 million people to view them as the biggest victims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Given the issues that raised here of suicide and mental health, is that comment sort of insensitive to say the least?

CLEHANE: Well, I think -- we didn't know what we were going to expect (ph). So I think the idea was that we all thought they were going to come out and explain why they left and sort of maybe sort of resurrect some old grudges.

I think that is what we saw, really, with the Kate Middleton story. You know, Meghan felt pretty badly that that wasn't corrected. It was hardly a major story but to her it meant something. She even said it was a turning point.

So everyone went into this not knowing what to expect, and we all got a lot more than we bargained for.

VAUSE: With that in mind, here's part of an opinion piece from Britain's "Guardian" newspaper. "The duke and duchess of Sussex signaling that the English-speaking world now has two royal households to choose from and identify with. One appears to trade in the politics of emotion, feeling people's pain just as they felt theirs. The other, if one accepts the Sussexes account is flawed and cruel, unable to cope with mental suffering."

But what was the point of this interview? Why do this? What did they get out of it?

CLEHANE: Well, they're building their brand. And I think the biggest difference is -- I mean they found the queen of redemption in Oprah Winfrey. She's known for decades to be the person that someone that has something very important to say or explain, goes to with Oprah.

So they had the biggest interviewer in the country sitting down with them. And I think she gave them a some semblance also of credibility, although everyone knows they're friends now.

But the timing is very curious. I felt that if I were their PR person I would've said, you know, let's do it the year -- the anniversary of when you're here in the states.

But I've also discovered with both the Sussexes and Oprah -- there's always a reason. You know, this was not by accident. So only they know the specific reason as to why they did this right now. But the timing did seem strange. And all the people that are piling on, oh why did they do this Prince Philip was in the hospital? They would've had no idea, that all of this was going to happen. But I

think they're really concerned that, you know, the palace is saying things about them, or they think the palace is and they're you know, falsehoods.

So I think that they really wanted to take control of the narrative before things got further down the road. And right now, they're holding the cards.

VAUSE: Very quickly, there's a lot of comparisons being made to the interview that Diana did back in 1995, and saying the reverberations could be similar. I just wonder because the issues that were discussed in 1995 certainly were not as serious as the ones which Meghan and Harry talked about.

But Diana was so much more popular. So much more loved than Meghan is right now. I mean I wonder if that sort of balances things out?

CLEHANE: In a way, I was really struck by how much Diana was mentioned, her presence there. The fact that Meghan's sort of past mirrors Diana's almost exactly in terms of she went to the institution, they didn't help her. She told them she had mental health issues and then, you know, she wound up doing this tell-all.

But there're striking similarities, but Diana is unique. I think that anyone that tries to make that comparison between Duchess Meghan and Princess Diana, it's apples and oranges. It really is.

[01:39:50]

CLEHANE: But I think they're obviously planning another big move. They want to promote a project, it does sort of coincide with their Archewell Foundation. So it may be something about that. But I suspect it was just because they wanted to take control of their own story.

VAUSE: Well that they did, at least for a time.

Diane Clehane, thank you so much for being with us.

CLEHANE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: And for much more on the British royal family in crisis, head over to CNN.com/royal news and sign up for a new weekly newsletter.

A surge of COVID cases in Brazil is placing huge strains on hospitals in Rio. Almost every ICU bed in the cities taken.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has about 5 percent of the country's 11 million confirmed cases. Strict containment measures are in place, but officials warn tougher action may be needed.

Stefano Pozzebon has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (on camera): Coronavirus is still spreading across South America and the situation is most serious in Brazil where a local variant of the virus is acting with devastating effects across the country.

The center of the crisis right now is the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro where occupancy rates for ICUs is over 95 percent on Monday.

And on Monday, President Jair Bolsonaro has said that although Brazil has been one of the most affected countries in the world over the last 12 months because of the pandemic, the presidency will not impose a new national lockdown. Bolsonaro said Monday that although he did have the capacity and the power to impose a lockdown, he would not do. And yet again he put into questions the seriousness of this pandemic.

Meanwhile, a group of governors has started coming together to come up with a contingency plan to try and curb the spread of the virus, at the back of the presidency.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon -- Bogota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Israel has extended its COVID vaccine campaign to more than 100,000 Palestinians working in Israel or its settlements in the West Bank. The government though has been criticized for not doing enough for the Palestinians in the occupied territory for not distributing more vaccine.

Israel has had one of the fastest vaccine roll outs in the world with more than half of the population now fully vaccinated. But Palestinians in the West Bank, as well as Gaza, lag far behind.

And with the success of Israel's vaccine program, the country is now easing pandemic restrictions and issuing the so-called green passes. Everyone who's been fully vaccinated can live life almost like it was pre-pandemic days.

CNN's Sam Kiley, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An hour before reopening, Israeli celebrity chef Assaf Granit is on site for the renaissance of the kitchen at the center of his restaurant empire.

ASSAF GRANIT, ISRAELI CELEBRITY CHEF: It's like a rebrand, exactly. It's like opening all over again. That's it and I think lunch will be slowly picking up and then dinner we're already booked. So it's going to be a long and happy day.

KILEY (on camera): It's not surprising really that there is a party atmosphere here in Machneyuda. It's perhaps the most famous restaurant in the city, famous for its high energy music, high energy food, high energy chef. But also going to be working at 75 percent capacity, patrons have to be 6 feet -- 2 meters apart. That's going to be policed and vigilated (ph) aided by an extra member of staff.

And this is all going to be a result of the introduction of the Israeli green passports. The vaccination certificates that mean that slowly at least, this economy can start to recover.

(voice over): First in line, 30 minutes ahead of their booking a couple from Tel Aviv, proud of their vaccine passes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have it on the phone, but here you can see these.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wonderful.

KILEY (on camera): Why are you so excited?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After a year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a new day after a year.

KILEY (voice over): 40 percent of Israelis have had both vaccine shots and can now enjoy new freedoms to attend concerts, hotels, restaurants, bars, even universities with some limits on total numbers.

But the fears of another lockdown loom over even the most optimistic. Renewed restrictions would be ruinous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hope they don't close us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They won't close us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They won't close us again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God willing.

KILEY: About five million Israelis, have had a first dose of the vaccine. A world leading level of take up even though Ultra Orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs are lagging behind.

It's an achievement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party will trumpet in the couple of weeks remaining before elections here.

(on camera): How does it feel to be opening. ?

ETHAN PADNOS, MANAGER, HATCH BREWERY: A little scary and very exciting.

KILEY: Why is it scary?

PADNOS: First of all, opening up just seeing customers again, it's been a year.

KILEY (voice over): He's screening customers for vaccine certificates.

(on camera): What if people don't have it? PADNOS: Then they can sit outside.

KILEY (voice over): Not a bad option. After all spring is in the air.

Sam Kiley, CNN -- Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:45:02]

VAUSE: Well a long time advocate for young women's empowerment now has a new way to expand her message. Coming, up the new media deal for Malala Yousafzai.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: International Women's Day was marked with protest against government leaders in a number of different countries.

Demonstrators clashed with police in Mexico City as women spoke out against the violence they say they face every day.

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte was denounce for what women say are abusive security policies.

And in Paris, demonstrators call for a day of feminist strikes to condemn injustices against women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHRA ARSALN, PROTESTER (through translator): We have to question our place in society. Why, when I do the same job, I put in the same effort that I'm paid less for example.

GABRIEL VERGNE, PROTESTER (through translator): I'm here today because women's rights are human rights, in my opinion. And it' s important to take part in the fight, that women's rights are humans rights that must be won and are extremely precious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Also on this International Women's Day, a new deal announced between Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Apple TV to expand her message of female empowerment.

Entertainment reporter Chloe Melas has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Malala Yousafzai is teaming up with Apple TV to create what she says what will be empowering content for the streaming platform. The multi-year deal and partnership with her production company, Extracurricular, will include with everything from documentaries, comedies, to children's programming. MALALA YOUSAFZAI, ACTIVIST: I'm really excited about it because I have

been -- you know, there's my own story and I have been telling that and I have met so many girls. And I have, you know -- I have been able to build a platform where they can tell a story. But now it's time to go even more, and to do even more, and to, you know, get this platform of storytelling and bring in new perspectives.

MELAS: The news of the deal came on International Women's Day and she told me her message for women everywhere.

YOUSAFZAI: When on International Women's Day, you know, every year we highlight the issues that women are facing to this day from like harassment to inequality to discrimination based on their gender, to unequal pay. All of these things are important, and we need to keep working on it.

But I also want to take this moment to remind all of those amazing and incredible women out there, just to take a break. They have done so much, and right now, you know, some of them are studying from home, some of them are looking after their kids, and they're parenting, and they also have jobs to do.

It is just so much -- there's so much on their shoulders, and they carry all of that with grace and with dignity. So be proud of yourself. Be proud of all that you have done and achieved in your life.

So, you know, let's celebrate, let's be proud of who we are, and what we have done, for women and for everyone around us.

MELAS: Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:49:52]

VAUSE: Well, Pope Francis says his recent trip to Iraq was exhausting, but well worth it. The first time a pope has visited Iraq, first time Pope Francis has left Italy since the beginning of the pandemic.

CNN's Delia Gallagher was on the papal plane and has more now reporting from Rome.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN RELIGION CORRESPONDENT: Returning from Iraq on Monday, Pope Francis told journalists on the papal plane that the trip had tired him out more than any of the others. But, after all, he joked, he is 84 years old.

He said he thought and prayed a lot before going, particularly that his events might aggravate the situation of COVID for the Iraqi people, but ultimately, he decided that if God wanted him to go, then God would look after the people.

He called his meeting with the Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani good for his soul. He was asked if the meeting might lead to some kind of joint declaration, such as he has signed with the leader of Suni Muslims. And he said, it was a first step.

The pope called al-Sistani a great, wise man of God and said he was particularly impressed by the fact that he had been told that al- Sistani never stands to greet guests but for the Pope, he stood up twice.

And Pope Francis said that his next trip to the Middle East will be to Lebanon, although there are no firm details just yet for that trip.

Delia Gallagher, CNN -- Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: A supreme court justice in Brazil had annulled all criminal convictions of former President Lula Da Silva. Meaning, he is now free to run for office again.

Lula was convicted for corruption and money laundering in 2017. But the supreme court ruled, the judge in those cases lacked jurisdiction. Lula says the decision proves he is innocent. The attorney general plans to appeal.

Could tennis have a new goat or greatest of all time -- GOAT. Novak Djokovic has broken a huge record considered a special honor back home. He spoke to CNN about his latest accomplishment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Tennis star Novak Djokovic has broken the all-time record for most weeks spent as a world number one after ousting Roger Federer from the top spot on Monday. Djokovic has now topped the ATP for a combined 311 weeks.

He was an honored with a video display of Belgrade City Hall in his native Serbia. The 32-year-old racked up his 18th Grand Slam title this past February after winning the Australian open.

And Djokovic spoke with World Sports Christina MacFarlane about this latest achievement.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: Just happiness, joy. I mean I'm so thrilled and proud, very proud of course, of this achievement. And it's kind of like a crown of all the achievements that I've had in the last, you know, 15 -- almost 15 plus years of professional tennis career.

And, yes on this special day, obviously, I go back in time and remember my humble beginnings when I got the racket for the first- time, and the way I fell in love with the sport. And the support that I had from my parents and people that helped me realize my dreams.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: And yet, you've come through a really tough nine months to get here. When you consider the criticism that you faced over the (INAUDIBLE) tour, your disqualification from the U.S. Open, and then having to overcome a really serious injury to win your 18th Grand Slam.

What effect is all of that still having on you both emotionally, and professionally?

[01:54:48]

DJOKOVIC: Look I see life as a great learning curve. I feel over the years I kind of learned how to bounce back. Because even though I have tremendous experience of, you know, traveling around the world, and being on top of the men's game for many years, that has helped me to develop the mental strength and resilience.

But I still am a human being as anybody else is. I still have my fears, my insecurities, I still, you know, I still make mistakes and errors.

Tennis is kind of my learning ground. My strongest, most beautiful emotions surface there, but also the worst of my emotions all surface there.

MACFARLANE: You've mentioned the long journey that you've been on in your career. How much credit do you give to your family for getting this far? Jelena and your children?

DJOKOVIC: Tremendous. I mean Jelena and I have been in a relationship for over 15 years, and she was studying when we started dating. And I was just entering the waters of professional men's tennis.

And I could not even imagine my trajectory of life, and everything that we've lived through together to this point. At the beginning, we were just two young teenagers that wanted to have fun, and enjoy each other. And we fell in love with each other and we wanted to do grow together. And she has been my rock.

MACFARLANE: I want to think you back to 25 years ago to your childhood, to the war that you lived through with your family. The bombing that you endured in Belgrade, even though you were still playing tennis and at that age, wanting to be world' number one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your tennis goals?

DJOKOVIC: The goal for me is to become the world number one.

MACFARLANE: If you look back at 7-year-old Novak Djokovic now, what message would you share with him?

DJOKOVIC: Dreams are achievable. Everything is possible. I was 7 years old, and I was, you know, constructing this improvised Wimbledon trophy, and looking at my own mirror in the room and telling myself I'm the best tennis player in the world, and I'm the Wimbledon champion, and I always dream of that.

And I've been so fortunate in my life to have, you know, parents that were very strong in the midst of the war and hardship that we were living through during the nineties. And have their unconditional love and support, to play this for them wasn't even a tradition in our family or in our country.

But somehow they managed to do it. You know, buy me rackets and I could have conditions that fair enough, or good enough for me to grow up to be a professional tennis player. So dreams do really come true.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. The news continues after a very short break with my colleague friend Robyn Curnow.

Thanks for watching. You're watching CNN.

[01:57:41]

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