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Children Facing the Brunt of War and Famine; Military Used Deadly Weapons Against Protesters in Myanmar; Lula da Silva Blames Jair Bolsonaro Over Bad Leadership; Europe Looking at Fourth Vaccine to be Rolled Out; China's NPC Passes Law To Change Hong Kong Electoral System; China, Report Alleging Uyghur Genocide A Complete Lie; United States And China Relations; U.S. State Department Designates Islamic State Affiliates In Mozambique, DRC As Terrorist Organizations; Fukushima Disaster After 10 Years; Meghan Takes Action After Piers Morgan Mental Health Claims; Dying Wish Granted To One Of U.K.'s First Female Mounties; Pictures Of Hugging Grandparents Circulating On Social Media. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 11, 2021 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Coming up on CNN Newsroom, CNN goes inside Yemen to find famine in a country torn apart by six years of war. The Saudi ships are stopping aid from getting to hundreds of thousands of suffering children.

Activists say Myanmar's military is using weapons of war against peaceful protesters. We'll have the story of one of them whose friends call her a martyr for democracy.

And Europeans could soon have access to another vaccine as a deadly variant continues to spread.

Four hundred thousand children are at risk of dying right now in Yemen as its six years civil war rages on. That's according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Now a heartbreaking new CNN investigation shows just how dire the situation really is.

The Biden administration says it wants to bring an end to the war, partially funded with American tax dollars by no longer backing the Saudi led coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthis. U.S. backing of the war started under President Obama and escalated under Donald Trump.

CNN's investigation found it's been more than two months since the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade has allowed tankers packed with fuel for food and supplies for starving Yemenis to dock at the crucial port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by the Houthis. Fourteen tankers scheduled to dock there are also currently being held off the Saudi coast, according to a vessel tracking up.

Now this goes against the United Nations agreement and is making the situation on the ground desperate for innocent parents and children.

CNN's Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Alex Platt made a very dangerous trip on a small boat to get inside Houthi territory in northern Yemen, a place few foreign journalists have ever been to show the world what's at stake. And we want to warn you some of these images will be tough to watch.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The derelict coastline of the coast of the north of Yemen, rusting (Inaudible) tell a story of war, blockade and devastation. For years now, the Houthi-controlled north has been increasingly isolated from the outside world. We secretly traveled through the night by boat after our previous reporting here led the government to deny us entry.

On the road to Hodeidah port, we get a sense of the humanitarian disaster kept from the outside world. Along the roadside, hundreds of stalled food supply trucks with no fuel to move. And a country in a grip of hunger, their cargo stands spoiling in the hot sun.

The port of Hodeidah is a supply gateway for the rest the country. It should be bustling with activity, but today it is eerily empty. A result of the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade, the last time kits had docked here was in December. In the echoing silence, it dawns on us. We are about to witness the terrible impact of this blockade.

Desperate patients and family members trying to get the attention of Dr. Khalid, chairman of Hodeidah's hospital. If he signs these papers, they get some financial relief for their treatments and medicine. He doesn't get far before he is stopped again and again.

KHALID AHMED SOHIL, CHAIRMAN, AL THOWRA HOSPITAL, HODEIDAH: Nima, this is the pediatric emergency.

ELBAGIR: Since the Yemen war started six years ago, families have been in financial turmoil. The fuel blockade has sped that dissent into oblivion. This is the main hospital for Hodeidah province and was surrounded by doctors and nurses rushed off their feet.

Is this a normal day? Is it this busy all the time?

SOHIL: No, not the busiest day.

ELBAGIR: This is not a busy day?

SOHIL: No, this is a normal day.

ELBAGIR: Dr. Khalid wants to show us some of his critical patients in the therapeutic feeding center. A 10-year-old girl whose growth has been so stunted by starvation, she can no longer speak. Dr. Khalid says every hour of every day, they are receiving more and more cases of severe malnutrition that are this advanced, because the parents can't afford to feed their children. They also can't afford to bring them to the hospital to treat them.

The U.N. says, pockets of Yemen are in famine-like conditions. But it says Hodeidah is not considered one of them because it doesn't meet the metrics to declare famine.


But Dr. Khalid thinks the reality on the ground has outpaced the U.N.'s projections. The Saudi fuel blockade is biting. Malnutrition numbers are spiking, and at the same time, this busy hospital is running out of the vital fuel that keeps its generators running. Which means that babies like Mariam who doctors say at two months weighs the same as newborn, would die.

Yemen has been devastated by civil war which has pitted the Iranian- backed Ansar Allah known as Houthis against the internationally recognize government and a U.S.-backed Saudi led coalition. We're in Houthi territory, some of whose officials have been designated as terrorist by the U.S. for targeting neighboring Saudi Arabia.

We've been granted a rare interview with a leading Houthi official. We must meet in an undisclosed location because his aides say of the threat of assassination. We ask him to respond to allegations they are escalating this war.

MOHAMMED ALI AL-HOUTHI, SENIOR HOUTHI OFFICIAL (through translator): Not true at all, the battle is continuing and it has not stopped.

ELBAGIR: Do you trust America to take forward negotiations to bring peace here in Yemen?

AL-HOUTHI (through translator): Trust must come about decisions. So far, we have not seen any concrete decisions being made.

ELBAGIR: You've spoken about being subjected as a nation to international terror, but three of the leaders within the Ansar Allah movement are designated by the U.S. as terrorists. One of your key slogans talks about death to America. How do you see this as pushing forward the negotiation and the possibility for peace in the future?

AL-HOUTHI (through translator): When we say death to America, they effectively kill us with their bombs, rockets, and blockades. They provide logistics and intelligence support and their actual participation in the battle. So, who is bigger and greater? The ones who are killing us or the ones who say death to them?

ELBAGIR: The Biden administration has announced it has withdrawn support for the Saudi offensive, but it comes after six long years of war, and for the children dying of hunger, it still hasn't brought peace any quicker. Peace and help can't come soon enough.

Over half the hospitals in this district are threatened with shuttering. This is one of them -- they need urgent support, urgent help. Can you imagine what it would do to this community if this facility was shut down? Look at the chaos that there is already here, and that's while it's functioning. For years now, the U.N. has been warning that famine is coming to

Yemen. Doctors across Yemen's north tell us famine has arrived. Another hospital witnessing wave after wave of children in the red zone -- severe malnourishment, impoverished mothers desperate to keep their children alive are forced to make harrowing choices.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Just to get to the hospital, I stopped eating and drinking, not even water, just to get him treated.

ELBAGIR: These doctors are keeping track of the numbers spiking beyond what they ever imagined. The doctor was saying in 2020, this population, 23 percent of the children under five here were severely malnourished. In 2021, they think that that number is going to go over 30 percent. There is no doubt in his mind he says, that they, here in Hajjah, are in famine.

Nearly three years ago, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare. Demanding access to supplies that are necessary for food preparation, including water and fuel be kept intact. Here and in other conflicts, that clearly hasn't happened.

What's more, the world has stopped caring. The U.N. needs almost $4 billion to staunch this crisis. They received less than half that from donors. Numbers don't lie, but numbers also don't reflect the full tragedy.

This is Hasan Ali (Ph), 10 months and struggling to breathe. He came to the hospital six days ago. He keeps losing weight even with the critical care he's receiving. Hours after we left, Hasan Ali (Ph) died. One more child in Yemen that represents so much more pain. The doctors here are desperate for the world to see and to help.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Hodeidah, Yemen.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And CNN has reached out to Saudi Arabia for comment, but hasn't received a reply.

Scott Paul is the humanitarian policy lead at Oxfam. Scott, thank you so much for joining me.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare, as you know and we saw the effects of that starkly in Nima's piece. The American U.N. envoy has promised to re-energize those diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.


So, should exerting pressure on Saudi Arabia to end that blockade be their priorities, something, you know, more achievable that would yield huge benefits?

SCOTT PAUL, HUMANITARIAN POLICY LEAD, OXFAM: So, what you're seeing in the piece that has just come before is emblematic of what we have seen in Yemen since 2015. I should stress, there is fuel in the country, there is food in the country the problem is that people can't afford it because of these restrictions on the imports of these critical commodities like you saw, also because all of the parties to the conflicts are manipulating the markets in the country. People are coming last. The war continues.

From my point of view, a Special Envoy Lenderking certainly needs to press the Saudis to allow these fuel ships to birth and they need to press all of the parties to de-escalate the conflict and move towards a political settlement that can actually start revitalizing the economy and help Yemenis pick up the pieces.

BRUNHUBER: The other priority for the U.S., presumably would be to restore its aid to the north which was cut by the Trump administration, which you've written about as a question of life and death. The problem is, you know, as the U.N. panel of experts put it, quote, "national wealth and external aides are increasingly either diverted or lost or into corrupt practices by officials at the government of Yemen and the Houthis."

So, if you do restore this aid do you think enough of it would actually trickle down to the people who need it most or would it just be used to enable and fund more conflict?

PAUL: I do, Kim, this is an issue of life and death. Humanitarian organizations like Oxfam work in difficult places all around the world, and as the U.N. report mentioned, in both north and south Yemen, we faced some very serious obstacles.

When we meet those obstacles, we confront them. We don't back down and often that means we're the one pausing lifesaving activities because we're protecting our independence. What's important is that donors stand with us and continue to support us as we do that, rather than cut funding across the board.

That's actually the biggest threat that communities are facing, it is not these impediments and attempts to control aid. It is the lack of funding that has forced international organizations like Oxfam, Yemeni organizations, the United Nations from being able to continue the programs that are supporting Yemeni communities across the country.

BRUNHUBER: So, some of the steps the Biden administration is taking, announcement to the Saudi military campaign, their help to the Saudi military campaign ended the terrorist designation for the Houthis. But if all of this was meant to bring a stop to the Houthi attacks, I mean, it seems to have had the opposite effect, right?

I mean, we've heard in Nima's piece, the Houthi leader denying that they are escalating the conflict but the fact on the ground seem to contradict that. So, some would argue that this is proof that by taking the pressure off them, the U.S. has just enabled an escalation of the conflict instead of de-escalating.

PAUL: Well, I personally think those critics have it backwards. For the past six years, by fueling and supporting one side of the conflict, the U.S. has taken it out of consideration as an impartial peace broker. You can't be an arms broker and a peace broker at the same time. And all of the things that people claim represent letting out pressure have never really resulted in any pressure on any of the parties to begin with.

As you saw in that interview, it is just fuel for propaganda war, that the parties have engaged in in order to manipulate the U.S. role in the conflict. So now Special Envoy Lenderking free the constraints that U.S. support for the coalition has had in the past, should now be able to engage credibly, impartially to push peace forward.

And as you say, the most important place for him to do that is in Marib where the Houthi offensive threatens to displace more than the two million people who have been already displaced from areas, elsewhere in the country. They are very poor. They are in very difficult circumstances and if fighting continues there, their lives will be threatened.

BRUNHUBER: Listen, we'll have to leave it there. But thank you so much for your time, Scott Paul. We really appreciate it.

PAUL: My pleasure. Thank you very much.

BRUNHUBER: The U.N. Security Council has formally denounced the deadly crackdown on peaceful protests in Myanmar. It's the U.N.'s strongest statement yet on the unrest. And it comes as Reuters reports that six more protesters have just been killed.

But the U.N. statement stop short of condemning the military coup that provoked the protests in the first place and order the Security Council threaten to impose sanctions or take another punitive action.


At least 67 people have been killed and hundreds injured since the protests began. Amnesty International says it's reviewed more than 50 videos of the crackdown and found Myanmar's military increasingly using battlefield weapons and lethal force against the demonstrators.

CNN's Ivan Watson has the latest for us from Hong Kong. Ivan, what more can you tell us about that escalating use of violence and the growing list of victims?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The list continues to grow, and a striking thing coming from the United Nations Security Council motion, which all of the members unanimously agreed to, was that it urged the, quote, "military to halt the use of force against peaceful protesters."

And we've heard the U.N. special rapporteur to Myanmar, basically overtly accusing the security forces of being behind the loss of life that Amnesty International is now saying it has ample video evidence of, the death toll continues to grow and we took a look at just one of the young victims of the struggle.


WATSON (voice over): She called herself Angel. Only 19 years old, Angel. Real name, Ma Kyal Sin was a small, but fierce presence at protest against the military coup that swept Myanmar's elected government from power on February 1st.

UNKNOWN: Yes, I am afraid but for our freedom we will fight.

WATSON: She challenged the security forces, but Angel's defiance came to a sudden end when she was shot dead during a protest in the city of Mandalay on March 3rd. The young woman in the "everything will be OK" t-shirt became a symbol of Myanmar's deadly fight for democracy. Before the coup, Angel behaved like many other teenagers, making TikTok videos.

UNKNOWN (through translator): She like to live freely. She was a good-hearted girl.

WATSON: Angel's friend, Min Te-ung (Ph), hides his face for safety.

You can see him here, ducking for cover at her side.

UNKNOWN (through translator): She was ready to risk her life way before that day.

WATSON: Several days earlier, Angel posted this message on Facebook, offering to donate her blood and organs to anyone who might need them. Using activist videos and eye witness accounts, CNN reconstructed Angel's final moments around noon on March 3rd, as demonstrators faced off against security forces. Angel cheered on the protesters chanting, "we won't run."

Around 12.30, activist videos showed Angel and the other protesters retreating amid the sound of gunshots. This was the moment activists say she was hit. They raced her on a motorcycle to a makeshift clinic where its doctor, who doesn't want to be identified, pronounced her dead-on- arrival.

UNKNOWN (through translator): The primary cause of death was a brain injury caused by a gunshot wound.

WATSON: The doctor gave us the x-ray showing the bullet that killed Angel. Scores of people attended her funeral, but only hours later, Myanmar police dug up Angel's body to conduct an autopsy, they said.

The next morning, bystanders found shovels, a bloody glove, and razors, which police apparently left behind at the grave. Police claim the bullet that killed Angel is different from the kind of riot- controlled bullets their officers used.

Police insist they used minimum force to disperse the protesters on March 3rd. It's unknown who fired the bullet that killed Angel, but an activist video shows a soldier firing what appears to be an assault rifle at the protesters, this was filmed moments after Angel's shooting on the same street where she was fatally wounded.

The United Nations estimates scores of people have been killed in Myanmar in recent weeks. A top U.N. official lays the blame squarely on the security forces. UNKNOWN: And now we're seeing orders that police and military

soldiers shoot people down in cold blood.

WATSON: Supporters have rebuilt Angel's desecrated grave. Friends are now calling her a martyr for democracy.



WATSON (on camera): Kim, the military junta has issued a statement saying that the police are not likely to be behind the killing, but they have not issued any denial about the activities or the potential lethal violence being needed out by army soldiers, by the military who we often see operating alongside the police.

And that's one of the issues that Amnesty International is raising. They are identifying specific military units that they say have been operating in past years and have been accused of war crimes fighting ethnic militias in the jungles and mountains in border areas, or combatting the Rohingya in Rakhine state and are now alleging that those same military units are in Myanmar cities and using battleground weapons against peaceful protesters and bystanders. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Ivan Watson in Hong Kong, thank you.

Next, a development that can't come soon enough. Europe could soon decide today, in fact, on Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as a report from the U.K. says the COVID variant first linked to the country could be deadlier than thought.

Plus, as Brazil's healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, the nation's former leader is blasting the current president's response to the pandemic. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. seems to be deadlier than first thought. B117 as its technically known is now associated with a 64 percent higher risk of death, according to a study published in the British medical journal. And it's also more transmissible which again underscores the urgency of the vaccine programs worldwide.

Now this comes as we are hearing that Europe could approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine this month.

Melissa Bell is covering all these developments from Paris. Melissa, so let's start there. Europe's vaccine rollout has splattered in part due to supply issues, so one more vaccine in the mix, if approved. Could that be a game-changer?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kim. It would be the fourth vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency and it would make a difference. We're talking about 200 million doses that would be delivered to the E.U. in that first year, according to contracts that were signed back in October. This would clearly help the supply, although there will be a bit of time.

Of course, the EMA will make its decision later today. That's what we expect. But then the national agencies or member states have to consider the vaccine as well before it can be approved. We would expect those first doses to be available here in France of that new vaccine, if all of those stages are passed by April.

So, there will be some time, but of course it'll make a difference. And as you say, this is all the more important because of the spread of the new variants across the European Union. What we are seeing in countries like Germany and France now are worsening situations.


We saw large numbers, 30,000 new cases here in France yesterday, more than 14,000 new cases in Germany yesterday. Those are high numbers. And what they are is a reflection of the fact that in both cases, both in France and Germany, the majority of new cases now are of that variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

Because of its spread, it is essential, of course, that these vaccination campaign so slow to begin can pick up their pace. Now one advantage of that Johnson & Johnson vaccine that could be approved today by Brussels is that it has been developed at a time when those new variants were circulating.

So, we heard from the heads of the big pharmaceutical companies in February, they spoke to the European parliament, one of them represented Johnson & Johnson and he made that point. It is a single dose vaccine, that of course makes it easier and cheaper to roll out, faster to roll out as well in terms of getting to the end of the process for the people who've had it.

It was developed at a time when those variants were already circulating and proved in those late-stage clinical trials to be efficient against them. So, it will be increased -- important -- increasing -- incredibly important, Kim, that it is rolled out quickly since it has the potential to help Europe on that front.

One downside to the vaccine is that because of its production process, whilst it is produced in the European Union, it is bottled in the United States. And of course, that could at length to the process of delivery.

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Yes. As you say, can't come soon enough. Melissa Bell, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Jordan's health ministry says the variant that began in the U.K. is causing a spike in new infections, and the country is now preparing to implement new restrictions. The measures will come into effect from Saturday until the end of the month and include the suspension of Friday prayers and Sunday mass. Bars and gyms will also close and a curfew will begin from 7 p.m.

Brazil's daily coronavirus death toll has topped 2,000 for the first time as a second wave cripples the nation. More than 2,200 people died Wednesday. Brazil's death toll is second only to the U.S. And as variants rapidly spread, the country's healthcare system is on the verge of collapse. Intensive care units in 13 Brazilian states are more than 90 percent filled including Rio Grande do Sul which has fully maxed out its capacity.

Days after his conviction for corruption and money laundering were thrown out, Brazil's former president is blaming the country's current leader for the nation struggles. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says President Jair Bolsonaro has failed to deal with the pandemic, and so should be ignored.


LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Many of these deaths could have been avoided if there were a government who did their job.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): CNN's Matt Rivers has more on the crisis in Brazil.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Well despite being widely expected to run for the Brazilian presidency in 2022, former Brazilian President Lula da Silva chose not to take an opportunity during a press conference on Wednesday in Brazil to announce his candidacy. Instead, the former president said that it is still early to do so, too early to talk about candidates for 2022.

It was just this week that Lula, as he is commonly known in Brazil, had money laundering and corruption charges that he was charged with back in 2017, overruled by a federal judge in Brazil that's allowing him to potentially run in the Brazilian presidential race in 2022.

However, he did not let an opportunity pass to criticize his might be opponent in 2022, that's of course a current president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. Lula talked about Bolsonaro's handling of this pandemic, he said his handling of the pandemic has been terrible and that as a result of that lives have been lost in Brazil that wouldn't have been lost otherwise.

We also know that Bolsonaro is a vaccine skeptic at times. He has talked and questioned the efficacy vaccines. Lula talked about that as well. Here's what he had to say.

DA SILVA (through translator): I want to speak to the Brazilian people. Do not follow any stupid decision by the president and the minister of health. Get vaccinated. I am 75 years old and next week God willing, I am going to get my vaccine. I don't care what country it is from.

RIVERS: And Lula's criticism of Bolsonaro comes at a time when the pandemic in Brazil is arguably at its worst point since all of this began in 22 of Brazil's 26 states, as well as in its federal district, ICU occupancy rates are at 80 percent or above.


RIVERS (on camera): Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.

BRUNHUBER: China's legislature is making changes to Hong Kong's electoral system. We'll have the details next.

Plus, the U.S. is adding two new groups to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. We'll explain what it says is the Islamic affiliates in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and what their rising threats are.

Stay with us.




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Welcome back to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber and you are watching CNN Newsroom.

In just the past hour, China's National Peoples Congress unanimously passed a law that paves the way for major changes to Hong Kong's electoral system. The legislation is expected to reduce Democratic representation and promote pro Beijing candidates. Many now worry that many opposition in the city will be completely silenced.

CNN Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong with all the details. So, we just heard that Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam responded to China's decision to quote, improve Hong Kong's electoral system. What more can you tell us?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hong Kong's top leader Carrie Lam has offered her staunch support for this new electoral reform plan, she says it will be implemented here in the territory, and that any existing loopholes will be plugged. China has effectively paved the way for Hong Kong to be run by patriots.

Now this new legislation that was just passed by the National Peoples Congress will reduce Democratic representation here in the territory and it will also vet candidates for patriotism. Under this new plan, we know that the election committee, that's the usual pro Beijing body that selects the chief executive or top leader of Hong Kong that would be expanded.

Not only in that, in new vetting committee will be created that will screen candidates for chief executive. The legislative council, as well as the election committee. According to a pro democracy veteran activists, Lee Cheuk-yan, this is a big step backward for democracy in Hong Kong. We will bring up the statement for you. Lee Cheuk-yan told CNN this, quote, it is a total regression, it's a

total betrayal of the basic law promise of gradual improvement toward democracy and therefore it is a backward development, unquote. Now this comes at a time that increase in Chinese control here in the territory. Last year, the National Peoples Congress approved national security legislation, within weeks it was imposed here in Hong Kong, effectively criminalizing succession, subversion, terrorism including (inaudible) forces making the serious crimes punishable with up to life in prison.

You know, recently, 47 pro-democracy activists including former opposition lawmakers have been charged with subversion under the new law, the single biggest crackdown under the national security law. Earlier this week, I had a briefing with China's ministry of foreign affair here in Hong Kong, he spoke to the Deputy Commissioner.

He defended the electoral reform plan. He said that it will improve the system in Hong Kong, that it will strengthen the viability of Hong Kong as an international financial hub. He also set this.



SONG RU'AN, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CHINA IN HONG KONG: Hong Kong is part of China, and its electoral system is part of China's local electoral systems. It is certainly China's internal affair as to how to design, develop and improve the system. And at no external force should interfere.


LU STOUT (on camera): After his prepared remarks I asked the Deputy Commissioner a very simple question, I asked him what is a patriot? And this was his response. He said those who claim that they love only Hong Kong but not the country are not patriots. Kim?

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Interesting response there. Thank you so much Kristie Lu Stout from Hong Kong.

China's government is lashing out at a think-tank report that says Beijing bears responsibility for an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs. The foreign ministry called the accusations a complete lie, the independent report accuses China of violating the U.N.'s genocide convention and committing systemic atrocities against the ethnic minority. Dozens of experts came to this conclusion after examining evidence from Chinese state media, leak state communications, satellite images and witness testimonies.

The Biden administration has set its first high level talks with China for next week's. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will meet with his Beijing counterpart, Wang Yi in Alaska, they're expected to focus on China's Hong Kong's policy, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, its pressure on Taiwan and economic practices.

The Biden administration is also planning to review Trump's policy towards China. Blinken also says the U.S. won't lift sanctions on Iran until that country is back in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, he was asked by U.S. lawmakers about possible concession before nuclear talks can begin, listen to this.


REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): We're not in compliance with the JCPOA, Iran isn't in compliance with the JCPOA. The Iranian position is that we should make concessions to them just to get a meeting. It is my understanding that our position is, that we should come into compliance only as they or after they come into compliance with the nuclear safeguards. Can you assure us that we're not going to make concessions just to get a meeting?


SHERMAN: That is a very good answer. And do we expect that before we give them sanction relief that they will verifiable either be in full compliance with the JCPOA, or be on a negotiated path towards full compliance?



BRUNHUBER (on camera): Blinken said the U.S. is willing to hold talks with Iran about possibly re-committing to the nuclear deal, Iran began scaling back its commitments after former President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2018.

The United States has designated two Islamic states affiliates in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo as foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department says they will face wide ranging sanctions, it says both groups have been blamed for numerous attacks, killing hundreds of civilians. For more on this let's bring in CNN's David McKenzie who joins us from Johannesburg. David, what are the governments of these two countries, Mozambique and the DRC done to stop the violence here?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well the big issue here and what these two groups share in a way, that they could expand like they have and meet out horrific alleged abuses against civilians, it's because the governments do not have control in these regions or not significant control.

Now, this is a significant step, Kim, by the U.S. State Department. Via to name, designate these two insurgent groups, terror groups as officially terrorist organizations. This means that they are sanctioned, their leadership is sanction. No one can do business with them without facing potential criminal prosecution by the U.S.

And of course U.S. entities and individuals cannot do any business or have any linkages with these terror groups. Now there is some level of debate of how connected the ATF in the Eastern DRC and (inaudible) in northern Mozambique is actually to ISIS central. But what is clear, is that these are very troubling expansions of insurgent groups, that at the very least, share an ideology with ISIS. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: So I understand that you are speaking to a senior State Department official about Mozambique, why are they particularly concerned about that deadly insurgency?

MCKENZIE: Well, I think the U.S. Government is very concerned and regional players here in southern Africa as well, because for several years now, Mozambique has been very peaceful country, seen as a country moving out of its deadly period of civil war, from now to some years ago.


But that, senior State Department official telling me that he has seen a dramatic evolution of violence, combat capabilities and influence of these groups. He described the horrific nature of the attacks that have resulted in many villages in the very far north of Mozambique being cleared out. Hundreds of thousands of people at this very moment are displaced in cities like (inaudible), in the northern part of that country.

And in the coming months, the fear is, as the rainy season ends, we will see an expansion of the capabilities potential of these insurgents. Now, one question I did put to that official is, the question of these ISIS links? He said that given that they have seen this dramatic evolution in the combat capabilities, as he put it, of the insurgent groups, they believe as well as other evidence they did not share, that they are direct links with ISIS.

And the even worry that there could be an attempt to build a regional kind of insurgency linking on the Mozambique to their surrounding countries which is an extremely worrying development for this region. And on the economic side, it is extremely significant, national gas in that region of Mozambique involving major players like Exxon and Total. This has a strategic point -- importance beyond just the awful human toll that these insurgents have caused.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Very worrying and sad to see as you say there. David McKenzie in Johannesburg, thank you.

A memorial in Japan marks 10 years since the country was devastated by a tsunami and a nuclear disaster. We will hear from some who say they are still healing.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): A moment of silence in Japan marked 10 years since the country's worst natural disaster. The magnitude 9.1 earthquake and the tsunami that followed, more than 20,000 people died or went missing in that national disaster triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

So many lives were forever changed by those devastating events, and 10 years on people in Japan are still trying to find a sense of peace. Blake Essig has their stories.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At 65 years-old, Shigeko and Tenchi Kobayashi spend most of their day in the garden. A peaceful and beautiful space surrounded by life.

SHIGEKO KOBAYASHI, FORMER FUTUBA RESIDENT (through translator): I wake up in the morning and have to remove weeds cut them and water them, I can spent my whole day like that.

ESSIG: For the Kobayashi's, gardening offers a chance to heal, after surviving one of the worst natural disasters the world has ever seen.


In 2011, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off Japan's northeast Coast triggered a tsunami with waves reaching nearly 40 meters in some spots. About 22 people died or still missing, it cripple the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the damage has been estimated at $300 billion and left hundreds of thousands of people without a home.

KOBAYASHI (through translator): I kept wondering why on earth things have become like this?

ESSIG: That includes the Kobayashi's who are living in Futaba just a few kilometers from the nuclear plant.

KOBAYASHI (through translator): My husband was involved in designing the nuclear plant, so when there was an explosion he thought, this is bad, and knew that we cannot go back for a long time.

ESSIG: About 1,400 Futaba residents, nearly a 5th of the entire town's population, were evacuated to this former high school in Kazo city, Saitama. They spent roughly three years living in a classroom just like this, nearly 200 kilometers away from Fukushima prefectures and the homes that they were forced to evacuate.

UNKNOWN (through translator): This monument inscribed with the word hope, forever marks the evacuation site.

ESSIG: The experience for Kenichi Kurosawa, who still lives in Ishinomaki was very different. Unlike residents in Futaba affected by the nuclear disaster, Kurosawa almost died when a three meter wall of water nearly swept him way. He showed CNN how he survived.

KENICHI KUROSAWA, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR (through translator): I remember seeing people who would climb the trees like me being swept away. There were people in cars dripping the steering wheel being swept away.

ESSIG: Kurosawa says he lost everything that day, except for his life. A decade later the struggle to rebuild continues.

KUROSAWA (through translator): It's like my old self died and I tried to restore it, but it is not possible. I do feel like I am living a totally different life.

ESSIG: Loss that this Liz Maly, an expert in post disaster and community recovery says can't be quantified.

LIZ MALY, EXPERT, POST DISASTER AND COMMUNITY RECOVERY: This disaster is not over after the 10 year anniversary and this area and this community, and these people still need support, investment, and attention.

ESSIG: While many like Kurosawa have rebuild homes elsewhere, the Kobayashi's and tens of thousands more remain displaced. Unlikely to ever return home. For Shigeko, it took time to accept her new life in (inaudible) city. And when she thinks about the future?

She gets frustrated that the world will see a different version of Futaba as the Olympic torch passes through the town her family was forced to leave.

KOBAYASHI (through translator): People may think Futaba is much restored but if you travel a little further there are many places abandoned and ruin, the people will see no picture of them.

ESSIG: And they won't see the reality of a still contaminated coastline, an ecological and human disaster that expert's say will remain long beyond her lifetime. Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Next, a deeply personal struggle now being fought publicly, Meghan Markle is taking formal action against the British TV company over comments by its host, Piers Morgan about the Duchesses mental health. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER (on camera): CNN has learned that Meghan Markle has filed a formal complaint with British broadcaster's ITV about Piers Morgan's comments after her interview with Oprah Winfrey. Morgan had stormed off the set Monday of ITV's Good Morning Britain which he hosted and quit the show after the Oprah broadcast. Now Morgan is doubling down saying he still does not believe the Duchess of Sussex is telling the truth about having suicidal thoughts while she was pregnant. Scott Mclean has more.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Three days after her landmark interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan's brutally honest revelations about her own mental health are still making waves.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: But I knew that if I didn't say it, that I would do it and I just didn't want to be alive anymore.

MCLEAN: We now know that the Duchess of Sussex filed a formal complaint to a British network after host Piers Morgan questioned the seriousness of mental health concerns.

PIERS MORGAN, GOOD MORNING BRITAIN: I'm sorry I don't believe a word she says.

MCLEAN: Morgan has now gone from his TV presenter chair, that network ITV not the only institution that says it takes mental health seriously.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: What happens with us must happen with others as well, you have to prioritize your mental health.

MCLEAN: The royal family, especially William and Kate who have so far been silent on the interview have made mental health a priority, they even have a brand campaign called Heads Together which encourages Brits to speak up when they are struggling.

UNKNOWN: It is amazing, yes -- you know, yes but some families aren't as lucky in being able to share things.

UNKNOWN: But we have been brought closer because of the circumstances as well.

MCLEAN: The parallels between their mother Princess Diana and Meghan are long, mental health was also a focus of Diana's own landmark interview after leaving the family in 1995.

PRINCESS DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: When no one listens to you or you feel like no one listens to you, all sorts of things start to happen. For instance, you have so much pain inside yourself that you try to hurt yourself on the outside because you want help but it's the wrong help you're asking for. People say it is crying wolf or attention seeking.

MARKLE: Begging for help seeing very specifically, I am concerned for my mental welfare. And people going, yes, yes it is disproportionately terrible that we out there to anyone lese, but nothing was ever done.

MCLEAN: The queen in her only statement so far after the interview says the whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. But British tabloids have run wild with her edition, some recollections may vary, it is unclear what the palace means by that, but it is clear that the palace will deal with this quietly as a family matter.

PRINCE HARRY: But we think everyone else is perfect and we think that something must be wrong with me. You can have a family environment when you can talk openly about your issues. That makes a better family, better preparations, probably working, better at job, doing better at school.

MCLEAN: Scott Mclean, CNN, Windsor, England.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Alright. Anna Stewart is in Windsor with more. Anna, so, along with what we heard there the discussion about mental health. The interview really seems to have kick started a much wider discussion about race in the U.K. as well? ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Yes, race in the U.K. and

particularly in the media. Not least as the society of editors which is an organization representing U.K. media came out on Monday shortly after the interview was broadcasted in the U.S. and said simply the U.K. media is not bigoted. And they saw that interview, very much as an attack on the media. Now, not everyone agreed with that statement, in fact, not everyone within the media themselves, 250 journalists of color wrote a letter, co-signed a letter, saying that they did not agree at all with the statement.

And the sub society of editors did try to walk back this claim on Wednesday, but it really wasn't enough in the executive director was yet another casualty of this interview, he had to resign just a few hours later. This interview has really galvanized a nation into having conversations about issues they find difficult, whether it's mental health or whether its racism.

In terms of racism in the media, it really, it was quite interesting after the interview, because lots of people asked, well, where are the headlines that were specifically racist. And of course it is not just about that, it is about unconscious bias as well within the media. And a lot of that might be down to the fact that there is a lack of diversity in many U.K. Newsroom to this day.

But it really has sparked a debate, you were seeing a real impact, both Piers Morgan and the executive director of the Society of Editors, I'm losing my words here, have both now resigned.


BRUNHUBER: So, as you put your earpiece in there, because it is so windy, hopefully you'll be able to hear me, but any words about the palaces next move, if any? I mean, we've heard in the package proceeding, they want to deal with this quietly, privately, but is that likely, or even possible?

STEWART: Well, it is so windy, winds may blow up the castle walls, (inaudible), but yes, the signal we had from the world family was a really interesting one, because they rally try to draw a line under this whole event. They want to deal with this privately. And I think they will. I doubt we will hear from the palace again on this.

However, you saw just the other day Prince Charles made his first sort of official engagement, he went to a vaccination center in London and he was asked by a journalist, off camera, what did you make of the interview? He did not answer but I would expect this question to hound through the family for many weeks or months to come.

The conversation they may want to have privately, and the royal source actually told CNN, after that statement was release that they see this very much as a family issue. But of course the whole nation, the whole world, is talking about it, so whether or not the royal family keeps quiet, the rest of the world keeps talking. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right thank you so much CNN's Anna Stewart in windy Windsor, England. We appreciate it. (LAUGHTER)

A woman in Newcastle Australia has had her dying wish granted, Rita Meredith reacted with a blissful smile on Tuesday when two mountain police officers traveled 170 kilometers to introduce her to their horses, Dawn and Hollywood. The 75-year-old Rita once spent eight years as a mountain police officer in England, now she is in a hospice but had wanted to see horses one last time.

Her daughter in law says, after she moved to Australia in 1991 she offered foster care to 60 children, and she says Rita is overwhelmed she got her final wish.

And another touching story we wanted to bring you. Scenes like this one here in Oklahoma, of grandparents finally getting to hug their grandchild, they are playing out all across the U.S. Many young people it has been far too long since they got a hug from grandma and grandpa, and these moments of humanity can be enjoyed with greater peace of mind after the CDC's updated guidelines gave the green light for fully vaccinated people to see others who are at low risk for severe disease.

Isn't that wonderful to see? Well, that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom, I am Kim Brunhuber and I will be back in just a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.