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Deadliest Day of Protest in Myanmar; More Americans Gets Vaccinated; European Countries Halt Use of AstraZeneca Vaccines; Italy Imposes Another Lockdown; Hong Kong Lockdown for Possible Fifth Wave; Syria's Children and the Trauma of War; Protest in London for Violence Against Women Interrupted by Police; UK Reeling After Sarah Everard's Kidnapping, Murder; Special Task Force To Address Violence Against British Women; Biden: We Should See What Cuomo Investigation Brings Us. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 15, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Ahead on CNN this hour.

Defiance in Myanmar, pro-democracy protesters push on despite a brutal government crackdown.

Sun, sand, but no social distancing, U.S. health experts call for caution as spring break crowds pack the beaches.

Plus, women win big at the Grammy's with Beyonce and Taylor Swift leading the pack.

Despite condemnation from the U.N. and major world powers, Myanmar's military crackdown on protesters is only getting bloodier and more dangerous. A human rights group says at least 38 demonstrators were killed on Sunday.

It is the deadliest day so far since last month's coup and there could be more deaths we just don't know about. The military junta has now declared martial law in six districts of Yangon, which is Myanmar's largest city.

I want to go straight to our Paula Hancocks who have been monitoring all of these latest developments. And of course, this increase in violence on the streets against protesters, what more can you tell us? Hi, Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, it's very clear to everybody that the level of force that security forces are now using against protesters is increasing. It is definitely on the rise. As you say, yesterday being the deadliest day so far that we know of since the February 1st coup (ph). Now, the AAPP, which is an NGO which is trying to keep a tally of how

many people have lost their lives, say at least 126 have died since February 1st at this point, but activists and the NGO itself say that that number could actually be a lot higher. It is very difficult to keep a running tally of the deaths at this point.

Hundreds have been injured. Well over 2,100 according to AAPP, have been arrested, charged, or sentenced. So, the level of violence that we are seeing on the streets of Myanmar is, undoubtedly, increasing. As is the criticism that the international community is leveling at Myanmar. But at this point, the military leadership seems completely unmoved by any international condemnation.

We have, though, heard from the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews. He tweeted, "Junta leaders don't belong in power. They belong behind bars." Also, the U.N. special envoy saying that she had heard from contacts in Myanmar about "heartbreaking accounts of killings, mistreatment of demonstrators, and torture of prisoners over the weekend."

But as I say, the level of international condemnation may be increasing, but it is not moving the military leadership to do anything different to what it has been doing at this point. So, certainly, action rather than just words is being called for by many countries. Robyn?

CURNOW (on camera): Paula Hancocks there. Thanks for that update. We'll continue to monitor this moving story. Thank you.

So, COVID vaccinations are ramping up across the U.S. and after a year of troubling milestones, it's a promising sign in a fight against the virus. Now, the CDC says that more than 107 million vaccine doses have been administered across the U.S. So far.

Nearly 6 million doses were administered just over the past weekend. That's an 11 percent jump from the weekend before. But the U.S. still in a very vulnerable place even though nearly 37 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the virus is still spreading and is urging Americans to keep up their guard and to continue safety measures if we want life to get back to normal as soon as possible.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: By the time we get into the early summer, the 4th of July weekend, we really will have a considerable degree of normality, but we don't want to let that escape from our grasp from being too precipitous and pulling back.


CURNOW (on camera): Now, apparently, crowds partying for spring break haven't received that message, as you can see from these images. These are out of Florida, Miami. Beaches are packed, as you can see, not a mask insight. Here is Joe Johnson for more on that. [02:04:57]


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spring break in South Florida where college students might not be the only ones hitting the beaches. Experts fear COVID-19 and variants of the virus are coming to, as the decline in cases across the country starts to level off.

FAUCI: Even though numbers have gone down, over the last couple of weeks, they have plateaued. And when you see a plateau, at a level as high as 60,000 cases a day that is a vulnerable time to have a surge, to go back up.

JOHNS (voice-over): Adding to the concern, air travel is setting pandemic records. More than 1.3 million people screened at airports on Friday, the highest number since March 15th last year. But, it's not just spring breakers causing concern.

In Arkansas, the Republican governor says, there is trouble in his state with loyal followers of the last president who don't want to get vaccinated.

ASA HUTCHINSON, GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: We are seeing that problem, and the poll numbers are troubling because in Arkansas it's a very pro Trump state in terms of the last election. And, so, we see that resistance whenever we are opening up eligibility for the vaccine. We are moving through it very quickly because we are not having everybody signed up to take it.

JOHNS (voice-over): If you think it's just Arkansas, you'd be wrong. Only 50 percent of Republicans say they have gotten a dose of the vaccine or plan to get one, according to a new CNN poll. For the record, then President Donald Trump himself, quietly got the shot before he left office. Maryland's Republican governor says Trump's failure to participate in the joint COVID messaging campaign did not help. But --

LARRY HOGAN, GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: You can't pin all of it on him. I mean, there's a lot of disinformation campaigns out there from the right and the left. A lot of people who are vaccine hesitant, and we're doing everything we can to overcome that with public information, spots --

JOHNS (voice-over): Though Governor Larry Hogan is defending his own decision as of this weekend, to relax capacity restrictions at bars, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses while keeping in place social distancing and face covering requirements.

Which was the message of the day from the current president, on twitter, encouraging Americans to keep masking, social distancing, and washing hands. On CNN today, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested some CDC recommendations on travel and the workplace could be revised soon as more people get vaccinated.

FAUCI: They just want to make sure that they get it right. JOHNS (voice-over): The good news is that across the country there

are signs that for now, people are still keeping their guard up. St. Patrick's Day parades in many major cities have been canceled this year, though, a bit of the tradition survives as the city of Chicago, once again dyed the river green.


JOHNS (on camera): And a bit more good news, as of the weekend, 107 million doses of vaccine had been administered in the United States. Sixty-nine million people have gotten at least one shot. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

CURNOW: From the Netherlands and islands are joining a growing list of countries pausing the use of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine after reports of blood clots and other possible side effects. But, AstraZeneca says its analyst shows no evidence of an increased risk in vaccine recipients. Cyril Vanier has the latest on that. Cyril?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than a third of European countries have now partially or full suspended AstraZeneca vaccinations. After a report from the Norwegian health authority of patients developing blood clots after inoculation.

Concerns have been emerging throughout the week. E.U. countries reported three deaths and multiple incidents. A 49-year-old woman in Austria died as a result of blood coagulation. And several countries then banned that particular batch of AstraZeneca doses.

Then Denmark went a step further, suspending its entire AstraZeneca rollout for two weeks after a vaccine recipient died of a blood clot. Norway and Iceland, immediately followed suit. It is important to note that those countries acknowledge there is no proof the incidents are connected to the vaccine, but, they do want more information.

Meanwhile, a majority of European countries, including Germany, Spain, and France among others are proceeding with the rollout. AstraZeneca responded that the data from more than 10 million vaccine recipients shows no evidence of increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis for any age group, gender, or country.

And the European Medicines Agency seems to agree. It says that the number of such events in vaccinated people is no higher than in the general population. The EMA is investigating the incidents, but advises that in the meantime, vaccines can continue to be used. Cyril Vanier, CNN, London.

CURNOW: And Italy is imposing new restrictions starting Monday as COVID cases there continue to rise. And the entire country will actually be considered a red zone and will be under lockdown during the upcoming Easter weekend. Here is Delia Gallagher with more on that. Delia?


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Italians are preparing once again to head into lockdown starting on Monday. Half of Italy's 20 regions, including cities like Rome, Milan, and Venice will be on full lockdown. Easter weekend we'll see a national lockdown.

Now, although Italy's hospitals are still able to manage, we are not yet in an emergency situation. They are seeing their daily case numbers rise. The latest count was just over 26,000 cases daily. That is a record since November and they are particularly concerned about the presence of variants which increased the rate of transmission.

So, the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, said on Friday that these measures are necessary to avoid a further deterioration of the situation. Prime Minister Draghi is also promising to accelerate and expand the vaccination program. Italy got off to a slow start like many European Countries.

They are now vaccination about 170,000 people a day. The prime minister saying he wants to increase that to 500,000 a day. The COVID commissioner saying this weekend, that the plan is going to be helped by the fact that Italy now has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose. So, that should enable them to reach their goal, they say, of vaccinating all Italian adults by the summer. Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

CURNOW: Thanks Delia for that. To Hong Kong now, and fears that a fifth wave of the pandemic could be descending on the city. And the government is locking down 11 residential buildings as new cases emerge. Residents will not be allowed to leave and must undergo a mandatory COVID testing.

Well, let's go straight to Hong Kong. Will Ripley joins us now to tell us more about these 11 buildings and the folks inside them who were surprised by a knock on the door.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was surprising not because it hasn't happened here in Hong Kong, because it has in more densely populated, lower income neighborhoods. But we are now in the heart of central Hong Kong. The rent is high and people have almost had this feeling of immunity from the pandemics.

They felt kind of separated from the front lines, until this weekend when for the first time, hundreds of health workers and police cordoned off entire neighborhoods in this area of Hon Kong where I'm standing, in Sai Ying Pun, also up in the mid-levels.

And people were taken by surprise when health officials in hazmat suits knocked on their doors, told them they had to line up for mandatory COVID testing and stay locked down in their apartment until the results came in.

This is all happening, Robyn, after a cluster of cases, a super spreader event occurred at a gym not too far from where I'm standing right now. A gym frequented mostly by foreigners. At least 100 cases and possibly more are linked to this one fitness center, and then hundreds more people in close contact with the infected have been sent to mandatory government quarantine camps. Some of them with young children, sparking concerns about the mental

health of these young people who are kind of being uprooted from their homes and having to spend the next two weeks isolated in a single room, perhaps with just one of their parents with only -- the only contact with the outside world being a knock on the door for three meals a day.

But, that is the reality of Hong Kong's current COVID situation as they try to get a grip on this potential fifth wave of the virus, which despite three weeks of mandatory quarantine for many incoming travelers, and this 14 days of mandatory isolation for close contact has not managed to completely stave off the wave of infections that the city is seeing once again, Robyn.

CURNOW: Okay, live there in Hong Kong, Will Ripley. Thanks so much. Good to see you. So, coming up on CNN, the toll of 10 years of war on a generation of children in Syria. That's next.



CURNOW (on camera): So 10 years ago, a series of peaceful pro- democracy protests against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad turned into a civil war that continues to this day. Pope Francis called it one of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time this past Sunday and appealed for a sliver of hope for the devastated country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates around 600,000 people have been killed in the war. The U.N. says more than five and a half million have fled. More than six million are internally displaced.

Now, the U.N. secretary general says Syria may not be capturing much of the world's attention right now, but that doesn't mean the suffering has ended. Take a listen.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: After a decade of conflict, in the middle of a global pandemic, and faced with a steady stream of new crises, Syria has fallen off the front page. And yet, the situation remains a living nightmare.


CURNOW (on camera): Now, nowhere is the crushing toll of the war more heartbreaking than on Syria's children. Many have known nothing but war for their entire lives. And their children has -- their childhood has been defined by fear, by loss, and by trauma. Here is Arwa Damon with that story.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do I do? Use a bucket of water? A blanket? I tried using my hands like this to put out the flames. I couldn't. Amar son's body was a ball of fire. Sultan was playing on his bike when a rocket blew up fuel canisters nearby.

SULTAN, WOUNDED CHILD (TEXT): My belly was on fire. My belly looked like all the flesh came out of it. My belly and my back.

DAMON (voice-over): An ambulance brought Sultan to Turkey. He and his mother have been there ever since. This is the last photo of Sultan before the airstrike.

No, you are not ugly. You are beautiful. Amar constantly tells him. Sultan has an utterly disarming smile with eyes that fluctuate between sparkling like a 10-year-old should. But at times darken as his past sets in.


He has these nightmares where he is on fire, his whole body is on fire, even his eyes are on fire and he wakes up screaming, screaming for his mother to put out the flames.

Sultan is as old as Syria's war itself. A life that carries the emotional and physical scars of a nation. When he was 5, his baby brother was killed in the bombing.

AMAR, MOTHER OF WOUNDED CHILD (TEXT): The neighbors removed the glass. They pulled him out. His neck was slit.

DAMON (voice-over): When Sultan was 6, his father died in a strike on the market.

AMAR (text on screen): I saw so many children die in front of me. I couldn't save even one.

DAMON (voice-over): This is where Sultan was born into unimaginable violence, where he lost so much. A gray, dusty town of smothered (ph) childhood laughter, stolen by war.

Renad's family did not know that mines were daisy chained along the wall of their home. Her grandfather shows us where the first one went off.

She was swinging off the door with her siblings, and then all of a sudden there was just an explosion from a mine right there.

She lost her left leg under the knee.

She has a prosthetic now.

She says her father disappeared a decade ago, at the start of Syria's war. She tells us he was blindfolded and she was thrown to the ground in the forest.

RENAD, SURVIVED MINE EXPLOSION (TEXT): There were people passing by who heard me crying. DAMON (voice-over): It's the longest sentence she speaks. Mostly she gives one word answers or fall silent. Her grandfather says he feels like she's just gone blank. She doesn't dream of a life without war because she can't even imagine it.

It's been over a year since we were last covering Russia and the Syrian regime's most intense assault on what remained of rebel-held territory. There's been a cease-fire in place since then that has been relatively speaking holding.

COVID-19 peaked here late last year. Now, ICU beds are mostly empty.

It's all sandbagged underneath here just in case there is more bombing that resumes.

This is a pediatric hospital. One of the few that remains intact. Sayeed (ph) is two and a half months old and severely underweight.

They've seen a three-fold increase in malnutrition cases in this clinic alone for a number of reasons.

Years of bombings and displacement leading to greater poverty. And then, further fueled by COVID-19 border closures and humanitarian aid slowing down.

We passed ramshackle camps with each bombardment more of them blotted the countryside. A decade, for so many, a lifetime of compounded trauma. The past permeates everything. For most, there is not a month, a week that goes by that isn't the anniversary of the death of someone they loved.

Perhaps all that is left to save are the shreds of innocence of a scarred generation. Arwa Damon, CNN, Idlib, Syria.


CURNOW (on camera): Thank you to Arwa for that powerful story. Now, more than 4,000 unaccompanied migrant children are now on the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. That's higher than last week's record. And it comes as a growing number of migrants arriving at the U.S. border each day.

Authorities so far struggled to keep up with the influx. Often, they've been forced to leave the kids inside border facilities instead of moving them to safer shelters as required. The secretary of Homeland Security says he's sending federal teams to help with the process.

And coming up on the CNN, outrage from London protesters after a vigil for a murder ends in mayhem. That, plus, what British leaders are doing to address violence against women. That story, after the break.

Also, clinging to power, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, is under increasing pressure to resign including from member of his own party. Coming up, President Joe Biden weighs in.



CURNOW (on camera): Great to have you along this hour. Its 27 minutes past the hour. I'm Robyn Curnow live from CNN's world news headquarters here in Atlanta. So, outrage is growing in London at the police response to Saturday's vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard. I want to show you the scene in Parliament Square on Sunday. Take a look at this.


UNKNOWN: How many more? How many more? How many more?


CURNOW (on camera): The crowd there chanting how many more to call attention to violence against women. They also chanted shame on you to denounce the aggressive reaction to the vigil for Everard. Police broke it up on the grounds that opposed coronavirus dangers. Meanwhile, protesters also gathered outside police headquarters on Sunday. Some are calling for the police chief to resign.

And then later on today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be leading a special task force discussion on how to protect women from harassment and violence. The Everard murder has reignited conversations about crimes against women and girls. Nina Dos Santos has more from London.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They gathered illegally outside of the headquarters of the very organization which had stopped them from holding a vigil to express their anger a day earlier. From there, they moved on to parliament. Taking a message that they had tried to express peacefully in this South London suburb all the way to makers and enforcers of the country's laws.

The (inaudible) of indignation started less than two weeks ago after a young woman, Sara Everard, was allegedly kidnapped while walking home in the dark and later found dead. The vigil for her highlighting many women's fears for their safety, was aggressively dispersed by officers from the very force that the man charged with her murder served on.


I think so many people have been told to keep up appearances and to shut their voices off so that they don't anger people, but without the anger and without talking about it nothing can change.

The metropolitan police say that they haven't wanted to break up the demonstrations, but felt the need to protect people from the Pandemic, which has left large gatherings banned for much of the past year. The women who had originally planned Saturday's event said that things could have been different had the police allowed a safe moment's silence to take place. LUDOVICA ORLANDO, ORGANIZER, RECLAIM THESE STREETS: We were going to

have COVID marshals, we were going to keep distancing. And we offered the police quite a few alternatives including staggered time so there wouldn't be a congregation at the same time altogether. But we clearly were forced to cancel and we saw what happened.

And you know of this week of all weeks, they should have understood that women needed a safe place to mourn and show solidarity.

SANTOS: London's Mayor called the Mets handling of the vigil completely unacceptable. The Home Secretary order the review, the Scotland Yard's first ever female Commissioner says she's not stepping down.

CRESSIDA DICK, METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMISSIONER: I fully understand the strength of feeling. I think, as a woman, and hearing from people about their experiences in the past, indeed if it had been lawful, I would have been there.

SANTOS: The police's heavy handed attempts to try and disperse crowds seems only to have prompted more people to come and lay floral tributes and to stand up for women's safety. Peaceful mourning continues despite COVID regulations. Yet on Saturday night, this local landmark was the scene of ugly clashes as officers handcuffed women and pinned them down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really think that they should have been here in a much more supportive role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I appreciate so many people come to pay their respect and everything. Yes, on another hand it's not so good, so many people gathering during the epidemic and everything.

SANTOS: To the money paying their respects, emotions will no less rule as the weekend drew to a close.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all the same age as Sarah. She worked in my company. We live two minutes from here. So I think we're all--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all feeling very insane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's brought - brought to the surface a lot of issues we may have very before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that we've all been exposed to and it's just I think we've said - we've let a lot of things slip for too long and suddenly, yes, we're feeling less safe than ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everyone's angry. There's a lot of feelings are coming to the forefront. But we also need to remember there is a victim in our family at the heart of it.

SANTOS: The UK Parliament will this week debate new policing and crime legislation further extending powers of protests. Without profound amendments to better protect women, a growing number of parliamentarians have made it clear that the bill is unlikely to pass. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: The U.S. president is weighing in on sexual harassment allegations against New York's Governor. Joe Biden was asked on Sunday if Andrew Cuomo should resign.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us.


CURNOW: Although Mr. Biden isn't calling for the governor to resign, many top Democrats are. Athena Jones reports Cuomo is clinging to power.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are only growing louder and those calls are coming from fellow Democrats. By Friday, the majority of the New York congressional delegation was calling for Cuomo to step down, including both New York senators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who put out a joint statement to that effect on Friday and reiterated those calls on Sunday. Listen.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): I commend the brave actions of the individuals that have come forward to speak of serious allegations of misconduct and abuse. It's clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners, as well as the people of New York. That's why I believe that the governor has to resign.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): There are multiple, serious, credible allegations of abuse so that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and of so many New Yorkers. So for the good of the state, he should resign.

JONES: Now the governor is facing several investigations, including one by the state assembly's Judiciary Committee and one being conducted under the auspices of the New York Attorney General's office, both looking into multiple allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct.

Now Cuomo has said repeatedly that he has done nothing wrong and that he will not resign. He says women have a right to come forward and be heard. But he is urging the public to wait for the investigations to play out to wait for the facts. Cuomo says politics didn't elect him.

The people of New York elected him and he's going to keep working for them. As whether these investigations will distract him from being able to lead effectively, Cuomo says no. He says last year he negotiated the state budget amid the height of the COVID Pandemic in New York and he can negotiate the budget again this year.

He also stressed the need to oversee the distribution of millions of doses of vaccines.


But one lobbyists that CNN spoke with took issue with this idea that the Cuomo can continue to lead effectively and efficiently. This person who says they had a good relationship with the Cuomo administration in the past, says that these days something as simple as getting a call back to schedule a meeting is not happening because the handful of top aides to Governor Cuomo who make all the decisions aren't doing so because they're distracted by the scandals.

This person calling the situation very frustrating. So we will be watching to see what other reactions there are to the controversy surrounding the governor, this week. Athena Jones, CNN, Albany, New York.


CURNOW: And a heavy blanket of snow is covering many parts of Colorado. After the break, we'll get the latest on just how much snow has fallen.


CURNOW: Millions of Americans are now under winter weather alerts and blizzard warnings. That includes residents of Colorado a state that's been hit with heavy, heavy snow and blizzard conditions. More than 26,000 customers we know without power. Well, let's go straight to Tyler Mauldin. Give us a sense of what folks are having to deal with here. Hi, good to see you.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Robyn. I mean, just take a look at the amounts here. Nearly four feet of snow in parts of Wyoming. Denver International Airport picked up two feet of snow, you factor in just a little bit of a wind. Of course that's going to cause blowing snow, drifting snow and terrible visibility. That's exactly what we saw.

Some of you may call this historic and if that's you, you're absolutely right. This Denver snow is actually the second heaviest March snow producer on record. So it's a top five snow for the month of March and Cheyenne, Wyoming also broke a record here picking up 36 inches in just 48 hours.

The system is moving to the northern east. We have winter weather alerts stretching from Colorado all the way on into the Midwest. Avalanche warning in effect for the higher elevations in Denver around the Front Range mountains.


So if you're hitting the slopes on Monday, be aware of that. Blizzard warning continues for portions of Wyoming and the panhandle in Nebraska. And then we have winter storm warnings up here across the Midwest, where heavy snow is now blanketing the area. Heavy rain stretches down to the south and a lot of rain at that.

Snowfall amounts look to be on the - on the verge of a foot across portions of Iowa and areas down into Illinois. We could even see some accumulation in Chicago. Across the southeast we're looking at the potential for some heavy rainfall. The system that will be pushing this system out and out of out of the area is this area of low pressure across the west coast.

That's going to be problematic for us in the days to come Robyn because eventually that's going to lead to strong thunderstorms across the south once we get to midweek.

CURNOW: OK, thanks, Tyler Mauldin there, appreciate it. So stick around. World sport is up next for our international viewers. And for those here in the U.S. Beyonce has made history at the Grammys. More of the other headlines from music's biggest night. That's next.




CURNOW: So bitcoin is retreating a bit after surging to a record high of over $61,000 this past weekend. The cryptocurrency has more than doubled in value so far this year. So let's go to our John Defterios to talk more about this. John is in Abu Dhabi. Hi, John, lovely to see you.

Bitcoin really seems to have a life of its own, doesn't it? I mean, it's added $10,000 per coin in less than a month. What are the key drivers here behind this rally?

JOHN DEFTRIOS, EDITOR, CNN EMERGING MAKETS: Yes, that's doubled since the start of year, Robyn. That's something that's in Bitcoin we trust is what investors are telling us right now. Let's give everybody that the latest quote here. We topped out at a record on Saturday on the weekend trade at 61,074.

As you can see, now it's trading below 59,000. So there is volatility there. But there are three key factors, I would suggest Robin that are driving this market right now. The most recent one is the concern about hyperinflation reemerging because of all the stimulus we see being spent around the world, particularly United States.

$5 trillion over the last year alone, and nearly $2 trillion here by the Biden Administration, even though the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says we have it under control. If inflation picks up, you have the dollars chasing the different assets that could undermine the U.S. currency, at least until interest rates go back up again.

There's wide corporate use now of it or wider than we had even three or four months ago. Tesla with Elon Musk said they will support this currency. MicroStrategy, a technology company doing the same. And then we've even heard MasterCard, Visa, PayPal say that it's OK for their clients to hold the currency, meaning this could be phased into operations as well.

And there's a limited supply Robyn. This is very important because there's 21 million apparently that have been mined. There's not a lot of transparency in this space, but 18.6 million in circulation. And the reason this was an important weekend, it crossed in terms of market capital of all that currency that's out there and being held, over a trillion dollars and you say what's the matchup here with the US dollar, extraordinarily.

So it's half the rate of the U.S. currency circulating around the world. So it's come a long way in a very fast period of time. Then it raises the question. If there's a limited supply that's out in the marketplace, say 21 million eventually that can come out of Bitcoin, the attention will shift to those other 10 that are trading pretty widely right now and 4000 that have been in circulation.

So we do expect to shake out and you have to raise the question as well. Will they ever mine more Bitcoin? Again, we don't have the transparency but it's apparently capped at 21 million.

CURNOW: OK, good to see you, John Defterios live in Abu Dhabi. Thanks for that update.


CURNOW: So the coronavirus is spiking again in parts of Europe. Still the head of British Airways is pushing for air travel with no restrictions. Sean Doyle who's the CEO says people have been vaccine - who have been vaccinated should be able to travel freely and those not vaccinated should be allowed to fly if they test negative for COVID.

Well, Doyle says health apps can be used to verify a person's status. The UK Government is expected to announce new international travel rules next month. And another sign of the times. Some employers are telling workers they need to be vaccinated if they want a job.

Anna Stewart takes a look at the so many legal issues that this raises.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the founder of Pimlico plumbers, it's a no brainer.

CHARLIE MULLINS, CEO, PIMLICO PLUMBERS: I believe that's the way that the future is going. No jab, no job. No jab, no travel. No jab, no fun.

STEWART: He wants all current and future employees to have the vaccine. And he'll add it as a clause into that job contract.

MULLINS: Going by it, the response for that from my staff, 99.9 percent of them are up for it. And you know at the moment they'll pull across the snow naked to get the vaccine. STEWART: I guess the big question is, though, are you prepared to go

to court if it comes to it?

MULLINS: According to our lawyers, that we're doing nothing wrong? We're actually safeguarding people.

STEWART: Adding a no jab, no job clause into a contract isn't illegal in the UK but if an employee refuses to accept it, they could take legal action.

DAVID SAMUELS, EMPLOYMENT LAWYER, LEWIS SILKIN: If someone doesn't want to get a vaccination, and their employer insist they do in order to undertake their role, then the basis on which they would challenge it is because perhaps they have medical reasons for not having the vaccination or they have ideological, religious reasons for not having a vaccination.

They would then argue that by putting in place a requirement that they be vaccinated and other employees are vaccinated, the employers policy is disproportionately affecting people like them who share that characteristic or the medical condition, and that that is therefore a form of indirect discrimination.


STEWART: The arguments may be strong where lives are at stake. Care homes were some of the hardest hit by COVID. One of the UK's leading chains Barchester Healthcare have said April 23 as a deadline for staff to be vaccinated, allowing for some exemptions including pregnancy.

They say they are aware of discrimination concerns, but they say, they're doing everything possible to ensure fairness, while also delivering on their duty to protect residents, patients and staff.

Vaccine passports could be rolled out far more widely in the workplace in the future. You could need proof of a vaccine to go abroad, to the cinema or even to the pub. It's something the UK Government is actively considering.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are clearly some quite complex issues, some issues, some ethical issues, issues about discrimination, and so on. To what extent can government either compel or indeed forbid such use of such certification. I think all that needs to be gone into.

STEWART: While the government considers its position, some British businesses are forming their own. No jabs, no jobs. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CURNOW: And one of American football's all-time greats is hanging up his cleats. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees says he's retiring after 20 years in the NFL. The 42-year old is the league's all-time leader in passing yards and completions. He also - he also led the Saints to a Super Bowl win in 2010. He told

his fans, we shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will be forever part of us. You've molded me, strengthened me inspired me and given me a lifetime of memories.

My goal for the past - for the last 15 years was striving to give you everything you had given to me and more.

And it was certainly also a star studded night at this year's Grammy Awards. A bit different of course due to the Pandemic but still featuring a few live performances, acceptance speeches and some history being made.


CURNOW: Four woman one of the top four awards on Sunday night and on top of that Beyonce broke the record for all-time wins by female artists.

Actually, by any singer, male or female, with 28 Grammy wins. And Dua Lipa took the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for Future Nostalgia. She also performed on the show singing her hits, 'Levitating.'

Well, the Daily Show's Trevor Noah hosted the event which put a big emphasis on diversity and race. One of the highlights was H.E.R. winning Song of the Year for I Can't Breathe. And the Grammy goes to, I can't breathe, H.E.R.

H.E.R., ARTIST: We are the change that we wish to see. And you know that that that fight that we had in us, the summer of 2020, keep that same energy. Thank you.


CURNOW: Well, I spoke earlier with Segan Oduolowu, host of the syndicated news magazine television show The List and he gave us his take on music's biggest night.

SEGAN ODUOLOWU, HOST, THE LIST: This was the first Grammy show that I can remember watching all the way through, loving the performances, heavy on the performances, less on the awards.

And let's remember that art is subjective. It's inherently biased. If you like rock and roll, you might not like hip hop, and if you like hip hop, you might not like country so awards in themselves as antiquated but good music, great performances. That's key.

These Grammys allowed us to enjoy ourselves with the performances. I mean, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B performing walk on a ramp stage. I mean, come on. This was - this is what music is supposed to be fun, entertaining, and very relaxed, very chill, very watchable.

CURNOW: But at the same time, we also saw a thread of social justice throughout this and after the year that we've seen in the States. I mean, I think that's a good thing, isn't it? It reflected what had happened in America.

ODUOLOWU: It's a necessary thing.

CURNOW: Absolutely.

ODUOLOWU: It's a very necessary thing.

CURNOW: I can't breathe was Song of the Year which of course, referenced the death of George Floyd. There was also the Lil Baby's performance of Rock Star. I want you to take a look at this and talk about it afterwards.



CURNOW: Was this the performance of the night or perhaps the most impactful?


ODUOLOWU: I loved it but for me, I would raise you from dumb baby to little baby. I thought Lil Baby's performance in the streets of LA with actual, you know, depiction of a cop shooting for me, that was the performance of the night because it brought home with its many elements, what the people were feeling during the Black Lives Matter protests during, you know, the atrocity of seeing someone had, you know, kneeled on until their life expired.

I think that encapsulated the rage, the horror, but the hope that people feel things will change. And you saw look, Trevor Noah, you know, mixed race, foreigner hosting the awards. You saw people of color, you saw foreign language performances.

You saw Beyonce break a record, you know, and then her billionaire husband helping her up the stage. You saw Megan Thee Stallion again, commenting on how she had seen Beyonce perform at the rodeo and wanted to be her. Like all of these elements added to a show that was entirely watchable.

But more importantly, it hit home where a young girl can say I want to be her and write a song in my - in my room and play it for my father. Like that's how impactful music can be.

CURNOW: And thanks so much for joining me. I hope you have a wonderful week. I'm Robyn Curnow, you can connect with me on Twitter and on Instagram @RobynCurnowCNN. Rosemary Church is up next with another hour of CNN. Enjoy.