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CNN NEWSROOM

Ten People Killed in Colorado Shooting; Suspect Taken into Custody by Boulder P.D.; Authorities Need to Dig Suspect's Background; Witnesses Shared Their Traumatizing Experience; Healthcare Workers Encourage to Stay Out of NRA's Gun Debate; 10 Killed In Colorado Supermarket Shooting; Germany Extends Lockdown Until April 18; Boris Johnson Warns Of Possible Third Wave In The United Kingdom; Brazil Surpasses 12 Million Total COVID-19 Cases; United States And Allies Sanction Chinese Officials Over Uyghurs; Historic Life-Threatening Rains Inundate New South Wales; Israel Holds Fourth Election In Two Years. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 23, 2021 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNKNOWN: This is CNN breaking news.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

We are following breaking news out of Boulder, Colorado. We saw the face of evil. That was the response from Colorado's governor after a shooting spree in a Boulder supermarket left 10 people dead, the second mass shooting within a week. Details are still emerging, but here is what we know at this hour.

Police say a gunman entered a King Soopers store in Boulder on Monday afternoon and began shooting. Among the dead, 51-year-old Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. He had been with the department since 2010.

Police are working to identify the other victims. A warning that the next video we're about to show you is disturbing. It shows how a normal afternoon at a grocery store turned into a scene of terror. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: We don't know if there is a shooter, an active shooter somewhere. It could be in the store.

UNKNOWN: He went in there.

UNKNOWN: He went in the store?

UNKNOWN: He went right down there. UNKNOWN: My god. Guys, we got people down inside King Soopers. Look, there's -- holy (muted).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Police used an armored vehicle to ram the building and urge the suspect to surrender.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Suspect in the building, this is the Boulder Police Department. The entire building is surrounded, we need to surrender now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): The suspect was taken into custody and is receiving medical treatment. He was the only person injured in that attack. Boulder Police Chief, Maris Herold thanked federal and local law enforcement for their quick response and assistance. She also pay tribute to 51-year-old Officer Eric Talley who was killed.

He was the first to arrive at the supermarket after a report of shots being fired. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIS HEROLD, POLICE CHIEF, BOULDER POLICE DEPARTMENT: The heroic action of this officer when he responded to the scene, at 14.30 hours the Boulder Police Department began receiving phone calls of shots fired in the area. And a phone call about a possible person with a patrol rifle. Officer Talley responded to the scene, was the first on the scene and he was fatally shot.

I also want to commend the heroic actions of the officers responding not only from Boulder P.D., but from across the county and other parts of this region. The police officers' actions fell nothing short of being heroic.

I also want to thank the men and women who responded including state, local, and federal authorities. Obviously, this is a very complex investigation. That will take no less than five days to complete.

And again, my heart goes out to the victims of this incident, and I am grateful for the police officers that responded. And I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.

And again, we will be here working night and day. We have one suspect in custody. I want to reassure the community that they are safe. And that we will try to do our best over the next few hours to identify the victims. And we'll be working with the coroner's office to do that as promptly as possible. Because I know there are people out there waiting for an answer. And I am very sympathetic to that, and we will work around the clock to get this accomplished.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH (on camera): And CNN's Lucy Kafanov has been tracking this breaking story. She filed this report from outside the supermarket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): A tragic Monday here in Boulder. Ten people lost their lives in the shooting at Kings Soopers supermarket. Now this is a supermarket that's part of a large shopping area, there are lots of folks sort of going about their business. But at about 2.30 p.m. local time police said they started getting those frantic 911 calls reporting an active shooter in the area.

[03:05:03]

One of the calls said there is someone with the patrol rifle in the area. Police responded to the scene. One of the first officers to respond was Boulder Police Department Officer Eric Talley, 51 years old. He's been with the department since 2010. He was one of the victims, one of the 10 people to lose their lives.

We understand from authorities they described this as a complex investigation that's going to take no less than five days to complete. There is no information about the shooter. The suspect is in custody, we understand from authorities that the suspect was injured and was taken to a hospital for treatment of those injuries.

But this investigation is just beginning. We also know from officials that the death toll could have been higher. There are a lot of agencies who responded to the scene. Several local police departments, the ATF, the FBI, we actually saw FBI officers walking around conducting their destination, responding to the tragedy that took place here.

Now the district attorney described this as a terrible and horrific mass shooting. He said that this is going to be a painstaking investigation. He confirmed that the shooter is indeed custody, and we also heard from the Governor, Jared Polis, who said, and I quote, "Today, we saw the face of evil. I'm grieving with my community and all Coloradans."

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Boulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And soon after the shooting, CNN anchor Erin Burnett was able to talk with a man who was inside the grocery store when the shooting started. And she asked him when he first realized something was wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN BOROWSKI, WITNESS TO BOULDER SHOOTING: A loud bang, I thought something dropped, some employee dropped something. A second loud bang, then a third, and we were all running. We knew by the third to run, or at least everybody near me did. I was, luckily walking away from the sound of the bullets up when they

started. We just all ran into the back of the store, and out the back door. Employees showed us the way and we told employees what was going on. So, everybody helped each other, and we just ran to safety as quickly as we could.

Boulder feels like a bubble, and the bubble burst, and that's heartbreaking to think that people died in this today. You know, my we just -- it doesn't feel like there is anywhere safe anymore sometimes. So, and this felt like the safest spot in America, and I was nearly killed for getting a soda, you know, and a bag of chips.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Horrendous witness account there. And for more, let's bring in Steve Moore. He is a CNN law enforcement contributor and retired FBI supervisory special agent. Thank you so much for being with us.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So, Steve, 10 people were tragically killed in this mass shooting including a police officer. The suspect is in custody right now. So, what will police be asking him to try to establish what his motive may have been, and whether he perhaps planned more attacks?

MOORE: Well, I don't think they are going to have to ask him very much. I think his desire is going to be to tell them all about all of his grievances, all of his -- all of his -- the things that really infuriate him, things that to you and me might not make sense. And would certainly not justify taking a life, but in his mind justified killing 10 people, and effectively ending his own life.

So, he will want to tell them because that's -- I mean, he made a bold statement. And so, he's not going to hide it.

CHURCH: So, what are you able to establish from what you know so far about what has been brought to bear? What we understand happened? And talk to us about what more questions you would be asking at this time?

MOORE: Really, Rosemary, I'm kind of at a loss the way everyone else is right now. Because when you go into that location you are just getting random people. So, my first thought would be, I want a team working on doing a background investigation on the shooter to find out, did he have any connection to the store, to this chain? To anybody in the store?

[03:10:06]

You'll be interviewing witnesses to find out if anybody recognizes him. Mainly, you're going to be interviewing employees of the store and saying, you know, have you ever seen him before? Why would he do this?

Then you will be interviewing his family members, friends, if he had any. You're going to be essentially, writing his biography as you go. And you know, I heard them say that this investigation isn't going to be finished for five days. I don't think they meant what it came out to be because this investigation isn't going to be completed in five months, much less five days.

CHURCH: Do you think there is any significance to the detail we heard from one harrowing witness report? That he made his way to the line where people were receiving the COVID vaccine.

MOORE: That is very curious. One might wonder if he was denied -- if he was denied a vaccine, whether he is somebody who believes that the vaccine is something that is evil? There are groups that will not take the vaccine because they believe that it -- they have a myriad of reasons not to take the vaccine.

But he might have a grudge against anybody who would force this on people. And so, yes, I do think that's a very valid, that's a very valid line of questioning. But again, they're not going to have to ask many questions because he is going to tell them.

But the problem now is verifying everything he says. Because he can say one thing and it not be true. You need to verify every single thing he tells you. If he says he bought this gun or loaded the ammunition yesterday, you are going to validate every single thing he says so you know if everything he's telling you tends to be a lie, or whether he is being straight up with you.

CHURCH: All right. Steve Moore, thank you so much for talking with us. We do appreciate your analysis.

MOORE: Thank you.

CHURCH (on camera): Well, Kroger, the parent company of the King Soopers store brand says it is horrified and saddened by the Colorado shooting. In a statement, Kroger says that the Boulders supermarket will remain closed during police investigations. The statement also reads in part, the entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers, and support to our associates, customers, and first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation.

Well multiple law enforcement agencies participated in a rolling vigil through the streets of Boulder on Monday to pay tribute to Eric Talley, the officer killed in the mass shooting. The father of seven was a veteran in Boulder's Police Department. Top officials say he was a great officer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, BOULDER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: My heart goes out to Eric Talley's family, his loved ones, and his colleagues. He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department. And his life was cut far too short as he responded to the shooting that was taking place at King Soopers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH (on camera): Back to our top story now. Ten people were killed including a police officer after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. This is the second mass shooting in less than a week. Boulder police say a suspect is in custody and was injured during Monday's incident.

Earlier, CNN spoke with a family member of some of the witnesses. He described how they managed to escape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN MCHUGH, FAMILY WAS AT KING SOOPERS DURING SHOOTING: They were right there from the first shot to the last. And Paul was in line to go get a COVID shot, third person in line and that's when at least one shooter came in and killed the woman at the front of the line in front of him.

I think thankfully the girls didn't see that. They were on the phone with their other grandmother. And they all then, eight shots in a row. There may have been as many as 50 or 60 shots. According to my son-in- law.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And so, your son-in-law quickly scooped up the girls, and they ran upstairs to a closet and they hid?

MCHUGH: Thank God. You know, and then when Paul would come out to try to silence phones, and didn't know who was coming up the stairs next. A lot of the action was right below them at the pharmacy. Extraordinarily terrifying. Of course, the little ones saying, yes, you know, the coats weren't long enough to hide our feet as they were standing behind the coats in the closet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): It is nightmare reports there. And as the U.S. sort through the pain and shock from two mass shootings in less than a week, just hours from now the Senate judiciary committee will be hold a hearing on ways to reduce gun violence across the country. The hearing will unquestionably take an even more urgency in the wake of tragedies in Boulder and Atlanta.

And already, one senator from Colorado is weighing in. In a tweet, Democrat John Hickenlooper says that the country has a horrific problem with gun violence. He says, quote, "we need federal action now."

Dr. Joe Sakran is the director of Emergency General Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. And he joins us now. Doctor, thank you so much for talking with us under such tragic circumstances.

[03:20:04]

JOE SAKRAN, DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY GENERAL SURGERY, JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL: Of course, thanks for having me. CHURCH: So, doctor, another mass shooting in this country, this time

in Boulder, Colorado. You are a gun violence survivor yourself, and you push back against calls from the NRA for doctors and surgeons to stay out of the gun debate. What goes through your mind when you see another mass shooting in this country?

SAKRAN: Yes. I mean, look, first of all, let me just say that, you know, of course our hearts go out to the families in Boulder, the community of Boulder, the state of Colorado, but frankly, the entire nation. That, you know, it continues time and time again to be impacted by the senseless tragedies that are happening all across our country.

You know, we are facing a public health crisis. And you know, frankly, while these mass shootings are often highlighted in the media, the reality is, that we have communities of color that are being impacted on a daily basis in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

And so, we really, I think, have both the opportunity and the responsibility to do more than simply provide rhetoric over the media and actually take action and honor these, you know, continued victims that we are seeing day in and day out.

CHURCH: And doctor, the suspect in the shooting is now in custody but we don't know his motive at this point, or how he obtained his weapon. But we do know that 10 people have lost their lives as a result of this man's actions. Why do we keep seeing this happen in America? And what do you want to see happen to stop these mass shootings taking place?

SAKRAN: Yes. I mean, just think about this. You have 10 families right now that are completely devastated. Families of individuals that were, you know, out getting a vaccination for the coronavirus or doing their regular shopping, and now their world will never be the same.

The reality is, is that anytime you have these complex public health problems, there is no one solution. It requires a multifaceted approach. And so, some of the things, you know, that we continue to push for are these common sense measures that frankly the majority of Americans agree upon.

Like expanding and strengthening our background check system. Like incentivizing states to really implement the extreme risk protection order, also known as the red flag laws, like investing in community violence intervention programs.

I mean, tomorrow, we have a Senate judiciary hearing on gun violence prevention, and I think it's about time that our elected officials go beyond simply talking about this issue. We have literally human lives that are being injured and killed on a daily basis.

And you know, frankly, you know, we do this time and again while we're not seeing the same thing in other countries. So, we have the ability to change the current status quo, we just have to have the moral approach to do that. CHURCH: Yes. Unfortunately, so many politicians say today is not the

day to discuss this. And time passes and they don't confront this situation in this country.

And doctor, you started hash tag, this is my lane. In response to the NRA telling doctors and surgeons to stay out of the gun debate, how difficult has it been to get your message across? And how much resistance do you get from the NRA every time you speak out?

SAKRAN: Yes. So, I think when you look at clinicians and the whole this is our lane movement, you know, we came together because we are the ones who are at the center of taking care of these patients, day in and day out. And what we realized is that just like any other complex problem, there is no one person and one organization that's going to solve this issue.

And the reality of this is, responsible gun owners agree with us. So, when I look at organizations like the NRA, the problem are not the responsible gun orders that are part of the NRA. The problem is the corrupt leadership that exists with the NRA. And frankly, the leadership of the NRA does not represent the membership.

And we have seen that through numerous surveys and numerous demonstrations that there is a lot of commonality that exists among Americans when we are talking about these common sense measures.

CHURCH: And doctor, just very quickly, why do you think so many Americans believe that owning a gun is the answer to the increased gun violence in this country?

[03:25:02]

Because most people living outside of the United States don't understand that reasoning.

SAKRAN: Yes. I mean, I think, I think that's a false narrative that has been proven false through numerous studies. That owning a gun does not necessarily make you safer. In fact, it puts you at increased risk for both homicide and suicide.

And the reality is, is that we are not talking about taking away guns from responsible owners. What we are talking about is ensuring that people shouldn't have firearms don't get the firearms. We are talking about closing the loophole like the Charleston loophole.

We are talking about ensuring that people that are in crisis have family members and people within their community that can help them prevent, you know, an attempted suicide. We're talking about measures that are relatively straightforward and the majority of Americans agree upon.

CHURCH: And yet still so much resistance. Dr. Joe Sakran, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

SAKRAN: Yes. Thanks so much for having me. CHURCH: And do stay with us for more on the breaking news in Boulder,

Colorado where a mass shooting unfolded at a supermarket. We will have eyewitness accounts of what happened inside that store.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: I just heard a big bang, and I was like, it's kind of weird. Like it was like a gunshot or whatever. But I was just -- I was like probably three seconds because I heard another it's like, bang, bang, bang, bang, and I immediately sprinted over to her and said we had to get out of here and like pushed out on them. When I see Doreen (Ph) I told her to run, and I ended up leaving her which she really hated, but I went back, and this is by the exit just making sure that people were getting out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH (on camera): We are following the breaking news out of Boulder Colorado, where a mass shooting unfolded, Monday afternoon. Shaking the city to its core. Here is what we know. 10 people are dead, including one police officer in a shooting at the King Super Supermarket. One suspect is in custody, police responded to reports of an active shooter, just before 3:00 p.m. Local Time.

An eyewitness video, shows swat teams moving in, and trying to enter the building. The officer who was killed was 51 year old Eric Talley. He was the first on the scene. Boulder County district attorney, address the tragedy Monday night, and said that he would do everything in his power to get justice for the victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, BOULDER COUNTRY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Boulder has suffered a terrible and horrific mass shooting today. And I want to second with the chief said about the appreciation for the local state and federal partners that have responded to this location, and to help with the investigation.

This is not the first mass shooting that we have had in the state of Colorado, and one thing that has happened in response to each and everyone, including today's horrific acts, is the response that we have from law enforcement partners throughout the metro area, victim advocates from throughout the area around Boulder, and investigators from local, state and federal agencies, as well as prosecutors from U.S. attorney's office, and from my office to ensure that justice is done.

My heart goes out to Eric Talley's family, he's loved ones, and his colleagues. He was, by all accounts one of the outstanding officer at the Boulder police department, and his life was cut far too short as he responded to the shooting that was taking place at King Super's.

I also want to stress, how incredibly sorry I am for all the victims who were killed at King Supers. These were people going about their day, doing their food shopping and their lives were cut abruptly, and tragically, short by the shooter, who is now in custody. I promise the victims, and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice, and do everything we must do to get justice in this case.

In order for that to happen, a painstaking investigation is already underway. Both of the crime scene, and in interviews, to make sure that we receive all the accurate information. Once that information is secure, we will be sharing that with the media and with the community. I would say that I hope the people pf this country send the families and the love ones their thoughts and prayers.

But for my perspective, there is more for us to do than just give them our thoughts and our prayers. We are going to go all out to ensure that the right result is reach. That's why I am very grateful that we do have local state and federal agencies, all responding to this location, here today, to ensure that the investigation is thorough and complete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And Boulder police say, they got into a gun fight with the suspect, as soon as they entered the building. They describe the confrontation in these recordings from police scanners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: 136, we're in a gunfight, hold the radio. 136 still multiple shots being fired at us.

I copy, we're taking multiple rounds.

We are taking rifle fire as soon as we patrol, entered the building. We need the rolling shield up here, ASAP, that would be perfect.

Start pushing slow, but be advised, we don't know where he is. He is armed with a rifle, officers shot back, and returned fire. We do not know where he is in the store.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): It is just chilling to hear this, and CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI special agent, Peter Licata joins us from Mogadishu, in Somalia. Thank you so much for being with us.

PETER LICATA, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on camera): Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, we still don't know the motive behind this mass shooting in Boulder Colorado. But, the suspect is now in custody. So, how do police go about asking the right questions to establish why the shooter did this? LICATA: Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, law enforcement has

become too familiar on how to deal with the situations. So, the interview of the shooter is either going to be custodial, where he will be read his Miranda rights, or he will be talked to.

[03:35:03]

Regardless, that is for the district attorney, and law enforcement to decide how to approach him. That being said, it will be a very thorough interview as to what his state of mind is, what his motivation was, where or how, and when did he procure the rifle, the ammunition, and at the same time, that's going on, I can assure you warrants are being drafted for searches of his residence, for his vehicle, and for his electronic devices. Laptop, desktop, cellphones, cellphones plural, and those will be gone through.

And that information will be corroborated with his story, whichever story he decides to tell, if he decides to sell a story at all. This will be a detailed investigation, and again, unfortunately, law enforcement is too well versed on how to deal with this.

CHURCH: Yes. It is a sad reality, isn't it? So, what is your reading of what happened at this supermarket? And what questions would you be asking right now?

LICATA: I would be asking those specific questions. More, so you start out with a soft dialog. You appease to, perhaps, if this individual has any sympathy, any empathy. To the fact that, we just want to get to the bottom of it and let him tell the story, and then, meanwhile, all that information is being corroborated through exploitation of his social media accounts, all his electronic media and then the interviews.

Interviews from witnesses, the victims, if you will, that were in that, that were able to get out safely. Interviews of his neighbors, interview of his family, interview with his colleagues, work associates, if there are any. To get into his state of mind and corroborate that. It's a very detailed checklist that has to go on.

And then in this day and age, we still have to match up the tangible evidence with the story. So, and United States are still innocent until proven guilty. Now, we all know he did it, there's going to be video of him. There's going to be witness accounts. It's clear, that all that still has to be done methodically. That match that weapon to him match. Match that ammunition to him whether its thru latent prints or DNA trace, to make sure this is a clear cut, lock solid case.

As, in your previous segment. The district attorney for Boulder, is basically said, it is his job to make sure that this incident ends up in proper justice. And law enforcement there in Boulder, with regards -- with conjunction with the FBI and other entities, they need take their time, which they will do, and do it right. Don't take shortcuts, which they won't, and do this deliberately in order to gain justice for the families and for America in general.

CHURCH: And Peter, as you mentioned, we do see this over, and over again, tragically. What is your reaction to another mass shooting in this country? The second in less than a week. And what needs to happen to bring an end to gun violence in America?

LICATA: I can't explain how upset I am at this. Two shootings in less than a week. You've had a little over a month ago, you had few FBI agents shot dead as they are trying to execute a search warrant on a child pornography case. I am personally tired of it. Unfortunately, I have responded to a first responder or an active shooter in Kenya a few years ago.

My family was directly involved in the Sandy Hook shooting. My god son was in the second grade classroom, and my niece was two doors down. So I have personal experience with this. I am frankly tired of it, and I am not going to get into the political side of this, but I, personally, as a former law enforcement officer of over 20 years, and a U.S. citizen.

I am tired of hearing the pundits say we need to -- it is time to pray, it is time to reflect. Yes, we can do that, but I am tired of hearing, it's not time for action. It's time for action. Something has to be done. Something within the confines and the framework of the constitution, as the founding fathers drafted it, and something that brings us to the modern age of what is going on.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, it is hard to understand why nothing was done during the Sandy Hook experience, and now, here we are, yet again. It's over and over again, and hopefully, something will be done. Peter Licata, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

LICATA: My pleasure, thank you.

CHURCH: Well, much more ahead, on our breaking news coverage, do stay with us here on CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:40:00]

CHURCH (on camera): Well, Germany will extend its current lockdown until April 18th due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel, also announced an even stricter lockdown period over the Easter holiday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): During this time, there will also be a ban on public gatherings. Outside dining that has reopened, it will be closed again, during these five days. And only strictly food shops will be allowed to open on Saturday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): In the past 24 hours, Germany has reported more than 7,400 new coronavirus infections. That is an increase of 2,000 more than Tuesday, of last week. And British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has talked down the possibility of an E.U. blockade of the AstraZeneca vaccine to his country.

It comes amid warnings from the head of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, she says the option of withholding vaccine export, is a very, much on the table. Amid another shortfall in vaccine deliveries from AstraZeneca. Mr. Johnson, also warned that the rise in cases currently being seen across Europe, could be felt in Britain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are facing the same pandemic, we all have the same problems. I think of the things worth stressing is that, on the continent, right now, you can see, sadly, there is a third wave underway.

And people in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that that when a wave hits our friends, I'm afraid, it washes up on our shores as well. And I expect that we will feel those effects in due course. That is why we're getting on with the vaccination program as fast as we can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Meantime, Brazil has now surpassed 12 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, despite having the second highest case count in the world. President Jair Bolsonaro, says he isn't convinced Brazil should change its policy towards the pandemic. He's is even drawn the disdain of Venezuela's embattled President, Nicholas Maduro, who calls a Brazil a global threat. The governor of Sau Paulo state is also criticizing Brazil's president.

[03:45:03]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOAO DORIA, SAU PAULO STATE GOVERNOR: We are in one of those tragic moments in history when millions of people pay a very high price for having an unprepared and psychopathic leader in charge of a nation. Since the beginning of the pandemic in Brazil, 295,000 Brazilians have died, much of these deaths could have been prevented if President Jair Bolsonaro had acted with the responsibility that the position gives him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): The United States, and its allies are slapping new sanctions on China over its treatment of Uyghurs. A joint statement from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union cites China's extensive repression of the Muslim minority, including forced labor, mass detentions and forced sterilization.

China, hit back with sanctions of its own against the E.U., which is calling on Beijing to engage in dialog on human rights rather than being confrontational. Rather than changes in policy and address our legitimate concerns, China has against turned the blind my eye, and these measures are regrettable, and unacceptable. And CNN's Selina Wang is following developments live from Tokyo, she

joins us now, good to see you Selina. So, what message does this coordinated effort of sanctions against China send? And hat impact will it likely have?

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this very carefully orchestrated action sends an extremely powerful message to Beijing. It is a show of force, meant to isolate, and pressure China. So, no surprise, we are seeing an immediate reaction from Beijing. China has imposed sanctions on 10 European individuals, as well as four entities, accusing them of, quote, spreading lies, and disinformation. This had the effect on the target of blocking them from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau.

It also bars there related companies, restricting them from doing business with China. Now, this is all part of that multi lateral effort with the U.S., U.K., E.U, And Canada, all levy and their own sanctions on Chinese individuals, and officials, accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is in line with the Biden administration's strategy of working multi laterally, working with allies to counter China.

There was also a strongly worded statement from the five eyes alliance, as well as from U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. Saying, quote, the evidence including front the Chinese government owned. Satellite imagery, and eyewitness testimony is overwhelming. China's extensive program of oppression, including severe restrictions on religious freedoms, the use of force labor, mass detention and internment camps, forced sterilizations, and the concerted destruction of weaker heritage.

Now, Rosemary, this is a very far cry from the Trump administration's go it alone strategy when it comes sanctions. We saw the Biden administration, recently, coordinate with the E.U. when challenging and complex, because of how important Beijing is economically. You have the E.U., and U.K., trying to simultaneously boost economic ties with China, while also confronting China on these human rights issues. It is unclear how that is all going to play out. Just a few months ago, the E.U., and China, reaching an agreement on a major investment Accord, that tool 7 years of negotiation. And now, after all of this, that could all be in jeopardy. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. We will be watching very closely, Selina Wang, bringing us the latest there from Tokyo, many thanks.

Well, two years of political gridlock in Israel has brought voters out for election, after election. Will a 4th time be the charm? We will go live to a polling station, next.

[03:50:00]

CHURCH: Thousands more evacuations could soon be ordered in Australia state of New South Wales, which has faced days of historic life- threatening rain, and flooding. And even more rain is expected through Wednesday. Officials say as many as 15,000 people could join the 18,000 who have already been moved to safe zones. The States Premier calls this situation catastrophic.

Well, right now, voting is underway in Israel for the fourth election in two years. Polling stations had been open for a couple of hours now. Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping he's handling of the coronavirus pandemic will save his political future. In fact, some polling stations, are set up to allow COVID patients to cast their votes safely.

Elliott Gotkine, joins me now, reporting live from a polling station in Jerusalem. Good to see you Elliott. So, is there any reason to believe the outcome of Israel's fourth election in two years will be any different from the three that came before it?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST (on camera): Rosemary, I guess we live in hope, and certainly every party leader would say that they certainly don't want to see Israel go into a fifth loss of elections. But of course, ultimately, it comes down to the numbers.

And certainly according to the opinion polls, although Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is forecast to have a clear lead, and be the biggest in parliament, it looks like he would have his work cut out in putting together a coalition that would have 61 seats, a majority, in the 120 Knesset.

Likewise for the Centrist Party, Yesh Atid, yet led by Yair Lapid, it is also hard to see how they could make the numbers work either. And things are complicated, somewhat, by some Party leaders showing their cards. So for example, Gideon Saar, who split from Netanyahu's Likud Party to form a new Party called New Hope, he has said that he will not sit in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Even though, ideologically, they are pretty much on the same page.

[03:55:00]

You've got also from the right, Naftali Bennet of the Yamina Party, he has been more circumspect about whether he would sit in government with Prime Minister Netanyahu. When he has got his corruption trial still ongoing, and due to resume in a couple weeks time. But what he has said is that he wouldn't sit in a coalition government led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

So, whether people play the cards that they kind of shown already, once it comes down to the crunch, of course, remains to be seen. But right now, it does seem that it's going to be a very tight race and perhaps a deadlocked one once the results come through.

CHURCH: Alright. And Elliott, how can absentee ballots affect the outcome?

GOTKINE: So, in Israel, they are kind of known as double envelope vote. And usually, this is for diplomats, for soldiers, for prisoners. This time around, it is also going to include people coming to drive through polling booths like these, set up for the 15,000 or so Israelis who are currently suffering from coronavirus. And also, for the 65,000 or so who are in quarantine. In addition to that, people in nursing homes will also submit these

kind of ballots. And so we could get twice as many as usual, double envelope vote, and that could delay the final result. In addition to that, Rosemary, you have got a number of parties, about half a dozen or so, hovering around the threshold of 3.2 5 percent of the vote that each party needs, in order to get into parliament. If they don't need that threshold, those vote simply go down the drain. And if that happens to supporters of Netanyahu, or supporters of his opponents, then that could have a very big impact on the overall result. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Alright. We'll see how it all turns out. Elliott Gotkine, joining us live from Jerusalem, many thanks.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church, Early Start with Laura Jarrett and Christine Romans is next.

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