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Biden Under Pressure to Address Gun Laws, Border Crisis; U.S. Anticipates Record Surge of Migrants Through September; Nashville Declares Emergency after Deadly Flash Floods; Crews Attempting to Refloat the Ever Given; Derek Chauvin Trial Begins Monday with Opening Statements; Battling Knife Crime in the U.K.; California Amusement Parks to Reopen Thursday; Mighty Container Carrier Budges Slightly In The Suez Canal; Day Seven Of Suez Blockage Costs Tens Of Billions Of Dollars; Myanmar's Day Of Shame: Military Kills 114 People Sunday; Mexico Underreported COVID Deaths By 120,000 People; Biden Administration: Prioritizing A Tough Agenda. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 29, 2021 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello, and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes.

And we begin this hour with new development out of Suez in Egypt. The Suez Canal Authority trying to get the "Ever Given," that massive ship, re-floated and get the Canal open again.

The Authority says 10 tugboats are being used right now. They have been pulling the "Ever Given" from the bow and the stern in different directions in an attempt to dislodge it from where it has been stuck for seven days now.

Now it does appear the stern is dislodged from the bank as you can see in this video but not clear at the moment if the bow has been freed.

This latest effort being executed during high tide, which could present the best opportunity to get the ship moving again.

Ben Wedeman joins me now live from Cairo with more details.

So what are you hearing on efforts to get this sorted? Tell us more about this video and what we're seeing in it.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SNR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you're seeing in this video is the ship early morning in the Canal. And it does seem to have moved.

Keep in mind -- I mean, when you look at that video you can clearly tell that it is no longer completely sort of straddling the Suez Canal, it seems to have moved.

Now in the video, in Arabic, you can hear somebody who's clearly not getting a lot of sleep and smoking too many cigarettes that -- it has moved, it has moved.

And all indications are also from maritime tracking websites that the ship, the "Ever Given," has moved. Now how much has it moved is not altogether clear. How soon will navigation be able to proceed? Well, that's probably going to be many hours from now.

But this is without a doubt the most significant movement of this ship that we have seen in the last seven days.

Now all of these spokesmen for the Egyptian government and for the Suez Canal Authority -- don't seem to be able to reach them on their phone, either their phones are busy or they're not picking up.

The fact that it hasn't been officially announced on Egyptian state media is rather puzzling given that this is for Egypt, good news, if, of course Michael, that's true.

HOLMES: They probably saw your name on the caller I.D., Ben. Actually, I was going to ask you exactly that question.

Just how important is the Suez Canal to Egypt? Obviously, this has cost them money and perhaps some prestige.

WEDEMAN: Well, in 2020 the Suez Canal brought in 5.6 billion dollars for Egypt which is not even two percent of its GDP. But symbolically, it is hugely important, it really puts Egypt on the geostrategic map.

Keep in mind, for instance, back in 2011, '12, and '13 when there was first the revolution then the coup d'etat here in Egypt there was real concern, for instance, by the United States about the closure of the Suez Canal.

And the United States has always tread carefully with Egypt regardless of what's going on here because of the Suez Canal, because of its strategic importance. And therefore, when this canal closes, it's a major crisis.

Twelve percent of world trade passes through the Suez Canal every year, 30 percent of container traffic passes through the Suez Canal. It makes 13 to $14 million for Egypt every day.

That's not a lot of money. But keep in mind that 10 billion dollars of trade passes through the Suez Canal every day, and we're now in day seven, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. Adds up, that's for sure. Ben Wedeman, morning there in Cairo. Appreciate it, hope the day pans out well.

Speaking of the day let's go to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri to tell us, is the weather cooperating with all of this?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The weather is cooperating. There are some gusty winds, certainly a far cry from where things were about a week ago where we ended up in this position.

[01:05:00] But what is happening here outside of the perspective of weather is what's happening up in space.

Talking about a full moon taking place at this hour. And that is going to provide what is known as the spring tides or the king tides which are essentially the highest high tides of the entire month that are going to take place within the next several days.

Of the last 30 days or so, this is the highest it's going to get. Of course, we know the sun, the moon, coming in perfect alignment. The gravitational impacts of the moon here pulling the water back and then bringing it back up much higher as well at certain times of the day.

And I'm going to break down exactly when this is going to happen within the next few hours. And of course, you see the massive scale of the ship.

We know dredgers have been able to free up at least about 30,000 cubic meters of sand in the past several days. So the propeller wasn't moving, we begin to see that get into motion.

Now the waters as they rise within the next three or four hours, officials hoping this is our best window to make this happen. And we think that will happen sometime around 11:42 a.m., that's when the highest high tide is forecast to take place.

About six hours later, water levels there drop on the order of about I'd say 2.1 meters down to less than half a meter. So it's going to be a significant drop, Michael.

And then we think within the next 24 hours we get another shot at this going into the early morning hours of Tuesday and, once again, into the early morning hours of Wednesday.

So the next couple of days beginning this afternoon are going to be really the best window we'll have to make this happen.

HOLMES: Yes. No pressure. Pedram Javaheri, thanks so much. Fascinating there to look at the tides and how important they're going to be.

OK. Joining me now live from San Francisco is Captain Jim Staples of Ocean River Maritime Consultants. Good to see you again, Captain.

Now what do you make of this news that the stern apparently has been floated but there does seem to be work to be done at the bow. What is your read and what have you been hearing?

CAPT. JAMES STAPLES, OCEAN RIVER LLC MARITIME CONSULTING: Well, this is actually news. It sounds like the high tide helped quite a bit with this full moon and the addition of extra tug boats that have come aside and helped pull her stern away. Which gives the vessel the use of her engines.

So long as the rudder and the propeller aren't damaged, they'll be able to use the engine of the ship which is also going to help them with what we call back and fill a little bit with the ship, that they may be able to come astern a little bit using the engine to get her out of the sand up in the bow and get her straightened out into the Canal.

So this is definitely a bright moment now for getting this ship underway again and possibly making sure she can finish the rest of her voyage. But I'm sure they'll have to full hull survey of her.

HOLMES: I was actually literally about to ask you about as my next question. What about the risk of the ship itself having being damaged by how it's been sitting, hung up on either end and the stresses that might place on the integrity of it. What would need to be done to make sure she's seaworthy?

STAPLES: Well, they'll probably do an underwater survey. Get some divers and survey the hull to see if they can see any type of physical damage. And then maybe do an interior-type survey where they're going to be looking for stress cracks or anything like that.

But they've also got to be concerned of all of the intake with the water that was coming into the engine to make sure that they haven't sucked in any sand or any kind of debris that will clog the filters that could cause the engine to shut down at anytime and cause significant damage the vessel. Again, rendering her unseaworthy.

So they're going to be doing a lot of different surveys. She'll probably go out into a deep-water anchorage and sit there.

They'll have to go through the steering gear system since the rudder was hard underground with the propeller. There's going to be a lot of different things they're going to have to check. The propeller could be damaged, that way you're going to a good amount of vibration in the vessel now which is not good for ships.

So they will be doing quite a few surveys on the vessel now before she gets underway for her voyage.

But the good thing is that it sounds like the Canal will be open here very shortly and they'll be able to get traffic moving in both directions again.

HOLMES: Yes. Do you think that at the end of the day when they look back on what's gone on -- obviously, there's going to be an after- incident report or two, do you think they might be looking at whether these massive ships have a place in the Canal or how things are operated there to stop this -- to have something as important as the Canal shut down by 40-knot winds and a sandstorm seems -- I don't know, it seems crazy. What's your read?

STAPLES: Oh, absolutely. I think they're going to have to look at procedural changes as how they do take these vessels through.

For instance, here in the United States up in Valdez they use escort tugs (inaudible) with these big VLCCs around just in case they do have a situation where they have a loss of power or a loss of steerage, that these escort tugs can put the vessel somewhere safely and take it to an anchor spot.


So they'll have to look at that to see if they need to maybe put two escort tugs with all these large vessels going through to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Not only do we see that the commerce of the world is shut down but also the naval viability of the Canal being shut down where naval forces can't get through either.

This caused a concern on many, many different avenues of different countries looking at it for different situations. Not only financial but also tactically the importance of the Canal, of getting navies from one ocean to another.

HOLMES: That's a very, very good point. Great that we were able to tap your expertise as this unfolds. Captain Jim Staples, good to see you. Thanks so much.

STAPLES: My pleasure. Thank you.

HOLMES: All right. Now we'll go to Anna Stewart who's been tracking the economic impact of this mess.

She joins me now from London. And good morning again to you, Anna.

Obviously a lot of concerns from manufacturers to consumers, everyone in between, who've been impacted by this. Give us a sense of how the supply chain was affected.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, it's really extraordinary. If you clog up one of the world's biggest arteries of trade the ripple effect is really quite huge.

So you look at the direct impact for the shipping companies, for the Egyptian economy, for instance, and all the goods of course are stuck currently on either side of the Canal, over 300 ships.

But you also look at the wider impact for the market. And it does trickle all the way through the supply chain. From the producer of the raw material right through to the end product.

Of course, we talk a lot about oil and gas when we talk about the Suez Canal and that region, that's really critical and, of course, there are big concerns about fuel shortages.

There's also concerns about coffee shortages. For instance, for Europe most of the coffee that comes from Asia and Africa goes through the canal. There are big concerns already about coffee shortages.

It's been nearly a week, of course, that this has all been stuck in log jam. And so we've seen coffee prices going up. And this is what you see throughout.

Are there concerns about furniture? Yes. IKEA, lots of furniture apparently has been stuck and impacted as well.

And so this is where you start to wonder how long will it take if the ship is refloated, if it can be moved and trade can continue, how long will it take for everything to resume as normal?

Now some ships have looked at taking the long way round, that is via South Africa and it can take up to 15 days, Michael. That is really expensive when you're looking at fuel so costly, for these companies.

And that's ultimately the big deal here. All the delays for every single day for all the raw material producers, for the shops here in Europe and the U.S., all around the world, it's just costly. Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. And when things are costly, costs get passed on to the consumer, don't they? Is there a anticipation that all of this is going to end up -- you and I are going to end up paying more for stuff?

STEWART: More for our coffee. That would be worrying, wouldn't it, Michael? Particularly with hours like this, I need plenty of it.

Well, as you look at the coffee futures on the market there is the anticipation that a coffee shortage will happen, prices will be higher for the consumer.

Now currently that's what you see playing out in the markets. Whether that becomes a reality when you get to the till, I think it's probably unlikely in the coming days.

Though bigger problem perhaps is the global trade situation that was already in crisis, frankly, before this happened to the Suez Canal.

Now because of the pandemic there's just been a huge volume of online shopping, of people staying at home and that has caused big pressure on supply chains, on shipping particularly, all around the world.

So we were already looking at issues of not enough containers to ship toilet rolls from Latin America to Europe and, of course, this has just exacerbated that situation.

So what we could see is a shortage of some products or big delays when you put in a order and it doesn't arrive for weeks. Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. And as you mentioned last hour, and I'm loathe to even mention it -- not toilet roll again. But we could --

STEWART: Not again.

HOLMES: -- it's possible. Anna Stewart in London. Great information, thanks, Anna. Good to see you.

And just to recap there. What we have been hearing from the Suez Canal -- and we've got video too. And you can see there that the stern of the ship, the back of the ship, has apparently been from the bank. Now we don't know what's under it. Is it floating freely, we don't

know but it's at least not wedged into that side of the bank. And of course, the nose end, the stern, was wedged in on the other side. And that apparently is still wedged and has yet to be pulled out.

They've got 10 tugs working on this. A couple of monster tugs -- sorry, the bow still stuck in, we believe -- two monster tugs have been brought in. One has arrived a day or so ago but the sister ship to that was meant to arrive the next morning in Egypt, Egypt time, and it is morning there now.


And they're a couple of huge tugs that were going to be able to make a real impact.

So we know that the stern is free, the bow possibly not, they're still working on it. We'll keep you informed.

All right. We're going to take a short break.

When we come back. Myanmar's military is killing an astounding number of children as it cracks on dissent.

We'll talk about that next.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's terrible, it's absolutely outrageous. And based on the reporting I've gotten, an awful lot of people have been killed totally unnecessarily.


HOLMES: U.S. President Joe Biden there responding to Myanmar's military brutal crackdown on dissent.

It comes after the bloodiest weekend since the February 1st coup. Local reports say more than 114 people died on Saturday alone in what activists are calling a day of shame for the armed forces.

But protesters returned to the streets on Sunday refusing to give up their fight for democracy.

Meanwhile, the U.K. government is urging British nationals to leave Myanmar immediately as the violence against civilians rises.

Ivan Watson following all of this for us from Hong Kong.


Just wondering whether the increase in killings signal that the military might feel it has nothing to lose, might ramp things up.

Tell us about that and also how the opposition, the protest strategies, are changing?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SNR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael, it just does seem that things are going from bad to worse with the death toll now estimated at more than 400 killed since the coup of February 1st.

The military clearly trying to use deadly and lethal force to crush an uprising that is kind of out of control. And one of the least visible aspects of it is the Civil Disobedience Movement which has the civil servants who have largely frozen large sectors of the economy, everything from railroads to the banking sectors and schools.

Not to mention health care. Myanmar is still in the COVID pandemic and from what we're hearing testing and vaccinations and treatment has all but ground to a halt. And the military has resorted to threats to try to get people back to work. That is not working.

Meanwhile the death toll continues to roll -- rise. Top U.N. officials accusing the military of widespread lethal, increasingly systematic attacks. And it's going beyond the cities.

The fighting has spread now to the ethnic enclaves where I'm now hearing that the Karen National Union which is the oldest ethnic armed militia in Myanmar controlling its own territory along the border says that there were airstrikes on both Saturday and Sunday.

And that has prompted some 3,000 people to flee across the border to Thailand.

If the bloodshed keeps getting worse, if the fighting continues to spread into the ethnic areas, expect more refugees, potentially infected with COVID, to head to the borders of neighboring countries.


HOLMES: All right. Ivan Watson there in Hong Kong for us. Appreciate that, Ivan.

COVID cases in the U.S. are rising once again as the Easter holiday approaches. Some states already seeing signs of a new surge including Michigan where a growing number of young people are testing positive for the virus.

Experts say the surge has been fueled by a number of factors and not just the spread of new variants.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The variants are playing a part but it is not completely the variants.

What we're likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you've seen now. Several states have done that.

I believe it's premature, Margaret, because when I've -- I've said many times to you, that when you're coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau you're really in danger of a surge coming up.


HOLMES: Now with the U.S. eager to return to normality, we're learning that the Biden Administration is developing a system for people to prove they've been vaccinated.

An official says multiple agencies are working on these vaccine passports which could potentially affect the workforce.

England is easing more COVID restrictions as the outbreak there appears to be stabilizing. From Monday, up to six people will be allowed to meet outside while outdoor team sports can resume for all ages.

But it's a different story in France where intensive care units are getting overwhelmed with COVID patients. Doctors in Paris say the crisis is so bad they'll soon have to decide who gets access to ICUs and who does not.

They say the growing outbreak is alarming and current measures are not enough to slow the spread.

In Australia, officials are preparing to impose some tougher restrictions. The greater Brisbane area of Queensland will soon begin a three-day lockdown after 10 new COVID cases there.

And the Philippines putting Manila and nearby provinces under its strictest COVID lockdown from Monday until Easter Sunday. The country just reported almost 10,000 new cases on Friday. That is a daily record there.

Mexico getting its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from the U.S., one and a half million doses in all.

Now this comes after what was a stunning revelation where the Mexican government admitted its COVID death toll has been grossly underreported, we're talking by about 120,000 people.

Now that would put the total number of dead in Mexico since the pandemic began at more than 321,000. It is a 60 percent jump from the previous official number.


HOLMES: And by that count, the second highest death toll in the world. Ahead of Brazil but behind the U.S.

President Biden wants to talk about the country's economic future but U.S. lawmakers want him to address a couple of other key issues first.

What they're asking him to do about gun control and immigration. We'll have that when we come back.


HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Joe Biden under pressure to address two key issues facing his administration.

Gun control, of course, in the wake of two recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado and the migrant crisis at the country's southern border.

Democrats want new gun control legislation that would impact background check laws in the country. And Republicans want President Biden to address the surge of unaccompanied migrant children arriving daily.

The president, though, hoping to focus mainly on his economic vision for the future.

CNN's John Harwood with more.


JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The challenge for the White House this week is to maintain focus on what President Biden considers his most important priority.

Now from the right, Republicans are pressuring the White House to stem the flow of migrants across the Mexican border that has left so many children being housed in border patrol facilities that are inappropriate for kids.

From the left, Democrats are pressuring the Administration to do something about gun control.


Now, the administration does not want to focus on the border situation because there's no quick fix even if they scramble for more Health and Human Services facilities that are more appropriate for children.

They don't want to focus on gun control, because they know right now, Democrats do not have the votes to pass either an assault weapons ban or background check.

The White House is working on both fronts but they don't have an expectation with success any time soon. What the president wants to focus on is this massive infrastructure and human capital development plan that is his second priority after passing that big COVID relief bill. That's something the administration considers both will important and bold and also achievable. The President will begin outlining that program called Build Back Better in Pittsburgh in a speech on Wednesday.

John Harwood, CNN -- the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Now, as we heard there from John, the growing crisis at the border is a highly partisan issue. Some Republicans blaming the White House. Some Democrats arguing immigration has been a long and complex and long-standing issue and they're defending the president.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): You've got a facility designed for 80 kids with about a thousands in it. So that was pretty bad. He needs to apologize. President Biden to the border patrol agents and their families for putting them through this.

We're being overwhelmed at the borders. It's not a crisis. It's a complete loss of sovereignty down there.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The president is working as quickly as possible to address the situation. He's using every possible avenue to ensure that we are getting these kids out of Border Patrol custody and into HHS facilities as quickly as possible.

You've seen him just this week announce that Fort Bliss for example and the Lackland Air Force Base are going to open up beds to bring these kids out of the border patrol facilities and into facilities that are better for temporary housing for them.

But that is a temporary solution. That's a temporary solution. Ultimately what we need to do is address the root causes of migration.


HOLMES: Kayly Ober is a senior advocate and program manager for the climate displacement program at Refugees International. She joins me now from Tucson, Arizona to talk about that aspect, but the broader aspects as well.

And I guess lost in the noise, if you like, of migrant arrivals is the push of what is making them have to leave their homes in the first place versus the pull of the U.S. as a destination. And there are a myriad of reasons. What do you see is the main one?

KAYLY OBER, REFUGEES INTERNATIONAL: Look, it's as you said, due to many, many reasons. And climate change is exacerbating some of them.

I think, principally, it is one of poverty, endemic violence in the region, and corruption of governments who aren't able to address that violence. It's really about being able to seek out opportunities elsewhere that are not readily available, and in places where these folks are coming from.

HOLMES: Yes. I met many of these migrants, covering the crisis on the ground. People from Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and so on. And the stories they told me about gang violence, murdered family members, government corruption, and so on are horrifying. I mean I'm not surprised they would want to flee, most people would.

And I found, most of them didn't want to leave their homes and countries, but felt they had no choice. Is that your experience?

OBER: I think that is by and large true of any sort of migration decision. It's heart-wrenching, it's difficult.

Look, you know, at the very heart of it is a human decision. You know, you have families back home, your family back home. It's a dangerous journey, you know the perils that you might face. It's very expensive -- thousands of dollars, your life savings. So it's not an easy choice.

HOLMES: Yes. Exactly and it's not something you jump up in the morning and say you're going to do.

Your specialty is the impact of climate change, and on that issue, in the weather changes, the climate change has resulted in, I mean things like stronger hurricanes, crop failures, hunger. Entire areas, I think are becoming pretty much uninhabitable.

Can you see growing climate migration or displacement, quite apart from these other regions?

OBER: So I want to put something out there, and that's that climate change is never the driving or sole factor for migration. As we just discussed, it's very complicated and complex.

What it does do is exacerbate underlying vulnerabilities and we can see that, you know, weather patterns are changing, the climate is really intensifying and making more frequent, different types of climate impacts, including like we just saw this past year, with hurricanes Etta and Iota.

You know, a one-two punch within two weeks of each other, quite unprecedented in an already history-making hurricane season, you know. The most recorded hurricanes on record in the Atlantic hurricane season.


OBER: And so these sorts of events will continue to occur, but I just want to underscore that already the region (ph) was dealing with a slow onset event of prolonged and protracted drought especially in the dry corridor. And so it made it especially hard for rural farmers to earn a living, right. So it was already hard to harvest crops and they were already on the edge before these hurricanes even hit.

HOLMES: So what then can the U.S. do to help change those dreadful conditions on the ground? And perhaps encourage people to stay at home? There were programs in place which Donald Trump eliminated, Biden says he will reinstate. Are they enough? What more needs to be done?

OBER: Well, first and foremost, I think it is important to note what you said at the top of this interview, which is, most people don't want to leave. And so it's about giving folks opportunities and the tools to be able to stay in the face of a changing climate.

And so, it's very important that the U.S. continue to invest in humanitarian assistance and development aid. In particular, when it comes to climate change adaptation and resilience to allow folks to adapt in place if they decide to do so.

But I think we have to be realistic here. The climate is changing upon these other factors and just exacerbating them. And people will have to migrate. People were already on the move.

And so the U.S. has to be a little bit more innovative, and yes, rollback some of the draconian Trump policies in place which, you know, President Biden has promised to do.

I think, importantly, one part that he's already restarted is the Central American minors program, allowing young folks in Central American countries to apply to join their family members who are already in the U.S. legally.

I mean under the Obama administration, about 3,000 minors were able to come to the U.S. that way. And 2,500 were slated to come before Trump cut that program.

And so, that would be one way, but the U.S. has to find new legal ways, new legal migration pathways for people who need to come, in the face of a changing climate.

HOLMES: Yes. Very important issues, and I think people think that everyone is just packing up in Latin America and heading this way and for no good reason. There are good reasons.

Kayly Ober, great to talk to you. Thank you so much.

OBER: Thank you so much.

There is a state of emergency in Nashville, Tennessee after flash flooding there killed at least four people over the weekend. Rescuers say at least 130 from homes and vehicles, some people, clinging to trees, or sheltering in their attics as the waters rose. A numbers of rivers and streams in the region overflowed, leaving many roads impassable.

The latest now from CNN's Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the most part, the floodwaters have receded but the destruction they leave behind is significant.

This was not a citywide flood, flooding was pretty much limited to south Nashville, but in the communities and areas where the flash flooding went, the destruction is amazing to see.

This apartment complex is just one example. Residents here say that early Sunday morning, they heard the torrential rain, then they heard the alerts on their cellphones, and then finally, they heard the fire alarms going off in the building.

When they looked out to see what was burning, they were stunned to realize, their building had been completely surrounded by raging water. And then, they heard the screams of their neighbors from the bottom apartments here. Because the water, first had trapped them, and then the debris began to shattering the windows and now they were being flooded.

Amazingly, everyone got out alive. But, they won't soon forget that horrible, horrible night.

Nashville has endured a lot in the last year. It had a tornado that killed several people, then it endured the pandemic, and then on top of that, it had a bombing at Christmas, and now flooding, that has left at least four people dead.

Martin Savidge, CNN -- Nashville.


HOLMES: Now, with COVID restrictions being eased in parts of the U.K. authorities see a need to keep teenagers safe from gang violence. Ahead, one woman's battle against the rise in knife crimes. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: And an update on a developing story we're following for you this hour, the Suez Canal authority, trying to get the Ever Given re- floated right now, it seems with some measure of success. The authority says, 10 tugboats are being used at the moment including two giant ones. They are pulling the Ever Given from the bow and the stern in another attempt to dislodge it from the site where it has been stuck for seven days.

And it appears the stern has been dislodged from the bank. You are looking at it right there. What we're not sure about is whether the bow has been freed. You remember the bulbous nose of the bow was stuck well into the side of the canal bank. We are waiting to hear whether that has been freed.

This latest effort being executed during high tide which could present the best opportunity to get the ship and the canal. Moving again.

Ok, opening statements will begin in the coming hours in the trial of Derek Chauvin. The former police officer, killed with -- charged with killing George Floyd, a black man, in Minnesota. On Sunday, Floyd supporters held a large rally in his honor, and demanded justice.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: This is George city because when you think of George, you think of Minnesota. This is where he was killed by four officers who used barbaric tactics to put him down. They say he died of asphyxiation, but in the black community, that is equivalent to dying of being choked to death.


HOLMES: Floyd's death sparked dozens of protests last year and set off intense debates on social justice, and police accountability.

CNN's Omar Jimenez reports now, those issues will likely be addressed again in the coming trial.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The eyes of a movement, one that sparked protests worldwide in the name of George Floyd, shift to a courtroom in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else for the record?

JIMENEZ: Now to opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin. The former Minneapolis police officer has pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces -- Second-degree unintentional murder, second degree manslaughter, and third degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

Outside the court room, emotions will be running high. There have already been multiple protests throughout the city.

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF: They've done so peacefully. And they've assembled and gathered peacefully. We will continue to expect more demonstrations.


JIMENEZ: But the destruction that happened in May, 2020 in the aftermath of Floyd's death is still fresh on the minds of city officials. And it's why the building that houses the courtroom has virtually become a fortress due to increased security measures with the mayor saying there is more to come.

MAYOR JACOB FREY, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: Residents should be expecting a gradual increase in law enforcement and National Guard presence as we progress through the trial.

JIMENEZ: The first step in this trial --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does that make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ok with that.

JIMENEZ: -- was getting through jury selection which lasted exactly two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will serve on our jury.

JIMENEZ: Resulting in 15 jurors -- 14 of which will be a part of the trial. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those 15 is here to make sure that we're going to

have 14 people show up on Monday.

JIMENEZ: Their identities remain unknown for now.

Attorneys for the Floyd family are pleased the trial can now proceed, and wrote, "This is not a hard case, George Floyd had more witnesses to his death than any other person ever."

And it will be witnesses who now come to the stand, called by both prosecutors for the state and defense attorneys for Derek Chauvin.

Among what we know will be talked about? A portion of a 2019 George Floyd arrest for which he was never charged but one where he ended up being sent to the hospital instead of jail an interaction with police defense attorneys for Chauvin argued was similar to May, 2020. A paramedic from that day in 2019 is also expected to testify.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: The whole point here is we have medical evidence of what happens when Mr. Floyd is faced with virtually the same situation -- confrontation by a police at gunpoint, followed by rapid ingestion of some drug.

RICHARD FRASE, CRIMINAL LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Our system of justice is on trial. Can we give Mr. Chauvin a fair trial because that is essential? Can we give the state a fair chance to find him guilty under the law and the evidence?

JIMENEZ: The trial is expected to last up to four weeks. All the while a city, a family, a movement watches anxiously over what criminal accountability looks like in the death of George Floyd.

Omar Jimenez, CNN -- Minneapolis, Minnesota.


HOLMES: Now, when the U.K. began to emerge from its first COVID lockdown last summer, knife crimes surged. Now authorities are worried teens may never return to full-time school or after-school activities and that could lead them vulnerable to grooming by violent gangs.

Nina Dos Santos reports on one woman's efforts to keep local teens safe from knife violence.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been agonizing lockdown, spent worrying about the capital's vulnerable children. But finally Lorraine Jones is ready to be open. For more than seven years she has poured her life into this boxing gym since her 20-year-old son, Dwayne, lost his.

LORRAINE JONES: It was one jab wound and that went right through his heart. And later on a message came to me that the man was actually remorseful of what he had done.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): Senseless, isn't it?

JONES: Very senseless.

DOS SANTOS (voice over): Lorraine has made it her mission to keep local kids off the South London Street amid a wave of knife crime in the U.K. that hit a 10-year peak before the pandemic.

JONES: If you are going to carry a knife, you have got a potential to kill somebody or be killed.

DOS SANTOS: Knife crime has also left parents desperately anxious, as their children are now finally given more freedom.

JONES: There is a saying that idle hands get up to no good. And they're left to do nothing, what will happen to them? Sadly, knife crime has gone up.

DOS SANTOS: Leigh Channer has four sons. She is signing five-year-old Keenan (ph) up early but is on edge each time his older siblings venture out.

LEIGH CHANNER, LONDON MOTHER: I am always worried. My son that is 21, I'm constantly worried every time he leaves the house because I just don't know where he is going, what he's doing, if he's actually going to return home. It's got to the point where I want to take them away, and leave but where do I live?

DOS SANTOS (on camera): As part of the U.K. exited their first lockdown last summer, knife crime spiked 25 percent and hospital admissions for stab wounds also soared. With so much disruption to education and after school activities, the fear is that as life gets back to normal, that trend will soon return.

Former children's commissioner, Anne Longfield says that knife crime is just a symptom of a broader problem with stark inequalities and power gang culture, fueling every younger minors into its clutches, often to deliver drugs.

ANNE LONGFIELD, FORMER CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER: You've got there ruthless criminals who have been looking for young people as a commodity of choice. You have really quite young children who will be targeted. Started on the edges of some of these activities but then brought in overtime.


LONGFIELD: And of course the more they see, the more they're involved in, the more the gang leaders have over them.

And the risk, of course, is for those kids who have been out of school for a good part of the year now.

DOS SANTOS: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed stationing extra police around schools to protect children, and more money for programs like Lorraine's where Officer Danny Shannon already lends his support as a coach. DANNY SHANNON, POLICE OFFICER: I've seen children from the age of like

12 or 13 years old carrying knives. I've actually helped kids that had been stabbed on the street.

The pandemic has definitely change the way things are. People have become lost, people that would normally be in this gym are not here. So where are those people now.

DOS SANTOS: COVID brought the past year to a standstill but it hasn't cured London of its knife crime epidemic as these empty streets fill up once more, the futures of many children hang in the balance.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN -- London.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

California's amusement parks are set to reopen this Thursday but under some pretty stringent COVID-19 restrictions. The parks will be far from full capacity and only California residents are going to be allowed in for now.


Paul Vercammen has a look at how Six Flags Magic Mountain is getting ready.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, as the COVID-19 numbers continue to drop in southern California a sign of better times ahead and easing in restrictions, Magic Mountain, Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park will open on Thursday and it will do so with some very strict safety protocols.

Six Flags magic mountain will open on Thursday and it will do so with some very strict safety protocols. Among other things, everything will be contactless. You will enter the park by taking your temperature in a fancy shed like structure. Everybody who goes through security will not be patted down. This will be done by imaging. Your ticket will be on your phone. We talked to park officials about the safety measures.


JUSTIN MIYAHIRA, PUBLIC SAFETY MANAGER, SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN: We are opening at 15 percent capacity. So we are not anticipating any shoulder to shoulder. And we discourage shoulder to shoulder gatherings.

With that being said, it's also limited currently to southern -- or California residents only to even make this reservation.

And while you are here, there a some things like social distancing, physical distancing. We have signage on the floors to remind individuals to stay separated.

There is also a rule about wearing your mask at all times including while you are participating in our rides.


VERCAMMEN: And while all those rides, 19 rollercoasters here should someone's mask fall off there will be staff workers standing by with a batch of fresh brand-new masks to give to the person who lost it on the ride.

These safety protocols are going to be watched closely by other amusement parks, baseball stadiums, and the rest as Magic Mountain will be the first out of the gate to open up its doors. It had been closed for more than a year.

Reporting from Valencia, California, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you now, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Our thanks there to Paul Vercammen.

And thank you for watching, spending part of your day with me.

I'm Michael Holmes. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN.

Robyn Curnow will be with you with more news in just a moment.