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Maritime Traffic Affects Consumers; England Lifted its Lockdown; London Parents Worry Over Knife Rampant Attacks; Uyghur Children Dreams of Seeing Their Family Complete; Ever Given Ship Now Free; Complacency Have Consequences; Minneapolis Police on Full Alert; Democrats Are Outrage of New Georgia law. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 29, 2021 - 03:00   ET




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

We are tracking breaking news out of Egypt where officials confirmed a cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal is now mostly free. Now this nearly a week after the ever Given dammed up one of the most important shipping lanes. Video sent to CNN from people working with the operation shows the back of the container ship dislodged. They are now working on pulling the front of the vessel out while keeping the freed stern away from the bank.

So, let's bring in senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, he joins us live from Cairo. Good to see you, Ben. So, it is looking much more promising now, isn't it? So, what is the latest on efforts to fully dislodge this massive cargo ship that it's been stuck in the Suez Canal for nearly a week.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, this is definitely a massive improvement on the situation of 24 hours ago. We've heard from Osama Rabie, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, who says that the stern of the ship, which was very -- just four meters away from the West Bank of the Suez Canal has now been shifted 102 meters away.

So, the canal is still not functioning properly but certainly, this is a massive step forward. Now they're waiting for the high tide which, is in about two and a half hours, at which point they are hoping to completely free the Ever Given, and then they will float it north to the Great Bitter Lake, that's about 30 kilometers from its north, from its current location.

That will allow the Ever Given to basically be put to the side. And in theory, navigation through the Suez Canal will be able to resume although they may have to check the area around where it was stranded to make sure that it doesn't need to be drenched. At this point, there are close to 400 ships either in the canal, in

the Red Sea or the Mediterranean waiting to proceed, but at this point it is certainly -- it does represent the possibility that this crisis is now coming to an end. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Well, that -- well, that is certainly good news. CNN international correspondent, Ben Wedeman bringing us the latest there from Cairo. Many thanks.

Well, meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now. Pedram, you've been taking a very close look at the weather, and of course, we heard Ben talk about there about the high tide and how that will play into this. What are you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, great news here within the next couple of hours, some of the highest tides we've seen over the last month or so taking place, because of a full moon currently taking place so the gravitational pull of the moon here kind of exacerbating the situation, increasing the tides, the water levels at their king tide value which is the highest for the month of March and transitioning into the month of April.

But of course, you've seen what has played out here in the last several days, where they've been able to get dredgers out there and move about 30,000 cubic meters of sand to kind of give the ship a little bit of breathing room.

And now Mother Nature just giving us a little bit of a boost as well. So, when you take a look at this at 11.42 local time, which is about two and half hours from now, we expect the highest tide to reach about 6.82 feet, which again gives us about a six-hour window before we go right back to a low tide of right around one foot.

So, we get this window here where officials think this is a great opportunity to try to get this boat, the ship free. And then once again another opportunity comes in closer to midnight where we have water levels increase even a little more, 6.96 feet and drop once again six hours later, and this similar pattern plays out one more time as we go in towards Wednesday.

So, when you look at the weather pattern, things have been quiet. There is a disturbance dropping out of the Black Sea into the eastern Mediterranean, Rosemary. This disturbance will increase the winds comes a Tuesday night into Wednesday right in time for that final push of the highest tides we'll get in place here.

So, officials have a narrow window, it sounds like from what Ben is telling us they are making great strides across that region, so hopefully, everything can be cleared up here in the next, say, 24 to 48 hours.

CHURCH: Absolutely. And it does sound very positive at this juncture, at least. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri bringing us the very latest there. Many thanks.

[03:05:00] Well, the Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest and most important shipping routes in the world. For nearly a week it's been effectively closed and the economic fallout has been growing exponentially.

But I want to get some more now on this angle from our Anna Stewart. She joins us live from London. Good to see you, Anna.

So, let's talk about the business impact so far for both manufacturers and consumers, and what might the long-term impact of this be.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. So, when you clog up one of the world's biggest arteries of trade where 12 percent of trade runs through this canal, you're looking at some pretty big implications. And right away through supply chains. It's very easy to imagine the goods that are stuck on the Ever Given, the goods that are stuck on the 300-plus ships that are now pretty much part either side of the blockage.

But you got the thing also about the huge supply chain issues from the producers of raw materials right through to the final product because of all the ships being stuck. Obviously, oil, gas, that's a big issue, and this is a really critical area for shipments of oil and gas, so you are looking at shortages there in the region, but also for things like coffee, coffee in Europe that comes from Asia and Africa that goes through this canal, so there's a big delay here.

And while we are hearing about some good news about these attempts to refloat the ship and get it moving, it's not moving yet. And it will of course take a long time to get trade back up and running as it was before. Particularly as lots of ships have rerouted, they have gone a long way around, which goes all the way around South Africa. That can take an additional 15 days.

All of this cost money, it costs businesses money, every day that a shipment doesn't reach where it's meant to go, it also has big implication in terms of where ships are and a shortage of containers. And it's really exacerbated, Rosemary. What was already a huge problem due to the pandemic, everybody's online shopping, huge pressure on labor supply chains, and this really was the straw that broke the camel's back really. Rosemary?

CHURCH (on camera): Yes, absolutely. And now they'll be looking at what caused this and how they stop it from happening again. Anna Stewart, many thanks. Joining us live from London.

Well, U.S health experts are warning a new COVID surge may be on the way. Many states are reporting a rise in cases numbers. And Michigan officials say that state is already seeing a new surge. While many have pointed to the spreads of more contagious variants, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that's only part of the problem.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 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 said many times to you that when you are 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 and unfortunately, that's what we are starting to see.


CHURCH (on camera): Meantime, the White House is working on a system for people to prove they are fully vaccinated. Some have called the idea a vaccine passport. According to The Washington Post, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading the effort and this comes as more Americans are getting the vaccine.

In the last week alone, the U.S. reported an average of nearly three million doses being given each day. More than 51 million people are now fully vaccinated.

Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist and joins me now from Mill Valley in California. Thank you, doctor, for being with us and for all that you do.

LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALSYT: Thank you. Very nice to be with you again, Rosemary.

CHURCH: You, too. And we are seeing COVID-19 cases surging again in some states but about a quarter of all Americans have now received at least the first COVID vaccine shot and more than three million shots are getting into arms each day with President Biden setting a new goal of 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But how much hope does this give you that we can beat COVID-19 despite the signs of a surge in infections?

BRILLIANT: Well, I'm thrilled, of course that we have the vaccine so soon after we had a novel disease like COVID. I'm thrilled that we are rolling out 2.5, 3 million doses a day. It's still, it's only 14 percent of Americans who are fully immunized. We have long way to go to get 80 percent for herd immunity, and that's just in the United States. What to speak of all the other countries that don't have a President Biden, don't have a roll out plan on Andy Slavitt who is doing such a great job, don't have the money to buy the vaccine?

I am concerned that as happy as we are about all of these vaccinations, we need to get good at things like testing, tracing, immunization, you know, using the new genomic testing, being able to use electronic notification systems just in time vaccinations. We need to have a backup plan.


I think we only hit a plateau right now in cases. I don't -- I don't like it. I don't see it coming down to zero the way we're going.

CHURCH: Well, that is a concern. So, what about herd immunity, then? Is that even achievable with more than 20 percent of Americans saying they won't get the shot, and many poorer nations, as you point out, still not getting access to the vaccines?

BRILLIANT: I don't think it's mathematically achievable. If you think of herd immunity as 80 percent will all get vaccinated and all have full immunity, that's going to be tough to do in the number of years that this disease is going to be around, and then the rest of the world it's going to be impossible.

But just one more vaccine, one more arm, one more vaccination going from 15 percent immunized to 20 to 25 to 50 is wonderful. It's -- it may not be enough when we have variants that are arising from all over the world, and a dozen animal species that now have COVID.

And I worry that -- in addition to vaccinating everybody, we have to go back to the basics and get contact tracing and testing and isolation really in a good place. There's money in the stimulus package for it, but we can't forget about that.

CHURCH: Right. You have said that we can get COVID-19 under control with vaccinations, advanced testing, and contact tracing, but you've also said all this will prepare us for the next pandemic. What do you think that will be? Are you talking about flu or another type of coronavirus?

BRILLIANT: Every year three to five novel viruses jump from animals to humans. The majority of these are bird flu, they're in the influenza category, many of them are respiratory diseases like COVID- 19. I am concerned that just as we've had for the past 20 years, for the next 20 years, we'll be constantly meeting novel viruses. Not all of them will be as pernicious as COVID-19, but we have to stay on our toes.

And that's why I'm hoping we will continue to build up our ability to find outbreaks quickly and respond to them quickly and not only vaccinate. We have to do both. They are both really important.

CHURCH: Right. And I wanted to ask you this, I want to know what keeps you up at night with all of this? Because it's one thing to know what needs to be done, it's another to get all citizens across the United States and across the globe to understand and follow smart health advice, because in so many parts of the world they are not.

BRILLIANT: What keeps me up at night is that I lived in India for a decade, I love India, and I think about all the little monkeys the rhesus and macaque monkeys that are all over India, some of them now have COVID and they are intertwined with the daily life and there's now this double variant in India.

I worry about the white-tailed deer and the other dozen other animals that have COVID. And while we don't have any continued animal reservoir that's constantly re-infecting us, so we don't have to worry about that, I worry that about happening and that's why I want to make sure we're really good at outbreak response in addition to mass vaccination.

CHURCH: Right. Hopefully more people across the globe will listen to advice from you, doctor, and many other doctors and scientists and we can avoid some of these nightmare scenarios. Dr. Larry brilliant, many thanks for joining us.

CHURCH: Thank you, Rosemary. Thanks for having me.

Well, the death of George Floyd in police custody sparked a wave of protests last year and authorities are ready for a repeat as the trial of the former officer accused of killing him gets underway.

A controversial election law in Georgia has Democrats up in arms. Now they are pushing even harder for a national law to protect the rights of all voters. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH (on camera): Opening statements get underway in Minnesota today in what could be the United States' biggest trial of the year. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd last May. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty.

Member of Floyd's family will be outside the courthouse joined by supporters. They plan to kneel for eight minutes and 85 seconds, the amount of time Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck.

The videotaped incident sparked massive protests around the world. Authorities have put major security measures in place ahead of the trial.

Well, Democratic lawmakers are slamming Georgia's new voting law saying it is now imperative to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that seeks to protect all Americans right to vote. Georgia-based companies including Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines weighed in on the Republican-backed bill this weekend but some Democrats are calling on them to do more.

CNN's Sara Murray has the details.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, they are continuing to see the fall out of this sweeping election bill that passed in the state of Georgia. This is the same bill that President Joe Biden called sick and un-American.

Now this is a bill that would require voter identification for those handing in their absentee ballots, it also limits access to those drop boxes, and in a move that's generating a ton of controversy. It would make it a crime to hand out food and water to voters who were waiting in line.

Now all of this has ramp up pressure on the president as well as Senate Democrats to do something to make sure that a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives that would address some of these election issues, make it harder for states to make these kinds of changes to ensure that that legislation passes the Senate. Here's what Senator Raphael Warnock had to say about that.



SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): We have to pass voting rights no matter what. And the reason why I have insisted that we talk to our Republican sisters and brothers on the other side of the aisle is because if we don't do anything else in the Senate, we have to stand up for the democracy.

The filibuster at the end of the day is about minority rights in the Senate. How are you going to insist on protecting minority rights in the Senate while refusing to protect minority rights in the society?


MURRAY (on camera): So, you can bet this is a major agenda item that Senate Democrats, as well as the president are going to get questions on in the coming weeks. In the meantime, even this law is going into effect in the state of Georgia there are already civil rights groups that challenging it in court.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now from Los Angeles. He is a senior editor of The Atlantic, and he has a new book out "Rock Me on the Water: 1974 the Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television and Politics." Well done. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: OK. Let's start then. So, Democrats are vowing to fight a sweeping Georgia law that restricts voting access, imposing new I.D. requirements, limiting ballot drop boxes, allowing unlimited challenges to vote registration, among other things, 45 other states have bills also aiming to roll back voter access. Is this all voter suppression in action?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, I think the answer is clearly yes. You know, you didn't even mention what could be the most explosive element of the Georgia law, one that really, I think is a time bomb under the 2024 election which allow -- it gives the state more capacity to go in and basically replace county election boards.

And you can just imagine a Republican-controlled state legislative board in Georgia going in and replacing Democratic county election boards in Fulton or Gwyneth or Cobb with the presidency hanging on the balance. I mean, it's hard to imagine anything more and more explosive scenario for the country.

And look, whether you look at what's happening -- what's already happened in Iowa, what's happening in Montana and New Hampshire, and especially across the sunbelt, Arizona, Texas, Florida not far behind, we are seeing the most sustained effort to make it tougher for Americans to vote since the Jim Crow era since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And it's very important that Democrats, you know, you're talking about

challenging this in court, it's going to be hard with the six-three Republican majority in the Supreme Court. John Roberts has been skeptical of voting rights throughout his career.

If Democrats are going to prevent this from happening or reverse what's already been done, they really only have one option and that is to end the filibuster to pass a nationwide floor of voting rights like what's contained in H.R. 1.

CHURCH: This is happening right before everyone's eyes. Why isn't there more outrage, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. You know, it's slowly building and it is surprising, you know, process issues rarely engage the American public, we are, you know, we got to remember we are still dealing with the final stages of a pandemic that has upended life for literally everyone in the country, caused the greatest public health crisis that we've seen in a century.

But also, I think, Democrats have understand -- you know, the Biden White House for some understandable reasons have been primarily focused on that, the pandemic.

There hasn't yet been a march on Washington or a march on Georgia, there hasn't been sustained pressure on corporations in these states about whether they are going to kind of turn, acquiesce in this roll back of voting rights. I think there are a lot of people in the civil rights community who feels that the issue has not been sufficiently engage but it's clearly coming to a head.

And ultimately, I think it's the most likely issues that's going to force the question of whether Democrats do or do not have the votes to curtail the filibuster.

CHURCH: And Ron, last Thursday President Biden laid out his plans in his first news conference. What did you make of his agenda, more vaccine supply to tackle the pandemic, stimulus checks, gun control, and voter rights, and his vulnerability here of course all the way through is immigration?


CHURCH: How is all this looking so far?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I'm really struck, Rosemary, and there seems to be a real clear hierarchy in his personal priorities and in the way he plans to invest his personal plans and what he wants to be identified with.

Because while he made strong statements, he's made very strong statements about gun control, about voting rights and condemning what's happening in the states as a new Jim Crow and while they are also moving to expand their capacity to deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors at the border, it's pretty clear to me that he wants his presidency his stamp to be on this bread and butter kitchen table economic issues.

First, shots in the arms, checks in the pockets, and coming soon, shovels in the ground. I mean, the infrastructure, a giant infrastructure package that he's proposing this week as the next piece of his agenda, and following that in April with another massive package which is basically the human capital as oppose to the kind of the physical capital of infrastructure of universal child care, expanded preschool, expanded access to new college.


And also, you know, potentially making this child allowance in the stimulus bill permanent, which would be kind of social security for kids and possibly the most significant expansion of the American welfare states since at least the Affordable Care Act, and arguably since Medicare.

So, while these other issues I think are all getting their kind of moment in the sun, I think it's pretty clear to me that Biden wants to be defined as kind of a bread and butter kitchen table president and that is where his personal time and focus is going to be directed.

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, also great to get your analysis. Many thanks.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH (on camera): U.S. President Joe Biden is weighing in on the worsening situation in Myanmar. Here's what he told reporters on Sunday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 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.


CHURCH (on camera): More than 100 civilians were reportedly killed Saturday, drawing protests against last month's military coup. And UNICEF says 35 children have been killed since the military seized power.

Well, Britain's government is now advising all its citizens to leave the country immediately citing the increase in violence.

England is easing more COVID restrictions as the outbreak there appears to stabilize. We will have a live report from London. That's coming up.


CHURCH: You are looking at video of celebrations on the Suez Canal not long ago after the crews shifted the massive container ship that's been stuck for nearly a week.


Egyptian officials say the Ever Given is almost free, and they hope to fully refloat it within hours. For now, they will keep the freed stern off the ship away from the bank while they work to pull the bow out.

So, let's go to Alexey Muraviev, he is an associate professor of national security and strategic studies at Curtin University in Australia and joins us now live from Perth. Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, it is looking pretty promising, but would -- what -- just talk to us about what would be happening right now on the bridge of the ship as they try to get the bow free on the Suez Canal. And how do you think this happened? Was it whether related or do you think human error played a big role?

MURAVIEV: Look, I mean, in terms of what's happening on the bridge obviously, both the crew as well as the rescue party are trying to make the ship floatable again, because while they managed to release the bow it doesn't necessarily mean that you can actually maneuver the ship out of the current point where she's stuck.

Secondly, you need to also assess possible damage to the hull of the ship. I mean, I don't think the traffic will be reopened before the authorities and special technical services will be able to determine that the ship is floatable because there is also a reason that the ship may have sustained some degree of damage, and even if you try to then push the ship through the channel you don't want to risk it from either taking on water, let alone sinking or at least causing another traffic jam.

Because we need to remember that this incident alone had costs about $400 million an hour, which accumulates to about $10 billion in estimated losses a day, so I don't think the authorities let alone the owners of the ship can afford any more, any more glitches. And only after it will -- they will determine that the ship is safe, the ship is safe to move and probably push some way aside, maritime traffic will resume.

CHURCH: So, how concerned are you when you see something like this happen? And what do you think the consequences of these are from business to shipping?

MURAVIEV: Look, I think that incident has highlighted how -- first of all, how dependent we are on a maritime traffic, and how vulnerable we are to any incidents that may happen especially across the so-called shock points.

There are a number of strategically important strides and canals through which the bulk of traffic is taken through, as this incident you must treat it. It only takes one ship or something whether it's driven by human error or whether it's driven by weather conditions, because the owners of the ship blamed the weather or at least some wind gust that apparently manage to derail this massive transport with over 20,000 sea containers on board away from the very narrow traffic to paralyze the traffic, not necessarily at the global supply chain, but certainly inflict damages.

The shock of which are now being felt across Europe because European consumers or European clients already fearing there may be a short of supply of certain (Inaudible) coming to them from Asia like tea, coffee or even electricals manufactured in China.

And we're talking about a peacetime situation. Imagine if that would be a result of a deliberate attack whether driven by terrorists, insurgents or at state, state level adversaries. That the flown affect from something like that and the way the world economy, as well as different countries would respond to an incident like that given the fact it's already taken place in fairly volatile region would be very hard to predict.

CHURCH: Right. They need to find out what caused this and how they can prevent it from ever happening again. Obviously, Curtin University associate, Professor Alexey Muraviev, thank you so much for your perspective on this. I appreciate it.

MURAVIEV: Thanks very much for having me.

CHURCH: Well, COVID-19 in Mexico may be far deadlier than originally thought. A new report by Mexico's health ministry shows nearly 120,000 people killed by COVID may not have been counted. That could raise the death toll by nearly 60 percent, putting it higher than Brazil's. It would also give Mexico the second highest number of COVID deaths after the United States.

The report looked at so-called excess deaths over the past year. It's believed a lot of these victims weren't counted due to a lack of testing.


Well, England is waking up to relaxed COVID rules as the country finally lifts its stay-at-home orders.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is in London, she joins us now live. Good to see you, Salma. So, what more are you learning about the lifting of England's stay-at-home order offering new hope, of course, while cases rise across Europe?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Rosemary, this is a big deal. England has been under lockdown for months now. Here in London we've been under a stay-at-home order before Christmas when the threat of a new variant was first announced, so yes, these are baby steps toward freedom. What's going to happen today is that up to two households, up to six people can meet outside and socialize. They can meet in private gardens, and outdoor team sports can resume.

I know this sounds minor but for everybody whose been locked in at home worried about this variant for months, this is the first opportunity to be allowed to socialized, to be allowed to see friends and loved ones in a safe way. Of course, the prime minister warning everybody that they must remain cautious.

We see the number of cases in Europe of course rising. Variant are still a very real threat, particularly to this country's vaccination program. We have about 30 million people in this country who have received the first dose of the vaccine, and of course, the country wants to protect these gains.

So, this is still a minor step in a long road map to ease restrictions to bring England out of lockdown on April 12th. We'll see shops open and retail resume, but for today that means you can see your friends in the garden, have a party. I for one, Rosemary, I get to see my friends for the first time in months. I am over the moon.

CHURCH (on camera): I bet you are. It is great news. Salma Abdelaziz bringing us the very latest there. I appreciate it.

When Britain began to emerge from its first 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 leave them vulnerable to grooming by violent gangs.

Nina dos Santos has more.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It has been an agonizing lockdown spent worrying about the capital's vulnerable children, but finally, Lorraine Jones (Ph) is ready to reopen. For more than seven years she has poured her life into this boxing gym since her 27-year-old son Dwayne lost his.

LORRAINE JONES, CEO, DWAYNAMICS BOXING GYM: It was one stab 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: Senseless, isn't it?

JONES: Very senseless.

DOS SANTOS: Lorraine has made it her mission to keep local kids off the local south London streets 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've got a potential 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's a saying that idle hands get up to no good, and it left to do nothing, what will happen to them? Sadly, knife crime has gone up.

DOS SANTOS: Leigh Channer has four sons. She's signing 5-year-old Canon (Ph) up early but is on edge each time his older siblings venture out. LEIGH CHANNER, LONDON MOTHER: I'm always worried. My son that's 21

I'm constantly worrying every time he leaves the house because I just don't know where he's going and what he's doing or if he's actually going to return home. It's gotten to a point where I want to take them away and leave. But where do I leave?

DOS SANTOS: As part of the U.K. exited their first lockdown last summer, knife crimes spike 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 a powerful gang culture, ferrying (Ph) over younger minors into its clutches often to deliver drugs.

ANNE LONGFIELD, FORMER CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER: You've got that ruthless criminals who will be looking for young people as a commodity of choice, and you have quite young children who will be targeted, started on the edges of some of this activity but then brought in over time.

And of course, the more they see, the more they are 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, METROPOLITCAN POLICE OFFICER AND BOXING COACH: I've seen children from ages like 12, 13-year-old carrying knives. I've actually held kids that I think stabbed down the street. The pandemic has definitely changed the way things are. People have become lost, people that would normally been 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 fell up once more the futures of many children hang in the balance.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.


CHURCH (on camera): They were supposed to be starting a new life with their families in Turkey. Instead, Uyghur children haven't had contact with their parents back in China in years. Their stories, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH (on camera): We are getting a better sense of the carnage of the days' long terror attack in Mozambique. A military spokesman says dozens of people are dead and dozens more are missing after Islamists, militants attacked the city of Palma.

The fatalities reportedly include locals and foreigners working in the region. Mozambique's military says they are still trying to secure the city. The terror group which is believed to be affiliated with ISIS attacked Palma on Wednesday. Witnesses say many people died trying to evacuate.

Well hopes of starting a new life turn to sorrow. Boys at a Uyghur school outside of Istanbul now find themselves left on their own. Their fathers traveled to China with a promise they would return to Turkey with the rest of their families, but instead, their whereabout remain unknown. Their sons are now left stranded.


CNN visited the school and heard the harrowing tales of these boys. China faces criticism of its polices in the Xinjian region where up to two million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained in vast governments camps according to the U.S. State Department.

But Beijing has vehemently denied allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang calling the camps vocational training centers designed to stamp out religious extremism.

Arwa Damon has the Uyghur boys' story from Istanbul.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There is a sorrow far beyond their year emanating from some of the boys at this Uyghur school just outside of Istanbul. It hovers over those who are here on their own in a foreign land, whose parents are missing in China.

Muhammad (Ph) is just 11 years old, brought to Turkey by his father when he was just five. With his older brother, Abdullah (Ph) who was seven at the time. Their father left them with a Uyghur woman promising he'd be back with their mother and younger siblings in a month. He never returned.

"My mother spoke to us and said that they took daddy's passport," Abdullah tells us. She told us that he won't be able to come, but that we'd see each other again soon. Muhammad adds, "my mother also told us that daddy was in the camps."

That was the last time they heard from her, six years ago. We cannot verify the fate of their parents. They have not heard either of their parents' voices or received news of them since then. This school also doubles as a home for the children who are missing both parents. Around 20 out of the 140 or so students here. They share similar stories. Those who have passports are brought over

by their fathers, who leaves them to return to China to get the rest of the family, and then is either barred from travel or believed to be thrown into China's so-called re-education camps.

In response to CNN, China disputed this saying, the Chinese government has never restricted the freedom of movement of any citizens including the Uyghurs. All citizens regardless of their ethnicity or religion can enter and leave the country freely as long as they are not restricted from leaving the country for suspected crimes. But many in the Uyghur community say that just practicing their religion, Islam, is suspicion enough.

Hassan, now 15, has been on his own since he was 11. He vaguely remembers his parents being afraid to send him to school and how the pressure was mounting on Uyghur families. "When my father went back the situation had become even worse," he remembers. Travel outside of China was banned for Uyghurs. "I tried to call but there was no way. Communication was entirely cut off."

He struggles to speak of the past of his parents, his siblings. It feels like the words are stuck in his chest, too painful to articulate.

That's the only photo he has of his family. He just has a photograph of his father, that's it, nothing from his mother, nothing from his siblings, nothing from his past. The memory of his mother's face faded over time, nearly gone.

"I'm afraid to not recognize one's family, to not remember one's family, it's horrible," he says. The brothers dream of a day they know might not come of being reunited with their family. If he could speak to his parents now Abdullah would say, "we want one of you to be with us." Muhammad would tell them, "I love you very much."


CHURCH (on camera): And for more on this we want to bring in CNN's Arwa Damon who joins us from Istanbul, Turkey. Arwa, just heartbreaking stories here. What is going to happen to these children stranded in Turkey?

DAMON: Well, Rosemary, nothing changes they are going to end up remaining at that school until they graduate from that school, they are 18 years old and either go out into the world and try to find employment or they go on to a university.

You have to realize that no matter how great the efforts are of the school's administrators, that's not the same as having one's parents there to support you especially when you are so young.

And you do feel in talking to these children that not having that parental support, not having that mother or father's comforting embrace really deeply, deeply almost inexplicably impacts these children, when it comes to the younger brother, in some ways they are too young to really even begin to think about the future about what is going to happen if they are not actually able to somehow reunite with their parents.


But you hear it when they are talking when that one brother says I wish that one of you was here with us, almost as if it's too much to ask for both parents to be there with them, when it comes to Hassan, the older boy who we spoke to for that report, he did tell us that once he manages to finish high school he does have this aspiration to go and somehow track down his parents, and somehow try to get reunited with them.

But that could potentially be quite risky for him if his parents are still stuck in China and China has not changed its stance towards the Uyghur community. And so, they are very much stuck in limbo, stuck in a foreign land with a foreign language.

The school is trying to keep the Uyghur language and culture alive in all of its teachings but at the end of the day these children are and will continue to be very much on their own, Rosemary, unless something significant changes.

CHURCH: It is so distressing. Arwa Damon, thank you for shining a spotlight on this, joining us live from Istanbul.

Well Nashville is under a state of emergency. How the Tennessee city is looking to recover from a weekend of deadly flooding.



CHURCH (on camera): There's a state of emergency in Nashville, Tennessee, after flash flooding killed at least four people over the weekend. A number of rivers and streams in the region overflowed leaving many roads impassable. Rescuers saved at least 130 people from homes and vehicles, some were clinging to trees or sheltering in their attics as the water rose.

CNN's Martin Savidge spoke to one resident who says her neighbor was one of those stuck inside their home.


UNKNOWN: We heard somebody screaming repeatedly, my husband and I and a couple friends of ours were, you know, trying to tell them we called 911 and we are trying to get you out and she was just hysterical. The husband of one of the ladies that was trapped downstairs finally came home and he had to bust in the door inwards to get her out and it was already up to her chest level in her apartment.


CHURCH (on camera): Terrifying. Many living in the area say they have lost everything in those floods.

Well a big shake-up is coming to American football as the NFL looks to expand its regular season. Team owners are set to extend the season to 17 games over the current 16 this week. The NFL says a three-game pre- season will also be voted on at virtual meetings. A new collective bargaining deal with players pave the way for a longer season but many players still oppose the move over health and safety concerns.

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us.