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Europe Struggles With Rising Cases And Vaccine Shortages, Brazil Overwhelmed, Lockdowns In Canada; Countries React To WHO Study On COVID-19 Origins; Emotional Testimony From Witnesses In George Floyd Murder Trial; Armed Ethnic Group Warns Of Major Conflict In Myanmar; Conflicting Reports On Who Controls Palma; Sisi Promises New Investment In Suez Canal. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired March 31, 2021 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00]

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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, as the pandemic surges across Europe, leaders in France and Germany call Russia for extra supplies of Sputnik V.

And the only thing missing from the story of the origins of the pandemic are credibility. And now there is growing international criticism.

Powerful testimony from those who stood by and watched. Day 2 of Chauvin's trial, including a nine-year-old witness who saw the death of George Floyd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sad and kind of mad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tell us, why were you sad and mad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: We begin in Europe. Rising hospitalizations and new COVID cases are threatening to overwhelm health care systems once again. The ongoing shortage of vaccines and the painfully slow rollout means there are more restrictive measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Some leaders are rethinking their vaccination programs. The leaders of France and Germany are talking about getting in touch with Russia for the Sputnik V vaccine, which is still under review in the E.U.

This comes after Germany decided to limit the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after more cases of blood clots were reported. They will reserve high priority groups. Meantime, France is dealing with more than 5,000 ICU beds full for the first time since last April.

The big concern is doctors will soon be forced to choose which patients get care. A new law in Spain requires people to wear a face mask in outdoor public places like beaches and pools, even if they are practicing social distancing.

Melissa Bell is following the developments from Paris.

First Macron and Merkel talking about the Sputnik V vaccine, which is a significant shift in how they are approaching the virus.

What more are they planning to do?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Until now, the Sputnik vaccine, which has yet to be approved, although it's now under review, had been in the works of European attempts at coordination. You will remember even the last few weeks, supplies of the vaccines that were available in Europe began to run dry. AstraZeneca, we saw shortfalls in first quarter deliveries.

The countries within Europe that had began using the Sputnik vaccine, it was really seen as a break with European cohesion and unity. Hungary among them. Austria is also in negotiations with Moscow for the potential purchase of 100 million doses.

This phone call between Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and the Russian president last, night very important, because it talks of European cooperation with Russia in seeing whether Sputnik can be delivered throughout the European Union.

Holding back for the European Medicines Agency approval, the process began on March 4th and can take several months. At some point, the idea that they might cooperate together. A number of geopolitical issues are raised, not least, the question of Alexei Navalny. Talk of cooperation, where until now the idea of Sputnik had been more divisive than cohesive for Europeans.

VAUSE: What about the situation in France?

It seems that for a while, everything was heading in the right direction and now, suddenly, it's worse than it was at the peak of the first wave and they are talking about ICUs once again being overwhelmed. Doctors need to choose who gets care.

How did it get so bad?

What is the plan to try and improve the situation?

BELL: France has sought to go a third way compared to other countries in terms of its approach to the third wave, specifically. Throughout Europe, what we've seen is in January there were restrictions put in place.

Then the spread of these new variants, which have proved so much more contagious and dangerous. We passed a grim milestone, which is that, in France, we are back to above the 5,000 positive patients being in ICU. We hadn't been there since the month of April.

That's important and it shows how dire the situation has become. It's the result of an attempt by French authorities not to crack down this time, not to close down the country, to avoid at all costs the kind of shut down that costs so much economically.

[02:05:00]

BELL: The government is trying to limit movements with curfews and since the 20th of March with a series of partial lockdowns like the one you have here in Paris, it's a very different, much looser than what we saw at the time of the second or even first wave.

Now we expect restrictions to be brought in because the strategy has so far not proved successful at keeping people out of ICU. On the contrary, the figures are alarmingly false.

This morning, the French government will meet around Emmanuel Macron to discuss what to do. They are really trying to delay a decision as much as they can to see whether the restrictions introduced on the 20th can have some kind of effect on the ICU figures in order for further restrictions to be avoided.

So a great deal of criticism for the French president with regard to what's seen increasingly as too little and too late.

VAUSE: Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you. We will stay with the story longer. Dr. Bertrand Guidet is the head of the intensive care unit at St. Antoine Hospital and is live with us from Paris.

Dr. Guidet, thank you for being with us. You are among the doctors who have called for a national lockdown because if that doesn't happen, the number of infections will rise. Hospitals will have no other choice but to triage patient care.

DR. BERTRAND GUIDET, HEAD OF INTENSIVE CARE UNIT, ST. ANTOINE HOSPITAL: When just one ICU bed is available but two patients could benefit from, it consists of deciding which will be admitted and be fine and which will not be admitted and quite probably die. This is where we are heading.

VAUSE: Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems not so much that doctors are forced to make life and death decisions but it can be entirely avoidable. But the government has not taken action?

GUIDET: Absolutely. The forecast for the COVID patient in intensive care is very newly (ph) for the next 2 or 3 weeks. So we knew already we would have to admit at least twice the number of patients that are already in ICU. The lack of intensive care -- is around 2 weeks.

For the total of April, ICUs, at least in greater Paris area, will be totally full. The problem is that the baseline is terrible, because our ICUs are already full. So we are trying to expand ICU capacity but we will not be able to admit as needed, in the next weeks. So the consequences is that we will have to prioritize issues. We will

have to choose the patient of whom we think will benefit from ICU treatment. So some patients will be denied ICU admission and some will have to be treated.

VAUSE: I mentioned speaking to the French health minister. He has committed that doctors and health care workers will not be forced into making life and death decisions. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVIER VERAN, FRENCH HEALTH MINISTER (through translator): Our sole objective is the protection of the French people. We will not let our hospitals get saturated. We will not let doctors, any doctor, be in a situation where they have to choose among patients. It's impossible.

The protection of the French people will always, always, always be the priority of every possible strategy we could have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Why don't you accept that commitment, that promise from the government?

GUIDET: I think there is a delay between the decision and the impact of the decision. The delay is at least 2 weeks. That's the reason why we are asking for an immediate lockdown of at least the greater Paris area and north of France.

We know the number of patients requiring ICU admission will increase in the following weeks. So every delay in these decisions will translate into more urgent, critically ill patients that will require ICU admission. We really hope that after this morning's meeting, a strong decision will be announced for the French people.

VAUSE: Is there a concern that the government is passing the buck, trying to avoid a lockdown because it comes with backlash and political consequences and it's coming with consequences for you and your colleagues, who are now paying the price, along with the people of France?

GUIDET: It's pressure. It's difficult.

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GUIDET: You are looking through the prism of an intensive care physician and I can tell you that if no decision is taken in the next few days, the consequences will be terrible, will be totally overwhelmed. Some patients will die because they will be denied ICU admission.

For sure, there is consequences for the economy, for education, et cetera. But there is a need to ask for an immediate lockdown, because we will not be able to cope with the demand in the following weeks.

VAUSE: Dr. Guidet, thank you so much for being with us and we wish you the best for the coming days and weeks.

GUIDET: Thank you.

VAUSE: Another record number of daily COVID deaths in Brazil, bringing the overall death toll there to more than 310,000, the second highest in the world. The country's most populous state, Sao Paulo, recorded 1,200 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday.

Hundreds braved the hot sun in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, waiting to get a scarce COVID vaccine. Many say the process was disorganized. A doctor from Duke University weighed in on the dire situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MIGUEL NICOLELIS, DUKE UNIVERSITY: This reflects the national health care collapse that has happened a few weeks ago. As we move towards this collapse, there were several problems in the ICUs across the country -- lack communication, lack of proper equipment, lack of trained people.

Basically, the country was overwhelmed and the federal government didn't do anything to prevent a national collapse. As you said, the mortality rate escalated tremendously in the last few months and now is at a peak, where less than 20 percent of people who get intubated may survive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The premier of Ontario is urging everyone there to make no plans for this Easter because cases are rising in Canada. He is warning he will not hesitate to lock down the province. Health care officials say variants are causing a spike in admission and is spreading to younger people. Paula Newton has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Canadian health officials describe it as a tight race now between the vaccines and the variants but doctors across the country say already, it is no contest. New variants are partly fueling a menacing third wave of the pandemic that is overwhelming hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting pretty alarming here. It's spreading quickly and it is much faster than the last 2 waves and the people filling the ICU right now are all under 30, 40s, 50s.

He is an emergency physician in Toronto and he reposted these scans to warn the younger Canadians about the risk. The one of the left shows healthy lungs, the scan on the right, that of a COVID patient in their 30s, the white splotches fluid buildup because of COVID-19, leaving an otherwise healthy patient to feel like they are drowning, he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hitting younger people harder and faster than before. The variants have changed the game completely.

NEWTON (voice-over): Canada's top doctor backs that assessment, saying variants are up to 64 percent in the last week alone, more than 90 percent of them the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K. She says they are contributing to more severe illness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a 60 percent increase in risk of hospitalizations, 100 percent increase in admissions to ICUs, 60 percent increase in the risk of death. And these severity indicators can be seen across all age groups of the adult population.

NEWTON (voice-over): British Columbia is now in a three-week lockdown. Variants are spreading quickly, even the worrisome P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not blow this for the rest of us. Do not blow this for your parents and your neighbors and others who have been working really hard, making significant sacrifices.

NEWTON (voice-over): But that sacrifice has led to acute pandemic fatigue. Toronto has been in some form of lockdown now for more than four months. After a vaccine shortage, the rollout is finally ramping up in Canada. But shots won't be widely available to those under 65 for weeks.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We're entering the final stretch of this crisis. We just need to stay strong a little longer.

NEWTON (voice-over): And especially, Trudeau says, for the Easter holiday, reminding Canadians they need to shake off any pandemic fatigue or the health system's worst days in this pandemic may be yet to come -- Paula Newton, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, there is growing criticism of a World Health Organization report into the origins of the pandemic. We will speak live to one of the authors.

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VAUSE: Also emotional testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd. The guilt that has followed one witness too young to be shown on camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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VAUSE: The much anticipated, long delayed 120-page joint WHO-Chinese report into the origins of the coronavirus has landed with a bit of a thud.

More than a dozen countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, Australia issued a joint statement raising concern about the credibility and independence. The report does not include a definitive conclusion about where the virus came from.

It says it was most likely it jumped from an animal, probably bat to human. The director general of the WHO says he does not agree with the finding that the virus, which leaked from a laboratory, was researched extensively enough.

He says further study is needed. Dr. Marion Koopmans is part of the WHO team who traveled to China is here.

Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

DR. MARION KOOPMANS, VIROLOGIST: Good morning, for me, anyways.

VAUSE: There seems to be agreement among many countries that the WHO, in many ways, was had. I want you to listen to the senior White House adviser, Andy Slavitt, on Tuesday. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: I think we have to understand the methodology of the report better. Were the investigators who wrote the report given complete access to everything?

Were they in any way influenced by the government in China when they wrote this report?

Until we know the answers to those questions, I think it's best that we view the report with healthy skepticism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Would you like to answer those questions Andy Slavitt just posed?

KOOPMANS: Sure. I think skepticism and his opinion was already circulating before the report ever came out. It's a concern from a group that feels the virus came from a lab and that it needs to be investigated.

What we did is work with our Chinese colleagues to collect, discuss, aggregate, analyze all the information that's available, based on a long list of studies that were done. And that's not an inspection. That's not an audit. It's a joint study.

I think there is misunderstanding about how this was set up.

Did we discuss the possibility of a laboratory leak?

Yes, we did, with all the labs that were involved in the early response. [02:20:00]

KOOPMANS: We visited them and discussed the security and their programs of work, their training of the staff, the testing of their staff and we did not find any indication or need for further follow- up. What we do say, of course, is, if there are these accusations, it would be good if there is real evidence to share with the WHO.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: On the issue of the staff at the lab in Wuhan, throughout not just this particular global pandemic but for generations, decades, China has a history of covering up, lying, obfuscating and being less than transparent and not telling the truth.

Why were they given the benefit of the doubt on the situation in the lab?

Why are we taking them at their word?

KOOPMANS: We were discussing all of this and, like we do with scientific colleagues, this is how we approached this, with joint studies among scientists. We scrutinize data and then say that's the conclusions.

(CROSSTALK)

KOOPMANS: If you say, but I don't believe you, then that ends all discussion. Again, that's not how this was staffed. So then you need an inspection or something.

VAUSE: What in this report can you point to as some kind of new piece of evidence, new revelation, some kind of breakthrough in this investigation?

What did you actually get by going there to China that was worth risking the credibility of the WHO?

That seems to be what happened here.

What was the result that we didn't know before?

KOOPMANS: What we got, for people that read the report, they will see eight separate studies with extensive new data collection on surveillance data, making mortality and analysis going back to September to Wuhan in Hubei province, extensive testing of animals and analysis, which, combined, gives a much deeper, better view of where the pandemic really started in Wuhan.

Through December, there was no evidence for earlier cases, at least not widespread. But there were clear leads to the next steps.

VAUSE: To boil that down, you are saying what we did learn is that we can definitively say this began in December and not before?

KOOPMANS: Not widespread. It's very difficult to find a small cluster, which is the next step and we discussed with blood banks in Hubei and they have samples stored that will now be available for further studies.

(CROSSTALK)

KOOPMANS: You really need the first possible cases for interviews to get clues on the really, the earliest steps.

VAUSE: Quickly, was that information worth the battering to its reputation the WHO is now taking?

KOOPMANS: The battering is not from all over the world. It's somewhat selective --

VAUSE: Certain countries?

KOOPMANS: The E.U. has issued a very different statement. Yes, I do think it is important that we learn from these things. Emergencies can happen anywhere and it's good to dig down and find out what happened.

VAUSE: Professor, I appreciate your patience and time.

KOOPMANS: You're welcome.

VAUSE: Emotional and heartbreaking testimony on Tuesday from a number of witnesses in the trial of the police officer charged with killing George Floyd. Derek Chauvin is accused of killing Floyd last year, by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes during arrest.

In court, six witnesses, one nine years, old describe feelings of horror and fear watching Floyd's final moments. Omar Jimenez has details from Minneapolis and the story contains images you will find disturbing.

[02:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, JUDGE: Good morning, members of the jury.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The story of what happened May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis told today through the lens of eyewitnesses.

GENEVIEVE CLARA HANSEN, MINNEAPOLIS FIREFIGHTER: I had already assessed that he had an altered level of consciousness. What I needed to know is whether or not he had a pulse anymore.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Genevieve Hansen is an EMT and was off duty on a walk when she ended up feet from George Floyd as he was pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin, wanting to help with, at the very least, chest compressions.

MATTHEW FRANK, MINNESOTA PROSECUTOR: And when you couldn't do that, how did that make you feel? HANSEN: Totally distressed.

FRANK: Were you frustrated?

HANSEN: Yes.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Donald Williams was standing right next to her.

DONALD WILLIAMS, WITNESS: I believed I witnessed a murder. After Floyd's seemingly unresponsive body was loaded into the ambulance that day, Williams called the police on the police he had just witnessed, in particular Derek Chauvin.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): That 9-1-1 audio was played in court.

WILLIAMS: He just pretty much just killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Williams didn't feel he could talk to the officers at the scene.

FRANK: Did you, well, believe that they were involved?

WILLIAMS: Yes, totally.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But the most contentious exchange of the trial so far...

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did you say that?

WILLIAMS: Is that what you heard?

JIMENEZ (voice-over): -- was between Williams and Chauvin's attorney during cross-examination.

NELSON: You called him a bum at least 13 times. Those terms grew more and more angry.

Would you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: They grew more and more pleading for life.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The defense emphasizing a point it made during opening statements, that the perceived threat from a growing crowd caused Chauvin to direct his attention away from Floyd's care.

The next witnesses appeared by audio only, since they were under 18 at the time of Floyd's death, including a 9-year-old and her now 18-year- old cousin, only identified as D.F. She's the one who filmed the now infamous cell phone video scene around the world.

D.F., WITNESS: I seen a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): She was asked to identify Derek Chauvin in court. JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Are able to tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury if you know who this man is? You can take your time.

D.F.: Yes. Yes.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): She said she felt threatened by the police there, including Chauvin that day, a day she can't let go of, even close to a year later.

D.F.: When I look at George Floyd, I look at -- I look at my dad. I look at my brothers.

It's been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting. But it's like, it's not what I should have done. It's what he should have done.

JIMENEZ: This was the most emotional and contentious day of testimony we've seen yet over the course of this trial. In fact, the final witness called for the day, the EMT, was actually scolded by the judge for arguing with Chauvin's defense attorney.

Her testimony is where the day ended on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, when court resumes, we will pick things back up with her testimony as part of trying to establish the record of what happened and why on May 25th, 2020, from those closest to the story -- Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, a week after a deadly insurgent attack, just who is in control of the strategic town in Mozambique?

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VAUSE: An armed ethnic group in Myanmar is warning of a potential conflict. Thousands of government troops are moving into the Karen territory. They had no choice but confrontation with the army.

Airstrikes sent thousands of villagers across the border into Thailand. Meantime, protesters are still marching against the military coup, despite what's becoming an increasingly violent crackdown by security forces. Several more people were reportedly killed on Tuesday. Ivan Watson live from Hong Kong with the latest.

What do we know about the situation within that minority ethnic group and what they are prepared to do to hold the land?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know the fighting has escalated between the Karen national union, the oldest of the dozens of ethnic armed militias that have been battling the central government off and on since Myanmar won independence after World War II.

The fighting has escalated over the course of the weekend and the Myanmar military has been carrying out airstrikes. Since Saturday, according to eyewitnesses, on a daily basis since then, people who are already displaced and living in internally displaced person camps by the thousands, fleeing across the border to Thailand, effectively internationalizing the growing crisis in Myanmar.

The KNU claiming the Myanmar military is sending thousands of troops into the region as well. The signs of flaring tensions with one of the biggest militia groups does not bode well, as we see other signs of people fleeing across the border.

The Chinese government has announced that they have seen a spike in COVID cases in a border town, about 9 cases confirmed and, 4 of them, citizens of Myanmar. In the past, they've said smuggling has brought in cases of COVID.

Now there are calls from the Chinese provincial government to shut down movement in and out of the border town and across the border, to try to prevent people who have COVID from coming in who could potentially also be fleeing the deadly crackdown in Myanmar.

I'm hearing from doctors in Myanmar that the COVID prevention measures have all but stopped since the coup on February 1st, with many of the protesters and doctors affiliated with the movement saying the bigger concern is staying alive with the military crackdown.

One of the prominent non-governmental organizations for political prisoners says a further 11 people were killed around the country on Tuesday as security forces cracked down.

We are seeing demonstrators come out onto the streets in one township. There is no sign that the demonstrators or the military junta are planning on backing down anytime soon here.

VAUSE: Ivan Watson in Hong Kong with the very latest, thank you.

A week after the terror attack on Palma, in Mozambique, who is in control?

Dozens were killed and thousands displaced, with many now expected to make their way south. A Portuguese public broadcaster was the first network to enter Palma after the siege and recorded these images.

[02:35:00]

VAUSE: The Mozambique military plans to retake control but a head of a private security group hired by the government disputes that. Human Rights Watch says the entire region is at risk of more insurgent violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEWA MAVHINGA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It is now time for The African Union to intervene and support the people of Mozambique, because, if there is not this urgent intervention, this crisis would spread and engulf the area. It's a huge crisis that will spread beyond the borders of Mozambique if it's not contained at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Live to Johannesburg, David McKenzie standing by with the very latest on this.

What did you find out, David?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it's certainly a very serious escalation of insurgency. For days now, there have been battles with ISIS linked insurgents in Palma, not the strategic town, next to billions of dollars in gas installation.

I spoke with the head of a private security group. It was his first on-camera interview. They are credited with rescuing scores of civilians, both ex-pats and Mozambicans, from a very dire situation as insurgents moved in and out of town and homes. He says Palma very much is not under the control of the government. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LIONEL DYCK, DYCK ADVISORY GROUP: The situation on the ground was awful when my pilots (ph) got there and the first thing they saw was two food trucks on the road and where the drivers were obviously pulled out in their assistance and been beheaded. There were lying next to their cars.

Then there were more people around that (INAUDIBLE) and then we came under fire from these people and, obviously, we do what we do best. We engaged them.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is the situation now in Palma?

DYCK: It is not much different. These people are still all in their houses. They live the in houses, amongst the people and they come out shooting and run to the houses. It's a standard ISIS-type tactic to hide amongst the people.

I think the operation (INAUDIBLE) is like a cancer. It will insidiously grow because there's quite a good growing ground for them. And as they grow and there is no real control of this, they could lose their province.

And losing their province would be a huge political benefit to the terrorists and, of course, the government would battle. So right now, I see no ships any hardships (ph).

MCKENZIE: What do you feel about that reputation, that private military contractors have in this region?

DYCK: We had that reputation, too, good or bad. I don't understand it. You know, we're doing something and right now, today, we are doing something that no one else can do, always wanted to do. So use what you've got. And if it's not efficient, fire us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: That group is not without controversy. Amnesty International did a report that suggests they are firing indiscriminately on crowds as well as, in one case, attacking a hospital. Now Lionel Dyck, a former colonel of the Zimbabwe army, says they shot on a hospital but the insurgents had run inside.

Look at this video, this is propaganda from ISIS that they released, of the insurgents near Palma, in an area they previously controlled. You look at the severe escalation of this and the kind of firepower that they have. The colonel has told me they are now using mortars, a major escalation.

A State Department official told me this group has increased its capability very significantly in recent months. It's a real threat to the province in the northern part of Mozambique and potentially to the whole region if it's not stamped out -- John.

VAUSE: David, thank you. David McKenzie live for us in Johannesburg.

Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, the Suez Canal begins to clear and Egypt's president says there will not be a repeat of this saga.

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VAUSE: A moment of pride and a promise to do better from Egypt's president. Boasting about the importance of the Suez Canal to world shipping. Now that the ship isn't stuck, traffic is expected to pass by early Wednesday. Details now from CNN's Ben Wedeman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Suez Canal is fully open again and for extra hours. Normally it's open for about 10 to 12 hours a day. Now, to relieve the congestion in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, it is open 24 hours a day.

To relieve this congestion, which at its height, there were about 450 ships waiting to pass through the canal. But after the Ever Given was pulled out, moved away to the Great Bitter Lake, until 9 am Suez time, 113 ships were able to pass.

It is expected that another, perhaps as many as 100, will be passing overnight between Tuesday into Wednesday. As far as that ship goes, the Ever Given, it is in the Great Bitter Lake, where Egyptian authorities and maritime experts are making sure the ship is seaworthy.

And also investigators are trying to figure out how this accident happened in the first place -- I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Suez.

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VAUSE: Google Maps going green with directions defaulting to the most fuel-efficient option if travel time is the same as the fastest route. Traffic congestion and a whole bunch of other factors will be considered. It will first roll out in the United States. Google also will launch an air quality app to show you how unhealthy the air quality is in your area.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, thanks for watching. "WORLD SPORT's" is up next after a break.