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Millions Celebrating Easter Under Restrictions; Slow Europe Rollout Prolonging Pandemic; Fauci: Danger Of Another Surge; Jordanian Prince Restricted To Home; Netanyahu Must Appear At Corruption Trial Monday; Atlanta Mayor Fears Boycott Over New Voting Law; Most U.S. States Have Introduced Bills Making It Harder To Vote; Taiwan Train Derailment Victims' Families Struggle With Loss; Ancient Pharaohs Relocated To New Home. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 4, 2021 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States, Canada and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Coming up, another COVID milestone for the United States. This time, it's good. Yes, it is good news.

A stunning message from Jordan; the former crown prince says he's been confined to his home and told not to communicate with others. We're live in the region.

Plus --


NEWTON (voice-over): -- the great kings and queens of Egypt have made it to their final resting place. I'll speak with the Egyptian minister of antiquities.


NEWTON: Good to have you with us.

For a second year in a row, people around the world are waking up to an Easter Sunday impacted by the coronavirus. Now lockdowns and health guidelines mean scaled back celebrations for, oh, so many and that includes Pope Francis.

The pontiff has been leading services with safety in mind all weekend. We want to go straight to the Vatican and our Vatican correspondent. She's in front of St. Peter's Square.

Delia, can you believe it?

This is the second Easter in lockdown for the pope. And if you think of Europe, this spring, Easter, supposed to be a time of renewal and yet that seems to be such a long way off.

What is the pope's message at this point in time when this is the second Easter we've been going through this?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting, Paula, because just last night at the Easter vigil, that was his message, that renewal is possible. He said we can start over. And, of course, that's in keeping with the theme of Easter weekend.

Obviously for Christians, the idea of the resurrection of Jesus is all about new life. So that's certainly where the pope is putting his emphasis. When we talk about a message from the pope, Paula, it's also useful to look at not just what he says but what he does. And in that sense I think we should look at Friday morning.

He went to a vaccination center and because he's offered to vaccinate 1,200 homeless and marginalized people in this week leading up to Easter. And the message there is, don't forget the poor in your vaccination rollouts.

He's even said that from the beginning to other countries. Anybody that might be slipping between the cracks in a health care system shouldn't be forgotten. So I think that's another place where the pope is really putting emphasis this Easter weekend, especially with the vaccination rollout -- Paula.?

NEWTON: And the scene, it's beautiful behind you, Delia, and yet so haunting because it's empty. I know it's early but I'm also struck by everything Italy is going through at this point, a very strict lockdown and yet Italy's churches are still open today.

I know there are precautions in those churches but what's the sentiment there in Italy?

DELIA GALLAGHER: Well, what's happening in Italy as far as churches, Paula, is that Italians are being told to go to the church closest to their home. Remember, we're in strict national lockdown for these three days, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

So Italians are told you can go to church. The churches are open but you should be going to a church near your home. Now if you remember last year at the beginning of lockdown, they did shut churches here and there was backlash against that because people -- and not just in Italy, by the way.

That's been happening all over the world in churches. People saying these churches are big enough to hold people in a socially distanced way. So what happened last year, they worked out a way so that churches could remain open, services could be held.

But that still is worked out here in Italy and other places around the world, kind of on a local basis. It depends on the size of your church and what your local leaders at the church want to do. Here in the square, people are not being allowed to come down.

[02:05:00] DELIA GALLAGHER: There will probably obviously be some people who live locally, who can come and see. But nothing, Paula, like the tourists we're used to seeing.

Normally at Easter, this square is filled with beautiful flowers. You can remember, not from last year obviously but from the year before and all the years before that, flowers, people, tourists. This is also the start of the tourist season here in Italy, so that's affecting the Vatican as well.

And, of course, we'll look at the economic repercussions of all of these lockdowns for Italy going forward -- Paula.

NEWTON: So many ripple effects on what is normally such a sacred holiday. And as you said, at the beginning of a celebration really. You'll remain there for us in St. Peter's Square as the pope is getting ready to continue to celebrate Easter. Delia Gallagher there, our Vatican correspondent, really appreciate it.

Now coronavirus vaccinations in the U.S. are reaching new heights. The country on Saturday reporting more than 4 million doses given. And that is I want to say a new daily record. That brings the seven-day vaccination average above the 3 million mark for the first time ever.

And nearly a third of all Americans have received at least one vaccine dose. But that progress doesn't mean the threat is over, of course. Cases are headed in the wrong direction in several states.

In fact, ahead of the holiday weekend, a record of more than 1.5 million people passed through U.S. airports on Friday alone. And that's just the latest sign of people abandoning health recommendations. Evan McMorris-Santoro was in Times Square earlier, once again, where people are packing the streets.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Times Square on a Saturday. And frankly, it looks like Times Square on a Saturday. It's actually pretty crazy. Because not that long ago, this place was pretty desolate, because people were staying inside, they weren't doing things, they weren't coming out.

Now as you can see, people feel like they're safe to come out. We are seeing this crowd has been here all day long. There are a couple reasons for that. One is the weather is very nice, two the, vaccinations are going very well here in New York.

We got a report today 10 millions of doses of the vaccine have been administered in New York since the vaccination program began. According to the governor's office, one in five New Yorkers is now fully vaccinated.

That number will go up pretty soon, because starting on Tuesday, anyone over the age of 16 can sign up to get a vaccine. Obviously, that is good news. But some of these crowds that we're seeing, it's not necessarily recommended yet. Dr. Anthony Fauci was on CNN earlier today. talking about the vaccine,

what it means and what it can mean for the future. Let's listen to that.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: I can't give you a day or a week but I can tell you, as we get more data showing that it's going to be extremely unlikely that people are going to transmit it, you're going to see recommendations that people are not going to have to wear masks.

They're not there yet but they're getting there. Same thing with the travel, saying that now that you can travel, that you don't have to get tested before and after, except if your destination demands it.

You don't have to get quarantined when you come back from a situation. So more and more you are going to start seeing the advantages of getting vaccinated.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So Dr. Fauci saying there getting a vaccine; signing up the best thing you can do to help keep this virus in check and get back to normal life. We are seeing in New York though other signs of normalcy.

I'm down here in Times Square in the theater district, because, earlier today, two Broadway stars, Savion Glover and Nathan Lane, did a quick event for about 100 people, frontline workers and Broadway people.

Just showing the first time we've seen people inside a Broadway theater since March 12th, 2020, when Broadway closed. It's not open yet and won't be until September but the sign that people could go into a theater, sit down and enjoy that, just a big, big sign in New York that maybe normalcy is around the corner, if people keep getting those vaccines and sticking by the rules.


NEWTON: That was Evan McMorris-Santoro reporting on really unbelievable scenes from Times Square.

The rising infections some states are seeing makes that eventual return to something that looks like anything normal much more difficult. And we're going to get more from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who weighed in more on what's at stake.


FAUCI: What we are seeing, after that big peak that we had around the Christmas holidays and New Year's, when it started to come down, it plateaued at a disturbingly high number of cases per day.

And one of the concerns that we have is, when you plateau and start inching up, as we are doing, as you mentioned just a moment ago, in a few of the states and, in fact, in several of the states, there is the danger of having a resurgence and another big surge up.

Just yesterday, we had over 60,000 new cases in a day.


FAUCI: That's disturbing. That's what happened in Europe. And what is happening in Europe, for the most part, is going through another disturbing surge. So the point she was making is that we are not out of the woods yet, so don't declare prematurely victory because we are not there yet. That's the sobering news.

The good news is what you mentioned just a moment ago. We are getting 3 million to 4 million, now today it was 4 million doses a day. So it's kind of like a race between getting people vaccinated.

And the more people on a daily basis you get vaccinated, the better chance you have of blunting or preventing that surge that we are all concerned about. So it's sobering news mixed with good news and it's going to be really a race between those two.


NEWTON: Now the pandemic brought restaurants and bars in the United States to a virtual standstill. A new jobs report shows workers are now returning but some restaurateurs say they haven't yet received the funding from the latest stimulus package and, without that, they could still go under. Vanessa Yurkevich has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every single month, it's like, hey, we made it another month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really extraordinary to have made it this far.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel so unbelievably lucky to be standing on this side of it.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Three restaurant owners in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have made it through the pandemic so far, something 110,000 other restaurants can't say.

But to keep their doors open they will need access to the new restaurant revitalization fund, part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

YURKEVICH: How critical do you feel like this grant is for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I won't survive without this grant.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Amanda Cohen has owned Dirt Candy in New York's Lower East Side for 13 years. Two PPP loans later, she's just hanging on.

YURKEVICH: What's business like these days?

AMANDA COHEN, DIRT CANDY: Business is really up and down. You know, we'll do six covers a night, maybe eight covers.

YURKEVICH: So what does 6-8 covers a day get you?

COHEN: Nowhere.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Which is why the $28.6 billion restaurant fund run by the Small Business Administration is paramount. Unlike the PPP loan, this grant covers more expenses and doesn't have to be paid back. The SBA says it could go live this month but offers no exact date.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely important for us to -- this comes in a timely fashion.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Joe Frillman says the grant money would fund his Chicago restaurant until October. Without it, he makes it to May. Some states have lifted indoor dining restrictions but several major cities like Chicago still have them in place.

JOE FRILLMAN, DAISIES: The physician limitations of the space in this restaurant, we're actually only operating still about 25 percent capacity from what we can do. It's been a strain in terms of the amount of revenue we can pull off.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): At the start of 2020, Lynn Tah (ph) owned two restaurants in Los Angeles. Today she's working to save her remaining one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's tough because it's like choosing between your children, which one are you going to save?

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Even after closing one restaurant, she has mounting debt and doesn't think the grant will be enough for all her expenses. But it could help bring back some of the nearly 200 people she laid off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we'll need more but the hope is you bring back more jobs.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Hope is on the horizon for these restaurateurs, something that has eluded them for a year.

COHEN: Once the relief funds passed, I think that was the first good night's sleep I had since the pandemic started.

FRILLMAN: Hopeful for the first time in a long time. Sorry. You work your whole life for opportunities like this. It's been such a roller coaster of emotions for us.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: Up next for us, urgent video messages from a Jordanian prince. Find out what's behind the claims by the king's half-brother.

Plus gang members arrested for smuggling drugs on speed boats. Details on that after the break.





NEWTON: We're following reports of several arrests in Jordan at this hour during the security sweep. Now in addition, the former crown prince says in a video statement that he's been put in isolation and his communications have now been cut off.

The prince is the eldest son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife and King Abdullah's half-brother. He said he's not part of any conspiracy but that the kingdom has become corrupt. Here's more of his statement.


PRINCE HAMZAH BIN HUSSEIN, KING ABDULLAH'S HALF-BROTHER: I had a visit from the chief of the general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning, in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them, because it's in the meetings that I have been present in or on social media relating to visits that I've made, there has been criticism of the government or the king.


NEWTON: Jomana Karadsheh is following this story from Istanbul.

I'm really glad you're here to help us get through this because the developments have been really short of nothing but unnerving to say the least.

What has the reaction been from Jordan and any more underlying explanation here as to what's going on?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Paula, it's a very, very murky situation. A lot of people are trying to make sense of what is going on right now. Let me explain to you how this all unfolded.

On Saturday there were reports that came out, media reports, that there had been some sort of plot disrupted in Jordan, that there were senior officials and figures in the country who had been arrested, that the former crown prince had been placed under house arrest.

[02:20:00] KARADSHEH: And after that we heard from the country's military chief, coming out with a statement, basically denying that the prince was under any sort of house arrest or restrictions on his movement, saying that he was basically told by the military to tone it down, to not take part in any activities or movements that could be exploited to try and undermine the security and stability of Jordan, as they put it.

And they said that this is part of a wider investigation, explaining that there have been several arrests, including another junior member of the royal family and also a former minister, former royal court chief, someone who was close to King Abdullah.

They'd been arrested as part of this investigation. After that, we have this stunning, dramatic video obtained by the BBC in English, another video in Arabic provided to an Arabic network, in which the prince explains his situation and makes these allegations about what he is going through and talking about the situation in the country. Really, really stunning video, Paula.

NEWTON: It's true that it is stunning. And some of the allegations in there included stinging criticism really coming from within the royal family itself.

How unusual is all this?

KARADSHEH: You know, I think for our international viewers, people are looking at this from the outside. What is really shocking about this is seeing a country that is as stable as Jordan, one of the most stable countries in the region, where something like this is unfolding.

These arrests, where you have also a former crown prince essentially under house arrest. But what I think is truly shocking for Jordanians and those following the story closely, Paula, as you mentioned, is hearing this sort of criticism coming from within the royal family.

I have covered Jordan for a very long time. I've lived in the country for a very long time. I cannot really tell you how unprecedented this is. This is not something that has happened in this country before.

Whatever grievances and disputes that might be going on within the royal family, they don't tend to be put out publicly like that. And, you know, listening to this, it really -- the claims we heard from the former crown prince, talking about the situation in Jordan, criticizing the mismanagement of the country by the -- by the country's leadership, he never named King Abdullah in that video.

But really talking about the current state of affairs in Jordan, this is something you hear from many Jordanians, the kind of discontent where the country is headed, the shrinking space for freedom of expression, the state of the economy, the public services in the country.

This is something that has driven Jordanians in the past to the streets. And hearing this from a member of the royal family is just stunning, Paula. We'll have to wait and see what sort of damage control we're going to be seeing today from Jordan.

NEWTON: And absolutely those Western allies will be trying to decipher what's going on as well. Jomana Karadsheh, really appreciate the update.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a tough Monday ahead of him. He's been ordered to attend the opening session of the evidentiary phase of his own corruption trial even as he tries to form the next government and stay in power. Hadas Gold has more from Jerusalem.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to be doing, Monday morning. Visiting the head of state. Trying to convince the president to give him the mandate to form a governing coalition.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): Any other government that is formed, that is not a right wing government, will be an unstable, left wing government, that will be formed against a clear and absolute ideology of the majority.

GOLD (voice-over): Instead, he will be back here at the Jerusalem district court for the start of the evidentiary phase of his corruption trial. But the two are intimately linked. And if his Likud Party colleagues achieve success at the president's residence in Netanyahu's absence, that could help with his potential success in court, says the head of the Israeli Democracy Institute, Yohanan Plesner.

YOHANAN PLESNER, ISRAELI DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: The past two years, the legal clock and the political clock are completely intertwined. Nothing that happens in Israeli politics can be, really, understood, without understanding the timeline of Netanyahu's trial.

Netanyahu's key motivation is to dodge the legal process. Or to try and, somehow, overcome it.

GOLD (voice-over): Netanyahu faces charges in three, separate cases.


GOLD (voice-over): In case 4,000, Netanyahu faces the most serious charge, of bribery, as well as fraud and breach of trust.

Prosecutors say Netanyahu advanced hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of regulatory reforms for a multimillionaire business man in exchange for favorable coverage in the businessman's Walla! news website.

In case 2,000, prosecutors say the prime minister sought favorable coverage from the publisher of one of Israel's largest newspapers in exchange for limiting the circulation of the paper's main rival.

And in case 1,000, prosecutors say Netanyahu received gifts, such as cigars and champagne, from overseas businessmen, something a public servant should not do.

NETANYAHU: They created a crime that doesn't exist in the rulebooks of the United States.

GOLD (voice-over): Netanyahu denies all the charges and has said he wants the case to run its course.

NETANYAHU: Basically, a fake witch hunt with fake charges with blackmailing witnesses. Unbelievable. Erasing documents. Creating new crimes. This is ridiculous. I mean, the whole thing is just collapsing.

GOLD (voice-over): In the political arena, Netanyahu faces what many analysts say is an insurmountable task, trying to cobble together a 61 seat majority coalition, either by trying to convince members who had defected from his Likud Party to return or by getting a small Islamist party to sit alongside extreme right wing and religious parties.

The opposition parties are having similar problems as they fight amongst themselves about who should lead a potential hodgepodge coalition. But Netanyahu presses on. Israel's longest serving prime minister hoping to keep his streak going and keep himself out of jail -- Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


NEWTON: Spanish police have arrested 100 gang members, they say, accused of smuggling drugs from Morocco to Spain in high-powered speed boats. Police say they also used disguised fruit trucks to drive toward France and supply dealers across Europe.

In a series of raids, police seized more than 5 tons of hashish and 230 kilos of marijuana and they also seized a fake rifle, a Taser and five vehicles, including two trucks.

Leaders react to Major League Baseball's decision to pull the All-Star game out of Atlanta.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists. It means cancel culture and partisan activists are coming for your business.


NEWTON: When we come back, why losing the right to host the baseball game could be just the start for a whole world of pain for Georgia.




(MUSIC PLAYING) NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and

all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

Atlanta's mayor is warning Georgia's economy will keep paying a steep price for the state's restrictive new voting law. Keisha Lance Bottoms isn't happy Major League Baseball decided to pull its All-Star game out of her city but she says that's probably just the beginning of the fallout if the law is not changed or repealed. Listen.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: I can't say that I like it but I certainly understand it. And it is, really, probably, the first of many boycotts of our state to come. And the consequences of this bill are significant.

Just as the legislatures and the governor made the decision -- the legislators and the governor made the decision to go forward with this bill, people are making decisions not to come to our state.


NEWTON: Leaders of Atlanta-based companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines have criticized the law. U.S. President Joe Biden has called it Jim Crow for the 21st century.

But the Republican governor who signed the law says opponents are spreading falsehoods about what it really does.


KEMP: Georgians and all Americans should know, what this decision means. It means, cancel culture and partisan activists, are coming for your business. Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta, may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the Left but I am not. I want to be clear. I will not be backing down from this fight.


NEWTON: Now CNN's Natasha Chen has more on governor Kemp's reaction.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Saturday, governor Kemp doubled down on this voting law, saying Major League Baseball caved to cancel culture, bending to the Left. He said President Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams, have been lying to the American people about this law.

I asked whether lies about the 2020 election had anything to do with the urgency and timeline of passing this bill into law.

Is the timing of this based on your belief that there was some fraud in recent elections in Georgia?

KEMP: I've realized, people have all kinds of difference of opinions and beliefs about the 2020 election. But make no mistake, there were issues that happened on the election, like they do in every election.

CHEN (voice-over): Kemp also said MLB should have come to him with specific complaints about the bill and that he would welcome questions about the specifics.

So we did ask him about things like banning mobile voting centers, banning the automatic mailing of absentee ballot applications, specifying the number of dropboxes and location.

He chalked up a lot of that to improved election security. Of course, now you have pro athletes and politicians, like former president Barack Obama, chiming in, saying, they support MLB's decision here.

Whether you support or oppose it, it is local businesses who are really going to hurt from potential lost revenue. Cobb County, where we are located here, estimates that there's more than $100 million potentially lost because of MLB relocating this All-Star game.

MLB has said that it will continue to invest in local organizations in Atlanta as part of All-Star legacy projects as originally planned -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Cobb County, Georgia.


NEWTON: So Georgia's new restrictive voting laws have many up in arms but it's far from the only state considering some type of changes. The Brennan Center for Justice is tracking voting measures right across the country. It finds that 47 states have legislation in the works that would restrict voter access in some way.

Texas, Georgia and Arizona lead in the number of proposals. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has the details on those new bills.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There being 18 ayes and 13 nays, the bills finally passed.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Texas State Senate sent a sweeping election bill over to the House that could change the way that people in the Lone Star State vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so, we want a system where it's easy to vote and hard to cheat. Right?

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): Senate Bill seven seems to target voting in the recent Democratic stronghold of Harris County, home to Houston, one of the country's most diverse cities and Democrats say that it will make it harder for people of color to vote.

JUDITH ZAFFIRINI (D-TX), STATE SENATE: Every minority member of the Texas Senate, all nine of us believe that this bill will impact minorities negatively by making it more difficult for African Americans and Mexican Americans to vote, making it easier for them to be harassed by overzealous poll watchers and diminishing the likelihood that election outcomes will represent the preferences of We the People.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): A new tally by the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice finds that 361 bills with provisions that would restrict voting have been introduced in 47 states as of March 24th. That's a 43 percent jump in the number of bills since Brennan released its last report a little over a month ago.

And most of the bills target absentee voting, nearly a quarter seek to impose stricter voter ID requirements. A handful of states have already acted, including Georgia, where some are calling for economic consequences in response to the state's new voting law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This boycott is against Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): Including pulling the MLB All Star game set for July out of Atlanta. The commissioner says the timing would make that difficult, but President Joe Biden says that if the players want to change location, he supports it.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would strongly support them doing that. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these in these various sports. And it's just not right.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): Georgia's business leaders under public pressure are now speaking out.

JAMES QUINCEY, CHAIRMAN & CEO, COCA-COLA: Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal. This legislation is unacceptable.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): The CEO of Delta, the state's largest private employer, blasting the law as based on a lie of 2020 election fraud saying in a memo.

It's evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly black voters to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.

In response, the Georgia House passed an amendment revoking Delta's jet fuel tax break,

SAM WATSON (R-GA), STATE HOUSE: We're going to start taxing jet fuel after July 1, 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took away the Delta tax exemption as a retaliation.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): But the effort died when the senate failed to take it up. The state's Republican Governor Brian Kemp says the companies are caving to public pressure, claiming these concerns were not raised during conversations with Delta before the bill was signed. KEMP: I'm not going to be bullied by these people. But I'm also not running a public corporation. I mean, they'll have to answer to their shareholders. There's a lot of people that work for them and that have done business with them that are very upset and I'll let them deal with that.

DIANNE GALLAGHER (voice-over): Meanwhile, in Michigan, Republicans have introduced nearly 40 bills that could make it harder for people to vote, even raising the possibility of trying to sidestep an all but certain veto from the state's Democratic governor.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The fact of the matter is, these are this is a solution in search of a problem. And it is unacceptable. And so if and when those bills get to my desk and they're aimed at making it harder for people to vote, they will get vetoed.

DIANNE GALLAGHER: So how exactly could Michigan Republicans get around a potential veto from Governor Whitmer?

Well, there's this quirk in Michigan law that allows the legislature to enact a measure without the governor's signature if they can obtain 340,000 signatures.

Now Democrats have already warned that if they try and force through restrictive measures, there will be legal challenges.


NEWTON: That was our Dianne Gallagher reporting.

Now like we were saying, there is a good chance your state lawmakers are considering changes that would make it harder to vote. And you should probably get on top of what those changes might be. To find out exactly what's going on, log on to

Rapper DMX is in the hospital at this hour after suffering a heart attack, according to his long-time lawyer, Murray Richman. He confirmed to CNN that DMX is on life support at a hospital. He said DMX had a heart attack at his home late Friday night.

Richman says he's been in contact with the rapper's family and is aware of his medical prognosis but did not want to comment further.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back with more news.





NEWTON: The latest now on that passenger train derailment in eastern Taiwan Friday. At least 50 people were killed and dozens more injured. On Saturday, rescue teams started removing the wreckage from the crash site. Meantime, the families of the victims are, of course, grieving and struggling to try and come to terms with their new reality.


NEWTON (voice-over): The solemn chants inside the hall in eastern Taiwan are echoing the grief of dozens of families gathered near the site of the country's worst rail disaster in decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm full of regret. Raising my kid to where he is now. He graduated from college and recently passed an exam for a good company. He was on his way back for tomb sweeping day but ended up like this.

NEWTON (voice-over): Mr. Lu's (ph) son is among the dozens who lost their lives in the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A lot of people who died from the crash had standing tickets. My son seemed to have one, too. Standing ticket passengers usually focus on playing on their cellphones.

When the accident happened, they wouldn't have been able to react to what was happening. And would, immediately, have been heavily crushed.

NEWTON (voice-over): The express train with nearly 500 people onboard, derailed in a tunnel after a parked railway maintenance vehicle slipped down an embankment and onto the tracks, causing the unthinkable for so many families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): During the crash, they were all thrown away out of their seats and thrown in the front. After that, Sister Chung Hu-mei (ph) woke up. After waking up, she saw that her husband was not breathing and had no heartbeat, beside her. And her son was not breathing and had no heartbeat, either.

She could not find her daughter. When she yelled, she found her daughter was under the iron sheets. She put her effort to move those pieces, one by one. But her daughter's voice became quieter and quieter. And then, there was no response.

NEWTON (voice-over): Some of the passengers did survive. But for their families, the news of the crash and the uncertainty of knowing who made it out alive was almost as horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Well, it's like this. My daughter was lucky. Cabin three had not entered into the tunnel. If cabin three entered into the tunnel, then it would have been very dangerous.

They took a long time to come out because it was so serious. The rescue team couldn't find a way to rescue them. That's why they took a long time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It took around two hours. It was horrible. NEWTON (voice-over): Relatives of those who died held an emotional

prayer ceremony near the crash site, shaded under a canopy of black umbrellas. Many openly wept as others called the names of their loved ones.


NEWTON: And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll have much more news in a moment.




NEWTON: A 21-gun salute in Egypt's capital Saturday to welcome new residents to the area; 22 ancient Egyptian mummies, 18 kings and 4 queens to be exact, are moving from the country's museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

That was just a glimpse of the lavish parade held for the ancient pharaohs. Michael Holmes has a look at all the pomp and circumstance.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A royal procession through Cairo.


HOLMES (voice-over): Some of the great kings and queens of Egypt who reigned more than 3,000 years ago still know how to draw a crowd. The land has changed; so, too, the people but these mummies are timeless; 18 kings and four queens embodying the ancient allure of Egypt, when it was once one of the great seats of power in the world.

SAIMA IKRAM, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It is poignant moment to think of so many of Egypt's royalty going through the streets of this modern capital. In fact, they're going back to an ancient capital for a start.

HOLMES (voice-over): The theatrical 5-kilometer journey, lined with lights, chariots and costumed actors, could be watched live and was shown along with singers and an orchestra worthy of an epic soundtrack.

The mummies were transported on vehicles that looked like barges from the Egyptian Museum to their final resting place at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, where they were received by the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Seti I and Ramses the Great were some of the best-known of the mummies, which were encased in special capsules filled with nitrogen and lined with soft material to protect them from any damage along the way. Organizers hope the multimillion-dollar display, called The Pharaohs'

Golden Parade, is a reminder to tourists of the many treasures waiting for them in Egypt. The countries' tourism industry crumbled because of coronavirus, the number of visitors dropping to 3.5 million last year from more than 13 million the year before.

ZAHI HAWASS, EGYPTOLOGIST: The message is very important, we're going to tell the people through the parade of the mummies that Egypt is safe. We need people to come back.

HOLMES (voice-over): A throwback to the country's past, to help revive its modern economy and a chance for Egypt's eternal kings and queens to bask in glory once again.


NEWTON: Now to a completely different kind of a relic, a Super Mario Brothers video game. This antique just sold at auction for, drum roll please, $660,000, smashing the previous record for the most ever paid for a video game.

According to the official auction website, this specific game is the finest copy known to have been professionally graded for auction. Apparently the classic Nintendo game was purchased in 1986 as a Christmas gift but left untouched for 35 years until it was found earlier this year.

Most people miss special things from their prepandemic lives. For some it could, of course, be something like dancing at a music festival. The Netherlands is conducting experiments, they'll call it, on ways to safely bring back live events. Zain Asher has the story.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A win for Orange. Special night for some fans in the Netherlands back in the stadium again, for a World Cup qualifying match between the Dutch national team and Latvia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very excited. It's a good occasion to dress up again and to be able to share it with so many people, with my friends. We always watch the games together.

ASHER (voice-over): The match is one of several experiments organized by the Dutch government and sports and entertainment groups to research how to safely hold live events.

Only 5,000 spectators were allowed to attend the match. Each had to test negative before it and get tested afterwards.

Inside the venue, participants were divided into sections. Some told to wear masks and social distance and others given more freedoms. Research is hoping to gain insight into how transmissions occur.

The group leading the study, Field Lab Events, has not yet published any conclusive results but so far says the data looks promising for the return of live events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big difference is that people over here have obviously far more contact but they are pretested, whereas at home and with visitors, you have last contact but are with people who are not tested. In the end, what our hypothesis for this research was that the risk you run at home is identical to the risk you run here.

ASHER (voice-over): Other trials have revived more prepandemic fun.

Remember dancing at festivals?

1,500 people did just that at this outdoor concert using the same protocols as the football match.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course I miss this, who didn't right?

ASHER (voice-over): What happens in a party indoors?

That, too, was studied when 1,300 people danced to tunes run by live deejays in Amsterdam's biggest musical.

SUNNERY JAMES, DEEJAY: We need to let go, we need to socialize.


JAMES: It's very important for people for our mental health.

ASHER (voice-over): The data from these trials is set to help officials decide when to lift COVID restrictions. Although the government extended all COVID restrictions until April 20th.

A Dutch tour company is helping to fill the void, offering a test holiday to Greece for 187 people, to stay on the island of Rhodes at a resort under the conditions they don't leave the location and quarantine when they return.

So far, 25,000 people have applied for it. The lucky few will be chosen by criteria set by the Dutch government. The rest will have to wait like everyone else for the slow return to normal -- Zain Asher, CNN, New York.



NEWTON (voice-over): She got some mojo with that cane.

What better reason to celebrate than to be finally getting vaccinated?

And that lady there was certainly getting her groove back with Mexico's Mucho Libre wrestlers, the famed fighters are not taking to the ring because of the pandemic so they turned their attention to fighting it, helping out the elderly get their shots at a vaccination site in Mexico City.



NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton. Back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.