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Pope Francis Leads Scaled-Down Easter Day Mass; Russia Shoring Up Military Power In The Arctic; Ethiopia Says Eritrean Troops Withdrawing From Tigray; Indonesia Flash Floods Kill At Least 41 People; Florida Crews Pumping Water Out Of Damaged Reservoir; India Reports Record-High Daily Case Increase of 103,558; U.K. Government to Launch Vaccine Passport System Trial; Growing Number of Americans Taking to Skies Again; Jordan Accuses Prince of Trying to Destabilize Country. Aired 1-2 ET

Aired April 5, 2021 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: India has just passed 100,000 new cases for the first time since the pandemic began. We're live in New Delhi.

With case numbers falling, the U.K. could very well be on the road to some sort of normalcy. Boris Johnson's next move is stirring up controversy.

We've been hearing a lot about non-fungible tokens, lately. But let's face it, the concept is a bit confusing. We walk you through what they are, and how investors are making millions.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: We begin this hour with alarming news, out of India. Health officials there have just reported they were more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases from Sunday into Monday. That is the country's highest single day increase since the pandemic began. India has seen a record increase of new cases every day in April.

We go live to New Delhi with CNN's Vedika Sud is standing by.

I mean, obviously, there are difficulties in managing a pandemic in a country with more than one billion people. But these numbers are just terrific.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Grim news indeed, Michael.

From India this moment, we have crossed 100,000 cases. This was expected after, like, what you said, in April, we've seen a rise in cases, and 24-hour basis, every single day. But we do know now is that the prime minister on Sunday, had a high-

level meeting. He asked for a special focus of the state Maharashtra, and why is that? Because Maharashtra itself has more than 57,000 new infections being reported Monday. That's more than half the caseload of the entire country, that's being reported today, and that's the grim situation for the state, because of which, the state chief minister has already announced night curfew in the state of Maharashtra, until the end of the month.

And also, complete curfews on the lockdowns, and the weekends, in the state of Maharashtra until the end of April.

Now, Maharashtra is a highly dense, populated state, densely populated state in India. And that's one reason why we're seeing so many people who have been infected in the state.

What is interesting, also, Michael, Maharashtra has topped the charts through and through when it comes to the COVID-19 figures. Ever since the pandemic broke out in India, Maharashtra has had the highest figures. It's also because a lot of people travel in and out of the state. It's a financial capital of the state of Maharashtra, as well as India, of course. And that's why you see so many people who have been infected at this point in time.

It's also a state where you can see a lot of people living cheek by job really (ph). A lot of crowded homes, especially in slum areas, and that's another region for this infection.

Now, talking about India per se, speaking to medical experts, it's a very important statements that they are making here, Michael. They say that as far as the last highest figures single day rise in India's concern, which is in mid September, which was almost 98,000 cases, within one day, it was after the lockdowns were easing in India.

This time, there's been no lockdown. And therefore, the number of cases rising is expected because the economy is open, people have been moving about, and what's really worrying at this point in time is elections are on in five states across India. So, you have politicians, actually addressing rallies in the states. There's been no kind of ban on political rallies.

Thousands of people are attending these rallies, with the prime minister of the country, although opposition leaders, all of them, have been holding road shows, and rallies. And that has been a huge cause of concern, along with the Kumbh Mela, which is one of the biggest festivals to be held across the world, not only in India.

Now, Kumbh Mela is one festival where you have 150 million people expected, this time. It's been reduced from a three-month, to a one- month festival, because of COVID-19, and the surge. But still, that is a staggering number we're talking about, and that could turn into a huge concern, and a worry if it becomes a super-spreader in the coming days.

The state government of Uttarakhand where this festival is being held has implemented strict guidelines, but one can only hope that there aren't more cases that are reported out of Uttarakhand due to the Kumbh Mela.

So, that's where India stands as of now. It's a grim situation. The numbers are going up, and this, in fact, is the highest number recorded in a 24-hour period by India ever since the outbreak of the pandemic here in India -- Michael.



HOLMES: Very, very worrying developments indeed.

Vedika Sud in New Delhi, thanks so much.

Now, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to make a big announcement in a few hours. He is expected to lay out plans to introduce so-called COVID vaccine passports. The U.K. is vaccinating at a rate far greater than the rest of Europe. Still, right now, there are signs of new infections across the continent getting a little bit more under control, as you can see there.

Now, many countries showing steady, or declining cases, compared with the previous week. Well, now, the British government blades to start a COVID status certification trial. That is what they call it. There is pushback from those who say that vaccine passports will lead to discrimination.

Salma Abdelaziz with more from London.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a big announcement on Monday, laying out plans to resume foreign travel, resume holidays, and also to reopen sports events, huge entertainment venues, and other major social gatherings.

So, in this announcement on Monday, the prime minister is expected to have two parts laid out.

First, of course, foreign travel. There will be a traffic light system there. Red, green, amber, based on the color of the country. If it's a green country, you can go without quarantine. Red country, you have to agree to a hotel quarantine, a government held quarantine in a hotel. And then, finally, an amber country means you can self-isolate at home, upon return.

But what we don't know is which categories fall under which. And this is still weeks away, foreign travel is not going to resume until mid May. So, nobody is booking their vacations just yet.

The other part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement is going to be domestically. How do you reopen a big entertainment venue and social gatherings? For that, the prime minister is going to be announcing a COVID status certification, what's been called colloquially, a vaccine passport. A document could be digital, could be a piece of paper, that will have

three basic facts. Have you taken the vaccine? Have you tested negative for COVID in recent days? And have you any natural immunity? Which is essentially that you've tested positive for the virus in recent months, and might have antibodies.

And what the prime minister is expected to say is that he wants to pilot, to test, this COVID status certification through a few events across the U.K., this month. Big sports events, the first actually being a comedy event in Liverpool. So, they're going to be piloting this COVID status certification, seeing how it works alongside other measures such as ventilation, and testing, to try to ease these restrictions, try to begin to resume normal life.

But there's already been a great deal of controversy about this. Over 70 members of parliament have signed an open letter saying that this COVID status certification is divisive, and discriminatory. That they will oppose it in parliament.

So, Prime Minister Boris Johnson may face some opposition and pushing these measures through, but for now, everyone waiting for that announcement on Monday, to find out more about how, and win, and if you can begin to resume normally life across the U.K.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


HOLMES: All right. Let's discuss further with CNN European affairs commentator, Dominic Thomas, joining me now from Los Angeles, sir. Good to see you, Dominic.

I mean, in the U.S., partisanship is making the vaccine passport a political issue, rather than a health, and pandemic control one. We have seen Florida's Republican government, painting it as a privacy, and rights issue.

But, Boris Johnson, launching this passport in the U.K. Israel is looking to a smart phone app. You've got Japan, China, Denmark considering it too. Is it an idea with legs politically? What's your take?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yeah, Michael. I mean, it's so interesting how politics, health care, all of these sort of issues, and responses to the pandemic have been so incredibly polarizing, from talks about whether or not to wear masks, how to social distance, lockdown measures, and even vaccination skeptics.

And I think what we're seeing here now with this broader discussion of passports is, simply, another facet of this particular question. Now, it's interesting, because the primary concern here, or the way in which it's playing out, is a way in which your passport will impact the activities within a country. And this is a conversation that hasn't really been had yet in the United States in terms of reopening in schools, colleges. What will these requirements be? It's a testing ground as to what's

happening in the U.K. here. What we're looking at in the U.K., of course, are access to services, businesses, and so on. And, of course, concern over privacy issues, data protection, and so on.

But I think the bigger question pertains to sort of the whole discussion around -- around COVID. It's the extent to which this pandemic has produced a whole range of kind of social inequity. So, who gets to have this passport? Who gets to have access to particular services and so on?


And to what extent, might it exclude people in the community, rather than include them?

And, of course, we end up with this precarious balance between a government seeking to open up businesses and people with broader concerns in the country.

HOLMES: Yeah, and I guess in Europe, I mean, do you see a united front on the notion on such passports or green certificates, or whatever, that will be called? I mean, in Europe, so many different nations, of course, if there is a factual approach, what might the complications be politically, medically, for that matter? I mean, you know, there are requirements to prove you're vaccinated already for other non-COVID illnesses, if you want to travel and so on.

THOMAS: Yes, there is. There's obviously the long history about the WHO, the famous, you know, yellow books and so on that that you need for certain African countries. So, we know that.

The interesting thing is actually in the E.U. 27, most of the discussion has focused on international travel, and also, therefore, data protection, and so on. The impact of circulating, moving, traveling to under-vaccinated countries, that the tourist industry, and the travel industry, it's such a huge component of the E.U., and economy. And not just the E.U. economy, the E.U. 27 are essentially buying into this passport idea, as are many other European countries.

So, we see the question playing out in different ways here because of the focus on international travel and circulation rather than immediately on access to services within their own communities.

HOLMES: Yeah, I suppose, you know, private enterprise could demand such a thing, if they felt it was unnecessary. That's their business. I mean, the U.K. approach, you know, is to test the system of spots and so on. They're wondering, with vaccine hesitancy, because in Europe.

Could the idea of a passport to do some fun things actually spur some people to get a jab?

THOMAS: You know, that's an interesting question, but I think, once again, the same kind of questions get up is who has access to the vaccine, and who is excluded from it rather than included in this particular process? I think, along the way, any kind of measure that would incentivize people to get the vaccine be positive. We know that, ultimately, passport freedom is to revaccination. This is what they need to do, but the kind of inconsistent messaging, and the response of so many E.U. governments has eroded trust in these particular questions, and we're seeing growing frustrations in the E.U. around these sorts of issues.

HOLMES: I guess COVID fatigue and despair, maybe even anger, is evident in a lot of nations. You've got demonstrations and protests on the rise as the northern hemisphere comes. Can you see those protests increasing?

THOMAS: Michael, we're already seeing protests. It's interesting, on one hand, you see people protesting against measures, so against lockdowns, against mask-wearing, but you also see people growing dissatisfaction, particularly as we exit the cold winter months, with the handling of the COVID pandemic. You are then seeing other areas as well, which is a lack of compliance, of course, not wearing masks, larger gatherings, as the weather improves, and ignoring, or not abiding by, guidelines that have been given by various governments.

But I think there's another way in which this protest is going to play out, as we make our way through the summer. And I take the case of Germany, where we're heading into general elections, federal elections in September, and the lack of handling, or the mishandling of this is already playing its way out in the polls, as people are so dissatisfied with the way in which this has gone now, into the second summer of, essentially, COVID restrictions, and lockdown measures.

HOLMES: Really good point. Dominic, good to see you. Dominic Thomas, thanks.

THOMAS: Thanks, Michael.

HOLMES: Now, a growing number of Americans aren't waiting for any official green light to travel for leisure again.

Evan McMorris-Santoro reports on the surge in air travel from New York's LaGuardia Airport.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPNDENT: Saturday is the 24th day of more than 1 million passengers, traveling through TSA screening points, at American airports. Another sign that Americans are ready to return to normal, despite the ongoing pandemic. I spent the day at LaGuardia Airport, talking to passengers.

I listen to one of them saying how she feels about travel right now.

The CDC says, if you had the vaccine, it is safe to travel, but they're asking you to not travel much of they don't have to. Is that still factoring into the decisions that you make when you think about making travel decisions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I say not so much? No, not so much. I mean, we'll be vaccined, we're scheduled, so, I guess, we alleviate some worries for us.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The rising travel appears to be continuing despite experts warning that a third coronavirus surge could be just around the corner, experts say that the way to prevent something like that or to mitigate it if it comes is to keep wearing masks, and maintaining social distance, and get the vaccine as soon as you can.


Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, LaGuardia Airport.


HOLMES: A rift in Jordan's royal family after the former crown prince is accused of trying to destabilize the country. How the palace intrigue can impact Jordan's image as a stable force in the region. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: And live pictures there coming to us from Jerusalem outside of the court where in the day ahead, the corruption trial of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to resume with statements from the prosecution and the first witness.

Mr. Netanyahu is expected to attain at least part of the proceedings on Monday, he's facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, which he denies. The trial comes days after Netanyahu's block failed to secure a parliamentary majority in Israel's latest election. So on Monday, the country's president will host political parties and hear their recommendations for the prime minister.


By Wednesday, he's expected to pick which candidate has the best chance of forming a government. We will have more on this next hour with a live report from Jerusalem.

Jordan's government has accused former crown prince, Hamzah bin Hussein, of trying to destabilize the country. The deputy prime minister saying security officials have for foiled the plan which allegedly involved the prince's associates and foreign parties, yet to find out more details on what that means.

More than a dozen people are being arrested and the government has asked Prince Hamzah to cease all movements and activities that target Jordan security.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh with more from Istanbul.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really dramatic events unfolding in Jordan that all started on Saturday evening, with the announcement that a number of high-profile individuals have been arrested, and reports that the former crown prince, the half brother of King Abdullah, Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein was involved in whatever the security operation this was that he -- reports suggested that he was under house arrest.

That was followed by two videos, one in Arabic, one in English, obtained by news organizations provided by the former crown prince's statement in which he described his situation saying that the country's military chief had asked him to stay at home, that he was -- he had lost his security, that a number of friends have been detained that his communications were cut off, and warning that we might not be hearing from him for a while.

And what followed was really something unprecedented in Jordan, something that in my years of living and covering that country, we have never seen before, a member of the royal family lashing out at the country's leadership, accusing the rulers of corruption, mismanagement, blaming them for the state of the country is in right now.

Now, on Sunday, we heard from the government, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, addressing a news conference and accusing the former crown prince and several people around him, and also, a former senior official close to King Abdullah, saying that this group was in communication with foreign entities, that they were planning to destabilizes the kingdom and saying that the country's security services, the military, the intelligence services have been monitoring this, these communications for quite some time.

Right now, he also accused Prince Hamzah trying to incite certain activities inside Jordan to undermine national security as they said. Now, they say that Jordanian security services have to move right now because whatever was being planned, that these communications at this point, they were talking about timings, of carrying out whatever these activities may have been.

And the deputy prime minister says that they nipped it in the bud. Take a listen to what he had to say.

AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: The army chief met with Prince Hamzah to send this message and asked him to stop all these movements and activities that target Jordan's security and instability.

KARADSHEH: The deputy prime minister saying that more than a dozen people have been detained in connection with whatever this plan was, part of the security operation. We heard from the former crown prince responding to these accusations, even before they were made public by the government.

Take a listen to what Prince Hamzah said in that video statement, on Saturday about links to any foreign entities.

HAMZAH BIN HUSSEIN, FORMER JORDANIAN CROWN PRINCE: I'm making this recording to make it clear, that I am not part of any conspiracy or nefarious organization, or foreign-backed group, as it is always the claim here for anyone who speaks up. KARADSHEH: Even after we heard from the government today, there

remains more questions than answers about what is going on in Jordan, this key U.S. ally, a country that is known for its stability in a turbulent region.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


HOLMES: Bessma Momani is professor at the University of Waterloo, joins me now from Waterloo in Canada. She's also been a visiting scholar at Georgetown University's Mortara Center and at the Amman Institute, a research center to improve local governance in the Middle East.

So, the perfect person to speak to on this.

I mean, give us a sense of how significant these events are for a country generally seen as an oasis of stability in many ways in the region, a senior member of the royal family accused of such things, promoting sedition.

BESSMA MOMANI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO: Well, certainly unprecedented, I think that this has really exposed a lot of internal royal dynamics that many people have been privy to or frankly heard.

Prince Hamzah has his own popularity base in that country. He's been part of a certain segment of people. And, of course, the video that he released to BBC, you know, it heightened a lot of frustrations that many Jordanians feel, particularly about nepotism and corruption.

But the sort of truthfulness of his words, and how -- although being careful -- but pointed his criticism was, was very impressive (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Yeah, and you touched on this. And let's talk more about it. I mean, there are a lot of domestic factors in play in Jordan. Serious economic issues, there's been the influx of refugees. There is dissatisfaction with government.

So, will Prince Hamzah, who by all accounts as you say is a popular figure in many areas, have struck a nerve on the streets with pretty specific allegations on things like corruption, nepotism, misrule as he put, all these things that many Jordanians aren't worried about?

MOMANI: It definitely struck a nerve. I mean, I think that there are people who were kind of careful now, maybe don't want to, you know, publicly suggest that they support Prince Hamzah because, of course, it's become a very wide network of people who are being arrested at the moment. But, certainly, I think you're speaking to the average Jordanians concerns, nepotism and corruption is perceived to be very high in the country already.

People very much complain about that from their very personal lives of trying to get most basic things, bureaucratic things done, facing that kind of day-to-day challenge of corruption, but also, a real strong sense of the political and economic elite are sort of benefiting at their expense, at the people's expense, that somehow there's just not fair redistribution of wealth in the country. So, it really did strike a nerve.

Whether or not Hamzah could actually garner a kind of political base, I don't think so. I think there is still I think a lot of fear, of instability, you know, regime change. We saw what happen in Syria, neighboring countries. Jordanians are not unaware of that, and as place, as you said, it's received so many refugees, they're not just cognizant, they've lived it and don't want to see it happen in their own country.

HOLMES: This claim by the deputy prime minister that Prince Hamzah was trying to mobilize tribal leaders to oppose the government, how powerful are those forces in the context of this situation.

MOMANI: Well, the accusation is powerful, right? I mean, partly because many of those tribal forces have been seen as traditional supporters of the monarch, the institution. Certainly, I think, Hamzah is popular amongst that group of individuals, partly because he has the persona of visiting those tribes, he goes to their wedding, he talks to them, some of the things that many people say are characters he got from his father, and the way that he ruled. So, there is a soft spot among the tribes for Prince Hamzah.

At the same time, I don't think the tribes want to see undermining of the monarchy or the regime. That's not in their interests. They don't to see that's a really fine balance of trying to kind of strike the cord of still very much supporting the words and essence of Hamzah represents, but still very critical about the idea of regime change.

HOLMES: Right. What are your thoughts on what's likely to happen now, what could happen? I mean, what are the potential regional ramifications and how damaging it is to Jordan internally.

MOMANI: Well, it certainly does suggest there's cracks in the system within the royal family which is really quite again unusual. But, I mean, certainly, I think the region is kind of use this kind of news of sort of internal turmoil. But, you know, there is sentiment that somehow the monarchies are different than any other parts of the region, that they're far more stable than other parts of the region like, again, Syria, Iraq and many other republic.

So, it really is quite unusual. That said, I think there are also this very peculiar type of accusation that we saw from the foreign minister today of Jordan, suggesting there's some foreign element. And that really has sparked a real nerve in the country, who are these foreign elements? There's lots of speculation had say more theories than answers at the time.

But that really just kind of made people very uncomfortable and wondering, you know, what are these foreign elements?

HOLMES: A lot of uncertainty. Professor Bessma Momani, thank you so much.

MOMANI: My pleasure.

HOLMES: And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, the ice in the arctic is melting and Russia's military is sweeping in. We'll tell you what they're doing there, in a CNN exclusive report when we come back.



HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN Newsroom. Pope Francis condemning what he calls scandalous behavior amid the pandemic. The Pope leading a scaled-down Easter Sunday at the Vatican. During the prayers he chided those who pursue warfare while people are suffering from COVID.


POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (via translator): The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nonetheless, and this is scandalous, armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened.


HOLMES: Well, speaking of warfare, Russia is taking advantage of climate change to shore up its military power. It's testing new weapons in the Arctic in areas where there has been a lot of ice melt, what they're doing there could have huge implications for the United States and the world. Nick Paton Walsh explains in this exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): It's a new frontier, expanding for all the wrong reasons with pushy neighbors rushing in. Russia is seeing the Arctic ice melt fast and filling the gap with a military buildup. Some of it on Alaska's doorstep not seen since the Cold War.

Key is a new generation of super weapons like the Poseidon, 120 mile an hour Nuclear propelled stealth torpedo, it's designed, say Russian officials, to sneak past us coastal defenses and detonate a warhead causing a radioactive tsunami to hit the East Coast with contaminated water.


Experts told CNN the weapon is quote, very real. It'll be tested in the summer near Norway, whose intelligence head said it's not only the ecological damage that could be bad.

VICE ADMIRAL NILS ANDREAS STENSONES, NORWEGIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: And it is in a testing phase. It's a strategic system and it's aimed at targets that it has then they influence far beyond the region in which they tested currently.

WALSH: Some said Russian President Vladimir Putin was fantasizing when he revealed this and other new weapons like the hypersonic Zircon missile in 2018. But continuing development and tests make them very real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia is projecting an image that it's developing new technology. And this of course, it is destabilizing the strategic balance.

HEATHER CONLEY, SVP FOR EUROPE, EUASIA AND THE ARCTIC, CSIS: They are now starting to develop those capabilities that could reach United States and its NATO allies.

WALSH: That's not all Russia is up to. CNN has obtained satellite images revealing the persistent build up of Russia and bases along its northern coastline part of what a US State Department official called a military challenge.

Close to Alaska, Provideniya and Wrangel Island are two new radar stations with stationed in Anadyr, a quick reaction alert force of bombers and jets. West in Kotelny, a thin strip of land has seen over seven years the slow growth of a large airstrip. And in Nagurskoye and the northernmost point is another base that sprung up since 2015, one of several in the Arctic decorating the colors of the Russian flag. Nagurskoye and the nearby airfield of Rogachevo are both home to MiG 31 jets, recent arrivals. And further west of Olenya Guba on the Kola Peninsula. Over the past four years, experts believe a storage facility has slowly been built up for the Poseidon torpedo.

(on camera): Russia has its eye on being the Arctic power for years and is now moving to make that happen. Yes, this is its coastline for sure. But U.S. officials have expressed concerns to me that this buildup is not just about protecting. It's also about projecting power across the ice even towards the North Pole.

(voice-over): There are new resources to exploit under the ice. Yes. But Russia released this video in January of the first time a freighter got through the ice in the East in the thick winter to sell a new trade route along its northern coast.

It's a possible moneymaker for the Kremlin cutting the current journey time from Asia to Europe through the Suez Canal nearly in half.

U.S. officials voiced concern to CNN that Russia was already demanding ships use Russian cruise and get permission to cross it.

In response to Russia's build up the U.S. has sent b1 bombers to fly out of and Marines to train in Norway.

Who gets there first makes the rules they say in the rush for a place nobody should want to be conquerable. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Now Russia's Foreign Ministry didn't respond to a request for comment but Moscow has always said its goals in the Arctica peaceful and economic.

Ethiopia's foreign ministry says Eritrean troops have begun withdrawing from Ethiopia's Tigray region. It's a response to the harrowing reports of human rights abuses and massacres over the past five months. Ethiopia's military has been fighting the Tigray People's Liberation Front, a group in northern Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said recently he admitted what the world already knew. And that is that Eritrean forces that their 2000s of civilians are believed to have been killed in the conflict and CNN investigation compiled eyewitness testimonies, claiming that soldiers from Eritrea were carrying out massacres, extrajudicial killings, and deploying rape and sexual violence as a weapon.

G7 ministers meanwhile condemning the carnage saying quote, it is essential that there is an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the crimes reported and that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account.

Quick break here on the program, when we come back flash flooding causing massive damage to Indonesia and surrounding countries. The worst may be gone, but there is more rain on the way. We'll have a live forecast when we come back.



HOLMES: A Taiwanese court has revoked bail for the truck driver involved in a deadly train crash on Friday that killed at least 50 people. Lee Yi-hsiang was detained by the court over fears he could be a flight risk, collude with others or even tried to destroy evidence. He apologized to those involved outside the courthouse.


LEE YI-HSIANG, TRUCK DRIVER INVOVLED IN CRASH (via translator): I am deeply remorseful and want to express my most sincere apologies. I will cooperate with the investigation by police and prosecutors to take the responsibility I should take.


HOLMES: But authorities believe Lee's trucks slid down a bank on last Friday and hit the passing eight car train which was carrying almost 500 people causing it to come off the rails and hit the walls of the tunnel as it was passing through.

Meanwhile, at least 41 people are dead in Indonesia after flash flooding ripped through four villages on the island of Flores on Sunday. Floods and mudslides crashed through homes and wiped out bridges and roads on parts of the island. Rescuers can't even reach some of the worst hit areas because of heavy rain and waves. Neighboring East Timor being impacted as well.

At least three people have died there in flooding that as you can see there has been washing away homes. Meteorologist Tyler Mauldin joins me now with more and what's this about more rain on the way?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Michael the area's just been battered over the last couple of days and over the last 24 hours some of us have picked up nearly 250 millimeters of rain and unfortunately we are going to add to those totals.

Now we're not going to see as much rain as what we just dealt with but we'll certainly see more rain in the rain bucket that is for sure. And you can see what it did to the area. All that rainfall causing the flash flooding and also the landslides as well.

This area is prone to landslides. And what I want you to see here if you notice your legend the red, the red shading here indicates the areas at most risks or with the highest risk of seeing some landslides.


And the main reason why this area is prone to landslides is because of the deforestation. Now there are many reasons or many ways to get a landslide. But in Indonesia, the main reason is for the deforestation, you see it loosens the soil. And when that soil becomes loose, you get rain falling on it, it saturates that soil and boom, it's got only one way to go. And that is down the mountain. And unfortunately, that is the kind of scenario that we have been seeing over the last couple of days.

The reason why is, or these systems up here, now these systems are moving out. But as I said, there's a little bit more in the way of rainfall behind it. And that's going to add to those totals in Indonesia. These two systems are going to push down to the south and what they're going to do, they're two tropical systems. What they're going to do is clip Western Australia. And when it clips Western Australia, it's not going to bring substantial amounts of rainfall for Western Australia, but it will bring a little bit in the way of rainfall, Michael, and this area could actually use the rainfall so that will be beneficial for sure.

HOLMES: Let's that that is good. My home state will be happy. Tyler Mauldin, thanks so much.

All right. Florida officials are still trying to fix a damaged reservoir from releasing more than 1800 liters of wastewater into the surrounding towns.

Now, previous efforts to fix this leak didn't work. So now crews are trying to pump out the water. Florida's governor declaring a state of emergency for the surrounding area last week after the leak was discovered. He says people's safety is the immediate focus.


GOV. RON DESTANTIS (R-FL): What we're looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to if need be a real catastrophic flood situation. There's was talk about the type of water I'll say something to that in a minute. But the water quality issues that are flowing from this, for us is less than the risk of everyone's health and safety.


HOLMES: A lot of environmental concerns about that as it continues to unfold. All right, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back there's a new champion and women's college basketball ahead the thrilling finish at the NCAA title game between old rivals Stanford and Arizona. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: For the first time in almost 30 years, Stanford has won the top prize in women's college basketball the team taking home the NCAA title on Sunday, after holding off Arizona in a title a contest the game. CNN's Andy Scholes with the details.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN WORLD SPORT (on camera): The women's tournament started with 64 teams in San Antonio and in the end, Stanford the last team standing as national champions and it was quite the journey this season for the Cardinal. Because the entire tournament was held in Texas and because of COVID protocols in their home state of California, the Stanford women's team spent a whopping 87 nights in hotels this season just goes to show you how resilient this team is.

(voice-over): And the game against Arizona very tight in the fourth quarter under three minutes to go. Haley Jones the bucket plus the foul, put Stanford up by four. Down one five seconds to go Arizona had a chance to win this game but Stanford all over Aari McDonald her shot, no good as Stanford wins a thriller 54-53.

Tara VanDerveer the winningest coach in women's college basketball history. Now she has her third national title first, since 1992.

TARA VANDERVEER, STANFORD HEAD COACH: And it was a very, very tough tournament to play the three games in a week, you know, do a lot of the COVID stuff. I'm so proud of our team.

HALEY JONES, STANFORD GUARD: So many great players have passed this program and they've all come for the same reason that we have to be coached by the greatest to develop not only as a player, but just as a person, as a young woman. And so I think this is just -- it's just an honor really to do this for her and with her.

KIANA WILLIAMS, STANFORD GUARD: To witness for Tara in the same year that she's become the all time winningest coach, it's just means everything.

SCHOLES (on camera): Congrats to Stanford. The men meanwhile will crown a champion here in Indianapolis Monday night. It's the matchup that all of college basketball has been waiting for, Gonzaga versus Baylor. They've been the best two teams all season long. And one of them will leave Indianapolis Monday night as champions for the first time.


HOLMES: Incredible moment for the Stanford women's team. In fact, what if you could own the moment and then sell it for millions? Well, that's exactly what people are doing with what's called NFT's. But like any emerging technology, it does have its downsides. CNN's Clare Sebastian explains this new virtual gold rush.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not just a 12 second clip of basketball star LeBron James. It's a potential slam dunk investment.

MICHAEL LEVY, FINANCIAL ANALYST AND NFT INVESTOR: I purchased that in October for about $3,200 at the time, and a different version of that same moment sold for $208,000 just a few weeks back.

SEBASTIAN: Financial analyst Michael Levy has been investing in NFT's or non-fungible tokens for about seven months focusing mainly on NBA top shot, a collaboration between the National Basketball Association and blockchain company Dapper Labs.

In the case of the LeBron moment, the NFT is a digital certificate of ownership linked to the clip. And FTS can prove ownership of anything gifts, digital artworks, even a virtual house.

(on camera): The point is each NF T is unique and therefore collectible a bit like a physical basketball card.

(voice-over): Levy has so far spent $175,000 on top shot moments, he now estimates his collection to be worth more than $15 million.

LEVY: It's an 100x return and in six months. It's something that you can't find without going through a ton of risk and taking off, you know, a level of speculation that probably isn't the smartest move for most people.


I think that the NFT space as a whole could definitely be considered above.

SEBASTIAN (on camera): The message whatever your online collectible of choice this is a wild west and investors need to tread carefully.

(voice-over): The problem is just like the pioneers in the movie How the West Was Won, most it seems are not being careful. NFTs have created a race to colonize the internet. An endless caravan of buyers and sellers sending valuations skyrocketing --


SEBASTIAN: And because NFT's is stored on the blockchain, anonymous decentralized databases, and often paid for using cryptocurrencies, there's no sheriff in this town.

NICHOLAS WEAVER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY: We don't know how many of the transactions are even legitimate because somebody could easily be selling to themselves or selling to a friend and selling back and forth. And there's at least indications that a lot of the trades are what we'd call wash trades in the socket industry.

SEBASTIAN: Analysts at non fungible calm a website aiming to provide third party data on the NFT space, say they are seeing just that. This is an example of an artwork that was sold between the same two accounts five times in an hour last July, rapidly inflating the value to over three and a half thousand dollars.

LEVY: You do see it pop up periodically. Hey, you know, we're all going to invest in this new unproven token and let's all tweet about it or let's all put out blogs about it. And then what will sell it.

SEBASTINA: It's clear in this new digital gold rush, all that glitters is not necessarily a good investment. Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Does my head end. Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @HolmesCNN. I'll be back with more Newsroom in a moment.