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Video Showing Smugglers Dropping Children at U.S.-Mexico Border; Deepest Known Shipwreck Found Off Philippines Sea; U.K. Variant Scattered in 50 States; North Korea Back Out of Tokyo Olympics; Travel is Open Between Australia and New Zealand; India Reported Another Record High in COVID Cases; Minneapolis Chief of Police Testifies Against Derek Chauvin; Royal Rift Coming to an End; Biden Administration Hopes to Re-negotiate JCPOA Deal with Iran. Aired 3-3:45a ET

Aired April 6, 2021 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton at CNN center in Atlanta.

Coming up on CNN Newsroom, some semblance of normalcy. The prime minister of Britain says he is moving ahead to the next change, next stage, out of lockdown.

Jordan's former crown prince pledges his support for the king. We're live in Amman with the latest on the royal rift.

And a growing migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, humanitarian groups say COVID-19 is just one reason it's gotten worse.

And we begin right here in the United States where the Centers for Disease Control Prevention says that for the first time all 50 states are now reporting infections from the U.K. variant. Now according to the agency, there are more than 15,000 cases of that strain in the United States.

That word comes amid fears of a new surge, but that didn't stop nearly 40,000 fans of the Texas Rangers baseball team from packing the ballpark in Arlington on Monday. You can see it there. It's believed to be the largest gathering of its kind since the pandemic began.

In Brazil meantime, coronavirus cases have now topped 13 million. The country has the second highest death toll after the United States, now stands at 330,000 people. And starting next week the U.K. will ease some COVID-19 restrictions. Now Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement Monday explaining why they were lifting the measures and how he was going to mark the occasion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Monday the 12th, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips. We think these that changes are fully justified by the data which show that when meeting our full tests for easing the lockdown.


NEWTON (on camera): Now for more on the easing of the British COVID restrictions, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins me now from London. You allow me a little point of humor he talked about a pint but not about a haircut so I found that interesting, so I guess we're going to be treated to a little bit more of that with Boris Johnson.

But I mean, really, everyone was listening intently here right, Salma? Listening very closely to see what restrictions would be eased and then what comes after that which is so important to so many who want to get to traveling.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely, Paula. And I think what was most important about this announcement is what was not said. I think there's a bit of disappointment a bit of heartbreak yesterday because there had been expectations that the prime minister would announce that travels, international travel could resume for May 17th, which read that everybody could go on summer vacation, that's not what happened. You got a much more muted, much more cautious answer on that. Take a listen.


JOHNSON (on camera): We don't want to see the virus being reimported into this country from abroad, plainly there is a surge in other parts of the world and we have to be mindful of that. We have to be realistic. So what we're going to do that the global travel task force is going to report later on this week. We will then be setting out well before May the 17th what we think is reasonable.


ABDELAZIZ (on camera): So, for now, international travel remains banned. It's still a wait and see approach from the prime minister and his government but we do know that when international travel does resume, there will be a traffic light system so it will be a green, red, and amber.

If it's a red country, that means that you will have to agree to a government quarantine upon return, and amber country that means you can self-isolate at home when you return and a green country means you can come and go with no isolation, with no quarantine required. But when that will happen, possibly May 17th but we're waiting for an update as we heard there from the prime minister and which countries will fall under which category we simply don't know.

The other matters that the prime minister was expected to sort of cover in more detail, but again it was quite a muted response, was this COVID status certification. [03:05:00]

Colloquially, we call this a vaccine passport. This document that would have a few basic facts on it that could be used as an entry way, a ticket to get into mask gatherings, mass events like concerts and sports events and things like that. The prime minister is saying that they are still in the early stages of developing that. They'll be piloting it this month, but he's facing a lot of opposition, Paula, on this. A big uproar from within his own party on this COVID static certifications, Paula.

NEWTON: Absolutely, a lot of people concerned about equity. Salma Abdelaziz who continue to follow the developments in Britain today, I appreciate it.

South Korea is now expressing regret over a decision by North Korea to drop out of the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus concerns.

CNN's Will Ripley is on top of the story for us and following developments from Hong Kong. Will, perhaps not a surprise given how careful North Korea has been but you know more than anyone how important North Korea being on international stage is for them especially at this moment. And then they -- they still said, no, we're not going to Tokyo.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is one of the very rare opportunities that South Korean officials have to be face to face with North Korean officials like they did in 2018 in PyeongChang when Kim Jong-un sent his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong over to the opening ceremonies and that started and got the ball rolling for diplomacy.

They have the inter-Korean summits and then those three face-to-face meetings between former President Trump and the North Korean leader. And so, the fact that that opportunity is missed this year is a huge setback for President Moon who is nearing the end of his term. They have elections in 2022. He's built his whole political career around making peace with the North Koreans.

But from the North Korean perspective, they're not interested, number one, in talking with the U.S. and South Korea right now after the collapse of diplomacy with the former president and they are very concerned about the safety of their country with a COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world.

They have a dilapidated health care system. Sending athletes out of the country and putting them in the mix with 200 plus other country's athletes in a nation that is dealing now with a possible fourth wave and a very contagious new variant that may even be resistant to vaccines, clearly, too much for the North Koreans, too much of a risk for them to be willing to take.

I mean, they have diplomats who are leaving the country pushing their carts along rail cars, you know, on trolleys, because they can't actually have North Korea's bring them across the border. That's how careful they are right now. I'll read you the statement from the North Korean sports ministry just

kind of laying out the details released in the state media. It says, the DPKR's Olympic Committee decided not to join the 32nd Olympic Games to protect athletes from the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus according to suggestions by committee members at the general meeting.

And here is the response now from Japan's chief cabinet secretary.


KATSUNOBU KATO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): We are aware of the media reports that you've mentioned. Regarding the participation in the Tokyo Games, coordination with Tokyo 2020 comes first. We will continue to monitor this closely.

In addition, the government will continue working on preparing the conditions including infection control so that many countries and regions can participate in the Tokyo Games.


RIPLEY (on camera): Japan has banned foreign spectators from attending but with 108 days left to the Tokyo 2020 games there are big concerns right now that it could potentially become a super spreader event. North Korea obviously wanting to stay far away from that, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, and Japan might be grappling with what could be a fourth wave at this point so a lot of considerations there.

Will Ripley for us, I appreciate the reporting.

Now in the coming weeks, New Zealanders will be able to travel to Australia without quarantining. Yes, that's a big deal and vice versa. Just a few hours ago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern laid out the details of the so-called travel bubble between the two countries. Now most Australian states it should be said, already allowed New Zealanders to visit and now New Zealand is returning that favor.

We want to bring in Angus Watson live from Sydney. You know, it's a hopeful sign that not only for everyone on the other side of the world but really for the world. Some might say though, is it really necessary at this point especially when you take into consideration the fact that vaccinations in either country haven't been very high.

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: Vaccinations have not been very high, Paula, and that means that this decision has had to go ahead with a lot of caution but it's been able to happen this travel corridor between, as it was, between New Zealand and Australia is now a travel bubble going two ways, as of the 18th of April I should say.

And that has been able to happen because the two countries have done so well in keeping coronavirus out that both closed their borders down as have other countries to stop it from getting in and have done well in suppressing the coronavirus.


New Zealand has had just 26 deaths since the pandemic began, Australia 909, but it means now that the two countries can start coming out of that. And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand today saying that the country enters a new chapter by now being able to welcome people from another country into New Zealand and the tourist dollars that come with that are going to be a big deal.

But it is fragile, of course, Paula. Both countries have said that they unilaterally reserve the right to pop this travel bubble if the COVID-19 situation gets out of hand in either country. So, we're going ahead with this, but it's going to be a little bit tentative as you mentioned there, Paula.

NEWTON: But still all eyes on this newly-created travel bubble. Angus Watson for us in Sydney. I appreciate it.

Now India is now in the grip of a second wave of the virus with more distressing case numbers each and every day. It reported more new infections than any country in the world last week. You can see it there and on Monday it became only the second nation to report more than 100,000 new cases in a single day.

That spike has prompted many to go and get tested for the virus out of a great sense of caution. Daily infections have increased 12-fold from a low in February right after officials eased COVID restrictions.

We want to go live now to New Delhi where CNN's Vedika Sud is standing by. You know, perhaps these new numbers are not surprising really, but are there signs that people are abiding by the new restrictions that have been put in place?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Well, there fears there of course, Paula, now that these numbers are out a day after India report its all-time high of over 100,000 new cases of COVID-19. The country has reported almost 97,000 cases Tuesday.

But, yes, like you said the fear is there, people are trying to refrain themselves from going out for meals or gatherings which are not necessary but that exactly is the reason why the surge has happened according to medical experts.

They say it's these gatherings that are happening, be it for religious festivals or for weddings because which these figures have gone up COVID fatigue as we know is of constant reason for these numbers going up as well.

But yes, it's not alarming according to medical experts like you pointed out because there was no lockdown really before this to control the numbers, it's business as usual here in India. Here's a report from those staggering numbers from India.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUD: A record surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai has done this parking lot into a 400-bed makeshift hospital. India's richest state Maharashtra which includes Mumbai reports more than 57,000 new infections Sunday. With cases rising, the state government has imposed night curfew and complete lockdown on weekends through the end of the month.

RANDEEP GULERIA, MEMBER, INDIA'S NATIONAL COVID-19 TASK FORCE: We know that there are large crowding which occurs in certain cities in Maharashtra, for example, Mumbai. Mumbai being the industrial capital and lot of Mumbai people happens in that state not only from India but from outside also, and with crowding and total lack of COVID appropriate behavior, this actually is of classical case for infection to spread.

SUD: The health ministry says the situation across India is worrying.

VINOD PAUL, MEMBER, NATIONAL INSTITUTION FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA: The situation is becoming from bad to worse, serious cause for concern. In some states in particular, there is a huge cause for worry.

SUD: India reported over 100,000 new cases Monday surpassing its all- time daily high of almost 98,000 new infections in mid-September last year.

RAMANAN LAXMINARAYAN, SENIOR RESEARCH SCHOLAR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: The first wave happened under a significantly stringent lockdown. Right now, much of the economy is open, people are moving around, transportation is open. So, it's only natural that we would see a much sharper and steeper rise in cases.

SUD: While the government has repeatedly urge citizens to wear masks and social distance, politicians have been busy addressing thousands of supporters in Pul Bangash states. That's not the only cause for concern. One of the world's biggest festivals Kumbh Mela is taking place in India's northern state of Uttarakhand. Tens of millions of devotees are expected to attend the event in the month of April.

GULERIA: Any event where you have a large number of cases -- number of people coming together and when in such an event there is no COVID appropriate behavior, people are not wearing mask can become super spreader events.


SUD (on camera): Two state chief ministers have addressed India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to actually remove that age restriction for vaccines, currently those 45 and older eligible for vaccination, and India has already administered over 83 million vaccines to date. But given the surge in cases, Paula, you can expect more partial lockdowns being announce from different state governments in India in the days to come. Paula?


NEWTON: Yes, we certainly hope that they're able to get a handle on this in the next few weeks. Vedika Sud for us in Delhi. I appreciate it.

Still to come, a possible end to Jordan's royal rift. We are live in Amman after reports of former crown prince is ready to patch things up with the king apparently.


NEWTON (on camera): Testimony will resume today in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. On Monday, the Minneapolis police chief testified the former police officer violated policy last year when he kneeled on George Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes.

CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Minneapolis and a warning some of this video is disturbing.


UNKNOWN: Your testimony will be the truth, and nothing but the truth.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The prosecution's 21st witness in former officer's Derek Chauvin's murder trial was his ultimate boss, the chief of police.

UNKNOWN: What is the officer supposed to do to a person in crisis?

ARRADONDO: It's an attempt to de-escalate that, that situation.

SIDNER: Chief Medaria Arradondo testified he first lured of the severity of his officer's actions against George Floyd by a community member.

ARRADONDO: Close to midnight a community member had contacted me and said that chief, almost verbatim, but said, chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that, that man?

SIDNER: The chief testified Chauvin violated the department's neck restraint policy. And he detailed its use of force policy, which also takes into account the severity of a potential crime.

ARRADONDO: Clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless to continue to apply that level of force to a person pronged out, handcuffed behind their back that that in no way shape or form, is anything that is by policy. It's not part of our training, and it's certainly not part of our ethics or our values.

SIDNER: We also heard from the emergency room doctor who treated Floyd when the ambulance dropped him off at the hospital unresponsive.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: Did you pronounce him formally dead?


BLACKWELL: Did you receive a report that he had received CPR from many of the officers who may have been on the scene, on May 25th, 2020?

LANGENFELD: No. It's well known that any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR, markedly decreases the chances of a good outcome.

SIDNER: Dr. Bradford Langenfeld testified he believes that George Floyd died from hypoxia or a lack of oxygen.



SIDNER: The prosecution is trying to prove it was from the 9 minutes 29 seconds that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck restricting his breathing. The defense is trying to refute that, saying it was illicit drugs in Floyd's system coupled with his medical history.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE LAWYER: Certain drugs can cause hypoxia, agreed?


NELSON: Specifically, Fentanyl?

LANGENFELD: That's correct.

NELSON: How about methamphetamine?


NELSON: The combination of the two?


SIDNER: But the doctor testified paramedics normally report to him drug overdoses or extreme agitation.

BLACKWELL: Did they say to you for purposes of caring or giving treatment to Mr. Floyd, that they felt that he had suffered a drug overdose?

LANGENFELD: Not on the information they gave, no.

SIDNER: The commander who was in charge of police training back in May testified what she saw Chauvin do to Floyd was not consistent with their training.

UNKNOWN: And how does this differ?

KATIE BLACKWELL, INSPECTOR, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I don't know what kind of improvised position that is, so that's not we trained.


SIDNER (on camera): There's another extraordinary day because we heard from the chief of police, you don't often hear from so many officers and certainly the chief of police in this case standing very strongly against the kind of force that his former officer Derek Chauvin used. And he went down a list of what the reasons are for using force.

And they were pretty clear it was whether or not the officer or others were in potentially grave danger, whether or not he was actively and that's an important word, actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest.

And then lastly, the police are supposed to consider the crime that the person is being accused of. If you look at that in its totality the chief said this was absolutely unnecessary to be on his neck with your knee for more than 9 minutes. And it went again not -- against not only their policy but their ethical rules as well.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.

NEWTON: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is vowing to keep his prison hunger strike, keep up with his prison hunger strike even though he says he is sick with high fever and bad cough. This newly-obtained video you see it there reportedly shot on March 26th by pro-Russian government media is meant to illustrate what it calls the exemplary conditions where he's being held.

Now it's said to show Navalny in a prison room without any obvious signs of discomfort. State media have accused him of faking medical problems to stay in the public eye which he and his allies deny. Navalny is serving time on fraud charges. He was arrested when he came back to Russia after being in Germany for poisoning with a nerve agent.

Jordan says Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has pledged his allegiance to the king after he was accused of a plot to destabilize the country. Now the government says he signed a letter on Monday agreeing to support both his half-brother, King Abdullah and the current crown prince.

It read in part, the national interest must remain above all else and we must all stand behind his majesty the king in his efforts to safeguard Jordan and its national interest and ensure the best for the Jordanian people.

We want to bring in Jomana Karadsheh now who is live for us in Amman, Jordan. Really good to see you there and to try and really put this puzzle back together for us.

So, this letter has it put a lid on the rift or as your indication that this was hastily that this -- came together quite hastily and that a lot of these problems will continue?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Paula, we had heard from the government on Sunday saying that the king, King Abdullah had initially wanted to resolve this matter with Prince Hamzah through the royal family channels to try and deal with it the way they have always dealt with any sort of disagreement within the royal family. And late last night there was a statement coming from the royal court in which they said that the king had delegated this responsibility assigned this matter, this crisis to his uncle the former crown prince of Jordan who serve as crown prince for more than 30 years, a very well respected figure in this country and beyond.

And shortly after that announcement, a letter from the royal court was issued signed by Prince Hamzah and said to be, that was done in the presence of other royals, princes who are close to Prince Hamzah. And as you mentioned there, he is pledging alleging to the king and the crown prince, saying that he puts himself at the disposal of the king and that national interest remains the most important and above all else.

But there are so many questions still, Paula, because this was a real shift in tone from what we had heard and seen from the former crown prince from Prince Hamzah in that video that came out on Saturday.


And then an audio that was leaked in which he sounded very defiant, saying that he is not going to back down, although he was asked to seize all sorts of communication saying that he was going to escalate.

The Jordanian people have basically been presented with two competing very different narratives, you've got the government on the one hand accusing the former crown prince of working with working with foreign entities as they called it with other individuals in the country to try and destabilize Jordan.

And on the other hand, you have heard the statement from Prince Hamzah in which he says that these accusations are leveled against anyone in this country who dares to speak out. So, a lot of questions remain. There has been an outpouring of support for the king for the leadership in this country from inside Jordan and from outside the country.

But, Paula, the damage this incident has done to Jordan's image to the image of the royal family that united royal family that Jordanians have been accustomed to seeing over the years, it cannot be overstated. There is going to be a lot of work to try and restore that image of a stable country that really has been shaken by these events, Paula.

NEWTON (on camera): Absolutely. And even though the royal family wants this to be the last word, it likely will not be. I'm glad you're there to cover it all for us. Jomana, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

Now the U.S. says it will not take unilateral action such as lifting sanctions to entice around back to the 2015 nuclear deal. However, the State Department says sanctions will be discuss at the nuclear talks beginning today in Vienna.

The U.S. under President Joe Biden says it hopes these talks will set the stage for a mutual return to compliance. The Trump administration abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018. Since then Tehran has increasingly violated its commitments under the deal.

CNN's Nic Robertson takes a look at how we got to this moment.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Two thousand fifteen, the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA is signed, lengthening Iran's breakout timeline to making a nuclear bomb to a year.


ROBERTSON: Two thousand eighteen, President Trump unilaterally pulls out ratchets up rhetoric and sanctions. Iran response incrementally breaking the terms of the deal. February 19th 2021, President Joe Biden's administration reverses Trumps JCPOA's decision.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're ever prepared to re-engage in negotiations with the P5 plus one.

ROBERTSON: Iran's time to a possible bomb, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, now only three to four months, the difficulty for Biden, how to rejoin the JCPOA.

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: All the sanctions have to be removed. The United States must gain re-entry to the JCPOA. It's not automatic, it's not a revolving door.

ROBERTSON: Since Trump pulled out, Iran began flouting the deal shortening the potential time to make a bomb, producing more than 13 times the agreed 300-kilogram limit of low enriched uranium using illegal centrifuges to enrich uranium to a level higher than allowed by the 2015 deal. And lots more, even refusing the world's most nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA's inspectors' access to some sites. Its director flies to Tehran.

RAFAEL MARIANO GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: We got a reasonable result after what was a very, very intense consultation, negotiation.

ROBERTSON: Iran dodges censure but U.S. entry to the JCPOA is still blocked.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We said we would attempt. Iran so far said no. I think the ball is in their court to see if they're serious about reengaging or not.

ROBERTSON: Almost a month later, a small breakthrough. A virtual JCPOA meet minus the U.S. The step brings face-to-face talks in Vienna, April 6 with U.S. representatives in the city but not at the talks table. Iran's position still unchanged, adding no Iran-U.S. meeting unnecessary. Even so, U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley will be in Vienna.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What is happening in the coming days is really focused on indirect talks that are happening through the Europeans.

ROBERTSON: No breakthrough expected. Iran now closer to having a bomb, and holding out for U.S. concessions.


Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST (on camera): U.S. officials says smugglers dropped two toddlers over the southern border wall and abandoned them in the New Mexico desert. An update on their conditions, next.


NEWTON (on camera): Now to an update on the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, I know you remember this video from last week. U.S. authorities say it shows smugglers dropping two small children over the border wall and abandoning them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection rescued the children and says they are in good health. The 3 and 5-year-old sisters from Ecuador are now waiting to be reunited with families or sponsors. Smugglers are trafficking people of all ages of course. CNN's Rosa Flores recently followed border patrol agents in Texas.


UNKNOWN: So as you can see over here this is one of the vehicles.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- allegedly smuggling at least nine adults from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras. Four were locked in the back of this SUV without a way out. The others --

UNKNOWN: As soon as the vehicle stopped, the subjects attempted to flee on foot.

FLORES (voice-over): But they didn't get away. Late into the night, the smuggling activity picked up by the river --

UNKNOWN: By now we just had a group of 15 people that just crossed the river. They crossed over this area and right now they're skirting the banks trying to avoid detection.


NEWTON (on camera): Now, the influx of migrants at the border has led to profound overcrowding at some processing sites and that's according to newly court records that were made public between 2020 and February 2021. Customs and Border Protection saw more than 300 percent jump in the number of encounters with families and the number of unaccompanied children encountered by the agency nearly doubled.

I want to bring in Olga Byrne. She is the director of immigration at the International Rescue Committee. And, you know, the desperation of the people trying to get to the border has been apparent now really for more than a generation. Now, we have COVID, we have climate change, it's made the whole situation worse. Is there a straightforward solution that we're missing somehow in all of this?

OLGA BYRNE, DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: Yes, thanks for having me and thanks for that question. I think part of what we're seeing happening right now at the border is a reflection of the fact that it will take some time to rebuild the U.S. asylum in which (inaudible) first reversing, correct some of the policies that were enacted by the previous administration that were deemed contrary to U.S. and international refugee laws that safeguard the right to seek asylum, the right to seek protection.


And the government and NGOs are working together to that end starting with the unwinding of the migrant protection protocols. But it will take time to rebuild.

NEWTON: (Inaudible) time to rebuild, though? I mean, this is quite a complicated issue and we're going to show it again here. Last week, you know, this truly stunning, this video of these two children being dropped over the fence. I mean it just stopped me cold.

They were basically tossed over by smugglers. We talk -- and thankfully we just saw that the girls are in good health. We hear a lot about long term solutions but what will stop this kind of thing? It does need to stop, right? I mean no one would advocate this no matter how much they wanted to reunite with their parents or other relatives.

BYRNE: Yes, I mean I think, you know, the long term solution really is getting to the heart of the crisis which is in Central America, which is in regions that people are fleeing from. Through our work in Central America, in Venezuela, in Colombia, we're seeing that people are growing increasingly desperate as conditions have worsened both, as you mentioned, as a result of the pandemic induced lockdowns, as a result of natural disasters.

We have seen official statistics show that (inaudible) increasing significantly by 65 percent in Venezuela by a similar percentage in (inaudible) and other countries. And we're seeing this through our information platform that we've done (ph) across the (inaudible) where requests have really spiked for information and services or when (inaudible) survivors of gender-based violence.

At the same time, we've seen a spike in information requests for people related to employment. And that doesn't come as a surprise because experts indicated recently that as a result of the pandemic there would be a 10 percent traction in economic activity, up to 45 million people going into poverty as a result in Latin America.

And I want to emphasize that this request for information and services are for information and services in Central America. So, people are really trying to address the crisis they're experiencing first in their country of origin. And that very much reflects what we know about migration, is that people first often move within their country or try to (inaudible) their country.

It's why IRC actually restarted our program in El Salvador a few years ago. It was in response to an increase in internally displaced (inaudible).

NEWTON: And I know you're saying that part of the solution is for people to apply in country, but you know, you and I both know, spoken to many refugees patiently waiting their turn not just in Latin America, South America, but all over the world. But is this not really putting an undue burden on the asylum system in the United States right now?

BYRNE: I think that is a call for increasing alternative pathways as well. And we know that the Biden administration is hard at work and is speaking with NGOs, is putting hours into what that might look like. Not everyone will fit into the relatively narrow definition of a refugee, we know that.

But are there other humanitarian programs who will otherwise act (ph) that can help people get out of the crisis (inaudible)? And not just to come to the U.S. (inaudible) in their region and be safe.

NEWTON: Yes, it has to be said, most people want to find a way to stay in their own countries and there certainly been lots of ideas like guest worker programs and other things that could help the situation. Olga Byrne, a very complicated discussion there. I thank you for being with us. You're with immigration at the International Rescue Committee. Thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. And we will have much more news coming up on CNN.



NEWTON (on camera): Historians are honoring the crew of a U.S. Navy ship who made the ultimate sacrifice. Now, the wreckage and the sailor's remains were lost for decades in World War II.

CNN's Ivan Watson picks up the story.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the world's deepest known shipwreck located more than 4 miles or some 6,500 meters below the surface of the Pacific. The numbers 557 identify it as the USS Johnston, filmed for the first time underwater by remote controlled submersible.

This destroyer was one of several U.S. Navy ships sunk battling a vastly superior Japanese fleet during a furious battle off the coast of the Philippines during World War II.

UNKNOWN: These little ships fighting a desperate battle for time, used everything in the book to stay afloat

WATSON (on camera): How did you feel seeing the I.D. numbers of the USS Johnston?

CARL SCHUSTER, RETIRED U.S. NAVY: In a way, it's painful, but in another way, it's inspirational.

WATSON (voice-over): Former U.S. Navy captain Carl Schuster says he and his fellow officer studied the story of the Johnston and its commander, Earnest Evans, the first Native American naval officer to be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

SCHUSTER: He moved without orders. He saw an imminent danger to the fleet and he moved on it on his own authority.

WATSON (voice-over): Evans bought time for vulnerable American transport ships by attacking a fleet of 23 Japanese warships.

SCHUSTER: His actions started a charge, if you will, that ultimately saved several thousand American lives. That cost him his own and much of his crew.

WATSON (voice-over): One hundred eight-six crew members including Commander Evans died aboard the Johnston. The Johnston was mapped by Caladan Oceanic. Over the past decade, several other World War II wrecks have been discovered in the Pacific by expeditions led by the late Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. Navies around the world treat these sites as sacred war graves.

SCHUSTER: I see them as the tombs or cemeteries of brave men who died fighting for their country, whether they're German, Japanese or American.

WATSON (voice-over): The mapping of the USS Johnston brings some closure for surviving relatives of the ship's crew.

UNKNOWN: A grateful people will remember their names, the Gambier Bay, the USS Hoel, The Johnston, the Samuel B. Roberts.

WATSON (voice-over): But the final resting places of the three other ships sunk during the same deadly battle have yet to be found. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


NEWTON (on camera): And that's it for us here on "CNN Newsroom." I'm Paula Newton. I'll be back in 15 minutes with more news. Up next here on CNN, Quest's World of Wonder.