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At Least 600 Reported Killed in Myanmar's Brutal Crackdown; Resistance Undeterred by Violence in Myanmar; U.K. Health Secretary: All Three Approved Vaccines Are Safe; Brazil Reports 4,200+ Deaths, Another Record; U.S. Considers Sending Warships to Black Sea; Renowned Medical Expert on the Stand; Volcanic Explosion Imminent on St. Vincent; Scammers Offer Fake COVID Vaccines Online; Attorneys: Associate of GOP Congressman Likely to Strike Plea Deal. Aired 12- 12:45a ET

Aired April 9, 2021 - 00:00   ET


JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Avlon in New York, and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM at this hour.


CNN gives you an exclusive look inside Myanmar, where people on the ground seem willing to risk everything, and their fight for democracy and tensions between Russia and Ukraine are back on the rise with the U.S. possibly added to the mix.

And buyer beware. Underworld criminals are trying to sell fake coronavirus vaccines in the dark corners of the Internet.

Myanmar's military has killed at least 600 people in its crackdown on pro-democracy protests. That's according to a monitoring group. That's 600 civilians, including dozens of children gunned down since the February coup.

The violence and repression of Myanmar is horrifying, but it isn't new. Civilians have lived under military rule for some 50 years after the country gained independence. It's only been in the past decade that they've tasted democracy. And now they're not willing to give it up.

In a CNN exclusive, chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward and her team were the first western TV journalists allowed into the country since the coup. They were there with the permission of the military and were being escorted throughout. Here's what they saw.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By day, the junta continues its brutal crackdown, killing pro-democracy protesters who refuse to submit to military rule.

At night, the raids begin, as soldiers round up activists and drag away the dead. Their bodies, evidence of the military's shoot-to-kill tactics. Two months after overthrowing Myanmar's democratically- elected government in a coup, the junta has been unapologetic in its ruthlessness, and silent in the face of international outrage.

Fearless local journalists and activists have risked everything to show the world what is happening, while outside access to the country has been blocked.

But now, the military has granted CNN the first access to visit Myanmar. From the moment we arrive, our movements are tightly controlled.

(on camera): Gives you a sense of the intense level of security with us, one, two, three. Another three over there. Six trucks, full of soldiers, accompanying our every move.

(voice-over): At township offices across Yangon, alleged victims of the protest movement dutifully await us. They tell us they have been beaten, and threatened, and humiliated by the violators, a pejorative term the military uses for the pro-democracy protesters.

In north of Galapo (ph) Township, the local administrator complains that the demonstrators were noisy, and broke the law by gathering in groups of more than five.

(on camera): Are you seriously comparing these infractions to more than 500 people being killed, among them children? Are you saying that these are equal?

(voice-over): Our minders are perturbed by the question, and it goes unanswered.

They take us to a shopping center, one of two attacked by arsonists overnight. Like many businesses in Myanmar, they are partially owned by the military. The strong implication from our minders is that the protesters are to blame.

(on camera): It's a similar story at several burned-out factories. This is the third factory that the military wanted to show us. They say it's clear proof that the protesters are violent, that they have been setting fire to businesses like this.

But the protesters say they had nothing to do with it at all, and the factory owners who we've spoken to say they simply don't know who's responsible.

(voice-over): Sandra's (ph) Chinese-owned garment factory completely destroyed. She asked we not show her face.

(on camera): Do you have any sense of what you will do now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Waiting for the government giving some helping.

WARD: Who is the government right now in Myanmar?


WARD: Sorry, is that a hard question?


WARD (voice-over): Every moment of our visit is carefully choreographed. When protesters begin posting about our movements on social media, the military cuts off wi-fi across the country.

Still, from the window of our convoy, we catch glimpses of reality.

(on camera): Some people from the balcony just flashed three fingers at me. That's the hunger game salute to the troops, something emblematic of this uprising. I'm speaking quietly, because I don't want our minders to know what they just did. Because honestly, it could be a very dangerous situation for then.

(voice-over): We pass a small protest, rejecting Myanmar's return to more than half a century of repressive military rule. Their banner calls for a spring revolution. Our minders won't let us stop.

Finally, after days of pushing, we are allowed to visit a public space, an open market. We avoid approaching anyone, mindful of the fact that we are surrounded by security forces. But within minutes, one brave man flashes the three-finger salute.

(on camera): I saw that you made a sign, tell me what you mean by making that sign?

We don't -- Just stand back, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice, justice, we want justice.

WARD: You want justice?


WARD (voice-over): Moments later, another man approaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not scared, not weapons. We don't have no weapons. Not scared. But every day fighting. Every day, just like that, just like this.

WARD: As word of our presence spreads, we hear an unmistakable sound. Banging pots and pans is a tradition to get rid of evil spirits, but it has become the signature sound of resistance. This young teacher says she ran to talk to us when she heard the noise.

(on camera): You want democracy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want democracy. We don't want military coup.

WARD: You know we're surrounded by military. Like this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't. I'm not afraid at all. If we are afraid, we people, around here, would not hit and bang the pan.

WARD: Like many young people, she sees her future being ripped away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to go back to the dark age. We lost our voice and we had democracy only for 10 years. We don't have weapons. We don't have guns. Just only we have voice.

WARD: But even words can be punished here. Not wanting the situation to escalate, we decide to leave the market, as people honk their horns in support of the protest movement. The junta has grossly underestimated the determination of its people, and the growing hatred for the military.

In the capital, Naypyitaw, we finally have the opportunity to confront Myanmar senior military leadership.

MAJOR GENERAL ZAW MIN TUN, MILITARY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): I will tell you the reason why we have to crack down. The protests were peaceful from February 1st to the 8th. The reason for the crackdown was because they blocked civil servants. The security forces are giving warnings. Firstly, shouting to break the crowds, and then shooting in the air. And the crowds are throwing stones, and using slingshots.

WARD (on camera): Are you seriously comparing stones and slingshots to assault rifles? The military is using weapons against its own people. Really, they only belong on the battlefield.

The main thing is, they aren't only using stones and slingshots to assault rifles. The military is using weapons against its own people that really only belong on the battlefield.

TUN (through translator): The main thing is, they are not only using stones and slingshots. We have evidence they used gasoline and Molotov cocktails. You need to add those, too. For the security forces, they use crackdown weapons for riots. There will be deaths when they are cracking down the riots, but we are not shooting without discipline. But the rifles we use for the front lines.

WARD: So this is CCTV footage of 17-year-old Kwa Min Lah (ph) going past a police convoy. You can see, the police shoot him on the spot. His autopsy later said that he suffered a brain injury as a result of a cycling accident, which I think we can all see, that's not a cycling accident. How do you explain this?

TUN (through translator): If that kind of thing has occurred, we will have investigations for it. We will investigate it if it's true or not. There may be some videos which looks suspicious, but for our forces, we don't have any intention to shoot at innocent people.

WARD: So, 14-year-old Tung Tung Aung (ph), who was killed by your forces, what do you say to his mother? You say that he was a violent protester? Or what would you say to the father of 13-year-old Tun Mak Nguyen (ph)? Also shot dead by your forces.

TUN (through translator): We have heard about the deaths of the children, too. There is no reason we will shoot children. This is only the terrorists that are trying to make us look bad.

WARD (voice-over): But the lies are paper-thin. According to the U.N., as of March 31, at least 44 children have been killed. Back in Yangon, our minders take us to another market, in a military area. Keen to show they have popular support. But the ploy backfires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want democracy.

WARD (on camera): I understand.

A man just told me, "We want democracy" as he walked past. But he was too scared to stop and talk.

(voice-over): Others are more bold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please save our country.

WARD (on camera): Save your country?

(voice-over): These people are not activists. They are ordinary citizens, and they live in fear of the military.

(on camera): You have goose bumps. You're, like, shivering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not -- they are not human.

WARD: Yes. They're not human?


WARD (voice-over): They are desperate for the outside world to know their pain. One girl approaches us, shaking.

(on camera): I feel like you're very nervous. Are you OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We are not safe anymore. Even in the night. There are shooters, and the shooters shoot the children.

WARD: I don't want you to get in trouble. I don't want you to get arrested, OK?


WARD: All right.

(voice-over): She knows her bravery will certainly be punished, but this is a resistance movement built on small acts of great courage.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Myanmar.


AVLON: That woman was arrested just as she was running away from the market. Ten others were also arrested for talking to CNN, but thankfully, they were all released after a couple of days. Earlier, Clarissa spoke about it with Jake Tapper.


WARD: Really, this is just an illustration, Jake, of how threatened the military is by this popular movement, military does not have the support of its people and also an illustration of how extraordinarily brave these men and women are, risking their own security to make the voices of the people heard, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Their courage is just unbelievable. And Clarissa, Myanmar's special envoy to the United Nations has called for tougher sanctions. What impact would that have?

WARD: Well, there are already sanctions levied against the junta by the U.S., the U.K., and the European Union. But the reality is sanctions don't give the kind of leverage it's really needed now to have a meaningful impact. And so far we haven't seen that meaningful united response from the international communities singing from the same song sheet, demanding an end to this military rule.

And that's exactly why you saw those people take those risks and talk to us, even though we were standing there, saying, Listen, we are surrounded by security. Be careful.

That's the desperation of a people who don't have any other options and who are desperate to have the world pay attention to what is happening in Myanmar, Jake.

TAPPER: Well, we thank you for helping to bring attention to their plight, and we wish that our world leaders were as brave as these common folks, risking everything just to hold up their three fingers and say, We want democracy. Maybe our world leaders can get some courage from -- from these people.

Clarissa Ward, another incredible report. Thank you so much.

WARD: Thank you.


AVLON: Myanmar's military is also cracking down on dissent from its citizens abroad. The country's ambassador to the U.K. has been locked out of the embassy in London. He says it's just another coup. He's been vocal about his support for pro-democracy protesters, even giving that famous three-fingered salute.

The U.K. foreign office says it is looking at options to allow him to stay in the country.

Meanwhile, the ambassador's spokesperson says the military members in the embassy are threatening staff with severe punishment. The ambassador says he hopes the U.K. will kick them out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you want the U.K. to do?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you want them to do? Move them out, you say?

MINN: Move them out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that's going to happen?

MINN: Of course. Why not?


AVLON: People gathered chanting outside the embassy on Thursday, chanting pro-democracy slogans.

E.U.'s vaccine chief says the region could achieve herd immunity from the coronavirus by mid-July. That means 70 percent of the population should be vaccinated by then.

Right now, most of Europe is in that four to 16 percent range and far from being fully vaccinated. This big push to speed things up come after the World Health Organization said the E.U.'s vaccine rollout had been unacceptably slow.


THIERRY BRETON, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR THE INTERNAL MARKET: We have now 53 factories, working seven days a week, 24/24. And yes, I could tell you today that we will deliver the number of doses which will be necessary, to achieve 70 percent of the adult population being vaccinated by mid-July.

In other words, they will be now in the hands of member states to make sure that, in every single country of the E.U., the vaccination campaign will exhilarate.


AVLON: The E.U. vaccine chief went on to express confidence in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. That's after British and European regulators acknowledged a possible link between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots.

Now, U.K. health authorities are urging the greater public against avoiding that particular vaccine, saying that all three of Britain's approved vaccines are safe. Salma Abdelaziz explains.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: British health officials are now rushing to reassure the public, after it was confirmed that there is a potential link between very rare cases of blood clotting and the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine. The U.K. health secretary saying this shows that the regulatory bodies, the checks and balances behind the vaccine, are working. Because they were able to detect very rare incidences, four out of a million. That is the likelihood of these very rare cases of blood clots occurring.

However, it is, of course, causing confusion, concern, and global repercussions, with several countries taking steps to limit the use of this vaccine in certain age groups.

Start with Australia, saying they're not going to have to recalibrate their vaccine rollout to give this vaccine to only those over 50 years old.

Italy, as well, now saying they're going to provide preferential treatment for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine to over 60's. Spain saying it's going to pivot its plan, giving this vaccine to only those older than 60 years old.

And in Belgium, it is now paused for anyone 55 years old and under.

That's just a few of the countries taking steps, recalibrating, recalculating, their risk-benefit analysis when it comes to certain age groups. The likelihood that this very rare occurrence, these very rare blood clots could happen, versus how likely it is for someone to get COVID, to get hospitalized.

But the fear is that, as there is mixed messaging, there is mixed concern, this could increase vaccine hesitancy, lower vaccine uptake, and, potentially, prolong the pandemic.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


AVLON: The new epicenter of the pandemic is Brazil, which once again broke its record for daily COVID deaths. More than 4,200 were recorded on Thursday alone.

Top U.S. expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Brazilian authorities to seriously consider imposing additional restrictions. But, as Rafael Romo reports, the Brazilian president is not on board.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazil has well over 13 million confirmed cases in the number of COVID-19 deaths.

(voice-over): It's now more than 340,000. March was the deadliest month for the South American country since the pandemic began, and things seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Also, the Brazilian variant, known as P-1, has been found in 18 out of 26 states throughout the country. And as we have reported, has also been detected in neighboring countries like Uruguay.

So what is President Jair Bolsonaro saying about this health crisis? Once again, downplaying the alarming situation Wednesday, saying there is no point crying over spilled milk.

But it was the very same day that Brazil posted 3,829 new deaths, raising the total nationwide death toll to 340,776, according to government data.

You may remember that Bolsonaro raised eyebrows a few months ago when he said COVID-19 was just "gripe zena (ph)," a little cold, and dismissed warnings about the disease. He would later test positive to the coronavirus.

Brazil remains the country with the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world after the United States. It also accounted for approximately one-third, about 28 percent, of the total global deaths since March 21, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.



AVLON: Escalating violence in Northern Ireland. This brings back memories of the troubles. Find out what's behind the clashes.

Plus, the U.S. considers a show of support for Ukraine as Russia makes military moves at the Ukrainian border. Stay with us for those stories and much more.


AVLON: More violence broke out in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. That's despite unified calls for calm. Officials say the unrest is reaching levels that haven't been seen in years, and pro- Irish nationalists and pro-British loyalists are blaming each other.

Tensions have been rising in Northern Ireland over post-Brexit trade barriers. At a nationalist funeral that apparently broke COVID restrictions but didn't result in any arrests.

Northern Ireland experienced deadly sectarian violence for decades until a landmark peace deal in 1998.

A U.S. defense official is telling CNN the U.S. is considering sending warships into the Black Sea in the next few weeks. It would be a strong show of support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's increased military presence on Ukraine's eastern border.

The Biden administration and global allies are expressing concerns about rising tensions between Kyiv and Moscow. And the White House has a review of the Russian government's sections, which will be concluding in weeks.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggressions in Eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements and Ukraine's border. Russia now has more troops on the border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014. Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed this week alone. These are all deeply concerning signs.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AVLON: I want to bring in Garry Kasparov, who joins us from Croatia for perspective on this. He's the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and the Renew Democracy Initiative.

Garry, it's good to see you. You know, we are not used, in recent years, to seeing the U.S. government condemn Russia clearly. But this brings back bad memories of the last time Russia moved troops against the Ukrainian border. What's your take on what the right strategy for the United States is right now?

GARRY KASPAROV, CHAIRMAN, HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Yes, there have to be concerned, but I think it's time just to move, you know, from concerns, deep concerns, grave concerns, deadly concerns, to action.

The Biden administration has talked the talk with Putin, calling him out by name, and calling him a killer. But Ukraine and of course, Alexei Navalny, it will require Biden to also walk the walk.

So deterrence needs teeth, and repercussions matter.

And it's -- I welcome the statements about the potential appearance of the American fleet in the Black Sea, but, it is all about the real price that Putin will pay for -- for his crimes.

And the United States, and hopefully Europe, and the rest of the free world, could make it quite clear, now, there will be overwhelming repercussions. Should Navalny be killed in prison or war in Ukraine erupts.

Let's not forget, from a dictator's perspective, the -- any of the crimes do not matter unless there is a prize. And if Navalny's situation becomes very hot from Putin's perspective, he could easily go into war with Ukraine just to change -- change the headlines.

AVLON: Distract from the prosecution of Navalny and prison.

KASPAROV: Absolutely.

AVLON: Let's just separate those two things for one second, because I want to stay focused on the Ukraine. What, specifically, actions do you think the Biden administration and European allies should take that would provide enough of a deterrence to get Putin to reconsider aggression on the border, specifically?

KASPAROV: Look, it's the -- it's since Putin's aggression against Ukraine in 2014, annexation of Crimea, and war in the eastern Ukraine, it was a deadly cycle.

And I'm a chess player, but allow me a poker analogy that is better. Putin bluffs all the time, and the free world folds. And Putin raises the stakes again. So he literally can always risk more than the west is willing to risk .

And if he doesn't change soon, you know, it's going to be a catastrophe. So it could be even bigger than Ukraine, or Syria, and I think it's very important to make it very, very sure that, you know, the action will follow immediately if Putin -- if Putin crosses the Ukrainian border again.

AVLON: All right. Let's get to Alexei Navalny and prison. First of all, do you think his life is at risk right now?

KASPAROV: Absolutely. Yes, his life is at great risk, because after failing to assassinate Navalny with poison last year, now, Putin is trying to finish the job in prison.

And if Navalny dies in prison, there is no more to say. And remember, Navalny committed no crime. He's a political prisoner, being tortured, and on track of being murdered in plain sight by Putin's dictatorship. And by the way, if Navalny dies in prison, Putin is just demonstrating of his -- of his strength for both domestically and outside of Russia, if there's no price to pay.

AVLON: Well, that gets to the issue of price to pay, but there's also a domestic cost. The protests in favor of Navalny, public protests especially, as the weather gets warmer. Does that affect Putin's calculus, in addition to international perspective?

KASPAROV: Yes. But, probably now, just not the way you think and I think. Because Navalny isn't just activist or opposition leader. He has become a symbol of resistance to Putin's entire mafia rule.

Navalny exposed their vast corruption to a country that is falling apart. And the pro-democracy movement in Russia barely exists after two decades of Putin's war on it. And Navalny succeeded in mobilizing people who were fed up and tired of being voiceless. And dictators can never tolerate the smallest amount of opposition, because they know it will turns into something bigger. And Putin cannot afford having anyone around that can be seen as the successor, or an alternative.

AVLON: That gets me to my final question. Do you think Putin is strong or week?

KASPAROV: Again, it's -- it's -- it's not an easy question. He's both strong and week. He's strong, because as long as you can get away with these crimes. But he's also week, because he has less and less tools at -- at his disposal to control the situation.

And now he is shifting, you know, to terror and to foreign aggression and again only if this is exposed. By demonstrating to the Russian elite that there will be a steep price for them to pay, since all of their money is kept outside of Russia. Unless it happens, you know, you can consider Putin strong.

But if America and European allies demonstrate that there will be, you know, this time, they will be resolute to go after their money. And by the way, Navalny presented the least of oligarchs that could be targeted. If -- if the political will is there, then, you will -- we will all find out the Putin's regime is not as strong as they pretend.

AVLON: Garry Kasparov, thank you for your perspective, as always.

KASPAROV: Thank you. AVLON: Did George Floyd's drug use, and health issues, have any impact

on his death? We're going to hear what a renowned medical expert had to say at the trial of the police officer charged with killing him. Stay with us.



AVLON: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Avlon.

Prosecutors at the Derek Chauvin trial have shifted to a new phase of their case and are now focusing on the medical analysis of George Floyd's cause of death. Now, a medical expert was called to the stand and offered key testimony on Floyd's final breaths. CNN's Sara Sidner has the details.


DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST: That's the moment the life was out of his body.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, the prosecutor's expert medical witness did not hold back.

TOBIN: Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop.

SIDNER: The world-renowned expert on breathing and lungs, Dr. Martin Tobin, pointed to the officer's actions, saying George Floyd died because the officers created a scenario in which Floyd's lungs were put into a vice-like grip.

TOBIN: It was almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and removed the lung. Not quite, but along those lines.

SIDNER: Doctor Tobin said four things caused Floyd to stop breathing, including Floyd's position on the concrete, allowing no room for his lungs to expand.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: You mentioned several reasons for Mr. Floyd's low oxygen. You mentioned one -- handcuffs in the street, right?

TOBIN: Correct.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned knee on the neck?


BLACKWELL: Prone position?


BLACKWELL: And the knee on the back, arm, and side. Were those the four?

TOBIN: Yes, these are the four.

SIDNER: The doctor also testified about whether drugs were the culprit that killed George Floyd, as former Officer Derek Chauvin's attorney has suggested. To that, Doctor Tobin said Floyd had not taken a proper breath for 9 minutes and 50 seconds when paramedics finally got a breathing tube in him. And by that point, carbon dioxide in Floyd's body had reached lethal levels.

BLACKWELL: What's the punchline?

TOBIN: The significance of all of that is it's a second reason why you know fentanyl is not causing in the depression of his respiration. So we explained by what you expect to happen in somebody who doesn't have any ventilation given to them for 9 minutes and 50 seconds.

SIDNER: On cross examination, Chauvin's attorney pushed Doctor Tobin on two main issues: the potential effect of drugs on Floyd's body and his breathing, and his heart disease.

ERIC NELSON, CHAUVIN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And that's going to affect blood flow in a person, right? It's going to make the body work a little harder to get the blood through the body?

TOBIN: No, not really. It's not going to do that.

NELSON: How does that affect a person's respiratory?

TOBIN: You would expect that he would be complaining of chest pain, and you would expect that he would be demonstrating a very rapid respiratory rate. We don't see either.


SIDNER: The last witness of the day, also a doctor, backed up Doctor Tobin's testimony that drugs did not cause Floyd's death.

DR. WILLIAM SMOCK, DIRECTOR AND POLICE SURGEON, CLINICAL FORENSIC MEDICINE PROGRAM, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE: When you watch those videos, and we go through them, what is his respiration? He's breathing. He's talking. He's not snoring. He is saying, Please, please, get off of me. I want to breathe. I can't breathe. That is not a fentanyl overdose. That someone begging to breathe.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.


AVLON: COVID vaccines are a hot commodity. And online scammers are trying to cash in. But beware, obviously, of what's offered on the dark web.


AVLON: The island of St. Vincent is on red alert as emergency officials warn that this volcano could erupt at any time now. Authorities are ordering some 7,000 people to evacuate. Multiple cruise ships are on the way to help St. Vincent to get people off the island. Meteorologist Derek van Dam joins us now to explain -- Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, John, there has been seismic activity here. This kind of seismic activity that they've been noting on the island of St. Vincent, it's associated with the movement of magma near the surface of the earth.

So near the crater of this particular volcano in question, there has been what is known as an effusive eruption. So basically, what is occurring now is kind of a steady flow of lava that is coming from this crater.

But what authorities and volcanologists are concerned about is what is called an explosive eruption and, of course, that would have ramifications, because that would project volcanic ash into the upper levels of the atmosphere and eventually be disturbing it across the island or even the surrounding areas.

That is why they have called upon these cruise liners to come and evacuate as many people as possible. You can think about the logistical nightmare being on an island. We are talking about the Caribbean ocean here, stranded from any type of mainland, so not many locations you can get to for safe -- for safety during a volcanic eruption.

So they're going to try and get as many people off because of this imminent threat of an eruptive volcanic activity. And so concerns here are obvious with the potential for volcanic ash fall within this area.

You can see just some of this effusive activity just before the sunset here across the region. And some of the boat activity in and around the windward islands looking at some of the latest information statements from authorities there.

They are saying if you can't evacuate the island on any one of these cruise liners, that the windward side near the Kingston region -- that's the south -- southern tip of the island, would actually be the safest location, because the wind in the event of an explosive volcanic eruption, would take that volcanic ash away from that particular area. So again, the windward side of the island would logically be the safest area -- John.


AVLON: Derek Van Dam, thank you very much for explaining that all for us.

The wait for coronavirus vaccines can feel agonizingly long, but no matter how desperate you are to get the shot, don't try buying one online. As Anna Stewart explains, criminals are active during times of crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Available no, satisfaction one hunted percent guaranteed," adverts claiming to sell authentic COVID-19 vaccines found on the dark web.

DEREK MIDDLEMISS, EMEA HEAD OF SECURITY SOLUTIONS ENGINEERING, CHECK POINT: We can see there were more than three times more vaccines on offer than at three months, so it's constantly going up.

STEWART: Cyber-security firm Check Point has been investigating COVID- related ads on the dark web for months.

MIDDLEMISS: So initially, it was the medicines, how to treat it. Then we found the vaccines, and then more and more. This then snowballed on, and what we then found as it went on was as they became more interested in society starting to unlock and move forward, we then found more interest in being able to buy negative tests. And also now with the vaccines rolling out, we're seeing vaccine passports, as well.

STEWART (on camera): So this is the marketplace that you initially found, where we're seeing Moderna, Pfizer.

MIDDLEMISS: The latest one we have here is a single dose from Johnson & Johnson. We can see there that's just an example of an advert.

STEWART (voice-over): Check Point trying to buy a Sinovac vaccine on the dark web back in January for $750 worth of Bitcoin. Nothing ever arrived.

MIDDLEMISS: We don't have any evidence that anyone's bought successfully and got a vaccine and had it delivered.

STEWART: These products aren't just appearing online. Interpol issued a global alert last year, warning that organized crime networks would take advantage of the pandemic.

JURGEN STOCK, SECRETARY-GENERAL, INTERPOL: Criminals are using any opportunity with these fake certificates concerning COVID-19 vaccination, or -- of a test. We have even been seeing in some parts of the world the criminals are getting physically close to the borders, and they are offering these kinds of services providing people who desperately like to cross the border, for instance, to see the relatives, providing them at the border with a fake certificate concerning a negative test result or even a vaccination.

STEWART: Last month, a fake vaccine distribution ring operating across two continents was dismantled.

STOCK: That led to more than 80 arrests in both countries, and all these thousands of doses of fake vaccines could be taken away from the market before they, again, put harm to people.

STEWART: Both Interpol and Check Point stress you cannot legitimately buy a COVID-19 vaccine online. You may never receive a vial, and if you do, you don't know what's in it. MIDDLEMISS: If something looks too good to be true, than it probably

is. This is what's preyed on. This feeling, this desperation is the reason why this exists. But my advice, 100 percent, would be, you know, just -- just it's not going to happen.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


AVLON: And an update on Sunday's ruckus at the Miss Sir Lanka beauty pageant.

The reigning Miss World is out on bail after being arrested for forcibly snatching the crown off the winner's head. Here's what happened.

So she said the winner was divorced and, therefore, not qualified to win the title and took it upon herself to claim the crown for the runner-up.

Well, turns out the winner is separated but not divorced. So the pageant has apologized and returned to the prize.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Avlon. WORLD SPORT starts after the break.