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Recent Tensions Ease In Northern Ireland; Power Outage Follows Volcanic Eruptions; Women And Diversity Win Big At British Awards Ceremony; Iran Nuclear Facility Sabotaged; Michigan's Surging New COVID Cases, Calling for More Vaccines; England Begins Phase Two of Exiting Restrictions; Pilgrimage in India Feared to Spike Surge of New COVID-19 Cases; Special Session in the House of Commons for Prince Philip. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 12, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Ahead on CNN, the latest on what's being called a terrorist action at a nuclear facility in Iran. We have a live report from the region on who Tehran thinks is behind it.

Plus, COVID vaccinations are on the rise and the U.S. plot (ph) the surge of cases in Michigan is a reality check on how quickly variants are spreading. And --


CURNOW: Northern Ireland is seeing some of its worst violence in years, but can the fragile calm after Prince Philip's death last? We are live in Belfast. That's ahead.

We begin with an incident at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility in what is being described by one Iranian lawmaker as a blackout. Tehran says no one was injured and there were no leaks, but the timing doesn't seem like a coincidence and it's likely to stoke tensions in the region. Fred Pleitgen is following the story from Berlin. Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the Iranians have called all of these terrorist actions, which seems to very strongly indicate that they believe that some sort of foreign power is behind the incident that took place at the Natanz nuclear reactor, which is really one of the main sites in Iran's nuclear program.

The Iranians are saying that they believe it's some power that is afraid of what the Iranians have been doing there, afraid of some of the advancements that the Iranians have been making.

Of course, we know that since the Trump administration put in place a lot of those sanctions and left the Iran nuclear deal that Iran has actually expanded a lot of its nuclear activities, enriching more uranium, enriching it also to a higher grade.

And one of the things that happen on Saturday is that the Iranians had their National Nuclear Day. And on this day, they actually unveiled some new centrifuges which they say are more powerful, more efficient and that will help them enrich uranium even more and more efficiently.

So, a day after this there was this incident at the Natanz nuclear reactor. The Iranians are saying that they reserve the right to retaliate, but they haven't said who they think is actually behind it. There have been some interesting hints that been dropped by the Army chief of Israel where he was seeming to indicate that it might actually be the Israelis who are behind it.

One of the things that he said was "that Israel's operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemy. They are watching us, seeing the capabilities, and carefully considering their steps." So certainly that could indicate that maybe the Israelis were behind it.

There were some sources apparently in Israel who were also hinting at that as well. So far, again, it's still very much unclear whether or not it's the case. But of course all of this comes at a very important time for the Iran nuclear agreement as for the first time in a very, very long time, both the U.S. and the Iranians are negotiating, not face to face but indirectly in an effort to try and bring the U.S. back into the deal and bring Iran back into full compliance with the deal. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

CURNOW (on camera): Thanks Fred for that. So right now, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Israel where he is expected to meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Well, earlier, Mr. Netanyahu slammed Iran's nuclear program.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translation): The fight against Iran's nuclearization and its proxies, the fight against the Iranian nuclearization, the fight against Iran arming is a massive task. The situation that exist today doesn't mean it will be the same situation tomorrow.

It's very difficult to explain what we've done here. And this transition from nothingness from complete helplessness that nothing compares to in the history of nations to being a world power. Yes. World power which we've built here. Definitely a regional power, but in certain areas a world power.


CURNOW (on camera): Hadas Gold joins me now live from Jerusalem. Hadas, good to see you. So as you heard Fred there saying that Israel's Army chief appear to hint at possible Israeli involvement in this incident, and of course we are hearing about the defense secretary in Israel at the moment. What is the timing? Tell us about this. HADAS GOLD, CNN: Yes, very interesting timing, Robyn. We are also

seeing reports in Israeli media that is pointing the finger allegedly at Israel's Mossad agency as well.


And in addition of course, to those hints that Fred was talking about from the Army chief and also from that comment that you just heard from Netanyahu as you noted the timing of all these comments are coming at a very interesting moment here because as we speak, the U.S. Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, is in Israel on a very important visit.

It is the highest level visit from a Biden administration official to Israel. Yesterday, he met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Benny Gantz spoke specifically about the Iran nuclear deal and how Israel wants to work with the U.S. on this. But the timing of this alleged attack and all of the fingers now being pointed towards Israel is very interesting because also the nuclear talks are of course ongoing in Vienna in the next few days.

As Fred noted the importance of the Nuclear Day in Iran, in the next few hours actually, we will be hearing from the defense secretary himself. He is expected to speak to reporters. I would be very surprised if this topic does not come up and perhaps even more importantly, later today, Robyn, we will be hearing from Prime Minister Netanyahu who will be appearing alongside Austin at the same time in a joint statement to the press.

This will be watched very, very closely especially because of these most recent developments. We will see of course whether they will comment on it. Of course, Israel is very much against a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, although Defense Minister Benny Gantz said they want to work with the Americans on this.

They are very weary of the Biden administration returning to this deal. They say that they will not stand by and allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Now, Austin and the U.S. officials traveling with -- U.S. officials traveling with Austin have spoken to the media and they are saying that they will work with the Israelis. They always want to consult with the Israelis on any sort of Iranian nuclear deal.

But this will be very important to watch. The statements that will be coming later from Austin, what he will say to the press. And of course, when he appears alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what will the tone be like between the two? And of course, what will they say and will they be addressing these alleged incidents, Robyn?

CURNOW: Of course, we'll watch out for that. Hadas Gold there in Jerusalem. Thank you.

Well, joining me now is Karim Sadjadpour. He's a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment. Karim, wonderful to have you on the show. I'm really glad that you're able to join us this hour. Iran is calling this nuclear terrorism. Why are they using that language? KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL

PEACE: I think, Robyn, that Iran is obviously very embarrassed by the fact that their nuclear program has once again been penetrated. If you remember last fall, Iran's top nuclear scientist was assassinated. A guy called Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, also ostensibly by the Israelis.

So, they're very -- using very strong language now to condemn this. In particular, given the fact that they are actively involved in negotiations with the United States and Europeans about the nuclear program. And are going to make the argument that the Israelis are potentially sabotaging the prospect of these negotiations being successful.

CURNOW: Yes, I mean, that was literally going to be my next question. I mean, Israel's Army chief appeared to hint at this possible Israeli involvement in the incident. Will the U.S., will Europe, will the other signatories to this nuclear deal see this as Israel trying to sabotage these renewed talks and what does that mean?

SADJADPOUR: Well, Iran's -- one of the tenets of the Iranian revolution is their opposition to Israel's existence. You know, Iranian leaders have long called for a one state solution in the Holy Land. There have been moments when Iran want to test new missiles, it writes death to Israel on those missiles.

And so if you are Israel, you argue that you're not going to outsource your national security to anyone including the United States. And so Israeli leaders have long made clear their opposition or ambivalence to JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran.

I think probably some Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu are a little bit skeptical of the instincts of some senior Biden ministration officials on Iran. And so it's simply a signal to Iran to the United States and to others that Israel is not going to defer to United States for its security.

And it's not going to be bound by these negotiations with Iran. It's not going to preclude Israel from continuing to commit acts of sabotage and potentially future assassinations.

CURNOW: In many ways, how then does this change Iran's leverage if at all, in the talks? I mean, they started last week. They're supposed to continue in Vienna this week. Does this impact Iran's next moves?


SADJADPOUR: Well, certainly, Iran will issue a condemnation and accuse the United States of being complicit in this operation. As you mention, the U.S. defense secretary was in Israel as this attack happened. And with the Iranians, that obviously not going to be seen as coincidental. So, they are going to complain and voice outrage.

But at the end of the day, they need sanctions relief and the negotiations will need to continue. Now, the Israelis have oftentimes talked about these operations as mowing the lawn, something that needs to be done every month, every two months to essentially setback Iran's programs.

So, I don't think we have seen the last of it. I think that these types of sabotage operations by Israel will continue. They will pose obstacles to these ongoing nuclear discussions. But my view is that sometime this year in 2021, we will see either full or partial revival of the nuclear deal with Iran.

CURNOW: Our thanks to Karim Sadjadpour there. You're watching CNN. Still ahead, the U.S. is vaccinating millions of people every day, but it's still not enough for some states with surging cases.

Plus, a morale boost for pub keepers and shop owners in England. What they can expect as the nation takes another step on its roadmap out of lockdown.



CURNOW (on camera): So the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 187 million vaccine doses are being given to Americans so far. But even as vaccinations ramp up, states like Michigan are struggling to get the supply they need. Here's Polo Sandoval.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If ever there was a critical time to double down on coronavirus protective measures in the state of Michigan, it is right now. From COVID-19 positivity rates not seen since the start of the pandemic, to hospitalizations nearing December peak levels. It's not getting any better in the wolverine state.

ROB DAVIDSON, MICHIGAN E.R. PHYSICIAN: With pandemic fatigue with the unique challenge here in Michigan of a very, sort of anti-coronavirus movement with about half of our population, people who don't want to wear masks, don't want to distance, I think getting vaccine shots in arms is our ultimate defense.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Repeated calls from Michigan leaders to the Biden administration asking to increase their vaccine allotments have been unsuccessful so far.

GARLIN GILCHRIST, MICHIGAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: In every conversation we're having at every level of the federal government, we are asking for more help, for more vaccines.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Hoping to help curb the rise in outbreaks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked high schools to go remote, use sports to pause, and people skip indoor dining for at least the next two weeks.

GRETCHEN WHITEMER, GOVERNOR OF MICHIHAN: Please, redouble your efforts. SANDOVAL (voice-over): But these are only recommendations, insists

the governor, not the mandated sweeping shutdowns from a year ago that made her the subject of criticism and even death threats.

WHITMER: What's happening in Michigan today could be what's happening in other states tomorrow, and so it's on all of us to recognize we can squash where we're seeing hotspots. It's in everyone's best interest.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Andy Witkowski, a Detroit area special education teacher wants to see a more aggressive move from state leaders, perhaps make those requests requirements.

ANDY WITKOWSKI, DETROIT AREA TEACHER: I think it fell short that she didn't mandate it. I think the reason our numbers are spiked is because we've opened up, schools are back. They haven't had an uptick in the sports here.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Other Michiganders like Leah Fairbanks stand behind the governor's approach.

LEAH FAIRBANKS, DETROIT AREA NURSE: Whitmer's a rock star. She's doing her best. It's a pandemic. When it comes down to it, people are either going to take care of themselves and take care of each other or they are not.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Jordan Ross is frustrated that his peers are choosing not to.

JORDAN ROSS, DETROIT RESIDENT: I'm seeing a lot of (inaudible). You know, they know the issues that are going around, but they are still choosing to have a go and hang out with friends, and go out to like Florida or things like that. So, it's kind of concerning to me.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The state's chief medical executives says nearly 1,000 COVID-19 outbreaks are being traced in Michigan linked to indoor dining, bars, new sporting events and K through 12 classes.

JONEIGH KHALDUN, MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Our public health system is overwhelmed. We are not able to get information on many cases, nor are we able to identify they are close contacts.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): There is also the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant some 2,200 cases identified in Michigan. Though experts say, there are likely more. Polo Sandoval, CNN, Detroit.


CURNOW (on camera): The latest now on Europe's fight against the virus. Germany has reported more than 3 million cases, the director of the country's Intensive Care Association says the health care system is on the verge of breaking down. Now, the consistent rise in cases has prompted Germany's national rail operator to ban people from their trains if they refuse to wear a mask. The picture is much different in the U.K. meanwhile. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says England is taking a major step forward by moving into step 2 of exiting lockdown. Here is Anna Stewart with more. Anna?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, these doors have been closed for over three months, but from today, hairdressers in England can finally re-open. And just imagine how long the waitlist is going to be. Today marks a real milestone for England in its roadmap to easing COVID-19 restrictions.

From today, nonessential shops, indoor gyms, nail salons, even zoos can re-open if they have COVID secure measures in place. And perhaps, the most highly anticipated re-open will be that of the pub. Although like restaurants and cafes, they can only reopen currently outdoors, which means the first pint could be a little bit chilly.

Certainly not back to normal, so household still can't mix indoors and travel abroad is banned so, no holidays just yet. But for businesses, this is a real turning point. So many of them have really been on life support using various government loan schemes and furlough schemes and so on. And for people in England, it's a morale boost. Finally, after such a long lockdown. Anna Stewart, CNN in Eaton, England.


CURNOW (on camera): Thanks, Anna. So, earlier we spoke with Dr. Keith Neal, an infectious disease physician about England's steps at reopening. He notes gradually lifting restrictions is important to see of these lockdown measures have been effective. Take a listen.


KEITH NEAL, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: The rationale, we start with the very oldest people and work our way down rapidly in the sense that all over 50's in the United Kingdom are being offered it. And in fact, in parts of the country like where I am, the 40's are getting it. And also people who live with vulnerable members of households are also being done so we're actually hitting this virus from all different directions.

CURNOW: And that's great news, which allows the situation to happen where people can essentially be laid out. Is there a sense that this can be managed with this combo of vaccinations and infections?

NEAL: I think the answer is we're letting the restrictions of January to (inaudible) higher consequences. There was a big concern by a few -- by some people that's going back to school would cause major outbreaks across the country.

Quite clearly in primary schools this was never really going to happen from what we knew. For all the teenagers, they were mixing outside of school as well as inside school. And the biggest possibility was that parents could go back to work or else then having to work at home or not work, was probably the biggest consequence of opening schools up. And we've not seen that fortunately. CURNOW: And let's then talk about Germany. So, if the U.K. is taking

these steps and is certainly great news for all of you folks over there in the U.K., there is a dire situation playing out in Germany with numbers, the numbers of infections and deaths and then of course ICU beds maxing out. How did it get so bad there?

NEAL: I think they are seeing the same problem what we saw just in the run up to Christmas with the B111 -- sorry -- 117 variant, which is probably quite a bit more infectious and actually swept through the country in the same way that it swept across the United Kingdom.


CURNOW (on camera): Many thanks there to Dr. Keith Neal for that conversation. So, Monday marks a significant day in India where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to bathe in the Ganges River as part of a Hindu festival. It's long been a concern of health experts which fear this could become another super spreader event.

And also, importantly, India just reported a daily record high for the sixth day in a row with almost 169,000 new cases on Monday. It comes just a day after India topped 100 million COVID vaccinations in one of the fastest rollouts in the world. Well, let's go straight to India. Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi. Vedika, hi. What can you tell us about this soaring infection rate?

VIDEKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Well, it is soaring indeed, 169,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. That came out Monday morning, local time here in India. Also, 904 deaths, the highest this year. Staggering numbers indeed, Robyn.

What we do know at this point in time is the government is working hard to make sure that this comes under control. This is officially known as the second wave here in India nationally. So, the prime minister on Sunday did launch a four-day vaccine drive and his hope is that those eligible for the vaccine will take the COVID shot in the next four days. They've intensified the process here like you mentioned -- 100 million doses have already been administered.

Along with that, the states of Maharashtra, which is the richest state in India, and the Union Territory of Delhi has seen highs in their numbers as well, because of which there are night curfews in both places, both in Maharashtra and the Union Territory of Delhi.

In fact, the chief minister of Delhi has also introduced new guidelines which includes no social and religious or political gatherings until the month end along with 50 people who can attend weddings and 20 funerals.

Now, very close to Delhi is the state of Uttarakhand in northern India where there is this massive festival, the Kumbh Mela Festival, which is on. As of yesterday, officials told us that 110,000 people visited the location for their prayers and to converge there. Today is a big day in the Hindu calendar for them.

A lot of them I expect, is in fact tens of thousands of them I expect to take a holy dip in the River Ganges. They believe this will wash off their sins. But while they do that, the worry also is that this could at some point turn into a superspreader. We already know when this festival began. Earlier this month to now, there have been about 1,800 plus new cases that have been reported in the state, in the district, rather in Uttarakhand.

So that is a worry. Along with that, election rallies are still on because five states have elections going on. These are local elections in these states and a lot of political rallies that are being addressed by politicians.

So while on one hand you have the government saying maintain social distancing, also make sure you wear masks. On the other hand, these gatherings remain a huge cause for concern, Robyn.


CURNOW: Videka Sud there in New Delhi. Thank you very much.

So coming up on CNN, a troubled region takes a step back from recent clashes out of respect for Prince Philip. We have the latest from Northern Ireland.


CURNOW (on camera): Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." It is 28 minutes past the hour. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. So, in the coming hours, the House of Commons will meet for a special session to hear a tribute to Prince Philip. The U.K. is in the midst of eight days of mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.

Crowds of people have been leaving flowers at Windsor Castle since he died on Friday. Mourners said his passing marks the end of an era. It was important for them to pay their respects.

At the Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop said he prayed for all those who now face a great gap in their lives. Prince Edward said family members are taking comfort in the outpouring of support.


PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX: It's been a bit of a shock. However, much one tries to prepare themselves for something like this. It's still a dreadful shock and just all trying to come to terms with that. And it's very, very sad, but I have to say that the extraordinary tributes and the memories that everybody has had and been willing to share has been so fantastic. It just goes to show he might have been our father, grandfather, father and all, but he meant so much to so many other people.



CURNOW (on camera): Well, Selma Abdelaziz joins me now from Belfast, Northern Ireland where recent violent protest had actually paused following Prince Phillip's death. Do you think it can hold, Selma?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Robyn I'm actually along with one of the peace walls here in Belfast in Northern Ireland and it's along walls like this that just last week these two communities, Catholics and Protestants, small pockets of them were trading Molotov cocktails, fireworks, bricks. Dozens of policemen were injured.

The fragile piece that holds these two communities together that allows them to live side by side, that was threatened Robin and there was real concerns about it. But after the death of Prince Philip, what we saw is all political factions, everyone calling for people to stay home, stop demonstrating, stop protesting and it seemed to work, Robyn. Take a look.


ABDELAZIZ: Sunday service for an anxious Protestant community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will lead us in prayer for Prince Philip and his family.

ABDELAZIZ: Here there is mourning for Prince Philip and devotion for the queen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I invite you to stand? We pay tribute to Prince Philip.

ABDELAZIZ: And prayers for peace too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can most certainly stand together to say violence is not the way.

ABDELAZIZ: Belfast was shaken by violence worse than any seen here in years. Mounting frustrations over issues ranging from Brexit laws to COVID restrictions poured out onto the streets. That quickly descended into sectarian clashes between Northern Ireland's bitterly divided Protestant and Catholic communities.

But in the aftermath of Prince Philip's death, calls to end the fighting by pro-British loyalists leaders like Billy Hutchinson were hurt.

BILLY HUTCHINSON, LEADER, PROGRESSIVE UNIONIST PARTY: I felt that people should respect principle. I don't want to see people get back out in the streets, these young people will be criminalized. There'll be (inaudible).

ABDELAZIZ: At nightfall, we witness calm along the troubled fault line in North Belfast. This area is often a flashpoint on that side is a Protestant community over there as a Catholic neighborhood. At times, youth have clashed here, police are trying to keep them apart. But all political parties have called on everyone to stay home, stop protesting and it seems to be working.

Away from the hotspots and you meet three Protestant youth workers who tell us they do not want to return to the hatred of the past. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to be involved in it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you've moved on. You want peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think it's reckless and dangerous and it's wrecking their own community.

ABDELAZIZ: Does any part of you feel afraid? Does any part of you feel like oh, this - this could get worse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, terrified. The fallout is powerful. Half of them grow somewhere scared of your own community.

ABDELAZIZ: Mourning for the royal family has quiet at these restless neighborhoods, where loyalty to the monarchy runs deep. But the fear is the respite might not last beyond the princess funeral.


ABDELAZIZ: For now, that piece is holding Robin but the factors that aggravated these decades old tensions are still here. That hasn't changed. What are they? They are a Brexit agreement that has essentially created an IRC border dividing Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.

People are also angry in demanding the resignation of the local police chief after a funeral for an ex-IRA Chief last year where almost 2000 people attended despite COVID restrictions, that was not prosecuted. People feeling very angry that the rules don't apply to all. You also have very tough socio economic conditions here that aid workers will tell you often push youth into the streets into those areas where conflict and violence can happen.

And what we've witnessed Robin over the last few days is that when the political factions, when all the groups and party said stop and it stopped. The tap was turned off and that's what experts will tell you that that tap that got turned off, it could be turned back on again after Prince Philip's funeral. If that's what happens, Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, Salma Abdelaziz there, live in Belfast, thank you for that. Still ahead, a massive power outrage - outage hits St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean and the dangers from an explosive volcano are not yet over. We have that story and some pretty dramatic pictures as well. Stay with us for that.




CURNOW: Day number three and everything looks like a battle zone. That message comes from emergency officials in St Vincent. Much of the Caribbean island has lost power after the Le Soufriere volcano began erupting on Friday. Volcanic ash and the stench of silver are blanketing communities even in neighboring islands.

And the tremors could also last a while longer. For more on the volcano and also a rare tropical cyclone in Western Australia. Let's go now to Gene Norman. Gene, hi. I know you've got some pretty dramatic pictures to show us.

GENE NORMAN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right Robyn because every time there's an eruption, we continue to see that ash falling. There was an eruption on Sunday morning and this is the kind of thing that people have been dealing with, both in St. Vincent and over in Barbados.

Add insult to injury, if you will, because now it's starting to rain. There have been a couple of light rain showers. This rainfall forecast, these little blue areas you see here, that's more rain in the next couple of days. What that does is it mixes with the ash and creates kind of a mud, it also hardens and it's really going to make the cleanup very, very difficult even though they've been able to evacuate a lot of people, still a lot of folks dealing with this on the island.

Want to show you something else pretty dramatic images that we're getting from space. A couple of years ago, the weather service here in the United States launched some new satellites, they're able to get images every minute and watch the detail that you can see as the storms bubble up or as the not the storms but as the volcano bubbles up.

It looked like storms, right? It looked like big thunderstorms, but they're not. That's the ash, the volcanic ash that spread, again from St. Vincent over to Barbados. And again, it caused the scenes like this. Real, real mess. Another situation that we're tracking is where does the ash go after that?

Well, it's sulphur dioxide that can be tracked in the atmosphere over in Copernicus which is an outfit and based out of Europe, they're able to track these kinds of things. Here's a forecast they put out today showing where that carbon - that sulphur dioxide rather is going to go. It's going to head toward Northern Africa over the next couple of days, make its way perhaps to Algeria, over to Libya possibly.

So something to watch out for. That's based on the current eruption that we had. If there are more eruptions there may have to update that forecast. Now, let's indeed shift gears over to Western Australia a very rare thing happened yesterday we had a landfall of a very intense tropical cyclone, near Gregory.

This is tropical cyclone Seroja, which had maximum winds at landfall of 130 kilometers per hour, but we did have gusts of 170 and a one mile long pier, a Canavan was destroyed. Fortunately it moved very quickly. So the rainfall wasn't a big deal. In fact, it's all fizzing out right now. So Robyn, this story we can just about put to bed over, although we're still waiting to see some damage pictures from the area.


We'll still be tracking the volcano because that's going to go on for a while. It could be eruptions for days, maybe even weeks.

CURNOW: OK, goodness. Thanks so much. We'll check back in with you. Gene Norman there. Thank you. So rescue workers are trying to free 21 trapped coal miners in China's Xinjiang region. Eight others were rescued after the mind flooded on Saturday. That's according to state news. Emergency workers are pumping water out of the mine and trying to make contact with those still inside.

Well, thanks so much for watching CNN, I'm Robin Curnow. For international viewers, World Sport is next. If you're joining us from here in the U.S. and in Canada, I'll be right back with more.




CURNOW: In the coming hours, we will be entering the third week of testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The prosecution is set to call a member of George Floyd's family to stand before resting their case likely earlier this week. Adrienne Broaddus joins us now.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know a medical doctor who was slated to take the stand on Friday will testify today. But before the prosecution rests its case, a member of George Floyd's family will also take the stand. That family member has the ability to remind the jury, George Floyd was a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a father, who was loved. That family member will humanize Floyd to the defense and the prosecution. This is a case but to Floyd's family, he was so much more.

The family member will also be able to speak intimately about Floyd's love for his little girl. On that video that has been widely shared throughout the course of the trial, we hear Floyd call out. Tell my children I love them. The testimony over the last two weeks which included hearing from top brass with the Minneapolis police department, and other medical experts, including the medical examiner here in Hennepin County Dr. Andrew Baker who performed the autopsy on Floyd's body was painful for members of the Floyd family to hear.

But that pain they say was necessary. And as we enter the third week of the trial, the family is preparing to hear more painful testimony. This time from witnesses the defense calls as the defense will argue Floyd died from a drug overdose and underlying medical conditions. In Minneapolis, I'm Adrienne Broaddus, CNN.


CURNOW: A police officer in Virginia has been fired after he and another officer pointed guns at, pepper-sprayed and pushed a black U.S. Army Lieutenant to the ground. Now the incident happened during a traffic stop last December and the police say the officers did not follow department's policy.

The other officer involved is still employed. The active duty officer is suing the two officers. Lieutenant Caron Nazario is black and Latino and he was pulled over after police mistakenly thought he was driving without a license plate. The traffic stop quickly escalated and was captured on two body cameras and the lieutenant's personal cell phone.

CNN hasn't been able to reach either officer at this time and it's unclear if they have lawyers. We're also reaching out to both officers and the police union comment. Natasha Chen has more on the story and a warning, some of what you're about to see is disturbing.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 6:30 pm, December 5, 2020, Lieutenant Caron Nazario driving in his army fatigues through the small town of Windsor Virginia saw flashing lights in his rear- view mirror. He wasn't sure why he was being pulled over.

According to his lawsuit, he slowed down and put his blinker on indicating his intention to pull over, but didn't do so for another minute and 40 seconds, which he later explained was an order to find a well-lit area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Driver, roll the window down. Put your hands out of the window. Turn the vehicle off, put your hands out the window.

CHEN (voice over): Hearing these different commands while sitting in his car with a seatbelt on, Nazario began recording from his own cell phone and put his hands out the window as ordered. Turns out Officer Daniel Crocker had not seen the temporary license plate taped to the back window of Nazario's brand new Chevrolet Tahoe and seeing tinted windows and a driver not stopping right away, Crocker decided it was a high risk traffic stop.

But this was never explained to Nazario who for several minutes continued to ask why he'd been pulled over. What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many occupants are in your vehicle?

2ND LT. CARON NAZARIO, U.S. ARMY: It's only myself. Why are your weapons drawn? What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car now.

NAZARIO: I'm serving this country and this is how I'm treated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, guess what, I'm a veteran too. I know that I'll obey. Get out of the car.

CHEN (voice over): Body camera footage shows Officer Joe Gutierrez gun drawn,, unfastening the velcro around what may be his taser at this time.

NAZARIO: What's going on? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? You're fixing your driving

license, son.

CHEN (voice over): The lawsuit says Nazario thought ride the lightning meant he could be killed.

NAZARIO: I'm honestly afraid to get out. Can I ask you what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, get out. Get out now.

NAZARIO: I have not committed any crimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to stop. I'm trying to - you're not cooperating. At this point right now, you're under arrest. You're being detained. You're being dangerous.

NAZARIO: For a traffic violation, I do not have to get out the vehicle. You haven't even told me why I'm being stopped.

CHEN (voice over): About two to three minutes in officer Crocker tried to open the driver's door. In his report he wrote, "When I attempted to unlock and open the driver's door the driver assaulted myself by striking my hand away and pulled away from officer Gutierrez's grip. But in his own body camera footage Nazario is not seen striking anyone. Crocker's report also says that at this point Gutierrez "gave several more commands to comply with orders or he would be sprayed with his OC spray."


But no such warnings could be heard. Gutierrez just sprayed Nazario still without either officer having told Nazario what exactly he was pulled over for.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car now.

NAZARIO: I don't even want to reach for my seatbelt. Can you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your seatbelt off and get out of the car. You made this way more difficult than it had to be. Get on the ground. Get on the ground.

NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me about what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground.

NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me about what's going on? Why am I being (inaudible)? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did not cooperate.

CHEN (voice over): The officers handcuffed Nazario and stood him back up. He told them his dog was in the backseat and was choking from the pepper spray. Medics arrived and the conversation mellowed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) the two minute traffic stop turned into all this.

CHEN (on camera): Nazario explained why he didn't immediately pull over?

NAZARIO: I was pulling over to a well-lit area for my safety and yours. I have respect for law enforcement.

CHEN (on camera): But Gutierrez said that wasn't the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The climate we're in, with the media spewing with the race relations between minorities and law enforcement? I get it OK? So like I told you, as far as you not stopping, you weren't comfortable. You wanted a well-lit spot, lieutenant, that happens all the time. It happens to me a lot. And it's I'll say 80 percent of the time, not always, it's a minority.

CHEN (voice over): And while the officers couldn't understand why Nazario didn't get out of the car as instructed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why wouldn't you comply?

CHEN (voice over): Nazario said he didn't know why he was being stopped.

NAZARIO: I've never looked out the window and saw a guns blazing immediately.

CHEN (voice over): Gutierrez eventually told Nazario that he had a conversation with the chief of police and was giving him the option to let this all go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no need for this to be on your record. I don't want it to be on your record. However, it's entirely up to you. If you want to fight and argue - and I don't mean that disrespectfully. You have that right as a citizen. If that's what you want, we'll charge you. It doesn't change my life either way.

CHEN (voice over): The officer said his life wouldn't be changed whether Nazario was charged or not. But with the video of this incident, now widely shared, all three lives are undoubtedly changed. Politicians are weighing in, including Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who on Sunday directed Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation. Natasha Chen CNN, Atlanta.


CURNOW: When a former senior official with the Baltimore Police tells CNN, officers need more training based on real life scenarios. Here was former interim Commissioner Anthony Barksdale.


ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FMR BALTIMORE INTERIM POLICE COMMISSIONER: In Baltimore, we set up a training program where we did we - would take incidents from carried events, and then plug them into our academy. And then we would call officers in we would actually go to the street, go to the same blocks that they patrolled and put them through the scenarios.

You can't tell me that it costs a whole bunch of money to run cops through scenarios that we're seeing on social media. There should be a Chauvin, a training type of model, a training scenario for cops right now. This car stopped in Virginia, there should be a training scenario based on this car stop right now.

These governors, these mayors, you don't have to wait, you tell those police chiefs, we're holding you accountable to fix this training in these departments and get it done or you're gone.


CURNOW: Well, Wednesday, the Virginia police say they began implementing a department wide requirements for more training back in January. Now across Japan, sports fans, broadcasters, even the Prime Minister are all celebrating the country's newest hero. Golfer Hideki Matsuyama is this year's Masters champion. Coy Wire has moved from Augusta. Coy?


COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Hideki Matsuyama just made history, becoming the first man from Japan to win a major, let alone the Masters the most prestigious of them all. He will be an inspiration, a hero for young kids all across Japan and beyond an icon for generations to come.

Entering the final round with a four shot lead, he continued to distance himself from the chasing pack ended up winning by one shot in the end. 29-year old snaps a winless streak that dated back to 2017. He credited part of his success here to the fact that there aren't huge groups of Japanese media members following his every move due to COVID and travel restrictions.

He said it's allowed him to relax more, he feels less pressure and he was enjoying this week more. He told me that the first Masters he ever watched was at five years old in Japan when Tiger Woods won his first in 1997. That moment helped inspire him to play here one day and now he will forever return to this iconic venue as a Masters champion.


HIDEKI MATSUYAMA, 2021 MASTERS CHAMPION (through translator): It's thrilling to think that there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today. Hopefully in 5-10 years when they get a little older and hopefully some of them will be competing on the world stage. I still have a lot of years left, so they're going to have to compete against me still so, but I'm happy for them because hopefully, they'll be able to follow in my footsteps.

WIRE: This victory comes just three months ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. And could you imagine if he were there to walk out during the opening ceremony representing his nation wearing the green jacket, incredible to think about. Coy Wire, CNN, Augusta, Georgia.


CURNOW: And filmmaker Chloe Zhao made history this weekend becoming the first woman of color to win the Directors Guild of America's top award for her film 'Nomad Land.' The film's winning streak continued on Sunday at the BAFTA awards too seeking to level the playing field and focus on diversity.

Women dominated the Best Director category with four of the six nominations and with the award ultimately going to Zhao.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the nomads are doing is not that different than what the pioneers did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to make the hole bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think ferns part of an American tradition.


CURNOW: The film took home four awards most of the evening, including Best Film, Best Leading Actress and Best Cinematography. And that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. You can follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @RobynCurnowCNN. Newsroom continues with Paula Newton, enjoy.