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Indianapolis Shooting; U.S. Gun Violence Epidemic; Michigan's Third Wave Overwhelming Hospitals; Duke of Edinburgh Laid to Rest at Windsor Castle; Alexei Navalny Dying in Prison; Czech Republic Expelling Russian Embassy Employees; Global Citizen Virtual Concert to Raise Vaccine Awareness. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 18, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Another American vigil, another community saying goodbye to mass shooting victims. Now an emergency room physician saying it is time to treat gun violence as a public health crisis.

Great concern about the health of jailed Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, as his supporters are asked to rally for his life.

Plus, a royal funeral, how a final goodbye to Prince Philip could lead to a new start for Prince William and Prince Harry.

Hello, welcome to our viewers around the United States and around the world, this is CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Robyn Curnow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: The United States is a nation, rocked by gun violence, with many grieving over another mass shooting and outrage growing over police shootings.


PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace.

CURNOW (voice-over): Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, seeing a seventh night of demonstrations after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Last Saturday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters had this message for the crowd.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA), CHAIR, FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: We have been fighting for so many years for reform, reform, reform. And so, yes, I would like to see the bill in Congress pass on police reform.

But I know that the right wing, the racists are opposed to it. And I don't know what will happen to it. I do know this, we have got to stay in the streets.


CURNOW: In Indianapolis, mourners came together to mourn the eight lives lost in one of America's latest mass shootings. A vigil was held in a park, near the FedEx ground facility, where the killings took place.

The victims included a retired engineer, participating in his 50th wedding anniversary; a young woman, barely out of high school; and immigrants, seeking the American dream. The police chief offering the city's support to grieving families.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indianapolis is strong. We are a great community and we take care of our own. And that is what we will continue to do, as we wrap around arms around these things.


CURNOW: CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll was at that vigil, here is the report. Jason?


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The city held a candlelight vigil for the victims of the FedEx shooting, some of those coming out wearing orange T-shirts, FedEx T-shirts. And there were members of the Sikh community. Four of the eight victims were from the Sikh community and, in fact, two of the victims, their family members, of Jaswinder Kaur and Amarjit Sekhon, they found the courage to speak to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a very, very hardworking woman. She devoted her life to her children, to her family. She was a family oriented woman. She had no issues with anyone. She was the nicest person ever.

This is something that never should have happened to her or to my other aunt, Jaswinder. We are deeply saddened by this. Jaswinder, Auntie, she was an amazing person, she always had a smile on her face. The only reason why she joined working was because she was just bored at home. She just needed something to do.

CARROLL: There were eight victims; two of the victims, just 19 years old. The oldest victim, 74-year-old John Weisert. He was about to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary -- Jason Carroll, CNN, Indianapolis, Indiana.


CURNOW: Thanks to Jason for that.

He mentioned that half of the victims in Thursday's mass shooting were members of the Sikh community. Indiana is home to as many as 10,000 Sikh Americans, according to the advocacy group, the Sikh Coalition.

Now the group's executive directors said where the shooting happened has a large number of Sikh employees. And she told us about the feelings in her community right now.


SATJEET KAUR, THE SIKH COALITION: We are heartbroken and shattered. Our community is very close and tight-knitted (sic), we are honestly no more than 3 degrees of separation from one another and we are all heartbroken and in pain.

I have spent the last 24 hours on calls with community members who lost loved ones, others who have family members who barely escaped with their lives, others who have spent the entire day and again today, providing support to yersungita, our other (ph) community, as we say.


KAUR: And these individuals were the backbones of their families and I want to underscore, honestly, they were America's backbone. They were working families.

So as I hear them cry and hold back tears, I just also want to share that this is a feeling that I personally have felt and many others in the community felt after Oak Creek. It is exactly what we feel every time as a Sikh has been viciously attacked as we continue to fight for our existence and wondering if any place is safe.


CURNOW: Authorities say the gunman was 19-year-old Brandon Hole, once employed at the facility. Police say he bought the two assault style rifles he used in the attack legally.

Pole's family have released the statement. They said, "We are devastated at the loss of life, caused as a result of Brandon's actions. Through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed. Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy.

"We are so sorry for the pain and hurt being felt by their families and the entire Indianapolis community."

Police in Omaha, Nebraska, confirming a shooting in a mall there has killed one person, wounding another. It happened Saturday around noon. Police are looking for two suspects seen on security footage. They say it was an isolated incident, not a random attack.

The West Rose Mall is the same location where a police officer was shot and wounded, in March, also the site of a mass shooting in 2007, when a gunman killed eight people and wounded five others.

When you look at gun violence in America, just the last month, at least 45 have happened here in the U.S. As you can see from the map, it's according to CNN reporting and analysis of data from the Gun Violence Archive, local media and police reports. We know that 147 mass shootings have occurred just this year.

Now look at the number of lives lost between 2016 and 2018. An average of more than 39,000 have died from gun violence each year, that's according to Giffords. That's an organization led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head by a gunman back in 2011.

They also show that America have the weakest gun laws and the most guns, with 393 million. Nearly every American will know at least one victim of violence in their lifetime. A majority of the total number of gun deaths are suicides, that is 60 percent.


Dr. Megan Ranney is an emergency room physician and has spent more than a decade researching gun violence as a public health crisis. She joins us now from East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Thank you very much for joining us on the show, Doctor. The amount of shootings and gun violence in the last month here in the States is horrifying.

As a doctor and an American, how exhausted are you by these back-to- back shootings?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It seems, right now, every day it seems like there's a new mass shooting. Every single one of them is horrifying, every one is preventable and each one leaves a ripple effect of trauma and tragedy in their communities.

Robyn, it's not just the mass shootings, it's the hundred-plus people killed by the United States, literally, every day by a firearm. The 200-plus who are injured, every single day, most of whom, never making the news. Those are equally exhausting to me as an ER doctor and to communities across the country.

CURNOW: When you look at the comments, coming from President Biden this week, he was calling for gun violence to be a public health emergency.

How important a step is that language in itself, that this needs to be treated like an epidemic that needs public health tools?

RANNEY: It is a critical step. What happens when we call gun violence what it is, which is a public health epidemic, it means we can apply public health tools, the same tools we've used to start to bring the COVID pandemic under control, the same tools we've used to decrease car crash deaths of more than 70 percent.

There are standard techniques of gathering data, doing science and spreading the things that work, that we know, through history, are effective at decreasing injuries and deaths. We just haven't had the chance to do that here in the U.S., because firearm injury has been caught in this political debate between gun control and gun rights. When we talk about it as a health problem, it can give us hope of making progress. CURNOW: How, practically, does that happen?

I know President Biden has talked about red flag legislation.

But how does that actually, practically, make a dent in the kinds of deaths and violence we are seeing?

RANNEY: I'll be honest. There is no single solution that will fix all of it. Red flag laws are part of it. And we know that the shooter, at the FedEx plant, it sounds like his mom activated a red flag law last year. And God knows what she prevented by doing that last year. So that is part of a solution.


RANNEY: There are other policies that can make a difference but it's more than just policies. Just like how with COVID, we can have mask mandates. But we also need to have a culture that supports wearing masks.

The same thing with gun violence. Some of the most effective solutions have nothing to do with policies; it's things like greening empty blocks and cities that are destroyed by urban blight. It is things like teaching gun dealers how to recognize signs of suicide or homicide in people they sell guns to.

Those have also been shown to make a big difference.

CURNOW: Despite all of the deaths, even in the last few weeks, are you hopeful?

Are you positive that some movement can be made during this administration?

RANNEY: I am hopeful. I'm saying that, watching President Biden stand and make those statements a few weeks ago and again this week, that alone gives me hope. Having a president who talks about this as a health problem.

I'm also hopeful because, for the first time in 25 years, we have funding to do firearm injury prevention research. It's one drop in the bucket but more than we've had. The funding was shut off because of politics, for more than two decades here in the United States. That is, finally, coming back. That also gives me hope.

Finally, I have hope because, again, I'm seeing gun owners and non-gun owners come together to talk about what most of us in the middle, in this country, are committed to, which is, keeping our families and communities safe. We recognize that as a combination of policy and community activism.

CURNOW: As an emergency room doctor, no doubt, you've seen a lot of victims of gun violence.

How has that shaped your thinking? RANNEY: It is victims of gun violence that motivate what I do, every day, in this field. Certainly, it is the young man who's been killed as victims of community violence but also the folks who shot themselves, to kill themselves or the young women who have been killed by their boyfriends and fiances.

And, of course, it is their families. I can't tell you what it is like to have to tell a family, that their loved one is dead from a gunshot wound. It is those stories that motivate me and that make me committed to finding a way to prevent this.

Because as an ER doctor, Robyn, I know there is nothing that happens that cannot, somehow, be prevented with a good public health approach. That is why I do this.

CURNOW: Dr. Megan Ranney, thank you for joining us and for all of your work, thank you.

RANNEY: Thank you.


CURNOW: Prosecutors in Oregon, asking for public surveillance video after unrest broke out late Friday night. Police say they used pepper spray and smoke canisters to break up a crowd that had gathered. Protesters are angry after a police officer fatally shot a suspect.

The police said that the officer was responding to reports of a man pointing a gun in a park and the officer only used lethal force after attempting to use less lethal rounds. Police identified the officer who shot the suspect as Zachary Delong, an 8 year veteran of the force. He will be placed on leave.


CURNOW: The world has reached a staggering milestone, more than 3 million people now losing their lives to COVID, since the pandemic began. In the U.S., the death toll from the virus is the worst in the world, more than 565,000 people, killed by coronavirus.

There is some promising vaccine news, with the U.S. officially administering more than 200 million doses. Almost one quarter of the population is now fully vaccinated. Beginning Monday, all adults in the U.S., will be able to get their shot.

Michigan's third COVID wave is so severe, hospitals are running out of space to treat new patients. That state is leading the U.S. in new infections, with nearly 10,000 new cases reported on Saturday alone according to Johns Hopkins University. Here is Polo Sandoval with more on that. Polo?


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Several health care facilities here in the state of Michigan reports that their hospitalization numbers continue to climb, not only reach the levels we saw during the most recent surge, during fall and winter, but exceeding those numbers.

That is the case right now at Beaumont Health, one of the more recognized and largest health care systems, here in the Detroit area. Officials tell me, they continue to see hospitalizations there climb.

Dr. Joel Fishbain with that hospital system telling me that he is specifically continuing to notice those patients are getting younger. Many of those, admitted to him they attended large gatherings, which go against those recommendations in place, not just in Michigan but across the country.

But Dr. Fishbain also saying, about half of the patients he is seeing right now are affected with that highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the U.K. earlier this year.

DR. JOEL FISHBAIN, BEAUMONT HOSPITAL, GROSSE POINT: We are seeing many more people sick and families and exposures. And the problem and concern that I have, is until everyone is vaccinated.


FISHBAIN: Could there be other variants that now escape the immune system?

SANDOVAL: Recently Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer expanded the current mask requirements to children as young as 2 but there continues to be this growing call by many here in Michigan that some of the other recommendations in place, including a recommendation to avoid indoor dining, should instead be a requirement at least for now as the state of Michigan tries to drop some of these numbers.

Michigan's health authority calling the situation dire -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, Detroit.


CURNOW: And outside the U.S., India is fighting a devastating spike in COVID cases there. The country reporting more than 260,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. It is the fourth time in a row cases crossed 200,000 mark and is pushing hospitals to the brink.

The city of Delhi reported more than 24,000 cases just on Saturday alone, the highest since the pandemic began. Officials say the city is facing a huge shortage of hospital beds with the government now trying to add 6,000 beds over the next four days.

And countries across Europe are -- excuse me -- racing to get more people vaccinated against COVID. That effort has been complicated by E.U. regulators, suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Melissa Bell has more from Paris -- Melissa.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Three million COVID-19 related deaths worldwide. That, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, 1 million of those recorded in the greater European region.

This week, France passed a grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, Emmanuel Macron tweeting no face and no name will be forgotten. This as European countries tried to pick up the pace of their vaccine rollouts here in France; 6.3 percent of the population has now been fully vaccinated.

Over in Germany that figure is 6.5 percent. The German chancellor Angela Merkel this week got her first vaccine in the shape of the AstraZeneca shot, that, a certificate tweeted out by her spokesperson earlier this week, an AstraZeneca vaccine that is only now in many European countries being given to older populations.

Another hiccup on the road of Europe's vaccine rollout has been the suspension by several E.U. countries of the J&J vaccine. We are awaiting the results of the European Medicines Agency investigation that we should get next week to determine whether it believes it can be safely used here in Europe.

Elsewhere, Europeans now really looking ahead as to what those rolled out vaccination programs and tightened restrictions will mean in terms of reopening their economies once again. This is what Mario Draghi had to tell Italians this week.


MARIO DRAGHI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This risk that the government has taken and that surely meets the expectations of the citizens, is based on a premise that people strictly respect the reopening rules, so face masks, social distancing.


BELL: Other European countries are also looking at how they can begin to ease restrictions and, more particularly, how they can begin to lift those travel restrictions ahead of the busy tourist period.

The European tourism industry, which is worth many hundreds of billions of euros, has been at a standstill for many months. Countries like Portugal and Greece are very dependent on that tourism, pushing for the European vaccine passports that should allow Europeans to get around more freely than they have so far.

Greece has announced that anybody who has been negative or been vaccinated from either Europe or the United States and a few other countries will now be able to come without quarantining.

Portuguese authorities also say that they are looking toward the European vaccine passport mechanism to allow tourists to avoid quarantines as they come to Portugal this summer.

Here in France, authorities are looking to May 15th as a possible day for some of the lifting of restrictions and the reopening of cafes and museums that have been closed in France since October -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CURNOW: And it was a final farewell for a prince. Coming up, we look back at the funeral for Britain's Prince Philip as the royal family laid their beloved patriarch to rest.





CURNOW: The world watched as Britain's Prince Philip was laid to rest at Windsor Castle on Saturday. It was an understated and elegant farewell, scaled down, of course, due to COVID restrictions.

The Duke of Edinburgh himself helped plan the ceremony, reflecting his faith and military service. Queen Elizabeth sat alone in St. George's Chapel, a somber figure who was rarely seen without her husband of 73 years at her side.

Anna Stewart joins us now live from Windsor.

Anna, hello. Certainly a moment of reflection for the royal family but also the whole country today as we watch the images.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really felt like a moment of national reflection actually. And I think the image of the queen sitting by herself in that pew will be one that we will not forget for a very long time. The funeral was elegant, simple, it really reflected Prince Philip, all that he loved, all that he cared about.

Here's how it unfolded.


STEWART (voice-over): An old-school prince going out in his own style.


STEWART (voice-over): The duke of Edinburgh was heavily involved in the planning of his funeral, which began with a short procession from Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel.


STEWART (voice-over): It was steeped in military tradition. His sword and naval cap laid on top of his casket.


STEWART (voice-over): Which was carried by a modified Land Rover he helped design.

A decorated veteran of World War II, more than 700 military personnel took part in the ceremony.

The duke's much-loved carriage and pony stood by. His cap and gloves left poignantly on the seat.


STEWART (voice-over): The prince was a family man. His children, grandchildren and members of his personal staff walked behind dressed in mourning suits instead of military uniforms.


STEWART (voice-over): Brothers Prince Harry and Prince William walked with their cousin, Peter Phillips, between them.


STEWART (voice-over): The lines of mourners and military guards a somber contrast to the queen's arrival, stepping out alone and taking a seat by herself in the chapel --


STEWART (voice-over): -- waiting for the partner who stood by her for more than seven decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here today in St. George's Chapel to commit into the hands of God the soul of his servant, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

STEWART (voice-over): The ceremony was pared down to just 30 people due to coronavirus restrictions. It included members of the royal family and the duke's German relatives.


STEWART (voice-over): The choir sang a selection of music, hand- picked by Prince Philip.


STEWART (voice-over): His casket was then lowered into the royal vault where it will stay until Her Majesty dies, when they'll be reunited.


STEWART (voice-over): A bugle sounded the last post and then a naval battle cry --


STEWART (voice-over): -- action stations.


STEWART (voice-over): This was the funeral Prince Philip wanted.

Although, one part he didn't orchestrate was perhaps one of the most moving, Prince William and Prince Harry, walking together and chatting after the service, a sign of unity that would have made their grandfather proud.


STEWART: For me, that was the most heartwarming element actually. They all filed into the chapel in a procession, very formal. When they came out, they look so relaxed it, looked like they had taken a breath and had a chance to chat. It felt like any other family, you know, grief so terrible but a way of really uniting a family, a time for them to be together -- Robyn.

CURNOW: It really underscored how important rituals are for families and I think for the nation that have had to bury so many people, just like the queen, in the last year.

So what has changed in many ways?

This image of the grieving family, very much on show, for a family known to be austere.

What is next?

STEWART: The queen has lost a husband of 73 years. It's hard to comprehend what that must feel like. He's been her strength and stay for many years as she said. It is her 95th birthday this Wednesday. So she is still in mourning.

Going forward I would expect the queen to spend much more time here in Windsor than at Buckingham Palace. I think we will see other senior members of the family, Prince Charles, Prince William, all the way down to Sophie, Countess of Wessex, do more in terms of official engagements.

We already saw that in the pandemic with all the Zoom engagements. I think we will continue to see that. But of course, the queen much loved by the nation is not going anywhere. She always said she was going to pledge to do her duty to this country, to the Commonwealth, for her whole lifetime.

But we have to recognize that she is getting older and she did cut a very lonely figure in that church. You know everyone really loves the queen. And I think it was one of those national moments, where everybody felt the same, such empathy for Her Majesty -- Robyn.

CURNOW: I think you are right. Thank you so much. I just wanted to give her a hug, which I think was probably quite universal. Anna Stewart, live in Windsor, I know you've had a busy day. Thank you so much.

Before we head to break I want to show you this image. I want to show you Prince Philip. It was tweeted out by the royal family after the funeral. And as you can see here, it shows a tip of the hat by the Duke of Edinburgh, a final goodbye, a farewell from those who will miss him most. A much loved prince indeed.

Now coming up on CNN, mass gun violence is not just a problem in America.

How are the country is handling the issue?

That is next. Plus closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trial set to begin next week, a look back at some of the most gripping testimonies. That is coming up.





CURNOW: Welcome back to our viewers, here, in the United States and all around the world, thank you for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow and it is 32 minutes past the hour.

Indianapolis, Indiana, is reeling from a mass shooting there two days ago. Police say the gunman in the attack, identified as a 19-year-old Brandon Hole, bought both assault style weapons he used legally.

Meanwhile, mourners came together on Saturday, holding a vigil honoring the eight victims. Half of those fatalities were members of the close-knit Sikh community. There has been at least 45 mass shootings in the last month alone. That's the reality in the U.S., which is facing tougher calls for gun control measures.

These grow louder and louder. But mass shootings are not just a problem here in America. Our CNN correspondents around the world take a look.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I'm Nic Robertson in London, where gun controls are some of the strictest in the world. Handguns and automatic weapons are effectively banned. Shotguns and rifles can be held under very tight license.

Deaths from gunfire are relatively low. The year ending March 2019, 33 people were killed, that was three more than the previous year. But mass shootings are exceptionally rare; 1987, 17 people killed; 1996, 18 people killed; 2010, 13 people killed, exceptionally rare.



BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Blake Essig in Tokyo. Here in Japan, gun violence is almost non-existent. Since 2000, gun deaths, each year, have generally been in the double digits. With the homicides involving gun deaths, often in the single digits of this from a country with a population about a third the size of the U.S.

Under Japan's 1958 firearm and swords law, most guns are illegal in the country.


ESSIG (voice-over): And under the law, possession is only allowed if special approval is obtained. And before that can happen, you must pass a background check, explain to police why you need a gun, receive formal instruction and pass the collection of written mental and drug tests. Of all rare when it comes to mass killings in Japan, those often- responsible resort to knives or arson instead of guns.



ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: I'm Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia, where it's 25 years since the country's worst ever mass shooting forced the Australian government to ban rapid fire rifles and shotguns.

Gun ownership licenses and registrations were also tightened. It took just 12 days for the federal government to act after 35 people were killed and many more injured at Port Arthur, Tasmania, by a man with a military style semi-automatic weapon.

A federally funded gun buyback scheme and surrenders under amnesty saw over a million firearms destroyed the chances of dying by gunshot wound in Australia fell by 50 percent in the years after the ban and gun related suicides dropped by 80 percent.


CURNOW: Police across the United States are preparing for the possibility of protests once the verdict is handed down in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Closing arguments are set for Monday. Omar Jimenez looks back at what people have called an emotional few weeks of testimony.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the beginning --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need a minute?


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Emotions and expertise.

MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST: All of my research is related basically to breathing.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Have defined the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after a week's long jury selection process, the beginning of witness testimony took jurors and the country back to May 25th, 2020.

Some witnesses who were steps away from what happened say they still feel the weight of the decisions they made that day, all these months later.

DARNELIA FRAZIER, WITNESS: It's been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The defense for Chauvin has been hoping to paint jurors a picture of an officer distracted by the perceived threat of a crowd, but doing exactly what he was trained to do.

DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: Had to hold the guy down and he was -- he was -- he was going crazy -- I'm not -- wouldn't go in the back of the --

JIMENEZ (voice-over): As testimony shifted from what happened to the use of force involved when it did.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: Is this a trained Minneapolis Police Department defensive tactics technique?


JIMENEZ (voice-over): A witness later called by the defense disagreed and felt it was the right thing to do.

BARRY BRODD, DEFENSE USE OF FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But maybe the most crucial set of testimony came from medical experts on George Floyd's cause of death, including from a chief medical examiner for Hennepin County.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Have you certified deaths as an overdose where the level of fentanyl was similar to the level of fentanyl in Mr. Floyd?


JIMENEZ (voice-over): The defense claims drug use and George Floyd's medical history are what killed him. Prosecutors argue it was because of Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

LINDSEY THOMAS, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: There's no evidence to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement.

TOBIN: A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But there was one witness jurors never heard from.

CHAUVIN: I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today. JIMENEZ (voice-over): Which means closing arguments for each side are left to tie together the emotions and expertise of the trial for the instinct and interpretation of the jury.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT: If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis.


CURNOW: Coming up on CNN, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is nearing death in prison, according to his team. But he is still continuing his hunger strike. We talk about that next.

Plus, the Philippines is bracing for a super typhoon, the strongest one ever recorded, in the month of April. We have the latest on that as well.





CURNOW: The press secretary for the Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, said his health is deteriorating so badly in prison, he is actively dying. Navalny has been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks. His spokeswoman saying, he may only have a few days left to live.

Navalny's team, calling for supporters to join a rally that was once meant to call for his freedom, now, meant to fight for his life. At the same time, Russian prosecutors are trying to label anybody protesting the situation as extremist.

That could set the stage for his movement to be barred from campaigning in elections. Earlier, we heard from a colleague of Alexei Navalny, describing what they know of his health so far. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, RUSSIAN DISSIDENT: Alexei Navalny today is in the 18th day of his hunger strike. We received results of his tests about two days ago and they show a dangerous level of potassium, which is associated with possible renal failure and heart problems. So we are very concerned about his health.


CURNOW: Navalny started his hunger strike to protest prison officials refusing to grant him access to proper medical care. He posted on Instagram he has been threatened with force feeding. But his colleague tells us why he is sticking with the strike, despite the danger.


ASHURKOV: The hunger strike is the last measure that an inmate can apply in this circumstances. It's not something that people do lightly and put their life in danger. All that he requests is that he is given proper medical care with a doctor of his choice.

Especially it is important since his recovery after his poisoning with Novichok nerve agents where recovery is not really complete.


CURNOW: The Czech Republic has accused more than 1 dozen employees of the Russian embassy of being intelligence officers ordering, them to leave the country. Russia's foreign ministry calling them expulsions and tricks from Prague. Sam Kiley has more on Moscow's recent aggressive posturing.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Czech Republic has announced the expulsion of some 18 agents.



JAN HAMACEK, CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): As foreign minister of the Czech Republic, I have made the decision to expel all personnel at the Russian embassy in Prague, identified by our secret services, as officers of Russia's secret service. Within 48 hours, 18 staff of the Russian embassy must leave the Czech Republic.


KILEY (voice-over): This all coming whilst the Russians are building up their forces on the border with Ukraine amid complaints from NATO that, at the same time the Russians are trying to seal off the Azov Sea, which is largely a -- shares landfall with Ukraine and Russian territory because the Russians are saying they are closing it to foreign navies.

But at the same time, NATO is saying that this is an attempt that raises tensions at a time when they want to try to reduce tensions with Russia following the announcement from the United States of these expulsions and a number of other sanctions, they say, the United States says is going to impose on Russia following attempts by Russians to interfere in the 2020 elections and indeed in a massive cyberattack, which the United Kingdom has also blamed on Russia.

Amidst all these tensions, however, there's been a small glimmer of hope that perhaps this is all part of a resetting of the relationship, back to the bad old days of the Obama administration, where there was less of a hagiographic type approach coming from the Trump administration, a great deal of admiration expressed by Donald Trump of Vladimir Putin.

Nothing like that coming from Biden. What is coming from Biden is an offer or a suggestion that the 2 leaders meet face to face sometime in the near future, perhaps in the summer, somewhere in Europe -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.


CURNOW: Thank you, Sam, for that.

Now the first super typhoon of the season is breaking records as it approaches the Philippines. It has winds equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Take a look at this. A signal two alert has been issued for parts of eastern Philippines.


CURNOW: Some of your favorite stars of joining forces for a huge concert, pandemic style of course. What they're hoping to achieve.





CURNOW: Some of the biggest names in entertainment join together for another Global Citizen virtual concert this May. This time the goal is to raise awareness on the COVID vaccine. So Lynda Kinkade now talks to one of the cofounders and what they hope to achieve.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jennifer Lopez, the Foo Fighters and Selina Gomez are just a few of the big names coming together in a concert to reunite the world.

Their aim?

To get COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, in every corner of the globe.


KINKADE (voice-over): Last year's One World: Together at Home concert, hosted by Lady Gaga --


KINKADE (voice-over): -- was enough to raise funds to support frontline workers.


KINKADE (voice-over): I mean, talk about big names. Elton John there performing. He certainly tapped into some incredible support from celebrities. That concert raised almost $130 million to assist with the pandemic efforts.

What are you hoping to achieve this time?

HUGH EVANS, CEO, GLOBAL CITIZEN: Firstly, I should say, yes, Lady Gaga and everyone who curated One World: Together at Home did an extraordinary job. It raised $127.9 million and I'm pleased to tell your viewers today that 100 percent of that money has been deployed.


EVANS: To provide front line community health workers with personal protective equipment.

So today, we are thrilled to announce VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World. It's a first of its kind global broadcast, really focused on calling on world leaders and other business communities to urgently support vaccine equity but also to encourage vaccine uptake.

KINKADE (voice-over): This year's VAX LIVE concert is set to be held in a stadium in Los Angeles.


KINKADE (voice-over): Global Citizen cofounder Hugh Evans says the concert will encourage donations to help provide vaccines to health care workers in the poorest countries.

EVANS: There are so many nations on the planet that haven't received a single dose.

KINKADE (voice-over): According to the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, most wealthy countries have procured far more vaccines than what they'll need. Here in the United States, there's enough for almost four doses per person. In Canada, they bought enough for almost nine doses per person.

EVANS: I would just encourage those nations that are on track to vaccinate the majority of their populations to immediately donating those excess doses. here in the U.S. by June, the U.S. alone will have 45 million excess doses, just sitting in warehouses.

There are 27 million front line health care workers around the world, doctors and nurses, the true heroes of this pandemic. Let's give it to them.

KINKADE (voice-over): VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, is set to happen on May 8th in California -- Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Atlanta.


CURNOW: Lynda, thanks for that.

I'm Robyn Curnow, I'll be back with more CNN in just a moment.