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U.S. Gun Violence Epidemic; Indianapolis Shooting; Michigan's Third Wave Overwhelming Hospitals; India Reports 200,000-Plus Cases Fourth Day In A Row; Military Crackdown Cripples Myanmar's COVID-19 Fight; Duke Of Edinburgh Laid To Rest At Windsor Castle; Alexei Navalny Dying In Prison; Global Citizen Virtual Concert To Raise Vaccine Awareness. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 18, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I am Robyn Curnow.

Just ahead on CNN, tears, prayers and calls for change. People coming together after another deadly mass shooting in the U.S.

And a milestone almost unimaginable at the beginning of the pandemic, the number of coronavirus deaths now more than 3 million people worldwide.

And this heartbreaking image, COVID restrictions leaving Queen Elizabeth to sit alone during the funeral of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip. (MUSIC PLAYING)

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

CURNOW: Thanks for joining me this hour.

So the U.S. is focused on the aftermath of gun violence again this weekend. There is grief over the mass shootings in Indiana, after dozens of similar instances in the last month. There's also outrage after police shootings. This was the scene in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just a few hours ago. The city has seen the seventh night of protests over the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.

Now in Indianapolis, where eight people died in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility on Thursday night, police are going through evidence found in the home of the suspect. They've identified him as 19-year- old Brandon Hole, who worked at the facility as recently as last year.

They say he bought the two assault style weapons he used in the attack legally. Saturday in Indianapolis, mourners came together to remember the eight lives lost in the attack. They held a vigil in a park near the FedEx facility where these killings occurred. Our national correspondent Jason Carroll was there. He spoke with

relatives of the victims and filed this 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: Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, is under curfew right now following the seventh night of protests over the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright. The area is getting ready for a verdict in another high profile case involving a death at the hands of police. Josh Campbell is there and now reports.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The Minneapolis area continuing to do with the aftermath of two controversies involving police use of force. Obviously the death of George Floyd and the ongoing trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with his murder, as well as the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, just 10 miles from where we are standing, up in Brooklyn Center.

I want to share what the city is doing at this point to all of its police precincts. They've erected this fencing as well as razor wire. Obviously we've seen clashes at demonstrations outside some police buildings. That is obviously an issue. Authorities also leaving nothing to chance ahead of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Setting up these security parameters you can see. There are also members of the National Guard as well as obviously the police department here.

I want to show you not just what the government is doing but also local businesses. You can see plywood that has been set up here. We can see this in and around town. Again, the community is certainly on edge.

And as far as what we're expecting on Monday, we will hear closing arguments in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. And then we expect the jury will go into deliberation. We don't know how long it will take. The judge in this case telling them to pack a suitcase, and his words, "plan for long and hope for short."


CAMPBELL: We will be waiting for those developments as the city watches and waits for what will transpire as it's been watched around the world -- Josh Campbell, CNN, Minneapolis.



CURNOW: 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, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY: 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.

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.


RANNEY: And 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: So just ahead on CNN, long on patients and short on hospital beds. We will take a look at how a third COVID wave is pushing Michigan's health care system to the brink.

And Myanmar's violent crackdown isn't the only thing causing concern. Why neighboring countries are stepping up COVID vaccinations in areas near the troubled nation's borders.



[03:15:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: So there is some promising vaccine news in the U.S. More than 200 million doses have been administered with nearly a quarter of the population now fully vaccinated. Beginning on Monday, all adults in the U.S. will now be able to get their shot.

But in Michigan, the third COVID wave is so severe that hospitals are actually 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. That is according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here's Polo Sandoval with more.


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, 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CURNOW: There have been 3 million deaths from coronavirus across the

world. That is according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It was unimaginable at the start of the pandemic. And at least 1 million of those are in Europe, where they are racing to get people vaccinated.

For more on all of that let's go to Paris, with Melissa Bell joining me now.

Just so many deaths, still this race to get people protected with this vaccine.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right. For the time being those vaccination rates in Europe were nowhere near where they needed to be in order to have an impact on what has been a really catastrophic variant-driven third wave for so much of the European continent.

And it is because such strict restrictions are in place in so many European countries that there is the beginning of a stabilization of the COVID19 figures. Here the last week in France, for instance, we've seen ICU occupancy rise at the beginning of the week to more than 5,900 COVID-19 patients in ICU across France.

That has very slowly began to come down over the course of the last six days. Stabilization of figures as well in Italy, with Mario Draghi announcing they were bringing forward a date for lifting of restrictions.

That does not reflect the progress that has been made with vaccines because, of course, they have been remarkably slow. In France and Germany, where about just over 6 percent of the population fully vaccinated. So that is going to take some time to have an impact.

What has had an impact are restrictions that clearly cannot be left in place for too much longer. Here in France, where we're only just starting to see that stabilization, already authorities are looking at May 15th for a possible reopening of things like terraces and museums.

Robyn, they've been closed since October. It's really because restrictions have been strict that the third wave, the faster spreading variant, has seemed to finally begin to be brought under control in many European countries -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you for that.

So India is fighting a devastating spike in COVID cases as well, reporting more than 260,000 new cases just in the past 24 hours alone. Now the prime minister is asking people to practice symbolic rituals during an ongoing Hindu festival instead of gathering in person.

Vedika Sud joins us now live from New Delhi with more on that.

What can you tell us?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Robyn, good to be with you. Grim news coming out from India. While we've been told some European countries are experiencing a third wave, India is experiencing its second.


SUD: And the doctors say that this wave is more intense than the first and infection is spreading must faster than the first wave because you have the fourth consecutive day of cases being more than 200,000 per day.

And today, unfortunately, 1,500 or more deaths as well, which is the highest that India has recorded in the last 10 months. The situation is grim. The prime minister has held a review meeting on COVID-19, the situation in India.

He said that the supply of oxygen and remdesivir has to be ramped up in the country. He's also reached out to top seers who are participating with millions of followers in this huge religious festival known to be one of the biggest across the world in a northern city.

We do know is that a couple of these seers have said, all right, we will hold it symbolically. The final festival is supposed to be on the 27th of this month. But since commencement of this festival that started on April 1st, over 5,500 people have tested positive.

Just imagine once they go home, they can carry that infection with them. So as of now, some states have also put in some limitations and restrictions for pilgrims to return, including being in quarantine.

If some of them slip out of quarantine or don't make it to quarantine, what will happen?

That is not the only problem. Some elections are taking place in some states in India, as you can see voters are not even following the guidelines of keeping social distance which is another worry.

Along with that in Delhi the situation is really grim. There are two people to a bed in some of the hospitals. We are running out of beds in the capital city and also out of oxygen as well as remdesivir.

This is something that the chief minister of the state has said himself, also crematoriums across the country. It's sad to see these visuals but there are so many bodies lying, just waiting to be cremated. Some family members not making it to pick up the ashes because they're so scared of being infected. So an extremely grim situation in India, Robyn.

CURNOW: Grim indeed, thank you for that report. Vedika Sud, thank you.

SUD: Thank you.

CURNOW: So in Myanmar the violent crackdown by the military is not the only danger facing its citizens. February's coup has stalled efforts to fight the coronavirus, putting an entire population at risk. Ivan Watson explains that problem may not stop at Myanmar's border. Also a warning, part of his report contains graphic video -- Ivan.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crackdown after Myanmar's military coup claimed hundreds of lives in just two months. But there are also many unseen casualties of this rapidly escalating crisis.

WATSON: What is happening with the battle against COVID-19 in Myanmar since the February 1st coup?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Failing, totally failing at controlling the disease.

WATSON (voice-over): Experts like this epidemiologist from Myanmar are sounding the alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say that the COVID-19 control mechanism has totally collapsed in Myanmar.

WATSON (voice-over): Already one of the poorest countries in Asia, Myanmar was ill equipped to handle the pandemic. But Myanmar ramped up testing and treatment and even began giving doctors and nurses their first vaccination shots in January of this year.

That progress came to a screeching halt on February 1st, when the military overthrew the elected civilian government. Confirmed COVID cases, already on the decline, suddenly plunged to less than 20 a day. But that, experts say, is due to a collapse in testing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more than 1,000 tests a day are being conducted and that's in the context of, before February, the average was about 16,000 tests per day.

WATSON (voice-over): Doctors were among the first to protest against the coup. Many health care workers joined in anti-coup civil disobedience movements and went on strike, including this doctor, whom we can't identify for his safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medical personnel don't want to do their work under the coup.

WATSON (voice-over): Until the coup, he ran a hospital COVID treatment center. He says no one's working there anymore.

WATSON: Are you worried about a another wave of COVID infections in Myanmar?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. If there is another wave coming in, the situation is worse than ever.

WATSON (voice-over): For more than months, the strike has all but paralyzed the public system, prompting the military junta to issue public statements asking health care workers to return to work immediately.

But the crackdown, that has killed more than 700 people, hasn't spared medical workers. This week the military published this wanted list. [03:25:00]

WATSON: Including doctors accused of supporting the civil disobedience movement, now at risk of arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we are sure to be arrested. So who dares to go back in the hospital?

WATSON (voice-over): Experts warn that if COVID-19 explodes in Myanmar again, neighboring countries won't be spared.

The Chinese government launched a vaccination and testing blitz in the border city of Ruili after an outbreak of COVID-19 began late March. Beijing says nearly half of confirmed positive cases in the province are Myanmar nationals. Meanwhile, refugees from Myanmar are starting to flow toward Thailand and India.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If refugee crisis is expected, you have to expect a COVID 19 crisis along with refugee crisis.

WATSON (voice-over): As one doctor in Myanmar put it, if your neighbor's house is on fire, your own home will soon be in danger -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


CURNOW: You are watching CNN. Coming up, a final sendoff for Britain's Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh was laid to rest at Windsor Castle as those closest to him looked on. Details of the funeral honoring a life well lived. That is coming up next.





CURNOW: A somber and poignant day in the U.K. as Britain's Prince Philip was laid to rest at Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth and the royal family bade their farewells to the Duke of Edinburgh at a scaled down funeral due to COVID restrictions and the duke's own wishes.

The service was socially distanced with a small group of 30 guests sitting in their own respective bubbles. That included Her Majesty, seen here sitting alone. It is a striking image. For 73 years, Prince Philip was a constant figure at her side.

Anna Stewart joins me now live from Windsor with more.

It was a very poignant day.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a moment for national reflection, Robyn. And this was a day that really reflected Prince Philip's life and all the things that he loved. He had such a big hand in planning the day himself. Here is 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, 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: Heartwarming to see those pictures of the royal family, leaving the chapel, chatting to each other, looking less formal than they had going into the chapel. You have a sense, with a death in the family, it puts the rest of life into perspective. It's certainly a seat of unity there with Prince William and Prince Harry.

The queen turns 95 on Wednesday, she's still in mourning for another week, in fact. The nation left mourning today. We expect the queen to spend much more time here in Windsor Castle.

We expect a lot of the royal family to gather around her, rally around her and take on lots of her official duties, as they have done for some years. Still, the queen, very much head of state, very much a big part of everyone's lives in the U.K. and around the Commonwealth.

So many people's love and thoughts with her yesterday. I am sure they will continue to be through this week -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Anna Stewart, thank you for the update, live in Windsor.

Sandro Monetti is a royal commentator and trustee of the Royal Society of St. George and joins me now from Los Angeles He is also the editor- in-chief of "Hollywood International Filmmaker Magazine."

Good to have you along. The defining image, Sandro, of this funeral was the queen, this one, sitting alone. For someone who lived a life of privilege, in that moment, as she buried her husband, she looked like an everywoman, didn't she?

Alone, saying goodbye, something so many people have done this last year during COVID as well.

SANDRO MONETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER MAGAZINE": Great point. It was the heartbreaking image which will be remembered, for years. The queen, alone, for the first time in her lifetime.


MONETTI: So many of us watching on TV, wanted to almost jump into the television and hold her hand or give her a hug. She wasn't really alone. I'm sure she could feel the love coming from all around the world.

CURNOW: She did seem vulnerable, even though she has been a pillar of strength for Britons since World War II.

How do you think the image or symbolism of what played out, of this funeral, impacts Britons?

MONETTI: It makes her even more human, if that is at all possible. She has always representing stoicism. But she is just as vulnerable as the rest of us. And I think it will hit her harder on Wednesday, because that is her 95th birthday. There will be no Prince Philip alongside her to say happy birthday, to help her blow out the candles.

So there will be all of these reminders as we go on, so she will really need to lean on her family and the love and support of the public.

CURNOW: Philip has been revealed, in all of these obituaries and memories, coming from the family and people who knew him, to be so much more than this caricature of an aristocrat. The realization that he seemed to be, somewhat, underappreciated is -- has been quite powerfully represented by this funeral but also by the way people are, perhaps, reassessing their opinion of him.

MONETTI: It is almost like we have learned more about him in the last week or so, than we had in the previous 50 years. He seems to have been some kind of action hero, a very stylish guy, almost like a "GQ" Man of the Year figure. So much to admire about him.

Yes, for a long time, he was a figure of fun and a punch bag in some ways. But by always being two steps behind the queen, he never put himself forward. It is only through these tributes that so many of us are learning so much more about quite what an extraordinary figure he was. And the legacy he leaves.

CURNOW: Absolutely. This funeral, he certainly helped to create it, it had a huge impact in what it was, including that green Land Rover that his coffin was on.

But this funeral was also a reminder of the value of rituals, wasn't it?

It was very British in many ways but it spoke of history, of continuity. And that is so powerful, particularly after a year where there have been so few rituals, so few times we've been able to just go to church, never mind be part of saying goodbye.

MONETTI: No one does formality like the British. This was a final salute, under glorious sunshine, with everybody looking immaculate. It was all incredibly moving. And, for anyone who has lost anyone to COVID, which is so many of us, and not been able to attend the funeral, it almost wasn't like we were grieving Prince Philip; we were grieving so many of the 3 million that have been lost.

It was even more than just one man, it was a bigger moment of history. It was an attempt for the whole world, to grieve together. At least that's the way I saw it. It was beautiful, it was touching and it was heartfelt.

CURNOW: For a family that has a reputation at least publicly for being austere or perhaps even emotionless, there were these extremely rare moments and gestures of raw emotion.

Prince Charles, tears running down his face. Everyone looked broken by the loss of this man, this grandfather, husband, uncle and father-in- law. That, in itself, was powerful.

How do you think, particularly after the chaos and vitriol of the Harry and Meghan interview, just the sense of family that you saw there, also, I think, speaks volumes, doesn't it?

MONETTI: The royal family has been seen by some, at times, to be almost robotic in their lack of emotion. The "keep calm and carry on," stiff upper lip stoicism, which is part of British history and part of that family. But by allowing their emotions out, especially Prince Charles, who, seemed to be in floods of tears at one point, it really makes you see, that even though they are on a pedestal, they are human. They suffer the same emotions, grief and loss, as the rest of us.

CURNOW: Sandro Monetti, thank you very much, I appreciate you joining us.

MONETTI: Thank you.

CURNOW: Coming up on CNN, aides to Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, say he's close to death in prison. But he is still continuing his hunger strike. We talk about that, next.





CURNOW: The press secretary for the Russian opposition leader, Alexei, Navalny said that his health is deteriorating so badly in prison, he is dying. Now 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. Despite the danger, Navalny is sticking with the strike and one of his

colleagues tells us why.


VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, RUSSIAN DISSIDENT: 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: Sam Kiley, joining us with more on Alexei Navalny's health but also, this rally that his team is calling for.

What more do we know?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, the target figure for people writing in on the internet, the signatures of the petition for the opposition, is 500,000. When they reach that point, and they're at about 450,000 plus at the moment, they say that they will organize a mass rally, the biggest Russia has ever seen, they are hoping to achieve.

It has taken quite a period to get this off the ground. It is very important, indeed, from the Russian authorities and from Vladimir Putin's perspective, that this isn't a galvanizing issue, the health of Alexei Navalny.

Clearly, it is something the opposition that they are very concerned about and is very comfortable exploiting, if you like, in order to galvanize support for the broader platform of reforms that he represents.


KILEY: Although, of course, his hunger strike at the moment is only over access to medical care, following his poisoning in August with the Novichok nerve agent, the same nerve agent used in an attempt on a former Soviet agent's life in the United Kingdom.

Russia has denied responsibility for the poisonings in either case. But it is also coming at a time when the opposition group is being threatened with the possibility of being designated an extremist organization, being put into the same category, effectively, as violent radical Islamic groups, which would make any prospect of campaigning successfully for elections, believed to be scheduled for September this year, almost impossible -- Robyn.

CURNOW: While we watch that and wait for updates on his health, we are also watching the Czech Republic, authorities expelling 18 Russian diplomats, who they say aren't diplomats. Tell us about this and what this means, politically.

KILEY: It's been an extraordinary period over the last week or so, Robyn. There have been a wide range of expulsions, of diplomats and of people alleged to be agents of Russian intelligence.

In the case of this latest round of expulsions, 18 people, identified as being from the GRU, which is a Russian military external intelligence, or the SVR, which is the organization that has been allegedly involved in cyber espionage and cyberattacks around the world.

From the Czech Republic, this extraordinarily large number of people from a former Soviet bloc country. On top of that, the Czech authorities, speaking of Novichok, have also said that they are seeking two people alleged to be GRU agents, the same two people named by British authorities as being connected with the attempt on Mr. Skripal's life in Salisbury, one that Russian authorities said that they had nothing to do with, also involving Novichok.

They said that they want to talk to these people in connection with suspicious blasts in an ammunition storage facility in 2014, storage facilities that may have been storing arms destined for Ukraine, at a time when Russia was invading that country and beginning the process of the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

So things are getting all wrapped up with European and then, more widely, confrontations with America. We've seen three diplomats expelled from Poland as well but, in the United States, 10 Russian diplomats expelled earlier in the week or just about one week ago. And then a tit-for-tat response from Russia.

Heightened tensions between Russia, both close to home in Europe and also with the United States -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, thank you for that, Sam Kiley.

The U.S. and China have agreed on tackling climate change. The joint announcement comes after two days of talks in Shanghai. Both countries say the climate crisis must be addressed with seriousness, and urgency. Both countries agreeing to work together, to strengthen the Paris agreement.

That includes developing long-term strategies, aimed at carbon neutrality and, also, maximizing international investment, green and renewable energy in developing countries. Both agreed to reduce the use of some industrial chemicals.

Now some of the world's biggest stars, joining forces for a huge concert, pandemic style, that, is next.





Some of the biggest names in entertainment join together for a Global Citizens virtual concert this May. This time, the goal to raise awareness on the COVID vaccine. Lynda Kinkade, talking to one of the cofounders of the Global Citizen organization 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, 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.


KINKADE (voice-over): 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: Thank you for that, Lynda.

An astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, back home. NASA's Kate Rubins lived on the International Space Station for six months. She completed two spacewalks, bringing her career total to four.

She has the fourth most days in space by a U.S. female astronaut. Rubins used her time on the station to work on heart research and microbiology. He's also already planning her return.

Her next mission is set to last more than half a year.

I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @RobynCurnowCNN. Another hour of CNN is next.