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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. to Resume Use of J&J Vaccine with Warning; New Lockdown Restrictions in Germany; India Struggles with Devastating Second COVID-19 Wave; New Video in Ma'Khia Bryant Shooting; Policing in America; Biden to Declare 1915 Armenian Deaths a Genocide; Yemen's Civil War; Indonesia Narrows Search for Missing Submarine; Worldwide Climate Summit. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired April 24, 2021 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters, welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. health officials lift a temporary pause on the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

Deadly police shootings across the U.S. are reigniting the debate over officer training. We'll have a look at how some departments are taking a different approach.

And President Biden takes an approach over a dark part of history even if it risks America's relationship with a key ally.

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BRUNHUBER: Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine once again will be going into the arms of Americans. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration has lifted a temporary pause in the vaccine's use, saying its benefits far outweigh its risks.

The suspension was put into place after reports on a rare type of blood clot in more than a dozen patients who have received the shot. A White House official says the U.S. has 9 million doses ready to go. CNN's Alexandra Field has more from New York.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion to be voted upon is the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A CDC advisory committee voting to resume use of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine for people aged 18 and up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the vote is 10 in favor, four opposed and one abstention. The motion carries.

FIELD (voice-over): The committee did not recommend new restrictions based on age or gender. But the vaccine will be updated with a new label indicating that women under the age of 50 should be aware of the risk of blood clots.

The recommendations coming 10 days after a decision to pause use of J&J. Regulators considered evidence of 15 cases of rare and severe blood clots reported among women, including three deaths.

That's out of more than 8 million people who got the shot in the U.S. Health experts stress the decision to resume use comes with added safety benefits.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I think it is important to point out that this is a treatable condition if you recognize it right away. It's been good to have this pause, is to get everybody apprised of that, so that all physicians know that this is something to watch out for.

FIELD (voice-over): Just as the country's third vaccine will soon return to the market, an even bigger push to once again get more shots in arms, the average daily number now slipping below three million following the mid-April high, 3.4 million daily shots.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We have gotten vaccinations to the most at risk and those most eager to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We know reaching other populations will take time and focus.

FIELD (voice-over): That effort could get a boost soon, vaccine eligibility now considered likely to expand to children under the age of 16 in a matter of weeks.

DR. ROBERT FRENCK, CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: I'm quite hopeful that, even by May, that we would have a vaccine available for 12 and above.

FIELD (voice-over): Following a review of data collected from a large study of thousands of pregnant women, the CDC issuing guidance that now goes a step further than it did before.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: CDC recommends that pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

FIELD: Johnson & Johnson officials defended their vaccine in front of that committee, calling it a critical tool in terms of combating COVID not just in the U.S. but around the world.

They cited the vaccine's efficacy in protecting against a number of strains of the virus. They also talked about the ease of distribution that comes from the fact that it is just a single-dose vaccine -- in New York, Alexandra Field, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine made, by its subsidiary, is

the only single dose vaccine in major use. Like the AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines, it uses the non-replicating virus to create antibodies to fight the coronavirus. The vaccine can be stored in refrigerators, making distribution cheaper and easier.

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BRUNHUBER: Joining me now from San Francisco is Dr. Stephen Parodi, he's from the Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Permanente.

Doctor, thank you for joining us. I want to talk about the significance of releasing the pause on the Johnson & Johnson, the 9 million doses the U.S. has on hand. You helped oversee 20 plus hospitals.

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BRUNHUBER: What effect will it have on your staff's ability to vaccinate Californians?

DR. STEPHEN PARODI, ASSOCIATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP: This is a really big deal. It gives us an opportunity to have an expanded access to a vaccine we've had on pause in the last two weeks. And it's going to be really important to get to herd immunity. We're in a race against the variants. The more tools in our toolbox, the better.

BRUNHUBER: Some CDC advisers say they're not happy; even though the vaccine label will note the rare risk of blood clots, we should say, there's still not enough guidance from the CDC about the risks. The CDC says they'll have to do extraordinary outreach to doctors and patients on the issue.

But is it enough?

How will this change the way you deliver this vaccine, specifically to patients, in terms of warnings?

PARODI: Number one, the CDC and FDA are going to formalize a warning. What we're doing is taking in that information, packaging so it's available to the patients, to the general public, in the messaging so that everyone can make an informed choice.

This is important to understand the risks and benefits of vaccination but also, as important, the risk of getting COVID. And I just want to make it clear that there is still a lot of COVID going around in the United States.

You know, just here in California, we're still seeing a couple thousand cases a day. That's a lot better than, you know, 40,000 cases a day. But we're still in the thick of it, when it comes to this pandemic.

BRUNHUBER: I mean, do you think, though, that confidence in vaccines has taken a hit here?

I mean, we've seen the trend on vaccination seems to be going down. We're vaccinating at a slower rate than before.

Does it worry you that we might not get to the critical number that we need?

PARODI: I am concerned about that. You know, if you want to think about it, J&J and having a pause is really giving everyone a bit of a pause in terms of, should I get that vaccine. So, it's going to require a doubling down of our efforts to instill confidence.

In fact, during my clinic today, when I was talking to one of my African American patients and we were talking about J&J, and I asked him, you know, what's it going to take to re-instill confidence, really, what he said was two things.

One, if it's someone in that household, someone that's living with the group of people thinking about getting vaccinated, they've got to be confident enough to get it. And the second thing, to hear from their adviser, physician or otherwise. The most trusted people are the individual clinicians that people come to.

So, the reason I mentioned that is that we can have the most wonderful and excellent public health campaigns in the world. But I think getting to herd immunity is going to require literally a door-to-door type of approach, where we're outreaching individual people, re- instilling that confidence.

BRUNHUBER: That's interesting. That's a great message to get out there. I want to pivot to some good news. First of all, quickly on COVID reinfection, people who have been vaccinated and have come down with a serious case of COVID.

From your experience, how common is that?

PARODI: It's actually extremely rare. We've seen very few breakthrough cases after somebody has been fully vaccinated. That means if you're on the two-dose series, two weeks after a second dose, it's extremely rare to see anybody get sick. If they do get sick, extremely rare even to see a hospitalization.

So, I'm convinced these vaccines work. I've got to tell you, since we started vaccinating the older population, the people in skilled nursing facilities, I'm simply not seeing those people get hospitalized. So it's really key that we move forward and move fast. And as this vaccine supply opens up over May and June, that we get to the larger general public.

BRUNHUBER: A hopeful note to end on. Appreciate your insights, Dr. Stephen Parodi, thank you for joining us.

PARODI: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Large parts of Germany are beginning the day under new lockdown restrictions after the government passed what is called an emergency break law, a way of tackling a third wave of COVID cases. Scott McLean is there.

Scott, Germans woke up to this law. Most don't seem happy about it.

What's the latest?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, don't seem happy, especially when you see the U.K. going completely in the other direction. The prime minister saying this country is still on track to lift all COVID restrictions by June.

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MCLEAN: Germany is still trying to damp down a third deadly wave of the virus. And so the parliament passed this legislation which allows the federal government to essentially override the autonomy of local governments and impose COVID restrictions if the infection rate in a certain area reaches a certain threshold.

Up until now, each of the states had the power to implement COVID restrictions. Unfortunately, for most of Germany, well, they're already at those thresholds. Those restrictions, even school closures, will be beginning today, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: And the debate over the AstraZeneca rages on. Tell us what regulators are saying now about the vaccine and blood clots.

MCLEAN: Sure, yes, you might remember last month, many European countries paused their rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccines over the concerns over the extremely, extremely rare blood clots. The regulator did a review over the several days and found they could not definitively rule out a link between the vaccines and the clots.

But the benefits still far outweigh the risks. The latest analysis shows you're still much, much more likely to die from coronavirus than to get one of these blood clots. And that's especially true in older people, where in 100,000 people, you might expect 100 of them to die from the coronavirus, depending on the severity of the outbreak in a given country.

The one exception to the risk-benefit analysis, though, is people under the age of 30, who are so unlikely to die from the coronavirus that actually the extreme blood clots are more likely. So U.K. is not a member of the E.U. anymore. But earlier this month, the U.K. has decided to offer people under 30 an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting perspective on the relative risks there. Thanks so much, Scott McLean from London.

India has set another global record for new cases reported in a single day for the third day in a row. On Saturday, health officials reported more than 346,000 new infections. Hospitals are struggling with the shortage of supplies, including oxygen, to treat COVID patients.

We're just getting word now that 20 critically ill patients in a hospital in Delhi died after the supply of oxygen ran out. Anna Coren joins us live from Hong Kong.

More tragic situations. Unfortunately, the situation seems to be getting more and more desperate and, from the pictures I've seen, more and more morbid as well.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, this is a catastrophe, what is going on in India right now. You mentioned how that hospital in Delhi, the capital, ran out of oxygen overnight. They were expecting oxygen at 5:00 pm. It didn't arrive until midnight.

Well, 20 critically ill patients, who were keeping alive because of that oxygen supply, they died. And our producer in Delhi spoke to the head of the hospital a short time ago. He said they've only got 20 minutes' worth of oxygen at this moment. He's scrambling, desperately trying to get more oxygen.

There's an acute shortage, not just in Delhi but right across the country as the second wave that is absolutely decimating parts of India has turned into a tsunami.

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COREN (voice-over): The rituals of death light up the sky across India. A second wave of the coronavirus, which began mid-March is spreading through the country, leaving grief-stricken families desperate for ways to perform the last rites for the loved ones.

On Friday, India recorded more than 330,000 new cases, the highest daily case count in the world. The country's crematoriums are pushed beyond capacity, some facilities using their parking lots and piles of wooden planks to meet the demand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are so many bodies coming, we are running out of wood. If it continues like this, then in 4 to 5 days, we will have to cremate bodies on the road.

COREN (voice-over): One man was forced to keep the body of his mother at home for nearly two days before coming here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Nobody helped in time. We were running here and there for a ventilator. She died after the oxygen ran out.

COREN (voice-over): Volunteer groups are working morning to night to receive the bodies of those who died from the virus, whose families are unable or unwilling to take them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When the bodies come to us, we inquire about the person's religion and if the person is Hindu, we perform the funeral as per Hindu customs. But if they're Muslim we do the funeral accordingly.

COREN (voice-over): Gravediggers in this cemetery of New Delhi say they too are struggling to bury the dead.

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COREN (voice-over): With 15 to 20 bodies arriving daily over the past few weeks. They say it's overwhelming and cannot be sustained for long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now the condition of our graveyard is that if the death toll keeps rising, then in the next 2 to 3 days, we will have to close it down. There will be no space left here.

COREN (voice-over): For many of the victims, the virus taking not only their lives but also the dignity they deserved in death.

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COREN: So, Kim, half the cases in Delhi, they are the result of this more contagious variant, which was first detected last year, and also afflicting younger people. The government says as of today, anyone over the age of 18 can register for a vaccine. The problem is there's a desperate shortage of vaccine.

Health experts say, of the 3 million jabs being administered right now, every single day, it would have to increase to 10 million a day to flatten the curve. So obviously, the health system is suffering. It is on the brink of collapsing.

As I said, hospitals have been pleading for more oxygen and supplies. And they're even taking to social media, Kim, to get their message across because government officials are not picking up the phone. That is how dire the situation is in India.

BRUNHUBER: Obviously a long road ahead there. Thanks so much, Anna Coren in Hong Kong.

New video has been released in the deadly police shooting in Ohio. We're sharing what we learned about the death of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant after the break.

Plus --

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NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Three years ago, commanders took us to their front line. It was on top of the mountains overlooking the capital. They were confident they'd be able to take it. Now they've been pushed back. They're on the back foot, defending their own city.

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BRUNHUBER: The city of Marib in Yemen not only holds vast oil riches but also the key to the conflict there. We'll take you to the front lines. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: New graphic video has been leased of the fatal officer- involved shooting of a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio. The mayor's office said social media and the timing of Bryant's shooting with the verdict in the George Floyd murder case drove officials to release these videos quickly. CNN's Athena Jones reports. Again, these scenes are disturbing.

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ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new view of what led to the shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.

This angle from a neighbor's security camera across the street showing Columbus, Ohio, police officer Nicholas Reardon arriving on the scene, emerging from the vehicle and shooting Bryant, in black, as she appeared to lunge at another young woman, wearing pink with a knife in her hand.

Reardon who has been taken off street duty while an independent investigation is underway, firing four shots at Bryant within seconds. The police department and the police union president arguing the use of force was necessary to protect the young woman in pink.

KEITH FERRELL, PRESIDENT, CAPITAL CITY LODGE 9, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: I would ask you, if that's your family member up against the car that had a puppy in their hand, what would you want that officer do in that split second moment that they had a chance to stop harm to others.

We have a duty to protect the public and ourselves. Certainly, the public.

JONES (voice-over): A view echoed by other law enforcement experts.

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: Immediately upon exiting the vehicle, Officer Reardon observes an assault that's taking place. He sees one person that's in possession of a knife and then he sees a victim that's -- or a potential victim that's standing next to the auto.

Officer Reardon believed that deadly physical force was necessary in this encounter, because the potential victim could have possibly lost their life.

JONES (on camera): Explain, once again, why the officer took these actions and why he did so, so quickly.

PORCHER: This was an incident that went from zero to 100 immediately. the officer's actions were justified under the purview of the use of force doctrine.

JONES (voice-over): Mayor Andrew Ginther saying the city is grieving a tragic loss and stressing the importance of transparency.

MAYOR ANDREW GINTHER (D-OH), COLUMBUS: Our African American community in particular here is grieving not just at this particular tragic event, but so many deadly encounters with law enforcement they're seeing around the country and even here in this community.

And so, it's a common (inaudible) all of us to make sure that we are supporting folks in the community right now that are grieving, but also calling for and demanding for change, reform and justice. And transparency is such an important part of that.

JONES (voice-over): Police released dash camera footage Thursday from shortly after the shooting. Part of that effort at transparency. Meanwhile, Bryant's mother grappling with the pain of losing her daughter.

PAULA BRYANT, MA'KHIA BRYANT'S MOTHER: My heart is really broken right now because I miss my baby.

JONES: Paula Bryant says she is grieving and has been unable to watch the full video of her daughter's final moments. Meanwhile, funeral arrangements are being finalized. Details could be released as soon as Saturday, according to a family spokesperson -- Athena Jones, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.

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BRUNHUBER: These deadly police encounters are reigniting the debate over how officers are trained. So many police departments around the country are taking a different approach, one that emphasizes de- escalation. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the knife.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Camden, New Jersey, 2015, county police responding to a call about a man pulling a steak knife inside a fast food restaurant. Once he walks outside, several officers form a perimeter around him and try to talk them down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, drop the knife, or I will Tase you.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): They all walk for several blocks, clearing traffic and people, until police do deploy a Taser and officers move in to arrest him unharmed.

CAPT. KEVIN LUTZ, CAMDEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, POLICE: We look at that video as a shining example of the tangible result of the training that we have given our officers.

[04:25:00] SCHNEIDER (on camera): Officers are crediting your ICAT training program was really transforming their departments. How do you respond to that?

CHUCK WEXLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM: Well, first of all, it's those police officers that taught us a lot, because when we watched what they did, they gave us a lot of ideas.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Chuck Wexler is the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. And he developed ICAT, Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics.

Put plainly, the training encourages officers to create distance and buy time by speaking with the subject, rather than shouting commands while pointing a gun.

(on camera): Are officers skeptical when you implement this training?

WEXLER: Oh, yes. When we first implemented this training, the first thing cops would say is, you're going to get cops hurt.

What's happened is, cops haven't gotten hurt. People's lives have been saved. And careers have been saved too.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Camden County police Captain Kevin Lutz credits ICAT with changing the way his officers think and respond.

LUTZ: We teach them to recognize threat levels, to differentiate between a possible threat and an imminent threat and to -- at the end of the day, the most important thing is to place a tremendous value on the sanctity of life.

And we believe that our community has responded in a way that has really helped us drive down violence.

WEXLER: At the Washington State Police Academy, they too are emphasizing de-escalation over force, moving away from military-style training.

SUE RAHR, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON STATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRAINING COMMISSION: That's moving away from the military model of training police officers like you train soldiers. The mission is different. We train soldiers to conquer. We train police officers to protect and to keep peace.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): Was military-style training used too often prior to this other training?

WEXLER: Well, I think most of academies have a kind of paramilitary structure. And we look at that today. We say, are you yelling recruits?

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Does this work in every situation, this de- escalation idea?

WEXLER: Good question. Sometimes there are situations that are hard to deescalate. Sometimes they happen so quickly that an officer just simply has to (INAUDIBLE).

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Wexler says more than 600 agencies around the country have implemented ICAT training, including in Madison, Wisconsin, where Police Chief Shon Barnes says they emphasize not only de-escalation but also focus on mental health.

CHIEF SHON BARNES, MADISON POLICE: I think we need to look not only at a first responder model but a second responder model. We're looking at things in our police department where we'll have mental health officers, mental health professionals who go on these crisis calls.

SCHNEIDER: And attorney general Merrick Garland actually met with police officials virtually on Friday. I'm told this is a broad discussion about what police departments around the country need and any possible plans for police reform -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

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BRUNHUBER: A grim chapter in World War I is again gaining international attention, now that the U.S. is preparing to join other nations in labeling the massacre of Armenians a "genocide." Ahead, why it's such an issue in present day Turkey. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Well, these images coming us from Armenia. The country pauses to remember the 1950 massacre of Armenians by what was then the Ottoman Empire. More than a century later, that pain is still felt amid the debate how to exactly characterize what happened.

Now for the first time, the U.S. government will openly call the mass killings a genocide. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with the Turkish president on Friday to let them know. Turkey has long opposed to use of that term. A statement from the White House is expected later today. CNN's Arwa Damon is covering Istanbul.

Arwa, a shift here in the U.S. People are asking why now. Take us through the significance and timing of this move.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, it could very well be that President Biden feels this is something that is necessary, given how he is trying to and had pledged to do so during the campaign. But also, President Biden is, in very many ways, trying to right the

image of the United States globally. And among those attempts is trying to create the impression of a country that is standing up for human rights around the world. That very well could be, analysts are saying, part of this logic in wanting to do so.

Other presidents have avoided using the actual term "genocide" out of concerns of alienating Ankara. But that information, that President Biden is planning on doing this, did not come from either one of the readouts, not from the readout that came out from the White House, not from the readout that came out from President Erdogan's office.

It was from someone familiar with the conversations, who described them as being very tense. Once you have the situation where the plight, the pain of the people is really being deeply entrenched in politics.

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DAMON (voice-over): For decades Armenians have lobbied and pleaded to have the mass killings of their ancestors recognized as genocide.

The exact number of Armenians who lost their lives more than a century ago is in dispute. But experts put the numbers between 600,000 and 1.5 million. The campaign against Armenians in Ottoman lands included forced migrations, massacres and starvation.

For many Armenians, recognizing the brutality endured by their ancestors is a crucial step in righting a historic wrong. But modern day Turkey that rose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire has long maintained the killings were not systematic, were smaller in number and do not meet the legal definition of genocide.

In fact the word "genocide" in the legal framework around it only entered the mainstream after World War II. The word was coined by a Polish lawyer to describe the Nazi's systematic attempt to eradicate Jews in Europe, what we now call the Holocaust.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

DAMON (voice-over): Turkey has softened its position over the years with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2014, issuing a first ever statement, calling the events of 1915 a shared pain and offering condolences to the descendants of the killed.

Turkey, still arguing that events need to be put in historical context, that hundreds of thousands of people from other groups also lost their lives in rampant killings, some of which were carried out by Armenians. The historical debate long overshadowed by politics in recognition of the Armenian genocide.

For years, Turkey's allies in the West had sidestepped the label of genocide in order to keep Ankara in the fold. As Turkey's ties with the West became rockier than ever, a slew of genocide recognition bills have been passed in European capitals.

Turkey's rivals, like Russia and Syria, also jumped in to recognize the genocide label. One of the remaining holdouts has been the United States. With U.S.-Turkish relations straining to new lows over the last two years, momentum has been building in Washington to recognize the events as a genocide.

During his term, President Obama shied away from using the term genocide, choosing to call it Mets Yeghern, an Armenian term meaning the great calamity.

In 2019, both the Senate and House passed a resolution to recognize Armenian genocide. But President Trump refused to call the events a genocide. Now it is up to President Biden, to decide which side of history the U.S. stands on.

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DAMON: And, Kim, if and when this does in fact happen, you can be almost certain that there will be a pretty severe and harsh reaction from Turkey. The relationship between President Biden and President Erdogan is already potentially going to be incredibly challenging for both sides.

Turkey is already irked with President Biden, over Biden calling Erdogan an autocrat back in 2020. And then there are all sorts of other issues that go back to the relationships between the two countries, dating back to the Obama era.

And this at a time when these two NATO allies, in many regards, cannot really afford to further alienate themselves. But it does seem at this stage that President Biden is willing to risk a relationship with Turkey to be able to come out and change what we were saying, what many view as a historic wrong.

BRUNHUBER: Thanks for the reporting, Arwa Damon in Istanbul, appreciate it.

In Yemen, fierce clashes in the last major northern stronghold for the internationally recognized government could recognize a turning point for the oil-rich country. The city of Marib is now the center of military escalation by the Houthi-backed rebels, trying to move east with a devastating attack with drones in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi-backed government forces say President Biden's intention to recognize the antitrust groups will further embolden the rebels. Nic Robertson was on the front line, where the battle for control is raging on.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Saif Abulwi (ph) writhes in pain, the 13-year old hit by a Houthi missile in the Yemeni city of Marib.

"I can't breathe, I can't breathe," he cries.

Still recovering a week later, he tells me what happened.

"We were playing football, the missile hit, my leg was injured, I couldn't breathe. One of my friends was dead and the other looked like he was about to die."

In another ward, the hospital's deputy director shows me Saif's (ph) friend.

ROBERTSON: And what's his condition?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON: Yes.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Under sedation, he is clinging to life.

ROBERTSON: He's in a bad way.

How is it that you as a doctor that sees so many injured children come in from all these rockets after all this time?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): An ophthalmologist by training, he says he has no words to describe the suffering, no choice but keep trying to help and hope that the fighting will end.

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ROBERTSON: The Houthis are trying to come towards Marib.

They're trying to push this way towards Marib?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But, as Yemen's defense minister shows me, Marib's situation is getting worse. Long a target of the Houthis, they've stepped up attacks from three directions.

He blames President Biden for an escalation that brought the Houthis to within 10 kilometers of the city and will blame him if the city falls.

LT. GEN. MOHAMMED ALI AL-MAQDASHI, YEMENI MINISTER OF DEFENSE (through translator): The American administration holds a big responsibility for this crime. They removed the Houthis from the terrorism list but there is no greater terrorists than the Houthis.

They should support us and we expect that they will because our fight is righteous and because we are fighting for democracy.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Once a fabled desert oasis, Marib is now wartime sanctuary to more than 2 million people, gateway to much of Yemen's gas and oil wealth and is the internationally recognized government's last major stronghold in northern Yemen. ROBERTSON: Marib is too important for the government to lose. It's vital leverage in any future peace talks. What happens here now is pivotal to the future of the country.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Marib's many internally displaced people -- or IDP -- camps, life is lived in the balance. Nine-year-old Dua (ph) has been throwing up, can't eat. Her mother worries she'll starve. She tells us Houthi attacks are making Dua very afraid.

"When we hear the missiles land close by, we're all scared," she says.

Around the city, tent camps with recently displaced are growing. The government claims there are more than 2.7 million IDPs, although the U.N. believes it's less. What they both agree on is that a Houthi offensive could force many to flee again and it would be harder to help them.

NAIMA TAHIR, SHELTER OFFICER, INTERTNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Because they keep moving now, we have a lot of IDPs. We've been displaced for the third or fourth time. There will be a lot of other movements for people and then adding to the suffering.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A Yemeni military trip to the front line reveals how precarious the city is.

ROBERTSON: Soldiers in the truck tell us that there's fighting around here every day for the past few months. The reason we're driving so fast, well, that's because of the danger. And the guy at the wheel, that's the army chief of staff.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): On the way, he stops, greets tribal leaders, without whose fighters he can't hold the front line.

And another stop, this time with his own troops, both he and the information minister promising them their morale-sapping pay arrears will be sorted.

The front itself, a small dirt berm. Dust rises from Houthi vehicles and shooting starts.

GEN. SAGHEER BIN AZIZ, CHIEF OF STAFF, YEMENI NATIONAL ARMY: This car is for the enemy.

ROBERTSON: You can see the Houthi?

BIN AZIZ: Yes, yes, see this.

ROBERTSON: Then they push you back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): His answer, yes, in some places. The mountains they have and the open areas, we are doing better, and vows they'll never take Marib.

ROBERTSON: Three years ago, commanders took us to their front line. It was on top of the mountains overlooking the capital. They were confident they'd be able to take it. Now they've been pushed back. They're on the back foot, defending their own city.

We're pulling back from the front line. The commander felt it was just getting too dangerous, that exchange of gunfire was heating up and it wasn't quite clear to him how it was going to play out.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): We stop near a ramshackle gun emplacement. Military hardware here is old, scattered and scarce. Nothing here that couldn't be overrun in a hurry.

They're relying on Saudi coalition airstrikes to hold the Houthis back and feel weakened by Biden's decision to end American military support for it.

BIN AZIZ (through translator): America's decision hurt us and we hope that the American administration will go back on their decision.

ROBERTSON: So far, Biden's Yemen policy is raising the stakes for this city.

[04:45:00]

ROBERTSON: Whether or not that can produce political compromise necessary to make peace remains unclear -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Marib, Yemen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Excellent reporting there from Nic.

The desperate search for Indonesia's missing submarine narrows as a critical deadline passes. We'll have the latest on efforts to locate the vessel -- next. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Hope is dwindling that searchers will be able to rescue the 53 crew members of the Indonesian submarine missing since Wednesday. The vessel's oxygen supply is believed to have run out hours ago but that's not stopping the urgent international efforts to locate the vessel. Blake Essig is following this from Tokyo.

Blake, what's the latest?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, hope is not lost but it's fading quickly. The search and rescue operation is still underway to find the 53 on board. Today navy officials divided the search north of Bali into 16 sectors. They have 20 ships and four aircraft searching.

Singapore, Malaysia and have sent ships while the United States sent a P-8 Poseidon, arriving earlier today. Navy officials say if the sub is still intact, the crew would have run out of oxygen several hours ago.

The sub lost contact during a torpedo run on the Bali Strait Wednesday morning, shortly after an oil spill was spotted from the air. This particular sub has a dive capacity of 500 meters. The big concern is that the sub has descended to a depth of 700 meters, well beyond its survivable limits.

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ESSIG: We talked to a rear admiral with the navy that was first on it when it first arrived in Indonesia back in 1981. He thinks a possible blackout scenario was experienced while the submarine was diving into position during that torpedo drill.

He said, on the sub, the steering is only powered by electricity and hydraulics. So if there's no power, then there's no chance to change direction, meaning the submarine would have continued its dive and couldn't be stopped. But for now, Kim, the search is still on to find the 53 people on board.

BRUNHUBER: Thank you, Blake Essig.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is prepared to link up with the International Space Station. And these are live pictures that we're seeing right now. So we're going to come back to that in a moment. Stay with us for that.

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BRUNHUBER: President Biden closed out his two-day climate summit with a message of economic prosperity, if the global community shifts from fossil fuels to renewable energies in the years ahead.

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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's final session is not about the threat that climate change poses, it is about the opportunity that addressing climate change provides. It is an opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs around the world.

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BRUNHUBER: The president also said tackling the climate crisis can lead to greater international cooperation. He noted Russia's willingness to work with the U.S. on CO2 removal, despite differences on other issues.

President Biden opened the summit by pledging to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2030. That's far more ambitious than previous administrations. I asked environmental researcher Dan Reicher what might compel the president to set such an aggressive target. Here's his response.

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DAN REICHER, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCHER: I think it's a combination of strong climate oriented forces and just the gravity of the situation we face. It's gotten worse and worse, year by year, decade by decade. So we have to be looking at more aggressive targets like President Biden has set.

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BRUNHUBER: You can watch the whole interview coming up in the next hour.

Well, we're just minutes away from seeing the SpaceX Crew Dragon reaching its destination. What you're seeing a live shot of the capsule as it closes in on the International Space Station. And we'll have live coverage of the docking at the top of the next hour. Very cool to see.

The capsule's launch on Friday was picture perfect. Later, its four astronauts had an unexpected close encounter. A piece of space debris appeared as the crew was getting ready to sleep.

SpaceX said the astronauts put on their space suits, quote, "in an abundance of caution." Turns out the unknown object was further away than they thought. Good thing.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'll be back with more news. Please do stay with us.