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U.S. Vaccinations Dip, Experts Fear Vaccine Hesitancy; India Hospitals Facing Severe Oxygen Shortage; Armenians Cheer U.S. Designation Of 1915 Massacres A Genocide; Jerusalem Waking Up After Night Of New Clashes; Dodger Stadium Opens "Fully Vaccinated" Fan Section; Family And Friends Celebrate Life Of DMX; Indonesia Navy Says Submarine Sunk; Oscars Team Hoping To Beat Pandemic-Era Slump; "Nomadland" Director Faces Heated Criticism In China. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 25, 2021 - 01:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, welcome to NEWSROOM. I'm Robyn Curnow.

As demand for the vaccine in the U.S. drops, shots of Johnson & Johnson are resuming with a new warning.

And Joe Biden does what no U.S. president has done before, calling the mass killings of Armenians a century ago a "genocide." I speak to a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey about the potential fallout.

And debris from a sunken submarine in Indonesia is recovered.


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

CURNOW: Great to have you along this hour.

We begin with signs that the coronavirus vaccine supply in the U.S. may soon outstrip demand. More than 225 million doses have been administered across the country. But daily vaccination rates are starting to taper off.

Now this comes as the government cleared the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to resume, after a brief pause over reports of a rare blood clot. Now that's putting even more doses back in the supply chain.

So the drop in vaccinations is concerning health officials. As you can see here, the U.S. is far from reaching herd immunity. I want to go straight to Polo Sandoval, looking at what might be behind this drop.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is cleared to go into arms again, a slight but ongoing drop in overall shots being administered a day, that average number, according to the CDC, dipped below 3 million this week.

The Biden administration attributing it to vaccine hesitancy. It is a trend that the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been closely watching even before J&J's pause.

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Facebook runs a survey every day and we look at that data on a daily basis and that has shown that vaccine confidence in the U.S. has been slowly, but steadily going down since February.

You know, not by huge amounts like a percentage point a week, but that starts to add up.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Some of that hesitancy being felt more among Republicans. A Monmouth poll recently showed 43 percent of GOP voters said they will likely never get a COVID vaccine compared to five percent of Democrats.

The head of the CDC said Friday that the government must perform quote, "extraordinary outreach" when it comes to educating clinicians and patients.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: All right, I am getting the injection now.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Baltimore's former Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen received a J&J dose before the pause. If given the option, she encourages certain women avoid it given the fresh findings about extremely rare blood clots.

WEN: Since there are two other vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna that do not carry this very small risk, I don't think I would have chosen to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine myself knowing that risk.

And I wish that the CDC and the FDA had gone further in their discussions yesterday to explicitly put a warning for women under the age of 50 to say, if it is available to you, consider choosing one of the other vaccines that do not carry this particular risk.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The consensus remains the same among health experts, all COVID vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. remains safe and effective.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If you look at the tradeoff here, this is still far better -- it is far better to choose to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine than to go unvaccinated given what we know about the risks of COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thousand shots.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): A local Canadian pharmacy in Toronto celebrated administering its 1,000th vaccination this week, as here in the U.S., efforts at a much larger scale continue amid vaccine hesitancy. SANDOVAL: Well, here in New York state, about 31 percent of the population already considered fully vaccinated in an effort to try to keep increasing that number, multiple locations and vaccination sites continue to open up, including here in New York City, where the American Natural History Museum is now serving as a mass vaccination site, even offering free admission to the museum as an added incentive -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.



CURNOW: Joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jorge Rodriguez.

Thanks for joining us. I do want to get your reaction to this Johnson & Johnson announcement.

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think that it was very wise to stop and try to look at what's going on, if there was any sort of line or correlation between certain illnesses or certain genders. I agree that women, especially women under 50, need to be a little bit careful.


RODRIGUEZ: I think that if you're on birth control, even though it hasn't been proven, that might be a risk factor. However, please keep in mind that this is one in 1 million, literally, 1 in a million of the people that get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that get blood clots.

One of 100 Americans are going to die from car accidents. One in 15,000 are going to get hit by lightning. This is very rare. But it's something that does need to be taken into consideration. I'm glad it's back on the market.

CURNOW: I'm sure you're not the only one.

To go back to this issue, did this pause then create more vaccine trust or more vaccine hesitancy, do you think?

RODRIGUEZ: I'm pretty sure that it created more vaccine hesitancy. I think that there are a group of people that are going to take the vaccine no matter what. I think there are also another group of people that are going to look for almost any excuse not to take it.

I think it did somehow solidify in those people's minds the fact that they should not take the vaccine. What we have to keep in mind is that people are seeing what I keep saying, is how the sausage of science is being made.

This would have happened behind the scenes; people would have gotten an alert and they would have eventually known the truth about what is causing these clots when there is more information.

CURNOW: There's talk about clots, because you know, it's rare clotting, as you say, 1 in 1 million. But COVID appears to increase your risk of blood clots, of strokes.

Why is that?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, they believe that the reason that COVID, the SARS- CoV-2 virus, can cause clotting, is because it causes inflammation throughout your body. A vein or artery, blood has to flow through. As it gets smaller due to inflammation, that blood starts to back up and cause clotting.

This is a completely different mechanism than what they believe is caused by the vaccine; in that case, the platelets, which is something that helps clot blood, they start going down because they form clumps. So it's two different complete mechanisms. But they both, ironically, seem to increase clotting.

CURNOW: This Johnson & Johnson pause also didn't just impact the pipeline supply here in the U.S. but also a study to vaccinate health care workers in South Africa, for example, which can now also go back online.

So this is not just about the U.S. market, is it?


CURNOW: Has huge implications for countries like South Africa where most of the population is not vaccinated and elsewhere in the world.

RODRIGUEZ: That's absolutely right. Unfortunately, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not being administered in the places where it is needed the most. This is one vaccine that has a wide possibility of helping people, because it is just one shot, one and done.

So, yes, this is a wide-ranging effect. It has been stopped in certain countries in Europe; in South Africa, I heard that it was just approved to be started again. So it has worldwide implications.

CURNOW: I also want to talk about what's happening in India. I know we're going to have this conversation after you with another guest. But the double mutant variant in India, a combination, apparently, of the Californian and South African variants, not exactly but at least the same profile.

This is something that needs to be looked at and watched.

What are you seeing early on, as people worry about what's playing out in India?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, first and foremost, what's happening in India is just heartbreaking. The images are incredible.

So viruses mutate every day. Each virus has probably dozens of mutations. Some are important, some are not. Nobody really knows what the 617 mutant, which is the India mutant, whether it really is creating the sort of surge in India.

In some of the states in India, it's approximately two-thirds of the COVID cases that are being found there. So what people need to remember is that every person that gets infected will more than likely create some sort of mutation through the replication process. Mutations are created by people getting infected.

And that is why vaccination is so important. That is why health measures, like hand washing and simple masks, are so important. But, yes, there needs to be a lot more observation and research on this quote-unquote "India variant" to see if it's what's causing the surge there and in other countries in the world.

CURNOW: OK. Always good to speak to you, CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, thank you for your expertise.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, Robyn.


CURNOW: As we were just saying there with the doctor, India has shattered the global daily case record for a fourth consecutive day. Officials just reported more than 349,000 new infections just on Sunday. This brings the country's total cases to more than 16.9 million since the pandemic began.

Oxygen is in short supply, along with nearly everything else at hospitals inundated with COVID patients.


CURNOW: Experts say the case surge could correlate with a rise in these variants. This so-called double mutant variant that we're talking about with the doctor.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state is sending his support to Indians in a tweet, promising additional assistance from the U.S. Anna Coren is tracking these developments from Hong Kong and can tell us more about what's playing out there.

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, the situation on the ground is nothing short of a catastrophe. You talk about the shortage of oxygen. That's not just happening in New Delhi, the capital. That is happening right across the country.

On Friday night, one hospital in Delhi ran out of oxygen and 20 critically ill patients that were relying on oxygen to stay alive, they died. The chief of that hospital has been in touch with our team in Delhi and he says that they managed to get some more oxygen and arrived very early this morning.

But it was half the amount of oxygen they need for their patients. It's going to run out in the coming hours.

It's not just hospitals that are going through this. It is private citizens as well. Because hospitals are turning people away, saying we don't have enough, it is up to the individual to look after their family members, keep them alive until beds become available in a hospital. So these oxygen cylinders, just to give you an idea, keep a patient

breathing for between three to six hours. That's it. And then they have to refill. So this is a constant, constant job for the families of these COVID patients.

And hospitals are saying, unless you have your own oxygen supply, unless you have your own oxygen cylinder and can supply it with oxygen, do not bring your people here. It is just staggering to think that this is happening in India, a country that managed to survive the first wave. If anything, they thought they were over it.

And then this second wave, it returned and it returned with a vengeance. People are saying this was completely avoidable if the government had taken the necessary preparations, had stockpiled things like oxygen and medications, had boosted up the crumbling health system. But in fact, it was complacent.

It allowed social gatherings, it allowed religious festivals, it allowed life to return to normal. Now in Delhi, half the cases are the result of this more contagious variant which was first detected in India last year. It is now being detected in Switzerland, in the U.K. It is afflicting younger people.

We have spoken to people from India, who say that their loved ones were vaccinated with the first shot and still passed away. So we don't know how resistant these vaccines are to this new contagious variant that is spreading. It's a frightening scenario, not just for India but for the rest of the world.

CURNOW: OK. Anna Coren, thanks so much.

Switzerland has reported its first case of that double mutant variant identified in India. Health authorities say the person was a passenger at an airport.

Then in Japan, a new state of emergency goes into effect today in four prefectures, including Tokyo. Japan is in the middle of a fourth wave of the coronavirus. The new restrictions are set to last through May 11th.

The death toll from a fire at a Baghdad hospital that treats COVID patients has risen to at least 24, over 30 others injured. Officials say oxygen tanks exploded, causing the massive blaze.


CURNOW (voice-over): As you can see, videos shared on social media show the chaotic scene, as firefighters scramble to get the fire under control. Health care workers fervently tried to evacuate patients from the burning building. Iraq's prime minister is ordering an immediate investigation into this accident.


CURNOW: Police in London say eight officers were injured trying to disperse anti-lockdown protesters. Several thousand people marched through central London on Saturday, calling the coronavirus a hoax and a myth.

Most, as you can see, were not wearing masks. Five people were arrested on offenses, including assaulting a police officer.

Coming up, the mass killings of Armenians during World War I has been officially labeled a genocide by the U.S. government. It's a message the people of Armenia have been waiting over a century to hear. Just ahead, why Joe Biden did what other presidents have declined to do.

Plus several nights of unrest in Jerusalem. Why now?

We have a live report coming up.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

CURNOW (voice-over): Thousands in Armenia cheering as they hear the American president is recognizing the massacres of their people during World War I as a genocide. The exact death toll is in dispute but many historians believe 600,000 to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.

The Turkish government immediate rejected President Biden's statement and summoned the U.S. ambassador to make a formal complaint.

What's most striking is that many American presidents in the past have carefully avoided using the term genocide. Joe Johns explains why this U.S. president decided to do it now -- Joe.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's been a long time coming but the American president has now declared, in a statement released over this weekend, that the atrocities that occurred in Turkey 106 years ago, being commemorated this very weekend, were, in fact, genocide. Here's part of that statement.

The president writes, "Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring."

This recognition has been years in the making.


JOHNS: In fact, many American presidents have declined to take such a step out of fear of damaging the strategic relationship between the United States and Turkey. Turkey has also repeatedly denied that there was ever genocide.

So the question is, why did Joe Biden decide to do this at this time?

Number one, there has been a big lobbying effort that's gone on for decades here in the United States to get this recognition to actually happen. Joe Biden used it as part of his campaign promises while he was running for president.

Also, the Biden administration has been working very hard to try to stress the importance of human rights here in the United States.

There's also a tough relationship between the President of the United States and Turkish President Erdogan. In fact, Joe Biden called Erdogan on Friday, indicating to him that he was going to make this statement. Previously the president of the United States has referred to him as an autocrat.

The Turkish government did respond with a long statement. Some of it was muted, however, once again, denying that there was ever a genocide, also suggesting Joe Biden may have had domestic political motivations for putting his statement out.

At the end of the day, the government did promise to maintain dialogue and cooperate with allies. The question going forward is whether there will be any more blowback as a result of this episode -- Joe Johns, CNN, with the president in Wilmington, Delaware.



CURNOW: Joining me now is James Jeffrey, a former U.S. envoy for Syria, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and the current Middle East chair at the Wilson Center.

Ambassador, thank you for joining us this hour. Great to have you on the show.

What does this declaration signal?

JAMES JEFFREY, FORMER U.S. ENVOY TO SYRIA: Thank you for having me, Robyn.

Firstly, President Biden is living up to a commitment that he gave to Armenian Americans, to take this step. The step is to call the horrific events that occurred to the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians in 1915, a genocide specifically. That is what he promised, that is what he did today.

The issue is how it impacts Turkey as a successor state to the Ottoman Empire.

CURNOW: Do you agree with this situation?

Would you have advised the president for or against this decision? JEFFREY: The last time it came up in 2009, I was the ambassador in Ankara and I advised President Obama and Vice President Biden not to do it. It wasn't a question of the facts, which people argue back and forth; none of us were there in 1915.

It is a question of the geopolitical and importance of Turkey and the sensitivity of the Turks not to the events; most understand and accept the Ottoman Empire committed terrible crimes. But the use of the word genocide, which is associated with one country only, which is Nazi Germany.

CURNOW: If you advised President Obama against doing this, why is this administration making this decision now?

Why is it now deemed to be in America's national interest to make this call?

JEFFREY: I think first of all, it's a domestic concern, living up to the commitments you've made for your voters. I don't think there is any particular geostrategic benefit of doing this.


CURNOW: But there could be strategic implications, won't they?

JEFFREY: Absolutely and there is a downside with Turkey. Turkey is an extremely important ally of ours in Syria, Libya, the Ukraine and Afghanistan, the Caucasus and in NATO and in containing both Russia and Iran, which are both on the march throughout the Middle East and the region.

CURNOW: We understand Turkey, summoning the U.S. ambassador, is to be expected.

What other chips is Erdogan holding right now?

How could he make it difficult for the Biden administration?

JEFFREY: Firstly, it depends on whether he speaks out personally. But he hasn't yet. That may be a good sign. President Biden, sensibly, called Erdogan yesterday to give him an alert.

What he could do, Erdogan, is to limit American non-NATO military operations out of Turkey. They have significant forces and significant use of Turkey's bases there.

Secondly, he could make life more difficult for us, particularly in Syria but also in these other areas where we and Turkey are more or less on the same side but they are all complicated: Libya, Ukraine, so forth. We will have to wait and see what steps he will take, as well as the usual diplomatic demarches (ph) and possible temporary pulling of ambassadors or worse.

CURNOW: Is this also the Biden administration signaling, not necessarily to Turkey but to other countries?


CURNOW: That this is the way they will do business?

What does this open the door toward?

JEFFREY: In general, other countries, again, those countries that are very important on the front lines of the global order against China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, will believe that their geopolitical cooperation with the United States may not be valued as highly as whether another human rights or related value. That is the concern I have with this decision.

CURNOW: Sir, what do you mean by that?

JEFFREY: What I mean is they may feel that it is not enough simply to have the same attitudes as the United States and the rest of NATO. You have to cooperate closely, continuously and with some pain and internal cost, to maintain a solid front on any issues, say, Syria.

There may be problems doing that with Turkey now, because the Turks will not want to have a say in communications for us. They will not trust us as much.

Other countries will look at that and will conclude, the United States does not have our back if there is some internal problem or some ghost from our past or some human rights issue that Washington is concerned about. That is what I am worried about.

CURNOW: Wouldn't the Biden administration, particularly many Americans after the Trump years, say that is exactly what we need?

We need to put out foot down and say, America is a bulwark of human rights.

JEFFREY: And America is. It is also bulwark against the march forward which President Biden's own national intelligence community just issued a report on threats. These countries are on the march. Again, Russia, China and Iran.

It is very important that we build up a alliance, which we have, but make sure it works, to block these people. That was a complaint against the Trump administration, that we didn't work closely enough with our allies. Unfortunately, many of our allies have things that concern us or do things today that concern us.

CURNOW: You are saying this does this damage with the alliance with Turkey and what are the political implications of that long term.

Ambassador James Jeffrey, always great to have your perspective, your expertise, you worked so long in that region, thank you very much for joining us.

JEFFREY: Thank you for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CURNOW: Saturday turned into another night of protests and clashes in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Red Crescent says 14 Palestinians were injured. The clashes erupted around Jerusalem's Old City as protesters threw rocks and bottles. Israeli police responded with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Tensions have been high near the Old City after police set up barriers to prevent people from congregating there during Ramadan.

Hadas Gold joins me now, live from Jerusalem.

Good to see you, tell us more.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm actually standing outside of Damascus gate in that plaza where those clashes have taken place. It's calm right now. But at night is when things have gotten tense here over the past few days. You can still see the barricades set up behind me.

On the ground we see glass shards, remnants of glass bottles thrown at police. We can smell the stench of this foul-smelling water that the Israeli police spray at the protesters to try to disperse them.

Tensions have been boiling across the city in Jerusalem for several days, not only because of the clashes here in front of Damascus gate but also because of individual incidents of physical violence between Israelis and Palestinians that have gone viral online.

There's also a march last week, several hundred Jewish extremists, who, at one point were chanting, "Death to Arabs," marching toward this area. The tensions have also spread to the south, to Gaza, where Gaza militants have been firing rockets toward Israeli communities.

Two nights ago, 36 rockets were fired; last night, three rockets were fired into Israel. So far, no injuries have been reported. And the Israeli army say they have responded with airstrikes, targeting Gaza militants in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has connected these rockets being fired toward the tensions in Jerusalem, saying they have a national and moral duty in protecting the interests of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been urging calm in a statement. But he has said that all options are on the table. And the Israeli army chief has canceled a visit he was supposed to take to the United States as a result of these tensions.

The international community has been reacting with rising concern. The U.N.'s Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, said provocative acts must cease. The U.S. State Department has also condemned the rockets from Gaza with spokesperson Ned Price tweeting, "The rhetoric of extremist protesters chanting hateful and violent slogans must be firmly rejected.


GOLD: "We call for calm and unity and urge authorities to ensure the safety, security and rights of all in Jerusalem" -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Hadas Gold, live in Jerusalem outside Damascus gate, thank you.

Just ahead, if you're a baseball fan and you can't wait to get your special seat in the stadium, get your vaccine. Some teams give new meaning to the term fan zone. But it's only for the fully vaccinated.

Plus protests continue in North Carolina over the shooting death of a Black man. Why the sheriff says he can't release the body cam footage even though he wants to.




CURNOW: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining me. It's 33 minutes past the hour. We are live in Atlanta.

For baseball fans dreaming of a return to stadiums and hearing the first crack of the bat, here is incentive, two shots and you're in. L.A. Dodgers are giving you your own fan section if you're fully vaccinated, as Paul Vercammen explains.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A sign of the times in the COVID-19 era in California, where the positivity rate is just over 1 percent, look across the way at Dodger Stadium.

This is a section that will only allow in fans who have been fully vaccinated. They must prove this. If the fans are between 2 years old and 15, they have to show that they recently passed a COVID-19 test.

If they were negative, they'll be able to high-five each other, they'll be next to each other, they won't be interspersing between seats. Basically, the idea is to get these fans into those sections.


VERCAMMEN: And they'll feel comfortable standing and sitting around each other.

You're in the vaccinated section. Show us your whatever it is that's allowed you in.

TRACEY DELOZIER, BASEBALL FAN: Blue band. And then we have to have our CDC card and our ID. I feel safer knowing that everyone around me is vaccinated, just like I am, not that we're going to be COVID-free. But we're going to definitely enjoy our time.

JEFF BARLOWE, BASEBALL FAN: In our section, social distancing is not required because of the vaccine. And so that is something that kind of makes it feel more normal than people sitting 20-30 feet apart from you.

So hopefully, with this experimental project that they're working on tonight, that this might take off and actually encourage folks to go get vaccinated.

VERCAMMEN: As you saw, those seats were on the second level. They were more than $100 a seat. And we're seeing other teams in California emulate this, the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres, to name a couple.

The Dodgers exploring doing this again in the future, as they are all experimenting with this idea of a section of vaccinated fans only, no one allowed who hasn't been vaccinated or recently tested negative if they're young, for COVID-19 -- reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.


CURNOW: A North Carolina sheriff promises the public will see body cam footage after deputies shot and killed a Black man. Protesters took to the streets of Elizabeth City for a fourth day to demand transparency and the facts. Natasha Chen is there.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has now been more than three days since Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a Pasquotank County sheriff's deputy as they were executing a search warrant and an arrest warrant, which the sheriff said about a task force (ph).

Now the public has been calling for the release of the body camera footage, including the family of Andrew Brown Jr. And they're comparing this process to the speed at which other jurisdictions around the U.S. have released their body camera footage after similar police use of force cases recently.

It seems that other places have released video much sooner than this county here. The sheriff in Pasquotank County here explained on Saturday afternoon that it is not up to him.

In a Facebook video that he posted, he explained that it requires a judge to grant the release of that video and that, if he gets the assurance of the State Bureau of Investigation that releasing the video would not hinder the investigation, the county would also formally file a request on Monday to have that video released.

On Monday, we're going to potentially see the same thing. The Elizabeth City council met in an emergency meeting on Friday to also request for that video to be released. And a number of news organizations, including CNN, will also formally file for that video to be released.

A lot of questions could potentially be answered by seeing this video. The family discussed that at a press conference Saturday afternoon, where we heard from the oldest son of Andrew Brown Jr.


KHALIL FEREBEE, ANDREW BROWN JR.'S SON: With all these killings going on, I never expected this to happen so close to home. Like, he left a close and tight family, with each other every day talking to each other every day. And we, my brothers, my sisters, we is what drove him as a person. We is what made him better.

And now I got to live every day, my newborn without getting a chance to meet him at all. That's going to hurt me every day. I just want justice.


CHEN: At that press conference, community leaders also referred to the 9-1-1 audio that has been publicly released, where emergency responders are heard saying that Brown was found with a gunshot wound to the back, which is very concerning, of course, for the family, especially when a witness also told CNN that she saw deputies firing at Brown's vehicle as he was allegedly driving away.

So again, many questions that could potentially be answered and helped by seeing the video, which, so far, no one has seen, not the family, not city officials in Elizabeth City. And so people are eagerly awaiting those formal filings on Monday -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.


CURNOW: In New York, a final goodbye to a music superstar.


CURNOW (voice-over): Fans, as you can see here, lining the streets in New York as motorcycles escorted the monster truck carrying the coffin of rapper and actor DMX. His family and friends held a celebration of life memorial at Brooklyn's Barclay Center.


CURNOW (voice-over): DMX's fiancee and his 15 children gave a few words during the online memorial, speaking of the late rapper's love of Jesus and his fans.


CURNOW: And the three-time Grammy nominee died on April 9th at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack in his home in New York.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, dozens of sailors feared dead but Indonesia's search for a sunken submarine still presses on. The latest on what is now a recovery mission.




CURNOW: Welcome back.

The search for an Indonesian submarine has turned from a rescue to a recovery mission after the navy announced the missing vessel had sunk. Search teams found debris believed to be from the submarine at a depth much, much lower and deeper than where the ship and 53 crew members on board could survive.

Blake Essig joins us with more on the story.

Blake, this is not the news many family members wanted to hear.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not at all. The mood on the ground in Indonesia is both a mixture of heartbreak and fading optimism. After four days of searching, hopes of finding the missing Indonesian submarine and its 53-person crew alive appear to be gone.


ESSIG (voice-over): A bottle of grease, a metal tube, prayer mats, some of the debris displayed by the Indonesian Navy, leading them to a bleak status change for a missing submarine carrying 53 crew members.

YUDO MARGONO, NAVY CHIEF, INDONESIA (through translator): With authentic evidence believed to be from KRI Nanggala, at the moment, we have raised the status from missing to sunk.

ESSIG: The submarine went missing Wednesday morning during a torpedo drill in the Bali Strait. It's been a race against time to locate the vessel with oxygen expected to have run out by early Saturday.


ESSIG (voice-over): Officials believe the submarine likely cracked under intense pressure in deep water, allowing debris to escape. They say based on the findings, an explosion was unlikely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The items would not have come outside the submarine if there was no external pressure or without damage to its torpedo launcher.

ESSIG: Warships have been deployed to the area to search for the vessel using metal and magnetic detectors. The debris was found floating at a location where the ocean is 850 meters deep, which would make any possible evacuation difficult.

Authorities said earlier that the submarine could not survive at depths below 500 meters.


ESSIG: The submarine still hasn't been located. Today, Indonesia has 20 ships and five aircraft, including one from the United States, searching an area about 40 kilometers north of Bali. Singapore and Malaysia, Australia and India have also sent ships but, again, it seems our worst fears have been realized as, the debris from the missing sub with 53 souls on board has been recovered.

CURNOW: Blake, thank you.

English football leagues are tackling online racism by launching a three-day boycott for social media in response to ongoing racist attacks aimed at players and others online. Premier League clubs as well as the EFL and WSL teams will turn off their social media accounts on Friday.

As part of the boycott, the leagues are urging the British government to hold social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.

In the U.S., the film industry is preparing for its biggest night of the year, the Academy Awards. But one front-runner for an Oscar is sparking major controversy in China.





CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow live from Atlanta.

Now the 93rd Annual Academy Awards is set to air on Sunday. Hollywood's big night will look different this year due to the ongoing pandemic. So with that in mind, let's see what we can expect.

The Oscars will be staged at Union Station in Los Angeles. That red carpet will be closed to most media. And the backstage interview room will be virtual.

The films with the most Oscar buzz this year include "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" with the late Chadwick Boseman, nominated for best lead actor. He, of course, passed away from cancer last year at the age of 43.


CURNOW (voice-over): "Minari" is another film with plenty of Oscar buzz. It depicts a family of South Korean immigrants, who move to Arkansas and start a farm. "Minari" was inspired by the real-life story of its director, Lee Isaac Chung.


CURNOW: And "Nomadland" is another big film to keep an eye on. "Nomadland" is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and also best lead actress for Frances McDormand.

And while "Nomadland" is considered an Oscar front-runner, it is facing major backlash in China, the world's largest film market. David Culver is following the controversy from Shanghai -- David.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few months back, you may not have known the name Chloe Zhao. But now, the Chinese movie director is gaining worldwide fame and her film, "Nomadland," is ranking in the most prestigious film awards.

CHLOE ZHAO, FILM DIRECTOR: I love what I do. I want to tell stories for a living. I don't want to do anything else.

CULVER (voice-over): Earlier this year, she made history, becoming the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director. Then, she was named Best Director at the British Academy Film Awards. There is growing expectations that she will take home another couple of statues this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's continue with the nominations. Chloe Zhao, "Nomadland."

CULVER (voice-over): If she wins the Academy Award, she will make history once again, becoming the first Asian woman winning Best Director at the Oscars.

Her moving "Nomadland" is a poetic portrayal of the life of America's marginalized nomadic community in the Wild West. But her journey began in the Far East.

CULVER: It's here where she was born and raised. She lived here until she was in her early teens, before moving on to boarding school in London and then ultimately, to the U.S. There, she pursued her dream in filmmaking.

CULVER (voice-over): But in China, it is her stepmother who is a bigger celebrity, Song Dandan is a famous comedy actress. On the night Zhao won the Golden Globe, Song proudly shared the news on Chinese social media.

"You are a legend in our family," she wrote, adding, "I believe your story will inspire countless Chinese kids."

Song's 21 billion followers rapidly spread the news. State media was quick to call Zhao the pride of China and "Nomadland" was slated to be released in Chinese theaters on April 23rd.

But the hype and praise was quickly overshadowed by a nationalistic backlash, comments Zhao reportedly made during a 2013 interview with filmmaker Magazine Surface, and sparked controversy. She was quoted saying that, China is "a place where there are lies everywhere."

In another interview with an Australian website in December, she was misquoted as saying, "America is now my country."

The site later corrected her quote to say, "America is not her country." But the damage was done. Chinese nationalists piled on, accusing her

of insulting China. One saying, "She is anti China and anti the Communist Party," another calling for China to boycott "Nomadland."

Back on the streets of Beijing, folks are a bit more accepting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't think the director's film should be tied to what she says or does. I want to watch her work. But she should probably be careful of what she says.

CULVER (voice-over): Others, happy to see a Chinese movie director become so successful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We should find time to go and watch the movie.

CULVER (voice-over): But it is now unlikely they will be able to watch the film in a Chinese movie theater. The online controversy has led it to be pulled from cinemas across China.


CULVER (voice-over): Neither Zhao nor Searchlight Pictures have commented.

MICHAEL BERRY, UCLA CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES: There certainly has been a real wellspring of this new, highly nationalistic and patriotic sentiment that has come up. This is really one of the unfortunate aftereffects of this kind of troll culture. And it also shows us that it's not just regulated (sic) to Weibo or to other Chinese social media platforms.

But it really does have real world impact when those in power actually pick up on the same discourse and start to endorse it.

CULVER (voice-over): In a matter of days, Zhao went from beloved to having her film banned in what is now the world's biggest movie market. But as the online criticism stack up in China, the accolades continue to roll in from the rest of the world -- David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


CURNOW: Thanks, David, for that.

So it has been a monumental week for space exploration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the first to ingress onto the International Space Station.

CURNOW (voice-over): The crew in a SpaceX capsule arrived to hugs and smiles, as you can see here on Saturday at the International Space Station. For the next six months, they will work on research that NASA hopes will help in the development of drugs and vaccines. They now have 11 astronauts and cosmonauts, the largest crew the

orbiting station has ever hosted.

Also, this week, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, successfully flew a second time on Mars, going higher and further than it did before. And the Perseverance rover on Mars converted carbon dioxide into oxygen, enough to sustain the national for about 10 minutes. This technology is key if humans ever want to set foot on the Red Planet.


CURNOW: Well, I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back with more news in just a moment.