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President Biden Present His Ambitious Plan for Americans; Brown Family Demands Full Transparency. Giuliani Raided by Federal Agents; Countries Send Their Help to India; Indian Government Failed its People; President Biden, U.S. Must Invest To Compete In 21st Century; Russian Interference In United States Affairs Will Have Consequences; Russian Court To Hear Navalny Appeal In Slander Case; Africa's Need Of Vaccine; India's COVID-19 Crisis Affecting Africa's Vaccine Supply; African Nations Facing Huge Vaccine Distribution Challenges. Aired 3- 4a ET
Aired April 29, 2021 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): And welcome to all of you here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.
Ahead on CNN Newsroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor to present to you the President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress promising an ambitious plan to transform government.
India's coronavirus case count is surging. Now officials say they are running out of space to bury the dead.
And later, Russia's opposition leader is set to make a video appearance to appeal a conviction. We're live outside the courthouse in Moscow.
Joe Biden explain the vision for his presidency, more government, when it's working right, can improve American's lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Madam Speaker, the President of the United States.
(APPLAUSE) BRUNHUBER (on camera): The president delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress late Wednesday outlining his sweeping American families plan. It includes money for a host of pocketbook issues like paid family leave, child care, preschool education, and free community college. He declared the long-held Republican policy of trickledown economics has never worked. He urge Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And he played up his success in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I stand here tonight one day shy of the 100th day of my administration. One hundred days since I took the oath of office and lifted my hand off of our family bible and inherited a nation -- we all did -- that was in crisis, the worst pandemic in a century, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War. Now after just 100 days, I can report to the nation. America is on the move again.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Well, of course, Republicans in Congress were quick to criticize the hefty price tag for the president's plans, and they say he's not keeping his campaign promise of bipartisanship.
We get more on the president's address from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Declaring that America is on the move again, President Biden delivered his address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, making the case that he says peril can be turned into possibility, setbacks can be turned into strength, clearly trying to make the coronavirus pandemic a moment of opportunity to reshape the U.S. government.
Now in a sweeping address that went more than an hour in length, the president making an argument for reshaping the American economy. Focusing specifically on the social safety net, calling for a sweeping variety of programs like free community college, expanding child care, big infrastructure plans.
It went on and on to the tune of nearly $6 trillion. Now of course the question here will be how to pay for all these proposals. That of course is raising taxes on the wealthy. The president made clear slowing down his remarks, speaking clearly and directly that those making under $400,000 would not see a tax increase. But those making more than that certainly would.
Now of course this was just an opening gambit, if you will, speaking to a much scaled down audience of lawmakers, some 200 senators and representatives in the room. Normally more than a thousand are, of course this was because of the pandemic precautions.
Clearly, the speech also playing out against the backdrop of history. For the first time in the U.S. history, a woman vice president, the woman Speaker of the House standing behind President Biden. He made clear that this was long overdue. So certainly, Vice President Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi making history there in their own right.
Now going forward, the president also used a global call, saying that the U.S. must become more competitive against China. That was his rationale for big infrastructure programs and other sweeping spending measures.
Now going forward on this, wrapping the first 100 days in office, the legislative proposals now are really going to test the rest of his presidency as he heads into his second 100 days and beyond. But clearly, Democrats in the audience liked what they heard.
Republicans leaving the chamber said they thought the president did not try and unify the country here. But he did talk so much about spending proposals, also including a litany of gun reform, voting rights, and other matters. But there was a global sense of this that he said in speaking with leaders from around the world, they said America is back but they have a question. How long will America be back.
Of course, this is a reference to the post-Trump era. It was a clear turning of the page from president Trump, but President Biden for his part did not mention his predecessor at all. But clearly making the case he believes now is a moment to turn the page and push for big changes and programs here in the U.S.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER: So overall, our polling showed Americans who watched the president's speech came away feeling optimistic. A CNN poll shows just over half felt very positive about what the president had to say. In fact, 73 percent of viewers thought his policies would move the country in the right direction.
Now we should note the audience is more Democratic than the population as a whole, and it's also worth noting President Biden's first address to Congress was actually less warmly received than those of the past three presidents before him.
Jessica Levinson is professor of law at Loyola Law School, and she joins me now from Los Angeles. Thank you so much for being here. So, the president, how effective a case did he make for his expansive and expensive vision?
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, I thought he made a very persuasive case. It's interesting to listen to him. He sounds like a moderate. He sounds very conversational. He's not somebody who speaks in soaring oratory fashion, but when you listen to what he is saying, it's actually incredibly bold. It's very progressive. And this is a laundry list of dreams that Democrats have had for a long time.
And frankly, some things on this list, they used to be bipartisan goals. So, it really tells us where we are as a country that a lot of these items now are just -- you just see the Democrat side of the aisle applauding. But I thought the speech was a little long, but I also think President Biden needs to show some people that he has the staying power, that he can go off script, that he has the mental and physical stamina, and I think he showed all that tonight.
BRUNHUBER: Let's get to the substance of that list that you mentioned and what was the most significant plank, the one that will most resonate do you think with Americans?
LEVINSON: I think jobs. You heard him say the word "jobs, jobs, jobs" so many times. He spoke directly to people who see he said, "are you wondering if this job -- if these jobs are for you? They are. You're not going to be left behind." And he spoke about jobs from a number of different prisms.
He talked about creating new jobs with new clean tech. He talked about jobs with respect to us being a better, bigger part of the global economy. He talked about jobs with respect to infrastructure. But that did seem to be the through line which is we are going to, as he always says, rebuild the backbone of America which is the middle class. And you've heard him say these will be jobs where you have a little breathing room. You don't have to live week to week or month to month.
BRUNHUBER: Now you said earlier that some of the issues were things that Republicans in a bygone era might have agreed on, but not so now. Predictably this is being spun by Republicans as a radical socialist agenda. What did you make of the Republican response?
LEVINSON: So, I thought the Republican response was really interesting. I think the Republicans are trying to find their footing in a post-Trump Biden era. And you didn't hear the Republicans really taking on President Biden when it came to a lot of the issues he discussed. And they did have a policy response, which I thought was really different, frankly, than what we've heard.
They took issue by issue, talking about the economy, talking about criminal justice, talking about immigration. And they provided a different policy view as opposed to just name-calling and a substance list response. You didn't hear a lot about health care in their response. That's hanging in the balance. We might have an answer tomorrow morning with respect to the Supreme Court on that. But it did seem to me to be a Republican Party trying to take on the policy issues.
BRUNHUBER: So then, you know, looking forward now, concretely, how does the president get this huge list done considering Republicans have shown little appetite for bipartisanship or maybe police reform. And even some Democrats. Not just Joe Manchin are squeamish at the tab for these massive plans.
LEVINSON: Bit by bit and piece by piece. I think that President Biden knows full well. He was in the Senate for decades. He knows full well this is a wish list. He wants to be bold. But he also said to the Republicans, I want to work with you, and I've seen that you have some plans. Even if they're narrow plans, let's start. Let's talk, let's debate and then let's act.
And so, are we going to see everything that he talked about come to fruition? Absolutely not. And President Biden knows that. Will we see some of it? I think that's what he is hoping for. And he knows that he has to watch the clock. His biggest chance to get any of this done is before the midterm elections. And if he can find any moments of bipartisanship, I think he will seize on those very quickly. Say, you know me, you've worked with me. Let's find something that we can do together.
BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll see. We'll have to leave there it. Jessica Levinson, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
LEVINSON: Thank you.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): U.S. prosecutors have now added hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges against three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. The black 25-year-old man was out for a jog here in the state of Georgia in February of last year. That's when three men chased him down and he was fatally shot. The three are now facing federal charges. They're also facing multiple state charges, including murder. Arbery's mother tells CNN the new charges bring her son one step closer to justice.
And the family of Andrew Brown, Jr. will soon be able to see the full body cam footage showing the moments North Carolina police shot and killed the 42-year-old last week, but the public will have to wait. A judge denied media request to release the videos at this time. The decision sparked demonstrations in Elizabeth City Wednesday evening.
CNN's Brian Todd has the latest on the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Hands up!
CROWD: Don't shoot!
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Frustrations building in Elizabeth City after a judge rejected a formal request to release body camera footage showing the deadly encounter between Andrew Brown, Jr. and law enforcement one week ago. The judge saying public release could impact the criminal investigation and any trial and could endanger someone, and said he would revisit the issue in 30 to 45 day.
HARRY DANIELS, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN'S FAMILY: Show us the video. Show us the video. Show us the tape.
TODD: The family's lawyers claiming a partial victory since Brown's immediate family and one attorney can see all four body cams in full, plus the dash cam, once identifying information is blurred.
LILLIE BROWN CLARK, ANDREW BROWN, JR.'S AUNT: Andy Jr. has been silenced. So his voice now on those counts.
TODD: The sheriff saying more transparency would be good for the community.
TOMMY WOOTEN, SHERIFF, PASQUOTANK COUNTY: It's not exactly what we wanted. But 30 days, you know.
TODD: The governor weighing in as well.
GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): I believe that this video should be released as quickly as possible.
TODD: Also, in court on Wednesday, a new account of the incident from the district attorney who accused a family lawyer of intentionally misrepresenting the video, the D.A.'s version, deputies arrived, tried to get Brown out of the car, and he put the car in reverse, making contact with deputies.
ANDREW WOMBLE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PASQUOTANK COUNTY: As it backs up, it does make contact with law enforcement officers. The next movement of the car is forward. It is in the direction of law enforcement. And makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.
TODD: The family lawyer Chantel Cherry-Lassiter gave a very different account Monday after being allowed to view 20 seconds of body camera footage behind closed doors.
CHANTEL CHERRY-LASSITER, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN, JR.'S FAMILY: They went up to his vehicle shooting. He still stood there sit in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at. He finally decides to try to get away, and he backs out. Not going towards officers at all. That was at no time in the 20 seconds that we saw where he was threatening the officers in any kind of way.
TODD: On Wednesday, Lassiter told CNN she stands by her account.
CHERRY-LASSITER They're not showing what he says he has. So, I saw what I saw.
TODD: The county last night pushing back, saying, quote, "the entire encounter of engaging Mr. Brown and the use of deadly force lasted less than 20 seconds. The family viewed the entire encounter.
DANIELS: Let's not get distracted. An innocent man was gunned down, shot in the back of the head, the vehicle riddle with bullets from the rear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD (on camera): And still the fallout continues on the streets of Elizabeth City. Protester here is taking to the streets, blocking intersections, marching through downtown, saying that they're still not getting the transparency that they've been calling for.
And there is still considerable pressure on the local district attorney and the local judge from state officials and even from federal officials to handle this in a more transparent way.
The FBI launching a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Andrew Brown and how it was handled. And yet again on Wednesday, North Carolina's governor and its attorney general calling for a special prosecutor to look into this case.
Brian Todd, CNN, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
BRUNHUBER: In New York, federal agents raided the office and apartment of Rudy Giuliani, who of course was former U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney. We're told they seized cell phones and computers during the sunrise operation. This is a major escalation in the two-year investigation into Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine.
Giuliani hasn't been charged and has denied all wrongdoing. But it's extremely unusual for prosecutors to execute a search warrant on a lawyer that could theoretically uncover privileged attorney-client information.
All right. Still to come, India is again posting record COVID deaths and new cases as the country struggles with a collapsing health care system and a dwindling supply of vaccines. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Desperately needed international help is finally heading to India amid its escalating COVID-19 crisis. Countries around the world have pledged to help with everything from vaccines, oxygen to ventilators and PPE. The U.S. says it's delivering supplies worth about $100 million including more 1,000 refillable cylinders of oxygen, 15 million N95 masks.
Other supplies will allow India to make 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a million rapid COVID tests. And all of that aid is so critically needed. India is grappling with catastrophic surges in COVID deaths and infections. As one New Delhi said everyone is afraid, every single person.
The country just reported more than 3,600 deaths and almost 380,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. As the total case count top 18 million. Patients are sitting on the sidewalk outside hospitals waiting for a bed. And family members are afraid it may be the last time they see their loved ones alive.
In Delhi, officials are begging the government to provide more firewood for cremations and graveyards are running out of space.
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MOHAMMAD SHAMEEM, GRAVEDIGGER (through translator): Earlier, we had enough space here. But now there is no space left for more graves. Whatever little gaps we have left, we're trying to fill them up now.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER (on camera): CNN's Anna Coren is following this tragic crisis for us and joins us from Hong Kong, quite a catalog of horrors there. What's the latest?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, every single day that death rate and infection rate is rising. And look, it's not just the scientists and the epidemiologists and the experts who are saying that those numbers are a massive undercount. It's the mayor of north Delhi who says in his district alone the official death count is 300 a day. He said we are burning 600 bodies a day, double the number, which is just staggering.
You mentioned the hospitals that are running out of oxygen. The shortage of beds, people queuing up outside, desperate for help, and yet help is not coming. Take a listen to this woman who lost her husband.
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PAMILA JAIN, WIFE OF DECEASED COVID-19 PATIENT (through translator): Until yesterday, I was sitting outside the hospital and they kept telling me that your patient is all right. I said please let me see him once. And I even offered them money to let me meet my husband, but no one listened to me. I'm so upset and there is nothing I can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN (on camera): And we're hearing story after story after story of people losing loved ones because they can't get something as simple as oxygen. And, Kim, the government sending mixed messages. In the state of west Bengal, a state election is currently being held, and the Prime Minister Nagendra Modi is asking people to go out and cast their vote.
This in a state that recorded its highest number of infections and highest number of deaths yesterday. Let me read to you what the prime minister said. He said, I call upon people to cast their vote and enrich the festival of democracy.
His defense minister tweeting a similar message, urging people to go out and vote. Yes, obviously to adhere to COVID protocol. But you're talking about a place where COVID is rampant and on the rise. Vaccine is something, again, in short supply. And we know that a shipment of the Russian Sputnik vaccine has arrived in country. They're expecting more. But we know that less than 2 percent of the population has been fully inoculated. Experts saying that two million jabs a day, that needs to jump to 10 million a day to dent the curve. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right. Anna Coren in Hong Kong, thank you so much there.
And joining me now via Skype from New Delhi, Washington Post columnist and editor at Mojo, Barkha Dutt. Sadly, you've been personally through many of the experiences like the ones we just described, including the death of a loved one. So, to start, I'd like to say just how sorry I am, how sorry we all
are about the death of your father who died of COVID just a few days ago. Incredibly tragic. I'm hoping that by sharing your story, our viewers might understand the depth of the crisis that's affecting so many.
BARKHA DUTT, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Thank you, Kim. It isn't an easy time for me to speak. But the reason that I do and the reason that I do share my personal story is because as a journalist, as a frontline reporter on the COVID story, I've been talking to literally thousands and thousands of Indians who have been devastated by the second wave.
And I feel that it is my duty now to be on the other side of the camera and share my pain in much the same way as I look to them to share theirs. But there is a larger reason, and the reason is this.
That I feel personally orphaned today with my father gone, both my parents are now dead. I have nobody left. I feel alone, but what about those who are the orphans of the Indian state? I think of them today as I think of my father, because my father's last words to me were "I'm choking, please give me treatment."
And I tried my best. But even being a journalist who knows doctors and upper middle-class Indian who can pay for the best private medical treatment, the ambulance, the private the ambulance the private ambulance that carried him to hospital had an oxygen cylinder that did not work. It got delayed because there is no green card cut off ambulances in the city in the capital even now.
By the time we reached the hospital, because the oxygen had failed or faltered, his levels had fallen precipitously, he had to be taken into ICU. He never made it back. It's not even been a few days. It's not even been 48 hours.
When we went to cremate him, there is no space at the cremation ground. There was a physical fight that erupted between multiple families, we had to call the police to cremate my father. And yet, in this moment of loss, it was difficult to even articulate and put together a bunch of sentences. I speak because I realize that despite my devastation, I was luckier than most Indians.
And I was luckier than most Indians because, as I said, I think today, of the orphans of the Indian state, the families that I meet outside hospitals that have shut their gates and their doors to them because they neither have beds nor oxygen. I think of the families that I meet at cremation grounds were bodies have been lying on the floor, and one man, the brother of somebody who had died said to me in Hindi, we are now (Inaudible), translated in English, it means we've been left to be in God's hands.
There's nobody to talk to us. And that is what pains me enormously. That even with our death figures reaching 3,700 almost, and by the way, I've been doing the chronicling of multiple grounds across India and I can tell you that the actual numbers are much higher than the official data is being reported.
Even with this, our health minister has the audacity to say that India is better place to fight corona than it was in 2020. Even with what's happening, we are obsessing about elections and giant rallies. Until yesterday, we even had one of our states going ahead with mass religious congregations. Just minutes ago, they've called that off.
So, I'm not just despairing today, I'm not speaking as a daughter who is crushed. I am speaking as an angry Indian who feels betrayed at the callousness and the tone deafness and the complete denial that I continue to see around me.
BRUNHUBER: Well, I, mean that's just it. You know, you tweeted that you failed your father. I would argue from what you just said, it was the healthcare system that failed him and millions of dollars in India.
DUTT: You know, what I want to say is that the healthcare system was clearly collapsed. But the failure has not been that of the doctors or of the hospitals, or of the frontline workers. They've done their best. We have been failed by policymakers, by politicians.
We have been failed by the government that did not think to put in place a contingency plan for the second wave, that dismantled the jumbo COVID hospitals that have been created last year in the believe that we have beaten the first wave. We have been failed by policy makers that allowed vaccines to go out of India before our own could be vaccinated.
My father had one jab. I keep thinking, you know, if the vaccine had started earlier and he got his second injection, maybe he'd still be alive today. We don't know. But maybe he would've still have had a fighting chance. We've been failed by those who allow those election rallies to take place, those religious congregations to take place, who, even today, do not to acknowledge the enormity of what's happening.
And the fact is that we are making families signed consent forms before they're going to hospitals, saying if somebody dies from the lack of oxygen, it will not be the liability of the hospital. So, whose liability will it be? Our heads going to roll? Is anyone going to take accountability for the thousands that are dying, and many, Kim, I want to remind you, are dying uncounted.
Doctors and experts have told me that they believe that the data is seriously skewed, manipulated and underreported, and the official data is this bad. Just imagine, just imagine how bad things really are.
BRUNHUBER: You paint a terrifying picture, and especially hearing that it must be worse even than the numbers are showing.
We want to thank you for sharing your story and sharing your pain. And we just, again, want to give you our sincerest condolences.
DUTT: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
BRUNHUBER: All right. That was -- that was Barkha Dutt, thank you very much for joining us.
Well, President Biden's first address to Congress signaled his intention to reassert American leadership in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we're back, but that we're back to stay and that we aren't going to go alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We're in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century. We're at a great inflection point in history. We have to do more than just build back better. We have to build back, we have to build back better. We have to compete more strenuously than we had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): One day shy of his 100th day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his first address to Congress. The hour- long speech was dominated by domestic issues from vaccinations to immigration, but as you just heard, he also put world leaders on notice, especially China, that he intends to reestablish American leadership on the international stage.
Our Nic Robertson is our international diplomatic editor and he joins us from London. Nic, Biden mentioned China four times I believe and President Xi, three times by name. He said he didn't want confrontation with China, but then basically said our entire democracy is at stake here. So take us through what he said and what it means beyond its importance for the domestic audience here.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yeah, and I think probably the biggest headline if you're sitting in President Xi's shoes today is that President Biden said he would defend United States interests. Clearly, President Biden laid out the reason and rationale why the United States needs to, as he said, make sure China or another big nations play by the same rules.
He talked about the global climate summit. But he did. In that clip you just played, he talked about the competition with China. So what do is his message to President Xi? It's a message that has already gone out diplomatically. But in terms of explaining to the U.S. audience that China is essentially not going to be allowed to get away with worsening the global climate where other nations are making sacrifices to achieve that. That was a subtext of his message. That the United States is not going to stand for and allow China to
steal technology to perpetrate intellectual property theft through cyber espionage. All of that was made very clear. Not wanting to escalate the situation, but telling Xi that the United States is not going to change the way it behaves and responds around the world.
Militarily saying, for example, that we're going to do the same in the Indo-Pacific region with the military as the United States does with NATO and in Europe. So a very clear, robust message to President Xi that there will be accountability.
And it was perhaps that accountability that he explained in terms of President Putin that will be the object lesson to President Xi. For Russia, he said very clearly that there will be consequences for their actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Their actions will have consequences if they turn out to be true, and they turned out to be true. So, I responded directly proportionally to Russia's interference on our elections and the cyber attacks on our Governor and business. They did both of these things. And I told them we would respond, and we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON (on camera): So President Biden's message internationally is one of predictability, is one of accountability for other nations. But that the United States' actions will be predictable and there will be a consistency here that was lacking under President Trump. And that is the message perhaps a big message there for President Xi.
The United States recognizes the competition, welcomes the competition, doesn't want conflict and confrontation, but is willing to do everything to continue to keep itself at the forefront of the global stage.
BRUNHUBER: We'll see whether they can have it both ways like that. Thank you so much, Nic Robertson in London.
Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny gets another day in court, but he won't be there in person, and he won't be getting out of prison. We're live in Moscow after a short break. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is scheduled to appear by video link in a Moscow courtroom in the next few hours. He is appealing his conviction for slandering a World War II veteran who appeared in a promotional video backing President Vladimir Putin.
Navalny is serving a two and a half year prison sentence for a separate parole violation. He ended a month-long hunger strike last week over what he called lack of proper medical care. CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is life at this hour in Moscow. So, a lot has happened recently. And Navalny mural popping up. A court restricting his anti-corruption group, and now this appeal. What's the latest?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hi there, Kim. Yes, it certainly is quite an important appeals hearing. Not so much because of the appeal itself. Of course, that is something that Navalny -- he wants to do. He is obviously appealing that fact that he got a fine in the last court hearing for defaming that World War II veteran.
But the big thing for the press that's watching and for a lot of other people watching as well is the fact that he is going to be appearing most probably on that video link, and it will be the first time that we have actually seen or we will see Alexei Navalny after he had survived that hunger strike.
Of course we recall, Kim that his doctors were saying that he was possibly on the brink of dying. They said that his health was very, very bad. He then stopped that hunger strike. So, this is the first time that we'll see him and we'll hear from him since he has survived that hunger strike. And it does happen, Kim, you're absolutely right as the Russian authorities continue to put on that full-court press. They've already suspended Navalny's headquarters.
They had a court suspend his anti-corruption organization. And today in a separate court, the one that I'm standing in front of right now, there is also going to be a trial continuing to declare those two organizations as extremist organizations here in Russia, which essentially would give them the same legal status as ISIS.
And that of course would make it very dangerous for anybody who is working for those organizations. They would face jail time. Anybody who supports those organizations, even anybody who retweets anything or tweets anything in support of those organizations could face penalties and could even face time behind bars as well.
So you can see the Russian authorities continuing to put on their full-court press, and at the same time, you have Alexei Navalny appearing for the first time since surviving that hunger strike. It's going to be very interesting to see whether or not Alexei Navalny will remain as defiant as he has been throughout this entire process. Kim?
RUSSELL: All right. Lots to keep our eyes on. Glad you're there doing it for us. Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, I appreciate it.
Coming up on CNN Newsroom, Africa's struggle to get enough coronavirus vaccines. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): African nations are struggling to get the hundreds of millions of vaccine doses they need and the World Health Organization wants to change that. The message from the organization's regional office for Africa is everyone deserves an equal shot at life. Eleni Giokos reports from South Africa on the COVID challenges the continent face.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN MONEY AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Form Guinea-Bissau to Uganda and Malawi, vaccines to fight COVID-19 have been arriving across Africa. The U.N. children's fund UNICEF does the logistics and an alliance made by the World Health Organization funds the efforts. It's an initiative called COVAX to get vaccines to the world's poorest countries.
The great majority of African countries have received their first doses to COVAX, but for only a fraction of their population. And several including the Central African Republic and Chad are yet to get their first shipments. For now, South Africa is not tapping into COVAX while Zimbabwe has turned to China for its vaccine supply.
Nowhere in Africa besides Morocco has more than 3 percent of the population yet received a dose. Worldwide, just 0.2 percent of vaccine doses have been administered in low income countries.
PHIONAH ATUHEBWE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It is very heartbreaking to see a young 19-year-old child from the global world get vaccinated while a front line health care worker in Africa working inside a COVID-19 treatment center not able to access these vaccine. It's quite heartbreaking. This is a global (inaudible). No is safe until everyone is safe. We need to reach a certain level. At least get the priority groups vaccinated in Africa.
GIOKOS: But there are other factors including vaccine skepticism. In Tanzania, President John Magufuli said that God would protect Tanzanians, and there was no need for lockdowns.
JOHN MAGUFULI, PRESIDENT OF TANZANIA (through translator): We have lived for over a year without the virus. And a good evidence is most of you here don't wear masks.
GIOKOS: Magufuli died in March. His successor Samia Suluhu Hassan has indicated she wants Tanzanians vaccinated. Poor distribution and lack of public awareness have also been issues.
And in some countries thousands of vaccine doses have been discarded, poses in the distribution of two vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have not helped. And this is another problem. This is Aspen Pharmacy in Gqeberha, South Africa. And it's producing millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But in Africa, manufacturing capacity of vaccines is a rarity, and that's because this continent of 1.2 billion people imports 99 percent of vaccines. The African union and the WHO want (inaudible) and indigenous production ramped up.
ATUHEBWE: We were able to get the amount of vaccines we needed in the past. Even when exporting them. But right now we have seen that because we don't have that manufacturing capacity, this is the reason that the whole globe is accessing vaccine that we're not able to access. Right now, even (inaudible) even when governments have committed to buy these vaccines, there are no vaccines.
GIOKOS: For now, Africa is playing catch-up in getting vaccines to its people. The vaccine alliance hopes distribution will quicken in the second half of this year with two million doses reaching the continent every week. But there is a long way to go. Eleni Giokos, CNN, Gqeberha, South Africa.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Catherine Kyobutungi is the Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center. She joins me now from Nairobi, Kenya. Thank you so much for being here with us. To quote from that story there, there are no vaccines. So let's start with the vaccine shortages. Every country of course has its own problems. But as an example, what's the biggest problem where you are in Kenya?
CATHERINE KYOBUTUNGI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AFRICAN POPULATION AND HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER (on camera): I think it has been said the biggest problem is really getting enough (inaudible) vaccine. Kenya received 1.12 million doses more than one month ago, and these have been distributed. They're still being, you know, put in people's arms. But in some places like Nairobi, there is really a shortage. So people are being turned away. People are showing up to vaccination and they're being turned away. Most vaccination sites have reduced the number of days, they've reduce the number of hours. So yes, we are still looking for vaccines in Nairobi.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Now COVAX, the program to send vaccines to less fortunate countries, the WHO says it will help just 3.3 percent of the populations of low income countries be vaccinated by the end of June. And the archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa told our Christiane Amanpour yesterday that COVAX is destined to fail. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THABO MAKGOBA, ARCHBISHOP, ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTH AFRICA: It is destined to fail. And in my context, I've seen people die without saying goodbye to their families. And if one looks at the -- the scarcity in India shoots, we have the magnitude in the continent, the continent will be wiped off the face of this earth. Whilst others are hoarding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): I mean, Africa wiped off the face of the earth. I mean, hyperbole surely, but is he right? Is COVAX destined to fail? And what could the repercussions be?
KYOBUTUNGI: Yes, I mean, COVAX is destined to fail unless rich countries, you know, stop undermining it. Because in public the rich countries support COVAX, and in private they bought off all the doses that COVAX could have bought that could have been distributed to African countries. So, unless the hoarding that you know, (inaudible) and unless you know, something else happens, then of course COVAX is destined to fail.
Countries like Kenya, we are planning to vaccinate more than 3.2 million people by June this year, but so far they've vaccinated about a million. And it's not even clear where the second dose for that one million is going to be arriving in the country.
So, unless the global community changes the way we do business, rich countries need to stop hoarding and they need to release the vaccines that they will not need once they figured out what they need for their own populations.
Because otherwise COVID has no vaccines to buy. African countries have money, but they have no vaccines to buy. So, unless something happens, you know, COVAX of course is destined to fail.
BRUNHUBER: Now, part of the problem of course, there isn't enough vaccine as we said. But then as we saw in that piece as well, the other problem is vaccine hesitancy. AstraZeneca is the main one used throughout Africa now that several countries, including here in the U.S. have stopped using it. Does that make things worse? Do people feel like they're getting the vaccine that's you know, not safe enough for westerners?
KYOBUTUNGI: I think the AstraZeneca story and the Johnson & Johnson story, the blood clots, they couldn't have come at a worst time because these stories broke at the time when most countries were starting the vaccination roll-outs. So they had an effect. But you know, over time once it was clear that the risk of getting blood clots from COVID-19 itself is higher than the (inaudible) getting blood clots from AstraZeneca vaccine, then that is not so much of the problem.
Hesitancy is a problem, most definitely, but it's harder to tell when there is hesitancy when there is no vaccines to get in the first place. So, a country like Kenya which has one million doses, you can't tell whether people are hesitant. Because I know people are getting turn away. So, I think we can talk about hesitancy if Africa had millions and millions of doses, and (inaudible).
But I think for now, hesitancy may be an issue, but we can't tell that unless we have the vaccines. And countries cannot start going all out (inaudible) people and mobilizing them to create a demand for which there is no supply.
BRUNHUBER: Very good point. We'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for coming on, Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi. I really appreciate it.
KYOBUTUNGI: Thank you. BRUNHUBER: With less than three months to go, Olympic organizers are
releasing new COVID protocols for the Tokyo games. The updated Olympic playbook says athletes won't have to quarantine when they arrive, but they will be tested daily. Their movements will also be tracked through an app. Now this comes as Japan is facing its fourth wave of the virus. Organizers say they'll decide in June how many local spectators can attend the games.
I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back with more CNN Newsroom in just a moment. Please do stay with us.