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U.S.'s Largest Pipeline Attack by a Cyber Group; GOP Ready to Replace Liz Cheney; Facebook Still Undecided if Trump is Banned Forever; Big Tech Companies Expanding Big in Africa; Medina Spirit Disqualified for the Next Triple Crown; Israel and Palestinian Clash Raising International Concern; Mixed Messages Sent by U.S. Health Experts; U.K. looking Forward to Lifting Their Lockdowns; Spaniards Partying for Their Back to Normal Life; India's Daily Cases Slowed Down a Bit; Families Mourning for 85 Girls Killed in Afghanistan; NYPD Looking for a Shooting Suspect. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 10, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.

Jerusalem, after a volatile night Israeli police are clashing with Palestinians as the threat of possible eviction stirs already heightened tensions.

Combatting COVID-19 fatigue in the United States.


JEFF ZIENTS, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE: I think everyone is tired, and wearing a mask is it can be a pain. But we are getting there and the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter and brighter.


CHURCH (on camera): And the push to get as many shots in arms to return to is close to normal as soon as possible.

And this week in Washington, infrastructure investment versus political infighting.

Good to have you with us.

Following reports of violent clashes this morning between Israeli police and Palestinians. These confrontations are taking place both inside the mosque and on the compound outside. We will have details in just a moment. All of this worrying the international community. The U.N. Security

Council will hold a private meeting in the coming hours to discuss it.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 19 Palestinians were injured Sunday. The Israeli police are temporarily halting visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif or noble sanctuary.

Security is tight ahead of the annual Jerusalem Day march later Monday. The possible eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood triggered the latest clashes.

And journalist Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem, he joins us now live. Good to see you, Elliott. So, what is the latest on these violent clashes and rising tensions in Jerusalem?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, there's no signs of letting up. You talked about some of the injuries last night, the Palestinian Red Crescent reporting this morning that some 50 people have been taken into hospitals, hundreds injured after violent clashes again erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.

The Israeli police is blaming Palestinian rioters, the Palestinians are blaming heavy-handed police tactics and provocations by the Jewish nationalists. And you can see and hear from the images, you know, stun grenades going off and tear gas wafting into the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well.

So, any hope that the banning of Jewish visitors to Temple Mount later today or indeed the postponement of that court case, any hope that that was going to kind of relieve tensions seems to have been dashed. At the same time, violence isn't just restricted to Jerusalem. The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip or rockets fired from the Gaza strip into Israel last night. There were more rockets this morning. And also protests in cities in the north of Israel such as Nazareth and Haifa which have large Arab populations.

So, any hope that the violence is going to be diminished haven't -- haven't borne fruit. It's only, it seems to be escalating and of course, as it stands the traditional flag march which takes place somewhat Israelis called Jerusalem which marks what they see as the reunification of Jerusalem. That is still going ahead.

The police hasn't banned that just yet, it does traditionally go from the western part of the city to the western wall, the holy part of the kind of the outskirts of the destroyed Jewish temple. But it does pass through the Muslim quarter of the old city. So it's possible the police may demand a change in the route. It's possible they may ban it altogether.

But as you can see there are dozens and hundreds of people turning up to the outskirts of the old city to go into it to celebrate Jerusalem Day. So, there's every possibility that the violence got has already seemingly not abated and is only escalating thus far this morning can get even worse later on today.

CHURCH: And of course, as we mentioned the international community is very concerned about this. What is the likely next step?

GOTKINE: Well, we know that the U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan has spoken with this Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.


Reports seem to suggest that Mr. Ben-Shabbat politely suggested that, you know, U.S. shouldn't be concerned with the way that Israelis is handling these clashes with Palestinians. We will wait and see, but of course there are in a very trench positions at U.N. Security Council and among other countries around the world.

But for now, we are hearing voices from countries that are friendly towards Israel. Of course, the U.S. at the forefront there but also Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates calling for a de- escalation and pinning the blame on Israel. I think it's hard to see how especially on a day like today, Jerusalem Day, that this violence is going to abate. But of course, there is a hope that it will, we'll have to wait and see.

CHURCH (on camera): And of course, we will follow the story. Elliott Gotkine joining us live from Jerusalem, many thanks.

More than a third of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Over 113 million Americans in all according to the latest data from the CDC. And almost half of those eligible have received at least one shot. While many Americans still need to get vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the country is moving in the right direction.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we get, which we will, to the goals that the president has established, namely if we get 70 percent of the people vaccinated by the fourth of July, namely one single dose, and even more thereafter, you may see blips, but if we handle them well it is unlikely that you'll see the kind of surge that we saw in the late fall and the early winter.


CHURCH (on camera): Dr. Fauci also told ABC News he is open to relaxing indoor masking rules as more Americans get vaccinated. Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb is on the same page.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: COVID won't disappear. We're going to have to learn to live with it. But the risk is substantially reduced, the result of vaccination as a result of immunity that people required through prior infection. And so, I think we're at the point in time where we can start lifting these ordinances in a wholesale fashion and people have to take precautions based on their individual risk.


CHURCH (on camera): The White House COVID-19 response coordinator says the country is turning the corner on the pandemic but warns now is not the time for Americans to let down their guard.


ZIENTS: I think everyone is tired, and wearing a mask is it can be a pain. But we are getting there and the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter and brighter. Let's keep up our guard, let's follow the CDC guidance, and the CDC guidance across time will allow vaccinated people more and more privileges to take off that mask.


CHURCH (on camera): Dr. Eric Topol is cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. He joins me now from La Hoya in California. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us and for all that you do.

ERIC TOPOL, PROFESSOR, MOLECULAR MEDICINE, SCRIPPS RESEARCH: Thank you, Rosemary. Good to be with you again.

CHURCH: Absolutely. So, let's start with all the mixed messages on when to wear a mask and when not to. Dr. Anthony Fauci saying it may be time to rethink indoor mask mandates as more people are getting vaccinated. Is the CDC being too strict on this? What's your take?

TOPOL: Well, they're certainly been quite cautious. The outdoor masks, you know, I think we can get pass that unless under extenuating circumstances like, you know, a very prolonged contact and in close quarters. But otherwise, we don't need outdoor masks. And for indoor, if we are with people who were vaccinated fully, they're really, it doesn't pose a worry for that.

So, we are going to see the mask reduction the need and that's going to help people who have been reluctant I think to get vaccinated because part of that encouragement or incentive is this movement towards a pre-COVID life.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the big aim right now is to get as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible. But there is some suggestion that as the administering of these vaccines in the U.S. slows down that politicians will not be able to convince the most hesitant despite some GOP doctors trying to win them over and convince them that this is a smart move.

We are talking about 20 percent or so. How do you overcome that stubborn 20 percent that refused to vaccinate and put everyone else at risk essentially?

TOPOL: That's right. We need about 15 to 20 percent more of the American population to get to a true containment. That is less than one per 100,000 people with COVID at any time. We're going to get there but as you say, it's this last mile the most difficult one. We haven't really rolled out the incentives as much as we could. We've talked about masks is just one example.


But also, what's really encouraging is now we are seeing the full licensure application go into the FDA. And when that gets approved, which hopefully will be in the weeks ahead, many employers such as we've seen with universities and health systems will require vaccination. That will be the fastest way we can get that 15 percent beyond the things like incentives and education and are counter offensive to the disinformation which hold a lot of people back.

CHURCH: Right. So, essentially, we'll put the onus on private businesses, airlines, and establishments like that. To sort of say, well you can't get on board if you are not vaccinated. So, many parents are apparently conflicted about giving the Pfizer vaccine to their 12 to 15-year-olds one when that is officially authorized. And parents of even younger children are trying to work out what to do when their turn eventually comes.

What would be your message to any parent right now trying to figure out, because there is a lot of misinformation out there that they are receiving. They are being targeted on Facebook. What would you say to counter some of that misinformation?

TOPOL: Right. Well, Rosemary, the 12 to 15-year-old we expect that's going to get approval this week which is really exciting. Because it turns out although teenagers are not the ones who would get sick, it's quite rare that that occurs, but what is occurring is that they are transmitting oftentimes unwittingly to other people, potentially adult and older folks.

So, we've got to do what we can. The data for the vaccines in the 12 to 15-year-old is remarkable. That is, it's highly effective and safe and so we really want to encourage this. And there shouldn't be hesitation because, you know, we have also as the vaccination front has just gone, we've seen it's more common now that younger people are the ones that are getting sick and not that unusually the ones that are winding up in the hospital.

So it is for their protection and also for all the people they network with because 12 and 15-year-olds do a lot of networking.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Of course, there is still a lot of conspiracy theories out there, a lot of these parents have to make sure they can overcome that misinformation. Dr. Eric Topol, thank you for helping us do that, we appreciate it.

TOPOL: Sure. Good to be with you again.

CHURCH: Well, the country with the world's worst COVID outbreak released its latest figures. And they have fallen a bit. India's number of daily cases is now below the 400,000 mark that it had been surpassing in recent days. While it's probably too soon to expect the worst is over, the death toll is also down.

Meanwhile, nearly half of India's states and union territories are under lockdown. And the prime minister is under fire for not imposing a national lockdown.

So, let's turn to Anna Coren, she's been covering all of this from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. Good to see you, Anna. So, lockdowns extended in many parts of India but COVID cases and deaths are still too high despite perhaps seeing the slight drop. What is the latest on this? And getting global aid to those in need?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and those statements has just announced that his state has gone into lockdown so that's now 18 of 36 states and union territories.

So, essentially, half of India is itself imposed lockdowns. One of those states is Uttarakhand which hosted back the Kumbh Mela back in April where we saw, you know, thousands upon thousands of people take to the Ganges and offer their prayers as part of this religious Hindu festival. That was believed to be a super spreader event at the time, that state now imposing a lockdown because of rising case numbers there.

New Delhi has imposed another lockdown. This is the third lockdown that is implemented. So, we are now seeing these rolling lockdowns. And you'll have to assume, Rosemary, as more and more states do this, others will follow. But the question is where is the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in all of this? The last time we saw him was on the 20th of April when he addressed the public and said he didn't want to impose a nationwide lockdown of India.

Like he did last year which really, I guess saved it from this first wave by not implementing a nationwide during the second wave it is just giving the virus even more and more of a chance to spread. So that is obviously very concerning.


The Supreme Court of India has intervened over the weekend, Rosemary, setting up a nationwide task force to distribute oxygen and work out the needs of states and the oxygen and medical supplies that they require. But this is something once again that the government should have done. It shouldn't be left up to the courts, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Anna Coren bringing us the very latest from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

In neighboring Nepal, some hospitals in the capital Kathmandu are closing their doors to new patients. The COVID outbreak has become so severe, six hospitals say there is not enough oxygen or staff to treat anyone else. But over the weekend, Nepal's prime minister told CNN the situation was under control. He is asking parliament for a confidence vote to help him stay in power. That's after his government lost his majority last week.

Well, it's by no means everywhere, but if you know where to look, there are signs around Europe of a gradual return to normalcy in the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a further easing of restrictions in England. He is expecting to confirm a relaxing of most social distancing rules beginning a week from now. Meanwhile, Spaniards are making the most of their new found freedom,

the streets were packed with party goers after a state of emergency expired across much of the country late Saturday night. More than one quarter of all Spaniards have had at least one shot and one in eight are fully vaccinated.

So, for more on all of this I want to bring in CNN's Scott McLean who joins us live from London. Great to see you, Scott.

So, England is set to ease COVID restrictions and Spain ended curfews across the country. What is the latest on these moves with some semblance of normal life, which is very encouraging?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it sure is. So, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Rosemary, is going to hold the press conference later on today where he is expected to announce that the easing of restrictions, well, is right on track. So that means that one week from today you will be allowed to gather indoors, and in small groups, bars, restaurants will be allowed to serve indoors and even sporting events will be allowed to have some spectators in the thousands. Not full, but a lot more than we've seen in the past.

This is all part of a plan to ease restrictions that's been in the works for several months. But the plan hinged on a couple of key things. Notably, that variations mutated versions of the virus weren't going to derail the progress that's been made, the success of the vaccination program which by the way has put shots in the arms of the two-thirds of the adult population.

And obviously, that the vaccine was effective. And that this country could withstand a third wave or a fourth or a fifth wave whichever wave that we're on at this point without overwhelming the hospitals or really having huge death tolls like we've seen in the past.

So, boxes have certainly been ticked in this country. Britain's infection rate is now the lowest that it's been since September and the U.K. is doing a lot better when it comes to both cases and deaths than the rest of Europe. Thanks to the fact that Europe is still catching up in the vaccination department.

In fact, the U.K. is doing so well that a lot of people in this country even from within Boris Johnson's own party are calling for restrictions to be eased much sooner because they believe that there is simply no going back given the levels of vaccinations we've had so far.

Restrictions were also eased in Spain over the weekend, Saturday night six -- after six months under a state of emergency the government in most regions ease the restrictions. So, people were partying in the main square of Madrid on the beaches of Barcelona. The only problem though, is that that partying actually violated Spain's new rules which said that you shouldn't be able to gather outdoors or in groups of any more than six, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Absolutely. The big message here of course, vaccines work. Scott McLean joining us live from London, many thanks. A manhunt is underway for a suspect in Saturday's Time's Square. We

will have the latest after the break.

Plus, Ramadan is ending in a heartbreaking fashion for dozens of families in Afghanistan after a horrific attack on the school in the nation's capital.



CHURCH (on camera): There has been a terrifying shooting in Times Square as New York tries to reopen after the pandemic. Now the city's police department is on the hunt for a potential suspect.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has the latest.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This remarkable video tells a story of a scary moment on a busy Saturday evening in Times Square. Shots ring out after a scuffle police say. And three innocent bystanders are hit including a 4-year-old girl. You can see police running through the scene with right after the shots were fired. She was shot in the leg and police say she was taken for surgery in the hospital and expected to recover.

Police released this photo of person they're trying to speak with in relation to the incident. This comes in a scary, scary moment for New York City. We are trying to reopen and get back after the pandemic has laid the city flat on its back. Times Square the home of Broadway is hoping to reopen theaters at the end of the summer. And police and other officials are hoping a surge in gun violence won't prevent tourists from coming back.

Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: Well, six people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado Springs. Police believed the shooter killed himself at the scene and was the boyfriend of one of the victims. A seventh person who was injured later died at a local hospital.

The governor of Colorado sends out a statement saying the tragic shooting in Colorado Springs is devastating especially as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today.


A developing story now in New Zealand. Police say four people were stabbed at a supermarket in the city of Dunedin. All of the victims are in hospital with three reportedly in critical condition. Authorities have one man in custody and believe he is responsible for the attack. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it does not appear to be terror-related.

Well, dozens of families in Kabul, Afghanistan are spending the last days of Ramadan burying their daughters after a gruesome attack outside a school on Saturday. The death toll has risen to at least 85 killed, many of them were young girls. Almost 150 others were wounded. The Taliban say they are not responsible and they have announced a three-day cease-fire for the Eid holiday but for the families in mourning there's not much to celebrate.

Michael Holmes has our report.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Loved ones gather to bury the dead. Dozens of schoolgirls killed in a blast as they were living class on Saturday afternoon in Kabul. An uncle cries out.

GHULAM HUSSAIN, UNCLE OF SCHOOLGIRL WHO WAS KILLED 9through translator): She was 15 years and was studying in class eight. She was very intelligent and didn't miss a single day of school. Yesterday, her mother told her not to go to school but she said, no, I will go today but I will not go tomorrow. She told the truth and we buried her here today.

HOLMES: Afghan's interior minister says initially a car bomb initially exploded followed by two IEDs just outside of the school.

MOHAMMAD TAQI, DASHT-E-BARCHI RESIDENT (on camera): First it was the car bomb, and then the second blast went off and afterwards came the third, I did not panicked and rushed to the scene and suddenly I found myself amongst bodies whose hands or heads were cut off and bones were smashed. All of them were girls. I saw dead bodies were piled on top of each other.

HOLMES: The Afghan government blames the Taliban but the Taliban denies any involvement blaming instead the actions on sinister circles operating in the name of ISIS. No group though has claimed responsibility for the attack. Many insurgents in the country are known to despise the education of girls. But for the loved ones, no claim of responsibility will bring back the dead.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


CHURCH (on camera): Well, the former chief doctor at the Russian hospital that treated Alexei Navalny is missing. Russian state media say the doctor left a hunting base in a forest on an all-terrain vehicle on Friday and hasn't been seen since. Search teams have found the vehicle. The doctor was the chief physician at Omsk emergency hospital when Kremlin critic Navalny was admitted for suspected poisoning.

The doctor however gave multiple press briefings at the time, saying that Navalny suffered from a metabolic disorder which cause a sharp drop in blood sugar. He was later promoted. The doctor's disappearance comes after two other doctors from the same hospital died earlier this year. One of those doctors oversaw Navalny's medically induced coma. It's not clear if the other had anything to do with Navalny's treatment. And still to come, President Joe Biden wants more than $2 trillion to fix the U.S. infrastructure. And this week the battle begins to sway skeptical Republicans leery of the price tag.

And this comes as Republicans get ready to demote one of their top leaders for refusing to support the lies of ex-President Donald Trump. We'll take a look.




CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone.

A criminal group from Russia is believed to be responsible for a major cyberattack that prompted a temporary shutdown of one of the largest fuel pipelines in the United States. That is according to a former senior U.S. cyber official who also tells us the criminal group is known as DarkSide. The White House set up an interagency working group over the weekend in response.

The gasoline supplier Colonial Pipeline says that some of its smaller lines are back online. But their main lines are still down. The company transports nearly half of all fuel for the east Coast. There are concerns over how the attack could impact fuel supply ahead of the summer travel season.

The White House is also gearing up for a major push in support of infrastructure legislation. President Biden has meetings with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle this week and with key Republican senators.

The White House chief of staff says bipartisan support is the goals.


RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Building bridges, building roads, connecting people with broadband, building electric charging stations for the roads of the future, all these things, these things shouldn't divide our two political parties.


CHURCH (on camera): But Republican Senate Mitch McConnell says 100 percent of his focus will be on stopping Mr. Biden's agenda. This of course as the specter of the former president still dominates the Republican party which is set to ousted member from its leadership ranks in the House. Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney drew the anger of Donald Trump by refusing to back the lie that he won the election.

Republicans will likely vote this week to replace her with New York Representative Elise Stefanik. But there are other party members who disagree.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): I think they are concerned about retaliation from the president. They are concerned about, you know, being attacked within the party. And you know, it just bothers me. that you have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you get kicked out of the party. It just doesn't make any sense.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): And so, I think what the reality is as a party we have to have an internal look and a full accounting as to what lead to January 6th. I mean, right now, it's basically the Titanic. We're like, you know, in this, in the middle of this slow sink we have a band playing on the deck telling everybody it's fine.

And meanwhile, as I've said, you know, Donald Trump is running around trying to find women's clothing to get on the first lifeboat. And I think there's a few of us that are just saying, guys, this is not good, not just for the future of the party, but this is not good for the future of this country.


CHURCH (on camera): Ron Brownstein is a CNN senior political analyst and a senior editor for The Atlantic. He joins me now from Los Angeles. Great to have you with us as always.



CHURCH: So, the Republican Party is in disarray struggling to find its destiny but now it's clearly deciding who to keep and who to kick to the curb. And Liz Cheney looks said to be expelled from her leadership post. Will that help or hurt the party in the end? Essentially making a martyr out of Cheney?

BROWNSTEIN: It's an extraordinary moment when, you know, a political leader with the name Cheney is insufficiently loyal in the minds of much of the House Republican and indeed the Republican electoral caucus.

I actually think this is an important symbolic moment because what it is basically, you know, we know that roughly three quarters of Republican voters, maybe 80 percent of Republican voters are perfectly fine with everything Donald Trump has done since the election. Don't blame him for January 6th, don't even necessarily view January 6th as that big a deal. Don't think he acted improperly since the election.

But there is roughly 20 to 25 percent of Republicans who are on the opposite side of all of those questions and who are uneasy about everything Trump has done since the election even if they don't like Democratic spending and taxing policies. And what the House Republican caucus is going to do this week is send a very clear unequivocal signal to that 20 percent or 25 percent of the party that you are now the minority, you are now in a subservient position to the Trump majority of the party. And it just kind of underscores my belief that one of the critical

political questions of the next few years is what does that 20 or 25 percent of Republicans do? Do they simply accept subordinate status in a party that is, you know, allegiant to Trump or do they begin to drift toward the Democratic alternative that Joe Biden represents?

CHURCH: It is extraordinary to think just 25 percent represent what the GOP --


CHURCH: -- used to stand for. So, what does it say about the Republicans that they replace Cheney but keep the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I mean, it's extraordinary. I mean, we talked about this months ago. I wrote a piece asking whether the extremist caucus in the Republican Party was now too big to fail. And I think first of all the answer to that is clearly yes. You know, Kevin McCarthy and the other GOP leaders have basically decided that they cannot confront or excommunicate in effect voices like Marjorie Taylor Greene, that she speaks for too much of the Republican electorate.

You know, in polling now consistently half to 55 percent of Republicans are saying they believe the American way of life is so threatened that we may have to use force in order to save it. And that is kind of that sentiment that she represents, that obviously Trump stokes at times.

This may not be a problem for Republicans in 2022. The electorate is smaller. The way the election plays out is kind of fractionated over obviously states and districts. And there is that tendency for a backlash against the president's party in the first midterm.

But in 2024 when we are looking at the bigger electorate and it is the question of who do you trust to run the country, the inability or refusal of Republicans to isolate themselves from this kind of extremism I think is going to be much more of a problem than it will be probably in 18 months from now.

CHURCH: And we're also seeing restrictive voting bills pop up all over the country, a GOP effort to prevent certain Democratic voters from casting a ballot. And this is being done in clear sight. How will that likely impact elections in 2022?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, we said before, three quarters of Republicans basically say they believe the election was stolen. And this is more than just a rhetorical observation. It is in fact fueling what is the most systematic effort to roll back Americans' access to the ballot box since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that ended the Jim Crow era of state-sponsored segregation in voting. And this is a serious issue.

Essentially, you know, what we are seeing is the most pointed efforts coming in states like Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona, where Republicans face a daunting demographic reality, that a majority, in most of those cases in the states I named, a majority of the people turning 18 every year are kids of color and Republicans I think are stacking sandbags against the demographic changes in those states by trying to make it harder for that new electorate to vote.

There's always the potential of a backlash, and when you tell people you don't want them to vote they become more determined to do so. But I think there's also something else that is in train here, which is the possibility of a true social and political crack-up in 2024 because if Republicans succeed in what they are doing and actually follow through on some of the things that are being put into law in places like Georgia that allow these state Republican officials to override local Democratic officials on election boards and counties, for example, you are really lighting the flame for a level of political, social, and kind of in the streets conflict that we have not seen even in 2020.


So this is a very dangerous game Republicans are playing, and obviously the key question in many ways is whether Democrats can overcome the resistance of those last few senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, to reforming the filibuster in a way that will allow them to set national voting standards that would override many of these efforts in the states.

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, always great to get your analysis on all things political. I appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: And still to come, Facebook's oversight board decided to keep Donald Trump off the platform for now at least. But a bigger decision is looming for founder Mark Zuckerberg. And we'll explain.

Plus, why some of the world's biggest tech companies are now pouring more money into Africa. Back with that in a moment.


CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the clock is ticking for Facebook. The social media giant has six months to decide whether former President Trump can ever return to the platform. Just days ago, the company's independent oversight board ruled that Facebook was justified in its decision to suspend then President Trump from its platform after the January 6th insurrection. But the board also said that doesn't automatically mean he can be banned forever.


THOMAS HUGHES, DIRECTOR, FACEBOOK OVERSIGHT BOARD ADMINISTRATION: Now the board clearly stated that the suspension of former President Trump was necessary to keep people safe, that the posts on the 6th of January were encouraging and legitimizing violence and therefore were a severe violation. But at the same time the board has clearly said that an indefinite

suspension is not consistent with international human rights standards and that its rules have to be clear and consistent and transparent, and the failure to have rules that are clear, consistent and transparent will have a chilling effect in the long term on freedom of expression.



CHURCH (on camera): Trump himself called the oversight board's decision a total disgrace, arguing the decision is an attack on his free speech.

Well, some of the world's biggest technology companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are expanding their presence across Africa, setting the region's economy up for a multibillion-dollar boost.

CNN's Nada Bashir reports.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When it comes to big tech investment, the giants of Silicon Valley have traditionally looked to Asia. But some of the world's leading tech companies are now shifting their focus to a new market and investing big in Africa.

AKINWALE GOODLUCK, HEAD OF SUB SAHARAN AFRICA OPERATIONS, GSMA: These are vote of confidence in the tech industry in Africa. We have seen a lot of innovation coming out of Africa. We have seen techs cut off scale weekly. They're attracting a lot of funding. And this is driving the interest of the big internet players like Twitter, Google, Facebook, et cetera.

BASHIR: Twitter is among the latest big tech firms to establish a presence on the continent. The company says it is actually building a presence in Ghana, a move that has been welcomed by the country's growing tech industry.

How important is it for Ghana that Twitter has announced it will be establishing its first Africa base in your country city?

URSULA OWUSU-EKUFUL, GHANAIAN MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITALIZATION: Twitter is coming in as like a seal of approval on the steps that we've been taking so far. We're excited about their coming and hope to build on that and hope that we can also use them to attract other world-class companies to come and make Ghana their home.

BASHIR: Like Twitter, Google has also chosen to invest in Ghana, launching its first artificial intelligence lap on the continent in the country's company, Accra. Meanwhile, Amazon expanded its footprint in South Africa in 2020, launching a new web services infrastructure region in Cape Town.

Facebook too favored South Africa for its first office on the continent, establishing its Johannesburg base in 2015 followed by an announcement in 2020 that the company would be launching a new office in Lagos. And more than three decades on from opening its first office in Africa, Microsoft has announced its latest endeavor on the continent, working with the Nigerian government to develop the country's high-speed internet infrastructure.

With a growing population of tech entrepreneurs, big tech investment is set to have a transformative impact not only on Africa's digital landscape but on everyday life.

OWUSU-EKUFUL: We are hoping that this will create the opportunity for us to learn from each other's experiences and see how digital technology can open this space, energize our economies, create wealth for our young people, provide alternative livelihoods.

BASHIR: A report by Google and the International Finance Corporation projects major growth in Africa's internet economy, with the potential to contribute nearly $180 billion to Africa's economy by 2025 and more than $700 billion by 2050. It's an economic boost with the potential to create millions of jobs and new opportunities in education and innovation. A winning combination for a continent striving to become the world's next big tech hub.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


CHURCH (on camera): The winner of this year's Kentucky Derby could be stripped of his victory. Up next, the controversy surrounding Medina Spirit and how it might impact the next leg of the Triple Crown.



CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. Well, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is speaking out about the Olympics. Amid growing opposition within the country to the games going ahead, he insists that protecting the public's health during the coronavirus pandemic has always been his priority and that any final decision on the Olympics is up to the International Olympic Committee and not him.

The prime minister's remarks come as Tokyo is currently under an extended state of emergency due to a spike in COVID cases. The Olympics are set to begin July 23rd.

Well, the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby may have that victory disqualified after failing a drug test after the race. Medina Spirit tested positive for more than double the legal threshold of an anti- inflammatory corticosteroid. Race officials will now test another sample before a possible appeal or taking any disciplinary action. The horse's record-setting trainer denies every treating the colt with the drug.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOB BAFFERT, TRAINER, MEDINA SPIRIT: It's disturbing. It's an injustice to the horse. I don't know what's going on in racing right now but there's something not right. And I don't feel embarrassed. I feel like I was wronged. I do not feel safe to train. It's getting worse. How do I, you know, move forward from this? Knowing that something like this can happen. It's just -- it's a complete injustice. But we're going to -- I'm going to fight it tooth and nail.


CHURCH (on camera): Organizers of the next big race this Saturday's Preakness Stakes will review the case before deciding whether Medina Spirit can run the next leg of the Triple Crown.

Well, biologists are tracking a grey whale thousands of miles off course in the Mediterranean Sea. Wally the whale as he's being called should be enjoying the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, and scientists say if he doesn't find his way home soon, he may never make it back.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne has more.


SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER (voice over): This lost whale is oceans away from home. Nicknamed Wally, the great whale has been spotted swimming in the Mediterranean Sea near France. It's on the second sighting by biologists ever of a grey whale in the area since they normally live in the Pacific Ocean migrating along the coast of California.


Biologists think Wally was in the Arctic and took a bad turn because some of the northern routes only passable in the summer melted early because of warmer waters.

ERIC HANSEN, HEAD, STATE BIODIVERSITY AGENCY, SOUTHERN FRANCE (through translator): With global warming accelerating the melting of the ice, this young whale made a mistake and instead of descending along the Pacific coast it descended along the Atlantic coast.

VANDOORNE: Scientists say the two-year-old whale then became even more disoriented, crossing the Gibraltar Strait into the Mediterranean which doesn't have the food sources that grey whales need to survive.

CELINE TARDY, CRIOBE RESEARCH LABORATORY (through translator): The Italians have estimated that he has less than 37 percent of the mass of his species at his age. Apart from that it's just that he's very close to the coast. We'll really have to watch out for this animal.

VANDOORNE: Moving about 80 to 90 kilometers a day, Wally is believed to be making his way back to the Gibraltar Strait following France's southern shores and approaching the Spanish coast.

ROMAIN HUBERT, CHIEF OF UNIT, GOLFE DU LION NATURAL PARK (through translator): Hopefully, it will leave the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Straits within a few days, and we'll see if other organizations like ours observe it in other areas will be able to track its moves and know whether it returns to its usual habitat.

VANDOORNE: The whale became entangled in a fishing net a few days ago but managed to get free and face even more obstacles, finding foods and avoiding the busy shipping traffic of the strait, all of which Wally will have to navigate if he is to find his way to familiar waters.

Saskya Vandoorne, CNN, Paris.


CHURCH (on camera): And thanks for joining us. I'm rosemary church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us.