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Former Doctor at Russian Hospital that Treated Navalny Missing; NYPD Searching for Suspect in Times Square Shooting; Families Bury Loved Ones After Attack on Kabul School; India's New Covid Deaths and Cases Fall Slightly; Covid Travel Ban in Indonesia Over Muslim Holiday; Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails Drug Test. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 10, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Was the chief physician at Omsk Emergency Hospital when Navalny was admitted for suspected poisoning. So let's bring in our senior International correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He joins us live from Moscow. Good to see you Fred. So what more are you learning about this missing doctor?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it still is quite a mystery. From what we're hearing from Russian authorities, they say that this doctor who has actually since then been promoted to be the health minister of the Omsk region. Of course, that hospital where Alexey Navalny was treated, was in the town of Omsk.

That apparently he left that essentially base camp from where the hunting expedition, or hunting trip was going on -- this is pretty far north of the town of Omsk. And I was looking at the area, it's quite a woody and also swampy area. So really not much in the way of infrastructure that is out there. He left that base camp on his own with an all-terrain vehicle and simply didn't return.

But the Russian authorities are saying is that the folks who are with him on that hunting trip, they actually looked for him for about a day. For about 24 hours and only then notified the authorities. Now the latest that we're getting is that the search for this man is obviously still ongoing. Is that there's a drone that's being used. There's a helicopter that's being used, but so far the all-terrain vehicle has been found but he so far has not been found.

Now we saw those pictures. And we're seeing them right now on the screen. He did play a prominent role when Alexey Navalny was being treated at that hospital. He gave regular press updates. Well one of the things that he said was that the first analysis that that hospital had, there was some sort of drop in blood sugar levels that may have led to Navalny falling ill. He was later heavily criticized by Navalny for as Navalny suggested essentially being a puppet, as he saw, of the Russian authorities. And he gave press conferences that Alexey Navalny felt gave wrong information. Of course, Alexey Navalny was poisoned by the chemical nerve agent

Novichok. But also in that hospital, after Alexey Navalny was treated there, you had one of the doctors who was treating him, who was actually the second in command doctor of that hospital, dying very suddenly at the beginning of this year. And then another doctor also recently died. However, it's not clear whether or not with what extent he was involved in the treatment of Alexey Navalny.

So certainly some of the doctors at that hospital that was treating Navalny certainly having some very bad things happen to them. As far as that search is concerned, we were getting an update from the authorities earlier this morning and they say that the search has been continued today about 100 people are involved. They are looking to expand the search and obviously, still hoping to find that now health minister of the Omsk region alive and well -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. We will of course continue to follow this. Fred Pleitgen brining us the very latest live from Moscow. Many thanks.

A criminal group from Russia is believed to be responsible for a major cyber-attack 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 "Dark Side."

The White House set up an interagency working group over the weekend in response. The gasoline supplier Colonial Pipeline says 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 of how the attack could impact fuel supply ahead of the summer travel season.

Well the New York Police Department is searching for a suspect involved in a shooting at Times Square on Saturday. Police and a canine unit sifted through trash cans in the area Sunday. Two women and a 4-year-old girl were wounded in that incident. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has the details.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN ANCHOR: 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 is expected to recover. Police released this photo of person they're trying to speak with in relation to the incident. This comes at a scary, scary moment for New York City. We're trying to reopen here and get back after the pandemic has laid this 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: And six people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado Springs.


Police believe 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 sent 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.

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 where young girls almost 150 others were wounded. The Taliban say they're not responsible and they've 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 ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Loved ones gathered to bury the dead. Dozens of schoolgirls killed in a blast as they were leaving class on Saturday afternoon in Kabul. An uncle cries out.

GHULAM HUSSAIN, UNCLE OF SCHOOLGIRL WHO WAS KILLED (through translator): She was 15 years old 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 (voice-over): Afghan's interior ministry says a car bomb initially exploded, followed by two IEDs just outside the school.

MOHAMMED TAQI, DASHT-E-BARCHI RESIDENT (through translator): First it was the car bomb. And then the second blast went off, and afterwards came the third. I did not panic. I rushed to the scene, and suddenly I found myself amongst bodies whose hands and 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 (voice-over): 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: This developing story out of 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.

India is ramping up its COVID curfews and lockdowns while trying to contain a painful second wave. New numbers show an improvement but how seriously should they be taken?

And COVID cases are still surging in Indonesia where new travel restrictions are in place. We will tell you how they could impact celebrations of a major Muslim holiday later this week.



CHURCH: Hard-hit India has released its latest coronavirus figures and they're still high but they're no longer in record territory. The number of daily cases has now dipped below the 400,000 mark it had been exceeding in recent days. The death toll has also fallen. Meanwhile, half of Indian states and union territories are now under lockdown. New Delhi has been extended for another week. And calls for a nationwide lockdown are growing louder.

So let's bring in our Anna Coren. She's been watching all of this from Hong Kong. So Anna, we are seeing this slight drop in cases and deaths, although still too high. But what might those numbers really be showing us?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Experts at the moment, Rosemary, are saying we can't necessarily attribute it to the lockdown. Often after the weekend, there is a dip in numbers because not as many people are being tested. But, you know, perhaps the peak has passed. There is a chance that that has happened. Some of the models that were out there talked of India reaching its peak in infections in the middle of May. So, you know, optimistically perhaps we have seen that, but the experts are saying it's still too early to tell.

As you mentioned, at least half of India is in lockdown. States and cities are taking it upon themselves to place these restrictions in the hope of stopping the spread of this second wave. There is mounting pressure on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a nationwide lockdown. But when he last addressed the public on 28th of April, he said he was not going do that. That that would be a last resort. Many people are shaking their heads, thinking if this isn't a last resort, the time hasn't come, then when will it come?

The supreme court of India has taken it upon itself to set up a nationwide task force to work out the distribution of oxygen. Because as we've been reporting for the last couple of weeks, we've seen this acute shortage of oxygen, even though international aid has been coming in -- more today from France and the U.K.

And the crisis, as well, Rosemary, that we are seeing in India is spilling over into neighboring countries. Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh are all reporting, you know, a surge in cases. Bangladesh has announced that the Indian variant, the B-1617 which is highly contagious and targeting younger people, that has been detected in Bangladesh.

Pakistan has imposed a nine-day lockdown with the upcoming celebrations the Eid, the end of Ramadan. This you know, typically it's a time when families get together in a country like Pakistan of almost 220 million people, there's generally mass movement during this holiday. The military has been called in, Rosemary, in the hope of stopping this movement and further, you know, spread of the virus.

CHURCH: Anna Coren joining us from Hong Kong bringing us up to date on the situation across India. Many thanks.

And as Anna mentioned there, 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's 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's asking Parliament for a confidence vote to help him stay in power. That's after his government lost its majority last week.

Indonesia reported its highest number of new infections in four months on Friday. The government has imposed travel restrictions through mid- May. And as Paula Hancocks reports, the timing couldn't be worse for millions of Indonesians who were hoping to see their families.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During a major holiday for Muslims worldwide, the largest Muslim majority nation is banning domestic travel. Officials in Indonesia are hoping to prevent a spike of coronavirus infections. They're urging people not to journey far at a time when millions usually travel to their hometowns to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

DONI MONARDO, HEAD OF INDONESIA COVID-19 TASK FORCE (through translator): Do not return to your hometown. Do not go on holiday in your hometown. Do not spend Eid in your hometown. Be patient. Patience is the key to controlling the spread of COVID-19. By being patient, we can save a lot of people from ourselves, to our families and our nation.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Police officers were seen across the capital city of Jakarta Thursday, as a previously announced ban on domestic travel from May 6 to 17 took effect. They were working to prevent those without special permission from leaving the city. Many rushed to return home before the restrictions took effect.

"Last year, I could still be patient," says this woman. But this year, she says she can't hold back. She, like many others in Indonesia, are eager to reunite with loved ones. Some choosing to flout the rules now in place.

BASUKI RIYANTO, JAKARTA RESIDENT (through translator): I will still try to return home, because this has become a tradition. We have not gone home for three years already. Even though the government has tightened the rules, we'll still try to go ahead, regardless of the conditions.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Indonesia has been suffering the worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, with more than 1.7 million cases recorded since the pandemic began. On Monday, the country recorded its first few cases of a COVID-19 variant first identified in India, worrying health officials that infections could rise. Whether a mask ban, or a mass exodus helps prevents that remains to be seen.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


CHURCH: And one of Indonesia's neighbors, Malaysia, is also banning internal travel because of spike in COVID case numbers. Just take a look at that steep rise in coronavirus infections. Starting today, Malaysia will limit all interstate and inter-district travel without permission from police. The restrictions will stay in place through June 6th.

Well 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: The Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra playing a concert for peace on Sunday. It took place in the Colombian capital's Bolivar Square with the aim to promote peace and solidarity amid more than a week of deadly antigovernment demonstrations. Even Pope Francis is expressing his concern over the recent violence in Colombia. He urged people to pray for Colombians as many in the crowd at St. Peter's Square waived that country's flag.

And this was the scene in Bogota as the anti-government demonstrations continue. At least 27 people have been killed since protests began over a plan to raise sales taxes.

Well thousands of protesters took to the streets in Paris to call for tougher measures to battle climate change. The protests come after lawmakers approved a climate bill that environmental activists say does not go far enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AXEL DESVIGNES, PROTESTER (through translator): Scientists are calling for an overhaul of society. The way we produce food, heat our houses, the way we travel, et cetera. So we either we decide to take restrictive measures and it's like shooting yourself in the foot or we will suffer.


CHURCH: In a landmark ruling in February, a court ruled that France must do more to combat climate change.

Well the winner of this month's Kentucky Derby could be forced to forfeit the victory after the horse failed a drug test. The trainer for Medina Spirit is vowing to fight the allegations ahead of this Saturday's Preakness stakes. CNN sports Carolyn Manno has our report.


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS: Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby win is in doubt after a positive drug test revealed traces of an anti- inflammatory that can mask health issues in horses before a race. I spoke with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and he unequivocally denied any wrongdoing. And said that this drug was not administered to his Kentucky Derby winning horse. He was however emotional after learning the news and speaking with reporters earlier this morning.

BOB BAFFERT, MEDINA SPIRIT HORSE TRAINER: Yesterday, I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn't do, and it's really, it's disturbing. It's an injustice to the horse.

MANNO: We're now waiting on the results of additional tests that will ultimately determine whether or not the horse is disqualified as a Kentucky Derby winner. And Bob Baffert also has the right to appeal those results, as well. A process that could take a very long time to adjudicate.


Churchill Downs has also suspended Bob Baffert from training or running any horses on their property until the situation is resolved. A result that he told me was incredibly disappointing as he has a lot of respect for the Kentucky Derby as he put it and would never do anything to jeopardize a result there.

In the meantime, organizers of the Preakness Stakes are gathering their own information as the second leg of the Triple Crown is right around the corner scheduled for next Saturday. They will ultimately determine whether or not Medina Spirit will be allowed to run there.

Carolyn Manno, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: 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 publics' 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.

And, finally, this hour we've been following two whales stranded far from home. A small Minke whale that was stuck for hours in the River Thames in London is now free. Earlier Monday rescuers were able to get the whale back in the main river using inflatable stretchers.

And biologists are also tracking a gray whale thousands of miles off course in the Mediterranean Sea. Wally the Whale, as he's been called, should be enjoying the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Instead biologists think he got confused and took a wrong turn in the Arctic due to warm waters melting to the northern route too early. Scientists said if he doesn't find wait home soon, he may not make it back.

Well thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is up next. Have yourselves a wonderful day.