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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; CDC Says Schools Should Maintain Mask Requirements For Rest Of Year; Pope Celebrates Mass In Rome For Myanmar's Catholics; Taiwan Sets COVID-19 Case Record; No Injuries In Minnesota Train Derailment; Rombauer Denies Medina Spirit Triple Crown. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 16, 2021 - 04:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): An Israeli airstrike hits the home of Hamas' leader in Gaza. The latest in the region's escalating violence.

To mask or not to mask. Many Americans are asking that question as they get used to new federal recommendations.

Plus this --


VANESSA BRYANT, KOBE'S WIDOW: I'm so proud of you. I love you forever and always, Kobe Dean Bryant.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Kobe Bryant's widow delivers an emotional speech as the former Los Angeles Laker is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.


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


BRUNHUBER: The Israeli military says it has struck the home of a Hamas leader in southern Gaza. He's the head of Hamas in Gaza and lived south of Gaza City. The attack on the Hamas leader came hours after Israeli warplanes bombed a high-rise building where several news organizations had offices.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): The Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other companies had offices there. Families living in the building also fled. The Palestinian health ministry says at least 153 people in Gaza have died in the airstrikes, including more than 40 children. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: In Israel, the death toll rose to 10 on Saturday as a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential neighborhood in Tel Aviv, killing an Israeli man. Our Arlette Saenz has the latest from Washington. Salma Abdelaziz is in Beirut. Let's start with Elliott Gotkine.

Elliott, I want to start with the bombing of the media building. What more are we learning about that?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the IDF are saying it carried out the strike because it housed military asset, military intelligence assets belonging to Hamas. Now we reached out to the IDF to ask if they could provide proof of that.

They said they weren't going to add to what they said already and couldn't comment on whether they would give more information in the future.

But the Associated Press president and CEO Gary Pruitt said he was shocked and horrified at what happened. The foreign press association in the country has written to the IDF expressing its concern and dismay.

The attack shows the IDF's determination to take out targets, no matter what the fallout is, including the international media. And clearly taking out the building belonging to the Associated Press is not going to do itself any favors in the eyes of the international media.

I think this just shows it is determined to fulfill its objectives, hitting targets that are going to degrade Hamas' abilities to fire rockets at Israel, to take out leaders and other bits of their infrastructure, underground missile launchers, rocket launchers, underground tunnel networks, weapons manufacturing facilities and anything else they deem to be a target.

As prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, you know, this is an operation that will go on as long as necessary. I don't know if you hear in the background, but we can hear the booms in the sky of rockets, apparently being taken out by the Iron Dome defense system.

BRUNHUBER: Wow. We have mentioned those rockets, the airstrikes.

What about the clashes within Israel between Arabs and Jews and mixed communities?

Are they still ongoing?

GOTKINE: Tensions are still very high in these mixed towns. More reinforcements of police have been sent there.

And prime minister Netanyahu reiterated he won't tolerate what he described as pogroms against Jewish citizens or lynchings, in his words, against Arab citizens, saying that anarchy will not be tolerated and that those who are perpetrating such outbreaks of violence will be held accountable.

And there have been a number of arrests in that respect. And if you speak to Israelis, actually, though there is clearly a lot going on about 25 kilometers to the south of here in and around the Gaza Strip.


GOTKINE: And also rockets are still flying into Israel, Israelis are probably more concerned about the violence going on between Arabs and Jews within Israel than they are the Gaza Strip right now.

Gaza wars, as we have seen over the previous years, they come and go. But co-existence is something that needs to abound for countries to survive. And there are real concerns that this violence will get worse. And it will be hard to go back to where we were before it began in the last week or so -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely, Elliott Gotkine, thank you very much.

Now to Salma Abdelaziz in Beirut.

Tell us through what you've been seeing, where you are in Lebanon and more broadly across the region.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, Kim. Yesterday was a key day, the day that commemorates the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that were displaced in the year 1948, the year the state of Israel was declared.

Their descendants number in the millions and they're spread across the region with many in Lebanon. It was a very big day yesterday. We were along the Lebanese border. We have footage to show you of that day.

We, at first, saw a very simple gathering there, buses bringing people in from various political factions, the yellow flags of Hezbollah, the green flags of Hamas and people showing up with their children, waving flags, people who said they needed to come out and show solidarity, not only with the families in Gaza that were under bombardment during one of the holiest holidays for Muslims but across the region.

We started to see groups of young men going down the hilltops and running up to that border fence, cutting through the chicken wire, starting to climb that fence, throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, sticks, anything they could get their hands on, to try to send a message to the Israeli troops they had spotted on the other side.

We also heard what sounded like gunfire coming from Israeli troops and, later on, did find out from the national news agency here that two people were wounded in gunfire. So it did appear there was some back and forth there.

It did end peacefully, with the troops moving in to disperse the crowds. They came in with batons, loud, shouting it was time to break it up, time to go home. And that's what everyone did.

We saw similar scenes in Jordan; very similar end to it as well, because Jordanian authorities stepped in to disperse those crowds, too.

There is a sense across the region, Kim, these protests are, by and large, very small. The response on the Arab streets is very muted. There is a couple of reasons for this.

The first is this is a post-Arab Spring period; dictatorships, human rights groups will tell you, autocratic (ph) leaders do not want to see huge gatherings of people in their squares. Look at Tahrir Square in Cairo. A human rights group will tell you that President Sisi wouldn't want to see a large gathering there.

And a second thing, there's a big diplomatic shift in this region. And that is the normalization of agreements, other countries trying to normalize their relationship with Israel, which means a much more muted criticism when it comes to the latest clashes, the unfolding violence that we're seeing across the region there and inside Gaza as well.

And it means the Arab streets are also being asked to remain quiet. That's something the protesters told me over and over again, they're angry with Arab leadership. They feel disappointed by their own governments and feel they need to come out to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to remind the community at large that they are not forgotten.

And it is important to remember, many people were Palestinian descendants. This is something at their heart and soul -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting, thank you so much for your reporting there, Salma Abdelaziz, appreciate it.

The U.S. is calling for a de-escalation in the violence spilling across the region. Arlette Saenz is at the White House.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Biden spent most of Saturday here at the White House, where he spent the day working the phones, having separate phone calls with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

There's growing concern about these tensions regarding Israel. The president is trying to strike a very delicate balance in extending support for Israel's right to defend itself but also expressing concerns for the Palestinian people.

I want to read you a bit of the White House readout.

The White House says that, "The president noted that this current period of conflict has tragically claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children. He raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection."

[04:10:00] SAENZ: This phone call took place late Saturday morning after that Israeli airstrike flattened that building in Gaza that was home to the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other media outlets.

But these readouts don't specifically say whether the president addressed that specific airstrike. Now it wasn't just the president making calls over the weekend. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reached out to his Israeli counterpart to talk about the situation there.

But right now, the administration is taking this all hands on deck approach as they're trying to urge de-escalation in the region -- Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: We want to show you what was happening inside that building in Gaza before it was leveled by an Israeli attack. Listen to this.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): So you can see people scooping up their gear, donning body armor, trying to figure out what can be saved.



BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This is after. The president of the Associated Press says Israel notified them of the strike an hour before it happened. He spoke earlier to CNN.



GARY PRUITT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Our folks are doing their best to report from their locations at home. But also the world's media has been incredibly generous in offering help and support and office space, for us to operate on a temporary basis while we seek additional office space.

But it is a difficult situation right now. It certainly impairs our ability to report. It doesn't silence us but it certainly hurts.

We have been in that building for 15 years. We had no indication Hamas was operating out of that building. We do check back, to the best of our ability, because, of course, we would never knowingly endanger our journalists.

But can we say for sure?

No, we can't. But you know, our goal is to report neutrally from Israel, from Gaza, report the facts, not take sides and try to stay out of the crossfire. Today we did not.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: That was the president of the AP, speaking to CNN.

Al Jazeera also had offices in the building. It is condemning the bombing and saying it views it a, quote, "a clear act to stop journalists from reporting in Gaza."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools should continue masking for the rest of the academic year. Health officials say that's because there is not enough time for students to become fully vaccinated before the summer break. The agency says it will update its guidance for schools in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the CDC says schools that offer in person learning should prioritize wearing masks and social distancing when possible.

Walt Disney World and supermarket chain Publix are among the latest companies to change their masking policies following the new guidance. But some small business owners are torn about what they should do next. CNN's Camila Bernal has more on their dilemma.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To take it off or to keep it on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't mind the masks but I definitely feel like it's liberating to not wear them.

BERNAL (voice-over): Trader Joe's, Walmart, Costco, Starbucks say no masks required for most of their stores for customers fully vaccinated. But many small business owners Like Jay Spangler...

JAY SPANGLER, BUSINESS OWNER: I love taking this thing off.

BERNAL (voice-over): -- still unable to make changes and unclear about what they'll eventually require from their staff and customers.

SPANGLER: I think everybody wants to take their mask off. When people come in the restaurant and sit down, the first thing they do is they want to rip their mask off.

BERNAL (voice-over): What makes it even more complicated, states in red in this map didn't require masks before the CDC updated its guidance. States in blue updated their guidance. And others, like California, still reviewing their mask regulations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll continue to wear my mask around people that I feel are more vulnerable. I think it's the responsible thing to do.

BERNAL (voice-over): In the meantime, the Biden administration trying to answer questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What should I say when someone tells me they don't want to get vaccinated? DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It's important to understand what you're putting into your body and this is especially important because we know there's a lot of misinformation swirling around.

These are rigorously studied vaccines. Doctors and nurses across the country are not only recommending them but taking them themselves.


BERNAL (voice-over): The experts have been on defense after the new CDC guidance, saying fully vaccinated people can go without a mask in most cases, caused a great deal of confusion. The CDC says the change was based on new analysis of data from vaccinated health care workers.


SPANGLER: The rules change so much that we just wait until the day of and then adapt on the fly.

BERNAL (voice-over): Spangler believes there will still be confusion, changes and last-minute notices but overall --

SPANGLER: It's great to see peoples faces again.

BERNAL (voice-over): And he's hopeful about the future.

SPANGLER: The more we can fit inside, the better just because we've got a lot of recouping to do.

BERNAL (voice-over): Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: England is about to take the next step on its path out of lockdown. It is lifting many more coronavirus restrictions beginning on Monday. The rise in COVID cases caused by the India variant is casting a shadow over the country's plans. For more on this, let's bring in Phil Black in London.

Maybe casting a shadow is putting it too lightly. There seems to be more and more pressure on prime minister Boris Johnson to delay that plan to relax COVID rules tomorrow.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, I think, a looming shadow is a really good way of describing what is hanging over -- what was supposed to be an otherwise really positive day that people have been looking forward to, incredibly so, really.

Tomorrow, in England, Wales and Scotland as well, indoor mixing returns. People will be able to get together in homes, in bars, restaurants and, in England, people are told they can even hug again.

It is a hugely significant change and something people have been looking forward to because of where they have been coming from. It is a representation of the progress made here, both in terms of driving down transmission and rolling out the vaccine. And yet, despite the progress or perhaps because of it, the prime

minister, his scientific advisers, across the general population, I would say is -- there is concern about what could be coming next.

Because of this new variant, that is confirmed to be spreading here, a variant that was first discovered in India and which the government scientific advisers say is more transmissible, they are nervous because of what the numbers and the modeling they are seeing shows them.

And it shows them that there are still so many people who have not been protected by a vaccine that, in the event that this new variant is significantly more transmissible, there could still be or perhaps still will be a surge that could place significant pressure on the country's health system once again.

The "if" there is key, if it is more significantly more transmissible, because no one knows. We expect to know within the coming weeks as they study the information, study what it is doing in the population.

They will have a more accurate sense of just what or how much harm this new variant could potentially cause here. But for the moment, they believe that, based upon the available evidence, the situation across the country remains very good.

All the key indicators are still heading in the right direction. The actual numbers of cases of this new variant is still very low, confirmed around 1,300 so far. This is what -- this is the most recent figure; it has been growing quickly over the last week or so.

BRUNHUBER: And I think we might have lost Phil there. We thank him for that reporting in London.

Still to come on CNN, we head to the Vatican, where Pope Francis is holding a special mass for Rome's Myanmar Catholics.

Plus, the latest on the fighting between Israel and Gaza militants. I'll speak to a Middle East expert about why he thinks the violence could grow even worse. Stay with us.






BRUNHUBER (voice-over): All right, you're looking at live pictures from the Vatican, where Pope Francis is celebrating holy mass with Myanmar Catholics living in Rome. He's made many calls for peace in Myanmar since the military seized control in February.

Some reports saying nearly 800 people have been killed by the military security forces during its crackdowns on protests against its rule.


BRUNHUBER: So for more on this, let's bring in CNN's Delia Gallagher, who is in Rome.

One might not normally associate Myanmar with Catholicism because the country is so heavily Buddhist. Take us through the importance of what is happening right now.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kim. The Catholic population in Myanmar is really only about 1 percent. So the Catholics in Rome for Myanmar is even smaller, as you can imagine.

Pope Francis right now is in St. Peter's Basilica behind me with some of them. There is about 170 nuns, priests and seminarians, those who are studying here in Rome, at this mass. Some of the readings and prayers are in Burmese, in the language of Myanmar.

The significance is clearly that this is a moment, that the pope wants the world's attention to be on Myanmar. He has said this is a country which is close to his heart. He was there in 2017. I was with him. He met with democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, met with the military general.

But since the February coup, the pope has spoken out on numerous occasions in favor of peace, in favor of peaceful protests and stopping the violence and killing of the civilians in Myanmar.

Now one thing that the pope did from the Vatican, which was very powerful, if you remember, there was a picture of a Catholic nun kneeling on the streets of Myanmar in front of the military.

Shortly after that picture came out, the pope from the Vatican said, "I, too, kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say stop the violence."

Of course, the pope doesn't have an army. He cannot impose sanctions. But what he can do, Kim, is help keep the focus on the situation there, which is what he's doing with this mass today, and especially encourage the international community to take action.

To that, he adds his voice to the voices of human rights groups in particular, who are putting pressure on the U.N. Security Council, not to just issue statements of condemnation but to take action to go for an arms embargo, for example, to really intervene in the situation in Myanmar.


GALLAGHER: The pope hoping at least that this mass today will lend some support to the peaceful protesters but also encourage the international community to take that action -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thank you so much, Delia Gallagher, reporting for us from Rome. In Afghanistan, the withdrawal of U.S. military forces is raising big

questions about those who could be left behind. Now we're talking about Afghan citizens who worked for the U.S. as interpreters and in other critical jobs.

Along the way, they not only put their own lives on the line, they also saved millions of American lives. Now they fear they will be targets for militants when the U.S. leaves.

Former director James Clapper wrote this about the interpreters in a recent CNN op-ed.

"What they did made a difference between mission success and failure and between being killed or surviving to fight another day. We can and must do the right thing here."

Clapper went on to say in his op-ed that those Afghan interpreters deserve help resettling in the U.S. In an interview with CNN earlier, he said it is literally a matter of life or death for them.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Hundreds of these people that have been assassinated, murdered by the Taliban and retribution against their families as well.

So there's no question what the Taliban intent is. And the reason why these were crucial to the Taliban standpoint is, this was the bridge, the means by which U.S. forces in the field could communicate with the locals.

So if the translator is killed, which the Taliban regarded as critical, that then cut off the bridge of -- the conduit of communication between the U.S. forces and the local people and, you know, in a situation where they're trying -- to borrow an expression -- to win the hearts and mind of the local people.


BRUNHUBER: Clapper is urging the U.S. State Department to try to process applications from interpreters more quickly and is calling on government contractors who worked there to provide financial help to those who qualify for resettlement.

Much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is focused on Gaza now. There are concerns about the fighting spreading. We'll have a report from the West Bank coming up.

Plus, Taiwan hit a new domestic COVID case record. Now grocery store shelves are emptying as people stock up. We'll explain what's happening. Stay with us.





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

Israel's military says it has bombed the home of the Hamas leader in Gaza. An Israeli official said he wasn't hurt when an airstrike hit his home. It appears to be one of many Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Palestinian health officials say at least eight people were killed in airstrikes today. Israel says it is targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad as they launch rockets at Israeli territory.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This footage shows rockets coming out of Gaza to southern Israel. Meanwhile Israel is facing criticism for hitting a building that houses media offices in Gaza. Israel says the building also had Hamas assets.


BRUNHUBER: Despite the justification given by the Israeli military, the head of the Associated Press said it worked out of that building for 15 years and had no indication of Hamas activity. We get the latest from CNN's Ben Wedeman.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City brings down the 12 story Jala'a tower, causing offices of the premier U.S. news agency, the Associated Press and Al Jazeera network.

Once more a massive building in Gaza is reduced by Israel's version of shock and awe to rubble and dust. The Israeli military warned that building's occupants, among them families, to evacuate before the bombing. The Israeli air force claims the building contained what it called, Hamas military intelligence assets, which, it alleges, were using media outlets as shields.

The air and artillery campaign against Gaza continues with mounting intensity as Hamas and other militant factions fire barrage after barrage of rockets into Israel. In Gaza's cramped confines, Israel's claims to be avoiding civilian casualties often seems to ring hollow as the residents of a crowded refugee camp bury their dead.

Early Saturday morning, Israeli warplanes struck a home in the crowded camp, killing at least 10 people, 8 of them children. Among them, 4 of Mohammed Hadidi's (ph) 5 sons and his wife. The only son to survive, found under the rubble, was 5-month-old Armad (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language). WEDEMAN (voice-over): "They destroyed the house without warning at 1:30 in the morning," said Mohammed (ph). "People were sleeping, the children were sleeping."

Saturday saw more confrontations in the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. May 15th is Catastrophe Day, marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.

WEDEMAN: On the outskirts of a town, young men use slings to hurl stones at the soldiers. With the West Bank now aflame, Hamas has called upon the people here, in their words, to "set the ground ablaze under the feet of the occupation."

WEDEMAN (voice-over): And indeed, the fires are spreading -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al-Bireh, on the West Bank.


BRUNHUBER: For more I'm joined by Yossi Mekelberg, he's a senior consulting research fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.

Thank you so much for joining us. Things, as we just saw vividly there in that report, seem to be getting worse. You've written that this risks blowing up into a full-scale uprising, that the violence could spiral into something that could go on for months or even years. That's the worst case scenario.

But is that likely?

Don't both sides have too much to lose here?


YOSSI MEKELBERG, SENIOR CONSULTING RESEARCH FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: I think we -- good morning. (INAUDIBLE) here and it is only a week ago we spoke only about Jerusalem and you see how it moved to Gaza and what is happening in Israel.

It shows the fragility of the situation, how quickly it can escalate and deteriorate from more limited conflict or clashes to something much bigger.

But now, between Hamas and Israel, (INAUDIBLE) the founding of Gaza, the rising number of casualties, the conflict will go on, even there is a cease-fire taking place. The question what happened the day after there is a cease-fire.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, that is exactly the question. I want to focus on that, where we go from here.

You have written, quote, "The lesson from the last few weeks is that the gridlock in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the stalling on a two-state solution is creating the conditions for the most extreme elements in the conflict to thrive and trigger more suffering and misery."

So even if Egypt were to broker a cease-fire here, that won't solve the underlying issues that brought us here, in which, according to what you wrote there about the rise of extremism, makes it more likely it will happen again.

MEKELBERG: I'm a humble student of history. Look what happens. Also, the Oslo years, 27, 28 years of so-called peace process and we get increasing violence because there is not enough courage to get to the underlying issues of the conflict.

Now it has to be a fair and just solution. I tend to think that two- state solution in one form or another, different what we envisaged 27 years ago maybe in a confederate (ph) system can still work.

What can't work is the situation in which Gaza is located, the West Bank is occupied, as is Jerusalem. The rights of so many millions of Palestinians deprived and the same we see actually in Israel, where you have a group of people, the majority with full rights and the minority that are discriminated and second class citizens.

This is what (INAUDIBLE) is not sustainable and this has to be resolved in a very courageous way. You almost need to change your (INAUDIBLE) system (INAUDIBLE) and look for a massive upgrade.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. We'll see whether either side has the courage for that. And it will take the help of the international community there to make that happen. But I want to focus again back on Israel, you know, the conflict within Israel itself, between the mixed Arab Israeli communities, neighbors living side by side.

When, you know, eventually there is peace, when the airstrikes and rockets stop, how do they repair that damage?

MEKELBERG: Well, this is the most difficult one, because this happens within the state, which everyone is a citizen. The Israeli, Palestinians, are citizens, supposed to have equal rights but they don't.

And I think the Jewish population enjoys deluding itself that (INAUDIBLE) status quo can go forward, with one part of the society (INAUDIBLE). It is also the ethos of this is a Jewish state, so where is the -- what are the rights, where is the place, what is the identity of 20 percent of the population if this is a Jewish state?

And I think the watershed was the nation state law of 2018, which, if there was more (INAUDIBLE) or some form of discrimination, of (INAUDIBLE) it is enshrined in the law. The discrimination of Palestinians that live in Israel and, even according to the declaration of independence, this is a country that everyone is supposed to have the same rights.

So there is a buildup, it's a social calamity (ph) (INAUDIBLE) religious conflict. All of it needs to be resolved. It needs a national dialogue. And, at the end of the day, you don't need to live only side by side, there should be integration between the societies and this is completely missing.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. But as you noted, I mean, the rise of extremism on both sides makes that less and less likely.

You've been calling for the international community to step up here. The U.N. Security Council meeting today.

What are you hoping for and what do you realistically expect?

MEKELBERG: Well, there is a huge difference between what I hope and what is going to happen. I think it is largely (ph) and it's telling (ph) about the international community and the Security Council is deep into this (ph).


MEKELBERG: And it's a war. At the end of the day, with so many people killed, this is a war that the Security Council and the permanent members of the Security Council can't actually reach a resolution.

What is easier than calling both sides, stop it now. That's what the international community wants. When civilians are killed on both sides, when so many children are killed, this is the role and the task of the Security Council.

This is what the United Nations was established in 1945. So I understand the United States would like to give Israel some more -- some more room to reassert its deterrence. But what both countries don't understand, this is a very short-term (INAUDIBLE) because we have been here so many times. What the United States should headed to work appeasement (ph), of course, the (INAUDIBLE) left to the terrible legacy on (INAUDIBLE) of the Palestinians (INAUDIBLE).

But again, that's what we need to reboot the system and think differently.

BRUNHUBER: Well, we can always hope. Thank you so much for your excellent analysis, Yossi Mekelberg, appreciate it.

MEKELBERG: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Coronavirus cases are surging in Taiwan. The latest numbers have just been released. We'll have them for you in a live report from Taipei just ahead.

And what was an emotional night as basketball honors the late Kobe Bryant. The tributes at the Hall of Fame next.




BRUNHUBER: Taiwan reported 207 new COVID infections on Sunday, which is a pandemic record. All but one were locally transmitted. One is from India. The self-governed island is tightening social distancing restrictions for Taipei and nearby areas.


BRUNHUBER: Journalist Andy Lee joins us from Taipei with the latest.

Taiwan was long considered a COVID success story.

Is that in danger of changing?

ANDY LEE, JOURNALIST: Yes, Kim, that is a very good question, a million dollar question. The Taiwan government has been doing a good job so far and the people in Taiwan would love to think that the government is still doing a good job and will in the future.

However, that said, the number of COVID confirmed cases is spiking as we speak. Yesterday 180; today, 207. So the government is raising the alert level and the restriction level from level 2 to level 3.

What is the definition of level 3?

Indoor activity, five persons, no go; outdoor activity, 10 persons, no go. However, that said, if you do a full lockdown, it will hurt the economy of Taiwan. Offices are still on, people are still going to work, schools are still on, children still going to school as of Monday. However, the situation is definitely concerning -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Well, you touched on the economy there, Taiwan's stock market took a plunge because of the COVID fears. But broad picture economically, the country seems to be in a very strong position. It seems to be doing really well.

Why is that?

LEE: The people of Taiwan are united with the government in fighting this COVID pandemic. Yes, the stock market took a bit of a dip a few days ago. However, we would like it to go back on track.

Now the people in Taiwan support the government; however, the people in Taiwan are still very worried. People are still going to be the supermarkets and stocking up on tissues, rice, grocery items. I told my wife to do that.

She came home to me and was telling me the shelves were gone in minutes. And I had to go to the pharmaceuticals and stock up on face masks. I bought 10 boxes. But I still feel worried. People in Taiwan are also signing up for self-paid vaccination.

However, we were told that the quota of the first batch has been used and people are asking, when is the second batch coming? No one has a definite answer on that one. People are on pins and needles here in Taiwan -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. We'll keep following that. Thank you so much, journalist Andy Lee. Appreciate it.

The coronavirus lockdown in Delhi, India, is being extended for the fourth time, now set to end a week from now. This comes as the country's overall COVID positivity rate is down. Cases in rural areas are still soaring. Kristie Lu Stout has more on where things stand.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new daily ritual in India: police patrol a river, looking for bodies, possible victims of the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We all looking for these bodies that are in the river. And then, if you find them, we cremate them with proper rituals.

STOUT (voice-over): There are few bathers in these waters anymore. Not since the shocking images emerged of bodies dumped in the Ganges River. Scenes like this seem a world away from high-level government meetings, where authorities brief Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, with what they say are signs of progress.

Health officials say coronavirus testing has increased across the country and it's showing the overall positivity rate is down and the recovery rate is increasing. Cases are easing in major cities, with strict lockdowns, such as in Mumbai and New Delhi. But prime minister Modi had this warning for the residents of rural areas, where two thirds of the population live.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Corona infection is spreading fast in our villages, too. Every government is trying everything possible to stop it. It is important to raise awareness in rural areas and to work with and support our local village administrations.

STOUT (voice-over): In one rural village, people have been burying the dead in shallow graves. Some communities, so far removed, that the reach of the virus and the true numbers of the dead are yet to be counted -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: We'll be right back.





BRUNHUBER: A freight train derailed in Minnesota on Saturday, when more than 2 dozen cars jumped the tracks and jackknifed. There are no reports of injuries among the crew. The Union Pacific train was carrying mixed goods, including hydrochloric acid, which is reportedly leaking from two cars. The cause of the derailment is under investigation. The major U.S. pipeline hacked in a ransomware attack last week is up

and running for a few days now but it is still a huge challenge to find gasoline in some areas. CNN's Natasha Chen reports.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gas stations like this one here in Charleston, South Carolina, don't currently have fuel. But the overall situation is slowly improving across the southeast.

In fact, near us other gas stations got new supply of fuel overnight. On Saturday morning, Colonial Pipeline said its systems are now at normal operations but it could take several days, up to two weeks in certain places, for there to be a sense of normalcy.

Fuel flows through that pipeline at about 5 miles an hour. In the meantime, a handful of Southern states are under states of emergency. That lifts weight restrictions for trucks delivering fuel. These declarations also help states prevent price gouging from happening.

Authorities are also urging drivers not to panic buy, because hoarding gas could prolong this issue and make matters worse. According to the app Gas Buddy, which is crowd sourced from drivers self-reporting prices and outages, the highest percentage of gas stations without fuel is in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., followed by the state of North Carolina. Just under half of gas stations in Georgia and South Carolina are without gas -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.


BRUNHUBER: Fans hoping for a Triple Crown winner in U.S. horse racing will have to wait until at least next year.


BRUNHUBER: Rombauer upset the favorite Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, with a burst of speed down the stretch at the Preakness Stakes. Medina Spirit failed a post-derby drug test and could still be stripped of the Run for the Roses title. The Triple Crown's last leg is in three weeks at Belmont Park in New York.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was inducted posthumously into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. He was killed in a helicopter crash last year. Another superstar, Michael Jordan, escorted Bryant's widow, Vanessa, to the stage so she could accept the honor.

Vanessa Bryant paid an emotional tribute to her husband, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers.


BRYANT: Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices paid off. You once told me, if you are going to bet on someone, bet on yourself. I'm glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You are in the Hall of Fame now. You are a true champ. You're not just an MVP, you are an all-time great. I'm so proud of

you. I love you forever and always, Kobe Dean Bryant.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: Vanessa Bryant shared these images of her, a photo of her husband and other family members at the Hall of Fame, writing, "Love you always."

A touching tribute to a legend.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in just a moment with more news.