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CNN NEWSROOM

Israel's Assault on Gaza, Efforts at Cease-Fire Prove Difficult; Monster Cyclone Disrupts Testing, Vaccinations in India; Outbreak Puts Pressure on Taiwan's Low Vaccination Rates; Pressure to Cancel Tokyo Summer Olympics Growing; Ethiopian Troops Raid Hospital in War-torn Tigray. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired May 19, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all over the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, Israeli jets pound Gaza as rocket fire resumes into Israel after a brief lull. Now the European Union (INAUDIBLE) is calling for a cease-fire.

Then some residents of Hong Kong are refusing to get COVID shots despite vaccines being made easily available.

And Tokyo insists the Olympics will take place but now some cities are refusing to host the athletes.

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CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

A pause in rocket fire from Hamas militants into Israel did not last long. Now both sides are back to the fighting that has claimed more than 200 lives in Gaza and a dozen in Israel.

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CHURCH (voice-over): Hamas rocket launchers, tunnel networks and commanders' homes continue to be top targets for Israeli warplanes. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the bombing raids will go on until Hamas and Israel's other enemies learn their lesson.

Israel briefly allowed international aid into Gaza for the first time since the fighting started and then halted convoys in response to mortar fire at two border crossings. A projectile fired from Gaza hit a farm just across the border with Israel, killing two migrant workers. Diplomatic efforts to end the violence have shown little progress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and implementation of a cease-fire, not only (INAUDIBLE) but implement a cease-fire. The purpose is to protect civilians and to give full humanitarian access in Gaza.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Journalist Elliott Gotkine is live this hour in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. He joins us now.

Elliott, what is the latest on this deadly exchange of fire?

What progress is being made to broker a cease-fire?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, in terms of the exchange of fire we saw yesterday, we saw one projectile believed to be a mortar that injured an Israeli soldier.

That prompted the Israeli authorities to seal the borders again and, as you mentioned, another projectile hit an agricultural packaging factory just outside the Gaza Strip, killing two migrant workers from Thailand.

This means that, out of the 12 Israelis killed thus far, three have been migrant workers. Then overnight, we know the Israeli air force has been pounding the Gaza Strip. There have been more than 50 fighter jets in a 25-minute strike on something like 40 targets, including underground rocket launchers, weapons depots and the like.

There had been reports that there was going to be a cease-fire, perhaps taking effect on Thursday. That was in the Israeli media. CNN spoke with a senior Hamas leader, who's also on the militant group's political bureau. He said the reports are simply not true but ongoing efforts to broker a cease-fire are still going on.

This is something the presidents of France, Egypt and the king of Jordan discussed yesterday.

CHURCH: Elliott Gotkine, joining us live from Ashdod.

The leaders of Jordan, Egypt and France are coordinating diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict. Jordan's foreign minister is urging the U.S. to play a leading role in the calls for a cease-fire.

Egypt is pledging $500 million to help rebuild Gaza. France plans to circulate a new resolution for the U.N. Security Council to approve, despite U.S. opposition.

[02:05:00]

CHURCH: The White House has insisted, behind the scenes, diplomacy is more effective in this situation. But the Biden administration is under growing pressure to engage more publicly. Phil Mattingly reports the tone is shifting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: White House officials have made clear publicly now for several days, when it comes to the conditions in the Middle East, they believe their best pathway forward to try and reach some type of de-escalatory outcome is through quiet but intensive diplomacy.

Those are the words they have used repeatedly, saying on message, as they have conducted more than 60 calls behind the scenes, not just to Israelis, not just to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas but also key regional players they hope will play a role in creating the conditions for some type of de-escalation.

We are told the tone, however, as it pertains to Israeli officials particularly, has started to shift. Biden in a call with Netanyahu on Monday, taking a firmer tone, making clear to the prime minister, according to people familiar with the call, that the international outcry is growing.

The pressure for the U.S. to say something more definitive related to a cease-fire is growing. The White House can only hold off that pressure for so long. The implicit message there, it's time to start ramping things up. It's time to start the process of ending military operations.

That message was conveyed not just president to prime minister but other senior administration officials to their Israeli counterparts. As for the overall strategy, White House press secretary briefing reporters on Air Force One, making clear they are sticking to their plan. Take a listen.

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JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has been going on now for 8 days. Everyone who loses their life, every day it continues, is one we would like to see a person end to the conflict. But our tactical approach is that most of our conversations, the majority of them, will happen behind the scenes.

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MATTINGLY: One person familiar with the calls between U.S. officials and their Israeli counterparts say there has been some signals that perhaps the Israelis could be wrapping up their operations in the days ahead.

No firm timeline, no clear signal as to exactly when that will be. But clearly, the U.S. efforts rely heavily on that process starting to kick into gear also the process of those regional players playing more of a role in actually securing some type of de-escalation, some type of cease-fire, some type of pause, at least, to stop an escalation that simply hasn't, over the course of more than a week -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.

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CHURCH: The conflict has taken the focus away from Israel's political stalemate. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a coalition government. His future was in question before this latest violence erupted. Now the scenario has changed, as Hadas Gold reports.

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HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israeli flags drape the ruin facades of buildings in Ramat Gan, just outside Tel Aviv, clearing rubble after a rocket turned this residential street into chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard what sounded like a very loud landings. We saw the mess but this whole place was just in ruins and people were screaming. You just can never really tell when something is going to happen.

GOLD (voice-over): Split second decisions become a matter of life or death. A man killed standing behind this door. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its second week, the political stalemate in Israel, four elections and still no permanent government, pushed aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At every time of trouble, people don't think about the political issue and the things that divide us. We are all united and help each other to overcome.

GOLD: There have been no opinion polls yet on how prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled the situation. Although many may feel united now, the conflict has completely changed the political calculations here.

GOLD (voice-over): Naftali Bennett, head of the small right-wing party Yamina, was poised to leave his former boss and join the anti Netanyahu bloc. But as the conflict escalated and Israel began an intense military campaign, Bennett veered back, announcing he would negotiate with Netanyahu over a potential right-wing government, dashing the hopes of bringing an end to the prime minister's 12-year reign.

On the streets of Ramat Gan, despite the feelings of unity, as rockets rained down, political divisions and instability have not been forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

GOLD (voice-over): This pensioner, whose electric shop was destroyed by the rocket, says Netanyahu caused the situation, blaming him for the last two years of political chaos.

Fear and frustration with no end in sight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both sides are suffering. That's what the people forget. I just want it to stop, because I feel like no one is doing anything to make it stop.

GOLD (voice-over): Hadas Gold, CNN, Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Palestinian anger poured into the streets in the West Bank. Thousands demonstrated in a number of towns, including Ramallah and Hebron.

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CHURCH: This came after groups, including Hamas, called for mass strikes.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So today is a nationwide strike. It's a nationwide strike (INAUDIBLE) for our dignity. We have endured 73 years of occupation and humiliation and we have had enough. So we are now all taking to the streets until we put an end to the indignation and indignity we have to live through every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) and because I want my children (INAUDIBLE) this is our land and we will return to our land. And (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) killing the children (ph) in the people's (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: A security source says Israel imposed a partial closure on the West Bank, allowing only men older than 45 and construction workers with permits to enter Israel.

To help those affected by the conflict in Israel and Gaza, you can visit our website, cnn.com/impact.

India reports its deadliest day of the pandemic, as dozens of lives are lost to a cyclone ripping its way through the country.

Plus, as other countries search for COVID vaccines, Hong Kong is trying to convince its residents to get the shot.

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CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

The World Health Organization is reporting a decline in new COVID cases globally for the 3rd week in a row; 4.8 million infections were recorded last ,week a 12 percent drop in new cases.

But India is still trying to get a grip over the crisis. The country reported over 4,500 COVID deaths for the first time ever and as it struggles with COVID relief efforts, a deadly cyclone has killed at least 40 people.

In the meantime, Taiwan is fighting its most severe outbreak of the pandemic. Less than 1 percent of its population is vaccinated. CNN has correspondents across the region keeping tabs on the latest developments. Anna Coren is in Hong Kong and Will Ripley is in Taipei.

Anna, we're talking about India and a massive cyclone has added to the misery of this deadly COVID crisis, now news of a grim world record.

What is the latest on this and the efforts to get people vaccinated as well?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Let me update you on that rescue mission happening off the coast of Mumbai. The navy have managed to rescue 186 people from the sunken barge.

[02:15:00]

COREN: It sent out a distress call on Monday night as the cyclone was barreling its way up the west coast; 75 people are still missing. We have to remember that they have been missing now since Monday night. Chances are finding them are growing slimmer, really, by the hour.

Conditions, we understand, have improved. Helicopters are searching the area, three naval vessels are also there but chances of finding any more survivors is certainly growing slim.

The prime minister, Modi, Rosemary, he is on his way, as we speak, to the state of Gujarat, which is where the cyclone made its appearance on Monday night. He is going there to see the devastation and the widespread damage.

We have to remember that this was the biggest cyclone to have hit that coast for more than two decades. He is also going to be meeting with the chief minister. We heard from the prime minister yesterday. It was the second time in a week, that he has appeared publicly after being MIA for more than three weeks.

He talked about the desperate need for India to ramp up production of vaccines. As we know, it has been in short supply. Take a listen to what he had to say.

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NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (voice-over): Continued efforts are being made to increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines on a large scale. The health ministry is continuously streamlining the system and the process of vaccination. An attempt is being made to give a schedule of the next 15 days to the states in advance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: He said that the fight is to save every single life. As I've mentioned, India has been suffering an acute shortage of vaccines, only 3.2 percent of the population has been fully inoculated.

We heard from the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world. He clarified that they weren't exporting vaccines at the expense of their people. Their focus now, very much, on the domestic demand.

And in actual fact, Rosemary, the Serum Institute says that it is not providing to COVAX, who is distributing vaccines to the developing world and poor countries, now until the end of the year. That is obviously going to have an effect -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: That is devastating. Anna Coren, bringing us the latest on what is happening across India from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. We appreciate it.

I want to bring in Will Ripley now, he joins us live from Taipei.

Will, like India, Taiwan has very low vaccination rates.

What is the plan there to get more COVID vaccines for the population?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Less than 1 percent of the population of this self governing island of 23 million is vaccinated, it's one of the lowest rates in the entire world.

Taiwan is trying to get more vaccines in, rapidly running out of the 300,000 AstraZeneca doses that have arrived so far out of their order of 20 million, largely because of global shipping delays that has slowed the arrival of vaccines they have already ordered.

But Taiwan is also affected by Chinese interference. I want to read you a tweet from the presidential spokesperson that says that Taiwan's access to vaccines continues to be slowed down by Chinese interference. While they insist that we buy Chinese made ones. If you really want to help, please don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall.

Taiwan's president promising that there could be more relief coming in late July when locally developed vaccines could hit the market. Here is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We will let Taiwan people have access to domestic produced vaccines in the quickest way and ensure they are in the safest conditions in order to protect them. This will also allow Taiwan to return back to normal soon as possible.

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RIPLEY: That is what it is so striking about this story here in Taiwan; just days ago, life did feel normal. People were out gathering in large groups and now you have the most severe restrictions in place for the entire pandemic.

Just minutes ago, we confirmed that the level 3 restrictions, just short of a lockdown, have been extended beyond the capital here in Taipei to the entire country. All of Taiwan. Its 23 million citizens under these level 3 restrictions, putting limits on gathering in groups, shutting down nonessential businesses and Taiwan hoping that these efforts will slow the number of cases although we also confirmed 275 new cases reported yesterday.

That is not a pandemic record but still a very high number for this island, that was enjoying no local transmission for months on end.

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RIPLEY: Just like these rainstorms are bringing relief after a badly needed (sic) drought, Rosemary, Taiwan is hoping that a shipment of vaccines will arrive quickly to bring relief as they deal with this COVID crisis.

CHURCH: Let's hope that happens, Will Ripley, joining us live from Taipei, many thanks, as always.

While many countries are struggling to find COVID vaccines, Hong Kong has an abundant supply but many people there are refusing to get the shot. CNN Kristie Lu Stout explains why.

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KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Brian Tam (ph) wants nothing to do with the vaccine. The worst public health disaster in the last 100 years might still be raging, his business hit hard by pandemic restrictions. But the restaurant owner just won't take the COVID-19 jab.

BRIAN TAM, RESTAURATEUR (through translator): I've never even thought about taking it because I don't trust the government and its data.

STOUT (voice-over): Hong Kong should be an easy vaccine success story. It secured 22.5 million doses from Sinovac, Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca, more than enough for a population of 7.5 million.

STOUT: An orderly rollout has been underway since late February and it's free. But most people here are choosing not to get inoculated. As of mid may, only 12 percent have been fully vaccinated and experts say at least 70 percent need to be inoculated to reach herd immunity.

STOUT (voice-over): Public health experts say one factor behind vaccine hesitancy is the low perceived risk of COVID-19, given the region's early containment success. Another is fear. Reports of a handful of deaths after vaccination have spooked many, though experts have found no link between the deaths and the vaccines.

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: I do confess, we could do much better in terms of vaccination. We have enough supply. I said that we have administered 2 million doses but we have another 2 million doses in our storeroom.

STOUT (voice-over): Unused COVID-19 vaccines are also piling up in Japan, due to red tape, poor planning and vaccine hesitancy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This vaccine hesitance is happening everywhere, it relating to how much that we trust the informations we receive.

STOUT (voice-over): But in Hong Kong, there is another dynamic at play: deep mistrust of the government during a time of tightening Chinese control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Basically, all my friends are pro democracy. They don't trust the government and will not take the vaccines.

STOUT (voice-over): As infections skyrocket in India, vaccines are in high demand. Some countries in Africa fear they could become the next India as vaccine supplies dwindle there. As unused doses accumulate in Hong Kong, the government is rolling out incentives, like a chance to visit bars and clubs until 2 am for those who have taken the jab.

But Li is unwavering.

STOUT: Do you know what people in India would give to have access to a free COVID vaccine?

JOHNSON LI, CHEF (through translator): India, if you don't take the vaccine, you will die. But in Hong Kong, if you don't take it, you might not die. We are not at that point where we have to gamble.

STOUT (voice-over): Again and again health experts say, until every city is safe from COVID-19, no city is safe but that is not enough to sway these vaccine holdouts -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And still to come, anger over the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza is sending Palestinian protesters onto the streets of the West Bank, leading to deadly clashes.

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[02:25:00]

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CHURCH: A new front has opened in Israel's conflict with the Palestinians as thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of West Bank cities, demanding end to airstrikes on Gaza, at least 4 people killed in clashes with police.

But Israel is not scaling back its aerial assault. The air force says more than 50 fighter jets hit dozens of targets overnight in an attack lasting just 25 minutes. The Gaza health ministry, run by Hamas, reports more than 200 people have been killed since the fighting started.

In Israel, the death toll stands at 12 after two migrant workers across the border from Gaza died when they were hit by a projectile. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is scared. There are a lot of people (INAUDIBLE) in the (INAUDIBLE). We want a safe place. Do we want this war to stopped. If it don't stay (INAUDIBLE) in Ashkelon, we go away to another city. It's the same. Every place now is not safe. You go to Tel Aviv, you go to Ashdod. What, I leave my home and run away?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Jordan, Egypt and France are working together on a diplomatic solution to the conflict. But a cease-fire has remained elusive. The Egyptian foreign minister spoke with CNN's Becky Anderson about how to push the peace process forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We are working diligently to achieve a cease-fire. I think the consequences of the escalation of the violence, the loss of life and destruction certainly necessitates that all efforts are undertaken to achieve a cease-fire, to avoid the escalation and to avoid the (INAUDIBLE) of the conflict.

Our efforts have been consistent in that regard. I have been reaching out to all parties concerned, I've spoken to Minister Ashkenazi (ph). I've spoken to Secretary Blinken, a variety of foreign ministers from the European Union.

There is a great deal of interest, again, foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference, and we continue to coordinate with all our partners to achieve a cease-fire, to prevent the ongoing escalation and (INAUDIBLE) potential of loss of life.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Who or what is getting in the way of a cease-fire agreement?

SHOUKRY: We are working hard with all of parties concerned and we hope that, sooner rather than later, we will be in a position to declare a cease-fire, to relieve the current tensions.

We have been in close consultations with the Israelis, with the Palestinians Authority, with Hamas and have reassurances that the Palestinians are eager to resolve this escalation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says now is not the time for the Security Council to make a public pronouncement on the Middle East conflict. But the Palestinian envoy is slamming the council for not issuing a strong statement against Israel.

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RYAN MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Shame on the Security Council that met several times and was unable even to say a single word in an official document against this aggression and to stop this aggression, although there is consensus among them calling for stopping this aggression and for a cease-fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: We are tracking new developments for the Tokyo Olympics.

[02:30:00]

CHURCH: Japan is under intense pressure to cancel or postpone the games this summer due to the pandemic. Now the International Olympic Committee is addressing those concerns.

Last hour, the IOC president announced the games will be held in a safe way and he believes Tokyo 2020 officials are managing the situation and the risks. Let's bring in Blake Essig in Tokyo.

What's the latest on this, Blake?

Nothing has changed as far as sentiment there for many Japanese citizens. They don't want to see the Olympics go forward.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they don't, Rosemary. That's been the case for months and months. Just moments ago, the IOC president spoke at the opening remarks of a 3-day long meeting and, once again, said the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held safely.

To that end, Bach announced that the IOC has offered additional medical personnel and said at least 75 percent of the people inside of the Olympic Village will have been vaccinated.

The Tokyo 2020 president Sako Hashimoto (ph) also spoke, saying the point of this meeting is to focus on the protection of athletes and the public. She said the 2 main focuses would be frequent testing of the athletes and keeping them separate from the Japanese public.

So far, about 1 percent of Japan's population has been fully vaccinated. Roughly 70,000 volunteers are expected to work at these games and will only be given two masks, hand sanitizer and a request to socially distance.

Some will be going in and out of the Olympic Village on a daily basis and getting back on public transportation, interacting with the general public, which is a big problem for most people in Japan and a reason why these games are so deeply unpopular.

Generally speaking, the games had been popular for a long time. With each passing day, the chorus of voices speaking out against the Olympics is getting louder. In the past several days, 2 groups of Japanese doctors representing thousands of physicians have called for the games to be canceled.

There have been anti-Olympic protests; a petition with 350,000 signatures all collected in about a week was submitted to Tokyo's government, calling on the games to be canceled.

A recent poll said over 80 percent of people wanted the games canceled or postponed. And host towns all over the country, which are supposed to host Olympic teams in the buildup to the games while they hold training camps, they are starting to abandon those plans because of concerns surrounding COVID-19. So the list continues to grow. We are expecting that list to continue

to grow as we get closer to the Olympics, just a little bit more than 10 weeks away.

CHURCH: Blake Essig, joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.

Do stay with CNN. We will have more on this ahead in "WORLD SPORT."

Kenya is just weeks away from running out of COVID-19 vaccines. The East African nation has not received as many doses as it expected by now. Health experts warn, a lack of vaccines in Kenya and in other developing countries endanger a global effort to end the pandemic. CNN's Larry Madowo has more from Nairobi.

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LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have been to a hospital in Nairobi that's setting up its own oxygen production plant at a great cost, because they are afraid, when the fourth wave hits the country, as has been predicted, the country will be left exposed, similar to what happened in India.

The challenge for Kenya and many other African countries there, they are on the verge of running out of vaccines. They've been receiving it at low costs or discounted from COVAX, the World Health Organization initiative that's providing vaccines to countries that need and cannot necessarily afford it.

Except COVAX relies on vaccines mostly from the Serum Institute of India, which has not been exporting vaccines since as far back as March because of India's own COVID crisis. And now the Serum Institute of India saying it might not be able to export vaccines at least until the end of the year.

That would be catastrophic for countries like Kenya, that rely on it to inoculate its populations. COVAX said it hopes that maybe the Serum Institute of India can be exporting by the third quarter, given that the timeline is far different from what the service can realistically do, according to its own statement.

But what it means is that people in need in this part of the world have not been vaccinated, while children in wealthy countries are being offered vaccines, something the director of the Oxford vaccine group and (INAUDIBLE) called morally wrong to do when there are so many people in need in this part of the world and it means, as long as they are not vaccinated, the virus might mutate and make it to the rest of the world -- Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Still to come, risking their lives to reach E.U. soil, 6,000 migrants made a dangerous swim from Morocco to a Spanish enclave in what's being called an unprecedented crisis.

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CHURCH: Thousands of people in China fled after a skyscraper mysteriously began shaking. It began to sway Tuesday afternoon even though meteorologists say that the weather was fine and there was no earthquake reported in the region.

Some 15,000 people were inside that building at the time. They flooded the streets, running to safety, some screaming as they ran. No one was hurt and authorities are investigating what caused that building to shake.

Very unsettling.

Ethiopian soldiers have reportedly been raiding a hospital in the country's wartorn Tigray region. Doctors at the Axum University Hospital say that this was retribution for a CNN investigation that revealed Ethiopian and Eritrean troops were blocking humanitarian aid to patients. CNN's Nima Elbagir has the story.

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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was what so many of those who spoke to us in Ethiopia's Tigray region expected to happen but hoped wouldn't. CNN has learned that, in the aftermath of our reporting at Axum Referral Hospital, Ethiopian soldiers have raided the hospitals and threatened staff and patients inside the hospital.

This was confirmed to us by medical staff but also by doctors from the medical charity Doctors without Borders, Medecins sans Frontieres, who were able to rebuff much of the demands of the soldiers and confirmed to CNN the incidents that occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, when the armed men entered the hospital.

Doctors say that they will continue to remain at the hospital and they don't regret speaking out, they don't regret telling the world what is happening inside Ethiopia's Tigray region.

This comes after the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, over the weekend, in the aftermath of CNN's reporting on Eritrean troops remaining in Tigray and obstructing aid, in spite of calls, internationally, for their withdrawal, Blinken called for an immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops and he called for those responsible for violations in the Tigray region to be held accountable. In spite of that call, the soldiers, we're told, continue to threaten doctors at Axum hospital.

The Ethiopian government, the Ethiopian prime minister's office has not responded to our requests for comment -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: The E.U. says that it stands in solidarity with Spain after more than 6,000 migrants swam from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, part of a growing trend of illegal migration. The Spanish foreign minister told CNN's Hala Gorani that Spain and Morocco must address the shared challenge together.

[02:40:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARANCHA GONZALEZ LAYA, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Our border has 2 sides, when both sides work together they can do a lot to manage migratory flows. By the way, that is a shared challenge that Spain and Morocco have and we've been able to manage this challenge together co- responsible manner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: One died making that journey and thousands have been sent back to Morocco. CNN's Al Goodman has more from Madrid.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Exhausted and cold, thousands of Moroccan migrants swam their way to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Northern Africa, some wading to shore, others breaching a border fence, many of them minors and in need of medical attention.

Some entered southern Ceuta at Tarajal Beach, but most came through northern Ceuta at Benzu Beach. It was just a short swim around breakwaters, which marked the border up one side and then down the other to reach Ceuta.

A Spanish government spokesman said, risking their lives, many came under the cover of darkness, some aided by flotation devices. But the light at the end turned out to be Spanish authorities, not the warmest welcome.

Police in force as the migrants arrived, many out of breath. One Moroccan man drowned, the government said. Some were jubilant as they ran into Ceuta town, but it would be a short visit for many of them, the Spanish interior minister saying thousands had already been sent back.

FERNANDO GRANDE-MARLASKA, SPANISH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translation): We will be strong in defending our borders.

GOODMAN (voice-over): Spain's prime minister announced a visit to Ceuta and Spain's other enclave, Melilla, on Morocco's north coast and thanked the European Union for its support.

PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translation): We will restore order with the greatest speed. We will be firm to guarantee the security of our citizens against any challenge at under any circumstance. GOODMAN (voice-over): Troops were deployed to back up police and keep the situation contained while increasing border security officials said. The president in Ceuta, home to 84,000 Spaniards, called the situation unprecedented, demanding help.

GOODMAN: The crisis in Ceuta is a sign of deep tension between Spain and Morocco. Political analysts say it's also increasing pressure on Spain socialist government for its immigration policy from conservatives and from Spain's emboldened far right party -- Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.

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CHURCH: One of the most famous rock formations in the Galapagos Islands has collapsed, Darwin's Arch, as it's known, was in the northern part of the islands. The rock bridge was named after British scientist Charles Darwin as was the nearby Darwin Island.

And this is how it looks now, the top of the arch crumbled into the sea as a result of erosion. That is according to Ecuador's ministry of environment. Now just two pillars stand in the UNESCO World Heritage site.

And finally an update on a story we brought you about UFOs tracked by the U.S. government. Previously we showed you this footage from the U.S. Defense Department of strange objects flying in the sky. Another credible witness is confirming the tapes are real, former U.S. President Barack Obama.

But even he is not sure what the flying objects are.

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BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is true, and I'm actually being serious here, is that there are -- there's footage and records of objects in the skies that we don't know exactly what they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: We will, of course, continue to follow this mystery.

Thank you so much for joining us at this hour, I'm Rosemary Church, "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next. I will be back at the top of the hour.