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CNN NEWSROOM

IOC Chief: Olympics and Paralympics Will Be Held Safely; Migrants, Smugglers Using Military-Style Tactics to Avoid Capture on Arizona-Mexico Border; Blinken and Lavrov to Meet at Arctic Council Gathering; France Eases COVID Restrictions as Cases Decline. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 19, 2021 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:00]

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, these games have been deeply unpopular for a long time and with the chorus of criticism that has been flowing for, you know, days and weeks now. You know, those deep, you know, frustrations surrounding the fact that these games are still moving forward is only going to continue to build.

Now during the opening remarks to kick off this three-day meeting IOC President Thomas Bach once again did say that the Olympic and Paralympic games will be held in a safe way. And to that end, Bach announced that the IOC has offered additional medical personnel and that he believes that at least 75 percent of people who plan to be inside the Olympic village will be vaccinated.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto also spoke saying that the point of the meeting is to focus on the protection of athletes and the public, though it's worth noting that throughout this -- these opening remarks very little was actually talked about regarding protecting Japan's population.

So far only about one percent of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated and roughly 70,000 volunteers are expected to work at the games. And they will be only given two masks, hand sanitizer and a request to socially distance as protection. So, you know, some of these volunteers will be going in and out of the Olympic Village on a daily basis, potentially getting on public transportation afterwards.

And generally speaking, these Olympic games which have been deeply unpopular for a long time, you know, the reason is because of the fact of tens of thousands of athletes from all over the world will be coming to the Olympics and it's the feeling that sport, money and politics are being put in front of the health, safety and wellbeing of the Japanese people -- Rosemary.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we'll continue to watch this story. Blake Essig bringing us the latest from Tokyo. Many thanks.

Well still ahead here on CNN, exclusive migrants and smugglers going to extraordinary lengths to slip into the U.S. along one dangerous stretch of the border with Mexico. Stay with us for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:35:00]

CHURCH: Some stunning new images from Ceuta where we now know a total of 8,000 migrants made a dangerous swim to reach the North African Spanish enclave. One person drowned during that journey at sea. Around 4,000 migrants have since been sent back to Morocco. The EU says it stands in solidarity with Spain over this crisis which has again highlighted the issue of illegal migration.

Well it's remote, mountainous and dangerous, but that hasn't stopped a new influx of migrants trying to enter the U.S. through one treacherous area along the Arizona-Mexico border. Officials say smugglers are using new tactics to evade border patrol. CNN's Jim Sciutto has this exclusive report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Due south of Tucson, Arizona, one of the most treacherous stretches of the U.S. Mexico border, 262 miles of hot, dry, often mountainous terrain. And yet, more and more migrants are still coming north. And counters in this sector are up more than 150 percent from last year.

Detections by the Border Patrols drones monitoring the area from up high have tripled. And migrants and smugglers are using new military style tactics to avoid capture.

We joined agents from the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson sector on operations tracking and apprehending migrants from Mexico, Central and South America. It is a challenging, highly technical and sometimes a dangerous effort, encompassing helicopter patrols, unmanned aerial surveillance and Border Patrol agents on foot, ATVs, and horseback.

SCIUTTO: Migrants coming here, they do want to be caught, they're not giving themselves up to get into legal system in the U.S. They're trying to cross on their own, avoid Border Patrol along the way. So most times in their spotted, they don't give themselves up, they run. That makes the job of Border Patrol agents that much tougher.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): These are not families and unaccompanied children. Border Patrol says 85 percent who crossed here are single adults, some with criminal records. The crossings now resemble military operations, migrants wear camouflage, boots made from carpet to obscure their footsteps and crucially, come across in multiple small groups, dropped along the border and told to enter at different times to outwit and overwhelm the Border Patrol.

SABRI DIKMAN, ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF PATROL AGENT, TUCSON SECTOR: What they're doing is what we call storming. So instead of in years gone by, where we've a group of 20, a group of 30 crossing the border. Currently we see two groups -- or 10 groups of two. And so what happens is they split up, they cross the border, and it takes two agents or one agent to address each one of those individual groups, so we become task saturated. SCIUTTO (voice-over): Why the surge now? Many migrants believe falsely that U.S. law changed with the new administration.

JESUS VASAVILBASO, BORDER PATROL AGENT, TUCSON BORDER: The laws for immigration have not changed, so our job has not changed. So, we're still enforcing the same laws that we've been enforcing for many years.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Construction of new border wall, including the 137 mile built in this sector, has been halted, leaving wide gaps like this one.

SCIUTTO: This is part of the new border wall, it's 30 feet wide made out of steel and this is the kind of barrier it replaced in a lot of sections of the border here. Something just about waist high, meant to stop cars not people. Easy to get right under it.

So, what's happened in sections like this that are in completely is they become new transit points. And you can tell that because the barbed wire here, bent up from the bottom so you can crawl under it. Lots of footprints, showing lots of foot traffic.

But we are also told that smugglers have even built a road here for better access to this entry point, making it even easier to cross.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): So the bulk of the work remains with agents, making capture operations like this one, the Border Patrol's primary mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three confirmed on the images --

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Underway 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no break for weather or nightfall.

On aerial patrol once again, we get word that agents may have spotted another group of migrants, closer to the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm at your 10 o'clock. This is what I think it is, they're headed west.

[04:40:00]

SCIUTTO (voice-over): On searches like this, they have some particularly helpful partners, a Belgian shepherd, one member of the canine unit. And agents mounted on horseback, fast and durable in the mountains. After nearly an hour in the air, ascending and descending the ridge line that is low as 20 feet altitude, and hours of painstaking searching by agents on the ground, they find their target, seven men in telltale camouflage. Single adults, directed like soldiers doing all they can to avoid capture and come north.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, in the air over the Mexico-Arizona border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov will meet for the first time today. We will tell you what is expected to be on the agenda. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: At a time of frosty relations the stage is set in Iceland for a meeting of the U.S. Secretary of State and Russia's foreign minister. It's happening on the sidelines of an Arctic Council gathering where the eight member states will work together on issues like sustainable development and environmental protection.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Moscow. Good to see you, Fred. So when Blinken and Lavrov meet on the sidelines what all will they likely discuss and what might be said on the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's certainly going to be one of the topics. But in general I would say, Rosemary, that there probably are very few people in the world who need a meeting more than Sergey Lavrov and Antony Blinken. Because there currently are so many issues between the United States and Russia and the relations really are more than frosty at the moment.

Just to give you an example for instance, neither the U.S. ambassador here in Moscow nor the Russian ambassador at Washington are at their post. Most have been recalled back to their countries for consultations and haven't returned in a very long time.

[04:45:00]

So that ransomware attack certainly will be something that most probably will be on the agenda, but other moves as well. Like for instance, the U.S. is quite concerned about some of the military moves that the Russians have been making especially on the southern Ukrainian border where some of the troops have been pulled back. But still the Russians do have quite a presence there and in the Black Sea as well.

The Russians of course for their part quite angry about some of the sanctions that have been put in place by the Biden administration in response to that Solar Winds attack, in response also to the ransomware -- or not to the ransomware attack yet. But certainly right now the relations are more than frosty.

But the other thing that really many people are looking for, many people are waiting to see what's going to happen is whether or not the two men might flesh out something or whether or not we will get some sort of information about a possible -- or that possible summit between President Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin. That could be certainly something that those two men will talk about as well to see if they can find common ground.

Of course, President Biden has said that he wants that meeting. The Russians so far have been more coy, they've been saying it's something that could be discussed that's being discussed in the Kremlin. So wait to see if we get any info there.

And finally, of course the main reason why both men are there is the situation in the Arctic which is also a place where tensions between the U.S. and NATO and Russia certainly have been heating up as the planet has been heating up. There's a lot more militarization going on up there. But also the place becoming more important for trade and natural resources as well -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well let's hope some of this gets resolved. Fred Pleitgen bringing us the latest from Moscow. Many thanks.

Well, thousands of gas stations in the U.S. remain dry right now, nearly two weeks after that Colonial Pipeline suffered a cyberattack. The supply chain has struggled to catch up after the fuel supply got back online this week. On Tuesday, the company restored a key system for ordering and deliveries saying the hours' long outage was not related to the ransomware attack by Russian hackers.

And still to come, some restaurants and bars are reopening in France today as the country eases COVID restrictions. We will have a live report from Paris. That's next.

[04:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Thousands of people in China fled after a skyscraper mysteriously began shaking. It started to sway Tuesday afternoon even though meteorologists say the weather was fine and there were no earthquakes reported in the region. Some 15,000 people were inside at the time. They flooded the streets running to safety. No one was hurt and authorities are investigating what caused that building to shake.

Well nonessential businesses across France are welcoming back customers today as the country eases its COVID restrictions. People there are out enjoying outdoor bars and restaurants as they reopen at half-capacity. Earlier French President Macron posted a video on Twitter of himself and the French Prime Minister enjoying cups of coffee on a terrace.

And that is exactly what CNN's Melissa Bell is doing right now, sitting at a cafe. We were sitting a at cafe earlier in Paris. This is truly encouraging news, isn't it? And for the people of France and indeed people who love traveling to France, this is a move in the right direction.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: These people, these tourists might once again be able to return. Because one thing is for sure, Paris is as quiet as you're likely to see it anytime again without the tourists. The most visited city in the world. The good news is, they can look forward now finally to some of that French life that for so long we've been deprived of.

Cafes like this, the possibility of having a cappuccino on a terrace, having lunch in a restaurant terrace, going to a cinema, going to a theatre, going to a museum, impossible since the month of October. It's as though live had stopped. So the sense of enthusiasm for the French once again despite the terrible weather to be able to come out and enjoy it is huge. And really the weather has done nothing to dampen that enthusiasm.

I'm going to ask my neighbor what she thinks about coming out.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BELL: Coming out of prison she tells me.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BELL: Once again, we live again. They had work. They have been home. It had been work. Once again we are outdoors, able to enjoy our coffee. She woke up especially early to come and enjoy her coffee at the terrace this morning. That is the sense of enthusiasm here in France at the moment.

Now the good news for people beyond France outside of the European Union is once again they should be able to come and enjoy terraces like this and the museums and the sights like the ones here in Mumak (ph), one of the most visited parts of Paris from the 9th of June. The idea is that from that date certificates that show that people have been vaccinated will allow them once again to be able to come back to Paris and enjoy its sights, its sounds, its flavors and of course, for the French economy, for the European economy that is going to be crucial.

The restrictions that have been in place essentially since last autumn throughout so many European countries have been such that the economies have been in great trouble. We've seen the European Union go back into a technical recession after two quarters of contraction. We now know that they are really counting on the kinds of lifting of restrictions we are seeing in Paris today to finally get the economies back up and running to get back to a sense of life as usual -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: And do you know what, even a rainy day in Paris is glorious. Certainly seeing you at a cafe, just fantastic. Melissa Bell, a joy to talk with you. Thank you so much.

One of the most famous rock formations in the Galapagos Islands has collapsed. Darwin's Arch, as it's known, was named after British scientist Charles Darwin. On the right you can see how it looks like 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 at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

[04:55:48]

Well it's not what you would expect to see when driving down the highway. A Wisconsin police officer says a Tesla driver appeared to be asleep behind the wheel while his car was on autopilot. The officer followed the car with lights and sirens blaring for about two miles before the driver pulled over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was totally sleeping. Totally. Perfect. You were sleeping. You were totally like this in the car. Why would we drive like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you were sleeping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a little bit tired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you were sleeping, sir. I was upside of you. I was looking at you and you were doing this -- your eyes were closed. So I know I understand you have autopilot, but if something was to happen you are not able to make that conscious decision to stop in a hurry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: He wasn't convinced he was sleeping. The deputy issued the driver a citation for inattentive driving and ordered the car to be towed from the scene.

Well a Lamborghini is going green and we don't mean the paint color. The Italian luxury car maker says all of its new cars will be plug in hybrids by the end of 2024. That means they will still have the feel and sound of an internal combustion engine but can also operate under purely electric power at times. So fear not, Lambo fans, they will still go fast and sound fast. Very reassuring.

Thanks for your company, I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a wonderful day.