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Gaza Border Opened for Aid Trucks; Israel-Hamas Fragile Cease- Fire Enters Second Day; Argentina Enters Lockdown; Taiwan COVID-19 Cases Spike; Hunger Plaguing Philippines; U.K. Prime Minister "Concerned" after Diana's BBC Interview Inquiry. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired May 22, 2021 - 02:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Millions of dollars of humanitarian aid, finally arriving in Gaza, for people affected by the fighting there.

Also, with the cease-fire in the Middle East, President Biden turning his focus to East Asia. His latest meeting with South Korean president.

And, Taiwan, desperately searching for more vaccines as the crisis reaches its worst point since the pandemic began.

Hello, welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I am Michael Holmes.


HOLMES: Welcome, everyone.

Israelis and Palestinians are beginning their second day of relative calm, following 11 days of ferocious conflict. Israel says 12 people there died, including 2 children, as a result of rockets fired in Israel by Palestinian militants.

The loss of life and property much greater than Gaza after more than a week of punishing airstrikes and shelling by the Israeli military. The Hamas run military says 248 people were killed there, including 66 children.

But a key border crossing with Gaza was opened on Friday to allow in the humanitarian aid and among the shipments, a mobile hospital. The U.N. announcing it is sending $22 million of aid to Gaza, including food, medical supplies and COVID vaccines.

Tensions, still high beneath the uneasy peace. Palestinians gathering at the Al-Aqsa mosque on Friday for prayers, suddenly confronted, once again, by Israeli police. CNN's Nic Robertson with details.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Islam's third holiest site, a flashpoint again between Palestinians and Israeli police, the violence testing a fragile ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government.

Conflicting accounts: police say protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails first; Palestinians say police attacked them with rubber coated bullets and stun grenades as they celebrated the gains of Hamas' 11-day conflict with Israel.

On Israel's beaches, hit by Hamas rockets just days ago, calm but no fanfare for their leaders and disappointment over the ceasefire agreement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They think they have to go inside with the tanks with everything to finish one time and finish with the Hamas. Take it out from our Gaza.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So, what do you think about the ceasefire?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I think it's never going to end. It's never going to end. We have once in a while to tell them we're here. They can't do whatever they want. They can't just, you know, all the bombing and everything, we don't leave. We don't leave.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): For now, the ceasefire holding and prime minister Netanyahu defending his decision, with his own political future in question.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Just as I promised, we harmed most of Hamas' capabilities far beyond what their commanders imagined, a huge crush that changed the rules of the game.

ROBERTSON: Israeli troops guns covered, artillery shells packed, already lining up to leave the fields around Gaza. And inside Gaza were ceasefire celebrations that went late into the night, frustrations, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This truth is for everyone but us. This truth is for people who are comfortable, who are sitting in their homes, who do not have murders, who do not have destruction.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): More than 240 Palestinians dead, according to Hamas health officials; tens of thousands without homes, according to the U.N. Still, a victory, according to Hamas leaders.

ISMAIL HANIYEH, HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER (through translator): Today, we conceded this battle as the quantum leap in the history of the conflict with the enemy.

ROBERTSON: Likely these troops will be out of here quite soon. Likely this year, next year and in a few years' time, they will be back. The cease-fire, little more than that. And confidence here seems low that politicians on either side of the divide have what it takes to tackle the region's real issue: land rights -- [02:05:00]

ROBERTSON: Nic Robertson, CNN, close to the Gaza border, Israel.


HOLMES: U.S. President Joe Biden says that this most recent round of violence has not dampened his commitment to Israel. Mr. Biden had phoned the Israeli prime minister, at least a half dozen times, during the conflict. Finally, signaling, he was losing patience.

On Friday, appearing with his South Korean counterpart, the president was asked if his attitude toward Israel has shifted. Here is what he said.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no shift in my commitment, my commitment to the security of Israel, period, no shift, not at all.

But I tell you what there is a shift in. The shift is that we have to -- we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer, the only answer.

Let's get something straight here. Until the region says unequivocally, they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.


HOLMES: President Biden and prime minister Netanyahu have a relationship going back several decades.

Shibley Telhami is a senior fellow with the Center for Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution and also an Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.

Let's remember, I, guess the reasons for this latest flareup are unresolved. Most recently, the potential evictions of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem and what happened with the mosque before the first Hamas rockets.

What of the risks of the U.S. saying, OK, there is a cease-fire and then pushing what continues to fester to the back burner, yet again?

SHIBLEY TELHAMI, ANWAR SADAT PROFESSOR FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: This is a huge issue. Obviously, the guns have fallen silent. But the silent violence of occupation continues. And that is the root problem.

In everything that is happening. In the West Bank and in Gaza. So the immediate crisis, that you pointed, out was not Hamas or rockets from Gaza. It was in Jerusalem.

It was the plan to expel Palestinians from their home, in a Jerusalem neighborhood and a protest of that and then a police assault inside of Al-Aqsa mosque, galvanizing more people, from all over the Middle East, not just Palestine.

So yes, now the focus immediately returns to Jerusalem, because the issue was unresolved. We've seen today, already, there were protests outside of Al-Aqsa mosque after the Friday prayer and police coming, in large numbers there.

Fortunately, there wasn't huge confrontations, but you know this will be a developing story. I think that unless something is done on that, you will have flare-ups later.

HOLMES: Let's face it. Israel, under Bibi Netanyahu, seems uninterested in a meaningful process. It seems like he likes the status quo, and it suits, him politically. Hamas runs Gaza, with all that entails, in terms of calling for Israel's destruction. The Palestinian Authority is weak and ineffective and not even widely supported by Palestinians themselves.

What will it take to kickstart meaningful progress on core issues or does that desire just not exist?

TELHAMI: It is a question of what you have, as you political aid (ph). If you are aiming for an end of conflict and a two-state solution as Biden said, I don't think that is likely to happen. Most analysts don't think that is possible. I've done a poll on this, which shows that a majority of Middle East experts don't think that is possible. And for any foreseeable future.

Certainly, Biden doesn't have the bandwidth, with all of the things that are on his plate, to deal with it at that level. But there are important things he can do. Number one, the humanitarian. He's already spoken about that, about reconstructing Gaza.

And that is a good thing, obviously, because they don't need tremendous amounts of humanitarian help. But think of the absurdity of this. Here we are, as taxpayers, paying for the weapons that created the destruction and then we are paying for the rebuilding what was destroyed by those weapons. It's an absurd reality.

Nonetheless, it is one we face. But it is what a lot of people have come to conclude. The focus should be on the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, the equal rights, the civil rights in the immediate future.

Interestingly, Biden, for the first time in his language, called for equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians. You might think what you hear is equal rights; of course, we stand for equal rights. But on Israel-Palestine, that has not been policy. This is something new.

HOLMES: I've noted that. Quickly, the original goal of the Israeli economic blockade on Gaza was to cripple Hamas after it took over the Strip in 2007.

[02:10:00] HOLMES: That blockade, Israel controlling everything that comes in and goes out, has hurt Gaza civilians immeasurably. It hasn't weakened Hamas.

Is that fair to say?

TELHAMI: I think it is fair to say. Clearly, we know from the polls, the cancel policy on the election in May, Hamas would have done well. In fact, some people thought they might get a majority. I wasn't one of them.

But clearly, the polls showed that they would do well. And, yet we know what is happening to the people in Gaza, highly impoverished, the unemployment rate is through the roof, the infrastructure is devastated. Some people call it an open prison camp.

And Hamas is able, not only to maintain power but also to build a rocket arsenal. They showed it can still reach even deeper inside of Israel than before.

Will this just be a pause or will it kickstart something, anything?

Professor Shibley Telhami, thank you so much, appreciate your time.

TELHAMI: My pleasure.

HOLMES: Now President Biden, also focusing his foreign policy on East Asia. In his meeting with the South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Friday, the 2 leaders discussed the denuclearization of North Korea and the COVID pandemic.

Mr. Biden announced the U.S. will provide vaccinations for 500,000 South Korean service members who work in close conduct with American forces. Let's bring in Paula Hancocks, who is live for, us in Seoul, South Korea.

It is interesting, perhaps a telling moment to hear President Moon say that the world is welcoming America's return.

What did we learn in terms of the relationship and the issues covered, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, President Moon Jae-in was just the second foreign leader that President Biden welcomed to the White House after the Japanese prime minister.

Clearly, what we can see here is President Biden pushing forward with the alliances that the U.S. traditionally, had, alliances that have been put by the wayside, if you like, over the previous 4 years, with the previous administration.

That was something he said he would do, before he came into power. And he's certainly making good on that promise, to make sure that the allies are close to the U.S., once again.

Now North Korea was one of the main topics of conversation, they spoke about the nuclear program and, also, a focus back on the human rights issues in North Korea. Also, as you say, they did talk about the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea is a long way behind the United States when it comes to their vaccination program, just over 3 percent of the population, at this point, has had both doses of vaccination, just over 7 percent has had just one of the doses.

So clearly, South Korea have a long way to go, they have said that they will try to speed up their vaccination, program but are finding, as many other countries around are finding, that the vaccine supply, globally, is extremely tight.

That news that President Biden is 550,000 South Korea troops, certainly welcome. Just those South Korean troops that work in close proximity with the American troops, based here. Michael?

HOLMES: I wanted to touch briefly on North Korea, a top priority. But the reality, as you know, being in the region, not much has worked there and they are now effectively a nuclear armed nation.

What of the options to at least keep a lid on the potential threat?

HANCOCKS: What we are hearing, from many experts now, is a push more toward arms reduction, as opposed to the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Many say, simply, it is not realistic to believe that Kim Jong-un would ever give up his nuclear weapons completely.

However, we did hear from President Moon and President Biden that they are, once again, working toward a complete new nuclearization. But Mr. Biden said, he is open to diplomacy, which would have been extremely welcome news to President Moon Jae-in.

Really, he has staked his claim and his credibility and his legacy, on engagement with North Korea. It has not, as you say, achieved very much at all over the past 4 years. But certainly, he is hoping that he will be able to get President Biden and Kim Jong-un to meet or at least have working level talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

The U.S. has made overtures towards Pyongyang but, up until this point, Pyongyang has rejected those, saying it simply doesn't want to talk and it's not the time.

HOLMES: Paula, thank you for that. Paula Hancocks, in Seoul, South Korea.

Coronavirus cases surging in Argentina, forcing a lockdown. The president calls it the worst moment of the pandemic.


HOLMES: We have details on the new restrictions, in a live report from Will Ripley, after the break.

Also, after months of pandemic success, Taiwan, now facing its biggest COVID surge yet. We have the island nation's plea for help as it searches for more vaccines.




HOLMES: Welcome back. The COVID-19 death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean, has now passed 1 million. That is according to data, tracked by Johns Hopkins University. Brazil, recording the most virus deaths of more than 440,000 people killed, since the pandemic began.

Cases, increasing in much of South America. Argentina, seeing a record surge this week. Imposing stricter lockdown measures until the end of the month. CNN's Matt Rivers, with the details.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are now new restrictive lockdown measures in place in Argentina as a result of what that country's president is calling the worst moment of the pandemic for that country so far.

Last week we saw multiple single day records for new infections set and these new restrictions are being put in place because of that. The restrictions, including the closures of all nonessential businesses; schools are closed. Only essential workers will be allowed out each day from 6 am to 6 pm. When the president announced the measures earlier this week, here is a little bit of what he said.


ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA (through translator): Today more than ever we need to take care of each other.


RIVERS: The president says he is aware of the fact that this country's economy is already struggling. He knows these restrictive measures will not help with that situation. But he says he really has no choice. He cannot let case numbers like this, death numbers like this, become normalized.

If you look this situation in Argentina is really quite bad. Take a look at the graph here and you can see that the average infections reported each day in both the United States and Argentina, they're at roughly similar levels despite the fact the United States has a population roughly 7 times greater than Argentina's -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


HOLMES: Taiwan, racing to find more COVID vaccines as it faces its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. Even with new restrictions put in place, more than 300 new infections were reported on Friday. Almost all cases, locally transmitted. Less than 1 percent of Taiwan's population, being inoculated. Supplies, running low.

Now the self ruled island, asking the U.S. for help. CNN's Will Ripley, joining me now, live, from Taipei.

Let's talk about the numbers. Comparatively, they aren't huge but, for Taiwan, this is significant and hugely worrying, isn't it?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, just minutes ago, we've got some breaking news about those numbers.


RIPLEY: When you account for today's confirmed cases, 323, plus 400 additional cases that will be factored in on other days over the last week, we are now seeing an increase of 723 to total number of cases.

I don't know if we have the graphic prepared yet but it is 3,862 versus last Friday, which is when it was 1,290. And, the local cases, which are 164, last Friday, now are 2,701. So local cases have increased by 16 times, just in the last week.

You and I have reported from countries where case numbers started off small and, then exponentially, got bigger. That appears to be the trend, still, in Taiwan despite the fact that it is now imposing its most severe restrictions and this, is of course, its most severe outbreak, since the pandemic began.

There are limits on group gatherings across this island of 23 million people. A number of nonessential businesses remaining closed. People have to wear masks when they go outside and there are limits to how many people can gather indoors and outdoors.

One thing Taiwan has not seen yet, Michael, is a lockdown. But there is talk that if the trend continues like this, Taiwan officials, who are reluctant to impose a lockdown, may have no choice if these numbers continue to go up, especially considering the vaccine situation.

HOLMES: On that topic, Taiwan asking the U.S. for help and, at the same time, vaccine politics in play, because of the China-Taiwan tensions. Explain that for us.

RIPLEY: Taiwan ordering tens of millions of doses of vaccines, Michael. So far, just 700,000 doses have arrived. Less than 1 percent of the population has been vaccinated, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire world, certainly, not even just the developed world.

People are wondering how this is possible. Well, Taiwan is pointing the finger and Mainland China, which is accusing the Taiwanese diplomats of playing politics and using COVID-19 vaccines as a tool for political manipulation.

China is, of course, Taiwan's biggest and closest neighbor and they have scores of vaccines to spare. They have donated tens of millions of doses to countries around the world. But here in Taiwan, officials point to a law that forbids the use of

Chinese made vaccines for human consumption. But Taiwan diplomats and lawmakers are saying that the Chinese are blocking their ability to access foreign vaccines.

They point to discussions with BioNTech that fell apart and was hinted, back at the time in February, it may have been due to political pressure.

You have calls to the United States, of some of those doses that President Biden is planning to give out should come here. Still, unclear, how many of those doses will arrive. Right now, Michael, still fewer than 1 million in the country. Those supplies, running out.

HOLMES: The local infections are a real worry there. Will, thank you, Will Ripley in Taipei.

Germany will require travelers from the United Kingdom to quarantine for 2 weeks upon entering the country. That begins midnight, Saturday night. German officials, designating Britain and Northern Ireland a virus variant region because of the uptick in cases of the variant first found in India.

Now Spain, on the other hand, rolling out the red carpet for British and Japanese travelers. Starting Monday, visitors from those countries, able to enter Spain without health controls.

But British travelers, still having to quarantine for 10 days when they return home to the U.K.

In the Philippines, the virus rearing its ugly head in unexpected ways. Just ahead, what fishermen and farmers, are doing to curb a hunger crisis partly fed by lockdowns and restrictions.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, we'll be right back.





HOLMES: Welcome back.

In the Philippines, repeated COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions have hit Manila's poorest neighborhoods the hardest. Jobs and even food are scarce. The government can't provide much help.

Now free community kitchens are popping, up farmers and fishermen, donating what they can to help those who need it most. But as Anna Coren reports, it isn't enough.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With her youngest just 3 years old, Mona Lisa Vito has 9 children and no way to feed them. Since the pandemic hit the Philippines, repeated lockdowns have left millions, like Mona Lisa, unable to work or to eat.

MONA LISA VITO, PHILIPPINES RESIDENT (voice-over): We don't have anything for my children's food, for our daily expenses. Sometimes at night, we don't have anything to eat. We can only wait for the next day.

COREN (voice-over): Her husband used to work in construction. And Mona Lisa used to peel sacks of garlic to get by. But even that work has dried up. Funding internet access online learning has also added another expense and a hard choice.

VITO (through translator): If we can't put in the money, they can't go to class. I would rather spend that money so the children can have breakfast.

COREN (voice-over): The family lives in Baseco, one of Manila's poorest neighborhoods, housing nearly 60,000 people, living cheek by jowl. And Mona Lisa, like many of her neighbors, now rely on community kitchens.

Volunteers prepare cabbage, pumpkin and rice at dawn. Food, donated by farmers, fishermen and anyone who can afford it, to give out to those who need it most.

VITO (through translator): I am grateful. Our rice and vegetables are free. My children are no longer hungry.

COREN (voice-over): There is a visible desperation from the recipients, as there is never enough to go around.

Hundreds of these kitchens are popping up to address the growing hunger crisis in this impoverished nation of 100 million people and to fill in the huge gaps left by the government. Poorer households did receive some cash handouts and food supplies but not nearly enough to survive on.

NADJA DE VERA, COMMUNITY PANTRY ORGANIZER (through translator): We have no choice but to organize something like this. I hope the government learns, this is a call to action to them and we hope the right amount of resources will reach those who really need it.

COREN (voice-over): As the hunger crisis bites, officials are looking to COVID-19 vaccines as a way out. But with the rollout delays and huge vaccine hesitancy, they face an uphill battle.

A survey in March showed that only 16 percent of Filipinos would be willing to get vaccinated. More than 60 percent saying they would refuse one.

Retired seamstress Letty Zambrona (ph) is one of them, despite being in a vulnerable age group and suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. LETTY ZAMBRONA (PH), RETIRED SEAMSTRESS (through translator): This is

really because of the side effects that I don't want to get vaccinated because I keep hearing this news on TV, like, somehow blood clots in their brains.

COREN (voice-over): President Duterte, himself, received a Chinese Sinopharm vaccine before halting its rollout after he was criticized for taking a vaccine that hadn't been approved by the country's national drug regulator.

Back in Baseco, Mona Lisa returns home after receiving her donation, a small amount of food she needs to stretch a very long way. For many of these families, the fear of coronavirus will never compare to the threat of hunger -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOLMES: Quick break in the program, when we come, back CNN brings you a firsthand look at the devastation inside of Gaza, following days of bombing by Israeli warplanes and artillery. Stay with us, we will be right back.





HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers around the world, I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Now the fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is entering its second day. No violations reported yet by either side and, after 11 days of deadly aerial warfare, both Israel and Hamas are declaring victory. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): As I promised, we harmed most of Hamas' capabilities far beyond what their commanders imagined.

Hamas fought in shooting at Jerusalem and the cities of Israel. But we responded in business as usual. Instead, 11 days and nights of great blows and huge crush that changed the rules of the game.



ISMAIL HANIYEH, SENIOR HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER (through translator): We saw that there was a very big change occurring in Western and European societies, even in the heart of America. We witnessed millions of people, in all Western capitals, going out to

denounce this aggression, to ask for the lifting of this occupation and to demand giving the Palestinian people their rights.

Yes, we need in the coming period to build and strengthen this relationship with the international community.


HOLMES: The United Nations, allocating more than $22 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. A number of aid trucks allowed to cross into Gaza Friday, when Israel opened a key border crossing. Among the shipments, a mobile hospital. CNN's Ben Wedeman explaining Gaza will need a lot more help to recover and rebuild.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was a home, this was the kitchen, the mundane trappings of everyday life all gone.

The cease-fires holding and now the people of Gaza are able to see what this war has wrought. Shortly after midnight on May 16th, Israeli warplanes bombed buildings on this street in Gaza City, killing more than 40 people according to the health ministry here. Two of this man's daughters were killed. He says the Israeli army gave no warning.

"Our souls to them are cheaper than a phone call," he says. "They could've called and said, 'Evacuate the building.' You want to hit tunnels? Hit them but you have to warn us."

Israel claims it was targeting tunnels in the neighborhood and collapsing the buildings was unintended. Those buildings are now jagged mounds of concrete and metal, littered with the odds and ends of lives lost, lives ruined.

"I thought, that is it, I'm going to die," says a teacher who lives on the street. "I felt judgment day had come."


WEDEMAN (voice-over): Members of Hamas' military wing parade by the ruins of a war they claim to have emerged from victorious.

Four wars, 13 years have not shaken the group's grip on power as life in Gaza has gone from bad to worse. Gaza has been under an Israeli Egyptian blockade since 2007. Power is on just a few hours a day. The tap water undrinkable. And unemployment is running at nearly 50 percent. All of that made worse by this war.

WEDEMAN: Israel calls its occasional operations in Gaza "mowing the lawn," cutting Hamas down to size. Sometimes, however, it looks like it's throwing Gaza back into the pre-industrial age.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Yet, for the first time in 11 days, life resumed a semblance of normalcy. There is no longer a need to hide -- for now -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza.


HOLMES: Now before this cease-fire, countless innocent civilians were injured, getting caught up in the crossfire, including one 4-year-old girl, whose life has been forever changed. CNN's Arwa Damon with her story.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sarah has injuries to her skull, lungs, arm and leg. But doctors say the worst are the multiple pieces of shrapnel lodged in her spine and spinal cord.

"She can't feel her legs," Sarah's mom says. And doctors fear she may never again, especially not if she stays here.

The family says there was no advanced warning before the strike. They had no idea what was coming.

"Sosoon (ph)," that's what her older brother, Omar (ph), calls her, "she needs an advanced neurosurgical center. We don't have those in Gaza."

"The doctor said there is hope that she will be able to stand on her feet," her father says.

He's begging for help. He wants his little girl to have her life back; a life filled with gleeful cries of joy, a life where she can stand on her own.

"She's struggling psychologically," her father says.

"She keeps asking me, 'Why, Daddy? Why did they have to do this to me?'" -- Arwa Damon, CNN.


HOLMES: Now the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, says he is concerned about a recent investigation into the BBC. It says journalist Martin Bashir used deceitful methods to convince Princess Diana to sit down with him for what was a blockbuster interview back in 1995.

Well, now London's Metropolitan Police say they will take a closer look at the report, to see if there is, quote, "no significant new evidence." CNN's Max Foster, with the latest.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the bombshell interview that stunned the world.

DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: Well, there were three of us in this marriage. So it was a little crowded. FOSTER (voice-over): Princess Diana, discussing the collapse of her

marriage with Prince Charles nearly 26 years ago. And, now, Prince William and Prince Harry are slamming the BBC this morning after an independent investigation, commissioned by the broadcaster, revealed how journalist Martin Bashir secured the interview with their late mother.


PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC's failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.


FOSTER (voice-over): The 127-page report concluding Bashir used deceitful behavior and created fake bank statements to arrange the meeting with Diana.

It also criticized the actions of the BBC, saying that, without justification, the BBC covered up its press logs. Such facts as it had been able to establish about how Mr. Bashir secured the interview.

The Duke of Cambridge also noting his concerns about how the BBC ignored alarm bells about Bashir's campaign to gain access to his mother.

PRINCE WILLIAM: What saddens me most is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.


FOSTER (voice-over): Prince Harry, spreading the blame not only to the BBC but also to coverage of Diana by other outlets and publications of the time, writing in a statement, he said, "To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it.

"That is the first step towards justice and truth. Yet, what deeply concerns me, is that practices like these and even worse are still widespread today."

The Duke of Sussex, who high school had his own issues with tabloids, recently discussing his ongoing struggles with his mother's death and the steps he is taking to heal.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I was so angry with what happened to her and the fact that there was no justice at all.

FOSTER (voice-over): Speaking to Oprah Winfrey for a new streaming series the two created about mental health for Apple TV Plus, Harry said, he turned to alcohol as an escape.

PRINCE HARRY: I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.

But I slowly became aware that, OK, I wasn't drinking Monday to Friday but I would probably drink a week's worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night.

FOSTER (voice-over): In the same program, Harry talked about comforting his wife, Meghan, who he said broke down and cried over, quote, "the combined effort of 'the firm' and the media to smear her over allegations that she bullied members of staff," allegations first appearing in "The Times" newspaper.

Those bullying allegations are being investigated by an independent law firm -- Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.


HOLMES: While much of the world is still in the throes of the pandemic, most of us are looking for some return to normalcy. But there is nothing normal about Europe's campiest and definitely weirdest musical event.



HOLMES (voice-over): That's right. Eurovision is back after its cancellation last year. The song contest, won in the past by Abba and Celine Dion, features contestants from 26 countries. Tens of millions of fans are expected to watch the broadcast. They always do; 3,500 COVID tested fans will be at the arena in Rotterdam.

The Italian rockers Maneskin have emerged as the favorite to win the grand finale, which is set for later today.


HOLMES: And Lego piecing together a new product, just in time for Pride Month in June. It is an LGBTQ themed set called. Everyone is Awesome. It features 11 figures in colors, inspired by the rainbow flag. It comes as the toy industry tries to make children's products more inclusive.

I'm Michael Holmes, thank you for spending part of your day with me. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @HolmesCNN. I will be back in about 15 minutes or so with more CNN NEWSROOM. Meanwhile, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA," coming up next.