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Israel-Hamas Ceasefire; Supply Shortages Fuel Asian COVID-19 Surge; Volcanic Eruptions Subside, Goma Activates Evacuation Plan; Afghan Translators In Jeopardy As U.S. Troops Withdraw; Cuba Bets On Domestic Vaccines; Cash Incentives Offered To Americans To Get Vaccinated; France Criticized In Rwandan Genocide; Phil Mickelson Seeking Place As Oldest Major Champ. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 23, 2021 - 00:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.

Day 3 of the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Gaza residents get a chance to assess the damage.

Also, the U.S. military begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Some of whom who work alongside them are worried that they will be left behind.

Have a look at these incredible images. Residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo are fleeing, after a volcanic eruption.


HOLMES: It is now going on three days since Hamas and Israel declared a cease-fire in their latest conflict. Egypt helped broker the deal. Two delegations of Egyptian officials, are currently in the region to ensure that the cease-fire sticks.

In Gaza City, Hamas militants parading through the streets showing that they are still in control. Israel's foreign ministry calling on the international community to condemn and disarm those militants.

Israel publicly objecting to a statement by the U.N. Security Council, praising the cease-fire because it did not mention the thousands of rockets fired into Israel by Hamas. Much of Gaza's basic infrastructure was crippled in the conflict, nearly half of its 2 million residents have no access to drinking water. The schools are, effectively, shut down. A U.N. official touring the damage described the enormous physical and emotional challenges ahead.


LYNN HASTINGS, U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: This was a building where I had just met the father and the daughter of a family of 7. All the other 5 members of the family have died. They were all civilians. So you can see, it's not just about infrastructure damage. But it is

about the loss of entire families. I've been speaking to the families here and what they have all said is they have no hope. They feel they have no control of their lives and their situation is, one woman said, helpless.


HOLMES: The people of Gaza, now trying to deal with that helplessness as best they can. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Gaza City.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Depending on where you are in Gaza, life seems to be getting back to normal. Here in Gaza City's main square, children play in the evening pool. But just one block away, the extent of the damage from the hostilities becomes clear.

Hundreds of housing units have been destroyed, and Israeli air strikes have pushed the already creaking infrastructure to the brink. The U.N. says that around 800,000 people now lack access to running water, and that's out of a population of around 2 million people.

The U.N. also says more than 50 schools were damaged, impacting the education of around 600,000 children. On top of that, 17 hospitals have been damaged including Gaza's only COVID testing center.

And then there's unemployment running at almost 50 percent. Life here after the cease-fire is getting back to normal, but there's nothing normal about life here.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Gaza City.


HOLMES: Elliott Gotkine, joining me live from Jerusalem.

The latest secretary of state, Antony Blinken, headed to the region. Elliott, in the days ahead, the U.N. Security Council calling for an enduring peace process. I'm guessing, is there really political appetite for a genuine attempt at resuscitating a peace process that is, basically, been in a coma for years?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The short answer Michael, no, not really. That is because reasons on both sides, from the Palestinians' perspective, the Palestinian Authority, that the leadership lacks legitimacy. It is divided and it is also unpopular.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is in the 17th year of what was supposed to be a 4-year term. When there were clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters by the Al- Aqsa mosque on Friday, CNN heard some of the protesters chanting slogans against him and even celebrating what they perceive to be a Hamas victory.

Of course, on the Israeli side, there isn't a fully functioning government.


GOTKINE: There have been four elections, all proving inconclusive. It's not finished for the last one. There is still a possibility that the bloc opposing prime minister Netanyahu will handle it. But at this stage, it probably means another set of elections, later this year.

To be perfectly honest, if the last few elections or anything to go by, the peace process with the Palestinians isn't really an issue. With one or 2 exceptions, it's not a big part of any of the parties' manifestos. They're focused on economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, higher house prices, health care and education, things like that.

Against that backdrop, it is hard to see either side moving towards any substantial negotiations. Of course, it is possible that President Biden may become more engaged now and we may see something happening in that respect.

As you say, Antony Blinken, secretary of state, is due in the region.

Will we see as we did with secretary of state John Kerry here, overseeing talks between, Israel and the Palestinians that ultimately went nowhere?

I think it's too early to tell. The Biden administration, as we see with things like China and climate change being higher priorities for him, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, so far as there is one, doesn't seem like it is likely to progress that much.

HOLMES: Yes, a sobering reality check that I think a lot of people think you are absolutely right about.

I do want to ask you, because this last round of fighting began with the spark that lit the kindling was the plans or the court moves to evict Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

What is the status of that court case, as it was postponed?

What are the chances that could reignite the kindling?

GOTKINE: It is a fragile cease-fire and there's all manner of things that could, perhaps, spark renewed fighting. For now, things are returning to an uneasy calm. As we saw, that supreme court hearing was due to take place on what Israelis celebrate as Jerusalem Day, the reunification of Jerusalem. Let's call it an unhappy coincidence.

That was postponed but it is still due to take place next month. This is a court process, so the government will argue that it's not for it to get involved, in terms of what is going on. Indeed, it has defined what is going on in Sheikh Jarrah as a real estate dispute between two parties.

It is possible, that could be another spark. It is possible there could be more protests at the Al-Aqsa mosque that could get out of control and perhaps could spark more fighting. There are so many things, Michael, it's always a possibility of resumption of fighting.

It's not necessarily the Israelis or the militants of Hamas want to resume what we've seen over the past 11 days. But unfortunately, where we are right now, whether the court case or something else, whether it is next month, next year or 10 years, many people will take the somewhat depressing view that a resumption of the hostilities and fighting, at some point in time, is inevitable, whether was sooner or later. Obviously, we don't know just yet.

HOLMES: Yes, sad, depressing and almost certainly true, Elliott Gotkine, thank you so much.

U.K. health officials are investigating another new COVID variant. They say the AV.1 strain, dubbed the Yorkshire variant, has infected 49 people in northwest England. A new study examines how well some vaccines work against the variant first identified in India.

It finds that 2 doses of either the Pfizer BioNTech or the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine are highly effective against it.

Parts of Asia, battling a worrying surge in new COVID infections. In the early days of the pandemic, several countries in the region became the model for keeping the virus under control. But with case numbers spiking and vaccines in short supply, that earlier success is fading. CNN's Will Ripley with that.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pigs root in filth and water outside this hospital in Bihar state in India. It looks like no place for healing with its broken walls, abandoned ambulances. But patients are still being treated here, many for coronavirus. The sick as well as the staff must trudge through dismal conditions to get inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The hospital will be 100 years old in 4 years. It was the only big hospital here several years ago. Due to the low-lying area, there is an issue of waterlogging at the hospital. There is filth all over.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Cases across India decreasing, down from more than 400,000 new cases reported in a day in early May to nearly 260,000. Still, the country's health care system is overwhelmed in places. And there is a shortage of vaccines. Delhi becoming the latest state to halted vaccinations in adults under the age of 45.

Some help is slowly coming in from Russia, with shipments of its Sputnik V vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the end of May, about 3 million votes will be supplied in bulk (ph). RIPLEY (voice-over): The plan then is for India to begin producing the

Russian vaccine with a goal of making more than 815 million doses. The Sputnik V is a two-dose regimen.

The coronavirus is also taking its toll in other parts of Asia. Some streets in Taiwan look like a ghost town. It, too, is suffering from a surge of coronavirus cases and a lack of vaccines. Taiwan's health minister, asking the U.S. for help and getting the critical supplies.

Cases are soaring in Thailand, too, where clusters of COVID-19 infections have emerged in the country's overcrowded prisons. Bangkok began a vaccination drive, doling out shots of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine and, AstraZeneca to inmates.

The shortage and, at times, dismal conditions across parts of Asia making this wave of the coronavirus that much more difficult to contain -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


HOLMES: Argentina now in a strict lockdown to try to stop a new explosion of coronavirus cases. The sports facilities, schools, religious events all suspended for a week. This comes as the nation's ICUs are overwhelmed. Rafael Romo takes us inside of one COVID-19 center in Buenos Aires, struggling to keep COVID patients there alive.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): There is no time to waste. The patient's lungs are about to collapse and he needs to undergo surgery immediately.

After the lifesaving procedure, a heartfelt hug to say thanks. One more life has been saved in the intensive care unit at the Hospital Universitario Austral in Buenos Aires.

"It has been an intense morning already but we must be ready for anything," this ICU doctor says.

While the Northern Hemisphere is gaining ground in the fight against COVID-19, this week Argentina had consecutive days of record-breaking numbers of cases. Argentina, together with other South American countries, like Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, is among the countries with the highest COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world.

Few understand the current health crisis better than this team of doctors and nurses and fight this battle one patient in a while.

"Every patient is someone's child, someone's parent," Dr. Pablo Pratesi said, with tears in its eyes.

"I feel their pain."

The day goes on with moments of life or death challenges, interspersed with small victories. Like celebrating that a patient's skin is not irritated, even though he's been unable to move on his own for 48 hours, which gives a lot of credit to the nursing staff.

And then, there is the joy of saving a life, of seeing patients walk out of the hospital on their own.

Makias Luraschi (ph), who credits the ICU staff was saving his life, he wrote a letter expressing his gratitude, calling the team his guardian angels, who risked their lives and those of their families to do their job.

Today, part of the team is seeing their patient for the first time since he left the ICU but on a video message. He calls them heroes and asks them to not give up because the country depends on them, a message the staff hears with tears in their eyes.

"The day we lose the ability to cry for a patient will be the day we will stop being doctors and nurses," Dr. Pratesi says.

Another 12 hour shift is coming to a close. It is time for the next team to get to the front lines of Argentina's greatest challenge in a generation -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


HOLMES: We're watching a volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Authorities say that it erupted on Saturday but the eruption seemed to subside later in the evening. But have a look at those images there. The lava appeared to be flowing toward the border of Rwanda, away from the city of Goma.

Goma is right there on the border with Rwanda. But as a precaution, authorities have evacuated and activated an evacuation plan for Goma.


HOLMES: Thousands of residents currently spending the night outdoors.


HOLMES: Now Chinese state media reporting extremely cold weather has killed 21 ultra-marathon runners in the country's northwest. Eight others were taken to hospitals. As the weather turned bad on Saturday, icy rain and gale force winds lashed the many underdressed racers.

Some of those in higher altitudes reported hypothermia; others went missing. As the race was called off, hundreds joined in on search operations. By Sunday morning, 151 people were confirmed safe.

U.S. forces are leaving Afghanistan but some of their closest partners are staying behind. How the troop exit could endanger the lives of Afghan translators. That's coming up next.



[00:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: The U.S. military keeps announcing progress towards its goal of withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by September 11th. It says the process is up to 20 percent complete as of now.

But not everyone who puts their lives at risk in the battlefield gets to leave the danger. Many Afghan translators will be left behind, stuck in a visa process that can take years. Something Iraqi translators know all too well. Some still have not received permission to come to the U.S. about a decade after the end of the Iraq War.

Here's more on the perils they face and the message they'd like to send to the U.S. President.


HOLMES (voice-over): When we last reported on the plight of Iraqi and Afghan translators left behind by the U.S. government, "Yassin," for his own safety, not his real name, reached out to me, in hiding and afraid for his life.

"YASSIN," AFGHAN INTERPRETER: I'm hiding always, OK, yes, me and my family, worried and afraid, afraid for everything, OK?

HOLMES (voice-over): "Yassin" was a translator for the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2009-2011. Married with one child, he has spent years trying to get the U.S. special immigrant visa that he was promised for his service, for putting his life on the line.

"YASSIN": Six years and no one called me, no one called from the heartland, to make a first interview.

HOLMES (voice-over): His most recent of several death threats from insurgents was four months ago.

In 2006, I spoke to a teenaged girl we called "Sara" to highlight the job those translators did for U.S. troops.


HOLMES (voice-over): The diminutive "Sara" might be short on height but she is long on courage, says her U.S. friends, who asked us to hide her face, even if she won't.

"SARA," U.S. LIAISON: I serve my country, I serve in the U.S. Army. It's fun but dangerous at the same time but I like it.

HOLMES: It is a crucial job because these people are not just dealing in words, they are dealing in people's lives, American and Iraqi.


HOLMES (voice-over): Sara was lucky, one of those who got that precious visa. She now lives in the U.S. "Ali" -- not his real name, either -- is married with four kids, is

one of thousands of unlucky ones. After working for six years for U.S. troops, he still waits and hears nothing.

"ALI," AFGHAN TRANSLATOR: Workers, we are like living in hell, dying every day but not dying.

HOLMES (voice-over): "Ali," like "Yassin," has been threatened and even shot at more than once on the way home, viewed as a traitor by the terrorists U.S. troops fought.

"ALI" Certain messages say we already know that you have worked for the United States Army, so you are a traitor and traitors always get what they deserve.

HOLMES (voice-over): As for the value of the job those people did, listen to those from "Sara's" unit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I admire her courage. It's kind of hard to say you're scared of something when you have a 19-year-old girl sitting there beside you, who's half your size, who's unafraid of anything that's going on.

HOLMES (voice-over): Back in Baghdad, Ali has a message for the U.S. President.

"ALI": President Biden, I want you to save our lives. For we saved your sons' lives, the people in the military. We can't wait. Our killers, our assassins, they will go just like, boom, and we are out. There will be no more tomorrow for us.


HOLMES: Now retired U.S. Army Colonel Steve Miska is the executive director of First Amendment Voice. He spent 25 years in the military. He's been a passionate advocate for getting translators out of Iraq and Afghanistan and has written a book about it, "Baghdad Underground Railroad," which was published this month.

And full disclosure, I embedded with the colonel and his troops in Iraq in 2007, so we do know each other from there.

Good to see you, Steve. You felt so strongly about this, you've written the book on this about these translators and the risks they took and continue to take.

Why is it so important to you personally?

COL. STEVE MISKA, U.S. ARMY (RET.), FIRST AMENDMENT VOICE: Well, thanks, Michael. You know, they saved our lives. Interpreters like "Sara" and "Ali," they would point out IEDs and tell us to take a different route or warn us of attacks. Not only, that their families were at risk.

Many times, they didn't tell their families what they did because they didn't want the families to inadvertently slip. They had to live their lives like in a James Bond movie, where they would take 2 taxis and cross Baghdad, hoping to shake a tail.

That was the impetus for me writing the book, was to tell their stories. And of the dozens I helped get out, six of them enlisted in the U.S. Army and Marines and then deployed back as combat linguists.


HOLMES: Yes, extraordinary people. In Afghanistan, I know the Taliban would say to each other, "Shoot the eyes," when attacking coalition troops, meaning the translator, the eyes and ears of the troops, shoot them first.

The issue means a lot to a great many U.S. service men and women. I know you've experienced the loss of interpreters during and after your own deployment.

What do they former and current service people tell you about how they feel that these people are literally being left behind?

MISKA: Yes, right about the time you embedded with us, Jack, my personal interpreter, was gunned down in Balad by Sunni insurgents. He had gone home to visit his wife, who had just given birth to stillborn twins. Two weeks later, Nadal (ph), a beloved store owner, murdered by Shia militia. Everybody was trying to kill them.

And other service members feel the same way. They took the same risks that we were taking and they don't feel it's right to leave them behind.

HOLMES: As you say, some have gotten out. But let's be frank. We are talking about thousands, thousands who have not. They are in hiding in Iraq and are or will be in hiding in Afghanistan, fearing for their lives.

Are you angry at the U.S. government inaction on this for what has been literally years?

MISKA: Make no mistake, Michael. They are being hunted now, it's not like it's going to start when the withdrawal is over. It's been going on for 20 years in Afghanistan. I'm getting distress calls from Afghanistan every day.

The nonprofit community is inundated. The Taliban will continue to hunt them and we lose the capacity to really safeguard them, because the mission becomes get out. There are 17,000 Afghans in the SIV backlog right now.

They represent 70,000 family members. Even at the height of our efficiency, we were only processing 4,000 visas a year. We don't have years; we might not have weeks.

HOLMES: I mean, It makes me angry. I've been following this as you know for many years as well. There is a broader issue, too, at play. As you write and you mention this in the book, that if the U.S. doesn't get these people out, leaves them there to their fate -- and I just want to quote something the you wrote earlier. "The United States will have compromised not only existing friends and

allies, it will have compromised future relationships with allies elsewhere whose interests align with their own."

That is important, too; abandon these people and who will want to help the Americans elsewhere?

MISKA: Exactly. It's absolutely a moral imperative but make no mistake, it's a national security issue with real interest. It's not Mother Teresa foreign policy. There are service men and women in harm's way right now in conflict zones, standing next to interpreters. They are watching what is happening in Afghanistan.

And we are undermining those relationships, putting them at risk. You've got counter-terrorism investigations going on around the world.

Which informant is going to feel comfortable providing vital information and intelligence when they see what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan?

HOLMES: We're nearly out of time, 30 seconds.

What has to happen now?

MISKA: Look, the one thing I would tell the American public, this is not just a Biden administration problem. This is an American problem. We are coalescing a task force right now to gather church groups, nonprofit organizations, to create the civil society support, should the administration evacuate these Afghans.

We will be prepared to receive them with sponsors here to get help them get their feet on the ground.

HOLMES: It's good to see you again, Colonel, and thank you for the work that you are doing. This is important stuff. Lives are at stake. Thank you, Steve.

MISKA: Thanks for keeping the spotlight on it, Michael.

HOLMES: We will.

Well, unvaccinated Americans are being offered incentives to get their coronavirus shots but will that be enough to convince them to roll up their sleeves?

We will discuss that after the break.





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

Cuba is relying on its homegrown vaccines to beat COVID-19. The country rolling out one vaccine candidate before it's being fully tested. As CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports, they don't have the luxury of time.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We find tiny, bare- bones clinics like this one in almost every neighborhood in Cuba. Cuban officials hope that they are finally turning the tide of the pandemic by administering Cuba's homegrown vaccines to millions of people in the coming months.

This small, cash-strapped island has developed five vaccine candidates, two in the final stage of testing, is a point of pride among some of the 80 people who received the first dose in this working class neighborhood on the outskirts of Havana

"I have confidence in the vaccine, in the scientists," she says, "in the revolution and in everything."

Nationalist sentiment aside, Cuba is facing its darkest days of the pandemic. Earlier on, the leaders of the Communist run island decided to produce their own vaccines rather than buy and import them from other countries.

Tight controls seemed to keep the pandemic at bay, until late in 2020 when the island opened to international travel. That increase in travelers combined with the new variants caused the highest urge in cases that the island is seen today.

What health officials are administering is a vaccine candidate they believe will be effective. Cuban health officials tell CNN they don't expect to know the exact efficacy of the two most advanced vaccine candidates until June.

But they say they can't afford to wait any longer to administer the only medicine to stem the virus.

"We are moving up the next vaccination by a month approximately in certain average populations," he says. "Fundamentally based on the evidence we have of security and the immune response generated by our vaccine candidates."

Cuba has decades of experience in vaccine making and in mobilizing their own population.

Cuba had a late start to vaccinations but officials say they are now making up for that lost time, bringing the full weight of the state's resources to bear here so the majority of this island, 70 percent of all Cubans, are vaccinated by September.

While Cuban officials say taking the vaccine candidates is voluntary, they send what are committees in the defense of the revolution, the revolution's footsoldiers, to go door-to-door to tell people when and where they can get the experimental vaccine.

"They go apartment to apartment to schedule appointments," he says. "The process then flows. The people come who are supposed to and they know the day and the time to be there."

Despite the many challenges they still face, Cuban officials still say they hope to be the first country to vaccinate their entire population with a homegrown vaccine. As the number of cases and deaths rise higher and higher here, there isn't a moment to waste.


OPPMANN (voice-over): Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


HOLMES: Now the inoculation campaign in the U.S. is slowing down, even though COVID vaccines are widely available.

Since appeals are apparently not enough to convince some Americans to get their shots, some businesses and state governments are hoping incentives might do the trick. They range from lotteries that offer a chance of winning up to $5 million to something as simple as free donuts from a national chain.

Now a theater in Los Angeles is jumping on the train and hoping people won't throw away their shot and have a chance to win "Hamilton" tickets. Paul Vercammen reports.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Los Angeles County strategy now has moved from the large vaccine sites to small public sites such as this one, the Pantages theater, it's Broadway West. What they offered up here was a chance to win "Hamilton" tickets, 3 separate pairs.

So they came in here, they can get the Johnson & Johnson or the Pfizer vaccine and then enter that lottery. One father who already had the vaccine, brought his son in to be vaccinated and he was ecstatic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've waited so long just to have the theater opening, you know, that's a big -- that's definitely the driver in this. I want to get him vaccinated, everybody in the house is vaccinated. To win "Hamilton" tickets would be amazing, amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I love theater and I've seen a few shows here like "Cats" and so I would love to win the tickets to "Hamilton," because if you get the vaccine today, you are entered in a drawing to win the tickets. I hadn't got my vaccine yet so I decided to come today and get the Johnson and Johnson because it is one and done.

VERCAMMEN: And the Pantages was not the only vaccine site in L.A. offering up free ticket. Across the city, there was a chance to win Lakers season seats by getting vaccinated.

We are seeing this trend throughout the country, many places offering up incentives for people to get a shot in the arm and achieve that herd immunity -- reporting from the Pantages theater in Hollywood, I'm Paul Vercammen.


HOLMES: Joining me now is Ana Santos Rutschman, assistant professor of law at St. Louis University in Missouri and an expert in vaccine policy.

So the perfect one to discuss this. I guess it's unfortunate that your life is not potentially enough motivation to get a vaccine. But I guess these incentives, like gift cards, lotteries, hamburgers even, do have an impact.

What do you make of that?

ANA SANTOS RUTSCHMAN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY: They seem to have an impact, we're not entirely sure what the impact might be. I think some of them are good, we need all the PR we can get.

Some of them we can't really know until much later in the pandemic what the effect might have been. We don't fully know what's the lottery effect is really going to be. It's very difficult to measure as it's happening.

I think all of this is fine. What really worries me is more along the lines of cash prizes that some people suggested we should be doing. And for now I think that's a good thing we're not doing that. But the hamburger and the donuts, in the middle of the pandemic, not necessarily a bad thing.

HOLMES: I know you say you worry about the long term effect of some of these vaccination incentives, that the monetary incentive, you said, I think, can be "distorted by organized spreaders of vaccine misinformation." As you suggest, hidden government agendas suggesting the vaccines are not safe. Explain.

RUTSCHMAN: Yes, there were some proposals last year and even this year and instead of something like a hamburger or a donut or even a lottery, that we hand out, the government hand out money. I really worried about this idea of cash in exchange for getting vaccinated because the connotations with cash are very different from a donut right?

It's a substantial trade-off that you are asked to make. For some people it is not a lot of money, for some people it is a lot of money. It conditions health choices in a way that a hamburger or a donut might not. And I think it might be received in the wrong way.

On the other hand it can be instrumental. If your agenda is to say that vaccines are not safe, that there is a hidden agenda that the government is running, it's very, very easy to institutionalize payment. I think it will instrumentalize the fact that there are lotteries right now and hamburgers and donut prizes but the cash prizes I think would be much more concerning. [00:40:00]

HOLMES: Some experts are warning that the incentive reward approach is that it doesn't address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy, so there's an ethical dilemma.

Do you see that as well?

RUTSCHMAN: I do. These are exceptional circumstances and I recognize that. We need a lot of PR because unfortunately vaccines are safe and effective but they have always been perceived in a slightly different way from other pharmaceutical products. So there are a lot of things that could've been done better from an educational perspective in the past.

But this is where we are at. There is a lot of PR in the best sense of the word that needs to happen. So I understand why we employ these mechanisms but I do think they come along with some ethical trade- offs.

And the more potentially changing the behavior mechanism, the more ethical questions it'll pose. Donuts doesn't worry me so much but when you escalate the incentive, I think that we don't know, we haven't fully studied incentives in this context, it's not clinical trials or medical research.

We haven't studied, we don't know what this entails. And you get misinformation in particular. Online misinformation is not a new phenomenon but it has exploded throughout the pandemic.

HOLMES: Just finally and quickly if you will, incentives, if they won't work on the seriously hesitant anyway, so is there a better way to convince them to take the shot?

RUTSCHMAN: At this, point places like the United States where we would like more uptake of vaccination but the levels are climbing, I would not touch the incentive landscape. I think modeling is a very good thing, so the more community organizers and certain communities can show by publicizing that they have the shot, they have done so, that is the best possible remedial and more proactive approach.

HOLMES: Yes, interesting discussion. Ana Santos Rutschman, thank you so much appreciated.

RUTSCHMAN: Thank you.

HOLMES: Now a new photograph appears to show Dubai's Princess Latifa, who hasn't been seen or heard from since her desperate call for help earlier this year.

The photograph was posted on Instagram a few days ago and seems to be inside the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. The photo hasn't been verified but it's apparently the first time she's been seen in public since her claims of being held hostage by her father, the ruler of Dubai.

Latifa made those claims months ago in video messages obtained by the BBC and shared with CNN.

Meanwhile, the BBC journalist who sat down with Princess Diana for a major interview in 1995 has a message for her sons, William and Harry, that he is deeply sorry.

Martin Bashir told the "Sunday Times" that he never wanted to harm Diana and doesn't think he did and they continued to be friends after the broadcast, he said. An inquiry came out this week saying that he had used deceitful methods to secure that interview. One of them was using false bank statements to get him access to Diana's brother and eventually Diana herself.

Prince William claimed this worsened her paranoia. Bashir disputes that. Days before the report came out, he stepped down as BBC's religious editor, citing health reasons.

The French president Emmanuel Macron heads to Rwanda in the coming days. Ahead, how his visit with the Rwanda leader could ease relations between the nations that were strained by France's reactions to the Rwanda genocide in the 1990s.





HOLMES: In what could be a breakthrough in relations, the French president will visit Rwanda for his first time by the end of the month. Now this move comes as France was criticized for its role in the 1994 genocide.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): I can confirm that I will be traveling to Rwanda at the end of May and that the focus will be on politics and remembrance as well as economics, health and the future. And so we are also keen with President Kagame to write a new page in the relationship.


HOLMES: A commission set up by Emmanuel Macron concluded Paris was blinded by its colonial attitude. Jim Bittermann with the details and a warning that his report contains graphic images.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of history's worst episodes of ethnic cleansing. In a frenzy of violence in the spring and early summer of 1994, mostly Tutsi Rwandans were massacred by Hutu militias and the Rwandan military.

According to some government estimates, more than 1 million were killed in just 100 days and countless left permanently disabled from horrifying and brutal machete attacks.

Western countries like France, which supported the Rwandan government, hesitated to intervene, refusing to even label the massacre what reporters at the time clearly knew they were.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR(?), CNN HOST: While the world has wondered whether or not to call it genocide, for fear that under international law, it might have to do something to stop it.

BITTERMANN: That hesitancy to intervene the end of bloodshed back in 1994 has cast a long shadow over French and Rwandan relations ever since.

But more recently, France has taken steps to come to terms with its deeds of commission and omission.

Perhaps the most important step was a publication in March of a nearly 1,000-page report by a historical investigation commission created by President Emmanuel Macron, which was given access to diplomatic and military dispatches from the era.

A member of that commission says that it concluded that, while France bears a heavy responsibility for the genocide, it was not complicit in it. Nonetheless, the report makes it clear that French officials on the ground had graphically warned their superiors in Paris what support for the Hutu government could lead to.

CATHERINE BERTHO LAVENIR, REPORT CO-AUTHOR: It will lead to mass slaughters, some warned even it would lead to genocide. And the question if that they were neglected.

BITTERMANN: French, which sent an intervention force to Rwanda at the time, turned a blind eye to the slaughter of the local population. And, according to the commission report, by supporting the Hutu government, it assisted the perpetrators in getting away.

Some of those who were part of that operation, like former army officer Guillaume Ancel (ph), said the French military could and should have done much more.

But the French president's office at the Elysee Palace had ordered the military to remain strictly neutral.

GUILLAUME ANCEL, FORMER LIEUTENANT COLONEL: We provide support before, during and after the genocide to demand who committed the genocide, in term of law, it's a kind of collaboration. Maybe in history it's not complicity but in terms of law it is very, very, very dangerous what we did and, on my sense, unacceptable.

BITTERMANN: According to the commission, not only did Paris ignore the predictions and recommendations of its diplomats and troops in the field but those who objected sometimes found their careers cut short or impaired.

Last month in an interview with France 24, the Rwandan foreign minister said the commission report has gone some distance towards reconciling differences between France and Rwanda.

VINCENT BIRUTA, RWANDAN FOREIGN MINISTER: A strong foundation on which you can build a better relationship in the future, a relationship between both countries.


BITTERMANN (voice-over): Even so, while government may reconcile with the past, some survivors and relatives of the victims are not so quick to do so, like Jessica Mwiza (ph), who lost her grandfather and grandmother during the genocide.

JESSICA MWIZA, VICE PRESIDENT, IBUKA FRANCE: We need to talk about justice.

Who did what?

Who say what?

And what were the other politically and militarily in '94?

This is really important for us.

BITTERMANN: Twenty-seven years after the tragic event, some of the Rwandans accused of participating in the genocide have been tried and convicted but others are still alive and living freely in France and elsewhere.

No matter what the French and Rwandan governments may decide about their future relations, for some of those who suffered personal losses in the massacres, there can never be a full reconciliation until the guilty are prosecuted and locked away -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


HOLMES: China has taken a giant step in space exploration. The country's rover now exploring the Red Planet. We will have details after the break.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

China's Mars rover has set foot -- if that's the right word -- on the Red Planet. Current plans are for the rover to stay active for at least 3 months, exploring and conducting geological studies.


HOLMES (voice-over): Fresh tracks on the Red Planet mean new inroads for China in the latest space race. The Zhurong rover went out for a drive on Saturday, making China the second country after the United States to land and operate such a vehicle on Mars.

The probe carrying Zhurong touched down on Mars on May 15th. China's top space official says it's a huge leap forward for the program. China's rover will now tread across the Martian terrain to learn what it can about the planet, in hopes that humans can one day land there, too.

BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: The Chinese rover that has now landed on Mars --

HOLMES (voice-over): NASA's administrator Bill Nelson, sworn in earlier this month, congratulated China's space agency but also warned Congress that China has ambitious plans for both Mars and the moon.

NELSON: They are going to be landing humans on the moon. That should tell us something about our need to get off our duff.

HOLMES (voice-over): China is one of 3 countries that launched missions to the Red Planet last summer, with NASA's Perseverance landing on Mars in February. The Hope spacecraft by the UAE is orbiting the planet but not designed to land.

In addition, NASA's Curiosity rover has been on the ground since 2012, making for a lot of competition in this next frontier.


HOLMES: Now Phil Mickelson is just 18 holes away from becoming golf's oldest major champion, that is, if he doesn't choke or someone else, like my guy, Koepka, meets the challenge. At 50, Lefty, as he's called, leads the PGA championship after three rounds.



HOLMES: Well, the world's biggest and possibly most eccentric music contest has a new champion.


HOLMES (voice-over): And the betting favorite, Italian rockers Maneskin won the Eurovision son contest on Saturday. The event held in the Netherlands with about 3,500 fans attending and millions glued to their TVs. Coronavirus forced the cancellation of last year's contest.


HOLMES: Well, it is cicada season here in the United States. Masses of the noisy insects are waking up from a 17-year slumber underground. And a Maryland candy company is selling something for bug lovers with a sweet tooth: chocolate covered cicadas.

Chouquette Chocolates owner Sarah Dwyer said, first, you dip them in boiling water, then coat them in oil and spices and then they are air fried being for being dropped in chocolate. Who hasn't done that at home?

All right, thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM and spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes, follow me at Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN. "QUEST'S WORLD OF WONDER" is next. I'll see you in one hour.