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Japanese People Fear Spread of Variants During Tokyo Olympics; China Accused U.S. of Spreading Conspiracy Theory About the Virus; Al- Qaeda May Took Advantage of U.S. Pulling Its Troops; Russia Supports Belarus Against E.U. Actions; U.S. Warns Ethiopia and Eritrea; Thousands Flee Over Fears of Second Volcanic Eruption; Mount Nyiragongo Erupts; Container Ship Carrying Chemicals Burns Off Sri Lanka; El Salvador Crime; Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, Host Mental Health Town Hall; Friends, The Reunion. Aired 3-3:45a ET

Aired May 28, 2021 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): The COVID games. Experts warn of 18 Olympic variants spreading around the world. We are live in Tokyo with that report.

Plus, the U.S. government's new statement explaining what it doesn't know about the COVID-19.

And the U.S. is wrapping up its 20-year war in Afghanistan but a CNN investigation has found that Al-Qaeda is poised to fill the security vacuum after American troops have gone. That explosive coming up.

Welcome to you all of the viewers from around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. And this is CNN Newsroom.

Despite a surge in coronavirus cases and a vocal public opposition Olympic organizers insist they won't cancel the Tokyo summer games but do plan some changes including specific COVID guidelines for each sporting event.

Tokyo 2020 board members met earlier with public health experts, they tour the Olympic village, athlete dorms, and dining halls. And they are set to update their safety playbook for a third time next month.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is expected to extend a state of emergency for areas struggling with a surge in COVID cases. Japan is averaging 4,500 infections a day according to Johns Hopkins University. Figures compound by CNN say that only about 2 percent of the population is vaccinated.

CNN's Blake Essig is live this hour in Tokyo. Blake, so we are monitoring a press conference by the Tokyo 2020 president, I imagine they'll be trying to reassure athletes and the public that they will be safe. It will be facing plenty of questions on that front, I imagine. BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, that press conference

starts here right now. And as you said, lots of questions that will be directed whether it's the safety of the athletes, in particular the safety of the Japanese people. Now, the expert panel that met earlier and was hosted by Tokyo 2020 says that the -- in terms of COVID-19 specifically, that the impact of 100,000 visitors coming into Japan for the games is limited.

They say it's the movement of these people that could cause the spread of the infection. And the exact details of how they plan to prevent that from happening still hasn't been worked out. Hopefully, by the time that the third edition of the playbook rolls out those questions will be answered.

Now fueled by the U.K. variant COVID-19 cases across Japan remain high. The country continues to see a record number of patients in critical condition and the vertical system remain strained. That's despite the fact that Tokyo and several other of Japan's most densely populated prefectures had been under a state of emergency since the end of April.

Now the current order is set to expire on Monday but Japan's prime minister will decide later today here in just a couple hours whether or not to extend the current state of emergency. Now if he does, the state of emergency would extend an additional three weeks until June 20th. That's about a month before the scheduled start of the Olympic Games.

Now Olympic organizers have made it clear that the games will go ahead even if Tokyo is under a state of emergency at the time. And while Olympic organizers continue to push ahead, the governor of Chiba prefecture just east of Tokyo has announced that the torch relay will bypass the entire prefecture. He said that the decision to cancel and instead of holding the torch relay on the streets will instead be held behind closed doors. It was made in the best interest of the local resident's safety and security there.

Now the doctor's union in Japan has also once again called for the Olympic Games to be canceled. Their biggest concern is virus variants. They warn of strains found in India and South Africa that could spread rapidly here and talk about the possibility for a new strain unique to Tokyo in the Olympics that could emerge as well.

Now the union is also questioning Olympic organizers plan to set aside nine hospitals for the athletes. That's because during the months of July and August medical professionals say hospitals will already be overwhelmed. Even if COVID-19 wasn't an issue and that's because patients are being brought in suffering from heatstroke.

Now Kim, in 2018 alone, more than 1,000 people died in Japan because of a heat wave.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. All right. Well, we'll let you go to listen in on that press conference and we'll bring you back if there is any huge news there. Blake Essig in Tokyo, thank you so much.


And as Blake mentioned, doctors and health care workers in Japan are leading the charge to cancel the games. They are worried about new variants of the virus.

CNN medical analyst doctor Jorge Rodriguez weighs in on whether or not that's a valid concern.


JORGE RODRIGUEZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I do think that it is a realistic concern. We all want things to open but wanting something and wishing for something doesn't make it so. I think the potential for disaster is real -- is real and it could happen.

Listen, right now, Japan is on a huge surge having approximately 50,000 cases a day. So, unfortunately, you know, this could be a perfect storm. And vaccinations appear to be the only way to maybe thwart this. But again, the world is going to convene for athletes and it may also be convening for different variants of the virus. So, it's a possibility.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): So, what doesn't seem to be getting much oxygen in this debate between public health officials and Olympic organizers is the view from the athletes who trained their entire lives for this one moment.

CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan weighs in on the waiver they're required to sign which clears Olympic organizers from liability for COVID-19.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I think these athletes are well aware they have lived through the pandemic, their parents their families get that. I think they know these are extraordinary times. And all the athletes I've talked to are willing to take that risk. They sign a code of conduct. They know the rules and if this is just another part of that I think they are willing to accept it for the honor, the privilege, the joy, the dream of going to an Olympic Games to representing their nation. That's may sound Pollyanna to a lot of people out but it's real for these athletes.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. intelligence agencies have unreviewed data that could help pinpoint the origin of COVID-19. That evidence could prove critical as those agencies try to come up with a definitive answer over the next 90 days.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says agencies are pursuing two leading theories. The U.S. intelligence community does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus was transmitted initially but has coalesced around two likely scenarios. Either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident. China insist the virus came about naturally and not from a lab. The foreign ministry is accusing the U.S. of pursuing the lab leak theory to embarrass China. Listen in.


ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): The U.S. does not care about facts or truth. And has zero interest in the serious science-based study of origins. Their aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization, political manipulation, and blame shifting. They are being disrespectful to science, irresponsible to people's lives, and counterproductive to the concerted efforts to fight the virus.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): CNN's Will Ripley is following developments from Taiwan. Will, Chinese officials are reacting with anger and accusations of their own.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As is often the case in China, Kim, what you hear the ministry of foreign affairs you also hear echoed in state media. And that certainly the case with this latest China daily editorial which talks about the mudslinging. They call the lab leak a smear campaign, a conspiracy theory fueled by the United States. Because they say the U.S. is trying to divert attention away from itself.

One notable line in that editorial in China daily was that the U.S. should open up the trail investigation that could lead to its own secretive labs and bases. And this is something that China has been pushing without presenting any evidence that in fact COVID-19 may not have originated in Wuhan at that seafood market but may have originated at multiple places around the world simultaneously.

But again, where is the raw data to back that up? And that's been the big concern all along. That even that team of 17 investigators from the World Health Organization didn't have direct access to a lot of the information that they needed to come up with a more definitive assessment of what likely cause the COVID-19 pandemic.

That, as of today, it has killed more than three and a half million people around the world including 19 -- 19 deaths, a record daily high right here in Taiwan. An island that last year recorded just 12 COVID- 19 deaths. So, the pandemic feels very real in places like this where the outbreaks still happening and even in places like the United States where a lot of people are vaccinated but businesses have struggled and lives have been changed. In some cases, irreversibly for the families of those who have been lost.


Now in terms of the evidence that The New York Times is talking about most of our memory is generally to try, it will be required -- it will be the requirement of basically scientist to pour over this data. And The New York Times article suggest that it's unlikely there's going to be an e-mail or a text message proving that there was a lab leak.

Frankly, it may be impossible to prove without transparency from China. But given that China is hunkering down on their own theories and kind of throwing the blame back, a lot of experts feel that it's really unlikely that they are going to get the kind of concrete answers the United States and the U.S. President Joe Biden is searching for with this 90-day timeline.

CNN's own reporting suggest that they will also be looking at 200 or so additional l pages of information from the WHO that had previously been overlooked by investigators. Talking about samples that were taken from 69 animals. A large-scale influenza outbreak in Wuhan and Hubei province right around the time that COVID-19 was emerging. And even what the characteristic were the first recorded fatalities from this virus.

So, Kim, a lot of questions and still, here we are with very few answers and a lot around the world are pointing the blame at China for a lack of transparency as contributing to that problem. China pointing the finger right back.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Will Ripley in Taipei, thanks so much for that.

While E.U. authorities consider sanctions on Belarus, we're seeing a show of support from Russia. Why it won't let these European carriers land in Moscow.

Plus, Al-Qaeda strengthens its foothold in Afghanistan despite a long military campaign to stamp it out. We'll will bring you a CNN exclusive investigation just ahead. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): On eastern Europe it's a quarter past 10 a.m. and as you can see from that map there not a lot of planes over Belarus. The E.U. told -- has told European carriers to avoid it and has closed European airspace to Belarusian airlines. Now Russia is refusing to let two European carriers land in Moscow after avoiding Belarus. Air France and Austrian Airlines have canceled their flight.

Now this is all fallout from the decision by Belarus to force a Ryanair flight carrying a dissident to land in Minsk. Meanwhile, the Belarusian president is preparing to meet soon with his ally the Russian president who is already showing his support.

Matthew Chance explains.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, it's not that clear what Russia's intentions are but what we know is that so far two European carriers, Air France and Austrian Airlines have been forced to cancel flights to Moscow because Russia has refused to give them permission to take an alternative route that would bypass Belarusian airspace. If that continues to happen it could be a major escalation of the

crisis. And potentially cause widespread disruption to air travel in and out of Russia and possibly even across Russia. The European Union is of course advised airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace and banned flights from Belarusian airlines.


A response to the extraordinary events of the weekend in which Belarusian authorities force the passenger airline on route from Athens to Lithuania to land in Minsk. A transport official in Minsk say there have been a bomb threat. But the fact that two passengers on board the aircraft were detained on the ground in Minsk has provoked a wave of condemnation. But for Moscow of course which says it's got no reason to doubt the official Belarusian version of events.

Later on, on Friday, the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko will be here in Russia for face-to-face meetings with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. Meetings that will be closely watched to see how much backing the Kremlin leader is prepared to offer his Belarusian president, given the fact that he is preparing for a very important and much anticipated summit next month with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

BRUNHUBER: And also worth noting, the U.N. aviation agency is opening an investigation into the plane diversion.

United Nations has agreed to launch an international investigation into the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant Hamas. That U.N. Human Right Council voted Thursday to adapt the resolution brought by the organization of the Islamic cooperation and the Palestinian delegation to the U.N.

The Hamas-run health ministry has said more than 240 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli airstrikes during the latest round of violence including 66 children. Some 70,000 people were left homeless. The U.N. Human Rights commissioner says Israel's actions may constitute war crimes.


MICHELLE BACHELET, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: It found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects. Such attacks may constitute war crimes. On the other hand, it is also a violation of international humanitarian law to locate military assets in densely populated civilian areas or to launch attacks from them.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The commissioner also says that the rockets fired by Hamas violated international humanitarian law by failing to distinguish between military and civilian targets. The Israeli military has said 12 people including two children were killed in Israel during those attacks. In Afghanistan new signs that Al-Qaeda may remain global threat after the U.S. pull out. U.S. troops are set to leave by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks in September. As part of a deal with the U.S. the Taliban has pledged to cut ties with Al-Qaeda. But Afghan intelligence officials are telling CNN that Al-Qaeda not only still has a safe haven in the Taliban-controlled areas but also that Al- Qaeda is regrouping and may attack the west again in the future.

Nick Paton Walsh joins us from London with an exclusive CNN investigation. Nick, your excellent reporting raises some alarming but maybe not surprising ramifications here. Take us through this.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The American reassurances essentially as they withdraw and there are, they say, a quarter of the way through completing that job. The reason they went in, Al-Qaeda, are pretty much done for. Yes, they accept they are still there but they are not functioning.

But what we've discovered from talking to Afghan senior intelligence officials not exactly superannuated old man as you may think hiding out in caves, but a thriving network getting shelter from the Taliban. Despite their insurances not to do so in communication with other Al- Qaeda cells worldwide, and actually when they're intercepted providing active intelligence that the United States is using to pursue those other cells around the world namely it seems in Syria. Here is what we found.


WALSH (voice over): Al-Qaeda the reason the U.S. went to Afghanistan are greatly diminished the Biden administration said.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's time to end America's longest war.

WALSH: But a CNN investigation has discovered Al-Qaeda very much alive and thriving in Afghanistan linked to global cells the U.S. is hunting.

Senior Afghan intelligence officials tells CNN Al-Qaeda are communicating with their cells worldwide from Afghanistan. Getting shelter and support from the Taliban in exchange for expertise. And could be able to attack the west from there by the end of next year.

U.S. treasury in January said Al-Qaeda was, quote, 'growing in strength here." But Afghan intelligence official I spoke to go further saying it's more substantial than that. That Al-Qaeda provide expertise like bombmaking but also in finance, in moving cash around.

Core Al-Qaeda members number in their hundreds most assessments conclude but it's not how many but who which is most telling.


Key is senior Al-Qaeda Husam Abd al-Rauf, known as Abu Muhsin al-Masri here on FBI wanted poster issued in 2019. An Al-Qaeda veteran, he was in on 9/11 before it happened.

Al-Masri crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan in 2014. And over six years I was told moved around different provinces in Afghanistan, something that senior Afghan intelligence officials say would only be possible if you had the assistance of top Taliban official.

But he was in October tracked down to here, a tiny Taliban controlled village in Ghazni that we can only see on satellite images. Afghans Special Forces lost the soldier raiding this compound so fierce with a Taliban resistance. And al-Masri died of injuries here.

When they went through al-Masri's posessions his computer, they found messages communicating with other Al-Qaeda cells around the world. talking about operational matters not necessary attacks but also about how soon Afghanistan could be a much freer easier space for them to operate in.

Then something curious happened. Revealing a lot about Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's global connections particularly in this case to Syria. there were two rare U.S. strikes in Al-Qaeda cells in Syria immediately afterwards this one on the 15th of October and another a week later, both in Idlib.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. military said they were, quote, "not aware of any connection to the Afghan raid." But a senior Afghan official told me they were most likely connected because the Americans ask the Afghans to delay announcing their raid for over 10 days. And during that delay before the Afghans broke the news, both Syria strikes happened.

Strikes on Al-Qaeda figures are often announced by Afghan intelligence who present the threat as why the U.S. must stay. A Taliban spokesman rang CNN to say the claims were false and designed to keep American money coming to Afghanistan. He also said the Taliban had agreed to kick out terrorists as part of their peace deal with the United States.

I was told there isn't evidence at this stage that Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on the west from Afghanistan. But still as they grow freedom of movement, I was told it is considered simply a matter of time until that may happen. Raising the question is the reason why the U.S. came to Afghanistan in the first place going to end up the reason they have to come back.


WALSH (on camera): Over the past decade really, the strength of Al- Qaeda in Afghanistan has been exceptionally opaque. And it's deeply sensitive too for the Taliban as they appear grow in capacity over territory in Afghanistan too. I was frankly taken a back to receive a phone call in English from one of their spokespeople vehemently denying any connection with Al-Qaeda and insisting that they in fact has asked all foreign fighters to leave their ranks.

So, an issue of extraordinary tension moving ahead but you can see in the details there frankly, this is an active matter it seems being pursued by U.S. and certainly Afghan intelligence too. And these are people who are deeply functional looking for a better future ahead of them rather than looking back to the past as a better time for Al- Qaeda functioning in Afghanistan.

It is a key issue certainly why the U.S. should be thinking about its future presence there too. And of course, one which may come back to haunt them in the years sadly ahead if it does appear the future Afghanistan yields a freer space for Al-Qaeda. The reason the U.S. originally went there to operate again. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: You paint an extremely disturbing picture. Nick Paton Walsh in London, thanks so much.

The U.S. State Department official is warning Ethiopia and Eritrea that the U.S. might impose additional sanctions if the violence and atrocities in the Tigray region don't stop. It becomes just days after CNN reported witness accounts that soldiers there beat townspeople and rounded up hundreds of young men from displacement camps. This is just one of the atrocities CNN has investigated in the region during the past few months. The State Department says it's reviewing the situation to see if war crimes may have been committed.


ROBERT GODEC, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS: The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal killings, sexual violence including gang rape, forced removals, wanting destruction of civilian property. We condemn all of the human rights violations, abuses and atrocities that have taken place in Tigray.

The atrocities have been committed by all of the armed actors including the Ethiopian National Defense Force and harmed regional forces, Eritrean Defense Forces, and to some, but a lesser degree, by the Tigray People's Liberation Front.



BRUNHUBER (on camera): U.S. and the United Nations are demanding the release of those recently detained young men. Nima Elbagir has reported from Tigray for us and explains how U.S. and U.N officials are responding to CNN's latest findings.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just days after the United States announced financial sanctions and visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials that they say they believe are complicit in violations in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

CNN was sent this video filmed secretly in Shire town in Tigray. It shows desperate parents gathered at the U.N. in Shire desperate to hear a word of their loved one who they say were taken away by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers forcibly detained and beaten.

CNN shared this investigation finding with the United Nations and the resident coordinator has called these detentions arbitrary. Saying that they are serious violations of humanitarian law and calling for the immediate release of this young man.

We also shared our findings with Senator Chris Coons, President Biden's envoy to Ethiopia. And he is also calling for the immediate release of these young men. Saying that if they are harmed or if they are not released then there must be accountability.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

BRUNHUBER: A container ship is still on fire after more than a week. Now officials fear tons of oil could spill into the ocean. We'll have a live report, next.

Plus, panic, chaos gripping a major city in Africa almost a week after a deadly volcanic eruption. Thousands are fleeing. Afraid there's more to come. We'll have the latest. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And welcome to all of you watching us from around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You are watching CNN Newsroom.

Tens of thousands of people are evacuating a major African city at this hour as a deadly volcano threatens to erupt a second time. The panicked exit is occurring in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And for many of the sudden evacuees their destination and their futures are unclear.

CNN's Larry Madowo is near the stricken city.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A state of chaos and panic as people flee the city of Goma following what scientists call an unprecedented situation. Residents of 10 neighborhoods evacuated their homes with only what they can carry. Mattresses, essential items, and their (Inaudible).

Hundreds of thousands hit the road on Thursday according to aid agencies.

MAPENDO RACHEL, EVACUEE (through translator): They said our houses could collapse because of the earthquakes, so we're leaving because we're afraid. A crack already appeared under my bed.


MADOWO (voice over): What sounds like a description of an apocalypse is the reality facing this part of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The eruption for Mount Nyiragongo on Saturday puts them in the higher risk path of lava flow or a catastrophic implosion for magma underground. And increase in earthquakes had led to fear of a second eruption.

This is a scramble to leave the danger zone of Goma. Thousands of people, using every mode of transportation available to them, to try to get to the safety zone in Saki. Where about eight miles out and traffic is back up all the way.

More people trying to cross the border into the safety of neighboring Rwanda. UNICEF projects that after 280,000 children could be displaced in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption. This mother of six tells me, she had left everything behind, except for her kids. It's all in the hands of God, she says.

The Congolese government in Kinshasa (ph) says the priority is the preservation of human life. But the crowded evacuation routes leads to small towns like Saki. They are hardly prepared for the influx of internal displaced people.

Aline Mugisha prepares a small dinner for her three children, after the church. But worries about where their next meal will come from.

ALINE MUGISHA, EVACUEE (through translator): We don't have the needs to take care of ourselves. There's limited foods, we are sleeping on the floor and they are suffering too much.

MADOWO: The latest corruption that kills dozens and displaced tens of thousands, both indescribable stress on an already worn down population. The Norwegian refugee consul, a leading humanitarian organization says the DRC is the world's most neglected displacement crisis in 2020.

JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUFEE COUNCIL: It has the richest mineral based on earth, this country, but the people living on top of this mineral reservoir or among the poorest people in the world and the most neglected.

MADOWO: the city of Goma empty into the night as panic spread. Many would have to reach their final destination, slept rough on the streets. Anxious about a potential disaster. Larry Madowo, CNN, Goma.


KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Officials in Sri Lanka are urgently trying to avoid an environmental disaster. A container ship, carrying chemicals has been burning off the coast for a week now. The cleanup is underway along the coastline. And there are fears that 320 metric tons of oil onboard could spill into the ocean.

Paula Hancocks is watching all from Seoul. So Paula, are they making any progress here? What's the latest?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Kim, we have had would appears to be some good news and based from the chairperson of Sri Lanka's maritime environmental protection agency saying that the fire is still burning, but it appears to be slightly less dense that it was. And that there was less smoke coming off from this container ship. But it is still not under control. They are still not able to get anybody onboard the container ship.

We have the Indian coast guard and the Sri Lanka navy working in conjunction to try and put the flames out. They are (inaudible) them from helicopters, they have firefighting tugs as well, trying to spray a mist at the ship. But as you say, it's been well over a week now, that this has been burning.

But one thing we did hear from the chairperson which does gives some hope is the fact that she said, the structure of the vessel is OK, and it is intact. This was really the main concern over the recent days. We heard from the fisheries minister of the state in Sri Lanka, saying there is an 80 percent chance that this ship was going to sink. They couldn't see how they could keep it intact. And of course, if that happens then all that oil rises to the surface and spreads throughout the ocean and that would be the environmental disaster.

But the chairperson, saying she is hoping that that won't be the case, but of course, can't give guarantees, but she did point out, that they has already have been some debris.


UNKNOWN: We actually have deployed nearly 975 (inaudible) force and personnel, (inaudible) remove debris in these areas. Basically, marine and (inaudible) prediction (inaudible) already have identified that 10 areas. We have critically polluted and we have deployed this 975, but there are many other that we need to deploy forces and no warranty us for collecting these debris. And we'll be doing it very soon.


HANCOCKS: We've also put oil booms around the vessel itself. So that if there is oil spillage, it maybe contained. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Alright. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, thanks so much.

In El Salvador, former police officer, faces charges after a horrific discovery in his backyard. Earlier this month, officials found at least 18 bodies, buried in his yard, most of them were women, some of them were sexually assaulted. There's Patrick Oppmann reports investigators are concerned there could be more.



PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We got for finding a mass grave in a former police officer's backyard, officials in El Salvador, continue to unearth the bodies of more of his alleged victims.

So far, Salvador and police say they found at least 18 bodies, many of them women who are believe were the victims of sexual abuse. Officials say there are maybe more bodies, they had yet to recover. Former police officer, Hugo Chavez, is one of the 11 people charge with murder after the human remains were discovered in his backyard.

According to the Attorney General office, the convicted Hugo Chavez could face more than 100 years in prison. Officials say Osorio Chavez was dismissed from the National Civil Police 15 years ago for allegedly raping a minor and having sex they say with an underage person. After his released from prison police say began to approach alleged

victims through social media. (Inaudible) in El Salvador reported that either Osorio Chavez, know his attorney had commented on the allegations.

The case had shocked Salvadorans who are all used to sky high murder rates, and allegations that police who commit crimes are protected from prosecution. Since the grim discovery, family members of missing women had gathered outside the home to see if their loved ones might be buried inside. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


BRUNHUBER: And we will be right back.


BRUNHUBER: Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey are continuing their conversation about mental health on Apple TV plus. The documentary series kick off last week. The follow up town hall discussions started streaming today. CNN's Bianca Nobilo joins me live. So, tell us more about what were likely to hear from them.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Well, Kim, as we mentioned, this is part of the series, that Prince Harry had been working on with Oprah Winfrey, tackling mental health and the struggles that people face. It was town hall style format, and it was called the (inaudible) you can't see, a path forward.

And in it, Prince Harry reiterated one point about (inaudible). That was the fact that he believe that the greatest challenges that are facing society and the world at this time are climate change and mental health. He also elaborated to why he thinks those two elements are inextricably link. Let's take a listen to what he had to say.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: But all this time later, I believe even more that climate change and mental health or two of the most pressing issues that we are facing. And in many ways, they are linked. The connecting line is about. Our collective well-being. And when our collective well-being erodes that affects our ability to be caretakers of ourselves, of our communities and of our planet.


NOBILO: An important part of what Prince Harry said would help with describe towards treating mental health in people, and making sure that discussions about a normalize is making sure that vulnerability is seen as something that's healthy and it's encourage. He definitely underscored that point many times over.


He also touch on a topic which we know he and his wife had been campaigning on and speaking openly about which is suicide. And he confronted the fat that it can be such a difficult conversation to have with somebody, and that many people would be frightened of being in the position while they are on the receiving end of a conversation with somebody that might be having suicide thoughts.

They underscored that the most important thing is simply to listen. And if that's already playing an important role in trying to help someone else. He also spoke to, Zach Williams, the son of the actor Robin Williams, who died of suicide in 2014. About the difficulties of going through a private grieving process. When your love one is someone who is adored and known by the public by millions of people.

And Prince Harry said to Zach that, I think we have a lot of shared experiences, when you talk about that. When you see people around the world, grieving for someone that you knew. It feels weird because you are unable to grieve for yourself. He then said, it's like how you are grieving for someone, who was my parent and I'm unable to grieve for myself.

So Kim, just another example of Prince Harry being entirely unprecedented in his level of openness about mental health struggles and life so important to have the discussion, and to talk to people and be open. That's truly quite remarkable to see a member of the British royal family, speak like this. And as part of the continuation of these series of programs he's made with Oprah Winfrey.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. Alright. Thank you so much, Bianca Nobilo in London, I appreciate it.

The one where they reunited. 17 years later, the famous cast of Friends met once more, for an almost two hour special, on HBO max. A sister company of CNN. The six celebrity strolled around their old set, while reminiscing on their 10 year run of the show. At the same time fans around the world were also showing their appreciation, including one very famous activist.


UNKNOWN: I like Joey, 100 percent, because you just walk into my room with these jokes that don't make sense, but you are howling. Like you have tears down your eyes. I think jealous, with a bit of phoebe.

UNKNOWN: Vi loves friends, and I realize like what this true addiction for TV show memes. And I get together as well.

UNKNOWN: And that was my proudest moment when I got her hook. I was like, mission accomplish. And we've stay up all night watching together.

UNKNOWN: You know Friends brought friends together.


BRUNHUBER: Intertwined, amongst it all, celebrity cameos, and throwback songs, and in person chat with late night talk show host James Corden interviews from creators, another former guest stars and of course, clips of the iconic show. I'm Kim Brunhuber, I'll be back with more CNN Newsroom, at the top of

the hour. Inside Africa is next.