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U.S. Ship Fails to Intercept Ballistic Missile in Test; North Korea: Orphans "Volunteer" to Work at Mines and Farms; Remains of 215 Children Found Near Former Indigenous School in Canada; New Aerial Images Show Volcano Spewing Gray Ash; Parts of U.S. Could See Winds, Hail and Tornadoes Today; Tennis Start Fined for Not Talking to Media at French Open; Helio Castroneves Wins Record-Tying Fourth Career Indy 500; Bikers Honor Veterans and Those Missing in Action. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 31, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone.

Well the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said a U.S. warship failed to intercept a ballistic missile during a test on Saturday. Barbara Starr explains what happened.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The whole idea was that there's a navy ship out there and it is equipped with something called the standard missile, an advanced version, not a fancy name but very advanced, very high-tech. They were testing to see if they could fire a salvo of those missiles against what would have been a stimulated ballistic missile target. Not a real ballistic missile, but in a test, of course, you want something that is a target and you try and shoot it down. And that tells you if your missile defenses work. This time it didn't work and they don't know why yet. So an investigation underway into this failed test.


CHURCH: The U.S. is working to fine tune its missile defenses to guard against threats from countries like North Korea.

And we are now getting North Korea's first reaction to the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart. Just over a week since the two leaders met in Washington. North Korean state media is now slamming the U.S. for lifting missile guidelines with South Korea calling it a hostile act. With the lifting of the guidelines, South Korea is no longer bound to any restrictions in its missile development.

Well state media is also claiming that hundreds of North Korean orphans are voluntarily working on farms and in coal mines after just graduating from middle school. The regime calls it patriotic service to the nation. But as Will Ripley reports, it's actually state- sanctioned abuse on a mass scale.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Answering the call of duty from their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea's orphan children in pressed uniforms, flowery wreaths, racing to work at coal mines and farms.

COLIN ZWIRKO, SENIOR ANALYTIC CORRESPONDENT, NK NEWS: You can't determine the exact age but they look quite young and they look like middle school students is accurate.

RIPLEY: Have we ever seen students that young doing this kind of work in North Korea?

ZWIRKO: This one is a little bit different because of just how young they appear on camera. We can see with our own eyes how young these children are.

RIPLEY (voice-over): North Korean propaganda praises these so called child volunteers.

RIPLEY: How widespread is this and how young are the children that are - that are volunteering to work?

LINA YOON, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: I imagine happens to almost all children that do not come from privileged backgrounds or have money to pay instead of working. Child labor is a very serious problem but the sad reality for North Korea is that it's quite common.

RIPLEY (voice-over): North Korea denies allegations of forced child labor. Just last week, its foreign ministry accused developed countries of exploiting children. State media says these orphans are eager to show their loyalty, to fulfill their oath, to repay the ruling Workers Party and the leader, they call father.

ZWIRKO: And that's how they repay the love of this party is to go to the coal mines and repay that debt.

YOON: The mines have horrible conditions and you know, there's a constant accident.

RIPLEY (voice-over): On my trips to North Korea, orphans told me heartbreaking stories. Some lost their parents to industrial accidents, others to starvation during the North Korean famine of the late 1990s.

My parents died a long time ago, I was so young, Jang Jong Hwa told me in 2015, at the time, she was barely out of school, working full time, caring for seven other orphans. Jang said she hoped they would grow up strong to serve the nation.

Our country is one big family she said. In North Korea country always comes first. Even if it means a childhood of hard labor.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei. (END VIDEO TAPE)

CHURCH: Flags in Canada are flying half-staff to honor hundreds of children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of a former school for indigenous children.


The news is drawing strong reactions from across the country. As CNN's Paula Newton reports.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The discovery is astounding and so too the anguish, leaving community members and much of Canada reeling. The remains of 215 children, some as young as three, buried for decades on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Their deaths believed to be undocumented, graves unmarked.

The indigenous community in British Columbia calls it an unthinkable discovery and yet former students of the school like Harvey McLeod, who was subjected to abuse there, tell us they thought of nothing else for decades.

CHIEF HARVEY MCLEOD, UPPER NICOLA BAND (voice-over): What I realized yesterday was how strong I was, as a little boy. How strong I was, as a little boy, to be here today. Because I know that a lot of people didn't come home.

NEWTON (voice-over): It was one of the largest residential schools of its kind in Canada, but there were well over 100 across the country. Many, like the one in Kamloops, was run by the Catholic church and later by the federal government.

According to Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, indigenous children were forced to attend the schools separated from families and many neglected and worse, physically and sexually abused, and many disappeared, their families never knowing what became of them.

CHIEF ROSANNE CASIMIR, TK'EMLUPS TE SECWEPEMC FIRST NATION: What they were told was that when children were missing, that they were told they ran away.

NEWTON (voice-over): And yet the community here knew that couldn't be true. Survivors and families of the missing children were sure a mass grave would be found. But they were unprepared for the loss of 215 souls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was devastating. It was actually quite mind- boggling.

NEWTON (voice-over): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that it is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country's history. The government own commission says thousands of children likely died of abuse or neglect in these schools. The legacy now is one of intergenerational trauma for many of Canada's indigenous communities.

While the archbishop of Vancouver and other individual societies have acknowledged the abuse, the Catholic Church has never formally apologized. In 2019, Trudeau agreed decades of abuse perpetrated on indigenous peoples amounted to cultural genocide.

Now, native leaders say it's time the government step up. Two hundred and fifteen pair of shoes are lead on these Vancouver steps. Finally, their souls symbolically are at rest.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


CHURCH: The parents of a U.S. journalist detained in Myanmar are making an appeal for their son's release. Thirty-seven-year-old Danny Fenster is believed to be held in a prison by the country's military regime. His parents say he had told them of worsening conditions for journalists following February's coupe. They appeared on CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" and delivered this message.


BUDDY FENSTER, FATHER OF DETAINED JOURNALIST, DANNY FENSTER: I think their efforts to squelch journalism and get the word out is just -- it just -- it just kills life and it kills freedom. It kills truth. And I think that they need to let him go immediately. He has not committed any crime there.


CHURCH: Fenster was on his way home to surprise his family when he was detained at the airport in Yangon.

A volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo has many on edge. Activity has been reported more than a week after it erupted. We will have those details after the break.

Plus, some 6 million people in the U.S. are at risk of severe storms today. We will tell you what to watch out for. Back with that in a moment.



CHURCH: Dozens of small earthquakes and tremors are still being recorded around an active volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It erupted a little over a week ago killing at least 31 people and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate the nearby city of Goma. And there are concerns another eruption is still possible.

Joining me now is CNN's Larry Madowo. He joins us live from Goma. God to see you, Larry. So what is the latest on this deadly volcano and this fear over the possibility of another eruption? LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is still a possibility that

scientists are keeping open. They are not willing to relax that here might be a sudden eruption with little or no warning. And it might not come just as the monitoring itself, monitoring Goma, it might also come from the underground, because there's been some seismic activities reported on the magma underground.

Goma is next to Lake Kivu, and they think that could also be potentially a threat. They're monitoring that and trying to give regular updates. But this is concerning for a city of about 2 million. They are surrounded by Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano -- the most active in Africa and one of the most dangerous. They have another mountain not too far from that, so they have two active volcanos that threaten to essentially sweep everything in its path at a moment's notice.

So it is quite a situation that is of concern. We flew around both mountains yesterday and had a good look what's happening there. A volcanologist has been studying them for the last -- since 1995, essentially says, there is no imminent danger but he needs a few more days to really get a look at the science and say that it might be safe for people to come back out here. So 400,000 people who were forced to flee because the authorities declared a mandatory evacuation order. Some of them are still -- wherever they went to -- but they're afraid that the longer they stay there, they might be exposed to cholera, which has been reported in the past here.

They're all in confined spaces in churches and in strangers front porches and their living rooms. That's in the middle of a pandemic, that could be a danger as well. So all of those coming together. Some of them have decided to come back to their homes against government advice. But they're the lucky ones. Because behind me are some of the people who didn't -- who have nowhere to return to, because their homes were flattened by the volcano. And for them rebuilding is going to be a long journey.

CHURCH: Yes, that is such a concern along with all of the others. You mentioned cholera, there's also COVID. It is very problematic. Larry Madowo, thank you so much for bringing us up to date on this situation, appreciate it.

Well there could be severe storms on the horizon for roughly 6 million people in the United States today. Southwestern Texas could see strong winds, hail, and tornados. And Wisconsin might see damaging winds.


On Sunday large tornados were reported in Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma. A crazy weekend and possibly a crazy day ahead. So let's turn to meteorologist Tyler Mauldin to bring us up to date on the features, all what's going on. And it's just unbelievable. And a lot of extreme weather across parts of the country. How bad could it be?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, hey Rosemary, the extreme weather today, I think, the main focus will be down there across Texas and portions of New Mexico. That's where we have the really potent system pushing eastbound. Unfortunately today is Memorial Day. So there's Memorial Day plans that could be in jeopardy down here across portions of the Southern Plains and also up here across Wisconsin.

Now here in southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, this is where the storm prediction center has a level two out of five risk for severe weather. We could see damaging winds here and some large hail. And up there in Wisconsin, we could also see some damaging winds. But with this system pushing across the plains is a slow mover. And we've already picked up a lot of rainfall. We're going to pick up more in the days to come.

So we have flood alerts in effect from north Texas on into the panhandle of Oklahoma. Across east Oklahoma in the green country. Going on into Arkansas and Missouri. We will see as this system moves slowly to the East four, possibly six inches of rainfall in this region. And that is certainly enough to cause those rivers and those small streams to swell which will lead to flooding.

Now on the flip side, over here across the West Coast, it is terribly dry. And it doesn't look like we'll see any rain. In fact, it's going to stay dry and we're going to see the temperature shoot up. We're talking record heat. We could see more than 130 temperatures get broken this week. Temperatures are going to be -- look at this -- in the valley of California above 100 degrees. This is more than 20 degrees above average. And it' not just there. It's all the way into Portland, other portions of the West Coast, Rosemary, and that's going to move east and we're going to see our temperatures stay above average across much of the U.S. in the days to come.

CHURCH: Those extremes are just ridiculous. Aren't they? Tyler Mauldin bringing us up to date on the situation. Appreciate it.

And still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, racing out of lockdown. Why the crowd may have been the biggest story at Sunday's Indy 500.

Plus, one of tennis' brightest young stars is facing a stiff penalty after winning at the French Open. Why Naomi Osaka is getting in trouble for what she didn't say. Back with that in a moment.



CHURCH: An impressive victory for tennis star Naomi Osaka after her straight set win at the French Open on Sunday. Less impressive, however, is getting fined $15,000 for not fulfilling her media obligations after the win. The four-time Grand Slam champion said last week she wouldn't be doing news conferences at the tournament citing mental health concerns. Organizers say anymore violations by Osaka could lead to tougher sanctions, including default from the tournament. She did speak briefly in an interview on the court.


I'd like to know how you can adapt you game and movement on play.

NAOMI OSAKA, FOUR-TIME MAJOR WINNER: I would say it's a work in progress. Hopefully the more I play, the better it gets.


CHURCH: Osaka also tweeted afterwards saying anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.

Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500 on Sunday. But the race was about so much more than his record timed victory. The event was billed as the sporting event with the largest crowd in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. And although capacity was still limited, every ticket sold out almost immediately. CNN's Coy Wire reports from Indianapolis.


COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: 135,000 strong at the indie 500. Still only 40 percent capacity at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track sold all available tickets making this the biggest single day sporting event in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

It was loud. It was very crowded in high traffic areas but this is a massive venue. Capacity of about 350,000. So still plenty of space if you wanted to have it. Fans were excited to be back in an event of this magnitude. You could feel it. It was emotional at times, as well, specially before the race with a flyover. They honored 105 health care workers and first responders.

This was the fastest Indy 500 ever. And 46-year-old Brazilian, Helio Castroneves, takes the checkered flag. Second place finisher was Alex Palou was just 4-years-old when Helio won his first Indy 500 back in 2001. It' the former "Dancing with the Stars" champs fourth Indy 500 win. Tying him with three other drivers for the most ever. Spiderman climbing the fence once again after an emotional win in front of returning fans. And of course, he drank the traditional jug of milk, as well. 2 percent strawberry was his choice. What a career. A 20-year span between his first and latest Indy 500 wins.

HELIO CASTRONEVES, FOURTH DRIVE TO WIN INDY 500 FOUR TIMES: It means a lot. It means a lot of people want this to happen. I just want to hug everyone. I just want to like -- I draw this positive attitude from them and I guess it paid off today. So incredible. I was very touched by it.

WIRE: The year of I'm still here in sports. Tom Brady won another Super Bowl at 43. Phil Mickelson became the oldest to win a golf major at 50. And now Helio Castroneves winning the greatest spectacle in racing at 46. And with 135,000 fans returning to the Indy 500, this felt like a celebration and a special milestone in the quest to return to normalcy. Back to you.


CHURCH: Thanks for that report.

Well this Memorial Day weekend an annual motorcycle ride returned to the streets of the U.S. Capitol where hundreds of bikers paid tribute to the nation's military veterans and those missing in action. CNN Alex Marquardt reports from Washington.



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: It's a familiar sight here in the nation's capital over Memorial Day weekend. Motorcycles rumbling through the streets of Washington, D.C., to honor veterans. Last year's event was cancelled due to COVID concerns. But it was back this year. Under a slightly different name. "Rolling to Remember," organized by the veteran's group AMVETS.

The famous Rolling Thunder Rally that was held for more than 30 years ended in 2019 because of rising costs and logistics complications but the missions the same, to honor veterans, to remember the more than 80,000 troops, they say, who are still missing in action, and to raise awareness about veteran suicide. More than 20 every single day across this country. As the riders were looping around the National Mall, they rode past a veteran Marine in full dress uniform saluting them as he has for the past 20 years. We spoke to him about why it's so important.

STAFF SGT. TIM CHAMBERS, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It weighs really heavy in my heart. And that's why I do things. Not just on this day but every day that I can represent their service. That I cannot let it go in vain. And that's how I can play my part. Because I didn't do as much as they did but I'm not going to stop serving.

MARQUARDT: This was the capstone of three days of memorial events. Participants tell us there were fewer riders, which is understandable, but the fact that the event was held at all is a real sign of the country opening back up, of getting back to some sense of normalcy more than a year into this global pandemic.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Nice to end on a positive note. Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.