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Looming Deadline To Form New Israel Government; Peru More Than Doubles Its COVID-19 Death Toll; Belarusian Opposition Activist Stabs Own Throat In Court; Politicians Face Midnight Deadline to Form New Government; Sri Lanka Warns Sinking Cargo Ship Could Spill Oil; Hong Kong Museum Commemorating Tiananmen Square Massacre Closed amid Licensing Probe. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired June 2, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to the third hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. And coming up. Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as Israel's Prime Minister could soon come to an end. His rivals are now facing a looming deadline to form a unity government and oust him from power.
A massive undercount of COVID deaths in Peru with official figures down more than doubled for pandemic mortality rate the highest in the world.
And what appears to be a desperate act of defiance. An opposition activist in a federal route court stabs himself in the throat to avoid pleading guilty to organizing anti-government protests.
We begin in Israel where Benjamin Netanyahu's time as the country's longest serving prime minister could be coming to an end. A diverse group of political rivals have put aside significant party differences, and in the coming hours could announce an agreement to form a unity government. What is essentially an anti-Netanyahu coalition. The leader of the centrist opposition Yair Lapid has been working with Naftali Bennett, the head of a small religious Nationalist Party to form a block which controls at least 61 seats in the Knesset.
That's what's needed to oust Netanyahu. They have about 15 hours left before midnight, Wednesday deadline. And beyond that any deal would still need parliamentary approval by the Knesset. Let's get the latest data from journalists Elliot Gotkine in Jerusalem. He is with us live. Israeli politics never a dull moment, you could say but I guess the question is, is it essentially a done deal among this anti-Netanyahu bloc, it's all over by the Shelly or are they still working out the finer details here?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, they are still working out the final details. Now, I spoke with a source involved in the negotiations yesterday and he told me that he thought there was a 60 percent chance that this would be a done deal by yesterday, Tuesday. We're now into Wednesday. As you say the clock is ticking. The deadline is midnight tonight local time. That's 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And one of the main sticking points I'm told by this source is actually a yell at Ayelet Shaked. Now she's the number two to Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right wing Yamina Party. She's a former justice minister. She's secular but right wing, and she is apparently demanding to be one of the coalition's representatives on the Judicial Appointments Committee which appoints judges. Now, there's two spots on that committee for this putative coalition.
One will go to one of the members of the right-wing parties This is going to be Gideon Sa'ar from New Hope who is set to be the Justice Minister, if this coalition it gets over the line. And one will be from the center or the left part of the bloc, and it will go to Merav Michaeli who's the leader of the Labor Party. But Ayelet Shaked apparently once in Miss Michaeli's position on that committee for herself.
Something that the rest of the bloc doesn't seem to want. So this seems to be one of the main sticking points. That said the same source said that there was very significant progress overnight and nearly everything is done. But as we know, John is not done until it's done.
VAUSE: Over by the shelving. Elliot, thank you. Elliott Gotkine in Jerusalem. We'll check in with you as this goes on throughout the day.
Football countries will soon have access to China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine. That's after approval from the World Health Organization for emergency use, which means it will be added to the WHO's vaccine sharing program known as Covax which is facing some severe shortages after India suspended vaccine exports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Today, I'm happy to announce that the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine has been given WHO emergency use listing after being found to be safe, effective, and quality-assured should following two-dose oft the inactivated vaccine.
Furthermore, the easy storage requirements of CoronaVac make it very suitable for low resource settings. It's now the eighth vaccine to receive EUL by WHO.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And in panel of experts has recommended Sinovac for anyone over 18 years old. It's the second vaccine produced by China to be given emergency use authorization by the WHO. The number of new coronavirus infections worldwide has been declining now for five weeks and the deadly death toll is following down now for a fourth week according to the WHO.
[02:05:02] VAUSE: Meantime new infections in India are down more than 25 percent, a steady decline after the recent surge. And Brazil struggles continue recording the most COVID death worldwide last week. But Brazil is now the last minute host for football Copa America 2021 tournament despite the growing number of COVID-19 deaths and infections. The decision to move South America's largest football tournament to Brazil from Argentina and Colombia has drawn a lot of criticism. But Brazil's President, he's defending the move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I have said from the beginning about the pandemic. I regret the deaths but we have to live. If everyone just stays in their homes, and people in the countryside stay home. I would like to see what city dwellers would survive on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The official pandemic death toll in Peru has been revised upwards by a lot. In fact, it's more than doubled. At admission of sorts that COVID-19 has been far more deadly there than the government wanted to believe. And that came as a surprise to almost no one most had suspected as much for months. We have more now from CNN Patrick Oppmann.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For a long time as they bury their dead in staggeringly high numbers, Peruvians knew the fight against the coronavirus was being lost in their country. But only now is the true scope of their government's failure to respond to the pandemic coming in a clearer view. On Monday, Peruvian health officials acknowledged that they had vastly undercounted the victims of coronavirus and that a reexamination of the death toll showed that instead of nearly 70,000 COVID fatalities, there were more than 180,000.
At more than 500 deaths per 100,000 people, Peru's pandemic mortality rate now stands is the highest in the world. Peruvians waiting outside hospitals for beds and oxygen for their loved ones said they lost faith in their leaders.
I don't know if the government lies to us or tells us the truth, she says. We have that problem. There are dead being taken out of the hospital every day. They go into hospital every day. And we don't know. Peruvian health officials said they arrived at the new figures by combining different systems tracking deaths and looking at the overall increase in fatalities compared to recent years. Government officials said they did not try to cover up how many people actually died.
We consider that it is our duty to make this updated information public, she says, not only as part of our commitment to transparency but also to fulfill our obligations as a state. The revised death toll is unlikely to generate renewed confidence in their government among Peruvians and could influence who will lead the country as Peru goes to vote on Saturday in a tight run off presidential election.
The vast discrepancy in the death toll maybe just one symptom of an overwhelmed healthcare system that did not have enough oxygen cylinders, testing kids or doctors.
We believe that this occurs because our healthcare system does not have the necessary conditions to care for patients, he says. There has not been government support with oxygen, with ICU beds. We do not have enough vaccines at the moment. The pandemic is still raging in Peru, and across much of the rest of Latin America, whereas of the middle of May, only three percent of the population has been fully vaccinated according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Whatever the full figures are, the true toll of the pandemic on this region will likely never be known. Patrick Oppmann, CNN.
VAUSE: All important show support for Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka with at least six sponsors standing by her. After the world number two said she would not talk to reporters at the French Open. She was fined by organizers for that and then bowed out of the tournament. citing mental health reasons. The men's world number one insisted that news conferences are part of the sport but he did go on to say he understands Osaka's decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SERBIAN TENNIS PLAYER: I support her. I think she was very brave to do that. I'm really sorry that she is going through painful times and suffering mentally as what I've heard. This was -- I must say very bold decision from her side. But she knows how she feels best. And if she needs to take time and reflect and just recharge and, you know, that's what she needed to do and I respect it fully and I hope that she'll come back strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And from retired American tennis star Chris Everett, some suggestions on how to make those news conferences a little less stressful for athletes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS EVERT, AMERICAN TENNIS PLAYER: think that one thing that could change would be the press. You know, the whole dynamics of the press going in after a match, time it. Have it a 15 or 20-minute press conference. Have a moderator. Field the questions. If there's any inappropriate questions, they can take care of that. And also, you know, I think, look at the credentials of the press. I mean, some of the press is not tennis press.
They're tabloid press or they're bloggers or, you know, they have nothing to do with tennis, they just want to talk about other things besides tennis. And I think it should be primarily after a match would be about your tennis. And I think that, you know, somehow they -- everybody has to talk about a solution to make this a healthy environment for the players to go into in a comfortable environment, because we're all in this together to promote the sport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Meantime, the organizers of the Grand Slam tournament have softened their tone, saying they now understand the need to address mental health issues. And earlier I spoke with psychology professor, Andrea Bonior.
ANDREA BONIOR, PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: No one is immune to anxiety or depression for that matter which Naomi Osaka has mentioned that she'd suffered from. And I think it's hard to fathom because we hold athletes up on a pedestal in terms of when they accomplish these incredible physical feats. We think that they must have it all together mentally.
But a lot of times the extreme pressures they're under actually make them more likely to suffer from anxiety, social anxiety and performance anxiety when speaking to groups of people are very common across the world. And it's no surprise that they would be common in the athlete population as well, especially given the criticism and the way that they have to be exposed to such, you know, high expectations and the negative talk and the judgment about them. It's almost a wonder that any of them actually feel OK.
VAUSE: it's a pressure cooker and there's a lot of pressure on these very young athletes at a very early stages of their career. But -- and we can't (INAUDIBLE) back in December, during an interview with Vogue, Osaka was quoted -- saying, off the court. If I was ever thrown into a situation where I had to speak in front of 100 people, I feel like I would start shaking. And then a few years ago, back in 2019, there was a very telling moment, during a news conference at Wimbledon. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has it been difficult to get used to the new level of fame that you have, you've pretty much become a global superstar over the last 12 months by winning in Australia and New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) I'm sorry, we have to leave that there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So clearly she was struggling, she got out, she walked a year earlier, she talked about her issues are struggling with depression and how she was, you know, essentially didn't know what was happening. She just didn't have the energy that she needed to play. So it seems as if someone was watching, and then includes the people who run professional tennis, there are plenty of signs that this moment was coming,
BONIOR: Plenty of signs. And to not accept her willingness to talk about it and to do some good, you know, I see that as a mental health professional is such a missed opportunity. She was trying to speak out and to help empower people to speak out to help destigmatize the fact that mental health issues are out there. And we all are deserving of some compassion about them. And just the lack of support is really surprising to me because it really was an opportunity for us to start a conversation about just how common these mental health issues are.
And I think it was really brave of her. There could have been so many people from her words, that felt like OK, maybe I can get some help. Maybe I'm, you know, not a lost cause. If someone as much of a superstar as her has these struggles. Maybe I'm not so bad either. And so, I really would have loved to see some more compassionate and progressive stances from the French Open.
VAUSE: And CNN's Patrick Snell will have much more on the story in "WORLD SPORT" about half an hour from now. In the meantime, we'll take a short break. Coming up with CNN NEWSROOM, a prominent critic of Belarusian strong man Alexander Lukashenko takes a dramatic and dangerous action in court protesting alleged threats to his family. We'll show you what happened.
And the U.S. journalists detained in Myanmar. We'll have the latest on it if it's being released from a notorious political prisoner.
VAUSE: The world's largest meat packers says it's making significant progress recovering from a ransomware attack, which the U.S. says can likely be traced back to Russia. JBS Foods says operations in North America and Australia were targeted, but says most operations will be back online in the coming hours. The FBI is investigating and the White House principal deputy press secretary offered some insight into who may be responsible.
"JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter, and delivering the message that responsible states do not have a ransomware criminals."
Well, Belarusian opposition activists stabbed himself in the throat during a court hearing Tuesday in Minsk. The images are disturbing. Although a local human rights watchdog group says his wounds are not life threatening. That rights group goes on to say that Steffan Latypov harmed himself in court because authorities had threatened his family if he did not enter a guilty plea.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more and once again, the images you're about to see are disturbing. FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some very troubling scenes in that courtroom in Minsk as the activist Steffan Latypov stabbed himself in the neck while he was on trial. And all of this happened after Latypov's father actually gave witness testimony and that it was then that Latypov himself started speaking and he said that he had been pressured by the authorities that they had threatened to go after him but to also go after his neighbors and his family as well.
It was then that he stabbed himself in the neck. And one of the things about those trials and Belarus is that very often, the defendant is in some sort of cage and in this case, he then collapsed inside that cage and workers in the courtroom went inside and got him out. He was then carried on a gurney outside and a human rights group said that he was actually in surgery on Tuesday but that luckily, his wounds were not life threatening.
Now all of this of course causing big uproar amongst the Belarusian opposition, the opposition leaders Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, she called the state terror. And the opposition has been calling for tougher action against the Belarusian regime against Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus. Of course, all of this also coming after government of Belarus forced that Ryanair jet to land to then get the journalist and activist Roman Protasevich off that plane and arrest him and his Russian companion, as well.
The Belarusian opposition is saying that they demand tougher action against the government in Minsk, especially of the Biden administration. And certainly that's also something that a lot of opposition activists are going to be looking at with President Biden meets with Vladimir Putin. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
VAUSE: American journalists Danny Fenster is starting a second week in editorial political prson in Myanmar. He's among an estimated 80-plus journalists who've been detained since the coup back in February. That includes another American reporter who's with him. Fenster was arrested at Yangon Airport trying to board a flight to Malaysia.
CNN's Anna Coren is in Hong Kong with very latest details now. And of course, one thing which is of concern is that the other American detainee, I think it's with the State Department but no such privileges for Danny.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. The US State Department has been given access to Nathan Maung, that second U.S. journalists who was arrested. It was a virtual visit but as you say consular staff in Yangon have not had any access to Danny.
COREN: He's behind -- been behind bars now for over now for over a week. They are asking for assurances that he will be looked after properly and that both he and Nathan Maung are released immediately to their families.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COHEN (voice-over): A curious mind with an empathetic heart driven by wonder lust. Danny Fenster knew that journalism was his calling.
DANNY FENSTER, FRONTIER MYANMA MANAGING EDITOR: I thought it might be interesting to show kids how I commute around Yangon.
COHEN: So when the opportunity arose to move to Myanmar and cover this complicated country in Southeast Asia, the Detroit native jumped at it. Eventually landing a position at the independent online news outlet Frontier Myanmar as the managing editor.
But when the military staged a coup on February 1st, sparking wide scale protests followed by a bloody crackdown. Danny and his colleagues soon realized their profession made them a target.
BEN DUNANT, FRONTIER MYANMAR EDITOR-AT-LARGE: There is no safe way of doing journalism. It is a job that you do inside the country at extreme risk. But it's an extremely important one. And I think for a long time in Myanmar, being a foreign national was seen as a protection.
COHEN: Not anymore.
FENSTER: -- so much. I miss you so much. I can't wait to get home and see you.
COHEN: When 37-year-old Danny tried to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur, then onto the United States just over a week ago authorities arrested him.
BUDDY FENSTER, DANNY FENSTER'S FATHER: Their efforts to squelch journalism, it kills life and it kills freedom. It kills truth. And I think that there -- they just need to let him go immediately. He has not committed any crime there.
COHEN: He's the fourth foreign national among the more than 80 journalists who have been arrested since a coup began.
Another U.S. journalists Nathan Maung was also detained back in March when his officers were raided. A family friend of Nathan's told CNN that the editor in chief of Kamayut Media was tortured for two weeks after his arrest. The 44-year-old and his local producer was severely beaten around their heads, burnt on their stomach, buttocks and thighs with cigarettes and made to kneel on ice while their hands were handcuffed behind them during interrogations.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has described the abuse as unconscionable. Both Danny and Nathan are being held in the notorious insane prison, a monument to brutality. Housing more than 10,000 prisoners of which hundreds are political prisoners. The squalid conditions and acts of torture behind these gates are well documented from those who survived to tell their stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now there are many, many people in that prison who are going through hell right now. And they've done nothing wrong. COHEN: Owen, we're not using his real name due to safety concerns, was one of Danny's closest friends in Myanmar. He left the country back in April as the crackdown against journalists escalated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The longer he stayed on the more risk you were taken of them one day coming into your own house and taking you away as well.
COHEN: According to the human rights group, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 830 civilians have been killed in Myanmar, also known as Burma in the last four months. And more than 4300 have been arrested. Danny's wife remains in Myanmar, while his family back in Michigan worked tirelessly to keep his detention in the headlines in his place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to miss you so much.
COHEN: Hoping and praying that the U.S. government can negotiate their son's release.
ROSE FENSTER, DANNY FENSTER'S MOTHER: It's a total nightmare. It's a total feeling of no control. It's heart wrenching, and I just want my son home no matter what it takes.
COHEN: Now, John, that Danny's family has set up an online petition, #BringDannyHome. They're lobbying U.S. President Joe Biden as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to secure Danny's release. In relation to Nathan Maung and those claims of torture, we put them to the U.S. State Department but they made no comment. He has now been charged under the military's newly imposed fake news law which carries a jail sentence of up to three years, John.
VAUSE: Anna, thank you. We appreciate the update there. Anna Coren live in Hong Kong.
Joe Biden is now the first sitting U.S. president to pay tribute in person to the victims of the Tulsa race massacre. One of the worst acts of racial violence in U.S. history. Mr. Biden traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma Tuesday to map 100 years since the atrocity which until recent years had mostly been overlooked in the U.S. The President outlined new federal efforts to battle racial inequality including housing discrimination, as well as plans to bolster minority-owned businesses.
VAUSE: President Biden also recounted details of the massacre that devastated Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood, saying literal hell was unleashed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was not a ride. This was a massacre. Among the worst in our history but not the only one. And for too long forgotten by our history. As soon as it happened, there was a clear effort to erase it from our memory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The Greenwood district was made up of more than 35 blocks of entirely black-owned businesses. It became known as Black Wall Street. But on May 31st, 1921, tensions with neighboring white residents boiled over and the neighborhood is burned to the ground.
Still ahead, Israel's political Houdini may be out of tricks. Benjamin Netanyahu claim the power as a coalition united by animosity for him, could be just hours away from announcing a unity government.
Also later, keeping memories of the Tiananmen Square Massacre alive in Hong Kong in the face of growing pressure and disapproval from Beijing. We're going live there in either the government's latest move to silence those who want to remember the worst.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for staying with us. I'm John Vause.
Political drama on playing or playing out rather in Israel where rival political parties could be joining forces in the coming hours to try and unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and the religious nationalist Naftali Bennett seeking to -- the support of smaller parties ahead of a midnight deadline.
And India was still need the approval of the Knesset or the Parliament. Mr. Netanyahu is Israel's longest serving Prime Minister in office for the past 12 years. Joining me now from Jerusalem, David Horvitz, editor of The Times of Israel. David, it's been a while it's good to have you with us. Thanks, john. How are you? I'm good, thanks. Okay. Now, just a few days ago, a wise man said this. The time to say it's for real will only be when that vote is cast.
And the votes have been counted and Netanyahu is no longer leading the coalition. We're not there yet. That wise man was you. At this point though, it seems the best outcome that Netanyahu could be looking at his delay the formation of a unity coalition, force the country to a fifth election and ultimately, that just doesn't seem to be a winning formula.
DAVID HOROVITZ, EDITOR, THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: He's really in a difficult position. Maybe you could say as close as he's ever been to losing power. But it's not over yet, John, as you rightly said.
Yet, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, they have today, they have until midnight Israel time today, so another 14 hours, 14 and a half hours. And even if in the course of today, we see Yair Lapid maybe with Naftali Bennett going to the president formally announce that they have a majority, it's still not over because there has to be a Knesset vote. That vote would probably be next week.
And this is a wafer thin coalition. It may comprise seven or eight parties out of the 13 in the Knesset, but it's looking likely to have a majority of maybe just one, 61 to 59, so one defection, one Knesset member getting cold feet, would doom this coalition. And then the Knesset itself would have three weeks to choose a prime minister. That could still be Netanyahu and only then would we have this election. So it's nearly over for Netanyahu but, again, it's not over.
VAUSE: So it seems that Netanyahu's efforts are now focused on obviously trying to prevent this announcement of a unity coalition. What are the chances that he will peel off a couple of those more conservative N.K.s (ph), you know, if not they're coming out of certainly in the next week or so if they did not get this announcement?
HOROVITZ: Well, the way that the negotiations have gone would suggest that you know until there's no chance, there is still a chance. Because, for example, the last issue apparently holding up this coalition is an argument over a relatively marginal membership of the committee that chooses Israel's judges. And one of the most uncomfortable right-wing politicians, the former justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, she's the one demanding a seat on this committee. And she said if she doesn't get that seat, she won't join the coalition. And then it would not have its majority.
Now, the betting is that they will solve this problem but it shows this is a very small issue. If you've all decided, all 61 of you, that Israel needs to be rid of Netanyahu because he's bad for the country, which is apparently what they believe, you would think that an issue like that would have delayed and it's already delayed an announcement. So any little thing could yet cause trouble. And, again, even after they announce that they have a government,
there still be a few days left to Netanyahu to try and peel somebody off to pull out on Knesset vote.
VAUSE: And when you have a majority of one, everyone is a kingmaker, everyone has a make-or-break vote. What is the future if this coalition government gets up and running? How long will Naftali Bennett be the prime minister? I know it's down for a year in this coalition agreement, but, seriously, how long could this government survive under those sorts of circumstances?
HOROVITZ: It's really hard to tell and it's not as simple as it might sound. Naftali Bennett is supposed to be prime minister for a couple years and then Lapid after him. As long as Netanyahu is in the opposition, if Netanyahu doesn't go away, then maybe this coalition might survive. Because the only thing that unifies is mix of left- wing, right-wing, centrist, and maybe an Arab party, the only thing that unites them as they don't want Netanyahu to be Prime Minister.
If he retires from politics, if he steps aside, then all of Israel political arithmetic changes and the coalition would probably fall apart. If Netanyahu -- if we get to the stage where Netanyahu goes into opposition and he stays in opposition, then maybe this very curious government, which won't be able to do much as terribly dramatic because they're also going to respect each other's ideologies and not push anything too far, they say, maybe it might hold a bit longer than the estimates would say.
VAUSE: This does seems to be a double edge sword for Netanyahu. If he stays in the opposition, he keeps this government together, if he leaves, it falls apart. And how does that all play into his legal challenges if the court cases go ahead as they appear to be going head right now? Can he remain in the Knesset?
HOROVITZ: He can stay on, yes. The question -- a big question would be how long is his Likud Party going to stick with it? Are they all going to be troop into a position? Apparently they are. That should actually happened. If Lapit and Bennett go to the president today, if the coalition is sworn in next week, if Likud with 36, the biggest party in the Knesset, finds itself in opposition and knows that it's only there because Netanyahu is their leader, remember, some of these parties have said, we'll join Likud in a coalition as long as Netanyahu is not leading the party. That's the situation we've got to. Then you wonder how long all of those Likud members are going to stick with Netanyahu.
As for his legal battles, yes, they go on. But this is a case, John, his case has more than 300 witnesses. This case could go on, will go on for years and years and years.
VAUSE: It's incredible to think of this political process just sort of grinding on and the gridlock continues. David, thank you so much. It's so good to have you with us, we really appreciate you insight. Thank you.
HOROVITZ: Thanks, John, take care.
VAUSE: Cheers, thank you.
We're just days before the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, a Hong Kong museum holding some of the early physical evidence in China forced to close. Live in Hong Kong with the very latest.
VAUSE: Officials in Sri Lanka are warning of a potential oil spill from a cargo ship sinking off its coast. The ship's hull and stern has been breached, according to the government officials. It's filling with water. The ship has been on fire also for almost two weeks.
Emergency measures are in place to try and prevent environmental damage to a nearby lagoon as well as wild life.
CNN's Will Ripley following all the developments from Taipei. They've had two weeks, I guess, to prepare for this moment, I guess. How ready are they?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is an oil spill contingency plan in place for Sri Lanka, which is the one bit of good news and what is otherwise just a horrific environmental story. It was bad, but it just got so much worse.
When you are talking about the potential for 300 metric tons, that's 300,000 kilograms of oil spilling out of this cargo ship, which is now on fire and sinking, you have the potential for most of the west coast Sri Lanka to be absolutely devastated. In fact the Marine Environmental Protection Authority has already said out a warning that an oil spill is eminent here.
So not only could the western coast be devastated, but because they are currently experiencing monsoon rains and very turbulent seas, this could spread. So they've also put out an alert for the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
And while there is a contingency plan for oil, there's no plan for plastic. And you have 3 to 4 billion plastic pellets that are being released from this cargo ship. Because the damage that Sri Lanka is seeing right now, which already was their worst environmental disaster ever before this warning of an imminent oil spill, that was the pollution released from a few containers. There are about 1,400 containers on the ship.
And they have burned because the ship is on fire. Anything and everything that is on board this could potentially spill out. So, yes, there is a plan in place for an oil spill, no plan for plastics, and no plan for hazardous chemicals. And all of the above and more is now in the process of breaching into the seas. It is an absolutely devastating event for Sri Lanka, John, and it just getting worse by the hour here.
VAUSE: For Sri Lanka and for everyone else, so it's incredible. Thank you, Will Ripley there with the very latest in Taipei.
The threat of a second of a volcanic eruption in the democratic Republican Congo continues to haunt survivors of an earlier disaster. Scientists in the city of Goma says a second eruption remains possible, could happen with little warning. Experts have continually reported seismic activity after nearby volcano erupted almost two weeks ago. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. They still do not know if their homes are standing.
Hong Kong's June 4th museum, which documents the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown is now under investigation by authorities and closed until further notice.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live in Hong Kong with the very latest on this. Okay, so there is the official reason why it is being closed and then there is a real reason why it's being closed.
Which is it?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's ahead of a very sensitive anniversary which is taking place this Friday. Ahead of that day, we have learned that Hong Kong's June the 4th museum has temporarily closed over what is being stated, licensing concerns from the organizers of the museum.
What we know is this, on Tuesday, officials from the city's food and environmental hygiene department visited the museum, which is located at Mong Kok District of Hong Kong, and launched an investigation over its some operating license. As a result, the organizers of the museum made the decision to temporarily close the museum as they seek their legal options and legal advice.
Look, the museum had only just reopened with a new exhibit looking into the over 30-year history of the Tiananmen vigil here in Hong Kong, and for the second year and a row, police here in Hong Kong have banned the once annual Tiananmen vigil citing coronavirus restrictions. I should note that on Tuesday, Hong Kong reported only one new local case of the coronavirus.
Now before the museum decided to temporarily close and before the organizer, Lee Cheuk-yan, was jailed for his role in the 2019 Hong Kong protests, we spoke to Lee Cheuk-yan, he is an organizer behind the museum as well as the once annual Tiananmen vigil, and he spoke about the importance of remembering and of learning from the past. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE CHEUK-YAN, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: You know, no matter what happened, this new generation, the younger generation will also have the remembrance of June 4th. But the problem is how about the next one.
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STOUT: With the apparent end of the once annual Tiananmen vigil and the future of the June 4th museum here in Hong Kong now in doubt. Lee Cheuk-yan there is wondering how will the next generation remember what happened in Beijing, June 4th, 1989?
We know that the museum has over the last year, crowd sourced a campaign, they have managed to raised hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars to build a new museum online. When we contacted the museum organizers today about when that online museum will go live, they said, given the political situation, that date is uncertain. John?
VAUSE: Yes. And Mainland China has been good at erasing the Tiananmen Square crackdown from history. Maybe that's what's going on here. Thank you, Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong.
Well, Pope Francis has issued the most extensive revision to the Catholic Church law in nearly four decades, ordering bishops to take action against clerics to sexually abuse minors and vulnerable adults and commit fraud, well, these things typically punishable under secular law.
But what is not punishable under secular law is ordaining women. The revisions made clear that's also forbidden with excommunication for the women and clerics involved. The update had been in the works since 2009.
And with that, thank you for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause. please stay with us. World Sport is up next. I'll see you tomorrow.