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Mexico Midterms; Peru Runoff Election; Israeli Political Turmoil; U.S. President Joe Biden to Attend G7 Summit in U.K.; Judge Overturns California's Ban on Assault Weapons; U.S. to Donate 750,000 Vaccine Doses to Taiwan; Dr. Anthony Fauci on Early Days of HIV Research; Disneyland to Open to Out-of-State Residents June 15; Greece Hopes "COVID-19 Free" Islands Will Restore Tourism. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 6, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi. And welcome to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow.

So just ahead, tensions are high in Latin America as voters head to the polls. Why these elections are different than ever before.

And Donald Trump hitting the stage for the first time in months. Why he says China should pay trillions of dollars in compensation for the pandemic.

Plus, the Avengers Campus at Disneyland is finally open but only to those who live in California. Thankfully, our team has a sneak peek.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots of high-tech wizardry here. But some of the effects are just old-school optical illusions.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: Great to have you along, this hour.

So Mexican voters are just hours away from the largest elections ever held in that country. It's also been one of the deadliest and the most contentious political seasons in recent memory.

Now political observers say Sunday's midterm elections will be a referendum of sorts on the president, even though he is not on the ballot. The key issue is whether his Morena party can win an absolute majority in the lower house of congress. We are also watching a presidential run-off election in Peru, a

politically unstable country that's been especially hard hit by the pandemic. The winner of Sunday's vote will be the country's fifth president in five years.

Well, campaigning ahead of Mexico's elections was one of the most violent in years. Since September, over 90 politicians have been killed. At least 35 of them were candidates in Sunday's elections, including a mayoral candidate gunned down on Friday. Matt Rivers has more on this. Matt.



MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here is Abel Murrieta, a candidate for local office in the Mexican municipality of Cajeme. Crime was his number one issue.

MURRIETA: (Speaking Spanish).

RIVERS (voice-over): But just one day after filming this ad, he was dead, shot and killed May 13th in broad daylight on a busy street while handing out campaign flyers.

State authorities say he was deliberately targeted but don't know by whom. Suspects or not, though, it's just further proof that, in Mexico, politics can be deadly. From September of last year through May 25th, at least 88 politicians or candidates have been killed, according to a Mexican consulting firm.

They're a part of the more than 565 politicians or candidates overall that have been targeted by some sort of crime, ranging from murder to assault to threats, the firm says. The government says it believes both numbers are actually far lower, though they don't say how they tallied their numbers. But still, it admits there's a problem.

"It's a difficult time for these campaigns," says Mexico's president. "We're going to keep protecting them."

Though Mexico has consistently failed to protect its candidates, political assassinations have been a problem for decades. But this year is particularly bad.

ANA MARIA SALAZAR, PUBLIC SECURITY EXPERT: I do think that this is going to be considered one of the most violent elections in Mexican history.

RIVERS (voice-over): Security experts like Ana Maria Salazar say politicians are killed for a number of reasons but it most often involves organized crime. In many cases, criminal groups want their preferred candidate in office.

So they might target others they don't like, especially candidates who make crime a centerpiece of their campaign.

SALAZAR: Candidates that talk the way Abel Murrieta speak clearly are going to run bigger risks.

RIVERS (voice-over): Murrieta was known for challenging criminal groups and drug cartels. As a private lawyer, he was also representing an outspoken family with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship that lost nine of its members when they were murdered by suspected cartel members in Mexico in late 2019.

Adrian LeBaron tweeted shortly after Murrieta was killed, saying, in part, quote, "They have killed my defender.

"What do we call this?

"The rule of law?"

RIVERS: Do you believe he was killed because of his opposition to the cartels?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He was always exposing them. To me, he died a martyr.

RIVERS (voice-over): Authorities have not identified any suspects or motive in Murrieta's murder.


RIVERS (voice-over): But the victim seemed to know he was at risk, saying this a few days before he died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

RIVERS (voice-over): He went on to say, the streets belong to the people, not to criminals. And some of those people turned up here to his funeral. They gave him a standing ovation as his coffin was led out -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


CURNOW: To talk more about this with our senior Latin America affairs editor, Rafael Romo. Rafael joins me now here in the studio.

Lovely to see you. It's great to have you in the studio. It's been a while.


CURNOW: Let's talk about Mexico. This is the largest elections the country's having in its history.

Why are they so important?

And what's at stake?

ROMO: It's just the sheer size of the election. We are talking about 93.5 million people who are registered to vote. And it's not only about that but also about the fact that the whole lower chamber of congress is going to be renewed. There's 500 deputies there. We are talking about nearly 2,000 local mayors and 15 governors in

states across the country, out of 32. So it's just massive. Certainly, like you said, the biggest in Mexican history. And the logistics to carry out something like that is just incredible.

CURNOW: What is interesting, though, is that it's becoming sort of a referendum of sorts on Obrador's presidency, even though he's not on the ballot.

ROMO: Right. It's really all about one man. It's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. And you've got to remember, the president is nearing the half of his single term in office. And in many ways, it is going to be a referendum on, has he done well?

Has he been able to do good in terms of dealing with the pandemic?

The answer is mixed.

What about violence?

Crime has only worsened under his watch. So a lot of people are having second thoughts about -- even those who voted for him -- about what's going to happen.

And really, the bottom line is how many members of congress his party is going to be able to get. There is the accusation that he is -- has this idea of being an all-powerful president that is going to rule and that he's authoritative.

And if he gets even more control of congress, he may turn out to be what his critics are saying, somebody who wants to rule the country with a strong hand.

CURNOW: Let's talk about the violence. You -- you -- you mentioned it. It's been absolutely devastating.

I think, 90, am I correct, politicians have been targeted and killed in the -- in the lead-up to this?

I mean, that is almost astounding.

ROMO: I just looked at the latest figures just a couple hours ago. It's up to 91 now. We are talking about politicians and candidates. And out of the 91, it's 35 people who were actually running for some position in this election.

And -- and then, it's not only that. It's the fact that there's more than 700 crimes committed against candidates or politicians. And this is only from September until now, when the whole process started.

Now we are only talking about those involved in the current campaign. I'm not even talking about what's happened to the rest of the country and how bad crime has been. And we were looking at some numbers, the four months of the first year for the last three years, and the number of homicides in Mexico has keep increasing.

CURNOW: And how, obviously, does that impact voters when they -- when they go to the polls?

Because it's -- it's -- it's very much on people's minds.

ROMO: Yes. You probably remember when -- when president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was campaigning, he had this motto, almost, saying that he was all for hugs and not gunshots.

And a lot of people are beginning to wonder, OK. It sounded very good, when you were campaigning. But look at the numbers. Look at the situation.

What's happening?

There is vast extensions of Mexican territory, where you get the idea that it is not the authorities that are in control but the organized crime groups. And part of the reason why these assassinations are so worrisome for some people is because you also get the idea that some of these candidates are being assassinated because the organized crime groups in a particular area don't like what they have to offer.

And so, they're targeting them precisely because they can challenge their control in -- in those regions. So it's -- it's definitely, very, very concerning.

CURNOW: Let's also talk about Peru, a polarized election, familiar story; two very different candidates.

ROMO: Yes.

CURNOW: Just talk us through what folks are having to choose between here.


ROMO: You know, the most memorable way that this race has been described is Peruvians are choosing the lesser of two evils. That -- that's what Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa said.

And the reality is that, if you go back, during the primary, there were 18 candidates. And out of the 18, they ended up choosing Pedro Castillo, who is a school teacher, a leftist. But when you look at the party literature, they define themselves as Marxist-Leninist.

And when people started to look closer, they started to have second thoughts about whether they were going to vote for him -- remains to be seen. And then, on the other hand, you have Keiko Fujimori, who has been in jail three times.

Accusations are tied to the Odebrecht scandal in Latin America and whose father was a president between 1990 and 2000 and is currently serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations. So a lot of people are scratching their heads and -- and not really knowing, what are we going to do?

Who are we going to vote for?

We interviewed a man in Lima, who said this is like choosing between Sodom and Gomorrah, like we don't know where to go.

CURNOW: But they are going to have to choose somebody.

ROMO: They're going to have to choose somebody and the latest polls that we have seen, they are very close together.

One thing that I should point out is that it seems like Keiko has been gradually coming closer, especially, she started more -- with a difference of more -- of -- of a double-digit difference and that's not to be the case anymore. They're essentially in a virtual -- virtual tie.

CURNOW: Rafael Romo, always good to speak to you and get your expertise. But in person, even better.

ROMO: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

CURNOW: Ahead, Israel's domestic security agency says there could be incitement of violence in the coming days. It's an unprecedented warning coming ahead of a pitched political contest for Israel future.

A new coalition government is trying to unseat prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he's held the job for 12 consecutive years. On Monday, the speaker of the Knesset is set to announce the coalition of lawmakers, which will kick off a process requiring a vote of confidence within seven days.

So by June 14th, Mr. Netanyahu might be out. Well, Oren Liebermann joins me now, from Jerusalem.

Oren, hi. I do want to get your take on what's going to be playing out over the coming week. We know that Benjamin Netanyahu is nicknamed The Magician in Israel for being such a wily political operator.

Is there any way he could put a spanner in the works with this coalition plan in the coming days?

How certain is this deal?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The growing assessment here is that it is very likely, perhaps, almost certain, that this bare-minimum majority of a 61-seat coalition will replace prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he has been outmaneuvered here.

But that doesn't mean that he is done maneuvering. He still has time to try to peel away essentially just one defector from this coalition of many, smaller parties; eight, to be exact, to try to prevent this government from being formed and, in all likelihood, send this back to elections.

Here is how this timeline plays out over the next few days, if everything proceeds here. First, tomorrow, the Knesset speaker will announce and inform lawmakers about the new coalition government agreement. The opposition may attempt to replace the Knesset speaker or they may do that later. From that point, the new government swearing-in either comes on

Wednesday, June 9th, or it could come even later than that, the following Monday. That would be the 14th. So that's the window we're looking at for the swearing-in of a new government and the ouster of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On the day of the vote, the swearing-in, the new leader lays out the government's agenda. There is a debate. And then, a crucial, no- confidence vote, which requires a simple majority that the government needs to pass to hold together to try to oust Netanyahu.

Until that moment, Netanyahu and his Likud Party will be working to see if they can pick apart and find fissures within this coalition to keep Netanyahu in power after 12 consecutive years here, Robyn.

CURNOW: And the architect behind this unusual coalition is Yair Lapid.

How has he outmaneuvered Mr. Netanyahu?

And -- if that is the case -- and how is he being viewed in Israel?

LIEBERMANN: Well, regardless of how this goes, if the government coalition holds or if it doesn't hold, Yair Lapid is likely a winner. He has worked hard. And he has an accomplishment here. He has created a government that would oust Netanyahu.

That looked incredibly unlikely, especially during 11 days of fighting between Israel and Gaza, when it looked like Netanyahu had at least united the Right behind him and found a way to scuttle the opposition.

Lapid, however, kept on working around one basic fact. Netanyahu didn't have a 61-seat coalition so Lapid kept on plugging away. A crucial fact here that Netanyahu led to his own downfall, when Netanyahu began negotiating with an Arab party called Ra'am, he essentially kosherized them.


LIEBERMANN: He made it OK for other parties, especially other smaller parties, on the right, to work with them. And that is where Lapid and Naftali Bennett made a critical move to bring them in, to get the numbers they need to oust Netanyahu.

CURNOW: Well, that was going to be my next -- my next question, is how much of a game changer will this be?

And what did it take to get to the point that all these different groups across the spectrum, in particular, this Arab party, will be working together?

LIEBERMANN: Well, it's a game changer if this Arab party, Ra'am, headed by Mansour Abbas, comes into the coalition as a part of Israeli government for the first time in the country's history. But right now, it's only potential. This party needs accomplishments. If this government collapses

immediately and the Ra'am party isn't able to show the Arab community that it has accomplishments, that it has brought them improvement in the quality of life, then all they have done is likely committed political suicide.

But if this government holds, if they are able to bring achievements to their -- to their community and to their voters, it is, without a doubt, a game changer and one, where you certainly have to see how this plays out. But it will be marked as a significant milestone in Israel's political history.

CURNOW: And then, just before you go, what do you make of this warning coming from Shin Bet, saying there could be incitement of violence in the coming days?

Who is that message targeted at?

LIEBERMANN: So the head of the Shin Bet didn't mention any specific name or any specific side, Right or Left or the extremes on either sides. It is, no doubt, an unprecedented statement from the head of the Shin Bet, which is essential Israel's FBI, warning of the incitement of the language.

This is after last week, an MK on the Left, essentially, went into safety because of explicit threats against her toddler daughter, as well as other MKs, including the man set to replace Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, getting extra security from the Shin Bet.

It is that sort of language, it is that sort of rhetoric that led to this warning. And there are provocative moves ahead, including perhaps on Thursday, with a flag parade scheduled and requested through the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

That's always been an incredibly provocative event that could easily bring forward hostilities again and protests that we saw across the country.

CURNOW: Oren Liebermann, good to speak to you again from Jerusalem. Thanks so much for all of that.

Ahead on CNN, G7 finance ministers agree to a landmark tax deal, targeting multinational companies. Why it really is a big win for the U.S. President, as he prepares for his trip to Europe.

Also, California's assault weapons ban is overturned, causing outrage among victims and survivors of gun violence. It comes as gun sales hit an alarming high. More on that, coming up.





U.S. President Joe Biden will head to the U.K., Belgium and Switzerland in the coming days. It is his first overseas trip since taking office. Now the White House says his visit will highlight America's commitment to restoring alliances.

He is also attending the G7 summit to advance issues like economic recovery after the pandemic. In an op-ed for "The Washington Post," Mr. Biden elaborated on his agenda, saying the U.S. must lead the world from a position of strength.

He wrote, in part, "As America's economic recovery helps propel the global economy, we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future by other democracies.

"That's the agenda I will advance at every stop."

Well, the president is certainly getting a lot of support, ahead of his trip. On Saturday, G7 finance ministers put their support behind the Biden plan to overhaul the global tax system. They agreed to back a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent on large multinational corporations.

The group also agreed large companies should pay taxes where they generate sales and not just where they have a physical presence. Now governments have long grappled over the challenges of taxing companies operating in multiple countries. The U.S. Treasury Secretary calls the deal significant.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: It's complicated. This negotiation has been going on for, I believe, eight years. It stalled under the Trump administration. And so I really consider this an historic achievement and it is -- it shows that multilateral collaboration can be successful.


CURNOW: Rana Foroohar knows all about this. She is a CNN global analyst and also a columnist and associate editor at the "Financial Times."

Lovely to have you on the show. I really do want to get your take on this. This agreement a huge, huge deal.


RANA FOROOHAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's -- it's some of the biggest economic news we have seen, really, in months. It -- there is a number of things involved here.

One, it's a foreign policy question. For America, this is all about getting allies onboard an economic agenda. You know, the Biden administration came in and said, look, we have got to have agreement about things, like tax, trade, regulation and technology.

And this is a first step towards getting that within developed countries. That gives the U.S. a leg up, at a time when a lot of countries are looking to China and saying, maybe, this is the model that we want. So that's point number one.

Point number two is that the -- the -- the companies that are going to be most affected by this are the big tech companies, the platform companies, companies that can offshore profits very, very easily because they're not dealing in widgets; they are dealing in data. They're dealing in intellectual property.

Very, very easy to move that across borders. And so, getting to an international agreement about a baseline tax for corporations could actually put a lot more money in the coffers of governments.

CURNOW: And what does it mean, practically?

Obviously, no offshore tax havens as you say, for a start.

What -- what will be the impact?

And how does -- soon does this start?

Years down the line, no doubt.

FOROOHAR: Well, yes. I mean, that -- that's where the rubber meets the road. You know, governments have to go back now and hash out all the details of this. But in an ideal world, it would set a floor under the amount of tax that large corporations have to pay.


FOROOHAR: And if you look at rising inequality in most countries, it's really about the fact that companies have taken the lion's share of -- of -- of growth, of the global economy in the last 40 years. Labor has taken far less.

That's led to nationalism, populism, you know, Brexit, Trump, all the things that we are constantly talking about really come down to the fact that there's a big divide. And this would go some way towards bridging that divide.

CURNOW: You -- you -- you talk about foreign policy and economic impact of this and particularly, the global impact.

But this, still, is, also, about domestic politics for Mr. Biden, isn't it?

He is giving himself political cover to push for his domestic agenda when it comes to his infrastructure plans.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely, 100 percent. You know, Biden is sort of proposing the exact opposite of what former president Trump did. Trump came in and cut taxes on corporations. Biden's saying, you know what, corporations, we are going to make sure that you are paying your fair share so that we can actually put forward this expensive infrastructure plan and be able to say, hey, this is how we are going to pay for it.

So particularly, in advance of the midterm elections and pushback from Republicans but also even some in the Democratic Party about how expensive that plan is, this will give him a lot of cover.

CURNOW: If this comes off, is this a starting point?

What -- what comes next?

FOROOHAR: Well, it could be the beginning of a broader transatlantic deal or OECD deal around tech regulation, around trade.

You know, we have a digital economy now that is very, very different from the economy 10 years ago, 20 years ago, which is when most of these rules around technology and trade and tax were set up. And so it's really time to modernize those and this could be the big pivot.

CURNOW: Rana Foroohar, always good to speak to you, get your analysis. Thank you so much.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

CURNOW: Mr. Biden's predecessor has returned to the stump, in a now rare appearance on the stage. Donald Trump was in North Carolina on Saturday where he attended the state's Republican Party's convention. It is the former president's first speech in three months and, for some critics, he sounded a little bit rusty. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Together, we are going to defund (sic) our freedoms. We just -- take a look at what is happening. We have to defend our borders. We have to do all of these things. And the cancel culture, the defunding culture, the defending culture -- and they defend the wrong things -- we're not going to let it go any longer. We're going to stand up for our values. We have to stand up for our values and we're going to take back our country and we're going to take it back at a level that is very, very good.


CURNOW: But Trump had no problem making his point when he slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci and demanded that China pay for its role in the COVID pandemic.


TRUMP: But Fauci has perhaps never been more wrong than when he denied the virus and where it came from. The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China. We all should declare, within one unified voice that China must pay.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CURNOW: Trump didn't mention his own handling of the pandemic or how that may have been a factor in his loss to Joe Biden. But he did hint at a possible run in 2024, saying he is looking forward to that particular year.

Well, coming up on CNN, Greece is bringing tourism back. The plan for visitors to the island. Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just feels like you are in a different world.

CURNOW (voice-over): A whole new world at the happiest place on Earth as California loosens its COVID restrictions. Disneyland is ready to welcome guests with a brand-new attraction. That's next.






CURNOW: Welcome back to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Thanks so much for joining me. I am Robyn Curnow.

So we are hearing from both sides of the debate after a federal judge overturned a longtime assault weapons ban in California. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the ruling was flawed and, if upheld, poses a threat to public safety and innocent lives. She also called for gun reform legislation to be passed immediately.

But the National Rifle Association is praising the decision. NRA calls it well reasoned and says, quote, "demonstrates the importance of appointing judges who accurately apply the original meaning of our Constitution."

Well, the ruling is certainly a devastating blow to the victims and survivors of gun violence across America. Many are outraged by the judge's comparison of an AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife. The two men you are about to hear from both had loved ones who were killed with an assault weapon. Take a listen.


FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM JAIME GUTTENBERG: Let me deliver a message to this activist judge who's been at this now for a while. You are a liar.

And your opinion is written utilizing the exact language of the gun lobby. These are not new words. These are not new phrases. They are not new expressions. You took the language from the gun lobby to write this opinion.

My daughter was born in 2003 when there was a federal assault weapons ban. OK, following the ending of that ban in 2004, these weapons were not common. They were not typical.

And what the gun industry did is they said these are for hunting and sport while overproducing in quantities every year and doing things like marketing these weapons to kids and for other uses. And now they say it's common, it's typical.

No, you're full of crap, judge and you are going to lose.



BRANDON WOLF, PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING SURVIVOR: If a Swiss Army knife had been used at Pulse, we would have had a birthday party for my best friend last week, not a vigil. The weapons we are talking about don't come with a nail file and a corkscrew, just in case you get lost in the woods with a bottle of wine.

They are designed for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to kill as many as quickly as possible.

After the shooting at Pulse, I don't know why but I thought that getting copies of the autopsy reports for my best friends would bring me some sort of closure. But instead, it underscored for me just how gruesome their deaths really were. They took 19 rounds between the two of them.

One died on the operating table.


WOLF: His parents had to come and identify his body and the other never got up off of the dance floor. Their organs were perforated. Their bodies were torn apart. That is the human cost, the reality of what these weapons do.

No amount of copying and pasting gun lobby talking points is going to change that and no insulting comparisons to a Swiss army knife is going to take away the pain that these weapons have caused so many people in this country.


CURNOW: The overturning of California's assault weapons ban comes during a time when gun sales in the U.S. are just skyrocketing. Millions of Americans are buying a new firearm, many for the first time, as Nick Watt now reports. Nick.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the pink earmuffs, that's Robyn Armstrong, just bought her first gun. ROBYN ARMSTRONG, NEW GUN OWNER: I brought a Springfield FD, it's a 9

millimeter. But that is my first one but I do plan on buying two more.

WATT (voice-over): America is on a gun buying spree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen record numbers for the past few months and I fear that's going to continue.

WATT (voice-over): The government doesn't keep a tally but the FBI counts presale background checks; not perfect but shows the pattern. Take March, 2019: 2.6 million; March 2020, 3.7 million.

This March, nearly 4.7 million, most in a month since the FBI started counting, 20-plus years ago.



WATT (voice-over): First up, pandemic panic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's the perfect time to get a weapon for ourself (sic).

WATT (voice-over): Forty percent of buyers in early 2020 were first- time buyers, says one industry group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up until now (INAUDIBLE) gun owner, the first thing that popped in your mind, probably, an older white gentleman or a younger white gentleman.

WATT (voice-over): Now?

Not so much. In 2020, half of all buyers were women, say researchers; a fifth, Hispanic; a fifth, Black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2020, by far, was the most growth we've ever seen.

WATT (voice-over): Many reasons why.

Among them?

The murder of George Floyd; protests followed, both violent and peaceful, prompting fear and more people reaching for protection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People don't trust the police as much as they used to.

WATT (voice-over): And then, there's this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the fringe groups that were on the fringe, that are now mainstream, our community saw that and they were like, you know what?

I'm going to get a gun because I see these folks. And these folks truly do not like me. JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The consequences here are both enormous and

quite obvious.

WATT (voice-over): Since then, an election, an insurrection, a loser, who still says he won, convinced his followers they were cheated.

TRUMP: And you have to get your people to fight.

WATT (voice-over): More political polarization, more fear.

Will there come a time when Robyn Armstrong feels she doesn't need a gun anymore?

ARMSTRONG: I do hope that but I don't feel like that's going to happen anytime soon in my lifetime.

WATT: We are told that a lot of these new gun buyers are, perhaps, reluctant gun buyers. They didn't really want to buy a gun but they felt they had to.

And what's the impact of all this going to be?

Well, we don't know, yet. But Phil Smith, who you just heard from, told me that, as long as everybody is law abiding, we'll be fine -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CURNOW: Thanks, Nick, for that.

Now another story following here at CNN. A three-day period of national mourning is in effect in Burkina Faso after a deadly attack there. The government says more than 130 people were killed when militants stormed a village near the border with Niger on Friday night.

There are no claims of responsibility. But Africa's Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, has seen a surge in attacks by militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Coming up on CNN, before he helped us navigate the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci was a top researcher, working on HIV/AIDS. Now 40 years later, he reflects on those early days with CNN.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: It's a long story, a long journey, that we are still in. So this is a very meaningful anniversary and commemoration for me.






CURNOW: This just in. The U.S. will donate about 750,000 COVID vaccine doses to Taiwan. The island has been fighting a surge in COVID cases. And officials there have been asking the U.S. to share some of the vaccines it plans to donate to the world.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, announced the donation during a visit to Taiwan on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. CDC reports HIV infections have decreased 73 percent since cases peaked in the mid-1980s. Saturday marked 40 years since the very first cases were identified.

One of the leading researchers at the time is someone many Americans now know for his work on the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Well, the infectious disease expert reflected on the early days of the AIDS crisis with CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. Take a listen to this.


FAUCI: At the present time, we don't have an effective antiviral therapy.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Decades before Dr. Fauci took on the coronavirus virus pandemic, he was a leading researcher on HIV and AIDS. On June 5th, 1981, this report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was released, the first official report of illnesses that would later become known as AIDS.

FAUCI: I recall very clearly picking up the morbidity and mortality weekly report and seeing the report of five young gay men who developed a very unusual pneumonia, a pneumocystis pneumonia, in Los Angeles.

I had no idea what that was all about. I thought it was somewhat of a fluke that wouldn't really come or amount to anything.

COHEN (voice-over): Then less than a month later, another report of more patients in more cities, young men dying of this mysterious illness.

FAUCI: I went from a person who was seeing patients with other diseases and developing cures and adequate therapies for them in the early part of my career to every day taking care of people who inevitably were going to die.

COHEN (voice-over): Dr. Fauci calls these times the darkest years of his life.

That must have been very difficult to watch patient after patient dying.

FAUCI: It was more than difficult. We were really energized by the challenge of the situation and also by the bravery and the empathy for the suffering of the young men who we were taking care of. But I think that many of us still have scars of that.

COHEN (voice-over): It took 15 years but Fauci and other scientists brought the worst of the crisis to an end.


FAUCI: It really turned around when we developed the highly effective therapies, first gradually in 1986, 87 with AZT, then the transforming year of 1996 when we had the first highly effective combination therapy.

COHEN (voice-over): As you are describing this, it makes me think of the current situation that COVID has been so awful worldwide and now it's starting to change, again with a medical intervention.

FAUCI: I think that is the comparability between the two. The thing that came to the rescue were medical interventions that resulted from years of investment in basic and clinical biomedical research. Some of the science and the technologies that went into our efforts, albeit unsuccessful thus far, for a vaccine for HIV was very important in paving the way for us to get a highly successful vaccine for COVID-19.

COHEN (voice-over): Fauci still studies HIV even today, a 40-year journey. There is still no vaccine, no cure but effective treatments mean that people infected with HIV can live long, healthy lives.

FAUCI: It is a long story, a long journey that we are still in. So this is a very meaningful anniversary and commemoration for me.

COHEN (voice-over): Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


CURNOW: You are watching CNN. We'll be right back.





CURNOW: The so-called happiest place on Earth is throwing the gates wide open. Later on this month, Disneyland resort in California will welcome out-of-state guests for the first time in more than a year. Visitors will also have a brand-new area to explore when they get there. Paul Vercammen takes us inside.


VERCAMMEN: So many subplots at Disneyland. On June 15th, they will again welcome out-of-state guests. Also they will no longer check guests' temperatures as they enter the park. All that was a COVID-19 protocol. Let's get to the Avengers Campus. It

opened with great fanfare. There are Marvel Comics characters everywhere. Spider-man is the centerpiece on one ride. You sort of sling webs and you capture these runaway spider bots.


VERCAMMEN: Lots of high-tech wizardry here. But some of the effects are just old-school optical illusions.

So that checkerboard floor was as flat as the sidewalk behind me. We talked to some guests, who went on in to the Avengers Campus and they gave it glowing reviews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I honestly felt I was there for me more than I was for my kids. You know, some childhood memories over here. Got to live the whole -- just the whole Marvel -- it was like after watching a movie and just being there and seeing all the superhero sightings, I felt like a little kid myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just -- you have to be there. It's just -- feels like you're in a different world. Like I felt like I literally was stepping into a movie set, just how they were so -- like they had everything on point.

VERCAMMEN: There have been reports of an uptick in hospitalizations in COVID-19 in some places with teams (ph) but here at Disneyland, we talked to a lot of parents and a lot of teens and they all told us that they felt comfortable going into the park.

Most of them saying that their teens have been vaccinated and they said that they'll still continue to wear a mask. But now all eyes on that Avengers Campus. Of course, throughout the region, they're hoping Disneyland comes back in full force and injects more life into the economy around here -- reporting from Disneyland, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.



CURNOW (voice-over): A cruise ship set sail from Venice, Italy, on Saturday for the first time in more than a year. And not everyone was celebrating though. Hundreds gathered to protest the return of big vessels to the historic city.

But it was a welcome sight for many in the tourism industry, which has been hardhit by the pandemic.


CURNOW: Meanwhile, Greek officials say they have the perfect solution to boost their vital tourism industry once more, a COVID-free Greece. The goal is to vaccinate everyone in more than 100 islands as Sam Kiley now reports on Mykonos.


SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not exactly the modern temple to Aphrodite that Mykonos has a reputation for. The party island is barely waking up, two weeks after the official tourist season was declared open.

Museums are still locked up, many shops shuttered. But others are getting a makeover, while plans to create more than 80 COVID-free islands get underway.

It is the centerpiece of Operation Blue Freedom, the Greek plan for economic recovery driven by tourism. Before the pandemic, a fifth of the population was employed in the industry which generated 18 percent of GDP.

With U.S. visitors being Greece's biggest spenders, Athens is banking on a summer surge in American visitors. And U.S. airlines are increasing flights to Greece this year for New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark and Washington, D.C.

The key is an aggressive vaccination campaign to jab every island resident by the end of June so visitors can come if they've been vaccinated themselves, survived infection or have a negative PCR test.

IRENE ASIMOMITIS, RECEIVED COVID-19 VACCINE: It's a COVID free island. It's a COVID-free island. And we wait all the tourists to arrive in Mykonos to enjoy the beaches, to enjoy the life.

KILEY (voice-over): Getting that done may rest on ending nationwide regulations, that ban music and crowds. Iraklis Zisimopoulos is a heart doctor.

He also owns several Mykonos nightclubs and hotels.


KILEY (voice-over): His clients call in with two questions, especially from America.

IRAKLIS ZISIMOPOULOS, SEMELI HOSPITALITY GROUP CEO: First of all, they ask if we are all vaccinated. And secondly, they can really party on the island like they used to.

KILEY: A vaccine party.

ZISIMOPOULOS: Yes. That is the magic recipe.

KILEY (voice-over): Around 18 percent of Greeks have been fully vaccinated. New COVID cases are falling and deaths are about 40 a day. For now though, the clubs are empty. Only cocktail shakers generate any rhythm. Potion from Circe to soften the blues.

Tourists are trickling back and they're doing their best to enjoy a beach, without decibels of dance music. But with more than half the residents population vaccinated, all eyes are turning to Athens to unleash Dionysus and let the fun begin in July. VANGELIS SIAFIDAS, ALEMAGOU BEACH BAR AND RESTAURANT CO-OWNER: Not necessarily that the tourists need to feel that safe in order to come and party and feel safe, you know.

Because for example, last year people were ready to party. It was hard for us to enforce the rules on them. But I think we are all trained now, us, the clientele and the personnel, everyone is right that this is going to be a better summer.

KILEY: That's if a Hades of sound is your thing.

KILEY: There's a lot of talk in Mykonos about how the vibe won't get going until the loud music starts. But for the more mature traveler that can only be a relief -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Mykonos.


CURNOW: Sam got a pretty good assignment there, didn't he?

Wow. I don't know how he got that one.

But, thanks, Sam, for that report.

Thanks for watching, all of you, as well. This has been an hour of CNN. I'll be back with another hour after a short break.