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Israeli Political Turmoil; Judge Overturns California's Ban on Assault Weapons; Mexico Midterms; Burkina Faso Massacre; U.S. President Joe Biden to Attend G7 Summit in U.K.; No Decision Yet on Final Step of U.K. Lockdown; India's COVID-19 Crisis; Golfer Jon Rahm Tests Positive for COVID-19. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 6, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Coming up on the show --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My daughter's supposed to graduate this week. I'm angry. And I'm also fearful for the next shooting and the one after that and the one after that.

CURNOW (voice-over): Outrage from relatives and friends of people killed in mass shootings in the U.S. They're upset about a federal judge ending California's ban on the weapons used on many of them.


CURNOW (voice-over): Plus after months of deadly violence and deaths of dozens of politicians, it is Election Day in Mexico.

And U.S. President Joe Biden is getting support from G7 allies for a sweeping tax overhaul, targeting multinational corporations.


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

CURNOW: Great to have you along this hour. Thanks for joining me.

We begin in the United States, where we're hearing from both sides of the debate after a federal judge threw out the nation's first-ever ban on assault weapons.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the ruling is deeply flawed and poses a clear and serious threat to public safety. She's calls for gun reform legislation to be passed immediately.

The National Rifle Association is praising the judge's decision, calling it well reasoned. But victims and survivors of gun violence across the country feel betrayed by the court. Here's Polo Sandoval.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California's ban on certain semi-automatic rifles has weathered decades of opposition until now.

San Diego U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled to overturn it, passed in 1989 on the heels of an elementary school shooting in Stockton, California that left five children dead. The law was touted as California's first assault weapons act. It established what an assault weapon is and made them illegal to buy or possess in California.

This week, Judge Benitez ruled that ban was unconstitutional and deprived law-abiding Californians of weapons allowed in other states, weapons he compared to Swiss Army knives.


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.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): In his ruling, Judge Benitez wrote, "Firearms deemed as 'assault weapons' are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles."

Benitez's decision is being celebrated by pro-gun groups. One suing the State of California on this case said that it was "delighted with the outcome." But those calling for stricter gun laws are outraged.


KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY MOVEMENT: Frankly, the wording in that ruling sounds like it's taken directly from an email or a memo written by the National Rifle Association.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): First nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003, Judge Benitez has a history of butting heads with the State of California in its efforts for stricter gun laws. In 2017, he issued an initial injunction blocking the State's high-capacity magazine ban. Eventually, a federal appeals court upheld his ruling declaring the ban unconstitutional.

And last year, Benitez blocked a law requiring background checks for ammo purchases calling the law defective and a burden on the second amendment in his opinion granting a preliminary injunction.

The state says it is appealing to the latest ruling. Among the families of those lost to mass shootings, there is a sense of fear that would happen to their loved ones could happen again.


FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm upset for the loss of my daughter and for all the other victims but I am fearful because I know there's someone out there right now who will go out and buy an AR-15 because of this Judge and use it.

RICHARD MARTINEZ, FATHER OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: This ruling, if it were to stand, would make our country a more dangerous place. Assault weapons, assault-style weapons make our country more dangerous.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


CURNOW: Mexican voters are just hours away from the largest elections ever held in that country. More than 21,000 seats are up for grabs. Voters will be deciding on all the 500 deputies in the lower house of congress as well as several state governors, not to mention thousands of other state and local officials.

It's also been one of the deadliest in recent memory. Since September, over 90 politicians have been killed. At least 35 of them were candidates in Sunday's elections.


CURNOW: Matt Rivers has more on that.



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 but the victims seem 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: We're also watching a hotly contested presidential runoff in Peru. Polls are set to open in a matter of hours and voters will be choosing between two candidates with dramatically different visions for the future.

The election caps off a year of extreme political instability in Peru, a country especially hard hit by the pandemic. The winner of Sunday's vote will be the country's fifth president in five years.


CURNOW: I want 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?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: 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.


ROMO: 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: The head of Israel's domestic security agency says there could be incitement of violence in the coming days.

[03:15:00] CURNOW: It's an unprecedented warning coming ahead of a pitched political contest for Israel's future.

A new coalition government is trying to unseat prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's held the job for 12 consecutive years. This week could change all of that. Oren Liebermann joins me from Jerusalem.

Lovely to see you in Jerusalem again. Benjamin Netanyahu is nicknamed The Magician in Israel.

For such a wily political operator, is there any way that he could outmaneuver the coalition's plans in the coming days?

How certain is this deal?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The growing assessment here is that it is increasingly likely, very likely at this point, that the coalition, the change bloc as it's known, to oust prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is likely to succeed in the coming days.

But it's not certain yet. And though Netanyahu has been outmaneuvered, he still has time and he still has room to maneuver. He still controls the speaker of the Knesset, a member of his own party. They can try to extend that deadline a bit, sometime from this Wednesday to the following Monday, to try to work, find defectors in this coalition set to oust him.

They only need one because this coalition to oust him is a bare minimum 61-seat majority. And because of that, they have room, they have time and they're trying to pull away from that, find somebody who will defect, go back to Netanyahu.

And that will likely send the country to a fifth election. Without any sort of political resolution, more of the political deadlock we've seen to this point. Again, it allows Netanyahu to remain in power.

He still has room to work here but that time is running out. Tomorrow, the speaker of the Knesset will convene to announce there is a prospective coalition and they'll set a date for the swearing-in of the government, either Wednesday or Monday is the expectation.

So the clock is ticking on what is to be Netanyahu's last few days in office, if this coalition to oust him will succeed.

CURNOW: It's certainly an unusual, potentially fragile coalition. But the man behind it, Yair Lapid, tell me a little about him, specifically how he's been viewed in Israel.

LIEBERMANN: If this coalition works or if it doesn't work, Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, is likely a winner. That's because he doesn't need this coalition to do something to be viewed as having been a success.

His goal was to take out prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to remove him from office. Even if this coalition doesn't work, he has accomplished that. He has something to his name that he can take forward.

That is not true for some of the other smaller parties within this coalition. It seemed like, from his perspective, that there was no hope of success during 11 days of fighting between Israel and Gaza, where Netanyahu seemed to have controlled or wrestled back control of the government.

But Lapid kept working behind the scenes centered around one basic fact, Netanyahu didn't have the 61 seats necessary for a coalition. That meant Lapid kept on working.

There is one key element here where Netanyahu perhaps led to his own downfall. When Netanyahu began negotiating with the Arab Ra'am party, he essentially kosherized that party for other parts of not only the right-wing but for other parts of the Israeli political spectrum.

And that was a key aspect for Lapid to make it possible to create this coalition to remove Netanyahu from the prime minister's office.

CURNOW: How much of the game changer is that, not even just for this coalition but going forward afterward?

LIEBERMANN: It is potentially an enormous game changer. But right now that is only potential. If this coalition falls flat, then the head of the Ra'am party, Mansour Abbas, has likely just committed political suicide. He doesn't have any achievements to take to the Arab voting population. He hasn't improved their quality of life.

It doesn't mean anything significant at that point. But if this coalition holds, if he's able to show the Arab community, look, as for the first time in Israel's history, an Arab being part of a governing coalition has brought you something, then it is incredibly significant, a milestone in Israel's political history.

Does the coalition hold?

One of the reasons it may well hold, if it succeeds in being sworn in, in the coming weeks, is that, if it doesn't work out, too many of these smaller parties may have just committed political suicide. That, for many of them, is a very strong reason to hold it together.

CURNOW: A fascinating time. Oren Liebermann, great to have you there live on the ground in Jerusalem, thanks so much.

Still ahead, a massacre in West Africa. We have a live report of Burkina Faso's worst militant attack in years.

And also G7 finance leaders agree to a landmark deal, aimed at preventing multinational companies from avoiding taxes. Later this hour, a look at some of the corporations that will be targeted.

You're watching CNN.




CURNOW: Burkina Faso is a nation in mourning following a horrific militant attack on a village. About 150 miles northeast of the capital. Officials say more than 130 civilians were killed when gunmen stormed the village Friday night. David McKenzie is following the story from Johannesburg.

This is a horrific attack.

What more can you tell us?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The details are still a bit sketchy. It's certainly a horrific massacre that the president has called for this mourning. It happened on the border of Niger Friday night, when militants stormed that village of Solhan in the border regions.

There was attacks on the civilians, they burned the market, as well as burning down homes. The secretary-general of the U.N., Antonio Guterres, said he's outraged by the killing and calls for member states to help end the violence in that part of the Sahel.

Burkina Faso has seen an extreme uptick of violence in recent months but this particular attack also reflects an earlier attack this year in Niger in the northern part of that country, which was the result of reprisal attacks from Islamic militants on the community. So unclear at this stage, no real claim of responsibility.


MCKENZIE: But the sheer scale of the death and destruction here, including children killed, has really shocked Burkina Faso nation, that has been shocked by the mass displacement in that country and the increased violence.

CURNOW: And why did this happen?

You mentioned the Sahel. Clearly there have been real concerns about rising attacks in the Sahel region.

MCKENZIE: There are at least two major militant groups operating in that region, one affiliated with Al Qaeda, the other with ISIS.

Due to the political instability, including the recent back-to-back coups in Mali, stemming to 2013, when militants almost took over the entire country of Mali, that violence has spilled over.

It's expanded into those three countries, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, leading to mass killings, intercommunal fighting as well as just a lack of control by the governments in the capitals to try to control that border region.

There's a substantial French military presence in that region, as well as the U.S., particularly with drone operations. But that hasn't managed to stop the violence.

Why this particular attack happened, it's unclear at this stage. But this cauldron of attacks and violence in this area shows no sign of abating. As I mentioned, in the last few months, it's only increased.

CURNOW: David McKenzie, thank you for that report live from Johannesburg.

Ahead on CNN, G7 finance ministers agree to a landmark tax deal targeting multinational companies. Why it's a big win for President Biden.

And Donald Trump returns to the stage and demands China pay for its role in the COVID pandemic. We've got more on that speech by the former president.





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

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

He's 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."

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 to large companies paying taxes where they generate sales and not just where they have a physical presence. Governments have long grappled over the challenges of taxing companies operating in multiple countries. The U.S. Treasury Secretary calls the deal, quote, "significant." Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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.

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.


FOROOHAR: 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: President Biden's predecessor has returned for a rare appearance on stage. Donald Trump was in North Carolina on Saturday where he attended a state Republican Party convention. It's the former president's first speech in three months and he wasted no time in taking shots at the current administration. Here's Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The former president returned to the stage here in North Carolina in a speech that was highly critical, especially in its beginnings of the Biden administration.

In fact, at one point the former president was saying, as we gather here tonight, the country is being destroyed before our very eyes.

It had the familiar sound of a campaign speech, say, coming from 2020, in which Donald Trump was touting the accomplishments of his own administration while downplaying the current administration.

Trump talked about things such as the development of the vaccine against the coronavirus, about a very powerful and strong and robust economy before the pandemic struck and also about building a wall along the border.

The president also seemed to be rewriting a lot of medical history when it came to the coronavirus, not mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died, many believe, because of the improper handling of the medical crisis by his administration.

But one of the biggest applause lines of the night was when Trump, referring to the still-unproven theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab, said that the U.S. and the world should demand reparations from China.


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.


SAVIDGE: Trump ended his comments, though, returning to a very familiar theme, the idea that the election of 2020 was somehow stolen, which, of course, is not true.

He continues to maintain that it was one of the greatest crimes of the century and that it is a wrong that must continue to be righted by Republicans -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Greenville, North Carolina.


CURNOW: Mr. Trump's influence was also felt during the Georgia Republican Party convention on Saturday. Take a listen as governor Brian Kemp takes the stage in front of a Trump-friendly crowd.


CURNOW (voice-over): Lots and lots of boos there for governor Kemp. That was just a snippet.


CURNOW: There was a whole lot more, as you could hear. He angered many Trump supporters, as you remember, last year, when he refused to overturn the election results.

Republicans at the convention reportedly passed a resolution calling on Mr. Kemp and other officials to, quote, "repair the damage" that has been done.

While Mr. Kemp dodged any formal voter disapproval, the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reports his secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, was censured by the party.

There's much more on CNN. We'll hear from a CNN reporter on COVID's front lines as she talks about a deeply personal assignment about covering the pandemic in hardhit India, her home country.





CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow, live in Atlanta.

So the U.S. will donate about 750,000 COVID vaccine doses to Taiwan. A U.S. Senator, Tammy Duckworth, announced the donation during a visit to Taiwan on Sunday. Officials there are seeing a surge in cases and they've been asking the U.S. to share some of the vaccines it plans to donate to the world.

Meanwhile, a troubling development in the U.K. as the country records more than 57,000 new cases on Saturday. That puts the seven-day rolling average for new infections at its highest since the beginning of April, as you can see from that graph. This comes as concern grows over the spread of the variant first identified in India.

Amid all of that, Downing Street is responding to British media reports suggesting the final phase of the road map out of lockdown may be delayed by two weeks. A government spokesperson says no decision on step 4 has been made yet.

India's COVID numbers may be headed in the right direction there. It's just reported more than 114,000 new daily cases, the lowest figure in 60 days. Sunday also marks the 10th consecutive day in which authorities reported less than 200,000 new infections.

But make no mistake, India is still in the grip of a catastrophe. And reporting on the devastation that COVID has wrought takes a toll on many of the journalists who are bringing us these stories. Vedika Sud recently wrote a personal account of her experiences covering the pandemic in her home country on and I urge our viewers to read it.

Vedika, hi, thank you for joining us. I want you to tell us what you wrote and why you think it's struck such a chord for many people who have connected with it online.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the fear here in India has been about the people I've written about.

What if it was one of us on the other side, who's lost someone very close to us?

I think the response I've got is mostly from journalists as well as people who have lost their close loved ones. It's been very difficult to accept we're losing people to COVID-19, like one of the persons at the crematorium told me who lost her husband last month.


SUD: She said, it's not COVID-19 I lost my husband to; it's the lack of oxygen supply. In a way it's been a lot of deaths that could have been saved, according to the people I've spoken with.

It's been difficult to write this . But I cannot deny, it's been highly cathartic for me. So it might have been selfish in a way but I did decide to share this with CNN because it's something that a lot of journalists out there can also resonate (sic) with.

They feel they've seen so much in such little time and perhaps the worst they've ever seen in their lifetime. And that's what made me actually pen my thoughts down, Robyn.

CURNOW: Just give us a sense of what was that moment or that one particular person that really struck you and you think that you might never really forget.

SUD: I think more than just one or two people that I spoke with and I'm still talking to, interviewing on a weekly basis, to bring out the suffering and the pain here in India. Make no mistake, the second wave is still here in India and we're looking at, staring at a third, so I don't know what we're preparing for, the second wave or the onset of the third wave.

At a time like this, people have lost people so close to them, children's, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers. Even according to the Indian government, 577 children have been orphaned between April 1st and May 25. These are just numbers just about coming in.

So when I spoke to a mother, one of the people that I did meet at the crematorium, what really struck me was -- rather, let me say it was a dilemma I was facing -- should I go up to him and ask for an interview?

He just lost someone close to him. You do want to document these things. You must document them, because it's the pain and suffering of your fellow countrymen but you don't know where to draw the line.

I decided to sit with him on that bench and I gave him his time. That's when he opened up to a complete stranger, in this case, me, where he spoke about the last few days with his twin in hospital, his father, who had just been discharged after being infected with COVID- 19.

And he was picking up the ashes of his mother at that point in time. I've spoken to so many others. Recently, you know about the black fungus cases in India, I've interviewed a 24-year-old girl, Parvia (ph).

We spoke yesterday, I've been keeping in touch with these people I've been interviewing. She called me up and she said, I don't have enough vials for my father. He's in hospital in Hyderabad. I need 50 anti- fungal vials for him to recover.

It took a few calls for me to arrange five but I don't know how much help I can provide at this point in time. This is just a drop in the ocean. I can't compare my efforts to all of those people who on social media have made it their daily job and their commitment to the people of India to help get them oxygen supplies, to help get them anti- fungal vials, to help get all the medicines possible that are actually running short in India currently.

CURNOW: And also, you're on air, you're having to report, speak to people, be at these crematoriums, which is so difficult. You're a mom and a wife as well.

How has that played into how you've coped?

SUD: Well, that's -- that's been difficult. And I think my daughter has been my inspiration because the biggest fear I had when leaving the house for those 18 days to go to the hotel was, will she be fine?

Because we've seen so many children be vulnerable to the second wave. And we've been told by experts that the third wave will be even worse.

So while I didn't really talk much to my parents and my husband while I was away, they were monitoring what I was doing because I refused to tell them that I was at a crematorium or we were outside a morgue or we went into a hospital, standing outside a COVID ward.

You didn't want to stress them further at that point in time. But you had a duty as a journalist. And as an Indian, I would say I was extremely emotional while reporting. I still am. Because those images will take a while to actually -- not disappear but for you to just keep it some way intact that you don't have to really remember them all the time.

But at the same point in time, however contradictory it may sound, we must, as Indians, remember April and May 2021. We shouldn't forget this. And we should hold the system accountable.

Perhaps right now is not the right time, according to me, because there's so much to be done by them. If they have let us down in the past, we should give them that kind of time to prepare for the existing and remaining of the second wave and the third.

But the system should be held accountable at some point in time. But overwhelming, the kind of support friends, family and strangers have been providing to each other at this very difficult time and space in India.

CURNOW: Thank you for sharing, Vedika Sud, live in New Delhi.

I'll be right back. You're watching CNN.





CURNOW: Welcome back.

An emotional moment at golf's Memorial Tournament in Ohio as the tournament leader is forced to withdraw because of a positive COVID test. Patrick Snell has the details.



CURNOW: There's high-flying action in California as Disney rolls out the welcome mat after a year-long delay. The new Avengers Campus opened at Disneyland in California on Friday.

It comes as the park is also preparing to welcome out-of-state guests starting on June the 15th. That's also the day the park will stop checking guests' temperatures as they enter. Disneyland opened the gates to California residents back in late April.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'm going to hand you over to my colleague, Kim, in a few moments for much more news. Stay with us, you're watching CNN.