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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Fighting to Stay in Power; Mexico's Preliminary Election Results; First Lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci Visits a Harlem Vaccination Site; India to Ease Restrictions; Vietnam's Battle Against Coronavirus; Residents Call For Greater Security After Gunmen Kill 132; Meghan And Harry Welcome Baby Girl, Lilibet Diana; Gunmen Kill 132, Burn Homes In Deadliest Attack In Years. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 7, 2021 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: The man set to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, urging the prime minister to let go, but Bibi defiant vowing to bring down the new coalition government.

He wasn't on the ballot, but Mexico's high stakes midterm election was all about AMLO. Will his ruling coalition keep its super majority?

And the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their baby girl, the name? A sweet tribute to two very important women in their lives.

Hello and welcome to "CNN Newsroom" everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.

Welcome everyone. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very close to seeing his 12-year run as prime minister come to an end. But, as expected, not going quietly.

The coalition seeking to oust him has asked the speaker of the Knesset to schedule a vote for this Wednesday to form a new government. Naftali Bennett, the man who would take the prime minister spot, is warning him not leave a scorched Earth behind him.


NAFTALI BENNETT, YAMINA PARTY LEADER: I call from here on Mr. Netanyahu. Let go. Release the country to move on. People are allowed to vote for the establishment of a government even if it is not you who is heading it. A government that is 10 degrees to the right than the current one, by the way.


HOLMES: Mr. Netanyahu is looking to drag the process out hoping to find defectors to derail the coalition, but if that doesn't work, he says he and his Likud Party will topple a new government "very quickly." Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem for us. Netanyahu, ratcheting up fear tactics. I mean, some pretty Trump-like

rhetoric about the coalition, biggest election fraud in the history of the country and so on. What might he do to head off Lapid and Bennett?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, I mean, legally he can't do anything. Procedurally, he can get the speaker of the Knesset who is a Netanyahu loyalist from Netanyahu's own Likud Party to not fulfill the proposed coalition's wishes of holding the vote in two days' time on Wednesday and instead use the maximum amount of time available to him to postpone the vote until next Monday, June 14th.

And of course, the longer this goes on, the more opportunity Netanyahu will feel that he has to get some of those right-wing lawmakers in this proposed coalition to defect, or in his views, you know, reconsider the err in her ways. And some of the language that Netanyahu has used has been, you know, quite strident.

He said for example, you know, to the right-wing base, don't be afraid to lay into the right-wing politicians who are joining or he's derided as a left-wing government. He's invoked kind of biblical references, talking about the kind of some of the rebels that were against Moses who were then swallowed up by the earth, referring to that kind of story and depicting, you know, the people from the right-wing parties, going into this proposed coalition, as being akin to those rebelling against Moses.

So, some of the rhetoric has been quite inflammatory. Netanyahu did say that there was no excuse for, you know, physical violence, but of course, some of the language he's used could be interpreted by some of his supporters as being an invitation to do so. And there are concerns.

Certainly, we heard from the head of shin Bet, the internal security service here over the weekend, talking about some of the language, you know, getting into the stage where it's almost kind of echoing some of the language that we saw some 25 years ago ahead of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

So, certainly, concerns about the atmosphere, right now, Netanyahu will do everything he can within the law to try to prevent this coalition from coming into being. But as you say, we are getting very close and there are just days, perhaps two days, perhaps a week, before we have that vote. And perhaps, potentially, we see Netanyahu being forced to leave office.

HOLMES: Incendiary stuff. I mean, a senior Likud person saying on television, describing Bennett as a terrorist and a suicide bomber. Really, it's remarkable. I wanted to ask you too about the postponed flag march of far-right Israelis. That's meant to take place in the old city of Jerusalem, not far from the Sheikh Harrah neighborhood, which was a flash point for conflict with Gaza recently.


How great -- you mentioned Shin Bet worried about violence. I mean, how concerning is it that that march could spark violence? GOTKINE: Well, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has called for the march

to be scrapped. You've had reportedly senior police commanders calling for it to be rerouted away from the Muslim quarter of the old city of Jerusalem.

And there are concerns that it could lead to violence if it is allowed to go ahead. Now, we reached out to the police, they said a decision would be made either today or tomorrow, whether this march would go ahead. And if so, what route it would be allowed to take.

But it's also worth noting that the internal security minister, Amir Ohana, is also a Netanyahu loyalist, and ultimately, it's his decision as to whether this march can go ahead. So, we are waiting on that decision to see if it happens, but concerns that it could be another flash point here, Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Elliott, thanks. Elliott Gotkine in Jerusalem, appreciate it.

Now, earlier, I spoke to Yaakov Katz who is editor-in-chief of the "Jerusalem Post" and asked him what options Netanyahu has left.


YAAKOV KATZ, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JERUSALEM POST: Well, Michael, I think that Netanyahu is going to do everything that he can procedurally or technically that the law allows him to try to torpedo this government for moving forward, right. His main ambition, at least, or his main goal is to try to peel away a couple of members of this new coalition either from Naftali Bennett, the presumptive candidate to serve first as prime minister from his party or from the New Hope, which was set up by a party that used to -- as a member who used to be a member of the Likud Party.

So he's going to try to do all those little tricks that he might be able to. It doesn't seem that those are being effective at the moment. And I think that really what he's trying at the moment with all these speeches, is to try to create a narrative that he is the victim of fraud. That he is the victim of the steal, as they called it back in the United States just a few months ago.

And, as a result, he wants to play the victim card. So even if he ends up going to the opposition who continue to wave that victim card and hope that this government collapses quickly because its' such a kaleidoscope of a government, have so many different sides and parts to it, and then he can come back and swoop in, pick up the pieces and again become Israel's prime minister.

HOLMES: It's interesting what you say, you know, Netanyahu. He's been speaking in terms almost reminiscent of Donald Trump. I mean, biggest election fraud in the history of the country, people are being cheated, and saying people should protest the formation of the government.

And as you point, out in the "Jerusalem Post" in your latest article, you said this is at a time when more and more politicians are under police protection, intelligence warning of potential political unrest. What are the concerns?

KATZ: Well, look, Yamina Party, right, which is led by Naftali Bennett who is supposed to serve as the first prime minister in this government, every member of that party almost, is under security detail. Naftali Bennett is protected by the Shin Bet, that's the Israeli security agency. His number two, Ayeket Shaked is receiving security now from the Knesset Guard. That's Israel's parliament security force.

There's two other members who yesterday started to receive armed protection. The reason is because they're being followed, they're being harassed. There are demonstrations and protests daily, nightly, outside their homes. There's an escalation online with social media.

This led to the head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, to release a rare public statement on Saturday as the Sabbath was still taking place, which is something that doesn't happen that often in Israel. To release a rare statement to say we need to lower the tone of the rhetoric, this could end in bloodshed.

And I think that what we saw yesterday with Netanyahu's speech was on the one hand he paid lip service to the head of the Shin Bet's call to stop incitement, which is unfortunately, coming from that right-wing side of the map right now.

But on the other hand, he continued to add fuel to the fire. He said this is the greatest fraud in Israeli history. People are being cheated. He said we need to take every action possible, of course, within, you know, the framework of the law, he adde, and we need to attack the media, we need to attack these members of Knesset.

All of this together, if there is some lunatic on the other side that could be interpreted the wrong way. And this is extremely delicate period for Israel right now. This is the week, Michael, when we're supposed to have transition of power. And during these times, we know the democracies are tested. We saw it in January in the United States. I hope we don't see those things -- scenes here in Israel in the coming week.


HOLMES: And thanks to Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of the "Jerusalem Post," speaking with me earlier.

Now, we are keeping a close eye on developments in Mexico where ballots are being counted after the country's largest ever midterm election. According to preliminary results, the ruling coalition is expected to lose its supermajority in the lower house of Congress.


And while President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would retain control, the loss of a super majority would prevent him from making constitutional reforms. I spoke about all of this earlier with our Rafael Romo.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It's a midterm election, but in reality, it's an election about one man. And that is the president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It's a referendum of sorts on his first half of his presidency. And even though he's not on the ballot, his party is very much.

And the hope, his goal is to consolidate this power in Congress. All 500 members of the lower House of Representatives are going to be renewed. And so if he can gain more positions, he can consolidate his mandate than has -- will probably have, if he achieves that goal, free reign to implement some of the policies that he wanted to from the beginning.


HOLMES: Rafael Romo there. And final election results are expected next week. We are also keeping a close eye on a high stakes election in Peru. Security was tight as voters lined up Sunday to cast their ballots for the next president.

Officials say the elections are too close to call at the moment and the counting of ballots will continue throughout the night. They are also urging Peruvians to wait for results to come in from the provinces. We'll be back.



HOLMES: Welcome back and I want to welcome viewers joining us here in the United States as well. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching "CNN Newsroom."

Now, the U.S. surpassed a milestone over the weekend in its effort to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that more than 300 million vaccine doses have now been administered. 63.5 percent of adults are now at least partially vaccinated.

The Biden administration wants a 70 percent receiving at least one dose by the 4th of July. Polo Sandoval now reports on the push by the first lady and the country's top infectious disease expert to reach that goal.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Over the weekend, First Lady Jill Biden and the nation's top infectious disease expert stopping by an iconic Harlem church, promoting that message of the importance of getting vaccinated, hoping to increase those vaccination numbers.

But the First Lady and Dr. Anthony Fauci made some time to stop by here at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and speaking not only with church officials, but also those who have been administering the vaccine as well to see firsthand the efforts that are ongoing in communities of color. They recognize that churches are now the oldest, but also the most

trusted institutions in black and brown communities. So, they stop by to really show that message.

JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: People in this community trust this church and trust the people in the church, and that's how we're going to do it, you know, through faith community to reach out to their congregation, their flocks as they can come forward and be healthy.

SANDOVAL: The First Lady and Dr. Fauci did also spend some time speaking with some of the people who are getting their shots on Sunday, not only thanking them for doing so, but asking them to spread the word. Pol Sandoval, CNN, New York.

HOLMES: The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is calling for greater transparency from China on the origin of the coronavirus. In an interview with Axios, Blinken was asked about speculation that the virus might have been the result of a lab accident in Wuhan. He said, Beijing needs to be open and accountable, something that hasn't happened so far.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: What the government didn't do in the early days and still hasn't done, is given us the transparency. We need the international community. Access for inspectors and experts. The sharing of information in realtime.


HOLMES: The Chinese government denies that the virus was created in any of their facilities and has suggested even that might have been made in the U.S.

India's capital, New Delhi, easing some COVID-19 restrictions as cases dropped. The government now allowing shops and malls to reopen with limited hours. And metro trains are operating at 50 percent capacity. CNN's Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi. Let's start with the lifting of restrictions. Things are going in the right direction at last.

VIDEKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Well, Michael, that debate still persists. Lives versus livelihood. And you've seen the union territory of Delhi actually being under successive weeks of lockdown, and now it's easing out.

You already mentioned the measures being taken by Delhi's chief minister who made this announcement on Saturday. But also the state of Maharashtra that has seen staggering numbers when it comes to COVID-19 cases. In fact, it's recorded almost a fifth of India's total COVID-19 cases ever since the beginning of the pandemic.

Now, the state of Maharashtra is also easing restrictions, but of course, there are lot of options before them right now and conditions that they're laying forward, which is that only those districts that are seeing less than 25 percent of people who are being supported by oxygen in hospitals and whether state case positivity rate is low, only there will there be an easing of restrictions.

Otherwise, in every other place, essential movement is only allowed. Now, this is highly crucial, Michael, because it all depends on how the restrictions are eased across India over the next few weeks. That will determine how severe, of course, the third wave will be, which we are being told is to come and hit India very soon.

So, it depends on the Indian government and their measures and restrictions. It depends on the civilians and the citizens of India, and how they adhere to COVID-19 rules. Michael?

HOLMES: Yes. Meanwhile, I mean, the impacts have been devastating for India, and in particular, the children. And I know you've been looking into that.

SUD: Yes, Michael, and it's been devastating for them, truly so. We did speak to a family of seven, the eldest sister, Devika is 23 years old.


She is now taking care of six of her siblings, the youngest being all of four. They lost their parents in the month of May, as well as April to COVID-19. She's the only one who's earning money for the family currently. She's hoping for financial help from the state and the central government here in India. Here's their story.


SUD (voice-over): She lights the soy lamp in memory of her parents every morning. Just 23, Devika is now the head of the family and caregiver to her six siblings. These children, the youngest only 4 years old, lost their mother and then their father to the brutal second wave of COVID-19 in India.

DEVIKA, ORPHAN (through translation): My 14 and 9-year-old sisters know about our parents. I haven't told the three younger. All they believe is that they are unwell and recovering in the village.

SUD (voice-over): In the last week of April when the crisis hit the capital of Delhi hard, India was reporting over 350,000 daily cases of COVID-19, and a severe shortage of hospital beds and oxygen.

Devika's 39-year-old mother was suffering from high fever. Her oxygen levels had dropped. After being turned away from many hospitals, Devika admitted her to a medical facility in a city of Kurukshetra, about 170 kilometers away where she took her last breath.

DEVIKA (through translation): All she wanted was to get better. She wanted to fulfill her responsibilities as a mother. She wanted to be saved.

SUD (voice-over): Ten days later, her father also infected by the virus, and heartbroken, couldn't be saved. An emotional Devika says her parents loved each other very much.

DEVIKA (through translation): My father doted on my mother. They're together now.

SUD (on camera): You're very brave.

(Voice-over): It's hard to console this young woman who is barely out of her teens. She hasn't had much time to grieve. Devika holds test prep classes. She brings in about $70 a month. Before his death, their father was the only earning family member.

While family and friends have helped them financially, I asked Devika if she's worried about not making enough to sustain the family and about her siblings being taken away by authorities.

DEVIKA (through translation): This is my biggest fear. I will do all that I can to keep them with me.

SUD (voice-over): Calls to child welfare organizations reporting orphan and abandoned children, especially through the second wave have been relentless.

YASMIN ALI HAQUE, UNICEF INIDA REPRESENTATIVE: The biggest challenge is who takes responsibility, if I can put it that way. And that's where it's so important that we link them to the services needed so that there can be a determination of, especially, kinship care.

SUD (voice-over): Orphaned, Devika says memory is all she is left with.

DEVIKA (through translation): One of my favorite memories is of my parents dancing on my sister's birthday in December. It was the first time they danced in front of us. It's now one of the lasting memories we have of them.

SUD (voice-over): In the midst of this raging pandemic that (inaudible) cremate not one, but both parents. Devika doesn't let her siblings out of sight. Still fearful of the virus, this door opens to very few.


SUD (on camera): According to the Indian government, 577 children have been orphaned by COVID-19, Michael -- 577 between 1st April and May 25th. That is in 55 days of the brutal second wave. And we're also being told by India's commission for child rights that over 1,700 children have been orphaned by COVID-19 since this pandemic hit the country.

The Indian government has assured they will be helping these children financially and securing their futures. But my only worry is that there is a lot of trauma that they've been through and they need mental help as well at this point in time.

And these numbers are going to rise by the day. You know, the data that the child rights commission is collecting on a daily basis and putting before the top court of India, Michael.

HOLMES: That's tragic. Powerful reporting, Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Thank you.

Now, Japanese officials say they are preparing to send COVID vaccines to Vietnam. That country has seen a disturbing rise in cases after being hailed initially for its containment measures at the start of the pandemic. CNN's Paula Hancocks with that.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ta Hien Street in Hanoi known locally as Beer Street. The throng of tourists eating and drinking outside have been absent for well over a year. Bars are now completely shut and restaurants are take away only until at least June 14th.

Vietnam was once a rare beacon of hope in the midst of this pandemic, but more than half of their total coronavirus cases have been recorded in just the last month. International flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, were briefly suspended.

Ho Chi Minh City has imposed a de facto lockdown saying people should only go out for food, medicine, or cash withdrawal. Mandatory testing is underway in high-risk areas including a Christian mission where a cluster was found.

Industrial zones and teachers involved in an upcoming high school entrance exam, with less than 1 percent of the population fully vaccinated, authorities are scrambling to buy more doses.

UNKNOWN: I hope the government can buy vaccines for everyone. With a low vaccination rate like this, it's probably going to be a long time before it's my turn.

UNKNOWN (through translation): I feel very worried, afraid that the disease will spread into community. Therefore, we strictly follow the regulations. In times of pandemic like this, it's good to be alive.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Vietnam's health minister warned last weekend of a potential new variant, combining highly transmissible strains found in India and the U.K., calling it quite very dangerous. Experts say it appears to be a mutation rather than a new variant, but more data is needed over the next few weeks to show if it is in fact more infectious.

KARTHIK GANGAVARAPU, SRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE: At the moment, I don't see a reason to be overly concerned about just that one mutation. However, that is of interest and should be studied further and that story might change as more data comes in.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): What is of concern now is the so-called Indian variant being in a country with such low levels of vaccination.

KIDONGH PARK, WHO REPRESENTATIVE IN VIETNAM: Regardless of the mutation, we should do our best to increase the number of people vaccinated and then to prioritize the limited quantity of the vaccine to high risk groups.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): The World Health Organization says the next few weeks are critical for Vietnam to suppress this outbreak. The WHO is considering Vietnam's proposal to become a COVID vaccine technology hub. But for now, the country is still trying to find more supply for its own citizens. A tall order within the tight global supply. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


HOLMES: And just coming into us here at CNN, we're learning emergency workers are trying right now to rescue at least 17 people still trapped, following a deadly train crash in Pakistan's Sindh province. Officials say at least 30 people are dead after two trains collided between stations.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeting that he has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the crash. Much more ahead on "CNN Newsroom" including demands for peace and security in Burkina Faso after militants carried out one of the deadliest attacks there in years. That's still to come.

And also, just banning Twitter wasn't enough for Nigeria's government. Now, it's threatening Twitter users. We'll have that and more after the break.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For some time, they had stopped, so we thought everything was OK. But now we see it is starting again. People are being killed. This news we just heard about really affects me as a Burkina Bay. So we're calling for them to look into security and assuring security so that there is peace in the country and in the provinces.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: A young man in Burkina Faso they're reacting to one of the country's deadliest attacks in years. Armed assailants laid siege to a village in the northeast late on Friday into Saturday. The government says terrorists killed more than 130 people, some of them children. Monday marks a third day of national mourning.

CNN's David McKenzie reports for us from Johannesburg.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this attack in both its scale and its nature is certainly horrifying, according to state media in Burkina Faso and that country's president. It occurred in the border regions of Niger where unknown assailants late Friday into Saturday attacked a village firing indiscriminately and torching structures, many injured fled to neighboring areas says the Red Cross.

More than 100 people were killed, including at least seven children says United Nation. Now it's the latest sign that the Sahel region is facing really bad insecurity. More than a million people in Burkina Faso alone have had to flee their homes in the last two years says the UN.

And this is despite a substantial presence of French troops and a U.S. drone base in Niger looking to go after these jihadist groups. The government says they will try and take on those assailants and no one at this stage has claimed responsibility. But al Qaeda in that region or group affiliated with al Qaeda and the group affiliated with ISIS works almost with impunity in attacking villages.

There is no real sense of a clear motivation at this point. But attacks of this nature, often reprisal attacks against civilian defense groups organized by villagers because the government has very little control. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


HOLMES: Now Nigeria is a country plagued by kidnappings, extremists and bandits but the government wants to crack down on a new type of criminal, Twitter users. It banned the social media platform after Twitter deleted a post by the President, a post that was seen as incendiary by many and now just sending a tweet can get you arrested. CNN's Larry Madowo explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tweet. Is this how a government acts?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nigerians are reacting with shock and frustration after the government suspended Twitter's operations in the country on Friday.

DANIEL SEUN OLATUNDE, TWITTER USER: This morning. I couldn't even tweet anything. It's - It's - It's shameful.

MADOWO: The Nigerian government defended the ban saying it was temporary and it has ordered federal prosecutors to arrest and prosecute anyone still using the app.

The move comes just about two days after the social media platform deleted a tweet by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari that some say threatened to punish regional separatists. Twitter says the tweet violated its abusive behavior policy.

Nigeria's information minister says the company has doubled standards and accused it of trying to undermine the country's interests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twitter may have its own rules, it's not the universal rules. MADOWO: In the past, Nigeria has tried to regulate social media saying

it spreads misinformation and fake news, especially when used in social movements like the mass protests against police brutality last year organized under the hashtag 'end SARS which Twitter's Chief Executive Jack Dorsey tweeted his support for.


And the hashtag 'bring back our girls,' which expressed outrage oftentimes directed at government inaction over the kidnappings of school girls by the terror group Boko Haram. Human rights groups say the Twitter ban is an attempt to suppress free speech.

FRANK TIETE, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: I think the reaction on the part of this government is just inappropriate and unnecessarily, too strict and it sends very wrong signals, and it's against the interest of Nigeria.

MADOWO: Critics warn too much regulation could scare off international investors and alienates people inside the country who use the platform for business or just want to communicate online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not in a military regime, this is totally wrong. This is a democracy.

MADOWO: Twitter says it is deeply concerned about the suspension and will work to restore access in Nigeria. Its users there silenced for now can only wait to see who will have the last word in this social media showdown. Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.


HOLMES: And a number of countries have now condemned Nigeria's Twitter ban. Canada, the EU, Ireland, the U.S. and the UK issuing this joint statement. They say they're disappointed and that the path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more and not less communication.

All the British Royals are celebrating the arrival of the newest member of the family. What we know about Prince Harry and Megan's baby girl and how they're passing down legacies with her name. That's coming up.



HOLMES: Welcome back, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed a daughter into the family over the weekend. This is of course their second child. Their first Archie, born in 2019. CNN's Max Foster has more on Lilibet Diana Mountbatten Windsor and the special meaning behind her name.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Lilibet was born on Friday and mother and baby are back home already and they're both doing well. They're healthy, according to a statement from the Sussex household. So everything seems to have gone to plan. Lilibet is named after the Queen whose nickname is Lilybet.

She couldn't say her name properly Elizabeth as a child, that's what legend says but anyway, but this baby will be called Lily we're told her middle name is Diana so also named after Harry's late mother as well. A real nod to the British Royal family, Harry's side of the family with this baby.

They have said previously they're only going to have two and Harry suggested as for environmental reasons. So we do seem to have the full sets now of for Sussexes living in California. The rest of the British side of the family issued a statement. "The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been informed and are delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex." Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.


HOLMES: World Sport coming up next, for our international viewers. Everyone else, stay tuned, I'll have more news after the break.




HOLMES: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is in Guatemala this hour with a very busy day ahead. Her first foreign diplomatic trip has taken her to Central America seeking ways to curb migration from the region. In the coming hours, Harris will meet face to face with Guatemala's president. And he says mixed messages from the U.S. have been part of the problem.


ALEJANDRO GIAMMATTEI, GAUTEMALAN PRESIDENT (Through Translator): The message changed to we're going to reunite families and we're going to reunite children. The very next day the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States. We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving.


HOLMES: And earlier, I spoke with Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. We talked about the factors driving migration from Central America.


LEE GELERNT, DEPUTY DORECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS PROJECT: Much greater are some assumptions being made by people in the United States and around the world. No one wants to pick up and leave their home country, go to a foreign country, establish a new life where they don't speak the language.

That's a very difficult journey. It's particularly difficult with young children. What really takes a lot for people to get up and leave and I think what's driving most people in Central America now is the extreme violence and persecution they're facing. And that violence is exacerbated by hurricanes, by the pandemic, and a variety of other things. So people are fleeing when they're in real danger. And I think the Vice President is going to need to deal with root causes to give them economic hope, to deal with the corruption there and to deal with the violence because ultimately, that's the long term solution.

If people - if they are stable in their own country and not fearful of being killed, or their children being killed, they won't pick up and come to the United States. But the Vice President also needs to address what's happening on our border right now because at the end of the day, it's going to take a while before we deal with the root causes. And right now, the Biden administration like the Trump administration is turning around families with small children without any hearing whatsoever and sending them back to danger.

So we need to do both. We need to deal with the short term. And the Vice President needs to have real practical solutions for the long term.

HOLMES: Have things improved at all? I mean, we talked about the dreadful conditions on the ground and yes, corruption, hunger, even climate change impacting agriculture and things like that. There were programs in place which Donald Trump eliminated, Joe Biden says he will reinstate that. Are you saying that's not enough? What more needs to be achieved?

GELERNT: Well, I think you're absolutely right, the Trump administration not only closed the border to desperate people, but then refused to continue many programs in Central America, that would have made it better for those people so that they didn't actually have to come.

So I'm hoping that the vice president says we're going to restart those programs, maybe even build on those programs, and move quicker, because we don't have years to try and fix those root cause problems. Pandemic has made things worse and whenever things get worse economically, and including hurricanes and climate change, that's when the criminal element can prey on people. And so the worst things get from a poverty standpoint, the more the gangs control the areas and the more persecution there is.

So we would like to see the vital ministration implement all the things that used to be in place to help Central America and maybe go beyond that.


HOLMES: That was Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project speaking with me a little earlier. U.S. President Joe Biden preparing to attend the G7 summit this coming weekend where world leaders will focus on the global recovery from the pandemic.

Ahead of the meetings, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a concerted effort to ramp up COVID vaccinations around the world. CNN's Nina dos Santos with more on that.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the UK getting ready to host world leaders for the G7 summit in Cornwall at the end of the week, Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister has issued a rallying cry urging the leaders of those countries to sign on to a pledge to help protect the entire planet against the Coronavirus by 2022.

This heeds repeated pleas issued by the World Health Organization for richer Western countries with excess doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to share their supplies with other countries that either can't afford those immunizations or haven't yet been able to get their hands on them.


Well, this doesn't just make good moral sense, it's also important for the economy as well, because what it does is prevent new variants on forming in other parts of the world, and then starting to circulate, scuppering plans to reopen the economy, like, for instance, the UK has, in about two weeks from now.

The UK has access to round about 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, at least that is what has been earmarked. But so far, they haven't been as committal as other countries when it comes to sharing specific numbers of doses by a specific date, only saying that they will share surplus stock as and when they have it, compare that with the United States that is earmarked 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be donated through the UN's Covax donation scheme and also France, which is pledged to donate 500,000. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Now police in California have arrested two suspects accused in that road rage shooting that left a six year old boy dead. Aiden Anthony Leos was gunned down on May 21. He was sitting in a booster seat while his mother drove him to kindergarten. Police say the shootings stem from a perceived unsafe lane change.

The highway patrol says two people were arrested at their home in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. They're identified as Marcus Anthony Eriz and Wynne Lee. It's not yet clear if they have lawyers. Now rise in demand is driving up the price of oil and on Sunday prices in the U.S. hit $70 a barrel. That's the first time in nearly three years. Let's take a look at the latest price trading at just under that mark at the moment.

Now the comeback for crude is being fueled by increased demand for gasoline and jet fuel as the economy opens up and picks up and that means Americans paying more at the pump by the way. The average gallon of regular gas costs just over $3 from $2 about a year ago.

More than a year after the pandemic forced them to drop anchor, cruise ships are set to begin sailing again from U.S. ports. Royal Caribbean says it will resume cruises from Florida and Texas starting next month. And vaccines won't be required for passengers. CNN's Natasha Chen explains.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The cruise industry is getting ready to set sail once again but a political storm brewing on land, one between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Centers for Disease Control suggests it will be anything but smooth sailing.

Right now most cruise lines are advertising new summer sailings with vaccination requirements. But Royal Caribbean abruptly changed course on Friday. Only its ships departing from Seattle and the Bahamas honor before August 1 will require passengers 16 and older to be vaccinated. But no vaccination requirements for its sailings from Texas or Florida. Florida, where businesses can be fined for requiring customers to show proof of vaccination.

MICHAEL WINKLEMAN, MARITIME LAWYER: I was surprised by the blink because I think they're on the better side of it. And I think they're better off staying on team CDC rather than team DeSantis.

CHEN: Michael Winkleman, a cruise industry expert and maritime lawyer in Miami says the situation on cruise ships is unique and the CDC is trying to keep people safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There appear to be no waiting pattern here.

CHEN: Last year a number of cruise ships remained unable to dock when coronavirus spread through tight quarters. After the CDC issued a no sale order ships sat idle for 15 months. Now the CDC has laid out a framework to get them back in motion. Either have trial sailings with volunteers before opening up to paid passengers or abide by certain restrictions with the most latitude on ships where at least 95 percent of passengers and crew are vaccinated.

DeSantis has sued the CDC over this with no end of the legal battle in sight.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): But just make no mistake about this. Had we not done what we did and I think a lot of those cruise lines will would admit this, had we not done what we did by suing, you would not be talking about sailing right now. There's not been a single elected official in this country who's done more to liberate the cruise lines from a bureaucracy that is totally out of touch.

WINKLEMAN: In my opinion, this has nothing to do with helping business. It has nothing to do with keeping people safe. It has to do with him playing to a very small but vocal base of his supporters in an effort to win in 2024.

CHEN: Winkleman says DeSantis won't likely win this lawsuit. A sentiment echoed by a Miami Herald Op-Ed saying the cruise industry wants to go back to work. The CDC isn't the issue here. The badly conceived vaccine passport law is the politicking and rule changes have left passengers confused but this travel agent specialises in cruises, says most people hoping to get on a cruise soon are already vaccinated or planning to be before they board.


ELAINE EDWARDS, TRAVEL AGENT, DREAMS UNLIMITED TRAVEL: I think people are just so excited. They didn't get to cruise last summer. They didn't get to cruise this one or that they are willing to whatever the cruise line needs me to do, I will do it because I want to get on that ship.

CHEN: I checked with the Florida governor's office. The state law does allow businesses to ask customers if they are vaccinated, but the customer doesn't have to answer and that cannot be a condition of entry. The CDC says right now anyone getting on a cruise even if they're fully vaccinated should be tested before and after the trip. And those who are unvaccinated should quarantine after the cruise even if they test negative. Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: The U.S. gymnastics champion Simone Biles secured her seventh National Women's All- Round title over the weekend, the most by any woman in U.S. history. The four-time Olympic gold medalist winning the U.S. championship in Texas on Sunday, nearly five points ahead of the runner up. No stranger to making history, Biles became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike in competition just a few weeks ago. Her next stop is the Tokyo Olympics set to begin next month. She is amazing.

Thanks for watching, spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @HolmesCNN. My colleague Robin Curnow is up next with another hour of CNN Newsroom.