Return to Transcripts main page


Family Orphaned During India's Second Wave. Royal Caribbean Set to Resume Cruises from U.S. in July; Meghan and Harry Welcome Baby Girl, Lilibet Diana; Gunmen Kill 132, Wound Dozens in Deadliest Attack in Years; A Least 30 Dead After Trains Collide in Southern Pakistan. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 7, 2021 - 04:30   ET



VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It's hard to console this young woman, who's barely out of her teens. She hasn't had much time to grieve. Devika's 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 translator): 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 orphaned, abandoned children, especially through the second wave, have been relentless.

DR. YASMIN ALI HAQUE, UNICEF INDIA 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 there can be determination of especially kinship care.

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

DEVIKA (through translator): 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 saw her 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): In a span of ten days she's cremated both her father and mother, Robyn. This is not just the story of seven siblings, but so many children across India currently. According to the Indian government during the second wave from April 1st to May 25th, 577 children were orphaned by COVID-19. Now the biggest challenge for the Indian government while they deal with the second wave and the onset of a possible third is to ensure that these children are taken care of financially as well as psychologically -- Robyn.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK, from New Delhi, thank you for that story, Vedika Sud.

And more than a year after pandemic forced them to drop anchor, cruise ships that are preparing to set sail. Once again Caribbean said it will resume cruises from Florida and Texas starting next month and vaccines won't be required for passengers. Natasha Chen explains.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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 on or 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 (voice-over): 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, you know, a waiting pattern here.

CHEN (voice-over): Last year a number of cruise ships remained unable to dock when coronavirus spread through tight quarters. After the CDC issued a no sail 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 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 (voice-over): 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 who specializes 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.


CURNOW: The duke and duchess of Sussex are celebrating the birth of their second child. Details on the baby girl who is now eighth in line to the British throne. And the special meaning behind her name.


CURNOW: Some happy news. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are celebrating the birth of their new daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Is the second child for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Baby Lili was born on Friday in California. Paul Vercammen is there -- Paul.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Harry and Meghan welcoming Baby Lili or Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor paying homage to both the Queen and Princess Diana.

She was born here at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. And a publicist for Meghan Markle saying to us that the family is settling in at home. Everyone is healthy and confirming that Archie is glad to be having a little sister.


At this hospital, born in one of those upscale birthing rooms with the sofa and the recliner and the other chair and the bed and whatnot.

And I was speaking with a former royal watcher in the U.K. who has now moved to this area. He lives by the Markle's in Montecito. He said that one of the things about them is they wanted to preserve their anonymity and they've been able to do so. And he described how he thinks some rather upscale guests may drop off baby gifts.

RICHARD MINEARDS, COLUMNIST, MONTECITO JOURNAL: I fully expect Oprah to go over and Ellen to go over with baby presents. I'm sure they'll be absolutely bombarded with christening gifts. So we'll see more hopefully, in due course.

VERCAMMEN: And if you're saying to yourself, well how did they have a baby here without the paparazzi stalking them, their entrance and their exit. Well, that's very much a strategy here among the royal couple. They wanted to move to California and have much more of a private life and many of the experts say there just aren't the number of paparazzi photographers chasing them all around here.

Reporting from Santa Barbara, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now, back to you.


CURNOW: Thanks to Paul for that, and whatnot.

Anna Stewart joins me now live from London. Anna, so this baby will be known as Lili we understand.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, it's a special name. It's a name for a Queen. Because it's short for Lilibet which is the queen's nickname at home. She's had that nickname since she was a toddler. And couldn't actually say apparently the word Elizabeth. A very tricky name to say.

And I think this really shows that despite all the tension that we've had between team Sussex and the royal family over the last couple of years, family is still very important to Prince Harry and Meghan. The name is really a tribute to the Queen, this baby very much of the Windsor dynasty, and the royal family are thrilled to welcome the arrival of little Lili. We've had some tweets from Prince Charles, the grandfather and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie on the arrival of baby Lilbet Diana. Wishing them all well at this special time.

Also from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan, and Archie.

And of course, we're not quite sure when they'll get to meet baby Lili in reality. They haven't seen baby Archie since August 2019 when the family moved to Canada. And part of that of course is due to COVID restrictions. Lots of speculations that Prince Harry could return to the U.K. for the first of July which would mark Princess Dana's -- would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday. We are hoping that we might see a reunion between him and Prince William. But that's all really speculation at this stage. There's no date in the diary. And as of yet, no photo of baby Lili.

CURNOW: No, there isn't. Also, but we do know for sure that she will not have a title yet. She's not eligible even though Meghan suggested otherwise in that interview with Oprah, she was wrong, and this baby will be like Archie. Just plain old Archie and Lili until of course, and then Prince Charles will be King.

STEWART: Yes, so no title for baby Lili yet. And that is because by Royal convention it's only grandchildren of the monarch, that automatically get HRH prince and princess titles. The slight confusion over all of this is that the Queen granted a special exception for Prince William's children. So they are princes' and in a princess. Meghan did suggest that royal protocol was broken when Archie wasn't given the title. That's not really the case. When Prince Charles is king under current convention both Archie and Lili will be eligible for HRH prince and princess titles. But for now just baby Lili.

CURNOW: Anna Stewart there in London, thank you.

So coming up on CNN, people are frightened and calling for greater security in Burkina Faso after militants carried out one of the deadliest attacks there in years. We have details. That is next.



CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. So Monday marks a third day of national mourning in Burkina Faso. A gunman laid siege to a village in the Northeast on Friday and into Saturday. The government says terrorists killed more than 130 people. Some of them were children. Residents are calling out for greater security. Africa's the whole region which includes Burkina Faso has really seen a surge in attacks by militants linked to al Qaeda and ISIS. Well let's go straight to Johannesburg. David McKenzie joins me now with more on what we know about this attack. And I know you've reported details are sketchy but give us some idea of what took place.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a horrifying attack, and the scale is quite breathtaking, you know, more than 100 people killed at least, including at least seven children, according to the U.N., Robyn. Given that this was in a remote area of border of Niger and Burkina Faso, on the Burkina Faso side, some of those details have been hard to come by. But what we do know is that were gunmen or assailants that came in late on Friday, perhaps early on Saturday morning according to multiple sources, firing indiscriminately in this village. Now it's believed it may, and I stress may have something to do with a reprisal attack against defendants -- community defense groups that have been formed in that part of Burkina Faso to try and counteract the presence of al Qaeda and ISIS linked militant-linked groups. But it was a large-scale attack with many dead, and today is the last day of national mourning. But the overall insecurity remains. And more than a million people have been pushed out of their homes in Burkina Faso over the last two years alone. This violence is only getting worse, not better in recent months, and the citizens are afraid.


UNKNOWN (through translator): For some time they had stopped so we thought everything was OK, but now we see it as starting again. People are being killed.


This news we just heard about really affects me as a Burkina bay, so we are calling for them to look in the security and assuring security so that there is peace in the country and in the provinces.


MCKENZIE (on camera): That border region between Niger and Burkina Faso and Mali and stretching into Chad effectively the Sahel, has become really a no-go zone for many people and those who lived there are living under a constant state of insecurity.

There's a large French force in neighboring Chad that is looking to take on these Islamic groups, but many analysts in recent months I have to say are saying, while military intervention by both the G7 countries, France and U.S. and others, hasn't really led to any kind of long-term stability since at least 2013.

The fear is that these groups will expended their influence into the Gulf of Guinea states which could really mean an entire region being under the threat of insecurity. They believe -- or these analysts at least believe -- that it might be a time to look at government's issues in these border regions as a primary way of solving these problems. But as you know, Robyn, that doesn't take a short amount of time and requires a huge amount of effort.

CURNOW: OK, indeed. David McKenzie there. Live in Johannesburg. Good to see you. Thanks so much for that update.

In we are learning now that emergency workers are trying to rescue at least 17 people who are 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. The Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that he had ordered a comprehensive investigation into the crash.

Well CNN producer, Sophia Saifi is tracking developments and joins me now from Islamabad, Pakistan. Sophia, hi, good to see you. I mean, this is very troubling, certainly the death toll in the question of these two trains colliding. What more can you tell us?

SOPHIE SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Robyn, we know this happened extremely early in the morning, around 3:30 a.m. we know that most of the passengers were actually fast asleep. These were two sleeper trains, one going into the province of Punjab, which neighbors send and the other coming back, and they both collided. The one heading out of Karachi actually derailed and then the other train kind of drove right into the derailed train, which is why we've seen trains kind of fall off the tracks and the casualties be as high as they are.

We do know that their rescue efforts still very much under way. It's late in the afternoon over here in Pakistan. And it happened super early in the morning. And so there are concerned about people being trapped indoors. We see on local media there are people calling while being stuck within those buggies, calling their loved ones and telling them that we're stuck in this specific number carriage, but, you know, they're not being able to be found.

It is very much a rescue effort that is under way. It's raised a lot of questions about the safety of railways in Pakistan. We've seen railway services being suspended between the two most popular provinces of Sindh and Punjab, and we just have to wait and see how, you know, this unfolds in the hours to come and how high this death toll will go -- Robyn.

CURNOW: It's deeply concerning that people are trying to phone loved ones saying where they are in the wreckage and they're still not being rescued. How many more hours of daylight is there still and how hopeful are authorities on the ground they're going to get to all of these people who we know are still alive?

SAIFI: Well, Robyn, this is a very remote part of Pakistan. I mean it's in the area of (INAUDIBLE), it's in a remote part of the province of Singh. And by remote I mean, you know, parts of populous, that it doesn't have the best infrastructure in terms of roads and you know, ambulances and medical care in that area for people to actually take them or fly them to the right facilities, so that even the ones who are injured are being given the right care. And we know that the Army is there on the ground. It's about 2:00 in here Pakistan. It's summer, so the days are long. But also very, very hot. Now in the areas that were talking about where the crash is taken place, the numbers go up as high as 43 degrees 44 degrees, so there's a lot of concern on the ground. There are people scrambling to save them, and we'll have to see how it unfolds -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Thank you for that. Sophia Saifi there is Islamabad. We' in the coming hours. As a developing story in hopefully, some people will manage to be rescued, these devastating images coming out of southern Pakistan. Thank you.


Now tennis superstar Serena Williams suffered upset lost in the French Open. And she is the only champion bowing out earlier. Coy Wire has our minutes in sports -- Coy.


COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Right, we start in Paris with a huge upset at the French Open. America's tennis great Serena Williams once again denied in her quest to win that elusive record tying 24 grand slam titles. Being in the fourth round by Kazakhstan 21-year-old, 21st seated Elena Rybakina.

Roger Federer also bowing out, but this time due to injury. The 20- time major championship has been playing his first major since double knee surgeries in 2020. The 39-year-old announcing, quote, it's important that I listen to my body and make sure I don't push myself too quickly on my road to recovery. There's no greater feeling than being back on court. See everyone soon. Unquote.

Fans at the 2021 U.S. women's open in San Francisco witnessed a historic day for golf. The Philippines Yuka Saso, just 19-year-old, tying the record with Indie Park for the youngest U.S. Open ever to the exact day. 19 years 11 months, 17 days. That's unthinkable.

Too NBA playoff action and' two of the best words in sports. Game seven. The Los Angeles Clippers fighting back to take down Dallas and advance to the Western Conference semifinals. Making history along the way too, the Clippers hit 23 pointers in front of their own crowd. That's the most in any game seven in NBA history. Robyn, back to you.


CURNOW: Coy, thank you.

So staying with sports news. U.S. gymnastics champion Simone Biles secured her seven national woman all around tile over the weekend, the most by any woman in U.S. history. The four-time Olympic gold medalist won the U.S. championship in Texas on Sunday. Nearly 5 points ahead of the runner-up. No stranger to making history, of course, Biles became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pipe in competition just a few weeks ago. What an amazing athlete.

So thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'm going to hand you over to "EARLY START."