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U.K. And U.S. Strengthen Alliances; President Biden Pledge to Donate 500 Million Vaccine; P.M. Johnson and President Biden Signed Renewed Atlantic Charter; America Back on Negotiating Table; U.S. Pledges 500 Million Doses Of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine; Western Powers Making Major Vaccine Pledges; Tigray Crisis, Ethiopia Food Insecurity; All Ballots In Peru Recorded But Final Tally Still Pending; Nicaragua's Political Crackdown; CNN Speaks To Bianca Jagger About Ortega Clinging To Power; Olympic Volunteers Are Dropping Out; Kim Jong-un's Apparent Weight Loss; Euro 2020 Hours Away From Kickoff In Italy; Ring Of Fire In Northern Hemisphere; French Slap To President Macron. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 11, 2021 - 03:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): You're watching a special edition of CNN Newsroom. I'm Bianca Nobilo in Falmouth, England.

World leaders are here to tackle the major issues of the G7 summit.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

Ahead this hour, how a severe variant of the coronavirus threatens to derail the U.K.'s vaccination rollout and reopening plans.

Forty-two days to go and thousands of Tokyo Olympic volunteers are quitting. We'll hear about their concerns with COVID protocols.

NOBILO: We are just a few hours away from the official start of the G7 summit here in Cornwall, England. It will be the first -- group's first in-person meeting in almost two years because of COVID-19. Over the next few days, these wealthy nations will address the pandemic, and what more they can do to help the rest of the world.

U.S. President Biden announced earlier that the U.S. will donate 500 million doses of the vaccine to the global effort. And the expectation is other G7 members will make similar pledges. Here is what Mr. Biden said on Thursday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is a monumental commitment by the American people. As I said, we're a nation full of people who step up in times of need to help our fellow human beings both at home and abroad. We're not perfect but we step up. We are not alone in this endeavor, and that's the point I want to make. We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners.


NOBILO (on camera): This is Joe Biden's first overseas trip since taking office and his first chance to reassert U.S. leadership in a global forum. On Thursday, he and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this year's G7 host, sat down to talk through to some issues facing both countries.

We'll get more on that from CNN's Phil Mattingly.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Biden starting off a week of critical meetings with foreign leaders with an effort to reinvigorate the special relationship.

BIDEN: This, we need to do this. Thank you. My great country many times but this is the first time as President of the United States.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, everybody is absolutely thrilled to see you.

MATTINGLY: Biden sitting down with British Prime minister Boris Johnson, a carefully choreographed first overseas meeting devoid of the tension behind the scenes over a handful of issues. Most notably, Brexit and the position of Northern Ireland.

BIDEN: We just charged and discuss the broad range of issues in which the United Kingdom and the United States are working in very close cooperation. We affirmed the special relationship.

MATTINGLY: Instead, a meeting framed with deliberate symbolism, the two leaders viewing the original copy of the Atlantic Charter signed in 1941 by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill amid the rise of fascism across the world.

BIDEN: With the revitalized Atlantic Charter updated to reaffirm that promise while speaking directly that the key -- the key challenges of this century.

MATTINGLY: As he and Johnson signed an updated version of that declaration, the latest piece of an overarching effort by Biden to present a unified and reinvigorated reliance of western democracies. One that will be challenged in just a matter of days as Biden sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin by his closest advisor, his wife Jill telling reporters that he is up for the challenge.


MATTINGLY: The days ahead a calibrated effort to lead the post-World War II western alliances to meet the challenges of a new era with a new vaccine effort at the center of that push. Biden announcing the purchase of 500 million doses of the Pfizer

vaccine to be donated to 92 low and middle-income countries in the African union.

BIDEN: America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against COVID-19. Just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War II.

MATTINGLY: Those first doses scheduled to ship out in August.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And President Biden made clear the U.S. donation, the purchasing of 500 million doses, the donation of 500 million doses, that is not happening in isolation. The expectation from President Biden and his top officials is that when the G7 summit officially starts, other leaders in that summit will be pledging similar donations over the course of the next several days.

And again, this goes back to the kind of the overarching theory that Biden and his team are taking in to these international summits. That western democracies are still both powerful and capable of leadership.


And that this moment, in this particular moment after a pandemic has just ravaged the entire globe over the course of the last 15 months. The best weapon they have to try and assert that power still exists is vaccine.

Vaccine donations, vaccine development, vaccine distribution, all of those will be kind of crucial points that will be discussed during that G7 summit. All of them expected to be donated or at least pledged by the other nations in that group over the course of the next couple of days.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, Falmouth, England.

NOBILO: CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Roberson joins us now live from the summit site in Carbis Bay.

Nic, yesterday, President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had their first much awaited face-to-face meeting. And it seemed like it was pretty chummy there was some jokes, some diplomatic humor always hilarious. What did you make of it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It seemed to get off well. If you look at the front page of the British newspapers, I think it's a bounce for Boris Johnson. You know, all the concerns going in that he'd face addressing down from President Biden about his post-Brexit wrangling over the Northern Ireland protocols.

The British prime minister said that that didn't happen in their meeting. And the image on the front pages today, Joe Biden the first lady with Carrie Johnson, Boris Johnson's new wife with his young son Wilfred on the beach. The two ladies dipping their toes in the water where the young baby is looking on. You know, a holiday picture scene. It's the kind of headline that everything is well here, image that the prime minister would like to see. And certainly, seems to have pulled off.

You know, whatever the talk was behind the scenes, up front it was very positive. I mean, the pair joking. President Biden essentially saying they have something in common that they're both essentially married up. The prime minister saying he wouldn't disagree on that, and he wouldn't disagree with anything that President Biden was saying.

So, I think that's the message, the public message that Boris Johnson wants to portray certainly. A very positive start for President Biden as well. But the tough talk begins today. There will be more people around the table in the G7. Emmanuel Macron of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, to name but two who have differences with President Biden over some of his plans not just on China but on Russia and other issues. NATO. So, you know, there will be some tougher talk ahead, I think.

NOBILO: And Nic, as we look ahead to the first day of the summit today when, as you mentioned, all the leaders are going to be face-to- face for the first time trashing these issues out, do we know what they're going to be focusing on today specifically? And what sense do you have about what other countries want to get out of this summit as they go into it?

ROBERTSON: Yes. Focus is perhaps going to be a slightly tough issue here in Carbis Bay. Visually, the fog horns have been sounding. We haven't heard those while we've been here so far. There's one in the distance right now. It's misty, to say the least.

Look, they're very focused on helping the poorer nations of the world. A more fair and sustainable and equitable reach out to the poorer nations of the world is the broad focus of the opening session of the G7. And that includes issues such as touching on the new corporate global tax but it also includes helping poorer nations get vaccinations for the coronavirus pandemic. That's important.

The United States has pledged half a billion doses already over the next couple of years. The British are putting up 100 million doses, and others will likely do the same. It may fall short of what critics including former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have been calling for. They are calling for a sustained funding that the G7 is able to within its remit to try to establish.

But we're also hearing as part of this sort of fairer more equitable global future that's planned that the IMF proposal of special drawdown for poorer nations that could be, under the remit of the G7 something that's expanded. And that would give benefit in the health sector for some poorer nations. So, it's all about setting the stage for the rest of the G7 with an effort to help poorer nations around the planet.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson for us in Carbis Bay, thank you. Well, Kim, as you can hear there, that the scope is truly enormous of what the leaders could be discussing today. And we're getting our first taste of the optics and over diplomatic posturing so we'll have much more of that for you as the day goes on.


BRUNHUBER: Absolutely, looking forward to following along there. Thanks so much, Bianca.

Well, as we heard there, the U.K. is just one of the G7 nations expected to pledge vaccine doses to the global COVAX program. But Britain's fight against the virus is far from over. There are growing concerns about hotspots linked to variants and whether they could jeopardize the nation's plans to further lift COVID restrictions.

CNN's Phil Black joins me now from Essex County in England.

So, Boris Johnson facing some pressure to put the brakes on the plan to ease COVID restrictions, you've been looking into the facts behind the growing alarm there. What can you tell us?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, the timing of all of this is well, it's quite painful really. Just as the United Kingdom was getting ready to throw off remaining restrictions and try to move beyond the pandemic. Cases here are now rising quite dramatically because of a fast-moving variant.

Scientists broadly agree a new serious wave is building. What they can't be sure of just yet is what that's going to look like and just how serious it will be especially in a country with an advanced but still incomplete vaccination program. So that is why the British government is facing some difficult political decisions in the coming days.

BRUNHUBER: Al right. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

As Britain worries about the variant, Brazil is concerned that football could make its COVID crisis worse. On Thursday, the nation's Supreme Court ruled that the Copa America championship can start a scheduled this Sunday. The court dismissed three legal objections to holding the event including a requirement for the government to come up with a contingency plan to prevent an additional COVID surge during the tournament.

The decision to host to the Copa faced a strong pushback because the coronavirus is still raging in Brazil. The nation's saw more than 88,000 new cases Thursday. But COVID numbers are dropping in Europe where the Euro 2020 is about to get underway. We'll go live to Rome before Italy and Turkey go head to head in a tournament opener.

And before that, more on the G7 summit. The climate crisis is one of the main talking points this year and we'll have a live conversation with Britain's environment secretary. Stay with us.


NOBILO (on camera): The British prime minister will soon host the leaders of the world's wealthiest democracies at the G7 summit. This year's theme, help the world build back better from the pandemic and create a greener more prosperous future.

In the coming hours, leaders will discuss improving global distribution of vaccines and finding ways to prevent future pandemics, as well as promoting free and fair trade and tackling climate change.


On Thursday, the U.S. president and British prime minister signed a new Atlantic Charter that calls for helping all countries strengthen their climate ambitions. They are also pushing for more financing to restore and protect natural ecosystems.

Some of the world's biggest investors are weighing in on how they want G7 leaders to tackle the climate crisis. In an open letter, investors managing more than $41 trillion in assets say they want more ambitious targets for emissions and more consistent policies.

Here's CNN's Clare Sebastian.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This isn't the first time that we've seen big investors challenging governments to do more on climate change, but now as the leaders gather in the U.K. for the G7 summit there does seem to be more momentum on their side. Developed economies as they rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic have the opportunity to do that in a greener fashion.

We also have the U.S. back in the Paris Climate Accord under President Biden who has made it clear that climate change is a top priority. And we have seen some country stepping up their carbon emissions targets albeit on paper. But 457 of the world's top investors from global pension funds to big investment firms like State Street and PIMCO say that's not enough.

Their letter reads, our ability to properly allocate the trillions of dollars needed to support the net zero transmission is limited by the ambition gap between current government commitments and the emissions reductions needed to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Now these investors don't just want governments to step up their carbon emissions target, they want to see them stop subsidize, stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, they want to phase out coal and they want them to design their COVID-19 recovery efforts to better support the transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

They say governments that don't do that will be at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting private investment.

And there is also a call from the business community for more transparency around climate risk. In a separate letter on Thursday 180 investors along with companies like Uber and Salesforce are calling on the U.S. regulator, the SEC, to mandate that companies disclose climate risks in their financial filings. They say that that level of transparency will help them make decisions

about where to put their money and could help avoid the climate crisis turning into a financial one.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.

NOBILO: Joining me now is British Environment Secretary and conservative M.P. George Eustice. Thanks very much for joining the program.


NOBILO: So, this year, the U.K. is not only hosting the G7 but also COP26. So, it's really important strategically I'm sure for you to get some concrete pledges to measure your success at both these summits. So, what are those pledges are going to be? And what do you want your legacy to be as environment secretary?

EUSTICE: Well, you're right, it's a really big year for the environment internationally. We got G7 here this week and we've also of course got the CBD COP 15, which is setting new targets on biodiversity later this year in Kunming in China.

And then of course then we've got COP26. And what we really want to get from these various four of this year is more ambitious targets from countries to reduce their carbon emissions the so-called NDC, nationally determined contributions.

NOBILO: Specific targets?

EUSTICE: That's right, specific targets on carbon reduction. The U.K. has already set our NDC at 68 percent and that's by the end of the 2020s. And we've already set it by 2035 we want a 78 percent reduction against our 1990 level. And this is all necessary if we are to hit that net zero target by the mid-2020s which everyone now agrees we need to try to achieve.

And link to that as well we want more on nature and biodiversity. There's a twin environmental crisis that we're facing not just climate change but also species extinction and loss of biodiversity too.

NOBILO: And in addition to the general urgency of the climate challenge is there a need for you to play catch up because of President Donald Trump's policy or lack thereof on climate change? And the fact that U.S. leadership wasn't there, what damage has been done?

EUSTICE: Well, look, the rest of the world obviously, you know, continue to set these ambitious targets. So, we've got a climate change committee in the U.K., an independent committee that's been making recommendations. We made a commitment on the last election here in the U.K. to get to net zero.

But look, it's really welcome that the United States is back at the table on this agenda. You know, we can't -- the world can't make progress here unless we got really big players including the United States at the table. And the new Biden administration have completely changed the U.S. stance on this. They are now really leading in this field.

And I met John Kerry and we had the climate G7 and environment G7 a few weeks ago. It's clear that there is a real appetite now in the U.S. to play its part and to, you know, take that global leadership again on this agenda.


NOBILO: And I understand that the prime minister doesn't really like the phrase special relationship. But what do you think their personal chemistry between President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be like?

EUSTICE: Well, look, I saw the prime minister last night actually, he said that and they had a really good constructive meeting, huge amounts of areas where they want to work together. As the prime minister said it's a breath of fresh air to have the United States back at the table leading on climate change and really want to work with some of those -- some of those issues.

So, yes, I think it's a big change. The prime minister I think doesn't like this term special relationship because I think he feels that it sometimes implies that the U.K. is a bit median at playing second fiddle when actually, I think what they announced yesterday with this new Atlantic Charter is actually setting out a whole range of areas where the U.S. and the U.K. can work together in partnership to really shape a global agenda particularly on things like climate change.

NOBILO: When it comes to Atlantic Charter, though, when you consider the prime minister's previous threats to break international law or the tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol, the fact that the E.U. claim that the U.K. has breach that. Can President Biden actually trust what Boris Johnson says that he commits to?

EUSTICE: Yes. So, I think the reality here is there are some tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol. But I think we have to just put in the time necessary to explain to the U.S. administration what those tensions are over. And it's not about us saying well, we've agreed this protocol, now we're just going to tear it up and not bother with it.

It's about than to basically following every bit of that protocol and not just having a partial reading. And the difficulty we got with the opinionist (Ph) is they have a legal responsibility under that protocol to use their best endeavors to ensure that goods can flow from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. And it's explicit that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the U.K.

And so, to have certain anachronistic provisions that are a remnant of E.U. law that say, for instance, sausages made in Great Britain can't be sold in Northern Ireland at all. Obviously, it doesn't make any sense. And there was a committee set up to iron out some of those crises and we just need the European Union to engage in that in good faith.

NOBILO: And as passionate as some people do feel about the sausages, do you not think that making overtures and threats to taking unilateral action undermines confidence in Boris Johnson's ability to engage multilaterally? How can he not?

EUSTICE: Well, look, we've been engaging with the European Union on all of these sorts of issues for many, many months. There was a joint community process, it was agreed at that point that there would be some grace periods to just create the space for further discussion. I'm afraid to say that during that further discussion, you know, the European Union have still, you know, not engaged in long term solutions on this properly.

We've got lots of proposals around using digital technology to give them all of the reassurance that they need, but in a way that's actually deliverable and can be made to work. And so, I think what we really want is to get the European Union to engage with us on that agenda, it's provided for in the protocol. We just need them to abide by their part of the protocol which is to show best endeavors to make these things work.

NOBILO: And even as we leave the issues with the E.U. aside for one moment, the government has announced its intention to cut foreign aid from 0.7 to 0.5 percent. Now do you not think that's another thing which undermines faith in the U.K.'s ability to truly commit to tackling climate change or even pandemic prevention? Because you need to invest in genomic sequencing or global surveillance systems worldwide?

Truly, how can you do those things if you're going to be cutting foreign aid and also sending signals that you can't fully be trusted when it comes to the international agreements who signed up to?

EUSTICE: Well, look, the U.K. was, you know, they're one of the first countries to get to that not 0.7 percent of the GDP being spent on overseas development. And we will still be one of the biggest donor countries in the world even after this temporary change. And the truth is we've been through an extraordinary time during this pandemic. The cost of it has been astronomical. And just for this one year when we face this crisis, we do just need to have the flexibility to deploy our budget separately.

The only thing to bear in mind is that the so-called official, sort of overseas development aid the definition of that is quite tightly drawn, and so actually it couldn't even cover things like, you know, vaccines and vaccine development.

And obviously, one of our biggest contributions during this pandemic has been the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine at Oxford and that's been one of the lead vaccines used all around the world. We are making available on top of our overseas development budget. We are making available vaccines to developing countries around the world so that we can turn the corner on this pandemic globally.

NOBILO: And just finally, Secretary of State, what do you think of Mount Recycle-more to your taste?

[03:24:59] EUSTICE: It was ever -- it's in my constituents on the other side of the pale.


NOBILO: So, you definitely must have an opinion on it.

EUSTICE: Look, I think actually we've actually seen some quite good, you know, tasteful protests for once. I actually think it was -- it was done rather well. And I'd far rather have people making their point in that peaceful way, it is an important issue, climate change, we've had some people taking part in long walks and marches here as well.

But what we haven't seen, thankfully so far and let's hope we don't, is sort of violent protest and riots and so on. And that has been a feature sadly, of the previous G7's.

NOBILO: And just briefly before we go, what would your message be to those protesters? Obviously, they care passion enough to erect the sculptures and be here, you know, in their -- in their droves. What would you want to tell them?

EUSTICE: Well, I think what I hope we can reassure them is that climate change and environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity is absolutely at the top of the agenda of this G7. And that the environment on two weeks ago, we actually got countries to make some, you know, pretty concrete commitments to try to, you know, reverse and halted the decline of biodiversity by 2030, for instance. That's a real tangible undertaking.

And all of the countries at G7 now are committed to net zero. This is the first g7 where every member state is committed to net zero. And I think I will say to protesters, never forget to celebrate the progress its made on the agenda that matters to you. We can always agree that there's more to do but some extraordinary progress has been made in recent years and getting environment to the top of the agenda and getting action to deliver for it.

NOBILO: So hopefully it calls for optimism. Environment Secretary George Eustice, thank you so much for joining us on CNN. Thank you.

Much needed help could soon be on the way to countries desperate for COVID vaccines. Coming up, how G7 leaders are planning to share their vaccine wealth.


NOBILO: You're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

The leaders of the world's wealthiest countries are gathering here in Cornwall, England for the G7 summit. It set to get underway in just a few hours at a seaside hotel in Carbis Bay. The global pandemic will of course be a top priority and how the G7 should respond to it.

The U.S. president says America will donate half a billion doses to the global vaccination effort.


BIDEN: America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against COVID-19. Just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War II. The United States is providing this half billion doses with no strings attached

Let me say it again, with no strings attached. Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions.


We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it, period.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Out from the U.S. Can't consume enough the parts of the world desperate for COVID vaccines. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with CNN earlier, he that vaccinating the world should be a priority for all G7 leaders. And he says, if they don't act, there will be consequences.


TONY BLAIR, FORMER U.K. PRIME MINISTER: The wealthy countries should pay for it because it's massively in their interests. And in their interest for both health and economic reasons. So, number one, if we don't get the world vaccinated, the economic loss is going to be infinitely greater than the $60 billion or so in order to pay for the vaccines to go to the poorer parts of the world. Because it's the whole of international trade is going to be disrupted.

And number two, the really important thing for countries like the USA, Britain, France, Germany to realize is our biggest single risk now, biggest single risk is that even if we vaccinate our own populations, the disease mutates elsewhere in the world, as it just happened in India, and then it comes back to our own countries as the world opens up again. So, this is not a question of a humanitarian or aid initiative, it is in our enlightened self-interest to get this done.

And by the way, not just by the end of this 2022, by the end this year, we should and could have been place proposals that will allow us to vaccinate the most vulnerable frontline health care workers in the main urban centers in the developing world. And that is why the announcement of additional vaccines from President Biden is so important.


NOBILO (on camera): Africa had hoped to vaccinate 10 percent of its population by September, but the WHO said 90 percent of African countries will not make that target. This comes as Africa approaches 5 million COVID cases. Here you can see the stark disparity in global vaccinations rates among wealthy western countries and many poor parts of the world.


DR. MATSHIDISO MOETI, WHO REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA: It is a global push to fully vaccinate 10 percent of the population in every country by September. And to reach this goal, Africa needs an extra 225 million doses. This will really require a massive effort. As our early projections indicate that we've had a significant boost in the availability of vaccines. Only seven African countries will achieve this goal.


NOBILO (on camera): Activists are pushing for more than just vaccine donations. They want developing nations to be able to make their own generic copies of patented vaccines. One group at the beach near the G7 is telling me this to waive property rights for COVID-19 vaccines in a very eye catching way. Activists say this will help create more supplies to make and distribute the much needed doses.


SPYRO LIMNEOS, ACTIVIST, AVAAZ, THE WORLD IN ACTION: We need billions and billions of vaccines. At least (inaudible) pharmaceutical companies who owned the vaccines and the patents cannot produce enough for everyone. That is why we are asking for the manufacturing to be scaled up globally by opening up the patents and the recipes, so the more qualified manufactures can produce the lifesaving vaccines.


NOBILO (on camera): The U.S. first family had a full day in the U.K. with the British Prime Minister and his wife. The couples walked along the shore in Cornwall on Thursday. President Biden commenting, it's gorgeous, I don't want to go home. Then there was this cheeky moment between the president and Boris Johnson.


BIDEN: I told the Prime Minister we had something in common, we both married way above are (inaudible).

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm not going to descend on that one, I will disagree on that one (inaudible).


NOBILO (on camera): The two powerful men where the stars of the show. U.S. Frist Lady Jill Biden turn heads with her blazer, the word love bedazzled on the back. She said it highlights the summits team.


JILL BIDEN, FMR. SECOND LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that we are bringing love from America, I think this is a global conference and we are trying to bring unity across the globe, and I think that's important right now. That people have feel the sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense of hope after this year of the pandemic.


NOBILO (on camera): And Kim back to you.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Alright. Thanks so much, Bianca.


The U.N. and other aid groups are warning of famine conditions impacting more than 350,000 people in Ethiopia's Tigray region. Food and security has long been an issue there, but aid groups say the ongoing conflict is behind the surge of desperation, housing what they called the world's worst catastrophic food crisis in a decade.

They're appealing for a cease-fire. Humanitarian access and more money to expand aid operations. The Ethiopian government denies there are severe food shortages.

There is still no clear winner in Peru's type presidential race between Pedro Castillo, and Keiko Fujimori, the nation's electoral authorities says 100 percent of the records have been processed but not all of them counted. The polling station results which have been challenged and are currently under review are still waiting to be tallied. Once judges clear the challenges, the national jury of election will get final approval before the winner is officially announced. (Inaudible) shows Castillo leading by a razor thin margin.

Democracy appears to be plunging into authoritarianism ahead of a crucial election this fall in Nicaragua. Police have detained seven high profile opposition leaders in less than a week. As President Daniel Ortega moves in to further consolidate his power. Now, fears are growing that the political crackdown could get worse.

CNN's Matt Rivers reports.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Growing concerns in Central American strongman is clinging to power by silencing his biggest critics. Toward take a's forces arrested more than half dozen opposition leaders in the Nicaragua leader Daniel Ortega's forces have arrested more than half dozen opposition leaders in just the last week. Months ahead of November's elections.

It started with the arrest of Cristiana Chamorro, a prominent opposition figure and the daughter of former President Violeta Chamorro who ended Ortega's first take as president in 1990. Police took over the streets, outside Chamorro's house pushing journalist back as they went to arrest her for charges including, quote, ideological falseness and relation to a free press group she ran in the country after harassing her with allegations of money laundering. Chamorro had recently announced her presidential campaign and was widely seen as someone who could challenge Ortega at the polls.

This is the product of the fear and terror that Daniel Ortega has in the face of transparent competitive elections said her cousin, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, who is also running for president for a separate party. But just a few days after that interview, he was also arrested. At least seven opposition leaders, including four presidential candidates had been detained and charge with vague, quote, national security violations. They all likely be disqualified for running for office. Moves human rights groups say clearly shows that Ortega, who returned to power in 2007 is trying to wipe out competition and secure fourth term.

UNKNOWN: What we have in Nicaragua at this stage is pretty much facade of democracy.

RIVERS: Though critics say Ortega has long been undermining Nicaragua democracy, 2018 was undoubtedly a turning point. Massive antigovernment protests led to crackdown that left more than 300 people dead. According to human rights group, the majority killed by security forces. The protest became the government's justification to enact a slew of vague new laws that have ban protests and essentially criminalize anyone who speaks out against the government.


We're hiding the identity of a man who we will call Juan for his own safety. He opposes Ortega and took part in the protests. But says the government has terrified citizens like him into silence.

And human rights groups say so called traitors often experience torture at the hands of the country's notoriously ruthless security services. A lawyer of one of the presidential candidate now in custody feel it's (inaudible) said in a statement that (inaudible) was quote very badly beaten shortly after being detained.

The Ortega administration did not respond to requests for comments, but other governments are speaking out. A senior U.S. State Department official tweeted that Ortega's recent actions, quote, should resolve any remaining doubts about Ortega's credentials as a dictator. The international community has no choice but to treat him as such.


RIVERS (on camera): The United States has now levied sanctions against several top Nicaraguan government officials including Daniel Ortega's daughter. But there are relatively targeted sanctions if it wanted to, the United States could certainly implement sanctions that could hurt the economy in a more broad way.

But by doing so would run the risk of punishing ordinary Nicaraguans for the sins of their leader and also maybe even creating an economic situation that would force migrants to leave that country, head north to the United States. That is certainly something that the Biden administration would want to avoid.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City. [03:40:12]

BRUNHUBER (on camera): And human rights defender, Bianca Jagger is one of Nicaragua's most well-known pro-democracy advocates, she tells CNN that lives are at stake under the rule of President Ortega and it is calling for help from the international community. Watch this.


BIANCA JAGGER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT BIANCA JAGGER HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Well the problem is that all of the people who could run against him, all the leaders and who are getting together under the names that are important, are in jail or are being held hostage. And there will be much more and that is why I'm calling on world leaders, on the international community, to please do not forget.

Yes, we are a little country with only 6 million inhabitants, but our lives and the lives of people who are opposing including the Catholic Church, opposing Daniel Ortega are at stake and not threatened and many could die if we allow Daniel Ortega to go after everyone who is not for him in Nicaragua.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And you can see the full interview with Bianca Jagger by logging on to Alright. Coming up on CNN Newsroom, the Tokyo Olympic Games have already lost international spectators, now they're losing local volunteers, we'll tell you about it after the break, stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: The Tokyo Olympic Games is just 42 days away, the coronavirus advisers for Japan's Olympic Committee says it will be impossible to shut the virus out of the country and that the focus is on mitigating the spread.

Many in Japan are unhappy that the games are still going on at all, officials in the city of Sapporo say they are unprepared to host the marathon event in August and thousands of volunteers have quit.

Selina Wang joins me now from Tokyo. Selina, let's start with those volunteers, you spoke to some of them, what did they tell you?

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hi Kim, yes many of the volunteers I spoke to said that their entire vision of what the Olympics mean has been completely shattered. For the ones that have quit or who are thinking of quitting, they say that they've become disillusioned by the games.

They've seen problem after problem when it comes to the Tokyo games, from cost to overruns, sexist comments from the former Tokyo 2020 chief, and now they are seeing Japan barely ahead with these games despite surging COVID-19 cases. But the volunteers who are staying on, they now have an added responsibility of also keeping themselves safe from COVID-19. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNKNOWN: I think it is belittling human lives.

WANG (voice over): Jun Hatakeyama is one of some 10,000 Tokyo Olympic volunteers out of 80,000 that has quit in mid pandemic fears.


JUN HATAKEYAMA, FORMER TOKYO 2020 VOLUNTEER: I just quit because for my health condition and to show my opinion that I'm against (inaudible).

WANG: When college student Hatakeyama signed up to be a volunteer, he was excited to witness the world's best athletes come together at this Olympic village. Instead, he's witness mounting problems.

HATAKEYAMA: The Olympic Games is belittling human lives, our lives are not normal. So, imagine now, So, I think why we you can hold an Olympic game in 2020 now.

WANG: An army of enthusiast volunteers has been key to the success of recent games helping to operate venues, assisting spectators, and athletes. Tokyo organizers say fewer volunteers this year won't impact operations, giving no foreign spectators and downsizing of events. But, volunteer Nima Esnaashar, a language teacher who loves here in (inaudible) prefecture says protection has not been nearly enough.

What COVID protection have been given as a volunteer?

NIMA ESNAASHAR, TOKYO 2020 VOLUNTEER: We are going to get two masks, and a bottle of hand sanitizing.

WANG: So, that's it?

ESNAASHAR: That's it.

WANG: Volunteers are asked to take public transportation between their homes and Olympic venues. And for those who live outside of Tokyo they have to find their own lodging. Esnaashar hasn't quit yet, but he says he's thinking about it.

ESNAASHAR: I could be bringing back COVID to my family.

WANG: Organizers say the Olympics can be held in a safe bubble with the majority of the Olympic village vaccinated, but many public health experts say that's impossible. Especially if there are tens of thousands of largely unvaccinated, and untested volunteers at Olympic venues across Tokyo and Japan. And less than 4 percent of Japan's population, fully vaccinated.

BARBARA HOLTHUS, TOKYO 2020 VOLUNTEER: We are not being given neither testing, nor a vaccine. So, we have to go in and out of the bubble, at all times. There is a significant potential of this becoming a superspreader event. WANG: Normally a symbol of national pride, and excitement in the host

country, many volunteers this year, instead, are scared. Largely left on their own to protect themselves from COVID-19.

HATAKEYAMA: I think the meaning of Olympic Games was completely forgotten.


WANG (on camera): The Olympics minister in Japan is now saying that they are considering the idea of vaccinating volunteers, but the clock is ticking here, and no clear decision has been made yet. But Kim, not all of the volunteers I spoke were disillusioned, some of them said they are still excited for the games, they are confident that they can stay safe. One student told me, he hopes Japan will learn from all of its struggles, leading up to these games.

But it's also important to remember that even though these Olympic officials are repeating that these games will be held in a safe bubble, these games aren't just being held in Tokyo. The marathon, for instance, is going to be held hundreds of miles north, in Sapporo. And city officials there tell us that they are unprepared to host the Olympic marathon. City officials say that they still haven't gotten answers to basic questions that they have repeatedly ask the Olympic organizers.

For instance, they still don't know how many athletes are coming to the city, they don't know what hospitals exactly they should go to in the case of infection. So even though the IOC Olympic officials are calling this the quote, best prepared Olympics ever, the officials in Sapporo would disagree. Kim?

BRUNHUBER (on camera): That doesn't bode well. Alright. Thanks so much, I appreciate it.

The International Olympic Committee is looking to the future as well, announcing that they are endorsing Brisbane, Australia's bid to host the 2032 games. The IOC president says the city's infrastructure and public support makes for the quote, he irresistible host. The bid was unopposed.

The last time Australia hosted the games was in Sydney back in 2000, when Brisbane isn't a done deal yet. It still needs to be approved by a full session of the IOC. And the formal vote will happen just two days before the Tokyo Olympics begin.

There are new questions about the health of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, after what appears to be a significant weight loss.

Our Will Ripley, has the details.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Time may not be the only thing Kim Jong-un's watch is good at telling. Can it also be a barometer for the North Korean leader's level of fitness? Kim, is often pictured wearing the same 12,000 dollar IWC Swiss timepiece, believed to be one of his favorites.

Images released, Saturday, by North Korean state media, and analyzed by South Korean media, appear to show the watch fitting on a much tighter notch than in previous citing. Indicating, a thinner wrist, and sparking widespread speculation about a weight loss transformation.

Side by side video comparisons, do appear to show Kim to be much more's (inaudible) now, then in 2020. But, far from just being an internet curiosity, Kim suddenly slimmer appearance could have geopolitical implications. His weight is one of many things global intelligence agencies monitor.


Why would spy agencies in South Korea and the U.S., be looking at something like Kim Jong-un's weight?

COLIN ZWIRKO, SENIOR ANALYTIC CORRESPONDENT NK NEWS: His health is, obviously, a concern of foreign governments in the region, because the country has nuclear weapons. It is a dictatorship, with a cult of personality leadership system. So, if something happens to the leader that affects regional security.

RIPLEY: Experts have long assessed that Kim Jong-un was at high risk of cardiovascular disease. His family, also has a history of heart issues. Kim's father, and grandfather, both died of heart attacks while head of North Korea.

In November 2020, the national intelligence service of South Korea, reportedly told lawmakers they believe Kim Jong-un's weight had ballooned to about 140 kilograms, 308 pounds. Speculating that he had gained some 50 kilograms, 108 pounds, since coming to power, in 2011. In recent months, the already reclusive Kim has been out of the public eye, more than usual, amidst rumors of declining health.

His reappearance Saturday, on the global stage, arguably, reigniting that conversation among foreign intelligence agencies. Could the sudden shedding of pounds be the result of some mysterious illness? Or, is he thinner by choice? A conscious effort to achieve better health, and extend his longevity as leader. The answer? Only time will tell. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Coming up on CNN Newsroom, a country that was once at the center of the coronavirus pandemic will soon host a major football tournament. We go live to Rome to see how they're gearing up for kickoff. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): We're just hours away from one of the biggest football tournaments on the planet. The UEFA, European football championship is set to kick off in Rome, when Italy take on Turkey. The tournament was delayed by a year, because of the coronavirus pandemic. So, it's still actually called Euro 2020. And, the opening game will be hosted by a country that was once the epicenter of the outbreak. A limited number of fans will be allowed into the stadium, raising hopes for a return to some sort of normalcy.


UNKNOWN (through translator): It is a very good sign for sure, hopefully this is the beginning of a total reopening, both for stadiums, but also for concerts.

UNKNOWN (through translator): It is not so much a sign of economic recovery, but a resumption of personal leisure activities, which we needed anyway. Even though I am not a big soccer fan.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And joining us live from Rome for more, is CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau. Barbie, we are counting down for kick off in the shadow of the pandemic, what is the atmosphere like there in Rome?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): You know, people are very, very excited. This idea that after suffering through so much of this pandemic that you are going to host such a big event like this in a city. Rome, is really a sign of optimism. But before that kick off tonight, 16,000 fans have to go through -- a rather difficult procedure.


They have to all be processed, they have to show that they have either a negative COVID test, they've been vaccinated, or that they have recovered from COVID, in order to attend this particular opening night. Now, particularly of importance here is those fans that are coming from Turkey. They say about 2,500 have come from Turkey. By regulation, they should have quarantine for two weeks.

And it's going to be a little bit difficult, I think, for them to determine exactly if they had that quarantine. But nonetheless, people are very excited in Rome to host this event, there are fans set up all over the city, and it's just a return to what everybody hopes will be the end of a very difficult time. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Alright. Thank you so much for that, I really appreciate it.

Well, if you were in the right place, at the right time, you may have seen a ring of fire in the sky. A solar eclipse, appeared in the northern hemisphere, as the moon cross between the sun, and the earth, partially blocking the sun's rays, creating a bright glow around the edges. People in Greenland, northern Russia, and Canada, got the best views. Although, the sky gazers in the U.S., parts of Europe, and even Asia, were able to see a partial eclipse. Now this incredible image, comes courtesy of NASA.

And the man who slap French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week, has been ordered to serve four months in prison. The prosecutor have called for a more severe punishment, saying that Damian (inaudible) sought to humiliate the president. He admits striking Mr. Macron, but told investigators, it wasn't premeditated, that he acted to express his discontent, and that is far right political beliefs. He has 10 days to appeal the ruling.

Alright. That wraps up this hour of CNN Newsroom, I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in just a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.