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Third and Final Day of G7; Biden to Meet with Putin; U.K. Prime Minister Weighs in on U.K.'s Handling of Pandemic; Economic Benefits of Global Climate Action; New Coronavirus Cases at Copa America; Vote Could Oust Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu; Queen Elizabeth Marks Official 95th Birthday; China Gas Explosion Kills 11, Injures Dozens; Water War in Western U.S. Communities. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 13, 2021 - 00:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Coming up on here on CNN NEWSROOM, it is the final day of the G7 summit but Joe Biden is just getting started. What's up next on his tour of diplomacy.

After 12 years in power, today could very well be Benjamin Netanyahu's last day as prime minister. We're live in Jerusalem with the details.

And man versus whale: hear from the man who spent 30 seconds inside a humpback whale and lived to tell the story.


HOLMES: Leaders of the world's most powerful democracies will soon wrap up their first in-person summit in nearly two years. Their third and final day together in Cornwall, England, is set to begin a few hours from now.

U.S. President Joe Biden has been lobbying his fellow G7 members to take a harder line towards China. But there are deep disagreements within the group on what to do and how to do it.

Late Saturday, White House officials were touting what they called convergence on the China issue. Now the president is expected to hold a news conference before departing Cornwall. His next stop, Windsor Castle where he will have a private meeting with Queen Elizabeth.

And then it is on to Brussels for the NATO summit before sitting down Wednesday with the Russian president in Geneva.


HOLMES (voice-over): Late Saturday, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows put on an impressive aerial display above the Cornish coast as the Group of Seven assembled on the beach for another family photo.

Unlike their earlier pictures, this one also involved the invited guests, which include South Africa, South Korea and Australia. President Biden has had one-on-one chats with nearly all of them and it's that personal diplomacy that may leave the most lasting impression when the summit is over.


HOLMES: We get more on that from CNN's Phil Mattingly in Cornwall.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Coming into the G7, it was no secret that President Biden has a starkly different approach to Western alliances, to the construct post war that has really driven the last several decades than his predecessor, president Trump, obviously who tended to bull rush many of those who were supposed to be allies and was extremely skeptical of the G7, of NATO and pretty much any other international entity that was made up of U.S. allies.

And that was the expectation coming into the event, that the world leaders would be there with President Biden would be rather happy to see him.

I think one of the surprising elements was just how overtly happy they are. Leader after leader, from prime minister Boris Johnson, German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron making very clear how pleased they were that Trump is no longer the president of the United States and that Joe Biden, somebody who came up in this foreign policy consensus and believes in it deeply and has spoken as such reportedly, since he took office, was in the chair.

Take a listen to Macron.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: And I think it's great to have a U.S. President part of us and very willing to cooperate.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States, I've said before, we are back. The U.S. is back and we feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO and, I, for one, think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity.


MATTINGLY: And this was a key element for President Biden and his advisers, coming in to the G7. It's one they hope to carry over into the NATO and U.S.-E.U. summits, a show of unity, and showing that Western democracies are, in fact, united, are, in fact, looking to lead at this point in time, especially as the world moves closer to a post COVID era.

But also something to acknowledge here is it didn't necessarily paper over all of the difference between those allies, particularly on the issue between China. A very intense private discussion during one of the meetings during the G7 on Saturday, where it was clear that the U.S., Canada, France and Great Britain were in a different place on the issue, wanting to go further and perhaps call out China in a more explicit manner than some of their European allies.

There are other issues as well that there are clear differences on but the overarching theme of the entire G7 summit was that unity was back. As the president says, America is back. And the hope that that can be leveraged over the course of the next several weeks and months and maybe even over the course of the next several days.


MATTINGLY: Obviously President Biden set to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the hope that you heard from White House officials is that these meetings in advance of that sit-down with President Putin would help give President Biden a leg up, showing the unity that now exists, that perhaps didn't exist over the course of the last four years.

Now whether that is true, that will obviously be a question that will be determined by President Putin. But that was certainly the goal going into things.

And just one final point that's worth noting here. While clearly the members of the G7 we're pleased to see President Biden in attendance, it doesn't mean that their concerns about the direction that U.S. domestic politics have taken have completely gone away.

As one European official told me earlier, it's something you simply cannot avoid. They pointed to January 6th. They pointed to what they've seen in the wake of Joe Biden's election victory and made clear that there is uncertainty that, when President Biden says America is back, it means it's back for good.

Everybody is keenly aware that there is another election and there is no clear consensus that the U.S. has changed course entirely from what it saw those last four years -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Falmouth, England.


HOLMES: The U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson spoke with CNN's Clarissa Ward on the sidelines of the summit. He lashed out at Russian president Putin, saying he has done, quote, "unconscionable things."

Mr. Johnson also reflected on U.S. President Joe Biden's leadership as well as former president Donald Trump. Take a listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It's absolutely true that, with President Biden, with Joe Biden, you feel that he wants to -- he is a great believer in the transatlantic alliance, in the special relationship, whatever you want to call it with the United Kingdom. He shares our priorities on tackling climate change.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And president Trump did not, would you say?

JOHNSON: -- on that tomorrow. He shares our objectives on improving human education around the world.

WARD: He also famously referred to you as a physical and emotional clone of president Trump. I just wonder how you responded to that and whether the relationship is in a better place?


JOHNSON: The relationship is an extremely good order and I think that the premise of the U.K. and the -- has a job to do to get on with whomever is the President of the United States. That's what we do. But in this particular case, I want you to know that the relationship is extremely good.


WARD: And was it fair to call you a clone?

JOHNSON: Look, I'm not going to -- people say all sorts of things about me. I think if I spent my time disputing this or that, we would not get a lot done. We're getting a huge lot done --


JOHNSON: -- here at the G7. It's going well. It's beautiful weather, it's fantastic to see President Biden.


WARD: So can we just talk about next week quickly?


WARD: President Putin.


WARD: President Biden will be meeting with President Putin.


WARD: President Biden famously said that he thought President Putin is a killer.

Do you believe President Putin is a killer?

JOHNSON: I certainly think that president Putin has done things that are unconscionable in the -- fairly certain that he authorized the poisonings in Salisbury that led to the death of an innocent member of the British public, the attempted poisoning of the Skripals.

You have seen what is happening to his leading opponent, Alexei Navalny, who is in prison on trumped up charges, and facing -- and is effectively being tortured. And so I think that what Joe Biden will be doing when he goes to see

Putin will be giving some pretty tough messages. And that's something that I (INAUDIBLE) approve of and I did the same last time I saw Mr. Putin myself.

I said look, you know, there is not going to be a normalization of relations between your country, Russia, and the U.K., until Russia changes its behavior. That is just the sad fact of it.


WARD: So how would you judge success?

JOHNSON: -- I think that President Biden will be saying the same.

WARD: How would you judge it as a successful summit, then?

What is the metric for success with this summit?

JOHNSON: If I could just comment about this summit, which is the one we are actually at, I think this has already been a very important moment, because the world here (ph) to come together for the first time in well over a year to work on how to beat the pandemic --

WARD: Do you accept your government --

JOHNSON: -- treaty --

WARD: -- mishandled the pandemic in the early days?

Would you say that's a fair categorization or -- ?

JOHNSON: I think, you know, it was a -- it was an unprecedented event in our lifetimes and, of course, we will look back on everything that happened, what went wrong and learn from it.


JOHNSON: But at the moment, we are focusing on vaccine rollout, which is amongst the fastest in the world and which is giving a great deal of immunity to our people and actually has enabled this summit to go ahead.


HOLMES: Well, there is no doubt the G7 countries are aligned on the urgency of the climate crisis. It has been a critical part of the summit's conversations already and there will be more talks in the hours ahead.

Leaders have agreed to measures like accelerating the global transition away from coal production and generation. They say unabated coal power is the world's single biggest source of greenhouse gas emission.

And they've agreed to end almost all direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector. And while all of this may sound very positive for environmentalists, the summit is still attracting a series of demonstrations. Here, hundreds of protesters from Surfers against Sewage staged a mass paddle-out and we're hearing from other protesters as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) revisit their priorities and take the tiny, tiny chance that we have of survival by redistributing whilst not by trying to shore it up for a very few but redistributing so that the planet can survive by stopping the (INAUDIBLE) and the material (ph) (INAUDIBLE) behind their fencing (ph).


HOLMES: Michael E. Mann is a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University. He's also the author of "The New Climate War." He joins me now from State College in Pennsylvania.

Professor, thanks for doing so. So climate change very much on the table at this G7. The risk with summits like this is lofty words and long-term plans but not enough actual, tangible action.

Is that what you fear with this gathering?


We have heard a lot of good words today and, in particular, some discussion about the importance of providing financing for developing nations so they can develop a green, clean energy infrastructure, so that they don't make the same mistakes that we, in the industrial world, made by depending on fossil fuels, the burning of fossil fuels, which has created the climate crisis that we are now dealing with.

And so there is this overall commitment that has been made by the G7 nations to providing financing. But the devil is in the details because, in order to help the developing world to leapfrog past the fossil fuel stage, we need to make it easy for them to do that.

We need to provide them the resources so that they can meet the needs of their people while not engaging in behavior that continues to damage our environment.

HOLMES: That is absolutely crucial that they get that help. I think it was 70 top CEOs and investors this past week, demanded action from leaders on climate change, which is heartening, considering that the rich nations do the most climate damage.

Do you feel there's a substantial shift in momentum on this issue?

MANN: There is. We have seen some really bold pledges going into the upcoming conference of the parties later this year in Glasgow, where the countries of the world will need to ratchet up the commitments that they made under the Paris accord. The Paris accord was a foot in the door. But we have to reduce our

carbon emissions far more than those initial commitments if we are to avert catastrophic warming of the planet, more than 1.5 degrees Celsius warming of the planet.

The United States, the Biden administration has put a bold pledge out there. They have pledged to reduce our carbon emissions in here in the United States by factor of two within the next 10 years and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That gets us on the path we need to be on.

The U.K., the E.U. countries have made similar pledges. But there are some intransigent actors, too, like Australia, which under Scott Morrison, their current prime minister, have really not shown the kind of leadership on climate that, frankly, Australians would like to see.

So, hopefully, this will put a little bit more pressure on some of those intransigent countries. And, of course, China, everybody is looking at China. China is now the largest world emitter of carbon pollution and we need them to be on board. We need to make sure that they are committed as the rest of us are to averting this crisis.

HOLMES: And the pledge has become realities as well. I always come back to this, because one often gets lost in the back and forth.

Are there clear economic benefits of green or renewable energy, job creation, industry growth, investment and so on?


HOLMES: Even when there's pushback from fossil fuel advocates, this really is a have your cake and eat it, too, situation, isn't it?

MANN: It is. It's a win-win scenario. The future of the global economy will be in clean energy. That is the great economic revolution of the 21st century. And those countries that recognize that and embrace that will lead over the next century. So that's the economic race.

The good news is that, as you say, we have our cake and we eat it, too. We end up with a better economy, far more jobs. Renewable energy provides a lot more jobs than fossil fuel energy, which is largely automated today. So we have more jobs, more economic growth and we preserve this environment, we conserve our climate.

HOLMES: And it's getting cheaper and cheaper. We've only got a minute but I did want to ask you, there's already the weather changes, the storms, the fires, climate migration happening. We often hear of the tipping point, the point where this can't be clawed back or reversed.

How close is that tipping point?

Many people think it's already passed.

MANN: There really isn't a tipping point or a cliff. I think of it more as a minefield that we are walking out onto. So what we need to do, or, if you like, a highway. We are going down this dangerous carbon highway and we have to get off at the earliest exit.

We may miss the 1.5 degree Celsius exit. It's possible we won't make it but then we still go for the 1.6 degree Celsius exit. Every ton of carbon that we don't burn makes us better off in the future.

HOLMES: Terrific to talk to, Professor. Thank you so much, Professor Michael e. Mann, there, thanks.

MANN: Thank you.


HOLMES: Now to some breaking news out of China. Officials say that many people are trapped after a gas explosion in Hubei province on Sunday morning. CCTV reporting that some people are injured. No word yet on any fatalities. This is still developing. We will keep you updated on this breaking story, as more information becomes available.


HOLMES (voice-over): Emotional football fans in Copenhagen, chanting their support for Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen. He collapsed suddenly on the pitch on Saturday, during the Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland.

Eriksen is doing fine now, according to the Danish Football Association. But UEFA's president pointed out, moments like this put everything in life into perspective. Don Riddell shows us what happened.


DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Football fans expect to be put through an emotional wringer but the events in Copenhagen on Saturday were far beyond what anybody would wish to experience.

The good news is that Denmark's midfielder, Christian Eriksen, seems to be OK. He's in hospital, recovering and receiving treatment. But for an extended period of time, he was prone, on the ground, having collapsed in the corner of the field in his country's opening game of the European football championship against Finland.

His teammates and the referee realized immediately, this was a very serious situation. Medics rushed to his aid; teammates shielded him from the cameras for what felt like the longest time. No one knew if he would be OK. Danish players were distraught, so too, their opponents on the Finland side. Fans hugged each other for comfort in the stands. Some couldn't even watch.

Eventually, Eriksen was taken from the ground and to hospital, where he was stabilized, at which point, UEFA and both teams entered into a crisis meeting. Once Denmark's players had reportedly spoken with Eriksen via FaceTime, they agreed to come back and finish the game.

Christian Eriksen has friends all over Europe. At the age of 29, he has played more than 100 times for his country and also played for the club teams, IX, Tottenham, and Inter Milan. So many people will have been concerned about him on a very personal level.

So this was a very touching moment later in the day. Belgium came out and beat Russia. Belgium scored the opening goal, Eriksen's teammate. That is how he celebrated, by shouting, "Chris, I love you."

In their game against Finland, Denmark lost by 1-0 but football can often put things into perspective. This was, let's be honest, only a game. They might have lost a match but they didn't really lose anything. They still have their friend and teammate and that is so much more important -- back to you.


HOLMES: Don Riddell, thank you and absolutely right.

The Copa America football championship, hours away from kickoff. But Brazil is still struggling with new coronavirus case numbers and now teams are reporting positive tests among their players. We will have a live report, after the break.





HOLMES: Welcome back.

Police in Paris are making it clear, they are ready to enforce COVID restrictions. Let's have a look at the scene on Saturday of a popular tourist spot in the French capital, where several hundred people had gathered. Few masks, little social distancing.

Riot police were forced to dodge things being thrown at them, as they went in to clear things out. It was the second night in a row, actually, the police had to clear the same area.

We are getting reports that Brazil's struggle against the coronavirus is already impacting teams playing in the Copa America football tournament. Brazil, hosting that regional competition, two national teams, Venezuela and Bolivia, say several players and staff members have tested positive since arriving.

Brazil, reporting nearly 80,000 new coronavirus cases one day ahead of the tournament beginning. Saturday's numbers, actually a slight improvement, after three days straight of more than 85,000 new cases. Sadly, Brazil has seen more than 2,000 deaths for four days running.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joining us from Brasilia.

Yes, Brazil still has one of the world's worst coronavirus case and death rates.

How great is the worry that this tournament could make things worse? STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a consistent worry, medical. It is a consistent risk that even the day before the tournament, two delegations out of 10 that are here have already reported a growing number of COVID-19 cases.

You can see that these may not be the right time to hold this tournament. And what we are seeing from Europe this afternoon, are is a stark reminder of what could, perhaps, happen.

It is a considerable risk, Michael. That said, there is also a lot of impetum (sic) in this country to bring their pandemic behind Brazil's back, to turn the page on COVID-19 that has hit so dramatically South America and Brazil in particular.

And this is why, perhaps, both the tournament organizers and the government of Jair Bolsonaro are really trying to make a point and determined to prove it would not allow COVID-19 to spoil the football party because so much is the impetum (sic) to try to go back to a normal life, like the ones we are seeing and that are slowly coming back in America, in North America and Europe. Michael?

HOLMES: You mentioned president Bolsonaro; obviously, he hasn't taken to heart the widespread criticism of his handling of the pandemic. He's even been fined for flouting mask rules, right?

POZZEBON: Yes, correct. He took part in a massive motorcycle rally here, in the city of Sao Paulo in the Brazilian south on Saturday.


POZZEBON: This also shows you a little bit of the conflict between the central federal government here, led by Jair Bolsonaro, which has cast doubts on the pandemic repeatedly in the last 12 months. Instead local governors of, for example, the state of Sao Paulo, who have to handle the COVID emergency, and are responsible for public health in their own state and are trying to enforce rules to curb the spread of the pandemic. Yes, there is a lot of impetum (sic), momentum and will in Brazil to bring the pandemic behind this country's back.

At the same time, almost 80,000 new COVID cases just on Saturday, Michael. The pandemic is here right now and is here probably to stay. Michael?

HOLMES: Good to have you on the ground there, covering it for us, Stefano Pozzebon in Brasilia. Thank you.

One small city in Brazil is making a big difference. Unlike the rest of the country, most of its adult population has now been vaccinated against COVID-19. Researchers are using it as a case study in how to contain the virus. Shasta Darlington explains.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Serrana, Brazil, the focus of a clinical study of vaccine immunity, these parishioners' fears of the deadly coronavirus have given way to hope for a new beginning.

ELAINE APARECIDA DE OLIVEIRA, SERRANA RESIDENT (through translator): I think our city is privileged. The vaccine is a hope, a light in the midst of all this darkness.

DARLINGTON: The campaign by Butantan Institute in partnership with Sao Paulo University of Medicine to vaccinate almost all 30,000 residents of the City in Sao Paulo State with the Chinese Sinovac vaccine began in February, when roughly one out of every 20 people in Serrana had COVID-19.

MARCOS DE CARVALHO BORGES, PROFESSOR, RIBEIRAO PRETO MEDICAL SCHOOL, USP (through translator): More than 10,000 people go to work in other cities. This leads to these infectious and contagious diseases. So this series of factors makes Serrana almost ideal.

DARLINGTON: And while full results will not be published until July. The preliminary data from the study has given a glimpse into the very real possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic can be contained through mass vaccination.

RICARDO PALACIOS, CLINICAL RESEARCH MEDICAL DIRECTOR BUTANTAN INSTITUTE (through translator): The reduction rate for hospitalizations obtained with the study is 86 percent in the entire population of Serrana. And the reduction in deaths was 95 percent.

DARLINGTON: In Brazil, a country with the second highest death toll from COVID-19 struggling to cope as the virus ravages its population. Those figures giving researchers reason to celebrate.

PALACIOS: We were able to affirm with the study, it is possible to control the epidemic through vaccination. We do not need to isolate. Prevent the transit of people to control the epidemic. Vaccination is the key.

DARLINGTON: These vaccine shortages throughout Brazil and most of the developing world replicating that success is easier said than done. Reaching a level of predicted herd immunity like what appears to be on display and Serrana researchers say still requires vaccinating a minimum of 70 percent of the population. And with vaccine reluctance throughout the globe added to the mix, the order becomes even taller.

But here in Serrana there's reason to be grateful. Father Juliano Gomez, who once saw his parishioners united in grief as COVID took root and stole the lives of so many loved ones, sees light returning to his community

REV. JULIANO GOMEZ, SERRANA RESIDENT (through translator): I see us establishing this opportunity for a new normal, which symbolizes a state of more tranquility, health and hope. It is what the world is wanting. This is happening to us here in Serrana. That is why I'm very happy.

DARLINGTON: Serrana for now on display for what is possible, a spark of hope for the wider world still caught in the deadly grip of the COVID pandemic -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Israel poised for a seismic moment in politics. How a crucial vote could result in the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and set up a new, rather diverse government.

Also, still to come:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head.

HOLMES (voice-over): That man describing the moment a massive whale let him go from its jaws. We will have the details when we come back.






HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Now this could be Benjamin Netanyahu's final hours as Israeli prime minister. That's if a new diverse coalition government gets the final go-ahead in a confidence vote in Israel's parliament. For many, the possible end to Mr. Netanyahu's premiership is cause for celebration. There's a dance party being held in Jerusalem outside his house.

The potential new government is set to have right-wing leader Naftali Bennett as its prime minister but the coalition's razor-thin majority leaves no room for error. This all coming after four national elections in just two years and repeated failed attempts by Mr. Netanyahu to forma lasting government.

Journalist Elliott Gotkine joins us now from Jerusalem.

Netanyahu was never going to go quietly.

Is there a sense now that this is actually going to happen?

What's the process?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there is, Michael. One of Netanyahu's many nicknames is the Magician, because of his ability to escape from sticky situations. But at the risk of mixing my magical metaphors, there appear to be no more rabbits left in his hat and this could be his last day in office.

In terms of the process, everything happens at this special session at the Knesset, Israel's parliament. It starts at 4 pm local time, that's 9 am eastern time. It will start with a speech from Naftali Bennett, the proposed new prime minister, for the first half of this next government.

Then Yair Lapid, who will succeed Bennett as part of this new coalition government, then the leader of the biggest party in parliament that isn't part of the government will speak. That party is Likud, led by Benjamin Netanyahu. He is expected to use all the time allowed to him to repeat his criticisms of this new government, his claims that it is fraudulent, not because he feels that votes were pinched or miscounted but because he feels that Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, got votes under false pretenses because he said he wouldn't sit in the government with Yair Lapid and now he's going to get ahead.

After that other parties have a chance to speak. That process could take two hours. Then there's a vote for a new speaker of the Knesset. And then there is the main event, the vote of confidence in the proposed new government.

There are 120 seats in the Knesset but they only need a majority of 61 votes. There may be some abstentions along the way. Aside from those abstaining, there will be a vote held. It can be electronic or by voice. Probably it will be by voice, in which case the speaker will go to every lawmaker in alphabetical order and ask them which way they want to vote.

Those in favor will say "bad (ph)," which means "with," or they will say "neget (ph)," "against," and there will be perhaps one or two abstentions.


GOTKINE: If they get the majority of lawmakers going "bad (ph)" with this proposed coalition, then it will be passed, it will be sworn in and Netanyahu, after 12 consecutive years, 15 in total if you include his first interim as prime minister, he will no longer be prime minister Netanyahu; he will just go back to being just plain old Benjamin Netanyahu.

HOLMES: Interesting times ahead. Elliott, thank you very much.

Let's talk more about all of this with Peter Beinart. He's a CNN political analyst. Also author of "The Beinart Notebook" on Do check it out.

Good to see you, Peter. This could be a momentous event in terms of being the end of the Netanyahu period.

I'm curious, what do you think will be the level of real change?

What does it mean politically in the real world?

I know that you wrote that this change of government is a bit like if Donald Trump was ousted by Ted Cruz and Susan Collins. PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, so that matters

because Benjamin Netanyahu, like Donald Trump, was doing damage to Israel's judiciary system. He was delegitimizing it in order to protect his own corruption. So it's important for Israel that they have a government that's no longer going to do that.

But in order to get him out, they basically had to throw in the entire kitchen sink into this government, so that it's really ideologically incoherent. It stands from the far Israeli right, to the left of the Israeli -- the Jewish political system and also one Palestinian Israeli party.

So it's very hard to believe that this new government can do that much that will be significant. And if there is to be another big crisis with the Palestinians, given the diversity of opinion on that question, I'm not sure this government will be able to survive very long.

HOLMES: What do you think Benjamin Netanyahu's tactics might be from the outside if in opposition?

BEINART: Interesting question. I think one choice would be to do what Donald Trump did, which is basically try to maintain control of his party, delegitimize the government and wait to return.

Another would be for Netanyahu to try to become some sort of international statesman kind of figure. He obviously is an important figure in the English language world. I can imagine he might see his stage as larger than Israel now and think about a post-political career.

I hope that is the case, because I think him in active opposition would be dangerous.

HOLMES: Yes, and, of course, he's got his legal problems on top of that. As you said, we've discussed Naftali Bennett, he's further right than Netanyahu on most things. Netanyahu flaunts (ph) his own right wing credential. It's kind of a "I'm more Right than you" environment at the moment.

I wonder what you thought is the state of the Left in the Israel. They will be represented in the new government.

What is their influence on Israeli politics?

BEINART: It's very minimal. One of the things that's really important to understand about Right and Left in Israel is that Israel controls millions of Palestinians, who don't have the right to vote at all. So they are under Israeli control but they're excluded from the Israeli political system.

And even the 20 percent of Israel citizens who are Palestinians who can vote, Arab Israelis, who can vote, have not traditionally been considered legitimate governing partners in an Israeli government. There's one Palestinian Arab party that is in the government now. But generally they have been somewhat marginalized politically. So when given -- they are kind of the -- kind of second-class citizens who would be the natural backbone of the Left, that helps to explain why the Israeli Left is so weak. The Jewish Left has gotten weaker and weaker because of demographic change and other reasons.

So the Left of Israel is very weak. That's why this new government is not really talking for instance the end of -- about creating a Palestinian state at all.

HOLMES: In your Substack, I was reading it and, you ask whether this change will matter and you answered by writing, quote, "It depends. If you are Jewish, yes; if you're Palestinian, no."

That speaks to your earlier point. There are Arab members of this new government when it comes into play.

But what effective role will they be able to play in terms of affecting any type of change for Palestinians?

BEINART: The best case scenario is that this Palestinian Arab party might be able to use its influence to make some positive economic benefit for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, inside the green line.

But there's really no prospect that they could use their influence to end the blockade of Gaza, end settlement growth, get the Israeli government to seriously support the idea of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As you said Naftali Bennett, who will be the prime minister to start, is not only opposed to the Palestinian state but has called for annexing the West Bank.


BEINART: So on that front, for most Palestinians who live under Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza, this government sadly is not going to make much of a difference.

HOLMES: Always great to get your analysis, my friend. Thank you so much, Peter Beinart.

BEINART: My pleasure, thank you.

HOLMES: We are following a political crackdown in Nicaragua and growing fears that it could get worse. Human rights groups and foreign leaders are condemning the arrest of at least seven opposition leaders as an assault on democratic values.

The arrests come as president Daniel Ortega pursues a fourth consecutive term in office. CNN's Matt Rivers reports on how the former revolutionary rose to power.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Months before a crucial election in Nicaragua, a crackdown on dissent seems to be reaching new levels of aggression.

President Daniel Ortega's most high-profile opponents have been detained. Key challengers now quieted as Ortega seeks another term in office. After 14 consecutive years and four terms total as president of Nicaragua, the aging leader wants his reign to go on.

Now decades after first taking power in a revolution, he helped orchestrate. Once a rebel, Ortega began his political career as head of the Sandinistas, a resistance party that began as a guerrilla group in the 1960s.

In 1979, the Sandinistas overthrew the government of the dictator whose family had led Nicaragua for decades. Five years later, Ortega became president of Nicaragua in the first democratic elections after the revolution.

In his first term, he contended with the U.S. campaign against him form then president Ronald Reagan, who considered him a Communist threat. U.S. support financed anti-Sandinista rebels known as contras.

The two groups fought for years, in a conflict that killed tens of thousands. Rarely (ph) Nicaraguans voted Ortega out the following election then two more after that but in 2006, he was elected to power once again, this time pledging peace and prosperity in what was then a poverty-stricken Nicaragua.

Over the next 10 years, the country's GDP rose as Ortega oversaw economic improvements aided by allies in Venezuela and Cuba. Some of his critics note he was simultaneously tightening his grip on power.

In 2014, Nicaragua's congress voted to end term limits, allowing Ortega to run yet again. Then in 2016, with opposition lawmakers kicked out of the process and international monitors told to stay home, Ortega won reelection in a landslide victory, this time with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president.

In the spring of 2018, mass opposition protests ended in a brutal crackdown, unleashed by Ortega. Human rights groups say hundreds were killed. Ortega stayed in power despite international calls for his resignation as a political crisis ensued and the economy deteriorated.

Still, those who challenge his power can be seen as enemies of the state, warning Ortega may now be the kind of dictator he once fought to overthrow -- Matt Rivers, CNN.


HOLMES: Now Queen Elizabeth officially celebrated her birthday ahead of a meeting with the U.S. President on Sunday. Coming up a look at the special relationship between the long-reigning monarch and a dozen U.S. Leaders. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: A royal flyover, fit for a queen. The United Kingdom's longest reigning monarch, celebrating her official birthday, with a scaled down military parade, at Windsor Castle. The monarch's actual birthday is in April, when she turned 95. But the anniversary is traditionally observed in June.

It was Queen Elizabeth's first official birthday in more than 70 years without her husband, Prince Philip, who died two months ago.

It's been a big weekend for Her Majesty. Besides her birthday and a visit to the G7 summit, Queen Elizabeth will take tea on Sunday with the U.S. President, Joe Biden. The monarch has met every sitting U.S. President, except for one, during her nearly seven decade reign. CNN's Max Foster, taking a look back at her meetings with American leaders.



MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: The special relationship -- or a dozen special relationships.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ladies and gentlemen, to Her Majesty the Queen.

FOSTER (voice-over): Joe Biden is the 12th U.S. President to meet Queen Elizabeth II during her reign. The queen will have met every sitting president during her 69-year reign, except Lyndon B. Johnson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were welcomed at the White House by the first lady at the beginning of a memorable visit to the nation.

FOSTER (voice-over): Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 and, most recently, Donald Trump, Britain's monarch has seen her share of administrative change. And the conversations invariably remain private.

PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX: People really do respect the fact that this is a genuinely private, off the record conversation. So they really can talk about things and get to the heart of things in a very genuine fashion because they know it's not going to come out.

FOSTER: Does she ever let slip to you in any way?


PRINCE EDWARD: Of course not. Of course not. FOSTER (voice-over): Well-known for their shared love of horses, Elizabeth took president Ronald Reagan horseback riding in Windsor in 1982.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not expected to happen.

FOSTER (voice-over): His successor, President George H. W. Bush, brought the queen to her first baseball game, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, during a state visit, in 1991. Both, Reagan and Bush were later given honorary knighthoods, the U.K.'s highest distinction.

Opportunities to meet the 95-year-old monarch are dwindling. The queen no longer travels abroad. Leaders are expected to come to her. But when they do, the royal family rolls out the red carpet in a regal display of British soft power.

President George W. Bush was the first U.S. President to pay an official state visit in 2003. Bush was also the last to host the queen at the White House in 2007. Pomp and pageantry do, at times, provide awkward moments however, evident when president Trump visited in 2018.

He also revealed the topic of their conversation, Brexit, which raised eyebrows, too.

His predecessor, President Barack Obama, also committed a faux paw by speaking over the national anthem.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples.

FOSTER (voice-over): Now is the turn of Obama's V.P. and current commander in chief to visit Windsor Castle. President Biden will be welcomed by a guard of honor before being invited in for tea.

BONNIE GREER, AMERICAN-BRITISH PLAYWRIGHT AND AUTHOR: The future of the special relationship depends, ultimately, on the American people and the British people, what we understand about each other. And Joe Biden is of a generation where that special relationship means something. The queen is, certainly.

ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: To the continued friendship between our two nations and to the health, prosperity and happiness of the people of the United States.

FOSTER (voice-over): Max Foster, CNN, Foster, England.


HOLMES: Much more still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, including this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our creation story says, if those fish die, the people die.

HOLMES (voice-over): An extreme drought plaguing the western U.S., pitting neighbors, against neighbors, as the drought fuels a water war. That's coming up after the break.






HOLMES: An update now on the breaking news out of China. At least 11 people dead. Dozens seriously injured, after a gas explosion, in Hubei province, on Sunday morning. Officials, say many people are still trapped. Once again, at least 11 people, killed. We will keep you updated on this breaking story as more information becomes available.

A historic drought made worse by climate change is forcing the federal government to take drastic measures in the western U.S. Dire conditions now pitting communities against each other. CNN's Lucy Kafanov explains.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a lake in name only.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking at something that hasn't been dry in -- ever.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Not one ounce of water at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This represents devastation. It's the devastation of our community.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Part of the problem is the severe drought, crippling Western states. But here in the Klamath Basin, on the Oregon-California border, locals say that the crisis is also manmade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's compounded by drought but, ultimately, it's a policy thing.

KAFANOV (voice-over): A century ago, a federal irrigation project redrew this landscape, draining lakes and redirecting rivers to help build a farming economy. Farmers, rely on the planned project for water, which is controlled by the federal government.

But the basin is also a crucial water source for Native American tribes and endangered fish. Citing extreme drought conditions, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation which oversees water management last month announced it won't release any water to farmers in order to protect threatened and endangered species, leaving growers wondering how will they will pay the bills.

TRICIA HILL, FARMER: We have an entire community that is feeling the pressure and the stress. You are looking at a fallow field because there's no available irrigation water.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Former Tricia Hill says that the water shutoff is taking a toll on her family.

HILL: They get to see me tear up and get upset and the weight that it puts on them, it's not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You either got to stand up and take it or you're not going to ever have water here again.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Some residents are threatening to take matters into their own hands, setting up camp next to a Klamath irrigation canal headgate, threatening to turn on the spigot by force.

DAN NIELSEN, FARMER: We've been trying to be nice but we're getting to the end of the rope now. We're just going to go in there, pull the bulkheads and open the headgates and get it going.

KAFANOV (voice-over): It's happened before. In 2001, enraged farmers, including Nielsen, breached the gate to manually get that water flowing.

KAFANOV: Do you think it would work to go in there by force and turn the water on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be better than getting nothing.

KAFANOV (voice-over): This is the body of water at the heart of the conflict. Upper Klamath Lake is home to two species of fish that don't exist anywhere else in the world, central to the Klamath tribe's creation story and culture.

KAFANOV: If the fish go extinct, what does it mean for the tribe?

DON GENTRY, KLAMATH TRIBES CHAIRMAN: Our creation story says that, if those fish die, the people die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two species have existed for at least a million years, if not more. And we have managed to, essentially, almost exterminate them over the last hundred.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Tribal biologist Alex Gonyaw has been fighting to save the fish and their habitat.


ALEX GONYAW, TRIBAL BIOLOGIST: The fish often get less than they need, just like the farmers get less than they need which comes back to this whole system needs a redesign.

KAFANOV (voice-over): It's a call to action in an escalating conflict, where time, patience and water are running out.

KAFANOV: Being out here, talking to the farmers, the tribes, the government officials, the conservationists, you really start to understand everyone's unique point of view. Unfortunately, there's no way out of the water crisis unless all of these parties come together.

And in these increasingly divisive times, that simply is not looking like a reality. The consequence, well, you can see it all around me -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the California-Oregon border.


HOLMES: Now those wild Asian elephants wandering in China are on the move. The herd has been migrating across the southern part of the country since March last year. They're heading north, looking for food and a new habitat and traveling almost 500 kilometers so far.

The elephants are being escorted by police and drones are following their every move. Some scientists think this has to do with their natural habitats being destroyed.

As far as harrowing stories go, this next one may be a little hard to swallow. A diver says he almost became dinner for one of the biggest sea mammals out there.


HOLMES (voice-over): Man versus the sea, tales don't get much bigger than this real-life saga of a diver and his all too close encounter with a humpback whale.

MICHAEL PACKARD, WHALE SURVIVOR: All of a sudden, I just felt this huge bump. Everything went dark.

HOLMES (voice-over): For Michael Packard, diving for lobsters off the shores of Cape Cod, that dark place turned out to be the mouth of one of the largest creatures of the sea.

Packard says, at first, he thought a shark attacked him but he didn't feel any teeth in there and knew he had been gulped up by a whale, a nightmare lasting for about 30 seconds.

PACKARD: All of a sudden, he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head. And I just got thrown into the air and landed on the water.

HOLMES (voice-over): A nearby fishing charter witnessed the whale and its terrifying regurgitation.

CAPTAIN JOE FRANCIS, WITNESS: Then I saw Mike come flying out of the water, feet first, with his flippers on. He landed back in the water. So I jumped aboard the boat. We got him up, got his tank off and got him on the deck, counted down.

He goes, "Joe," he goes, "I was in the mouth of a whale," he goes.

HOLMES (voice-over): Marine biologists say whales aren't usually a threat to humans and the man was probably, accidentally, swept up in its mouth when feeding. A lucky day for Packard, who survived with some bruises and a whale of a tale to tell. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: A whale of a tale.

See what we did there?

Thank you for spending part of your day with me, I'm Michael Holmes. "Local Hero" starts after this short break.