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CNN NEWSROOM

President Biden View His Summit with Putin as Successful; Hong Kong Police Arrested Five Journalists; Tension Starting to Build Up Between Israel and Gaza; French People Awaits Lifting of Restrictions; Heat Wave Blankets U.S. Southwest; President Biden On The Global Stage; Putin And Biden Meet Face-To-Face, Issue Praise And Warnings; Some Republican Criticize Biden After Putin Summit; Supreme Leader Encourages People To Vote In Election; Peru's Presidential Election; Shoddy Construction Led To Deadly Rail Collapse; Prime Minister Suga To Decide Today On Lifting State Of Emergency; Japan's Slow Vaccine Rollout Is Picking Up Pace; Docking Expected Soon At China's Space Station Module; Bottlegate At Euro 2020. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 17, 2021 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I did what I came to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Tough talk at the Geneva summit, Joe Biden confronting Vladimir Putin telling him the days of targeting the U.S. and its allies without consequences are over.

Burning balloons from Gaza put Israel's new prime minister to an early test.

And sweating it out, 40 million Americans suffering through a punishing heat wave that send temperatures soaring into the triple digits.

Good to have you with us.

What Joe Biden says he did what he came to do in Geneva. And in the coming weeks we will see what, if anything, comes out of his major summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Both presidents had cautious but positive assessments of how the closed-door talks turned out. Mr. Putin described frank and pragmatic discussions without a deep connection, as he put it. He -- we didn't look into each other's eyes and swear eternal friendship.

President Biden says he did confront him on some tough issues, but both sides indicated that one of the real benefits of the meeting was getting a read on each other ahead of what will inevitably remain a tricky relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: I did what I came to do. The tone of the entire meetings, I guess it was a total of four hours was good. Positive. There wasn't any -- any strident action taken. Where we disagreed, I disagreed, stated where it was. Where he disagreed, he stated. But it was not done in a hyperbolic atmosphere.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The meeting, you know, was actually very efficient, it was substantive, it was specific. And it was aimed at achieving results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And those results include returning the Russian and American ambassadors to their posts and agreeing to start up talks on arms control and cybersecurity.

For more, I'm joined now by Jill Dougherty, she is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and CNN's former Moscow bureau chief. Great to have you with us.

JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, WALSH SCHOOL OF FOREIGN SERVICE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: I'm really glad to be here, thank you.

CHURCH: So, both leaders describe this summit as a success, President Biden essentially meeting with president Putin to tell him to stop the cyberattacks and human rights abuses or there would be devastating consequences. But was that message received, or did this meeting simply elevate Putin with very little likelihood of him changing any of his behavior?

DOUGHERTY: You know, Rosemary, I don't think that we can say yet what the result will be. I mean, and I don't think that they expect or at least the Biden people didn't expect that they would know immediately. I mean, nobody expected that Putin was going to say, yes, I did interfere in your elections. And you know, yes, we've been hacking at it. There was no way.

But I think the message was -- the message was delivered by Biden that one of the most interesting quotes I think, we had significant cyber capability. And he knows it, he said. President Putin knows it. And you know, we will take action if we feel that we have to. And I think that was, you know, to me, one of the biggest quotes of that entire meeting that Biden feels if he went there, he did what he wanted to do, which was very overtly and objectively explain positions.

He also got, I think a clear explanation from President Putin about President Putin's views and where he draws the lines as well. So, that's about, I think what they wanted to do. CHURCH: And how important was it for President Biden to go into these

talks with Putin knowing he had all NATO alliance leaders standing behind him in unity, did that make the difference here?

[03:04:59]

DOUGHERTY: I think that was very important. In fact, if you look at the choreography of how this entire trip by Biden was done, it was -- it was carefully worked out so that he would have the wind in his sails as he went to Geneva support from NATO certainly and from his European his allies. Because one of the main approaches that Putin takes is to undermine that unity.

So, making the context with his allies, going with the coherent position, and knowing that they are together, as they have not been up until now was, I think was extremely important.

CHURCH: And Jill, why do you think that this meeting was shorter than expected when there are so many issues to discuss? What might that signal do you think?

DOUGHERTY: You know, I don't really think that it really signals too much of anything, other than they were pretty efficient. I think both sides were quite efficient in what they were talking about, and look what they came out with it. Essentially, it's two things, send the ambassadors back, and that's very, very important.

Because you know, right now, we have embassies with no ambassadors, in the U.S. case, they've shut down two of the -- or three of the consulates. So, Russians can't even get visas very easily. So that's a good step. And then the second one, which I think is more intriguing and very long term and serious, is this thing that's being called the cyber, I should say, these strategic security dialogues that they are going to be having.

And that is, to look at nuclear issues, to look at new weapons that are not necessarily nuclear but they are very sophisticated, dangerous weapons. And then also to look at cyber and to figure out, OK, what are the issues here? What are the red lines? What are the things -- and Biden said there were 16 that he outlined, the things that you should not do, that you should not attack. Infrastructure, energy, things like that. So, I think, he, you know, getting those two things was very important, but it's just the beginning.

CHURCH: And just finally, Jill, both leaders describe the tone of this meeting as businesslike and productive. You've closely studied Vladimir Putin for many years now. How would you assess the way he related to and dealt with President Biden compared to his predecessor Donald trump?

DOUGHERTY: There was an enormous difference. Obviously, you know, these are two experience gentlemen. They both know the issues, and that I think for Putin who is an intelligent person who really does know all of these issues very well. It was important to be able to, you know, sit down and talk with a person like Biden who also knows these issues inside and out. And to, I think have respect for each other, not unanimity on views,

obviously, they disagree on a whole lot of things. But I think there was some beginning of a relationship. They have met back in, I think it was 2011, but beginning relationship with some respect.

And I do think it was interesting that Putin mentioned they talked about, Biden's mother, and you know, Putin has talked about his mother in other meetings and kind of moral values. So, then it was all quite interesting, you know, whether it means anything we'll have to see. But I think that that went further than I actually expected.

CHURCH: Jill Dougherty, always a pleasure to get your analysis. I appreciate it.

DOUGHERTY: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, let's bring in now our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. He's standing by for us in London. He joins us now. Good to see you, Nic. So, what's the big picture here, and what's President Biden's read of why Russia's president wanted to talk at this time?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think this is Biden's sort of big strategy and his understanding that is taken away from being involved in foreign affairs and foreign policy for so long, is that leaders care about how they are perceived, about how their countries are perceived.

And on this, he was quite sort of specific at a couple of moments when he was really pressed on questions about, you know, essentially, why is Putin listening to you now? This notion that, you know, Putin cares about the standing of Russia. that he sees it as important and that he wants to be able to continue that. And it's also a reflection of his own stature on the global stage.

And this is what I found interesting, is that a couple of moments, you know, when Biden was really questioned to try to explain further his thinking, as a couple of times he said, look, Russia feels the squeeze of China. It has a long border with China.

[03:10:05]

You know, before getting into a more detailed explanation laying on -- laying out some other issues. But this notion that at the back of Putin's mind would be concerned about China in the future. Remember this, that President Biden sees China as the biggest, indeed, potential existential threat to the power and reach of the United States across the globe. And that Russia must also feel some of the potential intimidation of a very resurgent and globally strong China.

And it does appear that Putin is -- rather that Biden is sort of laying a track available here to Putin to, let's not say, move away from China, but at least not seal him off and push him towards China to allow him an avenue of conversation and good positive dialog with the west. And potentially, in the future, in this world that Biden sees, a

challenge to autocracies and democracies where China is going to be very strong -- potentially this creates a scenario where Russia and China are not aligned against the west.

That I think, is part of why Biden thinks that Russia and Putin in particular is concerned. Because he reads the global future the same way that Biden does, that China is a threat, not just to the U.S., but to Russia as well.

CHURCH: Yes. And that's the situation, isn't it? Because he was sitting down with the Russian president, President Biden. But he sees China as the bigger threat here. He wants to pay attention to that. And that came up throughout his whole trip abroad.

ROBERTSON: It did. This has been Biden's message since his first foreign policy speech back in February of this year, that he would align allies to take a firm and concerted position against China on human rights abuses on its trade policies around the world. And he was able to do that to a degree in the -- at the G7 and again with the E.U. and at NATO.

In fact, he described, you know, when he was being questioned by reporters in Geneva, he said, you questioned whether I would get the support of these countries at the G7 at NATO at the E.U. And I did. So, for Biden they -- the fact that he was able to get a level of support about how to speak out against China's human rights practices, about how to speak out against China's trade policies is, you know, aligns with that overall philosophy of trying to bring as many countries as possible aligned with the United States position.

He said he's not trying to create a bipolar world of China's and the U.S. and its supporters. But this meeting with Putin when you look at it from Biden's perspective, the very big perspective has to factor in to that view that China is an emerging threat and better not to have Russia as a significant threat at the same time. Of course, there are no guarantees that Putin is going to read this in the way that Biden wants him to. He is going to respond in the way that Biden wants it to.

There was nothing that Biden said that we got that would indicate that Putin will listen to him. He did just set three weeks, three months, six months. We'll have to see.

CHURCH: Yes. It's an important point. Nic Robertson joining us live from London, many thanks as always.

Well, Hong Kong police are again targeting the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper. They arrested five directors of the embattled paper earlier today. The city's security secretary says the executives are suspected of criminal conspiracy under the controversial national security law. Five hundred police officers swarmed and searched the papers headquarters with the warrant that allowed them to seize journalistic materials.

The newspapers found that Jimmy Lai already faces charges under the security law and is serving a sentence for unauthorize assemblies in the 2019 protest.

The Israeli military has yet to respond to a second day of incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza. The latest volleys started at least four more fires in the farmlands of southern Israel. Balloon attacks have been going on for years, but they come at a critical time for new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

So, let's go live now to journalist Elliott Gotkine. He joins us from Jerusalem. Good to see you, Elliott.

So how are the people from Israel reacting to the way Naftali Bennett is handling his first big test as prime minister?

[03:15:02]

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, given that Naftali Bennett sits to the right of Prime Minister Netanyahu on the political spectrum and has in the past criticize the former prime minister for his -- for not being tougher on Gaza given that the current government has the same defense minister in the form of Benny Gantz who was under ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu before. And given that the IDF has previously said that it would meet all rocket fire all incendiary balloon attacks or any other attacks from the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas as a powerful response in its words.

I don't think anyone is that surprised by the reaction. And so, I think that anybody who is was giving ready to give this government the benefit of the doubt when it was sworn in early this week will continue to doing so won't necessarily have changed their views either way before this government before this latest escalation, let's call it, then you will continue to do so. And then if you are against it, then you will still be against it, I reckon.

CHURCH: So, Elliott, how much concern is there that these incendiary balloons from Gaza, and then of course the Israeli airstrikes will result in another round of violence?

GOTKINE: There is concern and there is always that possibility. But I think right now an escalation is not really in the interest of Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip or from Israel's perspective either. They've only just gotten over, as you say, that kind of 11-day fight -- 11-day round of fighting. They've reached a ceasefire which is brokered by the Egyptians. I don't think anyone wants to go back to, you know, how things were last month again. Certainly not so soon into the life of this new government.

But at the same time, I think both sides kind of trying to, you know, have a point to prove. Hamas wants to continue to try to present itself as the guardian of, you know, the Palestinians from the river to the sea, and at the same time, Naftali Bennett will be very, very conscious of the criticism that he received in the run up to the swearing in of this new governing coalitions.

Criticism especially from ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu that this was a left-wing government and it wouldn't be able to be tough in the face of attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He now has a point to prove. But for now, nothing that's happened in the last couple of days has been enough to really threaten the integrity of his governing coalition. But as we've seen in the past, these things can always escalate. I just don't think that right now it's in the interest of either side, and I don't think either side wants to see this escalating, certainly not at this point.

CHURCH: All right. Elliott Gotkine joining us live from Jerusalem, many thanks.

Well, France is easing some of its COVID-19 restrictions, but the timing is a surprise. We will explain why.

Plus, a dangerous heat wave scorching parts of the U.S. and it's not even summer yet. How long the soaring temperatures will last? that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:20:01]

CHURCH (on camera): In the U.S. the Centers for Disease Control has now labeled the Delta coronavirus strain a variant of concern. It says the strain first identified in India now accounts for about 10 percent of cases in the U.S.

Here is a former COVID adviser for the Biden White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER, COVID-19 RESPONSE: This is a more virulent strain. This is like COVID on steroids. You could be around people for less time and still get exposed. So, it's yet another reason why people should, if they haven't been vaccinated, should think about getting vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated, you have very little to worry about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Pfizer CEO says he feels very good about how his company's vaccine can handle variants and there's a system in place in case a new variant requires a more tailored vaccine.

On Monday, France will and its national curfew meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading. that is 10 days ahead of schedule. The prime minister says it's because COVID numbers have been improving faster than previously thought.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us now live. Good to see, Salma. So, this is great news for the people of France, of course. But what exactly is the data revealing and what changes can be expected? And along with the vaccination rollout, what's the progress on that?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Rosemary, very significant steps here, what the authorities in France are calling common sense steps. They say that these are being taken place now because the number of admissions in ICU have gone down. The number of confirmed COVID cases has also decreased and you have a higher vaccination rate, almost half of the adult population of France has received at least first -- their first dose of their vaccine.

So, what does that mean? that means that the outdoor mask mandates, something that has been in place since August of last year, that's going to be lifted on Thursday. that's a really exciting step for people. The prime minister saying that the face mask will still be required outdoors in certain circumstances. Essentially, if you are in a crowd, if you are in a market, if you are in a stadium, if you are around a lot of people you've got to keep that mask on.

The other significant step is the overnight curfew. Now this is a curfew that went into place in mid-January at 6 p.m., has been gradually ease over the last few months and it will be lifted completely 21st of this month.

So, a lot of excitement that normal life is beginning yet again in France. But again, there is that concern about the Delta variant which you just mentioned in your segment prior. Some comparisons being made by experts that France right now is in the same place that the U.K. was a few weeks ago where it looks like there's a clear dip in the numbers, but the variant that was first identified in India, that Delta variant is picking up.

Official statistics show about 2 to 4 percent of confirmed COVID cases are that Delta variant. To put that into context, that's only about 50 to 150 people. A lot of comparisons being made about which vaccines are most effective against that variant. But for now, the authorities are saying these are common sense approaches. Yes, you need to continue to follow the rules, keep your distance, sanitize all of these things, but they are ready to ease up, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Salma Abdelaziz joining us live from London with that. I appreciate it.

Well, parts of Nepal are dealing with flash flooding and landslides. Heavy monsoon rains have battered the region for three days. Officials say seven people are now missing, and one person has died. Evacuations are underway as several rivers overflowed their banks. Helicopters are having to rescue many people trapped in their homes.

Europe is now sizzling through its first major heat wave of the year. Temperatures in the western part of the continent are nearing levels not seen since 2019. that's when heat records fell one by one across the region.

In Paris, temperatures hit 34 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. that's about 93 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a bit lower than the record from two years ago but still sweltering. The good news for France, at least storms are expected to push out most of that heat.

Well, the heat wave in the U.S. shows no signs of letting up. More than 12 percent of the country's population is sweltering across western U.S. Las Vegas, Denver, Colorado Springs have already hit record triple digit temperatures. California's power grid operator is asking residents to conserve

electricity as the state expects extremely hot temperatures in the coming days. And the scorching heat is expected to continue through the weekend.

CNN's Pedram Javaheri is in the CNN center, he joins us now. Pedram, it's officially summer in three days. Could these sorts of temperatures represent the new normal for us?

[03:24:57]

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, there's plenty of evidence that kind of suggesting exactly what you are implying here. This is essentially leading to the trends showing that the most likely scenario with climate change is that heat waves would be the highest likelihood of occurrence and then coastal flooding, of course sea level rise, that's number two.

You see with heavy rain that's coming in place and that has to do with excessive heat on our planet leading to additional water vapor, which leads to more clouds in areas and of course, heaviest rainfalls occur there along portions of these coastal communities. And we've seen that.

And then conversely, areas that are dry become excessively dry and less evidence for an increased number in tornado counts or even tropical systems. Now, those storms could be stronger, but not necessarily more numerous. It's a separate story for a different day.

Right now, I've got to talk about what's happening around the western United States. Rosemary told you about the incredible temperatures across this region. We are talking about temperatures into the 50 Celsius or 145 Fahrenheit in the hottest locations. How about Las Vegas? Coming in at around 46 degrees Celsius, or 116 Fahrenheit. One- degree shy of an all-time record.

Parts of the state of South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, all of them into triple digit territories. Or right around say, 40 degrees Celsius and over 50 million Americans around the western U.S. dealing with this widespread coverage of heat. And you'll notice the longevity of it is really what makes it the most dangerous because we often say the overnight temperatures, if they're cool enough, your body can recover. The afternoon temperatures, if they are short lived, your body can manage.

This is multiday long-term setup here with temps staying above average for the foreseeable future and among the highest levels of temps we've seen before summer starts, which is on Sunday. Really is remarkable.

We're not alone. You go back towards portions of Europe, and Rosemary initially talked about the heat in place there. There is a heat dome across western and central Europe that has essentially put a lid on the atmosphere.

Look at these temperatures, upper 30s, and comparable to what's happening in the western U.S. Frankfurt climbing to 33 degrees. They should be around 22 this time of year. And the warmth now expands a little farther towards the east, giving the west a bit of a break here. But the trend as remarkable as it gets, Rosemary, for any time of year, especially again when you consider the summer solstice doesn't happen until Sunday across the northern hemisphere. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. It is extraordinary, isn't it? Pedram Javaheri, many thanks.

Well what do you see here is a huge fishing net covering coral reefs in Thailand. A diver captures the video last week saying the net is on the sea floor up to 22 meters deep. that's not all. He said he spotted nets at two more sites around the same island.

Local media say the Thai environment minister ordered officials to clear the nets away and said they should protect the reefs.

Well President Biden is back in the U.S. after his weeklong trip to Europe. What he accomplished with the allies. And after the break, how it's being viewed back home.

Plus, Iran goes to the polls this Friday. Why the country's supreme leader is encouraging people to vote. that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The United States is going to do our part. America is back at the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): U.S. President Biden there proclaiming America is back. That was at the start of his world win trip abroad. The first since he took office. He is now back in the United States after a week that took him to Cornwall England for the G7 summit, and to Brussels for the NATO and E.U. summits. Mr. Biden looked to restored America's leadership in the world and shore up western support in the face of challenges from China and Russia.

All that coming before the most anticipated stop on the trip, Geneva. Where Mr. Biden sat down face-to-face with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Both leaders say the talks were mostly positive, but without any big breakthroughs. Bobby Ghosh joins me now, he is a columnist and editorial board member at Bloomberg. Thank so much for being with us.

BOBBY GHOSH, COLUMNIST AND EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER FOR BLOOMBERG (on camera): Anytime.

CHURCH: So, how successful do you think Joe Biden's first trip abroad as president was overall? And more specifically, how do you measure the success of his summit with Russia's president? Or is it too soon for that?

GHOSH: Well, I think overall, the trip went well. He did well in Britain. He did well at the NATO meetings. He did well in showing the world that he was not Donald Trump, and admittedly, that's a pretty low bar. The meeting with Putin on the other hand, we won't really know for a while. He signaled well in advance of the trip of the meeting what he wanted to say to Putin. It looked like he did say those things. But whether Putin actually paid attention, we can only know by Putin's behavior over the next weeks, months, and years. And that's a little too early to tell.

CHURCH: So, Bobby, how do you think Joe Biden's trip overseas played with allies?

GHOSH: I think the allies would've been reassured to see him step up to the plate, if you'd like. And reclaim American leadership on major issues ranging from the need to vaccinate the rest of the world, not just the developed countries, to trying to get everyone's heads wrapped around major climate change questions.

I think the world, certainly the G7 partners as well as NATO alliance members would have been reassured by that. They've spent four years basically in a kind of braced position as the previous American president tried to take a blowtorch to American alliances around the world. So there will be a reassurance from that.

But, the honeymoon period in which Biden benefits just from not being Trump is now I think formally over. They will be watching very closely to see whether he can now follow up his rhetoric with actual action.

CHURCH: And Republicans already saying President Biden appeared weak at the summit with Russia's president. What do you say to those criticisms given how former President Trump caved into Vladimir Putin in Helsinki back in 2018?

GHOSH: I think it's just a symptom of the polarized political times that we live in, that no matter what Joe Biden did he was going to be criticized by the Republicans. I don't think he's going to take it particularly seriously. I don't think we should either. I think the important thing is to see whether he advanced American interest.

He does seem to have spoken strong words to President Putin. The fact that he held his first conference by himself and not with Putin by his side also sent a signal. What the Republicans make of it matters at the end of the day less than what Putin makes of it.

CHURCH: So, how does President Biden use this newfound success from his first trip abroad in office to get what he wants domestically? And how will his visit likely play with the American public?

GHOSH: Well, I think with the American public there will be a reassurance of seeing their president once again take the role as the leader of the free world. To use the old cliche. Certainly as a leader of the west, as a leader of major democracies of the world. And to see their president hold his own against Vladimir Putin, who is one of the great threats to the American public, and to the American state. [03:35:00]

Whether that counts for very much into domestic politics, that's a little harder to tell. That's not going to advance, I don't, think his agenda on infrastructure spending, for instance. I think there is a clear demarcation between what happens when the president goes on the road, and what happens back in Washington.

CHURCH: And of course, this was a pretty grueling overseas trip, wasn't it? The G7, the NATO, meetings with the E.U. and of course this summit. That was a lot to pack into that one trip overseas. Now he comes back and he has this growing political agenda in front of you, as you mentioned the infrastructure issue. This is going to be problematic for him. There are so many challenges to confront him. How do you think he will face all of these?

GHOSH: Well, he seemed to hold his stamina pretty well on this trip. Grueling is unfortunately just the name of the game, whether you are president of the United States at the best of times, it's certainly at a time when great economic hardship, when the country is shaking off the effects of a terrible pandemic that sort of brought everything to a halt for nearly a year.

Grueling is what he can expect in the time ahead. I don't think he's going to have much time to take a breather. I think he faces, in some, ways a greater challenge in getting Congress to do what he wants. Then he does with leaders of NATO, the leaders of the G7, and even maybe of Vladimir Putin.

CHURCH: Bobby Ghosh, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

GHOSH: My pleasure.

CHURCH (on camera): Iran's supreme leader is urging voters to turn out in high numbers for Friday's presidential election, but many may stay home due to fears of catching the coronavirus. While others say they're not interested in the choice of candidates on the ballot.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Only hours ahead of the elections, Iran's presidential candidates are trying to get out the vote. The events very small because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Frontrunner hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi displaying confidence in saying he would remain in the nuclear agreement.

EBRAHIM RAISI, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I'd say this honestly, we view the Iran nuclear deal as an agreement with nine articles. That the supreme leader has approved. We will stay committed to the accord as an agreement and commitment just like any deal which administrations have to be committed to. PLEITGEN: The future of the Iran nuclear agreement is only one topic

on the minds of many Iranians. The country is suffering under crushing sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, and is still in the grasp of the coronavirus.

Iran's guardian council, the body that the candidates are vetted by, disqualified many of those looking to run in the election. Giving Ebrahim Raisi a major boost, but possibly also leading to low voter turnout.

UNKNOWN: We are in the best situation. We have to choose only the one that they had introduce to us. And we know him.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I'm not interested in voting. Maybe I would have voted if they were different candidates. But now all of them are the same.

UNKNOWN: From the people around me they won't be voting too. And that's most people's opinion, I guess.

PLEITGEN: Even Iran's supreme leader has criticized the many disqualifications and is urging voters to come out and cast their ballots.

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): If we have low turnout, the pressure of the enemy will be high. If we want the pressure and sanctions to diminish, there must be high turnout and popular support of the system.

PLEITGEN: After eight years of holding the presidency, moderate forces appear headed for major losses. Even as their main candidate hopes to pull off a last-minute surprise.

ABDOLNASER HEMMATI, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I believe those who have said no to ballot boxes will reverse their decision, and they will change their idea in favor of voting for me. And the trend over the last few days shows that my popularity is growing.

PLEITGEN: But after eight years of fairly moderate government under President Hassan Rouhani Iran now seems set for a swing towards the conservatives with major implications for both Iran and its relations with the west.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH (on camera): Election officials in Peru have not yet declared a winner in that country's recent presidential election, even though all of the votes have been counted. Candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, trails Pedro Castillo by a paper thin margin. Her party hoping to overcome that episode by getting some ballots toss out. Here's what she told supporters on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:40:00]

KEIKO FUJIMORI, PERUVIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do we trust the electoral bodies? Yes. But above all we trust in the will of the people and we know that when they will analyze these irregularities, they will most probably agree with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Peru has no mechanism for a recount. But election officials are obliged to review challenges to the vote totals before announcing the winner.

Well, Shoddy construction is believed to have contributed to last month's deadly collapse of a commuter train overpass in Mexico City. More than two dozen people were killed and dozens more were injured in the accident on May 4th. Experts tell CNN the accident wasn't a complete surprise because red flag incidents have plagued the line since it opened nearly a decade ago.

We get the details from CNN's Rafael Romo in Mexico City.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice over): It's one of the worst train accidents in Mexican history, and for the first time since it happened, independent investigators have released damning findings into what caused the May 4th elevated train collapse here in Mexico city that killed 26 people and left at least 79 injured.

According to the Mexico City public works and services secretary, the accident was caused by a structural failure due to deficiencies in the construction process. The secretary was quoting the first preliminary report on the collapse, prepared by the DNV under risk management firm hired by the Mexico City government to conduct an independent investigation.

According to the report, they were welding deficiencies and the metal studs connecting the steel beams to the concrete slabs supporting the elevated train trails. There were also missing metal studs in some sections, different kinds of concretes used for the slab. And unfinished or poorly welded joints among other issues.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said her government is helping the families of the victims as well as those injured. She also said her goal is to do everything necessary so that line 12 can operate again as soon as possible under conditions of maximum safety.

This was the first of three report suspected to be released before the end of the summer. In addition to the independent investigation by DNV, the Mexico City Attorney General's office, and the college of civil engineers of Mexico are conducting their own investigations.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH (on camera): New cases of COVID-19 are on the decline in Japan, and the Prime Minister will soon decide whether to lift the state of emergency. We will explain what that means for the Tokyo Olympics.

And a Japanese e-commerce company is looking for ways to speed up the country's vaccination process. An exclusive report just ahead.

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CHURCH: With less than six weeks until the start of the Tokyo Olympics, we should know in the coming hours if a state of emergency for Tokyo will expire on Sunday as planned.

[03:45:07]

If it is lifted the number of spectators allowed at the venues could double from 5,000 to 10,000. CNN's Blake Essig is in Tokyo with the latest. He joins us now. Good to see you, Blake. So, how likely is it that this state of emergency will be lifted come Sunday?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You know, Rosemary, its likely going to be prefecture to prefecture cases nationwide as you mentioned, have been going down for about a month, but the speed of the decline has started to slow, and government officials had expressed concerned that cases could once again rebound as public traffic increases.

Now that being said, it's likely even if a state of emergency order is lifted, instituting a quasi-state of emergency to prevent infections from increasing is possible. Now ultimately the decision by Japan's Prime Minister which will be made here in just a few hours to either remove, extend, or put a quasi-state of emergency order in place will go a long way to determine the number of fans allowed to attend the Olympics.

Now, we know that foreign spectators have already been banned, and at this point no decision has been made regarding domestic fans. But just yesterday, government officials reiterated that there will be a cap on spectators at big events.

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SHIGERU OMI, GOVERNMENT'S TOP MEDICAL ADVISER (through translator): We have confirmed to the government about two things, the first is allowing 10,000 spectators at venues would only apply to areas where quasi-curves have been lifted. The second is that limit plans are not tied to the Olympics. We've agreed with the government on it.

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ESSIG (on camera): Japan's top COVID-19 adviser went on to say that if any sort of state of emergency orders in place, that the number of spectators allowed will be limited to 5,000 people or half the capacity of the venue whichever figure is lower.

Now either way this is a clear sign yet that local spectators will likely be allowed to attend Olympic events and knowing that's a possibility, infectious disease experts continue to warn that allowing domestic spectators to attend the Olympics will lead to a spike in cases.

In fact, projections by Kyoto University in the national institute of infectious disease show that Tokyo could see an additional 10,000 COVID-19 cases if the games are held with spectators versus not at all. Now organizers say a final decision on domestic spectators will be announced later this month.

And Rosemary, to switch gears just a little on two vaccines, there is still only about 6 percent of the Japanese population which has been fully vaccinated, but to increase that number and perhaps give a little incentive to people to go out and get vaccinated at the end of July, Japan is going to be instituting a vaccine passport, with this vaccine passport the government is asking other countries to exempt travelers from having to quarantine or shorten the quarantine period upon arrival. Rosemary?

CHURCH (on camera): Thank you so much. Blake Essig joining us live from Tokyo.

Well, Japan has been battling a fourth wave of the virus and fewer than 10 percent of the population has received even one dose of the vaccine. But the vaccine minister says the country likely will reach 1 million doses per day by the end of June.

CNN's Selina Wang has an exclusive report on how Japan's vaccine rollout is beginning to pick up pace.

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SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Pro soccer players, online consultations, a speedy tech process. The CEO of e- commerce giant Rakuten thinks he's got the solution to speed up Japan's sluggish vaccine rollout.

HIROSHI MIKITANI, RAKUTEN CEO: I think we are probably three to five times more efficient than other vaccination centers. Hopefully, you know, the COVID will become the role model of Japan.

WANG: Rakuten which owns the (inaudible) Kobe soccer team is working with Kobe city to vaccinate up to 7,500 people a day at Noevir Stadium Kobe. Five weeks from the games less than 6 percent of Japan is fully vaccinated.

I'm not really very supportive of hosting the global Olympic event. But if they are going to do it, then we need to really to be super accelerate the vaccinations as fast as possible.

WANG: It is first week, this center vaccinated more than 10,000. Mikitani is attempting something much bigger.

MIKITANI: I'm hoping that we can offer more vaccine center all over Japan. Let us do maybe 500,000 shots per day.

WANG: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to accelerate Japan's rollout.

YOSHISHIDE SUGA, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN (through translator): From October to November of this year, I hope to finish vaccinating all the people in need, and want to be vaccinated. I want to realize this.

WANG: Vaccinations for the broader population start later this month at workplaces, including at big companies like Rakuten and Soft bank, and at universities. In this war room, Rakuten employees are brainstorming ideas to quicken the pace.

UNKNOWN: If you look at it from the registration to actually getting vaccinated, we only take about 4 minutes. We are trying to think, how can we reduce three seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds?

[03:50:09]

WANG: A major bottleneck in Japan's vaccine rollout is a lack of medical staff to administer the doses. But here, staff from local universities are helping and some pre-screenings are conducted online. With Rakuten's help, Kobe aims to finish vaccinating those 65 and older by mid-July. That's ahead of the central government schedule and before the Olympics.

I'm really relieved to be vaccinated here, she tells me. I want to have a normal life again and be with people. Last month, COVID-19 cases and Kobe were surging and the city council that local marathon. Cases have been declining, but the city remains under a state of emergency.

UNKNOWN: We are seeing more of the new strains circulating in the city. So we cannot let our guard down, and we have to encourage the citizens to continue taking all precautions.

WANG: Many medical experts continue to warn that the games pose a risk to the Japanese population. The majority will still be unvaccinated when the games begin.

I don't think the Olympics need to be held, he says. There will be so many coming into Japan that will probably go out and could give us infections. In the meantime, Kobe City along with Rakuten is racing to protect its residents.

Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH (on camera): China is making headway with a plan to build its own space station for the first time. Astronauts are set to arrive at their unfinished orbiting home. That is coming up.

Plus, if you haven't heard about bottlegate, the farce going on right now at the Euro cup. We will fill you in.

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CHURCH: Right now the first crew headed to China's future space station is believed to be making its final approach before docking. A rocket with three astronauts on board was launched early this morning and according to state broadcaster CCTV it's expected to dock at about 4:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time. And if everything goes well, the crew will spend three months at a space module which is the first building block of a future station.

And our Steven Jiang is following this mission from Beijing. He joins us now live. Great to see you, Steven. So, what is the latest on these astronauts after their successful launch and of course the imminent docking?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Well, Rosemary, as you said, after that picture perfect launch the astronauts had that quite a smooth ride and states (inaudible) actually providing live coverage of the docking as we speak. So they are saying, the docking process is already taking place.

Now, as we know after the docking, the three men we'll be spending three months in space conducting two lengthy spacewalks, but mostly spending time inside that core module trying to launch in April. They will be conducting experiments installing and testing equipment, but also preparing the module for further expansion because China will be launching two more modules carrying laboratories next year.

Remember this latest mission is just at a third of a total of 11 missions aimed at completing this project. So, China will be launching more manned missions, as well as cargo spacecraft carrying supplies in the coming months. Now the Chinese are doing this on their own because they have been excluded from the International Space Station, because of U.S. objections.

[03:55:04]

In 2011, the U.S. Congress actually passed a law to ban NASA from cooperating with the Chinese out of national security concerns. Critics of course have long linked China's space program to its rising military ambitions. And when you look at the three astronauts on this mission, they are all season pilots and officers from the Peoples Liberation Army with a commander actually holding the rank of a major general.

But the kind of U.S. blockade, if you will, has prompted the Chinese to say that has forced them to make a virtual of necessity forcing them to develop indigenous technologies and it is that kind of breakthroughs that has allowed them to catch up with the U.S. quickly in the space race. Because they are relative latecomer, and it's also this kind of breakthrough that's allowed them to cut the astronauts travel time, this time for example from two days to just 6.5 hours.

And also allow them to have more automation and remote control systems for this mission to reduce the pressure on the astronauts. Now, once this new Chinese space station becomes up and running by the end of next year, it could quickly become the only working space station in orbit because the international space station is actually approaching the end of its functional life. So that could potentially give the Chinese a leg up in this new space race between the south and the United States. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Alright. Steven Jiang joining us live from Beijing, many thanks. So, we have all heard about the breakfast of champions, but what about the drink of champions? For one soccer legend, it's not one of the most famous soft drinks of all-time. Portugal's Christiane Ronaldo doesn't even want to be seen next to a bottle of Coca-Cola.

He was giving a press conference during the Euro Cup this week, and took the bottles out of sight. That's even though Coca-Cola is a major tournament sponsor, he did give plain old water his endorsement though, and he is not alone. Hours later, Paul Pogba, who helped France win the World Cup in 2019 did something similar, except with a bottle of nonalcoholic Heineken beer.

Pogba has recently been opening up about his Muslim faith, and this might not seem like a big deal, but bottlegate as it's being called is costing big bucks. Coca-Cola, for instance, has seen its market value dropped by $4 billion dollars.

I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more CNN Newsroom in just a moment. Do stick around.

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