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Putin and Biden Meet Face-to-Face, Issue Praise and Warnings; NIH Director: Delta Variant is Another Reason to Get Vaccinated; NHK: Japan to Lift Most States of Emergency on Sunday; Southern Baptists Split Over Critical Race Theory; First Crew Docks at China's Future Space Station. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 17, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, Joe Biden is now back in Washington after wrapping up his first presidential trip abroad. First he shored up western support while attending the G7, NATO and EU Summits, before the week's most anticipated sit-down with Vladimir Putin. Both leaders say the three hours of face-to-face talks were mostly positive, but without any big breakthroughs. Mr. Biden raised cyberattacks, human rights and the case of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and said that he had this message for his Russian counterpart.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else, it's for the American people. Fighting COVID-19, rebuilding our economy, reestablishing relationships around the world with our allies and friends and protecting the American people. That's my responsibility as president.

I also told him that no president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have in our view. That's just part of the DNA of our country.


CHURCH: But while President Biden looked to stand up for democracy and human rights, Mr. Putin offered no indication he would be changing Russia's stance or rhetoric when it comes to the treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. CNN's Matthew Chance has more now from Geneva.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The historic summit started in chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Russians on the left, Americans on the right.

CHANCE (voice-over): Kremlin and White House press packs jostling for position. U.S. and Russian presidents themselves faced off inside.

PUTIN (through translator): And I hope that our meeting will be productive.

BIDEN: It's always better to meet face to face.

CHANCE (voice-over): Always better to meet face to face, he said. The words drowned out by the scuffles. And the undiplomatic starts to this controversial meeting, set the tone.

CHANCE: Could you characterize the dynamic between yourself and President Biden? Was it hostile or was it friendly?

PUTIN (through translator): I think there was no hostility. Quite the contrary. And we don't share the same positions in many areas. But I think that both of these sides showed a willingness to understand one another, and to find ways to bring our positions closer together.

CHANCE (voice-over): But there are some things the two presidents will never agree on. Like the appalling treatment of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition figure who was poisoned then jailed, his anticorruption campaign shut down. Russian military threats against Ukraine, as well as cyberattacks emanating from Russia are also a major thorn in the relationship side. And something President Biden once stopped.

CHANCE: Secondly, throughout these conversations, did you commit to ceasing carrying out cyberattacks on the United States? Did you commit to stopping threatening Ukraine's security? And did you commit to stop cracking down on the opposition in Russia?

PUTIN (through translator): As for cyber security, we reached an agreement, chiefly, that we will start negotiations on that. I think that's extremely important.

CHANCE (voice-over): It was only a partial answer and the press conference almost moved on. But to his credit, President Putin took my follow up.

PUTIN (through translator): This Summit -- some of the question not answered?

CHANCE: That's correct. And thank you very much for coming back to me, sir. So there were two other parts of the question. The first one is, did you commit in these meetings to stop threatening Ukraine?

Remember, the reason this summit was called in the first place or it was the timing of it was when Russia was building up lots of forces possible today. And the second part of the question, the third part of the question was, did you commit to stopping your crackdown against the opposition groups inside Russia led by Alexei Navalny?

PUTIN (through translator): Well, I didn't hear that part of the question. Maybe it wasn't interpreted or maybe you just decided to ask a second question. CHANCE (voice-over): On Ukraine, he restated the Kremlin's line about exercises on Russian soil being a threat to no one. And he again refused to utter Alexei Navalny's name.

PUTIN (through translator): This person knew that he was breaching the laws effective in Russia. He should have noted that as a person who was convicted two times. I'd like to underscore that he deliberately ignored the requirements of the laws.

CHANCE (voice-over): So far there's no sign this summit has changed President Putin's uncompromising stance.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Geneva.


CHURCH: In the U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations appear to be back on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control says almost 55 percent of all U.S. adults have now been fully vaccinated.


It also says the Delta variant, the strain first identified in India, now accounts for about 10 percent of cases in the U.S. that makes it a variant of concern. CNN's Nick Watt takes a closer look.


DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: It's one more reason if you are still on the fence to go ahead and get vaccinated.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the Delta variant, as of last week accounts for roughly 10 percent of new COVID-19 cases in this country.

COLLINS: People who get it are about twice as likely to end up in the hospital. It appears to be about 60 percent more transmissible, more contagious, in other words, and especially so for younger people.

WATT (voice-over): But in Arizona the governor just banned public colleges from mandating vaccines for students. Over in California, state colleges will now mandate shots for almost all come the fall. And in this tale of two states, Arizona won't even come close to the president's goal of at least one shot for 70 percent of adults by July 4th, California is already there. So the state just reopened.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It was one sector of our economy that was particularly impacted by this pandemic and that was hospitality and restaurants and entertainment.

WATT (voice-over): At Disneyland vaccinated visitors now roam maskless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're super excited just because of the heat to not have to wear a mask. To be able to drink our water in line. WATT (voice-over): Dodgers stadium last night more than 52,000 fans, the league says the biggest pro sports league game crowd in America since the pandemic began.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's full capacity now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're glad to be back with the Dodgers. We really are.

WATT (voice-over): I mean, it's still not quite like pre-pandemic. There is a mobile vaccination clinic for fans.

WATT: And some more evidence that vaccines work. CNN analyzed the data, states that have vaccinated more than half of their population are unsurprisingly seeing on average significantly lower new case counts than the states that are trailing in the vaccine rollout.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: With less than six weeks until the start of the Tokyo Olympics we've just learned the state of emergency in Tokyo and eight other prefectures will expire this Sunday as scheduled. Earlier officials said if it was lifted the number of spectators allowed at Olympic venues could double.

CNN's Blake Essig is in Tokyo, he joins us now live. Good to see you Blake. So what is the latest on this and how are people across Japan likely to respond to this news?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Rosemary, you know as far as the announcement that was just made by Prime Minister Suga, he for Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures removed the state of emergency that was set to expire on Sunday but instituted a quasi-state of emergency which will last until July 11th for those seven prefectures.

And what that is, is essentially a slightly scaled back state of emergency order. Restaurants and bars still are asked to close by 8:00 but the fines for restaurants and business that is don't comply is lessened. There's also the fact that the governors of each of these prefectures will have the opportunity to target specific towns, locations for these COVID countermeasures as opposed to having this blanket state of emergency in effect for the entire prefecture. Now, ultimately this decision by Japan's Prime Minister to extend a quasi at least state of emergency order in some of these prefectures could impact the Olympics down the road. Again, it is set to expire on July 11th.

Now, if that is lifted at that point what that will mean is that 10,000 spectators will be allowed potentially to attend events or half of the number of seats available, whichever number is smaller in each of these venues. And if a quasi-state of emergency order or any state of emergency order is extended through the Olympics, that number would be cut in half to 5,000 spectators in each of these venues, or, again, half of the number of the seats available whichever number is lower. So again, there's still a lot up in the air at this point. Medical

experts continue to express concern that if these Olympics are held with spectators that there will be an increase in the number of COVID- 19 cases which given the fact that the state of emergency order has been reduced in a lot of prefectures, that's because the case count has been going down, but clearly, Rosemary, not out of the woods here.

CHURCH: All right, Blake Essig joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.


At the Southern Baptist Convention the role of politics in religion is at the heart of a growing divide.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Does faith have a place in politics?

DEBI SHATELL, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ATTENDEE: Yes. When you say separation of church and state, you're basically -- you're basically discriminating against a group of people.


CHURCH: The culture war disputes ahead. Do stay with us.


CHURCH: Establishment conservatives narrowly defeated challengers from hard right members at the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday but votes on the denomination's next president and several culture war issues underscored a deepening divide. Nick Valencia has our report.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Nashville, the morning began the same way it often does for the thousands in attendance, with worship and praise for Jesus. But for some first-time attendees like Debi Shatell, this year's Southern Baptist Convention is a reckoning for Christianity and the nation.

VALENCIA: Does faith have place in politics?


VALENCIA: Shatell is part of the far-right and more fundamentalist contingent of Southern Baptist that was just handed a big loss last night when moderate Ed Litton was elected president. Shatell fears Litton's win means woke ideology like teaching critical race theory will take hold in the church and society. The only way to stop it, the former teacher says, is for the Southern Baptist to get more involved than ever in politics.

SHATELL: When you say separation of church and state, you're basically -- you're basically discriminating against a group of people.

VALENCIA: And in the spirit of talking about discrimination, does your stance against critical race theory not run the risk of pushing out more people of color from the SBC?


VALENCIA: Why not?

SHATELL: Because in Christ, there is no color.


VALENCIA (voice-over): But looking around the convention grounds, the reality is very different. Thirty-five-year-old associate pastor Keelan Adams of Montgomery, Alabama, is one a few black people here. Adams voted as a convention messenger for the first time this year. He has hope for Litton who is politically conservative but considered a moderate by some in the denomination, on issues like critical race theory and the Black Lives Matter movement.

KEELAN ADAMS, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ATTENDEE: There is a reason why younger people like him, and that has to do to him just being flexible and understandable towards different -- like some of the newer issues that have come up within the SBC.

VALENCIA: Some of the more progressive issues?

ADAMS: Exactly.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Sex abuse survivors Hanna Kate Williams and Tiffany Thigpen say Litton should focus less on politics and instead on what they say is the church's real problem. It's mishandling of sexual abuse allegations.

A recent letter between two high-profile Southern Baptist leaders brought to light new allegations of alleged spiritual and psychological abuse of survivors as well as attempts to exonerate charges of abuse claims. At a press conference after being elected, Litton called churches places for people to feel protected.

ED LITTON, INCOMING PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: And I think we have to find a mechanism and a way to help train our people, get more churches involved, and wanting to create a safe environment in their church and to be known as great commission people.

VALENCIA: But Thigpen says some in the denomination, even one of her best friends, have turned their back on her for speaking out. She says others have encouraged her point blank to be quiet about her abuse.

TIFFANY THIGPEN, SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR: The church needs a day of reckoning. It needs to be a stripping down to the bases -- basics of everything that you say you stand for. Everything that you claim to represent, your view, to the world, as great commission Baptist. Well, how does the world really see you? Do they see you as hypocrites?

VALENCIA (voice-over): The path ahead for the SBC is clear for some, but it may not be for all.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.


CHURCH: And as Nick reported critical race theory was an issue at the convention. In 2019 the convention adopted it as acceptable. A challenge to that position failed this year. Erin Burnett spoke with incoming President Ed Litton about it.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: So you're saying there is systemic racism but there are some who say even in your own -- your own faith group that, quote, our Lord isn't woke. They're frustrated that you would even do that. How do you have those conversations when you feel so differently about something that's so crucial and core right now to what this country is going through?

LITTON: It is crucial to what our country is going through. And the answer to that question is Jesus tells us to come -- the word of God tells us to come and reason together. And so, what our desire is that when we come to our convention, that we gather, we reaffirm our doctrinal statements, and nothing changed in any of our doctrinal statements in this convention, and they won't. That we reaffirm who we are, what our mission is as a convention of almost 50,000 churches.


LITTON: So, we reaffirm those things. But we need a better conversation about this because these allegations are false. We are not -- let me tell you why I think this is happening, is because there are people who are afraid of dealing with this issue. And it's basically recognizing that people of color in our communities are created in the image of God. They have value because God not only loved them, he redeems them, and God wants them in his family. And so, it's our mission to help get that gospel message to everybody.


CHURCH: The incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention speaking there with Erin Burnett.

Well, China's dream of building its own space station just took a big leap forward. According to state media a future station has just received its first temporary residence.



CHURCH: There it goes, and we have this breaking news. Chinese state media say a Chinese space capsule has just docked at the country's unfinished space station. The three-member crew launched earlier today. The astronauts are the first spacefarers to arrive at this station which is said to be completed by the end of next year. Well the astronauts are expected to spend three months inside the

space module. That would be by far the longest space mission for China. David Culver reports from Shanghai.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three astronauts bound for the Heavenly Palace, that's China's space station still under construction. From a launch pad in the Gobi Desert the rocket ship dubbed "the Divine Vessel" blasting off, designed to arrive at its destination in just six and a half hours. But at a total length of 55 feet and a living space of just 50 cubic meters these astronauts are going into orbit in a capsule a bit larger than a city bus. Any claustrophobic thought surely forgotten when the men do two planned space walks to install equipment of the exterior of this space station. Inside they'll test the tech and the living area and run experiments. Two more laboratory modules expected to be launched in upcoming missions with the aims to have its space station fully operational by the end of next year.

China wants its own because the U.S. government barred it from participating in the international space station project. China says their Heavenly Palace will be truly international.

ZHOU JIANPING, CHIEF DESIGNER, CHINA'S MANNED SPACE PROGRAM (through translator): Foreign astronauts are certainly going to enter the Chinese space station one day. There are a number of countries that have expressed a desire to do that and we will be open to that in the future.

CULVER (voice-over): In just the past seven months China has put a rover on the moon and one on Mars being becoming the second country in history after the U.S. to land a rover on the red plant.


They also plan to send humans to the moon in the 2030s. But for now these three men will spend three months building the foundation of the space station.

NIE HAISHENG, SHENZHOU-12 MISSION COMMANDER (through translator): We will obey orders and instructions and keep calm while meticulously carrying out the mission.

CULVER (voice-over): Cheese experts likewise confident in this mission and its safe return to earth as the vessel carries precious cargo along with the pride of a nation rapidly advancing its work in this in you frontier.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


CHURCH: A huge win for Italy, an emotional match for Denmark and a big upset in the NBA. CNN's Patrick Snell has our minute in sports.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well thanks Rosemary. We start right here in the U.S. with the NBA playoffs where after the Philadelphia 76ers blew an 18-point lead against the Atlanta Hawks in gave four. They somehow managed to do it again only worse this time. The 76ers led by 26 points but somehow the Hawks led by superstar Trae Young with a game high 39 points overcoming that deficit to win, now lead the series 3-2.

At the European football championships, Italy now the first team to qualify for the last 16 after sweeping aside Switzerland. Manuel Locatelli grabbing a couple before a lone ranger from Ciro Immobile seeding the 3-0 victory in Rome.

And a crowd of more than 30,000 in Baku to see Wales beat Turkey. Gareth Bale setting up both goals for the teammates Aaron Ramsey and then Connor Roberts deep into stoppage time. And we are guaranteed a very emotional day later in Copenhagen when the Danish national football team will take the field to play for the first time since Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest last Saturday. Denmark's opponent Belgium saying they intend to put the ball out of play in the tenth minute to join in with a minutes applause in tribute to Eriksen who continues his recovery in hospital. And with that, Rosemary, it's back to you.


CHURCH: Thank you for that.

And thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is next. Have yourselves a wonderful day.