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Iran's Raisi Says No Meeting With Biden; President-Elect Backs Nuclear Talks, Rules Out Meeting Biden; Taliban Take Over Several Districts In Northern Afghanistan; Hong Kong's Apple Daily Newspaper may have to Shut Down; UNESCO Says, Great Barrier Reef Should be Listed as in Danger; Email Mishap Inspires Flood of Supportive Messages. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow live in Atlanta. So, coming up, Iran's next president is putting the U.S. on early notice. He wants the U.S. to return to the nuclear deal and he'd rather not meet with Joe Biden.

Plus, conflict and crisis were on the ballot on Monday as Ethiopians went to the polls, how the vote could prove pivotal for the country's prime minister.

And a great big beef over the Great Barrier Reef. Why Australia is fuming over UNESCO's move to listed as in danger.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: Thanks for being with me this hour. So, we begin in Iran where the incoming president backs talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal but has no plans to meet with the U.S. President Joe Biden. Ebrahim Raisi hold his -- held his first news conference with Iranian and international reporters on Monday. The hardline judge won the presidential election on Friday, just days before its sixth round of indirect nuclear talks wrapped up in Vietnam.

Now U.S. State Department spokesperson said Iran's election results won't impact negotiations and another round of talks is expected in the coming days. But as Fred Pleitgen now reports, Raisi says he's committed to improving relations with neighboring countries. But the U.S. Well, it's another story.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, new President- elect here of Iran, the hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, he held his first press conference for domestic and international media here in Tehran on Monday. And one of the things that I think surprised many people is that the new incoming administration already does seem to have a very clear formulated idea of foreign policy. It's certainly one that the U.S. won't necessarily like, because it really seems as though things are going to be quite tough for the U.S. here in this region with this new administration. The new president- elect, Ebrahim Raisi was asked whether or not he would ever sit down with President Biden and he flat out said no. I was unable to ask him whether he would at least think about negotiating with the Biden administration.

And what about a possible expanded nuclear agreement that could also encompass Iran's ballistic missile program. Here's what he had to say.


PLEITGEN: You've already told U.S. how you feel about a direct meeting with President Biden. But would you be willing to talk to and negotiate with the Biden administration? Would your administration be willing to do that? What do you expect of the Biden administration? And how do you feel about the U.S. proposal for a possible expanded nuclear agreement that would also cover Iran's ballistic missiles and also regional issues as well?

EBRAHIM RAISI, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF IRAN: My serious proposal to the United States government is that it's for them to return in an expedient manner to their commitments, and do away with sanctions. In doing so they will prove their sincerity. Regional and missile issues are not up for negotiations.


PLEITGEN: On the whole, this incoming administration in Iran has vowed what they call an active and dynamic foreign policy. And they say that that foreign policy is of course, going to be a global one, but it's also going to focus here on the region. One of the other interesting things that Raisi said is that he is not against better relations with Saudi Arabia and continuing the negotiations with Saudi Arabia to try and get those relations back on track. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Tehran.

CURNOW: Thanks, Fred for that. So Amnesty International said Raisi's election is a blow to human rights. The group is calling for an investigation into his alleged role in the executions of thousands of political prisoners back in 1988. Karim Sadjadpour is senior associate at the Carnegie Foundation Endowment for International Peace says Raisi's reputation feeds into perception about Iran.


KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CARNEGIE FOUNDATION ENDOWMENT: You know, at least 5000 people were executed in Iran in the summer of 1988, in a very short period of time. And, you know, men, women and children, most of them, young people, young, idealistic people were part of an Iranian opposition group. And so when you, you know, mass execute at least 5000 people that affects, you know, thousands and thousands and 1000s of families lost, loved ones, people whom they knew and that.

And so, for many Iranians, the new president Raisi is most associated with these crimes against humanity. And so, you know, I think in some ways, the government of Iran I would argue has given a gift to their international adversaries, whether that's the Government of Israel and Saudi Arabia or Republican Party in the United States to have -- for years been trying to make the case that, you know, Iran is a radical state human rights abuses.

They -- we shouldn't be giving them sanctions relief. And so when the government of Iran is now headed by someone who, you know, the Amnesty International says should be international prosecuted. Iran, in some ways, has made the job of the arbitrator much easier.


CURNOW: Raisi is under U.S. sanctions for human rights violations. I want to take you to Afghanistan now where the Taliban are gaining ground and the final months of America's longest war. Local officials say the militants have now taken over dozens of districts across several provinces. One officials that nine districts fell to the Taliban in just one week, most without even a fight.

This all comes just ahead of the September 11th deadline for U.S. troops and their NATO allies to leave the country. Nic Robertson explains the situation on the ground right now.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Bak, a province in the north of the country there, five district centers fall into the Taliban in the neighboring Kunduz and other two district centers there. An official there saying actually, there was no fighting because there was an effort to avoid civilian casualties. So in effect, you can say that the Afghan forces defending those district centers decided not to fight.

Move a little -- a little further round, that sort of northern part of the country, Takhar nine district centers falling there over the past week, had a little further west, the Faryab six district centers falling over the past two weeks, and indeed the Taliban claiming they have taken, you know, in other regions of the country, mostly in the north, they've taken another eight district centers. We at CNN can't confirm those.

But the picture that's emerging, particularly in the north, is one that that is concerning for everyone who's -- who has a stake in the stability of the future of Afghanistan because the more the Taliban exert their -- trying to exert their power and control, the weaker the Central State becomes. There's no sense at the moment that a provincial center is about to fall when I talked to one of the commanders involved in the fight in Bak just less than an hour ago, and he said to me, you know, we're bringing in Afghan National Army forces.

We hope to retake those five district centers within the next couple of weeks, a couple of weeks is quite a while. That gives you an idea of how long it may take. You know, the Taliban, according to the U.N.'s latest report had been ready to make a move as NATO reduced its forces because the one thing they don't have to fear now is NATO airstrikes, that they're able to move more openly and freely. And the other thing I would just say about the region that they've gone after, this was a region that is not traditionally a Taliban region.

It's also relatively flat compared to most of Afghanistan, which may make the fighting for them a little easier. But the swift moves and towns falling quickly. That's something we saw 25 years ago when the Taliban.

CURNOW: Carter Malkasian joins me now he's the former senior adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Carter. Hi, great to have you on the show. You're also the author of the American War in Afghanistan History. Where are we right now? And how much of a tipping point are we at? What kind of inflection is happening right now?

CARTER MALKASIAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Well, I think it's been a tumultuous few days we've seen a good deal of violence in Afghanistan, you've probably heard about a variety of areas, what we call districts in Afghanistan which are kind of parts of the countryside like counties on having been swept up by the Taliban. From this distance and even talking to friends in Afghanistan and people I know, it's hard to get a sense of just how much damage has been done.

But we hear of a dozen or more districts having fallen on. And the real concerning thing is that some of the attacks evidently have gotten into provincial capitals. And some this isn't -- this happened before from time to time, but it's always worrisome when that occurs. And right now we're hearing like three to four provincial capitals are suffering from some kind of attacks. Now to get to your -- to your second point, is this a tipping point yet?

I think it's a worrisome moment. But I think we may still be a little bit of ways for from an actual tipping point. And I would say this because the Taliban haven't yet taken a provincial capital, let alone taken in -- and taken one and held on. And nor they're getting close to Kabul yet. So, I think we probably aren't quite at one yet. Although some of those events I mentioned happen, then I'd be much more concerned.


CURNOW: With many of these districts, the Taliban have essentially just walked in, people have scattered left arms. There's no air cover. While you say perhaps this is not at that tipping point right now, it certainly doesn't bode well for the coming weeks and days ahead of the U.S. withdrawal. And that is the concern that what we're seeing in these districts could be amplified on a larger scale, even, for example, enough in Kabul.

MALKASIAN: Yes. I think you need an excellent point there on that this doesn't bode well. And -- so as our withdrawal continues, and as we see the Afghans breaking in some areas, being willing to fight on some places, surrounding some places, turning their posts over on, it's concerning. We've seen some of this before but what's perhaps more concerning right now is just how has happened quickly.

And that's a bit of a concern there. The Afghan forces, they've suffered a lot of punishment over the last few years. And our departure comes as a bit of a shock, even if perhaps they should have expected -- that on -- they depended on our air power, air power is going to be gone. They've had regular advising from our forces, and those advisors aren't going to be there to kind of share in the -- in the pains of combat with them.

Now, they will still be getting monetary support from U.S. and assistance, so allow them to be equipped, allow them to have pay but that doesn't mean that there isn't going to be a shock to our departure. And so yes, there is a concern that there'll be certainly more ground -- the morale could be depleted and that they could possibly come to some form of collapse in the future because of the stress points.

CURNOW: Carter Malkasian, thank you very much for joining me for sharing your expertise, certainly real concern as to what's playing out in Afghanistan. Appreciate it.

MALKASIAN: Thank you very much, Robyn.

CURNOW: Well, votes are now being counted in Ethiopia's first multiparty election in 16 years. One that's already been marred by an opposition boycott jailed opponents and the ongoing war in Tigray. Now, preliminary results are expected in some regions later on this week. Many who were able to vote on Monday waited in long lines for hours, but in some areas voting is delayed until September.

For those in the Tigray region devastated by war and a humanitarian crisis. They don't know when they'll be able to vote. No date has yet been set. Larry Madowo has the latest on Ethiopia's potentially pivotal and controversial election. Larry?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Election Day in Ethiopia was a largely peaceful with no major incidents as reported around the country. Voting was extended to 9:00 p.m. because of logistical challenges in some polling stations. And it's exactly 10:00 p.m. There are still people waiting to vote at this polling station we're in in Addis Ababa, but there's a couple of dozen people still to vote.

We have seen people waiting five, six hours to cast their ballot. They have been largely patient, which is extraordinary because at some points there was rain, and that did not deter people from getting their voices heard. There are 47 political parties contesting this election. We asked one of the major opposition candidates why he decided to contest anyway, when two major opposition parties boycotted it, especially with some opposition leaders in jail.


BERHANU NEGA, LEADER OF ETHIOPIAN OPPOSITION PARTY EZEMA: We believe the most important thing about this election is that it is credible. No matter who wins. No matter how many votes one gets, no matter how many parliamentary seats one wins. At the end of the day, the whole country would win. If the election is considered credible, then at the end of September, we will have an elected legitimate government. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MADOWO: The national elections Board of Ethiopia has promised to have preliminary results within five days, but the actual final count could take longer. This is a massive logistical nightmare with 48,000 or so polling stations. 37 million registered voters and in the 20 percent of constituents is not participating in this election. They will have their own election in early September.

But people see this process flowed that maybe as a first step in midwifing, a Democratic transition in Ethiopia and then the constitutional reform and everything as this country needs to come together. Larry Madowo, CNN, Addis Ababa.

CURNOW: Now Sweden's political future is up in the air after the Prime Minister last had no confidence vote it in parliament. Stefan Lofven has held the office since 2014 after building a fragile minority coalition. He's had -- he has a week to decide whether to call a snap election or resign and asked the Parliament speaker to find a new government. Lofven has lost the support of the Left Party over his plans for rent controls on new apartments.

He's the first Swedish Prime Minister to lose a no confidence vote put forth by opposition members of the Parliament.



STEFAN LOFVEN, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Regardless of what happens now, my party and I with others will together be available to shoulder the responsibility to lead the country. My primary focus has always been is and will always be to do what is best for Sweden.


CURNOW: Prime Minister says Sweden's general election in September of next year will continue as planned.

And then voters in France will go to the polls again on Sunday after poor showings for President Emmanuel Macron. And far right leader Marine Le Pen's parties. Her national rally party won 19 percent of the vote in the first round of regional contests. That's much lower than expected. While Mr. Macron's party won just under 11 percent. Politco say it's hard to draw any conclusions about next year's presidential race since it's unprecedented 68 percent of the population didn't actually vote.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I came to have lunch, and I wasn't aware that they were elections today. I don't think I will go and vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I really don't know who to vote for. Maybe I'll abstain. But well, normally I don't believe in abstaining because it's not taken into account. But there's not much choice. That's why I'm hesitating.


CURNOW: Turnout hasn't been this low since 1958. COVID restrictions kept public campaigning to a minimum and analysts say many voters chose to spend time in the warm summery weather rather than vote.

And Colombia has passed a sobering milestone in the COVID pandemic and the country's president is warning there is still a long, long way to go in this fight. Details, next. That's ahead. Also.

SAMEQUE GOIS, MOTHER OF SARAH GOIS (through translator): When she died, when they gave us the news. I was able to hold her. I was able to feel her one last time.

CURNOW: That's a grieving mother in Brazil. Her child is one of many who've died from COVID in that country. We're following this story next.


CURNOW: The president of Colombia is warning COVID will be around a lot longer than we'd like to think. It comes as the country's death toll from the virus is on the rise and it's now surpassed a sobering milestone. Stefano Pozzebon has more from Bogota.

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT The COVID-19 death toll in Colombia reach the (INAUDIBLE) on Monday of 100,000 victims according to figures released by the Colombian Health Ministry as the country reports at 648 COVID-related new deaths in 24 hours. And these columns as Colombia is struggling to contain a prolonged third wave of the pandemic, which has brought sustained increases in new deaths and new cases across the last three months.

But speaking in Bogota, the Colombian president Ivan Duque warned that the end of the tunnel is nowhere near for the COVID heat nation.


POZZEBON: Duque was speaking -- attending a holy mass in the horror of the COVID victims. Here is what he said.


IVAN DUQUE MARQUEZ, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The virus hasn't gone away and probably it will stay here for longer than we would like to think. We must get used to the idea that COVID-19 will stay with us through 2021 and even 2022.


POZZEBON: And one of the reasons for that is that even with these dramatic numbers coming out of intensive care units and hospitals, the country is pretty much still open with only limited restrictions in place on trade and travel and no national lockdown imposed. These leaves the virus to spread virtually unchecked and with an economy in tatters, there really is no easy way out for Colombia and its people.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

CURNOW: And Stefano, hundreds of candles were lit across Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo on Monday. It was a tribute to more than half a million people who have now lost their lives to COVID in Brazil. And perhaps even more alarming, Brazilian children are dying at higher rates and kids in many other countries. Isa Soares is following that.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Little Sarah Gois was born this January in Brazil in the midst of a ravaging pandemic. Her 22-year-old mother, naturally besotted with her precious princess. But even an abundance of love wasn't enough to stop her daughter from contracting COVID-19.

GOIS: I thought it was something I had done, maybe I passed on the virus. I didn't know what was happening around me. I knew that the only thing I could do was to get on my knees and pray.

SOARES: Despite all her please. Little Sarah died. She was only five months old.

GOIS: When she died when they gave us news the news, I was able to hold her. I was able to feel one last time.

SOARES: It's a loss that is felt much more often in Brazil than in many other countries. While the Brazilian Health Ministry says 1122 children under the age of 10 have died since the start of the pandemic, one research group argues the death toll is actually closer to 3000. This year alone more than a thousand have lost their lives. And doctors tell us the Gamma or P1 variant first identified in Brazil may not be to blame.

DR. ANA LUIZA BIERRENBACH EPIDEMIOLOGIST AT VITAL STRATEGIES: Is that kids have been dying more in Brazil since the original variant was here. So, it was not the addition of the P1 variable that makes kid die even more than in other countries.

SOARES: Despite the rising numbers, baby Sarah was only tested for COVID-19 12 days after she developed the first symptoms. Her mother tells me doctors assume she had something else. A common misconception in Brazil tells me pediatrician, Andre Laranjeira.

DR. ANDRE LARANJEIRA, PEDIATRICIAN (through translator): A lot of pediatricians had a certain resistance when it came to requesting COVID-19 tests for children when they're exhibiting those typical symptoms on the respiratory tract, runny nose, cough, fever practically all children have those symptoms this time of the year.

SOARES: But Dr. Laranjiera says this alone doesn't explain the higher death rate across Brazil. Outside Marcia Braido Hospital on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. One family is counting their blessings.

Her nine-year-old daughter Manuela is finally out of ICU after some five days on a ventilator having contracted COVID-19. Back at home her parents revealed their ordeal.

CAROLINA BASTO, MANUELA'S MOTHER (through translator): Her kidney was no longer functioning, her heart was beating irregularly. It was the end of the line for me.

KLEBER DE OLIVEIRA, MANUELA'S FATHER (through translator): We were desperate. Our world had collapsed.

SOARES: They say took four doctors to diagnose Manuela. But in the end, she was admitted to an ICU and got the best possible treatment. But not all in Brazil can have access to this type of health care.

LARANJEIRA: When you take the fatalities within the pediatric age group, more than 60 percent are from vulnerable socio economic groups. It's impossible to turn a blind eye to that.

SOARES: Here, this disparity can be the difference between life and death. Between a family that gets to celebrate, and one that's forced to mourn.

Isa Soares, CNN.


CURNOW: So the pandemic has caused significant disruption to the sporting world. And the Corporate America Football Tournament in Brazil is among the major events that have been affected right now. Well, Brazil's Health Ministry says at least 140 positive cases have been detected among players, members of delegations and service providers and remember that Brazil is hosting the tournament, even though its COVID cases are surging.

Well, the World Health Organization is painting a dire picture of vaccine equity and criticizing the lack of doses available to the world vulnerable populations.


DR. MIKE RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME: We can protect those people now with relatively small transfers of vaccine from the global supply. We can protect those vulnerable people, those frontline workers and the fact that we haven't as Director General has said again and again is a catastrophic moral failure at a global level.


SOARES: WHO officials say more than half the poorer countries receiving doses through the Kovacs sharing program don't have enough supplies to continue and some have actually completely run out. But the organization is also working to address the problem especially in Africa. Officials announced plans to work with a group of companies to manufacture vaccines in South Africa and those doses could be available in about nine months to a year's time.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is giving Filipinos two options when it comes to the coronavirus. Get vaccinated or go to jail. No stranger to controversy. The President remarks go against his health officials who urged that vaccines should be voluntary. The Philippines is in the middle of one of Asia's worst outbreaks, over 1.3 million infections and more than 23,000 deaths so far.

Officials say more than two million people there are fully vaccinated. Just still ahead. A prodemocracy newspaper in Hong Kong may be forced to close after charges of threatening national security. We're live in Beijing with the latest on that.

Plus, why a big battle is brewing over one of the world's great natural wonders, Australia's Great Barrier Reef.


CURNOW: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow live here in Atlanta. So Hong Kong's prodemocracy anti-Beijing newspaper, it's called Apple Daily says it may be forced to shut down by the end of the week. It comes after a sweeping police raid last week where hundreds of officers searched the papers headquarters, seized journalists' devices and arrested five executives on charges of breaking Hong Kong strict national security law.


Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, says the police operation against Apple Daily had nothing to do with journalism. It was handling a threat to national security.

Well, Steven Jiang, joins me now from Beijing. So, she is speaking out. What is the reaction to that?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, you know, Robyn, it is both telling, and chilling to hear Carrie Lam use similar expressions to describe press freedom I have often heard from officials here in Beijing. And she said, reporters cannot use press freedom as, quote/unquote, a shield, to violate the law.

And here is a part of what she said just a few hours ago.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: We what we are dealing with is neither news outlook problem nor a news reporting problem. It is a suspicious act of endangering national security. So, our action is not attacking press freedom just because the suspect organization is a news outlet and the suspects are people in charge of a news outlet.


JIANG: And she also responded to the U.S. government's condemnation that the Hong Kong police raid of the Apple Daily Newsroom last week, warning foreign governments, in her words, not to beautify acts that endanger China's national security.

So, obviously, not surprising to hear these remarks from her, but it is another sign of Hong Kong officials, like her, really increasingly marching in lockstep with their bosses sitting here in Beijing. But the cold reality for this newspaper, of course, is because the Hong Kong government has frozen it's more than $2.3 million worth of assets, it's going to soon be unable to make payments to both employees and vendors, forcing it to shut down operations by this coming weekend.

This, of course, is such a watershed moment, because even after Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, for many years, it did enjoy a high degree of autonomy, including a vibrant press in the city, and that, of course, including Apple Daily, which has become this most defined voice in this city, often criticizing sharply of government policies coming from both Hong Kong and Beijing. That, of course, has made this newspaper a perpetual thorn in the side of both authorities, in both cities, and especially after the passage, and implementation of that controversial national security law about a year ago.

We have often heard officials in both cities, as well as the state media here and the pro-Beijing press in Hong Kong, single out Apple Daily as the culprit, the so-called black hand behind the cities growing protest movement aimed at delegitimizes authorities in both Hong Kong and Beijing.

So, after the enactment of that law, many have predicted the newspapers' days were numbered, and that, of course, culminating in the arrest of its editors last week. And all of this now happening in isolation either, Robyn. But the irony here, of course, as Carrie Lam insisted, all of this is for -- to ensure Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability. But many have said the one most important thing to ensure a city keeping its status as a financial hub is free flow of information. That, simply, is something a lot of people don't think is true in Hong Kong anymore. Robyn?

CURNOW: Right. You make an excellent point there. Steven Jiang live in Beijing, thank you very much for that update.

Now, a debate is brewing over how to protect one of the world's most popular and fragile tourists destinations. According to Italian media, UNESCO is considering a proposal to put Venice on its endangered list at the city, doesn't permanently ban cruise ships from stopping there.

Opponents have argued for years that the ships are negatively changing the lagoon ecosystem and damaging the historic city.

Meantime, Australia is rejecting a draft recommendation by UNESCO to list the Great Barrier Reef as a site that is, quote, in danger. UNESCO says climate change threatening the world's largest coral reef system, listed as a world heritage site.

Australia's government calls UNESCO's recommendations premature and says the country has invested billions in protecting the reef.

And I want to bring in Ivan Watson. Ivan is in Hong Kong and is following this story.

So, why this reaction from the Australians to this UNESCO suggestion?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, reaction from the Australian government and, in particular, from the Australian environment minister, who put out a statement accusing UNESCO of a back-flip, and of surprising and basically ambushing the Australian government with this proposal to ratchet up the alarm about the fate and the current state of this incredible marine habitat, the Great Barrier Reef, which has been on UNESCO's world heritage list since 1981.

It is this a massive, sprawling area of some 350,000 square kilometers, of thousands of atolls and reefs and islands with thousands of different species of animals, and it has been suffering directly as a result of climate change.


And warming temperatures in the oceans, which resulted in bleaching incidents where warmer water temperatures cooked, some could say, large quantities of the coral growing there, killing them, effectively in 2016, 2017, and 2020.

So, UNESCO was saying, hey, the status of the Great Barrier Reef has gone from poor to very poor, they are proposing to put this on the -- effectively, the endangered list. And the environment minister, not only doesn't like this.

But said that she and the foreign minister of Australia called the director general of UNESCO to complain about this, going on to say, quote, I made it clear we will contest this flawed approach, one that has been taken without adequate consultation. I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world's reefs, but it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best managed reef in the world for and in danger listing.

This is just the beginning of this disagreement. Robyn?

CURNOW: Yes, certainly, it is. So, if the Australian environment minister is taking that position, what are environmentalists saying about all of this?

WATSON: Well, several of these organizations are siding with UNESCO. Greenpeace, saying, that we are seeing, quote, a terrible consequences of Australia's failure to reduce emissions, echoed that by the climate council, saying. And what you have here is Australia is the custodian of this incredible marine habitat. I was fortunate enough to film there in 2018, after these two initial devastating bleaching incidents, and it has invested money to try to protect it. But, simultaneously, Australia is one of the biggest coal exporters in the world, which directly contributes to putting carbon in the atmosphere to heating up the global climate, which contributes to helping kill off the Great Barrier Reef.

There are jobs, there is income to be protected in the coal industry, and in agriculture as well, in Australia. Likewise, there are plenty of jobs tied to the Great Barrier Reef, and tourism, and things like that. So, there is an inherent tension here that the Australian government is facing, and the prime minister of Australia has gone on record in the past, saying, hey, coal is a good thing, you guys shouldn't be afraid of it. So, no surprise that environmental groups are celebrating UNESCO's move here to label the Great Barrier Reef as truly endangered.

CURNOW: Yes, it's a bit of a standoff. Let's see what happens next. Thanks for bringing us that. Ivan Watson there live in Hong Kong, thanks, Ivan.

So, everybody makes a mistake sometimes. Now, one intern viral email accident is inspiring other people to share their other own embarrassing mishaps. That is just ahead.



CURNOW: A king of the big screen blockbuster is teaming up with a streaming giant. On Monday, Netflix announced a new partnership with Steven Spielberg's production company. The deal will reportedly include multiple new feature films each year. The announcement is a sign of changing dynamics in Hollywood, where streaming services have certainly risen to major prominence. There's also surprising turn from Spielberg, who was actually critical of streaming, as recently as 2018.

And, we have all been there. A small mistake by an HBO Max intern is inspiring a flood of support from other former interns and many are fessing up about their own mistakes, as Jeanne Moos now reports even the most famous intern of all is chiming in. Take a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When this empty test email got sent out to subscribers at HBO Max, CNN's corporate cousin, HBO apologized, saying, yes, it was the intern. No, really, and we are helping them through it. But it wasn't the oops intern email that had folks laughing. It was the dear intern responses, including one from the most famous former intern of them all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I put it behind me. I have put it behind me.

MOOS: From Monica Lewinsky, to someone who claimed, I once, globally, took down Spotify.

Everyone tried to give the HBO Max newbie a viral hug, by suggesting, dear intern, could have been worse, calling this false alarm --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii, seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.

MOOS: Others sheltered the dear intern by admitting, I once tweeted the word impotent instead of impetus, from the White House Twitter account. Confessed someone else, at least you didn't spin a studio camera 360 degrees while on live T.V. Didn't get fired and I've made my way to weekend anchor.

And, then there was this tweet. Dear intern, at Nike, I once received an email asking for wear testers for a new sports bra.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put it on, and forget about it.

MOOS: And I accidentally replied all to hundreds of my colleagues with my bra size.

At least one corporate account relish the topic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the wiener mobile, and I wanted one.

MOOS: Tweeted Oscar Mayer, one time, we forgot where we parked the wiener mobile, so we got your back.

Monica Lewinsky commiserated, dear intern, it gets better. P.S. don't to wear a beret for a while, okay? But don't blundering interns everywhere deserve a tip of the hat?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CURNOW: Well, thanks for watching CNN. I am Robyn Curnow. You can follow me on Twitter and on Instagram, @robyncurnowcnn. There it is, right there.

I'm going to hand you over to World Sports right now.