Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Hong Kong's Apple Daily Publishes Final Edition; Delta Variant Detected In All U.S. States But South Dakota; Brazil Breaks Record With 115,000+ New Cases In One Day; Britney Spears Asks Court to End Abusive Conservatorship; Negotiators Say, Agreement in Principle Reached over Evergiven; Spiderman Attends Papal Audience, Meets Pope Francis. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired June 24, 2021 - 02:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: 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, as much of the world attempts to return to pre pandemic life, there are renewed concerns of another deadly wave led by the highly contagious opportunistic Delta variant. The pandemic also driving more Cubans to risk their lives at sea in an effort to leave the isolated island. A CNN exclusive report looks at this dangerous illegal migration.

And people lined up in Hong Kong to buy Apple Daily's final edition after the prodemocracy paper was pressured to close.

Good to have you with us. Well, the highly transmissible Delta variant may trigger a new phase in the coronavirus pandemic. The European CDC says it's spreading so fast that it's on track to make up 90 percent of new COVID cases in the European Union by the end of August.

In the U.S., it has been detected in all states except South Dakota. A top medical experts says it could become the dominant strain in areas with low vaccination rates in just a matter of weeks. CNN's Erica Hill reports. The US CDC director is calling it an

opportunistic virus.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROCHELLE WALENSKY DIRECTOR OF THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: About two weeks ago, we've had about 10 percent of our strains being the Delta variant. And now more recently, about 20 percent of our strains here in the United States are the Delta variant.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A rapid increase for this more transmissible potentially more dangerous strain of coronavirus and the warning.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: It will be the dominant strain among those areas, those regions of the country where the vaccination rate is lower than we would like. HILL: These four states have the lowest vaccination rates for adults in the country. Among those 18 and older less than half have at least one shot. Compare that to Vermont where nearly 85 percent have at least one dose and 75 percent are fully vaccinated. Yet even an area's doing well. The push continues.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASO (D), NEW YORK: We are going to keep innovating new ways to get people the vaccine new ways to make it work for them.

HILL: More companies requiring shots. A source tells CNN employees and guests entering Morgan Stanley's New York offices next month must be vaccinated. In Texas, 153 employees at Houston Methodist who refuse to get a shot, have that resigned or been fired. Despite a drop in COVID deaths, thanks to the vaccines. A CNN analysis of CDC data finds those dying are now younger and disproportionately black.

WALENSKY: Nearly every death due to COVID-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19 is at this point entirely preventable.

HILL: As the Delta variant spreads, concern also growing for kids, especially those 11 and younger, who aren't eligible for the vaccine.

FAUCI: The best way to protect the children is to bring the level of virus circulation to community down. The best way to do that is that those I.E. adults who are eligible for vaccination to get vaccinated.

HILL: Following a meeting Wednesday to discuss cases of mild heart inflammation in younger people after receiving the vaccine. Top health officials that note this condition is extremely rare, and said the risk of not getting the vaccine is far greater. They went on to reiterate the vaccines are safe and effective. In New York, I'm Erica Hill. CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why vaccinations can help prevent this strain from spreading.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that this is clearly going to become the more dominant strain in the United States and frankly, around the world. We can we've been sort of tracking this for some time. And you can see sort of the growth over a period of time. So right now, it's sort of doubling every couple of weeks and I think that's why people are saying by, you know, mid-July, end of July, it'll become over 50 percent certainly.

I think there's a couple of important things to the seriousness of this. This is a more transmissible virus. That's why it becomes more dominant. They outrun the other viruses.

[02:05:01]

GUPTA: It's 60 percent more transmissible than the U.K. variant, which is called Alpha now. And that was 50 more -- percent more transmissible than the strain before that. So you get the idea of sort of where this goes. The big question a lot of people will ask is, well, how well does the vaccine protect me? And there's more data coming in on that as well? The answer is good news there. Even when they pull the vaccine data between AstraZeneca and Pfizer, for example, you still get really good protection against illness. Against becoming severely ill.

Look at the fall right there. Important sort of note we put on the screen for you. If you only get one shot that effectiveness drops way off. You remember, there was discussions at what point should we just give one shot to people? Now we know why that wouldn't have been a good idea. The effectiveness drops, you know, close to half of what it was. And just quickly, I want to show something else.

Florida, we pulled this data out of some of the Florida counties. You can start to stratify now areas where you have lots of people vaccinated and where you don't have as many people vaccinated. So we talked about Delta variant spreading, we know that, I gave you some sort of global numbers but we can get much more sort of precise. In areas where there's lots of unvaccinated people the Delta variant is growing faster.

That's the red line over there. Where you have fewer unvaccinated people, it's not that the virus can spread obviously among them, but it's less likely to spread. So, if you're unvaccinated and live among a lot of unvaccinated people, that's the worst possible situation. It kind of makes sense. But now you see it for yourself on the screen.

CHURCH: The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is nearing four million with close to 180 million cases. New infections are up more than 50 percent this week compared to last week in more than a dozen countries. They include Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa and Portugal. Brazil has set a new record for the most COVID infections in a single day. The health ministry confirms more than 115,000 new cases on Wednesday.

The country added another 2400 deaths as well. Officials have stepped up their efforts to get people vaccinated. But the health ministry reports only 12 percent of the population is fully immunized. The U.S. still leaves the world and overall COVID-19 infections with more than 33 million. India has 30 million cases, Brazil more than 18 million.

Well, it is the end of an era in Hong Kong where the last edition of the region's largest and loudest prodemocracy anti-Beijing newspaper has hit shelves. Apple Daily is shutting down after 26 years of victim of Hong Kong strict national security law. Customers lined up to buy the last edition and many fear press freedom as a whole could disappear with it. CNN's Ivan Watson was there when the final issue went to print.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the sprawling newsroom of one of Hong Kong's most popular newspapers Apple Daily. But it's not likely to be functioning for much longer because the staff here are working to put what management say will be their final addition to bed. And that's because less than a week ago, hundreds of Hong Kong Police raided these offices and began going through computers and hard drives.

And they arrested at least five of the newspaper's top executives. And those individuals are now being accused of essentially treason. There -- they have allegedly incited foreign governments to put sanctions on the leadership of Hong Kong and of mainland China to the articles that they had published. The leadership of Hong Kong vehemently deny that this is an effort to stifle Hong Kong's free press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: And don't try to accuse the Hong Kong authorities for using the national security law as a tool to suppress the media or to stifle the freedom of expression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Throughout a sporadically rainy night, several 100 demonstrators gathered outside the offices of Apple Daily in an impromptu show of support. A gathering that has now attracted the attention of the police. And now the final addition is in print in these predawn hours. The headline here says Hong Kong's painful farewell in the rain. The management of Apple Daily say since the police seize the company's assets, they cannot afford to continue publishing this daily newspaper, meaning these printing presses will soon go silent for the very last time.

[02:10:00]

WATSON: The British Foreign Secretary, the European Union have denounced this and it's part of a broader crackdown in Hong Kong where opposition politicians had been rounded up in face different kinds of charges. The prodemocracy marches and protests that once were part of the city's culture have not been tolerated for a year, ostensibly on the grounds of public health because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has taken just one week for the authorities in the city to kill this newspaper. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: The Apple Daily name isn't going away completely. It's Taiwan- based system paper, carries the same name and will continue online since it has independent funding. But many still see this as a dark day for democracy in Hong Kong. As readers say goodbye to the newspaper. He is what one supporter had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what does this newspaper signify to you? What does it mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democracy, freedom and space. Dignity, density unlocked. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, for more, I'm joined now by Cedric Alviani. The East Asia Bureau director for Reporters Without Borders. Thank you so much for talking with us.

CEDRIC ALVIANI, EAST ASIA BUREAU DIRECTOR, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: Thank you.

CHURCH: So what does this closure of the Apple Daily signal to you? And what will it mean for free press and democracy in Hong Kong?

ALVIANI: Well, first, this is a terrible news for Hong Kong, and for the world. Apple Daily in Hong Kong was one of the last major Chinese language media critical of the Beijing regime, and able to impart information that the Beijing regime was trying to conceal. The government in Hong Kong has been harassing Apple Daily for years. But the freezing of its assets last week was no less than a death sentence.

CHURCH: Yes. There was then of course, the closure comes after the arrest of one of the paper's editorial writers and an eviction warning. So, what is your biggest concern going forward when you see what happened here?

ALVIANI: Well, first, this is a major loss for the Hong Kong residents because they cannot receive information. And it's harder and harder for them to bypass the Beijing censorship. But also, this tearing down of a major media is sending a chilling message to Hong Kong media. And journalists, there are still a lot of journalists in Hong Kong trying to do their job, trying to investigate and provide information.

And it's becoming harder and harder and more and more dangerous for them due to that in famous national security law. That is actually not a law but a tool for the regime to put pressure and to intimidate journalists.

CHURCH: And why do you think so many people in Hong Kong rushed out to get a copy of this last edition of the region's largest prodemocracy newspaper? And where will these same people get their news from going forward?

ALVIANI: Well, despite what the Hong Kong government says there is a widespread support in Hong Kong to democracy, to the rule of law and to freedom of the press. And Hong Kong residents have shown it last week by buying half a million copies of Apple Daily, the day after the police raid. Today is probably also going to be since it's the last day they went out for the resells a lot of copies.

What's going to happen after that's a major concern because now independent media in Hong Kong, the remaining ones are much smaller. And of course, they might be the next target for the government.

CHURCH: That is the real concern here, isn't it? And then, of course, people in Hong Kong, how do they get access to uncensored news going forward? Because that will end up being the big concern, wider. ALVIANI: Absolutely. And Reporters Without Borders is calling on the international community on democracies to respond with the utmost determination. If they don't do that President Xi Jinping we know that he can erase press freedom in Hong Kong with total impunity, just like he has already done in China.

CHURCH: Yes. All of this done right in front of everybody's eyes right across the globe. Cedric Alviani joining us from Taipei. Many thanks, we appreciate it.

Well, the E.U. is condemning what it calls an appalling attack on civilians in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region. Witnesses say a market was hit by an airstrike Tuesday killing as many as 30 people. Sources also tells CNN the Ethiopian military shot doctors who tried to reach the victims and that ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. But the military claims the airstrike reports are fake.

[02:15:09]

CHURCH: CNN's Larry Madowo has the latest from Ethiopia's capital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A chaotic scene at the main hospital in the Tigrayan capital Mek'ele. The casualties pouring in after an airstrike on a busy market Tuesday afternoon in Toboga killed at least 30 people. According to eyewitnesses, wounding dozens more. Aid workers and Tigrayan rebel leaders saying the death toll is likely to climb much higher.

Outside the hospital, distraught family members in Mek'ele wait anxiously for information on loved ones. Even as medical sources say if you've been forces blocks more ambulances from driving to the scene about 20 miles away. Ethiopian military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane telling CNN reports of an aerial bombardment were fake news and accusing the people in the hospital of acting a drama in an attempt to overshadow a peaceful election.

But the U.N. spokesperson expressing alarm on behalf of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, amid growing reports of civilian casualties in the air strike.

STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN FOR U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: The situation in the air remains very, very volatile. It's important that everyone engaged in fighting do their utmost to protect civilians to obey international humanitarian law. Once again, we want to see an end to all hostilities in the region. We want to see greater access to for humanitarian workers. And frankly, from what we've seen here, things are not going in the right direction, say the least.

MADOWO: This week, amidst the backdrop of an election that will decide the next Ethiopian Prime Minister, the region has seen some of the worst fighting since the conflict began in November.

(on camera): The European Union also condemned the targeting of civilians in Tigray but the Ethiopian military told CNN it would never target civilians by air or land. This latest escalation in the north of the country happened just today after what are the generally peaceful election in most parts of the country, though Tigray was excluded because of the ongoing war. Larry Madowo, CNN, Addis Ababa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: There's been a spike in attempted sea crossings. Coming up. An exclusive report on the growing number of Cubans trying to make it to the United States.

Plus, Buckingham Palace reveals for the first time just how many of its employees are from minority groups. And whether that bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan has anything to do with it. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Cuban health officials announced more than 2000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. The largest single day increase since the pandemic began. The virus is one factor in the uptick of migrants. Attempting the sea crossing to the United States. The dangerous journey has cost an unknown number of lives.

[02:20:06]

CHURCH: Patrick Oppman has this exclusive report on Cubans willing to risk everything to start a new life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): US Coast Guard Cutter enters Cuban waters carrying migrants stopped at sea will trying to reach the United States. Under an agreement between the two countries, the Cubans are sent back to the island after being picked up by the U.S. leaving the island usually on barely see where the rafts are smuggled out and it speedboats by human traffickers.

While in recent years, the number of Cubans making the illegal journey by boat had dwindled now as the communist run Island is hit by the twin impacts of the pandemic and increased U.S. economic sanctions. Hundreds of Cubans are again attempting the treacherous sea crossing. Cuban officials who gave CNN rare access to a migrant repatriation, say they are concerned by the spike in activity.

They put people's lives at risk. They have too many people on board he says, then you have people trafficking with the boats. And they also overload those boats to make more money. It can take days to make the 90-mile journey across the Florida straits. And only seconds for a trip to turn deadly. Neither the U.S. nor Cuba can say how many people have died in 2021 attempting the crossing.

Yulia Cordez (ph) says her brother Pedro Anhel (ph) was one of at least five people lost at sea after the brother capsized leaving the island in March.

What we want is to know she says to have some news, however tough it is, but at least know what happened to him.

Despite the risks, many Cubans are increasingly desperate to leave the island. Some sell all their possessions to pay for the trip. This woman who was returned by the U.S. Coast Guard attempted to hazard his trip carrying her eight-month-old baby. After the U.S. embassy in Havana shutdown Visa services nearly four years ago, following mysterious health incidents. More than 100,000 Cubans have been unable to obtain visas granted to them to visit or emigrate to the U.S.

(on camera): Cubans have to travel to a third country to apply for a visa to enter the United States illegally. It's a costly and lengthy process that during a pandemic has been next to impossible to do. Many people say they can no longer afford to wait, even if it means breaking the law or risking their lives at sea.

(voice-over): While the numbers of Cubans leaving by boat are far less than during the rafters crisis of the 1990s and Mariel boatlift of the 1980s. Cuban officials said they want to engage with Washington before the flow of migrants increases,

CARLOS FERNANDEZ DE CASSIO, CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: The trend is there. And there's difficulties that Cuba has today had not faced for over a decade. So the recipe and the conditions are there were an uncontrolled migration through the ocean something that we want to avoid.

OPPMAN: So far, Biden advisors have said Cuba is not a priority for the administration. But as the pandemic in Trump era sanctions continue to cause havoc here. An increasing number of Cubans with nothing left to lose could create a crisis that becomes impossible to ignore. Patrick Oppman, CNN (INAUDIBLE) Cuba.

CHURCH: As a devastating third wave of COVID-19 infections hits Afghanistan we are learning of a growing outbreak the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. According to a diplomatic cable, there are now 159 cases with a source saying several people have been medically evacuated from the post. The Embassy went into lockdown last week to try to stop the spread. And embassy notice states that 95 percent of the cases of people who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

U.S. President Joe Biden is preparing to sit down with his Afghan counterpart on Friday. Topping the agenda, the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan as America winds down its longest war. But as U.S. troops head out, the Taliban are making territorial gains and taking control of at least 50 districts so far. According to the U.N. envoy on Afghanistan. The deputy U.S. Secretary of State acknowledged the Taliban's aggressive moves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Most of them right now are in territory that is really Taliban controlled more than it is by the Afghan national forces. We will continue to provide support to the Afghan national forces. We have been training, equipping and helping them for many years they're very capable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Spanish authorities say everything indicates possible suicide in the death of software magnate John McAfee. His body was found in his prison cell near Barcelona on Wednesday.

[02:25:08]

CHURCH: The eccentric 75-year-old was awaiting extradition to the U.S. on tax evasion charges. He also faced allegations of fraud and money laundering. McAfee founded the antivirus software firm that bears his name, but he was no longer affiliated with that company.

Buckingham Palace now admits in its annual report that the royal household is not diverse enough. It also says it was working on becoming more diverse even before Prince Harry and his wife Meghan accused some members of the royal family of racism. That was during their big interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, when they mentioned comments about the color of their son's skin before he was born.

Let's go to CNN's Royal Correspondent, Max Foster. Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: The British monarchy is often described as a white institution and Buckingham Palace accepts now that it does need to do more to address diversity amongst the staff working here. For the first time in their annual financial report. They've broken down the numbers in relation to diversity. So 8.5 percent of Buckingham Palace staff, royal household staff consider themselves diverse.

The palace has a target of bringing that up to 10 percent by the end of next year. A senior royal source says the results are not what we would like. But we are committed to improving this. Hence, we started to publish for the first time our diversity statistics to ensure that we're both open and transparent about our efforts to improve and we fully expect to be held accountable for the progress that we make.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex famously made allegations of racism within the royal family. But this report isn't about the family itself, rather the staff that work for them. Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.

CHURCH: A preliminary deal is reportedly on the table in a dispute over that cargo ship that broke the Suez Canal. But the waiting game for businesses whose cargo is still stuck on that vessel is far from over. That's ahead. Plus, the bombshell testimony from Britney Spears as the popstar hopes to regain control of her finances and personal affairs. We're back with that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Shocking testimony from Britney Spears as the singer breaks her silence over the ongoing court battle to regain control of much of her life. The popstar pleaded with a judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday to end the 13-year legal arrangement that put her father in charge of her personal and financial affairs. [02:30:08]

It was imposed on after the singer had a mental health breakdown. She called the arrangement abusive.

CNN Stephanie Elam has more on the lengthy legal battle ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Britney Spears is angry. She wants her life back and she wants the world to know it. Speaking remotely to a Los Angeles County courtroom, the pop singer saying her wish and dream is for the conservatorship to end. A legal arraignment she's been living with for nearly 13 years.

In the status hearing, Spears expressed her frustration over the lack of control of her own life, saying, quote, I'm traumatized. I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry, it's insane. Even adding she wants to marry and have another child, both major life moments she says the current conservatorship doesn't allow. Her father's only response to the artist's stinging criticisms was that he loves and misses her.

The trouble for Britney Spears began in 2007. Her girl next door image unraveling in front of the paparazzi who were always chasing her, capturing her every move, especially the uncomfortable moments in the singer's personal life.

The following year, multiple health and psychiatric issues landed Spears in the hospital in January. Her father, Jamie Spears, filed a petition to Los Angeles County Superior Court that February to place her under a temporary probate conservatorship. Jamie Spears and Attorney Andrew Wallet become permanent coconspirators of Britney's estimated $60 million estate in October, 2008, her father getting control of her medical care, something Spears spoke emotionally about saying, quote, I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told I can't get married. I have an IUD inside me, but this so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to remove it because they don't want me to have any more children. This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.

LISA MACCARLEY, CONSERVATORSHIP ATTORNEY: Usually, most conservatorships in probate court are for the elderly, people that have exhibited memory deficits or judgment deficits that are pervasive and most likely going to endure the rest of their lives.

ELAM: But through all this, Britney Spears kept working while under this conservatorship, releasing several albums, two of them that went platinum.

BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER: What's up, Vegas.

ELAM: Holding down her pieces of me Las Vegas residency, reportedly earning her $30 million, and serving as a judge on the X-factor. Attorney Andrew Wallet resigned in the spring of 2019 leaving Spears father and control of just about every aspect of Britney's life. But last summer Britney pushed back. In legal documents, her court appointed lawyer stating Britney is, quote, strongly opposed to having her father as conservator and requested that Jamie be removed. Instead, a judge in November added Bessemer Trust, a private wealth and investment management firm as a co-conservator to oversee her estate. Now Spears wants to pick her own lawyer, and as she said in court, quote, I just want my life back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ELAM (on camera): As this was just a status hearing, up next will be a new court date that will be set where Britney Spears will likely petitioned the court to end the conservatorship.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.

CHURCH: Well, there's been growing interest in Britney Spears's conservatorship case since the documentary framing Britney Spears was released back in February. The film's producer and director, Samantha Stark, spoke with CNN earlier, and this is what she had to say about the singer's court appearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMANTHA STARK, DIRECTOR, FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS: Hearing her say today, I feel like I'm being abused and I feel like I've been working since right after this started and not only caring for myself but caring for all of you, to the lawyers, and she was making the case she shouldn't have been in this.

She said some really harrowing things, like this idea that she was forced into a mental health facility because she didn't want to tour. She was -- how the story ended up going. And that she was forced to take lithium against her will, which she had never done and her life and that she felt forced to tour to begin with. She said she was often so tired and didn't want to do it and they wouldn't -- she felt that her management made her do it, it really feels like this is not the situation that it was -- that everyone thought it was or that was presented to the public at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And we will, of course, continue to follow this story right here on CNN.

Well, there have been more than 3,000 reports of unruly airline passengers so far this year in the United States. The latest incident resulted in an arrest on a United Airlines flight to Honolulu on Monday. The airline said a woman refused to wear a mask and created a disturbance. Another passenger videotaped the incident.

[02:35:00]

Sheriffs met the plane when it arrived, handcuffed the woman and let her off. She's being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A legal storm over the cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal maybe coming to an end. The Evergiven has been held by Egyptian officials since March, and jammed up in a compensation dispute. Negotiators now say they have reached an agreement in principle that would free the vessel. But even if they did, that still would not mean smooth sailing ahead for everyone involved. Anna Stewart explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice over): For six days it blocked the Suez Canal, one of the world biggest arteries for trade, finally freed, the Evergiven was then impounded as a legal battle over costs raged on. The Suez Canal authority originally demanded over $900 million from the ships Japanese owner.

JAI SHARMA, PARTNER, CLYDE & CO.: I almost fell off my chair frankly, about $300 million of that was a so-called loss of reputation, a claim which was really unprecedented, unexpected and I had never seen a calculation that supported that figure, then the majority of the rest of it related to the claim for salvage plus an extra $300 million bonus.

STEWART: A bonus, law firm Clyde & Co, represent companies and insurers with over $100 million of cargo on board. Their goods are delayed by months and they may have to pay to get them back.

SHARMA: What we expect is that there will be an arrangement between the owners and the Suez Canal authorities for them to make payment and then subsequently the ship owners may try and recover some of their expenses.

STEWART: Businesses around the world are waiting, including the bike maker, Pearson, which has bike frames stuck on board.

WILLIAM PEARSON, CO-DIRECTOR, PEARSON 1860: They're obviously the main component part for our bike, as any bike could be. So without those, we can't build bikes. So we had quite a few orders that were already destined for customers. It's been a very difficult time, and we've been kept in the dark. We already have. Nobody really seems to know exactly what's happening. There seems to be a lot of wrangling legally.

So at this point, we know that, goods were insured. How ensured they are, not quite sure. As to whether we have to pay anything else, and we're hoping not.

STEWART: If you are asked to pay a lot of money, what are you going to do? What are your next steps?

PEARSON: I'm not sure, really. I think we probably have to take legal advice as to what we do. But, ideally, we can see with the stock as opposed to any insurance money. And if we have to pay more than depending on what it is to get the stock, then we may do.

STEWART: Even with an agreement, the Evergiven may need repairs. And that can still take weeks before Pearson get the frames. It's been a story worthy of a blockbuster movie, as you can see by this triumphant video from the Suez Canal authority following its re- floating. Unfortunately, that was not the ending which is far from happy than many of the businesses involved.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: It's an image you don't see every day, the head of the Roman Catholic Church shaking hands with Spiderman. What is behind this unique Vatican meeting? We'll take a look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:40:00]

CHURCH: Well, it is not your usual papal audience participant. A man dressed as Spiderman set to hear Pope Francis speak before meeting him and giving him a fitting gift.

Jeanne Moos untangles the web behind this super hero encounter at the Vatican.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Two larger than life figures met at the Vatican. Your holiness, may we introduce --

SPIDERMAN: Who am I? I'm spider-man.

MOOS: But the pope already knew that. Spiderman even-handed the pontiff's Spiderman mask, which the pope accepted after all, Pope Francis is not stiff on his cap, known as a zucchetto, blows off, or if a kid takes it off, the pope doesn't bat an eye, so he took Spiderman in stride even as the superhero held him in a two-handed grip.

The photos delighted folks. Dudes rock, inspiring emojis and accommodations not usually seen. People imagine movie sequels, the pope is going to be in Spiderman, they imagine jokes. The pope and Spiderman walk into a fiesta, harkening back to that vintage jingle. The pontiff was dubbed Spider pope.

Spiderman wasn't trying to ensnare the pope in some stunts, Mattia Villardita founded an organization whose members dress up like superheroes and entertain children in hospitals. He told the catholic news agency the moment he met Francis was really, really moving. Spiderman wasn't quoting movie lines to the pontiff.

SPIDERMAN: Do you want forgiveness? Get a religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on here?

MOOS: This Spiderman already has religion. He's catholic. He said the pope knew about his work with children in hospitals. He told me to take a lot of selfies with the kids in the square.

Spiders and popes have mingled before, and itsy bitsy actual spider climbed up the previous pop up and around his neck and even headed for his ear. But this pope let Spiderman bend his ear. Still, his holiness must be wondering where in heaven's name he's supposed to wears new Spiderman mask.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Great story there. And thanks for your company, I am Rosemary Church. I'll be back at the top of the hour. World Sport is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:45:00]