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Search and Rescue Operation Continues for Survivors of Collapsed Tower in Florida; President Biden to Meet Ghani as Taliban Makes Play in Afghanistan; Vice President Kamala Harris is to Visit U.S-Mexico Border; Sentencing of Uyghurs is surging in Xinjiang; One Dead, 99 Unaccounted For In Florida Condo Collapse; Merkel: Europe On Thin Ice As Delta Variant Spreads; Rudy Giuliani Suspended From Practicing Law In New York State. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired June 25, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Paula Newton. Ahead right here on "CNN Newsroom," defying the danger. Rescuers gingerly search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed condo high-rise in South Florida.
Then, President Biden is set to meet with Afghanistan's President Ghani as U.S. troops withdraw and the Taliban makes a play for more control.
And, amid relentless pressure from her critics, Vice President Harris is set to visit the U.S.-Mexico border as thousands of migrants make the dangerous trek north to the United States.
At this hour, as many as 99 people are still unaccounted for after the collapse of a condominium tower in South Florida. Rescue crews are searching through the night for any signs of survivors. They are there right now.
So far, one person is confirmed dead. Now, two people have been pulled alive from the rubble and dozens have to be rescued from the part of the building that is still standing.
Now, it is too early to say what caused the collapse. You can see it there collapsing. It was captured on a security camera. But a local professor says he did a study that showed the building was sinking. In other words, subsiding, about two millimeters a year and that was during the 1990s.
Now, an attorney for the residents association says thorough engineering inspections during the past several months showed no signs that anything like this could ever happen.
U.S. President Joe Biden has just approved an emergency declaration, freeing up federal resources to deal with the tragedy. Meantime, family and friends are desperate, as you can imagine, for any word at all about what happened to their loved ones.
UNKNOWN: I just started seeing people in the balconies with the flashlights of their phones asking for help. They were like desperately yelling.
UNKNOWN: I found out that my nephew was here with his wife and three children, two, six, and nine. They had an apartment there. I'm losing hope. I'm just asking god because they're in the affected area. It is unbelievable.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): I just had a chance to view the sight up close and -- I mean, the humanity that you see, the daily lives, the evidence of just people living their daily lives and that everything, everything evaporated in an instant. It is just -- it is enormously devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON (on camera): You have to remember, this was in the middle of the night, a little bit more than 24 hours ago. Rescue crews are, at this hour, using concrete saws to try and cut through the building's parking garage, trying to create important tunnels that will help them reach the survivors. They are also using special equipment as they carefully search through the huge amount of rubble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON RICHARD, DISTRICT CHIEF, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE: We are using K9 assets from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Florida Task Force One, as well as listening devices that we have as part of our (INAUDIBLE) equipment. We also stopped and called out to -- in the rubble pile, listening for any sounds, tapping, voices, anything we might hear.
Occasionally, we will stop all of our operations and just have everybody go silent and listen. That, in conjunction with the dogs moving about the rubble pile constantly as well as the listening devices. We have cameras that we can bore holes into slabs of concrete and put into other small void spaces in order to see, you know, around corners and in small areas also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON (on camera): It's important to underscore here that not everyone who is unaccounted for is actually missing. Some may not have been home when the building collapsed. And not everyone who is unaccounted for is a U.S. citizen. CNN's Matt Rivers has more on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As we learn more and more about the victims of this partial collapse, it is becoming more and more clear that the United States is not the only country who citizens have been affected by this tragedy.
In fact, we heard on Thursday from the foreign ministry of the South American country of Paraguay, the foreign minister saying that the sister of the first lady of Paraguay, the first lady of Paraguay's sister and her family, were now unaccounted for after this partial collapse.
RIVERS: The foreign ministry is saying that the first lady's sister and her sister's family were staying in one of those towers on the 10th floor. They were in the country, according to the foreign ministry, to get vaccinated.
Paraguay government saying they spent the day checking in with various hospitals in the area to see if there was any news about the first lady's sister and her sister's family, but unfortunately, they turned up no positive results.
Paraguay is not the only South American country affected. In fact, we heard from other countries whose citizens have been affected and are now unaccounted for, including your Uruguay, including Argentina and including Venezuela.
We know that this is a part of South Florida where many people from South America either live permanently or visit from time to time. Unfortunately, this tragedy is touching lives of citizens from across the western hemisphere.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON (on camera): And we will keep you up-to-date with everything that is going on there as search continues.
Now, the U.S. president will sit down with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, at the White House on Friday. On top of the agenda, the continued withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan as the U.S. winds down its longest war after nearly two decades.
But with U.S. forces moving out, the Taliban offense has been gaining ground in recent weeks. The United Nations estimates the group has taken more than 50 districts since May. You can see it there on the map. CNN's Phil Mattingly with more.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Biden will welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to the White House at a critical time, a critical time for the U.S. position in the country as it continues to move towards withdrawing all of its troops by September 11th, the critical time for President Ghani, for Afghanistan, as the tempo of Taliban attacks, Taliban offensive over the course of the last several weeks has reached a level that I don't think anybody had actually predicted, certainly at a higher level than had been occurring last year.
Now, it is important to note and U.S. officials point out, those attacks, those offensives have not targeted U.S. troops, but they have paid -- laid a heavy toll on Afghanistan security forces and Afghanistan police. It is part of the reason why this meeting at the White House between President Ghani, President Biden, and President Ghani's top senior officials is so crucial, trying to lay out what the actual next steps are for U.S. support.
President Biden made very clear when he announced the withdrawal that he plan to continue to support the government, that obviously the U.S. will keep an embassy in Afghanistan, and that both the U.S. and its partner allies would continue to support the Ghani government over the course of the coming years.
But that has been severely threatened by the offensive of the Taliban over the course of the last several weeks with very real questions amongst U.S. officials as to how long the Afghanistan government can actually hold out to those Taliban offensives once U.S. troops officially leave.
It is worth noting, while September 11th is the deadline, U.S. officials have made clear those troops are pulling out at an even faster clip, more than half of the U.S. troops in the country right now have already been pulled out.
Some questions about whether or not over the course of the next several weeks, because of those Taliban attacks, that process will slow. But make no mistake about it. U.S. officials have been very clear the September 11th deadline is a hard deadline. It is not changing.
So what the U.S. can offer, what the Afghanistan president will seek, and how this meeting ends up, when all things are said and done, is a very open question and a very crucial question, given the current state of play in the country.
One thing U.S. officials stressed is they want peace talks with the Taliban to continue or at least to ramp up to some degree from where they were or where they are. Based on the Taliban posture over the course of the last several weeks, some are skeptical, but it will certainly be a central piece of a very crucial conversation at a critical moment for the country as the U.S. departs.
Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON (on camera): Now, another topic between the president and Mr. Ghani, sure that they will he talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. The White House says the U.S. will send three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Afghanistan as the country battles an outbreak fueled by the delta variant.
Meantime, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is hours away from heading to El Paso, Texas to tour facilities along the border with Mexico. She is tasked with trying to stem the flow of migration from Central America and has faced blow back for not touring the border area sooner. Here is how she responded to that criticism just a few weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At some point, you know, we are going to the border. We've been to the border. So, this whole -- this whole -- this whole thing about the border, we've been to the border. We have been to the border.
UNKNOWN: You haven't been to the border.
HARRIS: And I haven't been to Europe. I don't understand the point that you're making. I am not discounting the importance of the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON (on camera): Now, a senior official insists that the visit to the border was always part of the plan. Kaitlan Collins has more on the vice president's upcoming trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is going to be the first time that you're seeing Vice President Harris on the border since she got this immigration-related portfolio from President Biden earlier this year. Similar to one that he held when he was vice president to then President Obama.
And so she will be in El Paso. She will be joined by DHS Secretary Mayorkas while she's there. And of course, it is hard to ignore that this is a trip that comes after she had faced many questions about why she had not been to the border yet.
A lot of those were from Republicans though as well who were criticizing her, kind of trying to paint her as the face of any immigration problem under the Biden administration, though her office has sought to make clear she is in charge of diplomatic efforts, not necessarily those soaring border numbers that you saw earlier this year.
But it will still be something that hangs over this visit, that is in the background of it, and the White House has defended the timing of this trip, given just a few weeks ago, Harris was pushing back on questions about when she was going to go, saying she also had not yet been to Europe either, and instead, Jen Psaki, the press secretary, was saying that they essentially evaluated this and they thought now was the time for her to go.
Of course, look at the timing here, this is also coming when former President Trump is expected to be at the border with the Texas governor, Greg Abbott. In the coming days, Trump has tried to claim that the only reason Harris is going is because he is going, though the White House has said that is not true.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON (on camera): Raul Reyes is an immigration analyst. He joins me now from New York. It is good to see you on the eve of, you know, quite a political minefield for the vice president here.
And yet I would argue that there are substantive issues, real challenges that are profound. You know, the failures have piled up for many administrations now. Where, do you think, she could go now in terms of policy prescriptions that might actually work?
RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER, ATTORNEY, IMMIGRATION ANALYST: Well, in a certain sense, this trip, we can look at it as a kind of political theater because it has become a ritual for politicians of both parties to make their trips to the border that usually end up being a photo opportunity, to be blunt. They typically tour border patrol facilities, meet with some local advocates or improvised groups, and that is the extent of it.
However, Kamala Harris has some real opportunities here. She will have, at the very least -- look, tomorrow, she will have the eyes of the world upon her. This is an opportunity for her to make the case on what the Biden administration is doing for Central America and to deal with our migrant -- the problems of migrants at the border.
I believe that the American public doesn't know about, for example, they have restarted a program that allows some essential Americans who applied for asylum without leaving their home countries. They have increased the numbers of refugees being admitted to the country. They have increased aid to Central America.
So, there are constructive things that she can highlight to show that this administration is making a break, attempting to make a very clean break with the very harsh immigration policies of the past administration.
NEWTON: But that would take a lot of time, right? The crisis at the border does continue, quite frankly, not just for Americans, but for all those desperate people who want a way out of the suffering they're going through.
REYES: Right. And you know what, politically there is a very significant risk involved because Biden -- Joe Biden generally receives high marks from Americans from his handling of the economy, of the COVID vaccine, all sorts of issues. Immigration remains sort of a weak spot for him with the American public.
I think more Americans disapprove of how he has handled the border situation so far, then do approve of it. But where we look at the numbers, things are actually trending in the right direction. Now, that seems almost counterintuitive because we know --
NEWTON: It does, I have to tell you. It's very counterintuitive, especially when we still have minors who are still in these detention centers and shouldn't be.
REYES: Right. When we look at the overall numbers of customs and border patrol, we see this continued increase in numbers. But when we break them down by categories, these numbers are driven by single Mexican-Americans -- single Mexican men who can be and are swiftly return to Mexico. What we do see in terms of progress is at that the number of unaccompanied children and the numbers of families are stopping. So that is something -- some progress.
But there are still a couple of things that the Biden administration could do right now, in my view, that would help alleviate the crisis. One would be to, in terms of the aid that the administration provides to Central America, I think it would be smart rather than to just channel it through the governments there, which are known for corruption and graft, it would be smarter and a better use of taxpayer money to channel that money through non-governmental groups or non- profits in the area.
REYES: That way, they can be assured that it reaches the people that it is trying to help. The second thing that the administration could do is end the use of what is called Title 42. That is a law that the Trump administration invoked on a public health basis to turn people at the border away. But the exception being children and how that has played out in reality is many families have taken the incredible risk and just sent their children alone.
Without Title 42, we won't have so many young people attempting this trip alone. They will have at least intact families that can be processed together and go through the asylum system or refugee system as a family. We won't have these uncompleted minors in these very -- these are deplorable conditions.
NEWTON: Yeah, these, of course, have been terrible conditions for the families. But also she will hear from the officials, right, about how hard this has been an American personnel at those borders.
Raul, I'm sorry, I have to leave it there, but good to talk to you.
REYES: You, too.
NEWTON: We will certainly see what comes out on the backside of this visit. Appreciate it.
REYES: Thank you.
NEWTON: Coming up next, loved ones suddenly taken away by police then silently sentenced two years or decades in prison. That's what's happening right now in Western China Xinjiang province to ethnic Uyghurs as China moves from putting them in camps to locking them away in prison.
NEWTON: China's mass internment of ethnic Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang has spread a curtain of fear over families terrified about their loved ones held in internment camps. Now, a recent spike in lengthy jail sentences for some of those detained is prompting distraught relative to speak up for the very first time. An Australian woman is among those sharing her story with CNN's Ivan Watson.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I think many members of our audience have experienced forced separation from loved ones over the last year and a half. I count myself in that group. That kind of separation is, I think, safe to say a fraction of the pain that a growing number of families that I've talked to from China's Xinjiang region have been forced to endure for years now, not as a result of a virus, but due to government policies of mass detention of members of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
CNN has obtained and reported on in the past official Chinese documents that show you could be detained there for the most arbitrary of reasons: growing a beard, having too many children, having relatives living overseas.
WATSON (on camera): So, all too often, the story that I hear from people from Xinjiang is one of pain, of suffering, and ultimately of hopelessness.
(Voice-over): Newlyweds in love. Scenes from the 2016 wedding of (inaudible). She calls him "pumpkin." He calls her his "monkey."
MEHRAY MEZENSOF, WIFE OF IMPRISONED UYGHUR: It is pretty much like love at first sight.
WATSON (voice-over): The couple met online. Mehray was born in Australia and Mirzat (ph) is an ethnic Uyghur from China's Xinjiang region where he worked in his father's restaurant.
After their wedding in Xinjiang, the newlyweds enjoyed eight blissful months together there, until Australia granted Mirzat (ph) a spouse visa. Mirzat (ph) planned to immigrate with Mehray to Australia in April 2017. But two days before their flight from Xinjiang, Chinese police showed up at their house.
MEZENSOF: He gave them their passport and they confiscated it right there and then.
WATSON (voice-over): That night, the police detained (INAUDIBLE).
MEZENSOF: You know, you're just nearly married, you're getting ready to start your life together, and then it just gets completely thrown upside down, and then the next thing you know, your husband is in a detention center. You can't even see him. You can't even communicate with him.
WATSON (voice-over): Mehray says that marked the start of a four-year ordeal. She says Mirzat (ph) was detained in internment camps for months at a time on three separate occasions, while never facing any formal charges. That is until April 1st, 2021 when Mirzat's (ph) parents were summoned to a detention center and informed their son had been found guilty of the crime of separatism.
MEZENSOF: That was when I received the news that they sentenced my husband to 25 years.
WATSON (on camera): Twenty-five years in prison?
MEZENSOF: I was, like no, no, that is not happening. I was, like, that can't happen. They can't do that.
WATSON (voice-over): Mehray believes her husband is imprisoned here in a fortified facility that has grown substantially over the last eight years, one of dozens of high-security camps that have recently been expanded in Xinjiang, according to analysis by the Australian think tank, ASPI.
(On camera): Chinese government statistics first compiled by Human Rights Watch also showed that the number of people sentenced to prison in Xinjiang spiked dramatically, jumping approximately six times between 2014 and 2018.
(Voice-over): Some experts believe China is transitioning its alleged mass detention of Muslim minorities from internment camps to formal prisons. A policy that more and more people from Xinjiang claim is ripping their families apart.
(INAUDIBLE), a Uyghur from Xinjiang now living in Sweden, has spent the last three years lobbying for the release of her cousin, (INAUDIBLE), a Mandarin language teacher and mother of three, first detained in 2018, accused of financing terrorism. Then in February, (INAUDIBLE) got this video call from her mother in Xinjiang with a devastating update on her cousin.
UNKNOWN: They sentenced her six years and six months.
WATSON (on camera): How is your family handling this conviction?
UNKNOWN: I think they are dead inside.
WATSON (voice-over): The family shared this letter from (INAUDIBLE), written in detention, in which she claims she was forced to sign a confession. I don't have the strength to resist such power, she writes.
The Chinese government has gone from initially denying the mass detention policy to now defending the crackdown, arguing it's battling against Islamist extremism. This state TV documentary released in April claims there is a 5th column of government officials who secretly plotted to turn Xinjiang into an independent homeland for Uyghurs. It accuses this man, Ablimit Ababakri, and his brother, of paying to send Uyghur teenagers overseas where some allegedly then joined the Islamic state.
ABLIMIT ABABAKRI, ACCUSED OF PAYING TO SEND UYGHUR TEENAGERS OVERSEAS: They were supposed to train for war. When they were ready to return, they could make greater contributions for the next step.
WATSON (voice-over): How did you react when you saw your father?
DILSAR ABLIMIT, DAUGHTER OF DETAINED UYGHUR: I could not even recognize him.
ABLIMIT: I was refusing to believe that that was my father.
WATSON (voice-over): The accused man's daughter, Dilsar Ablimit, is a 21-year-old university student studying abroad in Turkey. She says her father went missing four years ago in Xinjiang until he suddenly appeared in this Chinese documentary.
ABLIMIT: My father and uncle are neither a terrorist or a separatist.
WATSON (voice-over): The documentary didn't say if the brothers have been charged with a crime. CNN has asked the Chinese government about their status and that of the others in our report and pushed for answers on why so many Uyghurs are being thrown in jail.
In Australia, Mehray Mezensof clings to a letter from her husband, which was smuggled out of detention three years ago. She is also clinging to hope after learning her husband will spend the next 25 years behind bars.
MEZENSOF: I have to fight for him. I have to be strong for him. I have to do something. I cannot just keep sitting and, you know, being silent about this.
WATSON (on camera): Do you think you will see your husband again?
MEZENSOF: I really hope so. I can't imagine not seeing him again.
WATSON (on camera): CNN reached out in writing to the Chinese government for comment on the cases that we presented in this report and we did not hear a response. The Chinese government has consistently denied that any human rights abuses, whatsoever, are taking place in Xinjiang.
Anecdotally, one consequence of the long jail sentences that we are starting to hear about in Xinjiang is that it seems to be motivating family members from there who are living outside of China to come forward and to speak publicly about their cases for the very first time.
Family members who said, in the past, that they were hoping to protect their relatives in Xinjiang, hoping they would get some kind of lighter, more lenient treatment, and when the heavy jail sentences come down, that destroys all hope. People we are hearing from say they are going public because they simply have nothing left to lose.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON (on camera): COVID cases in Israel, once again, are going in the wrong direction. What's behind the uptick and the restrictions being considered to stamp out new outbreaks. Plus, not giving up hope. Family members wait for word about their loved ones still accounted for in that South Florida building collapse.
NEWTON: We want to get straight to an update on our top story this hour. Search teams re working through the night in Surfside, Florida to find 99 people still unaccounted for in the collapse of the Champlain Towers. You can see the wreckage there.
Part of the 12-storey condominium building pancaked down unto itself early Thursday, killing at least one person.
Now fire and rescue crews are working in knee deep water in the building's parking garage, you see them working there as they try and saw their way through concrete to get to any survivors. And they're using listening devices cameras and sniffer dogs as they scour the huge mound of rubble.
Now U.S. President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration freeing up federal resources to deal with the tragedy. CNN's Randi Kaye is in Surfside Florida for us right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rescue teams say they do plan to search overnight again tonight, they are still at it, hoping to find survivors. They were searching in the building's parking garage underneath the collapsed condo building. They also now have teams on top of that pile of rubble, searching for any survivors.
They are committed to it, they are not giving up hope. They don't want to have to tell loved ones that these family members did not survive. It's also very difficult for them. We had some heavy rains here. Also every time that building just shifts slightly it has the potential to start small fires which we also saw earlier today.
So these are very difficult conditions physically and also emotionally but the rescuers are staying focused. The families also are very anxious but also staying focused. They want word of their loved ones, they have sort of set up a vigil if you will, at a community center not far from here just a few blocks away.
They are not going home as they wait for word, they have requested pillows and blankets because so many are still missing. And they want to wait and know what the fate is of their loved ones. Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Thanks to Randi Kaye there. Remains at the scene. Now family members of the missing condo residents are desperately awaiting news of their loved ones. Pablo Rodriguez and his mother and grandmother were the first tower that collapsed. He told us he spoke to his mother right before the disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PABLO RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER MISSING: She just told me that she had woken up around three - four in the morning. And had heard like some creaking noises some, you know, just - just like sort of creaking noises, they were loud enough to wake her up. But that that was it. And then I just thought it was you know, nothing. She just didn't sleep well. And that was it.
So she didn't really pay any attention to it either. It was just like a comment that she - she made off-hand, like that's why she woke up and then she was unable to go back to sleep afterwards. But now in hindsight, you always wonder. It's waves of devastation with troughs of disbelief. It's just one second you know, you're overwhelmed, it's really difficult not to break down now.
And then you know another you get you get a semblance of normalcy because you just say well, this - it's impossible, this - this doesn't happen, buildings don't just collapse, it's you know, it's - it's not real. We're praying for a miracle but at the same time trying to be as realistic about it as possible but yes, until we definitively know there - there is hope. It's just, you know, dwindling by the - by the minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Pablo Rodriguez there and you just feel for them. He's one of many family members and friends trying to hold on to hope as rescue workers search for survivors at Champlain towers. The Delta COVID variant is putting parts of Europe on high alert. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns the EU is on thin ice as the more transmissible strain threatens the block's pandemic progress.
She is urging other European countries to enforce quarantine for those traveling from regions where the variant is spreading and that includes the UK. French President Emmanuel Macron join the chancellor and calling for a coordinated approach to travel restrictions.
Now while the EU is debating tightening some travel restrictions, the British government is adding several countries to its so called Green list. Now Malta, Spain's Balearic Islands and several Caribbean destinations will be on the quarantine-free travel list starting next week in the countries for those who have been fully vaccinated, again those trips only for those who have been fully vaccinated and they will be announced next month.
The Delta variant also is causing concern in Israel, the country on the verge of reinstating indoor mask requirements due to rising cases. Hadas Gold has more from one of the most affected areas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A site Israelis had hoped they would
soon forget. Pop up COVID testing sites as Israel tries to stop a new wave especially among the young.
Ayelet Ilan bringing her 14 year old daughter girl to be tested. Nearly every student in her grade now under precautionary quarantine.
AYELET ILAN, BINYAMINA, ISRAEL RESIDENT: We feel secured. Everything's under control. We pay attention to the rules and regulations. And that's it and we hope it will pass as it came, it will go away.
GOLD: Here in Binyamina, an outbreak at two schools including this one have lead to a surge in positive cases in the education system, as well as in a number of towns. Masks are now required at the affected schools. Other towns in Israel also experiencing new cases partly due to the new Delta variant, which health officials say it could be 50 percent more contagious, though they're encouraged by data from England showing that the Pfizer still offers protection.
DR. SHARON ELROY-PREISS, HEAD OF ISRAEL PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES: Compared to that, the Delta variant's effectiveness, the vaccine effectiveness is about 88 percent, which is a slight reduction but still very high effectiveness of the vaccine.
GOLD: Israelis returning from abroad, and unvaccinated children, combined with a new variant have threatened the sense of normalcy that had returned to Israel after vaccinating more than 85 percent of those eligible. Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett now recommending masks be worn by all indoors, warning that stricter restrictions may soon need to be reinstated and begging parents to get their children vaccinated before Israel's current batch expires next month.
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The pace of vaccinations right now is not good. Only 2000 young people are being vaccinated a day. In order to meet our goal we need 20,000. In simple language, I'm calling on parents. Go out immediately.
GOLD: A message getting through to Gal who is urging people to stay close to home and already have an appointment to get her vaccine. Hadas Gold, CNN, Binyamina, Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: The World Health Organization says Africa is experiencing a third wave of coronavirus infections. Now the agency says the total number of new cases across the continent has been rising for five weeks now. And 12 countries you see them there, seeing a resurgence of cases. Now the agency's Regional Director for Africa warns that things are getting bad quickly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MATSHIDISO MOETI, WHO, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA: The third wave is picking up speed, spreading faster, hitting harder. We've surged past last year's peak and at the current pace continental cases will surpass the second wave's peak in just about three weeks. This is incredibly worrying. With rapidly rising case numbers and increasing reports of serious illness, the latest surge threatens to be Africa's worst yet.
NEWTON: And here's the thing many African nations are struggling to get vaccine doses. Only about 1 percent of people across the continent are fully vaccinated. That's according to the WHO. The agency says 29 countries have used half of their COVID - COVAX supplies already. That's the sharing facility for vaccines around the world. At least eight other countries have now run out of vaccines altogether.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Canada is now coming face to face with one of its most tragic legacies. Hundreds of unmarked graves that another former Indian School. One tribal chief - chief says there are many others waiting to be found right across the country.
NEWTON: In a matter of hours, jury deliberations begin in France in the trial of a woman who killed her abusive husband who before that was her stepfather. Now in her best-selling book. Valerie Bacot admits to shooting Daniel Polette dead. She says it was all in self-defense following decades of beatings and forced prostitution.
Now over the span of 18 years, she had four children with Polette, two of whom helped bury his body. If found guilty of Bacot faces the possibility of life behind bars. Leaders of indigenous tribes in Saskatchewan, Canada say more than 750 unmarked graves have been discovered at a former Indian residential school.
Officials began mapping the grounds at Maryville on June 1 after 215 graves were found in May at a former school in British Columbia. The Canadian Prime Minister says the government will provide funding and resources to bring what he called these terrible wrongs to light.
One tribal leader said this most recent discovery at Maryville has reopened deep wounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CADMUS DELOME, COWESSESS FIRST NATION: The grave site is - is there, and it's real. And if you were to see it, there are 751 flags when you look at it. It is the pain of the memories of being in the school for many that it is triggering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now, a short time ago, I spoke about this tragedy with the Chief of the Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan. Here's some of that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BOBBY CAMERON, FEDERATION OF SOVEREIGN INDIGENOUS NATIONS: It happened, it is real, it is the truth. Our survivors have been telling these stories for decades, and only now the world is believing them because finding these remains, you cannot deny it anymore.
NEWTON: And you are pointing to the fact that there is now evidence and yet indigenous communities had to fight to get that evidence. Why only now? Why is the ground penetrating radar only being used on these sites now? It's been six years since Canada has had the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission outlining the problem with these lost children.
CAMERON: Yes, we would like to say this for several decades. The Roman Catholic Church of Canada, the federal government of the day, all tried to sweep this under the rug, and all tried to hide it, when in fact, it was a brutal reality for 1000s of our First Nation students who were subjected to torture, abuse and death. What a - what a worldwide travesty.
And from here on in it, we should be moving forward and thinking about how are we going to address and improve the quality of life lives for First Nations people right across this world.
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NEWTON: Now Chief Cameron also wanted to say and he spoke to us afterwards about the United States and he says that here, there were similar issues with boarding schools and that searches should also go on here so that they can discover remains and be reunited with their families and receive the proper burials they deserve. I'm Paula Newton. Thanks for joining us. Kim Brunhuber. We're here at the top of the hour with more CNN Newsroom. But now World Sport is next.