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W.H.O. Chief: World Facing "Two-Track Pandemic"; U.S. Central Command: Withdrawal More than 90 Percent Complete; Italy to Face Winner of England Versus Denmark in Final; Bolsonaro Facing Probe Over Corruption Allegations; E.U. in Vaccination Race Against COVID Variant; Vaccine Hesitancy Poses Risk to Japan's Vaccine Rollout; Former Afghan Translator Faces Deportation from U.S.; More Bodies Discovered in Rubble, Death Toll Now at 36; Cannes Film Festival Returns. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 7, 2021 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:42]

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM:

The two-track pandemic. As wealthy countries reopening following gains against COVID-19, poorer countries still struggle to get the tools they need to fight the virus.

America's messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. Looting and confusion follow the U.S. pullout from its largest base in the country.

And shoot-out pain for Spain as Italy advances to the Euro 2020 final in dramatic fashion.

(MUSIC)

NEWTON: So, the head of the World Health Organization warns the coronavirus pandemic remains a, quote, the very dangerous phase even as progresses made. Now, here's a look at how cases are trending compared to the previous week. The WHO director general says that the equitable distribution of vaccines and supplies is the only way out of the crisis. He laid out how the pandemic is now affecting countries differently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, W.H.O. DIRECTOR-GENERAL: As you know, we face a two-track pandemic. The countries that are now opening up their societies are those that have largely controlled the supply of lifesaving personal protective equipment, tests, oxygen and especially vaccines. Meanwhile, countries without access to such supplies are facing waves of hospitalizations and death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Right now in England, for instances, anyone in close contact with someone who has the virus must self isolate for up to 10 days. But that requirement will soon go away for people who are vaccinated, provided they don't somehow test positive themselves.

Now this change is the latest in a number of sweeping updates to Britain's COVID restrictions. The U.K. health secretary says children under the age of 18 will also get to skip the self-isolation requirement, even though they're not yet eligible for vaccines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAJID JAVID, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: From the 16th of August when even more people will have their protection about doses, and when modeling suggests the risks from the virus will be lower, anyone who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self isolate if they have been fully vaccinated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now England's for reopening is expected to happen in less than 2 weeks even though that the delta variant is driving up cases to their highest levels in months. Leaders have stressed that hospitalization and death numbers are what matters most.

CNN's Nina dos Santos has the story.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With coronavirus cases doubling every nine days, the U.K. health secretary warned the nation that it was facing uncharted territory, and potentially, 100,000 coronavirus cases every day during the months of summer.

Well, that figure in itself was double the 50,000 number that was mentioned by Boris Johnson, the prime minister, just a day earlier when he unveiled that the U.K. would be removing all coronavirus restrictions as of July the 19th.

That means that in two weeks' time, people will be able to attend concerts, nightclubs can reopen, and people won't have to work from home.

In some circumstances, they might have to maintain some vestiges of social distancing, but they won't have to wear masks, including on public transport. And that has got the government up against the mayor of London who wants to maintain masks indoors, particularly, on the London subway system.

SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: So, we have seen the vaccines weaken the link between the virus and hospitalization, and the virus leading to deaths thankfully. But it's still the case that we have the virus amongst us and that's why I was keen for there to be a continuation of face masks being mandatory in public transport where you can't keep your social distance.

But also we know wearing a face mask on public transport gives commuters more confidence. And so, we're in discussions with the government and with the rail deliver group across the country about what happens post-July the 19th. [01:05:03]

Because we wouldn't want to do is to have people nervous about using public transport because the requirements where face masks has gone.

DOS SANTOS: So, will you make masks mandatory on public transport in London?

KHAN: The science tells us wearing a face mask reduces the chances of you passing the virus on -- if -- particularly if you're not showing symptoms. And so, me, wearing a face mask keeps others safe.

Others wearing a face masks keeps me safe. So, we need to have enough people wearing the face mask for it to make a difference.

So, I'm hopeful the government will work with us to understand that actually making it a requirement to wear face mask on public transport not just makes people safer, but encourages public confidence, which means people return to the heart of our city which supports our economy.

DOS SANTOS: What will you personally do?

KHAN: When I leave home now, I leave home not just with my wallet and my keys but a face mask. I suspect for the foreseeable future that would be the case. If I'm on public transport, I wear a face mask. If I'm in a place where, I think I can't keep my social distance, I will wear my face mask, and it's one of the most unselfish things you can do.

DOS SANTOS: And recent surveys appear to back this up, showing that the majority of Londoners when asked wanted to continue wearing masks in places like the London underground.

Whether it's London or beyond, what the U.K. is starting to learn is that it has to live with a certain latent level of COVID-19 infection. So, despite the fact that the country could be facing potentially a third wave of the pandemic, it believes that with many more people now vaccinated, fewer of them will end up in hospital, and it's unlikely hopefully that the healthcare system will be overwhelmed if they remove these restrictions in the summer when people socialize outdoors and the virus is less transmissible.

Nina dos Santos, CNN in London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: To Afghanistan now where the central government is scrambling to hold Taliban advances in the north as the U.S. nears a complete withdrawal. Looters have tried to make a profit up with the U.S. left behind, picking through scraps at Bagram Air Base. A source says U.S. forces also left a prison with thousands of detainees including al- Qaeda figures and senior Taliban.

That person is now under Afghan control but a senior security official says it's still vulnerable. Now, nearly half of the country is under Taliban control, you see it there in black. That's according to "The Long War Journal". CNN has not been able to independently confirm.

But all this comes as the U.S. says it's almost done with, quote, and orderly and irresponsible withdrawal.

CNN's Anna Coren reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, U.S. Central Command has announced that more than 90 percent of the U.S. withdrawal is now complete.

It comes days after U.S. and NATO forces flew out of Bagram Air Base, once the nerve center of U.S. operations in America's 20-year war.

Since President Biden announced the withdrawal back in April, the equivalent of approximately 984 C-17 loads of equipment has been flown back to the United States.

650 U.S. Marines will remain in Afghanistan to protect the U.S. embassy, while other U.S. troops will secure the international airport until a permanent arrangement is reached with Turkish forces.

But while this may signal the end of America's war, for Afghanistan, it is just another chapter. An emboldened Taliban is launching wide- scale offensives across the country particularly in the north where tens of thousands of people have been displaced as they flee the fighting.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are at a virtual standstill, and the threat of civil war is looming.

For the Afghans, we speak to they say there is no end in sight to the violence and have little confidence there will ever be peace in this country.

Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: CNN military analyst General Mark Hertling joins me now.

I have been saying for a few days now, this all does have a bit of inevitability about it. Now, you say that although it appears the U.S. military left in a rush that the U.S did not set up the Afghan military or the government for failure, but rather you're saying in two decades, these are just the deficiencies the complexities that we know have not changed despite being there for two decades.

I mean, which challenges specifically do you see there right now?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST (on camera): How much time do you have, Paula? What I'd suggest it's a combination of U.S. strategy changing the different administrations that have put different views on it. The changing mission set for the military, the changes in terms of the number of force structures that were aligned both from the United States and from our NATO allies, the requirement to do different types of missions, and the changing of those missions, and the inherent corruption and dynamics involved in the Afghan government.

I mean, this will make for a phenomenal after-action review from the strategic tactical, and operational standpoint.

[01:10:07]

And I think we have a whole lot to learn about what we wanted to do when we went into Afghanistan, what we did and how it changed over the years.

NEWTON: But there still really is a strategic imperative here to really think about here and now. Now, the U.S. military has been defending, as you know, many strategic arenas since World War II, why not Afghanistan? Especially when we see the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

NEWTON: You know, military commanders like you have been telling people like me for decades that it is those ungoverned spaces where terror groups and insurgencies rise.

HERTLING: And that's true. And you can count on more than two hands the number of ungoverned spaces all over the world. And actually, the changes in dynamics between the kinds of terrorists we've had to deal with, whether it was initially al-Qaeda or later ISIS or Boko Haram.

I mean you can name that group and say what kind of challenges are they -- are they causing in these ungoverned spaces.

But what we've seen in Afghanistan after 20 years is a lack of development and growth in terms of countering what is causing the unique and complex insurgency terrorism mission in that -- in that space.

NEWTON: Yes, and again, the people that are stuck with this, of course, were the Afghans themselves.

HERTLING: Yes.

NEWTON: I want to get to an issue of a U.S. security official telling CNN that a detention facility near Bagram. In this source's words, this detention facility is vulnerable in the hands of the Afghans. Thousands of terrorists linked to Taliban, linked to al-Qaeda members are there. This has got to be a prime target for the Taliban right now.

HERTLING: It certainly will be, Paula. And having experienced the same kinds of things over multiple tours in Iraq, especially my final tour there where we were beginning the drawdown, and we knew that there were a number of detention facilities that had some very dangerous individuals, and that we depended on the government that we were turning the bases over to take care of that. That was part of the growth complex. Now, what you're talking about in Iraq in, say, 2011 versus Afghanistan in 2021 are two very different things because there was a sparkle of a potential government capability in Iraq.

I think what we're seeing now in Afghanistan is it's not quite the same. You know, everyone who has dealt with that country, who has served there knows that there is a potential for a civil war between the Afghan government under Mr. Ghani and the Taliban leadership, as well as other factors, we're going to see that.

Some are betting on sooner rather than later. But I think you bring up a very good point with the prisoners. What is going to happen with those individuals who were detained because they were part of terrorist organizations?

The other factors are what is going to happen with those who fought against those terrorists within the Afghan army, or as has been the highlight in so many headlines recently the interpreters that contributed to the U.S. and the NATO mission there.

NEWTON: Yes. And I was going to bring that up to you. I mean, President Joe Biden is on the record now saying we won't leave them behind. What is left to do now that he has made that commitment?

HERTLING: Well, the first thing he has to do is identify the ones that are really eligible for the special immigration visas. The SIVs as it were.

Now, you -- I'm sure there's debate over how many and it ranges from several thousands to probably close to a hundred thousand that contributed not only as interpreters but also as contractors as those who contributed to operations on the base -- bases which were literally tens of thousands.

Anyone that associated with either U.S. the Afghan government or the NATO command in Afghanistan are going to be subject to attacks and intimidation from a Taliban that is growing in strength and intensity.

NEWTON: Yeah, and getting much closer to provincial capitals, and perhaps, even Kabul. We will leave it there for now, as you said, we could go on and on.

CNN military analyst General Mark Hertling. Thanks so much.

HERTLING: Thank you, Paula.

NEWTON: Italy is heading to the Euro 2020 final after a nail-biter against Spain. What a game. But we don't know yet who they will face in that championship match.

CNN World Sport anchor Patrick Snell has it all for us.

OK. Correct me if I'm wrong and do it because, obviously, sports is not my thing. This is the Italian team that did not qualify for the World Cup? PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Correct. But a transformation

they've undergone under Roberto Mancini. The head coach. I can tell you that they will be facing Denmark or England in the final.

[01:15:02]

That much we do know. That's going to be tonight's second semi.

But first, let's dwell on what it was a fabulous advert for the beautiful game on Tuesday. They were just under 50,000 fans inside Wembley Stadium for this and it really was absolutely wonderful to see. The Italians are getting the job done. In the end, it was on penalties.

And he got a fabulous goal, a beautiful curler that put them one up to equalize with the Spanish. They went to the dreaded penalty shootout, eventually winning for the Italians on the spot kick as they try to add to the 1968 European championship.

Let's hear from some of the fans who were ecstatic after the game, understandably. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing and it's coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's coming to Rome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming to Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we'll be amazed because we'll win at Wembley against England. Whoo!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Football is going to Rome, is going to Rome, is going for (INAUDIBLE) into Rome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: That says it all. Really sheer excitement and delirium, and you can absolutely understand that. But now, the focus is very much on the second semifinal. Denmark looking to win the tournament for a second time. England at Wembley Stadium, they're looking to win the European football championships for the first time in their history, a huge day.

Another huge day, Paula, of football ahead. Back to you.

NEWTON: And not just in Europe, right? I mean, not to be outdone, the Copa America, unbelievable the matchup there now.

SNELL: Yeah, not to be in any way outdone. Let's remind our viewers, Paula, this is the oldest international football competition in the world, and we now have the final set for the Copa America this weekend at the famed Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. It will be the host nation, Brazil, taking on their old footballing foes Argentina.

This is how Albiceleste book their spot in the finals on Tuesday night against Colombia. They took a good start there. Lautaro Martinez putting them ahead for 1-0, but surprisingly in many people's eyes, Colombia getting back into this one, of course, the Argentine national team very much favorites. Luis Diaz for 1-all, and then it went to a penalty shootout, and you know Messi is not going to miss. Unfortunately for Colombia, the hero in the shootout was the argentine goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez.

And you can see these scenes of joy, scenes of ecstasy for Argentina. A huge disappointment for the Colombia national team, who like Peru bowed out in the last four. Here's Messi there. You can see Messi there, the number 10, Paula. Why is this so special for him? Because he is looking to try to finally break that jinx of never having won a major tournament with this country, win it all, hasn't he, with his club side, Barcelona, champions of Europe, champions of La Liga. I should say, former club side because, technically, he is out of contract and a free agent. A huge weekend ahead for Messi.

Back to you.

NEWTON: Absolutely. His whole legacy on the line there. Patrick Snell, thanks so much. That's certainly exciting, appreciate it.

Now, Lebanon is teetering on the brink of economic collapse. Just ahead, the prime minister's warning and frosty reception for his appeal for help. And protests against the Palestinian leadership demonstrations escalate after the death of a government critic in custody. We will hear from voices of the new political movement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:47]

NEWTON: Thousands of people gathered in the Georgian capital Tbilisi Tuesday to denounce the violence that canceled an LGBTQ pride march the day before. Now, counter protesters tried to disrupt the rally outside parliament, but police blocked both sides of the square and detain some of them.

Groups opposed to Monday's planned march stormed and ransacked the organizer's offices. Police say dozens of journalists were targeted. Activists blame the prime minister for saying he viewed the pride march as unreasonable and not acceptable to most Georgians.

Lebanon's prime minister is making an urgent appeal to the world: Help save our economy. Now, Lebanon's currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value. Much of its population lives in poverty. Some people go 22 hours a day without electricity.

Hassan Diab has been serving as caretaker prime minister for almost a year, but politicians cannot form a new government. And that means potential lenders like the European Union are skeptical about offering further assistance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN DIAB, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I call on the United Nations and all international agencies, the international community and worldwide public opinion, to help save the Lebanese from dying, and prevent the demise of Lebanon. Lebanon is a few days away from a social explosion. The Lebanese are facing this dark faith alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now, food, medicine, and fuel are all in short supply, and people's patients with the politicians, you can imagine, is running out.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters block a main road into Beirut. Angry over Lebanon's deepening economic crisis, angry at a political elite doing nothing as the country falls apart.

At the breaking point, says Zacharia Abdullah (ph). We'll go to their homes and their palaces and throw them in the trash.

And with anger, there's despair.

Dori Nasr hosts a radio college show, a chance for a proud people to pour out their sorrows.

I can't get medicine. I can't get milk for my son. I can't get anything. We're completely ruined, says this Kara Saura (ph), overcome by emotion. We're dying, day by day.

Dori initiated the show in early 2020.

DORI NASR, SAWT EL-GHAD RADIO HOST: We started this because Lebanon is finished. Lebanon, like we said, bye-bye. No Beirut. No Lebanon. No food, no diapers, no milk, no school, no gas, no petrol. Nothing in Lebanon.

WEDEMAN: For the past two years, the economy has shriveled. The lira, the local currency, has lost more than 90 percent of its value. Inflation is rampant.

According to the United Nations, 77 percent of households don't have enough food.

Yet, the politicians appear indifferent to the crisis, paralyzed by in-fighting.

After the show, Dori and his staff hand out bags of food, donated by listeners to those who called in.

Two years ago, Maria Nakasheon (ph) earned the equivalent of $800 a month. Now it's worth just over 70.

If I could emigrate, I'd go, she says. I've told my children, if you can go, go.

In October 2019, hundreds of thousands of people joined an uprising against a ruling class accused of corruption and incompetence. Yet today, apart from scattered, small protests, the streets are calm.

Survival is now the top priority, says student leader and activist Karim Safieddine.

[01:25:02]

KARIM SAFIEDDINE, STUDENT ACTIVIST, MADA NETWORK: An economic crisis, divestment already of the people who were on the streets are now looking for minimal jobs, a minimal wage, a minimal capacity to feed their children.

WEDEMAN: In the southern city of Sidon, butcher Saad Kashoun (ph) says he sells in a week what he once sold in a day.

They -- the rulers, he means -- will rule this country for 100 years. We must be patient.

Patient while the politicians squabble and Lebanon dies, little by little. Day by day.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Sidon, southern Lebanon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: The new Israeli government suffered its first setback when it failed to confirm the citizenship law. Now, the ruling coalition failed to get enough in the Knesset to extend the measure. It bars from the West Bank and Gaza who are married to Israelis from becoming citizens.

Now, the opposition Likud party and its allies voted against it, hoping to hurt the new coalition government, even though they actually supported. The prime minister spoke ahead of the vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Some things are not to be played with. The state security is a red line, and the state needs control over who answers and who becomes its citizens, allowing thousands of Palestinian's into the country and making them citizens, and harming the national security in return for a quarter of a political gain, is just not the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now, critics of the law say it is a racist policy that divides families and protested outside before the vote. The so-called citizenship law was first approved in 2003, and every year since, lawmakers have passed an extension, without much fanfare actually. Supporters say it's necessary for Israeli security.

Meantime, protest against the Palestinian leadership are escalating following the death of an outspoken critic. The demonstrations seem to reflect a deepening disillusionment with the status quo, and a search, at least for some, Palestinian's who are new voices and new vision. CNN's Hadas Gold has more from Jericho.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the thousands, they chant, get out Abbas, what a shame. Another chant, the Palestinian people want their authority out.

For more than a week, demonstrations have rocked the West Bank from Hebron to Ramallah, some met with violence from Palestinian security forces.

The protesters calling for accountability after the death of activist Nizar Banat while in Palestinian Authority custody. Banat, a well- known outspoken critic of top Palestinian officials, often took to social media with accusations of alleged corruption and incompetence.

NIZAR BANAT, ACTIVIST: Rethink your beliefs, because otherwise, you will be come slaves of Attorney General Akram al-Khateeb and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh just as your parents became slaves of this stupid leadership.

GOLD: The Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh have vowed to investigate how Banat died. But for many Palestinians, it's too late. The activist death and recent arrest of others like him is just the latest symptom of a long running disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What investigation committee are they talking about? Everything is clear. We don't have one occupation. We have to occupations, Israel and the PA.

GOLD: Across the West Bank, younger voices working to up in the Palestinian political status quo, like Salem Barahmeh from the group Generation for Democratic Renewal, admit they are afraid.

SALEM BARAHMEH, GENERATION FOFR DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL: We live in a very scary time. Speaking out, just demanding the basic things like accountability or democracy, or representation, or the fact that we need to change, can have very severe consequences.

GOLD: But Barahmeh says Banat's death has also emboldened people, and maybe a tipping point after the past few months, as the postponement of Palestinian elections clashes with Israeli forces at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, the possible evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, and the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have helped unify Palestinian's who are hungry for representation among their leadership.

BARAHMEH: Something has changed. I think we realize within society that we need to speak out. We can't be silent anymore. I think people have been frustrated for a very long time, but this has switched something in people's minds. And hopefully, we can see that change come soon.

GOLD: Barahmeh's group believes that in order to make progress towards the ultimate goal of national self determination, they need internal reforms and to leave behind old agreements like the Oslo Accords signed in the 1990s that have failed to deliver on a progress towards a two-state solution.

[01:29:51]

SALEM BARAHMEH, GENERATION FOR DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL: We live under a one-state reality. Israel controls every human being from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. And that's the reality we need to confront. Not the wishful thinking that were 1991 not 2021.

GOLD (on camera): So what's your political vision and for moving forward for a Palestinian state.

BARAHMEH: Well, it must start with a democracy. It must start with the political system. But we need to ask ourselves, what is a social contract that we can build where every human being, regardless of who they are, and what their ethno-national identity is, that they are equal and they have freedom and justice. That is the world I want to live in. That is the world I want to see my children live in.

GOLD (voice over): But with no date set for Palestinian elections there is no imminent prospect of an electoral test for the current Palestinian leadership.

Hadas Gold, CNN -- Jericho.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Japan is scrambling to get its population vaccinated ahead of the Olympics.

Coming up, I'll speak with an investigative reporter who says it's more than just vaccine hesitancy that is slowing down the rollout.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

The COVID-19 Delta variant has been detected in Brazil's most populous cities, Sao Paulo, but officials say there have been no signs yet of community spread.

The news comes as opposition lawmakers want Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro impeached over another COVID scandal.

Shasta Darlington has more details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Once riding high amid the chorus of cheering supporters, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro wave of popularity now crashing hard into the rising tide of discontent as cries for his impeachment seem to grow louder by the day.

Fueled in large part by his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. And ignited by allegations of governmental corruption in vaccine acquisition.

But opponents say it delayed the delivery of high efficacy vaccines like Pfizer BioNTech that could've saved more lives. In favor of a contract for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, a less proven vaccine at a much higher cost. A contract that many of those took to the streets in protest this weekend, say may have led not only to delays in vaccinations but also unethical financial gain for pro Bolsonaro lawmakers.

[01:34:59

KIM KATAGUIRI, MBL PARTY LAWMAKER (through translator): It is a question of principles. It is a question of values. It is a question of morals. It is a question of repudiating and rejecting the criminal negligence that has led to over 500,000 deaths.

DARLINGTON: Bolsonaro speaking to reporters after a whistleblower testified to congressional investigators that he had warned the president about the alleged contract improprieties, displaying the dismissive defiance he has become famous for.

JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with the contract. Not a penny was spent on Covaxin.

You people who want to judge me for corruption, you are going to get it wrong. I am incorruptible.

DARLINGTON: That Covaxin contract now suspended. And for its part Bharat Biotech releasing a statement denying any wrongdoing saying, "As of June 29th, "Bharat Biotech has not received any advanced payments nor supplied any vaccines to MOH Brazil. Bharat Biotech has followed a similar approach towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in several countries worldwide where Covaxin is being supplied successfully."

Meanwhile opposition lawmakers seizing on Bolsonaro's cratering popularity amid allegations of graft by combining some of the more than 100 already existing impeachment requests against the president into a so-called super request for his ouster.

And the Brazilian Supreme Court green-lighting a criminal inquiry last week into Bolsonaro for his handling of the matter. Leading to a palpable sense of anger amongst protesters and opposition lawmakers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a dollar that Bolsonaro and the ministry of health wanted to earn on each vaccine they bought on the life of every Brazilian.

We have more than 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in our country and it is the result of genocidal policy which trivialized the strength of coronavirus and our country. DARLINGTON: With the protests against Bolsonaro likely to gather steam

as the investigation runs its course the death toll from COVID-19 still rising. Albeit more slowly than before with more people joining the ranks of the grieving as the pandemic rages silently on.

Shasta Darlington, CNN -- Sao Paulo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: So the race to vaccinate against the coronavirus isn't justifying (ph) across Europe as several countries are seeing a rise in the more transmissible Delta variant. While many European countries have already vaccinated tens of millions of people, the president of the European Commission warns a growing number of vaccine doses are going unused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The Delta variant is spreading. This is worrisome. And if I look at the data we have -- we see that more vaccine doses are left unused.

And of course, part of this is linked to increased deliveries. But we have -- part is certainly also linked to vaccination hesitancy. But also part of it is linked to organizational issues.

So the struggle is on to keep up a high pace of vaccinations as we reach the more skeptical part of the population.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Ursula von der Leyen says the E.U. is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population by the end of this month. So far more than half of the E.U.'s population have received at least one dose.

Now the Olympics are now just more than two weeks away and Japan is still scrambling to vaccinate its population. Like in parts of Europe the slow rollout has faced its share of vaccine hesitancy.

And now a report from the "Daily Beast" found an investigation is being launched to discover why thousands of vaccine doses have been ruined.

Investigative journalist Jake Adelstein joins me now from Tokyo. He's also the author of "Pay the Devil in Bitcoin". And thanks for joining us.

This is extraordinary and quite bizarre. What have you been able to find out in terms of whether or not these doses were deliberately spoiled?

JAKE ADELSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, you know, there's always human error involved. But in the nine municipalities they looked at, there are four that are very suspicious. Two of them in which people taped the cords into place. Another one where the attendant, I think in Osaka, made sure that they couldn't trip over the cord and pull it out.

So, you know, Japan is experiencing a sort of anti-vax movement now in which after one of these incidents, in which a cord was unplugged. A man named (INAUDIBLE) Masayuki, who is kind of a politician and an anti-vaxxer put out a hashtag which was #PullThePlug, which gained a lot of support and a lot of anger.

[01:39:54]

ADELSTEIN: Because as you said previously people are scrambling to get vaccinated here before the Olympics with the great worry that athletes from foreign countries are going to bring new variants of COVID-19 into Japan where only about 9 percent of the population is vaccinated.

And Japan has its own variant which may get out into the world when the Olympics comes. So, you know, ideally people would be getting vaccinated. But there are hard-core anti vaxxers who believe that the vaccine is evil. That you should not be wearing a mask. And they are making themselves heard.

NEWTON: That is quite a thing though to have a hashtag. I mean, no matter how obscure, obviously it's out there.

I'm curious to know from you, do you think that opposition to the Olympics and the fact that there are all these athletes descending on Japan, do you think that's also mixed with the vaccine hesitancy somehow?

ADELSTEIN: It's a very strange thing because one of these groups that is not anti-vaccine, it's also pro-Olympics. So you would think that those two would not go together.

But Chinito (ph) who wrote this article with me, ran into the guy with the pull the plug hashtag on Twitter, and he's pro Olympic but anti- vaccine and also very xenophobic.

I think he called her in Japanese, the equivalent of a gaijin a swear word. So it's strange, the pro Olympic people are also anti-vaxxers. And not necessarily anti Olympic. So they are a very hard crew to figure out.

NEWTON: Yes. And gaijin for those who don't know, who's a foreigner or a white person, I guess, in Japan. And correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

I want to try and boil this down to as we are used to, the times that I'm in Japan, they seem with publican health fairly compliant. You do see, for decades I saw people wearing masks in Japan. What is mixed into the we will call it, the daily regular vaccine hesitancy?

I mean, because you would think that the population at this point would want to get out there and get it.

ADELSTEIN: Absolutely. People have no problem with influenza and other vaccines. But there has been seeds of doubt which is the majority people who don't want to get vaccinated have expressed hesitancy about whether it's effective or not.

And then there is about 70 percent of people who say they're hesitating on the vaccine are worried about the side effects, especially the second shot.

But generally it differs from the anti-vaccine movement in the United States where the idea that the vaccines themself are evil, or wanted to do harm, or are going to micro tag you with something and lets you be tracked. That's not there. But there's an idea that this is new, it's untested. Is the risk of not getting vaccinated greater than the risk of vaccinated. And Japan is very risk-averse.

There's also this kind of well, when everybody else gets vaccinated, I will vaccinated too. Or what they also called if everybody crosses the red light at the same time, then it's ok to cross the red light.

NEWTON: Right. Yes, definitely this is just so complicated. And obviously different in each country and culturally.

Thanks for spelling it out for us. Appreciate it.

ADELSTEIN: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now a former Afghan translator gets some shocking news from the U.S. government after living in the states for years. He now faces deportation over a scrap of bread. He wants the president to make it right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're sitting across from President Biden right now, but would you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a leader. And Promises made, but promises have to be kept.

[01:43:35]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: Time is running out for thousands of translators who worked with the United States in Afghanistan. And they risk being hunted down by the Taliban unless the U.S. can relocate them and their families.

Now, one translator made it to the U.S. years ago. But now faces deportation all because of a piece of bread.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has this story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZALMAY NIAZI, FORMER AFGHAN INTERPRETER: You have engaged in a terrorist activity.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's a short sentence that could end up being a death sentence. (on camera): How did that make you feel?

NIAZI: It blew my mind. How can they say that? Just -- they should've told me that you don't deserve to live in this great country.

JIMENEZ: Zalmay Niazi, or Zi as he's known, worked as an Afghan interpreter for the U.S. military for roughly two years starting in 2007 and came to the United States in 2014 making a home for himself in Iowa.

NIAZI: I just want to be alive.

JIMENEZ: But his story started much earlier when the 33-year-old was just 9. And he says he and other kids were forced by the Taliban to get them bread.

NIAZI: Motorcycles stopped right by our house, and there were 5 or 6 of us and said, everyone of you are going home and bring a piece of bread. Otherwise we will burn this house and we will do this.

And I was scared. I had to. I thought I was a hero. I've protected my family. And the bread was not bigger than a cell phone.

JIMENEZ: Zi told that story during his asylum interview with the U.S. officials. And now the United States says he engaged in terrorist activity. Niazi suspects they're referring to the bread incident.

NIAZI: I applied for political asylum. It's my right. I want to be alive.

JIMENEZ: His future in the U.S. is in question. Years after that interview the Homeland Security Department sent him this document saying "This is not a denial of your asylum application. But your asylum application has been referred to an immigration judge for adjudication and removal proceedings. The immigration judge will evaluate your asylum claim independently and is not required to follow the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services evaluation that Niazi had engaged in terrorist activity."

KEITH HERTING, PARNER, HERLING LAW: What they do is instead say rather than decide whether or not you meet all the statutory requirements for an asylum , we're going to say that you were intelligible to walk into the country in first place.

JIMENEZ: Back in Afghanistan, Zi, says the Taliban still threatens his family. They killed his uncle.

NIAZI: I couldn't see that picture. It was always a shock for me.

JIMENEZ: Now he fears he may suffer the same fate if the Biden administration deports him back to Afghanistan.

NIAZI: By the U.S. government I got tagged a terrorist. By the Taliban I got tagged as a U.S. spy.

I am human too. I want to be alive. JIMENEZ (on camera): If you're sitting across from President Biden ran

now, what would you say to him?

NIAZI: You are a leader. And promises made -- but promises have to be kept.

JIMENEZ: Now President Biden has said that Afghan interpreters who risked their life for the U.S. are welcome here.

Separately when we asked the United States Citizen and Immigration Services about Niazi's case they told us asylum applications are confidential and they don't discuss what is inside them.

Moving forward Niazi awaits a court date with an immigration judge but his attorney says that even if they lose they will appeal because at their core they believe his life is worth more than a piece of bread.

Omar Jimenez, CNN -- Des Moines, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: More bodies have been recovered from the Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside, Florida. Search crews have found 8 more in the past 24 hours. That brings the confirmed death toll to 36 with more than 100 people still unaccounted for.

Crews have been battling wind and rain as the outer bands of Hurricane Elsa pummel Florida. Despite that, the mayor of Miami-Dade County says no one is giving up.

[01:49:56]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Search and rescue continues throughout the night. And these teams continue through extremely adverse and challenging conditions. Through the rain and through the wind they have continued searching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Elsa is expected to make landfall late Wednesday morning on Florida's Gulf Coast well north of Miami.

Meteorologist Tyler Mauldin has more.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi there, Paula.

So taking a look at tropical storm -- now Tropical Storm Elsa, so the 2:00 a.m. update has just literally, literally just gotten it from the National Hurricane Center. It's no longer a hurricane, it looks. It's been downgraded to a tropical storm.

They had a flare up around dinnertime on Tuesday, which helped it gain its hurricane status back to Category One status -- Category One hurricane. But it looks like it has, since weekend it's moving to the north and as it moves to the north it's going to continue to sling these outer bands into the peninsula.

You can see the tail of that activity all the way down here into the keys. Again that is pushing to the east and up to the north.

And everyone in this red box here, you're under a tornado watch. And that tornado watch is in effect until 8:00 this morning because those bands as soon as they hit the land they start to twist, they start rotate. That can give way to some tornado warnings.

Really heavy rainfall across the peninsula of Florida because many of these cities have been dealing with rain for 48 straight hours. And some of us are seeing isolated spots up to 6 inches of rainfall.

And the storm is right offshore of Tampa Bay and this is coinciding with high tide. And it's causing the storm surge to be elevated.

So in Clear Water in Tampa-St. Pete area where we are really looking at a fairly significant storm surge occurring right now and it will continue to occur.

Paula, as you can see, this is going to push up the East Coast as we go through the rest of this week. So the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. needs to keep a close eye on it.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. Still a lot of rain in that storm even if the winds do diminish.

Tyler, thanks for the update. Appreciate it.

MAULDIN: You got it.

Now, the Cannes film Festival is back with some notable changes this year. How the pandemic has altered one of the world's most prestigious movie competitions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: Legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar has died at the age of 98. He passed away in Mumbai after a long illness. Kumar is being remembered for his great contribution to Indian cinema.

He became one of Bollywood's biggest stars by the 1950s and went on to receive eight Filmfare awards for best actor.

Glitz, the glamour and the stars have all returned to the French Riviera. The Cannes Film Festival is back one year after the pandemic forced it to shut down.

As Cyril Vanier reports, COVID is still casting a big shadow, making this year's festival unlike any other.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After a year of washout, organizers of the Cannes Film Festival are rolling out the red carpet once again ahead of its 74th edition. [01:54:49]

VANIER: Canceled last year and usually held in May, this year the festival will run from July 6th to 17. And it is back with a stacked lineup. 24 films from 16 countries will be competing for the grand prize.

Those in the running include "Annette" starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. Actor and Director Sean Penn's "Flag Day". And Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch" starring Timothee Chalamet. "Malcolm X" director Spike Lee will be heading the diverse jury from southern countries.

SCOTT ROXBOROUGH, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": The whole film industry has been so hard hit by COVID and by the cinema lockdowns that came with the safety measures that everyone is really hoping that this Cannes will be sort of a kicking off point, a sort of a re-opening, a sort of re-entry back into the world for the whole film industry.

VANIER: But festival organizers have made it clear that this year's edition will be unlike any other. Strict safety and health measures will be in place. That means stars won't be exchanging kisses and hugs on the red carpet steps.

Although France lifted its coronavirus curfew and mask ordinances in June, festival attendees will have to wear masks indoors. Testing centers have sprung up next to the festival venue.

Guests will spit saliva into tubes and those who can't provide negative COVID test results will be turned away. The usual glamorous parties will also be scaled down. All in an effort to keep moviegoers and festival attendees safe.

DAVID LISNARD, MAYOR -- CANNES, FRANCE (through translator): Well there is no situation with zero risk. But objectively speaking, it is safer to go see a film at the festival then to go shopping in a supermarket.

VANIER: Many businesses such as the restaurants and hotels are relying on the festival to help recoup their losses from the COVID lockdown.

MELANIE DE PREST, OWNER, L'EPICURIEN RESTAURANT (through translator): We missed it in terms of finances too. We won't lie. We are thrilled. We remain positive since the beginning of the crisis. So we are delighted to see tourists again.

VAUSE: With some international travel restrictions still in place the number of high spending tourists will be lower than usual. But still a welcomed sight.

Cyril Vanier, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Boots were made not just for walking but marching. Boots not high heels. But the Ukrainian military had every intention of forcing female soldiers to wear high heels while marching in a military parade next month to celebrate the country's independence.

That is until the growing outrage forced the defense ministry to finally reassess. It initially pushed back on the criticism but now that the Ukrainian defense minister says he has issued orders for new, improved, comfortable footwear. Hallelujah.

Thanks for watching. I'm Paula Newton. There is more CNN NEWSROOM up after the break.

[01:57:55]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)