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Canada to Reopen Border to Fully Vaccinated Americans; England Lifts COVID Rules as Delta Variant Surges Worldwide; Warning System Face Scrutiny in Wake of Disaster in Europe; At Least 150 Killed in Weekend Shooting Across U.S.; Ben & Jerry's to Stop Sales in Palestinian Territories; Covid Cases Overshadowing Start of Olympic Games. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 20, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Isa Soares. Welcome back.

Now in just a few weeks Canada will reopen its border with the U.S., first time since March of last year, starting August 9 fully vaccinated Americans are eligible to cross the border. About half of all Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 really surpassing the rate in the United States. And Canada has nearly reached its goal of vaccinations in order to achieve herd immunity. We have more from now from CNN's Paula Newton.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After 16 long months, Canada says it is finally ready to reopen its borders to international travelers. First up, fully vaccinated Americans and U.S. residents currently living in the United States can come to Canada beginning August 9 and they won't have to quarantine for two weeks.

Next up, international travelers. Again, this only applies to fully vaccinated international travelers and they can come September 7 without having to quarantine for two weeks. Now all of this comes as Canada passes a significant milestone more than 50 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated. They have surpassed the United States and that's with having started in the spring with a punishing third wave of COVID-19 and scarcity of vaccines. Canada says though that there will be no victory lap here. It's being cautious and saying what it's really aiming for is at least 75 percent of its population to be fully vaccinated by September.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


SOARES: Well meanwhile, the United States isn't making any commitment about reopening its side of the border with Canada. The White House says it's continuing to review travel restrictions and any decisions on reopening will be guided by the medical experts. While here in England, the country's Freedom Day is having an impact

on U.S. travelers, the U.S. State Department is now warning Americans against any travel to the U.K. after England lifted all of its COVID rules after more than a year of restrictions.

CNN's Nina dos Santos is live for us in London. And Nina, this decision by the U.S. State Department of course coming as the U.K. recorded more than 48,000 new cases on Monday and of course it comes on the same day that the country fully reopened. How has it been received and how are Brits crucially interpreting the government message?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has to be said that the U.S. move hasn't really gained huge amount of traction over here in the U.K. because obviously the British public has been largely focused on what Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, had to say about that so-called Freedom Day which by the way only really applies here in England, Isa. There are other parts of the U.K. like Scotland and Wales that have the rights on set their own health care rules and they are taking a far more slowly, slowly cautious approach to lifting these restrictions then lifting them in one fell swoop like the rest of the U.K., the large part of it which is England has done.

Having said that though, the U.S. guidance about travel that comes actually after the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, already took similar guidance a while back. So it isn't a surprise there I suppose for international travelers, but what it does, it highlights the concerns that people are having about, A, the delta variant first identified in India, getting a bigger foothold here in the U.K. and how it is basically ravaging its way through the United Kingdom.

As you pointed out those figures those figures there in terms of daily COVID infections, you know, heading towards that mark that Boris Johnson two weeks ago said they were going to head towards, towards the 50,000 level. And we know that there is about 4,000 people also in hospital in England as well. Boris Johnson continuing to say that the vaccination rate and the fact that so many more people in the U.K. are vaccinated has broken that link between hospitalizations and severe disease from COVID and the rising rate of infection.

But when you think about the fact that Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, who by the way is currently isolating after having contracting COVID himself, has warned that in a few weeks' time, we could be seeing infection rates of over 100,000. It's very, very clear that this is a country despite the so-called Freedom Day for England that is in the midst of a serious wave of COVID-19. And that is something that the government has to contend with.

Also it's one of the reasons, Isa, just briefly why they are doing some U-turns on things like trying to make sure that there's a COVID vaccination passport scheme in September for youngsters going into night clubs and so on, so forth -- Isa.

SOARES: And we know how controversial that is. Nina dos Santos, thank you very much. Nina, great to see you. Now, as the U.S. grapples with record wildfires, scores of people are

dead from flooding in Europe. Germany's environment minister says climate change has arrived and a top EU official says the time to act is now. Take a listen.



URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The big picture is clear. We have to do more on climate protection and we have to do more on climate adaptation. So be resilient also for those incidents and we have to act quickly.


SOARES: Ursula van der Leyen there.

The flooding death toll in Germany and Belgium has reached 195 people. And officials are facing tough questions about whether more could have been done to save lives. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports for you.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Often heavy lifting equipment is needed to even begin the cleanup.

Yoke Abilo (ph) shows us how high the water rose as the town of Ahrweiler was in inundated, destroying nearly everything he owns.

It all went so fast, he said, only about 15 minutes and the water was almost up to the ceiling here.

One of Yoke Abilo's (ph) neighbors, an elderly lady couldn't get to safety fast enough and was swept away. Her body later found nearby he says.

As the death toll from the massive floods continues to rise, some are asking, why weren't there more warnings about the impending disaster. Both the Belgian and German Weather Services issued severe weather warnings. Still, many were caught off guard.

PLEITGEN: One thing many people who live here tell us is that they were surprised at how fast the water levels here began to rise, tearing through the embankment, destroying everything in its path and killing scores of people.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Some weather experts say Germany's early warning system simply failed.

KARSTEN BRANDT, DONNERWTTER.DE (through translator): So, meteorologists did warn them. But these warnings were apparently not heard. They were not implemented in measures that one could act or could act sufficiently so that one could protect people. PLEITGEN (voice-over): The German government says its main priority right now is helping those affected. The country's interior minister who he visited the flood-stricken areas on Monday says now is not the time to place blame.

HORST SEEHOFER, GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): We shouldn't make unnecessary changes. centralism won't improve anything here. We need certain central units, but the technical assistance agency, which is then brought in to offer support, but we do not need a decision-making authority in Berlin.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): In the most affected areas, people are in no mood to point fingers but rather to offer helping hands. This school class is clearing mud from their headmaster's apartment solidarity is unbroken in the disaster zone. But Germany understands it will have to improve its disaster management to prevent similar loss of life in the future.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN Ahrweiler, Germany.


SOARES: Now the U.K. is the latest European country sounding the alarm about extreme weather this summer. Britain's National Meteorological Service has issued their first ever extreme heat warning which will be in place through Thursday and cover the southwest U.K. where temperatures are expected to reach the lower 30 Celsius, London's hottest temperature so far this year on Sunday with mercury hitting 31 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Monday. Viewed in the United States that's roughly 87-88 Fahrenheit.

Still ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, baseball fans scramble for cover after gunfire erupted outside a stadium. Just one of the latest incidents in America's gun violence epidemic.

And new allegations that Beijing has been hiring criminals to hack and extort billions of dollars around the world. Why the White House says it's surprised by the alleged plot, that's next.



SOARES: Israel is retaliating for two rockets fired into the northern part of the country from Lebanon. The military says its Iron Dome Defense System destroyed one of the rockets, the other landed in an open field. Rocket fired from Lebanon is extremely rare. And Israel is not issuing any special guidelines or restrictions on movement indicating it doesn't expect any more launches. We'll keep on top of that story for you.

Now the United States and its allies are accusing China over widespread global cyber espionage campaign. The White House and governments in Europe and Asia accuse China's ministry of state security of using criminal contract hackers to conduct destabilizing activities around the world. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My understanding is that the Chinese government not unlike the Russian government is not doing this themselves but are protecting those who are doing it. And maybe even accommodating them being able to do it. That may be the difference.


SOARES: Well, among those alleged crimes, the massive hack of the Microsoft Exchange e-mail service in March and ransomware attack against an unspecified U.S. target. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the alleged spying, quote, a major threat to economic and national security.

The broad international coalition marks a unprecedented condemnation of Chinese cyber activity and comes at a time when President Joe Biden continues to take a hard line on China. Numerous Chinese embassies have strongly denied the allegations and accuse the U.S. and its allies of hypocrisy.

Now America's gun violence epidemic is only getting worse after yet another deadly weekend. At least 150 people were killed and more than 380 were hurt in shootings right across the United States. CNN's Brian Todd has a closer look at the latest outburst of violence.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Horrifying moments in the middle of the sixth inning at National's Stadium in Washington. Just after the announcer speaks, thumping noises that sound like gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Padres put three more on the board, 8-4.


TODD (voice-over): Fans appear to think it's a mass shooting inside the stadium. Many scramble for cover. Some running towards the team's dugouts as the announcer pleads for calm.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please, the action is outside of the stadium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outside the stadium.

ANNOUNCER: At this time, we ask you to remain in the stadium.

TODD (voice-over): This armature video shows San Diego Padres players opening a gate for fans leading them into the Padres dugout. Three people including a fan were shot and wounded just outside the stadium on Saturday night. Police say it was a dispute between people in two vehicles.

CHRIS GELDART, DEPUTY MAYOR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.: We want to make sure fans and our residents know that it is safe to come down here to the game. This was an isolated incident.

TODD (voice-over): But D.C. and many other cities don't feel safe after spasms of gun violence. On Friday night in Washington, a 6-year- old girl on a scooter was killed and five adults were injured in a drive- by shooting. According to the Gun Violence Archive, at least 150 people were killed and over 380 injured in shootings across America during a 72-hour period from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon.


In Philadelphia, a 1-year-old boy was among those shot and wounded over the weekend. That city reached its 300th homicide of the year in July for the first time in over three decades.

In Chicago between Friday and Sunday nights, at least 56 people were shot in 44 separate incidents. Chicago's police superintendent announcing a new investigation team to crack down on gun trafficking in his city, targeting illegal sellers and straw purchasers, among others.

DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: These third parties need to hear me loud and clear. We're coming for you and we're going to try to charge you with the highest charge we can.

TODD (voice-over): A number of factors may be contributing to the recent uptick in gun violence. Gun sales started to surge back in 2020 and COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted across the nation. One criminologist says some experts believe many police units have pulled back and aren't being as proactive as they were.

RICHARD ROSENFELD, CRIMINOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, ST. LOUIS: The idea here is that police have become, or many officers become demoralized as a result of the criticism the police have received around the issue of police violence and as the police draw back, crime goes up.

TODD: Professor Richard Rosenfeld says the spike in gun violence this summer is actually a continuation of a spike we started experiencing last summer. He says that he does expect the level of gun violence in the U.S. to decline in the coming months. But he said if we have another episode of police violence that goes viral like the murder of George Floyd, and it sparks protests, then all bets are off.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SOARES: Still ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, why Ben & Jerry's plans to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli occupied Palestinian territories. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SOARES: Ben & Jerry's says it will no longer sell ice cream in Israeli occupied Palestinian territories. Calling it inconsistent with the company values. The company says it won't renew its agreement with its license -- at least the licensing in Israel after next year. But the ice cream will continue to be sold in Israel through a different arrangement. Those were their words. Now Israeli politicians are blasting the decision. CNN's Hadas Gold is live in Jerusalem for us this hour. Hadas, what is the company saying it hopes to achieve with this move and critically, what has been the reaction from the Israeli government?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Isa, Ben & Jerry's, although it's an ice cream brand, it is well-known for its political stances. Everything from having different flavors to its donations to different causes. But it has been relatively quiet on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict although the company have faced pressure from activists for years and that has been ratcheted up in the last few months especially as tensions have flared in this region. And so we received a statement from Ben & Jerry's. All read part of it to you.

Where they say that we believe it is inconsistent in our values for Ben & Jerry's ice cream to be sold in the occupied Palestinian territory. We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.

Ben & Jerry's in Israel is manufactured and actually sold by an Israeli licensee that has held this license for more than 30 years. Now Ben & Jerry's says that they will end that contract when it is supposed to end at the end of 2022, but as you know, the ice cream will continue to be sold within Israel itself through a different arrangement, although they did not detail what that arrangement will actually look like.

But the reaction from Israeli politicians has been swift and angry. There have been videos of certain Israeli politicians throwing away their pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I want to read you part of a tweet from the Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. He said Ben & Jerry's decision represents shameful surrender to anti-Semitism to BDS -- which is the Boycott Israeli Products movement -- and to all that is wrong with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse. We will not be silent.

The Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also calling the move morally wrong saying that he has been on the phone with the CEO of Unilever which owns Ben & Jerry's to rebuke this decision -- Isa.

SOARES: Do we know how long this will last and how -- give me a sense, Hadas, how popular Ben & Jerry's is in Israel?

GOLD: Well, I can tell you as somebody who shops in Jerusalem and in the area, that you see it sold at nearly every corner store, many grocery stores. It's quite popular. It has been here since -- it's been licensed in Israel since 1987. Now, we don't have many details on exactly how this new arrangement will work. And also whether the ice cream will then be made available in the West Bank in the Palestinian territories through another licensee there. All of those details have not necessarily been given out. All we know is that the contract with the Israeli licensee will end at the end of 2022.

SOARES: Hadas Gold for us in Jerusalem this hour. Thanks very much, Hadas.

And this news just in from Japan for you, Tokyo has reported nearly 1,400 new COVID cases three days out from the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Patrick Snell has more on the COVID cloud of these games in our minute in sports -- Patrick.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Isa, thanks so much. Tokyo 2020 already delayed a year, remember, due to the global pandemic. On Monday we learned American gymnast Kara Eaker had tested positive for coronavirus. Her test result confirmed by her father Mark. The 18- year-old testing positive despite no symptoms and being vaccinated. And Katie Lou Samuelson a member of the U.S. Olympic 3x3 women's basketball team also out of the games due to a COVID diagnosis.

Meantime while the opening ceremony isn't until Friday, some sport starting Wednesday in Japan. Australia taking on the host nation in softball. Italy facing the United States, while in women's football, Sweden and world champions the USA meet in Tokyo.

More ugly fallout from the British Grand Prix after formally won superstar Lewis Hamilton was the target of online racist abuse after his win at Silverstone. Hamilton's team Mercedes, Formula One and the sport's governing body all condemning the abuse in the strongest possible terms.


And later tonight here in the U.S., game six of the NBA finals as the Milwaukee Bucks look to close out the series against the Phoenix Suns and seal a first title since 1971. And with that is right back to you -- Isa.


SOARES: Thank you very much Patrick.

Well, in just over four hours, billionaire Jeff Bezos is set to fulfill his date with destiny. The Amazon founder and three others are scheduled to launch into space for 11 glorious minutes before returning to earth on a spacecraft Bezos' company built. And while many are critical that only a few wealthy people will have the means to really afford these flights, others see this as an opportunity to expand space travel.


NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, DIRECTOR, HAYDEN PLANETARIUM: This should have been happening decades ago. There's no reason why government should have had the monopoly that they did on people's access to space for like 50 years. So that's my first comments. Second, something not highly discussed or widely discussed is that

these two billionaires are not the first billionaire to go into space. Charles Simoni who was one of the Microsoft billionaires bought a seat on the Russian Soyuz capsule and visited the space station. So I just want to put that out there.

I think if you can open up a new business sector, go for it. I don't have any problem with that. And of course it doesn't become really money-making until it becomes more widely available, becomes sort of a commodity for everybody. So I look forward to that for sure.


SOARES: And of course before we go, a quick reminder for you space enthusiasts, CNN will have special coverage of the Blue Origin launch on Tuesday -- today. It's scheduled for 9:00 a.m. if you are watching in New York, or 2:00 p.m. here in London.

And that wraps up this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Isa Soares coming to you live from London. "EARLY START" with Laura Jarrett and Julia Chatterley is next. Have a wonderful Tuesday. Please stay right here of course with CNN, bye, bye.