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Smoldering Heat Affects Athletes in Japan; COVID-19 Cases in Japan Continue to Rise; Delta Variant Fueling COVID-19 Cases in Asia; England Makes it Easy for U.S. and E.U. Tourists to Visit U.K.; Millions of Americans Still Skeptical of Getting Their Jabs. Aired 3- 3:45a ET

Aired July 29, 2021 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): It's not just COVID. Heat is now taking a toll at the Olympics in Japan. Tennis player Daniil Medvedev called for medical help during a match, saying he had trouble breathing. And he told an official that he could finish the match but might die.

The U.K. is about to welcome visitors from the U.S. without a quarantine. Meanwhile, the U.S. is dealing with a new COVID surge and new mask mandates.

Plus, Cuba's crackdown on dissent. We'll hear from family members of those arrested.

Welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.

We begin in Japan, where a public health expert is warning that the rising number of COVID cases in Tokyo is raising the risk to those inside the Olympic bubble. Already today, American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks has tested positive, ending his Olympic hopes.

Members of Australia's track and field team were sent into isolation as a precautionary measure, but we've just learned that they have been given the all clear of return.

Meanwhile, the city is sweltering in a hot and humid summer as some competitors are struggling as a result. Spain's Paula Badosa left the tennis court in a wheelchair after retiring from her quarter match.

Now there is relief from the heat in the pool, and plenty of medals as well. We have CNN's Blake Essig standing live in Tokyo. But we start here with World Sport anchor Patrick Snell. Patrick, what are the big stories you've been watching today?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Kim, there's many storylines again. As we've seen pretty much every day so far at this Tokyo 2020 games. Let's begin in the aquatic center way. U.S. super star Caeleb Dressel, and emotional Caeleb Dressel I'll point out, he's won the 100 meters freestyle final, a time of 47.02 seconds a little earlier today, that an Olympic record. This is the 24-year-olds first individual Olympic gold. He previously earned three relay gold medals, including the men's four by one 100-meter freestyle relay, earlier at these games.

Australia's Kyle Chalmers has taken the silver medal, while the Russian swimmer Kliment Kolesnikov winning bronze. Now as mentioned, Dressel getting really emotional afterwards, and we are going to bring you more on his triumph in later Thursday edition of World Sport. Coming up, in just over 40 minutes in fact from right now.

Meantime, another golden moment for team USA, as Dressel, (Inaudible) Bobby Finke produces a superb performance to win gold. This is another great story. Just 21 years of age. He's a senior at the University of Florida here in the U.S., in his very first Olympics too, just powering his way to victory, in the 800-meter freestyle, a really impressive late surge shocking the Italian swimmer, Gregorio Paltrinieri who led for much of the race.

This is the first time, by the way, a man's 800 freestyle has taken place at an Olympics, a bit of history there. China has sealed a gold medal I can tell you in the women's four by two 100-meter freestyle relay, finishing with a time of 7 minutes 40.33 seconds, breaking the world mark, China with hat point leading 14th gold medal.

Frustrations, though, for the U.S. anchored by their super star Katie Ledecky. America almost catching up with their eyeballs but falling short in the end and winning silver, Australia bronze there, so another busy day so far in the Japanese capital.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. Now obviously one of the biggest stories we've been following, Simone Biles.


BRUNHUBER: We've heard more from her now. What did she say?

SNELL: Yes, she took to social media, obviously following the story, Kim, very, very closely indeed. The wait though, it's the big question, the wait, will she compete again. The wait is on to see if Biles will return to competition at these games after she withdrew, remember, from the individual all-around competition. That's later on today, focusing on her mental health.

Athletes continue -- this has been really heartening to see, Kim, athletes rallying around in support to he, that's been really heartwarming indeed for the 24-year-old.

She did take to social media not too long ago, on Thursday. These are the words. The outpouring of love and support I have received just made me realize I am more than my accomplishments, and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.

On Wednesday, Biles appearing in person to show her support for American's men's gymnastics team. Her withdrawal coming though after while she stepped away from a team competition earlier in the week, saying she wants to protect her body and her mind, very, very challenging times, Kim.

And we are following this one very closely indeed, as I say. And we, you know, in later edition of World Sport, also we are going to have a look at what the IOC are now doing to try and help athletes in the face of mental health, because renewed focus and scrutiny and pressure really on them.


BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely.


BRUNHUBER: So, we'll catch up with later in --

SNELL: Sure.

BRUNHUBER: -- World Sport this hour. Thank you so much, Patrick Snell, I appreciate it.

Well, athletes are trying to beat the heat, but the humidity is making it worse.

So, let's bring in our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. Pedram, they are saying this could be the hottest Olympic Games ever, and so far, it's really taking a toll on the athletes.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, when you look at this, Kim, when you go back on the data when it comes to Olympics and games, you've got to go back to 1984 when you kind of factor the heat, the humidity. And you back to Los Angeles Olympics 1984. This comes at the very top right up there with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when it factors in the humidity and the excessive heat.

And of course, this go around and humidity at extreme values, we've got tropical systems that are cruising by every few weeks it seems. And of course, one recently cruise by and increasing the moisture content in the atmosphere, and increasing the chance of thunderstorms scattered about the region.

And that's precisely what we are aiming for, for an afternoon high of 30 degrees. Now we climb up to 32 on Saturday, maybe doesn't seem all that excessive, 30 to 32 degrees, we've all been outside experienced those temperatures, maybe even when on the job. But when you are playing at an Olympic level value here with the athletes at these high levels at this humidity certainly makes it entirely different experience.

And you look at the moisture content in the atmosphere. We know that some of these tennis matches have been pushed back into about say, three in the afternoon because that is precisely where the humidity is expected to be its lowest that around 70 percent. So still far from a dry day, but as you go into the overnight hours and early morning hours humidity do increase back up to about 90 percent.

And when you factor in tennis courts in particular, you've got to keep in mind that courts are generally made of asphalt and concrete. I looked at the maker of the asphalt tennis courts for the 2020 Olympics there in Tokyo, and yes, they are comprised of this material which tends to radiate and cause additional heat at the surface level for these players.

So, if you think maybe tennis players are dealing with this or maybe complaining a little too much about it, well, it has to do with this. Temperatures are about 5 to 10 degrees above the ambient value because of that radiation taking place at the court level for these players.

So, at the airport, where official the observations come in, we tell you the heat indices or what it feels like, this around say, 32, 33, and even 34 degrees. That's plenty hot, but again, at the court level it will feel considerably warmer. Now your body combats this pretty efficiently, it sweats, it releases as much as 22 percent of your body's heat from evaporative cooling.

But of course, when it's humid outside, that sweat sits on your skin, it doesn't evaporate and it alters your sodium and potassium within your blood and of course it becomes a very dangerous scenario when you are trying to compete at these high levels, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. All right, thanks so much, Pedram Javaheri. I appreciate it.

Well it's not just the heat and humidity posing a threat to athletes. COVID infections in the Japanese capital have broken records for two days in a row.

CNN's Blake Essig is live in Tokyo. Blake, the list of athletes having to isolate and drop out due to COVID is growing, this in the context, as I mentioned of rising case numbers across the country. What's the latest there?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, Kim, for months we've talked about the potential for this nightmare scenario that with tens of thousands of people coming to Japan from all over the world, more than 200 countries and territories. These Olympic Games could in fact turn into an Olympic-sized super spreader event.

Now it's still early but at this point daily testing, COVID strict counter measures, contact tracing, so far things have actually proven to be effective and things at this point are looking pretty good, you know, to avoid that potential super spreader event.

Since the beginning of July, 198 games related infections have been reported, that includes 24 positive cases from inside the Olympic Village, with at least 29 athletes being ruled out after testing positive either here in Japan or before entering the country most recently. That includes an Argentinian pole vaulter who tested positive today.

And not too long ago, we also learned that members of Australia's track and field team, three members were in isolation after being considered, not necessarily close contacts, but brief contacts with someone from team USA track and field who tested positive. These athletes initially entered isolation out of precaution, but have since been given the all clear and after taking a PCR test and can resume regular activity, so it's good news for them.

While Olympic related cases remain low, the same cannot be said for Japan. Nationwide, for the first time since the pandemic began the daily case count has exceeded 9,000. And just yesterday, nearly 3,200 cases were reported in Tokyo. That is the highest daily total for the capital ever recorded. Take a listen.


MASA TAKAYA, TOKYO 2020 SPOKESMAN (through translator): As a city resident myself, and as an organizer, my heart hurts that case numbers are rising.



ESSIG (on camera): And despite a fourth state of emergency order being put in place, the infection rate continues to climb. And there are serious concern for a medical system that's already strained. Now under the current state of emergency measures relied mainly on asking residents and restaurants to not serve alcohol, to shut their doors and for residents to stay indoors.

But with the Olympics underway the mood has been shifting and many people are ignoring requests to stay indoors, instead venturing out to look at Olympic venues. As a result, Japan's top coronavirus advisor has urged the government to send out a strong message to people warning about the potential strain on the health care system. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: But will they listen? All right. Thanks so much. Blake Essig in Tokyo. I appreciate it.

The World Health Organization says COVID cases worldwide were up 8 percent last week, about 3.8 million new infections. It includes a surge in cases in Asia, that's being largely attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong. Kristie, cases in the region continue to hit new high. What's the latest there?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, along with low vaccination rates COVID-19 has turned into an unfolding horror story across the region including Thailand. Thailand this day reporting a record number of daily coronavirus cases, over 17,000 new cases of the virus. It also earlier today reported a daily high, a record high in the number of deaths caused by COVID-19.

Now Thailand as we've been reporting has also been running out of beds. Officials there have been resorting to turning old railway cars into COVID-19 isolation wards, even turning in old cargo warehouse in an airport in Bangkok into a COVID-19 field hospital with 1,800 beds.

This is the latest of the situation in Thailand.


LU STOUT (voice over): He collapsed and died on a Bangkok backstreet, a 54-year-old motorcycle taxi driver, suffering from COVID-19. He didn't know until it was too late, his niece tells CNN.

CHONLADA U-TARASAI, NIECE OF COVID-19 VICTIM (through translator): I was speechless when I saw those photos, I was shocked. I was looking for the answer as to why my uncle had to die in such a way, why did he have to die in the street like that? How did Thailand come to this point?

LU STOUT: Thailand's capital is known as a regional health care hub, a destination for high quality care, and now makeshift COVID wards are necessary. The government will repurpose train carriages to isolate positive patients. Nationwide, cases climb still over 16,000 announced on Wednesday, and faith in the country's unelected leaders is faltering.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I'm not 100 percent confident in this government. They are so slow which has led to a lot of people dying. A lot of people have been infected now. I want them to do better.


LU STOUT (on camera): No faith in Thailand, no faith in Myanmar as well where a COVID-19 catastrophe there has been compounded not only by the deadly military coup but also ongoing flooding taking place in the southeastern part of the country.

The Myanmar military has been arresting doctors who have been caring for COVID-19 patients independently so doctors are in hiding in Myanmar. Across the border and it shows a very porous border with China, we've seen that uptick in cases recently in the Chinese border city of Ruili. But also, the outbreak continues to grow in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. More pandemic restrictions are being brought back to that Chinese city.

And cases are rising in Vietnam, in a once a successful pandemic success story, rather. Cases are rising there for seven consecutive days. The country there surpassing 6,000 daily cases. Back to you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All very worrying. All right. Thanks so much, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Vaccine hesitancy is growing in parts of the U.S. despite rising COVID cases nationwide. We'll have the details just ahead.

And England changes its quarantine policy for some tourist in a bid to revive the travel industry. We'll have details ahead. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Beginning Monday England will allow fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and the E.U. to avoid quarantine. It's a long-awaited boost to the tourism sector. Now it comes despite rise in new COVID cases after a period of declining numbers.

Salma Abdelaziz is in London with the latest. Selma, a huge boost to anyone in the travel and tourism industries.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely and a huge excitement for all of us who have family and friends back in the United States. So, what are the new rules, Kim? Well, starting 4 a.m., British standard time on Monday, if you have proof of vaccination, either from the U.S. authorities, you're coming from the United States or from E.U. authorities, E.U. medicine regulators and you can show that proof of double vaccination, then you will be allowed to come in without quarantining.

Even if you're on an amber list country, except for France. So really exciting these doors are opening up. You're still going to be required though, however, to take a pre-departure PCR test, and you are going to have to take another test two days after your arrival in either England, Wales or Scotland. That's where these rules will apply. Northern Ireland is separate of course on these rules.

But this is something that we've been anticipating for some time, and it begins to show us, Kim, how we can regulate whether or not someone is double vaccinated. How authorities can begin to recognize those who are doubly vaccinated and give them those additional benefits.

And it does come at a time when the U.K. had been dealing with the spike in cases due to the Delta variant that has waned for a period of time, we had about seven days in which the numbers were decreasing, that seven-day period has ended. We had the first increase in cases but the authorities say double vaccinated people do have that layer of protection.

They are -- they say they have taken the advice of scientists of medical regulators, and they say that double vaccinated people coming in that should not increase or cause any concern around new variants. And already of course, this is being welcomed, Heathrow airport says they are excited to welcome Americans and welcome tourists from Europe back to the U.K.

And we're also hearing from airliners that they're adding additional flight. So, lots of good news there for people looking to come here and see their family and friends.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. All right. Salma Abdelaziz in London, thank you so much.

While some countries struggle with a shortage of vaccines the U.S. has plenty to go around. The problem is millions of Americans are refusing to get a shot. That vaccine hesitancy remains despite a new surge in COVID infections nationwide, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates.

You're seeing that map there. It shows which parts of the country are seeing the most vaccine hesitancy, while the darker the shade, the greater it is and we're seeing it grow among some Republicans.

A new survey finds about 46 percent, who most trust far-right news say they will refuse a vaccine. In contrast, 85 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents are vaccine acceptors.

Arkansas is listed by the CDC as one of those states with high levels of COVID-19 community transmission, and combined with a low vaccination rate, COVID hospitalizations are surging once again.

CNN's Martin Savidge finds out it's leaving hospitals overwhelmed.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Vaccine backlash.

UNKNOWN: It is no evident that the COVID --


UNKNOWN: You shut down.

UNKNOWN: No, and that's been the data that they --


UNKNOWN: That the COVID --

SAVIDGE: New social media poll shows angry Arkansas residents shouting at a health expert attempting to refute misinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

UNKNOWN: You don't need to yell. I'll give you the microphone.

SAVIDGE: Community meetings like these are meant to boost the state's lagging vaccination rate.


UNKNOWN: We'd love it. Don't you keep covering --

SAVIDGE: Despite the confrontation Governor Asa Hutchinson says vaccinations are up.

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): We've had a 40 percent increase in people getting the doses.

SAVIDGE: That might sound good but it still means about 40 percent of the state's population is fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been rising daily over the past three weeks. The last time the state's ICUs had this many COVID patients was January. But one Little Rock hospital has never had so many COVID-19 patients, Arkansas children's hospital. So, throughout the pandemic, this is the worst you've seen?


SAVIDGE: Half of the hospital's young COVID patients are in the pediatric intensive care unit. At least two are on ventilators.

When a child comes in to your unit, do you question the parents and say have you been vaccinated?

BARR: We do ask.

SAVIDGE: And what do you find?

BARR: We find that often they are not vaccinated.

SAVIDGE: And if their child is here, does it change the parent's mind on the vaccine?

BARR: Absolutely, we've seen that multiple instances where they wish -- now they wish they had gotten their child vaccinated.

SAVIDGE: Sick children are a troubling trend. But in Arkansas, COVID- 19 is killing far more adults, needlessly.

RACHEL ROSSER, NURSE, MOTHER DIED OF COVID-19: I'm angry that she didn't get vaccinated. And I personally feel guilty that I didn't try harder.

SAVIDGE: Sixty-three-year-old Kim Maginn, her daughter says, loved her life, and everyone in it, especially her grandchildren.

ROSSER: She worked out five days a week with a personal trainer. She loved to go to concerts. She loved to go out to eat.

SAVIDGE: Then came the fever, the sore throat, the diagnoses, the ICU, the ventilator and the end. This is a photo of that moment. This is the point where I bring up and say, she wasn't vaccinated?

ROSSER: She was not.

SAVIDGE: What reason is that you give?

ROSSER: Not good ones, in my opinion.

SAVIDGE: Her father was also unvaccinated and that's where Rachael drew the line.

ROSSER: I broke down on his front porch one day after going to visit my mom in the ICU, and I just told him, I'm not doing this again. You need to get vaccinated. I'm not doing this again. I'm not going through this again.

SAVIDGE: He did. As for her mother, all Rachel has left is a phone full of photos and videos. Grief, and a lot of guilt. ROSSER: I think I'll always feel like I could've tried harder. To

convince her.


SAVIDGE (on camera): There a lot of families that are struggling with loved ones who have just simply refused to get the vaccination. And I asked Rachel about what advice she might have for them. She said number one, you can't shut them off, you have to continue that gentle pressure. But she also suggested a serious conversation say, all right, if that's your decision then we need to talk about, have you got a will? If you don't, make one. Do you know what kind of funeral you want? Do you want to be buried? You want to be cremated?

In other words, these very real questions that have to be answered, otherwise, the families will be left with not just the heartbreak, but all the headaches as well.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Little Rock, Arkansas.

BRUNHUBER: Well, Arkansas isn't alone, for many across the United States the decision to refuse a vaccine has now led to deep regret.

CNN's Jake Tapper has their stories.


LINDA EDWARDS, RECOVERING FROM COVID-19: I just thought if I lived through this, I want to go on a mission to try to help people to see, that it is not worth not taking the vaccine.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Emotional pleas, one after another.

CHRISTY CARPENTER, UNVACCINATED SON DIED OF COVID-19: You can take a healthy person, you know, and do what happened to my son, and take his life. Then, why wouldn't you want to take the vaccine?

TAPPER: Unvaccinated Americans who got sick and regret their decisions, or, relatives of unvaccinated Americans who died of COVID- 19, now warning others to learn from their lost loved one's mistakes.

AARON HARTLE, HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19: I didn't think I was going to get it.

TAPPER: Nurse practitioner Aaron Hartle wanted to wait to learn more about the emergency vaccine before getting it.

HARTLE: It never occurred to me that it was a choice between getting vaccinated and getting really sick.

TAPPER: Now after a fight for his life, he worries about his patients who decided against getting the shot.

HARTLE: I worry that my example to them was the wrong example.

TAPPER: Currently, 43 percent of all Americans have not been vaccinated, according to the CDC. Some don't believe medical experts.


Some hate the news media. Some are worried because the vaccine is so new and nothing is without risk. Thirty-four-year-old Stephen Harmon made fun of the vaccine posted once he has 99 problems, but a vax is not one. Harmon died from the virus last week.

Or Linda Zuern whom the Cape Cod time reported was not vaccinated and protested against the mobile vaccination program in her state, she passed away from severe COVID-19 complications, the Times said, Citing Zuern's friends and families.

PHIL VALENTINE, RADIO HOST: How is everybody doing?

TAPPER: Conservative radio host Phil Valentine not only openly dismissed the vaccine. He gave false advice to his listeners about it, even writing a parody song mocking it. But there's nothing funny about what happened to Valentine who nearly died from COVID. His family now says while he, quote, "has never been an anti-vaxxer, he regrets not being more vehemently pro- vaccine." His brother tells CNN, he's determined to get that new message to his listeners.

MARK VALENTINE, PHIL VALENTINE'S BROTHER: The very short assessment of this is that he got it wrong, and he wants to do everything he can to make sure that as many people get vaccinated as can. We want as many people as can hear my voice this morning to put politics aside and go get the vaccine.

TAPPER: Valentine may end up being one of the lucky ones, his family says his condition is improving. For others, unvaccinated Americans, nurses and doctors say some of them are now begging for a shot when it may be too late.

TAMMY DANIEL, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, BAPTIST HEALTH: You're getting ready to intubate the patient in the ICU which means putting them on a ventilator and they said, if I get the vaccine now could I not go on the ventilator? So, I mean, they are begging for it.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the head of the World health Organization on Wednesday and reaffirmed America's support for a second investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The WHO completed its first probe earlier this week and determined the virus probably originated from an animal before spreading to humans around December 2019.

The State Department says Blinken stressed that a new probe needs to be transparent and free from interference. Last week China announced it wouldn't participate in another investigation.

Coming up after the break.


CROWD: Freedom, freedom.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): A rare show of public discontent in Cuba has reportedly led to hundreds of arrests. We'll have the latest from Havana just ahead. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER (on camera): Welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.


Diplomatic talks between the U.S. and Russia got underway in Switzerland, Wednesday, on one of the few issues where they apparently see eye to eye. Now, in political lingo, it's called strategic stability dialogue. But in layman's terms, it's avoiding war, trying to lower the tensions between the two nuclear rivals and lay the groundwork for future arms control. The two top negotiators greeted each other with an elbow bump, instead of a conventional handshake.

And as Kylie Atwood reports, the talks got off to a good start.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Now, the State Department called the U.S. talks with Russia over strategic stability both professional and substantive. And frankly, this is one of those rare topics that the U.S. and Russia both see it as in their interest to discuss with the other country, because both countries are working on things that the other one feels threatened by.

On the Russian side, they are building up their military might in the arctic. They are also working on an unmanned torpedo powered by a nuclear reactor. That is something that the U.S. is looking at. On the U.S. side, they are also working on nuclear projects that Russia has their eyes on.

So there is a certain level of interest in terms of sitting down, putting their cards on the table and seeing if they can come to any broad ranging agreement in terms of raining it in and bringing controls onto these programs.

There are still questions, however, as to if this strategic stability talks will also include other topics, potentially in the space arena, the space race or when it comes to cyber and potential attacks on nuclear command and control in cyberspace. That is yet to be determined.

The State Department said that the working groups in these strategic stability talks will be defined and laid out in their next meeting.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Bolivia and Nicaragua are the latest countries to pledge humanitarian aid to Cuba in response to new U.S. sanctions. Mexico and Russia have also promised to deliver aid. The U.S. sanctions specifically targeted an elite Cuban security unit known as the Black Berets for their alleged repression of recent protests.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Havana with the latest.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the largest protest since Fidel Castro's revolution swept Cuba, the Cuban government quickly struck back, carrying out mass arrests. Some protesters were forcibly detained as they chanted, "Patria y Vida" or homeland and life, the song that has become the anthem of frustration with the communist state.

One of those arrested was photographer, Anyelo Troya, who filmed part of this music video for "Patria y Vida" in Havana. Less than two weeks after the protests, Troya was tried, convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. His mother says, he told the court he did nothing wrong.

He said, how is this just when I haven't even seen a lawyer? And I am innocent, he says. Immediately, one of the police in civilian clothes, came in handcuffed him. I said, my love, be calm. You're not alone.

The Cuban government refuses to say how many people have been arrested or face trial for taking part in the unprecedented protest. An activist group put the number at almost 700. The government maintains those arrested are detained for attacking police, like in this video where protesters (inaudible) with rocks and not just for challenging the rule of the Communist Party, the only political party allowed on the island.

Having different opinions, including political ones doesn't constitute a crime, he says. Thinking differently, questioning what's going on, to demonstrate is not a crime, it's a right. But on the streets of Cuba, Elite Special Forces commandoes, known as the Black Berets, were recently placed on the sanctions list by the Biden administration for alleged acts of repression prevent for the protest from breaking out.

Many of the relatives of the people who are arrested would not talk to us on camera. They were too afraid. But some did tell us that their loved ones did nothing other than peacefully demonstrate or simply record and upload videos of the historic protests as they took place.

Odette Hernandez was arrested days after the protests, her relative say, for posting this video of the demonstrations to Facebook that have now been viewed over 100,000 times. Among the charges she and her husband face is instigation of delinquency. Odette's cousin spoke to several people who were around Odette during the protest and told us their accounts from his home in Paris.

They weren't violent. They did not throw rocks at anyone, he says. Then special troops came to get them at their home, a commanded unit with many police. Many of Cuba's top artists have criticized the government crackdown and called for amnesty for nonviolent protesters.


Amidst the mass trials, some signs of leniency as a day after we visited his home, photographer, Anyelo Troya, was released on house arrest while awaiting appeal. The government here though says, it has only just begun to prosecute those who broke the law, as all of Cuba seemingly hold its breath and wait to see what comes next.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


BRUNHUBER: Well it may sound like political deja vu, but Peru just sworn in a new president, its fifth leader in less than five years. Pedro Castillo is a left-leaning political newcomer who squeezed out a razor-thin electoral victory.

As Stefano Pozzebon reports, he will have his job cut out for him.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice over): 51-year-old and a former schoolteacher, Pedro Castillo, was sworn in as Peru's new president on Wednesday in a ceremony that was attended by the leaders of several Latin American countries, who gathered in Lima to congratulate the new president.

Castillo attended the ceremony wearing a traditional straw hat from his own region of Cajamarca, a reference to his popular and rural roots. It's the first time our country will be governed by a farmer, he said.

In his speech, Castillo also said his government would continue its fight against COVID-19, and try to vaccinate 100 percent of the country's population against the virus and announced his intention to draw reforms to Peru's constitution. He stunned the attendees saying he will not live in the presidential palace named after a Spanish conquistador from the 16th century in Lima. This is a break with tradition.

But many challenges lie ahead of the new leader with little experience in government, and a thin majority in Congress. Castillo is the fifth Peruvian president in less than five years. And the task to complete his mandate and pass all the ambitious reforms he set out to is daunting.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Rescue efforts are underway after a cloudburst triggered

heavy rain and flooding in India's territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Seven people were killed and more than a dozen injured in Wednesday's storm. Nineteen people are still missing.

The National Disaster Response Force and Indian army have been deployed to help with rescue operations. Meteorologists say intermittent rainfall is likely to continue throughout the week.

Alright, straight ahead on "CNN Newsroom," from passion to preservation, how one man is planting seeds for richer and more diverse food system? Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: One gardener in the U.K. is following his passion to conserve what remains. Adam Alexander collects, grows and saves endangered vegetables.

In this addition of CNN's "Going Green," we take a look at how this horticulturist is refining our relationship with food.


UNKNOWN: In his garden in the Welsh countryside, Adam Alexander takes pride in each vegetable he grows.

ADAM ALEXANDER, HORTICULTURIST: I love communing with my veggies. They come from all over the world.

UNKNOWN: Adam is a self-proclaimed seed detective, and these are some of the crop varieties he has collected over the course of three decades.

ALEXANDER: A seed detective is someone who goes looking after and caring for rare and endangered varieties of edible crops.

UNKNOWN: His most prized possessions are hidden from view.

ALEXANDER: This is my garage and in it I have a couple of fridge where I keep 493 varieties of vegetables. I call them my art. Ninety six come from the Heritage Seed Library. This is pasque. It is a 19th century radish from France, and then this is the Mathania chilli, which was believed to have gone extinct, but which I was fortunate enough to be able to rediscover it.

UNKNOWN: Adam is a part of the network of Seed Guardians, specialty growers from the British charity, Garden Organic. And their Heritage Seed Library, a living seed bank that aims to preserve the diversity of heritage crops.

ALEXANDER: It is a sort of receptacle for all these sort of forgotten, ex-commercial varieties of seeds and heritage and heirloom varieties. Like a book, I will borrow that seed, I will grow it out and then I will return it for members to share, but also to be able to be retained forever in a day.

UNKNOWN: It counts a member of the British Royal Family as its patron.

ALEXANDER: I like to think that I'm in good company, Prince Charles, I think probably is about as obsessed as I am in growing and saving rare and delicious and unusual varieties.

UNKNOWN: Adam's efforts as a seed guardian highlight the importance of gene diversity in our crops, planting the seeds for a richer, more diverse and resilient food system.

ALEXANDER: As soon as you put some seeds in the ground, and even if it is just to grow some basil or some parsley on your windowsill, suddenly you have a connection, a direct connection with that thing that you are going to put into your tummy, and then you are on a journey that can take you to wherever you want it to take you in terms of your relationship with food.


BRUNHUBER: Well, I'm Kim Brunhuber, thanks so much for watching. "World Sport" with Patrick Snell is up next with the latest from Tokyo.