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Some Young Israelis Choosing Jail Over Miliary Service; Mike Johnson Predicts He Will Survive Threats To His Speakership; Last Survivors Of Tulsa Race Massacre Seek Reparations In Court; Total Eclipse To Sweep Across U.S., Mexico And Canada On April 8. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 02, 2024 - 14:30   ET




BEN ARAD, ISRAELI REFUSING TO GO TO WAR: I think something that really broke my heart was the flour massacre. So, seeing people trample each other to get food. I mean, you just can't deny at that point that there is a famine going on and people are hungry.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So, on Monday, Ben will hand himself in, becoming one of only a handful of so-called refuseniks to make their decisions public since the war began.


BELL: In a country where military service marks the start of every Israeli's grown-up life, aside from those exempt on religious grounds, the war has made avoiding it a political act.

ARAD: I've been called a traitor. I've been told that I need to be deported, or I've been asked why I don't just move. I mean, but it's not such terrible stuff. I haven't gotten that yet. Like, I'll get that when I go to jail.

BELL (voice-over): Yet, Ben says he's determined to give up his freedom in order to remain free of a war that he simply doesn't believe in.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Tel Aviv.


BELL: Now it's vital to overstate what a remarkable decision it is for an Israeli 18-year-old to decide not to serve, given the place that military service this has in this country, but especially at this time.

I think listening to the testimonies that you were just hearing there, Brianna and Boris, we just heard from that doctor.

Remember that international networks like CNN can't get into Gaza but do what they can to try and show what's happening to Palestinian civilians.

That he's had to seek out that information to make his decision, I think, is interesting in itself.

One media analyst pointing out that here in Israel the drums of war have been beating so loudly that it's been hard for the Israeli public to get access through its own media, too much of what's happening two Palestinian civilians. So remarkable story to a remarkable time.

And bear in mind that we are now in the third day of four days of protest against this work here in Jerusalem -- Boris and Brianna?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yes, a really fascinating perspective from that young man.

Melissa Bell, live for us in Jerusalem, thank you so much.

Still ahead, House Speaker Mike Johnson says he is confident he will survive threats to his speakership. But does that mean much needed aid for Ukraine will not the House floor?

Plus, massive storms rolling through the east coast. They could potentially create life-threatening conditions. Tornadoes, damaging winds, flooding. The latest forecast in just a few minutes.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: GOP infighting could intensify as House Speaker Mike Johnson goes on the offensive to save his job amid a threat from fellow Republican, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is vowing to trigger a vote to remove move him if he brings a Ukraine aid bill to the floor. She has already filed a motion to vacate.

And in the meantime, the speaker is working on a path to pass a bill that would provide aid to Ukraine.

CNN congressional correspondent, Lauren Fox, is with us on this story.

Lauren, what's the speaker doing here? What's his plan to try to keep his job?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, over the course of the last week and a half, as lawmakers have been away for their April recess, what you've started to see Speaker Johnson doing is really keeping his options open.

He is having conversations with members. He is trying to understand the best path forward. But understandably, he's in this very difficult position of trying to thread the needle in a way in which he brings Ukraine aid to the floor of the House, but he doesn't trigger this effort to remove him from office.

And that is proving to be very difficult. In conversations I've had over the course of the last two days, it's become clear that Johnson has not decided, Brianna, on what the best strategy is at this current moment.

We've heard him floating a couple of ideas, perhaps using this as a way to give a loan to Ukraine that they could pay back. Another option that he has floated is doing some kind of lend-lease program.

He's floating a lot of ideas right now to see and understand what might be able to get the kind of traction where he can actually put this on the floor.

Meanwhile, Democrats are giving him room to maneuver, making sure that he does have some semblance of options because they want to see Ukraine aid. This has been a big priority for the White House. The Senate has already passed their bill.

But Johnson making it clear in the interviews over the last several days that whatever he puts on the floor is not going to be that Senate-passed bill. Instead, he is looking at a series of other potential options, Brianna, but he still has not made a final decision.

KEILAR: All right. We'll wait for that.

Lauren Fox, thank you.


SANCHEZ: Now to some of the other headlines were watching this hour.

Powerful storms or roaring across the eastern half of the U.S. today as part of a growing severe weather threat that is expected to last the evening.

Strong wind gusts have knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. A storm system to watch off for.

Meantime, a temporary channel is now open in the Baltimore harbor where, until now, the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge has blocked traffic. Here you can see a barge and tugboat passing through it. It is a welcome sight.

Keep in mind though ,the channel is small, only about 15 feet wide, 11 feet deep. Crews are now working to open a second larger channel along with this one.

Also, a group of eight passengers are racing to rejoin their cruise ship as it makes its way around Africa without them. They got stranded on a small island off the coast after their private excursion ran late.

Norwegian Cruise Lines didn't stay get around waiting for them, insisting that passengers are warned to be back by a certain time or risk being left behind. So the cruise line left their passports at the port and sailed off without them.

[14:40:05] So far, the group says they've spent 15 hours traveling through six countries, hoping to reconnect with the ship. And attempt in Gambia was feutal after low tides kept the cruise liner from docking. The stranded travelers are now headed to Senegal for another try. We're going to keep you updated on their odyssey.

Right now, the last two survivors of the Tulsa race massacre are fighting for justice in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. At 109 years old, will they see the reparations they are hoping for? We have that story next.



KEILAR: Right now, oral arguments are underway in Oklahoma as the last two survivors of the Tulsa race massacre fight for reparations.

The 1921 attack was one of the deadliest on black Americans in the U.S. The survivors previously lost one legal battle in a lower court. And now the state's high court is considering this case.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is following this story for us.

Omar, tell us more about what's at stake here.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, these are the final survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre at this point. And they've been locked in what is now a years-long court battle to essentially seek reparations.

Now, as you mentioned, a lower court initially dismissed -- well, they initially allowed it to go forward, and then they granted a motion to dismiss later on. So then it was dismissed.

Then they appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. That appeal was essentially granted to provide this opportunity for oral arguments. And that's what we are hearing today.

So that hearing is underway. These survivors are making their case, which I just want to point out for context here, the Supreme Court is not deciding whether they get reparations or not.

They are deciding whether these survivors essentially have the right to go to trial. Because even if the state Supreme Court grants them and sides with them here, it only just goes back down to the lower district court and then they proceed toward that trial process.

So that gives you an idea of how much longer and how much more convoluted in some senses, this process could be.

And to state the obvious, these survivors or 109 years old. Time is really of the essence for them if they plan to be here to see any form of resolution in this case.

And I asked one of these survivors, because I sat down with one of them, 109-year-old Viola Ford Fletcher, about why she keeps showing back up to court because she's had to come in time and time again over the past years.

Even on her birthday, last year, she was sitting in court as part of these -- as part of these case proceedings.

Take a listen to some of what she told me.


VIOLA FORD FLETCHER, TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: I think we should get justice to be fair. I think the courts should feel the same way.


JIMENEZ: And that is as simple as it gets there.

Now, I do want to say that the city of Tulsa, among others, which has been on the other side of this, has argued that simply being connected to a historical event doesn't give someone unlimited rights to seek compensation related to that event.

And that is likely what we're going to hear a little bit from them as the Supreme Court hearing continues. And as were continuing to monitor it.

KEILAR: All right. We'll look to see what develops there.

Omar, thank you for that report.

Still ahead, shares of Trump Media take a beating on Wall Street as the former president loses a billion, on paper anyway, in a single day. Will the trend continue?

Plus, a warning. Ahead of the total solar eclipse? Doctors are urging you to watch it safely. Listen up here, get that proper eyewear. So what works and what doesn't? We're going to tell you, next.



SANCHEZ: You know, once upon a time, I was falling in love. Now I'm only falling apart. There's a total solar eclipse coming.


SANCHEZ: And it's just six days away. On Monday, millions of you are going to have a clear view of the moon completely blocking the surface of the sun.

KEILAR: Imagine that.


KEILAR: In-person. OK? So this celestial event is expected to be just a huge boost for tourism in what is called this area that is the path of totality. It stretches across parts of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, quite a lot of very populated areas as well.

So how should you prepare because you should.

CNN's Kristin Fisher is here to tell us all about it.

It's about the glasses, right?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It's about the glasses. And I think, by now, most people should know, wear these, not these, right?

I mean, you need to wear the proper eclipse glasses. I think most people know that by now.

But the problem that the American Astronomical Society is finding is that now there's quite a few counterfeits out there. And so it can be tough to know if you're trying to purchase some eclipse glasses online now, which ones are real and which ones aren't.

You can go to reputable Web sites, like, NASA, or places like that.

But there's also an at-home test that you can do. And basically, it's quite simple. You just hold them over your eyes and you don't want to see anything.

I mean, try it out.

KEILAR: I bought these. I thought I could wear them to look cool. I wear them and bump into walls is what I really --

FISHER: Now, if you look more in a studio, right? So one right here -


FISHER: -- you are able to see like those very, very bright lights. you might be able to see through it. He make them look good. Boris.



FISHER: You all's one-liner are going to be so, so good by the time you get to Monday.

But so the bottom line is, when you're at home, you want to hold them up to a light. You should not see anything. Then if you pass that test, bring them outside and try looking at the sun for just a split second. And test it out that way before the eclipse.

SANCHEZ: Here's -- go ahead.

#L I was going to say there's also another way, which, if you didn't buy your glasses intime, like I didn't last time, I did that DIY - FISHER: Yes.

KEILAR: -- pinpoint camera sort of thing. We have pictures of it. This was from 2021. That that's my steps son, Teddy. He's looking at it. He was super into it, even at a year-and-a-half--



KEILAR: -- look with my cousins-in-law. We were in Texas. It was like 60 percent.

FISHER: Look at you got that.


FISHER: In 2017, right?

KEILAR: Yes, yes, yes. That's right, 2017. We look so nerdy.


SANCHEZ: There he is.

FISHER: There he is.

KEILAR: That's what you could see. It's not as cool as glasses though. That's the thing.


KEILAR: But that is better than nothing.

FISHER: There's no cool way to look at an eclipse, right? Unless -- and here's the big catch -- unless you're in that moment of totality.

With this eclipse, it's going to be about four minutes long. And during those four minutes, when the moon totally obscures the sun, you can actually look right at it without those -

SANCHEZ: You're sure about that?

FISHER: I'm sure.

SANCHEZ: if I have irreparable eye damage, Kristen --


KEILAR: Brown, bright eyes,

FISHER: And that is the danger here.


(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: Oh, we cannot wait.

Kristin Fisher, thank you so much for that.

And if you are not in an area with good viewing, maybe you can't make it outside, well, don't worry because we are here for you. We have special live coverage of the "ECLIPSE ACROSS AMERICA." That's going to start live next Monday, at 1:00 Eastern. It's going to be a lot of fun. And you can also stream it on Max.

Still ahead on CNN NEWS CENTRAL, Adderall prescriptions to treat ADHD, still strong struggled to fill after a shortage. We have new CNN exclusive reporting about how many people are being impacted.