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Queen Elizabeth Laid to Rest After Solemn State Funeral; 27 Killed in China in COVID Quarantine Bus Accident; Judge Vacates Conviction of "Serial" Podcast Subject Adnan Syed. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 20, 2022 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. And if you're just joining us, let's bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Hurricane Fiona has now grown to a category 3 hurricane as it barrels towards Turks and Caicos. This after the storm hammered Puerto Rico leaving at least two people dead amid widespread devastation.

And a Texas sheriff says he plans to investigate whether laws were broken when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew dozens of Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard last week. Sheriff Javier Salazar is our believes federal laws were violated and that asylum-seekers were promised work in Florida, then dumped in Massachusetts two days later.

Well, the judge tapped to serve as special master and review documents seized at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, will hold his first meeting at a New York courthouse in the coming hours. Ahead of that the former president's lawyers are signaling they oppose having to immediately disclose information regarding declassification related to those documents found by the FBI.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is proposing a system for the special master to review the documents that would include holding weekly reviews with both parties about the process.

Well, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been laid to rest at Windsor Castle after a massive state funeral that drew mourners from across the world. This private farewell by the royal family marked the end of Monday's ceremonies as well as the end of her long reign. It ushers in a new era under King Charles III who said a final good-bye to his mother before she was buried alongside her late husband.

From the poignant service at Westminster Abbey, to this spectacular military procession, the funeral was marked by deep respect for the monarch who served her country and Commonwealth for more than 70 years.

Well, the state funeral also means ten days of national mourning are over and it marks the end of one of the most intricate and well- planned operations in British history. CNN's Max Foster reports.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Prime ministers, presidents, leaders and dignitaries from all around the world, more than 2,000 inside London's Westminster Abbey, join together in chorus.

The Lord Is My Shepherd, reputedly, the Queen's favorite hymn. Sung during her wedding to Prince Philip in this very hall when she was a 21-year-old princess. The younger royal generation, Charlotte and George, join the procession. Their attendance something that Prince and Princess of Wales took time to consider, CNN understands.


Decades of meticulous preparation and centuries of tradition. The Queen was instrumental in planning this funeral. Her family escorted the coffin drawn by 142 Royal Navy personnel. The short journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey.

Draped in the royal standard and topped with the imperial state crown, the sovereign's orb and scepter. Amid the wreath, a handwritten note from the King, in loving and devoted memory, Charles R.

MOST REV. JUSTIN WELBY, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.

FOSTER (voice-over): After readings and blessings for two minutes, the attendees, the choir, and the nation each fell silent. Big Ben tolled 96 times. Guns unloaded as the procession continued on its final journey. Crowds lined the streets all the way along the route from London to Windsor. The military flanked the three-mile-long walk leading to the castle.

At the end of the ceremony, the crown, the orb, the scepter were removed by the crown jeweler. Separating the Queen from her crown for the final time.

For the first time performing the ritual on camera, the most senior official in the royal household, the Lord Chamberlain, broke his wand of office and placed it on the coffin, symbolizing the end of his and the monarch's service.

As the coffin lowered, the Sovereign Piper, who for decades played for Elizabeth every morning as her personal alarm clock sounded the final lament at her majesty's requests.

Max Foster, CNN, Windsor Castle, England.


CHURCH: And let's get more now from CNN's Nada Bashir who joins us from Windsor in England. Nada, so many moving and memorable moments on a most solemn day. What were people in attendance saying to you about how they were feeling?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, Rosemary, deeply moving occasion full of pageantry, the tradition and the history of course this event was steeped. And we saw thousands and thousands of people not only lining the streets of Westminster and around Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of that procession but also of course, here in Windsor.

And we saw people even camping out overnight ahead of the funeral for that chance to pay their final respects to the Queen. We saw people coming from across the country, from across the globe even traveling in for that opportunity to take part in this historic moment of mourning. And it was exactly that. It was a moment of mourning but also a moment of history that many people wanted to be a part of.

These were people with family and children saying that they wanted their kids to be able to remember this moment when they grow up to share this moment as a family. And the people that we've spoke to, of course, were very solemn. It was a somber mood across the town. But this was a celebration of the Queen's 70 year reign and the legacy that she leaves behind. And for many that came here who actually lived in Windsor. This was moment to say good-bye to someone that had become familiar with. Because of course, this place was very dear to the Queen.

And many that we spoke to hear who've grown up in Windsor said that they've become accustomed to seeing members of the royal family in their town. So, the royal family is really integral to the identity of this town. But this was a moment of history. And as you heard there in Max Foster's reporting, this is something that has captured the attention of people across the globe.

We saw millions viewing this live broadcast on TV yesterday. I have to say when we were out on the street yesterday people were watching on their phones. People were watching on the large screens in nearby parks. Because of course, this was the last segment of the Queen's state funeral.

We saw that grand funeral held at Westminster Abbey. But this service which was held at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle just behind me. It was more of an intimate affair, more personal affair, around 800 people in attendance including the Queen's family, including the Queen's household, of course, members of the royal family. And of course, this is a place that was deeply loved by the Queen. It's where she spent much of her time later on in life. And of course, is deeply personal to other members of the royal family. The Prince and Princess of Wales have now decided to relocate their family to Windsor so their children can have an opportunity at a more ordinary life. But of course, for the town and for the family this was a deeply symbolic affair.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Nada Bashir joining us from Windsor. Many thanks for that report.


And still to come, a deadly bus crash in China has sparked widespread anger and stinging criticism of Beijing's zero COVID policy.

Plus, a stunning decision by a judge in the murder conviction of a man featured in the Serial podcast. Why Adnan Syed was set free, at least for now. We're back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. U.S. President Joe Biden is facing push back from Republicans and Democrats alike over his claim that the COVID pandemic is over.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.


CHURCH: His administration is downplaying those comments with one official saying there's still no change in COVID policy and that the public health emergency is still in place through at least October 13th. But Republican leaders in Congress say the president's remarks will make it harder to get anymore COVID relief money approved.

There's renewed anger over China's strict zero COVID policy after a bus transporting people to a quarantine facility in the middle of the night crashed into a ravine killing 27 of those on board.

And CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. Kristie, this tragic crash has sparked fury over China's tough pandemic policy. What is the latest reaction? How are officials responding to it?

KRISTI LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, this deadly quarantine bus crash has ignited anger across China over the country's zero COVID policy with censors scrambling to cover up all signs of outrage on Chinese social media. But one hashtag that we noticed linked to the incident has generated over 450 million views. Now this is what happened.


On Sunday a bus carrying residents Guiyang City taking them to a faraway remote COVID-19 quarantine facility crashed in the middle of the night killing 27 people. On your screen you're seeing a photograph that went viral on Chinese social media. It's a photograph of the bus at night. And you see the bus driver in full hazmat gear, the entire body covered except for the eyes.

I want to show you another photograph that's also gone viral on social media in China. And it shows the wreckage of the bus. The bus is completely crushed and bizarrely and inexplicably you have a anti- pandemic worker supplying disinfectant on the wreckage. Now the cause of this crash that is still under investigation. This is the deputy mayor of Guiyang City.


LIN GANG, DEPUTY MAYOR, GUIYANG CITY (through translator): The rescue work at site has completed. Treatment for the injured is underway. And we are looking to properly handle the aftermath of the accident. The cause of the accident is under investigation.


STOUT: The crash has sparked a huge outcry across China over the over the top implementation of China's zero COVID policy. Anger in the Guiyang City in Guizhou province, angering the more remote areas of China where there have been zero COVID lockdowns like in Tibet and Xinjian. Anger and Chengdu as well. It's the capital of Sichuan province and the mega city of 21 million people that have been under a punishing two week plus lockdown that's only starting to begin to unwind at this moment.

Now in the wake of that deadly quarantine bus crash, one Chinese resident posted this on Chinese social media that went viral.

This comment saying, quote, what makes you think you won't be on that late night bus one day?

That post picked up more than 250,000 likes before it, too, was taken off the internet and scrubbed off offline.

Another resident commented this: We're all on the bus, we just haven't crashed yet.

Back to you Rosemary.

CHURCH: So chilling and tragic. Kristie Lu Stout joining us from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

Well, a judge in the U.S. has vacated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed. Syed had spent 23 years behind bars for his ex-girlfriends death. The popular podcast Serial shun a spotlight on his case and raised questions about his conviction and legal representation. Officials say they're not declaring Syed innocent just yet but declaring that he is entitled to a new trial. CNN's Alexandra Field reports.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Free from prison after 23 years behind bars. A crowd swarmed Adnan Syed outside a Baltimore Circuit Court moments after a judge vacated the murder conviction against him. Syed didn't stop to speak, whisked away in a car and ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet until the state decides whether to pursue a new trial against him or drop all charges in the death of Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend, a high school student strangled to death in 1999. Her body was discovered weeks later.

MARILYN MOSBY, STATE'S ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE CITY, MARYLAND: We're not yet declaring, not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent. But we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial.

FIELD (voice-over): Syed has maintained his innocence since he was convicted in 2000. Defense attorneys have repeatedly tried to have him exonerated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It felt like they got to the wrong guy.

FIELD (voice-over): A popular HBO series raised new questions about the case against Adnan Syed in 2019.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Young lovers from different worlds.

FIELD (voice-over): But it was the hit podcast Serial that brought the case and the possibility there had been a miscarriage of justice to national attention in 2014. Lee's brother Yung Lee telling the courtroom this isn't a podcast for me. This is real life. And tearfully adding, whenever I think it's over, it's ended, it always comes back.

But the judge ruled in favor of the motion filed by prosecutors who had asked for Syed's immediate release following a yearlong reinvestigation into the case against him. That turned up a slew of failures Syed in a 21-page court document.

Among them the unreliability of cell phone data used in the original trial, advances in DNA testing and most critically, newly developed information about two alternative suspects and the state's failure to disclose critical information about those suspects to the defense at the time of the trial.

MOSBY: Our investigation uncovered that one of the suspects threatened Ms. Lee saying he would make her disappear, he would kill her. We also received information that provided motive for that same alternative suspects.

FIELD (voice-over): A final decision on whether to actually proceed with a new trial will likely hinge according to prosecutors on the results of touch DNA testing of some items recovered from the crime scene. A technology that didn't exist at the time of the crime.


Still, for throngs of Syed's supporters, this is the first victory more than two decades in the making. For the family of Hae Min Lee, the start of another search for answers in the death of their beloved.

STEVE KELLY, ATTORNEY FOR LEE FAMILY: This family is interested in the pursuit of justice. They want to know more than anybody who it was that killed Hae Min Lee.

FIELD: The Lee family is said to be in a state of shock following the judge's decision to vacate the sentence. They are also said to be disappointed by how quickly the hearing happened -- according to an attorney who represented them who says they are also considering their options for an appeal.

In New York, Alexandra Field, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: Next on CNN NEWSROOM, another expected interest rate hike from

the Federal Reserve has Wall Street on edge. A check on the markets when we come back.


CHURCH: Wall Street is on edge ahead of a major Federal Reserve meeting this week. Stocks closed higher Monday after an up and down day.


And you can see there the futures showing pretty flat and that could be a signal of what's to come.

Well, the U.S. Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates by another 3/4 of a percentage point. The fed is trying to strike a delicate balance between bringing down inflation and preventing a recession.

Ride share giant Uber announced last week it was hacked and now it's identifying the group it says broke into its systems. They're called the Lapsuss Gang and they targeted Microsoft earlier this year. Uber says the hackers stole internal information but didn't get their hands on user accounts or databases with payment information apparently. They reportedly gained access to company slack messages by tricking a contractor. Uber says it's change some policies and reinforced security.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey will be questioned on Tuesday by lawyers for the company and Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO is trying to get out of a $44 billion acquisition deal, an offer the shareholders accepted even after Musk got cold feet. Dorsey has spoken positively about the prospect of a Musk takeover of Twitter before Musk tried to back out of the deal. The two sides will face off in a five-day trial scheduled to begin on October 17th.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is coming up next. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.