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Strike in Gaza Kills Foreign Aid Workers; Iran Vows Response to Attack on Consulate in Syria; Hackers Target Russian Prison System in Navalny's Name; Pressure on Israeli Tactics and Netanyahu; Donald Trump Appeals Civil Fraud Judgment; Hackers Break into Russian Prison Computer Network; Erdogan Dealt Major Blow as Opposition Party Wins Big; King Charles Attends Easter Service Amid Cancer Treatment. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired April 02, 2024 - 00:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON: Hello and a very warm welcome. I'm Paula Newton, a head right here on CNN Newsroom.


NEWTON (voiceover):A strike in Gaza kills multiple foreign aid workers with the World Central Kitchen. Iran promises to respond to the deadly attack on its consulate in Syria. It blames Israel but also vows to hold the U.S. answerable. And in a CNN exclusive, how hackers broke into the Russian prison computer network with the message, Long live Alexei Navalny.


NEWTON: An organization that's been a vital source of food aid for Gaza's population is now dealing with its own tragedy. World Central Kitchen says at least five members of its team have been killed in an Israeli military strike in Gaza. And in a statement made clear, humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said an Australian aid worker seen here on the left of your screen would be a target for the Gaza war. He said Zomi Frankom was doing extraordinarily valuable work and says his government is seeking accountability. Listen.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, AUSTRAILIAN PRIME MINISTER: Australia expects full accountability for the deaths of aid workers, which is completely unacceptable. Aid workers and those doing humanitarian work and indeed all innocent civilians need to be provided with protection.


NEWTON (voiceover) Aid workers and those doing humanitarian work and indeed all innocent civilians need to be provided with protection. World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres posted on X saying he is heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends. He called those killed angels. And called out the Israeli government saying it, quote, needs to stop this indiscriminate killing and needs to stop killing civilians and aid workers. Now, the White House is also reacting to the strike and is urging Israel to swiftly investigate what happened. The Israel Defense Forces says it is conducting a thorough review to understand the circumstances of, quote, this tragic incident, and that it is making extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. Iran is promising a decisive response to the deadly attack on its consulate in Damascus, Syria. An Iranian diplomat says Israeli F-34 warplanes targeted the building with six missiles, causing major damage. An Israeli military spokesperson wouldn't comment on the strike, but said the building was not a consulate or embassy, but a military building of Iran's Quds forces. Now, the New York Times cites four unnamed Israeli officials who acknowledge that Israel carried out the attack. CNN cannot independently verify that reporting. Iran says at least seven people were killed in the strike. They include two senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Russia, Saudi Arabia and a number of Arab countries have also condemned the attack. Now, Iran's foreign minister says U.S. support for Israel makes it answerable for this attack. We get more now from CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voiceover): Smoke and tensions rising. Iran's consulate in Damascus reduced to smoldering rubble. Its ambassador claiming Israeli jets fired six missiles at it, saying, we told you before. The Zionist entity knows very well that such crimes and any kind of crimes will not remain without response. At least seven people killed. Two of them, senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC commanders. One of them, according to Iranian state media, a very senior veteran of the elite military, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zaidi, a former commander of the IRGC land and air forces. Israel reboffed the allegations.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: I'm not going to comment to that strike, but I want to tell you that in the last six months, Iran is making this region escalate. According to our intelligence, this is no consulate and this is no embassy. I repeat, this is no consulate and this is no embassy. This is a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building in Damascus.


ROBERSTON (voiceover): Nevertheless, it marks an escalation in already supercharged tensions. The first such alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Syria and the highest ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard member killed since U.S. forces killed Quds force commander Qasem Soleimani January 2020. Back then, Iran responded by attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. Their options will be narrower now, prescribed by concern of significant escalation should they strike Israel. Where tensions will likely be highest is along Israel's northern border. Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah has been trading escalating rocket, drone, missile and artillery strikes since Hamas's brutal October 6th.

The United States has been pressuring Israel and Lebanon not to trigger a full war as Israel's government warns time for diplomacy is running out and hawks press for action. A supersized poster of Soleimani strung above the embassy gates and another in the rubble of the consulate, a reminder of the IRGC's lauded status. This attack, like Soleimani's, won't be forgiven or forgotten. Nick Robertson, CNN London.


NEWTON: With me now is Trita Parsi. He is the Executive Vice-President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Good to see you as we continue to try and parse exactly what's happened here in the fallout. Now you believe these targeted assassinations are in fact a significant escalation in the Middle East conflict. What I want to ask you though is what kind of fallout do you think we can expect?

TRITA PARSI, AUTHOR, LOSING AN ENEMY: One of the most immediate fallouts may be the end of the uneasy cease-fire that has existed for six weeks between the United States and militias in Iraq and Syria. Prior to that, were targeting U.S. troops on a daily basis, even killing three U.S. troops in a base in Jordan and Syria. That has been as a result of pressure by the United States on these militias, but also by Iran. Now, the Iranians have sent a message to the U.S. through the Swiss, it appears the Iran's are holding the U.S. responsible for what Israel has done, just as much as Israel, or the U.S., holds Iran responsible for what the Iraqi militias do. The message appears to have been or may have been that this truce is now over. And we may see an increase, a resumption of attacks by Iraqi militias and Syrian militias against U.S. troops. And that would mean that the Israeli attack on Iran actually has put a target on the backs of American troops in the Middle East.

NEWTON: Yeah and as you point out, earlier this year, there was quite a significant attack, and I want to get to that in a moment. But first I want to ask you about your opinion that you've already elaborated on that Israel is in fact engaged in a deliberate -- you call it deliberate and systematic effort to destroy existing laws and norms around warfare. Is the issue for you the fact that this could have been an Iranian consulate or embassy of sorts.

PARSI: No its the systematic approach in which almost every law of war, every norm of war, have now been broken by the Israelis over the last six months. Targeting of hospitals, assassinations of patients inside hospitals, forced famine, an attack on consulates or embassies. Even during times of war, the rule is you do not attack or bombing the embassies of other countries, even the country that you may be at war with. All of these norms and laws have been broken by Israel over the course of the last six months. It's gotten to the point in which it doesn't appear to be an accident. It appears to be a systematic effort to essentially undo the norms and laws around war or, at a minimum, put Israel above them. Create a new normal in which Israel is not held to the same laws of war that exists for everyone else.

NEWTON: You know Israel will argue that it's dealing with a rogue state on one hand and terrorists on the other, right on its borders. I do want to get back to the issue, though, of Israel's, pardon me, Iran's proxy war against Israel, the United States and the West. You know, it's been quite bold. We just discussed that attack right earlier this year, where three U.S. Army soldiers were actually killed and more than 30 service members injured in a drone attack in Jordan. I mean, obviously, the U.S. believes Iran ordered that attack. What do you believe is the proper response then? Because as you point out, we may be pivoting here to quite an escalation.


PARSI: Well, first of all, whether Israel is dealing with a rogue state or terrorism does not mean that international law does not apply to it. It certainly seems to be trying to create a reality in which it is not held to international law, but it is, and it doesn't matter who it is fighting in those type of circumstances. In regards to what the U.S. response should have been, it's very clear that these escalations by the Iraqi militias, who are supported by Iran no doubt, are coming as a response to what is happening in Gaza.

The demand of these militias, the demands of the Houthis, has been a ceasefire in Gaza. During the six days in November, in which there was a ceasefire in Gaza, there were zero attacks by these Iraqi militias and a significant drop of the activities of the Houthis as well. So, if we actually put U.S. interests first and try to make sure that U.S. troops are protected, a much more effective way of protecting the troops would have been to actually get a ceasefire in Gaza rather than escalating as the U.S. did. Now, that short-term escalation has had an effect, at least up until now, in which the attacks by the Iraqi and Syrian militias dropped, not those by the Houthis, however. But that may now have ended as a result of Israel targeting the Iranian constant in Damascus.

NEWTON: Yeah, and this could, in fact, have chilling consequences right throughout the Middle East, if indeed you are correct. Trita Parsi, always good to have you with us. Appreciate it.

PARSI: Thank you so much for having me.

NEWTON: Now, the United Nations says it's planning a mission to Gaza's largest hospital as soon as it's able to, following the withdrawal there of Israeli forces. That word coming after the Israel Defense Forces ended its 14-day siege on al-Shifa Hospital, uncovering the scale of the devastation left behind. As you can see there, Israel's defense minister is praising what he called determined and professional action inside the medical complex. But Gaza's civil defense said scenes of, quote, atrocious crimes by Israeli forces cannot be overlooked. Now, these satellite images now show what the hospital complex looked like before the two-week raid and what it looks like now. CNN's Nada Bashir has more details, but we want to warn you, many of the images in her report are graphic.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): As dawn breaks over Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital, the full extent of this latest nightmare becomes clear. Buildings scorched, some still ablaze, others riddled with bullet holes or completely destroyed. Below, bodies lay crushed and decomposing. Under torchlight, limbs are found tangled amid earth and rubble. This is the aftermath of the Israeli military's 14-day siege on what once was Gaza's largest hospital. Please, God, enough, this woman screams. How much more can Gaza's civilians be forced to endure? Medical crews tell CNN they arrived on Monday morning to find hundreds of bodies scattered around the complex. Others have been left wounded, starving and desperate for help.

JANA YASINE, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL PATIENT (through translator): We spent days without food or water until the military gave us a few food cans, but they were not enough to feed all the patients, Jana says. They would give each patient just a quarter of a water bottle each day. The bombardment and shooting was constant.

BASHIR (voiceover): The scale of the destruction wrought by the Israeli military here seems impossible to quantify. In the surrounding area, entire families were trapped in their homes for two weeks under near-constant bombardment. Upon the Israeli military's withdrawal, Arafat Al-Lulu was finally able to return home, only to find that his wife and seven children had been killed. The Israeli military has described the siege on Al-Shifa as a precise operation targeting Hamas militants, some 200 of which they say were killed. Though CNN is unable to verify this figure. Weapons and intelligence documents are also said to have been found on the complex, which had been housing hundreds of civilians when the siege began. The IDF maintains that soldiers distinguish between militants and civilians. But such claims stand in stark contrast to the troubling testimonies and videos CNN has received from countless civilians and medical staff who were trapped in and around the hospital.


JADALIAH AL-SHAFIE, HEAD OF NURSING DEP., AL-SHIFA MEDICAL COMPLEX (through translator): We can't estimate the number of medical staff who were targeted in what we can only call executions, this medical official says.

BASHIR (voiceover): In earlier testimonies shared with CNN, civilians described being stripped, bound and blindfolded in the cold before facing interrogations by Israeli soldiers. Reports of beatings are also widespread. For days, medical staff within the hospital told CNN they couldn't even move between buildings on the complex for fear of being targeted by Israeli snipers.

MOUSA MARISH, NURSE, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL (through translator): Every day a patient would die, Nurse Moussa says. The occupation soldiers used us as human shields inside the hospital.

BASHIR (voiceover): More than 300 bodies have so far been recovered, according to authorities in Gaza. But that figure will likely only rise. Warnings that al-Shifa could soon be turned into a graveyard, now a gut-wrenching reality.

(END VIDEO TAPE) BASHIR: CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comment on our report. In a statement on Monday, the director of the World Health Organization reiterated that hospitals must be respected and protected and not used as battlefields. The United Nations, meanwhile, says it is planning a mission to al-Shifa hospital as soon as they are able to gain access in order to provide urgent medical support and to assess the damage caused to the medical complex. Nada Bashir, CNN, London.

NEWTON: Now, U.S. officials tell CNN the Biden administration has not seen any operational plans from Israel regarding a proposed military ground operation into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where now more than one million civilians are sheltering. Now, that comes following a virtual meeting of senior U.S. and Israeli officials. CNN's MJ Lee has our update now from Washington.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Top U.S. and Israeli officials meeting virtually on Monday to discuss the situation in Rafah. This, of course, is a meeting that was rescheduled after last week, an in-person meeting was set to take place but was abruptly canceled after the Israeli delegation decided not to make that trip to Washington. The U.S., for its part, has tried to convince their Israeli counterparts to try something else that is different than a major ground incursion into Rafah, which, of course, the Israeli government has continued to warn it would move ahead with. We are told that this meeting that took place, again, virtually, it lasted some two and a half hours. U.S. officials saying that it was productive.

But what I'm also told by a U.S. official is that the Biden administration, even after this lengthy meeting, has yet to see operational plans that get into the details of how exactly such a military operation into Rafah would be executed and, importantly, whether there is a plan to evacuate and get out of harm's way. The more than one million civilians that are supposed to be currently in Rafah sheltering there since the October 7th attacks. Now, the lack of such a plan is so important to keep an eye on because President Biden himself has made very clear that without such a plan to protect the civilians in the area, it would be akin to a crossing of a so-called red line if Israel were to go ahead with such a ground incursion into Rafah without such a plan.

Now, we are told. From the U.S.'s side, that senior officials like Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Brett McGurk, those were some of the officials that were involved and participated in this meeting. We are also told by U.S. officials that the plan is for these discussions and these conversations to continue in the coming days, including the rescheduling of an in-person meeting in the coming days. MJ Lee, CNN, at the White House.

NEWTON: In the meantime, pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In. Jerusalem, thousands of protesters took to the streets again on Monday, calling for his resignation and demanding new elections.


NEWTON (voiceover): Now, they blame Netanyahu and his government for failing to secure the release of the remaining Israeli hostages being held in Gaza. It's the largest protest the country has seen since the start of the war in Gaza. Dozens of demonstrators were also camped out outside the Israeli parliament. Now, they're planning to stay there until Wednesday, they say, when the spring recess begins.

UNKNOWN: They're not concerned about what happens in the country and with the people. They're concerned about maintaining the position in the government. They work for themselves, not for the people. That's as simple as that.


NEWTON: I want to bring in Steven Cook, who is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Good to see you, Stephen. You know, you wrote earlier this year that Netanyahu, in your words, is a failure and could still be Israel's next winner.


Now, you argued at the time that Netanyahu's political redemption was still a possibility. I'm curious, given all the protests we're seeing and everything that's shifted, do you still feel that way?

STEVEN COOK SR., FELLOW FOR MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I do think it's a possibility. Israelis elect their leaders in very different ways than Americans elect their leaders. Americans vote directly for a leader, and the most popular run wins. In Israel, voters vote for a party. And right now, if you take a look at the polling, although Netanyahu and his party suffered as a result of October 7th and the ensuing war, more seats are allocated to parties on the right than parties on the center or left, which would imply that Netanyahu is still the leader of the largest party on the right end of the spectrum would have a better chance to form a government than his rivals in the center or the left. So while he remains profoundly unpopular, there still is a way, due to Israel's electoral laws, that the next prime minister of Israel could be named Benjamin Netanyahu.

NEWTON: What I also found interesting and still very relevant is that you pointed out that the poll cited at the time, earlier this year, that nearly two of every three Israelis oppose a two-state solution. And of course, it goes without saying that a majority of Israelis want Hamas completely destroyed. Why do some still see Netanyahu as being effective on both counts?

COOK: Well, there's been a rally around the flag in Israel, not necessarily a rally around Netanyahu himself, but they do support the prosecution of the war and the goal of destroying Hamas. They do also oppose a two-state solution. That number is up dramatically since October 7th. I think Israelis after the horrifying events of October 7th, have come to the conclusion that, from their perspective, the Palestinians really do not want a two-state solution. They want a one- state solution, which is the destruction of Israel. That may or may not be accurate, but that is the way in which at least two-thirds of Israelis view the conflict right now and thus are not prepared to give consent to their government to negotiate a two-state solution.

NEWTON: You know, Israel's tactics, in Gaza are under increasing scrutiny. I mean, if we talk about the protests, obviously, many in Israel want to see those hostages home, and they're saying enough is enough. They blame Netanyahu for that. At the same time, you know, you see the conditions in Gaza recently at Al Shifa Hospital even, and it is difficult to fathom a way forward for Netanyahu right now when it comes to what he says is his next move, right, that he's going to move into Rafah on a ground campaign. Would he have support for that from within Israel, given the fact that there are still hostages being held?

COOK: He does have support for a ground operation in Rafah. It is true that there are very significant protests against Netanyahu. It's actually two streams of protests coming together, the families of the hostages, as well as those who are generally opponents of Netanyahu, who have come together over the course of the last couple of days and will continue their protests. But at the same time, overall, the Israeli public does support a move into Rafah. They have concluded that it's impossible for them to live next door to Hamas. The prospect of yet another October 7th attack is too much, and that there are parts of Israel that have been rendered uninhabitable by Hamas due to the October 7th attacks, and Israelis don't want to live that way. So that, once again, while the government remains unpopular, the aims of the government in this war remain broadly supported by the Israeli public.

NEWTON: How do you think we should interpret the protests that we see on the ground then, in light of everything that you said?

COOK: Well, I do think it is a significant challenge to the government, and I think that there is a tremendous amount of pressure to do everything possible to bring the hostages home. The Israeli government has been forthcoming in hostage negotiations. Hamas has really been a problem here, because the hostages really are their only bargaining chip. But nevertheless, if one can imagine what it's like to have a loved one who's being held hostage for the past six months, it is reasonable to understand how people are angry, believing that their government hasn't done enough. The other part of the protest are people who are angry that the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, young men of army age, have been exempted from the military service, when much of the rest of the country is sacrificing a tremendous amount in this conflict and they believe that Netanyahu should not work out a compromise and that the ultra-Orthodox should serve.


This is the wellspring of the current opposition to the government. But nevertheless, I think Israelis, despite these divisions, very much want to prosecute this war in a way that will bring Hamas' ability to threaten their security to an end.

NEWTON: Yeah, if that is even possible at this point. Steven Cook, we will leave it there for now. Thanks so much.

COOK: Thank you. Coming up for us, a CNN exclusive, how hackers sought revenge on the Russian government after Alexei Navalny's death.


NEWTON: Former U.S. President Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond as he appeals his civil fraud judgment in New York. Now, Trump and his sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were fined for fraudulently inflating the value of his assets to obtain better loan rates. The bond was originally $464 million. But a court lowered it last month. Now, posting bond means that New York's Attorney General cannot try and seize Trump properties to cover the judgment. At least until the state appeals court hears that case. Now, that's scheduled to happen in September. Now, meantime, the judge in Trump's hush money trial has expanded the gag order against the former president. It will now prevent Trump from discussing the judge's family and the Manhattan District Attorneys family. Over the weekend, Trump attacked the judge's daughter in social media posts.

Judge Owan Merchan says Trump's rhetoric is, quote, a direct attack on the rule of law. And it could make those involved in the case afraid for their safety and the safety of their loved ones. Now, one former federal judge tells CNN that verbal attacks like Trump's are unusual in most court cases. Listen.


SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, RETIRED U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: It's pretty rare. It happens in some cases that are high profile that the judge will be attacked. I was attacked. Other judges have been attacked with rhetoric. But never my family members. And those, the people who did those attacks were not the kind of people who had followers who might be violent. And that's what's so troubling here is that Trump's followers, when he incites them, have acted. This has actually happened. It happened on January 6th. It happened with an FBI office. It happened with threats to Judge Chutkin. So we know that his followers are capable of taking his words and then acting violently.


NEWTON: Now, a group of anti-Kremlin activists say, says they have successfully committed a major breach of Russian security by hacking into computer networks tied to Russia's prison system. The activists told CNN that they meant to avenge Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, who died in an arctic penal colony in February.


The hackers were able to steal a trove of data about hundreds of thousands of Russian inmates and their relatives. They also say they broke into the state-owned online commissary system, where family members buy food for inmates and temporarily slashed the prices of goods.

Sean Lyngaas has our details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY CORRESPONDENT: CNN is reporting exclusively on a big breach of the Russian prisoner system in which hackers claimed to have stolen data on about 800,000 prisoners and their contacts to avenge the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Hours after Navalny's death in an arctic penal colony in February, the hackers plastered Navalny's photo and anti-Kremlin slogans on the website of a prison contractor, according to data and screenshots reviewed by CNN.

The hackers say they're hoping the data can lead to a better understanding of Navalny's death, which Western leaders have condemned and held the Russian government responsible for.

Russia's war on Ukraine has been accompanied by a surge in politically motivated hacking, with both pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia hackers looking to make a statement.

I'm Sean Lyngaas in Washington.


NEWTON: Still to come for us, Turkey's major opposition party wins big in local elections more on the man who could be President Erdogan's biggest competition in the future. That's after the break.


NEWTON: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party suffered a major election defeat after the main opposition group swept local elections in key cities.

CNN's Scott McLean takes a look at what this means for Erdogan's decades-long grip on power.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there were any doubts about this man's ability to win, they were put to bed last night. Ekrem Imamoglu, the mayor of Istanbul from the secular opposition, CHP Party, was reelected by a comfortable 11-point margin, a gap few polls could have predicted.

"Hello, Istanbul," he says. "Sixteen million Istanbulites have won. Congratulations. There are no losers in this election."

But Imamoglu's win is a huge blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's religious Conservative Act Party, which not only failed to win back Istanbul but even lost Erdogan's home district.

Imamoglu is widely seen as one of the few, perhaps the only opposition figures strong enough to beat Erdogan in a presidential race.

[00:35:12] Originally from the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Imamoglu moved to Istanbul for university, then worked with his family's construction company.

Two decades later in 2014, he was leading a small district of Istanbul. Then five years later in 2019, won the race for city mayor by a razor-thin margin after a court overturned the results and ordered another vote. Imamoglu won the second time around by an even wider gap.

He later faced charges of insulting public officials stemming from the aftermath of the bitterly contested race. He's been convicted and sentenced to more than two years' jail time on the charges that many believe are politically motivated.

Erdogan has denied any link.

The appeals process is still winding its way through the courts.

AHMET KASIM HAN, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN, TURKISH DEMOCRACY FOUNDATION: Turkish electorate has a tendency to side with the one who is being victimized, and probably Imamoglu would be regarded as such.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Erdogan has been in power for two decades, but now perhaps the biggest threat to his rule has just gotten stronger.

Scott McLean, CNN, Istanbul.


NEWTON: Still to come for us, King Charles steps out for Easter, despite battling cancer. We'll have the latest on the royal appearance.


NEWTON: Britain's King Charles delighted crowds by attending an Easter service on Sunday. And this marks his most significant public appearance since his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

CNN's Max Foster has our story.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Members of the public hoping for a quick glimpse of King Charles waiting outside Windsor Castle.

But some were invited in by staff to get a closer look. It was a surprise, because we were told that doctors had advised Charles not to interact with large groups, in case it compromised his immunity. That advice appears to have changed.

After a church service at the chapel in Windsor Castle, an even bigger surprise when he came out and shook hands, confident enough not to wear gloves, though Queen Camilla was spotted with a bottle of hand sanitizer.

A royal source told CNN the king's appearance could be seen as an encouraging sign of how his treatment for cancer was progressing.

We're told the road ahead looks positive.

DR. CURTILAND DEVILLE, RADIATION ONCOLOGIST, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: That is encouraging to see that happen and saying -- suggests the patient is tolerating their treatments well. They're -- you know, they're actively under treatment or whatever phase that they're in; they're recovering; they're tolerating and getting through those treatments.

FOSTER (voice-over): The king was clearly in good spirits. And I'm told he's been keen to get out and about again, frustrated that he hasn't been able to commit to his diary of engagements.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't imagine how hard it is for them all with the public eye being on them. It's even more difficult, isn't it, for them to -- to cope with under the measure of the public eye and the media?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the royal family have handled it really well. And I think they need that privacy. And they need that time to get to give as a family and support each other.

FOSTER (voice-over): Most of the rest of the family joined the king for the traditional Easter service, including Prince Andrew, who's bracing for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The allegations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein include his friend, Prince Andrew.

FOSTER (voice-over): A heavily promoted Netflix movie, out this week, dramatizing the disastrous BBC 2019 interview that cost him his royal position. Probably the last thing the monarchy needs right now, as it tries to rebuild.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your royal highness.

FOSTER (voice-over): Notable by their absence were the Prince and Princess of Wales. She's receiving her own cancer treatment.

CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES? It has been an incredibly tough couple of months.

FOSTER (voice-over): Kensington Palace isn't suggesting any dates for her return to public duties.

Less pressure now, perhaps, that the king appears to be cautiously returning to his own public appearances.

Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.


NEWTON: Canada's Niagara region is expecting thousands of visitors for next week's solar eclipse, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

Now they say it's to make sure the region is prepared to handle the influx of people.

Niagara Falls, Ontario, is the so-called path of totality, making it one of the best places in Canada to view the once-in-a-lifetime event.

We want you to join CNN next Monday for the total solar eclipse as it travels from Mexico across America and into Canada. Experience the eclipse from numerous locations, along with plenty of science and excitement all along the way.

Our special coverage begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Iowa and Caitlin Clark are in the women's basketball Final Four. They defeated last year's champion, LSU, 94 to 87. The game was a rematch of last year's championship game, which LSU won.

But Clark refused to lose this time. She had 41 points and 12 assists in the win.

Iowa will now face the University of Connecticut and its star, Paige Bueckers, on Friday night. UCONN made its way into the Final Four by knocking off No. 1 seed, Southern California, 80 to 73.

The other women's Final Four teams are Texas and North Carolina state.

OK. I want to watch.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton, and I'll be back with more news at the top of the hour. WORLD SPORT is next.