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Seven Countries Kick Off E.U. COVID-19 Travel Certificate Scheme; CNN Talks with American Imprisoned in Russia; U.S. Blames Russian Group for Cyberattack on Global Meat Producer; Deadline Approaches for Proposed New Israeli Government Coalition; Parents of Journalist Danny Fenster Plead for His Release; Burning Cargo Ship Hits Bottom of Sea off Sri Lanka; Interview with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod on Coronavirus Pandemic and Travel Certificate Scheme; Fallout from Naomi Osaka's French Open Decision. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 02, 2021 - 10:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, CNN PRODUCER: If you could get a message to President Biden ahead of this meeting, what would it be?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: CNN speaks exclusively with an American citizen jailed in Russia, saying he is being used as a political pawn.

Hong Kong temporarily closes a museum dedicated to remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre just days from the anniversary.

Plus several European countries kickstarting the bloc's travel scheme. We speak to the Danish foreign minister on why the country is opening the

airports again.


ANDERSON: It is 10:00 in the morning in the Washington, D.C., 5:00 pm in Moscow. 6:00 in the evening here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome

to the show.

All roads lead to Russia this hour. We are two weeks out of a summit of Russian president Vladimir Putin and American President Biden in their

first meeting since the election. And Washington's likely list of key points to discuss getting longer by the day as Moscow continues to draw ire

from the West.

This hour we are live in Moscow with an exclusive interview with an American imprisoned in Russia, who is calling on Mr. Biden to take decisive

action to stop detention of U.S. citizens.

Russia showing support of Belarus. The two presidents met last weekend. The NATO secretary-general today saying the countries are working closely

together. This after an Belarusian activist was pulled from the skies last week when the plane was diverted.

Another activist is back in detention after trying to cut his own throat in court.

The presidents Biden and Putin are likely to discuss the growing number of hackings on U.S. companies and government agencies blamed on a Russian

based network. Another attack this week targeting largest the world's largest meat processor. Russia says it's in contact with the U.S. over the

incident. We'll get you to Washington for the details on that.

First CNN's exclusive interview with an American serving time in Russia. Paul Whelan is serving time on a spying charge which he denies. He said he

is a victim of hostage diplomacy and he feels the upcoming Biden-Putin meeting is a step in the right direction. Matthew Chance joins me now with

more. Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Thanks, Becky. It is extraordinary access because Paul Whelan is incarcerated in

central Russia, a long way from Moscow and from anywhere, really, where he works in what he calls a prison sweat shop, making clothes.

And he's looking to President Biden and the summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin for a negotiated release.


CHANCE (voice-over): For more than two years, Paul Whelan has languished in Russian jails, insisting he's an innocent pawn in a political game.

PAUL WHELAN, AMERICAN CITIZEN: I want to tell the world that I'm a victim of political kidnap and ransom.


WHELAN: There's obviously no credibility to the situation.

CHANCE (voice-over): Now the former U.S. Marine has spoken to CNN from his remote Russian penal colony ahead of a much anticipated summit between the

U.S. and Russian president.

QUESTION: And if you could get a message to President Biden ahead of this meeting, what would it be?

WHELAN: Decisive action is needed immediately. The abduction of An American citizen cannot stand anywhere in the world.

This is not an issue of Russia against me, it's an issue of Russia against the United States and the United States needs to answer his hostage

diplomacy situation and resolve it as quickly as possible. So I would ask President Biden to aggressively discuss the resolve this issue with his

Russian counterparts.

CHANCE (voice-over): It was at this upscale hotel in Moscow in December 2018 where Whelan was detained by the Russian security services, the old

KGB, accused of receiving a flash drive containing classified information. In a closed trial, he was sentenced to 16 years after being convicted of

espionage, a trumped up charge, he says, intending to make him a valuable bargaining chip for the Kremlin.


CHANCE (voice-over): Something Russian officials deny.

WHELAN: It's pretty simple. There was no crime. There was no evidence. The secret trial was a sham.

As I said, you know, the judge, when I was sentenced said I was being sent home. This was done purely for political motive. And it's really up to the

governments to sort out either an exchange or some sort of resolution. My hope is that it will be quick. It's been, you know, more than two years.

I have not had a shower in two weeks. I cannot use a barber. I have to cut my own hair.

CHANCE (voice-over): Ever since his arrest, there have been serious welfare concerns. The state of Russian prisons is poor. Now, Whelan tells

CNN he spends his days sewing clothes in a prison factory, but that health issues, especially during the COVID pandemic, are a worry.

QUESTION: So tell me how -- how are you doing?

How are you feeling?

WHELAN: I'm doing OK. I've got some sort of illness right now. I call it a kennel cough. It kind of comes and goes in the barracks. People have it,

get better and then have it again. Getting medical care here is -- is very difficult.

QUESTION: Are there concerns about COVID still where you are?

I imagine the vaccine hasn't reached you?

WHELAN: Yes. We have serious concerns about that. I just had one shot and I should have a second shot I think two weeks.

QUESTION: Oh, wow. OK.

WHELAN: So that's -- that's a step in the right direction.

CHANCE (voice-over): A step in the right direction perhaps. But for Paul Whelan, it may still be a long road home.


CHANCE: The Russians have made no secret of the fact of prisoners in U.S. jails they want released and somebody convicted of conspiracy to smuggle

cocaine. They would like to swap for Americans in a Russian jail.

ANDERSON: Matt, stay with me, because we are looking ahead to this summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in a couple weeks' time and oppression

of dissidents likely to be on the agenda when they meet in Geneva.

As world tension between Russia and NATO allies, Russian media report that the country is establishing 20 new military units in response to activity

in Europe, as NATO conducts one of the largest exercises of the year. Next hour, Nic Robertson takes us aboard a flight.

NATO's chief not mincing the words. Jens Stoltenberg slammed Russia's dealings with Belarus after a meeting with British prime minister Johnson.

He told reporters NATO member states will weigh in what he calls unacceptable behavior.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Also show that the NATO units, when they meet, I'm sure they will discuss, as part of the response to the

unacceptable behavior of Belarus and part of the response to assertive Russia, part of a behavior and we see they are working closely together.


ANDERSON: Vladimir Putin can expect to face questions about Belarus at the Swiss summit. That's increasingly clear.

We have learned of a new incident involving yet another detained by Alexander Lukashenko. The family of activist Steffan Latypov says that he's

been moved from a hospital back to detention after stabbing himself in the neck in a courtroom on Tuesday. He was protesting alleged threats against

his loved ones.

A human rights group said the injuries are not life threatening.

Back in Washington, the White House pointing a finger at a criminal organization based in Russia after a cyber attack at one of the world's

biggest meat processing companies. JBS says the systems are coming back online.

Russian state media reporting that Moscow and Washington are in contact over the attack, coming weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil


Is it possible that the Kremlin is having a go at the American food chain at this point?

I'm connecting you to Washington and to CNN's Alex Marquardt.

What more do we know about this specific incident and how does it play into a wider narrative?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think you hit on the good and bad news there. It appears that is the JBS operations

are coming back online but it's further evidence of hackers' abilities to go after very critical parts of countries' infrastructures.

We know that all of the meat processing facilities in the U.S. run by JBS were affected in some way.


MARQUARDT: All of their beef production facilities were shut down because of what the company called an organized cyberattack on their I.T. systems.

The White House came out quickly yesterday, saying that this was done by a ransomware group out of Russia. They did not name the group. They said that

it was cyber criminals.

What we're hearing today from JBS is that their operations are coming back online. We have seen that also from Facebook posts, the various plants

around the country, communicating to the employees that operations are back up and running. I want to read a part of their statement.

They said, "Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing resources to fight this threat. The vast majority of our beef, pork,

poultry and prepared foods plants will be operational today," on Wednesday.

Now note that they didn't mention what the ransom was that was demanded or whether anything was paid.

But this obviously comes right after we saw that major attack on the Colonial Pipeline, another part of a critical American infrastructure. In

that case, the ransomware was paid, more than $4 million. So this is a lucrative business for these criminals that shows no sign of stopping.


ANDERSON: Thank you. I want to bring back Matthew Chance to wrap the big picture here.

And the West then has a washing list of worries about Russia's actions at this point.

What do we expect to be Moscow's position when it comes to this meeting in Geneva two weeks from now?

CHANCE: You're right. There is a list as long as your arm of outstanding issues between Moscow and Washington and Moscow and the West, hacking that

we have just been hearing Alex talk of, the military build-up that threatens countries like Ukraine or the crackdown on dissidents like Alexei


These are all issues which the U.S. president says he is going to confront Vladimir Putin on. And of course, you know, the Russian position is well-

known. They deny any hacking, they kind of deny backing the rebels in Eastern Ukraine and they say they annexed Crimea after a popular


We are not likely to see any change in the Russian position at this much anticipated summit between Presidents Biden and Putin on the 16th of this


But what we are going to be looking at is the sort of attitude of Joe Biden. He goes into the meeting, knowing that president Trump basically

sided with Vladimir Putin over the intelligence agents, whether Russia hacked the 2016 election that brought Trump into office.

We expect to see him be pretty hardline, at least in public at that press conference, about the position on Russia.

And from the Putin side, he wants to show his domestic audience he is not going to bow down or kowtow to an American president. So I think we'll see

a fraught, very tense news conference at the end of that summit.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance, wrapping that part of the show, thank you very much.

In just under seven hours, Israeli politics could be entering a new era. The most important word there is "could" because the arithmetic of

politics, as ever, being evaded of being conquered. So they're hammering out the details of a coalition to end Netanyahu's 12 years in power.

Yair Lapid is tasked with bringing the parties together. We've been following the negotiations since Sunday, when right wing MP Naftali Bennett

said he would bring the Yamina party. If an agreement is reached, parliament has a week to approve it. And then Bennett would likely be

sworn in as prime minister.

Until then, Mr. Netanyahu can use all his power to throw a wrench in the works. Hadas Gold joining us from Jerusalem.

These are the dying hours for Lapid to get the agreement from enough members of the Israeli parliament to unseat Netanyahu.

What chance at this point?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We do have a few hours to go. He has until midnight to inform the Israeli president he has managed to

cobble together a coalition.

And a source close to the negotiations has been saying that there's significant progress made overnight and nearly everything is done but not

everything because we have not seen an announcement yet from Lapid that he managed to get the coalition together and they're clearly still working out

the details.


GOLD: When you have such a wide variety group of political parties trying to sit together, I'm sure there's a lot of disagreements and negotiations

about who gets what positions because there's at least eight political parties, from the far left to the

Yamina Party, all trying to sit together in the same government.

But the feeling, the sense is that they may be able to pull it off before the midnight deadline when they have to inform the Israeli president they

have made it happen. If they manage to bring it to the Israeli president, it is far from over because then it needs to pass a vote of confidence in

the Israeli parliament and that can take some days.

And that can be an eternity that gives Netanyahu and his allies a time potentially to try to throw a wrench into this, as you said, trying to

convince people to defect. And it only takes a few for this coalition to potentially crumble.

Also keep in mind that outside events could affect this coalition, whether the cease-fire, if something happens in Gaza, if something happens with the

Palestinians, all of that could affect this coalition and whether they will actually pass this vote of confidence.

If Lapid fails to bring the coalition to the president, if he fails to do so then the Israeli president can send it to the parliament to see if they

can put something together. Then it's anybody's game. Lapid can try to bring up his coalition again and Netanyahu can try as well.

So although many people here feel as though this will get done and they will be able to bring the coalition to the president tonight, you can never

say never in Israeli politics.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. It is not done until it's done. All of these cliches and more to come up with. We continue to wait and watch. Hadas Gold, thank


Myanmar's military junta locked up more than 80 journalists since February. Just ahead, find out about the efforts to release this American reporter.

Danny Fenster's parents say they're living a nightmare.

And a troubling update to a story that we brought you yesterday, as Hong Kong authorities try another move to make people forget about China's

Tiananmen Square bloodshed 32 years ago.




ANDERSON: More than 80 journalists have been detained in Myanmar since the military took over in February. One of the reporters is American Danny

Fenster. The U.S. embassy says it has been denied access to him. Anna Coren reports on him and the media crackdown.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A curious mind, with an empathetic heart driven by wanderlust, Danny Fenster knew that

journalism was his calling.


DANNY FENSTER, MANAGING EDITOR, FRONTIER MYANMAR: I thought it might be interesting to show the kids how I commute around Yangon.

COREN (voice-over): So when the opportunity arose to move to Myanmar and cover this complicated country in Southeast Asia, the Detroit native jumped

at it, eventually landing a position at the independent online news outlet Frontier Myanmar as the managing editor.

But when the military staged a coup on February 1st, sparking wide scale protests followed by a bloody crackdown, Danny and his colleagues soon

realized their profession made them a target.

BEN DUNANT, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, FRONTIER MYANMAR: There is no safe way of doing journalism. It is a job that you're doing inside a country at extreme

risk but it's an extremely one. And I think for a long time in Myanmar being a foreign national was seen as a protection.

COREN (voice-over): Not anymore.

FENSTER: I miss you so much. I can't wait to get home and see you.

COREN (voice-over): When 37-year-old Danny tried to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur then on to the United States just over a week ago, authorities

arrested him.

BUDDY FENSTER, DANNY FENSTER'S FATHER: Their efforts to squelch journalism it kills life and it kills freedom, it kills truth. And I think that they

just need to let him go immediately. He has not committed any crime there.

COREN (voice-over): He is the fourth foreign national among the more than 80 journalists who have been arrested since the coup began. Another U.S.

journalist, Nathan Maung, was also detained back in March when his offices were raided. A family friend of Nathan's told CNN that the editor-in-chief

of Kamayut Media was tortured for two weeks after his arrest.

The 44-year-old and his local producer were severely beaten around their heads, burnt on their stomach buttocks and thighs with cigarettes and made

to kneel on ice while their hands were handcuffed behind them during interrogations. The committee to protect journalist has describe the abuse

as unconscionable.

Both Danny and Nathan are being held in the notorious insane prison, a monument to brutality. Housing more than 10,000 prisoners of which hundreds

are political prisoners. The squalid conditions and acts of torture behind these gates are well documented from those who survived to tell their


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are many, many people in that who are going through hell right now and they have done nothing wrong.

COREN (voice-over): Owen, we are not using his real name due to safety concerns, was one of Danny's closest friends in Myanmar. He left the

country back in April as the crackdown against journalists escalated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The longer you stayed on the more risk you were taking of them one day coming into your own house and taking you away as well.

COREN (voice-over): According to the human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more 830 civilians have been killed in

Myanmar, also known as Burma, in the last four months. And more than 4,300 have been arrested. Danny's wife remains in Myanmar, while his family back

in Michigan worked tirelessly to keep his detention in the headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to miss you so much.

COREN (voice-over): Hoping and praying that the U.S. government can negotiate their son's release.

ROSE FENSTER, DANNY FENSTER'S MOTHER: It's a total nightmare. It's a total feeling have no control. It's heart wrenching and I just want my son home,

no matter what it takes.

COREN (voice-over): Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Yesterday we told you about the June 4th museum in Hong Kong. It pays tribute to the 1989 pro democracy movement in China, which culminated

in the Tiananmen Square massacre.

We have now learned Hong Kong officials closed that museum temporarily, claiming it did not have the proper licensing. Officials already canceled a

vigil for Friday, citing coronavirus concerns. Organizers are urging people to commemorate the victims of that bloody day in their own "legal and

peaceful way."

The cargo ship that's been on fire off Sri Lanka for nearly two weeks is partially sunk and touching the bottom of the sea. It is still burning and

half afloat. Attempting to tear it away from the coast didn't work. It is carrying tons of chemicals and environmentalists are warning of an

ecological disaster.

The disruptive power of the cargo is already being felt as tiny plastic particles from the ship wash ashore. Will Ripley filed this report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Soaring above the Sri Lankan coast, a view that takes your breath away until you go lower, get closer

and find a scene that breaks your heart, beautiful beaches, blanketed with pea-sized plastic pellets.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Melted down, they make everything from pipelines to plastic bottles. They also kill all kinds of marine animals, as deadly as

they are tiny. Environmentalists say this cargo ship was carrying billions of those plastic pellets, hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals, nitric acid,

sodium hydroxide and oil that could leak at any time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe this will be a major disaster, which we have never had seen in the last 100 or 200 years.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A disaster that began with a bang. An explosion two weeks ago sparked a fire, burning ever since. The ship sinking to the

bottom of the Indian Ocean, along with hundreds of shipping containers. Their contents have the potential to poison our planet for decades to come.

RIPLEY: You have so many ships passing near Sri Lanka. It has a contingency plan for oil but not for the plastic micropellets and the

hazardous chemicals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have the chemicals. We don't have (INAUDIBLE). We don't have for plastic. We don't have enough firefighting equipment and

firefighting vessels.

RIPLEY (voice-over): What Sri Lanka does have, a front row seat to an environmental catastrophe.

RIPLEY: What is the most pressing urgent need right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's cleaning the mess is the most important. The (INAUDIBLE) -- the compensation is not going to help us everything.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A man-made disaster, some are even compared to the devastating 2004 tsunami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the long term impact of this is one of the main things. Tsunami was where the water came in on land and there was a lot of

deaths. And there was a lot of casualty on land. A disaster like is completely out of our hand because this is really polluting, destroying the

ocean, the marine life and Sri Lankans are so dependent on the marine. We are an island.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The island and its people devastated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The ship has dealt a death blow to our lives. We can't go to the sea which means we can't make a living.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A death blow to their livelihoods and to the animals who call this poisoned piece of ocean their home -- Will Ripley, CNN,



ANDERSON: Ahead on the show, at last, COVID certificates are starting to be issued in Europe for travel.

Will this be the Danish foreign affairs minister about Denmark's decision to be an early adopter of the new system?





ANDERSON: Some European nations are finally starting to issue COVID certificates to allow people to travel within the bloc. This is welcome

news for so many people, unable to see their families in months due to lockdowns and border closures.

This isn't just for vaccinated travelers; it provides proof that a person is one of these three things: vaccinated against COVID, tested negative or

recovered from the disease, which provides some immunity.

This certificate is issued in digital or paper with a QR code and it is free of charge and provided in the person's national language as well as in

English; 22 countries have already tested the E.U. gateway verification system successfully. It won't go into full effect until July.

But countries can use the system on a voluntary basis. And Denmark is one of those countries who have decided to do that. I'm joined by the Danish

foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod.

Thank you, sir.

Why did Denmark decide to begin this scheme now?

JEPPE KOFOD, DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, this is very important for reopening of our society that we have a digital COVID passport, a

certificate. And we have done it domestically.

We launched the domestic issue of this passport last week and it fully complies with the standard of the common E.U. passport and therefore we can

also use it for traveling across borders in the E.U. in a safe, good way.

And it is really important for tourists, for families, for businesses that they can cross borders and they have proof of vaccination, negative test or

recovery. So this is fundamental for us.

ANDERSON: The European Commission hopes all of the bloc's 27 countries will be using this system by July. We know this crisis is not over.

Do you have any reservations about opening up the European Union to travel over the summer?

What is your advice for travelers that want to move around?

KOFOD: First of all, you're absolutely right. We are not out of the crisis. The pandemic is still there. We're still seeing infected people so

we need to be cautious. But that's why this -- I have it here on the screen with the QR code -- that is now interoperable in the E.U.. That is why it's

a good tool. . But still it's each and every member state's decision how -- in what requirements that will be there when arriving to the country. We are right

now discussing among each of the 27 E.U. member states whether to harmonize more our requirements.

But it is, for example, if you come to Denmark, there is requirements of test, isolation and so on and that requirement would be different from

another country. The point is that this certificate make it easy for us to identify if you're tested or vaccinated in another country. That's real and

it's a good proof.

ANDERSON: So 22 countries have already tested this E.U. gateway verification system, as it's known, and tested it successfully.

Do you expect everybody to ultimately get on board?

You say there are discussions going on. Is there any pushback from any other member at this point?

KOFOD: Well, I think when people see how important it is, this certificate, for moving across borders, for families going on vacation for

example this summer, then it will be used, I think, broadly. I hope so.

So it is a gateway to more freedom. And we have all been through severe restrictions of various kinds in each of the E.U. member states. Now we

can, with this, open up so I think it will really be a relief for many. . And again, I think it's a smart system. It's a system where we, also, as governments, can have still pandemic control and ensure that we don't

spread the virus across the borders.

ANDERSON: There's still a lack of long-term data on how long antibodies last and how well vaccines perform against new variants such as the so-

called Indian variant. While that is mostly in the U.K., certainly that's been the suggestion there, there have been cases in other European


I wonder, you avoided answering the last question so I won't put it to you again.

Which countries are less inclined at this point?

Where are the reservations?

Because there are risks associated with this opening up, aren't there?

KOFOD: Definitely.


KOFOD: And still I need to emphasize, it is still each and every country's decision which (INAUDIBLE) they would allow with this passport.

For example, if you have a country with a certain variant that is concerning to some of our health authorities, we will say this is a no-go

to arrive from that country. That will still be the case and it could be the case, as you rightly point out, we will see the concerning variants not

only in Europe but also worldwide.

We need to take into account. So, of course, this is not a free ride but it is a way to control crossing of borders in areas that are pretty safe.

ANDERSON: Do you worry about a two-tier system?

There are concerns, ethical concerns about the fact that so many parts of the world are not yet not just vaccinated but nowhere close.

KOFOD: Definitely. We all should fight very hard to get the vaccine capacity up and also roll out a vaccination globally because we are not out

of the pandemic before all countries are covered.

Also with vaccinations. So one of the things that the Danish government is fighting hard for, both in the E.U. and also globally is to provide

vaccines also to developing countries, countries with less resources. This is a concern for all of us. So that's going also on the side of what we are

doing here. And we need to step up, all of us.

ANDERSON: While I have you, I must ask, on Sunday, Denmark's independent public broadcaster published a report alleging that Danish intelligence

services helped the U.S. National Security Agency spy on several senior E.U. officials, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel both demanding


Foreign Minister, did Denmark help American spy on its allies?

KOFOD: Listen, I do not comment on our intelligence services in the media. What I can say is that we, this government and also the government before

us reject any systematic spying of any allies. This is of, course, something we are against.

ANDERSON: You must know, though, whether Denmark helped America spy on its allies.

KOFOD: Becky, yes. I think you absolutely know that I cannot comment on our intelligence services in the media. I can point what out the position

of the Danish government are. But also say that we have a good cooperation with the allies in Europe and around the world, including the U.S.

ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there. Thank you, sir.


KOFOD: Thank you.

ANDERSON: The Danish prime minister.

We are seeing a glimmer of hope as the number of COVID cases around the world decline for a fifth straight week but that is not the case for the

African continent. We have just been talking about the ethics around a two- tier system as some people suggest, with these vaccination certificates in Europe.

The World Health Organization said cases are spiking in Africa. Here are the countries of concern. In just one week, South Africa and Uganda saw the

biggest increases in new COVID cases.

Overall, the African region saw a 22 percent uptick. South Africa also had one of the biggest increases in the number of people dying from the virus,

along with Kenya.

Let's get you up to speed on the stories on some of the other stories on our radar right now.

China is carrying out mass COVID tests in the city of Guangzhou to contain a growing outbreak there. Health authorities say nearly every resident in

two of the city's districts have been tested, 2.8 million people; 12 new cases were reported today, bringing the total number of cases in that

cluster to 54.

China's Sinovac COVID vaccine has the green light from the World Health Organization and now the shot can be included in the COVAX scheme, which

help provide vaccines for poorer countries. The WHO chief called the vaccine safe, effective and noted its easy storage requirements.

Australian authorities extending a coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne for a second week because of a highly contagious COVID-19 variant first found in

India. These snap lockdowns and regional border restrictions have helped Australia keep its COVID-19 figures relatively low at about 30,000 cases

and just over 900 deaths.

Off the court, pressure forced Naomi Osaka to quit a major tennis tournament. Coming up, you'll hear how another tennis champ deals with

media pressure.





ANDERSON: It's the biggest story in sport right now. Naomi Osaka quitting the French Open, citing mental health reasons and not wanting to do press

conferences. We are following reaction to world number 2 tennis player. Venus Williams weighing in on the pressure of the press. Have a listen.


VENUS WILLIAMS, 7 TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: For me personally, how I deal with it is, I know every person that asked me a question can't play as well

as I can and never will. So no matter what you say or what you write, you'll never light (sic) a candle to me. So that's how I deal with it. But

each person deals with it differently.


ANDERSON: Alex Thomas is your host for "WORLD SPORT" coming up.

I can't imagine that Naomi Osaka could have thought that her decision to pull out and take a fine would spark such a big debate. But debate it is.

We are hearing voices on all sides.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That was a bit of a brutal mic drop from Venus Williams there, wasn't it?

Saying to the media, you can't hold a candle to me as far as tennis. And if anyone has a chance to kind of get their own back on the media when the

spotlight is on this issue, to be fair to her, it is Venus and Serena Williams that endured so much not just from the media but from elsewhere

because they were ground breakers until they won the adulation they got through the success on the court.

I'm glad the spotlight is on this and the tone has softened around Naomi Osaka because it is to do with mental health, which is extreme for elite

athletes but also there is a wider debate to be had. I have much more of it coming up on "WORLD SPORT."

ANDERSON: Terrific. Alex, always a pleasure.

And Alex is back after the break and we are back after that.