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U.S. Tries to Fill Gaps in Vaccine Distribution; Latin America & Africa Mired in COVID Misery; Mexico's Midterm Largely Seen as a Referendum on Lopez Obrador; Hong Kong Bans Tiananmen Vigils Citing COVID Concerns. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 04, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI ANCHOR: Tonight, the COVID divide. The gap between the global North and South growing wider as the situation deteriorates in
Latin America and in Africa.
Then Mexico gives up for its midterm elections after a deadly campaign season. Voters head to the polls this weekend.
And banned and barricaded. How people are gathering to mark the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary in Hong Kong, despite the official vigil being
ANDERSON: Hello. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.
Well, right now, new data shows that more than 2 billion COVID vaccine shots have been given out globally. The world's 27 richest countries
account for one-third of the vaccines though they account for just 1 in 10 of the people on earth. That is according to data from Bloomberg.
Well, in an effort to help close the gap, the Biden administration announcing how and where it will distribute the first 25 million doses of
the 80 million it promised to send abroad. Three-quarters will be sent to the COVAX global vaccination program. It is greatly needed because COVAX
continues to see major shortfalls and hurdles in the scheme's distribution of doses.
The White House says it will be working closely with COVAX to decide where to send those doses. They are needed more than ever with the divide between
the global north and south only growing.
While Europe and the U.S. are now enjoying lower cases and more freedom, Latin America and Africa seeing spiking cases with lackluster vaccine
Take a look at the areas of particular concern. In Latin America, Brazil is seeing the highest number of deaths, nearly 13,000 in the last week.
Meanwhile, Colombia's deaths have spiked by almost 19 percent this week. And in Africa, the nation of South Africa is causing the most concern with
a rise in new cases. Uganda and Kenya are also areas concerning health officials.
Those numbers are why the Biden plan largely targets Latin America and Africa. We're covering both those areas for you.
David McKenzie is with us from Johannesburg this evening, and we begin with Stefano Pozzebon who is in Bogota in Colombia.
And, Stefano, which countries in Latin America are a key priority for Biden's global vaccine plan at this point?
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Well, Becky, in making his announcement yesterday, the White House and in particular the national security adviser,
Jake Sullivan, mentioned four countries in particular here in the region. He mentioned Guatemala where Vice President Harris is due to travel to over
the weekend. He mentioned Colombia, where I am, that is traditionally Washington's closest ally in the region, and he mentioned the Andean
countries of Peru and Ecuador which both have had great problems in picking up pace in their vaccination campaign.
Apart from those countries, it's the whole region that is really suffering from yet another wave of COVID-19. And while leaders across the region have
welcomed the pledge from the White House to prioritize Latin America to try to send these vaccine doses, those 6 million doses could not really be
enough to try curb the spread of the virus that is hitting Latin America and hitting it hard 15 months into the first outbreak.
Take a listen to what we prepare for you.
POZZEBON (voice-over): Thousands of people staged protests across Brazil this weekend demanding the president's removal over his handling of the
coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has recorded the third highest number of cases in the world after the U.S. and India and is now facing a possible third
wave of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Brazil reported its second highest number of new infections in a single day, but the entire region is struggling. The Pan-American
health organization sounding the alarm as Central America reported last week the highest number of COVID-19 deaths to date and the doubling of new
cases in Belize and Salvador, and Panama.
As Europe and the United States relax international travel restrictions, Latin America is bracing for more cases and there aren't enough vaccines to
In Central America, countries like Guatemala and Honduras have only vaccinated less than 1 percent of their population in sharp contrast with
the millions fully vaccinated up north.
What is particularly worrying even with the case numbers rising is that some restrictions are being lifted prematurely -- in some cases, to try to
help a battered economy. But with more people on the move, experts feel the virus could spread even further. Colombia's capital Bogota is set to lift
most restrictions next week.
CLAUDIA LOPEZ, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA MAYOR (through translator): It sounds completely contradictory and, frankly, from an epidemiologic point of view,
it is completely contradictory to reopen the city when ICUs are at 97 percent and new cases are growing. But from a social and economic point of
view, with unemployment disproportionately affecting youngsters and women, it's the right thing to do.
POZZEBON: Brazil is now preparing to host a major football tournament, the Copa America, which could become another super spreader event in the
country where the situation is far from under control. The only solution experts say is to boost vaccinations.
The Biden administration on Thursday announcing plans to share at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses globally making Latin America a priority.
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Finally, I want to talk a little bit about where we are sharing these first 25 million doses. We're
sharing them in a wide range of countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and across Africa, in coordination
with the African Union. This includes prioritizing our neighbors here in our hemisphere, including countries like Guatemala and Colombia, Peru,
Ecuador, and many others.
POZZEBON: With just 6 million doses so far across a dozen different countries in the region, even that effort seems just a drop in the ocean
and the cases only destined to keep piling up.
POZZEBON: And, Becky, these are really somber landscapes spreading across the whole region here, but cases like Chile where the vaccination campaign
has been applauded (ph) in the past for its efficacy, but they are still having trouble containing another outbreak of the virus. Countries like
Nicaragua and Venezuela up north that are not even sharing statistics and we frankly don't really know how many people are getting the jab there.
And this is a stark contrast from what is happening in Europe and the United States. With some countries are already discussing green list and
travel -- lifting travel restrictions. Latin America is only bracing for worse -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, and this lack of transparency on actual data is a real concern.
Stefano, thank you.
David, the WHO says at least 14 countries in Africa are now facing a surge in COVID cases. Look, these offers from the U.S. and indeed from Europe to
COVAX will be a start, but supply is one step, distribution of course another huge hurdle. What is capacity like to distribute these vaccines
once they arrive?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's a very mixed picture. You had the unfortunate circumstance in Malawi recently where they burned
publicly vaccines because they didn't have enough interest or capacity to get them out before they expired. I do think this is an important moment,
important symbolic gesture by the White House, because even if there are five some million doses of vaccine that are slated initially for the
African continent may not have an impact on the third wave that is certainly loading on this continent, it does send an important message.
The White House said explicitly that they are doing this as well to apply pressure to other wealthy nations to also donate excess vaccines. So,
hopefully, this will be the start and not the finish. It's kind of a down payment.
That as Stefano said, in Latin America, these doses won't really have an impact on the broader outbreaks that you're seeing in several parts of the
continent including here in South Africa where the rollout of the vaccines started late. It is picking up some steam but they certainly could use more
doses to accelerate that.
You mentioned capacity. That is a problem. The DRC really gave back some million doses of the vaccine to the African Union because of suspicion
about vaccines, lack of capacity to get them out. You have certain countries like the DRC, which entire health systems are not ready to do a
vaccination quite on this scale for the adult population.
So a huge amount of challenges but I think it's a positive development that vaccines are flowing from the U.S. to the global south and certainly public
health officials will hope that the volume and speed of those donations increase to perhaps stave off a fourth wave on this continent -- Becky.
ANDERSON: David is in South Africa, thank you. Stefano in Bogota, in Colombia.
So 2 billion doses administered around the world the equivalent of vaccinating a quarter of the world's population, but it is absolutely clear
that we are nowhere close to actually vaccinating a quarter of the world's population. The divide couldn't be starker at this point.
The consequences of vaccine equality also playing out ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Some countries are unable to get their jabs to their own
athletes, so the International Olympic Committee with help from the National Olympic Committees and Pfizer have set up two vaccination hubs,
one in Qatar and the other in Rwanda. These sites are open to Olympic and Paralympic Games participants who can't get vaccines in their own home
Well, concerns are growing in the Japanese public domain that hosting the games will cost lives even if international -- sorry -- if international
visitors bring in new infections. But as CNN's Anna Stewart explains, organizers may be looking at another cost, one that is in the billions of
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After years of preparation, Tokyo 2020 is just weeks away. A year late due to the pandemic, organizers
say that the event will cost $15.4 billion. Some estimates suggest it will cost much more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cancel the Tokyo Olympics.
STEWART: Opinion polls in Japan suggest a majority of the public want it canceled.
Japan has already banned overseas spectators, which the Nomura Research Institute estimates will cost the country over $1 billion in lost revenue.
Canceling the games, it says, would cost more than $16 billion. But the think tank warns that these costs actually pale in comparison to the
economic damage another wave of coronavirus could cause.
The IOC says its priority is to hold games that are safe and secure. And, while pressure mounts for Japan to cancel the games, contractually, it
ALEXANDRE MIGUEL MESTRE, SPORTS LAW ATTORNEY, ABREU ADVOGADOS: In practice, the single entity that can cancel games is the IOC, International
Olympic Committee, because, according to the Olympic charter, the IOC has an exclusive property of the games.
STEWART: So, this means that, actually, Japan can't unilaterally decide to cancel the Olympic Games?
MESTRE: If Japan, if the organizing committee, if Tokyo, decides to not go on on their obligations under the host city contract, of course, it would
not be possible to undertake the games. And in that condition, of course, the IOC would be entitled to sue those co- parties in the host city
STEWART: The IOC has insurance for games cancellation and abandonment which could cover part of its operational cost.
But what about its partners, the sponsors, and the broadcasters?
PATRICK VAJDA, PRESIDENT, XAW SPORTS: The main one in terms of money is the TV rights. The different contracts now are so complicated. Twenty years
ago, it is easy to answer your question. Today, it's almost impossible, because a different TV network bought not only one games, but several.
Generally speaking, three online, sometimes four.
We have to take each contract one by one and to analyze what is written in the contract. Sometimes, it is written something about the cancellation,
they have to reimburse, they have not. It depends on the contract and it is a pure contractual agreement between two private companies.
STEWART: Billions of dollars, lawsuits, and insurance claims are at stake if the games are canceled. If they go ahead, the IOC risks breaching its
own charter, which says it will promote safe sport, and protects athletes, who are already beginning to arrive in Japan.
The ultimate cost could be borne by those at risk from COVID-19 if Tokyo 2020 becomes a super-spreader event.
Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: What drive more concern, Japan has about a 3 percent vaccination rate, as you can see here. It is one of the slowest in the developed world.
Japan is a leading economy. So, why is it in this position? Well, for one, it got a late start and started vaccinating two months after other rich
countries like the U.S. and U.K.
Japanese regulators were more cautious about approvals.
They wanted domestic trials before rolling them out to the public. Because of the testing requirements, for months, the Pfizer vaccine was the only
one Japan approved. As a result, there has been a shortage of vaccines. Officials blamed Europe's lack of supply earlier in the year for that.
Now the health minister has approved the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines for emergency use and supplies are expected to stabilize. But there's also
been logistical bottlenecks and a lack of people to actually develop them.
And, lastly, vaccine skepticism. A series of scandals going back 50 years has given Japan one of the lowest rates of vaccine confidence in the world.
Supply and hesitation also putting kinks in Australia's rollout. Strict border controls and snap lockdown dubbed the country a COVID success story
but as CNN's Angus Watson explains, that success is now hampering vaccine efforts.
Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: Like many places around the world, Australia has prioritized older and vulnerable people in the early stages of its
COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The problem? The rollout has never quite got past those early stages.
Very few Australians, under the age of 40, are eligible to get a shot. And fewer than 1 million people in this country have had two doses of any
COVID-19 vaccine. The problem is both a supply issue and a hesitancy issue.
Australia bet big on the AstraZeneca vaccine. It's the only COVID-19 vaccine that's being produced locally.
But earlier this year, Australia's drug regulators determined that that should be only given to people over the age of 50, due to the rare chance
of people developing blood clots, after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
People under the age of 50 told to wait until later in the year, until Pfizer shots become available. There's a shortage of those in Australia at
The problem is that older people are saying they want to wait too, towards the end of the year, to get a vaccine that they see is superior to the
AstraZeneca vaccine, which they worry about potential side effects of.
Meanwhile, Millennials, particularly, are saying they would happily get the AstraZeneca vaccine, if it diminished the chances of a lockdown, like the
one that we're seeing in Victoria right now. The state government there is saying that this lockdown may not have had to happen, if the Australian
government was quicker with its vaccine rollout.
Just over 30,000 Australians have caught COVID-19, since the beginning of the pandemic, and there are wide places around Australia, where there are
very few restrictions, and very few cases.
But borders remain closed. Very few people are allowed into the country. In fact, 35,000 Australians, or more, around the world, want to come back into
the country, but can't. Meanwhile Australians here have to apply to the government to leave. A change in those circumstances depends on the vaccine
rollout that the government says it's not a race. Many here disagree.
Angus Watson, CNN, Sydney, Australia.
ANDERSON: Well, up next, candle light and a new crackdown. Hong Kong tries to stop public commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre. We are live
on the scene for you.
Plus, crying and confessing to crimes. A shaken Roman Protasevich appears on TV in Belarus as his supporters accused the government of torture.
ANDERSON: Well, people in Mexico go to the polls on Sunday to vote for members of Congress and local officials. This caps off what has been a
bloody campaign season.
But one estimate, nearly 90 politicians or candidates have been killed. Those killing underscoring the wave of violence not eased under President
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. This election is a key test of how Mexicans think he is doing.
Well, CNN's Matt Rivers has been reporting on this election for us and the violence that has been associated with it. Matt is joining us now from
And you are normally based in Mexico City. What outcome is expected from this election?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, depending on which poll you believe, Becky, and we've seen several over the past couple weeks, it's going to be
a tight race. Some show the political party will probably maintain the majorities in Congress. Others show a tighter race. Very few have shown his
party will exceed the number of seats that it has right now, but this is something that the United States is going to be watching very closely.
There's more than 20,000 candidates on ballots across Mexico. Of course, he is not on this ballot but he might have the most to gain or lose from this
and that is something the Biden administration is going to be watching very closely.
RIVERS (voice-over): Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO for short, a man who depending who you ask is either a demagogue or a
Plenty here love him. His consistently high approval ratings built on a folksy image, champion of the poor, bashing Mexico's elite, and promising a
redistribution of wealth.
We said even before taking office that a transformation was needed to reverse Mexico's breakdown, he said.
And the way he wants to solve Mexico's myriad problems is by centralizing power in the presidency. Mexico's democratic institutions are so broken his
argument goes that only he and his party can be trusted to fix things. Disagree and you're the enemy.
Among the independent institutions or groups that AMLO has attacked recently, the judiciary, independent election officials, central bank, a
government transparency data base, opposition candidates, the free press, feminists, and green energy supporters.
If that all sounds strikingly familiar to the playbook of a recent U.S. president, well, it is. Yet the Biden administration has stayed very quiet
about AMLO's assaults on Mexican democracy. A few hours ahead after virtual meeting last month with Vice President Kamala Harris, AMLO accused the U.S.
of, quote, promoting coup plotters because the U.S. provides funding for a Mexican anticorruption group that's been critical of AMLO. At least in
public, Harris didn't take the bait.
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This partnership I believe couldn't be more important today. Our nations face serious challenges.
RIVERS: Challenges like migration as hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S. border pose a big problem for the U.S. Some believe
staying quiet on democratic abuses helps ensure AMLO's cooperation in one key area.
JORGE CASTANEDA, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Keeping the central Americans out, basically doing the United States' dirty work for it. I
think that was Trump's quid pro quo and, for all appearances, it's Biden's quid pro quo.
RIVERS: At least for now, the Biden administration might be waiting to see what happens on June 6th when Mexico's mid-term elections will help decide
if Morena, AMLO's political party wins super majorities in Congress. That could mean pushing through constitutional reforms that might even include
extending AMLO's time in office.
CASTANEDA: This kind of power grab, this kind of concentration of power, in a country like Mexico, can only lead to economic collapse, to further
violence, to further corruption.
RIVERS: Now, a lot of experts that I've spoken to recently say they expect the U.S. to address these concerns publicly, maybe push AMLO in a more
democratic direction using economic leverage.
But the question, Becky, is that if AMLO's political party does well this weekend, will he be less willing to listen to what the U.S. has to say?
ANDERSON: Interesting. We'll see. Thank you. Matt Rivers is in Honduras for you today, reporting as he normally does on Mexico.
Well, critics of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko are calling detained journalist Roman Protasevich a hostage of the regime. The activist
appeared in an interview on state TV on Thursday, visibly distressed and crying at some points. He said he's pleaded guilty to organizing large-
scale, unsanctioned protests following the country's disputed elections last August.
Now, the U.K. has condemned the interview as disturbing while Germany is calling it disgraceful. His supporters said the conversation was painful to
watch and his parents fear he is being tortured.
Well, next hour, I'll be speaking to the Russian ambassador to the E.U. about the fallout from Russia's friend Belarus as well as the upcoming
We'll be right back.
ANDERSON: Odds are, many of you if you are of a certain age can remember where you were when you saw this unforgettable image, the Chinese protester
who became known as tank man obstructing tanks during the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre. That was 32 years ago.
The powerful symbol, one person standing up to the military might of China.
Speaking truth to power has been forbidden today in Hong Kong at least publicly. City officials canceling Hong Kong's annual vigil marking this
anniversary using COVID concerns as the excuse.
Last year, despite a different ban, protesters still filled Victoria Park, which is the home of Hong Kong's annual Tiananmen Square celebrations or
commemorations. This is the second straight year the event has been banned. But there is a difference.
A sweeping new national security law coming into place within the past year, part of China's increasing grip on Hong Kong. Something happened a
short time ago. The protesters still came out ringing the perimeter of Victoria Park.
The U.S. embassy in Hong Kong making a statement of its own.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is connecting us to that.
Describe where you are and what you're seeing.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am standing outside the U.S. consulate here in Hong Kong, where a candlelight vigil is in place on this
sensitive anniversary. In each of the windows behind me facing Garden Road here in Hong Kong there are five digital candles that are flickering. A
similar installation is in place at the E.U. office here in Hong Kong as well. Both very bold statements in solidarity with those who dare to
remember what happened in Beijing, what happened in the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Tiananmen, June 4th, 1989.
Earlier today, we were reporting live from Victoria Park where 300 to 500 police officers were out in force ready to take swift action against any
Earlier today, two people at least were arrested including a vigil organizer for publicizing the vigil on her Facebook page. For two years
Hong Kong police banned the vigil citing coronavirus restrictions. I have to say, on Thursday, Hong Kong reported only one new imported case of the
Last year, the vigil was banned again due to coronavirus restrictions. Thousands of people then defied the ban and August, 24 pro-democracy
activists were arrested among them, the high profile activist Joshua Wong. And last month in May, he was sentenced to an additional ten months in jail
for his role in that vigil.
Despite the risk, despite the ban many people across Hong Kong this day are remembering Tiananmen and what happened on June 4th, 1989. They're choosing
to light a candle at home, to attend a vigil at church, to go to the perimeter just outside Victoria Park, a scene we saw earlier this evening,
walking around and around carrying mementos, shining smart phones, or even candles and even here at the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong a candlelight
vigil under way at this late hour in memory of Tiananmen -- Becky.
ANDERSON: And, Kristie, you were at Victoria Park as you described earlier on today. How would you describe the atmosphere there?
STOUT: The atmosphere during the day time was a bit surreal. We were reporting inside the park and then the police started to move us about 2:00
p.m. local time. We were asked to leave the site where for over 30 years here in Hong Kong, there would be tens of thousands if not more people
gathering in the evening to light those candles and create a sea of flickering light.
We then returned at 8:00 p.m. in the evening. It was already nightfall. No one was allowed in the park inside the area where the vigil used to take
place, but people still gathered in the perimeter, outside the park, circling around, moving with candles with their smart phones alight holding
mementos or talking to each other. You get the sense there are still many here in Hong Kong who want to remember, despite, again, a ban on the vigil
because of the coronavirus -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Kristie Lu Stout is in Hong Kong for you this evening.
CNN's Will Ripley sat down with one of the main student leaders of the 1989 protest, who is urging the West to protect democracy. Have a listen.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the first time in more than three decades that nowhere in the Chinese speaking world will there be a large,
formal mass gathering to mark the June 4th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Unlike Hong Kong where heavy handed police are keeping people away, here in Taiwan, it is a COVID-19 outbreak, and earlier, very heavy rains.
But the government here is expressing their support for the Tiananmen Square survivors, including one student activist who is now living in exile
here who says, this anniversary is more important now than ever.
WU'ER KAIXI, TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: Being a survivor of the massacre in the participant of the movement, I certainly appreciate Hong
Kong people's commemorating the June 4th, but Beijing regime together with the puppet in Hong Kong said no to our challenge, to our demand for
freedom, to the demand of the Hong Kong people for their freedom and democracy.
RIPLEY: You have said the western world lost the city.
KAIXI: Yes. And we should see the world map more like free world versus the enemy of them. So, if the world is two colors, and then Hong Kong has
just changed color.
RIPLEY: How would you respond to those who might think that the protesters pushed too much? Too far? That is what the pro-Beijing camp says in Hong
KAIXI: Well, they also said we did that in 1989. It is not much different from accusing a rape victim of wearing too exposed. Of course, it's the
communist party to be blamed first. You cannot blame the victim.
RIPLEY: Is there any hope for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong at this point?
KAIXI: It is. There is no way of sugar coating it. It is one of the darkest times in Hong Kong's history, I believe.
But there is a silver lining. I see in the last two, three years, the U.S.- led Western democracy who enabled Chinese regime to conduct all these atrocities is coming around a little and realized what they have done, and
then coming to a point to thinking of changing this failed China policy.
RIPLEY: You left China 32 years ago after many of your fellow students died. Now we are sitting here at Liberty Square.
Do you worry about the future of democracy here in Taiwan given the Chinese military intimidation?
KAIXI: Of course. You have to worry about democracy all the time, even with a living in democracy. That threat to Taiwan is military, is over
1,000 warheads pointing at this island from the shore of China. People here in Taiwan breathe in and out freedom, and they know it, because they have
earned it and they will defend it.
RIPLEY: That is Wu'er Kaixi, who was one of the most wanted men in China when he escaped 32 years ago with just the clothes on his back. Now living
in exile here in Taiwan, he says he has offered himself up formally for extradition several times even in recent years and he says each time the
mainland authorities deny his request. He says they don't want to take him back and put him on trial and put him in prison because he believes they
know he will have more power even in a jail cell than he does trying to sound the alarm about what he considers a grave threat to the free world.
Will Ripley, CNN, Taiwan.
ANDERSON: Well, we are getting our closest look yet at that cargo ship sinking slowly off the coast of Sri Lanka, along with its nearly 1,500
containers, inside dozens of them the makings of an environmental disaster in the sea and on land and ultimately finding its way into the very
livelihoods of tens of thousands of local fishermen. Paula Hancock breaks down exactly what is going on.
PAUL HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have new close up images of the container ship that is slowly sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka. And what
we can see from the drone images is that much of this container ship is already submerged under the surface. But what is still visible, those
containers are still smoldering which shows the intensity of the fire that had been burning onboard for almost two weeks.
Now, we know that what was in the containers, chemicals and plastics, is causing an environmental disaster in the waters around the ship and on the
coast line of Sri Lanka. We know billions of plastic pellets were in the containers and have gone into the sea and are washing up onshore. There is
a massive cleanup operation at this point, because, clearly, plastic pellets are extremely dangerous to both marine life and also wildlife on
There's also hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals, night rick acid, sodium hydroxide. Authorities are saying they hope many of the chemicals would
have burned off during the intense fire but the biggest point is 350 tons of fuel oil. At this point, there is no indication it has leaked out as of
yet but authorities are extremely concerned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): the first option is lay a boom around the ship. We are ready. If that is not possible we can drop oil
dispersants from the air. If the weather isn't helpful and we can't use the boom or use the dispersants, then we will have to protect the coast line.
HANCOCKS: Now, there has been a massive effort to try and make sure officials can mitigate the dangers and environmental catastrophe an oil
spill on top of everything else would cause. Oil booms protecting certain lagoons and being put around the ship itself. They were trying to tow this
vessel further out to sea to try and mitigate the damage to the coast line but as you can see from the images much of it is already submerged.
Now, officials say they believe part of the ship may already have sunk into the sea bed. So, that makes towing it out impossible as it could break up
the ship and then of course that oil spill will be ever more possible. Now, fishermen in the area are furious. They say their livelihoods have been
There is a very rich marine life in this area, also mangroves. We've heard a Sri Lanka based environmental conservation organization has actually
filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the company that owns this vessel and also local authorities saying that fishermen need to be
They believe that up to 50,000 fishermen have lost their livelihoods and, of course, there is also the fear that the environmental damage we are
seeing will get a lot worse.
Paula Hancock, CNN, Seoul.
ANDERSON: When we come back, from high school to the highest point on the golf leaderboard. I'll introduce you to the amateur who is beating the pros
at the Women's U.S. Open.
ANDERSON: Well, the world of golf is buzzing about a 17-year-old amateur who is beating all the pros at the most prestigious tournament in women's
golf, the U.S. Open. She is still in high school but is tied for the lead after round one.
"WORLD SPORT's" Alex Thomas with me.
I was going to ask you what you were up to while you were still in high school but I'm not sure I want to know. This is -- this is a wicked story,
ALEX THOMAS, WORLD SPORT: Fantastic. She actually played in the U.S. open two years ago as a 15-year-old and admitted she was completely overwhelmed,
but feels far more comfortable this time, only just squeezing into the tournament through the qualifying process. Once she got there, she said she
felt at home, relishing the challenge of a really tough course, the Olympic Country Club has staged the men's U.S. Open five times. This is the first
time it staged the women's.
And Ganne has just taken to the course for her second round and is level par after a couple holes. We've got more coming up.
ANDERSON: Amazing stuff. That's on "WORLD SPORT". That follows this short break with Mr. Alex Thomas. I'll be back the top of the hour for you.
ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed. Have a good weekend, sir.
I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CNN CONNECT THE WORLD continues after this.