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Hala Gorani Tonight
U.K. Warned against Reopening Too Soon; Greece Working on "COVID- Free" Islands to Attract Tourists; U.S. President Joe Biden Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre; June 4th Museum Keeps Tiananmen Square Memory Alive; Actor Steven Seagal Joins Russian Political Party. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 01, 2021 - 14:00 ET
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HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN London, I am HALA GORANI TONIGHT. The tennis world and in fact, the entire world taking stock
of Naomi Osaka`s shock exit from the French Open. What her departure says about mental health elite athletes and the sport going forward. Also ahead
this hour, Peru nearly tripling its COVID-19 death toll, it now has the highest per capita death toll in the world. How do they get away with this
level of under-reporting for so long? We`re live in the region.
And zero COVID deaths today in the United Kingdom, but still plenty to worry about as scientists warn that it is facing a perilous moment over a
highly infectious variant. What you need to know. Well, there has now been an outpouring of support for tennis star Naomi Osaka after her stunning
withdrawal from the French Open. The world number two says she pulled out to focus on her mental well being. She had initially come under fire for
avoiding the media at the tournament, saying press conferences make her anxious.
Many of Osaka`s fellow athletes and sponsors have since jumped to her defense. Some have expressed empathy for her situation, others have
commended her for shining a spotlight on mental health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: I feel for Naomi. I feel like -- I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it`s like. Like I said, I`ve been
in those positions. We have different personalities. And people are different, not everyone is the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, so initially, as I mentioned, the reaction was different from some quarters because Naomi Osaka hadn`t been clear about the fact
that she was experiencing real depression, that she had had experience, quote, "with long bouts of depression". And this has led to a big
discussion about mental health in sport and indeed about mental health in the workplace. Joining me now to discuss this is a Annabel Croft; a radio
and TV broadcaster and former tennis player. Annabel, thanks for joining us. First of all, talk to us a little bit about what it`s like.
You finish a match, you win or you lose, whatever, and then you face the press at one of those news conferences. What`s it like in terms of
ANNABEL CROFT, RADIO & TV BROADCASTER: Well, it`s never easy, is it? Because of course, if you win and you face a press conference, and you`re
on a high and you feel like you can answer those questions and you can be confident, but of course, if you lose, it`s like the end of the world for a
sports person, and it`s a little bit like a post-mortem. It`s pretty depressing. And for all of these young athletes and young tennis players on
the tour, you know, they probably never done much else outside that world of tennis since they were very little. Some of them pick up a racket at the
age of four or five.
So, it really means the world to them. It`s -- you know, happiness depends on winning tennis matches. So, it can feel pretty awful on the other side
of that, if you lose and then you have to go into a press conference and face all those questions. So, I guess that`s what she`s highlighted and
she`s brought into -- you know, into the world domain a big debate and a big question over it all.
GORANI: But here`s the thing. It`s part of a deal, right? You are a top elite athlete, you sign contracts, one of those requirements is to answer
journalists questions after the match, win or lose.
CROFT: That is absolutely right. And it`s what Billie Jean King fought for all those years ago, back in the `70s when she tried to put women`s tennis
on the map. And she used to pass the mantle across the young players and encouraged them to do as much pressing need yet as they possibly could to
give it that platform. And on a much wider scale, women sport generally, it`s always fighting for those -- it wants the headlines, it wants all the
-- you know, exposure that it can get, and it`s what enables the sport to run. And you know, the media goes hand-in-hand like a jigsaw puzzle with
And it`s the same in every sport. And in fact, you could take it into a wider domain in, you know, films. If an actor or an actress signs up to a
big film, they are expected to promote that film, you know, for the money that they will receive to be taking that part. And I guess musicians would
be the same. So, you know, I think it was a shock for everybody in this circumstance, because when we first saw Naomi burst onto the scene, she
was very shy. Most of the press actually used to dread interviewing her because she didn`t give more than two-word answers, and she looked down at
the floor, and then she became very engaging, very quirky, very humorous, and she appeared to really enjoy bantering with the press.
The press absolutely loved her. So, this announcement that she gave just ahead of this French Open wasn`t really big shock to the tennis world and
to the media in general.
GORANI: There were some clues, and I`m going to ask you a question about whether or not, perhaps athletes who feel they cannot, they physically
cannot go through with press conferences, maybe should sign different contracts or enter into different deals with different clauses that exclude
them perhaps from meeting those commitments. But this is what she said in 2019 at a news conference, only about two years ago and she already seemed
like under quite a bit of pressure. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Naomi, has it been difficult to get used to the new level of fame that you have? You`ve pretty much become a global superstar
over the last 12 months by winning in Australia and New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sorry, we have to leave right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, you could tell that she was already feeling fragile. This was not a got you question. So, should we have -- and I`m thinking out loud
here, Annabel, sorry, but maybe a way out for people whose mental health is genuinely, legitimately affected by this type of exposure?
CROFT: Well, it`s a very good question. And you know, the WTA Tour has in place procedures and rules for the youngsters that come onto the tour.
Because of course, the question of burn out has been a big subject in the past, and so they limit the amount of tournaments that players play when
they`re very young because it is a huge exposure to the world in such a big stage so early in their lives. But you know, it`s a difficult one, this
one, isn`t it? Because if you start to set precedents -- and no players really like to do all those media commitments, they take time away from
their time off the courts as it were, and there are huge commitments if the public could see what players have to do after matches.
There`s a long list of press requests, there`s press conferences, there`s kind of TV interviews. You know, it takes a lot of time away from them when
they want to be relaxing and just preparing for their next matches or perhaps going on to their next tournament. So, you know, if you set a
precedent and as this statement was originally said by the French federation over there in Paris, they were saying that everybody needed to
be treated the same. And my guess, at the end of the day, as we come back to it, it`s why the players are able to earn that huge prize money.
She`s earned close to $20 million, and they were arguably, you know, a lot more than that. I mean, some agreements were about $55 million off the
court. You know, there are sort of responsibilities and obligations that come with that. And if you set a precedent, there will be a whole bunch of
players perhaps that might come off the back of it and say, well, we really don`t want to do those press commitments either, and then you might not
have a tour at all. And you know, at the end of the day, tennis players, athletes, you want to hear from them. You want to build the characters.
You want to hear they`re like great gladiators to what --
GORANI: Yes --
CROFT: Sport and just watched the footage, would be a little boring.
GORANI: Yes, it would. It`s entertainment in the end for people. Thanks very much, Annabel Croft, really appreciate having you on the program --
CROFT: Thank you --
GORANI: This evening. Let`s talk about the --
CROFT: Pleasure --
GORANI: Psychology of this. Daria Abramowicz is a sports psychologist who advises athletes at the Open. Thanks Daria for joining us. So, what`s it
like at the highest levels because, of course, I`m going to play devil`s advocate here. You have sports fans who say you know what you`re entering
into when you`re at that elite level. That`s part of the deal. It`s part of the agreement. I`m not just going to watch you play and then you leave. I
want to hear from the athlete I just watched play. So, what`s it like at that level?
DARIA ABRAMOWICZ, SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think that you`re making an interesting point that yes, it is a part of the deal. Nowadays, for top
athletes and high performance sports, this business side of sport is also - - is also present. And that`s why as a psychologist in sports and performance circles, just we focus more and more on developing some tools,
attitude, behaviors, you know, to help athletes to adjust to this circumstance and to be able to high function in the area of -- well, for
example, creating -- I would like to say and call it healthy relationship with media, with press.
Because as on the one hand, it might be a burden obviously sometimes, and I really would like to refer what Annabel Croft said just minutes ago that
when the one -- when an athlete loses a match, tennis player loses a match and tennis is very specific because at the end of the tournament, there`s
just one person that does lose. Everyone loses at some point of the tournament. And if a player, you know, is at a loss, it might be a burden,
but on the other hand, it`s a really great platform to get to like shed a little bit of light on what the athlete`s perspective on everything --
GORANI: Yes --
ABRAMOWICZ: That`s going on, and maybe that in sports on his or her own terms, I think. So, yes, what we would like to create as a health
professionals is to you know, develop some tools and educate and raise awareness.
GORANI: Yes, because I mean, the thing about Naomi Osaka, nobody envies Naomi Osaka for being in a position of having to withdraw from a grand slam
tournament because she has mental health issues. We are and we should seriously speak about mental health. But so many people don`t have the
luxury. So many people do things at work or experiencing -- or experience things at work that have a negative impact on their mental health, but they
don`t have the financial cushion. They can`t do what Naomi just did. You talk about tools. What are these tools?
ABRAMOWICZ: Well, first of all, I think that we should point out that mental health makes us equal. Like you know -- like physical health as
well. It doesn`t matter if we are rich or poor, if we have financial resources or not. And I think that the example of high performer athletes,
top athletes might be a good example to point this out. And if this -- if such things happen, if this experience comes into place, that will
obviously I would strongly recommend first of all, to create and maintain very close and stable social security network -- social support network.
So, keep your close ones very close to you because there are a lot of challenges nowadays.
And I think that we could be talking about it all day long because we do live in COVID and post-COVID reality right now. And it actually showed us
very loud and clear how this support is needed and appreciated. So, that would be --
GORANI: Yes --
ABRAMOWICZ: Absolutely the first advice, and the other -- and I think that again, a lot of us striving into perfection doing this high performance
jobs forget sometimes is that we really -- that it would be good to stay very close to ourselves and keep, maintain and keep this balance between
work-life, personal-life --
GORANI: Yes --
ABRAMOWICZ: Sports life, business life, private life, and enjoy sometimes enjoy the simple -- very simple things. And I pretty much hear myself, you
know, and I understand that it might sound very simple, too simple even, but my observation and my area of expertise shows that we should, and that
would be very worth it to keep that in mind.
GORANI: Right, Daria Abramowicz, thanks very much. A sports psychologist who works with players, currently at the French Open, really appreciate
your time. It`s opened up this big discussion about mental health, and obviously, we`re not a sports show, we don`t normally lead with sports news
because it`s about mental health and the workplace that affects us all. At what point do we draw the line? At what point do we say this is having a
negative impact on my anxiety, on my depression, I can`t do it and I don`t think I should be penalized for not doing this thing that you`re asking me
to do. So, that`s why it`s made so many waves around the world today. We`ll continue to keep our eye on this story as a network, so do stay with us for
But I want to pivot to COVID now, and Peru is raising its estimated death toll from the pandemic significantly. A government review found that
180,000 people have died from the disease since March of last year. That is more than double what was reported previously. The new figures give Peru
the highest coronavirus-related death rate per capita in the world. Patrick Oppmann joins me now live with more. And Patrick, this is not coming as a
shock to people who followed the excess death data out of Peru. Because it was always higher than what the government, official government numbers on
COVID deaths suggested they should be. So, talk to us about how this under- reporting went on for so long.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, all Peruvians had to do was point to these really shocking images. About a year ago, they began to
emerge of people waiting for oxygen, not having access to doctors. Thousands of people who apparently died of the coronavirus without ever
being tested. So, these numbers are confirmation, a grim confirmation for many Peruvians that their leaders simply failed them, and that they were
downplaying all along the true toll, the horrific toll that this virus has had, and up until today continues to have on this country.
And we should point out that only about 3 percent of Peruvians have been fully vaccinated at this point, and the country remains on lockdown. So,
where in developing countries, it`s a very different picture. In Peru, depressingly, they are still in the midst of that pandemic, and these
numbers are a little comfort for the people who all along have been saying, this is not going as well as the government has been saying or it`s
actually going far worse.
And now that we know that Peru actually, according to these numbers has the worst mortality rate when you look at deaths per capita. We`re talking, you
know -- or higher than any other country in the world, 500 people died per 100,000. It really is just an incredible, a striking number to think that,
that`s what Peruvians have been suffering through. And some people have been saying as a result of these numbers, perhaps many people would have
done things differently that they knew it was bad, but had they realized that they were in the midst of the worst response to the coronavirus
pandemic that perhaps people would have taken this a little bit more seriously.
We`ll never know and as I said, Peru is a long ways away. As is much of the rest of Latin America from emerging from this crisis, it`s going to take
months, if not longer for enough people to become vaccinated and they really start to see the numbers of cases, of new cases and deaths finally
begin to drop there.
GORANI: And that`s my follow-up, the rest of the region, I mean, we`re seeing even demonstrations in some countries against the government
response to this COVID pandemic blaming leaders. The people on the street saying you didn`t do enough to protect us.
OPPMANN: Absolutely. And we`ve seen changes of government throughout the pandemic. In Peru, they actually have an election coming up this weekend,
two very different candidates far right and far left. And we just don`t know how these bombshell numbers will affect that election, the runoff
election that will be decided this Sunday. But elsewhere in Latin America, rising discontent as too many people look and say that the government has
failed them and then lied to them about their performance. And so, these numbers coming out in Peru are confirming what many people suspect all
along that the response was much worse than what their government was telling them.
GORANI: Patrick Oppmann, thanks very much reporting live there. He`s in Havana, Cuba, on the global COVID picture in that part of the world. To
Belarus now. Today, President Alexander Lukashenko told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Belarus will investigate Sofia Sapega. Police, you`ll
remember, arrested Sapega who is Russian and her boyfriend, Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich back on May 23rd after Belarus intercepted a
passenger plane and forced it to land in Minsk -- 23 years old, Sapega. Mr. Lukashenko has been the target of international criticism following those
arrests and following the forced downing of the plane. But Russia has publicly shown support for Belarus since the incident. Lukashenko here last
Friday in Sochi visiting with the Russian president.
Still to come tonight, an insider`s take on the frantic coalition talks under way in Israel. A source updates CNN on the effort to oust Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power after more than a decade. And the devastating extent of Lebanon`s economic meltdown. A dire warning from the
World Bank. Another one still ahead.
GORANI: There are disturbing new details about the killing of Sarah Everard whose death ignited a passionate debate about women`s safety in the
U.K. and around the world. Well, there wasn`t much debate. There was basically outrage, outrage that this woman who was walking home just got
snatched and murdered. A post modern reports says she died from compression to the neck. The 33-year-old vanished as she walked home in south London in
March. The suspect charged with her killing is a serving London police officer. These were just some of the scenes at a vigil in her honor which
ended up in a fiery confrontation with police officers that day.
Coalition talks in Israel are coming down to the wire. Opposition politicians are racing against Wednesday`s deadline, trying to seal an
agreement that could oust the country`s longest-serving Prime Minister from power. But even if a deal is finalized between the political center and the
far right as well as other various parties, that doesn`t necessarily mean it is over for Benjamin Netanyahu. Journalist Elliott Gotkine is in
Jerusalem tonight. Elliott.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Hala, intense negotiations involving the potential members of this anti-Netanyahu coalition are continuing. They
haven`t really stopped since Sunday. Now, I spoke with a source involved in the negotiations, he tells me that there`s a 60 percent, six in ten chance
that they conclude the negotiations, that they reach an agreement by the end of Tuesday. Thereby enabling Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid and
the leader of the opposition to tell President Reuven Rivlin and the speaker of the Knesset that he has done it. That he`s got a coalition
government that would be able to command the support of more than half of lawmakers in the 120 seat Knesset.
Now, once that is done, the speaker, who is by the way a member of Netanyahu`s party, the party will then have a maximum of one week in which
to convene the Knesset which will then vote on whether this coalition can come into effect. And there`s every chance that he could take the maximum
amount of time in which to do so, thereby allowing Prime Minister Netanyahu to do his level best to try to undermine this putative coalition in any
which way he can. He could try to pick off waivers from some of the right- wing parties. He could simply try to get his base out to carry out more demonstrations outside some of the members as we have seen taking place in
Tel Aviv for example over the past few days.
But Netanyahu who really just clinging to office right now, we are closer than we have ever been in the past 12 years from seeing Prime Minister
Netanyahu leave office. Hala?
GORANI: All right, Elliott, thanks very much. The World Bank says Lebanon may be sinking into one of the worst global crisis since the mid 1800s.
Yes, I said 1800s, not 1900s. And just as troubling, it says there`s, quote, "no clear turning point on the horizon." It blames a series of
devastating events from the Beirut explosion in August to ongoing economic meltdown to the COVID pandemic as well as government inaction. A few key
figures highlight the problem. The World Bank estimates GDP shrank more than 20 percent last year. Inflation surged 84 percent. More than half of
all Lebanese are now living below the poverty line. Salma Abdelaziz is live in Beirut with more on the suffering behind these numbers. Salma.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Hala. I mean, they`re truly shocking figures. But when you translate that into what that means
for Lebanese families, it is absolutely stark.
This isn`t just about the facts and figures. Economically speaking, that currency, the Lebanese currency has lost 90 percent of its value just in
the last two years. That`s not the only challenge. People are unable to access their money due to discretionary capital controls. There`s a
shortage of electricity, constant power cuts. People are struggling rather to find basic medicines. If you go to a pharmacy here, you`ll see their
shortages of a lot of key drugs that are needed, and of course, there is food insecurity. I spent some time last week with one community activist
struggling to meet the needs in her neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the nation`s station community kitchen. It started two days after the blast. We started to distribute food because as
you know, the food security and the food accessibility in Lebanon is becoming hard and hard every day. In the kitchen for example, we distribute
food to around 120 households, so around 225 individuals.
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): And how often do you do this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do this three days a week. So, we cook all week long, but we deliver Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have this board where
everything in blue is being delivered to the house directly, and everything in black is delivered when the people come in with their own containers and
we fill them up. And we kept on helping and we slowly, we thought that after the blast, the need would really diminish or it would decrease, but
to our surprise, like with the economic situation, the need to really increase -- we have people coming in every day --
ABDELAZIZ: So, you`re saying people more in need?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
ABDELAZIZ: The list of troubles, Hala, that families here are facing is excruciatingly long. But the question is why? I think the most important
part of that World Bank report is where it discusses deliberate depression. Essentially, the report says that although the political class here,
although the ruling elite here can`t build a government, they`ve been unable to form a cabinet now for months, they`re unable to find consensus
to pull this country out of crisis. They do agree on one thing. There`s political consensus around an economic system of corruption.
And this is something that everyone here will tell you. There`s an apparatus of corruption rather larger than the state. It has bled Lebanon
dry for decades. And it names -- there`s a lot of anger towards this ruling class and very little accountability, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Salma Abdelaziz, thanks very much. It`s -- I mean, these are -- that last sentence you could have -- you could have -- you
could have said that last sentence many times over the last several years and it would have applied to the reality on the ground. Still to come,
there and back again. Is England`s plan to fully reopen on June, the 21st just a fantasy or can the government really bring home the goods this time?
Also Greece is making a big push to get its islands COVID free all in an effort to draw back tourists to draw back their dollars. We`ll be right
GORANI: In theory, England is just three weeks away from lifting all COVID restrictions. Whether that happens or not, though, is another thing
entirely. Scientists are urging the government to delay the complete lifting of lockdown rules on June 21st.
The U.K., though -- and this is the good news -- has just reported no daily COVID deaths for the first time since the pandemic began. However, new
cases were still over 3,000.
Westminster said 75 percent of new infections are because of the variant first identified in India or the Delta variant, as the WHO is now calling
it to avoid the risk of discrimination.
In Scotland, the variant accounts for half of new cases and Edinburgh is now making the call to pause the easing of lockdown in some areas. Scott
McLean is here in London with more.
So zero COVID deaths is amazing. We have wanted to hear this for over a year now. But the number of cases is going up.
So is this because cases and deaths lag by a couple of weeks?
Or is it because there`s so many vaccinated people now that the cases don`t end in hospitalizations and deaths?
Which is it?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little column A, a little column B, Hala. So first off, just think about this for a second. The last time that
the U.K. had zero COVID deaths in a single day, March the 7th of last year. Think about what we`ve been through since that time.
At the beginning of the pandemic, this country was reporting more than 1,300 coronavirus deaths in just a single day. So getting to this milestone
of zero is a huge, huge thing for this country after what`s been a national nightmare, seeing more than 127,000 people dead.
Now before we get too excited, though, you should know that, in the coming days, there will almost certainly be more coronavirus deaths because right
now, there`s almost 900 people in the hospital with the virus; 120 of them are on mechanical ventilation.
And three weeks from now we have this next phase of the reopening that is scheduled -- or at least was hoped to be scheduled. The government now says
it will wait until the 11th hour to make that decision.
But with numbers like zero deaths in a single day, Hala, a lot of people are wondering why wait at all?
And the reason really can be summed up in this graphic, if we have it. It`s from the U.K.`s Sanger Institute. This is a lab that`s doing the bulk of
the U.K.`s COVID genetic sequencing.
If you look at the map on the left hand side of your screen, you can see the darker the shade of the color, the higher proportion there is of the
Indian variant. This is the Indian variant that we know spreads faster than the existing U.K. variant, that was previously dominant. You can see,
things go from zero to 60 in a hurry.
That`s not just a car cliche. We`re talking literally zero percent of cases, now all of a sudden talking about around 60 percent of the
proportion of new cases that are showing up as this variant.
So the government is rightly concerned to be cautious in its approach, not wanting to move too fast. The prime minister has always said that any
progress made toward reopening, getting back to normal, he wants to be cautious and irreversible.
Also remember the vast majority of people who are unvaccinated in this country now are in their teens and 20s. These are the people most likely to
end up in a packed, sweaty nightclub, that would reopen, will reopen if the government decides to go ahead with this final reopening in three weeks.
So right now the test for the U.K. is really, can it get enough vaccines in people`s arms in order to prevent the massive spread or to head off the
massive spread of the Indian variant?
And if not, is the government prepared to let the virus spread like wildfire amongst these younger groups and hope that the vaccine will do its
job and prevent the virus from spreading quickly into older segments of population?
MCLEAN: And ultimately prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed again.
GORANI: Yes, because this variant first identified in India, the vaccines are effective against it. Those who have received two jabs are protected
but not as much as they are protected against the other variants. So that`s a big area of concern.
Now the red list arrivals in London, in particular at Heathrow. U.S., countries where there are very high infection rates and the Indian variant
is prevalent. Those are being funneled into their own separate terminal.
But they are doing that only now, which begs the question, why are they late on this?
Why wasn`t this done weeks ago?
MCLEAN: Yes, I mean this is the decision that`s been made by Heathrow Airport but, by and large in this country, it seems like the U.K. is always
just a little bit behind what some other countries have done.
Critics will say that this country has been reluctant to close borders, reluctant to really enforce the COVID rules, the quarantine rules, that do
exist. Critics in fact blame the U.K.`s reluctance to shut off the tap or the stream of travelers coming in from India earlier for the rise of this
Indian variant, which really hasn`t shown up yet in the huge numbers that we`re seeing in the U.K. on the European continent across the channel
So what Heathrow Airport has done, funneling these passengers or segregating them into one terminal, is something that a lot of people are
probably scratching their heads, thinking why wasn`t this happening already because what you would end up having is all kinds of people coming from all
corners of the globe, green countries, yellow countries, red countries as well, all intermingling when it gets to passport control.
And the CEO of Heathrow Airport said just in April that at times they had waits that have been 6-6.5 hours of people standing indoors. Sure, with
their masks on but still indoors in a relatively tight space for long periods of time.
Probably not the ideal situation when we`re talking about these highly contagious variants coming in from these countries from these red lists. So
you would think that, in the midst of the pandemic, where you have a tickle or a trickle of airline passengers, that the airport experience would be
much more streamlined than usual but anyone who has flown during this pandemic knows that`s certainly not always the case.
GORANI: Yes, absolutely. Thanks very much, Scott McLean.
Now we have updated you throughout on the way the U.K. government is updating its rules around international travel because what they determine
here affects many other countries in other parts of Europe and the world.
There are currently red, amber and green lists for arrivals, which outline what quarantine restrictions people may face, depending on where they are
You`ll remember Spain recently allowed travelers from Britain to visit without any health controls on arrival.
So was it a mistake?
Are there any regrets about this?
Well, the country`s tourism minister says no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERNANDO VALDES, SPANISH TOURISM SECRETARY: We keep very vigilant on those figures and, if needed, that`s not the case at this moment. If needed, we
will be taking extra measures to try to control it. But today we still find the U.K., a country that we can receive (ph) British tourists without no
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. That`s Spain.
But what about Greece?
Greece, similarly to Spain, relies a lot on tourism. It`s the lifeblood of its economy. It needs to get it flowing again. It`s racing to get the
residents of its islands fully vaccinated this month in hopes that COVID free islands will lure visitors. With the tough assignment, here is Sam
Kiley in Mykonos.
SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not exactly the modern temple to Aphrodite that Mykonos has a reputation for. The party island is barely
waking up, two weeks after the official tourist season was declared open.
Museums are still locked up, many shops shuttered. But others are getting a makeover, while plans to create more than 80 COVID-free islands get
It is the centerpiece of Operation Blue Freedom, the Greek plan for economic recovery driven by tourism. Before the pandemic, a fifth of the
population was employed in the industry which generated 18 percent of GDP.
With U.S. visitors being Greece`s biggest spenders, Athens is banking on a summer surge in American visitors. And U.S. airlines are increasing flights
to Greece this year for New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark and Washington, D.C.
KILEY (voice-over): The key is an aggressive vaccination campaign to jab every island resident by the end of June so visitors can come if they`ve
been vaccinated themselves, survived infection or have a negative PCR test.
IRENE ASIMOMITIS, RECEIVED COVID-19 VACCINE: It`s a COVID free island. It`s a COVID-free island. And we wait all the tourists to arrive in Mykonos
to enjoy the beaches, to enjoy the life.
KILEY (voice-over): Getting that done may rest on ending nationwide regulations, that ban music and crowds. Iraklis Zisimopoulos is a heart
He also owns several Mykonos nightclubs and hotels. His clients call in with two questions, especially from America.
IRAKLIS ZISIMOPOULOS, SEMELI HOSPITALITY GROUP CEO: First of all, they ask if we are all vaccinated. And secondly, they can really party on the island
like they used to.
KILEY: A vaccine party.
ZISIMOPOULOS: Yes. That is the magic recipe.
KILEY (voice-over): Around 18 percent of Greeks have been fully vaccinated. New COVID cases are falling and deaths are about 40 a day. For
now though, the clubs are empty. Only cocktail shakers generate any rhythm. Potion from Circe to soften the blues.
Tourists are trickling back and they`re doing their best to enjoy a beach, without decibels of dance music. But with more than half the residents
population vaccinated, all eyes are turning to Athens to unleash Dionysus and let the fun begin in July.
VANGELIS SIAFIDAS, ALEMAGOU BEACH BAR AND RESTAURANT CO-OWNER: Not necessarily that the tourists need to feel that safe in order to come and
party and feel safe, you know.
Because for example, last year people were ready to party. It was hard for us to enforce the rules on them. But I think we are all trained now, us,
the clientele and the personnel, everyone is right that this is going to be a better summer.
KILEY: That`s if a Hades of sound is your thing.
KILEY: There`s a lot of talk in Mykonos about how the vibe won`t get going until the loud music starts. But for the more mature traveler that can only
be a relief -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Mykonos.
GORANI: We`ll be right back.
GORANI: The U.S. President Joe Biden is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this hour, meeting with survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Earlier, he
released a proclamation calling on Americans to reflect on race based terror.
GORANI: Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the massacre, when white mobs terrorized, burned and looted a prosperous Black Tulsa neighborhood,
known as Black Wall Street. They killed hundreds of people and systematically destroyed 35 city blocks.
Joining me now from Washington is CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins with more on Joe Biden`s visit -- Kaitlan.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is a notable visit first off because he is the first sitting president to
ever commemorate this. Of course, I think the general thinking around it is that it was minimized for so long, this epic act of racial violence.
But even from the White House on down, not just the way it was taught in schools but also the way it was noticed by our most prominent political
leaders. So I think when you talk to White House officials, that`s the number one reason for this visit today and why he`s going be meeting
privately with some of these survivors and some of the descendants of those survivors.
But also he`s going to be making remarks shortly on this because the White House says they really just want to bring awareness to this, given it was
minimized for so long. They say it comes, of course, as he is also going to underline his commitment to shortening that gap between Black and white
families when it comes to racial and economic equity that they want to highlight these other efforts when it comes to fair housing and it comes to
boosting Black businesses and the efforts that the president is going to be taking to do that while he is there on the ground, to say that it`s not
just highlighting this and talking about something that, for so long, so many of our political leaders didn`t talk about.
It`s also talking about the efforts that he`s undertaking as president to address this. There are two key things that he is not going to be
mentioning today, which I think you have seen from several prominent Black leaders, saying that it should be part of the conversation that they are
One is cancelling student loan debt, which they say proportionately affects more Black students and Black graduates than it does white students and
white graduates and also talking about reparations for the descendants of these families and whether or not that is something that the White House
wants to be considered.
And they were actually asked about this, the president`s aides on the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier today, whether or not reparations is something
that he has under consideration.
They only repeated what he has said previously, that commitment to have it being studied. They did not say it`s actually something he is going to
consider or try to get enacted. But I think those are two things that will be in the background of this visit today as he does become the first
sitting president to commemorate this.
And we should not that while they`re talking about the violence that you`ve seen there, what happened to this thriving Black community by a white mob,
no one was ever charged as part of this incident, which I think also speaks to the way that the Biden Justice Department views their role when it comes
to acts like this and making sure that something like this never of course, not only ever happens again but also that no one goes unpunished for the
crimes that happened that day.
GORANI: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much. Our chief White House correspondent in Washington.
For a second year, organizers in Hong Kong have lost their appeal to hold a candlelight vigil to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre. But a new
exhibit about the once annual vigil aims to keep the memory of Tiananmen alive. CNN`s Kristie Lu Stout has our story.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pictures seared into the minds of those allowed to see them. Rights groups say
hundreds, if not thousands of pro democracy protesters, were killed by their own country`s troops at the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Tiananmen.
For over 30 years, Hong Kongers have refused to allow what happened in Beijing in 1989 to be forgotten. Through the annual vigil and the June 4th
museum in the city`s Mong Kok district. Before he was imprisoned for his involvement, the 2019 pro-democracy protest, we spoke to veteran activist
Lee Cheuk Yan, an organizer behind the museum.
LEE CHEUK YAN, PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: For the mainland Chinese, coming here I think is very important because they are the whole -- many in China
brought out -- or black out any mentioning about June 4th. So there`s no -- the whole period of time, the truth is totally disappeared and suppressed.
STOUT (voice-over): One country, two systems afforded Hong Kongers the right to speak their minds about the present and the past in a way not
possible on the mainland. That right, encapsulated here at the museum, home to historical evidence not available to the public anywhere else in China.
This year, organizers have lost their appeal to hold the candlelight vigil in Hong Kong`s Victoria Park, marking the second year that police have
banned the gathering, citing coronavirus restrictions.
KIAUW KA-KEI, SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT, HONG KONG ISLAND REGION: Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the activities not only increase the
risk of infecting COVID-19 by participants and other people.
KIAUW: But also pose serious threats to the lives and health of all citizens, jeopardizing public safety and affecting rights of others.
STOUT (voice-over): Hong Kong security bureau also issued a statement, warning people not to take part in or advertise unauthorized assemblies or
challenge the national security law.
But on June the 4th, the museum will unveil a new exhibit about the history of the once annual vigil.
LEE: The people support you.
STOUT (voice-over): To its supporters, the June 4th museum is a place to honor those who stood up to harassment and fear. Lee believes that bravery
will continue to be celebrated, remembered and harnessed by a new generation.
LEE: You know, no matter what happened, this new generation, the younger generation, will also have that remembrance of June 4th.
But the problem is, how about the next one?
STOUT (voice-over): As China`s tightening grip continues to minimize Hong Kong`s freedom of expression, a new museum is being built online. A crowd-
funding campaign has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to digitize records and artifacts so the lessons of history will endure -- Kristie Lu
Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Still to come, an American action hero is getting a new role, this time in Russian politics. We`ll tell you all about Steven Seagal`s new
membership -- you cannot make any of this up -- in a pro-Putin political party. We`ll be right back.
GORANI: Well, I am told that he`s famous for being in movies like "Under Siege." But now Steven Seagal is taking a new role in politics. The
American born actor, who has Russian citizenship, has joined the Russian party, A Just Russia for Truth, according to the country`s Tass news
agency. Let`s get more on this with Nic Robertson.
So this is -- this is all -- the whole story, to me, is peculiar.
How did this come about?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he got the Russian citizenship in 2016; 2018, the Russian foreign ministry made him a
representative for U.S.-Russia relations on humanitarian issues. So there`s a sort of a track record here of aligning himself pro-Kremlin.
ROBERTSON: The party is a pro-Kremlin party. It`s very patriotic to Russia. He`s aligned himself and he likes to be photographed with President
He went with a Russian delegation to Venezuela about a month ago and presented the president Nicolas Maduro with a samurai sword. There`s all
the sort of the cult of the Hollywood actor, the hard man, movies (ph) behind him, such as "Above the Law," "Beyond the Law," "Hard to Kill," "The
Patriot" and even "China Salesman."
Now he`s really sort of pitching himself in with a very pro-Kremlin party that`s pro-Putin. He suggested a law recently on environmental issues,
saying that people should face criminal prosecutions if they damage the environment because, he said, people just wouldn`t respect the laws
So clearly very tough and very sort of aligned with Putin, it would appear.
How did it all come about?
It`s hard to fully understand. But for President Putin, having such a prominent and well-known and successful Hollywood actor, who is promoting
Russia, potentially that leaking across to some of the U.S. audience for Putin, that`s just what he needs and just what he likes.
So while this party, Just Russia for Truth, is an opposition party, it`s opposition really in Russia, not really the way that we understand it. It`s
very pro-Kremlin, pro-Russia.
GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
Finally tonight, a story about a drone pilot, who flew too close to the sun or, in this case, a volcano. This was captured from his drone as it hovered
over an erupting volcano in Iceland. It gives you a remarkable close-up look at the lava gushing out from the ground.
But as you can see, it got a little too close to action. The drone pilot said all the gas that was steaming out made it hard to control it and, in
the end, it crashed straight into the crater and swallowed up by the lava.
And that was R.I.P. to the drone. The good thing, though, is that the footage is, you don`t have to recover the drone to recover the footage.
It`s actually beamed from the drone. And you can save it without having to retrieve the actual vehicle.
So that`s how we got those amazing images.
Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. I`m Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.