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Hala Gorani Tonight

War in Afghanistan; North Korea Says U.S. Risks Disappointment if It Misinterprets Signals; UEFA Says No to Rainbow Colors at Allianz Arena; Woman Who Murdered Abusive Husband on Trial; UNESCO Says Great Barrier Reef Should Be Listed as "In Danger". Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello everyone, live from CNN London, I'm Isa Soares in for HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Iran's president-elect

promises dignity for the Iranian people, a tall order for a nation crippled by economic sanctions, unemployment and the coronavirus pandemic. Another

trial grips France, it's sour detail of abuse, rape, prostitution and revenge. That story for you just ahead this hour. And the first active

player in the NFL announces he is gay. How his decision will impact the locker room as well as beyond.

Now, for the second day in a row, Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi made a public appearance on the world stage. A massive crowd of supporters

showed up today in the holy city of Mashhad to hear him deliver his first speech since winning Friday's election. You can see that crowd. In

televised remarks, he said fighting the coronavirus inside Iran will be a priority for his administration, and he pledged that he will always uphold

the dignity of the Iranian people. Take a listen.


EBRAHIM RAISI, PRESIDENT-ELECT, IRAN: In domestic and foreign policy, upholding the dignity of these people of our nation and our people. And in

no negotiation can we allow the dignity of the Iranian nation to be damaged.


SOARES: CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins me now from Mashhad, Iran. And Fred, those crowds are pretty impressive. But give us a sense of Raisi, what he

said so far and what his main message as president-elect is, both domestically as well as internationally.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that the real main message is that his administration is going to try and

move politics here in this country, and of course, ultimately try and move society, and that's going to be very difficult. More towards a conservative

track, I would say, than before. That certainly is something that a lot of the people that we spoke to say that they would want to happen. And we have

to keep in mind that we are here in Mashhad tonight, which is of course really one of the most sacred places in Shiite Islam, and the shrine that

we're at, the Imam Rezar Shrine is one of those most sacred places.

And today is actually the birthday of Imam Reza. So, that's one of the reasons why Ebrahim Raisi chose that day to hold that speech. But

nevertheless, the people that we saw there today that we spoke to have -- pretty much, all of them were Raisi supporters, and they said that they did

want things to go in a more conservative direction. But of course, Isa, one of the things that we've been talking about over the past couple of days

since that election took place this past Friday is that, a lot of the moderates in this country, of course, did not come out to vote, so they are

not necessarily in line with that -- with that same direction that Ebrahim Raisi wants to go into.

And when we listen to a speech today, I think we learned that the main policy initiatives are going to be of course reviving this country's

economy, fighting corruption, which is also a big part of trying to restore that dignity that he was talking about, but then also of course a very

hardline in foreign policy, especially towards the United States. Isa.

SOARES: Which is almost what we -- which is really what we expect, is it not, Fred? But did he mention at all --


SOARES: As he spoke to those crowds, did he talk about the nuclear accord or you know, he talked about the economic situation. But did he talk about

the economic sanctions, anything in terms of foreign policy here for that audience?

PLEITGEN: Well, not directly. But one of the things that he did mention when he said he'll always fight for the dignity, as he put it, of the

Iranian people, was that he said that he would do that as far as the negotiations are concerned as well. And of course, that's one of the big

things that we've been talking about also as this administration is sort of starting this transition into power right here in Iran. Is that on the one

hand, you have the negotiations ongoing right now to bring the United States back into the Iran nuclear agreement and get Iran back into full


And certainly, Ebrahim Raisi supports that because Iran's supreme leader supports that as well. However, what the Iranians are saying or what this

new incoming administration is saying is that they are not going to allow for an expanded nuclear agreement which would also involve or could also

involve Iran's ballistic missile program. And then also what the U.S. wants is to also encompass in that -- the way that Iran conducts itself in this

region as well. Of course, there's a lot of countries right now that are extremely concerned about this new administration.


You have the Saudis, for instance, who said they're going to judge things by what they see as the reality on the ground. The Israelis of course very

concerned as well. But the Iranians are saying that they are going to conduct their foreign policy the way that they want to conduct their

foreign policy. They're also calling it active and dynamic. So, look for Iran to continue to play a very large role in this region, and continue

also very much to challenge the U.S. in this region as well. Isa.

SOARES: Very clear message to the world. Fred Pleitgen for us in Mashhad, Iran, thanks very much Fred, great to see you. Let's get more perspective

on this with our next guest, with CNN global affairs analyst and former State Department and Middle East Negotiator Aaron David Miller. Great to

have you, Aaron, great to have you on the show. I mean, his win, as we heard Fred say there, didn't really come as a surprise. But what should we

be expecting from this uncharismatic, hardline president, let's say?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Not much. I think this strips away what remaining legitimacy the regime had. You had a rigged

election which is orchestrated primarily by the supreme leader in an effort to produce a compliant president. Now, what the objective, longer-term

objective of an 82-year-old supreme leader is for a man that he has promoted all of his career and who frankly is a wholly-owned subsidiary

without the kind of legitimacy, 30 percent of the country that constitutes its sort of revolutionary base and supported the election, less than 50

percent of the people even voted.

You even had the grandson of the Ayatollah Khamenei come out and criticize the process by which this was -- by which this was done. So, I think

conservativism, yes, they'll deal, but not that effectively with an economy that's out of control. Inflation, unemployment, COVID is not yet managed or

attained. And ironically, the -- it is -- it is the Iranian nuclear agreement cut with the great Satan, the United States, that offers some

promise for Raisi to improve the economy.

SOARES: On that, I mean, he's rejected the possibility of meeting with President Joe Biden or even discuss Tehran's ballistic missile program.

Where do you go from there and where is -- where is the breakthrough?

MILLER: You know, it's funny because this is the first Iranian president, I believe, that is under sanction by the United States. You raise an

interesting question, if in fact you have a UN General Assembly convening in September. It's clear that President -- soon, President Raisi is not

going to -- is not going to travel. I suspect that this will provide some incentive to actually finish cutting the deal, that in fact they want to --

the supreme leader probably believes that if the deal is cut while Rouhani is president, still president, that Rouhani will take the hit for all the

concessions that were made, and Raisi, his man, the supreme leader's man, will get the benefit, which is precisely, I suspect what the supreme leader


So, I would think, paradoxically, this will increase the chances that the U.S. will re-enter the JCPOA, but the politics on this you can imagine are

going to be toxic. You have a man who has presided over the execution of some 5,000 -- some argue as high as 30,000 individuals, part of a committee

-- executioners committee including women and children during late '80s. And that is going to provide ample ammunition for the Republicans and just

about everyone else to criticize Joe Biden for freeing sanctions to a regime now headed by a serial human rights abuser or a hanging judge, if

you will.

SOARES: Yes, that was going to be my question. I mean, will there -- will this even get any sort of support in Congress? But let me ask you this,

Aaron, because I saw a tweet from you today that you said -- recently said that "if Biden's goal is" to back -- "is back to Iran nuclear deal, then

Netanyahu's departure and Raisi's arrival may help him along." Explain that for us. What did you mean by that?

MILLER: Well, I think it's absolutely clear that the new Israeli government is suing and endures, and I think it may well be more stable

than people believe, is not going to have the time or inclination. The new -- the new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to play these sorts of

games that Prime Minister Netanyahu played. Trying to create the image that the Republican Party in the United States is the go-to party in Israel,

demonizing the Democrats and trying to interfere in the internal politics of the United States. I do not think that the Israeli government will play

those games. So, it could reduce to some degree -- to some degree the position that will emerge once the U.S. re-enters the agreement.


And as I mentioned earlier, it may be the supreme leader believes that you know, you need a Nixon to China sort of individual, Raisi may fit that

bill, to benefit while shackling Rouhani with the down sides of the agreement, he's going to benefit from the upside. So, you may actually

facilitate re-entering into the agreement as a consequence of Netanyahu's departure and Raisi's arrival.

SOARES: Such important analysis, Aaron David Miller, always great to have you on the show, thanks very much, Aaron.

MILLER: Thanks so much, take care.

SOARES: Now, polling stations in Ethiopia have begun counting votes from Monday's parliamentary election. Officials say the process was mostly

peaceful, but there were some issues, several opposition observers were reportedly harassed, and some areas facing logistical problems. One region

had to extend voting until Tuesday because of a ballot shortage. CNN's Larry Madowo is live in the capital Addis Ababa for us. How is the counting

going, Larry? I mean, any guidance as to when we should expect a result here?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Isa, I don't have an easy answer for you because this is just a logistical nightmare, 48,000

polling stations, and that's just in the 80 percent of constituents that are participating in this election. There's another 20 percent that did not

participate either because of violence or insecurity and will take part in September. So, the National Election Board of Ethiopia is asking regional

states to begin sending that material to their headquarters here in Addis Ababa.

And so, we don't exactly know when the results will be announced. We have some guidance that within five days or so preliminary results, but it could

take up to three weeks even. However, there were some concerns that opposition agents were intimidated or harassed in some parts of the

country, and the chair of the elections board is concerned about that. Listen.


BIRTUKAN MIDEKSA, CHAIR, NATIONAL ELECTION BOARD OF ETHIOPIA (through translator): We have received complaints from all parties except the

ruling party. We have informed the local administration to take corrective measures. If it's not corrected, if the representative of the party is not

able to observe, they should know the process and the credibility of the result will be jeopardized.


MADOWO: That credibility is very important to this election. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed really needs the legitimacy of having to face the

voters and won. And his Prosperity Party is likely to be the winner once the results are announced. Ethiopia has a parliamentary system, Isa, so,

the party that has the largest number of seats in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber gets to form government, appoint prime

minister and deputy prime minister.

SOARES: So, we'll have to wait until those results are announced. But these elections, Larry, of course, are taking place during Ethiopia's, you

know, peak of COVID, third peak, I think of COVID. It is among the hardest hit countries in Africa. What protocols have you seen being put in place so

people can actually feel safe and vote?

MADOWO: COVID is always hanging over these elections. In fact --

SOARES: Yes --

MADOWO: The elections should have taken place in August last year, but it was postponed and then postponed again earlier this month. And the

authorities tried to maintain some social distancing, but it just did not work. We saw many people in long lines where they were right almost on top

of each other. And part of it is because there's such enthusiasm. People want to vote in what is essentially Ethiopia's first attempt at a free and

fair election, imperfect as it may be, Tigray, you know, did not vote, there are some concerns about opposition parties boycotting and some in


But here, Ethiopia are very -- Ethiopians are very proud. The only African country that was never colonized, they have their own writing style, their

own calendar. And so, taking you back in time here, Isa, from the year 2013 according to the Ethiopian calendar, this is the best possible election

they have ever had.

SOARES: I now -- I love the history lesson. Thank you very much, Larry, keep us posted on the results, and thank you keeping us up to date in the

very latest. Larry Madowo there. Still to come tonight, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announces what he's calling a landmark initiative

in the fight against COVID-19 vaccine inequality, one he says will put Africa on a path to self-determination. Plus, overcoming pandemic burnout.

How a popular dating app is helping its workers ease their stress after a challenging year. Both those stories after a very short break.



SOARES: Now, globally, about 10 percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That is according to our world and data.

That's nearly 800 million people. But the World Health Organization is painting really a dire picture when it comes to vaccine equality. It warns

at least half of the 80-low income countries receiving COVID vaccines through its COVAX program are running out of doses. And to help address

this, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his country will work within W.H.O. to host the continents first COVID-19 production facility.

Let's get more on this, CNN correspondent David McKenzie joins me now from Johannesburg. And David, clearly, this is a move to boost the supply of

vaccines to the continent. But give me a sense of the timeline. How soon will these vaccines be available here?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, best case scenario, a year or so, nine months. And Africa faces -- or the African continent and

elsewhere faces the prospect of several more waves of COVID-19. In fact, where I'm sitting here in Johannesburg, we are already dealing with a

pretty severe third wave that is slamming hospitals, and we could have more restrictions here in South Africa and in other parts of the continent. But

this is a significant move. What it is, is a technological transfer hub of MRNA technology famously behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

But it's a move to really combine local manufacturers and biomedical companies and universities with potential partners overseas using this kind

of technology to produce vaccines. Now, that 12-month window before anything can be produced is if they, in fact, get the licensing and the

technology to produce already approved vaccines. It could be much longer if they try to develop new vaccines. But it is a move and a sign that poorer

countries and countries in the global south need to have manufacturing capacity for this and future pandemics, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, like you said, it is a great start. It is a move that no doubt will be welcomed in Africa. But you won't address, like you clearly

pointed out, David, the immediate crisis, the shortages that the country is facing, the continent is facing. So, what options are there for the

continent? Where are we, for example, with the COVAX initiative that I just mentioned a short time ago?

MCKENZIE: Well, the COVAX initiative has been put under severe strain in part because of the lack of supply of vaccines from India which had banked

on to supply poorer and middle income countries. There is some light at the end of the tunnel in that countries like the U.S. are starting to donate

vaccines, their excess doses to COVAX. But you know, I put the question to the head of the W.H.O. Emergency Response about what they're going to do,

given that all these other solutions could take months, even years. Take a listen.



MIKE RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAM: We have a very short window of time to get our most vulnerable

protected. And we haven't done it. We have not used the vaccines available globally to provide global protection to the most vulnerable. And as Bruce

said, when you ask countries a question, they say, well, we are going to vaccinate according to our priorities and our priorities are our own

citizens. And that's fair enough. But there is a huge number of people globally who still remain susceptible to severe disease and potential death

from this virus.


MCKENZIE: Now, not all of these issues are caused by a lack of vaccine. There have been problems within countries of course in rolling out vaccines

because of failures of various governments. But there is a sense that the talk of vaccine equality has been just that, talk. Understandably, nations

have prioritized their own citizens. But we're getting to a point where young, healthy people in the global north, as it's referred to, are being

vaccinated, Isa, and those very vulnerable, including here in South Africa, face a very real prospect of going to hospital or dying even though

vaccines are broadly available elsewhere, Isa?

SOARES: Yes, especially when you paint that picture of that devastating third wave. You can tell from the tone of W.H.O. there in that sound bite,

that clip you played, clearly not happy about what is unfolding. David McKenzie, thanks very much, David. Now, Cuba is also looking inward when it

comes to COVID-19 solutions. Scientists there announced the home-grown Abdala vaccine is more than 92 percent effective, that and another Cuban

vaccine Soberana 2 have been part of the island's unconventional strategy to produce their own shots.

The encouraging news about Abdala comes as Cuba faces its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. CNN's Patrick Oppmann joins me now from

Havana. And Patrick, this is an impressive efficacy rate. How confident is Cuba at this stage that it will get approval from the W.H.O.?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they are confident. They have been in touch with the W.H.O., the W.H.O. here in Havana tells me throughout

this process, and of course for Cuba, it's not just creating a vaccine they can give their own people, but a vaccine they're hoping actually already

beginning to produce in other countries like Iran. And they hope to expand that effort to sell the vaccine, not only to tourists coming to Cuba, but

perhaps to other countries, to help other countries produce it. They've got big plans for these vaccines.

So, you could almost hear the scientists breathing a little bit easier yesterday when they got these efficacy results. You know, before, Soberana,

62 percent, that's nothing that's needed, that's an effective vaccine, but 92 percent for Abdala, this is a vaccine we've been hearing about for some

time, we had noticed in recent weeks that this is the vaccine that we're vaccinating more with. It seemed to be a bit of an indication by Cuban

officials that they felt this vaccine was working better, and now there is confirmation. One interesting thing is, because they've not imported any

vaccines from anywhere else in the world, they've used these home-grown vaccine candidates in expanded trials here as the number of cases have


The vaccines aren't quite ready yet. They were still stage three trials, but they had to use what they had on hand, which was their own vaccines.

And interestingly enough, while we've seen numbers surge throughout most of us on the island here in Havana where they've been vaccinating the most,

we've actually seen numbers in recent weeks drop. So, that appears to be proof according to the Cuban health officials that their vaccines are


SOARES: Wonderful good news, that's great to hear, and I'm sure the Cubans are incredibly proud, Patrick, because of course, they are leaders in

biotech. Patrick Oppmann for us there, thanks very much, Patrick, good to see you. Now, the pandemic has put new pressures on workers right around

the world. Many of us have adapted to working from home. But that can also mean long hours really blurring the lines between home and office and

working and relaxing.

Popular dating app Bumble has announced it's giving its entire staff the week off to recharge. A staffer in New York said that the paid time off was

a result of CEO Whitney Wolfe heard picking up on a collective burnout. Clare Sebastian joins me with more. Clare, this is quite a talker here in

the newsroom and with our teams. A week off though doesn't end burnout, but I'm pretty sure it's very welcome news. So, why now? Why not wait until

maybe they're all back in the office?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, Bumble is saying, Isa, that there are no plans to bring everyone back into the

office. They say that they are continuing to give everyone the flexibility to work from home. The reason why now -- a company's spokesman telling me

this morning that -- they're saying that as vaccination rates rise and restrictions ease, they wanted to give the teams a much deserved week off

to recover and refresh a bit. The implication being that, that this sort of -- more of the tail-end of the pandemic, that things are starting to come

back to life.

That people really need a chance to reset. But in that deleted tweet you mentioned from a senior employee at the company in New York, she said in

the U.S. especially where vacation days are notoriously scarce, it feels like a big deal. So, this was a good move from the management of Bumble.


It shows that they're listening. And this is something that, you know, really it's time for employers to start to do. We are seeing the jobs

market showing that people are quitting their jobs at record rates in the U.S., and really, it's an employees' market at this point. It's all about

retention, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, that was going to be my question. I mean, how worried -- how much of this has been, you know, trying to set a new culture when it comes

to flexibility? But how worried are they about losing stock? Because the retention has been a huge problem. You and I have talked about this at

great length throughout the last week or so.

SEBASTIAN: Well, this is -- this is sort of an existential question that a lot of employers are facing at the moment, Isa. There's a lot of people out

there who don't want to go back to normal and who are taking this moment as we sort of see the end of the pandemic to re-evaluate where they are in

their lives and perhaps do something different. I think that's reflected in what's called the quits rate that we're seeing in the U.S., that was almost

4 million people quit their jobs in April, the most that we've seen in 20 years. Another really interesting survey came from Microsoft this month.

They surveyed 30,000 workers across 31 countries, and they found that 41 percent of them are considering leaving their jobs in the next year.

They say that this should be a wakeup call to management and that they don't be fooled by looking at these higher productivity rates because

they are masking an exhausted --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Workforce. I think this is the sort of evolution of the burnout that we saw all those people saw the lines blurred between work and play at

home. This is now a sort of recovery burnout as the economies roar back to life around the world.

SOARES: That is fascinating, Clare, because we have been discussing and I've been hearing from finance companies who are basically saying, you

know, people need to -- if they can go into -- if they go to a restaurant in New York, then they can come into the office. Do you think this we're

seeing, perhaps a cultural shift that the pandemic has forced companies to rethink?

SEBASTIAN: I think we're seeing -- we're seeing a sort of bifurcation here. You're talking about the likes of Morgan Stanley, the CEO James --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Gorman who said that if you can -- if you can go to a restaurant in New York, you can come into the office. Similar noises from

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan. The Wall Street banks are sort of coming out as the ones that want people to be back really around the end of the Summer. They

say that they really want to have everyone back in the offices. But we're seeing a sort of difference between that and the tech companies, the likes

of Twitter that said people can work from home for life. Google has now said that it's going to adopt a sort of hybrid work strategy, same thing

from Uber which says it only will expect employees at the office around three days a week.

So, I think time will tell what it is that employees really want. And I think the interesting thing going sort of into this next phase is that when

people are out there looking for their new jobs, they're not just going to be looking at wages, they're going to be looking at these other aspects of

things, whether you can have the flexibility to work from home, perhaps even from different locations. So, this is a sort of wholesale shift in the

jobs market.

SOARES: And yes, and often in the U.S., many people don't have the chance to take holiday, isn't it? They accumulate, they don't have time. Clare

Sebastian there for us, thanks very much, Clare, I'll speak to you in the next hour or so. Still to come tonight, an urgent warning that as U.S.

troops prepare for their final withdrawal from Afghanistan town after town is really falling to the Taliban. Nic Robertson has that. And then later,

she says she had to kill him before he killed her. A woman who wrote a bestselling book about years of savage abuse by her husband is now on trial

for murder. We'll bring you both their stories after a very short break. You are watching CNN.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

A U.N. special envoy says more than 50 of Afghanistan's 317 districts have fallen to the Taliban since last month, some without a fight. She warns

there will be tragic consequences if the militants continue their offensive.

The Taliban have released several propaganda videos, claiming to show their recent gains.


SOARES (voice-over): They say this one shows them overrunning an army base last weekend. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the videos or the dates

they were filmed.


SOARES: Let's get more from Nic Robertson who's joining us now in London.

I think looking at what we're hearing coming out of Afghanistan, not surprising, given the fact we know the U.S. and NATO are preparing to pull

out the remaining troops.

Are you surprised, Nic, given you've covered the regions so long for us, they have made so many gains in such a short period of time?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think there was an expectation that the Taliban would always try an offensive, as

you say, and that the north was always a place that they wanted to take control of.

It's a long way from their heartland. So that's a bit of a surprise that they've made these gains so quickly. I think that is also a surprise.

People did expect, without the support of U.S. airpower, that Afghan forces on the ground would be more vulnerable and potentially lose morale.

Some of those Taliban videos you're talking about show the Taliban actually taking the surrender of Afghan troops, who were handing over -- not only

throwing their weapons in a pile on the ground for the Taliban but handing over their American-made up-armored military attack vehicle, Humvees,

significant pieces of military hardware that the Taliban just love to get their hands on.

And the Afghan army in these videos are shown essentially handing them over. I think this apparent loss of morale in the Afghan army is

surprising, coming at this time.

And one of the other things that the U.N. special envoy in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said to the U.N. Security Council today was very significant

as well because she said it's not that they've taken so many district centers so quickly; it's that they've taken them around the provincial

capitals, which, she said, shows an intent, either to intimidate or potentially to take those provincial capitals.

They even had a fighter on the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif, the country's fourth largest city, the biggest in the north of the country yesterday. So,

yes, I think the speed is surprising and that's part of the Taliban's gambit, clearly, because it's shock and awe in its own way.

SOARES: Nic Robertson, thanks very much, Nic.

Now the sister of North Korea's leader says the U.S. should not misinterpret her brother's comments. Friday Kim Jong-un said his nation

should be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the U.S.

His sister released a statement, saying the U.S. is in for disappointment if it reads those comments positively. Paula Hancocks has the story for



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korea appears to be trying to crush any kind of optimism that the United States feels when it comes to

possible dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington in the near future.


HANCOCKS: Now this came from Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo Jong. She's often kept to one side until there are sharp words to be made against the

United States or South Korea. And once again, she is the one who is delivering these sharp words, saying that the U.S. will face great

disappointment if they interpret positively remarks made by her brother last week.

Now this is from the Workers' Party meeting. And Kim Jong-un had said that North Korea needs to be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

We then heard from the national security adviser in the Biden administration, Jake Sullivan, talking to ABC News, saying that it was an

interesting signal. Also saying that the Biden administration is awaiting a clear signal from Pyongyang as to whether they are prepared to sit down at

the table.

Now this is a fairly clear signal from Pyongyang, saying that there will be great disappointment if they interpret this positively. But they are not

particularly stinging words from Pyongyang. We've certainly seen a lot harsher rhetoric coming from them in the past.

But the key at this point is most experts believe that Pyongyang has far bigger concerns than whether they're going to sit down and negotiate on

denuclearization with Washington.

The food insecurity in the country has been publicly acknowledged by Kim Jong-un himself. There is certainly a belief that is far more pressing a

concern than whether or not to have working-level talks with the U.S.

Now this also comes while Sung Kim, the new U.S. special envoy for North Korea, is here in Seoul. He's been meeting with Japanese and South Korean

officials, trying to look at how they can push the process forward. He has also said that he is willing to meet at any time, anywhere, with North

Korean officials and is hoping for a positive response soon.

Clearly the response that we heard this Tuesday through state-run media KCNA was anything but positive -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, one American football player is making major gains but not in terms of yards on the field. How Carl Nassib is

making history in the NFL. That story just ahead.




SOARES: Now European football's governing body says it is staying out of politics but it might still cause a stir.


SOARES: UEFA says it will not light up the stadium with a rainbow flag at Wednesday's Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary. Munich city

council asked UEFA to show the gay pride colors after Hungary passed anti- LGBTQ legislation.

They organization admits homophobia is a problem but said, "UEFA is a politically and religiously mutual organization. Given the political

context of this specific request, UEFA must decline."

Now an American football player has made sporting history. Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders has become the first active NFL player to say he is

gay. Take a listen.


CARL NASSIB, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: What's up, people. I'm Carl Nassib. I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick

moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.

I really have the best life. I have the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I'm

really not doing this for attention.

I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that, like one day, videos like this and the whole coming out

process are just not necessary. But until then, you know, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's



SOARES: Now the defensive lineman wished everyone a happy pride month and said he agonized over his decision. He's getting a lot of support from

everyone, from the NFL commissioner to fellow players.

So what does this mean for the sport?

I'm joined by Robert Klemko, "The Washington Post" writer, formerly with "Sports Illustrated."

Robert, thank you very much for joining us.

You tweeted this, "In 2013, I asked an NFL coordinator on background if he ever thought the league would openly accept a gay player. He said, 'No,

because nobody wants to shower with a blank.'"

So here's Carl Nassib's courage and that coach being out of a job.

How big, given what we've just heard from Carl Nassib, how big is this for the NFL and for the history of the sport?

ROBERT KLEMKO, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's very big. It's very big. I mean, in the context of American sports, I don't think anybody who covers

these leagues would argue with you if you said that football is the least inclusive towards the LGBT community.

We've seen massive gains made in just about every other sport. All of our major sports have preceded the NFL in terms of having an openly gay player

take the field during the regular season.

With that said, with Michael Sam coming out a number of years ago and spending time on NFL practice teams in the pre-season and in the off

season, he was, in a lot of people's minds, the first.

And I think that that won't change, especially considering that Nassib has taken the stance that he just wants to keep the conversation going, you

know, make a donation to The Trevor Project, which combats LGBT youth suicides and try to move on.

He'd like for this to be a commonplace conversation that we have, as opposed to some milestone. And I think, because of the precedent that

Michael Sam set and that he did have what felt like a big first, that will happen.

SOARES: You know, we have heard a couple of voices in support of Carl. But I was somewhat surprised -- and maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong, that

I haven't seen more support for him from the sport, from NFL. I know we mentioned a couple.

But how do you interpret this?

Should we be seeing more and why aren't we seeing more comments?

KLEMKO: Yes, you know, we've seen support for Nassib, from his team, the Las Vegas Raiders, commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL Players'

Association, which is the players' union.

But you can count on one hand the number of his own teammates --



KLEMKO: -- who have offered their support or given him an attaboy or stood with closeted and out gay athletes everywhere.

And I think that's not a coincidence. Like I said, the NFL doesn't have the best LGBT record. Most of its players are from the American South. Seven

out of 10 of the top states that produce NFL players are in that Bible Belt below the Mason-Dixon line, which is where you're seeing a lot of the anti-

LGBT legislation in statehouses across the country come from.

So you have a population of athletes that isn't as progressive as some other sports. And you're just not going to see a lot of guys step out of



KLEMKO: And praise or offer support for a player in this situation.

SOARES: So it's fair to say that really homophobia is still pretty present in the league, in the NFL.

KLEMKO: Yes, I think it's going to be a long time you see another player like a Michael Sam come out before he's drafted.

I think that's what made that story so explosive and brought so many eyes to it, because he was, in a sense, putting his own future in the hands of

NFL scouts and GMs and head coaches, who were able to avoid drafting him for whatever reason; whereas Nassib -- not to take anything away from what

he's done here -- but he's done it on the back end of a relatively successful NFL career.

That doesn't mean it's going to be easy for him.

SOARES: That was going to be my next question. You know, given the painting, the image you just painted of the NFL and the way it still has a

long way to go in terms of accepting others, how hard will it be for Nassib?

KLEMKO: You know, I don't think it's going to be like allegedly gay players from decades past, who heard slurs from teammates and other players

on the field, mostly because everything that happens in the NFL at this point is recorded.

There's always a miked-up player on the field. There's always one in practice. So it would be very difficult to get away with saying something

inflammatory to Nassib or any other player.

With that said, you know, there are going to be fewer NFL teams that would be willing to take him on as he finishes up this contract with the Las

Vegas Raiders simply because they don't want the attention that comes with having the NFL's only active openly gay player; similar to the blackballing

that Colin Kaepernick has received in the NFL for his human rights stance and his protest of the national anthem.

There are a number of teams that don't want that level of attention.

SOARES: Yes, it's fascinating. We'll keep an eye on how it all evolves. It's a first step. But like you said, Robert, a long way to go. Thanks very

much for taking the time to speak to us here on CNN.

Now an unreserved apology from one of the world's biggest pop stars. Billie Eilish says she is being labeled something she's not. After a years-old

video surfaces of her mouthing along to a song, the problem is the song she was lip-synching, "Fish," by an artist called Tyler the Creator, contains

an anti-Asian slur.

The singer apologized on Instagram, saying she was 13 or 14 when it was recorded and that she didn't know the word outside the song.

But she said, "Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And, for that, I am sorry."

Still to come tonight, she admits she killed her husband after unimaginable abuse. Now she could face life in prison. An update on the murder trial

that's gripping Prague. Cyril Vanier has that next.





SOARES: Now to a story of abuse that's so shocking as well as grim, it's hard to even hear about and much less live through it, as a woman in France

says she did.

Valerie Bacot is on trial for murder. She admits killing her husband and even wrote a book about it. But she says it was self-defense after decades

of rape, beatings and other abuse that really began when she was just 12 years old. Cyril Vanier is following the developments from us.

I believe we have already heard from Ms. Bacot as well as her two eldest sons.

What do they have to say?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, they recounted their life and the abuse they have suffered at the hands of their late husband

and father. And truly it was horrific.

Nobody who listens to that can see it as anything other than a nightmare. And let's start with the mother, who acknowledged that she did kill her

husband after a long marriage. She first was abused by him, sexually abused, when she was 12. He was sentenced to jail at the time for that,

served time in jail.

But when he got out of jail, he went back to the same household. At the time, he was the partner of her mother. He went back to the same household

and, according to her, started raping her again. And that is how several years later she had her first child. They then got married.

I know some will say, why didn't she leave him?

Those questions were raised in court.

Why didn't she leave him, raise the alarm, alert law enforcement, notify people for this man that was raping her and that already been sentenced to

jail for that?

But she didn't. She married him. She stayed with him and she lived through a life of abuse, as she has described in detail in her book and to the

investigators and in court. And she had four children.

She was forced into prostitution. She was repeatedly forced to sell herself and her body for his -- to satisfy his sexual impulses. It's important to

note that absolutely nobody has come to the defense of this man, who is now dead; not his siblings, not his extended family, not the community, nobody.

He was described by everybody who had known him as violent, aggressive, a heavy drinker, addicted to pornography. So this woman endured this for

decades. And it was when she finally heard him ask her daughter what she was like sexually that she snapped.

The next day she put a bullet in his head, as she herself acknowledges, because she feared her husband would subject her daughter to what he

subjected her to and force her into prostitution as well.

The lawyer explained that there are times and situations in life when there is nothing else you can do other than resort to violence. This is what she



JANINE BONAGGIUNTA, VALERIE BACOT'S LAWYER (through translator): Valerie was a woman who was revealed to have a battered woman syndrome. When you

are beaten for years, since the age of 12, you can't be expected to act normal like you or I.

There comes a point when you're forced to do something that isn't like you, that wasn't like her, in order to save yourself. It's survival.


VANIER: And Isa, her two oldest sons, who helped her bury the body of their father after the deed was done, have completely defended their


In fact, they formed a protective wall against her when she first appeared, around her when she first appeared in court and said, she is not guilty,

that they all lived in a reign of terror under this tyrannical father and husband.

SOARES: Definitely has galvanized public debate in France. Cyril, thanks very much.

Now a U.N. committee says the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has deteriorated so much that it should be on the list of endangered sites.

Australia disagrees, saying it already invests heavily to protect the marine ecosystem.


SOARES: CNN's Ivan Watson has more for you.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Australian government is taking a very unusual step. It is publicly accusing UNESCO of

essentially betraying it after proposing to put the Great Barrier Reef on an endangered list of World Heritage Sites.

Now the Great Barrier Reef is this incredibly rich, diverse marine habitat that's just enormous. It's nearly 350,000 square kilometers in size. That's

thousands of reefs and atolls and islands bigger than Italy and home to thousands of different marine species.

But it has been dying off; rather, its coral reefs have been dying off as the world's oceans, their temperatures rise due to climate change. There

have been these terrible bleaching incidents in 2016, 2017 and 2020, which have been killing off the underwater forests of coral.

And now UNESCO has been saying that the health of the reef has declined, from poor to very poor. Australia's environment minister, she just seems to

not like this new potential classification.

And she called, with Australia's foreign minister, UNESCO's director general, to try to get that individual to reverse this designation, going

on to say, quote, "I made it clear that we will contest this flawed approach, one that has been taken without adequate consultation.

"I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world's reefs but it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed

reef in the world for an endanger listing."

But you know who is welcoming this proposal?

Environmental groups like Greenpeace, which say Australia and its government haven't gone far enough to reduce carbon emissions; pointing

out, for example, that Australia is one of the world's biggest exporters of coal.

And those coal exports are projected to grow over the next five years. Coal, of course, contributes to greenhouse gases and contributes to global

warming. So, yes, Australia, on the one hand, has invested money in trying to protect and revitalize its Great Barrier Reef.

But on the other hand, it is contributing to rising temperatures, which, at the end of the day, are helping kill off the coral -- Ivan Watson, CNN,

Hong Kong.


SOARES: And that does it for me this hour. Thank you very much for watching. I'm Isa Soares. I'll be back in the next few minutes with more.

Stay with us.