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Israeli-Palestinian Clashes Escalate Dramatically; U.N. Says 781 Killed, Thousands Injured in Myanmar; Medina Spirit Trainer Denies Doping Allegations; Jerusalem Violence Escalates; India's COVID-19 Infections Drop for Second Straight Day; China Reports Slowest Population Growth in Decades. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 11, 2021 - 01:00   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Siren sound over Jerusalem as tensions between Palestinian protesters, and police veered into military conflict.

Pushed beyond their limits. How the pandemic is bringing death and misery to India's villages.

Plus, China's population problem. What lead to its lowest growth rate in decades, and how it could impact the economy.

Hello. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN.


ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: Great to have you along with me this hour.

So, tensions are high as violent clashes over Jerusalem escalated dramatically on Monday. Weeks of skirmishes between Israeli police and Palestinians amplified into rocket fire and air strikes. Nighttime clashes erupted at the al Aqsa mosque complex when Israeli police entered the mosque after evening prayers.

Israel responded to rocket fire from Gaza with airstrikes. The Palestinian health ministry says, nearly two dozen people were killed, including 9 children. But, it is unclear whether they doubt as a result of the airstrikes.

Well, Elliott Gotkine is in the Israeli city of Ashkelon with the latest.

Hi. Tell us where you are, and what's been happening overnight?


We are in a residential area which lies between the Gaza Strip, and Tel Aviv. And as you can see behind me, this apartment building has seen better days. Between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. this morning, a rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip struck this building. Six people injured, most of the residents were able to get to the safe areas in their homes.

But, obviously, this cost quite an extensive damage here. And this was just one of a barrage of more than 200 rockets that the Israeli defense force, the IDF says, was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel overnight.

On top of that, the IDF is saying that a third of the missiles, of the rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip, actually, fell short. They said, in response to this rocket fire, the IDF hit 130 militant targets has had a sign on for sometime, and estimated, it killed the 15 Hamas, and Islamic jihad operatives.

Now, you mentioned some of the figures just a moment ago, Robyn. So, the Palestinian health ministry, in the Gaza Strip, says that 22 people were killed, among them, nine children, including a 10-year-old girl. More than 100 people were injured in those airstrikes. And you can see, from the footage, you know, plumes of smoke rising in the air, and damage to buildings as well.

Indeed, one of the buildings was targeted because that was believed to house the battalion commander -- a battalion commander from Hamas. And indeed, the IDF saying, this is just the early stages of counterstrikes on militant targets in Gaza. And that the IDF has prepared for escalation of various scenarios.

It's very possible that this cycle of violence, that we are now in with a rocket attacks, followed by airstrikes, by fighter jets and drones, you know, just feeding onto more rockets, and more airstrikes as well. There's no side of the violence abating, and we should expect to see more of the same throughout the day.

CURNOW: Elliott Gotkine there, live from Ashkelon, thank you very much for that.

Well, Mohammed El-Kurd has personal experience with what triggered some of these clashes. His family lives in the Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood where some Palestinians are facing eviction and is among those due to be pushed out. He wrote to "The Nation" about returning from school when he was 11 to find police outside of his home, and Jewish settlers, claiming the front half of this house. More than a decade later he says, quote, they are coming to finish what they started.

Well, Mohammed El-Kurd joins me now from Sheikh Jarrah. Thank you very much for joining us.

You grew up in the neighborhood. Your family home is slated for eviction.


What is the scene right now?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD, PALESTINIAN WRITER: Well, thank you so much for having me.

To start, it's not really in eviction. It's forced displacement to be accurate because an eviction implies legal authority. Well, the Israeli occupation has no legitimate jurisdiction over the eastern parts of occupied Jerusalem under international law. It also implies a presence of a landlord, and certainly, these Israeli settlers have not built our homes, they're not our landlords, they don't want our land.

And thirdly, eviction does not imply the hundreds and hundreds of heavily armed police, and army, and settlers colluding, blowing up your doors, throwing your children from your windows, and using brute force to throw you out into the street, and assaulting and arrest should you resist.

It doesn't imply the grenades. It doesn't imply the rubber-coated bullets. It's not an eviction.

According to the U.N. and countless politicians, and human rights organizations, it could amount to war crimes actually. The situation is pretty tense. I can -- I can tell you. We are very scared of losing our homes to Israeli settler organizations.

CURNOW: The settlers, in court, would argue that their claims to the land predates you, and your family. Have you been allowed to prove otherwise?

EL-KURD: No. Courts -- the Israeli courts, the Israeli occupation courts take their documents, without verification, without authentication, or challenge, whereas our documents will not be looked at. They will not be taken into consideration. Besides, just because something is technically legal, doesn't mean it is ethical, moral, or historically, just or accurate or correct. We've seen many, many systems exploit the law and exploit the judiciary to uphold supremacist and racists lies (ph).

CURNOW: You've written powerfully about being 11, and remembering this incident that I spoke about, about the settlers coming to your home, and taking half of it. How does it feel to have grown up with what you call the anxiety of dispossession?

EL-KURD: It feels familiar because this is what every Palestinian feels like under the crushing fangs of Israeli colonialism in Palestine. My grandma was thrown out of her home in 1948 in Haifa, and she was thrown out again in 1967, and again, in 2009, when an Israeli settler organization colluding with the Israelis took over half of our home.

And this is my second time being dispossessed from my family, should they go ahead and do it to me. It's scary, but it also has a name. It's settler colonialism, and it's apartheid. And it's a fact that the settler organizations are working together with the state to exploit the law, to dispossess Palestinians.

CURNOW: What would you like from the international community? There has been a response, by many to the situation that your family is in right now. What would you like to hear? Especially from the new Biden administration.

EL-KURD: Well, I think that the myth of self-defense in both sides are growing more and more penetrable. People are being to see through these myths, and call an occupation for what it is, and call an aggressor for what it is. And this is what we are going under, what we are facing in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. It is colonial violence. And it's only allowed because both the state and the settlers know

they have impunity. The settlers are emboldened by an apartheid state that allows them to open carry in Palestinian neighborhoods, and the state is emboldened by an international community that refuses to call it out for what it is, that allows it to target, to intentionally target civilian neighborhoods on the Gaza Strip, and massacre 24 Palestinians, including 9 children, without facing any consequences.

I don't expect much of the Biden administration, knowing that Ned Price refused to even condemn the killing of 9 Palestinian children tells me all I need to know.

Obviously, I would look to the international community to hold Israel accountable under an international law, but I also hope that free people of the world do their part to push their governments.

CURNOW: Do you support the protests, the violent protests that had erupted in solidarity with you and other families in your position right now?

EL-KURD: Do you support the violent dispossession of me and my family?

CURNOW: I'm just asking you if you support the protests that are taking place in support of your family.

EL-KURD: I support -- I support popular protests taking place against ethnic cleansing, yes.

CURNOW: Thank you very much for joining us, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Mohammed El-Kurd, thank you very much.

EL-KURD: Thank you.

CURNOW: Many Palestinians say that one of the reasons for this latest round of violence is due to Israeli efforts to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, as you heard there. Well, I spoke last hour with Danny Danon, the chairman of the World Likud, and this is what he had to say.


DANNY DANON, CHAIRMAN, WORLD LIKUD: That is an excuse. Yes, we do have disputes of different sites in Jerusalem.


We have quotes. It takes years to determine the results. It's not the only location that we're dealing with. But, we know, that when you look at the history that whenever you want

to incite the mob against Jews, you use those holy sites, you use the Temple Mount, it happened in 1929, in 1936, 1948. And today, we see it happening again by using holy sites, using religion in order to incite and to provoke violence in the region.


CURNOW: has just released its latest COVID figures, and for the second straight day, the number of new cases has fallen. Some 330,000 infections, reported on Tuesday. That's still quite high, but far below what we saw over the weekend.

The death toll also crept back up a bit, but it's too early to know if the worst is over for India. Right now, more than half of its states, and union territories are under full lockdown.

Well, Sam Kiley is covering this live from New Delhi.

Sam, hi. Certainly, some hope that the peak is being reached. But, really unclear.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and one shouldn't (INAUDIBLE) by any figures from anywhere in the world, as we all know, they are reflecting much more about testing than they do about levels of COVID infection rates. There have been experts, for example, with reference to India that have suggested that the numbers of infected people could be 20 times higher than is being officially acknowledged.

There is no malice or forethought, that there's no suggestion that the figures being massaged. It's simply that people who get tested tend to be people who fear that they may have the virus, and the capacity in India is pretty restricted. There is more to be derived from death tolls, particularly unseasonal death tolls. They continue to be very high in India.

But, again, and this is nothing unique to India, but to a lot of developing nations, the numbers of people dying doesn't necessarily reflect what's happening on the ground. We've seen that for ourselves, Robyn, where people die in their homes, and our swiftly cremated, or buried. And, in all probability, are not recorded in the official statistics. So, I think we got to look at the general trends here, not at the very least, because we just had a weekend here, and that also affects recording.

So, I don't think any expert here would argue that the wave is breaking, if you like, in terms of the second wave of infections in India. There is a hope that around the middle of the month, it may start easing off, but there are equally models that suggests that the peak won't be reached until mid June, Robyn.

CURNOW: Goodness. Sam Kiley, thanks so much for the update there live in New Delhi.

And India's crisis has been spiraling into neighboring Nepal, which is setting new records for daily COVID cases and deaths. Nepal reported nearly 9,300 new infections on Monday, as you can see from this graph, more than double the highest previous death toll. This comes as the Nepali prime minister called for, and lost a confidence vote, putting the country into political crisis.

Well, Anna Coren is following this from Hong Kong.

Anna, hi, talk us through this confluence of politics, and COVID.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start with the COVID situation, because what we have been witnessing in India is now unfolding in Nepal. Perhaps, even on a worse scale. The reason I say this is because it is a very impoverished country. It has very poor infrastructure. And the case numbers that we have been seeing in the last few weeks have jumped something like 1,200 percent.

You mentioned that the number of infections, yesterday. The death toll perhaps speaks volumes. It was 139. That is more than double the previous record. So, you know, the infection rate, the death rate is only going in one direction.

You speak to doctors who are on the ground. They are completely overwhelmed. They say that the health system is on the brink of collapse. There are no more bids, hospitals are at capacity. They're turning patients away.

And once again, what we saw in India was being replicated in Nepal. There is no more oxygen. Such an acute shortage in hospitals that have it, whereas there are some hospitals, that have no oxygen, whatsoever.

I should also mention, Robyn, the positivity rate for COVID in Nepal is something like 47 percent. That is one of the highest percentage rates in the world. And only 1.3 percent of the population has been inoculated.

Now, the political turmoil that is also unfolding in Nepal couldn't have come at a worse time.


Prime Minister Sharma Oli, he spoke to CNN on the weekend, and played down the COVID situation. He said that they had it under control. There was enormous backlash. Now, this vote of no confidence in him, that wasn't a result of what happened on the weekend, or, even his handling of the pandemic. It is a political issue that's been it play for sometime.

But, he lost that vote. He is now out of office. And, it is now in the hands of the government to see whether they can come up with a new government, in the next couple of days -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Anna Coren, thank you for that update, live in Hong Kong. Of course, we'll continue to monitor this growing desperation there in Nepal. Thank you.

Now, here in the U.S., federal health officials authorized emergency use of Pfizer's COVID vaccine to include people, ages 12, to 15. This is the first COVID vaccine authorized for use in younger teens, and adolescents, in the U.S. And it is a big step forward in the country's recovery pandemic. The CDC Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, and expected to sign off on its use before the vaccinations can begin.

In the next few hours, Queen Elizabeth will attend their first big event since the death of her husband, Prince Philip. Speaking of the opening of parliament, outlining the agenda for the next year, among those plans is the lifting of COVID restrictions beginning next week. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says England is ready for the next step of its phase of reopening, that means, peoples can mean groups of up to six indoors, among other things.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: From next Monday, you'll be able to sit inside a pub and inside a restaurant. You will be able to go to the cinema, and children will be able to use indoor play areas. We're reopening hostels, hotels, and B&Bs. We will reopen the doors tour theaters, concert halls, and business conference centers.


CURNOW: Well, Cyril Vanier has the latest from London -- Cyril.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hugging is back. Well, almost. Hugs will once again, allowed in England starting next week. As the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions has been confirmed by a British prime minister.

With COVID infections, the lowest they've been since September, and the third of adults fully vaccinated, Boris Johnson announced that England will be moving ahead, with stage 3 of reopening the country, on May 17th.

So, what does that mean? It means that life will start looking a lot more normal. Cinemas, and museums, all coming back, pubs, and restaurants will reopen indoors, groups of up to 30 people, authorizing outdoors, and foreign holidays will be permitted, once again, although in practice, most destinations still require a quarantine upon return.

All of, this before the final easing of restrictions, in late June, when all limits on social contact should be lifted. Part of what is interesting about this story is how England managed to turn things around and just a few months. At the beginning of the year, this country had one of the highest COVID death rates in the world.

Now, it's recording a manageable 1,000 to 2000 cases a day, and according to preliminary data, more people in England, and Wales, dying from flu pneumonia, then from the virus. This turnaround was due to strict confinement measures, and a gradual easing of restrictions, and a speedy vaccination rollout.

Cyril Vanier, CNN, London.


CURNOW: You're watching CNN, and we are learning more details about cyberattack which has devastated a critical U.S. fuel line, the latest on the federal response, of when the company hopes to be up and running again.

Plus, why China's latest population census highlights a looming problem for the global superpower.



CURNOW: Welcome back.

China is reporting its lowest population growth in decades, despite scrapping its one child policy back in 2015. Now, China just released its latest census figures, showing its population rose to 1.4 billion people over the last decade. Now, the slowdown could have serious implications for the global superpower.

For more, I go to Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Kristie, hi. I know 1.4 billion people doesn't sound like a slowdown, but, certainly, it does in terms of the percentages here.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is a trend here, and in the world's most populous country, population growth is slipping. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, and a census report that came out just a few hours ago, it says, in the last decade, that the average population growth rate was around 0.53 percent. That is 0.4 percent lower than the previous decade.

This is huge. It has major implications for China, and its policy- making. For health, care for social welfare, for technology, and especially for its economy.

Because, as you see the slowdown, and it also need to slow down the growth of the workforce. So, it will be much harder for China to compete with, and to catch up with the United States in terms of economic growth. Now, experts say that the reason behind this is the living costs, and the fact that urban couples value their independence, and lifestyle, more than starting a family.

But I want you to listen to this. An official take from the head of the statistics bureau of China, Ning Jizhe.


NING JIZHE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS OF CHINA (through translator): The number of women of childbearing age, especially the most fertile women, was declining. There is a postponement of childbearing, and also, rising cost of child raising. All of these are the reasons behind the declining new growth. That is a natural result of China's economic, and social development.


STOUT: Earlier, I spoke with Yong Cai. He's the professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. He says the slowest population growth China has experienced since 1962. This is five decades ago. And he said that this is something that China has factored in. This is why over the years, it's been moving away from manual labor, more towards a high tech economy.

Listen to this.


YONG CAI, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: China's government is aware of that, and society is aware of that, in the adjustment is ongoing. The truth is, you know, the cheap labor, basically, you know, people working nonstop, you know, leaving their family behind, being migrant labor, those kind of days are behind us.


STOUT: Nevertheless, there is a lot of pressure on Beijing to roll up measures, and mitigate this phenomenon. Some experts saying it may have to relax its birth control policies altogether -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks so much. Kristie Lu Stout there, in Hong Kong.

Now, the company running one of America's largest fuel pipelines says, it hopes to restore service by the end of the week. Colonial Pipeline is largely being paralyzed after a cyberattack force them to shut down operations last week. On Monday, the FBI confirmed that ransomware from a criminal group that calls itself DarkSide, is behind the attack.

Now, the pipeline company transports nearly half of the diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast. President Biden says the government is working, urgently, to determine the full scope, and fallout of the attack.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration takes issue this -- takes this very seriously. We have efforts underway with the FBI and DOJ, the Department of Justice, and to disrupt them, and prosecute ransomware criminals. And my administration will be pursuing a global effort of ransomware attacks by transnational criminals who often use global money laundering networks to carry them out.



CURNOW: Well, the White House said just a short time ago, it is monitoring fuel supply shortages in parts of the Southeast. David Sanger is a CNN political and national security analyst, and

author of "The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age." He joins me now from Washington, D.C.

What is fascinating about this ransom attack is that it appears to be, of course, a criminal operation, not an intelligence operation. How successful do you think it was and what do we know about the M.O.?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Robyn, first, thanks for having me back on.

I think it was more successful, in many ways, perhaps too successful, for the group that is accused of doing this. DarkSide, a relatively new ransomware group whose activities we only really became aware of last October, or so.

We believe this is an Eastern European group, probably with some members based in Russia. Certainly, President Biden seemed to indicate that today.

We think that they were basically in this to extort the company by stealing information, and locking it up in their information technology. So, other words, not on the operational side of the pipeline. But, what happened was, as soon as they got into that and lock this system up, the company had a panic and thought, well, the malware could spread over to the operational side, so we better shut off the system. And, last Friday, that is exactly what they did. Today they say, they

may not have it back up and running again until the end of the week, at the earliest.

And remember, this carries 45 percent of the gasoline, the jet fuel, the diesel that is used on the East Coast of the United States.

CURNOW: There has been some federal officials, expressing frustration at how ill-prepared this company was, to either deal with an attack, or fended off. We have had some reports, of course, that private companies try to help, as well as federal officials tried to help them this off.

What do we know about how vulnerable this company was?

SANGER: It looks pretty bad from everything I've heard, from both federal officials, and private officials who were in there. Remember, it's one of the oddities of the American system that some -- a structure like this, infrastructure like this, in which we are, enormously dependent, is run by private companies. In this case, a company that isn't even publicly listed on the stock exchange.

Their investors that include Koch Energy. They include Royal Dutch Shell. But, by and large, they are privately held. This also means that the U.S. government doesn't have very much purview overcoming in, and what kind of security they have. Yet, when something like this happens, of course, it makes half of the fuel supply for the East Coast vulnerable. So, that part of the system, clearly, has to be fixed. The other problem we run into here is that we are learning more about

the blended threat of these ransomware groups, that are not operating on behalf of the state, but, sometimes, do favors for the state. Sometimes, are harbored by a state. So, when President Biden came out today and said, Russia didn't do this, but it bear some responsibility, what he meant was he thinks they are operating from Russian soil.

And, if in fact, he suggested today, he's likely be meeting with President Putin next month, you can bet, this will be high on the list.

CURNOW: This is a real blind spot to cybersecurity for Americans. And, many federal officials, going back, different presidencies agreed, and are in agreement, that this could happen, and had the potential to happen.

So, Biden is suggesting that they are going to plan and order, and strength, and cyber defenses. Would it have been enough? Would it be enough to stop something like this?

SANGER: Well, we wrote about this at some length in I guess today's "New York Times". And, you know, every president that I've ever covered, back to Bill Clinton, has written executive orders that covers some element of cyber. And, every one of them, people come to the conclusion, it wasn't strong enough.

What President Biden is going to try to do is to set some minimal standards for software security, for companies that sell software to the U.S. government, and, of course, for federal agencies.


And the hope is that that will trickle down through the industry. In other words, if you'd rather design your software one way for the government, you would design it for everybody that way.

But that process is a long one. It will be interesting to see whether the U.S. makes good on its threat that it would bar companies from selling software to the U.S. if they didn't meet the standards.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: David Sanger, thanks so much. Always good to get your expertise. CNN political and national security analyst and national security correspondent for "The New York Times".

SANGER: Thank you.

CURNOW: Coming up on CNN, a microcosm of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, it may be playing out in one Jerusalem neighborhood. The eviction battle in Sheikh Jarrah still head.


CURNOW: Welcome back to all of our viewers all around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining me for this hour. It is 33 minutes past. You're watching CNN. So Israel and Gaza have been exchanging rocket fire throughout the night after clashes in Jerusalem left hundreds injured. Tensions in Jerusalem have reached their highest point in years with rocket sirens blaring across the city and other areas close to Gaza's border.

Confrontations erupted when Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa mosque after evening prayers. The Israeli Defense Forces said militant groups in Gaza launched rockets into Israel, dozens were intercepted and Israel responded with airstrikes.

And after meeting with Jordan's foreign minister, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on all sides to de-escalate. He expressed concern about what he called provocative actions in and around Temple Mount. Also known, of course, as Haram al Sharif or Noble Sanctuary and the rocket attacks from Gaza.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Even as all sides take steps to de-escalate Israel, of course, has the right to defend its people and its territory from these attacks.

AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We strategically set in Jordan that Jerusalem is a red line and that maintaining peace and civility in Jerusalem is key.


CURNOW: One of the reasons for the tensions -- a battle over housing in Jerusalem. Israel Supreme Court postponed a hearing on Sunday on the eviction of several Palestinian -- Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. There have been intense classes between Jews and Muslims on each side saying the land is their.

Here is Andrew Carey with more.



ANDREW CAREY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A divided street in a fractured city. Palestinians breaking the fast. A ritual during the holy month of Ramadan.

On the pavement opposite, about a dozen, mostly young Jewish nationalists. At last, pepper spray and a volley of plastic chairs. Scenes like this have become a familiar sight in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.

Extreme right-wing Jewish lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir makes an appearance this evening alongside deputy Aryeh King. After taunts of Nazi, Ben- Gvir says the deputy mayor makes a joke about a bullet entering a man's head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they take the bullet out of your --

Did they take it out already?

It's a pity the bullet didn't go here.

CAREY: Later after a car is torched nearby, videos emerge of religious Israelis with pistols poised, apparently, taking their positions to defend the building.

This does not look or feel like a city at peace with itself. Back on the street, bottles, rocks, and other objects are thrown by protesters. Police use stun grenades and make arrests for public disorder offenses. Palestinian residents say, the real aim is intimidation.

Another common sight. Skunk water, blasting out from a truck, sprayed to disperse, police say. Residents who have to live with the putrid smell in their homes and their gardens, say it demeans and humiliates. It is these homes and gardens, this land, that all this is ultimately about.

Seven extended Palestinian families who've lived here since the 1950s face possible eviction over the summer. Israel's Supreme Court is to hear their appeal soon.

77-year-old Nabeel El-Kurd (ph) is head of one of the seven families.

NABEEL EL-KURD, SHEIKH JARRAH RESIDENT: We are in the right. We are the owners of the land, we are still resisting. We are staying here, even if they don't want us.

CAREY: Nabeel was a little boy when he moved here, after his family were expelled from their home in (INAUDIBLE) Jewish forces in 1948. Under an arrangement between the U.N. and Jordan, which at the time controlled east Jerusalem, 28 Palestinian families were found a place to live here in exchange for giving up their refugee status.

But using a law passed in 1970, after Israel took control of the whole of Jerusalem, an organization called (INAUDIBLE) is seeking their eviction, arguing that the land had once belonged to Jewish families.

Three evictions have already taken place, including the front half of Nabeel's house 12 years ago.

EL-KURD: They took all my furniture out and put it in the garden. I had a little cupboard, which I used for food and drink that I would give to visitors. They stole it.

CAREY: Nabeel's daughter, Muna (ph), was filmed in an exchange with the man who currently lives there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know this is not your house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but if I go, you don't go back. So what's the problem? Why are you yelling at me? I didn't do this. I didn't do this.

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's easy to yell at me, but I didn't do this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are stealing my house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if I don't steal, someone else is going to steal it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no one -- no one is allowed to steal it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't understand why Arabs are here. I don't want any problems, but this area called Nahrach Simon (ph) is for the Jews, even before the establishment of the state. This land is Jewish, and belongs to us. We don't believe anyone, not the courts, or anyone else.

CAREY: Israel's foreign ministry characterizes what's going on here, as a real estate dispute.

The Palestinian family say, there is a huge injustice at the center of it all, which is, that under an Israeli law passed in 1950, they have no right to return to their old homes in Israel that were taken away and given to Jewish families.

Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum refused to address the different restitution laws when interviewed by CNN, but said the municipality was committed to helping all people in the city.

FLEUR HASSAN-NAHOUM, DEPUTY MAYOR, JERUSALEM: In local government, we cannot be involved in those matters. It is not us who make any types of laws like this. this is a property dispute that will be solved in the courts.

CAREY: But, which courts? Israel wants this settled at its own high court, under its own laws. International law considers east Jerusalem occupied territory which Israel strongly rejects.

IVAN KARAKASHIAN, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: And the people living here are protected, and have protected status under international law. And accordingly Israel is obligated under international law, not to transfer the protected population in or out or within occupied territory. Nor is it allowed to transfer its own population into that territory.


CAREY: For all the legal complexities, the provocations, and the violence, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that something pretty basic seems broken in Sheikh Jarrah. Something isn't working.

Andrew Carey, CNN -- Jerusalem.


CURNOW: And now to a showdown at sea in the Strait of Hormuz, just south or Iran, more than a dozen Iranian shows the veteran. More than a dozen Iranian fast attack boats traveling at high speed, came within 135 meters of U.S. Navy ships, escorting a guided missile submarine. The U.S. ships tried repeatedly to communicate with the Iranian boats before a coast guard cutter fired 30 warning shots and the Iranian boats broke contact.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: It is an international waterway, and of course, when you are in the Strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver. I mean it is a choke point in the region.

So, it's not insignificant that this kind of dangerous unsafe and unprofessional incident and behavior occurred there.


CURNOW: The Strait of Hormuz is a vital waterway, used to ship oil out of the Middle East. It connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

And still ahead on CNN, life under military rule in Myanmar -- an update from the United Nations on protesters killed and wounded since February's coup.


CURNOW: Welcome back.

To Myanmar now where the United Nations say 781 protesters have been killed, thousands more injured during the military coup three months ago.

STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: Our colleagues on the ground say they remain appalled by the ongoing violence at the hands of security forces since the military took over the government on February 1st.

Now in its fourth month, the situation in Myanmar has fast become one of the most -- excuse -- one of the protection in human crises in the world today.


CURNOW: Protesters have filled the streets and hundreds of cities across -- towns across the country despite a brutal crackdown. A social media blackout has slowed the resistance but a national strike and other measures have crippled Myanmar's economy.

The U.N. says the protests and the pandemic could force half the country into poverty by next year.

Tom Andrews is the U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar, he joins me now from Washington. It's been three months now since this military coup and there is essentially a terror campaign going on at the moment, isn't there?

TOM ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: There is. People are having themselves woken up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, interrogated, loved ones taken, they don't know where they are, what they've been charged with.

Someone, the wife and 10-day-old infant of an opposition leader were taken from his home. When soldiers came and couldn't find him at home, they abducted his wife and his newborn baby.


ANDREWS: So all of these tactics, these little fear-generating tactics are being used now all over the country.

CURNOW: One person described it as the people of Myanmar are being hunted and particularly at night, as you described with these random calls and knocks on the door and assaults and abductions. What are you hearing about people who are taken and who makes it out and what are they -- what are they telling you?

ANDREWS: Well, it's -- again, it's brutal. The people show up with bruises, clearly victims of torture. They are not being treated, let's say, well. They're being treated harshly to say the least. And again -- and they're targeting very often, you know, not only civilian or civil disobedience from political leaders but now, leaders of the culture, the poets, the artists -- anyone who inspires anyone, who leads with their voices.

They're all threats to the regime and they're picking them up. Over 5m000 people have been arrested at this point. But more than three times that -- more than 15,000 are in hiding with arrest warrants outstanding.

They are terrified and they're traveling around communities, they're being hit by their neighbors who are taking great risks to do so. I talk to people -- there are (INAUDIBLE) from different places every night.

It's a horrible, horrible nightmare that's being inflicted on the people of Myanmar.

CURNOW: You rightly say that these are not necessarily just opposition figures in terms of politicians but it's everyone from amongst the beauty queens, to poets, to doctors, to hairdressers, to make up artists. You know, this is a society and a lot of young people, a lot of women.

How can that momentum that we saw in those early days be sustained or is it just too dangerous now to actually push back. And what happens then to any internal push to this military dictatorship? And does that then mean that they've won, essentially?

ANDREWS: Well, you know, we're seeing the best and worst of humanity before our very eyes. Of course, the worst is the junta and tactics that they're using.

But the best of these opposition leaders, a lot of them young people who are incredibly courageous and very creative. You know, they are using different tactics to protect people. They're not going out in massive numbers on the streets because they know they're being hit by rocket propelled grenades or being targeted by snipers.

So they have these flash actions. They have It's civil disobedience of various forms. Shutting down universities, they have strikes in various sectors of the economy and what they are asking the international community to do is to join them by applying focused, clear targeted sanctions so that the weapons and then the revenue that the military needs to sustain itself can be cut off.

So they're using all these approaches in very creative and very tenacious ways on the ground day in and day out. It really is the best of humanity and the most courageous people I've ever had a chance to meet or speak with, are risking their lives every day.

CURNOW: How concerned are you though at what appears to be the international communities' impotence and perhaps even regional leaders silence when it comes to what's happening?

ANDREWS: Well, we've seen, of course, leaders of ASEAN working to address the crisis. They had met on line, the leader of the Junta, travel to Indonesia for a summit. He agreed to, for example, a point of consensus was to stop the violence.

He knows sooner that to me and molly when he kind of scoffed and said well, this is really just suggestions by ASEAN leaders. Well, will think about it once we stabilize the country.

So, they are scoffing at any attempts anyone seems to be making. And so, what really is going to be required is not just talk but pressure by the international community. Hit them where it hurts, you know. They pride themselves on having this very large military and it's one of the largest in the world. You have over 400,000 soldiers, for example. But in order to have that kind of an army you need to feed them, you need to close them, you need to supply them and that takes money.

And that is a vulnerability, if the international community which had tightened the noose Cebu the revenue flow heading into the -- heading into the Junta. And I think that's exactly what we should be doing.

CURNOW: Tom Andrews is the U.N. special repertoire ON Myanmar, joining me from Washington. Thank you very much sir, for joining us.

ANDREWS: Thank you.

CURNOW: The Italian island of Lampedusa is being overwhelmed with migrants desperate to get to Europe. More than 2,000 arrived there over the weekend according to Italian state media.


CURNOW: The country's interior minister says nearly 13,000 migrants have arrived on Italian shores since the beginning of the year. That's three times as many during the same period last year. The E.U. is calling for solidarity with Italy, stressing the need for other member states to help with the crisis. And the United Nations panel says it is clear and convincing evidence that ISIS committed genocide against Yazidis seven years ago in northern Iraq.

Tens of thousands of villages from their religious minority fled their homes trying to find safety on Mount Sinjar.

Ivan Watson witnessed their suffering and desperation, Ivan.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can see the people below, trapped on St. Sinjar Mountain. They're clustered, they are clustered under olive trees right now, waving to us. They seem to have gathered in these shelters down here. A lot of women and children waving.

The crew throws packages out the door. People swarm of chopper.


CURNOW: But thousands of these people didn't even have the chance to escape. Many women and girls were raped and enslaved while the man were massacred.

For the past three years, a U.N. team has been gathering evidence, witness testimony, cell phone data and documents to build a case against ISIS. Here's a look at some of what they found.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we first got in the truck, we thought we were going towards Sinjar mountain. But when it turned towards here, we started to get scared. Unknown to them the men were being collected. The mass execution at a number of sites surrounding Kojo village.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daesh told us to get out of the vehicle and organize ourselves in a single line. We (INAUDIBLE) in the line as we were (INAUDIBLE) and just killed. So we held each other's hands. At that moment, I thought of my son, because I told myself that Daesh will kill our children too.


CURNOW: Well, the U.N. report also found evidence of mass executions of predominantly Shia Muslim today so the military campaign in Tikrit, Iraq.

Now, next on CNN, a defiant message from hall of fame horse trainer Bob Baffert whose Kentucky Derby winning thoroughbred is caught in a doping scandal with another big race just days away.


CURNOW: Welcome back. So the winning team at the Kentucky Derby is looking ahead to the next leg of the triple crown, despite being embroiled in a doping controversy. Thoroughbred, Medina Spirit arrived in Baltimore on Monday, ahead of this Saturday's Preakness Stakes. The colt failed a drug test after winning the Kentucky Derby, that's throwing the victory and future races into doubt.

Now, the horse's hall of fame trainer tell CNN he will not be there Saturday for the Preakness Stakes, despite having two horses in the race.

Bob Baffert denies giving Medina Spirit an illegal amount of an anti inflammatory drug. He spoke with CNN's sports Carolyn Manno.



BOB BAFFERT, HORSE TRAINER: I never imagine being in a situation like this. It's been a pretty dramatic honestly. And it's -- -- a feel so bad, not only for the horse, you know, but for the owner, everybody involved because this is something that, you know, we didn't do.

CARLYN MANNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel that you are being vilified for an endemic problem in this sport.

BAFFERT: Definitely, because I'm a hall of fame trainer. I've had such success with all These great horses and there's a lot of people -- there's a slot of jealously, there's a lot of jealousy and animosity out there. And I understand that.

I have my critics but this is really, you know, when it happens in the most prestigious race in America. The Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert is not stupid, ok. And this is a horrible thing that is happening to this horse.

MANNO: How much support do you feel you received from the horse-racing community and all of this?

BAFFERT: Well I mean, I've got a lot of support from all my clients and friends in the game. They understand. They understand the drug, the minimum, it's a ridiculous amount in there, it wouldn't affect the horse.

But it's tough for my public image that has just really taken a hit. And that detractors that I have, you know, it's made their day. That's what we deal with.

But at the end of the day, it's been tough on me. But at the same time, I still have to run a business. I still have to train these horses. I wake up every day and worry about them.

But it's been pretty tough on me. I've never been thrown in these kind of a mess, it's just a mess, you know. And how to handle it, you know, I'm trying to answer all these questions and get barraged with all kinds of things. So It's all new to me. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: And, sticking with sports news, NBA star where Russell Westbrook has added another remarkable achievement to his illustrious career. He notched his 182nd triple-double, that breaks a record that stood for nearly 50 years.

Now, for those of you who don't know, a triple double means a player recorded double figures in three of the five major statistical categories. In this case, it was points, assists and rebounds but his Washington Wizards still lost to the Atlanta Hawks by one point.

And I'm Robyn Curnow, thanks so much for your company. I will be right back with much more news after this break.

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