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CONNECT THE WORLD
Protesters Turn Out In Force For Eighth Weekend; Trump Continues Attack On Congressman, His District; 22 Year Old Egan Bernal To Win Cycling's Biggest Race; Most Plastic Straws Aren't Biodegradable, Threaten Wildlife; "Unprecedented" Fires Raging In The Arctic; Officer's Death Sparks Outrage In Italy. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired July 28, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] RICK FOLBAUM, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum at CNN center in today for Becky
Anderson. And we begin in Hong Kong where once again there's a tense situation in its busiest shopping district. For a second consecutive day,
police have been using tear gas to clear away protesters who are ignoring orders to stay in one location.
CNN's Anna Coren has been reporting from the ground and you could hear the tear gas canisters being fired off and one of her early reports. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. What in the world -- OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: These protests have been going on now for eight straight weekends, initially they were over an extradition bill. That bill has now
been shelved but the protests continue and protesters are now -- are now demanding greater democracy and also an investigation into alleged police
brutality. Anna Coren joins us now live from home. And Anna, tell us how did these recent protests compare with others over the last two months?
COREN: Yes, Rick, I'm wearing a gas mask because there's been so much tear gas that's been dispersed over the last few hours. As you can see, these
are riot police behind me. They were firing tear gas just before you came to us. They managed to disperse the crowd that was in that direction those
barricades are. And you can see there the flashing lights. That's now where the clashes are happening.
Over in this direction, there were protesters who have been fighting these running battles with police. We're going to take you this way. Rick, this
has become the norm here in Hong Kong, where these really young, hardcore protesters take to the streets. They occupy the streets. And this weekend
it has been an unlawful assembly. These are unlawful protesters -- protest.
The protesters have not got permits to be here. So that is why the police have used these heavy-handed tactics. So much tear gas has been fired over
the last several hours, and it has been over a much stronger strength than what we saw yesterday where there were those violent clashes as well
between police and protesters.
We're making our way to the line here. I just want you to come with us to just give you a sense. These protesters have just taken over the streets.
We're in the thick of it with them, up on the front line, as police were firing tear gas over and over and over again. And these protesters are not
budging. This tear gas, it is -- it burns, burns your throat, burns your eyes. And these young protesters are not going anywhere.
So here you see a couple of 100 meters from where that front line is, where those police, those riot police and all these protesters. And further down
this road, you can see more riot police. They look like they're sitting down, taking a break but this is where the front line is now being staged,
FOLBAUM: Well, it's unbelievable to watch this. Anna, I'm wondering, with this stronger tear gas and so much of it being used by the police, have any
of the protesters been injured or have to be taken away to hospital?
COREN: Yes. We understand a number have been taken to hospital. And look, I am not surprised. We've got hit with tear gas that they fired
right near us earlier this evening, and it was absolutely suffocating. These young protesters, they have makeshift gas masks, if you like, or they
wear goggles. They've got their helmets. They're here. They've had manmade shields. They've erected these you know, battering rams if you
like, and then they build this front line.
And then they get the police to come forward. And that is what we've seen time and time again. The police will then put up the black flag saying
we're about to disperse tear gas, and sure enough they fire the canisters. But it is quite extraordinary, Rick, because even though they might
retreat, they might pull back, they just move to a different location and the frontline, it forms again.
So they are staging these running battles with police through the streets of Hong Kong, one of the largest international financial hubs in the world.
It really is extraordinary. But this is the scene jut 10:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong -- 11:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong on a Sunday night, Rick.
[11:05:32] FOLBAUM: Anna, keep yourself and your crew safe. Thanks very much for that report. Anna Coren live in Hong Kong. Well, despite new
accusations of racism, U.S. President Donald Trump is now doubling down on his attack on an African-American congressman and on the predominantly
black district that congressman represents.
One day after calling Congressman Elijah Cummings' district in Baltimore, Maryland, a disgusting, rat-infested mess, Mr. Trump went on Twitter again
responding to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charge that Mr. Trump's earlier comments were racist.
Mr. Trump suggested that Pelosi herself may be a racist and said there's nothing wrong with bringing out what he called very obvious facts. Our
Sarah Westwood live at the White House. And Sara, the president's Acting Chief of Staff is defending his boss, saying President Trump was just
fighting back against comments the congressman had made. So fill in the blanks for us here.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Rick, Mick Mulvaney here this morning, the Acting White House Chief of Staff, blanketed the Sunday
shows in defense of President Trump's attacks, claiming that President Trump was simply responding to what Congressman Cummings had said in an
oversight hearing about a week ago.
Now, keep in mind, Congressman Elijah Cummings is the Democratic Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and about a week
ago, he led a hearing in which he grilled the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and got very emotional talking about
the conditions that children are facing in detention centers at the southern border.
He mentions the some of those children have been found sitting or sleeping in their own feces, and this is what Mulvaney took issue with, saying
that's a lie, that's not something that has happened and he said that specific exchange is why President Trump launched these attacks.
Of course, President Trump mentioned the border in his first set of tweets, but he's since tweeted more than a dozen times about all of this, going
after the city of Baltimore, which is within Cummings' district, claiming it's dangerous, but saying all kinds of things about Cummings' district,
many of them not accurate.
Now, Mulvaney acknowledged the President often speaks hyperbolically, but he says people who are trying to accuse the president of racism are, in his
words, spending too much time reading between the lines, Rick.
FOLBAUM: Critics of the president, Sarah, are pointing out that he has word -- used this word infested other times as well. He used some of the
same language but always while referring to minority communities, right?
WESTWOOD: That's right. He has done this in the past referring to minority communities, referring to urban centers. Now, Mulvaney said he
can understand why people might take offense to that kind of language, particularly a part of that tweet in which he claimed no human being would
want to live in Baltimore.
But Mulvaney said the president is simply pointing out facts, that there are, in fact, parts of West Baltimore that are dilapidated, parts of San
Francisco, in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district, according to the president's latest attacks on her that are dilapidated and that President Trump should
be able to point those out without being accused of racism.
Of course, that word "infested" carries racist connotations, and Mulvaney is still defending the president against charges of racism the President's
attacks on Congressman Cummings were -- had been widely condemned.
FOLBAUM: Sarah Westwood joining us live from the White House. Sarah, thank you. Well, of course, this is not the first time President Trump has
been accused of making racist attacks. Two weekends ago, Mr. Trump suggested that four congresswomen should, "go back to where they came
from." When he announced his presidential candidacy, he accused Mexicans crossing the U.S. border of bringing drugs and crime and being rapist. And
before that, he falsely suggested that former U.S. President Barack Obama may not have been born in America, the so-called Birther movement.
Joining us now is Julian Zelizer, a historian, and professor at Princeton University, CNN Political Analyst. Julian, always good to talk to you.
And let's go back to the Acting Chief of Staff's comments today, Mick Mulvaney, who said people were spending way too much time reading between
the lines, almost suggesting the president isn't smart enough to know he's using words that carry racist connotations. How do you see it?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, they're reading the lines, not in between the lines, and they're looking at patterns of
rhetoric that he's used as president, used before being president with the birther movement, with the Central Park Five in the 1980s, a famous case
here in New York City.
It's a longstanding pattern and I think Mulvaney is just trying to fix what he might see as a political problem. Other reports indicate the president
knows exactly what he's doing, and this is part of a political strategy.
[11:10:12] FOLBAUM: Julian, the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun newspaper not having it and here's a part of their editorial from earlier
today. We would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private
parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin, and the guy who insisted that there are good people among murderous
neo-Nazis, that he is still not fooling most Americans into believing that he has even slightly competent in his current post. Julian, none of those
words, none of those deeds seem to have hurt this president at all.
ZELIZER: Well, it's hurt him with national approval. Meaning, he is not a president who is popular with the majority of the country despite a very
good economy. And the only reason that's not the case is him and what he does and what he says.
With the Republican Party though, you are correct. It has not hurt him, absolute silence just about from the Republican Party and his support
remains very steady. So it's becoming more and more difficult to disentangle the party from the president.
FOLBAUM: Certainly the majority of the Republican Party does not consist of people who are racists. I mean, is there a tipping point for
Republicans? What would it take for a significant number of them to speak out because they've got to hate this?
ZELIZER: Yes. We don't know. We don't know what's in the hearts and minds of Republican voters but we can just take a measure of what do they
do to push back. And we keep going through these tipping points on issues of race, on issues of immigration, on issues of presidential power, and so
far the tipping point isn't coming and I'm not sure it will.
I think ultimately partisanship is so strong within the party that there's almost nothing this president can do or say that will push them against
him. But ultimately, if you are silent you become complicit and that's where the party is right now.
FOLBAUM: Julian, what does this tell you as a historian about the United States that voters followed up electing the first black president with
electing someone who makes no attempt to hide his racial animus?
ZELIZER: Yes. It says a lot about the country not just President Trump. He is tapping into some very deeply rooted areas of racial division, of
other kinds of social division that were there. They didn't disappear in 2008 when Obama was elected and he's willing not only to understand they're
there but to play on them.
And so it says we still have a long way to go in the pursuit of social justice that civil rights activists were fighting for in the 1960s.
FOLBAUM: Finally, Julian, is President Trump a one-off or will future Republican candidates for president have to sort of carry the Trump torch
in a sense and continue with the roadmap that President Trump has drawn up?
ZELIZER: He's the product, not the cause of an era of politics that we are living in. There might be different variations of Donald Trump, cleaned-up
versions of what the president is doing, but I don't think this goes away. It's deeply rooted in where the Republican Party has shifted over the past
decade and that's why he's successful. That's ultimately a reason for the silence. It's because he has the support of his party right now.
FOLBAUM: Julian Zelizer joining us from New York City. Julian, thanks very much. Always good to talk to you.
ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.
FOLBAUM: Well, the president courts controversy on a number of issues but perhaps none more so than immigration. His policies have been targeted by
his Democratic challengers for 2020. But in such a crowded field, not everyone is on the same page. CNN's Ed Lavandera has this look at where
they agree and where they don't.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What happens here along the U.S. southern border casts a long shadow over the 2020 presidential election, and
Democrats are pushing their own immigration vision in the age of Trump.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president thinks that he can turn people against immigrants in order to distract them from the
things that are making it so hard to get ahead in this country right now.
LAVANDERA: The constant theme for most Democrats is they are the opposite of President Trump vowing to end what they see as Trump using immigrants to
stoke the fears of Americans.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can enforce our immigration laws and still uphold our humanitarian obligations in the vastness nation.
LAVANDERA: The two Texans in the Democratic field cast themselves as some of the strongest voices on this issue. In April, Julian Castro, the former
San Antonio mayor who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama was the first to unveil a detailed immigration plan
while immigration is also a constant theme of former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign stops,
Both as well as many others in the Democratic field call for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country, citizenship
for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children known as DREAMers, and funding for more border wall construction. They want to
close private for-profit immigration detention centers and reform the immigration court system.
Castro and O'Rourke have clashed over a section of the law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally. Castro wants to repeal the law making
illegal entry a simple civil violation.
[11:15:36] JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're using Section 1325 of that act which criminalizes coming across the border to
incarcerate the parents and then separate them. Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it, some like Congressman
O'Rourke have not.
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I helped to introduce legislation that would ensure that we don't criminalize those who are
seeking asylum and refugees in this country.
CASTRO: I'm not talking -- I'm not talking about the ones that --
O'ROURKE: If you're fleeing -- if you're fleeing --
LAVANDERA: The detention of families over the last year has shaped the rhetoric of most Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is like most of the
candidates calling for families not to be detained while immigration cases are being processed.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No great nation tears families apart. No great nation locks up children. We need -- we
must at the border respect the dignity of every human being who comes here.
LAVANDERA: The Trump administration's hard-line approach on the reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country have inspired some
candidates to call for the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need this ICE thought. That's the other thing I should say. This ICE as its form now
should be abolished.
LAVANDERA: Most candidates aren't going that far. Instead calling for ICE to be reformed and some of its immigration enforcement duties to be passed
off to other agencies.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it is not just ICE. It is very clear that the immigration system itself, you've heard
some of it and there is more we haven't discussed today, is completely broken. It is absolutely broken.
LAVANDERA: Democrats are facing accusations from President Trump of pushing for open borders and being weak on security, it's a question that
will follow the candidates.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is part of what this president is trying to do to really misinform the American people to say
that Democrats don't care about border security. We have to enforce our laws and keep our borders safe.
LAVANDERA: A shadow of the border is casting a deep divide on the presidential campaign trail. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
FOLBAUM: Well, as you can see, the Democratic candidates with a lot to say on this issue and a lot to say about all issues and they'll do that in the
next round of debates. Those debates live on CNN is coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time in the U.S. but you
can see encore presentations at 7:00 a.m. London time, the day after. Again, only here on CNN.
And you can find politics all the time on the web. Check out cnn.com slash politics for more on President Trump's latest tweets and for a look at
preparations for this week's Democratic presidential debates. You can also learn why prosecutors want to play a clip from the Godfather part two at
the upcoming trial of Trump associate Roger Stone. You want to know more about that? Go to cnn.com/politics.
And still, to come, we're poised for a historic winner at the Tour de France. We'll have more on the young cyclists who you see wearing the
yellow jersey coming up next. Also later, plastic in our water, fire in the Arctic, climate change is turning the world as we know it upside down,
pollution as well. We're following a climate in crisis next.
[11:20:00] FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum, welcome back. A new champion in the Tour de France as 22-
year-old Egan Bernal rises to the top of the cycling world. The competition is expected to wrap up in the coming hours with the final leg
of the race, traditionally symbolic procession into the heart of Paris, the Champs Elysees.
The young upstart is the first Colombian ever to don the iconic yellow jersey and his win will become official soon when he crosses the last
finish line. Journalist Mark Bolton following the race for us from London. He joins us now. The first Colombian, Mark, the youngest winner in over
100 years. this will be quite a day for Egan Bernal, right?
MARK BOLTON, JOURNALIST: Indeed. It will for the whole cycling world. The start of a new era, some say. After 3,500 kilometers, 2,200 miles,
sports most colorful cosmopolitan cavalcade comes to it under the Champs Elysees tonight at around 9:20 French time.
And as you said, Mr. Bernal will be crowned aside from some unforeseen catastrophic event, the champion for the first time from South America.
What an achievement for the 22-year-old. Some say this event has been set up for him. Born at altitude, lives up at 2,600 meters above sea level,
and of course, this was billed as the tour of heights, the highest one ever contested.
When others struggle against high altitude, it suits him. The higher he goes, the easier it gets, he said, very fortuitous for him. It certainly
worked out well. And who has been able to compete in the highest of heights? The answer, nobody. He is a prestigious talent.
We kind of saw it coming but not this soon. So the questions now are being asked, is this a new epoch for cycling? Will this guy be up there with the
very best Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx of this world, none of whom won at all at the lowly age of 22.
We understand the character is just flawless. His team manager today Dave Brailsford said this guy has got humility in abundance. There's an empathy
there that's beyond his meager 22 years. He understands what his teammates need and focuses on the detail or a key asset that is for a world-class
And the man who's handed over, the honors this year of wearing the yellow jersey, his teammate the Briton Geraint Thomas who came over the line hand-
in-hand with him yesterday and he finished second today behind him said he's simply one step above.
He has it all. It will be a celebration for him. Champagne he will toast on two wheels at the start today of the 128 kilometers en route the Champs
Elysees. As you say, it's a ceremonial procession. The general classification, the overall generally isn't competed traditionally in this
final leg of the 21 stage tour, but the sprinters will go for it, the yellow jersey will still be contested for.
So we swap those frail guys who've got the mountains for those men with thighs the size of the fuselages of Boeing 747s. They'll be pumping away
as will their hearts. The crowd will be cheering. As you say is the sports most colorful Caravan comes to an end. It's been a miraculous
And when they get there finally to the Champs Elysees, there'll be a yellow shirt on the back of Egan Bernal and he'll be wearing a yellow, red, and
blue Colombian flag draped around his shoulders no doubt too. A great day for him, start of a new era, wonderful event.
[11:25:07] FOLBAUM: A great day for his country as well. Mark, thanks very much. Well, one of the biggest events in e-sports will also crown a
big winner in the coming hours. The solo champion at the Fortnite World Cup will take home, get this, $3 million.
Players have been competing in New York all weekend with a total of $30 million handed out in prize money in total.
And let's get you up to speed on other stories that are on our radar right now. The remaining parties to the Iran Nuclear Deal have been meeting in
Vienna to try once again to salvage the 2015 agreement. A Chinese official said all sides expressed their strong opposition to U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Iran's top nuclear negotiator said they are still determined to try to save that deal.
A second British warship has arrived in the Gulf amid an ongoing row with Iran over seized British tankers. The HMS Duncan joining the HMS Montrose
to protect British flags through the Strait of Hormuz. Escalation remains the risk now as leaders seek a diplomatic resolution.
Moscow police say they detained more than 1,000 people Saturday in large scale opposition protests. Huge crowds pouring into the city's streets
after a controversial decision to ban some opposition candidates in the upcoming municipal elections.
Workers in India rescued more than 900 passengers from a train that was stranded by floodwaters near Mumbai. They have been stuck there since
Friday when the train was forced to stop. Monsoon season has hit that region very hard, bringing heavy rainfall. Live from Atlanta, this is
CONNECT THE WORLD."
Coming up, a climate in crisis. We have the story of people working to save our planet and the animals which live on it and how climate change has
become a way to score political points.
[11:30:44] FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum. Welcome back, so glad you're with us. We're following the
tensions in Hong Kong this Sunday, and for a second consecutive day, police are firing tear gas to disperse protesters who are ignoring orders to stay
in one location.
A day ago, riot police and protesters clashed in the town of Yuen Long, which is near the border with mainland China. And last week, in that same
town, a mob attacked protesters at the train station who were returning from a march in downtown Hong Kong. This is the eighth straight weekend of
demonstrations, and we'll continue to bring you the latest here on CNN.
Plastic pouring into our oceans, wildfires in the Arctic, and historic heatwave across Europe. Our world is clearly changing rapidly. And on a
personal level, it's hard to know how to make a change for good. Maybe that's why single-use plastics like straws have come under so much
scrutiny, banning them as a relatively small and easy thing to do against what feels like a momentous problem.
But now, in the U.S., the issue has become, like everything else it seems, political. The Trump campaign selling Trump-branded plastic straws to
raise money. Saying, it expects to have sold $500,000 worth of these plastic straws by next week.
And although they're being marketed as recyclable, environmental groups, say most plastic straws, in fact, are not.
The act is largely seen as a way of trolling liberal voters with Trump's campaign manager tweeting, "I'm so over paper straws. #LiberalProgress."
But when asked about the issue recently, Mr. Trump took a more measured view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think we have bigger problems than plastic straws. You know it's interesting about plastic
straws. So, you have a little straw, but what about the plates, the wrappers, and everything else that are much bigger?
And they're made of the same material. So, the straws are interesting. Everybody focuses on the straws, there's a lot of other things to focus.
But it's an interest -- but it's an interesting project.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: But, away from the politics is the very real impact of plastic pollution on our world. And the creatures that we share it with. You may
remember this video. And a warning, you might find it disturbing as well. It's footage showing a straw being removed from a sea turtle's nose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, man. Shall we --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: It's pain unmistakable. The video received worldwide attention when it went viral back in the year 2015. We're joined now by a marine
conservation biologist Christine Figgener, who captured that footage and she is live for us via Skype from College Station, Texas.
Christine, thank you so much for joining us. And that video that you shot has really had a major impact now with companies like Starbucks, American
Airlines, eliminating plastic straws for their customers. You've got to be happy about that.
CHRISTINE FIGGENER, MARINE CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST (via skype): Well, yes, Rick. I think I am, but I do have to say I'm not happy about that the
plastic straws always taking out of context, right? Because I mean, as much as I don't like it, but I have to agree with Donald Trump on that
accord that it's not just about plastic straws, it's about the big issue of plastics. And the straw is just a symbol for the bigger issue that is --
well, plastics in general.
FOLBAUM: I want to ask you about the U.S. president's comments in a moment. But take us back, what do you remember about that particular sea
turtle and what you thought -- what you and your colleagues thought when you found him?
FIGGENER: Yes, we were at a research trip in Costa Rica collecting data and we were capturing turtles and we always do a pretty thorough
examination. And one of my colleagues that was a visiting researcher is interested in active biomes that has the little critters that live on
Turtles, and we found that one turtle, it had something funny and encrusted in its nose that we thought was maybe something like a parasite.
And I'm always filming little sequences while we're doing a research for later, and I did that as well with this particular turtle. And yes, little
did we know that it was not a parasite, but eight minutes later, we found it was a plastic straw that was lodge into that turtle's nose.
[11:35:01] FOLBAUM: We talked about Starbucks, American Airlines, and these small, yet, important gestures that they're making. What more could
business in the U.S. and around the world do?
FIGGENER: Yes, first of all, I think it's great that we finally speak about plastic pollution. So, the straw was a great starting point and that
so many businesses are exchanging something and it usually also goes along with not just the plastic straws, but there are other items that are banned
as well or replaced with something that's not made from plastic.
But I think we need to rethink, for example, our general food packaging. So, packaging is the vast majority actually of our plastic waste that we're
creating. So, we have to think about how much plastic do we even need to wrap something? And there's different countries -- the E.U., for example,
has regulations of, you know, how much plastic to volume can even be used.
But even then, you know, the next step is to find alternatives to plastic that have the same properties but are not so difficult in their end lives.
It's -- it is a miracle product. I mean, we couldn't live with plastic at this point. If you think about technology, science, medicine, where we
still needs the sterility and other properties of plastic. But I think, we are at a time where we will find materials that are probably equally suited
to replace plastics.
FOLBAUM: Christine what can people do? Because I think and we mentioned this a little bit in the introduction here is that this is such a humongous
problem that for a lot of us looking to find some way to contribute to a solution can seem quite daunting. Is there something that is -- that is
easy but that would have a real major impact if all of us just decided to make a change?
FIGGENER: Yes, I think, you know, the beauty in the plastic issue is really that it boils down to our daily choices. So, I think whatever you
do in your daily life, and I think our lifestyles are all differently, but if you're the one that needs a cup of coffee every day in the morning, so
maybe think about using a reusable cup. Or if you are the one that is always using water bottles, so maybe you're deciding that you rather have a
reusable water bottle. Or if you're taking -- ordering a lot of takeout food, maybe you can think about a way that is not involving so much
plastic. Or you're supporting restaurants that are not giving you plastics with your takeout.
FOLBAUM: Good point.
FIGGENER: And I'm always saying -- yes, I'm always saying, you know, it's very daunting sometimes when there is these primitive people that do zero
waste, for example. But I don't think we need that. We don't need to be perfect, we just need to have millions of people that, at least, try and do
it imperfectly. That would make the major difference.
FOLBAUM: Think about it. And I always try to remember to bring those reusable bags with me into the supermarket. Finally, Christine, what do
you make of President Trump turning this into a political battle? Aside from the point that you agree with him and the point that he made about
packaging, not just the straws but the other plastic items as well.
His campaign selling Trump plastic straws to sort of push back against the environmental movement. What's your take on that?
FIGGENER: Yes, I think what I would like to say is that it makes me, first of all, incredibly uncomfortable when environmental issues become
politicized. Because I think, we are at a point in time where we know which environmental issues we are facing and what's at stake.
We're talking here about the future of our species on that planet. And I think, it boils down to everyone that needs to think about what kind of
future do they want to leave for their children and grandchildren, and act accordingly, and that includes our political leaders as well.
FOLBAUM: Thank you, Christine. Christine Figgener who is a marine conservation biologist, joining us from college park -- College Station
rather in Texas. Christine, thank you very much.
Well, ocean pollution isn't an issue which only hits one species. And it doesn't just target animals who live in the water. In 2016, CNN's Nick
Paton Walsh traveled to Midway Island. It's a remote place in the Pacific Ocean that is marred by plastic pollutants.
We saw a firsthand how the things that we throw away are having a deadly effect on the islands local wildlife. Particularly, its birds.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the largest Laysan albatross colony on the planet. Half a million nests, and
1.5 million birds. Fragile albatross chicks struggle to survive at the best of times and this is the time of year where they first learned to
spread their huge wings, custom-built to let them swoop into the sea and catch their sea life prey. But more and more, what they catch is just as
likely to have a brand name on it as fins.
They mistake, the billions of plastic bits floating in it to be fish. They feed that to their young, the chicks' stomachs fill up with it. In fact,
some died here as we film. Their bodies join a mulch of plastic debris that's just washed ashore. Some of this is natural selection that's always
happened, the weak dying off.
Plastic bottles, the bottle tops, looks like a bit of a mop there and before, but the amount of plastic here researchers worried must be taking
its toll too on the threatened birds. They should be thriving in the sanctuary they're not.
To fully see the impact, we head to Midway second island, Eastern Island, it's still home to the old U.S. airstrips used to attack the Japanese in
World War II. But it's also now a new frontline in the struggle to learn what plastic is doing to the food we eat.
This is where the albatross fights to survive. And here, we see how plastic has gotten into a species.
[11:40:55] MATT BROWN, SUPERINTENDENT, UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: There off.
WALSH: How long go to that bird?
Matt cuts open a bird dead for only a matter of days.
BROWN: So, as you open it up, you can see --
WALSH: That's incredible.
BROWN: -- all that plastic that's inside this bird.
WALSH: That's been --
The same colors that distinguish this brand make it appeal to birds as food too. It's the color of squid.
FOLBAUM: Our Nick Paton Walsh reporting there from Midway Island.
Well, elsewhere, some of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Hemisphere are not being invaded by plastic but by a type of seaweed called
sargassum. It's an ugly and smelly effect of climate change. Once pristine shores like these in Miami Beach, Florida are seeing white sands
and crystal blue waters turn to this. Huge mats of brown seaweed blanketing large swaths of the beach.
And earlier this month, a record-breaking amount of the stuff was spotted from space stretching all the way from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico.
And when you think of the Arctic, you don't think of fire. But now, the Arctic is heating up so quickly. But scientists say wildfires there are
spreading faster than ever before. And they're producing huge clouds of smoke which is choking the atmosphere with carbon dioxide making the
climate crisis even worse.
Allison Chinchar has more.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A ring of fire and smoke is now circling parts of the far north of our planet. Hundreds of fires in the
Arctic Circle primarily in Siberia and Alaska, but also Canada and even Greenland are sending unprecedented levels of smoke into the atmosphere.
This animation from European Union's Copernicus Programme with the North Pole in the center shows the smoke from these fires in red. Alaska in the
upper left and Siberia in the upper right.
The fires raging across Siberia are creating pollution in many other parts of Russia and even northern Asia. One NASA scientist posted this image of
a smoke lit over Russia covering 4-1/2 million square kilometers. Adding, "This is staggering."
The World Meteorological Organization warns the danger is not just from pollution.
CLARE NULLIS, SPOKESPERSON, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: It's the amplification effect, you know, on climate change, the fact that they're
emitting so much should come to our site.
CHINCHAR: And while the data from July is not yet in, the amount of carbon dioxide from Arctic fires last month is startling.
NULLIS: In June alone, these fires emitted 50 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of Sweden's annual total CO2
Besides CO2 emissions, another impact of Arctic fires is the black soot that lands on the snow and ice. Causing that ice to absorb sunlight that
it would normally otherwise reflect, and that warms the Arctic even more. Alisson Chinchar, CNN.
FOLBAUM: Live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a police officer is dead and two Americans are in jail, and Italians are
[11:46:18] FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum, welcome back.
Italy's interior minister says to young Americans accused of killing a police officer should go to prison for life. The 19-year-old tourists were
arrested at their hotel, allegedly while they were getting ready to flee the country.
Authorities say they've confessed to the charges that they murdered a police officer who was confronting them about a robbery.
Barbie Nadeau is live in Rome. And Barbie, first, tell us what's happening behind you?
BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, right now we're at the what we'd call in the United States, a wake. And that is the casket is laid out
and flowers are being placed, and the line of just everyday regular Italians stretches all the way around the block. We've seen all sorts of
contingents of Italy's police forces here going in first -- you know, paying their last respects to this 35-year-old fallen Carabinieri officer
who is fatally killed.
It's very, very emotional. And we've seen a lot of absolute sadness and confusion over why this young man who had just returned from his honeymoon
had to die so viciously. Rick?
FOLBAUM: So sad. Barbie, what has the reaction been to this terrible crime? I mean you can see the number of people who are coming out to pay
their respects. What is the reaction been across the country?
NADEAU: Well, across the country, it's really a moan of confusion about exactly what happened in the circumstances. And, of course, we heard from
the police right away that the two American young men: the 19-year-old and 18-year-old had -- one of them had originally confessed to the stabbing.
Then, we've heard some sort of -- sort of conflicting reports once they had lawyers and legal representation. But right now, if the focus is not on
the investigation on those suspects, it's on this officer. And let's listen to what one of his commanders had to say about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDRO OTTAVIANI, COMMANDER, FARNESE SQUARE CARABINIERI HEADQUARTERS (through translator): He was a person that was always, always, always
available. Everyone could count -- everyone in the neighborhood knew that they can count on him. He'd never tried to cut corners, he was very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NADEAU: And, you know, that's the sort of thing we've been hearing over and over and over that this man was just there for everyone. Tomorrow, the
funeral will be held in this town near Naples in southern Italy where he was married in early June. Rick?
FOLBAUM: Barbie Nadeau, live for us in Rome. Barbie, thanks very much. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back.
[11:50:59] FOLBAUM: Welcome back. You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum.
Boris Johnson, he moved in to Number 10 Downing Street only a few days ago. But the unique personal life of Britain's new prime minister is already
beginning to make waves. Anna Stewart, explains.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Just as Boris Johnson made a statement of defiance in his debut address as Britain's new prime minister.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Never mind the backstop, the back stops here.
STEWART: He also made a statement about his personal life. Walking through the famous black door of number 10 Downing Street, alone. An
iconic moment usually shared with a prime minister's partner or children.
But he wasn't completely alone. Boris Johnson's girlfriend, Carrie Simonds watched from the sidelines, now speculation grows as to whether she will
move in. Making Boris Johnson, the first prime minister to live unmarried with a partner.
CAROLINE WHEELER, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR, SUNDAY TIMES: They are going to make history by being a boyfriend and girlfriend couple moving in, to that
power base, in Number 10 Downing Street.
STEWART: The British media is also fascinated by this relationship, given the new prime minister's reputation for a colorful past life. Boris
Johnson is going to a divorce after a marriage of 25 years and four children.
The relationship with Symonds, more than 20 years his junior began last year. And despite the couple often living together in Symonds' London
home, they succeeded in keeping their romance out of the limelight. Then, the leadership contest began.
Police were called to their address by neighbors who complained about a loud argument. Questions then swirled in the media about Boris Johnson's
fitness to become the next prime minister.
IAIN DALE, RADIO PRESENTER, LBC: You're not going to make any comment at all on what happened last night.
JOHNSON: I think that that's pretty -- that's pretty obvious from the foregoing.
STEWART: Symonds though is no stranger to the world of politics or the media. Formerly working as a communications officer for Boris Johnson's
Conservative Party and as an advocate for environmental causes. And as a couple, she's even credited with giving Boris Johnson a makeover.
WHEELER: Ever since she came on the scene, he's become a much drama figure, he's lost weight. He's had his hair cut, so he doesn't look quite
disheveled. He's definitely smartened up his appearance. So it's been a much more disciplined Boris Johnson that we've come to see.
STEWART: It will be uncharted territory for the couple and the country as Britain's new prime minister carries out some duties they would normally
include a spouse. Although, Symonds presence on his first days suggests he's not alone. And he may need that support given the daunting challenges
he faces, not least, Brexit.
DALE: This -- it can be a very solitary existence. And I think all prime minister's need to have a partner that they can, not just rely on but maybe
consult on some things. And I think she will be a real rock for him in many ways.
STEWART: Johnson may also now be relying on Carrie Symonds to be his rock for turbulent times. And if the prime minister and his girlfriend choose
to take their relationship further, well, the world may witness the first wedding of a sitting prime minister in over 200 years.
If that happens, of course, it's likely to be after Brexit for better or for worst. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
[11:54:14] FOLBAUM: And for your "PARTING SHOTS" this hour. A woman in the U.S. state of Florida got quite a shock when a strange sound woke her
up. No, not her kids who were fast asleep, but this. A two-meter long alligator in her backyard swimming pool, staring right at her.
The police were called, a trapper brought in to capture the reptile. It was taken to a local farm for mating, we're told. Living the woman's
family to say -- and OK, you saw this coming, "see you later alligator." We couldn't resist. I'm Rick Folbaum. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks
so much for watching.
[11:59:43] FOLBAUM: Hello, I'm Rick Folbaum. This is "CNN NEWS NOW". And for a second consecutive day, Hong Kong police have been using teargas to
clear protesters who are ignoring orders to stay in one location. These protests have been going on now for eight weekends. Initially over an
extradition bill which has now been shelved. Now, they're about even greater democracy and alleged police brutality.