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Brazil's President Criticized over Fires; Putin Orders Military to Prepare; North Korea Slams Pompeo; West Virginia Struggles to Overcome Opioid Crisis; Packers and Raiders Play on Shortened Field. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 23, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:19] JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of California. At least 27 people were injured in a light rail train derailment in Sacramento. Thirteen of those injured are being treated at area hospitals with what's being called non-life threatening injuries. Still not clear what caused the train to jump the track, but police say their investigation is still in its early stages.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now to what could be the most critical story of the day. There are massive fires burning across the Amazon rain forest and turning into an international crisis. Take a look at your screen. Brazil's president is dismissing criticism that his own pro-business policies are to blame. He is blaming his political opponents.

Meanwhile, the haze from these fires is spreading across South America.

CNN's Shasta Darlington is live in Sao Paulo with the latest.

I mean the Amazon and the rain forest is important to everyone on earth, Shasta.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alisyn, and these fire continue to consume the Amazon rain forest at a disturbing rate. If you look at satellite photos, you can see that there are still these blazes throughout the rain forest. And experts say that the vast majority of the fires are manmade.

Of course this is the burning season. This is when farmers will take advantage of the dry temperatures and burn their land so they can plant new crops. But this huge surge, more than 80 percent more fires than in the same period last year, indicates that this is not normal. And environmentalists say they believe that cattle ranchers and loggers and farmers are burning new rain forest land and really creating this huge haze over the region.

It's also creating a diplomatic -- an international diplomatic dispute with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeting out yesterday, our house is burning, suggesting that the Amazon fires should be a topic at the G-7 meeting. And, of course, Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, bristled at that. Brazil doesn't have a seat the G-7 meeting. He called this a colonial mind-set. But the fact that he has been so flippant up until now blaming NGOs saying, oh, maybe they're setting the fires just to make me look bad since I've taken away all their funding. This has really brought this kind of international response.

He now seems to be taking things a bit more seriously. He held an emergency meeting last night according to local media with all of his ministers. And he published an edict in the official bulletin demanding they do all -- take all necessary measures to finally bring these fires under control. It might be a little -- too little too late for both the Amazon and for his international reputation, Alisyn.

AVLON: Such an important story.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Shasta.

AVLON: All right, now a mid-air scare for passengers on board a Hawaiian airlines flight when the cabin suddenly filled with smoke. Now, the plane landed safely in Honolulu. Seven passengers taken to hospitals with minor injuries. The airline says a faulty engine seal caused an oil leak that filled the cabin with smoke.

CAMEROTA: Really scary.

All right, check out this video. This is a hungry bear stealing a dog food delivery from a Pennsylvania family's porch. This is a smart bear, all right? Because that doesn't look like a picnic basket but he knows there's food in there.

AVLON: Yogi lives.

CAMEROTA: The furry thief can be seen biting the edge of a box. Well, obviously he read the box and knew what was in there. And then dragging it away. The family says it sent the video no Chewy and the pet supply company offered to send a replacement bag of food for free so they can finally get their delivery, unless the bear is somehow -- is watching right now and is aware of that.

AVLON: I just never underestimate a bear.

CAMEROTA: As you shouldn't.

AVLON: No. Clearly.

CAMEROTA: That's resourceful.

AVLON: That's good stuff. Well done, bear.

All right, back to our breaking news.

Vladimir Putin has just ordered the Russian military to respond to the United States' recent missile test. How could they respond and how serious are these escalating tensions? We're going to discuss that, next.


[06:38:06] CAMEROTA: OK, we do have some breaking news because just this hour Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing that he is ordering his military to ready a, quote, symmetrical response, end quote, to the U.S. cruise missile test that happened on Sunday.

Now, this comes as President Trump and other world leaders are set to meet at the G-7 Summit in France.

So joining us now is Susan Glasser. She's our CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer for "The New Yorker."

Susan, what do you make of this announcement from Putin?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, I think it's not really a surprise in the sense that Vladimir Putin has shown, since the beginning of his 20 years in power, that actions by the U.S. or others that he deems as provocative will be met with counter reactions. He's a big believer in symmetry in international affairs. And so if the U.S. makes a missile test, I think we can absolutely expect that Russia will do so as well.

And this is exactly, I think, the concern brought about by the unraveling of the arms control regime that started with the U.S. withdrawal just a few weeks ago from the INF treaty from 1987. They did so objecting, saying Russia was already violating it. But this would be a classic thing where Putin ignores that and sees this and portrays this as a provocative action on the U.S. part.

AVLON: And, Susan, I mean what you're concerned about is that it becomes an escalation. What's peculiar about it in particular is that it comes just a few days after President Trump basically unilaterally opened up the idea of inviting Russia back into the G-7. That seems to have not been taken into account by Vladimir Putin because Trump did it even without a Russian request. Why?

GLASSER: Well, you know, the timing of this couldn't be more awkward, I think, for President Trump as he leaves to go to the G-7 meeting. He's already got tensions with other European leaders on the question of Russia. Trump, as he has before, is just floating the idea that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the G-7, even though, of course, it's never addressed the reason that it was kicked out in the first place, which was its unilateral annexation of military takeover of Crimea. And Trump seems to completely ignore that, making essentially a concession to Russia that Russia hasn't even asked for.

[06:40:21] Now, it's going to be much harder for him to sustain that in the context of a bristling, you know, arms race in the making, if you will, which is what this Russian response and this threat of a Russian missile test of its own seems to suggest. It also comes right after this mysterious nuclear incident in Russia that they still have not offered a full explanation for, but appears to be in the context of Russia testing its own nuclear powered cruise missile.

So, at the moment, tensions are high, and yet you have Donald Trump, who seems to be ignoring essentially this context and trying to create a context of his own in which he's building this great new friendship with Russia. It's very odd.

CAMEROTA: Well, but, Susan, I mean, you just said arms race in the making. Obviously that wakes people up this morning when they hear that. Is that for real? Is that your biggest fear this morning?

GLASSER: Look, I think that is absolutely the context. From the moment that the U.S. said that it was withdrawing from the INF treaty and it was clear there was no prospects of any new world arms control agreement. The U.S. has said, oh, well, we'd like to have one -- a new agreement superseding the INF treaty, but also bringing China in. China says it's not interested in doing that. So the prospects for any short-term re-imposition of arms control are low.

In fact a -- an even more important arms control treaty, the New Start Treaty, is set to expire in just less than two years and there's no prospects at the moment of any meaningful negotiations to extend that or to replace that with something new. And so I think there is the real worry that both countries, as well as China, will be developing a new generation of nuclear weapons without the safety net that at least the old framework of international arms control agreements provided for it. That's the worry this morning.

AVLON: You're talking about escalation in China. The president in North Korea has been talking a good game, says, despite the missile test, things are on track. But North Korea just came out with a statement on the subject of your most recent profile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which they called him a poisonous plant of American diplomacy. So, which is it, are things on track or not?

GLASSER: Well, it depends what's the track you're going towards. You know, from the beginning, the odds of North Korea doing what President Trump said they've already done, by the way. We tend to forget that he's actually already claimed they did something. That they've spent the last year and a half showing they haven't agreed to, which is complete denuclearization. And so I don't see any meaningful progress that we've had.

Remember the summit between the two leaders collapsed in a rather embarrassing way for President Trump. He had to walk away from a deal that even he realized would not be sufficient to proclaim victory. And so I think at this point the question is, how much are world leaders looking to run out the clock on the Trump presidency and waiting to see what happens in the U.S. election? I think we're already headed into that kind of a calendar. And so it will be interesting to see how much the rope-a-dope strategy is the one deployed by North Korea and other leaders.

CAMEROTA: And it will be interesting to watch what happens at the G-7.


CAMEROTA: Susan Glasser, thank you very much for all of your analysis.

AVLON: Thank you, Susan.

GLASSER: Yes. AVLON: OK, West Virginia has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, and often children are the ones suffering the most. We're going to take a look at what residents are doing to combat the epidemic. That's next.


[06:47:45] AVLON: West Virginia is at the center of America's opioid epidemic. It has the highest drug overdose rate in the country and the highest painkiller prescription rate in the country as well. With the equivalent of, get this, 66 pills given out to every man, woman, and child a year.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen went to West Virginia to figure out why its residents suffered so severely, including the state's youngest victims (ph).

What did you find?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, such a sad situation. This -- the opioid epidemic hit this state so hard and citizens there, they are trying so desperately to recover.


COHEN (voice over): Janie Fuller-Phelps is running a new kind of day care here in Huntington, West Virginia.

JANIE FULLER-PHELPS, RIVER VALLEY CHILD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES: This is the first program of its kind anywhere in the United States.

COHEN: It's just for babies like Huck (ph), who were born exposed to drugs.

FULLER-PHELPS: They experience twitching. Some experience tremors.

COHEN: It's seven-week-old Olivia's first day. Her teaching, Kathryn Jones (ph), tries to soothe her.

FULLER-PHELPS: It's exceptionally difficult to hear them cry sometimes. And there are times you just feel helpless, hopeless.

It is disheartening that it has come to this. It has become a crisis.

COHEN: West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. In the past ten years, the number of people in this state who fatally overdosed on drugs more than doubled. In recent years at this hospital in Huntington, one out of five babies was born exposed to opioids in the womb. It started because the cities and towns in this Appalachian Mountain state were flooded with prescription opioids. Enough to give 66 pills a year to every man, woman, and child in West Virginia from 2006 to 2012 according to a recent investigation by "The Washington Post."

The state cracked down on the pills, so now heroin has flourished, and so has fentanyl. And that leaves Beverly and Andrew Riling raising their grandchildren, Andrianna, Jacob and Gabriel. The children's mother? Addicted. Their father?: Dead because of opioids.

BEVERLY RILING, RAISING GRANDCHILDREN DUE TO OPIOID EPIDEMIC:: My oldest son, father of these three children, died in an automobile accident with another young man who was also involved in drugs. Their birth mom had been involved in drugs.

[06:50:06] COHEN (on camera): So you and your husband are 70 years old --


COHEN: And you're raising three children?


COHEN: Are you the only grandparents raising their grandchildren?

RILING: Oh, no. Hundreds. Thousands.

COHEN: Because of drugs?

RILING: Because of drugs. Absolutely. Absolutely.

COHEN (voice over): The first months of Andrianna's life were spent in excruciating pain as doctors weaned her off oxycodone.

In October, her grandparents filed a lawsuit on her behalf against several opioid manufacturers. Her lawyer, Booth Goodwin, is screening about 200 more children for similar lawsuits. As a U.S. attorney under President Obama, Goodwin helped lead a fight to shut down pill mills in West Virginia.

COHEN (on camera): Why has the drug problem hit so badly here?

BOOTH GOODWIN, ATTORNEY FOR ANDRIANNA RILING: It's not just one thing that's led to this crisis. We're a region with back breaking industry. That leads to injury. That leads to drugs being prescribed.

COHEN: There's a relatively high joblessness rate here.

GOODWIN: The economic issues that we face here in Appalachia, that's left a lot of people out of work. It leads to frustration.

COHEN: This state has seen challenges with rural health care.

GOODWIN: It's difficult to get good, quality health care to all the nooks and crannies of our rural state.

COHEN (voice over): There are some signs that the situation in West Virginia is improving, if even slightly. In Cabell County, where Huntington is located, the number of calls to 911 for suspected overdoses, so far in 2019, it's less than half what it was for the same time period two years ago. And more people who've overdosed are getting treatment thanks to the work of this new intervention team, a paramedic, a police officer, an addiction counselor, and a pastor.

In June, the National Institutes of Health announced a $5.8 million grant to expand research into opioid addition in Appalachia.

Back at the childcare center, Olivia is feeling better thanks to the teacher's tender loving care. But despite the process against drug addiction --

COHEN (on camera): The demand continues.

FULLER-PHELPS: Yes. I have active referrals sitting on my desk right now and a waiting list.

COHEN (voice over): A waiting list for care for the tiniest victims of opioids in West Virginia.


COHEN: You saw in our story that overdose deaths are down slightly in West Virginia, and that is the case across the country. Early data suggesting that nationally drug overdose deaths are down 3 percent. But, really, that represents more than 67,000 people who died of drug overdoses last year, 67,000 lives lost.

AVLON: More than died in the Vietnam War every year.

COHEN: Oh, it's just horrible.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, the Trump administration has said that this is a priority for them and so that's -- for instance, what you showed there, that new intervention team, is that a result of something that's happening from the White House?

COHEN: I don't think that particular program is. I think that was something that was sort of more organic and born locally. But certainly there have been various efforts by the Trump administration, by others to get more programs like this. They used to be much more punitive. You know, they would want to punish these folks who would try to overdose.


COHEN: And now they're saying, look, let's try to help you. Let's bring social workers in and let's stick with you.

I was in Ohio where they did a program like this, and they stuck with these folks for years sometimes, which is really, really tough.

CAMEROTA: Because by -- that's what it takes because a one-time fix doesn't do it. The relapse rate is so high obviously for opioids and all drugs that you need to monitor somebody for years or stick with them as support.

COHEN: Right, because you think about it, for example, parents of young people who've overdosed, even parents sometimes can't help. So if you're a social worker or a pastor or a police officer who's trying to do the right thing, it is really, really difficult. This is a -- this is a very tough situation.

AVLON: We're turning the tide, but thank you so much for staying on such an important story.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, yes, for bringing this to light.

All right, so how did the Canadian exchange rate factor into an NFL pre-season game? This question kept me up all night.

AVLON: But you're going to -- you're going to explain this to us, right?

CAMEROTA: I'm going to -- well, OK, the "Bleacher Report" is going to explain it.


[06:58:21] AVLON: All right, the Packers and Raiders taking the field for preseason game number three, but it wasn't really a complete field.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."


You know, this was a first for the modern day NFL. You know, the Packers and Raiders having to play on an 80 yard field in Winnipeg, Candida, because of unsafe conditions in the end zone. So in Canadian football, you know, the goal posts, they're in the end zone and the holes left behind that they tried to fill under the turf for this game, they just wouldn't stay level. So instead of canceling the game 20 minutes before kickoff, they decided to make the 10 yard line the end zone. And it was pretty odd to watch and Raider's fullback Keith Smith even admitted he forgot where the end zone was on this touchdown, kind of kept running. And even thought this was the third preseason game, most starters like Aaron Rodgers didn't even play.

Now, the main goal for every NFL team in the preseason is, of course, trying to get to the regular season healthy. Bad news for the Carolina Panthers. Quarterback Cam Newton injuring his left foot in the first quarter against the Patriots. He reportedly sprained his ankle. He's going to have further tests today. Cam leaving the game wearing a walking boot. But at least that boot still went with his hat and scarf.

And look who else was wearing a fancy hat last night at the game. Tom Brady. And this had many people online guessing, or debating, Alisyn, who wore it better?

Who do you -- who do you got?

AVLON: Let's make -- we'll make it very clear, Cam Newton wore that better.

SCHOLES: He had the scarf going on with it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it helps to accessorize.

AVLON: (INAUDIBLE). CAMEROTA: That's probably why John Berman is not here today, by the way. He probably stayed up too late --

SCHOLES: Hat shopping.

AVLON: Hat shame?

CAMEROTA: No, he probably stayed up too late debating which -- how Tom Brady could look any more handsome.

AVLON: It's true.

CAMEROTA: That's what I'm thinking.

[07:00:01] Thank you very much, Andy.

All right, there's this new threat from Vladimir Putin. So we have all of the breaking news for you.

NEW DAY continues right now.