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More Delays on COVID Test Results; Brazil's President Out of the Woods; Britain Release New Rules for Travelers; South Africa with Highest Coronavirus Cases; Hurricane Hanna Done in Texas; U.S. Consulate Closed in Chengdu. GOP Republicans with New Stimulus Package; U.S. Republicans to Propose $1 Trillion Stimulus Plan; Australia's Victoria State Sees Record Number of Coronavirus Cases; Protests and Tensions in Portland Over Dispatch of Federal Agents; South African Surfers Cleaning Up Plastic from Ocean; Final Day of English Premier League. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the U.S. testing tsar admits coronavirus results are taking too long as several states struggle with outbreaks.

Millions of Americans could get another stimulus checks soon as the White House and Senate Republicans near a stimulus deal. We will tell you what else is in that plan.

And racial justice protest in Portland stretched into another night, while federal agents presence is legal, their actions there may not be. We'll take a look.

Good to have you with us.

The United States is zeroing in on testing as the coronavirus accelerates in many parts of the country. Twenty-three states reported an increase in new cases in the past week compared to the previous week, that is according to John Hopkins University.

The data also shows the five-day average of new cases is trending up. With more than 4.2 million people infected, the U.S. has more than a quarter of the world 16 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The Trump administration says it is working to get the hotspot states under control. But testing is still an issue. The U.S. official overseeing testing conceded Sunday to CNN the turnaround times are still too long.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We are never going to be happy with testing until we get turnaround times within 24 hours. And I would be happy with point of care testing everywhere. We are not there yet. We are doing everything we can to do that.


CHURCH: And Florida is one state struggling to contain the virus, its 2nd only to California in the number of cases. Florida's Health Department reported more than 9,000 new cases Sunday, and 77 additional deaths. Now, this marks the 23rd day this month that the state has reported more than 9,000 new cases in a single day.

Well, nowhere in the United States are there more people confirmed to have the coronavirus right now than in California. Hospitalizations have risen and the state's seven-day average of new cases has sharply increased over last week. Thirty-six counties are now on the state's watch list and have been ordered to close many of their indoor operations.

CNN's Paul Vercammen reports the economic toll of the pandemic is getting worse in Los Angeles.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A yelp study said that 60 percent of the restaurants in America are not going to reopen in the COVID-19 pandemic. And one of the casualties a sensational bombshell in Los Angeles, Trois Mec, the faceless restaurant behind me with garlands of praise from the critics. A Michelin star Ludo Lefebvre, the celebrity chef here, he and his wife saying that they are closing down. They just can't survive under the very narrow business margins in this pandemic.

Other restaurant owners in Los Angeles also singing the blues. Dustin Lancaster owned 13 restaurants and bars. Three of them, including Crawford's in Burbank, now closed. Lancaster had to lay off 250 employees at one point. He says that the most he's brought 30 percent back. This is something that haunts him at night.


DUSTIN LANCASTER, RESTAURANT OWNER: If you were to drive down a sunset boulevard or a Melrose, and you thought four out of five of those might not be there. Right. That collateral damage is almost incomprehensible. And for a person who operates so many, to lose something that you worked so hard for, to know that that won't be there, even though we're open to the community and we're employing some people, it's not sustainable.

And if I think about losing something like that and losing those employees, it's almost too overwhelming for me to actually, you know, lay in bed at night and process without breaking down just from the sheer weight of it.



VERCAMMEN: The restauranteurs here in Los Angeles want everybody to pay attention to a $120 billion relief bill working its way through Congress. The aim of this bill is to prevent further restaurant closures and keep those workers employed.

Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.

CHURCH: Thanks for that.

And Texas reported 153 new fatalities Sunday, bringing the overall total to more than 5,000 people killed. That is according to the Texas Health Department. And you can see how widespread the numbers of infections are with this map. Nearly 400,000 people infected overall. The mayor of Austin says local communities need to be given more control.


MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D) AUSTIN, TEXAS: What's happening right now in south Texas, in the Rio Grande Walley, is horrible to watch. They're making forced choices about who gets care in hospitals. They really need to be able to make rules and orders that convey the message to their community that they really have to be vigilant about masking and distancing. And their inability to be able to have that order locally confuses the message.


CHURCH: And earlier I spoke with Kim Smith, she is an ICU nurse based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and she told me how the last few weeks have affected her and her colleagues.


KIM SMITH, ICU NURSE, DOCTORS REGIONAL HOSPITAL: I've been nursing for going on 23 years. And this is the most stressed I've ever seen my fellow nurses in my whole career. You know, just the emotional impact as well at physical toll. Day in and day out, you know, of course they worry about their own safety. We worry about safety of our fellow co- workers, our families. I'm trying to keep our patients safe.

So, definitely the stress level is higher than I've ever seen it. And then you add on to concerns about the, you know, the safety factor on how much protection are we getting with our PPE? And just the overall, you know, I -- I have never felt more undervalued as a nurse when I look at the level of protection I've been given.


CHURCH: ICU nurse Kim Smith talking to me a little earlier.

Well, Brazil now sits on a massive 2.4 million cases, but the number of new cases has decreased over the weekend. The country's president, Jair Bolsonaro, now says he has tested negative after having the virus for at least two weeks. As Nick Paton Walsh reports, some are accusing the president of crimes

against humanity for his handling of the crisis.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: A slight respite perhaps in the numbers Brazil recorded on 24 hours that ended on Sunday, only 24,000 new cases. I saw only because in the three days previously every 24 hours it seen over 50,000 new cases.

Terrifying numbers, frankly, for a country whose president tested positive for two weeks despite playing down the severity of the disease, and emerged on Saturday morning on Twitter to say that he, in fact, tested negative.

Essentially giving himself a clean bill of health. Brandishing like he has done over the past months, particularly during his illness, the medication hydroxychloroquine. Now, that's according to doctors and scientists globally useless if you have coronavirus, and possibly even dangerous, yet still he continues to tout it, particularly here in the seat of government, the capital Brasilia.

And the day Saturday in which he declared himself negative. He went to a motorcycle shop he talked about how he wouldn't have known that he had the coronavirus if he had not tested positive. In stark contradiction to his early statements that in fact, he had felt he had a slight fever. And has seen more focus on ongoing battle of freedom of speech in social media in the country than necessarily fighting the virus sweeping across the country.

Stark criticism levelled against him, though, by medical professionals who put together a 64-page document that they're sending to The Hague, to the international courts there to essentially accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of crimes against humanity. Suggesting that his rhetoric of playing down the disease, the failure of his government to act decisively may well have contributed to so many of the deaths still surging here in Brazil.

A slight respite to those numbers on Sunday, only 24,000, but that's after a horrifying week, frankly, where most days saw 50,000 new cases. The surge still raging here.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Brasilia, Brazil.


CHURCH: And travelers heading to the U.S. from Spain are facing a new COVID-19 headache. The British government is requiring them to quarantine for two weeks.


CHURCH: The new travel rule was announced over the weekend due to Spain's spike in new cases.

And our Atika Shubert is at the Valencia airport in Spain, gauging reaction there. Good to see you, Atika. So, what are people saying about this new quarantine requirement?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was a really sudden decision. It happened overnight on Saturday, and even caught out Britain's transport secretary who just arrived in Spain for his holiday. More than a million British tourists came and visited Spain last year. It's a hugely popular destination. So, you can imagine just how frustrating it's going to be for a lot of the tourists that are now here on holiday.

Take a listen to what two of them told us yesterday and their reaction to the decision.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the spike here is quite big, I kind of get it, but if it's only minor then I don't see the point, really, because there are more measures here than there is in the U.K. at the moment, anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being here almost a week now, everybody wears masks everywhere. And this is really helpful. I don't -- I feel really safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Spanish this is OK (Ph) to be here. I'm very disappointed in our own government. They are not asking us why we are right (Ph) here.


SHUBERT: Now Spain argues that while it does have a number of outbreaks, it's actually struggling to contain some 200 outbreaks in the country. Most of them are isolated to specific regions.

Most of the country is fine, they say, and Spain said it's actually brokering -- trying to broker some sort of an exemption for the holiday islands of Balearic Islands where Ibiza and Majorca are but also the Canary Islands because they have virtually very low infections in those areas.

So, Spain is clearly not happy with this decision but respecting and trying to find a way so that British tourist can get home and still want to visit Spain without fear of being quarantined when they go back.

CHURCH: Yes. And we'll see how that quarantine works at the other end.

Atika Shubert joining us from Valencia airport with reaction. Many thanks.

CHURCH: Well, coronavirus cases in South Africa are increasing rapidly with over 11,000 reported Sunday. South Africa has the highest number of reported cases in Africa, and the fifth highest worldwide.

CNN's David McKenzie joins me now from Johannesburg. So, David, how South Africa's medical system coping with this increase in cases? DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly they stay -- are

taking strain, Rosemary. I've been speaking to doctors and physicians over the last few days, and here in the Gauteng province, at least, they say they're managing to cope with the surge of patients, but that that it is a difficult prospect. There are also cases surging now in KwaZulu-Natal province.

So, large parts of this country are seeing the surge since they started to ease the lockdown in the beginning of June. Today, Rosemary, the schools will close, public schools, for at least a month for most students. That's a pretty controversial decision.

Many people obviously publicly supporting it to try and stop the transmission in the schools. But the official opposition is saying that they could take the government to court because they say it's irrational.

So that earlier sort of blanket solidarity within South Africa I think is cracking somewhat as the surge strains people's will power. The health minister, Rosemary, just a few days ago saying that he's worried that people will have virus fatigue at this point, something that, you know, is an issue across the world.

They're urging people still to wear masks, which is mandatory here, keep their distance, because the models that I've seen and that have been published are showing that this surge could last at least in August and certainly could be all the way through September. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. A real concern, but as you say, at least people are wearing masks there, and hopefully that will have an impact as we're seeing elsewhere across the globe.

Many thanks to our David McKenzie joining us from Johannesburg.

Well just hours ago, Beijing shut down and took possession of a U.S. consulate in China. A live report and reaction from both sides as tensions grow between the two nations. We're back in just a moment with that and more.



CHURCH: Hurricane Hanna is now a tropical depression after making landfall in southern Texas on Saturday, but a flash flood emergency remains in some areas, and there are numerous reports of water rescues.

FEMA has approved a federal emergency declaration.

And in the Pacific, Hurricane Douglas could become only the third hurricane in modern history to make landfall in Hawaii. The governor is urging residents to shelter in place and warnings are in effect for some islands.

So, let's turn now to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He joins us now. So Pedram, this is the last thing that anyone needs in the middle of a pandemic. How bad is all of this looking?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, they've got open shelters across the Hawaiian Islands, Rosemary. I was just looking into the numbers there, third consecutive day of records set for coronavirus cases across the Hawaiian Islands. And of course, the last thing you want to see is a hurricane moving close to land.

The closest of any hurricane to impact or at least this approach to within about 60 miles of Honolulu at this hour since 1992. That really speaks to the vast nature of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands in general and, of course, hurricanes coming within close proximity of this.

In fact, you look since the satellite era, only two hurricanes have made landfall, Rosemary, noted the two hurricanes and they are hurricane Dot and hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Douglas, again, passing just north of Honolulu at this hour. And the concern is depending on this trajectory within the next couple of hours. We are seeing some weakening, which is excellent news. But depending on that trajectory here we could see this storm system get very close to if not make landfall along Kauai. And that would make it the third hurricane to do so.

But regardless, we know hurricane warnings have been prompted across this region. Storm surge threat very high. The threat for rip currents on the immediate coast very high and, of course, the torrents of rainfall across a very elevated terrain also going to be extreme here when it comes to the flooding concern across the islands.


But watch the storm system quickly becomes weaker as it moves over cooler waters within the next couple of days. But really, if it does make landfall, it would be into the early morning hours of Monday as it pushes north or around Kauai here and then, again, cooler waters and eventually weakens.

And the models really do the suggest the storm system keeps the heaviest rain offshore but it is not the rains that are often the most destructive, but it is the storm surge threat which is already impacting some of these coastal communities on the north side of the islands.

Now we're now alone when it comes to tropical activity. We've got remnants of Hanna, Gonzalo and of course back behind it a high probability of another disturbance forming within the next five days.

And I'll show you what's happening with tropical depression Hanna. Because brought about a foot of rainfall into southern Texas spawned a few tornadoes across that region, now moving into the mountains of northern Mexico and raining itself out across that region but still could see some thunderstorms.

And again, when you're talking about 12 inches coming down in some 24 hours across these regions, any additional rainfall is going to lead to significant flooding. But the vast majority of it now moving into areas around northern Mexico. So, we'll watch that in the next couple of days.

And also watch what's happening into the Atlantic. Ninety percent chance another disturbance forms. The models suggest the system, very high confidence, given how far out it is, suggest this will move towards the Leeward Islands, beyond that potentially in and around Puerto Rico and then beyond that into areas around the Turks and Caicos or the Bahamas.

Again, this would be towards the latter portion of this week into early next week. Isaias would be the name of this particular tropical system. And again, you notice we're at the end of this model run is. It is not a good position to be if you're in the eastern United States. So, it is something we'll follow within the next week, Rosemary.

CHURCH: We appreciate that. And great to see you back in the studio. Thanks, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, Rosie.

CHURCH: Well, in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the U.S. consulate general has officially been shut down. Not long ago the American flag outside the building was lowered as U.S. diplomats prepared to leave. China ordered them to close the site after Washington made a similar move last week when it forced a Chinese consulate in Houston to shut down, you'd recall.

Both sides have accused each other of endangering national security.

And CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what more are you learning about this U.S. consulate closure in China and what impact could this potentially have on relations between the two nations?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it was at 6.18 a.m. in the morning with the American flag at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu was lowered, a powerful symbol in this downward spiral in relations between the U.S. and China. Now, the consulate there was closed as of 10 a.m. this morning.

CNN's David Culver and his team were there and they encountered and filmed the heavy security presence around the diplomatic compound. In the hours leading up to the closure, staff were seen leaving with boxes, plastic bags, files.

Local residents were also seen around the diplomatic compound waving Chinese flags and taking selfies. It was China's ministry of foreign affairs that confirmed the closure first on Weibo (Inaudible). We'll bring up the statement for you.

And MOFA said this in the statement. Quote, "at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, as required by China, the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu is closed. Relevant Chinese authorities then entered through the front entrance and took over the premises." Now on Twitter, the U.S. mission in China released a 39-second rather emotional video about the closure of the consulate there. Along with a statement in Chinese that translated into English said, today we bid farewell to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. We will miss you forever.

And in this 39-second video you see a photograph of then U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush in Chengdu opening up the U.S. consulate back in 1985. The video also goes through a long list of the areas that the consulate served and covered, including Sichuan, Chongqing, Weijo, Yunnan, and Tibet.

Of course, it was on Friday when China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in retaliation for U.S. actions, including the closure of the Chinese consulate at Houston.

The U.S. State Department last week announced that closure in order to, quote, "protect American intellectual property rights." The Chinese called that, quote, "talking nonsense." But after this the events of today, the official closure of the American consulate in Chengdu and we await America's response and how this diplomatic tit- for-tat will move next. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. We'll watch for that next move. And Kristie, as tensions between the U.S. and China escalate, more anti-American sentiment is popping up online in China. What are you seeing?

LU STOUT: Well, American, anti-American sentiment has popped up over the years, especially now, given the unprecedented friction between the U.S. and China. A lot of anti-American trolling, but it's interesting to note how that is in stark contrast to Chinese official reaction.


There was a lot of nationalist pressure for Beijing to hit back hard and to retaliate hard on the back of the Chinese consulate in Houston. The ordered closure of that by the U.S. State Department.

But China chose not to shut down a high-value or high-profile American consulate or, for example, in Shanghai or even here in Hong Kong, but, rather, the one in Chengdu. And that is being widely interpreted as a sign of restraint on the Chinese side. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Interesting. Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

Well, a second stimulus check is being promised for millions of Americans after weeks of deadlocks. Senate Republicans have finally set to reveal new proposed benefits. What is in the rescue package? We'll talk about that on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S. Senate Republicans will soon roll out a trillion-dollar relief package aimed at helping American workers and businesses impacted by the pandemic. The proposal would not extend the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits. Instead, it would offer 70 percent of a worker's wages as opposed to a flat rate which Democrats want.

The plan also includes $1,200 checks to many Americans, $105 billion for schools and another targeted round of forgivable small business loans.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Republican plan is too complicated.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Let me just say this. The reason we had $600 was its simplicity. And figuring out 70 percent of somebody's wages -- people don't all make a salary. Maybe they do. They make wages and they sometimes have it vary. So why don't we just keep it simple, unemployment benefits and the enhancement, which is so essential right now?


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Eleni Giokos is here with us now to talk more about this Republican plan. Good to see you, Eleni.

So, what has been the reaction so far this new Republican relief package, and how complicated will it likely be? I mean, if they have to calculate 70 percent of workers' wages for each and every unemployed person, 50 million people unemployed, it is going to be an incredible bureaucratic nightmare surely.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You know, trying to figure out firstly what the wages would be on weekly basis when numbers oscillate for many Americans, you got to find an average. Then you have to look at how you calculate this figure, then obviously disbursement.

Now, one of the reasons they had a flat rate initially was because we had so many states dealing with an anti (INAUDIBLE) system. So when you're drawing calculations of this nature, it could create bottlenecks, and of course, a very big issue in terms of getting money to people on time.

Now, even with the flat rate, we saw many Americans not getting their enhanced benefit on a weekly basis. We've heard many stories of backdated checks that still need to be on it.

The Republicans have been, however. They say that you need to put a cap on the enhanced benefit. They are also saying that they want to put it (ph) to work. And this is why they are trying to revise it. Remember, the Republicans have been discussing this for almost a week now. And this proposal needs to still be discussed with the Democrats.

I want you to take a listen to what Larry Kudlow said yesterday during discussions. He is the White House economic advisor.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: It won't stop the assistance. It is going to cap the assistance at a level that is consistent with people going back to work. That's what we have said from day one. First of all, state unemployment benefits stay in place. Second of all, we will try to cap the benefits at about 70 percent of wages.


GIOKOS: Yes, implementation here is going to be absolute key. But remember that time is of the essence. You have millions of Americans receiving their last benefit check on Saturday. The program comes to an end this weekend. And then of course, you're also worried about the fact that you've got the eviction protection also coming to an end.

Take a look at all the proposals on the table right now. They all make sense. But the question is: What is the common ground with the Democrats and who is going to (INAUDIBLE)?

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, there are a lot of problems, too, out there, because of those $1,200 checks went to people who have since passed. So, they need to clean a lot of those problems.

So, Eleni Giokos, many thanks for bringing us up-to-date on the situation, appreciate it.

The outbreak in the Australian state of Victoria keeps getting worse. Five hundred and thirty-two people were diagnosed on Sunday, making it Australia's worst day of the pandemic so far. Six more deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

CNN's Anna Coren joins me now live from Hong Kong to talk more about this. Good to see you, Anna. The numbers, of course, seem very small compared to what we are used to seeing and hearing about here in the United States. But what is going on in Australia's state of Victoria with these increased cases?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very alarming, certainly, for Australia, because, as we know, they have tackled this extremely aggressively, shutting down national borders, shutting down the borders of Victoria, and yet we are seeing the surge in cases.

You know, yesterday, it was in the 400s. Today, it is 532. And you mentioned that death toll, another six deaths in Victoria, taking the national death toll to 161. That may seem miniscule compared to other countries around the world, but for Australia, this is particularly alarming.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the media this morning. He said that there are very large outbreaks in more than half a dozen aged care facilities. He said the reason for that is because workers are coming into the facilities infected, unknowingly, and then passing on coronavirus to these elderly residents.

And obviously, it is this demographic that is at high risk. They are extremely vulnerable. And that was made very clear by Victoria's chief health officer, Professor Brett Sutton. Take a listen to what he had to say.


BRETT SUTTON, CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, VICTORIA: The residents in these facilities will be people's parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and they are at significant risk of dying.


SUTTON: That is an inescapable fact.


COREN: Rosemary, I think that brings it home. I mean, these are the people who are most vulnerable, and they are making up the majority of people who are infected.

So the premier said, even if you have the most mild of symptoms, a sniffle, a scratchy throat, you have to stay home, you cannot go to work.

Obviously, people are feeling that financial stress. They want to earn a paycheck. They want to do their shift. They don't know how long this pandemic is going to last.

But the premier has made it very clear, you're sick, you stay home, and in public, mask-wearing is mandatory. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yeah, some people in some nations have really been reluctant to wear those masks. I know it's happening in Australia and certainly here in the U.S. But it is a must. This is the only way, the only weapon we have.

Anna Coren is joining us to bring us up-to-date on the situation in Australia. Many thanks.

Well, coming up on "CNN Newsroom," all weekend long, protests in Portland marred by violence and clashes with federal agents. We will get a live report on the situation there right now. We'll do that on the other side of the break. Stay with us.



CHURCH: You're looking there at the body of the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama one last time. In 1965, Lewis was among the civil rights demonstrators trying to cross that bridge. They came under a vicious attack by police in what became known as "Bloody Sunday.

Lewis's casket was received in Montgomery. Later today, his body will be moved to Washington, D.C., where he will lie in state of the U.S. Capitol.


CHURCH: He'll be laid to rest here in Atlanta, which he represented in the U.S. Congress for more than three decades.

Well, right now, demonstrators are packing the streets of Portland, Oregon for another night of racial justice protests.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose lives matter?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose lives matter?



CHURCH: Activists are calling for racial equality and protesting the presence of federal officers there. It's relatively calm right now after a weekend marked by violence and clashes between protesters and police, as well as federal agents.

U.S. President Donald Trump sent federal agents into the city, as he put it, to protect federal property. That is not how the protesters feel.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in Portland right now. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Lucy. Talk to us about the situation there as you are standing there.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I want to apologize to our viewers, your viewers for my voice. We actually just got -- we are standing very close to where around a tear gas was fired off by the federal agents, who are barricaded behind the fence at the federal courthouse building.

This evening, playing out like so many others, you know. In the early hours, you see large groups of people coming out to really further the message of racial justice and racial equality here in the United States nearly two months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Families are coming out, the so-called "wall of moms," in their orange t-shirts -- pardon me, yellow t-shirts, holding hands, using their bodies to put themselves in between the federal officers and the demonstrators.

But later on in the evening, in the early hours of the evening, the mood tends to shift. The focus becomes a lot more on getting the federal presence out of the streets of Portland.

We saw demonstrators logging fireworks over the fence towards the building. Then that usually elicits a response from federal agents who come out and use flash bangs and pepper spray to try to disperse the crowd.

And it becomes a sort of cat and mouse game where the protesters come back, they start chanting. On streets right now, they are chanting, sort of banging on the fence and then eventually it escalates enough to get the federal agents out.

Yesterday was one of the more intense evenings that we've seen here, where demonstrators actually managed to pull down the fence behind me. That prompted a very forceful response from the federal agents. They actually left the perimeter of the building, marched down a few blocks to disperse the crowds, and it was briefly declared a riot here. But this evening, a lot more calm. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Lucy Kafanov is bringing us that live report from the streets of Portland, Oregon. Many thanks.

This is CNN contributor and former editor of Politico magazine. Garrett Graff joins me now. He is also the author of "Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself -- While the Rest of Us Die." Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, we are seeing tensions escalate between law enforcement and Portland protesters. You wrote in The Washington Post recently that this federal crackdown is legal, and you said that is the problem here. How is this crackdown legal and how is it within the spurt of the law?

GRAFF: Yeah. So there are a couple of different things at work here. The first is that the way the federal government is deploying these officers to Portland is legal. They have very creatively turned to this little known statute known as 13, 15 of the U.S. code that allows for federal officers to help with the protection of federal property. So they are effectively being deputized to help protect the courthouse in Oregon that is the center of these protests.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the officers' actions once they are in Portland are legal. There is reason to believe that they are violating the spirit of the law, at the very least, in terms of using this courthouse as a pretext to enforce other laws in the city. But the deployment of the officers, which is controversial, is apparently legal.

CHURCH: So, if this is legal, what does it leave or where does it leave local authorities who don't want these federal agents? They had a pushback. What is the legal argument for doing such a thing?

GRAFF: Yeah. So, one of the things that is important to understand about the American model of policing is that policing and law enforcement is always supposed to be handled at the lowest local level possible. It is largely left up to the local police. The state police come in when local police can't. And then as a last resort, the federal police arrive.


GRAFF: And in this instance, this is one of only a handful of times in modern American history. I mean, you can count on one hand, in the last 50 years, that the federal government has dispatched officers to a city or region against the wishes of the local government.

CHURCH: And this racial justice movement has brought mothers and veterans out on the Portland streets to show their support for these protesters, along with the city's mayor, and yet they have all been tear-gassed. We saw that video. Have we ever seen anything like this? How big of a role does politics, and of course, the upcoming presidential election plays in all of this?

GRAFF: Yeah. I think that's where you are seeing a lot of the outrage come, which is it appears that this is nothing but a presidential reelection campaign photo-op, that the president wants to try to paint the city, led by Democratic mayors, as out of control, under violence, sieged by the anarchist protesters.

And that is frankly just not the reality on the ground in any of the cities. The residents of Portland are baffled by these images that the federal government is putting out of these protesters. For the most part, most people in Portland are going about their daily lives total normally.

And it's not clear if the federal police work there in the first place, whether there will be any meaningful protest at all. The federal police seem to be escalating the situation more than they are helping.

CHURCH: Right. And just finally, we have seen video from streets of Portland, reminiscent of scenes from George Orwell's 1984. And we know the president intend to expand this into Chicago and other cities. Why do you think there is not more outrage?

GRAFF: Well, I think there actually is a bit of outrage. I mean, you are seeing a number of different court cases come up here, seeing other state and local leaders around the country reject this type of operation in their home communities.

And I don't think that the federal government -- that the president's reelection campaign may come out ahead at the end of this. But certainly, the federal police, the federal law enforcement agencies involved are being deeply harmed.

CHURCH: Garrett Graff, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

GRAFF: Happy to any time.

CHURCH: And coming up, the final day of England's Premier League season brings suspense celebration and despair. We are live in London. That's next.




CHURCH: Well, plastic waste leaking into the ocean is a problem, of course, around the world, but South Africa ranks as the 11th worst offender with as much as 250,000 tons of plastic debris entering its waters each year. That is according to a 2015 study.

Surfers from Cape Town encounter marine plastic more often than most, and some are working to solve the problem themselves.

Cyril Vanier has our story.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With more than 17,000 miles of coastline, South Africa has a deep connection with the ocean. However, a 2015 study showed that the rainbow nation is one of the worst plastic polluters on the planet. World-renowned surfer Frank Solomon has spent most of his life in these waters.

FRANK SOLOMON, PROFESSIONAL SURFER: I obviously heard about people talking about the problem of pollution and the issues that we are facing. But to see it for myself on my home beach, that's traditionally very clean. That was definitely a moment that changed my perception of the problems we are facing. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by mass, and that just blows my mind.

VANIER (voice-over): Solomon has founded the Sentinel Ocean Alliance in his hometown of Hout Bay, Cape Town, to give underprivileged children in the area an opportunity to learn to surf and swim whilst teaching them valuable lessons in conservation.

SOLOMON: Once we've taught the kids how to surf and about life saving, they will come upstairs and we will educate them on why we need to protect the ocean, why we need to protect the environment. And they will take that with them through life. I think that's the biggest change that we can make.

VANIER (voice-over): Solomon is not the only member of the Hout Bay surfing community looking to tackle the plastic pollution problem. Mike Schlebach and Jasper Eales founded Sealand Gear in 2015, producing bags and accessories made from upcycled materials.

JASPER EALERS, CO-FOUNDER, SEALAND GEAR: Upcycling is a process of creating new value from existing waste material through a process of not breaking it down but reshaping it into something new.

MIKE SCHLEBACH, CO-FOUNDER, SEALAND GEAR: There is a huge amount of waste and a lot of these materials make their way to the landfill and a lot of these materials actually have very good qualities.

EALES: Essentially waste is a lost revenue source. For us, there is a huge amount of waste material which holds a great value to it. You just have to look at it through the right lens.

VANIER (voice-over): This year, the South African Plastics Pact was launched with government's backing, working towards eradicating plastic waste and pollution in the country.

SOLOMON: One individual can have a huge difference. If every person picked up a plastic bottle, say, in South Africa, that would be 50 million bottles every day that wouldn't be on the streets, wouldn't be going into waste, the landfill, and wouldn't be going into the oceans.

VANIER (voice-over): With the likes of Schlebach, Eales, and Solomon spreading the word, there is hope that South Africa could turn the tide on its plastic plague.

Cyril Vanier, CNN.


CHURCH: Well, the last day of the English Premier League was, as usual, a nail-biter. But it was celebration time for Aston Villa, who managed to hold on for a draw and avoided relegation. It was also a very good day for Manchester United and Chelsea.

Alex Thomas is live in London with all the details. He joins us now. Good to see you, Alex. So how did this last day of the Premier League play out and what were all the highlights?


ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yeah. Hi, Rosemary. That final day excitement is coming two months later than planned because of the coronavirus outbreak. It was all about with Liverpool having won the title two weeks ago, the race to seal Champions League qualification.

Those teams are finishing in the top four of the table. That came down to a winner takes all match at the King Power Stadium in the midlands here in the U.K. And it was Leicester hosting Manchester United. No goals until the final 20-minute to the game. That is where the biting of the nail came down.

Finally, the deadlock was broken for Manchester United by Bruno Fernandes from the penalty spot after Anthony Martial had been fouled in the build-up to that. Fernandes signing in January that really transformed Manchester United's season.

They haven't lost a Premier League game since January. Fifteen goals, the late goal, eight minutes into stoppage time, really break Leicester City's hearts. They've been in the top four since last August, dropping out of Champions League qualification on the final day of the season.

And we can see that if we take a look at the top half of the Premier League table. How it finished with Liverpool champions on 99 points followed by Manchester City, Manchester United. Who would have thought they would have finished third when they had quite a slow first half of the season?

Chelsea winning 2-0 on the final day means they take the final top four spot with Leicester dropping to fifth. They'll go into the Europa League, the second-tier European-wide Cup competition, along with Tottenham Hotspur.

Let's also show you what happened at the bottom half of the table quickly, Rosemary. Crucially, Aston Villa is securing their Premier League survival with a one-all draw. Jack Grealish was the goal hero for Villa. Although they did concede very quickly to West Ham, one-all means they stay up and it is Bournemouth and Watford who are going down.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Alex Thomas. Appreciate that.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll have another hour of news right after this quick break.