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Florida Braces for Possible Hurricane amid Pandemic; 99th Hurricane on Record to Track through Bahamas; Negotiators Still Far Apart on New U.S. Stimulus Package; Berlin Protest against Virus Limitations Draws Thousands; TikTok Scoffs at Trump's Ban Threat; Thousands Protest Netanyahu in Jerusalem; China Accused of Violent Victimization of Uyghur Women; Italy Turns Masks into Fashion Statement. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 2, 2020 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I am Natalie Allen at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. And we begin with breaking news from Florida.

Coronavirus is already spreading out of control there with one of the worst outbreaks in the country. And now, this. It could be exasperated (sic) by a potential hurricane closing in.

Isaias could make landfall in South Florida in the hours ahead. It is a tropical storm now. But expected to restrengthen into a hurricane, as it gets closer.

The storm is already making its presence felt in Florida, with rain bands and squall lines moving through.

This is a theme from Palm Beach right here. It lashed the Bahamas earlier as a category one hurricane. As mentioned, it's expected to get stronger in the coming hours.

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ALLEN: As mentioned, the storm battered the Bahamas with wind and rain, damaged roofs, toppled trees as it made landfall on Saturday morning there. You know, many people are still recovering after Hurricane Dorian in September. It killed dozens of people.

For more on this latest storm, let's turn to Royston Jones. He is joining me from Nassau.

Thanks for coming on in the middle of the night.

What do you know about the storm's impact there? ROYSTON JONES, JOURNALIST: Thank you, Natalie. So far, as of now, the hurricane is still in effect for the northwest, Grand Bahama and Bimini, so we are talking about the northwest portion. As the storm moved over the central islands, there was reports of moderate flooding, downed power lines, downed trees and some road blockage.

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JONES: Of course, that has a compounded effect because power outages are now being reported. And it will be some time before power is restored. There are two areas of concern currently in the northwest. That's Bimini and Grand Bahama.

As you quite rightly pointed out, it still remains in a state of recovery. We have residents in there in tents and domes that can withstand some winds but these winds could present a real challenge for them.

So far, I can report to you there have been no reports of loss of life at this time. And no reports of any injuries. Of course, we have not heard from Biminians yet. I want to reach out to them but the emergency operation center says they haven't been able to reach them.

It could be a telecommunications challenge, a downed power line, downed telecom there. But we're keeping our eye on it.

ALLEN: Very good. You mentioned Dorian, you know, you've got to feel for the people that are just still rebuilding and now they could get the impact from this. And we must say that this hurricane hit during a pandemic.

What complications has that brought?

JONES: A ton of complications, Natalie. Grand Bahama, for example, which was hit again as you pointed out by Dorian last year, was under a two-week lockdown because of a surge of COVID-19 cases there upon the country reopening its international borders again.

So as of July 1st to now, we see a resurgence of cases as the world has. We went from 104 cases to almost 600 cases. Half of those cases in Grand Bahama. And that has high levels of unemployment. And now, we are dealing with a disaster crisis, a health crisis and economic crisis.

It's a compounded situation for residents, who are currently facing some stormlike conditions there, more than likely, in the dark. It doesn't bode well for health officials who are now strained to deal with multiple crises on multiple fronts.

Testing, for example, has stopped, as of Friday, to prepare for the storm. We won't get an idea of how the COVID cases and situation, the epidemiology, pans out for maybe a couple more weeks to find out exactly what the extent is like.

ALLEN: All right. We thank you for staying on top of it. We know that you will continue to reach out through the night. Royston Jones for us, Royston, thank you.

With the storm approaching Florida now, Michael Holmes spoke earlier with the administrator of Palm Beach County. He asked her how they had been preparing.

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VERDENIA BAKER, PALM BEACH ADMINISTRATOR: Right now, we've opened roughly about 4 shelters and our special needs shelter. This is to accommodate residents who live in mobile homes. We have quite a few mobile home parks in Palm Beach County. The tropical force winds could definitely have dangerous repercussions for individuals living there.

Also, we opened them to address the needs of our residents that have comparable (ph) housing, so if their roofs are not anchored properly or windows and they do not feel safe, then we have accomplished setting up shelter for them as well.

As you know, we are in the midst of a pandemic here and so we had to open more shelters in order to accommodate a smaller number of people than normal. We have to do the safe distancing, we will also require people to wear face masks in the shelter.

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ALLEN: CNN's Randi Kaye is also in South Florida. She's got more on the conditions, the threat and the forecast there.

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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Palm Beach, Florida, we are expecting a 2- to 4-foot storm surge and that is on top of the regular tide. Also, on Monday, we expect to see a full moon. So the high tide will be even higher, making that storm surge even worse for this area.

Also, we are experiencing pretty heavy wind gusts. Earlier, we had one that was about 40 to 50 miles per hour. We are told to expect about 80 miles per hour here.

Here, in Palm Beach County, they have opened up five shelters for people. There's more than 100 people that have already gone to one of these shelters. They have one that is just for people who want to bring their pets along; they can bring a dog or a cat or a bird even. But they have people going to that, as they have a voluntary evacuation underway, here, in Palm Beach County.

The state is considering trying to open some hotel rooms. Because of COVID-19, they are trying to open these rooms for people who might feel like they're symptomatic for the coronavirus. They want to put them in a safe place, away from these emergency shelters.

Meanwhile, the Division of Emergency Management is giving some guidance for the shelters, saying that they would like to have no more than 50 people in these shelters. They would, also, like to have them social distanced. They want about 60 square feet per person in the shelter. [02:10:00]

KAYE: And they also want to make sure they're wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and getting their temperatures checked as well.

We are getting word of some power outages in the area. We know that Florida Power and Light has a big staging area in Daytona, Florida. They have crews, about 10,000 personnel in all, but they have crews from New York and Texas and elsewhere, all coming together, from 20 different states, to try and help in terms of the power outage that we are expecting to see here.

We also know that the National Guard has been mobilized here, in case they need to do some search and rescue as well. And the governor is, of course, telling people that he recommends they have at least three to seven days of food, water and any medicine, just in case this storm does get really bad -- I'm Randi Kaye reporting in Palm Beach, Florida. Back to you.

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ALLEN: Many Florida hospitals are already at the breaking point due to the pandemic. A short time ago, Michael Holmes talked with the lead physician at a Miami intensive care unit and he asked how the hospital is preparing.

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DR. DAVID DE LA ZERDA, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: We prepare our ICUs in different ways for hurricanes. We emptied one of the ICUs. We are using that if we have any issues during the hurricane. We have prepared for the hurricane, of course. We've had plenty of COVID cases and this is some extra stress for us but we are ready if needed.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm curious about the storm shelters being open, which is, of course, necessary for many people. There will be an issue with social distancing in a state that is still a center of the pandemic.

There is a tool from Georgia Tech that estimates spread in crowds, there is a 95 percent chance if you have 100 people in the crowd that someone will be infected with COVID.

Are you frightened by that possibility for something else on the side of the storm?

DE LA ZERDA: Yes, we are concerned that we have another hurricane season coming and we are having to deal with COVID. We are worried that we will see an increase of COVID cases as we see people shelter together, not just in shelters but at home. People stay home and families will shelter together, so, yes it is a big concern.

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ALLEN: Next here, we turn to other news. Stimulus talks stall in the United States as both sides cite progress but just can't seem to seal a deal to help Americans, who are still out of work. We'll have the latest on where negotiations on Capitol Hill stand, next.

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ALLEN: The United States has surpassed more than 4.6 million cases of the coronavirus, with more than 154,000 deaths. That's according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 30 states are either pausing now or rolling back reopening plans.

California reported its highest number of single-day deaths from the virus on Saturday, 219.

Internationally, Brazil saw more than 45,000 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Both the White House and Democratic lawmakers agree that another coronavirus relief package is needed for Americans. They just cannot agree on what should be in it. A deal has eluded negotiators, again, despite the pressing need of jobless benefits that just ended. Jeremy Diamond has more on it from Washington.

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JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Those supplemental unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal in sight between the White House and Capitol Hill as far as this phase 4 coronavirus stimulus bill is concerned.

But there were negotiations on Saturday, the longest negotiations to date, a three-hour meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and, on the White House end, you had the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

And both sides emerged at least with the same message and that is that, while there is still no deal in sight yet, there is no deal within grasp, the talks were indeed productive and there was progress that was made. Listen.

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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This was the longest meeting we had. And it was more productive than the other meetings. There are many issues that are still very much outstanding where we're apart. But we had a serious discussion and we went down piece by piece and so where each side is at.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have to get rid of this virus, so that we can open our economy, safely open our schools and to do so in a way that does not give a cut in benefits to America's workers. STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: There's clearly a subset of

issues where we both agree on very much. We're very interested in extending on enhanced unemployment insurance. We're very interested in schools. We're very interested in jobs.

I think, as you know, as the leader McConnell has said several times, liability insurance is very important to us. So there's definitely the PPP. There's a lot of bipartisan support.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: It was a productive day. I think both Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi would agree with that.

We're still a long ways apart. And I don't want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not. But like with any deal, as you make progress, I think it's important to recognize that you're making progress.

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DIAMOND: So you can see there both sides describing this as the best discussions that they have had so far but it doesn't appear that they have been able as of yet to break that logjam.

Now today those negotiations are going to continue at a staff level between the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill. And then tomorrow, we are expecting to see those principal players, Pelosi, Schumer on the Democratic side, Mnuchin and Meadows on the White House's side, gather once again to continue those negotiations.

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DIAMOND: And you have to keep in mind here that these two sides are still very far apart and not just on this issue of unemployment benefits.

Of course, the White House has been blaming Democrats, arguing that they should have taken this short-term extension of the unemployment benefits that the White House offered while they continued to hash out a deal.

But Democrats have been adamant that they still want to work on a more comprehensive deal because, keep in mind, beyond the unemployment benefits, you also have in here funding for testing, funding for schools, funding for contact tracing. These are all the things that Democrats want to include in this bill.

And, of course, Democrats and Republicans find themselves still very far apart in terms of actually getting to a comprehensive deal. But those negotiations, at least, still continuing. And it is at least a good sign, when you hear both sides at least offering a similar message.

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ALLEN: The combination of COVID-19 and economic hardship is pushing many to the margins. California just reported 219 pandemic-related deaths Saturday. That is the most, ever, in a single day. And with the number of cases rising, so is food insecurity and housing fears. Paul Vercammen visited an operation in L.A.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They work late in the afternoon, cleaning up after a huge food giveaway in the First Unitarian Church. This is Koreatown in downtown Los Angeles.

They served boxes of meals or sent them out to more than 2,000 people, 1,500 of them walked up here, some have been in line since midnight. And then they shipped out another 500 boxes to nearby churches as well as a grocery workers' union.

The workers here reflecting on just how trying it is for them to see the biggest numbers of people ever come into these food lines in the middle of a pandemic because a lot of renters' protection is running out, because unemployment benefits are running out. Some of these people without a job, something close to half a year right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's surreal to see, you know, that many people standing in those lines for food and it's really a larger indictment of a failed system and of the federal government to take care of the people because at the end of the day, it's unconscionable to live in a world where people have to wait for 7 hours for a box of groceries.

VERCAMMEN: Just boxes and boxes of food went out here, as we said, 1,500 people walked up to grab their box and another 500 boxes went out to nearby churches and a grocery store workers' union.

And for people handing out the boxes, they said this was rather heartening because they could see the look of relief in people's eyes as they knew that many of them might not have any income right now during the pandemic -- reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.

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ALLEN: Well, far from California, we look at Australia now. Officials have just declared a state of disaster in Victoria. This comes after the country's second most populous state reported 671 cases of coronavirus Saturday.

Melbourne, the state's capital, will see additional lockdown measures now. That includes a new curfew and the end of all recreational activity.

A massive crowd, including neo-Nazi groups, gathered Saturday at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate to protest the government's coronavirus restrictions. This comes, after Germany reported its highest number of new cases since May. Michael Holmes takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES (voice-over): Thousands took to the streets of Germany's capital, Berlin, to protest the country's coronavirus restrictions. Demonstrators say the measures, which include maintaining a distance of 5 feet and, when that's not possible, wearing face masks, violate their rights and freedoms.

"Away with these laws that have been imposed on us," this protester says. "Away with the masks that make us slaves."

In a tweet on Saturday, German health minister Jens Spahn blasted protesters for ignoring the government measures meant to contain the pandemic.

"Yes, demonstrations must also be possible in times of corona but not like this. We will defeat the corona pandemic by being reasonable, having stamina and with team spirit. The more responsible we treat each other in everyday life, the more normality is possible despite corona."

The crowd, which included members of anti-vax, far-right and neo-Nazi groups, then gathered for a sit-in at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate to protest the German government's coronavirus restrictions. The crowds later dispersed peacefully -- Michael Holmes, CNN.

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ALLEN: Some countries have been easing travel restrictions in a bid to get their tourism industries rolling again. But there is one country that's repeatedly being left off of safe travel lists: the United States.

By our count, just nine countries are allowing unrestricted entry by Americans -- you can see them highlighted in blue -- such as, Mexico, Turkey and Tunisia. Others are requiring measures, such as self- quarantines. But as you can also see, much of the world is off limits to Americans right now.

Tourism, of course, big business in Paris. But the pandemic means this year is much different. The city may be getting back to normal in some ways. But a big piece of its economy is not. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris for us.

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MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only difference are the masks. Otherwise, Paris, the city of art and light and love, as much as it ever was. The shops are open, the artists are out, the bars, the bistros, the museums, there is only one crucial ingredient missing: The tourists.

And what is Paris without?

Last year, 50 million of them came for the monuments, the cathedrals, the museums, the history, spending 22 billion euros and once again making Paris the most visited city in the world.

This year, the French and the odd European tourist have it pretty much to themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We won't get back to our historic levels before 2022. I have been in charge of this for 7 years now and we have known crises, floods and terror attacks and we've always picked ourselves up.

BELL (voice-over): But for now hotel occupancy rates here in Paris are down 86 percent on what they were a year ago and the worst is at the very top end of the market, the so-called palace hotels that depend almost entirely for their business on American, Asian and Middle Eastern terrorism, places like The Ritz here in the Place Vendome. They have simply remained closed.

BELL (voice-over): And that will come at a dizzying cost to France's public finances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very fortunate in France to have this government support. It's quite unique in the world. I mean, 70 percent of the gross salary, which is 84 percent of your net, is very unique and it's very important for us to have that.

BELL: French authorities have said that they will continue covering most of the salaries for people who can't work until at least September. But that money is going to have to come from somewhere, even as the French economy is predicted to contract by 10 percent this year.

Perhaps most worrying for people looking at France's tourism industry, this should be its high season on an ordinary July day. The Louvre would get 30,000 to 40,000 visitors. That figure is under 10,000 a day right now.

Much now depends on when those global travel restrictions will be lifted but also and perhaps more importantly, whether long term, people are ever going to want to come back to Paris in the same numbers that they did before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps, the contrary, if you have a vaccine or a treatment, then people will have to go back to normal life. We have to enjoy the life.

BELL (voice-over): Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Next, here, the storm that we are tracking, it is going to be a long night for many people in Florida. That powerful storm, Isaias, moving in. But the worst part could come in the days and weeks ahead. We'll have much more about it, right after this.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

And we are watching Florida, closely. Officials there are worried a strong storm could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. Isaias weakened to a tropical storm after slamming the Bahamas as a category 1 hurricane. It is expected to restrengthen and make landfall in Florida, sometime Sunday.

Shelters are open, leading to concerns about the virus spreading. Florida has the second-highest number of cases in the United States.

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ALLEN: Now to the other story we're following.

[02:35:00]

ALLEN: And so many TikTok fans are following as well. TikTok insists it is here to stay, despite President Trump's threat to ban the popular app from operating in the United States. The standoff is over whether or not the Chinese-owned app poses a national security threat. CNN's Hadas Gold is live for us in London.

And good morning to you, Hadas. You know, the Trump administration first signaled looking at banning the app weeks ago amid heightened tensions between China and the U.S.

Is the security concern a legitimate one?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, I have actually been speaking to cyber security experts over the past few weeks about this exact subject. And there are really two sort of big areas of concern around an app like TikTok. And we will get into whether they are legitimate concerns or not.

The first one is about the actual information, what they show on the app. And this is about concerns around censorship because, as we know, China doesn't exactly have the same levels of freedom of speech that people in western Europe or in the United States enjoy.

So there is concern that, through their algorithm or through outright banning or suppressing certain information, that can affect what people see and what people might believe and what political things they might believe in.

For example, there was a case last November, when a young woman was doing what looked like a makeup tutorial but was actually criticizing Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

Now TikTok removed her account, saying it was related to a separate account she had, and apologizing for the error. But there have been a few other cases like that, which is why there is some concern about the information that's seen on TikTok and how that could influence people.

Then, there is the national security concern. And that's about the type of data that TikTok has on people. The U.S. government says, with so many people using TikTok, the Chinese government would potentially have their hands on all this data because there is a law in China that requires Chinese companies to hand over data or cooperate with the Chinese government if requested.

Now TikTok says it never has, never will do so. But it's not clear how they could possibly, potentially, resist such requests if they are, ultimately, a Chinese company.

But cyber security experts I spoke to said that the data TikTok collects on you isn't necessarily that different from what Facebook, Twitter or Instagram might collect on you. So it could, theoretically, be valuable. It could be things like your location data.

But unless you are some sort of activist or somebody who works for the military, the government, that data might not be that valuable. That's why we're seeing places like the Pentagon tell people, if you have a government-owned smartphone, do not have TikTok on your phone.

But for the average lip-synching, memeing teen on TikTok, cyber security experts said that their information is just not that valuable for something like espionage.

ALLEN: I'm not sure all those TikTok young folks are paying attention to what the Pentagon says about TikTok. One could understand that. All right, this is something that we'll continue to follow and see if the president goes through with it. Hadas Gold, thank you so much, Hadas.

Thousands took to the streets in Israel to protest Benjamin Netanyahu. How police are handling the large crowds and what it's all about, concerning the prime minister. We will have a live report from Israel, coming next.

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ALLEN: Thousands of people took to the streets in Jerusalem Saturday, to protest prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has faced growing criticism, as you can see, right there, for his handling of the pandemic. But this anti-Netanyahu protest was about the corruption charges against him. And it was the biggest demonstration yet.

Here to talk about it is journalist Elliott Gotkine.

Elliott, hello to you. Talk to us about what these protesters were chanting. What was the message they wanted to send to Netanyahu?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: The message is simple. It's either Bibi, go home, or Bibi, step down, resign. That's what they were demanding. And there was some 15,000 people, according to police, gathered here last night. Mainly, young people and mainly demanding, as I say, the resignation of Netanyahu.

His official residence is just here over that wall. Some people bringing children with them. And something of a carnival atmosphere as well. People banging drums and just on the square, on the corner there, there were two protesters that actually set up massage tables and were giving massages out to the demonstrators as well.

And this wasn't the only place demonstrations are taking place. They happened in other parts of the country, in Tel Aviv, further north up the coast in Caesarea where Netanyahu has a home and also in Haifa, a bit further up in the north.

And then, other road junctions across the country. Netanyahu, for his part, who denies the corruption charges that he's facing, says -- his Likud Party put out a statement, criticizing media outlets for artificially inflating the number of people that were demonstrating, saying that North Korean television could learn a thing or two from them.

ALLEN: Elliott Gotkine, following it for us from Jerusalem, we'll see what happens next. Thank you so much.

The latest accusations against Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province are horrific, rape, torture and forced sterilization of Uyghur women. Government officials deny it, just as they have denied any accusations that they are persecuting the Uyghur minority.

But new damning testimonials of abuse are mounting. CNN's Ivan Watson talked with two women, whose stories you'll find chilling.

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IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Living in exile thousands of miles from their homeland, ethnic Uyghurs protest near the Chinese consulate in the city of Istanbul. A demonstration filmed a month before the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the speakers, Gulbakhar Jalilova, who talks about a war against Uyghur women in the China's Xinjiang Region. This was Gulbakhar before her ordeal. She's from ethnic Uyghur from Kazakhstan who was on a business strip to Xinjiang when on May 22, 2017, she says Chinese police came to her hotel and later dragged her to a crowded cell.

GULBAKHAR JALILOVA, CAMP SURVIVOR (from captions): They shoved me in. It was already midnight. I entered, there were 20 girls standing there.

WATSON: Gulbakhar says guards shaved her head, put chains around her ankle and periodically took her away for interrogation, where they tortured her to sign a confession. In one of those sessions, she said she was sexually assaulted.

[02:45:00]

JALILOVA (from captions): The officer was young, maybe around 30 years old. He said sign the document.

I said why?

I didn't do anything, I'm not going to confess. I don't understand what you wrote here.

And he then took his pants off and put himself into my mouth.

WATSON: Gulbakhar says guards forced the inmates to take daily drugs and get weekly injections. She says her menstrual cycle and those of her fellow inmates completely stopped, an account that matches the testimonies of other camp survivors that CNN has interviewed.

Strict Chinese censorship makes it nearly impossible to confirm testimonies like this, describing the mass detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. This rare leaked footage from Xinjiang shows lines of men, heads shaved, blind folded with their hands tied. CNN cannot verify this footage but in October, China said, the transportation of inmates is part of normal judicial activities.

Beijing says that they've created a system of what they call vocational training centers, aimed at eradicating extremism through reeducation. The Chinese government denies subjecting detainees to any abuse.

But official health statistics published annually by the Chinese government revealed damning new evidence to academic Adrian Zenz. He found over a decade when sterilization operations dropped substantially on a national scale. The procedures performed on women surged in Xinjiang. The same goes for placements of IUD into (inaudible) and birth devices in women.

ADRIAN ZENZ, SENIOR FELLOW IN CHINA STUDIES, VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: Maybe we should call it demographic genocide, because it specifically fulfills one of the five criteria of the United Nations Convention for the prevention of genocide which is the suppression of births.

WATSON: Zumrat Dawut is a Chinese Uyghur who says she was forcibly sterilized by the government. In October 2018, she says she was summoned to a government office and fined 18,000 won, the equivalent of around $2,600 for having one child to many.

ZUMRAT DAWUT, UYGHUR CAMP SURVIVOR: They said there is an order from above that says, you must have a birth control procedure done. We went to the surgery. They put me in bed and hooked me to an IV bag, and then I passed out.

WATSON: A doctor later told Zumrat, the sterilization was permanent. China's ambassador to the US denies allegations of forced population control.

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CUI TIANKAI, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: I don't know how absurd these fabrications can go.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: But that means you deny it?

TIANKAI: Of course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: The Chinese government has not responded to requests for comment from CNN.

For Gulbakhar Jalilova, her 15-month nightmare ended when police suddenly set her free and left her with this letter, saying she was detained for suspicion of terrorist activities. In the video made months after her release, Gulbakhar explained she is still suffering from skin rashes and sores.

She shows me her handwritten list of the names of more than 60 women and girls she met in detention. She says she's traumatized by the memory of the sounds of the screams of these women she left behind.

JALILOVA (from captions): I want help from the world to close the camps so that people can live.

WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN.

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ALLEN: Chilling story there from Ivan.

Character actor Wilfred Brimley, you will know him when you see him, cultivated a grandfatherly image during his film career. Now we have learned he has died at age 85.

With his trademark handlebar mustache, he starred in movies such as "Cocoon" and "The Thing" and played a tough but softhearted baseball manager in "The Natural." His manager said he had a tough exterior and a tender heart. She said he was on dialysis and had other medical conditions.

We'll be right back.

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ALLEN: As Italy adjusts to a new world filled with masks, it should come as no surprise the Italians, being in one of the world's global fashion hubs, are turning them into a stylish accessory. Here's Barbie Nadeau in Rome.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As fears of a second wave of COVID-19 gripped Europe, Italians are doing their best to mitigate the spread by putting their best face forward with masks.

Almost from the beginning of the pandemic here in Italy, the first epicenter outside of China, face coverings have been the norm. But before Italy started to open up after its strict draconian lockdown, the Italian president Sergio Mattarella led the way by wearing a mask, even when it wasn't required.

Now face coverings are part of daily life and no one leaves home without one. Italians carry them anyway they can so they'll always be ready.

Allegra Cardin (ph), who runs the Roma Vintage Boutique in central Rome, tells me the customers are not using them as political statements but as fashion statements.

She tells me that, at the beginning, the people didn't like them at all, they resisted. But out of necessity they've become part of daily life so people want them for summer, for dinners out, for all occasions.

So now she offers these with sequins and glitter. She says they have something for everyone. Even the performers at Rome's summer opera are wearing them on stage to help send the message.

But not all face masks are created equal. Luca D'Elia is the co- founder of Tuma Studio, which is a design studio and digital fabrication lab. Here, they use 3D printers to make masks for the masses.

[02:55:00]

NADEAU (voice-over): Their specialty, masks for events where people want to look trendy and stay safe.

LUCA D'ELIA, TUMA STUDIO: This mask is a product that has a fashionable feel for customers. So that can help people to accept masks as a medical device that have to be worn in public spaces, especially these masks for people who have to go to events or to public spaces or late night, for example.

NADEAU (voice-over): After the initial outbreak, Italy has so far been successful keeping COVID-19 away. The country's health minister Roberto Esperanza continues to emphasize face mask use and says they will stay an essential rule, even as the country moves out of the pandemic.

And at the height of a brutally humid Roman summer, Italians are respecting the rules and, as expected, doing it in style.

But masks aren't just trendy here. You cannot enter any public space without one. They are the law indoors and you must wear them outdoors when you cannot socially distance.

No mask, no service. And it's working. Italy has gone from worst-case scenario to leading by example. Italians are fighting the pandemic head-on. By now wearing face coverings has just become part of everyday life and everyone has a mask for every occasion.

The very secure mask, the less secure mask, the dental mask, the advertising mask, the night out mask and the mask just for fun -- Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: A fashion statement and, oh, so important and, oh, so simple for people to try to get this pandemic under control.

I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be back in just a moment. We'll have the very latest on the tropical storm now bearing down on Florida.