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CNN NEWSROOM

California Creek Fire Grows to Unprecedented Disaster; Saudi Arabia Issues Final Verdicts for Eight Suspects in Khashoggi Murder; Thousands of Dollars Raised for Evicted Houston Family; Kamala Harris Meets with Family of Man Shot by Police; Family of Black Woman Who Died at Party Wants Answers; Germany May Stop Gas Pipeline Over Navalny Poisoning; U.S. Performed 740,000 Plus COVID-19 Test in the Last Week; Prince Harry Repays Cost of Renovating U.K. Residence; Futuristic Airplane Model has Successful First Flight; Djokovic Loses at Least $250,000 for Incident at U.S. Open; U.K. Seeing More Spikes in COVID-19; Labor Day May Trigger Rise in Virus Infections; New Study Found on COVID Survivors; Brexit Back on Table; Opposition Leaders Abducted in Belarus; Alexei Navalny Now Out of Coma. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 8, 2020 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome to all of our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN. I'm Rosemary Church.

So just ahead on the show, the trend in new COVID cases is going the wrong way in parts of Europe. And for those who recover, a new study of the long-term effects of the virus.

Plus, the opposition party in Belarus demanding answers after they say some prominent members were abducted.

And California has never seen a fire season like this. Multiple blazes are burning out of control at this hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN center. This is CNN Newsroom with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: Great to have you along. Thanks for joining me.

So, we begin in Europe where health officials are warning of troubling times ahead. The continent fails to contain a recent surge in coronavirus cases. Now over the past few weeks, the virus has been spreading at an alarming rate affecting countries that once had the deadly outbreak out under control.

In the U.K., take a look at this. Officials reported almost 3,000 new infections for the second day in a row. Spain meantime, has now confirmed more than half a million cases nationwide, the first country in Western Europe to reach that number. Now the massive surge comes as officials across the continent continue

to ease restrictions and reopen schools. Here is Scott McLean with more on all of that. Scott.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The British schools are back in session. The government is urging businesses to send their employees back into the office. And now the government is also looking for ways to reduce the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for travelers entering the U.K. for most other countries.

All of this, just as the U.K. records its highest single day of coronavirus case count since May. The British health secretary is blaming young people, particularly affluent young people for the sudden surge in infections. He is worried that if they don't follow the rules that they could pass on the virus to older, more vulnerable parts of the population.

Now there's a similar trend across Europe, especially in Spain, which just became the first country in Europe to log half a million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. If there is any good news here is that European health care systems have not had the massive surge of patients that they saw at the height of the pandemic.

For instance, in the U.K. today, there are 40 times fewer people on ventilators than there were at the height of the pandemic. In Spain, though, there is a worrying trend. Deaths there are on the rise. The country just reported its highest single day death toll since May.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.

CURNOW: Thanks, Scott for that. So nearly 190,000 people in the U.S. have now died from the coronavirus and another spike could be on the way. The Labor Day holiday is wrapping up. School is starting.

And CNN's Nick Watt tells us that could be a dangerous, dangerous combination.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is this the spark for another surge or this or this? We'll find out in a few weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: Things have stabilized but we have seen as you mentioned spikes after long weekends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: In part, due to Memorial Day crowd celebrating the start of summer, new case count soared from around 20,000 a day mid-May to over 70,000, a little more than a month later. And Labor Day, we are starting from a much higher baseline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER HOTEZ, INFECTIOUS EXPERT, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY: I don't think it will take much to really bring us back up to 70,000 new cases a day. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: This weekend of course also marked the unofficial start of fall when people will be moving more indoors when infection risks rises and --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: People are exhausted. That's another challenge. Trying to keep up our vigilance at a time when we know that this can spread more aggressively.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: It's also back to school time. Colleges now in every single state dealing with outbreaks. Eleven northeastern students just kicked out for the entire semester without refunds after allegedly gathering in a hotel room. Nine hundred students have now tested positive at Iowa State now when student athletes first returned after Memorial Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN PASCHEN, IOWA BOARD OF HEALTH CHAIRMAN, STORY COUNTY: It took about three weeks before it started to spread into the general population. It then got into a local nursing home and 10 people died.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Twenty-nine states right now are seeing 5 percent or more tests coming back positive, a bad sign. Past few days, West Virginia and North Dakota, seeing record infection rates, Missouri and Puerto Rico seeing record death tolls.

[03:05:02]

Meanwhile, as we near election day, the president says we have turned the corner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're going to have a vaccine very soon. Maybe even before our very special date. You know what date I'm talking about.

GOTTLIEB: I think the likelihood that we're going to have a vaccine for widespread use in 2020 is extremely low.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: At least three potential vaccine producers, rivals, reportedly now preparing a joint statement that they will not seek government approval until they know for sure the vaccine is safe and effective, this, according to the Wall Street Journal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOTEZ: The facts that we are seeing the pharmaceutical companies start to protecting the U.S. population from the government is something I've never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: And we are tracking the 101 largest school districts in America. Of them, 16 are starting their new school year Tuesday morning of the 16, 14 online only. Despite the president's pleas for as many brick and mortar schools to open as possible.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CURNOW: A new study suggests the long-term damage from coronavirus could be reversible. The European Lung Foundation looked at discharged patients from the COVID hot spot in Austria six weeks after leaving hospital, 88 percent of the coronavirus patient showed lung damage in a CT-Scan. But at 12 weeks, only 56 percent showed lung damage.

Now, one of the study also says that suggest that lungs have a mechanism for repairing themselves overtime.

Well, Dr. Nisreen Alwan is an associate professor of Public Health at the University of Southampton and she joins me now live from England. Doctor, thanks for joining us. I know you have also had COVID. So, you are coming at us from a personal and professional point of view here.

But just in terms of this study, lung damage, one of the effects of long-term effects potentially of COVID, what do you make of the study?

NISREEN ALWAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON: I think obviously, this needs more research in terms of the damage that COVID does. I think it's really important to recognize that not only people who have been hospitalized and perhaps went into intensive care, you know, could have damage for months in their organs.

But also, what we are seeing now, you know, a common -- it seems to -- it seems to be a common phenomenon which we need to measure is what we call long COVID where people who haven't been hospitalized had the so- called mild version of COVID, having symptoms lasting for many months, preventing them from doing their normal day activities, including, you know, care, self-care, leisure and work activity.

So, a huge issue that really needs to be quantified and measured. And one of these symptoms have underlying damage to the organs or not. You know, whether, you know, this needs to be investigated.

CURNOW: So, what you're talking about long haulers. And I know that I understand that you are one of them. I want to get, talk about that in just one moment. But in terms of what people are experiencing, everything from extreme fatigue, sensitivity to light, erratic heartbeat, bruising, stomach problems and a variety of other things. It's a bucket list of symptoms. You are suggesting that there needs to be more measured on how

recovery takes place and what it is. It's not just about, say, getting out of hospital or testing negative.

ALWAN: Absolutely. We really don't know what is exactly going on. What's long COVID? What's happening in the long haulers? So, what we really need to do is measure long COVID by what it's not, which is recovery. We really need to have a bit more sophisticated measure of recovery than, you know, not hospitalized or testing negative, or not dead, really.

CURNOW: And how would you do that? Because at the moment it seems like Facebook pages and online support groups are on the way for long haulers to measure where they are. How do you do that medically?

ALWAN: We need to quantify the problem. And now we've got more testing. You know -- you know, unlike what we had back in February, March, April for those months. We need -- those who are testing and not admitted to the hospital now, we need very quick follow-up. You know, at four weeks maybe at eight weeks, at 12 weeks, are you back at your normal baseline health before the infection, if not, what's going on?

What kind of disability or, you know, you're feeling in terms of your daily activities? What symptoms? And if it's only just that question, are you back? We then quantify the problem of people who have probably recovered and gone back to their normal health and those who haven't. And those who haven't, we need to have more research. And obviously, we need to recognize how big the problem is, because huge implications for care, and support and healthcare systems here.

[03:09:55]

CURNOW: Well, how big is it? I mean, just talk us through also some of your experience with this. And how much of a community do you think long haulers are part of in terms of percentage of people who have had COVID? Is it 5 percent? Is it 40 percent? Is it more?

ALWAN: It's really variable. I mean, there's a, for example, a COVID symptom app in the U.K. which estimates the number to be about 10 percent of those who have COVID tests. And it's about 60, you know, about 300,000 having symptoms over one month and about 60,000 in the U.K. having symptoms of more than three months.

There is a CDC study as well that follow-up people after a few weeks of infection or who haven't been hospitalized. And they found that one in three have continuous symptoms after three weeks and actually one in five of those, you know, young ones really in their 20s, 18 to 25 or something like that, had a continuous symptom.

So, it seems to be a big problem. But that's what I'm calling for. We need to quantify it. We can't just go on by the two measures, the metrics that we use, which is the number of deaths and the number of positive tests, which is basically what we are quantifying cases as at the moment. We need to measure how many people recover. We need to have a metric

to tell us that. Because this is -- this is a huge problem for the pandemic. Not only for support and care for people who have it, but also for our response. For the prevention, you know, of what happens next. You know, it's not just deaths that we need to look at. We need to look at ill health as well.

CURNOW: Dr. Nesreen Alwan, thank you very much for sharing your story. I appreciate. it.

ALWAN: Thank you.

CURNOW: So Brits -- we're going to stay in the U.K. Brits at negotiation have been anything but smooth since the U.K. voted to leave the E.U. back in 2016. Well, the greatest sticking point, you know, how to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Well, now as trade talks enter a critical phase there is concern that the British government may be going back on parts of the withdrawal agreement.

As Nic Robertson now explains. Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Along the E.U.'s only land border with the U.K., the 300-mile meandering invisible line between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson's latest shift on Brexit negotiations will be causing consternation.

Farmer Andrew Little will be back to wondering if his dairy farm can survive. And not far away, the local cattle market could be counting the cost of uncertainty again, fearing new border controls.

On Wednesday, Johnson announces a new law, potentially weakening customs controls from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by undermining protocols already agreed with the E.U. and in so doing, risks a so- called hard border between the north, Northern Ireland and the south, the Republic of Ireland and damaging the north's two decades of peace, angering nationalists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE O'NEILL, DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER, NORTHERN IRELAND: This is too serious for game playing. This is far too serious. This is for our livelihoods for the people who live in the north. This is about protection of the Good Friday agreement. I will not stand idly by only the British government to pay fast and loose with our interests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Unionist who Johnson let down last year with his protocol deal, welcomed his latest gambit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER STALFORD, MEMBER, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY: We as a party are opposed to this protocol. It will damage our economy, because it hives us all from our largest market, the G.B market. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: In the north's power sharing government, tempers are already rising.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL MCCROSSAN, MEMBER, SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC AND LABOUR PARTY: Boris is a blundering buffoon that cannot be trusted when it comes to the affairs relating to these pleas. He will go down in history in fact as the prime minister who ignored an a.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: South of the border, the foreign minister raising his alarm, Johnson's apparent disregard for an already agreed international law. Tweeting, this would be a very unwise way to proceed. Hash tag Brexit. Brexit even where the U.K./E.U. trade deal will hit Ireland's economy more than any other E.U. nation. Without a deal, the only certainty on the island of Ireland will be uncertainty and a greater risk of violence.

CURNOW: Nic Robertson joins me now with more on all of this. Nic, hi. Good to see you. And I know you've spent so much time reporting there from that border. What do you make of this shift in position potentially from the U.K. government?

ROBERTSON: Well, clearly, the British government wants to get this on the negotiating table. Their understanding of the agreement, their understanding of the specific protocols that Boris Johnson signed up to after holding out on exactly these issues for so long. He signed up since last October.

So, the British government really wants to explore its understanding of those and getting to some of the nuance and the details tie up loose ends, sort of how they are describing it.

[03:15:00]

And what Boris Johnson is saying he's holding out, always preparing for a fallback position. You know, if, as the government says, they can't -- there are elements of Brexit that can't be agreed over Northern Ireland. But, you know, if you are in Northern Ireland or along that border or anywhere else in the E.U. particularly in the negotiating chair that will be occupied today negotiating by the British government, you will be wondering well, didn't the British government understand the language and the detail when they agreed to this last year?

So, it's sort of going back over ground that has been, in many people's minds, agreed and ground that was designed to avoid difficulties, further violence, damage to the Good Friday peace agreement. So, you know, when you look at it, yes, it's a negotiating position it appears on the part of the British government, perhaps internally within the conservative party as well. But there is a real risk with it. And, you know, one of them is peace. The other one is also the good word and honesty of the British government in negotiations when it does expect to set out around the rest of the world negotiating more trade deals. So, there is a lot of complexity to this and we'll see how it plays out.

CURNOW: Yes. I mean, the question is how the E.U. is going to deal with this if they see this as some last-ditch bargaining move or whether it's something more profound. You know, what are we looking at and how in terms of the reaction will be? And what does that mean?

ROBERTSON: Yes, it's not looking good. I mean, I think the expectations of getting a deal have been diminished by this, the expectations that if there is a deal it will be a very, very thin bad bones deal. The E.U.'s position on what Boris Johnson, or what the governments indicating at the moment, is been very clear they have said.

Ursula von der Leyen, the E.U. commission president said very clearly yesterday that the agreement so far is a prerequisite, a very clear word, a prerequisite for any relationship in the future. So, the E.U. is saying very clearly that the British government must live up to what it signed up to under international law already.

So, you know, it seems to further distance the positions that the last go round of talks, the second round in the middle of -- middle of -- middle of August, didn't really move forward and that's what the E.U. negotiator today, David Frost has said his prime mission is to move the situation forward.

And the E.U., you know, is saying you have to understand our position, the British are saying that you have to understand our position. It's a classic stalemate. Can this effort, this move by the British government to kind of blow up the situation a little bit, can that bring a change? And at the moment we are not seeing that.

CURNOW: Yes. More twists and turns. Nic Robertson, thanks so much. I appreciate it. Have a good day.

So, you are watching CNN. Coming up, where are the Belarus opposition leaders? Activists say up to three senior members were snatched off the street on Monday including potentially this woman. We have that story next.

[03:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Activists in Belarus are demanding the release of three parliament opposition leaders who they say were abducted on Monday.

Now CNN hasn't been able to verify the claims, but a source tells local media they saw at least one of the opposition members pushed into a van in Minsk. The European Union has strongly condemned the detention of all political activists. Belarus has been gripped by protests for more than a month since the longtime president was reelected. Opposition leaders and monitoring groups say the vote was rigged.

Well for more on all of this, let's go straight to Ryhor Astapenia, he is an academy fellow at Chatham House and research director at the Center for New Ideas. And he joins me now from London. Good to see you, sir. What -- do we know anything about these women, and what happened?

RYHOR ASTAPENIA, ACADEMY FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: So far what we know is that Maria Kolesnikova is arrested and it seems very likely that two persons were forced to flee, Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov. There is still no clear information about that, it was still not published officially but that's what we know.

CURNOW: And to be snatched off the streets in broad daylight, I think it was early morning, what happened and how common is that?

ASTAPENIA: Well, actually Lukashenko is currently using the wide range of tactics. So, actually, just to de-motivate people, to scare them, to show that he's ready to make Belarus into something like North Korea.

So, frankly speaking, forcing to flee the country is not the worst, is not the worst thing compare these tortures that thousands of people went through with murderers, with rapes, and with these arrests of journalists imprisonments.

So, I hope, I hope that actually three of them will be able to flee the country. But right now, we don't know about that for sure.

CURNOW: So, I mean, just to confirm, what are you hearing about the opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova? You've -- is there a confirmation that she has been snatched from the street? Or do you feel like, sorry -- I was just -- I couldn't get what you are saying there.

ASTAPENIA: Well, actually, police (ph), of course, police (ph) do not say that they snatched Maria. So it's something that they are not -- that they are hiding information, but what we know that actually she was on the border this night and seems very likely that she was arrested there. But we still don't know much information because the border is very long, there is no connection. Actually (Inaudible) connection there, so it's very difficult to verify right now.

CURNOW: So, a lot of -- a lot of confusing information, a lot of anger, a lot of protests. What happens next?

ASTAPENIA: Well, it seems very likely that this political crisis will continue for a few months because actually protests are going to, you know, to keep going. It seems likely that this Sunday, again, like hundreds of thousands of Belarusians will be on the streets. At the same time, it's very likely that Lukashenko will continue repressions because right now it's the only like policy he has.

So, as the Belarus economy will be worsening each day, and right now it's like reserves of the national bank are decreasing very quickly. It seems likely that Belarus will have a very, very deep political and economic crisis.

CURNOW: OK. We'll continue to monitor the story, and all of these individual stories. Ryhor Astapenia, I appreciate you joining us there.

ASTAPENIA: Thank you.

CURNOW: So, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is out of his medically induced coma, that's according to the Berlin hospital where he's being treated for suspected poisoning. Doctors say it's just too early to gauge any potential long-term effects.

The outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin became sick on a flight from Siberia to Moscow last month. Germany says there is clear evidence that the Soviet era nerve agent Novichok was used on him.

Well Russia denies any involvement in Navalny's illness, instead the Kremlin is pointing the finger at western countries including the U.S.

As Matthew Chance now explains from Moscow. Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're calling it the mysterious poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Russians state television trying to sow doubt among its viewers that the Kremlin's loudest critic was silence on purpose at home.

"We sent Navalny to Germany with no poisons in his body," the anchor says, "the suggestion, if he was poisoned, was by another's hand."

[03:25:05]

DMITRY KISELYOV, ANCHOR, RUSSIA ANCHOR (through translator): Everything looks like a special service's operation, in which a poison Navalny is needed more than a non-poisoned one. The poisoned Navalny is an excellent playing card from the hands of the Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: You think the poisoning in Russian theory it would be hard to deny given these disturbing images of Navalny riding in agony as he was stretcher off of a plane in Siberia last month. Even the testimony of German officials who say the nerve agent Novichok is the cause hasn't convinced everyone. Apparently, not even the U.S. president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's a -- it's tragic. It's terrible. It shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet. But I will take a look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: But doubts in the U.S. add credence to conspiracy theories over here. These were the scenes this weekend in Belarus where popular anti-government protests stoked fears that Russian forces could intervene. According to the embattled Belarussian president who wants Moscow support, the Navalny poisoning was a distraction fabricated by foreigners to keep the Kremlin out.

He even released what he said was an intercepted phone call between unidentified figures in Germany and Poland discussing the plot.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I agree, we need to discourage Putin from poking his nose in the affairs of Belarus, the most effective ways to drown him in Russia's problems.

(END VOICE CLIP)

CHANCE: Russia has formed when it comes to making stuff up to explain what looks like overwhelming evidence against it. Back in 2018 after another Novichok poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, the two suspects of Russian military intelligence according to Britain authorities appeared on state television with an extraordinary tale of two men with a shared love of architecture on a short break together.

Unfairly accusing the couple of close friends, or silencing a Kremlin critic at home, for Russian TV there are no lens its enemies won't go to make Russia look bad.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

CURNOW: Thanks, Matthew, for that. Still to come on CNN, massive wildfires in California forced thousands to evacuate. Just in the past few hours, officials warn it is getting much worse. What they call the most aggressive wildfire they have ever seen. We are live with that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Live from Atlanta.

[03:29:59]

So local officials in California say the wildfire known as the Creek Fire has grown into an unprecedented disaster. The massive wildfire is burning out of control, prompting mandatory evacuations across several counties.

Now, throughout the day, helicopters have been attempting to rescue dozens of people trapped by the fire. And it is just one of more than 20 wildfires currently burning in the state. Destroying homes and causing major structural damage. The U.S. Forest Service is closing parks due to what it calls a monumental fire threat.

Dan Simon is at the scene of the Creek Fire a little bit earlier. Dan?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fire is getting dangerously close to some of these mountain communities. The town of Arbery, which has about 2,500 people, had to evacuate as the flames basically took over. Hillside above that town, for the most part though, this fire is burning in the rugged here at national forest.

But you do have of course a lot of campers who use this era for recreation. And that's' why you have all of those people who are at that boat launch, who had to be airlifted to safety, about 10 or so people suffered moderate injuries, but hopefully everyone will be OK.

In the meantime, we are getting more information about that so-called gender reveal party in southern California, in San Bernardino County. You did have this coupled that went to a nearby park to basically announce the gender of their baby. And they had a pyrotechnic device and you light it off, it goes pink or blue or any of that sent this wildfire emotion.

Dan Simon, CNN, Albury, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Now, when it comes to the number of acres burned, this wildfire year is really the worst in Californian history. So, I want you to take a look at this. The state broke the record on Sunday for land burned with more than 2 million acres scorched.

And Cali-fire captain tells CNN they haven't even got to into October, November fire season yet. It beats the 1.9 million acres burned in all of 2018, and its more land burned than each of the last four years. Bottom line is it's massive.

Well, I want to take you now to that barbaric murder that Saudi Arabia would very much like the world to forget. On Monday, the kingdom issued final verdicts for eight suspects of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and sentences are being wildly mock. The Washington Post columnist and Saudi journalist was dismembered almost two years ago by Saudi hit squad with close ties to the crown prince.

After Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate Istanbul. The cover-up and the international exposure that followed were a massive embarrassment to Saudi Arabia.

Well, Sam Kiley joins us now in Abu Dhabi with more on all of this. Sam, hi, what can you tell us?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn in your introduction that you talked about the final judgment and that is very much the intent of the Saudi authorities is to, in their view draw a line under and through this and move on. So, as a consequence of a decision by the Khashoggi family inside Saudi Arabia to pardon five people who had been sentenced to death, they made that effort, or made that decision in May.

The court appears, but we can only say appear, because we haven't actually seen any name attached to any of these sentences. But the assumption is that the five people sentenced to death have now had their sentences commuted to 20 years in prison. Another individual has got 10 years and two others have got seven. But the key here really, Robyn, is that the central players, particularly those identified by the U.N. special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who conducted a lengthy investigation, published those results fairly recently.

The key elements, the key players in this, were never even charged in her view. Now, she has tweeted out a response to this which in part says that the process was neither just nor fair nor transparent. And she goes on to say these five -- the five hit man sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but the high-level officials who organized and embraced the execution of Jamal Khashoggi have walked free from the start. Barely touch by the investigation and trial.

Now there were three really, or potentially four really key individuals there. There is Mouhamad Bin Salman, the crown prince who was identified as the key figure at the center of the group of people who were allegedly, or he has been accused of acting on his behalf as a rouge element. He has denied that he had any kind of or knowledge of this. But a key member of his administration inside his royal court Saud (inaudible) was not -- he was acquitted without charge.

So as the council general in Turkey in Istanbul where Khashoggi was murdered. And the deputy head on intelligence (inaudible), another key player identified by the U.N. and U.S., and other investigators in intelligence agencies, also a key player in this.

[03:35:08]

Also not really touched in any way by the Saudi investigation. So, while the Saudis, Robyn might want to draw a line under their status, certainly not going to satisfy people in the international community for whom this murder really was a spectacular example of the Saudi government, or elements within it acting with what they perceive to be immunity. Robyn?

CURNOW: And of course still no information where the remains of Jamal Khashoggi our as well. Sam Kiley, thank you.

So, an update now on a story we brought you about a young father and his family facing desperate times in Houston. Israel Rodriguez, his wife, two children, age four and 20 months were evicted from their apartments last week. The 24-year-old told CNN he owes thousands of dollars in rent after he lost his job because of the pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's mainly the kid's clothes, because we and here, we wear the same clothes almost every day. We make sure that we have toilet paper, a little bit of snacks for the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do with all of your stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is trash. They can throw in the trash. Because we don't have a car. We don't have help. We don't have nobody that can come, you know, help us out right now. Nobody. We have ourselves, me and kids and her, that's it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: After our story aired, a teacher who used to work in Houston set up a GoFundMe page. That effort has raised now more than $64,000 for the family so far. And then a second GoFundMe page was started by the local police foundation to help evicted families throughout the Houston area. And they've raised more than $222,000. Rodriguez was near tears after he thanked everyone for the generosity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the help that I've got, this is the best thing that could ever happen to me. And I wish other people could reach out to other people in help out more. I have a better future coming up. It is time to change. Because this is a major, major, major change for me. I was not expecting all of the help. None of it. I wasn't expecting it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: So, in Wisconsin on Monday, Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, met with family members of a man shot in the back by police, Jacob Blake, had been left paralyzed, he remains in hospital and joined the meeting by phone. His shooting sparked protests in Kenosha. Harris says you wanted to show her support for the family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Really wonderful, I mean they are an incredible family. And they've endured and they just do it with such dignity and grace. And you know they are carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, the protests over Blake's shooting, a part of a wave of demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice. And they continued this weekend in several U.S. cities.

And amid those protests, a case here in Georgia is getting new attention. Authorities have reopened the investigation in to Tamla Horsford, a 40 year old mother of five has died at a party where she was the only African American.

Well, Lynda Kinkade talked with her family in this interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: With a bathing smile and a sparkling in her eye, Tamla Horsford was a ray of light according to her family. A mother of five boys who put everyone else first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Super mom. She made sure she can provide for them. She was always a type of person that would stand up for the little guy, you know?

KINKADE: Now a tragic death has seen renewed cries for justice in the midst of a nationwide movement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's unfortunate that it has to take other people's heartbreak and other people's loss for the proper attention to be given to this case involving my sister.

KINKADE: In November 2018, Horsford woman went to a friend's sleep over birthday party in a home in North Georgia. The next morning the 40 year old was found in her pajamas unresponsive in the backyard. Until now her family has not spoken out publicly. Their griefs is still raw as the night Horsford died. --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad for me to talk about her.

KINKADE: The Forsyth County sheriff offers ruled of death an accident, concluding she fell from his second story balcony. An autopsy uncovered a blood alcohol level of .23, nearly 3 times the legal driving limit in Georgia. Traces of Xanax and marijuana were also found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never, never, ever, have I seen my sister become sloppy drunk in incoherent. And so, I doubt that she would pick, you know, a sleep over with people that she was just getting to know to start behaving that way.

KINKADE: The attorney for Horsford's family says despite repeated requests, police never provided any autopsy photos.

[03:40:00]

The Georgia bureau of investigation says he did not follow procedure. Ralph Fernandez said that's not true.

How unusual is it to request autopsy photos and not be given them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is never happened, but it defies logic.

KINKADE: And he claims that is not the issue that defies logic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The placement of the body, multitude of injuries, what I would considered to be defense of injuries, the inexplicable postmortem bleedings.

KINKADE: The sheriff's office says it conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation. But Fernandez believes that there is a strong possibility Tamla Horsford's death was a homicide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were numerous inconsistencies in a series of statements. The disposal of evidence, the relationship between the parties.

KINKADE: Fernandez says that Horsford was the only black person to attend the party, and that may have played a role in how her death was investigated. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She became a casualty. She is a casualty

consistent with what I would say 80 percent of the people that are found of color in places that nobody cares to pursue was before the easiest assessment is reached.

KINKADE: The sheriff's office responded saying detectives investigate each case without bias, no matter who the victim, witnesses, or suspects are. Across the U.S. the case sparked a huge petition. With celebrities like Kim Kardashian and 50 Cent also calling attention to the cause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people are just tired of seeing loved ones being taken so senselessly.

KINKADE: After the public outcry, Georgia authorities reopen the investigation at the request of the sheriff's office, but the family is not satisfied.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just want justice for the boys. We need answers that makes sense.

None of this makes sense.

KINKADE: Linda Kinkade, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: We will be right back, you are watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: So, Germany is increasing pressure on Russia to investigate the poisoning of Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Otherwise Germany says it may rethink the fate of the German-Russian gas pipeline project, that pipeline has been under construction since 2018. And it is a very lucrative project for Russia.

So, John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi with more on all this. I mean, there is certainly a lot of noise around this getting louder. But what is his mega project mean if it gets halted?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, I tell you. There's a tougher line Robyn, coming from Germany right now. But if you listen carefully to the language that they're using, they are talking about either freezing the Nord Stream two project, potentially or halting it.

[03:45:00]

I don't hear anything so far about cutting it off. And there's the contractual question, of course, with the Russian government if they decide to do so. But it's a tricky balance for Angela Merkel, let's be honest. They want to keep the pressure on Vladimir Putin of course. But she needs to protect national interests and the European interests at the same time. Number one for the gas, but also the contractors and the shareholders. If you look at that Nord Stream two, there's five major shareholders,

energy companies, they are all European but two of them are German. And then there is the energy supply, of course, they need this gas coming in. Because she decided in 2011 to get out of nuclear.

And number two, they said they will phase out of coal by 2038. Those both have great public support in Germany. That is why she needs this Russian natural gas.

Entered Donald Trump, what is a fit in to this? The U.S. sanctions on the port there, on the Baltics Sea that has halted this project at about 95 percent of completion. He is using this security card and the Russian dominance over Europe on natural gas. Of course, there is more to that. Let's listen to Trump first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I came along I said, wait a minute, we are protecting Germany from Russia. Right? NATO, we are protecting Germany from Russia, Germany's paying Russia billions and billions of dollars to get their energy. And the real number is probably 60 to 70 percent ultimately of their energy is going to come from Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: So, Donald Trump throws a lot of numbers around, Robyn, as you know, but in this case he is correct. Right now about 40 percent of those supplies come from Russia for natural gas going into Germany. That will rise up to 70 percent overtime because of Nord Stream two.

But the other thing Donald Trump leaves out, his primary motivation here is exporting LNG or natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico from Texas into Europe. It's more expensive. And that's why the Germans have altered their planes over the future and decided for a long, long time to go with the pipelines here from Russia.

CURNOW: OK. So we are talking about all of these eastern pipelines. There is a focus on a second pipeline. But in many ways Russia, German ties when it comes to gas go back much further than the spot that we are seeing here.

DEFTERIOS: Yes, worth noting I think, Robyn, because Angela Merkel signed the contract for Nord Stream two under her watch in 2015. Construction in 2018. Go back to 2005. The name of (inaudible), who is her predecessor. He signed this in the last six months of his (inaudible) chancellor and then became chairman of the Nord Stream shareholder's committee and remains so.

He has very close ties with gas prom in Russia which is the primary owner of Nord Stream two. He is very closed to Vladimir Putin. Angela Merkel has strained relations with Putin over years. But that Gerhard Schroder someone says the ties are way too close.

But if you take a step back and say what do I need for Germany and for Europe, natural gas at a reasonable price coming from a pipeline makes the sense? It does make sense. But Donald Trump is trying to resist it and put a wedge in between Russia and Germany to get U.S. natural gas into the European Union.

CURNOW: OK. Interesting stuff. John Defterios there, thanks so much for that update. So, the U.S. has seen a recent jump in COVID testing, averaging more than 740,000 tests over the past week. That is according to the COVID tracking project. But it is still far short of the country's peak from July. Last week the CDC changed its testing guidance to encourage fewer people to get tested after pressure from the top down, according to one official.

The move quickly led to backlash with health officials saying, we need more testing not less. And one act is hoping to do just that with his nonprofit organization.

Here's Sanjay Gupta on how Sean Penn is changing the testing landscape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What you are looking at is testing, something any public health expert in the world will tell you is the key to controlling a pandemic like COVID-19. And here in Fulton County, Georgia, where I live, that need which has been slow to be met has finally found some help from the nonprofit organization CORE. And this familiar face, Sean Penn.

SEAN PENN, ACTOR: This partnership sets an example. Not only for the state of Georgia, but for the rest of the nation.

GUPTA: When was the moment you realize that this County, or east Atlanta, was in over its head on this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Georgia got in the spotlight that's when it started to hit home.

GUPTA: For Fulton County board chairman Robb Pitts, that spotlight came when Georgia became one of the first states to reopen on April 24th. Today there is no statewide mask mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am confident that Georgia don't need a mandate to do the right thing.

GUPTA: An average daily cases in Georgia are more than double since that last week in April.

ROBB PITTS, CHAIRMAN FULTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: We started to follow the advice of the scientists and the medical professionals, we focused on testing.

[03:50:00]

GUPTA: Its part of the reason Chairman Pitts funded a $3 million contract with CORE to help fill the gaps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would think that going to be Georgia Department of Health and instead it's a nonprofit from the other side of the country doing this work.

JONATHAN GOLDEN, CORE, GEORGIA AREA MANAGER: The department of public health of counties can have these ideas and know the implementation, the action, they don't necessarily have the personnel to carry it out. We are feet on the ground. We can bring the personnel, add surge capacity.

GUPTA: The numbers seem to show that so far, the strategy is working. If you look at Fulton County's positivity right over the past two weeks, it is around 6 percent. Georgia is around 10 percent. But still, as the most populous County with the most cases, it is like Fulton County is a blue petri dish in the middle of a red state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was not experience in any symptoms. I just came to get tested because one of friends tested positive.

GUPTA: And this is important. Who to test? Finding asymptomatic cases. That's been a priority for CORE since they first came here in May.

PENN: Every essential worker, symptomatic or asymptomatic, is encouraged to come here and we will test you.

GUPTA: Remember according to the CDC, 40 percent of people who carry the virus have no symptoms. And yet they are responsible for around 50 percent of the spread. And now as the number of tests in cases are moving in the right direction, Fulton County board health director, Dr. Lynn Paxton says it's time to think about the next steps.

LYNN PAXTON, FULTON COUNTY BOARD HEALTH DIRECTOR: Contact tracing becomes even more crucial as the numbers start to fall. Think about it as almost if you're trying to stamp out, you know, embers from a fire. You know, you put the fire out, but if you have little you know, little embers, they can catch fire again.

GUPTA: And CORE is helping to do that as well.

That means going door to door to try and reach those who have tested positive but couldn't be contacted any other way. And that is because every test, every contact informed, every step that we can possibly take, is what's going to help us win this battle. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Two Australian journalist have arrived back in Sydney after being questioned by authorities in China. Bill Birtles works for the Australian broadcasting corporation in Beijing, and Mike Smith is a correspondent for the Australian financial review in Shanghai. And police showed up at their homes last week and told them they could not leave the country.

But China then relented after both agreed to interviews. An Australian anchor for Chinese state TV was detained last month for reasons that still are unclear. We will continue to monitor that story. So, you are watching CNN, we will be right back after this short break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have repaid the cost of renovating their U.K. residents. The renovation of Frogmore House cost more than $3 million. It came out of taxpayer money used to support the monarchy. Well, the home had become the subject of controversy after the couple distance themselves from private life and moved to the U.S.

Well, Anna Stewart is live from Windsor outside of London with more on this. Hi, Anna.

ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning Robyn. Yes, one of the biggest criticisms really leveled against the Sussex's when they made this big decision to step back as royals and moved to North America was the cause of renovation of a cottage. Frogmore cottage which is owned by the crown and state. And it sits behind the Prime Minister's castle, away from the public eye.

[03:55:03]

Now, the cost of the renovations, despite the home being owned by the queen, came down to the taxpayer and it was vast. It was around $3 million. The property had been split into five little apartments for staff. It needs to be completely transformed into a family home.

And of course, the big problem was that the couple moved into this place last April, and they moved out of it for North America at the end of the year. They want to still keep it as their family base.

So, the news at the beginning of the year, that they wanted to step back as senior royals, they want to make their own money, well, there was a lot of criticism about what happens to that taxpayer money used to restore and renovate their cottage. We expected them to pay this back. They said they were. But we expected it to be in installments.

So, the big surprise has been paid in full. All $3 million, and the timing is really interesting. While the couple are both very wealthy in their own right, Prince Harry has a fortune, he's inherited from his mother, Princess Diana and Meghan Markle, of course was a very successful TV actress, but they have just signed this multiyear Netflix deal, the price of which is unknown. But it's expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

So this news comes just days afterwards. And we think about what this really means, and sort of the big and narrative of the Sussex story, well, they have 12 months of this transition into private life after which they were not going to have this situation reviewed.

Signing a multi-year deal, paying back in full the renovation cost of the cottage thus suggest that the duke and duchess of Sussex will not be returning to the royal fold. Robyn?

CURNOW: Thanks so much for that Anna Stewart there in Windsor.

So, researchers in the Netherlands have completed the first test of the model airplane which could someday carry passengers in its wings. The flying V has the cabin cargo hold and fuel tanks in the wings to make the plane more aerodynamic.

Experts hope that design will cut fuel costs by 20 percent compared to today's airliners. The Delft University of Technology is working with Dutch airline KLN to make the idea a reality with more tests plan.

And tennis star Novak Djokovic could pay more than a quarter $1 million for striking a line judge with a ball on Sunday. Djokovic loses at least $250,000 that he won in prize money at the open.

The world number one has apologize on Instagram. He also come to defense of the line judge who has been attack on social media. Djokovic told fans she did nothing wrong, and needs the support of the tennis community.

Well, I'm Robyn Curnow, much more CNN after the break, stick with us.

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