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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Family Of Missing Journalist In Brazil; Ukraine Battlefield Latest; U.S. Gun Violence Hearing. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 08, 2022 - 17:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: Hello and a very warm welcome, everyone. It's 10:00 p.m. here in London. Six p.m. in Brasilia, and 5:00 p.m. in Washington,

D.C. I'm Isa Soares and this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF tonight.

We speak to the family of British journalist Dom Phillips who has now been missing in Brazil for several days.

Then, Ukraine says it may need to retreat in a city under fierce attack in Donbas. We lay out the latest on the battlefield ahead.

And heartbreaking testimony in the U.S. Congress over the country's epidemic of gun violence. We'll go live to Capitol Hill on a reality check

on gun reform.

But first, the family of missing British journalist Dom Phillips are urging Brazilian authorities to intensify their search. Dom Phillips and

indigenous affairs specialist, Bruno Pereira -- they disappeared on Sunday. They were working in a remote area of the Amazon rainforest known for

mining, as well as drug trafficking.

Phillips and Pereira have dedicated their careers to safeguarding the livelihoods of indigenous communities, communities that by the way are

increasingly at risk as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rolls back their protections. While in an emotional plea, Phillips sister, Sian, urged

authorities to do all they can.

And Sian Phillips and her partner Paul Sherwood join me now live for London.

And thank you to both for taking the time to speak us. I can't imagine how this terrifying maybe for both of you.

And, Sian, let me start with you. Let me give us a sense of when you last turn from Dom Phillips and what his mood was like.

SIAN PHILLIPS, DOM PHILLIPS' SISTER: We had a WhatsApp conversation the night before he left. We messaged him safe trip. And we had -- there was a

picture that he was shared on our WhatsApp also, too, that was very early in the morning on Thursday last week, the 1st of June. And that was him in

the plane looking at the rainforest with the rainfall that he got the picture of.

SOARES: And when were you expecting to hear from him after that?

PHILLIPS: After that, his wife Ale was expecting to hear from him on Sunday, when he returned. He -- she was alerted on Sunday and we were

contacted on Monday.

SOARES: And, Paul, what's for days, in what are you hearing from authorities on the ground? You have a sense of the scale of the search in

terms of boats, vehicles, helicopters?

PAUL SHERWOOD, SIAN PHILLIPS' PARTNER: Yeah, well, we don't -- we don't have an awful lot of information to be honest. And, particularly, we don't

have anything from the authorities themselves. But we do have contacts in Dom's colleagues and friends who are very active in Brazil. And they have

informed us that the search has gradually ramped up, you know? It took a couple of days before any helicopters and army and navy were involved and

they are involved now.

So that is better but it is still a picture of really an insufficient response given the challenge of finding these two people or any evidence of

their disappearance in the rainforest. So, we don't have the witness scale of it yet.

SOARES: And this is interesting because speaking to colleagues in Brazil, they were talking to me about this lack of coordination, this unwillingness

to start off with and frustration. How angry are you right now that not enough was done early enough and not enough maybe being done now?

SHERWOOD: Yeah, I think everyone is very concerned. I mean, that's a widespread concern. You can say we're angry. We are very disappointed and

how it has turned out.

PHILLIPS: What does it signify from the Brazilian government?

SHERWOOD: Yeah. It sends a message really that this is a criminal act against people who are shining a light on what's happening in the Amazon.


SHERWOOD: The authorities are not prioritizing dealing with that criminality.

SOARES: And just before we came to you a press conference was taking place in Manaus, in Brazil. What we have been told from that press conference

which I believe is just wrapped up, I think our producer can confirm that for me, is that it has wrapped up, 250 men, two helicopters, three drones,

16 boats, that's what we have heard.

They talked about a suspect taken into custody but they're still question marks about that. But on your point that you are making, about the

authorities and with this tells you about really the way that has been led, I want you to hear what President Jair Bolsonaro had to say. Have a listen

to this.


JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Really two people only on a boat in a region like that, completely wild, is not a

recommended adventure. Anything can happen. It could be an accident. It could be that they were executed. Anything that could happen.

We hope and pray to God that they will be found soon. The armed forces are working very hard in the region.


SOARES: Sian, your thoughts after listening to Jair Bolsonaro there?

PHILLIPS: Yeah. I think he's putting the blame on my brother for an adventure. It's not an adventure. He's a journalist. He's going there to

research for a book that he wants to write on how to save the Amazon and to highlight the problems, particularly in this region, the Javari Valley


SHERWOOD: But I would say, I mean, my comment would be, that doesn't, it sounds like he believes that these people were unwise. Well, maybe they

were taking personal risk. But we know Dom and Bruno were both very committed to doing the work they were doing, despite the knowledge that

there would be risks.


SHERWOOD: I don't see it as reckless. I see it is an important endeavor. And in response to the comments that a lot is happening now. It really took

two days before the army was given the go ahead. They told people on the ground that they were ready -- the local army leaders said they were ready

to do the search but they had not been given permission to start it. So, it was a couple of days before they got the greenlight and that tells us that

was not a priority issue for the authorities.

SOARES: And you're spot -- you're quite right. Go ahead, go ahead.



SOARES: Go ahead, Sian. Go ahead, go ahead.

PHILLIPS: I was just saying, they were alerted, they did a search, the indigenous people, at 2:00 on Sunday. It was only on Tuesday evening that

we saw an official documents saying that the army were to be deployed. So, it's a slightly longer than two days.

It's a very slow response. It signifies something sinister to the world about information coming out of the Amazon about what is going on in the

conflict zone.

SOARES: And you're absolutely right. And I will just say this. I've said it before on Twitter and I'll say it again. You know, journalism is not an

adventure. It's a public service. Journalist right around the world took huge risks. So, I'd like to emphasize that.

PHILLIPS: Yes, yes.

SOARES: But, you know, on your point you were making, you know, I know Dom's work, I followed a lot of his work, specifically when he was writing

for "The Guardian", and has continued to write for "The Guardian". He is really shine a light on the plight of the indigenous communities and the

threat to them under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has rolled back many of the country stringent environmental policies.

From his writing, you can tell he really cares. So, explain to our viewers why he care so deeply.

PHILLIPS: He cares deeply. He's a very caring man. He has a lot of empathy for people struggling in Brazil to make a livelihood, and his book is an

important document because he has been researching people who are trying to run sustainable agro forest businesses, mall businesses that they get some

funding from, that they can run to sustain their family or their community, you know?

And he has some very important research that he's doing. People -- he's giving a voice to these people in the Amazon. It's a global issue. The

protection of this region is a global issue for our climate.

SOARES: Indeed. He's always done incredibly important work. Both of them have I think it's fair to say.

Sian Phillips and Paul Sherwood, do keep us posted.


SOARES: Absolutely. Do keep us posted. We'll, of course, continue to stay on the story and continue to ask the authorities the tough questions. I

appreciate your time tonight.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

SHERWOOD: Thank you.

SOARES: Now, Ukraine said it may have to retreat to more fortified positions in a city under fierce attack in the Donbas. But insists it will

not give up Severodonetsk.

Now, a Ukrainian governor acknowledges Russian advances there, but says Ukraine still controls the city's industrial zone. He says Russia is

shelling towns across Luhansk, attempting to wipe, quote, from the face of the earth.

Ukraine is vowing to fight as long as possible, even as it predicts Russian attacks on Severodonetsk and Lysychansk will only intensify.


Let's get more now from CNN's Ben Wedeman, reporting tonight from Kramatorsk in Ukraine.

So, Ben, given what we just outlined, how much territory do the Russian forces control in Severodonetsk?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly how much is not clear. Last week, the Ukrainians were saying that the Russians

controlled 80 percent of the city. It has been a bit of back and forth. But I don't think there's any question that the Russians probably control a

majority of the city.

Now, we have seen that MAXAR satellite imagery of Severodonetsk and parts of the city have been utterly flattened. There's no way to describe it. The

Russians are using their artillery -- their advantage in artillery to maximum advantage. I've seen numbers that for every one Ukrainian artillery

piece, there are seven Russian artillery pieces so they have a huge advantage.

And they have just been pounding that city relentlessly. I've spent time back there in April and it was already been pounded almost constantly. And

what we've seen in the last few weeks is that it has intensified even more. So, the Ukrainians say they may have to pull back would they have called

fortified positions. They are talking about the industrial area, which I've been to, at the edge of the city.

But at the end of the day, at best, I don't think this is an optimal situation at all, they could find themselves Ukrainian forces in

Severodonetsk in a similar position to that of the Ukrainian forces were in the port city of Mariupol, where they are in one of these industrial

complexes. I have been inside, underneath, there were a bomb shelters, there are lots of basements where they can hide, but at the end of the day,

the Russians have a huge advantage in terms of weaponry and the Ukrainians, as they've stressed time and time again, they need more heavy weaponry and

long-range rocket and artillery systems from the West, which have not arrived an adequate number to allow them to hold their own in Severodonetsk

and beyond that in the rest of Luhansk and Donetsk regions -- Isa.

SOARES: Ben Wedeman for us this hour in Kramatorsk -- thanks very much, Ben.

While the global food security crisis prompted by the Russia's war in Ukraine is centering a lot of diplomatic dialogue now. Let's take a look at

key comments made today for you.

The European commission chief says food has become part of Russia's arsenal of terror. Russia is blocking millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from

leaving the country. And what Ursula von der Leyen calls a cold, callous, and calculated siege. She says a way to remedy the looming food crisis is

to restore Ukraine's Black Sea ports. The German and Ukrainian leaders have vowed to, quote, do everything to enable green exports from Ukraine,

especially by sea.

Olaf Scholz and Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke by phone about Russia's blockades of her phone, as well as the humanitarian situation. Meanwhile, Turkey's

foreign minister says that could be, quote, new ground for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on grain exports. He met Wednesday with his

Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, as you can see that, who denies Russia is blockading the grain, and blames Ukraine for its aggression. Ukraine's

foreign minister responded, saying Lavrov's words are empty.

You are watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Coming up after a very short break, victims' relatives and survivors of gun violence confront Congress as they recount their own heartbreaking stories

of loss.

And U.S. President Joe Biden said to make his first appearance at the summit of the Americas -- a meeting overshadowed by boycotts and




SOARES: German police are trying to determine if a deadly car crash in Berlin was an accident or a deliberate attack. The vehicle plowed into a

crowd of people in a busy shopping area of the German capital. The car eventually crashed into a shop window.

Police say one person was killed, a teacher who is with a group of high school students. 14 of her students were injured in the incident. Police

say six people are in hospital, what have been described as life threatening injuries. We'll stay on top of that story for you.

Turning to Washington, D.C. Heartbreaking testimony and urgent pleas to Congress from survivors and the loved ones of victims on the human toll, of

course, of gun violence. The mother of Uvalde victim Lexi Rubio told Congress how she promised her daughter ice cream the last time she saw her


Have a listen to this.


KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF UVALDE VICTIM LEXI RUBIO: In the reel that keeps going across my memories, she turns her head and smiles back at us to

acknowledge my promise. And then we left. I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.


SOARES: One after the next, families of victims from mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, spoke about their anguish. We also

heard from the only pediatrician in Uvalde who treated many of the young victims.


DR. ROY GUERRERO, UVALDE PEDIATRICIAN: In this case, you are the doctors, and our country is the patient. We are lying on the operated table riddled

with bullets like the children of Robb Elementary and so many other schools. We are bleeding out, and you are not there.

My oath as a doctor means that I signed up to save lives. I do my job. And I guess it turns out that I am here to plead, to bag, to please, please, do



SOARES: Well, that were witnesses argued against new gun laws, saying they're not the solution. The hearing comes, of course, as senators try to

reach a deal on new gun violence measures.

CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox is following the latest developments on gun reform legislation in the Senate.

And, Laura, what we heard today with some truly heart wrenching testimony, but also calls, as you heard there, for change, grieving parents demanding

action from Congress. So can this testimony move the needle?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is what the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, Carolyn Maloney, was asking

her Republican colleagues, to listen to the parents testimony, to listen to the students testimony with an open heart. What's she found, and what is

likely to happen in the senate, it's going to file far short of what was being asked for today by those parents, including the fact that many of

them were asking for an assault weapons ban to limit the size of magazines, to expand background checks so they're universal. Those items, they're not

on the table, and those Senate negotiations that you referenced.

Instead, what senators are talking about doing is a much more narrow set of provisions, including something like incentivizing states to pass red flag

laws that allow judges to take away someone's guns if they are approached, and it is adjudicated that someone is of harm to themselves, or,

potentially, to others.


They're also looking at more school security, as well as mental health funding, about seven billion dollars. They're looking at a way to expand

background checks so that someone's juvenile records would be included in the system if they go to buy a gun like an AR-15 between the ages of 18 and

21. But those changes are much smaller.

And talking to lawmakers who are negotiating this package, including Thom Tillis, the leading Republican from North Carolina, what I'm hearing is

they are making progress, but they are not anywhere close to finalizing legislative language. And they may not be there by the end of the week, he


It begs the question, will they ever get there?

SOARES: Yeah. That is the question.

Lauren Fox, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Well, representatives from the Western hemisphere are gathering in Los Angeles for the summit of the Americas. Here's President Joe Biden arrived

in California move minutes ago ahead of the start of the official meetings. He's hoping to forge new agreements on trade, migration, and climate


Several other presidents are missing from the event. They include Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He refused to attend, anchored by

the U.S.'s decision not to invite representatives from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Let's bring in Stefano Pozzebon from Caracas, Venezuela, and Kaitlan Collins. She joins me now from Los Angeles.

And, Kaitlan, let's start with you. We know, of course, that, you know, many countries in the Americas are not present, in particular, the North

Triangle countries, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

They are critical, of course, to try to solve the issue of migration. So what's achievables, Kaitlan, can we expect to come out of this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And the thing is, they're not only critical to solving that issue, they have really been the

center of part of this portfolio that's been assigned to Vice President Harris. So that kind of adds to the already insult to injury, when it comes

to the rebuke for some of these leaders for President Biden by not coming to the summit that he is hosting here.

So, that's kind of been the focus of really what has shifted away from what the White House wanted the focus to be, and instead has been more on who's

on the guest list, who is not, and who hasn't responded to their invitation. And so, that's really been the struggle for the White House,

and they tried to downplay those absences, saying they won't have an effect over on the outcome of the summit.

But they've got really critical goes on the agenda here. Obviously, talking about migration, talking about climate change, talking about the end of the

COVID-19 pandemic, what that looks like, and fixing the supply chain going forward.

So it's hard to have those conversations when it's a deputy here instead of a head of state, and that's something the White House is aware of behind

the scenes, even if they are downplaying it publicly.

SOARES: Do stay with us. Let me go to Stefano.

And, Stefano, one leader that's not there is Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela, but he doesn't seem to care, because I saw footage of him actually, in

Turkey. And this is important, because it really speaks, Stefano, I'm sure you can tell me, speaks to the changes we are seeing in South America, with

kind of the growing influence, economically and politically, of China, Iran, as well as Russia. Talk to us about America's influence, or rather

waning influence there.

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: Yes, precisely. It really feels like a different continent from the one that we are seeing, for example, just

seven years ago, 2015. So many of the Americans and Panama -- the historic handshake between then President Barack Obama and then Cuban leader, Raul

Castro. This time, it really seems that some of the key Latin American leaders, not just some who weren't invited, like Maduro, and Diaz-Canel,

the president of Cuba, but also those who, you said, refused the invitation to go out to Los Angeles are telling the White House loud and clear that

there are other people that can talk with.

And Maduro's visit to Turkey on the same day, by the way, Isa, that Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was also in Turkey to discuss potentially

halting a blockade that's causing a humanitarian crisis in the Black Sea. It really seems that Maduro is telling Washington, if they do want to talk

to me, I've got other people to talk with.

And now, this leaves the ball back into President Biden's field, to decide how to react to this because he has an agenda to push here and this part of

the hemisphere, not just with migration, but also on energy security, renewables, and, of course, the rise and defense of democracy -- Isa.

SOARES: Absolutely. Stefano Pozzebon for us in Caracas, and Kaitlan Collins in Los Angeles, thank you to you guys.

While the European parliament has rejected legislation that would have slashed greenhouse gas emissions because the laws don't go far enough.

Lawmakers who have been advocating for climate change action refused to back the proposal after center right politicians watered down the carbon

emissions targets in the package.


The plan is being sent back to the committee in the hope that something stronger can be negotiated to get environmental activists on board.

And a groundbreaking British Portuguese artist Dame Paula Rego known for bringing political fury and physical reality into British art, has died

after a short illness. Rego displayed her paintings and solo exhibitions around the world, and in 2010, she was named dame commander of the order of

the British Empire.

She was a women's rights champion with her paintings giving a central role to female protagonists, generally presented as robust and confident, but

also seeing women for their flaws to, and acknowledging that.

In 1998, following the failure of the referendum to legalize abortion in Portugal, Rego worked on a series of pieces about the dangers of keeping

the procedure illegal.

Last year, CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviewed her son Nick Willing on how she used her art to make a difference. Have a listen.


NICK WILLING, FILMMAKER AND SON PAULA REGO: She's allowed the people to talk about the taboo subjects that they would find otherwise this difficult

to dismiss by bringing them out into the open.


SOARES: She was a terrific painter, and storyteller above all else. She really put the female form front and center in all her works, seeing the

beauty as well as pain. In my opinion, she was light years ahead of so many other really fighting for women and all her causes. She shall be, of

course, very much missed.

And that does it for me. Thank you for watching, I'll see you again tomorrow.