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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

U.K. Sets Temperature Record as Heat Wave Scorches Europe; Italy Grapples With Worst Drought In Decades; COVID Cases Surge In China Amid Scorching Temperatures; Ukraine Parliament Fires Prosecutor General, Security Chief; Dormant Black Hole Discovered Outside Earth's Galaxy. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 17:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and a warm welcome. I am Paula Newton, in for Bianca Nobilo. And this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

An unprecedented day in the history of the London Fire Brigade. The U.K. records its hottest day ever with fires burning in the country's capital at

this hour. Then a story of crisis and decline, Australia releases a shocking environment report. And speaking of, CNN talks exclusively with

Ukraine's ousted prosecutor general, why she says President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired her.

Now the heat waves scorching Europe has driven the U.K. to an all-time record high with temperatures hitting 40.3 degrees Celsius, and has led to

a surge in fires right across London and throughout the country really with fire officials in the capital now warning that because the ground is, in

their words, a tinder box any spark could cause a fire.

And it's not just in the U.K. Wildfires are still raging right across parts of France and Spain. Belgium in fact extended a code red weather warning.

And in Spain and Portugal more than 1100 heat related deaths have been recorded. And that's according to those countries' health ministries.

All this as the World Meteorological Society says this heat wave may not end until next week. Meantime scientists are raising concerns over high

levels of ozone pollution which can impact health, agriculture and of course our ecosystems.

We want to bring in Bianca Nobilo who's in Wellington with fire teams battling the blazes. And Bianca, that's why you're not doing your show this

evening. You're there on the ground trying to give us a picture of what's going on. We had discussed, right, the London Brigade saying unprecedented.

I know that you are also getting information there from officials on the ground.

What are you seeing and what are they telling you?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, I just spoke to a senior special rescue member of the London Fire Brigade who told me that this afternoon

there were no available fire engines in London. Every last one of them was in use as more fires were cropping up around the capital. And just in the

last hour here I've seen another seven fire engines go in behind me where around 100 acres of land, of parched earth has been going up in flames.

People losing their houses, their possessions, their memories, but of course this isn't an isolated incident. As you say this is a problem that

we're seeing across the continent.


NOBILO (voice-over): London commuters made it through the U.K.'s hottest ever night and braced for its hottest ever day. For the first time since

records began, temperatures here soared above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit. It's the only time authorities have issued a red warning for

extreme heat.

PENNY ENDERSBY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, UK MET OFFICE: Here in the U.K., we're used to treating hot spell as a chance to go and play in the sun. This is

not that sort of weather.

NOBILO: It's the sort of weather that leads to death, the government is warning. Police say at least three teenagers have drowned after getting

into rivers and ponds to cool off. Airport runways are melting. Wheat is being harvested early and dry fields are vulnerable to fire. London's Fire

Brigade declared a major incident on Tuesday because of a, quote, "huge surge" in fires across the capital.

The sun is even buckling train tracks, leading to mass cancellations. For a country more used to complaining about rainy summers, where air-

conditioning at home is rare, it may be the new normal.

GRANT SHAPPS, UK TRANSPORT SECRETARY: Infrastructure much of which was built from the Victorian times, just wasn't built to withstand this type of

temperature. And it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could, because the temperatures are

just so extreme.

NOBILO: Nine of the 10 hottest British days have been recorded since 1990. The British government estimates these extreme temperatures have been made

10 times more likely by humans' impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government isn't doing nothing, and in fact, the world is doing nothing. I mean, the world is burning, and we are doing

nothing about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've never had this kind of heat, so why would be prepared?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we just have to adapt. Our homes have to change, our way of life has to change.

NOBILO: The change may be necessary even in countries more accustomed to extreme summers. Wildfires are raging across Southern Europe from Spain to

France to Portugal, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate their homes. People are growing desperate.


In Spain's northwest Samora region, a man drives an excavator across burning fields in a desperate attempt to dig a trench and safeguard his

town. Within seconds, flames engulf the machine. He dives for safety, running with a close singe off his back.

The E.U. now says that nearly half of Europe including the U.K. is at risk of drought. Record temperatures were set across western France this week.

Ireland was the hottest in a century, and Germany is next. As south to north, Europe sizzles.


NOBILO: We've spoken to people who worked their whole lives to buy the homes that went up in flames today, people who managed to save just a teddy

bear or a photograph of their mother. I also spoke to someone who was talking to his daughter on the phone who recognized that her childhood home

was being engulfed in flames early today because she saw it on the news.

All of them just stunned, saying to me, we've seen this in Australia. We've seen this in California. But they are dumbfounded that it's happening here

outside London. The firefighters unable to control the flames which are setting their lives, their memories and what they've worked for a life --


NEWTON: Yes, they must still all be in a state of shock as that fire really continues to burn. Again we were speaking to a counselor from there who

said that they are looking towards a natural barrier, a brook, to see if it will stop it and contain it.

Bianca, can't thank you enough for being there for us. Really appreciate it.

Now Greta Thunberg infamously said our house is on fire and as Bianca was just mentioning there, right, this is quite literally what the picture also

looks like in many parts of Europe at this hour.

CNN's Vasco Cotovio is with me now, and given how stretched resources are right across the continent, what can they do? I know how closely you've

been following the wildfires especially in places like Portugal and Spain that normally can deal with this.

VASCO COTOVIO, CNN PRODUCER: No, not really, and officials in France, in Southwest France specifically, are actually calling for more resources.

They've written an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron saying specifically that calling on him, calling on the government to send

additional means to this area of France, Gironde specifically. They're asking for additional aircraft to help them battle these blazes.

Now French President Macron is expected to travel to the region on Wednesday. He's also told his government to bolster the national capacity

to deal with wildfires across the board but to focus specifically on this area of France to help them with these blazes. Now two fires here

specifically have been burning for a week now. They've consumed nearly 20,000 hectares of land. That's roughly twice the size of Paris for


Now this is the scene that you're not seeing just in France. You're seeing it also in Spain. Here around 7,000 -- sorry, 8,000 people have had to be

evacuated as far as of rage -- across the country. The hardest hit areas is actually the northwest Spain, close to the border with Portugal. And

authorities are already saying that this is a tragic summer by all accounts because they've recorded the amount of area that's been burned is already

twice the annual average for the past decade alone. That gives you a sense of the scale but also because they're seeing that it's having a toll in

human life and two people have actually been killed.

Now the situation in France and in Spain is just an example. As you can see, fires have sparked, basically broke out across the board in all of

Europe, and although, you know, the heat wave might have peaked over the past few days, experts are saying that temperatures as you mentioned

earlier are going to remain above normal. So the potential for additional wildfires is still going to be incredibly high -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, an elevated risk for sure, and a threat not just to communities but lives and livelihoods as well.

Vasco, thanks so much for that update. Appreciate it.

Now as the heat swelters right across Europe and those wildfires keep burning the European Union says almost half of the continent is now at risk

of drought. In the farm fields of Italy meantime that's already a reality.

CNN's Ben Wedeman shows us the parched earth.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Land once lush and productive is drying up. In the Delta of Italy's once mighty

river, Po, drought has struck.

"Seventy percent of the crop is gone," Federica Vitali tells me. "If it doesn't rain, you can see the plants are burning up."

But this year, the rains didn't come. It's Italy's worst drought in 70 years. Her soya crop is all but gone. The drought has impacted a third of

Italy's agriculture.


(On-camera): It didn't rain much during the winter or the spring. Plus, Italy is going through an unprecedented heat wave. Those combined to create

the perfect storm for Italian agriculture. Five major food-producing Italian regions have declared a drought emergency.

(Voice-over): Three generations of Antonio Bezzi's family have cultivated rice.

"We've never seen a drought like this," he says.

Climate change here isn't a myth. It's reality. In the last 10 years, Antonio says, the area planted with rice has gone down almost 50 percent as

a result of drought.

Close to the sea, there is water everywhere but not a drop to drink.

(On-camera): In normal times, this is where the salt water reached in this river, about three miles from the Adriatic. But now because of the drought,

because of the low level of fresh water in the River Po, the salt water reaches about 18 miles inland and that is having a disastrous effect on


(Voice-over): Rodolfo Laurenti works for the local water authority, which closely monitors the flow and salinity of water in the Po Delta. At the

moment of real climate crisis, he says, is 2022.

To ensure adequate drinking water, one local authority has resorted to renting expensive mobile desalinization plants.

Climate change means we have to be ready for emergencies like this, says Director Monica Manto.

Elsewhere, the little fresh river water still available is used to save at least a portion of the rice crop. The climate scientist Romana Magno warns

it's too little and --

ROMANA MAGNO, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, CNR DROUGHT OBSERVATORY: It's too late. What we can do now is try to reduce losses.

WEDEMAN: And as this drought goes on, the losses will only mount.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, in the Po River Delta, Italy.


NEWTON: Now while Europe deals with unprecedented temperatures we're seeing flooding in India and Pakistan as well as a dangerous heat wave in China.

Now the state weather forecaster there says the high heat is expected to last through late August. Beijing now says its cooperation with the U.S. on

climate issues and the environment is crucial. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest carbon polluters.

CNN's Selina Wang reports now from Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In China scorching temperatures and rising COVID cases, it's a double whammy for the economy and people's daily lives.

This heat wave has been sweeping throughout China. Dozens of cities have been experiencing record high temperatures. Last week more than 80 cities

issued red alerts which means temperatures were expected to reach more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Some cities recorded temperatures of more than 110


This week there hasn't been much relief with more than 50 cities issuing the second highest alert level. This unrelenting heat comes as China

reports nearly 700 COVID cases on Tuesday, the highest number of daily new cases since late May. Many cities still require residents to line up for

regular COVID tests. Over the weekend here in Beijing I stood in line for my COVID test in 99-degree heat. Many people brought umbrellas with them,

some squatted on the ground unable to bear the heat.

There have been an increasing number of reports of COVID workers collapsing in the heat. They work outside for hours wearing head-to-toe hazmat suits.

And the snap lockdowns continue in China. Over the weekend thousands of tourists were trapped in a resort town in the city of Beihai. It's a

popular tourist destination. The lockdown happened after a COVID flare-up was reported. Authorities ordered mass testing and banned residents from

leaving their homes.

This heat wave is also not helping an economy that's already struggling from the pandemic. The high temperatures are hitting Chinese crop

production threatening to push up inflation. Officials said the heat wave could impact the production of corn, soybean and wheat in many northern

provinces. Pork prices in China have already increased significantly because of the rising cost of feed.

This heat is proving to be dangerous for people's lives but also to the economy.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.



NEWTON: Now to a new climate report from Australia that paints a damning picture of the destruction of the country's environment. The bushfires that

devastated the country between 2019 and 2020 killed or displaced 123 billion animals. That's according to this latest report. Australia

continues to have one of the highest rates of species decline among most developed countries.

Now Australia's Environment and Water Administrations says the report in her words tells the story of crisis and decline. She says much of the

destruction outlined in the report will take years to turn around. Activists say the report should be a wakeup call for the government to

reduce carbon emissions and curb climate change.

Two top officials in the Ukrainian government ousted in the midst of war. Coming up, we'll have CNN's exclusive interview with one of those officials

and why she says politics may have had more to do with it. (INAUDIBLE).


NEWTON: A major government shake-up during a desperate war. Ukraine's parliament has overwhelmingly voted to dismiss the country's prosecutor

general and his security chief. President Zelenskyy says they have failed to root out officers and staff members who are collaborating with the

Russians. But in an exclusive interview the now former prosecutor told CNN that's not the real reason.

CNN's Nic Robertson spoke exclusively with her just a short time ago. And that was just after she was dismissed.

Nic, thanks so much for joining us there from Kyiv. It is really interesting what she had to tell you, and of course she obviously wanted to

put her side of the story on the record.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: She did, although a limited part of the story. Look, the chief of security he accepted he'd

made mistakes. He said he had some successes. It was widely expected that he would be pushed out at some point because he didn't really have security

experience, and I think most the country recognize that in the south there had been failings of the security services.


However, the chief prosecutor -- the prosecutor general when I spoke with her, you know, we discussed the point that President Zelenskyy had said

that there were collaborators and traitors working her in her department at she said really that wasn't the case. This was our discussion.


ROBERTON: Where were you fired?

IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, FORMER UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: My personal opinion, because it is now time for prosecutor general maybe was


ROBERTON: Of course the tactic to remove you when you're being successful?

VENEDIKTOVA: No, the situation in Ukraine, we in war, and who will listen to me even better than my husband, maybe it will be our enemies, Russian


ROBERTON: So you don't want to criticize the president for his choices because this will be used by Russia?

VENEDIKTOVA: I could not criticize president. I was part of his team.

ROBERTON: So let me ask you about what the president had said. He said that there were people who were treasonous and collaborators within your


VENEDIKTOVA: Actually he spoke of that, he saw these people in the system. Collaborationists, it's only people who worked in occupied territory.

ROBERTON: It sounds like what you're saying, collaboration and treason problem, is tiny and minuscule, and you've been very effective against

that. If you're doing so well there then what is the real justification?

VENEDIKTOVA: You know that my chair, it is political chair. It is a realpolitik in Ukraine, and this is my answer.

ROBERTON: Realpolitik?

VENEDIKTOVA: Realpolitik, yes.

ROBERTON: So what are the challenges now for the prosecutor coming in particularly with the war crimes?

VENEDIKTOVA: We have more than 23,000 cases on war crimes and crimes to -- which are connected with the Russian. It means that all prosecutors, they

should do exactly what they have done before. I appreciate very much for prosecutors, investigators in this team. Experts from international society

who have done the drop on the ground.

ROBERTON: Should they now look at working with the prosecutor general's office in Ukraine in a different light, knowing that this is a political


VENEDIKTOVA: I ask the authority, the officers, police found your professionals more and more because it's very important for us. I hope that

International Criminal Court will be successful and I hope that President Zelenskyy will do everything to build these strong institutions.

ROBERTON: And will your replacement as prosecutor general be strong enough to help him do that properly?



ROBERTON: Although she has had very, very high profile, and clearly if she had a public disagreement with the president then the real feeling here is

that that would be used by the Russians to create division and at this time the country -- she really recognizes and I think everyone here does that

while there may be some behind the scenes disagreements, no one wants disunity because Russia will exploit it on the war front against Ukraine.

And that's at no one here's interest -- Paula.

NEWTON: Nic, thanks so much. Really appreciate you bringing us that interview.

Now we want to take a look at some of the other stories making international impact today.

Sri Lanka's parliament has nominated three candidates to run in Wednesday's presidential election, but one of them, and this is key here, the main

opposition leader has already quit the race. And that means a low profile politician from the ruling party will face off against acting president

Ranil Wickremesinghe. And he, remember, is a loyalist of the ousted president.

Brazil's president meantime is casting doubt on the country's electoral process. During the meeting with dozens of foreign diplomats, Jair

Bolsonaro attacked the electronic ballot system and the organization that will oversee the October presidential election. There has been no record of

fraud in Brazil's electronic ballots since they were first used in 1996.

So there are now only three candidates left in the race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister in Britain, and leader of the Conservative Party.

Now Conservative lawmakers voted through Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss -- Truss, pardon me. The next vote will be held Wednesday.

Now for an interstellar discovery. A group of astronomers known as the Black Hole Police -- I am intrigued -- have lived up to their name. They

discovered a rare dormant black hole outside of earth's galaxy. Now this is here. This is interesting. It's a catchy name, right, VFTS-243 is nine

times the mass of our sun in orbit. A hot blue star which you see right there. Interesting pictures.

CNN's at Tom Foreman is joining me now and thank goodness because I am absolutely blunt. I am right out of my element. Please give me some

understanding, and all of us about the significance of this, as fascinating as that picture is.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all. that picture is an artist's depiction of this which doesn't even get the scale right because

the scale is so interstellar but this is a really big deal. Here's why this is a big deal. There's this theory that out of the couple million or so

black holes believed to be out there in the universe that there are a lot of these dormant black hole. Why are they called dormant? They're called

dormant because they don't give off radiation like others. They don't have a big cloud of glowing plasma around them like others. And they don't suck

everything in the way others do.

So they're incredibly hard to see and incredibly hard to spot. Remember only a few years ago we got our very first picture of any black hole. And

essentially what you have to do is photograph around it and try to get a sense of this darkness in the middle. In this case what they were looking

at is that activity you see right there, the star and this black hole were rotating around each other and they look at that activity and said, well,

the stars moving that way but there's nothing else there and they gradually narrowed it down to six years of study to say we believe this is a dormant

black hole.

That matters because we believe the center of our galaxy, not our solar system, our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, there are those who believe that

is a dormant black hole, one that is not sucking everything in after it but simply allowing our galaxy to spin out around it in a great grand way. That

matters because simply put if you want to understand yourself sometimes it's hard to look at yourself. It's hard to see yourself clearly because

you're so close to it. And in our galaxy we have all sorts of clouds of gases and things that make it hard to see yourself.

But if we can see ourselves nearby in another galaxy, we can see this behavior that might tell us something about where we came from and where

we're going, what behaviors we can expect along the way, and by the way allows us to study more about the behavior of gravity, and time and physics

which we don't really entirely understand. Bottom line is, what they found was a kind of crystal ball in space that could help us for a long, long

time -- Paula.

NEWTON: So well put, Tom, and I have been floored every day by the news that we get. Really so much news being made by these discoveries in the

last few years alone.

Tom Foreman, for us, thanks so much. And thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.