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Voting Underway in U.K. Election, Polls Set to Close in Less than 2 Hours; White House: Bidne, Netanyahu Call Focused on Details of Hostage, Ceasefire Deal; Japanese Tourists Flock to L.A. To See Shohei Ohtani; Beryl Weakens as It Tracks Toward Mexico. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Polls across the U.K. will close here in less than two hours as voters are casting their ballots in the general election. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cast his ballot this morning in Yorkshire in northern England, while opposition leader Keir Starmer voted in London earlier.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in London. Matthew, how are voters turning out today?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey Brianna, that's right. Voting has been underway throughout the course of the day. The polls will be closed in about an hour and a half from now, at which point we'll get the first exit poll, which will give us a pretty good idea, I think, on what the outcome of this election will be.

In terms of the turnout, well, we haven't got turnout figures yet, but I mean, I went to a polling station this morning very early and turnout seemed to be brisk. There's a lot of people lining up ready to cast their votes. If there are still people waiting in line at 10 o'clock this evening, they will still be allowed to vote.

But, Brianna, all of the exit polls leading up to this voting day have pointed to a landslide victory for the opposition Labour Party, bringing to an end 14 years of Conservative Party rule in the country. It's not something that is, you know, it's something that will be a momentous change for the people of Britain because this country has been governed by the Conservative Party for so many years.

But such is the disillusionment with people in Britain, according to the opinion polls, that the move towards the Labour Party, which is a left of center, it's a left-wing socialist-leaning political party in this country, is likely to be dramatic.

We're talking about more than, you know, 200-seat majority in the country's parliament. And to give you some perspective on that, that's not just the best result for Labour in recent memory, it's the best result in British politics for any single party if that comes to pass. And so we're talking about a momentous shift in the political landscape in Britain as a result of this general election -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Matthew, explain how this election works and when we're going to be seeing results here.

CHANCE: Yes, well, I mean, the country of Britain is divided into 650 constituencies. People in those constituencies, they vote for a range of candidates and the winner goes on to become an MP. So each constituency sends an MP. So there's 650 MPs that will result from the election across the country. In order to get power in the country to form a government, you need to have, you know, just over 50 percent. You have to have a simple majority. So 650, that's 326 seats you need to form a government.

And as I was saying, the opinion polls going into this election suggest that the Labour Party is going to get well over that figure. And so we're looking at a Labour landslide.

In terms of when we'll know the results, there'll be an exit poll at 10 o'clock this evening, in just under an hour and a half from now, which is likely to be pretty accurate. They often are. But the final results then won't be in until about seven or eight, perhaps nine hours later, as the individual constituencies start to declare who was won in that particular area.

And so a picture will build across the night of which party is victorious. Again, it's likely to be the Labour Party, but the extent of that victory will become apparent as the night carries on.

KEILAR: All right, Matthew Chance, thank you so much. We will be watching, of course -- Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, new details on a critical call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is following all of this as talk of a ceasefire deal and hostage release deal is heating up. Priscilla, what's the latest in the reporting?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, this is something that the White House, along with several others, have been working on for months. And we're now learning that in this 30-minute call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the two focused on the details of this deal. Of course, this comes as Hamas provided their own response to the framework, allowing opening up for this conversation to happen on the details of this deal.

Now, a senior administration official saying it this way, it seems to be, quote, a pretty significant opening for the hostage deal to be agreed on by those involved, and that the hostage talks will continue or expected to be held in Doha starting as early as tomorrow.

So you can sort of get the sense here that there is momentum building toward this deal. Of course, the president had laid out a framework, and this was something that had been discussed at length.

But there have been fits and starts over the course of these -- of the negotiations. And we're at a point now with Hamas responding to a framework that it opens up again an opportunity for them to discuss these deals and, again, create this opportunity for opening. Now, we should note, though, that the senior administration official

said no deal is finalized or assured yet.


It's unclear how long they would take to get to that point. There was a tone of optimism, but certainly as it has been the case over the course of these negotiations, until a deal is set in stone, it's just not clear whether it comes together.

All the same, though, oftentimes when I talk to U.S. officials, they note that the president will jump on the phone with foreign leaders often in moments, important moments, at critical junctures. This appears to be one of them, with both the president and the Israeli prime minister talking earlier today to focus specifically on the details of this deal. The administration official was asked by reporters if they think that this deal could be sabotaged by Israel.

Of course, the Israeli prime minister has been under intense political pressure back at home, this official saying that this fully protects Israel's interests.

So we're still in a lot of wait-and-see mode here, but certainly today a bit of a tone of optimism that at the very least they can continue these conversations and negotiations with Hamas's response to this framework.

SANCHEZ: Priscilla Alvarez, live from the White House, thank you so much.

The L.A. Dodgers and the city itself are already gaining from baseball star Shohei Ohtani. He's not even pitching yet. We'll explain the Ohtani effect when we come back.



SANCHEZ: Tourism in LA has gotten a big gift this year in the form of superstar pitcher Shohei Showtime Ohtani. The LA Dodgers signed the Japanese player to a record-breaking contract in the offseason worth $700 million over 10 years, making him the highest paid player in American baseball.

KEILAR: And Japanese fans have come by the thousands to take pride in watching their superstar play ball. CNN's Natasha Chen has more on how Ohtani is making waves both on and off the field.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Brianna, the energy here is crazy when Ohtani plays, especially for the fans who travel thousands of miles for a baseball game. Now, we know that there have been Japanese baseball fans who have come to see him in Anaheim when he played for the Angels the last few years, but anecdotally we're told this is an entirely new level. One major Japanese travel agency told me they're booking up to 200 clients in these seats for every Dodgers home game. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN (voice-over): Baseball is America's pastime, but here in one of the country's oldest baseball stadiums, you'll see a celebration of Japanese heritage and hear Japanese language tours four days a week, all because of 6-foot-4 --


CHEN (voice-over): -- star hitter and pitcher --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are proud of him.

CHEN (voice-over): -- new Dodger, Shohei Ohtani.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a baseball player and so cute.

CHEN (voice-over): After a record-breaking contract with the Dodgers, Ohtani is drawing fans from across the Pacific Ocean in waves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're expecting a spike but truly nothing like this.

CHEN (voice-over): The team has a dozen new Japanese sponsors this year and added six new Japanese-speaking tour guides. Dodger Stadium food now goes beyond the Dodger dog to the Kurobuta pork sausage dog, sushi, chicken katsu, and Takoyaki, which are round fritters filled with octopus. You can get the original or --

CHEN: I just got a kick.

CHEN (voice-over): -- salsa and cheese and guacamole and cheese.


CHEN: The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board says 80 to 90 percent of visitors from Japan come to Dodger Stadium at least once during their trip to LA and many of them end up here in LA's little Tokyo to find the mural they've heard about all the way from Japan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The painting is moving he said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They scan the QR code at the base of the mural, point your camera phone, and they can see Shohei actually swing and see him pitch and you hear Vin Scully say --

VIN SCULLY, SPORTSCASTER: Time for Dodger baseball!

CHEN (voice-over): Artist Robert Vargas says he painted this mural to bring everyone together in the city's crossroads of Asian and Latin American communities.

ROBERT VARGAS, ARTIST: The city's been hard hit during COVID and I really felt like as a long time resident of downtown LA I wanted to be able to contribute to the AAPI community.

CHEN (voice-over): Little Tokyo businesses say they have double the customers they normally get this time of year and with the weak Japanese yen it's a costly trip for travelers from Japan spending U.S. dollars but they'll find a few local deals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After he hit the home run next day it will be 50 percent off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Shohei hits a home run we automatically pass out a Shohei shot.

CHEN: You hope this goes on for 10 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, really and more.

CHEN: Yes.

CHEN (voice-over): The Miyako Hotel general manager says rooms are fully booked during home games. Takayo Hizume says her son also played baseball and she feels as if Ohtani is Japan's son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And wait till he starts pitching for us, it's like my gosh!

CHEN (voice-over): Whether fans are from his home country, second generation Japanese American, or have no connection to Japan at all, it's a unifying moment.


CHEN (voice-over): A moment as American as a hot dog on the 4th of July and a Takoyaki covered in guac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is good for everyone, this is good for all of baseball.


CHEN (on camera): It's not just the fans, it's also Japanese media who have followed Ohtani here, so much so that the signs for media at the stadium are translated into Japanese. Now the fans tell me they're making a trip out of this, seeing other classic LA sights and that's what the tourism board wants to see. Fans tell me they're seeing Santa Monica Beach, they're seeing Hollywood, and now they're experiencing an American 4th of July -- Boris and Brianna.


SANCHEZ: Natasha Chen, thanks so much for that report. He is something special for sure.

Let's walk through some of the other headlines we're watching this hour.

Beryl is no longer a major hurricane and is still a long ways off from the U.S. mainland, but officials are warning that it's going to create dangerous beach conditions along the Gulf Coast as soon as tomorrow, including potentially deadly rip tides. The storm is heading toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula right now, but it's expected to continue weakening before making landfall, which could come as soon as tonight.

Beryl was the earliest Cat 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic. It's killed at least 9 people.

KEILAR: Also, the largest 10K in the world was canceled mid race this morning due to extreme heat. Thousands of runners showed up to Atlanta's Peachtree Road race. They were dressed in everything from banana costumes to American flags, and officials say some were still on the course when they were forced to issue a black flag. They were allowed to continue, but officials stopped tracking the results.

And as we head to break, a look at how U.S. service members overseas celebrated July 4th before all of us here on the home front. These were the skies over Camp Humphreys in South Korea. U.S. bases there and in Japan have celebrations of their own plan throughout the weekend.

SANCHEZ: And if you want to see more brilliant pyrotechnics, CNN is celebrating the 4th tonight with live firework shows from across the country and a long line of performers, including the Killers, Bebe Rexha, Ashanti, T-Pain, and more. The 4th in America starts at 7 p.m. Eastern tonight right here on CNN.



KEILAR: So good. I just want to like jam out.

SANCHEZ: That's great intro music.

KEILAR: So over the past two weeks, two glorious weeks of this segment, we've been counting down CNN's list of America's best towns to visit. We have taken you everywhere. Knoxville, where Dolly Parton sings and fireflies light up the night synchronously, by the way.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that was pretty cool to look at, yes.

We also showed you Portland, Maine, where you can hunt for the best lobster rolls. And finally today, the dancing has to stop.

We've got number one. CNN's Victor Blackwell joining us. So Victor, where is America's number one best town to visit?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Alright, you ready? First, can a brother get a drumroll? OK.

Number one. Yes. Best town to visit, Richmond, Virginia. Yes, Richmond, Virginia. And now over these past two weeks, you probably have picked up a theme.

These are towns that are places with a vibe and they are trying to improve themselves, be better places and no town epitomizes that more than Richmond, Virginia, former capital of the Confederacy. Now through public art, especially, it's trying to redefine its future and draw another Richmond. Watch this.


HAMILTON GLASS, ARTIST: Richmond is this amazing place for people who have ideas to come and make them happen.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Hamilton Glass is an artist living in Richmond, Virginia.

BLACKWELL: For people coming to Richmond for the first time, what is something they must do before they leave?

GLASS: They must experience the art. And I know I understand I'm biased because I'm an artist, but Richmond, according to USA Today, Richmond is number two in the United States in street art. So it's not just me saying that.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): But Richmond's history with public art is complicated. As the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond was once home to more Confederate monuments than any other U.S. city, according to its mayor. But in 2020, spurred by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of people in Richmond called for their removal and in some cases took matters into their own hands.


BLACKWELL: Why this presentation?

MARTIN: Context is important. Here's the photograph. We know that the statue was damaged because when it was toppled it went face down so you can see.

Seeing symbols and elements like those monuments fall was liberating in the sense of like now we get a chance to create our identity.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And create they did. Now, instead of Confederate monuments, you'll find more than 150 street murals, many painted by Hamilton himself.

GLASS: This took about a week.



Most murals take about a week long.



BLACKWELL (voice-over): We toured the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood, an area once referred to as the Harlem of the South for its vibrant black culture during Virginia's segregation era. And after a long day of looking at great art, it was only right that I stopped for some great wine at Penny's Wine Shop, a black-owned business.

BLACKWELL: That is very good.

LANCE LEMON, CO-OWNER, PENNY'S WINE SHOP: We love when people come from out of town and see Richmond. Everybody here has the same kind of goal. We want to see Richmond blow. Cheers.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.


BLACKWELL (on camera): And Richmond is a good time. So when you're building your list of places to visit for the rest of the summer, visit our list of best American towns to visit. You can go on our website. There's a QR code on your screen right now to check out the 10 cities. Right now, I'm standing -- or behind me you can see the San Diego Bay.

I'm all set up for 4th in America. Of course, Boris, Brianna, I will see you tonight for the big show. But yes, check out the list because there's some great places across the country to visit.

KEILAR: It's been so fun watching you visit them, Victor.

SANCHEZ: We have to point out, Victor, there is a theme here. We saw you having a lot of wine on these America's Best Towns to visit. It looked like you had a lot of fun.

BLACKWELL: I don't know if there's nothing wrong with having a beverage while you're out in these places.


I mean, if they offer, I'm going to accept. I learned about Petite Manseng when I was there at Penny's Wine Shop. So add that to the list.

KEILAR: Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere all these places. Victor Blackwell, thank you so much, and we'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrick Bertoletti, 58, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs and Buns.


SANCHEZ: A new champion crowned at Nathan's Famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Patrick Deep Dish Bertoletti of Chicago devoured 58 dogs in 10 minutes, taking home the famed mustard belt. KEILAR: I am so in awe, and on the women's side, Miki Sudo downing 51 hot dogs, she broke her own record of 48 to win the ketchup belt. That is wow. That's unbelievable.

Well, we got our own here. We went local with it. Little Ben's Chili Bowl.

SANCHEZ: A Little Ben's Chili Bowl.

KEILAR: And we also have some haiku about hot dogs.

SANCHEZ: Some haiku hot dog action brought to you by ChatGPT.


KEILAR: AI. And we want to read one for on this very special day. Here it is, Boris, for you to read.

SANCHEZ: Can we get a zoom in on the glizzy so we can read this?

KEILAR: Yes, here you go.

SANCHEZ: Grilled summer delight. Mustard's golden embrace glows.

Juices drip with sun. Street corners sizzle. Onions dance in smoky air.

Ketchup's sweet farewell.

KEILAR: Picnic blankets spread. Children's laughter fills the park. Hot dog gaze linger.

Cheers, Boris.


KEILAR: I cannot believe you're eating the chili dog's rough.

SANCHEZ: Cheers to all who celebrate the 4th.

KEILAR: Happy 4th.

SANCHEZ: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.