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State Media, North Korea Tests Long-Range Cruise Missiles; Confusion Over What Taliban Will and Will Not Permit; Delta Airlines: Insurance Surcharge Spurring Vaccinations; Traveler Sparks China Outbreak Despite Quarantine; Medvedev Beats Djokovic, Denying Him Grand Slam; Typhoon Chanthu Takes Aim at Shanghai; Pope Francis Meets with Hungary's Hardline Prime Minister. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired September 13, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: North Korea claims it spent the weekend firing off long-range cruise missiles. Why Kim Jong-U.N. is testing his arsenal again.
A new COVID outbreak in China. What caused it and the measures being taken to stop the spread.
And the calendar slam turned back on in a New York court. Novak Djokovic runs into a buzz saw in the U.S. Open.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes.
In what appears to be North Korea's latest show of strength, state media reporting the country successfully test-fired a new strategic long-range cruise missile over the weekend. More than one.
They reportedly flew 1,500 kilometers before hitting their target and falling into the water, according to North Korea.
Both South Korea and the U.S. say they're looking into the claims, which come as South Korea's top nuclear envoy is set to sit down with U.S. and Japanese officials.
Let's head to Seoul, where our Paula Hancocks is tracking developments.
I mean, if the claims are true, if the type of missile that makes neighbors nervous, what more do we know about this?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, at this point, we have the North Korean confirmation that they did, in fact, test-fire these -- these long-range cruise missiles.
And we have, from the South Korean side, that they also did confirm that they fired some cruise missiles earlier this year, but they didn't publicize that at that point.
So, showing that sometimes there are these launches that we simply don't hear about.
Now, the missile, itself, it is a cruise missile. It's not a ballistic missile, which is a technicality, which means that it doesn't break any U.N. Security Council resolutions. It's the ballistic technology that is banned for North Korea at this point.
So in that respect, it doesn't raise as many alarm bells as another type of weapon might, for example. But the fact is, North Korea itself has said that this is a new weapon. They said it's a very strategic weapon. It's been two years in development.
And at the parade last January -- there was a military parade, also one in October of last year -- there were a numbers of new weapons systems that were unveiled that experts have simply been waiting for North Korea to -- to start testing. So this appears to be one of those weapons -- Michael.
HOLMES: The -- there's pretty much always a message in these launches, or the announcements of them in the timing and so on. What could that message possibly be this time?
HANCOCKS: Well, we did have last month Kim Yo-jong, who's the sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who slammed the U.S. and North Korea for holding these joint military drills.
Now, they're annual drills which both sides are at pains to say are defensive in nature. But without fail, they do irritate the North Koreans, and they do always call for those to be canceled, or at least have done in the last couple of years. They did go ahead. And then we heard from Kim Yo-jong that there was going to -- that the two sides would face a more serious security threat.
So again, this is why this launch has not really come as any surprise, or these tests firings not come as any surprise to many experts. Because they were expecting one of these weapons systems to be tested. And North Korea had already warned that it was not happy with either the U.S. or South Korea.
HOLMES: All right. Paula, thanks. Paula Hancocks there in Seoul for us.
Now, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is welcoming a last-minute deal with Iran that will allow inspectors to maintain nuclear monitoring equipment inside the country.
That development coming as IAEA director general Rafael Grossi met with the head of Iran's atomic energy organization for talks in Tehran. Iran had previously threatened to prevent inspectors from reviewing video footage of nuclear sites until there was an agreement to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.
Rossi is hailing Sunday's agreement as a very concrete result for both sides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: The important, indispensable work that Iran and the IAEA have to carry out together requires reinforcement and, most of all, requires that we get to know each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Under the deal, the IAEA will be able to service equipment for nuclear monitoring, which includes cameras and also replace their memory cards.
Now, in several hours, the United Nations will hold an aid conference for Afghanistan in the hopes of raising $600 million in desperately- needed humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Qatar's foreign minister held talks with Afghanistan's Taliban leaders on Sunday, the highest level foreign visit since the militants took over last month.
It comes as Afghan civilians are increasingly concerned about just what the Taliban rules are now and how they'll run the country.
Nic Robertson reports from Kabul.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Battered and bruised. Kabul journalists Nemat Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi show the results of a beating they say came at the hands of the Taliban. The pair were covering an anti-Taliban protest when they were hauled away to a police station.
NEMAT NAQDI, AFGHAN JOURNALIST (through translator): They were hitting me with extreme force, and I really thought that this was the end of my life. My left eye has been hurt so seriously that it is still red. And I am worried that I can't hear anything in my left ear.
ROBERTSON: Both fell victim of crossing an invisible line of what the Taliban will permit and what they won't.
TAQI DARYABI, AFGHAN JOURNALIST (through translator): They declared to the journalists in a press conference that they will be granted permission to continue with their activities but only under the Islamic rules.
ROBERTSON: In Afghanistan's north, the powerful new Taliban police chief in Mazar-i-Sharif admits even he doesn't know the limits of his powers.
QARI HAGMAL, TALIBAN POLICE CHIEF (through translator): Until now, we have not received any specific orders from our chiefs. We are following the rules of the emirate. There isn't specific ban on anything.
ROBERTSON: Across Afghanistan, people are becoming increasingly worried. The Taliban have little idea, beyond religious principles, about how to run the country and may even be divided over how to do it.
"There's no work, there's no trade, and people have lost confidence," this man says. "No solid economic plan has been presented to the people. People have no proper understanding of the Taliban's plans."
"We can see that their cabinet has not yet been completed. What we can deduct is there are internal differences within the structure of the cabinet. And this, in itself, adds to the concerns people already have," he says.
A mix of fear and fatalism appearing to be filling the void. Some Kabul residents are ignoring the Taliban's previously strict dress codes. No idea if it's OK or what could happen, if they're caught.
The lesson of the two journalists: while the Taliban are dithering, potentially infighting, use every last moment of freedom.
DARYABI: The journalists will not stop. They are people who convey the voice of the population.
It is possible that, from now on, the Taliban threaten and torture journalists. The continuation of their activities will be deemed as a danger to their government.
ROBERTSON: An interim government that has yet to fully find its feet.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.
HOLMES: Ivan Watson joins me now from Hong Kong to talk more about Afghanistan.
As the Taliban overran the country, those Afghan air force pilots sort of fueled up the planes and fled. And you have some updates on that?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, as the U.S.-backed Afghan government was collapsing in spectacular fashion, you had the largely U.S.-trained Afghan air force, dozens of aircraft fleeing across borders, basically illegally, without permission, to neighboring countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
And there's been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to help those aircrew members to then be released.
So multiple sources have told CNN, Michael, that about 175 Afghan air force pilots and crew members were on a flight, a chartered flight from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. And many of them, we're told, are special immigrant visa applicants who probably will want to get to the U.S.
There are still hundreds more left in Uzbekistan, and we're also told that there are about 140 Afghan air force former members that are in Tajikistan that also will be likely wanting some kind of freedom or release from these countries, these former Soviet countries. We don't yet know what's going to happen to more than 40 aircraft.
That includes Black Hawk helicopters, MI-17 helicopters, 829-A, 208 planes that were flown to Uzbekistan. And I'm sure the new Taliban government would like to get their hands on those vehicles.
ROBERTSON: Yes. And people who can fly them.
You're also hearing more indicators from the Taliban on how women will be treated, in particular in the area of education.
WATSON: Yes, as we just saw in Nic Robertson's report, all these questions. Where is this Islamic emirate, the Taliban government going to go, and how is it going to govern?
We got some indicators from the new education minister, who was talking about allowing women to go to university, which was completely banned under the previous Taliban regime of more than 20 years ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAWLAVI ABDUL BAQI HAQQANI, AFGHANISTAN ACTING MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (through translator): When there is really a need, men can also teach women. In accordance with Sharia, they, female students, should observe the veil. And there is a need for a curtain in the classroom so that the teacher can teach the students, and by using some facilities such as TV screens or other modern devices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Yes. So he's suggesting here a kind of remote learning.
And then we've also seen this other improvised technique, where they just put a curtain down the classroom, separating the men from the women.
He said that there are plenty of female professors and teachers and that he'd like to try to match them with female students going forward.
So on the one hand, suggesting that women will be able to study, but strict segregation will be applied. Another hint towards the future of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. Thanks for the updates, Ivan. Ivan Watson there in Hong Kong for you.
The seven-day rolling average of U.S. COVID cases has dropped somewhat in recent days, but the country is still reporting some of the highest numbers in many months.
Students returned to the classroom today in New York City, the nation's largest school district. It will be their first in-person learning experience in 18 months. And as school districts struggle with surging infections, a glimmer of
optimism. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicts vaccines could be available to children 5 to 11 years old by Halloween. That's in November [SIC].
Now meanwhile, top disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says millions more people need to be vaccinated to end this pandemic. And vaccine mandates might be the solution.
It's something U.S. President Joe Biden is already focusing on, last week, announcing mandatory vaccinations for federal employees while doubling fines for those not wearing masks properly on planes, trains and buses.
Those mandates seem to be working for some businesses. According to Market Watch, Delta Airlines has seen its vaccination rates climb the past two weeks after announcing a $200 monthly insurance hike for unvaccinated workers.
For more on all of this, let's bring in Dr. Carlos del Rio, the executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine here in Atlanta.
Doctor, great to see you. You're, of course, also advise Delta Airlines on COVID mitigation strategy. What -- what made the company adopt this particular strategy of $200 a month healthcare surcharge, other restrictions, as well, like weekly COVID testing? What sent them down that route?
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, you know, I cannot speak for Delta's decision. I can say that Delta has, from the beginning of the pandemic, been committed to the safety and the well-being of its employees, as well as its customers, the passengers. And they have put safety first.
Airlines are very familiar with this concept. You know, if anybody has flown, they always say the first commitment is to your safety. So safety for them, for the passengers and for the -- for the employees is the No. 1 priority.
And throughout the pandemic, they have done everything. You know, they have implemented testing very rapidly. They have done all sorts of things, including making vaccines available to their employees.
They have also set up a -- a very large vaccination site in collaboration with the state of Georgia at the Delta Museum to get vaccines into the community. So they're committed to get people vaccinated and safe in the air. It's one priority.
HOLMES: Yes. And it seems they're going down that route that others are. I mean, the tide seems to be turning or making life hard for, let's call them, the willfully unvaccinated. A number of airlines, Qantas and others, moving in the direction of mandating vaccinations, not just for staff but air travelers.
[00:15:05] The Canadian prime minister said he's going to demand that. France is banning U.S. unvaccinated travelers.
Is this where it's headed, do you think, for -- for people who want to travel by air? You have to be vaccinated?
DEL RIO: Well, I would say, Mike, that you know, before the Labor Day weekend, the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said if you're unvaccinated, you shouldn't travel during this weekend.
I was disappointed that, when President Biden issued his six-point plan of how to reset and try to end this pandemic, he did not put that into one of his priorities. I would have -- I would have been delighted to see him saying that travelers were going to be required to be vaccinated.
The federal government has the authority to do this. They can regulate interstate travel and international travel. They already have testing as a requirement from international passengers to enter the U.S. And I wish they had also made vaccination a requirement.
HOLMES: And when it comes to the Delta surcharge, I mean, charging employees more in their healthcare charges if they're not vaccinated. Do you think that could be a more effective method of persuasion for employees generally, or a more acceptable one?
I mean, Delta was also saying no sick pay for unvaccinated workers who need time off for a COVID infection. Do you think that that's a more effective way of going than perhaps mandates?
DEL RIO: Well, you know, at the end of the day, each one has different approaches. United Airlines has gone with -- with a mandate. Delta is using a different approach. Everybody is looking into different ways.
At the end of the day, what we need to get people -- we need to get people vaccinated. And whether you do that through a mandate or you do it from making it harder for people who are unvaccinated, at the end of the day for airlines, you know, where you have -- think about being inside a plane. Think about being, you know, a pilot, a flight attendant. Think about being a customer-facing representative. I think if we can get everybody vaccinated, I would feel so much more comfortable to know that I'm getting on a flight where everybody is vaccinated.
HOLMES: I've got to say, me, too. What do you think about the president doubling fines for people who, you know, want to keep their masks on [SIC]? I mean, should it be even more than that?
DEL RIO: Well, you know, that's also a very good question. I think that, at the end of the day, I just got off a plane a little while ago. And there were plenty of people not wearing their masks appropriately.
And it's very hard for the flight attendants and for the crew in general to have to go up to them and say, please put your mask on correctly. Because most of these passengers are not paying attention. So at this point in time, it's simply, please do this, as opposed to, Hey, I'm giving you a fine.
Who's going to -- who's going to be in charge of implementation of those fines? I think that still needs to be decided. Right?
HOLMES: Yes, yes. I think you're right there. I think a lot of people that I speak to would love to travel with vaccinated people. It does seem to be heading down that road.
Dr. Carlos del Rio, as always, appreciate your expertise. Thanks so much.
DEL RIO: Thank -- thank you, Michael. Nice to talk to you.
HOLMES: A new COVID outbreak in southeastern China was likely caused by a traveler from Singapore. That's according to local officials. They believe the traveler sparked the outbreak despite spending three weeks in isolation before testing positive.
China reported 49 new cases on Monday, half of which locally transmitted. All of them detected in the same province where that traveler arrived last month.
For more, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now live from Hong Kong. Tell us more about this uptick. I mean, China obviously a country that reacts strongly to any new case. What do we know?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a worrying development. In China, COVID-19 cases are rising once again, thanks to this fresh flare-up in Fujian province.
On Monday, China reported 49 new cases of the virus of which 22 were locally transmitted. And experts have identified the virus as being the highly infectious Delta variant.
Now, the epicenter of this latest flare-up of infection is Putian City. It's located in Fujian. That is a province in the southeastern part of China. State-run media have been reporting that the first cases involved students from a primary school and that the origin was the father of one of those students, who had recently traveled back from Singapore on August the 4th. That's well over a month ago.
He went through mandatory 14-day quarantine. He went through an additional seven-day home monitoring. He tested negative for COVID-19 nine times during 21 days of quarantine.
And then on Friday, he tested positive for the virus. Now, with the number of cases rising in Putian, authorities there are taking swift action. They are urging people to not leave the city unless it's absolutely necessary. Schools have been suspended. They're urging people to work from home. Public venues, like cinemas and museums and libraries, they have been closed, as well.
And this comes as China has administered just over two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is an incredible milestone. But again and again, you know, experts say that the quality of those vaccines is problematic. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONGYAN JIN, VIROLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Another major, major concern is the efficacy or effectiveness of the vaccines. And emerging data from several different sources suggests that the inaccurate leading (ph) vaccines were problematic. That's also why they don't have the confidence to open up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now, where I am reporting from right now, Hong Kong, has some of the strictest pandemic measures in the world. And just last week, Hong Kong authorities announced that they would allow some mainland Chinese residents to enter the city without any quarantine.
But in light of this flare-up of cases, if this gets worse, if the number of cases grows, that measure, which was due to kick in this Wednesday, may have to be reconsidered -- Michael.
HOLMES: Yes, interesting, the concern about the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine.
Meanwhile, the latest on Australia as it struggles to vaccinate the people?
STOUT: Yes, absolutely. Well, look, I guess a glimmer of light for residents of Sydney. People there have been suffering under a punishing lockdown since June, and now, some restrictions are lifting. They have announced that, starting today, that some residents of Sydney are able to go outside for unlimited amounts of time, in groups of 5, provided that all adults are fully vaccinated.
We know that the lockdowns that have been put in place in Sydney, as well as in Melbourne, will not be lifted until 70 percent of all people have been inoculated.
But as of now, we only know about 41 percent of the adult population over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated in Australia -- Michael.
HOLMES: All right. Kristie Lu Stout there with the latest for us from Hong Kong. Appreciate it. Thanks, Kristie.
Well, Brazil is -- Brazil's president under mounting pressure over his response to the pandemic. Protesters taking to the streets across Brazil on Sunday. This was the scene in Sao Paulo.
The demonstrators are calling for Jair Bolsonaro to be impeached, with many of them citing his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Other critics calling him a threat to democracy because of his political attacks on the courts.
The president has since walked back some of those remarks. But that didn't satisfy the protesters.
Beyond Sao Paulo, they turned out in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and several other major cities, some carrying signs reading, "Bolsonaro out."
A quick break here on the program. When we come back, how Russia's Daniil Medvedev stunned the world of tennis at the U.S. Open. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Novak Djokovic's historic bid to win all four major tennis tournaments in the same year was shut down by Daniil Medvedev. No. 2 ranked member there that cruised through a straight sets victory to defeat the No. 1 ranked Djokovic at the U.S. Open final in New York on Sunday.
The last men's tennis player to win a calendar Grand Slam was Australia's Rod Laver, back in 1969, more than 50 years ago.
Christine Brennan is a CNN sports analyst and sports columnist for "USA Today." She joins me now from Washington.
Great to see you, Christine. What a day. Nine different U.S. Open men singles champions in the last 14 years. I think that is good for tennis. But I think a lot of people would have liked to have seen the Grand Slam, the elusive. What's your take on how it all went down?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Michael. I think that people wanted to see Djokovic do it, become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969, which I think you can, safely say now is not one generation ago, but two generations ago.
For Djokovic to be able to be that first man to get the Grand Slam, would have been extraordinary. And it would have been historic, and a perfect bookend for a weekend that started, of course, with the teenagers on the women's side. And that compelling and wonderful, and just uplifting match that Emma Raducanu, of course, beat Leylah Fernandez.
So you've kind of got the young kids and this freshness of the Saturday, and then Sunday is going to be more the veterans. Djokovic's 21st Grand Slam title, break the tie with Federer and Nadal.
And guess what? None of it happens. And of course, that's sports. We can't predict these things.
HOLMES: And just quickly, for non-tennis aficionados, just give us a sense of what a huge deal, particularly, in this era that a calendar Grand Slam is?
BRENNAN: It's so rarely done that, as I said, you know, since 1969 on the men's side. Steffi Graf did it and had the Golden Slam with the Olympics also, the Olympic gold medals in Seoul in 1988. Nineteen eighty-eight.
So Serena Williams has tried and not been able to do it. It is really, really hard. I mean, you're playing different surfaces. So you start with the
Australian Open in January. You have to go all the way through to September for the U.S. Open.
You've also got the clay at Roland Garros, the French open, and then, of course, the grass at Wimbledon, before you get to the hard court at the U.S. Open.
So, you've got to be on top of your game for eight, nine months, different surfaces, and the entire, you know, tennis world, coming at you. The most -- I think we can safely say, this is the most difficult, the most talent late in time in the history of tennis, in terms of the competition. And I think that's why this is just so hard to do.
HOLMES: What does this victory. You know, what does this situation, now that he has not done it, mean for the rivalry between Federer and Nadal and Djokovic?
BRENNAN: I think certainly, you hope Federer and Nadal, both of course, who are out of this U.S. Open. So Federer just turned 40, and Serena Williams turns 40 in a couple weeks. It seems like a watershed moment, doesn't it, in many ways. But the two big stars turning 40 on the men's and women's side.
But, you know, Federer is not done, necessarily. He's had injuries. Nadal's had injuries. He's not done. Djokovic, obviously, still would like to obviously get another Grand Slam title to break that tie and get to 21, but also, with I'm sure last Sunday, to try to get that -- the calendar year Grand Slam and have all four. So the rivalry probably intensifies.
HOLMES: You touched on this before, and we have to mention it before we go, the women's final. These two teenagers giving the tennis world something to cheer about.
I mean, what does their performance mean for the sport, and what do you make of them? Martina Navratilova said both these women would be world famous one day.
Martina, I think, is a pretty good person to quote. And I certainly go with her on that. And they're exceptional athletes. The brand of tennis they play, this noble, fearless, strategic, savvy, obviously, powerful game that they're both playing. Standing on the base line, pounding the ball at each other. Both Fernandez, and Raducanu, I think, and I certainly hope, will have long, wonderful careers.
Teenagers, born two months apart in 2002. Fernandez, just 19, and Emma Raducanu turns 19 in a couple months.
So we'll see. Obviously, they'll know now that the pressure, the weight of the world will now be on their shoulders. They will never be as unencumbered as they were on Saturday. They'll never have that sense of just wonder, and anything is possible, because, now, the pressure will be there. They'll be expected to do well. But I think, if any two young people can handle it, these two
certainly look like they can. And Raducanu, my goodness, what a star in the making, as is Fernandez. And so poised. Obviously, multicultural, both of them. Really, a statement about where tennis is worldwide. The diversity of tennis, the openness of the game of tennis. And I would say the women's game is in good hands with these two youngsters.
HOLMES: Really hope they are protected from those stressors, because we have seen with that can do to a young sports person. And, really, hope they've got the right people around them to protect them from that.
Christine Brennan, I really appreciate it. As always, great to see you.
BRENNAN: Michael, you, too. Take care.
HOLMES: What a weekend of tennis. Well, WORLD SPORT's Patrick Snell will have much more on the U.S. Open final, coming up in about 15 minutes from now.
Meanwhile, we are tracking a typhoon headed towards Shanghai. It's already battered parts of the Philippines and Taiwan. It's not over yet. We'll have details from CNN Weather Center, next.
Also, Pope Francis on his first international trip since having surgery back in July. We'll have details on his meeting with Hungary's hardline prime minister and a look at his itinerary in Slovakia. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: We are tracking Typhoon Chanthu as it makes its way towards Shanghai. The storm skimmed Taiwan and has weakened since it hit the northern Philippines as a super typhoon over the weekend, but still expected to bring heavy rain and flash flooding to Shanghai.
If Chanthu remains at typhoon strength, this will be the first time since 1985 that a typhoon has hit that city.
Joining me now is meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. And, you know, we're talking about this yesterday. The biggest problem was going to be it's so slow moving it's going to bring a ton of rain.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's incredible. You know, this is a storm system, and as you noted, it was one of only two storms on our planet this year that reached that super typhoon stature. And a menacing storm at its height. It has weakened a little bit.
And my concern is exactly what you said. The speed, the lack of movement over the next several days. And people may let off their guard with this particular feature because it has weakened. Compared to its previous Category 5 equivalent status there as a super typhoon. But here we go. It is approaching portions of Shanghai, and it's going to slow down to a walking pace over the next two to three days. And you'll notice parts of Taiwan, 200, upwards of 225, 236 milliliters have come down in parts of town. Taipei picking up just shy of 90 millimeters of rainfall in recent days.
And the system kind of just really skirted across the eastern shores of Taiwan. And I often try to tell people when it comes to Taiwan, people have failed to realize, it is one of the most mountainous places on our planet. It has 200 mountains that rise to 3,000 meters high. That's 10,000 feet. So it is incredibly elevated. And these certainly do a storm significant damage. They break it apart rather quickly.
So the storm weakened significantly as it approached Taiwan, but you'll notice, open waters right now. And more symmetry, more organization. Winds, 160 kilometers per hour.
Shanghai is the most populous city in China, 26 million people; has one of the world's busiest shipping ports. The system gets uncomfortably close. And we think it could skirt right by the coast, make a right turn over the next two to three days and, in a two- to three-day period, move at around 4 to 7 kilometers per hour.
The average person walks around 5 kilometers per hour. So we're talking near walking pace as it meanders near the most populous city in the country here and produces an incredible amount of rainfall.
And then you'll notice it will take that sharp right turn, potentially head on towards the Korean Strait and into the East Sea. So you'll notice this progression. Notice the white contours. That's near the top of the charts as much as a half a meter of rainfall coming down near Shanghai and points just to the east. Very low-lying areas.
I tell people when it comes to tropical systems, don't get caught up on the wind speed, because it's the water element that causes the most damage, most property damage and most impacts the life, as well. You'll notice flooding threat goes to be the highest here and also storm surge comes in the second highest while winds and tornadoes, to a lesser extent.
But you'll notice this region gets soaked over the next couple of days, and this particular imagery here is showing you what's happening across the gulf (ph) with another tropical feature in the works.
So lots going on. And Michel, we have cancellations across Shanghai's airports there for Monday leading into Tuesday. Disneyland Shanghai has also closed its doors for Monday and Tuesday, which doesn't happen very often. So it really speaks to the severity of what's happening here.
HOLMES: Yes, absolutely. Thanks for tracking it. Pedram Javaheri, appreciate it. We'll check in with you next hour. Pope Francis is expected to meet with Slovakia's president in the
coming hours. He will also talk with the country's civic and religious leaders. It's the next leg of the pontiff's first foreign tour in some time, coming after a whirlwind visit to neighboring Hungary.
CNN's Delia Gallagher with more.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis spent just seven hours in Hungary on Sunday. But it was enough time to meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a man whose nationalist policies against immigration are at odds with Francis's vision.
The Vatican says that they spoke about the protection of the environment, the promotion of families, and the Catholic church in Hungary. But no mention was made of the topic of immigration, an issue which is close to Pope Francis's heart.
The pope did take the opportunity at the end of mass to ask Hungarians to be open and considerate of others and extend their arms to everyone.
The pope then traveled to Bratislava, where he will spend three days visiting Slovakia.
This is the first trip for Pope Francis following his 10-day hospital stay for colon surgery in July. He told journalists on the airplane that he was feeling just fine.
Francis returns to Rome on Wednesday.
Delia Gallagher, CNN, Bratislava.
HOLMES: one of Prince Charles's charities is reportedly under investigation. According to Britain's "Sunday Times," a Scottish regulator says a Russian banker had tried to donate a six-figure sum to the prince's foundation.
The report says the prince wrote a thank-you letter to the banker, offering to meet in person after receiving the donations last year. The banker had been found guilty in Russia of money laundering, but his conviction was later overturned.
CNN cannot independently verify the "Times" reporting.
Still to come, details on the next bold SpaceX venture. The first all- civilian crew to orbit the Earth. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back. Elon Musk's company, SpaceX, is gearing up to launch the first all-civilian mission into orbit with a Falcon 9 rocket like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, lift off of the Falcon 9.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The four civilians on the Inspiration4 mission will board the Crew Dragon capsule and make history as early as Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED ISAACMAN, INSPIRATION4 MISSION COMMANDER You know, it is the first time that a global superpower hasn't sent people into orbital space. And I think that should send a message of all the things to come. Right?
I mean, we know some day in the future, 50, 100 years from now, you're going to have a lunar base at some point. You're going to probably have some sort of a Martian colony.
But you have to start somewhere. And I think when, you know, this mission, you know, is complete, people are going to look at it and say it was the first time, you know, everyday people could go to space.
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HOLMES: Now the Inspiration4 crew will be led by billionaire Jared Isaacman. He bought the trip from SpaceX with a goal to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Isaacman will be joined by three others. Hayley Arceneaux will serve as the flight's medical officer. She's a physician at St. Jude and a cancer survivor. Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski will be serving as a mission specialist on the flight, and geo science (ph) professor Sian Proctor will be the mission pilot.
Keeping with the goal of the flight, Arceneaux plans to make a video call to the children at St. Jude from space.
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HAYLEY ARCENEAUX, MEDICAL OFFICER, INSPIRATION4: You know, kids are so visual, and I hope that them being able to see me in space really shows them what their future can look like. I'm the first CG (ph) patient to go to space, the first (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cancer survivor. But I'm not going to be the last.
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HOLMES: Good for her.
The crew will orbit the earth for three days before splashing down in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida.
Now in Paris, the iconic Arc de Triomphe is getting a temporary make- over. The 19th Century arch being covered in 25,000 square meters of silvery blue fabric, and 3,000 meters of red rope.
It's a tribute to the artist Christo, who was known for draping fabric over landmarks in Europe and America. Christo started plans for the Arc de Triomphe in 1962 but died a year later [SIC].
The project will be completed next week and stay up until early October.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @HolmesCNN. Do stick around, though. WORLD SPORT with Patrick Snell up next on CNN. I'll see you in 15 minutes.