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Afghanistan's Most Perilous Hour; Guterres: Afghan Facing Collapse Of Entire Country; Top U.S. Diplomat Defends American Withdrawal. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 14, 2021 - 02:00:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Robyn Curnow, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from CNN WORLD NEWS headquarters in Atlanta. So ahead this hour, Afghanistan's most perilous hour, millions could run out of food before winter the United Nations trying to prevent a disaster. And wildfires hurricanes and climate crisis on steroids. A New dire warning that a warming planet could force more than 200 million people from their homes.

Plus, U.S. President Biden goes West in hopes of boosting California's embattled governor hours before polls open in the recall election.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me this hour. The U.N. Secretary General is warning that Afghanistan is on the brink of economic collapse. Antonio Guterres delivered the assessment during a donor conference that raised more than a billion dollars. The World Food Programme estimates 14 million Afghans are now facing starvation.

Guterres says food could run out by the end of the month and an economic collapse could create a mass exodus threatening the stability of the entire region.


ANTONIO GUTTERES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: Even before the dramatic events of last weeks, Afghans were experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Today, one in three Africans do not know where their next meal will come from. The poverty rate is spiraling and basic public services are close to collapse. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

And at the same time, Afghanistan faces a severe drought the seconds to leave the country in four years.


CURNOW: Well, meanwhile, the top U.S. diplomat is offering his strongest defense yet of the military pull out from Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers It was a choice between ending the war or escalating it. Jessica Dean reports. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MCCAUL, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: This was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. I never thought in my lifetime, that I would see an unconditional surrender to the Taliban.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The House Foreign Affairs Committee questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the first time since the United States pulled out of Afghanistan and 13 American Service Members died in an attack outside Kabul's airport.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Taliban made abundantly clear in many public statements, private statements to us, to others around the world that it was going to hold us to the deadline that the previous administration negotiated in terms of withdrawing the remaining American forces. It made very clear that if we move past that deadline, it would resume the attacks that it had stopped on our forces and on our allies and partners. As well as to commence the onslaught on the cities that we've seen in recent months.

DEAN: Blinken making the case while the Biden administration was beholden to former President Trump's agreement with the Taliban. The Trump administration had not put any plans for withdrawal in place.

BLINKEN: We inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan. The agreement reached by the previous administration required all U.S. forces to be out of Afghanistan by May 1st. In return, the Taliban stopped attacking our forces our partners, and it didn't commence an onslaught of the Afghanistan cities. Had the President not follow through on the commitments that his predecessor made, those attacks would have resumed. We would have re upped the war in Afghanistan after 20 years. For another five, 10 or 20 years.

DEAN: House members also questioning Blinken on the parameters for us engagement with the Taliban led government.

BLINKEN: When it comes to engaging with that government or any government to be named on a more permanent basis. We're going to do so on the basis of whether or not it advances our interests. And those interests are very clear. They're -- the expectations that we've set and the international community has set for the ongoing freedom of travel. For a government that makes good on the Taliban's commitments to combat terrorism.


DEAN: Blinken says as of last week, about 100 American citizens remain in Afghanistan who would like to leave the country. He also confirmed the Taliban have blocked charter flights from leaving.

BLINKEN: We want to see those flights leave. We need to see a process put in place to allow those flights to start to move. And we're working on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: Up next, Secretary Blinken will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. Jessica Jean, CNN, Capitol Hill.

CURNOW: Thanks, Jessica for that. I want to take you then straight to Istanbul. Arwa Damon is standing by with more on the Secretary of State comment. He said that they had a choice between ending the war or escalating it. So it was a binary choice in many ways. He framed to that.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Robyn, and a lot of analysts and experts, military experts who spent a significant amount of time in Afghanistan would dispute that there are many more pathways than those two, that Secretary Blinken is outlining there and that the White House is using to justify its actions. Another argument that we keep hearing over and over again, that we just heard in that report is that the Biden administration inherited a deadline but not a plan.

Will not inheriting a plan does not necessarily allow one to abdicate responsibility for creating one. The U.S. had months to prepare for this withdrawal. And, you know, it's not just, it is worth pointing out the Biden administration's fault that this unfolded the way that it did. You did have very, very serious errors that were made by the Trump administration, by the Obama administration, and by the Bush administration.

But again, do past errors, allow for the U.S. and its allies to just now turn their back on Afghanistan and allow it to fall back into the hands of the Taliban, while the U.S. is arguing that yes, we can do that. Because had we stayed longer, it would have created more problems for America, for Americans, and for Afghans and for many international viewers who are looking at this rhetoric, listening to this rhetoric and everything that has transpired over the last weeks and months in Afghanistan.

This is quite a devastating statement, because you have the United States that is meant to be, you know, upholding certain moral values that is meant to be standing by populations who do believe in freedom and democracy, just turning around and saying, well, your freedom and your democracy is not in our best interest. And so we're just going to leave and to a certain degree, you know, given the callousness of some of the commentary that we're hearing, you know, the sense is, we're going to leave.

And as long as we're not disturbed, what happens to you, what happens to your population, not very much of our interest or really at the forefront of our policies because it's not affecting our national security. And that is quite a devastating statement whether it's being made deliberately or implicitly for many populations around the world to be hearing right now, Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks for that update there. Arwa Damon live in Istanbul. Now doctors without borders is still providing medical services in five locations in Afghanistan. Dr. Tankred Stobe is the organization's medical coordinator in the country. He joins us now from Herat. Doctor, hi, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. I know that you are overwhelmed. If you could just give us a sense of where you are, what the situation is.

I saw an e-mail from you a little bit earlier. You're talking about internally displaced people and what you're dealing with in your immediate vicinity.



STOBE: You're right there. They -- we should clone ourselves here to do what needs to be done. We're dealing with tens of thousands of internally displaced people scattered in the outskirts of Herat, seeking medical care. We are one of the only left providers of health care here. Either thing, which is very concerning here is malnutrition. So we see babies here, I've seen a young boy yesterday 18-month old sort of town to skin and bones to his birth weight, about to die.

We could just put a tube in and try feeding him. The last -- the next component of course is the pandemic. We are in between the third and the fourth wave of corona which there is no health, not enough oxygen in the country. There is not enough ventilation options here. And of course vaccination is not available as it should be. So we are fighting on many fronts here. And it's not easy.

CURNOW: It's not easy. Just talk us through how many people and how many -- how many doctors you have and how many people you're trying to treat a day. Just the practicalities of what's going on the ground.

STOBE: Yes. We see -- for this internally displaced people, we see about 400 people coming to our day clinic which are there seen by doctors and nurses for the malnourished children. Our beds which was set up to serve about 40 young babies. It's now -- we have a bed occupancy rate of 250 beds, so up to three babies have to share one bed. Our doctors and nurses working day and night.


STOBE: They haven't seen a weekend for four months. And for COVID, we screened about 100 patients every day about them --about a dozen are severe cases which we then transfer to our COVID Center. But that's at the moment. It's fluctuating every day. And of course, we are asked to do much more entirely. Health Systems are collapsing on the right and the left of our work here. And then, of course, we trying into sort of to get in new doctors, more doctors, more nurses.

Logistic is a problem, also medical supply. The space has been blocked over Afghanistan for a long time. The borders were closed. So we hope now to get people out who have worked here for four months without a break. Yes, it's still challenging. And we know it's autumn, winter is coming. So respiratory diseases. The pandemic will come back in the next wave. So we tried to cope somehow. CURNOW: The U.N. is also the U.N. is warning of a massive humanitarian crisis about more malnutrition of our hunger. What are you seeing and how concerned are you about that and that warning?

STOBE: I am because the majority of health services in Afghanistan are funded by external donors. We as MSF as Doctors Without Borders, we are in a little less troubling situation when it comes to funding because all our medical care here is free for the Afghans and it's coming from private donation. So all individuals around the world supporting the organization, make our work here possible.

We are able to still continue paying the wages that's different to all our doctors in the -- in the national service which we haven't received a salary for a month. But of course this is -- it's challenging to keep up the minimum health care that is still available. And instead of getting more we need more (INAUDIBLE) with a lack of funding. It's going down. So this gap is increasing and I'm not sure how difficult it will be over the winter to cope with all the new challenges that coming up.

CURNOW: OK. Dr. Tankard Stober and all of your colleagues there on the ground in Herat, thank you very much for the hard work. I know you're exhausted. But thank you. Important work. Appreciate you also joining us here at CNN.

STOBE: Thanks, Robyn.

CURNOW: So among the tens of thousands of Afghans who fled the country were Air Force pilots and crew members who escaped across the border with their aircraft. W now learned some who had been waiting in Afghanistan for the U.S. to process them have been flown to the UAE. Here's Alex Marquardt with more on that. Alex?


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): They're among the most highly-trained Afghan forces, pilots and crew members of the Afghan Air Force. For the past month they've been stranded after fleeing the Taliban advanced with their valuable planes and helicopters across the border into neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They feared they would be sent back where the Taliban is hunting for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were so many rumors that the Pakistan government will send this back to Afghanistan. That's why everyone was afraid. And everyone was worried about that.

MARQUARDT: We've spoken with Afghan pilots themselves and American Veterans working to get them to the United States, including retired general David Hicks, who led the training of Afghan pilots in the U.S. and has criticized the State Department for moving too slowly.

RET. GEN. DAVID HICKS, OPERATION SACRED PROMISE: Problem was, they're started to become members that wanted to go back to Afghanistan because they were worried about their wives or their families. And so, you know, they're - they were headed back or we're going to go back for that reason.

MARQUARDT: We brought you their story last week. Then over the weekend, word came, they were finally on the move after four weeks. More than 460 pilots maintainers and family members loaded onto buses and charter planes flying Uzbekistan Airways to Abu Dhabi for further processing. One step closer to making it to the U.S. where many want to end up. But fears remain.

How worried are you that the remaining Afghan Air Force personnel, family members are targets of the Taliban now and won't be able to get out of the country?

HICKS: We know, Air Force members or family members have been either detained or killed by the Taliban. So, it's not like it's something that may happen. It is something that is happening right now. So time is of the essence.

MARQUARDT: Those concerns weighing on the pilots.

HICKS: If Taliban understand that our families, parents are in the Afghanistan, they will catch them. And until that we show up.

MARQUARDT: Since many have already been to the U.S. for training and fought so closely with American forces, the visa process is expected to go smoothly, which would be a huge relief for the men who are forced to dramatically flee their native country and start life in a new one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't explain how happy I am. And it's a big pleasure not only for me, but for all those that they were in Uzbekistan.


MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN Washington.


CURNOW: And Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart These pictures just in to CNN. Vladimir Putin congratulating Mr. Assad on his recent election when and his birthday. Reuters report he also said foreign forces deployed in Syria without U.N. approval are hindering the country's consolidation. Will continue to monitor this meeting.

And still ahead, from fires to floods it's been a summer of extremes in the U.S. Why President Biden says these disasters are just different faces of the same enemy. Plus, the climate crisis could put hundreds of millions of people from their homes. We have details on a sobering new report. That too, is just ahead. You're watching CNN.



CURNOW: Welcome back to CNN where we've been monitoring the cost of this typhoon which has now weakened to a tropical storm. China is now on alert. But the good news is the worst of the rain is expected to say offshore. Meanwhile, Nicolas has strengthened to like category one hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and has just made landfall in Texas. I want to go straight to Pedram Javaheri. Pedram, you're joining us on the latest on both of these storms. What can you tell us?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Robyn, you know, we kind of got really spared the worst that could have happened here across portions of eastern China. Tens of millions of people on the path of a storm that at one point was one of the strongest storms we've seen all year. And of course, this is Chantu, now a Tropical Storm. Weakening quickly and much of the thunderstorm activity on the eastern side of it.

So Jeju Island, Busan, South Korea, portions of Japan get in on the west side of the storm, while the highest population density and the most populous city in China in Shanghai. On the backside on the drier end of it really just getting minimal thunderstorms. So better news and better outcome with this as the system just stay just offshore and kind of notice almost a signature here. A meandering of the storm before it decides to move on over the next 24 hours.

So quite a bit of rainfall. Almost all of it remaining offshore. That is excellent news. You don't often see that with tropical systems that are this close to a high population area. But of course still quite a bit of rainfall left in store for our friends across Japan. We do expect Osaka and to Nagano, we've seen some tremendous rainfall over the coming several days. Nicolas as you noted, just making landfall since I last spoke to you, Robyn.

Category one coming ashore across portions of the Matagorda region of South Texas. About 30 or so kilometers south of Houston and you take a look. We're talking about 75-mile per hour. So about 120 kilometers per hour at landfall. Storm surge should be right around 1-1/2 meters or as much as five feet. That is on those coastal communities from High Island to points southward. But the biggest threat is going to be the flash flooding threat.


JAVAHERI: And you don't often see a level four, a high risk zone for flooding across the U.S. In fact, only four percent of all days, see a level four issued and this is one of them. The last one we had was, of course, what happened across the northeastern U.S. with remnants of Ida. You saw the end result. The concern is tremendous amounts of rainfall in store, population in Houston, Metro, Robyn around seven million people and it's those urban environments that just cannot take the tremendous amount of water the storms like this have in store. So this is something we'll follow here over the next few hours.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks. We will check in with you. Pedram Javaheri there. Thanks for that update.

JAVAERHI: Thank you.

CURNOW: Now the western U.S. at least 80 large wildfires are currently burning across the region. The two largest fires are both raging in Northern California, combined the Caldor and Dixie fires have scorched more than a million acres of land. Nearly double the size of Rhode Island. U.S. President Joe Biden surveyed the damage from the wildfires on Tuesday, calling them a blinking Code Red for the nation when it comes to climate change.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't ignore the reality that these wildfires are being supercharged by climate change. It isn't about red or blue states. It's about fires, just fires.


CURNOW: Well, the President also made the case for his economic proposals which include funding for tackling climate change.


BIDEN: We have to think big, thinking small is a prescription for disaster. We're going to get this done, this nation is going to come together and we are going to beat this climate change.


CURNOW: The effects of climate change could force 216 million people to migrate within their own countries in the next 30 years. Now that's according to a new report from the World Bank. The report also found the world's poorest countries will be hit the hardest. It says immediate action needs to be taken to address the climate crisis if there's any hope of lowering those numbers.

Joining us from Vermont is Bill McKibben. He's the founder of and the author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Certainly tough reading this new report, What do you make of it? What strikes you first off?

BILL MCKIBBEN, FOUNDER, 350.ORG: Well, this is precisely what people have been warning about for a long time. And that we're beginning to see in real numbers. We're making the world a smaller place, Robyn. As the oceans rise there are people being driven off the coasts, as desert spread their people being driven out of the interiors, as wildfire becomes more potent, there are no go places along the interface between forest and town.

So the number of places humans can live is already smaller and will continue to shrink. And that kind of migration, both internal and between countries, is going to be one of the huge sources of friction on this planet in the century ahead. It's one of the reasons why we have to do everything we can to slow down the rise in the rate of temperature in order to limit this kind of just existential suffering.

CURNOW: Yes. I want to break down a lot of these points, let's just first start with migration. Clearly this is about internal migration within countries, it's also about crossing borders and populations changing. Where are the real hotspots here? MCKIBBEN: Well, I mean, you can find them all over the world. But take some of the examples we already see. A country like Bangladesh is very low to the ocean, the average height I think of the entire country is only about six meters above the Bay of Bengal. And so, farmland is being eroded and eaten away every day. And many millions of people have already had to leave their small homes.

And where do they end up? They end up in a cardboard box or a corrugated hut on the edge of the capital city. They've exchanged the life that they've known for many generations, for the kind of squalid and difficult urban life that's coming to define the future for too many people. You can see the same thing happened in areas that are desert defining, say, in the north of Africa where people have no choice but to go because it's gotten to dry.

Or you can watch the remarkable effects of natural disasters. The last two hurricanes of last year's busiest ever Atlantic hurricane season, crashed into Central America. The damage they did in say Honduras was profound. We think equivalent to about 40 percent of the GDP. There's lots of farmers there who can't get their produce to market anymore because there's no bridge to get it there.

So what are they do? Well maybe they move internally or maybe they head for the southern border of the US.


CURNOW: So there are three scenarios kind of from bad to worse. I mean, there, none of them are particularly good for climate migrants. What can we be looking at as the years unfold?

MCKIBBEN: Well, how bad this gets remains entirely dependent on what we do now. If we're able to hold the increase in temperature to the targets we set in Paris, say a degree and a half Celsius, then it will by no means a perfect world, but it may be a survivable one. If we allow things to go on their current trajectory, where the temperature of the planet goes up three degrees Celsius say, I think it's a very open question.

How our civilizations will be able to respond? Think of the chaos unleashed when people have to leave their homes and move. There's nothing more disruptive in the life of a person, in the life of a country or in the life of a region to have people pouring across borders. I mean, think about Bangladesh again, what is it next to India? Is there room in India for millions of people to move? Not really.

We're in a very, very tight and crowded world already. And we have to do everything we can to limit that damage.

CURNOW: So who is the we here? Where does responsibility for this lie?

MCKIBBEN: It definitely doesn't lie with the people in Bangladesh or the north of Africa, when you look at the tables, they haven't put enough carbon in the atmosphere to cause any global warming at all. It lies with those of us in the rich world in places like the United States. Four percent of humans are Americans but we've put 25 percent of the carbon into the atmosphere.

So, that's where the action has to come. And it has to come very, very fast. That's why these meetings in Glasgow will be so important. They're kind of last chance to allow us to rally the world to act on the scale we need in the time that physics is allowing us.

CURNOW: From Vermont, Bill McKibben, thank you very much for your sober assessment. Appreciate it. You're the founder of and the author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

MCKIBBEN: Thank you, Robyn.

CURNOW: Still to come here on CNN. China is ordering entire cities to be tested for coronavirus as it fights when authorities say is a severe and complicated outbreak linked to schools. We'll go live to Hong Kong next.



CURNOW: More than eight million people across two Chinese cities will be forced to undergo COVID testing due to an outbreak fueled by the Delta variant.


Our Kristie Lu Stout joins me now live from Hong Kong. With more on this.

Just talk us through what's been happening and what's behind this?


Now, look, in Southeast China cases of COVID-10 are spiking thanks to the highly infectious Delta variant. In fact, new local infections have doubled in the Province of Fujian. Today, China reported 59 new locally transmitted cases of the virus, it's up from 22, from a date earlier, all of them in Fujian. And the epicenter of this latest flare-up of infection is in the Fujian Province, City of Putian. A city of about 3.2 million people.

Chinese state-run media have reported that the first detected cases in this latest outbreak were from two primary school students. And in fact, this is being billed as the first school centered resurgence of COVID-19 in China, which is causing a lot of concern and alarm. And also, this strongly worded statement from the "Global Times," a state- run media tabloid, in which it called the latest outbreak, severe and complicated.

Let's bring up the statement for you. "Global Times" saying this, "The epidemic resurgence in Fujian as severe and complicated as early cases were clustered infections. And more cases from communities, schools and factories are likely to be detected and the risk of epidemic spills over to other places still existing" The rise of infections comes ahead of the October 1, National Day weeklong holiday. This is a huge driver domestic tourism and travel in China. We do know that officials in Putian are taking this flare-up of infection very seriously. Schools have been suspended, public venues like cinemas and libraries and museums have been closed. People have been told they are not allowed to leave unless it is absolutely necessary. Other measures had taken place in neighboring cities in Fujian like Xiamen, Tranjo (ph) as well. And as you reported at the top, now over 8 million people across Xiamen and Putian are being tested for COVID-19 in the coming days. Robyn?

CURNOW: Goodness. OK. Thanks so much. A real indication of the Delta variant and its impact. Live in Hong Kong here. Thank you so much. Kristie Lu Stout, thank you.

So, the British prime minister will announce the plan for managing the coronavirus pandemic through the autumn and the winter on Tuesday in U.K. Downing Street says the plan focuses on vaccines as the first line of defense, followed by testing, public health advice, monitoring for variants of the virus. The government is expected to unveil its booster shot program with the details of its rollout. The prime minister will also lay out plans to repeal previous emergency powers that had also been granted during the pandemic, such as applying restrictions to events and gatherings. Boris Johnson says, he thinks the country is well positioned heading into the next few months.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We've got to do everything that is right to protect the country. But the way things are going at the moment, we are very confident in the steps that we have taken. I will be seeing a lot more tomorrow,and I will be giving your full update for the plans for the autumn and the winter.


CURNOW: And, the U.K. will now be offering the first dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to young people age 12, to 15. Health officials say, kids will primarily receive their vaccine in schools with invitations for appointments set to begin next week.

In the meantime, the U.S. is still deciding whether to approve vaccine boosters for wide public use. The Food and Drug Administration will meet with Israeli scientists later on this week to find out about Israel's experience for administrating these booster shots. Elizabeth Cohen, in Tel Aviv and she has more on that.



JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We can and we will turn the tide of COVID- 19.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): President Biden anxious like all of us to get out of this pandemic. And to do that, he and his top health advisers are looking --

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTORU.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLEGORY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you look at the Israeli data, and they are about a month or so ahead of us and every aspect of this.

COHEN (voiceover): STOUT: -- to Israel. At the beginning of the year, the vaccination rollout started much more quicker in Israel than in the U.S. Dr. Ran Balicer is chair of Israel's COVID-19 National Expert Advisory Panel.

DR. RAN BALICER, CHAIRMAN, ISRAEL COVID-19 NATIONAL EXPERT ADVISORY PANEL: By the end of May, Israel thought it was out of the woods.

COHEN (voiceover): But even with a vigorous vaccination campaign, a dual threat arrived this summer. The Delta posed a challenged to the vaccine, and at the same time, the Israelis say that protection from the vaccine has started to wane overtime, becoming less effective. Cases in Israel now higher per capita than in the U.S. And that made Israel move quickly. They started administering booster shots, August 1st.

In the U.S., the FDA and the CDC are still reviewing boosters.

COHEN (on camera): Up until the booster shots, Israel waited for the FDA and for the CDC to chime in. But you just did boosters without the FDA and the CDC chiming in.


BALICER: I think it was a different level of urgency felt in the two countries. Decisions by the FDA have been made and we could have followed them. But in the situation that we were at, it is obviously that action was needed urgently, decisions need to be made.

COHEN (voiceover): Balicer and the other Israeli health officers are in constant contact of U.S. health officials, sharing data on COVID-19 after boosters.

BALICER: And with the third dose, they are much better protected against severe illness. So, this is one reason to go through with the booster campaign.

COHEN (voiceover): Now, while hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the U.S., the number of severe cases in Israel has plateaued recently. And per capita deaths in Israel are lower than in the U.S., offering a glimpse of what could happen if the U.S. take certain steps.

I was vaccinated in Israel and received my booster shot last week. And it's not just the boosters that are different. No paper vaccine cards here. Instead, electronic vaccine passports or (INAUDIBLE) in Hebrew, that have a QR code. Restaurants scan it and also ask for an ID to ensure it is really you before letting you win. Other rules also much stricter in Israel than in many parts of the U.S. Masks have to be worn indoors and at in large gatherings, university students have to be vaccinated or test negative every few days. Same for school teachers and staff. BALICER: All of this needs to be put in place and I think that booster are just one component of that, it is definitely not the one panacea that would solve all of the problems that we have in living with COVID-19.

COHEN (on camera): You say that we are going to live with COVID-19. So, you think COVID-19 is here to stay?

BALICER: I think COVID-19 is here to stay.

COHEN (voiceover): A word of warning from the Israelis, as the United States grapples with COVID-19 numbers that at this point seemed difficult to control.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Tel Aviv.


CURNOW: It is the final day of the voting in the recall election that will determine the fate of California governor, Gavin Newsom. We'll explain why it started and how the result could be felt across the U.S. not just in California.


CURNOW: We are just hours away from the polls closing in California where Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, is fighting to survive the effort to remove him from office. It is an election that could have national implications as evidenced by Joe Biden's appearance on the campaign trail.

Now, Michael Holmes explains how the recall got started and how the result could certainly be felt across the U.S.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The first question on the ballot is simple, should California governor, Gavin Newsom, be removed from office? In Tuesday's special election recall, California voters choose yes or no in more than 50 percent mark yes, the leader of America's most populous state would be unseated, making him one of only three governors in U.S. history to leave their post in this way.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Good morning, brothers and sisters and ladies --

HOLMES (voiceover): Now, Governor Newsom is trying to convince voters that he should keep his job.

NEWSOM: Are we going to vote no on this recall?


HOLMES (voiceover): It's a stark threat to the Democratic governor that began as a challenge for State Republicans. In June of last year, Newsom's opponents received approval for a petition to unseat him. Then, amid a raging coronavirus pandemic, Governor Newsom was seen in November at the dinner party of a prominent lobbyist, wearing no mask. While publicly he was telling residents to mask up and stay indoors. Newsom apologized, but backlash after that incident may have been pivotal in the petition's success.

Republicans collected more than 1.7 million signatures, enough to trigger a recall election in California. Soon the campaigning began.

LARRY ELDER, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: You are being betrayed. You are being used.

HOLMES (voiceover): Now, Newsom's chief opponent is this man. Larry Elder is a 69-year-old conservative talk show host turned political candidate. He is vowing to rollback California's coronavirus restrictions and repeal a mask and vaccine mandates.

ELDER: I'm not sure the scientists settled on that at all. And young people are not likely to contract coronavirus.

If I had known there would be so many people, I would prepare something to say.

HOLMES (voiceover): Elder's candidacy has been seen as somewhat controversial in California in part for his views on race and women. He has also been accused of domestic violence, an allegation he denies.

ELDER: I've always felt that minorities and women complain too much about racism and sexism.

HOLMES (voiceover): Still, Elder is among more than 40 of Newsom's challengers all hoping to become California's next governor. But Newsom has strong support from some of his party's most prominent members, including the U.S. president and vice president.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: They think if they can win in California, they can do this anywhere.

HOLMES (voiceover): Supporters are framing the special election as a challenge to liberal values across the country. Democrats fear that should Newsom lose, the impact could be far-reaching, potentially encouraging Republican-led recalls in other states and even jeopardizing the party's control of the U.S. Senate.

As Tuesday nears, Democrats said Republicans in the state and across the country will have to wait and see how many say yes and how many say now in California's recollection.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


CURNOW: Apple is now urging users to update their devices after a critical spyware vulnerability was discovered. The update fixes a flaw in the iMessage software that allows hackers to infiltrate a user's phone even without kicking on a lake. Now, that's according to the University of Toronto Citizen Lab, which credited with finding the vulnerability.

They say the last spyware where from an Israeli firm to infect the device. Researchers say it is already being used to spy on a Saudi activist.

And thanks for watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'm going to hand you over to World Sport, that's after the break.



PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: The Champions League is back, plus an NFL thriller to tell you about. But we do have a star-studded Monday night right here in the United States with so much of the focus right now homing in on British tennis sensation, Emma Raducanu. This after the 18-year-old's historic incredible U.S. Open triumph over the weekend in New York City.

Other superstars making an impact on this night and making a statement too. Japan's four-time Grand Slam champ and fashion icon, Naomi Osaka, in attendance here as the stars were out in force in a really impactful way. As I say, the American icon, Serena Williams, among those there in the big apple. As well as Canada 's beaten finalist, Leylah Fernandez in attendance at the Annual Fund Raising for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute.

Raduna with a win for the ages on Saturday, the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam tournament and her life now really has been changed forever. The 18-year-old taking to Instagram as she took a tour of NYC, adding the words, sightseeing in New York, never thought I would see this. Coolest thing. That's incredible imagery there.

Amazing to think, you know, that Raducanu was born in Canada to Romanian (ph) and Chinese parents, a 450 to 1 outside of playing in just her second Grand Slam.

Alex Thomas with more on her extraordinary meteoric rise.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT (voiceover): Emma Raducanu's U.S. Open tennis triumph was such a surprise that she had book flights from two weeks earlier and even her parents couldn't get to New York in time to see their teenage daughter lift one of the sport's most prestigious titles. Now, she's heading back across the Atlantic to Britain with a major trophy in her hands.

EMMA RADUCANU, TENNIS PLAYER: It still hasn't sunk in to be honest because after the match, I haven't really had a moment to just stop and embrace everything that just happened. But, yes, I can't wait to enjoy and celebrate. And then, when I get back home to see everyone at home, it's been seven weeks away now. So, to go home, I'm just really excited to see my family and friends.

THOMAS (voiceover): Raducanu's dad is from Romania and her mom was raised in China. Emma was born in Canada and then moved to the U.K. when she was two. It's a global sporting success story spanning three different continents but began in unremarkable fashion.

THOMAS (on camera): This is Emma Raducanu's first school in leafy Southeast London suburbs. It's not especially a sports academy for gifted athletes, it's just a primary or elementary school run by the local authority. Emma was five when she first picked up a tennis racket, and her parents took her to a local club to see if she had the talent for sports.

THOMAS (voiceover): Her first coach remembers what mount (ph) her out from the rest.

HARRY BUSHNELL, TENNIS COACH, THE PARKLANGLEY CLUB: Her work rate, her commitment. She's always a very disciplined girl. I mean, I know it sounds crazy to say when she six years of age, you know, she's disciplined and committed. But she made every training session, you know, you never had to ask her to work hard. She listened really well. And most things she did first-time of asking. And if she didn't, she went away and practiced. And you could bet your bottom dollar that the next time you did see her, she could do whatever it was she couldn't in the session before.

THOMAS (voiceover): Raducanu had to qualify just to get into the U.S. Open. She was a 450-1 outsider, and ranked 150th in the world. Yet one the event without dropping a single set. Jumping from (INAUDIBLE) celebrations at the Parklangley Club, Raducanu is already inspiring youngsters hoping to follow her footsteps.

THOMAS (on camera): What do you like about her tennis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's where she does really good shots and she never gives up.

THOMAS: When you see Emma win a big tournament like that, does it inspire you?


THOMAS: Would like to do what Emma does?


THOMAS (voiceover): Raducanu started the year as a teenage student ranked 345th in the world who had never played in a Grand Slam tournament before. Now, she is the next big thing in women's tennis with more than 1.6 million Instagram followers and a potential to earn tens of millions of dollars a year.

RAVI UBHA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, TENNIS WRITER AND COMMEDATOR: Your upside in terms of the commercial sponsorship is tremendous. She comes from a big, big market domestically in the U.K. and the numbers is being thrown around, around 20 million pounds, around $30 million already in terms of what she might be able to amas. She's with a big agency, IMG. And when you think of her background, Alex, not only the U.K. but she's -- you know, her mom was Chinese. She speaks mandarin. The upside in terms of that, the marketing is huge for her.

THOMAS (voiceover): Raducanu has also had the royal's seal of approval, with one of the first messages of congratulations coming from the queen who wrote, it is a remarkable achievement at such a young age and as testament to your hardwork and dedication.

Alex Thomas, CNN.


SNELL: An amazing story that is only just getting started.

All right. Now, onto football's European Champions League back up and running with eight fixes on the slate for later on today. In a moment, looking ahead to that big blockbuster between Barcelona and FC Bayern.

But we start with Cristiano Ronaldo (INAUDIBLE) who traveled to Switzerland, CR7, netting twice over the weekend against Newcastle. His second debut for the English Giants. Start of the high-profile move back to the Premiere League from Italian's (INAUDIBLE) Juventus. Ronaldo, the Champions League's all-time leading scorer named in the United's much improved score these days thanks to the recent summer window. As the Red Devils face Swiss Super League champs, Young Boys, in Berna.


OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER: We're getting the spine and the T and you can see with experience and quality. And of course, with Rafael and Cristiano coming in, they are that last -- not last bit, of course. You can never say if it's the last bit. But they added something extra that we didn't -- you have to buy unless you win it four times yourself. So, we've learned. We definitely learned. The group is special. I have to say. As unit, they look after each other. The atmosphere is really good. And that's going to stand us in good, definitely.


SNELL: We shall see. Well, Lionel Messi, of course, these days for Barcelona as the (INAUDIBLE) Giants go head-to-head with Bayern Munich. These two giants are continent crowned kings of Europe, 11 times between them. The superstar, Argentine (ph), now, of course, with Paris Saint-Germain who they play Club Brugge on Wednesday.

The last few months though have seen a total upheaval at Barcelona as the current squad try to pick up the pieces following the South American's departure. Messi's heading to the French capital to the club's massive financial issues, despite the player himself willing to take a 50 percent pay cut in order to remain at the place where he grew up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SERGIO BUSQUETS, BARCELONA CAPTAIN (through translator): I was in a state of shock. For all that Lio was for Barce, for all that he was personally for me, for my family and his family, and accumulation of difficult feelings to digest, but it was not up to us. Things happen like that. It was hard, but now, as I've said before, we must try to turn the page. We're doing that, and we are at the beginning of the season. So, there's a lot left. But we have to get used to it and try to play without Lio with all that he meant to us individually and collectively.

RONALD KOEMAN, BARCELONA COACH (through translator): We have had some big changes in the team, and of course, we need time. Nowadays, in football, they don't give you much time. You have to step up. You have to change things. And I think that's why it's an interesting match where we can draw good conclusions about who we are against a strong rival.


SNELL: FC Bayern, of course, handing our Barce's worst ever European defeat when they trounced the (INAUDIBLE) 8-2 in quarters in Lisbon last year. Here's what else is on tap for later on this day. Elsewhere, we got defending champions Chelsea of England. They open up against Russia's Zenit St. Petersburg. And Max Allegri's Juventus, they could do with a win, couldn't they, to kick start their season. They face Sweden's Malmo later.

Ahead on World Sport today, a goal to save Everton fans in the English Premier League, and what Andros Townsend is now saying about the very special person who inspired it.


SNELL: And tonight, football from England's Premier League now on the gold. You just have to see from Everton's home fixture with Burnley, the Clarets take the lead in this. But with a score one all, this outstanding strike from (INAUDIBLE) Andros Townsend, a spectacular hit from range that swerves and sores majestically into the back of visitor's the net. No saving that one, Nick Pope. And then, a minute later, they grab their third of the night. Demarai Gray racing through the (INAUDIBLE) men in total control. Everton, in fact, with that three goals in six minutes to turn the game on its head. Townsend though with a goal of the night, which is wait until you hear who inspired it.


ANDROS TOWNSEND, EVERTON MIDFIELDER (voiceover): I have to give a shoutout my mom here because during the week, she sent me a compilation video of all my goals. And she keeps them altogether. Told me I need to believe in myself again, and I think you saw that with this goal here. It was rolling back the years. And I've got that in the locker. I just need to be able (INAUDIBLE) on more consistent basis. And hopefully, like I said, with the manager out here, I can keep getting the right positions and score more goals and get more assists for his historic football cup. [02:55:00]

SNELL: And amazing goal. OK. Onto Monday night football. Now, of a different kind as we check in on the NFL. The start of this new season. And a special occasion indeed for fans of the Las Vegas Raiders packed into the team's state of the art, the $2 billion Allegiance Stadium for the very first. A stadium off limits to them of course.

Well, last year, this was due to the ongoing global pandemic. This, the CNN, ahead of the game with the Baltimore Ravens fans enjoying the special moment. Fans of all ages, it would seem. The match itself will be decided on overtime. Pick up the action on third and (INAUDIBLE) bringing down the mark action but forcing a fumble setting up the Raiders for the chance to win it, and the Raiders taking full advantage that touchdown tossed from (INAUDIBLE) send Las Vegas to 33 points to 27 victory over Baltimore. The Raiders win it, and that is music to the ears of those fans there inside that very stadium.

An absolute Thriller Monday night football here in the U.S.

Thank you so much for joining us this day. But before we leave, it was a weekend the first time winners at the U.S. Open and at the Spruce Meadows Masters as well where 39 year old, Steve Guerdat, took victory at the one he's always wanted. Here's more in our Rolex Minute for you.


Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm rosemary church. The global appeal to help a war