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China: Tsai's Speech Incites Violence and Distorts Facts; Polls Close in Iraq's Parliamentary Election; Talks in Doha: U.S. Calls Talks with Taliban "Candid & Professional"; San Jose Apologizes for Past Racism Against Chinese; Extreme Weather: Severe Weather Across Sothern Plains; William Shatner's Space Flight Delayed Due to High Winds. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 11, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United State and all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom" and newsroom and I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, America's health director, with a message for the hesitant. COVID-19 vaccines could be God's way of sending help.
Frustration and finger-pointing within the Democratic Party. President Biden's low poll numbers causing friction as elections loom and agenda items stall.
Plus, beam me up, William Shatner bracing to boldly go where no star trick actor has gone before.
Good to have you with us. Well, the U.S. has reason for optimism in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as data shows the country is gaining ground. Only five states saw cases jump more than 10 percent over the week before.
Two-thirds of eligible Americans as ages 12 and up are now fully vaccinated. And shots for those aged 5 to 11 maybe on the horizon. Rates of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are all headed down. But, experts warn, now is not the time for Americans to lower their defenses. Here is National Institutes of Health director, Dr. Francis Collins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Kind of like if your house was on fire and delta had set it on fire, and now we could say, okay, the fire is under control. It's not time to run back in and pretend like nothing is going on. We still have some work to do here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Dr. Collins also had a message for those who say they are unvaccinated because of religion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: If you prayed to God to give you protection against COVID- 19, and along comes these vaccines, created by science, which God has given us the ability to do, and they are incredibly safe and effective, maybe that was the answer to the prayer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Polo Sandoval now with more on the coronavirus in the U.S.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Big picture, COVID rates are on the decline across most of the United States -- 45 states according to Johns Hopkins University which tracks these figures, saw either a decline or remain relatively steady over the weekend in terms of the number of new cases.
Five states to look out for though, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, reporting at least a 10 percent increase in COVID cases in the past week compared to the previous week. Nationally, the U.S. seeing about 95,000 new infections a day. It's actually pretty good considering that that number had not dipped below 100,000 for at least a couple of months.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that we are certainly going in the right direction, but the number of infections, new infections daily, that is still too high. And the number of vaccinated Americans is still not high enough. So, what we heard from over the weekend, he basically warned against declaring a premature victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We have to just be careful that we don't prematurely declare victory. In many respects, we still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated. And even those who have been vaccinated, I mean, you want to look forward to holiday seasons and spending time with your family and doing those sorts of things. But don't just throw your hands up and say it's all over.
(END VIDEO CLIP))
SANDOVAL: By now, roughly three and four eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Pfizer, for its part, continue its efforts to secure emergency use authorization to use its vaccine on children ages 5 to 11. Meaning for now, their parents are basically stuck in a waiting game as the CDC vaccine advisory panel not expected to meet until early November. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And we are joined now by Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, an internal medicine specialist and viral researcher in Los Angeles. Thank you doctor for talking with us and for all that you do. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INERNAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST & VIRAL RESEARCHER: My
pressure as always.
CHURCH: So, we are seeing COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, come down in the U.S., but Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins saying now is not the time to let our guard down. Collins even telling anti-vaxers these vaccines maybe God's way of sending help. But still the unvaccinated push back the time when other nations have reached must higher vaccination rates than the U.S. How concerned are you that the U.S. is going to be left behind here?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, I'm always concerned that we become a little bit too complacent. And we think that because things are better that means that things are completely gone and they're not. We're still at a much higher baseline than we were a year ago when we had that winter surge.
So, I don't want to pooh-pooh the fact that the surge is starting to minimize. But let's learn from what happened just even a few months ago when in June we thought, hey, everything is fine, let's take off our masks. And what happened? We had another huge surge. We had a variant that came around.
So, the key word is cautious optimism where we have to come outside, it's still drizzling, but we can't really just take off our galoshes and just go running around because it's still raining. It's still raining.
CHURCH: Good analogy there. And doctor, COVID infections across the country are down 40 percent since the peak last month, which of course, as you've said, very encouraging -- cautious optimism. But we are seeing higher infection rates in some of those colder states and particularly in the north where temperatures are colder and vaccination rates are lower. Does that worry you that the situation could worsen again once winter comes and sets in? If more people don't get vaccinated and should there be more vaccine mandates in place because we know they do work?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, yes, it does worry me because the winter is going to be another surge. It's just a question of how big is it. And Rosemary, I really don't like the word mandate. I know we use it all the time. I think it's a requirement. Nobody is guaranteed a job, but if you want certain jobs, you are required, if they so wish, for you to take a vaccination.
It's so authoritarian, but the truth is that requiring vaccinations decreases infection, improves health and actually improves what we want, which is freedom and then the economic freedom to go work and to enjoy our families and our vacations. So, these requirements will work and I hope, actually, that more of them are proposed by different corporations and the government.
CHURCH: And doctor, Merck's COVID pill is awaiting FDA emergency authorization, which could take some time. But once that happens, how much of a game-changer could those antiviral pills prove to be if they become available in the midst of winter?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, they would be a game-changer in preventing illness that becomes very bad and preventing deaths. I want people to be very clear. These pills do not prevent you from getting COVID. They are to be used in the early stages of an infection once you have it. The prevention of COVID is still the same as we've said. You have to be distant. You have to wear a mask and you have to get a vaccine. That's what really helps.
But the great thing about these pills, and they are going to be a game-changer, is that you -- if you get early symptoms, you can start taking them for five days and your chances of getting seriously ill or dying are markedly decreased.
CHURCH: Absolutely. And of course, first thing to do though is get vaccinated, right. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, thank you so much for talking with us.
RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure.
CHURCH: Well, as the world recovers from a knockout blow of the pandemic, one major city that is emerging from lockdowns is Sydney. Fully vaccinated residents can now go to pubs, gyms, restaurants, and shops. More than five million people have been in strict lockdown since June. But officials lifted measures after hitting a 70 percent vaccination rate. The premier of New South Wales says if everyone does their part, they can open up even more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC PERROTTETT, NEW SOUTH WALES PREMIER: Well, it's a big day for our state. And to everyone across New South Wales, you've earned it. It's been 100 days of blood, sweat, and no beers but we've got it. If we personal responsibility, we will get through this difficult time. It's a time of optimism, it's a time of hope, but we know that business confidence was crucial in getting our economy through last year, but importantly, we need to do it in a safe way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And CNN producer Angus Watson joins me now live from Sydney, with more. Angus, good to see you there on very rainy day in Sydney. Worth noting that Australia was very slow to get started with COVID shots, but now has a higher vaccination rate than other nations like the United States. And after nearly four months of lockdown, Sydney is now, enjoying what they're calling freedom day. So what has been the latest reaction across the city on this and of course across the country?
ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Rosemary. The weather, suddenly isn't playing fair today, but it is freedom day. A day of relief, a day of hope. There you heard from the New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, Sydney is free after 106 days in lockdown. People able now to go to visit friends and family in their homes.
[02:09:57] To have a meal in a restaurant. To go to the gym. And they are very, very pleased to be doing so, Rosemary.
Of course, it's been a long winter. You mentioned their vaccination rates, Australia's vaccination rates and Sydney's vaccination rates as well were very low when this delta outbreak began in June. It began with just one case -- 60,000 cases later, this outbreak has accounted for. As those cases have mounted, so to have the vaccination rates.
Australia has sold the supply and the hesitancy issues that it had with COVID-19 vaccines. It's got them in arms now, and Sydney is the first city that's lived with the delta outbreak this year to go into this now new living with COVID scenario.
So, a little bit of an experiment here. The rest of the country is looking at how Sydney will deal with this. Will hospitals be overrode as now the society opens up and people start to celebrate their freedom? As you know, Canberra, the federal capital of Australia and Victoria, remain lockdown as their vaccination rates creep up to try to catch up with Sydney.
Their leaders have said that they'll open up, too, but for now, Sydney is partying. We were at a pub earlier that was giving out free beers. The Angel Hotel here in central Sydney, here's what the manager had to say to me, very hopeful that with a higher vaccination rate that he'll be able to stay open. Rosemary?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I think we're lucky that Australia has actually got a higher vaccination rate than what the U.K. does at a minute, which has been great. People have been jumping on it, which is excellent for us. We're going to hit 80 percent next week which is really good.
UNKNOWN: The pub is way better than drinking in your own house. 106 days? In my house? It's nothing compared to the pub.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: So there you heard some people having a lot of fun today on freedom day. The next goals will come as Australia and Sydney's vaccination rates climb. We are hoping to see the borders between states that have COVID like New South Wales and Victoria and states that don't have COVID like say West Australia and Queensland, we're hoping those borders will come down over the next few months hopefully as vaccination rates around the country meet.
And of course, the next step, Rosemary, is getting Australia back open to the rest of the world. Australia has done well with keeping the cases down as best as possible by closing those borders. Many people here in Australia including the government of states and territories and the federal government saying it's time now to open up to the rest of the world. Hopefully, that happens next month, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. I mean, those were very draconian lockdowns, but very impressive vaccination rates. Angus Watson bringing us the very latest live from the very wet Sydney. Appreciate it.
Well, dozens of countries are coming off of the U.K.'s list of restricted travel destinations. Effective Monday, 47 nations and territories will be removed from the so-called red list. The move comes just ahead of the half term school holidays in the U.K. Now, only seven countries remain on that red list. Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Well, Southwest Airlines is apologizing after a weekend of widespread flight cancellations leaving some flight crews without hotel rooms and passengers frustrated. The airline said a third day of cancellations was caused by issues that started Friday. More than a thousand flights were canceled Sunday morning.
Southwest blames the mess on disruptive weather and aircraft control issues. But, the Federal Aviation Administration is pushing back saying, it hasn't had any staffing shortages since Friday.
Well, President Biden's poll numbers have taken a hit. Coming up, the challenge that's posing for one Virginia Democrat who is just weeks away from an election.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. While the dropping U.S. President Joe Biden's approval ratings has one Democrat worried about his own election chances three weeks from now. Terry McAuliffe is running for governor in Virginia. He is downplaying a recent remark that he has to overcome the presidents lagging support in the state. But he is calling on Democrats to stop the infighting and pass the infrastructure bill. Joe Johns has details.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If there's one thing that comes through about Terry McAuliffe's comments, is that he's frustrated. It's a frustration shared by many Democrats in similar situations around the country due to the president's low polling numbers. For Terry McAuliffe of course, it's a different issue simply because he comes from Virginia. He's a former governor from Virginia and is a state that has been trending blue over the past several years.
This race is also considered a bellwether looking forward toward the midterm elections. Add all of that up, Terry McAuliffe ended up venting on a call with supporters. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR VA GOVERNOR: We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington as you know, the president is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia. So, we have got to plow through.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNS: On Sunday on "State of the Union" CNN's Dana Bash asked Terry McAuliffe about his comments. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: As you well know, you're talking about the Democratic president you've helped elect.
BASH: And Democratic-controlled Congress.
MCAULIFFE: You bet.
BASH: So you're frustrated with your own party. Are they dragging you down?
MCAULIFFE: You bet I'm frustrated.
BASH: Are they dragging you down?
MCAULIFFE: It's not dragging me down. I worry about the people of Virginia --
BASH: But in your race?
MCAULIFFE: -- who want family medical leave, who want --
BASH: They're making it harder for you.
MCAULIFFE: You know, I won a race in minimum wage.
BASH: They're making it harder for you.
MCAULIFFE: You know, harder or not, I mean, people understand what I'm doing, my plans, my 20 big plans to take Virginia to the next level. SO, they're going to vote for me, but there is frustration, Dana, all over the country. We just want action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: So what does the White House say about the president's drop in approval numbers? Press Secretary Jen Psaki blames it on COVID and the delta variant and the spillover effect between the pandemic, the labor market, and the economy. Joe Johns, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.
CHURCH: Joining me now is CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. Great to have you with us. So, John, Democratic nominee for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe says President Biden's low popularity is dragging him down and blames the party's inability to pass the stalled infrastructure and social spending bills. Is that what's causing Mr. Biden's approval rating to fall as low as 38 percent according to Quinnipiac Poll or is there more to this falling support do you think?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I do think there's more to it. This is something that has been going on for a couple of months now. President Biden has been taking on water in his popularity. The biggest driver of that decline is the resurgence of the coronavirus, the delta variant.
President Biden got very high marks for much of the year and kept his overall approval above 50 percent because people saw normal life returning. Saw the vaccination campaign that he was pushing making progress. And what's happened over the summer is that people felt a sense of disappointment and felt that we were going backwards because of the rise in cases.
And that took a toll on President Biden's sense of command of the situation. Then you have the Afghanistan withdrawal which of course produced a lot of chaotic difficult images, bad stories for President Biden. That weighed him down even further.
Now, what President Biden needs to do going forward is take advantage of the new decline in COVID cases. He's pushing a harder for mandatory vaccines. That's something that if that vaccination campaign picks up, and he can overcome some of that remaining resistance to vaccines, he's got a better chance of restoring some confidence in his management of COVID.
And the other thing is you alluded to is he's got to get that program, that economic program through the Congress. He's got both an infrastructure bill and a larger social safety net bill, both of those things if the president can show that he can unify the Democratic Party, get those things done, he will have a more positive regard for his leadership.
CHURCH: Yes, because it has to be said, I mean, those divisions within the Democratic Party, they are not helping President Biden's immense struggles here. Did they realize that their efforts to go blindly after their own agenda with the moderates or progressives run the risk of sinking Joe Biden's chances of success in 2022 and ultimately 2024? How close are they to reaching some level of agreement on those two critical bills?
HARWOOD: I think they have known all along, Rosemary, that when you have margins as narrow as the Democrats have, zero margin for error in the Senate. If they want to get something done that Republicans oppose, which is most things, they have to get all 50 Democrats on the same page. And they've got a couple who are of a distinctly different views than the rest of the caucus, the overwhelming majority caucus. Same as true in the House.
They can only lose three votes in the House and get their program through. That means that any faction within the party can hold up progress. It's been very difficult. They did get the bipartisan infrastructure plan through the Senate. That's awaiting action in the House.
Progressives wanted to hold that up as leverage to try to encourage the moderates to support their social safety net bill. I do think they are closer than they were a month ago and the negotiations have really kicked into gear between those progressives and the moderates. Democrats are looking at the month of October as a rough window for
when they can get this done. And I think the odds are still in Joe Biden's favor that by the end of the month he should be able to have some sort of agreement or deal across the Democratic Party.
CHURCH: Right. And of course, that Quinnipiac poll that we mentioned shows that of all the main issues being tackled right now, President Biden received 48 percent support for his handling of the pandemic. But immigration is his weakest issue with only 25 percent support for his handling of what's happening right now at the southern border. It is a tough issue to win isn't it? But what does he need to do to try and turn this around?
HARWOOD: It's an extremely tough issue as you mentioned, especially for the Democratic Party. You know, when you're the president and you're setting the agenda, you want to focus on things that unite your party rather than divide the party.
And immigration is one of those things that there is a segment of democratic voters who are very unfavorably inclined toward rising levels of legal and illegal immigration. And so Joe Biden needs to try to both restore control of the border, which is something that a president only has some amount of control over because you've got a lot of people who want to come into the United States.
But also de-emphasize the issue. That's why he has not been -- he's not gone to the border for example, because he's trying not to raise attention to that issue. While they do try and change some of Donald Trump's policies, they haven't change them entirely. And so that's going to remain a tough one for Biden and he is going to have to manage that the best he can.
CHURCH: John Harwood, great to talk with you. Appreciate it.
HARWOOD: You bet.
CHURCH: There's a legal fight brewing between Poland and the European Union, and many in Poland are taking to the streets to show where they stand. CNN's Kim Brunhuber has more.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flags of Poland and the European Union flying side by side in Warsaw. Organizers say tens of thousands of Poles (ph) filled Castle Square on Sunday in a show of unity with the E.U. chanting "We are Staying." The crowd's message was clear, they want Poland to remain a member of the E.U.
UNKNOWN: We want to stay in the European Union because we feel stronger and we hope there will be no disparity (ph) if we are in.
UNKNOWN: I am here for Poland. I am here for my children. One of them is my -- is with me here and I don't believe we can ever leave Europe. BRUNHUBER (voice-over): On Thursday, a ruling by Poland's highest
court challenged one of the cornerstones of that relationship. The court said Polish law supersedes other sources of law including some of those set by the E.U. It's a landmark ruling praised by the country's right wing nationalist government.
The prime minister says other member states have had similar rulings that concluded "E.U. institutions sometimes go beyond the powers conferred on them in the treaties by colliding with national constitutional rights." Still, he says that "all obligations under European Union law remain in force."
But the move sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Donald Tusk, a former European Council chief and leader of the country's main opposition group urged people to turn out for the protests.
DONALD TUSK, POLISH OPPOSITION LEADER (through translation): I say this today that even if I have to be alone, I would stand and raise this alarm because it is a matter of our future. The future of our children and grandchildren.
BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Relations between Brussels and Warsaw have been strained since the law and justice party came to power six years ago. The party has introduced reforms to the judiciary it says it will make courts more efficient, but the E.U. says could threaten judicial independence.
Some critics fear that Thursday's court ruling could be a first step towards Polexit or Poland leaving the E.U., a prospect the government calls fake news.
That's something protesters say they're adamantly opposed to. The E.U. says it will use all of its power to enforce the rules of the bloc and could come off sending more funds to Poland over the court's decision. Kim Brunhuber, CNN.
CHURCH: Coming up on "CNN Newsroom," Taiwan marks its national day as tensions with mainland China remain high. We will hear how the islands president is responding to comments from China's Xi Jinping. Back with that in just a moment.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: China is lashing out on Taiwan's president saying, her speech during the island's National Day celebration, distorted facts and incited violence. President Tsai Ing- wen, spoke Sunday, amid heightened tensions with Beijing, saying the self-governing island will defend its democratic way of life and won't bow to pressure. Now, this came one day after China's president vowed to pursue a peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) XI JINPING, THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, President (via translator): No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and the ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The complete reunification of our country will be and can be realized.
TSAI ING-WEN, TAIWAN PRESIDENT (via translator): We hope for an easing of cross-strait relations and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And CNN's Ivan Watson is tracking developments. He joins us now live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Ivan. So we have been watching this tension between China and Taiwan intensify. How bad is this right now? And what is the biggest concern for the region if this gets out of hand?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, it's a war breaking out. But Sunday underscores the fundamental kind of collapse in logic between Taiwan and Mainland China. Taiwan celebrating its National Day holiday, and Beijing says the Taiwan has no right to any sovereignty, that it is a breakaway region of China. And it is it has been since 1949.
Now, the Taiwanese president basically responded to renewed pressure from the Chinese leader to basically rejoin Mainland China and submit to Communist Party - one party rule saying, no, we're not going to do that. And she described Taiwan as the frontline in the defense of democracy against growing authoritarianism around the world.
Take a listen to what else she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ING-WEN (via translator): Nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And the Chinese government is saying this talk of sovereignty, basically is the biggest threat to peace in the Taiwan Straits, and the Chinese government is accusing the Taiwanese president of being a secessionist and for doing provocations against China.
On Sunday, China flew three warplanes, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. On Saturday, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for peaceful reunification of these two territories. The dispute continues. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Ivan Watson monitoring that situation from Hong Kong. Appreciate it. Well, the polls are now closed in Iraq's early parliamentary elections, but observers say the turnout is far from encouraging. A live report from Baghdad next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA KRISTINE, HUMANITARIAN PHOTOGRAPHER: The beauty of the photograph is that when people do view the images, they have that visceral response. And I think when we can see an image of a fellow brother or sister around the world, and we connect to that person, it brings it home, it makes it personal.
My name is Lisa Kristine, and I'm a humanitarian photographer. I believe that we can all do something to help in the fight against slavery.
Something that really stands out to me is my experience that I had on Lake Volta in Ghana, where thousands of kids are enslaved in the fishing villages. The kids there work inordinate amount of hours on an enormous body of water. Although, they're not taught how to swim, they are fishing and pulling in nets, and it's pretty intense out there on that lake.
There's a young boy named Kofi who I met at a shelter. He had actually very recently been rescued. And I made this particular image out of well, where this young boy was bathing, and he has all these water droplets on his face. But the thing that really stands out to me is that some months later, I learned that he had been reunited with his family. and then he got to go to school. And I think what, who is he going to become because somebody took a stand for him.
MICHAEL IGNUI, BAXT INGNUI ARCHITECTS: What's exciting about taking houses that were built anywhere from the 1800s to the 1920s. And doing a passive house is you're really breathing new life into these homes. You've got these beautiful old homes, and they really perform horribly.
Passive house is just a better box. It's no different from a thermos. You have sealed walls, which don't let the air infiltration through, that don't let dust, pollen, bugs, mice, and a lot of other things through. Passive houses also include a fresh air system which provides filtered fresh air 24/7. It's a pretty wild approach to think that you can actually save the environment while having a better home. It just changes the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, polls are now closed in Iraq and preliminary results in the country's parliamentary election are expected in the coming hours. We're hearing the turnout was low. And analysts say, voters just aren't confident any real change can be created at the ballot box despite a push from protesters to hold these elections early.
More now from CNN's Sam Kiley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Polling has now closed in Iraq's general elections. These elections were called early by Prime Minister Kadhimi in response to the widespread demonstrations that gripped the country in 2019. They resulted in the deaths of at least 600 people and the disappearances of dozens of others.
Those disappearances - political disappearances, blamed on militia groups and the parties, behind them very often, Shia groups but also Sunni, too. And there's no chance really in the view of most commentators looking at these elections that the new sectarian dispensation that will follow these elections will look very different to the one that preceded it.
Now that is going to be a bitter disappointment to those demonstrators who demanded a change of government and end to corruption, an end to unemployment, and above all, an end to Iranian influence. That influence likely to continue with the expectation being that significant Shia party blocks are going to be, if not dominant, then dominating a great deal of Iraqis political future.
Particularly, though, eyes will be on the role of Muqtada al-Sadr, because while he is the leader of what is likely to be the biggest Shia block, he has rejected the heavy Iranian influence over his country in the last few years.
Having in the past, been backed by them, he's now been leaning a lot more towards a more ecumenical approach in terms of international relations, even talk To the Americans and trying to encourage Iraq's participation in world affairs in a new way following on his own militias resistance against the American led intervention in his country some years ago.
So a key player to watch, but in the rest of the way that the 329 seats are likely to be distributed, there is assumed to be a predictable, almost set piece of demonstration of the sectarian nature of the Iraqi nation with a number of seats going to Kurdish parties, Sunni parties, and of course, the very large Shia blocks.
Sam Kiley, CNN in Abu Dhabi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The United States is calling weekend talks with Taliban representatives candid and professional. A U.S. delegation traveled to Doha for the talks which focused on safe passage for U.S. citizens, former Afghan partners and foreign nationals, as well as direct humanitarian assistance and human rights issues. The U.S. says the Taliban will be judged on their actions, not just their words.
For our international viewers, WORLD SPORT is coming up next. And for those of you here in the United States, I'll be back after a short break with more news. Do stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the 100 Club. Our look at companies that are 100 years old or older.
Visit a bar or pub anywhere in the world and chances are it has an Anheuser-Busch product on tap. It may be one of the largest brewing companies in the world today, but it started small in 19th Century Middle America, St. Louis, Missouri.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1852, there was a brewery name as the Bavarian Brewery. Eberhard Anheuser was one of the chief creditors of the brewery and he acquired it in 1860. And then later Adolphus Busch joined about 1864 and then ultimately became Anheuser-Busch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The company grew and prospered through the turn of the 20th Century, before facing what would become its greatest challenge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prohibition started on January 16, 1920. It was a time in our country's history where we couldn't brew our primary product.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The company adapted by turning to nonalcoholic beverages. Company's CEO Michel Doukeris says rising to the challenge is part of the corporate DNA.
MICHEL DOUKERIS, CEO ANHEUSER-BUSCH: We ran through warm we went through prohibition. We went to all the financial crisis that the country in the world faced and the company has been always adapting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: It has taken more than a century, but San Jose, California is finally apologizing for decades of discrimination and violence against Chinese immigrants, that includes the destruction of the city's Chinatown's in the late 1800s.
CNN's Natasha Chen spoke with community members and those whose families were affected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This ceremony late last month in San Jose, California marked a moment more than 130 years in the making.
MAYOR SAM LICCARDO, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: The City of San Jose apologizes to all Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to San Jose and were victims of systemic and institutional racism.
CHEN (voice-over): As part of the city's attempt to combat rising anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, this formal apology acknowledges San Jose's role in passing anti-Chinese policy in the late 1800s, including a declaration of Chinatown as a public nuisance, issuing orders for its residents to leave, leading to an arson in May of 1887 that destroyed the thriving community of 1,400 people.
CONNIE YOUNG YU, LOCAL HISTORIAN: We are walking on the site of Market Street Chinatown.
CHEN (voice-over): Connie Young Yu grandfather was a teenager at the time who immigrated from China to San Jose.
YU: And there was this feeling already that the Chinatown was - that they'd have to leave. But I don't think they expected a fire.
CHEN (voice-over): The San Francisco Daily Examiner reported on the fire, calling it "San Jose's Joy." Young Yu says her grandfather was working in the fields that day.
YU: They could see smoke. This was really a sense of doom, because after the fire, then what? Are they going to come after the individuals?
CHEN (voice-over): She described how her grandfather used to be chased, had rocks thrown at him, echoing some of the anti-Asian attacks seen during the pandemic.
RAUL PERALEZ, SAN JOSE COUNCILMEMBER: We were hearing rhetoric coming down from our federal government, as we know our past president, that was really, I think, encouraging a lot of this hate and these hate crimes that were occurring.
CHEN (voice-over): Councilmember Ronald Peralez says similarly, city leadership in the 1880s set the tone for anti-Chinese attacks then, all with a backdrop of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act passed to prevent Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens.
PERALEZ: I was not aware of really how bad it got. And through this process, we've been able to expose that.
CHEN (voice-over): The city even denied permits for rebuilding after the fire. Those subsequent Chinatown's eventually emerged.
CHEN (on camera): About 100 years later, during the construction of this hotel, the Fairmont, people discovered artifacts that had survived the fire, a painful reminder of the city's past.
GERRYE WONG, FOUNDER, CHINESE HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL PROJECT IN SAN JOSE: They found what life was like. They, obviously, had toothbrushes, they had kitchen utensils. They even had whiskey bottles.
CHEN (voice-over): When these pieces were found at the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project with Gerrye Wong at the helm. WONG: Finding pieces like this, it was just like opening a horizon of what was life like are those people.
CHEN (voice-over): The museum shows a timeline of San Jose's five Chinatowns. After the arson, the Chinese rebounded into a new community called Heinlenville. This museum building is a replica of the last standing structure from that final Chinatown. Only this altar is original.
That neighborhood today is full of construction cranes. The new development will include a park named after Heinlenville. At a time when anti-Asian hate has surfaced again, that gesture along with the city's resolution and apology, mean more to the community than a piece of paper.
CHEN (on camera): This is a record of the city's role in promoting a real climate of hate around - against the Chinese immigrants.
WONG: And also a record of resistance.
CHEN (voice-over): A story of rebuilding and repairing.
WONG: It's a sense of overcoming.
CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, San Jose, California.
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CHURCH: A man is dead after police in Los Angeles County say he drove his truck onto a sidewalk and nearly hit several pedestrians. He then struck a tree and crashed into a building. That's when police say bystanders pulled him from his vehicle and allegedly beat him to death.
When officers got to the scene they found him dead. His identity has not been released. The car owner (ph) is working to determine the exact cause of death.
Well now to St. Paul, Minnesota where the community is struggling to understand how a night on the town turn deadly. Gunfire erupted early Sunday morning in a popular restaurant and bar district. One woman in her 20s was killed. Another 14 people were injured. Police have arrested three suspects, but as CNN's Adrienne Broaddus reports, they're still working to figure out why this happened.
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ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One woman is dead and at least 14 others injured after a shooting in St. Paul Sunday morning. Police say three men are in custody, in the hospital receiving treatment for their injuries. This is how police describe that scene when they arrived.
STEVE LINDERS, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA POLICE: Officers rushed to the scene, they got there quickly, and they walked into a "hellish" situation. There were gunshot wound victims lying in the street outside the bar. There were gunshot wound victims lying on the sidewalk outside the bar. And there were gunshot wound victims lying on the floor inside the bar. All of total 15 people were shot.
BROADDUS: Investigators are trying to determine what led to that shooting. Peter Parker said he was DJing inside the venue before the shots rang out. He said there was no fighting or arguing and he said the shooting happened abruptly. He and everyone else inside of the venue dropped to the floor for cover.
Meanwhile, police with the St. Paul Police Department say they will review surveillance video to see if there's anything that leads clues as to why this happened. Adrienne Broaddus, CNN Chicago.
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CHURCH: About 15 million people across the Southern Plains are dealing with severe weather, including tornadoes overnight. But it does seem the threat has dwindled somewhat, so let's turn to Meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. He joins us now live. Tyler, what are you seeing?
TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Rosemary. That storm system is on the move and we had a tornado watch in effect for Missouri, all the way down into the Ark-La-Tex. You can see this thin line moving east. The threat is going to move to the east as this storm system pushes out.
In total, on Sunday, we had 10 tornado reports, about 29 severe wind reports and also some large hail. Some of those wind reports had wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour, nearing hurricane force. Tomorrow or Monday, we'll see that storm threat push up into the Midwest and the Great Lakes. A Level 2 out of 5 risk here - large hail, damaging wind.
Then across the plains we hit repeat on Tuesday where we already have a Level 3 out of 5 threat on Tuesday, this is because of a weather maker that is getting its act together across the west coast. This is the first snow producer of fall, and boy is this going to be a prolific snow producer too. We could see 12 to 24 inches across portions of the Intermountain West, especially the Northern Rockies. And when you get some cold air coming down from Canada like that, warm Gulf air moving north and you get that clash, that's when you start getting severe weather.
Geographically, the United States is set up perfectly for this clash of the air masses. You got the cold air coming out from Canada, gets your dry, warm air coming in from Mexico. And then you've got the warm Gulf air coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. When you get that clash you get the big severe weather outbreaks and we see the clash predominantly during the spring season, and then secondly, during October and November. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Thank you so much for keeping such a close eye on all of that. Appreciate, Tyler Mauldin with all that information. Well, Star Trek's Captain Kirk will have to wait a little longer to go boldly where no 90 year old man has gone before. Blue Origin is delaying William Shatner's space trip by a day because of high winds in the forecast.
The launch is now slated for Wednesday, at which point the actor will become the oldest person ever to travel to space. CNN's Kristen Fisher has a preview.
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Captain James T. Kirk : I'm losing command. I'm losing the Enterprise!
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He led the USS Enterprise on an intergalactic odyssey. Now he will get to go on his own odyssey.
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR, PORTRAYED CAPTAIN KIRK ON "STAR TREK": Things I've only played as an actor. I'm going to see firsthand.
FISHER (voice-over): Star Trek's iconic Captain James Kirk will soon get to go to space for real.
SHATNER: I'm thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure.
FISHER (voice-over): Blue Origin announced on Monday that actor William Shatner will be on the company's next flight alongside Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations.
Shatner, Powers and two others will lift off from a remote stretch of West Texas less than three months after the company's first crewed launch. Crew will enjoy about four minutes of weightlessness during an 11 minutes suborbital trip to space, similar to what Jeff Bezos, his brother and two others did during this summer.
SHATNER: I go to the edge of space and they loosen those restraints around me and be weightless and looking into the vastness of the universe.
FISHER (voice-over): Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the hit television series "Star Trek" and went on to star in seven "Star Trek" films joked about this opportunity years ago.
AL ROKER, NBC NEWS: If you were given the opportunity to go into space, would you?
SHATNER: If I got a guarantee that I would come back.
FISHER (voice-over): That opportunity is now here. And 90-year-old Shatner seems surprised, himself.
SHATNER: Because 55 years ago, I was destitute. And I'm looking up at the sky, at the astronauts stepping on the moon and I had a little bit to do with those astronauts. And 55 years later, I'm going to the - into space. I want to come back and - and tell you about how I really felt when I saw these things that we've only learned about, secondhand.
FISHER (voice-over): His fans are excited to hear about his mission, too. Many taking to Twitter to express their excitement.
Late-night host, Stephen Colbert, even making a joke about the mission tweeting, "I hope William Shatner doesn't have unrealistic expectations of what space is like."
Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.
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CHURCH: Very exciting, isn't it? Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM after this quick break.