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CNN INTERNATIONAL: Russia Calls On Ukrainian Troops In Severodonetsk To Surrender; U.K. Poised To Fly Asylum Seekers To Rwanda; Historic Flooding Shuts Down Yellowstone National Park; Russia's War On Ukraine; Joe Biden To Visit Saudi Arabia; COVID-19 Vaccine Company Working On Cancer Treatment; Heat Waves In U.S. And Europe. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 14, 2022 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade, you're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. Tonight, the battle for the Donbas region rages on as Russia calls on Ukrainian troops to lay down their weapons. I'll be speaking to Ukraine's former prime minister for the latest there.

Then Rwanda poised to receive the first asylum seekers from the U.K. We'll have more on the British government's controversial plan. And later, historic flooding shuts down Yellowstone National Park. But it's not the only extreme weather event unfolding around the world. Well, Ukraine is desperately fighting in the country's east to prevent a repeat of Mariupol, a city now under Russian occupation.

Russia is getting closer to cutting off Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk after destroying all three bridges to that city. Some troops are reportedly holed up in a chemical plant along with hundreds of civilians, and Russia is pressuring Ukraine's government to order its troops to surrender. Ukraine says they are still holding out.

It says it's trying to evacuate civilians in the city won by one, saying the shelling has gotten so fierce that people in shelters can no longer stand it. Ukraine's president is urging the West to speed up the delivery of heavy weaponry.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): The price of this battle for us is very high. It's just scary, and we draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis, to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage, and finally, the end of Russian torture of the Ukrainian Donbas.


KINKADE: We've also learned more about the atrocities committed near Bucha in northern Ukraine, when the area was occupied by Russian forces. Prosecutors are investigating a newly discovered grave there. Well, I want to go now to Ukraine. Our Ben Wedeman is reporting tonight from Poltava. Good to have you with us, Ben.

So we have been reporting for weeks on the atrocities carried out in Bucha. That city just to the west of Ukraine's capital. And now, a discovery of more victims there.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. They found in the town of Myrotske, which is not far from Bucha, a grave or rather a pit, in which there were seven bodies, according to the Ukrainian police. Now, they found that their hands were tied behind their back, in some instances, they've been shot in the knee, and there were also gunshot wounds to the head.

So they have -- they're assuming that these people were tortured and then executed. According to the police, there are -- the police are investigating 12 -- the killing of 12,000 civilians in the entirety of the country. And of those 12, 000, 1,200 bodies of civilians have yet to be identified. So, this is really just another example of just these atrocities that are being uncovered around Ukraine, but particularly around Kyiv, on an almost weekly basis. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, truly horrific. And Ben, of course, in the east of the country, the battle for Severodonetsk continues. We've seen this new satellite images showing the three main bridges around that city now destroyed. What more can you tell us about the evacuations for the hundreds of civilians reportedly sheltering inside that chemical plant there?

WEDEMAN: Without the bridges, Lynda, it's going to be very difficult to evacuate them. Obviously, they can cross the river that separates Severodonetsk from its twin city, Lysychansk. But this is an area that's under fairly constant artillery bombardment. There are reportedly Russian snipers in the area. So crossing that river, however it's done, is going to be extremely difficult under the best of circumstances, and the circumstances there now are very grim.

It may be just a matter of days before the Russians take the entirety of the city. And that's going to change the entire sort of landscape in terms of civilians. When -- if it comes to that -- now, we were in the town of Sloviansk, which is to the northwest of Severodonetsk, where people are still holding out, despite the fact Russian forces are amassing nearby, and oddly enough, we found some people who have returned to that city despite the danger.



WEDEMAN (voice-over): The city of Sloviansk may be half empty, but the Church of the Holy Spirit is almost full. The city is perilously close to the front lines, but with faith and stubbornness, the few stay put, while others have come back. Lou Bender(ph) family left shortly after the outbreak of war, staying with relatives in western Ukraine. She returned a month ago. For now, home sweet home is a dark, damp basement shared with other building residents.

Having lived through the fighting here in 2014, she left because she didn't want to go through it all over again.

"I was scared for my son and my grandson", she says. Yet, hospitality had its limits and home sickness took a toll. "We felt our relatives were sick of us", she says. "They have their own lives. You can put up with your relatives for a while, but we decided it was time to go back." The basement is far from comfortable, but it's better than upstairs when the bombs and missiles fall at night.

Her 14-year-old grandson Bokedan(ph) prefers it here. "Even if you can go to a safer place elsewhere", he says, "it's better to be at home. Even if you have to sleep in the basement."

(on camera): The longer this war goes on, the cooler the welcome becomes for those who have fled to safer ground. And as dangerous as it may be here, there is no place like home.

(voice-over): With no cooking gas to be had, the kitchen has moved to the yard. The city's water supply was knocked out. It now must be pumped by hand. Gone are the comforts and conveniences of modern life, but at least it's home.


WEDEMAN: I mean, increasingly, what we're seeing is just a sense of exhaustion from people as this war just goes on and on. Many people simply deciding they're going to stay put and put their hands in God so-to-speak. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, Ben Wedeman for us in Poltava, our thanks to you and your team for your reporting on the ground there. Well, I want to bring in a former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was sworn in as the head of Ukraine's government in 2014, just as Russia invaded Crimea. Good to have you on the program. Thanks for joining us.


KINKADE: So, this war has well and truly passed the 100-day mark. The President, President Zelenskyy now calling -- renewing calls for more weaponry. And this of course is ahead of a NATO meeting tomorrow of defense ministers. What's needed right now to change the course of this war?

YATSENYUK: Oh, no doubt that we need to get the weapons on a fast track. Heavy weaponry. This is the crucial importance for the Ukrainian military, and this is to play a pivotal role in repelling the Russian forces. Look, Russian forces are a copycat of the Soviet army. And they possess a huge armament of Soviet-style weaponry. All these tanks, heavy artillery, multiple rocket systems and the rest of the stuff.

So, Ukrainian military right now is outgunned and outnumbered. But due to the support of the United States, and the U.S. administration and President Biden, and actually bipartisan support, we are building Ukrainian military in a more durable way. So, the best way to repel and to stop Russian military and to deter their offensive is to supply and to ship heavy weaponry to the Ukrainian military as quick as possible. And I believe that this is happening and this is to happen more.

KINKADE: We've been speaking a lot about Severodonetsk and the battle there. If that falls to Russia, if that city falls to Russia, what does it mean for this war?

YATSENYUK: Well, first, I have full confidence in the Ukrainian military. And it's up to the Ukrainian military and up to the Ukrainian political establishment to decide what to do in Severodonetsk. Another key city, this is the twin city, it's Lysychansk, and it's important to hold both Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

Otherwise, Russia could make another incremental gain in order to capture the Donetsk and the region and the entire eastern Ukraine, which is not to happen.

KINKADE: I mean --

YATSENYUK: And I hope this is not to happen.

KINKADE: Pope Francis, in an interview with some European, "Jesuit News" editors, spoke of the Russian invasion.


I just want to bring up a quote of what he said. He said, "we do not see the whole drama that is unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps in some way, either provoked or not prevented." I want to get your response to those comments from the pope. What do you make of that?

YATSENYUK: Well, everyone is to put the blame on Russia, personally Putin, and his cronies and his war criminals. They are responsible for this war. They are killing innocent Ukrainians. They decided to grab an independent country. And Putin started this war in 2014. But the initial plan emerged even in 2004. So, he expected that he's to capture the capital of Ukraine, he expected to take over Ukraine with a lightning -- large-scale offensive just in a few days.

But due to an -- just unprecedented courage of the Ukrainian people, and unprecedented unity of the western world, we will preserve Ukraine, and we will defend freedoms and liberties, as we are fighting not just for Ukraine, we are fighting for the entire free world, including the liberties and freedoms of the United States.

KINKADE: Mr. Yatsenyuk, you were sworn in as the head of Ukraine's government just as Russia invaded Crimea back in 2014. Given what happened then with seemingly little consequence for Russia, in hindsight, do you think this war could have been prevented, had there been a different response at the time?

YATSENYUK: So Putin has an idea. He believes that he is the messiah and he wants to restore the Soviet Union. He wants to undermine the western world. He wants actually to undermine the global order with the global disorder and global chaos. The only way to prevent this war was to turn the tide and to press on Putin. And we were doing everything through different diplomatic channels and different -- using different tools in order to stop Putin from the invasion.

KINKADE: Just quickly --

YATSENYUK: As of now --

KINKADE: Did the West do enough? Could more have been done --

YATSENYUK: The West is doing --

KINKADE: To prevent this?

YATSENYUK: Enough, but we need more to help Ukraine and to help the world.

KINKADE: Mr. Yatsenyuk; former prime minister of Ukraine, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much.

YATSENYUK: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, a deeply regrettable moment for us as a nation. Those words of the Bishop of Durham who is joining the Church of England leaders in condemning the U.K.'s decision to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Now, the first flight from London is set to leave in the next couple of hours, adding to a storm of opposition from riot groups. Church leaders are calling the plan shameful and immoral, saying that Christian values should instead inspire compassion and fairness and justice.

Well, in response, the British Foreign Secretary said the plan is quote, "completely moral". And says people are welcome to suggest an alternative. I want to speak to someone working at the forefront of this story. Doris Uwicyeza Picard is the chief technical adviser for Rwanda's Ministry of Justice and joins us now. Thanks so much for your time.


KINKADE: So the first flight of asylum seekers from the U.K. is set to take off in the next couple of hours, headed to Rwanda, traveling over 6,000 kilometers. And due to legal challenges, apparently, there's only about eight people on board. Is it worth it?

PICARD: Yes, absolutely. The main motivation for us is to contribute to this innovative action to address the broken global migration system that is seeing all these people undertake dangerous journeys, where some of them lose their lives or place their lives at the -- in the hands of people smugglers. So, we want to address the root cause of this issue, which is the human capital imbalance, and the imbalance in opportunities.

This is one of such partnership with the U.K. that is addressing all these recourse issues that will provide safety and security to all those migrants who would otherwise be risking their lives to reach the U.K. So, we believe these legal challenges are to be expected. But in time, once we receive all these people, and we accommodate them and we provide them with the opportunities that we have to provide, I think it will all be worth it.

KINKADE: The Church of England caused this deportation plan immoral. Taking asylum seekers to a third country. Obviously, they said it doesn't matter that's Rwanda. What does Rwanda get from this deal?


PICARD: This partnership, it's not about what we're getting, per se. It's mostly because of our history, our recent history as Rwandans. We have an intimate knowledge of the plight of refugees, and we want to help this -- we have -- this has always been reflected in our international policies. If you recall, we were at the forefront of the emergency trans-mechanism, we were evacuating people from the -- from Libya, who were trapped in Libya, and they were detained under inhumane conditions.

And we brought them to Rwanda, to a safe place where they could rest, be accommodated and be transferred to third countries or relocated to Rwanda. So, this has always been our practice. Those who believe it is inhumane, I believe that it is because they are not aware of the details of this partnership. It is very humane at its very core. It is about providing safe haven to people, even a community that is ready to welcome them.

There is also the -- this is a migration and development partnership. U.K. is investing a substantial investment from U.K. to Rwanda, that will help provide these opportunities to migrants and to the host communities in Rwanda.

KINKADE: And this is a deal with about a $160 million or so, right?

PICARD: It is not just about the money. As a society, we recognize the value that migrants bring. We are ready to receive them. We recognize the fact that they bring a diversity of skill and we are a welcoming country.

KINKADE: Other countries have done offshore processing before where asylum seekers are processed in another country to determine whether their applications are valid, whether they can indeed seek asylum. But in this case, people being sent to Rwanda from the U.K. won't get the opportunity to then seek asylum in the U.K. Is that right?

PICARD: Yes, that's right. This partnership is not offshore processing partnership. This is the opportunity to bring these people to Rwanda to have their asylum claim assessed under Rwanda laws and under the Refugee Convention to which Rwanda is a party. So they are -- their main objective is to integrate them fully in Rwandan society. They will be granted refugee status or any other legal residence permit, where they will be allowed to live, work and study in the country.

KINKADE: All right, I'll love to discuss this more, we'll have to leave it there for now. Doris Uwicyeza Picard, thank you so much for your time.

PICARD: Thank you for having me.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, Wall Street is on recession watch after an index entered bear market territory. And that's bad news for President Biden with midterm elections right around the corner. And later, President Biden is planning to visit Saudi Arabia, a country he once called a pariah. We'll go to London to find out why the president appears to be doing a diplomatic about-face?



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, the prospect of a recession has Wall Street on edge. The S&P 500 closed in a bear market Monday, and right now, U.S. stocks are largely mixed and largely flat. The Fed is supposed to announce its next interest rate decision, Wednesday. Many investors are worried that its efforts to fight inflation will hurt the economy. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke a short time ago.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is this. I truly believe we made extraordinary progress by laying a new foundation for our economy, which becomes clear once global inflation begins to recede. There's so much at stake. But the truth is, I've never been more optimistic about America than I am today.


KINKADE: Well, CNN's Alison Kosik is standing by for us at the New York Stock Exchange. Good to have you with us, Alison. So market now in bear territory after that dramatic drop yesterday. What does that mean for investors and how are things panning out today?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I think -- Lynda, good to see you as well. I think that investors remain on edge. We are less than 24 hours from this Fed rate decision. And you know, the big question is, will the Fed be more aggressive in its rate hikes? You know, as much as -- as much as Wall Street is worried about the possible side effects of the Fed getting too aggressive, many are actually calling for the need, you know, for the Fed to get tougher on inflation through its rate hikes.

Because the Fed has been slow to react and slow to raise interest rates. And it's why many investors are saying that this inflation has persisted, it's been anything but transitory, something that the Fed continually called it. And so we're seeing that investors, you know, what they want to see happen and what they hope is the outcome are two different things.

You know, they want to see the Fed get tough on interest rates, and get more aggressive, but at the same time, they're concerned about what the side effect could be. And that side effect could be a recession in the United States. Lynda?

KINKADE: And also just how aggressive are we talking? Because just a month ago, the Fed Reserve Chairman said the Central Bank was not actively considering raising interest rates by three quarters of a percent. Is that likely to be a reality as soon as tomorrow, and how unusual would that be?

KOSIK: You know what? It depends -- it depends who you talk with. If you ask Goldman Sachs or Barclays, they're making a call that the Fed is going to go ahead and be more aggressive tomorrow and raise rates three quarters of a percentage point. And it's not unheard of, but it would be extremely rare. The last time the Fed actually hiked rates by what's considered a 75-basis points or three-quarters of a percent.

Whereas in the Alan Greenspan era, when he was head of the Fed, and this was in November of 1994. So, you're getting some economists thinking that it's going to be three-quarters of a percent, others are saying it will remain the half point hike that the Fed had promised in its May meeting.

But in a press conference, the thinking is that if Jay Powell, the Fed chief goes ahead and telegraphs it, in the future, there will be -- there will be bigger rate hikes and maybe even more rate hikes, I'm talking about the number of rate hikes that may be OK for the market as well.

So, you know, it could go both ways. We can either see it, kind of the Band-Aid ripped off tomorrow or we can see sort of the slow drift, but with the expectation given to the markets. So the market knows what is coming down the pike. Lynda?

KINKADE: And Alison, in terms of all this recession talk we are hearing, how likely or how typical is it -- does a recession follow this sort of a bear market that we're seeing now?

KOSIK: You know what? Only one bear market in the last 50 years, the market crash of 1987 was not accompanied by a recession. So, look, the fact that the S&P 500, which is considered a barometer of the health of Wall Street, it is a bad omen, not just for Wall Street, but maybe for the economy as well. The head of Investment Strategy at SoFi, Liz Young, said this. She said that these kinds of conditions will likely continue until there is enough economic data to prove that inflation is cooling.

That she doesn't really think we're quite at the peak-freak-out yet for the market. So it might not just be enough yet to cross over into bear territory. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, we will see how this all plays out tomorrow. Alison Kosik, good to have you with us, thanks so much.


Well, there is worrying economic news across the Atlantic too. Average wages in the U.K. are falling at the fastest rate for more than two decades. That's according to new data. And it comes as the country is facing its highest inflation rate since the early '80s. As Anna Stewart reports, its impact is being felt everywhere even when it comes to something synonymous with the British Isles.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): People flock to the seaside town of Whitstable for this, a peaceful day out on these pebbly shores. It feels far removed from the war in Ukraine, but its impact is still reaching the U.K. shores and Britain's unofficial national dish.

(on camera): This is delicious. You actually just can't beat eating fish and chips right by the seaside. Now, this tradition, it was considered quite a cheap meal, but everything you see here is shooting up in price, from the white fish and the butter used to cook it, the potatoes and the cooking oil, the mushy peas, even the packaging.

(voice-over): Since last year, vegetable oil is nearly 50 percent more expensive globally, wheat prices are up even more. And the price of fertilizers made in the U.K. are up nearly 180 percent, which pushes up the cost of vegetables like potatoes, or key ingredients for fish and chips and all that largely result of the war in Ukraine, one of world's biggest producers of food commodities.

(on camera): Thank you very much.

(voice-over): Busy Jones(ph) is a family-run business.

(on camera): So how long has this been in your family?


STEWART: Sixty years?


STEWART: The last two years have seen it battered by these rising costs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the horror going on in Ukraine. Brexit had impact, prices of fish, everything has gone through the roof.

STEWART: So much of the whitefish that you're getting in fish and chips shops is actually caught in Russian waters. And that's gotten more expensive as a result of tariffs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeing the price of corn increase week-and-week to 60 percent so far, it's directly linked to the sanctions.

STEWART: Your profit margins must be really squeezed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The profit margins are literally evaporating.

STEWART: Down at the harbor, local fishermen are bringing up shellfish. A main catch for this seaside town. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All it takes is the size of oil. For us, the fuel,

you know, my diesel bill has doubled. I have a little boat, and you know, it's a big cost.

STEWART: For these fishermen and the U.K.'s chippies, the problem doesn't stop there. Not only has prices gone up, but customers have less money to spend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Energy bill has gone up, petrol has gone up as well. Yes, I definitely will be welcomed, just I think what I got out --



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We decide to go out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be truthful, I'm looking for the cheapest place to have food because I used to go to the restaurant, but when you go there now, it's horrible. The price is nearly doubled.

STEWART: For now, fish and chips still appears to be in hot demand here. But as the cost of living continues to bite, tucking in to this traditional seaside dish may become less palatable. Anna Stewart, CNN, Whitstable, U.K.


KINKADE: And that looks delicious. Our thanks to Anna Stewart there. Well, still to come tonight, a lot of raised eyebrows over President Biden's plan to visit Saudi Arabia. We look at how changing times maybe changing the president's priorities.




KINKADE (voice-over): Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us.

Ukraine's president says he believes Russia will try to take more territory beyond the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, if given the chance. Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pleading with Western nations for more weaponry.

He says help has to come quicker if Ukraine wants to stave off Russia's imperial ambitions. He says it's clear that Russia's ultimate goal is to occupy all of Ukraine.

For months, we've seen the effects of the war, entire cities decimated, thousands of Ukrainian civilians killed, many bodies showing signs of torture. Ukraine's top prosecutor says they've just begun investigating a mass grave in Bucha, where seven civilians were found shot dead with hands tied behind their backs.

In Moscow, president Vladimir Putin is framing his so-called special military action as a simple policy of reunification. Fred Pleitgen shows us how Russia is reshaping the narrative within its borders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A display of patriotism on Russia Day. Russian president Vladimir Putin handing out medals just days after he likened himself to Peter the Great, claiming, like Tsar Peter 300 years ago in Ukraine, Russia is taking back land that is rightfully Russia's.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): He went there to take it back and strengthen it. That's what he was doing. Well, it seems it has also fallen to us to take back and strengthen territories.

And if we take these basic values as fundamental to our existence, we will prevail in solving the issues we are facing.

PLEITGEN: After stating at the start of the war that Russia has no intention of occupying Ukraine. Kremlin TV now is amplifying the new slogan taking back and strengthening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We only need to explain to the Ukrainians that we are not playing. We, as our president said, are taking back what's supposed to be ours and strengthening it.

PLEITGEN: Take back and strengthen, those words also start the show of the man known as Putin's chief propagandist, then showing images of people in Russian occupied territory in Ukraine, receiving Russian passports. And pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine's Donbas region firing at Ukrainian forces with a clear message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All of this is Russian territory, Russian land. They had been separating us for centuries but the center of Ukraine and the south east, those are all Russian people.

PLEITGEN: At the same time, the Russians are making clear the current sanctions won't make them change course. The country's economy has stabilized and this weekend a Russian company reopened several restaurants formerly owned by McDonald's under the new brand name Tasty and That's It.

Some at the grand opening wearing Z embroidered clothes, the symbol of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as they ate American style fast food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food and politics have nothing in common. Like, come on man, keep things separate.

PLEITGEN: A big run on burgers in Moscow while the war in Ukraine drags on and Vladimir Putin is far from finished with what he sees as his mission -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


KINKADE: U.S. President Joe Biden is set to visit a country that not long ago he called a pariah. The White House says Mr. Biden will attend a regional gathering next month in Saudi Arabia.


It was likely he will engage on some level with the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is the de facto Saudi leader, whom U.S. intelligence blames for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

With Russia's war on Ukraine and a growing nuclear threat from Iran, the White House says it's time to rekindle U.S.-Saudi relations. CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, has been reporting extensively from Saudi Arabia. He joins us now from London.

Good to have you with us, Nic. From pariah to partner: that's how the relationship with Saudi Arabia has changed under the Biden administration. Despite the criticism heard from President Biden about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. President has to work with the Saudis on oil.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is realpolitik kicking in. Biden needs something. The Saudis also need something. The crown prince doesn't want to be snubbed continually by Biden. He wants to be ruling the most powerful country in the Gulf. He wants to be the big power player in the Gulf.

So meeting with Biden and, potentially, as is sort of heavily anticipated, because Saudi Arabia is a swing oil state, potentially increasing Saudi's oil output, to offset the shortages being experienced, the rising price of oil, this is a realpolitik on both sides.

It does seem that President Biden is the one that had to do the biggest about-face here because he said he'd turn into a pariah based on the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi early on in President Biden's electoral campaign.

It was U.S. intelligence services that said MBS was responsible for the hit team that went to kill, ultimately kill Jamal Khashoggi.

So this is an awkward moment for President Biden. But it does seem, for him right now, to be a necessary one. I think when you talk to Saudis, the thing they always point out is that this relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is deep and enduring. It's had ups and downs.

But it's historic, mutually beneficial to both principally because Saudi Arabia produces oil and historically the United States has been a security beneficiary for Saudi Arabia; perhaps less these days. But that's been the case in the past.

KINKADE: An about-face with Joe Biden set to visit Saudi Arabia in July.

What is the risk that this trip could go badly?

Does the U.S. President think he will have some sort of agreement before visiting in person?

ROBERTSON: My understanding from the Saudi position is that they want the relationship with the United States to work. They have been trying, through diplomatic channels, through the visit of the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, to the Turkish President Erdogan, potentially through the visit of French president Emmanuel Macron, all of whom have met with the crown prince to reach out and rebuild these bridges.

The Saudis expected the relationship to take a hit under president Biden. He had signaled that in his campaign trail. What they didn't expect was the hit to be so hard and to last so long.

But this reset, where they are headed now, is something they hoped for and that they have been working toward; certainly, from behind the scenes on the U.S. side as well.

KINKADE: Nic Robertson, for us. We will be speaking about this in the coming months. Thanks so much.

Still to come tonight, the technology that gave us COVID vaccines could be used to combat another killer. How one company is using mRNA to fight one of the most deadly cancers.





KINKADE: Welcome back.

Chinese authorities have announced a criminal investigation into a COVID outbreak at a Beijing bar. Millions of Beijing residents are being tested in an effort to control the outbreak, which is being described as ferocious.

At least 250 COVID cases have been traced to the Heaven Supermarket Bar (ph), which is known for big crowds and for being open 24 hours a day; 8,000 people have been put under lockdown because they are connected to patrons who visited that bar.

A couple of years ago, very few of us had heard of mRNA technology. Today, it is the basis of the COVID vaccines that has saved millions of lives. One of the companies behind those vaccines believes an mRNA technology could be the answer to curing one of the most deadly diseases in the world: pancreatic cancer.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In December 2020, mRNA vaccines started changing the course of the pandemic.

At the same time, that same technology was possibly changing Barbara Brigham's life in an entirely different way.

BARBARA BRIGHAM, PANCREATIC CANCER PATIENT: He said, I just want you to know that you have pancreatic cancer.

MARQUARDT: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. And that motivates Dr. Vinod Balachandran at Memorial Sloan Kettering to find a cure for it.

DR. VINOD BALACHANDRAN, ONCOLOGIST, MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING: We really need new treatments for patients. Stay tuned.

Right now, the immunotherapies that are used to treat cancer patients, they only work in about 20 percent of patients. So about 80 percent of the time the current immunotherapies are not very effective.

GUPTA: So Dr. Balachandran teamed up with BioNTech. You may remember them as a developer of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Their goal, to begin trialing mRNA as a pancreatic cancer treatment.

BRIGHAM: I was willing to try whatever would prevent me from having a shorter life than I really wanted to have.

GUPTA: Cancer has challenged scientists for years, in part, because the cells continuously mutate, making them harder for the immune system to detect.

But that's exactly why BioNTech's co-founders, Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. Ozlem Tureci, have been working with mRNA for decades to see if they could outsmart cancer.

(on camera): How do you know it is specific, really, to that cancer and not to healthy human cells in that particular patient's bod?

DR. OZLEM TURECI, CO-FOUNDER, BIONTECH: That was actually the last two decades which we invested to identify how we get the best targets, the best mutations, the best molecules to recognize cancer cells and distinguish them from normal cells.

GUPTA (voice-over): Remember how mRNA works in COVID-19 vaccines. It essentially gives our immune system detailed instructions to make a specific part of the virus so our immune system can then learn to recognize it and create antibodies against it.

Those instructions can then be tailored and tweaked quickly if the virus evolves. The idea is this could work in a similar way but for cancer.

[14:45:00] BALACHANDRAN: The optimal technology to be able to custom-make a vaccine rapidly in real time, which is really important for our cancer patient who wants care, the best technology out there, we thought, was mRNA.

GUPTA: Let me explain how this worked for Barbara. Doctors first removed her tumor and a sample of it was flown almost 4,000 miles BioNTech's headquarters in Germany.

DR. UGUR SAHIN, CO-FOUNDER, BIONTECH: What we do is we sequence the tumor, the DNA from the tumor and identify the mutations by comparing DNA from the tumor with the DNA from the blot (ph), because the blot (ph) is non-mutated and then you can see at that position, there is a mutation.

GUPTA: The next step involves using a computer algorithm to figure out which of those mutations should become targets for the vaccine, the ones that Barbara's immune system will recognize and then deploy T- cells to fight against.

It took just about six weeks for Barbara's custom cancer treatment to be created. And once it made it back over the Atlantic, the first vaccine dose was infused into her blood.

That was December 15th, 2020, around the same time the mRNA vaccines for COVID became available.

Along with her standard chemo and immunotherapy, Barbara has received nine mRNA vaccinations and she says everything is so far, so good.

BRIGHAM: I had one last immuno last September, of which I also had a CAT scan at that time and it was negative for pancreatic cancer and everybody is celebrating.

But whatever time I had, it's given me more time to enjoy my grandchildren and my children and my life.


KINKADE: That was Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting.

It is worth noting that this is a very early phase of one trial of mRNA technology to treat pancreatic cancer. Only 19 people have received the treatment so far. But BioNTech hopes to enroll more patients in the next phase of the trial.

Japanese parliament has passed legislation that would dramatically increase punishment for cyber bullies. Under the amended penal code, anybody convicted of online insults can be imprisoned for up to a year or fined more than $2,000.

Opponents say the bill could restrict free speech. But supporters say it will crack down on online abuse. It was passed after the suicide death of a TV star, who had been harassed online.

To anyone seeking help, the International Association for Suicide Prevention can provide resources, including contact information for crisis centers worldwide.

Still to come tonight, houses and roads are being washed away inside one of the most popular national parks in the United States. A look at how climate change is impacting both Europe and the U.S. right now. Stay with us.





KINKADE: Welcome back.

The family of the British journalist who went missing in the Amazon says they're getting contradictory information from Brazilian officials. The family of Dom Phillips released a statement saying Brazilian embassy officials said Monday that two bodies had been found. Later, Brazilian police denied it.

Phillips and Bruno Pereira, a Brazilian indigenous expert, disappeared in a remote region of the Amazon on June 5th. Federal police said they found personal belongings and, quote, "biological traces" over the weekend.

We've got some stunning new video highlighting the very real impact of climate change. The house on the banks of the Yellowstone River, consumed by floodwaters on Tuesday. Take a look at this.

Yellowstone has its highest level ever recorded, thanks to heavy rainfall in the area, as well as a heat wave that has melted nearby snow packs. Some incredible shots there.

The floods have washed out roads and forced officials to close down Yellowstone National Park, which is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. There are also heat waves scorching Europe with temperatures forecast to hit 40 degrees Celsius in Spain, France and the U.K. this week.

CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins me for more on all of this.

Good to see you, Bill.


KINKADE: That vision is absolutely incredible, seeing that house literally float away in those floodwaters. And it wasn't that long ago you were reporting from here -- in the southeast of the U.S. -- on beach homes, collapsing in the ocean. And they are not isolated cases. They are both connected. Explain why.

WEIR: I'm sure the folks in Montana can look at that coastal erosion or sea level rise story and think we are safe. No one imagined that the Yellowstone River would swell to such violent power to take away a home that probably had plenty of clearance on a normal year.

But normal years are gone, unfortunately. That is the main reason. And these heat domes are having these knock-on effects on infrastructure here in North America. Also over in Europe, North Africa, you're seeing it there as well.

And they have had floods before. They had rough years in '89 and '97 in this part of Montana and Wyoming. But locals say nothing like this. And this is just the beginning. They have to wait for the water to recede to figure out if there is fresh water supplies that have been fouled and waste treatment.

And the roads, as you can see, what a nightmare.

KINKADE: Absolutely incredible. And of course, in Europe, summer has not officially started. But the heat waves have. And they have arrived quite early. We are seeing in Spain, temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius already. And as we have discussed many times, these are certainly going to become more intense and more frequent.

WEIR: Exactly. Science is really digging into this idea that the jet stream, this river wind up high, 10,000 meters in the atmosphere, that controls so much of the weather in this atmosphere, is really wobbling as a result of the planet warming up, which means heat domes, like we have seen in the U.S. and the one there and Europe as well.

And of course, this is going to have huge implications when it comes to power generation and temperatures like that. In the really hot regions on a good day, when it goes up to almost uninhabitable temperatures, air conditioning is life.

That will strain grids. And so, we are keeping an eye on brownouts, blackouts in some of these places, that would really spell disaster as long as that temperature stays in really precarious numbers.

KINKADE: For all of us who just look at this and think it is such an overwhelming problem, give us some solutions, what can we do to take action?

WEIR: I hear that all the time. I think the most basic thing is talk about it. Talk about these pictures you are seeing, not only with your neighbors and family and colleagues but with the CEOs of your favorite corporations and your local leaders, wherever you are, to demand action.

This is obviously not sustainable. And the more that is done now, both to prepare and adapt for these sorts of events, to survive them, make them less painful but also to cut off the source of the problem, which is the reliance on fuels that leak and burn.


And the sooner we can transition away from this, the less likely this will continue by factors of 10 and 20 for future generations.

KINKADE: Yes, we need solutions right now. Bill Weir, our chief climate correspondent, thank you so much.

WEIR: Thank you.


KINKADE: Thanks so much for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.