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Earthquake Killed 280 in Afghanistan; A.G. Merrick Garland Visits Ukraine; President Zelenskyy Want Another Sanction Against Russia; Captive Americans Facing Death Penalty Under Russian Troops; Officials Received Threats for Standing for Truth; MBS Visits Turkey to Mend Fences; Texas DPS Director Blasted Irresponsible Actions by Police. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 03:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

Just ahead, a powerful earthquake in southeast Afghanistan reports of more than 280 people killed and hundreds wounded.

Russia takes more territory in the Donbas, while the Ukraine's president lashes out at Putin's army. Calling it death to any rationality as it continues killing civilians in Kharkiv.

And stamp out former U.S. President Donald Trump's election lies. Republican officials testify about a fake elector scheme and the death threats they face because they told the truth.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: We begin in Afghanistan where state media is reporting that at least 280 people have been killed by a massive earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey says that the 5.9 magnitude quake hit an area southwest of the city across in the early hours of the morning.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins me with more, but I just want to go to New Delhi where CNN's Vedika Sud is standing by. Just give us a sense, Vedika, of what else you are learning about this earthquake.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Lynda, limited information as of now but here's what I have for you. This quake hit around 1.24 local time, that means this is when people were sleeping in the area where this powerful quake woke them up and shocked them quite literally.

Now what we also do know is that the quake was registered at a depth of about 10 kilometers. We have images and videos coming out of the aftermath of this quake where you can see people in panic. There is rubble all around, this is a rough terrain. You also see some slippers turned around the rubble and there is complete chaos of course given how strong this quake was.

Now according to the USGS they have issued a yellow alert which means in a region where there is a yellow alert issued, there is local response needed, and some casualties are expected. But in this case, Lynda, we have at least 280 people dead according to the state media, and over 600 injured.

And according to the state media, this figure could go up because they've spoken to local officials as well as locals and residents in the area. So, the worry is, that this is not going to be the final casualty figure of those of the injured anytime soon.

The World Health Organization tweeted Wednesday to say that their officials are on the spot to try and to provide as much as they can in terms of amenities, medical or otherwise, in terms of first response, so we are hoping to hear more from them as well.

Now where this quake has hit is a very close to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. If you do remember in the year 2015 there was a very powerful earthquake 7.5 back then, and there were tremors felt even in Pakistan and India, and the death toll at that point was 300 both in Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan. This was the west of Kabul.

So, that's what we have as of now for you. I also do know that casualties have been reported from four areas of the Paktika province and they are Barmal, Zerok, Nika, and Gayan, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Vedika Sud for us in New Delhi, our thanks to you. We want to go to Pedram Javaheri now, our meteorologist. Pedram, if you can give us a little bit more insight into just how big this earthquake is, and the aftershocks that their region is now experiencing.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, at least several aftershocks across this region, we expect more here in the coming hours, Lynda. And you know, when you think about a 5.9, it doesn't seem like a significant quake, and it is categorized as a moderate quake. But it is shallow, as noted, only 10 kilometers down so there is very little earth to buffer the shaking.

So, we know quite a bit of shaking felt with this quake across the region where at least 100 million people felt shaking, that was light shaking as far away as 500 kilometers away, and about a million people felt moderate to severe shaking within the vicinity of the quake.

But again, the timing is really significant, happening into the one o'clock in the morning hour, and I often tell people it is not earthquakes that kill people, it is structures, it is buildings, and that is precisely a lot of people of course being in bed at that time, puts them in a very, very dangerous scenario to be able to caught off guard with a quake like this, and of course that led to quite a bit of fatalities.

But if you take a look, the main quake coming in at 5.9, statistically speaking you would expect that least one aftershock a 4.9 or greater, at least 10 aftershocks of 3.9 or greater and over 100 above 2.9.


And we've already seen at least one in the four scales here, and you notice that's the main shock 5.9 in Afghanistan, just across the border. It happened on the immediate border there of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and had a 4.9 report across this region as well.

And looking at the numbers, when you kind of, typically see the scale of 5.9 within the immediate 24 to 36 hours is when you expect that second largest aftershock which has already occurred that 4.9, we told you about, they notice the vast majority of what happens moving forward based on previous quakes across this region would bring the aftershock to a three to four scale before it kind of dwindles by sometime this weekend into early next week.

But we know quite a bit of lost across this region, and you got to keep in mind the landscape and the homes in this area, Lynda, are built of soil, stone, and similar materials. Certainly not concrete. So that's why it is so susceptible quakes that are even in this magnitude of 5.9.

KINKADE: All right, Pedram Javaheri, our meteorologist and Vedika Sud for us in New Delhi, our thanks to you both.

Well, we want to go to Ukraine now where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pleading with the world not to forget about his country, saying an end to the war in Ukraine depends on keeping the attention of the entire world.

That message coming as Russian troops seized another village in the outskirts of Severodonetsk. And we are learning just that Ukraine may be losing ground near its sister city of Lysychansk, that's according to a new update from the regional governor.

Brutal fighting has raged in that area for weeks as Russian forces pushed to topple one of the last Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region, part of a campaign to seize control of the wider Donbas. To the north, Russia is intensifying its attacks near Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday at least 15 people were killed, and 16 wounded in shelling around the city. They say an eight-year-old girl is among the victims.

Well, Ukraine's president has accused Russian troops of attacking Kharkiv for no reason, just to show they are doing something.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): In the Kharkiv region there is brutal and cynical Russian artillery shelling. It will not give anything to the occupiers, but the Russian army is deaf to any rationality. It simply destroys, simply kills, in this way it shows its command that it is not standing still.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KINKADE: While allies continue to funnel aid and equipment into Ukraine, troops there remain vastly outgunned compared to the Russian military. But more supplies have started arriving. Ukraine's defense minister tweeted Tuesday that shipment of powerful German Howitzers which long-range weapons have now arrived in Ukraine. Germany's chancellor has also vowed to continue supporting Ukraine as long as needed.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland became the latest top ranking American official to visit Ukraine on Tuesday. Garland met with his Ukrainian counterpart to discuss efforts by the U.S. and others to hold those committing war crimes accountable for their actions.

U.S. Justice Department has topped a team of experts to identify and prosecute anyone committing war crimes in Ukraine. It will be headed by Eli Rosenbaum who led efforts to identify and deport Nazi war criminals. Here's Attorney General Garland's warning.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The United States is sending an unmistakable message. There is no place to hide, we and our partners will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.


KINKADE: For more, let's bring in CNN's Salma Abdelaziz who joins us live from Kyiv. Salma, U.S. -- the Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is calling on Europe to add more pressure on Russia, he wants to see -- he wants to see another round of sanctions which would be the seventh package.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Lynda. President Zelenskyy spoke about this in his nightly address. He described a marathon of diplomatic telephone calls to various European leaders where he was pushing them for yet more sanctions. And really, this is a continuation of his strategy throughout this conflict.

He has been an ever-present leader, one who has held European leaders' feet to the fire, demanded more support, demanded more than rhetoric from them, and now he wants them to increase their stranglehold on Moscow, up those sanctions. Take a listen.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): In all negotiations, I always emphasize that the seventh package at the European Union sanctions is needed as soon as possible. Russia must feel a constant increase and pressure for the war, and force aggressive anti-European policy. Another Russian threat to Lithuania another wave of energy pressure, another batch of lies from Russian officials about the food crisis are all arguments to agree on the seventh package of sanctions.



ABDELAZIZ: Now all of this comes as Ukrainian defenders struggle to hold the line in that all important city of Severodonetsk. I'm just going to paint you a picture of the battlefield right now because it's extremely worrying for Ukrainian forces.

The sister city of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk is appears there, that according to Ukrainian officials, Ukrainian forces are beginning to succumb to Russian firepower. And it's not just artillery they are using, they are also using air support to really pummel that city.

The villages to the south of Severo -- of Lysychansk, rather, those villages are now occupied by Russian forces giving them those all- important firing positions to continue to hit that city. And then of course, in Severodonetsk itself, Ukrainian forces have pulled back to fortified positions.

One of the most important areas is this chemical plant where Ukrainian defenders are still holding up, but there is also civilians trapped in that building with no water, no food, medical access there.

Ukrainian officials say multiple launch rocket systems are being used by Russian forces to really, again, pummel, try to -- try to push these Ukrainian forces, try to force a surrender there. It's a 24-hour a day, seven days a week. What we hear from Ukrainian officials, constant artillery on that city.

It's hard to imagine how much longer they can hold out, but it's also incredible to imagine the amount of Russian firepower that is being used just to take this one city, Lynda. There's very little strategy here, it is simply just all out unleashing air, by land, trying to take that city.

KINKADE: All right, Salma Abdelaziz for us in Kyiv. Our thanks to you.

Well fears are growing about the fate of two Americans held by Russian or pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. The Kremlin has suggested the man could face the death penalty, a threat the White House calls, quote, "appalling."


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: It's appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for two American citizens that were in Ukraine.


KINKADE: CNN's Kylie Atwood takes a closer look at the plight of the Americans being held by Russia and its proxies, and heartbreak its beginning to their loved ones back home.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: A dire new threat from Russia to the lives of two Americans captured in Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesperson claiming Alexander Drueke and Any Huynh are soldiers of fortune, and now protected by the rules governing prisoners of war. Dmitry Peskov saying this when asked if they would be spared the death sentence.

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON: No, I cannot guarantee anything. It depends on the investigation.

ATWOOD: Their families tell CNN that both men were fighting in the Ukrainian army.

JOY BLACK, FIANCEE OF ANDY TAI NGOC HUYNH: Andy and Alex are not mercenaries. They are not soldiers of fortune. They are a part of the Ukrainian military. They are part of the military, meaning that they are prisoners of war, and they should be treated as such under the Geneva Convention.

NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We have both publicly, as well as privately, called on the Russian government and its proxies to live up to their international obligations and their treatment of all individuals, including those captured fighting in Ukraine.


ATWOOD: One American still wrongfully detained in Russian prison is WNBA star Brittney Griner. This week, her wife, Cherelle Griner, expressed deep frustration with the Biden administration after Brittney unsuccessfully tried to call her 11 times on their anniversary on Saturday.

The call had been planned for almost two weeks, she said. Quote, "I find it unacceptable and I have zero trust in our government right now. If I can't trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife's behalf to come home. Because that's a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call." Cherelle told the Associated Press. State Department spokesperson Ned Price expressed regret, and said the call has been rescheduled.

PRICE: It was a mistake.

ATWOOD: Today, in an open letter to the president, the families of more than a dozen Americans wrongfully detained around the world are demanding a face to face with the commander-in-chief.

Mr. President, we need you. We need your clear leadership to prioritize the expeditious resolution of these cases, they wrote. And describing themselves as exhausted, traumatized and beleaguered.

And the family of Matthew Heath, who's being held in Venezuela, voiced dire concern after he tried to take his own life this week. Now urgently asking the White House to act before it's too late.

EVERETT RUTHERFORD, MATTHEW HEATH'S UNCLE: We do not think he's out of the woods, this particular suicide attempt was not successful, thank goodness. We have every confidence that he will try again. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ATWOOD: Secretary of State Tony Blinken will have a virtual conversation with the families of American hostages and of Americans wrongfully detained abroad on Wednesday. That's according to a senior State Department official. We know Matthew Heath's family is going to be a part of that conversation, that's what his aunt told CNN.


And it will be interesting to see how this conversation goes given the circumstances that have happened, the situations that have happened over the last few days and weeks and particularly because these families, many of them have been demanding to meet with President Biden, not to have a meeting with the secretary of state.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.

KINKADE: These are live pictures of the U.S. Capitol where the January 6th committee will return with its next public hearing on Thursday. For now, witnesses are describing the violent threats they received as a result of Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

The panel also heard from state election officials who said Trump and his attorneys asked them to break the law, overturn the vote, and keep him in the White House.


CNN's Manu Raju reports.

UNKNOWN: You are a tyrant. You are felon and you must turn yourself in immediately!

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The January 6th committee laying out in stark terms the intimidation and pressure campaign from then President Donald Trump and his allies against state officials who are attempting to uphold democracy in states where Joe Biden won.

UNKNOWN: What are we going to do? What can you and I do to a state legislator besides killing them?

RAJU: Trump urging them to reverse the election results. Even though he was told repeatedly it was illegal.

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I said something to the effect of, sir, we have done dozens of investigations hundreds of interviews. The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed.

RAJU: Rusty Bowers, the Republican Arizona state House speaker testified that Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Congressman Andy Biggs and others pressured him to decertify Biden's win in his state. Biggs ignored CNN's questions about it. Bowers said Giuliani never provided evidence of their conspiracy theories. Even admitting there was none.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What exactly did he say and how that come up?

RUSTY BOWERS, ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: My recollection, he said, we've got a lot of theories. We just don't have the evidence. And I don't know if that was a gaffe, or maybe, he didn't think through what he said. And afterwards, we kind of laughed about it. But I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner, or a vengeful manner. I do not want to be a winner by cheating.

RAJU: Trump's lawyer John Eastman allegedly told Bowers to just replace electors if he did not have the authority.

BOWERS: And he said, just do it and let the courts sort it out. And I said, you are asking me to do something that has never been done in history, the history of the United States, and I'm going to put my state through that without sufficient proof?

RAJU: But Trump pressed on, and the committee revealing his involvement in the Trump campaign effort to send a fake set of electors on January 6th to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory.

UNKNOWN: What did the president say when he called you?

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing, changed the result of any (Inaudible).

RAJU: Newly-revealed text messages from the morning of January 6th show the apparent involvement of GOP Senator Ron Johnson. An exchange between staffer for Johnson and Vice President Pence shows Johnson wanted to give Pence an alternate slate of electors from Michigan and Wisconsin. Pence's staffer responded, do not give that to him. Johnson's office contended on Tuesday the senator was unaware of the effort.

The pressure campaign extended to Georgia were Trump's chief of staff texted or called Brad Raffensperger 18 times to set up a phone call where he pressed the GOP election official to find the votes needed to overturn the election.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Why wouldn't you want to find the right answer, Brad! Instead of keep saying that the numbers are right? The real truth is I won by 400,000 votes, at least.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Every single allegation which have to ran down the rabbit trail to make sure our numbers were accurate.

RAJU: Raffensperger describe the threats against him and his family after he disputed Trump's fraud claims. RAFFENSPERGER: Eventually, my wife started getting the text. And hers

typically came in sexualized texts, which were disgusting. Some people broke into my daughter-in-law's home. And my son has passed, and she is a widow. And she has two kids. So, we are very concerned about her safety also.

RAJU: Former Georgia election official Wandrea' Shaye Moss testifying about the threats she, her mother, and her son received because of Donald Trump's persistent lies.

WANDREA SHAYE MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: Like, be glad it's 2020 and not 1920. I just felt like it was my fault for putting my family in this situation.


RAJU: Her mother saying her life was in danger.

RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: The FBI informed me that I needed to leave my home for safety. I felt homeless, I felt, you know, I can't believe, I can't believe this person has caused this much damage to me and my family.


RAJU: Now I caught up with Senator Ron Johnson in the aftermath of that revelation. That one of his aides, his top aide had reached out to Mike Pence's office on the morning of January 6th trying to get him to accept an alternate slate of electors from Michigan and Wisconsin in an apparent effort to overturn the electoral results.

Now Johnson confirmed that he was aware that this ask had been made to Mike Pence's office, on January 6th. But he also said that he was -- his office was simply relaying a message that was passed along to him by an individual. An individual who he said he had no idea who that person is. Altogether, he dismissed this as a non-story, and contended he had no involvement in the effort to overturn the election.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

KINKADE: Well, the U.S. Senate has taken a key step to advance a bipartisan gun safety bill after a group of senators released the legislative text. While the procedural vote moved the bill forward, it still faces two more critical votes, one, to break a filibuster, and then one on the final passage.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he expects the bill to pass the Senate by the weeks' end. The legislation on gun safety will include money for mental health, school safety, and crisis intervention programs.

Well, this action meant to help counter gun violence comes nearly a month after a gunman opened fire inside an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students and two teachers. Well, a new timeline and unsettling details are emerging about the police response. CNN's Rosa Flores reports.


STEVEN MCCRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Three minutes would have made a difference that have been dead.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, stunning new criticism of the police response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde.

MCCRAW: Three minutes after the subject entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject.

FLORES: A surveillance photo obtained by the Austin American Statesman showing 19 minutes after the gunman entered the school, three officers, two with rifles, and one with a ballistic shield.

UNKNOWN: I got shot.

FLORES: Depicting in full color the 77 minutes of horror children and teachers endured. Some calling for help while heavily armed police waited to enter their classroom. According to the latest Texas Department of Public Safety timeline, at 11.33 am, within 24 seconds of entering Robb Elementary, the gunman started shooting. Just three minutes later, 11 officers also entered, two with rifles. Nineteen minutes in, the first ballistic shield arrived. At 11.56, an officer is heard saying, if there is kids in there, we need to go in there.

MCCRAW: The law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure.

FLORES: Testifying before the Texas Senate committee, Colonel Steven McCraw says one of the biggest failures, waiting.

MCCRAW: And while they waited, the on-scene commander waited for radio and rifles. And he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed.

FLORES: Despite earlier reports from the Texas Tribune, that school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, tried dozens of keys that failed to work, McCraw today confirming the door to the classroom was unlocked. The preliminary investigation suggests not one officer even attempted to open the door until it was breached at 12.50.

MCCRAW: The officers had weapons. The children had none. The officers had body armor. The children had none.

FLORES: In addition, the Texas Tribune obtained this screen grab from a Robb Elementary School surveillance camera showing officers in the hallway at 12.04. According to documents obtained by the Texas Tribune, Chief Arredondo called at 11.40 a.m. saying, we have him in the room. He's got an AR-15. He has shot a lot. They need to be outside the building prepared because we don't have firepower right now. It's all pistol. But we now know at least two officers had rifles inside the school at

the time. At 12.11 p.m., the chief asks for a master key and it would take more than 30 minutes more for officers to breach the classroom.

MCCRAW: The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander. They decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.

FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Uvalde, Texas.



KINKADE: Well, it's been nearly four years since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, now the Saudi crown prince is headed to Turkey hoping to mend relations. We'll go live to Istanbul when we come back.


KINKADE: The Saudi queen -- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected in Turkey in the coming hours for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Well, the visit comes nearly four years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is live this hour in Istanbul with more on what we can expect from this visit. Jomana, good to see you. This isn't the first time these two leaders have met since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, they did meet earlier this year in Saudi Arabia. What is the aim of this meeting today?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, it's very much a continuation of this normalization in relations process that has been going on for the past couple of months or so. As you mentioned, President Erdogan visiting Saudi Arabia back at the end of April, and with a kiss and an embrace, really turning the page on a very turbulent face in Saudi and Turkish relations.

And you know, before that, you have what was seen as the precursor for this normalization process for this (Inaudible) with Turkey back in April ending the trial in absentia of Saudi individuals who were accused of being responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi here at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

I mean, Lynda, you know, these two countries are regional powers. Relations between them have been strained for years now over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. For Turkey, this wasn't only the murder of a prominent figure. But it was really seen as an attack on this country's sovereignty.

And you know, before that, back in 2017, the Gulf crisis, the blockade of Qatar, Turkey in defiance of the Saudi-led alliance and coalition at the time presented a lifeline and supported Qatar during that time. But we have seen in the past few months, over the past year, really, this shift in Turkish foreign policy where Turkey is extending an olive branch to former foes and rivals, trying to restore ties with countries including Israel, the United Arab Emirates, to an extent trying to work on Egypt as well and now with Saudi Arabia.

And then, Lynda, if you talk to Turkey experts and analyst who have been watching this very closely, they will tell you that this is all about Turkey's economy, the state of the economy now, the economic crisis, the currency crisis, inflation in this country hitting 73.5 percent.


And so, President Erdogan really has to turn the economy around. He's got to change the situation and at the heart of his strategy is trying to bring in billions of dollars of investments from rich Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia before elections next year in June of 2023.

So, we will have to wait and see what kind of reception the Saudi crown prince is going to receive when he arrives in the Turkish capital Ankara today at 4.30 p.m. local time, and what sort of deals and agreements maybe signed between the two countries.

But while this is really a key date potentially for the Turkish economy, Lynda, some will be viewing this as a very sad day including the Turkish fiance of Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz and many others who really have this hope that Turkey and other countries would continue to fight for justice, would try and hold those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable.

For the killing, that as you recall, the CIA concluded was ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But, the reality of the situation right now is whether it is the United States, or Turkey, these countries are currently prioritizing their own national interest, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, they certainly are. Jomana Karadsheh for us in Istanbul, our thanks to you.

Still ahead, millions of people impacted by days of deadly flooding in India and Bangladesh. We are tracking the latest forecast from our weather center.


KINKADE: Some stunning images here of a wild fire in southwestern Turkey. State media says the cause of the fire is unknown, but the flames spread quickly in a sparsely populated woodlands due to windy conditions on Tuesday.

Firefighters and the forestry teams are working to contain the flames, but it's raising fears of further devastation. Its memories of last year's record-breaking wildfires remain fresh on people's minds there.

Scientists say the evidence is clear, human link climate change is making heat waves more likely and more severe. Well, the impacts from the severe flooding in India and Bangladesh are

worsening, officials say at least 112 people across the two countries have died in recent days. And in southern China, officials say almost half a million people have been impacted by flooding in the Guangdong province.

The flooding has forced more than 177,000 people to relocate, officials estimate the financial lost that more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

I want to go to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins us now. Pedram, just bring us up to speed with what's the latest.


JAVAHERI: Yes. You know, the rainfall continues across this region. The monsoon season reaching kind of the highest intensity here as we wrap up the month of June over the next week. And you'll see some of these images where folks just trying to navigate the streets on canoes here, across portions of Bangladesh.

Unfortunately, with the intensity of the rainfall across an area, it's not really susceptible to flooding, but you take a look at this landscape, Ganges, River Delta only nine meters above sea level. So, we know the impacts of climate change certainly exacerbate the issues across this portion of the world but this particular region as a whole.

Some 700 rivers and tributaries spanning 24,000 kilometers of waterways, so any water, any rainfall that comes upstream here and falls up there eventually wants to end up down in the Bay of Bengal and flows downstream and impacts a lot of these communities farther downstream.

You notice, the rainfall intensity going to be quite high here over the coming days as we expect the monsoonal moisture to continue. If you look at where the positioning is approaching and just surpassing Mumbai in the past, say, 24 to 48 hours where the rainfall kind of migrates northward. But notice the eastern periphery, well encompassed here when it comes to heavy rainfall.

And in fact, the data supports this because if you take a look from the 1st of June through the 21st of June, these three weeks of the month, this particular region, the northern and northeastern region of India has seen about a 43 percent surplus in rainfall, while the rest of the subcontinent has remained somewhat dryer for the onset of the monsoon.

But the transition is in place we do expect heavy rainfall to continue, And Lynda, when you look at the past 10 monsoon seasons the vast majority of them seven of these last seasons have seen a deficit in rainfall. So they could use some rainfall, but unfortunately when you get too much of it in a short time period, it leads to a lot of problems.

KINKADE: Yes, too much too quickly. Pedram Javaheri, our thanks to you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, the Taliban's deputy spokesman is now urging aid agencies to send teams to the Afghanistan quake area. State media there is reporting that at least 280 people have been killed by a massive earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey says that 5.9 magnitude quake hit an area southwest of the city of Khost in the early morning hours.

A jury in Los Angeles has found Bill Cosby liable in the civil trial, ruling that he sexually assaulted Judy Huth in 1975 when she was just 16 years old. Cosby is now 84, and is being ordered to pay Huth $500,000 in damages. He continues to deny any allegations against him. Huth says she was elated by the verdict.

Since 2005, more than 15 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault. He served just under three years in prison after being convicted of assault in one case before his conviction was overturned.

And we are going to take a quick break. You are watching CNN. Stay with us.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, all this week our series Mission Ahead meets innovators tackling some of the world's biggest challenges. Well, today we're looking at rising sea levels, something that's already impacting coastal cities around the world.


And experts say it could leave some communities entirely underwater in years to come. A growing number of architects are planning for the future by designing cities that can literally go with the tide.

CNN's Rachel Clarke has the story.


RACHEL CLARKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the Netherlands, living by the water comes with its charms, but also its challenges. Almost one third of the country lies below sea level, leaving many areas vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding. It's why some choose to live in a floating home, like this one.

Built on a concrete platform that floats on the water surface and anchored by pulls to the riverbed the villa can rise and fall over four meters with the tide, while a breakwater stops waves from rocking the foundation. The architect behind this floating house and hundreds like it is Koen Olthuis. He founded Waterstudio to build floating buildings in 2003.

KOEN OLTHUIS, FOUNDER WATERSTUDIO: All the other architects said to me, are you crazy, why would you build on water, there's so much land. You are an architect.

CLARKE: Fast forward almost two decades, and hotels, gardens, even farms have moved on to Dutch waterways. Offices too, like the headquarters of the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam. It's part of a growing movement to work with sea level rise, rather than against it. A strategy which the organization says will be crucial for communities on the frontline of climate change.

PATRICK VERKOOIJEN, CEO, GLOBAL CENTER ON ADAPTATION: The cost of flooding and coastal cities could be even increased to $1 trillion, so at the same time that we need to lower our carbon footprint, we need to prepare ourselves for the future. So, investing in climate adaptation, investing in floating constructs is not defeat, it's defense.

CLARKE: For architects like Olthuis, business is booming, this mockup might look like a game of monopoly, but it represents water studios largest scale project to date, Olthuis says. A floating city in the Maldives for 20,000 people, complete with solar-powered schools, shops, and a raft of energy saving features.

Construction is underway near the nation's capital in partnership with Dutch Docklands Maldives. And another floating city in South Korea backed by the U.N. is also in development. But the biggest challenges for floating cities are still to come, Olthuis says.

OLTHUIS: It takes more than only the floating building itself. It takes also the regular framework. You have to have parties who want to insure it, who want to give mortgage for it.

CLARKE: There are no shortages of people to live in floating cities, though. As the global population continues to grow, these kinds of projects could encourage cities to expand sustainably, and Olthuis hopes have more respect for the water.


KINKADE: Well, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade. African Voices Changemakers is up next. Then more news from around the world in about 15 minutes with my colleague Isa Soares. You are watching CNN. Stay with us.