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Afghanistan in Desperate Need of Aid; Russian Forces Gaining More Ground in Eastern Ukraine; President Zelenskyy Tirelessly Begging for More Weapons; Russia Trading with BRICS Countries; DOJ Officials Testifies to House Committee. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 23, 2022 - 03:00   ET




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

Just ahead.


NEIL TURNER, AFGHANISTAN COUNTRY DIRECTOR, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: It's a huge undertaking. And it needs international assistance and it needs collaboration and cooperation with all the agencies on the ground.


KINKADE: Aid is being rushed to Afghanistan in the wake of its deadliest earthquake in decades. CNN has reporters spanned across the story.

Plus, we're hours away from Europe Union leaders meeting to decide on Ukraine's candidacy status. We'll go live to Brussels for the latest.

And the never-before-seen documentary footage the January 6 committee is examining ahead of today's hearing. It comes as U.S. Justice Department officials would testify on how former President Trump tried to weaponized the department to spread election lies.

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

KINKADE: Afghan officials say more than 1,000 people have died from an earthquake that hit early Wednesday morning. A number is expected to rise as recovery efforts progress. Well, the epicenter of the 5.9 magnitude quake was southwest of Khost, near the country's border with Pakistan. With most deaths reported in the Paktika province.

The Afghan government has already set aside emergency funds to help those affected. But the United Nations says $15 million in aid is needed immediately for rescue and recovery efforts. Bad weather is hampering those efforts, the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Office says strong winds and monsoon rains are making it difficult for helicopters to land with supplies. A UNICEF representative breaks down what the Afghan people are facing right now.


SAM MORT, CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNICEF AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan has long been one of the hardest places to be a child in the world. Right now, we've got 24 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, 13 million are children, we've got worse drought the country's experience for 37 years.

We've got a chronic malnutrition crisis, and a million children under the age of five at risk of death without urgent treatment. We've preventable diseases such as measles and acute watery diarrhea spreading across the country. And, then on top of that, we've got economic collapse.

You've got 97 percent of the population on the brink of poverty, people not able to feed themselves, high unemployment, high food prices, Afghan people do not have their troubles to seek, and this earthquake as you see has compounded an already miserable situation.


KINKADE: Well for more I'm joined by meteorologist Derek Van Dam here in Atlanta. But first I want to go to Vedika Sud in New Delhi. And Vedika, as we just heard from the UNICEF spokesperson in Afghanistan, Afghanistan is dealing with so many issues already, and now on top of that, this earthquake a thousand of people killed, and tens of thousands desperately needing aid.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Lynda, this is the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan in the last two decades. And the death toll is about to rise as what we are being told by aid agencies, as well as officials from Afghanistan.

But I want to start with a very strong video emerging from the Paktika region, the worst affected area in eastern of Afghanistan where you can see locals preparing a series of graves for the dead. Now this area is a remote location, it's a mountainous area, it's a very rough terrain.

You can see people out there are even pulling out the survivors from the rubble over the last two days. They barely had any aid agency help until now. There are aid agencies that are rushing to the spot. Now according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Gayan district in the Paktika province has been severely hit.

We are being told that about 70 percent of the housing in this district is completely damaged. People are still under the rubble. And there is help that's needed in this area, according to aid agencies they are completely overstretched, this is also because a lot of them have left Afghanistan after the takeover last year in August.

But for now, we are being told that the weather could be holding up compared to Wednesday when a strong winds and strong rains really hampered rescue missions in the area. Choppers couldn't land like you mentioned.


Now the death toll stands at 1,000, the number of injured over 1,500. But over the next few days we will get to know the real extent of the damage in the area, as well as the casualty in numbers.

Lynda, you know, this like all of us, this area has been in the midst of a conflict for decades. There's been no money for infrastructure, no money really to protect people in these remote lands in Afghanistan, from earthquakes, and this comes at a time when there is a massive humanitarian crisis. A massive hunger and economic crisis that the country is currently facing, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, dire situation. Thank you so much, Vedika. I want to go to Derek Van Dam for us in Atlanta. As we just heard, Derek, the death toll already at a thousand. And it is expected to grow. This was a 5.9 magnitude quake, why was it so deadly?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, I think the staggering death toll has a lot to do with the fact that it struck at night. And then also the recent rainfall that struck this region, especially over the eastern sections of Afghanistan, totaling over 50 millimeters. That really softens some of the building materials of the houses and structures that are typically made of mud and brick, and made the more susceptible to the shaking that occurred when the earthquake struck the region.

Let's take this photo near ground zero, for example, look at this building in the foreground, completely shattered, completely demolished from the shaking. This building clearly made out of a very primitive structure and it's got just mud and bricks keeping that together. Well, obviously the shaking was too much for it.

But some of the newly built buildings in the background, those withstood the shaking from this particular earthquake. I want you to pay particular attention to the depth of this earthquake, 10 kilometers deep, that's a very shallow earthquake. So, what that does is it allows it to really rattle the surface of the earth which is nearby.

Let's say, for instance, the magnitude, 5.9 earthquake was actually 200, or 300 kilometers deep. Then it would really only have a light rumbling at the surface of the earth. Of course, there have been some aftershocks, we expect this to continue. There was just recently a magnitude 4.5 that occurred, these will continue in the days, if not weeks to come, especially with the magnitude earthquake of this magnitude.

Now in terms of the weather forecast for the search and recovery efforts, as the reporter just mentioned from New Delhi. This area, not expecting any major weather to hamper the recovery efforts going forward here over the next few days. Computer models not picking up on any rainfall. However, as they try and attempt to ground or bring in helicopters for those recovery efforts, the winds will be a concern.

Because we do anticipate the winds across much of central and eastern Afghanistan to gust anywhere from 30, to 40 kilometers per hour making it extremely difficult conditions for landing a helicopter of that size. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, we will check in with you again soon. Derek Van Dam for us in Atlanta. Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Thank you very much.

While the country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Afghanistan says one of the most immediate needs for those displaced by the earthquake is shelter. Here's part of his conversation with my colleague Anna Coren about the current relief efforts.


TURNER: We have now over 1,000 deaths, we have over 2,000 households immediately impacted by collapse. These figures are very, very likely to rise, we are looking at a situation where we have tens of thousands of people in need immediate assistance.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The death rate as we have just been hearing is so high because of the time of the earthquake. It was early morning, people were asleep in their homes, in these mud clay dwellings. We've seen the videos of grave after grave after grave. What is the priority right now for humanitarian groups like yours?

TURNER: So, the priority is to get access, and we've already conducted assessments in Khost province, the neighboring province of Paktika, and we are looking at bringing in immediate shelter assistance there. That happened yesterday and today there's a big effort from all the aid agencies in Paktika to make sure that we get the assessments done.

And we've already started moving supplies towards the area, in relation to tents, blankets, household items, hygiene kits, and everything that we think is going to be immediately necessary to assist the population.

In the medium term, it's not only people's lives, which have been lost, it is also their livelihoods which have been lost and we need to gear up to look at how we help people reestablish their businesses, their farms, and everything else.


There will also be water sanitation needs, it's a huge undertaking.


KINKADE: Well, aid groups are on the ground providing help to the victims of the earthquake. Find out how you can help them at

In Ukraine, Russia is ramping up its offensive in the east. Just as Ukrainian president hopes to move a step closer to the west. European Union leaders begin a summit in Brussels in the coming hours to decide if Ukraine should get a greenlight to start the process of joining the group. A full membership would still be years away.

A senior U.S. official says that all current moments are currently expected to get behind Ukraine's candidacy. But on the eve of the summit, President Zelenskyy was embarking on some last-minute lobbying of European leaders.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): From the very morning, I continue the telephone marathon for a positive decision on the candidacy for Ukraine.

Tomorrow, I will continue this marathon. You must provide maximum support to our state. We expect a key European decision tomorrow night.


KINKADE: Well, in Ukraine, Russian forces are gaining more ground in grinding battles in the east. Ukraine said a short time ago that Russia had taken more -- two more settlement south of the city of Lysychansk near Severodonetsk. And that puts Russian forces close to a key highway that Ukraine says is among Russia's top objectives to seize.

Ukraine says it's holding on to Severodonetsk despite barrages of Russian artillery and strikes. Ukrainian defenders are concentrated in a chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are hold up as well.

Meanwhile, three foreign fighters sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists are preparing their appeal. That's according to state- owned news agency TASS. The two Britons and a Moroccan are accused of being mercenaries for Ukraine.

CNN correspondents are covering the conflict from every angle across the globe. Our Nic Robertson is in Brussels for us, our Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong, but let's start with Salma Abdelaziz in Kyiv as Russian troops make slow but steady progress in eastern Ukraine.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: This is shaping up to be one of the worst week for the Ukrainian military since the fall of Mariupol. All along that frontline in the east, Ukrainian forces are on the back foot as Russia advances making that inch-by-inch gain of Ukrainian territory using of course their superior military force.

Up to the north in the Sumy region Ukrainian officials saying that Russian troops are carrying out cross border attacks using Kamikaze drones to take out tanks and APC. In the Kharkiv are there's been increase shelling on residential areas killing and wounding several people.

And then of course, that all-important battle for Severodonetsk Ukrainian forces there outmanned and outgunned. That battle now centered around a chemical plant where Ukrainian defenders are making something of a last stand. There is also over 7,000 civilians estimated to be trapped inside, pinned down in the fighting. And what's very worrying there is the events happening in the sister city of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk.

In areas around that to the south of Lysychansk, Ukrainian officials say they've lost territory. They've lost villages that are now being occupied by Russian forces, used as firing positions. And that Ukrainian troops in Lysychansk are succumbing again to Russian artillery, but also air strikes. Air support there that Moscow's troops are using to push their advance. And then to the south in Mariupol, recently officials saying seven missile strikes there, no reports on casualties. But President Zelenskyy yet again using his nightly address to appeal for more help. Take a listen.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): In Donbas, there are massive air and artillery strikes. The goal of the occupiers in this direction remains the same. They want to destroy the whole Donbas step by step. They aim to turn any city into Mariupol, completely ruined, that is why we repeatedly emphasize the acceleration of weapon supplies to Ukraine.


ABDELAZIZ: Now President Zelenskyy is expected to address a NATO summit and the G7 summit happening in the coming days. He is sure to ask for more western help, more support. He's also pushing the European Union to try to get that candidacy status, we expect a decision on that in the coming days.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Kyiv.

KINKADE: Well for more on Ukraine's bid to become a European Union candidate, we are joined by Brussels by CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. Good to have you with us, Nic.


So, Ukraine's president has spoken with almost a dozen European leaders as Ukraine seeks E.U. membership but this certainly going to be a long process.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It really is, years and years and years. Not just because Ukraine is in the middle of a war but because the burden on nations to join the European Union means they need to sort of take all that European Union legislation and work it into every aspect of their own laws.

So, to try to do that in the middle of a war is a huge, huge lift. What this does is, it turns on the light of hope. And I think Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president expressed it quite emotionally by saying, look, we know that the Europe -- we know that the Ukrainians are willing to die for the European Union perspective. But she said we want to be able to live, we want them to be able to live with us in the European dream. So, that, if you will, -- there are a lot of E.U. leaders arriving

here for the summit today and I think that's why you are hearing the police sirens going by there.

But the idea is that the Ukrainians see that the European Union is listening to them not just providing aid, humanitarian aid, not just providing weapons, not just providing the promise of a help rebuilding the country but actually providing the promise of integrating them into the European Union ultimately.

But it's going to be a very, very long process. And there's going to be a lot of difficulties along the way. Complicated issues about, you know, Ukraine steel production, which was quite huge and vast. How that would fit into the steel production of other European Union nations because obviously, ultimately, Ukraine would be a member of the E.U. would be trading in that large block.

KINKADE: Nic Robertson for us in Brussels, you did well to carry on through those sirens as the E.U. leaders arrived there. We will check in with you again next hour. Thanks very much.

Well Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be brushing off sanctions by the west and is aggressively pursuing more trade with a handful of global economic partners to fill the gap. They're known as the BRICS, the trade block made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. And they account for about 25 percent of global GDP.

The group is meeting in a virtual summit hosted by Beijing. And in his opening remarks the Russian leader claim his country's trade with BRICS members had grown some 38 percent in the first quarter of this year.

I want to bring in CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson who joins us this hour live from Hong Kong. Good have you with us, Ivan.

So, Putin says he's redirecting trade to what he calls reliable international partners, and that of course countries which seem to have no issue with Russia invading Ukraine and killing thousands of civilians.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, these countries only one of them Brazil voted in the United Nations General Assembly to condemned Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at the end of February of this year. And the rest of them were stood -- stood by and didn't vote in that case and have not really condemned Russia and seem to have expanded trade.

China of course it makes no secret of the fact that he's very close friend of Vladimir Putin's Russia. The two leaders, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have talked about a relationship with no limits. We saw last month that Russia's crude oil export to Russia hit a record, growing a phenomenal amount from the year before that.

So, it is China, and to some extent India that have helped become alternative markets for Russian energy after Europe has largely closed the door to the traditional trading partners to Russian oil and gas. This summit which is virtual has been a chance for Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to stand virtually side by side and to condemn western led sanctions against Moscow. Calling it, Xi Jinping calling it, you know, weaponizing the global economy.

Take a listen to what more Putin had to say.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Contacts between Russian business circles and the business community of the BRICS countries are being activated. For example, negotiations are underway to open Indian supermarket chains in Russia to increase the share of Chinese cars and equipment and machinery in our market.


And of course, we are actively engaged in rerouting our trade flows and foreign economic contacts towards reliable international partners, primarily the BRICS countries.


WATSON: Now, Putin and Xi Jinping have made no secret of the fact that they want a new international world order. They actually announced this at the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics just days -- sorry, at the beginning of the Winter Olympics just days before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

There is some sympathy from that coming from the other countries that are participants in BRICSs, since they are not part of the G7 the world's wealthiest countries. But these are not countries that are wholly sympathetic to Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

India, for example, has its own tensions with China. The two countries have fought deadly border battles in the Himalayas, and India is also a member of this other group called the QUAD, which includes the U.S., Japan, and Australia all seem to be rivals of Beijing. Back to you.

KINKADE: Yes, interesting dynamics. Ivan Watson for us in Hong Kong. Thanks very much.

We are counting down to the next hearing into the January 6th capitol riot, the new evidence the committee is reviewing, and why they are planning to take a break.

Also, the Uvalde school district police chief facing harsh criticism because of decisions on the day of the school shooting. Now he's been placed on leave. The latest when we come back.


KINKADE: Welcome back. The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its fifth hearing today. They plan to present evidence of Donald Trump's pressure on the Justice Department to back this false claim that the election was stolen. Then the chairman says the panel will take a break until mid-July to

evaluate new evidence. One of the things they are looking at is a British filmmakers' footage, documenting the final weeks of the Trump presidency. Unprecedented will be released this summer by Discovery +, which is owned by the same company as CNN.



IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: My father, he's very honest, and he is who he is.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: He believes everything that he's doing is right.

D. TRUMP: I think I treat people well unless they don't treat me well, in which case you go to war.

UNKNOWN: Can we talk for a minute about January 6th?

D. TRUMP: Yes.



KINKADE: When Trump lost a key swing states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan in the 2020 election, his team come up with a plan. To present a slate of alternate electors who would vote to keep him in office, despite Joe Biden's victory.

Now some of those fake electors will have to answer for their actions.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz explains.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: New reporting Wednesday of a fresh round of subpoenas in the Justice Department's probe into fake electors used by Donald Trump in 2020. So, what we are learning is that federal investigators have issued a subpoena to the Georgia Republican party chairman, his name is David Shafer, and he is a top person not just in the party, but he was an elector for Trump in 2020 when the electors for Trump were not needed. They gathered to try and supplant Biden's win in that state, so he served in that group, but he also was a key essential person in touch with the Trump campaign as the electors in Georgia were trying to convene.

So, in addition to Shafer getting a subpoena, we are also now learning that other electors, fake electors, in battleground states that Trump lost, so they weren't needed, that others have received subpoenas as well. That's in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Georgia, so this ongoing federal probe is existing in at least three states, and this is a significant expansion of a probe that we have known about for some time already.

Previously, our understanding was that there were fewer states that the Justice Department was at least actively known to be looking in, and also that they were looking at lower-level people among Republicans, people who had been set to be electors for Trump and then dropped out.

This ratchets that up, it goes closer to the heart of the people who gathered after the election to try and become electors for Donald Trump and send certificates that were fakes to the federal government. But one of the things that is important to remember about this, is that this isn't just about what happened in battleground states, this is also a probe that looks into the Trump campaign itself.

All of these inquiries are not just asking for information about the electors, but also about people that are top level staffers and lawyers in the Trump campaign. People like Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Justin Clark, those are all lawyers that were working with the campaign, and with Donald Trump himself after the election.

And we are hearing a lot about fake electors this week, while the Justice Department has been looking at them, we also know that the grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia has been looking at them. And the House select committee earlier this week in their last public hearing did bring forth information that Donald Trump and the Trump campaign were orchestrating these electors coming together in various states just like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.

KINKADE: Well today's hearing will feature testimony from former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen who resisted Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election. My colleague Anna Coren spoke with CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig about what we can expect to hear.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Trump really tried to undertake a whole of government effort here to give some credence to his lies about election fraud. He tried to pressure the vice president, he tried to pressure state legislatures, he tried to pressure state and local election officials.

And now tomorrow we'll learn how he tried to use prosecutors to further that goal, what they did at the White House was they sent over really wild theories about election fraud and tried to get DOJ to investigate. DOJ did, they found nothing and then Trump, apparently, asked DOJ to just say they had found fraud anyway. And again, DOJ refused. Because DOJ really its ground as a bastion of independence.

COREN: Elie, we're also expecting to see footage from a documentary filmmaker who is with the Trump before and after the riots. Could this be the evidence that proves to be the smoking gun?

HONIG: Well, I'm reluctant to ever call any one piece of evidence as a smoking gun to me, it's always about sort of the totality of the evidence. But this evidence could be quite powerful because it's a video evidence. You can always, a defense lawyer can always attack a witness, can say the witness is not reliable or as bias or is not credible. But videotape is a videotape.

And so, if you have incriminating statements made by somebody on videotaped, particularly an unguarded moment of candor, that can be absolutely devastating evidence, it does look like the committee has some expectations for this footage, because they have postponed some of next week's hearings because they want to make sure they can go through with this and other new evidence.


KINKADE: And you can see the entire hearing, plus in-depth analysis right here on CNN starting at 2 on Thursday afternoon in Washington, that's 7 in the evening in London, and Friday at 2 a.m. in Hong Kong.

Well, we are following -- we are following new developments out of Texas one month after the tragic school shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 students and two teachers.


The Uvalde school superintendent has announced that the police chief, Pete Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave while investigations into the massacre continue.

Arredondo's decision making on the day of the shooting has sparked anger and frustration over the police response. The head of the Texas Department of Public Security call it an abject failure. But even the Department of Public Security is facing criticism and now a lawsuit.

One state senator is suing the agency, arguing that it violated the Texas Public Information Act when a request for information was ignored. The lawsuit challenges the department's decision to withhold information from the public, including police bodycam footage and 911 audio.

Still, we've learned that law enforcement was inside the school within minutes of the shooter entering but he wasn't confronted until more than an hour later. The father of one shooting victim says the police failed the community.


ANGEL GARZA, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: I just don't get how you can hear these kids, you know, crying and asking for help, but you are scared to enter because your commander does not want you to go in, but the ones who told me to trust them, didn't save my daughter or any of the other kids.


KINKADE: Well, he went on to say he hopes that no other parent will ever feel the pain they do.

Still to come, Britain's inflation rate hitting a new high. We'll hear from some of those feeling the pressure of rising costs. Plus, Prince Charles becomes the first British royal to visit Rwanda

and to a memorial of the genocide that left hundreds of thousands of people dead almost three decades ago. We'll have a live report coming up.


KINKADE: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

New details on the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan that has claimed more than a thousand lives. Take a look at this, the scene after that strong quake toppled buildings in the area as people slept in the early morning hours on Wednesday.

The Taliban spokesperson says humanitarian aid from Qatar, Iran, and Pakistan has now arrived in the country. Although search and rescue operations are still ongoing, aid groups say they are facing major challenges getting help to the region due to the difficult terrain and the bad weather.


CNN's Scott McLean has the details, but a warning that some of the images you're about to see are graphic.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the sound of help arriving in Afghanistan's Paktika province, overnight the extremely remote area was struck by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that destroyed buildings and killed more than 1,000 people, the deadliest quake in more than two decades.

In one village, a group of men searching for survivors pulled out a lifeless body instead. Elsewhere, this man lifts the shrouds of the latest victims. "These people died in the earthquake," he says, "and 33 members of one family were killed."

The epicenter was sparsely populated area along the border with Pakistan, and an active fault line about 100 miles south of Kabul.

"The kids and I screamed," this woman says, "one of our rooms was destroyed. We heard our neighbors screaming." Taliban trucks moved bodies out of the area, some homes were badly damaged. The government says some entire villages were destroyed, and that's just what they know about so far.

SAM MORT, CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNICEF AFGHANISTAN: Some communities are not accessible, there's a lot of rain here in Afghanistan at the moment so we've had landslides and there is a lot of mud. And of course, because these areas that are affected are so rural and remote, there is no sophisticated equipment there.

MCLEAN: The man shooting this video says that one of the grandchildren was buried in rubble, but they manage to pull him out alive. Foreign aid organizations say they are already on the ground but the head of one local NGO says that the Taliban-led search and rescue effort is desperately under resourced.

OBAIDULLAH BAHEER, LECTURER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF AFGHANISTAN: They're probably weren't more helicopters to send out because when the United States was leaving it (Inaudible) more of the aircraft whether it belonged to Afghan forces or to them. So, it's just that we constantly keep dealing in absolute in right and wrong and black and white, and the world isn't like that.

MCLEAN: At a press conference, the Taliban pledged to send more than $500 to those injured, and more than 1,000 to the families of those killed. A bold pledge for a cash strapped government in the midst of an economic crisis, unable to feed even its own people.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Well, a second day or rail strikes is underway in the U.K. Millions are facing another day of disruptions. These are Britain's biggest rail strikes in decades. Talks have so far failed to reach an agreement and a woe over pay in future conditions for workers, which means more strikes are planned this weekend. The issue sparked a clash in parliament between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the British opposition leader.


KEIR STARMER, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: Thousands of families have had their holiday flights canceled. It takes forever to renew your driving license or passport and now we've got the biggest rail strike in 30 years. If he is genuine, if he is genuine --


KINKADE: Well, right now let's get a check of the markets from the U.S. to Europe with just hours to go into -- until the opening bell on Wall Street. Here's a look at the U.S. futures, all slightly down about half a percent right now. We're also keeping an eye on the markets across Asia. You can see they are all up. The Hang Seng just over 1.24 percent.

And let's have a look at the trading day getting underway in Europe, all slightly down, a bit over a percent. You can see the FTSE just down over 1 percent there.

Well, on Wednesday, the FTSE closed 100 points down after Britain reported that its inflation rate hit 9.1 percent in May, its highest rate in 40 years. The Central Bank says it may climb even higher.

CNN's Clare Sebastian visited a food market in London where customers and vendors alike are feeling the pressure of rising costs.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at this east London food market where people are on their lunch breaks, it's not immediately obvious that the U.K. is facing 40-year highs inflation and the cost of living crisis. But inflation is here. Food prices were the biggest contributing factor to the latest rising inflation. Add to that the cost of energy. Motor fuels were up around 33 percent in the past 12 months. And you have a situation where pretty much everyone here is feeling the pressure.

UNKNOWN: I think future is up especially, it's just ridiculous, you can't get anything on a (Inaudible), yes, adds up too much. But yes, unfortunately, money doesn't go far.

UNKNOWN: I have also been busy trying to fix my mortgage because we are facing significantly rising mortgage rates as well.

UNKNOWN: The oil has gone up. The vegetable oil and the price of the chicken has gone up basically. But we've not passed down yet, because we're trying to keep it to the absolute minimum until we can.


SEBASTIAN: Well, that business may not be passing on cost to its customers, but data shows that more and more businesses are. Add to that the fact that we've already seen disruptions this week from rail strikes, these latest inflation numbers could lead unions to increase their demand for more pay rises in line with inflation.

And then you have another worry. The U.K. economy is actually shrinking. It shrunk in both April and March data shows. If inflation keeps rising, and the economy keeps shrinking, the risk of recession keeps going up. And that means a whole new set of challenges for the business hoping to make a living of people's lunch break.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Britain's prime minister is heading to Rwanda for a couple of government meetings in the wake of a controversial deal struck with the East African country to fly asylum seekers landing in Britain on to Rwanda. Well, the first flight plan for last week didn't take off after the European Court of Human Rights intervened just minutes before takeoff.

Boris Johnson defended the agreement in parliament before heading to Rwanda.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When it comes to the Rwanda policy that we are pursuing, that policy, Mr. Speaker, has not been ruled unlawful by any U.K. court, nor so far by any international court, Mr. Speaker. We will continue with that policy.


KINKADE: Well, Prince Charles. Camila, the duchess of Cornwall are headed -- are in Rwanda right now for the summit, the first British royals to visit the East African nation. And they took some time Wednesday to meet with survivors and pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis who were killed by the extremist Hutus during the brutal genocide back in 1994.

CNN's Max Foster is in the capital of Kigali with the story.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bloodstain shorts belong to just one victim of the massacre at Martha Church. Also found here, tools like machetes used so bluntly by the perpetrators. Before they attacked, they threw grenades, and the holes created by the shrapnel still pepper the roof. In the basement, the skulls of anonymous Tutsi men suspended above the coffin of a woman from the same ethnic group who lost her life in an active barbarous sexual violence.

And even now, more bodies are being discovered and brought here as the attackers identify other murder sites as part of the reconciliation process that began in 1999.

Around 10,000 people were killed in this church across two days, and they're buried here behind it along with around 35,000 other victims of genocide. A quarter of a million more are buried here at the genocide memorial in the capital Kigali. They include Freddy's family.

FREDDY MUTANGHUNA, DIRECTOR, KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL: (Inaudible) attacked my house and they killed my family, my parents and four sisters.

FOSTER: Did you see that?

MUTANGHUNA: Yes, of course. I heard. I was in the hiding but I can hear their voices actually until they finish them.

FOSTER: And you are the only survivor?

MUTANGHUNA: I survived with my sister. But I lost four sisters as well.

FOSTER: It's Freddy's mission to keep the memories of his family and hundreds of thousands of other victims alive. He now runs this memorial site. He was keen to welcome Prince Charles to learn more about what happened here and help counter a growing online threat from genocide deniers, Freddy compares it to the Holocaust denial.

MUTANGHUNA: More than a million Tutsi lost their lives because of this kind of ideology. If this ideology is given a place and the ideology is the ideology of genocide, those who promotes the ideology of genocide are given platforms and this comes back, we are going to lose people. We are going to lose lives. And I don't want this to happen in Rwanda and I don't want this to happen anywhere around the world.

FOSTER: It's a familiar theme as memories of tragedy fade, anonymous conspiracy theories crawl in to rewrite history and prevent much needed reconciliation healing and peace. Max Foster, CNN, Kigali, Rwanda.




KINKADE: Well, all this week, our series Mission Ahead explores big bold missions in science and technology to change the way we moved. Well, today we met a former creative director of Windows XP who went in to help design the original Xbox and built some of HGC earliest Smartphones. Well now the innovator turned his hand to another industry, working to make polluted city streets a lot greener.

CNN's Rachel Crane has his story.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION & SPACE CORRESPONDENT: It's a gloomy day in Taiwan's capital Taipei. But according to Horace Luke, it's not just the rain to blame.

HORACE LUKE, CEO, GOGORO: You know, if you think about all the noise, all the dirty air, all the humid, cities are muddied. Every vehicle on the side of the street, you know, if not washed, are different shades of gray.

CRANE: The former designer is on a mission to add some color. His company Gogoro has developed a range of electric smart scooters will swappable batteries so when riders are running low, they can turn up to a swapping station like this one and switch to a fully charged battery.

White electric two-wheelers have been around for decades, in many cities in Asia you are more likely to come across their gas and diesel fueled counterparts and you'll probably see a lot of them.

LUKE: Most people in the west don't realize how essential two- wheelers are for Asia. You know, where we are today in Taiwan, you know, there are 14 million two-wheelers running around. The amount of dependency these people really have on these two-wheelers for everyday life to taking their kids to school, going to the supermarket, you know, running to work.

CRANE: Four riders strapped for time, battery swapping offers some valuable advantages, Gogoro says. It's faster than filling up the tank and Gogoro stations actually outnumber gas stations in most major cities in Taiwan, but more electric scooters on the road doesn't come without risk.

CAO ZHEJING, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, TONGJI UNIVERSITY: The safety concern comes largely from the exposure of batteries. You know, it's very dangerous in public spaces.

CRANE: Luke says battery swapping can help make e-scooters safer. LUKE: We have a lot of safety measurements. I would say almost most

14 different layers of safety precautions that allows us to manage the network. Anything from overheating issue to a functionality issue, those are then caught by our system of servers, they are always monitoring every battery that's on the grid.

CRANE: This system can even give back to the grid, according to Luke.

LUKE: Another project that we are working on is being able to actually now push back the energy, being able to take those batteries and put it in things like, for example, into traffic lights that we can back up a traffic light for three hours during a brownout.

CRANE: This grid isn't entirely green, though. Most electricity in Taiwan is still generated by fossil fuels according to 2020 figures.

LUKE: Later on, hopefully the demand side is big enough that we can influence the supply side of the energy.

CRANE: Gogoro is also expanding into larger scooter markets like China and India each with its own complex energy infrastructure. For Luke, it's another chance to go back to the drawing board.



KINKADE: Rachel Crane reporting there. Well, coming up on CNN Newsroom, time is running out for residents in the South African township that is dangerously close to running out of tap water, will they get rain anytime soon and would it make a difference?


KINKADE: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. We are about two weeks away from day zero. That's when people in the Nelson Mandela Bay Area, formerly Port Elizabeth in South Africa will completely run out of tap water. The four dams in the area have been drying up for months due to extreme drought, water system leaks, and poor management. Heavy rains would help the situation but none are expected anytime soon.

Well, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins me now with more on what to expect there. Derek, this is your home country, well, and your wife's home country, I should say. And for a long time, this is a country that has dealt with reoccurring droughts and water shortages. Talk to us about just how dire things are right now in which areas are most impacted.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It was just in 2018, Lynda, that we were talking about Cape Town's day zero where they nearly averted a water disaster. Now, we are talking about another city just to the east of Cape Town, Gqeberha. This is formerly known as Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape.

I want our viewers to envision this. Imagine taking 50-liter jugs going to one communal water tap within your town and filling up those jugs and taking them to your wheel barrel to bring them home because there is literally no water coming out of your tap. That is one community in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, what they have to deal with.

Amongst the backdrop of a five or six-year drought that is plaguing this portion of southeastern South Africa. Particularly within the eastern Cape. And unfortunately, the lack of rain over the past several years has forced some of their dams to run dry with others threatening to run dry within the days to come.

You can see that, already one dam, the Impofu Dam, just outside of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality running completely dry. So, collectively, the dams that supply over one million people their water just under 12 percent storage of water capacity.

So, what led to this potential disaster. Well, it ranges from poor management, to changing weather patterns attributed to climate change, but also, leaky pipes underground. So, what will it take to amend the situation? We need solid rainfall. Twenty-four hours of rain accumulating more than 50 millimeters across the reservoirs and the catchments upstream from the population area.

And we do have rainfall in the forecast this weekend, but will it be enough. Our computer models say no, we only have between 5 to 25 millimeters of rain expected across this portion of South Africa. The heaviest rainfall through the winter months comes in the month of August. People here are preparing for the worst, even putting up some of these water storage tanks to catch the rainwater. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right. Derek Van Dam, we will check to you again very soon.

VAN DAM: Absolutely.

KINKADE: Thank you so much. Well, the director for water distribution for the Mandela Bay metro municipality spoke with CNN a short while ago. And here is what he says that he expects people to do once they get to day zero.



JOSEPH TSATSIRE, DIRECTOR, WATER DISTRIBUTION, NELSON MANDELA METRO MUNICIPALITY: I need to stress that, you know, Port Elizabeth obviously has got various sources of water into the city. And we are talking in about 40 percent of the areas that usually gets its water from Churchill and Impofu Dam that obviously going to experience, you know, intermittent and water disruption as a result of hydraulic failure of those dams.

Obviously, we are planning, you know, a contingency plan in order to ensure continuity from the water supply point of view. There are quite a number of things that is currently happening. The first one is that, you know, (Inaudible) have mentioned that, you know, Churchill I think is at 8 percent and Impofu is just around 11 percent. Obviously, we are now making plans to extract what you call dead water

from that dam. And we are floating pumps and budgies to ensure that we have good water continuity for the next couple of months or two months or so. And obviously, as part of that process, we are preparing what we call as water collection points, you know, strategic points in the spine of the articulation system. Where we will actually then erect taps, residents will be encouraged to go and pick up water from there using containers.

And we are also installing the rainwater tanks within the suburbs, again, residents are encouraged to collect water from those rainwater tanks for basic consumption.


KINKADE: Well, that was Joseph Tsatsire, director for Water Distribution for the Nelson Mandela Day Metropolitan Municipality. Well, let's take a look at other key stories making international headlines today.

At least 124 deaths have been reported in India and Bangladesh from severe flooding caused by monsoon rains. In the Indian state of Assam, the local government says that more than a quarter of a million people have been displaced. Nearly 3,700 rescue operations were carried out on Wednesday alone.

Forecasters expect more heavy rainfall over the next several days. And people in Ecuador have been pouring into the capital for more than a week to protest the crippling inflation and the government's state of emergency. Clashes with riot police again erupted as demonstrators marched towards the old city center. AFP reports that 18 police officers were missing after an attack on a police station.

And that does it for this hour. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kincade. I'll be back with much more news on CNN Newsroom after a very short break. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.