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EU Energy Ministers Agree To Voluntary Gas Rationing; IMF Downgrades Global Forecast As Top Economies Stall; Pope Acknowledges Indigenous Suffering During Mass. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 27, 2022 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us here on CNN Newsroom. In the hour ahead, E.U. unity halts. The block agrees to reduce demand for Russian gas, just as Moscow drastically cuts the flow of natural gas in the Nord Stream pipeline.
On the edge of a global recession, the International Monetary Fund revises downwards expectations for global GDP and makes it official, the outlook is gloomy.
And sign of the times. Russia says it will leave the International Space Station after 2024, a move that would end a partnership among nations, which has been an enduring symbol of cooperation and goodwill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.
VAUSE: As the war in Ukraine passes five long months, the quick victory Russia expected has turned into a grinding war of attrition and that requires reinforcements. Ukrainian forces have reportedly attacked a key bridge used by the Russians to deliver those reinforcements to occupy Kherson. Ukrainian authorities believe the additional troops are being sent to bolster positions in the South.
Video posted online and geo located by CNN shows heavy military equipment on the move, crossing highways or crossing from Russia through the Crimean Peninsula and then into the Kherson region. Analysts say the deployment show Russia is preparing to counter and eventual Ukrainian counter offensive. But the Kremlin denies sending extra troops saying the number devoted to the special military operation in Ukraine more than sufficient.
Meantime, Russia's relentless bombardment of the Black Sea region fueling doubts over whether the deal to resume Ukrainian grain exports will hold CNN's Nic Robertson has details.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Along the coast from Odessa, more Russian airstrikes. Houses and hotels in Zatoka, a seaside vacation town close to where grain ships at Judah pass reduced to rubble, including this man's hotel.
I have no idea why they hid here he says, there are no military targets. Confidence in the U.N. brokered deal to move the grain safely along this coast taking hits.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We trust the U.N. and Turkey with whom we signed the corresponding documents and they ought to have talked about the safety of other countries ships.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Concern spike Saturday less than 24 hours after the deal was agreed when Russian missiles hit Odessa. They say destroying a weapons store. After reviewing the strike, the British government say, they see nothing to backup Russia's claims. Northeast of Odessa, another port Nikolaev also hit by Russian missile strikes Tuesday, less a direct threat to grain shipping likely part of increased Russian attacks on the southern front.
Not far away, in Melitopol, Russian heavy armor heads towards that southern front, raising concerns of a possible Russian advance. Nearby another indicator of an uptick, thousands of civilians lining up to leave Russian occupied territory. Ukrainian officials claimed, they're been stuck there for days and are being used as human shields.
Further north and east in Donetsk region, Russia's relentless shelling rewarded with tiny gains. This village, Berestove, smashed and deserted. Villages here slowly crushed, near misses a part of daily life. From the very north, lives hang in the balance along hundreds of kilometers of front line. Russia's intent so much more than frustrate grain shipments.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.
VAUSE: European unity has held for a compromise agreement to voluntary cut supplies of Russian gas. This was a compromise deal and it comes with a lot of exceptions but in general, it asks member states to reduce demand by 15 percent over the next eight months in hopes of getting through an average winter. CNN's Clare Sebastian reports.
KADRI SIMSON, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR ENERGY: We haven't planned but it takes us safely through next winter towards through energy independence.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was yet another test for European unity. The E.U. agreeing to work together to avoid winter natural gas shortages and defend themselves against what Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls Russia's overt gas war on Europe. JOZEF SIKELA, CZECH MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND TRADE: The negotiations were not easy.
SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Not easy, but increasingly urgent. Russia tighten the screws again Monday, announcing the gas flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would be cut in half from Wednesday, taking what was Europe's biggest gas supply route from Russia to just 20 percent capacity. SIMSON: There is no technical reason to do so. This is a politically motivated step.
SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Russia denies this. Once a symbol of Russia- E.U. integration, Gazprom had already slashed supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline in June, blaming delays in the return of a turbine being repaired in Canada because of sanctions. Now it says another turbine needs repairs.
MARIA SHAGINA, THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: It will trigger inflation. It will throw countries into recession. Germany has already announced stage two of its three stages in terms of gas rationing. It will be very precarious situation economically.
SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie says with Nord Stream pumping at 20 percent, the E.U. should still be able to fill its gas storage to 75 to 80 percent ahead of winter, which should leave a small amount leftover in the spring. That is unless it's an unusually cold winter. In the end, getting this deal done meant compromising if the E.U. does have to trigger an alert and make the voluntary cuts mandatory, some countries will be exempted or be given lower targets.
SIKELA: Firstly, there is a derogation for Baltic states, whose electricity system is synchronized with Russia. A derogation for islands member states who are filling their gas storages for critical industries states with limited interconnections temporary increased consumption of gas and electricity production.
SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Cracks in the deal are already appearing. Hungary calling the agreement completely unacceptable. And even with these measures, Europe is now at the mercy of Mother Nature, praying for a mild winter.
Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.
VAUSE: This deal comes amid a spike in energy prices. Natural gas costs are up almost 20 percent, just the past week. One U.S. official says Russia's supply cuts means the months ahead will be uncharted territory.
But for more now on the impact on Europe by Russia's decision to drastically reduce gas supplies, we're joined by Rob Thummel, Managing Director of Tortoise Capital. He oversees the Tortoise Energy Independence Fund, and has a long history in energy and politics and finance. Sir, thank you for being with us. ROB THUMMEL, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, TORTOISE CAPITAL ADVISORS: Thanks, John. Good to be with you.
VAUSE: Thank you. Now, one U.S. official told CNN, this move by Russia is the biggest fear now realized because the impact on Europe could boomerang back onto the United States spiking natural gas and electricity prices. And there's a whole lot of knock-ons from that likely fueling inflation, receding and further slowing of the U.S. economy. And then that happens, you know, it felt all around the world. But are we borrowing problems from the future by going down that road? How do you see this playing out?
THUMMEL: Yes, so I think, here's the challenge that we have, I guess, internationally is Europe decided to rely on the second largest producer of natural gas in the world. But the problem is that that second largest producer in the world is Russia. And they're an unreliable supplier of natural gas. So we have a situation today where natural gas prices in Europe are six times higher than they are in the U.S.
Natural gas prices at $50 and MCF are really going to cause potentially a significant slowdown in Europe, and potentially a recession in Europe, which then could cascade throughout the rest of the world.
VAUSE: Yes, well, there's a couple of ways of plan here. This was -- they've allowed a number of member states out of this agreement, because they small, tiny island nations, Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta. They're not attached to the E.U. system of pipelines, for one thing. There are other provisions which kick in under specific circumstances. And for more on that, here's the E.U. commissioner for energy. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMSON: Our initial calculations indicate that even if all the exemptions were used in full, we would achieve a demand reduction that would help us safely through an average winter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So the original plan before the compromise would have seen Europe through a very cold winter. Now, it's an average one. How significant have the compromises been? And were they worth the price of E.U. unity?
THUMMEL: Well, so I think the situation is, there is a scenario where the E.U. and Europe in general could run out of natural gas this winter, it's small. But as long as there continues to be some flow of natural gas from Russia to Europe, it's likely that the Europeans will not run out of gas, natural gas. But what they're doing now is they're affecting the demand side of the equation.
So Europe is going to reduce demand for natural gas is starting now. So that Europe -- the Europeans can build natural gas inventories in order to feel more comfortable that when the winter season gets here, and the demand for natural gas significantly exceeds, the supply coming through the pipeline that Europe will feel more comfortable that they will be able to make it through a winter, where they won't have access to Russian natural gas.
VAUSE: There's also another key part of the deal, which would see member states, they would not be permitted to hoard natural gas for national use in their storage facilities when others are suffering shortages. The E.U. countries agreed to share their gas stocks and bail each other out if there are huge shortages. So how long will that actually last, especially when temperatures are plunging below zero or below freezing, and there's massive job cuts because industry can't operate?
THUMMEL: Yes, so the key number there is to look at is 85 percent. So if you can get 80. If you can get storage across the E.U. up to 85 percent capacity, that's the key number because that then will allow or be adequate to allow for the natural gas volumes to flow out of storage in the event that potentially Russia reduces or even cuts off natural gas to Europe. Each country is different. Germany doesn't have a lot of storage. Spain and Italy have some storage.
Each country is different in terms of U.S. LNG. And I think that's a really important point here, John, that you might be wanting to talk about, is the fact that U.S. LNG has really stepped up and is providing a significant amount of natural gas to Europe, not only now, but also into the future. And that's going to help out a lot over the next several months as well as the next several years.
VAUSE: Reducing the gas to Europe seems to be a one way pipeline in terms of economic pain, despite all the sanctions, all the cuts, and buying Russian energy. Forbes is reporting that Russian tax revenue at all levels of government was 31 percent higher in April 2022, than in April 2021. And that was a good year in itself. Roughly 1.5 of federal revenue is from taxes levied on oil and gas. The long term outlook for Moscow is another story altogether. But for now, the money is flowing. And Putin seems to be in a much better position than Europe, at least in the short term.
THUMMEL: Well, the unfortunate thing about his whole crisis, John, is this that commodity prices, oil and natural gas prices have risen substantially. Russia is a top five producer of oil in the world. They're a top five producer of natural gas in the world right now. And so as a result of the significantly higher prices for both oil and natural gas, Russia and Vladimir Putin are benefiting through higher revenues. But hopefully that can change over time.
VAUSE: Absolutely. We'll see what happens. So Rob, thanks so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.
THUMMEL: Thanks John.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(Speaking in Foreign Language) (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: A different story now, out for the Philippines, which was struck by 7.0 magnitude quake early Wednesday. These images show debris falling as the tower shaking. U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit Northern Luzon, the country's most populous island just before 9:00 a.m. local time. Officials say many homes and buildings have been damaged. The tremors were felt in vanilla more than 400 kilometers from the epicenter. Chandeliers were left shaking and furniture as well.
Many people ran into the streets when the quake struck. Rescue and relief teams have been deployed. The President expected to visit the affected areas as soon as he's given the all clear. And new developments we'll read them to you live here on CNN.
In the meantime, a short break, when we come back, the Pope again acknowledges the suffering of indigenous Canadians at schools run by the Catholic Church. But for some, the apologies are just falling short.
Plus, how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi uniting the U.S. Congress with both Democrats and Republicans urging her to go ahead with a planned visit to Taiwan despite objections from the White House and Beijing.
VAUSE: Welcome back, "The Washington Post" reporting the U.S. Justice Department now looking directly at the former President Donald Trump's actions in its criminal probe of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. CNN has learned two former aides to Vice President Mike Pence, his chief of staff Mark Short and lawyer Greg Jacob, have both recently testified before a grand jury. We're told that both men were asked about the fake electoral scheme that was pushed by some Trump allies as well as outside lawyers. And U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland suggests prosecuting Donald Trump is a very real possibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6th for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.
LESTER HOLT, HOST, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: So if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for president and again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don't move forward?
GARLAND: Say again, that we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Meantime, Trump was back in Washington, Tuesday, for the first time since losing office, speaking at the America's First Policy Institute's two day Summit, Trump tease to run for the White House in 2024.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm here before you to begin to talk about what we must do to achieve that future when we win a triumphant victory in 2022. And when a Republican president takes back the White House in 2024, which I strongly believe will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Trump also continue to push his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, painted the very dismal picture of America under the current administration plagued by crime, violence, drugs, undocumented migrants. He also outlined a hotline criminal justice agenda for the Republican Party. As Trump looks ahead to 2024, a new CNN poll finds three quarters of Democratic and Democratic leaning voters want the party to nominate someone other than President Joe Biden in the next election. And that's a sharp increase from earlier this year.
Twenty-four percent believe, do not believe Biden can win. That's up 18 percent in January and February. The poll comes amid plummeting approval ratings for President Biden was a majority of Americans unhappy with the state of the country and the economy. And it is official the outlook for the world economy is gloomy. The International Monetary Fund has also downgraded its forecast for global growth this year to 3.2 percent nearly half of last year's outlook.
The downgrade is being driven by slowing trends in the world's biggest economies. The forecast is even lower for next year dropping to 2.9 percent just slightly above what the IMF considers the threshold for a global recession. And with the war in Ukraine unlikely to end anytime soon and with record high inflation, supply chain issues, the IMF chief economist says a global recession is likely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERRE-OLIVIER GOURINCHAS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: The outlook is darkened significantly since April. The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession. Only two years after the last one. Multilateral cooperation will be key in many areas from climate transition and pandemic preparedness to food security and debt distress. Amid great challenge and strife strengthening cooperation remains the best way to improve economic prospects for all and mitigate the risk of geo economy fragmentation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:12] VAUSE: Joining us now from Chicago is Leo Feler, senior economist at the University of California Anderson School of Management, where he is responsible for the U.S. macroeconomic forecast. Leo, thanks for being with us.
LEO FELER, SENIOR ECONOMIST, UCLA ANDERSON FORECAST: Thanks very much for having me on.
VAUSE: OK. So if there is, in fact a global recession, different countries will be affected in different ways. So from your outlook, which countries will feel it the most? Where will the hardest hit?
FELER: So, you know, I think the first one will be the group of emerging market countries that are net importers of food and oil. So think like places like Sri Lanka. And we're seeing this already in countries like Sri Lanka, where higher food prices, higher oil prices, are really creating a lot of hardship for the populations there.
So this is the first group of countries. The second one really is going to be Europe. You know, we are expecting with higher energy prices, higher gas prices coming in from Russia, that there will be significant slowdown in manufacturing in Europe, you know, especially as we get into the winter months, and there has to be prioritization of gas and energy for heating homes, rather than for producing, say automobiles or appliances or heavy machinery, we expect a lot of economic production to slow down in Europe.
And then you know, third in the U.S., we're seeing monetary tightening, we're seeing the Federal Reserve tried to slow down the economy, to try to contain inflation. And then fourth, China, you know, a property market that is struggling. And the likelihood as we saw earlier, this year of lockdowns, because of resurgence of COVID, potentially, you know, again, later this year of COVID, you know, becomes an issue once more.
VAUSE: Yes. In recent years, the world economy has weathered record high inflation, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, those lockdowns in China, you just mentioned, the climate crisis, food shortages, energy crunch, all happening pretty much at the same time, it seems the recession was going to happen sooner or later. Right now, many predict will be short and shallow. What's the reasoning behind that outlook and are they right?
FELER: So, you know, the reasoning behind the short and shallow is, you know, these are shocks, right? There's not something systemic that needs to be unwound, as we had in 2008, 2009, with the financial crisis, where we had a lot of bad debts that were made, a lot of housing speculation that occurred in the U.S. and other parts of the world that took a while to unwind.
And so there was some economic pain, as we transitioned, you know, away from a highly leveraged economy into an economy that was, you know, a little bit more balanced. Right now, the economy, aside from some of these shocks that have occurred, was fundamentally healthy. And then we had, you know, shocks because of Russia and Ukraine. We had an exacerbation of supply chain constraints with China shutting down again, because of COVID.
And, you know, we -- that has fed into the higher inflation that we're seeing, there's been a resurgence in inflation, in part because of these higher commodity prices, because of supply constraints related to China's shutdown. You know, while we also have very strong demand in, you know, the U.S. and in Europe, as people are releasing a lot of pent up demand that they accumulated during these past two years, this really means that, you know, some of these shocks are likely to dissipate pretty quickly as long as, you know, the economy starts getting back to normal.
That's the reason for the shallow, right. It relies on the war in Ukraine, you know, perhaps not escalating, coming slowly to an end. It relies on, you know, COVID shocks not being a continued issue. And so that's -- it's more hopeful than realistic.
VAUSE: Leo, thank you very much. We appreciate you staying up late. Appreciate you being with us.
FELER: Yes, thanks very much for having me.
VAUSE: Meantime, earnings reports for some of the biggest U.S. companies were released Tuesday along with new data on consumer confidence. CNN's Rahel Solomon reports.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More clues about the state of the economy this week with major corporate earnings and economic data. Tuesday, we learned consumer confidence fell for a third straight month, with only 17 percent of people surveyed rating business conditions as good. Almost a quarter described business conditions as bad. Consumer confidence gives us a look at several things, including how the public feels about the economy, and perhaps more key how they plan to spend, plans to make major purchases also signaled a slowdown.
Investor is feeling a slowdown as well after Microsoft and Google parent company Alphabet, both reported weaker than expected earnings on Tuesday. Walmart meantime reported it's already seeing a slowdown and where people are spending. The U.S. retailer warning that investors profits are likely to fall 11 to 13 percent for the fiscal year. The retailer says that all is expecting to see more customers, inflation is forcing people to spend more on essentials like food and fuel and less on apparel.
Walmart makes larger profits on categories like apparel as opposed to food. Wednesday, meantime, we hear from the U.S. Federal Reserve where it's largely expected it will raise its benchmark interest rate by another three quarters of a percent. That then ripples through the economy and raises borrowing costs for everything from mortgages to car loans and credit cards.
The Fed is hoping by raising borrowing costs, we consumers spend less and bring a bit more balance in the supply of goods and the demand for those goods and services. And this should lower inflation in the future. Speaking of inflation, we got another key inflation report on Friday.
In New York, Rahel Solomon, CNN.
VAUSE: Pope Francis once again acknowledge the suffering of indigenous Canadians in Catholic run schools at an open door mass held for tens of thousands of people in Edmonton Tuesday -- on Tuesday. Some indigenous leaders say the Pope's formal public apology ceremony, were falling short. CNN's Paula Newton has more.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After that historic apology from the Pope, him apologizing to indigenous people here on Canadian soil. This was a day of healing and of communion. And the highlight is the open air mass that he conducted in a football stadium. And certainly people were so enthusiastic to see him in that Pope mobile. He did a good tour of the stadium. Even embracing babies and blessing them.
Now, so many people, this was the highlight of what the Pope was going to be doing. I want you to hear from this woman who drove 10 hours to see the Pope. She is a survivor of residential schools and her uncle died in one of those residential schools. I want you to listen to her now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: What did you think of what he said yesterday and his visit?
JOAN CATARACT, RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVOR: I don't know if it will change anything for these young generation because damage is already done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: For many reasons, there was that mixed reaction to the Pope's apology. One of the most credible voices are coming from Murray Sinclair. He chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was one of the first people to ask as a call to action from that record to ask for the Pope to come to Canadian soil and apologized. But he called the apology while he appreciated it, saying it's still left a deep hole saying in fact that it is important to underscore that the church was not just an agent of the state, nor simply a participant in government policy, but was a lead co-author of the darkest chapters in the history of this land.
It is an important distinction in the apology itself not just to ask for forgiveness, for the actions of individual Catholics but for the Catholic Church as a whole and acknowledging that role. Now, look, the Papal visit continues and will continue to be occasions of healing and of remorse. We will see him travel to Quebec City and continue meeting with more indigenous survivors.
Paula Newton, CNN, Edmonton, Alberta.
VAUSE: A live T.V. debate between the two candidates vying for the leadership of Britain's conservative party came to an abrupt end when the moderator passed out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT AFFAIRS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: He's going to challenge the freedom and democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That's the sound of Kate McCann, the moderator, hitting the floor on Tuesday. The debate was canceled about halfway through. Afterwards, Truss tweeted she was relieved to hear that McCann was OK. And said that the other candidate also tweeted his well wishes and says he looks forward to finishing the debate soon.
Well, there is the White House and Beijing on one side, House Democrats and Republicans on the other. Then usual allies have come together over a plan for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan. The Biden administration is trying to convince Pelosi not to go, fearing her triple raise tensions even further with Beijing. House Republicans and Democrats are urging her to take that trip. CNN's Selina Wang is in Beijing with more.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, well, China has said it would take quote, resolute and powerful measures if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan. And just yesterday, China's Defense Department urged the U.S. to cancel the trip. The Department spokesperson said quote, if the U.S. insists on taking its own course, the Chinese military will never sit idly by and it will definitely take strong actions to Thor any external forces interference and separatist schemes for Taiwan independence and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Now, John, it is just impossible to overstate how important and central Taiwan is not just to the Communist Party, but also to its legitimacy. China sees the self-ruled island as a breakaway province that must be reunified with the mainland. Beijing is against any move that appears to acknowledge Taiwan as an independent country or makes the U.S. relationship more formal.
Now there have been recent U.S. Congressional visits but if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, she would be the highest ranking U.S. official to go there since then house speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
So this is significant because of her stature. And the timing of this potential visit also comes at an extremely sensitive time. China's military is celebrating its founding anniversary on August 1st. We're just months away from a key political meeting where Xi Jinping is expected to seek an unprecedented third term.
So some experts say that this increases the chance that China will overreact and take a rash action in order to avoid looking weak at this critical moment.
Some U.S. officials have told CNN that China could impose a no-fly zone around China. Some experts say a visit could also further compromise Taiwan's security and notable is that in Taiwan, media coverage of this trip has been relatively muted.
But on the other hand, important here is that the Chinese government had not given details about how it could retaliate. Other experts have told me that this is by design. The point here is that the uncertainty will lead Pelosi to back out but that Xi Jinping does not actually want to and is not ready to risk a military conflict, John.
VAUSE: Selina, thank you for that report.
Still ahead here on CNN old ammunition and a wildfire -- not exactly a great combination for fire crews in Germany.
And record-breaking rain floods homes and vehicles in Missouri. More on the flash flooding in St. Louis.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
In Germany hundreds of firefighters are struggling to contain a forest fire in the northeast. The recent heat wave have left conditions dry and that's helping fuel the fire.
Then there's the old ammunition left behind by a military base and buried across the (INAUDIBLE). To the south, crews are trying contain another intense blaze near the German-Czech border.
In the U.S., the White House has launched a new Web site to help Americans stay safe as scorching heat blankets much of the country. The site, heat.gov, includes interactive maps, forecast and tips on how to cope with the extreme heat. Those (ph) are information aimed at helping local officials prepare for heat waves.
California crews are making progress as they battle a wildfire raging in the Yosemite National Park. The Oak Fire has burned through more than 18,000 acres so far. That's more than 7,000 hectares.
Fire officials hope rising humidity, cooling temperatures will help them bring this blaze under control.
VAUSE: Record-breaking rainfall has caused widespread flooding in St. Louis, Missouri with hundreds rescued after they're left stranded on rooftops or on their cars. At least one person was found dead in a stranded vehicle.
Omar Jimenez has details now on the situation in St. Louis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, you can't see nobody's cars.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roads turned into rivers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the only road out of this area and it is impassable at the moment.
JIMENEZ: An interstate shut down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interstate 70 --
JIMENEZ: And firefighters forced to make dozens of rescues. All as a record amount of rain fell in the St. Louis area in just a matter of hours.
CHIEF DENNIS JENKERSON, ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: We had approximately eight and a half foot of water that had developed in a low-lying area. And we were told by a civilian that there was a possibility of somebody in a car.
As the water was receding, we have pulled a civilian out of the vehicle, that has passed.
JIMENEZ: Others went scrambling for shelter.
PAUL CARAVOLO, ST. LOUIS AREA RESIDENT: I heard some thunder earlier this morning, you know. Didn't think much of it, went back to sleep. And a couple of hours later, I just heard some water coming in the apartment. Woke up, and there was a couple of feet in and it just kept coming up, going up.
JIMENEZ: From midnight to 7:00 a.m. St. Louis got more than eight inches of rain. The previous record for one day was less than seven, which happened all the way back in 1915. The surrounding St. Louis area saw anywhere from 6 to 10 inches overnight according to the National Weather Service.
Area officials urged everyone to avoid travel, as they say they were getting 9-1-1 calls of multiple people stuck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know how deep it is. It's simply not safe. It's not worth the risk.
JIMENEZ: Torrential rain left parts of the area almost unrecognizable, trapping cars on the streets, flooding train tracks and homes.
Climate scientists say such turbulent weather is becoming more familiar, as rising temperatures mean the atmosphere can hold more moisture leading to more rain and more extreme conditions. From deadly heat to destructive fires, dangerous floods. It's a dynamic officials are increasingly trying to be prepared for across the country.
AL ZAIDI, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: Whether it's the extreme heat affecting tens of millions of Americans, or the hurricanes or the droughts, this is the new normal. This is a climate emergency.
JIMENEZ: In St. Louis, the flood waters are receding but scientists say the chances of this happening again are only going up.
Omar Jimenez, CNN.
VAUSE: For more now, let's bring in Pedram Javaheri, Pedram.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, seeing this play out here into the early morning hours, yesterday was pretty incredible because the storm was just very persistent.
In a matter of three to four hours, we saw rainfall amounts we've not seen in a very long time, especially for a system not related to a tropical storm making landfall.
And of course, you put it over a densely populated area like St. Louis into Missouri, it became very problematic, very quickly. But notice this, 300 millimeters of rainfall, most of which fell in a matter of six hours.
That is about six months worth of rainfall in places such as London or even in Seattle. They observed in just a matter of (INAUDIBLE). So that really speaks to how impressive amount of moisture this is and looking at the data set here, when it comes to that amount of rainfall, it is 500 years in, that's one in a 500 for it happen in a given year giving it less than a half of a percentage.
So for the probability of a trend for this sort of an even and of course, we know these are happening more and more frequently, scattered around the world.
And you take a look on the opposite end of the scale, we have an excessive heat alert across portions of the western United States. This is typically the cooler spot around the United States in the summer months. And the heat index potentially as high as the lower 40s across this region.
Seattle should be at 26 this time of year, we'll aim for the lower 30s the next several days. Much the same in Portland, 29 is normal. 39- degree afternoon there, as we work our way towards Friday afternoon. And even into southern Oregon, the 30s what it's typically what you expect in the hot season and the 40s is what we are expected to see this week.
But notice parts of California, we've touched on the fire weather conditions here. it's been very dire and of course, the fire containment numbers gradually increasing, up to 26 percent here with some 18,000 acres of land since June. But you'll notice, within Yosemite National Park, there is a slight chance of a few thunderstorms the next couple of days.
Unfortunately, anytime you see percentages so low, oftentimes, that means that lightning strikes are observed. The moisture, the area is just so dry that the rain doesn't reach the ground, it evaporates before it does and at least additional problems. So that is something to follow here in the coming days.
But you know, notice across Europe, this fire danger also just as expansive as you see across areas of the western United States where high and moderate levels of concern in place. The drought monitor tell us orange and red indicative of areas that have high levels of concern for the drought that's currently in place.
JAVAHERI: And just about everyone has seen that across Europe, which has led to these widespread wildfires that we're all seeing across the region.
Now some good news for right now, that's the coolest temperature I've seen in London since the 2nd of July -- 21 degrees. The last time it rained in London was the 3rd of July. Doesn't look like we'll get rain across the northwest of Europe this time, but it is going to be a bit cooler here over the next couple of days.
The south remains pretty toasty here, John, but at least we're getting a break here across the north with cooler air for now.
VAUSE: Pedram, we appreciate the update. Thank you.
Tunisia's fledgling democracy may be in danger of returning to autocratic rule. A constitutional referendum which gives the president sweeping new powers was approved by voters but turn out was low, about 28 percent. the opposition coalition boycotted the vote and after results came in, again rejected the outcome, saying the president was staging a coup.
Kais Saied the president however, says he will push ahead to draft a new election law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAIS SAIED, TUNISIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There must be an electoral law, as there is accountability and the people have the right to demand this law from those who abuse it and still intend to do so. But they will not be able to keep doing so in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Human rights activists have warned the country is heading back towards a one-man rule, with the president given vast new powers over the government and f the judiciary -- all while weakening parliament and removing checks on his authority.
Second day of violence in the Democratic of Congo has killed at least 3 U.N. peacekeepers and 12 civilians. Reuters reports the clashes erupted on Monday in the country's east and spread to Tuesday. Protesters are demanding the U.N. peacekeepers' withdrawal saying the international mission has failed to protect civilians from militia violence for years.
U.N. peacekeepers allegedly retaliated with force and live ammunition as hundreds of protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs, vandalized and set fire to buildings. The U.N. condemned the violence and says it will investigate the civilian deaths.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is touring Africa right now where he's expected to discuss the continent's food crisis caused by Russia's war on Ukraine. He described the situation as Russia's quote, "weapons of war" during his drop in Cameroon Tuesday.
Much of Africa is dependent on Ukrainian agricultural exports and the U.N. warns that 49 million people could face famine.
Still to come, Russia says it's charting its own course in the cosmos and leaving the International Space Station. Dasvidaniya. What's behind that decision? How is the U.S. reacting? That's coming up.
And a jacket that's been to the moon and back, worn by one of the world's most famous astronauts, sold for a record-breaking price at auction, but how much? Find out.
VAUSE: It could just be a threat, it could be just talk but Russia says it will leave the International Space Station for good after 2024, ending more than two decades of partnership with the United States and other countries.
VAUSE: The space station has been continuously occupied since November of 2000 hosting people from 20 countries. The current crew includes three members from Russia's Roscosmos agency, three from NASA and one European astronaut.
More details now from CNN's Kristin Fisher.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is not the first time that Russia has threatened to pull out of the International Space Station, but what makes this time different is that the announcement was made on the Kremlin's Web site by the newly appointed head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, a man by the name of Yury Borisov was given the job just a few days ago by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. So today's announcement carries much more weight.
With that said, NASA says it still has not been formally notified about this decision, something that is required of all the partners at the International Space Station. So it remains to be seen if this time Russia is serious but, regardless, the NASA astronauts up at the International Space Station right now say that they were surprised by today's announcement.
Here's NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren.
KJELL LINDGREN, NASA ASTRONAUT: As to the news, you know, that's -- that is very recent news. And so we haven't heard anything officially.
Of course, you know, we were trained to do our mission up here and that mission is one that requires the whole crew and so we continue to work every day to conduct the science and research that we've been trained to conduct.
FISHER: The State Department says it too was surprised but today's announcement but regardless of whether or not this time Russia is serious, the White House says that NASA is now actively preparing contingency planning for the possibility of a full Russian withdrawal from the International Space Station.
Kristin Fisher, CNN -- Washington.
VAUSE: Leroy Chiao is a retired NASA astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station. We're lucky to speak with you on this day. So Leroy, thank you.
LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: My pleasure. Thanks.
VAUSE: So when it comes to the space station, breaking up is hard to do, literally. Here is part of an explainer which appeared on NASA's Web site.
"The space station was not designed to be disassembled. Attempts to detach the U.S. orbital segment and the Russian segment would encounter major logistical and safety challenges given the multitude of external and internal connections, the need to control spacecraft attitude and altitude and software interdependency."
So, given all that, is there another country with a space program as advanced as the Russians which could fill their shoes? Is that even possible?
CHIAO: No. It really isn't. The way the space station was put together was out of technical necessity where the Russians contributed what they had and we contributed what we had. The result was that it takes both sides, both control centers working in concert to keep the space station going, so if one side were to stop cooperating, frankly, there is nothing that anyone could do. The space station simply couldn't continue without that.
VAUSE: So, in other words, what you are saying is that there is no contingency plans here. There is nothing on the -- you know, on the shelf to draw on to try and, you know, come up with a plan if the Russians are true to their word.
CHIAO: No, there's really nothing that could be done within the time period. I mean basically, the U.S. could try to put together a module that could be launched and attached to the station that could replicate some of the critical functions that the Russian segment could do. But you know, frankly, in the timeframe we are talking about, a couple of years, it is really not practical that we could mount an effort to create such a module, develop and, you know, build it and launch it into space in time.
VAUSE: This announcement came from the newly-appointed head of the Russian space agency who said the reason for leaving was to focus on Russia's own space industry. Listen to this. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) YURY BORISOV, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROSCOSMOS (through translator): The space industry is in a difficult situation. And I view my main goal along with my colleagues as to not drop, but raise the bar. And first of all, to provide the Russian economy with the necessary space services.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I just want to work out, is he saying partnering with NASA has been a break on Russia holding them back from their own space industry from you know, excelling in their own way?
CHIAO: No, I mean that is what they are saying, but it is really not true, because they don't have the money to develop their own space station, frankly, and even if they did, it would take a number of years.
And just for example in the 1990s where NASA brought the Russians into the ISS program, NASA paid for everything, the development of their modules, the construction of their modules, and it still took them six to seven years to create the modules that consist of the core modules that are used aboard the ISS.
CHIAO: So it really is not practical for them to say, hey, we are going to go and build our own space station because, you know, it is not going to happen anytime soon, even if they did have the money, which especially now with the invasion of Ukraine they are in no position to make that kind of investment.
VAUSE: There is one word which is crucial in that Russian statement. And the word is "after". The Russians plan to withdraw after 2024. After 2024 could be, you know, the day after 2024, or it could be 100 years from 2024.
It's not (INAUDIBLE) because you know, Moscow has yet to formally advice NASA that they plan to leave.
CHIAO: That's right. They have not officially notified NASA. So 2024 -- after 2024, very carefully worded and frankly, you know, after 2024 is two and a half years. Plenty of time for them to change their minds or just kind of ignore this, you know, deadline that they have kind of announced.
VAUSE: So it does seem to be what sort of saber-rattling or threats because they've threatened this so many times before, right.
CHIAO: You know I think it is posturing, you know, the director (INAUDIBLE) Dmitry Rogozin was a lot more brash, and a lot more, you know, explicit about what he would or wouldn't do and so this is a little more subtle of a statement, along the same lines.
However, if the Russians are serious about this, that means they are going to want (INAUDIBLE) from their human spaceflight program, and I frankly do not see them doing that. They've got nothing if they are not going to launch cosmonauts to the International Space Station.
VAUSE: And that is a good place to end the interview, on so good point made. Leroy, thanks so much for being with us. We really appreciate your time.
CHIAO: My pleasure, thank you.
VAUSE: 53 years after American astronauts made history with the moon landing, the jacket worn by Buzz Aldrin has made a little history as well. Selling at auction for a record-breaking $2.7 million. It has the historic Apollo 11 mission emblem along with Aldrin's name tag.
Sotheby says the jacket is the most valuable American artifact flown in space. The 92-year-old Aldrin says the jacket and other items sold at the auction represent the summation of his career as an astronaut.
Coming up, England and Sweden face off in Euro 2022 football action. Game highlights and a report from Sheffield in a moment. Don't miss it.
VAUSE: The leadership shown by Ukraine's president has often led to comparisons with Britain's wartime leader, Winston Churchill. Now Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been honored with the Sir Winston Churchill award. He came virtually to thank the International Churchill Society.
The outgoing British Prime Minister presented the award to Zelenskyy praising his moral and physical courage as well as his defiance, (INAUDIBLE) and serenity under the extreme pressure.
England's women's football defeated Sweden four-nil on Tuesday in a Euro 2020 semifinal match. They're now just one match away from winning the championship on home soil.
World Sport Amanda Davies has this recap from Sheffield.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Sheffield is dubbed the steel city and yes, that performance had steel and determination. But it had a whole lot more than that. Flair, fun -- and just a small matter of four goals.
DAVIES: It really is a huge milestone for the host, particularly after all the focus on those three major tournaments semifinal defeats for England.
This is their spot in the final at the expense of the second ranked side in the world, behind only the U.S.A. and Sweden. It was (INAUDIBLE) who broke the deadlock, finding the back of the net once again for her sixth goal in five games, extending her lead at the top of the goal scoring chart. But if ever there was a goal that sums up this England at this
tournament, it was number three from Alessia Russo (ph). That is how you come off the bench and make an impact. And it cements coach (INAUDIBLE) place as a coach who knows how to win this tournament.
So for England, it is off to Wembley with one song ringing out loud. It took just 50 minutes for football's coming home to start ramping up and you suspect who ever it is that takes victory in that second semifinal in local (ph) team on Wednesday night. So either France or Germany.
It really will be difficult to dampen the hype around host England.
Amanda Davies, CNN -- Sheffield.
VAUSE: The 44th International Chess Olympiad kicks off in India this week. Little children have been getting into the spirit, why not? They dress up as chess pieces. They play on a massive chessboard to practice.
(INAUDIBLE) is not participating in the game or taking all the fun. They had elaborate chest themed face paint, for instance. Historians say early forms of chess originated in India but without the face paint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED FARHAN, STUDENT: We are so privileged that this just came from the culture of Indians of Sumerians (ph). It was such a spectacular view. I couldn't forget this and we are so lucky that we got a chance to conduct it here, on behalf of the 44th Chess Olympiad. It's going on (INAUDIBLE) for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That little boy is incredibly well spoken, good for him.
No (INAUDIBLE) teams will be participating in the Olympiad which begins on Thursday and continues until August.
Finally, if you're looking for a new book, Barack Obama may be able to help. The former U.S. President shared his annual summer reading list on social media. 14 titles in all. Really, seriously, 14 books?
Among them Emily St. John Mandel's bestseller "Sea of Tranquility"; "Why We're Polarized" by journalist Ezra Klein which explores American politics and Jessamine Chan's "The School for Good Mothers", a novel about a dystopian society where mothers are controlled by the government -- the feel good novel of the year.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us. My friend and colleague Rosemary Church takes over at the top of the hour. See you tomorrow.