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U.S. and China's Leader Spoke Over Pressing Issues; President Xi Jinping Warns U.S. Over Taiwan; Speaker Pelosi's Visit Could Worsen U.S.-China Tension; Relentless Missile Attacks Continue in Ukraine; Ukrainian Farmers Keep Their Fingers Crossed; Heavy Rain Inundated Kentucky; Not Everyone Welcomes the Pope's Visit; Mixed Reaction in Stocks Over Fears of Recession; Kremlin Ignores Prisoner Swap Offer by U.S.; Monkeypox Raises Concern in U.S. Cities; Food Supplies at risk in Haiti; Donald Trump Criticized for Hosting LIV Golf. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 29, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to all of you watching us from around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.
Ahead on CNN Newsroom. With tensions rising the Chinese leader issues a warning to the U.S. over Taiwan.
And as Ukraine's grain harvest continues to pile up, it still lacks a plan for safe passage. We'll look at what's being done to ensure this critically needed food gets distributed to the rest of the world.
And devastating flooding in the U.S. state of Kentucky, the governor calls it the most significant and deadly the area has ever experienced.
UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.
BRUNHUBER: Chinese President Xi Jinping is delivering an ominous warning to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, if you play with fire, you get burned. The Chinese leader making it clear his anger over Washington's relations with Taiwan including a possible visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The U.S. calls the warning standard fare from Beijing and describe the two-hour 17-minute phone call as direct and honest. The president also discussed the war in Ukraine, and the need for China to be transparent about COVID-19, and its human rights record.
They also agreed to start planning for a face-to-face summit, possibly later this year in Indonesia or Thailand. But Taiwan was the central focus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: The president was clear, nothing has change about our policy, it stays the same. And nothing has changed about our desire to not see the status quo between the straits there in the straits issue. Upset by unilateral force or unilateral action, either way, the president has been nothing but consistent, there's no reason for this to devolve into conflict, because our one China policy has not changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Let's go now to CNN bureau chief Steven Jiang in Beijing. And Steven, so what do you make of the language of the Chinese warning in the message behind it.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, Kim, you know, as alarming -- as alarming as it may sound, this was actually not the first time Xi Jinping has uttered this phrase to Joe Biden. He last used it in November of last year when the two men also talked, but the key difference here, of course, is timing, is the timing of this latest phone call.
We are only some three months away from a major communist party, party Congress, where Xi Jinping is all but certain to assume a president breaking third term as the country's top leader and paving the way for him to rule for life.
So, at this critical juncture, when he's also facing a myriad of domestic challenges, he simply cannot afford to look weak on Taiwan. That's why making any Chinese military responses to the potential Pelosi visit all the more unpredictable. And potentially dangerous.
That's why the hope is now the two men have talked in length, they have gained better understanding and some clarity on where each stand on this issue, and helping them to contain the fallout if Pelosi does decide to go ahead. But of course, both sides seem to be keen to move beyond the single issue of Taiwan and trying to highlight the wide- ranging nature of their leader's conversation for the Chinese.
It's interesting to note that they emphasize how Xi Jinping told Biden that the U.S. has been reading China wrong, that the U.S. perception of China as strategic competitor and a long-term rival is simply wrong headed. This is important because ever since Biden came to power, the Americans have been saying their key aim in this relationship is setting up so-called guardrails to prevent things from getting out of control.
But from the Chinese perspective, the whole U.S.- China policy is wrongly headed, what's the point of these guardrails? Also interesting, of course, is what the Americans have said after the phone call with a U.S. official telling reporters how despite all the saber-rattling from Beijing, on a working level, officials from both sides have been meeting up and following up on their leader's previous discussions and commitments and making progress on some issues.
So, that's why it seems that the one thing both sides can agree on is the importance and the necessity of maintaining these presidential level exchanges, especially at a time when tensions are running high, and when there's a lot of fiery rhetoric being thrown around in public. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right, thank you so much, Steven Jiang, live in Beijing.
U.S. national security officials are trying to convince Speaker Pelosi of the risks a trip to Taiwan could pose. But they're also getting ready just in case they can't change her mind.
CNN's Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann has the details.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon is developing a series of plans and options if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi chooses to go ahead with a trip to Taiwan. Defense officials here at the Pentagon have said such a plan would involve U.S. military assets in the region, such as aircraft and ships, as well as potentially satellites, to monitor the area around Pelosi is she were in the region.
The USS Ronald Reagan, a carrier the operates in the Indo-Pacific, has just re-entered the South China Sea after a few days port visit to Singapore. Already, a defense official has told CNN that the Chinese are shadowing the Reagan as it moves through the South China Sea.
Now, it's important to note that standard, fairly commonplace, both from the Reagan, which operates those waters and from Chinese ships, which routinely shadow American ships operating the region. It has happened in this case again. But this is all of what the U.S. is watching here, as they wait for the decision from the Speaker of the House on whether she chooses to go forward with this trip.
Defense officials we have spoken with have said they are not really concerned about the possibility or the risk of any sort of shooting happening between American forces and Chinese forces. The concern is more on potential miscalculation between those forces, if there are more in the region around Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and also what China might do in reaction.
China has used some pretty harsh rhetoric leading up to and responding to a potential Pelosi trip to the region. What might the U.S. expect to see? Well, chairman of the joint chiefs, General Mark Milley has talked about what he sees as growingly, increasingly aggressive actions by the Chinese military around the ships and aircrafts of not only the U.S. but U.S. allies, such as intercepts and unsafe or unprofessional interactions.
So perhaps, that would be what the U.S. expects to see should this trip go forward. Behind the scenes, U.S. national security officials have tried to brief Pelosi on the risk of such a trip, but it's unclear if that has influenced her thinking at all.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.
BRUNHUBER: Ukraine says there are no reports of casualties so far after Russian strike on the center of its second largest city, Kharkiv. The city's mayor posted on Telegram that Kharkiv was hit twice this morning. He says a two-story building and an educational institution were hit; he also says emergency crews are on the scene.
Now, down south, work appears to be underway by Russia to restore supply routes in that part of Ukraine. Ukrainian artillery damaged a key bridge preventing heavy weapons from crossing. Ukraine says Russians are now building a pontoon bridge.
Meanwhile, Ukraine says another a number of other cities came under Russian artillery fire on Thursday, including this town in the Donetsk region, where a missile strike damage a five-story building and killed two people. President Zelenskyy addressed the nation on Ukraine's statehood day, saying Ukrainians will fight till the end. Here is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We will not stop until we free every meter of Ukrainian land. We will not rest until we free our last village, last home, last well, last cherry tree and last willow. This is the only way it's going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: So, for the latest, Nina dos Santos joins us now from London. Nina, so let's start with that attack on Kharkiv, what's the latest there?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the latest as you said is according to the mayor on his Telegram channel, just a few hours ago, Kharkiv, in particular the city center in the northeast of Ukraine, was hit. As you heard there, but thankfully no casualties. It appears to have been a two-story building that was hit, also what the Ukrainians are describing as an educational facility.
But this is the third time at least in this week that this city has been hit by barrages of Russian artillery. We saw just yesterday, in fact, two S-300 surface-to-air missiles hit the outskirts of Kharkiv, and also a day before we saw the cities industrial quarter being hit as well.
So, this is part of a ratcheting up of a pattern here of this city yet again being particularly targeted. But this isn't the only part of Ukraine that has been affected overnight, from, as you pointed out, Kyiv the capital city up in the north, and also other parts in the south, we've seen increased military activity in Kyiv. About 15 people were injured when the capital city's outskirts were struck by a Russian missile.
And also, we're now seeing on the back of President Zelenskyy's address yesterday on the day of national statehood of Ukraine and him promising to prevail in this fight against Russia, the Ukrainian counter offensive now mounting, particularly in the south, to try and cut Russian forces off from Crimea.
This is what's happening with the Ukrainians having used in the last day at long-range U.S. provided weaponry, to take down 1,000-meter- wide bridge which is being used to transport Russian troops and restock Russian troops across the Dnipro River towards Mykolaiv there in the west and then further on towards Ukraine.
That bridge had been taken down by Russian -- by Ukrainian forces, but as you said, it appears as though the Russian admin -- administrators in this region are now indicating that they can still get by with ferries and start to put up one of those pontoon bridges.
But this is where the key part of the activity now is in terms of the battle in the southeast there in that Kherson region. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right, thank you so much, Nina dos Santos in London.
Well, it looks like it's anyone's guess when Ukraine will resume its grain exports. The United Nations has negotiators are still working at the final details, even though officials were hoping the first grain ships would leave as early as Thursday.
But Nic Robertson reports the exports can't come soon enough for Ukrainian farmers.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Grain, fresh from harvest floods into the farm storage. What happens to it next, the question on everyone's mind. Two hundred fifty people work here, their jobs depend on the success of the new U.N. brokered grain deal.
"We have a lot of rain here. We want to ship everything quickly." This grain trucker tells me, "but we are stuck because the ports are closed. It's bad."
Any other year, this is exactly what the farmer would want. Grain coming in, more profits for him, and his workers. This year, all of that is lost money. Wheat store number five.
Farmer Boris Yurasko (Ph) owns the farm shows me his rapidly filling grain stores. He tells me, "until empty ships arrive, grain prices will stay low." He'll be forced to cut staff and grain production for next year.
And this is the problem for the farmer, the silo here is dark, but it's absolutely full. And he still doesn't have a buyer for all of his grain.
Shota Khajishvili usually buys grain from Boris, tells me for the U.N. deal to work the outgoing ships already full with last year's harvest, must be replaced by more ships to bring out this year's harvest.
SHOTA KHAJISHVILI, CO-OWNER, RISOIL PORT TERMINAL (through translator): So far, we don't see any shift coming our way to replace those expecting to leave. Because our partners cannot find ships that want to come to Odessa. ROBERTSON: At Boris's farm, more grain trucks are on their way. Each
loaded with grain that in a normal year would already have a buyer even a sloth aboard a cargo ship.
"If the grain deal doesn't hold," this truck driver tells me, he doesn't know what he'll do. "He hopes they'll be work."
Boris worries if he plans less crops next year that will be less food for Africans and all the others whom he says he wants to help. At this farm, and far beyond, so much rides on getting this year's harvest to the world.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Markhalivka, Ukraine.
BRUNHUBER: So, one way Vladimir Putin is beating western sanctions is by plundering the resources of compliant nations.
CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team investigated Russia's involvement in Sudan's gold production, and how it could be helping support Russia's war in Ukraine. Have a look.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Deep in Sudan's gold country, miners toil in the searing heat. Barely surviving in what should be one of Africa's richest countries. Providing gold for a war a continent away. We investigate a force more powerful than Sudan's government, controlling its gold.
Submersing Sudan's destiny, threatening me and our sources. And thwarting democracy to evade sanctions in Russia's war on Ukraine. Russian managers on his way they say. We uncover the extent of Russia's grip on Sudan.
BRUNHUBER: And you can watch Nima Elbagir's full report starting Friday at 3 p.m. in London, and six in the evening in Abu Dhabi, only here of course on CNN.
Devastating floods ripped through Kentucky, the governor calls it the worst disaster of his lifetime. We'll have more on that after the break.
Plus, a long-awaited apology from the pope are preceded by a protest. We'll have details from Quebec. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Human caused climate change made the United Kingdom's recent record-breaking heat wave at least 10 times more likely to happen. The climate scientists in Europe, the U.S. and India who came to that conclusion warn that number might be an underestimate.
Last week, temperatures in the U.K. surpassed 40 degrees Celsius for the first time ever. And that force the government to issue its first ever extreme heat warning for parts of England, including London. The scientists say that while their analysis shows this time of extreme weather is still rare, it is on the rise.
And flash flood warnings are in effect right now in parts of eastern Kentucky, as another line of storms moves through. That's after at least eight people died from the flooding there. And the state's governor says that number is expected to rise.
Plus, more than 23,000 homes and businesses are without power. More than eight inches of rain fell on parts of the state from Wednesday into Thursday morning, overwhelming creeks, streams and rivers already full from earlier rain. The governor warns it could take years for families to rebuild. Calling it the worst flooding disaster of his lifetime.
Now earlier, I spoke with Jerry Stacy, the emergency management director in Perry County, Kentucky. And I asked him about the biggest challenges facing the area, and here's what he told me.
JERRY STACY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR, PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY: We're -- we're really singularly focused on just search and rescue. You know, the high levels of water make that very, very difficult. But we've got a good group of volunteers, volunteer fire departments, that have walked around the clock to try and help our people.
BRUNHUBER: You talk about people, you know, coming together, volunteers and so on are helping out. I know there's been a lot of people who have poured in donations as well. Talk to me about the community sort of rallying together in this time of need?
STACY: Yes. You know, that's one of the things you can, one of the things that I really love about being part of the community here in eastern Kentucky. We're really one big family. And regardless of the situation, we really rally around each other altogether. And fight, and our people will do that again. This is something that will last a long time here. That's going to be a very difficult thing to overcome. But our people will rally around each other as always.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. Well, listen, I want to wish you all the best as you deal with the immediate effects of this, the search and rescue trying to save people as best you can, as well as the long-term impacts, as the governor said, this will last for years, and years to come. So, we wish you the best, and I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us now. Jerry Stacy, thanks so much.
STACY: Thank you.
[03:20:02] BRUNHUBER: All right, for more on this I want to bring in CNN
meteorologist Derek van Dam. Derek, folks there in Kentucky not out of the woods yet, unfortunately.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, unfortunately not. Because there is more rain moving through right now, there's additional rain in the forecast for later today. And in an already saturated environment, that's been dealt a heavy blow that's going to be very difficult to go through over the next 24 hours, because more rain means more flooding, right?
That swells the rivers, and unfortunately, that is washed out bridges already. It brought down power in many locations, many locations here in eastern Kentucky very rural, very remote. Very difficult for the search and rescue teams to access as well.
You're looking at video here of a elementary school actually underwater. OK? So this is going to take months, if not years, to clean up the efforts here. I mean, just extensive, extensive flooding taking place.
The rainfall estimated -- or the radar estimated rainfall totals over southeastern Kentucky have been extreme. And especially considering the short period of time that it took to fall, over 250 millimeters of rain, that's ten and a half inches of rain in Buckhorn Lake that southeast Kentucky, that has a lot of rain in a short period of time.
There is additional rainfall moving through as we speak, the line of storms did start to weaken as it progressed across this area, but that wasn't enough for the National Weather Service to hoist another flash flood warning, this time it borders the border of Kentucky, as well as West Virginia, flood warnings where you see that brighter shading of green, and flood watches extending all the way into West Virginia and much of Kentucky as we speak.
So, this is all a part of a stationary front of boundary that is really the reason why we're getting this slow-moving thunderstorm that are moving over the same locations and a meteorological term known as, training, where a thunderstorm or shower moves over the same spot for a long duration of time causing the excessive rainfall totals.
Now, this is just one example of a river gauge and how high the water actually rose yesterday. That would be in Thursday. That observation there just over 21 feet, the record there was 14.7 feet, so notice how quickly that jumped. And wow, you can imagine the excessive flooding that is taking place across that area.
So how much rain is in the forecast? Well, an additional 25 to 50 millimeters here within the next three days. So, more rainfall on top of an already saturated environment, means the potential for more flooding. Weather predictions center as a moderate risk of flash flooding today for eastern Kentucky and West Virginia with a slight risk for much of the southern portions of the hardest part -- hardest hit areas of the state of Kentucky. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll keep tracking this throughout the weekend. Meteorologist Derek van Dam, thank you so much.
For the first time since arriving in Canada, Pope Francis has apologized for the sexual abuse of children in minors by the members of the Canadian Catholic church. At a cathedral in Quebec City, he said the church had been wounded and devastated by the evil perpetrated by some of its members but has begun a new path.
Now his remarks were preceded by protest at a papal mass. Demonstrators called for the church to rescind a 14th century edict that permitted explores to take possessions of new lands, particularly in the Americas. The pope has been apologizing to indigenous communities during his pilgrimage of penance over the role of the church in Canada's residential schools abuse scandal.
He'll visit northern Canada briefly on Friday, then returned to Rome. But first, he'll meet with indigenous groups in Quebec.
CNN's Paula Newton picks up the story.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pope's self-proclaimed act of contrition in Canada was not without its lighter moments. And crowds embracing the church's future, these acts seem to fortify an ailing pope. After he begged Canada's indigenous peoples for forgiveness, there was this extraordinary gesture.
Chief Wilton Littlechild himself a survivor of a Catholic residential institution, honoring the pontiff with a head dress. So many indigenous peoples still revere him and the religion he represents.
AGNES SWAMPY, RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL ABUSE SURVIVOR: A lot of stuff happened --
NEWTON: At 89, Agnes Swampy snarled hand swollen and damaged from years of forced labor in a residential school, are still clasped in prayer.
SWAMPY: I still stay my rosaries. Because I always think, I always say, God wasn't the one that abused us.
NEWTON: Her painful past has nothing to do with her creator, she says. She appreciates the apology, but forgiving the church, no. Not yet.
As hopeful as the Vatican and the Catholic Church have been that this apology will be well received, so many indigenous survivors are asking, what now? What more can be done for reconciliation?
DONALD BOLEN, ARCHBISHOP, REGINA ARCHDIOCESE: For those who are looking for more, I guess, all I would want to say is, we want to continue to walk with you. We want to find ways that we can find words and actions that will bring healing and that's -- that's going to be a long journey. NEWTON: That journey must continue with all Canadians, and especially
the nearly one third of the country that identify as Catholic. Mary Gyan (Ph) says she's disheartened by indifference to the faith. Not many showed up to see the pope.
UNKNOWN: I'm so disappointed. I thought they'd be more people here. We all thought they'd be more people.
NEWTON: In fact, the Catholic Church's future in healing is still in doubt here. In the words of Canada's governor general, indigenous herself, seeking reconciliation is not enough, she says. Reconciliation must be earned.
Paula Newton, CNN, Quebec City.
BRUNHUBER: Thursday was a good day on Wall Street, all three major U.S. stock markets closed up despite economic data suggesting the U.S. could be moving closer to recession. That's ahead.
Plus, the U.S. offers Russian infamous arms dealer dubbed the merchant of death in a high-stake prisoner swap. But so far, the Kremlin doesn't seem interested. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: We're keeping an eye on the global markets after a day of mixed economic data from the United States. Here's a look at key Asia indices this hour. The H.K. Hang Seng down more than two and a half percent, the Shanghai composite also down, and the other indices, they look like they're holding steady.
On Thursday, U.S. markets closed in the positive territory for a second day in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ all ended the day up over 1 percent. Now Wall Street is betting that interest rates will fall, or at least rate hikes will slow, after data released Thursday shows the U.S. economy shrank in the second quarter of 2022.
Rahel Solomon has that and what experts say about whether the U.S. is headed for a recession.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another day another major economic report. It has been a busy week for economic data. Thursday, the Commerce Department released second quarter GDP data which showed the U.S. economy shrank at an annualized rate of nine tenths of a percent.
The reports showing while U.S. consumers are still spending, that's slowing. We also learned that business investment is slowing, especially categories like inventories and then the residential space. Thursday's report will be revised at least two more times, but does follow a 1.6 percent decline for the first quarter of the year.
[03:29:56] U.S. economy has now seen two straight quarters of negative growth, and that is reigniting the debate about whether we are in a recession. Many economists say, we're not. At least not yet. The job market is still strong, unemployment is practically at a 50-year low, and demand for workers continues to be strong.
The official arbiter of recessions is a group of eight economists that make up the business cycle dating committee at the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research. They operate rather discreetly but define a recession as a significant decline in economic activity, the committee considers factors such as personal income, the job market and consumer spending.
I spoke to Harvard University professor, Jeffrey Frankel, a former member of the committee on Thursday, and asked, might we see a recession call after this GDP print? He told me the committee is very unlikely to say a recession happened in the first quarter because a whole host of other indicators are positive. As for his thoughts on today's report, he says the economy is clearly slowing down.
Rahel Solomon, CNN, New York.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: The Biden administration officials are reportedly frustrated that Russia has yet to respond in any meaningful way for their proposed prisoner swap. The U.S. has offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout who was once one of the world's most wanted men, in exchange for American basketball star Brittney Griner and former marine Paul Whelan.
Moscow says its top diplomat is, quote, "busy," and will decide whether to discuss the trade with the U.S. secretary of state when time permits. Viktor Bout eluded capture for years, traveling with different names with different passports. The former Soviet military officer speaks six languages in his life inspired Hollywood film.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh interviewed Viktor Bout after his arrest in 2008, and now has this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: He is the lord of war, according to this fictional movie starring Nicholas Cage.
UNKNOWN: Say what you like about war lords and dictators, they always pay their bills on time.
WALSH: Called the merchant of death per a book about his allege life. But despite much evidence Viktor Bout has always denied being one of the biggest arms dealers of the 90s fueling civil wars and bolstering Moscow's interest. Yet, he still never really wanted to be a nobody.
Why did the Americans wanted you so badly?
VIKTOR BOUT, RUSSIAN ARMS DEALER: (Inaudible) has them. resolution demonstration. (Inaudible) Explain why they want me, I don't know. I can't prove. WALSH: Mr. Bout, Mr. Bout, good morning.
He gave me his last interview in a Thai jail 13 years ago, when he denied the worst charges against him.
BOUT: This is a lie and just the bullshit, and I never supplied arms as such at all, and especially never had any deal with Al-Qaeda.
WALSH: In the noisy packed visiting area, as he sat behind the glass, the bit I remember most was his mother interrupting.
BOUT (on screen text): Thanks, mum. We're trying to talk. Why do you come here every five minutes?
WALSH: And that he admitted he had worked for the Russian government.
BOUT: I don't want to say now this or that. Sometimes, yes. We did the flights.
WALSH: Have you ever work for the Russian government?
BOUT: Sometimes, yes, we did the flights.
WALSH: In the end, he was not super human and arrested in Thailand after a U.S. sting operation. And while his decades of life in the shadows had left him full of faced, he was always just a pilot courier he insisted, even as he was led into this Bankole courtroom.
UNKNOWN: Hands up!
UNKNOWN: Today, in Manhattan federal court, accused arms dealer Viktor Bout begins to face American justice.
WALSH: The U.S. sting was complex over many months and countries catching him offering weapons to U.S. agents, pretending to be Colombian terrorists. He was eventually extradited to face a New York trial for conspiring to kill Americans. It saw him sentenced to 25 years in prison in a medium security facility in Illinois.
There, he told me in e-mails, he was in good spirits. Brushing up on his many languages, and in 2019, very glad when his wife and daughter visited. But he was slowly edging towards the end of his sentence, perhaps a reason his role in a swap was more appealing.
But the biggest mystery about Bout, was why the U.S. wanted him so fiercely. Yes, he had allegedly dealt arms to a lot of bad people across Africa in the 90s. But that was known and exposed. Observers searched for another weightier reason, and wondered, if he had served alongside any Kremlin insiders in his long past overseas. That remains a huge question mark.
Both over him and any swap, is he a pilot in the wrong place at the very worst times? Or as so many have said, a profiteer and policy tour for Moscow in the world's nastiest wars. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: The power of gangs and gang violence have surged in the Haiti since the assassination of the president last year. One neighborhood alone reports hundreds of people killed, injured or missing so far this month. In some places, food supplies are at risk.
And as CNN's Matt Rivers reports, there are now fears that a prison in the capital city could be overrun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For months now, Port-au-Prince has been trapped in a brutal cycle of gang violence and the latest crisis point in the city's downtown. In a video obtained by CNN, first published by the Miami Herald, officers with the Haitian national police can be seen engaged in a tense shootout with suspected gang members on Wednesday. The fighting brought this part of the city to a virtual standstill, with fears mounting over what might happen here. Haiti's national prison just a few blocks from the fighting.
A source inside the prison said that when the fighting broke out, prisoners had not received food or water for three days. Desperate and scared amidst the gunfire, the source says hundreds of prisoners managed to escape from their cells and into the prison's courtyard where they were met by police.
Quote, "the police begin to shoot indiscriminately," said the source. "It is still unclear if there were any injuries."
A Haitian law enforcement source confirms the partial break up to CNN, saying the hundreds of prisoners were eventually put back in their cells when riot police entered. But the source added that this could happen again, gangs in the area could attempt to overrun police and freed prisoners from inside.
Quote, "the gangsters are taking over the area around the prison, and they have pushed the police back. The police keep losing with poor management and a command staff that is not qualified," said our source.
In addition to Haitian prisoners, the facility houses the roughly two dozen Colombians accused by authorities of participating in last year's assassination of President Jovenel Moise. They sat in prison for more than a year, and it is still yet to be formally charged. The national police did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Downtown Port-au-Prince just the latest part of the city where gangs have laid siege. Roughly 75 percent of the city is either under the control of various gangs or in the crosshairs of ongoing gang violence, according to the Haitian law enforcement source, including the neighborhood of Cite Soleil, where more than 200 people have been killed in July alone due to fighting between gangs, according to the mayor.
"He says that the situation is very critical, people are in a very bad place, and the ongoing violence makes it worse."
It has created a dire humanitarian crisis in the neighborhood where people are struggling with basic access to food and water, a bleak reality that might be replicated in more parts of the city if this fighting continues unabated.
Matt Rivers, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the number of monkeypox cases worldwide has passed 21,000. Still, health officials in Africa say they have no vaccines for monkeypox despite having all of the 75 recorded deaths from the disease.
And here in the U.S., some cities and states aren't waiting for the federal government to raise alert levels on the virus, New York is calling it an imminent threat to public health, and San Francisco is declaring monkeypox a public health emergency.
You're watching CNN Newsroom. Still ahead, Donald Trump in the rock for hosting a Saudi-backed golf tournament at his New Jersey country club. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Donald Trump is under fire for hosting a controversial Saudi-backed golf tournament beginning in the day ahead at his New Jersey club. LIV Golf funded by Saudi Arabia has rocked the PGA Tour by luring away big-name players with huge sums of money.
CNN's Polo Sandoval reports.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Former President Donald Trump teeing off in a pro-Am at his namesake golf course in New Jersey amid controversy that's testing both the sporting world and international relations. The third event of Saudi-backed LIV Golf starts Friday at trump's Bedminster golf club attracting big name athletes with millions in guaranteed paydays.
Two-time master's champions Bubba Watson reportedly the latest to join in. The breakaway league has drawn criticism over concerns that it provides international legitimacy to Saudi Arabia's regime which has been accused of human rights violations for years. It includes a 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
U.S. intelligence maintains Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved of the operation to target the Washington Post journalist. Bin Salman denies that allegation. TERRY STRADA, NATIONAL CHAIR, 9/11 FAMILIES UNITED: It is a multi-
billion-dollar public relations stunt bought and paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
SANDOVAL: Critics claim it's a moment of, quote, "sports washing." Using this league to help improve the kingdom's image. Something on full display yesterday with players claiming Saudi Arabia is correcting its human rights record.
PAUL CASEY, PLAYER, LIV GOLF INVITATIONAL BEDMINSTER: I can confidently say that change is happening, and what we do is having a positive effect.
SANDOVAL: Families of 9/11 victims point to Saudi Arabia is home to 15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for the terror attacks. Though the kingdom denies that involvement.
STRADA: I lost my husband in the north tower, Tom Strata.
SANDOVAL: Donald Trump's golf club just miles from Ground Zero. The former president defending the tournament to ESPN today.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately. And they should have.
SANDOVAL: It's the first of two LIV competitions on Trump's properties.
JAY MONAHAN, COMMISSIONER, PGA TOUR: We welcome good healthy competition. The LIV Saudi golf league is not that.
SANDOVAL: The PGA has gone as far as suspending golfers who joined LIV.
BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If it were backed by any other entity, then it just be a rival tour. In this case, there's a direct business relationship between each of these golfers and the Saudi regime.
SANDOVAL: The 9/11 families plan to speak out again on Friday, ahead of the official start of this golf tournament. They maintain that they blame every U.S. president since the attack of 9/11 for not holding the Saudis responsible for their alleged role in the attacks some 21 years ago.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Bedminster, New Jersey.
BRUNHUBER: Thank you so much for watching us. African Voices Changemakers is up next. And then Christina Macfarlane has more news at the top of the hour. Please so stay with us.
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