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Renewed Tensions Between Israel And Islamic Jihad Raise Fears Of Escalation; IAEA Chief Grossi Alarmed By Shelling Of Zaporizhzhia NPP; Senate Begins "Vote-A-Rama" To Advance Democrats' Sweeping Health And Climate Bill; Roads Remain Closed In Death Valley National Park After Flash Floods. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired August 07, 2022 - 04:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Good to have you with us. I'm Lynda Kinkade, ahead on CNN Newsroom.

Tensions turn between Israel and Gaza militants with plenty of land being lobbied from each side on who's responsible. We'll go live front to southern Israel with the details. Plus, happening right now, a marathon of vote-a-rama session on the Senate floor. We'll look at what's in the Democrats sweeping health care and climate change bill.

And monkeypox cases rising around the world. We're going to look at the parallels between this outbreak and the early days of the aide crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: It is 11:00 a.m. in Israel and Gaza, day three of deepening hostilities that began Friday with Israeli airstrikes and have since escalated with salvos of rockets fired towards Israel. The Palestinian scene Israeli air strike is to blame for killing seven people Saturday, including four children in the refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The Israeli military denies it was responsible and released a video that it says shows a militant rocket going off course. Well, Israel says that's what caused the deadly explosion In Jabalia. CNN cannot verify either claim, whatever the cause. Here's what one Palestinian woman said after her home was destroyed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I started to cry and scream and then the drone hit and after that there was an air strike, which as you can see put our homes to the ground. All of that was destroyed. What can I do? Where will we go tonight?


KINKADE: Cities across southern Israel have been sounding warning sirens as militant rocket strike out of Gaza by the dozens. Israeli military says the majority being shot down or landing in unpopulated areas. But once it strike a high rise building in Sderotrow (ph), which is very close to Gaza. No one was hurt, but a local official had this to say.


YARON SASSON, SDEROT MUNICIPALITY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The rocket here penetrated the ceiling and hit a storage room in the house. The family had entered the shelter when they heard the Red Alert sirens and this is probably what saved them from the rocket and shrapnel. They were not wounded. Of course we are now providing them with support.


KINKADE: We are now learning another senior commander of Islamic Jihad has been killed journalist Elliott Gotkine joins us now from southern Israel. Good to have you with us, Elliot. So the death toll has risen, it includes at last count six children and also another top militant.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: That's right, Lynda, and we've heard more thuds of the Iron Dome aerial defense system taking out rockets being fired from Gaza this morning. We know that there were sirens on the outskirts of Jerusalem rockets aimed towards Jerusalem. So there's no sign of things calming down as you say a second senior commander from Islamic Jihad was killed last night in an airstrike by Israel.

Israel saying that it's now taken out the entire top brass (ph) of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip as for the Jabalia explosion, which resulted according to the Hamas run health ministry in the Gaza Strip in the deaths of seven people, including four children, as you say the Palestinians pointing the finger at Israel but Israel adamant that it was not from it was not as a result of Israeli fire, the Prime Minister's spokesperson underlining that in a statement.


KAREN HAJIOFF, SPOKESPERSON FOR ISRAELI PM (through translator): Tonight, Islamic Jihad terrorists fired a rocket towards Israel, which fell short inside Gaza, hitting a Palestinian home in the Jabalia neighborhood and tragically killing at least four children.

Islamic Jihad is killing Palestinian children in Gaza. One in four rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel lands inside the Gaza Strip. Iran's proxies, including Islamic Jihad, have a long history of hiding behind civilians to target Israeli civilians. The world should be outraged that this terrorist group targeting innocent Israelis and killing innocent Gazans.


[04:05:07] GOTKINE: Now briefing by the Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson about an hour ago, he was saying that actually the last operation by Israel was at 6:51 pm., more than two hours before the explosion in Jabalia and also emphasizing that Israel wasn't operating at that time or in that area.

We've also seen video of a rocket kind of careening through the night sky in a built up area and then slamming into a building. Again, we can't independently verify that but the Israeli saying that is also showing this rocket misfire by Islamic Jihad, which was the cause of those deaths of those seven people, including four children last night.

And the IDF spokesperson adding that now the there's about 20 percent of fifth of all rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad are misfiring that's out of a total of 580 up to 630 this morning. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, certainly a major escalation in the region. Elliott Gotkine for us in southern Israel, thanks very much.

Well, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is sounding the alarm of a shelling at Ukraine Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. His statements suggest that the region dodged a bullet and the explosions could have led to a nuclear disaster felt far beyond Ukraine.

Moscow and Kyiv are still trading blame over who's responsible. Ukrainian president Zelenskyy pointing the finger at Russia saying Ukraine will try to make Moscow to pay for what it allegedly did.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Unfortunately, we have a significant worsening of the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russian terrorist became the first in the world to use a nuclear plant for terror, the biggest in Europe. We will draw the world's attention to this and insist on new sanctions against Russia for creating such a global threat.


KINKADE: Well, meanwhile, Ukraine says Russia keeps trying to push ahead with its offensive in the East. And Moscow is reportedly moving more forces to neighboring Belarus. For more, Jason Carroll joins us live from Kyiv. Good to have you with us, Jason.

So I want to start with that threat on Europe's largest nuclear plant. What's the state of it right now? Is it damaged?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it is a grave situation. And to answer your question, there's so much unknown, Lynda, which is why the international community wants to get investigators there in on the ground. I mean, there are reports that because of the missile strikes, they're one of the six reactors, a power to that reactor had to be shut down. So you can imagine that's why international inspectors want to get their eyes on exactly what is happening there. Again, this is the biggest nuclear power facility of its kind in Europe. In terms of what has been happening there, you've got Ukraine and Russia both trading blame in terms of who's responsible for the missile strikes in and around the area.

We can tell you that Ukrainians have been working there at the facility alongside Russians, but is under Russian occupation, and has been so ever since they seized control of the plant back in early March. You heard there from President Zelenskyy, he has been very vocal about this issue, saying that this is a threat that Russia is causing a threat not only to Ukraine, but to Europe, in general.

Also, the head of the IAEA has weighed in on the issue expressing his concern saying the following I'm extremely concerned about the shelling yesterday at Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which underlies the very risk of a nuclear disaster that can that can threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.

The IAEA also saying that according to Ukraine, there has been no damage to the reactor -- reactors, and there's been no radiation leak. But the bottom line, Lynda, is that what needs to happen is the EU says that Russia needs to allow international inspectors in there to check out exactly what's happening on the ground. Lynda.

KINKADE: And Jason, Ukraine's army says that neighboring Belarus is testing the readiness of its special operations. What's the risk that Belarus will intervene in this war to help Russia?

CARROLL: Well, it's that's still very much an unanswered question. I can tell you that early on as you know, the phase of the war, Belarus was used as a launching pad for Russia to go in and send some of their troops and their artillery across the border. They were pushed back but those feelings are very raw. I can tell you with those who live on the border.

We were actually there just a few days ago, speaking to people who live on the border between Russia and Belarus the people there feel betrayed. On the Ukrainian side they feel as though they used to have friends there in Belarus and they feel as though that now that trust has been broken. But in terms of military action, I think that there's basically little surprise at this point that there seems to be more of a Russian buildup on that side of the border. Lynda.


KINKADE: All right, Jason Carroll for us in Kyiv, thanks very much.

Well, this just into CNN, we are getting word that four more grain ships left from Ukrainian ports this morning. The country's infrastructure minister saying that the vessels are loaded with close to 170,000 metric tons of food. They're headed for Italy, China and Turkey.

Ukraine resumed its grain exports this week and is hoping to soon be able to load up to five cargo vessels every day. International officials are hope the exports will ease global food shortages. A weathering drought is one problem facing people in East Africa. Another is the war in Ukraine. Some shipments of much needed grain are finally leaving Ukraine but that's hardly enough to solve the global food crisis. CNN's Sam Kiley reports from northern Kenya.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not a coffin he's being measured for. This isn't urgent effort to keep him from the grave. His arm so thin for his age and height. He's categorized as severely acutely malnourished. Abala (ph) needs urgent help. He's about two and he can't walk.

He's one of 6 million kids across the Horn of Africa. The UN says are on the brink of starvation. There's food for her youngest but nothing for a Gorgak's (ph) other children. Except for a little wheat ground into a handful of flour. She says her husband died last year. She has no livestock. She survives by selling charcoal where she can but food prices have trebled this year.

The evidence that humanity's ancestors lived here one and a half million years ago has been found in places like this. Now water the very source of life is being measured out in coffee cups.

An 11.6 million people across northeastern Africa as short of water in the worst drought for 40 years. Here in Ileret, northern Kenya, local officials say that at least 85 percent of animals once owned by nomadic people are dead. And the UN says one and a half million head of livestock have perished in Kenya, and across the Horn of Africa close to 20 million people face acute food shortages.

Now the price of staple food like maize flour have more than doubled in many parts of Kenya, since the disruption of global food supplies by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In short, Europe's war may soon start killing people in Africa.

(on camera): This community is marginal. It's living on the brink of the very brink of survival, but so are millions of people right across the region. And critical to their long term survival is the stability of Kenya a country that is facing drought. It is facing massive increases in the price of fuel and food. And it's now facing general elections. Instability here causes chaos across the whole Horn of Africa.

(voice-over): The increased banditry across the vast Marsabit County has led to dozens of murders and thousands of livestock lost in raids, and has now been met with military operations and the dawn to dusk curfew. Around 200 machine guns and other weapons were captured in one recent police operation here, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Roadblocks screen travelers in daylight.

Nomads are moving south in search of grazing into major towns like Isiolo. And they've invaded wildlife sanctuaries like buffalo springs, competing with protected and often endangered animals for food and water. The results can be fatal to men were recently killed by a female elephant near here. But it's violence between humans that's putting the most traditionally stable country in the Horn of Africa at risk.

FRANK POPE, CEO, SAVE THE ELEPHANTS: Anytime you get people that are hungry, without other options, you've got a security situation and northern Kenya is, you know, we're bordered by South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, all of which have had or are still in the grip of conflict that spews small arms into this ecosystem. So you've got a lot of weapons up here and increasing hunger. So yes, I'd say that's a security concern.

KILEY: That concern will endure as long as this landscape continues to dry out, and war in Europe chokes food supplies to Africa's most needy. Sam Kiley, CNN in Eldoret northern Kenya.



KINKADE: If you would like to safely and securely help people in Ukraine who may be in need of shelter, food and water, please go to you'll find several ways you can help.

Taiwan's premier cause China's military exercises around the Taiwan Strait arrogant and accuses Beijing of trying to disrupt regional peace and stability. Taiwan's Navy prepared anti-ship missiles amid Chinese military exercises in the waters around the self-governing Island. Taiwan's defense ministry said the drills were a quote, simulated attack against the main island of Taiwan.

Well, this of course comes after the ministry said multiple Chinese aircraft, naval vessels and drones were detected around the Strait Sunday morning. And the drones intruded on islands controlled by Taiwan. Beijing says the drills were conducted as planned focusing on land strikes and long range air strike capabilities.

Still ahead, the U.S. Senate working through the night as Democrats push a sweeping health care and climate bill towards the finish line.

Plus, tens of millions across the U.S. under heat alerts. We'll go to the CNN Weather Center for the latest and what to expect in the coming week.



KINKADE: Welcome back a marathon voting session is underway in the U.S. Senate right now. Democrats hoping to push through a sweeping health care climate and tax bill to tackle some of the party's key policy objectives.

But first, they have declared one procedural hurdle what's known as a vote-a-rama, a series of back to back amendment voice with no time limit. While some on the left have argued the bill doesn't go far enough. Senate Democrats say they're confident it will reach President Biden's desk soon.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): I am very optimistic that by Monday this bill will be headed to the House and from there to the President's desk. This is just the latest in a string of significant accomplishments by Congress and our president.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We have legislation which unlike the original Build Back Better plan ignores the needs of the working families of our country and childcare pre K, the expansion of Medicare, affordable housing, home health care, higher education and many, many other desperate needs.


KINAKDE: Well, CNN's Jessica Dean has a closer look at what's included in that bill and where things go from here.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Senate Democrats are pushing through and midway through this complex budget process that will allow them to pass legislation focused on climate health care and some tax provisions with just the Senate Democrats voting. They will not need Senate Republicans but because they're using this complex budget process that means it is taking hours and hours of process to get to the end.

We do expect it to pass after Senator Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer coming to an agreement and then late last week getting Senator Kyrsten Sinema on board. We do expect that all 50 Senate Democrats are much -- very much on board with this.

They just have to get through the process of a vote-a-rama which can be hours and hours of endless amendments. And it's just nobody's guess exactly how long that will take.

Just to remind people a little bit about what's in this bill when it comes to those climate provisions. It's some $369 billion, the largest investment ever from the Senate into a climate that we've ever seen. They're hoping that these provisions will lower carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030. When it comes to health care, they're talking about extending the Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies for three years, and they're also for the first time Medicare will be allowed to negotiate drug prices on certain drugs.

And then with the tax provisions there is a corporate minimum tax, there's a 15 percent. There's also a 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks.

Again, a lot of this stuff Senate Democrats, frankly didn't think they would get through because earlier this summer Senator Joe Manchin, the kind of conservative Democrat from West Virginia did not support the tax provisions, the climate provisions, but they were able to come to this agreement.

Once it passes out of the Senate, it will then go back to -- it will then go to the House. We are expecting the House to come back into session. They're currently on recess. On Friday, August 12, pass this and then it goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. Jessica Dean, CNN, Capitol Hill.


KINAKDE: Well, authority say roads coming in and out of California's Death Valley National Park are critically damaged and the park remains closed. That's after a storm on Friday caused extreme flooding. The National Park Service then close access into the park and say thousand people were stranded inside.

The Park received 1.46 inches of rain almost matching the previous daily record. Joining me now is CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. So much rain, Derek, in such a small amount of time.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, that was actually 68 percent of Death Valley's annual average rainfall. So that occurred in just those few hours, incredible amounts. There's also a chance to flooding today for a few other locations. We'll highlight them now.

We have flash flood watches or I should say flood watches for Eastern Kentucky the areas that have been hit hardest by the flooding not a week ago, parts of West Virginia, southern Florida. And then a newly issued flood -- a newly issued flood watch for Wisconsin as well as portions of Minnesota and Ohio. They've had several inches of rainfall within the past couple of days, more precipitation on the way. You can see the bulk of the rainfall across Kentucky really located across the central parts of the state away from the hardest hit areas. But nonetheless any additional rainfall of course could lead to localized flash flooding in that area as summertime thunderstorms continue to fire up.

Weather Prediction Center has a moderate risk of flash flooding today across the Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. The shading of yellow is a slight risk, that includes the Chicago suburbs. So some of these thunderstorms could produce easily one to two even locally higher amounts of rain fall as they start to fire up later this afternoon riding along a frontal boundary draped across the upper Midwest.


And the other big story we're monitoring is the heat. Over 60 million Americans under heat alerts right now, including many of the most populated areas of our eastern seaboard, Boston, New York, Philadelphia. This is including upstate New York as well and into the Hudson Valley. Temperatures today will range from the lower to middle 90s. But it's when you factor in the humidity that's when it really starts to feel balmy outside.

The central parts of the country more of the same heat indices above triple digits. You can see the actual temperatures the Pacific Northwest also starting to spike in temperatures right through the early parts of the week will top 100 degrees in Portland, Oregon. And then by the way, Lynda, we are monitoring the tropics starting to come alive. We've got a 40 percent chance of our fourth named storm develop here in the coming days. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, we'll keep a close eye on that. Derek Van Dam for us. Thanks so much.

Well, as monkeypox spreads around the world, so does the need to make people aware of the dangers. Ahead, how this adult film entertainer is sharing his experience with the disease on social media to help educate others.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I ran twice, I won twice, and did much better the second time than I did the first getting millions and millions of more votes.


KINKADE: Former U.S. President Donald Trump rehashes old grievances while teasing a future White House run. Those details ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade and this is CNN Newsroom.


We are keeping a close eye on the monkeypox virus outbreak as it spreads around the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says more than 7,500 cases are reported here in the U.S. more than any other country. The Biden administration declared the outbreak of public health emergency on Thursday, and there are more than 2,800 -- 28,000 cases in 88 countries.

Countries highlighted in the color red and orange on this map have the most cases right now. Well, health officials warned that the majority of reported cases are a man who have sex with men but they caution that anyone can get monkeypox.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz spoke with an adult film entertainer who wants to use his experience with the virus to help curb its spread.


SILVER STEELE, ADULT FILM ENTERTAINER: Hey, guys. Day 15 of monkeypox.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): After adult film entertainer Silver Steele tested positive for monkeypox, he started to document his painful struggle from isolation in Texas.

STEELE: I don't want anybody to have to go through this. So if my story will help people possibly change their behaviors or attempt to go get vaccinated, then it'll be worth it.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): It's a trend. Social media is key to raising awareness at ground zero of this health crisis, the gay community. 98 percent of cases so far are among men who have sex with men, according to the World Health Organization. But sex is not required to transmit the virus. It's passed on primarily through close skin on skin physical contact.

(on-camera): Do you feel that there is a stigma?

STEELE: 100 percent. First of all, it's easy to label it as a gay disease. But this virus doesn't go, oh, I'm going to find a gay person. Oh, look, there was another gay person. It's just going to find a human.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): From a sexual health clinic in East London, Dr. Ian Reeves says he witnessed the early days of the outbreak.

DR. IAN REEVES, SEXUAL HEALTH CONSULTANT: The start of wave, all of us were a little bit in the dark, to be honest with you. You know, kind of it's not an infection I was familiar with at all.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Now health care workers are playing catch up, trying to vaccinate those most at risk faster than the virus can spread.

(on-camera): Clinics like this one had to react quickly to the outbreak. Training their staff, preparing tests, giving out dozens of vaccinations a day, it's put a strain on health services. And there's no sign that demand is letting up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here's a consent form.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Word of mouth and public messaging are driving more and more to come forward for their shots.


JONNY DILLON, MONKEYPOX VACCINE RECIPIENT: People are, I think, taking this seriously and making sure that they're protecting themselves and protecting each other and the rest of the community.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But monkeypox cases are still on the rise. And with limited vaccine supply, containment still presents a challenge.

ALIESKY ROMERO, MONKEYPOX VACCINE RECIPIENT: Seeing some friends of mine had it -- they had it quite bad, so I thought better.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): And healthcare workers are scrambling to access a historically marginalized population.

REEVES: One of the concerns I have is that the people that will get into the vaccine clinics are going to be kind of the best connected so that can leave people who, you know, historically, are less well served by health services behind a little bit.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): And that's why alongside public health messaging, grassroots voices are making an impact. So far, more than 1 million people around the world have viewed Steele's video.

(on-camera): How does that make you feel to know that your message is being heard?

STEELE: Fulfilled, fulfilled. That what I'm going through, what other people are going through, isn't for nothing. Because I'm telling you, you don't want this, it's painful.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): A community rallying to prevent a new disease from taking hold.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Well for more on this, let's bring in Kai Kupferschmidt, Contributing Correspondent for Science Magazine. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So you wrote, as an infectious disease reporter, you've seen how deadly stigma can be and as someone living with HIV, you've experienced the suffering that stigma can cause, what is the specific risk with monkeypox?

KUPFERSCHMIDT: Well, I mean, stigma has a lot of effects, of course, right? And if you take a disease like monkeypox related to sex, it's, you know, it can be even just in the way that it looks, it can be very stigmatizing, the name itself stigmatizing. I mean all of these things together, what they do is that they make it harder for people to seek care, to access care, to maybe even get tested in the first place, you know, to just accept in a way that this is risk for you.

I remember very well, I went to Tanzania years ago and I spoke with people who were living with HIV back then. And I asked them what the biggest reason was that they thought that we still weren't getting ahead of HIV and they said it's the stigma.


And then years later when I got my own diagnosis, I remember standing literally in front of the mirror trying to say the words, you know, OK, I am HIV positive. And there's something that you have to deal with, you have to bring yourself in that disease in a way -- in some relation. And that's what stigma is, to some extent. And so, it is a huge concern in this disease as it is in HIV.

KINKADE: And so tell us more about the parallels you see with the response to monkeypox right now and the early days of the AIDS crisis.

KUPFERSCHMIDT: So I think a lot of people are kind of taking the wrong lesson sometimes from HPV, or maybe they don't know the history that well. But remember that while there was a huge amount of stigmatization and, you know, men who had sex with men, were already exposed to that stigmatization before HIV.

There was a moment early on in the HIV crisis, where the biggest role that homophobia played was really to lead to a lack of care, a lack of access and a lack of caring in a way. So there was just people try to ignore this disease early on, and they acted way too late, because they felt that it was only affecting this one sector of community -- of the community that they didn't care about so much.

And that was one of the things that we really should take from the early days of the AIDS pandemic, is that it is, you know, it is important to jump on these things really early on, and to give people the care and the access to care that they need. And I think we've seen in different places to different extent, but we have seen in this crisis, again, that that didn't happen early on.

KINKADE: And Kai, in terms of access to care, I mean, monkeypox is not a novel virus, there is a vaccine that can prevent it. What's your response to the fact that there's not enough of that vaccine right now, and they're talking about splitting it?

KUPFERSCHMIDT: Well, I think this is where you have to go and look at the bigger picture, right? I mean, the truth is that the world has never developed a vaccine against monkeypox, because while there were people suffering and dying from monkeypox in some countries in Western Central Africa, the rest of the world didn't really care all that much. Instead, we developed newer vaccines for smallpox, because we were worried about, for instance, a bioterrorism event with smallpox.

So what we have now is a vaccine that was developed against smallpox. And that can probably, you know, that's what the data says, at the moment, protect quite well against monkeypox. And this vaccine now is not available in the amounts that it should be, because we haven't really thought about this kind of eventuality. And, again, when monkey pox started spreading, when we saw these first cases in May, we didn't immediately jump on it as the world in a way that we maybe should have. So there's a lot of these kinds of mistakes that we keep making, I think.

KINKADE: So in terms of the data we've got, the WHO says that 98 percent of cases of monkeypox are amongst men who have sex with men. Can you explain from your reporting why it's more common amongst the LGBTQ community?

KUPFERSCHMIDT: Yes. So I think this is a really important point because if we give this data and if we address the people who most need to be addressed, you know, the gay community, gay men and our sexual networks, we also need to explain why it is because people rightly say the virus doesn't really care whether someone's gay or not, right? And that's true.

But the virus does use, you know, it exploits human connections, it moves along the connections between human beings. And we've known for a while that within the MSM community, there is a segment of the Amazon community where people have a lot of sexual partners. And that just changes how a virus behaves in that kind of network.

So it is easier for the virus to spread in that kind of network, if there is a segment that has a lot of connections with each other. And that's what we're seeing. And it just makes the MSM community, it makes my community much more vulnerable to a virus like this spreading. It doesn't mean that there's not other networks that are densely connected, where this virus might be able to spread.

It hasn't made its way yet into these networks. What we're seeing is, you know, isolated cases on the edges of the sexual network where maybe a household contact of someone is infected. But for the moment it is spreading primarily within these networks, and that's where we have to concentrate our efforts because that's our best chance of stopping this virus before it maybe mutates and changes or maybe just moves into other networks and it gets even harder to combat this.

KINKADE: Kai Kupferschmidt, really good to get your perspective. Thanks so much for your time.


KINKADE: A potentially hopeful sign in the fight against COVID-19 as nations around the world report a slowdown in new cases. Also, some countries including Russia have seen a dramatic rise in new infections over the last week. The World Health Organization reported Wednesday that the global tally of new cases was down 9 percent compared to the week before.

Here in the U.S., President Joe Biden has tested negative for COVID a week -- after a week-long rebound infection. His doctor says Mr. Biden will remain in isolation until he tests negative a second time.


Former U.S. President Donald Trump received a hero's welcome in Texas Saturday. He was there to close out the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. During his remarks, the former President repeated his baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and hinted that he could run again in 2024.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The election was rigged and stolen, and now our country is being systematically destroyed. If I renounced my beliefs, if I agreed to stay silent, if I stayed home, or if I stayed in my basement, the persecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately. That's what they want me to do. But I can't do that. And I will not do that because I love our country, and I love the people of our country so much.


KINKADE: Well, while Trump did not announce another run for the White House, he did overwhelmingly win the CPAC straw poll. Nearly 70 percent of attendees who voted said they would prefer to see Trump as the Republican nominee in 2024. During his speech, the former President also painted a dismal version of the country under the Democratic leadership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We gathered tonight our country is being destroyed more from the inside then out. America is on the edge of an abyss. And our movement is the only force on earth that can save it. We have to seize this opportunity to deal with the radical left, socialist, lunatics and fascists and we have to hit them very, very hard, has to be a crippling defeat.


KINKADE: Well fallout from the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol was also front and center this year's conference, such as this mock jail cell with a man inside wearing an orange jumpsuit and a red Make America Great Again hat and pretending to cry.

Well still to come, Ukrainian forces push Russians out of a village in the south. But why the area still resembles a ghost town even the Russian troops have been gone for weeks. That story ahead.



KINKADE: Ukraine's grain exports is starting to pick up speed raising hopes that more food could soon be on the way to people who need it most. For more grain chips that Ukrainian ports this morning loaded with close to 170,000 metric tons of food headed for Italy, China and Turkey. The U.N. estimates that 47 million people worldwide have trouble putting food on the table because of the war.

As Ukraine begins to ramp up grain exports, it's also bracing for a possible Russian offensive in the South. That's where Ukrainian troops have been slowly regaining some ground. As CNN crew went to one of the liberated villages in the region, and as our Nic Robertson found out, the residents aren't back home even though Russian troops are gone.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): The road to Ivanivka isn't safe. Playboy, his war name, is taking us there across country. He says his forces recaptured it from the Russians following a two-week artillery battle.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): That was a month ago. It still deserted. Only abandoned pets and farmyard animals here now.

(on-camera): When you come in here and you look at the farm here, the animals left out, the dog in a terrible state, how do you feel?

PLAYBOY: I feel quite sad.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): And when can people come back to this village?

PLAYBOY: I think when we will go -- ROBERTSON (ON-CAMERA): Further forward?

PLAYBOY: -- further to the next line of the villages.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Unexploded shells littered the ground. The end of war a long ways off, he says.

PLAYBOY: I think it's not real finished very fast because we are not so powerful right now.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): During the attack here, Ukrainian forces estimate they killed about 50 Russian soldiers, injured about 100 more. The big challenge for the Ukrainians now mustering enough men to advance further.

(voice-over): The frontline just a few kilometers away. A single artillery shell hits its target. The troops that took even if the last month have moved on.

PLAYBOY: We are planning to move forward, surely.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): When?

PLAYBOY: I don't know. From my own opinion, I think, in a month.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): At the village school, window smashed, classrooms trashed, empty ration packs on the floor, and a message scrolled before they retreated.

(on-camera): The Russian troops have left a parting message. It says, Russia is everywhere. It has no borders. And over here, they've crossed out the Ukrainian word for March and said, use the right language.

(voice-over): Where the Russians appear to fight harder frontline trenches near the village. Armored vehicles and tanks taken out by artillery.

(on-camera): You get an idea of the ferocity of the fight here from the artillery impacts and the way the trees around here are all shredded. But here's a surprise hitting these targets with U.S. gifted M777 artillery wasn't as easy as the soldiers expected.

PLAYBOY: M777 shooting quite good. But now, not so good as we expected.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Not ungrateful, he says and very willing to learn better skills.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Ivanivka, Ukraine.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Nic for that report. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with more news in just a moment.



KINKADE: Welcome back, a new kind of smart glasses may soon change the way deaf people communicate. They allow users to actually read conversations kind of like watching a subtitled to foreign film. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we see anything?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diana Martin is experiencing conversation like never before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a new way of being able to communicate.

HOLMES (voice-over): She's among the first to try new glasses specially equipped with a technology that helps those who can't hear to see conversation in real time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's like, she took naturally looking at me, but she realizes she doesn't have to look at me. She can talk through the glasses.

HOLMES (voice-over): Inside the lenses of the new smart glasses, any speeches turned into text in real time with a live display of subtitles. Now, those who are deaf are offered a new way to engage and utilize other modern-day technologies primarily accessible to only the hearing world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexa, what's the weather forecast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now in Arkley, it's 23 degrees Celsius with mostly cloudy skies.

HOLMES (voice-over): The software was developed by the company XRAI Glass, after its CEO noticed his grandfather's increasing isolation as he lost his hearing.

DAN SCARFE, CEO, XRAI GLASS: There was just a little epiphany moment where I thought well hang on a second. He watches TV all the time with subtitles on. Why can't we subtitle the world?

HOLMES (voice-over): The technology is run through a smartphone app that transcribes any audio stream, and nearly simultaneously sends a text to special glasses that projected in front of the wearer in real time.



JULIANNE: Hey, Josh. It's Julianne. How are you doing?

FELDMAN: Very well, Thank you. How are you? HOLMES (voice-over): Turning live captioning into augmented reality.

FELDMAN: Powerful, it's powerful. I can't understate the power and the important for people who are hard of hearing all over the world to feel that they don't have to solely rely on lip read anymore -- on lip reading anymore. And that's a really -- it's a big moment.

HOLMES (voice-over): XRAI Glass developers say the smart glasses are still in beta, but they can already recognize who's speaking and will soon be able to translate languages tones, accents and pitch, hoping in the future to unlock more that can be seen when it can't be heard.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


KINKADE: Quite remarkable. Well, the English Premier League returned on Saturday with several close matches. A first half goal and a penalty kick was enough for Chelsea to win one nil at Everton. Everton was dealt an additional setback as defender Ben Godfrey suffered a lower leg injury and had to be taken to hospital.

Meanwhile, Liverpool could only manage to draw at Fulham. The Reds had to come from behind twice to stave off a loss. Newcomers Fulham head the title -- held the title contenders to two all in their opener.

And this will warm your heart. Meet Tucker, a four-year-old Labrador Retriever mix and the newest free agent on the roster of the Seattle Mariners. The baseball team says they extensively scouted him before adopting him from his shelter. The team officials said the animal had been in danger of being put down. But Tucker's favorite activities include paying fetch, swimming, smuggling, and of course running onto the field.

That wraps up this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I will be back with much more news after a very short break. Stay with us.