Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Israel, Islamic Jihad, Say Gaza Ceasefire Agreement Reached; Senate Passes Democrats' Sweeping Health Care And Climate Bill; Colombia's First-Ever Leftist President Gustavo Petro Sworn In; Sweden to Send Up To 120 Military Instructors To UK. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes. Coming up here on the program, after three days of incessant rocket launches, Israeli forces and Gaza militants have reached a ceasefire, but the fighting has taken a heavy toll.

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill with the largest climate investment in the country's history. We'll discuss what impact this could have on the global efforts to fight climate change.

And Colombia has sworn in its first leftist President one with an ambitious agenda to transform the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: And we begin this hour in Gaza where a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad appears to be holding for now. That truce coming two days after a dramatic escalation in tensions began when Israel launched what it called preemptive strikes on Islamic Jihad targets.

Before the ceasefire was announced on Sunday, Palestinian militants launched rockets towards Jerusalem following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza overnight. Israeli officials say a leader of Islamic Jihad operations in southern Gaza was killed in an airstrike on a building in Rafah which is close to the border with Egypt.

He was the second militant commander killed in the Israeli operation. Palestinian officials, meanwhile, say 44 militants and civilians have been killed, including 15 children. One young girl rescued from the rubble after a strike in Gaza pleaded for an end to the violence.


LEEN MATAR, INJURED IN GAZA (through translator): We don't want to keep going through this. Every year there are strikes killings of children and injuries. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: U.S. President Joe Biden praising the ceasefire and thanking Egyptian and Qatari officials for helping to broker it. Journalist Elliott Gotkine joins me now live from a southern Israel to discuss. So Israel clearly feels it's gotten what it wanted out of this or it wouldn't have stopped. What are the chances though, of the ceasefire sticking?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, it's sticking for now. For the past eight hours, there haven't been any rockets launched from the Gaza Strip by Islamic Jihad. The ceasefire was meant to come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time. There were still a handful of rocket launchers between 11:30 and midnight. But since then, there has been quiet.

And as you say, this was, after all, the objective of Israel's operation here to restore peace and calm to the community surrounding the Gaza Strip, a senior government official telling me in the last couple of minutes that this was, in his words, a focused and extremely effective counterterrorism operation that dramatically weakened Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and saying effectively that it was mission accomplished.

And let's not forget, as you mentioned, in your introduction, the top two military commanders of Islamic Jihad were taken out by Israel. At the same point, it should be noted that of course, Islamic Jihad has managed to fire according to the IDF itself, 1,100 rockets towards Israel.

Now, about a fifth of those, about 15 percent, 16 percent of those did fall short, or did in other words, falling inside the Gaza Strip. But they've shown that they have a pretty impressive arsenal that they can cause disruption and mayhem to Israel, rockets reached the northern parts of Tel Aviv.

Last night, I heard the sirens for the first time in three days had to go down to my own bomb shelter in my building, for example. So and of course, Islamic Jihad can also point to the fact that it is still standing despite this intense fighting over the last two and a half days or so. But of course, the question is this, the ceasefire is holding for now, but for how long, Michael.

HOLMES: Until the next round. I wouldn't ask you this, too is, do you see it as significant politically that former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed by I think, for the first time by the current PM Yair Lapid.

GOTKINE: I think it is significant, Michael. It's not only that opposition leaders are entitled to security briefings from the Prime Minister of the day. They are obliged by law to receive these security briefings and opposition leader, former Prime Minister Netanyahu has effectively been boycotting them ever since he was turfed out of office and the current government led previously by Naftali Bennett and now Prime Minister Yair Lapid came in.


Now he's done it for a few reasons. One is because he objected to the composition of his government, one was to perhaps appear to be above the fray. He's been Prime Minister for so long that he doesn't need the security briefings. And I think also, he didn't want to appear, you know, to kind of underline the fact that he is now the leader of the opposition, and he is no longer Prime Minister.

Now that of course, is a job that he will be hoping to recover in elections that are due for -- due to take place here in Israel on November the first, but I think this is also you know, for Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this is a positive him, because, of course, it shows that he is the prime minister.

And of course, after this briefing, Netanyahu, the opposition leader coming out saying he had full support for the government and the Israeli Defense Forces in this operation. There's not something I don't think that Netanyahu would have wanted to do just in a few months before this election is due to take place. Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, always politics. Elliot, thank you so much. Elliot Gotkine there.

Ukraine accusing Russia of nuclear terror after explosion shook Europe's largest nuclear power plant for a second day. Ukraine says Russian shells damaged three radiation detectors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Now this came just a day after an attack that prompted warnings of nuclear disaster from the UN's watchdog. Russia blames Ukraine for the strikes. Concerns about the cloud have been growing since Russian forces seized it back in March, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is urging a stronger response from allies.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There is no such nation in the world that can feel safe when a terrorist state fired at a nuclear plant. God forbid something irreparable happen, and no one will stop the wind that will spread the radioactive contamination. Therefore, a principled response of the international community to these Russian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe is needed now.


HOLMES: Mr. Zelenskyy also warned that future negotiations with Russia could be in jeopardy if officials in occupied areas hold referendums on joining Russia. Last month U.S. officials warned that Russia could be planning sham votes to annex occupied territory in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and in the east the Donbas region.

Some of the world's most brutal fighting has centered on Eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. Russian forces there have been making halting gains but they have been slowed down by heavily dug in Ukrainian troops. CNN's Nic Robertson went to the front lines to speak with some of the soldiers holding Ukraine's defense.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN International Diplomatic Editor (voice-over): Deep in the woods and Ukraine's eastern front troops dig in trenches here are lifesavers.

OLEG, UKRAINIAN FIGHTER: We're good here. We're fighting fierce. We took our portion of shelling here, and some comrades were injured.

ROBERTSON: The faces of the troops here tell a story that words cannot. This is tough duty. Five days at the front, 10 days resting here nearby. They joke about living like hobbits underground, away from the shelling.

(on camera): When Ukrainian officials talk about the high Mars rocket system and the M777 artillery healthy hold their line, these are the lines they're talking about.

(voice-over): And these are the soldiers with the hard fight to make sure it does hold. He says we hold the line. It's humid, it rains, shells hit us all the time. But we hold the defense. There is no other way.

Of course the shelling gets on your mind, Atom (ph) tells me. His buddy Vitaly (ph) adding, but you get used to it. Both set on victory they say.

To get to the very front line, we cross fields littered with Russian rockets.

(on camera): All these trees here they're telling us were taken out by shelling

(voice-over): Conditions here very Spartan. The Russians less than a mile away. Days here when troops can't leave their bunkers, Russia out guns them five times.

(on camera): This is where the next phase of the war will be won or lost in trenches like this that stretch for hundreds of miles. Troops like this holding the line against the possible Russian advance.

(voice-over): We manage, the officer says. We've come here to stop the enemy. We just take it, sit it out, and keep on fighting.


An incoming shell punctuates his thought. More weapons, more armor, he says, and it could be us advancing. Nic Robertson, CNN, that Ukraine's eastern front.


HOLMES: Now as the fighting grinds on Ukrainian officials are urging Western allies to send in more weapons and advisor to Ukraine's President telling a German newspaper that his country needs more modern heavy weapons. He also warns Russia might be trying to freeze the conflict for a few months, so it can bring new troops and equipment to the front lines.

Meanwhile, Sweden says it will be sending instructors to the U.K. to help train Ukrainian citizens for combat. The U.K. is leading the program which aims to train up to 10,000 Ukrainians over the coming months.

And Ukraine's grain exports are picking up some steam on Sunday, a cargo ship entered a Ukrainian port for the first time since the invasion, and other four ships left Ukraine Sunday carrying more than 160,000 metric tons of food. This coming after Turkey and the United Nations helped broker a deal to unlock millions of tons of food supplies stuck at Ukrainian ports since the war began.

Coming up here on the program, a big win for us President Joe Biden's agenda and efforts to fight climate change. We'll take a look at what's in the Democrats sweeping economic package as it moves closer to becoming law.

Also, just how does the U.S. stack up against global climate efforts? We'll be live in the CNN Weather Center. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: All right, have a look at these incredible nighttime images of volcanic activity in Iceland. These adventurous tourists getting a close up, perhaps too close up, at the fiery streams of lava and molten rock. The volcano is located about 20 miles from Iceland's capital Reykjavik. Official say a fissure broke open on Wednesday after several days of intense seismic activity. They say the fissure is relatively small but warn of dangerous gases and of course fast moving lava flows.

A major boost for U.S. President Joe Biden's economic agenda was Senate Democrats finally passing their sweeping climate health care and tax bill. It took months of negotiations and an exhaustive all- nighter a whirlwind votes to reach a 50-50 split along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris decided a casting the deciding vote.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided. The vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill as amended is passed.



HOLMES: President Biden now urging the House to pass the bill as soon as possible so he can then sign it into law. Now the so called Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest climate investment in U.S. history. It also makes major changes to health policy. We have two reports for you now. Arlette Saenz is traveling with the president, but first Melanie Zanona with more from the Capitol from Capitol Hill.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER (on camera): Democrats are on the verge of a massive victory with less than 100 days before the midterm elections. The Senate voted on Sunday along party lines to approve a sweeping economic package. And this vote came after a marathon voting session that began Saturday evening, and lasted into the next day.

And this bill includes a number of key democratic priorities. It includes a historic investment of nearly $370 billion for the climate. It would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, it would extend expiring Obamacare health subsidies, and it would impose a 15 percent corporate minimum tax.

Now, it wasn't always an easy road to get here. And multiple points throughout the negotiations. It looked like the talks had broken down entirely. And even up until the very last minute, it was a lot of work to keep the entire Democratic caucus on board. Here's what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had to say about it.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MAJORITY LEADER: It has been a long, tough and winding road. We did it without a single vote to spare. To do something with 50 votes is rough, to do small things with 50 votes is rough to pass such a major piece of legislation with only 50 votes and intransigent Republican minority. A caucus running from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin. Wow.

ZANONA: Now the bill heads to the house were we expecting a vote on Friday, and we have already heard from a number of key House Democrats that they are supporting this bill, even though the bill does not include some of the key tax provisions that they previously were demanding. So this is a pretty clear sign that this bill is likely to pass and head to Joe Biden's desk by the end of this week. Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): President Biden hailed to the Senate passing the Inflation Reduction Act as an important part of achieving some of his key priorities for his domestic agenda. The President spent Sunday at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware after testing negative for COVID 19 twice over the course of the weekend.

He released a statement following that Senate vote saying quote, today Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.

The President added it required many compromises doing important things almost always does. The House should pass this as soon as possible. And I look forward to signing it into law.

Now, the President's reference there to compromise it, acknowledges the long and winding process that Democrats have been on to try to get this type of legislation across the finish line. This bill was often pronounced dead multiple times over the course of negotiations that lasted over a year.

But Democrats have now moved forward a critical piece of the President's agenda, though it's smaller than what the President had initially proposed, but it includes historic investments and climate initiatives. Also health care proposals, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs, drug prices for the first time. There are also additional tax measures in here to pay for the measure including a 15 percent corporate tax rate.

Now this bill still needs to make its way through the house before heading towards the President's desk. But the President Biden is hoping that this is something that they can tout to voters heading into those midterm elections.

Now additionally, the president on Monday is set to travel, making his first official trip since being diagnosed with COVID-19 to the state of Kentucky, where he will tour the damage after those devastating floods that occurred in the eastern part of the state.

The President and First Lady will be meeting with the state's governor Andy Beshear and also with families and victims who have been suffering ever since those floods occurred in the state of Kentucky just last week. This will mark the President's first official trip. Traveling since he received those negative COVID-19 diagnoses the President had been cooped up at the White House for 18 days. Arlette Saenz, CNN traveling with the president in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.


HOLMES: Lea Stokes is an Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of California Santa Barbara. She joins me now. Thank you professor for being with us. So, once this bill becomes law, what to you is going to be the biggest impact it will have in terms of climate action?


LEAH STOKES, ASSOCIATE PROFESOR, UC SANTA BARBARA: Well the bill is projected to cut carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 and that's important because scientists have been saying and President Biden has pledged that we need to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030. So this bill will get us 80% of the way to that really important goal.

HOLMES: I think it's worth noting, because I was doing some math, the climate provisions funding in the act are about 4 percent of the U.S. defense budget, that sort of puts things into perspective, the question on climate change mitigation is inevitably isn't enough. What more would you like to have seen done?

STOKES: Look, I totally agree with you, we need more investments on clean energy and climate action. And this is an absolutely historic move in the right direction. But it is really only a start. There were other parts of the bill that didn't make it through such as a Civilian Climate Corps that the Sunrise Movement has championed, and other kinds of investments that we really need to see and really just higher levels of spending across the board so that we really can be moving fast enough on clean energy and climate action.

HOLMES: Under the Trump administration, climate policy, of course, moved backwards, pulling out of the Paris Accords, loosening environmental regulations, and on and on, and that likely gave other big polluters nations an excuse to drag their feet. Do you think this bill has the chance of spearing other nations forward or not?

STOKES: Absolutely. And not just because of international climate negotiations. The other thing that bill is going to do is rapidly scale up clean energy manufacturing in the United States. That's not just good for jobs here in this country, and for cleaning up the air as well. It's also good for innovation, because what happens is when we make lots of electric vehicles, or heat pumps or solar panels, we're going to learn how to make them cheaper. And that means the cost is going to fall. And that isn't just going to matter for the United States, it's actually going to matter for the whole planet. So this investment is really good news in terms of making global progress on climate change.

HOLMES: Yes. And as you point out, among other things that offers these tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal as well, batteries, other clean energies over the next decade. How important is that factor? And how do you see the pace of the move overall towards renewables, which are not just good for the environment, but they make better economic sense as well?

STOKES: Yes, clean energy is also cheap energy. It turns out that 41 percent of inflation is actually driven by high fossil fuel prices. And people know that they know how much it costs to fuel up their car right now. And so what this bill is going to do is help people get access to electric vehicles, which only cost $1 a gallon to run, it's going to help them put a heat pump in their home, which is an amazing electronic device that both heats and cools your home, and it saves you lots of money.

In fact, one analysis said that if people adopt all the clean energy technologies that this bill makes more available, more affordable, they'll actually save $1,800 a year on their electricity bills, on their energy bills. So that's just really great news.

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you to because, I mean, the bill passed the Senate, but only with the deciding vote of the vice president. When it comes to the issue of political will on the climate front, how disheartening is it to see that every single Republican voted no on this bill?

STOKES: It's very disheartening. And I think it also shows really clearly to the American people who is on the side of clean air, who is on the side of climate action and who is against it. It's terrible to see that the Republican Party is not looking at what's actually good for their constituents, which is clean air and a stable climate.

HOLMES: 1.5 degrees of temperature increase has long been the global marker for slowing climate change, preventing the worst impacts. That number is pretty much certain to be exceeded as things stand, what more needs to be done to mitigate the changes that we're already seeing globally?

STOKES: Yes, well, we've already warmed the planet by about 1.2 degrees Celsius. And that's bad news, right? You're seeing record heat waves all across the planet. In fact, when this bill was being negotiated over the last few weeks, 100 million Americans were under extreme heat events.

We also have a drought, the worst and 1,200 years in the western United States were 60 million Americans are affected. Climate change is already bad at 1.2 degrees, one and a half degrees is going to be worse. And if we go much farther north than that in terms of the amount of warming, you know, it's not going to be good news. So that is why we have to keep adding to this big bill that we saw passed today. We have to keep working on climate progress.


HOLMES: Yes, it's just a start. But it's something. Professor Leo Stokes, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

STOKES: Thanks for having me on.

HOLMES: So which country has made the biggest climate policy commitments, the Climate Change Performance Index seeks to evaluate that factoring in emission targets and how they're implemented. Its latest report finds that Luxembourg, Denmark and Morocco are doing the best jobs.

But it starts its ranking at number four intentionally leaving the top three spots empty because it finds no country is doing enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Now concluding quote, the Emissions Gap Report 2021 states that the current national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not ambitious enough for a 1.5 degrees Celsius world, despite higher reduction pledges in the latest updated nationally determined contributions. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for more. What are you seeing, Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Michael, we've talked about so many variables when it comes to climate change. Your guests really pointed this well, because it really only look at a couple of sectors that you can see a significant contribution to what's happening as far as global greenhouse emissions are concerned because, about 50 percent of it comes from two areas electricity and heat production, Ag, and also forestry, and then you add in another 21 percent from industry.

So you're essentially sitting at 70 percent of all of greenhouse gas emissions coming from three -- these three areas, and then transportation takes you up to 84 percent. So you kind of solve the greenhouse emissions issue as far as clean energy is concerned, and you really solve the vast majority of what is happening here around the world. And, of course, in the U.S. are certainly no stranger to these billion dollar disasters. We've seen an average from about 1980 to 2021, an annual average of billion dollar disasters, eight of them, typically, almost eight of them occur on average. And, of course, we're about eight months into the year now in 2022.

And you'll notice nine of them have occurred, and possibly we'll get that up to 10 here with the devastation that is still in place across the state of Kentucky, as it relates to flooding, almost certainly that's going to become a multibillion dollar event.

The official tally is at nine, we think that'll come up to 10. But look at the global Co2 emissions by country around the world. United States, by far the largest contributor accounted for about 20 percent of the world's Co2 emissions coming out of the US.

Now keep in mind, the population of the U.S. accounts for about 4 percent of the world's population. But it is by far and away the most emitter here when it comes to Co2. China, a distant second at 11 percent. You see the Russia and Brazil end up. Indonesia, you can take -- certainly deforestation across that portion of the world where you have 4 percent of the emissions.

But notice since the year 2000m 17 of the top 18 warmest years on record have all occurred since the year 2000. In fact, the warmest seven years on record, Michael, have occurred all in the past seven years. So all these becoming numbers that we're almost getting used to here because of the ferocity of these heat waves, the floods, the record events that are taking place left and right.

Of course, you notice the numbers, we talked about that numbers thing below 1.5. We're at 1.16 right now with the dramatic increase from the 2010s to the 2020. So that's where we are right now. And the concern here is are we going to have enough time to slow this down before it gets out of control?

HOLMES: Yes, yes, running out of time if we haven't already. Pedram Javaheri, thanks so much. We can take a quick break. When we come back, Taiwan's Foreign Minister speaks to CNN what he makes of the threat posed by China's military as it launches war games near Taiwan.

Also still to come. Colombia's new president has an ambitious agenda to transform the country. And look at the challenges facing Gustavo Petro, after the break.



HOLMES: And welcome back, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

We are tracking developments in the western pacific where Chinese military drills have continued for a fifth date near Taiwan. Beijing began the drills on Thursday after promising Taipei would pay a price for hosting U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She made that visit despite warnings from mainland China which considers the self governing island part of its territory.

Taiwan's foreign minister says he's not concerned, but he is -- he is concerned, but he is not afraid. He spoke to our Will Ripley a short time ago.


JOSEPH WU, TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTER: China has always been attacking in Taiwan for years and it's getting more serious in the last few years. And it's always been that way whether Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan or not. The Chinese military threats against Taiwan has always been there and that is the fact that we need to deal with.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Has Taiwan's democratic system ever been in more danger than it is today?

WU: I can tell you that Taiwan is more resilient than before. Look at Taiwan these days. China is trying to impose trade sanctions against Taiwan, trying to attack Taiwan from a military or non military aspect. But life goes on here in Taiwan. And Taiwan shows it's resilience.

RIPLEY: Should people in Taiwan be more worried than they are about China?

WU: Well, what I can say is that the people here in Taiwan may worry. If you ask me, I worry a little bit.

RIPLEY: What do you worry about?

WU: I worry that China may really launch a war against Taiwan. But what it is doing right now is trying to scare us and the best way to deal with it, show to China that we are not scared.


HOLMES: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Blake Essig in Taipei for us. I guess Blake, just when we thought these drills were winding down, they continue on. What are you learning?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look Michael, even though China's live fire military exercises were supposed to end yesterday, we just learned within about the last hour or so that the People's Liberation Army continues to conduct drills in the air and at sea around Taiwan according to a video posted on social media by China's Eastern Theater Command. Today's drills are focused on anti submarine warfare and more naval action.

Now during the first four days of military exercises, Taiwan's defense ministry described what they saw as a simulated attack against the mainland of Taiwan and Taiwan's naval vessels.

The ministry says -- the ministry of defense says that China engaged in cyberattacks, assembled a large number of foreign fighter -- excuse me, a fighter jets, as well as warships on a daily basis around Taiwan with many entering Taiwan's air defense identification zone and some even crossing the Taiwan Strait median line.

Beijing also launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles, some of them flew over Taiwan for the first time ever. And five of those missiles actually landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

But according to military experts, perhaps the key takeaway from what we saw over the past several days is that China was able to demonstrate that a blockade of Taiwan doesn't require constant naval presence offshore, but rather shipping and air traffic can be blocked as a result of just simply the threat of missiles.


ESSIG: And speaking with CNN earlier today, CNN's Will Ripley -- Taiwan foreign minister said that China is determined to expand its territory and influence in this case using Pelosi's visit as an excuse to act aggressively towards Taiwan. He went on to say that despite the constant threats from China, the people here in Taiwan's democracy continue to show strength.

And I can tell you Michael, that that strength of the Taiwanese people has been on display since these drill started several days ago. The reality here is that life has not stopped. Cars are on the road. People outside going for runs. The shopping districts have been busy. And all weekend long lines outside of restaurants.

It is almost as if the people here are unfazed by the constant military threats from China. And it's something that they have lived with for about the past seven decades.

So even though the international community are really ringing the alarm bells, people here just do not seem overly concerned about a potential attack from China, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Blake, good to have you there. Blake Essig in Taipei for us.

Turning now to Colombia where the country witnessed an historic moment on Sunday, Gustavo Petro was officially sworn in before cheering supporters in the nation's capital, making him the country's first leftist president.

In another history making achievement, his running mate Francia Marquez became the first Afro-Colombian to hold executive power.

People in Bogota spoke to CNN about their hopes for the new administration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is hoping that this will bring real change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personal freedom must of all. Freedom for women, for abortion, for diversity, and inclusivity. This is what I hope for from the government. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot to think about when it comes to

pensions, about the health care system, a comprehensive drug policy, a strong immigration policy. I think the expectations in general are quite high.


HOLMES: Mr. Petro won the election in June on an ambitious agenda to tackle Colombia's social and economic inequality. Now in office, the leftist president is aiming to revitalize the country and put a stop to rising violence.

Stefano Pozzebon has more from Bogota.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: The swearing ceremony on Sunday was delayed several minutes because the new president, Gustavo Petro, had demanded that the sword of South America's independence hero Simon Bolivar was brought to him on stage, to signify a new beginning for his country. A sign that things might be different from now on.

Gustavo Petro says he is on a mission to transform Colombia.

GUSTAVO PETRO, PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA (through translator): Today starts our second opportunity, it is time for change.

POZZEBON: The new president will be tackling tough challenges. Six years after a historic treaty promised to bring peace to this country, its implementation has been elusive and the security situation is deteriorating.

Hundreds of social leaders have been assassinated, some of them former fighters who abandoned arms struggles as parts of their treaty like the husband of Luz Marina Giraldo. A former guerilla who fell in the jungle with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC. She is now a politician part of the political party the rebels founded after putting down their weapons.

She urges the new president, himself a former rebel, to do more to reduce political violence, and protect former fighters.

LUZ MARINA GIRALDO: I have been in two campaigns, the first one in 2019, they killed my husband. Now, and this is the first time I'm saying it. My brother has disappeared. He vanished in February, a few weeks before the election. Until this date, we know nothing of him.

POZZEBON: Giraldo says the attacks come from criminal groups who oppose the peace deal and intend to scare her way from political activity.

Last year, the Colombian army arrested a rebel who reneged the agreement and returned to arms struggle, accusing him of being the mastermind behind the plot to kill Giraldo's husband.

To tackle security, Petro has appointed a civilian anti-corruption lawyer as defense minister. But the new president has said that halting the war on drugs is key to ending the violence.

Colombia as one of the largest producers of narcotics in the world, and for 30 years has waged a brutal war against the cartels. A campaign financed in part by the United States to little effect.

On Friday, a bill was presented to congress to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill supporters say it is a possible new step towards ending the war on drugs.

GUSTAVO BOLIVAR, COLOMBIAN SENATOR: Prohibitionism has been a resounding defeat. There are more drugs around now than when Pablo Escobar was alive.


BOLIVAR: More consumers, more production, despite thousands of deaths. The only way to guarantee peace to this country is regulation, not just of marijuana, but of all drugs.

POZZEBON: To regulate the consumption of hard drugs like cocaine, Colombia would have to renegotiate international treaties, but for a country that is constantly associated with narcotics, some experts say even legalizing marijuana could be a first move in changing Colombia's image.

LUIS MERCHAN, CEO, FLORA GROWTH: I have been in business for a number of decades now and you know, when somebody learns that I'm from Colombia, you always get -- that look, about the war on drugs. For that to turn into actually a source of pride, yes, I want to go to Colombia because I want to experience the plants there.

POZZEBON: The economy and mounting inflation represents another test for the new president. Gustavo Petro is asking his fellow Colombians to be patient before his reforms come into effect. But he is adamant that in four years time, it will be a new Colombia.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon -- Bogota.


HOLMES: Crowds took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Sunday demanding action from the government on soaring inflation, crippling debt, poverty, and the plunging value of the Argentine peso.

Demonstrators carrying flags and banners joined the peaceful march with some stopping at a church to pray to the Catholic patron saint of work and bread. Demonstrators made what seemed like simple requests.


MARTA RAMIREZ, DEVOTEE OF SAINT CAYETANO (through translator): We always ask for the country to be better off, for the children to have enough to eat, that we should be a little better off, we ask the president for that but he doesn't listen to us. I hope his heart will open one day, and he will help the children and the elderly.


HOLMES: Argentina's inflation is nothing new, but instability has worsened under a revolving door of economic ministers serving current president Alberto Fernandez. The country's latest, so-called super minister, Sergio Massa spoke directly to public concerns at his inauguration last week, outlining a new economic plan which starts with tackling rising inflation.

Police in the U.S. state of New Mexico are asking for the public's help as they investigate the fatal shootings of four Muslim men. More on these cases and the fear they are triggering coming up.

Also, hundreds of migrants rescued off the coast of Florida this weekend. That story and much more after the break.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Albuquerque, New Mexico is on edge after the recent killings of four Muslim men across the city. Police say the murders may be linked. Officials are increasing police presence at mosques and they're calling on the public to help locate a vehicle of interest.


HOLMES: CNN's Camila Bernal has the details.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities now have a very strong lead. They say they're looking for a specific car, a dark silver sedan, four doors, tinted windows. They believe it could be a Volkswagen, either Jetta or Passat.

And they're asking the public for help in finding this car, or the person that was driving or owns this car because what authorities are trying to do is connect the dots between these four different cases.

They say there are some similarities in terms of where these men were killed and how they were killed. Authorities saying at least three of them were ambushed and then shot dead.

We'll start with the latest incident. We know Naeem Hussain was a Muslim man who was killed. He was from South Asia and that happened late Friday night, just before midnight.

We also know Muhammad Afzaal Hussain (ph), 27 years old, from Pakistan, worked for the city of Espanola. The mayor there describing him as a brilliant public servant. He said he was softspoken and kind and quick to laugh. He was killed on August 1st in southeast Albuquerque.

But so was Aftab Hussein. He was also killed in the same area, 41 years old, from Pakistan. He went to the same mosque, but he was killed on July 26th. And now authorities are also going back to November of 2021 to try to figure out if the killing of Mohammad Ahmadi is also related because he's also a Muslim man from Afghanistan. He was killed outside of the business that he ran with his brother.

The governor of New Mexico saying that there will be justice. Here is what she said.

GOV. MICHELLE LUHAN GRISHAM (D-NM): I'm incredibly angry about the situation. Every New Mexican should stand up and reject this kind of hatred. It has no place in the city and it has no place in our state.

BERNAL: And the mayor of Albuquerque also saying that his community is traumatized, explaining how there are parents who are afraid to take their children to school, members of the community who are scared to go out to the grocery store or to get a meal. They are providing services, but really what their promising is to find the person responsible.

Camila Bernal, CNN -- Los Angeles.


HOLMES: U.S. Customs and Border patrol says hundreds of Haitian and Cuban migrants are in custody after landing on or near Florida's coast this weekend.

CNN's Carlos Suarez has more from Miami.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to border patrol, over a dozen different boats have been stopped off the Florida Keys since Friday.

Yesterday, a sailboat carrying 330 Haitian migrants was stopped off of Key Largo. Video recorded by the Coast Guard captured the scene there. We're told that 113 people had to be rescued after they jumped ship into the ocean. The remaining group was transferred onto a coast guard cutter and at least two people were taken at the hospital to be treated for dehydration.

WALTNER N. SLOSAR, CHIEF PATROL AGENT, U.S. BORDER PATROL: They're in custody. They were on board the vessel over my left shoulder. We are working to keep them safe, clean, fed, and healthy, and identify exactly who they are, what they may or may not have brought with them to the country.

This is an ongoing investigation, and we're trying to identify the smugglers who crammed these people onto that vessel.

SUAREZ: It's unclear just how many days the group was at sea. Most of them will most likely be returned to Haiti. The Coast Guard also announced that they have intercepted and taken into custody 150 Cuban migrants over the same time period since Friday.

Carlos Suarez, CNN -- Miami.

HOLMES: Now, in Rome pedestrians where surprised by a new addition to a popular walkway. A statue of a sleeping refugee has been set up in the middle of a bridge linking the Italian capital and Vatican City.

Onlookers stop to admire the sculpture, took pictures with them even. The statue revenue of a hot button issue of a hot button topic in Italy. Immigration is the key issue in the country's upcoming snap election in September.

Data from Italy's interior ministry says more than 42,000 migrants have landed in Italy this year, compared to more than 30,000 last year.

Still to come, health officials fear Russia's war on Ukraine will have lasting psychological effects on the civilians. I speak with the psychologist about how the groundwork is being laid now to help soften the blow.



HOLMES: It has been nearly 6 months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and in that not time, the country has been radically changed. Buildings, infrastructure, in some cases entire towns completely wiped out. The U.N. says more than 6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the war began, millions more internally displaced. And more than 5,300 civilians have been killed in the fighting.

Now, Ukrainian health officials fear another crisis is looming. The long term mental health impact of this war. Not just on soldiers, but the many innocent men, women, and children caught up in this conflict.

And the big concern becomes how to provide care for all of those suffering from mental health disorders.

Joining me now is Camilo Garcia, a psychologist with Medecins Sans Frontiers, also known as Doctors Without Borders. It's treat to have you with us. It's a very important issue.

We expect soldiers and journalists and so on to be traumatized by war, but for ordinary civilians caught in the middle, it is not what they signed up for. What are the impacts on those people?

CAMILO GARCIA, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: Yes. Well, thank you for the interest on the subject. And yes, definitely, civilians are the ones struggling as well with anxiety problems, with acute stress, with overwhelming feelings, with uncertainty of what will happen with their properties, with the country, et cetera.

So yes, for the civilians, it has been a constant struggle and an ongoing struggle still.

HOLMES: Yes. Ukraine's health ministry estimates that 15 million people, that's nearly a third of the population, are likely to require mental health care.

Just how widespread is the problem in Ukraine? That's a lot of people.

GARCIA: Yes. And I would say that it's a little bit beyond that, as we have all been impacted outside of the country. Inside of the country, I would say, every single person has been impacted by this and has mental health needs somehow.

Definitely, the more vulnerable people, the ones that have decided to stay in these areas, people with disabilities, people with economic constraints to move.

So at some point, everyone's has been impacted, but the bigger impact is for the more vulnerable ones.




HOLMES: Sorry. How do you -- I'm curious. With those numbers, how do you even begin to help people caught in the middle who suffered that loss who've seen and experienced unspeakable things? In a clinical science, where do you start?

GARCIA: Well, we start by being with them at the beginning. You know, like just offering face to face consultations, listening to them, validating them. And definitely, showing that these mental health work is relevant, it's imp.

Culturally, there's a way to cope with problems which is basically swallowing your feelings, not being able to speak about your problems. So, definitely, these face to face approaches have been really relevant, and definitely all the other help like hotlines, like mobile clinics in general, always help for the people to be able to reach the service, and to see the importance and the relevance of taking care now of their mental health. Not just for the ongoing stressors, but also for what might develop in the coming months.


HOLMES: That was going to be my next question, actually. I mean, you know, when this war ends, the mental health impacts do not necessarily end, right? What sort of resources are needed going forward?

GARCIA: Well, we are expecting that our mental health needs might develop into depression, into anxiety disorders, into post traumatic stress disorder.

These will definitely impact on the life of every single person of all ages if these needs are not addressed now and within the continuance of the conflict.

So yes, we are expecting that it could develop into worse conditions. That's why we have to act now, to prevent that these problems develop into worse. And definitely investing and feeding some sort of hope, resilience, and empowerment for the people to be able to continue and rebuild, somehow.

HOLMES: And another important issue, and we actually discussed this on the program a couple of weeks ago. And Ukraine, often, the mental health professionals themselves are suffering trauma. Because they lived there amongst it.

How difficult is it to treat patients when the person doing the treating is themselves traumatized by these?

GARCIA: As similar as many Ukrainians have been impacted and traumatized there's a lot of people also showing big resilience. And I can be not more than proud of the team that we work with, because yes, in Kharkiv especially here where we are, we're receiving shellings every day.

And we are sending we are going with our teams to these Kharkiv villages to work with how to stay safe, how to stay healthy, to be able to cope with this, how to support the decision of the people who decide to stay in a healthy way, but at the same time but as the same time they come back home, and they experienced the same.

I could say also that, at least for the psychological team, it's also, like you work for someone else, and the same time, you work for yourself. So that has an impact. But we have a great team also of doctors, admins, logisticians, that have the same, and we are trying also to support them to provide them with self care and basically to motivate their resilience and energy to continue.

HOLMES: Well, you're doing great work and important work. And I can only imagine, you what you're having -- what the stories you are hearing.

Camilo Garcia in Kharkiv in Ukraine, appreciate it. Thank you so much.

GARCIA: Thank you, too.

HOLMES: And if you would like to help people in Ukraine, just go to Plenty of ways you'll find there that you can help.

Thanks for watching and spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes.

CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Rosemary Church.