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Afghans More Impoverished Than Ever Under Taliban; Save the Children: Situation Bleak for Youngest Afghans; Heat, Drought Creating Dangerous Conditions Across Europe; Challenging Conditions Hamper Efforts to Rescue Miners; Trump Apparently Shredded Documents, Tried to Flush Them; U.N. Raises the Alarm over Shelling of Zaporizhzhia Plant; Justice Department Moves to Unseal Warrant, Property Receipt; 2 Dozen Plus Killed in Anti-Government Demonstrations; Hong Kong Loses Record 113,000 Plus Residents in Past Year. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 12, 2022 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company. Coming up here on CNN Newsroom, new military strikes around Ukraine's nuclear power plant leading to blame games and dire warnings about a potential disaster.

One year since the Taliban takeover, we're getting troubling new insights about the struggles of children under Afghanistan's new leadership.

And European with yet another heat wave, fueling fires and fears about the growing and very real threat of climate change.

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

HOLMES: And we begin in Ukraine where the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has reached a grave hour that's according to the top U.N. nuclear official. The plant came under artillery fire for a second time in less than a week on Thursday, a plume of smoke visible from the town nearby. Ukraine's nuclear operator says some facilities were damaged, but radiation levels are still normal.

However, the attack on the plant raising alarms from Ukraine to the G7 and the United Nations. G7 Foreign Ministers demanding Russia immediately hand back full control to Ukraine. The Security Council holding an emergency meeting on Thursday, the U.N. Secretary General now calling for a de militarization of the plant which is occupied by Russia. The U.S. says it supports that idea.

Moscow and Kyiv still trading blame for the targeting of the plant. But the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog told the Security Council whoever did it is playing with fire.


RAFAEL GROSSI, IAEA DIRECTOR-GENERAL: The military actions that even the smallest potential jeopardize nuclear safety or nuclear security at such an installation must stop doing it. These actions will lead us to serious consequences.


HOLMES: And we can now show you satellite images of the aftermath of Tuesday's explosions that are Russian airbase in Crimea. It might have led to the biggest loss of Russian warplanes in a single day since World War Two. CNN's David McKenzie reports for us from Kyiv.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New satellite images reveal before and after perspectives of the devastating impact blasts deep inside Russian occupied Crimea. At least seven Russian warplanes appear destroyed. Russia blamed this, on detonated munitions, there is growing speculation that it was Ukraine, shattering the sense of safety at this popular destination for Russian tourists. Ukraine's Defense Ministry tapping into Bananarama for this acerbic message. But now new fears near the southern front. At least 10 artillery strikes in the zone of Europe's largest power plant just today says Ukraine's nuclear power company, the latest round of shelling. Russia blames Ukraine for threatening Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine blames Russia.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Russian occupation army is using this operation nuclear station for terror and provocations. Russia has turned the nuclear station into a battlefield.

MCKENZIEL: The attacks are close to six Soviet era nuclear reactors. The chairman of Energoatom says only one power source is left and damaged.

(On camera): And what is the consequences of that?

PETRO KOTIN, CHAIRMAN, ENERGOATOM: There could be a cloud, radioactive cloud and then all consensuses will depend on the weather actually, what is the event direction and where it will go and how strong is this event?

MCKENZIEL: If the power supply and the backup fails, he says Europe faces the specter of a Fukushima like disaster where the 2011 tsunami caused catastrophic reactor meltdowns. Since occupying the site in March, Russia has shown little regard for nuclear safety. This recent drone footage shows them hiding military assets right inside the site.

(On camera): The head of the Atomic Energy Agency warning the U.N. Security Council that the situation at that Zaporizhzhia nuclear site is deteriorating rapidly, it's of course very close to the front lines. They say that while there isn't the immediate danger of a fallout or a leak they say that could change at any moment. They want their inspectors to get inside. The U.S. government and others say that the Russian military, any military, in fact, needs to get out. David McKenzie, CNN Kyiv.



HOLMES: Now as David just mentioned, the U.N. is extremely worried about safety at that sprawling nuclear facility. At Thursday's emergency meeting of the Security Council, Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for the worst thing situation. Have a listen.


VASILY NEBENYA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): Mr. President, what has been taking place over the last few days at the power plant is the combination of the criminal actions of the Kyiv regime against nuclear infrastructure and the staff serving this facility which for months has gone without any international reaction.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, PERMANENT UKRAINIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO U.S.: Dear colleagues, none of us can stop the wind if it carries radiation. But together, we are capable of stopping a terrorist state. And the sooner we stop Russia, the sooner Europe and the world will be able to feel safe again.


HOLMES: The Zaporizhzhia power plant has been under Russian control since March. Although Ukrainian staff still work at the facility. And Ukraine says it has beaten back to Russian attempts to advance in the east. It says Russian troops took losses as they tried to push ahead on Thursday before being forced to retreat. Ukraine has recently ordered a mandatory evacuation of all civilians from the Donetsk region. Nic Robertson went to the city of Bakhmut and other areas within earshot of the Russian artillery to see how the evacuation is going.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Inside a sweltering train station, families wait for a journey to the unknown, a government offer to escape the war in eastern Ukraine. Artem (ph) is saying goodbye to his wife Sophia (ph) and son Philip (ph).

The situation is getting worse he says. Son is scared Sophia adds. Yesterday the shelling was so bad. We decided we just had to go. On the platform, the old and confused helped and heave the board. The free train ride westwards ramping up efforts to relocate civilians before winter.

Liudmyla (ph) leaving with her family. We don't want to go she says but the missiles are flying. I've had no salary for five months. I don't even know where we're going.

(On camera): Officials here are telling us there are far fewer people on the trains right now. Just a few months ago, they say there were hundreds of people crammed into these carriages. It's much MTNL.

(Voice-over): Hampering evacuation efforts some who left months ago are coming back.

I spent all my money on rent, Valentina (ph) says I'm broke. I have to come back even though we've been told there'll be no heating and no water here this winter.

OLEKSANDR HONCHARENKO, MAYOR OF KRAMATORSK, UKRAINE: Now we asking people to leave, the remaining people to leave as much as possible, the city.

ROBERTSON: The mayor of the region's biggest city Kramatorsk is struggling 65,000 civilians here he says even as soldiers dig new trenches, and rockets regularly impact.

HONCHARENKO: It's difficult to protect the cities by our army if we have a lot of citizen.

ROBERTSON: Even closer to the creeping Russian advanced in Bakhmut where Officials say seven civilians died in shelling Wednesday. There is resistance to leaving.

(On camera): The Russians are already on the edge of the city. If there was ever a moment for these people to leave, it will be now.

(Voice-over): I know the government wants us to leave, Sergiy (ph) says but I can't. I've got three houses who will look after them. His rig his basement to be a shelter.

(On camera): This is where they're living in here. And it's just dust dirt corridors.

(Voice-over): He isn't sure if the walls will hold a heavy blast, but says he's got a whistle if the worst happens.

In Ukraine's east, it's clear it will take more than an offer of a free train ride to get citizens to safety. Nic Robertson, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


HOLMES: A group of more than two dozen countries has committed some one and a half billion dollars in military aid for Ukraine. The pledges of cash weapons and training came during a donor's conference I'm in Copenhagen on Thursday.



MORTEN BODSKOV, DANISH DEFENSE MINISTER: Today, 26 countries as well as the European Union have met here Copenhagen, and have sent a clear signal. Ukraine's fight is our fight, we stand together, and we stand with Ukraine.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Britain says it will now train more than 10,000 Ukrainian forces than initially planned. The U.K. Defence Minister adding that Nordic countries including Sweden and Finland, are also sending extra troops and equipment to support the British efforts. McDonald says meanwhile, it will soon be open for business again in Ukraine, and a letter posted to the company's website. The fast food giant says it plans to reopen some restaurants in Kyiv, and Western Ukraine, all of this coming six months after closing their doors because of the Russian invasion. The war also prompted McDonald's to permanently close and then sell all of its Russian restaurants.

Turning now to the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president says he will not challenge a move by the Justice Department to unseal the search warrant and the list of items seized by FBI agents. Attorney General Merrick Garland making that surprise announcement on Thursday that he wanted that information made public. He also said he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant.

The Washington Post is citing anonymous sources who say FBI agents were looking for documents related to nuclear weapons. And the New York Times reports government officials were concerned that foreign adversaries could try to get access to classified materials stored at Trump's home. More now from CNN's Evan Perez.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to authorize the release of court documents that would, for the first time, shed light on what the FBI took during an hour's long search of Donald Trump's Palm Beach home. A decision could come as soon as Friday and the Attorney General Merrick Garland says that he personally approved the warrant, and that he's taking the extraordinary step to release the document. Because Trump himself made the FBI search public.

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.

PEREZ: The move comes as we've learned new details of the interactions between the Justice Department investigators and Trump lawyers at the center of this dispute over records that Trump took with him to his beach home at the end of his presidency, were concerns about possible exposure of some of the nation's most closely guarded national security secrets, some labeled as Special Access Programs. CNN has learned that investigators served a grand jury subpoena before a June meeting at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump property in Palm Beach, and they left with classified documents.

There was another subpoena seeking surveillance tapes from the property. Now, this tells us that despite the claims by Trump that he has cooperated all along. The Justice Department's interactions with his legal team had become more contentious well before the Monday search. Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: The de facto head of Samsung Electronics has been pardoned for his conviction on bribery and embezzlement charges back in 2017. Lee Jae-yong who holds the title Vice Chairman was paroled one year ago with the condition that he not worked for Samsung. Under the terms of the special presidential pardon, Lee will again be allowed to run his family's business.

Samsung is one of the country's largest corporations, and the Justice Minister said reinstating Lee to run the company was necessary to help revitalize the nation's post pandemic economy.

Well, it has been almost a full year now since the Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan. By most measures the country is in dreadful shape. When we come back, we'll speak with the head of Save the Children about what this means for the smallest and most vulnerable. We'll be right.



HOLMES: Welcome back, when China announced the end of military drills near Taiwan and vowed to "regularly conduct patrols in the area," and it seems those might already be underway. Taiwan's defense ministry says it spotted more than 20 Chinese war planes and six ships around the Taiwan Strait on Thursday. This latest move from Beijing comes more than a week after the U.S. House speaker's visit to the self- ruled Island. CNN's Selina Wang reports.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This show of force was made for TV, Chinese soldiers preparing for battled war planes flooding the skies, destroyers encircling the waters around Taiwan. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Taiwan for less than 24 hours. But Beijing's military drills in response are lasting for days.

CHENG LI, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Nancy Pelosi's visit actually, I see it as a gift to President Xi Jinping because he can use that to united people.

WANG: Before her visit, outrage was brewing in China over brutal COVID markdowns and economic devastation from Xi Jinping's zero COVID policy. Ever since news of Pelosi visit leaked propaganda has been in overdrive, captivating the nation. Some prominent hawkish voices even suggested China should shoot her plane down. The country rallying behind Beijing's view that Pelosi is visit is a direct challenge to China's sovereignty.

Even though the Communist Party has never ruled over Taiwan, people in China are taught from elementary school that Taiwan is part of the motherland and unification is only a matter of time, the night of Pelosi's visit millions of people in China tracked her flight in real time, waiting to see if the military would intervene when she landed safely. The most hardcore patriots were disappointed some even breaking into tears that state media had lied to them about the unprecedented measures Beijing would take to stop her.

But the military drills that followed proved to be more provocative than before shooting rockets towards the Taiwan Strait. Even over the island for the first time, Chinese war planes flew ever closer to Taiwan, and in greater numbers, this time, encircling the island in a practice blockade. And well the mood in China quickly changed. Some even started thinking Pelosi on China's Twitter like platform Weibo. One wrote, the unification of our motherland will soon be realized, thanks Pelosi for your helping hand.

MICHAEL RASKA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY: It provided a lot more benefit for the Chinese because they use it as an opportunity again to demonstrate power, the military power, it provided political ammunition that Xi Jinping needs to solidify his position ahead of the party congress.

WANG: Xi Jinping may have turned this crisis into his advantage at home but abroad, he's further antagonize the U.S. and increase Taiwan's resentment towards the mainland. Selina Wang, CNN Beijing.


HOLMES: More than two dozen people have been killed in Sierra Leone in anti-government protests held around the country. Both civilians and police among the dead. Official say many others were injured. CNN's Stephanie Busari with the details.


STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN DIGITAL SUPERVISING EDITOR, AFRICA: Calm has been restored to the street Sierra Leone after hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Wednesday, protesting inflation and the rising cost of living in a West African country.


A nationwide curfew was imposed and the country is now facing the high cost of the violence. Eight police officers, six men and two women were killed. The country's youth minister tells CNN Thursday. While hospital sources told Reuters that at least 21 civilians were killed in different locations in the country. Graphic images and video showing seriously injured protesters and some members of the Security Forces surfaced on social media. Security forces were also seen firing guns at citizens.

President Julius Maada Bio who was out of the country when the protests happen, said in a tweet, Wednesday's events would be fully investigated. Youth Minister Mohamed Bangura tells CNN arrest had been made and accused the main opposition party of orchestrating the protests, which he called an act of terrorism.

The opposition or People's Congress released a statement condemning the violence and calling on all citizens to respect the rule of law. And the mayor of Freetown, a leading opposition politician pleaded for an end to the violence and call for peace. The protests are unusual in Sierra Leon, where more than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. A country with a tragic history, including an 11 year civil war, and a deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014. Stephanie Busari, CNN.


HOLMES: You're watching CNN Newsroom, plenty more to come after the break.


HOLMES: You're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Michael Holmes. Now, one of the world's financial hubs is dealing with its steepest drop in population in more than 60 years. Over the past year, more than 113,000 residents left Hong Kong and they have not come back. Let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout, who is still in Hong Kong.

And this new census data, a pretty stark picture of Hong Kong, isn't it?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Hong Kong is reporting a record drop in population according to this new census data just out over the past 12 months or so some 113,000 residents have left the city that represents a population decline of about 1.6%. This is the second year in a row that the population has declined and if you bring up the chart you'll look at just how historic it is. This is the biggest population drop on record since at least 1961.


Earlier I talked to a migration expert at the University of Hong Kong, she called the Exodus, "Historic." Listen to this.


LUCY JORDON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The census gives us an early indication of this, you know that we are witnessing a historic departure, the result of the social unrest and the social movements here in Hong Kong and then followed by COVID, you know, as it spread across the globe. And of course, we still sit here in the present moment, the only part of the world China and Hong Kong, you know, as a part of China, that is still living under, you know, the kinds of restrictions for entry, which of course, he's going to bar people from coming back.


LU STOUT: Experts say Hong Kong's changing political landscape, as well as it's very tough anti-pandemic measures have prompted many people here to leave the territory. In fact, just over what 7 million people here in Hong Kong have had to endure, some of the world's toughest, zero COVID anti-pandemic measures, which is effectively isolated. This one's thriving international business, aviation and logistics hub. It was just a few months ago, we were at the Hong Kong International Airport, we witness scenes of Hong Kongers leaving in quite large numbers. I want you to listen to just a couple of them what they said about why they were leaving.


KEN, ENTREPRENEUR: I think Hong Kong used to be one of the best place to be in every single aspect, in general. And now it's losing a lot of the edge of this authentication, seems like there's no way going back.

EDDIE, NURSE: If we don't leave nothing will change. You cannot change the government.


LU STOUT: Now, Hong Kong, the government here has announced new changes to its pandemic policy. In fact, it was this week, it cut its mandatory hotel quarantine stay from seven days for incoming travelers, just three days. And that's why I'm here at home. I managed to get out of mandatory hotel quarantine early because of these new relaxed restrictions. But I have to stay at home for a few days under what's being called as home medical surveillance and officials here they really hope that these changes will entice people to travel again for business to come back and flow back into the territory. But it really remains to be seen what the city's vital force can return. Back to you, Michael.

HOLMES: Yeah. Speaking of which, there's new data on Hong Kong's economic growth as well. What is that telling us?

LU STOUT: Yes, what we've seen is Hong Kong has slipped into what's called a technical recession, two quarters in a row it experience and posted its economy contracting, it's due to a number of factors weakening global demand, as well as inflation. It also doesn't help that the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar. But many point out that the fate of Hong Kong could change if Hong Kong reopens, if Hong Kong reopens not just to the rest of the world, but even to its neighbor north and the big boss, Mainland China. Back to you.

HOLMES: All right, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Yeah. Last time I saw you on social media, you're in the hotel. Nice to see you at home. I'm glad you got out. It was going to be a long week for you. Thanks, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Thank you.

HOLMES: All right now Monday, marking one year since the Taliban re- took control of Afghanistan after 20 years of war. Now, what followed was a mad dash to evacuate U.S. and allied troops, foreign civilians and 1000s of Afghans who had worked for the U.S. and its allies.

Now, by the time the airlift ended two weeks later, only a small fraction of the Afghans had made it out. Most of them are still there waiting. 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing at the airport before the withdrawal was over. Well, today the guns mostly silent, thankfully, but the country more impoverished than ever. Afghan women have been all that erased from public life under the Taliban. Food has become a luxury many simply cannot afford and huge percentages of Afghan children no longer attend school, CNN's Clarissa Ward returned to Kabul and has our report.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you can probably see behind me we're at a market. There is a sense of normalcy on the streets of the city. There is not the same sort of or anything approaching the levels of chaos and violence that we saw playing out during those heart wrenching scenes last year.

But the trial -- the change has also brought about a real decrease in the standard of living here and a lot of people are now fighting to put food on the table. The U.N. says that nearly half the country is in a state of acute hunger. The International Rescue Committee says by the second half of this year, they will live -- well, we are now in that second half of this year, more than 90% of people will be living below the poverty line.


And that is for a whole plethora of reasons. Partly because of sanctions and the freezing of Afghanistan's federal reserves after the Taliban took power, partly because of the food crisis, partly because of inflation.

But what you see when you go around and I just want to show you a little bit, seeing as we are here in this market, you could see there is food. There is food that you can buy. The market stalls are full but the conversations that we have been having with vendors make it clear that for the vast majority of people it has become unaffordable, this food.

So flour I was told by these vendors has doubled in price. Cooking oil, which is obviously one of the basic necessities has more than doubled in price.

And that's not even before you start talking about the very real changes and the impacts that they have had as the Taliban has gradually become firmer in implementing its vision or version of sharia law.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Clarissa Ward there in Kabul for us.

Now, international aid agencies say the situation right now is bleak for Afghan children, especially girls, many struggling with malnourishment.

The organization Save The Children just completed an in-depth survey of Afghan children and found girls were twice as likely to go to bed hungry as boys. Nearly half of school age girls are not attending school and an alarming number of both boys and girls are showing signs of depression. Let's talk about this. Christopher Nyamandi is the country director for Save The Children in Afghanistan. He joins me now live from Kabul. It is good to see you.

This assessment was conducted in June, so this is recent data. What was most concerning to you?

CHRISTOPHER NYAMANDI, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN-AFGHANISTAN: Thank you for having me. I think the situation here has become more difficult. We have been talking to children. We have been talking to households. Only 3 percent of the households that we spoke to told us that they are able to meet their basic needs.

Families are hungry, they are surviving on a single meal a day, usually bread and tea. Children are going to bed hungry. We Save the Children together with other organizations are doing all we can to provide the assistance that is needed here. But there are just too many people who need assistance.

HOLMES: Yes. And in fact, there was a good summary that you had on the Web site, and I want to read something that you had said on the Web site. It says, quote, "Life is dire for children in Afghanistan, one year since the Taliban took control. Children are going to bed hungry night after night. They are exhausted and wasting away, unable to play and study like they used to. They are spending their days toiling in brick factories, collecting rubbish and cleaning homes instead of going to school. Girls are bearing the brunt of the deteriorating situation."

That is a very depressing thing to read there in words. How severe is the impact on, not just their lives right now, but their futures?

NYAMANDI: So this is families that are having to make difficult choices including whether they should ask their children to work and those children and up being involved in harmful forms of labor and they're at risk of being trafficked.

We see an explosion of the number of children who are on the streets begging. We know that sometimes families and caregivers are asking children to do so just to fend for themselves.

We have been talking to girls who also told us that they have been -- they see their sisters being married off, some of them have been asked to consider getting married, which is horrific for children. No child should have to live under these circumstances.

HOLMES: Very, very sad. And something else that stood out to me in the report is not just the day-to-day, but this situation is taking such a toll on girls in particular, mental and I think it was psychosocial well-being, according to the report.

Using interviews with caregivers, by the way, 26 percent of girls showing signs of depression compared with 16 percent of boys. 27 percent of girls showing signs of anxiety compared with 18 percent of boys. How worrying is that mental health aspect? And particularly long term? NYAMANDI: This is really worrying because we know that mental health

problems today in children will result in long term impacts.


NYAMANDI: We know that a child who has been exposed to this level of anxiety and depression who struggle to live, struggle to have a productive life and future, if drugs become available, they're likely going to (INAUDIBLE) towards drugs.

It really is -- unless we address this issue today, this is going to be long term impact for Afghan children.

HOLMES: And to that point you have also said the solution to these crises and more than one cannot be found in Afghanistan alone.

I mean you said, quote, "The solution lies in the corridors of power and in the offices of our global political leaders."

What do those leaders need to do to mitigate what is going on?

NYAMANDI: So this is an urgent humanitarian situation. Children right now are dying because of malnutrition. Over 4 million children in Afghanistan are malnourished.

So what we are calling for is for the donors to immediately prioritize sending humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Look, the world can multitask. We know there are other crises that are happening right now -- Ukraine, the Horn of Africa crisis. But Afghanistan still has to be on the top of the minds of global leaders.

Ultimately, Michael, this is an economic crisis that is a result of the Taliban takeover and the withdrawal of funding and assistance to Afghanistan. And we are (INAUDIBLE) on donors to restore those lines of credit and unfreeze funds so that the economy in Afghanistan can surge and save lives.

HOLMES: Christopher Nyamandi in Kabul, appreciate your time and appreciate the work that you and Save the Children are doing there. Thank you.

NYAMANDI: Thank you so much for having me.

HOLMES: Well Europe battling another severe heat wave that is triggering wildfires and drought right across the continent. Coming up, we'll show you the devastation that the extreme weather is bringing.

We'll be right back.


HOLMES: Europe's long hot summer set to get even worse. Some regions haven't seen rain for years, and extreme drought and extreme heat are causing extreme hardships. In Italy alone, farmers in some places have lost 80 percent of their crops, totaling billions of euros this year and other parts of the continent aren't faring much better.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz with more.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soaring temperatures and few signs of rain, millions across Europe are experiencing some of the hottest and driest climate conditions since record keeping began creating a tinderbox.

More than 600,000 hectares across Europe have burned in wildfires already this summer. French authorities report numerous outbreaks. Emergency services in southwest France have gone door to door, urging more than 6,000 residents to evacuate.


MARTIN GUESPERA, SECURITY OFFICIAL (through translator): The fire is still progressing. It caught us by surprise with its direction, it created its own wind, its own story, its own movement.

ABDELAZIZ: France has experienced its driest July since 1959. And like much of Europe, is braced for another heat wave over the coming days. Large parts of England are under amber warnings, where homes are typically ill-equipped to deal with extreme temperatures, straining a house service already feeling the heat.

Wildfires continue to burn in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Portugal, where for five days, a fire has ripped through the heart of one of the country's national parks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really breaks my heart. Everything has burned, everything is ruined. There is nothing green left. It will take many years to regenerate. And I won't be around to see it.

ABDELAZIZ: These images in central Spain highlight the severity of the drought. The reservoir stands nearly empty. Locals fear for the future of their economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been several years without rain, and we're hitting rock-bottom. If it doesn't rain, unless they find some alternative water supply, the future is very, very dark.

ABDELAZIZ: According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change, temperatures will rise on all European areas at a rate exceeding the global average and are projected to keep rising.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN -- London.


HOLMES: For more on the extreme weather across Europe I'm joined now by CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

Karen, what are you seeing, there's still an awful lot of red and orange on that map. KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: There sure is, and just about everybody across Europe is in some sort of dire need for precipitation. Just about everybody under some sort of drought alert.

But these are some of the temperatures that we've seen. The temperature doesn't really tell the whole story because it has been so exceptionally dry with these multiple heat waves. And London has soared to 33 degrees.

This is about the fourth heat wave we have seen across western sections of Europe. But it spreads all the way into France and then across the Iberian Peninsula so devastated by a number of these fires. One in the region of Gironde and that is the capital of that region in France is Bordeaux. And yes the same for the French wine there, the grapes.

There's a ridge of high pressure here. And due to that ridge it doesn't really allow much to circulate in the lower levels of the atmosphere. But it's going to be breaking down and it's going to be shifting. This is going to allow things to cool off rather dramatically. That's good but you could see just how small these percentages are for the households, the percentage of households that have air conditioning compared to the United States and Japan where more than 85 percent of the household air conditioning.

All right. For Paris, the temperature over the next several days will be in the mid 30s. Insufferable, it's terrible and quite painful for humans, for pets, for all aspects of life.

But then we do start to see some piece of good news on the horizon. As we go through the work week, those temperatures are going to be just about near normal. There is an amber alert for the southern portion of the United Kingdom. This means if you are prone to heat illnesses, suffer respiratory problems.

This is going to be especially problematic. These temperatures are going to be climbing into the 30s. Now that too will be mitigated somewhat as we go into the next five days.

And Michael, looks like those temperatures are going to be actually below normal as we go into the next five to seven days. One good thing to look forward to there.

HOLMES: Well, Karen, good to have you on top of it. Karen Maginnis there with the latest for us.

Now, Bob Ward is a policy and communications director for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. He joins me now from London which is not air conditioned.

I'm just curious, when you look at what's happening in Europe, the heat, the drought, the fires, and on and on, while it's shocking given the trajectory of climate change, is it surprising to you that this is happening?

BOB WARD, POLICY/COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Well it's not surprising the direction. But I think we have seen the pace has been quicker than we'd expected.

The period of heat waves (INAUDIBLE) we're experiencing now are not severe as they were last month when we saw temperatures well over 40 in parts of Europe and that's all happening ahead of schedule.

So it's a warning that the impact to climate change are not going to be nice and easy for us to adjust). There are going to be nasty shocks in the system and the combination with drought means that we're in a very dire situation now across much of Europe.


HOLMES: Yes. And to that point, two years ago, the weather office where you are around the U.K., that published researched included the chance of the U.K. exceeding 40 degrees Celsius was extremely low. Well, it's already happened. And you know, if the world is seeing these impacts of 1.1 degrees of warming, what would you expect to see at 1.5 or even higher? Two degrees?

WARD: Well clearly, this I'm afraid is all going to get worse until the world reduces its emissions of greenhouse gases to zero.

The earliest that's being discussed is 2050. That means another three decades of it getting worse all on the world. And we're going to have to do better coping with these conditions although it's going to be very, very difficult. Massive impact on health. Massive impact on the economy.

HOLMES: Yes. Good point. I mean when we're talking about impacts, do you think a lot of those impacts are here to stay? And what has to happen in terms of adapting to a new normal? I mean what's often called I think future proofing infrastructure and the like.

WARD: Yes. Let's be clear. This is the best it's going to be for the next 20 years. It's just going to get worse. We're going to need to recognize that.

So you'll start seeing temperatures into the 40s more regularly across Europe. At those temperatures, it's not just the vulnerable who will suffer health impacts. It will be dangerous for a lot of healthy people who will probably have to start thinking about limiting the work of people who work outside, construction workers and farmers.

We're going to have to adjust our buildings which regularly overheat, air conditioning is very expensive to install and run. And you know, when offices overheat people are not protected.

So these are massive impacts. And the infrastructure fell, you know, the U.K. train system can't cope with it.

All of these are massive costs that we are absorbing because we decided we couldn't afford to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. HOLMES: Yes. I always marvel where the experts like you have been

warning this for decades. And were shouting into the winds for much of that time. Is there enough urgency at the moment on preparing for the inevitable?

WARD: Well, for the next 30 years, it's going to get worse. We're going to have to adapt. If we don't adapt we'll just suffer and the impacts and the cost will rise. Beyond that we must see greater urgency in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

There are some in Europe who want to slow down the pace at which we cut down emissions unbelievably. All that will do is increase the cost, increase the suffering. We have to speed everything up around the world because otherwise we will find late in the century we will be dealing with catastrophic impacts.

You won't see nothing yet compared with what climate change would look like later in the century.

HOLMES: Yes, sobering and it's really sobering when you say like this is as good as it's going to get for the next 30 years unless we turn it around.

I mean we reported earlier in Italy the Farmers Association saying farmers in some parts of the country have lost up to 80 percent of their harvest this year because of the weather.

But not just in Europe but globally, what are the risks of climate- caused food shortages. This is a national security issue for a lot of countries.

WARD: Yes, indeed. So we know that we have a globally connected food supply system. We have lots of political development such as the Russia invasion of Ukraine which has restricted to suppliers of grain.

And if you add on top of that some extreme weather events to start destroying crops or lowering yields, then you end up with food shortages around the world. And we know that when you get food shortages, you increase the risk of conflict and war.

And on top of that many parts of the world are going to have more which water supplies. So all of this is grim, a grim set of circumstance. And nobody will be able to insulate themselves from the impact. These impacts are happening around the world. The consequences are going to be felt by everyone.

HOLMES: Eloquently put. And yes, if only experts were listened to in I don't know, 90s, 70s.

Bob Ward, thanks so much, really appreciate it.

WARD: Thank you.

HOLMES: Quick break here on the program. When we come back debris and muddy water are slowing efforts to rescue miners trapped underground in Mexico. But authorities say they hope to get them out in the hours ahead. We'll have the latest when we come back.



HOLMES: A day at the amusement park turned into a bit of a nightmare for dozens of people in Germany. At least 31 people were injured in a rollercoaster accident. Some of them taken to the hospital. Police say one person suffered severe but not life-threatening injuries.

This happened at a Legoland theme park in southern Germany. On Saturday, a 57-year-old woman died when she fell out of a rollercoaster at a different theme park in Germany.

Ten miners trapped underground for more than a week will have to wait longer to be rescued. Mexican authorities say they made four attempts to reach the group on Thursday but difficult conditions inside the flooded coal mine have hampered those efforts.

CNN's Rafael Romo with the latest.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mexican officials had said, Wednesday, that they were only hours away from being able to enter the mine and rescue the miners. They said something similar Thursday but it seems like they have run into new challenges that have made it nearly impossible for rescuers to get access to the spot where they believe the miners may still be.

The main challenge continues to be the water that flooded multiple mine shafts last week on Wednesday. Just to give you an idea of how challenging flooding has been, Laura Velasquez, Mexico's national coordinator of (INAUDIBLE) protection has said Thursday morning that in the eight days since the collapse happened they have pumped our nearly 150,000 cubic meters of water.

That's enough water to fill up around 60 Olympic pools. At one point, the water was 34 meters deep when the rescue operation started only hours after the mine flooded and the walls collapsed. With 25 pumps running around the clock, they have been able to bring that level to less than nine meters.

Mexican defense minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said rescuers made four attempts to enter the mine on Wednesday but they found too much debris blocking the way inside.

The coal mine in the state of Coahuila suddenly flooded last Wednesday. This caused some of the walls to collapse, trapping the miners inside. And within the first 24 hours, rescuers were able to safely extract five miners. But there are ten others who have been trapped since. There has been no communication with them and their fate is unknown.

Nearly 700 members of Mexico's military police and other government agencies have been deployed to the site of the collapse to aid in the rescue efforts.

Mexico's attorney general's office issued a statement late Thursday night saying it has requested a judicial hearing with the purpose of filing charges against the owner of the mine accusing him of, quote, "illegal exploitation of a mine".

Rafael Romo, CNN -- Atlanta.


HOLMES: The "Washington Post" has some exclusive new reporting about the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. It is citing unnamed sources who say agents were looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump says he will not oppose a Justice Department motion to unseal the search warrant and the inventory of items taken from Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he personally approved the decision to get the warrant.

Meanwhile, more details are coming to light about the former president's reported habit of discarding documents, sometimes even flushing them down the toilet.

CNN's Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An order to turn over his tax records federal agents, collecting papers from his home, sitting for legal questioning with every answer documented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your message to your supporters, Mr. President?

FOREMAN: It has been a bad week for the former president in the eyes of longtime watchers, like Michael D'Antonio.


MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Donald Trump has always resisted accountability, and the main thing he has done over the years is refuse and stonewall all requests for documents and all requests for depositions.

FOREMAN: Insiders say Trump is not easy mail. He frequently rips up papers forcing staff to reassemble them with tape. Apparently, even flushing some pieces down the toilet.

Some of them may be public records, but Trump has a tendency to keep things private. When he met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in 2018, they chatted for two hours with only interpreters, no notes taken.

Then Trump created an uproar by brushing aside U.S. intelligence assessments Russia was meddling in U.S. elections.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.

FOREMAN: The Mueller report on possible Russian collusion revealed that Trump challenged his own attorneys for creating paper trails. "Why do you take notes", Trump reportedly said, lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes."

TRUMP: The collusion delusion is over.

FOREMAN: And when the report emerged with no charges, he tore that up to by utterly misrepresenting what it said.

TRUMP: It was a complete and total exoneration.

Maybe I'm going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate.

FOREMAN: And of course, there are his tax returns. He has teased voluntarily making them public for years, especially during his presidential bids. It has not happened yet.

TRUMP: But they are under audit, and when they are not, I will be proud to show them.

FOREMAN: That logic never held water, and an appeals court just this week ruled he had to release them to a congressional committee.

But for Trump, it all seems in accordance with the simple code.

D'ANTONIO: The first thing Donald Trump thinks about documents is to not have them.

FOREMAN: And yet for all of that the president is now caught in a storm of documents. Papers that are giving him all sorts of troubles.

Yes it has been a very bad week in the papers for the shredder-in- chief.

Tom Foreman, CNN -- Washington.


HOLMES: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM, spending part of your day with me.

I'm Michael Holmes.

The news continues on CNN with Kim Brunhuber after the break.