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A.G. Merrick Garland Gave Approval to FBI Search; U.N. Warns of Constant Shelling Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant; Only a Handful Ukrainians Wants to Evacuate; Poverty Getting Worse Under Taliban Rule; Wildfires Leaves Western Europe in Ashes; Fossil Fuels Damages the Arctic; Protesters Killed in Sierra Leone's Protest; Climate Change Wipes Beaches; Hongkongers Leaving in Droves; Mexican Miners Trapped for Days Now. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 12, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.
Ahead on CNN Newsroom, the U.S. attorney general is calling for parts of the warrant used to search Donald Trump's home to be made public. And now the former president is responding. What Trump is saying and reports of what might have been in those documents.
Concern is growing over renewed shelling near Europe's largest nuclear power. You'll hear what the U.N. nuclear watchdog is warning.
And it's truly been a long, hot summer for Europe. And the heat is once again triggering wildfires. We'll have a look at some of the devastation coming up.
UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.
BRUNHUBER: We could have a much better idea of what FBI agents took from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as soon as today. The former president says he won't challenge the Justice Department's motion to unseal the search warrant for the property. In fact, Trump says he wants the list of items taken made public immediately.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland made the surprise announcement that he was asking in court to unseal the warrant on Thursday. Meanwhile, 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.
We have 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 hours' 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: The prospect of nuclear weapons documents at Trump's home raises serious questions about the country's safety. So, we ask CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem to evaluate the risk. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Here's the range of possibilities that Donald Trump was in possession of information related to an enemy. And either didn't -- and I'm not going to get into the why did Donald Trump retain them because we don't know yet and he's got really, you know, sort of, you know, he's just, he's a careless. He's a careless person. He never took his job seriously.
And so, so he's -- so if you're that enemy and you are worried that Donald Trump has those materials, you're worried what's he is going to do with it, so that could incite a national security problem that is on -- that the Biden administration has to deal with.
The second possibility is that it's that nuclear information not coding, just information about the weapons, about where they're stored about their capabilities of an ally. That too is a problem because the allies will be untrustworthy of what they share with us. And once again, it's a problem for the Biden administration if this is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Now Republican members of the House judiciary committee aren't happy about the Washington Post story. They tweeted so hours after Merrick Garland says the Department of Justice only speaks through its filings in court. They go out and leak this story.
Now we have to point out we don't know who the Washington Post sources are, but we did ask CNN political commentator Scott Jennings if Trump actually had important nuclear documents at Mar-a-Lago that dull the chorus of Republicans coming to his defense. So here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It truly depends on what it is. I mean, nuclear documents is, I mean, I don't know what that means. I don't know if this is just information about the kinds of weapons we have and where we have them, or if it's codes. I got -- I don't know what that means. And so, I think -- I think exactly what's in it is going to matter and could have an impact.
I will tell you this. I mean, there's some polling out today. Politico/Morning Consul has done a snap poll and Trump's numbers among Republicans have ticked up. Obviously, Republicans have been very defensive of Trump this week because of what happened. And I'm not surprised.
I mean, if you look at the reaction Republicans had in the immediate wake of the -- of the search and the sort of the silence from DOJ over the last couple of days, I'm not surprised to see those numbers.
If this turns out to be something minor, I'm not -- I have no idea what it's going to turn out to be. But if it has -- if it turned out to be something minor or something that doesn't seem as important as say, planning of January 6th riot, which I consider to be a very important matter. Then I think you're going to see Republicans get even more defensive of Trump.
If it turns out to be an egregious abuse of power or some kind of terrible, you know, poorly -- poor judgment on the part of Trump, then maybe, maybe we're talking about a different story here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Now the Washington Post says its sources didn't offer any details about whether documents pertaining to nuclear weapons were actually recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
All right. Moving now to Ukraine where the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has reached a grave hour 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 there from the town nearby. Ukraine's nuclear operator says some facilities were damaged, but radiation levels are still normal.
But the attack on the plant raised alarms from Ukraine to the G7 and other, and the United Nations, including a call for a demilitarization of the facility by the U.N. secretary general. Now Moscow and Kyiv are still trading blame for targeting the plant. But the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog says, whoever did it is playing with fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: The military actions that have even the smallest potential to jeopardize nuclear safety or nuclear security at such a nuclear installation must stop immediately. These actions would lead us to see these consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Well, now Nina dos Santos joins us from London. So, as we heard there are stark warning. What's the latest.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We've had many warnings actually coming from various members of the United Nations, even the Secretary General Antonio Guterres himself saying that he's gravely concerned about any prospect of any potential targeting of this plant, because it is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
And of course, remember that Ukraine is no stranger to nuclear meltdown disasters. This is a country, of course, that witnessed firsthand the 1986 meltdown of its Chernobyl nuclear plant. So, the latest is, as you said, one of these parts of the facilities appears to have been hit in some of this shelling, but the real concern is whether or not the cooling facilities remain intact.
Now for the moment, it appears as though the IAEA chief you just heard there from the United Nations watchdog says that there is an immediate grave danger, but he's urgently petitioning the Ukrainians, and in particular, the Russians who now hold this plant to make some kind of deal to allow the IAEA in to inspect these facilities, to find out exactly how much is intact and to make sure that there is no leakage of radioactive material at all.
Now as you heard there G7 ministers also had a meeting this week where they discussed this and urgently asked for there to be set up a sort of demilitarization zone around this particular facility so sensitive it is. That again has been pushed by the U.S. State Department.
Even Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president in his nightly addressed, specifically referred to this. But Russia is pushing back. Ukraine says that Russia is using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant that it captured back in February as a sensitive point to launch strikes onto nearby cities from, and that it would be crucial to get this plant back into Ukrainian sovereign territory. Something that other countries also back to make sure that it can be secure to make sure that it isn't hit and there is no nuclear material that is built. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right, appreciate that. Thanks so much, Nina dos Santos.
Ukraine says it has beaten back two Russian attempts to advance in the east. It says Russian troops took losses on Thursday before they were 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 with an earshot from Russian artillery to see how the evacuation is going.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Inside a sweltering train station families wait for a journey to the unknown. A government offer to escape the war in Eastern Ukraine.
Arten (Ph) is saying goodbye to his wife Sofia (Ph) and son Philip. "The situation is getting worse," he says. "The son is scared," Sophia (Ph) 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 west woods ramping up efforts to relocate civilians before winter. Ludmila (Ph) leaving with her family. "We don't want to go," she says, "but the missile ours are flying. I've had no salary for five months. I don't even know where we're going."
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 empty now.
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, KRAMATORSK, UKRAINE: Now we are 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. Sixty-five thousand 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 citizens.
ROBERTSON: Even closer to the creeping Russian advance in Bakhmut where officials say seven civilians died in shelling Wednesday, there is resistance to leaving.
The Russians are already on the edge of this city. If there was ever moment for these people to leave, it will be now.
"I know the government wants us to leave," Sergey (Ph) says, but I can't. I've got three houses. Who will look after them? His rig, his basement to be a shelter. This is where they're living in here. I mean, it's just dust, dirt corridors. 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.
BRUNHUBER: Punishing sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine were meant to deter further aggression. And obviously that hasn't happened at least so far. Moscow continues to benefit from high energy prices which brings in critical funding for the war effort. And that has helped blunt the direct impact of sanctions for now. But the Kremlin's fortunes could change dramatically if European countries are able to pivot away from Russian oil, gas and coal as they are expected to do.
Liana Fix is program director for the International Affairs at the German nonprofit Korber-Stiftung and joins us from Berlin. Thank you so much for being here with us.
So, we talk about these, you know, crippling sanctions against Russia, but the data seems mixed, to say the least. The IMF and World Bank say Russia's economy is shrinking but they've revised their estimates upwards, meaning they won't shrink by as much as they had predicted.
And a recent report by the International Energy Agency found that despite all the sanctions, Russian oil production only fell by less than 3 percent since the invasion. Suggesting that sanctions have only had a limited effect. Do you think that's true?
LIANA FIX, PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, KORBER STIFTUNG: Well, it is true that Russia has reacted to those sanctions better than expected. That was a surprise. There were some monetary policies taken by the central bank, which have left the ruble more or less stabilized. And also, because Russia partly has, by intent, reduce the amount of energy on the market the prices have gone up.
But these positive effects are while the short-term effects in the midterm Russia will have to sell its oil and gas on the market to discounted prices because Europe is decoupling from Russian energy. And also, what Russia is missing are the imports.
There was a huge collapse in imports, which also explains the high ruble weight and the Russian industry is lacking spare parts for all kinds of things, which means that in the midterm Russia is going through a process of basically degradation of its industry or de industrialization.
This will need time, but the effects will be felt in the mid and in the long term.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. And, as you say, you know, Russia is basically sort of sanctioning itself by restrictioning -- restricting gas to its biggest European customers. But that indicates that that some of the pressure to further sanction Russia has been undercut by the domestic pressure European leaders have been feeling because of rising energy prices.
FIX: Yes, indeed. That is true. If one would like to have a sanctions policy that would be more effective than what is in place now, it would have been necessary to sanction oil and gas from the beginning. And the European Union will only start to stop oil imports from Russia by December. So, this gives a lot of time to Russia to get those high revenues from oil sales.
Other alternatives that were discussed such as tariffs on oil and gas or a price cap on oil and gas have not been implemented because so far there's concern that those measures will make it even more difficult to save enough energy, to save enough gas, to come through the winter, especially for Europe.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, I think the E.U. has even increased the volume of diesel that it's imported from Russia. So, you keep mentioning time. And I spoke to someone recently in Russia and he said the impression in that country, at least for most, you know, average Russians on the street was that life was basically going, you know, as much as normal that the sanctions really hadn't affected them. So, is it just a matter of time until ordinary Russians feel the bite?
FIX: It is a matter of time. And it's also an impression that the Kremlin tries to give -- to give the impression that this is a normal summer in Moscow and in the major cities, but especially in the poorer areas of Russia this will be felt sooner than in the cities.
The problem obviously with the question of patience and time is that Ukraine does not have this patience and time that every economic sanction against Russia that would help Ukraine now would be a plus for Ukraine's war efforts. And that's the problem of sanctions that they are effective in the mid to long term, whereas what Ukraine needs right now is short term help.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. That's exactly that Ukraine doesn't have the time. And all of this has many people asking, well then, you know, what's the point. I mean, none of these measures seem to have had any real-world political effect of forcing Putin to stop the war or concede much of anything. So, is that likely to change even if the screws are turned?
FIX: Well, what it does, it does make it more difficult for Putin to continue this war. He may not stop it because of the sanctions, but it will become more difficult to find spare parts, also for weapons and what it will also make it more difficult for Russia to start any future wars if the Russian economy is basically when it comes to the industry degraded.
And that is an aim which is important also for the west because it makes the west made to more secure if Russia's ability to start future wars with high level technology is reduced. So, it's not only about Ukraine. It's also about Russia's future capabilities and the threat that Russia can pose in the future.
BRUNHUBER: Listen, we really appreciate your expertise, Liana Fix in Berlin. Thank you so much.
FIX: Thank you.
BRUNHUBER: 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 in Copenhagen on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORTEN BODSKOV, DANISH DEFENSE MINISTER: Today, 26 countries, as well as the European Union have met here in Copenhagen and have sent a clear signal, Ukraine's fight is our fight. We stand together. And we stand with Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, Britain says it will now train more than the 10,000 Ukrainian forces initially planned. The U.K. defense minister added that Nordic countries, including Sweden and Finland are also sending extra troops and equipment to support the British efforts.
The CDC has released its latest guidelines for curbing COVID and it's recommending the U.S. move away from certain restrictions. We'll have details on what's changing.
Plus, why the financial center dubbed Asia's world city is seeing a major plunge in population.
We're live in Hong Kong after the break. Stay with us.
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm meteorologist Karen Maginnis. The CNN weather watch is in association with visit Maldives.
Taking a look across North America still hot temperatures baked the central United States with just some monsoonal moisture across the interior west. It is desperately needed, especially this time of year. And scattered showers and thunderstorm along a languishing frontal system in the deep south.
Well, some of this will march its way across the Mid-Atlantic region. While another round of thunderstorms interrupts the weather picture across the Great Lakes. See that ridge of high pressure and the hot weather conditions across the west so desperately dry. Well, as we take a look at weather conditions for Chicago, an average high around 28.
But we stay at or just below normal across the city over the next seven days. Not so bad. It could be an isolated storm here or there. Denver though, soars to 36. Take a look at San Francisco, 22, Atlanta, 31, and Miami will be a typically hot 32 degrees in the forecast. For case in Jamaica some scattered thunderstorms and 32 degrees. Havana, some afternoon and evening thunderstorms and 32 degrees.
Moving on towards South America. It looks like for Sal -- Salvador, 27 degrees, Rio de Janeiro, some early morning showers and a comfortable 22.
BRUNHUBER: Monday marks one year since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan after 20 years of war. What followed was a mad dash to evacuate U.S. and allied troops, foreign civilians, and thousands of Afghans who'd worked for the U.S. and its allies. By the time the airlift ended two weeks later, only a small fraction of the Afghans had made it out.
Thirteen U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing at the airport before the withdrawal was over. Now today, the guns are mostly silent but the country is more impoverished than ever. Afghan women have been all but erased from public life under the Taliban. Food has become luxury that many can't afford. And huge percentages of Afghan children no longer attend school.
CNN's Clarissa Ward has more from Kabul.
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 try -- 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 believe, well, we are now in that second half of this year, more than 90 percent of people will be living below the poverty line.
And that's for a whole plethora of reasons, hardly 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 round and, and I just want show you a little bit seeing, as we're 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've been having with vendors make it clear that for the vast majority of people it's 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 impact that they've had as the Taliban has gradually become firmer in implementing its vision or version of Sharia.
BRUNHUBER: Now CNN's Clarissa Ward reporting from Kabul. International aid agencies say the situation right now is bleak for Afghan children, especially girls.
Now earlier CNN spoke with the director of Save the Children International in Afghanistan about the dire circumstances now facing many Afghan families. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER NYAMANDI, AFGHANISTAN COUNTRY DIRECTOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL: I think the situation here has become more difficult. We've been talking to children. We we've been talking to households, only 3 percent of the households that we spoke to told us that they're able to meet their basic needs.
Families are hungry. They're surviving on a single meal a day. Usually, it's bread and tea. Children are going to bed hungry. We at Save the Children together with other organizations are doing all we can to provide their assistance that is needed here, but there are just too many people who need assistance.
Families are having to make difficult choices, including whether they should ask their children to work. And those children end 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 these streets begging. We know that sometimes families and caregivers are asking children to do so just to fend for themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: That was Christopher Nyamandi, the director of Save the Children in Afghanistan speaking to us earlier.
Scorching temperatures and drought conditions are putting water supplies and local economies at risk in Europe. But there may be little relief on the way. We'll find out in the forecast, just ahead.
Plus, the beaches of Puerto Rico are disappearing. Find out what's behind the destruction next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BRUNHUBER: Well, some incredible video of a fire whirl or firenado has erupted in a brush fire near Quail Lake, California. Now fire whirls or fire devils are similar to dust devils. They form when the rising hot air from a fire pulls in smoke debris and flame creating a spinning vortex. So, you can see it there.
The brush fire erupted on Wednesday and grew to more than 60 hectares, according to fire officials. The cause of the fire is unknown and no injuries were reported.
Well, Europe's long hot summers that to get even worse. Some regions haven't seen rain for years and extreme drought and extreme heat are causing extreme hardship. In Italy, for instance, some farmers have lost 80 percent of their crops totaling in the billions this year and other parts of the continent aren't faring much better.
So, for more on then I'm joined by CNN's Salma Abdelaziz. Salma, when we're talking high temperatures here, it's not just about discomfort. The effects can be dangerous and far reaching.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. Here in London local officials describing the city as Tinder box dry.
They are on high alert for fire risks, fire severity. Already the London fire brigade has battled an unprecedented number of blazes this summer. And they're preparing for yet another heat wave, but all across western Europe we're seeing countries grappling with these extreme temperatures. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: 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 Tinder box. 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 health 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.
UNKNOWN (through translator): It really breaks my heart. Everything is 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.
UNKNOWN (through translator): It's been several years without rain and we're hidden 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 in all European areas at a rate exceeding the global average and are projected to keep rising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now the other consequence to this as you saw there in that piece, Kim, is that emergency services have been stretched to the limit, in France, in particular firefighters. There have been for weeks battling blazes in the south west of the country.
The French government has actually triggered an E.U. mechanism to call on help from other E.U. member states. Already firefighters coming in from Romania, from Germany to support their efforts there in the southwest of France to contain those blazes.
And then there's the larger picture here. Of course, the climate crisis experts saying if something isn't seriously done to combat the climate crisis, we only are looking at the situation worsening. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. Salma Abdelaziz in London. Thank you so much.
Now for more on all this extreme weather across Europe, I'm joined by CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.
So, Karen, how much longer will Europeans have to suffer here?
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is a climate crisis as we look across all across Europe where we've been focusing on western Europe, because these temperatures have been so dramatic. But it impacts every aspect of life. Just as the monsoon across India, whether it's too much or too little, it impacts all quality of life.
Here are the amber alerts that we have out for the southern half of the U.K., extending from Manchester to Brighton all the way into London and extending over towards Wales Cardiff. These temperatures are going to be in the mid-30s for the most part. Now we might see them begin to ease as we go into the latter half of the weekend.
This is several days of unrelenting heat. And it is so dry, not just in western Europe as we heard in that earlier piece, we've got drought conditions all across Europe to varying degrees, but the overall weather picture is there is much needed moisture that needs to happen here.
And we are looking at these temperatures coming up for London back into the 30s again, should be about 30 degrees, 33 degrees. Now across much of Europe, just small percentages of people have air conditioning in their home unlike Japan and the United States where 85 percent of the homes have air conditioning.
What is producing this? Well, the atmospheric pattern has been this rich of high pressure. It's not moving. It's not going. Something is going to have to bump it out. That could be the jet stream, a frontal system, but it's going to be fairly powerful to move that.
Here's what I was mentioning earlier. One percent of residents across the United Kingdom have air conditioning as opposed to United -- for the United States and for Japan, 85 percent plus. What about those temperatures? Take a look at this in Paris, one heat wave after the other. Impossibly dry. A real crisis here with temperatures in the mid-30s.
But look at this. This shows us some hope that by Wednesday the temperature is actually going to be below average. But this only tells part of the picture. For the entire summer we've seen this heat, it comes and it goes but overall, the pattern has generally been on the hot side and that takes its toll on the human force.
And we've seen numbers, thousands of people across Spain and in Portugal who have died because the heat has been so severe. Kim, back to you.
BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much, Karen Maginnis. I appreciate it.
Now startling new report reveals the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. The climate study by scientists in Finland say the phenomenon called Arctic amplification is caused by the heat trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels.
The study analyzed temperature trends in the Arctic circle between 1979 and 2021.
CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir explains the warming is partly due to a loss of sea ice.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: A lot of it has to do with the loss of reflective ice in the summer months, up at the Arctic as the earth tilts towards the sun and the sun really doesn't set up there. Normally the summer ice reflects a lot of that sea, that sunlight coming down through the atmosphere. But as it's melting that dark water absorbs a lot more heat.
And so yes, four times the rest of the world and the Barents Sea it's seven times faster than the rest of the world, it's really uneven. And then to amplify things at the other end of the world, down at the South Pole, there is new science out of JPL, Jet Propulsion Laboratories in the United States that says 12 trillion tons of ice has been lost, both the melting and Calvin glaciers in Antarctica, twice as much as previously thought.
And they've lost just by the Calvin glaciers crumbling around the edges of Antarctica the equivalent of land mass the size of Switzerland. And those, those glaciers hold back the inland ice. If you think of Antarctica like a big soup bowl, frozen, with the glaciers on the edges holding it in, as those go away that barrier to the sea basically accelerates the melt down there.
So doubly concerning this new science today at both ends of the world that we're really heating up overheating all the way around.
BRUNHUBER: Puerto Rico is facing an emergency. The Island's climate change council says beaches are eroding an alarming rate because of destructive hurricanes, flooding, and rising sea levels.
CNN Leyla Santiago reports.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Off the tropical waters of Puerto Rico.
Do you see this as an emergency.
ERNESTO DIAZ, SCIENCE COORDINATOR, PUERTO RICO CLIMATE CHANGE COUNCIL: This an emergency. Absolutely.
SANTIAGO: Ernesto Diaz of the Puerto Rico climate change council warns beach erosion is destroying the island of enchantment at an alarming rate. In fact, the very ground we walked on here was gone the next day.
This was all connected. We walked from here to over here with sand underneath our feet and coastal erosion has taken it away, leaving this house very vulnerable on the beach. And it makes the point that the people of Puerto Rico need something done now.
The local government has deemed this neighborhood an emergency zone for 25 homes because of coastal erosion. It's the latest crisis on an island caught in the crosshairs of climate. Destructive hurricanes, sea level rise, flooding extreme heat. The results of a planet that is warming.
DIAZ: Small islands like Puerto Rico do not emit. You know, much of the greening house gases are causing the problem. But we're the first ones that feel the impacts.
SANTIAGO: Climate change, what does that mean to you?
EDWIN COTO, LOIZA, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: Well, we believe it because we've seen it.
SANTIAGO: Edwin Coto lives further east in Loiza, a town where roughly half of the population lives in poverty according to the U.S. census. He's watched the beaches shrink the sidewalks crumble in front of the home. He's lived in for 60 years because of the coastal erosion.
COTO: One storm it will wipe this road out.
SANTIAGO: Down the street, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently built this rock barrier designed to prevent erosion, but Coto will not benefit from that protection since his house falls just outside the project's boundaries.
So, you've had politicians, decision makers, government officials come here and you've shown them all of this. Do you feel like they --
COTO: We all have shown them.
SANTIAGO: Do you feel like they're listening?
COTO: Like I said, they tell you that they're listening. They sound really, really nice. They say a lot of stuff, but don't come out with nothing.
MICHAEL REGAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I would say to him that after these conversations, I'm going back to Washington, D.C. And my staff will be following up in a matter of weeks.
SANTIAGO: That's the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA administrator Michael Regan. He visited Puerto Rico as part of his journey to justice tour, an effort to shed light on environmental issues that disproportionately affect people in marginalized communities.
REGAN: I know that these people have faced systemic racism. I know that these people have faced environmental injustice, and I know that we have to do something about it.
SANTIAGO: Part of the solution he says resources from the bipartisan infrastructure law, more than $50 billion in funding that can tackle issues like flooding. But on the island repeatedly battered by climate change, an island where the government said more than half of its beaches are experiencing erosion even before hurricane Maria, skepticism remains.
COTO: But we want to hear specific. When are you going to do something? When? We don't even care what. When? When are you going to start doing something because anything they do is better than nothing.
BRUNHUBER: That was CNN's Leyla Santiago reporting from Puerto Rico.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the U.S. ease up on some of its COVID restrictions. Their big focus now is on using vaccines and therapeutics to reduce the risk of severe illness. The latest guidelines don't mention social distancing and the agency is downplaying the need for people who have no symptoms or known exposure to COVID to get screened regularly, but it still stresses the need for everyone to wear high quality masks when COVID levels are high in their community.
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 haven't come back.
Let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. So, Kristie, you're still there but plenty of others have chosen to leave. So why is that? What's behind the exits.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's so many different factors at play here as we discussed earlier, just the high cost of living here. Also, the political situation, as well as the tough pandemic rules. We'll get into all of that in just a moment.
But the fact is this new data is out in Hong Kong has posted this record drop in population. Over the past 12 months, over 113,000 residents have decided to leave the city that represents a population decline of about 1.6 percent. It's the second year in a row that the population numbers have fallen here in Hong Kong.
And if you look at the chart, let's bring it up for you. If it's not up already, you'll see that it represents the steepest decline in population number since at least 1961. So, what's happening here? I raised that question and post it to a migration expert at the University of Hong Kong who calls the departures historic. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCY JORDAN, 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 movement here in Hong Kong, and then followed by COVID, you know, as it, you know, 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 is going to bar people from coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now experts say Hong Kong's changing political landscape, as well, as it's strict anti-pandemic policies have prompted many people to make that hard decision to leave the city for over seven million residents here, we have been enduring some of the toughest pandemic protocols on the planet, which have effectively isolated this one's thriving international business hub.
Just a few months ago was in March, we went to the Hong Kong International Airport and we spoke to a few Hongkongers who were planning to leave and not come back. And we asked them why. Take a listen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 foundation and seems like there's no way going back.
EDDIE, NURSE: If we don't leave, nothing will -- nothing will change you. You cannot change the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now the Hong Kong government has announced new changes to its pandemic policy. In fact, this week they made the announcement of cutting the mandatory hotel quarantine stay from seven days to three days, and that's why I'm here at home and was able to get out of hotel quarantine early. I'm now at home undergoing medical surveillance as a result of the new relaxation and measures here.
Officials believe, and really hoping that these changes will help bring back travelers and bring back the city's once dynamic vital force.
Back to you, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. That must be a relief for you as well. So, turning now to the economy. Some new numbers just came out. So, what story are they telling?
LU STOUT: Well, you know, the numbers you've been looking at, we know that Hong Kong is slipped into a technical recession two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP. There's a number of factors behind that. You have weakening global growth. You also have rising interest rates, inflation. The fact that Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
But observers do point out factors could change in Hong Kong's favor if they continue to relax the anti-pandemic policy, if they reopen borders, not only with the world, but also with mainland China. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: Interesting. All right. Thanks so much, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
Well, we're getting more of -- more shelling near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine says a town across the river from the plant Nikopol was hit by Russian rockets overnight. While another city a little further away was reportedly hit with 40 rockets, injuring three people.
Now this comes after the plant itself was hit by artillery fire two times in less than a week where Ukraine says radiation levels around the plant are normal.
Protests in Sierra Leone leave dozens dead, including several police officers. Why the country is in an uproar after the break.
Plus, debris and muddy water slowing efforts to rescue miners trapped underground in Mexico. Now authorities are pursuing charges against the mine's owner. We'll have the latest straight ahead. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: More than two dozen people have been killed in Sierra Leone in anti-government protests around the country. Those killed include civilians and police. Officials say many others were injured.
CNN's Stephanie Busari has details.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN.COM SUPERVISING EDITOR, AFRICA: Calm has been restored to the streets of Sierra Leone after hundreds of protestors took to the streets of the capital Wednesday, protesting inflation and a rising cost of living in a west African country. A nationwide curfew was imposed and a 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 told CNN Thursday, while hospital sources told Reuters that at least 21 civilians were killed in different locations in the country.
Graphic images and videos 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 a protest happened, 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 protest, which he called an act of terrorism. The opposition all 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 and leading opposition politician pleaded for an end to the violence and called for peace.
The protests are unusual in Sierra Leone, where more than 50 percent 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.
BRUNHUBER: A hostage taking in a bank in Beirut, Lebanon ended peacefully on Thursday when the bank agreed to give the armed suspect some of his own money from his own frozen account.
Lebanon's state-owned news agency said the suspect cursed fired two stray shots and demanded access to his own cash to pay for his father's operation. He threatened to torch the bank and kill everyone inside. Lebanon's financial crisis has driven most Lebanese into poverty and banks have been allowed to restrict people's accounts. The man surrendered after he was promised $30,000 of the 210,000 he had in deposit.
Ten miners trapped underground for more than a week will have to wait longer to be rescued. Mexican authorities say they've 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 has the details.
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 haps last week on Wednesday. Just to give you an idea of how challenging flooding has been. Laura Velasquez, Mexico's national coordinator of civil protection said Thursday morning that in the eight days since the collapse happened, they have pumped out 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 operations 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 10 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 side 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.
BRUNHUBER: Police in Germany are investigating a rollercoaster crash that left 31 people injured. It happened Thursday at the Lego Land theme park. Officials say one person suffered severe, but non-life- threatening injuries. And 15 others were taken to hospital with light injuries.
Those follows another tragic rollercoaster incident in the country where a 57-year-old woman was killed when she fell out of a ride. The cause hasn't been released.
The de facto head of Samsung Electronics has been pardoned for his conviction on bribery and embezzlement charges 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 says reinstating Lee to run the country -- to run the company, rather, was necessary to help revitalize the nation's post- pandemic economy.
Archeologists in the U.S. have made an exciting discovery. One that will give us insight into what life was like for humans during the ice age. We'll have details after the break. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: We're now 100 days out from the World Cup and FIFA has moved up the start of the men's tournament this year by one day. The opening ceremony and match will now take place on November 20th instead of the 21st as initially planned. Football's global governing body officially confirmed the move on Thursday.
Now the decision allows the host country, Qatar to kick off the event with their match against Ecuador. The men's World Cup now stretches the four weeks from November 20th to December 18th.
A U.S. federal judge has ruled in favor of the PGA Tour in its turf war with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. The judge denied three LIV players a temporary restraining order on Tuesday. Now, if granted it would've permitted the golfers Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones to play in the first event of the PGA's FedEx Cup playoffs, which began this week.
LIV responded that it's disappointed with the ruling, adding that no one gains by banning golfers from playing golf.
Recently discovered footprints from the end of the ice age are shedding new light on North America's earliest humans. Eighty-eight fossilized footprints were located in the salt flats of the U.S. Air Force test and training range in Utah.
Archeologists stumbled on the fossils last month and are now gaining insight into how hunter gatherers lived more than 12,000 years ago. The same area has also yielded stone tools, campfire remains, and evidence of tobacco use.
I'm Kim Brunhuber. Thanks so much for joining me. Max Foster will be here in a moment with more CNN Newsroom. Please do stay with us.