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U.N. Warns Russia and Ukraine of Danger in Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant; Former President Trump Claims Executive Privilege; Taliban Denies Knowing Whereabouts of Killed Al-Qaeda Leader; Faulty Wiring Killed 18 Children in Egypt; China Responds to U.S.'s Second Visit to Taiwan; Tehran Cleans Itself for Salman Rushdie's Attack. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, we will take you inside a Ukrainian hospital on the front lines where doctors work to save the lives of the war wounded while coming under attack themselves.

The legal and political aftershocks from Mar-a-Lago. Some shaken by the search itself, others by what was found all the while exposing widening cracks in American democracy.

Plus, one year after the fall of Kabul how the Taliban takeover has reshaped daily life in Afghanistan.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center. This is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: And thanks so much for being with us.

We begin in Ukraine where threats to Europe's largest nuclear facility are prompting an outcry from world leaders. Forty-two countries, along with the European Union are now calling on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

It comes after days of repeated shelling around the facility raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe, Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the attacks. To the south, Ukraine says an underground resistance movement blew up a railway bridge near the Russian held city of Melitopol. Ukrainian officials say Russian troops use the bridge to transport weapons and other equipment from occupied Crimea.

Meanwhile, a U.N. chartered ship carrying 23,000 tons of wheat to Ethiopia is ready to set sail from Ukraine. It is the first humanitarian cargo ship bound for Africa since the war began.

In Eastern Ukraine, fierce fighting has raged for months with a constant barrage of artillery inflicting massive casualties on soldiers and civilians alike.

CNN's Nic Robertson traveled to a field hospital to see the daunting task medics are facing near the front lines. A warning though, what you're about to see is graphic.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At a frontline field hospital a soldier gets stitched. Russian forces getting closer, more casualties, military and civilian coming in.

DIMA, VASCULAR SURGEON: A lot of civilians in last week when the Russians starts to shots on the civilian quarter.

ROBERTSON: The hospital has been hit more than once, it's location secret.

NIELS ERIXSON, VOLUNTEER MEDIC: This place that I'm working in it's a stabilization point. So, all casualties from the zero line or from the red zone are taken here.

ROBERTSON: Volunteer medic Niels himself injured during recent shelling. Surgeon Dima's priority get patients stable and to safety and get ready for more.

DIMA: Having the time to clean the rooms after they injured, you are incoming to the room and a lot of blood on the floor.

ERIXSON: And then transport units like mine we then transport them to next level of care in safer areas.

ROBERTSON: Arriving for better care at a rear based hospital this soldier, the high spec volunteer ambulance keeping him alive on the journey, taken directly for a CAT Scan.

ERIXSON: We had our surgeon and our anesthesiologist in the back together with the patient doing all the necessary interventions to keep him alive.

ROBERTSON: In other rooms, civilians are also getting treated. Vitali hit by a cluster bomb. His leg badly broken, his arm requiring surgery too. I've had X-rays and painkillers, he says, now I'm waiting to go to the next hospital.

No one kept at this rear base hospital for long either. Transfer even further from the front line. Shelling here on the rise, too. They need the beds freed fast.


Everyone in this hospital knows the front line is getting closer and that can only mean one thing, more casualties.

According to officials, 50 or 60 patients a day passing through the ward won't be empty long.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


CHURCH: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Nina dos Santos who joins us live from London. Good to see you, Nina.

And the E.U. and 42 other countries are now calling on Russia to withdraw its forces from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant immediately. What more are you learning about this and of course, the situation on the ground there.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the escalation of the type of rhetoric that we've heard already last week when the United Nations became incredibly concerned. There was a security, a security council meeting that addressed the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog put forward this plan to try and get an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to demilitarize this highly sensitive area. Something that the United States has also called for.

Obviously, that has been rebuffed by Russia's ambassador to the United Nations last week. And now of course, we've got this call by all these countries, including the E.U. that Russia's forces withdraw from this very sensitive site.

Why is it so important? Well, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was captured just in the first few weeks of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And since then, Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of using it as a strategic sensitive site from which to launch attacks on Ukrainian territory on the other western side of the Dnipro River say on cities like Nikopol, for instance, that have faced a barrage of attacks from seemingly this area Russian forces raining down, shells, rockets, and so on and so forth over the last couple of weeks.

Now, it's the concern that this facility which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, by the way, Rosemary, could be hit directly in that that could cause a nuclear meltdown. That is what concerns the IAEA, but it's also the maintenance of the plant as well.

Remember that Russia has been keeping Ukrainians civilian technical people there, effectively Ukraine says as hostages inside the site, but there's no way that the IAEA can get in yet to see whether or not the reactors are still in working order, that the cooling facilities are still working.

That is the concern here when it comes to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power. As I said, if there were a fallout here, it could spread far and wide. Also, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine just yesterday evening said that anybody who was launching attacks on this territory should face criminal investigations at the International Criminal Court. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Nina dos Santos joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Turning now to Washington where Democrats in Congress want to know how much damage was done to national security after the FBI found Donald Trump was keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home. But Republican lawmakers are also seeking more information about the search.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has details.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Former President Trump now claiming the documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago are protected by executive privilege and attorney/ client privilege. But the reality here is they still aren't his documents to keep. Under the Presidential Records Act they do belong to the National Archives.

Plus, given that 11 sets of these documents have various levels of classified designations, including top secret. Democrats are now demanding that the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, conduct an immediate review of the materials because of the national security implications of what was found at Mar-a-Lago and concerns that it could cause grave damage if that information fell into the wrong hands.

And on the flip side, Republicans are demanding more detail. Some say they want to see the affidavit that laid out the basis for that search warrant. It is highly unlikely though, that that affidavit will be unsealed because of the delicate information and sources that investigators likely disclosed in that affidavit.

And these calls for action, they come all while the questions loom, what comes next for the former president, the warrant said that FBI agents were looking for possible violations of sections of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and the criminal handling of government records.

Trump has defended his actions over the weekend, saying that he declassified all the material while he was in office. But you know, we still haven't seen any documentation or proof of that. And notably, none of those three criminal statutes actually require that information be classified only that there was an intent to injure the interest of the United States, or destroy or conceal a document that would interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And earlier, I spoke with CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein about the fallout from the FBI search. And I asked him about Donald Trump's changing explanations for why classified documents were found inside his home.


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What it says to me is that he no longer feels and maybe he hasn't in a long time that he even needs to try to make a coherent argument to compel the Republican Party, to stand in line behind him. Obviously, these ever-shifting explanations are mutually contradictory

and many of them are, most of them are implausible on their face, but I think he is demonstrating how much he believes he has the party in his pocket that he doesn't even have to make a serious case and they will fall in line.

And in fact, you know, almost many leading Republicans came out and condemned this execution of the search warrant before Trump said a word before they knew anything about what ultimately taken out of Mar- a-Lago. And I think it is just another example of we are seeing how much the party remains broken to his will.


CHURCH: After the break, we will look at some of the changes that have taken place since the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan's capital a year ago.

And celebrated author Salman Rushdie is still in hospital after he was attacked last week. We will have the latest on his condition in a live report. That's next.




CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Taliban is now on the outskirts of Kabul. They're at the gates. They're ready to come in, but they say they don't want to come in violently. They want to come in peacefully.


CHURCH: Our Clarissa Ward reporting exactly one year ago as Afghanistan's capital Kabul was seized by the Taliban. You will of course remember these chaotic scenes at the airport with Afghans so desperate to escape they chased planes as they took off.

Families huddled outside the gates. Many Afghans were evacuated before the withdrawal was complete on August 30th while others got left behind to live under Taliban rule.

Afghan women have been nearly forced out of public life over the past year. However, some are still trying to make their voices heard as you can see in this video from last week, but take a look at the Taliban's response.

Despite the group's assurances that they would respect women's rights, women are now blocked from most workplaces in Afghanistan and girls are no longer allowed to attend high school.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria spoke with former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who fled the country amid the U.S. withdrawal. When asked if he felt betrayed by the U.S. here's what Ghani said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHRAF GHANI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: We need to draw lessons from the past and deal with the present. Our country is in dire condition. I do not have the luxury to engage in blaming our sense of betrayal. Superpowers, big powers decide on the base of their national interest. What I hope is that they've considered the implications of those.


CHURCH: CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward sat down with the Taliban spokesman in Kabul. She asked him about the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri by a U.S. drone strike and the Taliban's claims that they were unaware he was living in the city.


WARD: The Taliban says it wants to see peaceful and positive relations with all countries, including the U.S. But those prospects were dramatically diminished. The head of Al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a U.S. drone strike in a villa in downtown Kabul just over two weeks ago.

ABDUL QAHAR BALKHI, SPOKESPERSON, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: We've made it very clear that the government of Afghanistan was unaware of the arrival or presence of Mr. Zawahiri in Kabul. So far, we have been unable to establish the as a fact, as a matter of fact that Mr. Zawahiri was indeed present in Kabul.

WARD: Isn't that almost more frightening, though? The idea that you are claiming potentially the leader of Al-Qaeda was here in the center of the city and you didn't even know about it?

BALKHI: Again, we contend that notion that he was even present here. But even if he was, these types of incidents happen everywhere in the world --


WARD: But they really don't. I mean, how can the U.S. possibly trust the Taliban leadership though, to stay true to its promise that it will not allow sanctuary to be granted to terrorist groups?

BALKHI: If we look at the Doha agreement, the articles that are -- that define the commitments of the government of Afghanistan. All of them have been fulfilled. And if we look at the commitments that the United States of America has made, sadly, they have not fulfilled a single article, but we're hopeful. And we continue to urge the United States to adhere to that agreement.


CHURCH: And Clarissa Ward joins us on CNN Newsroom starting about 40 minutes from now. Well, Salman Rushdie's agent says the writer is on the road to

recovery, but adds that he remains in the Pennsylvania hospital where he was taken after he was attacked in New York. Rushdie's family says his condition remains critical.

According to officials, Rushdie was stabbed multiple times with wounds in his neck and stomach. The 24-year-old suspect has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges and has been refused bail.


So, let's bring in our Salma Abdelaziz who joins us live from London. Good to see you, Salma.

So, what has been the reaction in Iran to news of this attack first and now the recovery of Salman Rushdie?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Of course. Since the incident, since the attack on Rushdie, all eyes have been on Tehran because it's of course that 1988 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini that pushed Rushdie into hiding for nearly a decade.

It is Iran that's been blamed by Rushdie's supporters. And now we have this statement from Iran's foreign ministry, and I want to read it to you, Rosemary, because this is critical of course.

We do not consider anyone other than himself and his supporters worthy of blame and even condemnation. At first, the anger was not only connected to Iran, but millions of people from Muslim countries had this angry reaction. No one has the right to condemn Iran in this regard. It was an insult to all religions and prophets and in dispense -- indefensible. We categorically and seriously deny any connection of the assailant with Iran.

And this is, again, from Nasser Kanani, Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson. So, you see there, clearly distancing, denying any connection to that attacker who stabbed Rushdie in New York in the United States. But Iran remaining steadfast that the author has only himself to blame.

And it's hard to really overemphasize just how seismic of an event it was in 1989 when this fatwa was issued, Rosemary, it really divided the world. It divided a community between Muslims who believed this book, the Satanic verses was blasphemous, that it was an offense to the prophet.

Iran, of course issuing that fatwa saying that it allowed for the killing of Rushdie. And there was demonstrations across the world. Two of his translators were attacked. One killed. Protests also led to deaths at the time. So, the fact that this is happening over three decades later, and Iran's foreign minister spokesman -- spokesperson there saying, Rushdie only has himself to blame for this attack. Just shows how pervasive and concerning this I.D. is and remains in the Muslim world. The bigger picture here, Rosemary, is that this is going to terrify other writers, other authors, other intellectuals who want to be able to speak truth to power, who want to be able to challenge authorities, who want to be able to challenge governments. This is really, really going to strike at the fear of that freedom of expression idea, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, exactly right. Salma Abdelaziz joining us with that update live from London. I appreciate it.

Well, at least 41 people are dead including 18 children after a fire broke out inside a crowded church in Egypt.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has more on the cause of the fire, and a warning, some of the details are graphic.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What started as a day of worship has turned into tragedy. Investigators in Giza sift through the debris of burned-out Coptic church. Stunned relatives sit outside, grappling with the losses of what occurred here.

Egypt's interior ministry says a fire broke out after Sunday mass caused by an electrical failure in an air conditioning unit. Dozens of people were killed and it's the ages of some of the victims, some witnesses say make this even more tragic.

This man was injured in the fire. He says the fourth floor of the church was on fire. There were children in the nursery, he says, there were kids and elderly people. We saved who he could save.

Hospital documents say many children between the ages of three and 16 were among the victims. A Coptic church spokesperson says a priest was also killed. Officials say most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inside church classrooms. One witness says he broke down a door of the church to try to rescue people and saw desperate people jumping out of windows to try to save themselves.

He says he in a group of others caught a man falling from the building in a blanket. But he says the man eventually died.

Overwhelming grief fills the halls of another church where family members have gathered to begin burying the dead. Coffin after coffin is carried through the crowds, the raw emotions of the mourners echo through the church. Like so many others, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi tweeted his condolences to the victim's families as did the Egyptian footballer Mo Salah. But for these devastated families, there are a few words of comfort to cut through the pain.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Amman.


[03:24:59] CHURCH: And just ahead here on CNN, a second U.S. congressional delegation is in Taipei about two weeks after Nancy Pelosi's visit and it has provoked outrage in China.

We'll have a live report for you.


CHURCH: A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers are in Taiwan on an unannounced two-day visit sparking renewed outrage and military war games from China. The five-member group led by Democratic Senator Ed Markey says the trip is meant to reaffirm U.S. support for Taiwan. Their visit comes on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taipei which also angered Beijing and triggered Chinese military exercises near Taiwan.

China says it conducted military drills again on Monday in response to the American delegations visit.

And CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong with more on all of this. Good to see you again, Kristie. So, what is the latest on China's reaction to this second U.S. congressional delegation visit to Taiwan in just a matter of two weeks?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so we have confirmed that China is conducting fresh military drills in response to this latest U.S. congressional visit. In fact, we just heard from the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese military that they have conducted new patrols, new military exercises in the airspace to the waters around Taiwan in response to this visit that is taking place right now.

And we have also heard from a senior colonel of the Chinese military. His name is Shi Yi, saying that this is, quote, "a solemn response to political plays by the U.S. and Taiwan," unquote.


What's happening right now, another delegation of U.S. lawmakers are in Taiwan. This time, led by the U.S. Senator Ed Markey. They touched down last night. This was an unannounced. This is a two-day visit part of a larger tour that they're making of the Indo-Pacific region. And it also falls less than two weeks after the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made that highly controversial visit to Taiwan.

And that prompted China to launch these random military drills that they said wrapped up last Wednesday. But again, we are reporting that they are fresh military drills this day in response to this latest congressional visit.

I do want to bring up this statement for you. It's from the office of Senator Markey about why they're making this visit. In it, a spokesperson of the U.S. senator says, quote, "on their visit, the delegation will reaffirm the United States support for Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and Six Assurances, and will encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait," unquote. It is understood that the delegation met with the Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen earlier today Taiwan local time. They're meeting with other officials, business leaders as well to discuss expanding economic cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S., as well as how to reduce tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

I want to bring up how Taiwan responded to this latest visit. They welcomed it. In fact, this statement, this was put out on Twitter by the ministry of foreign affairs in Taiwan saying this. Vice Minister Yui extended the warmest of welcomes to Taiwan's longstanding friends, Senator Markey and his cross-party delegation. We thank the like- minded U.S. lawmakers for the timely visit and unwavering support.

Now we are awaiting reaction from the ministry of foreign affairs in Beijing. As reported, China has conducted fresh military drills in response to this latest visit led by Senator Markey of the United States.

But a statement was issued overnight by spokesperson of China's embassy in Washington, D.C. The spokesperson his name is Liu Pengyu wrote this, quote, "China firmly opposes any kind of official ties between the U.S. and the Taiwan region. Members of the U.S. Congress should act in consistence with the U.S. government's one-China policy." Unquote.

I should add that the White House insists that there has been no change to America's one-China policy in which Washington recognizes that the PRC, the People's Republic of China is the legitimate government of China.

Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

On Tuesday, voters in deep red Wyoming will decide whether to oust Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney. She's at the forefront of anti- Trump Republicans in Congress, and currently serves as the vice chair of the committee investigating the January 6th attack on the capitol.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more now from Jackson, Wyoming.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: One of the most closely watched congressional races across the United States takes place here in Wyoming on Tuesday. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump will face Wyoming voters.

Now, most of those 10 have either retired from office or been defeated themselves earlier this year in primary races, she faces an uphill challenge here in Wyoming. She's down some 30 percentage points heading into the final weekend of campaigning against Harriet Hageman, a long time lawyer in Wyoming who has run for office before, but has never been this strong.

Of course, this time she is running with the endorsement of former President Donald who looms large in this race in every way. His winning margin in Wyoming was stronger than any state across the country. He won by nearly 78 percent of the vote.

So, this is something clearly that she's going to have to run to get some of those Trump loyalists and convince them to come to her side. Really in the final hours and days of this campaign, her only strategy is getting Democrats and independents to come to her side, switch parties and vote for Cheney.

There are signs that some of them are going to do that. But the question is mathematically is that even enough. This is such a Republican heavy state. No question Liz Cheney though will go on regardless of the outcome on Tuesday to be the vice chair of the January 6th committee that is investigating the attack on the capitol.

She also has other political aspirations of her own, perhaps even a presidential run in 2024, that she is not getting ahead of herself. Her aides and strategists say she's focused on this race here on Tuesday, but there is no doubt this is a referendum on her and the strength of the former president in the Republican Party.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Jackson, Wyoming.

CHURCH: Actress Anne Heche has died nine days after a fiery car crash into a Los Angeles home. Her rep says she was taken off life support on Sunday. Heche had an almost four-decade career in television and film, including her role on the soap opera Another World, which earned her a daytime Emmy.

In a statement, her family said Anne will be deeply missed, but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work and her passionate advocacy. Anne Heche was 53 years old.


Well coming up next, marking 75 years of independence. India's prime minister addresses the nation and lays out goals for the next 25 years. More details in a live report just ahead.

Plus, a long wait for results could soon be over. We will go live to Kenya where the outcome of the presidential election could be announced anytime.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, India's prime minister focused on the nation's path forward in an address marking 75 years of independence from British rule. It is an anniversary also shared by Pakistan, which held its celebration on Sunday. At a border post that stretches across both nations guards from India and Pakistan performed a flag ceremony amid the Independence Day observances.

And our correspondents are covering the anniversary from India and Pakistan. Sophia Saifi is live in Islamabad, but we begin in New Delhi with Vedika Sud. So Vedika, on this anniversary, Prime Minister Modi is promising a bright future for India. What all did he say? VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Well, there's a lot he said, Rosemary. But

just to quickly tell you more about what happened 75 years ago before I go ahead with that. At the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947, India became an independent nation after almost 200 years off of British colonialism. And cut to 75 years later today, you had Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi standing in the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort addressing the 1.4 billion people of this country.

Remember, India has the largest democracy in the world and he promised that he's going to take this nation forward. They're going to talk about making this a bigger and a more progressive and a successful nation. The last few years and free independence went in building this nation up and he's promised to take it forward with this diverse set of people.


But of course, India at this point is seen by many as a rising superpower, Rosemary. Remember, it is geopolitically placed in a space and region

where it's seen as a counter balance to China. It's also got the fifth largest economy in the world and it's one of the fastest growing economies.

Militarily, it has had its issues with both Pakistan and with China. And that is one of the biggest problems it faces in terms of its border tensions both with China, as well as Pakistan. And the deep relationship that the two nations share, Pakistan and China with each other at times becomes disconcerting for India.

But for many people here there's a lot of pomp show celebration as it should be here in India. And in terms of the diaspora, brought the Indian diaspora all across the world you're seeing flags being hoisted. You're seeing celebrations take place, but for a section of people who have, you know, who've had generations go through, you know, the partition, the first migrants of partition and their families today still is a day of pain. It's a day they remember the horrific scenes from 1947, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Sophia, 75 years on where do Indian and Pakistan relations stand now, and what challenges lie ahead, for Pakistan?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: I mean, yes, Rosemary, 75 years in. We, to understand where we've come, we obviously have to look back if we're looking forward as well. And when it comes to India and Pakistan it was a one land that was split into two countries after the British left, after these two countries got independence. And of course, there is that bone of contention, which is the region of Kashmir. It's a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars.

An argument can be made that currently the relations between the countries are not at that lowest ever because there isn't a war ongoing. But since at least 2014 there's been an absolute iron curtain between India and Pakistan in terms of like an exchange of ideas, in terms of connections between students, between artists, between academics. This is our culture. These are people who have shared cultures for thousands of years before these lines were even drawn.

So, there is a call from academics and artists for these relations to improve. There are different ways, that Indians and Pakistanis connect. Now that we have social media the music videos that are shared that from each country, of course, is Bollywood on the Indian side, the Pakistan also has its own cultural heritage.

And because of a shared language, shared culture these things are, for example, there's a song called Pasoori by this local organization called Coke studios run by the soda company and it reached number one in the Indian charts. And these are artists who cannot actually go and perform in India. They connect via the diaspora.

So, there are issues that both countries are facing, but there's a lot to connect over as well. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Sophia Saifi, Vedika Sud, many thanks to you both for joining us live. I appreciate it.

SUD: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Kenya's presidential election winner is expected to be announced today as authorities raced to count votes. Right now, the deputy president and the opposition leader are the front runners and the race is extremely close. The election commission says about 87 percent of the votes are verified with the remainder expected later today. If neither candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff for the first time in Kenya's history.

And CNN's Larry Madowo joins me now from Kisumu. So, Larry, results could come any moment, right? What are you hearing?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Rosemary. In fact, the results could come even within this hour. There's -- it appears to have been a completion of the verification exercise. So, there is a national tallying center of the Bomas of Kenya here in Nairobi. And they've spent the past six days with lots of desks set up in that place where agents of the major presidential candidates and poll officials have been going through painstakingly each of the forms that have results from across the nation.

That's all clear now. And they seem to be setting up for some kind of ceremony, which we imagine is going to be the result announcement of who will be Kenya's fifth president. It's been slower than expected.

In fact, Kenya's have endured the longest ever wait for the result of the presidential election, because the electoral commission complained that the agents of the major presidential candidates approached this like a forensic audit, they were really going through the minor details on each of these forms. And that's why it's delayed so long.


They've now announced about 90 percent of all the constituency results. So we're left the final 10 percent, but they seem it'll be obvious once all those are now. So, it really now for the whole nation some excitement now as they wait to see will it be William Ruto, the deputy president who ascends to the presidency on his first attempt, or will it be Raila Odinga who finally, after five times gets to win the presidency.

Where we are in Kisumu is a heartland of Raila Odinga support. He's much beloved here. A lot of people in on the streets you see here voted for him. They voted for him the last four times as well. In the four -- in the three out of the last four elections he contested the vote. He's claimed that he won and the vote was stolen from him.

This time, he's got the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta who's the chair of his coalition. So it's the best chance yet he's got to winning the presidency and everybody will be speaking to hear, they call him baba, meaning dad, they think baba the fifth he's got the presidency this time. But really, it's up to the electoral commission in Nairobi to declare that results. And then the whole nation will see who their next leader will be, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And I know when that result come through you will be on here with us as soon as that happens. Larry Madowo, thank you so much for staying on top of this. I appreciate it.

Well, millions in the U.S. are under heat alerts today and it is a similar story across Europe. We will talk about the record heat, extreme droughts and devastating wildfires.



CHURCH: A blazing hot summer in the U.S. season, excuse me, is not over yet. More than 10 million Americans are under heat alerts from the southeast to the west coast while other areas are bracing for potential flooding.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has more on this. And Pedram, we just keep seeing these extremes, don't we?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, it's great to see you that you're human. You sound so perfect all the time. I love hearing your voice change a little bit.

CHURCH: Thank you.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely. You know, this summer has been incredible summer when it comes to excessive heat. And of course, we've had some record rainfall as well across portions of the United States.

But I want to talk about what's happening around the southwest, around areas of California in particular, because about 10 million Americans underneath the risk for excessive heat and nine million of them right here across the Central Valley. Temps as warm as 110 degrees. Of course, middle of summer you expect temperatures to be extreme. And that is typically around 92 to 90 across this region.

But notice we're aiming for about 110, 108 to 110, even 111 there in Redding by the time we get towards Wednesday afternoon and even the southwest remaining where it should for this time of year. But the excessive nature of the heat and the long duration of it always concerning.

Because notice in Sacramento, we climb up, stay about 10 to 13 above average, and then cool off just a little bit, possibly by this weekend, back down closer to the seasonal averages.

Speaking of that, notice what's happening across portions of Arkansas, portions of Texas. Temps also with heat indices as warm as 107. But notice what happens here, a cooling trend in store. We haven't seen that in quite some time, a stark contrast between what the western U.S. experiencing, and finally, potentially some relief across the eastern U.S.

Notice, next six to 10 days or so seeing temps below average possibly for some. In Dallas, Rosemary, temps dropping back down to around 90 degrees by Thursday. So maybe a hint of changes for cooler weather for some people in the coming days.

CHURCH: What a relief that is at least for some as you point out. Pedram Javaheri, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Well, the Northern summer has of course also been brutal in Europe with scorching heat and extreme droughts, but there may be some relief this week with a cool front forecast for the U.K., France, and Spain.

Meanwhile, wildfires are still raging in parts of Spain. One of them in the countries northeast. Forced around 1,500 people to evacuate on Sunday. The fire was first reported Saturday afternoon and quickly spread overnight.

So, let's talk more about Europe's heat wave. CNN's Scott McLean is in London, but first let's go to Melissa Bell in France. And Melissa, you have been covering these fires across Europe, and now we learn the E.U. is on track to see its worst wildfire destruction in more than 15 years. What is the latest on all of this?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the very heart, Rosemary, of that wildfire that began last Tuesday. There have been several, of course, over the course of July and August here in southwestern France. One of those parts of Europe that's been particularly impacted. And this is a fire that's now been officially contained, but that does not mean that it's out.

As you said, weather conditions improving slightly, but I'm just going to explain to you why this is so dangerous and why the vigilance of the firefighters, you can see all their trucks out here remains extremely high. Because look at this, look at how dry everything is. The fact also that there are still leaves here. The flames burned so fast and so suddenly from last Tuesday in this particular wildfire, that part of the vegetation remains intact.

It just spread at a speed that was quite extraordinary. And the reason that vigilance needs to remain that high is this. That although now the fire has been contained all over what is a zone of about 25, 30 miles around, these fires are likely to pick up all the time again. I's been raining slightly, it's slightly cooler. So, you don't have the big flames that you had.

And yet, all of these hotspots and they're really, they're really everywhere. It's remarkable. You can see the smoke here and there all over the zone, there are a thousand firemen currently on this area trying to keep an eye on these bits of smoke that come the flames that can pick up in the hope that the rain and the slightly lower temperatures will last for just a little bit longer to allow them to bring this under control.

But again, these are men. This is equipment that have been so stretched by what's happened here over the course of the last couple of months, that they're exhausted with European reinforcement that have come in to try and help them keep these fires under control, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. It is a huge task and so dry as you point out. And Scott, the extreme heat is drying up London's River Thames. What more can you tell us about that?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rosemary, look, of course, this is one of the most famous sections of the river and here it rises and falls with the tide. But if you go to the headwaters about 85 miles west, there is no water. We were toured around that area by a local rivers expert who says, of course in the summer months it's not uncommon for the source of a river to dry up. But what is unprecedented this year is just how much of the Thames is dry.


We had to go about 10 miles down that dry river bed to find any kind of meaningful flow of water. And that is because large swaths of England are under drought conditions right now. We just finished the dry -- this July since 1935, and the problems are piling up, of course, in the local aquatic environment, in farming. And the reservoirs are also extremely low right now as well.

And so, this problem of drought in the summertime scientists say, well, it's only going to get worse in the future. And so, I ask that rivers expert whether this is about solving for climate change still, or whether it's simply about adapting to it.


ROB COLLINS, HEAD OF POLICY AND SCIENCE, THE RIVERS TRUST: We still have a possibility of keeping the rising temperature down to two degrees. But yes, adaptation is going to be really important from now on that we must wake up and understand this is a stark warning to us. We have to change our behavior across the whole society and our homes, our gardens, water companies, industry, all of us have to make that change.


MCLEAN: Now water restrictions are already in place in many parts of the country, more are on the -- on the way likely, including in this area. Now rain is also likely later this afternoon for parts of England, but the trouble is, is that it's the wrong kind of rain. Thunderstorms. Because the ground is so baked, so hard, so dry right now that water is likely to run off and cause flash flooding. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, that is the big fear, isn't it? Melissa Bell, Scott McLean, many thanks to you both for joining us with those live reports.

Well, more than 200 cities and counties across China are under their highest heat alert with temperatures soaring once again. They're expected to top 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit in the day ahead.

Most of the areas affected are in eastern and southwestern China. People are being advised to stay indoors and take precautions to prevent heat stroke.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. CNN Newsroom continues with Christina Macfarlane. That's next.