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Israel, Islamic Jihad Agree to Ceasefire; Zelenskyy Meeting German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin; Tropical Cyclone Mocha Makes Landfall in Myanmar; Man Stolen at Birth Meets Chilean Half-Sister; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Hits Campaign Trail in Iowa; Election Underway as Turkey Still Reeling From Deadly Quake; NY Counties Sue New York City Over Plan To Transfer Migrants. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired May 14, 2023 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Ahead on CNN Newsroom. After days of violence, Israel and the Islamic Jihad agree to a ceasefire. We're live in Jerusalem to see if the peace is holding.
Plus, the latest from the U.S.-Mexican border and the legal fallout of trying to house migrants in cities thousands of miles away.
And later, a hug 42 years in the making, an American man reunites with his sister after discovering he was stolen as a baby.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.
BRUNHUBER: It's 05:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, noon in Israel, where a ceasefire with Islamic Jihad appears to be holding. Egypt brokered the deal Saturday to end hostilities that erupted last Tuesday when Israel launched another military operation in Gaza.
Palestinians celebrated the ceasefire, but many are skeptical it'll hold. At least 35 people were killed over the past week, nearly all of them Palestinians. Listen to what one Gaza resident had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUNIR MAROUF, GAZA RESIDENT: The truce is good. It ends the destruction, ends the house demolition. But we want a truce built on a good basis, not like each time there is a truce. And then after a month, there are people who died. We want a truce that is based on a good basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: The IDF says its operation in Gaza killed six Islamic Jihad commanders and struck hundreds of militant targets. This strike on the alleged home of one commander came shortly before the ceasefire took effect.
Journalist Elliott Gotkine is covering all of this for us from Jerusalem. And Elliott, I mean the most recent sign of the ceasefire to border crossings into the Gaza Strip reopened?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: That's right, Kim. We're inching back towards the way things were before this round of hostilities began on Tuesday. Crossings have reopened partially to and from the Gaza Strip, and fuel trucks have been going in and been able to start replenishing their power stations.
Fishing is also kind of reopening gradually, and Israel says that it will keep assessing the situation as it gradually reopens back to the way things were beforehand.
But for now, the ceasefire is holding. It was a bit touch and go at the beginning. It was meant to come into effect at 10:00 p.m. local time. But Islamic Jihad militants continue to fire rockets for just over an hour more. And there were still Israeli airstrikes taking place up until about midnight.
So now, for the past 12 hours, though, things have been calm and quiet, both for the people of Gaza and especially for the -- also for the Israeli communities in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, who've pretty much been in lockdown in bomb shelters for the past five days.
The result of these five days of hostilities, more than 1200 rockets fired by militants of Islamic Jihad towards Israel. Israel said it struck more than 370 targets, 33 Palestinians killed, including militants, as well as uninvolved civilians such as women and children. And there were two killed inside Israel as well.
Of course, the big question is, will this continue to hold? Well, Israel has already said that quiet will be met with quiet, adding that if Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do everything it needs to do to defend itself.
Islamic Jihad and other militant factions, meanwhile, have said that this round of fighting is over, but the will to fight has not receded. And I don't think anyone is under any illusions that there will not be another flare up at some point in time.
But for now, this ceasefire that was brokered by Egypt, which was thanked both by the Israeli side and by the militants of Islamic Jihad, this ceasefire is holding. And all eyes now, I suppose, are on this week's flag march through Jerusalem, including the eastern parts of Jerusalem, which Israelis celebrate as a reunification of Jerusalem and which has a tendency to result in violence and has indeed spilled over into flare ups with Gaza. That perhaps seems less likely now, but we're still watching very carefully to see what happens this coming Thursday. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll keep monitoring that. Elliott Gotkine in Jerusalem, thanks so much.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Berlin right now meeting Olaf Scholz. Earlier, the German Chancellor greeted Zelenskyy with a military honor ceremony, the Ukrainians making his first trip to Germany since Russia invaded his country.
The visit came a day after Germany announced its largest batch of military aid for Ukraine, worth about $3 billion. So, for more, Fred Pleitgen joins us live from Berlin.
So, Fred, an important symbol of solidarity taking place there. Take us through what's happening and what you're expecting to come out of this.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kim. Well, first of all, I think you're absolutely right. I think it is a very important symbol for both countries, both for the Germans as well as for the Ukrainians as well. For the Germans, obviously, because, you know, at the beginning of Russia's full-on invasion of Ukraine, they were seen as one of the countries who were sort of putting the brakes on military aid towards Ukraine. A lot of people felt that, especially Olaf Scholz, this chancellor himself, was moving too slow in providing some of that military aid.
But Germany over the past couple of months has actually become one of the largest donors of military aid. And I think, you know, us seeing that very large military aid package being weighed through by the Germans just in the days running up to this visit is certainly something that is of huge significance.
You're talking about EUR2.7 billion, that's about $3 billion in equipment. And some of that is extremely important and very modern equipment at that. You're talking about the IRIS-T air defense system, for instance. Main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, some of the most modern Howitzers in the world.
So Germany certainly plays a key role in that. You can see that the country has come a long way from being one of those who is maybe a little bit subdued in helping to the Ukrainians, to one that is really on the forefront, the Ukrainians themselves are now saying, of providing military aid. And of course, on top of that, one has to say Germany is one of the countries, at least in Europe, that produces the most military equipment that the Ukrainians really need.
So for Volodymyr Zelenskyy to have that already, to know that there is going to be this big military aid package that is coming, is certainly something that is of huge importance to him. But there's another element also, and we're waiting right now here, by the way, Kim in the next couple of minutes, we expect a press conference from both Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.
But the second part of this day, I think, is also extremely important to the Ukrainians as well, when Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, will be awarded the Charlemagne Prize. And I was looking at the reasoning that the committee there was giving, and they were saying that the reason is that Ukraine is defending the values of Europe, not just its own sovereignty, but also the values of Europe and the European Union. And of course, one of the things that the Ukrainians have been wanting for a very long time and have been eyeing is membership in the European Union, membership in NATO as well.
So certainly receiving that award will be something that is very important as a sort of stepping stone on that way. It might be symbolic, but it is definitely Europe acknowledging that they believe that the Ukrainians are defending the values of a united Europe. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, fascinating symbolism there. Interesting. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for that.
Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy is indicating Ukraine will soon start taking the first important steps in its expected counter offensive. He made the statement after meeting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Saturday.
But in Ukraine, Russian artillery is pummeling targets across the country. This is video of a drone strike in the western part of the country on Saturday, which reportedly left 21 people injured. Ukraine says another attack in the east killed two people and left ten others wounded.
So, for more, Salma Abdelaziz joins us from London. Salma, going back to President Zelenskyy's trip to Italy. He also met with the Pope. So walk us through that visit?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, consider this very much for President Zelenskyy, a trip for war in peace. You heard there from our colleague Fred about the defensive part of this trip, the diplomatic part, where he's pushing for more weapons, pushing for more support. He got a lot of that support in Italy as well.
The Prime Minister, they are vowing unwavering help from Italy through this fight with Russia. Even promising, and as you heard there from Fred, the importance, the symbolism of Europe standing by President Zelenskyy in his bid to join NATO, to join E.U. Rome as well, emphasizing that it stands by President Zelenskyy in that bid. The Prime Minister vowing to do anything she can to continue to push and support Ukraine's NATO membership as quickly as it can come.
And you asked specifically, Kim, about the visit with Pope Francis. Now, this is important because, of course, Pope Francis has been focused on the humanitarian aspect of this conflict. He said that he has been giving constant or carrying out constant prayers for Ukraine.
Pope Francis has been trying to get involved, if you will, in a peace process, trying to pose himself as a mediator. Now, to be seen how much that will take off the ground, if you will. But yet again, Pope Francis, they're trying to reach out to President Zelenskyy, saying that he wants to be one of those mediators on the ground, emphasizing the need for humanitarian aid, as well as that defensive aid that's needed on the front lines.
And all of this happening, Kim, against the backdrop of the war, still very much continuing on the ground in Ukraine. You mentioned some 21 drones fired by Russia towards Ukraine yesterday, 17 of them intercepted, but several of them hitting in a town, in a city rather, between Lviv and Kyiv.
So in the west of the country, an area often considered safe, where several people were injured, infrastructure was damaged as well. So President Zelenskyy very much in Europe with this backed up, a reminder of what's happening on the ground.
And then, of course, you have the expected counter offensive. And that's very much why he's there in Europe, to get Europe's support, to get Europe's help as it makes this major push, Ukrainian forces make this major push expected in the coming days, weeks eminently against those Russian frontlines.
BRUNHUBER: Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much.
President Joe Biden was cautious but upbeat on Saturday about Congress finally raising the debt ceiling so the U.S. doesn't default on its obligations, and that includes big things like Social Security and Medicare. It's a long list, and the U.S. has never failed to pay what it owes. But so far, House Republicans have refused to budge on their spending demands even as the risk of catastrophic default grows daily, white House and congressional staffers are racing to hammer out an agreement before it's too late. So here's how the President described those talks on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I think we're moving along it's hard to tell. We've not -- we have not reached a crunch point yet. But, there is real discussion about some changes (inaudible) but we're not there yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: It's been two days since Title 42 expired in the United States. Just ahead, we'll take you to the southern border to see how the end of the restrictions might be affecting the number of migrant crossings.
And as cyclone Mocha comes ashore in Southeast Asia, millions of people are bracing for the worst. Coming up, we'll have details on the path of the storm. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: In Southeast Asia, tropical cyclone Mocha made landfall earlier in Myanmar. Its outer bands have been bringing rain and winds equivalent to a Category Five hurricane to parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. And aid agencies are bracing for disaster as the storm threatens millions of the world's most vulnerable people. Disaster response teams handed out aid and food in Myanmar and helped residents get to temporary shelters. In Bangladesh about 1 million Rohingya refugees are at risk from the cyclone. Last hour, I spoke with the UN's Principal Coordinator for Refugee Response in Bangladesh, and here's what he had to say about the efforts to handle the emergency. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARJUN JAIN, UN PRINCIPAL COORDINATOR FOR THE ROHINGYA REFUGEE RESPONSE IN BANGLADESH: The camps themselves are the largest in the world. Their shelters, the refugees are living in shelters made out of bamboo and tarpaulin. The material cannot withstand heavy and intense winds or rains that we are expecting to see.
A number of shelters are in low lying areas, which means that they are likely to be inundated if there are heavy rains. And we are terribly worried about what might just happen if the storm and the cyclone picks up at this part of the -- on this side of the border.
The government has been excellent in preparing the refugees and working with us in setting up contingency plans. We have got heavy machinery on standby. We have got contingency stocks. The World Food Program has got ready meals for the refugees if need be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: All right, let's get more on the forecast from CNN Meteorologist Britley Ritz. So take us through what we're expecting. How bad will this be?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, thankfully, Kim, the system itself has made landfall as of 12:45 local time. And as it kicked the land, the friction has pulled it apart a bit. So slowly weakening, but still a massive system nonetheless, as it pushes inland.
Winds are still very, very strong. 305 km/hour as it's picked up speed now moving northeast at 26 km/hour. The whole system still holding on to some warm water there in the Bay of Bengal. About a degree, to a degree and a half degree Celsius, warmer than what it typically should be. So that was the fuel for the system now hitting the land, falling apart.
Also, some drier air moving across Pakistan, parts of India and into the center of the storm helped to kind of dilute it a bit on the left- hand side. But notice all that deep blue, that's the moisture that kicked in, in that warm ocean water.
As it pushes inland, again, the friction of the land within the next 24 to 36 hours really weakens the system to an area of low pressure. Regardless, strong winds still a problem. Now, the strongest have moved through this morning as that wall, eye wall, pushed on shore. Still holding on to some extreme wind gusts this morning -- in the afternoon, rather. And then, of course, the winds will weaken as we move into Monday and Tuesday.
Heavy rain also another big problem. We've been dealing with it already with the outer bands and now that eye wall coming onto shore. This heavy rain is an ongoing situation through Sunday night and into Monday, then finally starting to weaken a bit by Tuesday. Scattered showers. But showers nonetheless on already saturated grounds.
Torrential downfall, that's what we can expect with this rain. And you'll notice the reds, the deep reds. That's about 150 rain within the next five days. Isolated higher amounts are a possibility as well. Nearly about 250 next five days' time.
And keep this in mind too. Notice the cone. It's well outside of that cone range, so we are already feeling the effects widespread stretching all the way back up into Bangladesh and parts of India. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll stay on top of this. Britley Ritz, thank you so much.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., one person was killed and a dozen were injured when a tornado ripped through South Texas. Have a look. You can see the powerful storm knocked down trees and power lines, damaging houses. The National Weather Service says the tornado was category EF1 with wind speeds up to 110 mph. That's more than 170 km an hour. Local officials have imposed a nightly curfew, restricting nonresidents from entering the area.
Migrants may have gotten the message from the White House that the U.S. southern border isn't open now that Title 42 has expired. Shortly after the regulation ended Thursday, a top Homeland Security official said there was no substantial increase of migrants at the border. The long lines of people waiting to enter the U.S. have tapered off dramatically and officials from the Texas border region say they've yet to see the massive surge many were expecting. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICENTE GONZALEZ, JR. U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: We're starting to see more order on the border. We're starting to see an orderly process of migrants not coming at the numbers that they were. And the numbers that are crossing now are under the capability and capacity of Border Patrol and CBP and law enforcement on our border.
JAVIER VILLALOBOS, MCALLEN, TEXAS MAYOR: Right now we are within capacity and we're logistically doing well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: For more on the story here CNN's Polo Sandoval.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here on the U.S.-Mexico border, there is a general feeling among many stakeholders that the chaos that they expected with the expiration of Title 42 didn't necessarily play out. That's according to at least one senior CBP official. Of course referring to Customs and Border Protection was cited in a recently filed court document that says the 10-day average of migrant encounters currently stands at about 9000, which is well below what was expected.
However, there is some concern and some projections that suggest that that number could go up to as many as 14,000 in the coming days or weeks. There is a number though, that is critically high here and that is the daily custody average, which is the total number of migrants that are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. That number still stands at about 23,000. So this -- what you can perhaps call a temporary respite is allowing them opportunities to process those individuals to make room for others who may possibly choose to enter the country illegally.
Now, there is some speculation here on the ground when you speak to some of those who are running the shelters that receive some of these migrants after their process. They seem to believe that perhaps some of the news coming from the Biden administration of the stricter policies could be making it south of the border.
So you have many asylum -- potential asylum seekers just south of the border that are still weighing their options. There are, of course, those numbers that are likely to continue to grow, and that is the number of asylum seekers ending up in some of America's largest cities.
Of course, many of them here in El Paso telling me that they are wanting to go to California, some wanting to stay in Texas. But many of them continue to say that New York City is their final destination. Polo Sandoval, CNN El Paso, Texas.
BRUNHUBER: One of Chile's many dark secrets during the regime of Augusto Pinochet was the stealing and selling of babies to adoption agencies. One of those babies was Scott Lieberman, an American living in San Francisco.
Well, thanks to DNA testing, he discovered he had a half-sister living in Chile whom he recently met for the first time. CNN's Rafael Romo has the story.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She doesn't speak English, and his Spanish is basic.
Just a few weeks ago, they were perfect strangers. But now they hug as if they have known each other their entire lives. What brought them together was a DNA test that proved Scott Lieberman, an American and Jenny Escalona Mardones from Chile, are half siblings.
SCOTT LIEBERMAN, AMERICAN HALF-BROTHER: She's my half-sister.
ROMO: Lieberman says it was at that moment he knew he had to travel to Chile. When he arrived in Concepcion, they shared a hug that had to wait 42 years. LIEBERMAN: Very good. It's exciting. Like almost all my family's here. It's incredible. Like just so much love.
ROMO: Scott Lieberman says he always knew that he was adopted from Chile. What he did not know was the whole truth about how the adoption happened. A few months ago, he found out that in the 70s and 80s there have been many cases of babies stolen in Chile and sold to adoption agencies and began to wonder if the same thing had happened to him.
LIEBERMAN: I didn't know what happened. I lived 42 years of my life without knowing that I was stolen. Knowing what was happening down in Chile during the 70s and 80s. And I just -- I want people to know people need to know, there are families out there that can still be reunited.
ROMO: During the last decade, CNN has documented multiple cases of babies who were stolen at birth in Chile, during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, Babies were funneled to adoption agencies, some from upper classes taken or given up to protect reputations and some from lower classes where children were simply stolen.
Chilean authorities say many priests, nuns, doctors, nurses and others conspired to carry out illegal adoptions. Authorities told us the number of stolen babies could be in the thousands, but the investigation into the adoptions has languished over the years.
Scott Lieberman is one of the lucky few. With the help of Nos Buscamos, a Chilean organization dedicated to reuniting families and the support of MyHeritage, an online DNA company, he was able to find his half -?sister in Chile and prove they were related.
Jenny Escalona Mardones learned the truth when she got a call from a volunteer at Nos Buscamos.
JENNY ESCALONA MARDONES, CHILEAN HALF-SISTER (through translator): That was very shocking for me. It was something I can't describe. An emotion, a feeling that is yet to sink in.
ROMO: They recently visited the tomb of Rosa Esther Mardones, their mother, who died of bone cancer in 2015. The 58-?year -?old died not knowing her son was still alive and would return home to Chile less than a decade later.
MARDONES (through translator): Never, ever did my mother talk about the fact that she had a child and that it had been stolen. It was the painful truth that she kept to herself for many years. I even think that her pain took her away.
ROMO: After spending a few unforgettable days with this Chilean family, Scott Lieberman returned home to San Francisco. But he's already planning to return to the country of his birth in August to celebrate his birthday. The half -?siblings have made each other a promise, let's make up for lost time. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
BRUNHUBER: President Biden shifts into campaign mode in his address to graduating seniors at Howard University. Coming up, you'll hear what he had to say to a group. It could be pivotal to him winning a second term.
Plus, voting is well underway in Turkey. Millions of voters are choosing a president and members of parliament. We're live to Istanbul for the latest developments after the break, please stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.
Iowa almost sought dueling Republican rallies on Saturday night, with former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis scheduled to converge on the campaign trail. But bad weather and tornado warnings foiled Donald Trump's plans to rally his supporters in Des Moines, and he canceled his appearance. So that left DeSantis alone in Iowa. And while he hasn't yet officially announced he's running for the white House, DeSantis sure looked like he was setting out a presidential platform in Iowa. Our Steve Contorno was there.
STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Florida governor Ron DeSantis returned to Iowa for a pair of events in the early caucus state meant to show that he is laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign even though he isn't in the race yet. Ahead of his trip, 37 state lawmakers in Iowa endorsed DeSantis for president. There were signs that said DeSantis 2024 lining the entrance of his event. There was a tour bus that said DeSantis for President, and there was even a pledge to people in attendance that they were going to support DeSantis in 2024.
But when it came time for DeSantis to discuss his political future, he avoided the topic altogether, instead issuing this warning to Iowa Republicans about if they look to the past instead of looking to the future in this upcoming presidential primary.
GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: If we make 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, and if we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country, Republicans will win across the board. If we do not do that, if we get distracted, if we focus the election on the past or on other side issues. Then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again, and I think it'll be very difficult to recover from that defeat.
CONTORNO: Now, if you notice there, Governor DeSantis did not mention Trump by name, even though he was clearly referring to the former president. That is, by design. DeSantis does not want to confront Trump directly until he is actually in the race, and even then, he has said he is going to focus on Joe Biden. However, Donald Trump is very focused on Ron DeSantis. He talks about him nonstop. He posts on Truth Social about him quite a bit. He mentioned him at the CNN Town Hall this week. And we expected him to address DeSantis at his own event on Saturday. However, it was canceled due to the threat of tornado, so Trump was forced to stay in Florida. Steve Contorno, CNN, Sioux Center, Iowa.
BRUNHUBER: President Biden didn't mention Donald Trump by name either, but his commencement speech on Saturday at Howard University left no doubt who he was talking about. Biden's address at the historically black university hit on many of his campaign themes and was aimed at an audience crucial to his reelection. Here's some of what he had to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: There are those who demonize and pit people against one another. And there are those who do anything and everything, no matter how desperate or immoral, to hold onto power. And that's never going to be an easy battle.
But I know this: The oldest, most sinister forces may believe they'll determine America's future, but they are wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Now, it's worth noting that recent polling shows Biden's support among black voters has dropped considerably since he took office, although it's still above 50%.
Voters in Turkey are going to the polls today in what could prove to be a pivotal general election. Some 61 million voters are making choices that will determine Turkey's next president and the makeup of the next parliament. Current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a challenge from a candidate from the Republican People's Party and another candidate with the right-wing ancestral alliance. And if no presidential candidate wins at least half of the vote, a runoff will be held on May 28.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Istanbul. So polls there are open. What is the mood there with so much at stake, Jomana?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kim, just under five hours to polls closing here, and, you know, we've been to a couple of polling centers in Istanbul, and you see this constant stream of people coming in, voting. And you have so many different people who are determined to take part in this election, whether it is your first-time voters, and there's just under 5 million voters in this country who are voting for the first time and who are determined to be part of the decision on where this country goes next.
You've also got the elderly coming in. We've seen family members coming and helping, you know, their elderly to come and vote. You've had ambulance, an ambulance pull up at one of the stations we were at earlier and bringing in someone on a stretcher and wheelchairs to come in and vote. [05:35:13]
You know, we met one woman, for example, who's a Turkish-American woman voting for the first time ever, a 78-year-old saying she was here because she wanted to take part in this historic decision. And this is something we have heard from so many people. They have been waiting for this day for a very long time. They feel that this is not just about the next five years. This is about the future of this country. There is so much at stake here and they have two very, very different choices in front of them. You've got the President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led this country for the past more than two decades, and he is promising to continue on the same path that he has been on.
And you also have the opposition, who for the first time, have come together under one united coalition and put forward one candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. And they are promising change. They are promising essentially to reverse years of President Erdogan's rule.
And it's a very tough choice for a lot of people. When you talk to people, they tell you that there's just so much on their minds right now. This is a country that has been going through so much, whether it is the traumatic events of the past few months after that devastating earthquake that has brought a lot of criticism to President Erdogan after what was described as the disastrous initial response to the earthquake, the lack of preparedness.
Then you've got the economy, which is impacting every single person you speak to. Where people have watched their life savings pretty much lose value as the Turkish lira plummeted over the past couple of years, losing much of its value, the cost of living that has gone up with inflation that people can't keep up with.
And a lot of people blame that on President Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies. And you also have, especially amongst the younger generation, the first-time voters, people we have been speaking to, they say this is also about their freedom, this is about democracy and this is about their rights. And they feel that, you know, no matter what the state of democracy is in this country right now, the ballot box is the only way they can express their views. They can make change in this country and they can play a part in decision making. And where this country goes next.
It's a very, very tight race, as you mentioned, Kim. We'll have to wait and see what happens in the next few hours. Again, just under five hours to polls closing and expectation is it's going to be really high turnout. We saw the two main candidates, President Erdogan and also the leader of the opposition, Kilicdaroglu, both casting their ballots today, all sounding very hopeful and optimistic. And again, if neither of them gets more than 50% of the vote, this goes to a runoff in two weeks.
BRUNHUBER: All right, polls close in five hours. We'll be watching. Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, thank you so much. And I just want to give you a note for our international viewers. Be sure to watch CNN's Special live coverage of the elections in Turkey hosted by Becky Anderson. That's today at 7:00 in the evening in London, 09:00 p.m. in Istanbul, right here, of course, on CNN.
Well, it's also Election Day in Thailand, where polls are set to close at the top of the hour. Voters are choosing members of a new 500 seat House of Representatives. It could lead to the defeat of the military backed leader who has ruled Thailand for nearly 10 years now. Now, this is the first election since pro-democracy demonstrations rocked Thailand in 2020. Those demonstrations were led by the nation's young people, a voting bloc that some analysts say could be decisive today.
All right, just ahead, New York City announced a plan to house migrants at hotels and neighboring counties. Those counties are now suing to block the plan. We'll have more on this when we come back. Please stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Officials were bracing for a surge in the number of migrants at the U.S. Southern border following the expiration of Title 42. But the widely expected surge didn't happen. The Trump era policy expired on Thursday. With the end of the COVID-?19 public health emergency, authorities were concerned that processing and detention facilities might become dangerously overcrowded.
Meanwhile, in cities like Chicago and New York, lawsuits have been filed to keep migrants from being housed in certain locations. In New York, officials in both Orange and Rockland counties have issued executive orders barring the arrival of migrants and all asylum seekers.
According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the program would provide up to four months of temporary shelter for adult men seeking asylum who are already in the city's care as they try to obtain a work permit. New York City has processed more than 65,000 migrants since last spring, with 35,000 still in the city's care.
And joining me now from New York is attorney and CNN Opinion Writer Raul Reyes. Thank you so much for being here with us. So these lawsuits that are trying to stop migrants from being housed in other cities, I mean, is this just the latest front in the NIMBY wars, the not in my backyard wars? What's behind this?
RAUL REYES, ATTORNEY: Well, to a certain extent, I think many people can relate to both sides of this issue because we're talking about two very complicated issues. One is immigration. And the other one is the lack of affordable housing that we see all across the country. So what we're seeing, for example, in Upstate New York, when some counties are trying to say that when they're trying basically to bar migrants or asylum seekers from coming to their counties or being resettled there legally, that's a very unsound approach because migrants, just like everyone else, they do have certain constitutional rights. What of them being equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. That means they can't be discriminated against in terms of where they live. So if you're looking at -- if your local community town seeking to bar
people in terms of their status as a member of a group, that really is not going to hold up in court. I think a better approach maybe would be in terms of being successful in these type of lawsuits, would be localities that focus, say, on their zoning laws or focus on whether or not a local motel or hotel can be used for long term housing. You know, it's a question of, how they target these laws versus how they are going to ultimately hold up in court.
BRUNHUBER: Right, Interesting, but getting at sort of what is behind this. I mean, looking at the town of Newburgh in Orange County, New York for instance, it has a population that's about 50% Hispanics.
So how much of this is caused by, you know, xenophobia and how much of it is a legitimate concern, as you pointed out, you know, that these migrants are being offloaded with little to no planning often or no input from the affected communities?
REYES: Exactly. Those are two of the issues that are really in play here. One is just the lack of coordination. Some of these local communities say they're not fully informed about how many migrants are coming, for how long they will be coming, what the situation is will be for them long-term.
And the other one is I wouldn't say necessarily xenophobia, but I would say definitely a lack of information or misinformation because I think many people might be afraid, depending on what they have heard in the media, that people might be coming who are potentially criminals or some type of lower elements.
What I don't think many people realize is that migrants who have gone through processing at the border have been screened by the federal government. They have been vetted by Homeland Security before they're allowed into the country. So we are not looking at least based on people's prior records at, say, you know, people with violent history or criminal records being resettled in local towns. So it is a lack of communication information in play here.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, and then competition for resources as well. I mean, looking at the case of Chicago where the proposal was to open a center in the city South Side, it's not the case of, you know, a privileged group not wanting the migrants there. It's an underserved community feeling as though the migrants are kind of being dumped into an area that's under resourced as it is. Is that a fair defense?
REYES: Right, right, absolutely. Because, well, it is -- when we look at the bigger picture, it's natural that many of these migrants would choose to go to large American cities because that's where they have friends, they have relatives, they have potential support networks. But these countries that are -- these cities excuse me, that are receiving migrants, they are far from -- they are not ideal situations themselves because most major American cities, there are serious problems with homelessness, with affordable housing, and the city budgets are already strained. So, like I said, we're mixing two very serious problems. That's not to say I think there are potential solutions. I'm just not sure if they're politically viable. One of the solutions that has struck me was a proposal by Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey, who has proposed to the administration that they potentially match up certain migrants, potentially, with states that have labor shortages. I mean, we're a country with, I think, 3.4% unemployment. We have 9 million available jobs. So I think there is a question of coordinating where we might potentially place migrants and which types of communities are ready, able, and willing to receive them. So it doesn't create this type of controversy and so it doesn't hit different communities and constituencies against each other.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, it's a great idea, but it would require political will and coordination on so many different levels there.
REYES: You're right.
BRUNHUBER: Really appreciate getting your insights on this, CNN Opinion Writer Raul Reyes, thanks for joining us.
REYES: My pleasure.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, cheers.
You all right just ahead, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers will play a decisive Game 7 later today. One of them will advance the conference finals. The other will start their offseason. Stary with us.
BRUNHUBER: Well, they are possibly the two most exciting words in American sports. Game 7 and no two teams in NBA history have had as many Game 7 clashes as the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. This time they're playing for a spot in the conference finals against the Miami heat.
CNN World Sport Correspondent Carolyn Manno joins me now. So, Carolyn, this game basically comes down to the league MVP Joel Embiid.
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It does, Kim. And we might not even be talking about this game if the sixers had really stuck to what got them here in the first place, which is getting MB the ball. That seems to work pretty well when you have an MVP. But not only did the reigning MVP not score in the final four minutes of the Game 6 loss on Thursday, he never even touched the ball. And that really can't happen again if Philadelphia wants to reach the eastern conference finals for the first time in over two decades.
History is not on their side either, Kim, Philly is 11 and 17 all time in Game 7s, including two and five against Boston. And meanwhile, the Celtics are 21 and 5 in Game 7s at home. It is a wild, ruckus environment there both teams knowing all that matters is what they do today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEL EMBIID, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS CENTER: We know what we got to do. We've, you know, we've gone on the road. We've won. It's not going to be easy in that environment, but everybody has to step up, starting with me.
JAYLEN BROWN, BOSTON CELTICS GUARD: Celtics fans they -- I love to call this out, right? So I'm going to call you guys out this time. Like energy in the garden has been OK at best. I need you to be up. I need you to come with the energy because we don't need every bit of it. No excuses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANNO: That game tips at 3:30 Eastern stateside today. And on the ICE, the Seattle Kraken have played two playoff series and both are going the distance. After beating the defending champion Avalanche in Game 7 in the first round, they have forced another Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. The Kraken scoring six goals in Game 6 last night, two in each period. So the series heading back to Dallas for a winner take all tomorrow. Game 7, you said it. Best two words in sports. The Edmonton Oilers, meantime, also hoping to keep their season alive at home tonight and force the Game 7 in Las Vegas. So we have that to look forward to as well.
And lastly, for you this morning if the WNBA needed any more proof that it is time to expand, this could be it. A sold-out crowd of more than 19,000 attending the league's first ever game in Canada.
This was a preseason matchup in Toronto between the Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx and look at that crowd, Toronto believed to be a front runner to land one of the two new teams in the next couple of years, along with the bay area out in California. But it looks good to me, Kim. And I know as a proud Canadian, that is also something that you might be looking forward to as well. Keep tipping off this Friday.
BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. They deserve it. I can't wait to see it in Toronto. That would be fantastic. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much, really appreciate it.
BRUNHUBER: All right, well, before we go, the Eurovision Song Contest had a spectacular finale last night. Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 243 points we have a winner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's Loreen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sweden. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's Loreen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've won (inaudible).
BRUNHUBER: Sweden's Loreen there after she sang her way to victory. She's the first woman to win the contest twice beating contestants from 25 other nations with their ballad tattoo. Listen to this.
BRUNHUBER: U.K. hosted this year's Eurovision in Liverpool, England, on behalf of last year's winner, Ukraine. The embattled nation obviously couldn't host the contest due to the ongoing invasion by Russia. Many performers expressed support for Ukraine during the show.
And the world's oldest dog is celebrating his 31st birthday. Now, look, Bobby was treated to a birthday party on Saturday at his home in a rural village in southern Portugal. More than 100 people showed up and a dance troupe performed. According to his owner, Bobby's longevity is due in part to the calm, peaceful environment where he lives. He was declared the world's oldest dong by Guinness World Records back in February.
Well, that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber. For viewers in north America, CNN This Morning is next, for the rest of the world, it's Marketplace Asia.