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Biden Remains Optimistic on Debt Ceiling Negotiations; Potential Risk of Catastrophic U.S. Default Intensifies; DeSantis Proud of Busy Week of Events Possibly for 2024 Bid; Turkey Presidential Race Likely Heads for Runoff; Sunak to Announce Air Missiles Defense for Ukraine; Ceasefire Holding Between Israel and Islamic Jihad; Mothers Make their Long Border Journey to Provide Children; Record-High Voter Turnout in the General Elections in Thailand marks a Historic one in Years; Mocha left Devastation in Myanmar, Bangladesh. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 15, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom and I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead, the United States could be just weeks away from defaulting on its debt. We'll have the latest on negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding that happening.
After days of fighting, a fragile ceasefire is holding in the Middle East. We will go live to Jerusalem for the latest. And Mother's Day at the border, the ordeal some moms are willing to endure to provide a better life for their children.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: And thanks for being with us. It is a new week in Washington, which means we are another day closer to the U.S. defaulting on trillions of dollars of debt. The President is set to meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday, and sources tell CNN the temperature could be just right for bargaining. CNN's Arlette Saenz has the latest now from Washington.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden says he's likely meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, setting up another showdown over the debt limit. The President said his aides are still working through the timing for that meeting, but top economists at the White House and Treasury Department over the weekend said that the staff level talks have been constructive. They said they've talked about the need to avoid default while also
separately talking about budgetary issues. President Biden has struck an optimistic tone that an agreement will be reached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: What I've learned a long time ago, and you know as well as I do, it's never as good to characterize a negotiation in the middle of a negotiation. I remain optimistic because I'm a congenital optimist, but I really think there's a desire on their part as well as ours to reach agreement. I think we'll be able to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Negotiators on the staff level have worked throughout the weekend in preparation for this upcoming meeting with President Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders. Officials have said some of the discussions have centered around the budget, also trying to claw back unspent COVID relief funds and permitting reform.
All sides have their eyes on that June 1st ex-date, that warning date when the U. S. could potentially default on its debt for the first time in history. But some are even warning that the impacts of a potential default could be felt -- felt well before that. The White House has warned that if they wait until the final deadline engage in this springmanship, 200,000 jobs could be lost.
Business leaders like JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon have warned that the stock market could start to panic the closer it gets to that date. Both sides are very cognizant of the economic consequences that could be at risk if the U.S. were to default. The President has said that he thinks that they have time to try to hammer out a deal, but he has asked whether they will have the will to do it. Arlette Saenz, CNN, The White House.
CHURCH: Ron Brownstein is CNN's Senior Political Analyst and a Senior Editor with "The Atlantic". Great to have you with us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So probably, the most pressing issue for this country right now is the looming debt ceiling crisis. How likely is it, do you think, that Republicans and Democrats can find a compromise solution to this problem before June 1st when the U.S. could default on its debt and plunge this country and indeed the world into economic chaos?
BROWNSTEIN: You know, this has historically been one of those issues where predictions work backwards, you know, where people assume that default is so catastrophic that it became unthinkable. So, the question wasn't whether, it was how. And even in 2011, the last time we had a confrontation of this magnitude, there was a widespread assumption in the political system that somehow, some way, Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Joe Biden would find a way to get it done.
I think there's less confidence today. The markets, I think, still believe that in the end, political leadership on both sides of the aisle will not drive the U.S. and potentially the global economy off a cliff in a completely, you know, self-forced error. But compared to 2011, the Republican caucus in the House that is driving this confrontation is further to the right, the majority is smaller, and the speaker is even weaker.
And when you take all of those together, you see the possibility that we couldn't be running through this plate glass window in a way that people never thought was possible before.
CHURCH: Yeah, and that is a nightmare scenario indeed. So, I wanna take a look now at the GOP race for the presidential nomination. We are seeing a major escalation in tension now between former President Donald Trump and his biggest rival, Ron DeSantis, who's criticized Trump over the weekend in Iowa. Now, we're hearing that the Florida governor's political staff will move into a new base of operations in the coming hours, which signals an official run may very well be imminent. When do you expect DeSantis will make that call and how will Trump likely react to it?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, the pre-primary period, the pre-announcement period for DeSantis has been as bad as it's been for any candidate, I think, since maybe Teddy Kennedy in 1980, when he challenged Jimmy Carter, the sitting president, and had a disastrous interview on 60 Minutes, where he couldn't answer why he was running.
DeSantis was seen as kind of the great hope in the party among those who wanted to move past Trump, but he has had a very rough time in moving from this very insular environment that he has created in Florida where he really doesn't talk to the mainstream media at all to one in which he has kind of edged out onto the national stage. And of course, the answer he gave on Ukraine calling it a territorial dispute really was a turning point.
Trump has gone after him from left and right in different times and also in his kind of uniquely personal style. DeSantis may be at a low end, right? I mean, there is still -- Donald Trump is the dominant figure in the Republican Party. But there is still a piece of the party that does not believe he should be the nominee in '24, especially again, after watching him this week on that CNN or last week on that CNN town hall, just do not think that he can get elected.
None of the other '24 candidates really use this kind of a stumbling period for DeSantis to generate any momentum of their own. So, I suspect that he will get another look, and I suspect that given everything that he's experienced over the last few weeks, he's gonna feel the pressure to announce sooner than later.
CHURCH: Right and of course, Sir, Trump had to cancel that Saturday night rally in Des Moines, Iowa due to tornado warnings while DeSantis was not deterred and made a surprise visit there. But that doesn't change the fact that recent primary polls show Trump leading DeSantis by nearly 20 percentage points in that critical primary state.
CHURCH: What chance does DeSantis have in Iowa starting so far behind do you think?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, Iowa is a place where you can make up ground, right? I mean, it's small. They're probably only gonna be about 120,000, maybe 140,000. I mean, there's ever been more than 125,000 people voting on the Republican side in the caucuses there. So, it's a contained universe, you can obviously pummel it with television, you can meet a surprising number of voters.
So, Iowa does give you a chance to get off the mat. I mean, the challenge is if you kind of think about who doesn't like Trump in the Republican Party, it's heavily tilted toward voters with a college degree who find his cultural grievance and his over -- his belligerent persona excessive. DeSantis' problem is that he's based his whole candidacy really so far on being Trumpism without Trump and by signing a six-week abortion ban, by being so absolutist on the permitless carry-a-gun, and by having this sustained war with Disney and Florida is where woke goes to die and all of that.
It's not clear that he's really much more acceptable to those college- educated Republicans who are more economic conservative voters than Trump is. He should be more acceptable in the end, but the way he has chosen to run, trying to squeeze around Trump to his right, I think in many ways alienates his natural constituency in the primaries.
CHURCH: It's gonna be a fascinating primary to watch, for sure. Ron Brownstein, many thanks for joining us.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: Turkey's hotly contested presidential election is likely headed to a runoff. With nearly all results tallied, neither candidate has the 50 percent required to win outright. State-run news reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads with 49.4 percent of the vote, while Kemal Kilicdaroglu has just under 45 percent. Here's Jomana Karadsheh with more.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the polls predicted, this is turning out to be a very, very tight race. Ballot counting is continuing into the early hours of Monday, and so far, it doesn't seem that either of the candidates has been able to achieve that 50 plus 1 percent threshold that is needed to win the presidency.
This is President Erdogan's toughest election he has faced in his 20 years of being -- in leading the country. We heard from President Erdogan tonight coming out, addressing his people, addressing his supporters in an appearance on the balcony of his headquarter -- the headquarters of his party in the capital Ankara.
That's usually where he delivers his victory speech and tonight he came out and he said that he felt he needed to come out and speak to the people from that same balcony saying that while there are no official preliminary results out yet and that the vote counting is continuing, he did sound confident saying that he believes that they are in the lead, but at the same time, accepting the possibility that this is headed towards a second round.
We also heard from the oppositions candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu also coming out and saying that they are ready for a runoff if this is what the Turkish people have decided. Now, here outside the headquarters of President Erdogan's AK Party in Istanbul, we have seen his supporters turning out all night saying that they are here to show their support for President Erdogan and if this is headed towards the second round they are going to continue supporting him.
They know that this has been a very tough election for him and they believe that this is the man who represents them, who they want to represent Turkey and continue to lead the country they believe that he has transformed this country into a regional power -- a power on the world stage. And they want to continue on that path.
On the other side, you've got the opposition that has been promising people change, promising to unseat President Erdogan who they say has turned this into an autocratic country. And they are promising to reverse its policies and take this country back to a parliamentary and a real democratic system.
And as we are seeing these results coming out, you can see it reflects the divisions in this country. And you can see what a polarized country, this is the one thing everyone agrees on is this is the most consequential election in the modern history of this country. And this is not just about the next five years, they would tell you, this is about the future direction of this country. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
CHURCH: And last hour, I spoke with Ragip Soylu, he is the Turkey Bureau Chief for the Middle East Eye, and he's there in Ankara. I asked him if he expected Mr. Erdogan to hold onto power or whether the runoff might be the end of his two decades as Turkey's leader.
RAGIP SOYLU, TURKEY BUREAU CHIEF FOR THE MIDDLE EAST EYE: Well, if you look at the third candidate, which is Sinan Ogan, a Turkish nationalist who got five percent of the votes, it is very likely that Erdogan can win the second round really easily. Because when you make the calculations and the vote that Sinan Ogan got, he basically stole votes from Erdogan. And in a runoff, the voters for Sinan would have a choice. They're going to either vote for Erdogan or the Kilicdaroglu. They're more likely to vote for Erdogan because Kilicdaroglu is an indirect alliance with the Kurdish nationalists at the Turkish parliament.
And, you know, the Turkish nationals don't want to basically vote for a candidate that is in a lot, for indirect alliance with the Kurdish nationals. That's the main reason that they're likely to vote for Erdogan instead of Kilicdaroglu in the second round.
CHURCH: How surprised are you that this election was not more decisive and is poised to go to a runoff and why should the rest of the world care about the outcome?
SOYLU: It is extremely surprising that after 20 years in power, a cost of living crisis, a refugee crisis, an earthquake that aired on managed to edge 50 percent. This is extremely surprising, and opposition after all the campaign period and the hype and the momentum failed to pass 45 percent. It is really important for the world in the sense that a democratically elected President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in time started to impose semi-autocratic rules still in power and an opposition that is basically ushering more democracy based on, you know, alliance building is basically failing to take him down.
CHURCH: And Elon Musk has been slammed for censoring content on his social media platform Twitter ahead of these pivotal elections in Turkey. Critics suggest Musk's actions worked against free speech and silenced critics of Erdogan. What do you say to that? And what impact did this likely have on the outcome?
SOYLU: I think the criticisms levied against Musk, you know, they're not really fair because the Turkish government basically threatened Twitter. They just basically gave binary choice. First, you're either going to comply with a request and, you know, just remove these accounts or you're just going to block access to Twitter.
Twitter is an absolutely essential news source for the general public in Turkey. And in a fiercely contested election, if the Turkish government can't access the tribunal, it will be disastrous. There will be even questions of the validity of the election.
CHURCH: Downing Street says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in the UK to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and he announced the visit on his Twitter account where he says the UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air. This cooperation will continue today. I will meet my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantive negotiations face to face and in delegations.
The trip comes after a weekend of visits to European capitals to meet with key allies, France and Germany publicly pledged additional military aid for Ukraine's war with Russia. And for more on this story, I'm joined now by Clare Sebastian, live from London. Good to see you again, Clare.
So, President Zelenskyy, he's arrived in the UK for these meetings with the British Prime Minister after visiting France and Germany in an effort to shore up military support now and of course in the future, what more are you learning about all of this?
SEBASTIAN: Yeah, Rosemary. Significantly, this trip comes on the heels of the UK's confirmation last week that they have provided longer range missiles, those storm shadow missiles, to Ukraine, significant in their efforts to sort of weaken behind Russia lines. So, they say that will only happen in Russian occupied areas of Ukraine.
We're getting some more details as well this morning about the type of military aid that will come out of this visit. In a statement, Downing Street saying that will include hundreds of air defense missiles and also drones, long-range attack drones with a range over 200 kilometers, so, concrete results already from this visit. There's also, interestingly, a bit of a shift in tone when it comes to
F-16s. Ukraine, as we know, has yet to secure any commitments for those fighter jets -- its preferred fighter jets, from NATO countries. That was something that Zelenskyy failed to secure on his last European tour in February.
The UK statement from Downing Street saying that this summer, they will commence an elementary flying phase for a cohort of Ukrainian pilots. We already knew that they had promised to train Ukrainian pilots, but now they have an announcement of a timeline.
And they also say the training goes hand in hand with UK efforts to work with other countries on providing F-16 jets -- Ukraine's fighter jets of choice, much less of a mention this time around of this being something to do with Ukraine's longer term capabilities. It seems that this is now being recognized as a more immediate need.
So, there seems to be momentum on this front. But of course, Zelenskyy will also be updating Rishi Sunak on his weekend of talks in Europe and he, during those meetings, made it very clear that ahead of what is expected to be a counter-offensive, Ukraine wants the war to end this year. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our territorial integrity and security, as well as the territorial integrity and security of all European nations, must be guaranteed. Now is the time for us to determine the end of this war this year. This year we can make the aggressors' defeat irreversible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: Irreversible, a critical word of course because the fear is that somehow this war may not fully end, that this could be some kind of ceasefire that results in a frozen conflict and of course we've seen that in Ukraine since 2014 particularly in the east, so Zelenskyy really on this sort of whistle stop tour through Europe to try to secure these military equipment and also to present Ukraine as a country within Europe ahead of some crucial upcoming summits. Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, Clare Sebastian, thanks for that report, appreciate it. Well, still to come, residents in Gaza are picking up the pieces as a fragile ceasefire is holding after days of violence. But can this peace be a lasting one? We will head to Jerusalem for an update.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, life in Gaza appears to be returning to normal as a fragile truce between Israel and the Islamic Jihad group is holding for now. It comes after five days of intense fighting. Thirty-three Palestinians were killed in Gaza, most of whom, Israel says, were Islamic Jihad militants. And two people, one Israeli and one Palestinian, were killed in Israel by Islamic Jihad's rocket fire.
Israel says Islamic Jihad launched nearly 1500 rockets towards them last week. It was the third conflict in as many years between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. And for more, we wanna go to CNN's Hadas Gold, she joins us live from Jerusalem. Good to see you, Hadas. So, what is the latest on this?
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, last night there was actually a brief moment where it peeled as though the ceasefire may have been violated. A rocket was launched from Gaza towards Israel. And Israel responded by shelling what it said were militant outpost along the border but there were no injuries reported on either side.
And security officials in Gaza telling CNN -- the CNN team there, that it was quote a malfunction. And so, despite that moment where people potentially thought that the ceasefire was over after less than 24 hours, it does appear to have been a one-off and things still remain calm. People are starting to assess the damage, both especially in Gaza, but also in southern Israel, and life is starting to go back to normal. Schools are re-opening in southern Israel. Schools have been closed there as a result of this conflict. And in Gaza, of course, civilians are starting to assess the damage.
As you noted, Israeli officials say almost 1500 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, killing two people, one of whom happened to be actually a Palestinian from Gaza who was working in Israel at the time. We know of at least 30 Palestinians who were killed in Gaza. Israeli military saying at least 20 of them were Islamic Jihad militants. But we do know of at least something like 11 civilians and people who were completely uninvolved, who were killed as a result of these airstrikes.
And we've been speaking though with Israeli military officials, and the consensus is that, while they do contend that the operation was a tactical success, they believe that they took out something like 11 senior commanders of Islamic Jihad, things still sort of remain where they were before this operation even took place. Islamic Jihad is still there. They haven't been completely wiped out and it's a heavy blow. But you know Hamas is still in power. They are still running the Gaza Strip, they're still involved in. At the end of the day, civilians on both sides are the ones who suffered the most as a result of this.
There has been, though, a political fact -- excuse me -- Itamar Ben- Ghvir, the National Security Minister, he had boycotted votes before this operation because he believed this early security response to the previous more than 100 rockets who that were fired into Israel the week before this operation took place, he believed that was a weak response. And as this operation took place -- excuse me -- his political party has now returned to the votes. Also, importantly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his poll
numbers were suffering right before this. But as this operation took place, as a result of these military strikes, as a result of the last five days, his poll numbers are back up. And also, those anti-judicial overhaul protests that have been taking place for the last 19 weeks, those were actually canceled on Saturday as a result of the security situation. So, there has been a political effect.
But when you look at the situation on the ground, on both sides, both in the Gaza Strip and also in Israel, nothing has really changed. And in actuality, everyone is thinking that this will just happen again in the next few weeks. Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, thanks to Hadas Gold, joining us live with that report from Jerusalem. A 78-year-old American citizen has been sentenced by a Chinese court to life in prison on spying charges. John Shing Wan Leung, who's also a Hong Kong permanent resident, was detained in April 2021. Authorities have not provided any details on his charges or the court process that led to his conviction. In China, cases involving state security are usually handled behind closed doors.
And still to come, CNN speaks with migrant mothers who risk the dangerous journey to the US for their children. We'll have a report from El Paso. Plus, a surge in young voters demanding change in Thailand, why this election could deal a blow to the military's influence. Back with Adam Moore in just a moment.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Many of the migrants who come to the United States often do so with their families, in some cases with small or even newborn children.
CNN's Polo Sandoval spoke with several migrant mothers in El Paso, Texas, about why they decided to make the long and dangerous journey.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): Step inside this shelter in the heart of El Paso, Texas, and you'll find people waiting in limbo. They're migrant families, some single mothers who told us they were recently processed and released by border authorities.
While some children, visibly exhausted, nap inside. Others play in the courtyard. The young minds spared the anguish of moms and dads trying to figure out when or even if they can continue the rest of the journey. In what can easily become a hopeless space, it seems the migrant mothers keep hope alive here.
Connie Barajona keeps it together for Daniela, her nine-year-old. She says two of her older daughters, ages 18 and 20, remain in federal detention.
It will be a sad Mother's Day, she tells me. My daughters won't be by my side. In the last three days, Barajona turned down coveted opportunities to travel to Houston, refusing to go anywhere without all her daughters.
We left Honduras together and that's how we must remain until God allows, the single mother says. She forged a friendship with fellow migrant mom, Yaskari Gonzalez, who left South America three months ago, with her partner and their son, Jason.
We found another motherly bond in this corner of the shelter where Yornella Falcon receives help in caring for Baby Jeremy, just two weeks old. His mom tells me she carried him from Venezuela to Texas where she went into labor immediately after stepping onto U.S. soil.
All of the migrant mothers we spoke to say maternal instinct to provide for their children is what drove them to make the perilous journey in the first place.
A parent will do anything to see their children safe, says Barajona. A hug from Daniela seems to help ease any of mom's sorrows. Ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, a seamstress like mom.
(on-camera): On Sunday, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas reported that they have experienced about a 50 percent decrease in the total number of migrant encounters all along the border. That number was roughly 10,000 leading up to the expiration of Title 42. That has slowly been dropping on Saturday, that number about 4200.
Now, in terms of the number that will continue to rise is that number of asylum seekers turning to cities throughout the United States, as many of them don't remain in these border communities. They move to cities like Denver, Colorado, Chicago, Washington, and certainly New York City for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, El Paso, Texas.
CHURCH: A former governor of Texas says the U.S. has to go back to strict enforcement at the border. Rick Perry says a system needs to be in place for legal immigration. But Mexico and Central American countries need to work with the U.S. to help make that happen.
Immigration will likely be a hot button issue for the 2024 presidential election. Perry, who once served as the energy secretary under Donald Trump, declined to support his boss' campaign and is teasing his own possible presidential bid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY, FORMER U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: He may get to hear me call him names again, who knows. It's still early in the process, so I haven't written off that -- you know, if you'll recall, I didn't announce for President in 2011 until August, so we got a lot of time left.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Does that mean that you're thinking about jumping in?
PERRY: So I got your attention now, didn't I?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Perry previously ran for president in 2012 and 2016.
Well, Sunday's general election in Thailand saw the highest turnout in the country's history. The Election Commission says more than 75 percent of voters participated. And they made it clear they want change. With nearly all votes counted, opposition parties have swept the board.
And CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Seoul with more on all of this. Good to see you again, Paula. So voters have delivered a powerful rebuke of Thailand's military elite. But how likely is it that the military will respect this result?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the big question, Rosemary. The military has -- or at least some of the parties have suggested that they will respect the election results. We don't know, frankly, if they will try and intervene in any way, but they certainly have in the past. There's been two military coups in just the past 20 years in Thailand, but most experts you speak to think that the chances of that are very low this time around.
Now, it has been so far a decisive mark and a decisive message to the military-backed parties. These are still unofficial votes. According to the Electoral Commission, it will be another five days at least before they can make them official. But the party that has won the most seats is really the most progressive party Move Forward.
Now, we heard from them a little earlier from Pita Limjaroenrat, who is the leader and a potential candidate for Prime Minister. And this is what he had to say to his supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PITA LIMJAROENRAT, MOVE FORWARD PARTY'S PM CANDIDATE: People of Thailand have already spoken their wish. And I am ready to be the Prime Minister for all, whether you agree with me or you disagree with me. I have congratulated Khun Paetongtarn from Pheu Thai for her hard- fought campaign and have invited her to join the coalition. And that includes five more parties in the previous opposition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: And that's where the horse trading starts now, all the deal making, trying to build a coalition of progressive parties that can hold its own against the military-backed parties. Now, Pheu Thai, he spoke about there, is -- was always the favorite to win, but they have come in second at this point. But they have similar policies in many ways.
Now, Move Forward, the policies are effectively to restructure Thailand, to restructure the economy, restructure the military, to make sure the military is out of politics, which it has certainly not been in recent years, and also for the once untouchable monarchy talking about reform there.
CHURCH: All right, our thanks to Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul.
One year ago, a mass shooting shattered lives in Buffalo, New York. Now, the community honors the 10 victims who were killed while shopping in a grocery store. Details on that just ahead.
Plus, people are cleaning up and assessing the damage in Southeast Asia after Tropical Cyclone Mocha battered Myanmar and Bangladesh. We'll have the details after the break.
CHURCH: In Buffalo, New York, residents have marked one year since 10 people were killed in a racist attack at a grocery store. The victims were all black. A moment of silence was held Sunday at a memorial for the victims, followed by church bells in remembrance of those lost. U.S. President Joe Biden also addressed the anniversary in a "USA Today" op-ed, writing that the plague of gun violence only appears to be getting worse. Once again called on Congress to pass urgent gun reform.
To Asia now, and the remnants of what was Tropical Cyclone Mocha have moved on to southwestern China with little more than rain, but not before leaving a trail of destruction in parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The storm made landfall early Sunday along the coast of northwest Myanmar. Winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour blew the roofs off buildings, uprooted trees, and knocked down power lines in Myanmar's Rakhine State. Heavy rainfall and strong winds hit the Cox's Bazar area in Bangladesh, but no fatalities have been reported in the Rohingya refugee camps there.
So let's get the latest from CNN's Vedika Sud. She joins us live from New Delhi. Good to see you, Vedika. So what is the latest on the impact and, of course, the aftermath of the Tropical Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar and Bangladesh?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Very little is known, Rosemary, at the moment, on what condition the western coast of Myanmar is after the landfall yesterday on Sunday near the western coast of Myanmar. But what we do know is that cyclone Mocha pummeled through the western coast of Myanmar from the Bay of Bengal on Sunday afternoon. There was an expectation that Cox's Bazar, as you mentioned, the
largest refugee camp in the world, would be on the path of this cyclone. But however, hours before landfall, it veered to the east, which is the Rakhine State as you mentioned and there is a city there, the capital of Rakhine State that is known as Sittwe which we believe has been massively damaged.
As of now, the communication lines remain down. So in terms of aid agencies, they don't know much on what's happening on the ground. But from the pictures we've seen, the videos that have been coming in from the city of Sittwe, it is flooded. What we do know is that the power lines are down. There is no internet access. It's been very difficult for people to reach out to their loved ones who've been living in that area. They were hungering down for hours yesterday is what we are told in monasteries. Some of them had also moved to homes of relatives more into the insides of Myanmar away from the coastline areas.
But for now, very little information coming from Myanmar. There's been a sigh of relief from the officials in Bangladesh, though, Rosemary, because they were expecting Cox's Bazar to be impacted massively by the cyclone. But like I said, it veered to the east moments before landfall, because of which, a lot of lives perhaps have been spared. There was a lot of preparation in Cox's Bazar and in adjoining neighboring areas because they thought it would be in the path of the cyclone.
But there has been, like you said, damage and devastation in terms of the trail of this cyclone and what it's left behind. But more work to come from Myanmar. Here's what a shopkeeper, though, in Bangladesh had to say. He called it one of the strongest cyclones he's ever witnessed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUR RAHIM, SHOPKEEPER (through translator): I run a shop here. The shop has also been blown away by the storm. I have a beetle nut garden but it also has been destroyed. I've seen the cyclones of 1991 and 1994 but today's was more dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SUD: According to a consultant who's working with the UNDP, it's not looking good in the Rakhine state of Myanmar as of now. He's called this one of the strongest cyclones to hit the area in over a decade, Rosemary. We'll get you more as and when there is more to report on from Myanmar.
CHURCH: Absolutely. Vedika Sud, many thanks for that report. I Appreciate it.
Well, last hour I spoke with the Bangladesh representative for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and I asked him how the Rohingya Refugees are recovering after this powerful storm. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHANNES VAN DER KLAUW, UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE IN BANGLADESH: Fortunately, the camps themselves are not really in the eye of the storm. Unfortunately, that is happening in Myanmar, the kind state as you mentioned. But still, of course, the camps have been affected.
As you mentioned, fortunately we have not seen casualties, but we do see a lot of damage to the shelters, to the community buildings, to roads, to bridges. Many, many trees have fallen, toplands have flew off. You see, we are still assessing today the damage, the extent and the severity, because no matter what storm there is, even if in the end it was not the cyclone as we feared, there's still a lot of damage.
CHURCH: So what emergency plans are in place to handle the possible threat of flooding and landslides in this part of Bangladesh? Is there a concern about that?
VAN DER KLAUW: Definitely, because, you know, a storm is also accompanied by heavy rains, and that causes flooding and that causes landslides, as you mentioned, and we have prepared the refugees, those who lived in lower areas, which are prone to flooding and landslides, to move them higher up in the campsite, but also to move them into more protected buildings within the parameters of the camps. So, the most vulnerable people, we managed to relocate to safer places in the camp site.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Still to come as the Hollywood writers' strike enters its third week, it's affecting a yearly ritual in the entertainment industry, we'll explain.
CHURCH: Welcome back. The NBA is reviewing the suspension of Memphis Grizzlies star player Ja Morant. The 23-year-old was suspended by the Grizzlies after another video surfaced in which he appears to be displaying a gun. The video was streamed on Instagram and shows Morant flashing the weapon while in a car. CNN has reached out to Morant's representative, the Grizzlies and the NBA for comment. Morant just recently served an eight-game suspension for a separate social media incident involving him holding a gun at a bar.
In the NBA playoffs, a record-setting performance by Celtic star Jason Tatum has helped Boston reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. Facing the 76ers on Sunday, Tatum scored 51 points, breaking the game-seven scoring record set just two weeks ago by Golden State's Steph Curry. And Boston crushed Philadelphia, 112 to 88. Celtics will now face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year's conference finals. Taylor Swift is showing why fans love this anti-hero. During
Saturday's concert in Pennsylvania she interrupted her own performance of Bad Blood to defend a person in the crowd. Take a look.
It's unclear what prompted Swift's reaction there. No comment from the stadium or the pop star. Swift has been on her latest tour since March.
Well as the new week begins, it's another day on the picket line for Hollywood's writers. A strike by the Writers Guild of America is now entering its third week and it's casting a shadow over the annual television up-fronts.
That is when major media companies make their best presentations to advertisers. But some companies, including Netflix, are turning down the bright lights and going all-in online.
CNN's Chloe Malasse has our report.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: The upfronts, like you said, this is the moment where networks, they come and they put on a dazzling display with their biggest stars to showcase their upcoming slate of shows and projects in an effort to, you know, get advertisers on board. And usually you see big names like Jimmy Kimmel and others at the respective networks up front and you're not gonna see that.
And like you just said, Netflix, they're going virtual. And a lot of these really big glitzy events that were gonna happen this week in Manhattan, where I am, are not gonna be happening anymore.
CHURCH: A city in southern Chile is turning to a special task force to help fight wildfires, goats. Santa Juana was hit by deadly fires earlier this year, fueled by drought and heat waves. But a herd of goats did manage to save a native forest in the region just by eating. They graze on dry pastures and vegetation prone to fires in the summer. And their droppings help enrich the soil and prevent erosion. It's a method also used in Portugal and Spain. Here's Cheers to Nature, right?
Well, more than eight years after ISIS fighters destroyed or damaged priceless artifacts at the Mosul Cultural Museum in Iraq, a major effort is underway to try and restore the building and some of its pieces. Since 2019, French restoration experts have been working with locals to give new life to centuries-old Assyrian antiquities. Now the project is in its second stage and it will focus on renovating the building itself. If all goes to plan, the museum hopes to reopen to visitors by 2026. And thank you so much for spending part of your day with me. I'm
Rosemary Church. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo, next.