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Turkey's Erdogan Triumphs a Record-Breaking Third Term; Reports of Explosions in Russian-Occupied Cities of Berdyansk and Mariupol; Ukraine's Military Prepares for Impending Counteroffensive; U.S. Debt Ceiling Deal; Biden, McCarthy Race to Sell Tentative Debt Ceiling Agreement to Lawmakers; Social Media Can Put Children at Risk, According to U.S. Surgeon General; Nigeria's Incoming President; Conflict in Sudan; Bola Tinubu Wants to Heal Severe Divisions in Nigeria; Using A.I. to Develop Antibiotics; Venice's Grand Canal Changes Color; Over 1,500 Protesters in The Hague Detained by Dutch Police. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 29, 2023 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Hello and welcome, coming to you live from Studio 4 at the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Michael Holmes. I appreciate your company.

Coming up on "CNN Newsroom". Recep Tayyip Erdogan secures a historic third term as Turkey's president, and perhaps the greatest political challenge of his career.

Russia launches a massive drone attack on Kyiv, but most of them are intercepted.

And using artificial intelligence to save lives. How scientists develop a new antibiotic to kill a superbug using A.I.

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

HOLMES: And we do begin in Turkey where supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan are celebrating his election to an unprecedented third terms as president after a highly contested runoff vote. With almost all votes counted, the results show Erdogan won just over 52 percent of Sunday's vote, defeating the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu who received almost 48 percent.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands outside the presidential complex in Ankara, Erdogan said, one of the government's main priorities would be fighting the country's rampant inflation. Here is more of what he had to say.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): It is time to unite and unify around our goals and national dreams. Leaving aside all discussions and disputes regarding the election period. No one has lost today. All 85 million people have won.


HOLMES: At his party's headquarters, the opposition leader told his supporters the fight for what he called real democracy is not over.


KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We will continue to fight until we have established a real democracy in our country. And we will continue to be the vanguard of the struggle. My greatest sorrow is about the difficulties awaiting our country. But I want you to know that we will be the first to stand up to the problems.


HOLMES: The victory means President Erdogan will stretch his rule into a third decade. CNN's Nada Bashir has more now on the election from Istanbul.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): Cheers of triumph, a declaration of victory. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan securing yet another term in office. After a closely fought runoff election on Sunday, Erdogan, of the incumbent AK Party came away with just over 52 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. A comfortable win in the face of what many analysts believe to be his biggest political challenge in over two decades.

BASHIR (on camera): We're here outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul. You can see the crowds behind me. Thousands of President Erdogan supporters have gathered to celebrate his election victory. And there is a real sense of jubilation, of triumph here. These are some of his most ardent supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We love him very much. He is our father, our grandfather, our everything. We voted for him because we trust him. We love him very much. We are always with him.

BASHIR (voiceover): In the opposition camp, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of an alliance of opposition party fell by more than 2 million votes behind Erdogan. A bitter blow to a once optimistic coalition, hopeful for change in Turkey.

KILICDAROGLU (through translator): In this election, the will of the people to change an authoritarian government became tear (ph) despite all the pressures.

BASHIR (voiceover): The challenges ahead for the president are many. Chief among them the economy. Turkey is in the depth of a severe cost of living crisis, with soaring inflation and a plummeting lira caused in large part by Erdogan's own unorthodox monetary policies.

Meanwhile, anger over the states for preparation and chaotic response to February's devastating earthquake is still raw. With more than 50,000 people, killed and millions more displaced by the disaster. On the global stage, Turkey's strongman has cemented the country's place as an influential power broker in the region. Sometimes, at the cost of straining relations with the west. But at home his leadership has stoked fears over the features of democracy in Turkey.


Over recent years, Erdogan has doubled down on quashing dissent, centralizing his grip from state power and ensuring his near total influence over the country's media. Despite criticism, supporters maintain that this is a win for political stability. For opponents, however, Sunday's result has a new deepened fears that the country could be heading ever closer towards authoritarian territory. Nada Bashir, CNN, Istanbul.


HOLMES: Congratulations and best wishes for President Erdogan are pouring in from leaders around the world. NATO's secretary general posting on Twitter that he is looking forward to continuing their work together and preparing for the NATO Summit in July. U.S. President, Joe Biden, also said he wants to keep working together as NATO allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, congratulated Mr. Erdogan saying, "France and Turkey have huge challenges to face together." Including the return of peace to Europe, the future of their Euro- Atlantic Alliance, and the Mediterranean Sea. He added that with Erdogan they will continue to move forward.

And the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, wrote that the election was, "Clear evidence of the Turkish people's support for Erdogan's efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy." Putin also said he appreciates Erdogan's, "Personal contribution to the strengthening of friendly Russian-Turkish relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas."

Joining me now, Soner Cagaptay is the director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is also the author of "A Sultan in Autumn: Erdogan Faces Turkey's Uncontainable Forces." It's always good to see Soner. Now, you said before the runoff that Turkey under Erdogan had been -- how you said it, was a democracy that had fallen under an autocrat rather than an autocracy. Now, this wasn't a crushing victory, but how will Erdogan's win change that phrase in your mind in terms of him feeling emboldened, perhaps?

SONER CAGAPTAY, DIRECTOR, TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY AND AUTHOR, "A SULTAN IN AUTUMN": I think we're coming to an inflection point in President Erdogan's career. Elections in Turkey were free and are still free, but the race has become so unfair that it is really hard to speak of this as a purely democratic victory. President Erdogan benefited from the incumbency advantages. His complete control of institutions and information flow. For instance, in the campaign season, his -- Erdogan's campaign freely spread fake news, fake videos, and fake pamphlets alleging, of course, a lie that the opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu is backed by terrorists. Now, typically, a board in Turkey any such fake news spreading but the boards reporting to Erdogan, of course, did not take any action. That's the first part.

The second part is Erdogan's complete control of information flow. Opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu was not allowed to make a case that, of course, he's not backed by terrorists. And I think that was a huge advantage for President Erdogan. So, I would say, whereas until recently, I was up the analytical view that Turkey was a democracy that has fallen under an autocrat. I think we can now say that Turkey's mood from being illiberal European democracy to becoming a Eurasian autocracy has upped these elections.

HOLMES: You mentioned Kilicdaroglu. He was far from a charismatic figure as an opposition leader. But, you know, when you talk more broadly about what Erdogan's done, how effectively did he neuter (ph) opposition in Turkey more broadly? Of course, he's more appealing, more popular opponent was barred from even running.

CAGAPTAY: That, too. Erdogan handpicked his opponent. The board popular candidate Istanbul Mayor Imamoglu who would have defeated Erdogan in a landslide was not allowed to run. Courts, again loyal to Erdogan, slapped a case against Mayor Imamoglu, suggesting that if he run, he'll be barred from politics, as well as lose his current job as Istanbul's mayor. That eliminated him and left Erdogan with a weaker opponent.

Now, yes, President Erdogan has incumbency advantages, control of institutions, information flow. But opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu also did not really run an inspiring campaign. I don't think he put together a team to convince the voters that Turkey had problems and he could fix them. Where he and his team better than Erdogan would if he was elected president.

HOLMES: Right.

CAGAPTAY: And I think that's a gamble on which President Erdogan came up stronger. The electorate seems to have faith in him, notwithstanding the various problems associated with his administration as the leader get -- that can govern Turkey more actively.


HOLMES: How has Erdogan fundamentally changed Turkey, politically and socially already? I mean, how different is modern Turkey today under Erdogan compared to the vision of Kemal Ataturk? And how much more might have changed in the next four years?

CAGAPTAY: In some ways, it's changed quite a bit. The founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk, had a vision. He was also a Jacobean (ph) top- down politician who used his cache (ph) as Turkey's founder and liberator after World War I, of course, to shape Turkey in his own image as a secular Europe facing and western society.

Erdogan shares none of these values. He wants Turkey to be in his own image, shaped as a socially conservative, politically Islamists, and internationally Middle Eastern nation. Now, we could argue that Erdogan has had some success in this regard. But while Erdogan, of course, is Turkey's elected president, he nowhere has the cache that President Ataturk had, who founded Turkey.

And secondly, I think Erdogan, of course, has Ataturk's vision. He also believes in top-down social engineering. So, I call him an empty Ataturk, meaning he does not share Ataturk's values. He has the opposite values. But he leads in the same social engineering. But the problem with this kind of top-down Jacobean (ph) social engineering is that I think the time for that in Turkey or elsewhere has passed.

And that is why President Erdogan has had some success shaping Turkey in his own image. He controls institutions, public policy, educational curriculum. But half of Turkey still does not want to be like him or fall under his power. So, I think that kind of leaves us in a country that is split, that has elected Erdogan for another five-year term. When he finishes his job in office, Erdogan would have run Turkey for 25 years, that is longer than Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or any other president in the country's modern history.

HOLMES: Yes, yes. Fascinating when you put it that. Soner Cagaptay, we got to leave it there unfortunately. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

CAGAPTAY: My pleasure. Thank you.

HOLMES: Ukrainian officials have reported explosions in and around the Russian occupied cities of Berdyansk and Mariupol. They say, at least five strikes targeted Russian positions in Berdyansk on Sunday, and one official says, the explosions in Mariupol caused casualties but gave no detail.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military says, Russia launched one of its largest drone attacks yet on Sunday, using 59 Iranian made drones. Ukraine says, all but one of those were shot down. Now, that includes three dozen drones taken down over Kyiv and the surrounding region. Firefighters were sent to a business in the capital that was hit during the attack. The drone strikes coincided with Kyiv Day, the anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian capital more than 1,500 years ago. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about the attack on Sunday.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, our country has suffered one of the biggest Russian attacks by Shaheds, 54 drones at one time. Almost all of them were shot down. Almost. Unfortunately, there were strikes in the Zhytomyr region. We will do everything to help restore what was damaged.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive, meanwhile, is expected to begin anytime now. CNN's Sam Kiley met with Ukrainian recruits undergoing basics training who expect to be part of that offensive.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): These are new recruits training. They could be on the front line in a couple of weeks.

KILEY (on camera): Got a whole lot of blue on blue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why are you shooting our own guys?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You're shooting our own guys.

KILEY (voiceover): In training, mistakes are harmless.

KILEY (on camera): And what happened to you?

MAKSIM, UKRAINIAN RECRUIT (through translator): I got hit in the face with a pellet.

KILEY: How long have you been doing this training?

MAKSIM (through translator): Two months. I recently joined the army. So, for now, I'm here for two months training.

KILEY: What do you think about becoming offensive, do you want to get involved?

MAKSIM (through translator): Yes, I do.

KILEY: You're not worried?

MAKSIM (through translator): I think we're going to win.

KILEY: These young men, they've been having quite a lot of fun running around in the woods. And sometimes, things get quite funny, but ultimately this business is deadly serious.

KILEY (voiceover): These recruits could be weeks away from combat. Pretend war, turning to this, where death is all too real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): 200. He's not breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He's not breathing.


KILEY (voiceover): Wounded veteran, Colonel Oleksandr Piskun runs the training. COL. OLEKSANDR PISKUN, NATIONAL GUARD (through translator): I know what it's like to lose loved ones. But this is war and there is no other choice. Of course, once the unit goes into action, some of these guys will die. They are all aware of that.

KILEY (voiceover): That experience is a hard one. Oleksandr came face to face with a Russia who shot him in Bakhmut last week.

KILEY (on camera): What would you say to young volunteers or conscripts joining now?

OLEKSANDR, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translator): That you have to be prepared for anything. To be prepared for the good and the bad.

KILEY (voiceover): The hospitals got plans for dealing with Ukraine's offensive which is expected this summer.

IHOR, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translator): They will be tough to force back. Hard. They won't give up territory that easily. It's going to be a big fight. Very big. And a lot of casualties.

KILEY (voiceover): Colonel Puskin knows that this will not be his last memorial service. This military summary has a space to grow. Soldiers are confronted with grim truth here, that many young men are forever entombed in this parade we of grace. Sam Kiley, CNN, in Kryvyi Rih.


HOLMES: Still to, come here on the program, they've reached a tentative deal. Well, now, the U.S. president and the house speaker need enough support in Congress to get it passed and avert that U.S. default. We'll have the details, coming up.


HOLMES: An urgent push for support from Washington's politician as U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tried to sell a tentative debt ceiling agreement to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The deal which would raise the debt limit for two years, now moves to the full Congress for its approval that already some lawmakers have been voicing their concerns.

The clock is ticking though, June 5th marks the day the government will start to run out of cash which means if the deal isn't secured the U.S. could default on its debt for the first time ever. Both McCarthy and the president spoke about the agreement.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We've got good news. We've got a -- I just spoke with Speaker McCarthy and we've reached a bipartisan budget agreement, and we're ready to move to the full Congress.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but there is something in here that it shouldn't be about you, it should be about America. America believes that we have spent too much. So, this spends less.


HOLMES: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is following developments and has more now for us from the White House.



PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden announced on Sunday that the White House and House Republicans have finalized in agreement on the debt ceiling in hopes of averting a debt default later in June.

Now, President Biden said that this was good news and heralded McCarthy for negotiating in good faith. And he also spelled out the consequences should there be a default, that the catastrophic consequences that would impose on the economy. But President Biden also acknowledging that in an attempt to avert that and send this over to Congress, not everyone got what they want. So, this will be important in the coming days as both members of Congress and both parties review the legislative text.

But President Biden was also having to answer to questions about whether he should have negotiated sooner. The position from the White House since early this year has been that they would not negotiate on the debt ceiling. That President Biden saying that he is -- was not doing that but rather negotiating on spending cuts.

And so, that is part of the spin that both the White House and Republicans will be giving in the coming days as they try to get both parties on board with this in a very short amount of time. It wasn't only reaching the agreement, but also, now, looking at the legislative text, getting a -- for -- a House vote on the floor as well as the Senate.

Now, President Biden, when he spoke to reporters earlier on Sunday said that he was confident that this was going to reach his desk. And at the time, said that there would -- there was no sticking point after a long 48 hours. But still, a long road ahead, ahead of that June 5th date where the U.S. treasury will run out of funds. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: The U.S. surgeon general has issued an advisory about social media, warning it could have, in his words, a profound risk of harm to children and teenagers. He is also calling for more action from tech companies and policymakers to protect the mental health of kids. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has the details.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A new warning from the highest level, a youth mental health crisis unfolding before our eyes. Social media can pose a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. That's according to a 25-page advisory from the U.S. surgeon general. Earlier this year, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy warned of the unfair matchup.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: You're pitting a child against the world's greatest product designer and that's just not a fair fight.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Nearly every U.S. teenager is on social media. Up to 95 percent of kids, ages 13 to 17, report using social media with more than a third using it all the time. Kids must typically be 13 to register on social media apps, but nearly 40 percent of children ages eight to 12 use it anyway.

DR. MURTHY: I think that it's a time, you know, early adolescence where kids are developing their identity, their sense of self, and this skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): The advisory concluded, we do not yet have enough evidence to determine if social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents. Calling for more research. But it did cite studies which found increase risk of anxiety and depression, poor sleep, online harassment, and low self-esteem.

JEROME YANKEY, DELETED TIKTOK IN 2021: The time I spent looking at all these attractive people, doing amazing things in amazing places, getting disappointed by my own life is never something I want to be doing. Especially when I have the power to change it but I just wasn't because I was spending hours on this app.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Some experts say, TikTok has the stickiest and most addicting algorithm, keeping people on the app longer. Last year, TikTok users spent an hour and a half per day on the app on average, more than any other social media platform. This, as Montana becomes the first state to ban the social media app on all devices, prompting TikTok to sue.

SHOU ZI CHEW, CEO, TIKTOK: I don't want to speak for all parents. I think it's very important that parents make their individual decisions with their children. But for me, personally, I'm very comfortable with my children getting more involved with understanding technology at an early age.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram have parental controls that can monitor teen screen time and content. But experts say, the oversight should begin at home.

DR. REBECCA BERRY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It's important, when possible, for parents and caregivers to really model how they would like their children to utilize social media.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Still to come here on the program, Nigeria swears in a new president in the coming hours. We'll take you to Lagos for the look at the promises Bola Tinubu is making and the formidable challenges he's face carrying them out. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: Gunfire rang out Sunday on the streets of Sudan's embattled capital, one day before a shaky ceasefire expires.



HOLMES: Khartoum residents trapped in the conflict say, both sides have repeatedly violated the seven-day truce negotiated in Saudi Arabia more than a week ago. And right now, there is no agreement to extend the ceasefire when it does expire on Monday.

The U.N. now says, the fighting that erupted in April between Sudan's armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has displaced almost 1.4 million people. Almost 350,000 of them have fled to neighboring Chad, Egypt or Ethiopia. The U.N. also says, there are increasing reports of gender and domestic violence among the displaced, particularly among those who have remained inside Sudan.

Nigeria's Bola Tinubu has called for national unity amid deep social divisions and other endemic problems. But now, people have a chance to try to achieve that. Tinubu is set to be sworn in as Nigeria's president in the coming hours. CNN's Stephanie Busari is in Lagos for us with the profile of the next leader of Africa's most populous country.


STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, AFRICA (voiceover): He is the man on a so-called broom revolution. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is poised to become Nigeria's president on Monday, promising to clean up Africa's largest economy.

BOLA TINUBU, NIGERIAN PRESIDENT: Sweeping corruption away.

BUSARI (voiceover): But that's only one of the challenges he faces. His first is slightly more immediate, a legal one from the country's opposition. Tinubu, from the ruling agency party, may have been declared the winner back in March. But many have criticized the election, for voting irregularities, violence, and attempts to disenfranchise voters.

TINUBU: To those who didn't support me, I ask that you are not allowed in this appointment of this moment to keep you from realizing the historic progress we can make by working together.

BUSARI (on camera): Former two-time Governor Tinubu, has long hard wired (ph) ambitions to rule Nigeria. But it will be a challenge of a lifetime to unite a fractured nation, fix an economy on life support, and tackle spiraling insecurity.

BUSARI (voiceover): Nigeria's total debt stands up more than $103 billion. And some analysts say, the incoming president must get to grips with this urgently.


ROLAKE AKINKUGBE-FILANI, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, MIXTA AFRICA: Is now really a focus on the structural aspects of building sustainable economic development. How are we going to plug some of the inefficiencies and the way stages in the system?

BUSARI (voiceover): Well, that's not all. The country's grappled with violence, insurgency and crime. Leaving some wondering, which way forward?

AKINKUGBE-FILANI: One of the challenges of Nigerian societies here is there's still huge polarization between the ultra-rich and the super poor. And in some ways, successive governments have lost the social contract with the majority of the population.

BUSARI (voiceover): Nigeria also faces a multitude of social problems. Including inadequate access to education and health care, widespread poverty and gender inequality. And expectations are high that Tinubu will hit the ground running.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe there's a future. And I believe he will -- he say -- he is fitting for the position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really don't need a government coming and saying they are going to give us all the job. We just need a government that puts things in place for us to achieve what we can naturally, achieve as very strong-willed people.

BUSARI (voiceover): As he assumes office, Tinubu must work to provide real solutions to these pressing problems. And only time will tell if he can live up to the aspirations of the Nigerian people. Stephanie Busari, CNN, Lagos.


HOLMES: Still to come, it is being called the next frontier of drug discovery by some experts. I'll speak with the scientist using artificial intelligence to help discover new medicines.

Also, going green but in a good way. Investigators in Venice trying to figure out why the famous Grand Canal changed color.


HOLMES: Amid a host of unnerving and controversial ways, artificial intelligence is being put to use. Medical researchers are using its powers for good. A.I. has helped them discover a new type of antibiotic, a potential use against a superbug previously resistant to other drugs. Experts have been looking for a way to combat the drug -- the bug which can cause dangerous blood or respiratory infections with recent study found one in four patients had died within a month on being diagnosed with.

Researchers in Canada worked with MIT and Harvard to develop nearly 500 compounds that could block that bugs effect. A.I. was able to sift through thousands of molecules in record time to deliver the best candidate for the job. It's not the first time A.I. has been used in the field but what used to take months or even years to test can now just take days.


Jonathan Stokes is one of the researchers of that study. He's also an assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University. Great to have you with us, professor. Just to set the scene, briefly give us a sense, first of all, of how that this particular superbug and others like it is? I mean, how dangerous, how urgent the need for a wider combatant?

JONATHAN STOKES, BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOMEDICAL DEPARTMENT, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY: Yes, Acinetobacter baumannii, that's the name of the pathogen we were interested in. And it's a significant critical challenge. And it tends to live in hospital settings. And it's challenging for a number of reasons.

First, it likes to live on surfaces for quite a prolonged duration, it's really hard to sterilize. And the other reason it's a challenge is because it likes to take up DNA from its environment. And you could imagine if you're a bacteria living in a hospital, oftentimes those pieces of DNA are going to encode antibiotic resistance.

HOLMES: Right.

STOKES: So, we often -- Acinetobacter that are resistant to most, if not all clinical antibiotics. And what makes it even worse is that it's quite virulent and it can cause a wide array of infections. These -- the pulmonary infection, so pneumonia, meningitis, wounded infections, bacteremia, so blood infections, and --

HOLMES: So, it's pretty nasty and potentially deadly. So, it's a matter of urgency. So, how then did A.I. help in the process of finding a solution? I mean, I heard a great line. You -- I heard you say elsewhere that drug discovery is not so much looking for a needle in a haystack, but a needle in the stack of needles. So, how then does A.I. development change that hunt for the right needle?

STOKES: So, in typical approaches what conventional drug screening looks like is we have a vast collection of chemicals, you know, hundreds of thousands to a couple of million, let's say. And then we systematically test those in the laboratory to see which ones have the activity that we want and which ones do not.

You would imagine that this is an expensive and time-consuming laborious process. So, the goal with artificial intelligence is to help us more rationally select which chemicals we want to test thereby reducing the total number of experiments we have to perform in the laboratory. And ideally, that will help us get to the medicines that we desire significantly faster and for less money.

HOLMES: Yes, and you've said that we're in an -- well into an era of A.I. augmented drug discovery. How much of a sea change might this be? Is this a -- is this the quantum leap it seems to be in reducing the timeframe in getting the job done quicker?

STOKES: I think it's an important tool and a very powerful tool in an ever-growing set of tools that scientists used to help us discover new drugs. I think it has unique power in helping us prioritize which chemicals on which to focus in order to cure or treat some diseases. But in and of itself, will not solve all of our drug discovery problems, it has to be leveraged appropriately, and in synergy with existing biological methods that we often use, typically for other drug discovered problems.

HOLMES: Presumably, this sort of massive speeding up of the process, I mean, it's going to have a lot of other benefits, isn't it? It'll lead to cheaper drugs I imagine as well.

STOKES: I believe so as well. I think that the application of artificial intelligence in drug discovery is going to have two things primarily. First, it's going to accelerate the rate at which we can discover new clinical medicines. And two, as you alluded to, it's going to hopefully decrease the cost. Thereby making medicine more equitably accessible to all of those who need them.

HOLMES: See, the thing with things like I -- A.I. too is the speed of advancement compounds on itself. I mean, where do you see A.I. and what your work is in, I don't know, 10 years?

STOKES: It's so hard to predict, because these technologies are developing so rapidly. But in a perfect world, I would like to see the appropriate use, let's say, of artificial intelligence approaches at every stage of the drug development process. So, that's not only in early drug discovery. But I'm also talking about late pre-clinical work, helping us prioritize which molecules might be, you know, more or less toxic in patients. Which ones are more likely to progress through the entirety of the clinical development process without running into common hurdles.

HOLMES: It's an important new era in the quiver, that's for sure. And we hear so much that's negative about A.I. This seems to be really positive. We've got to leave it there. Professor Jonathan Stokes, thank you so much. Great work.

STOKES: Thank you very much.


HOLMES: More than 1,500 people have been arrested in the Netherlands during a large climate protest. Hundreds of police confronted the demonstrators, Saturday, at an extinction rebellion protest on a major motorway in The Hague. Police used water cannon to try to clear them out but some protesters came prepared, dressed even in swimsuits and raincoats. The group is trying to stop fossil fuel subsidies.


ANNE KEREVERS, UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM STUDENT: We're going to stay here until they drag us away. The climate change is an unfolding crisis. We know it does and it's still being subsidized by our government. So, it really needs to stop.


HOLMES: Police say, most of the activists were arrested for violating the public demonstrations act. But prosecutors say, they won't be pursuing criminal charges.

The environmental group, Greenpeace is using art to highlight the connection between fossil feels and plastic pollution. The climate lobbyist unveiled this sculpture in Paris on Saturday. It represents an oil derrick, churning out an endless supply of plastic bottles. Canadian artist, Benjamin Von Wong, calls his peace, The Perpetual Plastic Machine.


BENJAMIN VON WONG, ARTIST: It's an insulation that's trying to highlight the connection between fossil fuel production and plastic production because 99 percent of plastic is actually made from petrochemicals. Plastic pollutes during its entire life cycle, from extraction to production, all the way until final disposal. And this idea that plastic can be recycled infinitely is only, kind of, half true because every single year we produce 300 million tons of plastic.


HOLMES: The Installation was unveiled ahead of the U.N. conference in Paris where delegates will try to come up with a legally binding pact to eliminate plastic waste.

And, finally, authorities want to know why Venice's Grand Canal is looking a big green. They're investigating after fluorescent green water appeared in part of the canal on Sunday. It was first spotted near the famed Rialto Bridge but slowly spread. Officials have taken water samples and are hoping surveillance video will offer some clues. No environmental group has taken responsibility for the change in color.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @holmescnn. Stay with us. World Sports is next. I'll be back with more news in about 15minutes.