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Critical Ukrainian Dam Near Kherson Destroyed Sparking Region- Wide Evacuations; Prince Harry To Testify Against British Tabloid Publisher; Alexei Navalny Has New Trial Court Date; U.S. and Chinese Officials Hold "Candid" Talks In Beijing; Victims Of Virginia Plane Crash Identified By Family. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead here on CNN Newsroom. Ukrainian officials say a major dam has been breached by Russian forces, bringing fears of flooding and loss of life around the Kherson region in eastern Ukraine.

We'll explain why in the strange, bizarre world of Beijing, there's nothing wrong or illegal when a Chinese warship cuts dangerously close across the bow of a U.S. Destroyer.

And Prince Harry is said to be the first British royal to testify in court in more than a century. That is, if he bothers to show up Tuesday in his phone hacking lawsuit after failing to appear a day earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Thank you for joining us again this hour. We begin with more information on that major dam breach in eastern Ukraine.

Officials in Kyiv now accusing Russian forces of an attack which breached the dam in the Kherson region. These images showing water gushing from the Nova Kakhova dam. Ukrainian official in Kherson says evacuations around the area are now underway, but the Moscow installed mayor of Nova Kakhova says their city there is no need for evacuations, at least not yet.

Since October, both Russian and Ukrainian forces have accused each other of planning to blow up the dam. More updates as we get them here into CNN.

Separately, though, Ukraine's military making moves that has allies speculating its long awaited counteroffensive may just be underway. Kyiv is urging silence and caution, saying it will not broadcast its plans for this long awaited spring offensive.

Still, on Monday, Ukraine's deputy defense minister said the country's forces are making successful advances in a number of directions around the beleaguered city of Bakhmut, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is praising them for their work.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We see how hysterically Russia reacts to any step we take there all positions we take. The enemy knows that Ukraine will win. They see it. They feel it. Thanks to your hits, warriors, particularly in Donetsk region. Thank you for that.


VAUSE: Meantime, Russian defense forces claim their military repelled Ukrainian advance in the Donetsk region, saying they wiped out more than two dozen Ukrainian tanks, more than 100 Ukrainian fighting vehicles. CNN, though, cannot verify that report. We have reached out to Ukraine's defense ministry. More details now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Russian military drone video allegedly showing a massive Ukrainian attack in the south of the country. Some vehicles appear to be hitting mines or being the target of indirect fire. The Russians claiming they're able to hold the line.

The enemy launched an unsuccessful attempt at a large scale offensive in the south Donetsk axis, the spokesman for Russia's defense ministry said, but is this already Ukraine's much anticipated large scale counteroffensive?

The Ukrainians claim they have no info. Kyiv put out this video urging people to not even talk about a counteroffensive. Their message plans love silence.

But anti-Putin Russian fighters are loudly making their presence felt across the border in Russia's Belgorod region. The local governor saying hundreds of munitions have been fired at towns there just in the past day. It's a far cry from when were in this area in February of last year when Russia invaded Ukraine. Belgorod was one of the main staging areas for the attack on Ukraine's northeast.

Teeming with tanks and armored vehicles, this military hub seemed invincible.

PLEITGEN (on camera): Those streaks that you're seeing up there in the sky, I don't know how I can see directly right now. You can see more artillery rockets apparently be firing from Russian territory, towards the territory, I would say around Kharkiv. I don't know if you can hear this right now.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): Russia's army appears bizarrely absent this Russian military blogger dodging for cover in the Shebekino village in the Belgarod region. We are lying in Shebekino on the ground under Ukrainian Grad missiles. He says strikes are coming one after another. The local governor says the shelling from the Ukrainian side has been relentless, with several killed and wounded and thousands evacuated. The leader of the Wagner private military company ripping into the Defense Ministry.


We surrender our historical lands, he says. Today, children are getting killed. Civilians are getting killed in Belgorod, and the Ministry of Defense is not in a state to do anything at all, as it de facto doesn't exist. It is chaos.

And the Russians are also on the back foot in the area of Pregorgen's mercenaries just left Bakhmut in East Ukraine. Moscow's forces struggling to fend off a strong Ukrainian military both in the occupied territories and inside Russia. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.


VAUSE: Earlier, I spoke with CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton about Ukraine's plan counteroffensive when it will be underway. How will we know? He's part of our discussion.


VAUSE: Doesn't seem to be a lot of agreement among U.S. officials when it comes to what success looks like. The U.S. President was asked about this while meeting with the I think the Danish Prime Minister on Monday. Here he is.

It crossed. Now, here's the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley on his take.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I think the Ukrainians are very well prepared, as you know very well. The United States and other allied countries in Europe and really around the world have provided training and ammunition and advice, intelligence, et cetera.

VAUSE: And finally, very quickly, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Here he is.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What we want to do is support Ukraine to make as much progress as possible on the battlefield so that it is in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.

VAUSE: So we have fingers crossed the Ukrainians are prepared, the offensive will and hopefully with Ukrainians in a good position for negotiations, isn't it time for the U.S. and NATO to come up with an end game here? Because this war could drag on for years. Losing territory doesn't mean Putin loses the war, which means this could get into a very long protracted conflict.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, certainly in my view, John, it would be very important for NATO, the rest of the west, and certainly the United States to have a desired end state. I may have one in private, but certainly publicly they should also state what that is and make sure the Ukrainians are on board with it.

The desired state should be something like this, where the Russians are told to vacate the remaining parts of Ukraine that they occupy. That would be the ideal thing for Ukraine.

And in this particular situation, I think what we're looking at is unfortunately, a degree of protracted effort on the part of the Ukrainians to achieve something that they can at least use at the bargaining table. So that's going to take some time, I'm afraid, but hopefully it doesn't get into a perpetual grinding war.

VAUSE: And attacks on Russian soil are escalating as well. We have CNN reporting that Ukraine has cultivated sabotage agents inside Russia supplying drones to stage attacks. This reporting goes on. Who exactly is controlling these assets is murky, sources told CNN.

Though, U.S. officials believe that elements within Ukraine's intelligence community are involved. And apparently not every operation requires approval from the Ukrainian President. That implies some operations do.

Now, you know, under the international rules of war. If there is this direct line of these attacks on Moscow to Kyiv, to Zelenskyy and the government, what are the implications? Not necessarily for Ukraine, but for the United States and other allies whose military hardware may be used in these attacks?

LEIGHTON: Yes, certainly the implications could be complex and probably not really very favorable, but in these situations, they always use plausible deniability as one of the key things, key aspects of this type of warfare going all the way back to the second world war.

And even before that, we've had examples of this kind of thing and I think this is what you're seeing in the UK Russia war right now, who we're seeing an unconventional effort to use other means to get to a desired end.

VAUSE: Colonel Leighton, as always, it is great to have you with us. Thank you, sir. Your time is most valuable.

LEIGHTON: Thank you, John.


VAUSE: Alexei Navalny's criminal trial scheduled to begin in the coming hours. Spokesperson for the jailed Russian opposition leader says an appeal for more time to review documents was denied. At least 90 protesters across Russia calling for Navalny's release were detained Sunday, the same day as his 47th birthday. Navalny is serving a nine-year long sentence at a maximum security prison just outside Moscow.

To India now, where officials say more than 150 bodies have been identified so far after the train crash in Odisha. They say arrangements have also been made for their transportation to respective destinations.

Meantime, train traffic from both sides has resumed after restoration work was completed at the accident site.


India's railway minister says they are slowly moving towards normalization.


ASHWINI VAISHNAW, INDIAN RAILWAY MINISTER (through translator): Three trains have moved on this track so far. Seven trains are expected to ply in the night. We are moving towards normalization. It is our responsibility to help people who have gone missing to return to their families. Our responsibility is not over yet.


VAUSE: Authorities have launched an investigation Monday into the accident, which left at least 275 people dead, more than 1,000 others injured. Meantime, grieving families still trying to deal with the scale of this tragedy. They also say no compensation, obviously can bring back their loved ones.


RAM CHARAN SAHU, LOST SON IN THE ACCIDENT (through translator): What all is going on in my mind? My son has died. What will one do with money? Money is here today, will be spent tomorrow. But my son is gone. It is like my right hand has been amputated. There is so much worry. I am so worried about my two month old baby granddaughter.


VAUSE: More now on this tragedy from CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is what happens when a passenger train moving at 80 mph, that's around 128 kilometers per hour, slams into an immovable object. You get enormous train cars like this thrown overturned as if they were children's toys.

Now, just days ago, this was the scene of one of the deadliest train disasters in modern Indian history. And already the railroad has been reopened and we can see what looks like a brand new modern train moving down the tracks here. That is even as scores of people are still looking for their missing loved ones from the accident that took place on Friday night.

Now the initial accident, authorities say was caused by a switching malfunction. So a passenger train was moved onto a track where there was a parked freight train loaded with iron ore. And that crash sent some of the train cars into the other track where there was an approaching passenger train coming from the other side, so that mistake led to absolutely catastrophic results.

As you can see, the railroad here has been reopened. We have another train moving through right now. And the railroad system India, it dates back in origins to when this country was a British colony. And it is essential to this country. More than 13 million people a day move around on trains in India. So that's part of why the authorities have worked so hard to reopen the rails after the train crash.

I'm going to show you over here. This is an example of a railroad station in the Indian countryside. And it also happens to be just within sight if you see the lights down there of where the terrible train crash happened on Friday night.

The very next day, India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, he was supposed to go inaugurate a brand new high speed train. Instead, he had to rush to the crash to survey the recovery efforts and to meet with some of the survivors.

The Indian government has great ambitions to modernize this country. But as this terrible tragedy has highlighted, there's also a lot of work to be done to maintain aging and essential infrastructure. Ivan Watson, CNN In Odisha state in eastern India.


VAUSE: Dozens of primary school students, mostly girls, are suspected of being poisoned over the weekend in northern Afghanistan. Officials say the students began feeling dizzy with headaches and nausea were taken to hospital. Authorities are now investigating.

The education of girls, though, has been a divisive issue in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021. The Taliban barring schools from secondary schools as well as university.

Still ahead, a dangerous encounter on the high seas with a close call between navy ships from China and the United States. Why is China's state media now trying to ramp up the drama? Also, investigators have a new theory on what may have caused a plane to crash in Virginia over the weekend. The very latest details in a moment.



VAUSE: U.S. and Chinese governments say candid and productive discussions were held in Beijing Monday. The latest efforts try and lower the temperature between both countries after two potentially dangerous military related incidents in recent weeks.

Just over the weekend in the Taiwan Strait, a Chinese warship appeared to dangerously cut in front of the bow of American navy destroyer, which avoided collision by suddenly reducing speed. Last month, the Chinese fighter jet intercepted an American spy plane international airspace. The White House says an increasing level of aggressiveness by China's military is to blame for both close encounters.


JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: It won't be long before somebody gets hurt. That's the concern with these unsafe and unprofessional intercepts. They can lead to misunderstandings. They can lead to miscalculations.


VAUSE: Meantime, as CNN's Will Ripley explains, these kinds of incidents are now fueling animosity towards the United States inside mainland China.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): On the streets, in the skies and on the sea, rising rhetoric and the U.S. warns real danger of military confrontation. A growing list of U.S.-China flare ups fueling fierce anti-American sentiment among the Chinese public.

Chinese state media adding fuel to the fire, blasting the airwaves with outrage. Public perception of the U.S. plummeting. A recent Chinese poll reveals more than half of those surveyed have a very unfavorable or somewhat unfavorable impression of the US.

The U.S. keeps picking on China, says this man in Beijing. It feels like the U.S. is bullying China. Another making his views clear. I don't like the US. All bad things in the world are caused by the US.

U.S. polls show many Americans have similar views about China, even in polarized Washington. Countering Beijing has rare bipartisan support. From the Taiwan Strait to the South China Sea to Singapore., the U.S. and China seem to be spiraling closer to conflict.

On Saturday, a near collision on the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. accused a Chinese warship of cutting off a U.S. Navy destroyer. The U.S. says both ships came within 150 yards, less than 500 feet t of each other.

The U.S. destroyer took emergency measures to avoid a collision. A close encounter U.S. Defense secretary Lloyd Austin called extremely dangerous.

LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm concerned about at some point having an incident that could very, very quickly spiral out of control.

RIPLEY: Austin speaking at this Asian defense summit in Singapore. The Pentagon says China rejected a proposed meeting with its defense minister, Lee Shanghu. Their only interaction this brief handshake.

The U.S. says they did not have a substantive exchange. General Li had plenty to say after the near collision, blasting U.S. claims of a peaceful passage through the Taiwan Strait with a Canadian warship. They are not here for peaceful passage, he says. They are here for provocation. Tensions already high, getting even higher.

Just days earlier over the South China Sea, a midair incident caught on camera a Chinese jet dangerously close to a U.S. reconnaissance plane. The U.S. calls this an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver. China says it was just safeguarding its sovereignty, accusing the U.S. military plane of deliberately intruding into China's training area.

The government spokesperson, said, saying the U.S. should immediately stop such dangerous and provocative actions.


Washington rejects Beijing's territorial claims over nearly all the South China Sea, saying the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows. Tensions rising ever since a controversial Taiwan trip by former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year and this year's meeting in California between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan.

China also claimed sovereignty over the self-governing democracy its communist rulers have never controlled, launching two rounds of massive military drills near Taiwan, only adding to U.S. concerns of a potential military miscalculation with massive consequences.

RIPLEY (on camera): The White House says that top U.S. officials did bring up the near collision. at a meeting in Beijing on Monday. And just the fact that there is a meeting that both sides are talking is certainly a welcome development for those watching the situation in this part of the world, because animosity between the U.S. and China has been on the rise significantly in recent months, from Taiwan and the South China Sea to China's deepening partnership with Russia.

That brief thaw when President Biden and President Xi met in Bali last November that was derailed by the Chinese spy balloon has resulted in an inability for both sides to have high level talks. Perhaps the fact that there's a meeting in Beijing could signal a turnaround. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


VAUSE: Now to a maritime tensions in this Strait of Hormuz. According to the U.S. navy, British and American forces came to the aid of a commercial ship harassed by several Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats. The merchant ship apparently sent out a distress call as Iran's fast attack vessels approached. U.S. Navy released these images. They show one large ship with three smaller boats nearby.

American destroyer and British frigate responded to the distress call. The Iranian ships left the scene about an hour later. That is according to Washington.

Last month, the White House announced it's ramping up naval patrols in the region after Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized two commercial vessels. We're now learning more about the victims of a mysterious plane crash in the estate of Virginia over the weekend. On Monday, officials identified the pilot and his two passengers, including a young girl. A national transportation safety team spent Monday looking at the wreckage of the plane set to begin recovery in the coming hours.

CNN's Brian Todd has more now on the investigation.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): New details on the crash of that private jet in Virginia that prompted an emergency fighter jet response. A source telling CNN the pilot of the Cessna citation was observed unresponsive and slumped over in his seat.

The NTSB is now on site in central Virginia going through what's left of the wreckage, with another source saying investigators are now most interested in hypoxia, lack of oxygen as a possible cause of the crash.

The twin engine jet went hundreds of miles off course, including passing over the DC area into restricted airspace. Investigators describe highly fragmented wreckage in very mountainous terrain.

ADAM GERHARDT, SENIRO AIR SAFETY INVESTIGATOR, NTSB: The engines, the weather conditions, pilot qualifications, the maintenance records. All aspects will be, of course, items that we routinely look at.

TODD: The flight path shows a takeoff from Tennessee at its destination on New York's Long Island. The plane turns but doesn't land. Instead, it keeps flying at 34,000 feet, right into highly restrictive airspace near Washington, DC.

The Capitol briefly placed on an elevated alert, and Air National Guard pilots scrambled to intercept, causing a sonic boom heard around the Beltway. But NORAD says the pilots got no response to flybys flares or radio calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: National Guard fighter on Guard. If you hear this transmission, contact us.

TODD: Authorities say the plane was not shot down, but if it appeared to be a threat.

MAJ. GEN. SCOTT CLANCY (RET.), FORMER NORAD DEPUTY COMMANDER: They do have the ability to shoot down a civilian aircraft, if that is required.

TODD: The plane was tracked until it crashed into the mountains of central Virginia. There were four people on board. How might a lack of oxygen cause a crash?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVATION ANALYST: Some sort of depressurization event, likely rapid or maybe slow, which caused the pilot to be incapacitated and also rendered the passengers unconscious.

TODD: First responders telling CNN there were no survivors, just a crater and small debris fragments and signs of human remains.

CHIEF GREG SCHACHT, AUGUSTA COUNTZRY FIRE AND RESCUE: Very hard to get to. A lot of overgrowth. And they had areas where they actually had to get on their hands and knees and crawl to get under the brush to get into it.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: It's going to be very difficult to recover, certainly any avionics or any important wreckage information. And for the victims on the plane, you won't be able to tell whether they had any signs of oxygen deprivation.

TODD (on camera): Investigators at the crash site are looking to see if the plane had a black box with a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data recorder. We're told that this particular jet is not required to have a black box, but some of them are outfitted with them anyway. Discovery of a black box would, of course, provide invaluable.


We're told that this particular jet is not required to have a black box, but some of them are outfitted with them anyway. Discovery of a black box would, of course, provide invaluable information in this investigation. Brian Todd, CNN, Vesuvius, Virginia.


VAUSE: When we take a break. After that, a great start. Not a great start for Prince Harry's planned court appearance and lawsuit against the British tabloid the great latest from London at the moment. And France bracing for another nationwide round of pension protests on Tuesday. In a moment, hear from a French journalist who's been covering the ongoing protest from the very beginning.


VAUSE: Welcome back. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN newsroom. More now on our top story this hour, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will hold an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council after the destruction of a key dam in the east of the country.

Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for destroying parts of the Nova Kakhova dam in the Kherson region, threatening lives of thousands of people. Ukrainian officials are urging residents on the east bank of the Dnipro River to, quote, do everything you can to save your life. Evacuations of civilians are also underway.

As Ukraine remains silent on whether its long awaited counter offensive is officially underway. CNN reports exclusively that Kyiv has a network of saboteurs and sympathizers now working inside Russia, and they're providing them with drones to carry out attacks on Russian targets. CNN's Natasha Bertrand reports.


NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER (on camera): CNN has learned that U.S. and Western officials believe Ukraine has cultivated a network of agents and sympathizers inside Russia working to carry out acts of sabotage against Russian targets and they've begun providing them with drones to stage attacks.

It was these pro Ukrainian agents inside Russia who are believed to have carried out a drone attack that targeted the Kremlin in early May by launching drones from within Russia rather than flying them from Ukraine into Moscow, according to multiple sources.

Now it's not clear whether drone attacks carried out in recent days, including one targeting a residential neighborhood near Moscow and another strike on oil refineries in southern Russia were also launched from inside Russia or conducted by this network of Ukrainian -- pro- Ukrainian operatives.

But U.S. officials do believe that Ukraine has developed sabotage cells inside Russia made up of a mix of pro-Ukrainian sympathizers and operatives well trained in this kind of warfare and they are now bringing the war home to Russia.

That is a deliberate strategy aimed at distracting the Russians and diverting their resources away from the front lines.

Now some U.S. and western officials say privately that this strategy could give Ukraine an edge as it begins its long awaited counteroffensive. So they acknowledge privately that this could actually be a pretty good military strategy.


Now asked about CNN's reporting, a spokesperson for the head of the Ukrainian security service suggested the drone strikes and sabotage would continue inside Russia, saying quote, "We will comment on instances of cotton only after our victory." And cotton, we should note, is a slang word that Ukrainians use to mean explosions, usually in Russia or Russian occupied territories.

Quoting the head of the security service, Vasyl Malyuk, the spokesperson added that regardless, quote, "cotton has been burning, is burning, and will continue burning".

Natasha Bertrand, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: Fighting in Sudan now ongoing for almost two months and blasts were heard in parts of the capital Khartoum on Monday. The fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces is grinding on.

Activists tell CNN that the RSF are looting homes and attacking civilians in the Darfur region. One group labeling the conflict in Sudan now a genocide.

NATO says troop reinforcements are arriving in Kosovo on Monday, in the aftermath of last week's confrontation between Kosovo Force peacekeepers and ethnic Serb protesters. Clashes broke out last Monday after the installation of ethnic Albanian mayors in northern Kosovo. 30 NATO peacekeepers were hurt.

Turkey is sending 500 mechanized infantry soldiers which will make up the majority of reinforcements. An extra battalion of NATO Reserves Forces have been put on high alert, in case there is a need to be deployed.

In the coming hours, Britain's Prince Harry will testify in the U.K.'s high court in a trial against British tabloids. He is among a number of high-profile figures suing the Mirror group newspapers claiming they were subject to phone hacking and other illicit means of obtaining private information. It's very rare for members of the British royal family to appear and testify in court Harry's appearance is already off to a rocky start as CNN's Nada Bashir reports.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Prince Harry was a no-show for the first day of court proceeding here at London's high court, much to the annoyance of defense lawyers representing the Mirror Newspaper group.

He is however set to give evidence in court on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Duke of Sussex has been selected as one of four representatives to testify in court out of a list of more than 100 claimants suing a British newspaper group for allegedly obtaining private information through unlawful means, mainly through phone hacking, voice mail interception, and the use of private investigators.

Now, in an opening statement on Monday, the Duke of Sussex's legal representative, David Sherborne told the court that 147 articles published in the early 1990s to 2011 were submitted as part of the British royals claim which present, in his words, telltale find of unlawful information gathering.

Information featured in these articles include private conversations between Prince Harry and his brother William, the Prince of Wales, as well as details surrounding his relationship with long term former girlfriend Chelsea Davey.

MGN (ph) has however contested these claims, denying that senior editorial figures were aware of wrongdoing at the time, and maintaining there was simply no evidence the Duke of Sussex was hacked.

But there remains a great deal of anticipation around Prince Harry's upcoming witness statement, which his lawyers say will describe very graphically the impact MGN's alleged unlawful activities have had on him in damaging his personal relationships to leading the prince to suffer from bouts of depression.

Prince Harry has, of course, been a vocal advocate for reform across the media landscape, with a particular focus on Britain's tabloids, with repeated warnings from the prince of the impact the media's intrusion have had not only on himself, but also on his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and his late mother Princess Diana.

While Prince Harry has spoken openly in the past from his memoir to his Netflix docuseries, the witness stand will offer no favors, and could well shine a harsher spotlight on the duke's personal life, as he faces cross-examination.

Nada Bashir, CNN -- at the high court in London.


VAUSE: Hilary Fordwich is a keynote speaker, a global business consultant, as well as a royal commentator who's made multiple appearances on U.S. networks for more than a decade talking about all things royal.

It's good to see. Welcome to the show.


VAUSE: So this does not seem to be off to the best start for Harry. A no-show on Monday, much to the annoyance it seems of the judge.

FORDWICH: You're absolutely right there, John. This judge, actually, you can't make these names up. His name is Judge Justice Fancourt. But he was absolutely flabbergasted that Prince Harry did not show up.

Now, I have heard from somebody directly in London that not only did Prince Harry actually arrive last night, but he was seen. Now this is secondhand not firsthand but secondhand, I've heard he was seen drinking at the Soho house.


FORDWICH: Well, if he was, and yet he could not appear in court, that is actually going to even compound the annoyance of Justice Fancourt. But, as I mentioned, he was flabbergasted. He was totally right. This is a home goal against him by himself.

VAUSE: And well, Harry is expected to testify later Tuesday. So here's the thing, members of the British royal family are very rarely asked difficult, direct questions, and certainly not in public.

Even those one-on-one media interviews don't seem to come close to what could potentially be the cross-examination from the lawyer representing the Mirror Newspaper Group, Andrew Green, who's been described in The Legal 500, the guide to help clients find a lawyer, as a fearless and fearsome cross examiner.

How is Harry expected to do on the stand? And is this kind of a high risk strategy for him?

FORDWICH: Well, you are right about IT being high-risk. You're right about it being absolutely rare. Not since Queen Victoria's son, the then Prince of Wales who became Edward the VII testified in 1891. So over 130 years ago, this doesn't happen, royal princes aren't on the stand. Why? Exactly to your point, they are not used to interrogation, and

think about this. Who goes to law school and who becomes a top, as you mentioned, 500 barrister. By the way, in the United we have just lawyers and we have litigating lawyers that appear in court. In the U.K. it is a barrister and a solicitor.

He is a barrister. Barrister is like a litigating attorney. What does that mean? It means he is absolutely an expert in these kind of cross examinations and interrogations.

Prince Harry, I believe, poor chap, is going to be blindsided. Why? One, yes he's never been interrogated and two he's not verse in this sort of interrogation, which is purported to go on for about a day and a half.

Well no matter how swift you are, who can remember exactly what they said moment after moment, for a day and a half. And last but not least, Prince Harry himself, in his own book "Spare" declared himself -- so this is not my personal opinion, he declared himself a glacial learner. He is not the swiftest on the stand, I should be saying.

VAUSE: Yes, and Andrew Green has already argued, in the early stage of this case, that there is no evidence that Harry's phone was ever actually hacked. He told the court there is no call data, whatsoever for the Duke of Sussex and scant call data for many pleaded associates.

And in preliminary hearings, lawyers for Harry had put forth testimony from a former Daily Mirror reporter Omid Scobie who says he was taught how to hack phones while working for the Mirror Group. But he never did it or so he claims.

He goes on to say, in 2002 he was a witness to a conversation between then editor of the Daily Mirror, Piers Morgan and another staff member who revealed a story about the popstar, Kylie Minogue, the Australian singer, had been sourced from voice mail. So he's dealing with hacked voicemails.

Now, there's a lot of talk in this case about the harm these tabloid stories have done to. Harry especially his relationship with his brother, but not a lot of evidence so far that the stories came from illegal actions like phone hacking.

So I guess it's early days, but this does seem to be a very difficult case to prove for Harry.

FORDWICH: You're absolutely right about that. This is a lot of this that's actually in Harry's -- not only Prince Harry's mind but what affected him with the ramifications later.

But who knows where these things came from, and a lot of it, by the way, remember this, he is driving forward trying to look in the rearview mirror because a lot of this is so many years ago.

He's actually saying and claiming that his relationship with Chelsea Davis, his lovely girlfriend that he absolutely loved and he said he thought was the one, I don't know how Meghan Markle's feeling about that. But that the relationship ended because she couldn't handle the pressure.

That is something that a lot of people say when they're not happy in a situation. Of course who knows the plethora of reasons.

But to your point there thus far has not been actually any concrete evidence given. And I would say that Andrew Green as you mentioned, the very stabby (ph) barrister, what he said, the prosecuting barrister, or the defending barrister, he's actually said "ninguna nada" (ph) -- there's absolutely no evidence that this ever did occur.

And in fact one point now, they did make one apology for one instance, they had apologized and Prince William made a very sensible decision. He took an over million dollar settlement, what did he do with it, he gave it to charity.

Prince Harry could've done exactly the same, John. And given such a settlement to charity.

VAUSE: Well, interesting times indeed for the royal family. And for Prince Harry and the case that so many people will be watching in the coming days.

Hilary, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

FORDWICH: Pleasure. Thank you, John.

VAUSE: One year after the murder of British journalist Tom Phillip and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, demonstrators gathered in Rio de Janeiro to remember both men killed while researching a book in the Amazon. Two more suspects have been named by police in the case, a total of five suspects, now awaiting trial.


VAUSE: Poland's national government is lashing out at the European Union after its highest court ruled the country's controversial judicial reform go against E.U. law. The reforms include setting up a disciplinary chamber for judges -- disciplinary chamber for judges -- and publishing information about them which violates their privacy, weakens the independence of the judiciary.

Poland's justice minister called the court corrupt, and dismissed the E.U. ruling which is final and could lead to massive fines.

This comes a day after some of Poland's largest anti-government demonstrations since the Cold War. Hundreds of thousands of people packed the streets of Warsaw on the 34th anniversary of the country's post-war democratic election in 1989.

Protesters accuse the ruling party of nationalism, undermining democracy as well as endorsing homophobia.

The eight main trade unions in France will stage 14th day of protests on Tuesday, a last ditch effort to pressure lawmakers to scrap the government's unpopular pension reform law. That, law championed by President Emmanuel Macron, raised the retirement age from 62 to 64.

As many as 600,000 people are expected to turn out for this latest protests, just days before the National Assembly holds at debate on the new law.

CNN's Melissa Bell spoke to one French journalist, who's covered these protests from the very beginning.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another pitched battle between protesters and police in the heart of Paris.

The images captured by a journalist who's made this his specialty.

Clement Lanot has covered every major French protest for the last seven years. His focus, to document the many uprisings against the government, and tell the stories of the anger behind them.

"The money is there," says one protester, "we just have to go and get it"

Traveling across the city, the protesters hush each other, as they get closer to the Euronext stock exchange. There, they paused, then charged.

Through the flares and the smoke that engulefe3d the building lobby, the sound of anger at the French president. Shocking scenes, but for Paris, nothing new.

The protests against the government upping of the pension age from 62 to 64 are just the latest round to draw people to the streets.

CLEMENT LANOT, JOURNALIST: In Paris, there are protests almost every day, some smaller, some bigger, because in France, we are used to it. As soon as something goes wrong, the French protest.

BELL: The hardest to cover he says, were the Yellow Vest protests of 2019 and 2020.

LANOT: The police, the protesters, we've never seen protests that violent. Everyone was a little shaken. Everyone was a little changed.

BELL: Over the years, the 25-year-old's been on the receiving end of rubber bullets, police batons and angry tussles with protesters. Being a journalist is little protection, he says.

LANOT: Several times, I find myself in the middle of the police charges. They hit me with their shields, even though they could see I was a journalist, and they could have avoided me.

BELL: But despite the dangers, images like these have been earning Lanot a decent living for the last seven years, covering hundreds of protests, he says.

LANOT: Once a demonstration is over, everyone goes home, and life goes back to normal. You probably see bus stops that have been shattered, but life goes on, and everything is ok for the Parisian's to go back out for a walk when the protest is done.

BELL: In a city where the culture of protest runs deep, it's just another day, and another clean up of the streets of the French capital.

Melissa Bell, CNN -- Paris.


VAUSE: Well, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has commented publicly on the explosion that destroyed the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine. Tweeting this, quote, "Russian terrorists. The destruction on the Kakhovka hydro electric power plant dam only confirms to the only world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land. Not a single meter should be left to them because they use every meter for terror.

It goes, "It's only Ukraine's victory that will return security. This victory will come," he tweeted. "The terrorists will not be able to stop Ukraine with water, missiles or anything else."

He is also urging those officials and verifies information only. Also this comes amid speculation the Ukrainian counteroffensive is underway at some point. The Ukrainian officials urging silence on those plans. Loose lips, sinking ships -- that kind of stuff.

We'll take a short break, when we come back, we'll hear from Kathleen Folbigg, once considered Australia's worst female serial killer, now pardoned after 20 years behind bars. More on that, in a moment.



VAUSE: The woman once considered Australia's worst female serial killer is enjoying her first taste of freedom since 2003. Kathleen Folbigg, who was pardoned Monday over the death of four of her babies, earlier released this video statement.


KATHLEEN FOLBIGG, PARDONED AFTER 20 YEARS IN PRISON: My eternal gratitude goes to my friends and family especially Tracy and all of her family. And I would not have survived this whole ordeal without them.

Today is a victory for science and especially truth and for the last 20 years I have been in prison, I have forever and will always think of my children, grieve for my children and I miss them and love them terribly. Thank you.


VAUSE: On her first day out of prison in 20, years, according to a childhood friend, Ms. Folbigg had a cup of tea and enjoyed a good night's sleep.

She was convicted of killing her young children over a decade from 1989 to 1999. But new evidence found a genetic defect caused at least three of the deaths of those children.

Joining us now from the Australian capital, Canberra, Anna-Maria Arabia is the CEO of the Australian Academy of Sciences, and one of the parties that actually managed to get the case, managed to get this pardon for her.

So thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate your time. I just want to sound out for the thought here which seems (INAUDIBLE) is that Ms. Folbigg spent not only two decades in prison for a crime she didn't commit but at the same time she was accused of killing her children while also dealing with the grief of their deaths. It just seems, two decades of hell.

ANNA-MARIA ARABIA, CEO, AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE: It's unimaginable trauma and grief and in all of our scientific growth to support this case, it has been difficult to imagine what she has been through. But we have kept, in our minds, the thought that behind this case and all of the scientific evidence there is a woman who has experienced immense trauma and grief in her life.

It really is unimaginable for us, I believe.

VAUSE: Explain to me the science though of how Ms. Folbigg, basically had her name cleared, how this pardon came out . What your role in all of this and how you came into this in the first place.

ARABIA: Yes. She was convicted in 2003, and of course at that time the human genome was just being sequenced and none of the information had led to her pardon with the (INAUDIBLE) at the time.

There was a first inquiry into the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg, held in 2019. And at that time there was the genome of both Kathleen and her four children was sequenced and the analysis around that genomic sequence had commenced.

And indeed in 2019 some mutations, rare genetic mutations were found to be held by both Kathleen and her children and her two daughters.

And it was on the strength of that evidence and each being presented in a preliminary sense of that first inquiry.


ARABIA: And really not being adequately explored that one of our fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor (INAUDIBLE) approached us and said we do need to look at this further.

You know, there is more information valuable here and the Australian justice system does need to hear former comprehensive scientific evidence around this case.

And so it began our investigation of the science, and the (INAUDIBLE) efforts to reach out to experts right around the world. To ask for their, help their specific expertise, to help understand what this genetic mutation meant.

And over time it's become very clear that the (INAUDIBLE) mutation held by Kathleen and her daughters is rare and is a likely cause of death by a cardiac with means sudden stopping of the heart that can lead to death and in this case, is likely to have occurred for her two daughters.

There was also an enormous body of evidence around the health or should I say your health of your two sons, one of her sons Patrick had epilepsy and indeed died after a seizure and had suffered some ill health for his life and Caleb died on the 14th, at 19 days.

And he was unable to swallow and breathe at the same time. He had a respiratory illness, which was quite acute. And led to his death. So this collective body of scientific evidence, as well as scientific evidence to analyze diaries and journals that Kathleen told we could keep all trying together in the second inquiry that has led the commission of inquiry. The honorable Tom Bathurst (ph) to arrive at a very firm conclusion that there are natural causes for death for all of the Folbigg children. And that he strongly recommended that she be pardon. Or the death be a reasonable desk.

As to her convictions which has been like the attorney general reasonable doubt, as to her convictions which then led the attorney general of New South Wales, to recommend a pardon. Which has been granted, leading to her release yesterday.

VAUSE: Yes, it's an incredible story. The science is amazing, it just took so long, obviously, but it's just how these things are and 20 years in jail, it just seems like a very long time. but it seems that justice is being done, I guess. Now that she's now a free woman. Anna- Maria Thank you so much for being with us.

ARABIA: You too.


VAUSE: And congratulations on all of your work. It's a great outcome.

ARABIA: Thanks ever so much.

VAUSE: Well, in Haiti, at least 42 people are dead, another 85 have been hurt after heavy rain treated triggered wide spread flooding as well as landslides.

Officials, say the rain caused several major release of quote, nearly a dozen people remain unaccounted for and more than 13,000 people have been displaced.

The forecast for parts of Europe is extreme rainfall in the coming hours. Two alerts have been issued through Wednesday, the first includes parts of the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. The second covers parts of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The agency warns the main threat in these areas are very large hail, severe wind gust and extreme rainfall.

That's the weather forecast. We'll take a short break.

When we come back, Apple unveils its new mixed with reality headset but for a price that may concern some users. Details in a moment.



VAUSE: A new advert (ph) for Apple which has unveiled its new mixed reality headset called Apple Vision Pro. The price tag -- $3,500. It will be available early next year with all your favorite Apple products.

The device claims virtual reality with augmented reality, which allows users to overlay virtual images on live video of the real world.

CNN's Jon Sarlin explains.


JON SARLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A big day here in Cupertino, California where Tim Cook and Apple have unveiled Apple's the biggest new device since the Apple Watch in 2015. Vision Pro -- a mixed reality headset sits atop of your head like a ski goggle.

Now, you might know virtual reality, a full screen that blocks everything out. This is mixed reality, a combination of the real world and the virtual world overlaid on one another that Apple is thinking on being the future of computing.

Now, what does it do? That is the big question. Apple showed a video, which had a desk with different workstations with different screens that you can adjust. It showed a home cinema, with a TV screens as big as you want. But the big question though is will people spend 3,500 on it? Especially when its closes competitor, Meta's Oculus is only around $300.

Tim Cook and Apple say that they've cracked the code on a device they're calling historic. It will be available in stores early next year.

Jon Sarlin, CNN -- Cupertino, California.


VAUSE: If you're looking to buy pink paint around, you know, last year sometime and you couldn't find it we now know why.

It's all about Barbie and the new Barbie movie. Apparently they needed so much fluorescent pink paint for the set, it contributed to a global shortage.

The film's production designer put it this way. The world ran out of pink. The director says she wanted everything very bright, to help bring the Barbie universe to life.

The movie produced by CNN's sister company (INAUDIBLE) hits theaters July 21st. How about that?

Finally this hour, she's a global superstar, selling out stadiums and arenas worldwide, but even Taylor Swift can have an oops moment every now and then.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I just swallowed a bud.


VAUSE: Mouth wide open. That happened during Sunday's concert at Chicago's Soldier Field in front of 60,000 fans. Swift was able to shake it off -- joking the bud was delicious then went on. She is a pro. She's a great performer.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. The news continues with my colleague Laila Harrak here on CNN after a short break.

See you right back here tomorrow.