Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

CNN International: Growing Concerns over Impact of Dam Collapse; British PM Sunak to meet Biden in Coming Hours; "The Little Mermaid" Tanks in China, South Korea; Millions in U.S., Canada under air Quality Warnings; Study: Reanimated Hearts Work well for Transplants, could make more Organs Available to Patients Waiting. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 08, 2023 - 08:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNNI HOST: Hello, you're watching CNN "Newsroom", I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead, a knife attack in Southeastern France leaves several people injured including children, we'll have the latest. Also Ukraine's President visits the flooded region of Kherson after the breach earlier this week of a critical dam.

And 75 million people in the U.S. are under air quality alerts because of wildfires in Canada. We'll ask CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent if it's a sign of the times. At least six people have been wounded in France after a man with a knife attacks them. It happened at a park in the city of Annecy earlier on Thursday four children are amongst the victims.

Police have arrested one person who has not released his name or a motive. Let's go to Melissa Bell in Paris with the very latest, Melissa?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Max a horrific attack that has shocked France you can imagine these are attacks specifically on small children that just tend not to happen in this part of the world, you will have to go back many years for anything similar 2012, a woman may have. What we understand has happened this morning.

And there is some pretty troubling video footage taken by bystanders that is beginning to emerge of what appears to show this young man now taken in custody. We know that he survived which is unusual because of course at this point, you would expect police to have neutralized him Tuesday, the French expression that tends to get used to these times.

And he went on a fairly frenzied rampage with a knife and targeted specifically, Max. And this is what the video images that are just almost too shocking to watch show that he pushes adults out of the way to target these very young children now. It's very hard in France right now.

There would have been a lot of people at this park, which is right next to the Annecy Lake, very picturesque part of France. These young children as we understand we're talking about pre-school age, so very young children who are in that park. And then he appears as he went on that rampage going very deliberately from target to target rather slowly as well.

Really looking for the small children and stabbing them. What we now know at this hour, Max, is that there are four children, two adults are understood to be in critical condition with a few of those now between life and death. That's what the French President has tweeted just a short while ago.

But again, an entire country shaken by what's happened this morning, on the edges of the Annecy Lakers about 9:45 French time, extremely unusual that children should be targeted for the time being, Max, the anti-terror, prosecutors haven't been seized of the case.

This is something that we're told they're watching. But a lot more to be uncovered about the precise identity of this young man and what his motive may have been. But for the time being, the police do not look like they're looking at some grand terror plot. Rather one man who went on the rampage this morning, tragically, next to this lake in Southeastern France, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, so absolutely horrific story. Melissa, thank you. So in the Ukraine, where a military commander says at least 600 square kilometers of the Kherson region are underwater following Tuesday's dam collapse. And a humanitarian organization is warning that floating land mines and are posing a huge safety risk.

Moscow and Kyiv are both accusing each other of shelling the flood stricken area during evacuation efforts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, visited the region earlier and called for a clear and quick global response to the disaster. Clare Sebastian joins me now. I mean, we just give me a sense really of the wider damage here.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Zelenskyy I think really wants to draw attention to it. He said in his nightly address. Last night, Max, unfortunately, the world's attention was not enough. He has been somewhat critical of the response from the west.

And we're hearing that from a number of Ukrainian voices that there's too much what they call both sides is in Ukraine thinks this is a very clear cut incident that Russia did this. Of course, we don't have any proof as of yet. But as you say, we are getting more of a sense of the damage here.

The Ukrainians as of 6 o'clock this morning said that just say of 2000 people had been evacuated. There warning as you say aid agencies warning about landmines floating that had been dislodged by the flooding. There are hundreds of thousands of people without drinking water, according to President Zelenskyy.

And now we're hearing of millions of tons of crops that might have been damaged, not to mention the long term damage of the destruction of that agricultural land.

[08:05:00] We're also getting the first reports, Max, of deaths as a result of the flooding three in Alaska which is Russian controlled that's according to the Ukrainian Mayor of that city. He says more could be coming. A lot of the people left in that town on the frontline are pensioners and people who might not have had the kind of mobility needed to get out of the way.

At least five in Nova Kakhovka, according to the Russian Mayor there that's the town adjacent to that and we're now hearing of one man who died in Mykolaiv. This is a Ukrainian held region north of the river itself north of the Kherson region. So I think this is really just sort of the beginning of getting a sense of the impact here.

FOSTER: OK, Clare, thank you. We're getting details about a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that took place on Wednesday. The Kremlin says the discussion is centered around, ensuring the stability of the global energy market, along with measures for strengthening trade and economic ties between Moscow and Riyadh.

America's top diplomat, meanwhile, is in the Saudi Arabia on a diplomatic mission aimed at setting relations between both countries a short while ago. At a conference in Riyadh, Antony Blinken announced the U.S. would provide nearly $150 million the areas in Syria and Iraq that were liberated from ISIS.

Blinken's visit comes after years of deepening disagreements between Washington and Riyadh on a range of issues including oil prices and human rights, certainly to North America where raging wildfires in Canada have created a health hazard for some 75 million people in the U.S.

These are live pictures from New York City which has been blanketed in haze for days now. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday discussing cooperation as smoke continues to engulf the East Coast and push into southern states. For more on where the smoke is heading. Let's go to Derek Van Dam at the CNN weather center, Derek?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Max, we're starting to get some indication that the wildfire conditions are improving across central Quebec, the boreal forest that continues to burn that has produced the smoke that's blanketed the East Coast those conditions are improving. And that's good news.

And the reason we're noticing this is because a significant improvement in the quality of the air and the visibility of the air too, across some of the areas that yesterday were so hardest hit, we're talking about Ottawa and Montreal. Now that doesn't help much for the East Coast cities, of course, New York to D.C. and Philadelphia, still shrouded in very thick smoke, hazardous levels of air quality currently reported there.

But it is so interesting to note what is happening across southern sections of Quebec, even into Northern New England, we're starting to receive a good report that's the green dot on the air quality index, when yesterday there were significant reports of degrading air quality throughout this region.

So we look upstream to see what's actually coming for the East Coast cities. And we can track that with what is called a near surface smoke forecast. So there are the wildfires in central Quebec. There's the plume of smoke emanating all the way to the east coast. But we advanced this, and you start to see some clearing taking place from north to south.

Now, this is all dependent on the wind direction. And of course, what's bad for someone today and maybe worse for somebody else tomorrow. But the long standing trend here is a general improvement in the weather patterns as we head into the early weekend, across the East Coast cities New York, Boston, the nation's capital Baltimore as well.

But while it has been bad, and in fact, currently, right now, both Detroit and New York City top the world's most polluted cities in terms of major metropolitans. And late Wednesday evening, we had hazardous air for some of these larger population densities, including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, off the charts hazardous in fact.

The weather pattern has been very stagnant. But this upper level low pattern has been responsible now for producing cloud cover, and even some rain. So what that does is it actually helps suppress some of the pollution levels. And that's what we're forecasting to continue.

And then by the early parts of next week, a proper cold front will move through the eastern half of North America and help clear out the weather conditions completely. But you can see the rainfall forecast here, Max, at least a glimmer of hope here for people along the east coast and into Quebec as well with wildfires burned.

FOSTER: Yes, that's good news. Thank you, Derek will continue to monitor of course. Now just a few hours British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak will meet U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office in his first White House is it since he took office, Mr. Sunak is in the U.S. for stronger economic ties coordinate on Ukraine and talk about security and a host of other issues as well.

The Prime Minister held meetings with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday. CNN's Arlette Saenz joins us live from the White House. What are the highlights views of this visit then, Arlette?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, in just a few hours, President Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak here at the White House for the very first time offering them an opportunity to deepen their relationship, but also touch on some very critical issues for both the U.S. and the United Kingdom and at the top of the agenda, they are expected to speak about that war in Ukraine.


Now, these convert sanctions will come at a critical time as U.S. officials and Western officials have said that they have seen signs of that counter offensive in Ukraine has started. Now, the U.S. and the United Kingdom have been one of the key suppliers of aid to Ukraine.

And they've also been central to those conversations about training and eventually fighting, or sorry, and then eventually sending and providing F-16 fighter jets to the country. Now the two leaders are also expected to talk about economic security as well as regulations relating to artificial intelligence.

That is something that the British Prime Minister has really been talking a lot about lately, and pushing for trying to present himself as a leader on that issue. But this meeting also offers an opportunity for the President and the Prime Minister to really deepen their relationship.

They've met on four other occasions over the past few months. But this will really be the most sustained meeting and interaction between the two leaders. And while there are areas of agreements like on Ukraine, there are other areas where there have been some differences, things like Northern Ireland.

And also some in Sunak's government have expressed frustration with some of the green energy subsidies that were included in President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. So in just about three hours, we expect the British Prime Minister to arrive here at the White House, they will meet for a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office.

And that will be followed by a press conference where the two leaders could face questions on a host of issues. But really heading into this meeting, Ukraine is expected to be at the top of the agenda, especially as the U.S. and the U.K. have really been working together in full concert over the past year in trying to provide aid and rally the world to provide more support to Ukraine.

FOSTER: OK, Arlette, thank you very much indeed. We'll be covering this story throughout the day. Former U.S. President Donald Trump has learned he is officially the target of a federal investigation. That's according to sources, familiar with the matter investigators are looking into possible mishandling of classified documents.

Notifications like this are a sign that an indictment could be coming, Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Trump's Former Vice President had one message during Wednesday's Town Hall on CNN, he and Trump are very different. Just hours after announcing a Presidential bid, Mike Pence laid out all the differences between him, Trump and the other Republican contenders.

Pence criticized his Former Boss for urging him to overturn some states Electoral College votes in the 2020 election.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We say what I said today was that anyone who puts themselves above the constitution should never be President in the first place. And anyone who asks anyone else to put them over the constitution should never be President again. I had hoped that President Trump would come around on our difference about that tragic day and about my role. And I still hope he does.


FOSTER: Positive news from Rome this morning as the Vatican Press Office says Pope Francis is recovering well after abdominal surgery. The 86 year old pontiff had surgery to repair a hernia on Wednesday. Let's go to Barbie Nadeau. She's covering this story from outside the hospital, will the Pope is recovering? I guess the concern here is that he's having various medical issues we're hearing about them more often.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, no, that is the concern. You know, he's 86 years old. And he does have kind of a long history of medical issues. He was in a hospital, this hospital behind me in March for an infectious bronchitis. He spent four days here but he also keeps a very busy schedule.

So there's a tight balance here and whether or not they can allow him to keep the schedule he wants to keep and keep him healthy. And so they're telling us it could be up to 10 days around more or less 10 days that he'll be in the hospital here recovering. His people say he's still working.

He was working yesterday cracking jokes yesterday right out of surgery. This surgery lasted about three hours. He was lucid, they told us right after and you know, it's we don't know if we're going to hear from him directly at any point or we'll see him the last time he was in the hospital.

He was making the rounds visiting sick children and things like that. So all those we can expect in the days to come as he recovers from this very important surgery and under which he went under general anesthesia, Max, which is never easy for anyone let alone an 86 year old man with health problems, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Barbie in Rome. Thank you for that. We'll keep across that as well. Disney's newest movie star is getting praised for her performance in The Little Mermaid. But audiences in China and South Korea aren't reacting as warm. There were signs of a racist backlash by some. We'll have details on that later in the show.



FOSTER: Disney's new live action movie The Little Mermaid is sinking at the box office in China and South Korea. The remake there's gross less than $5 million in each country since it was released in late May. The chilly reception comes as viewers in both countries questioned the choice of actress Halle Bailey as the star of the movie and what's being seen as a racist backlash. Soon as Kristie Lu Stout has this report.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Little Mermaid is dramatically underperforming in China and South Korea amid racist critiques like actress Halle Bailey has been praised for her star making turn as the main character Ariel, but apparently it's not enough to win over certain would be viewers in China and South Korea who can't get over the fact that Disney cast her in the role of the film has found success in many countries around the world.

According to Comscore, the film has made $327 million globally but China, the world's second largest Box Office has contributed a paltry amount. According to end data, this is the Chinese Box Office tracker. In Mainland China, the film made only $2.7 million in its first five days.

And compare that to Spider Man across the Spider Verse, which brought in nearly $20 million in the first five days of opening. Now some in Mainland China have shared their objections online one that is in on mall yet. It's a Chinese Box Office platform, said that "the fairy tale that I grew up with has changed beyond recognition".

And Chinese state media has encouraged such reactions. In fact, an op- ed published right before the film's debut in China, in the Global Times said this "The controversy surrounding Disney's forced inclusion of minorities in classic films is not about racism, but its lazy and irresponsible storytelling strategy". Disney declined to comment.

Similar reactions we found online in South Korea, with one user saying the movie had been "ruined, along with the hash tag not my Ariel". According to the Korean Film Council in South Korea, The Little Mermaid attracted some 472,000 viewers in its first week and compare that to the near 643,000 fans have showed up for the latest Fast and Furious sequel over the same period. Kristie Lu Stout CNN, Hong Kong.

FOSTER: Still to come, millions of people in the U.S. want to stay inside because of has the smoke from Canada's wildfires. Our Chief Climate Correspondent joins me next to discuss.



FOSTER: It's just after 8 am on the East Coast of the U.S. where millions of people are now waking up to a noxious smoky haze. In fact, millions from Maryland all the way up to Quebec have breathing fumes caused by wildfires in Canada. Major metro areas Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and of course, New York City, around air quality alerts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living in New York, for the most part of 35 years, and I've never experienced anything like this before. For years, we've been wearing masks, indoors and taking them off outdoors. And now it's the reverse.


FOSTER: In Canada more than 9 million acres have been charged by wildfires so far this year 15 times the normal burned area for this point of the year. The bulk of the country's fire season, which lasts until September is still ahead as well. CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir is in Brooklyn, New York and joins us now. I mean, this is so unusual for New York, which is why we're so focused on that city?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely, Max, even hard bitten New Yorkers who have seen everything were stunned yesterday, when it got so dark in the middle of the day that the street lights came on in Central Park. And they stopped the airports they canceled baseball games, it was really sort of eerie and apocalyptic.

And a lot of it is just the psychology you think living in the U.S. that wildfires are a choice that folks who live out west have made that's their hazard. But recent research shows that 60 percent of wildfire pollution usually comes from some other state here in North America. You can't escape it, it's for everywhere.

And so now you're seeing the result of over 100 out of control wildfires up in central Quebec, that heat dome that just parked over Canada in May and desiccated all the vegetation there. All it takes is one lightning strike or one air and spark. And here's the result of this.

FOSTER: Is this a freak event? Can we read anything into it?

WEIR: I think it is freaking that the experts say they've never seen a weather pattern that held the smoke down on the ground for as long as it has. It's almost pushing it in low altitudes, when normally it would be sort of cycling up into the higher atmosphere as well. But we don't know we you know, the predictions are that this is going to be a very long, smoky summer up in Canada.

They usually can burn until early September. And then you're just sort of at the mercy of the winds when those sorts of things happened in this part of the country is pretty unprepared for this sort of thing. People don't know whether to wear masks, whether to stay inside, whether their air conditioning filters are up to snuff. But this may be a Flash Crash caution that.

FOSTER: You're wearing a mask is that the advice then stay indoors if you can, it doesn't always help though, does it unless you've got the proper filtration systems.

WEIR: Exactly. You get a false sense of security inside some of the levels you know the air quality index is 0 to 500. On a good day in New York, it's less than 50. Yesterday I'd hit 448, I believe a 484, that's nothing compared to say Beijing of years past where they were north of 700 and created a national crisis and shock them into cleaning their air.

But yes, I was talking to the pulmonary specialists yesterday said anything is better than nothing. Surgical masks don't work as well, but an N-95 properly sealed can't keep out over 90 percent of the fine particulates. So people, who have asthma, people who had COVID and recovering from that sort of thing, doctors say do the prudent thing and maybe mask up for a couple of days until this thing goes away or at least try to stay inside. FOSTER: Yes, absolutely. CNN's Bill Weir, thank you for joining us there from New York. Now researchers believe reanimated hearts could be a viable way to provide more organs to patients in need of a transplant. That's according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, usually only hearts from donors who are declared brain dead are used.

But surgeons at Duke University conducted a trial using hearts from people experiencing circulatory death or simply their heart stops beating after removing life support.


Donation after circulatory death is becoming more popular in the U.K. and Spain but some U.S. doctors still has have reservations. The Duke University team says this could be a game changer.


DR. CARMELO MILANO, HEART TRANSPLANT SURGEON AT DUKE HEART TRANSPLANT CLINIC: Our center has experienced significant increases in heart transplant volume and other centers that have begun to use DCD donors have shown up to a 30 percent increase in the total heart transplant volume. So this is the biggest change in terms of new potential donors that the treatment has seen really since its inception.


FOSTER: Well, out of the nearly 200 people in the trolley received a reanimated heart 94 percent was still alive six months later. Drone technology has led to the exciting discovery of unknown prehistoric cave paintings in Eastern Spain. Researchers have decided to use the drones because the caves are hidden very difficult to reach.

Within days the drones revealed cave walls decorated with ancient artwork of humans and hunted animals climbers were later able to reach the sites to verify the discoveries. Thanks for joining me here on CNN "Newsroom". I'm Max Foster in London. "World Sport" with Patrick Snell is up next.