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World Leaders Begin Arriving In New Delhi For The Annual G20 Summit; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Hears Horror Stories About The Abuse Of Ukrainian Civilians At The Hands Of Russian Forces; Britain Makes The Case For Ukrainian Grain Exports At The G20 Summit; U.S. Officials Say North Korea Will Pay A Price If It Makes A Weapons Deal With Russia; South Korea Plays Down Any Threat From North Korea's So-Called Nuclear Attack Submarine; Caving Instructor Mark Dickey Suffers From Gastrointestinal Bleeding During An Exploration; At Least 64 People Killed In An Alleged Jihadist Attack; Hong Kong Sees Heaviest Rainfall In More Than A Hundred Years; Southern Brazil Cyclone Kills Nearly 40 People; The National Hurricane Center Warns of Dangerous Conditions In the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico And Other Islands; Climate Activists in Belgium Smash Cream Pies Into Ryanair CEO's Face; Russian President Vladimir Putin Is A No-Show At the G20 Summit; Rudy Giuliani Faces Millions Of Dollars In Unpaid Legal Bills. Suspected Chinese Operatives Use A.I. Images To Spread Disinformation To American Voters; Today Marks The First Anniversary Of The Passing Of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 08, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber ahead on CNN Newsroom. We're hours away from President Biden landing in India for the G20 Summit. We'll have a look at what's on the agenda, the two glaring absences from this year's meeting. And --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK DICKEY, RESEARCHER TRAPPED IN TURKISH CAVE: I'm not healed on the inside yet, so I need a lot of help to get out of here.
BRUNHUBER: We're hearing for the first time from the American trapped inside one of Turkey's deepest caves. We'll have a live report on what he has to say about the mission to rescue him. Plus, today marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death. We'll look back at her legacy and what the monarchy has accomplished since her passing.
Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.
BRUNHUBER: Leaders of the world's largest economies have begun arriving in New Delhi for this weekend's annual G20 summit. U.S. President Joe Biden left Washington late Thursday for the long flight. Soon after he arrives in Delhi, he's scheduled to sit down with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for one-on-one talks. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be the first British Premier of Indian descent to visit India when he touches down. Downing Street called his trip historic.
But Vladimir Putin is a no-show, just as he was at the Bali summit last year. With an international arrest warrant hanging over him, the Russian leader also skipped last month's BRICS summit in South Africa. And while Putin's absence isn't a surprise, a last-minute decision by China's Xi Jinping not to come was unexpected. It's the first time Xi has missed a G20. No official explanation was given. CNN's Kevin Liptak joins us live this hour from New Delhi. So, Kevin, take us through what we're expecting.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, certainly for President Biden, the main objective for his time here at the G20 will be trying to convince the developing world that the United States can be a better partner than China. And he does have an opportunity, the absence of President Xi from these talks. For President Biden, it is something of a missed opportunity.
You will remember at last year's G20 in Bali, the two men sat for hours for a summit, no chance of that happening here. But White House officials do view this as an opening for President Biden to talk about the relative strength of the American economy compared to the Chinese economy.
And he is coming armed with these proposals to increase development in the developing world through the World Bank. He is talking about infrastructure investments by the United States in the developing world in those countries. So, certainly, President Biden believes he has a good story to tell there.
Of course, Ukraine is the other topic that will dominate these talks this weekend. President Biden has had quite a bit of success in rallying the West behind Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, but he hasn't been as convincing to some countries in the so-called global South. Countries like India, South Africa, Brazil, the work is underway now to develop some type of joint leader statement that would come out of this summit. Those talks, we're told, have been very difficult, so it does remain to be seen whether they will come to any agreement on joint language.
Now, really, at the center of this week's G20 is the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it is remarkable. You cannot go 10 feet in New Delhi this weekend without seeing a photo of him on posters, on billboards. President Biden's first order of business when he arrives here is sitting down for talks with him. Really, Modi trying to elevate his stature as a global statesman through this summit this weekend, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right. And then, Kevin, looking ahead, President Biden heading to Vietnam. I mean, why there? What's he hoping to accomplish and what kind of reception do you think his message will get there?
LIPTAK: Yeah, and this is all about China. President Biden looking to counter Beijing's influence in that region in Southeast Asia. Of course, President Biden is not the first president to take this step. I've traveled to Vietnam with President Obama, President Trump, all of them sort of looking to elevate the U. S. relationship with Hanoi in the attempt to counter Beijing's influence in that country.
And what you'll see President Biden doing is really escalating the U.S. alliance, taking it to a new level, signing several agreements with the government there. He'll also hold a press conference while he's in Vietnam. So, certainly, President Biden looking to expand American influence in this region and really hoping to take President Xi Jinping's absence from these summits, from these gatherings, as an opportunity to take the stage for the United States.
BRUNHUBER: All right. I appreciate it. As always, Kevin Liptak in New Delhi. Thanks so much. Now, earlier I spoke with James Crabtree of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and I asked him why he thinks China's leader decided not to attend the summit. Here he is.
JAMES CRABTREE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: -- as in he, to be there would be an expectation that he and President Biden would meet. China might think that it's better to wait until a second summit in San Francisco, the APEC Summit. And he may also simply decide that by not turning up, he will draw some air out of the summit and make it less easy for India to see the summit as a success.
BRUNHUBER: Interesting. So -- so, that's tied with, you know, competition with India as sort of this would-be champion of the global south, right?
CRABTREE: Yeah, you have two competitions going on here. You have the U.S.-China competition that all of your viewers will know about. But you also have an implicit competition between Beijing and New Delhi as which of the two emerging giants of Asia represents the emerging countries of Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa. And so, in addition to Mr. Modi wanting to be G20 Chair because it helps his re- election chances, really, he wants to position India, not China, as the champion of global emerging economies.
BRUNHUBER: We heard there from our reporter, Kevin Liptak, about the American perspective here. Do you think President Biden will capitalize on Xi's absence here?
CRABTREE: Yes and no. I think it will be better for the United States to go and be the main attraction, but it makes it less likely that anything substantial will be done at the G20. So, if you look at the big agenda items, climate finance, debt-restructuring, things like that, without China at the table -- the Chinese leader at the table, it just makes it that much more, less likely that the G20 will achieve anything.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Ukraine says emergency services are on site after a new missile attack on Zaporizhzhia. Officials say the city was struck Friday morning, leaving at least one person wounded. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force also says the Odessa region was targeted by a drone attack. Officials say air defenses managed to destroy most of them.
Now, on the front lines, Ukraine says it continues to make incremental gains in its counteroffensive in the south. A local Ukrainian brigade posted this video on social media, saying it shows fighting for the village of Robotyne. It was recently captured by Ukraine. Now, Ukrainian military sources say their troops overran several Russian positions south of there.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken heard horror stories about the abuse of Ukrainian civilians at the hands of Russian forces. He visited a town north of Kyiv on Thursday where survivors told him about their imprisonment while the area was occupied in the early days of the war.
For more, Katie Polglase joins us from London. So, first, Katie, let's start with the latest attacks and the counter-offensive.
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Absolutely. So, Kim, this counter-offensive is still making progress. It's incremental progress as we've been hearing before. These are marginal gains. They are now moving beyond from Robotyne where they've been captured a few weeks ago.
Now, they're moving towards an area called Novo Prokopivka. This is just three kilometers away from Robotyne. This is not big distances really, but this is difficult terrain as we've been discussing before. Heavily fortified, heavily defended and heavy artillery fire that they're receiving back when they make this progress. The counterattacks are very much still there.
But this counteroffensive is moving on and this progress seems to be continuing. So, there is some positive note there. But as you mentioned with those aerial attacks earlier, this is continuing at the same time. And while this land offensive, while this counteroffensive is progressing, Russia continues to strike across a variety of areas and the civilian toll is all too clear.
You mentioned Odessa in the south there, that is an area that has had frequent attacks really throughout this war. There were drone attacks. The Ukrainians said 20 drone attacks across this region. They downed 16 of them. This comes just days after an agricultural worker was killed in this region from another Russian drone attack. This is something we are seeing more and more often.
Likewise, in Zaporizhzhia, one person injured overnight. Reports are coming out this morning. This is an area where civilians have been evacuated from in the past few weeks for exactly this risk. There are civilians in a lot of these areas. And while this counteroffensive may be continuing, it's worth remembering that there are civilians very close to these front lines and the risk is very much still present. BRUNHUBER: Yeah, absolutely and then Katie, take us through Antony
Blinken's visit and his reaction to what he saw.
POLGLASE: Yes, so Blinken was in an area called Yahidne this morning, this -- earlier this week. It was during this visit to Kyiv. It's not far from Kyiv and it was an area that at the beginning of the war was occupied by Russia. And during that occupation, there were some horrific stories that later emerged.
So, 300 people -- more than 300 were kept in a basement of a school for nearly a month. And there were some horrific stories of torture, of killings. Even children were kept in this basement. He visited this school. He visited this basement. Have a listen to what he said about the visit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Now, what happened here happened at the beginning of the Russian aggression. But the atrocities and the impact it's having on Ukrainians of all ages continue to this very day. Just yesterday, we saw the bombing of a market. Seventeen people or more, killed. Many others injured. A market. For what? This is what Ukrainians are living with every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Now, he's mentioning there an attack on a market in an area called Kostiantynivka in Donetsk that happened earlier this week. Seventeen people killed, one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Ukraine for quite some time. But it's worth noting there that this experience of civilians in Yahidne at the start of the war and now this experience of civilians in Donetsk just a few days ago, this is something that has continued throughout this war.
The civilian toll, the human suffering. And while we talk about this battleground movements and the progress in the counteroffensive, it is worth noting that this toll on civilians, the risk to human life that is experienced by the Ukrainian population, has continued throughout this.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, absolutely. All right. Katie Polglase in London. Thanks so much. And Britain will make the case for Ukrainian grain exports at the G20 Summit. Downing Street said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will talk to other leaders about how to get around Russia's Black Sea blockade. He spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before heading to the summit.
Ukraine is also pushing a new grain deal that would leave Russia out on Thursday and proposed an agreement to Turkey that would open the grain corridor in the Black Sea without Moskow on board. Kyiv also announced it started exporting grain through Croatian ports as it explores alternate shipping routes.
Twenty Russian diplomats and staff arrived at the country's embassy in North Korea on Thursday. Their arrival comes amid speculation of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The Russian embassy says the new envoys and staff are part of the first personnel rotation since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kremlin says it's committed to developing its relationship with Pyongyang regardless of the opinion of other countries. U.S. officials have warned North Korea will, quote, "pay a price" if it makes a weapons deal with Russia.
Meanwhile, South Korea is playing down any threat from North Korea's new so-called nuclear attack submarine. The South Korean military says it believes the new sub is, quote, not capable of normal operation. CNN's Paula Hancocks has the latest from Seoul.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is what North Korea is telling us that it has achieved and is unveiling. And then you have the other side, officials in the region and also experts trying to pour over images and footage to find out if it is exactly what North Korea says it is.
So, Pyongyang has said, and Kim Jong-un was there at the unveiling, as well, giving a speech, that they have launched a Korean-style tactical nuclear attack submarine. Kim calling it the beginning of a new chapter. And we have seen in recent months that there is some kind of revival when it comes to the Navy in North Korea. There is a lot more focus being put on it. And he also said that he wanted to make sure that all medium-sized submarines will be converted into nuclear- capable versions.
Now, on the other side, what we have heard from the South Koreans, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said that it appears, quote, "not capable of normal operation". Now, they, of course, are pouring over these images as well to find out exactly what they can from any possible images showing the capabilities, saying that they're paying attention to signs that suggest Pyongyang is attempting to deceive or cover up or exaggerate capabilities.
Now, it hasn't been tested although we have seen in recent years some submarine launched ballistic missile tests from North Korea although officials and experts do believe that all, if not the vast majority were actually launched from an underwater platform as opposed to a submarine, which Pyongyang claims.
But it comes one day ahead of the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea, which is going to be an important day in the calendar. North Korea has already said that they will carry out a parade. There will be extensive celebrations.
And of course, as you mentioned, it also comes as there is speculation that there could be possibly a meeting between the leaders of North Korea and Russia, but certainly, a push towards a potential arms deal between the two countries. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: For the first time, we're hearing from the American men who's been trapped for days inside one of Turkey's deepest caves. Caving Instructor Mark Dickey was taking part in an exploration when he suffered gastrointestinal bleeding. He's under observation at the base camp where he received some units of blood and is now alert, talking and even smiling. Dickey says he's not healed yet on the inside and will need a lot of help to get out of the cave. He also thanked the Turkish government for quickly delivering medical supplies that he says saved his life.
Nada Bashir is covering this live from London. Nada, the news seems promising, so far, at least in terms of his health but what's the latest on the rescue?
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, there are some positive indications which will come as a welcome development. Of course, it has been days now that Dickey has spent beneath Turkey's third deepest cave, some 3000 feet at base camp, suffering, as you mentioned there, from gastrointestinal bleeding.
So, there has been significant concern around his condition and we have seen rescuers pouring over this effort to bring Dickey safely out from the cave. Some 150 rescuers taking part in that operation. For multiple nations, as you said there, some positive indications and we have for the first time heard from Dickey himself speaking from base camp. A video message thanking those taking part in the effort. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICKEY: I'm Mark Dickie from nearly a thousand meters and I want to thank everyone that's down here and thank the response of the caving community. The caving world is a really tight-knit group and it is amazing to see how many people have responded on the surface.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIR: Now, Dickey is said to be in a stable condition as you saw there in the video. He said to be able to walk by himself. But, of course, there is concern. He is in a delicate condition health-wise. And we've heard from rescue officials saying that they believe it could take days in order to safely bring Dickey to the surface simply because of course his stomach area is particularly delicate given the injuries he has suffered. And there is concern over the narrow and winding passages of this cave.
Now, Turkish caving authorities say it would typically take an experienced caver around 15 full hours to make it to the surface in ideal conditions. But of course, Dickey will be assisted throughout this entire process. There is concern around his health, particularly of course the colder temperatures in the cave, concern around the possibility of hypothermia.
So, it is anticipated that this rescue effort could go on for days more. But the message that we're hearing from rescue officials is that there are positive indications. They are cautious, optimistic and they are encouraged by Dickie's state of health at this current state of time. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll stay on top of that story. Nada Bashir, thanks so much. At least 64 people were killed in an alleged jihadist attack in Mali on Thursday. Officials say the attacks targeted a passenger boat on the Niger River and an army base in the Gow region. Forty-nine civilians and 15 soldiers were among the victims. The government says the attacks were claimed by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, a group associated with Al-Qaeda.
Just days after being hit by a powerful typhoon, Hong Kong sees the heaviest rain in more than a century. And the death toll rises after a cyclone strikes southern Brazil. Just ahead, the communities hit hardest by the storm and the devastating flooding which followed. Plus, Hurricane Lee is gaining strength in the Atlantic. The latest on where the storm's heading, that's after the break. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Have a look at that. Just days after being battered by a typhoon, Hong Kong now seeing its heaviest rainfall in more than a hundred years. Officials reported more than 158 millimeters of rain in one hour Thursday night and the Weather Bureau has issued its highest black rainstorm warning urging people to stay inside and find shelter. Kristie Lu Stout has more.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: - of severe disruption here in Hong Kong. As the heaviest rain since records began in 1884 has effectively shut down this city. A highest-level black rainstorm warning was put into effect Thursday evening, 11:05 P.M. local time. And that's why I'm reporting from home. All residents have been advised to shelter indoors. Schools are closed. A number of bus routes and roads are closed. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is closed.
Earlier we heard from the Hong Kong Observatory that issued an advisory saying this, quote, "People should stay away from water courses. Residents living in close proximity to rivers should stay alert to weather conditions and should consider evacuation if their homes may become flooded."
Now, we've been monitoring and vetting dramatic video that has been circulating online showing both the deluge and the damage. In this video you see an example of how a Hong Kong street has been transformed into a river with cars including Hong Kong's iconic red taxis submerged in flood water. And in this clip, you see the impact of the black rain from the perspective of a resident, rainwater seeping into the stairway of an apartment building after the street is flooded outside.
And in this final video, a dramatic rescue. A person had to be taken out of a partially submerged vehicle by Hong Kong firefighters. Heavy rain also reported in southern China including the megacity of Shenzhen. We have learned that authorities there plan to discharge water from its reservoir on Friday and that could potentially worsen the flooding situation in northern Hong Kong including the northern new territories.
This is just the latest extreme weather to hit Hong Kong. A week ago this area was pummeled by typhoon Saola which was the strongest typhoon to hit the city in five years. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
BRUNHUBER: Well, just days after Greece endured deadly wildfires. Torrential rain is turning streets into dangerous rivers and lakes. At least six people have been killed and more than 800 rescued this week from the extreme flooding. The rainstorms ripped apart buildings and bridges and left some villages completely submerged. Floodwaters in some parts of the country have been more than two meters deep. A government spokesperson says the region where Athens is located got nearly three times the average annual rainfall in about 12 hours.
In southern Brazil, nearly 40 people are dead in the aftermath of a cyclone. It tore through communities in Rio Grande do Sul state this week, causing severe floods. Several people are missing and more than 3500 people have been forced to leave their homes. CNN's Stefano Pozzebon picks up the story.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): From the air, images simply show thousands of buildings destroyed by the force of the elements. But on the ground, behind every house, there is a story. Dominguez Fontana can only recover old wedding photos that survived in what used to be his home, wiped out by the worst natural disaster hit in this region in four decades.
The water was higher than this, says Fontana, who had to run for his life when the flood rushed over his village one night earlier this week. Others were not as lucky. Brazilian authorities say more than 3000 people have died, thousands displaced. The local government has declared a state of emergency for 180 days. In some cases, firefighters used boats to rescue people from their homes, with corridors turned rivers by the rising water.
According to a local meteorologist, the state received in a week the amount of rain it normally gets in a month. But this week's cyclone follows a pattern of extreme weather events throughout this year.
EDUARDO LEITE, GOVERNOR OF RIO GRANDE DO SUL, BRAZIL (through translator): It's been such a tough year for us. At the beginning of the year, we lost 40 percent of our harvest because of droughts, because of lack of water. And now, we have the opposite problem.
POZZEBON (voice-over): The Brazilian National Institute for Meteorology forecasts more rain for the rest of the week. Temperatures worldwide have been hitting record highs in 2023, and climatologists are blaming a warmer climate in the Southern Atlantic Ocean for this type of natural disaster, the very concrete consequence of a hotter planet. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.
BRUNHUBER: Well, 24 hours ago, Hurricane Lee was barely a hurricane. Not anymore. It's now a Category-5 storm as it churns in the record warm waters of the Atlantic. Winds are now at 260 kilometers per hour and forecast to get even stronger. The National Hurricane Center says dangerous, life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other islands this weekend. And it could begin to affect the U.S. East Coast by Sunday. CNN's Chad Myers has more on where the storm may be heading.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hurricane Lee, a very impressive major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean right now and getting stronger. It's in very warm water. The eye is very clear there on the last couple of frames, which means that the storm is likely even getting stronger at this hour. Hurricane hunters have been flying back and forth to see how strong this storm is and still moving toward the northwest. But the models are really turning this hard to the right, at very, very end of that five-day period.
Turning it hard, this is the American model, all the ensembles of the American model, turning it hard to the right. Now, when does the turn happen? That's always a question. Does it happen 12 hours early and turn here with this line? Or does it turn 12 hours later and turn over here? It's a big, big story for the northeastern part of the United States and even into Atlantic Canada.
Where the storm is right now is three to five degrees Fahrenheit, two to three degrees Celsius above normal. But look at this blue area here. There was a hurricane here last week, Hurricane Franklin, also a major hurricane, and it mixed the water up. It took that warm water from the surface and used it to make the hurricane and then mixed water from down below, the colder water, up to the surface. So, Lee has to run through and into this colder water. That may slow it down just a touch. At least that's what everyone is hoping for.
BRUNHUBER: In Bolivia, firefighters are struggling to contain a massive wildfire that's burning through a protected forest. Officials are using helicopters to help firefighters on the ground, but more than 5000 hectares have already been destroyed. The fire is one of three active blazes scorching the Santa Cruz area of southeastern Bolivia.
Climate activists in Belgium have given Ryanair CEO an in-your-face message about airline pollution. Michael O'Leary was delivering a petition asking the European Commission to protect certain flights during air traffic control strikes, but two activists smashed cream pies into his face as they sarcastically welcomed him to Belgium and warned him to stop airline pollution. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Welcome in Belgium. Stop the pollution.
BRUNHUBER: Ryanair Chief Executive still gave his remarks after telling the media he loves cream pies. As for the protesters concerns the International Energy Agency says aviation accounts for two percent of global energy related CO2 emissions.
The U.S. President is off to India this weekend for the G20 summit but the leaders of Russia and China won't be there which could be an opportunity for President Biden. We'll have a live report from New Delhi. Just ahead, an artificial intelligence has become the latest tool of foreign operatives seeking to influence American voters. Still ahead, a new warning ahead of next year's election. Stay with us.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome back to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I want to get back to one of our top stories this hour. Leaders of the world's largest economies have begun arriving in New Delhi for the annual G20 summit. U.S. President Joe Biden left Washington late Thursday for the long flight. Soon after he lands, he's scheduled to sit down with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for one-on-one talks.
But Vladimir Putin is a no-show, just as he was at the Bali summit last year. With an international arrest warrant hanging over him, the Russian leader also skipped last month's BRICS Summit in South Africa. And while Putin's absence isn't a surprise, a last minute decision by China's Xi Jinping not to come was unexpected. It will be the first time Xi has missed a G20. No official explanation was given. CNN's Vedika Sud joins us live this hour from New Delhi. So Vedika, from India's perspective, how is President Xi's absence being seen as a slight or as an opportunity?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: I think a bit of both, Kim, but the Indian government for now is downplaying it. According to India's external affairs minister S.J. Shankar, this is not really the first time that leaders have skipped a summit. It's happened in the past with the G20, but their position is reflected by the representatives they send at the G20.
Now, is this a snub? Well, it could be. There could be a message going out by the Chinese leader, not only to the Indian Prime Minister, but to the U.S. President, as well. This is what Michael Kugelman, who is a foreign affairs expert, had to say about the absence of Xi from the G20 Summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL KUGELMAN, DIRECTOR, SOUTH ASIA INSTITUTE, THE WILSON CENTER: I also would argue that perhaps President Xi is trying to send a message to the U.S. and other Western members of the G20 that Beijing is simply not inclined to participate with the Western powers and the Western players at this moment, and he would prefer to spend his time focused on global forums that are meant to provide or serve as alternatives to the West, such as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SUD: Now, remember, the divisions haven't been sharp geopolitically in terms of this G20 Summit. Will there be a joint statement, a joint communique or not is the biggest question and perhaps the biggest takeaway once the summit ends. But for the Indian Prime Minister, just answering the second part of your question, this could be an opportunity, Kim. And here's why.
There will be fewer distractions, according to experts. No one really will be looking out to see if Modi is meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the summit, if Putin is meeting with other leaders, or if Biden is meeting with Xi on of the G20 Summit.
And according to the Indian Prime Minister and the billboards that you see every 10 feet from the airport to central Delhi, where he promises to champion the cause of the global South, this could be his moment. His moment to assert himself and project himself as the leader of the global South, his moment to get some work done, talk shop without the bigger distractions if the leaders of China and Russia would be at the G20 Summit. But all eyes will be on whether Modi will succeed in bringing leaders together to sign on the joint statement, which for now seems to be a less of a possibility, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll be following this for the next couple of days. Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Thank you so much. Donald Trump's former attorney, Rudy Giuliani is facing millions of dollars in unpaid legal bills. A source familiar with the matter says Giuliani hopes a fundraiser at Trump's Bedminster Golf Club last night will help eat into that debt.
We're told the $100,000 played event was expected to raise more than a million dollars. But Giuliani's son told a local radio show that won't be enough to cover his father's legal bills. The former mayor of New York City is facing several lawsuits, as well as criminal charges, stemming from his efforts to help Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Now, the current race for the White House isn't a normal election. One of the chief candidates faces criminal racketeering charges, accused of trying to overthrow democracy. His supporters, in his name, attack the U.S. Capitol, but backed by a devoted and sometimes militant following. Ex-President Donald Trump is still the Republican front runner. And the current president may be in trouble. New polling shows Democrat Joe Biden's approval rating dropping to 39 percent. His handling of the economy is a factor, and the 80-year-old's age remains a major concern.
Now, it's worth mentioning, Trump is 77, but the polling gives him a very slight edge over Biden in next year's vote. In fact, nearly all top Republicans have a fighting chance on paper. Still, many have struggled with how to challenge Trump while embracing his platform. Here's Trump's former vice president and current rival speaking to CNN's Phil Mattingly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. It was a conservative record. But I think Republican primary voters have a choice to make, whether we're going to stay on that conservative agenda or whether we're going to drift off to the populism that many are giving voice to today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Suspected Chinese operatives are using images made by artificial intelligence to spread disinformation to American voters and fan the flames on divisive issues ahead of next year's U.S. election. That warning comes from Microsoft, which shared this example. The company says the operatives are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and they're focused on quote, "denigrating U.S. political figures and symbols".
Another image from the foreign influence campaign uses the Black Lives Matter movement. Microsoft says the images are generated by computer and like clickbait with many reposting them on social media. CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jang joins me now live. So, Stephen, what more are we learning about who's behind this and the response from China, as well?
STEVEN JANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah, Kim, you know, this doesn't really come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Remember back in February, we actually reported the discovery of China based bots planting fake newscasts on Twitter and Facebook using A.I.-generated avatars reading, quote, unquote, stories focused on America's shortcomings and flaws while amplifying narratives in line with Beijing's strategic goals.
Back then, of course, experts told us those videos didn't gain too much traction but fast-forward to this latest finding, obviously, the technology and A.I.-generated contents have become a lot more sophisticated and making it even harder for average users to tell the difference between what's new -- what's real and what's fake. And that, of course, has long been a worry -- has long been a worry of U.S. officials and experts, especially in the current political climate in the U.S., so polarized and so divisive, making Americans really easy prey. Now, the Chinese government has pushed back on the latest allegation,
calling this report full of prejudice and another reflection of malicious speculation against China. But a matter of fact is, ever since Russia adopted this playbook back in 2016, U.S. officials really have seen this coming, you know, with the FBI pointing to both Russian and Chinese state actors involved in influence campaigns during the 2022 midterm elections.
And just last month, actually, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, took down thousands of China-based accounts that a company says are tied to China's law enforcement targeting not just Americans but also people in Taiwan and elsewhere as part of quote, unquote, "cross- platform covert influence operations".
So, this latest example, it's definitely not the last time we're going to be hearing about this and with the, you know, growth of A.I. technology and the proliferation of such contents, this is only going to happen more frequently which is of course a big concern for U.S. officials that say this deepens the threats posed by both cyberattacks and disinformation. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, very disturbing indeed. Steven Jang in Beijing. Thank you so much. France's highest court has upheld the French government's controversial ban on the abaya. The rule forbids students in public schools from wearing the long robe-like garment often worn by Muslim women. The ban's legal foundation is in a law passed in 2004 that forbids the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in French schools.
In a press release published online, the court said, quote, the ban on wearing these garments does not constitute a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of a fundamental freedom. But Muslim rights groups that oppose the ban are warning the ruling will lead to more discrimination. They say the court had quote, "not fulfill its role of protecting the fundamental freedoms of children without any form of discrimination."
London's Metropolitan Police say an ongoing search in the city's Richmond Park is related to the manhunt for prison escapee Daniel Khalife. So far, though, there have been no confirmed sightings of him. In the meantime, police have released a closed-circuit image of the delivery truck used by the terrorist suspect to escape from a London prison.
Officials say 21-year-old Khalife strapped himself under this vehicle in a daring jailbreak on Wednesday. After his escape, a police alert was issued to ports and borders, triggering enhanced security checks. The government says it's launching an independent investigation into the incident.
A new turmoil is emerging in Spanish women's football. Weeks after the unwanted kiss at the World Cup, there's now the threat of a strike. Plus, tributes to mark the first anniversary of the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. King Charles reflects on the devoted service of his mother. That's next.
BRUNHUBER: And today is the first anniversary of the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Around this time last year, the official notice of her death was placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace. Flags flew at half-staff and crowds gathered outside the palace to pay their respects. Then the next day, Charles and Camilla greeted well- wishers as the country began ten days of national mourning.
Now today, the King and Queen will privately mark the death of Britain's longest reigning monarch. King Charles issued a message reflecting on the devoted service of his mother. Here it is.
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KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: In marking the first anniversary of Her late Majesty's death and my accession, we recall with great affection her long life, devoted service, and all she meant to so many of us. I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all."
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BRUNHUBER: The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, are expected to attend a small private service of commemoration in Wales. And Prince Harry paid tribute to his late grandmother during a charity event in London on Thursday.
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PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away. As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her.
And that's precisely why I know exactly one year on that she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we're together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community.
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BRUNHUBER: And joining me now is Royal Historian Elizabeth Norton. Thanks so much for being here with us. So, we heard there about how Royals are marking this. Tell us how Britons are sort of marking this anniversary there, somber mood to be sure.
ELIZABETH NORTON, ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yeah, I mean, it's obviously been a year on. It was extraordinary scenes after the death of the queen, a large queue to go and view her coffin, great crowds at Buckingham Palace. So, it's much more muted one year on. And I think people are probably taking a moment to reflect on what has happened in the last year. And obviously the queen reigned for 70 years, which is a record breaking in Britain. And I think in general, there's still a real sense of what an achievement her reign was.
BRUNHUBER: Well, for that and so many more reasons, so hard to follow in her footsteps for King Charles. Now, a year in, how has he done?
NORTON: So, he's doing very well. Certainly, he's not as popular as his mother was. And I think that's something he'll probably never achieve. He's probably not as instantly recognizable world round. But I think he's done a really good job because there were concerns about how outspoken he might be, how he could follow his mother's rule.
But actually, he's really pursued a policy of continuing really what she began. So, he isn't as outspoken as he was. He's very much following the policy of, you know, remaining quiet, not speaking out politically. He's been attending to massive state. He did a state visit to Germany a few months ago, which went very well. He was praised particularly for speaking German very fluently.
So, I think in general, the view is that actually he's continued on from his mother's reign very, very well. And people are pleased with how he's doing.
BRUNHUBER: The tone in your voice, maybe I'm picking up, you sound a little bit surprised that he's either -- that he's done as well as he has or at least been a bit more quiet and muted politically because, of course, you know he wanted to sort of be his own man and sort of stamp his, you know, his impression on the -- on the throne. So, are you surprised about that?
NORTON: I think everyone is quite surprised because as Prince Charles, he was very outspoken particularly on climate change. He is a real trailblazer for climate change. And I think people were expecting that there would be a real change in the monarchy. And of course, he had been waiting for longer than anyone else to take the throne. He's in his seventies when he becomes king.
So, I think people thought there would be a change in tone. So, I think in general, people are surprised. I would say he's taken the right approach. He's still clearly committed to his causes and the issues that are important to him. But I think it is also important that the monarch remains seen as impartial and silent on political issues.
BRUNHUBER: Although we should say we have seen those "Not My King" protesters at certain events and so on. So, you know, how has he dealt with that?
NORTON: So, again, yes, there are "Not My King" banners at many events that he attends. There's certainly also growing Republican movements in some of the countries that Charles is King of because, of course, he's King of around 15 nations and not just Britain. So, I think again he is following a policy of really ignoring it and continuing what he's doing. And certainly, my understanding is that he's overwhelmingly popular amongst the British people and that not my King protesters are a minority, but of course they are quite visible at the events that he attends.
BRUNHUBER: There were recently new revelations coming from just released tapes of Princess Diana. There'll be a new documentary coming out. Again, these things, you know, just like the show, "The Crown", I mean they don't really reflect all that well on him. Will that hurt him now, do you think?
NORTON: So, he's never been the most popular member of the royal family and particularly his relationship with Princess Diana, who probably was the most popular member of the royal family and remains even a long time after her death, the most popular royal or one of the most popular royals. So, they do hurt him to some extent, the revelations that perhaps he was disappointed that Prince Harry was a boy when he was born. These things do to some extent hurt him.
But I think again he is following the right policy. He is the monarch. And I think, really, he's drawn a line under Prince Charles before and now King Charles and I think we are seeing a change in approach from his time as Prince and now his time as King.
BRUNHUBER: And finally, you know, among the most controversial things, you know, we've seen so many controversies involving the royal family.
Certainly they've, you know, gone their separate ways in many ways. Has the family come together over the last year since her death or have they grown further apart, do you think?
NORTON: So, to some extent they've grown closer together. The King has appointed his brother Prince Edward as Duke of Edinburgh, which was one of the queen's sort of dearest wishes. And this, of course, promotes Sophie Wessex, Prince Edward's wife to Duchess of Edinburgh. And she's a really key member of the royal family and is very much doing more engagements. Prince William and Kate, they're now the Prince and Princess of Wales. So, they've been promoted and again, are very key members of the royal family.
So, to some extent, it's reconfigured royal lines of royal family and brought them closer together. But, of course, there is the issue of Prince Andrew and even more so, Harry and Meghan.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah. All right. Well, listen. I really appreciate getting your insights on this, Royal Historian Elizabeth Norton. thanks so much for joining us.
NORTON: Thank you very much.
BRUNHUBER: And British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute, saying, quote, "With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her late Majesty's service only seems greater. Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper." And he goes on to say, "And our gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication only continues to grow." We'll be right back.
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BRUNHUBER: In Spain, the new season of top-tier women's football is supposed to start this weekend, but instead players are going on a two-week strike over pay. Liga F says it offered to increase their minimum wage to only $27,000 over three seasons. But unions say the players want to hit that mark by next season. Right now, players are only making about $17,000.
Now, of course, this comes as a volatile time. The president of the Spanish Football Federation was suspended after kissing player Jenny Hermoso on the mouth at the World Cup, which her team won, and she filed an official complaint with prosecutors this week.
Play was halted during a women's semi-final match at the U.S. Open on Thursday, after climate protesters disrupted the second set. Have a look at this.
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BRUNHUBER: You hear it, there are some boos and jeers as the protesters were escorted out of the stadium during the match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova. U.S. Open organizers called it a fan- related incident and said one of the protesters affixed himself to the floor. The demonstration caused a delay of more than 45 minutes.
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Now, Gauff would go on to win in two sets to advance to her first U.S. Open final. The American Sensation said she isn't upset about the disruption. Quote, "If that's what they felt they needed to do to get their voices heard."
Two of the greatest tennis players of all time are honored with awards by the U.S. Tennis Association on Thursday. The legendary Billie Jean King received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The trailblazing King won 39 major titles during her illustrious career. And she thanked the city she grew up in, Long Beach, California, and said she's standing here because of others.
Meanwhile, Venus Williams received the first official U.S. Open Billie Jean King Champion of Equality Award. The seven-time major champion thanking for supporting her throughout her career.
A new museum in Washington is shining the spotlight on more than 150 products that flopped. The Museum of Failure showcases everything from fish-flavored water for cats to other inventions which just never caught on. Have a look.
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UNKNOWN: Gosh. What a bad idea.
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BRUNHUBER: I don't even know what that was, but you see there Trump Stakes and Trump the Game also included. The traveling exhibit started in Sweden back in 2017 and continues to add new items from some of the most famous companies in the world from Apple to Heinz. The museum's organizer says the goal is to take away some of the stigma of failure.
And before we go, dozens of items once owned by musician Freddie Mercury have raked in more than $15 million at auction at Sotheby's. The priciest item was a baby grand piano that sold for $2.2 million. The Queen frontman composed many of the band's hits on it, including "Bohemian Rhapsody".
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("BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY" PLAYING)
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BRUNHUBER: Hundreds of other items from Mercury's personal collection remain to be sold in upcoming auctions. They were put on sale by Mercury's close friend, Mary Austin, who inherited most of her estate after his death in 1991.
All right, that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You can follow me on X @Kim Brunhuber. CNN Newsroom continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo, next.