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Morocco Earthquake Kills More Than 2,000; Morocco's King Mohammed VI Declared Three Days Of National Mourning; Quake's Impact Felt As Far Away As Algeria, Portugal; Interview With UNICEF Emergency Communication Specialist Joe English; Ukraine Says G20 Countries Have Nothing To Be Proud of; Category 2 Hurricane Lee May Regain Strength In Coming Days; Caver Trapped In Turkey; Biden To Visit Gandhi Memorial; Political Showdown Between Trump And DeSantis In Iowa; Coco Gauff Wins U.S. Open. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 09, 2023 - 23:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. I'm Michael Homes. Appreciate your company.

We begin once again in Morocco, a nation in shock and grieving after it was ravaged by its deadliest earthquake in decades. More than 2,000 people have died and thousands more are injured, many of them in critical condition.

Emergency teams have been desperately combing through the rubble of flattened homes using picks, shovels and their bare hands to search for any signs of life. Those who did not survive the disaster are already being laid to rest as it tradition. And to honor them, the government says Morocco will observe three days of mourning.

The World Health Organization says the disaster has affected more than 300,000 people in Marrakech and surrounding areas. Locals say they city's world heritage, old city and Medina has seen extensive damage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People talk about like a lot of buildings that collapsed in Medina, it's -- it happens just down this route too. And when you go, like, further and further, there's a lot of damage that happened to a lot of buildings, some of them are mosques, some of them are houses, a lot of communities got hurt. Bella (ph) is one of the poorest areas in the city, and those people need help, like food, water, blankets, or whatever, whatever you can help.


HOLMES: The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are being mobilized to provide much needed support from evacuations to life-saving supplies. We get more details now from CNN's Sam Kiley in Marrakech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Morocco's king, Mohammed, has declared three days of national mourning here in Marrakech, and that is because his country has been completely devastated by an extraordinary earthquake, totally unexpected in cities like this, Marrakech.

This has been the scene here in the Medina, the most ancient part of this ancient city. Here, a building clearly ripped away by this earthquake, but the scenes have been even worse in the interior of the country where one woman who was trapped for some 12 hours was pulled from rubble in a remote village.

Now, there are 13 people dead here in Marrakech. Across the country, more than 1,300 people have died and the authorities here expect those numbers to climb with some rapidity. The problem though is getting out into the areas that are worst affected. The epicenter is about 45 miles of south of Marrakech, but the areas that have been really badly devastated, according to the local authorities, have been villages in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. These are villages that aerial photographs have already showed have been completely flattened, with one or two houses remaining, looking as if they've been built on scree. Now, that scree, that rubble, was once villages, and it is in those areas where the authorities are most concerned that the numbers of casualties of the dead and injured will climb.

But, of course, the other problem for the authorities is the getting to these locations is really going to be very, very difficult because they're saying large numbers of the roads, the communication networks have been severed by this earthquake, which was completely unanticipated. No locals I've spoken to here in Marrakech can remember any history of earthquakes here. Elsewhere in the country, yes, but, here, they say they've never experienced, and no tale, no history, they say, of any kind of earthquake.

But this is the result. Bedsteads, bedding, carpets left hanging over the edge of walls that have been utterly sliced away as this ancient city has been rebuilt over the last few decades. Enormous amount of effort has been put into the reconstruction of Marrakech, particularly here in the Medina, one of the prides of Morocco. Very much a tourist destination but also a location of one of the king's major palaces, it is very much the cultural center for many Moroccans, and this is what this latest earthquake has done.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Marrakech.


HOLMES: Now, some of the tourists who were in Morocco during the quake are now returning home and talking about what it was like being there and the fear they felt.


BOUCHRA LOUDERAI, FRENCH-MOROCCAN TOURIST (through translator): In fact, everything fell off. The decorations, the windows. The windows really moved, it's like you were in a boat that's rocking. It's the first time I've experienced this and it's very, very hard psychologically, because I have my parents who live in Marrakech and I couldn't reach them.


So,you have a moment of panic and you tell yourself that your time has actually come. A lot of people started reciting surahs from the Koran because we actually saw our time had come.

SANWA ZAARAOUI, BELGIAN-MOROCCAN CITIZEN (through translator): There was a risk that the hotel would collapse on us. The earthquake threw us in the air, it was such a shock, I thought I was going to die. In the last minutes, I prayed and called my mother. That's all.


HOLMES: Now, the U.S. Geological Survey says the powerful quake struck at a relatively shallow depth making it more destructive. And among the factors now at play as rescues are underway and the number -- is the intensity and number of aftershocks, also the weather. CNN's Meteorologist Jennifer Gray breaks it down for us.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So, the earthquake in Morocco, magnitude 6.8, occurred 11:11 local time, Friday night. The depth was around 11 miles, which may seem very, very deep, but actually, when you're talking about geological standards, it is actually a pretty shallow quake. Meaning, you're going to feel it more.

So, 7 -- 4.9 aftershock, 19 minutes later, it was felt in Algeria, as well as Portugal. So, it felt very far away. And it's pretty was rare. Since 1900, only nine earthquakes of a magnitude five or higher have occurred. So, a lot people felt very strong shaking. Almost 3 million people felt strong shaking and almost half a million people felt either very strong to severe shaking with this particular earthquake.

So, aftershocks of 5.8. There's normally an average of, one, could see up to 100 earthquakes at a magnitude of 3.8 or greater in the coming days and even weeks after the initial quake. So, that's significant, especially because a lot of buildings, the structures are already compromised from the initial quake. And so, any additional quakes could cause further damage, and that's the big fear.

Another thing to consider is the weather moving forward with recovery efforts. It's going to be brutally hot over the next couple of days. It is going to stay dry, but high temperatures are going to be in the low 90s with lows in the mid-60s.

HOLMES: Jennifer Gray there. Now, offers of assistance are pouring into Morocco from all around the world. Germany offering rescue teams complete with sniffer dogs to help find victims. France has activated local government funds. Its embassy has opened a crisis center and it is working with Moroccan authorities to determine the best ways to help.

The UAE has also offered humanitarian aid and to establish an air bridge to help deliver critically needed supplies. And Algeria, which severed diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021, has agreed to open its airspace to aid flights.

Joe English is an emergency communication specialist with UNICEF. He joins me now live from New York. And you're joining us because your teams, I know, are busy. What are you hearing from them on the ground about the situation?

JOE ENGLISH, EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST, UNICEF: Yes. It's good to be with you, Michael. I mean, well, once again, an absolutely devastating earthquake. And we were speaking with our colleagues and, you know, this happened at the worst possible time. You know, 11:00 at night, just after when many families, children were at home, they are in bed, they are asleep. And you can just imagine waking up to your world turned upside-down, or walls shaking.

You know, parent's first thoughts are always, you know, where are my kids? Let me get them to safety. So, many families are leaving their homes with just the pajamas, the clothes on their backs. You know, and many of them now are scared to return to their homes because of structural damage, the threat of aftershocks, as Jennifer was highlighting there.

After the earthquake in Syria and Turkey earlier this year, we saw thousands of aftershocks and we saw buildings continue to be damaged and destroyed and collapse, you know, the days after. So, it's a very real threat to children and to families.

You know, and as we've said, there's now over 2,000 people killed, more than 2,000 injured. These numbers are only going to up. And our estimate is that just understood a third of the population of Morocco is children. So, sadly, we think there will be many children among the casualties.

HOLMES: I was just about to ask you that. Your focus is children. What are your fears for the kids in Morocco right now? Now -- you know, obviously, if they're casualties, but, also if they've lost their homes and schools and so on.

ENGLISH: Well, this is it. You know, I mean, it's obviously the direct impact of the earthquake and, you know, the first 72 hours in terms of search and rescue are absolutely critical. They call it the golden period, because, you know, if you're going to be able to get people out from under the rubble, that's the time to do it. I mean, sometimes we see miracles. I remember with Syria and with Turkey, we saw a teenage girl who was rescued after 10 days. A 10-day-old infant who was rescued after, I think, about 90 hours. But really, this is the critical time for that.


But as you say, these effects will continue on going, you know, children have seen their schools, their homes destroyed, damaged, now living out in the street, you know, without any shelter. So, it's critical in terms of getting them safe drinking water, getting them shelter, getting them food and nutrition in the longer-term, you know, it's like a social support, to help children, families, parents who have been through this terror begin to process that trauma.

HOLMES: Absolutely. That psychological -- dealing with that is going to be a massive issue as it always is. With much of the damage and casualties for that matter in remote areas, what are the challenges in terms of even getting to those in most need?

ENGLISH: Yes. You know, any humanitarian responses are always complex and complicated and challenging. You know, but I think this really will be, you know, very much so. You know, many of these towns, these villages, they're remote, they're hard to reach, they're on mountain roads, switchbacks. You know, we know that the communications are out. It's challenges that we face in humanitarian crises all around the world and there -- you know, it's possible to get in and to provide this support, but international solidarity, international support is absolutely critical.

And hearing the offers of support from around the world is always heartening, but, it's not just going to be a short-term recovery, you know, this is going to have to continue for weeks, months, sometimes even years ahead.

HOLMES: Absolutely. The ongoing need is vital. What are the immediate needs? And how can people help? You know, organizations like yours that do such good work?

ENGLISH: Yes, sadly. I mean, if anyone wants to support UNICEF, it's And donations -- large humanitarian organizations like ours are critical because it means that we can respond quickly, you know, without that need for waiting for funds to come in.

But I would also say that local organizations, you know, are hugely important in these crises. You know, it is the communities themselves, local organizations who are working who are those very first responders, you know, in the immediate hours.

You know, in Sam's report, he was talking about people, you know, digging out, you know, rubble with their hands, you know. And so, all the support that we can provide to these local organizations is critical.

You know, UNICEF, we were working in Morocco before the crisis. We will be here all the way through and we'll support children and families to recover after, but we can't do it without public support and donations, and all of it is absolutely critical.

HOLMES: And organizations like yours do such great work. We appreciate it. UNICEF Emergency Communications Specialist Joe English, thanks so much for being with us.

ENGLISH: Thanks so much, Michael.

HOLMES: And for more information about how you can help victims of the Morocco earthquakes through groups like UNICEF, go to You can find a bunch of resources there, organizations that are well vetted and trustworthy. Well, Ukraine says G20 countries have nothing to be proud of after they failed to directly condemn the Russian invasion. The issue has been a major bone of contention at the group's summit in India with member countries struggling to come up with language they can all agree on.

U.S. President Joe Biden was hoping to push more leaders to rally behind Ukraine. But, in the end, a joint declaration issued on Saturday did not explicitly condemn Moscow's invasion or even specifically single Russia out. Despite that, the statement still earned praise from Washington.

All right. Let's go now to Kevin Liptak who joins me from New Delhi. It's interesting, this statement was a poor trade. Initially, it's a victory of sorts that it came out at all. But it was well short of what most western nations would have wanted. It doesn't even mention Russia or Ukraine.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. I mean, heading into the summit, there was a real question of whether the leaders would be able to agree to any consensus language on Ukraine at all. And so, in that way, this was a victory, and you did hear the Prime Minister Narendra Modi really kind of proclaim it from his podium at the summit yesterday.

But certainly, the Ukrainians are disappointed and I think this does stop short of what the leaders were able to agree to last year in Bali, that statement was slightly more forceful, this statement is watered down in a way. It doesn't mention Russian -- Russia by name, it doesn't explicitly condemn its invasion of Ukraine. It does talk about the importance of protecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, the important of not using nuclear weapons.

As you mentioned, the White House is trying to bolster the statement. They say that it's consequential, that was the word that the U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, used. And they do make the point that this statement builds on what was agreed to in Bali. Let me say that President Biden is still, of course, very interesting in promoting peace in Ukraine.


But it does certainly underscore the divisions that are present at the G20. Of course, Russia is a member. They would have to sign off on any consensus statement, but there are also members like Brazil, like South Africa and like the host country, India, that haven't necessarily taken as firm a stance. And these statements always tend to reflect the host country's priorities. And so, I think the statement stands for itself in a way. When you read it, no condemnation of Russia, but certainly, the fact that it was able to be written and agreed to is accomplishment in itself, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. One of those something is better than nothing situation, I suppose. President Biden, let's look forward a little bit, he's going to be heading to Vietnam in the hours ahead, actually, at a moment when there are reports Vietnam is looking to buy arms from Russia. Of course, Hanoi has close relations with China. How concerned would the U.S. be about that dynamic and threading the needle there?

LIPTAK: Well, I think that is why President Biden is trying to go and trying elevate the U.S. relationship with Vietnam. And one of the major center pieces of his visit there will be a former elevation of the U.S./Vietnam alliance. Sort of ratcheting it up two steps in the eyes of the Vietnamese. And this is something that American officials had been working on for several months, and they do view it as an important bulwark against China in the region. This is really in Beijing's backyard.

And certainly, American officials are trying to bolster American alliances across these regions, whether it's here in India, Vietnam, the Philippes, trying to act as a counterweight to China. Now, they don't necessarily describe these efforts as related to China. They think that this is about American influence abroad and trying to make things better for these countries themselves, but, really, you can't look at this without kind of seeing this attempt, this chess game in this region to try and expand American influence at a time when China's military and economic aggressions are causing so much concern in this region, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, including to Vietnam. Kevin, thanks. Kevin Liptak there in New Delhi for us.

We'll take a quick break on the program. When we come back on "CNN Newsroom," a complicated operation underway right now in Turkey to rescue a man trapped deep underground in that cave.

Also, a hurricane churning in the Atlantic. It's path far from certain. Why forecasters are using caution even if it doesn't make landfall. That's not the hurricane.



HOLMES: Hurricane Lee is still churning in the Atlantic Ocean with sustained winds of 105 miles an hour or around 165 kilometers an hour, that's according to the latest advisory, which kind of -- just minutes ago, in fact. It is a category two storm right now, but the National Hurricane Center says it will likely restrengthen in the days ahead.

It's expected to move well north of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. But in the next couple of days, those areas and others Caribbean islands can expect dangerous surf and life- threatening rip currents. The forecast has the storm taking a hard turn to the north in the coming days and it's not clear where or even if it will make landfall. But they say it will create hazardous conditions all along the U.S. East Coast.

Nearly than 200 rescuers have started their delicate operation to bring an American trapped in a cave in Southern Turkey to the surface. This is the moment that Mark Dickey began descending into the Morca Sinkhole, a cave more than 3,400 feet, about 1,000 meters deep.

Dickey was on an exploration mission with an international team when he fell ill with suspected intestinal bleeding. Nada Bashir gives us an update.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, a week on since the alarm bells were first sounded around Mark Dickey's health and an operation to rescue him from Turkey's third deepest cave is now underway.

The American caver has, over the last week, been receiving urgent medical attention at base camp, more than 3,500 feet below ground for what they say to have been a case of gastric of intestinal bleeding. Now, according to rescuers on the ground, Dickey has received a blood transfusion and is now said to be in a stable condition. But this is a complex operation and a lot of careful preparation has gone into this rescue mission.

In its latest update, Turkey's caving federation says Dickey is currently being transported by a stretcher through the passages of the cave. And you can imagine how tricky this will be given the narrow and winding nature of many of these passages.

The actual ascent is said to be divided into seven paths, according to the European Cave Rescue Association, with each segment being overseen by different rescue teams. And this is truly a multination until rescue effort. More than 180 rescuers on the ground from countries including Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Italy. And while this would typically take an experienced caver around 16 hours to reach the surface under ideal conditions, Dickey's rescue is expected to take days. The priority, of course, is ensuring that the American caver remains in a stable condition throughout.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Still to come, President Biden has one more official duty before leaving India to fly to Vietnam. We will explain what that's about in a live report from New Delhi.

And a dream comes true for 19-year-old American Coco Gauff winning what she's worked for so hard, the first Grand Slam title on home soil at the U.S. Open. We'll have more on that, too, after the break.



HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Homes. You're watching "CNN Newsroom."

More on the top story this hour. Authorities in Morocco say more than 2,000 people have been killed in the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in decades. The tremor has completely ravaged remote villages in the foot hills of the high Atlas Mountains. Survivors says homes and multistory buildings have been completely flattened. Rescue teams are being deployed to search for survivors under heaps of rubble, but their task ahead is daunting. So much so that one soldier was seen crying for his friend who was killed in the disaster.

Earlier, we spoke with Carmen Moreno, a humanitarian worker who was on vacation in Marrakech, and she described the devastation that she saw after the earthquake hit.


CARMEN MORENO, HUMANITARIAN WORKER: We saw some damages here in the Medina, but we're staying outside. But I think most damages are in the more humble neighborhoods where the infrastructures are not prepared for this kind of catastrophe.

So, here you can see some damages. Of course, they are severe and serious. I think the worst is outside this part. And in the main square of -- it's called Jemaa el-Fnaa, there's a small mosque, it's very famous as well, it was very damaged and it's shocking. But, honestly, after what I saw in Syria, I didn't see the real serious damages there. I think they are in these other outskirts of the city.


But I can see people devastated. And this is not about the rubbles, because, the physicals rubbles, they can be removed. Relatively quick or easy, but by my experience, I believe that the real long-term problems or the most difficult rubbles to remove are of the psychological ones. And people are panicking. And of course, they are all terrified.

The worst is yet to come, I think because we don't know what can happen. Maybe there won't be any more tremors, but there is the risk of collapsing. We need engineers and specialists to check the building and to measure the impact. And I'm not sure they have the capacity, especially in these poor neighborhoods. So, it's really risky that they go back home and we can expect more casualties like this.

So, that's why people are staying on the streets because -- or they cannot come back or they already lost everything. But even if their homes are still there and not demolished or not devastated by this, it's still risky to come back. So, it's an uncertainty, but I think it's really terrifying. Because this is something that we cannot control, right? So, people are very confused, they don't know what to do. And, yes, it is really traumatic.


HOLMES: Now, the government says Morocco will observe three days of mourning to honor the victims. Now, there's still been no official request for international help. Countries across the world are already offering assistance to Morocco in the wake of the deadly quake. Here's more on the aid being offered by the community of nations.


HOLMES (voiceover): The scope of the devastation from the earthquake in Morocco may take days to become clear, but there is one thing that is certain, the country will need help to recover from this disaster. People in Marrakech are lining up to donate blood after hospitals and health standards in the area made a plea to stock up. And that's just a tiny fraction of what the country urgently needs. Additional rescue teams, heavy equipment, specialized doctors and medical supplies are often critical in relief efforts. And many nations are pledging their support, with India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, offering his nation's resources at the G20 summit in New Delhi.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We pray that all the injured people get well soon. The entire world community is with Morocco in this difficult time, and we are ready to provide them all possible assistance.

HOLMES (voiceover): The U.S., the U.K., the UAE, France, Japan, and the United Nations have also sent condolences and offers of help. Similar vows of aid from Germany with one agency making plans to deploy with highly trained sniffer dogs which are crucial in search and recovery efforts.

SABINE LACKNER, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL AGENCY FOR TECHNICAL RELIEF (through translator): The task will be if we have an international request for help and Germany's offer is also accepted that we are briefed by the local forces assigned a disaster area and then go into the search.

HOLMES (voiceover): Turkey, which is still recovering from its own powerful earthquake earlier this year which killed more than 45,000 people says it can send more than 200 aid workers and a thousand tents to affected areas. That same quake killed several thousand more in Syria, and White Helmets, a volunteer group that provided emergency service in that crisis, is once again stepping up saying, "With our experience in search and rescue and in responding to earthquake disasters, we confirm our full readiness to aid in the rescue efforts in Morocco of those trapped under the rubble."

Israel, which routinely sends emergency personnel and supplies to disaster zones says it is preparing to send a rescue team and humanitarian aid to the area. Even Algeria, which broke off ties with Morocco two years ago, said it would open its airspace for humanitarian and medical flights for Morocco. Help from all corners of the world is at the ready if and when Morocco asks for it.


HOLMES (on camera): All right. U.S. President Joe Biden is wrapping up his final hours in India before leaving for Vietnam. His last piece of official business is a wreath laying ceremony at the Gandhi Memorial. There's live pictures there and we will explain more about that in just a moment.


Well, despite the notable absents of the Russian and Chinese leaders, the U.S. delegation has expressed satisfaction with the summit overall. And lorded the joint declaration as a vote of confidence in the G20. But Ukraine harshly condemned that statement for not explicitly condemning Russia's invasion. It said that the G20 had "nothing to be proud of."

CNN's Vedika Sud joins me now live this hour from New Delhi, which she's been covering the summit. And, Vedika, yes, world leaders are visiting that memorial, Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Before we talk more about the statement on Ukraine, speak to the symbolism of what we're going to see in the next few minutes.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Highly symbolic, Michael, because that's the venue, that's the location that holds the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi's ashes. And very often, you do see leaders of states visiting the Raj Ghat when they make official visits to India. And today, you're seeing almost all leaders who are here converge at the Raj Ghat in New Delhi.

Behind me, several motorcades have just passed through to get to that location where the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, is welcoming all these global leaders who are here to attend the G20 summit. He's also putting on their -- around their necks a khadi scarf. Again, highly symbolic, because, Mahatma Gandhi did endorse this hand-woven, spun scarf while he was trying to endorse the whole ideal of being self-sufficient while fighting the British in India.

Again, we're seeing another motorcade just pass behind us. We're expecting the U.S. president, Joe Biden. I'm being told that's Joe Biden's motorcade right behind us. He's on his way to the Raj Ghat. We believe he's going to be one of the last leaders to get there, Michael, and that motorcade right behind us is his.

Now, Joe Biden will be there in moments from now. Even former U.S. presidents, Barack Obama, as well as Donald Trump have visited the Raj Ghat in the past. Obama in the year 2015, and Donald Trump in the year 2020. Today, you will see Joe Biden meeting with Narendra Modi at the Raj Ghat, after which most of the leaders will be heading for the third session at the G20 summit.

What's really interesting though is that the declaration came out yesterday, people weren't expecting it to be as prompt as yesterday, but it was, like you mentioned, a watered-down version of what the West really would want. But coming back to the Raj Ghat where you see now the U.K. prime minister, Rishi Sunak, as well. He will be greeted by the Indian prime minister in seconds from now, a symbolic gesture by all of these leaders who've converged for the G20 here in New Delhi.


SUD: Khadi being very symbolic, being handed over by the Indian prime minister to all those G20 leaders.

HOLMES: Yes. We're watching Emmanuel Macron has just arrived, the French president. And we'll keep an eye on who else is arriving. While we do that, let's talk a little bit more about that statement. I mean, there's been a lot of criticism about it, you know, the -- a statement that alludes to Russia's war on Ukraine but doesn't mention either country. But how important was it for Mr. Modi to have a statement of some sort? SUD: Well, it's been a tight-rope walk for quite a few years now for Narendra Modi, given the conflict that we're seeing across the world. For him to keep Russia and the U.S. both happy, it hasn't been an easy task. And what you've seen yesterday is a declaration, where for Modi perhaps, it's a been a coup, according to a lot of experts, to have both Russia and the U.S. and U.S.'s allies sign off on that declaration.

So, India stands to gain from this. I think for Modi, personally, it is a big win because he wants to be as a global -- seen as a global statesman, and that's perhaps what he has now got in his pocket through this declaration.

It was yesterday that he did announce, before the second session began at the G20 summit, that the G20 leaders have come to some sort of consensus as far as the declaration is concerned. But Ukraine isn't happy. And remember, Ukraine wasn't invited to this G20 summit.

Very quickly, I just want to quote from what the foreign affairs spokesperson from Ukraine had to say condemning this declaration. And I'm going to quote him here, Ukraine is grateful to its partners who tried to include strong wording in the text. At the same time, the G20 has nothing to be proud of in the part about Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Obviously, the participation of the Ukrainian side would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation. The principle of nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine remains as key as ever.


So, that's the statement out of Ukraine at this point. But right now, all focus will be on the Raj Ghat, after which, the third session of the G20 summit commences. Back to you.

HOLMES: Yes. I'm curious. You live there. You cover India for us. How of ordinary Indians reacted to the hosting of the summit? I'm sure that a lot of people like to see their country on the world stage. There's been some controversy with the poor being pretty much shoved almost literally to the background while the dignitaries are in town. What's been the general feel there?

SUD: Well, I can't speak for 1.4 billion people, but, yes, there have been mixed emotions and reactions, is what I would say, Michael. Because a lot of people think this is a moment of national pride for the Indian government and for the country.

You have a lot of people, you know, who have commended Narendra Modi for pitching India as a power -- a global power and for succeeding to do what he wanted to in terms of bringing all the countries on the talking table. But yes, there has been a lot of controversy and we've covered that recently as well, of how the government has tried to screen or rather erase the poverty. And like an expert said to us, the ostentatious poverty around Delhi.

Even yesterday, when I was out with my team in the evening, we saw yards of cloth covering slum areas, and that was a way to hide the poverty that you see around Delhi. Now, if you just ride through the most important roads here, the VIP roads here in Central Delhi where, you know, you'll see these delegations passing through, what you're going to see are billboards of the Indian prime minister at every 10 feet, believe it or not, with a huge image of him on those posters.

The message going out is that this is something that Narendra Modi has been pushing for to put India on the global stage. But along with that, what we need to be mindful of is that a lot of people living below the poverty line have been kept to the periphery of Delhi while the summit is being held.

Government schools, public schools, private schools have all been closed. Government offices have been closed. So, this really isn't the Delhi you would see on a normal day, Michael, this is the Delhi that has been closed down to a massive extent for VIP movement to be seamless. Back to you.

HOLMES: Great observations. Fascinating stuff. I appreciate it. Vedika, good to see you there. Vedika Sud in New Delhi for us.

Still to come here on the program, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis called voters in Iowa at the biggest college football game in the state. We'll have the details of that after the break.



HOLMES: A political showdown in Iowa at the state's biggest football rivalry, several Republican presidential candidates, including Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, showed up to court voters amid the college game day atmosphere. CNN's Kyung Lah with that story.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Ames, Iowa, the day all about college football. The big rivalry game between Iowa State and University of Iowa. But for the presidential candidates running in this first of the nation caucus state, it is, for them, a political opportunity. Both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis were at the game, both sat inside the stadium, DeSantis sitting with the crowd, sitting beside Iowa's popular Republican governor and Donald Trump sat in a box, a stadium box.

I want you to listen as what the crowd was saying, how they looked as the former president left the stadium.


LAH: You can hear the chanting. You can hear the loud applause. This is imagery that the Trump campaign certainly wants Iowa voters to see. Now, ahead of all of this, going inside the stadium, both DeSantis and Trump were tailgating. Trump stopped at a tailgating party hosted by a fraternity. We saw him flipping burgers, signing footballs and tossing of those footballs into the crowd. Ron DeSantis also was tailgating, but he focused his comments on the political, saying that he's visited the State of Iowa more times than Trump, far more times, a total of eight visits and he that has visited more than half of Iowa's 99 counties.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm actually starting to hear a lot of people saying, because you're showing up, I'm supporting you, because that's the way you got to do it. Iowans don't want the campaign to be about the past or to be about the candidate's issues, they want it to be about their future and the future of this country, and that's what I represent.

LAH: More than 60,000 were at this game today. A game, again, focused on football. A lot of students say they sure did enjoy the spectacle of it, but it was really the game that was their emphasis. And as far as the end score, Iowa topping Iowa State 20 to 13.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Ames, Iowa.


HOLMES: Well, it was quite the celebration of the U.S. Open as American tennis phenom, 19-year-old, Coco Gauff, won her first ever Grand Slam singles title. The full story from Arthur Ashe Stadium when we come back.



HOLMES: At the U.S. Open in New York, a moment tennis fans in the United States, at least, have been starving for for years, an American winner at the U.S. Open. Coco Gauff rallying from behind to claim her first career Grand Slam title. The crowd seemed to lift the 19-year- old's game with chants of "Go, Coco." CNN's Carolyn Manno has more from outside Arthur Ashe Stadium.


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The crowd here at Arthur Ashe Stadium was looking for any reason at all, the entire night, to stand on their feet and cheer on 19-year-old Coco Gauff. And as this match wore on, she started giving them more and more reasons to do so.

It didn't start out that way. The first set was really tough for Coco, her serve looked very shaky, she was overpowered by Aryna Sabalenka, who is one of the biggest hitters in the sport. But then, Coco started to play so much better in the second set. She found confidence. She had clarity. And she started to blow Sabalenka away. Sabalenka lives and dies by that power. She plays right on the edge, and she started overplaying, because Coco simply was not missing.

The rallies delighted the crowd. Coco's athleticism on full display in the third set. She is one of the greatest movers in the game. When she broke Sabalenka to go up 5-2, I can tell you, the crowd absolutely went wild, and every subsequent point after that was met with a ferocious roar for Coco Gauff, the woman who many thought would win this slam, even at the ripe age of 15 years old. And now, at 19, finally, she was able to savor the moment.


COCO GAUFF, U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: Oh, my goodness. It means so much to me. I feel like I'm a little bit in shock in this moment, you know, that French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. But I realized, you know, God puts you through tribulations and trials, and this makes this moment even more sweeter than I can imagine.

MANNO: As you might expect, Gauff was very emotional after the match. She called all of her family members right on the court. She held her head in her hands at one point and thanked her parents who have been with her every step of the way.

She recalled watching Venus and Serena Williams here at the U.S. Open as a young child, imagining what was possible. And she also thanked the doubters after this match was over. She said, those who have criticized her more recently were fuel to her fire, which is interesting when you consider everything that she's been through and how hard she has worked to retool her game over these last couple of months. We're seeing all that hard work come to fruition tonight as she ends the night as a U.S. Open champion.


HOLMES: Well, U.S. President Joe Biden wrapping up his final hours in India with a visit to a Raj Ghat, it's a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. And we do have video in now of his visit. The -- this is live, as you see there, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, presenting Biden, as he has with other world leaders, with a G20 branded scarf. You see it around his neck there.

It's made of Indian handspun cotton. It's known as, Vedika Sud was telling us a few minutes ago, a khadi. Through Gandhi, khadi became a symbol of freedom, because by learning to make their own cotton, he thought Indians would be able to boycott British textiles and become self-sufficient.

Only the -- many would know the image of Gandhi wearing loin cloth and sitting cross-legged at a spinning wheel is one of India's most iconic and recognized symbols of the country's freedom movement.

And you can see there, Joe Biden heading off after being greeted by Narendra Modi. As that visit continues in the next couple of hours, he will be heading to Viet man. We'll discuss that next hour. I'm Michael Holmes. And there will be more "CNN Newsroom" in a moment.