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Danish Leopard Tanks Arrive In Ukraine; Morocco Quake Kills At Least 300; G20 Members Divided Over Ukraine War; The Role Of Oceans During Climate Change; Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site Status Under Threat. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 09, 2023 - 01:00   ET





HOLMES (voice-over): Sylvester Stallone brought his wife and daughters to meet Pope Francis. While they got their dukes up, of course the sparring was only verbal.


HOLMES: Thanks for watching this hour. I'm Michael Holmes, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM right away.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And a warm welcome to viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. We appreciate your company.

Breaking news out of Morocco, hundreds killed, dozens injured after a powerful earthquake hit late on Friday night. Images on show buildings toppled or heavily damaged and residents running into the streets in fear.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 6.8 magnitude quake is the strongest in the region in more than 120 years. CNN's Larry Madowo joining me live from Lagos, Nigeria.


HOLMES: Tell us the damage its done and the toll it's taken.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, the Moroccan government says it has activated all resources to deal with the aftermath of this quake. So far 296 people have been killed, 153 wounded. But it has gone to 6 am in Morocco, so when dawn finally comes around

and they assess the full extent of the damage, those numbers could very likely go higher. This has been felt in the region of the high Atlas mountains. But the closest city to this is Marrakech.

It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gets millions of tourists each year. The people in Marrakech and Casablanca had to spend the night outdoors after they heard the tremors and aftershocks. Some of them were afraid what would happen if they went back to sleep.

So they spent the night essentially outside, awake and worried about their property. Some buildings completely collapsed near the epicenter and rescuers fear they cannot get to some of these places because the roads are either damaged or blocked.

Again, it's still early morning, not quite sunlight yet. They haven't been able to assess how far exactly the damages are or if there are people that will be needing any rescue or pulling out from under the rubble.

HOLMES: As we look Larry, at the rubble on roads and I guess there are some remote places up there in the Atlas mountains, what are the challenges that rescuers are going to have to deal with?

MADOWO: So one of the immediate challenges will be access. If you are talking about landslides and mudslides in some of these places, roads that existed no longer exist in some of these places. So the impact already is being reported in some of the hardest to reach areas at the best of times.

But with the added disadvantage of blocked or damaged roads, with buildings having collapsed in some places, people possibly trapped under, it is going to be really difficult and delicate to rescue people from that.

One of the immediate challenges is the hospitals will need a lot of capacity to deal with the extra wounded. That's why you see the National Blood Transfusion Center in Morocco asking for urgent blood donations.

People are pouring into hospitals around there but the wider rescue operation, understand the extent of it will be a multiday operation at best.

HOLMES: And Marrakech historic; I've been there, it's absolutely beautiful, a lot of very old buildings, which is part of its appeal but also not particularly capable of withstanding something like an earthquake, one would imagine.

MADOWO: And that is precisely the challenge. I love Marrakech, it is known as the Red City for reason. The sandstone walls make it such an attractive place, millions come to see it every year.

The challenge is, these very narrow alleyways, it's not easy to access. Also these buildings, the parts that make up the medinas in Marrakech date back to around the 12th century. They survived the elements but they wear down over time and that's part of the challenge.

There's been damage reported in parts of the historic city, damage to these historic parts of the city -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Larry, appreciate the update, Larry Madowo for us.

Earlier I spoke with CNN's Benjamin brown, a CNN researcher, who happened to be in Marrakech. He described the moment when the earthquake hit on Friday night.


BENJAMIN BROWN, CNN RESEARCHER: The rooftop of my hotel, when the ground started shaking. In all honesty, I needed a couple of seconds to understand really what was going on.

Then many of us who were in the hotel at the time, yes, left the hotel, went on to the street and tried to find an open stretch of land. Obviously, lots of small alleyways into Marrakech. You don't want to be caught there.

So made a way for open land. And to be honest, what surprised me a lot at the time was that there wasn't a lot of panic, real rush. People were calm, making their ways into parks, anywhere really away from high walls and tall buildings.

Then it kicked in a couple of minutes later; screaming began, I think when people realized, obviously, the extent of the damage and injuries. Obviously, this happened in the night.


BROWN: So many people just waking up, people in the streets in their pajamas as well.

The extent of the injuries became apparent, that's when the panic kicked in. I saw many people actually fall out of their homes and in stretchers or wrapped in carpets, being brought into the streets, what appeared to be quite serious head injuries with a lot of blood.

Actually, so bad to an extent I saw one instance of an ambulance having to turn away an injured woman because they were at capacity. The ambulance just full of injured people. So yes, absolutely shocking scene in Marrakech.

HOLMES: What time exactly was this?

It's made worse by the fact that I suppose most people were asleep?

BROWN: Yes, most people are asleep. They have been quite -- there is a night life in the evening and many were still out and about. As I saw in the street, many people, obviously, in their nightwear, who just made their way out of their homes, probably already in bed.

And that's when the night continues for some, up until, basically, an hour ago. The streets were full of people. Many of them not sure whether to go back inside, whether to stay outside.

Now the streets have slowly been clearing with people going back into their homes, obviously, who can do so. Many have decided to play it safe, to camp out in the streets and in the open squares. Many people set up makeshift beds here and head in for the night.


HOLMES: And our thanks to Benjamin Brown for speaking with us a little earlier.

Now India's prime minister is expected to deliver the opening address at this year's G20 summit. U.S. President Joe Biden arrived just a little while ago along with a diverse group from the world's richest countries.

The two day summit to address a host of crises, including climate change, the war in Ukraine, food security and debt relief for poorer nations. CNN's Kevin Liptak joins us this hour from New Delhi.

It is a bit of a wish list, given what has actually been achieved at these summits before. The first sessions are getting underway.

What are going to be the priority topics?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As you said, we saw these leaders arriving. It is always interesting kind of to see the order in which they arrive. President Biden second to last and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman the last.

Even though President Xi and President Putin aren't here, other leaders President Biden had disagreements with are here. Narendra Modi is speaking now. We did talk to White House officials earlier. And President Biden is expected to address this first gathering as well.

He will make the case for sustained American involvement in the developing world. But he will also make a case to rally behind Ukraine, which is one of the issues that's looming over this summit, despite Putin's absence.

President Biden certainly wants to encourage the countries that are attending to support him in supplying Ukraine with billions of dollars of military aid but also to punish Moscow.

President Biden has had quite a bit of success in other summits like at NATO and G7 but at the G20, there are leaders that are a bit more skeptical about his intentions there, it will remain to be seen how successful he is as he delivers his speech a little bit later.

HOLMES: Putin and Xi's absence, the opportunity that that presents to the U.S., the stage is a little clearer. What's -- how might he leverage that advantage, if you like?

LIPTAK: I think his aim will be in the message to the developing world. What President Biden wants to do is to send a message that America is a more reliable partner for the developing world than China.

And he does have the opening, the absence of Xi Jinping here; he is able to make that case without any interference from Beijing necessarily. And he is coming armed with several proposals, including major reforms for the World Bank.

The White House says new investments could unlock potentially unlock hundreds of billions of dollar in loans and grants for the developing world.


LIPTAK: They said the U.S. and the World Bank, these other multilateral institutions, provide a better deal for these countries. That is certainly President Biden's affirmative agenda is while he is in New Delhi.

HOLMES: All right, Kevin Liptak in New Delhi for us.

Moscow keeping up its campaign of missile strikes on Ukraine meanwhile.


HOLMES (voice-over): Emergency workers digging through rubble after a missile hit in the northeastern city of Sumy on Friday. Officials are saying three people were wounded, two were pulled from beneath a building destroyed by the strike.

Earlier in the day --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

HOLMES (voice-over): That footage showing the moment when another missile hit the central city of Kryvyi Rih, killing one person, left 54 others injured, at least 10 buildings damaged. You could see damages there.

Meanwhile, the U.N. nuclear watchdog says its monitors near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant have heard more than 2 dozen blasts in recent days. They did not damage the plant itself but the agency's head said he is still concerned about the safety of the facility, which is Europe's largest nuclear power plant.


HOLMES: Ukraine meanwhile says it is making slow but steady gains in its counteroffensive but some Ukrainian troops are already training for what comes further down the line when they set their sights on Crimea. Fred Pleitgen with that.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Ukrainian troops assaulting Russian positions in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv says its forces are piling on the pressure, both here and on the southern front line and are gearing up for more.

These soldiers practicing mountain warfare specifically to assault Russian occupied Crimea.

MYROSLAV MELNYK, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): If we come to Crimea, there is a big possibility we would need these skills. We would definitely be fighting in the mountains because there will be partisan warfare.

PLEITGEN: But Ukraine's army is still far away from Crimea and the gains they are making are slow, incremental and come with a major human cost, as the number of dead and wounded escalate. Kyiv now specifically telling women with medical education they must register for military service starting October 1st.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Ukraine's president urging the U.S. to have patience while ruling out any compromises with Vladimir Putin.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Do you see any compromises from Putin?

Did you see?

Did somebody saw -- did somebody see?

Where's Chechnya?

Where's Georgia?

Where's Moldova?

He occupied it all this time.

PLEITGEN: But the Russians are facing major issues themselves. Short on manpower and ammo, the U.S. believes Vladimir Putin is actively advancing negotiations with North Korea to provide arms to Russia.

This says North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un praises his country's alleged military advances, claiming Pyongyang has now developed a tactical nuclear submarine, even though South Korea believes the sub is not even capable of normal operations.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): We will rapidly pursue the process of converting all medium-sized submarines into attack types in order to turn those existing submarines into nuclear submarines at once.

PLEITGEN: From Russia, convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who was freed in a prisoner swap with basketball star Brittney Griner late last year, speaking to U.S. media for the first time since the exchange.

Bout, who was known as the merchant of death and was serving a 25-year sentence for, among other things, conspiring to kill Americans, has always maintained his innocence. In an interview with ESPN, Bout brushing off outrage over his release in the U.S.


VIKTOR BOUT, RUSSIAN ARMS DEALER: The same outrage was in Russia when I was sentenced to 25 years. Many people would say, for what?

Just for talking?

Are you serious?


PLEITGEN: That was Viktor Bout there. And the Ukrainians also getting some more help in the form of Western weapons, the first batch of German made Leopard 1 main battle tanks have now arrived. Ukraine set to get dozens more in the coming month, very important as the Ukrainians try to sustain those counteroffensive operations.


PLEITGEN: Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Now the U.N. is keeping track of whether the world is making progress in bringing down global emissions. Details when we come back.

Also we're exploring the role of oceans in this era of climate change. We'll get some perspective from an expert on the world's oceans after the break.




HOLMES: Fierce storms and extreme flooding across the world may be indications the climate crisis is worsening. And the U.N. says in the eight years since the landmark Paris climate agreement, nations around the world have not done enough to cut emissions and avert the risk of catastrophic levels of global warming.

In its first report scorecard, the authors wrote this, quote, "Against forecasts made prior to its adoption, the Paris agreement has led to contributions that significantly reduce forecasts of future warming. Yet the world is not on track to meet the longterm goals of the Paris agreement."

Now one of those goals is to keep average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. But this summer the planet warmed about 1.5 degrees.


HOLMES: Nations will gather for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai in November to measure the progress that's been made since Paris.

And on the storm front, Hurricane Lee has lost a bit of its punch but it's still a major system. The National Hurricane Center says Lee is now a category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour or 185 kilometers per hour.

Lee is expected to pass well north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in the next few days. But the region will experience swells that could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Dangerous surf is also expected along most of the U.S. East Coast beginning Sunday and Monday.


HOLMES (voice-over): Have a look at this video, recorded from a hurricane hunter's flight inside the eye of the storm Thursday night, when it was strengthening to a category 5 storm.


HOLMES: Wow. All right. I want to get some perspective on our relationship between climate and the oceans from Helen Czerski, who is a physicist, oceanographer and author of "Blue Machine: How Oceans Shape the World."

I'm glad to get you on. I've been trying to for a while. As we watch the incredible rate of ocean warming, it is a good time to look at the premise of your book and how you frame oceans as an engine.

What are we doing to that engine?

HELEN CZERSKI, PHYSICIST, OCEANOGRAPHER AND AUTHOR: Well, it's a good point because normally when we talk about the ocean we talk about the things in it, the fish and the whales and the pollution. But actually the water itself is the big story, the physics of what it's doing. Life is woven through that engine.

And it is the biggest store of energy on the planet. As we're starting to, as you just said we are, the climate is warming and really that means the water is warming. So that engine has -- it operates like an engine. It moves around; it's got components almost that move around and over each other.

The ocean is not just one big pump. It is changing how it's moving and it's changing where heat energy is stored within the engine. And that changes the environment, the background for the whole planet basically.

And that's why thinking about the physical engine of the ocean is important when it comes to how we thinking about climate and how it's changing.

HOLMES: The aspects are intertwined, isn't it?

We are talking about food chains and so on. CZERSKI: That's right, yes. And of course, the ecosystems live within

the sort of environment that the ocean engine provides. So the way the ocean engine moves provides places, which have lots of nutrients where lots of life can grow.

Water temperature is different to different places so species can live in different places. We know some animals and organisms don't like warmer water. But it goes much further than that because the deep ocean, which is mostly where the nutrients are, and then the sunlight, mostly they're separate.

But you need some places where the nutrients can come up to the surface and then they are in the sunlight and lots of life can grow and they're really productive.

But as we warm the planet, the surface gets stronger and gets harder for the nutrients to come up from underneath. That affects how much fuel there is for life effectively.

And so it is not just the conditions are different, the water temperature is different and water in different places, it is actually -- warming the oceans actually changes how nutrients get to the surface and how much oxygen there is in the deep ocean and the conditions that life needs to survive even before you worry about the life itself.

HOLMES: There is a limit isn't there?

What's the tipping point?

The things you're talking about of fundamental building blocks on our food chain and so on, it's a cascading effect, isn't it?

What is the tipping point?

CZERSKI: Well, the ocean can keep absorbing heat. Water is a really, really good storer of heat. So the ocean can keep getting warmer. It's not the ocean that is going to suffer or the life within it. It's us because our infrastructure is built around the weather being where it is now.

Floods and droughts affect farmers and the reason farmers have farms in those places is they can take for granted a certain type of weather. And when you change how the ocean engine is moving, we change the conditions that affect those farms.

And so the ocean itself will warm -- the way -- you know exactly how the currents flow and how fast the currents flow and how it moves around. That will shift as the ocean warms and as we put pressure water in.


CZERSKI: But it is the impact to us, most noticeable for us, because we are completely dependent on the way it is now and that is going to change. HOLMES: I found your book fascinating but I've also listened to you.

You are very passionate. You have done a lot of events, speeches and so on, a real deep dive into what you know and love, how the causes and effects play out.

How much, you know so much but how much do you think we don't know about our oceans?

CZERSKI: So there's two things really. There is the perspective and that's what you're talking about, seeing the ocean as an engine. And that's a relatively quick change to make.

But we are obviously still doing lots of science on the ocean. So oceanographers have been working on this for decades. But the ocean is a rich and interesting place that there is so much still to know. Obviously it is now changing as we look at it.

So that means the urgency for doing that science is increasing. So we don't know everything that lives in the deep. We don't know how a lot of really famous species, like the colossal squid, how they reproduce, how they mate, where they travel.

And we don't know exactly how all the intricacies of the engine fit together. It's like -- our body is a kind of complicated system, each of us has that. And we know it's complicated, we know there are lots of things going on there.

And the ocean is kind of the same. It's got anatomy and physiology. There is loads of science still to know, not just about what animals are down there but about exactly how that beautiful engine works.

HOLMES: Thank God for people like you. It's such an important topic. I know you have a plane to catch so I've got to let you go. Helen Czerski, I really appreciate it, thank you.

CZERSKI: Thanks very much.

HOLMES: All right, we're going to take a quick break here. Rescue operations are underway in Morocco after that earthquake overnight. But emergency teams are having a hard time reaching some of the areas. We'll have an update when we come back.





HOLMES: All right, more on our top story this hour, the breaking news out of Morocco, where the government says a powerful earthquake has killed nearly 300 people.

The quake brought down buildings late on Friday night and damaged others, as you can see. Witnesses say people are trapped under the rubble. Officials say there is an urgent need for blood donations for the victims.

Thousands of people fled out into the streets and then spent the night outside as officials warned of possible aftershocks. The interior ministry says all available resources have been activated. The 6.8 magnitude quake was one of the strongest to hit the region in more than a century.

And joining me now live is Jonathan Stewart, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA.

Thanks so much for joining us. I want to get more of a sense of what a 6.8 magnitude quake means. Just explains that for us.

JONATHAN STEWART, UCLA: Well, an earthquake of this size is rupturing approximately let's say a 20 kilometer by 30 kilometer size plane within the Earth; in this case, about 18 kilometers down. And that's releasing a tremendous amount of energy.

Although for a little perspective, it's about 30 times less energy than the earthquake we had in Turkiye earlier this year.

HOLMES: What is the region like in terms of seismic activity?

STEWART: So this is what we would call a midplate region. We typically see most of the earthquakes around the Earth along plate boundaries. So again, that earthquake in Turkiye was along the plate boundary. The closest plate boundary to this one is over 500 kilometers away to the north.

So in those midplate regions we are usually looking at lower rates of seismicity and relatively rare earthquakes. In fact, we haven't had an earthquake of significant size in well over 100 years.


And what do we take from that, that it hasn't happened for so long?

STEWART: The thing about it is that, of course, we live on a human time scale and we judge length of time based on that. But the Earth doesn't care about our human time scale. It operates on a geologic time scale.

The very fact that you have mountains in this region -- this was in a mountainous region of Morocco -- means that there are stresses within the Earth. And there are residual stresses and, in this case, it produced an earthquake in which the Earth was compressing. So one side was moving up relative to the other.

That's a typical type of earthquake that you would see associated with mountain building. So it is consistent with the terrain in that area.

HOLMES: And so what then can the region, the immediate area and the region and more broadly, expect in the hours and days to come, in terms of aftershocks, which are really just more earthquakes, could there be worse to come?

What would you expect?

STEWART: Well, for certain, there's going to be many aftershocks. The size of the aftershocks will generally be smaller than what we've just experienced. But they can still be sizable.

This was a 6.8 and we could expect multiple high 5s, for example, which are enough to cause damage. There is a low probability but not zero that this could actually be a precursor for an even larger earthquake.


STEWART: That is rare but it does happen. But I think the likely thing that we can really count on, unfortunately for the people in the area, is a very large number of aftershocks that will taper off with time.

HOLMES: It's interesting, too, if we put the map up of where the epicenter was and people can see, is that -- this was a shallowish earthquake.

And explain for us why that's relevant but also, the epicenter, you know a fair distance from Marrakech.

That is just the lottery isn't it, that it wasn't closer to the city?

STEWART: Yes. It is shallow in the sense that, geologically speaking, anything less than about 70 kilometers is considered shallow. But it's not terribly shallow. It is at a fairly typical depth for active regions around the world.

And as far as where it happened to occur, it is really a roll of the dice. It can happen anywhere around this mountain range. It happened to occur here. It could have been worse; it could have been closer to Marrakech.

But even as it is, the contours of severe ground shaking do unfortunately include Marrakech. And that basically means that vulnerable structures, like unreinforced masonry structures, nonductile concrete, we could expect significant damage.

HOLMES: Yes, very different architecture and building historic building in that city. Professor Jonathan Stewart from UCLA, we reality appreciate your expertise, thank you very much.

STEWART: Glad to be with you.

HOLMES: The U.S. has assessed that a revival of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is unlikely to happen. That is based on new U.S. intelligence that paints an optimistic picture of the situation in Afghanistan over two years after America's chaotic withdrawal.

The assessment also suggests counterterrorism operations by the Taliban have degraded ISIS in Afghanistan. But the U.S. may be struggling to track the threat posed by that terror group.

New York officials have identified two other victims of the September 11th terror attacks, using advanced DNA testing. That's ahead of the 22th anniversary of the attack on Monday; 2,753 people were killed when two passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center.

Roughly 40 percent of victims are still unidentified. City officials pledge continuing to return the remains to the victims of their loved ones.

Still to come on the program, having too many tourists becomes a problem for one of Japan's top tourist sites. Why Mount Fuji could lose a badge of honor recognized around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: A rescue operation to free an American from one of Turkey's deepest caves could soon get underway. American researcher Mark Dickey has been stranded for a week 1,000 meters below ground after suffering gastrointestinal bleeding.

Doctors will decide if he's well enough to come out. It'll take about four days to bring him to the surface.

Now The climbing season on Japan's Mount Fuji ends on Sunday and that's likely to be a much-needed reprieve for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the number of visitors has gone through the roof in recent months. As a result, as Kristie Lu Stout reports, the mountain could lose its World Heritage status.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Human traffic jams on sacred Mount Fuji.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very cold, just like a traffic jam.

STOUT (voice-over): An ambulance en route to an injured hiker, litter on the mountainside. It's a side to Japan's popular tourist site that's not in the guidebooks. But for Mount Fuji ranger Miho Sakurai, it's just another day on the job.

MIHO SAKURAI, MOUNT FUJI RANGER (through translator): There are definitely too many people on Mount Fuji at the moment. The numbers are much higher than before.

STOUT (voice-over): Famous for its snow capped volcano, Mount Fuji has inspired artists and been a pilgrimage site for centuries. Less than two hours away from Tokyo, Japan's highest peak attracts visitors globally.

And in 2013 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overtourism has become a big problem.

This year, a post COVID tourism boom has brought thousands more hikers to Mount Fuji, according to a Yamanashi prefectural government official. The environmental damage being done could cost Mount Fuji its heritage status, according to the local government.

MASATAKE IZUMI, YAMANASHI PREFECTURAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL (through translator): Fuji-san is screaming out in pain. We can't just wait for improvement. We need to tackle overtourism now.

STOUT (voice-over): Volunteer take away tons of trash each year. Climbers are urged to donate $7 to help keep the mountain clean. But not everyone pays up. And Sakurai says some behavior is even harder to control.

SAKURAI (through translator): People of all experience levels come here, including first timers. We want to prevent accidents, so we give them advice.

STOUT (voice-over): The risk of altitude sickness and hypothermia has been increased by a trend called bullet climbing, where hikers begin their ascent at night, pushing on until dawn, according to the Yamanashi tourism board.

According to the local government, they start their hike from a place called Fuji's fifth station, where the number of climbers arriving here from Tokyo --


STOUT (voice-over): -- has more than doubled between 2012 and 2019.

The local government also says it wants to shift from quantity to quality tourism. It says replacing the main road to Fuji with a light rail system would be a more sustainable solution.

SAKURAI (through translator): I'd be devastated if Mount Fuji's World Heritage status was taken away. I wanted to have that status forever. So we'll do our best to keep it that way.

STOUT (voice-over): But with no easy fix in sight, Sakurai will keep doing her bit to protect the mountain she loves -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOLMES: It looked for a second like Rocky and Pope Francis were going to punch it out. They did raise their fists but it was all in good fun. We'll have that for you and more when we come back.



(MUSIC PLAYING) HOLMES: It was a bittersweet day for Britain's royal family on Friday,

marking the first year of King Charles III's reign and the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death.



HOLMES (voice-over): Gun salutes fired in London and Edinburgh in honor of the king on Accession Day.

In Scotland, the king and queen greeted a small group of well wishers after attending a private service to remember the king's late mother.

And in Wales, Prince William and Kate attended a small commemoration at St. David's Cathedral.

You knew when Rocky went to the Vatican, he and the pontiff would have to square up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): We grew up with your films.



HOLMES (voice-over): Sylvester Stallone brought his wife and daughters to meet Pope Francis. While they got their dukes up, the sparring clearly was only verbal. The Oscar nominated actor looked starstruck while the pope gushed, "We grew up with your movies."


HOLMES: No word whether they exchanged autographs. Thanks for watching this hour. I'm Michael Holmes. Don't go anywhere. CNN NEWSROOM continues with my colleague and bestie, Paula Newton, after the break.