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Recovery Efforts Underway; Biden Heads to Vietnam; Gauff Wins U.S. Open. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 10, 2023 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead right here on CNN Newsroom right now, rescuers in Morocco are digging through the rubble desperate to find survivors of that massive quake. We go live Marrakech in just a moment.

Plus, U.S. President Joe Biden has left the G-20 summit and is now on his way to Vietnam. We'll look at what he hopes to accomplish in this overseas trip.

And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness, I just watched a young lady win her very first Grand Slam. I'm so excited for her. She's so young. She's such a --


NEWTON: Isn't that exciting? Coco Gauff stages a dramatic come back to win her first career Grand Slam, the U.S. Open.

And we do begin in Morocco where rescue teams are racing to find more survivors of the country's deadliest earthquake in decades. More than 2,000 people have died and close to 1,500 are still in critical condition at this hour. The king has instructed officials to set up a commission to provide relief. Many countries are also offering help, and that includes Nigeria, which is taking the extraordinary step to reopen its airspace to morocco to allow in humanitarian aid.

Meantime, the Moroccan government has declared three days of mourning as the region tries to recover. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mellah is one of the poorest areas in the city. And those people need help, lik food, water, blankets or whatever can help.


NEWTON: Emergency crews are going through the worst-hit areas to find survivors. Earlier, a person was pulled from under a collapsed building and carried away to safety. Afterward, workers breathed a sigh of relief and hugged each other to celebrate that rescue.

We want to get more now from CNN's Sam Kiley. He is live for in Marrakech. And, Sam, there you are again at the scene of some of this devastation. I've been watching your reports since you got there on the ground. I'm curious to learn from you how things have changed since when you were first on the scene. This is now the second morning people in Morocco are waking up to this devastation.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are waking to the devastation and the government is still trying to find out, Paula, the extent of the devastation.

Now, this is the scene here in the medina, in Marrakech. As you can see, a whole side of this building has collapsed into one of these very narrow streets. And the concern for the authorities here, and they have evacuated most of the tourists from this area, is that if there are any more tremors, then more of this will occur.

The buildings themselves, many of them, are very, very badly damaged and they have got some catastrophic cracks. You can see up there, particularly on the left of the shot, you can see how, with a minor tremor, all of this can come tumbling down.

Now, there have been tremors, Paula, elsewhere in the country and it is the tremors, the aftershocks that continue to pose very severe problems for the authorities partly because the roads are being closed, if they weren't closed originally by the earthquake, they are being closed by subsequent tremors. And, of course, those buildings that are remaining standing are likely to come down.

Now, tens of thousands of people have believed to have been made homeless by this earthquake. People is having to sleep out in the open. There have been some miraculous rescues. Yesterday afternoon, a woman was pulled out from under the rubble having been trapped there for 12 hours. And there's a similar rescue here in Marrakech.

But the authorities are having to use helicopters, aircraft, to get to some of these remote villages in the Atlas Mountains, the foothills of the Atlas Mountain, a burba (ph) area traditionally, has been extremely badly hit with whole villages being reduced to rubble. And it is in those areas where the death toll, which is now just over 2,000 people, at least 13 in Marrakech, but 2,000 and the rest of the country, and likely to rise as the authorities pick through this rubble and discover whether or not the people who are missing are now actually dead, Paula

NEWTON: Yes, so much to sort through there.


And that brings me to my next question. I mean, this is a huge operation for the government to Morocco, even just to try and organize all of the aid, the offers of aid that they've had. What are you learning about efforts to make sure that not just Marrakech gets back on its feet into a sense of normalcy, but crucially that these regions, where you don't even know the scope of the damage, can't even reach them by car, that those regions get everything they need? Because apart from the rescues, right, they need food, water. A lot of people still need medical attention.

KILEY: They do. And there is now a national mobilization to try to cope with that. There have been offers from pretty much all around the world. Even the Ukrainians have said that they'll send in crews, because, of course, they have, for quite different reasons, extensive experience with rescuing people from buildings that have been hit not by earthquakes but by Russian missiles. But there are people from rescue crews are coming in from all over the world. So, that's the first phase.

And you're absolutely right. Then you've got the issue of infrastructure and understanding the scale of that and the cost, the financial cost, as well as the human cost of that, I think, is a ways off, really, for the authorities here. They're simply trying to get out into those remote areas and find out exactly what has happened.

But their immediate needs are absolutely water, shelter and food for those displaced populations. And still, the Moroccan authorities have not given us any figures on what those estimates are, because they are in remote areas and they are simply coping now with what is an emergency rescue operation before moving directly into the humanitarian phase.

But there have been pledges from around the world to try and support that part of it. But rebuilding this is going to take Moroccan builders and the government, of course, many, many years, perhaps, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And I am struck by how long some of those buildings in the old city there have withstood so many earthquakes. But now this one, extraordinary, as you pointed out before, something they have not seen in that area of Morocco.

Sam Kiley, we really appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

Now, Mark Scorer is the director of operations for SARAID. He is a non-profit organization and he joins me now from Epsom in the U.K. Thanks so much for joining us, as I'm sure it must be quite a busy time.

First, I want to talk about the timing, right? We have seen some miracle rescues from we know have happened in this disaster as well but we are almost 30 hours out from this disaster. How critical is it that rescue teams with equipment reach the effect of it at affected areas?

MARK SCORER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, SARAID: Yes, it's very critical. This 24 to 72-hour period, often referred to as the golden period or the golden hours, is absolutely critical. This is now when the majority of the people still alive buried under the rubble that can be reached and rescued, if possible.

NEWTON: Now, what kind of equipment will it take? You know, we've been seeing video, not just of the rescues, but also of these towns, aerial footage, and you can tell that the roads have been wiped out. And that, you know, in terms of getting any kind of important equipment up there, useful equipment up there that'd be quite difficult, what can organizations like yours do?

SCORER: I've said at the minute, the majority of organizations around the world, I believe, are monitoring the situation closely, offering assistance, if required, by the Moroccan government. The Moroccan government have obviously mobilized all their resources and are working extremely hard to reach these remote locations, which they'd be best placed to do, knowing the terrain and the territory.

Other organizations would be able to support, if required, perhaps with supplies, in terms of the equipment, that the search and rescue teams will be using. They might be using high-spec listening equipment to listen for the trapped casualties or cameras that can look into voids for potential casualties.

NEWTON: Yes. And I want to talk a little bit more about that. From what we've heard, you know, in some cases it's concrete that's collapsed, in other cases, old stone or masonry. I imagine that specialists can be brought on the scene, but how complicated is it when you're dealing -- I mean, we're looking at some of the video right now. How complicated is it, because you don't want the structure to collapse completely?

SCORER: Absolutely not. Each structure tends to collapse in a different way. We have specialist structural engineers as part of the team, and many teams do, but we'll be able to assess how the building has collapsed, how the loads within the building are still being held up, and, if necessary, can use timber, other mechanical props and shores to find the best way to access and egress the building and reach any trapped victims.

NEWTON: You know, this is painstaking work, tough work, and it takes a lot of time.


I'm interested just in terms of how far we've come in trying to do any of this. You talked about listening devices, cameras. Has all of that tech come a long way and does it help or sometimes is a canine unit the best thing in these situations?

SCORER: Yes, you're right. The technology has improved massively and all the time is progressing with potential new devices using radar, but it's a combination. No one tool at the minute is perfect and it's a number of tools to the toolbox that are required to be listening equipment breaking through a wall to see if there is casualties via cameras.

The dogs serve a great function and performed amazingly in the Turkey earthquake earlier in the year. And so it's a combined asset that we need to mobilize at this time.

NEWTON: Yes. And they can use all the help they can get at this hour. Still, you know, Morocco, the Kingdom of Morocco continues to try and organize all those offers of assistance.

Mark Scorer for us, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Now offers of assistance, as I was just saying, are pouring into Morocco from around the world. Germany is offering rescue teams complete with those sniffer dogs we were just talking about to try and help find victims. France has activated local government funds. Its embassy is open to 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.

Now, just a few moments ago, the U.S. deputy national security adviser told reporters onboard Air Force One that the U.S. is prepared to, quote, give significant assistance. For more information about how you can help the victims of Morocco, go to

U.S. President Joe Biden is on his way to Vietnam right now, having wrapped up his participation in the G-20 summit in India. Now, he'll only be in Hanoi for one day, but it is a huge leap forward, the White House says, in relations with the two former enemies.

Earlier, Mr. Biden and other G-20 leaders paid their respects to the Gandhi Memorial in New Delhi. The leaders took part in a wreathing ceremony for the Indian independence leader. It is, of course, a revered site often visited by foreign dignitaries.

CNN's Kevin Liptak had a front row seat to all of this, and he joins us now live from New Delhi.

Kevin, before we get to what went on there in New Delhi, I want to get to the earthquake again. We are learning more about what the United States is willing to offer here. What more are you learning?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, the top American official telling reporters on Air Force One that the U.S. is prepared to offer a substantial amount of assistance, including funding for recovery efforts, but also search and rescue teams that would help, of course, search through the rubble, but also assist in any medical sort of recovery efforts. And so this is sort of the latest nation pledging its support to Morocco at this devastating moment.

President Biden did release a statement last night expressing sorrow for the situation there. He said that American officials had been in touch with their counterparts, and we do understand that the American secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has been on the phone with Moroccan officials to sort of discuss what the United States is prepared to do. So, certainly, President Biden expressing support and vowing support going forward for that nation, Paula. NEWTON: Now, we were just saying that the president is on his way to Vietnam. This trip as well cannot escape the controversy, of course, surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What are the president's advisers saying about a New York Times report that Vietnam is apparently secretly planning to buy weapons from Russia? And as we know, that would be in violation of sanctions.

LIPTAK: Well, they certainly took note of the timing of that report, just as President Biden is on his way to Hanoi. I don't think that they were necessarily surprised just given the historic military links between Vietnam and Russia, but they do say that they are preparing themselves to offer these plans to help Vietnam diversify its arms supply chain. And that's part of the announcements that President Biden will be making in Vietnam.

And his reason really for going there is to elevate the U.S. relationship with that country. The U.S. currently sort of at the lowest rung of diplomatic ties with Vietnam as part of this trip. They will be elevated to the top tier. And that's interesting because the other nations at that level are China and Russia.

And so you can clearly see the president trying to enter into this sphere, trying to expand American influence to this nation, not necessarily asking Vietnam to choose between the United States and China.


Of course, that would be basically impossible just given the historic economic links between those nations, but offering them an alternative.

This isn't the only country that the president is attempting this with. He's doing it here in India as well, also the Philippines, and some of the United States' more traditional allies in East Asia. But certainly the president is viewing this area as a priority region. As China intensifies its economic and military aggressions, President Biden certainly wants to come in and offer the United States as a more reliable partner for countries going forward. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, certainly, he wants Vietnam to also be a part of that Indo-Pacific architecture, that structure that he's talking about.

Kevin Liptak for us in New Delhi, I really appreciate the reporting.

Now, Ukrainian naval drones come up short during their attack on the Russian fleet. Still ahead, we'll explain what Elon Musk has to do with that.

Plus, much more on the earthquake in Morocco. We'll look at the help victims are getting from their government, their neighbors, and even their national football team.


[03:20:00] NEWTON: Russia claims its air defenses have foiled a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea. The Russian Defense Ministry says eight drones were shot down near the peninsula in recent hours. Ukraine says its air defenses also had success taking down Russian drones over Kyiv. Officials say 20 of them were intercepted around the capital Sunday morning. Now, some drone debris crashed to the ground and left one person wounded.

In the meantime, it is the last day of elections in Russia and occupied parts of Ukraine, but the Council of Europe says are violation of international law. The elections in the occupied territories are widely dismissed as a sham, both by Kyiv and internationally. A pro-Ukrainian resistance group claims some polling stations in the administrative capital of Crimea have been largely empty.

But in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to make people believe the elections are, in fact, legitimate. He's urging people to take part in the process and have faith in the online system of voting.

For more now, we're joined by Fred Pleitgen, who's here from London. Good to have you on these stories.

Some analysts have called these elections the most uncompetitive in Russian history, others saying that it is a return to Soviet practices, where we saw those performative elections with zero opposition.

But I think you know more than most that they do serve a purpose for Putin. Why does he lean into this, even as Russia continues to send troops to the front and they're suffering economically at home?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think precisely because he's sending troops to the front in Ukraine and because they're suffering economically at home. Because we have to keep in mind, Paula, that Vladimir Putin started this war because he claimed that there was a genocide going on against Russian-speaking people, against Russians in Eastern Ukraine, specifically at the time in Donbas and Donetsk and Luhansk regions and then, of course, also now in the southeast of Ukraine as well.

He was claiming that the government in Kyiv was a neo-Nazi regime that was hell bent on conducting a genocide against the Russians in the eastern part of Ukraine. So, obviously, the Ukrainians have said that none of that is true and, certainly, the international community has as well.

But as the war stagnates, especially on the eastern and southern fronts, the Russians, while they might not be losing ground as quickly as some may have thought in the west, they certainly haven't been gaining any ground and really haven't had any significant victories on the battlefield in about a year.

What Vladimir Putin seems to be trying to show is that, look, the people that we set out to allegedly save, as he put it, are doing a lot better now. They have elections, they're living in what he would say is a fairly stable environment.

Now, of course, the Ukrainians are saying all of what you're seeing there, people going to the polling stations and all that is a farce. He says that -- or the Ukrainians say that people are essentially being forced to go to the polls, that many people don't want to go to the polls.

The Ukrainians are saying that these elections are a violation, as they put it, not just of Ukraine's territorial integrity but also of the people who live in Donbas and are being coerced to go to these elections. And of course, you've also mentioned some of the international reactions with countries around the world and organizations around the world also saying that these elections are sham.

Nevertheless, Vladimir Putin saying these are very important, not just, of course, for the political system in Russia, for his political system, but certainly also selling the war as well, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, important points there. And this story is just so fascinating. Ukraine's spy chief now is weighing in, saying that Elon Musk's Starlink network was being used on all frontlines. And he was pretty blunt, right? Fred, he said, look, they continue to play a very significant war. But this is where the story gets interesting. It's controversial.

And, recently, a new book came out that claims Elon Musk did not enable Starlink communications near Crimea last year because they wanted to stop a Ukrainian sneak attack on Russian naval assets. So, like what more can you tell us about this?

PLEITGEN: Well, first of all, I think you're absolutely right. It's fascinating, and it's a really complicated story as well. Essentially, first of all, it is absolutely true that all the frontline segments in Ukraine that I have ever been to, the Ukrainian troops were using Starlink heavily there, and all of them said that Starlink was extremely important to them even staying in the fight, to have that communications link, and certainly one also that the Russians can't jam.

Now, as far as this sneak attack that was apparently already in the works is concerned, essentially, what came out in that book is that the Ukrainians were trying to conduct a sneak attack. They then found that Starlink over Crimea, which they needed to steer unmanned, underwater drones that they had rigged with explosives as they were trying to attack the port of Sevastopol, which has a large part of the Russian Black Sea fleet in it, they found that Starlink wasn't working around Crimea.

And they asked Elon Musk to enable Starlink around Crimea, and he refused because he feared that if there was a large-scale attack on Sevastopol and a lot of Russian ships got destroyed, that the Russians might escalate the war and could lead to the Russians using nuclear weapons.

[03:25:02] That's sort of his version, or part of his version of things.

He got a lot of flak for that, as some of this information was coming out in the book, also for some tweets from Musk himself, saying, look, you could have maybe shortened the war. There were Ukrainians who were criticizing him, people in the international community as well.

It seems as though things are a bit more complicated because Elon Musk now says that Starlink was never enabled around Crimea and that he was essentially being asked to enable it for this attack as this attack was already in progress. And he said that he decided not to do that because he feared escalation.

I want to read a bit of his of one of the tweets that he put out. He put out several seemingly trying to explain this, but one of them said, quote, at no point did I or anyone at SpaceX promise coverage over Crimea. Moreover, our terms of service clearly prohibits Starlink for defense -- for offensive military action as we are a civilian system. So, they were, again, asking for something that was expressly prohibited.

So, that is Elon Musk there. Whether or not the Ukrainians buy that is certainly up for question. However, one of the things that Karylo Budanov, as you mentioned, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said, Starlink is so important for them that they really want to remain on good terms with Elon Musk. Paula?

NEWTON: No, arguably, and this will be one for the history books. It has been decisive in what Ukraine has been able to muster, especially, as you pointed out in the first few weeks of this campaign.

Fred, I really appreciate it. You did a really good job summing that up for us on what, again, will be a very important thing, a piece of technology going forward in this conflict. I appreciate it.

Still head for us, much more on the devastating earthquake in Morocco, the challenges the country faces and what people are doing to help. That's next.



NEWTON: Welcome back to our viewers joining us from here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton and you are watching CNN Newsroom.

More now on our top story this hour, authorities in Morocco say more than 2,000 people have been killed in the country's deadliest earthquake in decades. Thousands more have been injured, many of them now in critical condition and in urgent need of aid.

The Moroccan National Football Team has been stepping up by donating blood for the victims. Players are also urging others to do what they can to help. Aida Alami is a Moroccan reporter who contributes to The New York Times and she joins us now from Marrakech. And I want to thank you for joining us.

And I want to say firstly our condolences to you and your country during this time of morning and I can only imagine the shock that so many are feeling this hour. Could you bring us up to speed just on how the country is coping as the scale of this tragedy sinks in?

AIDA ALAMI, MOROCCAN REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (voice over): Hi, thank you very much for having me. Right now, as I just arrived last night, as I drove to Marrakech, a lot of people were sleeping outside out of fear or in necessities, it's not clear. They were laying on the grass or on sidewalks or just sleeping in their cars.

There's a big issue here with a lot of these villages that were badly stricken not getting help right now just because access is hard. So, a lot of these villages are figuring out themselves how to deal with the rubbles and trying to rescue people from under their homes, basically.

NEWTON: What has been your reaction when you've seen the pictures from some of those mountainous regions and realizing how difficult it will be to try and get help to those areas?

ALAMI (voice over): Unfortunately, this was some of the thing that was and what we could imagine happen one day, that these places are just not built for a catastrophe of this scale. Of course, it's really hard to watch. And I'm going on the ground today to see for myself how the rescue efforts are going and how people are coping and what they're trying to do if they're not getting the kind of help they need.

NEWTON: And when we talk about the issue, if we talk about the past, do you mean that these areas were deprived always in terms of infrastructure, and that includes the construction of their homes, or do you mean even now that it will just be so difficult to try and get rescuers or any kind of aid to them?

ALAMI (voice over): I mean, in the past, these are places where services don't reach, like in the rest of the country, there's a vast difference between these areas and the major cities that a lot of people visit Morocco know.

But I'm trying to be optimistic about the next few days. It's really hard to know how things are going to unfold, but it is for sure that it's going to be a really, really complicated task.

NEWTON: Yes, and the government seems to be doing its best. How confident are you that the government or the kingdom will be able to organize all this? Because there's lots of, you know, offers of help, but, obviously, mobilization coordination is a tricky challenge.

ALAMI (voice over): Exactly. Again, it's really hard. I don't want to, because I don't want to assess anything before it happens. I think we need to wait and see how they're going to -- if they're going to welcome this foreign aid. There was a statement yesterday from the royal cabinet thanking the foreign aid. It wasn't clear if they were going to accept it. We're still waiting to see at this point what's going to happen.

NEWTON: Yes. And, in fact, that has been the answer for many countries that said they are on standby waiting to get the go-ahead from Morocco.

I want to ask you, in terms of this being such a shock, I mean, everyone said that while there have been tremors, certainly in Morocco, that no one expected this. I mean, how do you think people will view this going forward now, now that we did have this massive earthquake hit the country?

ALAMI (voice over): I mean, I grew up with the memory of the 1960 earthquake in Agadir, a coastal city, that killed about a third of the city at the time. It's not completely unfamiliar to Moroccans, but nothing of this scale has happened in almost 20 years. So, I think people -- that was not on people's minds before it happened, for sure.

NEWTON: And in terms of what they're coping with now, I mean, I assume it's fairly quiet in Marrakech. How difficult will it be just to try and make sure that city recovers to some state of normalcy?

ALAMI (voice over): Marrakech, from what I've observed, is pretty calm right now.


I'm not sure how the -- as I say, we're in a standby situation. It took a little bit -- even when the earthquake happened, it took a few hours for the government to react. It took a few hours for communication to set into motion. And, again, it's been 36 hours and we're still waiting and to see what's next.

I think it takes a little bit of time to put these things in place and in motion. But Marrakech is not the worst case by far. Building kind of did not crumble the way they did because we're talking about entire villages that were razed.

NEWTON: Yes, we've been looking at some of the video of that. And to return to that issue, has this been an issue in Morocco in terms of the safety standards from some of the older buildings, but also even some of the new construction in those villages and towns in those mountainous regions?

ALAMI (voice over): Absolutely. This has been an ongoing issue for years. One of my first story as a young reporter was reporting in the old Medina, the historic center of Rabat and Casablanca, where entire families always lived in these buildings with the danger of the building collapsing at any time, not even with an earthquake of this scale. So, this is definitely a huge issue here.

NEWTON: Yes, and I'm sure it will continue to be a point of discussion. Aida Alami, we wish you safety in your reporting. I want to thank you for your insights. I appreciate it. ALAMI (voice over): Thank you for having me. Bye.

Now, although there has still been no official request for international help, as we were just talking about, countries from around the world offering their assistance to Morocco in the wake of the deadly earthquake.

Michael Holmes has more now on the aid being offered by the community of nations.


HOLMES (voice over): 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 centers in the area made a plea to stock up. But 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 G-20 summit in New Delhi.

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

HOLMES: 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: And 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: 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 the White Helmets, a volunteer group that provided emergency services in that crisis, is once again stepping up, saying, quote, 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 to Morocco. Help from all corners of the world is at the ready, even when Morocco asks for it.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


NEWTON: Now, for more information about how you can help victims of the Morocco earthquake, go to

Hurricane Lee still churning in the Atlantic Ocean with sustained winds of 105 miles per hour or 165 kilometers an hour. It is a category two storm at this hour, but the National Hurricane Center says it will likely re-strengthen in the coming days.


It's expected to move well north of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, but in the next several days, those areas and other Caribbean islands can expect dangerous surf and life threatening rip currents.

Forecasts have the storm making 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 along the East Coast of the U.S.

So, now to Iowa where there was a political showdown at the state's largest football rivalry. Now, several Republican candidates, including Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis showed, up trying to score points with the voters.

CNN's Kyung Lah was there.

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 this game. Both sat inside the stadium, DeSantis sitting with the crowds, 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.

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, even tossing some 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 that he has visited more than half of Iowa's 99 counties.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): 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 20-13.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Ames, Iowa.

NEWTON: New sightings of a convicted killer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison by crab-walking up a wall. We'll have new details on the manhunt, next.



NEWTON: In the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, authorities are still locked in on their manhunt for an escaped convicted killer. The inmate crab-walked up a wall, got through razor wire and took off from a prison near Philadelphia. And that was more than a week ago.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest on that search.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, since the August 31st escape of Danelo Cavalcante, authorities here in the state of Pennsylvania have confirmed sightings almost on a regular basis. One of the most recent ones to happen was on Friday afternoon as the 34-year-old convicted killer was spotted, according to authorities, inside of the search perimeter here in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is about 40 miles west of Philadelphia.

That is promising for authorities, as it tells them, or at least suggests to them, that this individual is potentially still inside of that area that has been locked down and has been searched now for well over a week and a half.

On Saturday, the Pennsylvania State Police also updated their search perimeter. Now, most of it actually covers some botanical gardens, or at least it includes some botanical gardens that, on any other weekend, would normally be packed with families, but that facility, which is about a thousand acres of gardens and meadows, has actually been closed because of this manhunt that continues.

In terms of what we heard from authorities, Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens saying recently that this particular fugitive had actually been able to elude authorities in Brazil after he allegedly committed his first murder, actually hiding out in the jungles in South America and eventually able to get away, the lieutenant colonel insisting that that is likely not going to happen here. This is what he said with some confidence.


LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: I will keep up this search at whatever tempo is appropriate for as long as we need to. He's a dangerous individual. We'll keep this up. We've done it in the past. I would think that history should allow people to see that. We mean it when we say we're here to stay until we capture him.


SANDOVAL: And as helicopters continue to circle overhead in the community, there's certainly a growing sense of not just frustration, but also bewilderment, that now well into a week and a half of the search that Cavalcante still remains out of the reach of authorities. But when you hear from the Pennsylvania State Police, they will say with confidence they believe that he's still here and that they will find him sooner or later.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

NEWTON: Coco Gauff has American tennis fans energized after winning her first Grand Slam title.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kudos to Coco. She just got better and better since Wimbledon. A-plus, A-plus, this is outstanding.


NEWTON: Fans at the side of the U.S. Open jumped for joy as the 19 - year -old won the last major of the season. We will have more from the champion, ahead.



NEWTON: At the U.S. Open in New York, a feat tennis fans in the United States have been longing for to see Coco Gauff win her first Grand Slam title, rallied from behind to defeat world number two, Aryna Sabalenka in three sets in the Women's Final.

The crowd seemed to lift the 19-year-old's game with chance of let's go Coco. It was catchy and it was loud.

CNN's Carolyn Manno was there and she talked to the champion one-on- one after her big win.


CAROYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Coco, congratulations to you on your first grand slam right here at home at the U.S. Open. Walk us through how you were feeling, what you remember about the final point, championship point.

COCO GAUFF, 2023 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: I didn't tell myself that it was championship point. I knew, obviously, I wasn't aware, but it was just shock, like a lot of shock and like crazy. I was like, this is the U.S. Open. Like it didn't feel like obviously like any other tournament. So, this is crazy.

MANNO: A lot of people were emotional in the stands, watching your reaction, watching you go and find your parents. What was that moment like embracing your family?

GAUFF: It was the best moment ever. I know they're -- I felt so loved and they always love me, obviously, but when you're just embracing them. I'm not really like a touchy person, to be honest. So, my parents always like, I don't hug them enough, but, I mean, I gave them a big embrace today.

MANNO: You mentioned the pressure of expectations in your post-match press conference and said that a lot of people were crowning you before you're even a fully developed player and you weathered the storm of a lot of criticism, and you mentioned that after this win. How has that affected you?

GAUFF: Yes, it's affected me a lot. And I think, you know, I learned how to just stay within myself, but also embrace it before I tried to ignore it. But now I'm really embracing it. And I still feel like I have long, long ways to develop as a player. I mean, today was nowhere near my best, but it was just enough that I needed to win in that moment.

MANNO: Now that you have your first slam, hopefully the first of many, will you continue to use that as motivation or do you take a tremendous amount of confidence from this win? How do you process that emotion moving forward?

GAUFF: 100 percent. I mean, I felt like, you know, getting through that final was like a hurdle that I needed to cross, a mental blockage that I needed to cross, and I did. And, hopefully, I can continue to do that many more times.


MANNO: As we wrap up with you, we were really touched like a lot of people with what you posted to your Instagram right after your 19th birthday, the throwback to you of a little girl here during fan week. What would you tell that little girl about tonight?

GAUFF: Just keep dreaming. Your dreams are possible. And don't let people put out your fire. You had a lot of hope and dreams then and it still is within you now.

MANNO: Diet Cokes and pizza tonight?

GAUFF: Yes, I'm so hungry.


NEWTON: She's still a teenager after all. I hope she got some of that food.

U.S. President Joe Biden is among those celebrating Gauff's victory. A White House official says Biden spoke to Gauff and her parents congratulated her on winning the tournament.

Now, later today, number two ranked, Novak Djokovic will have a revenge on his mind as he faces number three ranked, Daniil Medvedev in the Men's Final. The Russian beat Djokovic in New York in 2021 to claim his only major so far. Djokovic has gone on to become the men's career Grand Slam leader with 23.

And yes, a big upset in college football. For the first time since 1982, the Alabama Crimson Tide loses to the Texas Longhorns. The final score, 34-24. The upset also broke Alabama's 21 game home win streak. It's a major victory. Yes, Texas will never let you forget it. It's a major victory for the Longhorns who are set to join the SEC conference next year.

Now, Texas' win puts over -- Texas' last win over a top three ranked opponent on the road was in 1969.

I am Paula Newton. I want to thank you for your company.

After a quick break, Kim Brunhuber -- if I could say that name -- Kim Brunhuber, will be back with the latest on the news. I appreciate your company.