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2,100+ People Killed as Powerful Earthquake Hits Morocco; Rubiales Resigns as Soccer Chief after Unwanted Kiss Backlash; U.S. President Set to Meet with Vietnamese Leaders; Decoy Weapons Help Protect Ukraine's True Military Targets; Mexican President Endorses Former Mayor as Successor. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. Coming to you live from Studio Four at the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.


Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, rescue teams in Morocco race to find survivors after the country's strongest quake in 100 years.

Luis Rubiales steps down as Spanish soccer president after his unwanted World Cup kiss.

And President Biden is in Vietnam and will meet with the country's president and prime minister in the coming hours. We're live in Hanoi with a report.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: It is 5 a.m. in the morning in Morocco, where many have spent another night outside after Friday's powerful and deadly earthquake. More than 2,100 people have now been confirmed killed, and rescuers continue to dig through rubble in a frantic search for survivors.

The 6.8 magnitude quake was the strongest to hit Morocco in more than 120 years. And the death toll is expected to keep climbing as teams search collapsed homes in remote areas.

Near the quake's epicenter in the Atlas Mountains, the scenes of destruction and devastation are obvious, with homes and small villages reduced to piles of rubble.

One man who lost his young son said the earthquake hit as the family was just finishing their meal. He describes how a normal evening quickly turned tragic.


HAMID BEN HENNA, SON KILLED IN EARTHQUAKE (through translator): It all started at 11 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. We were having dinner. I asked my son to bring a knife from the kitchen to cut dessert. He didn't bring it, because as soon as he left the kitchen, an earthquake struck. He ran here, where you can see rubble. He was buried by one and a half to two meters of rubble.

At night there was no electricity. We couldn't see at all. And stones were falling on us in the dark. I hurried, and luckily, there was a gate open. I helped my wife, who was injured, get out along with two other kids.


HOLMES: Now, that's just one of the many heartbreaking stories from those who survived the quake.

Now residents and villages all along the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, where the quake was centered, are dealing with a new difficult reality, many now living in tents and some being told they'll remain in those makeshift camps for at least a week, probably longer.

One resident said they're in desperate need of basic necessities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Amizmiz is suffering. No bread and no electricity and water. People are suffering, and aid is late. Some are stuck in roads. Some lack food and shelter. We are 12 or 13 in the tent, including kids and parents. The situation is dire.


HOLMES: More now from CNN's Sam Kiley.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: People here in Asni (ph), in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, have told (ph) that when this earthquake struck and it did this, they didn't so much feel the tremors as feel that they were being caught up in some kind of war. And that is exactly what it looks like.

They didn't feel the ground shaking under them, they said. They felt and heard the sounds of explosions. Explosions from within and without their own homes. And explosions up in the hills.

And 25 people were killed in the town of Moulay Brahim, which is just about three kilometers, a mile and a half or so from here. This is normally a tourist paradise, not just for foreigners but for locals, too. Some of the victims still being left buried under the rubble, because it's too dangerous to get them out, are actually Moroccans who were up in these mountains, enjoying the cooler temperatures in the summer.

Everybody we're talking to here has got a complaint that the central government is really nowhere to be seen, in their words. We have seen some evidence of their help with these yellow tents, offering temporary accommodation here in Azni (ph). That's accommodation for 1,200 people who have lost their homes. All these homes are now uninhabitably dangerous.

This area has been struck in the last 24 hours by at least four aftershocks, local people tell us. And they're saying they're just not getting the help they need.

Inevitably, there's always going to be a level of frustration for people hit with this cataclysmic event. But there were dozens of these villages all over this regions, and for that reason, it is the hardest hit region in all of Morocco, where the death toll continues to climb, well over 2,000 now.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Asni.


HOLMES: Morocco's government and some volunteers are handing out desperately-needed supplies. But the kingdom has now formally accepted aid from four countries after weighing its needs.

Many more have offered assistance, saying Morocco says it could ask for additional help as the situation on the ground continues to evolve.


HOLMES (voice-over): More boots on the ground. A Spanish search-and- rescue team arrives in Marrakesh to assist with relief operations in Morocco.

The help coming just in time as rescuers face blocked roads and mountainous terrain as they search for survivors in some of the country's hard-to-reach villages.

But this specialized unit of Spain's armed forces has faced challenges like this before, having deployed in previous disaster zones like Turkey, Nepal, and Haiti.

The Spanish defense ministry says the team has four dogs with them, as well as tools that can cut through concrete. All things Morocco needs as rescuers push deeper into the remote areas of the Atlas Mountains.

Many countries have sent offers of help, and so far, Morocco has accepted assistance from some after what it says is careful assessment of its needs.

On Sunday, the Moroccan king thanked Spain, Qatar, the UAE, and the U.K. for their support, which is beginning to funnel into the country.

In Qatar, shipments of emergency vehicles were loaded on a transport plane bound for the quake zone. The Gulf also sending pallets of supplies and rescue personnel to the region.

Help is also on the way from the U.K., with 60 search-and-rescue specialists joining the efforts. The Tunisian government says it's also sending reinforcements, who stood with bags packed and ready to leave as the country's interior affairs minister wished them luck in what will likely be difficult work ahead.

KAMEL AL-FEKI, TUNISIAN INTERIOR AFFAIRS MINISTER: God willing, we will be proficient as expected. We will do our best, standing alongside those who will also participate in the search-and-rescue in the Moroccan regions affected by the earthquake.

HOLMES (voice-over): Some food and water is already reaching some hard-hit areas, these supplies organized by the Moroccan government and civil society organizations. Other essential items are being collected outside grocery stores in Marrakesh by volunteers.

ABDELTIF RAZOUKI, VICE PRESIDENT, DRAW SMILE (through translator): I think the food supplies collected today should be able to sustain at least 100 families for a week, covering all their food needs.

HOLMES (voice-over): Needs that are likely to continue in the coming days, weeks, and months as Morocco faces a long road to recovery.


HOLMES: And for more information about how you can help victims of the Morocco earthquake, go to Plenty of resources there if you would like them.

The Spanish football federation is looking for a new boss after Luis Rubiales resigned as president. And that followed weeks of criticism over the unwanted kiss that he gave star player Jennifer Hermoso after the Women's World Cup victory.

On Friday, the Spanish national prosecutor filed a complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion against Hermoso. In a social media post, Rubiales maintained his innocence and said he will continue to defend his honor.

CNN's Don Riddell with the details.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: It's been three weeks since the Spanish football team won the Women's World Cup in Australia. But the story ever since then has been dominated by the male president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales.

And he's in the news again, because he has finally submitted his resignation to the Spanish F.A. Ever since he was roundly criticized for planting an unsolicited kiss on the lips of the player Jenni Hermoso, Rubiales has remained in his position.

But he has now changed his tune. Rubiales revealed his intentions during an interview with Piers Morgan.

LUIS RUBIALES, RESIGNING AS HEAD OF SPANISH F.A.: Yes, I'm going to. Yes, because I cannot continue my work.

PIERS MORGAN, JOURNALIST: What was the final moment for you? Was it talking to your family, your dad, perhaps? RUBIALES: Yes, my father. My daughters. I spoke with them. It's not --

they know it's not a question on me. Some friends very close to me. And they say to me, Luis, you know, you have to focus on your identity and to continue your life. Because if not, you are going to hurt people you love.

RIDDELL: Rubiales has also resigned from UEFA, where he was a vice president.


His departure is hugely significant. His behavior, and up until now, his lack of contrition, and his refusal to take any responsibility for it all has been hugely damaging for the reputation of Spanish football on the world stage.

The scandal exploded at a time when Spain is bidding to co-host the Men's World Cup in 2030.

In the wake of the kiss, Spain's players refused to play again for the national team until Rubiales quit or was fired. Since then, the team's entire coaching staff has resigned in protest.

And last week, the head coach, Jorge Vilda, was fired. He was succeeded by the team's first female coach, Monte Tome.

It remains to be seen what happens next, but the players have been calling for systemic change in the football culture that they believe is deeply flawed.

Will the departure of Rubiales be enough? I guess we'll soon find out.

Back to you.


HOLMES: Our thanks to Don Riddell there. And earlier, I spoke with CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan and asked her if Rubiales likely resigned because he was facing political backlash for his actions within the soccer world, rather than contrition. Have a listen.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: At no point did he say, "I behaved terribly. And I'm going to resign because I behaved terribly." He never said that. It's all people are doing it to him.

Again, he -- reality check time, you know, pal. It's 2023. And, you know, this century, the 21st Century just kind of slapped you in the face.

You know, truly, Luis Rubiales is one of those guys who just thought he could get away with almost anything. And obviously, a very powerful man. And so, you know, who knows about how -- what lengths he took that power to and how he lived it and loved it. Of course he loved it. But if he really cared about Spanish football, the perception of the

women's team, what the reality of the women's team, he would've gotten out of the way so quickly.

You and I talked about this before.


BRENNAN: So, I'll kind of quote you. If he had done that and started to apologize and rehabilitate himself and say, Hey, I've got to go learn about this, and I -- I'm misbehaving. And that's sexual assault, and I've got to stop that, he could have been, over the next few years, FIFA could have maybe even used him as someone to talk to others about what not to do and how not to treat women.

He didn't do any of that. So that's why I'm going to guess we'll never really see him again. Because he's never even allowed himself to be rehabilitated or began to learn about what he really did.

He's been kicking and screaming the whole way.


BRENNAN: And -- and, well, you know, good riddance. He's gone now, but what -- what a legacy that he is leaving.


HOLMES: You can see my full interview with Christine Brennan in the next hour.

Now Spanish authorities are sending messages of support for Jennifer Hermoso after Luis Rubiales' resignation. Yolanda Diaz, the second prime minister of Spain, wrote on social media, quote, "The feminist country is advancing faster and faster. The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women."

And Irene Montero, the Spanish minister of equality, wrote in Spanish, quote, "Se Acabo," which means it's over. That phrase was a viral hashtag used after the incident in support of Hermoso.

Novak Djokovic has won his fourth U.S. Open title, adding more incredible achievements to his already illustrious career. With Sunday's victory over Russia's Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, Djokovic is tied with the Australian legend, Margaret Court, for the most all-time Grand Slam singles titles, with 24.

At 36 years of age, Djokovic is now the oldest man to win the U.S. Open singles title in the open era. And he's the first man to win three Grand Slam titles in a single season on four separate occasions.

U.S. President Joe Biden has had a busy final few hours in Vietnam. After the break, we'll learn what's on the agenda in a live report from Hanoi. Also, Ukrainian forces still on the move, but the top U.S. general

reporting that winter is coming, and that could make the fighting much more difficult.



HOLMES: "Obviously unacceptable." That's what the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said he told the Chinese premier, Li Qiang, following reports that a parliamentary researcher had been arrested on charges of spying for Beijing. The two leaders met in New Delhi during the G-20 summit.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: With regard to my meeting with Premier Li, what I said very specifically is that a range of -- a range of different concerns that we have in areas of disagreement and in particular, our very strong concerns about any interference in our parliamentary democracy, which is obviously unacceptable.


HOLMES: Premier Li was at the summit, representing Chinese President Xi Jinping, who did not attend. The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing and London should build a relationship of mutual respect.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden says he is sincere about improving America's difficult relationship with China and looks forward to meeting with President Xi Jinping, quote, "sooner rather than later."

His comments coming after the Chinese foreign ministry suggested the U.S. is trying to, in its words, "target a third party," mainly Beijing, during his visits to India and Vietnam.

But Mr. Biden denied that, saying the U.S. isn't aiming to contain China but wants it to act up -- act on the, quote, "up and up" in international relations and trade.

But Mr. Biden is pursuing his vision of what he called a comprehensive strategic partnership during his time in Vietnam. He has had a very busy final day in the country. It's underway now. He's set to meet with the prime minister, Pham Minh Chinh, this hour and later in the day with President Vo Van Thuong.

According to a senior administration official, Mr. Biden will announce measures aimed at helping Vietnam move away from a heavy reliance on Russian weaponry.

CNN's Anna Coren is there in Hanoi. She joins me now live. Good to see you, Anna.

So how is the outreach being seen, particularly given Vietnam's long- standing ties to Moscow and Beijing? Are there indicators of success? ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's being very well-

received. And I think we're seeing tangible results. This is not just symbolic. This is not just lip service. What you are seeing is, you know, America investing here in Vietnam.

President Biden, as you say, is due to meet the prime minister of Vietnam in the next half hour. They will then go and meet with top CEOs and business executives.

We know that there's a large U.S. business delegation traveling with the president and the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken. The heads of Google, Intel, Amkor, Boeing, they are here. And we are expecting multibillion-dollar deals to be signed in the coming hours.

So this is obviously about economic developments for Vietnam. But there is a security component to that, as well. And you talk about, you know, the Vietnamese diversifying away from Russian arms.

Focus for Vietnam is very much on the South China Sea. They see their Northern neighbor, China, really encroaching on the South China Sea, laying claim to islands which Vietnam says are theirs.

So, you know, there will definitely be a security component as part of this comprehensive strategic partnership that the U.S. has now joined.


Remember, you know, Russia and China are part of this exclusive club. The United States has wanted in for quite some time. They are finally, you know, now very much abscond (ph) into that -- that sphere.

But we heard from the president overnight. He addressed the media. And, you know, obviously, the focus very much on China and America trying to counter China's influence in the region.

He said, we're not trying to contain China. But America belongs in the Indo-Pacific. Take a listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All the effort we advanced from day one of my administration, to demonstrate to our Indo-Pacific partners and to the world, the United States is a Pacific nation. And we're not going anywhere.


COREN: Yes, so President Biden letting China know that he's serious about the end of Pacific. Obviously, the partnership with Vietnam is instrumental in that. America wants to diversify their supply chain away from China. And Vietnam, Michael, is a key component in that strategy.

HOLMES: All right, Anna, thank you. Anna Coren there, live in Hanoi for us. Now, even as Western nations denied the just-concluded G-20 summit was a diplomatic victory from Russia, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is declaring it an unconditional success.

Lavrov spoke after the summit participants failed to condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine. He told reporters at the New Delhi summit that Russia's partners in the global South prevented the West from, in his words, "Ukraine-izing the agenda."

But French President Emmanuel Macron disagreed with Lavrov's assessment.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We have reiterated at the G-20 that we support the charter of the United Nations, which is being violated at this very moment by Russia.

So there is no ambiguity. Sixteen G-20 members have voted for the solutions that sanction and condemn Russia. Three have abstained. One voted against it. Guess who? Russia.

I don't think it's a massive diplomatic victory or anything other than the reality of isolation and minority status.


HOLMES: Now Mr. Macron also downplayed the G-20's interest in political issues. He said the summit is primarily a forum for discussing economic, financial, and climate issues.

President Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party is claiming overwhelming victory in regional elections held across the country, and in parts of occupied Ukraine.

The international community and monitoring groups say the so-called elections were rigged and an outright sham. There was limited choice in many places. A lot of opposing candidates were blocked from running altogether.

One independent Russian vote-monitoring group says they saw many instances where the result was falsified.


STANISLAV ANDREYCHUK, CO-CHAIR, GOIOS (through translator): Probably one of the main features of voting in 2023 is the blatant use of power resources by the state and a rather blatant disregard for the law on the part of members of election commissions in some regions.


HOLMES: Now the top U.S. general is praising Ukraine's counteroffensive gains, but he's warning there are just a few weeks left for Ukrainian forces to capitalize on good weather before winter comes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces have made

advances on the Southern front in this past week, and he claims there is movement, as he put it, around the city of Bakhmut in the East of the country.

The chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff says Ukraine has made very steady progress in the counteroffensive so far, and he predicts that momentum will continue.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There's still a reasonable amount of time, probably about 30 to 45 days' worth of fighting weather left. So the Ukrainians aren't done. This battle is not done. And they haven't achieved, they haven't finished the fighting part of what they're trying to accomplish. So we'll see. It's too early to say how this is going to end.


HOLMES: Some of Russia's ongoing strikes aim to destroy expensive Ukrainian weaponry, but Ukraine has a strategy to outsmart the enemy by luring them into costly mistakes.

CNN's Melissa Bell shows us how decoy weapons are shielding Ukraine's true military targets from Russian fire.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Iranian-made Shahed drone, launched by Russian forces, heads towards a Ukrainian air defense system. A miss, quickly celebrated by Ukrainian soldiers.


What the Russians missed was this. A fake air defense system, part of an entire arsenal of decoys that has popped up around the country. Fake weapons that are as cheap to make as they are useful to deploy.

BELL: An American towed Howitzer costs anywhere between 2 to $4 million. This one costs just $1,000 to make. It's essentially made up of drainpipes.

But the point is, each time one of these is hit, it is a real one that is spared, and it's cost the Russians time, energy, and money to hit it.

BELL (voice-over): The challenge for this steelworks company that had nothing with arms making at all: updating their designs to keep up with the ever more sophisticated weapons arriving in Ukraine.

Despite them, the fighting along the Eastern front has been tough, Ukrainian officials acknowledge. The forest just outside the Eastern town of Kreminna has been a battleground for much of the war. But the counter-offensive has made its daily battles that much more intense. Yuriy Mykuliak, a special forces commander, has just returned from

there with his men.


GRAPHIC: We need munitions. Without all these high-precision missiles, long-range artillery and ammunition, we cannot fight effectively.

BELL (voice-over): Behind Mykuliak, one of the Russian tanks his unit took in Irpin (ph), early in the war. He says the lack of ammunition has been chronic in this war. Ukraine, he explains, has had to use creativity as it holds the lines.


GRAPHIC: We are trying to use military ingenuity together with our combat experience to fool the enemy and invent new traps.

BELL (voice-over): A part of that effort is happening far from the front lines in factories like this one. Perfecting the art of the fake weapon. The measure of each decoy's success: how quickly it gets destroyed once in the field.

Melissa Bell, CNN, in Central Ukraine.


HOLMES: Still to come on the program, a desperate search for survivors continues in Morocco as rescuers race to find anyone still buried in the rubble after Friday's powerful earthquake.

And the G-20 welcomes a new member. We'll hear from the African Union's president on why joining the group is an action whose time has come.



HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Let's return you now to our top story: the devastating earthquake in Morocco. The death toll has now topped 2,100. That number expected to rise even further in the days ahead.

This as we're getting new images of the destruction and a look at what those on the ground experienced when the quake hit on Friday night.




(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: That was a scene there, a terrifying scene at a wedding in Marrakesh as the musicians and everyone else abandoned the stage and fled.

Marrakesh is a popular tourist hub not far from the quake's epicenter in the Atlas Mountain Range. And rescuers in Morocco still digging through the rubble, racing against time to find survivors, and many who did make it through are now left sleeping outside in tents.

CNN's Nada Bashir has more from Marrakesh.


NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Morocco in mourning, still grappling with the aftermath of Friday's devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake.

In Marrakesh, families lined the streets at night, too afraid to sleep inside, as aftershocks still ripple through the country.

MOHAMED LAGHROUR, MARRAKESH RESIDENT (through translator): All our houses are cracked. They could fall down at any moment. And that's why we can't go back. All these people are afraid to come back home.

BASHIR: The city lies around 45 miles away from the epicenter, but even here in Marrakesh, the impact, the extent of the damage caused by Friday's earthquake is evident. You can see this building damaged behind me. Parts of the old city, a UNESCO world heritage site, have also sustained damage.

But in other parts of the country, the devastation has been far more severe.

BASHIR (voice-over): Along the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a path of destruction stretching miles.

Rescuers in a race against time, desperate to find survivors. The more they dig, the higher the death toll, adding to the more than ,2000 lives lost in what has become the deadliest quake to strike the country in decades.

Pushing through the grief, many are queuing up here in Marrakesh to donate blood. It is an act of solidarity. And there has been an outpouring of support from the international community, with offers of aid from countries including the U.S., Japan, France, and the UAE.

But the challenges ahead for Morocco are immense. And the recovery effort may well take years.

Nada Bashir, CNN, Marrakesh.


HOLMES: For more information about how you can help if you wish, you can go to, and check out the resources there. The president of the African Union is hailing the union's admission to

the G-20, as Azali Assoumani received a warm greeting from the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, at the G-20 summit, and was invited to take a permanent seat.

The union encompasses all 55 countries on the African continent, representing almost one and a half billion people. It now becomes only the second bloc of nations, after the E.U., to join the group of the world's top economies.


AZALI ASSOUMANI, PRESIDENT, AFRICAN UNION (through translator): To my great satisfaction, the admission was approved at the opening of the summit. His excellency Modi, the prime minister of India, and the members of the G-20 endorsed the accession of the African Union to this major economic decision-making body.


HOLMES: Still to come, it's a historical passing of the baton in Mexico. We'll have details on who the country's president is backing to take his place, come election time next summer.

Also still to come, in Chile, a march remembering the start of a brutal dictatorship erupts into an all-out clash with police. We'll have more on that and the solemn anniversary when we come back.



HOLMES: Police and protesters clashing there in Chile's capital on Sunday at a march commemorating 50 years since the military coup of General Augusto Pinochet. Some protesters threw stones, while police responded with water cannons and tear gas.

Meanwhile, families who lost loved ones when Pinochet rounded up opponents, social activists, and students to be tortured and executed, were also at the march, clutching photos of those who were killed or disappeared.

Ahead of Monday's anniversary, the Chilean government announced a new initiative to find the remains of more than 1,000 people who just vanished during Pinochet's 15-year dictatorship.

Chile's president also showed up for that commemorative march and afterwards, he thanked Mexico for helping Chileans, who fled to the country during General Pinochet's brutal military rule.


GABRIEL BORIC, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): After the coup d'etat on September 11, 1973, Mexico opened the doors of its embassy and welcomed more than 3,000 compatriots into its land. It offered them asylum from oppression, sheltered them, and supported them at a very difficult time in their lives.

That is why today, on behalf of the state of Chile, I thank you, Mr. President, for your country's solidarity with all those who are having a hard time in those difficult times. Solidarity that continues to be expressed to this day.

Thank you, President, and thank you, Mexico.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Mexico's president is showing his support for the woman his party is nominating to run the country, once he leaves office. And it's shaping up to be an historic lineup of candidates in the presidential election next summer.

CNN's Rafael Romo explains.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A ceremonial passing of the baton.


ROMO (voice-over): To the woman named by the government party the day before as their presidential candidate.

Constitutionally barred for running for reelection, Mexican President Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador wanted to show in a very public way that Claudia Sheinbaum, a 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor, has his blessing.

In thanking Obrador for his support, Sheinbaum hit all the right notes, by promising to continue the course of what she called the transformation initiated by the president.

This now means that when they go to the polls next June, Mexicans for the first time in the country's history, will likely choose between two women when voting for president.


ROMO (voice-over): Xochiti Galvez, the candidate from the main opposition coalition, described the passing of the baton ceremony as a circus. The 60-year-old senator described the ceremony as an act of authoritarianism of the Mexico we want to leave behind from a weakened president who urgently needs to inherit his mandate, due to lack of results.

ROMO: This is not the first time Mexico has seen a woman running for the presidency. In fact before Sheinbaum and Galvez, there have been six other female presidential candidates.

But with the two major political coalitions naming women as their candidates, this is the first time it's practically a given that, starting in December 2024, Mexico, a country previously known for machismo, will be ruled by a woman.


ROMO (voice-over): Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist with a doctorate in energy engineering, and a protegee of Lopez Obrador, would be the first president with Jewish heritage if she wins.



ROMO (voice-over): Xochiti Galvez, the daughter of an indigenous father and a mixed-race mother, served as a top official for indigenous affairs under President Vicente Fox and later as senator.


ROMO (voice-over): Unfiltered and irreverent, she described herself in an interview with CNN en Espanol as an all-terrain, four-by-four kind of woman.


ROMO (voice-over): Early in the summer, President Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador made her a target of constant verbal attacks that backfired, making the candidate from a tiny town in central Mexico, who rose to become a business woman but still rides a bicycle, even more popular.

But Claudia Sheinbaum will be a formidable opponent to beat, not only because she has the full support of the government party, but also because, as mayor of Mexico's most important city for the last five years until her resignation in June to run for the presidency, she has constantly been in the spotlight.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: Now, a Delta passenger is being reunited with her beloved dog, Maia, more than three weeks after her dog disappeared at the world's busiest airport.

Paula Rodriguez and Maia were flying from the Dominican Republic to California last month for a vacation, but during a layover in Atlanta, the woman's tourist visa was canceled and Rodriguez had to return home.

Maia, thought, never made that return flight. Rodriguez later learned her dog had escaped Delta handlers and went missing somewhere in Atlanta's massive airport.

Luckily, this past Saturday, Rodriguez was told Maia had been found hiding near a cargo facility, in reasonable health, we're told, as well.

Now Delta is working to get them reunited.

And, we're going to show you something you don't see every day: a penny-farthing cycle race. Cyclists from all over the world converged on a town South of Manchester in England to take part in what's called the Great Race.

It's a mix of old and new, with riders wearing modern cycling gear and all those antics (ph) but also top hats and tweed.

The penny-farthing bicycle takes its name from its resemblance to two British coins, the penny and the much smaller farthing.

They raced for three hours as they circled the town of Knutsford in England on a bicycle invented by James Starley in 1871. They only have it every ten years.

Thanks for watching, everyone, spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Stick around for WORLD SPORT, up next. I'll see with more news in about 18 minutes.