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At least 100 People Died in a Tragedy at an Iraqi Wedding Ceremony; Ukraine Clarifies Black Sea Fleet Commander's Fate; President Biden Shows Solidarity at a Picket Line in Michigan; U.S. Government, 17 States sues Amazon; Canada's House of Commons Speaker Resigns over World War II Veteran Mess; Global Fossil Fuel Demand may Peak by 2030. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 27, 2023 - 03:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm Bianca Nobilo.

Just ahead. Wedding tragedy. At least 100 people have died in a fire in Iraq.

Forced to flee, the Armenian government says almost 30,000 people have arrived in the country after being driven out of Nagorno-Karabakh.

And a judge in New York finds Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud.

We begin with developing news out of Iraq, where a wedding celebration has turned into a tragedy. At least 100 people were killed and 150 others injured after a fire broke out at a wedding hall in the north of the country.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following developments here in London. Salma, what are you learning?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolute tragedy in Iraq today. This is a wedding that took place in Northern Iraq in this area called Hamdaniya District, the central town Karakosh, a huge wedding hall where hundreds of people were gathered to celebrate this couple.

And within moments, it turned into a nightmare. I've been listening to eyewitness accounts, people describing fireworks going off at a time when the couple were slow dancing in the middle of the hall with, again, hundreds of people gathered around them. Within moments, those fireworks caught fire on the paneling of the building.

And that's the key part here is that according to Iraqi State News Agency, that paneling echo band was highly flammable and illegal. It violated the codes of the country, yet somehow it was on that building. And within moments, again, not only did the building catch fire, but parts of the hall actually collapsed, causing those wedding attendees to be trapped in the building, that's why we're hearing from the Iraqi Health Minister, that many of the deaths are due to people being asphyxiated, suffocating, trapped inside this wedding hall.

Again, you've mentioned the death toll so far, 100 people dead, 150 people injured, but officials are warning, those are simply estimates. Those numbers could absolutely go up.

You can see the devastation. I mean, look at these pictures. It absolutely looks firebombed. And again, to imagine that happened within moments because of this highly-flammable material. Search and rescue efforts are underway. Hospitals across the area in Kurdistan and Nineveh, where this took place, are trying to gather and help the wounded, many of them, of course, suffering from very serious burns and injuries. But this is still unfolding. We still don't understand the full extent of it.

NOBILO: The contrast is so profound, a wedding celebration, and then moments later, this kind of shock and horror. But this is a region that is no stranger to tragedy.

ABDELAZIZ: That's what's absolutely devastating in any of these situations, but compounds this tragedy. This is a Christian, predominantly Christian area of Iraq that was taken by ISIS -- under ISIS control in 2014 and then liberated by U.S.-backed forces around 2016. I've been there, CNN teams have been there. These were areas that were absolutely decimated, devastated by ISIS and by this conflict.

And in the last few years, they've been rebuilding. And that's where the question mark lies. There's going to be serious allegations against the government, against officials, as to why this flammable building material, highly cheap, was used and if corruption has been involved in the rebuilding of parts of this country.

NOBILO: So many questions now, Salma Abdelaziz, we know you'll keep following this closely for us throughout the day. Thank you.

Now we turn to Armenia, where there's a growing humanitarian crisis and influx of refugees after neighboring Azerbaijan defeated separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh last week. The Armenian government says more than 28,000, quote, "forcibly displaced persons from the enclave" have arrived in the country as of Tuesday.

The mass exodus has led to this scene. The only road connecting the region to Armenia packed full of cars as people try to flee.


The International Committee of the Red Cross tells CNN it is working with officials to open more aid routes into Nagorno-Karabakh. The European Union says it will provide more than $5 million in aid. The U.S. has announced more than $11 million in humanitarian assistance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: It is absolutely critical that independent monitors as well as humanitarian organizations get access to the people in Nagorno-Karabakh who still have dire needs.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, the death toll from the explosion at a gas station in Nagorno-Karabakh has soared to 68, with hundreds more injured. Armenia and the Red Cross have sent ambulances and medical supplies to help the survivors, but the deadly blast is another strain on already scarce resources.

CNN's Scott McLean reports.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A week after war, ethnic Armenians fleeing the Nagorno-Karabakh region continued to arrive in Armenia. Some shell-shocked, tired, others limping or literally out of gas, but alive.

UNKNOWN (through translator): It was horrible. Children were hungry and they were crying. We ran away just to survive. That's all.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The journey out of the now war-ravaged territory is extremely slow. Long lineups of cars wind down the switchbacks of the mountainous Lachin corridor. One family told CNN that leaving seems impossible, instead choosing to turn back and try again another day.

This comes a week after Azerbaijani troops launched a lightning offensive to regain control over the long-disputed territory. It lasted just 24 hours before the outgunned separatist armed forces agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire and to disarm.

Nagorno-Karabakh for decades has been an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan. But populated by 120,000 ethnic Armenians, it has long functioned as a de-facto enclave of Armenia, a fragile gray area that held until war in 2020 and again last week.

Thousands have now chosen to flee rather than live under Azerbaijani rule.

GAYANE, REFUGEE FROM NAGORNO-KARABAKH (through translator): Can one live with them? No, one cannot. I've just survived. I've been on the road for a day. My children are hungry.

MCLEAN (voice-over): An explosion at a gas depot on Monday where people were fueling up before the journey to Armenia wounded hundreds, according to Armenia state news. Straining already packed local hospitals and even field hospitals like this one run by Russia.

Even before the blast, getting the injured evacuated was difficult. Now, the International Committee of the Red Cross says there are hundreds of burn victims in urgent need of specialized medical care.

UNKNOWN: Heavy traffic makes it extremely difficult for us to pass across Lachin route.

MCLEAN (voice-over): And for those ethnic Armenians who remain in Nagorno-Karabakh, there is plenty of uncertainty about how they'll be treated once the mass evacuation finally ends.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


NOBILO: Laurence Broers is an associate fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House. He's also the author of the book, "Armenia and Azerbaijan, Anatomy of a Rivalry," and he's with us now from London. Thank you so much for being with us this morning, sir.


NOBILO: So let's take this right back to basics. Given that the government in Azerbaijan has vowed to provide guarantees for Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, what is the reasoning and the impetus for this exodus that we're seeing?

BROERS: Well, I think we've seen a lot of developments in recent months that are motivating this. There have been repeated escalation ceasefire violations. Agricultural workers have been shot at. And there has been a blockade of the region for the last nearly 10 months. So the population that we're seeing is, you know, one that has been subjected to hunger. There's been a lot of threatening rhetoric towards the Armenians from the Azerbaijani leadership. And it is only now, after, in the wake of this violence of last week, that we are actually seeing a meaningful discussion of what reintegration actually means.

I think it's quite unlikely that any Armenians will remain in Karabakh to be integrated. So really, it's not at all surprising that we're seeing this exodus.

NOBILO: Why now in terms of the decision for Azerbaijan to launch this lightning attack and offensive? Are they emboldened by greater economic success? Do they feel more supported regionally? Help us understand that.


BROERS: Well, in 2020, as your report indicated, Azerbaijan won a military victory, but it was an incomplete victory. It left part of the territory still under Armenian control and with Russian peacekeepers on the ground.

What country wants to have another country's soldiers, peacekeepers on their territory? There's been an intention, I think, to complete this victory and the wider global context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine has very much sort of strengthened the territorial integrity norm, and Azerbaijan wants to reassert its sovereignty.

There's also a very strong argument, you know, what state would tolerate the existence of armed secessionist forces on its territory. Azerbaijan has become much more important to both Russia in terms of post-Ukraine war connectivity and also to the European Union in terms of its role as an energy supplier and a critical geopolitical geostrategic link in Eurasia. And so, there is a kind of environment for this kind of action.

NOBILO: And Laurence, can you explain where the regional support lies here? Where does it crystallize in terms of the powers such as Russia and Turkey and others? Or lately, have they pursued more of a policy of equidistance?

BROERS: Well, I think Azerbaijan has a very successful foreign policy of building a coalition and building meaningful alliances, principally with Turkey.

Turkey is a partner for Azerbaijan in many senses, and Ankara and Baku are very keen on developing this middle corridor as an alternative connectivity route to the northern route that used to go through Russia which has been made obsolete by the Ukraine war.

Azerbaijan's also developed a very close relationship with Israel, and it is also an important trading partner for many E.U. member states, particularly in the southeastern part of Europe, where there are a lot of energy security relationships. And so we've seen, you know, there is a kind of a coalition of interests behind Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Russia's capacity to exert control enforced security in the Caucasus has dramatically declined.

And what we've seen is that Russia's moved from being a patron of the region to a partner for Azerbaijan and Turkey in their approach to reconnecting the region. And a corollary of that has been Russian acquiescence with Azerbaijan's military offensive last week.

NOBILO: The Caucasus, of course. historically and politically volatile as a region. Now that this exodus is occurring and we may see what will be a tragedy for Armenians there who have historic roots, the fact that they will leave the area, is there still further potential for wider destabilization arising from what's happening now or will it pretty much be contained if the Armenians leave the area?

BROERS: I think there is unfortunately still a lot of scope for destabilization. What we're going to be hearing a lot about in the coming days and weeks is this transit route across southern Armenia. This is referred to as the Zangizu Corridor by Turkey and Azerbaijan. And it could potentially be a win-win solution for everyone in terms of reconnecting and opening up the region.

But if it is asserted in terms of a coercive approach, I think we could see more destabilization in Southern Armenia. There have been a lot of ceasefire incidents, incursions, border clashes and so on in the area of the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. And so it's crucial that interstate talks continue. There was a meeting of the two countries' envoys yesterday in Brussels and the two leaders are scheduled to meet in Granada on the 5th of October, very important that talks towards normalization continue. But I think, you know, when conflicts are solved coercively, that

leaves a legacy that may reassert itself in future decades, unfortunately.

NOBILO: Without a doubt. Laurence Broers, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it.

BROERS: Thank you.

NOBILO: A Top Russian admiral reportedly killed in a Ukrainian missile strike may not be dead after all. Russia's defense ministry released footage Tuesday that appears to show Viktor Sokolov in a video meeting. CNN cannot independently confirm if the video was real or when or where it was recorded.


Ukraine says it is clarifying the fate of the Black Sea Fleet commander. Our Christiane Amanpour asks Ukraine's new Defense Minister about this



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Can you confirm that the head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Viktor Sokolov, is in fact dead or alive?

RUSTEM UNEROV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Well, first of all, he is in our temporary occupied territory, so he should not be there at all. So if he is dead, it's good news for everybody that we are continuing to de-occupy our territory.


NOBILO: Ukraine had earlier said Sokolov and 33 others were killed in a missile strike on Friday. Kyiv has increasingly hit Russian targets in Crimea, claiming Moscow is using the annexed region as a logistics hub.

So to try and get some more clarity here, let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian, who's with me now. Clare, how do you assess that video as evidence to confirm or refute the Ukrainian claim that Sokolov is dead?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think the fact is that we still don't really know what the truth is here. But what is clear is that Russia has a key motive in making people think that he's not dead, right? This is a top admiral. He's the commander of one of the four fleets in the Russian Navy, which is becoming increasingly important in the war in Ukraine.

And obviously that would be very embarrassing. But it was striking that the Ministry of Defense didn't say anything, they didn't deny his death, and neither did the criminal spokesman Dmitry Peskov when given an opportunity to do so earlier in the day. He simply said, we have no information even from the Ministry of Defense.

So that is striking. But look, this is, regardless of what the truth is, a very instructive episode in this war, because this is, as well as being a physical war, a very clear war of narratives. Both sides are filtering information, manipulating even information and I think we have to be really, really careful how we look at this.

But it's also clear that if Ukraine killed anywhere near the 34 officers that they say they killed in the strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, that is operationally significant. And I think it's clear also that this is part of this episode that we're in this war, which we need to stay focused on, that Ukraine is increasingly targeting Crimea, as you said, as a logistics hub and trying to prevent Russia from getting free rein over that part of the Black Sea as it continues to try to get its grain out. But I think very clear that we need to be careful how information is used on both sides as this unfolds.

NOBILO: And just finally, to clarify, so Russia didn't release any statement about the potentially deceased admiral. He just popped up virtually in a video and nothing was said to transmit.

SEBASTIAN: There were images and there were cutaways in this video which show the defense minister --

NOBILO: Right.

SEBASTIAN: -- speaking about other things. There was no mention of his name anywhere in the releases from the Ministry of Defense.

NOBILO: Remarkable. Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for joining us.

Ukraine is reporting progress and its counter offensive against Russia's invasion. A spokesperson for forces in the East say Kyiv's troops have enjoyed success in villages near Bakhmut. CNN's Fred Pleitgen spent time along the front lines there and has this exclusive report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): rolling into battle as night falls, Ukraine's army attacking in the east around Bakhmut.

(on-camera): For the Ukrainians, this is an extremely important, but also very complicated and potentially very dangerous mission, and we're going to be located very close to where the Russians are.

(voice-over): We're with a frontline drone unit called Code 9.2. Their drone, the Ukraine-made Vampire. The crew attaching the bombs as artillery whistles over our heads.

The Vampire is fully night vision capable and plays a soundtrack showing it means business.

The team leader's call sign is Groove. And he confirms, because Ukraine doesn't have a modern air force tonight, they are the air force.

The drones see in the night like in daylight, he says. We see the infantry, we hit the vehicles, cannons, everything we need to destroy.

Groove also says Russians from the Wagner private military company have returned to the battlefield around Bakhmut.

Yes, there is Wagner here too. They swiftly changed their commanders and have returned here, he says. We're breaking through their line of defense and hitting them well.

As the drone takes off, the battle is already well underway. The Ukrainians using Western extended-range artillery shells and cluster munitions to attack Russian ground forces.

Groove is already busy targeting the Russians.

Oh, something's burning, he says. His unit also managing to take out a Russian main battle tank by dropping several bombs on it.


The Ukrainian army now starting to push forward. Our photojournalist Dan Hodge films powerful explosions as armored vehicles advance in the moonlit night.

(on-camera): We're now hearing a lot of fire, a lot of outgoing fire, a lot of incoming fire actually also as well, as the Ukrainians are trying to move forward and they say they want to take a key road away from the Russians.

(voice-over): But the Russians are fighting back, firing flares to unmask the Ukrainians advance and hit Kyiv's forces.

Groove remains unfazed, hunting a Russian tactical vehicle before destroying it.

The Code 9.2 drone team often hunts Russian armor here, recently even destroying a modern T-90 tank in a highly complex operation.

After more than a half dozen missions, the drone returns a final time.

But as we try to get away from the battlefield, a tire bursts on our Humvee. No time for a spare, we push on.

(on-camera): We just witnessed an extremely tough battle between the Russians and the Ukrainians, both sides going at it for hours with very heavy weapons. And the area where we were, shells landed close to there on various occasions. Now we're heading back to base.

(voice-over): Hobbled but rolling after a long night on one of Ukraine's most dangerous front lines.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Bakhmut, Ukraine.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NOBILO: Still to come, another legal loss for Donald Trump. A New York

judge rules he committed fraud over the course of 10 years. What it means for his upcoming civil trial.

And then President Joe Biden makes history visiting a picket line where auto workers are on strike in Michigan and leaving no doubt whose side he's on.


NOBILO: Welcome back. More legal trouble for Donald Trump. A New York judge has found the former U.S. president and his adult sons are liable for fraud after providing false financial statements for roughly a decade.

The judge also canceled the Trump organization's business certification. Trump's attorney has already vowed to appeal, calling the ruling a quote miscarriage of justice.

CNN's Brynn Gingras breaks down the ruling.



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a huge victory for New York Attorney General Letitia Jameson. It gives a clearer path when that civil trial is expected still to begin next week. The judge siding with the Attorney General in that civil lawsuit, basically saying that Trump and his sons are liable, that they defrauded, basically overinflated their assets for more than a decade. When we talk about assets, we're talking about his golf course, his hotels, his home, his home by three times in size, over evaluating it by 114 to $207 million saying that he is living in a fantasy world, not a real world.

This also the judge giving a real blow to Trump who essentially rejected all of his arguments that he made in a deposition that his financial statements weren't fraudulent and that they contained disclaimers. My colleague Kara Scannell getting reaction from Trump's attorneys regarding this decision. And Trump's attorney saying this was an outrageous decision and that they do plan to appeal.

Now there is appeal currently in front of the courts right now. We are expecting a decision on that appeal sometime this week that could delay the start of the civil trial where more matters are expected to be taken up, including how much Trump will have to pay in damages for what the judge just ruled on. But that's something certainly we're going to keep an eye on.

Brynn Gingras, CNN in New York.


NOBILO: The second Republican presidential debate will be held tonight in California, with front-runner Donald Trump again not choosing to appear on that stage.

But seven of his fellow candidates will be there, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The Republican National Convention Chairwoman says the debate will be an opportunity to share their quote, "diverse candidate field with America."

President Joe Biden did something Tuesday that historians believe no U.S. president has done before. He visited a union picket line. Mr. Biden traveled to Michigan to show solidarity with striking auto workers who've walked off their jobs at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in a dispute over wages, pensions, and other issues.

CNN's Kayla Tausche reports.


KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden making history in Michigan, using a picket line as the bully pulpit.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You've earned a hell of a lot more than you're getting paid now. Thank you very much.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): Standing with United Auto Workers nearly two weeks into a strike, backing their calls for a 40 percent raise.

BIDEN: Stick with it, because you deserve the significant raise.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): For Biden, who had vowed to stay out of contract and legal talks, it's a political tightrope to bolster a core constituency.

BIDEN: I'm proud to be the most pro-union president in American history.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): The president in June, kicking off his 2024 campaign flanked by dozens of unions endorsing him. But one was missing. The United Auto Workers, whose newly elected leader had just slammed the White House for awarding Ford $9 billion, saying the last time the federal government gave the big three billions of dollars, the companies did the exact same thing, slash wages, cut jobs and undermine the industry that for generations created the best jobs for working families in this country.

Since then, Biden aides have hosted UAW leader Shawn Fain and the White House has ensured future loans would prioritize union jobs. Fain, who invited Biden to Michigan but hasn't endorsed him yet, has high hopes.

SHAWN FAIN, UAW PRESIDENT: And we know the president will do right by the working class.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): Fain says unions are having a moment.

FAIN: Whether we're writing movies or performing TV shows, whether we're making coffee at Starbucks, whether it's nursing people, back to health, we do the heavy lifting. We do the real work.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): And Americans agree. An August Gallup poll found support for unions at 67 percent, the highest since the 1960s, and 75 percent approval for UAW.

But former President Trump, also vying for the working-class vote, which he won in 2016, making a Wednesday visit to the Wolverine state and accusing Biden, his likely opponent, of riding his coattails.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's selling our automobile companies everything right down the tubes. So I announced that I'm going to Michigan and then he announced 20 minutes later, I'm going to Michigan.

TAUSCHE (on-camera): The White House denied that former President Trump's visit to Michigan played any role in Biden's decision to go. And the White House also tried to walk back comments by Biden that he supported the 40 percent wage increase the workers were seeking. One official told reporters after reviewing the audio that the president did say, yes, I think they should bargain for that.

Kayla Tausche, CNN, The White House.


NOBILO: The U.S. Senate has unveiled a bipartisan stopgap bill to avoid a looming government shutdown. The Senate bill would keep the government funded until mid-November and includes more than $6 billion in Ukraine aid, something many House Republicans oppose.

But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the chamber will consider a separate bill with border provisions likely on Friday.


And that would set up a massive confrontation with the Senate over immigration on the eve of the shutdown deadline.

The months-long strike by Hollywood writers came to an end this hour. The boards of the Writers Guild gave its members permission to go back to work, even before they vote on that tentative new agreement.

But union members will vote next week and could still refuse to ratify it. But settling the writers' strike is just one part of getting all of Hollywood back to work. The actors' union, SAG-AFTRA, is also striking but has not reached an agreement with the studios just yet.

In a second major antitrust action this month against big tech, the U.S. government and 17 states announced Tuesday they're suing the online retail behemoth Amazon. The Federal Trade Commission and the states accuse Amazon of using its market size and power to manipulate third-party sellers and raise prices for consumers.

For example, they say Amazon insists merchants who sell on its platform not offer a lower price on other sites. and that it effectively compels merchants to use its delivery and logistical services.


LINA KHAN, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CHAIRWOMAN: People are paying higher prices, right? Consumers are paying more than they otherwise would. Small businesses are having to pay a 50 percent Amazon tax right now. And so ultimately the complaint is seeking to restore the lost promise of competition. Greater competition will mean lower prices, better quality, better selection, and greater innovation. And that's ultimately what this case is about.


NOBILO: But Amazon says the government's action could end up causing the very problems it hopes to solve. Quote, "if the FTC gets its way, the result would be fewer products to choose from, higher prices, slower deliveries for consumers, and reduced options for small businesses, the opposite of what antitrust law is designed to do."

This is not the FTC's only lawsuit against Amazon. It's also suing the company and several of its executives over its Prime memberships.

And still to come for you today, New York is grappling with a migrant crisis that's straining at the city's resources. How the city and all those newcomers are coping.


NOBILO: New York is struggling with a growing migrant crisis. Thousands of asylum seekers from all over the world have been descending on the city, straining its resources and costing billions of dollars. The mayor has warned the crisis could destroy New York unless there's more state and federal help.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz went inside the city's main migrant facility as it tries to keep up with this influx.



SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SR. CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Wearing a New York baseball hat, Jorge describes a treacherous journey to the United States from Ecuador.

Through rivers and over mountains, he says, now finally, ending in New York.

(on-camera): This is your son.

(voice-over): A clean bed, new clothes and a hot meal for his family. His children, Alejandro and Georgina, just finished their first week in a New York City school.

(on-camera): Oh, for you. Cookies.

(voice-over): We're happy with everything here, he says.

(on-camera): Happy? You gonna eat?

(voice-over): After Mayor Eric Adams said the migrant crisis would destroy New York City --

(on-camera): This is another side where they're doing a lot of the intake.

(voice-over): CNN spent 24 hours at the city's main migrant intake facility. A buzzing, nonstop operation at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Outside it's shocking, the number of people even for a city like New York.

It's something you don't expect to see, just a stone's throw from Grand Central Station in the beating heart of midtown Manhattan. Migrant families who've just arrived wait for a place inside.

Single men wait next door in what was once the hotel bar.

(on-camera): Job? What kind of job?

UNKNOWN: Everything.

PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Everything?

Are these the phones that they use inside? SIM cards?

(voice-over): This is John Carlo MarA-n Espinosa. He has spent 10 days in a room at the hotel with his wife and two children. Tonight he is trying to buy a new cell phone.

It will cost $20 to replace the one he lost three weeks ago, crossing the Rio Grande in Texas along with all of his family's clothes and belongings.

I need a phone so I can get work, he says. $20 is all I have. I ask for jobs and they all ask me to leave a phone number. And I don't have one, so I need this. It's very hard.

(on-camera): How has it been here?

JOHN CARLO MARIN ESPINOSA, NEW YORK MIGRANT: (inaudible) Big TV, (inaudible) air conditioning.

PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Air conditioning, they give you a big TV, and a bag.

(voice-over): It's good, but what I want the most is a job. With your own job, you can make your own money.

(on-camera): And that's what you want.

(voice-over): In the afternoon, Luis Flores approached us, ready to talk to anyone that would listen. (on-camera): Luis Flores?


PROKUPECZ (on-camera): From Venezuela.


PROKUPECZ (voice-over): He spent the last few nights sleeping on the street with his wife as they traveled to this facility.

(on-camera): For how many days?

FLORES: For three days.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): He says he's sick and came here because he thought they could get medical care and a job.

For now, like thousands before him at this new Ellis Island, He joins the line at the Roosevelt, hoping to go inside and begin receiving city services.

(on-camera): So this is the entrance where many of the migrants, when they arrive, this is where they come through, coming up these stairs and into this hall area where they wait to be processed.

DR. TED LONG, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS AGENCY: We're going to offer you food and water right away. A hot meal can go a long way.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Dr. Ted Long from New York City's Health and Hospital is proud of the operation the city has established here.

LONG: Everything that we've developed in New York City is to meet the needs that were not met for people coming to us from Texas so far. So here, whether it's screening for communicable disease, if you're a pregnant woman giving you prenatal care, or screening for you for the very important mental health conditions you might have like depression, we do it all here because it's not done before here.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It really catches your eye to see so many kids running through the halls of the Roosevelt Hotel, almost like a playground. So many kids.

The city says 20,000 migrant children have come through New York so far. (on-camera): Why did you come to America?

(voice-over): Lady Caza is 23 years old and escaping violence in Ecuador. She says she came here for her daughter Mia, who was born with a physical disability.

(on-camera): How are you feeling?

(voice-over): She says she's happy that she's here now and she's scared to go back to Ecuador. I'm afraid that my daughter will die there if she can't get medical attention. I need a place to stay. I think they're going to help me. LADY CAZA, NEW YORK MIGRANT: I'm sorry. Yeah, it's okay.

PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Good luck, okay?

(voice-over): It's good news for Lady and Maya. They're being moved out of the intake center to a shelter. As this group leaves, another is already shuffling in behind them.


116,000 have come to New York City since the spring of 2022, city officials say. And it's a reminder that the flow of migrants doesn't stop.

UNKNOWN: The burden on New York City is too much, quite honestly. We are past our breaking point.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Among those just arriving, Luis Flores. We met him outside. And his wife, Irma Linda Morales. They now have seats inside.

It's a dream come true, he says.

(on-camera): Took him 2.5 months to come to this country through the border. And now he's just hoping to give his family a better life. And they've been sitting here now for several days, waiting for the next steps and the next process.

And this is your wife, yes?

LUIS FLORES, NEW YORK MIGRANT (translated): 38 years.

PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Years you've been married. How are you doing?

(voice-over): Irma Linda tells us it was their dream to come to the United States. And she doesn't want to lose her husband, now that they've finally made it.

As we leave, Luis speaks directly into our camera.

I just want to work, he says. These are the hands of a worker.

For some who've just arrived, exhaustion bursts into emotion. For others, there is newfound hope. John Carlo is now grinning ear to ear as he holds his one-year-old daughter outside the hotel.

(on-camera): So we were with John Carlo last night. He had been here for a short time and today he was told and given a new location with his two kids and his wife and they've been given a metro card and given the location and told to take the train but they really have no idea how to get there or what they're doing so what they're going to do is they're going to take their two daughters and his wife and they're going to get on the subway and head into Queens.

For me to see you smiling with everything going on, it's incredible.

(voice-over): Yes, and when I get a job, I'll be even happier. He says New York is better than anywhere else they've been.

I'm smiling, he says. I've got to smile so I don't cry.

Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, New York.


NOBILO: Still to come, a look at Wagner's operations in the Central African Republic and who could be running the show there after Yevgeny Prigozhin's death.


NOBILO: A senior U.S. defense official says it has not seen a withdrawal of Wagner forces from Africa in any substantial or meaningful numbers after former Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash last month. But as the Kremlin tries to get its arms around Wagner's sprawling commercial network on the continent, it's still unclear who's heading the operations there.


CNN's Clarissa Ward reports on the man who may be the new Wagner leader in the Central African Republic.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind this door we are expecting to find Dimitry Syty, one of Wagner's bosses in the Central African Republic. Access strictly forbidden to all people who don't work here, the sign warns. Our knock goes unanswered and shortly after we are told to leave the building.

We came back to the heart of Yevgeny Prigozhin's empire in Africa to see how his death had changed things and found two of his lieutenants still running the show.

Vitaly Perfiliev is in charge of the security piece, while Syty runs the commercial side. Syty likes to keep a low profile these days, which is not surprising given that he survived a mail bomb attack here in December 2022.

After the attack, locals began to wear t-shirts in support of him, a sign of Wagner's entrenched popularity here.

We first met Syty back in 2019. Officially, he was acting as a translator. But documents showed he was the head of a now-defunct Wagner-owned company called Lubai Invest and that he had started working with Prigozhin to influence U.S. elections in the so-called troll factory back in 2016.

Educated in Paris and fluent in French, English and Spanish, Syty later created the Russian Cultural Center in Bangui, which investigative group The Century says Wagner uses as a front to sell its gold and diamonds to VIPs and manage its timber and alcohol operations. The center is one of the last places Prigozhin was photographed alive,

seen here with Siti standing by him. We filmed covertly at the cultural center, where a woman who called herself Nafisa Kiryanova told us that Prigozhin's death has not changed the status quo.

NAFISA KIRYANOVA, HEAD OF RUSSIAN CULTURAL CENTER, BANGUI: So the mission continues to be the Russian cultural house continues to be.

WARD (on-camera): So Dmitry does not have that job anymore?

KIRYANOVA: Why not? He is responsible for the whole mission, he runs this job, he runs some other directions.

WARD (on-camera): Ok. Ok. So it's all the same people basically?

KIRYANOVA: Basically, yes.

WARD (voice-over): In a rare and recent interview with Russian media, Syty says he hopes the mission will not change.

DMITRY SYTY, WAGNER DIRECTOR (through translator): If we start to retreat, then everything that has been built will also crumble. This is our chance. We are now looking for new friends, partners, new markets. Africa is a chance for Russia.

WARD (voice-over): Over the weekend, video emerged of a ceremony to commemorate the death of Prigozhin. Prigozhin, best friend of Central Africans, a banner reads, as Wagner's security chief Vitaly Perfilev looks on. One month after his death, Prigozhin's lieutenants are still standing, watching over his empire.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Bangui.


NOBILO: The speaker of Canada's House of Commons has resigned after what he calls profound regret for a mistake. On Friday, Anthony Rota praised a 98-year-old Ukrainian and Canadian veteran who fought during World War II. But human rights and Jewish organizations pointed out that the man actually served in a Nazi military unit. The recognition came during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident deeply embarrassing.

According to a new report by the International Energy Agency, global demand for fossil fuels is likely to peak by 2030, but not nearly enough to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The agency says that achieving that target temperature would require a 25 percent decrease in demand for fossil fuels in less than seven years when compared to current levels. The report also estimates investments in clean energy worldwide will need to more than double every year by 2030 to keep that target temperature. Scientists consider a warming of 1.5 degrees, the threshold beyond which extreme weather conditions and shortages will have a catastrophic impact. Six young people from Portugal have accused dozens of European

countries of climate negligence. Their landmark lawsuit gets underway at Europe's top human rights court in the coming day. They're seeking a legally binding verdict that could force governments to act.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has this story for you.



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Destructive hurricanes, widespread fires, massive floods. Scientists say catastrophes like these are becoming more common because of climate change. Now six young Portuguese, including AndrA(c) and Sofia Oliveira, are taking 32 countries to court. They want the E.U., Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.K. to act faster.

SOFIA OLIVERA, ACCUSER (through translator): We need you to do a better job. I notice that climate change has a big impact on my life.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Their case is being heard this week, but the buildup started six years ago, after the 2017 fires in central Portugal, the country's deadliest.

More than 250 people were injured and 66 killed. Many of those unable to escape when the flames reached this stretch of road died trapped inside their cars. The tragedy spurred the applicants into action. Especially some who, like Catarina, lived close to the area most affected by the fire.

CATARINA MOTA, APPLICANT (through translator): None of our family houses burned down or anything like that, but we obviously felt it and we increasingly feel the impacts of climate change in our summers.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Catarina and others say climate change is already having a negative impact on their lives and are asking the European Court of Human Rights to protect them.

A true David vs. Goliath case, but their lawyer believes they have a shot.

GEAROID O CUINN, FOUNDER, GLOBAL ACTION NETWORK: We believe this is an opportunity that the court should take and we are optimistic that it will recognize the opportunity and demand that states do more to avert climate catastrophe.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): A win would legally bind countries to take more action on climate change. But even if they lose, Catarina is happy they've been able to raise awareness.

MOTA (through translator): This entire process has been very positive and we've been able to achieve a lot. If the court's outcome is positive, that would be the cherry on top.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): A cherry in the form of government action to secure a future that doesn't look like this.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


NOBILO: Coming up, home and rental prices are soaring across the United Kingdom and there isn't relief in sight. We'll hear how families are coping with the stress.


NOBILO: The U.K. is grappling with a cost-of-living crisis that's throwing millions of Britons into financial insecurity. According to the latest economic report from the British government, private home rental prices are growing at record high rates. Across Great Britain, 42 percent of adults paying rent or mortgage say that they're finding it difficult to afford those payments.

Isa Soares spoke to one family who's feeling that pressure.


MATTHEW GREENWOOD, PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER: It's been a really, really tough six months. I've lost sleep over it because you wonder where the next bill is going to come from.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a year of constant stress for the Greenwood family.

GREENWOOD: You see the cost on your electric just trickling up and up and up and it's not that you're doing anything different on the day to day.

SOARES (voice-over): And with that the anxiety sets in. It's a cycle that has left Matthew, a 34-year-old primary school teacher struggling.


He lost his job as schools cut budgets, and his wife, who works 12- hour shifts, is training to be a nurse.

In between parenting and job searching, he's counting the pennies, as the cost-of-living crisis squeezes the middle class.

(on-camera): Did you ever consider, I mean, have you considered with rental prices going up and inflation and food inflation moving in with family member?

GREENWOOD: I think this was something that was on the cards last year. We really sort of put it to the board that it would be something we'd have to do because we didn't know where the extra money was going to come from to cover the increase in rent.

SOARES (voice-over): Matthew's rent went up last year, like many others around the U.K. facing a similar problem. Since July 2022, Private rental costs increased here by 5.3 percent,

and now more than a third of adults are finding it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments.

The charity Turn2Us, which advises people in financial difficulty, is seeing first-hand the scale of the problem.

THOMAS LAWSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, TURN2US: We're seeing people get into debt, let alone holiday funds or saving for their children's university. They've already been spent, they're borrowing from family members. So people are making really hard choices about not only their long-term future, but even months away.

SOARES (voice-over): And that's the case for Matthew, who's dreading another rent hike.

GREENWOOD: If it did go up, there's no guarantee I'd be able to afford that extra 50 pounds a month. I know a lot of people say, oh, it's only 50 pounds a month, you can cut back on some things, but...

SOARES (on-camera): What else are you going to cut back on?

GREENWOOD: There's nothing else to cut back on, you know, we are strict to the bare minimum.

SOARES (on-camera): But just a few days after our interview, Matthew tells us that his worst fears have become a reality.

Matthew, we saw your text message, give us a sense of what your landlord has told you.

GREENWOOD: So we had a message off him. a couple of days after you left, basically saying that he's really sorry and he's got to put the rent up. So that's grown up another 50 pounds.

SOARES (on-camera): Another stressful news for you.

GREENWOOD: Worst case scenario is we'll have to move out. But realistically, I don't know. I don't have words at the moment.

SOARES (voice-over): Isa Soares, CNN, London.


NOBILO: Thanks so much for joining me today. Do stay with CNN. I see Max Foster's trademark trainers behind the camera, so we'll be both back in a couple of minutes. We'll see you then.