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CNN International: NYC Mayor's Campaign Finances Under Review; UNRWA: No Gaza Aid Deliveries Due to Lack of Fuel; Seismic Activity Decreasing, Hazard Assessment Unchanged in Iceland. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Donald Trump Jr. took the stand on Monday in the civil fraud case against his father, giving testimony. The New York Attorney General blasted as a sales pitch for his father's business.

And as hospital systems fail across Gaza, international pressure is growing for Israel to pause its fighting against Hamas to allow for humanitarian relief. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doubling down on his country's efforts, saying it's not an operation but a, quote, war to the end.

Now the FBI investigation into New York City Mayor Eric Adams is focusing on his ties to the Turkish government. Honing in on his campaign finances and looking into possible foreign influence and favors. Adams hasn't been accused of wrongdoing and has said he will cooperate with investigators. CNN's Brian Todd brings us to the very latest.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New information on why FBI agents publicly seized the phones and iPad recently of New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "The New York Times" reports federal investigators are looking into whether Adams pressured the city fire department to sign off on Turkish officials being able to occupy their new $300 million high-rise consulate in New York, despite safety concerns with the Manhattan building. This was allegedly done weeks before Adam's election, two years ago, while he was still the borough president of Brooklyn.

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Law enforcement prosecutors are going to have to look closely at whether these were actions carried out by an elected official, or if they were, you know, a bad act committed by someone who was -- who was exchanging favors for action.

TODD (voice-over): Analysts say just the act of trying to cut through red tape to pave the way for Turkish officials to move into the building is not necessarily a violation of anything. Adams in a statement said, quote: As a borough president, part of my

routine role was to notify government agencies of issues on behalf of constituents and constituencies. I will continue to cooperate with investigators.

But "The Times" reports there's a broader public corruption investigation also at play here. That investigators are looking into whether Adams's 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government to funnel money from foreign nationals to his campaign, which is illegal.


JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: They have also, sources tell us, obtained financial records showing that those people who made the contributions were paid back in full for the contributions. That makes them straw donors, and that brings up the allegation of campaign finance fraud, not just creating straw donors, but getting matching funds for the campaign from the city.

TODD (voice-over): CNN's John Miller was deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department and served under Mayor Adams. Miller left the department in July 2022.

Mayor Adams has denied any wrongdoing, and says he has nothing to hide. Adams's phones and iPad were seized in public last week, just days after the FBI raided the home of his chief fundraiser.

MILLER: Later, after the FBI took those phones, the mayor's office reached out to them and said there are other phones in his possession that he would like to voluntarily turn over to make sure that you've gone through everything.

TODD: Neither Mayor Adams nor any member of his campaign have yet been accused of any wrongdoing. And as of now, no charges are publicly known to have been filed in connection with this investigation.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Returning to our top story. As fighting intensifies, fuel supplies are dwindling across Gaza, adding to the growing humanitarian crisis. The Palestinian Telecommunications Ministry is warning that Gaza faces a complete halt of communications and internet services by Thursday.

The main U.N. agency that provides assistance for Palestinian refugees says it will not be able to deliver humanitarian aid today because it's running out of fuel. Israel is forbidden just about all fuel deliveries to the territory. Meanwhile, UNICEF estimates more than 700,000 children have been displaced in Gaza since the war started on October the 7th, and more than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced.

Joining me now from Ramallah in the West Bank is Nebal Farsakh, spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Thank you for joining us. Hearing there that no aid is getting in at all to those key parts of Gaza is that your understanding as well?

NEBAL FARSAKH, SPOKESPERSON, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY: Sorry, I could -- I couldn't hear your question.

FOSTER: What is the latest on the aid delivery into the hardest hit parts of Gaza?

FARSAKH: Unfortunately, as UNRWA has stated yesterday evening there will be no aid receiving or distribution today because they have run out of fuel. Which is something we have been repeatedly alarming the world and the international community. Because basically the fuel means life. It affects the work of hospitals who were shut down due to running out of a fuel. It affects also the work of emergency medical services.

It also affects the process of receiving aid and the distribution because trucks need fuel as well. It affects the bakeries. Who now are not -- had to shut down. They are unable to produce breads.

And we are in Gaza in a desperate situation because basically now the situation has got beyond catastrophic. The health sector completely is collapsing. All hospitals in north of Gaza are shut down, either due to bombardment or because run out of service -- because running out of the fuel and medical supplies as well as medicine.

Now our teams are reporting they have seen so many bodies in the streets with no ambulances are able to reach to them and transfer them. We have received hundreds of calls for peoples crying while they are trapped in their homes in Gaza City and the north. They are unable to evacuate their homes because the whole area is there is a military operation and simply anyone who try to go out will be a target for Israeli militaries.

Even us as ambulances. We don't have a safe access to those areas, so unfortunately, we feel helpless. We can't reach the people who are in critical conditions and they need us. Many reported they have -- hey have inside the home, people who are killed. Yesterday, a woman called when I was in the dispatch center and I heard her voice screaming and asking for urgent help. They have five family members who are killed inside the home. They have also five others who are injured. The total family members are at 25 and they are all desperate. Just to leave from their homes because the total area is under fire under dangerous and there is Israeli tanks everywhere and no one can even help to reach out to this woman and their family.


Which is the same case for hundreds of others who have been calling, and unfortunately no humanitarian agency, no rescue teams, even us as a provider for emergency medical service, we are unable to reach to them because of this dangerous situation.

That's why we call on the international community to ensure the protection of our teams and safe access for medical teams, healthcare workers to reach the wounded people because they have the right. Many have lost their lives because they simply have been left under the rubble or even in the streets without even any humanitarian -- any ambulance can be told to them.

FOSTER: There's no -- the issue, obviously, is that Israel will not grant a ceasefire and foreign powers are unable to convince them to grant a ceasefire. And now at this level of the operation, they're surrounding buildings they say are full of Hamas fighters. But what you're saying is civilians are being caught in that. So they're not only getting a -- not only not getting any aid or medical support, they also can't leave their homes. Is that correct?

FARSAKH: Basically yes. On top of that, there is many patients who are who with the chronic diseases, patients with cancers, elderly people, along with people with disabilities. They are part of family members, who family members that decisions to stay with them because basically they can't leave. Those who are sick and injured, just alone in their homes and just turn their back. And the only way to evacuate is just walking for 2-3-4 hours at least four hours. So basically, those with disabilities, people with disabilities, elderly people, sick people, they can't afford to do that. Their families have stayed with them and unfortunately, they are trapped in their homes with no food, no water, no supplies, no power.

And unfortunately, even us or -- we feel helpless. We can't even reach out to them.

On top of that, another example at Al-Quds Hospital, which is run by the Palestine Red Crescent, we have announced Al-Quds Hospital went out of service two days ago. And after that we only now have 300 patients with their families, along with the medical staff. Up to this moment, they are still trapped at Al-Quds Hospital, unable to go out of the of the hospital, no one can reach out to them because all the surrounding areas, all the roads are completely closed.

This is the six days we have lost connection with our colleagues there. When I'm talking to you now, I'm not sure if they are still alive or not. Because basically, the only way to report anything regarding the situation there is via VHF waves, which is unstable and has constant distortion. And like they have to wait a couple of hours until they catch the signal. There have been a complete destruction of the internet and a communication line, so I can just pick up the phone and call them.

So the situation is dire. They are now there for over a week with no food, no water, no electricity. On top of that they are trapped, hearing continuous bombardments that is taking place in the surrounding area. And there is continuous shooting.

Yesterday we tried to evacuate them by coordination with the ICRC. Unfortunately, last minute after Israel's occupation forces have searched the cars and did everything, they have notified us that after they give the approval earlier that they can't let us -- that they can't let the convoy pass to Al-Quds Hospital because there is a military operation in that area.

FOSTER: OK, Nebal Farsakh in Ramallah, really expressing the desperate nature of this situation. Thank you so much for joining us today. Now a Canadian Israeli peace activist previously thought to have been

a hostage of Hamas, is now believed to have been killed by the terrorist group. The organization Women Wage Peace posted a statement on X, saying Vivian Silver was murdered in her home at kibbutz Be'eri on October the 7th, the day that Hamas launched that surprise assault on Israel. The 74-year-old had been on the phone with her son as Hamas militants were near her house firing bullets. He then believed she'd been taken hostage.

Well still to come, after months of calm, Mount Etna erupts, sending ash and smoke into the sky high above Sicily.

And in Iceland, people in a small town have been evacuated after seismic activity in that region. The latest just ahead.



FOSTER: Europe's most active volcano is spewing fiery lava once again. Mount Etna erupted Sunday, sending molten lava some 4,500 meters, or nearly 15,000 feet above sea level, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and volcanologists at the Observatory. Now a huge plume of smoke could be seen rising into the red sky over Sicily and some loud explosions were heard as well. However, it's not expected to disrupt nearby air services as it did when it erupted last August.

Iceland also seeing some volcanic activity after hundreds of quakes over the weekend. The Icelandic Met Office now says seismic activity in the region is decreasing, although the volcanic hazard assessment remains unchanged. As a result, thousands remain evacuated CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now the authorities in Iceland are saying that the seismic activity in the South of the country has decreased somewhat, but that certainly needs to be put into perspective. The authorities say that in a measurement period of 12 hours on Monday, they recorded about 900 earthquakes around the town of Grindavik and the surrounding area. And in the same measurement period, the day before they recorded about 1,000 earthquakes, so definitely still a lot of seismic activity going on.

However, residents said that we've heard from do say that the ground there certainly has become a lot more calm over the past 24 hours and that could be a good sign. However, the authorities are saying that the projection is still that there could be a massive eruption that is imminent. And that's why an evacuation order for the town of Grindavik is still very much in effect.

Now, one of the things that the authorities did do is they did allow some people to return to their homes for a short period of time to pick up some of their belongings. There was only one person per household and only accompanied by the authorities. And a lot of the folks there have said over the past couple of days when they were evacuated, that they are not sure whether or not they will ever see their homes, whether or not they will ever see their town again. Because of course, one of the risks that is there is that Grindavik could be destroyed if in fact a massive eruption takes place right at that location.


Of course, the world is also watching this very closely. A lot of people looking back to 2010 when a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland caused air travel to essentially be stopped for a period of several weeks. Certainly, something that the world is looking for, because back then a lot of airlines lost a lot of money, a lot of businesses lost a lot of money as well.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


FOSTER: Still ahead, the trophy they call Lord Stanley's Cup stopped by the White House. So the reigning NHL champs and celebrate there with the president.


FOSTER: The NFL's Denver Broncos have now won three straight games after a nail biter against Buffalo on Monday Night Football. The Bills were sloppy from the start to finish, fumbling on the first play of the game and tying their season high with four turnovers overall. Still, they had a chance to win after taking a one-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go. But Denver quarterback Russell Wilson led the Broncos down the field for a game-winning field goal with no time left. Final score, Denver 24, Buffalo 22.

U.S. President Joe Biden honored the reigning Stanley Cup champions at the White House on Monday.


The Vegas Golden Knights revived an NHL tradition by celebrating their championship in the East Room. The team gave Mr. Biden a personalized hockey jersey. And while in DC the Knights will face off against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

And the stories in the spotlight today, is King Charles's 75th birthday, and the celebrations have already begun. On Monday, the British monarch hosted a traditional tea party at Highgrove House with community members, teachers and NHS workers attending that event with him. In just a few hours, King Charles will launch the Coronation Food Project that seeks to help eliminate food waste and hunger across the U.K. He's also expected to attend a private birthday party at Clarence House.

Now the film, "The Marvels" marked a disappointing debut weekend by posting just $46 million in domestic ticket sales. That's the worst opening for any Marvel Studios film in its history. Captain Marvel sequel could be the latest in a string of recent misses from what has otherwise been one of Hollywood's most lucrative studios. They've grossed more than $30 billion over just 15 years.

Now, a new baby is bringing new hope to a National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia. A male elephant calf was born over the weekend, to the delight of conservationists working to save the endangered Samaritan elephants. Rangers say they're yet to be named. Baby and mother are in good health. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the species is on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 3,000 left in the in the world, in fact. Sumatra's elephant population has been threatened by poachers who target the animals for their tusks, and deforestation also which increases conflicts between elephants and humans, of course.

Well, thanks for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" is next here on CNN.