Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Trucks Of Humanitarian Aid Enter Gaza; IDF Recovers Bodies Of Two Israeli Women Hostages; Israel Rejects Genocide Allegation; Judge Refuses To Allow Colorado To Strike Trump From Ballot; GOP Candidates Attend Iowa Evangelical Forum; Young Americans On TikTok Sympathize With Bin Laden; Top Media Companies Suspended Advertising On X; Volcano Fears Forces Iceland Town To Evacuate; Las Vegas Revs Up For F1; Leclerc Wins Pole At Vegas Grand Prix. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 18, 2023 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello and welcome to all of you watching us in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, supplies are running low in Gaza, creating an even more desperate situation for residents. CNN crews see heavy IDF activity in Gaza overnight.

Plus, a Colorado judge calls Donald Trump an insurrectionist but says he can still appear on the state's primary ballot.

And later, an entire town in Iceland is evacuated as a nearby rumbling volcano appears ready to erupt. We'll go live to Reykjavik for the latest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: It's 5:00 am here in Atlanta, noon in Israel, exactly six weeks after the attacks of October 7th that launched the war against Hamas. Israeli media is now reporting the death toll at the Nova music festival was far higher than anyone realized.

Citing an Israeli police report the death toll stands at 364, up from 270. We've also learned that 17 of those killed reportedly were police officers. And about 40 people at the event were taken hostage. Israeli authorities don't believe the terrorists knew about the festival beforehand.

For civilians in Gaza, the situation on the ground is extremely tenuous, with severe shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel. Some aid trucks were allowed in to Gaza at Rafah crossing a short time ago.

Israeli cabinet ministers are set to meet on Saturday night to discuss allowing fuel trucks into Gaza. Oren Liebermann has the latest on the Israeli military operations and what the IDF claims is evidence of Hamas activities in and around Gaza's largest hospital.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The military operation at Gaza's largest hospital, ongoing at this hour after the Israeli military says they found an operational tunnel shaft in the Al-Shifa Hospital complex.

CNN geolocated that shaft to this point, sharing the same campus as the imaging building and other hospital units.

But CNN cannot verify Israel's claims. Hamas denies the accusation and the IDF has not yet shown evidence of a large network of tunnels underneath Gaza's largest hospital. That U.N. high commissioner of human rights call for an independent investigation.

VOLKER TURK, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER: We need to look into this with -- by have an access. We cannot rely on one or the other party when it comes to this.

LIEBERMANN: On the ground in Gaza, conditions are rapidly deteriorating, with much of the population fleeing to the south. In Khan Younis, trash is piling up on the roads as crowds queue for that little food available. It's not the only shortage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Fuel is the basis of life. There is trash in the streets and sicknesses have spread. And what more can I tell you than that?

You can see, there's no fuel, no electricity, no water.

LIEBERMANN: Israel announced Friday it will allow a two tankers of diesel every 48 hours to help our sewage treatment plants in Gaza and to prevent the start of a pandemic. But it's about 3 percent of the fuel that once entered on a daily basis, according to the head of Israel's National Security Council.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This petrol going and is only for humanitarian needs, in order to provide for the millions of people there.

LIEBERMANN: In Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, the EU's foreign policy chief met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh. Calls for a ceasefire re growing, as are the demands for political process to end the conflict once and for all.

Shtayyeh doubts that's possible.

MOHAMMED SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER: This Israeli government today does not care about two states. This mood of revenge that Israel is -- is driving Israel today should stop.

LIEBERMANN: Meanwhile, the IDF has brought back the body of another Israeli hostage in Gaza, 19-year-old Noa Marciano. She is the second Israeli hostage known to have died in Gaza. Sixty-five-year-old grandmother Yehudit Waiss was found dead near Al-Shifa Hospital, the IDF said.

The father of another hostage, Emily Hand, put her picture up in Times Square as a way of marking her birthday spent in captivity.

THOMAS HAND, EMILY'S FATHER: We were hoping that she would be back by now. That would've been our prayers are answered. But she's not -- she is still down in the tunnels. Now we have to hope that she'll be back for Christmas.

LIEBERMANN: Of course, the key question remains.

Where do negotiations over a possible hostage release stand?

It's clear there is no agreement yet. We haven't seen any movement on that front, although there have been reports and rumors that there is progress. It's clear that agreement hasn't come to fruition just yet.


LIEBERMANN: Meanwhile, CNN has learned from two Israeli officials and a source familiar with the negotiations that Hamas had demanded, as part of a pause in fighting, which would come for a release of hostages, that Israel not fly drones over Gaza during that pause.

That's a condition that would almost certainly be unacceptable to Israel, which uses drones as a critical part of its strategy, monitoring the battlefield, seeing how its own troops are doing, where threats are coming from, how Hamas is moving.

And crucially, if it didn't have drones up over the battlefield during a pause in hostilities, that might allow Hamas to relocate itself and move hostages around -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, in Tel Aviv.


BRUNHUBER: Israel is rejecting an allegation by a group of U.N. human rights experts that its actions in Gaza, quote, "point to a genocide in the making."

On Thursday the group of experts known as U.N. special rapporteurs said Israel had committed grave violations against Palestinians in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks on October 7th.

The experts cited the use of weaponry with inherently indiscriminate impacts, resulting in a colossal death toll.

Israel's foreign minister said on Friday, quote, "Israel rejects all allegations made by the special rapporteurs. Israel is committed to international humanitarian law and will continue to take measures to prevent harm in Gaza.

"The only genocidal acts during this conflict are those of Hamas when they slaughtered, raped and tortured innocent people in Israel on October 7th." The Palestinian observer to the U.N. says the fighting must stop.

Listen to this.


RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We need a humanitarian cease-fire now. After 40 days we cannot have a humanitarian cease-fire.

How many more of Palestinian children you want to see being killed and women and civilians and sick and wounded before you come to the conclusion of implementing what you are listening to them from all the agencies who are working in the humanitarian field?


BRUNHUBER: CNN's Eleni Giokos joins us live from Cairo.

What's the situation on the ground in Gaza right now?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, I want to talk about Al-Shifa Hospital, which was the largest hospital in Gaza. And we've been, for the first time, getting testimonials from doctors from inside the hospital. We haven't been able to communicate.

It has been, of course, a communication blackout. It's catastrophic in terms of what we're seeing on the ground around al Shifa. And now we head inside into what is happening in the walls within the hospital.

From what we understand, there are only a handful of doctors left. So many have left and they have left their patients behind. We also understand that some of the ICU patients have died.

In terms of babies, this is the one story we've been covering extensively because the Egyptians have been waiting for these neonates to come into Egypt. On Monday, the health minister here in Egypt told me they're expecting 36 babies.

And they had prepared ambulances and incubators and were waiting every single day that week and hoped they would come through, because it's difficult to evacuate from al Shifa.

One doctor inside al Shifa has been saying some of those babies have died. We don't know what the overall number is, Kim, but the picture they're painting is not a very good one right now. We know they've run out of food and water and, of course, medical supplies as well.

In terms of the ability to evacuate, NSF, which is very close to al Shifa, have now for days been describing impossibly getting out and evacuating from that area, even though the IDF says that they have created corridors, safe corridors, for people to leave specifically from al Shifa but also in the surrounding neighborhoods.

But realistically that is really difficult. You've got to think about the equipment and the ambulances that need to transport the sick in basically the middle of a war zone right now. And the conditions, I just really want to highlight this, it's

absolutely catastrophic and harrowing in terms of the scenarios playing out in al Shifa. We've been talking about al Shifa since the start of this war and how much strain it's put on the health system.

It's slowly been deteriorating on a day-to-day basis. And some of the messaging we've been hearing from international bodies -- and you spoke about the U.N. special rapporteurs and what they're saying, calling for a cease-fire.

The U.N.'s Martin Griffiths said at the General Assembly "We are not asking for the moon. We are asking for basic measures that are required to meet the central needs of the civilian population."

The messaging coming through from international bodies, from many leaders around the world, really putting pressure on Israel and the IDF for some kind of pause, for some kind of cease-fire, in the hope that they can get more aid into Gaza.

And then, importantly, evacuate injured Palestinians that are in dire need of assistance to get hopefully to Egypt but then also supply some of the hospitals with the essentials that they need. You know, for the past two weeks I've been covering --


GIOKOS: -- how doctors are making really tough decisions. They have to amputate without anesthesia. So that gives you a glimpse of what it's like in hospitals right now.

Northern Gaza, of course, under Israel's control right now; we're hoping there's going to be some kind of a deal or breakthrough to release the hostages that are trapped in Gaza. We don't know how those conversations are going.

But we're hearing from sources that they're currently underway. Part of the deal that Hamas is hoping to strike is that it's going to include fuel into Gaza as well as pauses but also to get more aid across the border and, of course, the pause. This is what everyone is calling for, a stop in fighting. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, I really appreciate the update there, Eleni Giokos in Cairo, thanks so much.

And the first plane carrying children from Gaza who need urgent medical care has arrived in Abu Dhabi. The children are suffering from severe injuries, burns and cancer. They were accompanied by their families. The UAE president is planning to provide medical treatment to 1,000 children from the Gaza Strip.

Israel's latest estimate on the number of people being held hostage is 237. Thousands of people are marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in support of the hostages' families. And on Saturday they're expected to rally outside of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem. Qatar is mediating talks into getting more hostages released. The

White House says President Biden spoke with the Qatari emir on Friday to stress the urgent need to get all the hostages freed without further delay.

In the past hour, I spoke to Gefin Sigal, whose mother and other family members were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th.


GEFIN SIGAL, RELATIVE OF MULTIPLE HAMAS HOSTAGES: Here is my uncle. Here, we have my mother and her partner. Down there, my cousin. And that's my aunt. Five people were kidnapped.

BRUNHUBER: Five of your family members, including your mother, were kidnapped by Hamas. It's just unimaginable. Now you're trying to raise awareness around this. Just describe the scene to me, describe where you are exactly and who's all there, marching with you and behind you.

SIGAL: We have here marching 25,000 people, wanting them, all the kidnapped people, to be free, bring them back and growing the awareness to bring them back. And we'll keep pressure on the government.

BRUNHUBER: So in talking with some of the hostages' families, we're hearing a sense of frustration.

What have you been told so far by the Israeli government?

Have they spoken to you at all?

SIGAL: Not that much; not specifically to us. They told, as I know from them, all the friends and families that they are doing some negotiation. But there's a lot of problems in it.

First of all, there are not enough people to bring back, not enough hostages. And we need more. We need more people. We need not the families to be separated, children from mothers, not to be separated. But as I wish them all to be free today together.

BRUNHUBER: So you're saying basically that they are discussing a deal for a certain number of hostages to be released but not all of them.

You're saying you want them all to be released all together, is that right?

SIGAL: Yes. And for me, there's no price to my family. As they decide to do some, a cease-fire for a few days, it's OK. But I just want them to be free.


BRUNHUBER: Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through New York on Friday, chanting "Free Palestine" and "From the river to the sea," which the Anti-Defamation League says is an anti-Semitic slogan.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): The rally shut down traffic as people marched from Bryant Park to Penn Station. Police blocked all of the entrances to the station to stop protesters from getting in.

Overall, it was a peaceful demonstration and police say nobody was arrested. A pro-Palestinian rally was also held in Washington Friday. Crowds gathered outside Union Station, chanting and holding signs that read "Cease-fire now" and "Stop the genocide." They called on the U.S. government to stop giving aid to Israel.

Donald Trump will be on the ballot in Colorado's Republican presidential primary --


BRUNHUBER: -- after a judge rejected an effort to disqualify him based on the 14th Amendment's ban on insurrectionists running for office. The judge says Trump did participate in the January 6th insurrection but the ban doesn't apply to presidents. Our Evan Perez has more.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SR. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Judge Sarah Wallace is ordering that Donald Trump's name will appear on the ballot in Colorado. This is a ruling that she just came down.

The bottom line for the judge is that the 14th Amendment, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which is what these voters were seeking to have enforced, they say -- the judge is saying it's not clear that this applies to the President of the United States or that this President of the United States is covered by that section of the 14th Amendment.

It's not clear that the framers, the writers of the -- of that section of the Constitution intended for that to apply to the President of the United States. I'll read you just a part of what the -- that -- the 14th Amendment says.

It says that anyone who previously had taken an oath as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States or as an executive and a judicial officer of any state to support the Constitution of the United States shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof is disqualified from holding office.

And so that's what these voters were seeking to have enforced, to have the former president struck from the ballot in Colorado. And the judge says that really -- she can't really enforce that because it's clear to her that, if the framers of the Constitution have intended for that to apply to a President of the United States, then they would have made that much clearer.

And so in her view, it does not apply and therefore the president -- the former president will appear on the Colorado ballot. Now this is in line, we should say, with some other challenges that have come forward. There are voters who have brought similar challenges in Minnesota, in

Michigan; another sort of fringe candidate has brought a federal lawsuit in New Hampshire. All of these had been tossed aside for exactly this reason.

It's not clear that you can bar the former President of the United States simply because of what happened on January 6th.


BRUNHUBER: The Trump campaign is applauding the judge's ruling.

In a statement to CNN, campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said, quote, "These cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats."

But Trump's legal troubles are far from over. His lawyers are pushing back against the suggested start date for the former president's election subversion trial here in Georgia. Prosecutors want the case to go to court in August, just two months before Election Day. Trump's legal team says that won't work.

They're asking Fulton County judge Scott McAfee to schedule a hearing for oral arguments about the start date. But ultimately the decision on when to begin the case is up to the judge himself.

Meanwhile, the judge overseeing Trump's civil fraud trial in New York rejected the former president's motion for a mistrial. On Friday, Judge Arthur Engoron said the motion is, quote, "utterly without merit."

Trump had claimed the judge and his principal law clerk are biased against him. The trial brought by the New York attorney general's office is expected to finish next month.

On Capitol Hill, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will publicly release all security footage from the January 6th insurrection which doesn't contain sensitive information. The move is meant to curry favor with far right members of his party.

Republican congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has been pushing his party's leadership to release the videos. Others have jumped on the bandwagon, including Republican lawmakers Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Chip Roy of Texas.

Speaker Johnson is looking to please the right wing group after he went against their wishes and used a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open. He says more than 40,000 hours of security footage will be posted on a public website as quickly as possible.

All right, still to come, a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against entertainer Sean Diddy Combs, alleging rape and years of abuse. That's just ahead.

And later, how social media is influencing attitudes and beliefs about the Israel-Hamas war. That's coming up. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: A settlement has been reached in the federal lawsuit filed just a day ago against music mogul Sean Diddy Combs. His former girlfriend, Cassandra Ventura, accused him of rape and years of abuse.

In a separate statement, the R&B singer, who goes by Cassie, thanked her family, fans and lawyers, for their, quote, "unwavering support," writing, "I've decided to solve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control."

With Sean Combs saying, quote, "We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best."

A new CNN poll of voters in New Hampshire shows Democrats see President Joe Biden as their best chance to hold on to the White House in 2024. The survey underscores the president's advantages and challenges in a potential rematch with Donald Trump.

New Hampshire voters widely favor President Biden's temperament, honesty and integrity. But Trump received higher marks for physical and mental fitness.

Republican contenders for the White House are trying to court evangelical Christian voters in the key state of Iowa. On Friday, several candidates appeared together at an event called the Thanksgiving family forum. But Republican front-runner Donald Trump decided not to attend. Alayna Treene reports.


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just eight weeks until the January 15th Iowa caucuses.


TREENE: Many of the top Republican presidential contenders converged in Iowa on Friday night to speak to a room full of evangelical Christian voters at the family leaders' Thanksgiving forum.

A major goal of these candidates on Friday was to not only talk about their policy platforms and brandish their religious bona fides but also to try and eat away at the support that Donald Trump has here in the state.

He has a commanding lead in the polls at 43 percent. And they saw this as an opportunity to try and cut away from some of that. But one big thing that was talked about a lot on Friday was their faith. And at one point some of the candidates shared very personal stories.

Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy talked about how their wives previously suffered miscarriages. Take a listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unfortunately, we lost that first baby. And, you know, it was a tough thing, because this is something that we had so much hopes for, so much aspirations. But we just kept the faith. We just kept praying. We knew that there would be a path that God would lead us on.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R-OH), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: About 3.5 months in, you know, one day, she woke up. She said, I'm bleeding. She had a miscarriage. We lost our first child. And that was the loss of a life. It was our family's loss.

Our faith is what got us through it, actually, our faith teaches us that, you know, our child joined his creator and one day we will, too.


TREENE: Now another topic at the forefront of the conversation on Friday was on abortion. And that was a particularly salient discussion, given the type of voters in the room. Now what was very notable was hearing from Nikki Haley, who explained her stance on abortion.

Unlike many of her other primary challengers, she has so far said she does not back a national abortion ban. But at one point she did say, if she were still South Carolina governor and a bill similar to Iowa's heartbeat bill, which bans most abortions after six weeks, if that kind of bill was brought to her desk as a governor, she would sign it.

And so, I think that raised many eyebrows in the room on Friday. Now just one more thing I think really important to point out here, the big elephant in the room on Friday. Donald Trump was not there. He was invited to the event but he chose to skip it and instead host his own rally on Saturday in nearby Fort Dodge.

And one big thing is that really that is a continuation of him snubbing his primary challengers as well as the primary process overall, as he tries to paint himself as a general election candidate -- Alayna Treene, CNN, Des Moines.


BRUNHUBER: Taking a stand against anti-Semitism, why major media brands are suspending advertising on Elon Musk's platform X. Stay with us.



[05:30:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and all around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Israeli media is reporting that the death toll at the Nova music festival in southern Israel was far higher than anyone realized. That was where Hamas launched its brutal attack on Israel.

Citing an Israeli police report, the death toll now stands at 364, up from 270. We've also learned that 17 of those killed reportedly were police officers and about 40 people at the event were taken hostage.

For civilians in Gaza, the situation on the ground is tenuous with a severe shortage of food, water and fuel. A short time ago the Rafah crossing was open to allow aid trucks from into Gaza from Egypt.

In the midst of the Israel-Hamas war, a two decades-old letter written by bin Laden is stirring controversy and grabbing millions of views. Some have posted video clips, saying that they sympathize with the terrorists who orchestrated the September 11th attacks. They linked to a letter published in 2002 by "The Guardian," where bin Laden criticizes the U.S. government in support for Israel and tries to justify the targeting and killing of American civilians.

The White House called it "an insult to victims of the 9/11 attacks." TikTok said any video, quote, "supporting terrorism violates its policy" and adding "reports of it trending on the platform were inaccurate."

"The Guardian" removed the link and linked instead to an article giving context to the letter, especially for younger readers who weren't alive during 9/11.

Joining us now is Moustafa Ayad, the executive director of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue for Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Thanks for being here with us.

What's your theory about why so many people have suddenly latched onto bin Laden's speech?

What's behind this resurgence in his heinous views?

MOUSTAFA AYAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC DIALOGUE FOR AFRICA, THE MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA: Well, first of all, you have to look at the context. When we're looking at the conflict between Israel and Hamas, we've seen a deluge of disinformation, fake news, a number of things around this conflict online.

What happened essentially was that there was a quote-unquote, in the parlance of the internet, "a noticing" online, which was the resurgence in the resurrection of this letter. And from a single video posted on November 14th, we began seeing sort of a domino effect across social media platforms. [05:35:00]

AYAD: And it was not just TikTok and it was not just, quote-unquote, "a generation that did not understand" the significance of 9/11. So instances and references to "Letter to America," for instance, jumped over 4,300 percent in just two days, over 230,000 references.

It was significant; 719 million impressions across platforms. It was not just one platform's failing.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. But you talk about the demographics here. I'm interested in this. You know, one-third of adults under 30 regularly get their news from TikTok. And that's one of the main search engines for young people.

And from watching some of these, you know, TikToks of people discovering this and reading sort of what they've been seeing, it seems like, for kids who were born before 9/11, many of them seem to be realizing, for the first time, you know, that there was a historical context to the attack.

Which maybe says something about the framing of these types of events in school and what happens if we don't give students the full picture. They will find other sources and come to their own possibly misguided conclusions.

AYAD: I mean, definitely requires education and understanding the full context of any conflict. That's why there's been so much disinformation around this conflict, that there is a lack of context, whether it's popular media's framing of the conflict or whether it's within these online communities.

So we really do need to adjust the way we understand conflicts and context outside of our own.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, I mean, it has to be said, I mean, his views expressed there were horribly anti-Semitic and aren't, you know -- don't go any substantive -- don't lead to a substantive discussion of the context, really.

But you know, young people still may feel that, on social, they're not getting both sides of the conflict.

Is that because, you know, in certain circumstances, I mean, Israel has released so much information online, hoping to frame the conflict on their terms. I mean, Israel's foreign affairs ministry has run more than 100 ads on YouTube and X that have been seen millions of times, stirring moral outrage to build support for the war.

So take us through sort of what you've been seeing and what's behind this.

AYAD: Yes, we've been seeing coordinated state operations, whether it's by the state of Israel or whether it's by other states, such as Russia, Iran and China, focused on the region, looking to exploit sort of the divides that exist globally between pro-Palestinian supporters and pro-Israel supporters.

And expand that divide in order to create more friction and animosity online. It's not that there isn't a lack of animosity online; it is a very charged environment. Similarly seeing neo-Nazis adopting and neo- Nazi communities online adopting Hamas talking points and sharing those online and generating hateful responses in regards to it.

All of this is creating a charged atmosphere offline as well, where you have conspiracy circles claiming that Hezbollah and Hamas have infiltrated southern borders in the U.S., creating more fear and violence.

Remember, we've had murders off the back of a lot of the sort of rhetoric that's been spread by -- whether it's media, offline media or whether it's online media. And it is now coming to a loggerhead.

BRUNHUBER: Let me ask you, it's my last question but I feel this is really important.

What can we do as teachers, as parents, to cut through all the propaganda and make sure our children and young people are well informed with what's happening here?

AYAD: We really need to have honest conversations with the young people about the context and what we are seeing online. Conflicts are incredibly hard topics to broach, especially when there's so much anger and disgust that people are feeling right now.

This sort of charged nature of this conflict is incredibly difficult to sort of cut through. But one-to-one honest conversations that provide people with the -- with information about this conflict and what we are seeing online is what's needed.

BRUNHUBER: All right, really appreciate your insights there, Moustafa Ayad, thank you so much for speaking with us.

AYAD: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Some major media companies are suspending advertising on X, the platform formerly --


BRUNHUBER: -- known as Twitter, in a backlash over an anti-Semitic post by Elon Musk. Brands including Disney, Paramount and CNN's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery are halting ads.

It's following a similar move this week by IBM, whose ads were found appearing alongside pro-Nazi content. Musk had agreed with a post falsely claiming Jewish people are stoking hatred against white people.

X's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, insists there's no place for anti-Semitism or discrimination on the platform.

The artificial intelligence company behind ChatGPT announced its CEO and founder is out of a job. Sam Altman is leaving the organization effective immediately.

In a statement the company says an internal investigation found that Altman wasn't always truthful with its board and added they no longer had confidence in Altman to keep leading OpenAI.

The company's ChatGPT platform launched late last year and catapulted Altman into a quasi celebrity and making him the face of a new batch of AI tools.

Just ahead, thousands leave their homes as experts warn a volcano could soon erupt. We'll go live to Iceland after the break. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Scientists in southwestern Iceland say the high likelihood of a volcanic eruption continues and that a river of underground magma could explode at any time. The roads are closed, as most residents from one local town have already left their homes.

Joining me now is Rikke Pedersen. She's the head of the Nordic Volcanological Center at the University of Iceland.

Thank you for being here with us. First of all, impossible to know for sure.

But what are the latest data telling you about when an eruption could happen?

RIKKE PEDERSEN, NORDIC VOLCANOLOGICAL CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND: Yes, so as of this morning the status is relatively comparable to the previous days. We still have a low level of micro seismicity.

But it's still at the level of 80 to 90 earthquakes per hour of magnitude less than 3. And we still see considerable surface defamation. So the GPS antennas are still moving apart, showing that we have continued inflow of magma from depth.

BRUNHUBER: So what is your biggest concern at this point?

PEDERSEN: So of course, we have two different scenarios. This could be a sign that the defamation is declining, that the magma inflow is lessening and that this would sort of die out and cease.

But of course, there's also the possibility, still, that we will have an eruption on land, as we see the signs of continued inflow at the moment. So it's a bit of a waiting position we're in at the moment.

BRUNHUBER: So really, it could go either way right now. We were just showing some pictures of what the town looks like. I mean, give us a sense of what the town looks and feels like now. I mean, we see, you know, steam pouring from cracks in the roads. It seems quite otherworldly and frankly unnerving.

PEDERSEN: Yes, so the steam is actually from the heat -- the hot water supply. So the pipes are broken beneath the ground because we have a considerable defamation in the area. The whole town has subsided in some areas by more than a meter. And it has ripped the pipes apart.

But it is a ghost town at the moment. All the inhabitants have been evacuated and they are only allowed back during daylight to retrieve some of their belongings and so forth. So it's a very uncertain situation at the moment. We have no idea when the people can return to their homes. And this is probably a rather long-term scenario.

BRUNHUBER: There are, you know, lots of active volcanoes in Iceland, of course.

Is what's happening now the sign of something larger, a new eruptive phase?

PEDERSEN: Yes. So this is the typical behavior of this Reykjanes Peninsula, where Grindavik is located. So the tectonic plates in Iceland are moving apart continuously. And strain builds up in the crust. And that may happen over a period of up to 700 to 800 years of time.

Then we will enter a volcanic active period. So for every eruption we have during the volcanic active period, we have strain relieved. And for every eruption, we will progress toward a dormant period again.

So the problem is that this period lasts typically on the order of a few hundreds of years as well. So we have just, by 2021, entered an active period. And that's the status that we're in now.

BRUNHUBER: Wow. So we could see a lot more eruptions coming. Listen, I'd love to ask you more but we have to go. We're out of time. Rikki Pedersen, thank you for speaking with us, appreciate it.

PEDERSEN: You're welcome.

BRUNHUBER: Still ahead, a moment decades in the making that's got racing fans revved up. F1 returns to Sin City after nearly 40 years. Las Vegas Grand Prix is hours away. Andy Scholes has the details next.





BRUNHUBER: After hitting some major bumps in the road, Formula 1's Las Vegas debut seems to be back on track, all wrapped up, without any issues to speak of. Andy Scholes joins me now.

It's been far from perfect in the desert so far.

What are you expecting for the rest of the weekend?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars and months getting ready for this weekend in Las Vegas. You know, the track is pretty awesome when you watch it. Seeing the cars zoom around the strip in Vegas is as good as it gets.

Some problems on Friday night in practice after Ferrari's Carlos Sainz's car was damaged, delaying the second practice for hours. Fans got kicked out of the stands. They were not happy about that.

But it was smooth sailing for qualifying overnight, which wrapped up just a few hours ago. The race, the big race is going to start tonight at 10:00 pm local Vegas time to take advantage of the lights in Vegas.


SCHOLES: It's going to be the latest start time ever for an F1 race. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc claiming the pole and he's excited.


CHARLES LECLERC, FERRARI F1 DRIVER: I love it. I went -- I came here once in Vegas in the past and it was to party. So very different to what I'm doing this weekend. But hopefully we work hard enough in order to win tomorrow and then have a good party to celebrate that win.


SCHOLES: So again the race starts at 1:00 am Eastern time. Max Verstappen starts alongside Leclerc in the front row.

Some brutal news for the Bengals. Quarterback Joe Burrow, missing the rest of the season due to a wrist injury. There's questions about when he hurt that wrist. He had to leave the Ravens game Thursday night in the second quarter after throwing a touchdown.

But there was video of him wearing a sleeve on his wrist getting off the bus when the team got to Baltimore. The NFL is investigating whether the Bengals were in compliance with the league's injury report policy because Burrow was not on the injury report heading into the game.

In the NBA in-season tournament, the Lakers putting themselves in position to win their group. LeBron scoring a game high 35 points against the Blazers. L.A. won that 107-95. They could clinch their group with a win at home against the Jazz on Tuesday.

It's been exciting so far, Kim, and it will be interesting to see what happens with that tournament. LeBron, maybe he'll be in the first ever in-season tournament finals.

BRUNHUBER: Thanks so much. And thank you for watching, I am Kim Brunhuber, for viewers, North

America, "CNN THIS MORNING." For the rest of the world, it's "AFRICAN VOICES: CHANGEMAKERS."