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IDF: Tunnel Shaft Near Hospital was Part of Hamas Infrastructure; Negotiators Nearing Deal for Gaza Hostages; IDF Blames Houthi Rebels for Hijacked Cargo Ship in Red Sea; Former TV Pundit Javier Milei Wins Argentina Presidential Run-Off; U.S. Mourns Rosalynn Carter, Dead at 96; Taylor Swift Reschedules Concert Amid Brazilian Heat Wave. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 20, 2023 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome. Live from CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.


Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, as the Israel-Hamas war rages on, CNN went to the scene of what the Israel Defense Forces claim is an exposed Hamas tunnel shaft at the Al-Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza.

Argentina elects a new president. More on the new leader's plans for his country.

Plus, former U.S. First lady Rosalynn Carter has died at the age of 96. We'll take a look at her remarkable legacy.

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

HOLMES: The Israeli military is releasing new video from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as international pressure mounts for Israel to show more evidence of its claims that the hospital was the site of an underground command center for Hamas.

The video, which runs just over three minutes, was filmed by the Israeli Defense Forces on Monday, and shows the inside of a tunnel shaft at the hospital grounds. Israel has long said that Hamas uses Al-Shifa to cover up what it says is an extensive terror infrastructure underground. The beating heart of Hamas, as they put it. And that's something that Hamas and the hospital have denied.

The IDF also accusing Hamas of killing Army Corporal Noa Marciano at the hospital, refuting a claim by Hamas that she died as a result of an Israeli airstrike.

The body of the 19-year-old was recovered last week in Gaza City.

CNN's Oren Liebermann entered Gaza with the Israel Defense Forces to see the tunnel shaft at Al-Shifa, and what lies beneath. And, to be transparent, CNN reported from Gaza under IDF escort at all

times. As a condition for journalists to join this embed, media outfits had to submit their footage filmed in Gaza to the Israeli military for a review. CNN retained editorial control over the final report.

Here's Oren Liebermann.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We go in under cover of darkness. And as we cross the border fence, it's lights out across the Gaza Strip.

Escorted by a tank, we switch into an armored personnel carrier for the final stretch. Even through a night vision screen, you can see the magnitude of the destruction on the streets of Gaza City.

We off-load at the Al-Shifa Hospital and pick our way along Ibn Sina street, or what's left of it.

LIEBERMANN: Watch your feet. Let's go.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): We have to keep our lights off most of the time or risk exposing our position.

CNN reported from Gaza under Israel Defense Forces escort at all times. As a condition for journalists to join this embed with the IDF, media outlets must submit footage filmed in Gaza to the Israeli military censors for review.

Now at the hospital compound, we wait inside a structure to make sure the area is secure before moving the short distance to the exposed tunnel shaft.

LIEBERMANN: And here's the entrance. You can see what looks like a ladder access into it. And as I step over here, it's very difficult to see how far down it goes. But it looks like there's almost a central shaft for a staircase. And then, the shaft disappears, then, down into the darkness.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): We move around the opening for a better look at the shaft itself. What's clear is this is meant to go deep underground.

LIEBERMANN: Which direction does the tunnel go?

MAJOR NIR DINAR, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: We assume that the tunnel guys out, and it has another corridor to this way.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Towards the hospital?

DINAR: Towards the hospital. Meaning it connects the hospital to outside, which implies with the way that Hamas is working, Hamas is going out somewhere, shooting at our forces, and going back inside to a safe place. LIEBERMANN (voice-over): We weren't allowed to enter the shaft, but

the Israeli military sent special gear down to see where it leads.

Inside, the video shows a spiral staircase, and as the camera oriented self, it moves forward into a tunnel. The tunnel makes a sharp left turn, and at the end of another path with concrete walls and an arched concrete top, a metal door they say they have not yet opened, because they fear it's booby-trapped.

IDF spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari says some of the Israeli hostages taken on October 7th were also brought through the hospital. He says the body of Noa Marciano was discovered 50 meters from the compound.

ADMIRAL DANIEL HAGARI, IDF SPOKESMAN: We have evidence that they were holding hostages in Rantisi, but also we have evidence that they were bringing them to Al-Shifa Hospital. We're still looking for the places they might have held them.


LIEBERMANN: This is not proof of a Hamas command center or headquarters underneath the hospital, but Israel continues trying to build its case that Hamas uses the sanctuary of the hospital for cover, which Hamas and hospital officials have denied.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The IDF's ability to continue its operation in Gaza and the credibility of Israel are at stake here as the number killed in the fighting surpasses 12,000, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

The IDF says one of its missions is to destroy Hamas, but with international criticism mounting, Israel has to show the terror organization is using Gaza civilians and infrastructure as cover to justify an ongoing war.

LIEBERMANN: We weren't able to measure the depth of the tunnel shaft from where we stood, especially not in the darkness, but the IDF says the shaft itself is ten meters deep, so about 33 feet.

And then once inside the tunnel itself, that, they say, continues for 55 meters, more than 150 feet, before it reaches the metal door. The key question, of course, what's behind that door? And either more tunnels? The IDF has control of the Al-Shifa Hospital complex, and they are looking for more tunnels.

Again, the ability of the IDF to continue to prosecute this war hinges very much on the answer to this question, especially with international criticism. The IDF promises more evidence as it becomes available, and if they find it.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in Tel Aviv.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Now, the IDF has also released videos and stills that it claims show Hamas bringing hostages into Al-Shifa Hospital on the day of the attack on October 7th. CNN cannot independently confirm the identities of the individuals in the video, nor their affiliations, including those the IDF says are hostages.

CNN also cannot independently verify the content of the videos or the series of events the IDF says took place.

But, according to the IDF, this CCTV video shows a hostage being brought in through the hospitals main entrance that day. You can see a man is frog-marched through the building.

And then, another video also purportedly shows a second hostage you see there, left of the frame. That person has a bandaged hand and is being pushed on a gurney donna hospital hallway.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry is questioning the authenticity of the videos, and stills, but says, if true, they show that hospitals were providing medical care to anyone who needed it.

Meanwhile, the 31 neonatal babies evacuated from Al-Shifa Hospital are to be transported to Egypt in the coming hours. They were evacuated on Sunday by the United Nations team, and the Palestinian Red Crescent, and taken to a maternity hospital in Southern Gaza.

UNICEF says their condition was, quote, "rapidly deteriorating" due to the collapse of medical services at Al-Shifa. According to the World Health Organization, doctors who are treating them now say all the babies are fighting serious infections, and 11 of them are in critical condition.

One of the fathers who was reunited with his newborn son after two weeks, says he wasn't sure if his child was still alive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thank God we now feel that our son is safe after not seeing him for more than two weeks. We didn't know whether he was dead or alive, especially when communications were disconnected with the doctors.

They called us in the beginning to tell us that the child feels better and that we can come to take him, but the Israelis had already cut Salah al-Din (ph) Street, and we were in Nuseirat. We could only pray for his safety. And he is here safe.

I'm taking him home, but may God help the rest of the parents.


HOLMES: Sources tell CNN that a deal to secure the release of some hostages Hamas is holding could be days away. They say a recent draft of a possible deal proposes a 4- to 5-day pause in fighting, in exchange for the release of some 50 hostages.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez with the details.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Negotiators from various countries that are working on the release of hostages held by Hamas expressed rare optimism over the weekend about the direction of those talks.

Sources tell CNN that a draft of a possible deal includes a 4- to 5- day pause in fighting for the initial release of 50 hostages, potentially more process thereafter.

But the sources stress that no deal has been struck yet, and that text has been going back and forth for weeks, underscoring how delicate and intensive these talks have been.

Now, deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said on CNN Sunday that disagreements have been narrowed down, and that they are the closest that they have been since the negotiation started weeks ago.

But he went on to say that nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon, again going to show how difficult this has been for everyone involved.


Now, just as an example of how tenuous these talks can be, Hamas, sources say, stepped away or went dark from the negotiations at least once, when Israel raided Al-Shifa Hospital.

Another key issue that sources pointed to was how to implement the deal, including aid shipments.

Now, U.S. officials have stressed that this is something they are working on minute by minute, hour by hour, over the course of multiple days. And the president, when asked about it on Sunday, said that he couldn't share anything as of yet.

But what is clear is that all of this is going on behind the scenes intensively as they try to reach some resolution on the hostages who are still held by Hamas.

Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: And joining me now is Sari Bashi, the program director with Human Rights Watch. Thanks so much for making the time.

I wanted to ask you about the babies evacuated from the Al-Shifa Hospital, which of course, is under Israeli control. I mean, the evacuation is good news. But so many hospitals and other health facilities are now effectively unable to operate, and the latest numbers of wounded is at more than 30,000. What are your concerns in that regard, the treatment? SARI BASHI, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Sure. So the laws of

war provide special protections for civilians, in general, and in particular for hospitals and other medical facilities used to treat the sick and the wounded.

Israel, both as a warring party, as well as the occupying power in Gaza, has an obligation to protect hospitals and to actively facilitate their -- their good functioning.

Even before Shifa and other hospitals were raided, they stopped functioning as hospitals, because the Israeli military had systematically drained Gaza of life-saving humanitarian supplies, including the fuel needed to power those babies' incubators.

HOLMES: And then tell us more about the flow of aid. There's no doubt what's getting it is nowhere near enough for people in the South. But is any aid getting to those who remain in the Northern part of Gaza?

Not everyone, of course, has been able to flee South as Israel demanded. What needs to improve with aid volume but also distribution?

BASHI: Sure. So first of all, the Israeli military has allowed in a little more than 1,000 truckloads in 44 days of warfare into Gaza. That's about the same amount that used to enter in two days in Gaza under ordinary times, when we weren't facing extraordinary challenges.

Second of all, the Israeli military has kept its own crossings with Gaza closed, which is why the numbers are so low. And it has all but banned fuel from entering.

The Israeli military needs to reopen its own commercial crossings with Gaza, as it has done in previous hostilities; lift the ban on fuel, and allow fuel and other lifesaving supplies into Gaza; and actively facilitate the flow of aid from the South to the North. Because all of the commercial crossings are located in the South, and those two areas have been cut off by Israeli troops.

HOLMES: Yes. You know, I saw you do an interview where you made the point that a lot of people, rightly, care passionately about the Israeli casualties from October 7th, and a lot of people rightly care passionately about the suffering and killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and the West Bank for that matter.

But that there's not enough people in, as I think you put it, the Venn diagram of carrying passionately about both. What -- what does that deficit lead to in a human rights sense?

BASHI: I mean, it leads to loss of life, and it leads to violations of the laws of war. War is an ugly business. But over the decades and centuries, really, nations of the world have come together to define some very basic principles of humanity that are tried (ph) even in war.

And those principles include protection of civilians. You keep civilians out of the fighting.

So the Hamas-led attacks on Southern Israel on October 7th were so important, because they targeted civilians. They targeted families.

And the Israeli measures against Gaza, including the cutting off of lifesaving aid, and some of the attacks on hospitals that have been unlawful are so abhorrent because they target civilians.

Those are basic principles of humanity that need to apply, whether we are talking about Israeli civilians or Palestinians.

HOLMES: Going back to the people in the South, and your concerns there, Israel has been dropping leaflets in the South, telling people there, where they were told to flee to, by the way, to go to shelters.

But you know, you've got hundreds of thousands of people who moved from North to South. People forget how small the Gaza Strip is. I've been there many times. It's 40 kilometers by ten at its widest. Where are nearly 2 million people in the South meant to go to, and to what shelter?


BASHI: Yes. I mean, Gaza's about the size of the U.S. city of Philadelphia, with 2.2. million people.

And this is a pattern we've seen in previous hostilities, where the Israeli military warned civilians to leave, but there's nowhere to go and no safe way to get there.

And to be clear, under the laws of war, warring parties should warn civilians if doing so allows them to keep themselves safe. But we tell people to leave, and there's nowhere to go, and no safe place to get there. It's not an effective warning.

The shelters in Southern Gaza are overcrowded. There have been terrible outbreaks of infectious diseases, including a seven-fold increase in cases of diarrhea in children under 5. It's because of the lack of supplies and also because of the overcrowding.

The Israeli military needs to continues to protect civilians, even the ones who cannot or will not leave.

HOLMES: I think it's now up to around one and a half million people displaced. I think it's like 55 or 60 percent of housing has been damaged or destroyed.

What are the state of resources in the South? Most of those people fled with the clothes on their back, if they were lucky. What is in the South for them?

BASHI: There's very little. Some people were lucky enough to go to relatives' homes. Others have been sheltering in U.N. schools, but those schools have now closed their doors to more refugees because of the overcrowding.

We're talking about 700 people to one shower, 160 people to one toilet. People were sleeping outside, huddled up against the walls of those shelters, and it's been raining. This is not -- this cannot be sustained. There's not enough food.

There are dangers of dehydration, because there's not enough clean drinking water.

The Israeli military has an obligation to affirmatively supply those civilians. And telling people to flee when there's nowhere to go, is not protecting them. It's the opposite.

HOLMES Yes. Yes, you mentioned the rain. Gaza is prone to flood at the best of times and in these situations, that just increases the disease risk.

Sari Bashi with Human Rights Watch. Got to leave it there. Thanks so much for your time.

BASHI: Thank you.

HOLMES: Well, tensions continue to escalate on the Israel-Lebanon border, raising fears of a second front opening in the conflict.

The Israeli military says more of what it calls suspicious aerial targets crossed the border from Lebanon into Northern Israel on Sunday.

And Lebanon's national news agency reported extensive Israeli shelling and airstrikes around border villages.

On Thursday, the IDF said it carried out a series of attacks on Hezbollah targets in Lebanese territory, including a strike on a, quote, "terrorist" who was operating near the peace zone.

The Israeli military says Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have hijacked a cargo ship in the Red Sea. And they're threatening to target. CNN's Ben Wedeman with that.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Houthi rebels seized a cargo ship in the Red Sea Sunday afternoon just hours after the Iranian-backed group's military wing had warned that, in retaliation for Israel's war in Gaza, they would target any ship flying the Israeli flag or owned or operated by an Israeli company.

The ship we're talking about, the Galaxy Leader, flying under the flag of the Bahamas, was bound for India from Turkey.

Israeli officials insist the Galaxy Leader is not Israeli-owned and that there were no Israelis among the crew. In a statement, the Israeli military described the seizure as a "very grave incident of global consequence."

A spokesman for the Houthis later confirmed that their forces had seized the ship, which he described as Israeli. He said the crew were being treated in accordance to Islamic values and warned that any Israeli ship would be a legitimate target for Houthi forces. The Houthis, along with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and various

militias in Iraq, are part of what is known as the Axis of Resistance led by Iran.

Since the war began between Israel and Hamas, the Houthis have repeatedly fired missiles toward Israel, all of which were intercepted.


Ben Wedeman reporting there.

Now a former TV pundit will be Argentina's next president. After the break, we'll get the latest in a live report and look at some of the promises the political outsider has made.

And later, humanitarian activist and former U.S. first lady Rosalynn Carter dies at the age of 96. How her impact is still being felt, long after her time in Washington.



HOLMES: Right-wing former TV pundit Javier Milei has won Argentina's hotly-contested presidential runoff election. Officials saying Milei won at least 55 percent of votes cast. Center-left finance minister Sergio Massa received about 44 percent. He called Milei last -- late on Sunday, to concede. About 6 percent of ballots remain to be counted.

Now, Milei run as an outsider, to say it mildly, promising to break up with the status quo. He's vowed to use the U.S. dollar as Argentina's currency and pursue a raft of right-wing policies.

Milei is taking the reins of the country with one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joins me now from Bogota in Colombia with more.

And, Stefano, it's often been said that popularists can win elections easily, because they can promise whatever they like. But, governing is a different reality.

Mr. MileI's promises verge on the outlandish. The question is: will he be able to govern if he follows through on them?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Michael, and well, fair to say that that is just everyone's guess. Right now in Buenos Aires, I was reading, before to come talk with you, I was reading some analysis and on opinions on Twitter and other sources of people who closely follow Argentina and this election, in particular.

And one of the things that people are asking themselves right now is which Javier Milei will govern Argentina over the next four years. Because when he came to fame, and gained some traction by literally wielding chainsaws in some of his political rallies, it's also fair to say that, in the last few weeks and months, Milei has remarkably turned down some of his most inflammatory remarks. And -- and really tried to move to the center, trying to move to a more respectable image of what a commander in chief looks like.

It's one thing that is beyond doubt, however, Michael, is that he won by a much higher margin than it was previously expected. Much sooner, frankly, than expected. Sergio Massa conceded his defeat even before the first results, preliminary results were even published on the electoral authority's website down in Buenos Aires.

And this means that Milei is, right now, a president elected with a strong mandate and with a lot of confidence. And that confidence transpired in his first speech to his supporters, when he painted, once, again a rosy picture for the future of Argentina.


JAVIER MILEI, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF ARGENTINA (through translator): I want to tell Argentine that today begins the end of the decadence of our country. Today, we begin to turn the page of our history and return to the path that we never should have left. Today, we go back to the path that made this country great.


POZZEBON: And Michael, you can hear already some -- some tunes of Donald Trump there. This idea of bringing the country back to greatness, to a great past.


Now, the reality of Argentina is strikingly different. The country is struggling with the worst economic crisis over the last 20 years. Inflation is at over 140 percent, just like you said.

And of course, Milei has a lot of problems of trying to resolve. And one of his policies, just like he said, is dollarizing the economy and shut down the central bank. He has now the task of making it happen and actually transform his -- his political speech and his electoral promises to actual policies -- Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, and I just want -- so people know, too, he promised to basically break the system. As you pointed out, replace the currency with the dollar, shut down the Central Bank.

But he also -- you know, he promised to shut down nearly a dozen ministries. And let's just list a few of them: education, transport, tourism, culture, environment, public work, science and technology. Shut down those departments. Do voters really support that?

POZZEBON: Well, voters I think, have -- as often happens in this day and age, and often happens with these far-right populists. But not even far-right. The populists that are on the rise all over the world. You can stress, you can understand that the voters have voiced with

confidence a vote for change. They're saying that the system is no longer working and, well, frankly, it's hard to see how a system could work when the prices grow 140 percent every year. Which is what happens these days in Argentina.

And -- and so they're trying something new. They're trying to -- they're giving their trust to a man who has literally promised a brave new world. And something completely different from what they have seen before.

For example, one of the most inflammatory proposals that Milei brought forward in the electoral campaign was to privatize the health system in Argentina, which is, has always been proudly and staunchly in hands. Which is an exception compared to the rest of South America where health is normally a private matter.

Now Milei had to tune down that proposal, as well. He has retracted and said that his team will analyze what's the best for the country.

But just like you said, yes, he really intends to close at least eight ministers and, frankly, lay off tens of thousands of public employees. And how that will -- will land with the same voters that today gave him the victory, is -- is an open question.

HOLMES: Yes. As we say -- as we said, campaigning is one thing. Governing is another. We shall see. Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, good to see you, my friend.

All right. Let's turn now to the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces say they have pushed back Russian forces 3 to 8 kilometers on the Dnipro River front. This is significant, a gain for Ukraine's military after months of what's been a pretty slow counteroffensive.

But a military spokesperson says that there is still a lot of work to be done as, quote, "tens of thousands of Russian soldiers" are still grouped on the left bank of the river.

CNN cannot independently confirm the extent of Ukraine's advances, but even Russian officials have confirmed that Ukrainian forces have crossed that strategic river and established positions there.

Still to come on the program, the Israeli military tries to build its case releasing that video of what it says is a Hamas tunnel shaft at the compound at the Al-Shifa Hospital. We'll have more on that, when we come back.



HOLMES: We've been getting a look inside what the Israeli military says is a Hamas tunnel shaft in the Al-Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza. The video, which runs just over three minutes, was filmed by the Israel Defense Forces on Friday. It begins on the outside, before a camera is lowered down, revealing a set of spiral stairs, and, later what the IDF says are the walls of a tunnel.

Israel says Hamas has used Al-Shifa to cover up what it says is an extensive terror infrastructure underground, something Hamas and hospital officials deny.

CNN global affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier weighs in on the latest IDF moves.


KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: What they're also doing is going into these tunnels with robot drones and other means that keep soldiers out of harm's way. And they're also examining all of the GoPro video evidence that either got uploaded by the Hamas terrorists themselves or taken off the bodies or -- of the Hamas fighters that they were able to capture.

All of that is being analyzed to get the names of the operatives and to figure out who to track down.

In some cases, Israeli military officials tell me they know where these people are, but they are so embedded in the population, including in Southern Gaza, that that is why it has to go so slowly.


HOLMES: The U.S. is mourning the loss of former first lady, Rosalynn Carter, who died on Sunday at the age of 96.

She passed away surrounded by family in her hometown of Plains, Georgia, the small Southern city that became a household name after her husband, Jimmy Carter, was elected 39th president of the United States back in 1977.

While the Carters only served one term in the White House, it would provide memories to last a lifetime.


ROSALYNN CARTER, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I loved it. I liked it all, and Jimmy did, too. And all of the time that he was president, with all of the criticisms, he thought he was doing the right thing and the best thing for our country. And we enjoyed it.


HOLMES: Carter was known for her humanitarian contributions and was a strong advocate for access to mental healthcare. She had just entered hospice on Friday, according to the Carter Center.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Rosalynn Carter's life and legacy.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A softspoken, small-town girl, Rosalynn Smith Carter became one of America's most charming first ladies.

Born in Plains, Georgia, on August 18, 1927, she was valedictorian of her high school class and met and married Jimmy Carter when he was in the U.S. Navy.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love and respect and cherish, and honor, my wife Rosalynn.

BLITZER (voice-over): When Mr. Carter's father died in 1953, they moved back to Plains to manage the family's peanut farm.

R. CARTER: I didn't want to go home. I was having a good time. I think I had -- thought that I had outgrown Plains, Georgia. I had gotten a little too big for my britches. I only pouted for about a year after we got home.

BLITZER (voice-over): They had four children: three boys, Jack, Chip, and Jeff; and later, daughter Amy. In 1962, Jimmy Carter entered politics, and Rosalynn hit the campaign trail.

R. CARTER: Campaigning was fun, up to a certain point. Because I got to travel and see the whole country. The most fun are the people you meet.

BLITZER (voice-over): She supported her husband's successful bids to become governor of Georgia. And later, president of the United States.

J. CARTER: So help me God.


BLITZER (voice-over): Mrs. Carter was actively involved in her husband's presidency, attending Camp David meetings and cabinet briefings. She was a strong advocate for equal treatment of the mentally ill.


R. CARTER: If they had coverage for their mental illness, then their overall healthcare costs would come down.

BLITZER (voice-over): When the Carters left the White House in 1981, they spearheaded a new challenge: Habitat for Humanity. Building houses for the poor.

R. CARTER: The whole community has come together to get rid of poverty.

BLITZER (voice-over): A year later, the established the Carter Center, a foundation devoted to promoting human rights, resolving conflicts, and eradicating diseases. Mrs. Carter continued to focus on reducing the stigma of mental


R. CARTER: I'm really, really proud of him. And very impressed with him.

BLITZER (voice-over): Another focus: caregiving. An issue close to her heart, as she told a congressional committee.

R. CARTER: It's been part of my life since I was 12 years old and my father was diagnosed with leukemia at age 44. We lived in a very small town, and all the neighbors rallied around. But I still vividly remember going to my secret hiding place, the outdoor privy, if you can believe that, to cry. It's where I could be alone.

BLITZER (voice-over): In 1999, Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor for civilians.

J. CARTER: Rosalynn and I have visited now more than 115 nations in the world.

BLITZER (voice-over): Mrs. Carter was often irritated that her husband was praised more for his achievements after his presidency than those of his administration. But she accepted that was politics.

R. CARTER: It doesn't matter what you do. You're going to be criticized for it. And so, do what you want to do.

BLITZER (voice-over): And they were a remarkably close first couple. Jimmy Carter used to say, Rosalynn was much more than his wife.

J. CARTER: It's always Rosalynn to whom I turn for the primary advice, and we make the decisions together. She's the matriarch. When our 11 grandchildren or four children have a problem, they call Rosalynn first, because they know that they'll get a sympathetic ear.

BLITZER (voice-over): She remained by his side, occasionally joining with other first families. And, later supporting each other in their twilight: she with dementia and Mr. Carter in hospice.

And in the 39th president, Rosalynn Carter got more than just a husband.

R. CARTER: My life with Jimmy Carter has been more adventuresome than I would have dreamed it would be.


HOLMES: And Rosalynn Carter's contributions certainly aren't going unnoticed. Current first lady Jill Biden shared the news of Carter's passing with military members and their families in Virginia on Sunday. She asked them to remember the Carter family during the holiday season.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and former first lady -- lady Laura Bush released a statement saying in part, quote, "Rosalynn was a woman of strength and dignity. There was no greater advocate of President Carter, and their partnership set up a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity. She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to de-stigmatize mental health."

And the group Habitat for Humanity also shared condolences, posting, "We are deeply saddened to learn that Rosalynn Carter had died. She was a passionate and committed champion of Habitat for Humanity and worked fiercely to help families around the world."



HOLMES: Singer Taylor Swift took to the stage in Brazil on Sunday night, after a weekend filled with high stress and high temperatures.

Swift postponed her Saturday concert until Monday amid the heat, and the death of a fan before Friday's show. Now, Brazil's government is making sure that all fans are properly taken care of at public events.


HOLMES (voice-over): Armed with bracelets and bottled water, Taylor Swift fans wait in the scorching heat in Rio de Janeiro for a show that won't go on.

The popstar eventually delivering the crushing news that her Saturday show in Rio would be postponed because of the extreme heat.

Just a day earlier, a fan died after falling ill at a previous show. Authorities say the 23-year-old died after cardiorespiratory arrest. Fans say it was stifling inside the stadium, and they weren't allowed to bring water inside.

The heat index for that day, which combines temperature and humidity, reading above 59 degrees Celsius, or 138 degrees Fahrenheit.

LARA ITA, TAYLOR SWIFT FAN (through translator): The situation was so bad that Taylor asked from the stage to give water to the public. And I think that, if they'd taken more care of everyone from the beginning, maybe it wouldn't have happened.

HOLMES (voice-over): Brazilian officials say free water will now be made available at concerts and other large events, but the intense temperatures have caught many Brazilians off-guard, since it's still spring. But forecasters say temperatures this week will pass some of the highs expected in the summer months.

For some, the only way to cool down is a visit to the city's famed beaches.

PRISCILLA NASCIMENTO, RIO DE JANEIRO RESIDENT (through translator): When it's hot, the beach is the best place because I live in a favela. There is a lack of electricity in the favela. So we came to the beach. HOLMES (voice-over): and while that might provide a few hours of

relief, back in the favela -- neighborhoods where many houses have poor ventilation made worse by power outages -- many people say it's like a sauna.

Workers say taking showers and drinking water is the only way to get by. For others, a splash of a hose and a beer to help beat the heat, which has come too early and too intensely for many Brazilians to bear.


HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes. WORLD SPORT up next and then Laila Harrak with more news in about 15 minutes.