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I-10 Freeway in Los Angeles Reopens; Shakira on Trial in Spain; Public Memorial Services for Former First Lady Rosalind Carter; Heavy Storms Could Impact Millions of People Traveling; Joe Biden Turning 81 Today; Scientists Turning to Plants to Combat Water Scarcity; Heat Wave in Brazil Forced Taylor Swift to Postpone One Night of Era's Tour; Record-Breaking Temperatures in Some Parts of Brazil; Actress Suzanne Shepherd Dies at 98. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 20, 2023 - 04:30   ET



PRICILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: But the sources stressed 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 Advisor Jon Finer said on CNN Sunday that disagreements have been narrowed down and that they are the closest that they have been since these negotiations 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.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, commuters in Los Angeles will wake up this morning to a pleasant surprise. A portion of the I-10 freeway is one of the city's major traffic arteries, reopening a day early after a massive fire shut it down for over a week.

California's government says the fire was set intentionally, and authorities have released images of a person of interest as well. CNN's Mike Valerio has more. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the governor told us that ever since authorities released those two images of the person of interest, they've received a ton of tips. The photos seen far and wide around the world because of L.A.'s global connection.

What is in focus right now? First and foremost, life becoming easier for thousands of people. The Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, of course, right around the corner. So, easier travel for thousands of people who are coming to our corner of the country for a warmer holiday with their friends and family.

Also easier for the people who live in and around downtown L.A. who don't have the luxury of staying home and working through zoom. Finally, the structural tests off the concrete coming back much better than expected. All of those things discussed by not only the governor of California, but the vice president of the United States. Listen.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I was acutely aware of what closure of the 10 would mean for so many people, hardworking people, families, many people who, when it was shut down, they can't work from home, their work requires them to be present.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): You can be assured of one thing, safety first, quality, foundational in this effort. It wasn't just speed that we were after. We wanted to make sure this thing was safe.

VALERIO: So, we return for a moment briefly to the person of interest. Some fascinating characteristics that authorities have released, saying that the man was likely wearing a knee brace on his right knee and also possibly has a burn on his left leg. The man being described as somebody in his 30s, ethnicity unknown at this point.

But I thought it was also important, it was recognized that in this time of so many tough and terrible headlines around the world this is certainly a moment to be celebrated. Civic authorities saying that scores and scores of electricians, engineers, carpenters, union members coming together to make sure that this vital transportation artery, not fixed in a matter of six months, but rather eight days. And that is something certainly to celebrate.

Mike Valerio, CNN, Los Angeles.


FOSTER: It's day one of the tax fraud trial for pop star Shakira in Barcelona, Spain. The Colombian born, Grammy winning singer accused of not paying more than $15 million in Spanish income taxes between 2012 and 2014. Shakira denies the allegations, insisting she didn't live in Spain during that period.

If convicted, she could face up to eight years in prison and a fine of more than $25 million. Journalist Al Goodman joins us now live from Madrid. She's looking at some, you know, big penalties if she's found guilty here. What are you learning about this and what she might plead?

AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Max. There has been a settlement in this case. Shakira was in the court for nine minutes on a video screen that was seen by journalists and others outside of the courthouse. The chief judge of the three judges started the session. It started a few minutes after 10:00 local time in Barcelona to say that the -- he had been informed that there was a settlement.

He then went to the prosecutor and the attorneys for the Spanish government and the Catalan regional government, those last two would have been the recipients of this alleged tax fraud, and said, do they accept the agreement? They said yes. He went to the defense attorney for Shakira. Then he called her to the witness stand.


She'd been sitting in the court for about three minutes. He asked her three questions. He says, are you aware of the settlement? She says, si, si, yes, yes. Do you understand it? She said, si, si, He said, do you recognize the facts in this case? And she went -- again went, si, si. And he said, OK, so there is a deal and we are trying to get the particulars of what the fines will be and what kind of any sort of prison type penalties.

It's expected that she would not serve time in prison, had been the thinking before if there was to be a settlement, but there has been a settlement. She was in the courtroom for about nine minutes and then she left and we're trying to get more details. But there is the trial that had been expected for four weeks with her on the stand today, and then a hundred witnesses that has now been precluded by a settlement. And she earlier had said she was completely innocent, but now her legal team has settled. Max.

FOSTER: Yes. Interesting. Back with you as you get those details. Al, thank you for joining us from Madrid.

Public memorial services will be held in the U.S. State of Georgia early next week for Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who died on Sunday at the age of 96. A private funeral will take place next Wednesday. Carter passed away surrounded by family in her hometown of Plains, Georgia, just months after she and Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated 77 years of marriage.

CNN's Randy Kay has more on their love and life together.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I knew that she was, she was quiet. She was extremely intelligent. She was very timid, by the way. Beautiful. And there was just something about her that --


J. CARTER: -- irresistible. Well, I can't help it.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Jimmy Carter telling Oprah why he fell in love with his wife, Rosalynn. The Carters grew up together in Plains, Georgia before tying the knot in 1946. Theirs is the longest marriage in the history of U.S. presidents. They celebrated 77 years together this year.

As he tells it, he took Rosalynn to a movie on their first date and was smitten.

J. CARTER: The next morning, my mother asked me what did I do when (INAUDIBLE) had a family reunion. I said, well, I had a date. She said, who'd you go with? I said, Rosalynn Smith. She said, what did you think of Rosalynn? I said, she's the one I'm going to marry.

KAYE (voiceover): They married after he graduated the U.S. Naval Academy. He was 21. She was 18. Their decades-long marriage has had its challenges, but shared interests seem to be the glue. Over the years, they skied, fly fished, and bird watched, and read the bible together every night. Both volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

ROSALYNN CARTER, FORMER FIRST LADY: I'm going to talk a little bit about Jimmy and he's not going to like it. There has never been any kind of damage at all to Jimmy Carter's heart. I knew he had a good heart.

KAYE (voiceover): On the campaign trail, Jimmy Carter called his wife his secret weapon. Rosalynn visited more than 40 states during the 1976 presidential campaign. After her husband became president in 1977 --

J. CARTER: I, Jimmy Carter, do solemnly swear --

KAYE (voiceover): -- the Carters teamed up in the White House. When he lost his bid for re-election, they moved back to their same home in Plains, Georgia.

In this interview, Barbara Walters wanted all the details.

BARBARA WALTERS: I don't know how to ask this, so I'll just ask it.

J. CARTER: Go ahead.

WALTERS: But do you sleep in a double bed or a twin bed?

J. CARTER: Double bed.

R. CARTER: Double bed.

J. CARTER: Always have. Sometimes we sleep in a single bed, but it's much more comfortable in a double bed.

KAYE (voiceover): Rosalynn has been by his side through it all. Skin cancer that spread to his brain in 2015. A mass on his liver. A broken hip. Jimmy Carter has credited his loving marriage for the reason he's otherwise been in good health. The Carters had certainly slowed down with age, but have still been enjoying a full life, with four children, twelve grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren. According to "The Washington Post," the couple had a Saturday night routine of walking a half mile to a friend's home for dinner and a single glass of Chardonnay. They also managed to figure out what else it takes to keep their love alive.

J. CARTER: First of all, we give each other plenty of space to do our own thing.

KAYE (voiceover): And their love only seems to have grown stronger. Jimmy Carter has said marrying Rosalynn was the pinnacle of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look back, what are you most proud of?

J. CARTER: In my entire life experience, I would say it was marrying my wife, Rosalynn. She's been a very profound, beneficial factor in my entire existence, and still is.


FOSTER: Rosalynn Carter's contributions certainly aren't going unnoticed. CNN -- well, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released a statement saying they sent their love to the Carter family. They praised the former first lady for walking her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way.



JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, they're really an incredible family because they brought so much grace to the office.

I talked with the family today -- not the family, the family spokesman today in Plains, and I was told that all the family, all the children and grandchildren are with Jimmy. But he has this great integrity, he still does, and she did too. Imagine, they were together, what, 77 years?


FOSTER: Former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama, have also shared their memories of Mrs. Carter. And the Carter's Church in Georgia also released a statement highlighting Rosalynn's life of service and contributions to the community.

Now, heavy storms could impact millions of people trying to see their loved ones on Thanksgiving. We'll give you the latest weather update for a busy holiday week just ahead.


FOSTER: U.S. President Joe Biden, turning 81 today. The White House says Mr. Biden will spend the day honoring the annual tradition of pardoning Thanksgiving Turkeys. The Democrat is the oldest president in American history, and if he wins a second term next year, he'll be 86 by the time he leaves the White House.

Those turkeys that the president will pardon, will be waking up soon and heading to the White House for the annual ceremony. Liberty and Bell, don't know how lucky they are. They made their debut at one of Washington's five-star hotels on Sunday, where they've been spending the night. They waddled through the Crystal Ballroom, beneath grand chandeliers and gold crown molding.

To get ready for the crowds and loud noises, both turkeys listened to music, including hits from Taylor Swift and Prince.


Millions of Americans travelling for Thanksgiving are facing thunderstorms, snow and even tornadoes. That means possible delays on all major airport hubs in the U.S. CNN's Allison Chinchar has the latest for you.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's all thanks to this low- pressure system sitting right across the central U.S. Out to the west, we've got a rain snow mix, but farther east, you're looking at the main concerns to be rain, which could be heavy at times and some gusty winds in the Midwest. And then down to the south, the main concern is actually going to be the potential for severe thunderstorms. The main threats there will be damaging winds, hail, and even some isolated tornadoes, especially places like Shreveport up to Memphis and all the way back down to New Orleans.

The timeline there is really going to be the afternoon and continuing into Monday evening as that low pressure system continues to progress eastward. By Tuesday, now the big concern is going to be a lot of the folks traveling in the air. A lot of those connecting hubs like Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte up through Washington, D.C and New York could all end up seeing some delays as we go through the day, Tuesday and even continuing into Tuesday night. And by Wednesday morning, we start to see more of the impacts across areas of the Northeast.

So, for Monday specifically, we're looking at more of the delays early in the morning, still out west places like Denver, where you've got the rain snow mix, Las Vegas for high winds. By the time we get later into the day Monday, now, you're talking more of the Midwest and the southeast. And then by Tuesday, you start to see a lot of those delays potentially spreading into areas of the Northeast, such as New York and Washington, D.C.

FOSTER: Water scarcity is an increasing problem with the U.N. estimating 2.3 billion people live in water stressed countries. Some of the world's university scientists are embarking on an ambitious quest to find new water sources.

In Abu Dhabi, researchers have discovered a hopeful solution amid the arid desert. They're turning to the resilient power of desert plants to combat the pressing issue of water scarcity.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): Marieh Al-Handawi, a scientist from NYU Abu Dhabi, is going in search of new water sources. Gathering her research tools, she's heading into the desert. She is here to study a plant that thrives in this arid climate.

MARIEH AL-HANDAWI, POST-DOCTORAL ASSOCIATE, NYU ABU DHABI: I'm here to study these specific desert plants, or what we call them as halophytes.

GIOKOS (voiceover): Marieh is set to see how these plants have managed and adapted to survive in one of the world's harshest climates.

To the naked eye, they don't look like much. But under a microscope camera, Marieh discovered a natural wonder. Entire branches covered in thousands of salt crystals.

AL-HANDAWI: These salt crystals are very hygroscopic, which means that they like to attract water from the air. And at very low humidity and condense that on the surface of the branch. And this is very important for the research that is being done in water -- to combat water scarcity.

So, the idea is, we have this environmental friendly material that is excreted by these plants, these salt crystals that love water, and they can capture water from the air.

GIOKOS (voiceover): Marieh's findings have just been published in a scientific journal. She has further research to do but it's confident that after finding a desert plants that can harness water from the air, it will have positive implications for our water security.

AL-HANDAWI: Right now, we've discovered this natural system.

GIOKOS: So, this is the thing. How would you put this into practical use? How would you deploy that in the real world?

AL-HANDAWI: We can easily make them in the lab. We could make small devices using these salts to attract and capture water from the air. If we want to take a look at the bigger picture, if we want to tackle, for example, water crisis, we need a lot of water, right?

So, what we think is that these salts might play a role in cloud seeding. And the idea in cloud seeding is very simple, they spray them in the air, in the clouds. Those salts will capture some water from the air. The droplets will grow larger in size and then they will dop to the ground and in the form of rain and precipitation.

And what makes these plans so special is that they're capable of attracting and condensing water at low humidity levels. You don't really need a lot of water in the air to condense that. Even if you have very few water droplets in the air, these will be collected by the special salt.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: So, it's come tragedy and a heat wave in Brazil forced Taylor Swift to postpone one night of her popular Era's Tour. How locals are dealing with extreme weather just ahead.


FOSTER: Singer Taylor Swift took to the stage in Brazil on Sunday night after a weekend filled with high stress and high temperatures as well. 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 all fans are properly taken care of at public events. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): 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 pop star 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 a 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 had taken more care of everyone from the beginning, maybe it wouldn't have happened.

HOLMES (voiceover): 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.


PRISCILA NASCIMENTO, RIO DE JANEIRO RESIDENT (through translator): When it's hot, the beach is the best place. Because I live in a favela, there's a lack of electricity in the favela. So, we came to the beach.

HOLMES (voiceover): 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.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


FOSTER: Stories on the spotlight this hour, Hollywood mourning the loss of veteran actress Suzanne Shepard who died over the weekend at 89. She's perhaps best known for playing the mother of Eddie Falco's character in "The Sopranos." And she's appeared in iconic films including "Goodfellas" and "Mystic Pizza." Shepard was also a theatre director and an acting coach for over four decades.

Finally, a bottle of Macallan 1926 has set a new record at Sotheby's for the most expensive bottle of whisky sold at auction. It sold for more than $2.7 million in London on Saturday. Sotheby's had expected it to fetch under $1.5 million at most and it's the oldest Macallan vintage ever produced. And is one of 40 bottles drawn after ageing for 60 years in sherry casks.

Thanks for joining me here on "CNN Newsroom." I'm Max Foster and London. "Early Start" is next.