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U.S. Hits 84 Of 85 Targets In Iraq And Syria; U.S. Secretary of State Blinken Heading To Middle East; El Salvador's Bukele Claims Landslide Win Before Official Results Announced; Namibia Swears In New President After Geingob's Death; Forest Fires Raging In Chile Kill At Least 112; Pregnant Women in Gaza Suffering as Hostilities Escalate; GOP Governors Show Support for Texas Border Safety Plan; Fans Angered after Superstar Sits Out Hong Kong Friendly; 66th Grammy Awards. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 01:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Ahead here on CNN Newsroom, U.S. President Joe Biden says strikes on Iranian-backed rebels have been successful and will continue. Well, one expert says is next for the U.S. response to tension in the Middle East.

And the man who caught himself the world's coolest dictator, has just declared victory in El Salvador's election. What it could mean for the country's ongoing issues with public safety.

Plus, California is getting slammed with heavy rain and wind. We'll break down the unique weather system and get a look at conditions on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from Atlanta. This is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: Well, the Pentagon says its airstrikes in Iraq and Syria over the weekend were successful. Two U.S. defense officials say preliminary battle damage assessment of the strikes show 84 of 85 targets were destroyed or damaged, and there are no indications that any Iranians were killed.

U.S. Central Command released this new video of the weekend strikes in Yemen shows missiles launched from two U.S. destroyers and fighter jets taking off from USS Eisenhower. When asked if the strikes against Iranian-backed groups are working, President Joe Biden simply said yes.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on his way to the Middle East. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Tel Aviv with more on the trip and Blinken's agenda?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's certainly no shortage of issues for the secretary of state to address as he spends the next four days in this region. It comes against the backdrop of U.S. strikes against key Iranian proxies in Iraq, Syria, as well as Yemen, and also against the backdrop of major progress over the last couple of weeks towards working towards that next hostage release deal. That hostage release deal will be a major priority for the secretary of state as he visits not only Israel, but also Doha, Qatar, as well as Cairo, Egypt.

We know that the Egyptians and the Qataris have been key mediators, and he is coming as Hamas has been reviewing this broad framework proposal that Israel, the United States, Egypt and Qatar have agreed to and presented to Hamas. And so it's very possible that Hamas's response to that proposal could come while the secretary of state is in the region.

But there's no question that he will also be focused on trying to provide the counterbalance to what we saw over the weekend, and that is that U.S. military response strikes against Iranian proxies in Iraq, Syria, as well as Yemen, trying to balance that military response, which the United States views as necessary, with a similar diplomatic approach to try and prevent these conflicts in the region from spiraling out of control into an all out regional war.

In particular, as the United States has made clear that it does not want and it is not seeking a war with Iran. But beyond the short term immediate challenges that the secretary of state will face, he is still keeping his eye on the ball on the longer term problems in the region.

Now, beyond those critical immediate issues, the secretary of state also looking longer term as well, and that's why he's starting off this trip in Saudi Arabia as he tries to push forward this notion of Saudi-Israel normalization as part of a broader effort to try and turn this conflict between Israel and Hamas into a potential opportunity to establish a new normal in the region, to try and create a pathway for a Palestinian state.

That is very much where the United States is focused at the moment as it looks longer term. But, of course, it faces major challenges nowhere more perhaps than right here in Israel, where the Israeli prime minister has repeatedly made clear that he is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. That will be a major diplomatic challenge for the secretary of state to confront in this region this week. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Tel Aviv.


KINKADE Well, earlier I spoke with retired U. S. Army General Joseph Votel about the situation they're facing. Here's part of that conversation.


GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL (RET.), FORMER U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: I think what we're looking at right now is perhaps the most complex time that we've seen in the Middle east. With the conflict ongoing in Gaza, with reaction from Iran through their Iranian threat network, with the activity down in the Red Sea and around the Almandev, with commercial shipping and military shipping be attacked, and with the general unrest that is across the region right now.


I think this is one of the most complex times that I've seen in the region.

KINKADE: So General, what concerns you most right now, is it a possible escalation? Is it an increased threat to us troops or a possible miscalculation?

VOTEL: Well, I think it's all three of those. The one thing I've obviously been thinking about for a number of weeks now has been a miscalculation, much like we saw with the strike last week or the attack last week on Tower 22 that resulted in the deaths of three of our army reservists and wounded dozens more there. This is a good example of how things can very quickly spiral out of control in the region.

Fortunately, I think our administration has exercised some patience in terms of responding to this. And now our response to this, I think, has been very deliberate and very focused on the areas where we have been having the most challenges, from the so called access of resistance in Iraq and Syria and, of course, down in the Red Sea area in Yemen.

KINKADE: Of course, General, for months U.S. forces have come under attack by various militant groups in the region, all backed by Iran. The groups claim to be doing it in support of Palestinians, but they are, of course, backed by Iran. What are Iran's objectives here?

VOTEL: Well, I think Iran has several objectives in the region. First and foremost, they want to preserve their regime and power. The second thing is they want to destroy Israel. And then third, they want to expel the United States and other western countries from the Middle East so that they can pursue their hegemonic objectives.

So, those are the three broad strategic objectives that Iran has. And the way that they've chosen to do this has largely been through this access of resistance, or as sometimes we refer to as the Iranian threat network, which consists of these proxy organizations that literally operate across the region and do their bidding at the behest of Tehran.

KINKADE: And just finally, general, the U.S. has spoken about this multi-tiered response. What do you think comes next for the U.S.?

VOTEL: Well, again, I think, as the national security advisor said on the media today, he indicated that were still at the beginning of this and that some of these responses would be responses that would be seen and some would be unseen. So I think the next tier of this could be perhaps some of the unseen

activities. This could be cyber activities, this could be economic activities, things that aren't as ballistic or as kinetic and as easily to identify, but which will have a significant impact.

I think what's important for the United States is to bring all elements of its national power to bear. Whether we've seen military, we need to see diplomatic, we need to see informational, we need to see economic power being wielded here as well to make sure that we create the effect that we want against Iran.


KINKADE: Well, a diplomatic source tells CNN that the U.N. Security Council is expected to meet in the coming hours to discuss the U.S. and U.K. airstrikes in the Middle East. Russia called for the meeting saying the strikes were a, quote, blatant act of U.S.-British aggression against sovereign states. This, as Russia will soon mark two years since its invasion of Ukraine.

Well, the votes from El Salvador's presidential election are being counted as we speak, but preliminary results show the country's former strongman president taking a commanding lead. Nayib Bukele announced himself the winner hours ago. He's faced little organized opposition in the race and he has extremely high approval ratings due in part to his crackdown on violence and criminal gangs. Human rights groups accuse his government of having detained and tortured innocent people.

Bukele defends his record, comparing the mass arrests to chemotherapy to cure the, quote, cancer of gangs.

Will Freeman is a Fellow for Latin American studies with the Council on Foreign Relations and joins us now from San Salvador. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So, Nayib Bukele, who calls himself the world's coolest dictator, has declared himself the winner of this presidential election. What do we know so far about voter turnout and the results?

FREEMAN: Well, it looks like voter turnout was fairly strong and the results gave Bukele a commanding mandate. What we know so far from exit polls is that he seems to have walked away with 85 percent of the vote.


The opposition cobbling together between several different candidates, less than 15 percent, and that his party new ideas also went from having a commanding majority in the legislature to now holding 58 out of 60 seats. It's a landslide unlike any we've seen in Latin America in the last decade.

KINKADE: And so, Will, let's break down some of his policies because he's cracked down on gangs, and his willingness to lock people up and ask questions later has been heavily criticized, though he continues to defend his policies while admitting that he has made some mistakes.

FREEMAN: That's right. I mean, let's put this in context. In 2015, El Salvador was the deadliest country in the world for years. At that point, it had been dominated by two very powerful gangs which had worked their way inside political institutions, inside parts of the police, and which seemed like a challenge no president could get a hold on.

Bukele comes into office. Violence had been decreasing, but then, under his watch, it decreased dramatically. Now, I think that has to do with his iron fisted security policies for sure. He put one in 45 Salvadorans in jail. There was hardly a shred of due process, and certainly there are many thousands of innocent people who've probably been swept up in the anti-gang crackdown. But at the same time, even Bukele's critics have acknowledged that he has virtually destroyed the gangs.

The days I've spent here in San Salvador talking to security experts, talking to current and former members of the security forces, no one really believes that the gangs now have the power to come back. And I think that's what has created Bukele, such a powerful bottom up mandate why virtually everyone I've met walking around San Salvador talking to people on the street did plan to vote for him and is overall happy with the achievements in terms of security, even when they recognize they've come at a pretty tremendous cost to civil liberties and rights.

KINKADE: And as you pointed out, El Salvador was one of the most violent countries in the world. Just how safe is it now compared to other countries in the region?

FREEMAN: Well, the government says that this year, 2023, or the past year, the homicide rate fell to 2.4 out of 100,000. That's just above Canada's. It's below that of the United States. Now, some opposition voices question those numbers and whether the government has been fully transparent about the murder rate and about crime rates.

But I can tell you, talking to many different people here, that certainly it's safer than most any Latin American country I've spent time in recently. Again, I want to underscore that has come at a tremendous cost to the country's democracy and rights. But it's undeniable today, the country is quite safe.

KINKADE: We know that Amnesty International has said that 750,000 people have been arrested under emergency measures. Given that he's already admitted that he has made some mistakes in the past, what can we expect from another presidential term?

FREEMAN: That's right, 75,000. It's a whopping number. And I think Bukele has admitted once or twice that he's made mistakes, but overall he denies that his government has been at all in the wrong. I just came back from the presidential palace watching his victory speech, and the dominant theme was not, we're going to learn from mistakes and move forward, focus on our successes, double down on them. In fact, it was everyone who's criticized his government and El

Salvador is in the wrong, was actually favoring the continuation of violence in the country. So it was really a vengeful speech. And I think it shows you that he doesn't accept and he does not take to heart criticisms of any of his government policies. Now, what's coming ahead? The elephant in the room is the economy.

While the Bukele government in its first term undoubtedly achieved major security improvements, it cannot say the same of the economy. Not only are there the long standing issues for El Salvador, slow growth, the fact that the economy cannot create enough well-paying jobs for the country's inhabitants, or the fact that it's one of the countries in Latin America which receives the least foreign direct investment as a percent of GDP.

But there's also a new issue, and that's that El Salvador's debt is getting out of control. Bukele has pursued populist economic policies that have put the government further and further into debt, and it's looking like the country's cruising towards a default on its debt this year if it doesn't work out a deal with the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, to find some source of financing.

So we'll see what deal gets made, if a deal gets made. Sources in the government have told me that they are not willing to accept many of the IMF's current conditions, so we'll have to see which side budges. But I think the economy will be what everyone's watching and what ordinary Salvadorans are going to be feeling more and more in the pocketbook.

KINKADE: Will Freeman, excellent to get your perspective on all of that. Thanks so much for joining us.

FREEMAN: Thanks for having me on.


KINKADE: Well, police and protesters clashed in Senegal Sunday, a day after the country's president announced that he would postpone a vote to his replacement.

Pro-democracy demonstrators set up barricades in the capital city, Dakar, and police responded with tear gas. Elections were scheduled to take place February 25, but President Macky Sall has put that on hold, saying a conflict over the candidate list must be cleared up first. Opposition groups call that, quote, an institutional coup. Protesters saying that they fear democracy is at stake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are only defending ourselves. He meddles with the constitution. He meddles with the newspapers. He meddles with the population. He does everything he can to put us in a difficult position. I say it and I repeat it once again, we are not fighting for a simple cause. We are fighting for freedom.


KINKADE: Well, in the coming hours, lawmakers will debate whether to hold the election in August and whether to keep Mr. Sall in power until then.

In Namibia, former vice president Nangolo Mbumba has been sworn in as the country's new leader. Just hours after President Hage Geingob died while receiving treatment for cancer. Mbumba appealed to the nation to remain calm and collected as he paid tribute to the late president.


KOTOKENI SHIMBINDJA, LOCAL RESIDENT: He believed in equality. He believed in peace. He believed in all these qualities that human beings should actually live. And I just think that I remember him for all these great things that he have done and also saving our country, liberating it. And he played a very major role to liberate Namibia and the whole Africa in general.


KINKADE: Well, joining us now is CNN's Larry Madowo in Nairobi. Good to see you, Larry.

So we are seeing two very different stories play out in Africa, one with a peaceful transition of power and another with a lack of transition altogether.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It was a very important weekend for democracy in Africa that speaks to the journey of this constitutional order across the continent, but also some of the challenges, starting Saturday with the decision by President Macky Sall of Senegal to shock the nation and the world by postponing this election.

We know the background here is that there's been some concern that the popular opposition candidate, Ousmane Sonko was not allowed to buy in this election. There's been protests, especially by his supporters, who feel that this was a political decision to bar him from running even after President Macky Sall said he would not be running in that election, which many people wanted. The blocking of Ousmane Sonko from being on that ballot has been a major issue in Senegal.

And now in the hours ahead, we're waiting to hear from the National Assembly there about if they will decide to host this election later in the year, maybe in August, and if President Macky Sall can stay until then. We saw these protests on Sunday on the streets of Dakar from many people who -- I've been to Senegal many times, and the people of Senegal are very happy of their constitutional democracy. They're very happy that nobody gets to serve more than two terms. You serve your time like (INAUDIBLE), and then you move on.

On the other hand, you see this development out of Namibia in southern Africa, where President Hage Geingob dies and within a few hours, his vice president is sworn in as the next president, and he promises that he will not be standing in the election in November. He's going to suffer the rest of his time and no more. In fact, this

new president said his ambition was to be a school principal, and he already achieved that. Watch.


NANGOLO MBUMBA, NAMIBIAN PRESIDENT: I have to thank the Namibian people for the honor they have bestowed on me to be their president for a short period of time. I'm not going to be around for the elections, so don't panic. You are telling yourself already stories. I will be serving you for the remainder of Dr. Geingob's team of office.


MADOWO: That's an extraordinary statement coming from the man who's just been sworn in to serve the rest of Dr. Hange Geingob's term. He's 82, and so that's obviously in the minds of some people. Africa is a very young country.

But the fact that he's saying that speaks to the maturity of Namibia's democracy, that they can have this peaceful transition and he can say, I will only serve the rest of the term and the process should continue. Other people should run for president.

In fact, the woman he appointed as the deputy, as the vice president will likely be the candidate for the ruling party in those elections in November. So, a lot to watch here in this part of the world with the developments out of Senegal, but also the promising developments out of Namibia, where the constitutional democracy, the order, stood. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Larry Madowo for us in Nairobi, Kenya. Thanks for staying across both of stories.


Well, still ahead, deadly wild fires sweeping through Chile. We'll have the details of the dangerous conditions firefighters and the public are facing.


KINKADE: Take a look at this vision filmed by firefighters driving through a fire in central Chile as the nation battles devastating historic wildfires. So far, at least 112 people have been killed, a state of emergency has been declared and tens of thousands of hectares have been burned. Right now, there are 161 active fires across the country. More now from CNN's Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Residents run for their lives in Chile. Firefighters wave them forward, away from the ferocious flames burning behind them. Witnesses say it was a terrifying night. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There was smoke. The sky

turned black. Everything was dark. The wind felt like a hurricane. It was like being in hell.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Daylight didn't bring much relief. Neighborhoods were still smoldering when some residents returned to find their homes gutted, workshops ruined, and some people reported seeing bodies lying in the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Look, there is nothing left of my house. Nothing as you can see. The neighbor across the street could not leave. He burned to death because he did not want to leave, to abandon his house.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Many of those who did evacuate were trapped in traffic jams on highways, with burning ashes raining down on their vehicles. Chilean officials say it's one of the deadliest wildfires on record in the country, and many of the fires are still active, with tens of thousands of hectares of land burned in the south and central parts of the country.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric has declared a state of emergency and deployed additional military units to help battle the flames. A curfew is also in place in some towns to allow authorities to focus on battling the blazes and to bring in emergency supplies.

But the losses are just beginning to be counted. A popular botanical garden has been raised and some residents say many areas near it have yet to be reached by emergency services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): So far, no one has come. We're alone here in the middle of nowhere. You can see how the house has been abandoned, totally disintegrated. We need them to come and remove the bodies of our relatives. That's all we ask.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Authorities say extremely hot temperatures are complicating conditions to fight the fires. At least one person has been detained so far in connection with the blazes.


Who officials say was doing welding work when a fire accidentally broke out and spread to nearby grasslands. Patrick Oppmann, CNN.


KINKADE: Here in the U.S., nearly 1 million people are without power after a storm lashed California with heavy rain and strong winds. Some cities are reissuing evacuation orders for low lying areas. At least one regional airport was shut down because of flooding.

Well, California's government has -- governor has declared a state of emergency in nearly 15 percent of its counties. The National Weather Service says flashed flood warnings are in effect for parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Baths as city leaders are urging residents to get off the roads. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN BASS, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: Let me be clear. This storm is a serious weather event. This has the potential to be a historic storm, severe winds, thunderstorms and even brief tornadoes. If you are not home already, please get home and stay home. Stay off the roads. Make tonight a Sunday night dinner, our family game night.


KINKADE: That sounds nice. We're getting more images, though, of the damage the storm has unleashed on central and southern California. You can see uprooted trees lining the streets and of course, landing on some cars.

The National Weather Service says the wind gusts that are leading to all of this destruction could reach speeds in some areas of nearly 90 miles an hour. We're joining us now CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis with the very latest. So just how bad could things get, Karen?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Lynda, from all that we see now, all the information really points this as one of the strongest storm systems that we have seen so far this year with multi-atmospheric river events. But this one is exceptionally powerful. And all of the language that we hear is fairly dire. There could be dangerous flooding, which we are seeing here.

This is just about 25 miles to the south of San Luis Obispo. And this gentleman is being offered a ladder by Cal Tran people who have offered him this ladder because his vehicle is just about submerged in these floodwaters. This is just at the beginning of the flooding that is taking place. But not just flooding. We're also looking at significant snowfall across the mountains.

Now, those snow levels are moving up because this is warm moisture that's moving in across this region, but it is being fueled by a very deep area of low pressure. We have seen wind gusts right around the San Francisco Bay Area in that general vicinity, gusting up to category two hurricane strength.

And in southern California, in Malibu, they're saying that all of the canyon roads leading out of Malibu are impassable. They're closed because of mud and rock slides. This is very dangerous. This is only going to get worse because we do have severe flooding that is predicted across this region.

Take a look at some of the peak wind gusts that we've seen all the way from like maybe tropical storm force winds, San Francisco airport, 58 miles an hour wind gusts, the 60 miles an hour, that's about 100 international viewers. But there we can see 102 miles per hour winds.

Now, they're not sustained. They're not going to be sustained at that, but we're looking at an event that will be over the next 24 to 48 hours. That's a long time for a powerful storm system like this to be impacting the state of California. Not exclusively, but a lot of those areas, those counties in the coastal regions and interior sections. Take a look at some of these rainfall totals already one to five

inches already on top of the three, four and five inches of rainfall that we saw last week with another atmospheric river.

Now you're going to see some of these power outages. These numbers are going to be fluctuating quite a bit. Right now we have just under 800,000 across the state of California. These numbers will go up, they will go down. The high wind is going to be problematic. The trees down will be problematic.

There is going to be a lot that is going to be of concern over the next several days. The center of the low is still off the coast of northern California, but that water, that fire hose of water, which is fairly warm but it's copious, is impacting these regions across Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara county, major counties with high populations are going to be impacted.

And we have an area across southern California for Los Angeles where there is an excessive rainfall risk that is high. We rarely see this, but the impact from this could be devastating. Now, I'll be back at the top of the hour in the next hour to bring you more information. Back to you, Lynda.


KINKADE: Thanks, Karen. Hopefully everyone listens to authorities and stays indoors, stays home. Thanks so much.

Well, we are learning more about a long awaited border deal here in the U.S. But some Republicans are already saying that its dead-on- arrival. More on that next.


KINKADE: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us.

Dozens of people were killed, several others injured, in Israeli airstrikes across Gaza in the past 48 hours. This video obtained by CNN shows the destruction at a mosque in central Gaza on Sunday. A doctor there saying at least 14 people were killed.

It comes after another Israeli strike killed at least 17 people in Rafah on Saturday. The Israel Defense Forces say they rated the southern Gaza offices of a Hamas military leader, brother of a key Hamas leader Israel claims to be the master mind of the October 7th terror attacks.

The IDF says the raid targeted a compound which served as a facility for Hamas to train terrorists for the attacks.

Well as the humanitarian condition in Gaza deteriorates the situation is especially dire for pregnant women. The World Health Organization says at least 15 percent are likely to experience pregnancy or birth- related complications. And as most hospitals have been destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, many women are having to give birth in shelters, tents, or even amid the rubble.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh explains.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Born into this world, all alone, no parents by her side.

And stranger's touch for the baby with no name delivered by C-section last month to a mother already gone, fatally injured in an explosion.

She's been in an incubator since, stable now, but still fragile, doctors say.

She's one of the nearly 20,000 born into this ward. Every 10 minutes, a baby is born in Gaza, the U.N. says. Gaza is where the blessings of life are now a curse.

Umm Yazan is five months pregnant. Like most Gazans, her family is homeless. This the toilets of a school turned shelter is where they live.

"This is our life in the toilets, Umm Yazan says. We lay our mattresses and sleep here."


KARADSHEH: Umm Yazan and her husband can hardly feed their children. There's not enough for their unborn child.

"I'm in my fifth month craving foods, but there's no food, no flower, nothing," she says. She's not had her iron supplements, not even a checkup in months.

"We wanted to check if there's a heartbeat, but there are no hospitals. They're only dealing with emergencies," she says. There are no scans to see if the baby's alive or not. Life is nonexistent for pregnant women."

Gaza's few remaining hospitals are overwhelmed with a seemingly endless flood of war casualties. There's no chance of carrying out routine care. And the estimated 50,000 pregnant women and their unborn babies are left out in the cold.

Their already precarious situation before the war, now dramatically worse.

About 40 percent of all pregnancies are now high risk, aid groups say. Miscarriages, stillbirths preterm labor and maternal mortality are much more likely.

For first-time mothers like Hiyam (ph), the excitement is overshadowed by this miserable existence that's now her life, soon to be her baby's.

"Being pregnant with your first child should be nice. You eat, you rest, you sleep, but I didn't get any of that," Hiyam says. Instead, she's had to flee several times, taking shelter in overcrowded hospitals, walking miles, searching for safety.

"After walking for many hours, I was exhausted", she says. "The baby was very weak. They told me I should be staying in the hospital but there was no room so I have to leave.

She's now in this tent sleeping on a sand floor.

"How will I give birth in war? When I have nothing for the baby. No formula, no diapers. We're in a tent and it's very cold for us. What would life be like for a tiny baby born into these conditions?"

Its house (ph), this burnt-out classroom in what's left of northern Gaza, the only shelter Nujood could find. She barely made it through the bombardment and labor, struggling to keep her newborn healthy, clean and warm.

"We want to clean the classroom. But there's no disinfectant," Nujood says. "There's no healthcare, no clinics, no vaccination for the baby."

War has separated Nujood from her husband. She's only been able to reach him once when she told him they had a baby girl, Habiba. Nujood's mother spends her days trying to find what she can to feed her daughter.

"This is my first grandchild. It's supposed to be happiness", she says. "But I couldn't celebrate. I wanted to prepare so many things for her to celebrate her arrival. My precious first granddaughter, she didn't even get the new clothes I bought her."

It's never been harder to be a mother in Gaza. All you can do is hold your baby tight and hope you both survive this nightmare.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN -- London.


KINKADE: Well Jordan and the Netherlands say they add dropped aid into a Gaza hospital Sunday. The Royal Jordanian Air Force worked with the Dutch Air Force to successfully deliver medical supplies and other aid to a Jordanian field hospital in the north of Gaza. The Jordanian Armed Forces say the aid was delivered using GPS guided parachutes.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he strongly supports the border bill that was unveiled by senators Sunday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed out that it includes critical aid for Ukraine and Israel.


SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This bill is vital, vital to America's future interests.

Ukraine would be run over by Putin if we don't get aid in this bill, Israel needs to defend itself against Hamas with the aid in this bill. Palestinian civilians need food to prevent them from starvation that is in this bill. And we fix the border problem in this bill.


KINKADE: Before the details even came out, House Speaker Mike Johnson attacked the border deal as too weak and signaled that the package would be dead on arrival in the House.

A group of Republican governors from across the U.S. traveled to Texas on Sunday to show support for Governor Greg Abbott's border safety plan.

Texas authorities have denied access for border patrol agents to areas where they have installed razor wire. Abbott claims it's because the Biden administration is not enforcing immigration laws. He called President Bidens border policies catastrophic.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): To be clear from the very beginning AND to this moment, they have access to the boat ramp and I have access to the razor wire area if anybody whose life is in danger.

On top of that, however, the area where we are is an area where the federal government was using to further criminal activities.


ABBOTT: They were involved in violating the federal laws of the United States of America on this land. We will not allow this land to be used for illegal purposes.


KINKADE: Well, it's not clear what Governor Abbott was referring to in those allegations about criminal activity.

CNN's Rosa Flores has more from Eagle Pass, Texas.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eagle Pass looks like a warzone.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordering miles of razor wire placed along the Rio Grande and around a public park to block migrants, like this group of Venezuelans, from entering the U.S. They are trying to turn themselves in to immigration authorities.

Texas shutting down 2.5 miles of border in Maverick County and denying U.S. border patrol access.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Texas very simply is securing the border. FLORES: County sheriff Tom Schmerber says that Texas takeover puts

local officials in a tough spot.

TOM SCHMERBER, COUNTY SHERIFF: It's creating some kind of a problem for us because we cannot get like in the middle.

FLORES: The weeks' long standoff between Texas and the Biden administration over command and control of the border in Eagle Pass has turned into a partisan rally cry.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): And now it's as bad as it's ever been at the southern border.

FLORES: Dozens of Republican governors and attorneys general from around the nation and former president Donald Trump side with Texas.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to express our thanks to Governor Greg Abbott.

FLORES: House Speaker Mike Johnson also said, "I stand with Governor Abbott."

He and House Republicans blame Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for the ongoing border crisis.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Thats why Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is going to be impeached.

FLORES: House Republicans looking to keep the focus on Mayorkas instead of new legislation. The last time Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform, it was 1986 and Ronald Reagan was president.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The most comprehensive reform on immigration laws since 1962.

FLORES: And while a bipartisan group of senators are pushing for a border deal now, the bill appears to be dead on arrival in the House. Much of it due to the strong opposition from former president Donald Trump.

TRUMP: This is a terrible bill, terrible bill for our country.

FLORES: Sheriff Schmerber, from his neighborhood in Eagle Pass is calling out Trump for lobbying against a bill that both parties say is the toughest border security legislation in decades.

Would you blame President Trump if the deal doesn't go through?

SCHMERBER: Yes. Because it's going to hurt us, you know. I see that as political. President Trump, this is self-interest.

FLORES: Magali Urbina, Republican with riverfront property in Eagle Pass that is lined with razor wire, says the border deal falls short of fixing the issue.

Former President Trump has been lobbying against that bill. Do you agree with him?

MAGALI URBINA, EAGLE PASS, TEXAS RESIDENT: I do agree with him. Actually, I believe that when trump was president, having them remain in Mexico, I think that helps.

FLORES: Meanwhile, in Eagle Pass standoffs like these -- between the group of Venezuelan migrants already on U.S. soil and state police --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to return to Mexico.

FLORES: -- are daily occurrences that don't stop illegal immigration. Instead, just delay it for a few hours or a few days.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott hosted about a dozen governors from across the country here in Eagle Pass in Shelby Park, inside the takeover zone, the zone that was taken over by the state of Texas a few weeks ago.

And what's extraordinary about this visit is that Governor Abbott and these governors are advocating for states for states to enforce immigration policy. Now, what's extraordinary about that is that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld that immigration is a federal function.

Rosa Flores, CNN -- Eagle Pass, Texas.


KINKADE: Well, Mexico's president spoke with Biden about the border crisis in a phone call Saturday. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador broader says any U.S. legislation that ignores the root causes of migration is doomed to fail. He added that Mexico was pumping many resources into addressing the migration issue, but didn't go into any other detail.

Still to come --


GERARDO TATA MARTIONO, INTER MIAMI HEAD COACH: We understand the disappointment people have and we apologize to them.


KINKADE: Outrage in Hong Kong after football surface Lionel Messi stayed on the bench during a match.

That story and much more after a short break.



KINKADE: You can see there, fans booing in Hong Kong when football superstar Lionel Messi failed to take the pitch during a match between his Inter Miami team and a group of local stand outs.

The Hong Kong government said the event's organizer Tatler owes fans an explanation for Messi's failure to play.

Tatler expressed its extreme disappointment but denied any pre-game knowledge why the World Cup champion wouldn't fight.

Inter Miami's coach said Messi and another player sat out their injuries.


MARTINO: This decision was a decision taken together with the medical team. We were running the risk of aggravating their injuries and that's why they couldn't be part of the match.

We understand the disappointment people have, and we apologize which of them, but hopefully they can understand that if we had any chance, they could have played even briefly, we would have done it.

But the risk was too serious. So that's why we took that decision with the medical team.


KINKADE: Well, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout was there at the match and filed this report.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Hong Kong, no-show on the pitch for the Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi. And the fans here are disappointed.

What was initially cheers in the stands here in Hong Kong stadium turned into jeers, boos even chants of "where is Messi" and "refund, refund, refund". Some 40,000 fans here in Hong Kong clamored for the opportunity to see Lionel Messi play with this team Inter Miami for pre-season friendly against a Hong Kong squad.

This was Inter Miami's first ever international tour. Its co-owner David Beckham, also here adding to the football star power. But when Lionel Messi failed to get up from the bench, the mood inside the stadium soured and the fans have been leaving utterly crushed and disappointed.

Joining me now is a super fan here in Hong Kong of Lionel Messi, Krister Leone (ph), lot of people disappointed tonight. How are you feeling?

KRISTER LEONE, LIONEL MESSI FAN: Disappointed. Just like everyone is. Yes, very disappointed. We really wanted to see him even for five minutes.

STOUT: Really disappointed. You named your son after Lionel Messi. You paid for the ticket. How much did you pay for your ticket?

LEONE: Like $2,300. Yes -- Hong Kong dollars.

STOUT: So that's about $300, right?

LEONE: Yes. Yes. Very disappointed. And most people are its really, it started with -- the disappointment started from yesterday, I think with the training session because that was not cheap either. That was $100.

So then today, you know, we really like we saw the signs right. He wasn't on the substitutes list actually and he was dressed in full tracksuit so we were -- we were praying for good, but hope -- we're expecting the worst, I think, a little bit.

STOUT: Your prayers weren't answered, Krister, so sorry. Thank you for joining us.

LEONE: Thank you.

STOUT: Now, the Hong Kong government, they were really hoping that an event like this would turn Hong Kong into a hub for mega events to help drive tourism and help to reboot the economy.

But for all the fans that showed up tonight it was never about the economy. It was always about the beautiful game. It was about football. It was about seeing their hero, Lionel Messi on the pitch. But that was a dream that was ultimately denied.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN -- Hong Kong



KINKADE: Well, FIFA says the 2026 World Cup final will be held at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The five-and-a-half- week tournament will play out in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico kicking off in Mexico City on June 11 of 2026.

For the first time in its history, this World Cup will feature 48 countries up from the usual 30 that participate.

Well, the PGA tour has canceled the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament in California because of that extreme weather we've been talking about. And they declared a winner of the shortened tournament, 30-year-old Wyndham Clark.

Clark shot a course record 60 to move into the lead Saturday. It's his third career tour win. The final round of play had originally been postponed until Monday. But because the ongoing severe weather, PGA officials canceled it out of an abundance of caution.

Well, still to come show-stopping performances and history-making moments at the Grammy Awards. We'll have all the details when we come back.


KINKADE: Well, we have more details in the intense flooding in California. The National Weather Service warning that flash flood warnings are still perfect for millions of people.

In parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas that threat of severe flooding includes the area where the Grammy Awards took place. A weather advisory says there is a risk of flash flooding in urban areas, highways, streets, and underpasses and debris flows could consist of rocks and mudslides.

Well, the biggest night in music has just wrapped up the 66 Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift again broke another record and there was an unexpected arrest.

After winning three Grammys, rapper Killer Mike was handcuffed and arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge. That's according to Los Angeles police. He has since been released according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

But here is the big winner of the night.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: My brand-new album comes out April 19. It's called "The Tortured Poets' Department". I'm going to go and post the cover right now backstage.

Thank you. I love you. Thank you.


KINKADE: Taylor Swift there announcing a brand-new album during one of her many acceptance speeches. She also won Album of the Year for a record fourth time. She's the only artist to win the category that many times, surpassing Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.

And crowds gave a standing ovation to singer Tracy Chapman, early in the night for a rare public performance.


KINKADE: Chapman and country artist Luke Combs performed her 1988 hit "Fast Car". Combs' cover of that song last year hit number two on the Billboard 100.

Earlier I spoke with music writer and analyst Bob Lefsetz about the headline-grabbing moments of the night.



BOB LEFSETZ, MUSIC WRITER AND ANALYST: TMZ has now have some information. They say it was a citizen's arrest. It was about pushing a security guard. There's a disagreement as to whether that security guard fell or not. It was raining out. This is not a significant thing.

The funny thing is poor Mike won a couple of Grammys and this overshadows it.

In the hip hop world any altercation with the police is a plus side. This is a minor kerfuffle.

KINKADE: Fair enough.

Well, we have to talk about one of the biggest winners of the night. Taylor Swift adding to her Grammy collection. Interestingly, we have to point out that in 2010 after Taylor Swift performed at the Grammys, you wrote, "Taylor Swift can't sing." And you added that "Did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight? I'll argue, she did."

So are you eating your words today, given her career is soaring, she's breaking records, she's making records?

LEFSETZ: Couple of things here, a, I was wrong because the landscaping changed. Today, a faux pas is immediately forgotten and you have the narrow vertical of your fan base.

Never has anybody this big known by fewer people. You talk about the "Fast Car" Luke Combs duet, they pan to the audience. Everybody on the floor, which is (INAUDIBLE), was singing "Fast Car". There was not an equivalent with any other song.

Prior to the internet especially from the 80s and 90s, the MTV era, we had a monoculture so I challenge people in your office right now to see even one song from (INAUDIBLE), I am not making a judgment as to the quality.

It's just this was the problem with the show itself. It made it like we live in a monoculture when we do not, Th e overall market share of the so-called hits that Spotify top 50s actually going down.

So kudos to Taylor Swift. But you can ignore and live your life quite fine.

KINKADE: She of course, has one more number and she's had more number one albums than any other woman in history. Her Eras Tour is the highest growing tour ever of any artist.

And of course, she announced a new album tonight. So no doubt you're excited about that.

LEFSETZ: No, there are a couple of things. I thought that was also a faux pas. This is when the VMAs jump the shark. Then they were at Metropolitan Opera House and people started talking about their records.

I'm not saying the Grammys have that much gravitas, but she hijacked them to ill-effect. Her fans will be thrilled. Everybody else why did you have to rain on everybody's parade and hype yourself when everybody else is getting into the moment.


KINKADE: Well congrats to all the winners of the Grammys and Taylor Swift on another record.

I'm Lynda Kinkade.

Stay with us. More news after the break with Rosemary Church.