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CNN International: One Year Later, Survivors Struggle to Rebuild Their Lives from Turkey-Syria Earthquake; IDF Warns Civilians to Leave Parts of Gaza City, Khan Younis; Countdown to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired February 06, 2024 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with some of today's top stories.

Britain's King Charles III is postponing his public duties as he undergoes treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer. The palace says he will continue with state business and official paperwork, though.

The Nevada Republican primary is happening today, just two days before the state caucuses. Nikki Haley will be on the primary ballot, but Donald Trump will not.

But Trump is running in the caucus on Thursday and is widely expected to win the state's 26 delegates.

And the Philadelphia Eagles will play the NFL's first game in Brazil. The Eagles will kick off their regular season on September 6th in Sao Paulo. Their opponent hasn't been announced.

Tuesday marks one year since a series of devastating earthquakes leveled entire cities and villages in both Turkey and Syria, killing more than 55,000 people. Hundreds marked the grim anniversary in Hatay, Turkey on Monday. A choir of singers bringing people to tears. Many who lost homes and loved ones in this tragedy are still struggling to pick up the pieces. As CNN's Scott McLean reports.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On February 6th last year, people around the world said prayers for Turkey. Five and a half days later, they witnessed this miracle. Sezai Karabas and his then six-year-old daughter, Sengul, somehow pulled out of the rubble without a scratch.

My house was here, he shows us. Even we didn't know how we survived. It was cold, we had no food or water, but God gave us strength.

But Karabas is not as lucky as he seems. His wife and four-year-old son were killed.

On one hand, he says, you feel happiness. On the other, you feel sadness. I didn't know if they made it out, but deep down, I knew they probably hadn't.

One year on, signs of destruction are impossible to miss. Some streets still look like the earthquake happened yesterday. In most others, the destruction has been replaced by blocks of lifeless, empty lots. The rubble has mostly been cleared away, but mass reconstruction still seems a long way off.

Only a small fraction of the 650,000 homes the government promised to build have been finished.

MCLEAN: There are almost 700,000 people still living in hundreds of these sprawling container cities. They are basic. People have power and water, but not much else. It's all meant to be temporary, but you won't find many people here with any immediate plans to leave.

MCLEAN (voice-over): We're waiting for the government to give us an apartment, Ismail says. Until then, we don't have another place to go.


Beyond the destruction, the quake killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey alone. But some are still missing.

Cigdem Nur's brother, sister-in-law and niece were never found.

It's been a year and there's no trace of them, she says. I'd even settle for one cell. Imagine what it's like to envy someone who's found their relatives dead. My niece was six years old. Do you know how difficult it is to go to an orphanage and look for her every day?

In the seaside city of Iskenderun, Sema Gulec's 25-year-old son Batuhan was never found after his building collapsed that morning.

MCLEAN: Do you believe in your heart that your son is still alive?

MCLEAN (voice-over): I'll be waiting for him all my life, she says. Hoping. Deep down, I want a miracle to happen. Sometimes at night, I dream he shows up at my door.

Khaled Kassar is one of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. His house collapsed in the earthquake. It's now this empty lot. He had to move to a new city to find this tiny apartment. But there, his kids can't attend school because of a law that requires refugees to remain in the province they are officially registered in. Countless other kids are in the same boat.

MCLEAN: Are you worried about your children's futures?

MCLEAN (voice-over): My God, I worry a lot, he says. The last school year was wasted, this year was wasted, and I don't know what will happen with them. I don't know.


MCLEAN (on camera): So, Bianca, this is the historic, really ancient city center of Antakya. And you can see that many of the buildings here are just hanging on by a thread here. They are in desperate need of repair or replacement.

And this was an area where we are now that before had cafes, bars, restaurants, and it was also teeming with tourists. Even outside of the historic city center, though, many newer buildings, though, also collapsed on February 6th of last year. And that's why more than 250 builders have been convicted for violations of building codes. You have also seen plenty of outrage toward the local government for failing to enforce those building codes, which have now been on the books for well over 20 years.

So, the reality here, Bianca, is that the shaking last year may have only lasted for seconds, but the impact of this is going to last well beyond today. It will probably be felt for generations.

NOBILO: Indeed, that vista where you're walking tells such a sad story. Scott McLean in Antakya, Turkey, thank you very much.

In Germany, thousands protested against right-wing extremism in Frankfurt on Monday. The rally comes after weeks of nationwide demonstrations against the far-right Alternative for Germany party. The protests were prompted by a report that two senior party members had attended a meeting to discuss plans for the mass deportation of migrants and citizens of foreign origin. The AFD has denied that the proposal represents party policy.

In New Zealand, hundreds of protesters marched to the place where the country's founding document was signed back in 1840, and that is the town of Waitangi. Annual celebrations coincided with the rally against a proposed government policy that could dial back indigenous rights, as well as calls to review the Treaty of Waitangi. Demonstrators say it should remain as it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's way more, there's way more people here, and I think for the right purpose, to celebrate unity, to be one, and to remember that it was both Maori and the Crown that signed the Treaty.


NOBILO: The Conservative government also wants to undo policies that promote the Maori language.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new anti-smoking campaign targeting menthol cigarettes. A new series of ads highlights the particular dangers of menthols, a type of cigarette that has been heavily marketed to marginalized communities. The CDC says young people, members of racial, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ plus community are more likely to smoke menthols than other groups. The U.S. government is considering a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, but there's been no progress for months.

Voters in Paris have approved a proposal which will triple the parking fees for big cars and SUVs as the city aims to reduce air pollution and tackle the climate crisis. The proposal by the mayor's office asked citizens to decide whether there should be a specific parking rate for heavy and polluting vehicles.


More than 54 percent of Parisians supported it in a Sunday vote. Under the proposal, big cars, including electric vehicles, will now be charged $19 per hour to park in central Paris. The new rates are expected to go into effect on September 1st, if approved by local authorities.

The death toll from dozens of wildfires burning in Chile has risen to at least 123 people, with hundreds more missing. Two coastal cities popular with tourists are among the hardest hit, with many homes reduced to rubble. Chile's finance minister estimates the damage in one region alone will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The first comes in the midst of a summer heatwave, and scientists say that climate change and the El Nino weather pattern are only making these types of fire events worse. Chile's president says it's the deadliest disaster the country has faced in more than a decade.


GABRIEL BORIC, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The fire in Valparaiso is a serious emergency, the most catastrophic in our country since the earthquake of February 27th, 2010.


NOBILO: This just in, country singer Toby Keith has died after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 62. A statement on his website says he passed peacefully on Monday, surrounded by his family who asked for privacy.

Known for his hits, Red Solo Cup and I Wanna Talk About Me, Keith was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 and performed at the People's Choice Country Awards last year where he received the Country Icon Award.


TOBY KEITH, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: I should have been a cowboy I should have learned to road ride

In my six years riding my pony on a cabin drive Stealing a young girl's heart ...




NOBILO: The Israel Defense Forces is again calling on civilians to leave neighborhoods west of Gaza City and in Khan Younis to the south. And now there's fear of what could happen next on the ground in Rafah in Gaza's far south if Israeli troops reach the area and expand operations. Israel's defense minister says the head of Hamas is also on the run as troops advance on Rafah.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): We will continue this action and we will reach the places where we have not yet fought. In the center and south of the Gaza Strip. And especially in the last remaining center of gravity in the hands of Hamas. Rafah.


NOBILO: Elliott Gotkine is following developments and joins me now here in London. Elliott, first of all, tell us what you know about these new evacuation orders and what that might tell us about the state of the operation in Gaza.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: So, there's a couple of evacuation orders. One is for some neighborhoods west of Gaza City and the other is for a number of neighborhoods in Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. And I suppose we've seen this play out a number of times in this war since October the 7th in the sense that Israel issues these evacuation orders.

Now, the message doesn't always get through because of communications issues. Could be internet blackouts or whatnot. And even when it does get through, there may be the sense that, look, since nowhere in Gaza is safe anyway, why displace ourselves once more and go on the move somewhere else?

And right now, you've got the added issue of the weather. It's quite cold and wet right now. And some of those people who have been, who live in areas that have received their evacuation orders may take the view that it's better to remain where they are, where they've at least got some measure of shelter, rather than go to another place where they don't.

NOBILO: And as we were just reporting, there's a suggestion from Israel's defense minister. Is it more than a suggestion? Perhaps you can tell us that the head of Hamas is on the run.

GOTKINE: Well, I don't have any more intelligence than the Israeli defense minister, but that's what they are saying as they've been completing their operations. He says they've almost completed their operations in Khan Younis and then they will be targeting the last, in his words, remaining stronghold of Hamas in Rafah, whose population has ballooned about sixfold since October the 7th.

And satellite images show like a tent city with about a million people living there. So, there are concerns that if and when Israel does reach Rafah in terms of its ground operations, that we could see additional noncombatant casualties. We already know the death toll is over 25,000.

The Hamas-run health ministry gives out those figures, doesn't distinguish between civilians and combatants, but does say that the majority of those are women and children and concern that those noncombatant casualties could go higher. As for Yahya Sinwar, the defense minister is saying that he's on the

run up until now. We've been led to believe that he's hiding underground somewhere in the sprawling tunnel network of Hamas under Khan Younis.

The suggestion now seems to be that maybe he's in Rafah, but certainly according to the defense minister, he says that Sinwar is now on the run, moving from hideout to hideout and doesn't have any more contact with his fighters. Israel, also saying that it's killed or injured about half of all Hamas fighters. Now, Hamas has denied both of those claims by the Israelis.

All we do know right now is that the fighting is, if anything, intensifying in Khan Younis and Israel very much has its sights set on Rafah as it seeks to try to make it job done in the Gaza Strip.

NOBILO: Thank you, Elliott.

The countdown is on to Super Bowl 58. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have arrived in Las Vegas. And Travis Kelce, you all know who he is, right? Says the haters are no problem.


TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TIGHT END: You don't fire me at all. You make me want to play right now, baby. Wow! I'm not boos, but I love the cheers, baby. Keep on coming 9ers game. Keep on coming.




NOBILO: If you didn't already know, we are just five days away from Super Bowl 58. With Las Vegas hosting the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

Our Coy Wire is there and he spoke with some of the team's biggest stars.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: All right, welcome to opening night. The first ever Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Super Bowl 58 between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs have the opportunity to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did it 20 years ago. The 49ers, they're looking to have their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them for the most of any franchise in NFL history.

We caught up with the players to ask them their thoughts around the excitement about the first big game in Vegas.

KELCE: There's nobody that has a better show than Las Vegas, right? It's like the Mecca of the world for entertainment. And to be a part of the first one ever is pretty historical. So, I'm definitely -- I'm enjoying this ride, man. That's for damn sure.

BROCK PURDY, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK: You know, to play the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas and make some history and be a part of it, for me as a little kid, you want to play in the biggest and sweetest environment. I think this is up there. So, we played here last year for New Year's, and now we get to play for the Super Bowl, so it's pretty sweet.

GEORGE KITTLE, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS TIGHT END: I'm playing football in February. I have nothing to complain about. I'm in Las Vegas at the Super Bowl, playing football with my teammates for an extra week. There's only two teams doing it. I have nothing to complain about. We're in Vegas.

PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: We're in the spot in the world where you'd want to be playing this football game. But you just go out there and brace your nerves and just go out there and be who you are.


NOBILO: It's getting exciting. And if you don't want to watch for the game, maybe you'll watch for the halftime show. Usher is performing.

Football star Lionel Messi is in Tokyo now, saying that he regrets not being able to play in Hong Kong over the weekend. Messi mania swept over the city in the build-up to the game between his Inter-Miami team and a squad of Hong Kong standouts.


The mood, though, turned angry when fans realized that the World Cup champion wasn't going to play. Many fans booed and demanded a refund, but Messi says he was injured.


LIONEL MESSI, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER (through translator): Unfortunately, football things can happen in any game. We could have an injury. It happened to me, and I couldn't be in the Hong Kong game, and it's a shame because I always wanted to participate.


NOBILO: After staying on the bench in Hong Kong, Messi says he wants to play Wednesday in Tokyo, but he's not sure yet if he will be able to.

And the stories in the spotlight this hour. London's Somerset House is wishing a happy birthday to an utter icon. It's Hello Kitty's 50th anniversary. The museum is featuring her in an exhibit called Cute, which explores bright, cheerful, colorful objects and ideas in pop culture. But it also shows how cuteness can be used in insidious ways, like in propaganda for dictators, for example, or even to sell drugs. However, that's not what Hello Kitty is doing. She really is all about the cuteness. And finally, in Munich, a Swiss pianist was lifted into the air with

his illuminated grand piano and performed in an unusual vertical position.

He played a piece titled Winter Solstice, hanging from a crane as part of a piano vertical art project. Many spectators have gathered in the cold to watch him perform. He plans to perform every morning before sunrise for 182 days from solstice to solstice.

And as somebody who's recently started learning the piano, I am sufficiently impressed.

That does it here on the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. "EARLY START" is next. I will see you later on.