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Israel: Hamas Tunnels Under UNRWA Building; White House: Trump "Appalling And Unhinged"; Official Pakistan Election Results Are Now In; Studying The Oldest Ice On Earth. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 11, 2024 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes, live in Atlanta. Appreciate your company.
Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM:
Israel claims Hamas was working from just under UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza, but the head of the aid agency says it hasn't been there for months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The White House comments -- the comments the White House calls unhinged after Donald Trump tells NATO allies to pay more and says he wouldn't protect them from a Russian invasion if they don't.
And later, scientists drill into the oldest ice on Earth. Details on their findings, and why you should care.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Michael Holmes.
HOLMES: Israel is said to be preparing for a ground offensive in Rafah, that's the city where the Israeli military told Palestinians to flee to for safety, and we're now more than a million people are sheltering. But Israeli forces are already striking in Gaza's southern city. Medical officials in the Hamas-run enclave tell Palestinian news agency WAFA that airstrikes and shelling killed 25 people on Saturday, many of them women and children.
Elsewhere in Rafah, Israel says an airstrike killed two senior Hamas military leaders on Saturday, and Palestinian police say Israeli airstrikes killed at least five of their officers. It's not clear if the incidents are related.
It is also not clear when or if IDF ground operations will happen in Rafah, but there has been swift reaction to the possibility. Saudi Arabia warning Israel of the, quote, very serious repercussions of storming and targeting Rafah. The United Arab Emirate says serious humanitarian repercussions may result from the operation. And a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department says the U.S. would not support an Israeli military operation in Rafah, quote, without serious planning.
Meanwhile, Israel's foreign minister says the head of the U.N. relief agency should resign. That coming after Israel's claims that its troops found Hamas tunnel under the headquarters of the U.N. relief agency in Gaza. The Israeli military released this video, claiming to show the tunnel, including what Israel says was an electrical connection to UNRWA's headquarters. The head of the U.N. agencies as it left the building on October 12th after Israel ordered evacuations, and had no knowledge of what might have happened their since, nor of the tunnel's existence.
Journalist Elliott Gotkine live in London with more on all of this.
Elliott, let's start with Rafah and what we know about Israel's planning, and how strong the likelihood of it happening soon. The prime minister said before Ramadan.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, as far as the timescale goes, it's not just before Ramadan that Israel wants to do this operation, it wants to finish this operation by the time Ramadan begins on March 10th. So, in about a month's time.
It's unclear exactly when or how it plans to go in, we know that Prime Minister Netanyahu has directed the military to come up with a plan for the evacuation of Rafah, but we also know that it contains about half the population of the Gaza Strip, many of whom have been displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip. It's now four times bigger population-wise than it was, many people there feel literally and geographically that they have nowhere else to go.
So, there's a big concern. We've mentioned some of those concerns within the region and internationally from the Saudis, from the Emiratis, from the United States, United Kingdom also saying that it's greatly concerned. The EU's foreign policy chief warning of unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe if a ground operation takes place.
Israel's point, Israel's perspective is that you cannot have four battalions belonging to Hamas still present and still surviving this war if Israel is to be in a position to say that it's job done, that Israel has indeed -- that Hamas has indeed been dismantled, and that things can begin to move on there. But, of course, it's not just the concerns about the civilian population, it's not just concerns about Israeli troops, there's also concerns about the possibility of the Palestinians being displaced over the other side of the border into Egypt.
Now, there's a very big and impenetrable fence going along the border between Israel and Egypt, it would seem to be very hard to imagine Palestinians streaming across the border but certainly that is a concern and the Egyptians are adamant that it won't happen, as are other regional players as well.
So, quite when this operation happens or how Israel expects to be able to evacuate more than a million Palestinians are questions that we simply don't know the answer to just yet, Michael.
HOLMES: Yeah, and tell us more about what Israel is saying about what they called a data center under the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza. UNRWA says the tunnel, it's well below the headquarters, they say they didn't know anything about it, and they say now, tell us more about this data center.
GOTKINE: So, yeah, this is a data center that the IDF says it found directly underneath UNRWA's headquarters in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, not only directly underneath, the IDF says, but that there were cables going from the data center underneath to the UNRWA headquarters above, and indeed through its electricity from the UNRWA headquarters.
Now, as you say, the head of UNRWA has said that it had no idea what was going on beneath it, its building, it doesn't have the capability to investigate these kind of things and in the past when it has suspected that Hamas or others have been operating in or around its facilities, it has registered its protest.
But this also comes at the worst possible time for UNRWA, not only is it trying to satisfy the humanitarian needs of all of those displaced Palestinians, many of whom are in a desperate situation, but, of course, this also comes in the wake of those allegations by Israel but at least a dozen members of UNRWA were actively involved in the Hamas led terrorist attacks of October 7th. And as a result of that, many countries have suspended its funding to UNRWA.
Israel will hold this up as another piece of evidence to show that UNRWA is not fit for purpose and ought to be disbanded. UNRWA will say that it didn't have any knowledge of this, and it is the only game in town when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians and trying to satisfy their humanitarian needs -- Michael.
HOLMES: All right. Appreciate the update there, Elliott Gotkine, for us in London.
Now, we have more on the tragic, the horrific conclusion of a story many people worldwide have been following since last month. The little Palestinian girl who was trapped in a car with a dead relative after their vehicle came under Israeli fire. She's now been found dead.
CNN's Nada Bashir with more, a warning, viewers might find images in her report difficult to watch.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Five-year-old Hind Rajab, her playful voice cherished by all who knew here, but they will also be haunted by Hind's terrified pleas heard in his audio recording.
HIND RAJAB, 5-YEAR-OLD: Come take me. Will you come and take me? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want me to come and take you?
RAJAB: I'm so scared, please come!
BASHIR: Little Hind trapped in a car beside the bodies of her uncle, his wife, and their four children, all killed by Israeli fire, the Palestine Red Crescent says while attempting to flee fighting in northern Gaza. All contact with Hind and the ambulance crew does best rescue her lost just hours after her desperate call for help.
For 12 days, there was collective hope that Hind would be found alive. Her mother, desperate for her daughter's safe return, waited every day at the hospital gates. But now, that hope is lost.
She was in the car for 12 days. May God punish all those who could have helped her and did not, Wissam says. And what did the Red Crescent crew did to deserve this, to be burned and killed? Why did you execute them when their sole mission was to rescue Hind?
The deep tracks of Israeli tanks are still visible, leading to the car where Hind and her family members were killed. The car is clearly riddled with bullet holes, evidence of the horror this family faced, as documented in this harrowing call to the Red Crescent from Hind's teenage cousin, Leanne, moments before she and five of her family members were killed, leaving Hind alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are shouting at us. The tank is next to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you hiding?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, in the car. The tank is next to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you in the car?
BASHIR: Satellite images taken hours before that fateful call show Israeli military vehicles just 200 meters away from where the families car was found. The neighborhood was, at the time, under an Israeli military siege.
Just a short distance away, charred wreckage is all that is left of the Red Crescent ambulance dispatched to rescue Hind. Struck before it could reach her.
The ambulance came under bombardment and was left completely scorched, this emergency worker says. The remains of the two paramedics killed are found inside. A deliberate attack, the Palestine Red Crescent says, targeting the ambulance despite prior coordination with the Israeli military.
The IDF has since told CNN it is still looking into the incident.
In the wake of the Israeli military's withdrawal from this neighborhood, southwest of Gaza City, there is nothing left but destruction. Every day they set fire to apartments, through grenades and shot at
buildings, Mahanna says. They bombed all the buildings around us. We were inside. They could hear our screams. We saw death every minute.
After endless days in hiding, residents have emerged to search for their loved ones, but there are countless bodies to recover, here. This child was five years old, just like Hind. Now, he is one of the thousands killed in this brutal war.
Those who survived, like so many in Gaza, are left with only the most painful of memories.
Hind was martyred. My heart burns for her, her mother says. How many heartbroken mothers do you want? How many more children like hind need to be martyred? You have annihilated Gaza and its people. What else do you want?
Nada Bashir, CNN, Cairo.
HOLMES: Well, in Ukraine now, a family of five was killed after being trapped in a fire caused by a Russian drone strike on Kharkiv. They're among seven people who died when drones hit a fueled depot and set part of the neighborhood on fire. A 10-month-old and two other children were among the victims.
Meanwhile, Russia is making new advances near Avdiivka, according to a Ukrainian open source mapping site. It shows Moscow in control of a railway line north of the town, and possibly just a few hundred meters from its main supply route. Ukraine says it's still able to bring supplies into the town.
On Sunday afternoon, U.S. senators will take a procedural vote on a $95 billion foreign aid package that would provide funding for Israel and Ukraine, but the top Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is blasting the idea that the U.S. would give any of its allies aid unless there are, quote, strings attached. On Saturday, he spoke to a crowd of supporters and celebrated the failure of a $118 billion border deal, and aid package earlier this week.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said, why do we do this? If you do, you give them not $100 billion, you give it to them as a loan. It's called a loan, give them the money and if they can pay it back, they pay it back, if they can't pay it back, they don't have to pay it back because they've got some problems, if that happens to our country, then very simply, we call the loan and we say, we want our money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Comments that the former president made at the same campaign rally could also impact U.S. relations with NATO allies. Trump told the crowd that he had, quote, that he would, quote, encourage Russia to, quoting again, do whatever the hell they want to NATO allies if they didn't pay up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I came in, I made a speech, is it you've got to pay up, they asked me that question, one of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, well, sir, if we don't pay, and we're attacked by Russia, will you protect us? I said you didn't pay, your delinquent? He said yes. Let's say that happened. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: That statement, extraordinary in many ways, of course, not least because it goes against the core premise of NATO collective defense, which has only been put into action once when NATO nations came to the defense of the U.S. after 9/11. And NATO countries are not delinquent either on any financial obligations.
They all pay their share of the common budget.
In a statement, the White House slammed Trumps remarks assaying, encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged, and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home.
Meanwhile, the White House is taking on that special counsel report that questioned the president's mental acuity. Late on Saturday, the first lady added her voice to criticisms of the report's language, focusing, like her husband, on the suggestion he didn't know when his son died. Jill Biden saying this, quote: I can't imagine someone would try to use our son's death to score political points. If you've experienced a loss like that, you know that you don't measure it in years, you measure it in grief.
CNN's Priscilla Alvarez reports from Washington.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: The White House is going on the offensive and taking direct aim at Republicans and President Joe Biden's critics over his age, saying in a newly released memo on Saturday, quote, this undeniable record, referring to the president's legislative accomplishments, speaks to why it's no surprise that Republican officials continue their desperate and inadvertently self- undermining age attacks after many years of failure. They're afraid of Joe Biden.
Now, this memo also goes on to make noticeable mentions of people like General Mark Milley, and former House Speaker Kevin McCarty, who have called the president alert and engaged. But of course, this comes on the heels of the special counsel report that also mentioned the president's age and apparent memory lapses. Now, this had aides to the president fuming over the course of the
week who pushed back and said the president is sharp and tireless. We also saw that anger spill into public view from the president himself who took particular issue with the special counsel suggesting that he had forgotten the day his son died.
Now, all of this is part of what is going to be a defining theme for the presidential election year, that being the president's age and fitness for office. Senior campaign officials say that the president is best when he is out on the campaign trail engaging with voters, and we have seen an uptick in traditional retail politics stops for him to do exactly that. And that is ultimately them, the voters, who are going to pass judgment on whether the president is fit to serve a second term.
But, of course, polls show that there is still some concern here about how old he is, but again, campaign officials and White House officials well aware of that see it as something that they can navigate in her mind the American people who he is and what he is like when he engages on the campaign trail.
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: Six people are dead after a helicopter crashed in San Bernardino County, California, on Saturday night. World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala posted on social media the Nigerian banking CEO Herbert Wigwe and his wife and son were among the victims. Wigwe served as the chief executive officer of Access Bank Holdings, and was described as a colossus in Nigeria's financial sector.
The WTO director general says the former group chairman of the Nigeria stock exchange also was killed in the crash. Okonjo-Iweala released a statement expressing her deepest sympathies, and condolences to the victims' families.
Well, the results are coming in days after Pakistani voters went to the polls. But the question is, will the results quiet a protest? We'll have a live report for you, coming up next.
HOLMES: We have just learned that the official results in Pakistan's election are now in. We're waiting for more details. This news coming as Pakistan's jailed ex-leader Imran Khan apparently sent word earlier that protest should be held in the coming hours outside of polling offices, where his party says election results have been withheld and delayed. Some protest earlier this week turned violent over vote rigging allegations.
A senior party leader who remade relayed the message from Khan urged reporters to be peaceful and follow the law. Joining me now is CNN's Sophia Saifi in Islamabad.
This has literally just been having ending in the last few minutes, what do you know about the election results announcement?
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Michael, we have been tracking the election commission's website where they been of getting those results since Thursday evening, and finally, all of the results have been tallied and we have a final result, which again shows what we had already been predicting and reporting based on the amount of that had previously been shared with us is that the independent candidate affiliated with Imran Khan's PTI party have won the most seats in parliament, with Nawaz Sharif's party, PMLN, coming second, and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's party, PPP, at third place.
Again, none of these parties have received the 169 seats that are needed to form a government. They don't have that majority, so we're going to have to see a lot of coalition talks taking place now that have already been in progress, but the one thing that is a fact, now, that is official from the election commission of this country, which took three days without much of an explanation for this delay to release this result is, is that the party which, according to them had faced a huge crackdown, they were not able to campaign, their electoral symbol, which is the cricket bat, was taken away from them, they had simple like eggplants and kitchen utensils in various pieces of fruit as their electoral symbols, and even then they have won the most seats in this election.
So, it is quite incredible that this has taken place and we will have to wait and see, because there allegations of rigging by Khan's party, what kind of activity we see on the streets today -- Michael.
HOLMES: What's fascinating here and perhaps problematic is that you have these independents that supported Imran Khan, if they come together and they all come together and there's a coalition made that gives them a majority, and they become the government, and they want Imran Khan as prime minister, he's in prison. What happens then?
SAIFI: Well, Michael, there are lots of factors that are preventing this from happening. You say problematic, the reason why it's problematic is that you have these independents, they have to now within three days, either become part of another party because they are independent, they cannot really form a coalition until they are part of any kind of party, so they have to find a party that's willing to absorb them, which the other two prominent parties are not because of their history with the PTI.
There also is going to be a lot of back channel wheeling and dealing. So, we have to see how many of these independents actually stay loyal to Imran Khan. Whether there is also a crackdown on these independents themselves, will they join other parties? Will they bolster seats of the other two parties? Will there be a repetition of the government that we just saw before the election which was a coalition of the PMLN and the PPP? So, again, how will this outrage the people who have voted for Imran
Khan? Imran Khan's multiple convictions against him, he's got many bails that have been granted but those, again, fresh cases have been applied against him.
So, for now, he's very much still behind bars, and is unable to -- and is barred from contesting, barred from being part of the electoral process generally. The courts are going to become important because there are various petitions that have been filed by other independent candidates who claim that their seats were taken away from them and we're just going to have to wait and see how this plays out in the coming days -- Michael.
HOLMES: Yes, fascinating. The results are being handed down but the confusion continues.
Sophia Saifi in Islamabad, appreciate the update. Thanks so much.
Now, we've got more ahead. For our international viewers, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is coming your way next, and for those of us here in the U.S. and Canada, I'll be back in just a few minutes.
HOLMES: Protesters in Tel Aviv demanding new is really elections and the immediate release of the remaining hostages in Gaza. They're also calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Police arrested seven people here on the Ayalon Highway for disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and lighting fires in the street. Four other people were arrested in central Tel Aviv, in what police called an illegal protest, though they did not say what those four were doing at the time of their arrest.
In Gaza City, some residents tell CNN Israel's ground offensive left a scene of total destruction. Have a look at a video shot Saturday and showing damaged buildings, rubble, extents damage on ground level, Palestinians who say they were trapped in Gaza tell CNN there were dead bodies in the streets for more than a week because it was not safe to move them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUL KAREEM AL-QASSER, GAZA CITY RESIDENT (through translator): Every day there were martyrs. Every day there was shelling. Every day there was hunger. We had to drink water from the toilets. We had to drink from it and make our children drink from it. There was no food, no drink.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Now, on this map, you can see the extent of the damage in northern Gaza, the United Nations says it's recorded, quote, widespread destruction and demolition of residential buildings, schools, and universities. Joining me now is Rondi Anderson, the senior adviser for reproductive
maternal newborn and child health at Project Hope.
Rondi, thanks so much for being with us.
You are in Rafah up until, well, a matter of days ago, really, a week or two. What were conditions like, bearing in mind of course that Israel is going to ask these 1.5 million people to up and move again.
RONDI ANDERSON, SENIOR ADVISOR, PROJECT HOPE: When I was in Rafah, the bombing just to the north was constant, almost all day long, every day. And as part of that, we were seeing more and more people come in. When I arrived, estimates were at over 1 million people, and there was a sea of tents.
I went into some of the schools that were housing over 5000 people, but outside the schools it was even more moving, just to see the number of people that had fit themselves into every possible space that was there, and in the sandy areas near the Mediterranean people just putting up tents everywhere. But in the two weeks that I was there, that density increased dramatically, as more and more people came in, as the bombing was getting closer and closer to us, people were coming in with donkey carts and cars just packed full of people, looking for more places to put up their shelters.
HOLMES: What's going to happen if they are all of a sudden told to leave? I mean, the first question is, to where?
ANDERSON: There isn't any place for them to go. I mean, the infrastructure has been destroyed everywhere to the north, and the resources, the little resources that are there in terms of water and healthcare and food are not there to the north. So -- and it's not safe in the north, there's still ongoing violence happening in the north.
So, I mean, just moving them in and of itself, moving that many people, even the healthy ones, particularly because there are many children and older people, but then to move them will be devastating for them.
HOLMES: You write on the Project Hope website about people showing you photographs of their destroyed homes. How painful is that for those people, not only displaced, but knowing that the homes they fled are not there anymore. That even after this they've not got a home to go back to. How difficult is it to see those stories?
ANDERSON: I mean, the resiliency and the integrity of the people in Rafah is amazing.
You know, how they keep their composure and go to work, and show me on their phone, this is the house that I had, we just moved in a year ago, look at my baby. And here's this baby, this toddler, that's still alive, has had to move with my colleague, is now in a home and the colleague is saying, you don't know what it's like to not know if yourself, but your family are going to be killed. Here we are in this devastating situation.
HOLMES: Yeah, what was your take on the mental toll on the people you interacted with? I mean, displaced, as you said, multiple times, lost family members, been terrified by bombs and missile strikes, trying to keep their kids alive.
I know you write about the resiliency of Palestinians you've met, but how difficult is it for people to cope emotionally?
ANDERSON: I think it's very, very difficult. When I first got there, the first time we drove through the streets, it felt like these streets are crowded, there's people agitated, people trying to sell little bits of things to make money. And over the course of the time that I was there, the streets only got more and more agitated.
You would see these mobs of men trying to get like there's a handout and they're running after it, or they're kind of, not terribly fighting but back and forth with each other, maybe blocking traffic, just sort of this agitation like, we're not okay, we have to fight to get what we need. This is taking a toll on us. And, I mean, it was even to the point where we would roll up our windows as we would drive down the street, not that there was ever anything directed toward us but it felt like this is, these people are so upset by this situation. They're really being pushed to a place of, it's just not tolerable.
HOLMES: Rondi Anderson with Project Hope, we appreciate you making the time, thanks so much.
ANDERSON: Thank you.
HOLMES: Still to come, a startling new report says Antarctic ice sheets could melt faster than originally thought, which could lead to catastrophic sea level rise. We'll have that, after the break.
HOLMES: Well, authorities in Florida have tentatively identified the two victims of a small plane crash that happened on an interstate near Naples on Friday, the pilot and the second in command.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anybody else in there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The Collier County sheriff's office announcing the pilot was 50-year-old Edward Daniel Murphy, and the second in command, 65-year- old Ian Frederick Hofmann, both from Florida. Three other people on board survived, and investigation is underway.
But shortly before the crash, the pilot trolled air-traffic controllers the plane had lost both engines.
Scientists are calling it excellent and ominous detective work. A new study published this week saying analysis of a 2,000 foot-long ice core reveals the West Antarctic ice sheet seems to have shrunk suddenly and dramatically in the past. The study indicates if the melting happens again, the ice contains enough water that sea levels could rise by 16 feet, or five meters, which could cause devastating flooding, of course, in coastal areas around the world.
According to the study's authors, this is the first direct evidence of such a rapid loss of ice anywhere on the continent. They say the rapid melting could also happen to other ice sheets.
Now, Eric Wolff is a climatologist and glaciologist at the University of Cambridge. He joins me now.
And thanks for getting up early to do so. I'm trying to get my head around what a 2,000 foot ice core is to begin with. But what is the significance of this ice core?
ERIC WOLFF, CLIMATOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: Well, we suspected for a long time that the West Antarctic ice sheet could be unstable, so it starts to retreat, it will retreat very fast. That was theoretical, it's in climate models, and it suggests bad consequences, but we've never actually observed it.
So, what we did was to go back into the past by using this ice core and look at what happened when the ice sheet retreated from being much larger than today in the last Ice Age to its present position. And we found that it retreated very fast indeed, about 8,000 years ago, the surface of the ice sheet around our site dropped by 400 meters. So, that's 1,200 feet, about, same as the Empire State Building, in 200 years.
So, the concern -- so from our point of view, it's very nice that we've seen that the processes that we think are happening really did happen, but from the world's point of view, that's not such good news because it suggests if further warming starts a further retreat, then it will happen very fast.
HOLMES: Yeah, yeah. So, if -- if there were a similar event, how likely might it be, how far off might it be, and what would be the impact? What keeps you up at night?
WOLFF: Well, the thing that would trigger further retreat is obviously warming, in particular warming of the ocean because the ice sheet around West Antarctica, it's grounded on bedrock, but the bedrock is below sea level. If warm water gets in underneath it, then it can make it retreat very fast.
The truth is that we don't know exactly where that tipping point towards that happening is. It would be a good idea not to test it by getting near it.
HOLMES: Yeah, well put. The question, of course, is if things can be turned around, or at least mitigated? WOLFF: Well, yes, they can. I mean, the bad thing about things in the
ice sheet is once they start to happen, they continue for a very long time, and it's hard to stop them. The good thing is that they are slow, so if we achieved 1.5 degrees of global warming and 2 degrees of global warming and then managed to get it back by sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, the ice sheet would probably be working on a long enough time scale that they could live with that and they wouldn't react to the warm temperatures they've only seen briefly.
HOLMES: Now, I guess a lot of people might say this happened thousands of years ago, and if it happened again it might be centuries away, why should we care? Which is a silly question but I'm going to ask you anyway.
WOLFF: Well, it happened centuries -- it happened millennia ago. So the significance of it, as I say, is that it shows us that it can happen, which otherwise we can't see because we haven't seen one of these in observable time.
Why should we care about this happening in a couple of centuries? Well, I guess most of us have got families, and we do care what's going to happen to them and where they're going to live on the planet in the next few centuries.
HOLMES: Yes. Of course we do. I had to ask but there will be people out there who think that way.
The ice core data of course comes at a time when we just learned from Copernicus, the European Union's climate and weather monitoring service, that the past year was 1.5 degrees hotter, 1.52, I think it was, on average than temperatures before industrialization. We just had the hottest January on record, 1.66 degrees warmer than the average January.
How does that add to the risk to the ice sheet, and the more broadly, how concerning is the convergence of a lot of things that we're learning and seeing right now? Even ocean currents?
WOLFF: Well, I can go -- I can take that backwards. First, it's very concerning. One year being higher than 1.5 degrees doesn't mean that we breached the Paris agreement, and we still do have time to do something about it, and at least keep, I'd be very surprised if we kept below 1.5. But we have the opportunity to keep a low two degrees above preindustrial levels. The truth is that every .10 degree causes further impact in terms of extreme weather events, not just sea level rise but floods and droughts and so on.
So, every point in degrees we cannot approach is a good thing.
HOLMES: It's extraordinary work that you and the team did. I read the report, and incredible, and it's getting rightly, widely praised. Such important data.
Eric Wolff, really appreciate you making time getting up early for us, there, thanks so much.
WOLFF: Thank you.
HOLMES: Well, some call it the greatest show on earth, but there is a potential spoiler hanging over the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro which got underway on Friday. The city grappling with an outbreak of dengue fever, a potentially deadly disease, and officials are concerned the mass celebrations could make a bad situation worse.
HOLMES (voice-over): Let the party begin, with drums thumping, dancers parade through the Sambadrome in Rio, dressed in bright colors and dazzling costumes to celebrate carnival.
It's a kaleidoscope of fun with lines of revelers shaking and shimmying in the southern summer heat. Brazil's ministry of tourism says 49 million people are expected to take part in the festivities this year across the country, before lent, a Christian period of prayer and penitence, beginning on Wednesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Parading is about celebrating life. It's very important to celebrate life, and that's why we're here.
HOLMES: But even one of the biggest parties on the planet isn't immune from a buzzkill. Last week, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro declared a public health emergency. Officials say the number of dengue infections is surging across the country, four times higher than the same period last year.
DANIEL SORANZ, RIO DE JANEIRO MUNICIPAL HEALTH SECRETARY (thorough translator): With this increase in cases, Rio de Janeiro has a classic dengue epidemic. We've experienced a few dengue epidemics in our history, and now in the year 2044, we unfortunately have a new epidemic.
HOLMES: With millions of people partying outdoors for carnival, authorities say there could be an uptick in infections, which is spread by mosquitoes. A mass vaccination drive is underway in Brazil with children 10 to 14 getting the first doses, and several treatment centers set up to treat the sick. Health officials are advising people to cover up and use repellent to avoid getting bitten by the insects, but some people say all the precautions aren't dampening their spirits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm protected, I'm covered with repellent, it's all right. I'm blessed.
HOLMES: The good times still rolling in Brazil, but what comes next once the party is over could be a sobering experience.
HOLMES: Still to come on the program, she's Super Bowl bound, heading for Vegas. Taylor Swift's plane has already landed in Los Angeles. Coming up, we'll break down the undeniable link between the NFL and
one of pop's biggest superstars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: 911, do you need police, fire, medical?
CALLER: I guess police. There's a kangaroo in my apartment complex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Complainant advising there's a loose kangaroo in the complex.
DISPATCHER: Bravo 26, I actually see a kangaroo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: That emergency call helped lead authorities in Florida to that apartment complex in Tampa on Thursday morning to help get this roo back where he belonged. In a Facebook post, the Hillsborough County sheriff's office says it was able to reunite the marsupial with its owner with the help of the department's agricultural team.
There's no word on how the kangaroo got loose. He's a lot further away from home than somewhere in Tampa, take that from me.
Super Bowl LVIII just hours away in Las Vegas. The reigning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, are hoping to score back-to-back titles as they take on the San Francisco 49ers, a rare achievement which no NFL team has accomplished in 20 years now. And you may or may not be relieved to know Taylor Swift seems to have arrived safely back in the United States from Japan, in time to attend the big game. Her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, is playing, just in case you didn't know.
So, just how much of an impact has the NFL's new power couple had on the league?
CNN's Coy Wire with the details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shout out to the newest member of the Chiefs kingdom, Taylor Swift, who has officially reached the Super Bowl in a rookie year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for joining the team.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The NFL and loads of fans are embracing this romance. One thing you can bet on is that Taylor Swift is good for business. NFL viewership hitting all time highs this postseason.
TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TIGHT END: She's rewriting the history books herself. I told her I'll have to hold up my end of the bargain and come home some hardware, too.
CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: If you're screaming that Taylor Swift saying she ruined it, you're just a loser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is everybody so mad about it? Why is everybody so mad about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This anger, this says nothing about Taylor Swift. It says everything about the men bothered by it.
WIRE: It's pretty clear that this is all been quite divisive. Some supporting Tay Tay, but others?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are boycotting any T-Swift songs. It's hard for me because I ever on my playlist -- my running playlist and everything. So, but if she pops up --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's dead to you this week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- on the TV station, my oldest son Max and I are big Swifties, no, she's dead to us this week.
WIRE: Now, listen to this, Taylor's favorite number is 13.
TAYLOR SWIFT, MUSICIAN: This is my 13th Grammy, which is my lucky number. I don't know if I've ever told you that.
WIRE: This is Super Bowl LVIII, five plus eight is 13. The game is being played on 2/11, 2 plus 11, 13. The Chiefs opponent, the 49ers, four plus nine is -- you get it.
But seriously though, this will be Taylor's 13th game this season, leaving some conspiracy theorist to think, the NFL is scripted.
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I don't think I'm that good of scripter or anybody on our staff.
WIRE: Has this first ever Vegas Super Bowl matchup been Taylor-made?
HOLMES: (AUDIO GAP) there, Coy.
Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes in Atlanta.
"NEWSROOM" with Anna Coren is up next. Go Niners.