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British Voters Poised to End 14 Years of Conservative Rule; Indian Officials: 120 Plus Killed in Crowd Crush at a Religious Event; Xi, Putin in Kazakhstan for Security and Defense Summit; Crowds Clash with Police During Anti-Government Protests in Kenya. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Voters here in the U.K. head to the polls tomorrow for a momentous general election that will likely see the end of the Conservative Party's 14-year rule. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is almost universally expected to lose. He took a major gamble by calling for early elections and has struggled to turn around dire polling.

A Conservative defeat would likely usher in a center-left Labour government headed by Keir Starmer. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz explains.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two lackluster candidates in a race with a result that is all but certain. It may sound boring, but this is a momentous election that could decimate the UK's most powerful political party. In what is widely seen as a referendum on their 14 years of leadership, the Conservatives are bracing for a very damaging defeat.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for the snap election that almost everyone believes he will lose.

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Over the next few weeks, I will fight for every vote. I will earn your trust.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But that trust is battered and bruised. From Boris Johnson's Partygate scandal to leadership failings that saw three prime ministers in 2022 alone to a very messy Brexit, many are fed up with the Tories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I think people are ticked off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a sense of just wanting any kind of change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their decimation, I think, can only be expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be the first election that I've ever voted in that I won't be voting Conservative.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Current polls indicate the opposition Labour Party could win by a landslide, ushering in a center-left government led by Keir Starmer.

KEIR STARMER, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: If you want change, you have to vote for it.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The make-up of British politics is sure to undergo a seismic shift. But because of Britain's first past-the-post system, Labour could win but fail to gain a clear mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for coming, everybody.

ABDELAZIZ: If smaller parties or the far-right gain an outsized voice.

Amid the political uncertainty, the new prime minister will inherit a mess, a cost-of-living crisis fueled in part by a stagnant economy. The country's beloved National Health Service is understaffed and overstretched, and immigration remains an unresolved hot-button issue.

Change is coming, but can Starmer, should he win, tackle the challenges and deliver on promises?

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Be sure to watch CNN's special coverage of the U.K. elections on July 4th. It starts just before 10pm right here in London U.K. time.

Now, meanwhile in France, hundreds of candidates in the country's run- off election have bowed out in an effort to block the far-right party from gaining power.

More than 200 candidates from President Emmanuel Macron's centrist camp and the left-wing alliance have stepped down in a bid to avoid splitting that vote.

Last Sunday, the anti-immigration National Rally and its allies won the most seats so far in hastily called national elections. If the National Rally gets an absolute majority in Parliament, it will become the first far-right party to lead the French government since World War II.

Join us on Sunday for special coverage of those French elections as the results come in. That's at 8 p.m. in Paris, 2 p.m. on the East Coast.

More than 120 people have been killed and 35 others injured in a crowd crush in India. It's one of the deadliest such incidents in the country in recent years. Officials say most of the victims were women and children. It happened as hundreds of thousands of people had gathered for a religious event in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

CNN's Ivan Watson is following the developments live from Hong Kong. Absolute tragedy and it was a numbers game ultimately.

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was because the authorities were saying they were expecting 80,000 people and instead there were more than 250,000 they say that showed up for this religious gathering which resulted in disaster. At least 121 people killed, most of them women. The police, they are accusing the organizers of culpable homicide among other crimes here in their first investigative report and this was supposed to be a time of prayer.


WATSON (voice-over): What was meant to be a time of prayer ending in tragedy in northern India. This the aftermath of the crowd crush at a religious gathering. Bodies carried out from ambulances, loved ones distraught and grieving the dead. Most of them women and some children according to authorities. Survivors describe the horrific scene.

SHAKUNTALA, HATHRAS DISTRICT, INDIA (through translator): Everyone began to leave. People fell into a drain beside the road. They started falling on top of each other and were crushed to death. Some were pulled out.


SURESH, HATHRAS DISTRICT, INDIA (through translator): I came to attend the event with eight other people but no one survived.

WATSON: Authorities say organizers planned for around 80,000 people to attend the event but police say as many as 250,000 may have showed up.

ASHISH KUMAR, HATHRAS DISTRICT MAGISTRATE, INDIA (through translator): There was a sudden commotion due to overcrowding and excessive humidity.

WATSON (voice-over): Initial reports say attendees may have fallen into an open sewer and on top of each other. One state secretary said the event's organizers failed to comply with requirements from the district and that they would be punished. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the incident on Tuesday.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I express my condolences to those who lost their lives in this accident. I wish for the speedy recovery of all the injured.

WATSON (voice-over): As an investigation gets underway the death toll is feared to rise and questions about accountability remain unanswered.


WATSON (on camera): Now Max, state officials are saying that the extreme heat probably contributed to this disaster as well as deep mud. But then there are really the questions about the organizers here and actually the police as well because we have a senior police officer who told journalists on the scene that they had dispatched some 40 police officers to deal with an anticipated crowd of some 80,000 people. That is clearly not enough.

The state officials say they will be paying compensation to those who died in this disaster. And this isn't the first time sadly that India is seeing deaths like this.

On January 1st of this year at least 12 people died in a crush at a shrine in Jammu.

If you go back to 2008, 150 people died in a hilltop crowd crush in western India. This is something that happens again and again in the world's most populous country -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Ivan, thank you.

A severely turbulent flight sees passengers thrown around the cabin. When we come back passengers share the shocking footage of the incident. You won't believe it.

And later the quarterfinal draw is set in the Euro 2024 championships.



FOSTER: Shocking new video from an Air Europa flight that made an emergency landing in Brazil after severe turbulence. You're seeing that correctly. It is showing people helping a man down from an overhead luggage bin.

30 passengers injured on Monday on the flight from Spain to Uruguay. Passengers said they feared for their lives during the incident. The airline said six people are still in hospital as a result as of Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in Kazakhstan this hour for meetings with other regional leaders. They're part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc that experts say is slowly transforming into a counterweight to the West and the US.

CNN's Marc Stewart joins us now from Beijing. Marc, how's this meeting being received? Because the optics are pretty seismic.

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. Good morning. Let me first show you how it's being received here in China. Very friendly reception to this road trip by Xi Jinping.

The front page of China Daily, state media, an English publication, show Xi Jinping arriving in Kazakhstan, greeted by leadership from that country. There was also children there to greet him. There was music.

This is friendly territory for Xi Jinping. These two nations have economic ties. It's a relationship valued by both, in particular by Beijing.

But the bigger purpose of this trip, including Xi Jinping as well as Vladimir Putin, is for this meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the SCO. To give you some history, it's a club of sorts, you could argue. This

alliance spearheaded by China, by Russia, Kazakhstan, certainly members as well as other Eurasian nations. Originally, this was set up for security reasons, to prevent terrorism and to create some security among these borders. But as you alluded to, it's taken on more of this geopolitical tone.

And one occurrence that we are looking for in this meeting in the hours ahead is the admission of Belarus to the SCO. Belarus, a bit controversial because Belarus is, you know, credited, for lack of better words, of helping Russia with its invasion of Ukraine. And that is perhaps causing some different feelings among members.

But it shows perhaps the tone of where this alliance is going. In fact, it was last year when Iran became a full member. As a result, we are not seeing the presence of India's president, Narendra Modi. He was supposed to be there. It could be viewed as a slight, it could be viewed as some trepidation about the direction of this organization.

But if we look at Russia and China right now, they are clearly on a mission to establish themselves as an alternative to the world order, an alternative way of viewing things, much different from the West, much different from the American perspective.

Max, this is a theme that came up just a few months ago here in Beijing in May when Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin were meeting face to face and likely is being demonstrated again by this meeting with Russia, with China and many other nations at the SCO in Kazakhstan.

FOSTER: OK, Marc, thank you for that interesting meeting.

Now, Kenyan protesters have set their sights on President William Ruto after forcing him to throw out a finance bill that sparked deadly protests weeks ago. Crowds gathered in Nairobi on Tuesday demanding that he step down and the protest once again turned into violent clashes with police.

CNN's Larry Madowo has the detail.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters back on the streets in Nairobi for a third straight week. Braving tear gas, flashbangs and what they say are live rounds. Activists bringing empty caskets to the streets, symbolizing those killed since the protests began. Dozens, according to human rights groups.

The deaths fueling the anger here.

MADOWO: Are you scared to be out here protesting when there are people getting killed, peaceful protesters getting killed?

LEAKEY, PROTESTER: Right now I'm scared. What they're doing, you know, one thing you should understand is that you can bring fear or you can just insert fears into us. But you cannot. One thing you cannot kill. You cannot kill all of us. MADOWO (voice-over): Undeterred by the deadly crackdown of previous days, taunting security forces, turning the streets of Kenya's capital into a game of cat and mouse.

MADOWO: When we are here with the police taking this live, they tend to be a bit more careful in how they respond to these protesters, even when they're throwing rocks at them.

MADOWO (voice-over): A Kenyan court on Friday temporarily blocked police from using tear gas and other forms of force against protesters. But that order appears to have been violated.

KHADIJA SHABAI, PROTESTER: It was a peaceful protest. But now, as you can see, the police are the ones rioting. And my question is, if the person you're supposed to report to, to protect you, are the ones harming you, who should you go to?

MADOWO (voice-over): In the chaos, men try to break into closed shops, warning us not to film. President William Ruto has blamed criminals for infiltrating legitimate protests. Some on the streets quick to distance themselves from the vandals.

MADOWO: We've seen a lot of people looting today. Some businesses breaking down things. Are you saying those are us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are goons. Those are goons. Those are not us.

MADOWO (voice-over): What started as youth-led protests against an unpopular finance bail, now withdrawn, has turned into demonstrations against Ruto's government. Smaller numbers in Nairobi now, but more protesters coming from other parts of Kenya to express their anger. Yet the overwhelming fear is that no matter how loudly this generation speaks, the government is not listening.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.


FOSTER: CNN has reached out to security services for comment on the allegations they violated that temporary high court order.

Still to come, could the NBA see its first father-son duo on the court next season? What LeBron James' son has to say about his future with the Lakers.



FOSTER: Novak Djokovic is back at Wimbledon after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus less than a month ago. The tennis star crushed his opponent in the first round in straight sets. Djokovic is seeking his 25th Grand Slam singles title, the most across men's or women's tennis.

Following Wimbledon, Djokovic will chase one of the only accolades to elude him, and that's an Olympic gold medal. He'll be representing Serbia at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Bronny James, one of the newest players for the Los Angeles Lakers, says he's excited for his debut with the team. He could make history with his father, basketball superstar LeBron James, as the first father and son pair to play on the same professional team together. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the Lakers head coach said James had earned his spot on the team, and the younger James said he's ready to get to work.


BRONNY JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS NUMBER 55 DRAFT PICK: The stuff that he's been telling me my whole life, just having that work ethic and coming in and getting it working, and then listening to your coaches and being coachable, stuff like that has driven into my head my whole life. I never really had a thought of, you know, me going to play with my dad, but that's always, you know, there to, you know, take part of, but that wasn't a main focus of mine today.


FOSTER: The quarterfinal draw is set in the Euro 2024 Championships, with Turkey set to play the Netherlands in Berlin on Saturday after defeating Austria. The Netherlands beat Romania 3-0 on Tuesday. CNN's Don Riddell has the detail.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: We are all set now for the quarterfinals of UEFA's European Football Championship in Germany. Just eight teams are left standing after two more were sent home on Tuesday night.

We are going to start our round-up in Leipzig, an incredible game between Turkey and Austria that had everybody on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes, and it was entertaining right from the off.

Just 57 seconds on the clock when Turkey's Merih Demiral smashed the ball into the roof of the net. That is the second fastest goal ever scored at the Euros. And Turkey doubled their advantage just before the hour mark, and it was Demiral again, again from a corner. This time he scored with a header.

By the way, he's never scored more than two goals in a season for any of his club teams. He got two in one night on one of the biggest stages in the world game.

But Austria never looked out of this match, and they pulled a goal back seven minutes later. Another set piece, Michael Gregorich flying in at the far post, and they never gave up looking for an equalizer. They actually thought they had it in stoppage time, a header from Christoph Baumgartner, but that was brilliantly denied by goalie Mert Gunok. The game of the tournament was effectively decided by the save of the tournament, Turkey holding on for a 2-1 win.

They are going to play the Netherlands next. They thrashed Romania 3-0 in Munich, meaning they definitely belong in the last eight. Remember, they squeaked out of the group stage as the third best team.

The Dutch dominated every aspect of this match, taking the lead through Cody Gakpo. Then this happened seven minutes from time. Gakpo involved again, setting up Daniel Marlin. He couldn't miss that. He had to work a bit harder for his second goal to make it 3-0, running half the length of the field. The Dutch through to the quarterfinals, where they will play Turkey next.

We're all going to take a breather for a couple of days, but the action will resume on Friday with an absolute blockbuster of a doubleheader. We've got Spain against Germany and also Portugal against France, which, by the way, is Cristiano Ronaldo against Kylian Mbappe. Can't wait for that. Back to you.


FOSTER: Stories in the spotlight this hour. A new study indicates that a bionic leg controlled by the human nervous system can help amputees walk more naturally than a traditional prosthetic device. It also found that their walking speed increased by 41 percent, enough to match the range of ability of the average person.

A study participant said the bionic limb made her feel like her leg had not even been amputated.


AMY PIETRAFITTA, STUDY PARTICIPANT: The surgery stands on its own, but when you put that foot with it, it just blows it out of the water. It's just, it puts it to another level. So I just, I think it's, it's going to give so much to so many amputees and feeling whole.


FOSTER: Amazing. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology team behind that study hopes to make fully neuro-controlled prosthetics commercially available within five years.

A new study shows the Ganges River changed course roughly 2,500 years ago due to an earthquake. Researchers made the discovery whilst surveying the Ganges River delta for old water channels. They found a roadside pit where there were signs of a riverbed impacted by a massive earthquake.

And finally this hour, visitors are now able to tour some of the inside rooms of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the British Royal's Scottish holiday home.


JAMES HAMILTON-GODDARD, VISITOR ENTERPRISE MANAGER, BALMORAL ESTATES: We have seven rooms technically open to the castle and you will see everything from the entrance lobby to the dining room, the drawing room, which has obviously been photographed before. And they really get to see that the castle hasn't changed its decor in the 180 years since it's been standing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Tickets for tours sold out in just two hours in April, however, so you've missed your chance if you haven't got one already. The grounds, gardens and exhibitions at Balmoral are open to the public until August. The public have never had admission to the main part of the castle since it was built during Queen Victoria's reign.

Thanks for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. CNN "THIS MORNING" is up after the break.