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Hurricane Beryl Nearing Cayman Islands After Slamming Jamaica; Biden Fights for His Political Life After Debate Debacle; U.K. Voting to Get Underway Across Britain in Hours Ahead; Beryl Nearing Cayman Islands After Slamming Jamaica; Japan Releases New Yen Notes Sourced From Nepali Mountains; Quarterfinal Preview Of European Championship. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 00:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to all you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Hurricane Beryl is still a category four storm headed towards the Cayman Islands on the Yucatan Peninsula after lashing Jamaica. U.S. president Joe Biden admits the coming days are critical to allaying fears and salvaging his campaign for a second term. And voters in the U.K. head to the polls soon in a crucial general election seen as a referendum on 14 years of Conservative rule.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: U.S. forecasters say Hurricane Beryl is now pulling away from Jamaica hours after slamming into the country with tremendous force and killing at least eight people across the Caribbean. The storm pounded southern Jamaica with 215 kilometer an hour winds, torrential rains, and storm surge of almost three meters. The storm knocked down trees, damaged buildings, and knocked down power lines. And Jamaica's prime minister says the country isn't out of the woods yet. He warns heavy rainfall from the passing storm will likely still cause flooding, landslides and road damage.

Hurricane Beryl is expected to pass just south of the Cayman Islands in the coming hours before heading to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Forecasters expect it to weaken a bit in the next day or two, but it's still an extremely dangerous major hurricane.

Rafael Romo filed this report earlier while braving violent winds in Kingston, Jamaica.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Beryl is now here in Jamaica. And it's getting the southern tip of the coast line with all this might. It's hard to remain standing because the winds are just very, very powerful. And this is not over yet. We have seen how lots of debris have been blown off for the last few minutes, and also how the roof was blown off on top of that building right there. And the big danger is that there's a possibility of the ocean getting

into the street because the storm surge is supposed to rise at least 10 feet. So these are very dangerous conditions here in Kingston, and of course authorities are asking people to remain and shelters. They tell us that nearly 500 people are in shelters right now.

Again, this is only the beginning and you can tell how strong the winds are here in Kingston, Jamaica. And people are wondering here, why is this happening so early in the season, and after seeing what happened in Barbados and places like Grenada, they feel like it's possible that the same devastation seen there can be seen here as well.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Kingston, Jamaica.


BRUNHUBER: And Robert Pfeiffer is American tourist who rode out the storm in Jamaica, and he joins me now from Ocho Rios.

Thank you so much for joining us here. So just let me know sort of what you were seeing sort of outside your window.

ROBERT PFEIFFER, AMERICAN TOURIST: You know, we just saw there's a lot of winds. The really heavy winds and rain. We're at Ocho Rios, the Sandals Resort. So a lot of waves coming in, you know, a lot of water. There are several trees that are down on the property and I think the property did really good. You know, they boarded up all the windows and provided extra food and water for all the guests.

BRUNHUBER: From what we were just seeing from our reporter, I mean, the winds just looked incredible. I mean, how scary is it? Sort of both what you're seeing now, what you're hearing now, and sort of also that sense of foreboding that things could potentially get worse.

PFEIFFER: Well, you know, after being through it and seeing it, you know, it came in really hard and heavy really quick, but you know, now it seems like things are starting to calm down a little bit. I know they are talking about some more stuff picking back up, but, you know, right now it's -- you know, we feel safe. The resort made us feel really safe, brought out food.


You know, we got out and walked around in a little bit. There is a lot of trees down, a lot of limbs down, just debris kind of all over the place.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. I guess part of the danger might be if there are still more and more rain that we could see, landslides and other problems like that. I mean, you're sticking it out there. You're not -- you didn't decide to head to a shelter, why not?

PFEIFFER: Now, we -- you know, the resort that we're at, at Sandals, you know, they boarded everything up. They made us actually feel very safe here. They brought in extra food for everybody, extra water for everybody. So, you know, we feel actually very safe here at the resort where we're at. We knew we couldn't leave. The airports are closed so there's really wasn't much other place for us to go.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, that's exactly right. And I just want to let the viewers know we're actually showing some of your video that you shot while you were walking around as you said. So you just talked about the airport being closed. I mean, any sense of how long you'll be stranded there?

PFEIFFER: No, we haven't been told anything. You know, we did talk to a couple of I guess people who work here at the resort. Biggest thing is tomorrow morning once this daylight really assessing a bunch of the damage, seeing what all needs to be repaired, and what needs to be done to get them back up and operational again.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. I guess, you know, sticking it out at a resort like that, you have a lot of advantages there. You know, having seen parts of the country I expect you must be feeling for a lot of the people in much more fragile shelters who would've been really hit by all those winds and possibly storm surge and so on elsewhere on the island.

PFEIFFER: Oh, yes, definitely. You know, we were watching -- we watched the news. We've been lucky. We haven't lost any power, but, you know, so we've been able to watch and see other things that are going on in other places around Jamaica. And I mean, we were definitely glad for the area that we were in, you know, that we got the amount of damage we did see and not any worse.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, that's right. In the meantime, sort of how is the mood there as people are trying to stick this out as best they can?

PFEIFFER: I'd say the mood is pretty good. I have said Sandals or (INAUDIBLE), I feel like they've done really good. You know, keeping everybody -- trying to keep everybody entertained, maybe their minds off of it. They had a buffet style lunch for everybody. They had a buffet style dinner. They really encouraged, you know, to go ahead and eat, and they kind of tried to keep everybody lively, you know. Right during the main part of the storm, they was really encouraging people stay in your rooms or stay in the areas that they had all boarded up and prepared for everybody to stay in.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Well, listen, you, as I understand it, are there with your wife for your 25th anniversary. This hurricane definitely not an omen of any kind. Are you taking this in good spirits there?

PFEIFFER: Oh, yes. But, you know, I'm here with my wife. We've been like you said married 25 years, so it wasn't quite what we were planning on our anniversary, but, you know, we'd spent a little more time together and I think it's been good for us.

BRUNHUBER: Well, there you go. Well, listen, you know, want to wish you a happy anniversary, but on a more serious note, wish that you and everybody there are safe as you continue to ride out the storm.

Robert Pfeiffer in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, thank you so much for speaking with us. Really appreciate it. PFEIFFER: Yes, sir. Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden is fighting for his political life as the latest "New York Times" poll shows him losing even more ground to Donald Trump. Donors, Democrats in Congress, even some in the White House are raising serious concerns about whether Biden can recover from his disastrous debate performance last week.

Arizona's Raul Grijalva is now the second House Democrat to call on the president to exit the race. He says, if Biden is the candidate, quote, "I'm going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere. What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race."

Now a group of Democratic governors are throwing their support behind the president. They met at the White House late Wednesday.


GOV. TIM WALZ (D), MINNESOTA: All of us are trying to figure out and just want to make sure, as governors we're on the frontline of many of these things. We're in states, so whether they're swing states or not, where folks care and are giving us feedback, and the feedback was we are all looking for the path to win. All the governors agree with that. President Biden agrees with that.


GOV. WES MOORE (D), MARYLAND: We know we have work to do. We know that as we're standing right here, we're behind. But we also know that that path to be able to make sure that we can pull ahead in November is real and it's going to take all of us in order to make it happen and to make it work. And we are grateful to hear the level of excitement and the focus that the president, the vice president have about being victorious in November.


BRUNHUBER: Now for his part, President Biden will take part in a pre- recorded primetime interview with ABC News on Friday. On Wednesday, he spoke with several radio hosts. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a bad night. And the fact of the matter is that, you know, I said I screwed up, I made a mistake. That's 90 minutes on stage. Look at what I've done in 3.5 years.


BRUNHUBER: And the White House insists Biden is absolutely not stepping aside, but it's struggling with other questions about the president's health.

CNN's MJ Lee reports.


MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden trying to save his teetering reelection campaign.

After keeping a limited public scheduled for days following his disastrous debate performance last week, the president emerging to try to reassure panicked supporters. Biden rallying his campaign staff on a call, telling them, quote, "I'm running, I'm the nominee of the Democratic Party. No one is pushing me out. I'm not leaving. I'm in this race to the end."

But this as CNN is learning that the president has privately acknowledged this week that the next stretch of days will be critical to whether he can save his candidacy. An ally who spoke with Biden on Tuesday telling CNN that the president was chastened and blamed himself, not his staff, for his poor debate performance.

BIDEN: With the COVID, excuse me, with dealing with everything we have to do with --

LEE: The allies saying Biden is clear-eyed about what it would look like if his efforts to save his campaign were to fail. The polls are plummeting, the fundraising is drying up, and the interviews are going badly. Meanwhile, the White House struggling to answer a barrage of questions about the president's health and medical records.

If now is not the time for full transparency, when is?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have been one of the most transparent administration when it comes to medical records.

LEE (voice-over): The White House also confronting questions about Biden's new explanation for his halting debate performance, jet lag, and fatigue from two foreign trips, despite having had nearly two weeks back in the States before the CNN debate.

JEAN-PIERRE: When he travels abroad, it's a pretty rigorous to travel. We get tired looking at him doing his meetings and traveling.

LEE: The White House and campaign had previously blamed a cold.

JEAN-PIERRE: I was so focused on the cold and that's what I kind of leaned into and talked about. But yes, his scheduled did have something to do with it. It was the schedule and the cold.

LEE: One of Biden's first major tests coming on Friday when he sits down for an extended TV interview. Biden also beginning to call Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, and Chris Coons.


LEE (on-camera): And President Biden hosting a group of Democratic governors here at the White House Wednesday night. A few of the governors coming out afterwards to tell reporters that they had had honest conversations about the need to defeat Donald Trump and the path forward in the 2024 campaign. And one of the governors, Tim Walz of Minnesota, said that the group was all in on pledging their support for President Biden.

This was a large group of governors. So we will see whether that is in fact the case that every single one of the governors that met with the president Wednesday night is in fact all in.

MJ Lee, CNN, at the White House.

BRUNHUBER: And Caroline Heldman is a Democratic strategist and professor at Occidental College, and she joins me now from Monterey, California.

Thank you so much for being here with us. So we hear there from Biden and his camp, the mea culpas and the explanations. I had a bad night, he had a cold, he'd been doing too much travel. Will that reassure anyone at this point?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, PROFESSOR, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE: I don't think it's enough. The fact that the explanations continue to change means that there's a certain level of desperation here. It's kind of like, you know, what happened on January 6th. We saw it with our own eyes. What happened at that debate we saw it with our own. You can't tell us something different happened. And what's been revealed in the last couple of days from Carl Bernstein and other journalists is that there are as many as 15 to 20 of these episodes a year.

So Biden has some serious work to do. He needs to be out reassuring voters that he is indeed fit for the office especially when 72 percent of Americans do not believe he has the mental or physical fitness for the office. He also needs to be convincing donors. And of course, these -- you know, the prominent Democrats are going to support him because they have nothing to gain by going against the party. But he's in trouble.


HELDMAN: We look at the polls. We know that he's down six points. Biden has a big decision in front of him.

BRUNHUBER: Well, on that decision, all right, I want to get your reaction to two damning quotes.


So an anonymous senior Biden administration official told CNN, talking about the growing panic and loss of support, quote, "First, it's the donors and then it's elected officials. Now it's going to be polling. It just breaks the resistance." And then a Democratic lawmaker told CNN that their assessment of Biden's candidacy is that, quote, "It's over. We are just waiting for the announcement." He, meaning Biden, is not there yet. It'll take a bit to get there, but it's over.

Is it over? I mean, do you buy these grim assessments coming from within the party?

HELDMAN: Well, I don't think it's over until we get some more polling this week, and the polling that Biden needs to look at, just thinking strategically, are these swing states, the key swing states. We know that in polls that were taken, the random polls a month ago, that Trump was up in four out of five key swing states. Biden had a lot of ground to make up. We know recent polls, there are national polls, CNN, the Sienna poll, find that Trump is up six percentage points.

That is a huge gap. And I know polls this far out from the election, but that is a big gap to make up. But more importantly, did Biden lose ground in key swing states? If that's the case then he needs to seriously look at what he is still doing in this race, given that so many other Democratic candidates do better in a head-to-head against Trump.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And obviously people would be poring over all of those details. But just from a wider lens, I guess, our latest polling that you mentioned there suggests that Biden went down a further 3 percent since the last poll before the debate. So that's significant as you say, but not catastrophic. I mean, the amount that we're making of this in the media and elsewhere, are we kind of out of touch with voters, or is this just the snowball rolling downhill? It just kind of looks small right now.

HELDMAN: You know, that's a great question. I would say as someone who's been a pollster for many years and worked as a data scientist, having a three percentage point drop is massive. So the overall number might not be catastrophic, but the pace at which that dropped is significant. But beyond that, I think the bigger percentage to look at is, and I'm not trying to make a case here.

I'm just thinking like, if I'm Biden's advisees, I'm looking at the 72 percent of Americans who don't think he has a fitness. I'm looking at the 74 percent of Americans who think he shouldn't be in the race. At this point in time, even though the Democratic bench is very deep and there are lots of folks who could step up to the plate who would do better than Biden, it's risky to do it last minute.

It's risky in terms of fundraising, and moving those funds over to go new candidate and selling that new candidate. And this is not somebody who's been tested and Biden has been tested, so there are all of these reasons why maybe Biden should stay in the race. And the biggest one may be being that people in positions of power don't like to give up power. That's why Donald Trump is running again.

But at the end of the day, it looks bad for Biden. He started with very low approval ratings and those have only dropped and time is very short.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, it's interesting as you say because the polling, despite all the swings and the slings and arrows and everything has remained remarkably sort of stable and then all of a sudden to have a 3 percent, as you say, it may not be numerically a huge number, but in comparison to what we've seen, it is big. You were talking about the bench, the Democratic bench. I mean, CNN

has been reporting that Democrats in the White House developing a succession plan for the presidential campaign, which involves shifting support to the vice president. Now the White House has denied this. Do you think there is one? And if so, is Harris the answer?

HELDMAN: Well, there are definitely many of these contingency plans floating around. The question is whether or not they're coming from Biden's inner circle. There are certainly a lot of folks who could step up. Obviously Kamala Harris would be the first pick. I will say as somebody who researches the presidency and gender and race, being a woman of color means that she will have some barriers with some voters that are non-Democratic.

But that's a fact. And so there are questions, though, about, OK, so let's say she's not the most competitive in the bench. If you pass her over, do you disaffect black voters? Do you disaffect voters of color in the Democratic coalition? So that's a risky move. There are lots of kind of safer bets with, you know, white men who are not going to face those barriers. I think, for example, like a Pete Buttigieg who's going to face LGBTQ Plus bias. Josh Shapiro is going to face Jewish bias.

And if you're looking at this from a pure strategy perspective, you put a white dude in there who doesn't have any marginalized identities that might cause some voters to be turned off. But at the end of the day, if you skip over Harris, you get in a lot of trouble with the Democratic base.

BRUNHUBER: Fascinating. Listen, thank you so much for your expertise breaking all down for us.

Caroline Heldman, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

HELDMAN: Great to see you. Thank you.


BRUNHUBER: Missouri's attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court's permission to file a complaint against the state of New York. Now he claims the gag order imposed on Donald Trump in his hush money trial infringes on the right of voters to hear from the presidential candidate. Andrew Bailey wants Trump's impending sentence delayed and the gag order lifted until after the presidential election in November.

Jurors convicted the former president on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump is the appealing the verdict.

After six weeks of campaigning, Britain is on the cusp of choosing a new government. What's at stake in the snap election and why the ruling party appears to be in trouble. That's ahead. Plus a glimmer of hope for a ceasefire and a hostage deal in Gaza. We'll have the latest on the negotiations next. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: In less than two hours, British voters will begin casting ballots in a general election widely expected to end 14 years of Conservative rule. The Labour Party has a huge lead in the polls, even earning the backing of "The Sun" tabloid, which has endorsed only the Tories for nearly 20 years.

"The Sun's" front page states it's time for a new manager. Labour leader Keir Starmer says he hopes to help turn the page and rebuild the country after so many years of, quote, "chaos and division."


KEIR STARMER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Because there are lots of undecided voters still, lots of constituents, that will come down to a few hundred votes that make the difference. And people need convincing about the change that we need. They need convincing that change is possible, that they can vote for change.


BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, former prime minister Boris Johnson was out stumping for the Conservatives on Wednesday, saying a landslide victory by Labour would be a, quote, "disaster for the country." That sentiment echoed by the British prime minister himself.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Boris is right to say now is the time for all Conservatives to come together, to deny Labour that super majority that Keir Starmer craves. We have 48 hours to save Britain from the danger of a Labour government.


BRUNHUBER: CNN's Nic Robertson has details on how the voting will unfold and what will it takes to form a government.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the polls open at 7:00 a.m., close at 10:00 p.m. local. It's a first pass the post system, 650 different constituencies across the country, each electing one member of parliament. So to get a majority and be the biggest party in parliament, that is normally the one that forms the governing party, you need 326 for that majority. Of course, you don't need to have that number to actually form a government if you go into a coalition.


But this election is one that could be like previous affected by the weather, but the weather not looking particularly wet, rainy in Scotland, but the rest of the country looking dry if a bit seasonally cooler than the average. But the election will be one that the British public had been waiting for. It is one that had to be called before the end of the year. Each government can sit for five years.

And the British public will begin to know the results once the polls close at 10:00 p.m. This is something that a lot of people here have been waiting quite some time for.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: Israel and Hamas appears to be on the brink of a framework agreement for a ceasefire and hostage deal. That's according to an Israeli source familiar with the negotiations. But this deal is still not finalized nor is it assured. Israel says it's evaluating the latest response from Hamas after it was delivered by Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Hamas says it dealt with a proposal, quote, "positively," and repeated its demand for a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Israeli officials believe the latest response from Hamas will enable the two parties to begin negotiating the specific details of a deal. Israeli negotiators are set to meet with the country's political leadership, including the prime minister, in the coming days to decide on next steps.

About 100 rockets were fired from Lebanon towards Israel on Wednesday, according to Israel's military. It's not clear how many rockets were intercepted and how many landed. The barrage comes after Israel killed a senior Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon earlier in the day. The IDF says Mohammad Nasser was responsible for a number of attacks towards Israel, both before and during the war. Hezbollah confirmed a senior commander was killed.

Cross-border attacks between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militants have ramped up in recent weeks. Israel's defense minister gave this warning.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): We will also reach a state of full readiness to do whatever action is required in Lebanon or to reach a settlement from a position of strength. We'll refer the settlement but if reality forces us, we will know how to fight.


BRUNHUBER: We're now getting firsthand accounts of Russia's deadly strike on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Drones and missiles pummeled the city Wednesday morning, killing at least five people and leaving 34 others injured. Ukraine says the attack destroyed a medical clinic and damaged other buildings, including schools and a children's hospital while starting multiple fires.

Now that's despite the fact that Ukraine says it shot down 11 drones and missiles. Some survivors say they had close calls. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was very scary when it started. There were very strong explosions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The glass injured my face and my arm is broken off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I collapsed on the floor with my phone in my hand calling my wife just to tell her I love her. I thought these would be my last words.


BRUNHUBER: Ukraine's president later said only two things can prevent strikes like these, modern air defenses and long-range capabilities for Ukraine to hit back.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin says it isn't in contact with U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump about ending the war. That's according to Russian state media. The statement came after U.S. news outlet Politico alleged, citing sources, that Trump if he's reelected was, quote, "mulling" a deal whereby NATO commits to no further eastward expansion, and planning talks with President Vladimir Putin, quote, "over how much Ukrainian territory Moscow can keep."

All right. Still to come, Hurricane Beryl is roaring through the Caribbean towards the Cayman Islands. We'll have the latest on where it's headed. That's next. Please stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Welcome back. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom. We're keeping a close eye on Hurricane Beryl as it moves through the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center reports the storm is headed towards the Cayman Islands now after lashing Jamaica with high winds and heavy rain. Taking full stock of the damage, the island will have to wait until morning. But flooding, downed trees and damage to structures are already evident. Anthony Lugg has more with CNN affiliate TVJ, and he looked at the damage.


ANTHONY LUGG, TVJ REPORTER: This is what the situation is like here in East Portland. This roadway from Port Antonio leading to communities like Dolphins Bay, Hector's river and Long Bay is now impassable. Now, I'd also like to point out that as a result of this downpour, a number of areas in the vicinity is without electricity.


BRUNHUBER: CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has more on Beryl's impact and its projected path. CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. The center of the eye actually did not make landfall along the southern coast of Jamaica, but the eye wall itself did. And the eye wall has, where all the winds are, has all the damage involved. So we know that there were winds there somewhere around 160 kilometers per hour at least on land. Not very many reporting stations out there to really get an idea of what happened.

But we do know that there's been an awful lot of rainfall along the mountains, even some spots still going to pick up another 100 millimeters, maybe 150 millimeters of rain before it finally moves away. Taking a look at the European ensemble, and sometimes we make these all different colors because they're all different models. This is actually one model, but changing just a few different things in the model to make it react differently.

The reason why they do that is to try to find where the center of the consensus is. So yes, there are some to the right that move on up to the north into parts of the Gulf of Mexico. And some to the left that go kind of squiggly and they all go the wrong way, just changing the wrong things in the model. But still, we get the same cone here. In the middle, we still get landfall here, likely as a category two, along the Yucatan Peninsula and then somewhere up into northern Mexico or southern Texas.

Now, overnight tonight, we are seeing an awful lot of wind and waves in the Grand Cayman islands, from Cayman Brac all the way to Little Cayman and Grand Cayman itself. So we'll have to see what kind of damage that creates as the sun comes up tomorrow.

BRUNHUBER: Sierra Leone has officially banned child marriage. On Tuesday, the president signed a bill into law ending the practice, which is widespread in the country. Advocates say they hope the new law will better protect the country's girls, around third of whom are married before the age of 18. Now, under the law, any man who weds a girl under 18 could face at least 15 years in prison in a fine of around $4,000.


All right. When we come back, Japan releases its brand new yen banknotes, and there's something a little different about these bills. Well explain when we come back. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Well, Judy Garland starred in the movie "Wizard of Oz" but never recorded the audiobook. Well, now you'll be able to hear the voice of the late singer read the beloved story, or almost anything else. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dorothy saw lying on the table the silver shoes that had belonged to the Witch of the East.


BRUNHUBER: Yes. Strange. Garland is among several deceased stars, including James Dean and Burt Reynolds, who've been added to the reader app by AI company, ElevenLabs. And it acquired the rights to their voices from their estates to repurpose them into custom narrations of your favorite texts, newsletters or books. Now, this comes two months after ChatGPT came under fire for using a synthetic voice similar to Scarlett Johansson's character in the film her.

Japan is debuting its redesigned banknotes this week. The shiny new yen bills are designed to fight counterfeiting and are sourced from an unlikely location, paper bush shrubs grown in the Himalayan Mountains. CNN's Hanako Montgomery joins us from Tokyo. So, Hanako, I mean, that sounds unusual to say the least. What's behind this?

HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kim. It's good to see you. Yes, certainly unusual. I have Japan's new banknotes here in my hand. We got them from the bank just yesterday. But you'll be surprised to know that over 90 percent of Japan's cash. It's actually made from materials sourced outside side of the country. That's because a key ingredient to making Japan's cash, Mitsumata or paper bush, as you put it, can no longer be sourced domestically anymore.

But lucky for Japan, Nepal has copious amounts of paper bush. Take a look at how Mitsumata travels from the Nepali mountains to Japan's banks.


MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Along the winding paths of Nepal's Himalayan peaks, thrives a key cash crop for one of the world's wealthiest economies, Mitsumata. This small yellow plant is essential for making Japan's bills. But shrinking farming populations and climate change means it can no longer be sourced locally. Instead, it's found in abundance in Nepal's highland regions, a chance discovery made by Kanpou Incorporated, a company that produces paper for the Japanese government.

TADASHI MATSUBARA, PRESIDENT, KANPOU INC. (through translator): The profits from the Mitsumata are used to build elementary schools to offer better education to children, and hair salons in the village.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Tadashi Matsubara's company first went to Nepal for a charity program to help farmers dig wells. But after discovering Mitsumata in the mid-90s, growing wild as far as the eyes could see, they taught farmers how to cultivate, the crop turned cash, transforming the local economy, Matsubara says.

MATSUBARA (through translator): I really think that Nepal contributed to Japan's economy, as cash is fundamental to Japanese economy. Without Nepal, Japan will not function.


MONTGOMERY (voice-over): And as Japan unveils its first new bills in 20 years, the demand for the plant skyrockets. MONTGOMERY: These are Japan's brand new bills. They're the first to have 3D holograms of historical figures to prevent counterfeiting and have tactile marks for the visually impaired.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): The new bills arrive as cash loving Japan pushes for more digital payments. In 2023, nearly 40 percent of transactions in Japan were non-cash. But it still trails far behind neighboring China, where it's almost completely cashless. In Japan, where cash reigns king, this vital crop from the Himalayan hillside is key to filling its wallets.


MONTGOMERY: So while money does not grow on trees, unfortunately, Kim, Japanese money does grow on Nepali bushes and, of course, are produced to make Japan's cash currency. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks for that fascinating look. Hanako Montgomery in Tokyo, thank you so much.

Well, it's already being described as the wedding of the year. The son of Asia's richest man is set to marry his longtime girlfriend later this month. The wedding set to take place from July 12th to 14th. The groom's mother blessed the couple ahead of the festivities.


NITA AMBANI, MUKESH AMBANI'S WIFE (through translator): Today marks the beginning of the festivities for our children, Anant and Radhika's wedding. It is my good fortune to be here for this auspicious occasion. Just seeing the children filled me with great joy. I pray to God for their happiness and wellbeing throughout their lives.


BRUNHUBER: The lavish pre-wedding celebrations have already created a media frenzy. In March, there was a three day pre-wedding party that included a light show with more than 5,500 drones above a custom built glass palace as Rihanna performed. It was attended by about 1,200 high profile guests, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. The upcoming wedding is expected to follow Hindu tradition with a number of events over several days.

All right, Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back with more CNN Newsroom at the top of the hour. World sport is next.



DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST: Hello there and welcome to CNN World Sport. I'm Don Riddell in Atlanta. And we will kick off today with two very big football competitions which are starting to get really interesting. The group stage of the Copa America in the United States was concluded on Tuesday with a box office clash between Brazil and Colombia. Now, Colombia are one of the formed teams in the world right now. They haven't lost in over two years and they were on a ten-game winning streak, but it was Brazil who went ahead. That's a stunning free kick from the Barce star, Raphinha. But Colombia drew level just before half time with a pretty nice goal of their own. That's Daniel Munoz on target. That is how it finished, one all. Colombia won the group. As a result, they are now 26 games unbeaten. Brazil have also advanced to the quarter finals.

The defending champions, Argentina will be in action next. Lionel Messi's men will play Ecuador in the quarterfinals. Venezuela have Canada, Brazil play Uruguay and Colombia take on Panama. Both the Copa America and the European Football Championship have had the day off. The Copa's quarterfinal stage starts on Thursday. The euros will resume on Friday.

This is how the draw in Europe is looking. And the games on Friday are just massive. Spain against Germany and then Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal against Kylian Mbappe's France. On Saturday, it's the other side of the draw, England against Switzerland and then the Netherlands against Turkey. Earlier, I caught up with our senior sports analyst, Darren Lewis, to preview the action and he thinks that Spain are looking like the team to beat.


DARREN LEWIS, CNN SENIOR SPORTS ANALYST: I think it's got to be Spain, you know, Don, because there are so many qualities to de la Fuente's team, the tempo, the quality of the young players, the wingers, the cutting edge, the evolution from endless passing to a team that can take you apart. You've got to give an honorable mention to the likes of the Manchester City midfielder Rodri, undefeated with his club side for 18 months, and now very much the man who makes the Spanish tick.

Also the sublime 21-year-old midfielder, Pedri, the incredible 16- year-old winger, Lamine Yamal, and the 21-year-old athletic Bilbao forward, Nico Williams. He scored that special goal as the Spanish fleet destroyed the Georgians last Sunday night. Just to give you a little stat here, the Spanish went 44 years without a major trophy before they lifted the Euros in 2008.

Then they won the '22 on World Cup and then they won Euro 2012. And last year they were winners of the Nations League. This year, they look as though they could find themselves, Don, in a league of their own.

RIDDELL: We will soon see. All right, we've touched upon one of the blockbuster quarterfinal ties, that's Germany against Spain. But on the same day on Friday, we've also got Portugal against France, which also means Cristiano Ronaldo, in what could well be his last international game, if it doesn't work out, versus Kylian Mbappe. What else can we say about this potentially a fantastic matchup?

LEWIS: Yes, on paper, it is potentially a fantastic matchup. I'm calling it, though, the underachievers derby in this tournament, because neither side have really impressed at all, just in terms of the protagonists, because the buildup will, as you say, be dominated by these two men. There is a wonderful short video on social media of a teenage Mbappe alone watching Ronaldo lifting the Euro 2016 trophy after Portugal were victorious. Mbappe would have been 17 at the time.

Now, the feeling is that time is catching up with Ronaldo, who turns 40 next February, while Mbappe is entering his prime. We saw the tears from Ronaldo the other night when he struggled with all those free kicks, nearly 60 from which he scored only once. And in terms of scoring, he just can't seem to do it anymore.

So, as I say, neither man has really lit up the tournament just yet. Mbappe has got one penalty to his name in regulation time. And France have yet to score from open play in their four games so far. Ronaldo, yes, he hasn't scored in regulation time in a major tournament for eight matches out in Germany and at the World Cup in Qatar. He said that this is going to be his last Euros as you say. I still think he could make an impact off the bench, but there is a huge body of opinion in Portugal that if the team are to advance, then a younger, more mobile alternative in the form of Diogo should be starting up front.


RIDDELL: Right. Of the eight teams left in this competition, five of them have already won this tournament, some of them multiple times. Three have not, and the three are Turkey, England and Switzerland. England and Switzerland play each other, so one of them is going to make it to at least the semifinals. Can you make a case for either of them or any of those three going all the way?

LEWIS: I really am loath to do this, but I can make a case for one team and it's England. Just because of some of the contrast between the group stage form and the knockout stage form that we've seen earlier this week. And I think England look as though they've got a side that can find a way to get through. They've got the most game changing options in the team and on the bench when they're not playing well. And now that the Austrians have come, and I did see them as being potential side that could surprise a few people, I can't see anyone else, Don. If England do go out, then for me, the winners are going to come from the other half of the draw.


RIDDELL: Darren Lewis. All right, can you imagine having the fastest man in the world as your granddad? How cool would that be? We're in conversation with Jesse Owens grandson next, and you'll just love his story from when he was a five year old kid.


RIDDELL: There have been so many great Olympians over the years, but few could match the impact made by the African American sprinter Jesse Owens. He won four gold medals at the 1936 games in Berlin, an achievement made all the more significant because he did it in front of Germany's Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler. His story is now being retold by our partners at Warner Brothers Discovery in a documentary called August 4th an Olympic Odyssey. It is a date that has featured prominently throughout Olympic history.

The film premieres today, and I have been speaking with Jesse's grandson about his legacy, which also includes an extraordinary friendship with one of his German rivals who was later killed in the Second World War. I'll let Stuart Owen Rankin take up the story from here.


STUART OWEN RANKIN, GRANDSON OF JESSE OWENS: My grandfather competed in the long jump against a German athlete by the name of Luz Long. Luz was the European long jump record holder, and the two of them came together in the 36 games in a sort of heavyweight battle of long jumpers on August 4th in 1936, right under the nose of and in the face of Adolf Hitler.

What unfolded was something that no one would have predicted. My grandfather and Luz Long through their competition, actually became allies, became friends. Yes, eventually, my grandfather did win the gold, but Luz got the silver. And I think just as, or more importantly, what came from that was a bond, a brotherhood between two world class athletes on the highest stage of their particular event or sport.

RIDDELL: You've referred to him as formerly the fastest man in the world, but he's famous not just because of that, in his accomplishments, but because of what he did and where he did it, in Berlin in front of Adolf Hitler. There may be people watching this interview who don't know much about Jesse Owens because this Olympics was almost 100 years ago now. So, I mean, how would you describe his legacy in its entirety?


RANKIN: You're right. A lot of people watching may not be as familiar with his accomplishments. And those Olympics were made particularly famous because those were the Olympics in Berlin, Germany. And, of course, Hitler's philosophy and mindset was that his Aryan nation was a superior nation and that all other nations and all other people were inferior. So my grandfather's accomplishments of four gold medals was quite a thumb in the eye of his philosophy. And I know it added a bit of additional fuel for my grandfather to perform well, but primarily, he wanted to perform well for him and the United States of America.

RIDDELL: How did that performance in 1936 change the rest of his life, and therefore, all of your lives within the family?

RANKIN: Most immediately when he returned from the games, it didn't impact his life as we would imagine it would nowadays, because he was returning to 1936 United States of America, which, candidly, was not a very good place for black Americans. So my grandfather's accomplishments, I don't think, were fully recognized and appreciated until later in his life.

RIDDELL: Can you remember the first time that you realized that your grandfather was kind of fast and very famous? RANKIN: Despite growing up as his grandson, it wasn't something that was talked about a whole lot in the family. You know, he was really just a normal, everyday grandfather. I did eventually learn that he had at one time been the fastest man in the world. And I remember with that because I was a pretty fast kid. As a kid, I thought, well, wouldn't it be neat if I beat in a foot race the former fastest man in the world? And so I challenged my grandfather to a foot race once, fully expecting to be able to beat him because I was probably five, I don't know exactly how old I was at the time, but, you know, to me, he seemed like an old man. So I figured I could beat an old man in a foot race.

And we set off, ready to set, go, and we took off. And I thought I had him for a moment, but then he pretty easily caught up to me and passed me and won the race. So I was really upset. I was sorry that I didn't have the story to tell that I was hoping to be able to tell to my friends at school that I beat the former fastest man in the world.


RIDDELL: Oh, it's still a great story, Stuart. The documentary is available to watch now. You can check it out on Eurosport, Max and Discovery plus.

That does it for this edition of World Sport. Thanks for your company. Take care, and I'll see you again soon.