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Russian Missile Hit Kyiv Hospital; France Faces Political Deadlock; Visitor Logs Show Parkinson's Specialist Visited White House At Least Eight Times In The Past Year; New Israeli Military Strikes and Evacuations in Gaza City; Fighting at Israel-Lebanon Border Sparks Fears of Wider War; Researchers Test Robot Guide Dogs for Visually Impaired; John Cena to Exit WWE in 2025. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world and everyone streaming us on CNN Max. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead. A fight over the President's future boils over on Capitol Hill as Joe Biden pushes back on some of his fellow Democrats who have called for him to exit the 2024 race.

A deadly day for Ukraine. Russia launching a daytime assault across the country leaving dozens dead and reducing part of a children's hospital to rubble.

And France on the fence a surprise as the left-wing coalition keeps the far right out of power, but leaves the country in a political deadlock.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. And we begin in Washington where U.S. President Joe Biden is facing to make or break tests of his political leadership, one at home and one among America's most critical allies. On Capitol Hill Biden is trying to ease anxieties within his own party and fend off increasingly vocal calls for him to drop out of the 2024 race. After his performance in last month's CNN presidential debate raised questions about his mental fitness.

Meantime, with NATO leaders gathering in Washington for their annual summit this week, President Biden will also need to reassure them of America's steadfast commitment to the alliance while also pushing the block to unite behind further support for Ukraine. And the urgency of that mission underscored Monday as Russia launched a barrage of aerial attacks on cities across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv where Russian missiles rip through a children's hospital forcing terrified young patients and their parents to flee for their lives.

Well, first to Capitol Hill where the Democratic Congressional Caucus will meet in the day ahead for the first time since the debate. President Biden tried to head off any revolt with a letter to party members saying he is firmly committed to staying in the race and to beating Donald Trump. Mr. Biden got support on Monday from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the top Democrat in the House.

Mr. Biden's physician is working to dispel concerns about a neurologist visiting the White House eight times in the past year. The issue sparked a heated exchange with the daily press briefing. Dr. Kevin O'Connor later released a letter explaining that many of the military personnel who serve out the White House experience neurological issues and a neurologist visits regularly. More now from CNN Senior White House Correspondent M.J. Lee.

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A defiant President Biden going on offense.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going anywhere. I am not going anywhere.

LEE: The President increasingly under siege after his disastrous debate performance last month, calling in life to MSNBC amid the furious speculation and criticism about his age and fitness for office.

BIDEN: I wouldn't be running the Biden absolutely believe that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024. We had a democratic nominating process for the voters spoke clearly.

LEE: Biden asked about one particular statement he made last week that alarmed and angered many Democrats.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: And if you stay in and Trump is elected, and everything you're worrying about comes to pass. How will you feel in January?

BIDEN: I feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the good jobs I know I can do. That's what this is about.

LEE: The President playing clean up making clear losing is not an option.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, MORNING JOE HOST: What would you say to those who are concerned by that answer?

BIDEN: It's not an option. And I'm not lost. I haven't lost. I beat him last year and I'll beat him this time.

LEE: But new questions about the President's health dogging the White House after the New York Times reported that an expert on Parkinson's disease from Walter Reed had visited the White House eight times in eight months. CNN confirming that the neurologists met earlier this year at the White House with the President's physician. The White House refusing to say if that specialist was consulting about the president. [02:05:02]


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Hold on. Wait, wait, wait. Wait a second, wait.


O'KEEFE: -- release wise in regards to this president specifically.

JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on a second.

O'KEEFE: That's what you should be able to answer by this point.

JEAN-PIERRE: Wait. No, no, no, no, no. No. Wait a minute. Calm -- Ed, please. A little respect here, please. So, every year around the President's physical examination, he sees a neurologist. That's three times, right?

LEE: This as the Biden campaign and its top surrogates are trying to calm the nerves of voters, lawmakers and donors.

JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: For all the talk out there about this race, Joe has made it clear that he's all in.

LEE: The President calling into a meeting of donors on Monday pledging to attack Trump much more aggressively in their next debate. And in a new letter to Democratic lawmakers Biden refusing to back down, writing that he is formally committed to staying in this race to running this race to the end and to beating Donald Trump.


CHURCH: The political uncertainty in Washington will be looming over this week's NATO Summit which kicks off Tuesday evening in the U.S. Capitol. The leaders of NATO's 32-member countries along with other E.U. heads of state and NATO's partner countries will be marking the 75th anniversary of the world's largest security alliance. But any celebratory mood will be clouded not just by the question surrounding the future of the U.S. presidency, but also the resurgence of right- wing populism in parts of Europe.

And of course, Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, which is raging right on NATO's doorstep. The White House, though, is eager to shut down any suggestion that President Biden will have to reassure NATO allies over his fitness to lead.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: I think your question presupposes the notion that they need to be reassured of American leadership and President Biden's commitment and I don't believe that's the case. We're not picking up any signs of that from our allies at all. Quite the contrary. The conversations that we're having with them in advance is they're excited about the summit. They're excited about the possibilities and the things that we're going to be doing together specifically to help Ukraine.


CHURCH: The U.N. Security Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss Russia's deadly attack on a children's hospital in Kyiv. It was part of a series of daytime air assaults across Ukraine during the morning rush hour. Crews are still searching through the rubble in cities throughout the country, hoping to find survivors amid the destruction. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says dozens of men women and children were killed and at least 170 others injured among the victims. At least two killed and 16 wounded at the Children's Hospital in Kyiv.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We didn't expect it. We didn't think that the hospital could be targeted. It was somehow unexpected. It's good we were in the hallway. I thought that the child would go duck because the doors got blown up narrows from one end to the other side.


CHURCH: The U.K. ambassador to the U.N. has promised to denounce what she called Russia's cowardly and depraved attack at Tuesday's meeting, which comes at the special request of President Zelenskyy.


VOLODYMR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Beyond any doubt we are going to rebuild everything that these Russian terrorists have destroyed. And beyond any doubt we are going to answer the savages from Russia. Everybody that was injured will get all the help they need and will pledge to work on bringing Russia to justice for the territory. And Putin for his orders to carry out these strikes.


CHURCH: CNN's Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more on the strikes and how some of Russia's shifting alliances are causing increasing tensions around the globe.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A massive attack in broad daylight. This social media video purporting to show the moment a Russian missile hit Kyiv's main Children's hospital, the building flat. Desperate first responders but also hospital staff trying to find survivors under the debris. There are people under the rubble, Kyiv's mayor says. There may be children among them. This woman in tears. We came here five minutes before it all happened, she says. We managed to get to the pediatric ward, it's a nightmare. Just days before Vladimir Putin's military bombed Ukraine civilian infrastructure, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban currently holding the European Union presidency was in Moscow. A trip that other E.U. leaders have rejected and criticized. Putin using the platform to attack the U.S. and its allies.


The sponsors of Ukraine continue to try to use this country and its people as a battering ram, Putin said. A victim in the confrontation with Russia. Viktor Orban is not only arguably Vladimir Putin staunchest ally in Europe, he's also a major supporter of former President Donald Trump, celebrating a march visit to Mar-a-Lago on his Instagram page and telling German outlet Built he supports Trump's presidential bid in an exclusive interview.

So, he is a --- he's from businessman. He's a self-made man. He has a different approach to everything. And I and I believe that that will be good for the world politics. Don't forget that he is the man of the peace.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Orban cozying up to other U.S. adversaries as well. Currently on a visit to China meeting President Xi Jinping, Beijing saying they're pleased with Orban's efforts to end the war in Ukraine. This as China has just sent troops to neighboring Belarus close to NATO's eastern flank for military exercises. The Ukrainian say rather than proposals for their de facto surrender, they need more air defense systems to help prevent strikes like the one that destroyed the Children's Hospital.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

CHURCH: The day of that horrific attack in Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his suburban Moscow home. Modi is on the final day of his two-day visit to Russia, the first time he's been in the country since President Vladimir Putin' Sull scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is calling the Indian Prime Minister's trip to Moscow a "huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts."

Ivan Watson joins me now live from Hong Kong with more on this and I've. And Ivan, it has to be said. The optics of Prime Minister Modi and Vladimir Putin hugging and chumming it up on the same day. Ukrainians accused Moscow of hitting a children's hospital with a cruise missile was jarring. How damage could -- damaging could this trip proved to be for the Indian leader do you think?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that the Indian government and Prime Minister I have been determined to show that they have an independent foreign policy of neutrality when it comes to the Ukraine war. Narendra Modi has met with the Ukrainian president just last month, I believe. And he is also though, touting a long-time partnership with Russia that goes back to the days of the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

So, he arrived in Moscow on Monday afternoon and he went to Vladimir Putin's home outside of Moscow, his official residence, the two leaders embraced each other. They wrote around in this electric buggy together. And the Indian government has been celebrating this as "a meeting of two close friends and trusted partners." They're saying that these two leaders will be discussing defense ties that again go back to the Cold War.

India relies on Russian-made weapons for its military. Trade ties, bilateral trade has exploded over the course certainly over the last year with India scooping up cheap Russian crude oil that is no longer being bought by European countries who have slapped sanctions on Moscow for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. There are some areas of friction as well in their relationship. India not liking the fact that Indian citizens pop up in the Russian military fighting in the war in Ukraine, saying that that has to come to an end.

But yes, the image of these two leaders embracing each other on the same day when the Ukrainian government accuses Russia of hitting a children's hospital in Kyiv, with a cruise missile not lost on the Ukrainian president who published this tweet, saying that at least 37 people were killed, 170 injured. And he goes on to write "It is a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts to see the leader of the world's largest democracy hug the world's most bloody criminal in Moscow on such a day."

We've reached out to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for comment haven't gotten anything back from them just yet. Meanwhile, Washington of course, is watching this closely. India has also been deepening its ties with the U.S. government over the course of the last decade. Defense ties, the U.S.-Indian trade dwarfs that of Indian-Russian trade. Here's what the U.S. State Department spokesman had to say about Modi's visit to Moscow.

MATTHEW MILLER, UNITED STATES STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: India as a strategic partner with whom we engage in a full and frank dialogue, and that includes on our concerns about the relationship with Russia.

WATSON: And I think what Modi is demonstrating here is that India will chart its own course despite the pressures here from other great powers. But it is a tricky balancing act to say the least. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. Ivan Watson joining us live from Hong Kong. Appreciate that live report. A political deadlock in France after no party wins a majority in the parliamentary elections. We will look at what's next for the deeply divided country.

Plus, more than two million customers are with our power of the Hurricane Beryl tore through Texas. We will have more on the damage as the storm system continues its path through the United States.


[02:18:00] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, France has been plunged into political uncertainty after no party won an outright majority in the snap parliamentary elections. A source tells CNN negotiations are underway to form a new government. But it's not clear if there will be a new prime minister by the time the Paris Olympics start in three weeks. The stunning election result put the left-wing coalition that new Popular Front on top with 182 seats.

President Emmanuel Macron centrist alliance was second with 163 seats, and the far-right national rally and its allies won 143 seats. Meanwhile, President Macron did not accept Prime Minister Gabriel Attal's resignation on Monday instead asking him to stay on for now for the "stability of the country." Meantime, well though there were celebrations among leftists after their win without an absolute majority efforts to form a new government may be complicated.

CNN's Melissa Bell has more.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Disbelief and joy on the streets of Paris as news of the fall rates defeat was announced.

JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, LEADER OF FRANCE UNBOWED PARTY (through translator): The United Left has shown that it has risen to this historical occasion.

BELL (voice-over): Even that unified left seemed astonished by its own access, an improbable coalition of ecologists, socialists and communists that was only created a month ago.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT AND SOCIALIST (through translator): I am indeed a leftist. And I probably wouldn't have won if the left hadn't come together. And I'm well aware of that.

BELL (voice-over): As Paris celebrated the coalition's victory, there were already questions though about how such a varied group of parties will actually govern.

CAMILLE, FRENCH VOTER: We are quite happy because the left is getting a majority to the Parliament. But we are a bit scared as well, because the union is not really solid. So maybe there will be betrayal. But tonight, we're celebrating.


BELL (on camera): The biggest disappointment of all, of course, the (INAUDIBLE) that her national rally would finally be able govern. In fact, it came in third, but still recorded the party's best ever electoral success.

BELL (voice-over): Doubling the number of its parliamentary seats, with the far left doing well too the radical party's gains largely made at the expense of President Macron centrists. A reflection of growing anger, much of it outside of Paris. Like here in Normandy, where the national rally won outright in the first round.

JEAN-PAUL RIBIERE, TALMONTIERS, FRANCE DEPUTY MAYOR: The vote here is more of a disapproval of what's happening in Paris compared to what's happening in the rural world, which is that no one listens to us. No one hears us.

BELL (voice-over): Yet the images of the far right celebrating their first round success appear to have focus the minds and the votes of those who wanted more than anything else to keep them away from power for now.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CHURCH: David Andelman is a CNN contributor and a former New York Times foreign correspondent. He joins me now from Pennsylvania. Appreciate you being with us.


CHURCH: So, French president Emmanuel Macron took a dangerous risk calling these snap elections and now in a stunning upset his party and the left have managed to keep the far right from winning power. But of course, his next challenge is to build a stable government after no party won an outright majority. So how will he do that?

ANDELMAN: Well, you know, Macron's goal is to treat as you said, to keep the extremes of the left and right out of power. Macron is probably the most brilliant political strategist I've ever met, not a congenial type necessarily. A lot of people have found that he's not very winning in terms of his style and so on. But he understands the levers of power better than any leader I've ever met.

I think he is counting on alliances of the moderate left to socialists and the ecologist, the greens. And if you count up the numbers, it really does seem to work. You know, people have been focusing on the United Left. United Left was surging and, you know, there's -- within that there's a very strong loop (INAUDIBLE) the friends unbound leg of the left wing socialist left wing.

And this is the wacko end, and this is what really Macron needs to keep out of power, but they lost three seats in this boat from last the rest of last elections '19 and 2022. The socialists doubled their seats and the Greens doubled their seats, together with macrons own seats that he has already the 168 he accumulated. Together, they accumulate 265 votes, that's almost as many as you need for a majority.

So, I suspect what's going to happen is an alliance between Macron and the moderate left. And if that doesn't work, he goes to the final stage and that is to appoint a technocrat -- a technocrat Prime Minister, much as the Italians did when they took Mario Draghi out of the European bank and made him prime minister of Italy.

CHURCH: So, how difficult will it be for him to build a government with a moderate left though? How tricky will that be?

ANDELMAN: Oh, it'll take some time. There's no question about that. But he has some time. He wouldn't -- when Gabriela Attal, the current prime minister resigned today. He said, I'm not going to accept your resignation, you're going to stay in for the foreseeable future. What I suspect is we're going to have the government that has been in power, will continue in power through the Olympics, which begin in about 10 days, I'll be over there for that.

And that will continue through the end of August. You know, the Grand Round trading can be returned from vacations and so on -- and so on begins in first of September. Right after that, I suspect we'll begin to see some real movement on forming a government and that's during -- he has default he has about two months now or at least a good month and a half to put together to what assemble a government that will work.

A government that will want to keep friends in NATO, which is something that no one showing the extreme left don't want to do, they want to pull it out. That will keep a degree of economic sanity going in France. So it doesn't sort of spin itself down the drain like the Italians and some other countries in Europe have done. And that's what's really important to Macron. And I think it's very important to the vast majority of the moderate politicians and their supporters throughout the country that have put him in power.

CHURCH: And after doing so well in the first round of voting, how was it that the far right essentially collapsed after the second round of voting? What went on there?


ANDELMAN: You know, I've covered the floor right since back in the 1980s when Marine Le Pen's fathers, Jean-Marie Le Pen, when he founded the (INAUDIBLE) whatever you want to call it, you went through about three different -- three or four different names in the last 40 years or so. The French have never, in all of that time, wanted to give either her father or Marine Le Pen the majority to run the country, they don't trust it.

They don't want to trust their country to this kind of a neo-Nazi in effect regime. A regime at really reminds many of them for the Vichy, the Nazis during World War II what they did in France, it was -- it was catastrophic. And even though even though most French people who are aren't alive anymore, who remember that vividly, nevertheless, they do, it's in their DNA. This is hatred of the whole concept of national socialism and the far extreme right wing.

So, what happened, I think they've always gotten up to about a third of the vote. And then that's their ceiling. So, they got a third of the vote, which seemed dramatic to everybody in the first round. And then in the second round, they got that same third of the vote, so -- of the people voting. So that that has happened every time of the far right has gone to the before the people were friends.

They can't get -- they can't get to that that level where they can actually run something and run the country. And I think the French people recognize that.

CHURCH: David Andelman, thank you so much for talking with us. We really appreciate it.

ANDELMAN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: What was Hurricane Beryl has now weakened to a tropical depression as it moves through the United States, but conditions are still dangerous. Tornadoes, heavy rain and flash flooding are expected as the system heads north this week. At least five storm related deaths have been reported from Beryl in the U.S. so far. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is in Texas where the storm made landfall early Monday and has more on the damage that's caused.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Deadly hurricane barrel making landfall along the Gulf Coast. Battering Texas with hurricane force winds whipping up to 94 miles per hour. Rising waters leading to dramatic rescues in Houston. Surging wind and rainfall, flooding roadways, blowing down trees and slamming residents along its path, including this woman in Jamaica Beach, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked up and my roof was gone. Stuff start flying up the wall, zinging and around the house.

VAN DAM: In Houston shortly after landfall, hurricane force wind gusts up to 84 miles per hour, causing roofs to collapse. And heavy rain more than a month's worth in one day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All that rain came down (INAUDIBLE) fell right on my neck.

VAN DAM: The rain and storm surge leading to dangerous roads.

JOHN WHITMIRE, MAYOR OF HOUSTON: It's important for everyone to remember the primary drainage mechanism throughout the city is our streets. For better or worse.

VAN DAM: The National Weather Service warning people to stay off of high-rise balconies and away from windows as the eye of the storm passes through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had hours and hours and hours of extremely high winds, high water. Got tree limbs, tremendous amount of debris that's on the road. Waters covering the roadways.

VAN DAM: The high winds canceling flights across Texas at one point knocking out power for almost three million people throughout the state straining and already stretched power grid overwhelmed by extreme weather.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAN DAM: Here in Houston, the floodwaters have receded but going

forward the millions of people without power are going to struggle in the building heat in the coming days.

CNN meteorologist, Derek Van Dam, Houston, Texas.

CHURCH: Northern Israel has been under attack by Hezbollah. Just ahead CNN goes to the Israel-Lebanon border where the Israeli military says it's only safe to be there for three minutes or less. We will explain why. That's next.



CHURCH: Israel is conducting new strikes in parts of Gaza city after ordering civilians to evacuate. The Israeli military says the new operation is targeting what it says is terrorist infrastructure in the city. On Sunday, the IDF ordered civilians to leave. A Gaza civil defense spokesman says people are still fleeing and they are now wounded and dead in the streets, and medical crews are having a hard time getting to them.

Meanwhile, the United Nations says the number of displaced Palestinians in Gaza is now 1.9 million. That is about 90 percent of the people who live there. Attacks from Hezbollah into northern Israel escalated after the October 7th attack by Hamas. Officials say an American injured there by Hezbollah shelling it significantly improving. The United States says the man was not working for the U.S. government. Just days before the attack that wounded him, our Jeremy Diamond traveled to a nearby village to get a firsthand look at the fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border. Here's what he found.


LT. COL. JORDAN HERZBERG, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: They are going to see us when we get up there and we have three minutes.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colonel Jordan Herzberg is talking about Hezbollah.

HERZBERG: After three minutes though, they can start to fire. So we are going to be very quick.

DIAMOND (voice-over): He is taking us to an Israeli community on the front lines of Israel's simmering conflict with the Lebanese militant group, up a winding mountain road, past a roadblock in a security fence and into the village of Shtula, which sits right on the Lebanese border.

DIAMOND: We just entered the village of Shtula. This is a community of about 300 people normally. For right now, it is just an absolute ghost town.

HERZBERG: Let's go quick.

DIAMOND (voice-over): This three-minute countdown starts as soon as we are within line of sight of southern Lebanon look.

HERZBERG: Look how close we are to the border here.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Where Hezbollah militants armed with anti-tank missiles are closely watching the border, prepared to fire once again.

HERZBERG: This house was hit by an anti-tank missile right here, past the window.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Two homes, one next to the other, hit in the same attack according to the Israeli military.

DIAMOND: This is one of the most dangerous places in northern Israel right now. We are in Shtula and you can see the Lebanese border just right across there, across from those concrete barriers. We are just a few hundred feet and what that means is that we are within range of those anti-tank guided missiles, and that is exactly what has wrought this destruction on this civilian home.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The threat of anti-tank missiles is part of why Israel wants to push Hezbollah back to the Litani River, about 18 miles north of the border, outside the range of those missiles.

HERZBERG: OK, we have 35 seconds.

DIAMOND: We've been here for three minutes. The colonel has been watching his watch the entire time that we've been here. And now, he is telling us it is time to go.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Hezbollah has been firing rockets, missiles, and drones at northern Israel since October 8th. Israel has responded with airstrike after airstrike, devastating parts of southern Lebanon where more than 90,000 people have fled their homes since October.


In northern Israel, about 60,000 Israelis have been displaced, people like Ori Eliyahu and his nine dogs. His grandfather was among the first people Israel settled in Shtula in the late 1960s and after spending his summers there as a child, Ori decided to move there.

DIAMOND: Shtula is a special place for you?

ORI ELIYAHU, DISPLACED SHTULA RESIDENT: It is my house, to be honest.

DIAMOND: And if you could return to Shtula, you would?

ELIYAHU: Of course, I will return in the first moment I will be able to, yeah.

DIAMOND: But he says that may not be the case for families with children.

ELIYAHU: I don't think that there is a condition that we will make them come back because whenever they know that Hezbollah is like Hamas can do what they did on October 7 and attack them, they want to mirror them (ph). And there is no real solution because a big war might ruin everything.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A big war is exactly what the Israeli military is preparing for.

HERZBERG: Our division has been training for this war for a long, long time.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Whether that war materializes is unclear. But for Colonel Herzberg, the objective is obvious, get Israel's northern residents back into their homes.

HERZBERG: Whether that happens before a major ground operation or after ground operation, I can't tell you on a tactical level (inaudible) level or the policy level, but the people are to come back sooner than later.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Jeremy diamond, CNN, Shtula, Israel.


CHURCH: Iran's new president says his country will continue to support Hezbollah. This comes from a letter Masoud Pezeshkian sent to the leader of Hezbollah on Monday. Iran has long backed the militant group (inaudible) Pezeshkian won Friday's runoff election in Iran, becoming the country's new president.

Well, still to come here on "CNN Newsroom," researches in China are testing a robot guide dog, how this could help the visually impaired live with more independence, that's next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, it's less furry than a traditional companion, but it can navigate via cameras and has AI- enabled voice recognition capability and researchers in China hope robot guide dogs can one day help the visually impaired live more independently. CNN's Marc Stewart has that report.



STEWART (voice-over): Guide dogs are known for their alert eyes and life-saving potential, but now, they may be getting a new image. A Chinese research team is testing a six-legged robot dog on the streets in Shanghai to help visually impaired people. Li Fei and her husband are visually impaired and working with the Jiao Tong University research team to test these robots.

LI FEI, TESTING ROBOT GUIDE DOGS (through translator): For now, I can tell it where I'm going out via voice conversation.


I can control the speed with this blind cane I have. STEWART (voice-over): The robot dog navigates by using cameras and sensors, and recognizes traffic signals which guide dogs can't do. It can communicate with visually impaired people through AI technology in voice recognition and route planning, using listening and speaking capabilities. China has around 17 million visually impaired people according to the China Association of the Blind. 8 million are completely blind says the World Health Organization. But there are only 400 or so guide dogs in the country says the head of the research team.

GAO FENG, PROFESSOR, JIAO TONG UNIVERSITY, SHANGHAI (through translator): It is impossible to solve this problem with guide dogs. Robots are a lot like cars, and I can mass produce them in the same way as cars. It will become more affordable.

STEWART (voice-over): Affordability is a major issue for both dogs and robots. The vast majority of visually impaired people navigate the world without access to highly-trained guide dogs according to Guiding Eyes, a non-profit providing dogs to people with vision loss. Researchers say if these robots are successful and affordable, they could bring a new level of accessibility to visually impaired people. Critics say robots can't adjust to terrain and dangerous situations as easily as dogs can. But despite the pros and cons, researchers believe there is a future for both to exist in harmony.

Marc Stewart, CNN, Beijing.


CHURCH: John Cena plans to say goodbye to the sport that made him a star. The 47-year-old wrestler turned actor has announced he is retiring from World Wrestling Entertainment next year. He says he will perform 30 to 40 dates through 2025 as he winds down his nearly 25- year pro wrestling career. The 16-time WWE world champion is tied with wrestling legend Ric Flair for the most championships ever. Cena has found success in Hollywood in recent years with roles in films like "Barbie, The Suicide Squad, and the Fast & Furious franchise."

Well, thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "World Sport" is coming up next. Then I will be back in about 15 minutes with more "CNN Newsroom." Do stick around.