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Four Hostages Seized At Nova Festival Freed In Gaza Raid; Biden And French President Macron Affirm Close Alliance During State Visit In Paris; North Korean Activists Sent Balloons Carry K-Pop & K-Drama On USB Sticks; California Faces Major Heat Risk On Monday. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 09, 2024 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like nine o'clock in the morning and it's pitch black. Given the smoke, it almost appeared as though it was the middle of the night and it was snowing. Ash and embers began to rain down.

We're in the middle of a firestorm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it safe to stand here like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if it's safe anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire was moving at a football field per second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out. Watch out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the way it did that, of course, was by jumping ahead and starting these fires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would immediately take hold and rapidly grow into a 100 acre, 200 acre spot fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was happening all through town. That resulted in the town starting to burn all at once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 30, 000 people were trying to be evacuated while being overran by fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go forward and turn around. Turn around and go north. Turn around and go north. This is bad.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: The CNN Original Series, Violent Earth with Liev Schreiber airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Sunday, June 9th. I'm Amara Walker. BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for joining us. Here's what

we're following this morning. Four Israelis taken hostage by Hamas are back with their families after being rescued by the IDF. But the operation to free them left more than 270 Palestinians dead.

The new details about the rescue effort and the impact it could have on ongoing ceasefire talks.

WALKER: President Biden is wrapping up his visit to France after being honored with a state dinner yesterday. What he had to say about the state of the U.S. relationship with its oldest ally.

BLACKWELL: Balloons carrying trash, loudspeakers blaring propaganda and thousands of flash drives full of K-pop music. The tit-for-tat between two neighboring countries.

WALKER: Plus, water safety experts say the color of your child's bathing suit could be one of the most important decisions you make this summer. The ones you might want to avoid is next.

We are learning new details about the rescue of four hostages from a refugee camp in Gaza. But there are questions about the Israeli operation to get the hostages back as well as the number of Palestinians reportedly killed.

Now, the four former hostages are said to be in good medical condition this morning after more than eight months in captivity. They were taken to hospitals for medical exams and to have reunions with their families.

BLACKWELL: Israel carried out heavy airstrikes and shelling in central Gaza during this hostage operation. One witness called it hell on earth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A crazy bombardment started hitting everywhere. Something we never witnessed before. Maybe 150 rockets fell in less than 10 minutes. While we were running away, more fell on the market.

There are children torn apart and scattered in the streets. They wiped out Nuseirat. It is hell on earth.


BLACKWELL: Hospital officials in Gaza raised the number of Palestinian casualties now to at least 274 Palestinians killed, nearly 700 injured. The IDF says the number killed was less than 100. CNN could not verify the numbers from either side.

We've also learned new information about U.S. involvement in the operation. There were no as they're called boots on the ground, but officials say U.S. forces provided planning and intelligence support to Israel. WALKER: Well, let's speak with Elliott Gotkine, who's been following the story from London. Elliott, what do we know about the rescued hostages and how they are doing?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN REPORTER: Amara, as you said physically, according to the hospital authorities in Israel, they're in pretty decent shape. The hostages and missing families forum says that they are in, in their words, relatively good psychological and physical state but they are carrying out further medical tests. And of course, after being in captivity for eight months, there will also be more psychological tests, and it will no doubt take time for them to reacclimatize back to their normal lives.

In terms of the hostages themselves I suppose first is Noa Argamani, a 25-year old young woman who became almost the face of the October the 7th atrocities as she was filmed being sped away on the back of a motorbike by militants pleading for her life as her boyfriend was being frog marched away by militants at the same time. She also subsequently appeared in propaganda videos put out by Hamas during her captivity.


Obviously a very emotional reunion for her with her father was also her third father's birthday on Saturday as well. On top of that, there'd been a number of calls from her mother, who's also a Chinese citizen, her mother pleading even with President Biden to do everything that he could to bring her daughter home because she's suffering from terminal brain cancer and her dying wish, she said, was to see her daughter back safe and sound in Israel. She's now had that wish granted.

In terms of the other hostages, the other three hostages, rural men there was Shlomi Ziv. He's a security guard. He was been living on a moshav, an agricultural settlement for 17 years with his wife. Andrey Kozlov had only just moved to Israel a few months earlier. His family flew in from Russia. And then finally there is Almog Meir Jan. 22 year old. Tragically, when the IDF went to tell his father the news of his rescue, they found that his father had died on Saturday itself. Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Elliott Gotkine, thank you. Let's go now to CNN's Ben Wedeman. Ben, tell us more about we, what we know about the operation.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand that the death toll at this point for that operation in the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza was 274 with 898 wounded. This is the largest single death toll since the war began in Gaza, or rather, since the 10th of December. And that really underscores just how bloody this operation was.

Normally, these operations take place under the cover of darkness. But it began at about 11 o'clock in the morning local time on a Saturday, when many people were out and about shopping and whatnot. And as usual, in Gaza, there were children everywhere. The video that we received from our cameraman inside the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital showed that there were dozens and dozens of people desperate for medical care, many of them women and children, that the morgue was completely full and they were simply putting bodies on the ground outside the hospital.

Also keep in mind that because of the Israeli operation in Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where according to the U.N., 1,100,000 people have left that area seeking safety elsewhere. Many of them were in Nuseirat, many of them were in central Gaza when this operation went down. So there were many civilians, and that explains, perhaps partially why the death toll is so high. Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Ben Wedeman in Beirut. Thank you, Ben.

Let's bring in now Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East negotiator and retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt. Welcome to you both.

General, let me start with you. The latest numbers, 274 killed, multiples of that reportedly injured. Does that suggest to you that something did not go as planned or potentially there was a lack of a plan?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): No, not at all. For better or worse, I think it was intentional the way they conducted this operation. Probably the pandemonium that they created as part of the bombing within the Nuseirat camp itself, they thought would actually make things to their advantage as they conducted this operation.

So, no, I think that they were very clear eyed. The Israelis were very clear eyed about not only the tactics that they were going to be using, but also the consequence it would have as they conducted that particularly brazen operation.

BLACKWELL: So when you say intentional, you say, am I understanding you right, that they knew that hundreds of people were going to die if the number from these medical officials in Gaza is correct and that hundreds would be injured. They knew that going in.

KIMMITT: I think they took under consideration the amount of collateral damage and civilian deaths that would be caused by conducting a daylight operation in a occupied extremely busy city. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Aaron. So how does this then change the climate for the ceasefire potential? We know that the Secretary of State is heading back this week into the region and the variables have changed now with the rescue potentially emboldening Netanyahu, Betty Gantz has not departed. What now is the table set for Blinken?


AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think it validates the prime minister's narrative, which I think is unfortunate that the longer the work continues, the more intelligent the Israelis gather in Gaza, the greater the chances of rescuing hostages.

But keep in mind, Victor, in seven, we're now in the eighth month of this war, nine month beginning next month, you have seven hostages rescued, 121 remain. Israelis believe maybe 46 were either killed on October 7th, their bodies brought to Gaza to trade, or they died in captivity.

I think this does two things. Number one, I think it is a certainly it was a day of hope for Israelis who have been living in a sort of collective PTSD since October 7th, but it puts a premium, it seems to me, and a focus on hostages, and it also reminds the Israelis, I think, that the largest return of hostages in November 105 can only come through a negotiation.

And here's where I think there is a real problem, because there are -- there's an irreconcilable set of objectives between Israel and Hamas in this negotiation. If I were to make a prediction, I don't like doing it. I think there is an opening, perhaps, but only for a phase one. That is to say, a return of 20, 30 hostages, the women, the elderly, the infirm in exchange for a six-week fire, a ceasefire, in return for Palestinian prisoners, and the surging, because it'll be quiet, six weeks of quiet in Gaza, which would be a win for the Biden administration. I just don't see it, Victor, right now the pathway out of this to end the war.

BLACKWELL: And you know that there is that increasing domestic pressure. There were celebrations in the street in the afternoon at the report that these four hostages had been released and then protests in the evening calling for more and to prioritize bringing the rest of the hostages home.

General, to you, we know that the U.S. offered the planning and Intel support. Can you be a little more specific based on like, what does that look like?

KIMMITT: Look, I think that there is a significant amount of intelligence that we can package and hand over to the Israelis, whether it's the int, the intelligence, human intelligence, satellite intelligence, image intelligence probably able to tap into the phone systems as well.

All of those different types of intelligence sources provide more clarity to what's happening on the ground, more clarity on to the location of the hostages. And this was obviously one of those situations where probably primarily human intelligence provided by the Israelis themselves. Located the site of the hostages, but I would suspect that the American intelligence added to and gave, in many cases, second and third source validation of where their locations were.

BLACKWELL: Aaron, does it matter that Benny Gantz has not left this war cabinet yet? He's not been effective, and get the demands that he offered to Netanyahu. Those have not been fulfilled. How much does it matter whether he stays or goes?

MILLER: I mean, I think it matters, Victor, but it's not determinative with respect to the Knesset arithmetic. I mean, 120 seats in the Israeli parliament. You need 60 plus one to govern. Netanyahu has 64 and I think his strategy is very clear. The Knesset goes into recess July 25th. It will not resume until a week to 10 days, Victor, before the U.S. election.

And I think Netanyahu is playing for time here. If he makes it through July 25th, we know he's coming to the United States to address Congress besting Churchill. He'll be the -- he'll have addressed Congress four times, Churchill three, on July 24th.

So I think Benny Gantz is in a fix. He'd like to remain in the government. He brings a sort of moderating hand, but he does not have the potential right now to bring down the government if he goes.

BLACKWELL: Aaron David Miller, General Mark Kimmitt. Thank you both.

WALKER: President Joe Biden is hailing the power of allies as he gets ready to wrap up his trip to France with a visit to the American Cemetery honoring World War I troops. A live report from Paris is next.

Plus, North Korea has sent more trash laden balloons to its southern neighbor. How South Korea plans to respond?



BLACKWELL: President Biden wraps up his trip to France today. He was honored by the French president with an official state visit on Saturday. Now, the point of the visit was to show the close partnership between the two countries on global security issues and easing of past trade tensions.

WALKER: Now, later today, before they return to the states, President Biden and the First Lady are expected to lay a wreath at the Aisne- Marne American Cemetery. That is the cemetery that Donald Trump notably skipped visiting when he was president back in 2018.

CNN Senior White House correspondent Kayla Tausche is live in Paris. Hi there, Kayla. So what else to President Biden have to say about his trip?


KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Amara and Victor. Last night, President Biden thanked France for helping secure U.S.'s freedom in 1776 and said the U.S. was returning the favor 170 years later at the end of World War II.

President Biden also reiterating a message that he has had all week here in France that we're at an inflection point in history and that the actions that countries like the U.S. and France undertake right now will have repercussions for decades to come.

Now, the White House is also hoping for the president's actions to communicate in and of themselves back to American voters back home. That is why it is so symbolic that President Biden is visiting the Aisne-Marne Cemetery just a few hours outside of Paris later today before he departs because of what you mentioned at the that President Trump did not visit that cemetery at the time, citing weather concerns back in 2018 and coming under wide criticism for not doing that.

So President Biden has been trying to distinguish himself on matters where the military is concerned. His campaign releasing two ads slamming Trump's record on the military and on defense concurrent with the visit this week. And so this is yet another opportunity for Biden to seek out an opportunity to make a contrast between himself and his GOP opponent, and he's going to be doing that before he goes home later today. Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: Kayla Tausche in Paris. Kayla, thank you so much. Millions of Americans feeling that inflation frustration could get some good news this week.

And of course, there was that very strong jobs report that showed more people are getting jobs and there are higher wages. We'll talk with the acting secretary of labor next on CNN This Morning weekend.



BLACKWELL: We'll get a better read on inflation on Wednesday when the latest consumer price index is released. And that same day, we could find out if the Fed will lower interest rates or keep them the same.

WALKER: And there is good news when it comes to job and wage growth. Friday's job report was record hot. The economy added 272, 000 jobs blasting past economists' expectations of 180,000. Wage growth is also up for the first time in months, but so is the unemployment rate now at 4 percent.

I asked acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su about it.


WALKER: Econ was one of my worst subjects in high school, so I'm so glad I'm talking to you. You're obviously much smarter than I am. If you could help make sense of these numbers. So the headline is the U.S. economy added 272, 000 jobs, which is way above what the economists were predicting. But the unemployment rate rose just barely, but from 3.9 percent to 4 percent. So what's going on here?

JULIE SU, ACTING SECRETARY OF LABOR: So what's happening is if we take a look back to where we were just three years ago, before the president came into office, COVID was raging. There was no national strategy to get it under control. Unemployment was extremely high. People didn't know if they went to the store, if they'd be able to find toilet paper.

And if you fast forward to where we are now, the president has said, from the time he came into office, we can and must build an economy in which we see real job growth. And where it's good jobs, right, where working people can get ahead. And that's exactly what we have done.

And so, this latest jobs report, you know, we don't just look at one month, we look at an entire trend. And we've just seen, month after month, jobs getting created. You know, 15 million jobs since the president came into office. It's 15 million more individuals getting to use their talent, their skill, their drive, their hunger to contribute to their communities and to make a decent living.

And when I talk about real wages being up, right? That is demonstrating that we're not just creating jobs. We're creating jobs that really allow people to make a decent living to afford the basic things in life. And that's not happening by accident. None of this was inevitable, right? It was because of strong leadership and strong economic policies.

And we're just seeing the benefits now in communities across the country. Well, can you to do that. One simple way to think about it is we're not looking at a shrinking pie that needs to be divided into smaller and smaller pieces. We're looking at a much bigger pie that's being created because the president is committed to real jobs, good job growth and the well-being of working people.

WALKER: So you're going to have some good news to deliver when you embark on this nationwide tour to promote good jobs. You're going to be hitting the road hitting battleground states, very important ones like Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania. Tell me what is a good job and who will you be targeting the employers or employees with your message?

SU: Everybody. So that's exactly what this tour is about. It's Good Jobs Summer. I just announced this in Phoenix, Arizona, where cities and unions and community based organizations signed onto these good jobs principles.

And, you know, a lot of what a good job is fairly fundamental, right? It's making sure that you have a living wage, making sure you have good benefits so you can go to the doctor when you need to, knowing at the beginning of the work shift that you're going to come home healthy and safe at the end of it, the right and ability to have a voice on the job, to organize, to form a union and, you know, sort of basic things, you know, the right to retire with dignity and to see growth and opportunity.

So, we're really laser focused on creating those kinds of jobs in communities all across the country, whether it's rural or urban, you know, big states, small states and going around the country to talk to working people and their families about what having a good job means for them, what the present investments are meaning in communities, and what some of the ongoing challenges are so we can continue to do our best to meet them.


WALKER: I'm curious what you will tell the people, you know, who, you know, see this really hot job market and understand that that may mean that the feds, the fed may not actually cut interest rates to help continually cool inflation, because there is this disconnect right between the economic indicators, which shows that the economy is on the up and up when it comes to, you know, the unemployment rate and job and wage growth. But at the end of the day, people vote about how they feel, right? And how will you reconcile, especially those who are concerned about, you know, rising food and housing costs? How will you help them reconcile their reality with these numbers?

SU: Yeah, I mean, I think that's why the battle against inflation remains one of the top priorities of our president and of our entire administration. At the same time, you know, we -- I think, you know, working families know that the cost of things is one part of the equation. The other part is how much you make, right? How much you have to spend. And that's why having a good job is so important. Having a good job that doesn't just let you get by, but really lets you get ahead. That's what the good job summer is all about. It's also what the President's entire investing in America agenda is all about.

We want safe roads and bridges in all communities. We want every family who turns on the faucet to get clean drinking water. We want high speed, reliable internet everywhere across the country. And we also know that those are opportunities to create good jobs in the communities that need them the most.


WALKER: And a big thank you to acting secretary of labor, Julie Su, for taking time to talk with me.

Well, in a tit for tat exchange, South Korea says it will restart loudspeaker broadcasts in border areas after North Korea sent more trash filled balloons. We'll have a live report from the north-south border, next.



WALKER: This morning, South Korea's National Security Council held an emergency meeting to figure out how to respond to hundreds of trash- filled balloons sent from North Korea.

BLACKWELL: North Korea's Vice Defense Minister claims they sent the balloons as a direct response to South Korea sending balloons with anti-North Korea flyers for so many years. CNN's Mike Valerio is in Paju, South Korea, which is near the DMZ. That's an area that separates North and South Korea.

So you've confirmed that the South Korean response happened just a little while ago. Talk to us about it?

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, we've been able to confirm through the South Korean Joint Chief of Staff that they, for the first time in six years, resumed what's being called a propaganda broadcast. And when we say propaganda broadcast, Amara and Victor, we're not talking about Cold War, old-timey stuff. We're talking about South Korean soft power, loudspeakers. We have new video in early this morning of loudspeakers coming up from the roofs of about nine or 10 military vehicles here in South Korea. This video being shown in preparation for this exercise, what the South can do. And the South said that they sent a broadcast of K-pop music blared over these speakers.

Again, South Korean soft military power directed towards the North. And also, news reports from South Korean media detailing human rights abuses from North Korea perpetrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong- un.

So what exactly led to this point? You know, South Korea is saying, we did this one broadcast, and it's up to you, North Korea, whether or not we do another one of these again. We rewind to 11 p.m. on Saturday night. That's when we were all out. We get an alert on our phone, similar to an ambulance alert in the United States, with public safety officials saying that more trash balloons were coming from the North, 300 total. About 80 of them made their way to South Korean territory, some of them landing in the heart of the Megalopolis that is Seoul.

And if we rewind a little further back to Thursday of last week, that's when a North Korean defector who runs an advocacy human rights group in South Korea decides to send 10 balloons to their neighbors in the North, having slices of life tied to those balloons, like K-pop, K-dramas, little flash drives, leaflets denouncing the North Korean regime.

So before that balloon launch, before that tit-for-tat, we were able to speak to the founder of that group. Here's what he told us just before the balloon launch.


PARK SANG-HAK, FOUNDER, FIGHTERS FOR A FREE NORTH KOREAN (through translator): We send money, medicine, facts, truth, and love, but to send filth and trash in return, that's an inhumane and barbaric act.


VALERIO: So we are standing right here on Paju, on the unification bridge. This is the only bridge that leads from South Korea to North Korea. It's the site of a few high-profile reunifications between North and South Koreans that are fewer and fewer in this day and age.

It's notable, Victor and Amara, where we're standing, a lot of military personnel, a prominent military base. We were not able to hear that propaganda broadcast. It could have happened miles and miles away from here. But the question is, how will the North respond? Will the South just have this one broadcast, or will things quietly -- quietly simmer here on the peninsula?


Victor and Amara, back to you.

BLACKWELL: We'll see. Mike Valerio for us there. Thanks so much. WALKER: Tonight's episode of the CNN Original Series, Secrets & Spies: A Nuclear Game, looks at how one Russian agent put everything on the line as tensions between the U.S. and

Soviet Union ramped up. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I realized I was, I think, the only person, at least from the agency, who really had a pretty good understanding of how the KGB works.

No amount of intelligence would seem to have any effect on the decision of the policy makers.

You know, our foreign policy and everything was so -- was so locked in place and was so politicized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He'd write these studies. Everybody would read them and say, "Oh, that's really great work, Rick." And then that would be the end of it. You know, they didn't really send it anywhere.


WALKER: The CNN Original Series, Secrets & Spies: A Nuclear Game, airs tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Dangerous heat is bringing sizzling temperatures to the West Coast. We'll look at how high temperatures are expected to get after the break.



BLACKWELL: If you have enjoyed this break of the heat over the last few days, that's over. It's starting today. The high temperatures are coming back. They are coming back in a big way.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with me now. So which parts of the country are going to be sizzling?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, so I mean, that's really kind of the thing because it's several different areas. Take, for example, where we have the heat alerts. You've got some down in portions of Florida, others in Texas, then the southwestern states.

So you've got several different areas here that are going to be feeling the heat. The real focus, however, is going to be in the southwest. So areas of Arizona, Nevada, portions of California, although it does stretch into portions of northern California.

But look at some of the records that we had on Saturday. Three of these were actually in Florida. Then we also had one in Utah and one in Texas. Here's a look, though, at the next couple of days. You'll really start to see these numbers begin to shoot up. Take, for example, Las Vegas, going from 103 today to 108 on Tuesday. Sacramento also getting back into triple digits by Tuesday. Phoenix starting to see their temperatures get back into the 110s by the time we get to Tuesday.

Here's the thing about Las Vegas. We get it. It's a hot place, especially this time of year. But even for them, this is extreme.

Their normal high still is not yet in the triple digits. They'd be about 98 degrees. But every single one of these next seven days is expected to be in those triple-digit temperatures.

Now, one area where we're not really seeing the heat, that's going to be where we're seeing a lot of this heavy rain. Here's a look. You can see a lot of these showers across portions of southern Missouri. And a lot of rain has already fallen in these areas. You're talking at least three to five inches. That's why we have the potential for excessive rainfall and a flooding risk, not just for Missouri, but a lot of this area, even stretching back into Colorado, Texas, as well as New Mexico.

WALKER: So, of course, you know, speaking of hot summer days, a lot of us are going to want to be near a body of water, a pool. Here is an important warning for parents as summer gets underway. The color of your child's swimsuit may help save them from drowning. That is according to water safety experts who say there are certain colors that are easier to spot in the pool or open water than others.

CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard is here with us to talk about this. I mean, this is so important, and I'm so glad that we're doing this. So, basic question, what are the safest colors for your children to wear?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Right. Well, a lot of safety experts say it's the bright neon colors, like something in this color scheme, they say, is the safest, most visible under the water. You want to avoid swimsuits that are light blue or white. Like this is a children's surf suit. Something like this is not as visible because, you know, it blends in with the water.

WALKER: Water, yeah.

HOWARD: Exactly. And I did speak with a company called ALIVE Solutions. They tested different swimsuit colors to see how visible they were under the water, and they found these differences. If you look on this chart, the white suit, which is on the far right, almost disappears under the water.

WALKER: Oh, wow.

HOWARD: Yeah, and those bright colors stand out the most. The American Lifeguard Association, they said that they're happy, people are now talking about this. A spokesperson for the American Lifeguard Association, Wyatt Werneth, I spoke with him while he was patrolling beaches in Florida, and he said that swimsuit colors definitely play a role in safety. Have a listen.


WYATT WERNETH, AMERICAN LIFEGUARD ASSOCIATION: It's so very important to make sure that you dress your child in a bright color, something that stands out to the environment.

The dominant colors that blend in with the ocean or the pool that you're in, or even black, like black kids lying on the black line, you can't see them. You want to be able to see them, especially like just out of a crowd.

HOWARD: Yeah, and of course, you know, swimsuit colors are one tool in the safety toolbox, but Amara, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four, so this is so important to talk about.

WALKER: Very aware of that because my child, when he was one, fell in the pool, but obviously he's doing OK now.


HOWARD: Yeah. That's so scary, though.

WALKER: It is very scary.


WALKER: And I'm listening to what -- to your advice here. So white and black and blue, probably not the best colors, but bright colors like oranges and reds and yellows and neons are good colors.

HOWARD: Exactly, most visible.

WALKER: Is there anything else we can do to make sure that our kids are safe?

HOWARD: Oh, absolutely, because, you know, swimsuit color, just one tool in the toolbox. Definitely enroll your child in swim lessons. Of course, supervise them while they're in the water. Make sure they're wearing a life jacket, and make sure that you yourself know CPR and you know what to do in case they do need help.

WALKER: That's a good reminder.


WALKER: I do need to -- yeah, I've gotten a little rusty on CPR skills. And it's important because, like you said, I mean, drowning is a huge cause of death for little children, and that rate has increased.

HOWARD: It has. The CDC just put out a report saying that more than 4,500 people a year die due to drowning here in the United States, and that number is higher than what we've seen in previous years. And this involves children and adults, too, Amara. So, again, it's something that's a public health issue.

WALKER: Really, really important things to keep in mind. Thank you so much for bringing that to us, Jacqueline Howard.

HOWARD: Absolutely.

WALKER: Victor?

BLACKWELL: Reach for the gold or reach for the viewers? That's a decision the U.S. women's basketball team will have to make. Reportedly, they're deciding whether Caitlin Clark should be at the Paris Olympics next month.



WALKER: New York officials are ramping up security for today's India versus Pakistan cricket match in Nassau County after threats from an ISIS-linked group targeting the game.

BLACKWELL: You know, the group issued the threat earlier this year after specific warnings and even references to a viral video calling for a lone wolf attack. CNN's Gloria Pazmino joins us live from Nassau County International Cricket Stadium. Talk to us about the security plan?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor Amara, we learned just a short while ago from the police commissioner that that threat remains credible. It was updated as of this morning. Still an encouragement for lone wolves to carry out an attack. But the police here in Nassau County has every possible, everything at their disposal in terms of security. This is a multi-layered security event, the biggest security operation in the county's history. And they are prepared to make sure that this event happens safely.

They are expecting about 30,000 people to show up to watch this game between India and Pakistan today. So they have been checking every single person that walks through the gates of this park, the cars, the packages, the bags. Everything that's coming in is being checked by canine units, metal detectors. There's elements that we can see, as well as those that we cannot see.

The police commissioner also telling us earlier this morning that this is the safest place to be in Nassau County right now. They have deployed an additional 100 police officers to other areas of the county to make sure that they are also watching for those soft targets, other areas where people are expected to be gathering as a result of this big game that's taking place today. This is India, Pakistan. It's like Yankees, Red Sox. It's a big rivalry in sports.

So it's a big day for the community, a big day for the sports, but also a big day for law enforcement, the eyes of the world watching, making sure that everything goes as planned. Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Gloria Pazmino for us in Nassau County. The Florida Panthers are one win closer to their first Stanley Cup title in team history. WALKER: And Florida can give a big thank you to their goalie who had a great game in net. Carolyn Manno joining us now with more. Carolyn, who says a winter sport can't thrive in South Florida.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Not hockey fans, that's for sure. Good morning to you both. And after coming up just short in last year's final, the Panthers seemingly back with a vengeance. They got tested right away and gave one last night.

Less than 30 seconds into this game, Edmundson Zach Hyman, the leading scorer in these playoffs, getting a golden chance here, but stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky to keep it nil-nil. It would not be that way for long. A couple of minutes later, Florida captain Aleksander Barkov helping break the ice, feeding Verhaeghe for the goal, giving the Panthers the lead.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid has been incredible in these playoffs, trying to respond, but he too is denied. And that was the story of the night. Big Bob, as he's called, making 32 stops and becoming just the fifth goaltender this century to pitch a shutout in the opener of the Stanley Cup as the Panthers go on to win it 3-0.

Elsewhere this morning, I know you guys have been talking about this, Victor and Amara. The U.S. women's basketball Olympic roster was leaked and a very notable absence, WNBA rookie Kaitlyn Clark. The official announcement has not been made. That news coming by way of reporting from CNN contributor Christine Brennan, who you spoke with, and others over the weekend. But the former college phenom has been off to a little bit of a bumpy start in the pros so far.

She's put up 30 points on a couple of occasions. She's also had games where she's been held to single digits. She struggled with turnovers. She struggled with the league's physicality. And every player on Team USA does have senior level international experience. Eight have played in the Olympics still. At only 22, Clark has created an absolute frenzy of interest in women's basketball, which has already led to this tangible boost in the WNBA's development.

So her entry to the pros has come with an extremely divisive undercurrent. And this is just the latest thing that she's going to have to navigate now as everybody figures out what the official roster will look like.


WALKER: Yeah, I'm sure we'll continue to hear about that and that controversy. Carolyn Manno, good to have you. Thanks so much.

And thank you for spending a part of your morning with us. Inside Politics Sunday with Manu Raju is next.

BLACKWELL: We'll see you back here next weekend. Have a good day.