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Isa Soares Tonight

Threat of a Nuclear Disaster Hangs Over Ukraine; Climate Catastrophe Hits Every Corner of the World; Finland Prime Minister Takes Drug Test Amid Party Controversy. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 19, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, the threat of a nuclear disaster hangs over Ukraine, but

we are getting word that Russia might allow international officials into the plant. Then, a climate catastrophe hitting every corner of the world,

we'll take a big picture view, then go live to one of U.S. states hardest hit.

And then later, a private party or a bit too much? Finland's prime minister is caught up in a controversy that's resulted in a drug test. We'll

explain. But first, according to the Elysee Palace, Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to let a group of international observers into

the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Mr. Putin just spoke on the phone with France's president. But right now, Europe's largest nuclear plant is occupied by Russian forces, and has been

caught in the center of an active war zone now for weeks. Both Russia and Ukraine have been accusing each other of launching military attacks around

the plant, with Mr. Putin telling Macron that Ukraine's, quote, "systemic shelling is risking a large-scale catastrophe."

However, new satellite images of the plant and its reactors show little to no change really, as you can see there, in damage or destruction over the

past month. Let's get the view from Moscow, our Frederik Pleitgen is there. And so, Fred, what more do we know on this diplomatic front about this call

between Putin and Macron. And critically, how soon and how quickly, Fred, observers can go into the nuclear plant?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's unclear how quickly all that can happen. But it certainly seems as though

both sides want it to happen fairly quickly. It was quite interesting because Russians man in Vienna today said he believed that it could happen

possibly in the early stages of September.

That, that could be a timeframe for when that team could get in there. But what's probably most important is that both sides seem to want it to

happen. Both sides want that team of IAEA inspectors to be on the ground there and to launch that mission. Now, of course, it was quite interesting

to get some of the more details today after that call between the French President Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin.

But once again, a staunch warning from the Russian president, and I want to read you some of what the Kremlin said in its readout. It said, quote,

"Vladimir Putin in particular stressed that the systematic shelling by the Ukrainian military on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

creates the danger of a large-scale catastrophe that could lead to a radiation contamination of vast territories."

Now, of course, the stage we have both sides essentially accusing each other of playing with fire in the area of that nuclear power plant. The

Ukrainians of course are saying that the Russians have staged heavy weapons, they are shelling other territories that are held by the

Ukrainians from that area.

But the other thing that I think is really interesting from that call as well, is not just that both sides, both the Russian side and the French

side in that call have said that the Russians want that team of IAEA investigators on the ground there to do that mission. But that the French

are also saying, or a source close to the French is saying that the Russians have apparently agreed to allow that team to come in and not have

to traverse Russian-occupied territory.

So that means they would probably go there by boat, because from the geography that we can see on our maps that we have, that nuclear power

plant is right on the Dnipro River, which is very wide in that area, and right now, it's also the front line. Isa.

SOARES: On the systemic shelling that Russia -- that President Putin, as you read out there is claiming. Do any of these claims hold water? Because

we were just -- Laura(ph), can you bring it up, the map of Maxar Technologies that really shows, from what we're looking, it doesn't look

like any destruction whatsoever to taking place. So, how do you interpret what Russia is claiming here, Fred?

PLEITGEN: Well, at least, those images don't seem to show much in the way of any additional destruction from what we've seen since July 19th, which I

think was the last time that Maxar released some of the images from that nuclear power plant. And of course, what we see there is not the complete

territory of the nuclear power plant, it's a giant territory, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant; the biggest territory in all of Europe,

the biggest nuclear power plant in all of Europe.


Those are the nuclear reactors. But of course, there's a whole area around that as well. The Russians for their part have over the past couple of

days, almost every day, have been monitoring this very closely, said that the Ukrainians were shelling the area close to that power plant or the area

of that power plant.

They say that there were some auxiliary buildings that have already been hit. It's very difficult to verify whether or not that is correct. The

Ukrainians for their part, have accused the Russians of also shelling the area of that power plant, despite the fact that there're Russian forces on

the ground there. It really is very difficult to verify --

SOARES: Yes --

PLEITGEN: Any of that. But certainly, judging by those pictures that we've gotten there from Maxar, which apparently were taken this morning or

earlier today, it doesn't seem as though at least right now, there's any damage to the actual reactors themselves or the buildings that house those

reactors. And that at least, for the time being, seems to be some good news in all this, Isa.

SOARES: Indeed. Fred Pleitgen for us in Moscow this hour, thanks very much, Fred, and happy birthday by the way. Let's get the Ukrainian perspective.

Let's go to David McKenzie who is in Kyiv. So, David, I don't know if you heard what Fred was saying there, the possibility with that call between

Putin and Macron that perhaps they could be some international inspectors going in. What are you hearing from the Ukrainian side on this?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Ukrainians are very specific about this. They also welcome of course, ISO

that there should be inspectors to go there. But they have a requirement which is for the Russians to leave that vicinity of the nuclear power

plant, and the industrial area that surrounds it.

They want the inspectors to go through Ukrainian territory, obviously, and not Russian territory in this conflict or Russian-held territory, I should

say. So, there's a sticking point, there for sure. So, you know, even if the Kremlin leadership and Russian officials have said pretty frequently

over the last few weeks, they welcome inspectors.

There is that sticking point, which means it's impossible unless one side or the other adjusts its viewpoint on this. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and we've been hearing, of course we saw yesterday, you and I were talking about this, President Erdogan of course, who was in Ukraine

yesterday, and viewers will know this, he was instrumental, David, in helping to solve the grain crisis. Is there a hope that with either Erdogan

or with the U.N., that Ukraine can then -- maybe, they can pressure and influence Putin here. What are you hearing from the Ukrainian side on this?

MCKENZIE: Well, what we are hearing is what I mentioned, is that they're very adamant that they require to have no Russian troops in that area. And

it was interesting in those meetings with the president of Turkey and Ukraine and the U.S. Secretary General, is when they hinted that wider

discussions on other issues within the conflict, President Zelenskyy was very adamant that this was a discussion about the grain issue, and he, as

he put it, was surprise that they would say that any other issue is on the table of direct discussions with Russia and Ukraine.

Particularly, of course, and on a negotiated settlement to the conflict. I think one big query that is happening right now is that both the Russian

side has been hinting at it, and the Ukrainian side has been accusing Russia of trying to somehow divert the power emanating from that nuclear

power plant away from Ukrainian territory and towards a Russian-occupied Crimea. Earlier today, the Secretary General in Odessa had this to say.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: Obviously, the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity. And it's necessary,

especially during the Winter for the Ukrainian people. And this principle must be fully respected.


MCKENZIE: So there is a danger, of course, of a fiddling, for want of a better word --

SOARES: Yes --

MCKENZIE: The power grid that goes in and out of that nuclear power plant, but I have to say at this point, it doesn't appear that the sides are any

closer to each other in terms of actually, on a practical level, getting those inspectors in. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, on a practical and logistical side, that's the crucial point right now, as you have outlined. David McKenzie there for us in Kyiv,

thanks very much, David, appreciate it. Well, Ukrainians living near the Zaporizhzhia plant have already suffered the violence as well as the

uncertainty of war. And now they're facing a prospect of course, of a potential nuclear disaster. Sam Kiley shows us.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an all too routine scene, a Ukrainian home destroyed by a missile. But here, the lucky

escape of a young couple is overshadowed by a potential catastrophe. The first Russian rocket hit the local soccer pitch and sent them scrambling

into their basement, safe from the second.

"After what happened, we jump at every sound", Andriy(ph) says. The Ukrainian authorities say that both rockets were fired by Russian troops

from the grounds of a nuclear power station captured in March.


(on camera): The international consternation over the future of the Enerhodar nuclear power station is very obvious when you stand here, and

you can see the six reactors of the biggest nuclear power station in the whole of Europe. The United Nations, the international community are all

reacting in horror at the mere thought that this could be at the center of fighting.

(voice-over): Ukraine blames Russia for using the nuclear plant as a fire base, and insists that it's not able to shoot back for risk of blowing up

the nuclear facility. "The Russian occupiers shoot all the time to provoke the armed forces of Ukraine and to spread panic among the people. We

understand that the power plant may explode because of their actions, I just don't understand. Maybe they just don't get it", he told us.

The United States, the United Nations and Ukraine have all called for Russia to leave the nuclear plant, and for it to be demilitarized. These

demands are growing in volume as the bombardment of Ukrainian towns allegedly from around the six nuclear reactors has intensified.

Andriedus(ph) worked at the plant until he escaped the Russians, but then he was recaptured, he says and tortured, before being released. Now, he is

in hiding in western Europe. And he says the possibility of a disaster is very high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I would say, 70 percent to 90 percent, we're talking about the most optimistic scenario. I'm very worried

about it.

KILEY: And civilians in the Russian-occupied town next to the plant have been stuck in traffic jams, trying to flee a potential nuclear escalation.

Ukraine's claims that it hasn't shelled the nuclear site cannot be verified, but there's no doubt that Russia has used it as a safe location

to attack Ukraine from.

Ukrainians have been conducting nuclear disaster drills in cities nearby, and both sides have said that some kind of incident is imminent and could

cause massive radioactive contamination or a meltdown. A cataclysm that could be felt far beyond Ukraine, even in nearby Russia. Sam Kiley, CNN in



SOARES: And next, the story about prices having to go up, about people needing to go hungry, about dependable infrastructure failing us. About

sudden disasters that killed people in two different continents this week alone. A story about what we were, where we lived and what the definition

of living could one day be.

Because the world we live in cannot exist without the planet we live on. Melissa Bell begins our coverage of the climate crisis with just a few of

the stories that made headlines today.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As though Venice needed more water, crowds sheltering from the storm that swooped across Europe this

week. Violent winds spread havoc across beaches in Liguria and Tuscany, with two killed by fallen trees on Thursday. In Corsica, at least five

people were killed as hail, heavy rain and winds bashed the island at 140 miles per hour, uprooting trees and cars.

On the French mainland, two standing up to the elements has been proving a losing battle. Elsewhere in Europe, the rain cannot come soon enough after

weeks of drought and extreme heat. Germany's main shipment artery at a standstill. Low water levels along the Rhine exposing hunger stones that

record ancient and more recent droughts.

A 100-degree heat fueling wildfires in Sicily. And in eastern Spain, military units putting down fires reignited after a brief, but all too

short rainfall. In North Africa, too, at least, 37 people have died in forest fires that have destroyed more than 2,500 hectares of land.

(on camera): Such weather patterns, although extreme, are not unheard of in Europe. It's more that they're typical of late Autumn rather than of

Summer. Here in Paris, the perched leaves are already partly on the ground. A dire warning that the worst drought on record could yet cause France lost

produce and soaring food prices come September.

(voice-over): Farmers rushed to save crops in mainland China, too, after the worst heat wave in 60 years. Temperatures soaring along the Yangtze

River basin for weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All scorched. You see, they certainly cannot grow. The high temperatures slowly roasting sweet potato

leaves to death.

BELL: But sudden downpours of rain in northwest China on Wednesday didn't help. Flooding and mudslides killed 17 people, according to China's state



Dozens are still missing. And the difficult weather patterns haven't been limited to the northern hemisphere this week. In New Zealand, hundreds of

homes evacuated over fears of landslides. Nelson Tasman region declaring a state of emergency after four days of torrential rain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The air basically just collapsed. So there was a massive landslide happening. So we checked outside and then we saw the dirt rolling

straight to our property.

BELL: In South America, too, the grasslands on raging fire along the Parana River delta in central Argentina. Lives lost, livelihoods destroyed, and

more damage on the horizon after a week of extreme weather across the planet. Melissa Bell, CNN.


SOARES: Now, to a part of the U.S. where the extremities really of weather are being laid bare, significant multi-day rainfall event is beginning

across the southwest with warnings, flash flooding could create deadly conditions. Among the states affected is Arizona, which is simultaneously

dealing with the most extreme mega drought there in well over a 1,000 years.

This video you're looking at is from CNN's Bill Weir, really showing the devastating impact of drought on what was, not too long ago, a picture

perfect Lake Powell, as he brought up that picture, of course. And Bill joins us now from Phoenix. And Bill, that little clip we just showed that

you held up the photo of before and after, really puts into perspective just how dire and how prolonged this drought has been.

BILL WEIR, CNN CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You know, Lake Powell is a place that I drove by when I was learning to drive as a teenager. And in

-- well, those 30 decades or a few decades, the water has fallen 170 feet there as well. This is a chronic thing, it's 23 years now we're into this

mega drought, and it is just relentless.

And so now, those first cut-backs are kicking in, they kicked in last year, they'll be new. These are sort of agreed upon by the states, while the

federal government tries to figure out what to do next. But it is -- it is simply one of these slow motion disasters, Isa, that people may not fully

appreciate yet, because enough of the big cities have built up reservoir to supplies in order to keep the taps flowing, but that can only last for so


SOARES: Yes, what does that mean, Bill, for businesses, for communities, just put it into perspective for us.

WEIR: Well, the people who are hurting the most right now are Arizona farmers, central farmers, and now Phoenix is added to the new tier-two

cats. But again, they have been preparing for this day, they worry that Lake Mead would go dead-pool. Which means no water can either create power

or go downstream.

So, bigger cities have been planning for this, Vegas, Las Vegas did the same. It will be the farmers in California, really, that are feeling the

next pinch. They have the rights to the most amount of Colorado river water, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court to secure that. But at

a certain point, you can only allocate so much.

So, there's frustration among the western states that the Feds haven't done more to tell them how to adjust. There's no agreement because there's

historic tension here. And I'm actually in Phoenix, part of the story we're working on today is that investigation showed that over the last 20 years,

golf courses, which is a life-blood industry here in Arizona have used 30 percent to 50 percent more water than they were supposed to, because

there's very little regulation.

And it's sort of like the wild west in the rural Arizona. Anybody can pump ground water whenever they want. So the guy with the biggest well wins.

That is not sustainable. So we're at the beginning of really hard discussions as people have to either switch crops or think about new ways

of life.

SOARES: Bill Weir for us there, thanks very much, Will, really appreciate it, thank you, Bill. And still to come tonight, once believed to be a

threat of the past, why polio has got officials in London worried, and what they're doing about it. That is next.



SOARES: A member of the so-called ISIS Beatle's terror cell has been sentenced to life in prison in the United States for the kidnapping and

murder of four Americans in Syria. El Shafee Elsheikh was arrested in 2018. The former British citizen was found guilty earlier this year for his role

in hostage-taking and the beheadings of aid workers as well as journalists.

While children in London are being offered additional doses of the polio vaccine, the U.K. capital is the latest in a growing list of cities to

detect the virus in sewage samples. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz explains why health officials are growing concerned here.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It is a disease once eradicated from the U.K. But after decades of zero cases, polio appears to be

spreading again. A total of 116 instances of the virus were identified in 19 sewage samples collected in London between February and July this year,

officials say.

No cases of the virus have been reported in the U.K. so far, and the risk to the public is considered low. But Dr. Natalie Rout says officials have

good reason for concern.

NATALIE ROUT, NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE, ENGLAND: It comes as quite a surprise that we've seen so many cases identified in sewage, which suggests

that there may be some transmission between people.

ABDELAZIZ: In response, the U.K. announced a vaccination drive for children aged 1 to 9 in London.

ROUT: There are many children who haven't had their usual course of immunizations, which is why there's a real concern that, that opens up

people to potentially contracting polio.

ABDELAZIZ: Polio was once one of the world's most feared diseases, striking children younger than 5 the hardest. The worst form of the virus can lead

to permanent paralysis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long have you been here?


ABDELAZIZ: There is no cure for polio. Vaccination is the only prevention.

(on camera): Polio was first detected in sewage samples from this facility. Afterwards, more samples were taken from other sewage facilities across

London, and more polio was found. What's concerning for officials is that these areas, these neighborhoods, have lower vaccination rates.

(voice-over): In London, nearly 14 percent of infants under 12 months have not received a primary course of polio immunization. This shortfall is

significant, says Professor David Heymann.

(on camera): Is this an overreaction in any way by public health officials?

DAVID HEYMANN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Absolutely not. This is what needs to be done in all countries, because we live in a world where people

travel very much, and can carry infections with them.

ABDELAZIZ: But with vaccine hesitancy and fatigue soaring, doctors will face a challenge.

ROUT: There's a real drive for us to reach the communities where vaccination isn't really, done, isn't really encouraged. And just try and

mid-bust a little bit about why vaccination is important.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The government aims to complete the polio vaccine drive by September 26th. A major feat for an overstretched health service,

but it says a necessary response to protect the city's youngest. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


SOARES: And CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard is joining me now to discuss. Jacqueline, good to see you. So help us make sense here of what is

happening. Why are we seeing the return of polio, not just in the U.K., but in the U.S., both wealthy and developed nations.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: That's right, and many public health officials and experts say that this can be attributed to low

vaccination rates, just as Salma's great reporting pointed out. There are pockets of communities here in the U.S. and also in London, where we see

low vaccination. Here in the United States, we already have one polio case, paralytic polio case in the state of New York.

And in that state, in some counties, vaccination rates against polio are around 60 percent. That's compared with the national average is around 93

percent. So that's a huge difference. And the vaccination is really key here and why we're seeing this re-emergence of polio virus. And one

pediatrician spoke to one of our colleagues, Boris Sanchez, I believe, earlier today -- oh, excuse me, spoke with another colleague of ours

earlier today about how that polio case in New York is, in his opinion, an emergency. Have a listen.


ADAM RATNER, DIRECTOR OF PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NYU LANGONE: Even one case of paralytic polio is a public health emergency. And the reason

for that is that, paralytic polio is a relatively rare outcome of polio virus infection, even in the setting with unvaccinated populations.

So, about 75 percent of people who have polio virus infection have no symptoms at all. Almost 25 percent of the rest have only very mild

symptoms. And so you're down to less than 1 percent of people, even unvaccinated people, who come into contact with polio will develop



HOWARD: And that was New York-based pediatrician Dr. Adam Ratner -- and excuse me, he was speaking with our colleague, Jim Sciutto about that. And

as he said, that one paralytic polio case in New York is really cause for alarm.

SOARES: Let's talk about monkeypox in the U.S., because I know the Biden administration has been stepping up its response to the outbreak. I'm

hearing vaccinations to be distributed at large events this weekend. What can you tell us?

HOWARD: That's exactly right. The Biden administration appears to really be kicking off its new response strategy this weekend, with offering

vaccinations at large events where there's a significant LGBTQ presence. And we also are seeing other efforts to ramp up vaccine supply from federal

health officials.

So, this is all happening in real-time. And it is significant because here in the United States, although, the U.S. makes up 4 percent of the world's

population, we are home to 35 percent of the world's monkeypox cases during this outbreak. We should have the latest numbers here in the U.S., there

are more than 14,000 cases, and globally, there are more than 40,000 cases.

So because the U.S. really does seem to be leading the pack when it comes to monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries, that's why we're seeing more

efforts to get vaccine supply out there and get vaccinations out there as part of the federal response.

SOARES: Jacqueline, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

HOWARD: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, an exclusive interview with the U.S. ambassador to China. What he says about the current state of U.S.-China

relations, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stop in Taiwan. Plus, Alec Baldwin speaks exclusively to CNN, ten months after the shooting death of a

cinematographer on the "Rust" movie set. You want to hear that interview next.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S.-China relations are incredibly complex. And when U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a visit to Taiwan

earlier this month, if you remember, they got even more complicated. The visit set off Chinese war games did a democratically ruled island for days

on end. Now, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Selina Wang, the U.S. Ambassador to Beijing says Beijing overreacted to her visit. Have a listen.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Taiwan for less than 24 hours. But the fallout from her visit is still

rippling around the world. China swarmed the skies and seas around Taiwan with warships and planes, encircling the island in a practice blockade.


NICHOLAS BURNS, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: I think there's a lot of concern around the world that China has now become an agent of instability in the

Taiwan Strait and that's not in anyone's interest.


WANG: In his first TV interview since becoming the U.S. Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns said he defended Pelosi's visit to Beijing.


WANG: The night that House Speaker Pelosi went to Taiwan, you were summoned by China's Deputy Foreign Minister. What happened?

BURNS: I was summoned at exactly the time when the speaker's plane landed in Taiwan. We had a very spirited, I would say quite contentious meeting.

The central issue is that the government in China overreacted, did so in a way clearly designed to intimidate and coerce the Taiwan authorities.


WANG: Beijing claims their response was justified in order to defend its sovereignty.


WANG: After the visit, China said it was going to cut communications with the U.S. on a number of key areas. I mean, how damaging is that, not just

to bilateral relations, but to the world?


BURNS: It's very damaging. Our government in Washington has been talking to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, but there's no substitute for cabinet

level senior conversations. The Chinese have largely set those down.


WANG: When we look at this event, let's say 20 years from now, are we going to see that Pelosi visit as a moment that fundamentally changed U.S.-China


BURNS: We do not believe there should be a crisis in U.S.-China relations over the visit. It's a manufactured crisis by the government in Beijing.


WANG: Russia's war in Ukraine has raised fears that Taiwan could also suffer an invasion by its more powerful neighbor.


WANG: What lessons do you think Beijing has learned from the war in Ukraine and how might it be applied to Taiwan?

BURNS: I think the Chinese authorities here know that the United States is watching China very carefully as it conducts its relationship with Russia.

In the meantime, we have been disturbed by what the Chinese government is telling its own people. Beijing has been blaming the war in Ukraine on the

United States. On NATO. These are completely specious and inaccurate arguments.


WANG: U.S.-China relations are at the lowest point in decades. This trust is rampant on both sides of the Pacific.


WANG: What are you transmitting to Washington about your key observations or about a reality check on what's actually possible when it comes to


BURNS: We have a difficult, competitive relationship with China, but you have to show up at the negotiating table. One of the messages that I would

certainly, as Ambassador, like to impart to the government here in China, please meet us. Please meet us halfway, both to discuss the issues that

separate us, and to hopefully work on the issues where we might do some good together for the greater good in the world.



WANG: Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


SOARES: Now a crime of the state, that's what Mexico is calling the disappearance of 43 students eight years ago. The group went missing in the

southwestern city of Iguala in 2014 after their bus was intercepted by local police. Now a government Truth Commission says they believe multiple

states institutions were involved in their abduction. Have a listen.


ALEJANDRO ENCINAS, HUMAN RIGHTS POPULATION & MIGRATION SUB SECRETARY (through translator): There is no indication the students are alive. On the

contrary, all the testimonies and evidence prove they were cunningly killed and disappeared.


SOARES: CNN's Rafael Romo joins me now live to discuss. And Rafael, this is pretty damning. Basically what they're saying, what the commission is

saying is it's a cover up. So talk us through what else the Commission says and what the reaction has been from the government there.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Isa. Yes, we must remember here that the investigation into what happened to the 43 missing students has spanned

the administrations of not one, but two presidents from rival political parties and the current one is accusing them the last one of committing a

crime of state. Mexico's Undersecretary of Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, said in releasing the report that the only truth about the disappearance of

the 43 students was that there was no truth whatsoever.

The report constitutes a blow to the parents of the 43 missing students. As you can imagine, Isa, many were still hoping to find their children alive

one day, but Encinas, the human rights Undersecretary, said in a press conference in Mexico City Thursday that there is no indication the students

are alive. On the contrary, he said, all the testimonies and evidence prove they were cunningly killed and disappeared.

Current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, created the Truth Commission at the very beginning of his term in 2018. Finally, the truth

about the 43 Ayotzinapa, as they are known in Mexico, was a promise he had made during his presidential campaign. As some of our viewers may remember,

Isa, the 43 young men who disappeared came from a teacher's college in the rural town of Ayotzinapa. This is a Guerrero state. The students were last

seen between the night of September 26, 2014 and the following morning in the nearby city of Iguala, also a Guerrero state, after local police and

the federal military forces intercepted their bus.

Some details of the attack and the identities of those responsible remain a mystery almost eight years later, even after multiple investigations by the

Mexican government and an independent commission of international forensic experts. And, Isa, out of the 43 who went missing, only three have been

confirmed dead and it wasn't easy. Authorities only found bone fragments that were sent to a university in Austria, and a DNA match had to be done.

Back to you.

SOARES: Just heartbreaking and absolutely no closure for any of these families. Rafael, thank you very much. Good to see you. Thank you. Now

court documents viewed by CNN show that a Saudi woman was sentenced to 34 years in prison for her activity on Twitter. What's even more surprising

about this sentence is that Salma al-Shehab isn't a well-known activist. She was a PhD student at Leeds University in the U.K. before being arrested

in Riyadh in January 2021.

The United Nations Human Rights Office is now calling on Saudi authorities to release her. I want to bring CNN's Jomana Karadsheh for more on this. So

Jomana, what exactly did this 33-year-old activist, a mother of two, tweet to kind of warrant this sort of sentence?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, that is the big question, Isa. I mean, this has been such a shocking case for so many human rights

defenders around the world. As you mentioned, Salma al-Shehab, 33-year-old, she was detained in January of 2021 when she was on holiday back from the

University of Leeds in Saudi Arabia. She was held for much of last year for questioning before she was referred to the court in Saudi Arabia that

essentially deals with terrorism cases. She was sentenced to six years in jail because of her Twitter activity.

Now she appealed that sentence. She brought up her children, saying that her two young boys, three and five, needed their mother especially that her

own mother was sick. And this month, Isa, shocking, the court returns with the sentence of 34 years. And also that would be followed by a 34-year

travel ban for Salma al-Shehab. Now the court documents that we have seen indicate that the prosecution, the public prosecution in Saudi Arabia, went

after her because of tweets, retweets, people that she follows.


They claimed that she was spreading false information and rumors on Twitter, that she was supporting people who they say aim to destabilize the

country, undermine its security and public order. But we've gone through her Twitter account, and so has Human Rights Watch, and what you can see is

she was supporting human rights activists, dissidents, women's rights campaigners in The Kingdom, people who were behind bars in The Kingdom,

because of their activism, because of speaking out.

And today, you know, we've heard from the United Nations and we've heard from other organizations saying that this is an example of how authorities

in Saudi Arabia or basically abusing and exploiting anti-terrorism laws and the anti-cybercrime laws in The Kingdom to silence voices of dissent.

And other activities, Isa, are also saying that this is exactly what they've been warning about. When you have world leaders like President

Biden, President Macron, and others basically, extending an olive branch to the Saudi de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman. They say that they warned

that this was only going to embolden the Crown Prince in Saudi authorities, not only to continue this crackdown on freedoms, but to even go further as

we are seeing right now, Isa.

SOARES: Jomana Karadsheh for us in Istanbul in Turkey. Thanks very much, Jomana.

Well, up next, Alec Baldwin thinks back to the deadly day on the set of the film "Rust" and remembers his friend, as well as colleague who lost her

life when a loaded prop gun went off.


SOARES: Ten months after the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the "Rust" movie set, actor Alec Baldwin is speaking out to CNN amid new

findings from the investigation. Baldwin maintains he never pulled the trigger and explains why he was scared former U.S. President Donald Trump

could get him killed. CNN's Chloe Melas has more.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ten months in, and confusion still persists over the sequence of events that led to a deadly shooting on the set of

"Rust." This week, an FBI report concluded this gun could not be fired without the trigger being pulled while the gun was cocked and eventually

malfunctioned after internal parts fractured. In his first interview with CNN, Alec Baldwin denies pulling the trigger.



ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I never once said, never, that the gun went off in my hand automatically. I always said I pulled the hammer back and I pulled it

back as far as I could. I never took a gun and pointed at somebody and click the thing.


MELAS: While waiting for the results of the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office investigation, Baldwin says he hired his own investigator.


BALDWIN: That private investigator, as you probably know, did not have a difficult time accessing the staff of the Sheriff's Department. And that

person told us "we've known in the department since January that Alec would not be charged with a crime."


MELAS: A sentiment echoed by his attorney.


MELAS: Do you think that there is a possibility, though, that he could face charges at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be a huge miscarriage of justice.


MELAS: But that then President fanned flames against him.


BALDWIN: The former president of the United States said he probably shot her on purpose. To me, what's really the only time I thought that I needed

-- that I was worried about what was going to happen because here was Trump who instructed people to commit acts of violence and he was pointing the

finger at me and saying I was responsible for the death.


MELAS: No one has been charged for the tragedy on set. But Baldwin said there are two people responsible. Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and

Assistant Director Dave halls. Through their attorneys, they accused Baldwin of deflecting blame. But Baldwin points to the findings of an

occupational safety report.


BALDWIN: Hannah Reed handed the gun to Halls and said don't give it to Alec until I get back to the set. I got to go do something else. And he

proceeded to the set and a -- handed me the gun.


MELAS: Baldwin said Gutierrez-Reed should have known the difference between dummy rounds, which make a rattling sound, and live ammunition.


BALDWIN: I mean, anybody on earth who works in that business can determine that.


MELAS: Baldwin raised questions about the supplier of guns and ammunition for the film, Seth Kenney, who was being sued by the armorer, and FBI

report said 150 live rounds were found on set.


BALDWIN: What was the provenance of all the bullets on the set? Where did those come from?

MELAS: Well, according to the FBI report, as far as I'm aware, the bullets were commingled.

BALDWIN: Right. So if that's the case, then who commingled them? Did Seth Kenney provide her with prop ammunition where he commingled live rounds

with blank rounds?


MELAS: Questions Baldwin says kept him up at night as he replayed the final days of a talented friend and cinematographer.


BALDWIN: And she was great at her job and she died. And she died. And that's -- that hurts me every day. You know, every day of my life I think

about that, it's horrible.


MELAS: In January, the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, sued the movie's gun and ammunition supplier, accusing its founder, Seth Kenney, of

selling her a cache of dummy ammunition with live rounds mixed in. Now Kenney's attorneys filed an answer last month denying any allegations and

asking the court to dismiss the case, but admitting his company was the sole supplier of ammunition to the set.

In my wide-ranging interview with Alec Baldwin, he said the last 10 months have been tough, especially when it comes to finding work and that he's

been fired from five jobs, just one the other day, but he says he's leaning on the support of his family, specifically his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, who

is expecting their seventh child this fall. Back to you.


SOARES: Thank you very much. Chloe Melas there. One straight ahead, Finland's Prime Minister comes under fire after a leaked video shows her

partying with friends. Why the footage has sparked debates over privacy, duty, as well as sexism. That's next.



SOARES: Welcome back. Now Finland's Prime Minister says she has taken a drug test to try to prove she didn't take narcotics at a private party. And

it comes after a leaked video showed Sanna Marin energetically dancing with her friends. Have a look.

And you can see the Prime Minister there on the left or your screen. Critics say her behavior was "unbecoming" and some question if she was

impaired, but the Premier has dismissed the backlash which supporters are calling a double standard. Our Melissa Bell joins us now with more. And

Melissa, she's dancing boisterously. I don't believe that is illegal. That's a crime. So why the backlash?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: This has been exactly her defense. He said that no rules were broken, nothing illegal was done. This was a 36-

year-old woman enjoying her weekend with her friends when she had no particular meetings planned and this did not impair her job as Prime

Minister as well. Of course, the video is damaging. You see a young woman dancing, as you said energetically, the questions that were raised

immediately afterwards were about what drugs might have been taken because of some of the things that were heard in the background of the video.

First of all, she put out this statement explaining how disappointed she was that these private videos had become public. It's understood they were

found on social media, and then put around by Finnish media outlets. She said "These videos are private and filmed in a private space. I resent that

these became known to the public." The idea was that this was never meant to happen. But you're quite right, the fact that no rules were broken. Of

course, once the controversy started in Finland, and the questions arose about what drugs may or may not have been consumed at the party, she then

gave into that pressure and accepted to take a test. This is what she had to say.


SANNA MARIN, FINNISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I consider these accusations to be very serious. And though I consider the demand for a drug

test unjust, for my own legal protection, and to clear up any doubts, I have taken a drug test today, the results of which will come in about a



BELL: Sanna Marin pointing out that she says she never took any drugs even in her teenage years, and that the test will show that. But it's important

to remember I think, Isa, when we look at this controversy in Finland, to remember that when she became prime minister back in 2019, she was the

youngest serving Prime Minister in the world, a 34-year-old woman. And it was something we simply hadn't been used to seeing before. Even when you

look at the family photos of her standing with other leaders, she does stand out. A lot was made of her youth. A lot was made of her looks. And

the question is how fair that really was, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. I do -- I mean it has many of us here talking, I can say that. Would this happen to, Melissa, if this was a male Prime Minister, if he if

-- it was a man, if he was older? But does she have this support of her party? Because it's not the first time, Melissa, that her private life has

become so politicized.

BELL: That's right, she does retain the support of her party. And of course that is crucial in terms of her staying in power. And in the past, you're

quite right, there have been other controversies. This is a prime minister after all who makes no bones about going to parties, going to festivals.

There was a controversial photo shoot last October in which she was photographed with a vest with nothing underneath, but a perfectly decent

photo shoot that sparked controversy.

There were critics that attacked the magazine and for the prime minister for choosing to portray her like that. And yet there was also a lot of

support, because the article, in fact, had been about this woman who is a mother, balancing work and life, the premiership of Finland.


And a whole hashtag was born, I am Sanna, to try and support her to show that actually this was about misogyny, this was about sexism, that she was

being unfairly treated. And you're quite right. There are other examples that we can think of in fairly recent times. Boris Johnson, for instance,

who, after many revelations about many parties that remember were illegal under Britain's locked down rules, ended up paying the political price. The

question here is whether this young woman, who's attracted so much attention over the last couple of years, because of the way she looks,

because of her youth, is not once again paying the price, again, for having done something that was perfectly legal.

The question is, I guess, Isa, whether a woman who is 36 now can go about doing things that are normal, going to parties that are perfectly legal,

going about activities that are perfectly legal and normal for her age, dressing in suits that are the fashion of the moment, and not then paying a

political cost. Once again, her image and the questions that surround her raising exactly these questions, Isa.

SOARES: Has me rolling my eyes because I, too, like dancing boisterously. I'm sure you do, Melissa, but that says everything --

BELL: We all do, Isa.

SOARES: -- with what I think about this story and that's -- that keeps us healthy. Melissa Bell, appreciate it, thanks very much. Don't forget, you

can catch up with interviews, of course, and analysis from the show online, on my Instagram, IsaSoaresCNN, and on my Twitter feed, too. Thanks very

much for your company. I shall see you next week. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next. Have a wonderful weekend. Bye-bye.