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Isa Soares Tonight
Vladimir Putin's War Inches Further into His Territory; Kenyan Cult Leader Who Encouraged His Followers to Starve to Death Appears in Court; UEFA Sanctions Jose Mourinho After Verbal Abuse on Referee Anthony Taylor After His Team's Loss in Europa Final. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 02, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, fresh strikes on Russian territory. What we know about how
Russia is trying to counter the attacks. President Vladimir Putin's war inches further into his territory. Then, the leader of a Christian cult
appeared in court today, accused of leading his followers to starve themselves to death. What he told CNN.
And then later, the red planet like you've never seen it before. We will explain today's live stream from space. But first, tonight, Vladimir
Putin's war in Ukraine keeps spilling over into Russian territory. Officials in Russia now blaming Ukraine for drone attacks and shelling in
several regions today.
And that includes a map, there you can see it highlighted, Belgorod, that is near -- you can see, near the border. Attacks appear to be on the rise
there, ever since a group of Russian nationals aligned with Ukraine, claimed to have launched an assault on their own country. It's a little
more than a week ago. Ukraine has largely stayed quiet about these attacks, without claiming direct responsibility.
But a top aide to Ukraine's president says the gates of war have opened on Russian territory. Let's go straight to CNN's Sam Kiley in Kharkiv. And
Sam, yesterday on the show, you told me that with these cross-border attacks, which are now becoming, I think it's fair to say, more systematic.
We could be seeing a new phase in this war. What could this potentially mean? What risks do you see here, Sam?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the risks as assessed by none other than Vladimir Putin, really pretty high. And
they're exactly the results, in terms of the Ukrainian perspective, that they would want to see. Which is reaction from the Kremlin in which
Vladimir Putin has to go on to state TV and at a conference, tell his people not to worry. That the -- it's incumbent on the government to steady
the ship. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, we will deal with the same issues in relation to ensuring security of Russia, in this
case, domestic political security. Taking into account, the efforts that our ill-wishers are still making and intensifying in order to stir up the
situation inside Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now, stirring up a situation inside Russia is precisely the agenda of these two groups of Russian dissidents that are backed by Ukraine, armed
by Ukraine, and traveling in Ukrainian-supplied vehicles. They do also have their own funding streams, they say. And, of course, the ongoing attacks
that we've seen in terms of the drone attacks.
Since we spoke yesterday, Isa, there's been another drone attack on the town of Smolensk, in Smolensk province, quite a long way north of the
Ukrainian border. And on top of that, the attacks continue in Belgorod, with the governor there saying the two and a half thousand people have now
been evacuated from villages around, and he was going on a livestream to try to reassure his population.
And in watching that live stream, you saw a little bit, potentially, of why this is also a cyber campaign, with a lot of bogus and rather bizarre
questions being asked, and clearly by people trying to undermine his ability to steady the nerves of the Russian people close to the border with
SOARES: Let me ask you this. I mean, I've seen reports today, I know you -- out of coming out of eastern Ukraine, and coming from the Russians here,
Sam, about an assault by Chechen units. Is this one of those stories you want to tell me that we need to be wary of?
KILEY: Well, the Russians, and I think the Ukrainians agree, that Chechen special forces have been moved into the battle space, not far from Bakhmut.
This is -- Bakhmut has been -- there's supposed to be a relief in place going on more or less now or concluding more or less now between the Wagner
Mercenary Group and regular Russian forces.
There are also, again, unverifiable reports coming out of Belgorod, that perhaps Russian special forces have been moved there. The suggestions being
made by Ukrainians is that they've been moved from the theater in the east. But again, you're right, Isa, we should take anything the Ukrainians say
about what the Russians are up to, unless they -- unless they have direct proof with a bit of a pinch of salt.
SOARES: Indeed, Sam Kiley, thank you very much. Sam Kiley joining us this evening from Kharkiv. Well, Ukraine's military is accusing Russia of
carrying out dozens of airstrikes in the last 24 hours. Moscow has been targeting the Ukrainian capital relentlessly, in fact, in recent weeks.
Video on social media shows what's become common in Kyiv. People, you can see there, seeking safety inside a subway station.
Two people were injured overnight by falling debris. Well, this comes a day after three people, if you remember, were killed by debris during a Russian
attack. They had tried to enter a bomb shelter, but it was locked. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy now says, quote, "very specific
individuals will be held responsible." Let's get more on all of this, joining me now, Alina Frolova; deputy Chairperson of the Center for Defense
Strategies and a former deputy Minister of Defense in Ukraine.
Alina, great to have you back on the show. Let me start off with the discussion I was having with our correspondent Sam Kiley in eastern
Ukraine. What we have been seeing is an increase in these cross-border incursions and attacks on Belgorod and beyond. The official line, I
believe, from Ukraine is that it's not directly involved. So how is it involved?
ALINA FROLOVA, DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON, CENTER FOR DEFENSE STRATEGIES: Well, it is really not involved. Like there is no any kind of official connection,
something like this. And obviously, we do understand the sort of these interventions, so they're playing well for Ukrainian purpose in any case,
because first of all, they take the part of tension -- then potentially, some troops, Russian troops can be located to the border regions to keep
the border and not go on the frontline.
And of course, in case of successful operations, and for them to go in deeper into Russian territory, it can be some kind of demilitarized zone
for Ukraine where we can have the release like less ammunition -- less artillery shelling and so on. So, it's obviously a place for Ukraine, but
that's only Russian citizens who are taking these -- they officially announced this, they're officially demonstrating their -- like calm faces
and, I don't know, in relation to Russia. So, we cannot say about some kind of interconnection with Ukrainian authorities.
SOARES: Right, so let me ask you this because our correspondent that we just had at the top of the show, Sam Kiley, he spoke to some of these men
taking part in these incursions. They're anti-Putin like you said, dissidents. This is what they told him. I want to read out what she said.
"What we do, obviously, we can ask our Ukrainian, let's say our Ukrainian comrades, friends for their assistance in planning.
What do you think about this? Could you tell us if this is a plausible mission? Would it help Ukraine in this fight or would it make things worse?
They will say yes or no, this is a good idea. This is a bad idea. So, this is a kind of encouragement and help and aid." Does then Ukraine worry,
Alina, that this may escalate, this help, and encouragement, and aid may make things worse, may exacerbate, you know, maybe bring NATO allies in
direct conflict with Russia here?
FROLOVA: Oh, I don't understand how it can bring the NATO alliance in direct conflict with Russia. Because there is no any connection to NATO --
SOARES: Well, if only -- Alina, only if they were using weaponry that's been provided by NATO allies which has been a concern, of course.
FROLOVA: But they're not using. We saw a few pictures which were like produced by Russians about the vehicles, so-called vehicles which were
used. But then, if you analyze this photo which was done immediately by many analysts, it's obvious that these are staged photos because these
trucks were brought there like officially --
SOARES: Well, our correspondent, Alina, very quickly, our correspondent Sam Kiley in this report speaks to these two groups, and they say, they -- and
you know, they've got Humvees, they've got U.S. weaponry. But they say they bought that on open market, that's a big question mark. So that's my -- but
you understand the concern then, what are the risks for Ukraine here? Do you see any risks with these -- with these attacks across the border?
FROLOVA: No, we don't see risks because we are under constant shelling and missile shelling, and we are in war. This is the escalation. I mean, this
is the top of escalation which could be. We have hundreds of thousands of people suffering, we have millions of IDPs and refugees.
So, what kind of escalation we can have more, tactical new --
SOARES: Yes --
FROLOVA: Weapons -- OK, so, well, it won't change the course of war. Even tactical nuclear weapons. Ukrainians -- 86 percent in accordance with the
latest poll says, that even in case of usage of tactical nuclear weapons, we are not in negotiating position. We continue to fight. So, this is the
decision of Ukrainian nation, and we don't see it as a threat. We don't actually
SOARES: And as -- and I wonder, you know, whether Ukraine is involved or not, and Ukraine says it is in -- direct involved, suspect it's a win in
many ways --
FROLOVA: Yes --
SOARES: Because is this stabilizing, would you say, the Russian government?
FROLOVA: Of course, that's destabilizing. Because actually, what we see from here, that Russia was never planning to defend itself. And they
actually don't have the capabilities to defend themselves. And for them, this is great surprise that they absolutely not protected. They always were
planning, only attacking capabilities.
But when we come to defending their territory, they're not ready. And everyone, just like a very simple subversion group, can do whatever they
wish on the territory of Russia. And for them, this is destabilizing and destabilization of power which they have, and they can -- it can lead to
long-range circumstances for Putin and for his people around him.
SOARES: And very quickly, of course, President Zelenskyy said that he has decided on the dates, of course, of Ukraine's counteroffensive. Where do
you see, Alina, the Ukrainian army focusing on Crimea, the east, where do you see that? How soon do you think it will happen, as well?
FROLOVA: Well, we're obvious -- what we obviously see, this is the shaping operation which is happening now, because we see the intensification of
Ukraine in the reach of their logistics and ammunition storage is, and central -- some kind of headquarters operation core months. And we see it.
So this is usually done before some kind of serious operation. But the direction of the counteroffensive, and the dates of it, I think it's still
some -- currently, in the process of decision-making.
Because our army also looks for the windows of opportunities and no one knows except the chief of command, when and how it will be done.
SOARES: Alina Frolova, really appreciate you taking time to speak to us, Alina, thank you very much.
FROLOVA: Thank you so much.
SOARES: Thank you. Now, to Kenya, where the leader of a Christian cult appeared in court today to face grisly accusations over hundreds of bodies
found in mass graves. Now, according to court documents, investigators say Paul Nthenge Mackenzie encouraged his followers to starve themselves in
order to get to heaven and said children should be the first to die.
Now, at least, 73 children are among the 249 bodies seen so far from a forest in eastern Kenya. Our David McKenzie was inside the courtroom today,
and asked the pastor himself, how he responded to these allegations. And David joins me now from Malindi. So David, I mean, how did he respond? This
is a horrific case that I know has sent shockwaves through Kenya.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, it sent shockwaves through Kenya, and I think we're only beginning to understand
the scale of this tragedy that unfolded, close to where I'm standing in a forest here on the coast of Kenya in the Shakahola Forest which is been
called the Shakahola Massacre.
But in fact, what happened, it appears is that this cult ran by this pastor, was drawing people to come under his influence, many hundreds of
them, potentially. And he, allegedly, told them to start fasting earlier this year, fasting themselves to death because the world was coming to an
end, at around the time we are now.
There have been hundreds of bodies recovered and remains recovered from that forest. Many of them children, as you say. But there could be more
that are still there in the forest, in mass graves. At least, ten mass graves, according to investigators are still to be inspected and possibly
exhumed. Which would make this one of the largest scale tragedies of this kind in living memory. I spoke to that pastor in a court hearing and put
those allegations to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL NTHENGE MACKENZIE, LEADER OF A CHRISTIAN CULT ACCUSED OF ENCOURAGING HIS FOLLOWERS TO STARVE THEMSELVES TO DEATH IN ORDER TO GET TO HEAVEN: It's
just a matter of intimidations and wasting of others time for nothing.
MCKENZIE: What happened in the forest with your followers?
MACKENZIE: I can tell nothing about that because I've been in custody for two months. So I don't know what is going outside there. Have you been
MCKENZIE: The people before you were in custody, people were starving, and there are allegations that people were killing their children.
MACKENZIE: But I have never seen anybody starving, even killing his or her children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: We've heard harrowing testimony from those who had to desperately go in and try and save, in this case -- in one case, a grandchild from the
clutches of this cult. And the stories are really, frankly, horrifying. There is an attempt now to hold the pastor and his closest followers under
terror laws here in Kenya, that was successful, at least, today, to extend for several days, his detention while they gather more evidence.
But there is growing anger here on the coast, and particularly among the loved ones across this country, that were pulled into this cult is how it
happened and why they stayed? And how some of them could have possibly killed their own children. These are all extremely challenging questions to
be answered by the community they are seeking.
But I think this is by far, not the end of the story, and unfortunately, more details will come out in the coming weeks, I think. Isa?
SOARES: And I know you'll stay on top of that for us, David McKenzie for us there in Malindi in Kenya. Thanks very much, David. Well, police in Mexico
have made a gruesome discovery, dozens of bags filled with party -- body parts, I should say. Investigators say they found them in a ravine, in a
suburb of Guadalajara. An initial investigation suggests the remains may be connected to people who disappeared from a nearby coal center. One of the
investigators described what the crime scene was like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIS JOAQUIN MENDEZ RUIZ, PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, JALISCO STATE (through translator): All the bags that we found are closed and obviously, taped,
packed. We found some segments on the precipice, ravine that we believe that when they were placed or thrown there, some bags must have torn. And
that's how we found some segments. In a preliminary manner, we can say that there are female and male bodies. But we need to wait for the institute to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Authorities on the scene continue to investigate the crime scenes, they -- the seven call center employees went missing nearly two weeks ago.
Their families have demanded police do more to find out what happened. And still to come tonight, UEFA charges Jose Mourinho for abusing a referee at
the Europa League final. We have reaction from the world of football, that is next.
Plus, for the first time ever, you could see Mars in real-time. We'll have more on the European space agency's live-stream that ended just moments
ago. Those stories after this short break.
SOARES: We are watching for a response from Pyongyang as the U.S. and South Korea hold large military exercises near the North Korean border. These are
massive, live fire drills. And CNN's Paula Hancocks now explains, they could amp up already, of course, heightened tensions.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The scenario of these military drills is very clear. And that is that North Korea has
staged what's been described as an illegal armed invasion in this scenario. And this is the joint counterattack by the U.S. and South Korean
There's no doubt it is more blatant than usual, North Korea is the enemy, and the U.S. and South Korea are training together to defeat that threat.
Now, we're told that this is the biggest joint live fire drill ever. A reflection of the perceived threat posed by North Korea, around 30
kilometers or 18 miles north of here.
We have seen a year and a half of unprecedented missile launches and weapons tests from Pyongyang. So, this today is a coordinated military
drill, from the air and on land, 2,500 soldiers from the U.S. and South Korea, 610 pieces of military equipment, it is a clear message to North
Korea, the official line is, it is to demonstrate, quote, "peace through overwhelming strength".
BRANDON ANDERSON, DEPUTY COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION: Well, I think the message is that we're prepared that the training that we
do is efficient, it's working.
ANTHONY LOPEZ, U.S. 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION: Takeaway is just having confidence in the credibility of the alliance, and our ability to execute
kind of that extended and integrated deterrence together.
HANCOCKS: Now, North Korea says that these drills are a large part of the reason why it has conducted so many tests. Saying that the failed military
satellite launch this week was in response to what it called the dangerous military acts of the U.S., another reason for these bigger joint exercises,
this year marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance, and also the 75th anniversary of the founding of South Korea's military.
Now, these drills are being staged on five, separate days. Each with around 2,000 spectators, some of them regular citizens, who volunteered to come
and watch. So, a fun day out for some, a show of force for others. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Pohang, South Korea.
SOARES: Now, European football's governing body, that's UEFA has launched disciplinary proceedings against Roma coach Jose Mourinho, he's charged
with using abusive language against a referee, after his team's loss to Sevilla in the Europa League final that happened on Wednesday. Joining me
now is CNN "WORLD SPORTS" anchor Patrick Snell.
Patrick, good to see you. Just start off by telling us what exactly happened to this match, as well as post-match critically here.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN ANCHOR, WORLD SPORTS: Well, it was a very painful defeat indeed for Mourinho, I will say that. Look, he's just lost his first major
final. He's won five previously. His Roma team losing that Europa League final to Sevilla in Hungary, off the back of Roma also, failing to qualify
for next season's champions league.
But it is not a good look when you break down what happened after the game, and it does not reflect well on Mourinho at all. He's truly elite coach
from the world of football, we got all the fallout following that match on Wednesday night in the famed Puskas Arena. And as you just said, UEFA,
European Football's governing body now launching those disciplinary proceedings against Mourinho for using what it calls, insulting or abusive
language against the highly respected English referee, Anthony Taylor, after that defeat.
There was a flurry of yellow cards in that match, 14 in total -- 13 in total, I'm sorry, 7 of which were branded towards Mourinho's Roma team.
Mourinho frustrated throughout the match, and of course, losing it just made matters even worse. Mourinho seen in a video widely circulated online
in a car park, it was actually a parking lot below the stadium, allegedly using, shall we say, not the best language aimed at Taylor.
The 44-year-old Taylor then subjected to further abuse on Thursday, with videos appearing online showing him and his family being harassed and
abused by some people at the Budapest airport. That is really concerning to see a referee just trying to do their job at the best of his ability. UEFA
also -- disciplinary proceedings against Sevilla and Roma fans as well for various offenses including the throwing of objects. Just not a good look at
SOARES: Yes, sort of churning through in there, it's just not -- it's really -- big question. I mean, he was with his family as well. Look,
Mourinho, I think it's fair to say, Patrick here, does not have a record, a good record of positive behavior.
So, what is he saying? What are the other major stakeholder saying about this?
SNELL: You're quite right, Isa, Mourinho, of course, no stranger to controversy and headlines over the years. And you wonder what the
repercussions are? What comes from this? Will it be a touchline ban? And if so, how many matches might it be? We don't even know more about his future.
Will he stay with Roma? That's the debate for another day.
We haven't actually heard from Mourinho himself, after those ugly scenes. But we do know Roma played their final match of the season, Sunday, back in
the Italian capital. So perhaps he will address matters there. Meantime, UEFA saying it vehemently condemns what it calls violent behavior aimed at
Anthony Taylor and his family. The association adding, "referees play a crucial role in ensuring the integrity and the fairness of the game and
their safety and well-being are of utmost importance.
We urge all players, coaches and fans to embrace the values of sportsmanship, treat referees with dignity and respect, and join us in
upholding the highest standards of conduct on and off the pitch." And also this from Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand basically making it clear,
he was so appalled with scenes, tweeting, "wow, I hope Anthony Taylor and his family are OK after that.
How is he being left to walk without security? All of the authorities have to start thinking worst-case scenarios the way things are. These thugs
should be held accountable ASAP." I'm telling you, Isa, this is a big talker in the world of football and we're going to be following it every
step of the way, because those scenes there aimed at English referee, the 44-year-old from Manchester, as I said earlier, it's just a really
concerning look for the sport, the beautiful game, Isa, that we all love --
SOARES: Absolutely --
SNELL: Best of times --
SOARES: It is appalling behavior. Thanks very much, Patrick, appreciate, I know you'll stay on top of it. Thank you. Now, can you spell "psammophile"?
For one Florida team, that was a $50,000 question, and he, believe it or not, got it right. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say it for us?
DEV SHAH, STUDENT: Psammophile? Psammophile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psammophile.
SHAH: P-s-a-m-m-o-p-h-i-l-e, psammophile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Yes, I would have started with the S, but the P is silent, right? That's how 14-year-old Dev Shah won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on
Thursday -- by the way, and if you're wondering kind of what it means, psammophile, it means an organism that thrives in sandy soils. Go ahead and
try to use it at one of these days. And still to come tonight, popular weight loss drugs may have added benefits, we'll take a look at the
different ways drugs like Ozempic could be used.
And police say, this man is a suspected serial killer. One of the bizarre story of how investigators may have cracked the case? Stay with us for
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. The U.S. labor market is ready to slow down just yet. Employees added 339,000 jobs in May. That is far more than the
190,000 that the economists were expecting. And you can imagine stock markets are cheering. The Dow surged, the Wall Street applauded both the
strong jobs report and the Senate's passage of the debt ceiling. You can see there, S&P 500, NASDAQ, all higher on the news.
Green hours right across the world. Dow Jones more -- up more than one percent, Nasdaq one -- two percent there for the Dow Jones, one percent for
the NASDAQ, and one was 1 1/2 for the S&P 500. Of course, the strong demand for labor does complicate the Federal Reserve's efforts to bring down the
But clearly the market's not concerned about that just yet. They're just getting through the current data. We've seen several months now of strong
job data. Of course, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" will have much more on the job numbers that what it means or how it -- what it means for, of course, the
Fed and the Fed strategy trying to keep a lid on inflation in about 30 minutes or so.
Well, medications like Ozempic aren't just helping people shed excess pounds. Some who use the drug say it's helped them curb addictive behaviors
like drinking alcohol, smoking, and even nail-biting or online shopping centers.
CNN's Meg Tirrell has the details for you.
MEG TIRRELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, Cheri Ferguson has swapped her vape pen for an Ozempic pen.
CHERI FERGUSON, OZEMPIC PATIENT: I thought I'm not enjoying vaping so I may as well just put this into the battery bin at work and I'll see how long I
can go without it, and that was 54 days ago.
TIRRELL (voice-over): Ferguson started using Ozempic 11 weeks ago to combat weight gain during the pandemic that she says was increasing her risk of
diabetes. A smoker for much of her life, Ferguson switched to vaping last July. But after starting Ozempic, she says something changed.
FERGUSON: It's like someone's just come along and switched a light on, and you can see the room for what it is. And all of these vapes and cigarettes
that you've had over the years, it just -- they don't look attractive anymore. It's very, very strange. Very strange.
TIRRELL (voice-over): Ferguson is one of many patients taking drugs like Ozempic for weight loss who say they've also lost interest in some
Doctors told CNN that patients most commonly report an effect on alcohol use. It may be because these drugs in a class known as GLP-1s have an
effect not just in the gut but also in the brain. It's something being studied at the National Institutes of Health where researchers just
published a paper showing semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, reduced what they called binge-like alcohol drinking in rodents.
DR. LORENZO LEGGIO, RESEARCHER, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We believe that at least one of the mechanisms is how this drug reduces alcohol
drinking is by reducing the rewarding effects of alcohol, such as those related to a neurotransmitter in our brain, which is dopamine. So these
medications are likely to make alcohol less rewarding.
TIRRELL (voice-over): And it's not just alcohol and nicotine. Patients have even told The Atlantic it had effects on behaviors like nail-biting and
LEGGIO: There is a lot of overlap on the neurobiological mechanism that regulate addictive behaviors in general. So, it's possible that medications
like semaglutide, by acting on these specific mechanisms in the brain, they may help people with a variety of addictive behaviors.
TIRRELL (voice-over): Clinical trials in humans are needed to prove that. One set is underway at the University of North Carolina, looking at
semaglutide's effect on alcohol and tobacco use.
Cheri Ferguson says Ozempic has helped her lose 38 pounds. Even better, she says, is how it's made her feel.
FERGUSON: The weight that it takes off your mind is far greater than any pounds that come off your body.
TIRRELL: Now, we reached out to the maker or Ozempic, Novo Nordisk.
As well as Eli Lily, which makes a similar medicine. Both companies said right now, they are not running trials of their drugs for addiction. This
traditionally hasn't been a market that's been appealing to pharmaceutical companies because drugs really haven't been successful in selling well,
although doctors emphasize there is a huge unmet medical need here.
Alcohol use disorder affects almost 30 million Americans and only 5 percent currently receive treatment. So, researchers are hoping that perhaps these
promising early results will draw more interest into the field.
SOARES: That's Meg Tirrell reporting there.
Well, police in the U.S. state of Texas suspect this man. They have identified a 62-year-old Raul Meza of being a serial killer. Police had
Meza call them and admitted to two murders, and now he's being investigated for his possible involvement in up to 10 other killings.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is with us now from Dallas. Ed, good to see you. So do we know why he called the police on himself? What are you learning here?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was some talk in investigative circles because there had been a murder in the Austin, Texas area just a
few weeks before. And then on May 24th, according to an arrest warrant affidavit in court documents, this man Raul Meza Jr., 62 years old, calls
an investigator with the Austin Police Department and says, "My name is Raul Meza and I think you're looking for me." And that sparks a 14-minute-
long conversation, where Meza, apparently, talks about the murder that had happened just a few weeks ago and then implicates himself in a murder that
happened in the Austin area back in May of 2019 as well.
And now investigators are saying, as you mentioned off the top there, eight to ten other cases that they are looking at that have similar circumstances
surrounding the two murders that he has been currently charged with. So, some really stunning revelations in all of this. And Meza has an incredible
history with law enforcement back in 1982. He was arrested and accused and served prison time for the murder of an 8-year-old girl in the Austin area.
He was released for good behavior from prison. He's been in and out of the prison system since then.
And in fact in that phone conversation with the investigator, he said he was last released in 2016 and shortly after, started committing murders as
well. So some really shocking allegations and revelations in this -- in these court documents.
SOARES: Ed Lavandera, I know you'll stay on top of it for us. Thank you very much, Ed.
Still to come tonight, a mystery in the Red Sea, what's killing off one very important species and impacting the entire ecosystem. That story after
this short break.
SOARES: Take a look at this dramatic video out of Egypt. It shows -- you can see that the scale of huge sandstorms hitting the country on Thursday.
At least one person was killed and several injured after powerful winds, downed trees, and ripped billboards, and that's in the capital Cairo. While
some storms are common in Egypt, storms of such magnitude are in fact rare.
Well, one of the world's most delicate ecosystems is in danger. Scientists say the coral reefs of the Red Sea are under threat after nearly all the
Black Sea Urchins died off in just a matter of days. Our Hadas Gold has the story.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pristine waters of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, reefs teeming with colorful fish. But something is missing.
And it's threatening this entire ecosystem.
OMRI BRONSTEIN, FACULTY OF LIFE SCIENCE, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: In a very short time, we experienced a massive catastrophe of failure, talking about
losing species, which is literally forever.
GOLD: In January, Black Sea Urchins here started dying en masse. Within days, entire populations of thousands are getting sick and literally
BRONSTEIN: We've never seen any fluctuations on that magnitude. And now to say that the sea urchins were completely gone, that whatever is killing
them is still defined as a waterborne pathogen. We know that it is transmitted through the water, that you don't need direct contact, that it
takes 48 hours for an individual to go from a live, healthy individual to basically bare skeleton.
GOLD: Vital to keep the delicate balance of life here, these Urchins consume the algae that can choke reefs already stressed by human activity
and the effects of climate change. Dr. Bronstein and his team of researchers from Tel Aviv University show us how the beauty and health of
the reefs are under attack. We do not spot a single Black Sea Urchin.
BRONSTEIN: The thought that we might be seeing something that is going to be radically changed is simply a very sad thought. And it is probably the
most unique coral reef in the world. It is our responsibility to make sure that they will remain here for future generations.
GOLD: This coral reef is unique in the world, because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, making it more resistant to the effects of
climate change. And that's why this week is so ecologically important to the globe.
These tanks at the Inter-university Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, Israel were once filled with the jet black urchins. Now, they are covered
in algae. A small-scale example of what scientists say is happening in the sea.
BRONSTEIN: Without external regulation that the sea urchins provide, corals do not really stand a chance in this competition with algae because the
great -- the growth rate of algae is order of magnitude's higher than those of corals.
GOLD: Only a few have survived this epidemic like this young juvenile. He seems rather lonely.
BRONSTEIN: Oh, yes, a few individuals. Even when they survive, that's not enough to sustain a population.
GOLD: A similar pathogen wiped the urchins out of the Caribbean in the 1980's and reared its head again last year. Dr. Bronstein said it's likely
spread by ships and possibly helped along by climate change. And it's spreading. Researchers are using DNA technology to make a difference.
LISA-MARIE SCHMIDT, RESEARCHER, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: So basically it's just establishing a new monitoring method, a high throughput and non-invasive
one. It's allowing us to follow processes in the water of different species.
GOLD: So, in a way, you're trying to predict the future with what you have?
SCHMIDT: More or less, yes, without going through the water, yes.
GOLD: But the time to save these Black Sea Urchins is running out, Dr. Bronstein says. Governments need to move within weeks.
BRONSTEIN: And decisions makers need to understand that the window of opportunity to take action is very, very narrow and it's closing rapidly.
If we don't move quickly to create the broodstock populations, based on the Mediterranean population, the remaining population, if we don't take extra
care about what we pump into this environment, we may find ourselves in a huge problem, in a huge situation.
GOLD: Israel shares this gulf and this problem with Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which you can see just behind me, and with which Israel has no
official relations. But under the water, there are no boundaries and no politics, and international cooperation will be a key to fixing this
These fragile reefs where everything plays its part in the cycle, desperately waiting for help. Hadas Gold CNN, Eilat, Israel.
SOARES: And this just into CNN. Rescue teams are rushing to the scene of a horrific train crash in India. Now an official says at least 50 people are
dead. It's still too early to confirm specific numbers, but we are seeing now that rescue efforts include more than 50 ambulances and several fire
service units. This is in the area of -- following multi-train collisions, this is in eastern India we're being told. Authorities say two passenger
trains and a goods train collided in Odisha State.
We have seen -- I just saw a tweet in the last few minutes from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who his says he's distressed by the
incident and his thoughts are with the bereaved families. He also said he spoke with the Railway Minister, taking stock of the situation, rescue ops
are underway at the site of the mishap, and all possible assistance is being given to those affected.
So, if you're just joining us, breaking news we are getting this hour, at least 50 people are dead and a hundred injured in this train accident in
India that's happened in the state of Odisha. We will keep on top of the breaking news as soon as, of course, as we have more details. We will bring
it to you. Authorities saying to passenger trains and the goods trains collide -- collided in India. We'll have much more after this very short
SOARES: Well, King Charles has landed in Bucharest, Romania on a private visit.
The monarch even trying his hand at Romanian, saying hello there as he received a Guard of Honor.
It's not all rest and relaxation for the King. Buckingham Palace confirmed he's also meeting with the country's president. King Charles' first -- King
Charles's first visited Romania in 25 years ago, in fact, and the monarch says he's already felt, "rather at home in the country." As a lifelong
champion for environmental issues, as you all know, it's no wonder why Romania is such a draw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING CHARLES, KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM" Romania has retained its ancient forests, pristine countryside, and through some remarkable examples of
sustainable farming, an incomparable richness of nature. This is still home to many species of flora and fauna that have disappeared, or are threatened
elsewhere in Europe and the world, which makes it all the more precious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, Transylvania, a region in Romania, has some of the best preserved forests in Europe and King Charles even owns a cottage in a
hillside village there.
Well, the planet Mars has just made its streaming debut. These pictures of the red planet's surface were streamed live on YouTube in the last hour by
the European Space Agency. It is the first time anyone will have seen live images directly from the red planet. The pictures were pinged back to Earth
with about a 60-minute delay as much time as it takes really for information to travel the -- more than 300 million kilometers.
Well, joining me now from Houston, Texas, Leroy Chiao, the retired NASA astronaut who flew for missions into space. Leroy, great to have you back
on the show. Look, seeing Mars in real-time rather than waiting for these images, what do you think it will mean for so many here?
LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, I think it's a pretty cool idea to get these as near live images as we can from Mars. Mars Express, of
course, has been -- the mission's been going for 20 years. It's doing very well. And, of course, the original intent was for it to characterize the
atmosphere of Mars, which it's done, discovering methane along the way. But then the bonus of being able to send near real-time images down, that's
pretty cool, too.
SOARES: And Mars, of course, is famous for those -- for that reddish color that we all know, and it has been studied for several decades. But they
have found pictures like this one, and we'll share to our viewers, because 4,000 kilometers -- it's a 4,000-kilometer-scar I think you can see there
of the face of Mars, it's a canyon, in fact, for our viewers. I don't know if you can tell, a canyon that is 10 times longer, and five times deeper
than the Grand Canyon. So what does it taught you studying these images? What has it taught us over the years? What kind of discoveries here has it
CHIAO: We've learned a lot from these images. You know, the fact that there are these canyons and evidence is clear evidence of past water on Mars. I
don't think there's anyone that disputes now that maybe around four billion years ago, Mars had large oceans and lakes. And, you know, the water cut
these canyons, had a very different, much more dense atmosphere. So Mars was a very different place back then maybe more Earth-like, and so that's
why it's exciting that we may find some kind of evidence, hopefully hard evidence, of at least past microbial life on Mars, that would really be
something, you know, to formulate that kind of a discovery on our nearest neighbor.
SOARES: Besides the microbial evidence, what questions do you still have then about Mars?
CHIAO: Well, I think you know, ultimately, the -- of course, we've gotten some wonderful measurements and data back from the Perseverance rover, the
Curiosity rover, the others, the other spacecraft that have been there. We've got some real tantalizing clues about finding building blocks of life
on Mars, embedded methane, and sedimentary rock billions of years old, and all suggest that there probably possibly could have been life there in the
So until we can get samples back, which hopefully will happen in the next several years, that's the plan and analyze them, then hopefully, we will
find some hard evidence that there was at least some kind of past evidence of life on Mars. I mean, just imagine the social impact that has that we
found life on our nearest neighbor. That implies that there's going to be life everywhere in the universe.
SOARES: And Leroy, very briefly, I mean, do you think humans will ever set foot on Mars? Do you think it will happen in our lifetime?
CHIAO: I certainly hope so. I'd like to say we've been 20 years from Mars since 1969 When we landed on the moon, for the first time, everybody was
sure, by the 1990's, we'd have Moon bases. We'd have been exploring Mars. Technology-wise, of course, we've had the capability for a long time. We
just haven't had the political will and the, you know, the political commitment of the proper budget to go explore Mars.
So, I'm hopeful that through some kind of a private or commercial, I should say, commercial and government partnership.
For example, SpaceX, you know, Elon Musk has made no -- has not hidden the fact that he wants to go to Mars. So I think you know, with that kind of a
combination of some of the innovation of some of these commercial companies partnered with the operational experience with outfits like NASA and, Isa,
perhaps we can go to Mars together sooner rather than later.
SOARES: Leroy Chiao, always great to get your insight. Thanks very much, Leroy. Appreciate it.
And finally, tonight, we want to leave you with a poem that's headed for out at space. U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon has unveiled her poem, which
will fly all the way to one of Jupiter's moons entitled In Praise of Mystery: A poem for Europa. The words will be engraved on the site, in
fact, of NASA's spacecraft set for the giant gas planet next year.
And our quote of the day is some of Ada's words. This is what she said. "We are creatures of constant or curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom, at
grief and pleasure, sun and shadow." We'll leave you with these thoughts tonight. Thank you very much for watching. Do stay right here. Have a
wonderful weekend. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESSES" is next, and I shall see you on Monday. Bye-bye.