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Isa Soares Tonight
Russia And Ukraine Warn Of Environmental Catastrophe After The Collapse Of A Dam In Kherson; Pope Francis Undergoes Surgery; Thousands Forced From Their Homes After An Earthquake And Flooding In Haiti; Smoke From Wildfires Blankets New York City; Former VP Mike Pence Formally Launches 2024 Bid; Earthquake Hits Haiti As Country Reels From Floods. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 07, 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 INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Ukraine and Russia both warn of an
impending environmental catastrophe after a major dam collapse in southern Kherson. I ask nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi about risks to the
nearby Zaporizhzhia power plant.
Then Pope Francis in hospital for abdominal surgery. We'll bring you a live update from Rome on the 86-year-old pontiff. Plus, thousands forced from
their homes in Haiti after an earthquake and torrential rains. The World Food Program on the ground tells me that Haiti is a forgotten crisis.
Well, regardless of who is responsible, the collapse of a Russian- controlled dam is threatening lives as well as livelihoods, and driving fears of an ecological catastrophe in Ukraine. Rescue and relief efforts
are underway on both sides of the frontline, and freshwater could be running scarce. This video from Ukraine's military purports to show drones
being used, dropping water to people inside Russian-occupied territory.
On top of concerns about water, there are warnings as well the flooding could move around land mines and other explosives. And the Ukrainians say
massive amounts of turbine oil stored at the dam could be leaking into the river. For a look at conditions in the flood zone, CNN's Fred Pleitgen
filed this report.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): After the catastrophic destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, as you can
see, there still is a lot of water here in the city of Kherson. One of the things that we've been really surprised about is how fast that water has
In fact, just yesterday, when we were here, we were -- I'd say about a 100, maybe a 150 yards in that direction. Now, that entire area is inundated.
You can't go there anymore. At the same time, the rescue efforts are ongoing to free people from their houses. People were -- the water rose so
quickly that they couldn't get out.
As you can see, police here, the army is here, they have some boats here and they've been trying to get the people out. Now, this is an operation
that was ongoing throughout the entire night. That's what the authorities were telling us, that they would not rest, but it's also one that was
ongoing under nearly constant shelling.
We were hearing that throughout the entire night, we've been hearing it throughout the entire course of the day. Is that the shelling that seems to
be coming from multiple rocket launching systems, but also from artillery as well. And as you can see, if you go over here, there are people that are
being saved from the buildings here -- animals as well.
There's a lot of cats here that are in these cages. One of the things that we are also seeing is the rescuers coming here, and then they have maybe
two victims they picked up from maybe a fence or maybe a rooftop. Obviously, a lot of those animals also very much in danger, as are the
people who are still caught in that area. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kherson, Ukraine.
SOARES: In the meantime, Ukraine and Russia are still blaming each other for this dam collapse. And other countries are weighing in for the very
latest. CNN's Sam Kiley is live for us in Kyiv. And Sam, let me start on the evacuation, we're starting to seeing those in Kherson in the flooded
areas, there's also a real concern, and we mentioned this at the top of the show over the ecological impact that's been caused and the concern of land
mines. What is Kyiv saying? What are you hearing from officials on the ground?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a concern about land mines that have been laid particularly on the Russian side, the
east bank being washed away as we reported yesterday. The Russians clearly -- Russian military had no idea this dam was going to burst. Because they
themselves were washed away according to Ukrainian officer who actually operates -- his job is to monitor the movements of exactly those men.
Indeed, some of the shelling that Fred would have been reporting on there is almost certainly Ukrainian shelling of Russians, who have been able to
reveal their positions by fleeing the flooding that is engulfed there, accommodation and indeed their trenches. But that just indicates just how
roughly this disaster is, and how uncontrolled the flow out of this dam has been.
Now, Emmanuel Macron is the latest world leader to condemn Russia in particular for this disaster. And that is because the dam, regardless of
whether or not it was blown up, we don't know whether it was blown up, but it was in Russian control, and was suffering structural failure before
yesterday when the total collapse occurred and this immense amount of water was flooded down the Dnipro River.
Among other things, of course, it is also affecting the ability of Crimea, which is held by Russia to supply itself with freshwater because that dam
is also the head of freshwater canal supplying very much needed water into the Russian-held area. It's very much a Russian-owned gall. Oddly enough,
Vladimir Putin has also condemned the ecological disaster that is unfolding, as a consequence of this dam collapse.
But as far as the international community is concerned, there's only one nation to blame here, and that is Russia. Isa.
SOARES: And before, Sam, this dam collapse, you and I were talking about the early signs of course, of a counteroffensive. How -- and I want to get
your analysis here, how does this dam collapse impact that? The movement of troops in relation to that counteroffensive?
KILEY: Well, the Ukrainians have said -- from the Ministry of Defense here, that they anticipated that this could occur. That the dam could break. And
they claim that they have built that into their military planning. Now, that doesn't necessarily in any way mean that they actually had plans to
cross the Dnipro River, which was a natural barrier, a natural frontline barrier for the Russians.
The Russians were on the east side, the Ukrainians on the west side. And it would have been a formidable challenge without the flooding to cross it.
Now, the Ukrainians claim that even with the flooding, they are not being impeded in terms of their counteroffensive plans. But the counteroffensive
plans are clearly getting underway in terms of shaping operations elsewhere on the east-west front, going east from Zaporizhzhia, for example.
There have been a large number of probing attacks, NATO and other international observers have said they've seen an -- a significant increase
in attacks generated by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians today saying that they've put in several more attacks around the city of Bakhmut. And then,
of course, you and I have been discussing enough for nearly two weeks the incursions into Russian territory --
SOARES: Yes --
KILEY: Which includes shelling, cross-border shelling by Ukraine against Russian targets. All of those, I think should be seen as part of the
precursor to what the Ukrainians are saying is going to be a significant counterattack. And the chief military adviser to the president here saying
on the matter of counterattack, you will know it when it happens.
SOARES: Important context there from our Sam Kiley in Kyiv. Always great, Sam, thank you very much. Well, the dam collapse is down river from the
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, sparking fears, you can imagine about nuclear safety. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says there's no immediate risk, and
says they have enough water for months.
You're seeing there on your map roughly the position of it. But the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has been quoted by Russian state
media saying, they won't be able to keep pumping cooling water from a reservoir to the plant if the water level drops too low. Well, to explain
all this, IAEA Director-General, Rafael Mariano Grossi joins me now live from Vienna.
Mr. Grossi, great to have you on the show. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. Bring us up-to-date if you could on the situation
as you understand right now, at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, IAEA: Thank you, thank you very much as always, a pleasant to -- a pleasure to talk to you. What I can say, we are
monitoring this by the minute, I should say since this occurred yesterday. The levels of the water are of course, going down, decreasing quite
rapidly. Obviously, the dam south being destroyed, the influx of water is unimpeded and this is, of course, having automatic impact on the amount of
water that the nuclear power plant has to be integrated into the cooling system of the plant.
I don't want to get too technical here --
SOARES: Yes --
GROSSI: But just to explain, that there is a reservoir there and then a number of internal channels that ensure that there is water in circulation,
permanently, so to speak, so that the reactors -- you're showing them there, get the necessary cooling. Of course, if the plant were to run out
of water, then we would have a very serious situation.
What we said -- what I said is that there doesn't seem to be an imminent risk of a dry-up of the water available there. But the situation is
serious. And so far as this -- we are seeing this diminishing, it's between 5 and 7 centimeters per hour. So it's steadily going down. So, we have to
monitor it very carefully.
This is why I am going back to Zaporizhzhia next week. I've been there already twice. And I'm going to return there with a reinforced team of
nuclear safety experts from the IAEA to have a more complete, more comprehensive assessment of where we are.
SOARES: So no imminent risk, but do you have a sense, Mr. Grossi, of how much water you would have in terms of months, how many months you have
water in that well --
GROSSI: Well --
SOARES: For, that cooling anchor?
GROSSI: I wouldn't like to speculate too much, because this is a function of the conditions of the water, and how we get to a point where the
movement of the water, the influx of water stabilizes, relatively speaking. I would say we calculate that more or less a month is guaranteed. It could
be a little bit more, but it could also be less.
So it all depends. You were mentioning, you were quoting us saying that the resource which are functioning of the capacity to pump water from the
river, so-to-speak. But there are certain levels you can -- you must imagine that there's a difference in the level of the reservoir and the
cooling pond, and the river itself.
So you need to pump it up, and then there if the level goes down too much, you cannot do that. So, all of these things are in combination. This is why
we say, there is no reason for immediate panic or to believe that the water to cool the plant is going to dry up immediately. But it's a serious
situation. We are taking this very seriously.
SOARES: So no immediate, but Ukraine says it will take -- same thing, they said 5 years, Mr. Grossi, to rebuild the dam. So I'm guessing you're
looking now at plan B here.
GROSSI: Well, absolutely. There are a number of mitigations or mitigating, if you want, measures that can be taken, including using water from other
places, not necessarily the river. Digging for water in the water table near the plant, getting water from neighboring towns or villages. But all
of these needs to be assessed. Of course, the decision will be taken at the plant.
But we as IAEA being present there, are going of course, to express very clearly what we feel should be -- should be done. Obviously, the situation,
and we -- I am aware of the assessment by the Ukrainian government. It is going to take a long time to go back to the situation before, the accident.
But we were estimating this possibility, we were assessing this possibility as one, we were wishing that it would not occur, but unfortunately, this
has been the case.
SOARES: You call it an accident there, Kyiv accuses Russia of blowing up this dam, sabotaging its own dam. What are your thoughts on this?
GROSSI: Well, there's no -- you shouldn't read too much into me using the word accident. It is, of course, an evident, it is a distraction. I -- you
know, I am the head of an agency, that is an agency among many other things we do, of inspectors. We inspect. We are known as the nuclear watchdog, as
you know. So we don't speculate. When we --
SOARES: So --
GROSSI: Pass judgment on something, it's on the basis of information that we can assess. And as you can imagine, I don't have information to tell you
what we believe is at the origin of this. And there are --
GROSSI: A number of speculations that are out there on who is behind it. What I'm dealing with is with the results. And I'm trying to prevent this
from getting into a nuclear accident. This is what we always --
SOARES: Let's talk then about inside the plant. Because as you would have seen, Mr. Grossi, from our correspondent in Kherson, Fred Pleitgen, using -
- hundreds of people being evacuated in the area. What has this meant for the staff at the Zaporizhzhia power plant? Are there enough qualified
people there to run the nuclear plant safely in your view?
GROSSI: Well, the -- yes, this is a good point. You know, this plant, it's actually six reactors, used to have around 12,000 people working there. At
the moment, we are below 3,000. Of course, one has to bear in mind that the plant at the moment is not operating normally. It's not generating power.
So it is at a very low level, at a low regime.
So in this very low level operation, we call it in the jargon, shut down.
You need far less people that you would need if the plant was operating as in peace time. Which is not the case now. But it's a matter that worries
us. And I have been discussing this in Moscow and in Kyiv. Because quite clearly, a situation like this is not sustainable for too long. There will
be -- there will be a moment where a decision would have to be taken as to whether the plant will be restarted or not.
And then there might be a problem in terms of staff. This is only a quantitative analysis I am making. And I'm here -- I'm conscious of the
fact that I'm not talking about something that worries me a lot, also, which is the welfare. The situation, the pressure. You have to remember
that this plant is at the frontline. Right at the frontline.
Not in the province, not in the vicinity, it's at the frontline. Whenever I go there, I have to, you know, go through the frontline, and into no man's
land, and with soldiers confronting each other, seeing each other. This is where the action is. So you can imagine working in those -- in those
conditions. And you were mentioning that a few days ago, some people were invited to evacuate a village near the plant.
So the situation has nothing normal about it. It is --
SOARES: Yes --
GROSSI: Very abnormal. And the levels of stress and anxiety are enormous. We are trying to help in that regard as well.
SOARES: I can't imagine the stress that they are all feeling. Mr. Grossi, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us this evening. Thank you, sir.
GROSSI: Thank you very much.
SOARES: Pope Francis' abdominal surgery has been completed, we have been told, and the Vatican says there were no complications, that is very good
news. The pontiff will spend the next few days in a Rome hospital. The Vatican says the operation was to repair a hernia that was causing the
pontiff pain and as well as other symptoms.
A spokesman says the pope should make a full recovery. But it's sparking renewed fears over the 86-year-old's fragile health. It is the latest in a
long list of ailments the pope has faced recently. I want to bring in CNN senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann who has covered five
popes, and he joins us now from Rome in Italy.
So Jim, he is out of surgery. How is he doing? How is -- I heard some of my producers telling me he's cracking jokes. That's a good sign.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what we heard. That's what we heard from his surgeon, Sergio Alfieri who had
just completed a news conference a few minutes ago. Anyway, Dr. Alfieri said the pope came out of it very well, no complications, and that in fact,
he was cracking jokes and back to work, hard to imagine, really.
But the recovery period as you said is going to be a few days. This kind of surgery we are told by medical folks is something that requires a great
deal of recovery period. The pope cannot have any solid foods for example, for a while because this is involving his colon. And as a consequence, he's
got to be fully healed up in his abdomen before he can actually get back to eating normally and what not.
The Vatican has preventatively canceled all the papal events for the next 10 to 18 days. They have -- I'm told, the June 18th, they have said there
will be no papal audiences. And they're hoping that the recovery goes smoothly. And that's one of the things I think Catholics around the world
were hoping, as the pope was being operated on today.
For no other reason, as the pope has a big travel schedule coming up, he is supposed to go in August to Portugal for World Youth Day, and as well to
visit the Shrine of Fatima. And then later on in August, he's supposed to go to Mongolia. So all of this is a very rigorous travel schedule, it
remains to be seen whether they're going to be able to keep to that. Isa.
SOARES: Yes, indeed, I wish him a speedy recovery. Jim, great to see you, thanks very much. And still to come tonight, there is a hazardous haze over
New York City, and much in the northeastern U.S. What it means for those living there. And as day two of Prince Harry's cross-examination ends,
we'll bring you the latest details on his testimony. That is next.
SOARES: Well, "it is a lot". Those were the words of Prince Harry after he finished his second day on the witness stand in his lawsuit against a U.K.
newspaper publisher. Today, the Duke of Sussex was cross-examined by both his own lawyers and those for the Mirror Group newspaper. Harry's claim
that there were multiple incidents of phone-hacking by MGN journalists, and that press intrusion became a security issue.
Former MGN journalist Jane Kerr also took the stand earlier in London's high court. Our royal correspondent Max Foster has been following this case
and joins me now from London. Day two, how did he fare today?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he was -- he seemed quite confident today. He was a bit clearer on some of his arguments. So
one of the criticisms yesterday was that he referred to "Mirror" articles or people articles, and saying they upset him. He couldn't necessarily
remember reading them, but he would then -- it was pointed out to him that those -- the facts in most stories that have already been reported or were
already in the public domain before that article came out.
His point being that, you know, there might be one article in the "Daily Mail", for example, but the "Mirror" needs to sort of develop that article
and they use phone-hacking to develop the argument. The typical argument from the lawyer on the "Mirror" side was that, you're just speculating,
there's no evidence --
SOARES: Yes --
FOSTER: That the sources were from phone-hacking.
SOARES: And what -- how did he reply to that?
FOSTER: Well, eventually, when he was questioned by his lawyer, he did get a bit emotional. Now, the idea that he was speculating about something
which has deeply affected him over a period of time. So this idea that all of these articles really caused huge damage to him and his relationship
with friends, but also with his father.
And he talks a bit about sort of -- the kind of articles like these, just perpetrating feelings of distrust within my relationships, including with
SOARES: Was there any moment, anything that stood out? I mean, there was some salacious moments, examples, they views that have really affected him.
FOSTER: The tabloid stories. So he's having --
SOARES: In what exactly --
FOSTER: To talk about having a lap dance on his lap and how that led to an argument with his girlfriend. A lot of it is around Chelsy Davy --
SOARES: His former, yes --
FOSTER: And breaches in that relationship. He said neither of them were talking to anyone in the media. She didn't know anyone in the media, and
that a lot of those stories had to come out of hacking. But for example, that lap dancing club, they were -- you know, the lawyer suggested that it
was a friend that maybe released that information, because Chelsy spoke to friends about what her boyfriend had been doing.
He said at one point, there's a private investigator working for MGN, fitting a tracking device on the car of Chelsy Davy, and how he would drop
her off at a road in Kensington, a private road, and there was a photograph of him dropping her off. How did they get that information? Was there a
tracking device? Was it hacking? You could see how he got incredibly paranoid --
SOARES: Yes --
FOSTER: By a lot of this. But it wasn't necessarily hacking, which is at the center of the case.
SOARES: Asking good questions, but proving it is the hard part. Where do we go to next? Who are we expected to listen to in the next -- in the next few
days in this case, do you know?
FOSTER: One of the "Mirror" -- one of the "Mirror" royal correspondents who was at the center of all of this, was being grilled as well today, much
tougher questioning actually from Harry's lawyer than he received, I think.
And she was just saying, you know, we were using private investigators, we weren't always aware of what their sources were, but we would ask them, and
at no point do I feel that any of my stories were sourced from hacking. So that continues, again. At some point, the judge will have to make a
decision. And it's sort of, about the balance of how he feels about this.
There's no doubt that Harry was consistent and he appeared honest. So I --
SOARES: Yes --
FOSTER: Think that certainly would have worked in his favor. It's just whether or not he -- there was enough detail there to prove it was hacking
SOARES: Yes --
FOSTER: Was the source of a lot of these stories.
SOARES: Max, I know you'll stay on top of it. Thank you very much, Max. And the fallout continues in the golf world and international community just
one day after the PGA Tour announced a partnership with its Saudi-backed rival, LIV Golf. Top players had what's being called an intense and heated
meeting with PGA Tour head Jay Monahan yesterday, and the reaction to the shocking deal, well, has been mixed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: This is the best thing that could ever happen for the game of golf, and I am extremely proud to be a part of
that. Because of the fact that the fans are going to get what they want, the players are going to experience something a little different, a little
new on the PGA Tour side, but I truly believe in the end, the game of golf wins in this scenario.
JOHNSON WAGNER, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It was contentious, there were many moments where certain players were calling for new leadership at the PGA
Tour, and even got a couple standing ovations. There's a lot of anger in that room from players. They're feeling like they can't trust what the
leadership at the PGA Tour says anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, this deal has also put new emphasis on Washington's political relationship with Saudi Arabia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken,
arrived in the Saudi capital after his nearly two-hour meeting in Jeddah with the kingdom's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Our
Nic Robertson has more on that.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Whether it's gobbling up golf rights or signing yet another global soccer star or
setting oil price trends, Saudi cutting production by 1 million barrels a day or in diplomacy. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's three-day visit,
many roads now seem to lead to Riyadh.
U.S. relations with the desert kingdom have been rocky, President Biden making democracy and human rights a core issue. But increasingly, Saudi's
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman setting his own agenda. Blinken hoping to thwart U.S. Saudi tensions and build on recent cooperation. Hoping both
Yemen and Sudan and internal conflicts. Ahead of his arrival, Blinken putting Israel on his agenda too.
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel
and Saudi Arabia.
We believe that we can, and indeed we must play an integral role in advancing it.
ROBERTSON: Blinken's days-long visit, meeting not just Saudi officials, but regional and other diplomats too, discussing ISIS in Africa and Asia, and
likely Iran's nuclear enrichment program as well as Russia's war in Ukraine. All point to Saudis growing influence. Monday, the Crown Prince
hosted Venezuela's president, Tuesday, Iran reopened its diplomatic mission in Riyadh, thanks in part to bin Salman's strengthening ties with China.
Last month, he hosted Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, hopes to help broker peace there one day. Whether diplomacy or sports, MBS is thinking big, eye-
poppingly big. Listen to the Saudi Private Investment Fund governor who bankrolls Saudi's LIV Golf Tour, explains Saudis growing influence in the
world of golf.
YASIR AL-RUMAYYAN, CHAIRPERSON, SAUDI ARAMCO: The potential there is really big. I mean, if you look at the size of golf, of monetary wise, it's about
a $100 billion today. And I think the golf is there.
ROBERTSON: From Formula 1 to boxing to music festivals, MBS is reimagining his kingdom. As strange as it seems to many outside the region, outrage of
the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, bin Salman is offering his population entertainment, unimaginable a decade ago when religious conservatives he
banished held sway.
At home, his re-branding of Saudi Arabia has gained traction. Albeit, detractors risk jail if they speak out. Significantly, however, he has yet
to persuade the world he can be trusted. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, a former U.S. Vice President challenging his former boss for the first time in decades. Mike Pence just announced he
is entering the race for the White House. Plus, an --
SOARES: U.S. vice president challenging his former boss for the first time in decades, Mike Pence just announced he is entering the race for the White
Plus, an earthquake in Haiti asks the country's growing humanitarian crisis after deadly floods forced thousands from their homes. We're bringing both
those stories after this short break.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Wildfires in Canada are creating a hazardous situation for more than 55 million people in the northeastern
United States. Have a look at this live tower cam shot. You can see there from New York. That's it. I'm not kidding you. It normally shows a view of
the city skyline, normally pretty clean. At one point, though, on Tuesday night, New York City had the worst air pollution of any major city in the
world. The air quality in the region is already at an unhealthy code red, but could worsen to code purple in the coming hours. Athena Jones has all
the details for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can smell it and feel it. Yes.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People in New York City masking up again, not because of COVID but due to harmful smoke
wafting into the city. Right now, New York City is among the top five most air polluted cities in the world. At one point, the air quality index
soared past 200 Tuesday night, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. That's a very unhealthy level.
The poor air quality is caused by more than 150 active wildfires burning in Canada. The smoke from those fires creating a haze for millions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should be super crowded. Everybody should be trying to get the good air, but it's not crowded. That tells you something, right?
JONES (voice-over): More than 40 million people across the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic are under air quality alerts, affecting areas
around Boston, shrouding Pittsburgh in smoke, while leaving Hartford, Connecticut, under dense haze. And smoke lingering over New Jersey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the haze over the stadium.
JONES (voice-over): The ominous guys clouded the start of the game at Yankee stadium. But the haze did not stop all New Yorkers from venturing
outside on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not just going to stay in the house because of air quality.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a little hazy, but they say you shouldn't do strenuous activity or but I feel like I can go for a run right now. I know
I shouldn't maybe.
JONES (voice-over): Sports and family medicine physician Tyler Wheeler warns, even if you can't see the smoke, it can still cause harm.
DR. TYLER WHEELER, SPORTS AND FAMILY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: The particle sizes are really very small, which allows them to penetrate deeply into the lung
tissue. So what the smoke generally does to the lungs, the thought is that it increases inflammation into the lungs.
JONES (voice-over): At least ten school districts in central New York have canceled outdoor activities due to poor air quality, which is not expected
to improve in the coming days, as a cold front will likely push more smoke south and east into the U.S.
WHEELER: Children who are at higher risk of lung conditions, it certainly would be appropriate to minimize their exposure to the outdoor air.
SOARES: That was Athena Jones reporting there. While many schools in New York State canceled outdoor activities on Tuesday. And people with asthma
or similar health issues are being urged to stay inside for obvious reasons. And it was just heard it's well beyond New York City. Let's get
more now from Jennifer Gray in the CNN Weather Center. And Jennifer, I don't know if you heard Athena Jones saying that report that the air
quality is not expected to get better. So give us a sense of how bad it is expected to get and when it will clear by.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you can see from this live picture of New York City, it's hard to make out those skyscrapers. You can barely
see them right there. It just shows you how dense this smoke is that's covering not only New York City, but all the areas across the Northeast.
Upstate New York is even worse because they're closer to the fires.
And we're seeing it all the way as far south as, say, D.C. even the Carolinas across the U.S. getting in on this smoke. And it really has
everything to do with the weather pattern because we have winds that are blowing out of the north. And so what's happening is all that smoke from
Canada is being blown right into the eastern part of the U.S. visibility has been very low. Visibility in New York City, less than a mile right now,
we've had ground stops across a couple of the airports in the Northeast because of the low visibility.
And not only that, as you mentioned, the current air quality is very poor. All up and down the Northeast, you can see unhealthy to very unhealthy,
some areas even considered hazardous. And then you can see in upstate New York, we have basically the same situation going on. This stretches all the
way as far back as say the Ohio Valley and some cities in the Midwest starting to improve today. But they were really bad just a couple of days
So really, it just depends on that shifting wind, who's going to get the worst of it. So that's why people are urged to stay inside, especially
people that are vulnerable. We have New York City and Toronto right there, topping top three of the worst air quality and pollution of any major city
in the world right now. Now, this graph just sort of updates hour to hour, but we are seeing the top three right now.
So here's that stagnant weather pattern that we're in with high pressure off to our west, low pressure to our east, and it's basically just
funneling these northerly winds right in between. So until something major happens, a major shift in our weather pattern, and winds, say, start to
shift back from a southerly direction and push all that smoke out, we're really going to see this stick around for quite some time. So we could see
it, say, really bad across the northeast, and then it sort of shifts to the Ohio Valley and then back. So it is going to be back and forth.
But all in all, this could be a problem we're dealing with for quite some time. We're still very early in fire season across Canada, and so as long
as these winds are blowing out of the north, we're going to still get some smoke across the eastern half of the U.S. So I really don't see anything in
the next seven to 10 days that are really going to change much of this at all and beyond that, where it's really hard to tell. So we're going to see
a very thick smoke across New York City.
These red colors indicate the thicker smoke. So this evening, and then by the time we get into tomorrow, starts to wind down just a little bit. But
as I mentioned, once it improves across the I-95 corridor, it gets worse for people to the west. So I think we're stuck here for a little while, at
least for the time being.
SOARES: Yes, seven to 10 days, that's quite a significant amount of time. Jennifer Gray. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.
I want to stay in the United States and focus, really, on the race for the White House. The Republican field is getting, let's say, a little bit more
crowded now that Mike Pence is throwing his hat into the ring. The former vice president joins nine. As you can see, other candidates, including his
boss, former President Donald Trump there at the top, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who gave his first campaign speech just moments ago.
Pence officially kicked off his campaign in Iowa, where the Republican presidential caucuses, of course, will be held early next year. Have a
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know we can bring this country back. We can defend our nation and secure our border. We can
revive our economy and put our nation back on a path to a balanced federal budget. We can defend our liberties and give America a new beginning for
life. But it'll require new leadership in the White House and the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Mike Pence speaking the last hour. So, well, let's close a look now with CNN contributor and Republican campaign adviser, well known face on
the show, Scott Jennings. Scott, great to have you back. Let's start off, then, if I could, with Pence, because I think it's fair to say it's pretty
historic to see a VP going head to head with his old boss, Donald Trump. How do you see this shaping up?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's historic to see this happening. Of course, they had a massive split because of the January 6th issue where
Mike Pence did not follow Donald Trump's orders. Donald Trump wanted Mike Pence to throw out the election, and Mike Pence just wouldn't do it. And he
did his duty that day.
And that's really what led to the split. And that's really also what has led to Mike Pence's degradation in the Republican Party in terms of his own
image. So the way this is going to shape up is Mike Pence is going to run as a traditional conservative Republican in the mold of Ronald Reagan and
the traditional pre-Trump conservative era. And he's got a whole bunch of Republican voters who are pretty mad at him for what they see as being
disloyal to Donald Trump when he was his vice president. So I think Mike Pence is a good man. He's a moral man.
Christian conservatives love him. But I don't see a ton of running room for him in this particular primary against his old boss and against some of the
other figures who've gotten into the race.
SOARES: So a more traditional conservative, in the video that I saw with his launch video, he, I suppose, tries to separate himself from Trump.
That's going to be the challenge, right, Scott. But he distances himself from him in this video, but takes credit as well for the positive side of
what was achieved during the Trump administration. And do you think he can successfully straddle both? Can he do that?
JENNINGS: Well, you know, I'm from Kentucky in the United States. You know what they say, the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow lines and
dead squirrels. And you can't really have it both ways. I mean, he worked for Donald Trump. He was Donald Trump's vice president. And, yes, most
Republicans think they did some great things, but you can't sort of own it and disown it at the same time. It's a real challenge.
And if you've got a voter out there who's like, well, I really want Trump back, you know, you've got him, you could pick that. He's already in the
race. And so it's a hard message and a hard movement to do if you're Mike Pence, what he wants to do is appeal to the voter who says, I'd like to
continue on with some of these policies, but I don't want to continue on with the baggage.
But a lot of voters see him as part of the baggage. So it's really, really complicated. And it's also complicated by the fact that there's other
choices. Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, Senator Tim Scott, former Governor Nikki Haley, I mean there's a bunch of people in the race who were
talented in their own right. So it's not even really a head to head choice. For Mike Pence, what he's got to do is jump over those people before he can
even get to sort of a final showdown with Donald Trump.
SOARES: Yes. And we're looking at some of the presidential candidates right now on your screen. And you're right, it is becoming a bit crowded. You've
got Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, also both announcing the last few days. Does this crowded field, and it might not be the end of it, does this help
Trump because it splits the Republican vote? How do you see it, Scott?
JENNINGS: Yes, if all of these candidates were to make the ballot, if they were all to go to Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina and stay in the
race and be voting choices for all the voters, yes, it would help Donald Trump. It's exactly what happened in 2016. A crowded field allowed Donald
Trump to get less than 50 percent of the vote but still win most of the delegates because of the way the Republican Party apportions out the
You can win less votes but still get more delegates, basically, is how it works out. So him being in the race with all these other people ultimately
is good for Trump. Now, what I think is going to happen is a lot of these people who are in are not going to make it to Iowa, certainly not going to
make it to New Hampshire. The state that Mike Pence is most likely to do well in is Iowa. There's a lot of evangelical Christian voters. Mike Pence
is known as an authentic evangelical, pro-life Christian. So those are his people, if there ever were any. And so my guess is he's going to try to
stay in until Iowa. And if it doesn't happen there, it's not likely to happen anywhere for Mike Pence.
SOARES: And very briefly, who has impressed you so far?
JENNINGS: Tim Scott has been impressive to me so far. I liked his appearance on The View this week. I thought he took it right to him. He's
had some great retail politics a moment since launching his campaign. I'd keep an eye on Tim Scott.
SOARES: Scott Jennings. Always great, come back. I'm sure we'll talk about this in the coming weeks. Appreciate it.
JENNINGS: Thank you.
SOARES: Now, some news about CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht is leaving the company just over one year after being hired for the top job. Warner
Brothers Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the news earlier on. He says a wide search will be conducted internally as well as externally for a new
leader. And then we'll be back after this short break.
SOARES: While Haiti is reeling from yet another natural disaster, 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck the country on Tuesday, killing at least four
people. This comes in the wake of torrential rains, and dozens have died, and thousands have been forced from their homes due to the flooding.
International aid agencies are ringing the alarm bell. The country is already struggling, as you know, with gang violence and political chaos.
Well, earlier, I spoke with the World Food Programme Country Director for Haiti, Jean-Martin Bauer. I began by asking him about the situation on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-MARTIN BAUER, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME COUNTY DIRECTOR, HAITI: We're quite concerned. This has been a major impact for Haiti. The flooding that took
place on Saturday has already affected 200,000 people, according to authorities. And there was also on Monday, an earthquake in the city of
Jeremy. Now, the impacts of the flooding were concentrated in Porter Prince, but have also affected a lot of people in pockets throughout the
The earthquake itself was in the city of Jeremy in the south, which itself faced a powerful earthquake in 2021, just two years ago. And you can
imagine how that's affected people psychologically as well. Now, the crisis is happening at a time when Haiti is already dealing with a humanitarian
emergency, 5.2 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance of some type, and Haiti happens to be the second most food insecure country
in the world on a per capita basis just behind South Sudan. So the situation is quite dire.
SOARES: And let me ask you and pick up on parts of what you said. We'll talk about food insecurity in a second, but I'm guessing with the flooding
and the earthquake, that has an impact on infrastructure, that has an impact on aid coming in, but also the risk of cholera here. Has this been a
concern for your team on the ground?
BAUER: Isa that is a concern. Haiti had a few years without cholera between 2019 and 2022. And unfortunately, in October, cholera came back. This is
the start of the rainy season and it will affect cholera risk going forward. And it is one of the priorities to make sure that we limit that
risk. Of course, with the flooding, there's a contamination of water sources and there's also displacement and therefore color prevention is one
of the priorities.
SOARES: And you mentioned this already being the definition of a humanitarian crisis. And I'm keen to focus, Jean-Martin, if I could, on the
children and the aspect of malnutrition. How many families are struggling to feed their children just paint us the pictures of the scenes that you
have been seeing day in and day out.
BAUER: Look, they're in Haiti. Unfortunately, half of the population is not able to access sufficient food. A recent study showed that 100,000 children
are at risk of acute malnutrition in Haiti. That's 30 percent more than last year. Malnutrition is on the rise. Food insecurity is on the rise, and
children are the most vulnerable at this point.
SOARES: OK, so what about the aid? Has it been arriving, Jean-Martin, I mean, have you been able to get it into the country?
BAUER: We have aid in the country, and we have ongoing programs, and we are responding to the ongoing flooding situation. We're also providing
logistical support to local authorities to respond to the earthquake. But the real problem we have, Isa, is that Haiti isn't at risk of being a
forgotten crisis. It is a forgotten crisis. The humanitarian appeal for Haiti is only 20 percent. Funded with such a low funding level, it's very
hard for humanitarian agencies to make a difference.
SOARES: OK, so why is it a forgotten crisis, then, Jean-Martin, why is it that the world has forgotten about Haiti?
BAUER: Well, what I observe is that in Haiti, there's been a lot of violence, and in fact, the violence has been so bad that in certain periods
of the year, there have been more civilian deaths in Haiti than in Ukraine. But the attention isn't the same. It seems the world has shrunk and that a
country like Haiti just doesn't get the attention it deserves. And I'd like to make sure that on this program, I tell you and tell whoever's listening
that we need Haiti's partners, Haiti's friends, to step up, because Haiti can't wait.
SOARES: How frustrated is your team by the lack of aid and what you're seeing?
BAUER: The team is frustrated. I want to let you know that were also attacked in go naive in September, where one of our offices was attacked,
looted, and burned to the ground. But we are resilient. We are back in business. My local team is doing distributions every day to help the
Haitian population. We've already reached 1.4 million people in this country with essential food AIDS since the start of the year. So we are
resilient. We will get the job done. Come with me.
SOARES: WFP's Country Director there. I'll be back after this short break.
SOARES: Well, the next images you're about to see are truly out of this world. You are looking at views of what's called a barred spiral galaxy.
Officially, astronomers call this galaxy NGC 5068. It's actually part of the constellation known as Virgo, and it's about, get this, 20 million
light years from Earth. These extraordinary views are made possible thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope. A campaign hopes to create an
astronomical treasure trove, for the images are obviously not only beautiful, but also aid in scientific discoveries. They're truly stunning
Now, Martha Stewart has waded into a highly contested debate on remote work. In an interview with Footwear News Magazine, Stewart says she is on a
rampage to get people in the U.S. back into offices. She follows other high profile leaders advocating for getting back into the office. But Stewart
took in a step further. She said, comparing it to work in the U.S. to France.
She says, look at the success of France with their stupid, you know, off for August, blah, blah, blah. That's not a very thriving country. I think
the French would disagree on that. Should America go down the drain because people don't want to get back to work? A rampage, indeed. I'll have more on
this in Quest Means Business.
But in the meantime, do stay right here. I'll be back after this short break with Quest Means Business.