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Isa Soares Tonight
President Biden Welcomes Prime Minister of Sweden to the White House; Ukraine, Russia Trade Warnings Over Nuclear Plant; U.S. Intervenes As Iran Tries to Seize Oil Tankers; U.S. President and Swedish Prime Minister Meet at White House; Earth's Hottest Day Was Yesterday; Atomic Regulators Approve Fukushima Water Release; U.S. Government Social Media Restrictions; Google May Block Access to News Links in Canada; Carlos Alcaraz Challenges Novak Djokovic Bid for Title. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 05, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, we are watching the White House live
pictures, you can see there, any moment, President Biden is going to send a message to allies anniversaries by sitting down with Sweden's prime
minister. We'll bring that to you as soon as it happens.
Then, nuclear fears. Ukraine says Russia may have placed explosives at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. As Russia says Ukraine might commit
sabotage. And a U.S. defense official tells CNN that the Navy intervened to stop Iranian ships from seizing oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman just hours
ago. We have the very latest.
We begin though with the war in Ukraine where both sides are now accusing each other of planning an attack on Europe's largest nuclear facility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says there's new disturbing intelligence about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant currently held by Russia.
Have a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): Today is exactly 16 months since the Russian military took full control of the
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Now, we have information from our Intelligence that the Russian military has placed objects similar to
explosives on the roof of several power units of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
It's probable that they needed to simulate and attack on the plant, or they could just have some other kind of scenario. But in any case, the world
sees and cannot avoid seeing that the only source of danger to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant's Russia and no one else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: What the Kremlin on the other hand claims, it's taking measures at the plant to counter the threat of some kind of sabotage by Ukrainian
forces. Experts from the U.N. Nuclear Watchdog are there on the ground. They say they haven't seen any signs of mines or explosives at the
facility, but would need more access to be sure.
Of course, in the past, Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for destroying power lines that needed to cool the plant's reactors and avoid a
nuclear disaster. National security expert Joseph Cirincione, and he used to be the president of Ploughshares Fund, the foundation that focuses on
nuclear nonproliferation. Joe, great to have you on the show.
I think it's fair to say the rhetoric is now ramping up around this possible attack here. But just explain to our viewers, Joe, what would be
the impact the collateral damage of an explosion coming from the roof of the reactors three and four as Zelenskyy is claiming. What would that do?
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT & FORMER PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Right, the IAEA inspector say they haven't seen any
mines planted on those particular roofs, but they're asking for access to look at it in particular. The IAEA has seen Russia place mines around the
perimeter of the plant, and at some other facilities in the plant so that the information is credible coming from Zelenskyy.
What would happen is if any of these explosives were in an office that you would probably breach the containment, very thick concrete shell that's
around the reactor. That would lead to the leak of radiation from the fuel rods still in the reactor. Not a big explosion, not a big release, probably
The real threat might come if they blow the cooling ponds or the pumps that are keeping the spent fuel rods cool right now. If those were to go, and
there's thousands of them in swimming pool-like facilities right now, you could see an explosion that could be much more significant explosion that
could spread radioactive material for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of kilometers.
SOARES: And Joe, of course, the Ukrainians, we haven't seen any Intelligence, though, they do say they have Intelligence. But who gains
CIRINCIONE: Right, we've seen when Russia blew up the Kakhovka dam, it shows that --
SOARES: Yes --
CIRINCIONE: They have the willingness to do a war crime on this scale. If they're willing to blow up a dam, they're probably willing to blow up a
nuclear reactor. They certainly have the means to do it, they have the opportunity to do it, but right now, I don't see the motive to do it.
They're still occupying the plant. They're still there.
But it's more likely that they're placing these explosives in the event that the Ukrainians break through the frontlines in the Zaporizhzhia
region, and I think that's almost inevitable that they will do it. That's when the Russians will blow the reactor while they're retreating, not while
SOARES: Right, so blow the reactor or even a false flag operation where they do it and they blame the Ukrainians as we have seen before. But look,
I remember my conversation with Mr. Grossi, the reactors at Zaporizhzhia need to be constantly cooled, right? By water passing through them. So,
what happens if that water stream then, Joe, is cut off? What are the real dangers and the perceived dangers here?
CIRINCIONE: Yes, absolutely, and Rafael Grossi has been personally there. He's been on top of this, he's issued multiple statements about the danger,
as I say it's real. Both the possibility of destruction to the dam, from intentional sabotage from shelling, from the fighting in the region, from
the collapse of the cooling system, that's very real.
And that's why he is trying to get the Ukrainians and the Russians to declare a no conflict zone, to get the Russians to withdraw the explosives
from the plant. Withdraw the military equipment that have been there. But here is the good news. The reactors have been in cold shut down. Five of
the six reactors have been -- or four of the five have been in cold shut down.
Meaning, the rods have had months to cool. So an explosion -- what released radioactivity, but not on the scale. Certainly not of a Chernobyl, which
was a completely different kind of plant. We're not talking about a Chernobyl accident here. Maybe if Fukushima, more likely a 3 mile island,
that is radioactivity, but not huge amounts.
As I say, the danger comes from one, the reactor that's still in hot shut down where the rods could release much more radioactivity or from the spent
fuel rods in the cooling pond. All of these are possible, there's multiple safety mechanisms --
SOARES: Yes --
CIRINCIONE: To prevent this, but if you are the Russians, you know how to circumvent or destroy those safety mechanisms.
SOARES: Very briefly, Jim, just something I was thinking about earlier. I mean, if you want to explode, if you want to create some sort of explosion,
why go to the roof, why not go further below ground?
CIRINCIONE: Well --
SOARES: What does that suggest?
CIRINCIONE: That's a very good question, and this gets to Zelenskyy's point. You know, why would you place explosives at some of the strongest --
SOARES: Yes --
CIRINCIONE: Concrete shielding. And the reason might be to be able to claim that the Ukrainian shelling hit the roof and cause --
SOARES: Wow --
CIRINCIONE: The accident, when actually, it was Russian explosives maybe within the facility or at the cooling pond that caused it. All of this is
an effort by the Russians to sow confusion, sow fear, it's all aimed like their other nuclear threats at frightening the West, trying to get the West
to back off aid for Ukraine so that Russia could continue its occupation.
SOARES: Joseph Cirincione, always great to get your insight, great to see you, thanks Joe.
CIRINCIONE: Thank you.
SOARES: Well, let's get a sense of what is happening on the battlefield front in an extraordinary report. CNN's Ben Wedeman interviewed several
Russian soldiers, now prisoners of war in Ukraine. They tell him how they got caught up in the war and reveal the chaos within parts of Russian
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No longer on the frontlines upon recounts, how we ended up a prisoner of war.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): OK --
(voice-over): Back in Russia, he was behind bars for the third time for drugs. "When they put me in prison, and I heard they were recruiting,
served six months and they pardoned me", he tells me. So, he signed up with Storm Z; a unit made up of convicts attached to the Russian Defense
After only two weeks of basic training, he was shipped off to the frontlines near Bakhmut.
After days of intense shelling, and no food and only rainwater to drink, he heard Ukrainian troops outside his fox hole. He assumed they would execute
him. "I thought that was the end", he recalls. "I switched my rifle to single-shot mode and thought, I'll shoot myself. But I couldn't."
This video shot by soldiers of Ukraine's third assault brigade shows the tense moments when Antoine(ph) and his comrade Slava(ph) surrendered. The
Ukrainian troops told them, unlike Russians, we don't kill prisoners. We spoke to Antoine(ph), Slava(ph) and another soldier in a makeshift jail in
eastern Ukraine, concealing their faces and not using their real names.
The third is Salt(ph) Brigade, granted us access to the POWs, and two of their soldiers were in the room for the interviews. The POWs will soon be
transferred to Ukrainian Intelligence. They didn't appear to be under duress, and agreed to share their stories. Slava(ph), also serving time for
drugs, said conditions in the trenches were grim.
"Food was scarce, we didn't have medical kits", he says. "As commanders took all the painkillers to get high", he recalled. And as a result, issued
nonsensical orders, morale was terrible.
Sergei(ph) was wounded by a grenade before surrendering to Ukrainian troops. He was a contract soldier, not a convict. He completed his six-
month contract in Kherson and went home. But when he hesitated to sign another contract, a military prosecutor gave him a choice, prison or back
to the front.
He ended up outside Bakhmut under constant Ukrainian fire, discipline collapsed. The officers fled, all allusions were shattered. "It was very
different from what I saw on TV, a parallel reality", says Sergei(ph). "I felt fear, pain and disappointment in my commanders." A law passed last
year in Russia, imposed sentences of 3 to 10 years for soldiers who surrender voluntarily.
If you returned home in a prisoner exchange, Antoine(ph) may end up again back in a Russian prison. Ben Wedeman, CNN, eastern Ukraine.
SOARES: Twenty two days, that's how much longer beauty salons are able to stay open in Afghanistan, under Taliban rule. All shops across the country
were given one month notice to close down. That is according to a Taliban spokesman. It is the latest move by the Taliban to roll back rights for
women who are already largely confined to their homes with bans on most work and study. Here is Katie Polglase with more.
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (voice-over): Driving through the streets of Kabul among the brightly-colored shops is one last symbol of
women being visible in the public life. Squeezing them out of sight, Taliban authorities ordered beauty parlors to be shut within the month,
sending shockwaves for women already gripped in a chokehold.
A salon owner who did not want to be identified for safety reasons told CNN, the Taliban's order means her poverty-stricken family cannot afford
the bare essentials. "I don't understand why beauty salons should be banned", she says. "My husband is jobless, and this beauty salon is the
only means to feed my family. I have four kids, they need food and clothes."
The Taliban seized back power in the Summer of 2021, with thousands of terrified families flocking to Kabul airport desperate to escape the
group's barbaric rule. While the Taliban vowed reform, promising to be more progressive than their previous rule, women were quickly erased from public
Banning teenage girls from secondary and higher education, and ordering nonprofit organizations to stop their female employees from coming to work.
The salon owner we spoke to, says she doesn't know what more can be taken from them before there is nothing left at all. "No woman is showing off her
face with makeup outside, and we're already wearing hijab in public", she says.
"This will further deprive women of their rights and freedoms." As the Taliban slowly chips away at their rights, hope is slowly dwindling for
some women. But others still haven't been deterred from raising their voices, even if it means risking their lives. Katie Polglase, CNN, London.
SOARES: Let's get a deeper understanding of the implications of the move. Joining me now in the studios, Fawzia Koofi; the former deputy speaker of
the Afghan parliament. Fawzia, great to have you here on the show. Look, I think one of the ladies said there, what more can be taken from us? And
just watching that, that's moved you, hasn't it?
FAWZIA KOOFI, FORMER DEPUTY SPEAKER OF THE AFGHAN PARLIAMENT: It is very emotional, while we try to demonstrate our warrior side, not as a victim.
But looking at what has been achieved over the last 20 years, and how much women were in the forefront of all of that fighting for the global
security, and see that now, they're kind of pushed to a corner to become invisible and erased from all spheres of life is not a very easy moment for
me who have been part of all ups and downs of Afghanistan.
SOARES: Give our viewers a sense of some of the stories you've been hearing, because you know, our reporter, Katie put into context in terms of
slowly chipping away women's rights. Slowly pushing away, women away from civil society. What are you hearing from Afghan women?
KOOFI: Women of Afghanistan are very disappointed, obviously undergoing a lot of mental health pressure because, can you imagine that they are being
deprived of all the basic fundamental rights. The right to work, education, attending gyms, attending parks, going to public places. And their
existence and beings is being questioned.
Sometimes my colleagues and staff and like my friends from Kabul tell me that, you know, when they get out of their homes, they stop them and tell
them that you are not supposed to go to university or school. You're not supposed to go to office and work, why are you out in the street?
That feeling of being controlled --
SOARES: Yes --
KOOFI: By somebody as a human being is not a nice feeling. The whole existence of being, as a woman is being now kind of taken away from by
SOARES: And I imagine, you know, the salons, and it probably doesn't mean much to us here in the West who take it for granted, but for some of these
women, this was a sanctuary when everything else was been taken away from this, this is where women could actually speak with each other. Spend time
with each other, I suspect?
KOOFI: Exactly. So, these beauty salons were not only as a growing business because women lost their jobs in other fields and other areas.
This was a growing business for them, but also a place where women could go and exercise their feminine kind of part of themselves and talk to each
other, social gatherings.
This was probably the only place where women could go without being questioned where are they going? But now, they have asked them to stop
that. We are very much disappointed for the fact that when these ethics come, only that is the time that women of Afghanistan news gets to the
headlines and the world talks about it, otherwise about the centuries and decades' worst human rights catastrophe, the world doesn't really talk a
lot about it.
And it's as if it's one of the forgotten stories. And this is the disappointing part, because you know, we believe that what is happening in
Afghanistan could have a global consequence.
SOARES: Why do you think you've been forgotten, the women of Afghanistan have been forgotten?
KOOFI: I think the whole --
SOARES: Who is failing? Who is failing? Who is failing the women?
KOOFI: The world. The world is failing the women of Afghanistan because during the negotiations that the Americans had with the Taliban, the
Taliban clearly said, and during the negotiations they had with us, I was talking with them. They clearly said that they would expect women Islamic
rights, that they will allow women to go to work and even become prime minister and foreign minister.
This is something they have said during negotiations to get the deal signed with the Americans. Once they signed the deal, and they got to power, this
is what was given to them basically. Now, they started slowly and gradually suppressing women. They started from allowing -- not allowing women to go
to school, which has no space in Islam, has no space in other --
SOARES: Yes --
KOOFI: Muslim countries, and I think this is where the Muslim countries really should speak up, and then the world should have a united position.
Because the women of Afghanistan slowly messed up, become a politicized issue.
SOARES: Absolutely. Look, let me ask you this. Mahbouba Seraj; the activist and the nominee for a number of peace prize has said, there's no
choice, but to talk to Afghanistan's new rule. As the time has come, he says to engage with the Taliban. What do you make of that?
KOOFI: Well, so the point is, the world has been engaged for more than two years with Taliban. They have been engaged for many years to get the deal
signed, which they give so much to the Taliban. In the whole Doha agreement, there is no mention of women and human rights. The deal is
basically a submissive deal to the Taliban.
And since they came to power, there has been engagement at different level with different levels of Taliban from the world, from international
community. Now, the question is, what have we achieved? So I'm not saying we should not engage because obviously, at the end of any war, there should
be peace, and there should be engagement. What I'm saying is, there should be a principal engagement.
SOARES: Yes --
KOOFI: As a result of which we know, what is it that the world wants to engage with Taliban? You know, the further engagement without any principal
position will only embolden them. An emboldenment --
SOARES: Yes --
KOOFI: Of Taliban is not in the interest of the country and in the interest of the women of Afghanistan.
SOARES: And might give them a free pass, diplomatic legitimacy, these are all concerns, no other -- no, I suspect at this stage. Fawzia, we really
appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, thank you very --
KOOFI: Yes --
SOARES: Much. And still to come tonight, Israel says its massive incursion to root out terror in Jenin was a success. But U.N. human rights experts
say you could amount to a war crime. And an incident in the Gulf of Oman tests U.S.-Iranian relations again. A live report from the Pentagon
straight ahead. You are watching CNN.
SOARES: Well, we are following some tensed moments at sea today in the Gulf of Oman. A U.S. Defense official telling CNN Iranian Naval ships
attempted to seize two oil tankers in separate incidents in international waters. The official says the U.S. Navy intervened to stop them. Our Oren
Liebermann is following the story from the Pentagon. So Oren, just talk us through what the Pentagon says happened here.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Isa, this played out in two separate incidents separated by only a few hours. That first incident at
about 1:00 in the morning according to the U.S. Navy occurred when an Iranian Navy vessel approached a commercial oil tanker in international
waters in the Gulf of Oman.
So, a critical waterway there in the Middle East, through which much of the world's oil travels. According to the U.S. Navy, as they saw this
happening, the Navy deployed a guided missile destroyer, and when it approached these two vessels, the Iranian Navy vessel essentially changed
course and left the incident. But that wasn't the end of this.
And only several hours later, at about 4:00 in the morning local time in the Gulf of Oman, this played out. And there's video of this incident that
we can show you this from the Department of Defense. This is a separate Iranian Navy vessel approaching a separate oil tanker in international
waters in the Gulf of Oman. This time, there was fire between the two vessels.
The U.S. Navy says personnel on board the Iranian vessel opened fire with small arms fire aiming at that oil tanker, striking it a number of times.
The U.S. Navy says there were no injuries on board that vessel, but there were impacts, there were shots that hit that oil tanker, fairly close to
the living quarters for the crew on board that oil tanker.
This time, there was a distress call coming from the oil tanker, the U.S. Navy says the Iranian vessel was attempting to seize that oil tanker and
had ordered it to halt. The same U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS McFaul that responded to the first incident steamed essentially full speed towards this
one, and as it approached, once again, the Iranian Navy vessel changed course and headed away from the incident.
The U.S. has seen this before. In fact, the Navy says since 2021, there have been nearly 20 incidents in which Iranian vessels have tried to harass
or seize commercial vessels in international waters in that region. And that's why the U.S. Navy views this, and the Defense Department views this
so severely, Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and like you said, it has happened before, remember, I was reporting on it. But I'm guessing at this stage, no immediate comment here
from Iran on the incident, Oren?
LIEBERMANN: We haven't yet seen a response from Iran or an explanation for these activities. But we have seen in the past, so maybe that gives us some
sort of flavor of what to expect. For example, in April and May when Iran seized two vessels within a few days, Iran said one of those vessels had
hit one of its own Navy vessels and was trying to flee the scene.
That was the reason the Iranians put forward for seizing that commercial vessel. So, we'll certainly wait and keep an eye on whether Iran and its
Navy respond to this as well in some way.
SOARES: Oren Liebermann for us there at the Pentagon, thanks very much, Oren.
LIEBERMANN: Of course.
SOARES: Well, U.S. President Joe Biden and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson are meeting at the White House, they just spoke. Let's listen
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Mr. Prime Minister, good to see you. You're a valued friend and (INAUDIBLE). And Sweden is a capable
and committed partner, together we're growing a relationship for our -- you know, further including advancing the bilateral partnership agreement we're
But we're also prepared for the NATO Summit next week, and I want to reiterate, the United States fully support Sweden's membership in NATO. And
while the alliance is simple, Sweden is going to make our alliance stronger and has the same value set that we have in NATO.
And I'm really looking, anxiously looking forward for your membership. And with the bilateral relationship, Sweden and the United States have taken on
the challenges that matter most to our people from taking on the climate crisis to preserving the free Indo-Pacific. So, across the board, we've
seen there have been agreement on almost everything.
And we're stepping up to protect our shared democratic values, including providing security and humanitarian systems for the people of Ukraine, the
generosity of the Swedish people has been extreme. They've done a great deal as the great people of Ukraine defend themselves against Russia and
its brutality. And together, our countries and companies are working in lockstep on emerging technologies, including -- I want to thank you, Mr.
Prime Minister for your work to build a safe 5G and 5C network, 6G networks.
And I want to thank you again for being here. We are lucky to cover, and I yield to you, Mr. Prime Minister.
ULF KRISTERSSON, PRIME MINISTER, SWEDEN: Thank you so much Mr. President, thank you so much, I really do appreciate to be here, thanks for the kind
invitation to come here. It's highly valued for us. I believe that Sweden and the U.S., we share so many values and priorities since long, but not
least right now. That goes for how to handle them, because of the war in Ukraine, I thank you for your leadership.
The Trans-Atlantic unity that you have made so much to establish, and goes also how to tackle the climate crisis, mitigating climate change. That goes
for handling China Trans-Atlantic wave. The challenges that China creates for democracies. And I also would like us to say that we highly appreciate
your strong support for Sweden's NATO accession, that means a lot to us.
We do seek common protection, but we also do think that we have things to contribute with, and to be security provider for the whole of NATO, so I
very much look forward to our talks here today. Thank you so much.
BIDEN: I'm looking forward with this, Finnish is an extremely valuable, capable partner.
KRISTERSSON: Thank you, thank you, thank you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, I want you to confidently --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody -- everyone, we need everyone to come this way, please, everyone, please, come towards the door.
Can you come this way? Please come this way.
SOARES: Lots of questions there that neither President Biden nor the prime minister answering there. But what you just heard in the last few minutes,
President Biden saying that Sweden is a capable and committed partner, also a valuable partner, not to say, and he went on to say this. This is a key,
of course, ahead of the NATO Summit that we have taking place in Vilnius.
The U.S. fully supports Sweden's membership in NATO. You'll make the alliance stronger, I'm looking forward he said to your membership. Talking
about also this, Sweden's generosity, vis-a-vis Ukraine and the migrants coming from Ukraine. Talking about their shared values, but also on
business front, the companies working in lockstep in technology, in 5G and 6G technology.
Of course, this is important because him sitting down with the prime minister, President Biden sending a very clear message to not just NATO
allies, but also adversaries alike. Remember, Turkey and Hungary, two of the countries who have not given the green light to Sweden's accession to
NATO. This is something that many NATO members are pushing for, hopefully, we'll get word on this next week.
Finland, of course, and Sweden for a long time were long-standing policy of military non-alignment. Finland was able to join in April, but Sweden has
not been able to join NATO alliance. This clearly a message that President Biden wants to show to allies and to those adversaries that Sweden is a
capable and committed partner, and that the U.S. fully supports membership in NATO.
Sweden, the prime minister saying that we appreciate your support, and saying also, we share so many values as well as priorities.
Now a show of defiance in Jenin today after a devastating military incursion. Thousands of Palestinians marched through the streets of a
crowded refugee camp, burying the dead and vowing revenge.
At least 12 Palestinians including teenagers were killed in Israel's biggest operation in the occupied West Bank in decades. The Israeli army
says that all were combatants. One Israeli soldier was also killed.
What Israel says its two-day incursion involving drone strikes and armored bulldozers achieve its goal of dismantling a terror network and weapons
manufacturing sites. Some families who fled the attacks are returning to find widespread destruction that you can see there.
Homes, demolished cars burned or crushed. Infrastructure is destroyed. The Palestinian Red Crescent says thousands of people are now homeless. One
Jenin official described the scene and take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAKHRI TOROKMAN, JENIN REFUGEE CAMP (through translator): What happened in the Jenin refugee camp the past few days was an organized criminal act.
This is a terrorist state. They used all its power and all the tools that it has to destroy and terrorize the refugee camp in Jenin, which is spread
across just one square kilometer.
It destroyed the infrastructure in a way that is unacceptable and unprecedented. When large bulldozers come and destroy whole streets
including the water system, electricity and the sewage, the army took out its anger on the streets and the infrastructure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Human rights experts say Israel's operation was an egregious violation of international law and may constitute a war crime. They say
Israel's obligations to abide by human rights standards do not change, quote, "simply because the goal of the operation is stated as
And still to come, tonight record-setting heat all around the globe. We take a look at how hot it got and have your latest forecast. That is next.
SOARES: Welcome back.
The hottest day on record globally just happened. In fact, it happened on Tuesday. The average temperature reached 17.18 degrees Celsius. That is
nearly 63 degrees Fahrenheit. In China, a heat wave pushed temperatures into the mid 30s and in the United States, Texas saw temperatures reach
anywhere from 110 to 120 Fahrenheit.
SOARES: Now 12 years after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan plans to start releasing wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. A head of
the U.N.'s nuclear agency visited the plant with the message that any environmental damage would be negligible. But critics worry that there
could be repercussions for the years to come. Our Marc Stewart explains.
MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even though Japan is moving forward to release the treated wastewater for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
power plant sometime this summer, there are still some critics.
The reservations come from here in Japan. For example, fishermen worried about their reputation that in addition to skepticism across Asia and other
parts of the world. CNN traveled to the plant in April. There, we saw some of the facilities used to filter and dilute the water.
STEWART: While there will be remnants of a radioactive element, known as tritium, it falls under the international standards according to the
International Atomic Energy Agency. Japan wants to gradually release more than 1 million metric tons of filtered water in the Pacific, part of the
process to slowly decommission the plant.
Still, not everyone is convinced this is the right thing to do, including the Chinese government. It is a topic which came up at a recent briefing at
its ministry of foreign affairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAO NING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The report cannot greenlight the discharge as it cannot prove that ocean
discharge is the only option or the safest and most reliable option.
China once again urges Japan to, in a responsible attitude for the whole humanity and our future generations, stop pushing through the discharge
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: The IAEA will establish an office here in Japan to monitor the process, a task that could take years to complete -- Marc Stewart, CNN,
SOARES: And still to come, tonight tech giants play hardball in Canada after the government stands up for online content revenue. We explain how
that is impacting the ability to search as well as find news.
SOARES: Some top Biden administration officials can't communicate with social media companies about certain content. This according to a Trump
appointed federal judge. The Tuesday ruling is a win for Republican-led states in their lawsuit. They accuse the government of going too far,
trying to stop COVID misinformation.
A White House official says an injunction is under review. To discuss, I'm joined now by CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich.
The question, Vanessa, becomes how do you balance the protection of free speech with tamping down on conspiracy theories?
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It is a fine line but this judge has ordered various government agencies, like the CDC,
like the FBI, like the State Department and Justice Department, along with key administration officials like the White House secretary, the U.S.
Surgeon general, to stop communicating with social media companies like TikTok, Facebook, WeChat, Instagram except if there are national security
risks or any issues of illegal activity.
And this really dates back to 2022, when two state attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration.
YURKEVICH: Saying that they colluded with social media companies during the pandemic, specifically on issues like COVID-19 theories, election
integrity, Hunter Biden and the president himself, saying that the administration had inappropriate contact, violating people's First
The White House for their part says that any communication they had with social media companies were in the best interest of the American people,
especially during the pandemic. They said that it is up to social media companies to police their own content, ultimately their discretion about
what to do with it.
The White House is also saying the DOJ is looking into options as it relates to this case and this injunction. But the judge here says that
there is enough evidence to basically put into effect this block of communication between the administration and the social media companies,
going so far as to say that if these plaintiffs' case proves to be true, this would, quote, "be the most massive attack against free speech in U.S.
Now this judge, Judge Doty (ph), still has to rule in this final case but, Isa, this is a significant win for these states who have brought this
lawsuit against the Biden administration.
We have reached out to the social media companies for comment. They have been pretty silent on this. So it's interesting to see which way they fall.
Do they want the involvement of the watchdog personality from the federal government?
Or do they want them to stay out of it?
But as of today, the Biden administration and its officials are not able to communicate with the social media companies, Isa.
SOARES: Vanessa, we appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Staying in the United States, a Secret Service spokesperson tells CNN, lab testing for a powdery substance found in the White House has come back
positive for cocaine. The white substance triggered a temporary evacuation on Sunday night.
A source tells CNN it was found near the ground floor entrance to the West Wing, near where tour guests are asked to leave their cell phones before
Now a battle is underway involving global tech giants and new Canadian government legislation known as the Online News Act. The expected law was
put by Canada's media industry to make advertising money from their content. Tech companies would essentially ban access to Canadian using
Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram will be joined by Google in removing links in Search and News and Discover. CNN's Paula Newton joins me
Paula, just explain to our viewers what this legislation means for users and for tech companies here.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think make no mistake, the Canadian government has said, we are trying to hold back the power of
these tech companies.
And in so doing, they have said that they have now passed this legislation which means that if, let's say you are doing a Google news search as an
example. Canadian news, when it is linked from Google, means that Google needs to undertake a negotiation with publishers and broadcasters to pay
for that content.
Because Google, in turn, is making money off of that content. What is happening here, Isa, is negotiations have broken down with Google. Meta, in
fact, Facebook, Instagram has refused to negotiate at all.
And at issue now is how this bill will be implemented. Isa, I want to make clear there are many countries around the world that are looking at this.
Australia has already implemented something that is a bit similar.
But key here is that countries in Europe, countries in South America are looking at this as a way to also fund what the Canadian government says are
absolutely anemic newsrooms that are really being pillaged by these tech companies in terms of getting money to cover what is national or local
SOARES: What are the tech companies saying?
Google, Meta, what are they saying about this?
I'm guessing they don't want to pay this tax here.
NEWTON: Yes. And it's funny, because there have been two different approaches, one from Google and one for Meta. I want to start with Google,
which also broke off negotiations with the Canadian government.
In their latest statement, they say we are willing to do more. We just can't do it in a way that breaks the way that the search engines are
designed to work. And that creates untenable product and financial uncertainty.
We just heard from Pablo Rodriguez, a Canadian minister, who says he is optimistic that Google will at the end of the day come up to a deal with
Canada on this.
Not so for Meta. The Canadian government announced they are pulling all their advertising from Instagram or Facebook. This is from Nick Clegg, you
will recognize the former deputy prime minister in Britain, who says asking a social media company in 2023 to subsidize news publishers for content
that isn't that important to our users -- a little bit of a slight. There - - is like asking email providers to pay the Postal Service because people don't send letters.
That is, of course, Nick Clegg, now the president of global affairs at Meta.
NEWTON: This will continue for months to come. I suspect this negotiation, they have experimented with taking all Canadian news off those platforms,
Isa. And that will go into effect either later this year or early next.
And there will be a total ban on those platforms if the Canadian government and these social platforms can't come to some kind of accommodation.
SOARES: Paula, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
And we will be back after this short break.
SOARES: One of the greatest tennis players of all time retired last year. But Roger Federer is keeping busy, working at his foundation and raising
his family. Christina Macfarlane spoke exclusively with the 20-time Grand Slam winner about emerging tennis stars, his rivals as well as his
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR, SENIOR SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Your friend and coach Ivan Ljubicic said that Carlos Alcaraz is, quote, "a sick
combination of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal."
ROGER FEDERER, 20-TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER: He said that?
FEDERER: That's quite the complement.
MACFARLANE: Isn't it?
Well, I just --
FEDERER: -- up to.
MACFARLANE: -- thought of that.
FEDERER: I mean, yes, I mean, I think Carlos is at the young age that he is right now. He's doing incredible things. You know, I always don't like
to put too much pressure on the younger players, especially coming through. It's like, OK, he's going to do this but he's the type of player who says
like, well, I'm coming to Wimbledon.
I'm coming to win, I'm coming to Paris, I'm coming to win.
So he's created that pressure on his own, which is great. And that's why then I can also say, easier, I think he will achieve, you know, incredible
great things in the future, which means multiple slams, you know, many years, hopefully at the world number one for himself, you know, it will be
interesting for me to see especially how he's going to play at Wimbledon.
And especially the first few matches, because it's the first few matches where the grass is like this carpet, you know, it's soft, it's, it's
slippery, you got to take that little extra step, you start losing confidence in your movement. Next thing you know, you're not playing so
well and then things become tricky, you know. But I think he's got all the tools, so I think he's got a lot of different ways to win matches and I
think that's what champions are made of.
MACFARLAND: And he has a tall order to topple Novak Djokovic, this fortnight as well.
FEDERER: Yes, I think he's the big, big (INAUDIBLE).
That's the word I was looking for, yes.
MACFARLAND: How do you feel about the prospect of him tying your Wimbledon record this fortnight, Novak, if it happens?
FEDERER: Honestly, I think it's great for him. You know, I had my moments for me, having won my eighth --
FEDERER: -- or my fifth in a row or whatever it may be. That was my moment, you know. So if somebody equals that, passes, that it's this is
their, their thing, their moment. And I know nowadays, it's especially media driven as well also then player driven.
I was driven as well by trying to break records, to equal records. But I think as you sit back, you have a totally different perspective as you're
not in it anymore. You start relaxing, just very proud of your achievements.
So I hope he does it, to be honest, because I think anything more he does, adds to tennis history, goes above and beyond just talking tennis. He goes
into global sports like when he went to 23, now in Paris. This is incredible stuff, great news and it's good for the game.
So I think he's the heavy favorite and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins Wimbledon again.
SOARES: Roger Federer, speaking exclusively there to Christina Macfarlane.
And that does it for this evening, thank you for watching. Do stay right here, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. Have a wonderful day, I will see
you tomorrow. Goodbye.