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Isa Soares Tonight

Joe Biden Wraps Up His Three-Nation European Trip; Record-Breaking Temperatures Soar in Europe; Hollywood Actors Set to Join Writers on the Picket Line for the First Time in Decades; India's Extreme Weather; Spain's Heat Wave Breaking Records; Blinken Meets With Top Chinese Diplomat; Feline Coronavirus Killing Cats On Cyprus. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 13, 2023 - 14:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S.

President Joe Biden is wrapping up his three-nation European trip. And today, he welcomes Russia's neighbor Finland to the bloc. Plus, as record-

breaking temperatures soar in Europe, Summers are becoming a struggle for survival.

And another major walkout in Hollywood. Actors are set to join writers on the picket line for the first time in decades. Now, Joe Biden is flying

back to the U.S. right now after visiting NATO's newest member state. U.S. President was in Finland today meeting with Nordic officials. This

following a NATO Summit in Lithuania a day earlier.

Well, today's talks included the Swedish prime minister as country's NATO bid got a major boost this week after the approval of Turkish leadership.

And as Russia watches the alliance expand, Ukraine could be next. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn't get the fast-track membership he

wanted at the summit this week, but he walked away with security guarantees and more weapons as his country fights Moscow's invasion.

Well, speaking with Finland's president today, Mr. Biden vowed to defend every inch of NATO territory. He warned Ukraine that joining the alliance

right now would lead to a larger conflict. But the cost of doing nothing was grim.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the past week, we reaffirmed our unwavering support for the brave people of Ukraine as they

defend their country against Russia's brutal and inhumane attacks. Our allies and partners around the world understand that this fight is not only

a fight for the future of Ukraine, it's about sovereignty, security and freedom itself.

I want you to think about what would happen if we didn't do anything. What is likely to happen to the rest of Europe if we did nothing.


MACFARLANE: Well, the U.S. Defense Secretary is joining the chorus of voices in the West, saying it's not if Ukraine gets into NATO, it's when.

But there are conditions. Here is part of Lloyd Austin's exclusive interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: From a military standpoint, Mr. Secretary, how close is Ukraine to meeting NATO standards?

LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: Well, I remember things that will have to be done, as you know. They -- a big part of their

inventory is legacy equipment, and so in terms of training and equipping, there's work to be done, but we're doing that work as we're helping them as

they fight this war. And so, things have been done up to this point. There is more that will need to be done to ensure that they have a full

complement of capability. So --

BLITZER: So you have no doubt that after the war, Ukraine will become a member of NATO?

AUSTIN: I have no doubt that, that will happen. And we heard just about every -- in fact, all of the countries in the room say as much. And I think

that was reassuring to President Zelenskyy. But there are other things that have to happen as well, you know. Judicial reform, you know, things that

make sure that the democracy is in good shape, and so those things will take place over time.

BLITZER: How much time do you think it will take after the war, assuming the war ends, God-willing, it will end someday. How much time will it take

for NATO to join -- for NATO to welcome Ukraine as a full member?

AUSTIN: I won't speculate on that, Wolf. I will just say that all the countries that I have witnessed are interested in moving as quickly as


BLITZER: So you think all 31 members of NATO right now want Ukraine in?

AUSTIN: I think it will be 32 by that time. But --

BLITZER: With Sweden --

AUSTIN: Right. But i do believe that everyone wants Ukraine to be on board.

BLITZER: As I said, Sweden is now set to join NATO. How is -- from your analysis, and you've got good analysts. How is Putin reacting to this

expansion of NATO.

AUSTIN: Well, I'm sure Putin is very concerned, and this is probably something that he didn't expect to happen, although President Biden warned

him of this at the very beginning. But, you know, he's brought NATO closer to his door-step. And so, you know, if you were him, you'd certainly be

concerned about what you're seeing.

But countries like Sweden and Finland bring a lot to the alliance.


And we're happy to have them on board. You know, I was just in Sweden a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to spend time with the Minister of

Defense, and visit some of their troops, look at their capabilities. It -- they will bring value to the alliance right away. And it's a strong

democracy, Wolf, and that's really the most important point.


MACFARLANE: Well, now to new signs that Russia's military is facing growing dissent from within during a crucial phase of the Ukraine war. A

senior commander says he was fired for telling the troops, to top brass, about the dire situation on the frontlines. In an audio message, Major

General Ivan Popov said Russian troops lacked sufficient weapons and support, accusing the army leadership of treachery.


IVAN POPOV, GENERAL IN RUSSIAN ARMY (through translator): The senior chiefs apparently sensed some kind of danger from me, and quickly concocted

an order from the Defense Minister in just one day, and got rid of me, just as a lot of groups and divisional commander said, our army has not been

crushed from the front by the Ukrainian army, but has been attacked from the rear by our commanding officers. They traitorously and villainously

beheaded the army in the most tense moment.


MACFARLANE: Well, there's also Sergey Surovikin; Russian deputy commander who still hasn't been seen in public since the mutiny by Wagner mercenary

forces. A head of Russia State Duma Defense Committee says Surovikin is, quote, "resting and is not available". Well, CNN's Sam Kiley has reported

extensively from Ukraine. And for the latest, he joins us now from New York. Sam, good to see you.

I just want to get your thoughts first, Sam, on General Popov. From what I understand, this was a General in charge of a very strategic stretch of

frontline territory. So just talk to us about why this General or what we know about why this General move to speak out. And how consequential this

is that he's been removed.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, you're absolutely dead right. There are two really critical battle areas. We all

know about Bakhmut, and we all know now about Zaporizhzhia on the southern front. Now, the General Popov was the commander of the 58th Brigade

battlefront, the general headquarters there, more than a brigade, several brigades under his command on that very critical frontline, which is where

the Ukrainians are prosecuting the early stages of their much wanted counteroffensive.

Now, they have been in the past delighted, absolutely delighted by the antics of the Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, his very poor

behavior on the battlefield, capturing and tormenting a neighboring Russian commander up there. The signs that the Wagner Group was falling out with

the mainstream Russian military structures.

And now, we have none other than a mainstream military leader, a major general, no less in the Russian armed forces, just like Prigozhin, blaming

the commanders above him, within the Russian firmament, for the losses of troops on the ground. This is a very significant development from the

Ukrainian perspective. It's exactly what they want to see.

They know they may not be able to prevail necessarily in absolute force of arms, Christina, on the battlefield. But they have better morale, better

command and control, and a Russian collapse of command and control, which we saw the elements of, didn't we? When Prigozhin tried to march on Moscow,

launched his failed coup attempt and undermined the whole basis for the Ukrainian operation among Russian troops.

By saying that the whole premise for the invasion was invalid. Now we've got a Russian General essentially agreeing with Prigozhin's analysis of who

is to blame for the Russian losses on the ground. Not so much the Ukrainians, but the head-shed, effectively, and by that, they mean the head

of the Armed Forces, General Gerasimov and Shoigu, the Defense Minister. It's a very significant development, something that will be absolute music

to the ears of everybody in Kyiv.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and everybody in Finland, no doubt. Because this development coming, of course, on the day that President Biden was speaking

at the newest member of NATO, and his parting message, Sam, you will have heard, is that NATO now more united than ever, and that Russia has already

lost this war. Sam, I know you've spent an awful lot of time in Ukraine.

How do you think those words will go down with the people of Ukraine, and of course, as President Zelenskyy?

KILEY: Well, I think it will go down extremely well. I think that there will be concern that in the Ukrainian quarters, that by announcing that the

Russians have effectively lost the war, that, that may be a bit premature. They need those weapons that they've got more promised to them from NATO

and other partners. This is the Ukrainians, Christina, they won't want the foot taken off the pedal in terms of arms production to continue for them

to prosecute their war against Russia.


I think really, Biden there was saying two things when he's saying he's lost the war. No doubt, he's aware of the collapse in command and control

structures on the -- on that and near the frontlines, which is a sign, perhaps that the Russians may collapse, which would mean that they lose the

war completely. But also, he's saying that if Vladimir Putin's mission was to prevent organizations like NATO becoming integrated into the strategic

future of Ukraine, they've lost that one.

Although, Ukraine isn't yet a member of NATO, it has extremely strong bilateral relationships. It's got covert relationships in terms of

Intelligence-sharing. It's getting its arms and ammunition from NATO partners, getting training from NATO. It's getting trained up to NATO's

standards, and in the end, it will join NATO. And yet, Vladimir Putin will get what he was saying, he was absolutely adamantly opposed to, which is a

NATO country in the form of Ukraine on its doorstep. So if that was his mission, it has failed. And I think, really, that's what Biden is saying

there, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Sam, it's always great to have your perspective on this, we appreciate you joining us there live from New York. Sam Kiley. I want to

get more on how Russia is reacting to all these developments. Let's bring in Sam Greene; a senior Russian expert and director of the Democratic

Resilience Center for European Policy Analysis, he's also a Professor of Russian Politics at King's College, London. Thank you so much for joining


We were just hearing from our Sam Kiley there about the reaction, perhaps, to Biden's words within Ukraine. And I wanted to ask you the same question,

really, about what reaction we might be having from inside Russia and indeed from President Putin himself, to hear the U.S. President saying that

Russia has already lost this war. I mean, how is that likely to sit with Putin? Is that simply likely to escalate his efforts?


think the reality is that there is not a whole lot of room for him to escalate his efforts, he's been trying to push the frontlines and to push

the war to a higher level in Ukraine, causing a lot of death and destruction as your colleague said.

You know, Putin may not have achieved his strategic objectives, but Ukraine has not yet won. But the reality is that, of course, you know, this is --

for him also a game of politics at home, it's not just about what he's trying to achieve in Ukraine. It's about his political survivor, and he

does need to put a brave face on it. He is -- you know, been on television today in Russia saying that, you know, they're not opposed to Ukraine

seeking its own security, but that security needs to be outside of NATO.

That, that is in fact, the casus belli in this war, and they will continue to push that forward. The message that he will be sending to the Russian

people, and one that I think, that is, you know, received by the vast majority of the Russian people is that, this is a war that Russia needs to

win. The challenge for him is to communicate that this is a war that Russia is capable of winning, and that's the message that has been punctured a bit

by people like General Popov, people like Prigozhin and others, increasingly visible in the military establishment.

MACFARLANE: Yes, I was going to say that message being complicated really by what is going on with his Russian Generals. I mean, just this week

alone, we've had one really disappear from view, one's been fired, and earlier this week, one was killed in an airstrike, while out jogging. Sam

was saying there about what we saw from Popov was he was essentially agreeing with Prigozhin, and even with the recent Wagner uprising,

criticism within Russia's own military ranks is rare.

So, are we beginning to see the same sort of dissent among the top brass in Russia's military that we have seen among Wagner and with Prigozhin?

GREENE: Well, certainly, Popov's, you know, statements do give us some evidence that the sentiments that Prigozhin was reflecting are not just the

sentiments of a rogue leader or of a mercenary group, but in fact, are shared broadly within important and very high-ranking segments of the

Russian military. I think we have to be very circumspect though, in terms of what's going on more broadly.

We do not have a lot of great information, a lot of these stories about the numbers of high-ranking officers that may have been detained and

questioned, you know, are really not verifiable for us at the moment. But it does point to, again, this sort of two-front war that Putin is fighting,

and it's a challenge. He has to obviously keep the command and control structures intact.

But he also, I think is very worried that what the uprising with Prigozhin signals was not just that you've got this individual who is a problem, but

that there may in fact be a broader class of traders or otherwise disloyal people or unreliable people within the military structure.


And so, he has to, you know, balance these two challenges, it's not -- it's not a straightforward task for him.

MACFARLANE: And Sam Greene, no doubt we'll be talking about this again. It seems to be an ongoing theme with the Russian military, but we appreciate

your thoughts for now. Thanks so much.

GREENE: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Now, a Ukrainian General says his forces now have weapons that could radically change the war. He told CNN that U.S. cluster munitions

just arrived, but haven't been used yet on the battlefield. CNN's Alex Marquardt has more.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (on camera): These American cluster munitions that have just been given to Ukraine could

soon have a significant and immediate impact on the battlefield. That's according to Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who we spoke with

earlier today.

He says he expects Russian soldiers to be afraid of them, and to in fact leave areas where these cluster ammunitions could be most effective. He

acknowledges how dangerous they are, and how they need to be kept far away from civilians. He says their use will only come within a very strict

framework, in fact, a deal that was struck between the United States and Ukraine that governs their use.

He says Ukrainian forces will not use them in densely-populated areas, it will only be used against Russian forces, and their use will be carefully

tracked for future de-mining efforts. He says these are not like other weapons, they're so specialized that the permission to use them will have

to come from senior leaders. Here's a little bit more of what he told us in our interview today.


MARQUARDT: Have you used them already? And how much do you think they're going to change the fight?


MARQUARDT: General Tarnavskyi is in charge of what is arguably the most important part of this counteroffensive, a wide section of the southern

front. His forces trying to pierce through those Russian defenses and divide that land bridge, that Russian-occupied area that connects Crimea

with Russian-occupied Donbas and the rest of Russia.

Now, in response to the U.S. announcement that Ukraine would be getting American cluster munitions, which are known as DPICMs, Russia said that

they would reciprocate if they are used. And we also heard from the former President Dmitry Medvedev who said that it is now time for Russia to use up

its arsenal of what it calls, these inhumane weapons.

We have to note that, of course, Russia has been using their own cluster munitions against Ukrainian troops and Ukrainian civilians since the very

beginning of this war. And that was a big part of why the U.S. -- the Biden administration said that they were giving Ukraine these weapons, which have

been extremely controversial. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Dnipro, Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, an emergency summit on Sudan. Egypt pose a fresh attempt to broker a ceasefire, as the U.N. says

Sudan's fighting were spiraling into a full-scale civil war. Plus, Kevin Spacey takes to the stand for the first time in his sexual assault trial.

We'll have those details after the break.



MACFARLANE: U.N. Human Rights chief is calling for an independent investigation into the discovery of a mass grave in Sudan, demanding those

responsible be held to account. The U.N. says the bodies where at least, 87 people were buried in a grave in west Darfur. It says they were killed last

month by Rapid Support Forces and allied militia men. Well, today, Egypt chaired a high-level, regional summit in Cairo, launching a new effort to

end months of fighting between the RSF and Sudan's army.

Egypt's foreign minister spoke earlier to my colleague, Eleni Giokos.


SAMEH SHOUKRY, FOREIGN MINISTER, EGYPT: It is a very dangerous situation, and it can escalate to consequences that as I mentioned, the fragmentation

of Sudan entering into a civil war, the various military factions that exist, and whether they decide to participate directly in support of one

element vis-a-vis the other, so that the dangers have existed at all times, and will definitely escalate as the situation deteriorates. And we all have

to avoid that.


MACFARLANE: Turning now to a court ruling that is causing major backlash in Italy. This week, the courts of Rome found a 66-year-old man not guilty

of groping a school girl. The reason because the act lasted less than 10 seconds. The decision to acquit the man, a janitor at the school has

sparked fury among students and online where people have been posting protest videos like this one, illustrating exactly how long 10 seconds is.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau is joining me now live from Rome to break this down. And Barbie, you can understand why people are outraged about this, not just

because the student was a minor, but that because 10 seconds was apparently deemed not long enough to constitute sexual assault. Which begs the

question, I mean, how normalized is sexual harassments in Italy?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, this is a very difficult situation, even to talk about, even to think about in a country that has

often aired on the wrong side of misogyny. You know, we've seen court rulings in the past before, years ago a woman -- a man was acquitted of

rape because a woman was wearing tight jeans, and the court ruled that she must have helped take them off.

You know, this country has a history of these sorts of decisions. But this is the first time we've really seen this sort of backlash. Now, people are

posting things under the hashtag, 10 {SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE), that's an Italian for 10 seconds. And they're posting really disturbing videos of

what can happen in 10 seconds.

And a lot of people are begging the question, so if it's assault, it can take 10 seconds, and we know the man admitted to putting his hand inside

the back of a young girl, a 17-year-old girl's pants inside of her underwear and groping her for -- between 5 and 10 seconds, and then pulling

it up, pulling her up, and she has commented on this, saying it was painful and humiliating.

And so, the court though decided, the defense that he didn't mean to do it in a sexual way, that it was a clumsy joke that somehow went wrong was

enough to acquit him. But some of these videos show how long 10 seconds is, and many of them show actual, you know, sexual assault or, you know,

playing out of sexual assault, and it's very disturbing, disturbing even more, though, I think is that we haven't heard from any major politicians

yet on this topic. Christina?

MACFARLANE: Well, that was one follow-up question I had for you, is how are the political elite responding to this? But we will wait and see if

they do, I suppose. Barbie, appreciate you being live for us, thank you.

Now, Kevin Spacey took to the stand in a London court on Thursday, denying allegations of sexual assault. It's the first time the Oscar-winning actor

has given evidence in his ongoing trial. Spacey told the court, he touched one of the complainants in a quote, "romantic an intimate way", denying he

had drugged him or assaulted him.

He also got emotional when discussing how allegations have impacted his life. Scott McLean has been following all the developments here in London

and joins me now.


Scott, Spacey was speaking today in response to allegations of sexual offense made by four men here in the U.K. The first time we're hearing him,

what did he say?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so four accusers, 12 charges in total. And some of them go back a decade, some of them go back more than

two decades, back to 2001, many of them took place during the time that Spacey lived here, when he was working at the Old Vic Theater here in


None of the four accusers can be named, and so they've given their evidence or their testimony behind a screen. Today was the first time, as you said,

that we heard from, Spacey, who was questioned by his own defense team today. And in short, Spacey says that, look, encounters with two of the

accusers were totally consensual, he says that a third never happened at all, and the fourth, he acknowledges did happen, but describes it in a

totally different way.

Saying that this was a clumsy pass, not anything that resembled an assault or a crime. When it comes to one of the accusers who says that Spacey

groped him several times in a car, he says that the relationship between the two men was flirtatious, and because of that, Spacey was touching him

in a romantic and intimate way, but he says that the man didn't want it to go further than that.

And so, Spacey insists that he respected that space. He also says that he feels like he was stabbed in the back when these accusations came to light.

In the case of another man who says that he was drugged by Spacey, he says that -- or the accuser had said that Spacey invited him back to his

apartment to get some acting advice, he remembers having a beer, smoking some marijuana and then he passed out or fell asleep, and then woke up and

Spacey was giving him non-consensual oral sex.

Spacey's version of events as laid out in the court today is quite different. And I'll read you part of what he said, quote, "I remember the

end of the evening, and that was what stuck in my mind because we had a consensual, a very nice and lovely evening. And then, if he regretted it

immediately, I don't know, I can't speak for him, but something was odd."

Spacey says that he had gone to the bathroom, and when he came back, the man's demeanor changed quite obviously. And then he said this, quote, "the

person that I'd had this intimate moment with was suddenly awkward and fumbling and said, I have to go, I have to catch the last bus or train, and

hurriedly left.

It felt very odd, it felt like maybe he was making an excuse, it concerned me". Phone records presented in court show that Spacey actually called this

accuser after the fact, and Spacey said it was because he wanted to make sure he was OK because it was so odd.

MACFARLANE: And what was his demeanor like in court during this? I mean, we heard that he got emotional during parts of this?

MCLEAN: Yes, so, our colleague Kat Nichols(ph) was there for the whole day, and she said that Spacey seemed quite confident the whole time. He

spoke very clearly, he projected to the room, which by the way was packed. It was -- it was actually an overflow room, there were so many people

there. And in some ways, he seemed to actually play to the crowd or to the courtroom.

Two or three points, he made little jokes that actually got an audible reaction from the courtroom, and one moment he mimicked Judy Dentures

English accent, obviously Spacey is American. In another, he was talking about, you know, rolling marijuana joint, saying, well, I wouldn't have

rolled the joints because I was so battered that they would have been unsmokable.

Spacey is also aware of the fact that, look, some of these accusations are very old and obviously, understandably so, he doesn't have the sharpest

memory of them. And so, on the stand, he's been filling in some of the blanks where he says he can't remember with his own impression of his own

character, saying things like, you know, I wouldn't behave in that kind of way.

And on the last point about Spacey getting emotional, that was when he was asked if he had been a rich man. He said, obviously, he's done well in his

career, but the reality is that in the last several years since these accusations has been made, he hasn't been able to work, he's racked up some

hefty legal bills, some, which remain unpaid.

Right now, and so, obviously, his situation has changed substantially. Spacey will be cross-examined tomorrow by the --

MACFARLANE: Tomorrow --

MCLEAN: Prosecution.

MACFARLANE: Yes, so we'll hear more from him tomorrow.


MACFARLANE: Interesting, Scott thanks.

MCLEAN: You bet.

MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, record rainfall hits northern India with levels unseen for over four decades. How the country is

coping up next.




CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Tornado warning sirens blared in the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois.


MACFARLANE (voice-over): Some tense moments when Chicago was under a rare warning, suspected tornadoes in the area that delayed hundreds of flights

and forced thousands of people to take shelter.

In the nearby town of, Elgin this twister was spotted on the ground. A rainbow spotted near the tornado and more than a dozen homes were damaged

but no serious injuries were reported.


MACFARLANE: Meanwhile, in northern India, torrential rains have killed at least 67 people as flash floods and landslides continue to devastate the

region. Authorities in Delhi have evacuated 30,000 in order of treasuries of schools and officers after one of Delhi's biggest rivers overflowed onto

key roads.

CNN's Vedika Sud reports from the capital, as it faces the wettest July in decades.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heavy rains have brought deadly floods to northern India, triggering landslides and flash floods. Here in Delhi, the

government is monitoring the Yamuna River that overflowed over the weekend.

ARVIND KEJRIWAL, DELHI CHIEF MINISTER (through translator): If your homes are in low lying areas, please vacate them.

SUD: I'm standing on an over bridge here by the banks of the River Yamuna that has crossed the danger level mark on Monday. And on Wednesday it has

surpassed the highest level it's ever been at in over four decades.

What I can show you from here is people being evacuated from the banks of the Yamuna. There you can see a cart with two people navigating through the

high levels of water, bringing their belongings back to the banks of this river.

There's total panic and chaos here. Hundreds are being evacuated at this point and the worry is that all their belongings cannot be brought with

them here to safer ground. Around me, you can see beds.


You can see their belongings, you can see gas stoves. You can see people walking away from the low-lying areas.

MOR KALI, DELHI RESIDENT (through translator): My fields are down by the river. The floods have destroyed all our vegetables. We've lost everything.

SUD: About 50 meters from the Yamuna River, hundreds have moved under this flyover. This is home for the next few days with very little to go back to.

SAT PAL, DELHI RESIDENT (through translator): There was no help from the Delhi government. We waded through waste deep water to save our lives.

We've never seen the Yamuna River rise so high.

SUD: According to the Delhi government, it's just the incessant rainfall over the weekend that has led to the rising levels of the Yamuna. It's also

the release of volumes of water from a barrage in the neighboring state of Haryana -- Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


MACFARLANE: A heat wave is sweeping across southern Europe with extreme conditions expected in the coming days. As more frequent record-breaking

temperatures are making summers and annual struggle for survival.

In Spain, the unrelenting heat is ringing alarm bells after a satellite image revealed that land temperatures in some regions hit 60 degrees

Celsius. Scorching temperatures here in red, turning even darker to black.

It's a problem that's becoming increasingly political, as the country faces a snap national election in less than two. Weeks climate will be at the

forefront of many voters' minds.

Earlier I spoke to Teresa Ribera, Spain's minister for ecological transition and democratic change. We started by talking about the biggest

climate concern facing the country: loss of life.


TERESA RIBERA, SPAIN'S MINISTER FOR ECOLOGICAL TRANSITION AND DEMOCRATIC CHANGE: On Monday we have this report, this article stating that they

could affirm that more than 60,000 people lost their lives last summer. In the case of Spain, more than 11,000. And this is increasingly frequent.

So as I, said there are many people that do consider that climate change is something that is far away, happening far away or that will happen in the

future. I think it is something that is impacting right, now. And it is a question of life or death.

Do you ever think which is very, important and this is also another reason why we need to commemorate that there are people that have lost their lives

and they did not even know that they were going to lose their, lives because of climate change.

Is that there are an increasing number of people that do feel so threatened by the fact that the climate change is been explained by different channels

that they prefer to say, OK, this is not real, I do not believe, I have nothing to do.

This is more dangerous. The denial of climate change, the fact that we do not like climate change and then we react denying that it exists is even

much more dangerous.

MACFARLANE: I'm glad that you brought up the issue of climate, denial because we know that we're just a few weeks away in Spain from snap

elections. There are very genuine concerns in Spain right now, that far- right parties, such as Vox, are using the climate crisis to fuel support for their parties, by spreading misinformation.

How concerning is that, not just politically but, as you said, because this misinformation about, this climate denial is now taking hold.

RIBERA: Well, I think that misinformation kills people. This is a very serious, sentence and a statement, what I'm doing, what I'm saying. But I

am truly, I'm honestly thinking that this is the real truth.

Yes, it is dangerous and yes, it is quite worrying. I think that political parties like Vox, that do say that, yes, it may be true the climate change

exists but we deny the fact that it is linked to human behaviors, to human activity.

It's another type of a small denial but it is a denial. Accusing government and institutions of being biased when acting on climate change is very

dangerous. What is biased is those that try to protect their best interest on activities that do create climate change.

MACFARLANE: But it is winning support, because these conservative parties are appealing to the concerns of people right now, not in some distant

future, individuals like farmers, for instance, who are concerned as to whether they can actually produce food this year.

We know that Spain is suffering, I think the second worst drought since 1961. So it's all very well, saying that this is not the right approach.


MACFARLANE: But what solutions do you have right now to enable people to cope in the here and now?

RIBERA: Well, I think that it is very difficult to act on climate, if there is not very strong commitments on social policies. (INAUDIBLE)

policies. So to provide responses on how to ensure that we can facilitate access to fresh water, how we can ensure that higher quality products

coming from farming, get to be well sold in the markets.

How they can ensure that families that get their earnings from agriculture will be covered by the institutions in case there is any type of event that

could prevent the crops, that could undermine the crops.

And it is also very important to be sure that there is an insurance system that mitigates the effects of any extreme events, (INAUDIBLE). So this type

of policies are already being built.

MACFARLANE: How soon will be implemented?

How soon can they be implemented?


RIBERA: -- they are already being implemented. The insurance policies are already being implemented. The ministers to come along with the, families

and with the farmers when there are this type of big events are automatic. And the investment in a different planning on water infrastructures are

already in place.

The question is that they mentioned, is been so rapidly increasing, that we have to grow much faster.

MACFARLANE: This is the inherent sort of complexity of climate change, is that we do need time to solve the problems of the future but we also need

solutions in the present day. This election is coming up on the 23rd of July.

What would you say to your electorate right now as a means of reassuring them, as we come into the summer months, that they will be looked after and

they will be protected by Spain's government?

RIBERA: I did say two things. The first of them is underlying that it is very difficult to presume that someone that does not understand and does

deny and does not have an assessment on what climate change means for the economic sectors including agriculture could rule a country property.

That's the negative initiative (ph), so to, say be careful to who you vote.

The second message is we have things, ongoing and they are going to be increasingly active. The different messages are already being, taken in

the water planning and the access to a much more secure habitation on households in terms of comfort for families.

Dealing with different ecological farming, taking into consideration the capacity to come along with (INAUDIBLE) facilitated transformation of the

way we produce and we develop the agricultural activities.

But we need to do it in a negotiated, in a participating matter, not denying that the problem's there.

MACFARLANE: Teresa Ribera, we really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you so much for your time.

RIBERA: Thank you.


MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, time's up for movie studios and Hollywood actors. We will have a live report on the end of contract

negotiations and an upcoming strike.





MACFARLANE: Welcome back.

Actors in the U.S. are set to join writers on the picket line. Extended contract negotiations fell apart after the union representing actors agreed

to a two-week extension. Hollywood studios made a last-minute request for a federal mediator but that did not produce a contract.

Writers have been on strike since May 2nd. Now for the first time since 1960, both actors and writers will be on strike at the same time.

Contract issues for the 160,000 actors include an increase on streaming residuals and the future of AI technology. Joining us now live from Los

Angeles is Natasha Chen.

And Natasha, I believe an official vote still needs to be, taken and that actually will be taken at around 15 minutes from now.

But is an actor strike all but a given at this point?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very likely that it's going to happen. The vote from the national board is likely already taking

place. We are just waiting, minutes away from a press conference, announcing the result of that vote, just behind us in this building right


This is the SAG-AFTRA headquarters and we are going to be helping in there momentarily to see what they say. But we do know that their negotiations

fell through yesterday, at the midnight deadline.

As you, mentioned it was already an extension. Here's part of the statement of what they said to the press.

"Despite our team's dedication to advocating on your, behalf the AMPTP has refused to acknowledge that enormous shifts in the industry and economy

have had a detrimental impact on those who perform labor for the studios."

A lot of the sticking points that they have not been able to agree on include better compensation, better residual pay in this world of streaming

services and protections in regard to the technology of artificial intelligence.

As you can, imagine AI can just take a digital like this, an actor and writer and that threatens their work.

At the same, time the studios have pushed back, saying that they have actually offered higher compensations and groundbreaking protections in

reference to AI.

And part of their statement reads, "We are deeply disappointed that SAG- AFTRA has decided to walk away from negotiations rather than continuing to negotiate. SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial

hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for the livelihoods."

Not only are there 160,000 actors in this guild, who previously authorized a strike if there was no deal, they would be joining more than 11,000

writers who've already been on strike for more than 70 days.

Not only are there livelihoods at stake here but also the greater economy. People who serve this productions that have now -- are now grinding to a

halt, people who work in restaurants, delis, janitors, Laundromats, makeup artists, prop and set warehouses, people in those businesses we've talked

to, they don't have jobs on a movie set.

But they are seeing business dry up. They are seeing layoffs, because of that lack of movement in Hollywood right now. So there is far more economic

damage to be seen, as we prepare for this potential double strike.

MACFARLANE: Yes, we will wait to see what the impact all of this has on the people you were mentioning. There and of course, on the viewers at

home. Thanks very much Natasha. We'll wait to see the outcome of that, as you say in minutes from now.

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken sat down with top Chinese diplomat Wang Lee at the sidelines of the Asian summit in Indonesia on Thursday. The

world's two largest economies are looking to stabilize the relationship after a turbulent few months.


MACFARLANE: The interaction came just days after it was revealed that China-based hackers had targeted email accounts at dozens of U.S.

organizations, including some government agencies.

According to the U.S. readout from the meeting, Blinken told him, Washington will take, quote, "appropriate action," and hold those

responsible to account.

All, right we'll be right back after the short. Break stay with us.




MACFARLANE: Turning now to cats, on the island of Cyprus, who are facing a serious crisis, a deadly outbreak of a feline coronavirus is ravaging the

population. Experts warning as many as 300,000 have died. Lynda Kinkade has the story.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cyprus is famous for its cats, about 1 million of them, mostly strays. Archeologists trace the first

known example of cat domestication to the island. But now they're becoming known for another reason, they're dying.

The killer is FIP, feline infectious peritonitis, a type of coronavirus, only found in cats and not known to be transmissible to humans.

At this clinic near Cypriot capital, Nicosia veterinarians are caring for infected cats, like baby, a six month old kitten. FIP was regarded as an

incurable feline disease until recently. The treatment isn't cheap and there's no ready supply on the island. And diagnosis can be tricky.

KOSTIS LARKOU, VETERINARIAN: The virus itself comes from a mutation from the feline coronavirus, enteric for the virus completely changes the

approach and the aggression. So it takes over all of the body after the mutation. So why the mutation is happening and why it's happening more

often now, we don't know. OK, it's quite, it's very strange.

KINKADE (voice-over): The reason for the outbreak might be unclear but its potential damage for infected cats is startling.

LARKOU: Like 90 percent of the cats will die.

KINKADE (voice-over): An animal rescue volunteer shares this grim view.

VASILIKI MANI, ANIMAL RESCUE VOLUNTEER: I know our Cypriots take pride in saying Cyprus is the island of cats. Unfortunately, very shortly if we

don't take immediate action, what we will be saying is Cyprus is the island of dead cats.

KINKADE (voice-over): That fear is sending desperate cat owners scrambling for help.


DEMETRIS EPAMINONDAS, VP, PANCYPRIAN VETERINARY ASSOCIATION: Internet black market and that is what we worry about, because nobody knows what

they are getting.

KINKADE (voice-over): Animal advocates are demanding access to medication and government accountability.

MANI: If it can be incurable then leaving them to die from FIP is neglect. And in itself animal neglect is animal cruelty.

KINKADE (voice-over): The agricultural ministry told AFP news agency it's examining all possible means of addressing the issue -- Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


MACFARLANE: Well, that is so sad.

Let's see if we can end on a more slightly more upbeat note. A hunt is taking place in California for a notorious fugitive. But it's not who you

might expect. Surfers in Santa Cruz are contending with a female sea otter, who has a reputation for stealing their boards.

This is the only latest in a string of standoffs with her unlucky victims. It's become such a problem that local services have had to put up a

warning, telling beachgoers to enter the water at their own risk.

Well, at least it's not sharks, right?

I'd rather otters than sharks. OK, thank you so much for watching tonight, stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up after this break.