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Isa Soares Tonight

Doctors And Members Of The Israeli Military Strike Over Judicial Overhaul; Europe Fights Record-Breaking Wildfires; Ukraine Claims Gains In South; Chinese Foreign Minister Ousted; Ukrainian Military Making Gains Along Southern Front; Former U.S. Marine Facing Extradition For Training Chinese Pilots; Ecuador Declares State Of Emergency Inside Prisons; Bronny James Hospitalized For Cardiac Arrest. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 25, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, the fight for Israel's future. Doctors

and members of the military strike over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial judicial overhaul. We hear from some of the protesters. Then,

Europe fights record-breaking wildfires.

We speak to the Hellenic Red Cross about the situation on the ground in Greece this hour. And then, the long fight. Ukraine says it's retaking heat

round around Bakhmut as the counteroffensive drives on. Well, we begin with fierce backlash to a new law in Israel that removes a significant check on

government power.

A law pushed through by those in government themselves. Israeli doctors went on strike today to protest the first bill to become law in a sweeping

judicial overhaul package. It strips the Supreme Court of the ability to block government decisions based on a reason of doctrine. The measure

passed parliament unanimously after all opposition lawmakers, if you remember, walked out.

We saw that video of them walking out. For many protesters, these newspapers really cover, as you can see there, say it all, a dark void, an

ad placed by a group of high tech workers meant to represent a black day for Israeli democracy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's actually

protecting democracy by correcting judicial overreach.

That argument was rejected by the opposition who say they may have lost this battle, but not giving up the fight. Multiple legal challenges have

already been filed at the Supreme Court. The question now is, if the court strikes down the law gutting its own power, how will the government

respond? Listen to what one Israeli minister told CNN's Erica Hill today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea whether or not the Supreme Court would make such a decision. It would seem to me a very strange decision for the

Supreme Court to make, to put it in American terms, imagine that Congress just passed --


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We're almost out of time, sir --


HILL: So, will the government heed that ruling? Yes or no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government will always obey and abide by the rule of law in Israel because we're -- we have in Israel, the rule of law. What we

don't have is the rule of judges.


SOARES: Well, let's bring in our Fred Pleitgen, who's live for us in Jerusalem this hour. And Fred, this time yesterday, you were at the heart

of some very tense protests our viewers would have seen. Today, that opposition to the overhaul is growing with a focus on doctor strikes and

the threat of reservists, including fighter pilots, suspending volunteer service. You've been speaking to some of them, what have they been telling


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Isa. Well, it certainly is a grave concern here for Israel as to what will

happen to the Israeli military, how it will maintain its readiness, if, indeed, there are more reservists who are going to say that they are going

to refuse to report for duty or refuse to serve in a reserve units and go to training.

So, this is definitely something that's being debated a great deal here in this country, we've heard some statements from politicians, also from top

military brass as well, who are saying that right now, the Israeli military is still in a good state of readiness. But of course, they also say that

everybody in this very small country that is surrounded by threats, needs to pitch in for that readiness to maintain at a high level, and that's

where the concerns are very big. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): As protests continue to grip Israel, among those taking to the streets, many military reservists angry at the Netanyahu

government's moves to weaken the country's Supreme Court. Even some who are just getting ready to serve, saying, they feel alienated.

(on camera): What do you think this means for the Israeli army? Because there's so much division right now in society and then unity is so

important for the defense of Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to serve the values of the country and not something the prime minister would actually want. We need to have a

democratic country if we can -- if we want to serve this --

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Both men and women perform mandatory military service in Israel, and many later continue as often highly skilled

reservists, crucial for a small country under constant threat. But now, around 10,000 reservists have vowed to refuse service, saying they believe

the judicial overhaul would undermine democracy and the balance of power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very sad day for me, I'm volunteering for 23 years already, the reserve army only. All my life, volunteering and

fighting for Israel. We feel we're doing the right thing, and that we are fighting for the democracy of Israel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To stop the madness, stop the destruction of the army, to make sure that Israel will remain a democracy.

PLEITGEN: The move led to backlash from both the military leadership and the government. The chief of staff pleading with the reservists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Even those who have made the decision with a heavy heart not to report, the IDF needs you.

PLEITGEN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, critical of the dissenters.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): We all know that the Israeli Defense Forces rely on dedicated reservists who love

the country. The call for refusal harms the security of all the citizens of the country.

PLEITGEN: Concerns about the future of Israel's military are so grave, even opposition politicians fighting hard against Netanyahu's efforts to curtail

the Supreme Court's powers are calling on the reservists to reconsider.

BENNY GANTZ, FORMER ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): Even in this very difficult hour, I call upon my brothers who are serving and

volunteering, continue to guard our safety, our security. Give us a strong country to be able to amend things.

PLEITGEN: But many Israelis are clearly not betting on politicians amending things. Instead, taking to the streets to voice their anger.


PLEITGEN: And Isa, tonight, quite an interesting situation because the spokesman for the Israeli military came out and said right now, the

military is, as he put it, competent. But he did acknowledge that there were a growing number of reservists who are asking not to serve.

Apparently, they're in negotiations with their commanders.

But he also said, if these people stay away from service for an extended period of time, that, that would be highly detrimental to the readiness of

the Israeli military. And as for these court cases, that -- or the court cases that are going on with the Supreme Court against the Reasonableness

Act, a law that was passed yesterday by the Knesset, that is ongoing.

This whole country right now, waiting for some sort of decision from the Supreme Court, probably, not going to happen tonight. But of course, if the

Supreme Court does decide to shoot down the law that was passed yesterday by the Knesset, could lead to an even bigger crisis here in this country,


SOARES: Indeed, Fred Pleitgen, keeping an eye on it all. Thanks very much, Fred, appreciate it. Well, one of the protest organizers says this is not

the time to despair, but a time to step up. Noting that democracies don't break apart overnight. Stav Shaffir is a former member of the Knesset,

she's joining now tonight from Tel Aviv.

Stav, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us this evening. We saw, and I'm not sure if you saw there in that report from our Fred

Pleitgen, some of the front pages in Israel this morning had the caption, "a black day for Israel's democracy". How do you view then, Stav, the

passing of this first law?

STAV SHAFFIR, FORMER MEMBER OF THE KNESSET: Yes, it is a black day for Israeli democracy. But I also see the hope in this situation, because for

the past seven months already, Israel is seeing the biggest protest movement it had ever seen. And we're talking about over a million Israelis,

in a country of 9 million people. And have a million Israelis marching on the streets, protesting everywhere, even in places that until now used to

be completely out of any kind of political discourse, like the military, as you mentioned or like in schools or hospitals.

People realize that the government is crossing every red line possible, and that they have to speak up. And that, this is the only, might be the last

opportunity for us to do so before Israel will become -- will turn from a democracy --

SOARES: Yes --

SHAFFIR: Into a dictatorship. A future that we cannot believe that can happen here. So, I spent the last few weeks on the streets in the last few

days in Jerusalem around parliament, protesting. And I have to tell you that even with much of, you know, despair that we see in people's eyes, we

also see that immense power that the public has in protesting, even though the government tried to scare people out of the protesting in every

possible populist way that they could. But people are very strong, and they're going to protect our democracy.

SOARES: And Stav, you saw -- you heard probably Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday say after the vote was passed, that he was fulfilling -- those

were his words, the will of the voters. He won, of course, by the largest amount, and many may say, well, this is democracy in action. What do you

say to that? Do you believe that this government stuck to its word or do you believe that this government has betrayed its voters?

SHAFFIR: Now, this government absolutely betrayed the promises to the voters. People voted for this government in order for them to take care of

our security, in order for them to take care of socio-economic gaps. No one -- nobody expected something like that to happen. And the proof to that is

that the Chair of parliament, Amir Ohana, a Likud Party member confessed a few days ago that he didn't know about the judicial overhaul.


No one knew about it, including as I said before, the prime minister himself. What you see here is a prime minister under three corruption

allegations, who is trying to avoid trial, and a bunch of people, religious extremists, nationalist politicians, who almost by accident got into power,

and they promised their voters with much populist rhetoric that they're going to protect their security, that they're going to lower down cost of


But once they took power, the first thing they do was to come with this judiciary overhaul, and declaring publicly what they're going to do to our

democracy. Weakening the Supreme Court, weakening journalism, weakening school teachers. Nobody will be able to speak after they'll finish with

their mission. And that's why we are out there to stop them.

SOARES: And Ben-Gvir said yesterday, this is just the beginning. I mean, you're one of the protest organizers, Stav. I mean, how long will you keep

protesting, and do you think critically, that you can succeed, because like you said -- my first question, you have been protesting now, Israelis have

been protesting for quite a few months now, six months or so.

SHAFFIR: It's true. But we love our country, and people in this country dedicated so much and sacrificed so much for this country to be a home for

the Jewish people, a democratic country for all the people who live here, Jews and Arabs. And that was the dream of the founders of this place. All

of us served in the army. All of us are trying to work for this place.

And what you see here is what you see, I have to say in many other places in the world -- you saw this in America. You see it in Europe. People,

politicians, who try, who crave for more power, they want endless power. And so, once they get elected, what they do while they're in office is to

dismantle democracy. And Israel, unlike America, doesn't have a second house or a constitution or executive president.

What we have is the Supreme Court, as the one check over government power. And what the government did yesterday was to try and dismantle that. I

appeal to the Supreme Court against the legislation, together with many business people, leaders from the military and leaders from this movement.

And we're going to do everything that we can in order to stop them. We're not going to give up.

Because, you know, that's our country, and I believe that our struggle is not only an Israeli struggle, I believe that we see the same things

happening globally, and we have to stand up against them.

SOARES: Stav, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us this evening. Thank you very much.

SHAFFIR: Thank you so much.

SOARES: And tomorrow, I will be joined by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, he says that Benjamin Netanyahu's government is threatening

the foundations of Israeli democracy. That interview, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m., if you're watching in London. We turn now to a different kind of

crisis. Extreme heat, really wave -- extreme heat wave, I should say, currently sweeping right across the Mediterranean.

Greece, Italy, Turkey and Algeria, are all grappling with these deadly wildfires. Thousands have been forced to evacuate. Emergency services have

been working around the clock to try and bring fires under control. But according to the Greek Prime Minister, this is only the beginning. He's

warned things will likely get worse in his country with warmer temperatures forecast over the coming days.

And now, there's even more damning evidence that humans are to blame. New research shows these extreme temperatures would be quote, virtually

impossible without global heating driven by the burning, of course, of fossil fuels. There's a lot to, of course, unpack this hour. I want to

bring in Nada Bashir, who joins us from Rome.

So, Nada, it does seem like things are going to get worse before it gets better, at least, in Greece's case. How is Italy coping though under this

extreme heat?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, it is sadly a concerning warning from leaders in Greece. And we've seen that mirrored across parts of Europe.

Here in Italy, of course, we saw those devastating fires early hours of this morning, in Sicily, across Palermo, of course, as well which brought

the airport there to a standstill. And this has really raised the alarm, but of course, you mentioned that report, which has just been released by

the world weather attribution initiative, sending out a very damning message here.

This is only going to get worse. We are only going to see these extreme heat events grow more frequent and more intense if the world fails to stop

rapidly burning fossil fuels. And that is the concern. We've heard from EU leaders warning now for some time that this is going to become the new



And of course, as we see the devastation caused by these wildfires sweeping across Europe, and now, also further fueled in parts of north Africa and

the Middle East, this is really a concerning prospect for those who could stand to lose their homes, many, of course, could also stand to lose their

livelihoods. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice-over): The night sky over Sicily illuminated by flames. A devastating series of wildfires spreading across parts of the Italian

island, at one point, even bringing Palermo airport to a standstill. Europe's southern coast has been gripped by wildfires for days on the Greek

Island of Corfu, more than 2,000 people have so far been forced to evacuate.

Teams from Turkey, Croatia and Egypt have even been flown in to help tackle the relentless blaze. On the Greek Island of Euboea, no end to the tragedy.

A Canadian firefighting plane crashed on Tuesday, with two people on board. And on roads where fires have been raging for a week now, residents

scramble to find safety.

ARTEMIS PAPAVASILIOU, ISLAND OF RHODES RESIDENT: We evacuated the village, now, some houses are on fire. Then, we came down here, we don't know what

to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very bad, the situation, we need help. Send us help from everywhere.

BASHIR: But it's not just Europe that is feeling the heat. In Algeria, dozens of people have been killed as a result of wildfires across 16

provinces in the country. Local officials say more than 8,000 firefighters are working to contain the spread of the fires. But across the border in

Tunisia, smoke fills the sky as both emergency teams and residents do whatever they can to stop the blaze from scorching more land.

Parts of north Africa and the Mediterranean have already exceeded 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, over the last week.

Temperatures, which, according to experts, would have been virtually impossible without human-induced climate change. In a new report, the World

Weather Attribution Initiatives says extreme heat events are expected to worsen in both severity and frequency, unless the world rapidly stops

burning fossil fuels.

One lead researcher even warning that this year's sweltering temperatures could be considered cool in the future. This, as EU officials warn that

wildfires are becoming the new normal. With heat waves across Europe growing even longer and more intense with each passing year.


SOARES: Oh, I think we've lost you, Nada. Apologies if we cut you off there, Nada, but that was Nada Bashir reporting, keeping a close eye,

obviously, on those wildfires spreading across Europe. We'll stay on top of this. In fact, let's get more on this, specifically on what's happening on

the ground in Greece. But fires, as you saw that from that report from Nada Bashir, have been burning now for the past 12 days.

Joining me now is Maria Feggou; a volunteer with the Hellenic Red Cross, the Greece National -- the Greek National Red Cross Society. Maria, I

appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, I know your teams, you and your teams at the front-front -- forefront, I should say, of these -- of

these wildfires. Give us a sense of the scale and the intensity of what you were seeing.

MARIA FEGGOU, VOLUNTEER, HELLENIC RED CROSS: Thank you for having me. What happened on the Island of Rhodes the last eight days is that we have

several fire fronts on the south of the island, and the Winter hasn't helped us at all, so the fire spreads rapidly, and we have our volunteers

in many places offering help to the rest of the people that they are in need, even if they are locals or guests by helping evacuating the places.

And we have also volunteers in the places where the firefighters fight, by helping and by giving supplies to them and provide their first aid. We are

in the fires from the first hour that were on the island.

SOARES: And Maria, in Rhodes, how many active fires, wildfires, are there right now?

FEGGOU: Right now, there is one big fire at the place, Gennadi, and another one in between two villages, Malonas and Masari.


SOARES: And we've seen France and Italy send planes. Has that helped made it to Rhodes? Are you getting enough support here?

FEGGOU: The situation is difficult, but we are trying to do what is best. Earlier today, (INAUDIBLE) was evacuated.

SOARES: Yes --

FEGGOU: And we tried to help as much as we can.

SOARES: And clearly, the situation is still troubling, concerning people being evacuated. We've seen mass evacuations in the last few days, Maria.

But you know, Greece has seen -- I think it's fair to say its fair share of Summer wildfires. How does this compare to what you've seen in the previous

year, last year, for example?

FEGGOU: Last year, we didn't have a fire that it -- was in such intensity as this one. We had in 2021, a big fire on the island, but the fire that we

have at the moment is -- we cannot describe what is happening. Half of the island is in flames and it seems uncontrollable, and we are deeply sorry

for that. We feel --

SOARES: And --

FEGGOU: Deeply hurt about that situation.

SOARES: And I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds -- I mean, half of the island in flames and you're all stepping up, doing what you all can. What does the

Greek government -- what can the Greek government need to be considering here? If this Maria, is the new normal, you need to see a polishy(ph) -- a

policy shift, there needs to be a focus on prevention. What do you want to see change?

FEGGOU: It -- the government should be -- should have the agreement, and to know how to deal with emergencies, which is something that the volunteering

teams, and especially also the Red Cross, we educate ourselves with the new protocols all the time, and we are trying to do what is best, in order to

be prepared for situations like that.

So, they -- the government should do the same. It's necessary to have people that are very well educated, they know what to do, they educate the

people, and they have also the agreement, because knowledge is really important tool, but we need equipment too.

SOARES: And you and your team must be absolutely exhausted. Just give us a sense of what the volunteers, of what your team at the Hellenic Red Cross,

how they are doing.

FEGGOU: We are 30 volunteers from all the sectors of the Red Cross, from Samaritans, the nursing team, the social welfare and the youth, the nursing

team and the social welfare and youth, they have a lot, the previous days where all the guests of the island flee, and they were helping. The youth

were playing with children and providing -- trying to entertain a little bit the little guests of the island.

And the nursing and the (INAUDIBLE), they were providing supplies, blankets, food, water, and we have also a great help from the president of

Red Cross in Greece, Mr. Antonios Avgetinos, and the rest of the team, the Samaritans especially, they are near the firefighters, where we gather

supplies from all over the people that they are willing to help with as they come, with what they have. So, we provide supplies to the

firefighters and the rest of the volunteers and of course, first aid. The good thing on the island is that, so far, we haven't mourned any losses.

SOARES: Yes, and that is very important. That is, you know, given everything that we have seen the last 24 hours. But good news indeed,

Maria, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, I know it's very busy, thank you to you and to all the volunteers for the incredible work.

Thank you, Maria. And it's not just Europe grappling really with these extreme temperatures.

Millions of Americans remain under alert as excessive heat grips the U.S. too. More than 30 large wildfires are burning across the country, spurred

on by the heat.


And this heat wave is expected to spread eastward, bringing the hottest weather so far this year to the Midwest, as well as the northeast. Breaking

news this hour out of Belgium the last few moments, in fact. The public broadcaster reports six out of ten suspects in the 2016 Brussels suicide

bombings have been found guilty of terrorist murder.

Belgium began its largest ever trial last year to determine whether the ten men played a part in those attacks. They killed 32 people and injured more

than 300 at an airport and on a train. We'll bring you, of course, the latest developments as the story continues to develop this hour, and of

course, as we learn more. And still to come tonight, a surprising political shakeup in China as a major official is removed from office. We'll have a

live report from China, next.


SOARES: It's a prize shake up in China. The country's Foreign Minister Qin Gang, has been ousted from his position and replaced by his predecessor,

Wang Yi. It's not clear yet why the decision was made. The move comes after speculation about his whereabouts. Qin, who you can see here, hasn't been

seen in public since June 23rd.

CNN's Marc Stewart joins me now with more on this from Tokyo. And Marc, how was this then, this news delivered in China? Any fanfare, any explanation

as to where Foreign Minister Qin Gang is?

MARC STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Hi Isa, look, there's a lot of intrigue because it was earlier in the day when a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs was asked about his whereabouts and how the government was operating in Foreign Affairs, at least. And the response was, no

information to provide. That is the direct quote.

Well then, hours later, we were informed that Qin Gang was no longer serving as Foreign Minister. And it really is the culmination of this one

month of mystery. Qin Gang was last seen one month ago, meeting with officials from Sri Lanka, from Vietnam, from Russia, in Beijing. And then,

suddenly began to disappear from the spotlight.

He missed a key meeting with an EU official, he missed meetings with Asian nations at the Asian Conference. And then also missed key meetings with

U.S. officials, such as U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, as well as John Kerry. Now, what led up to this disappearance and this demotion, if

you will, very much shrouded in secrecy. Qin Gang at one point, has been viewed or was viewed as one of Xi Jinping's most valued colleagues and


He also served as the U.S. ambassador to -- Chinese ambassador to the United States. So all of that is quite questionable. He is the one who has

met with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken.

He also has been a critic of the United States, especially when we saw the spy balloon shootdown. What led to this moment, what led to this demotion

and disappearance, Isa, it's still very much a mystery.


SOARES: Like you said, he had quite a meteoric rise but it was Xi Jinping who hand picked him for the foreign ministry role late last year.

How much is this an embarrassment for Xi Jinping?

STEWART: I'm not in a position to look into the mind of Xi Jinping. Clearly, we have seen some moves in recent months, especially when it comes

to economic policy. That is a big issue facing China right now.

What is happening in the realm of foreign affairs, diplomacy, that's still a bit unknown. So as far as one particular moment and what prompted this

and how this is going to reflect on Xi Jinping, that is very much to be answered and to be determined.

SOARES: And now snow across your state, across it for us, Marc. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, Ukraine now reporting advances against Russian forces in both the southern Ukraine and in Bakhmut, in the east. What we

know about the counter offensive so far. Alex Marquardt joins me for that.

Plus, how leaders in Ecuador are addressing a wave of escalating violence as well as crime inside the nation's prisons. Both those stories, after

this short break.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Ukraine's military is reporting some new advances in the southern part of the country. Its counteroffensive is in full swing as it tries to push

Russian forces east.

But the Ukrainian side is also trying to advance toward the southern coast and block Russia's access to Crimea. Which, of course, has been occupied by

Moscow's forces since 2014.

Inspectors, meanwhile, are confirming they have found mines at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant site. The experts working with the U.N.'s

watchdog, the IAEA. Say the mines were located in a buffer stone between the internal and external perimeter of the agency, adding that mines are

not a threat to nuclear safety systems.

Our Alex Marquardt is in Odessa, in southern Ukraine, keeping an eye on all of this.

So Alex, gains are being made. Let's talk counteroffensive in the south of the country.

But how substantial are those grains (sic)?

And do Ukrainians, Alex, from the conversations that you have had, over the last few weeks, do they believe that the counteroffensive is going

according to plan here?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They are modest gains but they're important gains, Isa, because this is such an important

front. The Ukrainian forces and officials who we've spoken with admit that this is going to be a grinding fight.

This is a very tough fight in the face of extremely dense Russian mine fields and fearsome Russian artillery. So what we've seen today and

yesterday are these modest gains on these various axes, these directions, as Ukrainians call them, as they try to push south toward the Sea of Azov.

What Ukraine is trying to do on the southern front is to pierce through the Russian front line and divide Russian forces, essentially, breaking apart

what has become known as the land bridge that connects Russian-occupied Crimea with Russian-occupied Donbas. That is the main priority.

We are told that in the most recent Ukrainian military update, that they made 500 meters of progress in one area. A monitoring group called ISW says

that, in another area, that the Ukrainians moved forward about 1.7 kilometers.

So this is progress. And it's important; because that fight is so difficult, they do believe that, at some point, despite how slow going it

is now, they will be able to punch through that line. And that will become the most important point, where they will try to drive south and split

those Russian forces along that Sea of Azov coastline, that land bridge, Isa.

SOARES: In the meantime, what we heard about these mines have been discovered at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, found located between

the internal and external perimeter.

What does that mean, Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes, it's along the perimeter in a buffer zone, the IAEA who had experts at the plant over the weekend. Remember, this is the most -- the

biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. They say that they saw land mines, directional anti-personnel mines.

So the direction of these land mines is important there. They are pointing away from the nuclear power plant. These are anti-personnel. So relatively

small in terms of their explosive power.

The IAEA saying, if they were to go off, they would likely not hurt the -- or have an effect on the nuclear safety or the security of the plant.

Obviously, of great concern, though. The IAEA had been told previously that there were mines both inside and outside the plant.

Ukraine has accused Russia of mining the roof of the plant in a poise to carry out a terror attack, which, of course, Russia denies. Now Isa, Russia

has been in control of this plant almost since the beginning of this war. They have control of that area.

So it of course is extremely worrying anytime you hear the word "explosives" or mines alongside a nuclear power plant. There was a

statement from the IAEA after their visit. It really an extraordinary understatement about their concern, Isa.

They said that this is inconsistent, they say, with the safety standards of nuclear security and the guidance. Clearly, they would much prefer those

land mines not be anywhere near and the fighting not be anywhere near the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, Isa.

SOARES: Important context there from our Alex Marquardt in Odessa. Thank you very much, Alex.


SOARES: From high in the sky to behind bars, a former U.S. Marine is fighting extradition to the U.S., where he could face decades in prison.

Daniel Duggan is accused of training Chinese military pilots more than 20 years ago. He says he was only training civilians and his supporters say he

is being used as an example.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Free Dan Duggan. Free Dan Duggan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Saffrine Duggan's husband was a top gun, a marine pilot who, until 2002, served with Attack

Squadron 214 out of Yuma, Arizona. Now he is locked up in an Australian jail, fighting extradition to the United States.

SAFFRINE DUGGAN, DAN'S WIFE: It's been devastating. The kids and I are distraught. It's just a struggle, it's a daily struggle.

WATSON (voice-over): The U.S. Department of Justice alleges Duggan broke a U.S. arms embargo by training Chinese military pilots, which he denies.

Among other offenses, involving a South African flight school allegedly committed over 10 years ago.

A 2017 grand jury indictment accuses Duggan of training the PRC pilots on how to land a jet on an aircraft carrier as well as other specialist


The Test Flying Academy of South Africa denies any wrongdoing, saying all skills it teaches are, quote, "strictly unclassified and no training

involves classified tactics or other information nor any front line activities."

But last month, the company was added to the Commerce Department's list of sanctioned entities for providing training to Chinese military pilots using

Western and NATO sources.

Duggan doesn't deny training Chinese pilots in South Africa but says they were civilian plane enthusiasts seeking to improve their skills. His

supporters say he's being used as an example, as tensions flare between the U.S. and China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it is sending a message to China, saying, don't be recruiting Western former military people. That's what it's all about.

WATSON (voice-over): Duggan's 2022 arrest happened shortly after he returned to Australia with a security clearance for an aviation license,

needed to work as a pilot. Later, Australia has moved to tighten laws against former military personnel selling their knowledge overseas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: However the individuals rationalize their decisions, the bottom line is they are transferring highly sensitive, privileged and

classified knowhow to foreign governments that do not share our values or the respect for rule of law.

WATSON (voice-over): Duggan's lawyers have previously alleged United States and Australian officials used the security clearance to lure him back to

Australia, where he could be arrested.

That allegation is now being tested by independent investigators, probing the involvement of Australian security officers in Duggan's arrest.

Duggan's extradition hearing has been set for November to give time for the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The extradition can be dropped and should be dropped. It's unjust.


WATSON (voice-over): The relationship between Washington and Beijing changed dramatically in the time between Duggan's alleged offenses and his

indictment. The former Marine could be sentenced to 65 years in prison if a U.S. court finds him guilty -- Ivan Watson, CNN.


SOARES: And we'll be back after this short break.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

We are just receiving reports from Ecuador's attorney general. At least 18 people have been killed and 11 injured as gang related clashes continue

inside the country's prisons. More than 100 prison guards reportedly held hostage inside the prisons have also been released.

A state of emergency is in place across the prison system. It will last for the next 60 days. President has authorized police and the military to take

control of the jails and restore order. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joining me now from Bogota.

And Stefano, I, mean this is all escalating very quickly.

What more are you hearing from the attorney general here?

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes, attorney general, Isa, has confirmed that at least 18 people were killed in clashes, since

the clashes erupted on Saturday in the Litoral Penitentiary that is in the city Guayaquil, which is the second largest city in Ecuador.

It's an economic powerhouse; 18 people dead in clashes inside the penitentiary. We can only presume that, as it opens up, in this case, is

the majority of them are inmates who are fighting between themselves.

What's happening in Ecuador is a turf war between competing criminal organizations and cartels, spawning from the Mexican cartels. The Albanian

mafia is involved in Ecuador.

Brazilian megagangs from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are all involved in the narco trafficking and the cocaine trade out of Ecuador and toward North

America, Europe and Asia.

It's interesting to note this news that 106 prisons guards have been released. They were being held since at least Sunday in five different

penitentiaries across the nation. And we want to focus on that number, five penitentiaries. Ecuador is not a big place.

But these penitentiaries were in several regions, several provinces of the country, which suggests that, really, the entire prison system, the entire

prison serving the penitentiary and the entire underworld of the Ecuadorian crime is boiling with violence at the moment.

The government has declared a state of emergency early today, for 60 days inside the prison system that allows police men and members of the military

forces to enter the jail to try to regain control.

They had already declared a state of emergency yesterday in the city of Manta and in the surrounding provinces, because the mayor of Manta, which

is the six largest city in Ecuador, was slained (sic) on the streets on Sunday.

You can see that the government has really very limited arsenal to try to come up on top of this escalations of violence. They ordered 24 million

cartridges of ammunitions (sic) just in the month of June. Take a -- Ecuador has a population of about 17 million. So 24 million ammunitions

(sic), 24 million bullets, it's actually a big number.

To try to rein in this escalation of violence before the country is due to held (sic) its general elections on August 20. Isa.

SOARES: That therefore we having seen for some time in some of these prisons but of, course now that it is intensifying, even the mayor of Manta

being killed, that is a huge concern indeed. Stefano, really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, the son of star basketball player, LeBron James, is recovering after being hospitalized for cardiac arrest. We'll have a

live report on the very latest. That is next.





SOARES: Well, the son of U.S. basketball star, LeBron, James has been hospitalized for cardiac arrest. The episode happened on Monday while he

was at basketball practice in Los Angeles; 18-year old Bronny James is an incoming freshman for the University of Southern California.

The family spokesperson says he is out of intensive care and in stable condition. I want to bring in CNN's Andy Scholes with the very latest on


Andy, good to see you.

What more are you hearing from the family and indeed, from doctors?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Isa, the good news is Bronny is no longer in ICU. That is a big step in the first 24 hours. Our own doctor,

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, said that is such great news to hear that he quickly was labeled in stable condition.

The family said that Bronny was practicing like he always does at his college university, University of Southern California, on Monday morning.

He went into cardiac arrest but they thanked the medical team there for their quick actions in helping Bronny when he was in the state he was in

and get to the hospital and get to a point where he could get into a recovery phase now.

That is the important thing now, to figure out what caused this because we've seen basketball players in, you know, just recently, go into cardiac

arrest but be able to come back from that.

There was a college player a few years ago named Keyontae Johnson. He collapsed while playing on the court. It took him a while but they were

able to diagnose what his situation was. He returned to basketball and ended up being drafted just this past month into the NBA by the Oklahoma

City Thunder.

And you know, for Bronny, living up to the hype of your dad being LeBron James, that is just immense pressure. You can only imagine what that's

like. But he was, you know, on pace to make it to the NBA, which LeBron has said has been history for a very long time.

He has said he wants to play his final few seasons with Bronny alongside him in the NBA.

Now will that happen?

You know, it always came down to, could Bronny accomplish that feat?

He was a star basketball player in the Los Angeles area. His games were big attractions. He has celebrities going to see them. That was going to be the

same case there at USC. You know, his games, big attraction, LeBron always was at these games, going to them routinely.

That is one of the reasons he wanted to remain on the Los Angeles Lakers and continue to play for them, so he could go watch his son play college

basketball. So Isa, we'll have to wait and see as we get more details. We're still waiting to see how this happened.

Did he collapse on his own?

Did he take a big blow to the chest like Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills did?


SCHOLES: We'll wait for those details. But it's great news he's in stable condition and here is hoping that he's going to be OK and he will be able

to continue his basketball career.


SOARES: We hope he makes a full recovery. Thank you very much, appreciate it.

And we are tracking reports of the world record bearer for football star Kylian Mbappe, $332 million, made by the Saudi club. The French national

became a household name after helping his team win the World Cup in 2018.

And shines again during the last World Cup final against Lionel Messi as Argentina. He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain. But the 24-year old

has been left out of his club's preseason tour. PSG gave him an ultimatum; sign a new contract or get sold. The club's spokesperson says it has now

given Al Hilal permission to approach Mbappe.

We'll stay on top of that for you. And finally, it's not Barbie but get ready for some nostalgic girl power.


SOARES (voice-over): That is former Spice Girl turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham AKA Posh Spice, belting out an iconic Spice Girls track

alongside her husband, football star David Beckham.

She uploaded this to TikTok over the weekend with a caption -- she must have known what's in her fans on updrive into the drone, "Warming up the

vocals in Miami. More to come."

And that does it for us for tonight. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. I shall see you tomorrow. Goodbye.