Return to Transcripts main page
Isa Soares Tonight
African Leaders Meet With Putin In St. Petersburg; Head Of U.N. Warn Of An Era Of Global Boiling; Niger's Army Command Says It Supports The Military Coup Against The President; White House Says Israel's New Law Is "Unfortunate"; July to Be Earth's Hottest Month Ever; Sustainable Amsterdam Founder on City's Efforts; Trump Team Pushing to Delay Indictment; NASA Captures Stars in the Making. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 27, 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, Vladimir Putin tries to shore up African
support, offering to send free grain to the continent. We'll have all the reaction to that. Then the era of global boiling has arrived. That dire
warning from the head of the U.N. as countries across the world continue to burn.
Plus, a democratic crisis in Niger as the country's army command says it supports the military coup against the president. We'll have more on that
coming up. We begin, though, in Russia, where a summit of African leaders has kicked off in St. Petersburg. It's a chance for Russia to show it isn't
a total pariah for its invasion of Ukraine.
But that war and the ensuing food crisis loom large. Many African countries depend on Ukrainian grain, and the cost of wheat, as you know, has spiked
since Russia quit the Black Sea grain deal. Well, the chair of the African Union is at that summit and he's calling on Russia as well as Ukraine to
peacefully co-exist. But Russia's president isn't talking peace. He's talking opportunity.
Vladimir Putin says his country can replace Ukrainian grain sent to Africa and will supply that grain free of charge to six countries. Meanwhile,
we've gotten a sighting of Yevgeny Prigozhin. The whereabouts of the Wagner boss have been somewhat murky since the collapse of his rebellion, if you
remember last month. But the mercenary leader has been spotted on the sidelines of the summit, as you can see there, trading military fatigues
for jeans and a polo. CNN's Nic Robertson has more.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In public, in Russia, Wagner affiliated accounts saying mercenary boss Yevgeny
Prigozhin openly greeting a delegate to President Putin's Africa conference. The last time Prigozhin was seen in Russia was his mutiny to
overthrow Putin's defense chiefs. He sent tanks and troops towards Moscow, a direct challenge to Putin's authority.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROBERTSON: Putin accuse his long-time henchmen of betrayal, treachery and mutiny, vowing severe and inevitable punishment. Prigozhin backed down,
reportedly cut a deal, was last seen in Russia a month ago, seemingly headed for exile in Belarus. Yet, here he is in public, in Russia,
apparently on the periphery of Putin's biggest international conference since he invaded Ukraine, hosting dozens of African nations in Russia's
second city, St. Petersburg.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROBERTSON: Until his failed mutiny and apparent banishment to Belarus, Prigozhin wasn't just vital in the war in Ukraine, he was Putin's biggest
off books overseas enforcer, cutting deals with Kremlin-friendly African leaders, Wagner mercenaries for access to gold, diamonds and minerals.
YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD, WAGNER MERCENARY GROUP: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROBERTSON: This week in a voice note sent to an African broadcaster, "Afrique Media", Prigozhin reportedly said Wagner is still in business in
Africa. His only caveat, Wagner mustn't damage Russia's interest.
(on camera): What other punishments have been forced on Prigozhin are far from clear. The British MOD say that it's short of cash, selling Russian
and international assets to pay his fighters. The CIA Director Bill Burns says that Prigozhin shows no intent on retiring and far from a hard exile
in Belarus is able to move freely in and out of Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Prigozhin's first post-mutiny appearance on camera seems to have come in Belarus last week. At dusk, giving a pep talk to his
fighters at their new base 50 miles outside the capital, Minsk. Now, he seems to be back in Russia on Putin's doorstep. Hard to believe it could
have happened without his old friend, the Russian president say so. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
SOARES: Let's get more on the Russia-Africa Summit. CNN's David McKenzie is tracking events for us from Johannesburg. And David, we'll talk
Prigozhin in just a moment. Let's talk then about this summit. African leaders -- some African leaders, I should say are clearly staying away from
the summit, but for those who are there, the central theme and you and I were talking about this is, I imagine food security and how to get
Ukrainian grain back to the continent.
As we said at the top of the show, six countries have been offered grain free of charge. Is that enough for them or they're hoping to walk away with
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact, the president, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned that on its head, he
said it's not about Ukraine getting grain to the continent, he said he is able to get grain to the continent from Russia to those six nations, and
possibly other nations, many of which Wagner, the mercenary group that Nic was reporting on there, operates in.
The president did speak at length about what he saw as the unfair enforcement of sanctions, some things he's done since the very beginning of
the war in Ukraine. He also said that the grain that was coming out because of that Black Sea grain deal, which allowed ships to leave Ukraine and go
into the export market, he said those were mostly going to European companies and nations.
And that, on some level is true. But by pulling out of the grain deal, the Russians, and of course, originally advancing on Ukraine, the Russians have
caused those significant spark in the price of wheat over the last few days. And this could ultimately hurt Russian nations. So, it is walking a
bit of a tight rope here, but clearly, this very large scale summit with far less leaders in presence of Putin, is a way for him to try and show
he's not isolated entirely from the world stage.
SOARES: Yes, indeed, and somewhat startling as Nic was pointing out there in that report to see the Wagner leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin in St.
Petersburg, I mean, he almost stole the show in the sidelines of this -- of this summit, meeting with African dignitaries. Just put into context for us
what role does he play in Africa? How much influence he has here?
And explain maybe, perhaps the thinking for Putin keeping him on his side, because he's supposed to be in exile, remember, in Belarus.
MCKENZIE: It's hard to really know what Putin is thinking when it comes to Yevgeny Prigozhin. And that man had said, his last few years have been a
story that is almost stranger than fiction. If he had to write it --
SOARES: Yes --
MCKENZIE: Into a screenplay, people would say, well, you're kind of pushing credulity here, because after that attempted insurrection or
mutiny, as Nick was saying now, here he is in the open meeting with what appears to be an official from the Central African Republic. In terms of
their impact in Africa, and his way on the African continent, you know, it's a very diverse continent with many countries, but there are some
specific countries where Wagner plays a very critical role.
Mali, Central African Republic, other parts of the Sahel where they have basically become the security force and the means of propping up military
and civilian governments. And in turn, have used their force to gain money, extort diamonds and gold and rubies in some cases, and then fund their own
mercenary operations in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
I mean, I think one aspect of why Putin may be acting as he is, is because he needs Wagner, and the campaign against Ukraine, and also in the
relations with certain African countries where the mercenary group is heavily involved. But overall, it's hard to tell whether Prigozhin has any
impact on countries like South Africa, countries like Egypt, and certainly those like Kenya which are closer to the U.S. and Europe than maybe some
SOARES: Important context there from our David McKenzie. Thank you, David. Well, in Ukraine, we continue to track reports that keeps counteroffensive
is entering a new stage. There are claims by the Russians that Ukrainians have launched massive shelling against the occupied city of Tokmak in the
This, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is met with commanders in Dnipro, you can see that there. U.S. officials say Ukraine is committing
more forces to its campaign after a near two months of slow progress. They say the Ukrainians still have troops in reserve, but they are committing
the main bulk of their forces right now.
They have also renewed Russian attacks against the Odesa region. For more, I'm joined by Michael Bociurkiw in Odesa. He's a global affairs analyst and
a senior fellow at the "Atlantic Council". Michael, great to see you, just bring us up-to-date with what you're seeing in terms of developments in
Odesa specifically, first.
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Sure, good to be with you again, Isa. Well, I just came back from walking along the port, the
coastline, Black Sea coastline here. Of course, there are no ships moving there, coming in and out. There hasn't been for a while. And you can
visibly see the damage to the port, to the main ports here from the strike a few days ago.
And as you know, there were also strikes on the area around the Danube River where Ukraine has three ports, two of which were struck, and that's
going to limit the ability of Ukraine to get its grain out. So, as far as ordinary people here, I think it's turned from a kind of very strong
defiance, to fury, to people are looking more terrified, I have to say, because these strikes typically happen at night.
They're very violent, they're using missiles capable of destroying ships. So it's very bad at the moment.
SOARES: And after, you know, after several months, two months almost of kind of painstakingly, Michael, kind of slow progress on the battlefield.
We are starting to see some incremental gains or what Ukrainians call some gradual progress being made by Ukraine in this counteroffensive. How
significant are those gains, Michael, in your opinion?
BOCIURKIW: Well, it depends how you look at it, I mean, these are, as you say incremental gains. But the problem the Ukrainians are facing, of
course, is the Russians had time to dig in, they had time to put in lots of barriers, lots of minds. You have areas above 10 kilometers that have
different types of barriers that are almost impenetrable to even the western supplied tanks.
You know, the area of Ukraine that is mined right now, it varies from 15 percent to 30 percent, but equivalent for example to the second smallest
state in Australia. So Ukrainians are having a tough time, the other thing happening of course, is the build-up of muscle, Russian muscle in the Black
Sea. Submarines with those very fast low-flying missiles that are impossible to neutralize, unless you have Patriot defense systems which
Odesa doesn't seem to have right now.
SOARES: And I'm not sure whether you heard our David McKenzie talking about this African summit -- Russia summit. You -- we heard that President
Putin is willing to supply six countries, six free of charge with grains. What options is Ukraine considering? If Russia, if the U.N., if Turkey
cannot bring Russia back to the negotiating table here? What does this mean for Ukraine here, Michael?
BOCIURKIW: Well, of course, you'll have some African states who will take up that free offer, and you know --
SOARES: Yes --
BOCIURKIW: It goes to show that Russia still has a lot of money from oil sales, things like that. So, the west has to put more screws on it. And I
think in terms of Ukraine's options, it is not looking good, especially now that we see the gloves are off with Russia striking the port infrastructure
here. There are limited abilities to ship grain through Poland and other countries by rail, by road, and in fact, there are protests in those
countries against Ukrainian grain.
So, I think the only option, Isa, quite frankly, is to get that grain deal going again, but not tilted in Russia's favor, and definitely, the West
should not buckle, the U.N. shouldn't buckle, and loosen sanctions on Russia it is demanding to do.
SOARES: Yes, so far, at least from those people I've spoken to in the last two weeks, Mike, well, it doesn't look optimistic that Russia will come
back to a negotiating table at all. Michael Bociurkiw for us in Odesa, great to see you, Michael. Thank you very much.
BOCIURKIW: You're welcome.
SOARES: We are following a very fluid power struggle right now in West Africa. Niger's army command says it's supporting Wednesday's military coup
against the country's president in order to prevent bloodshed as well as instability. And it's believed President Mohamed Bazoum is still being held
inside his palace, however, Niger's presidential office said earlier today that hard-won achievements will be safeguarded.
And Niger's Foreign Minister told French media, Mr. Bazoum is quote, "in good health, and is not harmed." CNN's Larry Madowo joins me now from
Nairobi to make sense of what is going on here. And Larry, is it clear right now how much of Niger, these coup plotters control, who is in charge
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The short answer is no, but it has appeared that with the army command officially declaring support for the
coup leaders that the military is in charge of the entire country. And that's a major point. We also saw today on the streets of Niamey, the
Nigerien capital, we saw pro-military protesters on the streets, they set the capital of President Mohamed Bazoum's party on fire.
They set some cars on fire, and that was in counter to the protests we saw on Wednesday, when pro-democracy protesters were also outside the national
assembly declaring their support for President Mohamed Bazoum and wanting a return to a democratic path for the country. But also, something curious.
We saw some Russian flags in the crowd today. Some of them were shouting "La Russie", meaning Russia. It's too early to tell what this means and who
is involved here, but we also did see Russian flags in the crowd after the coup in neighboring Burkina Faso. So those are interesting to point out.
They also said -- these protesters, that they want all foreign troops out of the country.
France has about 2,500 troops in Niger and Chad, and the U.S., according to two U.S. officials telling CNN that there are about 1,000 American troops
in the country that have been involved there in the counterterrorism operations. The head of the African Union, the chair of the African Union
says that he's spoken to President Mohamed Bazoum, he's not sure where he is, but he's calling for his safety. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZALI ASSOUMANI, CHIEF, AFRICAN UNION (through translator): I join with the African Union and the communique it issued to strongly condemn the
events in Niger. Recommend the re-establishing of the constitutional order and demand the immediate release of President Bazoum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: The army command in Niger says that any foreign military intervention in the country risks having disastrous and uncontrolled
consequences. They're accusing France of violating their decision to close the airspace in Niger, that they landed an aircraft in the country out of
that. There's been condemnation of this military takeover in Niger, CNN is not calling the coup, even though the U.S. has not yet -- the State
Department has not classified it as such.
The condemnation from the Economic Community of West African States, from the African Union, from France, from the United State -- from the United
States and from the United Nations, and yet, a big concern about what happens next for this country, what will happen to President Mohamed
Bazoum, for instance, he was seen last on Tuesday.
One of his last public engagements was meeting the outgoing Belgian ambassador, they actually talked about terrorism, which is a real problem
in this neighborhood. The Jihadist insurgency in Mali and Burkina Faso, in parts of Niger is a real concern, and now he appears to have fallen as a
result of that because these coup leaders, Isa, said they were concerned about a breakdown in security, but also in the social and economic
conditions in the country.
SOARES: Larry Madowo keeping an eye on all the developments there for us in Niger, thanks very much, Larry. And still to come tonight, there could
be among those most affected by sweeping judicial overhaul efforts. So, why are many Palestinian citizens of Israel staying on the sidelines of mass
And as July is declared the hottest month ever, we'll have a live update on the wildfires in Europe. Both those stories after this very short break.
SOARES: Well, Israeli protesters are once again taking to the streets to demand an end to the government's judicial overhaul effort. Just as Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggests all of the outrage is overblown. The first law passed in a sweeping package of bills weakens the Supreme Court's
oversight of government decisions.
Mr. Netanyahu says to call that an end to democracy is silly. In an interview with "ABC News", he describes the law as a minor correction. I
want to get more from our Frederick Pleitgen who is this evening here for us in Tel Aviv. And Fred, for many on the streets, I'm sure this is not a
minor correction. Give us a sense of what you're seeing.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I think you're absolutely right, Isa. For a lot of the folks that
you're seeing out here, it's definitely not a minor correction. In fact, one of the things that we're hearing again and again from the protesters
who have come out here is, they say they feel they need to keep bringing the pressure to the streets, despite the fact that, of course, that the
Israeli Supreme Court has said that it will hear the petitions against this first of the several laws that the government wants to put forward to
overhaul the judiciary, simply because they want to make it known that they don't agree with it.
You can look around me, we can turn around a little bit, you can see that there are thousands of people who have come out on the streets tonight,
apparently, it will be a pretty big march. We've been speaking to folks who feel that sense of urgency. And to get back to the question, Isa, yes, they
certainly say that for them, this is not just a minor correction.
They say, right now, they feel they need to act because they think democracy is at stake. I've spoken to some of the protesters. Here's what
they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government, the coalition's new laws breaks the constitutional framework of Israel and concentrates the power in a single
entity. The next step will be that they will be no more fair elections. We have to stop them because they're ruining our democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All that they claim is that nothing happened, you know? It's only a small step. No, it's a small step opening the door for much
larger. We want to stop it and try to stop it before we're not successful, and we're trying to stop any other further activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So, as you can see there, Isa, that's just two of the many voices that are out here and they are very loud, as you can hear and see.
And they vow to keep coming out. They say, look, even until the Supreme Court deals with this, they are not going to remain quiet. Of course, one
of the things that we've seen over the past couple of months here in Israel, is that these protests have traditionally happened on weekends, on
Well, now it's a Thursday, and the folks here are out there because they say after that vote that happened in the Knesset on Monday with that
Reasonableness Act that was passed by the Knesset, they think that the urgency is even greater, and they are saying they feel that they need to
bring the pressure on the streets now and make sure that the prime minister hears it as well, Isa.
SOARES: I'm sure he will hear it. They are loud and they are determined. Fred Pleitgen for us this evening in Tel Aviv, thank you very much, Fred.
Well, if you've been watching these protests that we've been showing you here throughout the week, you probably haven't seen many Palestinians. Even
though Palestinian citizens make up about 20 percent of Israel's population.
Many are staying on the sidelines, believing the Israeli democracy doesn't fully apply to them. And while they can vote, the millions of Palestinians
in the occupied West Bank have no say in Israeli politics, although their lives could be greatly affected, of course, by the weakening of judicial
checks on the Israeli government's power.
We're joined now by Kenneth Roth, he was the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch for nearly three decades. Ken, great to have you on the show.
I'm not sure whether you could have heard Fred Pleitgen there in Tel Aviv, but what we have been seeing, similar scenes for the past six months. Many
Israelis, angry, fuming, saying the judicial overhaul undermines the country's democracy.
What is your reaction, first of all, to this new law and the scenes we have been seeing playing out from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv?
KENNETH ROTH, ATTORNEY, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST & FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, the protesters are completely right in the sense
that, you know, the Israeli government is a system with very few checks and balances. There is no constitution, there's no separation between the
legislature and the parliament, there's no federal and state governments.
The real governmental check on the majority in the Knesset is the Supreme Court. And Netanyahu's far-right government is trying to pare that back to
allow it to do whatever it wants, in essence. So, this does threaten Israeli democracy itself.
SOARES: And yesterday on the show, roughly this time, I was speaking to the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about exactly these judicial reforms.
Have a listen, Ken, to what he had to say. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EHUD OLMERT, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Making a point to all the key positions in the administration, in the bureaucracy of the state of
Israel, members of the central committee of Likud and basically change the democratic nature of the state of Israel. And then using the powers that
they have accumulated in order to change the policies which they are already now declaring, in order to settle more in the territories, in order
to continue the harassment of Palestinians including in the territories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: How could this low -- law then, Ken, and the push for judicial overhaul impact Palestinians in the West Bank? Many of whom, of course,
have seen increased already nightly raids under this right wing government?
ROTH: Well, Netanyahu says essentially, I have a majority, I get to do whatever I want. It's anti-democratic for the court to stand in my way. But
that's a very narrow conception of democracy because democracy has the majority limited by rights in the rule of law. So, if you get rid of the
court, you have an unimpeded majority that doesn't have to worry about rights.
And this is going to have dramatic effects for Palestinians in occupied territory. Now, it's not as if the Supreme Court was great for those
Palestinians, to begin with. You know, it has allowed, you know, all sorts of restrictions on their movement, it's allowed restrictions on their
ability to even add a bedroom on their home. And it is steadfastly refused to address the legality of the supplements, which it can't address because
they're blatantly illegal.
They violate Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention, which basically says you're not allowed as an occupier, to move your population into
occupied territory. And most significantly, the provision, the Rome Statute at the International Criminal Court defines that as a war crime. So, the
court has avoided all of this, but I think what Palestinians fear is that there are certain steps the court has been willing to block.
For example, they said so far that settlements cannot be built on private Palestinian land. They actually allowed certain settlements to be
dismantled in Gaza. What everybody worries about now is, without this court, if the court is weakened, what the Netanyahu far-right government go
forward with plans to annex large parts of the West Bank, it's already seizing territory left and right. Would it formally annex that territory?
SOARES: And on that point, I don't know if you heard Ben-Gvir said this week that this law was just the beginning, Ken. And in the last 24 hours
I've got here, a group of U.N. experts basically have released a statement warning that an effort to annex the West Bank may be underway. I'm going to
read part of the statement, I'm going to -- for our viewers to view, to see this.
"Israel's continuous annexation of portions of the occupied Palestinian territory now focusing on large swathes of the West Bank after unlawfully
annexing east Jerusalem, suggest that a concrete effort may be underway to annex the entire occupied Palestinian territory in violation of
international law." That statement there from a group of U.N. experts. I mean, it goes on then to name, Ken, Bezalel Smotrich. Your thoughts on
ROTH: Well, I think that, you know, certain members of Netanyahu's government have been very clear that that's exactly what they want to do.
Now, that same group of U.N. experts has already said that what exists in Palestinian territory is apartheid, and that's something that Human Rights
Watch, and frankly, every serious human rights group that has looked at the issue, agrees with.
Western governments are reluctant to take that step. What they tend to say is, oh, well, yes, there might be systematic discrimination, might be
oppression, but you know, don't worry about, it's temporary. There is the peace process. We're going to move toward a two-state solution. But that
answer is just no longer credible. You know, we've had 50 years of occupation, 30 years of a so-called peace process.
It's going nowhere. People who look at the sort of Swiss cheese that is left of Palestinian enclaves in between the settlements and the outposts
and the bypass roads, recognize that there is just no prospect anymore of a contiguous Palestinian state. What you have instead is what people referred
to as a one state reality, between the river and the sea, encompassing Israel and the occupied territory as just one state.
And the reason governments don't want to recognize that is because then, there really are two choices for the Israeli government. Do they give equal
rights to everybody or is it apartheid? And so far, their answer has been, it's apartheid.
SOARES: And with that one state reality, and given the fears that many have that we have seen on the streets tonight of Israel with this judicial
overhaul, given everything that you just put into context for us then, Ken, I mean, what can the international community do? Do you think that Israel's
partners, above all here, the U.S., has said enough, been strong enough for this?
We had President Biden calling this overhaul, unfortunate. Does President Biden need to go further, in your opinion?
ROTH: I mean, absolutely. The U.S. sends $3.8 billion in military aid to the Israeli government every single year. So, they basically are funding
the apartheid. But Biden won't recognize the one state reality.
SOARES: Ken Roth, thank you.
ROTH: Thank you.
SOARES: Still to come, wildfires continue to spread across Europe. The very latest next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
July is set to be the hottest month on record. The U.N. secretary-general gave this dire warning earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Climate change is here, it is terrifying and it is just the beginning. The era of global
warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.
GUTERRES: The air is unbreatheable, the heat is unbearable and the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. Leaders must
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: How many more scientific reports and official warnings are needed for real tangible action to be. Taken?
Evidence can be seen in the Mediterranean region, where more than 40 people have died as wildfires rage across the region. Greece has suffered its most
destructive forest fires since 2010.
On the island of Rhodes it's estimated that 10 percent of land has been destroyed by wildfires. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me now for more.
Those words there are so important. "Leaders must, lead," "The era of global boiling has arrived."
The question, is what can be done?
Because the pictures we have been seeing for the last two weeks are pretty dire.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really, and the worrying thing is, what you are hearing from scientists, you are hearing from the U.N.
secretary general is that this is just the beginning.
Yes, it has, arrived; yes, we are seeing the impact of the climate crisis but this is the beginning. These prolonged heat waves, this extreme weather
KARADSHEH: -- this is the new normal. This destruction and damage that we are, seeing the death caused by these wildfires. This is the new. Normal of
course, it's these wildfires -- are not caused by climate, change it is these temperatures, these heat waves that create the conditions for it.
This is, we should be expecting more. Of course, we heard this report today, coming from the E.U.'s climate change service and the World
Meteorological Organization and they're saying, July is the hottest month on record.
And almost certainly, they believe the hottest month in human history. Of, course this is not shocking for a lot of scientists, who have been
monitoring the temperatures this summer.
What is surprising for a lot of people is they did not even have to wait until the end of. July to come out with this conclusion. Three weeks was
enough for them to say, that and we are on track --
SOARES: -- why, these are the temperatures we have, been seeing. This is Italy. Italy has been significantly affected, so has Greece and many other
parts of Europe.
KARADSHEH: Absolutely, and right now if you look at the situation in southern, Europe and in North Africa, for the most part, these fires seem
to have been brought under control. Of course this is very, relative because you continue to see these fires cropping up in different areas.
Greece has been really hard hit. The focus has shifted from the, islands to the mainland right now. They are seeing small fires that have popped up
near Athens as well in different parts of central Greece.
The concern is you have these strong winds that are fanning the flames. A lot of concern about what is going to happen. There we have seen the
devastation and destruction on Rhodes as you mentioned earlier, 10 percent of that island -- the land there has been destroyed.
SOARES: And the wind has been a huge problem. This is one of the Red Cross' main concerns. The temperatures are expected to dip so maybe a
reprieve I think for some of these communities. Jomana, thank you very much.
Well here on the show, we have spoken to government advisors and climate trailblazers. Our aim is really to find sustainable solutions to the
climate crisis. We have seen so many reports, we don't need any more reports. You just need to look out of the window. I want to take a deep
look at how cities are. Adapting and changing the way residents get around.
One city in particular has led the way on this change, for decades. That is Amsterdam. Using bikes instead of cars and many green spaces, the city
encourages citizens and visitors to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
Funder (sic) of Sustainable Amsterdam, Cornelia Dinca joins me now to discuss how her city is becoming more resilient to climate change.
Thank you for taking time to speak to us in the. Show you would have seen the recent hot weather we are seeing in Europe. The wildfires forcing
clearly many cities and politicians to think about climate, change think about policy.
This is, as I was speaking to my colleague a few minutes ago, the new normal.
How important are Amsterdam's sustainability efforts?
How do they lower Amsterdam's contribution to climate. Change
CORNELIA DINCA, SUSTAINABLE AMSTERDAM: Thanks, a nice to be. Here
When we talk about climate change we're talking on the one hand about climate mitigation. So that really is about changing the energy mix, moving
away from fossil fuels. That is very important.
That is of course, in the age of extreme weather events, then also climate adaptation is increasingly more important. So there is no way to really
make your city climate proof unless you also really rethink of changing the streets to be able to deal --
DINCA: -- with heavy periods of rain and periods of no rain at all. So that's a really important piece and that's one of the areas where Amsterdam
is working on.
SOARES: Has Amsterdam, the changes that Amsterdam has made over the years, that has led the way before many other cities, has that made Amsterdam more
resilient to the impacts of climate change?
DINCA: Yes, I think so. My background and a lot of the work that I do is with international groups that, including governmental groups that come to
Amsterdam to learn from Amsterdam's leadership on sustainable mobility.
We know that Amsterdam is a cycling city. The cycling capital of the. World and quite often, people think that's about climate change but historically
that shift that Amsterdam made to become a city more for people and for bikes was driven actually by safety concerns.
Starting, let's say in the '70s, especially. But in the 1973 oil embargo, for example, the oil crisis had a really big impact in terms of the city
really rethinking the streets, the purpose of the streets and the mobility system.
Having said, that's in the last decade or so, the emphasis is now on how do we actually retrofit the city further, in order to respond to periods of
heavy rain, especially which is much more common an issue in Amsterdam?
And in the last few, years how do we respond to periods of no rain at all?
So planting more trees, expanding green spaces, taking away space from cars in order to allocate that for flat management, for example. All of these
kinds of interventions are very important.
SOARES: We are showing viewers a video of bicycles in Amsterdam. But in, context you are the founder of Sustainable Amsterdam and you do
What are you trying to show people?
What do people tell you when they take part in the tours?
Are they surprised about the way that people live, about how they feel in this environment?
DINCA: The reason I started doing these tours in the first place was, as an outsider, as a foreigner I actually grew up in Canada in Calgary, which
is a very car centric. Place and I moved to Amsterdam because I was interested in sustainability topics.
I was surprised to find out while I was doing a master's on urban development topics that Amsterdam was not always a city of. Bikes so that's
a very common misconception. People always think that we have this idea that's Amsterdam has always been the cycling capital of the world.
In fact, after the Second World War, Amsterdam did take this much more car- centric approach to development or actually these American traffic engineers who were coming to Amsterdam but all over Europe and the world
saying, OK, if you want to be a modern city, you have to embrace the car.
The bicycle is passe. That's actually the path that Amsterdam also went down on for a few decades until this turning point in the '70s and in the
'80s, where we decided to reclaim cycling culture.
Like I said before, the driver, at the time was really safety, the oil embargo absolutely helped. But climate change per se, was not the driver at
the, time but having made this shift actually makes the city absolutely more resilient but also more attractive nowadays.
Also let's say better positioned to further adapt to the current and future harms of extreme weather.
SOARES: As we talk about extreme weather and what we have been seeing in the last few weeks, this new normal and what we heard from the U.N. today,
saying the era of global boiling has begun.
What do you think the cities like Amsterdam -- what should cities be considering right now as we try to adapt, of course, to this new normal?
DINCA: Yes, it's obviously a very complex topic. If we stick really with this topic of mobility, one lesson that I like to share with visitors from
American cities is really that this domination of the car is not inevitable.
This idea that, if Amsterdam was not Amsterdam, if Amsterdam, changed it means that your city can change as. Well of course, the climate challenge
is much bigger than just shifting over to cycling.
There are many other aspects of our cities and our behavior that need to change. But ultimately I would say that governments, do have a
responsibility to protect citizens from current and future harms, let's, say due to extreme weather.
And that, actually requires us to completely reimagine our cities. Yes, let's say redefining the purpose --
DINCA: -- of streets and of cities and how we design public spaces is going to play a very important part in being able to maintain our cities
livable in the future.
SOARES: Cornelia, we really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you very. Much
DINCA: My pleasure. Thank you.
SOARES: Still to come tonight, Donald Trump now facing a potential third criminal indictment. We will head over to Washington. That is next.
SOARES: A meeting between Donald Trump's lawyers and the special counsel wrapped up just a few hours ago. Sources tell CNN that the former
president's team was not given any clues as to when an indictment might come down.
This would be of course, a third indictment for Mr. Trump. He already faced one on business floor charges involving hush money payment to an adult film
star and another one in federal courts over alleged mishandling of classified documents.
In this particular investigation, special counsel Jack Smith is looking into efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the runup to the attack on
the U.S. Capitol. CNN's Alayna Treene is in Washington.
We have heard I believe from Trump, from Donald Trump, but also from his team.
A productive meeting?
What else did they say?
ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That meeting lasted around an hour and they used it as an opportunity not to argue against the facts of the case
but to point out that this would cause an uproar within the political environment, within the United States.
And also something that Donald Trump has been arguing for months, now which is that these investigations and these mounting indictments against him
amount to election interference.
We did hear from the former president. He confirmed the meeting on Truth Social, on social media and said that they did not get any indication that
an indictment is coming.
The post reads, quote, "My attorneys had a productive meeting with the DOJ this, morning, explaining in detail that I did nothing wrong, was advised
by many lawyers and that an indictment of me would only further destroy our country.
"No indication of notice was given during the meeting __ do not trust the fake news on anything."
And, so this is Donald Trump again, trying to get out ahead of the news.
TREENE: He often does this. I think that if they ultimately do bring an indictment in this, case you will see him post about that on Truth Social
as. Well that's what his advisers and aides have told me.
But really the big picture here is that his team does think that indictment is coming. They do not know, when they did not go over that in that meeting
today with the special counsel's team.
But they do expect it to come at some point. This is unprecedented. This would be the third indictment, as you pointed, out in the past several
months. Now he's also facing other charges in Georgia.
Of, course he's also running for president in 2024. All of, this really does have a massive impact of course. Legally, the implications for Donald
Trump but also for his 2024 election bid.
SOARES: So then what happens next?
What is the next legal step?
I guess he will try to delay this as much as possible.
TREENE: They are, I think we are still learning about the timing of this indictment would look like. But they have been arguing there for a long
time that any sort of trials in this case or -- also arguments in the classified documents, case -- they want any trial to be postponed until
after the 2024 election.
They do not want these indictments and criminal trials around it to interfere with his campaign. And that is exactly what they are looking at
now. If an indictment does, come what you can expect is you will hear from the president, like I, said his team expects that he will put something out
on Truth Social.
You will also see him continue with his very aggressive campaign. Schedule he is slated to travel to Iowa tomorrow, for a campaign stop. He will also
be holding a rally on Saturday in Erie, Pennsylvania.
I'm told that, regardless of what happens with the potential indictment, those scheduled trips will happen and he will continue to move forward with
that aggressive campaign schedule.
As of, now I know that his team is also reaching out to many lawyers and allies and trying to get a better sense of what exactly the criminal case
against him could look like. The scope of the evidence, that the special counsel has against him, as well as who in Trump's inner circle could be
cooperating with the special counsel's team.
So I think they will learn a lot more, if an indictment does come forth in this case. They will be able to see those charges in, print and learn
exactly what they're dealing. With
SOARES: Yes. We really appreciate it, thank you very. Much
We will be back after the short break.
SOARES: Welcome back.
SOARES: NASA's Webb telescope has captured new images of stars in the making. They are located about 1,500 light years away. Look at that. In the
process of creation, they ingest and inject gas and dust over thousands of years, which is what makes the orange material you can see there in that.
NASA says the stars will take millions of years to fully form. Absolutely stunning.
Now with less than a year to go to the Paris 2024 Olympics, it is a race against time to get the River Seine clean enough to swim. In organizers are
planning for the opening ceremony as well as a number of races to place in the river.
Swimming in the Seine was banned in 1923 due to pollution. But in 2018, the cleanup effort was announced ahead of the Olympics. Parisians are more
skeptical, best put by Mort Rosenblum, who owns a houseboat on the Seine.
He said, "I wouldn't swim in that water at gunpoint."
Hopefully they will clean it by the time the Olympics kick off.
That does it for us for tonight. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest is next. Have a