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Isa Soares Tonight

Ukraine Carries Out A Dramatic Drone Attack On A Key Russian Naval Base; Navalny Sentenced To 19 Years In Prison; Ocean Surface Heat Reaches Record-Breaking Levels; Teens At Scout Gathering Sick From Scorching Heat; U.S. Sailors Accused Of Sending Military Secrets To China. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 04, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Ukraine carries out a dramatic drone

attack on a key Russian Naval base, we'll have Russia's response, that's just ahead. Then another 19 years in jail for prominent Putin critic Alexei

Navalny. We'll have all the reaction to his latest court appearance.

Plus, a record-breaking week, but not the good kind. Ocean temperatures hit a new high, and scientists are ringing the alarm bells. We'll have more on

that in a moment. But first tonight, just days after Ukraine's president vowed to return the war to Russia, a drone attack has carried out dramatic

attack really on the warship at a major Russian Naval base in the Black Sea.

This video appears to show sea drones, as you can see there, speeding towards a dark and silhouette of an amphibious Russian landing ship. A

Ukrainian source tells CNN some 100 Russian servicemen were on board when the drone slammed into the ship with 450 kilograms of TNT. The video ends

abruptly, apparently on impact.

The ship was later seen tilting heavily as it was towed to port. We don't know the extent of the damage or whether there were any casualties.

Russia's Defense Ministry hasn't acknowledged the strike, saying it repelled an attempted attack on the base instead. Let's bring in our Nick

Paton Walsh for more, he's live for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, for the very latest.

And Nick, you know, as we mentioned at the top of the show, we've heard just a few days ago President Zelenskyy warning of the war coming to

Russia. What impact do you think this will have on Russian morale even if they are denying it like we said?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Putting morale aside, hard to tell, frankly, after this disastrous invasion where that's at. This

is a C-change. In fact, call upon to leap by one Russian military analyst in terms of what Ukraine is capable of, because Novarasiski(ph) is really

on the farther side of the Black Sea.

Something which Moscow would never have dreamed could potentially be a Ukrainian target when this war began and even perhaps a matter of months

ago. And now we've seen the Kremlin hit by drones, Moscow's expensive suburbs hit by drones, its glass towers in its financial districts. And

now, a waterborne drone referred to by Ukrainian officials as an unidentified floating object seems to have caused extraordinary damage.

Here's what we know.


WALSH (voice-over): The footage is grainy and dark, then the target comes into view. Russia Olenegorsky Gornyak, amphibious assault ship, an unmanned

attack drone approaches its target 450 kilograms of TNT detonates and the feed cuts out. Russia claimed to have repelled this attack, but the video

tells a different story.

Ukraine's counteroffensive has in recent weeks reached further and further behind the frontlines, forcing the Russian military to spread its sea and

air defenses. Hundreds of miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, this was meant to be a safe anchorage -- no longer. It used to be safe here,

says one prominent military blogger, but Kyiv's arm has grown longer, the rear no longer exists, he says.

ANDRIY YUSOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE (through translator): The fact that such unfortunate incidents occur one after another will certainly

be something for them to talk about today. For the political leadership of the Russian fascist regime, this is, of course, a serious slap in the face.

WALSH: All the same, Russia maintains the image of being in control, it says Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited troops in occupied Ukraine. The

map they both point to, so much worse for Moscow than ever imagined when they invaded nearly 18 months ago.



WALSH: Well, startling as this attack is, it clearly shows a change in what Ukrainians prepared to do. We've heard direct claims of responsibility

conveyed to CNN by Ukrainian security officials. That video put out as well, and I think at the time when Ukraine isn't really making the leaps

and bounds ahead that it wants to on its ground counteroffensive near in the south, it's very tough and slow fighting.

It is able to project a new sort of power, frankly, with attacks like this, extract an extraordinary cost on the Kremlin, we don't know the number of

deaths. But judging by what one Russian blogger said, a whole compartment was flooded there, and you can see the list on that boat as it tries to get

away to potentially be repaired. This is something that Vladimir Putin, frankly, when he began this war in February last year, he could never have

conceived it could potentially be happening, Isa.

SOARES: Nick for us there in Zaporizhzhia. Thanks very much, Nick. Now, to deepening fears that Russia's war in Ukraine could draw in other countries.

Poland and Lithuania are sounding the alarm about Wagner forces on the move in Belarus, saying it's an attempt by Russia to destabilized NATO's eastern

flank. The Russian mercenaries have been training the Belarus army after entering, if you remember, the country, following the aborted rebellion

against Russia's ministry leadership.

Poland says some 4,000 Wagner fighters are now in Belarus, some moving closer to the Polish border. Poland is taking no chances, deploying

hundreds of soldiers to the border region. It is also accusing Belarusian helicopters of violating Polish airspace earlier this week, saying it

informed NATO of that breach.

Polish and Lithuanian leaders met yesterday in an area known as the Suwalki Gap to discuss the threat. I want to show you now the stretch of land along

the shared border. To explain why it has a huge strategic significance, if Russia or its proxies were able to get a foothold in this Suwalki Gap, they

would have a direct land bridge between Belarus, a close Russia ally as you know and Kaliningrad, part of Russia itself.

They could also feckly cut off the Baltic states from NATO allies to the south. The Polish prime minister is warning what he calls hybrid attacks.

Have a listen to this.


MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, PRIME MINISTER, POLAND (through translator): This is what provocation is about. This is what intrigue and plotting in the part

of Putin and Lukashenko is about. And this is what operational activities on the side are about. In order to destabilize, in order to create unrest,

chaos, uncertainty, and at the same time to show the weakness of NATO's eastern flank to all of our partners in NATO.


SOARES: We're joined now by Poland's deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski. Mr. Minister, thank you very much for retuning to our show,

great to have you back. We heard from --


SOARES: The prime minister there, we also have heard from the leaders of NATO warning against further provocations and what they called intrigues

from neighboring Belarus. What is Poland's biggest concern right now regarding the -- regarding Belarus and its intentions here?

JABLONSKI: Unfortunately, the threat is very real. Even the -- probably, the small groups of mercenaries of Wagner group, and perhaps some other

personnel were not immediately trying to conduct course here. They would certainly make many attempts at infiltrating our territory, attacks on our

border, also using illegal migrants that Lukashenko and Putin are continuing to fly from most of all, their Middle Eastern countries to

Moscow, to Minsk, and then in organized groups, they're transporting them to our borders.

To border with Poland, to border with Lithuania, also with Latvia. And we are seeing increased numbers now, especially against Poland, because they

are also willing to destabilize our country ahead of elections. This is the game plan that they are employing very often.

SOARES: So, if there is then a provocation, what then should be the response here from your government, from the Polish government, from NATO

allies, Minister?

JABLONSKI: Well, first of all, we need to be aware, and we need to make our citizens and our allies, whatever. So, we are very open about this, we

are very vocal about these threats. They're stating very clearly that we would not back down, we would be prepared. Obviously, there will be

attempts, we are expecting more attempts at attacks on our border, perhaps more attempts also at violating our airspace.

This might -- because this is something that we will be -- they're trying to demonstrate, that they can do whatever they want. But we are getting

more and more troops deployed to this region so that we can be resilient. Obviously --

SOARES: How many -- how many more troops -- minister, apologies for interrupting. How many more troops are you --


SOARES: Deploying?

JABLONSKI: We will not be giving exact details, but we will be ready to increase this even more, and also, we are counting on increased readiness

of our allies.


We have already the largest number of NATO troops on our soil, that's in relation with Russian aggression against Ukraine. So they will be happy to

have our allies already hand-in-hand with us. Because this is the real strength of NATO to be ready to react quickly, to react decisively, and to

show that no attempts will remain unanswered.

SOARES: Lithuania's president was saying today that Baltic nations and Poland should be prepared to close the border, shut the border with

Belarus. Is it something that you would consider?

JABLONSKI: We are considering any step that will be necessary to protect our territory, to protect our citizens including full isolation of Belarus,

full isolation and closing of the border. We would like to avoid this because we get as a -- as a step of last resort to some extent. But if

there will be continued attacks, continued attempts at destabilizing our country, we might have no other option.

But if this will continue, we need to demonstrate that we are simply ready to defend ourselves. Because this is actually a war. This is a hybrid war.

It's not full scale invasion, but this is an attempt, a hostile move against another sovereign country. We cannot have this. This has to be

answered. This has to stop.

SOARES: A hostile move you said. I heard your prime minister say there are about 4,000 troops in Belarus, Prigozhin -- led obviously by Prigozhin,

Wagner troops, I'm referring here to. Just explain to our viewers what you think their intentions are here, minister?

JABLONSKI: Our concern is that they will be making moves closer to our borders. They perhaps will be in disguise as Belarusian border guards,

supporting these groups of illegal migrants and other agents trying to infiltrate our territory, perhaps also move to other European countries,

because they -- have they had much larger aims than just Poland, they are willing to destabilize the whole Europe.

So, this is our common cold as NATO, as the EU. We see that there might be now causing -- they might be trying to cause fear among our citizens, among

citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and other countries. That they will simply be trying to present themselves as this ongoing threat -- border threat is

real. We are ready to repel it, but we need to be aware that this might be persistent.

Because this is the nature of -- neighbors of us. They are unfortunately very hostile, and they are simply treating us as enemies.

SOARES: And I want to get your thoughts now that I have you on the show on some of our CNN reporting. For U.S. officials telling CNN that they fear

that President Putin is unlikely to change course in Ukraine before the 2024 election in United States. In other words, he is factoring the

presidential election into his war planning. Does Poland believe, you know, Putin is trying to ride out the war in Ukraine until then?

JABLONSKI: Oh, certainly, this is part of Russia's plan to play on fatigue, to count on our shoulder -- attention span, so that we will be

weaker and weaker in support of Ukraine and repelling this Russian aggression. But we cannot stop how it plays. In our case, Poland has skin

in the game, we are the closest country to Russia, and we know very well that if Ukraine fails, if we allow Russia to win this, then we are next.

Simply speaking, we are very high on Russia target list, so this war is happening right now is the war of future -- and we need to support, we need

to continue supporting Ukraine together as our allies in our own interest because this is our future at stake.

SOARES: Minister Pawel Jablonski, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you, Minister. Now, a Russian media report opposition

figure Alexei Navalny has been handed another 19 years in prison for alleged extremism. It's a move that really surprised few. The Putin critic

has been jailed after surviving a nerve agent attack, he was already serving 9 years for alleged fraud.

And Navalny said before the verdict, he expected a Stalinist sentence. The 47-year-old would be in his mid-70s by the time he gets out of prison. And

it's not over yet, he's warned he could face even more prison time in an upcoming terrorism case. A short time ago on his telegram channel, Navalny

said he's serving a life sentence.

Nic Robertson is following all the very -- all the details here. And Nic, I mean, it didn't surprise many when that sentence came in for 19 years, it

still served -- regardless of how you -- how you see it. But he is now going to be put from what I read in a special regime colony. What does that



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It means it will be even tougher than the terrible situation he's been in -- remembering where

he's been at the moment, he's been deprived of sleep by loud noise at night, lights left on at night, interrupted during his sleep. Deprived of

food, food has been sent in, it's not been given to him, he's been kept in isolation way more than would be normal for normal prisoners in isolation,

out for a short period.

He's had other prisoners put in his tiny cell who are sick, and they've made him sick. So, there's been a concerted effort to deplete and degrade

him mentally and physically, and his family have commented on that. So, this new place that he's going to will have even more restrictive movement.

It will be even more remote. He'll be less able to try to communicate with his supporters.

I think the super interesting thing to me about what he said on his telegram channel, 19 years, it's a life sentence, he said. It's either the

length of my life or the length of Putin's regime. This is a gamble, but it was taken --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: That Putin is going to go down at some point here. But he also said there, that this is not for me, this is not 19 years to trouble me.

I'm OK with that, I'm ready for it. This is a threat to you, my supporters. They want to make you frightened and intimidate you.

SOARES: And given that, what you just said now, I mean, just what we saw today, he looked in court, he looked relatively calm, did he not to you?

ROBERTSON: He looked --

SOARES: Or is this a facade, what did he do? I know we can't hear it.

ROBERTSON: So, yes. There are many things about it that are interesting. I mean, the flimsy shoddy nature --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Of the courtroom fills the fabric of it, and the texture of it fumes as flimsy as the case against him --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: In reality is --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: As he says trumped up charges. He knows that these moment that he has on camera here are going to be the moments that he can communicate

as much as he can, everything that he wants to, to his supporters, and that is resilience, that is strength. So, no matter how bad he feels and how

badly he's been treated, he's going to want to come out looking good. And today, he was longingly with his arms folded --

SOARES: As he was smiling at one point --

ROBERTSON: Even at what was -- smiling, sharing a joke with one of his lawyers, and asked them, you know, it was really interesting because the

media, as you said, couldn't get an audio feed of what was going on, he was kept in another room, they're isolated from what's happening. And that

video feed from the court room, Navalny and one of the -- and a co- defendant, the guy that runs his YouTube channel who's also been sentenced right after the judge finished sentencing.

They move towards each other to sort of hug each other and the video feed cut.

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Russian authorities did not want that image of resilience getting out.

SOARES: But he's understood that that's the way that he needs to, quote, "communicate" --

ROBERTSON: He has these minutes of time where he can communicate as much as he can, not verbally, but by his actions.

SOARES: And yet, we couldn't see the judges, we couldn't see anything, we couldn't hear it, we couldn't see anything --

ROBERTSON: The audio was so gabbled, even the lawyers in the courtroom couldn't understand the sentence or the charges that were being prescribed

against his colleague, Navalny's colleague there.

SOARES: Nic, appreciate it, thank you very much. Well, Russia's Vladimir Putin is able to run again for president in 2024 after getting the

constitution amended three years ago. But the West is more concerned about what his strategy might be for another presidential election. U.S.

officials are telling CNN that Mr. Putin is factoring in the race for the White House into his planning for the war in Ukraine.

As you just heard me discuss there with the deputy foreign minister of Poland. They say he is hoping President Joe Biden will lose, and that

Americans will cut back on spending, sending military aid, of course, to Ukraine. I want to take a closer look with U.S. security correspondent

Kylie Atwood.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: U.S. and European officials are concerned that President Putin is factoring the 2024 presidential

election in the U.S. to his Ukraine war approach, banking on the possibility that if President Biden loses that election and Trump or

another Republican candidate wins the presidency, that U.S. support for Ukraine would decrease, and of course, that would benefit Putin.

Now, this isn't a concrete intelligence assessment of Putin's mindset. But U.S. and European officials are very clearly behind the scenes saying that

they do think that Putin is taking this into consideration, and it is effectively encouraging him to draw out the war past November of next year,

15 months from now. And of course, that drives down even the remote possibility of any near-term resolution here if there's an incentive for

Putin to continue playing out this war. Isa?

SOARES: Thank you very much. Now, to the trial against Donald Trump over the 2020 election. A federal judge has now set a date for the former U.S.

President's next hearing, that is August 28th. That's when he'll decide when prosecutors will be able to present their case.


A short while ago, Trump made a demand, the Supreme Court get involved behind closed doors, we're told. He is enraged really by this third

indictment. He was arraigned, if you remember, on Thursday in Washington, and is facing another hearing next week in Florida over new charges in the

classified documents case, as he makes another run, of course, for the White House.

I want to go straight to Zachary Cohen live for us from Washington. And Zachary, I mean, the timing here, it's pretty wild. Just talk us through

what we can expect in the coming weeks.

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, we're really in an unprecedented situation here. As you mentioned, the next court date has

been scheduled for August 28th, that's five days after the first Republican primary debate, which really illustrates how Trump's legal problems and

legal schedules is clashing against his campaign schedule and the election itself.

Now, look, August 28th is when we're going to learn when the trial date will be set. So, both sides are going to have a chance to make their

arguments and their different ones. Jack Smith; the prosecutor in this case, he's already said that he wants a speedy trial, he wants this to

happen quickly, whereas Trump's legal team is suggesting that they want this to be drawn out.

They've argued in the first hearing that there's too much evidence, they need time to go through it, and they're delaying this really does appear to

be part of their strategy going forward. You mentioned that Donald Trump is already fuming publicly about this -- after this third indictment. He's

claiming that he wants the Supreme Court to get involved because this is an example of election interference.

So, the election itself already playing into Trump's public defense, and we'll see how that factors in, potentially, to his legal defense as well.

SOARES: Zachary, appreciate it, thank you very much. And still to come, tensions are escalating in the wake of last week's coup in Niger. Ahead in

a live report, why Niger's political crisis is threatening to turn into military conflict. That's next.


SOARES: While the world is watching as Niger's political crisis threatens to turn into a military conflict if tensions keep escalating. The Junta

warned on state television any military intervention from the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS will be met with immediate response. ECOWAS has

threatened to use force if Mohamed Bazoum is not reinstated as Niger's president by this weekend.

Mr. Bazoum meantime, spoke out against the coup leaders in an op-ed published Thursday in the "Washington Post". He said -- I'm going to read

it out to you, "I write this as a hostage, I am just one of hundreds of citizens who are being arbitrarily and illegally imprisoned."


And he warned that Junta's actions could have devastating consequences for Niger, the region, as well as the entire world. Let's get more on this, our

David McKenzie, he's been following the story for us from day one, he joins us now. And David, I mean, the deadline from ECOWAS, clearly now is

looming, is this weekend, I believe on Sunday. Any sign that the clock ticking is rattling the Junta at this stage?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to tell, Isa, certainly, in public, they are maintaining, digging in and saying that they

are the rightful rulers of this country. You've had, though, the situation that the president has been able to communicate with the outside world,

with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, leaders like President Biden, the leaders of France and others.

So he's not entirely under their control in that sense, and then there was that extraordinary op-ed in the "Washington Post", where he was clearly

appealing to the outside world for support. It does indicates to me, at least, that this coup has solidified completely. And in the meantime,

ECOWAS; the regional bloc is piling on the pressure from the point of view of sanctions, possible trade embargoes, and as you say, the clock winding

down on what they said was a week until they might consider sending in troops from that regional bloc into the country to reinstate President


The coup leaders and their proxies have been, as I said, digging in. They've been visiting friendly nations with military leaders like in Mali,

to try to shore up support. And if you listen to the spokesperson, they certainly don't appear to be backing down.


AMADOU ABDRAMANEADOU ABDRAMANE, SPOKESMAN, NIGER MILITARY (through translator): Being impersonal. Any aggression or attempted aggression

against the state of Niger will be met with an immediate and unannounced response by Niger's defense and security forces on one of its members, with

the exception of the suspended friendly countries.


MCKENZIE: To put it plainly, and to allude to what he's alluding to, Isa, is if Nigeria and Senegal, who said they would provide troops or others

send troops into Niger, at least, from the estimation of the coup leaders, they might have troops coming in from Mali and Burkina Faso and other

military leadership countries against them.

So, you could see a regional conflagration. It's too early to tell whether the negotiations will bear any fruit, it doesn't seem like it at this

stage. And all along, you have the substantial French force and U.S. force in the country that is sitting on the sidelines while this plays out. Isa?

SOARES: Yes, and speaking of the French and the Americans, of course, this op-ed there from Bazoum, from Mr. Bazoum. He says I write this as a

hostage, clearly like you were saying, this is directed to the U.S. What have we heard from the United States regarding Niger and what is unfolding


MCKENZIE: I thought it was quite interesting that the Pentagon spokesperson on Thursday said that they are still within their base and

cooperating with Nigerien military, and that major bases in Agadez in the desert, a very long way from the capital, Niamey. That's an intelligence

gathering and drone base that is critical to U.S. national security, and cost more than $100 million to build.

It also speaks to the potential of they're not necessarily being every single soldier backing this coup. If the U.S. is still cooperating on some

level, with the rank-and-file in that part of the country. The French, it's been more direct rhetoric coming from the coup leaders. They have severed

military ties, they've thrown out the ambassador of France and several other western nations.

And they are very frequently blaming the French on all sorts of their own issues. But not saying very much about the American forces. I think that's

in part because it's hard to gauge a 100 percent, but broadly-speaking, there is less of public enmity that the coup leaders can tap into when it

comes to the U.S. forces there, then the French, given the colonial history in their country. Isa?

SOARES: And that explains the placement of course, of the op-ed. David McKenzie, appreciate it, thank you very much. And still to come tonight, as

the world's oceans are heating at an alarming rate, we'll have more on why scientists think this is a start of a worrying trend. Plus, deforestation

in the Amazon is at the lowest it's been in years. We'll explain why this comes at a vital time from Brazil's President Lula. That's next.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Our planet's oceans are soaring to record- breaking temperatures this week and show no signs really of cooling down. Take a look at this, the ocean is so hot off the coast of Florida coral is

melting. The new record, two tenths of a degree higher. Might not seem huge, but given how much heat is needed to warm up our ocean, it's a

massive amount of energy. And scientists are alarmed. This could mark the start of a concerning trend. The warmer oceans get, the more the planet

will heat.

Our Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir joins me now. And Bill, I mean, just explain, first of all, why our warming waters, warming oceans could

have serious implications for this planet. Why should we all be worried here?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, so much of life, as we know it, evolved in this sweet sort of Goldilocks zone on this planet. And

now we are exceeding this at a staggering rate that is stunning. Climate scientists who predicted this was coming as a result of too much fossil

fuel burning, but didn't think it would happen this fast.

Look at this chart. This is a line graph that just is average sea surface temperatures. The yellow and blue lines are from a few years ago. That

orange line is the record up until now. That was 2016, an El Nino year. The black line is us today, almost off the charts. And as a result of even the

cooler sides of the Earth, the northern and southern poles warming as well, it may not start dipping and we're just heading into an El Nino now so that

black line could keep going up and the result of that from the Mediterranean, where you're seeing sea grass die off.


To Florida, the Keys now, where temperatures are triple digits Fahrenheit, 100 degrees near 38 degrees Celsius and scientists are frantically moving

corals as -- during their spawning season, so it's vital now, either into laboratories to save them or to cooler waters. They -- NOAH went down for

the last couple of days, they went down to look at one particular coral reef that was considered the hardiest in the Keys because it had survived

previous bleaching events and they said it was completely wiped out.

So, who knows how much of that reef system will survive. There are patches, kind of the way it is, terrestrially this summer, patches of really intense

marine heat waves from the Gulf of Maine, the north Atlantic. It's off the charts. 5 degrees Celsius above normal and this has a ripple effect on

every form of life, from the corals to the fish, to the seabirds, to the humans that depend on this ecosystem.

SOARES: And I remember last time you and I spoke, you had mentioned coral reefs. I think you were in Colombia. I mean, is this something that you saw

firsthand while you were out in Colombia?

WEIR: We weren't near any reefs there and we were in a pocket on the Pacific side that was not as intensely warm as even just a bit Northern in

Panama and other places there. But the last time they had an El Nino year, it was devastating to fishing communities and now it's just supercharged by

all of this climate change and now, and it's only going to get hotter the more fossil fuels we burn. So, again, a reminder that we can control how

bad this gets, but right now, we're seeing the full of facts.

SOARES: But you were saying, as we looked at the graph, you were saying, you know, we're just starting El Nino. If it's already this hot, I mean,

that's quite -- that's very troubling that you could even get even hotter when we feel the brunt of El Nino here.

WEIR: Absolutely. And in all different kinds of ecosystems. In Antarctica where sea ice is vital for the bottom of that food pyramid to places way up

north. But, yes, we -- we're in uncharted territory now. Nobody really knows what comes next. All we know is that the more carbon pollution is put

into the sea and sky, the hotter it's going to get.

SOARES: Bill, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

WEIR: You bet.

SOARES: Well, South Korea is just one of the nations in the grip of a sweltering heat wave. There, the heat has caused hundreds of teenagers to

fall ill at a global event. What would have been the ultimate camping adventure's turned into a nightmare for the 40,000 participants who have

gathered for the World Scout Jamboree. Authorities are scrambling to send supplies to the site where many of the children are being treated for heat-

related illnesses.

Now, U.K. scouts are set to leave as worried parents call, of course, for the event to be cancelled. We'll stay on top of that story for you.

Now, deforestation in the Amazon has fallen to its lowest level in six years. That is according to preliminary data from Brazil's Space Research

Agency. It found that 66 percent less forest was cleared this July compared to the same month last year. The numbers show a steep decline in

deforestation since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's inauguration in January. His aim has been to rein in deforestation, a topic that will be

top of the agenda next week as this country hosts the Amazon Rainforest Nation Summit.

CNN's Vasco Cotovio has the latest.


VASCO COTOVIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An assault with military precision, above the trees, this unit races deep into the Amazon

Rainforest. Their target, an illegal mining operation. It's been tearing down trees and polluting waterways in protected territory.

FELIPE FINGER, IBAMA AGENT (through translator): We are attacking these mining fronts, disrupting and neutralizing them in the most remote areas.

COTOVIO (voice-over): Brazil says raids like these are one of the main reasons data from the country's Space Research Agency shows deforestation

hit a six-year low last month, down 66 percent from July last year. The government says surveillance has increased.

MARINA SILVA, BRAZILIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER (through translator): When you see the increase in operations, when you see the removal of cattle from

conservation areas, when you see court decisions, this creates a virtuous circle of no longer expecting impunity.

COTOVIO (voice-over): Deforestation this year, a stark contrast with the situation under Jair Bolsonaro, fires and logging, experiencing some of

their worst periods under the former president. Activists say the new data is good, but not good enough.


MARCIO ASTRINI, HEAD OF BRAZILIAN CLIMATE OBSERVATORY (through translator): We continue to see the numbers go down, but that doesn't mean the numbers

are already good. We are still in a very big loss. There's a lot to recover.

COTOVIO (voice-over): The good news comes just days before Brazil hosts a summit, a gathering of eight of Latin America's rainforest nations.


LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I have high expectations from this meeting, after which, for the first time, we

will have a common policy for action in the Amazon.

COTOVIO (voice-over): With about 40 percent of the Amazon beyond its remote borders, Brazil will need to coordinate with its neighbors with about 40

percent of the Amazon beyond its remote borders, Brazil will need to coordinate with its neighbors if it is to achieve its zero deforestation

target by 2030.

Vasco Cotovio, CNN.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, two U.S. sailors have been arrested, accused of sharing secrets with China. We have a live report on the full

charges the two face. That's just ahead.


SOARES: Two U.S. Navy sailors have been arrested and they're accused of sharing military secrets with Chinese intelligence officers. Federal

authorities say the sailors were paid thousands of dollars in return. One man is facing espionage charges, the other is accused of accepting bribes

for the information he handed over. A spokesperson for China's embassy in the U.S. says they are not aware of the details of the case.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is keeping an eye on all of this from the Pentagon for us. And Oren, what more do we know at this stage about these Navy

sailors and what were shared critically?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So these are two different and distinctive cases, facing a different set of charges, but they have two

things in common. First, it's two U.S. Navy sailors at the center of these, facing these charges, according to prosecutors in California. And second,

it is the Chinese who are looking to get this information and prosecutors pointed out this is an indication of the great lengths China will go to and

Chinese intelligence officers will go to, to try to steal some of the U.S.'s most sensitive information.

In the first one of these cases, prosecutors say that Navy sailor Jinchao Wei, who worked at Naval Base San Diego, one of the largest Navy

installations on the West Coast and in the Pacific, had access to training manuals, design schematics, weapon systems and other sorts of sensitive

information. And according to prosecutors, he passed that information on to a Chinese intelligence officer including, for example, the design of the

USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship. This took place, or started rather, back in February of 2022, according to prosecutors, and continued there for

months, perhaps until he was arrested just earlier this week. In exchange for this information, he received thousands of dollars. He was also granted

U.S. citizenship in May 2022.


And was congratulated on that by his Chinese intelligence officer according to prosecutors.

In the second one of these cases, it was prosecutors say Wenheng Zhao, who was arrested at Naval Base Ventura County who did something very similar.

He passed sensitive information, including operational plans for exercises onto a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for thousands of dollars.

This opens up the broader question that we saw earlier this year with the arrest of a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who disseminated sensitive

information, though in a different -- very different way by putting it out online, the main question there, is the U.S. doing enough to secure this

kind of information and finding insider threats that might leak it?

The Pentagon insisted yesterday it was looking at all of this in the wake of the case earlier this year against that Massachusetts Air National

Guardsman, Jack Teixeira, they have already taken some measures in which they expressed confidence and then we'll see if they decide to take any

additional measures. But again, Isa, it shows the length China will go to, especially at sensitive times between Beijing and Washington, to try to get

at some of this information.

SOARES: Yes, exactly, and you mentioned Jack Teixeira, he is one of two other cases, I think it has been third, three times now the U.S. service

members have been arrested and charged with espionage.

In the meantime, any response from China to this? I'm guessing not.

LIEBERMANN: Just what we saw from the U.S. -- the Chinese embassy in the U.S. saying they're not tracking these cases. We'll see if that changes,

we'll see if they update with some sort of response. But as of right now, that's where this stands.

SOARES: Oren, really appreciate it. Great to see you. Thank you very much.

LIEBERMANN: Of course.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, the biggest blockbuster of the summer, Barbie, is just days away from hitting $1 billion at the Global Box Office.

What is driving it all? That's next.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. It's been two weeks now since the Barbie movie hit theaters in the United States and it is shattering record after

record at the Box Office. Barbie now holds the title for the largest opening of the year And the biggest ever debut for a film directed by a

woman, Greta Gerwig. Warner Bros., which is part of the same parent company as CNN, now hopes the movie will fetch $1 billion worldwide.

So what's the recipe for success? A star-studded cast, the most famous doll in the world, and catchy songs like this one, it seems.

But there's also a secret source and you probably have seen the memes if you're on Insta. You know, give the marketing team a pay rise in this

incredible marketing.

I want to go to Variety Magazine Reporter Rebecca Rubin. I'm sure, Rebecca, you have probably seen the memes all over Insta as I have with the board

saying, you know, give the Barbie marketing team a pay rise. Just explain to our audience, Rebecca, how they have achieved this widespread appeal.

What do they get right in your opinion?

REBECCA RUBIN, VARIETY MAGAZINE REPORTER: So not only have I seen all the memes about the Barbie marketing department, but the Barbie marketing

department has seen the memes about it and I've talked to them. They also think it's funny and they're amazed as well the degree to which this has

caught on. And I know they were hoping that this would resonate among women, among mothers and daughters.

But the way that it's caught fire with all audiences is something that they did not anticipate. And the marketing campaign is a huge part of that. It's

really been everywhere this summer.

SOARES: And the marketing campaign, I mean, how much of this marketing grew organically or how much of it was manufactured from what you understand,

Rebecca, here?

RUBIN: So it's a combination of both. They definitely had a lot of very smart strategic marketing. One was this Airbnb that was in Malibu. It was

designed to look like a Barbie dream house And that was a big sensation online.

But then I spoke to the marketing team at Warner Bros. who spearheaded this campaign and they were saying that they've never seen anything like this,

the way that so many brands have independently really embraced this Barbie movement. And so even on the streets and restaurants, you see a lot of

stores are really cashing in on this pink craze. And so some of it was planned by Warner Bros. and Mattel who owns Barbie and then some of it is

just these businesses seeing what a phenomenon it's come and really wanting to lean into that.

SOARES: Yes, this partnership, and it's normal for a lot of these big movies to have these partnerships, but which one stood out to you as you

thought was most effective here?

RUBIN: Well, one, like I mentioned, the Barbie dream house, they also had a -- it was a cruise that was based I think in Boston and that was all

Barbie-themed. And what stands out to me is just the scale. And you don't normally see a movie that's targeted more at females getting this grand of

a marketing push and so it's really exciting to see that they've really leaned into Barbie as this event movie and I think that's part of the

reason why it's hitting a billion so quickly because it's really hitting all audiences.

And I think a lot of people who might have seen Barbie coming out and thought this movie is not for me are now intrigued because it's really been

everywhere in culture. And so people are saying I want to see what the hype is about.

SOARES: Do we know how much money they've spent on marketing? And how that compares to other movies? Do we know?

RUBIN: So from rival studios, what I've heard is that the marketing budget was roughly $150 million, which is standard for an event tent poll a movie

that is targeting all audiences. And so it sounds like a lot of money. It is certainly a lot of money. But it's what Disney would spend on a Marvel

movie. It's what they would spend to promote an Avatar movie. And so it shows they really had a lot of faith in this movie. They were putting a lot

of money behind it.

One of the executives I spoke to, I actually asked if he went over budget. I was just curious because this movie had been everywhere and he said that

no, they didn't go over budget, but the reason it might seem that way is just because a lot of businesses, particularly in the fashion space, have

really leaned into this pink Barbie color movement. And so it's taken on a life of its own and some of it they didn't have to spend money on.

SOARES: Yes, well one of the members of my team says she's going to watch it for the second time. I believe the message was very strong. But it also

benefited, Rebecca, from the element of serendipity, you know, an element of that, the release of Oppenheimer.

SOARES: Yes, the Barbenheimer phenomenon really helped elevate the profile of both movies because instead of these movies working against each other,

so many people felt excited to see both. And the reason why both of them have not just had huge opening weekends but have managed to stick around is

because they're quality movies. People are leaving the theater and saying this is a great film and telling their friends about it and their friends

are feeling compelled to see it. And for a movie like Barbie, it would not be getting to a billion dollars as quickly if it weren't people going to

see it more than once.


If it weren't people of all ages and genders going to see it. And so it's really resonating with everyone around the globe.

SOARES: Well, I'm not going to lie to you, Rebecca, I have not seen it, but I shall see it. I'm all behind it. Rebecca Rubin, really appreciate you

taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much, Rebecca.

RUBIN: Thank you.

SOARES: And following Barbie's roaring marketing success, as you said that, Mattel has once again caught the world's attention, this time for a

publicity stunt that involves a very unique job opening. The toy company is asking fans of the card game, Uno, as you can see, I know it well, trust

me, to apply for a chance to become their chief Uno player. The chosen applicant will have to play the game's new version, Uno Quattro, for hours

-- for four hours I believe each day and get paid almost $300 an hour to do it.

Mattel's global head of games said, "Who wouldn't want to spend their afternoons playing Uno, and best of all getting, paid while doing it?" I

can tell you that in my family, we all love Uno. I'm pretty sure that my son on my own playing for four hours.

That does it for us. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest is next. Have a wonderful

weekend. Bye-bye.