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Isa Soares Tonight
Russia Launches Deadly Strike On Ukraine; Biden Administration Draws Criticism As It Takes Steps To Extend The U.S.-Mexico Border Wall; Climate Scientists Sound The Alarm Over Global Heat WaveTaliban's Draconian Rules Driving Education Underground; 2023 On Track For Heat Record; Search For New U.S. House Of Representatives Speaker; Largest Health Care Strike In U.S. History Enters Day Two; Simone Biles And U.S. Team Win Seventh Consecutive Gold Medal. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 05, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Russia appears to have launched one of
its deadliest strikes on Ukraine since the war began. We'll bring you the details of that devastating attack. Plus, a shocking U-turn. The Biden
administration draws criticism as it takes steps to extend the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
And gobsmackingly bananas. Climate scientists are sounding the alarm over September's global heat wave. But we start tonight in Ukraine where Russia
may have launched one of its deadliest attacks yet on civilians. And a warning, some of the video we're about to show you is disturbing.
Authorities say at least, 51 people were killed by a missile strike on a village near Kupiansk. The rubble, you see right there on your screen is
what's left of a shopping area. Now, important to point out to viewers, this is not a strategic target, and it's far from the frontlines in the
Officials say a six-year-old child is among the victims, many of those killed were actually at a cafe attending a memorial for a dead soldier.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is condemning the attack. He's been at a summit of European leaders in Grenada in Spain, trying to shore up
continued aid for Ukraine, and he's been calling for more air defenses. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): I believe that today, it is impossible to protect people, especially during the
Winter, except by air defense. To protect people who died absolutely tragically because of this inhuman terrorist attack. Fifty civilians were
killed during the funeral.
Russia does this every day in the Kharkiv region, and only air defense can help. And so, Europe has a lot of its own issues, different challenges. But
from Ukraine's point of view, the key topic was air defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Inhuman terrorist attack, Zelenskyy saying there. We'll be live on the scene of that attack in just a moment. But first, CNN's Nic Robertson
joins me for more in London. And Nic, as we said -- and I mean, some of those images, to look at that, is really hard, very disturbing to watch.
And important to point out to viewers, this is in the east of the country, but far away from the frontlines.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, 40 kilometers away from the frontline there. The Ukrainian authorities have been telling
people in that eastern area, not per se in that village --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Closer to the frontline, you know, women and children, elderly people, that Russia's offensive is so brutal there from artillery shells
that really they need to evacuate if they can. But this village was a long- way back from the frontline. But this is a precision missile. And as President Zelenskyy said, it's not the first time we have seen strikes on
other popular cafes, and you know, places where people, civilians gather.
SOARES: Deliberate target, targeting a cafe. It's -- what do we know what was happening? How many people do we know? What are you hearing from people
on the ground regarding what exactly -- how many people are there?
ROBERTSON: Yes, a tiny village, 330 people live there according to the Interior Minister. He said that representatives of every family would have
been at this funeral. Why the Russians chose to target it, they haven't even admitted that they've targeted it --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Yet. You know, it's easy to think that they've got -- that they've got drones in the sky, and they may be watching a gathering of
people who knows -- or they just decided that this was where they were going to target. But these types of missiles are high value missiles. And
you don't use a precision high value high explosive missile unless you really intend --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: To hit a target, and they did. So this tiny village now -- I mean, imagine, more than 50 people dead, 330 people live there,
potentially, as many as one in seven people in that village are dead.
SOARES: And of course, attacking civilians, an attack that we've seen several times is part of the Russian kind of playbook since the war has
began. But this coming, of course, as we played that little clip as Zelenskyy meets with leaders in Europe to try and -- diplomatic push -- to
try and get support.
The same time we are seeing that fraying, the halting of support from some in the Republican Party. Just explain to our viewers because you've been in
and out of Ukraine --
ROBERTSON: Yes --
SOARES: Since the war started. What would a pause of U.S. aid, what would that mean for the war in Ukraine and indeed for Europe?
ROBERTSON: Well, there's an analysis that says that even with this sort of a political pause, the money is still there, the ammunition is still there,
it's good until December. But imagine you're the commander on the frontline or you're the quarter master that's sending out the ammunition to the
frontline. You don't know what's going to be coming into --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Your store --
SOARES: At what time --
ROBERTSON: So therefore, your plan is to reduce what you're using on the frontline, and therefore, you can expect Russia to test where those weak
points are. Part of the offensive operation by Ukraine was supported by the heavy use of lots of artillery. That's how they managed to move forward.
Well, now, potentially, they're not going to have that. So forget trying to advance.
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Because in their minds, they need to conserve, because as President Zelenskyy said, we're hearing strange things coming from
Congress. We hope that it will get right, we hope that there will be unity between the U.S. and Europe. But we don't know what's going to happen if he
doesn't know what's going to happen, then the frontline soldiers for sure don't.
SOARES: Yes, and we heard from President Biden saying that he was worried, and we've heard one of the candidates throwing their hat in for speaker,
Jim Jordan saying, there would be no money for the war in Ukraine. So there are concerns. Europe is putting on a unified fronts, saying we'll be with
Ukraine for as long as it takes.
What are you hearing? I mean, can Europe fill that -- fill the gap in any way that the U.S. leaves behind, both in terms of funding, military
funding, but also ammunition, hard military hardware?
ROBERTSON: It's taken everybody to get Ukraine, everybody, United States and Europe to get Ukraine to this point, and it's going to take them all to
maintain this position, and that's what President Zelenskyy is talking about, unity between both. I was speaking last night with a senior European
political figure, you know, within the EU.
There's a feeling that European Union leaders are united, they're politically committed to supporting Ukraine --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: This is what they've told their populations this is what they're going to do. But if the United States goes -- pulls out of support,
becomes more isolationist --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: The financial burden is more than the European Union can fill. If they try to provide some of the shortfall, they will have to cut back in
other areas, be it agriculture, be it subsidies to some of the smaller nations within the European Union. It would not be without effect. And then
you can expect this political strength and unity that exists to begin --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: To begin to fray. It would strain it.
SOARES: And that -- and that was without a doubt probably the concern for many in Ukraine if that -- if that support wanes. Let's talk about Vladimir
Putin. I mean, a man who probably would benefit if that support begins to wane. We're hearing today that hand grenade fragments were found in victims
of those inside the plane crash with Prigozhin or part of Prigozhin.
I think the plane crash back in August 23rd, just months after that failed mutiny. What are you hearing? What did Putin say? And what are we hearing
from this investigation?
ROBERTSON: Well, he's coaching Russia's investigative committee, OK, to us on the outside world. That's a black box.
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: We cannot verify and check what they say.
SOARES: And nothing was presented in terms of evidence.
ROBERTSON: Putin didn't present evidence.
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: The Russian government hasn't so far made anything available. So there's no way of verifying what this committee is saying, there's no
way of verifying how much political pressure they wanted to come up with the analysis that they did. But Putin has said that hand grenade fragments
were found in the bodies of some of the people who were aboard that aircraft.
Now, we don't know what brought down that aircraft. Investigative committee was supposed to find out. It came down not because of plane failure. Now
Putin is suggesting it came down potentially because of an explosive effect. But you're still left with the question --
SOARES: Who put the -- who put the grenades in there?
ROBERTSON: Who put the grenades in? Who triggered them to go off? You know, the facts of what Putin has said that the grenade fragments were
found in their bodies may entirely prove to be true. But as you say, we don't know --
SOARES: We don't know, we've got more questions than answers --
ROBERTSON: Why did -- we do, and this is a narrative that suits Putin. It kind of disperses the blame, has played out the removal and the death of
Prigozhin very carefully. So I think everyone in Russia understands that the man at the top calls all the shots. I don't think there's any doubt in
anyone's mind that --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Putin will be behind this. However, the evidence -- we don't have the evidence to prove that, but he presents an analysis that perhaps
gets him off the hook.
SOARES: Yes, everyone else can read between the lines. Thank you very much, Nic. Always great to have you on the show. A top priority of
Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the European Summit was a meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The two sat down to discuss Italy's ongoing
support of Ukraine. Meloni did vow continued Italian backing, but said the government also had to be mindful of dwindling public support and issues
with migration, inflation as well as energy prices.
Concerns that many other countries have right now. Joining us now from Rome with more on issues facing Italy is CNN senior international correspondent
Ben Wedeman. So, Ben, I mean, Meloni is right from the beginning even during campaigning did back, was very supportive of Ukraine. But those
concerns over migration are very real.
You have been reporting for us from Lampedusa on the crisis that Italy has been facing in Lampedusa. What exactly does Meloni want to achieve first
and foremost with migration, with the rest of European leaders here?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Meloni is trying to bring the situation under control. In Lampedusa, we've
seen this surge of migrants arriving in that island, often times, the number of migrants on the island outnumber the inhabitants, the Italian
inhabitants of that island.
But at this meeting with Zelenskyy, she did warn that public opinion could turn against support for the war in Ukraine. Now, Meloni, despite her
political persuasion has been rhetorically quite supportive of the war in Ukraine, but in terms of actual material help, Italy has been somewhat
lukewarm. It's not among the top ten donors of military or humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
It's -- there have been, for instance, public opinion polls done, one for instance done by the European Institute for Foreign Relations. And June
found that 27 percent of Italians actually blame Ukraine, the United States and the EU for the Russian -- the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine
rather oddly. And certainly, just sort of anecdotally speaking, one I often times hear -- in fact, most Italians I speak with seem to be at best
lukewarm when it comes for support of Ukraine.
And more often than not, many people are supportive of the Russians. So, I think especially at a time when we've seen a government brought to power in
SOARES: Yes --
WEDEMAN: That wants to cut off all assistance to Ukraine. This meeting with Zelenskyy was important, but when you add that to the fact that the
United States is going through a political breakdown, a nervous breakdown, and they're not coming through with support for Ukraine. Certainly,
Zelenskyy must be rather nervous at the moment --
SOARES: Yes --
WEDEMAN: I don't think he comes out of the meeting with Meloni particularly reassured.
SOARES: Talk to those concerns in Europe then. You're in Rome for us, you mentioned -- we know where Hungary sits on this, where it stands, you know,
with Putin. We've seen as well the pro-Putin, pro-Russia in Slovakia. There are concerns over elections in Poland.
What is the mood in Europe regarding this waning support that we're seeing within the Republican Party, within some members of the Republican Party
for Ukraine? How worried is Europe? And is there support? Is there -- is there going to be a continued support do you think from what you're
WEDEMAN: I think the support is fragile. Certainly, people are increasingly unhappy with higher energy prices. You go to fill your car
here and the prices are going up and up. There is inflation. And on top of that, the -- many people will say one of the reasons for this new wave of
migrants is the knock-on effects of higher grain prices, higher fuel prices being felt in Africa.
And therefore, the support for the war is starting to erode. Also, the fact that you know, we are now -- what the war started in February of 2022, now
we're in October of 2023. And it doesn't seem -- there are no -- it doesn't seem to be an end in sight. And I think we're starting to see the beginning
of the erosion of public support which in countries like Italy was never particularly strong for the Ukrainian war effort.
SOARES: But let me ask you this, I know she -- I know she -- Meloni wanted to focus, I know that Ukraine has taken center stage in this Grenada, and
is meeting with European leaders. Migration is also a concern for Meloni. But what happened to that deal that Meloni-von der Leyen signed with
Tunisia for what? I can't remember, $100 million plus. What happened to that to stop the boats?
WEDEMAN: It's gone on the back burner. Optimistically, in fact, Kais Saied; the president of Tunisia earlier this week came out and said, I'm
not going to accept charity from the European Union --
SOARES: Oh, well --
WEDEMAN: So it appears that, that entire deal has gone up in smoke at the moment. And what we're seeing is that there is a -- the Tunisians don't
seem to be doing anything to stop migrants from leaving Tunisia and going to -- in the direction of Italy. So the whole thing seems to be in utter
SOARES: Ben Wedeman, always great to get your insight, Ben, thank you. Well, the Biden administration is waiving dozens of federal laws to
continue building walls along America's southern border with Mexico. It's a stark reversal from Biden's campaign rhetoric when he was criticizing his
predecessor Donald Trump for building similar barriers.
But it's a decision the White House is making in light of staggering numbers of unlawful crossings while over 200,000 last month alone. Many of
those arrivals are crossing the notoriously treacherous Darien Gap, where New York Mayor Eric Adams is visiting this weekend. And it connects
Colombia and Panama, and thus, South America and North. We spoke to the president of Costa Rica on Monday if you remember whose country is along
that same migrant route. He says the current system just isn't working. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODRIGO CHAVES ROBLES, PRESIDENT, COSTA RICA: The large inflow of migrants, mind you, 71 percent of them, cross within 24 hours, we help
them. It's putting pressure on our communities, on public safety, on waste management, on health services, and especially on our budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, joining us now is Kevin Liptak in Washington, Polo Sandoval in New York. And so, Kevin, just explain this new strategy then from the
White House and the timing of this. Because President Biden had previously said -- and correct me if I'm wrong here, that he wasn't going to build a
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Exactly, and he said in 2020, his words were, "there will not be another foot of wall constructed in my
administration", so this is a reversal. This is going back on that campaign promise. And what the White House says and what in fact President Biden
himself said just about an hour ago is that essentially, he had no choice, that Congress passed a law in 2019 before he came into office that required
him to spend this money on building a border wall.
And when he was asked very specifically whether he thought a border wall worked, he said no. But there is something of a contradiction here, because
of course, President Biden is facing intense political pressure about the migrants that are coming over the southern border. His Homeland Security
Secretary is on the border now in Mexico.
And in that notice, announcing that the administration was waiving laws to construct this barrier, the Homeland Security Secretary said that there is
presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to
prevent unlawful entries into the United States.
So, you have President Biden saying that no, border wall is not effective, you have his Homeland Security Secretary saying that a border wall is
acutely and immediately necessary to prevent these border crossings. So, the president certainly is now in a political bind, and it really does
illustrate the conundrum that he finds himself in.
He is under pressure from Democratic mayors, Democratic --
SOARES: Yes --
LIPTAK: Governors to do more to stem these migrants from coming across the border, and in doing so, he does find himself having to violate his
SOARES: Yes, let's talk about that conundrum, Polo, because, you know, this is coming -- the decision from the White House is coming as the mayor
of New York, Eric Adams is traveling to Mexico. And then reportedly, to the Darien Gap. Explain why he believes he needs to be there, what the aim is
with this trip?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Isa, the message that the mayor says he is taking to South America here in the next few days is really to inform
migrants that are headed north of what waits for them here in New York City, overcrowded shelters with the city now supporting about 63,000 asylum
seekers just last week, 3,700 of them arrived.
But also, no promises that they will have a place to stay. Obviously, this migrant shelter system in New York City has been over filling for quite
some time. So we heard from Eric Adams that this is the main message that he hopes to take currently to Mexico, but then eventually make his way to
South America, mainly Colombia where staffers for the mayor tell me that they hope to bring him or take him as close as possible to that Darien Gap
so he can see this firsthand.
The numbers are certainly increasing here. The daily arrivals, Isa, just to share to -- some perspective with your viewers here, now up to 600 a day,
that's up from about 400. So it's clear that these numbers are not slowing. Very quickly, here is something that the city hopes will certainly help.
The extension of temporary protective status is certainly something that the city hopes to -- will assist.
So what they're doing right now is as soon as asylum seekers who are arriving here in New York City, if they are eligible, they are helping them
with the application process. And then finally, fairly controversial approach here, which is those adult asylum seekers who do not have
children, the city is implementing its highly controversial plan to serve them with 60 days' notice, which is calling on them to leave the shelter
system if they need additional housing, then reapply.
But we've seen about 2,000 people per week leave the --
SOARES: Wow --
SANDOVAL: Shelter system. But look, if you have about 600 a day coming in, then the fruits of the city's labor, you're not going to really see or feel
that any time soon.
SOARES: Yes, loads of pressure. And let me go back to Kevin here. And Kevin, I mean, we've heard today from the Mexican president who says the
border wall -- he called it a regression. Let me just listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT, MEXICO (through translator): So they are acting very irresponsibly, and they are putting very hard pressure
on the president who will always count on our support. But that authorization for the construction of the wall is a setback, because that
doesn't solve the problem. That doesn't solve the problem. The causes must be addressed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: It's a setback that doesn't fix the problem. The causes need to be addressed. I mean, is the administration, Kevin, getting any pushback?
Because I imagine this is politically fraught in the United States.
LIPTAK: Yes, and certainly many Democratic groups, Democratic lawmakers are asking the administration why the president appears to be going back to
essentially the signature policy of its predecessor Donald Trump. You also hear from environmental groups -- one of the reasons that the
administration had been opposed to a border wall was that, this is an area that's very environmentally sensitive.
Questions of erosion, questions of habitats for endangered species. So, there certainly is a number of groups pushing back on the administration.
And of course, as you played in the question, there's the question of the international response as well, because certainly, the Biden administration
is looking to Mexico for cooperation on this migrant issue, trying to stem the flow of migrants coming through Mexico to the U.S. border.
And so, they do feel -- they had felt that they were making some progress on that front over the last year. And certainly, any sort of disagreement
with AMLO's government, I think could potentially amount to a setback. And that is one of the reasons that you see the Secretary of State in Mexico
City today. That --
SOARES: Yes --
LIPTAK: You see the Homeland Security Secretary along with him. And so, there could be a long fallout for this decision that the administration
insists that it had no choice to make.
SOARES: Kevin and Polo, thank you very much to you both. Thank you. Well, Syria's Health Ministry says at least 80 people have been killed and 240
others have been wounded after drones attacked a military academy graduation ceremony in Homs. Syria's Health Minister says six children are
among the victims.
This video released by Syria's state news shows victims of the attack at Homs central hospital. The U.N. Secretary General says he's deeply
concerned about the drone attack. Elsewhere, officials tell CNN, a U.S. fighter jet shot down a drone belonging to a NATO ally, Turkey over Syria.
They said it was viewed as a potential threat and was operating near U.S. and Kurdish personnel.
The U.S. says it gave more than a dozen warnings before shooting it down. We'll stay, of course, across both of those stories. And still to come
tonight, absolutely gobsmackingly bananas. That is how one climate scientist describes September's record-breaking heat. We'll explain that
breaking record heat after the break.
SOARES: At least, 14 people have been killed and more than 100 are missing in the northeast of India after catastrophic flash floods ripped through
the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The damage as you can see there is extensive. Roads and bridges have been washed away, and drinking supplies
and sewage treatment plants totally destroyed. Our Vedika Sud has the details for you.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (on camera): The situation in India's northeastern state of Sikkim remains grim. Massive search and rescue
efforts are on in the Himalayan state after flash floods ripped through several districts, Wednesday. The flooding was caused by a sudden cloud
bust over Lonar Lake in the northern part of the state that breached its embankments, pushing huge volumes of water with very high velocities
downstream along a river basin.
Dramatically, it was just released by India's space research organization, shows more than 60 percent of the water held in the lake drained out a day
after the extreme rainstorm. In a statement issued, Wednesday, the Sikkim government said the flooding has caused severe damage in four districts,
drinking water and sewage plants have been completely destroyed in affected regions.
At least, 11 bridges have been washed away, hampering rescue efforts and cutting off remote areas. The flooding has also washed away a dam, which is
a major part of a hydro-electric project in the state. Known as the rooftop of the world, the ecologically sensitive Himalayan region is prone to flash
floods and landslides.
Multiple studies by scientists identify Lonar Lake as one of the fastest swelling glacial lakes in the region with a high risk for a potential
glacial outburst. Rescue and restoration remain underway with both state and national disaster personnel involved. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.
SOARES: Well, last month marked two years since the Taliban began effectively outlawing female education in Afghanistan. Girls are not
allowed to go to school from sixth grade onwards, and are barred from universities. But a clandestine network of brave women have set up secret
classrooms across the country in direct defiance of the ban.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz was granted rare access to one of the hidden classrooms. She spoke to the teacher and students about the extraordinary
risks they take to continue their education.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are witnessing a courageous act of rebellion. Young girls gathered to learn in a secret
classroom. To the Taliban, they are criminals, defying a ban on female education. But these students say they're determined to continue their
schooling no matter the cost. Two of them told us why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I've told myself that even if the Taliban arrest me, I will stand up and tell them I don't want to be
kept at home. She says, I just want to learn, and that is not a crime.
ABDELAZIZ: CNN was granted access to this underground classroom on the condition we conceal the identity of the students and staff who keep the
location hidden, but allowing our cameras in comes at extraordinary risk. Around 30 students huddle into this little room to learn everything from
science to math to tailoring and drawing. Maria, not her real name, is their teacher.
"Fear is with us every second we're inside the school", she says. But there's a power stronger than fear, our hope for the future." This is one
of nine secret schools that educate more than 400 girls across eight Afghan provinces. It is operated by a clandestine network called Sarak(ph).
Families find the program through word of mouth and demand is growing.
It was founded by this woman, Perestel Hakeem(ph), she says because of her activism, she was recently forced to flee Afghanistan. In the summer of
2021, as Kabul fell, she tells us she anticipated the ban on female education and got to work.
"PARASTO HAKIM", SRAK, FOUNDER: So we were watching some documentaries. I was looking at an Afghan woman sitting there, up in (INAUDIBLE) and like
hiding underground at places.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Mines, inspired in part by Christiane Amanpour's 1996 CNN documentary, "Battle for Afghanistan," "Hakim" began to follow the
example of women set 25 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without my work, it is my right to work and I need to work.
"HAKIM": Afghanistan is fully shuttered. It is in darkness.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The Taliban is forcing women into this darkness, effectively erasing them from much of public life.
The U.N. says the group's draconian rules may amount to gender apartheid and crimes against humanity. But this little classroom in the shadows
provides a ray of hope.
"This school is like a light for me," she says. "It is like a road for me that I can see happiness and sunrise at the end of it."
It is also a lifeline. Rates of child marriage, underage labor and reported suicides have increased since the ban on female education, according to the
U.N. And countless girls confined to their homes are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Fatima was among them.
"It felt just like being a prisoner," she says, "like a prisoner who is only allowed to eat and drink but not allowed to do anything else."
With the support of her family, she discovered the school and found her passion. She wants to be a famous fashion designer.
"I want my future to be a bright one," she says. "I don't want to be behind a mask forever. I want to be able to show my real face."
Brave women and girls dreaming of a future without the Taliban and boldly preparing to step out into the light again -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
SOARES: That is indeed the definition of bravery.
We will take a short break and be back after this.
SOARES: Back now to one of our top stories this hour. The floods we showed you in the last 10 minutes or so in India, another example really of the
devastating reality of the climate crisis engulfing our world.
And it doesn't stop there. Today, these are the scenes on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, a wild fire ripping through woodland. It
has forced thousands of people from their homes. It is a scenario we have been all too familiar with this summer.
Now it is official, September was the warmest on record, putting 2023 on track to be the hottest year in history.
As one expert put it, quote, "This month was, in my professional opinion as a climate scientist, absolutely gobsmackingly bananas."
Let's bring in Bill Weir for more on all of this.
To hear that from a climate scientist is quite something. But what we have been showing our viewers here throughout the whole summer, the immediate
impact of these temperatures. We saw it today in Tenerife.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Those glacier lake outburst floods, GLOFs, are a new part of our new vernacular. We never considered
disasters like that as the Himalayas melt.
But this new report looking at September, it wasn't just a little bit of a record break; it shattered every possible anomaly going back until we
I was reading a tweet from Professor Stefan Ramsdorf (ph), one of the most respected climate scientists in the world out of the Potsdam Institute. We
understand global warming caused by fossil fuels. But we don't understand the surprise upward leap that is happening now. And that worries me.
I'm not sure if we have that chart that shows this month and the first three days of October.
SOARES: There it is.
WEIR: But look at that. Going back, it was below average in the cold there up until 2000. This year is the one that the professor says we don't
understand what happened. El Nino is kicking in so it is a combination of climate change and the natural warming system in the Pacific.
WEIR: No one knows what to make of that.
SOARES: Carbon dioxide, El Nino all driving the temperatures.
How many years away are we realistic from breaching 1.5?
SOARES: -- constantly have these reports and it is important that we just bring our viewers so people understand how close we are to that.
WEIR: Absolutely. It's a great point. Right now, we are at 1.2 Celsius above preindustrial levels. The target for Paris to hold us below 1.5. A
lot of people thought maybe that is a lost cause. The best we can hope for is 2 degrees.
But the International Energy Agency recently put out a staggering paper. They looked at the amazing growth of solar and batteries and heat pumps.
And you can see, they are going up as fast almost as the temperatures are right now. The adaptation is happening much faster.
They are now predicting we are on track for 2.4 degrees warming, which is not 1.5, it is not great. But it is much better than what we were talking
about even a few years ago. And that is just mostly pure economics.
Governments have not forced this in the ways a lot of scientists have hoped they might. But who knows how this will play out as it becomes way more
obvious in our daily lives, the cost of this and the economic shackles to the carbon economy.
SOARES: Yes. I don't know how much more obvious it needs to be for something to be done for politicians to take it seriously.
SOARES: But it is absolutely gobsmackingly bananas. That is true from that scientist. Bill, always great to have you on the show. Thank you.
WEIR: You bet. Thanks, Isa.
SOARES: Activists are accusing Iran's morality police for assaulting a teenage girl for not wearing a hijab at a Tehran train station. She has
been in a coma since Sunday. State media showed video from the train station.
Authorities say she was hospitalized because of an injury caused by low blood pressure. It is important you remember, put this into context. Just
last year, of course, 22-year-old Masha Amini died in Iranian custody after allegedly breaking the country's strict dress code. So lots of questions
about what unfolded here.
What do you understand?
What are you hearing?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we have to say we don't actually know what happened in that metro station on that train. Very murky right
What we have is what we know for sure is Armita Geravand was hospitalized on Sunday and has been in a coma since.
And you have two different narratives that are being -- we are hearing from the government through state media, through officials, through interviews,
saying her blood pressure dropped. She fell, she hit her head and that's what happened.
KARADSHEH: And we have seen these short edited videos being pushed on through state media that don't really show you anything. We don't actually
know what happened.
And there are people calling for more video from inside the train --
KARADSHEH: -- more full CCTV video. Whatever they have released so far has been edited. And what we are hearing from rights groups and human rights
organizations that have covered Iran -- these are Iranian groups outside the country and opposition groups and activists.
They're saying she got into some sort of an altercation with the morality police, with enforcers of the mandatory hijab. And we know they operate in
these metro stations. And she was physically assaulted and had head trauma and ended up in hospital.
And the regime right now is really trying to push hard this narrative that it was an accident. They even had her parents come out on state TV saying
this yesterday, saying they heard and they were told this is what happened and saw no evidence of a physical attack.
But people are finding this very hard to believe because of the regime's history. If you look at the --
KARADSHEH: -- of course, you've got -- we heard from rights groups, from U.N. officials and others that families of protesters who were killed were
being forced to come out on state TV, that they were being coerced to say, repeat the government's narrative.
And they said Mahsa Amini died of natural causes, a 22-year-old died of a heart attack. We don't really know what happened. But clearly the regime is
trying right now to contain this. They even arrested a journalist who went to the hospital to try to cover this.
And there were reports that they arrested the mother of Armita, which was denied by state media. And we heard from the teacher's union. Security
officials showed up at her school, telling people --
KARADSHEH: -- other than state media. So one thing is for certain, the country is on edge.
SOARES: And following Mahsa Amini's death, social media in Iran led a lot of the protests.
Are you starting to see that pick up?
KARADSHEH: We are seeing a lot of -- I think -- we are not seeing the same sort of protest movement we saw, right --
KARADSHEH: -- over the government's crackdown. And --
SOARES: -- questions being asked --
KARADSHEH: And a lot of it is coming from activists from within the country. We heard from an activist in prison, releasing a statement today.
Everyone is asking these questions.
If this regime has nothing to hide, why are journalists being arrested?
Why are they not showing the whole CCTV of what was going on inside the station?
So I think people are asking questions and for good reason. People know that the morality police have used violence against women in the past to
try to enforce the hijab. As they passed stricter laws, there has been a lot of concern that we will be seeing more of this violence again.
SOARES: I know you will continue to be asking the questions and looking for answers. Jomana, I appreciate it.
We will take a short break and be back after this.
SOARES: The U.S. House of Representatives still does not have a leader and that means the chamber is essentially paralyzed until it can settle on the
new speaker. The dramatic ouster of Kevin McCarthy this week by ultraconservative Republicans has frozen work in the House, leaving two big
items on the table.
Here is what one Democratic lawmaker told our Kasie Hunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): This chaos in the House of Representatives is hurting the country. This dysfunction within the Republican caucus that
is leading to essentially a vacant chamber to my right, right now.
And a lot of uncertainty in the days ahead is going to make it harder for us to keep the government open in 45 days from now, less than that, and to
fund support for Ukraine. That said, we have got to find a way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Right now, there is only a temporary Republican House Speaker and lots of infighting. There are a few contenders who want to take on the
embattled role. We'll stay on top of this story for you.
There are some signs of progress, though, in talks to end the largest health care strike in U.S. history. Kaiser Permanente says a number of
tentative agreements has been reached with workers. Lately, it may seem like America is on strike.
Parts of the U.S. society are grinding to a halt amid three major labor walkouts. For more on the strike by Kaiser Permanente workers, Natasha Chen
joins us from the picket lines.
There is at least progress on the talks, it seems.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, there have not been any talks really since the strike began at 6:00 am local time on Wednesday.
The union tells me there are people from the bargaining team here at this Los Angeles location, telling me that there have been no talks since then
and there are no scheduled talks, either.
This is a three-day scheduled strike. So they are planning to go back to work on Saturday morning. But if there is no agreement by then, they plan a
longer strike in November. We did talk to the family of a patient, a cancer patient, in fact, about how this has affected their services, at least this
week. Here is what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Kaiser should be stepping up and doing a better job of keeping their facilities staffed. This is just wrong. This is
wrong on all levels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel bad for the nurses but I feel worse for the patients. I'm going to have to figure out if they need one of the hospitals
I can take it (INAUDIBLE) and see if by chance, they are doing lab work. (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Kaiser did say they had contract workers filling in this week and doctors are still at work, hospitals are all open. The union says that they
are still waiting for a meaningful response.
But the Kaiser health system has shared with us a proposal that they put on the table for a 5 percent wage increase to start with. The union says that
is not enough.
I want to read you part of a statement that the Kaiser health system sent us, saying that, "Our industry and our employees are now operating in a new
cultural labor and post pandemic environment that we are all working hard to understand.
"We are committed to finding workable solutions for this new environment that meet our responsibility to balance taking care of our employees and
being affordable to our members."
And just to remind folks that one of the major sticking points is severe understaffing. The union says that has caused very dangerous situations
sometimes, nurses having to sleep in their cars during the week because of long shifts and not being able to afford living near where they work.
At the same time, the health system says they have met a goal of hiring 10,000 people this year or by the end of this year. So far, the bargaining
team says a lot of those folks are internal hires and are not enough of new employees added to the system.
So we are tracking how these negotiations go to see if they can come to an agreement before the end of this week.
SOARES: Natasha, thanks.
Still to come tonight, the Comedy Wildlife Photography finalists are revealed and they certainly do not disappoint. We'll have that for you
after this break.
SOARES: Welcome back. Simone Biles has led the U.S. Women's gymnastics team to its seventh consecutive world championship gold medal. Biles'
impressive floor routine pretty much endured the title indulgent (ph) on Wednesday.
She is the first woman to represent the U.S. at six artistic world championships. And it was at this event that Biles made her world debut
back in 2013, winning gold in the floor exercise.
SOARES: Bile (sic) has now won 20 golds, three silver and three bronze world championship metals. She is truly astounding.
And this year's Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Norwegian writer Jon Fosse for his innovative plays and prose.
And, finally tonight, from a kangaroo to a penguin asking for directions, these are the photos. Some of the photos of this year's finalists for the
Comedy Wildlife Photography Award.
The selection was whittled down from thousands of hilarious entries submitted from right around the world. But it was hard to pick. But here is
our favorite. This photo of a great gray owl was taken in Grand Teton National Park.
The photographer, John Blumenkamp, said the owl was mostly posing majestically. But "For a moment or two after doing some elegant stretching,
he/she would slump and give a look of 'is Monday over yet?'"
I'm sure that is something we can all relate to. We'll leave you those photos. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST
MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.