tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN August 7, 2020 1:00am-2:00am PDT
hello and welcome to you, our viewers joining us in the united states and all around the world. you're watching "cnn newsroom" and i'm kim brunhuber. warnings ignored, dangers overlooked and devastating consequences. who's to blame for tuesday's devastating explosion. plus president trump takes action against tiktok and wechat and what it means for users. the u.s. government lifts its global coronavirus do not travel advisory. americans who want to go abroad shouldn't pack their bags just yet.
the investigation into beirut's devastating explosion reportedly has led to the detention of 16 port employees and cnn has learned the bank accounts belonging to both the port director and the customs director have been frozen. nearly 3,000 tons of hazardous ammonium nitrate stored in the port warehouse is the suspected source of the blast. shock has quickly turned to outrage towards the government. documents show officials were warned repeatedly about the hazardous stockpile but nothing was ever done. cnn's jomana karachi is joining us from istanbul. so many elements to this horrific story.
what's the latest? >> reporter: kim, as you mentioned there, the focus, of course, is that shipment of ammonium nitrate. nearly 3,000 metric tons of it that sat in the beirut port for more than six years. now we know, we believe how it ended up there, it was a shipment headed to mozambique. financial disputes on the port. it ended up stopping in beirut, confiscated. the beirut port authorities confiscated the consignment and kept it there in a warehouse. now what we understand happened since over the years multiple times according to local officials is that they notified authorities several times in memos that apparently seemed to be documented, whether it's in court documents or emails saying they needed to resolve the situation. they needed to move this dangerous, hazardous material out of the port.
now ammonium nitrate is used as an agricultural fertilizer. it's used as an explosive for mining, but it is a highly explosive, hazardous material and it was being kept in the heart of the capital. so the questions right now, the focus of the investigation is, one, what led to the initial spark? what ignited that blast but also who knew about this being there. why did they do nothing about it for so long and all indications at this point seem to be pointing to negligence, incompetence, all symptoms of this non-functioning bureaucracy in lebanon and we see it in other parts of the region. and this is why people are so angered, outraged by this, because they believe this could have been so easily avoided. this could have been prevented.
so right now you're hearing more and more calls, kim, for an international investigation, because while authorities there have promised a transparent investigation, they have promised to hold those responsible accountable, the population does not trust their authorities to be able to deliver any sort of credible and transparent investigation because you're basically asking the authorities that are being blamed for this to investigate themselves. so you're hearing these calls from people in lebanon and also a number of different international organizations like human rights watch, amnesty international all saying there should be an international mechanism, an investigation that's short of a political interference to hold accountable those responsible for this and to provide justice for the people of beirut. >> that's what so many people want. thank you so much, jomana
karachi in istanbul. thank you. people are showing uncommon resilience in the aftermath of tuesday's democracy. they took upon themselves to clean up the widespread damage. beneath their resolve is deepening anger that this disaster might have been avoidable. cnn's arwa damon in beirut. >> could there be anyone left alive? it's a hope dozens of family members of the missing cling to. knowing that it's unlikely but not wanting to accept that their loved one could be gone. others are laid to rest. lives utterly shattered in the trail of destruction by tuesday's explosion in lebanon's capitol city. those who survived are trying to pick up the pieces. glass and debris crunch below the feet of an army of volunteers stepping in where the government is not.
attempting to clean up the rubble of billions of dollars of damage. for others, it's all too much. the intensity of the emotional roller coaster that is being lebanese has left them. what should we feel, asks one resident? you can't feel anything in lebanon. there's nothing to be sad about anymore, he says. as the cleanup continues, a rage grows across the country at how a new disaster could happen, still without any clear explanation or apology. as french president emmanuel macron toured the wreckage, the first foreign leader to step foot here, he was surrounded by hundreds of lebanese calling for revolution urging him, begging him, do something. he vowed france would stand with the lebanese people but cautioned its leaders. >> translator: the requirement of a friend in times of need is to rush to the scene when times are hard but not to hand out
blank checks to a system not trusted by the people. >> reporter: from outside and inside the country demands for answers grow louder for an independent probe. this is not just about accountability or how the country is going to rebuild emotionally and physically. it's about how it's going to find its soul. ♪ >> reporter: arwa damon, cnn, beirut. on wednesday luna safwan wrote a powerful piece for the washington post about how people are feeling in their country. we're pleased to have her here now. from beirut, welcome. appreciate you speaking with us. start out with, i mean, so many people have dramatic, unimaginable at least to us sitting here stories of how they experienced the explosion. just take us through what you and your family experienced.
>> thank you for having me, first. i don't live inside the city in beirut so the last thing we expected is that we would feel an explosion as hit in different areas in lebanon. the aftermath of the explosion around me is almost recognizable. what we felt at home was that the whole house was shaking at first when the first explosion happened, and then when the second explosion happened, a few of us actually flew across the hallway. and we live in a relatively -- in a relatively sided area, not in the middle of the city of beirut. it was shocking. it was traumatizing. especially that every single person in beirut and its subbeshs felt as this explosion occurred right under their house. >> it's unbelievable. i mean, the people there are so
resilient between wars, assassinations, you've lived through so many disasters and unrest. how does this one compare? >> well, right now i think that all of us are very hesitant in using the word resilient because all of us are feeling helpless. we don't know where to start picking the pieces from. we understand that we've been resilient for years, but when something like this happens to top an economic crisis, we thought that was it with the economic crisis in lebanon. then this happened. all of these tiny bits of resilience that lebanese happen were also shattered across the country with this explosion. it's very hard to pick up the pieces. you can feel sadness overcomes positivity in every single way in this country and that's very sad to see for people who were so motivated to stay in lebanon
and do whatever they can. >> that sadness you wrote so eloquently. today most lebanese have no faith that this political class or government will bring any hope to lebanon. this could be a new trigger to revolt or a trigger to surrender to total helplessness. that seems so bleak. >> i know for certain that every single lebanese person, regardless of the political differences, is more than sad at the moment. everyone is angry. i am just -- as every lebanese, i am hoping that lebanese and us will put this into action. really, this is the last trigger. to live in a city and i've been thinking about this for hours, we've been in a city that is a ticking time bomb for years,
since 2014, 2015 when this shipment was saved in lebanon, when it was put aside in lebanon at the port. no one said anything about it so it could have been any of us at any moment for all of these years. you feel that you are not actually alive because you could have died at any moment, lucky, lucky between brackets because are we really lucky to be alive among all of this destruction? we're hoping that this would really push people to demand more than justice, to demand answers and transparency that will put every politician into its place and hold them responsible for what they have done because this is something that we don't -- this is something that we didn't do as lebanese. so this was the aim of this conclusion that i wrote in my piece. >> well, listen, i wish something gives you a bit more
hope in the next coming days and weeks and we certainly hope that, you know, you can bounce back, indeed. thank you so much for speaking with us, luna safwan in beirut. we really appreciate it. we're going to take a short break here. just ahead. los angeles says it could be lights out for house parties as some people still aren't taking the coronavirus seriously. plus, the clock is ticking for the popular chinese apps tiktok and we chat after donald trump sets a deadline. he says sell them or be banned in the u.s. stay tuned. you're watching "cnn newsroom." , buryiodors in a flowery fog. switch to febreze air effects! febreze eliminates even the toughest odors from the air. and it uses a 100% natural propellant to leave behind a pleasant scent you'll love.
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the u.s. has now surpassed 160,000 covid-19 deaths and some researchers say that number could almost double by the end of the year. the institute for health metrics and evaluation predicts almost 300,000 u.s. deaths by december, but it says tens of thousands of lives could be saved if 95% of americans consistently wear masks. the world health organization has released new findings.
it claims coronavirus is starting to hit younger people. most people affected are 25 to 64 years old, but cases in infants, children and teens have risen sharply. the top u.s. infectious disease doctor says it's time for the country to get serious in order to lower numbers. >> this is a predictor of trouble ahead. >> reporter: a new warning for nine u.s. cities and california's central valley where the rate of people testing positive for coronavirus is rising. >> it's a clear indication that you are getting an uptick in cases which inevitably, as we've seen in the southern states, leads to surges and then you get hospitalizations and then you get deaths. >> reporter: in a recording of a private phone call with state and local officials, the white house's coronavirus task force coordinator, dr. deborah birx, urging these areas to take measures to mitigate the spread.
>> like avoiding crowds and using masks. arguing data from previous hot spots show such measures work. anthony fauci says these measures could bring the numbers down to manageable levels by election day. >> if we pay attention to the fundamental tenants of infection control and diminution of transmission, we could be way down in november. >> reporter: but far too many people haven't gotten the message. in los angeles, house parties like this lead authorities to say they'll start turning off power and water to people. >> these have become nightclubs. some have shown 10% of people cause 80% of the spread. >> reporter: since the beginning of june the infection rate in los angeles county tripled between 30 to 39-year-olds and nearly quadruples. dr. fauci pleading. >> don't be a weak link in the
chain, be a very strong part of the chain of ultimately getting us down. >> reporter: in a stunning move, the town of sturgis, south dakota, preparing to host a motorcycle rally. expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people. no masks required. >> we want to stress personal responsibility to our visitors and our residents as this gathering moves forward. >> reporter: while new infections, it's not all good news. mississippi has the highest positivity rate at nearly 26% while louisiana has the most per capita. the positive trends likely don't show the whole picture. meanwhile, the number of daily deaths on the rise in 15 states and stubbornly high nationwide averaging more than 1,000 a day for the past seven days. the university of washington now predicting nearly 300,000 u.s. deaths from covid by december 1st. as more schools reopen for in
person classes, cases of coronavirus are popping up daily. >> we're trying to open up schools in the middle of a raging forest fire and we can't do that. >> outbreaks showing proof learning is risky which is why 7 million children will begin the year remotely. >> reporter: one cautionary tale about schools. just another sign of how difficult it is to reopen schools where the virus is still surging. athena jones, cnn, new york. president trump is making good on his threat to crack down on two popular chinese owned social media apps. he signed executive orders banning ticktock and we chat from operating in the u.s. unless they're sold. he says the apps are effectively spy wear.
so many twists and turns, what's the latest. >> the two executive orders came out last night focusing on tiktok and we chat saying the u.s. will ban the apps within 45 days unless they are taken over by an american company. we know microsoft is currently in talks to buy some of tiktok's business. u.s. officials are worried about national security concerns, how they collect data. ironically also, they also cited that tiktok is used to spread disinformation around coronavirus which is a little bit ironic considering trump himself has had some posts on social media removed for spreading disinformation around coronavirus. tiktok has become one of the biggest hits of the last few years, but almost since the moment it launched it's had a rather bumpy ride. take a look.
>> reporter: for many people around the world tiktok has become a life line of joy. >> people rely on this app for happiness sometimes. i can read hundreds of thousands of comments from my videos alone this video really made my day. i get messages all the time saying you really helped me during hard times. >> reporter: the app owned by chinese company bytedance changed the 22-year-old's life. he amassed 7 million followers. after they merged under tiktok and launched worldwide, it hit 1 million downloads. controversy followed. >> hi, guys. i'm going to -- >> reporter: it's been accused of censorship of a 17-year-old girl who criticized the chinese
government and the uighur centers. they apologized blaming the decision on human error. u.s. lawmakers were warning the app could pose a security threat. tiktok said in a statement it stores all of the u.s. data in the united states. by december the pentagon urged people to delete it n. june 2020 the threat was totally banned. though tiktok's chinese ownership is worrisome -- >> this is based around a tiny seed of something which could be a real concern.
if you are, again, an activist in hong kong, if you are a whistle-blower of chinese government corruption, i would not recommend installing tick toik on your phone. if you are a soldier deployed in north africa or the middle east by the united states, i would not recommend installing tiktok on your phone, but, you know, for your average dancing teenager, probably it's fine. >> as the app becomes a diplomatic flash point, tiktok's legion of influencers and fans desperately hope to won't be their last dance. kim, one thing this didn't mention, a few days ago president trump mentioned whatever sale ordeal might come out of microsoft tiktok negotiations, he thinks the u.s. should get a cut. that executive order that we saw
last night did not make any mention of the u.s. getting a cut of the deal. >> that was a little confusing. thanks so much. cnn's hadas gold in london. appreciate it. for the second time in two days china has sentenced a canadian citizen to death for his role in a drug trafficking ring. the man was convicted of charges that he and his accomplices manufactured and attempted to distribute amphetamines. one of his associates was previously sentenced to death for the same crimes. we'll have more on the explosion in beirut just ahead. we're cleaning up from a disaster in the age of coronavirus is presenting unique challenges. you're watching "cnn newsroom." please do stay with us. businesses are starting to bounce back.
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at least 16 employees of beirut's port have been detained as authorities begin to investigate the cause of tuesday's deadly explosion. that's according to a report by lebanese national news. a warehouse full of volatile ammonium nitrate is the suspected source of the massive blast which caused damage up to 10 kilometers away. only the port's badly damaged grain silos, you can see there, are still standing. at least 137 people were killed, 5,000 were injured. the former captain of the ship that brought the materials to beirut says he doesn't understand why it stayed in the warehouse for so many years.
>> translator: as far as i know the cargo was unloaded in 2014, 2015. no one ever claimed it. it was possible to register it as dangerous and it was, indeed, dangerous, and then move it to some fields, fertilize the soil, and plough it and solve the problem. i have no idea why that was not done. >> although the investigation is just beginning, it's clear that the management of the beirut port is becoming a central focus. let's bring in cnn's nic robertson with the latest from london. you heard at least the captain again sort of reiterating what we know. in his own words, this should have been dealt with. we've had, you know, a dozen arrests, a few resignations so far. what is the latest on the investigation? >> reporter: well, indeed. the ship's owners had written to the ministry of transport and the port authority in beirut in the summer of 2014, almost a
year after that cargo had been impounded there, telling those officials that they thought it was dangerous. somebody at the transport ministry writes back saying we've informed the justice ministry and the naval authorities, but what's striking about this particular situation now and the arrest is that, you kn know, you have the transport ministry saying they contacted the justice ministry. they had been writing to the justice ministry themselves warning of the situation of the danger of these chemicals being stored in this warehouse, yet these two officials have now been arrested, which does show you that suspicion of some description is falling on the people who managed the warehouse and the bank accounts being
frozen of those two officials indicates that perhaps the government thought there was something nefarious going on with their accounts. was there some corruption? was there some, you know, underhand efforts to sell or continue to hold that material there that they were benefitting from financially? that seems to be the early phase of the investigation. also the investigation i understand from an intelligence official is that they continue to search for clues to support what they believe may be the case, that this big explosion and the fire just before it, was triggered by a bomb of some description. so that also a line of investigation relative to the actual explosion rather than the possible being responsible.
nic robertson. the after math. the blast impacted nearly every home and business yet cnn's ben wedeman shows us how many are wasting no time jumping into action determined to rebuild. >> reporter: for beirut residents, life is divided between what came before and what came after. a staff member of the barbell house gym captured these images on his phone. she was unharmed. a trainer in the gym -- >> as soon as i saw nothing happened to me, i ran out, went to the gym tried to help people out. a lot of people were wounded, on the floor, disoriented. we picked them up, took them outside. took them to the hospital. >> reporter: less than two days
later, they were doing an accounting. father was sitting in the pews and immediately assumed it was a political assassination in the streets outside. >> translator: god save us. god save us, he recalls. we wanted to get out of here with the least possible damage. glass shards torn to the pews mostly empty because of coronavirus restrictions. two stained glass panels were spared, one depicting jesus, the other a lebanese saint renowned for miracles. not a miracle but perhaps a glimmer of hope in lebanon's spirit, far from broken, is on vivid display.
social distancing has been sacrificed in an effort to cling to a severity and it is based on divisions between the religious sects. they sing home with the popular song with the refrain knotts ♪ ♪ >> lebanon will come back. the city is bruised, bleeding and battered. ben wedeman, cnn, beirut. global outpouring of assistance is being organized for beirut, but there are concerns about where that money will go. so for more on that, let's go live to london and cnn's isa suarez. how desperate is the need and how great are the obstacles to delivering it? >> reporter: well, kim, the need
is immense and so are the obstacles that i'm sure many have told you in the last few days that this perhaps could be a catalyst for change in the beginning of a political era. you start as president macron said. as lebanon begins to clear the rubble, really the need for help, for international support is clear. the european commission has pledged $40 million. gulf countries are following suit with financial aid, search and rescue teams. what french president emmanuel macron said and outlined not just for those in lebanon but also the international community, any money, any international aid, kim, that is indeed put together as a fund for lebanon will not be given to those at the very top, those
politicians who have been blamed for the mismanagement. so there will be no blank check. >> reporter: amidst the rubble, an expression of sympathy and the promise of support. >> translator: in the coming days we will organize more supporters in france and on a european level. i would like to organize european cooperation and more widely international cooperation. >> reporter: the french president is the first world leader to visit the blast site. his visit came with warning. >> translator: they've been fighting against corruption. if these reforms are not carried out, lebanon will continue to sink. >> reporter: with each partying hour the scale becomes clearer.
the european union has already pledged almost $14 million. italy has already dispatched plane loads of medical aide and medical workers. from the united kingdom, a message of condolence from the royal family along with a government pledge of nearly $7 million and humanitarian assistance. >> we are going to stand by the lebanese people in their time of need. >> reporter: many other countries including kuwait, and it will continue 8-2. >> we will stand with them as they grapple with this horrible tragedy. >> reporter: it was in free fall with antigovernment protests, skyrocketing protests and a plummeting currency. then came the coronavirus
pandemic and now this. for a country that had slow the itself down. they're trying to rebuild. >> reporter: and given that economic backdrop as well as the political backdrop, kim, what is clear is that lebanon cannot do this alone, that it does need international help and international aid. so emmanuel macron said that he was going to set up an international aid conference for lebanon, and as he said that, he said he would donate, that there would be transparent governors. kim? >> we appreciate it.
thank you so much. esa suarez in london. the state department has lifted the global do not travel advisory. don't pack your bags just yet. we'll explain what it means coming up just ahead. downy helps prevent stretching by conditioning fibers, so clothes look newer, longer. downy and it's done. walk to end alzheimer's alzheis everywhere.tion on every sidewalk, track, and trail across this country. all of us are raising funds for one goal: a world without alzheimer's and all other dementia. because this disease isn't waiting, neither are you. take the first step on your walk right now. go to alz dot org slash walk. ok. it was an accident. he was tickling me and... [laughing] stop it!
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well, the u.s. state department has lifted the global do not travel advisory. this comes as many countries lift their coronavirus infections but it comes as americans face travel restrictions from other countries as cases soar in the u.s. >> reporter: the state department has lifted its global do not travel advisory that took place in march as the coronavirus pandemic was sweeping the globe. so americans are going to have to look country by country for
the travel advisories because the state situation is improving, there are certain areas where the situation is deteriorating. they want to givethis doesn't ms are going to be able to travel anywhere they like. the e.u. isee out americans. there are 160,000 deaths in the u.s. alone. that is why other countriesand with canada and mexico, there is still no non-essential travel that isn't allowed at thisatwoo department. many in europe have been watching the u.s. numbers closely as they seek to contain the virus in their own borders. starting this weekend, germany will require people arriving ighn has the details.
>> rr: the new normal for anyone arriving at german airports. get your suitcase and then get a coronavirus test. toby rosen just got back home to berlin. >> the riens are pretty short. 30 minutes. we get results in the next 24 hours. >> reporter: germany is offering all travelers who arrive here free coronavirus tests, and starting saturday people coming from high risk areas will be required to get tested on arrival. the german government says it doesn't want the situations to deteriorate here the way it has in the united states with tens of thousands happening every day. that's why they're taking the dramatic step for everyone who enters the country a coronavirus. germany has the capacity for 1.2 million tests a week. the pandemic remains under control here.
there's only been one day with 1,000 new infections. >> even as president trump continues to falsely claim the u.s. is doing better than countries like germany. >> yes, start to go up again. right here the lowest. we're lower than the world. >> lower than the world? >> lower than europe. >> in what? in what? >> take a look. right here. >> oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. i'm doing death as a population. that's where the u.s. is really bad. johns hopkins shows both south korea and germany have a much lower number of coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents. today germany's health minister said the drastic increase in testing is part of a broad
strategy to prevent new lockdowns and to save lives. it rises from an obligation for us as a society to look after and protect each other, he says, and there are other strict measures in place. travelers from high risk countries who are not residents of europe are banned from coming here altogether. the u.s. is considered a high risk country with the trump administration still failing to contain the outbreak. >> fred pleitgen joins me live from berlin. the u.s. being used as a cautionary tale. those tests you showed there, they're quick, they're free, but how effective have they been? >> reporter: yeah. it's one of the big questions, kim, that the german governor has had to answer because people are fg to be what time.
they said so far they certainly believe that it is worth it because they say of the folks that they've tested, the voluntary coronavirus tests coming into the airports, 2% have tested positive for covid-19 at some airport apparently it's 3% that have tested positive. they certainly were able to filter some people out. of course, what the german government is saying is that every person that they get at the border that they're able to filter out, bring into quarantine who has coronavirus is someone who's not going to infect other people here in this country. so from the german government's perspective they believe it is an important tool. certainly right now as they really try to combat this new spike in infections of the coronavirus over 1100 cases being recorded here in this country in the past day, kim. >> just shows the difference in testing between germany and here in the u.s. thank you so much, fred pleitgen live in berlin.
there are some things that just won't wait, even when everything is falling apart. and babies are one such event as you can see in this event. a woman was giving birth when the explosion ripped through the building. the baby is a boy named george and both he and his mom are fine. dad's first baby video, you are seeing it now, quite something. good to see some good news out of this devastation. here's another view of the moment of the explosion. a nani and some children are watching the fire and the blast went off and the shock wave hit their building. they were on the 17th floor. you see the nanny shielding two of the children while another stumbles in confusion after the
impact. obviously just a tur ri fieg experience for all of them. >> well, it's said that people who have experienced traumatic events often remember them in slow motion and for so many of those in beirut, the memory of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing when tuesday's explosion occurred has left an indelible emotional scar. a moment in their lives like no other.
>> it took 30 days to do the same destruction. we had it in one explosion. it is a catastrophe. i've never seen something like that. if you are yo' seeing those videos and hearing those stories and you'd like to help the victims of tuesday's blast in beirut, you can log on to our impact your world website. it's cnn.com/impact. now some groups are still assessing the needs, but you can count on cnn to keep you updated. again, the address is cnn.com/impact. well, thank you very much for spending your time with us. i'm kim brunhuber. "early start" is up next. you're watching cnn. stay with us. these folks, they don't have time to go to the post office
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the number of dead americans could double by december. the only way to prevent it, wear a mask. and breaking overnight. the president following through with a ban on two chinese apps. the consequences of the decision could go further than you think. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world, this is "early start." welcome to boris sanchez. i'm christine romans. >> thanks, christine. i'm here for laura jarrett. 5 a.m. in new