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tv   CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta  CNN  October 1, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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you're live in the cnn "newsroom". i'm jim acosta in ft. myers, florida. the death toll from hurricane ian continues to climb. we know now 65 people here did not survive. search and rescue efforts are still under way. 2 million people in multiple states are without power. this state of florida is facing
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a crisis with no ordinary solution because this was no ordinary storm. look at the staggering scale of destruction. complicating hundreds of rescue efforts. it laid waste to entire towns, robbing people of their homes and livelihoods. some residents are now beginning to pick up the pieces. others have no pieces left to pick up. i just returned from a boat ride with the cageous navy where i saw some of the destruction for myself. this is what ian did to matt lachey in lee county where most of the deaths occurred so far. in matlacha. >> they find one of your neighbors? >> yeah. yeah. they found, like, i think three bodies so far in the water. i know there's more.
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>> cnn's nadia romero is in arcadia. we begin with brian todd in naples. officials said it could take months to recover. we have seen evidence all day long from our boat ride to where you are right now. where do things stand today where you are? >> jim, we're going to show you more evidence of why it's going to take so long to recover. we have been showing you houses and apartments where people have put all their worldly possessions on the curbs, from pwepblgs, fridges, chairs and tables. there is a security issue here. some places remain exposed. ground floor apartments. this was all done by water, by the way. the flood surge came in, tore out the facade of this apartment building, pushed everything out. we're going to sweep over to your right. orlando ruiz and i are going to show apartments to your right. they put up police tape.
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we have heard from neighbors of some of these people who said they have heard and seen actually people walking aimlessly into the apartments, milling in there and rummaging through just kind of loosely. this lady who told us this said she and her neighbors have started a defacto neighborhood patrol. they shine flash lights on people. we have seen police patrolling. again, there is so much to look after regarding what the police have to do here that it is tough to safeguard everything. you have homes really exposed not only to the elements but opportunists coming in here and looting or rummaging through. the water level right to the bottom part of that street sign right there. that rectangular part of the street sign. that's where the water level was according to the people in this neighborhood. that's a security issue. there's also more rescues and safety issues that people have
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to contend with here. you have some of the apartment buildings here. that is a six-story building, not a high rise. i spoke to someone from naples fire department who said they had to conduct 20 rescues from elderly people from high-rise apartments, people who could not use their elevators. we are three days out from the hurricane and people are still stranded in places like this. the fire department has a lot of work ahead. another safety issue, structural fires. there are a lot of structural fires because of power lines loose in houses sparking fires. when they try to restore the power, sometimes the surge causes a short, and that sparks fires. that is what the fire department has been dealing with. they tell us they have had a lot just through last night. it seems like sit a beautiful sunny day out here. what could be an issue but you've got safety and security problems that are still very acute here in naples. >> yeah, brian. the weather is beautiful out
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here in ft. myers and down there in naples as well. the sunshine is just revealing what seems like endless destruction all around us. it is unpwhbelievable to take i all in. nadia row mereeo, you're in an area where a lot of homes are still under water. what are you seeing where you are? >> reporter: jim, the biggest issue is, yes, they are dealing with the destruction of homes, properties. but now they can't leave their neighborhoods. this is highway 70. it has turned into this humanitarian relief effort coordinated by the salvation army, national guard, and local emergency management. cases of water for people to come and pick up. in these white boxes, inside is where you will find different mres for people to have food for their families. this is day three now. if you think about somebody who survived that storm, perhaps the roof has been blown off, homes damaged, they don't have
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electricity and they are trying to just survive now. this is the peace river. locals tell me it is four times as high as it should be. the only way to get around is by boat or plane. that's what's happening here as people try to get themselves across. you're trying to get water across. you're trying to get fuel. and you're trying to get medical supplies. because on the other side of all of this water is a hospital that's up and running. we spoke with locals who say they saw people who were injured in the storm get loaded up on the air boats to get to the hospital to get some help. but people are in really good spirits. despite all that's going on, i want you to listen to one resident who says she believes they're lucky. >> we got hope and we've got each other. we all survived, everyone, on our road. all the animals made it.
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all the people made it. heck, they even had a roost he couldn't trap that even made it. five miles from here, there are cows that drowned. we're lucky. >> reporter: she said they're lucky because they survived the storm. joan said the storm sounded like it was alive. hurricane ian was growling and howling as it just laid on top of them for what felt like forever. another woman came to pick up some of the water and food supplies here. she had running out of blood pressure medicine, jim. that's why you worry about the aftermath of storms where people start running out of life-saving materials like food, water, medicine. that's where the worries come in after the hurricane. jim. nadia, you're absolutely right. there are lines for everything around this area. lines for gas, groceries and so on. but i want to call your
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attention to something that is happening on the scene right now right behind me here in ft. myers. you can see this pile of boats behind me. in the last several minutes, we have had rescuers showing up on the scene, going through the boats to make sure nobody is stuck said inside, anybody injured. this has been happening the last several minutes as we have come on the air for this program. it has been devastating destruction here in south florida. the death toll in florida has jumped to at least 65 people. and we expect that number to continue to go higher from talking to officials, residents. they tell us they think these numbers could go higher. we'll give you the latest as it comes in. we have seen incredible images,
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before and after hurricane ian. this is ft. myers beach. look at that. there are literally empty lots where buildings once stood. and here's a look at sanibel island, hard hit. it has been totally devastated. still cut off from the mainland. so many homes and businesses destroyed all across the region. early estimate at this point for losses is some $47 billion. that's with a "b," billion dollars, which would make this the most expensive storm in florida's history. thank you to all the photographers. joining us by phone is the mayor of ft. myers, kevin anderson. mayor anderson, thanks so much for joining us. i know you're busy. thanks for hopping on the phone just to if i was an update as to what is going on. it just looks like a weather war zone here in your community. the death toll has been raised up to 65. is there anything you're receiving, an indication at this point that that number could go
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higher? . >> well, actually, jim, the city of ft. myers is very compact compared to the rest of the county. we didn't bear the bankrupt of the storm like the beach and the islands did. we had a lot of flooding as of right now in the city of ft. myers, we have not experienced any loss of life. >> okay. that's good news. let me just ask you this. because i've been talking to residents and female who survived the storm, survivors all morning long. one of the anecdotes we are hearing is many people were caught offguard to some extent by hurricane ian. yes, they knew a hurricane was coming to this part of the gulf coast. they thought because the weather forecast said it might head towards tampa ta that it might not come down to the area. not everyone here got the evacuation orders when they thought they might get them. are you getting a sense of that as well? when you talk to your
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constituents, what are you hearing? >> no. some people were caught off guard. because, obviously, it was initially supposed to be slated to hit tampa. but it was a slow, gradual move to the east. so we know with each passing hour, each update, we would be affected more and more. and of course we didn't know it was going to be to this extend. . >> we are showing pictures of mobile homes that were destroyed, boats that were tossed around in your community. where do the cleanup efforts in ft. myers stand at the moment? are you getting power back in some of these areas? . >> we are slowly getting powerback. we have probably 90-some percent of roads being cleared. it will be done seven days a week until it's done.
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companies are working a membership mum of 12 hours a day. they will work seven days a week as well. our biggest challenge is going to be our water. . >> and, mayor anderson, we have noticed lots of gas lines too. what is being done to make sure there is gas coming into this community? it's been a long time. every time one of these major storms strike, people are lining up for gas, for critical supplies. what's being done about that? >> we're working with all the gas companies, the various stations that exist in the city, doing our best to help them keep a full supply on hand. we're monitoring the roads to make sure that the lines are not creating a separate problem. i think as the power comes on you'll see those lines will drop. a lot of them -- they're
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generators. as soon as we get more homes with the power restored, that should slow down the gas lines a little bit. >> yeah. that would certainly help. and just getting on a cell phone and making a phone call is difficult right now. i suppose you're aware of efforts being made to repair that and get that going as well. have you ever seen anything close to this level of destruction before? you have been in this area a long time. i covered hurricane charlotte back in 2004. this seems even worse than that. what's your sense of it? . >> well, i've been in this community since the mid-70s. i was on the police department for 25 years, worked a lot of storms. this is by far the worst one i've ever seen. i just drove through the historic beam park neighborhood. it's not far from the river. it's low lying.
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every house was flooded. their yards are filled with their furniture and carpeting and whatnot. but, i'll tell you, they're resilient. they jumped right out there. they're getting to work restoring their homes. we have businesses that are opening. as tough as this storm is, people are in good spirits. they're determined not to be defeated. >> well, you can say that again, mayor anderson. we have been out all morning long with people in this area. they're tough as nails. they are working to go get life back to normal. this is an unspeakable amount of devastation. best of luck to you. thank you very much for your time. appreciate it. >> thank you. all right. and you're looking at pictures now of the scene here in ft. myers. the boats that were flown around behind me. as you know, hurricane ian has caused lots of problems in the carolinas. north carolina, at least four
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deaths are being attributed to the storm. the governor's office announced three people were killed in separate vehicle incidents friday. today, a 65-year-old man died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator in a closed garage. his wife is hospitalized. that's a reminder to folks out there to be extremely careful f. they're in these hard-hit areas, be extremely careful with generators, running vehicles, making sure your garage door is open if you're doing that sort of thing. you don't want to mess around with carbon monoxide poisoning. that happens almost every time one of these s storms happenen. if you want to help go to >> how climate change fueled hurricane ian's fur. bill nye is here with us. he has lots of expertise. (vo) the older. the physically challenged. the last to chosen.
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staggering images from ft. myers beach, florida, where officials say 90% of the buildings have been destroyed. in some parts you can't even get through on on a bicycle. and harrowing audio of a woman trapped for several hours. listen to this. >> i am up to my neck in water. >> okay. all right. >> i am so cold. >> hopy, i'm losing you. i can't hear you. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> that woman is fortunately safe tonight. she is still in shock and picking up the pieces after losing everything she had. some of the hardest hit areas that ian produced produced only once in a thousand years.
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this is sanibel island, which has been devastated. we know 65 people have been killed statewide. joining me is the man known to audiences worldwide as bill nye the science guy and the host of peacock original series "the end is nye." bill, so glad to have you with us. we appreciate it. obviously, hurricanes come, hurricanes go. there are a lot of folks out there who will say, you know, why are we even getting into the climate change aspect of all of this. but it's important. as i'm sure you'll explain, bill, these hurricanes are getting more causal, more deadly, more costly because of climate change. what have you picked up on? >> well, we've been fighting this fight for 40 years. pick a number. and these hurricanes, this hurricane is exactly the kind of thing that's predicted by every climate model. hurricanes would not only get more forceful, that the winds
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would be stronger because the wind, the speed of the wind is what knocks over buildings. but the big thing is how big it's getting, how big they're getting, rather. ian was this enormous storm. wider than the entire peninsula of florida. and of course there are more people living there than ever. and we will all pitch in to help people recover. wow, the economic data is staggering. and we are all ultimately going to get involved in paying for it. so the sooner acknowledge we have a problem, the sooner we can get to work on it. >> everybody. this kind of hurricane is exactly as predicted by climate models. the world is getting warmer because there are so many people breathing and burning the atmosphere. >> yeah. and, bill, one of the things that we noticed with hurricane ian is it actually intensified
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before it made landfall and became an even more powerful hurricane. there were some forecasts earlier on in the week before this thing made landfall that it was going to weaken and said it accelerated. and i know climate scientists have been warning about this time. again, when these powerful hurricanes get into the gulf of mexico, they become super charged by the warm waters. can you explain that? >> so, the energy that drives a hurricane is heat. as the atmosphere gets warmer, heat ends up in the ocean. then cool air, just slightly cooler air, squeezes warm air up. you get this rising column of air. it does this when it hits the stratus tpaoer. because there is gravity, the two accelerations combine to make these enormous swirling storms. we saw in this case and with ian, if you were to the south and east, you got this enormous
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storm surge for a little while in clearwater, to the north and west of the enormous diameter of the storm. the whole clearwater bay was drained briefly. we have to face the problem before we're going to do anything about it. when people ask what can we do about climate change, there's all sorts of things we can do. we can address this. we can have better building codes. we can bury power lines, better infrastructure, more resilient escape routes, trains in place. but we can have these things ready. but if we don't acknowledge there's a problem, we're not going to get it done. and so i just want to ask conservative lawmakers to cut it out. i understand that you want to get re-elected. i understand that you have this
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primary system which motivates you to get these hard-core conservative voters engaged. but, look, you've -- just cut it out. and so last night on competitive network, conservative network, an infamous, notorious host showed this graph and is cherry-picking the hurricane data, saying it had to make landfall in the atlantic seaboard, it had to come ashore, and it had to have a certain -- these data -- it's not an out-and-out lie, but it is absolutely misleading. and i'm just asking everybody on the other side to cut it out. we've got hundreds of thousands of people suffering tremendously. now, come on. let's get to work. this is the united states. come on, let's be world leaders
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for crying out loud. back to you, jim. >> yeah. bill, i mean, when we talk to people out here on the ground, i talked to several folks this morning who were saying this. you know, we just need to come together as a country. and it's in moments like this when a very deeply divided nation can come togetherings particularly when it comes to helping an area like southwest florida get back on its feet, which they are desperately trying to do. thank you for highlighting some of the issues at play with all of this. obviously, climate change is making these hurricanes more ferocious, more deadly, more costly. and, bill, thanks very much for your time. bill nye is the host of "the end is n nye" on peacock. always great having bill on. thank you so much.h. appreciate it. quick break. we'll be back with more live coverage of hurricane ian's aftermath in a few moments. new patients without insurance can get a free complete exam and x-rays, and 20 percent off treatment plans.
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and back to our coverage of hurricane ian's aftermath in just a moment. this just in to cnn, seven americans detained in venezuela have now been freed. president biden making the announcement moments ago. let's get to cnn's arlette sainz at the white house. some of them were arrested four years ago. what more is the president saying and what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, jim, president biden in a statement this afternoon announced the release of seven americans who had been detained in venezuela, including five of the so-called sit going six. the remaining five who had been in venezuela after being held in that country for years were
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released today. there's also another individual named matthew heating, who has been detained in venezuela since september of 2020. he is a marine veteran. and another individual nameds on manned chuan who had been detained seven months. they are all returning to their families. the president announcing this in a statement where he said they will be reunited with their families soon. these seven americans were swapped in a swap for venezuela that included two nephews of the first lady of venezuela. two were convicted of tkrulg smuggling in 2016. they had been sentenced to 18 years in prison. president biden granted them clemency in exchange for the seven americans.
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certainly this is good news for the seven families waiting for their loved ones to come home. >> okay. arlette were sainz, thank you for the update. russia's war entering a new ana dangerous phase as they annex four parts of ukraine. what could they be planning next? and the latest on the ground in southwest florida still recovering from hurricane ian. we'll be right back. when you take it again the next day. so betty can be the rcode beat conductor. ♪ rcode go betty!ctor. let's be more than o allergies! zyrtec striving to reach the ultimate goal of zero poverty takes more than everyone's hopes and dreams. at citi, it takes a financial commitment to companies who empower people to lift themselves up. it takes funding and building on our know-how to help communities grow.
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anymore; is that correct? how are things going? . >> home is there. it was pretty nerve-racking. i foolishly stayed on the island because i run a condominium complex on the island and i wanted to make sure everything was okay. we never had the storm surge before. part of the dining room roof collapsed right into the dining room. that's when we started to get concerned. and we had to spend the night there. what also was nerve-racking, the storm surge was five feet high. other areas of the island it was between 7 and 10 feet high. i actually had quite a few people that are in the service industry that did stay on the
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island. . >> i was going to ask you. you had to be rescued? >> the next day the helicopters were going overhead, and i was standing out there waving. and finally the national guard out of jacksonville, florida, came by in a chip okay and landed in front of the house. they stayed there an hour and a half. they had an atv. they explored the whole neighborhood up and down the west gulf. they had probably almost 30 of my neighbors that lived right on the the island that stayed as well. >> their lives were lost because people stayed on the island, didn't get out soon enough. >> i have friends on the island right now. i know of one person that died at the dunes. there might be another one that i have heard has passed away. but i have only heard of
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actually two fatalities. i have friends thaw on the island riding around on bicycles checking on everyone. >> what's the level of destruction like on the island? >> massive. massive. when you go to the east end of the island, there's just a lot of destruction. the houses surrounding the house are all gone. when you go to the west end of the island, the old restaurants up there, they're all gone. the street going to captiva is now a beach. was there enough time to evacuate? is it just battle hardened floridians used to storms saying, we'll be all right, we'll ride it out? . >> well, a lot of people have very expensive, well-built homes on sanibel. and they felt with their multimillion dollar homes built
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like fortresses, they would be fine. we never had a storm surge before. we had hurricanes before. so people that have their own generators and whatnot, they're used to staying on the island. but the storm surge between five, seven, ten feet, that's what really did us in. that was a much higher wind than we anticipated >> do you feel lucky to be alive? . >> i do. yes, i do. i felt very fortunate. we lost a home. i lost two cars. but i do have a place in ft. myers that i'm now staying at with electricity. i have a fantastic family. my daughter and son are reaching out to help me. my niece, two nieces are driving down here. i have another niece that's already arrived with food. >> it's about family right now. >> it's all about family, love,
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and friends. i can't tell you how many people have reached out to myself and my family. you know, i live on the island with my niece. my sister happened to be here as well, my niece's husband. and the dog. i can't forget the dog. billy. >> and i'm glad you're with us to tell this tale because people need to take it to heart when authorities issue those evacuation orders, urge people to get out. it is important to heed the warnings. i understand floridians are tough. when you haven't been through something like this before, it's tempting to stay behind. >> i will never stay on the island again. . >> i'm sure you won't. >> that is for sure. . >> andy boyle, thank you very much for your time. we appreciate it. thank you. . >> thank you. >> please stay safe. . >> and i just want to wish the best for everyone. there are so many people who are homeless now. it's just very sad and heartbreaking. . >> it truly is. >> my heart goes out to everybody. >> ours as well. thank you, andy.
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stand by real quick. we'll stay on top of the the storm's recovery effort. a big story out of ukraine. a putin ally using the russian leader to use low-yield nuclear weapons in ukraine after putin illegally annexed referendums in the region that the west dismissed as shams. president biden said putin's actions have no legitimacy. joining me now to talk about this is the great granddaughter of soviet leader nikita crucial chef. she's been with us on this program as well. nina, thank you for joining us. once again, we appreciate it. we turn to the situation in ukraine from the devastation in florida. putin has concocted this political fantasy whereby holding this ceremony and declaring the regions as 35r9 of russia.
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he will talk about the war being a matter of self-defense, i suppose. he said he will use whatever weapons he has at his disposal to defend the russian state. will this escalate to the point of using nuclear weapons? . >> well, thank you, jim. i don't want to speculate about the nuclear weapons. i think if putin has tools, if he needs to use them, he will use them. that's all i'm going to say. i'm slightly hardened that the ally, the chechen fighter said putin needs to use this small tactical weapons. because normally what we experience in the last seven months, if he says something it is actually not going to be true. so that gives me a little bit of hope. yes, it was a tremendous propaganda setup yesterday in
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the kremlin. and it was just pomp and circumstance and all this kind of crazy rhetoric against the west and for the russian future which suggests that if you're a man and woman, that's how you need to fight the west because you don't have binary genders. there's no economies being taken into consideration, no future of connectivity. i mean, it was just absolutely -- i teach propaganda, so i know my propaganda. that was an incredibly insane speech in this regard. but also i looked at the audience. i looked at his elite supporters, at the government. and the government looked from bored to devastated to barely wanting to be there. there were no smiles. i grew up in a political family, as you mentioned. i know my political meetings. and that was not a supportive meeting in any way. and i do find this disconnect
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also quite interesting and something that we want to contemplate for the future. >> and this illegal land grab comes after sham referendums were held in four occupied areas where citizens were forced to vote at gunpoint, which is unbelievable when you contemplate that. how is that even voting? what have you been hearing? . >> same thing. it's even worse than when crimea referendum was happening in 2014. at the time it was sort of a peaceful referendum, more peaceful. and crimeans, many of them, did want to be part of russia. but i don't see -- i think there are some russians or some ukrainian with russian origins that may want to be part of it. but after what we have seen, i can't imagine people really wanting incident voluntarily. but once again, the country is in the grasp of putin.
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and after 22 years, it's very difficult to protest. but it is -- i mean, that yesterday was just another step for escalation. and today i've been talking -- yesterday we all talked. and today i'm talking to people in moscow imin moscow talking to people. and it is absolute hopelessness for what the future is. and you have seen pictures of people fleeing this partial mobilization he announced. he said we need to unite and defend the country because now it is going to be an argument. and yet the russians don't want to defend this because this is clearly putin's war. and very few of them really want to have anything to do with it. >> yeah. i was going to ask you. we saw incredible images of thousands and thousands of russians waiting to cross the border, many fighting age, many fearing the possibility of being drafted to fight putin's war, something many don't want to do.
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you are working to get a young man out of the country. can you tell us about that. >> i was very lucky. i did get him out of the country. he's fine. but what is just a remarkable, especially yesterday with that pomp and circumstance, the announcement that those republics are now home with russia and russians are happy and excited and they have this sham celebration on the red square and actually another relative of mine was driving around moscow to see what kind of celebration is elsewhere, not in the red square. and she was telling me that just police and police and police. and really very few people. so it really is just turning into this remarkable dystopian novel we are living in. there is one rhetoric. and then you completely absolute divorce from reality. but, yes, thank you. my nephew is fine. he is not sleeping on the floor. as many of those who fled chose
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to run away and be homeless, many of them in the countries that let them in rather than fight this war that putin says every russian supports. >> that is a remarkable statement all by itself. nina, thank you so much. we appreciate it. thanks for your time. all right. coming up, more live coverage in store for you in just a few moments from florida in the aftermath of h hurricane ian. that is next. 65 people,e, that is the latest estimate from authorities here in florida. 65 people killed in the state. that number could go higher as the hours go on. the latest in just a few moments. with hand-crafted steakburgers and chicken sandwiches. there's a perfect plate for everyone. great value for all your favorites only from ihop. download the app and earn free food with every oer. there's a perfect plate for everyone.
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welcome back to cnn newsroom. i'm jim acosta in ft. myers, florida. we'll have more on the story in moments. it's a big day for former president jimmy carter. he turns 98 years old. he's the oldest living president ever. he's celebrating quietly at home, with his wife and family. carter, who served from 1977-1981, as the 39th president is a nobel peace prize winner and has spoken extensively around the world about democracy, human rights and health. before getting into politics he was a peanut farmer and navy lieutenant. happy birthday to former
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president jimmy carter, now celebrating 98th birthday. for aging seniors, caring for their dog and what will happen when they pass becomes a challenge. that's where this cnn hero comes in. carrey broker is on a mission to help all kinds, the two-legged and four-legged. >> peace of mind rescue has a dual mission, to help senior dogs and senior people. we talk in dogs from senior citizens who can no longer care for them or passed away. and we take in senior dogs from animal shelters. we have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs. we have helped close to 2,000 senior citizens. in our society, sometimes the elderly, senior people or senior dogs get ignored. so, we want to c cherish all of
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