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Florida Condo Collapse Death Toll Now at Nine; President Biden Orders Airstrikes on Iraq and Syria; Delta Variant of the Coronavirus a Big Threat; New Strict Lockdowns in South Africa, Bangladesh and Australia; Family Describes Escape From Falling Tower; HK Arrests Former Apple Daily Journalist; Princes William And Harry To Unveil Princess Diana Statue. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 28, 2021 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Paula Newton. Coming up right here on "CNN Newsroom," family members get a sobering firsthand look at the collapsed Surfside condo building where their loved ones disappeared.

South Africa, now under strict lockdown. Officials there hoping to head off a new surge of COVID cases fueled by the deadly delta variant. We are live in Johannesburg with more.

And, the government crackdown on a Hong Kong newspaper isn't over. Details on the latest journalist to be arrested and where police found him.

Rescue crews are fighting weather, time, and unfortunately, fading hope at the site of a collapse building in Surfside, Florida. The death toll there has now risen to nine and more than 150 people are unaccounted for as of Sunday.

Meantime, disturbing new details are emerging about that building. E- mails have come to light showing a structural engineering firm that inspected the building in 2018, suggested repairs would have cost more than $9 million.

Now, this tragedy has prompted the city of Miami to recommend inspections of all buildings over six stories and more than 40 years old. And they want those reports back within 45 days. This, sadly, comes as the hope of finding anyone alive is growing, unfortunately, more and more remote.

Rescue crews are pushing through overnight hours and families, of course, are face an agonizing wait, desperate for any word on the fate of their loved ones. On Sunday, they were given an opportunity to visit the site of the collapse. The mayor of Miami-Dade County says it was a private, and of course, deeply emotional moment.


DANIELLA LEVINE CALVA, MAYOR OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We did give all of the families an opportunity to privately visit the site. This was something that many of the family members had requested and so our teams worked to set up something to accommodate them, and I think that it turned out very well and they were very grateful for the opportunity.

And we ask you to continue to pray for all of them, all of the families, during this impossibly difficult time as they are waiting for news. And to continue to pray for our first responders who continue to toil to find loved ones.


NEWTON (on camera): Now, the hope does remain for families and officials praying for that 11th hour miracle. Surfside's mayor spoke earlier to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


CHARLES BURKETT, MAYOR OF SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: We are very early in this process and we're just, you know, we need to focus on supporting the families and providing 100 percent attention to the rescue effort.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And one of the rescuers, the search and rescue team members who are heroes in my perspective, they're risking their own lives to go into that rubble.

BURKETT: I see them every morning and every afternoon.

BLITZER: Yes. What are they telling you about the chances that more will be found alive?

BURKETT: I think we all believe and expect miracles. We all believe and expect miracles. Just like the Israeli representative said a few minutes ago. We do expect that miracle to happen, and many of them.

BLITZER: And it's going to continue, the search and rescue operation?

BURKETT: There's nothing else. You know, like I said --

BLITZER: Is there anything else you need?

BURKETT: Right. Good point. We got every resource that we could ever want. We've got the White House, we've got the state government, we've got the governors, our two senators, we've got our mayor, we've got Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We got everything we need and more. We just need some luck, and we had it. You know, we were having the rains, we were having the fire, those have both subsided and now it's 100 percent focused on getting those people out of there.

BLITZER: I know you've been speaking with some of the family members who are so worried about their missing relatives, moms, and dads, brothers, and sisters.


BLITZER: How are those sessions going? What are these folks saying to you because we've heard some of them are, obviously and understandably, frustrated? They want answers.

BURKETT: They're saying, do more. Please do more. Please do more. Please put more people there. And, you know, the answer is, we're doing exactly that. We have armies ready to go, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's not going to stop until we pull everybody out.


NEWTON (on camera): You know, the mayor has said often that they have the resources. What they needed was luck. And they got some, improved weather conditions are adding the hope as rescue workers are able to make more progress, sifting through the debris.

Ryan Young reports from outside the hotel where family members have been gathering.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a very difficult few days for these families. We've been outside this hotel for several days. We've been talking to family members. They have been very upset, but they have started to get more updates and that is something that they've desperately wanted.

They've also were trying to coordinate a trip over to the site where, obviously, workers are still trying to work around the clock to save anyone they can. We saw three busloads in terms of three groups going over in buses, to the site.

They finally they got their opportunity to be there. Now, we know extra crews have been added. The operation has actually seen speed up over the last few days. The weather was a lot better than before. Now, look at this video from Jason Pizzo, he's a state senator. You can see in this video just how dangerous the situation is from first responders as they try to save anyone that they can.

But, for family members, this has been tough. When you speak to that state senator though, you can understand what rescuers are dealing with.


JASON PIZZO, FLORIDA STATE SENATE DEMOCRAT: But right now, there is just really, just universal homogenous sadness, regardless of anyone's backgrounds. So what we tell the families is, you know, they're working as fast as they possibly can, and if you have a loved one in a pile of rubble, that's never fast enough.


YOUNG (on camera): Yes, it was really here outside the hotel where we saw groups of people coming out. Obviously, very about some of the information they were learning. It does seem like authorities have stepped up on the briefings with them. That's given them a lot more information, but this has been very difficult.

Over the last few days, they've been talking with us pretty much nonstop, but this is one of those times where you can see it has been more difficult than usual, especially with the death toll rising.

Reporting from Surfside, Ryan Young, CNN.

NEWTON: Now, while those families you just saw were able to visit the site of the collapse on Sunday, dozens of others watching this tragedy unfold from abroad. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Bogota, Columbia with some more.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: The tragedy of the collapsed building in Surfside, south of Florida, reverberate far beyond the United States border with dozens of families across South America, who remain an apprehension over the fate of their dear ones gone missing when the building collapsed over three days ago.

At least 31 people from six different countries in South America are believed to have been inside the condominium when the building fell down. And every hour that passes makes the possibility of safely rescuing them more remote.

Nevertheless, rescue officials are urging to keep their hopes alive, pointing that survivors have been found after several days in similar circumstances. And consulates across the region are working to provide expedited visas and the travel options so that relatives can travel to Miami to follow the search and rescue operations from the site.

And, some of those gone missing, including the family of the First Lady of Paraguay, were traveling to the United States in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. And, their loved ones, back in South America can now only hope to see them back home against all the odds. For CNN, this Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

NEWTON: Joining me now is Fiorella Terenzi. She is witness to the condo collapse and an astrophysicist at Florida International University. I have to admit that I cannot even comprehend what it was like for you to witness this, let alone have to go through the aftermath. Please describe exactly what that night was like for you, what you saw and what you heard.

FIORELLA TERENZI, ASTROPHYSICIST, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: The night of the tragedy, I was asleep and suddenly I got woken up. And this very loud sound, this thundering, this bang, with some metallic undertone kept going. And the more I paid attention to it, the more it sound very strange, something I never heard.

So, I decided to go to the balcony. The balcony looks down on Collins Avenue and I could see white dust, debris, and then I knew something strange or something unfortunately, a tragedy must have happened. So, I went downstairs.

As soon as I went downstairs from the side, the east side of Collins, I could look to the Champlain Tower south, and I could see the building. The slice of the building, still standing up.


However, I did notice that the building had horizontal cracks on every floor. I was very stressed already. I was wondering, what happened? What was the cause? So I crossed Collins and on the west side bound of the curb on Collins, that is when I saw it. More than --

NEWTON: And so we are looking at -- and we're looking at the pictures as you're describing this, but do you describe, was there panic? I mean, when you say you saw debris, exactly how close are you at this point in time to the actual collapsed condominium?

TERENZI: The sound of 1:30. I went downstairs at around 1:50. I am one building away from the Champlain Towers South. Within those 10, 15 minutes, police and fire truck arrive, but they are wasn't rubbed off, so, there was four or five people already in Collins like me, taking a look, taking picture, wondering what's going on, asking.

We are panicked. We didn't know how to explain what we were saying. Imagine having friends in the building that you see the day before, sipping coffee. A pregnant woman, the elder woman, people you see daily. They are your neighbor. You know where they live. And that part of the building was flattened down, 12 stories, compacted down to few floors.

NEWTON: And I'd imagined -- I'm sorry, I've imagined it's become even more profound for you since as the days have worn on. You've realized the enormity of what's happened to those friends.

TERENZI: The day of the tragedy, it's almost like you are in denial. You ask yourself, if what you are seeing, it's real. Are my eyes really seeing this catastrophe? This loss of life? Then, as time goes by, you think that you can heal, but you don't.

I thought that when I voluntarily evacuated my building and I flew almost out of desperation to Los Angeles where I am right now in Woodland Hills, I was hoping to heal my emotional turmoil, but I can't. I'm here physically, but my mind is there. I'm reviewing those images, looking for answer, try to understand.

NEWTON: Yes, you can just hear in her voice, can't you? And we thank Fiorella Terenzi for sharing her experience with us.

Now, to more news, U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered military airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. The Defense Department says the strikes, targeted operational and weapon storage facilities.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they area in response to a "serious and specific threat." There has been a series of attacks in recent months by Iranian-backed groups targeting U.S. and allied forces in the region. CNN's Joe Johns has more from the White House.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Just minutes before President Biden was expected to arrive back here at the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the word started going out that the president had ordered airstrikes on Iran-backed militants in Iraq and Syria, including weapons storage facilities on the border between the two countries.

Administration officials called it an act of self-defense and said it was done in order to protect U.S. military personnel who are stationed along the border. The president did not elaborate, but he did tell reporters, he will have more to talk about the situation on Monday. Joe Johns, CNN, the White House.

NEWTON: Ahead for us here on CNN, South Africa now facing a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the delta variant. We will go live to Johannesburg.

We'll also get the latest from Sydney, now under tighter restrictions prompted by a growing local cluster of cases. That's ahead.



NEWTON (on camera): The former chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the delta coronavirus variant poses a big threat to communities with low vaccination rates. Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS who is most at risk right now.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION COMMISSIONER: There are social compartments in the U.S., both geographic and social compartments where you have under vaccination and you don't have a lot of immunity in the population as particularly rural parts in the south, particularly you see what's happening in Missouri right now where about 60 percent of the infections are the delta variants.

And so that's a reflection of the fact they have parts of the United States where we don't have a lot of vaccination and we also don't have a lot prior infections. Those are going to be the more vulnerable parts of this country.


NEWTON (on camera): Now, there are more than 150 million people fully vaccinated in the United States. So far, that is coming up short of President Biden's goal of 160 million people fully vaccinated by July 4th. Dr. Gottlieb says the U.S. needs to adopt a more grassroots campaign in his opinion to urge people to get their shots.

A strict national lockdown meantime is in place across South Africa this hour. David McKenzie is there. He joins us now live from Johannesburg. And it really has been alarming to see how quickly those cases are racking up in South Africa again.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, that is right Paula. And with people thinking maybe the worst is over of this pandemic across the world, certainly, that's not the case here in South Africa or in many parts of the African continent.


The South African president, getting up a very grave address to the nation on Sunday saying that the country is going under a strict lockdown. Some of the strictest conditions like we have seen here since the very beginning of the pandemic. Schools will be closed, restaurants will be closed except for takeout. No gatherings, of any kind will be allowed except for some kinds funerals.

It's a really harsh lockdown for at least two weeks, but I expect that might be extended. They say it's because of the delta variant, say scientists, that is ripping through this country in a much faster and more accelerated rate than the previous two waves. Here is the president of South Africa.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: Once again, we find ourselves at a defining moment in our fight against this disease. Let us call on every bit of strength we have. Let us summon our reserves of courage and hold firm until this wave, too, passes over.


MCKENZIEL (on camera): Now, Paula, what many people are angry about in South Africa is the lack of a vaccine rollout in any meaningful way. Sure, vaccines are being put into arms, but critics say that it has been slow and it started late. And because of that, the vaccination drive, at least at this stage, scientists say, won't have an impact on this third wave.

It's really centered here in this province where I am sitting. I've been speaking to doctors and nurses over the last few days. Hospitals are jam-packed, sometimes turning away ambulances. It really is a very dire situation for the medical community, both the public and the private sector. And while many of the parts of the world seem to be getting over this pandemic, here, certainly, that's not the case.

NEWTON: Yes. It is such a stark split screen, if you will because here, I'm in Atlanta and there was a basketball game today and, you know, literally thousands of people on the streets without mask on, no pandemic.

And there you have South Africa going into another strict lockdown. Dave McKenzie, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Crowds of people, meantime, in Bangladesh rush to beat new travel restrictions and other lockdown measures prompted by a wave of new COVID infections and a rising death toll. Public transportation is now suspended until Thursday and earlier restrictions on movement and activities are extended yet again, until mid-July.

Many in Bangladesh have a largely ignored public health measures. You only have to take a look at the pictures to know that. But now, law enforcement is being deployed to enforce the rules. And now to Australia where officials are tightening coronavirus

restrictions as new cases emerge right around the country. Queensland, and Western Australia have imposed stronger rules, and the stay-at- home order is now in effect in the greater Sydney area through July 9th.

Plus, separate, shorter restrictions are in place in parts of the northern territories. CNN producer Angus Watson joins us now live from Sydney. It is interesting to see a place that has coped so well with the coronavirus. Still really beat the beginning stages of what could be one of the strictest lockdowns they've ever seen.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): That's right, Paula. Australia has done well when it comes to COVID-19. This is the first lockdown here in Sydney in over a year. But what's really concerning authorities this time, is the delta variant. The presence of that variant here as the cause of the vast majority of these cases.

So people are taking it very seriously, no place more so than just behind me at this mass testing clinic where people are rolling up, they've been all day, to get tested for COVID-19 -- 58,000 tests just in the state of New South Wales here.

Yesterday, 18 positive cases. The authorities were quite pleased with that, but again, they're telling people to stay at home for the next two weeks unless it's absolutely necessary. The other big concern here, Paula, is Australia's population is under vaccinated.

Under 5 percent of the population here is fully vaccinated, and that's both the supply and a hesitancy issue. Australia has relied on the AstraZeneca vaccine. It's the only vaccine that's made here domestically and people here are nervous about getting it due to that very rare chance of the blood clot problem that surfaced with AstraZeneca vaccines.

People say that the government has been slow to come up with other solutions. Here's what one person down at Bondi who was following the rules just to get some exercise earlier, had to say about that.


RYAN SEETO, SYDNEY RESIDENT: I think this has been an entire failure if I'm honest. Most of this could've been prevented if we rolled that out a lot faster and with a lot more haste.


WATSON (on camera): SO that person is saying that this lockdown could have been presented if the government had rolled out the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccines faster. They'll hope everybody here at the government can push it forward over the next coming weeks while they're lockdown at home, Paula?


NEWTON: Yes. And right now, less than 5 percent of the country fully vaccinated, a long way to go there. Angus Watson, really appreciate the update there from Sydney.

Now, the coronavirus has sidelined many of the United Kingdom's top military officials. Now, the defense ministry announced that its armed forces head, General Nick Carter, is isolating at home after testing positive. Six other senior military officials, including the defense secretary are in quarantine after coming into contact with him last week. New infections in the U.K. have been ticking up in recent days.

Stories of survival amid the grief. We'll hear from one family, you will want to hear this, that race to escape from the Florida condo building as it was literally collapsing all around them.

Plus, the collapse of that Florida condo is raising major questions about the safety of older high-rises. Should there be more concern about the buildings on the Florida coast? I'll speak to an expert, just ahead.



BURKETT: I expect miracles. I'm expecting many miracles.


NEWTON (on camera): We all hope so as well. That was the mayor of Surfside, Florida. There are now local officials and families alike are holding out for that miracle as emergency crews work through the night in hopes of reaching survivors of Thursday's condo collapse.

Now, rescuers have cut a nearly 40-meter trench across the rubble in an effort to suppress smoke and fires. The mayor of Miami-Dade County explained how important it is at this point to the recovery.



DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MAYOR OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We're cutting a deep trench to assist us. It's now 125 feet in length into the pile, it's 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep. Now this trench is very critical to the continuation of the search and rescue process.

We've continued all night to build that - that trench and as a result of that we were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble, as well as additional human remains.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: Harrowing stories of survival are also emerging. One family staying on the 11th floor was jolted awake and made a run for it as the building literally collapsed all around them. They detailed their escape to our Wolf Blitzer.


that's when you - we really were made aware of the devastation to the building. Look to the left and the apartment is half sheared off. If I look right ahead, which is where the elevators are supposed to be, it was just two of the elevator shafts.

And thankfully, the emergency exit light to the staircase was open, was lit up. So we sprinted to the staircase and opened that door, only to realize that the wall had partially collapsed there. At that moment when it really hit me that we're racing against time to get to the bottom of the building before the entire thing came down - caved in. At least that was my, my initial gut.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And Justin, I understand that when you made it down, what about eight floors or so, you came across an elderly woman who clearly needed help so - so what happened next?

JUSTIN WILLS, SURVIVED CONDO COLLAPSE: We just kind of came to a little bit of a halt and just - just tried to help her get out as quickly as possible because if she doesn't get out, we don't get out. And you know, I think she was kind of a blessing in disguise when - when you think about the whole situation because it takes your mind off of a bit. Kind of - kind of going towards her and finding a way to get out collectively.

And you know, you just try and help people out and it takes your mind completely off of it. You know, we had to get her above the wall that had collapsed initially in the garage. And then you know, we were on one side of the wall, my dad was on the other side. We threw her kind of over, it's - it was the only way we were going to do it and then trying to get her onto the pool deck was the next kind of challenge and I just put her on my shoulder and did kind of the same thing.

We just tried to toss her up onto the pool deck and I think once we got up to that, we all started to take a sigh of relief and you feel a little bit safe once you once you see the beach and you get onto the sand. And you just - you just count your blessings.


NEWTON: Isn't your heart racing just listening to that description? It was like a horror movie. Now the collapse has prompted Miami to recommend all buildings taller than six storeys and older than 40 years be inspected. Surfside mayor says an engineering firm will inspect other Champlain Tower buildings beginning on Tuesday.

And Boca Raton's mayor tells CNN, his city is working on tougher standards. Earlier I spoke with geologist, Harold Wanless. I asked him if there are places people are living at this minute that might be unsafe.


HAROLD WANLESS, GEOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: The not too distant future, I always look at it as a mortgage cycle. You buy a condo or a house and you hope to be able to sell it and have it still standing in 30 years. And as I've said, we could have a two or three foot rise in sea level within the next 30 years. So that's - that puts almost every coastal building at risk for - if not flooding, at some frequency, at least the groundwater, the salient groundwater moving up into the lower parts of the structure or foundation. So I think--

NEWTON: And to - yes.

WANLESS: So I think - but right now you know, it's a hard question to say no, absolutely not because there are areas that have major subsidence, like areas along, excuse me, the Louisiana and Eastern Texas coast that that are having a sea level rise rate already of over three feet per century so those have low lying buildings that are already feeling the effects of increased salt.

And there are other areas, there are areas around some of the major cities that have had subsidence that - and they are already moving capitals out of where they are because of subsidence and flooding. All those are areas that already effect being affected by saltwater intrusion.


NEWTON: Ahead for us, Hong Kong's media crackdown continues. Police have arrested yet another journalist who worked for Apple Daily. Why authorities say he's a risk to national security? More when we return.



NEWTON: Hong Kong's fight against the Apple Daily newspaper is not over. A former executive editor of the pro-democracy paper was arrested by Police Sunday at Hong Kong International Airport as he was attempting to leave the region. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong. You've been following all the details on this.

And Kristie, I have to say, it has been shocking, really to see how profoundly and how quickly this new national security law has just changed seemingly everything in Hong Kong.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula this week in fact marks one year since the National Security Law was imposed on Hong Kong and it is fundamentally transformed virtually all aspects of society here. Education, civil society as well as journalism and press freedom.

Local media reports that Fung Wai-kong attempted to leave the Hong Kong International Airport, attempted to leave Hong Kong but was arrested at the airport, this taking place on Sunday. He is reportedly the latest of staffer of the now closed pro-democracy daily, Apple Daily to be arrested under the National Security Law. He was a top editor and columnist there.

Now we have reached out to Hong Kong Police for comment. In addition to the statement that they released, they would not name him by name. But they did say a 57-year old local man was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday for conspiring to collude with foreign forces and foreign countries to endanger national security.

The Hong Kong Police say that he was detained, he has been interrogated, and he also warned that there will be - there may be further arrests down the line. Of course it was last week when the Apple Daily closed after its assets were frozen. And after a number of top editors were arrested under the National Security Law.

Critics say that the law has eroded Hong Kong's autonomy as well as its freedoms including press freedoms. Authorities here dispute that. In fact, we heard from the chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam last week who vehemently denied that The National Security Law was being used to stifle press freedom. This is what she said.



CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Don't try to accuse the Hong Kong authorities for using the national security law as a tool to suppress the media or to stifle the freedom of expression.


LU STOUT: Now, in another move that took place on Sunday also being interpreted as a blow to press freedom here in the territory, we learned that the popular online pro-democracy news outlet, Stand News has now issued a series of measures in response to the closure of the Apple Daily, including the fact that number of its directors have stepped down and is now asking its readership to no longer crowdsource, no longer give crowdfunding to the platform, saying that they will no longer accept monthly sponsorships, and a number of online Op-Eds and commentaries of the Stand News are in the process of being taken down.

Western governments from the UK to the U.S. have condemned the eroding press freedom in Hong Kong, but the authorities are adamant. They are unwavering in support for the law. Back to you.

NEWTON: Yes, and that certainly was Carrie Lam as we heard her there. A story that still continues to develop. Kristie, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Now in the United States, stay tuned for more CNN Newsroom. For everyone else, World Sport is next.



NEWTON: Nearly 20 million people in the western U.S. are under excessive heat warnings. Some areas broke records on Sunday and how. Get these temperatures, as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit or 45 degrees Celsius. Eugene, Oregon is one of those places. It hit an all- time high of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so hot the U.S. Olympic track and field trials had to be suspended there. The final day of the event resumed just a few hours ago.

Now, the extreme heat has forced officials in Portland, Oregon to suspend some train and streetcar services. And they're urging people not to travel unless it's an emergency. CNN's Camila Bernal is in Portland with more.


CAMILA BERNAL. CNN CORRESPONDENT: All time high temperature records shattered here in Portland over the weekend. During the day, triple digit heat, and at night, no relief with temperatures in the 70s and 80s not giving the body enough time to cool down. According to county officials, more than a dozen people had to be taken to the emergency room or a clinic with heat related incidents. They also say that most of these cases, people under the age of 65, which is why they're warning that no matter how old you are, this can be dangerous and even deadly.

The problem is that a lot of people here don't have air conditioning. So to solve for that, they have set up a number of cooling centers around the city for people to go and at least cool off a bit. So we do know that they're trying to help at least the most vulnerable populations, among them, the elderly, the homeless, and even pets.

We spoke to the coordinator of one of these cooling centers and here's what he told us.

PETER TISO, COOLING CENTER, COORDINATOR: Our goal here is to really just protect health and safety by offering people a cooler place to be and that's - that's really like the baseline of what we're trying to offer here. Just the space, food, water, the basics, and to just keep the space calm, safe and accessible for everybody.

BERNAL: And this unprecedented and dangerous heatwave will continue to affect people in this region over the next couple of days. Along the west coast, more than 20 million people are under some sort of heat advisory or warning. Camila Bernal, CNN, Portland.


NEWTON: Now the oppressive heat extends as far as Canada, the village of Lytton, British Columbia reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday, over 46 degrees Celsius, marking the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. Joining me now is meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. You know, I was telling you last hour, you cannot even fathom these temperatures in terms of what it's like to be out there right now.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, especially when you factor in with no air conditioning in this region and the region, Paula is just not acclimated to temperatures nearly this high. So you put this together, it is a dangerous scenario. You noted 116 degrees on Sunday, all-time hottest temperature ever observed in Canada.

And of course, not just here, but pretty expansive area of coverage of heat stretches with the warnings touching the Arctic Circle. So it really speaks to the widespread coverage and the severity of what's happening here. And speaking of 116, do you know what temperature was today in Kuwait? 114 degrees. So again, you compare what's happening in British Columbia warmer than

what happens in Kuwait this time of year, really speaks to what has been occurring here over the past several days and upwards of 300 record temperatures possible scattered about the western United States, many of them centered into the northwestern region.

And this goes really through Friday, which brings us to a holiday weekend, next weekend, the Fourth of July weekend. But notice 20 million plus here on the western side of the U.S., when you look at these numbers, 112 all-time hottest there in Portland. Previous record set on Saturday 108, which had been attained a couple of other times in previous records there.

In Seattle, 104 degrees, which sits at 40 degrees Celsius, breaking the 2009 all-time record of 103. That's their all-time observation and tell you what, we get another day of it with much more heat into Monday afternoon. But when you take heat, and really why this is so important and significant here in the western U.S., for the U.S. in general, about 130 people every single year lose their lives to excessive heat, and that is the top weather killer.

It's not tornadoes, it's certainly isn't hurricanes, they get a lot of coverage. But you put those together, those numbers of those two big weather events, tornadoes and hurricanes. That's comparable to what happens on an annual basis when it comes to heat waves. And of course, this is as oppressive as it gets with records set on Saturday, topped on Sunday and we expect that one through 12 to also be topped again come Monday.

Seattle you see where the records stand where the average is 73 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year. There goes Portland aiming for 116 degrees, that would be warmer than Abu Dhabi on Monday afternoon. Notice that cools off significantly and by significantly, we're talking well above the average of 77 and summer, just about a week old.


And with all that said, there are about 15,000 customers, not people customers, so about, say 50,000 or 60,000 people scattered about the western U.S. in the northwest without power at this hour, and it includes my parents. Speaking to them, they're saying they're concerned about not only of course, losing the fan, that was their only saving grace without air conditioning, but also the refrigerator losing the electricity as well as the food going bad without power in the region.

NEWTON: Yes, and I'm sorry to hear that Pedram I know you're from that area, and I'm glad that you pointed out they open these cooling centers for a reason. Those who are elderly, vulnerable, use them because you may need them. Pedram, thank you appreciate it.

Now the UK's Prince William and Prince Harry will reconnect this week amid growing speculation about a royal rift between the brothers. They plan to unveil a memorial celebrating their late mother, Princess Diana. Now the brothers commissioned the statue way back in 2017 for the 20th anniversary of Diana's death on Thursday.

It will be placed in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. This will be the first time of course that the Royal siblings will see each other since Prince Philip's funeral on April. The two were seen talking quietly at the event. Since then, rumors about their fractured relationship have circulated in British tabloids.

They say Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex decision to step away from Royal Life along with of course, that bombshell interview that the couple gave to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year. All are known to be catalysts. Diane Clehane joins me now. She's the Royals Editor for Best Life.

And I will say as well you have followed Princess Diana and her life, you've written a book, when you see this happening now, her two sons under some acrimony, reuniting to honor her this way. What do you think it will mean, not just for her legacy, but for these two brothers?

DIANE CLEHANE, ROYALS EDITOR, BEST LIFE: I think it comes at a really strange time because no one in a million years could have imagined that this is where we wind up after all these years after her death. So I think in a way, it's quite concerning and a little sad that the feud between William and Harry is somewhat overshadowed what should be a really important event, because the Royals were having a lot of discussion, and they weren't really sure how they wanted to honor Diana.

So this statue really meant something. So in order for them to sort of really, you know, have done this, and then have everything sort of fall sort of by the wayside because of COVID, etc, it's kind of sad. But I think the essence of the fact that they are honoring Diana, and that they are recognizing that she was an extraordinary person and what she meant to the Royals, and she modernized the Royals.

So in a way that that's somewhat lost in the shuffle. But it's still being recognized. I think that's quite significant.

NEWTON: And in terms of it being significant, it was obviously difficult and all of Prince Harry's trials and tribulations with the royal family right now to not see his mother. And really, it's a mirror image of what his mother had gone through. And what do you think in terms of the way he's handled it, because he's certainly chosen a completely different way to handle it?

CLEHANE: I think it's taken a lot of people by surprise, myself included. I have followed Diana since she was first Prince Charles' fiance. So I think that in a lot of ways, people that saw Harry and William, they're Diana's boys that, she called them so it's quite shocking, I think, for even someone like myself, who has covered them extensively and has a lot of information in terms of how their relationships evolved.

But I don't think honestly, a lot of people say oh, she'd be so proud of him. And she would be proud of him for wanting to follow his true nature and gain independence and perhaps go to the States. But she would be very, very disappointed at the fact that he's decided to throw his brother under the bus and criticize the family in such a way because first and foremost, she was a monarchist, and she wanted William's future secured as a king as much as she wanted Harry to find his way.

So I think that it's really surprising that he's gone to this length and honestly, I've been asking myself this question why exactly does he continue to do this when so many of these things come out and are refuted like this whole business about you know, the family cutting him off, when it turns out that Charles has actually funded them for quite some time.

It's quite curious. I think there's a lot we still don't know if you can believe that.

NEWTON: Yes, I know, I can imagine. I do want to get to the interpersonal relationships here. And you know, it's said the Prince Harry has a very close relationship with the Queen.


NEWTON: Very - Do you think that that will play a part in this because famously the Queen perhaps did not have the best relationship with Diana?

CLEHANE: Yes, I think it's interesting. I mean, I think that Harry has been given a wide berth. You know, one has to wonder if this was someone else doing this. You know, she is very close to him. She did do a lot of different things to make Meghan comfortable that she did not do for others.

For example, as you say, you know, she wasn't - didn't have the best relationship with Diana and when Diana was a fiance, she wasn't invited to - nor was Kate Middleton. So she already went sort of over and above to make Meghan comfortable. Harry has been, you know, had a very close relationship with her throughout his life. He had a close relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh too.


I mean, he, he inherited all his military affiliations. So there is some sense that she wants to keep them in the family. And I think that's actually what's been quite kind of concerning and frustrating to a lot of people who don't understand, you know, why is she doing this?

She understands that family is a separate thing than the monarchy in a lot ways. But in most cases, she's always done her very best to sort of put the monarchy behind, I'm sorry, in front of everything. So it's very interesting that she's done all these different things to make sure that Harry and Meghan feel as she says, much love members of the family.

NEWTON: Understood it's going to be quite a week, certainly as this all unfolds.


NEWTON: Diane Clehane, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

CLEHANE: Thanks for having me.

NEWTON: Now, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles cannot be stopped. She's officially secured a spot on the U.S. women's team headed to Tokyo next month. Biles earned an automatic spot on the team with her high score at the trials on Sunday. This will be her second Olympics. She took home four golds from the Rio Games in 2016.

Biles has hinted she may even try to compete in Paris in 2024. Now one famous U.S. athlete who won't be at the Olympics, tennis star Serena Williams. The 23 time Grand Slam champ says there are a lot of reasons she won't attend the Tokyo games but she didn't list any of them.

Williams will be seeking her 24th major title and eighth Wimbledon win starting Tuesday in the first round of that tournament as it gets underway. I want to thank you for watching CNN. I am Paula Newton. My colleague Rosemary Church is up next with another hour of CNN Newsroom.