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China Celebrates 100 Years Of Communist Party; Bill Cosby Released From Jail; Tigrayan Forces Reject Ethiopian Military Ceasefire; China's Ruling Communist Party Marks Centennial; Judge Denies November Request to Remove Pop Star's Father as Co-Conservator; Bill Cosby Released from Prison in Stunning Court Reversal. Aired 2- 2:45a ET

Aired July 1, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[02:00:21]

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to have you is joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. And I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead, China is commemorating 100 years of its Chinese Communist Party, but not everyone in the region is celebrating.

Plus, with the Delta variant spreading at a rapid pace, I'll speak to a cardiologist about how to combat vaccine hesitancy.

And Bill Cosby is out of jail. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court releasing him on a technicality much the surprise of the women who accused him of sexual assault.

Good to have you with us. Well, Beijing is marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party with an enormous choreographed display of the party's unassailable control.

The message from Chinese leaders the Communist Party is the sole reason modern China has become a formidable world power. There is no mention of the party's brutal cultural war, its repression of political dissent, or its legacy of human rights abuses. Addressing tens of thousands in Tiananmen Square. President Xi Jinping said China will never be bullied or oppressed by foreign forces.

He also singled out Taiwan saying its reunification with the mainland remains the Communist Party's historic mission. We get more now from CNN Steven Jiang in Tiananmen Square.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: For the Chinese Communist Party this day is about putting on an enormous show to remind the people what a party has given them. It's about traveling down the memory lane but very selectively, as we have heard from the parties and a country's most powerful leader in decades Xi Jinping said in that speech, extolling the party's virtuals and listing his accomplishments. Many which undeniable from its humble beginning, the party has become the world's most powerful political organization boasting more than 95 million members commanding the world's second biggest economy with a fast modernizing military that increasingly unnerved the United States. But how the party has gotten here, the journey has not always been as glorious as the official history portrays.

There is its ruthless nature. Its harsh crackdown on any forms of dissent both within and outside of party, resulting in the deaths of millions of Chinese. These dark chapters obviously being downplayed, or even outright censored here in China, including the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters right here in Tiananmen Square in 1989. But the party has always managed to not only survive, but even thrive after these episodes because of its willingness and ability to shift ideologies and priorities.

That's why the leadership launched its reform and opening policy after the tumultuous cultural evolution, ushering in decades of rapid economic growth. That's also why Xi Jinping has been reinserting the party into every aspect of Chinese society. Not just in politics and military but also in private business and private life to ensure the party maintains its monopoly on power in the age of new technologies and social media.

The party has taken advantage of its top down power structure to deliver economic benefits and effective governance for ordinary people across the country, lifting millions out of poverty, and injecting a sense of national pride. Thanks to its growing technological prowess and increasing global cloud. And all of this obviously now being used by the party to tout the superiority if it's a system, even as the Straw Man leader's policies and ambitions increasingly clash with those of the United States and other liberal democracies of the world.

Steven Jiang, CNN, Beijing.

CHURCH: And now let's bring in Christie Lu stout. She joins us live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. And of course, amid all the celebrations, President Xi had some very blunt words for China's critics and also a very clear message for Hong Kong, and its residents. So what all did he have to say on that?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Chinese President Xi Jinping, he called for the ongoing maintenance of national security and stability in Hong Kong. He made those comments in a lengthy speech delivered earlier today in Beijing by the Chinese president, also the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

[02:05:0]

STOUT: Xi Jinping marked 100 years of party rule, he praised the party's achievements over the last 100 years, praising it for bringing about national rejuvenation. And while he made the claim that China does not bully other countries, he had this sort of pointed words directed at China's rivals. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): At the same time, the Chinese people will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress and enslave us. Anyone who tries to do so will find themselves in a collision course, with a great wall of steel forged by 1.4 billion people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: For months and weeks leading up to this day, the centennial, the Chinese Communist Party, China has been absolutely saturated with wall to wall coverage and propaganda touting the achievements of the party with very little, if not any mention of the challenges that the party in the country has been facing growing income inequality, falling birth rates, the quashing of dissent, human rights abuses.

Instead, we heard about the economic achievements that China has achieved, as well as how it's become a high-tech superpower. And that was highlighted and underscored by a message sent down from space earlier today by the three Chinese astronauts on board the Tianhe Space Module and China's own space station congratulating the party for its centennial. But observers point out that this day is not just about the party. It's about a person.

It's about Chinese president and the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, and how he is the core leader of China. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAEME SMITH, DEPARTMENT OF PACIFIC AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: He's powerful until things run against him. So at the moment, he's doing quite a good job of controlling the narrative around which China is going and it's from the outside appears to be an increasingly hardline narrative. But he does certainly have seems to have a firm grip than he had on power in 2013, that's for sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: And a firmer grip on Hong Kong is well today is also the 24th anniversary of the handover of China. I'm sorry -- the handover of Hong Kong to China from British rule. It's also the one-year anniversary of the national security law being imposed on the territory in Hong Kong has fundamentally changed. In the span of one year, we're seeing national security education being rolled out in the schools.

The closure of a popular anti-Beijing tabloid, the Apple Daily which took place last week. Also the arrests of 117 people under the law including journalists, pro-democracy lawmakers, activists and students, even a 15-year-old girl. Hong Kong has utterly been transformed in one year as the party flexes its muscles in Beijing celebrating 100 years of communist rule. Back to you.

CHURCH: Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks. What's happening on the ground in Ethiopia's Tigray region remains unclear but the U.N. says it's extremely fluid and unpredictable. Ethiopian troops have withdrawn from the regional capital Mekelle but the Prime Minister says they left voluntarily for political reasons. His claim can't be independently verified because of a communications blackout. CNN's Larry Madowo has more now from Nairobi.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After declaring a unilateral ceasefire and leaving Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. Now the Ethiopian military is trying to reframe the conversation and the narrative about why exactly they left. The military saying now that this Mekelle is no longer the center of gravity it once was, and the Tigrayan fighters did not present an existential threat to the nation.

And they withdrew so that their humanitarian needs of this region can be addressed. Access for aid workers and withdrawing Eritrean troops that remain there. This is Redwan Hussein speaking to the press.

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REDWAN HUSSEIN, ETHIOPIAN STATE MINISTER (through translator): First, the fighting needed to stop which we stopped. Secondly, if we were still there, even if we stopped fighting, the government would still be blamed for killing people or hindering access. So we decided to take our troops out altogether in a transparent manner for everyone to see. It was a political decision, not a military one. If the political decision were reversed, the military could enter Mekelle even now.

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MADOWO: The Tigrayan Defense Forces have rejected this unilateral ceasefire declared by the Ethiopian government and communications still remains down in the area, no phone connectivity, no internet. It's difficult to access and tell exactly what's going on. There's going to be a U.N. Security Council meeting about this region in this conflict on Friday. The Ethiopian government is also warning that if that provokes, the word is provoke they are using, they can easily reenter Mekelle at any time.

And this is the spectrum of conflict that still hangs over this region which has seen a bloody brutal conflict for eight months, and it looks like if this continues, the standoff, the people who are in dire need of aid or food or help, will still be very greatly affected by what happens.

[02:10:12

MCDONNELL: Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.

CHURCH: The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is calling on the Taliban to end its ongoing violence as the militants gain ground across Afghanistan. That statement coming with the U.S. now just days away from completing its troop withdrawal from the country. CNN's Anna Coren is in Kabul for us.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: America's longest war could be coming to a close within a matter of days, as the remaining U.S. troops here in Afghanistan prepared to leave. The deadline set by President Biden was September 11th. However, the withdrawal has been brought forward two months as more than 900 C-17 Plane loads of equipment and troops have already returned home.

A thousand U.S. soldiers will remain in country. 600 to protect the U.S. Embassy while the remainder will secure the International Airport in the interim until Turkish troops are in place to take over. U.S. Commander General Austin Scott Miller overseeing the withdrawal has warned of an impending civil war in Afghanistan after U.S. troops leave. Saying, "This should be a concern for the world."

It comes as the security situation in the country rapidly deteriorates with the Taliban launching offenses across the country, particularly in the north, where they've made serious advances in the past few weeks. So far, the Taliban has seize more than 100 of the 370 districts. Propaganda videos have shown Afghan forces surrendering and handing over U.S.-funded weapons, ammunition, Humvees and armored personnel carriers.

The U.S. Embassy here in Kabul issued a statement a short time ago, calling on the Taliban to end the violence and reaffirmed its commitment to Afghanistan. It said the partnership between the two countries was not ending, with President Biden pledging more than $3 billion for security assistance over the coming year. But as we know, money alone will not fix the potential catastrophe unfolding here. $2 trillion has already been spent on the Afghan war over the past 20 years. Many fear it's only a matter of time before the Taliban returns to power.

Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.

CHURCH: A surge in New COVID cases forces Bangladesh into lockdown and after reporting record breaking infections this week, the government is ready to crack down on rule breakers.

Plus, where the Delta variant is causing the most trouble as it reaches around the globe.

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CHURCH: The U.K. now reporting its highest number of New COVID-19 cases in months. More than 26,000 infections were reported on Wednesday.

[02:07]

CHURCH: They haven't been this high since the end of January. Country is heading towards another potential wave of coronavirus cases with the Delta variant mostly to blame. Fewer people are losing their lives to the virus though and the government says it's because nearly two- thirds of adults there are now fully vaccinated. The U.K. Department of Health is considering giving booster shots to those who are most at risk this autumn.

Bangladesh is now under a seven-day lockdown after reporting a drastic increase in infections. No one is allowed to go outdoors with government truth patrolling to enforce the restriction. The government reported nearly 9000 new cases on Wednesday as the country awaits a shipment of 2-1/2 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the United States. And CNN's Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi with more on this.

Good to see you, Vedika. So, Bangladesh desperate for those Moderna vaccine doses from the U.S. of course. But until they arrive, what is the situation on the ground right now?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Good to be with you, Rosemary. So from 6:00 a.m. this morning, Bangladesh local time, the country is under hard nationwide lockdown. What this essentially means is that everything is going to be closed for the next one week except for essential services. Also you have police, you have about border guard forces and you have the army out in the roads to make sure that everyone stays at home.

Unless there is an emergency situation for someone to move out. If not, and if it's not valid enough, those people could be arrested and face a jail term of up to six months. Like you pointed out, 2.5 million vaccines are on their way from the U.S. through the vaccine initiative GAVI and should be reaching Bangladesh soon to be noted. There is now the vaccine registration which is temporarily suspended due to lack of supply of vaccines that is resumed from today.

So that's good news for people in Bangladesh. Also, we do know that Wednesday saw the highest daily rise in cases in the last 24 hours, almost reaching 9000 deaths have been over 100 for the last four consecutive days. Speaking to local journalists in Bangladesh, we've got to know that it's very quiet in and around Dhaka. Remember in the run up to the official announcement that happened yesterday of this lockdown, which will last a week for now and could be extended.

We do know that a lot of people were trying to leave the Dhaka, and especially the ferries will completely crowded with people leaving the outskirts of Dhaka for their homes. And that was a quite a nightmare logistically for the Bangladeshi authorities as well. Also, the Prime Minister has promised free vaccines for all and as promised to contribute enough to make sure that people are inoculated.

But as of now 2.6 percent of Bangladeshi population is fully vaccinated which is of course a nominal percentage as of now, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Vedika Sud bring us the latest on the situation in Bangladesh. Many thanks.

Well, the Delta variant has now been confirmed in all 50 U.S. states and it's spreading around the globe more quickly than people are getting vaccinated. Kim Brunhuber shows us where it's having the biggest impact.

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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plans to ease COVID restrictions now delayed in parts of France, strict new measures imposed in South Africa. Rush lockdowns in three Australian cities. New restrictions in Bangladesh, Indonesia, parts of Thailand and elsewhere in Asia. They are among countries renewing the fight to contain the coronavirus as the so called Delta variant reaches across the globe.

First detected in India in February, cases have now been reported in dozens of countries. In some places. It's spreading quickly as countries struggled to vaccinate their populations. Public health officials warn the new strain is behind recent spikes in some countries like Russia, South Africa and also Indonesia, where Red Cross says there is a warning of a COVID catastrophe as the country's recent surge strains hospitals and oxygen supplies.

Worldwide it's on track to become the most dominant version of coronavirus according to one WHO official. European health officials say it's 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant first identified in England, making it the most contagious form of coronavirus to date. In the U.S., it now accounts for one in four cases and has spread to every state. In the United Kingdom the Delta variant makes up nearly all new infections.

Although the U.K. had a relatively successful vaccine rollout, the variant is spreading quickly among the unvaccinated. The current vaccines being used in the U.K., Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are proving effective against the Delta variant. Still, experts say the new mutations are changing the equation of herd immunity.

[02:20:00]

BRUNHUBER: Adding to the concern, a new and slightly changed version of the Delta variant called Delta plus which has been spotted in at least 11 countries. Health officials are investigating whether it may be more resistant to vaccines. For now, authorities say it's too soon to tell. Instead they're warning the public stay watchful, but don't panic as an ever changing virus prolongs the world's fight to contain this pandemic.

Kim Brunhuber, CNN.

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CHURCH: Joining me now is Eric Topol, cardiologist and Professor of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research. Thank you, Doctor, for talking with us. And for all that you do.

Oh, thank you, rosemary, good to join you.

CHURCH: So we are seeing the Delta variant surge across the globe spreading to at least 85 countries. That's according to the WHO. And vaccinations just can't keep up. What in your opinion needs to be done to tackle this problem? And how concerned should we all be about it?

DR. ERIC TOPOL, CARDIOLOGIST: Well, we certainly have to be concerned in the places, as you've alluded to where the vaccination rates are low. And we're seeing record numbers of cases and deaths in Russia, Indonesia and other countries that have very low vaccination rates. So, we do know that mitigation works. But that's only a temporary solution. We've got to get the vaccine production and equity across the globe as quickly as possible, especially the vaccines that suppress spread that have a really high efficacy.

CHURCH: Yes. And then, of course, you're talking about Pfizer and Moderna specifically there. Of course, by mid-June, the Delta variant accounted for 99 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.K. That was according to the Public Health England, it said to account for 90 percent of cases in Europe by the end of August, according to Europe CDC. And then in the U.S., the CDC estimated the variant accounted for 26 percent of new COVID-19 cases up to June 19.

Health authorities are taking this seriously, clearly. But how do you make the public understand just how grim this could potentially be if people don't do what they're told to do?

TOPOL: Right. Well, you know, I think, actually, the estimate in the U.S., the CDC is behind as usual. It's already about 35 percent, in some states, like Missouri to 70 percent. Now, this is an issue because this variant, this version of the virus is 40 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant which was the most contagious in. So, it's spread so easily. Unless someone's got vaccinated or with less immunity rendered by a natural infection of COVID.

Unless those things exist, the chances of getting COVID now are much higher wherever you are in the world. So that's why we have to pull out all the stops here because otherwise, if we don't contain Delta, we're going to see further evolution of the virus no less the toll that it will take.

CHURCH: Yes, and of course, that is the big concern with this, isn't it? And in some parts of the world, like here in the United States, people are lucky enough to have access to COVID vaccines and yet 20 to 25 percent of the population chooses not to get vaccinated, even while so many vulnerable people across the globe would do anything to have that level of access. What needs to be done about this hesitancy and in some cases, resistance to getting the COVID shot? Particularly when he could stop variants in their tracks as you point out.

TOPOL: Well, you know, it's actually astounding that we have such a high percent, even higher than you cited for the U.S. resistant to taking the vaccines. And we have tens of millions of extra vaccines that are not in use that we can get to countries that are really in desperate shape. I mean, right now, for example, in Southern Africa and South Africa, particularly, there's -- they have a real problem where vaccines could help get them out of this jam they're in.

No less many other places. So, it would be great it since we have such a reluctance of vaccines to get that better distributed while we try to work out this hesitancy issue. Clearly, if we had the FDA grant full licensure in this country, we'd see a whole lot more uptake of vaccines, but that doesn't appear to be imminent.

CHURCH: And why is that do you think?

TOPOL: Hmm, well, it's a really good question, Rosemary. I think the main issue is they're just not moving fast enough in reviewing the application as we would expect to make it the number one priority. But it doesn't appear to be in seems like, you know, it's long overdue now. But once that happens, it'll hasten things in this country, but until that happens, getting those vaccines elsewhere in the world would be the right thing to do I think.

[02:25:06]

CHURCH: Yes. And I mean, you point out that Southern Africa and South Africa, some of the main areas that you would like to see those excess vaccines when the U.S. go, what other parts of the globe would need to be hit by those excess vaccines to perhaps crush this Delta variant?

TOPOL: Right. Well, we've got some hotspots, you know, certainly in many countries in South America, you know, I mentioned Indonesia, I mean, there are many places. But, you know, the continent of Africa, you know, may wind up looking like India did several weeks ago because it has such a low level of prior COVID. It has, you know, very little use of any vaccines get. So it's highly vulnerable, and then the resources to care for sick patients that are very limited.

So, you know, Africa seems like if we're going to go someplace to really help, that would be one high in the list.

CHURCH: Dr. Eric Topol, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it and appreciate you.

TOPOL: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, Samoa is withdrawing its weightlifting team from the Tokyo Olympics to protect against COVID-19. But the country will be represented by Samoan athletes in other sports who are based in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the U.S. Samoa has reported only three confirmed cases of COVID and no deaths. The health ministry says more than six percent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated.

When we come back, harsh words from the Chinese President as the Chinese Communist Party turns 100. What it means for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and beyond?

Plus, video obtained by CNN from just moments before the collapse of the Champlain Towers shows water gushing into the parking garage.

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CHURCH: From Beijing to outer space. The Chinese Communist Party celebrate its 100th anniversary. Tens of thousands gathered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to mark the occasion. Chinese President Xi Jinping saying China "Will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress and enslave us. And if they do, we'll find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by 1.4 billion people."

And high above earth, the three astronauts aboard the Chinese space station sent their best wishes to the party.

[02:30:04] Well, CNN's Will Ripley is standing by for us in Taipei. Good to see you, Will.

China's President Xi Jinping had a shocking message for Taiwan as well. What all did he have to say and have leaders there responded yet?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. President Xi essentially said something that China has been saying and demonstrating for decades, that they want to crush the notion of Taiwanese independence, and not only that, but saying the CCP celebrating its 100th anniversary will achieve reunification of Taiwan.

Of course, here in Taipei, they are of the belief that while China would prefer a peaceful reunification, they are not ruling out the use of force. And their military incursion last month with 28 Chinese warplanes entering Taiwan's air defense identification zone, the largest ever recorded incursion by Taiwan, says they started keeping records, seems to indicate that that is a very real threat.

And that is why Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, was at a military awards ceremony today. And she spoke just a short time ago saying that the country needs to strengthen its defense capabilities.

When I spoke with Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, he said that they are looking to boost their asymmetric defense capabilities because Taiwan does spend about one 115th of what Beijing spends on the military.

But this was President Xi message about Taiwan reunification when we spoke to the CCP.

The there is no sound bite, Rosemary. But he said essentially is that the unification will happen eventually.

And this is an island that has been governing itself for more than 70 years since the end of China's civil war back in 1949. But an interesting fact, Rosemary, 100 years ago today, Taiwan was actually under Japanese rule. The Japanese occupied this island for 50 years, so many people's grandparents here speak Japanese because that's what they were taught in school along with Taiwanese. But today, students are taught Mandarin and also taught English.

And given the fact that there is this kind of tug and war between these two superpowers, China and the United States, this small island self-governing but certainly feeling itself caught in the middle of escalating tensions and wondering what its future holds but to finally saying they want to defend their democratic system, because, Rosemary, this is the world's only Chinese-speaking democracy.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Will Ripley joining us live from Taipei, many thanks.

Joseph Cheng is a pro-democracy activist and professor of political science. He joins us now from Auckland in New Zealand. Thank you so much for talking with us.

So, amid the celebrations of a century of communist party rule, President Xi had some very blunt words and warnings for Chinese critics and for Hong Kong and Taiwan. What was your reaction to what he had to say and what might all this signal, do you think?

JOSEPH CHENG, PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Well, in the context of deteriorating domestic and international conditions, the leadership typically appeals to patriotism and nationalism, and he is adopting a very strong position, rejecting any attempts on the part of foreign governments to lecture on China, and stating that China is not to be bullied.

With regard to Hong Kong, he said that he is prepared to accurately implement the one country, two systems motto. But, certainly, people in Hong Kong believe that the model is dead (ph). The change of the electoral laws mean that there is no tolerance for the opposition for the full democracy movement. The closing down of Apple Daily means that there is no tolerance of critical and independent media. The implementation of the national security law again shows that the rule of law has been compromised.

CHURCH: And who do you think President Xi was referring to when he said foreign forces will never bully, oppress or enslaved China? Who does he think is trying to enslave China?

CHENG: I think he refers to the old imperialist countries. Again, this is the centennial year of the Chinese Communist Party. It certainly benefited from appealing to the people to fight against the forces suppressing China, including imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism. So, he is reminding the people that there is still this fact people may try to bully China and it is the communist party of China which has brought the Chinese people to pride which has enabled Chinese people to stand up.

[02:35:08]

So much so that today, China is the second largest economy in the world, that China will be consulted on various important issues in the international community.

CHURCH: And, of course, not surprisingly, there was no mention of the ruling party's brutal cultural war, its repression of political dissent and human rights abuses. Do you think the international community pushes back on China enough and how big a threat do you think China poses to the world and indeed to democracy?

CHENG: And the recent years, the international community, especially western countries, have been reassessing the very nature of the Chinese Communist regime. It is now increasingly seen as a potential threat to the world and a very, very serious competitor to be engaged, to be alerted against.

Western countries, especially the United States, are no longer interested in engagement with China and it is no longer interested in close partnerships with China, in transfer of high technology to China and so on. So, this goes against a very important objective for Chinese foreign policy, which is to maintain a peaceful international environment to allow China a chance to catch up with the most advanced countries of the world.

CHURCH: And do you see that the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong is now at an end?

CHENG: Well, we realize that there is not much that can be done. The people of Hong Kong understand the situation. They have no intention to confront the authorities. The cost would be very, very high. But the anger, the resentment there is demonstrated, for example, by people gearing up to buy the last issue, the last edition of the People Daily -- of the Apple Daily. And, certainly, people will refuse to accord legitimacy to the Carrie Lam administration, but you find it very difficult to govern effectively.

CHURCH: Joseph Cheng live in Auckland, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

CHENG: Thank you.

CHURCH: The bodies of two girls ages four and ten have been pulled from the rubble, bringing the death toll in the Florida condo collapse to 18. Two people were staying at a nearby hotel recorded video of water and debris gushing in the building's garage just minutes before the collapse. It's been exactly one week since the building fell.

Workers spent much of the day, Wednesday, removing debris from the site, a significant amount more than in days past.

Well, reaction is pouring in from Bill Cosby's accusers who are outraged. His sexual assault conviction has been overturned. Coming up, what the 83-year-old had to say after his release from prison.

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[02:40:00]

CHURCH: Britney Spears' father will remain in charge of the pop star's multimillion dollar estate at least for now. A Los Angeles judge has denied a motion from November which requested the singer's father be removed as her co-conservator.

The decision is not a result of Spears' bombshell testimony last week where she asked a judge to help her regain control of her estate. Two sources close to the star say she plans to file a petition soon to terminate the nearly 13-year conservatorship.

Well, after spending nearly three years in prison, disgraced comedian Bill Cosby is back home a free man. His sexual assault was surprisingly overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Wednesday because of a legal error by the prosecution. The court said, Cosby's due process rights were violated because he was promised immunity for testifying in a civil case back in 2005. But that testimony was used against him years later in his criminal trial. His accusers say they are outraged. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHELAN LASHA, COSBY ACCUSER: I'm totally overwhelmed when I got a call this morning. I felt like I was hit by a train. He deserved to be what he did because what he did was unjust. He is out on a technicality but that doesn't change the fact he is a predator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Cosby's attorney told CNN earlier the court made the right decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER BONJEAN, ATTORNEY FOR BILL COSBY: My job as a defense attorney, and I am very proud of the work we did in upholding the Constitution, and I am very proud that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was not influenced by the court of public opinion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Cosby thanked his supporters after his release tweeting, I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.

The military architect of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who served as defense secretary to Presidents Ford and George W. Bush has died. Donald Rumsfeld passed away Tuesday at his home in New Mexico. He was 88.

He served in the George W. Bush administration when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. Critics blamed Rumsfeld for many of the things that later went wrong, including the Iraqi insurgency, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the fact that the brutal war dragged out for years. But Rumsfeld never accepted that blame.

In a statement, former President Bush said he and his wife, Laura, are very sorry to learn of Don's passing. Bush also called Rumsfeld an exemplary public servant and a very good man.

Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. World Sport is up next and I will be back at the top of the hour. Stay with us.

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