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Last US Troops Set To Leave Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base; Delta Variant Driving Up Cases Worldwide; Rising Violence Blamed On Coronavirus Lockdowns; US Security Council To Discuss Crisis In Ethiopia; Trump Organization CFO Charged In 15-Year Tax Fraud Scheme; China Will Smash Taiwan Independence Attempts; Wildfire Devastates Canadian Village; Scientist See Signs Of Climate Change In Record Scorcher. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 2, 2021 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom. Hello, I'm John Vause.

And coming up at this hour, with thousands of fans crammed onto buses and trains, packed into stadiums or crowded, into pubs, health officials warned the Euro 2020 football tournament could be driving a surge of new COVID infections. For China's President, reunification with Taiwan is only a matter of time, but has Beijing already started that war in cyberspace? And after years wasted by some trying to dismiss the science, the reality of climate change is here and now becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

We begin this out with breaking news out of Afghanistan, a senior defense official tell CNN that the last American troops are expected to leave Bagram Airbase within hours, as America's withdrawal nears completion way ahead of schedule. The foreign compound has become the center of military power in Afghanistan.


SCOTT MILLER, TOP US COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: The security situation is not good right now. That's something that's recognized by the Afghan Security Forces and they're making the appropriate adjustments as we move forward.


VAUSE: CNN's Anna Cohen joins us now live from Kabul. Anna, about 8:30 in the morning there on a Friday, so in what, just over 15 hours, America's longest war comes to an end.

ANNA COHEN, CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, John, for all we know, perhaps US troops have already departed Afghanistan. This has been cloaked in secrecy. Obviously, due to security, but also because of the optics, according to many Afghans is not the time for American forces to be departing Afghanistan, ending America's longest war. We know that the Taliban have launched wide scale offensive across most of the country that claims so much territory up in the north. The Afghan National Security Forces sustaining huge losses on the battlefield, local Afghans here feeling very abandoned.

But we spoke to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah yesterday. He being the chairman of the High Council of, the National Reconciliation, and he said this is a reality. America is leaving Afghanistan and we just have to learn to live with it. At the height of the war, John, in 2011, there were 100,000 US forces in the country. Today, after US forces depart, there could be between 600 and 1,000. That is what the military has told us. And those forces will be used to defend the US Embassy, and also to provide security to the International Airport.

There'll be in place until Turkish forces come into play. But really, the footprint here in Afghanistan is tiny for the Americans. This means, obviously, US troops will be back in country, back in America for the Fourth of July. That was often the date that many thought that the Americans would be heading home for. They brought that forward a few days and, obviously, that the deadline, September 11th, that has been brought forward also two months. This is a much faster process than what many people had anticipated, John.

VAUSE: Absolutely. And the original September 11th deadline was also very symbolic as well. But obviously, it's happening a lot faster than that.

One question here, though, is it clear there is an expectation that the Taliban, which is currently researching, currently getting territory, will continue to do that once all the US troops are gone. Is there a plan in place? Should the Afghan government look as if it's about to teeter and could be on the verge of collapse? Is there any way of supporting the government from afar?

COHEN: Well, we posed that question to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah yesterday. You have to remember that everybody has been extremely quiet since we arrived in country, the Americans as well as the Afghans. This is not something that they want to, you know, as seen from the rafters. This is not a moment of victory. I think, in actual fact, this is a massive embarrassment, not just for the Americans, obviously, leaving behind a country that so fractured.


But also, for the Afghans, America has spent $2 trillion over the past 20 years. They've lost more than 2,400 troops, as well as 1,200 coalition troops. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Afghans that have died during this conflict. There are 300,000 or so Afghan National Security Forces that have been trained, that are supposed to protect this country.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, he is convinced that the government will not topple that those troops will defend the capital, the provincial cities. But as far as the Americans physically on the ground, participating in the war, its airstrikes from an aircraft carrier, John, or drone strikes from a base yet to be determined. This is a new chapter for Afghanistan that we know has just been a war-ravaged country now for decades. VAUSE: It is not an optimistic chapter to say the least. And after two decades, it does appear the US is now cutting and running. Anna Cohen in Kabul, thank you.

Global health experts are warning another deadly wave of COVID-19 could be on the horizon as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads rapidly around the world. Many countries are seeing a disturbing rise in new cases, especially in places with low vaccination rates. South Africa is in a two-week lockdown as it battles a devastating third wave of the virus linked to the Delta variant. But with relatively few people vaccinated and hospitals overwhelmed, medical workers are often unable to keep up.


ANEES KARA, VOLUNTEER MEDIC: If you don't see dead people, the funeral services see dead people. We see death, that's the difference. We see dead happening. We get we try to get to the patients in time but unfortunately at certain times, we can't get to them in time.


VAUSE: The World Health Organization reports a 10% spike in new cases across Europe. That brings for nearly 10-week period where cases did not rise, those back in April. Their health experts say a crucial factor is too many unvaccinated people becoming infected again by the Delta variant. They say scenes like this in London where football fans gathered in large numbers for the Euro 2020 championship games are undercutting public health efforts. Finnish officials say cases nearly doubled out of fans returned from football matches in Russia. One WHO official warns another European COVID wave now seems inevitable.


HANS KLUGE, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE, WHO: The three conditions for a new wave of excess hospitalizations and deaths before the autumn are therefore in place. New variants, deficit in vaccine uptake, increased social mixing, and there will be a new wave in the WHO European Region unless we remain disciplined.


VAUSE: Coronavirus lockdowns and COVID conspiracies are being blamed for a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe. That's not all that's fueling violence against Jewish communities. We get more now from CNN's Melissa Bell.



MELISSA BELL, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elie Rosen knows all about where heat can lead. His grandparents survived the Holocaust. They always warned him to keep his head down because there might be more to come. Last August, they were proved right. Rosen was targeted along with his synagogue in the Austrian city of Graz. Its walls made from the bricks of the synagogue destroyed in 1938 defaced.

ELIE ROSEN, PRESIDENT, GRAZ JEWISH COMMUNITY: After this attack, those warnings of my grandparents have kind of flashback. And this made me very, very sorry, and brought tears into my heart and (inaudible).

BELL: A few days later just outside the synagogue, Rosen was chased by a man wielding a baseball bat but managed to get back into his car just in time.

ROSEN: Certainly, I was scared of being physically attacked, or is a dimension that different than being verbal attack, which I'm used to because anti-Semitism has arisen within the last year.

VAUSE: In 2020, anti-Semitic incidents in Austria reach their highest level since the country began keeping records 19 years ago. And in Germany, incidents rose as much as 30% according to a German watchdog.

Much of the rise in both countries is being blamed on harsh COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Protesters demonstrating against the restrictions held signs depicting forced vaccination by Jews, and two people in Berlin were shouted out by a man who they believed blamed Jews for the pandemic.

KATHARINA VON SCHNURBEIN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION ANTI-SEMITISM COORDINATOR: I think that anti-Semitic conspiracy myths have been there for centuries. And in fact, whenever there is a pandemic they have come to the fore again.


BELL: Across Europe, anti-Semitic attacks have been rising for years. From a deadly standoff in 2015 at a Kosher supermarket in Paris, to Vienna, where four people were killed in a rampage outside the Stadttempel synagogue last year. And then, there is the desecration of Jewish graves, like these in eastern France.

In Brussels, Rabbi Albert Guigui now wears a baseball cap when he goes out to hide his very identity.


ALBERT GUIGUI, BRUSSELS RABBI (through translation): Of course, I wear a yarmulke at home, he says, but outside I prefer to cover my head less conspicuously. It's not healthy, he explains, to live in an atmosphere of fear and where you feel hunted. I think that as well as being vigilant, we must tackle the evil at the root of the problem. And that is about being different.

BELL: The Holocaust killed an estimated 6 million Jews in Europe. But as living memory gives way to feeding footage, so denial grows and hate speech returns. As well as the tension around COVID lockdowns, the violence between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East in May also drove hate towards Jews across Europe, like here in Berlin, or in Brussels where the chants spoke of ancient battles between Jews and Muslims. BENJAMIN WARD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH EUROPE: We do see a cyclical increase in expressions of anti-Semitism ant anti-Semitic violence linked to events in the Middle East. But if we look more broadly at the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in Europe, we see that it's much older and also much wider, and it's really a European issue.

BELL: The hate is also spreading online, according to Human Rights Watch. Horrific cartoons like this one, depicting Jews with a big hook nose, or this one in France of a conspiracy theory blaming Jews for the pandemic, and shared, he says mistakenly by a candidate in recent regional elections. The European Commission has a deal with tech companies to remove offensive content within 24 hours, but only once it's been alerted.

This is the memorial in a very heart of Vienna to the 65,000 Austrian Jews who were deported during World War II. Most did not survive. It's a reminder of where words and conspiracy theories can lead, but it's also a reminder of Europe's own very violent home-grown history of anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism that has never quite disappeared.

Prayers continue to be heard all over Europe. From the center of Paris to the old Stadttempel synagogue in Vienna. Elie Rosen says that his grandparents' approach of keeping a low profile after the Holocaust was understandable, but ultimately misguided. European Jews keeping their heads down, he says, has not prevented anti-Semitism from rearing its head once again

ROSEN: Contrary to my grandparents, I will tell my son, or I will tell young Jewish people to be proud of being Jewish.

BELL: Melissa Bell, CNN, Vienna.


VAUSE: Well, the pandemic also putting more people at the risk of human trafficking. A new report from the US State Department says many countries have eased up on anti-trafficking efforts.


ANTHONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: In many places, as government's diverted resources to try to control the pandemic and address its secondary impacts, human traffickers seize the opportunity to grow their operations. People who were pushed into dire economic circumstances by the pandemic became more vulnerable to exploitation. And as more people spend hours online for school and work, traffickers use the internet to groom and recruit potential victims. So, the pandemic has had a real impact on this fight.


VAUSE: The 2021 TIP or Trafficking in Persons report identifies government's not meeting the minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking. The 17 tier 3 countries highlighted in red include Venezuela, Cuba, Algeria, China and Russia. The report did note that every country, including the United States can do more. Well in the coming hours, the UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an open meeting on the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray Region. This comes after eight months of brutal fighting and reports of war atrocities. A full-blown humanitarian crisis is underway with hundreds of thousands of people facing famine. And now a key bridge used to deliver aid to Tigray has been destroyed, and it's not clear why. CNN's Nima Elbagir is tracking all the developments



NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many of those advocating on behalf of civilians stuck in the middle of the violence in Ethiopia's Tigray Region have been wondering for months now, where is the international community, and specifically the very highest levels of the international community, the United Nations Security Council. They have yet to hold a single public meeting on the situation in Tigray. And for many within the Council itself, like the United States' Ambassador to the United Nations, this has been caused for some pretty clear frustration.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, US AMBASSADOR TO UN: The Security Council's failure is unacceptable. We have addressed other emerging crisis with public meetings, but not with this one. So I asked those who refuse to address this issue publicly, do African lives not matter?

ELBAGIR: But now Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, in conjunction with the United Kingdom and Ireland, are pushing for a meeting, an emergency meeting on the situation in Tigray by the end of day, Friday. This comes after sources tell us that Russia, China, some African nations, and others among them, have been blocking public meetings on the situation in Ethiopia, preferring to view it as an internal Ethiopian issue, in spite of the growing evidence of war crimes, atrocities and sanctions being levied unilaterally by the United States, among others.

The European Union Commission has also sought to withdraw all but the most critical of aid, and yet, the highest international body, the body that is meant to facilitate and join up international cooperation, to face these kinds of challenges has been silent. Both the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom have said that they hope that that will change by the end of day Friday. And that finally, there will be some kind of international position of censure to bring the escalating conflict in Ethiopia to a close. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Beijing continues to ramp up tensions with Taipei, and now assembly Beijing they've opened a new front in cyberspace. More on that when we come back. Also, the Trump Organization hit with multiple charges relating to tax fraud. When we come back, details precisely what prosecutors say Trump Inc. is hiding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: A two-year long investigation has now led to the first criminal charges against former US President Donald Trump's real estate company. New York prosecutors have charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberger, with tax fraud and other offenses. Prosecutors say the company helps executives avoid taxes with a scheme involving fringe benefits and perks.


Weiselberger is accused of not paying taxes on $1.7 million of income. He has pleaded not guilty, so too the Trump Organization. Well, former President Donald Trump, now Florida resident, Donald Trump says the prosecution is a political witch-hunt.

China's president, Xi Jinping, says Beijing will smash any of Taiwan's attempts at formal independence, just one comment from his speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. And that's creating increasing worries across the Asia Pacific Region as well as beyond. The rise of China's military when it comes to space and missiles and also the cyber domain has many on edge. CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Taipei with more. Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT: John, when Chinese President Xi Jinping says he wants to crush the notion of Taiwanese independence and reunite peacefully with this island, experts say it may not be an all out military campaign. They say China is using a number of tactics, including disinformation and cyber attacks to sow seeds of chaos, unrest and make people on this island question their democratic system.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Prepare for war, the menacing message of mainland Chinese propaganda aimed at the islands of Taiwan. Military intimidation in real time, 28 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. Taiwan calls it the largest air incursion ever recorded. In this exclusive interview with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tell CNN, China is engaging in psychological warfare.

JOSEPH WU, FOREIGN MINISTER OF TAIWAN: they want to shape the Taiwanese people's cognition that Taiwan is very dangerous, and Taiwan cannot do without China.

RIPLEY: More than 23 million people caught in the crossfire, a battle between Beijing and Taipei, a fight for their hearts and minds. I'm flying to the front lines across the Taiwan Strait to the small island of Kinmen more than 200 miles from the Taiwanese capital, just six miles from Mainland China. Kinmen is the only place in Taiwan that saw actual combat during China's Civil War ending in 1949, many buildings bear the scars. The fighting, ferocious. Nationalist Forces fended off communist troops, effectively shielding Taiwan's main island, warding off a Chinese invasion.

ANDY YANG, MAGISTRATE OF KINMEN COUNTY (through translation): Kinmen people often say only those who experienced war can understand its horror. We have the right to say loudly we want peace.

RIPLEY: Longtime tour guide Robin Young takes me underground to one of the islands massive military bunkers, once top secret now abandoned. He also shows me how China's relentless artillery barrage left the island with mountains of old shells.

When the battle ended, the shells kept flying. Local historians say half a million of these landed on Kinmen between 1958 and 1978. But this was not artillery, these shells were full of communist propaganda.

The beginning of what experts call a decade's long disinformation war, a war supercharged by social media. How dangerous is disinformation?

PUMA SHEN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, NATIONAL TAIPEI UNIVERSITY: The danger here is that, because, I mean, the main goal of all of this disinformation campaign is to create chaos and create distrust.

RIPLEY: Is China doing this exact same thing in the United States?

SHEN: Yes, definitely. And also in Australia, Canada, also Europe.

RIPLEY: Beijing denies disinformation warfare. China's Taiwan Affairs Office has previously called Taipei's accusations imaginary. Experts say the threat goes well beyond disinformation. The Taiwanese government says it is hit by 20 million cyber attacks every month. Targets include defense computer systems, finance, communications, even critical infrastructure.

ALLEN OWN, CO-FOUNDER, DEVCORE: In information security, we believe World War III will happen over the internet.

RIPLEY: Basically, every aspect of our life from which we rely on computers could immediately be turned off.

OWN: Yes.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's major gas company, CPC, was hit by a major malware attack, a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which US Intel believes came from Russia paralyzed the US East Coast.

TSAI SUNG-TINEG FOUNDER, TEAM T5: Just imagine what just happened in United States, you could do nothing.

RIPLEY: Cyber is a bigger threat than nuclear weapons.

SUNG-TINEG: Yes, from my point of view, because it is happening every day.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, named cyberattacks a matter of national security. Back on Kinmen Island, this 30-foot loudspeaker spent decades blasting anti-communist propaganda to the Mainland, a supersized reminder of how much things have changed.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [00:25:00]

RIPLEY: More than a week ago, we reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their Taiwan Affairs Council for comments specifically to the claims made in this story and they have yet to even respond. But we did dig through our archives, and we found repeated denials by Chinese officials about engaging in cyber warfare. They tend to point the finger back at the country, perhaps with an even larger cyber army, the United States. John.

VAUSE: Will, thank you. Will Ripley live for us there in Taipei, thank you.

Well, search and rescue efforts again underway at the site of the collapse high rise building in South Florida after being suspended because of safety concerns. The US President Joe Biden Surfside community to meet with first responders as well as rescue workers, and he spoke with the families of the victims and those still missing. He had praise for their resilience.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I want them to know that we're with them and the country is with them. Our message today is that we're here for you as one nation, as one nation. And that's the message we communicated.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN Newsroom, I'm John Vause. Well that Canadian village, which just broke the record for the nation's highest ever recorded temperature, has been all but burned to the ground. Listen, while it's engulfed in flames within minutes on Wednesday night, official more than a thousand people in the area were forced to evacuate and evacuate quickly. Most homes have been destroyed and several people remain missing.

Right now, there are nearly 80 active wildfires burning across British Columbia. Well, let's go to CNN's Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. So, Derek, what's the conditions like there? And, I guess, everyone keeps asking when will there be some relief?

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, it's improved, certainly from what it was this week. But I think it's important for our viewers to just let the enormity of the situation sink in what took place in Lytton and much of British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest of the United States this week. The heatwave was unprecedented. But if we just look back at the history, Sunday of this week, day one of the heatwave, June 27th set an all time daily record high temperature in Canada. And then, they broke it again in listen Lytton on day two, then on day three once again. And then on day four, the city burned down because of wildfire that moved through the region.


This is just unprecedented. We know that this has the fingerprints of climate change written all over it. Climate change linked to longer duration and more intense and frequent heatwaves. And that is what we've experienced.

Here's a look at the latest fire statistics across Canada. We've had over 2,500 fires that have burned so far to date and over 400,000 hectares burned so far to date as well.

It's pretty interesting satellite image, this is British Columbia. You can see Lytton here. The wildfire smoke that made its way from this particular area, actually created what is known as pyro cumulus clouds. These are fire inducing clouds, so they're actually thunderstorms that are created because the intense updrafts from the intense wildfires that are sparked across this region. They can create additional wildfires because of the dry lightning that is formed with this. Just incredible, incredible amount of heat taking place.

In fact, heat warnings from the Canadian Meteorological Agency stretched as far north as the Arctic Circle earlier this week. You can see the current watches and warnings in place across all of Canada as we speak. There is some relief certainly not as high as the 46-degree temperature that we set earlier this week. But look at that, still hot, well above average for Lytton, and some of our computer models indicating that yet another heatwave will impact the western portions of North America by this time next week. John.

VAUSE: Oh, boy. Derek, thank you. Derek Van Dam with the grim forecast, I guess. Thank you.

Michael Mann is a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University, and Director of the Earth System Science Center, as well as Author of "The New Climate War." And he's with us this hour from State College, Pennsylvania. Michael Mann, thank you for being with us.

Michael, Thank you. It's good to be with you.

VAUSE: OK. It feels like all the warnings, all the scenarios that scientists like you and others have been talking about for years or even decades are now becoming reality, including heat times, like the one over the Western United States and Canada. So, how does a warming planet lead to this isolated area of extreme heat? And how often should we expect this sort of thing to happen?

MICHAEL MANN, AUTHOR, "THE NEW CLIMATE WAR": Yes. I mean, at some level, this isn't rocket science, right? You heat up the planet. You're going to see more extreme heat. It's almost a truism. And so, as we warm up the planet and we sort of shifted the average temperature of the planet, we see a lot more of those extremes. Those rare events become more common. And we see, you the sort of warmth right now, that sort of heat up in Canada, that they're not used to even seeing down in Phoenix, Arizona this time of year.

So, again, at some level, it's pretty basic. You warm up the planet. You get more frequent and more intense heatwaves.

VAUSE: The White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy spoke to see it on Thursday, making the point that, now, finally, for most people, this climate crisis is real. Here's she is.


GINA MCCARTHY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISOR: I think what you're seeing here is really what essentially as a new norm. We have to get used to the fact that climate change is real. And I think people everywhere now acknowledge that because we can see it. But we are facing extreme heat, and with that comes extreme drought.


VAUSE: Why did it have to get this bad to convince some people that global warming is real? When a hole was discovered in the ozone layer in the 1980s, there was agreement among scientists it was caused by aerosols. Aerosols were phased out, the problem was fixed. Why did that same approach happen with carbon?

MANN: Yes. There was actually more pushback by industry about that and it did take a number of years. But we finally did see action, and we did see industry work together with governments to solve this problem. What we're dealing with here is a bigger problem, and it really gets at the heart of the most influential and profitable industry on the face of the planet, the fossil fuel industry. And they have pushed back, they've been pushing back with tooth and nail to prevent any meaningful action, to decarbonize our civilization.

And what's happened is, they can no longer deny it's happening because we can see it playing out in real time. We can see it with our own two eyes.

VAUSE: One of the problems has been the carbon industry spending years and tens of millions of dollars trying to discredit climate science. And if you don't believe me, then believe Keith McCoy, he's a lobbyist from Exxon. Here he is.


KEITH MCCOY, EXXON LOBBYIST: Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that's true.


VAUSE: He was caught up in a sting by Greenpeace in the UK, went on to admit that Exxon publicly supports a carbon tax. Not because they think it will help reduce greenhouse gases but because they believe it's good PR, and especially because they believe it will never happen.


It reveals how Exxon has actively worked against climate solutions. But here's the question, don't Exxon executives live on the same planet as the rest of us?

MANN: They do, and so did their children and grandchildren. And I'd like to think they care about the future of this planet, the planet that we leave behind for future generations. It's really unfortunate for decades. We know that ExxonMobil was spending tens of millions of dollars attacking the science, attacking scientists like myself attempting to discredit the science of climate change, even though their own scientists back in the early 1980s, in an internal document that eventually was leaked, describe the potential consequences of business as usual burning of fossil fuels as catastrophic.

But rather than come forward with what their own scientists had found, they engaged in a massive disinformation campaign, and they use their immense power and wealth to attack and undermine public faith in the science of climate change. And so this latest, this sting operation simply laid bare what we basically already knew that there have been some bad faith actors in the fossil fuel industry, and ExxonMobil, one of the most prominent of them. And that they've been working for decades to prevent the necessary transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy because it will hurt their bottom line. But it's ultimately critical to saving a livable planet for us, and our children and grandchildren.

VAUSE: And they'll be working on it up until Joe Biden's, the US President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill, which managed to emasculate in many ways, according to the lobbyists.

Before we go, here's Darren Woods, a statement from the CEO of ExxonMobil. It's a rare public apology. He issued a statement saying we condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them. They're entirely inconsistent with the way we expect our people to conduct themselves. We were shocked by these interviews and stand by our commitments to working on finding solutions to climate change. OK, we look forward to seeing those solutions.

Well, Keith McCoy issued a statement saying I'm deeply embarrassed by my comments, and that I allowed myself to fall for Greenpeace's deception. My statements clearly do not represent ExxonMobil's position on important public policy issues, or some of my comments were taken out of context. There is no excuse what I said or how I said it. I apologize to my colleagues, at the company, my friends in Washington, DC, all of whom have right to expect better off me. Well, there we go.

Anything to add to that, just very quickly, Michael, before we go?

MANN: Yes. Well, what do they say about a gaffe? It's accidentally telling the truth. Well, that's what happened here. What he admitted was what we know has been the case and what ExxonMobil really needs to apologize for, is their assault on our efforts to actually do something about the greatest crisis that we face, the climate crisis. It's time for them to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

VAUSE: Good point to finish, Michael, thank you. Michael Mann there, appreciate being with us, sir.

MANN: Thank you. VAUSE: When we come back, strange brothers reunited briefly to honor their late mother, Princes Harry and William, putting aside their differences and unveiling a new statue of Princess Diana.



VAUSE: Canada's national holiday, Canada Day, so subdued celebrations on Thursday, as many reflected our nation's troubled past. The latest discovery, 182 human remains, most likely indigenous children, in unmarked graves at the site of a former government run boarding school in Cranbrook in British Columbia. It's the third time in two months that unmarked graves have been found at former boarding schools. The government funded church run schools started in the 19th century and were meant to assimilate the kids.

Meantime, some churches in Canada have been vandalized apparently in response to those discoveries. This church is in St. John's in Eastern Canada. Police in Calgary, Alberta say 10 churches were targeted with orange and red paint. A Catholic gospel and Presbyterian churches were all targeted. Others were also set on fire.

UK's Prince William and Prince Harry are remembering their late mother as a force for good around the world. What would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday on Thursday, the brothers put aside their differences briefly to dedicate a very special memorial to their mum. CNN's Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a glorious sunny day for this unveiling. Both Harry and William were deeply involved in the entire process going back years and the design of the garden has been completely redesigned, but also the statue itself. They arrived together, they were smiling. They were chatting. They unveiled the statue together in the garden that they used to play in growing up. It was seen as a very special place for Princess Diana as well, which is why the statue will now stand here as a permanent legacy to her life and her work.

In the statue see her surrounded by children who were deeply involved in many of the projects. They're not specific children, they represent the children that she used to work with. The public will be able to go into Kensington Palace and see this statue, and that's very much what Harry and William want going for. This is the public face of Diana, how they want her remembers. And the image was actually taken from the latter years of her life when she felt empowered. Max Foster, CNN, Kensington Palace, London.


VAUSE: We're also following breaking news this hour, a senior defense official has told CNN that the last American troops are expected to leave Bagram Air Base within hours. America's withdrawal is completion well ahead of schedule. This foreign compound has become the center of military power in Afghanistan and is where they will depart. It's been a massive build up over the last 20 years. We have a lot more on this story next hour, please stay with us here on CNN.

But also, at the very latest from Hong Kong after a police officer was stabbed. It's being treated as an attempted murder. We have the very latest on that as well. But in the meantime, thank you for watching this hour of CNN Newsroom. World Sports is up next.



COY WIRE, SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to World Sport, I'm Coy Wire.

Let's start at Wimbledon. We're Roger Federer is turning back the clock and showing some of the flashes of the form that led him to eight titles at the All England Club. The 39-year-old has undergone two knee surgeries since the start of the pandemic. And he's only played a handful of matches but he still came in the Wimbledon with high expectations.

And the 7,500 fans packed into center court retreated to a vintage Federer performance. He beat two time Wimbledon semi finalists for shard gas gay and straight sets the first set took a tie break to sell. But the 20-time major champion found his rhythm at the start of the second and never looked back. He rolls to a 7-6, 6-1, 6-4 win. Federer now the oldest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon in 46 years, and he's talking like he's just getting started there. Listen.


ROGER FEDERER, TENNIS PLAYER: I think is really crucial for top guys to be able to stretch to lead. And what I was able to do today gives you a lot of confidence and you can start to play so much more freely. And I was able to do that with my shots, and then the shot making comes into it, and then the variation comes into it. You also move correctly. You're much more clear in your head, so I think I definitely had a really nice stretch there for some times after winning that breaker. Also even during the breaker, taking good decisions. So it was a nice match for me. Good atmosphere again. Good weather, so it was definitely, yes, like you said, like one of the highlights of the year so far.


WIRE: Now, American Teenager Coco Gauff blazed her way into the third round of the women's bracket beating Russian Elena Vesnina at 6-4, 6-3 in just 71 minutes. Vesnina back to the tour after nearly three years away, including maternity leave, and Gauff, whose half of Vesnina age, is back to Wimbledon for just a second time. She made an incredible run in the fourth round, to the fourth round in 2019. At just 15 years old, beat Venus Williams along the way. But now at the grand old age of 17, she's confident on center court, and she's certainly not sneaking up on anyone this time around.


COCO GAUFF, TENNIS PLAYER: Like I've changed and grown a lot. I don't know, last time I was on this court, I don't think too many people knew my name just being -- I mean, obviously, after the Venus match a lot of people do. But I feel like now, I don't know, it feels like a little bit at home here. I think back in 2019, I was just enjoying the experience. And now I'm enjoying the experience, but I'm also like really learning from it and really coming into these matches believing that I can win. I mean, I believe I can win in the past but I feel like now I just so much more confident on the court and confident in playing in front of you guys.


WIRE: All right, let's go to Euros now, where the quarterfinals are underway and just a few hours, in the biggest clash of the last eight. The top ranked team in the world, Belgium, taking on Italy who are writing an incredible 31 match, unbeaten streak, dating back to 2018. Belgium, though, have two star players listed as doubtful for this one, captain Eden Hazard and playmaker Kevin de Bruyne. Both forced out of the pitch in their last matchup. Portugal on Sunday, de Bruyne suffering an ankle injury. Hazard is pulling a hamstring, and neither have trained this week. But Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, giving Belgium fans hope saying they'll both be game time decisions.


ROBERTO MARTINEZ, BELGIUM COACH: It's been another 24 hours, another 24 hours that they've been positive towards their recovery. But we all know that we are fighting against the time. We're going to take until the last minute to make the decision. Every day that we go by, every time that they go can sleep and get three meals, and get some treatment. We see an improvement and then we'll see tomorrow if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot make a decision.


WIRE: Let's go to the NBA Playoffs now where the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks found themselves in a pivotal Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Finals. Series tied at a game a piece but both teams having to find a way without their biggest stars. Atlanta's Trae Young out again with a bone bruise on his foot. Milwaukee's two-time league MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, out with a hyperextended knee injury suffered in Game 4 four.

But Milwaukee came out on fire, up by 20 in the first quarter led by 33-year-old Brook Lopez who dropped the playoff career high 33 points, game of his life, 4 blocks. Bucks when 123-112 taking the 3-2 series lead.


Fans even outside the arena in Milwaukee erupting. They haven't made the final since 1974. They're now just one win away from making it. Their Game 6 is Saturday in Atlanta. All right. Next up, with the Olympics just weeks away, the longest standing world record in men's track history has fallen. You'll get pumped up just watching this highlight. Ore Tired is coming up after the break.


WIRE: Welcome back. To represent your country at an Olympic Games is the pinnacle for so many athletes around the world. But in Iran, it can be very different. As our Don Riddell reports, many Iranian athletes are now finding the courage to speak out and push for their country to be kicked out of the Olympics.


DON RIDDELL, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The International Olympic Committee is proud of its Olympic Charter, which states that sport should be free and fair for all. But athletes from Iran say that's not the case for them.

SARDAR PASHAEI, FORMER IRANIAN WRESTLER: We have a simple question, can IOC member states torture and arrest athletes and violate the Charter? Are you doing anything to protect this athlete because their rights have been (inaudible) every single day?

RIDDELL (voice-over): Back in 1998, Sardar Pashaei was a Junior World Champion wrestler. He also coached the national team in Iran, but constant interference from the government forced him to flee his country. He now lives in the United States. The Charter calls for a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, but many Iranian athletes say that they've been forced to lose matches or pull out of competitions because of the unwritten rule that states no athlete can share the stage with an athlete from Israel.

MAHDI JAFARGHOLIZADEH, FORMER ASIAN KARATE CHAMPION: There is somebody from Israel and we are not allowed to compete with them, but why? They said there is no why, you're just not allowed to do it. And if you do it, your life it's in your own hand, take it or leave it.

RIDDELL: At the World Judo Championships in 2019, Saeid Mollaei was pressured to lose his semifinal match so that he wouldn't have to face Israel Sagi Muki in the final. That led to the world Judo Federation banning Iran for four years. A key piece of evidence was this audio clip of the order being given.


ARASH MIRESMAELI, PRESIDENT, IRAN JUDO FEDERATION (through translation): Make him understand that he has no right to compete under no circumstances. He is responsible for his actions.


RIDDELL: The charter makes clear that sports organizations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality. But Mahdi Jafargholizadeh would beg to differ. He says his opposition to the government was known and in 2004, he was arrested detained and tortured for six months. Jafargholizadeh says he was accused of planning to be an Israeli spy.

JAFARGHOLIZADEH: They break my nose, many different stuff that I don't want to even talk about, I don't want to remember it.

RIDDELL: The Charter prohibits discrimination of any kind such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other. But the football player, Shiva Amini says that she constantly faced discrimination as a female athlete. And when she was pictured in 2017 without her hijab, a compulsory headscarf, she realized it would be too dangerous to return home to Iran. Ever since, she says, both she and her family have been threatened.

SHIVA AMINI, FORMER IRANIAN SOCCER PLAYER (through translation): I get SMS messages from people saying we will cut off your ahead and send a photo to your family.


RIDDELL: All of these athletes now live abroad and all have united to tell the stories of Iranian athletes to the world. They've been motivated by the execution last year of wrestler Navid Afkari who was put to death as punishment for a murder that his family and supporters say that he didn't commit. On the day of the alleged crime in 2018, Afkari had been taking part in the anti-government protests that were sweeping the country. Now, the campaign group United for Navid wants the world to pay attention to their plight, and they're calling on the International Olympic Committee to take action.

MASIH ALINEJAD, CAMPAIGN FOUNDER, UNITED FOR NAVID: I strongly believe that Iranian athletes are so powerful and they can bring change within the society because they are the true heroes. I really love them because it's a risk for them as well. Most of them, they have family inside Iran and they know how cruel this regime is.

RIDDELL: In three separate letters sent in March and April, the campaign group has supplied case studies of 20 different athletes to the IOC. In these pages are contained testimonies of discrimination, harassment, reprisals, detention and torture. The identities of eight athletes have been concealed because they're still living in Iran and their well-being could be in jeopardy. The IOC has not responded to CNN's request for comment. But the campaign group is calling for urgent attention. They say they're determined to keep fighting and are not afraid of the consequences.

PASHAEI: Until we get answer from IOC, we're not going to give up. They said the right thing we're doing to raise up, and it's about our dignity, and we're going to go to the end.

JAFARGHOLIZADEH: I died 20 years ago. If you kill me again, you'll just kill a dead person. I lost everything when I was in Iran. What all happened to me.


WIRE: Now, CNN has sought clarification on the government's official position. We asked does the government of Iran acknowledge that in the past it has not allowed Iranian athletes to compete against Israelis, and will Iranian athletes be allowed to compete against Israelis in the Tokyo Olympics? We have not received a response, all right.

Well, we're going to leave you with this. A little bit of history being made, one of the longest held world records in any sport has been broken. 25-year-old Norwegian Karsten Warholm channeling all the thunder and lightning of Thor, and he was lightning fast. Breaking the 400 meter hurdle record set nearly 30 years ago by American Kevin Young at the '92 Barcelona Olympics. The two-time world champ slicing eight one hundredths of a second off the record on Thursday, finishing in 46.70 seconds, and he did it in front of his home fans at the Diamond League Meeting in Oslo. Warholm heading to Tokyo as the overwhelming favorite to take on his first Olympic gold. You can see more at

That'll do it for me and my team. I want you stay right here, more news coming up.