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Italians Bringing Home the Euro 2020 Victory; Fans Celebrated in Italy; Richard Branson Touching the Space; Cubans Protested Over Poor Economy and Pandemic Fatigue; Pfizer Pushing for a Third Booster; Israel Gives Green Light for a Third Vaccine Shot; Former President Donald Trump Pushes False Election Claims at CPAC in Texas; Audio Statement Posted to First Lady's Twitter Account; Celebrations Amid Brexit Tensions; Extreme Heat Grips Western United States. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 12, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.

Italian fans rejoice after a nail-biting Euro 2020 final against England. But there is an ugly side to the monumental match. England's Football Association condemning online racism directed at several of the national tennis stars. We are live in London and Rome with details.

And thousands of protesters rallying in Cuba. A rare display of anger over a lack of freedoms and a failing economy further damaged by the pandemic.

Good to have you with us.

So Italy's conquering heroes are set to meet with the prime minister today to celebrate their dramatic win in the Euro 2020 final. Euphoria erupted on the streets of Rome with the end of Sunday's match at Wembley. The street party stretched well into the night after fans gathered to watch Italy hand England a heartbreaking defeat. The team stood level at the end of extra time. Italy eventually winning a penalty shootout three to two.

CNN World Sport was there as the match unfolded. And our Alex Thomas joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Alex. A thrilling win for Italy, a crushing defeat for England. Talk to us, talk to us about the highlights of the game and how they got there.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Before I get to kick off on the action, Rosemary, it's worth underlining what a huge national event this was here in the U.K. and for the England team in particular. A strange situation here where you got Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland part of a unified nation but people in those countries probably cheering for the other side.

England have very strong and passionate and faithful supporters but don't always attract the support of the neutral fan. But it was quite a carnival atmosphere here in Wembley in northwest London for most of Sunday. Hundreds, tens of thousands certainly, not hundreds of thousands on Wembley way or Olympic way just down on street level behind me here. Many without tickets turning up to enjoy the atmosphere.

The kickoff wasn't until 8 p.m. at night local time, so the closer we got to which the more the behavioral fans got maybe a little over the edge of what is acceptable, possibly fueled by too much alcohol. It led an incredible atmosphere by the time kickoff came about. And possibly that affected the Italy team.

England certainly felt void by it and off to an amazing start with Luke Shaw scoring as early as the third minutes of the game. And it took it to a long time to work their way back into the match. Finally equalizing in the second half through Leonardo Bonucci scrambling home the ball after he hit the corner.

It went to a half hour of extra time and there is still no further goals. So it went to the dreaded penalty shootout that has decided so many major football finals and major football matches. And this time it was England on the wrong end of that penalty shootout. Three England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missing their spot kicks in succession. Meaning, Italy were crowned champions of Europe for the second time in their history and the first time since 1968.

A fairytale run for them really, Rosemary, because they felt qualified for the most regent major tournament the World Cup in 2018 in Russia. And they have been rebuilt under coach Roberto Mancini and impressed everybody at this tournament right from the start flying through their group matches with three wins and not conceding a single goal.

Beating the world number one ranked team built him along the way, Spain who had been double European champions in the last decade also and world champions as well. So certainly, worthy winners but both sides would've been misery for England yet again who still only have that one major football title to their name back in 1966. Fifty-five years of waiting for another one and that weight goes on through England.

The other style apart from fan's behavior, Rosemary, was the racial abuse online suffered by some of those England players that you mentioned. Strongly condemned in all quarters and goes against everything this England team stand for.


They take the knee before kickoff in every game they play and it seems they need to carry on doing so to highlight this scourge of the game that needs to be stamped out. CHURCH: Hopefully there will be ramifications, and of course we're

going to talk more about this just ahead. But Alex Thomas, joining us live from London bringing us the highlights of the game. We appreciate it. Thank you.

We are also tracking developments off the field and fan reaction. So, let's bring in Salma Abdelaziz in London and CNN contributor barbie Nadeau standing by in Rome. Good to see you both.

So, Barbie, we'll start with you. Italian fans thrilled of course with the outcome. What a success story! So, tell us what the fans have been telling you?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, if you look at every single newspaper in Italy today it looks something like this. This one says it's ours. These fans are ecstatic. They are well into the night, horns honking around Rome. It was, you know, three, four, five in the morning there are still activity on the streets. It's a quiet morning after but everybody is so excited and so proud of this team.

I think, you know, this victory brought the country together in many ways coming off of the horrible year of the pandemic, everybody feels a little bit more optimistic this morning. And I think that the hangover of this all-night party will last well into the week.

The team just arrive back in Rome, they'll meet with the president, they'll meet with the prime minister and everybody is proud of them here in the city and the country. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And for good reason. I mean, they really, they turned it all around, didn't they?

Salma, I want to turn to you now. And how are England fans coping with this crushing defeat? And what is the latest on arrests made over racism against players and the shocking and vile abuse online?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Rosemary, I think people across the country are waking up feeling quite heartbroken today. Not just about the football but about what's happening with this racial abuse online. Now, I need to start by explaining that the Black Lives Matter movement here has been important but it's also very controversial. It has created a massive backlash in this country.

I've spoken to activists who faced death threats on a regular basis who say they feel afraid to speak out on racial justice on issues of social equality and that's exactly what this team wanted to do.

The manager, Gareth Southgate at the beginning of the tournament penned a letter to the country, dear England. and said he wanted is players, he wanted this team to represent Englishness on and off the field. He wanted them to mean and symbolized something more than the football. Something more than the sport.

What he wanted them to do was to advocate for the causes important that are important to them. Racial justice social equality, an idea of Englishness that is progressive that is inclusive, that is open- minded, that is to be frank is exactly the opposite of what traditional English fans are seem to be. They are often seen to be as rude, close minded. And yes, in the worst-case scenarios, racist.

And that's something Southgate really wanted to fight. At a time when there is a very big cultural war here. England is trying to define itself post-Brexit, post-Black Lives Matter movement, post-COVID who are we, what does it mean, what is our progressive or lack of progressive vision for the future that goes all the way to the top?

So Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government who have at times have been accused of not standing with the Black Lives Matter movement, so really waking up today and seeing this racial abuse against these three black players really disgusting vile comments.

I want you to note, Saka is only 19 years old. He is seeing the response of some members of his country as a racial abuse against a 19-year-old boy for losing a game. So, this is a very tough moment, I think, Rosemary, because the question is, is that attempt to try to move this cultural shift to try to push it forward have they succeeded at that even though they've lost the game? Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. Just not acceptable. It is a wakeup call something definitely needs to be done here. Barbie Nadeau in Rome, Salma Abdelaziz joining us live from London, many thanks to both of you. I appreciate it.

Well, Billionaire Richard Branson calling his flight into space the dawn of a new space age.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION & SPACE CORRESPONDENT: You can hear the crowd cheering behind me. This is that historic moment that Richard Branson and his team and Virgin Galactic have been waiting for for nearly two decades and we have release.


CHURCH: That was CNN's Rachel Crane describing the moment that Virgin Galactic supersonic space plane, the VSS Unity detached from the mothership. Early Sunday, the Virgin Galactic founder and five other crew members flew about 80 kilometers or 50 miles up to the edge of space. Experiencing weightlessness for a few minutes before returning safely back to earth. It is a landmark moment for the space tourism industry.

Branson is now the first billionaire to travel to space aboard his own company spacecraft.


CNN's Kristin Fisher was at Spaceport America in New Mexico and has more on the launch.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a big deal because it was a first time in human history that someone has funded and built a spacecraft and then flown that spacecraft into space.

So, Richard Branson celebrating a successful test flight of Virgin Galactic spaceship to Unity. And it all started right here at Spaceport America in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on Sunday morning. Spaceship two taking off attached to mothership eve, and at the right altitude it detached from the mothership the pilots ignited that rocket engine and those six astronauts or soon to be astronauts blasted into space.

They had 53.5 miles above sea level, just over the U.S. recognize threshold of space. They got a few minutes of weightlessness and then the spacecraft glided back down to Earth and landed on the very same runway that it took off from.

And while it looked flawless and so easy, this was the culmination of 17 years of incredibly difficult and at times tragic work for the entire Virgin Galactic team. Ad it's something that Richard Branson alluded to on this stage right behind me at the big celebration ceremony.


RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, to every single person who has believed in Virgin Galactic, the team who have worked so hard to make this dream come true. Love you all. It's 17 years of painstaking work and the occasional horrible down but by and large ups, ups with it. And today was definitely was the biggest start.


FISHER: Now someone else is about to go into space. Fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, he is attempting to go into space on a suborbital flight on his rocket, Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft. And so that's going to be taking place just nine days from now. There has been so much talk about this competition and rivalry between these two billionaires. And yes, there certainly is at least a low-grade rivalry to put it mildly.

But Richard Branson wishing Jeff Bezos well today, and Jeff Bezos saying, I look forward to joining the club on July 20th.

At Spaceport America, I'm Kristin Fischer.

CHURCH: And back on Earth Branson was hopeful about the future of space travel where equal access for all is the norm and not the exception.


BRANSON: We are here to make space more accessible to all. And we want to turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow. We've all of astronaut's stage have the most extraordinary experience. And we'd love it if a number of you can have it to. So just imagine a world where people of all ages, all backgrounds from

anywhere of any gender of any ethnicity have equal access to space. And they will in turn I think inspire us back here on earth. If you have ever had a dream, now is the time to make it come true.


CHURCH (on camera): And still to come, what experts are saying about vaccine booster shots as cases of COVID variants surge.

Plus, rare scenes in Cuba. Crowds of protesters in multiple cities showing their anger against the communist government. We will tell you why.



CHURCH (on camera): We are seeing rage on the streets of Cuba. Thousands of protesters marching in several cities angry over economic conditions and the way the government is handling the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, the country reported a record number of new cases and deaths.

Patrick Oppmann tells us about the protests and how the government is responding.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of protesters took to the streets here in Havana and across Cuba on Sunday demanding change. This is something that almost never happens here that people engage in anti-government protests the government does not permit. Usually they are shut down very, very quickly and many people are just too afraid to openly criticize the government.

But on Sunday it was a different picture as thousands of people did just that. They said that they were sick of energy shortages, of empty store shelves, many complained about their government's coronavirus response. The economy here has been deeply, deeply damaged.

This economy was already ailing before the pandemic but now with more than a year of almost no tourism, with very little tourism to this island. People are hurting. And many of the people who took to the streets said that they were simply not afraid anymore. They had nothing left to lose.

And in front of Cuban police officers they criticize their government, they called for a change, but so far at least those calls have fallen on deaf ears because we saw several arrests, people have been taken away violently by the police. We saw the government sending in their own counter protesters that said they supported the revolution they tried to drown out the anti-government protesters.

And Cuba's president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, the successor to De Castro said that the supporters of the revolution needed to take to the streets, needed to defend the revolution and that he was giving them an order to flood the streets to defend their government. So, so far at least despite these calls for change, unprecedented calls for change the Cuban government does not appear to be giving an inch.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

CHURCH: As the Delta variant prompts concerns of a new surge in COVID infections drug maker Pfizer is set to brief U.S. officials on vaccine boosters today. Last week, Pfizer reported reduced immunity among people those who receive their shots a while ago, and said they would seek emergency use authorization for a booster from the FDA in August.


According to the FDA and CDC there is no evidence that boosters are needed just yet. And top U.S. health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci agrees.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There is plenty of work going on to examine this in real- time. To see if we might need a boost. But right now, given the data that the CDC and the FDA has they don't feel that we need to tell people right now you need to be boosted.

There are places in the world, many places where the vaccination availability is practically nil. Those people would do anything to get a vaccine. We, in the United States have enough vaccinations to give to everybody in the country and they are lifesaving.


CHURCH (on camera): Meantime, Israel is offering a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to the immunocompromised after an uptick in Delta variant infections. Israel's health minister says the shot is immediately available, though doctors will decide if patients are eligible. The new push is focused mainly on older patients and those vaccinated a while ago.

Joining me now in Atlanta is Dr. Carlos del Rio. He is the executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System. Thank you so much, doctor, for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we do not need a third COVID booster shot at this time. But Pfizer is seeking authorization for a third shot. And Israel announced it's now offering a third booster shot to people with compromised immune systems. What are we to make of these mixed messages and when do you think we will need that third booster?

DEL RIO: Well, I think -- I think it's a very good question. I think at this point in time most people will not need a booster shot if they receive the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. What you said is that, you know, they are seeking approval Israel is allowing a third shot for those who are immunocompromised. If you happen to be a craftsman recipient or you happen to be some

other immunocompromised person they are (Inaudible) and they actually indicating. We have seen some good responses. But the overall, the vast majority of the population do not need a booster shot at this point in time. The data we have seen does not suggest that that's the case.

CHURCH: And with the Delta variant of course driving the spread of infections across the country and indeed the world, particularly in low vaccinated areas, former FDA Chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb says we need to get around three million shots into arms pa day over the next two to three weeks to really make a big difference in this country. But with a third of Americans currently refusing or at least hesitant to get that shot how do you achieve that?

DEL RIO: It's going to be really hard. I agree with Dr. Gottlieb that we have to do better and I think with the Delta variant, again, and I want to stress this to people, if you've been fully immunized you have nothing to worry. If you are not immunized, you have a lot to be concerned about. Because this is highly transmissible and spreads very rapidly among those that are not vaccinated.

So, if you haven't been vaccinated, you should get vaccinated. We need to get more people vaccinated in this country to really protect ourselves from the Delta variant. The problem is as you know there are not only people that are hesitant, there is also a lot of people saying simply I'm not going to get immunized.

I think a couple of people would help. Number one, I think very hyper targeted marketing will be very important to know where we need to really to go to a local community and talk to them and really understand what the issues are. Number two, we need to work with trusted members of the community such as churches and community-based organizations and others.

But number three, I think it's really important that the FDA gives full approval to this vaccine soon. Because as long as they are under an emergency use authorization, I think a lot of people will still be hesitant to get vaccinated.

CHURCH: Yes. That seems to be the key thing, doesn't it? Hopefully that can be done at least at the end of the summer. Would you like to see schools, airlines, offices, many private businesses mandating vaccines? Is that the key to getting everyone vaccinated?

DEL RIO: No, it's not the key but I think it's going to be important to get many more people vaccinated. Because, you know, as long as airlines or more importantly, countries saying in order to come to this country or that country you need to immunize, I think people will get immunized.

I think another thing that will happen is certain events maybe wants to be immunized. You know, I certainly think schools are doing that primarily universities. I think that, you know, health care systems will do that. But a lot of people right now are hesitant to, again, to mandate vaccines if they are still under the emergency use authorization.

Once the EUA has been lifted and the vaccines receive full FDA approval I think we are going to see a big wave of mandates happening in the United States.


CHURCH: And doctor, Republicans at CPAC cheered when they announced that Biden missed his goal to get 70 percent of Americans vaccinated. Former President Donald Trump getting vaccinated in private, but apparently, does not wish to encourage his supporters to get that same protection. How much do you worry that politics is now dominating the whole vaccination process just as it dominated the wearing of masks? How do you combat that?

DEL RIO: I think it's a big problem. And you know, to me, it's very incredible to see Republicans being resistant to vaccination when in fact they need to take credit for the vaccine. I will say that, you know, I mean, it was under President Trump that the investment was made that Operation Warp, you know, Warp Speed started that the things that led to a rapid development and approval of vaccine occurred.

So, if Republicans were smart, they would be saying, look, we made this vaccine, we got this vaccine, this is our vaccine, this is not Biden's vaccine. And they should have continued taking credit for it. But the reality is they aren't doing that and that's unfortunate. Because at the end of the day I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat, we only to be immunized, we all need to protect ourselves. That's the right thing to do, that's the patriotic thing to do.

CHURCH: Dr. Carlos del Rio, thank you for talking with us. We appreciate you.

DEL RIO: Delighted to with you.

CHURCH: Well, in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce new criteria for the country to enter step four of its reopening plan. A statement says four different conditions must be met to roll back restrictions further including proof that vaccines are reducing hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths. Data must also show undue pressure would not be put on the NHS or fundamentally change risks caused by new variants.

Well, the Summer Olympics are set to begin in just over 11 days from now. This even though host city Tokyo is now under a new state of emergency due to a rising number of COVID-19 infections. And the torch relay is being kept off of the public streets. It was again limited to a small ceremony on the stage Sunday.

The state of emergency will cover the entire duration of the summer games. Authorities are asking restaurants, bars, and stores to close early and cut alcohol sales. Spectators are banned from the vast majority of events. Officials are waiting to decide on whether to allow fans at the Paralympics later in August. Olympic security officials expected to meet next hour as part of final preparations.

And later, IOC president, Thomas Bach is scheduled to welcome arriving delegations.

A straw poll shows Donald Trump is the clear conservative favorite for a 2024 White House bid. But he wasn't the only one in double digits. The other Republican getting CPAC support ahead.





DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This must never happen to another parties, presidential candidate again. It can never happen. We are a laughing stock all over the world. A laughing stock. And you know who knows it better than even the people in this room? Democrats.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Lies about his election loss are not new from Donald Trump. The former U.S. president kept repeating them at the conservative political action conference in Texas. And it may be paying off. He won the straw poll of attendees when they were asked who they would like to see run for the White House in 2024.

Sara Murray has details now from Dallas.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump laughed up (ph) the attention from an adoring crowd here at CPAC in Dallas on Sunday. He delivered a speech that lasted for more than an hour where he ran through many of his greatest hits, of course, rehashing the election results of 2020 and slamming the Biden administration.

TRUMP: We were doing so well until the rigged election happened. It came along. We were doing really well. But today, that heritage is under threat like never before. Who would have thought this could have happened? Even Bernie Sanders is saying, I never thought this could happen. He smiled by comparison.

In a matter of mere months, Joe Biden has brought our country to the brink of ruin. Right here in Texas, we are the epicenter of a border and migration crisis unlike anything anyone has ever seen before in the history of our country.

MURRAY: And of course, you heard him mention of the rigged election there at the top. That is one of Trump's favorite talking points, even if there is no evidence of widespread fraud.

It was quite clear that the crowd at CPAC was very much in the former president's corner. You know, they did a straw poll here, which is just a snapshot of the far conservative wing of the republican base, but it showed that 70 percent of the folks at CPAC would vote for Trump if he'll run for reelection again. The closest person behind him was at 21 percent and that was Ron DeSantis of Florida.

It gives you a sense of just how the former president has frozen the republican field, as folks wait to see if he decides he is going to run again.

You know, normally, CPAC is a big moment for up incoming Republican stars. We didn't see as much of that this time around. Everyone is kind of waiting to see what the former president decides to do. He didn't give an answer in his speech. He says he knows what he wants to do, but he is not going to be announcing it.

Sara Murray, CNN, Dallas.


CHURCH (on camera): Joining me now from Los Angeles is CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Great to have you with us as always.


CHURCH: So, former President Donald Trump addressed CPAC, highlighting his election lies, culture wars, and going after President Joe Biden immigration at the southern border, topics that resonate with his base. But can he win over swing voters with his old tried and true approach, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, it's an interesting question and one that 2022 and 2024 might give us different answers on. Midterm elections tend to be more about base voters because turnout is so much lower than in the presidential years so it is possible that Republicans can have a successful midterm election without really testing whether this kind of Trumpification of the party will be any more sellable to swing voters in 2024 than it was in 2020.

The reality was, in 2020, Joe Biden was elected because so many previously Republican-leaning voters, particularly in the suburbs and major metros around America, whether it is Atlanta or Philadelphia or Denver or Minneapolis, they voted Democratic.


BROWNSTEIN: And the Republican Party continues to place their relationship with those voters at risk by buying in to so many of kind of the Trump tropes -- good phrase, Trump tropes -- especially and most perniciously this idea that the election was stolen.

So, I think we are not going to really fully know the answer to that until 2024, but I think there is a lot of reason for Republicans to be concerned about their continued subservience to the former president means for their vote in those formerly Republican-leaning white collar suburbs.

CHURCH: Right. Interestingly, Trump won the CPAC straw poll of about a dozen or so 2024 potential GOP presidential candidates with 70 percent of support from attendees compared to 21 percent support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. How surprised are you that Trump support wasn't higher than 70 percent? What might that signal, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I actually think it is pretty much in line. We talked about this before, what we were seeing in polling.

I mean, by and large, I think if you look at all of the questions, whether the election was stolen, whether Trump's behavior after Election Day was acceptable, whether what happened on January 6 was partially him to blame, roughly, three quarters of the Republican Party is still with him.

It is somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of the Republican Party that is deeply uneasy with everything that has been happening in the last few months, the turn away from small beat democracy in the party and the embrace of Trump's lies about the election.

And I believe that one of the key questions in American politics for 2022 and 2024 is what does that one quarter of Republicans do, because they are being sent the message every day in every possible way, from Kevin McCarthy and other party leaders. They are now the subservient faction in the party.

I mean, they are, you know, disciplining Liz Cheney but not Marjorie Taylor Greene or Paul Gosar.

CHURCH: We will watch to see what they do in the end, of course. And Republicans have attacked President Biden's vaccination effort. Some are even suggesting that door to door vaccination efforts could somehow end up in guns being confiscated from people. How the lies like that play with the electorate? Do people buy all of this?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, when we talk about the polarization in American politics, it is often measured in different answers in a public opinion poll. You know, the Democrats have different views on abortion, gay rights, and gun control than Republicans do.

Over the pandemic, we have seen that this polarization plays out in very life and death consequences in the daily experiences of Americans, the differences in the way that red states and blue states impose lockdowns or impose mask requirements during the pandemic, and now this enormous golf that is not only very formidable but widening between red and blue counties, red and blue voters over whether to get the vaccine.

Polling last week from ABC Washington Post here in America, roughly 85 percent of Democrats said they had already been vaccinated. Only 45 percent of Republicans and the remaining Republicans, almost all of them say they have no intention of getting vaccinated.

The gap on the ground between the CDC has this data, between the share of adults who will be vaccinated in counties won by Trump and counties won by Biden is widening as we go deeper into the vaccination drive.

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, always great to get your analysis. Many thanks.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CHURCH (on camera): Haiti's first lady appears to have broken her silence following the assassination of her husband, President Jovenel Moise. Martine Moise was shot and injured during Wednesday's attack on the couple's Port-au-Prince home.

In a voice message posted to her Twitter account, she encouraged Haitians to persevere through the chaos now gripping the country. While CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of this audio, several Haitian officials say it is the first lady speaking.


MARTINE MOISE, FIRST LADY OF HAITI (through translator): Tears will never dry up in my eyes. My heart will still bleed, but we cannot allow the president to die a second time. It's true, I'm crying, but we can't let the country go astray.


CHURCH (on camera): The audio message also suggested Moise was killed for political reasons. And now, Haitian police appear to have confirmed as much. On Sunday, police arrested a man who they say helped orchestrate the assassination. They say the 63-year-old was born in Haiti and re-enter the country last month with -- quote -- "political intentions."

According to police, he helped recruit and organize the group of 28 mercenaries, who carried out this attack. So far, all but five have been arrested or killed by police. We have also learned that U.S. officials and FBI agents have now joined the investigation.


CHURCH (on camera): CNN spoke with the sister of one of the men accused in the assassination plot. She says the narrative surrounding her brother is wrong, and he is also a victim.

Stefano Pozzebon has our report.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: The relatives of a group of Colombian men accused of murdering Haitian President Jovenel Moise are speaking out, claiming their loved ones are, in fact, innocent and the victims of a conspiracy.

CNN spoke with Jenny Capador, the sister of a retired sergeant of the Colombian army who was killed by the Haitian police, and says her brother was hired to work as a private security to protect an important person in Haiti. Capador said that she spoke with her brother on Wednesday afternoon more than 15 hours after Moise was killed.

JENNY CAPADOR, SISTER OF COLUMBIAN ACCUSED IN PLOT: He told me that sadly, they got there to protect someone important, but that they arrived late. He told me they were in a house, under siege and under fire, fighting.

POZZEBON: Capador said she learned from the news that her brother had been killed and he was accused of the president's assassination. She told CNN, she does not know who hired her brother for the job nor who her brother was sent to protect to in Haiti.

Well, the Columbia National Police chief has said that 13 retired members of the Colombian army who travelled to Haiti between May and June are believed to have been involved with the assassination.

On Saturday, the chief of the Colombian Intelligence Agency travelled to Haiti to follow investigations on location.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


CHURCH (on camera): And still to come, how the annual 12th of July festivities in Northern Ireland are being marred by tensions over Brexit this year.



CHURCH: In the coming hours, thousands of people are expected to participate in Northern Ireland's 12th of July parades. But the festivities among Protestants also have a long history of sparking sectarian violence. This time, there is added tension due to frustrations over Brexit and new customs regulations.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now live from Belfast. Good to see you, Nic. So, despite the anger, violence appears to have been averted so far. But what lies ahead? What are the worries here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on camera): Well, there will be almost 100 parades across Northern Ireland today. Orange order parades, traditional parades. They will be a little different than previous years because of COVID regulations rather than very large, centralized parades that will in different communities across Northern Ireland.

But none of them are actually going to do what they historically used to do, which would be to march through, in some cases, try to march through Catholic communities.

So the tensions have been coming down over recent years. But this year, because of Brexit, because of the Northern Ireland customs protocols, tensions are much higher. The loyalists, unionists, protestant community here feel that their way of life, their traditions like today, are under threat.


ROBERTSON: A narrow escape. A metaphor for a weekend of pro-British Northern Ireland tradition, historically primed for potential violence. Irish Protestants celebrating a 331-year-old victory over Irish Catholics.

UNKNOWN: This is just what we do. You see it every year. So --

UNKNOWN: It's a good family event. It gets a lot of bad press, but you can see there's a lot of family and kids here. It's part of our culture and we will continue to celebrate every year.

ROBERTSON: Mostly families having fun. Teenagers are getting a little drunk. But underlying the festivities are frustrations. They are losers in Northern Ireland's piece, compounded by Brexit, a new custom regulations called protocols. They fear it threatened their constitutional ties to the U.K.

UNKNOWN: The protocol has caused a lot of anger in our community and that's all I want to say. The peace process is all one-sided. Enough is enough. There's nothing else to give.

ROBERTSON: Of the 250 bonfires to be lit over the weekend, police say only two or three are contentious. In recent years, tensions around this annual event have been subsiding. But this year, frustrations are underlying everything.

(Voice-over): At peaceful parades through Protestant neighborhoods, all part of the same annual loyalist commemorations. Families lined the road, bonding in their shared heritage, haunted by a common perception. Pro-Irish Catholics are making gains at their expense.

UNKNOWN: It's always an issue, and I don't know if it'll be resolved. Hopefully it can. (INAUDIBLE) but I hope it comes with a nice, friendly country (ph). But, in the meantime, we wouldn't want them forgetting our heritage (ph).

ROBERTSON: Brexit and the protocols are straining Northern Ireland's piece. But the parades and bonfires went off largely without incident this weekend is significant. But it is not by chance.

(Voice-over): Behind the scenes, organizers have been working hard to defuse tensions.

MERVYN GIBSON, GRAND SECRETARY OF THE ORANGE ORDER: To deal with a protocol after the 12th of July, members and supporters to have a good day.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The concern now, until the protocol issue is resolved, another flash point is just around the corner.

WINSTON IRVINE, COMMUNITY WORKER: We saw very serious violence spilling on to the streets here in April this year. And, yes, there is every chance that those types of scenes could return again.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A bullet task, quite literally, been dodged this weekend. A source told CNN, guns were being rented (ph) to stop police moving this contentious gunfire. Local organizers denied the claim. But the worry now, the guns could come out again.

Now, what organizers are telling us is the reason that they sort of put the protocol issue to one side is because they've been told by the British government to expect a significant statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson within the next few weeks that will address the protocol issue.

And of course, the question for them is, will it go far enough? They say the protocols have to be removed completely, that this border that they see down the Irish Sea between mainland U.K. and Northern Ireland must go.

And so another potential flash point really is, potentially, just a few weeks away, Rosemary, these are fundamental issues to this unionist, partisan loyalist community here. Sort of a small amount of political manipulation and words isn't going to change the situation for people here. They really need to see substantial shift. Rosemary?


CHURCH: We thank you for your report, Nic Robertson, joining us live from Belfast.

Much of the western U.S. is sweltering under triple digit temperatures as a brutal heat wave stretches on into a new week. When will the extreme temperatures ease up? We will check in with our meteorologists. That is next.


CHURCH: Up and down the U.S. West Coast, more than 24 million people are under a heat alert as brutal high temperatures are expected to continue Monday.

California's famed Joshua Tree National Park seen here is one of the places warning visitors of the extreme heat. Cities in Colorado, Nevada, and California set new all-time highs last week. The hot, dry weather is also fueling dozens of large wildfires right now.

So let's go to meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. Good to see you, Tyler. So, what are the latest details on this heat wave and when might we see some relief?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, we hear in the weather department, it sounds like a broken record because it seems like every single day we are talking about record heat somewhere across the West Coast.


MAULDIN: Right now, the record heat continues to be over here across the desert southwest and the surrounding regions where on Sunday we hit more daily record highs, 120 from China Lake. We see Fresno hitting 114. That is a few degrees warmer than that 110 degrees previous record high.

And in Death Valley, California, Death Valley has actually hit three consecutive days of temperatures at or above 128 degrees. That has only happened couple of other times in history. Last time that occurred was in July of 2005. And then July of 1913, we had six days, six consecutive days of temperatures above 128 degrees.

We have excessive heat alerts in effect right now across the southwest, basically the entire state of Nevada. You can see, once we get into the afternoon, we will get up to 113 degrees in Las Vegas. That is eight degrees above average. It continues to be above average force going on in the midweek.

Death Valley, 124 today, so still quite hot, right, even by Death Valley standards. You know it is hot when the overnight temperatures are unable to cool down and that is what we are seeing here. I mean, Bakersfield will be having a morning glow come Tuesday, just 80 degrees. Yikes.

The record heat will start to wane, Rosemary, once we get into Tuesday and Wednesday. That does not mean we are going to see cool down. It is still going to be extremely warm temperatures. It will be above average here. And then we will be well above average up here across the northern plains. And as you know, not only do we have the heat but we also have this ongoing drought, which is not helping those wildfires. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is just incredible, what is happening, isn't it? Tyler, thank you so much for staying on top of all of that. We appreciate it.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment.