Return to Transcripts main page


South Africa Violence; Haitian Police Search For New Suspects; Iraq Hospital Fire Kills At Least 92 People; British Prime Minister Condemns Racist Abuse, Shame on You; India's Most Populous State Proposes Two-Child Policy; Extreme Heat and Drought Fuel Western Wildfires. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired July 14, 2021 - 02:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In years has left dozens dead. Spark concerns over food and medical supplies and left authorities struggling to restore order.

The list of suspects grows in the assassination of Haiti's. New details revealed what appears to be a major conspiracy. And with soaring summer temperatures and bone dry conditions across the American West, many appearing another record breaking wildfire season.

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic and in many countries fear has given way to anger and the number of and intensity of violent protests are growing by the day. South Africa appears to be on a knife's edge after days of violence has left at least 72 people dead. Police have made all the 1200 arrests. The military has been deployed. But the impact of the army has been minimal.

They're struggling to contain the country's worst outbreak of violence in years. The trigger of the unrest was the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma, after he refused to appear before an anti-corruption commission. CNN's Dave McKenzie has more now from Johannesburg where he saw firsthand the looting and the violence.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Soldiers brought out the armored personnel carrier here in Johannesburg to try and get some sense of order. And they are standing here in a line not too many of them but they do have rifles with live ammunition. There's a group, a large group of people on the other side. Throughout today, throughout two provinces in South Africa, they've been running battles with the police if the police were even there at all.

Earlier this morning, we saw rampant looting at a mall in Soweto. Later on, the police and the military did arrest several people there. But the damage was already done. There is a call for calm from political leaders in this country in the worst violence and looting that this country has seen in many decades. Certainly since the beginning of a democracy. And these have been the scenes all day.

They haven't managed to stamp out the looting. I spoke to a shop owner about the losses he had suffered. He has lost everything. AMIR RAHMAN, SHOP OWNER: What am I going to eat? What am I going to do? We don't know nothing. Really we lose everything.

MCKENZIE: How do you feel about what's happening?

RAHMAN: This is very painful. And I don't know what can I say about that. This is not our fault. I don't know what happened to government. We don't know. But this is not our fault.

MCKENZIE: Or this might have started with politics in the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt. It is spiraled into something very different, very serious and at this stage, it's unclear if the authorities can stamp it out. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.

VAUSE: Anti-government activists in Cuba say more than 100 people have been arrested or missing after Sunday's widespread protests. Cubans took to the streets in a rare show of defiance. Frustrated by a growing economic crisis like a food and medicine as well as sporadic electricity supplies. One person reportedly died Monday during clashes with police. Cuba's President called the protesters criminals.

And the government has cut internet access to discourage further demonstrations. Despite that videos it's still appearing on social media claiming to show the protests and the police crackdown. CNN has confirmed the authenticity of the videos. The U.S. has called on the Cuban government to show restraint.


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We remain deeply concerned by the Cuban government's "call to combat" and by the images of violence that we have seen over the past few days. We call for calm and we condemn any violence against those protesting peacefully. And we equally call on the Cuban government to release anyone detained for peaceful protest.


VAUSE: Demonstrations in support of the Cuban people are also taking place in a number of U.S. cities including Miami, the center of the Cuban exile community. Tuesday's rally there shut down part of an expressway.

An early investigation into a deadly hospital fire in Iraq has found sparks from faulty wiring may have caused and an oxygen tank to explode. Fire then spread to the ICU treating COVID patients, killing at least 92 people. Here's how one witness described the scene.


KHAZAAL GHALEEM, WITNESSED FIRE (through translator): The front door was burning and the back door was closed so people couldn't get out. But before the fire broke out some of the mains to get out and afterwards people were stuck inside and the ceiling fell on them. We managed to take out some people but they were suffering and the rest of them burnt and died. Their families were still searching for their relatives.


VAUSE: Somebody was so badly burned they can only be identified DNA testing. According to Reuters, one hospital medic says the facility does not have a sprinkler system or a fire alarm system. Three days of mourning will be observed starting Friday.


VAUSE: Many protests worldwide have one common thread. Anger over government. Mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. We have more details now from CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: From Cuba to Haiti. South Africa to Lebanon. Tinder dry tensions are igniting. Crippled economies burdened by COVID-19. A partly to blame.

In Cuba, angry citizens in sense by lack of food, medicine and freedom, as well as spiraling coronavirus infections are getting beaten back by police for demanding the ouster of President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

In the national broadcast he blamed Cuba's economic woes on U.S. sanctions imposed under former President Donald Trump.

MIGUEL DIAZ-CANEL, CUBAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We explained to the Cuban people very clearly that we were about to enter a very rough period of time.

ROBERTSON: Reality is Cuba's weak economy and healthcare system is being brought to its knees by COVID-19. Infection soaring. Only a little more than 16 percent of Cubans fully vaccinated. The United States is watching with concern.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Deeply, deeply, deeply tired of the repression that has gone on for far too long. Tired of the mismanagement of the Cuban economy. Tired of the lack of adequate food and of course, an adequate response to the COVID pandemic.

ROBERTSON: Haiti also a concern for the U.S. the audacious assassination of President Jovenel Moise last week, top weeks of deadly street protests and fighting. Fueled by poverty and factional infighting. The impoverished Caribbean nation which has been an economic basket case for decades, soar street violence ramped up in recent weeks concurrent with a spike in COVID-19 cases in late June.

In South Africa, where COVID-19 infections have been spiking and vaccination rates are low, the economic inequalities are high. The army has been brought in to quell deadly rioting triggered by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma on contempt of court charges.

And Lebanon too is heading a crisis. Exacerbating pre-existing tensions of poor COVID readiness. Protests and anger ever present as rocketing inflation rolling power outages, Royal passions. The nation reeling from the economic impact of decades of Syrian civil war next door, compounded by years of political infighting. And to cap it all apart last, last summer, shredding much of central Beirut.

And Iraq this week became the latest country where tinder dry frustrations come busted as they touch the nation's war and COVID weary population. Oxygen tanks for treating COVID-19 patients at a hospital exploded, killing more than 90 people. Within hours nearby residents took to the streets demanding better from their government. Living with COVID-19 has become not just a way of life but a salutary warning for leaders everywhere.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


VAUSE: And the highly contagious Delta variant fuelling new outbreaks around the world even in countries where the pandemic appear to be under control. In the U.S. infections are surging in almost all states as you can see on the red map there. Now the rate of new cases was at least 10 percent higher last week compared to the previous week. The map with more green shows how much better the situation was a month ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Delta variant now accounts for nearly 60 percent of all new infections across the United States. In Sydney, Australia and surrounding areas, residents will remain under lockdown for two weeks longer than expected. Stay- at-home orders were meant to end on Friday. CNN Angus Watson reports.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: One particular community here in Sydney is particularly affected most of the 97 cases announced in Sydney. Today we're in the Fairfield area of southwestern Sydney. People they're given an extra element told to get tested every three days if they're an essential worker who needs to leave their neighborhood to get to work. Now those people lined up this morning before dawn for hours in their cars, queues stretching for miles around the block as people waited to get tested.

And John, of course, as you know with these lockdowns, hearts and minds are a serious business for the government. It needs to bring people along with them if It's going to get numbers down, John.


VAUSE: Angus Watson, thank you. South Korea has shattered its own record for daily COVID cases reporting more than 1600 on Tuesday. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout Lisa live in Hong Kong for more on this. Not just the Delta variant here, but also low vaccination rates and a few other issues playing into this, right?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that's the reason why the South Korean President Moon-Jae in is calling this "the biggest crisis since the pandemic began." In South Korea the number of new daily COVID-19 cases is reaching a record high as the entire nation is struggling with the Delta variant, as well as the low pace of vaccination on Wednesday. South Korea reported over 1600 new cases of the coronavirus.

Its highest daily caseload since the pandemic began. Its eighth consecutive day of reporting over 1000 new cases of the virus. And this comes just days after South Korea raised pandemic restrictions in the capital Seoul and the surrounding area. Raising it to the highest level of level four. Now, according to the level four pandemic curves, the following measures are in place. We'll bring up the graphic for you.

People are advised to stay home, nightclubs and bars in Seoul are closed. Restaurants and cafes have limited seating. Only takeout services are available after 10:00 p.m. Private gatherings of no more than two people after 6:00 p.m. No spectators are allowed to attend sports matches. Hotels can operate only at two thirds of full capacity and movies not allowed after 10:00 p.m. Now South Korea has also suspended its baseball season for five days after a number of baseball players were confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus.

And in the South Korean capital of Seoul, they've also banned speedy treadmills and banned fast music to be played during group workout. So K-pop songs that are faster than 120 beats per minute are banned during this time of increasing pandemic controls. And the reason why, according to officials is "harsh breathing from intense activities can splutter a lot of saliva." This may seem like a very curious measure but it's designed by officials there to rein in the spread of the virus especially among a target demographic.

Because according to disease control authorities in South Korea they are saying that this spike infection is being primarily driven by unvaccinated young people. This has prompted the president of South Korea Moon Jae-in earlier this week to say this is the biggest crisis the nation has faced since the beginning of the pandemic. And also issue an apology. We have a translation of what he said.

We'll bring it up for you. Moon Jae-in, the president South Korea saying the government will do its best to advance the vaccination period by utilizing the available vaccines as efficiently as possible. Once again, I feel very sorry for asking the people to endure and be more patient a little bit longer. Unquote. John, out of population of 52 million only about 11.8 percent have been fully vaccinated. Back to you.

VAUSE: No K-pop. No faster than six Ks on a treadmill. The pandemic isn't all bad. Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Thank you.

Just over a week out from the Tokyo games now, normally before any Olympics. This is the time when the excitement really starts to build worldwide. Not this year. 20 countries were surveyed in a recent poll, a majority of respondents say the games should just not go ahead. CNN's Blake Essig joins me live from Tokyo. OK. So, let's review here. The host country is like -- has the second least amount of enthusiasm for these games.

Only South Korea is less enthusiastic. There'll be no spectators. Most people think the game should not go ahead. They're going to be a fun time. Right? BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, John, I think that, you know, we've talked about this in the past. The legacy of these games will be the no fun Olympics. I mean, as you said, no spectators, no alcohol. Just across the board, no buzz and excitement that typically surround an Olympic Games. It just doesn't exist here. Now, the Olympics start in just nine days.

But despite attempts by organizers to create that buzz and excitement around the games here in Japan, the Olympics still remain overwhelmingly unpopular. And Ipsos MORI poll recently released show that nearly 80 percent of people in Japan say the Olympics should not be held. Tens of thousands of people from 28 countries including Japan were surveyed, and more than half close to 60 percent say the games shouldn't go ahead.

Now this poll was taken after the ban on spectators and increased border control measures were put in place to limit the spread of infection. The survey highlights the reality that the attempts to ease health and safety concerns haven't worked, and that the vast majority of people still oppose these games. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach didn't help the situation yesterday.

Bach is already very unpopular here in Japan with many people feeling like he and the IOC are forcing the games to go ahead no matter what. During his first public appearance since arriving in Tokyo last week, Bach slipped up when he referred to Japanese people as Chinese people while he quickly corrected himself. The reaction on social media was just as swift with many people saying he has no respect for people in Japan.


ESSIG: Now and in a separate interview with Kyodo News, Bach said that canceling the Olympics despite the global health crisis is not an option. Because of a recent surge in cases, Tokyo entered its fourth state of emergency earlier this week, the Capitol is seeing cases increased for 24 straight days, compared to the previous week. And experts believe, John that the latest rise in cases is caused -- which is caused by the Delta variant could lead to an even bigger wave of infection compared to waves that we've already seen here in Japan.

VAUSE: Blake, thank you. We're out of time but makes you wonder what's happening in Tokyo about why are they so enthusiastic about the games? It's a bit of a mystery. Blake Essig there in Tokyo. Thank you. We'll take a short break. When we come back. We'll have new details about the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of Haiti's president.

Also, Joe Biden makes a case against restrictive new voting laws and states across the United States. And the reason behind


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The big lie is just that a big lie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: The number of suspects in the assassination of Haiti's president is growing, with police now looking for 10 new individuals including a former Haitian senator. So far, 39 people have been tied to the killing of Jovenel Moise last Wednesday, including at least three American citizens and one of them Christian Emmanuel Sanon, the accused mastermind. CNN's Matt Rivers has more.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This site has been sealed by the Port-au-France magistrate. Reads the note on the door of the medical NGO. The compound where authority say Christian Amman Sanon, an American citizen helped orchestrate the assassination of Haiti's president, Jovenel Moise. When police cars descended to a restaurant over the weekend, they found him at the house just across the street from the NGO.

Along with lots of ammunition, holsters and shooting targets. Authorities say he helped recruit and organize the 26 Colombians and two Americans they believe carried out the killing.

(on camera): We've spoken to several neighbors now who were too nervous to go on camera with us but tell us that the amount of activity at this compound over the last month or two really started to increase. And interestingly, they say they saw men going from that compound to this one which is where Sanon was arrested. They said all of the men were foreigners that were "muscular like bodyguards," sometimes with camouflage pants.

(voice-over): There's no way to know for sure if those same men are among these suspects that Sanon is claiming to have never met. In police interviews he is arguing he is innocent according to a source directly involved in the investigation. CNN spoke to that source over the phone and agreed to conceal his identity. Sanon said he doesn't know anything about the assassination said our source.

He said he's a pastor, his wife and children live abroad but he's been in the for about a month. He says he didn't know the ammunition was in the house. This is what he said since the first day.


RIVERS: Sanon appears to split his time between South Florida and Haiti and has been involved for years in medical charity work. He's also been a longtime critic of the Haitian government saying this in a YouTube video from 2011.

CHRISTIAN EMMANUEL SANON, SUSPECT IN THE KILLING OF HAITI'S PRESIDENT: Where's the leadership of Haiti? Nowhere to be found. You know why? Because they're corrupt.

RIVERS: Sanon, not the only American allegedly playing a key role in the assassination. Two more Americans seen here. James Solages and Joseph Vincent have been detained in Haiti as suspects. But CNN is also reporting this several other suspects in the assassination have direct ties to U.S. law enforcement has informants. The DEA has confirmed at least one of them worked for them in the past as an informant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DEA operation, everybody back up. Stand down.

RIVERS: The night of the assassination, you can even hear a suspect shout he was working for the DEA, though U.S. officials have repeatedly said that was a lie. And the U.S. doesn't just have connections to the crime but to its aftermath, Haitians have been showing up at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-France asking for visas. Some are desperate to leave an island where poverty, violence and corruption are chronic, the assassination, just the final straw.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-France.


VAUSE: Joe Biden says a wave of new laws being passed in Republican- controlled states aimed at restricting voting access is the most dangerous threat to democracy since the Civil War. His speech in Philadelphia today came amid pressure from progressives within his own party to speak out on voting rights. He also took a few swipes at his predecessor, Donald Trump.


BIDEN: In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the constitution. You try again. You don't call facts fake. And then try to bring down the American experiment just because you're unhappy. That's not statesmanship. That's not statesmanship. That's selfishness.

So hear me clearly. There's an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote and fair and free elections, an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty and assault on who we are, who we are as Americans.


VAUSE: Mr. Biden also mentioned a controversial plan by state Republicans in Texas to change voting laws. A move they say to protect election integrity. But most Texas Democrats were in Washington to deny a quorum and prevent the legislature from voting on the bill. And critics of the bill rallied in the state capitol Austin as Mr. Biden spoke.


BIDEN: When we asked you, my Republican friends in Congress and states and cities and counties to stand up for God's sake, and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our election, and the sacred right to vote. Have you no shame.


VAUSE: The Department of Justice has released a new video which shows January 6th rioters trying to disrupt their certification of the election victory by Joe Biden. The footage shows Trump supporters pushing their way through the U.S. Capitol Building, carrying flags and chanting treason.


VAUSE (voice-over): This is part of the three-minute video clip being used to the DOJ case against 16 members of the Oath Keepers. Right- wing extremist group which he's charges for the alleged roles in the insurrection. Two members have already pleaded guilty. The footage was released after CNN and other news outlets sued for access.

Well, M.C. international is responding to a CNN report showing the execution of unarmed Afghan commandos as they stranded to the Taliban. The rights group calls it a war crime and is urging Afghan authorities to begin an immediate investigation.

Meantime, the escalating conflict is pushing Afghanistan to the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The U.N. Refugee Agency reports years of fighting have force 3-1/2 million people from their homes. More than two million Afghans have fled to Pakistan and Iran. A situation now made even worse by the ongoing Taliban offensive. And on that, CNN's Anna Coren has details from Kabul.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the security situation continues to deteriorate across Afghanistan, the French Embassy here in Kabul is calling on all its citizens to leave the country. The French government is organizing a special flight on Saturday to take the entire French community back to France.


COREN: The embassy says anyone who is not on that flight, they will not be able to ensure the safety of their departure. It comes as the Taliban is making sweeping gains across the country seizing more districts. There is intense fighting going on in Kandahar, the southern part of the country, as militants try to claim that city. The Ministry of Defense says the Afghan national security forces are launching operations across Afghanistan and have killed more than 300 Taliban in the last 24 hours.

But it is the civilians who are paying the price. UNHCR says there is a looming humanitarian crisis on the way. More than 270,000 people have been displaced this year so far. And CNN has learned that a high- level delegation from the Afghan government will be flying to Doha, Qatar to meet with the Taliban for peace talks. This will be the first time since September last year. Anna Coren, CNN Kabul.

VAUSE: Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM. The British Prime Minister condemning racist abuse online went to social media companies to help prevent that. We'll have more in just a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter.

VAUSE: A cheering crowd their gathering in support of England forward Marcus Rashford after his mural was prepared on Tuesday. The original artists restored the mural after it was to faced with racist graffiti. Rashford was one of three players who was targeted by racist abuse after missing penalty kicks in England's loss to Italy at the Euro 2020 Final on Sunday. The online abuse directed at the England players prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to sit down with social media giants.

He urged them to take swift action to address racist abuse on their platforms. Twitter says it was a constructive conversation with Mr. Johnson over efforts to tackle the problem. Just last month, a YouGov survey found 54 percent of fans in England said racism in football does exist and is a serious problem. That number down just slightly from March. Well for more we're joined now by Kehinde Andrews. Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University.

Professor, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: Well, the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he has his Tuesday's cabinet meeting again condemning this racist abuse. Here he is.


JOHNSON: To those who have been directing racist abuse at some of the players I said, shame on you. And I hope you will crawl back under the rock from which you emerged.



VAUSE: The language is strong. The intention is good, I imagine. He also met the executive from the social media companies. But at the end of the day, this all seems to be fairly standard stuff, solutions of attempted solutions have been tried before but have not worked. So why is all this ugly stuff keep happening and why do we keep doing the same thing that does not work?

KEHINDE ANDREWS, PROFESSOR OF BLACK STUDIES, BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY: Well, I mean, yes I think it is frankly offensive that Boris Johnson has come out as nobody asked him about bright idea. Over the last ten years, the public debate has been sort of so poisoned that we have seen this kind of return to open over racism, which, to be honest, we have not seen previously.

And another main explanation to that is this (INAUDIBLE) actually Boris Johnson's political appeal. His home secretary coming at saying it is perfectly fine to boo the fans, to boo the players taking in the knee and its general court to law and we are having a (INAUDIBLE) something that comes at. I mean, the focus we had last summer will maybe be impossible in the future.

He actually made the penalty for defacing a statue worst than (INAUDIBLE) in the United Kingdom. And so this government is actually a major part of the problem of this publicity (ph). So they cannot compare now and say, oh, this is terrible.

VAUSE: You know, the social media companies say they are doing their best to remove these offensive posts, and, apparently, it is an algorithm which does that. These posts are not taken down by people. One Twitter user made this point. People should not have to report racists on those footballers Instagram. Someone on Instagram should be scrolling through and simply deleting every account that's left foul comments. Why are they only ever reactive -- why they only ever reactive instead of active expecting ordinary users to do the work?

You know, it is a good point and you know it is been backed up by documents from Facebook that this is what happened. And given the history of racial abuse after these big football matches, this seems like it's pretty easy to do. There just does not seem to be the will to do it.

ANDREWS: You know, there is a bigger problem, why are you having this -- why are people posting this stuff, why do people feel emboldened to do this? As I said social media company should be more. A social media is just a reflection of what is happening in society.

And this is what I am saying here. The reason you're having, and we seen it since the Brexit campaign, the massive spike in racial abuse, there has been a poisoning of the public arena. And that is why you are seeing this posting. And, as I said, Boris Johnson is part of it. He's directly (INAUDIBLE) as anybody else.

VAUSE: And to your (INAUDIBLE) away from the tech side, that point was made in an opinion piece in USA Today. Here is part of it. What those young black men face is a cultural issue, not an algorithmic one, and it's similar to the United States, where centuries of systemic racism still have significant impact and politicians mine racism as a weapon.

So, at the end of the day, the issues are much bigger than removing posts, banning some social media accounts, developing a more effective algorithm. And from what we have seen within this conservative government, nothing really is being done, it is getting worse. So how does this play out? How does this get better?

ANDREWS: Well, I think, first, we have to address what the problem is. I think part of this issue is, this horrible thing is that we are focusing on the wrong thing. The individual acts of prejudice, they're terrible and we need to stop it.

But that is only really done on both side of (INAUDIBLE). Can we stop people being racist and can we put legislation in it? But there are much bigger issues here around unemployment, around the wealth gap, around health, around policing, both here and in America. Those are the issues we need to be addressing.

And, again, we have to hold politicians to account. So the politics where I am standing about racial abuse when they are actually pointing in policies like immigration policies in this country, et cetera, which is making all of those problem worse, this is when you know we're having a really terrible and poisonous conversation about racism in this country and also, say, in the United Sates.

VAUSE: Professor Andrews, thank you so much. I appreciate you being with us

ANDREWS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, on current trends, India is set to be the world's most populous country in less than a decade. So now, to try to control population growth, the country's most populous state is taking a page from China's playbook, proposing a bill to limit how many children couples can have.

CNN's Vedika Sud has details


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Crowded streets, packed by lanes people living cheek by jowl, familiar scenes in parts of many Indian cities. There are several reasons for these conditions, housing shortages, as people migrate from villages to cities for jobs, and a rapid increase in population density, causing some residents to worry about the future.

BHUPINDER KUMAR, NEW DEHLI RESIDENT: There are no jobs, there is no space to live. And if the situation persists, people will start encroaching on other's properties.

SUD: The U.N. projects India will surpass China as the world's most populous country by 2027. India is expected to add more than a quarter billion people by 2050, many of whom will be among the world's poorest.

Despite this alarming statistic overall, India's population growth does seem to be slowing compared to previous decades, a result of rising education levels, decreasing poverty rates, and growing urbanization.


However, some populous cities are still seeing growth rates that they cannot keep up with, pushing some leaders to proposed policies from China's playbook as they seek to control population growth.

On Sunday, the chief minister, Dr. Pradesh, India's most populous state, proposed a new two-child policy, discouraging couples from having more than two children. The northeastern state of Assam announced similar plans last month. Under this legislation, couples with more than two children will not receive government benefits or subsidies, and will be barred for applying from state government jobs.

The state's draft law includes incentives for two children couples. If one of them asks for voluntary sterilization, the family can enjoy perks like rebates on utility bills and property taxes. JAI PRATAP SINGH, HEALTH MINISTER, UTTAR PRADESH STATE: This policy that has been made today is from 2021 to 2030, in which we sat with all people and made such a plan, through which we can create awareness and try to control our population.

SUD: Assam's, chief minister has said that his state's proposal is partly to control population growth of Bengali-speaking Muslims.

(INAUDIBLE) is set to elections next year, which will be crucial to India's ruling party, Janata Party. Its chief minister, known or being a Hindu hard-liner, says that his state's policy is secular. But whether that is true made dependent how it gets implemented.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


VAUSE: Extreme heat and severe drought fueling devastating wildfires in the U.S. and Canada. Is there relief in sight? The latest conditions, from our CNN meteorologist, just ahead.



VAUSE: Well, parts of London cleaning up after heavy rain caused some flash flooding. Cars were submerged. Officials say 120 people were placed in emergency accommodations. The London Fire Brigade received more than a thousand reports of flooding on the west side.

Across the western U.S. and Canada, officials are preparing for this wildfire season to be one of the worst, if not, the worst on record. Both countries report scores of wildfires burning right now, many out of control. In the U.S., flames have burned an area nearly five times the size of New York City. Authorities in Oregon and Washington State are going to the highest fire readiness level. And Idaho's governor says his state could be in for a devastating, difficult year.

Meteorologist Tyler Maulden joins us now for more. A devastating and difficult year, which seems to be the norm.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's from Alaska all the way down through British Columbia, on into the west coast of the U.S.

And take a look at some of these statistics here John. As you can see we have had year to date more than 33,000 wildfires, which have burned about 834,000 hectares in the U.S.


Now, look at Canada, and notice this, about 700,000 hectares burned with just 3,100 fires, so a lot of fires in both countries, but we are seeing more in the way of acres being burned per fire up in Canada. It is crazy.

And here in the U.S., we currently have 67 wildfires active across the west coast, even more in Canada, it's because of this ongoing drought. 94 percent of the west coast in the U.S is currently under a drought, and then the record heat that we have been dealing with since early to mid-June.

So we have all the ingredients in place for a lot of wild fires to be popping out. We got the dry fuel, we got the heat, we also got the winds coming in allowing these fires to breathe. So it is a recipe for a lot of wildfires and that is what we are seeing. That is why we are on track to have yet another record-breaking season of fires.

The above average temperatures are going to continue to linger around. Okay, this is both the west coast of U.S. and Canada. We are not going to dealing with the all-time record temperatures, like what we are dealing with, but it's certainly going to be well above normal for us.

In terms of rainfall, well, typically, you would see about 15 millimeters of rain help to stop the spread of a fire, and then 50 millimeters of rain is what you would need to extinguish a fire due to a drought.

Do we see that coming our way across the west coast of the U.S. and Canada? Not so much. Unfortunately, the rain falling over the next five days is in areas that, sure, are parched, but the areas that really need it, we are not going to see it in the next five days, nor are we going to see it as we go into next week.

The Climate Prediction Center is predicting that here in the U.S., we will see below average precipitation chances on into next week. And from what I have seen, that's going to continue on into the end of July and into August too.

For that reason, we continue to watch for the potential wildfires in both countries along the west coast. Red flag warnings are up, and, John, we also have poor air quality. You can see all the areas shaded in gray here. Those are air quality alerts and it is because that west wind is picking up the smoke and pushing it east. So if you are not seeing those fires, John, you are still getting impacted in some way.

VAUSE: Tyler, thank you for the update, we appreciate it. Tyler Maulden there with the very latest, thank you.

Well, there is a growing problem in America's lakes and ponds, mutant giant goldfish. A city in Minnesota fished these football-sized fellows out of a local lake. Experts says they are extremely dangerous for the environment.

Goldfish are invidious (ph) species in fresh water, quickly reproduce, they destroy habitats, they lower the water quality. It is kind of scary.

Experts say the giant goldfish are being found across the country, most likely because pet owners are releasing them into local water sources, maybe those dead goldfish is being flushed away once they are dead.

Britney Spears is expected to phone in for a court hearing Wednesday as she fights to regain legal control of her finances. The pop star is requesting new council. And a source says Spears has been in talks with former Federal Prosecutor Matthew Rosengart about representation. Her long-time court appointed attorney resigned last week.

Good luck to Britney.

Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. World Sport is up next and I will see you tomorrow.