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At Least 55 Dead, Hundreds Missing in Europe Flooding; WHO: Deaths in Africa Up 43 Percent from Last Week; COVID-19 Cases Surge in Tokyo with Olympics One Week Away; Video Shows Suspected Attackers after Assassination; Prime Minister-Designate Hariri Steps Down; Extreme Flooding Being Caused by Climate Change, Expert Says; Protests in France Against Macron's New COVID Rules. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired July 16, 2021 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause.


Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, the future is now. Deadly extreme flooding across western New York proves once again the warnings about the dire impact of climate change are coming true.

Beware of the variant. The WHO says, as long as the coronavirus continues to evolve, chances are it will mutate into more contagious and deadlier strains.

And, why is the IOC so wow-wow, gung-ho about holding the Tokyo Olympics? Well, there could be 4.38 billion reasons why.

Well, according to the meteorologist, Germany saw the heaviest rainfall in a century. In one district alone, 1,300 people assumed missing in flash floods. At least 55 are dead across western Germany and Belgium.

The Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been hit hard. Some regions received more than a month's worth of rain in just 24 hours. And experts say these intense downpours are likely becoming more common as the climate continues to get warmer.

CNN's Nina dos Santos begins our coverage.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Torrential rains and severe flooding wreaking havoc across Europe, leaving dozens dead and extensive damage in their wake. Rivers overflowed their banks. Houses collapsed. Roads were washed away and a muddy mess left behind.

Parts of Germany received over 200 millimeters of rain in just nine hours. Two firefighters among the dead there. Others left with nothing.

EDGAR GILLESSEN, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): All these people living here, I know them all. I feel so sorry for them. They've lost everything. All they have is what they had on them. It's all gone now. A friend had a workshop over there. Nothing standing. The bakery, the butcher, it's all gone. It's scary, unimaginable.

DOS SANTOS: This dramatic scene in western Germany, as some people left stranded on their rooftops were rescued by helicopter. Across the border, in Belgium, this man braved the water to check on his neighbors, water nearly reaching his windows.

The village of Pepenster (ph) devastated. Homes have collapsed, and cars were swallowed up by the rising water. One man says he's worried about his family.

CYRIL HENIN, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): My mother was stuck in a house over there, with my brothers and sisters. The walls of the house are starting to crack, and the house is at risk of collapsing.

DOS SANTOS: In the Netherlands, a care home was evacuated during the storm. Dutch authorities hope to get elderly residents to safety, fearing the facility could lose electricity and other supplies. Visiting Washington on Thursday, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she's thinking of those in her homeland.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): These are terrible days for the people in the flooded areas. My thoughts are with you, and you can trust that all forces of our government -- federal, regional, and community -- collectively, will do everything under most difficult conditions to save lives, alleviate dangers to relieve the stress.

DOS SANTOS: This, as she ordered Germany's military to help in some of the hardest-hit areas. A German meteorologist says that, in some areas, they haven't seen this much rainfall in 100 years.

And the country is in for more bad news. Weather forecasters say additional rainfall is expected in southwestern Germany, in the days to come.

Nina dos Santos, CNN.


VAUSE: Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. You know, all these comparisons about once in 100-year flooding and all that kind of stuff, that's all out the window now. This is like everyday stuff.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. These high-energy sudden torrents of summer rainfall is exactly what we would expect, John, to see in a rapidly-warming climate like we're experiencing now.

So more, warmer air can hold more water vapor. And that leads to additional rainfall flooding and extreme rain events, just like we experienced over Belgium and western Germany.

Taking a closer look at this image, there was actually someone getting saved from one of the buildings here, not to mention, just the complete devastation going on in the background. Wow, this is incredible.

Copernicus, which is an atmospheric monitoring service coming out of Europe, they were able to go into emergency mode to map the extent of the flooding. We're looking at a satellite image from Liege (ph), Belgium, and you can see the Meuse River running right through that particular city, and that shading of light blue, that's actually the flooded river banks of the Meuse River.

So you can see the extent of the flooding, even from space. If you analyze the recent radar imagery, we've gone back 48 hours to show you the intense rainfall event that took place.

Look at western portions of Germany, into Belgium, as well as Luxembourg. Rainfall moving over the same locations. That is what created this torrential rainfall. A stuck low pressure system basically cut off the flow of the atmosphere, sitting and spinning over the same area, causing rainfall totals in excess of 200 millimeters in less than nine hours. That's an incredible amount of rain in a short period of time, nearly doubling their July rainfall coverage in Cologne, Germany.

You can see that kind of cut in the atmosphere there. That is a trough. Basically cut away from the general flow of the atmosphere. So that low pressure that forms sits and spins and moves. Those rainfall bursts, intense rains over the same locations.

This picture is astounding, because look at these vehicles just stacked up here. Did a bit of research. It takes 15 centimeters to sweep a person off of their feet. But it takes only 60 centimeters to actually lift an entire vehicle. So water can actually pick vehicles up and toss them, just like toy cars there.

So what's to come? We have more rain. Nine was talking about it just a moment ago. You can see the rainfall across extreme southern portions of Germany. The heaviest rain is going to start to shift towards the Balkan regions and into the Adriatic, but more flash flooding possible in a very saturated environment.

John, big story.

VAUSE: Yes. Thank you, Derek van Dam there with the very latest, and the forecast. We appreciate it.

For wealthy vaccinated nations, it seems the pandemic is almost in the rearview mirror. Normalcy is fast returning. But the WHO is warning the world is still in the grip of a public health emergency which is far from over, especially with the highly-contagious Delta variant driving global infections.

Numbers are up in the United States, Northern Africa, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, as well as Asia. And many countries still don't have access to vaccines.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The committee has expressed concern that the pandemic is being mischaracterized as coming to an end, when it's nowhere near finished. It has also warned about the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.


VAUSE: It's been a devastating week in Africa. COVID-19 deaths across the continent, up 43 percent from last week. The WHO warns hospitalizations are rapidly increasing, as well.

Oxygen and intensive care beds are getting harder to find. Less than 2 percent of Africans are fully vaccinated. Some countries, such as Rwanda, are beginning new lockdowns.

Larry Madowo has more now on the grim outlook, reporting in from Nairobi.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rwanda's 10-day lockdown, which begins Saturday, will be one of the strictest in all of Africa. People are required to stay home and not leave. There will be no public gatherings, no public transport, and businesses are closed, except for essential services.

The minister of Rwanda going on to say that 60 percent of new cases are of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Now, they're dealing with a third wave of coronavirus cases and have seen a positivity rate of 17 and a half percent.

But Rwanda is not alone. There are restrictions in other parts of the continent. Uganda is on the back end of its own restrictions, and Tunisia's health care system has essentially collapsed and is now introducing a lockdown of its own.

The World Health Organization says, week on week, there is a 43 percent increase in coronavirus deaths. And Africa has had eight consecutive weeks of increases in coronavirus cases, and this is now at a point where Africa is seeing 6 million coronavirus cases, and that last million was in just the last month.

That is the fastest period (ph) to get to that million. The previous million took about three months. The big problem for Africa is that there's just not enough people vaccinated. Only 1.5 percent of the African population is so far vaccinated, and that means there might be restrictions, again and again, as the Delta variant spreads.

It's so far been found in 21 countries. While parts of the west see protests over mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, many in Africa don't have that luxury. If they have these vaccines, they can get their lives back to normal and begin to rebuild after this pandemic.

But that's just not an option that's available to so many in this part of the world.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.


VAUSE: Dr. Scott Miscovich is a physician and national consultant for the COVID-19 testing. He is with us this hour from Hawaii.

And it's been a long -- long time since we've seen each other. Welcome back.


VAUSE: You know, there's a few important points to restate, I guess, about the Delta variant and just lay out the facts and what is of concern and not concerning.

So new hospital admissions for COVID are way down in many countries. And they're countries, mostly, where the vaccine rollouts have been under way for some time.

We know from a recent new case study, the vaccines are effective against the Delta variant. We also know that 99.2 percent of COVID deaths in the United States last month were unvaccinated people.

We get to long-term risks of all this in a moment, but right now, the biggest threat is to those who are simply not vaccinated, either by choice, or by circumstances, or eligibility. Basically, that's essentially where we stand at the moment. Right?

MISCOVICH: Correct. Correct. I would listen to the WHO warning, and I think there's something I want to highlight that's so important. When we look at the Delta variant, right now, we're talking about something that is about 250 percent more contagious, and spreads more. That are not factor we than the original coronavirus that was present. Think about that.

So, what we have is a virus that has found a way to mutate from that Alpha. Now we're up to Delta. And, the Delta is so much more contagious. That's why we're seeing the problems that you're highlighting across the world.

Now, let me put that into perspective a little bit more. Everybody knows smallpox, right? Well, smallpox had this factor, this contagious factor, that went anywhere from about four on up to six.

Well, right now, we're calculating the Delta variant has a contagious factor of five to eight, meaning that every person who gets it can spread it to five to eight. That's serious. We know what the smallpox meant to the history of our planet. Each variant gets more and more contagious.

VAUSE: The thing is that with high school biology teachers, the virus can only evolve it's replicating and transmitting. And this virus can only replicate and transmit in people who have not been vaccinating. So when you have large populations like Africa, who have not seen a single dose of vaccine, the virus survives. And it means that you can actually continue to evolve and change and mutate into something which is worse, and more deadlier, and even possibly, even, then evade the vaccines.

MISCOVICH: Exactly. And see, the other thing that we have to look at is where does the mutation occur in a prime way? Anybody who's immunosuppressed, their immune system will often create a perfect environment for a new variant that will be a little more variant to occur.

The second issue is that we don't talk about enough in our country and across the world, is the single shots. Many people have gotten one shot and are kind of hesitant to get the second.

So, you have the partial immune system, that is now partially fighting the virus, which creates a perfect, perfect medium for the virus to mutate. So we cannot stop at single shots. We have to have people get completely vaccinated.

And as you saw in the piece before, 1 percent, 2 percent of the entire continent of Africa, which is just getting devastated, we have a long way to go.

VAUSE: And this is why, when if you can't get vaccinated, if you have access to a vaccine, if you don't get it, it's a really dumb idea. And it's also that wealthy nations are supposed to be sharing their stockpiles of vaccines with nations where there actually is no supply, because if they don't get it, it eventually always comes back.

MISCOVICH: Yes. I think that's why the wealthy nations of the world can't sit back and be complacent and see, we're getting our life back voice to normal. I shudder when I hear that term, getting life back to normal.

Life is not going to get back to normal, as the WHO basically stated very appropriately today, until we find a way to get the world vaccinated.

But, in the meantime, we are going to be pushing the end of the Greek alphabet, because of the number of variants that can occur with these perfect environments that are occurring across the world.

And, God forbid, we will get the northern hemisphere in our cold and flu season to have increased spreads, we still have a long way to go, John.

VAUSE: Yes. Scott, thank you for being with us. And we're out of time, but it does seem like almost a false dawn at the moment. And we just have to get beyond that. It's good to see you. Thanks for taking the time.

MISCOVICH: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, the biggest sporting event in the world is now just one week away. Olympic organizers are pushing ahead with the summer games, despite COVID cases reaching a six-month high in Tokyo.

CNN's Will Ripley now live from Tokyo with the very latest on all of this.

So, Will, it's going to happen. No one's really enthusiastic about these games, I guess, except for the IOC.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You hear the IOC president Thomas Bach, and I know how Tokyo is the best ever prepared city to hold an Olympics. And Japan will look on these games as a victory, not only over the march of 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but also a victory over COVID-19.

And yet, these games are happening in a capital city that, for nearly a month now, has seen daily case numbers trending upward. And yesterday, they were the highest numbers they'd seen since January, at a time that the Japanese public, who paid for these multi-billion- dollar venues will be kept so far away from the games, won't be able to go to restaurants, because alcohol is banned.

Well, it's not an Olympics that some people are very enthusiastic about.



RIPLEY (voice-over): Japan's Olympic stadium, a symbol of the troubled Tokyo games, and for Kobi Ginno (ph), a reminder of the home he lost.

Ginno (ph) got an eviction notice in 2013, when Japan won the 2020 bid. A year of national triumph and personal loss.

Around 200 families, mostly senior citizens, evicted. Their housing complex demolished five years ago, replaced by Tokyo's multibillion- dollar 68,000-seat showpiece, a bitter pill made worse because it happened before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around about there.

RIPLEY (on camera): That stop sign.

(voice-over): He points to a stop sign where his childhood home used to be. It was also torn down to build Tokyo's 1964 Olympic stadium, rising from the ashes of World War II.

The first Olympics was during the reconstruction period. We were happy to cooperate, he says. But this time, we were treated without compassion. He thought it was too soon for Japan to host another Olympics, and that was before the pandemic.

(on camera): The stadium that cost him his home will sit virtually empty during the games. The first spectator ban in Olympic history. Tokyo is under a fourth COVID-19 state of emergency.

(voice-over): Cases surging, vaccination rates low. A recent poll shows nearly 8 in 10 Japanese don't want the games to go ahead.

Tazinori Takeshima (ph) calls it mass hysteria, a self-described super fan. He's been to every Olympics since Torino in 2006. He says the decision to ban spectators is based on emotion, not science.

Takeshima (ph) has 197 reasons to be angry. That's how many tickets he bought for Tokyo 2020, spending nearly $40,000. The spectator ban, crushing his dream of a world record for attendance.

"To be honest, all I have now is sadness," he says.

(on camera): It looks like a storm.

As Takeshima (ph) talks about his heartbreak, the skies open up.

"It's raining right now," he says. "The God of the Olympics is angry, and I think it's a sign that it's not too late for spectators.

An Olympic dream about as distant as a sunny day.


RIPLEY: Ironically, it is pretty sunny here today, although it has been raining over the last several days. But in terms of spectators, there's absolutely no discussion about people being allowed into the games.

And to give you an idea, John, of Japan's mood, President Thomas Bach of the IOC is going to Hiroshima today, He's going to visit the memorial where the atomic bomb was dropped back in 1945.

And survivors of that bombing have actually said in Japanese media that it's an insult to them that he will be there at this time. And of course, there's also a massive protest.

While they're saying it's massive, we don't know if it's going to be massive. The protests haven't been back big. There's been a lot more anger online than in person. But there is a protest that we've been warned could be very large. It will be going through the streets of Tokyo in the late afternoon, early evening hours here, John.

VAUSE: You'll be there, Will, to report on everything. Thank you. Will Ripley, live for us in Tokyo.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, we'll have the latest on the assassination of Haiti's president. New video from moments after a deadly shoot-out between police and the suspected assassins.

And later, protesters taking to the streets of France, angry over the president's new COVID plan. We will explain what they're angry about.



VAUSE: Nine days have passed since the president of Haiti was shot dead in his home at Port-au-Prince, and there's been very little detail from authorities about who was behind the assassination and why. But the Colombian president, Ivan Duque, on Thursday says some of the

Colombian mercenaries allegedly involved in the attack knew that President Jovenel Moise was to be killed.

Other members of the group appeared to be kept in the dark. The chief of Colombia's national police claims those suspects have been hired to detain Moise and the n turn him over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association. But he didn't say why they would do that, and the DEA declined to comment.

We now have obtained video of those first hours after the assassination, as Haitian police hunted for and eventually closed in on the alleged attackers. CNN's Matt Rivers is in Port-au-Prince with that part of the story.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, recently, you became aware of a clip, of a live stream that was taken in the day that President Jovenel Moise was assassinated.

Several hours after he was assassinated, this clip has made the rounds here in Haiti quite a bit, but it hasn't really been given a lot of attention internationally, especially by international media.

And what it shows, really, is in the lightning in terms of exactly what happened in the hours after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated.

(voice-over): Just hours after Haiti's president was killed, this video, livestreamed by a local journalist, shows some of the men accused of killing him.

Here, you can see two of the Colombian mercenaries that officials say were part of the hit squad. The first man is holding a rifle and signals for the journalist to stop.

A second than stands up, rifle glinting in the sun. They tell him to stop recording. At this point, Haitian security forces had trapped the two dozen or so alleged assassins along this stretch of road.

At the bottom, a roadblock, then the lookouts, with the majority of the suspects holed up in this building.

Moving up the street and past the vehicles the suspects had abandoned on the road. The camera reaches that building. As it pans, you can see two things. Several black-clad mercenaries and this man, one of the two Haitian-Americans accused of taking part in the crime.

At this moment, he's actually giving a live interview to Haiti radio Mega, saying that he didn't kill the president. And

"Someone died, but we didn't do it," he says. "People inside the president's house started to shoot at us, and we fired back to defend ourselves." Vincent (ph) then says most of the group believed they were going to arrest the president, not kill him. The journalist who filmed them, Mahako Deneshi (ph), who didn't want to show his face, said the group didn't seem to have a plan.

He says they knew they were in a tough position and knew the president was dead. They were confused, not sure whether to turn themselves in or fight.

Ultimately, some chose to fight, and a fierce shootout with police left at least three Colombians dead.

The easiest way to tell who actually killed the president would be to see the footage from CCTV cameras inside the presidential residence, that a source tells us captured most of what happened, but authorities have refused to release it or even describe its contents.

(on camera): We know that there is CCTV footage from the presidential residence the night of the assassination. Why not release that footage to the public? Would that not answer so many outstanding questions about who did this?

LEON CHARLES, HAITI NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF: So we cannot reveal to the public anything, any more information, until the -- the investigators allow us to do so.


RIVERS: Now, we also got the chance to ask the chief of the Haitian national police about the fact that we haven't heard from any of the alleged suspects in this case that are detained at this moment, including the Colombians that are currently detained in Haiti. And I asked him when we'll be able to hear from those detainees, what have they officially been charged with? Do they have legal representation?

He didn't answer, really, any of those questions, and because of that, our questions will remain about exactly what the motive behind all of this actually is.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


VAUSE: In South Africa, the death toll from days of turmoil and unrest has climbed to 117. Ten thousand soldiers were deployed Thursday morning to help police control widespread looting and vandalism, what has been described as South Africa's worst violence in years.

Even so, calm appears -- or appears to be returning to a number of cities. Protests began last week after former president Jacob Zuma surrendered to authorities to serve a 15-month jail term.

Protests denigrated into anarchy in a number of cities, and police have arrested thousands of people.

Well, Lebanon is headed deeper into politically uncharted territory and more economic chaos after the prime minister designate called it quits. Protesters took to the streets right after the announcement. Some of them blocked major highways, and there were clashes with police.

But as CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, reports from Beirut, Hariri stepped down after he and Lebanon's president once again could not reach a deal.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lebanon is now in political limbo after Prime Minister designate, Saad Hariri, after 266 days, trying to form a new government, failed.

He met with the president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, for 20 minutes. They could not agree on the formation of a new government that would have contained 24 individuals described as specialists and technocrats.

Without a new government, the Lebanese economy continues in free fall. The local currency lost, within an hour and a half of the announcement, that he couldn't form a government, lost 10 percent of its value.

The economy is in terrible shape. The GDP has shrunk more than 40 percent between 2018 and 2020, and this year, it's expected to, according to the World Bank, seek command as more than 6 percent.

Now, what we're seeing as result of this news, scattered road blockages around Beirut and other parts of Lebanon, as this country, once again, goes into a political vacuum.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Beirut.


VAUSE: When we come back, the new normal. Why the flooding across western Europe is now more likely to be an ongoing case, because there's climate change and the warming climate. And why we should expect more scenes like that in the near future.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Well, it seems, the past four years of tense, unhappy meetings between Germany's Angela Merkel and former U.S. President Donald Trump are just a distant memory.

U.S. President Joe Biden warmly welcomed Chancellor Merkel to the White House on Friday. They discussed climate change, the coronavirus, Russia's cyberattacks, Ukraine, a whole lot of stuff. But there was one contention. That was the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,

which will send Russian gas directly to Germany. The U.S. believes the pipeline gives Moscow new leverage in Europe, and Biden brought that up with Angela Merkel.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I reiterated my concerns about Nord Stream 2. Chancellor Merkel and I are absolutely united in our conviction that Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors.


VAUSE: Merkel made the trip three months before she ends more than 15 years as Germany's chancellor. And she's also vowing to help those who have been harmed by the catastrophic floods which devastated the country and western neighbors.

At least 35 people confirmed dead in Germany and Belgium, and there are fears that number will skyrocket.

Officials in one German district believe 1,300 people are missing, and the damage to the Bilerux (ph) region is extensive.

Flash floods have toppled homes and buildings, knocked down the power and disrupted transportation networks.

Italy and France have sent relief workers and emergency personnel to the disaster zones.

Joining me now is Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, and author of "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet."

And welcome back to the program, Michael. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. We know global warming is causing an increase in the severity and the frequency of flooding. But, a decade from now, what's known as the moon's wobble will exacerbate this problem.

Scientists have known about this event for hundreds of years. It normally doesn't cause any harm. It's when the moon's angle relative to the equator changes. It happens over a period of time.

And here's part of a study from NASA. In half of the moon's 18.6-year cycle, Earth's regular daily tides are suppressed. High tides are lower than normal, and low tides are higher than normal.

In the other half of the cycle, tides are amplified. High tides get higher; low tides get lower. Global sea level rise pushes high tides in only one direction. Higher. And, right now, we're in the amplifying part of that cycle. That's

when sea levels haven't really risen significantly. When this cycle returns, this report goes on to say, sea levels are expected to be much higher, about a decade from now. So from what you heard of this report, what's expected to happen?

MANN: Yes. And so sea level will be a little higher. It's definitely increasing, and in fact, it's accelerating. The increase is speeding up. And that will continue, as long as we continue to warm up the planet.

And so, what's happening is something we actually saw with Super Storm Sandy. Super Storm Sandy struck New York City at the peak of the high tide. And so, it was sort of a perfect storm, if you will, if you pardon the expression. You get sea level rise. You've got a bigger, stronger storm than we've seen that far north, so far north, that late in the season. And, it happened at high tide.

And all of those things came together to give us that 14-foot storm surge at Battery Park that literally flooded large parts of Upper Manhattan.

And so this is sort of the same idea, but it's playing out on a longer time. You've got sea level rise. You've got stronger and stronger storms, and bigger storm surges. And then, just because of that natural cycle, not a short-term high tide, but this sort of decadal high tide, it's going to add to all of those storm surges, along with sea level rise.

And that's what happens. It gets a little higher, each time, and you know, all it takes is a few extra inches to flood larger and larger areas.

VAUSE: Well, here's part of -- a little more from that NASA report. It says the mid 2030s marks the onset of an expected transition in HTF, high tide flooding from a regional issue to a national issue, with a majority of U.S. coastlines being affected.

This data looked at the U.S., but I'm guessing it's fairly safe to assume the scenario applies pretty much to coastal communities around the world.

MANN: Yes, that's right. It's a global effect. And so coastlines around the world, coastal communities around the world.


Again, the big problem here is climate change, sea level rise. Bigger storm surges from larger, stronger storms.

But this is going to give it that extra little bit of, you know, just a few extra inches is enough to potentially flood far larger regions. And so it's a reminder that there are little surprises in store here, and they're generally not pleasant surprises.

VAUSE: Yes. That's very much the case, it seems, with each day, almost.

Let's just go back to the flooding disaster in Germany, and I want you to listen to a point which is made by the vice chancellor of Germany. It seems kind of very relevant, not getting a lot of attention, at least for my mind anyway. Here he is.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): This is a natural disaster. But the fact that this natural disaster is taking place in this way is certainly connected to the fact that climate change is progressing at a speed that we have observed for a while. That must be another incentive and also an obligation for all those who have become victims here. For us to do everything we can, to stop manmade climate change, and prevent such disasters on this scale.


VAUSE: And the point is that we're seeing this now, and it's happening at a speed and a pace which seems to be kind of surprising, shocking almost. Tis that perception, is it reality? What's happening?

MANN: Yes, well, the reality is that, you know, climate change is proceeding, more or less, as we predicted it would, if we failed to act. And you know, that's bad enough. Just the fact that what we're seeing matches what we predicted, is bad enough.

And it's reached this level now, the impacts of climate change and their impact on -- the impact extreme weather events around the world. Heat waves, wildfires, floods, super storms, droughts is -- has now reached the point where we can feel it, we can see it. We can see it play out in real time on our television screens.

And I was really struck by that press conference today, which I watched, live, with both Joe Biden. It was this joint press conference with Joe Biden and Angela Merkel.

And both of them represent countries that have been impacted by unprecedented extreme weather events within the same one- or two-week period. The heat dome and the unprecedented wildfires, and the heat out west. And, of course, in Germany, where they've seen flooding unlike anything they've seen in modern history.

And that is climate change. Make no mistake about it.

VAUSE: Michael, thank you, I think. Thank you for being with us. Michael Mann there. I very much appreciate your insights. Thank you, sir.

MANN: Thank you. Always a pleasure.

VAUSE: A long list of unhappiness for some in France. Mandatory vaccines for health workers, and then free COVID test. A new health pass needed to go to the movies, out for dinner, catch a train. And on and on it goes. We'll have more in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


VAUSE: What appears to be $41 million worth of cocaine has been seized. It was disguised as charcoal.

It was a joint operation between Irish, and Dutch authorities. Irish police say the drugs were found at the port of Rotterdam in shipping containers, which came from South America.

They think the drugs are en route to Ireland. Authorities in Spain made a similar bust recently.

Apparently, it takes a complex chemical process to make cocaine look, and smell like ordinary charcoal.

Well, part of the French president's plan to slow the spread of coronavirus is a health pass, which will be needed for pretty much anything where people gather in public. But as CNN's Melissa Bell reports, people are gathering in public to protest.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They come to celebrate the French Revolution, and its motto, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

But this Bastille Day was different. The crowds who lined the Champs D'Elysee on Wednesday all had their COVID health passes checked.

(on camera): What they're checking, just behind me are for people who can get to the Champs D'Elysee this 14th of July, is this, the passe sanitaire. It shows whether you've been vaccinated, or are PCR negative.

What the French president announced on Monday night is not only that PCR tests you're going to have to pay from this autumn, which were free until now, but also that that passe sanitaire that was a necessary to get into events like this one, of more than 1,000 people, well, you're going to need it to go watch a movie, to go to the theater, to go to a cafe, bar, and restaurants.

(voice-over): But restauranteurs are worried that it could be bad for business.

FREDERIC PARADE, LA BOETIE: We are -- The restaurant, it's a place to have pleasure. It's not our job to ask people their identity, if they have a vaccine or not.

BELL: By the end of Bastille Day, protests had begun against the move to extend the use of the COVID pass.

Across the country, about 17,000 people took to the streets. More protests are planned for Saturday against the new rules but also the prospect of compulsory shots. EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Depending on

the situation, no doubt, we will have to ask ourselves the question of mandatory vaccination for all French. But I have made the choice of trust, and I am appealing to all our non-vaccinated countrymen to go and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

BELL: Within half an hour, the app for booking vaccine appointments was overrun. A record 1.7 million people booking appointments in the first 20 hours after Macron's speech. Among them, Axel Miaka Mia, who lives in northern France.

AXEL MIAKA MIA, NORTHERN FRANCE RESIDENT (through translator): I was frustrated. They told us it wasn't mandatory, but it kind of his. Maybe it's a good, thing maybe it isn't. I don't think we've seen the long-term impact of the vaccine, and that's why I wasn't going to get vaccinated.

BELL: Before Macron spoke on Monday, less than 40 percent of the French population had been fully vaccinated.

For a long time, the problem in Europe was vaccine supplies. With that now overcome, the challenge is vaccine hesitancy.

Already, France, but also Italy and Greece, have made vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers. Now, the question here in France is whether to make them compulsory for all, as the government grapples with the post-pandemic question of where individual liberty ends and collective responsibility begins.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. I'll be back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT starts after the break.