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A 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Struck Central Italy, This According To The Us Geological Survey Centered About 68 Kilometers East Of Perugia, Syrian Rebels Had Gained Ground On Government Forces, But Now Regime Troops Are Fighting Back, The Cleveland Indians Who Have Now Taken At 3-1 World Series Lead Over The Chicago Cubs, The Battle To Retake Mosul, Isis Has Reportedly Executed 75 Iraqi Officers In That City, A Brutal Civil War In Syria, The Fbi's Discovery Of E-Mails By One Of Hillary Clinton's Top Aides, Real Madrid Are The Form Team In Spain Right Now Another Win Keeps Them On Top Of La Liga. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 30, 2016 - 04:00   ET


GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: Welcome to our viewers around the world. We are following the breaking news this hour of a strong earthquake in Italy. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, this according to the US Geological Survey centered about 68 kilometers east of Perugia. This quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers as we understand. At this point, there have been no reports of casualties, but the images of damaged buildings are just now coming in as you see here. This building that collapsed on the side just getting to see what happened there in central Italy.

Keep in mind, earlier this week, two powerful earthquakes hit the very same region near the town of Viso. Journalist and CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau joins us now by phone from Rome following these developments on this earthquake. Barbie, keeping in mind here, we're talking about a very strong earthquake that happened after days of a series - two earthquakes that happened. What more can you tell us about what you're hearing.

BARBIE NADEAU, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, I'll tell you, this earthquake we felt here in Rome as well. This is much stronger, knocking off the walls of the shelves and things like that here in Rome. Closer to the zone obviously, the building that had been compromised last week has fallen completely. Looking at pictures, we were there three days ago now. I'm looking at pictures of places we were standing three days ago that were still standing that are completely rubble now.

The only bright side of this of course, the people are - have left for the most part, there are people who have abandoned their houses because of the series of earthquakes, so there are no reports obviously of casualties or fatalities yet, but that can always change, but people have left. They've abandoned the area. A lot of people left back in August when a very strong earthquake shook the region and even more people left last week, which is obviously, doesn't do anything to save the houses or the infrastructure or the roads, all of those things that the people, they're going to have to deal with, but the Italian media are reporting that there are people that they'll never go back.

They've got cameras there right now, people just say, "I'm out of here for good." It's just - it is a seismic region. It is just incredible to have this many earthquakes of this strong magnitude so close together and the people are already shaken up, but I can't envision that anyone would want to stay around that area for much longer, George.

HOWELL: Barbie Nadeau if you could stay on the line with us again, but again to give our viewers around the world with a little context, Barbie, explaining these two very strong earthquakes that happened just Wednesday. The second earthquake in fact stronger than the first. The second earthquake, a magnitude 6.1 quake, a 5.5 magnitude quake all near Perugia and now we're hearing about this earthquake, again a very strong earthquake, Barbie Nadeau on the phone with us telling us about the infrastructure in that part of the country and Barbie, you are saying that the roads are already so bad. How will these crews get around to determine the extent of the damage, the possibility of casualties in that region given what happened just days ago?

NADEAU: Well, there are a lot of emergency crews that are there right now that arrived last week. But one of the things we noted last week is while there are a number of boulders on the road. This is a very mountainous region, the roads are very narrow, the roads are very - on hill sides and things like that. There were boulders blocking the road, many of the roads were closed and there were a lot of bridges going over valleys and things like that, all the emergency officials are very concerned, obviously always in a situation like this that you don't want to put heavy equipment over - on a bridge that is going to be compromised.

So, they're working to make sure the roads are checked before they can take some of that heavy lifting equipment out. These houses, too, aren't made of wood. The houses up there are made of stone. Many of them a hundred or two hundred years old, and a lot of them must don't have the seismic reinforcements that one might assume you'd have in an earthquake zone like this. A lot of them don't and that's why when these houses crumble, they end up in these huge piles of rubble that it's very difficult to move without heavy equipment. It's hard to get the heavy equipment up there. It's just kind of a vicious cycle.

Again, one of the, I suppose best things about this is the fact that most people have already evacuated the area, either last week or they evacuated in August when that stronger earthquake struck, so I think you're going to see less casualties, less sort of loss of lives like we saw in August, but a lot of damage to build these buildings that were still standing after last week are crumbled now, or so you see pictures of that, and a lot of these are these old beautiful medieval churches and something that makes that part of Italy so beautiful, really.


NADEAU: At the end of the day, it just becomes so dangerous in these situations. HOWELL: A beautiful part of Italy, Barbie, obviously, you know that

region. You cover it for us very well, and just to get a sense, you know, these earthquakes happening in what is obviously a seismic region is there a sense that people want to even return to try to restart their lives or are people just deciding not to go back?

NADEAU: Well, I think a lot of - especially the younger generation have given hope by now. You know, we spoke to some people last week, they said, "That's it, we're not staying here anymore." A lot of people who were affected by the strong August earthquake had moved maybe to a grandparents' house or the family house in other areas and other little towns in that region, those regions now, those areas have been unaffected, so people are leaving.

We talked to people who don't want their kids - their children to be going to school in an area where the school might fall on them. People are going into the larger cities, going closer to the coast and places that makes them feel safer. Being on the side of a mountain in an earthquake zone is probably not the safest place to be, and a lot of these houses in these towns are these beautiful mountain top towns, and they just crumbled sliding down the hills. This damage is really, really extensive over the course of the last three months. You've got entire cities, beautiful little cities that are just devastated and it's very unlikely those would be rebuilt. There's just going to be an infrastructure in place that can allow for the funding that the cities - it's unimaginable, George, how you could even rebuild a medieval hill top town. It's just impossible.

HOWELL: Journalist and CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau on the phone with us explaining the situation in Italy. Barbie, please stand by with us. I want to reset for our viewers around the world who are watching this report, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hitting central Italy, very strong earthquake. Keep in mind, this is another earthquakes happening after Wednesday's earthquakes, the second quake on Wednesday was the strongest, that second quake a magnitude 6.1 earthquake.

Talking about what happened today. We're getting images in from central Italy. We're starting to see some of the result from this earthquake. Again, no information yet on casualties. We don't yet have a good sense of the extent of damage, but what we know according to the US Geological Survey, this 6.6 magnitude earthquake centered about 68 kilometers east of Perugia. Let's bring in our journalist, Barbie Nadeau again who is following the situation for us from Rome.

Barbie, are you hearing anything new about the extent of the damage, anything new about the possibility of people who might have been injured or heaven forbid, casualties?

NADEAU: Well, what we're hearing is incredible damage actually from more of the earthquake, it's because a lot of buildings that were affected by last week's earthquake hadn't yet been shored up. They haven't been able to put in scaffolding or in any way, sort of trying to keep them from falling down. An earthquake like we felt this morning which we felt all the way in Rome, crumbled a lot of those older buildings. You've got to keep in mind, these buildings are old. They are a

hundred-year-old, two hundred year old houses, a lot of them don't have any sort of seismic reinforcements in them whatsoever despite the fact that they're in an earthquake zone.

And they were already weakened. If they weren't weakened in the August quake, they were weakened last week, and now, we're seeing widespread damage that we didn't even see three or four days ago. But the whole area is largely evacuated and that is the bright side of this. A lot of people just left. If they didn't leave in August, they left last week and so you've got people that weren't in their houses, who didn't feel safe, who are living in tent camps which are set up in the area who are living in hotels, provided by the government, paid for by the government, all of he schools have be closed in that area.

Most of them will be - most of the classes are being held in prefabricated structures to keep the children safe, so the area is - they're already living in this sort of disaster zone. That's what's going to keep people safe in this situation, but the houses and the buildings and the town centers look just absolutely devastated up these little hill top towns, George.

HOWELL: Barbie Nadeau on the phone with us. Barbie please stay with us. We will be back in touch with you, but Barbie, we are getting some new information here into the "CNN Newsroom," information at the Basilica of San Benedetto has been levered during this early morning earthquake. That's the new information we're getting, so we are getting a sense of some of the damage - this information slowly coming in here to the "CNN Newsroom."

Let's bring it our meteorologist Derek Van Dam who is also tracking the developments and Derek, again we understand this is a very strong earthquake, 6.6 magnitude. What more can you tell us?

[04:10:01 ]

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Well, what I'm starting to see is the connection between the two earthquakes that took place only four days ago and this current earthquake that took place at locally 7:40 in the morning across central Italy and the fact that this is a magnitude 6.6, which is higher than the magnitude 5.5 and 6.1 that occurred on Wednesday of last week means that those two earthquakes were actually considered for shocks and this is the actual main earthquake.

Remember, this does happen. It's rare, but I have seen it a number of times and aftershocks would proceed now the main earthquake that has taken place at a depth of 10 kilometers and this concerns me because this is considered technically a very shallow earthquake.

So, now we're going to investigate the topography across central Italy. We're using Google Earth and we've overlaid the US Geological Survey's actual shaking map and we're going to zoom into this region just to give you an indication of how wide of an area would have felt the shaking. There is the epicenter, again just outside of the Norcia region and the shades of yellow and orange, that would be that more severe shaking, of course, as you get further and further away from the epicenter that's where you're going to feel less shaking.

But look at the mountainous terrain across this part of central Italy. There is the epicenter and there's Norcia, we have live images coming out of that particular area. We can actually zoom in a little bit closer and you'll be able to see just what the small town or village looks like. I am concerned about this being just tucked away within this valley and this region because rockslides are certainly a concern going forward, but this is also so close to the previous earthquakes that took place, I should say, four shocks earlier in the week that the structures there have already been compromised.

So any additional shaking could easily, easily take down buildings and we're now hearing about a basilica that was already taken down. Let me explain the difference between a shallow and a deep earthquake. A shallow earthquake from the surface of the earth down to 70 kilometers, that's what the USGS defines as shallow. That means that there's very little bedrock to absorb the shaking from the epicenter. Now, on the contrary, if we had a deep, deep earthquake let's say 300 kilometers or deeper, that is going to allow for a lot of absorption to take place within this bedrock, within the rubble, within the earth basically and that would kind of dampen the effects on the surface.

So, the fact that this is only 10 kilometers deep tells me that the potential exists for quite strong, let's say damage. Now we have an indication of what population density felt this strong to very strong shaking, you could see the weak shaking felt by over 13 million people, but what's interesting to know from the USGS is that strong and very strong shaking was felt in and around the epicenter. You could see just how active this fault line is across central Italy.

We've had numerous hundreds, if not thousands of earthquakes since the beginning of the century, very active tectonic plates across this area. Now, the USGS has the ability to compare previous earthquakes of a similar magnitude and a similar depth and give an indication or an estimate on the highest probability of fatality. So, with a similar earthquake at a similar depth, we would anticipate the highest chance of one to ten fatalities, so with a 30% probability of upwards of 100 fatalities at a 6% probability of a thousand fatalities. This is a yellow alert for shaking related fatalities and economic losses.

So, some casualties and damage are possible, but it should be relatively localized so that's kind of some new information for us and interesting to note, George, the estimated economic losses according to the USGS is less than 1% of the GDP of Italy as well, so this kind of puts it into perspective anywhere from $10 million to $100 million, that's what they're estimating as of now, George.

HOWELL: Wow, our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam following this is earthquake and again, Derek adding to the to the story that this is a shallow earthquake saying again that there are four shocks to what is the biggest earthquake that we've seen so far and Derek indicating that there will be aftershocks to come. Derek, thank you, we'll stay in touch with you. Also Barbie Nadeau earlier telling us, we have the roads, the

infrastructure in this part of that nation already badly damaged from Wednesday's earthquakes. Keep in mind, the earthquake - the second earthquake Wednesday was stronger than the first; the second at 6.1 magnitude earthquake. The first earthquake 5.5 magnitude quake all happening there near Perugia in central Italy and here's the situation.

Many of the buildings, many of the roads damaged. Barbie says that many of the people in that region had already left, still we are slowly getting word about what happened here, slowly getting images to see the extent of the damage and at this point, we do not have any information on injuries, any information on casualties. What we do know again, this 6.6 magnitude quake that has struck. We will continue to follow the story of course and bring you developments as we get them here on CNN.

Other news that we're following though this hour, Syrian rebels had gained ground on government forces, but now regime troops are fighting back. We'll have the latest on the counter offensive as "CNN Newsroom" continues.


PATRICK SNELL, HOST, WORLD SPORT: Hi there, I'm Patrick Snell with your "World Sport" headlines starting off with another hugely significant night. The Cleveland Indians who have now taken at 3-1 World Series lead over the Chicago Cubs, the Cubs remember, haven't won the full classic in 108 very long years. On Saturday, the Indians beating the Cubs 7-2 in game four, winning in Chicago for the second straight night. Second baseman, Jason Kipnis hitting a three-run homer in the seventh and his team never looked back. Cleveland now just one win away from clinching their first World Series crown in 68 years, Game 5 is Sunday night in the windy city.

In other news around Madrid, on the form team in Spain right now, another victory keeping a top La Liga on Saturday, Real scoring four times on the road against Alaves, a mixed game for Cristiano Ronaldo. He missed the penalty, but still scored another from the spot ended up with a hat trick and 4-1 win. In the English Premier, Leicester City's miserable way run is finally over, the reigning champs managing to draw one a piece, it's first away point of the season, Ahmed Musa was on target in the second half to make it a worthwhile day out in North London for the Fox's. Tottenham remaining the only unbeaten team in the league, but they are now three points off the pace. Joint leader is Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool all scored four goals each on Saturday.

There you go, you're banging up today, thank you so much for joining us. That was a look at your CNN World Sport headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

HOWELL: Recapping the breaking news that we are following this hour out of central Italy, a 6.6 earthquake that has struck near Perugia. These images that you're seeing just coming. You can see that there has been significant damage done to this particular home, though there had been no reports of casualties so far.

On Thursday, two powerful earthquakes hit the same region, weakening a number of structures. Of course, we'll continue to follow this story, this strong earthquake, 6.6 magnitude quake in central Italy and bring you developments as we learn them.

The battle to retake Mosul, ISIS has reportedly executed 75 Iraqi officers in that city. A witness says that the men were among 600 people detained after gun battles earlier in the week. ISIS released many of the civilians. In the meantime, Iraqi forces are moving closer to Mosul. Officials say they cleared out ISIS fighters from the town south of the city after an attack. Around 35 ISIS militants were killed during that battle.


HOWELL: The United Nations is also worried that ISIS will use civilians as human shields against Iraqi forces. Our senior national correspondent, Arwa Damon is following developments live from Irbil, Iraq this hour. Arwa, it's good to have you. What more can you tell us about this latest round of executions that we're learning about from ISIS.

ARWA DAMON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it's really been something that we have been seeing ISIS doing on numerous occasions in the past, carrying out these mass executions. It would seem to either send a message to those who may dare stand against it, that they do need to comply to ISIS's orders or to also send a message to those who may wish to even think about cooperating with the Iraqi security forces. There was also a report, if you will remember of ISIS stringing around 20 men together and electrocuting them leaving their corpses out in the open for people to see. again, a very stark and chilling message as you can imagine.

Now, the Iraqi security forces that have been moving from the south and the east have slowed what started off as a fairly quick advance in the first few days of this battle. Still trying to push forward, but also circling back and clearing areas that they've already been through, of things like IEDs, bombs and some pockets of ISIS fighters that may have been left behind to the west of Mosul along the west towards the City of Tal Afar, you have an advance by the predominantly Shia paramilitary units. They have been advancing relatively speaking quickly trying to cut off ISIS supply routes from Syria.

And then you have of course this growing concern for the civilian population that you mentioned there, George, and we have been through some of these villages that have already been cleared. Among them are about a dozen Christian villages that have been cleared both by the Kurdish Peshmerga and by the Iraqi security forces, but as you see, throughout this battle zone, trying to rebuild these areas will prove to be very difficult.


DAMON: Father Binham Lalu's (ph) voice echoes through the blackened shell of his church. He has loved this place ever since he was a child.

BINHAM LALU (ph), PRIEST: (Through an interpreter). I was seven or eight years old and I used to sit in the first row. The deacons and priest would be praying, I'd sit looking around the church. I never thought the day would come that the church would look like this.

DAMON: He knew ISIS were cruel, but could never imagine this.

LALU (ph): (Through an interpreter). How can they come into a church, a house of worship and do this. We're peaceful and loving people. We don't want enemies.

DAMON: But they had no choice. Throughout this once sleepy town, ISIS defaced and destroyed all symbols of Christianity. And the battle to liberate Bartella left entire streets in ruins. Gravestones pockmarked with bullet holes, homes with a warning "Mufaqha (ph)" booby trapped, and only traces of the life before.

We met Father Lalu two years ago before the horror began. When this was a tranquil sanctuary.

LALU (ph): (Through an interpreter). When you were here, I told you ISIS would come and we asked them what they wanted. We didn't know ISIS was this ugly, it is destructive, it is evil. They want to send well to the Dark Ages.

DAMON: But Father Lalu (ph) is ready to forgive.

LALU (ph): (Through an interpreter). We would even pray for them so that God can enlighten them and they leave this road. How could someone blow himself up or kill just because they're of a different faith?

DAMON: Bartella was liberated on the Father's 49th birthday. But half his congregation has already left Iraq. He pray the rest will stay.

LALU (ph): (Through an interpreter). We are trying. We are trying as best as we can to bring back hope.



DAMON: And you know, George, you hear the father saying that they are trying to bring back hope and that is not just hope for of course the Christian community, but hope for so many of those that have suffered under ISIS's brutal rule. That of course is going to be crucial in the future because everyone expects that the day will come when the city of Mosul itself is in fact liberated of ISIS, but what many are concerned about is exactly what does happen next.

HOWELL: Arwa Damon giving us a sense of exactly what people are dealing with as this offensive press is on. Arwa, thank you for the reporting. We wish you and our teams on the ground continued safety and we will stay in touch with you. Still ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," we'll have the very latest for you

on a very strong earthquake that hit central Italy. Keep in mind, this is a magnitude 6.6 quake. No information on casualties or injuries, but we'll continue to follow the story and bring you the latest. This is CNN.


HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom," I'm George Howell and we continue following the breaking news this hour in central Italy, once again hit by a very strong earthquake. It is the third powerful quake in three days. It's the largest yet, this one measuring 6.6 in magnitude and the video that you see coming in show significant damage that has been done, including some to a church.

So far, there have been no reports of casualties at this point. Two powerful earthquakes hit the very same region on Wednesday, weakening a number of structures. Journalist and our CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau is on the phone following the situation from Rome for us this hour. Barbie, first of all let's talk about the context of this on Wednesday, two very strong earthquakes, the first, a magnitude 5.5; the seconds stronger, a magnitude 6.1 and now this. What more do you know about the situation as it stands - the reports of possible injuries, casualties, damage from what you're hearing there.

NADEAU: Well, what we do know right now, there are no reports of fatalities, no reports of casualties yet and that is likely due to the fact that a lot of people had already evacuated the area. Those strong earthquakes that you mentioned earlier in the week or late last week, I should say, really did send people running. People were terrified and left their houses. There was widespread damage then, the destruction, lots of fissures within the facades of the buildings, lots of internal damage to houses, and the civil protection had evacuated a lot of people.

People living in tent camps, people living in hotels paid for by the government, just to keep them safe. All of the schools in the area had been closed. So, there weren't a lot of people around and that I think is what is going to save lives in this very strong earthquake early this morning. What we do know, there is much more damage from this morning's earthquake than there was from those shocks we felt three days ago.

Lots of buildings fell down then, but a lot of buildings that were damaged are just completely disintegrated this morning. We've seen reports after report of places that even we and our crew were standing in front of three days ago that don't exist anymore today and I think that you're going to see as the day goes on lots of that kind of report.

Also of concern of course is infrastructure. Last week, the earthquake sent a lot of boulders from the mountain side down into the road causing a lot of road closures. They haven't been able to move those boulders out of the way yet. That means, it's difficult to get heavy equipment and difficult to get the machinery you need up into these small hip top towns. So, there are some challenges for them. They're not dealing with apparent weather problems, they're not dealing with extreme temperatures or anything like that, but there are some logistic problems in the area right now, but you've got a lot of people who were safe because they evacuated earlier, George.

HOWELL: Bobby Nadeau, we do understand also this news coming into the CNN newsroom that the Basilica of San Benedetto has been leveled due to this earthquake. Again, we're starting to get new reports of exactly the result from what happened there, but you point out that this is a beautiful part Italy and it is a seismic region, the question that many have - many people have already left that that part of the country, but is there a sense that people will want to return given what has happened there over a series of days now?

NADEAU: No, I think you've got a lot of people - this one would have scared them away for good. We talked to a lot of people last week who said enough is enough. They're obviously still dealing with the after effects of a major earthquake in August. A lot of people had left from that earthquake. People are still living in tents after the August earthquake.

I'd say a lot of people just have had enough, saying enough is enough and as you point out, this is a seismic area. This is not an area that people are strangers to the earth moving, but these are much stronger earthquakes, much stronger tremors and they've felt in this region for many, many years and in each and every event like this, the big question is, are people going to put in the measures that they need necessary to reinforce their houses, and there are so many earthquakes but so few measures taken to sure up the houses and even we saw schools collapse.

We've seen churches that were recently renovated collapse and a lot of people who live there, it really angers them that nothing is being done to reinforce the buildings. One of the big problems of course after the earthquake three days ago, no one has had time yet to shore up some of the structures that were damaged then, that's why we've seen some of these basilicas and these sort of cultural heritage spots completely crumbled to the ground. The people are more concerned about their houses than they get to more of the cultural spots.

But it's just devastating for the people who live there, nerve racking beyond belief for anyone who is trying to stay calm in that area to just continue to have these relentless earthquakes and what we're not mentioning, too is that - about every 20 seconds, there's an aftershock or 20 minutes, sorry, there's been an aftershock. If you're watching this, the IMGV which is the system here that monitors that, if you watch on their website, about every 20 minutes, there's an aftershock, maybe 2.5 maybe 3.2, whatever, they still feel that aftershock there. It's just completely unnerving, George, for the people.


HOWELL: Bobby, we're looking at these images and as you point out, these older structures that have just crumbled under the pressure, the strength of this earthquake, keeping in mind the first earthquake that we saw, the 5.5 on Wednesday, then a 6.1 Wednesday an now, this 6.6, so the strength has increased over a series of days, Barbie Nadeau, thank you for being with us. We'll be back in touch with you, I'm sure as we continue to follow this. Let's now bring in our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam who is at the International Weather Center tracking these developments and Derek, you rightly pointed out so the strength has increased and now, we are seeing aftershocks. Help us to understand what's happening.

VAN DAM: Well, if we recall, four days ago when we had the original earthquakes, which we thought were the original earthquakes but those are actually considered foreshocks because those were of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1, now that we've had a 6.6, this would be the earthquake. Those two that happened four days ago would be foreshocks and anything from now on will be considered aftershocks.

But let's not get lost in the details, but that's just bit of technicality so we can break it down for you. Again the depth at 10 kilometers really concerns me because that is a very shallow earthquake.

What you're looking at right now is the side of one of the basilica, this is the Santa Maria Argentea and we are trying to pair this up with some imagery that we're receiving, some of the first visuals coming out of the region and it looks as if this particular church or basilica has been damaged, so if we can roll this video you'll be able to see, just pay attention to the side of this building. You can see the window frame and we've tried to match it up as best we could and you can see the damage to the basilica. It looks very significant because this is the strongest earthquake in Italy in 36 years and this magnitude 6.6 quake occurred at again roughly 7:40 in the morning, local time.

So, you're looking at that that basilica and the damage to Santa Maria Argentea. We come back to the Google Earth image and the graphics behind me and you'll be able to see, this is what it looks like without any damage. In fact, I'll just walk off the screen and you'll be able to see just a little bit more perspective. There it is when it was completely fully intact, of course looking at the damage a moment ago with the video, you can imagine just how scary those moments must have been.

So, what you're looking at now is the epicenter of this particular 6.6 earthquake and we're going to zoom into the topography just to give you an indication of what we're looking at and the relative proximity to other Norcia region and there it is, Norcia there. There's the epicenter just at the base of the mountain, so really only about six kilometers separates this particular town and this shallow earthquake really has no bedrock, has no earth to absorb the full force of this strong earthquake.

So, I do anticipate more images just like that coming out of the region of destruction when we have had strong to very strong shaking felt by a good majority of the population there. We've had weak shaking at least felt by over 13 million people. You can see the numbers there for strong and very strong as well. This is an active fault line, it continues to move up along the mountainous regions of central Italy and this is according to the USGS. The projected estimated fatalities based on previous earthquakes of similar magnitude and similar depth, we would expect to see, George, fatalities ranging anywhere between one to 100. That is the highest probability at this moment in time. That is our best guess estimate at the potential for fatalities, George.

HOWELL: And Derek, just stay with me here because I want to show our viewers around the world this side-by-side image. Again, we've been talking about the Basilica of San Benedetto and you can see the side- by-side part of that building has been leveled and Derek, you really do get a sense, your thoughts here just on how strong this earthquake has been.

VAN DAM: Well, again, let's make sure that we clarify this church, the basilica that we're looking at is the Santa Maria Argentea, but the basilica of St. Benedict has also, according to reports been completely destroyed according to some of the first reports and the first responders that are at that location, but this just gives you regardless a scope and the depth and the idea of how intense the shaking already was, and remember, we're not that far away from previous earthquakes that took place only four days ago.

So, buildings have been compromised already the majority of the week. Vulnerable structures would have been brought down by the original foreshocks, but to have more shaking of this magnitude will definitely takedown vulnerable buildings. Fortunately, as Barbie has talked about already, a lot of people have evacuated that area already.


HOWELL: Absolutely, Derek and we are getting some word about that Basilica of San Benedetto, so again not entirely leveled; part of the building destroyed but again, we're starting at get these reports that are coming in of the damage and devastation for this very strong 6.6 magnitude quake. Derek Van Dam, thank you. We'll stay in touch with you as we continue to get reports that are coming in.

Other news that we're following around the world this hour, a brutal civil war in Syria. An activist group says that at least 21 people have been killed in Aleppo since Friday. The group says government forces backed by Hezbollah militants are trying to put down a new rebel offensive.

Our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson is live in Istanbul following the story for us. Ivan, what more can you tell us about the situation on the ground?

IVAN WATSON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: In Aleppo, what you have is a rebel offensive that began on Friday. We have a map that we can show you that perhaps shows the direction that the rebels were attacking from the southwest of the city towards government controlled areas there, George. Now, since that initial onslaught which was accompanied by mortar artillery, rocket barrages that killed dozens of civilians in government-controlled Western Aleppo, it appears that the rebels have expanded that fronts all up along the western side of the city. They appeared to have made a toehold capturing some areas on the outskirts of Aleppo there in the Southwest and are trying to consolidate that control.

So, there's some very, very fierce fighting over the course of the last 48 hours there as regime forces tried to push back this rebel onslaught. In the meantime, were hearing more and more anecdotally about residents of Western Aleppo leaving basically, of course, to get away from the indiscriminate shelling that's been coming from the rebel side. We had reports that Russian military commanders very publicly requested Russian President Vladimir Putin for permission to carry out airstrikes in Aleppo presumably to bolster Syrian government forces there and then a very unusual response publicly made by President Putin saying that it would not be the right thing to do right now to carry out Russian airstrikes.

But we know that Syrian government aircraft and Russian military aircraft have been active in many other places around Syria in recent days and in areas close to this beleaguered city, George.

HOWELL: Ivan, let's also talk about Turkey itself. Obviously, this is a country where - it shares a border with Syria. There had been tensions. There was the failed coup attempt and there have been warnings also to US citizens that simply being there - now worried that the US has ordered civilian family members of the US consulate staff in Istanbul to leave that nation. What more can you tell us about that?

WATSON: The US State Department has been incrementally ramping up the security threat warnings to US citizens and to US diplomatic and government personnel. What we learned in the last 24 hours was that the US was making the unusual decision to mandatorily evacuate, order out the dependents, the family members essentially of US diplomats working at the consulate here in Istanbul.

To the best of my knowledge, I don't recall a time when that took place here in Istanbul, the commercial and cultural capital of Turkey and the country's largest city. In addition to that, there are warnings to US government personnel not to go to Southeast Turkey at all where you've got a Kurdish insurgency raging and where - those are border areas to Syria and Iraq raging civil wars, then on top of that, the US has a number of diplomatic posts here in Turkey and military posts.

It's got an Embassy in Ankara, it's got a consulate in the city of Madonna and it has an airbase in Incirlik. What's notable here is that it hasn't extended that evacuation to those other locations, so I can only presume that there must be some intelligence about a threat here in Istanbul and we have to take note that in the last year alone, in 2016 there was a presumed ISIS suicide bombing in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. There was a suicide attack here in Istanbul Airport in July. There was a suicide bomb attack very close to where I'm standing on, ?stiklal (inaudible) here in Istanbul, also presumed to be ISIS in March; and then in January, a suicide bombing in one of the most heavily trafficked touristic districts of Istanbul.


So, this city has repeatedly been a target and I'm not even talking about suspected Kurdish militant attacks that have taken place here as well as the failed military coup that shook this country on July 15th of this year, George.

HOWELL: Ivan, you rightly point out, it is noteworthy here that the US ordering a consulate staff to leave Istanbul, obviously, we'll stay in touch with you and continue to follow the stories from there. Ivan, thank you. You're watching "CNN Newsroom." We'll be right back after the break.

The FBI's discovery of e-mails by one of Hillary Clinton's top aides, we now know that the FBI Director James Coney ignored the objections of the US Attorney General when he unilaterally informed Congress on Friday. Hillary Clinton has been complaining loudly of Comey's timing so close to the election, but she seem to shake off the bombshell as she campaigned in Miami Saturday with pop star Jennifer Lopez.

The e-mails in question, thousands of them in fact belonging to longtime Clinton aide, Huma Abedin who recently discovered during an unrelated FBI investigation of Abedin's estranged husband, Anthony Weiner these e-mails.

The revelation was red meat for Republican candidate Donald Trump and his supporters. Here is what he had to say on the campaign trail Saturday. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN: The only reason - only reason that they did this action that you saw yesterday was very, very serious things must be happening and must have been found very, very serious things. Very, very serious things and you could also ask when they complain on the other side, why wasn't this evidence given previously? Why wasn't it given previously? And when you talk about instincts, I don't know if anybody saw my comments on Anthony Weiner?


TRUMP: It's called instinct, folks. I had no idea I was going to be that accurate. Boy, that was right on the nose.



HOWELL: Trump taking credit there on the stage. This is what he was referring to, a tweet back in 2015 where it reads, quote, "It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary's private illegal e-mails. Huma's PR husband, Anthony Weiner will tell the world." The FBI's investigation into Clinton's private e-mail server was closed last July, so its sudden resurgence - resurrection here so close to the election is a knock to the Clinton campaign. Again Clinton going on the offensive on Saturday targeting Comey for his timing.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: It is pretty strange - it's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it's not just strange, it's unprecedented and it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts and so, we called on Director Comey to explain everything right away, put it all out on the table, right? Now, of course, Donald Trump is already making up lies about this. He is doing his best to confuse, mislead and discourage the American people.


HOWELL: And before the e-mail controversy new polls showed Trump closing the gap with Hillary Clinton. A "Washington Post" ABC poll released Saturday has Clinton with us a two-point lead that is within the margin of error. A week ago, Clinton had a double digit edge in the very same home poll. Clinton's poll of polls. The CNN poll of polls here, you see - which averages the five most recent national polls gives Hillary Clinton a five-point advantage over Donald Trump.

A lot happening in the world of politics. This is "CNN Newsroom." We'll be right back after the break.


DON RIDDELL, HOST, WORLD SPORT: I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. Real Madrid are the form team in Spain right now another win keeps them on top of La Liga. On Saturday, Real scored four times on the road against Alaves, it's something of a mixed game for Cristiano Ronaldo. He missed the penalty, but still scored another from the spot and ended up with a hat trick and 4-1 win.

In the Premier League in England, Leicester City's miserable away run is finally over, the reigning champions managed to draw a one all at first, their first away point of the season, Ahmed Musa was on target in the second half to make it a worthwhile day out in London for the Fox's. Tottenham remain the only unbeaten team in the league, but they are now three points off the pace. Joint leader is Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool all scored four goals each on Saturday.

Now with just three races left in the Formula One season, the three- time champion, Louis Hamilton must keep winning and hope that his Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg somehow slips up. Hamilton has secured the pole position for Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix but Rosberg will start alongside him on the grid in second place. Rosberg can win the title with two second-place finishes and a third in the next few weeks regardless of what Hamilton does and in fact, he might even clinch this weekend if he wins the race and Hamilton is 10th or worse. That is a quick look at your sports headlines, I'm Don Riddell.

HOWELL: We are following the breaking news out of central Italy, another strong earthquake that struck that region measuring a 6.6 magnitude in strength. Video coming into CNN shows significant damage including some to a church. So far, there have been no reports of casualties. This is the third powerful earthquake to hit that region this week alone. Two quakes on Wednesday weakened a number of structures there.

I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. More news after the break and the breaking news of this earthquake In Italy, stay with us.