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Presidents Obama, Putin Speak to the U.N.; Interview with Adviser to President Assad; Water Discovered on Mars. Aired 3-4p ET.

Aired September 28, 2015 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, HOST: Tonight, an exclusive interview with the top aide to Bashar al Assad.


GORANI: I'll ask how much help Moscow is really sending to Syria.

And the crisis is sparking off a face-off at the U.N... Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are going toe to toe with their divergent plan.

And this hour, a monumental discovery on Mars. NASA says water is flowing on the red planet.


GORANI: Hello, everyone, I'm Hala Gorani, we're live at CNN, London. Thanks for being with us this hour, this is "The World Right Now."


GORANI: Hundreds of world leaders are gathered in New York for the U.N. General assembly and the conflict in Syria is topping the agenda on day

one. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin both spoke in the morning session. They outlined some very different visions of

how to help end the bloodshed inside the country. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So Assad and his allies can't simply pacify the broad majority of the population who've been brutalized

by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing. Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out

ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader.

GORANI: In contrast, to Mr. Obama, Vladimir Putin called on the international community to work with President Assad to help fight, he

says, terrorism. Listen.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: (As translated): we think is it an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its

armed forces who are violently fighting terrorism face-to-face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and

Kurdish militia are truly fighting the Islamic state and other terrorist organizations in Syria.


GORANI: Putin is a key ally the Syrian President so his support for Assad is not a surprise. But recent Russian movement, military movements, within

Syria have been a cause for concern for the United States.


GORANI: The Pentagon says Moscow has been moving equipment into western Syria, working on runways, setting up military barracks. Army intelligence

suggests Latakia is now the site of a Russian base.


GORANI: U.S. officials in fact released satellite imagery, take a look. They appear to show buildings under construction and newly paved areas.

Latakia is of course a city under the control of Bashar al Assad's forces.


GORANI: Let's get the Syrian government's perspective on all of this now. For more I'm joined exclusively with Bouthaina Shaaban, she's an adviser to

Syrian President Bashar al Assad. And she is live this evening from Damascus. Thanks for being with us. I have to first ask you about Russia it

is firmly showing support for the government of Bashar al Assad. Is Moscow -- can you confirm that Moscow is sending arms and equipment to Syria right


BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, ADVISOR TO SYRIAN PRESIDENT, BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Well, thank you very much, Hala for inviting me to CNN. If I may correct your

statement, Moscow is trying to support the Syrian people, not the government of Syria. Right from the very beginning, we shouldn't forget

that Russia and China took forward (double) vetoes at the Security Council in order to stop the bloodshed and to convince us the west that the road

that the west is taking in Syria is only increasing bloodshed.


SHAABAN: And only making terrorism a danger, not only for Syria, but for the region and the world. So, whatever Moscow is doing now is only a

continuation of the deep understanding of Moscow to the Syrian crisis. And of the logical approach of Russia to the solution of the Syrian crisis.

GORANI: Now, as you know, Dr. Shaaban, the United States, other western powers disagree with that take. They don't call all opposition terrorists.

They say that the Syrian regime certainly is also attacking its own people.


GORANI: I'm sure you heard president Obama. Let me show you our satellite imagery and our viewers can see these as well.


GORANI: We're seeing transport aircraft from Russia according to some of this satellite imagery. Tanks, armored personnel carriers. Are you denying

that Russia is sending more military equipment, more hardware, to support the government of Bashar al Assad?


SHAABAN: No, you know Russia, -- whatever Russia is sending is sending in order to fight terrorism. And President Putin said that we are interested

in fighting terrorism.


SHAABAN: And may I draw the attention to your spectators to the fact that yesterday an agreement between Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq were signed in

Baghdad in order to coordinate their efforts for fighting terrorism.

It is very difficult -- it's very different to see the problem here, Hala from seeing the problem from Europe or from Russia. It's our people who are

being killed. It's our blood who's being shed.

It is terrorism that is striking us as an -- if you ask any other person today, he will tell you that President Putin was speaking logic. President

Putin was feeling the pulse of what's happening in the region.

GORANI: OK, we understand there's definitely an alliance there and you're not confirming or denying the report, especially based on some of the

satellite imagery that Russia is sending in a major way more military re- enforcement to Syria. You said in an interview just about a week ago that there was a tacit to deal between the United States and Russia to solve the

Syrian crisis. A tacit deal. What did you mean by that?

SHAABAN: I really don't know, what do they mean by that. What is the deal that might be struck, but what we want Syria and the Syrian people is an

end of terrorism. And the reason why the Syrian people are very comfortable, to go back to your first question with any move from Russia,

is that Russia does not have long history in the region. In one day President Assad asks tens of thousands of Russian advisers to leave and

they left. It's not a colonial Hala, ...

GORANI: Dr. Shaaban, I'm asking you about the tacit deal because those are your words. I'm asking you to clarify your own words. In an interview about

a week ago, you said there was a tacit deal between the United States and Russia.

SHAABAN: I said ...

GORANI: Yes? ... it's the word you yourself used.

SHAABAN, Well I said Hala, that from the -- I tell you, I tell you -- I said that from the statements. From the statements, the Russian and the

American statements, I understand that both have reached an understanding. Hopefully, to join forces, to fight terrorism and to reach a political

solution for the crisis.

And I think the statement President Obama today confirms what I said a week ago. When he said that we are ready to cooperate with Russia and Iran for

the solution of the Syrian crisis. And as you know, the United States did not accept Iran to be invited to Geneva in January 2014. So there is a real

change in American and western stand towards cooperating with Russia and I believe there is more than meets the eye.

We see indications of this cooperation. But I hope that there is more than what we know, both for fighting terrorism, and for finding a reasonable and

urgent solution to this Syrian crisis.

GORANI: So, is it your understanding that there is some sort of cooperation, some sort of even, if not direct talks, indirect talks between

the U.S. and Russia on what's going on in Syria?

SHAABAN: I think so. Because when two Presidents want to meet, they do not meet without negotiating an agenda. Without negotiating the points that

they want to discuss. And I saw the speech of President Obama and President Putin today and I can feel that each one of them is trying to find a way

out, with a win-win situation. That none of them would lose face. And both of them will work together for the solution of the crisis.

And as the Syrian government, and Syrian people, we welcome this understanding because it is very important for us that international and

regional powers cooperate in order to stop the arming, financing and facilitating terrorism against our country and to put an end to bloodshed

in Syria.

GORANI: Dr. Shaaban, you speak a lot about terrorism, you mentioned ISIS as well. I understand there have been more regime bombings around Palmyra as

well. But it has to be said the huge majority of those killed in this war have been killed by government in bombings of civilians in areas. How much

responsibility should your government take for driving away millions of Syrians from their homes?

SHAABAN: I think if you - if the west would have listened to the Syrian government back in 2011, Syria wouldn't have witnessed all this

destruction. Right from the beginning, we said right from the very envoy, General (inaudible) who came to Syria, he reported that among the so-called

peaceful demonstrators there were people who are using live bullets and whose attacking and who are killing people. So the Syrian government and

the Syrian army have been trying to defend our people and ...



GORANI: Dr. Shaaban, they have been bombing civilian areas. They have been bombing civilian areas, they've been using barrel bombs on civilian areas.

Regime bombings have killed tens of thousands of Syrians?

SHAABAN: The Syrian government -- listen, Hala, we have to agree that the western media has been absolutely misled about the Syrian crisis. And they

took most of their reports from Al Jazeera and (inaudible) who started targeting Syria in 2000 and 9/11. And please, we cannot quote sources which

are actually the spearhead of attacking Syria and of targeting Syria.

The Syrian government would never - would never attack civilian areas. And I give you one evidence for that. Wherever - wherever the terrorists

arrive, you find the whole population come to the areas which are under government control. And in this area, you never witness any conflict, any

sectarian anything. Why? 90% of the Syrian population are under government control in the areas which are controlled by the government. The Syrian

government target civilians.

GORANI: All right, Dr. Bouthaina - Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, a top advisor to Bashar al Assad, the President of Syria joining us live from Damascus this

evening. Thank you very much.

The conflict in Syria has dominated headlines on the first day of the U.N. General Assembly, as we've been discussing. But will diplomatic talk at the

United Nations translate into any real change in Damascus?

We're covering this story from all angles and date lines. We have Matthew chance who is in Moscow, Elise Labott is at the United Nations.

Elise, I don't know if you were able to hear this interview we had there with Bouthaina Shaaban, the top Assad advisor. She mentioned in an

interview a few days ago, she believes there is some sort of agreement, at least if not now, at least in the cards between the U.S. and Russia on

Syria. Is that something you are hearing as well?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, I think that there's an agreement that they want to try and work together to find some

kind of solution. Whether that's the Russian idea of the solution or the U.S. idea of the solution. I think the U.S. is thinking that they want to

try and have a meeting of the minds here.

Now, certainly, you have heard in recent days, the U.S. kind of soften its language on whether President Assad should go right away. You've heard

Secretary Kerry say he doesn't have to go on day one. Now you heard President Obama talk about a managed transition.

Certainly the Russian buildup in Syria right now, this military buildup gives Russia the upper hand. The U.S. isn't necessarily clear about its

intentions but it wants to make sure that when Russia says it's going after terrorists it's not going after what Bouthaina Shaaban is talking about

which is not only ISIS, but groups that the U.S. and the west consider - and many middle eastern nations consider legitimate members of the



LABOTT: And the U.S. wants to make sure that any Russian military buildup is in parallel with this type of managed transition. Where you have some

kind of transitional body, eventually Assad. When there is some kind of progress on the counter-terrorism front that Assad could be phased out.

I mean there is certainly no meeting of the minds but I think that there is a desire to work together. Secretary Kerry wants to bring together the

Russians, the Iranians who they've shunned for a long time. Now they ...



GORANI: Elise, I just want to jump in really quickly, apologies. I just want to get to Moscow, I'll get back to you in a moment Elise, I want to

get to Moscow where Matthew Chance I believe heard some of that interview as well with Bouthaina Shaaban. What is

Russia's strategic longer term plan here because according to many sources, we're seeing a bigger military buildup?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean we certainly are. I mean over the past couple of weeks in particular, three of four

weeks, Russia has been sending more advanced military equipment to Syria. Some of its most advanced war planes have been spotted by satellites in

Latakia which is the airbase of course which is right in heart of territory controlled by Bashar al Assad. There are advanced tanks and other armored

vehicles. Surface to air missiles for sort of airport and force protection purposes.

But you know certainly, the military footprint of Russia in Syria has been expanded quite dramatically. Although for the Kremlin's part, they say that

that's not the case. They say they're merely delivering arms as per legal contracts to Syria.


CHANCE: But you know current intelligence officials you know, are saying that it looks like it's something much more than that. In terms of what

they're up to strategically, I mean, that's not clear either.

I mean obviously Russia has, as we've reported many times, strategic interests in Syria. It has its military base in Tartus, it's naval facility

on the Mediterranean. It has economic interests as well worth billions of dollars which it obviously wants to protect.

Vladimir Putin speaking at the United Nations General Assembly earlier today emphasized that Russian policy was about fighting international

terrorism. But, of course, the suspicion is this is about something much bigger than that. It's about opening another front in Russia's campaign to

gain more international clout. And at the very least, to maintain a foothold in the Middle East. It's seen its allies in Iraq and in Libya

basically disintegrate. It doesn't want to see the same thing happen in Syria. Because the Kremlin believes if Syria goes, if Assad goes, then so

do to does Russian influence in the Middle East.


GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance. I want to get back to Elise quickly. Elise, could we see a situation where after 4 1/2 years of one of the worst

tragedies the Middle East has seen in terms of a war, that the U.S. will be forced to come around to the idea that Russia has been floating since the

beginning that any solution will have to include, at least in the transitionary phase, Bashar al Assad?

LABOTT: Well I think he already has. I mean by saying managed transition, that means that President Assad is not going anywhere soon.


LABOTT: And when you talk to European diplomats, U.S. officials, they recognize that in the short term if Assad were to fall, then that would

create even more of a vacuum, even more of a chaos for ISIS to take advantage of.

So there's no believe that he's leaving anytime soon. So he's not leaving on day one but the question is how many days from day one. And that's one I

think that the U.S. and its allies along with Russia, along with Iran are trying agree on now.

What kind of transition are we talking about? Who would be the alternative? Right now there is none. How long would it take? And then you also need

countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, who have influences with these groups on the ground to get them to buy into it. Because if these --

whoever they are, whether it's the opposition, jabhat al nusra, on the ground if they can't buy into this it's not going to work.


LABOTT: So it's not really the Russians themselves, the U.S. themselves or any one proxy on the ground that could solve this, Hala. They really do

need to all work together if they're going to find some type of a way out of this even if far off in the future.

GORANI: All right, well some countries have more influence than others, we'll see if they come together to try to come up with some sort of plan.

Thanks very much, Elise Labott and our Matthew Chance as well in Moscow. You're watching The World Right Now.


GORANI: Still to come tonight, they were victims of unspeakable crimes at the hands of ISIS.


Now some (inaudible) are trying to start a new life far from home.





GORANI: Well, it is a big day at the U.N. It's the opening day of the U.N. General assembly. We've already heard from a powerful lineup of speakers.

And are now awaiting another highly anticipated speech.


GORANI: The Cuban President, Raul Castro will take the podium soon. It's his first ever visit to the U.N. Earlier today, the American President,

Barack Obama talked about his government's warming ties with Cuba calling on U.S. lawmakers to lift that decades-old embargo.

Let's get more on what to expect today going forward.


GORANI: Robyn Curnow is live at the United Nations. So I looked at the schedule and we are, as we are every year, way way behind here. When do we

expect Raul Castro to speak and what do you expect him to say?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have no idea first of all in terms of timing. He does comes after Uganda and Chile. So you know he's

the third after the lunch break, so does that help? I don't know. But of course, we will bring that to you.

And I think what's he going to say? Also, I don't know. I mean we haven't had a handout of this - of this speech.


CURNOW: But I think what is so important Hala, is less about the content of what he says and more about the symbolism. Just think about it, here is

Raul Castro in the United Nations speaking to a community of nations warmly embraced. And you know when President Obama spoke a little bit earlier.

Someone is talking to me in my ear and I'm sorry it's a bit distracting.

So when President Obama spoke earlier and you mentioned that saying you know let's lift that trade embargo, he got a big round of applause. And I

think that's going to be the same sort of turn. No doubt, Raul Castro will ask for a lifting of that embargo.

But it is the mere fact that he is here at the U.N. welcomed. You know, the Cuba/U.S. (inaudible) is being lauded as one of those examples of

successful diplomacy in a time of dark disorder as Obama was referring to.

So I think Hala, that is the kind of tone, the kind of - the sense of where we're going as well with the Castro speech. I don't think he's going to

speak as long as his brother used to do who was you know known for these long rambling speeches. But we'll also get a sense of how Castro wants to

position himself and how he wants history to judge himself.


CURNOW: And of course how fast he wants this changes in Cuba to go post this deal. So I think there's a lot to analyze by the speech. But the fact

that he's there in the first place, key.

GORANI: All right. Robyn Curnow, thanks very much. We will, as Robyn mentioned broadcast the Raul Castro speech live here on CNN.

Thanks very much. Coming up on "The World Right Now."



GORANI: So is there life on Mars? The age-old question may have moved a step closer to being answered after a landmark announcement by NASA on the

mystery of the red planet.

Also, Martin Winterkorn, no longer CEO of Volkswagen, but find out why he may not escape the emission cheating scandal. We'll be right back.






GORANI: Welcome back, well, it's not a good Monday for the Dow Jones. 300 points lower, at 317 points lower for the industrial average. Almost 2%

down, under 16,000. Let's take a look at the Nasdaq and the S&P, and tech shares are being hit quite hard as well today. There you have it, the

Nasdaq down more than 3%. And across the region, European shares, here you go for the main indices. And there you have it. Also a down day as well as

fears of a China slowdown as well as other concerns on Wall Street.


GORANI: Staying with business news, the former CEO of Volkswagen is now facing a criminal investigation.


GORANI: German prosecutors is a they're looking into allegations of fraud in the sale of Volkswagen diesel vehicles that cheated emissions tests.

Martin Winterkorn stepped down as CEO, of the world's biggest carmaker last Wednesday, days after the scandal broke. Even though Volkswagen admitted

rigging pollution tests, Winterkorn insisted he was not aware of any wrongdoing on his own part. If he were to be charged and fou8nd guilty he

could face up to ten years in jail.


GORANI: NASA has made a stunning announcement today about Mars. Scientists say they have found evidence of flowing water. It's a discovery that takes

us one step closer to discovering if there is indeed life on the red plant. Sherisse Pham has our story.


SHERISSE PHAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mars mystery solved? That was the headline NASA teased with us for hours today. No, the space agency

didn't find aliens, or Matt Damon's latest movie character. Today, NASA revealed that water flows on the surface of Mars in the spring and summer.

JIM GREEN, DIRECTOR OF PLANETARY SCIENCE, NASA: Mars is not the dry arid planet that we thought in the past. Today, we're going to announce that

under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars.

PHAM: Researchers had suspected for years that there was water on Mars. An imaging tool aboard this Mars reconnaissance orbiter observed the planet's

surface in different colors to see how light was absorbed by different minerals on the surface.

Experts say analysis of the surface prove that these dark streaks on Mars are caused by water flowing downhill just like on earth.

Now this isn't the kind of water we earthlings are used to. The water that makes these dark streaks on Mars' surface is extremely salty. Without the

salt, the water would freeze in the planet's bone-chilling temperatures.

No life on earth could survive in this water. But for all the Martian fans out there, don't lose hope. NASA says this discovery is a giant leap

towards the next great discovery.

JOHN GRUNSFELD, ASTRONAUT, NASA: We are now at a point technologically, with you know with over 50 years of successful spaceflight, that we have

the capability to go there, ask this question of is there life on Mars and answer it.

PHAM: And that answer will finally solve one of the great mysteries of the cosmos, are we alone?

Sherisse Pham, CNN, London.


GORANIL Coming up Germany is offering refuge to hundreds of former captives of ISIS.



GORANI: Traumatized women and children are saying good-bye to loved ones as they leave home in Iraq. We'll look at an emotional farewell.

And then, the Chinese President Xi Jingping says his country is committed to helping build world peace. Details of his speech to the U.N. just ahead.





GORANI: A look at our top stories. Syria, front and center at the 70th United Nations General Assembly today.


GORANI: But the Presidents of U.S. and Russia have very different views. Barack Obama called Syria's President a tyrant who kills children. While

Vladimir Putin said nations must help the Syrian government.


GORANI: Afghan police says that the Taliban has made a major gain in the northern city of Kunduz.


GORANI: Officials say the fighters have taken the main roundabout there as well as a hospital. A government spokesperson said 25 Taliban members were

killed along with two Afghan police officers and four civilians.


GORANI: And among our tops stories German prosecutors are investigating Volkswagen former CEO, Martin Winterkorn.


GORANI: They are looking into allegations of fraud related to the sale of diesel vehicles that had rigged software to trick emissions tests.

Winterkorn stepped down last week he insisted he was not aware of any wrongdoing.


GORANI: Sepp Blatter says he will remain on the job as President of FIFA despite an ongoing criminal investigation.


GORANI: In a statement released by his attorney, Blatter said he's cooperating with authorities and (inaudible) has done nothing illegal. The

Swiss Attorney General is investigating a contract that Blatter signed with the Caribbean football union as well as a $2 million payment he made to

Michel Platinic, the head of UEFA.


GORANI: Back now to our top story, a big focus of today's speeches at the U.N.. General assembly, the Syrian civil war.


GORANI: The American President Barack Obama said his government is ready to work with any nation, and that includes Iran and Russia to resolve the

conflict. Those countries share the U.S. goal of defeating ISIS, that much is clear, but certainly do not see eye to eye on the role of Syrian

President Bashar al Assad. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke earlier with Christian Amanpour.

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: (As translated) I think today everyone has accepted that President Assad must remain so that we can combat the

terrorists. However, as soon as this movement reaches the various levels of success and starts driving up the terrorists on a step-by-step basis, then

other plans must be put into actions. So, as to hear the voices of the opposition as well, those who are in opposition but are not terrorists must

come to the table of talks and negotiations. Talk to various groups including governmental representatives, and then reach a decision, make a

decision and implement that decision for the future of Syria.


GORANI: The President of Iran. Iran a lot of influence inside Syria, Russia as well. We heard from the U.S. President Barack Obama a little bit earlier

in the General Assembly hall. Let's bring in senior international correspondent Ivan Watson at the United Nations.

First of all, let's talk a little bit about Syria. We heard from Vladimir Putin. We heard from Barack Obama. The two men are going to meet I think,

in about an hour and a half. I mean is there -- is there any expectation that the two could start coming to some sort of political entente there on

the forward?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well we did hear President Obama say that he would be willing to work with the Syrian

President Assad's chief international backers, that's Russia and Iran, that he would theoretically be willing to work with them for trying to resolve

this awful conflict in Syria.


WATSON: But then president Obama went one step further to say that the pre- war status quo would not -- should not be allowed to continue. On other words and Assad Presidency continuing in Syria ruling over the entirety of

Syria. And that's where you have a major disagreement between Moscow and Washington, two former cold war rivals.


WATSON: Yes, they both agree, both governments agreement that ISIS is a force that should be battled against.


WATSON: They do not agree on the causes of the Syrian civil war. And Russia has doubled-down on its support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad,

Russia even sending troops and personnel to Syria in the last couple of weeks. Whereas, the U.S. continues to insist that Assad is one of the

reasons why the country is in this terrible conflict in the first place.

And so, it's a big question, how they could possibly come to some kind of united resolution of this terrible, terrible war. Hala.

GORANI: Right. And let's talk a little bit about one of the components of this war, of course, it is ISIS and it's, spread across not just Syria but

Iraq. And its persecution of minorities including the Yazidis. You had an opportunity there to report on some Yazidis who have been offered a safe

place to move to inside of Europe. Tell us - tell us more about that?

WATSON: That's right, and here we cross the border that is increasingly blurring this to Iraqi Kurdistan to the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq

where you have 1.5 million displaced Iraqis in addition to about 300,000 Syrian refugees who have fled to that region.


WATSON: One state in Germany, the state of Badem-Wuttermburg has adopted an unusual decision to except up to 1,000 Yazidi former captives of ISIS.

These are women and children who were essentially enslaved by ISIS after it mounted a deadly offensive in parts of northern Iraq in August 2014. And we

met some of the people who are being granted refuge in Germany and brought this story.

They're dressed mostly in black. The color of mourning. Women whose faces we will not show to protect their privacy. Yazidi Kurds subjected to

unspeakable crimes by ISIS. They receive a final blessing from their spiritual leader.

What ISIS did to you will not happen again. The Yazidi patriarch says. Stop wearing black, it will only remind us of what we have suffered.

Iraq is the ancestral homeland of the Yazidis, an ancient, ethnic and religious community nestled in the valley in the Kurdish-controlled north a

Yazidi sanctuary called the Lalish Temple.

I'm deep in the heart of the Lalish Temple the holiest site for the Yazidis. This religious minority has a long and painful history of

persecution. But no one could have predicted the ferocity of the assault that they faced at the hands of ISIS starting in 2014.

A little more than a year ago, is militants attacked the northern province of Sinjar where they alleged massacred more than 3,000 Yazidis and captured

at least 5,000more. Triggering a mass exodus as hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled their homes.

MIRZA DINNAYI: We are - all of us are traumatized now (inaudible).

WATSON: Yazidi activist, (inaudible) has interviewed more than an 1,000 former Yazidi captives of ISIS.

DINNAYI: Many of them, they were sex slaves under ISIS captivity. They were beaten, tortured by ISIS fighters. They are -- they have PTSD, hard

depression. And we have no instruments here in Iraq to treat them.

WATSON: This month, 66 Yazidi women and children begin the long journey to Germany. They emerge from the Lalish Temple barefoot as is the custom on

this sacred ground.

Among those leaving is 15-year-old (Zabar Mirza-Mahmoud).

I'm both happy and sad to go, he says. ISIS killed my dad, my cousins and uncles and they kidnapped 25 relative including women. (Zabar's) uncle

shows photos of murdered family members.

Not pictured, (Zabar's) 16-year-old sister who was enslaved by ISIS for three months before she escaped. Her family will get a chance at a new life

in Germany but that does not make saying good-bye any easier.

Go ahead, get on the bus, (Zabar's) uncle tells his nephew. This is the agony of the Yazidis. Attacked because of their faith with thousands still

in modern day slavery, survivors left with little choice but to say farewell to their homelands.



WATSON: Hala in Germany, these victims will get government housing, education and very importantly some psychological treatment for the trauma

they have endured. The Kurdistan regional government says there is still more than 3,700 Yazidi men and women still missing since august 2014. This

is still one of the gaping wounds of the war in Iraq. There are only about 600,000 and all, more than 400,000 have been forced from their home. ISIS

has effectively succeed in ethnically and religious cleansing a minority from their ancestral homeland in the last year. Hala?

GORANI: All right, thanks very much. Ivan Watson is in our New York bureau with that -- yet another tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. Thank you.

The big, strong and rich should not believe the small, weak and poor, those words today from -- can you guess who said those words? The Chinese

President Xi Jingping. He addressed the U.N. General Assembly.


GORANI: He says China is committed to building world peace pledging 8,000 troops for a U.N. peacekeeping standby force. Mr. Xi also called for mutual

respect among nations saying no civilization is superior to another.

XI JINGPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT: (As translated) we should build partnerships in which countries treat each other as equals. Engage in

mutual consultation and show mutual understanding. The principle of sovereign equality underpins the U.N. Charter. The future of the world must

be shaped by all countries. All countries are equals.


GORANI: President Xi stressed themes of global fairness and justice and yet critics say his country has a dismal human rights record at home and has no

lessons to give. Activists in China are fighting to speed up reforms but as Saima Mohsin reports they are paying a huge price for it.


SAIMA MOHSIN: For years, Ni Yulan has had to use a wheelchair to get around, a result, she claims, of injury she sustained from police who

tortured her. The human rights campaigner for over a decade, she says China's human rights crackdown is worse under President Xi Jingping.

NI YULAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: (As translated) there are many law abiding citizens who are fighting for rights, not just human rights lawyers. The

authorities are afraid of more people like that coming out and taking a stand against the government.

MOHSIN: That's what rights groups say happened in July when police arrested or detained nearly 150 lawyers, activists and their families. Why?

YULAN: (As translated) because lawyers are doing more to defend people's rights, a lot of victims of persecution are starting to seek out legal


MOHSIN: But Chinese official has a different reason. Police telling state media, they'd targeted a criminal gang, suspected of illegally organizing a

paid protest. Ni had studied law and became an activate when houses including her own were being torn down to make way for the Beijing

Olympics. She alleges that she was arrested, detained and beaten while taking photographs of officials carrying out demolition work.

YULAN: (As translated) A group of cops dragged me into an interrogation room. They put a rope around my neck and tied my hands behind my back.

They pinned me down to the ground and pulled me up by my neck. Then I was sent to the detention center.

After 75 days in a cell, my hips, spine and waist were all seriously injured.

MOHSIN: Chinese authorities deny the torture allegations but Ni spent more than two years in jail again in 2011 for making trouble and continues to

attract attention from the authorities.

YULAN: (As translated) last year during the Apex Summit, a huge number of police officers trapped us inside our home here. They stopped us from going

out. Nor would they let visitors in.

MOHSIN: Ni Yulan told me she and fellow activists appeal to other countries to pay closer attention to China's human rights situation because

international pressure still makes a difference despite China's rising economic might.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Beijing.


GORANI: All right, a lot more coming up.


GORANI: I'm sure you've probably noticed Facebook is down by the way. It's the number fourth trending topic on twitter. And what fun would Facebook

being down be if you couldn't tweet about it.



GORANI: And next, if U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump gets his way, a lot of Americans could end up paying zero taxes. Details on who he thinks

should pay less in taxes, coming up.




GORANI: White House hopeful Donald Trump is unveiling his plan to revamp the U.S. tax code.


GORANI: The Presidential front-runner says his plan would slash taxes for millions of Americans. Under it, individuals earning less than $25,000 a

year and married couples earning less than $50,000 a year would pay zero in taxes. That's right, zero. Aaron Burnett asked Trump if he would end up

paying more taxes under his own plan?

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will probably end up paying more money. But at the same time, I think the economy will do better

so I'll make it up that way. But I will probably end up paying more money. I will believe in the end I might do better because I really believe the

economy is going to go boom -- beautiful.


GORANI: Trump has surged to the top of the polls in part by insisting that America's wealthy like himself should pay more in taxes. Let's bring in CNN

money correspondent Cristina Alesci in New York and talk a little bit about this plan.

Now we heard that the $50,000 for a couple. $25,000 for a single individual per year, they would pay zero. What are the other broad strokes of the


CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Broadly speaking what Trump is talking about is basically reducing taxes for everyone. Even for the



ALESCI: I mean, if you look at this plan, you're talking about the top bracket, the highest income earners going from a 40% tax rate to a 20% tax

rate. Now he said that could - that could potentially mean that some people end up -- some wealthy people end up paying more because he'll close

certain loopholes and deductions. But he was not specific on what those loopholes and deductions are.


ALESCI: And keep in mind, the two big ones, charitable giving deduction and the mortgage interest deduction, he did not talk about those. In fact he

said that they would be kept intact. So the big question is how do you pay for something like this when you're talking about such a large overhaul of

the U.S. tax system?


ALESCI: Also you bring up the lower - middle to lower income. Well you know here in America about 76 million people already don't pay the Federal

Income Tax. That doesn't mean they don't pay other taxes like payroll taxes. And Trump did not speak about that at all. How, you know, he would

address the payroll taxes for those middle to lower income Americans. Many of which, you know, don't pay the Federal tax, the Federal Income Tax.

Again, they pay other kinds of taxes like the payroll tax.

GORANI: So, it sounds like there's a bit of -- in terms of specifics here, there's a bit more that we need in order to figure out if it's even a

feasible plan, yes?


ALESCI: That's right. And when you're talking about feasibility. The one thing that very consistent I heard today from everyone I spoke to is how

are you going to pay for this without increasing the debt, without increasing the deficit here in the United States? And there was no clear

answer on that front. Remember what he's saying is look, we can get a boost potentially by encouraging corporations to bring back money that they have

stashed overseas because we can lower that tax one time to 10%. But again, that is a 10 - it is a one-time kind of tax holiday or tax reduction. It's

really hard to see how that plays out over the long term.


GORANI: All right, Cristina Alesci, thanks very much. Making headlines though once again.

Coming up, Trevor Noah has some pretty big shoes to fill.



GORANI: The new host of the "Daily Show" takes over from Jon Stewart tonight.



GORANI: Tonight, sees the dawn of a new "Daily Show" as Trevor Noah takes over as host of the satirical news show. The pressure is on of course to

live up to the standard that Jon Stewart set, talk about high expectations. CNN's David McKenzie reports from Noah's hometown in South Africa.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps the re-launch of the year into the hot seat of "The Daily Show," South African comedian

Trevor Noah replacing Jon Stewart after 16 seasons. The 31-year-old is almost unknown in America.

And you can see here he looks like a naughty boy.


MCKENZIE: But not so here in Soweto. Where his grandmother still lives in the house where she raised Noah as a child.

NOMALIZO FRANCES NOAH, TREVOR NOAH'S GRANDMOTHER: He wants where he is, there must be laughter, not tears.

MCKENZIE: He was always her favorite. Was he always making jokes?

NOAH: Always laughing. Always laughing.

MCKENZIE: But she says it was tough for him sleeping on the couch with his cousins. She had to hide him from the authorities.

Born to a white father and black mother, illegal during apartheid, Noah likes to is a he was born a crime.

Some people are asking how a young comedian from here in Soweto could appeal to an American market.

Well Trevor Noah succeeded here in South Africa, a deeply divided nation.

DONOVAN GOLAITH, COMEDIAN: Trevor was - is possibly still for me the hardest working comedian person I know.

MCKENZIE: Friends and competitors alike say Noah was a role model here. They say he grew from a vanilla comedian to an edgy cross-over hit.

GOLAITH: People trust him and they're willing to hear what he has to say. That's the hardest thing about being a comic is gaining the trust

immediately. When you walk on stage, people must listen to you.

MCKENZIE: Something Noah will have do all over again if he wants to conquer the biggest of stages.

David McKenzie, CNN, Soweto, South Africa.


GORANI: What can we expect from the new host, our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is in New York. You spoke with Trevor Noah,

what did he tell you?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be more correspondence than we're used to seeing on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show."

Also more musical performances and maybe a little bit less media criticism.


STELTER: Here's a little of what he said about his plans for his version of the show.

What are viewers going to see on Monday night and what are they not going to see?

TREVOR NOAH, HOST "THE DAILY SHOW": What are they going to see? Trevor Noah. What are they not going to see? Jon Stewart.

[15:55:00] STELTER: That sounds about right. So how do you manage the expectations? How do you signal to viewers that this is the same show but

on a different set with a different guy in front of the camera?

NOAH: Well you just do it. That's the only way you can. You can only speak about it so much, at some point you just have to get out there, you have to

do the show, you have to work to be funny, and you have to enjoy it. And that's really what I hope to do is show people how much fun we have making

the show and how much fun we have doing the show.

STELTER: I think people want to know how much will it change and how much will it not change?

NOAH: That's a difficult one because a lot of people think it's all or nothing. They go has it changed or has it not changed? And you go, well,

there's a middle ground. It can be changing, it can be constantly evolving. So that's what I aim for, is very gradual change that gets us to the place

that we need to be. But I'm not rushing. The most important thing is to have a good time with what we have right now and then work towards small

incremental goals that get us to a final destination.

STELTER: An enormous amount of pressure for Trevor Noah tonight. But Comedy Central is trying to take the very long view here. They believe they have

hired the right person for many years to come. A big generational shift for the Daily Show. Jon Stewart was in his 50s when he signed off. Trevor Noah

is in his early 30s. There's a big change for late night T.V not just here in the U.S. but around the world because as we know these clips from the

Daily Show tend to go viral all around the world.

GORANI: Well I for one cannot wait to see how he does, thanks very much. Brian Stelter live in New York.


GORANI: This has been "The World Right Now," I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks as always for watching. Facebook is still down but when it's up go visit us

there we enjoy your company. Quest Means Business is up next.