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South Korea Conducts Live-Fire Missile Drills; South Korea Runs Stimulated Strike On Nuke Site; Trump Won't Rule Out Strike On Kim Regime; U.S. Considers Military Responses To Nuke Test; U.S. Warns Of "Massive Military Response"; China Strongly Condemns Nuke Test; World Reaction Swift And Harsh To Nuke Test; Trump Decision On DACA Not Final Until Announcement; Trump Expected To End DAVA Immigration Program; Estimated 800,000 People Protected By DACA; Texas Chemical Plant Fires Mostly Burned Out; Texas Residents Rely On Faith After Deadly Storm. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 4, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, HOST: South Korea conducts missile drills, and the United States warns it has the ability to annihilate North Korea if attacked. This, after Kim Jong-un's regime, says it tested an H-bomb.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the potential shake-up to a significant U.S. immigration policy; sources tell CNN, President Trump will end the program that protects immigrants who arrived illegally in the U.S. as children.
VANIER: And later in the show, Malala Yousafzai criticizes fellow Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, for not doing enough to stop the violence against Myanmar's minority Muslim population.
ALLEN: Hello, and welcome to our viewers around the world. These stories are all ahead here this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.
VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. This is CNN NEWSROOM. South Korea is responding with its own show of force after North Korea's claimed hydrogen bomb test. Seoul conducted a military exercise simulating a strike on a North Korean nuclear site. This comes amid a flurry of reactions from around the world, including an ominous message from U.S. President Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The president also said this on Twitter: "The United States is considering an addition to other options stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, discussed new sanctions against North Korea's trading partners earlier on Fox News. It's not clear yet what those might look like, but they'd likely impact China.
VANIER: The White House is also considering a military response to Pyongyang. Our Barbara Starr has more on that from the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Defense Secretary James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, coming out of the White House, delivering a message in front of television cameras to the world. Mattis saying that the U.S. would respond with massive military capability if North Korea were to threaten the U.S., Japan, Guam, or any of the allies. Saying, if they threatened, but also saying if they attacked. Because, North Korea, of course, already is a threat.
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack. And our commitments among the allies are iron clad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. Kim Jong-un should take heed to the United Nations Security Council's unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Because we are looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.
STARR: This latest nuclear test, the biggest one to date. North Korea, claiming it can miniaturize a warhead, making the steps day by day to be able to put a warhead on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and potentially attack the United States. Mattis made the point very specifically, that the U.S. was not looking for the total annihilation, his words, of North Korea. But make no mistake, the U.S. is looking to send Kim Jong-un a message that he will be annihilated, that his regime would be annihilated if they were to threaten or attack. Very important message, because Kim considers his own survival, job number one. And the U.S. believes if it can convince him, his survival could be threatened, maybe, just maybe he will be in the mood for diplomacy. But that may be a very long road ahead. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
ALLEN: CNN has teams of reporters and analysts around the world on this story. Andrew Steven has Chinese reaction from Xiamen, where the Chinese President is attending a summit. Mike Chinoy is in Hong Kong with expert analysis. But let's start with CNN'S Ian Lee, he is in South Korea's capital. Ian, we also heard from President Trump some harsh words for South Korea and its new liberal government for its approach to North Korea. Could you break that down for us?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In a tweet, President Trump said, basically, that President Moon here in South Korea was wrong for appeasement, as he calls it, to North Korea. And it's true in a sense that President Moon did come to power talking about diplomacy, bringing a softer stance towards North Korea. But Moon inherited a different world than what he wanted. He had North Korea, defiant with their nuclear program. You had President Trump very tough, talking very strongly as well. And so, he has picked up this relationship and run with it with more of these military exercise exercises.
[01:05:34] Just this morning weather, we saw South Korea carry out an exercise with ballistic missiles which have the capability of hitting the Punggye-ri region in northeast North Korea where that nuclear bomb was detonated and where that nuclear program is. They also tested these F-15, air-to-surface missiles which would also go after North Korea's nuclear exercise. We've seen many -- a lot of cooperation, we've seen many exercises between the United States and South Korea since this president has taken office. So, it had some officials here puzzled, if you will, that they -- that this tweet came out.
ALLEN: Ian, South Korea is getting diplomatic pressure as far as what to do vis-a-vis North Korea. It's a managing military exercise the same time that we're seeing, that we know that North Korea hates, but they're dealing with what South Korea has to do at this point. How do you think -- how is it being considered that South Korea is handling the crisis?
LEE: Well, you know, South Korea has this two-pronged approach when it comes to this crisis: the one is the military, and the talking tough. And we've seen that already with these exercises today. These sorts of exercises are going to continue. But the other approach is with the international community, and they really want to rally that the U.N. Security Council to come down hard on North Korea. Isolate the country diplomatically, economically, and they believe that will help put pressure on North Korea to give up their nuclear program. But as we saw from Will Ripley's reporting from inside North Korea, he said that that's having the opposite effect. That the more pressure that's put on the country, the more determined they are to develop their nuclear program.
ALLEN: Ian, thank you. Ian Lee for us in South Korea.
VANIER: And let's get to Andrew Stevens in Xiamen, China. Andrew, what happened on Sunday prompted the U.S. President Donald Trump to tweet that any country who does business with North Korea, well, the U.S. might just stop trading with them, stop doing business with them. We're talking about if the U.S. decides to stop trading with China, we're talking about hundreds of billions in trade. Do you think this is realistic?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: $580 billion to be precise, Cyril. And no, it does not seem to be realistic. And experts are saying the same thing. One quote I heard was, "it's not even in the realm of the remotely plausible that Donald Trump could carry out such a move." Not only would it send the global economy spiraling into recession, it would obviously have a big backlash in the U.S. itself.
U.S. companies, farmers send about $150 billion worth of goods to China every year; the U.S. imports over $400 billion. Just the size of the numbers here are enormous. And if that's stopped, there would be huge pain felt by the world's biggest, U.S. And that scenario would be played out in places like India, Russia, obviously, to a much lesser degree because there are already sanctions there.
But certainly, it doesn't seem to be a plausible suggestion. The question becomes: what was Donald Trump trying to say, Cyril? And that's not clear. And that's what worries people. That's, yet again, another tweet, which really is difficult to decipher, because the face value doesn't make sense. So, what is he aiming at? China, for its part, says that it will comprehensively abide by the United Nations sanctions. It says, it already has.
We know the U.N. Security Council is making an emergency session today. If there are more measures taken, then it does appear that China is ready to back those up. So, it will be, in effect, tightening the screws. But we'll have to wait and see what the U.N. comes up with.
VANIER: Absolutely. Andrew Stevens, thank you very much.
ALLEN: Let's turn now to Mike Chinoy, he's in Hong Kong. He's a Senior Fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. Mike, good to have you with us. Going after -- following what Steven just told us about this being presumably an empty trade warning from President Trump because of the economics involved, where might China be as far as being pushed around by North Korea and embarrassed that this happened during this conference?
[01:10:13] MIKE CHINOY, SENIOR FELLOW, U.S.-CHINA INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, I think the North Koreans deliberately timed the nuclear test to embarrass Chinese leader Xi Jinping, just a few hours before this big summit. The Chinese have frequently indicated that another nuclear test would prompt some kind of tough response. But the big question with the Chinese is really going to be: how far will they go?
The key thing that the Chinese could do that might have an impact on North Korea that just cut off all the fuel supplies, including aviation fuel. The North Koreans are believed to have stockpiled fuel, so you wouldn't see an immediate impact. But over time, that would hurt North Korea. Whether it would hurt North Korea enough to prompt it to change its policies is something else altogether.
And I think it's worth pointing out that when you get threats like the one that Andrew Stevens mentioned from President Trump, talking about cutting off trade with all countries, that would have a huge impact on China, even though it's unrealistic. Just the making of the threat is not going to make China inclined to be more cooperative towards the U.S. It's likely to antagonize the Chinese at a time when the U.S. needs to build cooperation.
In the same way, the president's comments about South Korea, I think, really undermine the U.S.-South Korea alliance. He criticized South Korea's new president for so-called appeasement. He's also threatened to take steps to withdraw from the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, that's not the kind of behavior that you need to show at a time when alliance management and strengthening, a united front against North Korea is the central objective. So, yet again, we see Donald Trump going against what would seem to be the logical best interest of rallying international community against North Korea.
ALLEN: Right. He's also been criticized for linking the two big issues: security with trade.
CHINOY: That's another point here. And I think going forward -- unless the U.S. is planning a military strike on North Korea, and despite the warnings, I think we're not anywhere close to that. This is really a game of, sort of, each side posturing and threatening the other. I think deterrence is really crucial at this point. And for deterrence to be effective, part of that involves strengthening U.S. alliance relationships with Japan and with South Korea. Not both to deter the North Koreans, but also to deter the South Koreans and Japanese from contemplating -- for example, getting their own nuclear capability.
So, to belittle the South Korean leadership and to threaten a trade agreement at this particular point, the timing is so inopportune, which is why you've had a chorus of criticism all across the spectrum in the states, as well as in South Korea about what a dumb idea this would be, and how counterproductive it would be at this moment of crisis with Pyongyang.
ALLEN: Well, and you mentioned that the need for the United State to work with its alliances around the world to come together on this issue. I want to ask you, North Korea looks like it's getting what it wants, which is recognition, that it's a power in the world. An official declaration to the end of the war with South Korea, and so it can grow its economy. When it first broke, there was some talk from analysts that, perhaps, this was the time to stop and talk with North Korea. But it certainly doesn't seem like that is the will of the United States.
CHINOY: So, far the indications from the Trump administration are that they're not interested in talking. But it's more complicated than that because, behind the tough rhetoric, both Defense Secretary Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson have signaled in recent weeks an opening -- an openness to a dialogue of some kind. The question is: how do you get there? How do you break this cycle of criticism, and denunciation, and threat, and counter threat? Who can take a move in the climate where the whole idea of talking to North Korea is so politically poisonous in the United States? But if they don't do that, we're going to have this continuing downward descent into greater tension.
ALLEN: Mike Chinoy for us in Hong Kong. Mike, thank you.
VANIER: Let's take you to another major story we're following for you this hour. President Trump's much-anticipated decision on a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from deportation.
ALLEN: Yes. Sources tell CNN, Mr. Trump is expected to end the program known as DACA, that is shorthand for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It applies to qualified participants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Mr. Trump's decision won't be final until he makes the announcement -- that is expected Tuesday.
VANIER: If as sources currently say, Mr. Trump does announce an end to DACA, that would not happen immediately. Sources say, the Trump administration will give Congress six months to pass legislation, to fix DACA, and allow people covered under it to remain in the U.S. Let's talk to one of the people who could be directly affected by this: Cesar Espinosa, he joins us now from Houston which has been reeling from Hurricane Harvey, as you know from watching our coverage. And he came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was just 6-years-old. Now, he's the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, FIEL, and he's one of the most influential immigrant's rights activist in the country. Cesar, you're worried, you told us that you could lose your work permits, your driver's license, even be deported?
[01:15:33] CESAR ESPINOSA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR FIEL AND IMMIGRANT'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST (via Skype): Yes, unfortunately. Well, thank you for having here for raising the community (INAUDIBLE). I mean, it could be -- we don't know what (INAUDIBLE) DACA, but for many people of the community, not only mean the ability to have a driver's license, the ability to have identification. But it could ultimately lead to deportation for us. After living in this country for over 26 years, I find the notion of I don't what I would do, but families here (INAUDIBLE).
VANIER: In terms of your identity, do you feel American or do you feel Mexican? And do you even feel that matters?
ESPINOSA: At this point, I don't think that matters. I mean, I have a strong pride in my heritage. But at the same time, I work in politics here in the United States. I am tuned with what's going on with their elections. I try to help out and whatever I can in my community. But at this point, I feel like just a person - a human being that lives on this Earth, and neither my status nor my place of origin would define who I am. But I hope that the president looks at us. We are contributing members of our society on many levels. And he makes that different decision on the DACA program instead of ending it.
VANIER: And you say you try to contribute to society. I was reading up about your organization; you contribute education, immigration services, you try to provide resources to people who are trying to establish their immigration status and civic engagement in the community. Look, what is the main argument that you would put forward to the U.S. president if you could speak to him?
ESPINOSA: That it's important that he sees that we're -- immigrants do not make any harm to the United States. In fact, we're contributing many aspects: economic buy ins of the society. And just like we are now, (INAUDIBLE), and many of the people that we're talking and in low-income neighborhoods, and undocumented neighborhood. They tell us, we're going to rebuild our city, and that's who we are. We're people that are here to work. We're people that are here rebuild or build, and we're not doing anybody harm. We just want the ability to be recognized as human beings and to be able to live life in the pursuit of happiness. VANIER: It's worth pointing out, especially to our international
viewers that the DACA, the dreamer's status, and the work or student permit that you get is earned. You have to apply for it and you have to earn it in the United States.
ESPINOSA: Yes, we do have to apply for it. There are many qualifications, such as having gone to high school here in the United States, having graduated, having come in at a very early age. You know, we were brought here as children. So, when our parents brought us they didn't really give us a decision. Now, we're stuck in kind of limbo where we don't know what's going to happen with our future. But like I said, we know that we have laid down roots here, and we hope that the president sees that. And that not only takes our situation account, the situation of 11 million undocumented people who are currently living in the United States who have roots just like any one of us who is a dreamer.
VANIER: Cesar, just quickly. For you personally, can you envision a life outside of the U.S., back in Mexico for instance?
ESPINOSA: For me, that idea is unfathomable. My whole family is here, my whole future is here. I did my school here, and I now run the largest immigrant's rights organization here in Houston. So, to me, being deported or being sent back home is almost out of the question. We're going to fight to the end to be able to stay here with our families and to able to exist and co-exist with our fellow American.
VANIER: All right. Cesar, thank you very much for your time. This conversation is just starting. So, we'll want to speak to you again. Thanks.
ESPINOSA: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
ALLEN: When we come back, we're going to return to Houston, Texas. As people go home to check out the damage from Hurricane Harvey, they're siding one thing remains solid -- their faith. We'll have that next. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
[01:21:54] PATRICK SNELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there! I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN WORLD SPORTS headlines. Starting in New York, where Maria Sharapova who's returned to grand slam tennis after a 15 months suspension for trophy ban caused so much controversy, she's been eliminated now from the U.S. Open in the fourth round on Sunday. Many had criticized the fact the Russian was awarded a wildcard for this event, was notably Caroline Wozniacki. But on Sunday, Sharapova fell to Anastasija Sevastova, the Latvian shocked in the five-time grand slam champ who's ranked 146th in the world.
To Formula One, and for the first time this season, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton is top of the driver's standings of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on Sunday. Hamilton dominating the race to snatch the championship and lead away from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. It was an easy day for Hamilton, the sixth, the most straightforward victory of this season -- his fourth win.
And to the 2018 World Cup qualifying, the Netherlands are dangerously close to not making the trip to Russia after Thursday's morning by France. The Dutch hopes were left hanging by a thread, but they managed to redeem the situation with a home win against Bulgaria. The Brighton midfielder, Davy Propper, scoring twice. (INAUDIBLE) was also on the scoresheet after Dutch win comfortably by three goals to one. Still, two games left to play there. Thanks so much for joining us. Those are your CNN WORLD SPORTS headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.
ALLEN: Fallout from Hurricane Harvey, the Arkema chemical company says the fires at its plant in Crosby, Texas, have largely burned themselves out. The plant was inundated by flooded by Hurricane Harvey, containers of organic peroxide caught fire after their cooling systems failed.
VANIER: The governor says it will cost more than a $120 billion to recover from Harvey. Houston's mayor, for his part, says his city is now 95 percent dry and mostly operational, so that's good news. Most businesses in Houston are expected to reopen on Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday.
ALLEN: Good news, as well. And churches in Southeast Texas are bustling this Sunday. Here's CNN Sara Sidner with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, God allowed us to have a storm, and because of the storm his whole family has come together.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the faithful didn't just pray for help from above, they got to work on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About nine feet of water in this house, so we're complete gutting this house -- that's what we're doing.
SIDNER: Sweating it out to fix stranger's homes, quenching their thirst, putting clothes on their backs, food in their bellies, or a pillow under their weary heads.
AMY ICONGA, FLOOD VICTIM: So now, I'm leading to shelter --
SIDNER: Amy Iconga and daughter Grace found safety in America, after escaping war in Congo. They were rebuilding a life in Houston. In minutes, everything the family built was washed away.
ICONGA: I lost everything to my house. All my efforts for seven years. All my things. My children's things: books, school, everything. I lost everything. My share, my everything. I don't know. I don't know.
[01:25:26] SIDNER: They finally found refuge at this Houston Methodist church. So, did Awad al-Zoubi who escaped the war in Syria, only to be displaced by the floods in Houston. AWAD AL-ZOUBI, FLOOD VICTIM: Thanks so much, everyone here, because
they helped us. Thank you so much. Maybe three, four days from now, we are still, and still here.
SIDNER: And for Muslims, this is a special time as they end their month-long fast, and celebrate Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.
KRISTEN JONES, DIRECTOR OF MISSIONS FOR FIRST METHODIST CHURCH OF HOUSTON: Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger among us, and only to just welcome those who are already here but also to advocate for oppressed people.
SIDNER: While critics lashed out at Joel Osteen for failing to immediately open his mega church as a place of refuge, other churches, small and large, as well as temples, and mosques all over Houston had their doors wide open.
DERIC MUHAMMAD, MUSLIM ACTIVIST: An unprecedented weather event has caused an unprecedented amount of humanitarian work.
SIDNER: Muslim Activist, Deric Muhammad, is working right alongside Christian Pastor E.A. Deckard. The two teamed up years ago to help survivors of violence in the city. Now, they're working day and night, doing the same for Harvey survivors.
MUHAMMAD: Imagine a man bleeding in the middle of the street, and you have one man standing on the corner and he's a Christian and he's reading his Bible. On the other corner, you have a Muslim, who's reading his Koran. If both those men can't put the book down long enough to address the needs of the people in the street, then neither of them understand what's actually written in the book.
PASTOR E.A. DECKARD, FOUNDER AND SENIOR PASTOR, GREEN HOUSE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH: When someone walks through these doors; there are three wings we want to accomplish. First of all, make them feel like family. Secondly, let's make sure no one feels like they're receiving a handout, but we're giving a helping hand. I want everyone envisioning themselves to have an unlimited credit card, coming in and going shopping and not worry about price tags.
SIDNER: While the services are over, the community of faith here in Houston knows that the work is nowhere near done. They are working hard to clothe, house, feed, and nurture those who have lost everything in the storm. And they also know that's going to be a long road ahead. Sara Sidner, CNN, Houston.
[01:27:47] VANIER: And if you want to find out what you can do to help people who are on that road, go to our impact your world Web page, it's CNN.com/impact. You will find links to vetted charities working to help those who are affected by the storm. That's CNN.com/impact.
[01:31:31] VANIER: Hey. Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen.
Here are out top stories this hour.
ALLEN: Japan has been dealing with threats from North Korea for decades, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says claims of a hydrogen bomb test have reached a new level.
VANIER: He's calling for tougher sanctions enforcement and says the test by Pyongyang is totally unacceptable.
For more on Japan's response, here is Alexandra Field, in Tokyo.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPODNENT: It was less than a week ago that people in northern part of Japan woke up to the sound of sirens and received messages telling them to seek shelter after North Korea launched an intermediate ballistic missile that flew over Japan. At the time, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called it a grave threat. He is now saying that the threat from North Korea has reached the next level. That, after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test. Japanese planes were up in the air trying to detect any possible signs of radioactive material in the aftermath of that test.
The prime minister has spoken twice in the last day to U.S. President Donald Trump, the first time after North Korean state news published images of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, with what they purported to be a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, which North Korea has said could be fitted to ICBMs. The second time Prime Minister Abe and President Trump spoke was after that nuclear test was conducted.
Prime Minister Abe now calling on all international partners to fully enforce sanctions that are already in place against North Korea. Don't forget, just recently, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on what was billed as the strongest round of sanctions every against North Korea. Abe said the sanction process for the possibility of additional measures against North Korea should they take action as provocative as conducting another nuclear test, which is what we're seeing now.
The Japanese Prime Minister the Japanese prime minister and U.S. president have spoken about five times in the last week. Prime Minister Abe said he's also spoken today to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said the two agreed on the seriousness of the threat that's been posed by North Korea and he says he's looking for Russia's support during the United Nations Security Council meeting that will be held -- an emergency session to be held on Monday.
Alexandra Field, CNN, in Tokyo.
[01:35:10] VANIER: Nobel laureate and activist, Malala Yousafzai, is speaking out about the crisis for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
ALLEN: She posted a statement on Twitter that said, in part, "Stop the violence. Today, we have seen pictures of small children killed by Myanmar security forces. These children attacked no one but, still, they're homes were burned to the ground."
VANIER: And Malala also criticized Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for her silence. She called on Ms. Suu Kyi to denounce what she calls the tragic and shameful treatment of Rohingyas.
The U.N. estimates 73,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh as the deadly violence escalates.
CNN's Kristi Lu Stout reports.
KRISTI LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (v): There's no time to waste to try to make it to safety. Desperate families fleeing from violence at home. They are Rohingya's Muslims from Myanmar, a stateless ethic minority described as the most-persecuted people on earth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): They are beating us, shooting at us and hacking our people to death. Many women were raped and killed.
STOUT: State media say nearly 400 people have been killed. The U.N. says nearly 50,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar in the past week, many seeking refuge in Bangladesh since clashes began between Myanmar security forces and Rohingya militants.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (through translation): We were tortured to by the military and their accomplices. We had to flee to save our lives.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (through translation): Last Friday, the military killed five people in our area. One of them was my son. They were tortured to death. Our houses were set on fire. We lost everything there.
STOUT: CNN can't independently verify the stories of those who fled.
The office of Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has not responded to CNN's requests for comment.
The journey they have to take is treacherous. First, escaping burning villages and gunfire on the Myanmar side, then making a dangerous river crossing carrying their children and belongings.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (through translation): We had to walk a long way. We had to cross hills, marshes and paddy fields to make the journey to the Bangladesh border.
STOUT: Some don't make it. On Thursday, the bodies of 12 children and eight women were pulled out of the river along the border. The border guard said they likely tried to escape in a boat that capsized. As the Rohingya feel driven out by one state, many are being refused
entry to the next. Around a thousand have been forced to return in the last week alone. And at least 20,000 are stranded in no-man's land between Bangladesh and Myanmar with no food, water, or shelter.
For those who do make it, they faced overcrowded makeshift camps and a spiraling humanitarian crisis.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (through translation): I could not bring anything. This cloth was given to me by someone here. I lost everything. There's nothing left in my home in Myanmar. Everything is destroyed.
STOUT: The government says it's conducting clearance operations of what they call hundreds of extremist terrorists, and blame Rohingyas for killing people from other ethnicities. The Rohingya militant group, Arsa, admitted staging a coordinated attack on police posts a week ago, killing 12 security officials. Their leader says they want to fight for the rights of Rohingyas and accused Myanmar of atrocities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The systematic human rights violations --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- of violent extremism.
STOUT: Facing a hopeless future, many of the families who fled left their young men behind.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (through translation): I sent my son to fight. I'm leaving him to the hand of the almighty Allah. We are ready to face any situation.
STOUT: They face a battle with no winners.
Kristi Lu Stout, CNN.
[01:42:13] ALLEN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced election rival, Martin Schultz, in the race's only televised debate Sunday. Some voters greeted the candidates before the event and millions more watched the 90-minute event at home. Ms. Merkel and Schultz sparred over several issues, including North Korea and its nuclear weapons, refugees, and Turkey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translation): What could we have done? I'm familiar with these scenarios being discussed at the end of 2015. Honestly, using water cannons against thousands of people? Is that the way you think things can be solved? I don't think so. We have a 3,000-kilometer border. So we have to address the causes of migration. Of course, we have to have controls. We introduced border checks. But to leave Austria or other countries to deal with it alone? Therefore, we had the E.U./Turkey agreement. I got a lot of criticism for it when it was finished, and I still consider it absolutely right.
MARTIN SCHULTZ, GERMAN ELECTION CANDIDATE (through translation): If I become chancellor, I will not only cancel the agreement but I will also call off Turkey's accession talks with the E.U. We have got to the point where no German citizen can safely travel to Turkey. We have got to a point where we must end the financial and economic ties, the customs union and the accession talks. We cannot do that alone. We must talk to our European partners about it. I think the next chancellor has the duty to protect Germany by saying to Turkey that all red lines have been crossed and, therefore, this country cannot become a member of the E.U., which is actually difficult for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: So how did they do? A survey after the debate shows a win for Chancellor Angela Merkel. She's running for her fourth term in office and polls show her party as front-runners in the election.
Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, Germany, authorities defused a massive World War II bomb. The nearly 1.5-ton British device was found at a construction site.
ALLEN: 60,000 people, 60,000, were forced to evacuate their homes before authorities could disarm it. It took about four hours to make the unexploded bomb safe.
We turn to you now to the U.S. state of California. About 1,000 firefighters in Los Angeles are battling a fire that has consumed more than 200 hectares. Officials say the Los Tunas fire is the largest the city has ever seen.
VANIER: The California governor declared a state of emergency for the area. The fire started on Friday and is now 30 percent contained.
ALLEN: Let's get the latest on the conditions they are battling with this one.
Pedram Javaheri has that for us -- Pedram?
[01:44:48] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Guys, what an incredible heat wave that's been in place across parts of California. A lot of people don't think about this, but what occurred in California in the last couple of days and what occurred in Texas kind of related somewhat because the weather pattern responsible for the excessive heat and the fires that we saw is the weather pattern that kept the storm, Harvey, parked over Texas with rainfall that we saw.
But this was the result, significant fires. Temperatures in parts of California getting up into the 95 to 100 Fahrenheit range, some areas 110 Fahrenheit. We're talking lower 40s Celsius among the highest we've seen on record for this time of year. And one of these fires initiated from a lightning strike. Important to note, it accounts for only 10 percent of all wildfires. But when you break this down, they are significantly more destructive because they consume nine times more land because of the erratic nature of lightning strikes versus manmade fires that occur in parts of California. So the perspective as far as this goes, we had extreme heat in place.
Nineteen records possible, once again, around this region of the western United States. In fact, so hot in San Francisco, officials telling the transit system to slow down because they expect the rails to expand a little bit, causing it to be dangerous for high-speed travel across that region. But not just in California, but we know over 130 active fires in the western U.S. And 12,000 firefighters battling these flames just in California alone. So they need rainfall. They had some storms in the way of a tropical storm that pushed through parts of northern Mexico.
Lia brought in light rain across this region, a couple of millimeters at best. Generally speaking, you want at least 10 millimeters or more to improve any fire conditions. Of course, these storms often come with gusty winds, so they cause more problems than any benefit. Anytime you get more than 50 millimeters, that's where you have a good chance of extinguishing a lot of the flames on the ground. But this is not in the forecast across southern California.
Shooting into the upper 20s and lower 30s. There's the tropical disturbance that brought some hope of rainfall. What is left of Harvey is pushing off the eastern United States. And Hurricane Irma, which a lot of people have been looking at, for good reason. Also a disturbance off the coast of Africa, Jose.
Want to talk about what Irma has in store, because the models in better agreement in the last several hours as far as the westerly track of this storm system. At this point, we're thinking part of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas would be under the most immediate threat. But, Cyril and Natalie, look at the consistency in every single model. Just about every single model wanting to take this farther towards the south. If this verifies, it could be a very bad story for portions of southern Florida, potentially. If it enters the Gulf of Mexico, anybody in the gulf coast states would be fair game for this storm. So we're watch thing very carefully going into this weekend.
ALLEN: Got it.
Thank you, Pedram.
JAVAHERI: Thanks a lot.
VANIER: A new museum is set to open beneath the streets of London. After the break, when we return, we'll take you to a mysterious place few people have ever seen. Stay with CNN.
[01:51:48] VANIER: Harry Connick Jr stepped up in a big way when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and now he's helping Houston. ALLEN: The musician, actor and talk show host visited the convention
center on Sunday to meet with flood survivors and volunteers. He handed out free clothes and supplies at a Walmart pop-up shop, and provided a little entertainment.
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ALLEN: A little New Orleans-style love, via music. Nice to hear.
The U.S. Postal Service will proudly deliver your mail regardless of snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night.
VANIER: In London, the Royal Mail used to do it by underground rail system. Now that's a museum, opening its doors in the coming days.
CNN's Nick Glass takes us for a ride.
NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPODNENT (voice-over): Descending about 25 meters underground, a subterranean world few knew existed, and fewer have ever seen. Miniature tunnels burrowed deep down into the London clay and spread across the capitol.
The grinding sound of the last of the old rolling stock. This is the old British Post Office railway network, two tracks, and a line that runs for 10 extraordinary kilometers. The men pushing the locomotive are the last of the maintenance crew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We run right under central London. It's amazing nobody ever knew we were here. I mean, we had a couple thousand people working in a building right above us, and most weren't aware we were here.
UNIDENTFIED MALE: We talked to other people and they say that it's spooky or eerie. But to us, it's like our front room.
GLASS: But what a front room? A warren of tunnels, some less than three meters high, some just two meters high.
The place feels abandoned with the deadness of a catacomb. After 75 years of service, the mail train will shut down in 2003. A thousand tons of cast-iron rail track left to rust. And thin-fingered stalactite pipes left dripping from the roof.
This is a small railway with a proud history. From the beginning in 1927, operating with the world's first driverless electric trains. Up to four million letters a day shifting across London's various sorting offices, part of the great social network in it's day, the Royal Mail.
The tunnels were dug by hand, by pick ax and shovel. It took over three years to build, rib after cast-iron rib. The post office slogan was speed, speed, speed. The trains never stopped, operating day and night, 24 hours a day.
Ray Middlesworth has worked down here for 30 years. His wife grew up in central London. And until she met Ray, she always thought her childhood home was haunted. There were unexplained noises in the basement.
[01:55:29] RAY MIDDLESWORTH, FORMER ROYAL MAIL EMPLOYEE: She told me she lived on Rugby Street. I thought, I know what's underneath Rugby Street. When I checked the ordnance map, we directly underneath their house. So the vibrations and noises they heard at night were our trains rumbling by underneath.
GLASS: The tunnels have been silent for 13 years or so. A brand-new battery powered train will be back on the tracks down here. And rather than letters, it will carry tourists for the first time and be used to help tell the 500-year-old history of the British postal service.
Nick Glass, CNN, underground in London.
ALLEN: That will do it for this hour. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier.
The news continues with Rosemary Church, next. Stay with CNN.