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Puerto Ricans asking for more help from the government; Corruption in South Africa push for a nationwide strike; Historic change in Saudi's rules; Trump's pick in Alabama lost the election. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 27, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH ANCHOR, CNN: Hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico have no clean drinking water and many can't get off the island. But now President Trump is complimenting the federal response.
Plus, Saudi Arabia is turning a corner on women's rights suddenly allowing women to get behind the wheel.
And later, South Africa prepares for a nationwide strike and protest to pressure President Jacob Zuma to resign.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
One week after hurricane Maria and the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is growing. Almost half the island still has no drinking water. Food, medicine, and fuel are also running low. The storm has killed at least 16 people there and caused widespread power outages which have affected an outstanding number of people.
Now, Puerto Rico is home to more than 3.4 million Americans, that's a population larger than in each of these 21 states that you see on your screen. The U.S. military is sending ships and planes to help. Emergency officials say their top priorities are to save lives and get the infrastructure up and running again.
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to visit Puerto Rico next Tuesday. Critics say his response has been lackluster so far but he says these recovery efforts will take some time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've gotten a-pluses on Texas and on Florida and we will also on Puerto Rico. But the difference this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean and it's a big ocean. It's a very big ocean and we're doing a really good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The White House says Mr. Trump has told senior officials there is no such thing as over-responding to this crisis. Well, we are getting a better idea of just how massive the power
outages in Puerto Rico really are. Take a look at these satellite images. The bright one was taken July 24th, well before hurricane Maria. The other was taken on Monday. Now the difference is striking here. You can see most of the island has gone dark. And many in Puerto Rico are now spending their days searching for basic necessities like food and water.
CNN's Bill Weir reports.
BILL WEIR, ANCHOR, CNN: Beside a highway in Utuado, this is the most dependable utility in rural Puerto Rico these days, a pipe tapped into a mountain spring is the watering hole for a community of over 30,000.
It's a natural spring?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a natural spring. It's always here.
WEIR: And are you boiling it or you drink it straight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can drink it straight. This is clear than the water you get from the -- from the pumping--
WEIR: OK, well, that's good you've got that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is clearer than that.
WEIR: How is everything else in life? How would you, you got food?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's people with a shortage of food. The National Guard is not working up to the way it should be. They're all just standing there doing nothing. No electricity, no water for the city. It's going to take like about maybe six, seven before anything to happen here.
WEIR: While safe from coastal storm surges Maria brought hellish mudslides to mountain towns like this cutting off families for days and forcing desperate decision-making. Do you burn precious fuel searching for supplies or stay put and pray for help.
Lydia has two cars with no gas two grandkids to keep alive on a ration of crackers. With no way to reach that highway pipe they drink rainwater. "No water, no food," she tells me. "It's nobody's fault, it's the weather. You have to go on."
So the anxiety I can tell my heart breaks for you.
"What worries me the most is my family doesn't know how we're doing she says. We don't have cell phone connection."
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being horrible desperate, where are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight.
WEIR: You're an eight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight. Yes. And eight going bajando (Ph).
WEIR: Eight and getting better the young mayor tells me. If the gasoline arrives it will fix our problems because people are starting to get desperate. Gas is more precious than water up here. National Guard vehicles can't move. Worthless ambulances sit idle. The hospital has one day's worth of generator fuel left and one volunteer doctor because the rest of the staff has no way to get to work.
[03:04:56] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People starting to turn on other? "Yes," he says. There's been situations where people are stressed out crying, folks with dialysis, patients with cancer, bed-ridden patients who need ventilators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything you can help with a voice to the outside because I need gasoline and diesel.
WEIR: I will tell, I will tell the world.
The fuel shortage is even more evident in San Juan where lines are miles long.
They open this particular service station at 6 in the morning, they ran out of gas by 3 p.m. So some people at the end of this line may not get the fuel they need. The folks here are telling me that a local ring of gangsters called Quitare (Ph), drug dealers actually commandeered the gas station, took over two lanes just so their guys could get the fuel.
How would you describe the level of desperation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the highest level. And not only here in the metropolitan area but in the center of the island in Utuado (Inaudible) is very, very bad. And they are suffering. Everybody's suffering. And let's see how we can work it out and begin again.
WEIR: You're putting a brave smile on this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will always do that, of course.
WEIR: And some day after the most primal needs are met parents will have to figure out how to send their kids back to school. And at Wesleyan Academy this is what awaits. There's so much to rebuild and so many now considering leaving this island for good.
What message would you have for folks back in the mainland?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just have to keep calm, that's all I can say, just keep calm. Because like I said this week we, I told my family that this week if we don't see anything getting better I'm going to have to leave the island. I've been here already like 20 years and I'm going to have to have the island. I don't have any other choice.
CHURCH: People who live in and around San Juan are showing us images like this one, trees stripped bare debris scattered in the streets. Or this scene, a line of people at a Walgreen's desperately trying to get supplies. Now you can see it wrapping around the side of the building.
Many roads look like this around the area where piles of debris and damage buildings. Another common sight, huge trees uprooted across lawns.
The woman who took these photos Rebecca Vidal joins me now from Guaynabo, west of San Juan. Rebecca, thank you so much for talking to us at this very difficult time for you, and so many people across Puerto Rico. What is the situation where you are? How would you describe life in general in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria?
REBECCA VIDAL, PUERTO RICAN RESIDENT: Thank you for having me tonight. So far, well, it's very hard. And we are dealing with some serious damage. As you have noticed from the pictures there's a lot of destruction. Our roads are pretty much covered in debris. A lot of people have lost their homes. There's hardship to get supplies out to the rest of the island. And we have a lot, a lot, a lot of people sheltered across the island right now.
CHURCH: Now you are in the city. So the situation for you is a lot better than for most but you are able to talk about the circumstances facing so many people. How much food and water is available where you are? And of course, in the more remote areas, and how much concern is there for what might happen when people do start running out of the bare necessities?
VIDAL: So, right now because we are in the metro area we do have more access to supplies. And we do have --we did stock up before the hurricane happened. We did have hurricane Irma give us this care about two weeks ago. Or three weeks ago. And we are close to the ports. So it is easier for us to get access to supplies and food.
However, all of the rest of the island which is, you know, this will come to sky you're not going to see that there's a big mountain across the island. But those people actually do not access to as much food or water.
Right now we have 40 percent of our whole island population that's actually receiving potable water and we have zero electricity. That's starting to get back around.
[03:09:59] So, because of the destruction anything that has been -- that would have been able to be transported across the island is sort of -- has slowed down. And the nearby islands that are part of our island -- main island are completely cut off.
CHURCH: Right. And as you've been talking we've been looking at this video of people's houses in the more remote areas with "help" written on the rooftops. This is the problem access to these areas and as you say a lot of those people in the remote areas are not getting access to food and water. What effort will be made to do a better job of that?
VIDAL: So right now we're getting our local government, they're doing the best they with the amount of people that we have. We have received help from FEMA and from the U.S. military. But I honestly, as a personal being I think we need more help out here. Not just to get, you know, the roads cleared out but also to get to those remote places, you know, where there's 3.5 million of us out here and not enough hands to help.
CHURCH: Yes, totally understood. This is going to be a huge clean-up job months even possibly a year in the making. Rebecca Vidal, thank you so much for joining us under such difficult circumstances and we wish you and all the people across Puerto Rico the very best.
VIDAL: Thank you so much.
CHURCH: Well, Donald Trump is applauding relief efforts in Puerto Rico and says they're moving as fast as possible but some say his words don't match what happening on the ground.
CNN's Sara Murray reports.
SARA MURRAY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump laying the ground work to visit storm-ravaged Puerto Rico early next week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everybody has said it's amazing the job that we've done in Puerto Rico. We're very proud of it and I'm going there on Tuesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: His hastily scheduled trip coming amid criticism that the federal government's effort are falling short in providing aid to this U.S. territory that's home to 3.4 million people. And entirely without power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As we speak, FEMA, our great first responders and all available federal resources including the military are being marshaled to save lives, protect families, and begin a long and very, very difficult restoration process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Today, Trump pointed to the heavily indebted island's existing infrastructure challenges saying that has inhibited relief efforts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The infrastructure was in bad shape as you know in Puerto Rico before the storm. And now, in many cases it has no infrastructure. So it's -- you're really starting from almost scratch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: But airlines and other groups who have been struggling to provide to the island say it's the federal government's own red tape that's the hindrance. One airline official said a flight left Sunday night half empty because passengers couldn't be screened effectively.
Broken equipment and power failures meant names couldn't be checked against TSA's no-fly list. A spokesman for American Airlines also said they had a flight loaded with 50,000 pounds of supplies ready to take off for San Juan, only to be turned back by airport authorities.
The airline says the number of flights to the island is being restricted and its plan to have 20 planes landing and taking off per day now down to just two flights per day. The FAA tell CNN the tower at San Juan's airport is open but that another federal agency, FEMA, is determining which flights are prioritize for takeoff and landing.
Meanwhile, Trump is insisting the government is working non-stop to restore airport operations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: These are airports, these runways are devastated and broken. The airports are broken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Access to that airport a key challenge that's straining the U.S. government's ability to provide Puerto Ricans with generators, food, fresh water, and medical supplies. Top priorities according to the chairman of the joint chiefs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH DUNFORD, UNITED STATES JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN: We're doing all we can do right now to increase the troop with humanitarian supplies. That's something the U.S. military can uniquely provide. We also are providing some generators and so forth for power. We don't expect them to have power for some time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: While the federal government insists it's working as fast as possible for those stranded on the island without power or means to contact loved ones the frustration drags on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERRY GONZALEZ, STRANDED PASSENGER (through translator): I had bought up a plane ticket before the hurricane and I'm here since Friday and I haven't been able to leave. Sleeping on the floor without air conditioner it's horrible. And I have to sleep here again.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Now to another big story we're following. The U.S. and North Korea are doubling down on their threats and counterthreats.
[03:15:00] Analysts fear the war of words could accidentally turn into a real nuclear war. Here's the latest threat from President Trump. He warned Pyongyang of possible military action if needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option, but if we take that option it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. And Paula, this is exactly what's unnerving the international community the fear of some sort of miscalculation triggering war. And now we're learning that military assets are being moved by North Korea to its east coast. What does that signal?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary we're hearing this from both the U.S. and the South Korean side that some planes and some military assets have been moved to the east coast of North Korea. They believe that happened over the weekend. But also what happened over the weekend there were U.S. B-1B bombers that did a show of force that flew in international air space just to the east of North Korea, further north of the DMZ, the demilitarized zone than they have flown this century according to the Pentagon.
And what we're hearing from the intelligence here in South Korea through lawmakers is that they believe North Korea didn't know that those bombers had flown there until the U.S. announced it. They suspect that the radars in North Korea didn't pick that up. So potentially that could be why there are some assets being moved to the east of North Korea.
What we're also hearing from intelligence here in South Korea is that they believe North Korean soldiers along the DMZ which splits North and South Korea are being told to report an incident first and then act on it and take measures against it second.
So, it appears as though North Korea appreciates there could be a miscalculation. There is a risk of a clash breaking out for the wrong reasons. And so they are trying to do something to take that into account. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes, a big worry for many watching these and all these developments. And Paula, the Washington Post is reporting that North Korean government officials have reached out to some republican analysts for some guidance on how to better understand President Trump and his messages. What are we to make of that? HANCOCKS: Well, to be honest, Rosemary, I'd be surprised that North
Korea is the only country that is reaching out for guidance on how to deal with the U.S. president. This is a U.S. president that is very different to any of his predecessors. North Korea is used to being the one who conduct with the fiery rhetoric, is used to being the one that makes the devastating threats to wipe out other countries.
And now you have a U.S. President Donald Trump who at the U.N. General Assembly actually said that he would totally destroy North Korea if North Korea threatened his country or that of his allies. So this is a complete unknown. This is unknown territory for the North Korean state. They are not used to dealing with a leader who is equally as fiery in his rhetoric as their own leader.
And you saw this in the very fact that Kim Jong-un himself, the North Korean leader had a first-person statement earlier which has never happened before. That shows just how flummox they are, just how thrown off they are by this new U.S. president. But as I say I don't think North Korea is the only country that is struggling to figure out how to handle this new U.S. administration. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Indeed. We have our Paula Hancocks bringing us up to date on the situation from her perspective there in Seoul, South Korea, where it is nearly 4.20 in the afternoon. Many thanks to you, Paula.
Let's take a short break here, but still to come, Saudi Arabia is slamming the brakes on an age-old policy. How this change affects women's rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom. We'll take a look and explain.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Saudi Arabia is finally letting women get behind the wheel. The king has decreed that women should be allowed to drive. The Saudi foreign ministry announced Tuesday the government has until next June to implement the change. The Saudi ambassador told the U.N. about the change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDALLAH AL-MOUALLIMI, SAUDI ARABIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You may be interested to know that a few minutes ago a Royal decree has been issued in Saudi Arabia giving women the right to drive.
This is an historic day for Saudi society, for men and women and we can now say at last.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. Let's bring in our Jomana Karadsheh from Amman, Jordan. And Jomana, how much is this decision to allow women to drive about economics and how much of it is about improving women's rights?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, you know, Rosemary, the question was asked yesterday to the Saudi ambassador to the United States like, why now? Why are you doing this now? And he said that there is no wrong time to do the right thing.
But they do admit, Saudi officials admit that this a lot to do with economics. It is about that economic plan known a vision 2030, that is the plan of the young 32-year-old crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman who is more casually known as MBS. He unveiled this plan to try and diversify to revamp the Saudi economy, to make less reliant on oil.
And one of the key goals, Rosemary, of vision 2030 is to bring more women into the workforce. So, Saudi officials are saying that driving of course is an essential part of bringing women into the workforce. As we've heard from the ambassador to Washington, saying if we want women to come to work they're going to need to drive to come to work, Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right. We'll see if there are more changes in the wings. Jomana Karadsheh bringing us up to date on that from Amman, Jordan, where it is nearly 10.30 in the morning. Many thanks.
Joining me now to talk more about this is Liesl Gerntholtz, she is the executive director of women's rights division at Human Rights Watch. Thank you so much for talking with us.
LIESL GERNTHOLTZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Thank you for having me, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, Saudi Arabia of course is the only nation to ban women from driving. So how significant is this move by King Salman to allow women to drive for the very first time in that country?
GERNTHOLTZ: I think it is very significant because as you can probably imagine this restriction on women's mobility has had a profound impact on women's lives in so many ways. It's had an impact on whether women are able to work, whether they're able to go to the hospital to get medical treatment.
So this does represent a very important step forward for women in Saudi. I think, though, what we do have to remember that this prohibition on driving is just one of a vast series of laws and policies that prevent women from doing many things. The guardianship rule stops women from making almost every decision in her life without the assistance of a male relative even if that relative is her 7-year- old son.
CHURCH: And I want to get to that point in just a moment, but of course, reaction has been swift with women across Saudi Arabia celebrating on social media. Manal al-Sharif was once in prison for driving. She is now an organizer of the women to drive campaign and this is what she tweeted. "You want a statement here's one. Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop. Hash tag, women to drive."
[03:25:01] So, Liesl, why do you think this is happening now at this particular time? What triggered this move? GERNTHOLTZ: I think it's difficult to say. Because I think that the
announcement took many people off-guard. Certainly it wasn't something that had been expected. And it was announced both on state television in Saudi Arabia and simultaneously at the embassy in D.C.
I think that if you know it's part of a long-standing campaign that has been led also by Saudi women, courageous Saudi women and by, you know, many parts of the world who have really pressurized Saudi Arabia to allow women to exercise their human rights to economy, to freedom of movement, to making decisions about even the most intimate parts of their lives. But I must say that the timing has certainly caught many of us who follow Saudi and women's rights off-guard.
CHURCH: And of course, it's worth noting this order won't be implemented until June 2018, but what could this mean for Saudi women when it comes to other issues? You mentioned them, could this perhaps usher in more changes do you think?
GERNTHOLTZ: You know, I think we all deeply hope that this is the first step on a road to full citizenship and freedom for Saudi women. But you know, the Saudi government has on previous occasions said that it will begin to revise the guardianship rule. It has not done that. It has said that it will allow women more freedom, more ability to participate in public life, and those promises have often come to nothing.
So, while I think this is a very hopeful moment I think that we have to be careful not to attach too much significance to it because I think the proof is going to be firstly what rules or restrictions the government does place when it does allow women to take the wheel, and whether this will in fact open up more freedom and more space for women.
CHURCH: Well, we will be watching very closely of course. Liesel Gerntholtz, thank you so much for speaking with us. We do appreciate it.
GERNTHOLTZ: Thank you.
CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here. But still to come, at Puerto Rico's main airport a long line and a frustrating wait. What's keeping these people from getting off the island? We'll take a look. Stay with us.
CHURCH: A warm welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday. Millions of people there are without power, and food, water, and medicine are dwindling days after the island was blasted by hurricane Maria. Critics say Mr. Trump has not been vocal enough in his response to the crisis. [03:30:04] U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has arrived in Kabul,
Afghanistan on an unannounced visit. He's expected to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and top U.S. military leaders. It's the first time Mattis is visiting the country since President Trump announced a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan.
A rocket landed at the airport shortly after Mattis left the area.
French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a stronger and more unified European Union. During a 90-minute speech in Paris he laid out his agenda for re-launching the E.U. including a common defense budget, a single asylum system, and an E.U. border force.
Hundreds of people have crowded at the main terminal of Puerto Rico's International Airport hoping to get off the island. But storm damage has made it difficult to leave.
CNN's Ivan Watson has the details now from San Juan.
IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is the scene in Puerto Rico's main international airport. It's night-time and people are lined up hoping for the possibility of getting a seat on a flight the next day off of this island. But the chances are slim because all say Tuesday only about 10 commercial flights were able to fly out of this important airport.
In part, the U.S. military says because a key radar installation was destroyed, was damaged by hurricane Maria. So all of these people here are waiting first come first serve, hoping that in the morning they can get a seat on the next Southwest Airlines flight off of here. And some people even traveling with very cute Rottweiler puppies waiting for their chance to get out of here.
But this is tough. People are traveling with children and there are people who have been stranded here in Puerto Rico for days. I spoke earlier -- over here I want to come over and say hi again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
WATSON: Hey, can you introduce yourself, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Alicia Baniquas (Ph).
WATSON: And you're here with your grandson, three years old, hi, there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chenille (Ph).
WATSON: Chenille (Ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say hi, Cheny (Ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
WATSON: Do you think you have any guarantee of getting on tomorrow's flight? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not really. Because first the family of the
crew and then it's the people that have plane tickets.
WATSON: So what has the airline told you then to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So just sleep here, to spend the night here waiting to see what they can do for us because there's only two flights coming out.
WATSON: So you guys are going to be sleeping on the floor here tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You're kidding, we're going to be sleeping on the floor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we do.
WATSON: Thank you. Good to meet you.
And then part of the problem here is that people have already been living on the island for the better part of a week with no electricity with almost no running water as well.
The U.S. military insists the flight capacity will improve in the days ahead, but for now this is the very difficult situation again, nearly a week after the hurricane Maria struck this island.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Puerto Rico.
CHURCH: Well, several U.S. lawmakers have criticized the way President Donald Trump has handled the crisis in Puerto Rico. Earlier, my colleague, Don Lemon spoke to U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez who had a warning for the president.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Why did you say that this could, today, that this could be President Trump's Katrina, congresswoman?
NYDIA VELAZQUEZ, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Because the help that is needed is not there. Believe me, there is so much devastation. There are isolated remote areas where we have seniors, where we have elderly people, people that are trapped in buildings 24 and 21-storey buildings and these seniors it's very difficult to reach them. So that is today, I believe if not late yesterday two more people died while they went to a hospital to seek services.
LEMON: So why do you think it wasn't handled better, why do you think it wasn't managed better in your--
VELAZQUEZ: Well, I was frustrated watching the news throughout on the TV throughout the weekend. There was too much attention given to other things that didn't have to, well, like the athletes and tweeting out--
LEMON: The football and the NFL?
VELAZQUEZ: Yes. So, while there was a quest, a plight by the people of Puerto Rico and all of us throughout the United States, so many people and reporters talking about the dire need of the Puerto Rican people.
And today is when we hear that FEMA is sending -- or the navy is sending 16 ships. And that should have -- that is the type of response that needed to take place six days ago and not six days later.
[03:35:07] CHURCH: We move to the African continent. And South Africa's largest labor group is calling for a nationwide strike Wednesday to protest corruption and to call on President Jacob Zuma to resign.
There are allegations Mr. Zuma's friendship with the wealthy Gupta family has led to influence over government appointments and lucrative contracts. Both Mr. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
Well, our David McKenzie joins us now from Johannesburg with more on this. So, David, how extensive is this corruption scandal and what impact is it likely to have in the end on the country?
DAVID MCKENZIE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it's massively extensive, Rosemary. And it's had a huge impact on the politics of this country. And you have these strikers here behind me gathering slowly for a march later today. You know, strike action in South Africa is pretty normal.
What's extraordinary here is this is Cosafu, the largest federation of labor unions. They are part of the ruling alliance that includes President Jacob Zuma and they're calling for the president to resign to step down because of these endless corruption scandals that are racking South Africa and affecting everybody down to the poorest farmers and the biggest global corporate entities.
Take a look.
MCKENZIE: For his cattle to survive, Mishak Konguan (Ph) must take his herds to the cemetery. He says black farmers in the pre state province have it tough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to send our children to school. That's the main thing.
MCKENZIE: A few years back these ranchers said they signed up for shares and cash in a large-scale government finance dairy farm.
You were supposed to have ownership of this property?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
MCKENZIE: And have you seen any money?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, nothing. Not even cent of it. We have never got it.
MCKENZIE: We are from CNN. We just wanted to see if we could the property to talk to people. So the allegation is that millions of dollars were siphoned away from this dairy project into the hands of other people and that it hasn't really benefitted the community at all.
What do you make of the allegations of corruption?
"That's a question to me, I'm just -- I'm just an assistant manager. I'm operating the farm. I don't look like I have a single million.
MCKENZIE: But records first exposed in South African media show that much of the money meant to uplift poor black farmers allegedly paid for this. A lavish wedding at Sun City for the Gupta family covered in local celebrities' show top billing.
In attendance four partners of global accounting firm KPMG. KPMG say that the orders of the company that paid for the wedding fell well short of the quality expected.
In South Africa, KPMG is now under fire because of their work for the Guptas, clients they have now dropped. Wealthy Indian businessmen with an empire that spans media, mining, and energy, the Guptas are implicated in this and other corruption scandals. Allegedly profiting from their cozy relationship with President Jacob Zuma. Allegations that the Guptas and Zuma have repeatedly denied.
DAVID LEWIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CORRUPTION WATCH: When corruption reaches a scale that it's reached here and particularly where it starts to involve cross-border flows of illicit money. It's absolutely necessary to get law firms, auditing firms, management consultancies, banks involved in it. They could not do it without them.
MCKENZIE: KPMG says it found no illegal or even unethical actions by its auditors but it's made changes in leadership and improved quality control.
In a statement their chairman said they made serious mistakes to continue working for the Guptas.
But these ranchers say their livelihoods and community was put at risk. And kept promise of prosperity enriching others.
MCKENZIE: And that's just one story of corruption. There are many more here in South Africa, Rosemary, and the counts, the dollar count is running into the tens, if not hundreds of millions of money that has been stolen allegedly by President Zuma or those close to him in recent years.
And the anger certainly has been building in South Africa represented here today by the largest trade union. Where it goes from here, it's unclear. But certainly the pressure is building for the president to step down, though he hasn't heeded that pressure since these first allegations came through.
CHURCH: All right. Our David McKenzie with that live from Johannesburg, where it is 9.40 in the morning. Many thanks to you.
[03:40:03] In the U.S. State of Alabama, Donald Trump's hand-picked candidate has lost the republican run-off for a Senate seat. Luther Strange has held the post since Mr. Trump picked Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
The president campaigned for Strange, the republican establishment candidate, but now many of Mr. Trump's tweets supporting Strange have been deleted from his account.
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore won the primary. He will face democrat Doug Jones in December.
Well, it was at Friday's rally for Luther Strange that Donald Trump started his feud with NFL players who kneel in protest against social injustice during the national anthem.
The New York Times reports "Mr. Trump bragged about his call for players who didn't stand during the anthem to be fired during the flight home from Alabama and again Monday at a dinner.
CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Do they talk about this as you know, the president kind of pushing culture wars, the president kind of igniting his base?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: They do, and pretty bluntly. I mean, people both inside and outside of the White House who are either in contact with the president or know him very well or are in contact with other aide all put it pretty simply, that this is somebody who is focused on stirring up his working class white base and he thinks this is the way to do it.
CHURCH: Players for the NFL Green Bay Packers say they will lock arms in unity during the national anthem at their game Thursday night and they're encouraging fans to do the same.
The players released a statement saying in part it will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do -- freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding and justice for those who have en unjustly treated discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly.
And you can join Anderson Cooper for an AC360 town hall special, patriotism, the players, and the president. It will re-air on Thursday at 9 p.m. in Hong Kong, that's 2 p.m. in London only on CNN.
Well, a new chapter may be opening in the investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. CNN has learned the Internal Revenue Service is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and key Trump campaign aides are the target.
Pamela Brown has the exclusive details.
PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We've learned the IRS is now sharing information with investigators working with special counsel Robert Mueller. And this comes after the two sides were at odds for months over the scope of Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling.
Mueller's investigators wanted information initially on several people associated with the Trump campaign, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor.
And we're told by sources that the IRS initially had reservations because of what were seen as far reaching and broad requests for information for Mueller's investigators.
In the case of Manafort, the scope included possible tax and financial crimes that dates back to January of 2006, 10 years before the Russian meddling of the presidential election last fall.
Adding to the tensions over the summer, where between the IRS and the special counsel behind the scenes of that FBI raid on Manafort's home in Alexandria, Virginia. Multiple sources tell us that the IRS did not participate in the July raid because of IRS objections that the search would interfere with the separate investigation by the IRS of Manafort.
We're told the IRS and the FBI had their own investigation on Manafort before last year's election and of course, before Mueller was appointed. The special counsel's office decline to comment as did the IRS criminal investigation division.
Also we reached out to a lawyer for Michael Flynn who declined to comment as well as a spokesman for Manafort.
Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break, but when we come back, Iraqi Kurds have cast their vote. Now, a call for talks with Baghdad on independence. Iraq's response still to come.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Spanish authorities say they will take over Catalonia's polling stations to try to prevent the region's controversial independence referendum. Madrid has declared the upcoming vote illegal. While people who support Catalonia separating from Spain are pushing to hold the vote as scheduled.
Now even the U.S. president is giving his take on the issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can say only speaking for myself I would like to see Spain continue to be united.
MARIANO RAJOY, PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): I think that right now when everyone knows that the referendum can take place because there's an electoral committee, there isn't a team at Catalan government organizing the referendum. There aren't ballots, there aren't people at the voting stations. So, it's just crazy all this will lead to noise but certainly there can't be a valid democratic referendum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, despite the opposition the Catalan regional government says the referendum will go ahead as planned this Sunday.
Well, the president of the Kurdistan regional government is calling on Baghdad to hold talks on independence. Masoud Barzani says Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of the Monday's referendum. Iraq called the vote unconstitutional.
There was international opposition to the referendum over concerns it would destabilize the region during the ongoing battle against ISIS.
And senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir is in Erbil in Iraq, she joins us live. So, Nima, even though the Kurdish president has declared victory in the wake of this vote how likely is it that independence will ever become a reality?
NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, as it stands, Rosemary, we're very much in unchartered territory. We are waiting for the official results from the Kurdish regional government's independent electoral commission. They should be out sometime tomorrow evening, local time. They have 72 hours to formally declare.
The hope was as far as the KRG was concerned that this would give them a mandate to be able to begin negotiation with Baghdad for independence for cessation in some form, in some future form. The Iraqi central government has now shut the door on that saying that they believe that the referendum is itself unconstitutional and illegal and therefore not an appropriate basis for any kind of talks.
And while all of this is going on their undertaking highly visible war games just the other side of the northern Iraqi border from Kurdistan with the Turks who have themselves ratcheted up the rhetoric by saying that they withhold the right to continue to go into Kurdish territory, to continue to go into northern Iraq in pursuit of their Kurdish militant groups.
So, it is really escalating into regional brinkmanship and no obvious out in sight for any of the parties. And as you rightly said, Rosemary, while this is all going on there is still the battle against ISIS. A key ISIS stronghold Hawija which was believed to where many of the
ISIS leadership were still based, and was the size of a number of alleged U.S. Special Forces operations. That is still to play for. There's still an operation now ongoing to retake that.
And the broader concern the backdrop against all of which this is playing out is the worry that ISIS could potentially exploit the schisms, exploit any potential insecurity to try and reverse some of their losses, Rosemary.
[03:50:07] CHURCH: This is the big problem, isn't it? Our Nima Elbagir joining us there live from Erbil in Iraq, nearly 11 o'clock in the morning. Many thanks as always.
Well, Bali is preparing for what could be its first volcanic eruption in decades. More than 75,000 people have been forced to leave the area around Mt. Agung. Experts say it's hard to predict when an eruption might happen because of the emergency many residents have been forced to stay at temporary shelters like this one.
The Indonesian mountain last blew its top in 1963 killing more than 1,700 people.
And meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now with more. Ivan, good to see you back here. But unfortunate circumstances of course here with this. What's likely to happen here?
IVAN CABRERA, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Well, we're waiting for it to go off. You mentioned 1963. And I think that's where they learned a lot as far as the evacuation area that's opposite of 12 kilometers now involving 75,000 people. That's exactly what they learned from it in 1963 when we had that calamity here.
And obviously we're hoping to prevent that. But let's check in on conditions here because everyone's been asking, you know, when is this going to go off? Well, very difficult to tell. What we can do is we can monitor the area for tremors and that's exactly how volcanologists were able to determine whether this is going to be a high threat, a low threat or something in between.
Well, over the last few days this is definitely been on the high alert. So they go from one, two, three, and four. I mean, they're a level four here. That's as high as it goes. That is a caution. That's when evacuations begin and they had done so in the last few day.
Again, as I mentioned upwards of 75,000 people and folks have been asking as well, should I cancel my vacation to the area? I want to check with your caring your hotels. I mean, this is one of those things very precarious right now. Obviously, folks are being moved out of the way.
And again, this is the area that would be impacted by the flow from the lava that would happen at any point now at this point here according to the volcanologists. And the reason we talk about that again this is a conservative area to move folks out of the way. We don't want them anywhere near the summit obviously here as we take a look at Mt. Agung.
Hopefully, going off in the next few days. At this point here it looks probable because of the activity that we've been monitoring the last few days. This is obviously occurring as well across that Ring of Fire that we talk about, not only is this area is familiar with volcanoes but also of course the earthquakes that plague the region as well.
So this is what's been happening. Not much action in July. These are the tremors that they monitor to let us know whether this thing is about to go off, right. August not much doing. And we look at September towards the end of the graph you see a big spike. That's an indication of activity going on in and around the volcano.
And those are the pre-records that the signs that this thing may go off. And that's been happening in the last few days. So, two things will need to happen here. Either the earthquake will have to decrease as far as the tremors that will let us know this thing is not going to go off. Or we get an eruption here.
And if that happens it's going to be not just an interruption for folks that are on the islands, but of course air travel as well, as we don't want planes anywhere near interrupting that volcano.
We'll keep you posted but at this point here it's just a matter of waiting it out, Rosemary.
CHURCH: A lot to consider there. Thank you so much, Ivan. Good to see you back.
Well, Barack Obama went through a lot as U.S. President, but we will see the one thing that made him shed a tear after he left the White House, next on CNN Newsroom.
[03:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, former U.S President Barack Obama has always been a softie when it comes to his daughters. Now he's describing what it was like to take Malia to college.
CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.
JEANNE MOOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We first saw them hug when she was a little girl. We last saw them hug when she was a young woman. And now we hear what it was like when former President Obama moved Malia into a Harvard dorm over a month ago and said goodbye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a little bit like open-heart surgery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: Sure other students were excited. You all I'm like 20 feet away from Malia Obama in the dining hall. Wow, I'm shook. But her dad was shook another way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I was proud that I did not cry in front of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: But behind the sunglasses on the way back--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our Secret Service was all looking straight ahead pretending they weren't hearing me as I was sniffing, wiping my nose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: In the fish bowl of the White House their close relationship was palpable, there's a bullying smiles and whispers. Things like nothing gets President Obama to tear up faster than his daughters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Malia and Sasha, you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of passion. Of all that I have done in my life I am most proud to be your dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: But not too proud to cry the Obamas moved Malia into her Harvard dorm during the solar eclipse back in August. A diversion perhaps to keep their presence low key.
No wonder the president compared leaving his grownup daughter to open heart surgery.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Very touching there. And thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London.
[04:00:00] You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.