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CNN NEWSROOM

Mugabe Not Stepping Down; Rampant Abuse to Rohingya Muslims; Al Franken Now in Hot Seat; Husband Trying to Bring Back Wife; Saving But Putting the Nation at Risk; Saudis Blame Houthis For Hindering Flow Of Aid; Soon: Funeral For 26 Migrant Girls Who Died At Sea; Keystone Pipeline Leaks 800 Kiloliters Of Oil; U.S. Lifting On Some Elephant Trophies From Africa; Rare Da Vinci Sells At Auction For $450 Million. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 17, 2017 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, HOST, CNN: Mugabe and the military said to be in talks. Zimbabwe's army says it's collaborating with the man they pushed from power.

A CNN exclusive report on the campaign of rape i Myanmar, the horrific plight of Rohingya Muslims.

Plus, a husband fight to get his wife out of an Iranian prison.

Welcome, everyone. Welcome to the show. You're watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Cyril Vanier, live from Atlanta.

So days after an apparent military coup, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe appears to be resisting efforts to make him step aside. The military says it's engaging with the embattled leader who still under house arrest. New photos show him shaking hands and smiling with the chief of the armed forces.

That's the same general whose troops now control the capital Harare. And still not clear if the president will resign but the military says it will advise the nation of an outcome as soon as possible.

Let's try find out more. CNN's David McKenzie is in Harare covering this for CNN. David, I understand you have new information about how this military takeover was planned and how it happened.

DAVID MCKENZIE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, that's right, Cyril. The military has been at pains to say that this is not a coup but what you just described there is a situation in Zimbabwe sounds a lot like a coup. And a senior opposition leader telling me this morning that in fact, this plan was in place for a long time, that there had been discussions between the opposition and the vice president who was recently sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa about a post- Mugabe Zimbabwe.

Those discussions, he says included the possibility and the probability of a military takeover to push out the aging president. That source saying that that became reality when it seems like the First Lady, Grace Mugabe was becoming the first in line to take over the leadership here in Zimbabwe.

This is important because, of course, if it is deemed a coup then regional leaders have to step in. It seems in a way that everyone is trying to kind of avoid that topic of discussion right now. And you had those extraordinary images of President Mugabe smiling and shaking hands with those who orchestrated this military takeover.

That source telling me this was all just an act. It's all being in plan -- planned. This was not the spur of the moment decision, he says. And on the streets of Harare it's a very strange atmosphere right now. We head it out to take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: A cautious drive reveals a new reality here. There are some serious fire power over here from the army. And it's quite ordinary because all of this i sparked right outside the headquarters of the presidential guard. That's really a sign they're hemming them in and there are some more military here to take part, let's just be careful.

The presidential once said they would die for Mugabe but now like the rest of the country to take its orders from the army. The question, how long will the soldiers remain on the streets.

Opposition leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai is asking will free elections ever happened.

Is this a coup that has happened in Zimbabwe?

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, ZIMBABWE OPPOSITION LEADER: The military said it's not a coup. It's only their takeover.

MCKENZIE: But the tanks are on the streets.

TSVANGIRAI: Yes. But what I can say is that it is unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional. Whatever you want to describe it is unconstitutional because you can't force the change of government by any means other than through the ballot box.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you from the CNN?

MCKENZIE: Yes, we are. How are you, ma'am.

From the capital Zimbabweans are holding their breath.

What do you think -- what do you think what's happening right now in the country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know.

MCKENZIE: You don't know what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening. What we do we know is that this is (Inaudible)

MCKENZIE: Robert Mugabe has been in power longer than most Zimbabwean have been alive. Any dissent was stamped out while Mugabe presided over a near collapse of this economy.

TSVANGIRAI: As far as the people of Zimbabwe because they didn't see the lights at the end of the tunnel.

MCKENZIE: For so long they've seen desperation so they dare no hope for too much.

Do you think Robert Mugabe should leave?

[03:05:03] Just something better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: David, help us to understand the power play. There is clearly going on behind the scenes. You mentioned the vice presidents just a short while ago. There's also Grace Mugabe, the wife of the current president, those are two key power centers in the country. How do they figure in this puzzle?

MCKENZIE: Well, you're right. It was a power play but I think in a way that power play has been finished and you've got a situation where previously Grace Mugabe, the first lady, who many believed were behind the sacking of the vice president could have been pushing towards the top of Zimbabwean politics.

But now because the militaries out in the streets it's becoming clear that Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe's options are extremely limited, so it might be a matter of not if, but when. But you can't count out the 93-year-old leader who survived this kind of -- well, not this kind of, but who had survived power plays before.

What it seems to be going on, Cyril, is that there is a negotiation happening. They tried to persuade Robert Mugabe to exit the scene gracefully and the problem is that the -- because they keep saying that this isn't the coup they want to be really some kind of constitutional handover which effectively might just be a smokescreen.

But many people, including those on the streets we talked to want Robert Mugabe to leave by any means necessary. So it's just kind of weird dance going on right now in the country but it's so very tense situation and unprecedented here after nearly 40 years of Mugabe's rule.

VANIER: All right. David McKenzie reporting live from Harare. It could very well be that we are experiencing the last days of Robert Mugabe in power. That's what it's starting to look like, of course no confirmation yet on that. David is following that for us live from Zimbabwe. Thank you, David.

Now over the past few months, nearly one million Rohingya refugees have fled persecution and violence in Myanmar. And we continue to learn about the horrors that many have endured. A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses Myanmar's military of carrying out a vicious campaign of rape against Rohingya Muslim women and girls in the country's Rakhine state. Earlier this week, a U.N. envoy said sexual violence was being commanded, orchestrated, and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Burma. Its military released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by its security forces.

The general in charge of Rakhine state has also been replaced.

Well, senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward has been in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, which are now home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims. And she spoke to many women who described being raped in her exclusive series of reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLARISSA WARD, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Rashida Begu (Ph) rarely speak these days. When she does tell her story she speaks quietly and mechanically as if trying to recount what happened without reliving it.

"We were five women with our babies," she says, "the military grabbed us, dragged us into the house and shut the door and they raped us." She tells us they stabbed her and tried to kill her, she survived by pretending to be dead.

"It will be good if I had died," she says, "because if I die then I wouldn't have to remember all these things."

Stories like Rashida's (Ph) are all too common in the Bangladesh camp that now host nearly one million Rohingya Muslims. Every tent it seems has a story of agony, shame, and death inside it.

When the military came to Aisha's village her husband fled, leaving her alone with five children. "Two soldiers stood guard in front of my door," she says, "another came in and pointed his gun at me, he raped me."

WARD: Did he say anything to you?

"He punch me and ripped off my clothes. He said if you move I will kill you. if you scream I will kill you. And he cover my mouth with his hand," she says. "I felt so awful. She did it so roughly. He did it without mercy."

Human rights groups say that rape is one of the Myanmar military's most feared weapons. While it's difficult to estimate how many women have been assaulted hundreds of cases have been reported.

These Rohingya women are learning songs to offer support to the victims. Rape can happen to anyone, the lyrics go, within three days of rape you need to consult a doctor. The program developed by Doctors Without Borders is headed by midwife Aerlyn Pfeil.

[03:10:01] She explains that beyond practical concerns many victims are struggling to reclaim their dignity. AERLYN PFEIL, MIDWIFE, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: Peace for me that is kind of the most heartbreaking, is that the women coming in are still wearing the same skirts, it's just heartbreaking that three months later you're still putting on the same skirt that someone assaulted you in.

WARD: For Aisha the pall of shame still hangs heavy.

"When I remember what happened tears come to my eyes. Why did they do this to me? she asked, why did they rape me" She finds peace in reading the Koran. For many here faith and ritual provides some solace amid the squalor.

Rashida's (Ph) anger still burns.

What do you want to see happened to the man who raped you? "If we get the opportunity then we must take revenge," she says, "will be pleased if the military who raped us and killed our parents are hanged." But for now survival takes priority over justice. There are mouths to feed and a new generation to protect from the horrors of the past.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, in the Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Iraq could soon come a step closer to defeating ISIS on its territory. Iraqi forces have begun a large-scale operation in Anbar province to liberate the town of Rawa. That is the last town believes still held by the militants.

In a statement the joint operation commands said the operation began at dawn, local time.

Now in the coming hours, the U.N. Security Council will consider another resolution regarding the system used to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria. An attempt to pass a resolution proposed by the U.S. was vetoed by Russia on Thursday frustrating the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors to the U.N.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: ... to identify the attackers. Russia has undermined our ability to deter future attacks. Assad and Isis will no longer be on notice for the use of chemical weapons by Russia's actions today.

MATTHEW RYCROFT, U.K. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It is Russia that has failed. They have failed in their duties as a permanent member of the Security Council. They have failed as a state party to the chemical weapons convention, they have failed as a supposed supporter of peace in Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to the U.N. says they veto the resolution proposed by the U.S. because it was flawed and unbalanced. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VASILY NEBENZYA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We've always been saying that all of our decisions will be based on the criteria professionalism. But the way the report is made I am a specialist but even myself, so many diffusions, these flaws and gaps in that report that you cannot ignore them.

But when the specialists -- specialist went to investigate and to analyze it came out that the report is a joke. It's nonsense, complete nonsense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And inspections mandate currently in place in Syria is set to expire. Syria has repeatedly denied that it has any chemical weapons.

Now when we come back after the break a U.S. senator accused of sexual assault. Could Al Franken be kicked out of Congress?

Plus, a rare bipartisan agreement. Republicans and democrats both warn an effort by the U.S. Secretary of State to cut costs could put the U.S. in danger.

And later, a husband tirelessly fight for his wife's release from an Iranian jail. How her case is tied up with a 14-year-old legal dispute between Iran and the U.S.

Stay with us.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: A sitting U.S. senator accused of sexual misconduct. Al Franken issued a lengthy apology for an incident that happened just over 10 years ago in 2006. Now this was before he was senator but it could still lead to his expulsion from office

Our Ryan Nobles reports from Washington.

RYAN NOBLES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Tonight, Al Franken, a Democratic senator and former Saturday Night Live comedian is facing a Senate ethics investigation after claims by a radio host and former model that Franken groped and forcibly kissed her during a trip to entertain troops overseas with the USO back in 2006, before Franken was a senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEEANN TWEEDEN, RADIO HOST: I was angry. I was in disbelief really, and I just sort of, you know, my hand to this day I talk about it. My hand clinches into a fifth because I think by my initial reaction is that I wanted to hit him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: The accuser is Leeann Tweeden, a radio host in Los Angeles. In a lengthy blog post she describes how Franken asked her to rehearse the skit he had planned that included a kiss. She says she repeatedly turned him down. But after his badgering she relented, telling CNN's Jake Tapper today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TWEEDEN: He just mashes his mouth to my -- to my lips and, you know, it's like wet and he puts his tongue in my mouth and you know, my reaction it was sort of, you know, I pushed his chest away with my hands and I'm like, if you ever do that to me again...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Franken was nowhere to be seen in the halls of the Capitol on Thursday. He skipped votes on the floor and then initially released a brief statement where he apologized by qualify the apology by writing quote. "I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way."

But Tweeden also shared this photo of Franken groping her breasts while she was asleep on the return flight from Afghanistan, something she says she discovered only by looking through photos from the trip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TWEEDEN: There's Al Franken literally in the photo grabbing my boobs with his hands as if he's rubbing my breath and looking at the camera and like smiling, laughing with this smirk on his face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Franken later released a much longer statement where he wrote, quote, "The first thing I want to do is apologize to Leeann to everyone else who was a part of that tour. To everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women."

The news led to condemnation from Capitol Hill leaders on both sides of the aisle. Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell called for a full ethics investigation but stop short of saying he should resign. Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer echoed McConnell's call for the investigation and called the incident, quote, "troubling."

Franken who said he welcomes the ethics probe has often spoke of his trip with Tweeden. In his book he described the trip as a monumental step in the decision to run for the Senate. He even spoke about Tweeden on the floor of the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL FRANKEN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I was kind of the co-host with a beautiful woman named Leeann Tweeden and we comedy routines, we'd introduce music, we entertain (Ph) the cheer leaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: Franken has been an outspoken advocate for sexual assault victims. He wrote a lengthy Facebook post about the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and last month, he said Congress needs to do more to help the victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: Unfortunately, sexual harassment happens in every profession and I think that we need to do something legislatively to make it easier for him to not only go to court but so that this isn't secret.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Now it is the comedian and lawmaker facing serious accusations himself. Tweeden said she accepted his apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TWEEDEN: I believe it and I believe him. You know, and I honestly do believe him. And you know, I wasn't -- I wasn't waiting for an apology from him and I gladly accepted and thank you, Senator Franken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:20:01] NOBLES: But said she remains concerned for the victims who still feel like they cannot come forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TWEEDEN: People have been texting and calling and they're like, you know, stay strong because you're doing something that is going to make the world better for your daughter. You know, maybe I am. You know, I didn't look at it that way. But maybe I am and if I am, OK, I take it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And because as a celebrity, as a comedian and actor, Al Franken may be the most recognizable member of the U.S. Senate as a result he is regularly called upon to raise thousands of dollars for democratic candidates across the country.

In fact, he was scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Florida Senator Bill Nelson this weekend. He is no longer going to be at that fundraiser and several democratic senators said today that they're going to take his contributions and donate them to charities that support sexual assault victims.

Ryan Nobles, CNN on Capitol Hill.

VANIER: Now it's a tough time for U.S. diplomacy and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is feeling the heat. That's because democrats and republicans alike are rebuking him for his efforts to drastically cut down the State Department's diplomatic corps.

They say that slashing staffing and cutting budgets will put the country in danger and that the U.S. needs more, not fewer experienced foreign service offices to ensure national security.

Despite the backlash Tillerson is holding tight to his goal to deflate what he sees as a bloated bureaucracy. But as former foreign service officer Nancy McEldowney told CNN earlier it's a particularly dangerous time to trade diplomacy for savings boost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY MCELDOWNEY, FORMER FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER: I think it's clear that what's happening now is a hollowing out of the Department of State and it's not just the numbers of senior officers who are leaving. It's the freeze on intake. The fact that vacancies cannot be filled. We have hundreds of jobs that have no one in them, no one doing the work that needs to happen.

This is a time when crises around the world are mounting. We have more and more dangerous, more threats against our country and we need our diplomats out there helping us to deal with those threats.

It's important to remember that America's diplomats are the first line of defense for our country. They work in every country around the world and they are the ones who detect and defuse the looming problems.

Remember when Mattis said that if you don't fund the State Department he needs to find more bullets and that's exactly what he's talking about. We need diplomacy in order to keep America safe.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN: How much of this do you think is the decision made by President Trump, how much of it do you think it's a decision made by Secretary Tillerson, there are a lot of questions about his qualifications for the job to begin with.

MCELDOWNEY: I think unfortunately a toxic mix of both and we have both ignorance and arrogance that's at work. Ignorance about what it really takes to do diplomacy. The fact that we need people who are expert in different regions around the world who speak the languages, who have spent years training to do this work.

But there's also an extreme level of arrogance. President Trump recently commented on all these vacancies and he said he's the only one that matters. Beyond the egotism and the narcissism that that suggests, it also reveals an incredible ignorance about how our democratic system works and the need for processes that have integrity and fidelity at every level throughout our government.

BLITZER: What are your fears, long-term fears, Nancy, if this trend continues?

MCELDOWNEY: I believe that our country is being weakened by us not having the diplomatic capability that we need. The incidence of military conflict just going go up and President Trump talks about putting America first, but this is actually a policy of retreat from the world.

And I fear if it's not reversed it's going to hurt our country and make us weaker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And that was former foreign service officer Nancy McEldowney there speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN earlier.

Now to determine husband who's been fighting in the U.K. for over a year and a half to get his wife out of an Iranian jail. A blunder by U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson managed to focus attention on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Her release may be caught up in a wider diplomatic web.

Diana Magnay reports.

DIANA MAGNAY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Three-year-old Gabriela sees her mother just twice a week now. Her childhood punctuated by jail visits and Skype calls to daddy, though she's forgotten many English she ever knew.

[03:24:55] Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of dozens of dual nationals held captive by the Iranian regime. Back in the U.K. her husband Richard Ratcliffe has fought for 19 months to bring his family home. Only now has he had his first meeting with the foreign secretary who, two weeks ago, mistakenly claimed that Nazanin have been training journalists in Iran, fueling the suspicions of the country's revolutionary calls who threatens to extend her jail time.

Ratcliffe spoke of the tallest comments are taken on his wife who he said was on the verge of a breakdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RATCLIFFE, NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE'S HUSBAND: I'm actually interested the one point she wanted to make (Inaudible) of the foreign secretary what it's like to watch yourself being called a spy on television.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAGNAY: It forced Boris Johnson into an embarrassing climb down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I should have been clearer. It was my -- it was my mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGNAY: And he has promised to up the ante with Iran with an official visit where he'll argue for Nazanin's release.

No fix date for foreign secretary's trip to Iran and no firm commitment that Boris Johnson was able to give to Richard Ratcliffe that he could accompany him. So much will depend on Iranian largesse. What the British government is prepared to offer behind-the-scenes, and ultimately, who is in control of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's fate in Iran itself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANAM VAKIL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: I hope so. I hope so.

MAGNAY: Sanam Vakil is herself a dual national. She says she won't risk going back to Iran in case something similar happens to her.

VAKIL: This taking a dual national speaks to a larger fear is that hardliners in the Iranian regime have about foreign influence in Iran and what foreigners, United States, U.K. and other European countries and dual nationals might be doing to destabilize power of the hard- line structures of the regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAGNAY: In the background a deal struck more than 40 years ago to supply the shah of Iran with tanks. Iran paid up to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars but then came revolution and Britain didn't deliver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RATCLIFFE: It is important that the U.K. honors its international legal obligations so that Iran can honor its legal obligations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAGNAY: The government calls this a completely separate issue. In a statement the foreign office said, "Funding to settle the debt was paid to the High Court by the treasury and international military services in 2002. Iran's Ministry of Defense remains subject to E.U."

And Nazanin and her family remain subject to an internal Iranian power struggle and a wider diplomatic daunts over which however Ratcliffe tries he has pitifully small influence.

Diagna Magnay, CNN, London.

VANIER: And still to come on the show, the United Nations warns that millions of people in Yemen could soon die of starvation unless Saudi Arabia lift its blockade of the country's main ports. We'll speak to an aid worker in the capital.

And we're awaiting a funeral for 26 migrant girls who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Plus, a victory for big game hunters in the U.S like Donald Trump's sons. They'll soon be allowed to bring home elephant remains as trophies from some African countries.

Stay with us.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's go back to reminder of our top stories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Zimbabwe's military says it's engaging with embattled President Robert Mugabe. New photos show him meeting with the commander of the country's defense forces.

Mr. Mugabe is under house arrest following an apparent coup d'etat on Wednesday. And opposition sources says the take-over was planned a long time ago.

The U.N. Security council will consider another resolution in the coming hours regarding the system used to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

An attempt to pass a U.S. proposed resolution was vetoed by Russia on Thursday. And inspections mandate currently in place, that sector is expire soon. And Syria has repeatedly denied as any chemical weapons.

And U.S. Senate's Al Franken has issued a lengthy apology after a radio host says he groped her and forcibly kissed her. It happened in 2006 while they were on a USO tour. Franken oust the Senate ethics committee to investigate. He says he will gladly cooperate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: United Nations aid agencies are appealing to Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade of Yemen's largest ports toward often unimaginable catastrophe.

The heads of three U.N. agencies warned that Civil War has put 20 million Yemenis in urgent need of humanitarian aid. They say almost 50 million people are without basic healthcare and they fear renewed outbreak of cholera, which is already infected more than 900,000 people and killed more than 2,000.

The Saudis, however, denied their blockade is the cause of Yemeni suffering. Instead, they blame Houthi rebels who control the country's primary port at Hudaydah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, FOREIGN MINISTER, SAUDI ARABIA: They are the ones who are responsible for the starvation by the seizes on towns and villages, and preventing supplies from coming in or going out.

And when they are shelling those area, that's why you have the starvation is taking place in Yemen, and people need to do a more serious job of holding the Houthis accountable for this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Let's talk with Nadine Drummond, she is media and communications manager for Save the Children in Yemen, so one of the eight organizations working and trying to work in our country. She joins us why the Yemeni cancels. Nadine, are you currently able to get any supplies or stuff into the country?

NADINE DRUMMOND, MEDIA MANAGER, SAVE THE CHILDREN, YEMEN: They are with supplies for us aid and we're not able to get any aid into the country since the blockade spots that they advocate November 6.

We've been absolutely paralyzed. We're not able to remove the supplies we have in our warehouse since we're not currently be able to either remove the supplies from our ports.

So even get the clearances needed to move supplies around the country. That's supplies that's been questions. It's whole inaccurate with regard to start, no, we have been allowed to get any supplies to the country or particularly Sana'a.

The only way you can get to Sana'a, if you are an international humanitarian worker, is charter though on hats which is the U.N. humanitarian flight and that flight has been rounded.

VANIER: Did all this change over night from the fifth to the sixth because I know it was already difficult to operate in the country even at best of times.

DRUMMOND: It is extremely difficult to operate in the country. Hodeidah Port, which is the biggest port in Yemen was not functioning well.

And we were not able to even use that port properly. We can only talk to humanitarian staff and ready to sana'a International Airport but blockade is complicated being (Inaudible) because we don't even have fuel.

We have to safe for children have eight to twelve weeks of supplies in our warehouses. But because of the land blockade, we're not even able to try to support the supplies that we do have to the people that need them.

So it's really a smoke in (Inaudible), that's been the base here because we're not able to move. We're being crippled. We cannot get to the people that need our help.

And currently, 130 children a day are dying of starvation in Yemen and we have the supplies, we have it funded, we're in a position to save more lives. We've been prevented from doing that.

VANIER: So what's the outlook right now for Save the Children or more precisely for the children that you are helping?

DRUMMOND: It's bleak. It's bleak. Without our supplies and without freedom of member needing and without open access, we cannot get to them, and we cannot save their lives. And it's really that simple. Children in Yemen are starving to death. And currently there is very little that we can do.

[03:35:00] VANIER: Who...

DRUMMOND: And they don't... VANIER: What is your organization talk to about this? Are you in talks with anybody? Is the United Nations sort of the umbrella body that's negotiating with the Saudi's for all of you or U.N. talks with the Saudis, how does that work?

DRUMMOND: The U.N. and the other international NGOs in the country are going together as a group to pressure governments. Not just -- not just the Saudi-led coalition.

But all governments that haven't -- can influence all working countries of the conflict to come to an end and find a peace or a sustainable solution to the world because as it stand, millions more Yemenis will die.

At the moment, two-thirds of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance and not on a really simple level. That means 200 people have no idea where their next meal is coming from. So it's my -- against everybody must led to play politics. But the reality on the ground is that people are fighting and children are starving to death.

VANIER: Well, OK. Can I get you to address point that was being made by the Saudi representative that we heard just before talking to you that he was saying we need to do better job of addressing who was behind this.

And of course they blame their enemy in this war which are the Houthi rebels and they say they are the ones control the port in Hodeidah and therefore, if you're to blame anybody, then point the finger at them for supplies not coming in.

DRUMMOND: That is so complex for millions of humanitarian worker, I cannot comment on that but what I can say is that the ports that Saudi-led coalition have opened can't even begin to hope with a surprise.

At the moment are the port can only -- it has the capacity say for 250 tons of aid. Humanitarian community makes 400 tons. How are we going to get the rest of that aid into the country. We cannot. But that's not even half the problem.

More than 90 percent of commercial supplies come through -- come through the ports that are open in Yemen. And we don't access to those. But this here isn't just about aid, that's one section of the problem.

But what's going to happen to all of the commercial imports. In addition to that, where's the aid that we do if it was coming from other ports, the difficulty here is that it would take one to -- I think one to three weeks extra for our supplies to get to the people who need it.

But in addition to that, there is no a transportation cross. And it's going back to the whole no fuel. We're kind of stuck between work and a hard faith. VANIER: All right, Nadine Drummond who is speaking to us and it's worth noting from the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. Nadine, thank you very much for your time representing there Save the Children there, thanks a lot.

Now a funeral for 26 young women whose bodies were recovered in the Mediterranean Sea is taking place soon in Italy. The girls are believed to have been migrants from Niger and Nigeria who had embarked from Libya to Europe earlier this month.

They are among the thousands of migrants who died trying to cross Mediterranean this year alone. CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau joins us from Salerno, Italy.

Barbie, I just want to know, do we have a better understanding now of the journey that brought these girls to try to cross Mediterranean and led them to their death there.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we don't know a lot about these women. In fact, of the 26 coffins you see behind me, only two on those people have been identified. That means there are, you know, 24 people who will be buried without a name in a sermon on unmarked grave.

Of course they have taken photos and DNA profiles, and things like that of these young girls thought between 14 and 20 but we don't know much about them because people don't know who they are.

They are part of though this constant onslaught of migrants who have been trying to reach a better life here in and then they're crossing the Mediterranean over 110,000 had already made it so far this year, 2,500 though have died.

And the two -- two of the women were pregnant. We know several of the, have signs of scars on their body. We know -- know what the coroner has been able to tell us about.

But we don't know their names and that mean that there are families out there who don't even know that their loved ones -- young girls have perished on their flight for a better life.

VANIER: Barbie, for a long time, Italy has been calling for more European help. Help from European neighbors to manage this issue in this European border. Now would be a good time to address that question. Has Europe stepped up?

NADEAU: Well, you know, this scene behind me repeats itself over and over, and over again. Everything few years you've got some sort of mass casualty events. You got coffins lined up. You got dignitaries and Italy cries for help, and says we need help. We need a safe quarter program.

[03:40:00] We need a way to get migrants out of Libya and out of the countries where they're coming from safely. We need to be able to get them off of their island. And bring them, so that they don't have to risk their lives at sea.

But it often falls on death here. You have a day like today, a funeral, everybody thinks about it for this day but then you know, weaker self from now when they have another similar event.

And that's -- you know the Italians are doing what they can to try to save lives at sea. They are trying to please people once they get here, but it really is falling on Italy's shoulders despite efforts to call for more help by Europe as you suggest.

VANIER: Yes, must been falling on Italy's shoulders for years. Barbie Nadeau reporting live from Salerno, Italy, thank you very much. Still to come on the show, a major spill in the U.S., what was impacted when a pipeline leaks hundreds of kilometers of oil.

Plus wildlife groups are taking aim at a decision by the Trump administration to allow the invitation of some elephant trophies from Africa. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: The controversial Keystone pipeline is shut down after nearly 800 kiloliters of oil leaked in the U.S. state of South Dakota. And that's equal to about 5,000 barrels. The pipelines operator TransCanada is investigating this. There is a political context of this in March.

The Trump administration approved extending the pipeline despite serious opposition from environmentalists. Derek Van Dam joins us now fro, the CNN Weather Center. Derek, you've been looking into this. What are the details?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN ANCHOR: Cyril, this is the third oil spill in South Dakota just this year alone. It is the largest oil spill in South Dakota's history.

This is an aerial perspective of the proposed oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline. Authorities and experts there realized a pressure drop in the pipeline that was their first sign that there was a leak.

They were able to zero in on this particular area and contain it within 15 minutes, but you are maybe wondering this image, where is this pipeline. The pipe is actually below the surface of the earth.

You can see, however, that it did scar some of the environment around though because the actual crude oil rose to the surface of the earth. Here's the look at where the actual Keystone pipeline leak took place.

It was in Amherst, South Dakota and this is a very environmentally important part of the United States, sparsely populated, but there is a large aquifer within this area, so the potential for groundwater contamination definitely a real possibility here.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 2,600 miles from Alberta, Canada southward all the way to Texas. It's only 36 inches in diameter, the actual pipeline, but it transports 830,000 barrels or gallons per day.

[03:45:00] Now the pipeline that just burst now leaks -- excuse me, 210,000 gallons of crude oil, that is equivalent to 5,000 barrels and the cleanup effort is going to be massive with this because put this into perspective back in April 2016, an oil leak of roughly 400 barrels took two months to clean up. So you can imagine what 5,000 barrels will take the cleanup.

All right, the environmental impacts here, Cyril, are tremendous or at least the potential environmental impacts and they include anything from the groundwater contamination. We talked aquifer underwater.

It is extremely highly flammable substance. Obviously we're talking about crude oil and gasoline. Not to mention the potential for chemical exposure to wildlife and humans.

So the ramifications here of this Keystone pipeline leak far-reaching to say the least, Cyril. And it is going to take months if not years to clean up the 5,000 barrels of crude oil that is now come to the earth surface. Back to you.

VANIER: Not a good news in that part of South Dakota. Derek Van Dam from the CNN Weather Center, thank you very much. Animal rights advocates are outraged, but some hunters are pleased for by a decision made by the Trump administration.

It will soon allow elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia to be imported into the U.S. contrary to restrictions that were adopted in the Obama era. Our Tom Foreman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pictures for some are brutal. Wild African elephants killed by people paying tens of thousands of dollars to pull the trigger. Donald Trump Jr. has travel to Africa to haunch many times and defends it.

DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Once you get expose or you realizes it's not this like you know, savage state.

FOREMAN: And the new rules from his father would allow more Americans to haunt elephants and return home with their trophies tusk and all, the money from their sport in theory, helping to protect other elephants.

A Safari club international puts its haunting is beneficial to wildlife and these range countries know how to manage their elephant populations and fits neatly into President Trump's promise to cut government restrictions.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want regulation for environmental. We want regulation for safety, but the regulations are massive.

FOREMAN: This elephant was killed just it seems just a few days ago even. However, the move stands in stark contrast to Obama era efforts to stop elephant poaching by cutting off the world ivory trade.

In 2015, a joint deal was struck with China, the biggest ivory market to ban virtually all ivory imports and exports. In New York, a ton of illegal ivory was crushed.

GRACE MENG, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: The U.S. is the second largest market for ivory in the entire world.

FOREMAN: Some elephant hunting was still allowed under Obama but outrage over this broad change of plans has been swift. Chelsea Clinton infuriating, will increase poaching, make communities vulnerable and hurt conservation efforts.

Habitat loss and hunting have had devastating effects at the start of the 20th century, there were 3 million to 5 million African elephants according to the World Wildlife Fund which says only 400,000 remain.

So if you want to generate economic activity in Africa and Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, and Kenya, and South Africa, keep the wildlife alive. President Trump's plan is not open all of Africa. It just expands hunting opportunities in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Place where advocate of this move say they feel that elephants are doing comparatively well. Still, for critics it is a colossally bad idea for species that has been under so much pressure for so long.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Just ahead on CNN, going, going, gone, a 500-year-old painting fetches an astronomical and record price. We'll tell you why the art world is gasping for air, stay with us.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: Attendees at Christie's auction house in New York witnessed history on Wednesday when the bidding just would not stop for a rare Leonardo da Vinci painting. You see it now. Here is the moment that history was made. Let's take in the room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three hundred and two million is bid. Three hundred and two, three-five will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred and twenty not yours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have 130?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four hundred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four hundred million. Four hundred million who is at with someone we are selling at Christie's. Four hundred million is the bid and the piece is sold.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: A total price actually $450 million if you include fees. This is for da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, savior of the world, the most expensive artwork that ever sell at auction now. There are fewer than 20 authenticated da Vinci works in existence.

Let's bring in Nate Freeman. He is a senior staff writer at ARTnews joins me now from New York. Nate, described the atmosphere in the room during the sale?

NATE FREEMAN, SENIOR STAFF WRITER, ARTNEWS: I really can't tell you how exciting it was to be there. This was a work of art that have been seen around the world, had been toured by Christie's. It had this marketing push that I never seen for any work of art before.

And once it got there in the sales room, the energy was just electric. I never seen that pact before and everyone was talking about this painting and so you know, when the bidding started, it just steamrolled and kept on going, and the two specialists that were going head-to-head, they just kept on pushing each other. I'd never seen a bidder go up $30 million in a single bid. These are things that were really shocking.

VANIER: And I normally send like a philistine here, is the painting worth it.

FREEMAN: Well, it's just impossible to describe how rare a Leonardo da Vinci coming up for auction is. You know, this is the last da Vinci in private hands, and for a collector with you know, seemingly unlimited wealth, this is something they would spend 400 million on, 500 million on, 1 billion on.

You know, it was clearly -- this collector was very, very dogged in his pursuit of this picture and I think that this collector would've gone to $1 billion for it. So in that sense, it is worth $450 million.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: You are telling us that it's worth that money to that person but I suppose my question is, does it rank up there with among you know the very best artworks that exist?

FREEMAN: Well, I think that's something that posterity has to really judge. I saw the picture when it was first unveiled at Christie's and it is very well inked.

VANIER: Well, hold on, this was centuries ago, so I think -- I think posterity has done its work.

FREEMAN: I -- I meant...

VANIER: It's used to belong to English King, Charles I, is that correct?

FREEMAN: That's true but you know it was discovered and authenticated as da Vinci just in 2011, so it's new to the that the public imagination, and they've really take into it as a wonderful, you know, example of his master ink.

And I think that you know certainly to the person who bought it, it is worth 450 million. And I think it is a treasure that that will be, you know, no really cherished by the world.

VANIER: But my question is, does this tell us more about the artistic value of this piece or does this just tell us how many billionaires now walk this earth?

FREEMAN: In this instance, I think it probably says more about the art market in general, just that a work himself for this much money. It's indicative of where global wealth is.

It's indicative of what people are willing to spend on a work of art. It could be you know instructive as to what would happen if any all other sort of old masterwork of this caliber were to come to market.

There's just a lot of people who were willing to spend this much money on a work of art. And one of them was there bidding on the phone at Christie's last night.

VANIER: You mentioned the words art market and I think for a lot of people who look at this artwork, who go to the museum and pieces of art, they don't realize -- maybe not everybody realize is how much of a market it really is with its own market and financial rules. Is it smart money because last person who bought this just a couple years ago bought it for a third of the price.

[03:55:00] So just from a financial investment perspective, this actually may make sense.

FREEMAN: Well I think it will be very difficult to put this piece back on the market anytime soon after such a public purchase of it like this. I don't see it going back on the market in my lifetime but I cold be proven wrong. If someone wanted to flip this for 600 million, maybe there's a buyer.

VANIER: You flip half $1 billion painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Hey, are we going to see this painting again?

FREEMAN: That remains to be seen. It depends on who bought it, but given it's, you know, exposure to the world and the fact that people really embrace I, I'll be very surprised if the owner wasn't willing to loan it out to a museum for a show, even if they did it anonymously. I think that we'll see this painting again.

VANIER: Doesn't it often happen that some of these painting have bought for millions of dollars and then they are kept in safes or in vaults in a bank?

FREEMAN: Oh, sure, the Freeport in Geneva was filled with some of the greatest treasures the world has ever made.

VANIER: And no one can see them? FREEMAN: No one can see them, yes.

VANIER: So the value of them then becomes purely an investment value. The only reason you would keep a painting like that in a vault so nobody sees it is if you take it out years later and sell it for a profit.

FREEMAN: Yes. I mean there's a lot of work that is purchased just to, you know, have as an asset. You know, have as a way to, you know, store your funds or money and -- and then they aren't put on display.

But for a work with such, you know, a now global footprint, I don't think it's possible that they will hide this away forever. I think that we'll be seeing it at some point.

VANIER: Nate Freeman, thank you so much for joining us...

FREEMAN: Thank you so much.

VANIER: And bring some context, I really appreciated it. Thanks a lot.

FREEMAN: Glad to be here.

VANIER: And finally, this hour Tesla has unveiled its newest electric vehicle fondly nicknamed, The Beast, there it is. You can see wives nicknamed that, at least compared to the smaller sedans the company is known for. It does keep their sweet design, while promising a range of up to 500 miles of the full load at highway speeds.

That won't make it work for all purposes since diesel trucks can obviously go a lot farther and refuel much more quickly, but one fun feature for the daredevil truckers out there, I can go 0 to 60 in five seconds, if you drop the cargo.

All right, that's it from us. Thanks for joining us today. I'm Cyril Vanier remember to connect with anytime on Twitter at CyrilCNN. The news continues with Max Foster in London. Have a great day.