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U.S. Immigration Crisis; U.S. President Heaps Praise on North Korean Leader; Manafort Goes to Jail; North Korea Propaganda Machine; Tariff Troubles between U.S. and China; World Cup 2018; Stephen Hawking Memorialized. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired June 16, 2018 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thousands of children separated from their parents as an immigration crisis continues in the United States.
The man once President Trump's campaign chairman now behind bars, Paul Manafort accused of tampering with witnesses ahead of his trial.
And World Cup excitement around the world, Cristiano Ronaldo steals the spotlight.
Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HOWELL: 4:00 am on the East Coast.
The separation of children from their families at the U.S. border is happening. Critics say it is inhumane, unconscionable but the White House says it is not their fault. But the facts show 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and that is just from mid-April through May, this according to the Department of Homeland Security.
That increase in family separations is the result of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy, where adults face criminal charges for entering the United States illegally. U.S. president blamed the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The children -- the children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully and immediately. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: But Democrats did not force the practice on anyone. This increase of family separations occurred after the Trump administration decided to prosecute all offenders. Their aim there, to send a message, hoping it would deter families from entering the United States illegally. But still more are coming. Our Ed Lavandera starts our coverage from near the border with Mexico.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard to see people moving through the thick south Texas vegetation. The Rio Grande rolls by just beyond the tree line. And then just like that they appear out of the brush, a small group of undocumented immigrants walking into a public park.
We just came across this group of undocumented immigrants here in the town of Mission, Texas. Two adults, four children just finished crossing the Rio Grande here a little while ago. And now they're in the custody of Border Patrol.
This group is actually made of three different groups. They say they met along the journey from Honduras and decided to enter the United States together. Border Patrol agents give them water and they sit in the shade as they wait for a vehicle to take them to a Border Patrol station.
There's Jonathan Ariel, 11 years old. He says he left Honduras with cousins but they abandoned him along the way. He says his mother lives in Virginia and told him not to make this journey alone but now he is here.
"I told her I wanted to come," he says, "but she said it's very dangerous."
Are you scared?
"A little," he says.
It's a brief conversation that leaves you with many more questions about how a young boy can get to this point. As an unaccompanied minor, he will likely end up for the time being in a children's shelter like this one as federal authorities try to connect the boy with his mother.
The rest of this group is made up of two adult women with their children.
Dalia Sayupa (ph) is 24 years old and she crossed the border with her little boy.
Why did you come?
She says gang members left a note at her home threatening to kill her and that is when she decided to flee.
Are you afraid they're going to separate you from your children?
"Yes, he is my son and I love him," she says. "I have carried him throughout my journey." Dalia says she did not know she might be separated from her son once
she was taken into custody in the United States but she says I have nothing in Honduras. The families are loaded up and taken away, unsure of what happens next.
HOWELL: Let's now bring in Navid Dayzad, an immigration attorney, joining us from Los Angeles.
It's good to have you with us, Navid. I'd like to get started by clearing up confusion, this false narrative that these are people who cross the border illegally because that is not entirely the case.
NAVID DAYZAD, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It is not the case. You're right. And this is a very important point.
Most of the stories we hear paint these immigrants with a broad brush, claiming that they are all illegal. I'll tell you, a good number of them are law-abiding immigrants. Our nation's laws provide a mechanism for immigrants seeking safety --
DAYZAD: -- to come to the United States and request asylum and safety here. They are doing it just as the law requires.
HOWELL: And secondly, Navid, this false claim that law instructs immigration officers to separate children from their families because what is happening here is a result of a policy change by the Trump administration.
DAYZAD: That is exactly right. Our immigration laws do not call for separating families. In fact, this policy is contrary to international refugee laws, to our own asylum laws and to our country's morality.
HOWELL: Our Ed Lavandera has been showing us the stories of families separated, one image he shared of a family in his piece, specifically an 11-year-old Honduran boy, Ed points out that authorities will try to reconnect him with his mother.
But how difficult is that for authorities, given the policy that we're seeing right now?
DAYZAD: Well, the government has been failing at keeping track of these children, caring for these children and reuniting them with their families. There are about 2,000 children that have been separated from their families, 2,000.
And there are hundreds that the government has already lost track with. There are reported documented reports of abuse in these facilities of the children, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse.
Some have been released to not custodians or relatives but to traffickers of laborers. It is really a tragedy. It is really a tragedy. George, our nation is a nation of immigrants. We welcome the stranger and show them our humanity, we don't tear them apart from their parents.
HOWELL: You know, I want to ask you about that as well because, as an attorney, you deal with cases in this arena. But as a toddler, you faced a personal experience as well. You fled to the United States for safety from Iran and you also were separated from your father.
DAYZAD: I was. I was lucky enough to still have my mom and my sister with me. But due to circumstances, I was separated from my father. And that separation was dreadful.
My heart really goes out to these children. And these are children who have been already traumatized and are trying to flee the trauma. And they come to the United States and, instead, are punished for things they haven't done.
I can empathize with these children and I really think the American people can also empathize with these children if they look back in their own family histories just one or two generations back.
HOWELL: And also just reiterating the fact here that not all of these families are crossing illegally. Some are just presenting to the United States and finding themselves in this situation.
Navid Dayzad, clearly there are some people who like what they are seeing with this policy change and others who are disgusted by it. Of course, we'll continue to follow the story. Thank you so much for your time.
DAYZAD: My pleasure.
HOWELL: Immigration is just one of the flashpoints for the Trump White House this week. Here is another.
President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is now behind bars. A federal judge revoked his bail after special counsel Robert Mueller accused him of witness tampering. Manafort has pleaded not guilty. That brought this response from President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, raised eyebrows when he said a few presidential pardons would clean up the Russian probe. Later he walked that back a bit, telling our Chris Cuomo this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: He's not going to pardon anybody in this investigation but he's not obviously going to give up his right to pardon if a miscarried of justice is presented to him--
CUOMO: But it does not wind up that he could that he might?
GIULIANI: Well of course he could. Of course he could.
CUOMO: And that he might?
GIULIANI: Of course he might.
CUOMO: And he might. He won't say I won't because it would look too bad because it is too close to --
GIULIANI: No, how about he is not saying -- he absolutely, definitively will not because he might as well give up being president if he says that.
CUOMO: No. You can say I'm recusing myself from this aspect of --
GIULIANI: He is not recusing himself from being president.
GIULIANI: He's not Jeff Sessions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And that is not all. A source telling CNN the president personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the man you see right there, is indicating to family and friends that he may be ready to cooperate with investigators.
President Trump again held court of his own on Friday morning with a wild rhetorical free-for-all with reporters on the White House lawn. He talked about everything from the Russia probe to the report on the --
HOWELL: -- FBI's handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation and he raised eyebrows with what he said about longtime foes North Korea and Russia. Our senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny has this report for us.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump is closing his week just as he began it -- showering Kim Jong-un with praise. TRUMP: He's the head of a country and I mean he's the strong head, don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and as people seat up at attention. I want me people to do the same.
ZELENY: Only when asked today whether he really wished Americans would fall into line like North Koreans are forced to, the president insisted he wasn't serious.
TRUMP: I'm kidding. You don't understand --
ZELENY: But there is no mistaking the president's admiration for strong men and dictators. He spent much of the week flattering Kim, almost never mentioning his heinous human rights record that includes starving and executing his own people.
And in an extraordinary exchange with reporters outside the White House today, the president made no apologies and said the end game was worth it.
TRUMP: Because I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. I want to have a good relationship with North Korea.
ZELENY: He also extended his adoration to Vladimir Putin. White House is in the early stages of setting up a face-to-face summit with the Russian president, with all the trappings of a Singapore session this week with Kim.
TRUMP: I think it's better to have Russia in than to have Russia out, because just like North Korea, just like somebody else, it's much better if we get along with them than if we don't.
ZELENY: While Trump first met Putin last summer at the Group of 20 Summit in Germany, a one-on-one meeting now would take on even more significance, with the Russia investigation still hanging over his White House. The president misstated again and again Russia's annexation of Crimea, blaming it on President Obama, not Putin.
TRUMP: Not Putin's fault, right. Just so you -- because Putin didn't respect President Obama. President Obama, not Trump. When it's my fault, I'll tell you.
ZELENY: Today, one of the most prominent members of the cabinet, Defense Secretary James Mattis offered a different view of Putin in a speech to graduates of the Naval War College.
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Putin seeks to shatter NATO. He aims to diminish the appeal of the Western democratic model and attempts to undermine America's moral authority.
ZELENY: "To undermine America's moral authority," now those are strong words but important to note, coming from the Defense Secretary, not President Trump.
Now we are told that President Trump and President Putin could meet as early as next month around the NATO summit in Brussels or potentially in the fall. There is no question any meeting, certainly, taking on heightened interest as the Russia investigation still hangs over this White House -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
HOWELL: Jeff Zeleny, thank you for the reporting.
And now a lot to talk about. Let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri, she is the head of U.S. and Americas program at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs and senior lecturer in international relations at SOAS University of London.
Leslie, it is a topic salad, a lot to talk about today. I want to start with President Trump's comments about North Korea and people falling in line, as they do for Kim Jong-un. He later said that he was kidding.
But given his comments and other comments praising, even supporting the actions of Vladimir Putin in recent years, what do you take from this about the president's views on authoritarian leaders in contrast to his predecessors?
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: I think we have to take this even more seriously than the standard comment, that President Trump has an affinity for strong men.
Remember that it is very well documented by the United Nations, by the International Bar Association and widely recognized that North Korea has one of the worst human rights records ever and certainly in the current period. It is truly atrocious the way North Korea treats its people.
And so for the United States president to joke, I think, is very concerning. President Trump has a tendency to use words without thinking always very clearly about their implications. But in this instance, it is truly inexcusable.
HOWELL: And now with regard to the Russia investigation, there are several things to talk about here. Look, his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, in jail. Rudy Giuliani suggesting that pardons may be an option but then walking that back a bit. And President Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, possibly ready to flip on him.
Several topics: which do you think is the hottest, that could cause problems for this White House?
VINJAMURI: Well, I think this -- Cohen looking like he might cooperate is probably the most significant fact here. I think what is interesting, in both of these cases, of course, is that Trump is doing what he tends to do, which is to try to distance himself and minimize the relationships that he's had previously with each of these individuals.
Now, in the case of Cohen, that seems to be backfiring, to the extent that Cohen is indicating that it looks like he will cooperate and that could, of course, have very significant implications for the investigations.
Where it will lead, we don't know. But nonetheless both of these developments shed light on --
VINJAMURI: -- his willingness to just say -- I think he's saying it's 44 days Manafort worked for him, when in fact it was more like 144. So similar tactics.
HOWELL: President Trump is also talking about the results of the IG report, saying it exonerated him in the Russia investigation, though it didn't. That investigation is not concluded. Also saying that Jim Comey's actions were criminal.
VINJAMURI: Yes, and, of course, the report says neither of those things. I think a key concern here, though, is that President Trump has said that; he has given interviews saying that.
And, of course, what we're seeing is that the American public is listening to the news that reinforces some of those pre-existing views. So I think one thing that is likely to come of this is that it will undermine the independent validity and the impact that that report has, unfortunately, because it won't be given that airing that it really needs to have. But neither of those things are actually what the report says.
HOWELL: Leslie Vinjamuri, live for us in our London bureau, thank you so much for the perspective today.
VINJAMURI: Thank you, George.
HOWELL: The two largest economies in the world, the United States and China, well, they could soon be at each other's throats in an all-out trade war. We'll explain that story ahead.
Plus, day two of the World Cup did not disappoint. We'll take you to Russia.
HOWELL: The United States and China are now on a collision course to a full-on trade war. Just three weeks from now, July 6th, both countries will impose punishing tariffs on billions of dollars of goods from each other.
And that prospect spooked financial markets on Friday. The Dow dropped about 280 points before recovering to finish 84 points down. A big question at this point is why this is happening now.
China seems as confused as anyone else but the issue appears to be crystal clear in the mind of the U.S. president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're putting tariffs on $50 billion worth of technology and other things because we have to because we've been treated very unfairly.
But China has been terrific. President Xi has been terrific, President Moon, everybody. We're all working together because of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): China is consistent in its stance that, if the U.S. side adopts any unilateral protectionist measures and damages China's interests, we will immediately react and take necessary measures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: So here is an overview of exactly what is at stake. The U.S. imports $505 billion worth of goods from China each year. China imports far less, $130 billion from the United States. There are various other ways that Beijing can strike back.
First, it can impose even more tariffs. It could also restrict travel to the United States. Chinese visitors spend billions each year in travel. It could also go after American companies inside China and make it more difficult for them to do business. The government might also discourage its citizens from buying American products.
And finally, China could simply cut back on buying U.S. debt. It is currently the biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt, owing $1.17 trillion of Treasury bonds.
Let's talk more about this with Vicky Pryce, an economist at the Center for Economic and Business Research, also the author of "Greek- onomics."
It's good to have you with us live from London. The terminology is very important here. China is calling this a trade war, plain and simple. President Trump and his team, they are trying to sidestep that word.
What is your take?
VICKY PRYCE, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS RESEARCH: It is very worrying actually because we've seen already in the G7 meeting that there is a serious concern from all the leaders of the biggest countries around the world, that these types of actions, particularly imposing tariffs for national security reasons or intellectual property reasons or any other reasons that President Trump might think, is actually tantamount to beginning a proper trade war.
The figures aren't that large. We have to bear that in mind and there may not make that much difference on the ground but it is the signals that they send, which are basically that the period of friendly, multilateral types of trade agreements that we used to have, reducing tariffs generally and increasingly reducing nontariff barriers to trade, has perhaps come to an end.
HOWELL: Back on the campaign trail, the president had some very heated rhetoric about China when it came to trade. This is why many elected him to be president.
So the question here, does he have a point, in your view, when he talks about the trade imbalance and the ongoing theft of American intellectual property?
How serious is this problem in your estimation?
And are the president's actions making a difference in how China sees the matter?
PRYCE: The truth is the Chinese have been dumping some of their products and there have been tariffs imposed on them by the E.U. and by others and by the U.S. on specialist product, steel products, for example, that were thought to perhaps have been sold in places like the U.S. and the E.U. at less than the cost of producing them.
There is no doubt that there is a certain amount of that going on and there are procedures to deal with it.
To just unilaterally say that, because of national security reasons we are going to have tariffs on everyone who sells steel and aluminum to the U.S., that doesn't make an awful lot of sense.
And, as you know, the Europeans have taken a complaint to the World Trade Organization for that. In addition, of course, there is no doubt that there are some nontariff barriers in terms of doing business in China.
You have to have joint ventures with partners. Some of that was being relaxed and, indeed, there are a number of products where the Chinese have quite a lot of tariffs themselves and have not been allowing them in easily for the U.S..
So there is a point in pushing a little bit more, in ensuring that there is a reduction generally in --
PRYCE: -- any of the barriers that exist.
But what is going on right now is basically a belief that China is there to undermine what the U.S. does and its position in the world. And they are doing it through means that President Trump thinks are perhaps dishonest, illegal and all that sort of stuff, which he's been saying.
And he will be imposing tariffs to ensure that that trade imbalance that exists gets rectified. It is not going to be rectified, because, of course, China produce
things which are quite cheap. There are global supply chains around businesses like doing things the way they are doing them at present. And, of course, costs are being kept down. And the consumer, in the end, is going to be the one who suffers.
HOWELL: Vicky Pryce, we appreciate your time and perspective today and we'll see how it all plays out in the coming weeks.
This man, he was once a top figure in the Trump campaign but now Paul Manafort is going from a luxury townhome to a jail cell. We'll have the latest on that story.
Plus this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
HOWELL (voice-over): Mr. Trump says that he wants pomp and circumstance like seen in North Korea.
But does he really know the whole story?
We'll look at that whole story.
Around the world and in the United States, you are watching NEWSROOM.
HOWELL: Bringing you the news coast to coast and around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
HOWELL: Let's dive into this just a bit more. We saw Manafort on Friday morning, as we often have, getting out of his private SUV and walking into a federal courthouse. You see him there.
This time he left in a government van headed to a jail in Virginia, that van right there. The turn of events left his attorneys shell- shocked. CNN political correspondent Sara Murray has details for us.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Manafort will spend at least the next three months in a jail cell, where he will await his September trial on foreign lobbying and obstruction charges. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson saying, "I have no appetite for
this," and revoking Manafort's bail after he spent more than seven months under house arrest.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team argued that Manafort is a danger to the community and carried out a sustained campaign over five weeks, using different phones and apps to try and mold witness testimony, including using a system called foldering, where multiple people have access to an account and write messages to one another as draft e- mails that are never sent.
As Manafort pleaded not guilty to two new charges for witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, his lawyers argued he was unaware who the government witnesses were.
"This will not happen again," one of Manafort's defense attorneys said.
The judge was unmoved, saying, "This is not middle school. I can't take his cellphone."
Manafort faces charges in both D.C. and Virginia related to foreign lobbying and financial crimes. So far prosecutors haven't tied his alleged wrongdoing to work on the Trump campaign, the core of Mueller's investigation.
But in court filings, prosecutors have said they are probing Manafort's contacts with Russians and Ukranians and potential coordination with them while he oversaw Trump's presidential bid. President Trump downplayed Manafort's contributions in 2016.
TRUMP: I think a lot of it is very unfair. But I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time.
MURRAY (voice-over): Later tweeting, "Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort. Didn't know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair."
To be clear, Manafort was not sentenced. He hasn't even had a trial yet. While the president railed against the special counsel's Russia investigation...
TRUMP: There was no collusion. There was no obstruction.
MURRAY (voice-over): -- the judge in the Manafort case making it clear: "This hearing is not about politics, is not about the conduct of the Office of the Special Counsel."
Soon after, Manafort was led out of the courtroom. Minutes later, a court marshal returned, handing Manafort's wallet, belt and burgundy tie to his wife.
MURPHY: Now I'm told Paul Manafort allies were shell-shocked by the judge's decision to send him to jail, awaiting trial. And it is worth noting, again, Manafort has not been convicted. He has not been sentenced. He has insisted that he is innocent this entire time.
But if he is convicted and found guilty without a presidential pardon, he will spend the rest of his life in jail -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Sara, thank you for the report.
President Trump made comments of adoration and praise of the North Korean people that they give their leader. He later walked that back, said that he was just kidding around. But to anyone who knows the inner workings of North Korea and propaganda, it is no joke. Our Brian Todd shows us what is involved with it.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump these days is full of admiration for Kim Jong-un, for his strength as a leader and the deference he is shown by his people.
TRUMP: He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people do the same.
TODD (voice-over): The president later tried to clean up the comment by saying he was joking.
TRUMP: I'm kidding. I'm sorry. You don't understand sarcasm.
TODD (voice-over): But North Koreans aren't laughing unless they are told to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like the grandfather and the father, Kim Jong-un, perhaps even more so, has ruled through fear, the politics of fear.
TODD (voice-over): That is especially evident in this propaganda video Kim's regime just produced to highlight the Supreme Leader's summit with President Trump in Singapore, showing the kinds of displays of affection for Kim that President Trump says he appreciates.
The video has the classic signatures of a North Korean production, adoring crowds seeing Kim off at the Pyongyang airport, dramatic music and --
TODD (voice-over): -- upon his triumphant return, women in colorful robes, top officials, even normally stoic generals practically weeping at the sight of him.
But analysts say what you are witnessing isn't spontaneous devotion; it is carefully choreographed fealty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're amassed early in the morning and sitting around for hours with these flags. And when the moment comes, everyone knows exactly what do, to wave their flags or their flowers.
TODD (voice-over): In one of the first propaganda films released after he took over from his father, Kim Jong-un is seen departing on a boat, the crowd of soldiers and civilians weep hysterically, then do one better, racing waist-deep into the water to see him off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If one doesn't clap for Kim Jong-un, that person is sure to be in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why was your applause so weak?
TODD (voice-over): In a 2016 documentary called "Under the Sun," a Russian filmmaker captured behind-the-scenes footage of a North Korean propaganda film being made. The minders often didn't know the cameras were rolling. At factories, dance classes and elsewhere, minders are shown prodding, scolding film subjects to be more zealous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Still too gloomy. Do it with more joy. You can do it more joyfully.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): They would come to the scene and would tell the people what they have to do, where they have to sit, how they have to sit, how they have to smile.
TODD (voice-over): But experts say we shouldn't assume all this emotion is completely fake. Many North Koreans, they say, genuinely believe that their leader has godlike greatness because they have been indoctrinated in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The very first things that they are taught in school is to revere the Kim family. And they are taught about the sacrifices of the Kim family to the state, not just the individual Kim, but the entire family, going back generations.
TODD (voice-over): A system that, thanks to America's existing democratic system, no President of the United States could ever recreate.
TODD: While the crime of not showing quite enough joy at a rally can be punishable with reeducation or jail time for the average North Korean citizen, for top officials, that kind of thing can be deadly.
A top education official in North Korea was once executed by a firing squad for showing a, quote, "bad attitude" at a gathering of the Supreme People's Assembly -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Brian, thank you for the report.
Still ahead, an Iberian thriller at the World Cup. Highlights from Spain and Portugal's epic showdown.
Plus, a stellar tribute for a late visionary, the scientist Stephen Hawking. How the rest of the cosmos will hear his voice. (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOWELL: Friday saw an epic World Cup match in Russia. Rivals Spain and Portugal faced off and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo gave a dramatic late-game performance. To break it down, here is CNN's Don Riddell.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The World Cup needs great games and big storylines. And within two days of this tournament starting in Russia, we are already spoiled for choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL (voice-over): Friday's match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi was an instant classic. After only three minutes, Portugal took the lead. Cristiano Ronaldo dusted himself down to slam it into the back of the net.
But their lead didn't last long. Diego Costa outmuscled his master Pepe to (INAUDIBLE).
So what if they fired their manager on Wednesday?
There was no time to dwell on it. Portugal regained the lead, Ronaldo again, though, this time, thanks to an error from (INAUDIBLE). Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid, Costa is the front man at Atletico (INAUDIBLE). His second of the game tying it up at 2-2. All of this, though, was just the buildup to two phenomenal goals.
(INAUDIBLE) had given away the (INAUDIBLE) penalty he made up for it with a belter, Spain 3-2 (INAUDIBLE) on the verge of victory until Ronaldo lined up a free kick (INAUDIBLE) and that was sensational.
A Ronaldo hat trick, 3-3 the scoreline, one of the best World Cup games we've seen in years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Elsewhere in the group, a huge win for Iran. And it came at the expense of Morocco, whose week is just going from bad to worse. They lost the bid to host the World Cup in 2026. And with a draw in sight, they threw that away in St. Petersburg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL (voice-over): It was goalless until the very last minute but somehow and devastatingly as these (INAUDIBLE) spectacularly headed the ball into his own goal.
Can you imagine how it must have felt to do that?
But for Iran, it was incredible, their first World Cup win since 1998.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: And then some people fancy Uruguay to do a bit of damage in Russia in Luis Suarez (ph) and Edison Cavani (ph). They have got one of the best front lines in the tournament. Friday's opponents in their group were Egypt, a team who have never won a World Cup game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL (voice-over): In the closing stages, Uruguay upped the ante, peppering the goal until Jose Jimenez headed home. A free kick in the last minute, it was a dramatic winner and the emotion was palpable but bitterly disappointing for Egypt and Mohamed Salah, who never came off the bench.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: All the drama continues with four games on Saturday. Look out for Lionel Messi's Argentina against the tournament's new boys, Iceland. That should be great. Back to you.
HOWELL: Don, thank you so much.
Russia is viewed as a long shot at the World Cup. But just hosting the event is a victory for President Vladimir Putin. CNN's Matthew Chance is live in Moscow, following all the fun and excitement there.
And, Matthew, this event certainly symbolizes a great deal for President Putin and for his government.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it does. I mean, this is a major celebration for Russia, of its international standing in the opening ceremony. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, spoke of unity amongst nations united by football.
But, of course, Russia's actions leading up to this tournament, particularly since 2014, have been sowing disunity, if anything else.
When we think about Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine, its fueling of a separatist conflict in that country as well, since then, its backing of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader in that country, perpetuating the conflict there.
Until recently, you know, being accused of carrying out a chemical weapons attack in Britain by the British authorities, which it denies.
All of these actions have sowed disunity. They have created a very difficult geopolitical backdrop to this games -- or this tournament -- which is why so many world leaders, mainstream world leaders from Europe, from other countries, chose not to attend the opening ceremony. Instead, it was attended by the likes of the leaders of --
CHANCE: -- a delegation from North Korea, from Iran, from Azerbaijan, from Rwanda; the Saudi Arabian crown prince was here as well.
But, for the most part, at least during these opening phases of the World Cup, Russia has been shunned rather by much of the international community.
HOWELL: Matthew, it is always very interesting and telling how politics also gets interwoven into sport.
But the greater question here, what does this mean for the fans?
Certainly Russia considered a long shot but had an impressive performance.
What does it mean for fans, how do they feel about this event?
CHANCE: In terms of the Russian fans, they started off this tournament with extremely low expectations about their team. I mean, you know, I think the statistics show or the pundits said that the Russian team was basically the worst in the tournament, more or less.
So it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least, that the Russians beat Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament 5-0. We saw this enormous outpouring of joy on the streets of the Russian capital, Russian fans coming out to celebrate their team's victory, along with the other fans of other countries as well.
I think there is a really festive atmosphere, partly as a result of that, partly because there is this celebration of this globally popular sport. And I think that is important for Russia, which has a lot of social problems, it has a lot of political problems.
And this is a -- if only a temporary respite from it, it is a break from it. And I think many Russians, many people who have come to Russia, are enjoying that and contributing to the festive atmosphere -- George.
HOWELL: Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow, thank you so much.
After that intense showdown by Portugal and Spain, we're gearing up for Super Saturday. Day three of the World Cup kicks off with France taking on Australia. Lionel Messi and Argentina then take on World Cup newcomer Iceland.
Next squads form Peru and Denmark faces off. Day three wraps up with Croatia taking on Nigeria.
And Iran's football squad surely being cheered on with style. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOWELL (voice-over): Incredible music there with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, performing ahead of the team's first World Cup match against Morocco. The musicians played Iranian pieces and Russian pieces in honor of that host nation.
About 80 musicians made the trip to St. Petersburg's Philharmonic Hall, including female members, who are not allowed to attend football matches back home in Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Now as star players do their thing on the pitch, you may have spotted some rather interesting tattoos at the World Cup. Football lovers from Russia and abroad are showing their support by getting original designs, like a map of the host country filled with Brazilian and Colombian flags or intricate portraits of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tattoos have been part of the world's biggest football world tournament for decades. Russian tattoo artists are welcoming the business with open and colorful arms -- and legs, too, for that matter.
HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, a fitting tribute for Stephen Hawking. How he will spend eternity near other major scientists.
HOWELL: Let's talk about outer space, a dust storm that is larger than the continent of North America rapidly growing across Mars and it is threatening NASA's Opportunity rover. Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam here to tell us about it.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The dust storm is so intense it has actually plunged the rover into complete darkness. And it is unfortunate because this rover depends on solar energy to run.
VAN DAM: So NASA's having a difficult time communicating with this device. So get to the footage, you will see the picture of the rover right in front of you, this darkness has now prevented the solar powered Opportunity, that is its name, from charging its batteries sufficiently. So the rover has fallen silent as a result. So NASA not being able to communicate directly with this. Opportunity
has apparently put itself into a low power fault mode, turning off everything but its internal clock in an effort to conserve what energy it has left.
This dust storm circles the entire planet of Mars, which is a milestone that has only happened about a dozen times on the Martian planet in modern recorded history. So you can looking at the actual dust storm that is currently enveloping the entire planet of Mars. Beautiful image, let's get to the details.
This is what a typical day would look like in Mars. Good visibility, you can see all the individual craters on the planet. This is what it looks like now. This is a global dust storm encircling the entire planet. We are talking about 18 million square kilometers or roughly 7 million square miles.
That is larger than the entire size of North America. So we take kind of a timeline of what has happened to the sun over the past, well, let's say 15 days or so. Early June, the sun was visible from the Opportunity rover.
But as the dust storm got stronger, it started to blot out the sun before it plunged the rover into darkness. Not good news for a solar- powered vehicle that relies on the sunshine above.
So it has gone into complete darkness. NASA having very difficult time communicating with it. The power levels have dropped; 645 watt hours was its equivalent when the sun was fully shining on June 2nd.
But now it has dropped to 22 watt hours. NASA believes that they will see the dust storm start to settle and they will hopefully be able to phone or communicate directly back to the Opportunity rover. But they --
VAN DAM: -- have to wait and see it out.
Interesting fact, this particular rover and another rover that is on the planet of Mars at the moment was only on scheduled to work for roughly 90 days. It was a 90-day mission that was set back in 2004.
It has gotten its money worth, NASA has got their money worth, because this particular rover has been exploring the Red Planet for well over a decade. So the fact that it squeezed out that much time and that much information from the rover, if it goes dark now, it would be a shame but I'd say they got their money's worth.
HOWELL: Kind of interesting.
VAN DAM: Really. Let's hope that the Opportunity rover communicates with Earth once again.
HOWELL: Let's hope it gets that opportunity. Thank you so much.
Still on the topic of space, the man who changed the way we understand the stars has been immortalized on Earth and in the cosmos.
At a service at Westminster Abbey, the ashes of the late physicist, the author, Stephen Hawking were interred between the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. A unique aspect of Hawking, however, will remain beyond the reach of mankind.
A recording of his voice has been set to music and beamed thousands of light years into space, specifically to a black hole, which is one of the mysteries which Hawking devoted much of his life to.
His daughter said, quote, "It is a message of peace and hope about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."
That is a good message to end this show. Thank you so much for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. Let's reset for more news from around the world at the top of the hour.