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CNN NEWSROOM

Tropical Storm Florence Pushes through the Carolinas; Hong Kong Issues Highest Level Warning for Typhoon Mangkhut; Man Dies from Shark Attack on Cape Cod; Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate with Probe; Russia Pension Protests; Wine Producer Looks to Perfect Space Champagne. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired September 16, 2018 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00]

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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hundreds of rescues in the U.S. as tropical depression Florence floods parts of the Carolinas and promises more rain for days.

And a monster typhoon is heading for Southern China after bringing fierce winds to Hong Kong and destruction to the Philippines.

We're live from CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: Our top stories, two massive storms causing serious problems simultaneously but half the world apart. Monster Typhoon Mangkhut is bearing down on Hong Kong and South China after leaving a trail of destruction in the Philippines. We'll have more on that story in a moment.

But we'll start here in the United States. Florence was just downgraded to a tropical depression. It may be weakening and moving away from the Carolina coast but the danger is far from over.

This storm has already killed 13 people. And officials warn the massive flooding could just be getting started. Florence is dumping enormous amounts of rain as it moves inland. And all of that water is pushing rivers to record levels.

The city of Jacksonville, North Carolina, is warning people who evacuated their homes ahead of Florence to stay away for now. Widespread power outages, impassable roads and flooding are making it dangerous for them to return home at this moment.

CNN's Ed Lavandera says some people who did not evacuate are worried the flooding could get even worse.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're along Highway 258 in a neighborhood just north of Jacksonville, North Carolina. This is an area where, throughout the course of the day, about 30 people had to be rescued from their homes by Coast Guard helicopters flying overhead. All of this because there's a river that runs through the city here or into the city called New River. The water from that river spilling into many neighborhoods.

We've spent the day in this one particular neighborhood where residents told us around 7 o'clock in the morning, they noticed the floodwaters started creeping into the neighborhood. It didn't take long for several dozen homes to be under three to four feet of water.

Obviously on a third night of rainfall here in Jacksonville and along the North Carolina coast, many people huddled in their homes, going to bed once again wondering about what it is they're going to be waking up to.

We interviewed several families that say they never expected this neighborhood to be threatened by floodwaters. It's withstood heavy downpours from tropical storms and major hurricanes in the past. They thought they would be high and dry here.

Nonetheless, we saw several families loading their cars, packing up as many belongings as they could and heading to higher ground here to avoid these floodwaters.

The good news is, here as night fell, it started to recede a little bit. But it is again raining and many people expect that this river won't fully crest for another couple of days. They won't really feel for certain they're out of danger until that happens.

That anxiety and the tension of what exactly the damage this storm is bringing to this part of North Carolina is still sinking in. Many people coming to terms with what it is they're going to be dealing with in the weeks ahead -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Jacksonville, North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Ed reporting there from Jacksonville but now we're getting to video from Goldsboro, North Carolina, take a look at this road that has been washed away. The governor warns people to stay off the roads as much as possible. And this is why. Much of the state is dealing with rising floodwaters from Florence.

A woman in Spring Lake, North Carolina, did drive on the roads there. She ended up losing control of her car when she hit water. The car was swept off the road into the woods. The driver did manage to kick out a window and escape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water is so high that it drains my car, drains the battery, everything. So I call my cousin and am like, hey, can you come and get me. Then the water keeps building up like some Titanic stuff. You could see the water coming up.

So I'm like, boom and pushed the window out. As I pushed the window out and tried to swim out, the current just takes me down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far from the main road are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Far. Far. At least a half mile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Officials have warned citizens to stay off the roads because that very thing can happen --

[05:05:00]

ALLEN: -- quite easily.

Well, the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, is especially vulnerable to flooding. And Florence presents a huge challenge. Officials there say first responders have been rescuing people nonstop from the rising floodwaters. Our Polo Sandoval has that part of the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we've been seeing today so far as the situation at the local river continues to worsen, is something disturbing similar to what I witnessed two years ago when Hurricane Matthew made for an extremely dangerous situation in this same area, where many people lost their homes.

We've been witnessing the Lumber River continue to rise, currently flowing at 17.5 feet. And it's still going up, expected to crest possibly tomorrow, still has at least 7 more feet to go, according to the current forecast. My colleagues and I spent today driving through the streets of Lumberton today.

And we reached a point when we just couldn't press forward anymore because of the danger. I can tell you, having covered these kinds of situations before, it's been a while. At least I can't remember the last time I saw water, floodwaters rise so quickly in neighborhoods and in businesses.

Some of the footage we're showing you is some of the places that we shot with our vehicle with some of the equipment we have in this especially fitted vehicle, to be able to drive to these conditions.

But eventually it did get simply too dangerous, so we turned back. And that is what authorities are recommending people do, is stay indoors. There's something that authorities have been noticing lately and that is people who have assumed that the worst is over, because there's no more high winds, so many of them deciding to leave shelters.

Authorities saying it is not a good idea. There are several rescues that have already happened here in Lumberton. Hundreds, in fact, according to authorities, and they will continue into the night as the Lumber River continues to rise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Again, the storm is affecting both North Carolina and South Carolina. We turn now to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, where some say there's not as much damage as they were expected but our CNN weather team warns the worse flooding is likely yet to come.

A few hours ago, our Scott McLean and his team drove around Myrtle Beach to show us the conditions there.

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SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Myrtle Beach has not seen much in the way of flooding but if you go south of here, Garden City Beach did see some and was related to the storm surge. The peak of that surge was around high tide, around 1:30 today. That's when water managed to get into some homes near the water.

I spoke to one man who was returning from being evacuated. And I asked him about what he found, which was a little bit of water in his front room. Listen.

So when you first heard of Florence, what was your initial thought?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, not again.

MCLEAN: So far, what is your reaction so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very pleased with what we got. I came down here to see my brand new furnishings wet after replacing them a couple months ago. I just put in a new heat pump, I figured it was going to be floating in the inlet. So I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

MCLEAN: The big story here in South Carolina is going to be flooding over the next couple of days in places like Conway, about 50 miles inland from where we are. The river there is expected to cause record setting flooding. That may not come until Wednesday, Thursday or even beyond.

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ALLEN: Another major storm is planned for the Western Hemisphere. Typhoon Mangkhut has its eyes set on Southern China after bearing down on Hong Kong. We'll take you there live, next.

Plus a deadly shark attack leaves beachgoers in Massachusetts on edge.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: Typhoon Mangkhut has set its destructive path on mainland

China. It is expected to make landfall in Southern China late Sunday night. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated in Guangzhou City in Hong Kong. Residents stayed inside as strong winds and heavy rain tore off roofs, snapped trees and downed power lines.

But after the worst apparently passed through, some people ventured outside to walk and swim in the flooded streets. Others traveled to Hong Kong just for the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I wanted to come here and see how severe the typhoon is. But now that I came here to the pier, it is not as wild as I had expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came here to actually catch the typhoon. I have, like, a helmet with a camera mount. And I have my waterproof gear for catching good footage of the storm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Our Kristie Lu Stout is live for us in Hong Kong.

Hello to you, Kristie. You have been out there for some time being blown around.

[05:15:00]

ALLEN: Are conditions getting any better?

We just saw people heading outside. Some people took a little swim in the floodwater. That's crazy.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, absolutely. It feels like conditions are starting to improve a little bit as Typhoon Mangkhut continues to sweep past Hong Kong. It is continuing to rain, not the pounding we were experiencing earlier in the day.

There's a little bit of wind but not the major gusts of wind we were experiencing firsthand and being reported by the Hong Kong Observatory, at one point, winds up to 230 to 240 kilometers clocked here in Hong Kong.

That means the threat of storm surge. Peak storm surge in Victoria Harbor as well as peak storm surge being reported in outlying and low- lying areas of Hong Kong like Taiyo. Now Hong Kong, no stranger to typhoons. We experience typhoons every storm season.

But Mangkhut is the most powerful storm of the year. And the meteorologists here in Hong Kong have been warning of this being one of the most powerful storms to hit Hong Kong since they started recording typhoon activity five decades ago.

The danger is not over yet. As the rains continue to pick up here, we know Mangkhut is a rainmaker. At its peak, it had rain bands about 900 kilometers wide. This thing is going to churn up more rain and that will introduce the threat of landslides and flash flooding.

We have been monitoring social media activity all across Hong Kong and Southern China. And we are getting pictures of some flooding in areas, for example, here in Hong Kong in the southern and the eastern part. We're going to continue to report on that as well as the aftermath of the storm.

So keep it here for CNN. We'll keep you across all elements of the story. Back to you, Natalie, in the NEWSROOM.

ALLEN: Kristie, thank you so much.

My colleague, Anna Coren, spoke with storm chaser James Reynolds earlier, who is in the Philippines right now, following the typhoon. Here's how he sees it and how it impacted the Philippines.

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JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER: Hi, Anna, it has been an exhausting and very long 48 hours here. The storm absolutely battered the northern area of Tuguegarao and all the way up to the coast. Ferocious winds hit in the early hours of Saturday morning.

And today I drove from the extreme north coast down to the main (INAUDIBLE) of Tuguegarao to check it out and there was continuous damage to buildings, power lines down, blocking the roads, trees down, (INAUDIBLE), power lines everywhere, a real mess right now -- Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: What is the biggest problem?

Obviously, where the storm made landfall, the government said that thousands of homes were destroyed. And now we're looking at your pictures, where the winds and the rain have devastated, obviously, certain parts.

But what are the major problems?

Is it flooding?

Is it landslides?

REYNOLDS: Right now, from what I saw, the flooding situation wasn't too bad in the area. (INAUDIBLE). There's a lot of wind damage as the storm made landfall as a category 5 typhoon.

So all the cell phone towers have been knocked out. Obviously, electricity is down over large portion of the country up here. But right now, (INAUDIBLE) damage inflicted by the winds.

COREN: James, the people you have spoken to, did they heed warnings and evacuate and get out of harm's way?

Or did they decide to sit and wait?

REYNOLDS: Well, Anna, the reality of a storm hitting a country like the Philippines is that not everyone has the means to get out of the way when (INAUDIBLE) supertyphoon like this has come onto shore.

But I can tell you, next to the hotel I was staying in and sheltering from the storm, there were people who rode out this storm in (INAUDIBLE) shacks and huts and I'm sure that was repeated across a large portion of the country as well. So it remains to be seen just how many people have been hurt. (INAUDIBLE) in that respect.

COREN: James, we're getting conflicting reports. There are some government agencies reporting as many as 25 deaths. The official death toll still remains at two.

What are you hearing from local officials?

REYNOLDS: Well, unfortunately, I haven't been hearing much, mostly because the communication issues that have been going on. I only managed to get a mobile phone reception when I came back into the middle of the main city of Tuguegarao.

(INAUDIBLE) kilometers out of town and (INAUDIBLE) kilometers on the road there was just no mobile signal. So people can't talk to each other. I know that there are people trying to contact their loved ones with no success. I don't think the government will be having issues communicating with people and getting in touch with regional villages and towns.

[05:20:00]

REYNOLDS: But I think it will be a while until this clears out. (INAUDIBLE) damages and injuries (INAUDIBLE) come to light.

COREN: Yes, we certainly have had problems over the last 24 hours contacting our reporters, our guests in the Philippines and as you say, so many areas are still cut off. James Reynolds, joining us there live from the Philippines, many thanks for your update.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: So we just saw Hong Kong threatened, China is next and we just saw what's happened in the Philippines. So yet again, another deadly typhoon.

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ALLEN: In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, they have seen the first fatal shark attack there in more than 80 years. On Saturday, a man died from a suspected shark bite. And shark sightings are on the rise in the area. Reporter Jim Smith from Boston affiliate WBC has more about it.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden somebody yells, shark! Shark!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were a ton of people screaming, asking for help. JIM SMITH, WBC CORRESPONDENT: A nightmare at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, a young man bitten by a shark and this time it is fatal. Witnesses say the victim was boogie boarding and suddenly attacked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were just going like this, waving to us. And I ran up. I ran up. There was just somebody in the -- somebody had him by his -- like underneath his arms ,sitting in the surf. You know, they had him supported up, his head up in the surf and other people came down with towels and wrapped his legs in towels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a report of an unknown shark bite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an unconscious male (INAUDIBLE) leg injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around noontime today, our department received a 9-1-1 call about a possible shark attack in the water, a male party in his mid-20s was brought out of the water and CPR was in progress.

SMITH (voice-over): The 26-year-old victim is from Revere. Police say his family has been notified. A long-time surfer says people did everything they could but there were severe leg wounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a half dozen people trying to stop the bleeding with towels and I guess the cord from the boogie board. But they were amazing. They did a great job.

SMITH (voice-over): Police closed the beach to swimming on one of the prime weekends of the September season. Even long-time Cape Codders now realize things have changed, thanks to a surging shark population.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) all the time. So it's a little -- you know, it's scary and --

[05:25:00]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- really sad. My heart goes out for that family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Coming up here, President Trump has a busy week ahead of him after a not-so-great week last week for various reasons. We'll have a report and a live report about that.

Plus, an arrest is made in a Texas killing spree. The identity of the suspect may surprise you.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. And around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the top stories.

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[05:30:00]

ALLEN: It will take days and possibly weeks to assess the damage Florence inflicted on coastal communities. North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina was on the southern edge of the storm. CNN's Nick Watt says the beach town appears to have come through in good shape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 9:00 am Sunday morning, the evacuation order that concerned North Myrtle Beach will be lifted, which suggests local officials, state officials are confident that North Myrtle Beach has already seen the worst of this storm.

There's one more high tide in the early hours of the morning and if North Myrtle Beach survives that, then it has survived Hurricane Florence relatively unscathed. There were power lines and trees down, some localized flooding but not what people feared this storm might bring.

People will start coming back tomorrow, they've already started coming back on Saturday. And one woman who saw her house standing said to me, you don't understand the feeling, the joy that it brings me to see my house standing, particularly when I've been through devastation before.

Her house was nearly completely destroyed back in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo. Hurricane Florence, then tropical storm Florence, did not bring the devastation here that some might have feared.

It is an area very prone to flooding. It has flooded many times. This time, just localized. They really dodged a bullet here. Now the story, though, is going to move further inland. It's going to be fresh water we're talking about, not tidal surge. And that has to do with the rain this huge storm has dumped over North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Pee Dee River, which rises in North Carolina, flows down into South Carolina, remember, trillions of gallons, a record in that state fell in North Carolina. That water has to go somewhere. Some of that water is heading south as the storm moves west and away from the coast -- Nick Watt, CNN, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to tour some of the storm damaged areas this week. Back in Washington, he's been dealing with a rough week.

His former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has already been convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion, has now pleaded guilty to other charges in a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Also, Mr. Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court also hit a possible

snag. An anonymous woman claims Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

And Mr. Trump continues to insist that 3,000 people did not die in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria one year ago. He tweeted the new death toll was cooked up to make him look bad.

Let's talk about these developments with political analyst Scott Lucas, joining us from Birmingham, England, where he teaches international politics at the University of Birmingham.

We always appreciate you coming on. Thanks for coming here, Scott. Let's begin with Paul Manafort's plea deal. The White House is saying this has absolutely nothing to do with the president or his campaign.

How are they so certain?

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Apparently Donald Trump just said, Paul who?

I don't know the guy.

And Rudy Giuliani, of course, who can turn day into night, is trying to claim that the investigation in Paul Manafort could have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was campaign manager for Donald Trump for several months in 2016.

So the short answer is, they're not certain. They are not certain about what exactly Paul Manafort may have already told special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the plea deal. They are certainly not certain of what Manafort may say in additional interviews with Mueller's team.

And their line is, of course, that anything Paul Manafort had to do with the consultancy or the activities before 2016, nothing to do with him.

The problem is Paul Manafort as campaign manager knows the inner workings of the Trump campaign for that period before the election. He knows particular details of finances around the campaign. So, yes, they are worried about what he might disclose.

ALLEN: Manafort is something that is on the minds of people as they go to vote in the midterms. They are approaching. When it comes to President Trump, what issues will be at the forefronts of voters' minds?

The chaos in the White House or the great economy and low unemployment, which would work in his favor?

LUCAS: I don't want to --

[05:35:00]

LUCAS: -- speak for any individual voter, because you have to remember, as congressional elections, these issues vary state to state. But I think you'll see a shift in the Republican strategy, including that of Donald Trump, given the uncertainty over the elections.

At one point the Trump administration was going to fight this on the very tough line of, we're tough against immigrants; that was sort of undermined or jeopardized because of the controversy of separating children from parents.

At one point they were going to fight it on tariffs and being tough and other countries can't push us around. That's being undermined by doubts about whether tariffs will hurt the U.S. economy.

So I think they now are on the line that the U.S. economy has shown growth during the first 18 months of the Trump presidency. They will try to prevent the idea, of course, as this is part of the long-term growth, for example, in which the last 18 months of Barack Obama's presidency had even more job increases.

They will try to say that this growth is not based and is not a bubble based just on tax cuts that will burst soon but it's a long-term economic miracle.

What will voters make of that?

I think it really depends on whether they see the glass half full or half empty regarding their own prospects and whether they think this is due to Donald Trump. Or is actually part of a wider development, in which other people, including the Obama administration, have some responsibility.

ALLEN: Right, another issue that came up this week, the president's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, an anonymous woman alleges he assaulted her years ago.

Could that have an impact on whether he gets voted onto the Supreme Court?

LUCAS: I don't want to comment on the details of the case, because it is subject to dispute. But what I would say is in broader context that I think as long as the letter is just at the level of an anonymous letter where you don't have a specific accuser, I don't think it will carry enough weight to make a difference in the hearings.

What I would say, however, two things, one is, don't forget that I think there are standing issues that are arguably more serious. And that is there are some on the committee who say that Brett Kavanaugh gave misleading answers.

For example, over the improper acquiring of Democratic Party documents about 15 years ago and whether he had any involvement in that. There are questions about his answer regarding his contacts with a law firm that represents Donald Trump and whether that is a conflict of interest. And secondly, all of this has come about -- and the question you asked

me is really supercharged because this nomination is being rushed through. All legal concerns have been superseded by the political imperative that the Republicans want Kavanaugh confirmed before November.

And when you let political concerns override the legal basis of what these hearings should be, then you're going to get these kind of -- let's call them complications.

ALLEN: Yes and we certainly see political concerns at the forefront of many of the issues there in Washington, don't we?

Also this week, Scott, the president attacked Democrats for the higher death number reported in the Puerto Rico hurricane. It attacked them for perhaps changing the numbers although researchers at George Washington University, Harvard, Penn State, all agree on the estimate of almost 3,000 who died.

So why is the president furiously debunking this story?

LUCAS: Because he doesn't want any blame for the fact that almost as many people died as a result of Hurricane Maria as died in the attacks on 9/11. Because he initially tried to proclaim that he was winning over this disaster when the death toll was only officially around 32.

And because even last week he was proclaiming an incredible unsung success and that he was still winning.

I'm going to drop objectivity here for a minute and that is I don't mind the president trying to claim credit in office. I don't mind a president going after his critics, that's part of politics.

But in this case what has happened is Donald Trump has reduced a tragedy, more than a tragedy, a preventable tragedy, in which thousands of people died, into saying, oh, no, no, they just simply perished of old age. Nothing to see here.

He's denigrated medical reports and said, oh, this is just simply, you know, people who are spouting off because they are my political enemies.

That just -- look, we should honor those who died in Maria. We should try to pursue the recovery of Puerto Rico, which has suffered for months because nothing was done. And we should not allow this to become part of cheap politics, even as we face another hurricane on the U.S. East Coast.

ALLEN: Scott Lucas, we always appreciate your insight, thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you.

ALLEN: We turn now to the U.S. state of Texas. Authorities say they have caught a serial killer there. The suspect is a U.S. Border Patrol agent. He's been identified as this man, Juan David Ortiz. He's accused -- [05:40:00]

ALLEN: -- of murdering four people before being arrested in Laredo, Texas, on Saturday.

The case broke when the woman he allegedly tried to kidnap escaped. She called police and described the suspect. Officials say there could be more victims.

A new round of demonstrations could challenge the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin. We'll have a live report from Moscow on what this is about -- coming up.

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ALLEN: More protests are set for Russia where rallies against pension reform are expected in St. Petersburg. This after protests across the country last weekend. People are furious at proposals to raise the retirement age.

Police cracked down and a monitoring group said more than 1,000 people were detained. The protests have been called for by supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

CNN's Matthew Chance joins us live from Moscow.

But Matthew, even traditional backers of President Putin are angry about this, aren't they?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are. And actually, these protests that are expected to be held in St. Petersburg today have not been called by Alexei Navalny. They've been called by other liberal opposition groups in Russia that want to distance themselves from Alexei Navalny.

But the Communists have also staged protests in this country. Last week it was, indeed, Alexei Navalny that staged protests in 19 cities across the country, in more than 1,000 people quite rightly were detained. It's ordinary core, traditional --

[05:45:00]

CHANCE: -- Putin supporters as well that expressed their anger about the proposed pension changes, raising the pension age for both men and women five years -- by five years. It is an issue which has -- one of the rare issues in Russia that has cut across the political divide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: Part of the nationwide protests being held in Russia to oppose the reform of the pension system in this country. The key issue is the retirement age and the plans by the Russian governments to push that back to 65 for men and to 60 for women.

It is angering people, not just among ordinary Putin critics but among the general population, ordinary Russian workers who normally support the government across this country.

CHANCE (voice-over): At 59, these should have been Evgeny Pankov's last few months of work after a lifetime of back breaking labor in the construction industry.

"I really feel my age," he complains. "My joints hurt, especially in the morning."

But Evgeny's dream of taking it easy has now been shattered. The Russian government's decision to raise pension ages from 60 to 65 for men means his retirement has to be pushed back, particularly galling in a country where average male life expectancy is just 67.

"I'm not just upset, I'm outraged. Now I'll be forced to work even longer, depriving my loved ones, my grandchildren of my attention."

CHANCE: Evgeny is just one of the millions of Russians who have been adversely affected by these controversial pension reforms. In fact, the issue has united young and old in opposition across the country, raising concerns in the Kremlin that the plight of ordinary workers could actually undermine the popularity of the country's president.

CHANCE (voice-over): Amid nationwide protests and plunging approval ratings, Vladimir Putin made a televised address to soften the reforms specifically for women but also to insist that they must go ahead.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Under no terms, if we hesitate now, it could threaten stability in society and enhance national security.

CHANCE (voice-over): It's not going down well with those affected most.

CHANCE: If the government says and Putin says that they have no choice, they don't have enough money to pay the pensions unless they reform the system, do you understand that?

Do you believe the government when they tell you that?

EVGENY PANKOV, RUSSIAN WORKER (through translator): No, I do not believe it. Comparing the incomes of high ranked officials, they have simply unimaginable salaries. I do not believe that there is no money. It's a lie.

CHANCE (voice-over): For many Russians, the pension issue has further undefined their trust in the Kremlin and its leader.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: There you have it. That's the nub of the issue, a real breakdown in trust between the country's leadership and its people. The big question, of course, is whether the protests across the

country are going to gather momentum and pose a serious challenge to the Russian leadership and to Vladimir Putin himself. And at this point, we're not at that stage but certainly we're watching it very closely, as are the Russian authorities.

ALLEN: And we'll continue to monitor that story, of course.

Coming next, one small sip for a man, one giant gulp for mankind. How champagne is rocketing into the space age.

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[05:50:00]

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ALLEN: Forget the jet set. The future of high-end travel is space. Private companies are looking to dominate cosmic tourism and one champagne maker wants in on the action. CNN's Melissa Bell has the story, floating somewhere above France.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Weightlessness is the most extraordinary feeling.

(LAUGHTER)

BELL: Like being a kindergartener (ph). Of course, until now, astronauts were the only ones who got to experience it. But that could be about to change.

TRUMP: We must have American dominance in space. So important.

BELL (voice-over): A new space race is on, not only for super powers aiming for control, but for businessmen looking for profit.

ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA MOTORS: Really, the key is making this affordable to almost anyone who wants to go.

BELL: It is that new breed of space consumer that Mumm has decided to target with its Cordon Stellar champagne and its designer believes there is much to celebrate.

OCTAVE DE GAULLE, DESIGNER: We are the dawn of this new era of space. There are so many competitions trying to send men into space.

You could say that the next big challenge is how to live in space, not only to bring our -- what we need just to survive, but what we need to deploy cultural rituals. And that is also the purpose of this bottle. You know, it's to bring a bit of what makes us human.

BELL: So nearly 50 years on from the first moon landing... NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT (voice over): It's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

BELL: -- it is mankind that will soon be able to celebrate with bubbles.

Up here, you have no sense of what is up and what is down. So the design of the bottle was crucial, just getting the champagne to pour. If you can catch it, the champagne actually tastes different up here. Its texture, its taste to fill your mouth, quite differently than they do on Earth.

The champagne took three years --

[05:55:00]

BELL (voice-over): -- to develop and how much did it cost, you might ask, well, Mumm is keeping mum on that.

So was it worth it or will it fall flat?

Jean-Francois Clervoy is a French astronaut who helped with the project.

JEAN-FRANCOIS CLERVOY, FRENCH ASTRONAUT: So the best way to move forward is like Captain Kirk said, to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life, boldly go where no one has gone before.

BELL: This experiment certainly has provided that. Whether or not it will translate into champagne any time soon is unclear. But it does at the very least provide a sparkling vision of the future -- Melissa Bell, CNN, somewhere above France's Champagne region.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: What fun there. I'm sorry Melissa had to do that story. I'm sure it was painful.

(LAUGHTER)

ALLEN: Before we go, I want to give you an update on Typhoon Mangkhut; it devastated agricultural areas, wiping out crops in the Philippines that many people depended on for their livelihood.

Now the storm is battering Hong Kong with heavy rain and wind gusts. It passed through the southern edge of the city and just made landfall in Southern China. The storm has weakened since plowing into the Philippines on Saturday.

And we have new numbers on the death toll. And we had not been given specific numbers before because communications were just so bad in the area and they couldn't get the latest. But now we are learning that 40 people have died in the storm. Those are the latest numbers we have for you.

And I'm Natalie Allen. For our viewers next, "NEW DAY" is coming up for viewers in the U.S. For everyone else, "AFRICAN VOICES."