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CNN NEWSROOM

Northern Ireland Troubles and European Challenges; E.U. Leaders Discuss Brexit as Clock Ticks; Seven-Year-Old Girl in Critical Condition after Assault with Pipe; Diplomacy and Commas on Secretary of States Agenda; Cathay Pacific Misspells Name on Its Own Plane; Koreas Unveil Initial Plan For Denuclearization; Deadline Set For Kavanaugh Accuser Decision; Trump Toured Hurricane Stricken Areas; Trump Reiterates Dissatisfaction With Sessions. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 20, 2018 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, selling the same horse twice. Critics accuse Pyongyang of making old promised and failing, making real concessions.

Will she, or won't she? Republicans' set deadline for Brett Kavanaugh's accuser to decide if she'll testify against the Supreme Court nominee.

And why does this keep happening? Three Australian football players in black face, and they say they had no idea it was racist.

Hello everybody, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

The (INAUDIBLE) fairly dry on a wide-ranging peace agreement between North and South before the Trump administration called it a great success. And now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says, start nuclear negotiation to start, and he said, an end date for those talks: January 2021 -- the end of Trump's first term in office.

Kim Jong-un has promised to scrap a key missile facility as well as a nuclear complex, but only if the U.S. takes corresponding measures. And for now, there's no details on exactly what corresponding measures would actually look like. CNN's Will Ripley begins our coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their political romance may still be in the honeymoon stage but North Korean Leader, Kim Jong- un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in seemed ready to take things to the next level. During a summit filled with smiling photo ops in Pyongyang, both leaders touted a new era of peace and cooperation, joint economic, transportation, and healthcare projects. Even a bid to co-host a 2032 Summer Olympics.

The North and South also signed a detailed agreement to end all military hostility. North Korea promised to shut down a key missile test site. And it's young beyond nuclear facility, even saying international inspectors will allowed to watch, but a vaguely warded caveat says, the U.S. must take corresponding measures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We assume that to be a declaration ending the Korean War or other steps.

RIPLEY: Steps that could include a long-time North Korean demand that U.S. troops scale down and eventually pull out of the Korean Peninsula -- a traditional deal breaker for Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does not move the ball forward at all. We're still in the same place.

RIPLEY: President Donald Trump trying project momentum in his own dealings with Pyongyang.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had very good news from North Korea and South Korea.

RIPLEY: Crediting some of the progress on his personal relationship with Kim Jong-un. Plans are in the works for a possible second summit with the North Korean leader.

TRUPM: We're talking. He's very calm -- he's calm, I'm calm.

RIPLEY: Trump is citing North Korea's lack of recent missile tests as a positive sign, despite the months-long stalemate in denuclearization talks. North Korean state media this week, placing all the blame on U.S. demands, once again calling them gangster-like.

President Moon will try to salvage the situation, acting as mediator when he visits the U.S. next week. Kim Jong-un says, he'll soon be the first North Korean leader ever to visit Seoul -- a chance for more photo ops and more promises of a bright unified future.

What happens next could clarify if Washington and Seoul are still on the same page when it comes to Pyongyang or if the U.S. is beginning to look like a third wheel. Will Ripley, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: CNN's Paula Hancock is with us live from Seoul; and in San Francisco, Philip Yun, Executive Director of the Plowshares Fund and Former Advisor on North Korea to President Bill Clinton. So, Paula, first to you, I guess for the latest there, it was a relatively easy day three for these two leaders -- a little sight-seeing. Can't have a summit without summit. This comes after a day of announcements on Wednesday, which some torrential progress; others say, it was just a big of smoke and mirrors.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John. Today, what we saw was the -- the two leaders climbing to the top of the Mt. Paektu. Now, this symbolically is a very big deal for both North and South Korea. It's the spiritual homeland of the Korean people. So, to see the leaders of both North and South Korea at the top of this summit, holding hands with their arms in the air, and smiling with the entourage around them, it is incredibly symbolic. We heard from President Moon when he was on the plane on the way to

Pyongyang, he said he'd always wanted to go to Mt. Paektu -- it also borders China. But he said, he never wanted to go the China way, he was waiting until he could access it from North Korea. So, that is a very symbolic moment. And then just last night as well, President Moon speaking to 150,000 North Koreans at a mass games that was organized for him saying that he wanted denuclearization, and the 150,000 North Koreans cheered as South Korean president telling them that. So, certainly, symbolically and from a photo op point of view, there's have been some very strong moments in just the last 24 hours. John.

[01:05:19] VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Stay with us. Because, Philip, to you, there appears the concern here among many is that there's a lack of details and specifics, which there's a lot of room for interpretation. And this seems mostly on the issue of scrapping North Korea's nuclear program, so how do you see it?

PHILIP YUN, DIRECTOR, PLOWSHARES FUND: Yes, I think that's absolutely right. I think that it's -- with North Korea, as we said before, it's never as good as Donald Trump, perhaps, is saying. But quite frankly, I don't think it is as bad as some of the critics are saying as well. Out of the summit has come a couple of really good things, you know: One is the United States and North Korea are now after a stalemate, are now agreeing to talks which they had canceled before. So, I think that's a good sign; it's the start of a process. There's still an issue of, really, who goes first and what that means.

I also think that there's something that's overlooked that the north- south summit that happened talked about confidence building measures. It was talking about the military of both sides, sort of, stepping back a little bit. It's November 1st or no fly zones over the border, no military drills by the border, and things doing what the East Sea -- West Sea where there was a lot of fire fights in the past. So, if we're worried about miscalculations, which is what I have been worried about more than anything else, that tensions rise, these are concrete steps, if they're implemented fully that will make the situation less volatile. So, that's good news.

VAUSE: Paula, to you, the secretary of state has said, you know, he's welcomed the decision to defend the Yongbyon, the nuclear facility. But he also added in the presence of US and IAEA -- International Energy Agency inspectors, but if you read the declaration that Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un actually signed, it only says the North will take measures for "the permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon as the United States takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the June 12th U.S.-DPRK joint statement."

You know, that was, basically, back in Singapore. When we're talking 24 hours ago, there was a lot of talk about international inspectors being allowed in. I think it came from President Moon. So, where is the confusion here? What actually happened? HANCOCKS: Well, John, there is confusion here. And everybody is

asking the Blue House for clarification and the answer is let's wait until everyone gets back from Pyongyang and ask them. Effectively, what they agreed to yesterday was that they were going to dismantle this one missile site and there would be international experts allowed to go to that. The Yongbyon nuclear facility was separate. That was conditional on U.S. measures. And there was no mention in the declaration or the speeches from either one of the leaders about U.S. or IAEA inspectors.

Now, of course, North Korea may have agreed to that. We simply don't know and that wasn't publicly announced, or it may actually be the fact that North Korea has announced something and the U.S. has taken it a little step further, and they're talking across purposes. This would not be the first time that they appear to be doing that. But as far as we heard and we saw from that declaration, North Korea did not agree to having nuclear inspectors inside the country.

VAUSE: And Phil, how concerned are you that it seems Washington and Pyongyang, you know, they continue to talk past each other.

YUN: Well, of course, it's a cause for concern. I agree that the actual declaration, if you look at it only referred to inspectors or experts. I believe it was with respect to the missile sites. It didn't say anything about the -- about the Yongbyon facility at all, but I do think that this points out to the general issue that we have to worry, worry about is what does denuclearization mean and who goes first?

This is a variation of what has plagued the U.S.-North Korea relationship as to who steps first? One is, do you agree to denuclearization? And then, do we go in talks now? It's a peace treaty first and then, as what North Korea wants a peace treaty first and then denuclearization. The United States, the same, vice versa. So, these are issues that still have to be ironed out.

But again, they're talking here, which before they were not. And remember, one year ago, we were actually worried that United States was going to have a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. So, the situation is much better. That doesn't mean that it can't get worse but for right now, we're in a good situation. Better situation.

VAUSE: Yes. I just want to stick with denuclearization because the inter-Korea part of this seems to be a big win. But on denuclearization, would you say it was just that expectations were just too high to begin with for what the South Korean president could actually accomplish here?

YUN: You know, I think that's right. I think, really, the South Korean president -- all he wanted to do was get the process moving forward to get some momentum going, get the United States and -- the United States and North Korea to actually start having a dialogue and a process.

In my view, you know, I think we're setting ourselves up for failure if we expect denuclearization to happen too quickly. It's going to take a long time, I think. President Trump realized has been the case with other things; it's a lot more difficult than what you initially expect. So, I think there's some expectation setting here that's going to have to continue as we move down the road here if we're going to get anything accomplished.

[01:10:03] VAUSE: And Paula, finally, to you, we've seen a situation here where President Moon Jae-in, the South Korean President, is simply, you know, now moving on his own track, is moving away from the U.S. -- you know, with his own priorities in all of these negotiations with the North Koreans.

HANCOCKS: Well, President Moon, John has made it clear that he is now the chief negotiator. He's been asked by the U.S. president, apparently, to mediate between those two countries. But he also is focusing on the inter-Korea relationship and that is blossoming. I mean, you see the photos of these two men together. The third time they're meeting, clearly, they have built a rapport, and that is important to try to improve that relation.

And as Philip was mentioning, the military pact that North and South Korea have agreed upon is significant. They have decided to demilitarize part of the joint security area. This is the area in the DMZ where North and South Korean soldiers have been facing off against each other for decades. They have said from October 1st, they're going to start to clear some land mines. There's going to be a no-fly zone.

The naval areas, the maritime areas on both sides of the country, there will be some areas there that they will take care of. There are significant movements happening, guard posts in the DMZ will be taken down on a trial basis. So, certainly, from an inter-Korean point of view, progress was made or at least it seemed to have been made if they stick to that agreement.

VAUSE: Yes, it does seem that the criticism and skepticism about the denuclearization part is overshadowing what has been some real progress in this relationship between North and South. And with that, I'd like to thank you both, Paula and Philip. I appreciate you both for being with us.

YUN: Thank you.

VAUSE: And we'll take a short break. When we come back, the clock is ticking for the woman who accuses U.S. Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault. Republican Senators say, she has until the end of the week to decide if she is willing to testify.

Also, ahead, from the troubles to the worries. How the good Friday agreement could play into Brexit?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:15:04] VAUSE: The woman who is accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault now has until Friday to decide if she's willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats have accused the committee chairman of rushing the entire process. Meantime, the U.S. president is defending his nominee. Here's Jeff Zeleny, reporting in from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TRUMP: He is such an outstanding man. Very hard for me to imagine that anything happened.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump not only standing behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tonight but subtly questioning the credibility of the woman accusing him of sexual assault.

TRUMP: Really, they are hurting somebody's life very badly and it's very unfair I think to -- as you know, Justice Kavanaugh has been treated very, very tough.

ZELENY: The president expressing confidence about Kavanaugh's confirmation. Repeatedly referring to the federal judge as Justice.

TRUMP: Justice Kavanaugh -- Justice Kavanaugh.

ZELENY: But the president also saying today, he's eager to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and groping her during a party more than three decades ago in high school allegations, Kavanaugh categorically denies.

TRUMP: If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we'll have to make a decision.

ZELENY: The president dismissing calls for the FBI to investigate, as Democrats and Ford have requested.

TRUMP: Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn't do that. They've investigated -- they've investigated about six times before and it seems that they don't do that.

ANITA HILL: Yes.

ZELENY: Yet that's exactly what happened in 1991. When Anita Hill made sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas.

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Anita Hill who worked for me --

ZELENY: The White House ordered the FBI to investigate and send its findings to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, today, the president expressing more outrage on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Expanding his criticism beyond his recusal in the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: I'm disappointed in the Attorney General for numerous reasons. But --

ZELENY: The president was even more blunt during an interview with The Hill, saying, "I don't have an Attorney General. It's very sad." It's the latest accusation of disloyalty from the president. Even though the role of Attorney General is to lead the Justice Department not serve as the president's personal lawyer. "He wanted to be Attorney General and I didn't see it. But he came very strongly." The president said. "He went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused. And people that worked with him for -- you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him. That was a rough time for him."

All of this as the president visited North and South Carolina today, where at least, 36 people have died in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

TRUMP: To all those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you, and ready to help, and you will recover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you're giving a lot of help.

ZELENY: The president toured a flood-ravaged neighborhood in New Bern, North Carolina. Handing out lunches and hugs. The president also asked about something close to his heart.

TRUMP: How is Lake Norman, that area? How is that doing? I love that area, I just -- I can't tell you why but I love that area.

ZELENY: The Trump National Golf Club, located on the shores of Lake Norman near Charlotte. That largely escaped the storm's route.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: After spending much of the day in the Carolinas, the president back at the White House not answering new questions about the latest in this confirmation battle. But he did make clear that he would like to see a hearing go forward to see what the accuser has to say.

Now, he still says he believes Judge Kavanaugh treated very unfairly in this process. For his part, Judge Kavanaugh preparing for a Monday hearing. The question is if it will happen or not? Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

VAUSE: Joining us now, political commentator Mo'Kelly, and California Republican national committeeman, Shawn Steel. Good to have you guys back. Mo, let's stay with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. At least this time the president was of throwing paper towels or canned goods into the crowd. Is that progress or is this just an indication that -- you know, North Carolina is Trump country and Puerto Rico, you know.

MO'KELLY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I try to look at the management of a relief effort long term. We can't talk about Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Katrina, unless you talk about what happens months after the hurricane. It has to be a maintained relief effort and I'm going to withhold judgment until I see what happens.

Just because he comported himself well and he behaved -- you know, during one T.V. moment, that doesn't say to me that he has managed the effort well. We're going to have to wait and see. Because the death toll is already up like 38, I believe. VAUSE: Yes. Well, look, to that T.V. moment Shawn, you're the president he served up meals, there is some encouraging words. He had that little boy. He said there would be federal relief, money available. Why couldn't he do that in Puerto Rico?

SHAWN STEEL, COMITTEEMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE, CALIFORNIA: I think he tried to do that in Puerto Rico, and I -- and I think he actually had a quite sophisticated operation for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was in the middle of a horrible, horrible storm got the worst in the world. Unlike the one and we just had in the Carolinas. Fortunately, it wasn't the great disaster. The storm kind of stalled out, a lot of people died, a lot of damaged homes.

I think -- I think, Trump is genuine when it comes to human suffering. This is -- this is kind of his thing. Its reality T.V. people are really getting hurt. He was down in Texas. He learned from George Bush. You just don't fly over it and then just keep going on and think that other people are going to take care of it.

[01:20:26] VAUSE: Do you hear at a famous Hurricane Katrina moment that photograph in Air Force One?

STEEL: Right.

VAUSE: And just to make sure that the president got his message out about how severe this hurricane was and to talk about the actions taken by the administration, the White House released a video statement from the President on Twitter. Here's part of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just want to thank all of the incredible men and women who have done such a great job in helping with Florence. This is a tough hurricane. One of the wettest we've ever seen from the standpoint of water. Rarely have we had an experience like it and it certainly is not good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Keep in mind they were prepared statements. So, Mo, you know, there was much mockery on social media including this response, "Trump trying to be empathetic is not unlike a dog trying to solve a calculus problem."

What do you make of this because the empathy issue, the comforter in chief role, it does seem to be something which this president continually struggles with?

KELLY: He struggles with it I'm thinking that he's reading a teleprompter and he's not going off the cuff, or maybe he was doing both, reading the teleprompter and then, decided to go off the cuff.

He's not a wordsmith. He is not one of the most savvy when it comes to word choice. This is who he is. I mean, it's not new, it's not getting any better and he will always struggle with trying to make a very empathetic connection with people especially when they're suffering.

STEEL: But it's not just the word to tone, it's a behavior, it's the approach, and hugging people. You know, before he was president, he didn't want to shake hands, you know.

VAUSE: He's a gentle (INAUDIBLE).

STEEL: And yes, that's right. But he's learning to shake hands, he's learning to hug people, he's learning to talk to little kids.

VAUSE: A goal star.

STEEL: It's a -- it's actually -- well, it's -- he's not a politician, he's a businessman. And now, he's learning to become a politician. Well, he's becoming a fast learner and I guarantee at those stakes are going to be very good in the future, politically. Yes.

KELLY: Fast learning how to hug children.

VAUSE: OK.

STEEL: No harm in that.

KELLY: No harm.

VAUSE: OK, there is no empathy though from the president for his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In fact, he has actually given his most scathing assessment of Jeff Sessions, so far. In an interview with The Hill, he said, "I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad."

Mo, Trump, has already call Sessions, too weak and disloyal for failing to protect him from the Russian investigation. He went out to the FBI, the Department of Justice during this interview. Even by Trump new standards that this was extraordinary.

KELLY: Yes, I think of it this way, if you're going to call the man weak in all these other names, well, don't be weak yourself. Go ahead and fire him. You know you're going to fire him if not for the midterms, what do you waiting for? Do you need to humiliate him each day up until the midterms before you eventually fire him? Just be done with it.

VAUSE: And Shawn, you know, it clearly seems it's that -- you know, Sessions no longer -- you know, enjoys the confidence of the President of the United States. And to the most point, why doesn't Sessions either resign? Or why doesn't the president essentially step up? Why he didn't week after week on The Apprentice, and fire him.

STEEL: I been you alive, it's going to be in the timing. And I didn't agree with Mo here. First of all, I -- we all have to kind of feel sorry for Jeff Sessions for what he's going to, but he really believes I suppose that he has a mission. I've met him several times, he was chairman of young Americans for freedom in Alabama when I was chairman of California YAF at the same time. So, we kind of had that same, same beginnings in our same ruts.

But at the same time, he really has been able to deal with the bureaucracy. And 100,000 employees at the Department of Justice has. But look, in the last six hours according to CNN, he just put out a new rule that the immigration judges which I didn't know work for Department of Justice could no longer dismiss illegal immigrants on a whim. They have to go through the Department of Homeland Security.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Did this Sessions, yes. Which by the way, yes.

STEEL: This Attorney General Sessions. Which show you, his doing the stuff that he was there for, but he may be made a promise --

VAUSE: Which probably criticize him as well. Right.

STEEL: He made a promise that no matter what when it comes to the Russian business, he was going to have his hands off of it and I will do make a prediction. I think around Christmas time, Sessions is going to be gone.

VAUSE: Right. Replace by Rudy Giuliani?

KELLY: I think it's before we even see December.

VAUSE: All right, OK.

STEEL: I got a -- I got a proposal Mo, here. I think it would be (INAUDIBLE) an attorney general,

VAUSE: OK, well, it should go -- you know, this interview with The Hill was extraordinary because the president -- you know, he sighted conspiracy theories, he repeated false claims are the origins of the Russia investigation. You know, these theories which are offered on -- you know, Fox News. The president referred to the great Lou Dobbs the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful Jeanine Pirro, and other name is I don't know.

You know, Mo, shouldn't the president should stop watching Fox? So, he's approved that people watch Fox, I see no less about the news that be like don't watch the news. And he needs start may be reading an Intelligence Briefing.

KELLY: Well, let me think of stay at this way. On CNN, I'm not going to say Fox over CNN. I just wish the president would stop trying to promote Fox News as part of his argument for his innocence. As opposed, yes, I would like them to read press brief -- Intelligence Briefs but that's privately. But publicly, the behavior is not becoming of a president. I don't want him to espouse extol the virtues of a news network. I want him to extol the virtues of America.

[01:25:25] VAUSE: And Shawn, why does it -- why is it that Donald Trump seems to have more faith -- you know, in people like Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity than his own FBI, his own Intelligence Committee agencies?

STEEL: Let's face it. Sadly under Obama, the FBI and Department of Justice and many other federal agencies became highly politicized in the sense of almost political weapons. We've seen this. The last three directors of the FBI are under a cloud, they're a disgrace or embarrass, ones probably going to be a charge with a crime.

VAUSE: And they're all Republicans.

STEEL: We don't care what party say here. We care about what their thoughts and ideologies, and their beliefs.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Because a Republican president --

KELLY: I'm not going to say politicized in this regard if they are a Republican.

STEEL: No, no, no, that's a name on in. Department of Justice, you got a lot of corruption there. So, he's walked into a trap that was set up. And now with those papers being released, there's maybe a lot of heads rolling.

KELLY: They have to release the memo and everything before that.

STEEL: It's all coming out.

VAUSE: OK, so, to that point, you know, this is all the -- you know, the warrant for the -- for the wiretapping of Carter -- what's her name?

KELLY: Carter Page.

VAUSE: Carter Page, thank you. You know, and the intelligence community, the head of the FBI is saying -- you know, "We don't think this is a good idea." If the president goes ahead and releases it anyway, should those people step down?

KELLY: Well, so the problem is you going to then highlight some of the methods, and some of the sources our intelligence gathering methods. And it's only selective in nature. I would be more believing if it were to release everything, but he's releasing key things which paint a specific picture that he's been trying to paint for months now.

VAUSE: Right. And so, just particularly, 30 seconds of this memoir. Sources and methods, that was the big concern about Hillary Clinton's e-mail server that may had been hacked and all of this being revealed and that's why I had to lock her up. Why is it now, sources and methods that matter?

STEEL: Now, listen. I think sources the matter, can't can be as though it many people have seen these unredacted documents. These are sophisticated individuals, and including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Democrat and the Republicans in the House as well.

And they haven't seen anything that's going to destroy sources, the method or that's, that's, a small game. What you have here is she got a number of top officials in the FBI and Department of Justice, terribly concerned about their status, their future because you're going to be terribly embarrassed.

VAUSE: OK.

STEEL: That's -- it's quite exciting. What a great time to be alive.

VAUSE: Thank you so much. OK, Shawn and Mo, thank you very much.

KELLY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Good to see you guys. Appreciate it. OK, and with that, we'll take a short break. Next up on NEWSROOM, L.A. How an old historic agreement ends the violence in Northern Ireland could complicate key part of Brexit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:17] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The U.S. Secretary of State says the U.S. is ready to restart negotiations with North Korea with the goal of ending talks by 2021. That's after the leaders of North and South Korea agreed to work towards denuclearization at that peace summit in Pyongyang.

Christine Blasey Ford has until Friday morning to decide if she will speak to a U.S. Senate committee about her accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. Ford has accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation. Ford has called for an FBI investigation before testifying.

And Pope Francis met with the musician Bono at the Vatican on Wednesday. The U2 front man says they discussed the sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church. He says he could see the pain in the Pope's face when he was talking about it. And he called the Pope an extraordinary man for extraordinary times.

It's been 20 years since the Good Friday agreement brought an end to the troubles in Northern Ireland. But an unintended consequence of Brexit, Britain's decision to leave the E.U., appears to expose the very tenuous foundation of that peace plan which stopped three decades of violence between the pro-U.K. Protestant Unionists and the Catholic Republicans who wanted to break away from London and join the Republic of Ireland.

At the time the Unionists and Republicans signed off on to the deal there was a lot of uncertainty whether it would last and if so for how long. Here's part of CNN's reporting from 1998. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETSY AARON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Feelings run deep on both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They must be prepared to give up their guns. (INAUDIBLE), give up their guns and (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Catholics gotten out.

AARON: Did the Catholics get anything in this agreement. Is it a fair agreement?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it is. It has always been a saying here, if you're a Catholic, you're an (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this different now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe not in a year.

AARON: The young on both sides want a different life from the only one they've known.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean I'm 22. And all my life there have been these troubles. This is the first serious sign that we can get out of it. There's an escape clause. I mean I hope that people will back it.

AARON: History was made and everyone involved knows it but with that history comes responsibility.

So in this atmosphere which George Mitchell describes as having the potential for so much conflict, so much failure, the people of Northern Ireland are taking their first tentative steps towards peace. No one has any illusions that the process will either be smooth or easy.

Betsy Aaron, CNN -- Belfast.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Ok. So a key part of the Good Friday agreement was an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It's also the only land border between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

That's not a problem right now while Britain is still part of the E.U. but the deadline for divorce is just 190 days away. Both sides have agreed to avoid a hard border which would breach the Good Friday agreement and could become a target for militants. But there's been no agreement on what should take its place.

In the coming hours, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is to meet her European counterparts in an informal summit in Salzburg in Austria. Last night over dinner, she urged them to rethink their position on the border issue. In response, the president of the European Commission said her plan needed to be reworked. In other words, neither side seems ready to blink, at least not yet.

CNN's Hadas Gold reports now from Salzburg.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At a dinner with all 28 European leaders, Theresa May made the case for why she believes her Chequers plan is the best path forward. She told reporters as she entered the dinner that she believes it's the only plan that ensures that there won't be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I believe this is the right proposal because it maintains frictionless trade. It is the only credible and negotiable plan on the table that delivers no hard border in Northern Ireland and also delivers on the vote of the British people.

And if we're going to achieve a successful conclusion then just as the U.K. has evolved its position, the E.U. will need to evolve its position, too. But I'm confident that with goodwill (ph) and determination we can agree to a deal that is right for both parties.

GOLD: But just hours before, European Council president, Donald Tusk told reporters he believes the U.K. needs to rework its plan with the Irish border. Many here are hoping that some Austrian schnitzel and wine over dinner will help smooth things over amongst the European leaders.

What is clear is that leaders want to show enough support for Theresa May to get her through the next few weeks because she will still face her conservative party and there are questions whether her leadership will be challenged.

[01:34:01] And the last thing European leaders want is a different U.K. Prime Minister with whom to debate the last few weeks of Brexit.

Now, there will be no official declarations out of the summit because it is an informal meeting. The next official summit comes in October. And today Donald Tusk announced that there will be a special Brexit summit in November at which point he hopes there'll be a final Brexit deal.

Hadas Gold, CNN -- Salzburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, to India now and the horrific rape of a seven-year-old girl (INAUDIBLE) outrage in a string of sexual assaults. It seems new laws there have done little to stem these violent attacks.

CNN's Anna Coren, live in New Delhi. So Anna -- can you give us an update on this little? What do we know about this person who's been arrested? And what's been the reaction there to a country which has struggled with this issue of rape for so long?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John -- we're outside the (INAUDIBLE) hospital and that seven-year-old girl, she is recovering in the emergency ward. Now last night she was fighting for her life. She's still in a critical condition. But according to police, she is now stable. She did suffer extensive injuries when she was raped and then had a water pipe inserted inside her little body.

As you say 21-year-old man has been arrested. We've also found out that he was known to the family. He was a neighbor, which is so common here in India. Many of the perpetrators are known to the victims.

Now as we know, John -- this is just another brutal rape in this country. According to the government, there is some 100 rapes, at least 100 rapes every single day committed in the country. And they're the ones that we know about.

Now there are people who say why are you picking on India? There are countries with far worse rape statistics. Well, they're the rapes that we know about. A study this year believes that there's 99 percent of rapes unreported. And if that is the case, that is just staggering.

Now, let's list some of those high-profile rapes that have happened this year -- beginning of this year. An eight-year-old Muslim girl brutally gang-raped and then murdered in northern India; a few months later, a teenage girl gang-raped and set on fire.

And then in July in Shanai (ph) in southeast India, an 11-year-old girl was gang raped. Seventeen men arrested. These men worked in her building. They knew her. They dealt with her every single day. They drugged her. They abused her. They threatened her. And it was only until her sister discovered marks on her body that it was alerted to police.

Now, India really is -- is -- is really struggling with this. There are people that just shaking their heads. There are others that are saying well, you know, this is a developing country.

But these aren't just uneducated people committing these rapes. We are also talking about powerful lawmakers who have been accused of these crimes, charged with these crimes.

So India is really facing a huge problem right now, how to deal with sexual violence -- John.

VAUSE: It's tragic beyond belief (ph). Anna -- thank you.

We'll take a short break.

When we get back here on NEWSROOM L.A., three football players in Australia dressing up in blackface -- once again, do Australians actually know what racism is?

[01:38:22] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: It was all just a bit of a laugh at the local footy club. Three Australian football players in blackface go to a party to celebrate the end of the season. Two dressed up as the African- American tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The third went as Sudanese player with the Sidney Swans called Aliir Aliir.

The three actually played for the Penguin Football Club in Tasmania. The team says the players have apologized saying they never intended to be racist.

Michael Mansell is an activist with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center. He joins us now from Launceston in Tasmania.

You know, I want to read you what was essentially the statement put out by the club on behalf of these players saying that there was never this intention. In fact what they said is that they just wanted to dress as one of their sporting idols. It goes on to say "Their actions were never intended to be racist in any way. Those concerned have been reprimanded and will be given support to make sure they understand their behavior was racist and hurtful and it would not happen again."

I'm just wondering does anyone actually believe that they were dressing up as their idols?

MICHAEL MANSELL, TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL CENTER: I don't think so -- John. These three white lads could have dressed up as any -- any of their sports idols.

But it is endemic in Australia and in overseas white communities that when people want to deliberately make fun of black people they disguise themselves as those people, that imitation. And the whole point of it is to make fun of the black people that they're imitating and these guys dressing themselves up in a manner that gets a great laugh among their other white mates regardless of the impact on black people. Now what aboriginal player would want to go to that football club in that environment? What black immigrant coming in to Australia would want to associate with these people?

And I think these fellows who -- the club, the players and the league officials are trying to dismiss and almost condone their behavior by saying it was a prank gone wrong. I don't think they understand that racism is racism.

And if you imitate black people in this manner, especially given that it was only a week ago that there was a real furor in Australia about the racist cartoon about Serena Williams these guys knew exactly what they were doing.

VAUSE: You know, just to get to your point about the origins here of blackface because it's very much up in the consciousness, you know, in the U.S. I guess the argument is made sometimes not so much in Australia.

I mean I was in Australia. My grandmother would watch the black and white minstrel show. You know, in the U.S. it was always white actors with grease paint on their face playing the role of slaves or plantation workers.

And this is more about from the Web site Vox explaining why it is so offensive. "To be clear these weren't flattering representations at all taking place against a backdrop of a society that systematically mistreated and dehumanized black people. They were mocking betrayals that reinforced the idea that African-Americans were inferior in every way."

So that's the history in the U.S. Is there a similar history in Australia? Can they make the argument it is not as culturally relevant there. Or is it -- because it is just equally as offensive.

MANSELL: I think that the Australian political culture, particularly since 1996 when a very conservative federal government came into power, joined by a very racist and prominent Queensland senator, Pauline Hanson, whose comments about aboriginal people, about migrants legitimatized racism.

[01:34:56] What they're effectively saying was there's nothing wrong with venting your racist attitudes towards people who are different. And this behavior by these three footballers would be absolutely denounced in the United Kingdom and the United States but not a single prime minister in Australia has come out and condemned this behavior.

The premier of Tasmania has not uttered a word. In other words the white premiers and the white political leaders of Australia see absolutely nothing wrong with it. If they were asked directly to be -- to ensure that they are being politically correct they would say it is wrong. But unless they're pressured unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, they would just let it go by and let aboriginal people, black immigrants to Australia just suffer the consequences of these people.

VAUSE: Michael -- I can hear it now. I can hear what people are saying in places like Queensland and in Western Australia and (INAUDIBLE) -- white history I'm talking about here -- had a laugh. They're just having a joke, you're too sensitive. You know, we're just speaking our mind. No harm was meant by this.

That's what the folks in white Australia have --

(CROSSTALK)

MANSELL: Well, let these same people not just dress up on one Saturday night among their white mates and have a laugh among themselves about what they look like dressed up as black people. Let them keep those blackfaces and all that black paint on them and mix in white society every day. Then let's see if they believe it was just a joke.

Let them walk into a white hotel dressed up in this black paint and just see how long it is before someone hits them in the face or calls them some racist name. Let them walk around the street and just see how long it takes before the racism is vented against them. So then they would see why this racist behavior, this imitation of black people in a caricature way is so offensive and so -- and brings about the reality of racism for aboriginal people and black migrants.

VAUSE: You know, you mentioned the cartoon in the newspaper with the Melbourne "Herald Sun" I think with Serena Williams and, you know, it was denounced around the world as, you know, being racist. You know, the newspaper defended it. So I'm just wondering, you know, to this point, do Australians lack the ability to understand what racism actually is?

MANSELL: I think there's a different culture in Australia that exists in -- by comparison to the United States and United Kingdom because you've got a large group of black people who have not only access to the media but also they have voting power and they have access to political power. So they can react and -- and ensure that policies or -- or actions that offend them, are taken into account in American political or social culture.

Here in Australia, aboriginal people are only 3 percent of the population. If something offends us, we are told that we're too sensitive. If it happened in America, of course, you've got a large body of black people who would say, well we think what is happening in Australia is offensive and we think it is offensive here in America and we can do something about it.

Australia can't ignore its -- the racist nature of its society. It had to pass anti-discrimination legislation from 1975 onwards federally and then put it in the states. Even then an aboriginal was dying in custody every fortnight in Australia until they held a royal commission into aboriginal deaths in custody in 1990. And suddenly the death rate stopped.

So it does indicate that when things are as bad as they are, governments can react --

VAUSE: Yes.

MANSELL: -- but it is not -- it is not filtering through to the cultural beliefs of -- of the ordinary white Australian.

VAUSE: Mike, we have to leave it there because we are out of time. Your last point was the best point.

And I thank you for being with us. And I really appreciate speaking to you. Thank you, sir.

MANSELL: Thanks again -- John.

VAUSE: Be well.

In Australia, police say a juvenile has admitted to a prank which involved putting needles in the strawberries. That juvenile will be dealt with as part of the youth cautioning system. But the police there believe whoever is actually responsible for more than 100 cases of needles being found in fruit is still out there. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Strawberries tainted by a tiny hidden threat. Shoppers in Australia frightened over 100 cases now of needles discovered in pieces of fruit across the country.

[01:49:59] It began last week in Queensland with strawberries sabotaged. Now, crisis for farmers as prices plummet; at least one grower forced to dump all of the new season's crop. Desperate measures are being taken to build consumer confidence. This farm scans fruit with x-ray machines and metal detectors.

STUART SMITH, ACTING ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: In the last two days, we found a young person has admitted to a prank including putting needles in strawberries. And he'll be dealt with under the youth cautioning system.

STOUT: Nobody knows who else could be putting needles in fruit or why. Police have set a $70,000 U.S. reward for clues.

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It's not funny. You're putting the lives of hardworking Australians at risk and -- you're scaring children. And you're a coward and you're a grub.

STOUT: Australia's new prime minister said drought relief for farmers was his priority when he took the job last month. And now Scott Morrison wants 15 years in jail for anyone found guilty of tampering with the multi-million dollar fruit industry.

MORRISON: What you get 15 years for are things like possessing child pornography and financing terrorism. That's how seriously I take this. That's how seriously our government takes it.

STOUT: The latest fright -- isolated cases of pins found in bananas and apples as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just break the apple they're picking -- my daughter normally just grabs and just bites into apples.

STOUT: The government says fake posts on social media spread fears further.

PETER DUTTON, AUSTRALIAN HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER: People might think that they're funny or think that somehow, you know, this is an image to be shared but all it does is distract away to undermine policing efforts.

STOUT: As farmers fear for their livelihood, pleas for the public to chop before chewing.

JEANNETTE YOUNG, QUEENSLAND CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER: We really stress that people should cut all strawberries before they consume them.

STOUT: Shoppers torn between a food safety scare and the urge to support farmers of a country already suffering through a record drought.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN -- Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Next up on Newsroom L.A. "F" is for fail as in the airline which failed to spell its name correctly on the side of its plane. (INAUDIBLE)

Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, in diplomacy every word, every comma, every full stop can carry a huge significance which may explain why the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently has a thing for grammar, especially commas. And this is in a White House which is challenged when it comes to spelling.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski takes us to school.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. There's a persistent problem deep within the State Department throughout this vast space and it is the improper use of commas. So everybody has their grammar pet peeves and apparently this is Secretary Pompeo's.

And now we know within the last few months, two e-mails have gone out on this subject, sent wide throughout the State Department trying to get people back on track. The last one just went out a couple of days ago.

And it said, "The Secretary has underscored the need for appropriate use of commas in his paper, both their inclusion and omission." And it goes on to list ten different extremely detailed examples with explanations.

We'll give you a few. "We activated the alarm (comma) but the intruder was already inside." That is correct as I'm sure you already knew that's because those are independent clauses with separate subjects joined by a conjunction.

How about this, "The war-time rations included cabbage (comma), turnips (comma), and bread." Well, that last comma is known as the Oxford comma. It is hotly debated among grammar types but it does get a thumbs-up here at State.

And how about this one, "He stood up and opened his mouth (comma), but failed to remember his question." That is wrong because as I know you were about to shout out, that is a single subject. It's just the predicate that is compound.

[01:55:08] So you can test your knowledge there. Depending on the level of grammar-dickery (ph) among people here, some felt this was a good thing. That it's a relief this problem is finally being dealt with head on. Others just laugh, roll their eyes, and then forwarded this e-mail.

But if only Secretary Pompeo would use his grammar prowess to share this knowledge with maybe some others, maybe within his administration wouldn't that #swagger?

Michelle, CNN -- the State Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: And while we're at it spelling matters especially when it is really big and on the side of a plane.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one way for an airline to increase its name recognition -- misspell your own name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Cathay Pacific the world is at our fingertips.

MOOS: But painters apparently didn't have an "F" at their fingertips resulting in "Cathay Paciic" instead of "Pacific". Cathay Pacific itself tweeted the mistake saying, "Oops, this special livery won't last long. She's going back to the shop."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Celebrating the new colors of Cathay Pacific.

MOOS: The Internet celebrated the mistake. "Welcome to the new Cathay where we give no 'f'."

Someone else inserted the "F" with a notation, "Fixed it."

While yet another commenter concluded, "If an airline is going to make a mistake let it always be on the paint job."

The Hong Kong-based airline likes to explain who we are. You're the ones whose painters need to go back to school if it has been misspelled in various school zones.

Sure there are bungled traffic signs and even tattoos, else with too many "E"s and remember the time the Mitt Romney campaign spelled "America" wrong. Try pronouncing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amercia.

MOOS: Amercia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. Who was the genius?

MOOS: Probably not the same genius who turned --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cathay Pacific.

MOOS: -- into Cathay Paciic. Someone tweeted, "I guess no one gives a flying "f" these days." Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. The news continues here right after a short break.

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