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Typhoon Trami Poised to Strike Asia; The Hong Kong-China High- Speed Rail Link Opens; Indonesian Teen Rescued after 49 Days at Sea; U.S. Supreme Court Battle; Russia Investigation Hangs in the Balance; U.N. General Assembly; Iran Nuclear Talks; Italian Migrants; The Road to Brexit. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 25, 2018 - 00:00   ET




NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour. Double trouble for the Trump White House. The president's Supreme Court pick fighting to save his nomination and force the demand overseeing the Russia investigation could be fired.

We're tracking another monster storm in the Western Pacific. The latest forecast for supertyphoon Trami is ahead.

And stranded at sea: a teenager is found alive after spending nearly 50 days alone on the ocean.

Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Nick Watt and this is NEWSROOM L.A.


WATT: The future of the U.S. Justice Department's Russia investigation hangs in the balance with Donald Trump apparently weighing the fate of his deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees that Russia probe, who are scheduled to meet at the White House Thursday after reports that Rosenstein suggested last year that he secretly record the president and considered a plan to forcibly remove him from office.

Meanwhile President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court says he's not going anywhere. Despite allegations of sexual misconduct, he said he never sexually assaulted anyone and the president is standing by him. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports on a turbulent day in Washington.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on the world stage today but overshadowed by troubles far closer to home. Sitting alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Mr. Trump besieged with questions about the latest episode in his long-running feud with the Justice Department. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all very much.


TRUMP: I have a meeting with Rod Rosenstein on Thursday when I get back from all of these meetings and we'll be meeting at the White House and we'll be determining what's going on.

ZELENY: It was a day of doing dramas for the Trump administration. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the man who oversees the Russia investigation, went to the White House expecting to be fired. He was seen leaving with chief of staff John Kelly.

After hours of speculation about his fate, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement saying, "At the request of deputy attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories.

"Because the president is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the president returns to Washington."

The news story in question is an explosive report from "The New York Times" that said Rosenstein secretly discussed recording the president last year and had conversations about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

TRUMP: We want to have transparency, we want to have openness and I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time.

ZELENY: All this as the White House fought to keep Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation alive amid new allegations of sexual misconduct, which he categorically denies.

TRUMP: People come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mention it, all of a sudden that happens. In my opinion, it's totally political. It was totally political.

ZELENY: His close advisor, Kellyanne Conway, who, just last week, set the tone for the White House response to Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford...

KELLYANNE CONWAY, ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: She should not be -- she should not be ignored.

ZELENY: -- now changing her tune.

CONWAY: This is starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy.

Are we going to put decades a pent-up demand for women to feel whole on one man's shoulders?

ZELENY: The president standing squarely behind Kavanaugh and signaling it's time for Republicans to fight back. TRUMP: There's a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything. But I am with Judge Kavanaugh and I look forward to a vote.

ZELENY: The president also called Judge Kavanaugh "a fine, fine man and a scholar." He said it would be sad if anything happened to block his nomination. Now, all of these dramas are playing out as world leaders here in New York have a front row seat to drama and dysfunction inside the White House -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, New York.


WATT: And joining me now from Los Angeles, California talk radio host Ethan Bearman, Republican strategist Chris Faulkner and CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin.

I want to start with you, Areva.


WATT: If Rosenstein is fired, what does that do politically and legally to the Russia probe?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The biggest concern is that the Russia probe maybe goes away if Rosenstein goes away. We know President Trump has been incredibly critical of the investigation. He's been critical of the appointment of the special counsel and Rosenstein oversees the special counsel.

If he's fired or forced to resign, does President Trump insert someone in that position that ensures that that investigation continues?

We've already heard his personal lawyer today say that if Rosenstein is fired or somehow leaves that position that the Russia probe should be somehow placed on hold. There should be a timeout, that there should be a re-evaluation of the entire investigation. So I think everyone is really concerned about, you know, what happens.

Congress hasn't stepped up. They could have moved forward with a bill, they could have passed a law to protect the special counsel but they haven't done that. So the real concern is what happens to what has been an incredibly successful investigation, if Rod Rosenstein is fired on Thursday.

We know there's a big meeting coming up on Thursday. We don't know what is going to happen because the reporting is all over the place.

WATT: But legally President Trump can fire Rod Rosenstein.

MARTIN: In theory he absolutely can fire him. That's his right as a president to do so. But we know -- well, certain Congress people, Republicans and mostly Democrats, have said he may pay a really big price if he does that.

So although he has the legal right to do it, it may not be the most politically expedient thing for him to do, given the midterms and given the confirmation hearing that is also moving forward.

WATT: That's what I was going to say with the midterms coming up, which are crucial in terms of who controls the Senate and the House the next couple of years.

If Rod Rosenstein is fired, even how quickly do you start shouting obstruction?

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST: Well, it is a little hard to say that yet. Here's the issue. It is going to be who replaces Rosenstein.

Is it going to be a sycophant of President Trump's who's going to not want to follow the law, is going to want to hold up the process --


WATT: It would probably be --

BEARMAN: -- that's who takes over temporarily. But President Trump can choose anybody who's already been confirmed by the Senate. That's the way the law works in this case.

Anybody who's already been through a Senate confirmation he can just insert into that position as deputy attorney general.

So if it is going to be somebody who is reasonable, like Rod Rosenstein, like Robert Mueller himself, somebody along those lines, I think that everything will be OK. Should he choose someone who's just a Trumpublican sycophant who will just do his bidding and interfere and change the scope of the special counsel, then we have a real problem.

WATT: Chris, I mean, if he's fired, how do you look at this as anything other than an attempt to obstruct or influence the Russia probe?

CHRIS FAULKNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: If someone is basically threatening to try to secretly record the President of the United States, to which I'm --


WATT: He denies it.

FAULKNER: -- well, I'm sure he does. He denied a lot of things until we found out they were actually correct based on his text messages. So the question -- I'm not an attorney here but it is pretty obvious to me if you have someone who's trying to literally oust you from office, Republican or Democrat or otherwise, probably not going to have that person put in that position.

It doesn't matter who the president picks to replace him. People are going to scream bloody murder. They're going to wave the bloody shirt and say, oh, they're doing this to obstruct the probe.

Again, not an attorney but in terms of a successful investigation and in terms of Robert Mueller, successful by what standard?

He hasn't proven anything.


MARTIN: Successful by the number of people that have been indicted and pled guilty. That's considered success for a prosecutor.


FAULKNER: But none of those things were the actual result of the probe. They're league to try and connect something to the president and they're going to keep digging until they try and find --

MARTIN: Sorry, but that's just not an accurate statement.


FAULKNER: -- there's been no connection. There's no collusion. There's no --


MARTIN: -- no, it is not about interrupting you, it is about setting the record straight. And words matter. Words matter and people tend to complain things and they tend to leave out really critical facts.

And the facts in this case are, the Russia probe does include the -- the investigation that has happened, the guilty pleas that we've seen and the indictments that we've seen are all within the purview of the investigation.

Rod Rosenstein has set the parameters of the investigation and if something is outside of it, he has the right and the authority to tell Mueller, stop, wait, don't go down that road. He hasn't done that. So these indictments that we've seen, these guilty pleas that we've seen, they very much are a part --


BEARMAN: I like to add something in here, legally speaking. Robert Mueller has been very intelligent in his approach with this investigation. He's handed off key pieces now to the Southern District of New York. So should Rod Rosenstein get removed and replaced with a Jay Sekulow type of a person --


BEARMAN: -- the Southern District has taken over some key pieces of this investigation and that at least protects the American people in --

WATT: And it takes it out of President Trump's --

BEARMAN: -- that's right -- FAULKNER: Keep in mind, this is a president that was elected by the

American people and you're automatically assuming that we have to be protected from the president --

BEARMAN: -- when he keeps screaming witch hunt, witch hunt, witch hunt and he's -- lies to the --


FAULKNER: -- democratically elected president --


FAULKNER: -- democratically elected president of the United States in terms of the times politicians lie, we don't have time to discuss that.

WATT: One more quick question. What I think is fascinating is, OK, this came out in the media that Rod Rosenstein was allegedly trying to get people in the cabinet to get involved in the 25th Amendment to get rid of the president and suggested taping him.

Now my question is, who do we think leaked this?

Now some are saying that this was essentially a trap set for the president, that he would then fire Rosenstein and get himself in trouble.

FAULKNER: Twenty-four days before Election Day, pretty safe to say it wasn't a Republican.

MARTIN: I think it was probably someone in Trump's camp. Because here are the facts. Rod Rosenstein is not a member of the cabinet. He doesn't have the authority to invoke the 25th Amendment. So this notion that he somehow was sitting around thinking about invoking the 25th Amendment, is just fallacious because he doesn't have that authority.

He's the deputy attorney general and he knows the Constitution and he knows what his powers and his limitations are.

So I can't imagine that he would sit around and talk about something he has no power to act upon. I think and particularly the stories today are all a ploy to deflect attention away from Kavanaugh and the very difficult allegations that have come forward, now a second woman and now according to Michael Avenatti, a third woman who will come forward --


MARTIN: Well, we're going to listen to those two women who are very credible who've come forward. Absolutely we're going to listen to them.

WATT: And we do need to speak about Kavanaugh now. He is President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court and there are now a number of allegations against him, one in particular which he's been refuting. The president today claimed those accusations are, quote, "totally political."

Chris, do you agree?

FAULKNER: I think that everyone, Republican, Democrat or otherwise, deserves due process. If someone has a serious charge like that, they have the right to be heard. And I think that the venue for the accuser to be heard has been laid out in every possible format to make her as comfortable as possible.

And the only thing that we've seen is delay, delay, delay because the political advantage is to continue to drag this process out. So we keep talking about it. If we actually were trying to positive something or disprove something, she would have already testified in front of the Senate. We would have gotten the information so that the senators that we've elected can make a decision about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified to be on the Supreme Court.

BEARMAN: She anonymously wrote with the letter. She meant to be anonymous. Somebody else leaked her name out and the reporters started showing up at her door. She did not want to be in the public eye. Her life has been dramatically altered by being exposed.

FAULKNER: No one is refuting that.

BEARMAN: But to blame it all on politics, when you have a woman whose job, whose life has been turned upside down, this is a credible human being who needs to be heard.

FAULKNER: Why haven't we heard her yet?

BEARMAN: Because there are rules that are being negotiated.

WATT: So she is alleging he sexually assaults her when they were teenagers. Now he appeared on FOX News tonight with his wife. Let's just hear a little bit of that and then we'll come back to the discussion.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, NOMINEE, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process.

And we're looking for a fair process, where I can be heard and defending my integrity and my lifelong record, my lifelong record of promoting dignity and equality for women, starting with the women who knew me when I was 14 years old. I'm not going anywhere.

We're talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. And the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: So you're saying that through all these years that are in question, you were a virgin? KAVANAUGH: That's correct.


WATT: So, Areva, I want to start with you. I believe that's the first time a nominee of the Supreme Court has ever gone on television before his confirmation and has basically said I never sexually assaulted anyone and I was a virgin until I was in my 20s.

Can he actually serve successfully on the Supreme Court after this kind of -- ?

MARTIN: Never, never. And let's be clear. He didn't just go on television. He went on FOX, which, as we know, the president's favorite station and the only station that some of the Republicans like Donald Trump and presumably Brett Kavanaugh, who --


MARTIN: -- will go on. They won't go on other networks where they'll be asked more difficult and tougher questions.

But I want to set the record straight about this hearing. Somehow again we're conflating the process of a Senate confirmation hearing with a trial that takes place in a courtroom. In a trial, there are standards and rules and procedures and there's due process, there's guilt, proven. You're innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

All of those are courtroom standards. They are not the standards for someone who's applying for a job. This is essentially a job application.

WATT: -- vote in the Senate.


MARTIN: -- this is not a trial --


MARTIN: -- guilt and innocence is really not even -- those are not words we should even use in the context of someone applying for a job. If a CEO shows up at a corporation and applies for a job and an investigation shows that he has some questionable conduct in his background, the company has a right to say, you know, I don't know if he did that or not but I don't want the taint of your conduct or the potential of your bad conduct impacting this corporation and the brand of this corporation.

So the court will forever be tainted no matter what happens at that hearing. We will have two men, which is one-third of the men on the U.S. Supreme Court, who now have had allegations of sexual assault or harassment made against them. That is a taint on those men, Clarence Thomas and now Brett Kavanaugh. It is a taint on the United States Supreme Court. Absolutely.


FAULKNER: -- he was accused.

MARTIN: Because there is a taint because of -- because you're trying to get to whether they did it or not. Again, if we're in court, that would be the standard that we should follow. This is a Senate confirmation hearing. There are no rules.


MARTIN: The issue is someone's character. And if you have two credible women that have come forward and we're not going to do FBI investigations. We could give Brett Kavanaugh a lie detector test.

If he wants the process to work in his favor, he could volunteer to take a lie detector test. We know Dr. Ford has done one already. He could volunteer to have the FBI conduct an investigation. He could ask his friend, Mark Judge, to show up and answer questions. He's done none of that.

WATT: They will both be heard Thursday and there may be a vote Friday.

What are your thoughts on this?

BEARMAN: Well, actually the FOX News interview was very interesting because what Judge Kavanaugh addressed actually is not even the heart of the question anyway. Nobody asked if he had sex. Nobody asked if he was a virgin. These are not the accusations that are made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.

They're saying he assaulted them. That's not the same thing as having intercourse with somebody. So that was a complete misdirection anyway on the part of Judge Kavanaugh. It's a great way to try and paint themselves a certain way without asking the question.

WATT: Chris, very quickly, is he going to be nominated?

Is he going to take a seat?

FAULKNER: You got to be nominated. They're going to vote and he's going to be on the Supreme Court. And 20 years from now, if someone wants to call it taint or a false accusation, it doesn't matter. This is the world we live in. The world we live in now is that he's guilty until proven innocent because of one, two, three, it doesn't matter.

All someone has to do is make the charge and you or you or you --

MARTIN: Chris, why --


MARTIN: -- why won't your president ask the FBI to do a thorough investigation?


WATT: We'll continue this later after the commercial break. We need to move on. Thank you all very much. Fascinating discussion.

Moving on, at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, President Trump's outlook on North Korea is decidedly more upbeat than it was this time last year. Mr. Trump says there has been, quote, " tremendous progress" since the June summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

As he arrived at the U.N. Monday, the U.S. president said there will be a second meeting with Kim, quote, "quite soon."


TRUMP: We also talked obviously about North Korea, where we're making tremendous progress. Chairman Kim has been really very open and terrific frankly. I think he wants to see something happen. So we have done I think -- mutually we've done very well with respect to North Korea.


WATT: Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul with more on this.

Paula, a second meeting so soon?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly sounds like it is possible, Nick, when you consider the three leaders involved here,, the leaders of North and South Korea and the leader of the United States all say that they want this to happen.

What we heard when President Moon Jae-in of South Korea was in North Korea for three days last week, was that Kim Jong-un was pushing for this to happen as soon as possible. What we heard through Mr. Moon was that he wanted it to go as quickly as possible, denuclearization to happen as quickly as possible so he could focus on the economic development of his country, which is something we have heard from him before.

When it comes to what was actually agreed upon within that declaration, we know that Kim Jong-un has offered to close this key missile site. It's something he offered to President Trump --


HANCOCKS: -- back in June, when there was that Singapore summit.

What is new is he's said he will have international experts that can verify that. But when it comes to the Yongbyon nuclear research facility, he said he would shut down if there's corresponding measures from the United States.

This is clearly what would have been discussed today as well between President Moon and President Trump. We know that North Korea wants what they call an end to hostilities against them, potentially the declaration of the end of the Korean War. Clearly they do want this second summit.

WATT: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, thank you very much.

Now up next, Iranian forces are vowing revenge as Iran's top leaders accuse the U.S. and its allies of being behind a deadly attack on a military parade.

Plus the battle over Brexit, E.U. ministers don't like Theresa May's plan and some members of her own parliament are also giving it a thumbs down. We'll tell you why, next.




WATT: European powers are trying to keep key elements of the Iran nuclear deal alive despite the U.S. withdrawal from the pact earlier this year.

Ministers from Britain, France, German, China, Russia and Iran met at the United Nations on Monday. They agreed to keep working to maintain trade with Tehran. That's even though U.S. sanctions resume in November and they're aimed at choking off Iranian oil sales.

The E.U.'s Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement while standing alongside Iran's foreign minister.


FEDERICA MOGHERINI, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The participates considered ways forward to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.

They also took stock of the process of finding and operationalizing (sic) practical solutions for issues arising from the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the agreement and the reimposition of sanctions lifted under the JCPOA and its annex, too, which they deeply regret.


WATT: Thousands packed streets in southwestern Iran on Monday to mourn the victims of an attack on a military parade. Gunmen opened fire on the parade on Saturday, killing at least 29 military personnel and civilians, including children. The target, Iran's --


WATT: -- Revolutionary Guard, are vowing revenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When you assassinated our nuclear scientists in the streets, you saw our revenge, you know what he did. We promised that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done.


WATT: The attack comes as the U.S. and its Gulf allies are trying to isolate Tehran and top Iranian officials, including the country's supreme leader, are now accusing the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of supporting Saturday's attackers.

Washington and the UAE have denied the accusation. CNN will actually hear from Iran's president himself in just a few hours. Our Christine Amanpour will interview President Hassan Rouhani while he's at the United Nations. That's at 1:00 pm New York time and 6:00 pm in London.

In Italy, one more significant step in the government's clampdown on migration. The cabinet just approved the so-called Salvini decree named after its sponsor, interior minister Matteo Salvini, who insists it will make Italy safer.

The decree would make it easier to deport migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship. It would also make it more difficult for refugees to qualify for humanitarian asylum. The measure will still need to be approved by Italy's parliament.

And British prime minister Theresa May is facing growing pressure over her Brexit plan. She insists her cabinet is firmly behind the so- called Chequers plan after meetings with senior ministers on Monday. But some pro-Brexit members of Parliament are rebelling. More from CNN's Bianca Nobilo.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Theresa May is under pressure from all sides of her Brexit plan. Leading Brexiteers David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg released a rival Brexit plan arguing for a hard Brexit.

Not only did they criticize the Prime Minister's approach to negotiation, they also criticized her tone.

JACOB REES-MOGG, CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: So much of what we have about these negotiations has been about managing declines, has been about how do you have the least bad Brexit?

This is about how you have a fantastic Brexit that sets us up for the next generation and ensures our prosperity.

So it's a really exciting and good paper looking at Britain's position, not just in the European context but globally. And the key to it to my mind is that it is deliverable.

NOBILO (voice over): Theresa May's opposition, the Labour Party have also given fresh hope to the people's vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit. And of course, the E.U. at the disastrous Salzburg summit last week rejected key components of the prime minister's (INAUDIBLE) plan.

NOBILO: All this, is 27 months on from when the referendum took place with only six months to go until Brexit.

The only thing that is certain about Brexit at the moment is that nothing is certain. Whether or not the U.K. and the E.U. will strike a deal on the terms of divorce and what the relationship between the E.U. and the U.K. will look like in the future is far from clear -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


WATT: And Pope Francis wrapped up his four-day visit to the Baltics later Tuesday. He's set to arrive in Estonia in the coming hours, where he will meet with the country's president and a group of young people. In Latvia on Monday, the pope say its people know all too well the price of freedom after years of occupation by the Nazis and then the Soviet Union.

He added they should treasury their hard-won independence.

And coming up on NEWSROOM L.A., a supertyphoon is brewing in the Pacific. We'll tell you how strong it might get and which countries could be in its path.

[00:30:00] WATT: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Nick Watt and the headlines this hour.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, says he never sexually assaulted anyone. His latest defense comes amid a new allegation of misconduct from a second woman who knew Kavanaugh in college.

President Trump says he thinks the claims against Kavanaugh are "totally political." Mr. Trump will meet Thursday with his embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who oversees the Russia investigation, could be out of a job after reports that he suggested secretly recording the U.S. president last year. Rosenstein denies the claim.

U.S. President Trump says there will be another meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un "quite soon." He made the announced as he arrived at U.N. general assembly, Monday. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about another summit since the North has taken no verifiable steps towards denuclearization.

And Typhoon Trami is strengthening as it moves across the western Pacific and is forecast to become one of the strongest storms of the year. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with the forecast. Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Good seeing you, Nick. You know, this is one of those storms we don't want to be seeing on a satellite imagery, especially in just about a week removed from Mangkhut, of course, impacting portions of Luzon.

But, you take a look a symmetrical and organized the storm gets, in fact, you measure the eye of the storm, of course, where the strongest winds are, 72 kilometres across. That is roughly twice as wide as an average typhoon sitting across portions of the western Pacific.

It sits about 450 or so kilometers south of Okinawa. I want to show you where it slated to head over the next couple of days because this steering environment where this storm is located is really as tricky as it gets.

In fact, you take a look. This is a loop over six hours, very little migration in the storm itself, literally parked in place and the models here have had a tough time on where the storm could potentially end up. But at this point, they shifted quite a bit from this time yesterday.

We are looking at a potential impact towards areas of Taiwan. They may be actually out of the woods with a direct impact, at least, with the model suggesting this will very slowly move up towards the north in the next 24 hours. And then over the next two to three days, push off towards the northwest.

That would put the southern Ryukyu Islands in the path of the system, and a right turn and potentially taking it up towards portions of southern Japan. Notice it will weaken, as it does, it will take its time going over this region.

So at least, one element of good news where the storm system is weakening is possible. But unfortunately, it is such a slow mover, as we saw with Florence.

When it sits there, a place, of course, really pummels the region with rainfall and quite a bit of moisture is going to be funnelled right into portions of Japan, from the southern island, all the way out there towards the mainland, where the front trying to come in as well.

In fact, very good presentation here on the models, kind of shows you as it sits there for a couple of days, notice all of that moisture just, kind of, streams right off of it and impacts portions of eastern Japan.

So, needless to say, this is going to be an area that is going to be heavily impacted with the heavy rainfall the next couple of days. And looking back the last 12 weeks, that's seven tropical systems that have impacted Japan in one way or another, essentially, more than one a week, over the past three months, have impacted this region.

So, this storm system, at this point, breaking down the most reliable models begin, it'll take its time, Nick, working its way to the North, and at this point, looking at sometime late this weekend, on an approach yet again, towards southern Japan, potentially, going into Saturday or Sunday. Nick?

WATT: Pedram, thanks very much for that update. Now, it can top 200 kilometers an hour and take you from Hong Kong to Guangzhou in just 47 minutes. The grand opening of Hong Kong's first-ever bullet train to China, went smoothly, but some see a rather rocky road ahead. CNN's Anna Coren hopped on board to find out why.


[00:35:20] ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After eight years of construction and $11 billion U.S. dollars, the controversial yet ground-breaking West Kowloon Station is open for business. Bullet trains can now take people between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese cities in a fraction of the time.

WONG HOI-YIN, 65-YEAR-OLD PASSENGER (through interpreter): I just want to see something new. I've never seen anything as spectacular. The inside is so large, totally different from normal train stations.

COREN: The station in Hong Kong is huge, 400,000 square meters mainly underground, for an expected 80,000 passengers a day.

FRANK CHAN, HONG KONG SECRETARY FOR TRANSPORT AND HOUSING (through translator): Although it's only 26 kilometers long, the Hong Kong high-speed line can directly reach 44 stations in the mainland that transfers at Guangzhou South and Shenzhen North Station. We can reach all the high-speed rail stations in the whole country.

COREN: Stations within easier reach include the capital, Beijing. And it is that city's increasing influence on Hong Kong that have some people worried. Hong Kong has its own constitution with the basic law which allows for rights not seen through the north, like freedom of speech.

A small group demonstrated at the opening, they're against having mainland immigration officers at the Hong Kong terminus, who are now able to officially enforce Chinese law on the city's soil, for the first time.

BONNY LUNG, PROTEST ORGANIZER: We believe that practice would undermine the basic human rights of Hong Kong people.

COREN: There are also economic considerations. There are nine massive Chinese cities just north of the border, in an area known collectively, as the Greater Bay Area.

The new trains, as well as a newly built, but yet to be opened bridge connects Hong Kong to these cities more directly.

GARY WONG, CO-CONVENOR, PATH OF DEMOCRACY: When we look at the Greater Bay Area, which has already 66 million people, all together, so opportunities are there. We need to be flexible. But at the same time, without losing sight of our core interest, I mean, the core interest with the safeguard, in the basic law, is our freedom, our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly, et cetera.

COREN: With a for better or worse, Hong Kong's future just got a lot closer to mainland China with the opening of the station. A new era is rolling in. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


WATT: And next on NEWSROOM L.A., the team who drifted alone at sea for weeks and lived to tell the tale, his remarkable survival story, after the break.


[00:40:06] WATT: Imagine fighting for your life on basically a floating wooden shack, on the high seas, for more than a month. That's exactly what happened to Aldi Novel Adilang. The Indonesian teenager was rescued after 49 days adrift at sea on what is called a floating fish trap.

The 19-year-old was working on the trap in July when strong winds and currents broke its tethering rope, sending it out into the open sea.


ALDI NOVEL ADILANG, RESCUED FISHERMAN (through translator): I was in the sea at the island of (INAUDIBLE) at the time, the south wind was blowing hard and the waves were high. Then, the rope broke and then, washed away.


For one week, there was communications with friend on another raft. After that, there was no communication. I met a lot of ships. After one month, I saw a ship and asked for help. I shouted in Indonesian, they all just passed. Then, I remembered my friend said if there's a big ship by, say, help. And finally, the ship helped me.

WATT: Aldi has been reunited with his family and is in good condition according to Indonesian officials. And we have another rescue on the high seas to tell you about, this time, an Indian yachtsman stranded and badly injured in the Indian Ocean. He was competing in a round the world yacht race. CNN's New Delhi Bureau Chief, Nikhil Kumar, has the details.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: A multi-national rescue effort has saved an Indian yachtsman, hit by a storm that left him badly injured with his boat, drifting at sea for more than two days. Abhilash Tomy was competing in a nonstop 30,000-mile solo yachting race, when his boat hit a storm Friday.

The 39-year-old was alone and under the rules of the race, his yacht didn't have any modern technology or satellite navigation aids. When he sent out his SOS, he was marooned more than 3,000 kilometers off the Australian Coast.

The mask of his boat was broken. And in a text message he sent, "severe back injury, cannot get up." His boat has been damaged after being hit by 18 miles per hour winds and 46-foot seas. Australian and French and Indian vessels were quickly scrambled to save him. Fears for his health rose over the weekend. His last message before he was rescued, said he was vomiting and his chest was burning. It was a French fisheries vessel that finally reached him Monday, with a spokesman for the Indian Navy telling CNN, he was conscious and doing fine when he was found. And the Defense Minister tweeted that she was relieved to know that

Tomy who is an officer in Indian Navy, had been rescued. He's now due to be moved by an Indian Navy ship to the Island of Mauritius for medical care. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.


WATT: And keeping with a nautical theme of the Portuguese Coast, archaeologists have just discovered a centuries-old shipwreck, 12 meters beneath the waves near Lisbon. Divers found a treasure trove of artifacts including Chinese ceramics, bronze cannons and a type of currency used in the African slave trade.

The ship is thought to have sailed from India and sank sometime between the year 1575 and 1625.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Nick Watt. "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.


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