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U.S., Canada and Mexico Agree to Replace NAFTA; Iraqi Police Investigate Social Media Star's Murder; Device Helps Paralyzed People Walk Again; Indonesia Reeling from Catastrophic Quake and Tsunami; White House Controlling Scope of Kavanaugh FBI Probe. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 1, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The United States and Canada have reached a daily to salvage NAFTA just before the deadline. What is in the new deal?
Details just ahead.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Mass burials planned for Indonesian victims of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami and the death toll continues to rise.
VANIER (voice-over): Plus the FBI digging deeper into accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Thank you for joining us, everyone. Always a pleasure to have you with us. I'm Cyril Vanier here in Atlanta.
ALLEN (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen and CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
VANIER: So with less than two hours to spare before a midnight deadline negotiators have signed on to a rewritten North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada agreed to the new NAFTA deal, preserving the trade pact between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Sources say the final stumbling blocks were worked out.
ALLEN: The U.S. will have greater access to Canada's dairy market and the threatened U.S. tariffs on Canadian auto exports have been addressed. The leaders of all three countries are expected to sign the new treaty. After that, the U.S. Congress has 60 days to review and approve it.
VANIER: CNN's Paula Newton is following these developments and joins us now on the phone from New York.
Paula, it looks like NAFTA in the end will survive the Trump presidency. PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's going to survive and (INAUDIBLE) but not the acronym. They will call it the U.S.-Mexico- Canada agreement. Donald Trump wanted a branding change and he got.
And in many ways, Cyril, in terms of what has gone on here, definitely the Trump administration is saying that, look, we have been able to negotiate a much more level playing field when it comes to things like automobiles and obviously it's all Trump has been saying in many rallies in the last few weeks. They wanted access to that all important Canadian dairy market, so important to U.S. farmers, but what is understood here is that it is very important to American politicians, who want to make sure that they can tout this deal as being better for U.S. farmers.
In Canada, (INAUDIBLE) a lot as well (INAUDIBLE) word for word, the old agreement is something called chapter 19.
It means that Canada can go to an independent referee when it has trade disputes with the United States and does not have to subject itself to any kind of U.S. ruling and remain intact from the old deal. All in all, it is not a wholesale change to the agreement that was already on the table but enough the administration will say for Donald Trump to claim he basically had another victory and campaign promise.
VANIER: You referred to this. Donald Trump during his entire campaign said NAFTA was one of the worst deals that the United States had ever signed. It was terrible for the United States. Essentially what the U.S. gets out of one year of renegotiation is access to the Canadian dairy market, this is the big win?
NEWTON: Exactly. Whatever they are getting closely mirrors what Europe and the Pacific trading partner through what was called the TPP have already negotiated, something that Canada was already willing to do and (INAUDIBLE) dairy industry saying we have to do this, we have to open up our markets.
Having said that, on automobiles, something that Trump has also said during the campaign was very important to him, it is about the level playing field to make sure that U.S. workers are not undercut in their own backyard and their jobs will not go principally to Mexico.
It didn't really seem that Canada was a much of a threat in that way. But (INAUDIBLE) is this a win really for Canada in that regard, in terms of what they got out of the deal and certainly Canadian officials are characterizing it that way.
VANIER: OK. Also the name change. You told us it's not called NAFTA anymore; USMC, United States-Mexico-Canada. That's the new name. CNN's Paula Newton in New York, thank you very much. We'll keep hearing from you, I'm sure. Thanks.
ALLEN: And for more on the deal, we're joined by Jeffrey Rosensweig, he's a professor at Emory University Business School in Atlanta. Thanks for coming in, Jeff.
JEFFREY ROSENSWEIG, PROFESSOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL IN ATLANTA: My pleasure.
ALLEN: So why is this so important?
We heard the senior administration officials say this is a big win for U.S., Canada and Mexico
ROSENSWEIG: It is only a big win in that it avoided a silly disaster. There's a lot of benefits from NAFTA, including for U.S. workers and very much for U.S. consumers. And to throw it away for no real reason, other than some political game, would have been a shame.
If the win is that we got a little more access for our dairy farmers, dairy farmers are nice people but they're like one out of every 10,000 workers in the U.S. I think President Trump needed a political win going into the midterm elections --
ROSENSWEIG: he can point to his tax package. He wanted to point to something else. But there's nothing there.
If that's a win, it is the shallowest win I've ever seen.
ALLEN: Did it make sense for Trump to try to renegotiate NAFTA?
It has been around for many, many years.
ROSENSWEIG: That's the interesting thing. It made sense because it's been around for a quarter century. And 25 years ago, when they negotiated NAFTA, they weren't thinking about things like e-commerce. So it really would have made sense to go in and think about e-commerce and how that will affect things and some of the technological advances.
But to swing it back to what really is just dairy, there was a lot of noise about autos and then aluminum and steel and as we heard about independent dispute mechanisms. All that actually went nowhere. So the only real rationale, which was to catch up with the technological advancements in the last 25 years was ignored.
ALLEN: Pushing for a redo, the president risked damaging relations with a very close ally and America's large export market, not to mention Canada is the nicest nations on the planet. But now there's a deal so can President Trump, even though you say maybe the change was light, can he claim a savvy business move?
ROSENSWEIG: I think it was such a minor business move and when you look at the totality -- but as you say, we're in the world of some great geopolitical risks. And business people know that. That's one reason business people, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, very much against us fighting with Canada at this point.
You know, a part of business is to get along with allies. Canada is our closest ally. And Canada and Mexico, by a large margin, are the biggest market for our exports. And our export jobs are often high paid. We buy more from China than we do from any nation but we sell much more to Canada and Mexico than to a whole plethora of nations combined.
ALLEN: I want to ask you, you mentioned China, is the rationale for a potential trade war with China very different with that used by this administration, by Trump to demand a NAFTA reboot?
ROSENSWEIG: Yes. When President Trump was saying some very unkind and untrue things about Prime Minister Trudeau this summer he would complain that Canada was ripping us off. They had the trade surplus with us and (INAUDIBLE) they were taking our money, when, in fact, if you include goods and services, because a lot of international trade these days are services like communication services and education and tourism.
Well, if you take goods and services, we actually have a surplus with Canada. So there was no rationale.
With China, we have a trade deficit that is approaching $400 billion, a billion dollars a day. Now you don't have to balance trade with every nation. Maybe a nation has something you need. And then another nation has something that you have.
But a billion dollars a day does seem extreme. It seems that China is not playing on a level playing field. Also, there's a lot of evidence that they are stealing our intellectual property. When our firms want to invest there, they force us to do it in a joint venture and to hand over some of the technology.
How we go about, I don't think we've gone about it the right way. You don't put the Chinese in a position of losing face. I think we could go about it more diplomatically but that's where the trade deficit is. Canada and Mexico are our markets and our allies.
ALLEN: All right, well, NAFTA is wrapped up, it seems, at least where the president's concerned and now the focus will be on the next deal with China.
Thanks so much for coming in, Dr. Jeff Rosensweig. We appreciate it.
ROSENSWEIG: Well, thank you, Natalie.
VANIER: We have to update you on a very sad story out of Indonesia. In the coming hours, that country will hold mass burials for the victims of Friday's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. At least 832 people have been killed and the death toll likely to increase still at this point.
ALLEN: Rescue workers are racing the clock to reach people believed to be buried in collapsed buildings as the recovery efforts continue, many survivors are becoming desperate for the most basic needs. CNN's Matt Rivers is in the region.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A body is pulled from the rubble of a hotel where 50 people are thought to be trapped. A desperate search for survivors continues after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi triggering a tsunami.
This cell phone video captures waves as high as ten feet rolling towards the shore as people are warned to run for higher ground. The source of the water swoops through the streets carrying anything and anyone in its way. In its aftermath, destruction. Wrecked cars showed just how violently the waves hit.
In a hospital --
RIVERS (voice-over): -- in the coastal city of Palu, survivors are tended to amid the power cuts. They're the lucky ones.
SUTOPO PURWO NUGROHO, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AGENCY (through translator): We're expecting a rise in the number of dead victims so though hope the data remains as it is. However, looking at the conditions there, there are still bodies unidentified as well as victims buried under ruins. There are also remote areas yet to be reached by joint SAR teams.
RIVERS: Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Palu Sunday and ordered rescuers to work day and night to search for the missing. A state of emergency has been called for 14 days in Central Sulawesi as crews work to restore electricity and communication and repair damage on the roads and bridges.
But in Palu, people say they don't have enough basic food, medicines and have been allowed by the authorities to take away supplies from supermarkets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's been no aid. We need to eat. We don't have any other choice. We must get food.
RIVERS: Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency estimates that 2.4 million people were affected by Friday's earthquake and as they await help residents combed through the debris of what was once their homes -- Matt Rivers CNN, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about what is needed now with Yenni Suryani in Jakarta. She's the country manager for Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia and she has talked with us throughout this weekend.
We appreciate your time because we know you're so busy, Ms. Suryani.
So have you been able to reach the affected areas and bring in aid.
Because I just want to reference once more that amazing video we just saw from a drone. It shows how widespread the disaster area is.
YENNI SURYANI, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: Yes. Hello, Natalie. No, until today our team is still on the way there to the -- to the affected area. We're not able to bring closer to the area because the access is quite difficult. And we have to take a roadway from (INAUDIBLE) and then from (INAUDIBLE) to Palu.
They are now halfway to Palu and we expect that by the end of today, they will reach Palu.
ALLEN: That certain is an indication of how remote the area is. We know the airport was closed down. A government relief plane landed but the rest of you have to trek a very long way on roads that are probably damaged.
So the question is, we know there have been people pulled out alive from the rubble. There have been amazing survivor stories. So there's the search for people still and the help needed for victims.
What is the most critical thing needed and how do you prioritize in this time of such chaos?
SURYANI: Currently the government is focusing on search and rescue mission. And while we -- the other international communities and also the local communities are trying to identify the pressing needs of the -- of the affected population in the area, we will work with the government to identify that need and help the government and also help the communities who already lost their loved ones and all their assets to cope with the situation.
ALLEN: Outside of Palu, regions that extend out that you're also hearing from, do you know if there are still areas that have been cut off from communication, that have not been assessed?
SURYANI: We did receive a report from sources on the ground that several villages in the outskirts of Palu and Donggala are still not accessible because the damage to the road and also because the village are quite remote in the first place.
So our team will be working with the government and other actors on the ground to identify the villages and also the need in those villages as well.
ALLEN: All right. We certainly hope that your teams get there safely and get there soon. Thank you so much, Yenni Suryani, for joining us.
SURYANI: Thank you, Natalie.
We want to let our viewers know, for ways you help the people affected, you could go to our website, cnn.com/impact. Find out how you can help with relief agencies.
The FBI interviews a key witness in its probe into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but who's really pulling the strings of this investigation?
We'll take a look that next.
VANIER: We're learning more details about the FBI investigation of Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh including who's on the list of witnesses for agents to interview and who's not.
ALLEN: Sources tell CNN that Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who testified that he sexual assaulted her are not on the initial list given by Senate Republicans to the FBI.
VANIER: However, the FBI did talk to another woman, Deborah Ramirez, on Sunday. She accuses Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her when they were both in college, something which he denies.
There are growing questions about just who is pulling the strings of its investigation.
ALLEN: Sources tell CNN the White House is controlling the scope of it even though the president has insisted the FBI has free rein. The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, wants to know more about that. For more, here's CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, sending out a statement on Sunday afternoon requesting the exact directive coming from the White House to the FBI outlining the exact parameters of the FBI probe into accusations made against President Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Dianne Feinstein's thing of the stakes are simply too high and that Senators on that committee should know exactly what the White House is telling the FBI to do.
Two sources familiar with the investigation have told CNN that the White House is sort of outlining the exact steps that the FBI --
SANCHEZ: -- should take, maintaining that specific questions about Brett Kavanaugh's drinking habits in high school are off limits and sort of outlining that there would only be a handful of interviews conducted during this probe.
Now, as even before, Dianne Feinstein sent out the statement, President Trump was already weighing in saying that Democrats would be unhappy regardless of the scope of the investigation.
He wrote on Twitter, "Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats who are only thinking obstruct and delay are starting to put out the word that the time and scope of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough. Stay tuned and watch."
Of course, this news coming from sources just days after President Trump said that the FBI would have free rein over this investigation. That is not sitting well with the number of Democrats including Senator Amy Klobuchar who spoke to Jake Tapper on the "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MINN.), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The hard- working men and women of the FBI should be able to do their jobs. And on that, I agree. But what we are hearing are reports that they're somehow trying to limit this, to a few witnesses or tell them what they should do.
And while the White House decides who to nominate and then, that person is submitted to a background check, I've never heard that the White House either under this president or other presidents is saying, "Well, you can't interview this person. You can't look at this time period. You can only look at these people from one side of the street from when they were growing up."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was also on the Sunday morning talk show, saying that the White House does not want to micromanage the FBI. Though, she admitted that she didn't know whether White House Counsel Don McGahn had told the FBI who they could or couldn't interview and what questions they could or could not ask -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about it. Joining us from Los Angeles, CNN conservative political commentator John Thomas -- hi, John -- and Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman. She teaches politics at Occidental College.
Hi to you, Caroline. Thank you for coming in.
There you have it, the question is who might pull the strings here. We learned the FBI investigation is limited.
Caroline, do you think it sound like it digging deep enough to get at the truth, to get to corroboration?
CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, no. I'm just given a time limit. It is unclear to me why, when you have multiple allegations of sexual misconduct for someone who is facing a lifetime appointment, why the FBI wouldn't take as much time as they need in order to delve into these cases.
It's now further disturbing that these details are coming out, that the White House itself is controlling who and what is being investigated. So this is a sham investigation.
What is the Republican Party afraid of?
They have a man with three allegations of sexual misconduct. The odds of these women lying about it are about 1 percent when you have three come forward who don't have a history of making false reports.
This is somewhat ridiculous that the Republicans aren't actually truly getting to the bottom of this because they want to ram through this nominee before November 6th.
ALLEN: Let's ask Thomas (sic) that question now. I want to preface it with the president did say this weekend. Thomas (sic), that there is no alternative to Kavanaugh. He's the guy. So it makes you wonder, well, what is going on with the investigation?
JOHN THOMAS, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Remember, this investigation was intended to be limited in scope. That's what Jeff Flake asked for when he voted on the Senate Judiciary Committee was to do it quickly, and limited in scope.
There is an endless rathole that the FBI could go down if they want to turn over every single rock related to Judge Kavanaugh of things that have absolutely nothing to do with the accusations.
So I think, honestly, I don't even understand the point of an FBI investigation, because the FBI is going to interview the very few same people that have already testified in writing under oath, and are at risk of perjuring themselves if they were lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
So if they give a different version of events to the FBI, then they themselves have perjured themselves and are criminally liable. So I just don't think that anything's going to come of this.
And I just think it's laughable that it's not just -- of course, this is a standard Democratic line that, oh, the scope isn't broad enough. But we saw less than 24 hours after Trump greenlit this investigation that numerous senators, Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee said I don't care what the FBI finds. I'm still not voting for this guy.
ALLEN: Let's talk about the -- these allegations is one thing. But since the Thursday hearing, Mr. Kavanaugh's demeanor has been another. He was described as belligerent, partisan, which Supreme Court nominees are not typically. Defensive; we all know he's a beer lover by now.
ALLEN: But many question his temperament. Let's look at clip from "60 Minutes" this Sunday with Republican senator Jeff Flake, Democratic senator Chris Coons, who came together --
ALLEN: -- on Kavanaugh to take a closer look at him and then discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DEL.: He had exchanges with Senator Feinstein, with Senator Klobuchar, with others that I thought went over the line. He was clearly belligerent, aggressive, angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Made you wonder about his suitability?
COONS: In my case, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Senator Flake, you identified with it, you understood?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZ.: It seemed partisan but boy, I have to put myself in that spot. And you can understand why he was angry. And you know, I think you give a little leeway there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: So do you, Thomas (sic), angry, yes, one can understand he was defending himself. But many people think he went way beyond that. He was livid and there's some questions about his honesty. To you, Thomas (sic).
THOMAS: Yes, I would be livid, too, if l was being accused of being a gang raper. I think that would enrage especially in Judge Kavanaugh's case, where he's not just your average joe on the street.
This person has methodically gone through his entire life, crossing his T's and dotting his I's. And here he is, in the 11th hour, accused of this.
It wasn't just that he got upset. He went from highs to lows. He went from getting upset to almost breaking down and crying when he thinks about what this has put his family through.
And it's the last thing I would say, is people say it's overly partisan. Well, if that's the standard, I guess the Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be bumped off the court because she routinely says partisan things against this president.
ALLEN: All right, John, stand by.
And Caroline, stand by. We're going to play one more clip from "60 Minutes."
This is Senator Flake talking about the spirit of bipartisanship with his decision to delay this and work with a Democratic senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Flake, you've announced that you're not running for re-election and I wonder, could you have done this if you were running for re-election?
FLAKE: No, not a chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a chance.
FLAKE: No, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: So much for the spirit of bipartisanship.
Caroline, wow, that was quite the statement from Senator Flake, saying none of this would have happened if I were up for reelection.
HELDMAN: I think it is an admission that party politics is really what's at play here. And it's unfortunate because as is a data scientist, I know that when a woman comes forward, there's a 90 percent chance she is telling the truth.
When two women come forward, there's a 98 percent chance that they're telling the truth. There are three women now. You do the math.
So the fact that 51 percent of the population -- women -- are not being believed as a group when they come forward with sexual violence allegations because of partisan politics, this is a day that politicizes our institutions in a way that will harm our faith and trust in them well beyond just Brett Kavanaugh being way too partisan for this and being dishonest about the devil's triangle, about boofing, about Renate alumni.
This is a man who lies about the little things. This is a man who lied about his involvement in the Pickering nomination and his receipt of emails from Democrats, which were big things.
And now we have three women coming forward. I'm sorry; this is a dark day for the Republican Party. And if they think that you're the woman that happened after Anita Hill was a big deal, just wait for the political tsunami in response to this not taking sexual violence seriously.
ALLEN: That will have to be the last word. We thank you both so much.
John Thomas, Caroline Heldman, thanks for coming on. We'll talk with you again.
HELDMAN: Thank you.
VANIER: Great interview, great conversation.
Still to come, a social media star and former beauty queen is gunned down in Baghdad in broad daylight. The courageous life and untimely death of Tara Faris -- after this.
[00:30:00] ALLEN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier.
Negotiators from the U.S. and Canada just meet a midnight deadline, agreeing to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. Canada has now signed on to the rewritten pact with the U.S. and Mexico. U.S. officials say the deal will address trade imbalances and rules for auto exports, as well as open up Canada's dairy sector.
ALLEN: Indonesian officials plan to hold mass burials on Monday, for victims of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami, more than 830 people were killed in the disaster, that number, likely to rise still. Rescue workers are scrambling to dig out any survivors from the rubble, and they have found some. That's good news.
While Brexit is now less than six months away, are we almost there or maybe not? And British Prime Minister Theresa May is under fire still.
VANIER: Yes. Her Party is kicking off day two now, of its Birmingham Conference and she's insisting that her plan know as Chequers, can still work. That's despite criticism from some of her fellow Conservatives.
ALLEN: Mrs. May has tried to strike a diplomatic tone with the E.U., her foreign secretary, not so much. On Sunday, Jeremy Hunt compared the, E.U. to a Soviet prison.
VANIER: Typhoon Trami pounded western Japan before heading toward Tokyo, on Sunday. An H.K. television reported powerful winds and heavy rain forced the cancellations of more than 1,200 flights and train service was also suspended. More than 1-1/2 million households were ordered to evacuate.
ALLEN: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest on this one. And the bad news for Japan, there could be another one eyeing the region too.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes. My goodness, you know, it's been very busy, needless to say. And you take a look; the system itself, beginning to move away from Japan, right now, so at least, that area is improving.
But as Natalie said, you know when you take a look at how many storms have lined up, at 24, as far as tropical storms, 13, as far as typhoons, and super typhoons, 5. Just about every single metric we've been above what is normal for this region, for this time of year.
And rainfall has been remarkable, upwards of almost half a meter has come down, of course, the 1,200 flights being impacted. Wind gusts as much as 150 or more kilometers per hour, not far from Tokyo, that system is out of here.
You look at the south; this is not what you want to see. This is the next tropical system, Typhoon Kong-Rey, sitting there as a strong Category 2, borderlining Category 3 equivalent. And tell you what, over the next 24 hours. Expect this to get up to near super typhoon status.
It will stay over open waters for several days. Potentially, by the middle of the week, the Ryukyu Islands are there, and then, potentially, by later in the week -- the model is really having a tough time, some of them wanting to take it over in China, other ones wanting to bring it in towards areas of Japan, so we're going to follow this year, going into the middle of this week, guys?
VANIER: All right. Pedram Javaheri and the whole team of the CNN Weather Center, thank you, we appreciate it. Thanks.
[00:35:01] ALLEN: I know you're busy. While Iraqi officials are investigating a disturbing trend after the killing of another outspoken female personality, Tara Fares, was a former beauty queen whose lifestyle challenged the conservative norms of her country. Our Ben Wedeman has her story from Beirut.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She was a social media personality, the likes of which Iraq hadn't seen. Twenty-year- old Tara Fares projected an image on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, of a fun-loving, care-free modern young woman, unencumbered by the norms of her society with a strong streak of conservatism.
Last Thursday, unknown gunman shot her three times in her car, in Central Baghdad. Her death caught on close circuit television. Tara Fares was born out of the mold, a daughter of an Iraqi-Christian father, and a Lebanese-Shia Muslim mother. She won the title of Miss Baghdad and in 2014, was the runner-up for Miss Iraq.
But as she explains in this interview, her short life story was not always a happy one. She married at 16 and soon gave birth to a son. But her husband beat her, she says, and forced her to leave school. Divorce soon followed, after forcibly taking away their son, her ex- husband moved to Turkey and remarried.
Yet, she carried on, gaining fame for her daring posts, winning millions of online followers. Three years ago, she left Baghdad and moved to Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she left safer, but often returned to her native city for photo shoots and to visit her family.
Fares is just the latest online female personality or activist, to die an untimely death in Iraq. And the government has launched an investigation to see if there's a link between them. Fares' murder sparked an outburst of grief from her followers, but not all mourned for death.
One journalist with state media calling her a whore, in social media, he is subsequently been fired. The last image to appear on her Instagram account shows her in black and white, with the words, peace be upon her soul, Tara Fares. Ben Wederman, CNN, Beirut.
VANIER: Stay with us. We're back with more, after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VANIER: Now, we want to bring you this amazing medical development, a young woman, in the U.S. state of Florida, was paralyzed four years ago. Doctors at that time told her she would never walk again. But breakthrough technology has changed all of that. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the story.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: At age 19, Kelly Thomas, a young woman raised on a cattle farm; an avid equestrienne, was injured in a rollover truck accident.
KELLY THOMAS, PARALYZED PATIENT: I broke my neck at C71 and a spinal cord injury.
[00:40:00] COHEN: She was paralyzed from the chest down. Her doctors told her she would never walk again. But in February, three years after her accident, Thomas defied them all, taking these first steps.
How did that feel?
THOMAS: I cried.
COHEN: This small device put her back on her feet. Surgically implanted, it sends electrical impulses to her spine. They mimic the signals her brain used to send before her accident. And after seven months, Thomas has made even more progress.
She can walk around her house, walk into her bathroom and see her reflection, standing, in the mirror. She can walk along her front porch or through grass, in her yard, that's harder to traverse.
THOMAS: I've been walking to the library or walk into dinner with friends. It makes me feel normal again.
COHEN: She showed me how. Your stimulator is off right now.
COHEN: Can you move your legs?
THOMAS: I can't.
COHEN: Now, let's see you turn it on.
THOMAS: With this setting that I have selected, I can move my leg.
COHEN: That's amazing. Her phenomenal accomplishment is reported this week in the New England Journal of medicine. In the study by researchers at the University of Louisville, four paralyzed patients were implanted with the device, two of them, Thomas and this man, were able to walk again after intense physical training.
Another study out this week, this one from the Mayo Clinic, confirms these findings. The researchers report that one of their paralyzed patients also walked after getting a stimulator, but with assistance.
You were paralyzed, you could not move your legs, and now, you can walk.
COHEN: What word would you use to describe how that feels?
THOMAS: it's out of this world. It really is.
COHEN: Each step is exhilarating an exhausting.
THOMAS: Come on, feet.
COHEN: This is hard work. You don't just turn on the stimulator and go.
THOMAS: That's absolutely right. It's not a quick fix to being paralyzed. Every single step back, I focus.
COHEN: She hopes others, one day, will experience a similar transformation.
THOMAS: Nothing's going to be able to stop me in life because I took something that was thought to be impossible and I turned it into possible.
COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Lecanto, Florida.
VANIER: The impossible becomes possible.
ALLEN: Love it.
VANIER: That's a great story. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Cyril Vanier.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. "WORLD SPORT" is next. We'll be back at the top of the hour --
ALLEN: -- with another hour of news. See you then.
[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)