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Trump Tangles with Chief Justice of the U.S.; U.S. and Iran Trade Blows as Relations Worsen; Celebrity Chefs Serving Meals to California Fire Victims, First Responders; Activist Offers Virtual Classes for Rohingya Children. Aired 12m-1a ET
Aired November 22, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It was a typical, garden variety Trump rant which brought an unprecedented public rebuke from the U.S. Chief Justice.
(INAUDIBLE) classrooms now bringing in education and hope to Rohingya children in the sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh.
And fire up the outrage machine, actress Sarah Michelle Geller apologizes for a statement which most found not to be offensive.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: In just the past three days, Donald Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia over the CIA; blasted the military hero who led the Osama bin Laden raid; used a juvenile slur to insult a senior Democratic congressman.
Now add to that list, the U.S. Chief Justice of the United States. And it is only Friday (sic). Here's CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump in an extraordinary public feud tonight with Chief Justice John Roberts.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, an unprecedented and unseemly exchange that started earlier in the day, when the chief justice issued a rare rebuke of the president for criticizing a member of the federal appeals court as an Obama judge.
"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for." The president firing back on Twitter. "Sorry, Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have Obama judges and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an independent judiciary."
In a second tweet, the president went on to ask why there are so many opposing views on border and safety cases filed there and why there are a vast number of cases overturned.
Then, he admonished Roberts to study the numbers and added, "They are shocking and making our country unsafe."
It started as the president left the White House yesterday, blasting the judge's decision for temporarily blocking one his executive orders to change U.S. asylum policy.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You go to the Ninth Circuit and it is a disgrace. This was an Obama judge. And I will tell you what. It is not going to happen like this anymore.
ZELENY: The Supreme Court chief justice, appointed by President George W. Bush, has been striving to bring civility to the bench.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: We speak for the Constitution. That job obviously requires independence from the political branches.
ZELENY: It was his statement defending the judiciary that provoked the response from Trump.
All of this tonight as the president finally submitted his written questions in the Russia investigation, but Rudy Giuliani telling CNN special counsel Robert Mueller may be far from finished with the president.
Giuliani, one of the president's lawyers, is bracing for new questions from Mueller about potential obstruction of justice, a move he said the Trump team would fight.
"We will consider them and answer them if necessary, relevant and legal," Giuliani telling CNN, "if it was something that would be helpful, relevant, not a law school exam."
As Trump opens his six-day holiday visit to his Florida resort, Giuliani's comments tonight signal the Russia probe and the president's role in it is very much alive, despite repeated attempts to diminish it, like yesterday while leaving the White House.
TRUMP: The written answers to the witch hunt that's been going on forever, no collusion, no nothing, they have been finished.
ZELENY: Giuliani said any questions about Trump's transition and actions during his time in office, including whether he obstructed justice firing FBI Director James Comey, would violate the president's executive privilege. CNN has learned the president did answer Mueller's questions about potential Russian collusion, including what he knew at the time about his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians at Trump Tower and whether he knew anything about Russian hacks when saying this about Hillary Clinton's e-mails on July 27, 2016:
TRUMP: Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
ZELENY: So even as the Russia investigation still hangs over this president with the potential of new questions to come from the special counsel's office, it is that extraordinary and unprecedented, perhaps even unseemly fight with the chief justice that certainly is unusual, particularly coming on the eve of Thanksgiving.
And, of course, the president may need the Supreme Court and their ruling in the months and years to come -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.
VAUSE: Growing tension between Tehran and Washington. A commander with Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned that U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the UAE and Qatar and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf are in range of Iranian missiles. They're in the Guard's airspace division was quoted as saying they are within our reach and we can hit them, if they --
VAUSE: -- as in the Americans, make a move.
Just a day earlier, the U.S. president accused Iran of being a major threat to Middle East stability, as well as American citizens, with a track record far worse than any crime which may have been committed by Saudi Arabia.
Part of the rambling justification by Trump to ignore a CIA report that concluded the Saudi crown prince had ordered the brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Iran's foreign minister seemed to troll the U.S. president, tweeting this.
"Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the first paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse Iran of every sort of malfeasance he can think of. Perhaps we're also responsible for the California fires because we didn't help rake the forests -- just like the Finns do?"
Friction between Tehran and the U.S. went from bad to horrendous in May of this year, when President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and tough economic sanctions were reimposed on the Islamic Republic.
For more now on this, CNN global affairs analyst and executive editor of "The New Yorker" website, David Rohde, is with us from New York.
David, thank you for taking the time.
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you.
VAUSE: Back in July, the U.S. president tweeted this.
"To Iranian President Rouhani, never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences, the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We're no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious."
OK, so does this threat from Iran about U.S. bases and aircraft carriers being within range of their missiles, does that rise to this level of consequences they've ever seen before?
How serious is this claim coming from the Revolutionary Guard?
ROHDE: To be frank, I'm it is -- it is not clear to me. -- it is not new; the Iranians have made this kind of threat before. What is not clear to me is what is the definition of what President Trump considers a serious threat.
He has talked this way about striking North Korea. He has looked at military options for invading Venezuela but he hasn't taken military action. So I don't -- I don't know frankly what that line is.
And there's a danger. If you make these threats, as the President of the United States, but you don't ever follow up on them, that can lead your enemies to not hear the threats.
VAUSE: Which seems maybe one of the reasons why you get this statement from the Iranian foreign minister, mocking the president and he sort of trolled him on Twitter. It seems Iran's also been involved because of the support they're receiving from Europe over the nuclear deal.
Here's part of a report from Reuters, "Iran on Wednesday praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran, despite U.S. sanctions, citing 'constructive meetings' with British and French officials in Tehran this week on setting up a way to conduct non- dollar trade."
This is about the negotiations for the special purpose vehicle, basically a trading mechanism for the European countries to avoid the U.S. sanctions if they do business with Iran. It is a sign of just how isolated the U.S. is now when it comes to dealing with Tehran.
ROHDE: Yes, there were new sanctions announced. But there were waivers the U.S. issued immediately for some of the largest purchasers of Iranian oil, primarily China.
So right now the sort of very tough sanctions that the White House has talked about has not had a major impact in terms of decreasing Iran's oil exports. I do think the sanctions could hurt over time. But right now the Iranians and the Europeans together are essentially flouting the Trump administration and saying they won't be intimidated by President Trump's rhetoric.
VAUSE: Which will leave the U.S. with the Saudis and Trump on Wednesday had some very kind words once again for the Saudis.
"Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia but let's go lower."
The only problem with that statement from the president is it's completely wrong. The Saudis actually cut production this month to try and drive up the price of oil. You mentioned this; the only reason for the big decline in the price is because those buyers, exemptions from the U.S. from sanctions.
So is Donald Trump ignorant of that or is he deliberately trying to mislead here?
ROHDE: I would say he's still trying to mislead. I can't get into the president's head. But I think he's trying to defend an awkward political position in the United States where he gives Saudi Arabia and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman approval for a sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi, of a journalist. That is not popular in the United States and it's not popular with the Republicans in Congress.
It is very unprecedented to have an American president say, murder does not matter.
VAUSE: The Europeans and Iranians on the one side and the Americans and the Saudis on the other.
Just how effective of an ally is Saudi Arabia when it comes to containing Iran?
ROHDE: The Trump administration --
ROHDE: -- and the president have built their Middle East policy around Saudi Arabia being an effective ally. They expect Saudi Arabia to deliver and back, you know, a Middle East peace deal, potentially between the Israelis and Palestinians.
They expect the Saudis to intimidate Iran and somehow check them in the region. And they expect the Saudis to be an effective ally to counter ISIS.
If you look at the war in Yemen, the most significant military effort that the Saudis have led, that's been a complete disaster. So this reliance on the Saudis, this belief in the Trump White House that the magic solution to so many challenges in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, I find that very hard to believe.
But that's the strategy and the reason, you know, that they're giving MBS a pass is, first of all, oil. The U.S. needs that oil. The world economy needs that oil. Second, this is a choice of the Trump administration, to be so utterly
reliant on Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. I'm not sure that reliance on Saudi Arabia is going to work.
VAUSE: OK, David, we'll leave it there. Thank you so much. It does seem to be one of those strategies which see to maybe misplaced at best. Thank you.
ROHDE: Thank you very much.
VAUSE: The U.K. government is warning of serious diplomatic consequences after a British student was sentenced to life in prison after being accused of spying in the United Arab Emirates.
The family of 31-year-old Matthew Hedges said he had no legal representation and was forced to sign a confession that was in Arabic, a language he doesn't speak or read. Adding to the outrage from the British government, Hedges was held in solitary confinement for almost six months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We're are of course, as he is, deeply disappointed and concerned at today's verdict. And I realize how difficult and distressing this is, both for Matthew Hedges but for -- also for his family.
We will continue to do all we can to support them as they consider the next steps and we will continue to press this matter at the highest level with the Emirates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And under Emirate law, Hedges has the right to appeal for a retrial.
Now in Northern California, heavy rain is expected to help fire crews contain the worst wildfires in the state's history. But at the same time, the stormy weather could hinder the work of rescue crews; 10-15 cms of rain is expected through Friday, which could trigger flash floods and mudslides in areas left blackened by the fire. So far 83 people have died in the Camp Fire in the state's north. And with hundreds still unaccounted for, it is feared that the death toll will rise.
Thousands of now exhausted forefront have been battling these blazes for two weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE ALEXANDER, CHICO FIRE DIVISION CHIEF: You're out there for 24- 36-48 hours. So you really don't get that opportunity to clean out your lungs a lot. All of our lungs hurt. Almost every single one of us comment about how our lungs hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And it will be a bittersweet Thanksgiving on Thursday in California. The wildfires have claimed more than 80 lives, hundreds remain missing; more than 13,000 homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated, many living in emergency shelters, most facing an uncertain future.
But at least for some survivors, there will be a hot meal of turkey and all of the trimmings. The World Central Kitchen, founded by the renowned chef, Jose Andres, and supported by a small volunteer army, plan to serve up 15,000 meals, four shifts, three locations.
Among those bringing a little Thanksgiving joy is Tyler Florence with the Food Network. He joins us now from Chico, California.
Tyler, thank you for speaking with us.
TYLER FLORENCE, FOOD NETWORK CHEF: Thanks so much. Good to see you. How are you?
VAUSE: I'm good. Thank you for what you're doing. Let me say this, this seems to me to be more than just about a hot meal. This sends a message to the survivors, you're not alone and you're not forgotten, we're with you. These meals come with a great big side serving of care.
T. FLORENCE: Thank you for bringing that up. I think it is very important that, especially during natural disasters, that there are people that swarm around those that have been affected and are suffering so much loss to let them know they're not alone.
There's people in the community that care about them. It is amazing what a warm meal will do to someone who is at the -- just going through so much personal drama right now.
So it is amazing, tomorrow we're going to -- we're at Chico State University and we're going to feed 15,000 people here tomorrow, four different shifts and four or five different centers around the area.
We're taking care of the American Red Cross, The Boys & Girls Clubs tomorrow and also the Butte County Fairgrounds that are right now housing hundreds of animals that were evacuees themselves, horses and llamas and goats. It is a fairly rural farm area here in Northern California.
T. FLORENCE: But it is going to be amazing. We have hundreds of volunteers, including my lovely daughter here, Dorothy, that got a chance to come up from San Francisco. We're super excited about this. Guy Fieri is here. Jose Andres will be here tonight. Tomorrow we'll put together an amazing feast for a lot of people that really deserve it.
VAUSE: And good on you, Dorothy, for helping out as well.
The former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, tweeted this out.
"I'm taking over your kitchen, Chef Jose Andres. Thank you for what you're doing for the victims of our fires and the first responders."
Like Governor Schwarzenegger, you're in California as well; there's a lot of Californians chipping in. This is literally thousands of people volunteering in their own community and coming together in, what, little more than a week since the idea came up?
T. FLORENCE: This is what I love about World Central Kitchen, how nimble they are. It is a lean agency. I would even say it is relatively scrappy but how fast they can get into a community that has been affected by a natural disaster and reach out and organize food distribution and to be able to get hot food where it needs to be as fast as possible.
The fire happened a week ago tomorrow. And by Sunday last week, they were on the ground and serving a thousand meals, with less than 72 hours. So it is pretty amazing how fast they could mobilize and get the community together and just to support.
VAUSE: With that in mind, how difficult will Thanksgiving be?
Especially for those who survived the fire but may have lost a relative or a friend; that doesn't include the missing, perhaps their home was destroyed. It seems this will be a day with a lot of really tough emotions for a lot of people.
T. FLORENCE: There's a lot of emotions that are happening right now in the Chico community. We've been here on the ground, myself and my staff, for a week now and we've been serving 7,000 meals a day, 8,000 meals a day, dropping off to different centers that FEMA has set up and the American Red Cross has set up and the Boys & Girls Clubs.
You get a chance to walk around and talk to people. It is like -- it is like live PTSD. They don't even really understand what just happened because of how fast the fire ravaged the community of Paradise. And now they're in a whole new reality. They don't even really understand what that means.
Information is hard to get around; accurate information is hard to get around. When you can go back. A lot of people are living in parking lots and it is starting to rain fairly heavily today. So we're going to make sure these people get inside.
But it is a pretty heavy disaster that happened in our community and it is going to be really, really sad. But I think one step at a time, one day at a time. If we -- if there's anything that we've learned from the 2017 Wine Country fires, a little closer to where I live in San Francisco, is that you really have count your blessings, like you're alive. That's the most important thing.
You have -- whatever you have on you, it may be like the clothes you have on your back but it's some place to start. The community in California, we will make sure that -- that everybody here has a voice to be heard and has an opportunity to get themselves back as fast as possible and community around them to support them.
VAUSE: Well, Tyler, to you and your daughter, Dorothy, there as well and to the thousands of volunteers that came out to make this happen, thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.
T. FLORENCE: Thanks so much.
You want to tell everybody Happy Thanksgiving?
DOROTHY FLORENCE, TYLER'S DAUGHTER: Happy Thanksgiving!
VAUSE: Thanks, guys.
Well, still to come here, with the U.N. warning of a possible lost generation, we will have more on the high-tech effort to educate Rohingya children living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
VAUSE: A plan to send hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar has been put on hold. Not one person was willing to voluntarily leave the safety of Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh.
That's where they fled last year after a crackdown by the Myanmar military which the U.N. described as a textbook case of genocide. The refugee camps are not without problems. Authorities in Bangladesh restrict access to basic services, including education, raising fears of generation of Rohingya children which could be lost.
But maybe not now. In recent months, activist Rajiv Uttamchandani traveled to Cox's Bazaar twice with a plan to build virtual classrooms that are now up and running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJIV UTTAMCHANDANI, H.E.R. ACADEMY: I see everyone and I look at everyone as virtually new scientists. But all of you guys have the potential to be scientists or engineers or great personalities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The founder of H.E.R., the Humanity Education and Rights Academy, Rajiv Uttamchandani, is with us right now.
Good to have you back.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Good to see you.
VAUSE: We last spoke in July?
UTTAMCHANDANI: I think it was July 9th.
VAUSE: Back then, you were about to head off to the refugee camps. The plan was to set up these virtual classrooms, put up a satellite, use the Internet; if the teachers couldn't go to the classroom you'd beam them in via satellite.
VAUSE: Didn't go according to plan as things often do in Bangladesh. So you came up with Plan B which seems to be even better.
So what happened and what is Plan B?
UTTAMCHANDANI: We were trying to get the permission to install a satellite dish in the camp itself to host these live virtual classes. We couldn't get the permission for various reasons, so we decided to go to Plan B, which is that we would deliver these classes asynchronously.
We'd prerecord all the lessons and upload on a shared Google Drive and a colleague of mine who lives in Cox's Bazaar then downloads the classes on a weekly basis, brings them to the camps and they have the lessons for the whole week.
VAUSE: This is actually better.
UTTAMCHANDANI: This worked out to be better. Because when you teach these classes, they're fairly complex -- English, science, engineering, which is what we're offering now. So the translator has full control over the pace of the classes, to play and pause the videos when he wants to. It works out so much better that way. We don't have to worry about time difference and continuity. We just go.
VAUSE: Kids can work at their own speed.
VAUSE: Let's take a look at one of your recruits. We have a teacher, I think an English teacher, and he's in Siberia. He's actually teaching these kids their English lessons from Siberia.
VAUSE: That's incredible. Obviously you need more teachers.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, we do.
VAUSE: From anywhere?
UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly, anywhere in the world, all kinds of academic disciplines. The goal is to provide quality and full secondary school education to these children. VAUSE: A couple of kids, I want to listen to them, they've actually taken the English class there in the camp. Here we go, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator). We have learned English today. We have learned five things to become a scientist. We have learned very well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We need the more good picture and video lesson. If we get an English class we will be able to understand talking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: This has been going on for a couple of weeks.
VAUSE: How are the kids progressing and receiving this?
UTTAMCHANDANI: They love it. I built a relationship with them over the past couple of months since I visited. For them to see me over there and not just myself but other colleagues from all over the world, that look different than they do and for them to see that people care about them. We went in and promised to hold their hands, provide them with quality education. And come what may, we deliver that. And the kids are really progressing very well. I'm very proud of them.
VAUSE: There were sort of classrooms before and they were kind of informal and not really structured. And the Bangladeshi government doesn't want these kids going to the education system. They don't want these refugees to become permanent residents so that's why they don't have access to services.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Most of the learning over there is primary school education. So you have kids that are 13, 14, 15 years old who have nothing that satisfies their hunger for learning. That's the void that we want to fill.
VAUSE: You found these kids really wanted to learn.
UTTAMCHANDANI: They do, very much so. They're hungry for that. They're thirsty for that.
VAUSE: OK. So what you have done, it took a while but it all came together in the last couple of weeks. You started two learning centers, basically catering to 300 kids. They have electric fans, laptops, LED televisions, microphones and speakers. Now it is fully powered --
VAUSE: -- by these solar panels which you guys have installed. These are kids that didn't get much education when they were in Myanmar before, because of the policies of the Myanmar government.
And now they look at these classrooms, which must be completely and totally new to them.
What is the reaction just to the equipment and everything that is being decked out?
UTTAMCHANDANI: They were surprised. I've got to mention my partners, the women in my foundation. They helped set up the groundwork for this and we helped reinforce the structure of the classroom and bring on technology over there. So kudos to them for the excellent job.
The kids, once they've seen the TV screens, we show them all kinds of pictures and videos, I teach astronomy to them so I show them pictures of the cosmos, they haven't seen anything like this before.
So I think for them to be traumatized as much as they have and lost everything but realized that, in a way, in terms of education, that they're receiving better education in these learning centers than they were back home. That's a significant accomplishment and they realize that.
VAUSE: At the moment, where do you want these classes to grow to?
What are you looking at?
UTTAMCHANDANI: We offer science, engineering, critical thinking, leadership and English, of course, English speaking skills. So we want to offer more courses. We want to eventually, once we finish this pilot program in the next 3-4 months, offer that not only in other parts of the refugee camp in Kutupalong but other refugee camps around the world as well.
VAUSE: It's a great idea. There's a lot of concern about the repatriation plan. It is now on hold because no one wants to go back to Myanmar.
How confident are you that it is really on hold or at least nobody will be forced to go back to Myanmar that doesn't want to go?
UTTAMCHANDANI: I spoke to my colleagues both in government and the military in Bangladesh, they have assured me that at least despite the fact they will likely continue this process of trying to repatriate the Rohingya back to Myanmar, that they won't ever do so unless someone wants to go, which is a powerful statement.
They probably can't make that statement officially, but I trust them in that respect.
VAUSE: Which is very different from what we're seeing, just here in the United States --
UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, it's very different because -- and that's the respect that I have for the Bangladeshi government because it is overwhelming to handle 1.3 million additional people, as opposed to here where we're freaking out about 6,000 or 7,000 and sending people back without even any concern about where they come from.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) one of the poorest countries in the world.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly. Put that into perspective, right.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Thank you, sir.
VAUSE: Well, it's hard to be the chairman of one of the biggest automakers in the world when you're sitting in jail. The Nissan board is expected to meet to fire Carlos Ghosn. We'll have the very latest in a live report when we come back.
[01:30:49] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody.
I'm John Vause with an update of the top stories this hour.
Donald Trump firing back after a rare public rebuke from the Chief Justice of the United States. John Roberts defended the judiciary and pushed back against the President's criticism from what he called Obama judges. Trump says rulings against him are making the country unsafe.
The U.K. government warning of serious diplomatic consequences after a British student was sentenced to life in prison, accused of spying in the United Arab Emirates. The family of Matthew Hedges says he had no lawyer at the hearing and was forced to sign a confession in Arabic, a language he does not speak or read. Under U.A.E. Hedges still has a right to appeal for a retrial.
The British Prime Minister will return to Brussels Saturday for continued negotiations to finalize the draft Brexit agreement. Spain is threatening to veto the draft unless issues over Gibraltar are handled separately. Meantime, the Irish parliament approved the deal in what was a symbolic vote.
A plan to send hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar has been put on hold because not one person was willing to voluntarily leave the safety of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. That's where they fled last year during a crackdown by Myanmar's military which the U.N. described as a textbook case of genocide.
The refugee camps are not without problems. Authorities in Bangladesh restrict access to basic services including education raising fears of a generation of Rohingya children which could be lost.
But maybe not now. In recent months, activist Rajiv Uttamchandani traveled to Cox's Bazar twice with a plan to build virtual classrooms which are now up and running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see everyone and I look at everyone as virtually new scientists. All of you guys, have the potential to be scientists or engineers or great personalities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And the founder of HER, the Humanity Education and Rights Academy Rajiv Uttamchandani is with us right now. Good to have you back.
RAJIV UTTAMCHANDANI, FOUNDER, HUMANITY EDUCATION & RIGHTS ACADEMY: Good to see you -- John.
VAUSE: We last spoke -- what -- July? I think.
UTTAMCHANDANI: It was July 9th.
VAUSE: In Los Angeles. Yes.
Back then, you were about to head off to the refugee camps. The plan was to set up these virtual classrooms, put up a satellite, use the Internet. If the teachers couldn't go to the classroom you basically sort of beam them in via satellite.
VAUSE: Didn't go according to plan as things often --
UTTAMCHANDANI: Not quite.
VAUSE: -- do in Bangladesh.
VAUSE: So you came up with Plan B --
VAUSE: -- which seems, you know, even better. So what happened and what is Plan B?
UTTAMCHANDANI: So we were trying to get the permission to install our satellite dish in the camp itself to host these live virtual classes.
We could not get the permission for various reasons, so we decided to go to Plan B which was that we'd deliver these classes asynchronously. We prerecord all of our lessons. We upload in a shared Google drive and a colleague of mine, who lives in Cox's Bazar, then downloads those classes on a weekly basis, brings them to the camps and they have their lessons for the whole week.
VAUSE: This worked actually better.
UTTAMCHANDANI: This worked out to be better in fact.
VAUSE: Why? UTTAMCHANDANI: Because when you teach these classes, they're fairly complex. Whether it be English, science, engineering which is what we're offering now. So the translator has full pace -- full control over the pace of the classes, to play and pause our videos whenever he wants to.
And it works out so much better that way. We don't have to worry about time difference. We don't have to worry about continuity. We just go.
VAUSE: Kids go their own speed.
VAUSE: Let's take a look at one of your recruits. The teacher, I think an teacher, he's in Siberia.
VAUSE: This guys is actually teaching these kids, he's giving these lessons and he's in Siberia.
UTTAMCHANDANI: From Novosibirsk in Siberia. Yes, indeed.
VAUSE: That's incredible. I mean, so obviously you need more teachers though.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, we do.
VAUSE: OK. So from anywhere?
UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly. Anywhere in the world, for all kinds of academic disciplines. Again, the goal is to provide quality and full secondary school education to these children.
VAUSE: Ok. So a couple of kids, I want to listen to them, because they've actually taken the English class there in the camp.
VAUSE: Here we are. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): We have learned English today. We have learned five things to become a scientist. We have learned very well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): We need some more good picture and video lessons. If we get an English class we will be able to understand talking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ok. So this has been going -- what -- a couple of weeks?
UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes. A couple of weeks, exactly.
[01:35:02] VAUSE: How are the kids progressing. How are they receiving all of this?
UTTAMCHANDANI: Oh, they love it. I think -- I built a relationship with them, you know, over the past couple of months since I visited.
UTTAMCHANDANI: So for them to see me once again over there and not only myself but other colleagues of mine from other parts of the world who look completely different from they do. And for them to see that there are people who care about them.
We went in there. We gave them a promise that we would hold their hands, provide them with quality education. And come what may, we deliver that and the kids are really progressing very well. I'm very proud of that.
VAUSE: Because there were sort of classrooms before but they're kind of informal. They weren't really structured.
VAUSE: And the Bangladeshi government doesn't want these kids going to the education system because they don't want these refugees to become permanent residents of Bangladesh. Is that right. So that's why they're restricting the access to services.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Right, exactly.
And most of the learning over there is primary school education. So you have kids that are 13, 14, 15 years old who have nothing that satisfies their hunger for learning. That's the void that we wanted to fill.
VAUSE: And you know, these kids really wanted to learn.
UTTAMCHANDANI: They do. Very much so. They're hungry for that. They're thirsty for that.
VAUSE: Ok. What you have done in the last -- it's taken a while but, you know --
UTTAMCHANDANI: It's taken a while.
VAUSE: -- it sort of all came together in the last couple of weeks. You managed to start up two learning centers, basically catering to what -- 300 kids. They're equipped with electric fans, laptops, LED televisions with microphones and speakers.
And not only (INAUDIBLE) which is kind of really cool, it's fully powered by these solar panels which you guys have installed. I mean these are kids who didn't get much of an education when they were in Myanmar before because of, you know, the policies of the Myanmar government. And now they're looking at these classrooms which must be something completely and totally new to them. But what is the reaction been just to the equipment and everything which is being decked out?
UTTAMCHANDANI: I mean they were surprised. And I've got to mention my partners (INAUDIBLE) Foundation. So they helped set up the groundwork for this and we really helped reinforced the structure of the classroom and really bring in the technology over there. So kudos to them for just the excellent job.
The kids once they've seen the TV screens, we show them all kinds of videos, pictures -- you know, I teach astronomy to them so I show them pictures of the cosmos. They've never seen anything like this before.
So I think for them to have been traumatized as much as they have and lost everything, but realized that in a way, in terms of education that they're receiving better education in these learning centers than they were back home. And that's a significant accomplishment and they really realize that.
VAUSE: Ok. At the moment, what are the classes and where do you want these classes to eventually grow to? What are you looking at?
UTTAMCHANDANI: So we're offering science, engineering, critical thinking, leadership and English, of course -- English-speaking skills (ph).
So we want to offer more courses. And we want to eventually once we finish this pilot program, we should be in the next three to four months then offer that, not only in other parts of the refugee camps in Kutupalong but other refugee camps around the world as well.
VAUSE: That's a great idea. Very quickly, there's been a lot of concern about this repatriation plan.
VAUSE: It's now seriously on hold because no one wants to go back to Myanmar.
VAUSE: How confident are you that it is really on hold or at the very least, no one will be forced to go back to Myanmar who doesn't want to go?
UTTAMCHANDANI: So I've spoken with my colleagues, both in government and in military in Bangladesh and they've assured me at least that despite the fact that they will likely continue this process of trying to repatriate the Rohingya back to Myanmar.
That they will never do so unless anyone wants to go, which is a powerful statement that they made. Of course, they probably can't make that statement officially.
VAUSE: Yes. UTTAMCHANDANI: But I trust them in that respect.
VAUSE: Which is very different than what we're seeing -- I mean just here in the United States where people --
UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes. It's very different. Because -- and that's the respect that I have for the Bangladesh government. Because it's overwhelming to handle 1.3 million additional people as opposed to here where we're freaking out about 6,000 or 7,000 and sending people back without even any concern about where they come from.
VAUSE: 1.3 million people from one of the poorest countries in the world.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly. Put that into perspective, right?
VAUSE: Rajiv -- thank you. Well done.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Thank you so much -- John.
UTTAMCHANDANI: Thank you -- sir. Thank you.
VAUSE: After the break, preparing for a race war. And exclusive CNN investigation has revealed how Donald Trump's words are fueling fears of a looming white apocalypse among South Africa's ultra-right.
[01:39:09] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: For better or worse, when an American president speaks, his words are heard around the world. And now a CNN investigation has found Donald Trump's words have had a disturbing impact in South Africa, stoking fears among ultra-right groups of a looming white apocalypse fueling racism and hate.
David McKenzie has this exclusive report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE: The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia -- even in its bloody aftermath, a young woman killed by a neo-Nazi -- President Trump refused to pick sides.
Donald Trump, President of the United States: What about the alt- left, they came charging at the -- as you say the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?
MCKENZIE: Facing mounting criticism, the President would eventually condemn hate groups but not before his initial comments were echoed by white supremacists globally.
SIMON ROCHE, SUIDLANDERS OF SOUTH AFRICA: How these people, these right-wingers in the U.S.A. restrain themselves in the face of such antagonism I really don't know. MCKENZIE: That's an audio message from a South African sent from
Charlottesville back home to his followers. This photo places Simon Roche at the scene. Surrounded by Nazi flags, he's in the corner wearing a hard hat.
ROCHE: The time is now for you, white men, to arise.
MCKENZIE: And he took to the alt-right media for support.
ROCHE: Help us to continue to fight the good fight.
MCKENZIE: A constant theme.
ROCHE: We represent the white people of South Africa who are presently being told that they can expect to see a genocide.
MCKENZIE: For Roche and his group, the Suidlanders, the warning is more than just rhetoric. On a remote farm in South Africa, they are preparing for an all-out race war.
What does it feel like for you to have your family here hiding in the bushes?
ROCHE: If this was a real world situation, (INAUDIBLE) would be very disturbing. But if you're prepared for it, it is not that bad.
MCKENZIE: It is a drill, of course. Here catsup replaces real blood.
But make no mistake, Roche is deadly serious about his founders doomsday prophecy.
ROCHE: There is a pervasive sense among certain sectors of historically white societies that those societies are being diluted on other people's turf.
But see, when you use a term like "diluted", I think Nazism. I think eugenics. I think all of these horrible things from the past. Why being diluted a problem.
That's neurotic. The societies are in democratic terms being diluted.
We are a preparing for a storm.
Like the canary in the coal mine of the same anxieties and distresses that are being experienced in western Europe and in the U.S.
MCKENZIE: So a lot of oxygen comes from support in the U.S.
ROCHE: Yes, terrific oxygen.
MCKENZIE: Oxygen in the form of an inaccurate tweet from the U.S. president.
[01:44:57] There it was, a tweet from left field. "I've asked Secretary of State Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not really, you know, at the end of the day about any kinds of facts or data. Once Trump put out that tweet, attention was draw to this theory of white and South African farmers under attacked and being genocided (ph) in a way that had never happened before.
MCKENZIE: A South African myth connecting white supremacist worldwide in videos, in chat rooms, on far right Web sites and increasingly in the mainstream.
David McKenzie, CNN -- near Welkom, South Africa.
VAUSE: When we come back, the outrage machine never rests as actress Sarah Michelle Gellar found out, some people are just looking for an excuse to be angry.
Also ahead, movies and pop culture classics and the studio that made them has been in business for more than 100 years. We'll go inside Universal Pictures in a moment.
VAUSE: It's the world's fourth oldest movie studio, an American icon. Since 1912, Universal Pictures has been making some of the most memorable films of all time. "Jurassic Park", "Jaws", "Back to the Future".
Cyril Vanier now shows us how this company has earned a place in the 100 club.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Movies can touch the outer reaches of space, revive a distant past, and take us on a journey back in the future all in less than two hours.
CHRISTOPHER LLOYD, ACTOR: Where we're going we don't need roads.
JEFF PIRTLE, DIRECTOR OF ARCHIVES, NBCUNIVERSAL: This is the iconic courthouse square which has been on Universal's back lot since 1948. Right up here is the clock tower where Doc Brown was able to catch the lightning bolt to energize the DeLorean, going right down the street to send it back to the future.
VANIER: In 1912, Universal began making films, churning out an average of one a week. But it wasn't until 1931 with the debut of "Dracula" when Universal made its mark.
BELA LUGOSI, ACTOR: My blood now flows through here veins.
PIRTLE: It's a little known fact that Dracula was actually marketed as a romance, back in 1931. So you can see one of the marketing tips here is to ask the audience this question-- what is a Dracula's kiss? VANIER: The horror film genre may have scared audiences but they
saved Universal during the darkest days of the depression. In recent times, franchises have proven to be fan favorites and final juggernauts. "Fast and Furious", "Despicable Me", and the granddaddy of them all, "Jurassic Park".
In 2011, the company was bought by Comcast and 2017 was Universal's most profitable year in history, taking in $1.28 billion dollars in earnings.
RON MEYER, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS: It's an incredible group of people that really run and work in this company. And it's the reason this company has survived for 100-plus years. And I believe we'll survive hopefully for another 100 years.
VAUSE: And Cyril Vanier will host the half-hour special featuring the stories of all five global brands in this year's "100 CLUB". That's Saturday at 2:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, 7:30 in the morning in London, 3:30 in the afternoon in Hong Kong.
[01:49:59] So now here's proof that on social media, you could offend at least some of the people all the time as actress Sarah Michelle Gellar of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame found out.
And here's the crime -- posting these photos from a 2007 modeling shoot with the caption, "I'm just going to pin these up all over my house as a reminder not to overeat on Thursday. #thanksgivingprep."
Cue the outrage. It wasn't long before the deeply offended were sounding off with remarks like this. "Your caption is problematic. I suggest you should research on eating disorders, the mental health issues that go along with them, how diet culture is harmful to women. Girls look up to you and you should be mindful of the message you're sending."
Or like this, "Just FYI, the holidays are one of the hardest times for those struggling with eating disorders and body image issues. You're definitely not helping."
Even though most of the comments on her Instagram account were positive, Gellar issued a groveling apology anyway. "It came to my attention that some people think I was fat shaming with this post. That could not be further from my intentions. I love Thanksgiving. And unfortunately, my eyes are often bigger than my stomach and I tend to eat so much I make myself sick. This is a joking reminder to myself not to do that. I'm terribly sorry that people were offended by my attempt at humor. Anyone that knows me know I would never intentionally shame anyone on any basis. I'm a champion of all people."
This is just the latest example of online outrage forcing a high- profile apology for what seems to be a harmless, innocent statement.
Last month, astronaut Scott Kelly, brother-in-law to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was forced to apologize for this highly-offensive tweet. "One of the greatest leaders of modern times, Sir Winston Churchill said, 'In victory, magnanimity.' I guess those days are over."
The trolls on Twitter went nuts. They went after Kelly for quoting a war-time leader who they consider to be a racist and say he's partly to blame for a famine in India which killed millions.
And Kelly was quick to apologize. "Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I'll go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support. My point was we need to come together as one nation. We're all Americans. That should transcend partisan politics.
But then fans of Churchill were left outraged. "Scott Kelly, please read a good biography of Churchill before making pronouncements on his atrocities and racist views. He committed no atrocities and his views on race 100 years ago cannot be judged by today's standards." Which just proves the point.
Someone somewhere will always find a reason to be outraged about something. Just like they were in an episode of "South Park".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Social justice, one two, three. I want a BPT. It is just the way to be for me. And you. Your hateful slurs are through. I call (INAUDIBLE) on you. We'll fight until your PC black and blue.
We are language police, fighting bigotry. Hurtful words can suck our (INAUDIBLE) because it's PC for me and you. Yes. Yes, bro. Yes. PC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now from New York is Mr. Manners, Thomas Farley, an expert in etiquette and communication. Thomas -- thank you for being with us.
THOMAS FARLEY, EXPERT IN ETIQUETTE AND COMMUNICATIONS: Thank you -- John.
VAUSE: I think Sarah Michelle Gellar caved. She shouldn't have apologized. You think she did the right thing. Why are you right. And I'm wrong?
FARLEY: Well I -- let's start off by saying I do not think in my heart of hearts that what she posted was in any way an attempt at fat shaming. I don't think that was what she was going for at all. And I think clearly her fan base agreed.
If you look at the comments, I think there are about 7,500 in all at this point of her two million follower based on Instagram, are largely supportive. But I think this really is a great case study as you mentioned in the setup that you really can't please all the people all the time. And there are some who are that genuinely offended, concerned that this sets up unrealistic expectations particularly for young women when it comes to their own bodies.
So the idea that this could be inspiration with this photo was the area of concern. And I think she certainly didn't (INAUDIBLE) on those and for that reason I applaud her maturity in deciding to apologize.
VAUSE: Yes. But if you look at exactly what happened to Scott Kelly, the astronaut -- someone is always going to find a reason to be annoyed. If Sarah Michelle Gellar has said, you know, just relax and eat up this Thanksgiving then she would have been, you know, criticized for encouraging obesity.
FARLEY: That is so true. And I think unfortunately we're living in an age where women in particular seem to get their inordinate share of this sort of criticism.
So whether it's for being too fat or too skinny, no woman really seems to be able to escape this kind of venom on social media. And I think it's endemic of the age that we're living where people just feel, especially in an anonymous setting to be able to say whatever they want, whatever they feel. And there is this terribly heightened sensitivity which I think is unhealthy for us as a culture.
[01:55:02] VAUSE: Where did this rush to criticize come from? Are people just out there looking for a reason to be outraged?
FARLEY: I think social media has given everyone a platform. And along with that platform, people want listeners. They want followers. They want people to retweet and like their comments. And I think every little bit of snark, every little bit of insight, every little bit of, you know, pun that you might on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", or "I know what you ate last summer", or "I know what you ate last Thanksgiving", somebody suddenly becomes an automatic comedian.
So I think people who have way too much time on their hands are looking to fill it with all this venom that we do see in social media.
VAUSE: I mean we could say it's not even real. I mean it's not even genuine because it's just so easy to fire up a tweet and be done with it. And you set up this chain reaction and there's some sort of gratification or satisfaction from doing that.
FARLEY: Yes. I don't -- I don't, in this particular case, I don't want to take away from the genuine feelings of sadness and upset by women and men who feel that this was fat shaming and their feelings certainly are legitimate if those are feelings that they themselves have.
But for those who are simply looking to troll and to turn this into an opportunity to gain more followers or to gain a laugh, that I think is where the unfortunate area is. Clearly this is not what she was aiming for. But I'm willing to believe that there are many who are genuinely offended by that. And it's not for me to tell them they shouldn't be offended.
VAUSE: Ok. Fair point. It just also seems to mostly happen on Twitter.
Thomas -- good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way. Don't overeat.
FARLEY: Thank you -- John. Thank you. I won't. I promise.
VAUSE: Of course, feel free to tweet me.
Ok. The leaning Tower of Pisa seems to be leaning a little less these days. About four centimeters less compared to 17 years ago which means it's back to the original position from the 19th century.
Engineers have been trying to stabilize the tower for years and now it seems the Leaning Tower of Pisa could continue to lean for another 200 years, they say.
You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. You'll have a lot more news after a very short break. You're watching CNN.
VAUSE: Hello, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Ahead this hour -- what checks and no balances. The U.S. President picks a presidential fight with the Chief Justice of the United States.
[02:00:01] Also a five-minute trial leads to a lifetime sentence in prison for a British academic accused of espionage in the U.A.E.
And decision day at Nissan.