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Afghan Drought Forces Families To Sell Children; American's Diary Reveals His Final Days On Remote Island; Experts Recommend To France Return Looted African Art. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 25, 2018 - 10:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome to this SPECIAL EDITION of CNN NEWSROOM. A historic and somber day for Europe. 27 European nations officially endorsing the Brexit agreement. The terms under which the United Kingdom will leave the E.U. next March.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived at E.U. headquarters in Brussels, soon after the announcement was made outlining why this is the best and only deal for Britain.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke about the significance of the day, urging the U.K. Parliament to ratify the agreement. Well, our Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels, following the developments.

And Erin, the one thing we heard the most today is this is a sad and somber day. A marriage of over 75 years coming to an end.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Lynda, and this was certainly a somber summit. The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, calling it a tragedy. We also heard from French President Emmanuel Macron, saying that the message of Brexit is that Europe is not doing enough to protect its people, Europe is not doing enough to reassure its people paradoxically. He said though Brexit highlights the need for the European Union.

And another thing, aside from the sorrow and the somberness that we heard over and over again from E.U. leaders today, including Theresa May, is that given the circumstances this is the best possible deal they could have reached. Take a listen.


MICHEL BARNIER, CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, EUROPEAN UNION: This is the best deal possible given the circumstances. Throughout this extraordinary complex difficult and negotiations, we worked constructively with the U.K. neither against the U.K.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: This is the best thing possible for Britain, this is the best thing possible for Europe. This is the only deal possible. The only deal possible. THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: -- what I think you've heard today what has being said by the Commission and by other European leaders. But this is -- this is -- this deal is the result of significant, tough, difficult negotiations over a period of time. It is the -- I mean Jean-Claude Junker's phrases were "The best possible deal and the only deal possible."

I want to deliver Brexit for the British people. This is a good deal that delivers Brexit for the British people. And I hope every Member of Parliament will see that and see the importance of that.


MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's clear here, Lynda, that both sides, both the U.K. and the E.U. see that as a critical message going forward. Especially, when you look at the arithmetic there at British Parliament. It does not look like this deal is going to be passed at Westminster at this point.

KINKADE: And that is the key question. Because as we heard from Theresa May today, she wants to get this through Parliament before Christmas. So, what happens if it fails there?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that is an open question at this point. And it's an open question that E.U. leaders today here fail to provide an answer too. Instead, deflecting, saying that they're not going to speculate at this point. This is the deal that it's been negotiated, this is the deal that needs to be passed by British Parliament in order for Brexit to happen.

Theresa May was also pressed on that during her press conference. She was also asked if she would step down. She was repeatedly asked if she would step down if this deal does not make it through Westminster.

As she is said that today is not about her. She is trying to sell this deal. She said, she's doing it with her heart and soul and that is her main objective. But the fact of the matter is the backstop solution to the Northern Ireland issue, the assurances that the E.U. demanded to make sure that there is no border on the Island of Ireland is just not palatable to Brexiteers or Remainers.

And it's really up to Theresa May at this point in the coming weeks to try and change lawmaker's sentiment on both sides of the aisle to agree to this deal.

KINKADE: And Erin, take us through her sales pitch. Because she spent today in her speech going through the reasons why this is good for Britain, why the people of Britain should buy this. Take us through those reasons.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. Well, she explain today during her statement that preceded a rather heated round of questioning that followed that this deal secures, it brings back Britain's control over its borders. It also stops a financial payment. She said to the E.U., she listed a whole host of reasons, some of which are actually in dispute. It is in dispute that the U.K. will not have to make any further payments. Especially during the transition agreement.

The prospect that the U.K. will have to continue making payments into the E.U. budget. And exchange for that transition, agreement potentially years following Brexit.

So, all of that really she's going to have to reinforce when she gets back to London. When she continues this big P.R. push to try and sell this deal to the British people. Trying to convince them that this deal is in their best interest at this point.

[10:05:37] KINKADE: Erin, critics call it half-baked. Many say this is not what the British people voted for. Are there any reasonable amendments that could be made at this stage?

MCLAUGHLIN: Not that we can see. And I think that is why we've heard over and over again from the President of the European Commission, from the President of the European Council, from Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator that this is the best possible deal.

The E.U. really wants to send that message at this point to try and persuade lawmakers to pass this through Westminster. The last thing the E.U. wants to do is end up back at the negotiating table to try and strike a different deal.

The E.U. leaders making it clear today that what they have approved, what they have unanimously endorsed represents the best possible deal to them, the best possible deal to the U.K. And in line with their red lines, the idea that they would have to go back to the negotiating table at this point, simply is a non-starter for the E.U. and clearly, it's a non-starter for Theresa May.

But should Westminster vote this deal down? Should they be barreling towards a no Brexit scenario? It remains to be seen if the E.U. will be sticking with that line if that happens, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Well, have to wait and see. Erin, Theresa May certainly has a -- of busy few weeks trying it to sell this and push this through Parliament. Thanks so much.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump, says migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. will have to wait south of the border. But Mexico's incoming government says not so fast.

It's now denying a Washington Post report that a deal was reached with the Trump administration on a new asylum proposal. Our Sarah Westwood is near President Trump's Resort in Florida and has the latest.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Mexican leaders are signaling that this is still in the preliminary stages. It's still something that's under negotiation. And President Trump is touting this deal as all. But a certainty, he tweeted yesterday that migrants who wish to seek asylum in the United States, they will have to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed by U.S. courts. He said that there will no longer be this practice of catch and release where migrants are let out of detention into the United States while they wait for their cases to be adjudicated. He described it as catch and detain. It's a phrase we've seen him used before.

This deal would represent if it did come to fruition a major overhaul of the asylum system. Under current rules, migrants are eligible to request asylum once they are on U.S. soil. The president has already attempted to make sweeping changes to asylum policy.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, he unveiled to proposed rule change that would require migrants if they wish to seek asylum to present themselves at legal points of entry. It denied them the ability to request asylum if they're caught crossing the border illegally.

But, of course, a judge blocked that proposed executive action. Then, the president has been fixated on that decision, tweeting about the decision, tweeting about asylum and immigration as he's been spending the Thanksgiving holiday here in West Palm Beach.

He'll be wrapping up his travel here to his property Mar-a-Lago today, and then, he'll be heading back to Washington before going to Mississippi on Monday for two campaign rallies in Tupelo and Biloxi, Mississippi.

The president will be campaigning on behalf of the embattled Republican candidate Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. She's in a runoff race for the Senate in Mississippi and she's drawn national attention for some controversial comments that she's made. So, the president will be defending Senator Smith tomorrow in those campaign rallies. And perhaps, those appearances will give them the opportunity to clarify where these deal stands and expand a little more on why the Trump administration thinks this will be beneficial to the United States.


KINKADE: Sarah Westwood, reporting there. Well, still to come, a record drought in Afghanistan. Has some families forced to make an unthinkable decision. Selling a child so the rest of the family can eat. We'll have that exclusive story when we come back.


[10:11:57] KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, Russian authorities have shut down a shipping route of Crimea, amid a confrontation with Ukrainian vessels. Russian state media say the Kerch Strait was closed for security reasons after Ukrainian ships illegally entered Russian waters.

The Ukraine's Ministry of Defense, says it was Russian ships that behaved aggressively, damaging one of their tugboats.

In Afghanistan, record drought is forcing some families to do the unthinkable. To sell a child to feed the rest of the family. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not record violence or Taliban control of territory they're fleeing, not ISIS or unparalleled airstrikes by the coalition that has finally forced them from their homes. They're instead, running from drought.

A record dry spell, forcing more families in Afghanistan from their homes this year than the war has. And as if Afghanistan hadn't already broken all superlatives for its misery, this is what it's driving them to.

Meet Mamareen, and his 6-year-old daughter, Akila. You'd think a tiny family united under plastic sheeting. But desperation means it hasn't turned out that way. Mamareen have sold Akila for $3,000 to this man, Najmuddin, who will give her to his 10-year-old son, Sher Agha. Listen to how they got here. Mamareen, first.

"I fled my village," she says, "with my three children because of severe drought. I came here thinking I will receive some assistance, but I got nothing. To avoid starvation among my children, I gave my daughter to a man for about $3,000. But I've only got $70 so far.

I had no money, no food, and no breadwinner. My husband was killed. She doesn't know that I sold her. How could she know? She's a child. But I had no other choice."

"What if Akila tries to run?" We ask. "Whether in tears or laughter," she says, "Akila will have to go. Who would sell a piece of her heart, unless they really have to?"

Akila's buyer, Najmuddin, thinks buying a 6-year-old girl is an act of charity.

"Her family don't have anything to eat," he says. "They were hungry. I know, I'm also poor, but I'm sure I can pay it off slowly, in two or three years." The cameraman asks, "But aren't they children?"

"It doesn't matter," he says. These things happen here. Even an old man marries a younger girl. It happens." Najmuddin also fled the drought. The U.N. says, it has put 275,000 people on a move this year, about half from around the area of Badghis.

"The wheat, crop, has failed us," he says. "We couldn't grow melons. All the other crops failed because of the drought. We lost our livestock, the sheep, cows, and goats, all died of hunger as there wasn't any fodder for them."

Around the camp, we hear this kind of horrific story repeated. Here, this man sold his 4-year-old daughter to a 20-year-old man to settle a debt. It is a world of survival and unimaginable choices, where families must betray each other just to live.

And winter is ahead, promising to be colder as arid, and hungrier, too. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [10:15:27] KINKADE: Well, Indian authorities are trying to figure out how to recover the body of the Christian missionary who lost his life while trying to convert one of the world's last remaining isolated tribes. Police, say they've mapped the area where he's believed to have been buried. It's not clear when they will be able to enter the island as they have to follow legal requirements to not disturb the tribe.

Well, our Polo Sandoval has more on the missionary and this isolated community.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the oldest and most isolated tribes in the world. And authorities say, they're responsible for last week's killing of American missionary, John Allen Chau.

This archived footage from Survival International provides some of the few existing images of the tribe known as the Sentinelese. They live in complete isolation on the tiny island of North Sentinel.

According to Indian officials, Chau illegally paid fishermen to take him to the isolated island hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Authorities believe he first canoed to shore on November 16th deliberately disregarding an established perimeter around the island.

According to journal entries left with the fishermen and shared with The Washington Post, the 26-year-old wrote, "I hollered, 'My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you." He was then, reportedly shot at by a member of the tribe with an arrow piercing his Bible.

The next day, Chau made a second attempt but never returned. The fisherman he hired, later reported seeing the young man's body buried on the beach by tribe members. Chau's last entry in his journal reads, "You guys might think I'm crazy in all this but I think it's worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people. God, I don't want to die."

In 2006, the same tribe killed two poachers who had been illegally fishing near their Island. Survival International, a group advocating for tribal people believes the Natives decision to remain isolated should be respected.

SOPHIE GRIG, SENIOR RESEARCHER, SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL: They've made it very clear they don't want contact. Somebody comes, they have no idea what he's coming for and why -- you know, I think it's far more self-defense than it is murder.

SANDOVAL: On social media, Chau's family wrote, their son love God, life, helping those in need and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people. "We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death," they wrote.

All they can do is wait to find out when or if their son's body will be recovered. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


KINKADE: Well, coming up, from mafia to movie star. How a Japanese mobsters are looking to jump-start a new career. We'll have that story when we come back.


[10:20:23] KINKADE: Welcome back. Voters in Taiwan have rejected a referendum on same-sex marriage. A majority of voters moved to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. They rejected proposals to guarantee rights for same-sex couples who get married. Amnesty International calls the result a bitter blow and a step backwards for human rights.

Well, in Japan, the word Yakuza has come to me mafia. And the real- life gangsters have a hand in trafficking, extortion, and a host of other crimes -- career criminals.

But some are looking to change their ways. The CNN's Ivan Watson, reports they've caught the acting bug.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This may look like just another day at the office, but some of these men have experience in money laundering, extortion, and even violent crime. None of those skills are needed in this job.

This ex-mobsters from the Takakura-gumi acting agency are waiting for their cue to get on set to play their former selves.

RYUICHI BABA, EX-MOBSTERS (through translator): People who lived on the right side of the law don't know the rituals of the yakuza or mafia. We really lived in that world. We were professional thugs. We can use that to our advantage.

WATSON: Ryuichi Baba still wears the markings of the mafia. He left a life of crime six years ago and finds purpose in acting.

BABA: I like I'm moved from hell to heaven.

WATSON: Baba spent 20 years as a mobster before escaping his life of crime. But acting doesn't pay the bills, so he keeps up his day job. Baba runs his own software business and is also a budding YouTuber.

BABA: While I was a mobster, I felt like I had no control over my fate. Now, I feel like I've been reborn.

WATSON: Today, the actors are on the set of the action film, Crazy Fighter. As usual, they're playing villains with costumes that are known to those who were in the yakuza.

Their organizations operate in secrecy. It's a dark world full of unwritten honor codes and strict hierarchies that they want to share with a larger audience. The agency's boss says that reintegrating back into society is like starting from scratch.

SO KURAMOTO, HEAD, TAKAKURA-GUMI ACTING AGENCY (through translator): It's really important for us to contribute to society and be accepted by it. And I think the entertainment industry is the fastest way for us to do that.

WATSON: And it's certainly getting a lot of attention in the country where the yakuza are still stigmatized. These ex-mobsters want the world to know that there's redemption even for those with the darkest past. Ivan Watson, CNN.


KINKADE: Well, France is closing one small chapter of its colonial past by returning 26 works of art to Benin. Works that were taken from the West African nation more than 100 years ago. A new government report recommends that artifacts stolen during France's colonial period be returned to their country of origin.


KINKADE: Some of Africa's most precious cultural treasures are on display in a museum, a continent away from where they were created. The Quai Branly museum in Paris houses tens of thousands of pieces of African art, looted during France's colonial past. Now, in new report says, it's time for them to go home.

French President Emmanuel Macron commissioned the report which recommends that works taken between 1885 and 1960 should be returned to their country of origin. It's a controversial proposal. It could put pressure on other Western museums to follow suit.

Experts say, 90 percent of African art is believed to be located in Europe. Some visitors say it's about time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They would perhaps mean people who live in those countries could get to know the cultural history of their countries. There's not much that can provide a link to their cultural and artistic history because everything's in Europe.

[10:25:01] KINKADE: Others have expressed hope that the art can stay where it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Can we display other works in a reciprocal arrangement in other countries? And aren't there Western artworks which can be displayed elsewhere?

KINKADE: Western museum have often resisted repatriating odd, arguing that they can take better care of it. But many countries are now challenging this. Chile's Easter Island declared this month that it wants surprised sculpture back from the British Museum, which has also had a long-standing dispute with Greece over who should own the famous Elgin Marbles.

Earlier this month, the British Museum agreed to send some of the iconic Benin bronzes to Nigeria where they will be on display temporarily on loan at a new museum.


KINKADE: Well, that does it for this edition of CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Enjoy the rest of your day.