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E.U. Endorses Brexit Deal at Historic Summit; Copa Libertadores Match Moved to Sunday after Fan Violence; Trump Slams "Catch and Release" Policy; Camp Fire Nears Full Containment with Death Toll at 87; Afghan Drought Forces Families to Sell Children; Former Japanese Mobsters Turn to Acting. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 25, 2018 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A historic moment: E.U. leaders endorse Theresa May's Brexit plan; that happened in the past 30 minutes. We'll take you live to Brussels.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): One of Latin America's biggest football rivalries is postponed after fans violently attacked the other team.

ALLEN (voice-over): And the U.S. president wants asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their claims are processed. Where Mexico says it stands on Mr. Trump's plan. We'll have that.

HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: Brexit, we've been talking about it for some time, as of 30 minutes ago has passed, an historic milestone. It was formally accepted by the European Union. E.U. leaders gathered at the summit in Brussels are expected to meet soon with the woman you see here, British prime minister Theresa May.

HOWELL: For Ms. May, more difficult work lies ahead. The agreement has been condemned back in the United Kingdom. But the British prime minister says it's the best deal the U.K. can get. She'll have to lobby the U.K. Parliament to ratify it or risk leaving the European Union next March without any formal exit strategy. Following the story, CNN's Erin McLaughlin live in Brussels for us.

Erin, you were first to tell us the news that this divorce deal has the backing now of the E.U. 27.

How significant is this moment, historic? ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a historic moment, George. I had a copy of the council conclusions, in Section 1 it says the European Council endorses the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy community.

This is in reference to the 585-page legal document that is binding, that they have now endorsed. It essentially sets the terms for the separation from the U.K. -- for the U.K. from the European Union.

Section 2 of the council conclusion says the European Council approves the political declaration, setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This was negotiated up until the 11th hour of today's historic summit. A political declaration setting terms for the future trade talks between the U.K. and the E.U.

In Section 3 of the council conclusions, it gives thanks to Michel Barnier for, quote, "his tireless efforts as the union's chief negotiator and for his contribution to maintaining the unity among E.U. 27 member states of the E.U.

The unity of the E.U. member states really being seen as critical in the negotiating process.

We heard earlier from the president of the European Commission, Jean- Claude Juncker, who expressed his sadness that this day has come. Take a listen to what he had to say.


JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I'm sad because watching this, which is nothing. It's not a moment of tribulation. The European Union will not change its fundamental position when it comes to this issue.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now in the last few minutes or so, we've seen the arrival of British prime minister Theresa May. She's now expected to meet with the E27 to discuss next steps -- George.

So this relatively went smoothly, almost seeming to be a rubber stamp moment. The E.U. 27 coming together and, again, approving the deal as it stands now. As Theresa May heads back to the United Kingdom, there is an uphill battle certainly to get the British public on board but also to push the deal through Parliament.

MCLAUGHLIN: That's right, George. This may have been somewhat of a rubber stamping exercise for Brussels. But that is certainly not the case for Theresa May, as she takes this to British Parliament, where the arithmetic is not in her favor.

Just yesterday we heard from her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, calling the deal, quote, "an historic mistake." Members of her own party speaking out, saying they will not vote for this deal. We've heard from the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party as well as the Democratic Unionist Party; Arlene Foster yesterday, who holds the keys to Theresa May's minority government, saying she won't vote for this deal.

So there are lots of questions now --


MCLAUGHLIN: -- as Theresa May moves forward with this historic agreement. Whether or not she can get it through Parliament, it's looking highly unlikely. If that does not happen, it is an open question; pretty much anyone's guess at this point what will happen next -- George.

HOWELL: Erin McLaughlin, live from Brussels. Thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: Here's what's next for Brexit as it stands now. It goes to the British Parliament, where Theresa May does not command a majority. No one knows whether the lawmakers in the U.K. will ultimately greenlight this deal or send everyone back to the drawing board.

If British lawmakers agree to it, the European Parliament would then decide whether to give its blessing. Whatever happens, Britain is set to leave the European Union March 29th next year.

Earlier, Ms. May tweeted an open letter explaining Brexit. This is what she said.

"As prime minister of the United Kingdom, I have from day one been determined to deliver a Brexit deal that works for every part of our country. For England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for our overseas territories like Gibraltar and also for the crown dependencies.

"This deal will do that, it is a deal for a brighter future which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead."

Let's talk more about it from Brussels now is Ryan Heath, senior E.U. correspondent for "Politico."

Ryan, history has been made there and to hear Theresa May in that letter, it sounds like everything is gung-ho from here.

But I don't think that's the prevailing mood there, is it?

RYAN HEATH, "POLITICO": That's absolutely right. Theresa May poured her heart and soul into that letter. She has to. You've seen that in recent days, where she's been hearing on talk radio, she's been giving newspaper interviews. She's really laid it all on the line.

But here in Brussels, people are effectively in a depressed mood. They knew this day was coming and they know that they have never enjoyed the prospect of Brexit. But obviously there's a tinge of sadness when you actually have to put your names and your signatures on the dotted line.

ALLEN: No one knows at this juncture, not that they've made this step a little over 30 minutes ago, what it all means. Someone said, I believe, that it sounds like she's trying to be everything to everyone and it's really like nothing for no one at this point.

HEATH: Yes. We have to remember that Theresa May is a survivalist at heart. She has always been able to weave and negotiate her way through difficult territory. She did that when she was the interior minister of the U.K. for six years. She's done it from the day she walked into Downing Street.

So I don't think it's reasonable to write off Theresa May at this point. But at the moment, the numbers are stacked against it. She doesn't have a true majority for this deal. She's attacked within her party from inside and also by the people who prop her up in government, the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.

So it's going to be difficult for her. She's likely to fail at the first hurdle, the first time she puts this to Parliament. But there are very severe consequences potentially for the U.K. if there is a chaotic Brexit. So there will be a lot of pressure on those MPs to fall into line behind Theresa May.

ALLEN: She does have just one shot at this?

Does she has a few chances if she takes it back home, Ryan?

Take us through that.

HEATH: Yes. That's exactly right. What we always hear in E.U. presses is there's a deadline and then there's actually a new deadline that crops up because things often happen at the 11th hour. In the case of the U.K. Parliament, it's seen widely that the 21st of January is the deadline where Theresa May will have need to have made progress.

She either has to have the numbers for this deal and a successful vote or she needs to know that it's only a few days away. Otherwise, Parliament will then attempt to reseize control of the process and effectively say, Theresa May, you've failed at your negotiating job. We're going to take over, either by appointing a new government or trying to intervene ourselves somehow directly.

So Theresa May will try to take this to a vote, probably in the second week of December. If she fails there, she might come back for another round in the new year. But we'll really have some kind of resolution by the third week of January, I think.

ALLEN: What if we get to March, when this is the big deadline, if there is a deadline here, Ryan, what if we get there and there is no agreement?

HEATH: Well, then that is where the preparation plans come into play. So the E.U. has fairly advanced preparations and particularly those coastal states on the continent, who trade most heavily with the U.K. The U.K. obviously as well has been preparing but they're not as

advanced in those preparations. You'll probably see some kind of safety net arrangements with things like aviation. It's unlikely that flights will suddenly somehow stop.


HEATH: But where you'll see real problems is in things like border crossings for goods, you'll see big delays, trucks backed up for miles around the English Channel port area. So there will be big problems there. And the way to avoid it may be through some kind of an extension to the Article 50 notification that Britain has had to go through in order to achieve this Brexit.

You'll see some cool, calm heads trying to find a way through those chaotic waters if really this vote is unsuccessful in the British Parliament and you haven't seen some kind of new British government try and put the deal back to the Parliament again.

ALLEN: No one wants to see that happen. But who knows at this point? As you say, Theresa May is certainly a workhorse isn't she?

We'll wait and see what she can do when she arrives back home. Ryan Heath of "Politico," thanks so much. We appreciate your insights.

HEATH: Thank you.

HOWELL: Now to Paris, where it is morning. What a difference a day makes. Just hours after violent anti-government protests played out in the French capital, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Saturday. Some lit fires and set up barricades on the Champs-Elysees.

Police then responded using tear gas and water cannons. The protesters are angry about skyrocketing fuel prices. CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris and spoke with us earlier about what sparked the protests.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: It began a week ago. These were the protests brought on, called the Yellow Jackets. These are the -- Yellow Vests. These are the vests that all motorists are required to have in their cars for safety reasons.

And it's very simple for people to join this movement, just by going to their car and getting out their yellow vest. So numbers of people have, according to the interior minister, there were about 106,000 protesters today. That compares to about 250,000 or 280,000 last week.

So in some ways, the government had a success in that there weren't so many protesters out there. But in other ways, the violence of this protest today was unmatched anywhere along the line.

In fact, one of the most violent demonstrations the Champs-Elysees has ever seen I think, as these protesters went up and down the avenue, set alight barricades and all sorts of vehicles along the avenue, including a police car.

There were, in fact, about 130 people arrested across France and about 42 people arrested here in Paris. So a violent day here in Paris. It seems to be over for now. But, in fact, we'll have to see how well it plays with the demonstrators going forward -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


HOWELL: Jim, thank you.

The French president Emmanuel Macron lashed out at the protests on Twitter, saying, "Thank you to all our law enforcement for their courage and professionalism. Shame on all the people who assaulted them. Shame to those who voluntarily assaulted citizens and reporters. Shame on those who tried to intimidate our elected officials."

ALLEN: There is shame being felt in Argentina because the biggest football rivals will face off now Sunday for the final match of South America's most coveted championship. That is after a day of violence from one team's fans. It forced the game to be postponed. People were already in the stadium.


And on Saturday, River Plate fans threw projectiles at rival team Boca Juniors' bus on the way to the stadium. Inside the bus, team members tried to shield themselves from the rocks and shattered glass.

ALLEN: But they were injured. Boca's captain and midfielder required hospital care for their injuries. But despite the chaos, a Boca team member says the match organizers were pressuring them to play anyway.


CARLOS TEVEZ, BOCA JUNIORS (through translator): The truth is, this is a situation where they're obligating us to want to play the game. Pablo, our captain, just came back with a patch on his eye. They're obligating us to want to play this game.


HOWELL: After the bus attack, fans in Argentina were frustrated and confused about whether the final Copa team match would go on Saturday as planned.

ALLEN: Martino Simcik was near the Buenos Aires stadium. He described the tense atmosphere.


MARTINO SIMCIK, COPA90: Everyone around both La Boca and El Nunez, which is where River Plate Stadium is located, is absolutely disappointed in how today went. There was an instance of the bus coming through an extremely crowded place, where River Plate supporters were all were. And it felt as though things were very poorly organized.

At that point there was back and forth, a complete madness. No one understood what was happening. But again, it will be delayed until 6:00, then it was 7:15, then it was 30 minutes more and eventually the game was called off.

And I think the biggest thing to mention here is that because Boca and River Plate are supported by 70 percent of people in the country, you really had people coming from hundreds of kilometers away just to witness this match.

And apparently, if you're hanging out in both of those neighborhoods, you've got people scrambling for hotel rooms, trying to figure out where to stay, sleeping in the park around the stadium. There was just sort of general chaos and confusion over how such a celebration turned so sour.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot of fallout from this match. We heard Carlos Tevez reference the injuries to players.

What more can you tell us about that?

SIMCIK: Well, there was a back and forth with the players as well because one of the confusions that was going on throughout the day was whether the doctors of Conmebol had seen the players and whether -- because Boca Juniors' doctors affirmed the players were injured but Conmebol doctors weren't able to see them.

No one was really quite sure what the injuries were. Obviously the injuries are quite severe, with the captain having sort of his eyeball cut. But the biggest question now remains, because there's the G20 coming up the next week, the match has to be played.


SIMCIK: I would also remind everyone that, on the previous match, because of the rain, it had to be stopped. And they had to delay it again until Sunday. So this will be the second delay on the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which is the final one, in which two teams are going to play two legs.

Above all, it's the biggest rivalry in Argentine, let alone South American, history. So it's quite mad, really. The stars align rarely in football. But this one is as dramatic as it could possibly be.


ALLEN: We'll see how the game plays out later on Sunday.

The future of the migrant caravan from Central America is in doubt. Confusion over U.S. and Mexican policy leaves thousands in limbo at the border. The details ahead here.




ALLEN: It is a momentous day for Brexit unfolding right now. We're following fast-moving developments in Brussels this hour.

HOWELL: The images we're seeing now, these images of the British prime minister, Theresa May, at the roundtable with other European Union leaders. The E.U. 27 having now officially endorsed the Brexit withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future E.U.-U.K. relations.

That coming from European Council president Donald Tusk in a tweet just a short time ago, barely an hour into the day's summit. E.U. leaders are also committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure an orderly withdrawal. They urge the British Parliament to sign off on the deal as well.

Mexico's incoming government denies it reached a deal with the Trump administration regarding migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

"The Washington Post" reports that the purported deal would require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are processed. It would effectively end what Donald Trump disparagingly calls the U.S. catch and release policy.

ALLEN: Right now, thousands of migrants are in the Mexican city of Tijuana, waiting to file claims. The city's mayor has requested humanitarian aid to deal with the influx of people.

On the other side of the border, U.S. law enforcement officers are currently patrolling the area and conducting security exercises.

HOWELL: In the meantime, the U.S. president has repeated his threat to close the country's southern border. Our Sarah Westwood has more now on his reaction.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: After weeks of ratcheting up the pressure on Mexican leaders to do more to help the U.S. with --


WESTWOOD: -- its illegal immigration problem at the southern border, the president is hinting that he may have struck a deal with Mexico that could force asylum seekers to wait on the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border until their claims are processed by U.S. courts.

The president tweeting on Saturday, "Migrants at the southern border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We will only allow those who come into our country legally. Other than that, our very strong policy is catch and detain. No releasing into the U.S."

Then he goes on to say, "All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will close our southern border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation."

The president has threatened to close the southern border before, although it's unclear how exactly he would do that. And the president has already attempted to make changes to asylum policy through executive action.

Just a few weeks ago the president attempted a proposed rule change that would have required migrants to present themselves at legal points of entry in order to request asylum. They would no longer be allowed to request asylum if they were caught trying to cross the border illegally.

But, of course, a court blocked that executive action from moving forward. That's something that the president has fixated on as he's spent the week here in Florida for the holiday. This deal would represent a major overhaul to the asylum system as currently, anytime a migrant sets foot on U.S. soil, they are eligible to request asylum.

And often they are released from detention while awaiting a court decision on their case. That can take months. The president has referred to that practice as catch and release. It's what he's described as a loophole that he wants to change and he wants to pursue a policy that either forces those asylum seekers to cross into Mexico or continue to be held by immigration authorities until their cases are processed -- Sarah Westwood, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with former U.S. deputy Homeland Security adviser, Amy Pope. Amy served in the National Security Council during the Obama administration and she's a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council.

Good to have you live in our London bureau. Let's start with the last point raised in that report we just heard. The U.S. president wanting migrants to either seek asylum at official ports of entry or to prepare to be detained if they try to enter the country by any other means.

How does this square with a ruling by a federal judge recently, temporarily blocking the government from denying asylum to those crossing the border between points of entry?

AMY POPE, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Look, there are real questions about whether this puts the United States in conflict with its obligations under existing treaties that it signed on to, as well as the real principles that stand behind the foundation of United States, that it is a place where people who are fleeing violence and persecution can find refuge.

Let's put this into context. The people who are coning from Honduras are fleeing some of the most violent cities in the world. The murder rates are high. There are very few opportunities for the police to engage. They face real danger.

We shouldn't assume that women and children are walking from their home countries to the United States because they have something better to do. This is real danger that they're fleeing. And the United States has an obligation to evaluate their claims.

HOWELL: Want to get to this other story, the incoming Mexican government denying this report by "The Washington Post" that it reached a deal with the Trump administration on asylum. Keeping in mind this new administration doesn't take control of Mexico until December 1st.

So do you take this denial at face value or could this be a way of kicking of can until they officially take over government?

POPE: I think this reflects the fact that immigration in Mexico is also a political issue. We learned, when I was in the Obama administration, that working with Mexico, partnering with Mexico was the most effective solution to managing migration along the southern border.

That means one needs to treat Mexico as a partner. It's not effective to put any sort of agreement or partially formed agreements out into the public eye. It needs to be coordinated and it needs to be done in recognition that Mexico is a player here.

You can't denigrate Mexico or its government at the same time that you want them to work with you.

HOWELL: The incoming interior secretary spoke on this. She said that Mexico doesn't have plans to become a third safe country for migrants, essentially that Mexico won't be a waiting room.

Clearly, this is a response to the pressure that government is under from both migrants and the U.S. government.

POPE: There is room for Mexico to play more of --


POPE: -- a role here. There's no question. One of the key issues that we faced when I was in the last administration was working with Mexico to increase its own capacity to evaluate people who were seeking asylum or refuge in Mexico.

But the truth is, their capacity to do that is still fairly limited. So any solution needs to be done in conjunction with the United States. Putting increased political and actual pressure on Mexican resources will backfire on the president and is not a long-term or sustainable solution here.

It will further politicize the issue and really exacerbate the problems that both countries are facing. HOWELL: This goes back to what we talked about. Federal courts made a decision here. But the president did tweet recently that migrants would need to stay in Mexico until their asylum claims are processed and would need to close the border, he says, if necessary.

All that though seems in line with this alleged deal reached between these two nations.

POPE: The question of closing the border is a very loaded one. When the United States relies heavily on the transportation that's going back and forth across that border, trade, people, business, the impact on the United States would be extremely detrimental.

And taking any kind of action like that would be disproportionate to the effect anyone seeking asylum.

And we're talking about a couple of thousand people who are desperate, poor and fleeing circumstances that one can't imagine sitting in the United States.

So taking an action that would further harm the U.S. and Mexican interests doesn't make a lot of sense here and it is not the way I would advise a president to take the threat.

HOWELL: Amy Pope, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

POPE: Thank you.

ALLEN: The U.K. is now one step closer to leaving the European Union. The controversial Brexit deal was formally accepted in the past hour by the European Union. We'll take you live to Brussels for the latest.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.


HOWELL: We're monitoring the events in Brussels. History in the making. We're hoping to soon see and hear from the British prime minister, Theresa May, now that the European Union has accepted the Brexit deal she negotiated. After gaining the endorsement, she arrived at E.U. headquarters and went inside to meet with those heads of state. ALLEN: The Prime Minister May feels some relief that the agreement was accepted. But most of the E.U. leaders expressed sadness about the situation. Now Ms. May, of course, faces the daunting task of trying to get a skeptical Parliament to go along with it, something many MPs say they won't do. Our Erin McLaughlin first broke the story live for us, that the leaders accepted this deal. She joins us again now.

Quite a historic day but one that many people didn't want to see happen, Erin. But here we are.

MCLAUGHLIN: That's definitely the sentiment being expressed in Brussels today, Natalie. Essentially what the European Council has done is formally endorsed via council conclusions two documents.

One of the documents is 585 pages long, a legally binding document. The so-called divorce deal that lays out the terms for which the U.K. will leave the E.U. in March of 2019.

The second document endorsed by the E.U. 27 is a political declaration, laying out the terms of the future relationship for the future trade talks that are expected to happen once the U.K. leaves the E.U.

Also included in the council conclusions was a nod to the E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, thanking him for his efforts in maintain E.U. unity throughout this process.

But it was a somber tone today at this council as the E.U. leaders arrived. We heard from the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who said it was a sad moment for the E.U. and a tragedy. We also heard from the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, saying we're all losing in this process. Take a listen to what he had to say.


MARK RUTTE, PRESIDENT, THE NETHERLANDS: No victors here today, nobody winning. We're all losing. But given the context, this is acceptable.


MCLAUGHLIN: Theresa May has arrived here at the summit. She went straight in, did not stop to give any remarks at the press point. We understand she's now briefing the 27. According to E.U. officials, they're discussing next steps -- Natalie.

ALLEN: We know when she goes back to the U.K., that December may be a pivotal month.

What is she up against, Erin?

MCLAUGHLIN: The next steps in all of this, Natalie, are really fraught with uncertainty. Whether or not Theresa May will be able to get this deal now endorsed -- [05:35:00]

MCLAUGHLIN: -- by the E.U. 27 through Parliament is an open question. And looking at this point, to be doubtful, especially when you consider what played out yesterday in Belfast, we heard from Boris Johnson at the Democratic Unionist Party conference, a party that's seen as holding the keys to her government.

Theresa May has a minority government, really critical seats for her. Boris Johnson telling that party conference that the Brexit deal before them is an historic mistake. Arlene Foster, the chair of the DUP agrees.

So it's that kind of concern we're hearing, not just from Boris Johnson but also from other Brexiteers, members of Theresa May's own party, concerns from Remainers and Liberal Democrats alike that make it look like it's increasingly unlikely that this will get past Westminster.

If that happens, it really is an open question in terms of what happens next. So today Theresa May crossing this critical barrier in terms of approving or getting the approval from the E.U. 27 for this deal. But getting it through Westminster really is entirely another matter -- Natalie.

ALLEN: A pivotal step today but still much uncertainty. Thank you, Erin McLaughlin for us, live in Brussels.

HOWELL: We're learning more about the Christian missionary who lost his life trying to convert one of the world's last remaining isolated tribes.

ALLEN: John Allen Chau wrote in his diary, he tried to communicate with members of the tribe on the tiny remote island in the Bay of Bengal even after he was shot. We get more about it from CNN's Polo Sandoval. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Polo, thank you.

Now in Afghanistan, with a record drought, some families are forced into unthinkable decisions: sell their child so the rest of the family can eat. That exclusive story is ahead.





HOWELL: We've been following the developments out of Brussels, history being made there. The British prime minister Theresa May is meeting with European Union leaders. Before she arrived, the E.U. 27 took less than an hour to sign off on a 600-page treaty setting the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the E.U. The next step is up to the British Parliament.

ALLEN: California's most destructive and deadliest wildfire is now finally 98 percent contained. At least 87 people have died since the fire began more than two weeks ago.

Crews are continuing their grim search for human remains as more than 450 people are still unaccounted for. The Camp Fire has destroyed more than 18,700 structures. That includes almost 14,000 homes. HOWELL: Off the coast of Massachusetts, at least 170 sea turtles have died in the past three days due to extreme cold weather. The environmental organization that recovered the turtles blames climate change. The group says it managed to rescue 54 cold-stunned turtles. The turtles will be slowly warmed up before they are released into the wild.

The Northeast has been plunged into colder than normal weather. The sea turtle story is an example of that.



HOWELL: From extreme cold now to record drought in Afghanistan, it's forcing some families to do the unthinkable: to sell their child to feed the rest of the family.

ALLEN: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has our exclusive report on this.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Record (ph) violence with the Taliban control of territory (INAUDIBLE) ISIS unparalleled airstrikes by the coalition 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 hasn't already broken all superlatives for its misery, this is what it's driving them to.

Meet Memerine (ph) and her 6-year-old daughter, Akila (ph). You'd think a tiny family, united under plastic sheeting but desperation means it hasn't turned out that way. Memerine (ph) has sold Akila (ph) for $3,000 to this man, Najamuddin (ph), who will give her to his 10-year-old son, Sheraga (ph). Listen to how they got here. Memerine (ph) first.

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

"I have their money; no food and no breadwinner. My husband was also killed. She doesn't know that I sold her.

"How could she know?

"She is a child. But I had no other choice."

"And what if Akila (ph) tries to run?" we ask.

"Well, in tears or laughter," she says, "Akila (ph) will have to go.

"Who would sell a piece of her heart unless they really have to?"

Akila's (ph) buyer, Najamuddin (ph), thinks buying a 6-year-old girl is an act of charity.

"Her family don't have anything to eat," he says. "They are 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?"

"Doesn't matter," he says, "these things happen here. Even an old man marries a young girl. It happens."

Najamuddin (ph) also fled the drought. The U.N. says it has put 275,000 people on the move this year, about half from around the area of Badghis (ph).

"The weak 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 because 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 and arid and hungrier, too -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.







ALLEN: In Japan, the word yakuza has come to mean mafia. These real- life gangsters have had a hand in trafficking, extortion and many other crimes.

HOWELL: Talking about career criminals. But some are looking to change their ways. 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 --


WATSON (voice-over): -- 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.


ALLEN: Again, our top story, British prime minister Theresa May is in Brussels meeting with leaders of the European Union. The 27 remaining members of the European Council spent surprisingly little time discussing the agreement before giving it their unanimous consent.

HOWELL: This is a major step in the process. The next challenge for Theresa May is to get Brexit approved by Parliament. We're expecting to hear from the British prime minister and other E.U. leaders at the top of the hour and we'll continue to cover that for you.

ALLEN: That is CNN NEWSROOM for this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. For viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For our viewers around the world, we'll continue our coverage of events in Brussels, history in the making with Brexit. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.