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CNN NEWSROOM

41 People Die As Russian Plane Catches Fire On Landing; Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire With Israel Restored; Trump Renews Tariff Threat Ahead of China Trade Talks; U.S. and Russia At Odds Over Foreign Involvement; U.S. Deploying Warships After "Warnings" From Iran; Brunei: Death Penalty Won't Apply to Anti-Gay Law; Saudi Executions; Trump: Mueller Should Not Testify before Congress; A Hero Remembered; Challenges Await Extreme Adventurers in India. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 6, 2019 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And the breaking news just in to CNN. Islamic Jihad, a militant group in Gaza says a ceasefire with Israel has been restored. Hello everyone, I'm Natalie Allen.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Cyril Vanier. Israel has lifted restrictions on civilians in the Gaza periphery indicating an acceptance of the ceasefire. It ends a weekend of escalating violence and the worst round of hostilities there in years.

ALLEN: Israeli officials say some 600 rockets have been fired into the country from Gaza since Saturday morning and they responded with airstrikes on hundreds of targets. More than two dozen people on both sides of the border have died.

We will be talking with our or Liebermann who's been covering these hostilities for the past several days in just a moment. He will be on the line for us in a moment. Right now we want to turn to Russia, another top story a fiery plane crash has left at least 41 people dead.

VANIER: An Aeroflot passenger jet caught fire on Sunday as it made a hard emergency landing at a Russian Airport near Moscow. Social media video shows what this scene looked like from inside the plane and I have to warn you this footage is hard to watch.

ALLEN: That had to be so terrifying for those people. we can see the plane trying to make a landing. It bounced the moment of the devastating landing captured their on camera. The plane bouncing off the runway before coming back down, and that is when it bursts into flames. Russian news agency Interfax reports that a lightning strike calls to a communications failure forcing the emergency landing. For more about it here's CNN's Frederik Pleitgen from Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some horrifying images coming out of Moscow as video seems to show that plane, the Sukhoi Superjet from Aeroflot airlines as it's screeching down the runway after making an extremely hard emergency landing in the afternoon hours of Sunday. It then seems to come to a stop and actually seems to go off the runway at the end as it's further engulfed by those flames.

Now, there is also video from inside the plane that just shows those horrible moments as the plane seems to be screeching down that runway with flames outside the window, very much there seeming to engulf that plane from those shots as well. The people, they're obviously very much in horror as the pilot tries to keep control of the aircraft.

Now, the information that we're getting from Russian authorities is that this plane the Sukhoi Superjet 100 took off from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in afternoon hours of Sunday and shortly after takeoff declared an emergency. The pilots then decided to return back to that Airport and upon trying to land at the airport, apparently made a very hard landing.

The plane bouncing into the air and then coming down extremely hard. Then obviously you've seen that billowing smoke and the flames coming from that aircraft as it's screeching down the runway.

Now, with the number of fatalities that already confirmed in this incident, the Russian authorities have launched a criminal investigation into what exactly happened there with this plane. Vladimir Putin has been informed about the incident. He's offered his condolences and he also said that the investigation will be as thorough as is possible. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Rovaniemi, Finland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Let's bring it now Keith Wolzinger. He's joining us. He's a commercial airline pilot and is live for us from California. Thanks so much for your time. And we know this is early on but so many people have seen the video from inside that airplane and it's just a horrific to know what these people went through, and then the pilot attempting to land.

Take us through it with what you can glean from how that plane landed hard and then bounce for coming down again.

KEITH WOLZINGER, COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE PILOT: Well, first I like to send all my thoughts to those on board the aircraft and wish those survivors a speedy recovery. To your question, the aircraft was suffering from some sort of technical fault. I've seen reports of an in-flight fire of a lightning strike, something that caused the flight to need to return immediately to the airport that it took off from.

Once they made that decision to return to the airport, they made the best effort they could. On the video it looked like they could be having some control difficulty with the aircraft. I think that it was a very good thing that they were able to make it back to the airport and at least land on the runway surface. That gives the airport rescue crew the best chance of fighting the

fire and saving as many passengers as possible. I also credit the cabin crew for evacuating the cabin in a timely manner through only the two forward slides that were apparently the only ones available due to fire and the rest of the aircraft.

[01:05:24] ALLEN: Right, after it landed and before people were able to evacuate, then we saw it spin around. What would like that indicate?

WOLZINGER: That might indicate some difficulty with the landing gear, with thrust from one engine versus the other, something that would have caused the airplane to spin, even possibly leaving the runway surface. There are many things that could cause the aircraft to rotate and spin like that. It's not really clear from the video what could have led to that.

ALLEN: We also know that there were early reports by Russian authorities as we mentioned that it might have been hit by lightning, but airplanes are built to withstand a lightning strike are they not?

WOLZINGER: They are structurally built to withstand a lightning strike. And in this case, if that occurred, indeed it did stay structurally intact. It could disrupt the electronics on the aircraft however and there are reports that they lost communications with air traffic control so that could be a possible event as a result of a lightning strike.

ALLEN: We also know, Keith, that it didn't make an immediate landing. It flew for some time less than an hour though after it reported the problem. Could it been dumping fuel? What -- could they've been trying to solve the problem without coming and back and making an immediate landing?

WOLZINGER: Well, anytime you have anything unusual going on with the aircraft, you -- first thing is to assess what the situation is. There's checklist involved, there's procedures to get the cabin ready for an emergency landing. There's a time element. If it's not completely critical, it's better to run through some of these extra procedures. If the aircraft obviously were to be on fire in flight, that's the worst-case scenario of basing a flight crew.

So in that event, they would try to land as soon as possible and disposing with some of those checklists due to lack of time. It's unclear why they flew around for a little bit before making that final landing but hopefully, that will come out with further investigation.

ALLEN: Well, the people that were in the front of the airplane that we're able to get off are so very fortunate. And as you say, yes, 41 people died in this crash and it's just a very horrific ending to that flight. Thank you for your insights. Keith Wolzinger for us, thank you.

ALLEN: We want to go back to that breaking news. A ceasefire with Israel has been restored according to Gaza Militant group, Islamic Jihad. Oren Liebermann is in Ashkelon in Israel. Oren? OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, according to a spokesman for Palestinian Islamic jihad inside of Gaza, a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza went into effect at 4:30 in the morning. Now, as the (INAUDIBLE) that Israel rarely ever comment or confirm that there is a ceasefire in place but in the clearest indication yet, there is, in fact, a ceasefire.

The Israeli military lifted civilian restrictions on the community, the Israeli community that are around Gaza. So Looking around outside, we see people outside with the cars driving again, all indications that the civilian restrictions have been lifted and that a ceasefire overnight on the second night of fighting has put it and end to the worst round of hostilities since the end of 2014 war.

This all starts or rather the stark escalation begin Saturday morning, and from that point on, it's still that ceasefire (INAUDIBLE) 4:30 in the morning between Sunday and Monday. Israel says militants from Gaza fired more than 600 rockets, and some of these are the most powerful ones.

Many were short-ranged rockets that hit the Gaza strip, but the others were longer ranged, more powerful, heading toward major cities in the southern Israel. According to Israel officials, four people were killed in that fire. That is the highest death toll in the Israeli side of rocket fires since the end of the 2014 war.

Meanwhile, while the fighting was going on, Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes that get more than 300 targets that belong to Hamas, and Islamist jihad. And we saw the same escalation in terms of targets that we saw from rockets in Gaza.

In that first, Israel was hitting (INAUDIBLE) on the border. That then steps up the multi-story buildings that Israel says were terror infrastructure for both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And then Israel carried out targeted killing against a Gaza official. The first time Israel has done that in several years.

In the end it was Egypt and the United Nation stepping in as well as Qatar to try to mediate a restoration of a ceasefire. It's important to note that this round of escalation comes and shatters what has been a month of relative calm, a month of fairly quiet week leading up to this round.

And that's because Egypt and the United Nations and others were working on some sort of long term agreement between Israel and Gaza. Now with ceasefire back in place, where does that leave those arrangements that has been making some outward signs of progress. That would be the next question as we see how the days develops on this end with a ceasefire in place. Cyril?

[01:10:21] VANIER: Yes, Oren, we're looking at live pictures of Gaza City which we always end up doing when there's a flare up in violence as there has been in over the last 48 hours. I note however that you are in Ashkelon and that's where -- there was a fatality overnight Saturday into Sunday.

So I just want to confirm what you're telling me now that all outward signs are that normal life has resumed in Ashkelon?

LIEBERMANN: It has. The civilian restriction was lifted. We've seen more cars in the road. The beaches will be reopened. Some schools have been reopened. Some remained close specially because this is memorial week, some they have some holidays throughout the week. But that essentially is the decision of the local municipalities it seems as life returns to normal on this end.

It is also important that in the wave of Israeli airstrikes, I think I forgot to say this, in the wave of Israeli airstrikes carried out in Gaza, according to the Palestinian ministry of health, 23 Gazans were killed. So it is the worst round of fighting in 2014. We saw how quickly it flared up, and of course that important to note how fast it can go from relatively calm to all out signs of the fact that it might be going through all-out war.

Also important to take from this is the exact opposite lesson, how quickly they can stop fighting when somebody is able to step in and mediate a ceasefire. And I would suggest, Cyril, because it develops in safety versus over shorter-range rockets the more powerful medium- range rocket, and then an anti-tank missile was even fired from Gaza.

And the Israelis side is smaller posts along. The border that are hit then larger buildings that Israel's desert terror infrastructure and then it develops from that. Because it develops in these stages, both sides essentially understand the rules of the game if you will.

They understand how it develops and that gives an opportunity for a mediator to step in and say before we go to the next round, let's stop this fighting and that appears to be what happened in this case as there were some very serious fire efforts underway over the past 48 hours

VANIER: Yes, Oren, you're absolutely right to point out that there is some degree of predictability to this as both sides really are used to the messages that they're sending and that the others -- the other side is sending back. I wanted to ask you and tap into your experience since you've been covering this for years. What factors in to how quickly these flare-ups die down, because that's always what we're looking at?

LIEBERMANN: Well, the course of the past I would say two years which is the period in which we've seen these sort of quick flare is they've lasted about 24 to 48 hours, and that's been incredibly consistent. They rarely ever go beyond that. In fact, I don't know that they've ever gone beyond that in the last 24 hours or so.

And that's because Egypt and the U.N. have been pretty quickly to try to make sure that a ceasefire is restored. In the end it's in both sides interest to maintain become for Gaza and for Hamas so they can rebuild infrastructure, so they can bring in fuel and bring in other supplies to relieve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

But Israel -- it's been clear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants quiet, wants calm on the Gaza periphery, so it's in both sides interest to stop the fighting at some point before it develops into a war. Both parties said were not interested war, and both sides have shown it even as the fighting is bigger and develops. It's also clear that they could have gone to another stage.

Israel could have hit bigger target and could have carried out more targeted killings. Gaza militants could have fired rockets on Tel Aviv. That didn't happen because both sides know each other so well. They even know each other intimately. How quickly does it develop is to some extent of the interest of how each side sees the developing and sees their respond.

Obviously, that means once this calculated respond could send -- it could make it escalate even faster. But there is always that idea that these two sides know each other well and that they're all on the ground, people who can mediate and moderate between the UN, Egypt, Qatar and others.

VANIER: All right, Oren Liebermann, it's shortly after 8:00 a.m. where you are and there is every indication that a ceasefire is now being respected on both sides. Islamic Jihad said there was a ceasefire. Israel as a matter of policy doesn't quite respond but as you explained normal life has resumed where you are. Orin Liebermann, thank you very much.

ALLEN: Yes, 8:14 in the morning there and it's good to see those blue skies over Gaza City.

VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods by Friday. And he tweeted Sunday that trade talks between Washington and Beijing are moving too slowly.

ALLEN: When apparently we thought they were moving along. What those remarks apparently took Beijing by surprise. Now, The Wall Street Journal is quoting a source who says China is now considering canceling the talks it had scheduled with the U.S. on Wednesday.

[01:15:00] And here's the reaction in the markets, Asian markets tumbling, right now, in the wake of these developments, and U.S. Futures are tanking as well, the Dow down 1.74 percent, NASDAQ, 1.92, S&P 500 Futures down 1.65.

VANIER: CNN's Matt Rivers is following reaction from Beijing. Matt?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Cyril. Yes, no official reaction yet from Chinese government, and that could be in part because they are likely as surprised as the rest of us were, by the President's tweets.

You know, it seemed like we were hurdling towards, potentially, the announcement of some sort of framework of an agreement, for a trade deal, between the United States and China, by the end of this week. Liu He, the top Chinese economic negotiator was taking a large delegation to the United States, after a U.S. delegation was here, in Beijing, just last week.

And there was pretty widespread belief that by Friday, we could have actually seen not only the announcement of a framework of a potential agreement between both sides, but also maybe the announcement of a -- of a future summit between Xi Jinping, the president of China, and Donald Trump, to potentially sign that kind of deal.

And now, that could all be off, as you mentioned, the Wall Street Journal currently reporting that China is strongly considering cancelling the Liu He and his team's trip to Washington, D.C. this week. And that makes a lot of sense because what China has said throughout more than a year now, that this trade war has been going on is that China will not negotiate under threat.

That they won't negotiate unless they feel like they're not being threatened by the United States. And so cancelling the trip this week or maybe just leaving Liu He out of it, and sending a much smaller- ranking delegation, that would be very much in line with what the Chinese side has said all along.

And you can also see from their point of view, it's kind of an impossible situation for Liu He, to be in, if he were to go to Washington, D.C. If he were to concede to Donald Trump, perhaps give another concession from the Chinese side in a potential trade deal, well that would obviously be seen as caving to U.S. demands here.

So, really, what these all adds up to, Cyril, is we don't know how this is going to play out. No official response yet from the Chinese government. We are expecting one, probably, by the end of the day, today, would I think be the most educated guess that we have on that, at this point.

But no one knows how this is going to end up. What had appeared to be tracking towards a potential deal by the end this week, is now completely up in the air.

VANIER: Yes. Matt Rivers reporting live from Beijing. The Asian markets are down on this. We know that the Futures here, in the U.S., are down. We'll have to see what happens when the markets actually open on Monday morning. Matt Rivers, thank you.

ALLEN: Venezuela is still on edge and statements from the U.S. and Russia are not allaying fears. We'll have the latest for you, coming in, next.

VANIER: Plus, the U.S., sending a message to Iran. What we know about bombers and warships being sent to the Middle East, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WORLD SPORT HEADLINES)

VANIER: The volatile situation in Venezuela was not calm, by remarks from top officials of the United States and Russia, Sunday.

ALLEN: The U.S. says military involvement in Venezuela is an option. It supports opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the country's leader. Russia, which backs embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, warned the U.S. to say out of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): We call on all the Americans and all those who support them to cancel irresponsible plans (INAUDIBLE) according to the international legislation as President Putin said a couple of days ago, in a phone conversation with President Trump.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Sometimes, the same thing the President told the world that every country must get out including the Russians. That's what I'll tell. We don't --we don't want anyone messing around with Venezuela. We want them to be an autonomous, independent sovereign state. Democratic elected officials, this is what we desire for the Venezuelan people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: A prayer vigil was held in Caracas, Sunday, to honor those who have been killed in ongoing protests against President Maduro. Roman Catholic priests, in white robes, led the vigil, as some waved Venezuelan flags and shouted freedom.

The U.S. is sending more ships and bombers to the Middle East as responses to what it says are troubling warnings from Iran.

VANIER: The U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, says the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike crew and a bomber task force will be deployed. A U.S. official says that this comes after threats to U.S. land and naval forces.

Bolton says the U.S. isn't seeking war with Iran but, that it's ready to respond to attacks against U.S. interests or allies.

CNN Military Analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton is with us. He's a retired U.S. Air Force Officer, Former Deputy Director for Training at the NSA. How much firepower is this that the U.S. is sending to the region?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Cyril, it's at least 90 aircraft on board the USS Abraham Lincoln. That includes those six-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, which means, helicopters. Plus, the bomber task force is going to include anywhere from five to, you know, a half dozen or so, bombers, perhaps even more.

It all depends on where it will be deployed and whatever support aircraft will be in that group. But it's a very large military footprint and it's designed to send a message to, in this case, to Iran.

VANIER: So, a very significant deployment of military assets, what did you first think when you you saw this news, that all of this is being sent over to the Middle East? LEIGHTON: Well, my first thought was, here we go again. This is something that has been very common, you know, during my military career. I spent a lot of time, you know, in the Middle East, and one of the things that we always watch for was Iranian actions and reactions to what we were doing.

One of the things that we have to look out for, from a maritime perspective, is what Iran is planning to do, with the Strait of Hormuz. That is, of course, one of the biggest oil transhipment (INAUDIBLE) in the world.

[01:25:00] And any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, would then cause the U.S. to get involved in some kind of military action, either to prevent that from happening or to do some other measures, to conduct some other measures that would in essence clear that lane for further international commerce.

So, that's the kind of thing that we're looking at. There are other possibilities, of course, but my main view on this was that, you know, this is something that we have done before and it looks like there is, in this cycle of the mess, that's going on in the Middle East, this is the time of escalation at this point.

VANIER: And Colonel, our source here, at CNN, told us that there were threats against U.S. Forces, be the land based or naval, across the region. How exposed are U.S. troops in this part of the world?

LEIGHTON: They can be very exposed, so in the case of the navy, they have major facilities in Bahrain that's, in fact, the headquarters of the numbered fleet that's stationed in the Persian Gulf, and that said fleet, on land, we have both army and Air Force assets, as well as marine assets. These assets are concentrated in places like Qatar, and in Kuwait, and in Saudi Arabia, to a lesser extent.

And so, these are the kinds of things that we're looking to protect. The forces are, in essence, potentially at risk in all of these locations. Plus, of course, we have the deployed troops in Syria and Iraq, and those are also areas of possible contention with Iran.

VANIER: Yes. And the Secretary of State John Bolton, in his comments to the press today, made it very clear that he -- they are not just trying to deter Iran, they're also trying to deter Iranian proxies across the region, which there are many.

LEIGHTON: That's true. And, in fact, we're looking at entities like Hezbollah, for one, also the Iranian-sponsored militias in Iraq, those all fall under the possible (INAUDIBLE) road to Iranian proxy groups.

And so, there is a wide variety of, you know, potential flash points that we could find ourselves involved in, and it could involve groups that we don't hear about too much, but they can also involve groups that we are very familiar with.

VANIER: All right. Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very much. I mean, this is -- we found this out only a short while ago, so there's still a lot to find out about this. Thank you very much. ALLEN: We also have a major policy reversal in Brunei. The country's sultan announces a change to a law that punishes homosexuality. We'll tell you what that change is, as well as the reasons behind it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:31:03] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen.

Here are our headlines this hour.

At least 41 people have died after a plane made a hard emergency landing at a Russian airport near Moscow. Video showing the Aeroflot passenger plane bursting into flames as it slammed on to the runway. Russian news agency Interfax reports that perhaps a lightning strike caused a communication failure and that forced the plane to make this landing.

VANIER: A militant group in Gaza says a ceasefire with Israel has been restored and Israel has lifted restrictions on civilians in the Gaza periphery indicating an acceptance of the ceasefire. It ends a weekend of escalating violence with hundreds of rocket launches and airstrikes and more than two dozen killed on both sides of the border.

ALLEN: The United States is deploying warships to the Middle East because of what it says are troubling warnings from Iran. The U.S. is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force. The announcement came from National Security Adviser John Bolton, who adds the U.S. doesn't want war but is prepared to respond to any attacks.

VANIER: Asian markets and U.S. stock futures tumbled sharply after President Trump threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods by Friday. He added trade talks between Washington and Beijing are moving too slowly.

Those remarks apparently took Beijing by surprise. And the "Wall Street Journal" is now quoting a source who says that China is considering canceling the talks it had scheduled with U.S. on Wednesday China as a result.

ALLEN: Well, after facing a widespread international backlash, the country of Brunei says it will no longer apply the death penalty to a heinous law that punishes homosexuality and adultery.

VANIER: Brunei's Sultan said in a message that it was important for the country to uphold international commitments on human rights. The law and its penalty went into effect in April. Celebrities and businesses worldwide condemned it and called for a boycott of Brunei- owned hotels.

ALLEN: CNN's Will Ripley is following this story for us. He is in Bangkok. And perhaps international outrage and boycotts certainly, hopefully in this instance had an impact. What more can you tell us about this announcement -- Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi -- Natalie. Well this announcement is being criticized by a number of human rights groups as the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, essentially changing up the window-dressing on a draconian law, saying that the country will not enforce the death penalty provisions of a law that have said that people who are gay could be stoned to death, creating an international uproar on behalf of the LGBTI people around the world.

But certainly those living in Brunei, a small country of fewer than half a million, that with this strict new law that was announced very quietly at the end of 2018 and implemented in April, created an absolute fury.

And you have everyone from politicians, like the U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, the former vice president. You had the U.S. State Department. You had celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John are, you know, expressing condemnation and in fact, you know, Clooney and Elton John were also saying that people should boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

What this law essentially does, human rights activists say is that it creates a climate of fear inside the country for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, even though the country itself and the Sultan had said that this law is more about education and adhering to family values inside the country.

[01:34:47] It's a claim that human rights activists simply don't buy. Not to mention the fact that even though government says it won't enforce the death penalty there is still imprisonment of up to ten years, amputation and other punishment that much of the world, certainly developed world believe are not consistent with Brunei's obligations to enforce internationally-defended and protected human rights -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. We will see what happens next in this story. Will Ripley for us. Will -- thank you.

VANIER: And it looks like North Korea carried out the new ballistic missile launch and CNN has exclusive images to prove it.

This satellite image was provided by Planet Labs in the Middlebury Institute. Analysts say it likely shows smoke from a short-range ballistic missile in eastern North Korea.

ALLEN: And this comes after the country's state media reported a strike drill on Saturday. They say leader Kim Jong-un oversaw long- range rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons.

The top U.S. diplomat spoke about this test on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So we know a couple of things. One, at no point was there ever any international boundary crossed, that is they landed in the water east of North Korea and didn't present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan.

And we know that they were relatively short range and beyond that we know they were intercontinental ballistic missiles either. And beyond that, I leave to the Department of Defense to characterize this when further information arrives.

We still believe that there is an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that -- he's repeated that quite recently, in fact.

So we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back to the table. We want to continue to have these conversations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul, South Korea. she has been covering this from the moment those weapons were fired. Paula -- now that the dust is settling on all of this a little bit. It does seem that the international reaction is fairly muted?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Cyril. I mean certainly from the U.S. point of view it is a fairly positive response to what many analysts are saying was at least one short range ballistic missile test. It is something that the U.S. President Donald Trump had been pinning as one of the successes of his engagement with North Korea and with Kim Jong-un. The fact that there haven't been any missile or nuclear tests but that now clearly is not the case.

Now, we heard from the South Korea Defense secretary of defense on Sunday giving us a little more information about what they believed was fired saying that the tactical guided weapons system that North Korea said that they had tested was in fact a new model.

So it is not just the fact that North Korea is making a statement. According to many experts they are also moving forward in their program, testing something previously that has been untested. So they're trying to develop that particular weapon system.

But as you say the international condemnation really hasn't been there at this point. In fact, the strongest words we've heard have been from the South Korean which is unusual. We heard the Blue House, the presidential office saying that they believed that North Korea's actions went against the agreement, the military agreement that they've signed back in September of last year when the President Moon Jae-in was in Pyongyang with Kim Jong-un where they both agree that they wouldn't do anything to raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, the Blue House says that's against that agreement it is calling on North Korea to come back to the negotiation table, as soon as possible - Cyril.

VANIER: So where then does this leave denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea?

HANCOCKS: Well I think the overwhelming feeling at this point is that this was a warning shot from Kim Jong-un. He has publicly said at the Supreme People's assembly in North Korea that the U.S. has to change its attitude and he is giving them until the end of the year to change their attitude, otherwise the talks are rough and he's going to choose another path.

we also heard him when he was with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, just last month. The Russian president saying that Kim Jong-un believed the U.S. had acted in bad faith at the Hanoi summit back in February where both leaders, President Trump and Kim Jong-un, walked away without any agreement.

So there is a perception that this is a warning shot from the North Koreans, that this is putting pressure on the U.S. president to change the way that they're dealing with Pyongyang because clearly Pyongyang does not like the way they're being dealt with at this point. They want to see some sanctions relief and more.

But it is not too provocative that it could backfire on North Korea. So it did give the U.S. administration some breathing space, and wiggle room to not react too strongly to what North Korea did and as you can see that is exactly what the Trump administration did -- Cyril.

VANIER: Paula Hancocks reporting live from Seoul. Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Men condemned to die plead for their lives in Saudi court documents exclusively obtained by CNN. The kingdom claims they confessed before they were put to death in one of the largest executions in Saudi history.

VANIER: But the documents lay bare forced confessions obtained through torture. Accusations that the Saudi government has long denied.

[01:40:02] ALLEN: One lawyer who briefly represented some of the executed men says the judge simply ignored the allegations of torture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The court documents are proof of torture and injustice. And they still have the audacity to say they are merciful and humane.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The defendant say that they confessed because they were being tortured. That should have been investigated under Saudi law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The judge is supposed to take this seriously to ask the interrogators for an answer to these allegations. But what happened in most of these cases is that the judge ignored it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Watch Arwa Damon's exclusive report featured on our program "AMANPOUR". That's starting at 1 pm Monday in New York. Six p.m. in London, only on CNN.

Full military honors for a hero. Friends and family say good bye to a young man who sacrificed his own life to save others, that story is coming next.

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ALLEN: President Trump is once again tweeting about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This time he reversed course on Sunday, saying Mueller should not testify before Congress about the Russia investigation that Mr. Mueller spearheaded.

VANIER: He says no re-dos for the Democrats, but on Friday he said the attorney general should be making that decision.

Larry Sabato joins me now. He is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He is a friend of the show. Larry -- good to have you back.

Why is Donald Trump changing his mind about the possibility of Mueller testifying? He seemed to be ok with it just a few days ago. Now he does not want to see it happen.

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UVA: I'm not sure there is a reason or a rationale but clearly Donald Trump is still very unhappy with the fact that people are criticizing him for some of the pieces of the Mueller report.

[01:45:01] He keeps insisting of course that there is no collusion and no obstruction. He was right about the collusion. He was wrong potentially about the obstruction, and certainly he is wrong about the Russians interfering with the American election which he barely mentions.

So I think he is unhappy that this continuing to be a topic when he was convinced that this was a great triumph.

VANIER: But what is really at stake here? I mean what is at stake in the potential public testimony of Bob Mueller? Because the report is public, anyone can go in and read it and read what Mueller found apart from the redacted bit, the investigation is over. So what is at stake?

SABATO: I think what is at stake is that Mueller is particularly well situated to talk about obstruction, which clearly Attorney General Barr did not fully present to the country and to the Congress when he released his short summary of the report.

There are some real questions about whether the President did obstruct this investigation. And I'm sure Mueller being Mueller he would be very blunt about it. He wouldn't quote the redacted parts but I think he would summarize in a way that people could understand why his team was so concerned about obstruction.

VANIER: That is interesting. You know what, let me pull up a tweet by our CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter, which speaks I think indirectly to what you are saying.

CNN asked a recent poll to Americans whether they had read the Mueller report. And you see here, if you read to the bottom, halve not read the report 75 percent of people. Which means the vast majority of Americans, not surprising for a 400-plus page report, have not read it. So they're relying on intermediaries such as the media to make up their minds on the investigation.

And it seems to me, that is what it is all about, it is about public perception and trying to influence the public perception.

SABATO: Yes. And that is absolutely the case. 75 percent admit they haven't read and a could piece of the rest also haven't read it but are not admitting.

So yes. But look, Mueller's testimony would draw a very large audience. He may be the only person left who could draw a large audience to review this report.

So all in all I would not be surprised if Trump tried to prevent this testimony. Trump technically order the Attorney General to forbit Mueller from coming. After all Mueller is not an independent counsel. He's a special counsel in the Justice Department as Attorney General Barr kept emphasizing in his testimony before Congress.

But I think that would be a public relations disaster, after all Trump keeps saying that this is a great triumph. Why would you prevent Mueller from going to congress to present the report when it is a great triumph for Trump, according to Trump?

VANIER: Right, absolutely. He has always said and claimed that the report fully exonerates him. We know that is not accurate because in the words of Mueller himself, he declined to exonerate the President. But as you say, as a matter logic, if it exonerates you then why wouldn't you want Mueller to answer questions about it.

Larry Sabato -- thank you so much for joining us.

SABATO: Thank you -- Cyril.

ALLEN: Here in the U.S., friends and family of Riley Howell are saying their goodbyes.

He is the 21-year-old college senior who stopped a campus gun man who opened fire at the University of North Carolina -- Charlotte last week.

VANIER: A shooter killed Howell and Reed Parlier and injured four others. Howell's body was brought to his home town earlier in the week with a police escort. His obituary read, "Riley died the way he lived, putting others first. One of Howell's best friends spoke at his memorial.

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From the beginning I could see his love for others through the little things. Like offering to carry the heaviest bag or fighting for the right to cook us all dinner at the camp, which I was fine with because as some of you know he made some damn good food, especially fried chicken.

Through our long days at the farm is when I met the really Riley, a person not many were fortunate enough to know. During the summers we were always outside, (INAUDIBLE) at spots deep in the woods where we could explore and wonder, leaving our serious personas behind.

He taught me so much about life and consequently myself on these walks through the woods and I will remember these moments for the rest of my life.

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VANIER: For his bravery the 21-year-old military training cadet received full military honors at his funeral.

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VANIER: Rock climbers looking for extreme adventure might want to think about India.

ALLEN: Yes. In our series "Iconic India" we take you to a place outside Bangalore that is challenging serious climbers and those who aim to be one day.

Here it is.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fringes of Bangalore (ph) offer a mix of culture, history, nature and the opportunity to scale even more heights.

PRAVEEN C.M., ROCK CLIMBER: India has like great potential for climbing. You have rocks everywhere. You go to Bangalore, like you have rocks. If you go to Andra (ph), you have rocks. I mean you have rocks

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Praveen C.M> is an icon of India's climbing communities. Over 15 years of winning climbing championships have made sure of that. In 2015 he set up the country's first rural sport climbing program to help underprivileged children.

C.M.: (INAUDIBLE) when I started climbing it used to be hard for me to buy things, and like it was all expensive. So when I look at these kids I feel the same thing that I could see them, the potential in them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Praveen and some of his students prepare to take on the routes at one of the south India's most revered climbing spots.

C.M.: We are near (INAUDIBLE). We come here because we have a lot of rocks. And this is like one of the best area to climb because it is short and we can do a couple of routs here.

[01:54:59] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Known as the land of the seven hills with rocky outcrops of granite stone, Ramanagara is a growing hub that has brought climbing enthusiasts.

C.M.: Every route in the challenge is like a new puzzle. You learn some techniques here, but then another route needs a different technique.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 40 feet above the ground, Praveen is all poise, as his chalk-dusted hands firmly grip the rock face, waiting for his students to take their turn.

C.M.: Most of the kids like from the rural are naturally gifted to play with nature, so that makes them more fit and agile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 16-year-old Arjun Murgn (ph) has been climbing since he was eight years old. Today, he competes at the national level.

C.M.: Arjun is from a small (INAUDIBLE). His dad passed away. Arden has a lot of potential in climbing, but he has very less opportunities like others.

ARJUN MURGN, ROCK CLIMBER: When I used to come to Bangalore, I used to watch Praveen. I saw him winning so many medals and was so inspired. I wanted to become like Praveen and have him train me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far, Praveen has as trained over 300 students like Arjun. Using the iconic landscape of India as their training ground.

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VANIER: That's amazing.

ALLEN: Gives me the Heebie-jeebies just watching him.

VANIER: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.

The news continues next with Rosemary and George. We'll see you later.

VANIER: Have a great day.

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