Return to Transcripts main page


Reuters Journalists Freed in Myanmar; Trump Startles U.S. businesses with Fresh Tariff Hike; U.S. Deploying Carrier and Bomber Task Force in Response to "Troubling" Iran Actions; North Korea Announces New Weapons Tests; Duchess of Sussex Delivers a Boy; U.N.: 1 Million Species on Verge of Extinction. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 7, 2019 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us. I'm John Vause with your breaking news from Myanmar where two Reuters journalists are now free.

The men walked out of the prison outside just a short time ago without explanation from the government. They were convicted in September of violating the official secrets act and sentenced to seven years behind bars. They met briefly with reporters outside the prison.


WA LONE, REUTERS JOURNALIST: Yes, I'm in the prison and also around the world people who were looking to release us. So I want to say thank you very much for. And I'm really happy and glad to see my family and I can't wait to go to my newsroom.


VAUSE: Ivan Watson has been following the story from the very beginning and he joins us now from Hong Kong with more.

So just last month the Myanmar supreme court upheld the conviction so why amnesty now?

What led to them freedom?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know at this stage. It was an unexpected release, it appears, of these two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who spent more than 500 days behind bars. And multiple courts rejected their appeals for overturning this conviction and their seven-year prison sentence.

Again, it seems a bit of a surprise. Their lawyers say after the last appeal was knocked down by the highest court, last month, that they were now going to simply hope for a presidential pardon. The president's office issued the statement today saying more than 6,500 prisoners had been released.

It's been an annual advent in Myanmar for the president, who releases large numbers of prisoners from jails. But there was no specific mention of these award-winning journalists.

The editor-in-chief of Reuters has put out a statement. This is Stephen Adler, saying, quote, "We are enormously pleased that Myanmar has released our courageous reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Since their arrests 511 days ago, they have become symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world. We welcome their return."

A little more information on the background on these two journalists. They were arrested in December of 2017. Several months later, the investigation they were working on was published. And it revealed that there was a massacre of 10 individuals from Rakhine state and it implicated the security forces in the killing of these 10 men.

And they had information about the burning of a Muslim village, more than 700,000 Muslims were forced to flee to Bangladesh over the last two years and the Myanmar government and military has allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Their report that is being used as evidence by the U.N. that this in fact has happened and it has been in the work of the Myanmar military. The charge that they faced was possession of state secrets.

Reuters, the journalists have pled not guilty. They have accused the security forces of a sting operation, of setting them up in a meeting with police sources that handed over some documents. And shortly afterwards, they were arrested in possession of this.

So this is being heralded by press freedoms organizations and by Reuters, of course, by the United Nations as a very positive development. And at CNN as journalists, we are not impartial observers here. As fellow journalists, this is, of course, a very positive development to release of these two journalists.

VAUSE: There was a moment of cheering and we are very pleased these guys are out.

"We are very relieved by this information that they spent more than a year in jail. And for reading the secrets act. And they are only doing their jobs."

Ivan, we thank you.

Steven Butler is a journalist and he's also here from Hong Kong.

Steven, did you have any indication ahead of time that they were going to be released?

STEVEN BUTLER, JOURNALIST: There had been rumors and there was hope that they would take advantage of these --

[00:05:00] BUTLER: -- mass releases and let them out of jail. So it's not entirely a surprise but obviously very happy that they are free and free to be with their families and free to resume their work as journalists.

VAUSE: Explain to us how this works. If they were in fact part of this general release, those prisoners were set free, who would've made that decision?

BUTLER: It's the president but you have to believe that the Myanmar military signed off on this. And the question is why they did that. I think the international pressure from press freedom groups and governments is a terrible stain on Myanmar as long as these two journalists were in jail.

It's a continuing stain that they were jailed for 511 days on what we believe are bogus charges.

VAUSE: These two journalists were doing what journalists are meant to do. It also sent a message to reporters in Myanmar, careful what you report.

Has that message worked, tamed or calmed any reporting within the country?

BUTLER: As far as we know, it certainly has frightened journalists from reporting on what's going on in Rakhine state. It's also part of an effort by the military to whip up a nationalist fervor among the people in Myanmar and also the journalists to support their vision of what should be happening there.

But, yes, I think the damage has been done. It's going to take a long time before people venture out and do this kind of reporting and take that kind of risk.

VAUSE: The human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, represented the journalists of Reuters and she spent more than a year campaigning for their release. She put out this statement.

"Since taking on this case over a year ago I've witnessed incredible determination by Reuters, in particular editor-in-chief Steve Adler and chief counsel Gail Gove, in their pursuit of justice for their brave reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

"It is inspiring to see a new organization so committed to the protection of innocent men and the profession of journalism. It's been an honor to represent Reuters and the two journalists in this case. And I hope that their release signals a renewed commitment to press freedom in Myanmar."

It's a worthy hope but that's not the reality at this time.

BUTLER: I think it's a long shot that this is going to change anything. I think the military probably got out of this what they wanted to get out of it and decided they had enough. We will have to see. We would hope that this would lead to more press freedom in Myanmar and a feeling of self confidence for journalists. But that's yet to be seen.

VAUSE: Did Aung San Suu Kyi have any role in this?

BUTLER: It's really hard to say. She had stood up for the charges. She stood up for the integrity of the courts, which we did not believe. Frankly, she's discredited herself throughout this whole process. And she is not the mover and shaker in Myanmar that we once believed her to be. It's the military that calls the shots here now.

VAUSE: Steven, thank you for being with us. It's a good day, at least for the families of these two guys. We're just glad they're out.

BUTLER: Yes, we are very happy about this.

VAUSE: Good to see you.

Now the global crises, military moves and intentions of the White House on how to deal with all this. First Iran: the U.S. is sending a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East. Officials say it's a response to specific intelligence that Iran and their proxies are targeting forces in Syria and Iraq and at sea.

Another flashpoint over the weekend. North Korea carried out its first missile tests since 2017. The aftermath can be seen in this exclusive satellite image by CNN. Experts say it looks like the trail of a short range ballistic missile. It's the most provocative move by Kim Jong-un since the failed summit back in February.

Then Venezuela: the White House is facing fallout after the collapse of an uprising backed by the interim assembly president Juan Guaido. There are reports that president Donald Trump is upset with his national security adviser, John Bolton, after he talked up military intervention against Guaido's opponent, Nicolas Maduro.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is not on the ball, either. He's met with his Russian counterpart in Finland after blaming Russia for Maduro staying behind in Venezuela and not boarding a plane for exile.

Finally, China, President Trump with tweets on Sunday and Monday threatening to escalate tariffs and reignite a trade war, all this as the Chinese trade delegation heads to Washington for continued talks. CNN is tracking all these developments and for more on the deployment of the bombers in the Middle East is our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The unusual announcement came directly from the White House.


STARR (voice-over): The military is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East in response to what it says is intelligence that Iran is escalating tensions in the region and Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias are planning for a possible, possible attack on U.S. forces in the region.

This statement from the White House was followed up by additional statements from the Pentagon, expressing concern about what Iran maybe up to. Now so far, officials have not seen any evidence of an imminent attack.

But what they are saying is they believe it is a real need to deter Iran. And the sending of an aircraft carrier, its escort ships and Air Force bombers they hope will be that deterrent to the Iranian regime, that the Iranians will see the U.S. has plenty of firepower and will fight back, will strike them if they were to strike U.S. forces.

What they hope is that deterrent will show Iran the price of any action against the United States will be so heavy that it is a price they will not be willing to pay -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Now to Venezuela, where President Trump and top members of his administration have not always been on the same page. The latest group comes from Mike Pompeo between his meeting with his Russian counterpart in Finland. For more, here's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Tonight, Russia's foreign minister is clearly pleased following the meeting with secretary of state Pompeo in Finland.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): I think we had a pretty significant step in developing the discussion that President Putin and President Trump had in their phone conversation a few days ago.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The meeting comes after President Trump's phone call with Vladimir Putin last Friday. The crisis in Venezuela was high on the agenda. America saying embattled president Nicolas Maduro must leave power; the Russians continued to back Maduro.

But while administration officials just last week said Russia needs to get out of Venezuela, Secretary Pompeo telling Wolf he believes Moscow is even preventing him from fleeing, something Russia denies; tonight, a more moderate tone.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have interests that are definitely different and there are places where we honor our steps pretty quickly. But there is no doubt there was a desire to begin to try and find a path where we can make real process in places where we have overlapping interests, as narrow as they may be. And we hope we can achieve it.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): U.S. officials keep insisting that the use of American military force in Venezuela remains on the table, since the call from President Trump and Vladimir Putin, of which President Trump said he doesn't believe Putin wants to get involved in Venezuela, the Russians aren't buying American threats.

LAVROV (through translator): We are categorically against military actions wherever they would be. I, from my contacts with the American colleagues and others, do not see any supporters of a reckless military solution. And I hope that this understanding that all the participants have will be turned into practical policy, that there will not be a military intervention because that would be catastrophic.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While President Trump said he did not bring up Russia's election meddling in the recent call, Secretary Pompeo said he did raise the issue with Lavrov.

POMPEO: It's something I've shared with him each time I've had a chance to cover that particular topic. It's not appropriate and we have done everything we can to deter it.

PLEITGEN: For a very long time, the Kremlin has been saying that it believes President Trump wants better relations with Russia but that he could not make it happen because of the Mueller investigation and also because of pressure from Congress.

Now with the Mueller investigation over, some believe that the White House is making a new push to try to get relations back on track -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Finland.


VAUSE: In Caracas the Maduro government says at least five people have died, 233 were detained after last week's protests. The government has acknowledged the deaths. The opposition leader Juan Guaido is again refusing to back down.


JUAN GUAIDO, INTERIM PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): There were people who didn't come through. But that doesn't mean that they aren't doing it soon.


VAUSE: New evidence by North Korea has the U.S. and its allies in the region struggling with what comes next. Washington envoy for North Korea is set to hold talks with Japan after President Trump spoke by phone with the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. North Korea is making its own diplomatic moves, sending an envoy to Moscow. Paula Hancocks is live with us this hour.

So, Paula, many analysts believe that the missile launch over the weekend was to send a --


VAUSE: -- message that the North Koreans are unhappy with this pace of diplomacy.

The question is, who is this message for?

Robert Carlin of The Stimson Center said, "Both the recent drill and the North's reporting that Kim had supervised it are in line with criticism of the South in Kim's speech last month to the Supreme People's Assembly.

"In that speech Kim had pointedly noted, 'We have to always keep in mind that peace can be ensured only by powerful military capabilities and firmly maintain the principle of self-defense and keep increasing the defense capabilities of the country."

So this will not go unnoticed by the U.S. But this seems better for the North Koreans?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's certainly in South Korea that they are trying to get to sit up and take notice as well. But it certainly a message to the U.S. president. But bear in mind this is potentially a short range ballistic missile that could not get near the United States.

We heard from secretary of state Mike Pompeo the concern he had was that Kim Jong-un was keeping the moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit the mainland United States. That is clearly what concerns the United States.

What North Korea tested on Saturday morning is more of a threat to those in the region, to South Korea and Japan as well. There was an intelligence briefing by the NIS on Monday to lawmakers who in turned briefed reporters. And there is a sense that the South Korean intelligence was trying to downplay the threat of this, saying it's not as provocative as these kind of tests have been in the past, saying that there clearly was a message that Kim was trying to give but not so far that it could derail talks -- John.

VAUSE: Let's go back to Mike Pompeo because he made that statement to FOX News, he was asked about the impact that these tests might have when it comes to relations between Washington and Pyongyang. This is what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see it as violating a moratorium on missile tests?

POMPEO: We'll have to take a look, we know our objective. The moratorium was very focused on the intercontinental missiles that threaten the United States for sure.


VAUSE: Some see that as a big loophole for the North Koreans. In some ways it gives the green light to North Koreans to fire missiles along the region at will.

HANCOCKS: It was certainly noted by many experts in the region, John, this seemed like a green light to test whatever he wanted as long as you don't test the ICBMs that could threaten the United States.

If you look at the reaction from the Blue House, the South Korean presidential office on Saturday after these launches, it was stronger than any other reaction we've seen. It was stronger than the reaction we got from the United States, which quite frankly hasn't happened in the last two years.

Since Moon Jae-in came into office, he's been quite conciliatory the North Koreans but even the Blue House said this goes against the military agreement that North and South Korea that had signed in September of last year, that neither side would increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula and that is clearly against it -- John.

VAUSE: I guess what we see is Pompeo throwing the regional allies under the bus. We'll see where it goes. Paula, thank you.

Renewed trade tensions between the United States and China rattling some investors. We will see look at the effect on the market.





VAUSE: So the jitters for many investors around the world brought on by trade tensions with the U.S. and China. Dow futures are tumbling more than 200 points on Monday. In Asia stocks are mixed with the Trump administration's threat to escalate tariffs by $200 billion on Chinese goods that could happen by Friday.

There have been tense negotiations since last year and now the U.S. are accusing China of reneging on its trade agreements. It's not clear yet how this will impact talks set to resume on Wednesday.

CNN's Steven Jiang joins us now.

So Steven, because nothing happens in a vacuum, this is where trade talks and North Korean nuclear talks could intersect. So the president wants to enforce harsh sanctions on Pyongyang, he can't do it without Beijing.

What are the chances the Chinese delegation uses that leverage in those talks?

Does that explain why the vice premier is still part of the delegation heading to the U.S.?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: Well, John, that is certainly a possibility in terms of mentioning North Korea. The Chinese are keenly aware the cards they in their sleeves against U.S.

But a lot of focus right now is on how to proceed or approach the next round of talks and there are a lot of unanswered questions because so far the official response has been relatively muted.

The Chinese have not responded to the latest remarks by the top two U.S. trade negotiators, Steven Mnuchin and Bob Lighthizer. They have responded to Trump's tweets with this threat of the tariffs.

And they have been relatively muted because they are trying to give themselves a bit more wiggle room. So they have not said that they are canceling this trip outright. But they are also not telling us if he will be part of the litigation. And when the delegation will be leaving and how long they will stay in Washington.

So with this latest remarks by Mnuchin and Lighthizer with a more unified voice from the White House, the Chinese may be coming up with a more decisive announcement in the upcoming hours. But right now, they're facing a few different options. They could proceed with the talks in Washington and close the deal by Friday.

But that would be against everything they have been opposing, which is negotiating a threat. They could, of course, send a lower-level delegation, enough for Mr. Trump to call off these threats. But the worst-case scenario is canceling the trip imposing their countertariffs, returning us to a full-blown trade war -- John.

VAUSE: Steven, thank you, we appreciate that.

For more now on these trade talks which never end, business executive Ryan Patel.

It's good to see you.

This is the tweet threatening tariffs that came out of nowhere, as they often do.

"For 10 months China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%."

This is part of a familiar pattern for Donald Trump. Rattle the tariff saber, rev it up, put the pressure on an agreement. It worked with Mexico and with Canada. China is the second biggest economy. And this isn't just about trade talks. Things in Beijing might not be too keen to cave in to Trump.

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: You have to give President Trump some credit for the last month and a half, two months, he hasn't tweeted anything about the trade war. He's actually been fairly muted.


PATEL: What's been interesting over the weekend I feel is that he was pushed internally to say, at this point with the Friday deadline and the trade talks actually going sideways he had to say something. I think also I felt like he was encouraged is that the GDP numbers and

the economy numbers and the unemployment numbers are actually pretty good as well so he's feeling pretty good with his leverage at this point. It's very interesting to see the Chinese not --


PATEL: -- responding and having the delegation.

So to me I think the rhetoric has been fairly soft coming from President Trump. And it could have been worse as he typically goes all out. This is where I believe there really is some kind of conversation to go forward.

Will he get a deal done by Friday?

I'm not sure. But President Trump and the U.S. administration has pushed the deadline before so that means they're making some progress.

VAUSE: It's a deadline which is totally movable.


VAUSE: -- China's foreign ministry responded to the Trump threatening tweet.


GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): The pressing issue now is that we still hope the two sides will make concerted efforts, meet each other halfway and strive to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect.


VAUSE: How would you like to play poker with that guy?

Not a glimmer, not a hint, nothing at all about the Chinese side may be talking about all the position they're taking on all this.

PATEL: I think they learned from last year. This is not -- you can't really go tit-for-tat and continue to fall into these games. Stay calm, stay patient, get to the end -- and I think they are close to an end deal. China knows they need to deal, U.S. knows they need a deal. This is not the time to play those games and China realize they really want to get something done and not to play over social media. Just go to the table and get things done.

I think Trump went back to social media because he needed to create some awareness and attention to gave him some momentum that's shows he's not backing down.

VAUSE: Back to that tweet by Donald Trump. He claimed these tariffs have helped the U.S. economy. In "The New York Times," "Several recent studies have shown modest but growing damage to the U.S. economy from the trade war. Tariffs have already reduce incomes in the United States by nearly $7 billion and that the total cost to the economy had been even larger because of price increases.

"By the end of last year, they estimate the tariffs were costing consumers and importers a total of nearly $4.5 billion a month."

It's a long way from helping.

So where does he get this stuff from?

PATEL: I don't know but you and I are paying for these taxes. It's not going to the U.S. He said this multiple times. You kind of laugh about it but you see today in the social media, small business owners were very vocal. They are the ones that are paying for this.

They are buying China goods because they have to. They are the ones paying for them.

And who will they pass it down to?

The consumers. And by Friday, if the tariffs go to 25 percent, you will be feeling it on all products. And it's the consumer. Let me be clear, and the business owner is paying for it. China is not paying for it.

And I know we can joke about what Trump is saying. But I want to make sure that the audience knows that this is who's paying for it. It's not the other way around. And it will see effect. So I don't know where he's getting information from. I just think he feels good saying it.

VAUSE: Almost at a time but one more. Economics 101, he said they're losing $600 billion on trade. And will not do that anymore.

How many times does it have to be explained to the president trade deficits aren't debt in an official sense; it's a sign of a healthy economy, one that is spending money?

PATEL: You're buying more goods because people are looking to buy that stuff. There's no money to be lost at this point.

VAUSE: Thank you, Ryan.

OK, the wait is over. The duke and duchess of Sussex are now Mom and Dad. We have more details coming up next.




VAUSE: Welcome back with an update on our top news.

[00:30:13] Myanmar has released two Reuters journalists, jailed for more than 500 days. They were investigating the deaths of Rohingya Muslims when they were arrested in 2017. Their case sparked worldwide outrage over the lack of press freedoms. No word from the government as to why they were released.

New warships and bombers sent to the Middle East after threats from Iran and its proxies against U.S. forces and interests. That's according to U.S. officials, citing specific and credible intelligence. The White House announced on Sunday a carrier strike group was heading to the region.

U.S. treasury secretary is refusing, again, to turn over Donald Trump's tax returns to House Democrats. Steven Mnuchin says the request is unprecedented and raises serious constitutional questions. Democrats are demanding the information under an obscure tax laws statute.

On average, 360,000 babies are born every day, including a little boy somewhere in England.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hoist. Oh, yay! Oh, yay! Oh, yay!


VAUSE: The town crier of Windsor announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex -- that's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to most of us -- welcomed their first child, a little boy. The prince says both mother and baby are doing incredibly well. However, we'll have to wait just a few more days to actually see him and find out what his name is.

Let's bring Sandro Monetti, former royal correspondent, current editor in chief of "Hollywood International Filmmaker" magazine. I've just got a little bit of a couch, but I'm glad you're with us.

There is a great line in one of the reports describing baby Sussex, not only as the seventh in line to the throne, eighth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth, but here's the best bet. In terms of the monarchy, his birth is not especially consequential. Welcome to the -- welcome to the world, little not especially consequential.

SANDRO MONETTI, FORMER ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what a mood killer. What an intro. Some of us are celebrating.

VAUSE: Yes. Why we are celebrating? Why do we care?

MONETTI: All hail the Earl of Dumbarton, or whatever title the kid's going to get.

MONETTI: Well, we're celebrating for a number of reasons. As a Brit, it's great to see something knock Brexit off the front pages at last.

But yes, here he is, the most famous child in the world, and here in Los Angeles, of course, they're celebrating. You know, Meghan now lives in Windsor in England but grew up in Windsor Hills in Los Angeles, 5,000 miles away. It's an international royal, no longer just a British story. And well done, Meghan. VAUSE: How much attention is being paid to the fact that this baby,

the one that's not especially consequential, is the first multiracial baby in centuries for the royal family?

MONETTI: It's -- well, on social media -- and by the way, it's the first social media royal baby. A lot of the chatter has been about the significance, yes, about that, and especially leading up to the big reveal on Wednesday, when we're going to get the first pictures of the first biracial baby. So this is another reason why we're so interested in it, as well.

"It's a boy!" We're looking at @SussexRoyal. Now, Meghan Markle is the puppet master of the social media campaign here, you know, promoting her royal house. Of course, she first sort of used the power of social media to spring to fame when she was on the actress in "Suits" and also a charity worker. She had her blog, of course. And @SussexRoyal, you know, the most successful Instagram account so far. You know, the quickest ever to get a million followers.

And there was two ways this royal baby's birth was announced. One was on @SussexRoyal. And as we saw in the package there, the old boy with the bell. The town crier.


MONETTI: Hear ye, hear ye.

VAUSE: Good times.

MONETTI: I love it. A mix of tradition and the new way of doing things.

VAUSE: Meghan Markle still an American citizen. She has yet to get her British citizenship, which means maybe not especially consequential, could in theory hold dual nationality. Are there rules for that within the royal family?

MONETTI: Well, it's going to be interesting. You know, for example, you know, as an American citizen abroad, you know, her baby, if he inherits a whole bunch of land, titles and money, will the IRS want to audit the royals? These are some of the questions that might come out in future, as well.

And what does the future hold? A lot of that chatter has been, you know, will the baby become president of the United States? Well, hold your horses. I mean, we don't know what's going to happen. It's fascinating. There's so many questions. You know, Meghan Markle --

VAUSE: There are?

MONETTI: Yes. I mean --

VAUSE: Just -- there are questions about what this means for the relationship between the two princes and the two -- the duchess and -- you know, Kate and Meghan. Because on the Instagram page, when this birth was announced, it seemed Kate wanted to put to rest all this talk of a rift, of you know, any kind of feud between the two couples, with this very warm message. We're sure it comes from the Duchess of Cambridge: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted with news of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son today and look forward to meeting the latest edition to the family." Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?


VAUSE: So heartfelt.

[00:35:19] MONETTI: Well, yes, and there's no P.S., no hard feelings about unfollowing us on Instagram --


MONETTI: -- like you did a few days ago. So yes. That -- I mean, that was a real P.R. gaffe.


MONETTI: Because when there is talk of a rift, don't encourage it like this.

But, you know, the royals are the greatest soap opera in the world at the moment, you know. And the young royals are getting so much press. And there are now two royal houses.

I mean, you make the great point there about the split. You know, it was always the brothers together. Now it's the brothers and their wives. Their separate royal houses going forward. You know, you've got Prince Charles, of course, who is in -- first in line to the throne.

So yes, the royal soap opera is the most fascinating, intense and intriguing thing. And you know, I was seeing some comment today, you know, there are some people who think that, you know, in ten years Meghan Markle will be selling plastic tiaras on the home shopping channel. And others think that, you know, she'll be in the White House. So whatever the future holds for her and her child --

VAUSE: It's exciting.

MONETTI: -- it's going to be fascinating to watch.

VAUSE: Absolutely. And we'll be -- all be watching it together.

MONETTI: That we will.

VAUSE: Sandro, thank you. Can't wait. Cheers.

Well, sounding the alarm about life as we know it and how one million species are on the verge of extinction. Something everybody should know about, and that's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: An alarming report released by the U.N. on Monday says roughly a million species are on the verge of extinction, more than at any other time in our history.

The report describes an unparalleled situation, mainly caused by us. And as CNN's Bill Weir reports, experts warn it will have great impacts on humans, as well.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not just the howling lemurs of Madagascar that could disappear forever. Not just the cute kiwis in New Zealand. It could be all the wild tigers in India and all the lions in Africa. The bees and3 butterflies that pollinate billions of dollars' worth of crops every year. And the fish stocks that feed billions of people every day.

(on camera): According to a sweeping a new study, there are now one big million species on the brink of extinction, many of them doomed to blink out in coming decades. Everything from plants and corals, to creatures great and small.

And while it was asteroid strikes or super volcanoes that caused the dinosaurs to go instinct, today, the biggest threat against nature is human nature.

EDUARDO BRONDIZIO, ENVIRONMENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY EXPERT: What my colleagues have shown is that we have reconfigured dramatically the fabric of life of the planet.

WEIR (voice-over): To feed the appetites of over seven billion humans, the study finds that three quarters of land on earth has been plowed or paved, dammed or mined.

[00:40:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all mining pits that are filled in.

WEIR: Plastic waste and pesticide runoff has created over 400 ocean dead zones, while heat-trapping pollution fills the sky at record levels, making earth's climate more unpredictable by the year.

ROBERT WATSON, INTERGOVERNMENTAL PLATFORM ON BIODIVERSITY & ECOSYSTEM SERVICE: There's many that like gross domestic product as an economic measure. But this is not a measure of the wealth of the world.

WEIR: So the authors are calling for a seismic shift in how humans consume and how economies work, starting now.

WATSON: I also ask, what a where is the urgency? The urgency, I wear cufflinks. These cufflinks of watches show me, and remind me, we have no time to waste. The time for action is now.

ANNE LANGAUDERIE, 33INTERGOVERNMENTAL PLATFORM ON BIODIVERSITY & ECOSYSTEM SERVICE: What we would like, at the end of this report, is to really give the world a real message of hope. We don't want that people fell discouraged; that there is nothing that can be done; that we've lost the battle. Because we have not lost the battle. And if given the chance, nature will reconquer its rights and will prevail.

WEIR: But that would mean putting nature over profit motive for the first time in centuries; deciding that the Amazon is worth more than And that life as we know it can only exist on a planet in balance.

Bill Weir, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Just more context now on this report. With me, Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Weather Center.

So, you know, it is terrifying, this report, if you actually go through it. They talk about the fact that all this biodiversity is just being wiped out. And it will wipe us out eventually.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, what's fascinating, too, they don't talk about life on Earth for humans being wiped out. But of, course that is all going to be the end result of it, with the progression, at least in recent decades.

And really fascinating, really, at best sobering statistics and findings. And at worst, it's disheartening. And when you break down exactly what has transpired, we know this particular U.N. committee study was involving some 145 scientists from 50 countries involved with this over the course of three years.

And again, the findings, not looking at necessarily carbon dioxide levels, ocean levels, like we've seen previously or temperatures on the order of two degrees Celsius, on the rise. That's not what they looked at. They looked at biodiversity.

And the word itself comes from biological diversity, and that's essentially the variety of life, all life, from genes all the way into ecosystems. Put it all together, and as Bill kind of alluded to, over a million species threatened by extinction out of the 8 million species on Earth here. And of course, all this because of -- the biodiversity, kind of the erratic behavior by humans that have kind of displaced all of that.

So if you don't have life in the oceans, if you don't have healthy life on land, you're not going to have life for humans to be sustained, as well, when it comes to this. At least with the study found here.

And you think, like, the rate of species extinction has increased some tens to 100 times in some cases. And we know over the past one hundred million years or so, it is the length of the period that we've seen this dramatic rise.

And then you look at the global population rise, John. We know, since 1950, the population on Earth has tripled, going from two and a half billion to almost eight billion and expected to get to nine billion within the next couple of decades. Again, when you increase the population, you reduce the resources.

You don't have to be a scientist to know the end result isn't going to be good. And unfortunately, this is what the study has found out.

VAUSE: Pedram, thank you, appreciate it.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. "WORLD SPORT" is next.


[00:45:06] (WORLD SPORT)