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Trump Disputes 'NYT' Report on Migration Deal with Mexico; One Dead, Six Injured in Texas Crane Collapse; Israeli Hit 'Fauda' Reaches International Audience on Netflix, Generates Controversy. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 10, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Look at the size of this crowd. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong, fighting an expedition bill. We hear from the government in this hour.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Two former ISIS fighters, who formed part of the so-called "Beatles" and held Westerners hostage, tells CNN that they are sorry as they sit in captivity.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also, on the day the race for prime minister gets underway an admission of past drug use is dominating the debate.

Hello, everyone, thank you for joining, us I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER (voice-over): I'm Cyril Vanier, we're live from the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta.

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ALLEN: Hello, we begin in Hong Kong, where the chief executive said moments ago the legislature will push ahead with a controversial bill, even in the wake of the city's biggest protest in decades.

You can see hundreds of thousands of people packed the streets. They have been denouncing a hugely controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects to be sent to Mainland China. Emotions have been running high and the protests went into Monday morning. For the most part things were peaceful but some clashes did break out.

VANIER: Authorities say at least three police officers were hurt and several arrests were made. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has been in the middle of the action.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: The global financial hub of Hong Kong brought to a standstill by a sea of protesters on a sweltering Sunday. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in one of the largest demonstrations in years.

Hong Kong police said at least 240,000 took place in the march; organizers put numbers at more than 1 million, which would make this the largest demonstration since the city's handover to China in 1997.

They're marching against a highly controversial bill that would allow the extradition of suspected criminals to a number of additional jurisdictions, including Mainland China.

It is a bill so controversial that a brawl broke out in Hong Kong's legislative council as they discussed it last month. The Hong Kong government says it is designed to plug a legal loophole.

They point to a murder case in Taiwan, where a 20-year-old Hong Kong woman was allegedly killed by her boyfriend while on holiday. Under the current law, he cannot be sent to Taiwan to face justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are talking about is to ensure that there is a proper system whereby criminals will be brought to justice. I don't think that people need to worry about the government being subservient to the wishes of the people.

STOUT (voice-over): But these protesters aren't buying it. They say the new law would enable China to extradite political dissidents and critics of Beijing. And those extradited would not get a fair trial. The Hong Kong government and its supporters reject the criticism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to be extradited to China. This is not a law. This is something to ruin Hong Kong. We don't want this law to be passed. They will never listen to us but we just want history to remember we fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government does not listen to the people saying they are insisting to go for the law. So I am coming out to get against this law.

STOUT (voice-over): Police say several people were arrested, including one, for allegedly attacking an officer and pepper spray was used to disperse a small group of demonstrators.

STOUT: The protests began earlier today at Victoria Park and ended here at Hong Kong's legislative complex. And later this week, on Wednesday, June the 12th, Hong Kong lawmakers will have a second reading of the extradition bill and organizers of today's march hope that this action will convince them to withdraw that legislation.

STOUT (voice-over): Now that remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain, the sheer scale of this march has captured the world's attention -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Andrew Stevens is in Hong Kong.

Andrew, the government of Hong Kong has just responded.

What did they say?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: That's right. Carrie Lam, the chief executive here, just holding a press conference, just winding up, in which she gave the government -- now, remember, put this against the backdrop of 1 million people marching in Hong Kong.

That's what the protest organizers say the numbers hit on Sunday. That is an enormous number. And according -- very clearly for Carrie Lam to scrap the extradition bill. That was the focus of the press conference today that Carrie Lam --

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STEVENS: -- spent a lot of time referring not to yesterday's march but to so-called safeguards that the government has introduced back at the end of May, on May the 30th.

And she has been saying that the safeguards the government has already introduced into this bill is enough to safeguard and protect the citizens of Hong Kong. So she's talking about something that happened two weeks ago, not addressing what happened yesterday.

And whether she was prepared to take any action or indeed even listen to what the people of Hong Kong had to say. Let's listen to what Carrie Lam has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HONG KONG: I and my team have not ignored any views expressed on this very important piece of legislation. We have been listening and listening very attentively and very humbly so views expressed by various sectors. So we have already made two sets of amendments to our proposals. One before the introduction of the bill and one after the introduction of the bill.

The reality is after these additional measures have been introduced and many of them concern human rights safeguards over and above what is now contained in the fugitive or fairness ordinance, we were told, we receive feedback that these additional measures are effective in addressing the concerns of the stakeholders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEVENS: That feedback she talks about there, saying that what they have done is helping the situation, obviously did not include what happened on the streets of Hong Kong.

I have been in Hong Kong for 25 years and I've covered many of these protests, very big protests over the years, including one in 2003, which led to the downfall of the then chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa.

And this was by far the biggest protest demonstration I have seen. And certainly Carrie Lam, the current chief executive, is showing no signs that, A, she is going to change anything from what happened yesterday and, B, she seemed very comfortable with what she has done so far. VANIER: Andrew, this really was a momentous day in Hong Kong. And a million people, according to the organizers, police does not quite confirm that numbers but still, it's possibly one of the largest protests in Hong Kong in decades. Just a momentous day. I know you have a guest with you and I know you have questions for him to keep breaking this down.

STEVENS: That's right, I'd like to introduce Kevin Yam, a lawyer and a commentator on legal matters in Hong Kong.

What have you been hearing from Carrie Lam, that safeguards have been introduced and are now enough to guide this bill through and keep Hong Kong safe?

Do you agree that the government has put in safeguards that will protect Hong Kong citizens?

KEVIN YAM, PARTNER, KENNEDYS LAW: I do not agree and I think if those safeguards are sufficient we would not see 3,000 lawyers marching last Thursday and 1 million people marching yesterday. And we know that yesterday they were plenty of lawyers marching as well, including myself.

STEVENS: Fundamentally, give us the legal reason, your reasoning why you oppose this extradition bill.

YAM: This bill essentially opens up the floodgates and the barrier between the Hong Kong and the Chinese legal system. And if that happens, then that is going to have a huge impact on business confidence in Hong Kong.

And for a lot of us who practice as lawyers leaving aside even all the human rights concerns that many other lawyers have already identified, business confidence is absolutely essential to all of us in terms of our prosperity as a city.

STEVENS: Just break it down for us. So why would there be this suddenly the crashing of confidence?

YAM: The facts of the matter is a lot of companies when they want to do business in China, they set up shop in Hong Kong thinking that they're going to have a lot more legal certainty, that they're going to be protected by the Hong Kong legal system.

But if you're saying that suddenly if you have a business dispute with China or what-have- you, they can find some trumped-up charge to get you extradited over to China, then that's going to affect business confidence.

STEVENS: It's interesting; you're talking about businesses and the businesses have registered their strong protest against this. But yesterday, you said that the lawyers who marched, yesterday there were 1 million Hong Kong citizens from all walks of life. Their concern is not about this confidence, it's about their own human rights.

What is their concern? YAM: I think ultimately, there is a business concern, Hong Kong being a business city. But I think also, a lot of people in Hong Kong have had experiences or their friends or family have had experiences of the --

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YAM: -- vagaries of the mainland legal system and that's what concerns people when you say, oh, suddenly there is now this little hole by which there it's possible that in Hong Kong you can be got at by the mainland legal system.

STEVENS: Carrie Lam also saying that this plan was her plan, the Hong Kong government's plan. It wasn't Beijing leaning on her.

Why then should the government be introducing this now when there is so much opposition?

YAM: I think it's well known in this town that the chief executive is an extremely stubborn character. In the face of opposition, she has been digging in.

By all accounts, this was not Beijing's initial idea. And we are now seeing that the Hong Kong government is continuing to insist on doing something stupid and kicking their own goal at the expense of Hong Kong.

STEVENS: Kevin, thank you so much for your. Kevin Yam, a legal commentator in Hong Kong.

It's important to note that there will be another hearing off this extradition bill at the Hong Kong parliament on Wednesday. It does appear that the government has the numbers to pass this. There will be a further reading after that.

But it's difficult to escape the conclusion that this march yesterday and the lack of action, lack of response by the government to the demands of the people on the street could lead to deeper divisions within society while this is going through. So this is not over, not by a long shot -- Cyril

VANIER: The next chapter of the story on Wednesday. Andrew Stevens, thank you so much.

ALLEN: Breaking news now in to CNN: former Boston Red Sox baseball star David Ortiz has been shot and injured in the Dominican Republic but police say he is in stable condition and out of danger.

VANIER: Details are still sketchy but authorities say Ortiz was shot by a person on a motorcycle who came right at him and that the bullet through went through his stomach.

ALLEN: We have just received this video of the scene outside a dance club in the capital, Santo Domingo. Officials say several people have been detained but it is not clear if the motorcyclist is in custody. One of the suspects was attacked by bystanders and taken to a local hospital. We will continue to bring you the latest as we get more information.

VANIER: Now that ISIS' dream of a caliphate has ended in ruin, the fate of thousands of ISIS fighters detained by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces remains uncertain.

ALLEN: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh spoke with two British nationals from the notorious ISIS group, referred to as the "Beatles." They are now in custody and confessing to crimes.

VANIER: CNN sent a camera crew to the prison facility where they're being held so that Nick could interview them via videolink about their offenses, their fears and their future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their bravado gone, broken and begging to learn their fate. This as what's become the widely reviled British-ISIS fighters known as the Beatles in captivity in Syria.

EL SHAFEE ELSHEIKH, CAPTURED ISIS MEMBER: I considered my role in this whole scenario, this whole episode as one of my mistakes that I would like to apologize for.

WALSH: Who would you like to apologize to?

ELSHEIKH: Everybody involved, everybody who was affected, directly or indirectly.

WALSH: They're accused of tortures and ISIS' network of prison cells which they deny. But now they do offer a rare confession. They tried to arrange ransoms for some of ISIS' European hostages.

ALEXANDA KOTEY, CAPTURED ISIS MEMBER: I was a fighter, objecting from their e-mail addresses for communications. It was a proof of life question, something that they will only --they would be able to answer.

WALSH: Why did you agree to that role?

KOTEY: It just so happened that way.

ELSHEIKH: Same as what Alexanda just explained. Initially just liaising between the foreign prisoners and the people dealing with the negotiations process.

WALSH: With their families try to extract the ransom?

ELSHEIKH: Yes.

WALSH: Kotey admits too to helping by remote from Syria to get a firearm on foreign ISIS assassination plot that failed in London in 2016.

KOTEY: I was responsible for the acquisition of a firearm. As far as the details of any blood or, what he then went on to do, I had no involvement in that.

WALSH: The grins they had when I met them a year ago in person are long gone.

KOTEY: (INAUDIBLE) fish and chips.

WALSH: Now, ISIS is so-called Caliphate has been defeated, they too are thousands of ISIS prisoners held in Northern Syria who don't know --

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WALSH (voice-over): -- what will happen to them. The U.K. doesn't want them back so they will stay here or face the death penalty in Iraq or more likely in the United States. I don't understand why you're doing this now. Are you trying to avoid being sent to the United States?

KOTEY: If there's anything I think that confession would maybe haste in our extradition or rendition to the United States I don't think this is something that would prevent me from going to the United States at all. I don't see how that could be possible. I don't know where this goes from here on, I just know that I want this period -- this portion to just be over. I know -- I know this is what needs to be done. The truth has to come out.

WALSH: ISIS slowly executed foreign hostages gruesomely, yet the pair insists they had no role in these murders or torture. Several former hostages have, however, said they were tortured by British-accented men matching their appearance. The fate of a dozen French prisoners, some scene here in these old ISIS propaganda videos has been swiftly decided in the past weeks, sent from Northern Syria to Iraq.

There, an Iraqi judge sentenced them to death by hanging often after only 10 minutes of deliberation and representation by lawyers, maybe have not met before the trial. Responding to claims U.S. forces arranged the transfer, a coalition spokesman said, U.S. forces have taken custody of a small number of ISIS fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces for transfer to the government of Iraq. They provided no details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to eat McDonald's --

WALSH: American ISIS suspects like Samantha El Hassani have been sent back to the U.S. for trial but to those left behind, their fate is unclear or possibly with an Iraqi hang man serve as a deterrence or a sign some nations don't want to finish the task of bringing them to justice -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Next here, this week, the contest for Britain's next prime minister begins in earnest. And one of the frontrunners isn't afraid to put his foot down over Brexit. We will have the latest coming up next here. VANIER: Also a little later on, tragedy in the U.S. state of Texas, as a giant crane comes tumbling down. We will hear from eyewitnesses about the deadly accident. Stay with us.

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VANIER: The race for Britain's top job is at a critical point now; 11 Conservative lawmakers are hoping to replace Theresa May as party leader and then as prime minister. And the nomination process ends in just a few hours.

ALLEN: That means, if the candidates don't get the support of at least eight lawmakers before 5:00 pm local time Monday, they are out of the contest. A series of votes to whittle down the nominees begins this Thursday, the Conservative Party hopes to have a new prime minister announced by the end of July.

And then, it is on to tackle Brexit.

Joining me now to talk about it is Michelle Egan, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former chairwoman of the European Union Studies Association.

Michelle, good to have you with us.

MICHELLE EGAN, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Thank you, Natalie.

ALLEN: Thank you for being here. Let's begin with this. Whoever becomes the next prime minister inherits a political crisis, not seen since World War II. So let's start there before we talk about the frontrunners for the job. The country faces a constitutional crisis.

What is at stake for the next leader?

EGAN: I think there are probably three issues. One, is the taking on of a minority government. And if you have a minority government, it is hard to get things done.

I think the second issue, is we are a multinational nation and you have strong opinions in Scotland about independence and concern about leaving the E.U. And we have also in Northern Ireland which voted Remain but has seen real gridlock in its own storm in Parliament.

And I think the third issue is really Brexit, the uncertainty and, you know, what will happen both for the economy and relations with the E.U. and Anglesey (ph) island. So it's a multiplicity of things.

ALLEN: We just saw pictures of all the people who want to be prime minister. There are several. But let's look at the top contenders. Boris Johnson, he would gladly scrap much of Theresa May's deal and he

promised to leave the E.U. with or without a deal at the end of October. And he wants a better deal from the E.U. or will withhold the divorce payment.

Can he pull this together as prime minister?

EGAN: Well, it took May three times to try and put her deal through the Parliament and it did not succeed. And, the E.U. is your negotiating partner and it said repeatedly, this is the deal that you need to accept.

So I think that this is all very nice rhetoric but the reality of negotiating a withdrawal agreement and then thinking about trade deal afterwards, it is going to be very difficult to promise everything that Boris Johnson has indicated.

ALLEN: The other contender, Michael Gove, he's got an issue; he's been sidetracked by admissions of previous, years ago, illegal drug use -- cocaine -- and he was grilled about it in an interview. Here's an excerpt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL GOVE, BRITISH JUSTICE SECRETARY: Yes, it was a crime, it was a mistake. I deeply regret it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should you have gone to prison?

GOVE: Well, I was fortunate, in that I didn't. But I do think that it was a profound mistake. And I've seen the damage that drugs do, I have seen it close up and I have also seen in the work that I've done as a politician. And that is why I deeply regret the mistake that I made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you take cocaine?

GOVE: I took it several occasions, on social occasions more than 20 years ago --

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GOVE: -- when I was working as a journalist.

Was it a habit?

No, I don't believe it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: That is just a small excerpt, it went on and on.

It is going to hurt him?

EGAN: Yes and no. I mean, there's a lot of people coming out of the woodwork, talking about amongst the leaders about their various different drug uses and people have sort of said about the hypocrisy of it, because a lot of them have been involved with the criminalization of drug users.

But I also think it detracts from A, Brexit and, B, some of the other proposals and issues that need to be dealt with, the National Health Service, the number of E.U. nationals in Britain.

And I think some of the other proposals on the table that people are putting forward in terms of reform of taxation or more money for education is being sidetracked by a lot of these personal previous drug offenses.

ALLEN: Well, whoever becomes prime minister and governs over Brexit will affect the lives of millions of Britons for years to come. And it is interesting that those choosing the prime minister comprise a minuscule electorate. I want to get your thoughts on it. There are 313 members of Parliament, around 160,000 grassroots members.

That's a tiny percentage of the U.K. population.

EGAN: It is. I mean, we have 55 million people and they will wake up sometime in July 22nd with a new prime minister, providing that that person has the confidence of the Parliament.

So the other thing to realize is, the Conservative Party membership, the dues paying membership, has declined. In the 1950s, this would've been 2.5 million people potentially voting for a leader. But now, it is about 150,000 or so.

So it's a very small proportion and it is predominantly white, predominantly older. And so they will be making the decision about the top two, when the top two have been selected by their peers in British Parliament.

ALLEN: As you mentioned, they will have about four months to try and get a Brexit deal, when Theresa May worked on it for about three years and failed. Thank you so much for your insights, your expertise, we really appreciate it, Michelle Egan, thank you.

EGAN: Thank you.

VANIER: And the U.S. president is again threatening tariffs on Mexican goods, only days after striking a deal to avoid doing just that. What Donald Trump said in his latest Twitter storm, when we come back.

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ALLEN: And welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We appreciate it. I'm Natalie Allen.

[00:31:11] VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's look at your top stories this hour, starting with this one.

Hong Kong's chief executive says the city's legislature will push forward with a controversial extradition bill. This despite hundreds of thousands of protestors who marched to denounce it. It could let suspects be sent to mainland China. Protests were mostly peaceful, but officials say at least three police officers were hurt.

ALLEN: The streets of Sudan's volatile capital were mostly deserted Sunday. The pro-democracy movement called for civil disobedience days after a military crackdown killed more than 100 people. Still, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctor said two people were killed Sunday, bringing the death toll now to 118 since last Monday's violence.

VANIER: Former Major League Baseball slugger David Ortiz has been shot and wounded in his native Dominican Republic. The police say he is in stable condition and out of danger. They say multiple people are being held after the shooting at a dance club in the capital, Santo Domingo. The Boston Red Sox star retired from baseball in 2016.

ALLEN: U.S. President Trump is again threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico if the new U.S.-Mexico deal on migration doesn't work out.

VANIER: In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump also disputed a "New York Times" report that Mexico had agreed on tougher migration enforcement months before the two countries reached Friday's agreement.

ALLEN: Here's the highlights of that deal. Mexico will take, quote, "unprecedented steps" to curb illegal migration. It will deploy its National Guard throughout the country, focusing on its border with Guatemala. And, it will take action to dismantle human trafficking networks.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will rapidly return asylum seekers back to Mexico, where they'll wait while their asylum claims are processed, something the U.S. has promised to speed up.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has more about all of this from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House has declined to comment on this "New York Times" story that indicates that certain portions of the agreement between the United States and Mexico on immigration were actually reached long before President Trump threatened tariffs against one of the United States' largest trading partners.

In a barrage of tweets on Sunday morning, though, the president downplayed that "New York Times" story and insisted that he deserves more credit for this agreement than he's getting. The president also making the case that previous administrations have tried to get some of these agreements on the books with Mexico but couldn't, and he could.

He also hinted that there's one portion of this agreement that is yet to be unveiled to the public, and that he's waiting for the right time to do that.

The president is being backed up by certain key administration officials on this, including the current acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan. McAleenan was making a case that President Trump's threats of tariffs against Mexican imports is what brought the Mexican government to the negotiating table. Listen to what he said.

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KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The president put a charge in this whole dialogue with Mexico with the tariff threat, brought them to the table.

The foreign minister from Mexico arrived within hours. He arrived the next day with real proposals on the table. This is the first time we've heard anything like this kind of number of law enforcement being deployed in Mexico to address migration, not just at their southern border but also on the transportation routes to the northern border, and in coordinated patrols in key areas along our southwest border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: As for those comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about tariffs against Mexican imports still potentially being at play, it's not really a surprise, considering that there's a 90-day window for both of these sides to come up with further agreements, more areas where they can cooperate to stem the flow of migrants traveling from Central America through Mexico and into the United States.

And it wouldn't be a surprise to see President Trump revisit this aggressive stance against Mexico. Recall that just a few months ago, he threatened to shut down the entire southern border, if Mexico didn't do more to stop these migrants. The president ultimately relented, giving into the advice of some of his aides.

[0:35:17] But the president feels that immigration is an issue that's central to his presidency, and he wants to appear to his supporters that he's very aggressive on it, something that will be key to its reelection chances going into 2020.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: A huge construction crane has collapsed and the state of Texas, leaving one person dead and six others injured, two of them critically.

VANIER: Dallas authorities say the crane sliced through an apartment complex, damaging residential areas and a parking garage. Rescuers have been using search dogs to try to locate any additional victims in the rubble, and we're hearing from eyewitnesses who were inside the building when the crane tumbled down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABBEY KEARNEY, WITNESS (via phone): We noticed it got really dark really quickly, so we walked outside onto our patio, and the wind picked up incredibly quickly. All the pool furniture went into the pool. And I happened to say, "What if the crane would fall? Are they going to fall on this building?"

And almost immediately after that, we saw one fall. And it just sliced through the building. I mean, not to be cliche, but like a hot knife through butter. And it went from the fifth floor all the way through to, from what I can tell, at least the third floor.

I believe we found out that a second crane had fallen on the parking garage, and so we walked out to the parking garage to check our vehicles, and we just saw cars everywhere.

I don't even know how to describe it. There were cars that were vertical. There was cars from maybe the eighth floor all the way down onto the third floor, where we parked and where we saw, where you see the pictures from.

We don't know if they've accounted for everybody. Or I know they're going in to check for people still and animals still. So we're watching people come out with animals all the time right now.

We don't know yet if a tornado hit or not. Right now, we don't know if it was just wind. We don't know if it was a tornado. We know that there was the thunderstorm that had hit. It was raining like crazy, and so that was the weather that happened. It's likened up right now. There's no rain and blue skies on one side and clouds on the other.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Well, as you heard her say, high winds had roared through the area at the time of the collapse, but officials are not ready to say if that was the cause.

VANIER: Now, Hungarian authorities are getting ready to pull the wreckage of a tourist boat from the Danube River. It sank last month after being struck by a larger river cruiser. Dozens of South Korean tourists were killed.

ALLEN: Crews have been trying to recover there remains. On Sunday, they found the body of another victim, a South Korean woman. At least seven others, though, are still missing.

VANIER: A long-running conflict in the Middle East is the centerpiece of a hit show on Netflix. We'll be looking at how the Israeli drama about an undercover unit operating in the Palestinian territories is generating a controversy of its own.

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[00:40:29] VANIER: A hit Israeli television show is heading into a new season, and it's got a broader audience, now that it's on Netflix. "Fauda" depicts a group of Israeli undercover commandos who pose as Palestinians to pursue Hamas guerrillas.

ALLEN: As with most everything involving the long-running conflict, there is debate over how the show portrays the two sides. Oren Liebermann takes us behind the scenes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an abandoned power plan under the streets of Tel Aviv, the third season of the hit series "Fauda" is unfolding.

The show was already a bit hit in its native Israel. Netflix turned into an international sensation. The show centers around an undercover unit, Israeli military, operating in the Palestinian territories, showing two sides of one conflict.

The half-Hebrew, half-Arabic show's title means "chaos" in Arabic.

The show is based on the real-life experiences of one of the writers, who served in that undercover military unit.

AVI ISSACHAROFF, WRITER: This is not reality. It's fiction. So it's not really what's going on on the ground. What is really going on the ground is even more complicated than what we have in the show. But I think that the show does allow you to have a kind of a look, a small window in what's going on over there between Israelis and Palestinians.

LIEBERMANN: "Fauda" is not a political series, but anything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is inherently political.

SHANY LITTMAN, TV CRITIC: It doesn't show the context in which this -- this -- the events are happening. It seems as if everything is very personal. You don't see the occupation. You don't understand why is this happening. You know, you don't see the context of things.

LIEBERMANN: The gritty, often brutal show has been praised and criticized for its portrayal of Palestinians. Even so, main actor Lior Raz says the show has fans in the Arab world.

LIOR RAZ, ACTOR: I was in Abu Dhabi. I was filming a movie there. Hundreds of people from all over the Arab world -- Syrians, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt -- just came to me and talked to me about the show, how they love it, how they -- how they're understanding now the situation in Israel, because we brought them another point of view that haven't -- they didn't have.

LIEBERMANN: With season three in production, questions inevitably turn to what's in store for the viewers. The "Fauda" team is mum.

YAAKOV ZADA DANIEL, ACTOR: This is the season, a lot of surprise, a lot of fiction (ph).

LIEBERMANN: There is only one hint at the show's future. They've already started writing season four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut. Moving on.

LIEBERMANN: Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: And thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Up next on CNN, you've got WORLD SPORT, and then we're back with another hour of news from around the world. That's in 15 minutes. Stay with us.

ALLEN: See you soon.

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