Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Hong Kong Extradition Bill Sparks Huge Protests; Trump Versus Biden in Iowa; Russia Drops Case Against Investigative Reporter Golunov; Lebanese IT Specialist Released by Iran; Heightened Tensions between Tehran and Washington; Vatican Report Calls Non-Binary Gender 'Fictitious'. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 12, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tens of thousands of protesters back on the streets at Hong Kong at this hour as lawmakers delay debate no a controversial bill that critics say is designed to expand China's communist rule.

Collision Course: U.S. President Trump and Democrat rival Joe Biden both rallying in Iowa and spewing bad blood in a preview of the ugly clash to come.

Plus as the world celebrates Pride Month there's outrage over a Vatican guide to sexuality.

Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CHURCH: We are tracking developments in Hong Kong where the city's legislature is postponing the debate over a divisive extradition bill. This as thousands of demonstrators gathered over the last several hours, kicking off a new round of mass protests.

They're opposed to the bill because it would let Hong Kong extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. That's seen by many as a power grab by Beijing. Waves of demonstrators also packed the streets on Sunday in what may have been the city's biggest protest in decades. Organizers say the turnout topped 1 million people.

So for more we want to turn to CNN's Andrew Stevens, out on the streets there, live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Andrew.

So talk to us about the fact that this debate has now been delayed, presumably the whole tactic there was to prevent or at least subdue the protesters.

What has been the response? ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: If it was a move to subdue protesters, it has worked to a degree. It's definitely feeling the tensions have come down a notch or two. You can see the barricades here. An hour or two ago, this was absolutely packed with people and they were chanting and looking like they were determined to stay and they're very, very focused.

Now if you look across here, there's groups of people leaving there after this postponement but the postponement really came along because the legislative council that was going to debate this bill, many members couldn't actually get in. It was too crowded. So they said they're going to postpone. We don't know when at this stage. We're still waiting for a statement about when that hearing will resume.

I want to swing the camera around this way. Get an idea from the barriers out across, down the road about 200 meters or so, you can actually see the police here. They've been there for several hours. There's been no confrontations but there have been in other parts of this protest this morning.

Pepper spray has been used on several occasions as protesters push up hard and police responded. Police are waving red flags that say, if you charge, we will respond with force.

But at this stage, as I say, tensions seem to be ratcheting down some. Quite a few people have left, waiting for news on when this bill will -- when the debate will resume on this bill.

CHURCH: Of course, it's anyone's guess as you say when that will occur and presumably once it does, more protesters will fall back out onto the streets. But earlier you and I spoke and we talked about the strategy for the leadership of the demonstrations and, for the most part, they want protesters to avoid any violence, any confrontation so that they can get their message across without that diversion.

But, of course, we have known in the past it's always difficult to keep and contain everyone involved in protests like this. And this is the major concern.

STEVENS: We're having some communication issues but let me walk you through what has been happening this morning. It started with a few hundred young students camping overnight in response to a call that went out on social media to gather at 10:00 pm last night to start the protest once again.

And over the course of the morning, we have seen hundreds and hundreds of younger Hong Kongers streaming into this protest area. Now we have also, over the last hour or so, seen --

[00:05:00]

STEVENS: -- more and more older Hong Kongers because if you think about the protest on Sunday, it drew a very, very wide cross-section of the -- of Hong Kong. It wasn't just the young that was prominent during the Umbrella Movement, the Occupy Hong Kong back in 2014. This is from all walks of life. At the moment, it looks like tens of

thousands of people. But their determination is evidenced by the fact that you have these barricades tied together and strung together.

I've seen more protesters walking past, pushing these water filled barriers. They are here and they intend to stay here. At the moment, the police are backing off but it's a situation that could turn quickly. We're still waiting for when this bill will be heard.

CHURCH: We'll continue to monitor this story. You're there in Hong Kong. It's just after 12:00 midday. So we'll come back to you later.

Many thanks to Andrew Stevens there. Appreciate it.

Now let's turn to the race for the White House and a level of discourse you might expect from schoolyard bullies. Democratic front- runner Joe Biden in the state of Iowa, attacking Donald Trump as an existential threat to the country.

The president called Biden a dummy that is mentally weak. A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Biden with a commanding lead in the 2020 race, 53 percent to 40 percent over the president. We have more now from CNN's Pamela Brown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump slamming his top political rival before sharing the Iowa spotlight with him.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I would rather run against I think Biden than anybody. I think he's the weakest mentally. And I like running against people that are weak mentally.

BROWN (voice-over): The president taking direct aim at front-runner Joe Biden's mental and physical health, as both men are making several stops across the key early voting state today.

TRUMP: When a man has to mention my name 76 times in his speech, that means he's in trouble. Now I have to tell you, he's a different guy. He looks different than he used to. He acts different than he used to. He's even slower than he used to be.

BROWN (voice-over): Trump easily won Iowa in 2016, beating Hillary Clinton by 10 points, a big change after president Barack Obama won the state twice.

TRUMP: Joe never got more than 1 percent, except Obama took him off the trash heap. And now it looks like he's failing.

BROWN (voice-over): But sources say Trump believes Biden poses a more serious threat to his blue collar appeal than helped him win in 2016. And he regularly phones aides and allies in the early morning hours, asking them about Biden.

Trump even lashing out after an internal poll showed him lagging behind Biden in states such as Michigan and even told some he doubted the numbers.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the polling got it completely wrong in 2016. I don't think it's right now. I'm not going to get into a lot of details but we feel incredibly good about what the president has been able to accomplish.

BROWN (voice-over): And while some aides have advised the president to refrain from attacking Biden by name...

TRUMP: Look but I don't bring him up.

BROWN (voice-over): -- in reality, Trump rarely holds back and focuses much more on Biden than any other Democratic candidate.

TRUMP: Sleepy Joe.

Yes, Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is.

Biden deserted you.

But I heard, his whole campaign is to hit Trump.

BROWN (voice-over): Trump also recently sided with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over his criticism of Biden. And today Trump showered praise on the murderous dictator...

TRUMP: I think North Korea has tremendous potential. And the one that feels that more than anybody is Kim Jong-un. He gets it.

BROWN (voice-over): -- telling reporters he has received another letter from the North Korean leader.

TRUMP: I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un. I can't show you the letter, obviously but it was a very personal, very warm, very nice letter. I appreciate it.

BROWN (voice-over): And again, the president pushed back on Democratic criticism of his deal with Mexico.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: If they were agreed to, they were agreed to long before the president made the announcement, A, but they were designed to take your attention away from the Mueller report. Look at the timing.

BROWN (voice-over): Today waving a folded piece of paper around...

TRUMP: That's the agreement that everybody says I don't have.

BROWN (voice-over): -- claiming it was the signed agreement with Mexico but refusing to show its contents. Instead, defending his decision to threaten tariffs.

TRUMP: This will go into effect -- and it's my option, not Mexico's -- but it will into effect when Mexico tells me it's OK to release it.

BROWN (voice-over): Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein is CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor from "The Atlantic" and he joins me from Los Angeles.

So dueling events --

[00:10:00]

CHURCH: -- in Iowa for the president and the former vice president. Joe Biden calling Donald Trump an existential threat to America and Trump responding calling Biden a dummy. A little taste of what's to come in the 2020 presidential campaign.

But what we're seeing is the president elevating Biden and playing right into Biden's plan to make this a two-man race.

Who will likely come out on top with this dueling strategy, do you think?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, didn't today have you checking your calendar?

It seemed like June 2020, not June 2019. It's just how extraordinary the level of engagement is, not only from the primaries but the general election. And also we have in President Trump, someone that's going to set a new precedent for how involved an incumbent gets in trying to shape the primary of the other party.

Just extraordinary what we are seeing. Look, I think the president taking on Joe Biden plays into Joe Biden's strategy. Joe Biden doesn't want to engage directly with the other Democrats. He wants to focus voters on the choice between him and President Trump.

He realizes that his trump card in this crowded Democratic primary field is the belief among many Democratic voters that he is in the best position to beat Donald Trump and that argument is centered, the foundation of the argument is on whether Biden can win back some blue collar voters in states like Iowa that stampeded for Trump in 2016.

CHURCH: Trump's internal campaign polling shows that, in a two-man race, Biden is leading in states that actually helped elect Trump back in 2016, like Michigan and Pennsylvania. And a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Biden with a commanding lead in the 2020 race, 53 percent to 40 percent over the president.

However, we all learned a very hard lesson, didn't we, back In 2016. The polls cannot be trusted.

How reliable are any of these indicators at this juncture?

And can we even be sure that Biden will become the Democratic nominee in the end?

BROWNSTEIN: A lot of questions here. No, we cannot be sure that Joe Biden will become the Democratic nominee but he is in a strong position in one sense that we talked about before. Biden's strongest constituency in the Democratic primary are older voters, both white and non-white, over 45.

In this Quinnipiac poll today he lead 3-1 among any other candidate among voters older than 45. Voters older than 45 are 60 percent of all the voters in 2016 and not only are they the majority of the electorate, if you look at Biden's other top competitors, many of them are better suited for younger voters.

Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, despite his own age, is much stronger with younger voters; Kamala Harris may turn out that way as well.

Biden, obviously he struggled in 1988 and 2008 and there's signs of some already. But he has a structural advantage in that he is playing on the bigger side of the field and he has less company there than those that are competing for, primarily, the more youthful audience.

As for the polls, I would point people to one fact out of the polls today, which I think is the most interesting and telling of all of this flurry of general election polling. Donald Trump's approval rating in that Quinnipiac poll was 42 percent. His share of the vote against every Democratic candidate was somewhere between 40 percent, 41 percent or 42 percent, never higher.

This idea that there's some vast hidden Trump vote beyond those that say they approve of him I think is very problematic. It did not happen in 2018. And I think his approval rating will remain the best gauge for how he does in 2020.

CHURCH: We're still on polls. Let's take the CNN/"Des Moines Register" poll for Iowa, showing Biden as the first choice among likely Democratic caucusgoers there. Way ahead of the other presidential candidates but the research also shows there's not a lot of enthusiasm surrounding Biden.

Is that what President Trump is trying to do here, kill off any excitement for Biden with derogatory comments about his age, his health, his intelligence?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, just to go back to what we were just talking about, in that CNN poll in Iowa, the age gap was the driving factor, with a four-way pile-up among younger voters between Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren but Biden with a commanding lead among older voters.

People should be watching that. That's a key dynamic that we're going to see all the way through. Biden's argument as I say is based on electability above all. He was first elected in local office in 1970, which meant he would be the party's nominee 50 years after they first won office. That has never happened in American history. We've never had someone become their party's nominee for the first time --

[00:15:00]

BROWNSTEIN: -- 50 years after they first won office. That means he has taken a lot of positions over that 50 years the party evolved away from. We saw that on the Hyde amendment, on Medicaid, on busing, on issues relating to race and gender that came together in 1991.

So there will be a lot of younger Democrats who are not going to be enthusiastic about reaching back into the past in that way. What he has going for him, he uses the word "existential threat." Democrats feel that over the prospect of Donald Trump winning a second term and many Democrats consistently see Biden as the best chance to beat him.

Now if he doesn't perform well in the debates or against other Democrats, that will be eroded. But as long as that holds up, he has a hammock or a safety net under him that allows him to survive some of these issues about his earlier positions that might take out another candidate.

CHURCH: And Ron, you mentioned this, for the most part, Biden has ignored his Democratic rivals, hasn't he?

Instead gone after Trump.

Is that the best strategy for him to keep hitting back at the president on every issue and anytime he attacks Biden?

Or could that backfire?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the general strategy of focusing on Trump rather than the other Democrats is the best strategy for him because he is trying to avoid looking like part of this vast, unruly herd. He can't ignore them forever and certainly when the debates start they will be directly engaging with him.

We have seen more of that already with people like Elizabeth Warren, saying the time for small ideas is over, or Bernie Sanders saying there is no common ground. They want to engage with him even if not vice versa. And I think there's also a risk for him.

Yes, what he is basically saying is that he, in effect, is going to offer a return to normalcy, a more civil, less partisan and less polarized politics. He has to be careful -- and I think he is being careful -- about holding to this line of being forceful and firm and taking the case to Trump but not descending to his level of name calling.

From Biden's point of view, Trump calling him names isn't all bad because it reminds the swing voters, particularly those suburban white-collar voters exactly what they don't like about Donald Trump, which is the way he purports himself as president.

CHURCH: Right, and it keeps Biden's name out there, doesn't it?

Ron Brownstein, always love to chat with you and get your analysis. Appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, retired baseball star David Ortiz has taken his first steps at a Boston hospital since being shot in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. His former team, the Red Sox, flew Ortiz to Boston for a second surgery. His spokesman says Ortiz will be in intensive care for awhile.

Ortiz and a friend were shot Sunday night at a night club in Santo Domingo. Now one suspect, Eddy Feliz Garcia, is being held in connection with this shooting. He is expected to face one charge of being an accomplice to attempted murder. Garcia's mother says her son is innocent and is a fan of Ortiz.

Investigators are looking for at least one other suspect. The reason for the shooting is not clear at this point. Ortiz's spokesman says the star does not know the man being held or why he was shot.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, they don't talk face to face. The U.S. and Iran rely on back channel communication. Coming up, the other players in the effort to defuse the recent tension.

And a cyclone heading toward India could be the strongest to hit the region in decades. We'll have the latest for you when we come back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:20:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CHURCH: A prominent Russian investigative journalist is free after authorities abruptly dropped charges against him. Ivan Golunov was arrested Thursday, accused of dealing drugs. He denied the charges. Journalists protested outside police headquarters for days and threatened to stage a mass protest in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVAN GOLUNOV, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST (through translator): Justice has prevailed. The case has been closed but I hope the investigation will continue and I hope this never happens to anyone again, that no one will find themselves in a situation I found myself in. Thank you all so much for your support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The unusual reversal from police comes a week before President Vladimir Putin's annual televised call-in show, which is a carefully orchestrated event designed to show him as a problem solver.

A Lebanese business man who had been held in Iran for more than four years is now back in Lebanon. Nizar Zakka is an information technology specialist with U.S. permanent residency. He was arrested while attending a conference in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in jail on charges of spying for the United States.

The Lebanese government secured his release. A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said his release was a judicial process without politics or prisoner exchanges involved. Zakka's release comes during a time of intensified tension between Tehran and Washington. The Trump administration said it's ready to hold talks without preconditions but Iran rejected the offer, calling it "word play." Our Becky Anderson says that means communication will have to happen through back channels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): The U.S. and Iran have always had a complicated relationship. They were close allies before the 1979 Revolution. Remember, after all, they had helped install the shah as a dictator, replacing the prime minister that people that voted for.

But once the shah was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution, relations took a nose dive. Iranian students, revenge for what they saw as American interference, storming the U.S. embassy and taking dozens of American diplomats hostage for more than a year.

A standoff only ended through Algeria brokering talks. Since then, they have barely said a word to one another directly. To get the Iran nuclear deal signed, Oman stepping in as a back channel, letting the two get together.

But Obama left Donald Trump came in and things got as bad as ever, Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, effectively killing it, trampling over any sense of talking to Iran as a normal country.

But war-weary countries wanting to step in, like Oman and Switzerland, stepping into their historic roles as indirect channels. And new players, too, like Iraq, for one, caught in between a power vortex of Tehran and D.C., dispatching delegations to both capitals, calling for peace. Qatar also a potential. It hosts a huge American base and shares a massive gas field with neighboring Iran. It could step in to help smooth things over.

Then there's Japan.

[00:25:00]

ANDERSON (voice-over): It buys a lot of Iranian oil and, of course, is close to America. Mr. Trump welcoming its prime minister's offer to mediate. Later this month, Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister since the Iranian Revolution to visit Tehran. He's expected to meet with the Supreme Leader.

When it comes to the art of making a deal between Iran and the U.S., then, it seems, it may take a lot more than two to tango -- Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: India is evacuating almost 300,000 people as tropical cyclone Vayu makes its way toward the northwestern part of the country. It's expected to strengthen and could be the strongest to strike this region in decades.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHURCH: The world celebrates the LGBTQ community as the Vatican faces scrutiny for a new report on sexuality. Ahead, what's in the document that's causing outrage.

Plus a landmark ruling in Africa. One country has taken a big step for gay rights. We're back with all of that in just a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. This is CNN NEWSROOM, and I'm Rosemary Church. Want to bring you up to date on the main stories we're following this hour.

[00:30:47] At the last minute, Hong Kong lawmakers are postponing the debate over a controversial extradition bill, this as a new round of protests rocks the city. The bill would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China, and critics say those powers could be used against journalists and pro-democracy activists. An earlier protest Sunday may have been Hong Kong's biggest in debates.

Retired Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz has taken his first steps at a Boston hospital two days after being shot at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic. One man has been charged in the shooting, and police are searching for another suspect. The reason for the shooting is unclear at this point.

Donald Trump is trading insults with his leading Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, on the campaign trail in the U.S. state of Iowa. The president called Biden a dummy who's mentally weak. The former U.S. vice president says Mr. Trump is an existential threat to the country.

Well, as countries around the world celebrate Pride Month, the Vatican is coming under fire for its new guide to sexuality. In an effort to tackle what the church calls an education crisis, it describes non- binary gender as fictitious.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Vatican is essentially, in this document, rejecting the notion of gender fluidity and causing outrage, really, around the world.

It's a 30-page document based on public statements made by Pope Francis and other popes before him. So it's not exactly new church doctrine, but it was created at the behest of bishops who expressed growing concern about the rise of gender education around the world and wanted to create a toolset for Catholic schools to, quote, "counter ideas which deny the natural difference between a man and a woman." The report states, "It is becoming increasingly clear that we are now

facing with what might accurately be called an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality."

The report calls non-binary gender, quote, "fictitious." Non-binary gender essentially recognizes a spectrum of gender identities. It's neither masculine nor feminine. It's being recognized by governments around the world.

Now the Catholic Church making its position on this clear, causing outrage among human rights organizations. I have a quote from the executive director of OutRight Action International, an LGBTQ rights advocacy organization, who says, "This document is the antithesis of Pride. It perpetuates misinformation and fuels hate."

Others are arguing that it puts trans kids at risk.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles is CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck. Thank you so much for being with us.

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Sure.

CHURCH: So the Vatican released this 31-page guide for teachers on how to deal with questions concerning sexuality, and in it, claimed non-binary gender is fictitious, rejecting the notion that people can choose or change their gender identities.

Why use the word "fictitious" when we all know it is a fact people are choosing their gender identities? And why does the Catholic Church want to deny them that right?

BECK: Well, Rosemary, I think what the document is trying to say is that there is a biological, a priori fact about gender identity, that it's not simply a choice. It's not simply sociological, or even anthropological. That there is a biology that says someone is born male or female.

Now, if someone then chooses to change gender -- gender or identify with a different gender, that's another situation. But the Vatican document is trying to say that the cultural influence right now seems to be that you just choose it. Whatever you feel, whatever you want is what it can be. And they're trying to say, well, it's more than that. Because, of course, the church's emphasis is on family, procreation, the roles of male and female.

So they're trying to, the congregation for the Catholic education who put out this document, so it's not like Pope Francis promulgated this as church law or teaching or something. It's one congregation saying to Catholic educators, "We would like you to include, in teaching children about this, that we believe there is a biological, existential reality to gender identity."

CHURCH: Yes, the Vatican has its stamp of approval on this, though, doesn't it?

And reaction has been swift. LGBTQ groups across the globe have condemned this report, calling it despicable. The American Catholic organization, the New Ways Ministry, calls it a harmful tool which will be used to oppress and harm not only transgender people but also lesbian, gay and bisexual people, too.

How concerned are you that this document could put some lives in jeopardy because of its rejection of the right for people to choose their own gender identity?

BECK: Well, Rosemary, I think what's unfortunate is the timing of this and it coming during Gay Pride --

CHURCH: I want to get to the timing in a moment, but let's -- I would like you to address that question.

BECK: Well, I think that what the document says very clearly is absolutely we cannot discriminate. There should be no violence. There should be no bullying. That everybody should be accepted. So in the document, if you read the full document, that is clear that that is the church perspective.

What it's trying to say, even in the title, is an invitation to dialogue, that there is another perspective that the church holds that this isn't just an individual choice. So I think what hasn't been reported is that --

CHURCH: But why -- but why isn't it?

BECK: Well, because --

CHURCH: So if a male is born and feels he has the mind and the thinking of a woman and wants to make that transition, who is the church to say that he shouldn't do that?

BECK: Well, the church isn't saying he shouldn't do it, but the church is saying you are born either male or female, X or Y chromosome; and that there is a gender identity that is assigned. Except for hermaphrodites, which are a very rare occasion, as we know. That someone is born either male or female. So that that gender is God-given, is created and is biological.

So it's not saying that someone can't change. I mean, Pope Francis has embraced transgendered people. He has met with them. He's said there needs to be compassion, understanding.

But I think the teaching simply is that, if we get to a cultural point where we're saying, well, you just choose whatever you want to be, is that factual reality, or is that just a sociological evolution that is saying, "Well, it really doesn't matter"?

And the church is saying, "Well, hold on," that we have a long history of saying that someone is, in fact, created by God male or female. In the scripture, it says God created them male and female, he created them.

So the church is trying to just re-emphasize that we need a dialogue as to where do we really meet with regard this teaching and this understanding?

CHURCH: All right. Now you mentioned the timing, because when we look at the release of this, it's right in the middle of Pride Month being marked across the globe. How deliberate was that timing?

BECK: Well, I have seen nothing that said it's meant to coincide with Pride Month. Now, we know that this has been in the works for a while. When it gets released is sometimes arbitrary.

I think, though, it's kind of tone-deaf of the Vatican congregation to release it now.

And I also think, Rosemary, what disturbed me was it doesn't seem in the document that the experience of transgendered people or people who choose to identify with a different gender has really been represented. I would have liked to have seen interviews, consultation, their experience represented.

So that when the document says they want a dialogue, well, there's no dialogue evident in the document, and I think that really weakens the perspective of the document. And I'm -- hopefully now, with some of the controversy, some of that dialogue may, in fact, begin.

CHURCH: Indeed. Father Edward Beck, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

BECK: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, gay rights activists in Botswana are celebrating a major victory.

The high court there has ruled to decriminalize consensual same-sex relations, which had been punishable by up to 7 years in prison. The old laws dated back to the colonial era.

The court ruled the ban was unconstitutional and denied gay people their human dignity. It is an historic ruling in a country and region where homosexuality remains largely taboo. A gay rights organization says at least 32 African countries have laws making gay sex illegal.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come on CNN, scientists have discovered something massive buried underneath the far side of the moon. What could it be?

[00:40:08] Plus, Disney isn't letting go just yet. The first full trailer for "Frozen's" highly-anticipated sequel has dropped. The details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Well, scientists have found something odd going on with our moon's gravity. This image shows topography on the Moon with low areas in blue and higher areas in yellow and red. The central areas in blue is the Aitken basin on the far side of the moon, and scientists have crunched the numbers from two lunar probes, finding that gravity is significantly higher in the center of the blue area. And that indicates that something very heavy is buried there.

Peter James, a planetary geophysicist, says he detected unexpected mass that could be compared to a pile of metal five times larger than Hawaii's big island. He says it be the result of a metallic asteroid crashing into the moon billions of years ago.

Well, everyone's favorite ice queen is back. The first full trailer for "Frozen 2" has dropped, and it already has more than 5 million views.

The follow-up to the 2013 Disney hit raises questions about how Elsa got her powers. In the first movie, the Arendelle queen feared her powers. This go around, she needs them to save her kingdom.

Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven [SIC] will also return for "Frozen 2," which opens in theaters in November. So count down the days.

And thank you so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Stay tuned now for WORLD SPORT. You're watching CNN. Do stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:45:40] (WORLD SPORT)

[00:57:38] (COMMERCIAL BREAK

END