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Protesters Freeze Extradition Bill in Hong Kong; Shinzo Abe Makes a Historic Visit; President Trump Jabs Joe Biden; Russian Reporter Free After All-Out Support; Hong Kong Government Postpones China Extradition Bill Debate; Second Suspect Arrested In David Ortiz Shooting; Trump And Biden Trade Jabs On Campaign Trail In Iowa; Dangerous Weather In India; Ebola Outbreak Spread Outside Congo To Uganda; Charity Sex Scandal; Vatican Issues Report On Sexuality. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 12, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: -- delaying the debate. Lawmakers postponed their talks on a controversial extradition bill amid massive protest in Hong Kong.
A historic visit. Japan's prime minister travel to Iran but he is hoping to ease tensions between Iran and the United States.
Plus, six million people in northwest India could be affected by tropical cyclone expected to make a landfall in the next 24 hours.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. And this is CNN Newsroom.
We are closely tracking developments here in Hong Kong where officials appeared to blink in the face of another massive protests. Lawmakers were supposed to be debating that controversial extradition bill today but they say that has been delayed after why you're seeing on your screen right now.
Live video of the protest. But the protestors there still remain and they have not gone home yet. That despite rain, despite the presence of thousands of riot police and in some cases earlier in the day the use of pepper spray on the demonstrators.
Now the reason is so divisive is that it would let law Hong Kong send suspected criminals to mainland China and critics fear if that erodes to city's judicial, independence and allows a crackdown on political dissent.
Now for more CNN's Andrew Stevens joins us live from Hong Kong. And Andrew, you've been watching this unfold throughout the early morning hours up to now. The blockade by the protesters succeeded in postponing the debate in the legislative council building. What's the state at play right now?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd start by saying, Kristie, it has been a very large peaceful occupation of the area around the legislative council buildings. The Hong Kong parliament, so there are literally tens of thousands of protestors, most of them are young surrounding this building.
And when we heard news that the LegCo had decided to actually postpone the second reading of the bill the debate on the bill there was a big cheer that went up here.
Now I say it's mostly peaceful, there has been some outbreaks. Police used pepper spray a few hours earlier to push protestors back from barriers which is very close to the LegCo building, the legislative council.
And there also have been unfurling signs saying that if you push against us, if you show any force against us, we will push back hard against you probably including the use of the spray.
So, there is certainly tensions in the air that has been all day. It seems fairly calm at the moment. You can't see them, they're about 200 meters behind me. There is a solid (Inaudible) of riot police but they've been standing there not moving for the last four hours or so, certainly not coming down here to try to dismantle these barriers you see behind me which have been tied together by protestors.
But there some similarities at the moment between what we saw in 2014 with the occupy Hong Kong, the Umbrella movement. In fact, Claudia Mo who was a well-known legislator here who is also pro-democracy activist made a reference to that when she was speaking to the protestors a little earlier.
Just listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAUDIA MO, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY LAWMAKER: The young have every right to express their feelings, their anger, their frustration, their resentment in any way they want because this is their Hong Kong, their future.
MO: Now guys, in the end of the Umbrella movement didn't we say we will be back? And now we are back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVENS: Now, Kristie, it answers what you were saying earlier about the Hong Kong government perhaps blinking in postponing the reading of this bill. It may have blinked but it certainly hasn't changed its tact.
There is no suggestion at this stage at least that the Hong Kong government is going to change course on this bill. Fast-tracking this bill through the parliament against the wishes of such a broad coalition now of Hongkongers.
So, whether there is any movement as these protesters they say to me they are going to stay here whether they can force a change remains to be seen. But at this stage it's difficult to see Hong Kong moving, or at least it's difficult to see than see any indication that they are prepared to move.
STOUT: Yes. Difficult to see any movement because there is a standoff. A standoff over the fate of this legislation, the discussion that was due to take place today has been delayed and the standoff playing out as we see behind you, Andrew, on the streets of Hong Kong between the riot police, between these protestors that Claudia Mo gave that very passionate address honoring them, the youth movement.
[03:05:02] Can you tell us more about these protesters who have blocked the roads around the legislative complex? Because we see that they're young, there are both young men and women, perhaps in their early to mid-20s. They are obviously mobilized to act. Who are they, what's driving them?
STEVENS: Well, many of them are students who are from the university. You know its holidays at the moment. Many are young workers who tell me that they think this is the last fight for Hong Kong. And they are going to fight until they see a change, a change in the government's plan on this bill, Kristie.
And we spoke to quite a few of them over the last several hours and they've come down here, they say they want a peaceful change, they're not prepared to act violence -- or act violently for violence's sake. But at the same token they are not prepared to back down either.
So, there is this similarity really between 2014 when we saw the occupy Hong Kong, the Umbrella movement basically bringing the center of Hong Kong pretty much to a standstill for 79 days.
Again, that was largely peaceful as well but the occupy movement achieve nothing. They wanted a more say in how to elect the leaders of Hong Kong, they got nowhere with that whether this current crop of youth will have any more luck. It's hard to say at this stage.
But I did speak to a general secretary of one of Hong Kong's biggest trade unions a little earlier and he said he's trying and he's telling his members 200,000 to come out and support the students. Because as we saw in the protests on Sunday, as you saw the protest on Sunday it was such a broad wave of Hong Kong society.
It wasn't just young people. It was people of all ages of all persuasions. So, we've seen now these calls for other Hongkongers to now come down and join the younger Hongkongers who are already here.
STOUT: Yes. There is this call for unity, a call for that widespread opposition to the extradition bill to come out in force to add on to this protest movement that's been rekindled today as we heard from protest leaders like Claudia Mo saying, quote, "we are back."
They are ready. What about this Hong Kong police? You know, because a lot has changed since 2014. If this is going to be a repeat. I mean, the protestors are changing tact. Are riot police, are Hong Kong police changing tactics as well? Because I know you've been monitoring them and their actions from the early morning hours of Monday to today as well. STEVENS: Well, the Hong Kong police have been largely hands-off.
There have been layers of Hong Kong police two to three levels deep of Hong Kong police in riot gears surrounding the legislative council building.
And for most of the part they haven't been pushed on by the protestors. There have been, as I said before, some small outbreaks where they did used pepper spray to push the protestors back. But really, we haven't seen a show of force. In fact, if anything, we've seen it the other way.
We've seen the protesters come in these barriers here behind me, Kristie. These have been strung together in the last few hours by the protesters. Initially, the protesters were right back at that black face building behind me, that's the council building. And there are about 30 or 40-deep there. They've expended out and the police have let them do that, they've taken the police barriers to use against the police.
And as I say there's police and now 200, 300 meters behind where the cameraman is standing who -- and they've been standing there all day. They are letting this play out at the moment. You will remember those images in 2014, the tear gas images that went around the wall. There was a shock both to the Hongkongers and to the world.
The police don't want to be seen to be heavy handed on this. But by the same token, they have learned from 2014, they don't want to repeat of this two-month sit-in in the center of Hong Kong.
So how they will resolve it, that is the huge question. The protesters say they are not budging. the police are going to have to take some sort of action at some stage. At least that's according to what the protesters are saying.
STOUT: Protesters are not budging a standoff in the central business district of Hong Kong around the legislative complex. Andrew Stevens reporting live from the scene. Andrew, thank you so much.
Now the race for the White House is not looking good for Donald Trump. That's according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University. Now it shows six top Democrats bidding the president in 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden with a 13-point edge.
Kaitlan Collins has more on the rivalry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I love Iowa. I've gotten along great. I won Iowa by a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump in Iowa today for the first time this year, but he doesn't have the state to himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Joe Biden is a dummy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The potential 2020 rival who has consumed him the most is also in town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When a man has to mention my name 76 times in a speech, that means he's in trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: But the two men who have traded jabs for weeks won't come face to face or even within 100 miles of each other. Trump will stay on the western side of Iowa before heading to Des Moines for a fund- raiser, while Biden's campaign toward the east.
Though they may not be in the same airspace, sources say Biden is definitely occupying Trump's head space which he made obvious today as he lashed out at the former vice president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think he's the weakest mentally, Obama took him off the trash heat, but he's even slower than he used to be. He is a loser.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The president has continued phoning aides and allies early in the morning with one key question. Is Biden a threat to his presidency? Sources say the president was frustrated after internal campaign polling showed him lagging behind Biden in states that will be critical to a 2020 win. At one point, even doubting if his own campaigns numbers are real. Though he claimed otherwise today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My poll numbers are great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Trump's concern --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, folks --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: -- is that Biden will threaten the blue-collar appeal that won him the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The best thing that ever happened to the farmers is me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: While some advisors have told Trump to back off singling out Biden by name, those close to him say he enjoys having a foil no matter how far away the election is. Publicly, Trump says he's ready for the fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'd rather run against -- I think Biden than anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And as Democrats flood key states in hopes of becoming the nominee, Trump's campaign is planning some counterprogramming of their own in order to take back the airwaves and distract from presidential hopefuls.
Now of course, these are two men who have been trading insults for weeks, but something about having the two of them in the same state seem to intensify their attacks on each other.
And of course, this is the president who prides himself on being a counterpuncher according to those closest to him. So only expect the president to continue to escalate his attacks on Joe Biden as long as he is seen as the Democratic front runner.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN, travelling with the president in Iowa.
STOUT: Now in sharp contrast with his harsh criticism of Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is once again keeping praise on the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President Donald Trump says that he has received another letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong- un. Speaking to reporters he said it was a beautiful letter describing it as warm but didn't give any details on the content.
Now he also said that he believes Kim Jong-un was keeping his word when it came to nuclear and missile testing. Saying that he's only testing short range missiles at this point and not longer-range.
And it was really in contradiction to what his own national security adviser John Bolton had said just a matter of matters earlier. Suggesting that Kim Jong-un had not live up to the commitments that he had made with the United States.
Now, President Trump was also asked about a report in the Wall Street Journal and also a comment in the book by a Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield, saying that Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong- un was a CIA informant. Now Kim Jong-nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
back in February of 2017. And these reports suggest that he had had a connection with the CIA before that.
CNN spoke to the defense lawyer of one of the two women who were filmed smearing nerve agent VX on Kim Jong-nam's face. And that defense lawyer said to his knowledge he believed that Kim Jong-nam had met with an American intelligence agent in the holiday resort island of Langkawi.
Now we understand that he was privy to most evidence throughout that trial. We also understand that police within that trial when questioned by that defense lawyer had said that Kim Jong-nam had met with an American just five days before his murder. Although at that point they hadn't ascertain the identity of that individual or whether or not he was a spy.
We also understand from this defense lawyer that the police forensic evidence when it comes to the computer of Kim Jong-nam show that it last been used on February 9, the day of that Langkawi meeting and there had been a USB drive that had been attached that USB drive was not found with Kim Jong-nam after his death.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
STOUT: The retired baseball star David Ortiz is taking his first steps at a Boston hospital since being shot in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz and a friend were shot Sunday night at a night club in San Domingo. The suspect in connection with that shooting has now appeared in court.
Patrick Oppmann in the Dominican Republic covering the investigation.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dominican prosecutor said the one suspect they have in custody in the shooting of David Ortiz will face a charge. His name is Eddy Feliz Garcia and police said he acted as the driver of a motorcycle that deliver a gunman to the bar a nightclub Ortiz was partying with friends.
[03:15:03] The gunman gone off of Garcia's motorcycle approach the group and then shot Ortiz in the back before fleeing on foot. Garcia was tackled and beaten by the crowd, and eventually turned over to police.
We've talked to Garcia's attorney and his mother. The attorney says that Garcia probably didn't know that he was delivering essentially a hit man to try and kill Ortiz. And his mother says that Garcia is actually a big fan of so many people in this country are of David Ortiz and that he and his family wish Ortiz a speedy recovery and they are very sorry for this incident.
But that essentially, he is blameless and he did not know what he was involved. And she said it was a trap all the same. Though police say they are chasing down the second suspect. There could be other suspects. What they don't know yet is the motive why anybody would have tried to killed one of the Dominican Republic's most beloved baseball heroes.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Santo Domingo.
STOUT: Now with tensions rising between the U.S. and Iran, an unlikely mediator stepping into the fray. Japan's prime minister. We got details on Shinzo Abe's historic trip to Tehran ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I hope this never happens to anyone again. That no one will find themselves in this situation I find myself in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: A Russian journalist is free after the media unite in protest over his arrest.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now in abrupt turnaround, Russian authorities drop drug charges against a prominent investigative reporter. Ivan Golunov is free after a unified show of support by the Russian media and a threat of a massive protest march.
Matthew Chance filed this report.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ivan Even Golunov emerge from his heist arrest to the applause of supporters and fellow journalists who gathered outside to greet him. It is this rare show of public unity and support that seems to have force the Russian authorities to set him free. He gave thanks wiping tears of relief from his eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:19:56] IVAN GOLUNOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (through translator): I've got the justices triumphed and that the criminal case is dropped. I hope the investigation will continue and that no one will ever find themselves on the same situation as me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: One of Russia's most prominent investigative reporters Golunov faced up to 20 years in prison after police alleged, they found him with illegal drugs, a charge he categorically denied.
But there was broad suspicion that charges were fabricated to silence him his expose to official corruption in Moscow had made him powerful enemies. There were also concerns that he'd been beaten in police custody, the outpouring of public support seems to have caught the Russian authorities off-guard. These were the identical front pages of Russia's three most prominent
business dailies on Monday. "We are, I am Ivan Golunov" they read, an unprecedented show of solidarity from organizations who rarely veer from the Kremlin life.
And in a country where organized assemblies tightly controlled, sympathizers stage the single person protests to circumvent restrictions of Ivan Golunov's case it seems to obstruct a sensitive chord.
Even Russia's most prominent state TV anchor often dubbed the Kremlin's propaganda in chief face questions about the arrest. (Inaudible) were not blameless, Dmitry Kiselev suggested as has acted quite rough he said.
Even on Russia's compliant state television a sense the authorities had gone too far.
It's why they appeared to have acted unusually quickly. The interior minister himself appearing on national television announcing police suspensions and interior ministry firings. He also offered reassurance.
"Regardless of the professional affiliation of any Russian citizen," he said, "their rights should always be protected."
That comes as an enormous relief to the many Russians alarmed at how corrupt and unaccountable their country had become. But the question for the Kremlin, is whether this climbdown will dissipate public anger or merely encourage anti-corruption campaigners here to press on.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
STOUT: A Lebanese businessman 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 U.S.
The Lebanese government secured his discharge. A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said that Zakka's release was a judicial process without politics or prisoner exchanges involved.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping to ease tensions between the U.S. any Iran. In fact, he is traveling to Iran for talks with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Stability in the region is important for Japan, which imports most of its oil from the Middle East. But it is stopped buying Iranian oil because of U.S. sanctions.
Let's go live to Tehran. And Los Angeles Times journalist Ramin Mostaghim is standing by. And Ramin, we know that there are tensions between the U.S. and Iran. And amidst the tensions Trump's ally Shinzo Abe is in Tehran. Why is he there? RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: I couldn't hear
anything from you. I can't hear the show.
STOUT: Ramin, it's Kristie in Hong Kong, can you hear me? Ramin, it's Kristi in Hong Kong, can you hear me? OK, unfortunately we lost that connection there. We'll try to reestablish collection with the L.A. Times reporter there in Tehran. Our apologies for that.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has said it is ready to hold talks without preconditions with Iran but Iran rejected the offer calling it wordplay.
Becky Anderson says that means communication will have to happen through back channels.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. and Iran have always had a complicated relationship. They were close allies before the 1979 Revolution. Remember, after all they'd helped installed the Shah as a dictator replacing the prime minister that people had voted for.
But once the Shah was overthrown in the Islamic revolution, relations took a nosedive. Iranian students in 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 that only ended through Algeria triggering talks. Since then they barely said a word to one another directly.
[03:25:02] To get the nuclear deal signed Oman stepping in as a back channel letting the two get together. But Obama left and Donald Trump came in and things got as bad as ever.
Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal effectively killing it. We're trampling over any sense of talking to Iran as a normal country. But the 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 courting between a power vortex of Tehran in D.C. dispatching delegations to both capitals calling for peace.
Qatar also a potential. It holds a huge American base and shares a massive gas fields with neighboring Iran. It could step in to help smooth things over.
Then there's Japan. 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 and 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 to me take a lot more than two to tango.
Becky Anderson, Abu Dhabi.
STOUT: So, a back channel is needed. Could it be Japan? The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping to ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran. He is traveling to the ran for talks with the senior leadership there including the Iranian president and its supreme leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Now let's go back to Tehran and check in with reporter Ramin Mostaghim. And fingers crossed that we're connected right now. And Ramin, thank you for joining us tell. Tell us more about why the Japanese leader is in Tehran?
MOSTAGHIM: From the angle of the state-run TV it says that Shinzo Abe is trying to strengthen his own position for domestic politics in the coming parliamentary election and the G20 summit as a host.
But as far as we know it has been leaked to the media Shinzo Abe is trying to buy or resume buying the Iranian oil and also Iran is insisting to unfreeze, to get it unfrozen the assets of America and also, Iran is in urgent need of suspension of sanctions against its own car manufacturing in Tehran.
So, it's largely part of the agenda but the problem is that the disputes between Iran and America is so deep. So deep that it cannot be settled down in a short visit of Shinzo Abe which is unprecedented in the past 40 years.
The high-ranking officer of Japan, that's the first time somebody like in his capacity has visited Iran. So, this is also the complicated part of the talks because Shinzo Abe should convey the message. That message is not music to the ear of the Iranian officials.
That message is deescalate the tensions in the region. And bear in mind that Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is the convey -- I mean, a place that 19 million barrels of oil on daily basis is transacted one fifth of the total global oil consumption is at stake.
So, everybody -- every single country in the region in the world is trying to avoid any miscalculations. The question is, can we avoid it by the short visit? And also, the depths of the anti- American position in Iran. Iranian diplomatic -- diplomatic, I mean, situations and domestic politics is hating whatever America is offering and it's on -- I mean, is not -- there is not trust toward the --
MOSTAGHIM: -- Trump administration not at all. So, can this be settled in a short time? I don't know and I'm doubtful.
STOUT: Yes. This visit is complicated by so many factors as you laid out the amount of tension there in the region and the lack of trust. You know, not only between the U.S. and Iran but the fact that, you know, the leaders of Japan and the United States have such a close relationship, you know.
Can Shinzo Abe be seen as an honest broker by the Iranians? A lot of questions here. Thank you for your reporting. Ramin Mostaghim, live in Tehran.
[03:30:00] You're watching CNN Newsroom. And still to come after the break, the Ebola outbreak is getting worse. It is now spread beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda. How the neighboring African countries has been preparing for this.
Also ahead, hundreds of thousands of people are already being evacuated ahead of a dangerously strong cyclone heading towards the West Coast of India. Why this storm could be one for the record books.
LU STOUT: You're watching CNN Newsroom, I'm Kristie Lu Stout with the headlines this hour.
Hong Kong lawmakers are postponing debate over that controversial extradition bill amid a new round of protest here in the city. The bill would let Hong Kong extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. Supporters say it needs to stop the city from being a criminal refuge, but critics see it as a power grab by Beijing. One that can be used to crackdown on dissidents.
The Boston Globe reports that a second suspect has been arrested in connection with the shooting of a former baseball star David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. He is recovering at a hospital in Boston, where he played professionally for the Red Sox. One man has been charged in the shooting for being an accomplice to attempted murder.
Donald Trump is trading insults with his leading Democratic challenger Joe Biden on the campaign trail in the U.S. city of Iowa. The president called Biden a dummy who is mentally weak. The former U.S. vice president said Mr. Trump is an existential threat to the country.
India is evacuating almost 300,000 people as tropical cyclone Vayu makes its way to the northwestern part of the country. Officials fear that around 6 million people could be affected overall. The storm could become the strongest to strike the region in decades. News 18 anchors Zakka Jacob joins us from New Delhi with more. And Zakka, ahead of this major storm's arrival. We know that evacuations are in place. What's the latest?
ZAKKA JACOB, NEWS 18 ANCHOR: Right and like you said, about 300,000 people are being evacuated primarily in the western state of Gujarat which also happens to be the home state of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This 300,000 people are being moved to about 700 (inaudible) relief camps. Gujarat also happens to be one of the most urbanize states in the country. Also, one of the most densely populated states in the country, this by the way is the second major cyclone to hit India in the last month alone.
Just last month, in May, we had cyclone Fani which hit the East Coast of India. This one cyclone Vayu is expected to hit the West Coast, other than Gujarat, there are smaller places like Goad (ph), (inaudible) which are also expected to be in the line of the storm and of course Mumbai which is the financial capital where to people have been advised not to venture out over the next couple of days. The cyclone itself is expected to make landfall before noon on Thursday in the state of Gujarat.
[03:35:22] LU STOUT: Zakka, you mentioned that this is a second major cyclone threat of the year for India, which face Fani in May. How prepared are officials in advance of this latest major storm?
JACOB: Oh, they certainly are very well prepared if you compare it to how India used to prepare for cyclones many years ago, the extent of damage used to be much, much more. If you see the last cyclone that hit which was cyclone Fani in the month of May, in Odisha, in the eastern province of India, the number of people who actually perished to the cyclone was just a handful. If you compare that to 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, that would be in the hundreds, if not the thousands.
So, one thing that the Indian weather department as well as local authorities in different states have learned over the last 20 years or so is, a, advance warning of severe cyclonic storms and b, as a consequence of those warnings to quickly move masses of the people away from harm's way. So, if Fani were an example of how the manage to move over a million people and thereby reduce and restrict the number of fatalities to just a few handful, I think, similar lessons will be learned as far as cyclone Vayu is concern.
And like you said, already 300,000 people have been moved from harm's way. So one positive that has happened over the last 20 years or so, is both the weather department and local authorities have learned how to move people away from harm's way, but in terms of damage to property, that is still expected to be significant.
LU STOUT: Yes, you know, authorities, Zakka, they need to be ready, they have to be ready, because this is expected to be one of the largest cyclone to hit northwestern India in decades. Zakka Jacob, reporting live, thank you so much.
CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with more on the timing of the storm, and Pedram, you are tracking the cyclone. When will it make landfall, and at what strength?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, it looks like an impressive storm and certainly has everything it takes, Kristie here to strengthen potentially just a little bit more before landfall within the next 24 hours or so, and we know the storm system sits in an area that water temperatures are absolutely conducive to further develop it.
So, 160 kilometers per hour, it is equivalent to a myth greats, category two hurricane and we expected this to strengthen a little more into a category three equivalent. And the reason for that is you take a looked at the sea surface temperatures, 28 Celsius. That is what it takes to threshold, to maintain the intensity of a tropical cyclone. You bring that up to 32, you know, you will have enough energy here to potentially strengthen. And notice among the warmest bodies of water, right in this region of the northwestern and northeastern corner, I should say, of the Arabian Sea. So, certainly a storm system that will want to strengthen within the
next few hours, and at that point could be the strongest in about 21 years' time, when approach, right around the early afternoon hours potentially in the western area of Gujarat, coming ashore there, sometime Thursday afternoon.
But here we go the perspective. Because you look back, go back to last time we had a storm of this magnitude impact this region and really interesting point that the gentleman in the previous interview had Kristie talking about, the number of fatalities, this storm 21 years ago, this week, took within 10,000 lives, as the vast majority of the people in this particular region, the same area that Vayu will impact within the next 24 hours, had absolutely no warning of a storm that was on the approach.
Of course, it came ashore with 195 kilometer per hour winds and several meters of storm surge that took with it the lives. This storm for tomorrow will bring in similar amounts, up to two meters of storm surge, potentially a quarter meter of rainfall across this region, but with several hundred thousand evacuated, we hope the damage is just restricted to structures and certainly not to the loss of life across this region.
LU STOUT: Yes. Absolutely. And in terms of potential, you know, destruction and damage, what are the greatest risks posed by a cyclone of this size being directed at that part of India? Are we looking at storm surge, flooding as well?
JAVAHERI: Absolutely, yes. The bay across this region, really an interesting point here. When you take a look at the geography and the landscape, that will tend to funnel more water into this region, and about 70 plus percent of all life lost associated with tropical cyclone are related to the water element of it. And storm surge becomes one of the top components here.
So, that is what we're watching here carefully at the ocean essentially want to rise dramatically, as much as two more meters inside the next 24 hours. And we know in advance of this storm right now, the waters have risen about seven meters in the open seas. So certainly a rough go for mariners and also for the coastal communities.
LU STOUT: Yes. This will be a ferocious storm. Pedram Javaheri, reporting live. Pedram, thank you so much.
The Ebola outbreak is spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the World health Organization says, a five year old Congolese boy has been diagnosed with the virus in Uganda.
[03:40:08] He is now in Ebola Treatment Center. Uganda has been preparing in case the virus spread there. Thousands of health care workers have received an experimental vaccine. CNN's David McKenzie, joins us now live from Johannesburg. David, tell us more about how the Ebola virus managed to spread to Uganda, and what this means for efforts to control it. DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, it means a dangerously
phase in this outbreak, which has gone on for many months now. This was a five year old boy traveling with his family, according to the World Health Organization, crossing at the (inaudible) crossing point, the border post on the western side of Uganda.
Now, if you look at where that crossing is, it's to the east of one of the major epicenters of the outbreak in the DRC. Unfortunately, this was expected. There had been several false alarms over the last few months, Kristie, of cases crossing into Uganda. And the WHO said that there was a high risk of this disease spreading in the region, pretty low risks still at this point of spreading globally or internationally.
Now, as you say, they've been preparing for this moment, more than 4000 health workers who are a key risk factor for off spreading the disease, in fact, have been vaccinated with an experimental vaccine, and they have set up these Ebola response units on the border regions. The government is sending rapid response teams. The key will be tracing the contact of this young boy and his family on their journey from the Congo into Uganda. That will be tricky, but crucially important in terms of making this an isolated case and now spreading it further into Uganda. Kristie.
LU STOUT: And David, with an effective vaccine being used, why is it that Ebola outbreak is still spreading?
MCKENZIE: That is a very good question. And one of the key factors is fear. I've been talking to health professionals working in the DRC in the last few days, they say that the obvious factor is, if you think about it if you're not vaccinated you can't protect yourself from the disease, and many people are not electing to be vaccinated. It's a voluntary process though people obviously are tried to convince those in the Congo to get that vaccine. And also just the security conflict, the situation in the eastern Congo is extremely volatile.
Multiple armed groups that in the recent past have even attacked Ebola treatment centers. That security factor and the mistrust of the community members of both health workers and any government officials really has made it extremely difficult to stand out this outbreak. You know have several pockets, epicenters of the outbreak in the (inaudible) and north (inaudible) provinces, in the eastern Congo. That spells a very difficult scenario for those trying to stop this outbreak, which has festering for months.
Now, the sense I get from health professionals is that this is a critical moment that it could go either way for the response right now. If they get it right, they might see a more rapid closing down of this outbreak. If they get it wrong, and really could be as long, drawn out and dangerous process. Kristie?
LU STOUT: And that is something that we definitely want to avoid. David McKenzie reporting live, thank you. Now, up next, it was supposed to help Haiti, after a devastating earthquake. And now the charity OXFAM is in the middle of a sex abuse scandal, what we're learning from a new report, ahead. Plus, the Vatican under fire for its views on sexuality, but the
church is saying about gender identity, next.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LU STOUT: Welcome back. These countries around the world celebrate pride month the Vatican is coming under fire for its new ban on sexuality. And effort to tackle what the church calls an education crisis, it describes non binary gender as fictitious. Erin McLaughlin reports.
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 exactly new church doctrine, but it was created at the behest of bishops who express growing concern about the rise of gender education around the world. And wanted to create a tool set for catholic schools to quote, counter ideas which deny the national difference between a man and woman.
The report states, it's becoming increasingly clear that we are now facing what might accurately be called an educational crisis. Especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality. The report calls non-binary gender quote fictitious, no-binary gender essentially recognizes a spectrum of gender identity, it's not a masculine, nor feminist, being recognized by governments around the world. Now the Catholic Church making its position on this clear. Causing outrage among human rights organization, I quote, from the executive director of outright action international and 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.
LU STOUT: Now earlier CNN spoke to religion commentator Father Edward Beck about why the church put out this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: The church was saying you are born either male or female x and y chromosome and that there is a gender identity that is a sign, except for her (inaudible) which are very rare occasions as we know. That someone is born either male or female. So 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 transgender people, he has met with them. He said he needs to be compassion, understanding, but I think the teaching simply is that if we get to a cultural point where we are saying, well, you just choose whatever you want to be, it's that factual reality, or is it just that 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 isn't 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 dialoged as to where do we really meet with regard this teaching and this understanding.
LU STOUT: More now on our top story this day, the protests intensifying here in Hong Kong with additional protests action today. Which has cause the postponement of the discussion of the controversial extradition bill. The Hong Kong (inaudible) council be have CNN's Andrew Stevens standing by right outside the legislative complex. The latest on the situation there and Andrew, what's happening?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN NEWSTREAM ANCHOR: Kristie, just in the last 10 or 15 minutes or so, we are seeing quite a dramatic escalation and police action on two sides of the parliament building. Close to us here, you will see now there is the riot police have moved about 300 meters down the road into position right opposite the barriers which were constructed this morning.
[03:50:06] Beyond those barriers you will see protestors who are hiding under umbrellas. Again, a reminiscing of the 2014 umbrella movement protest which paralyzed Hong Kong basically for about two months. But on the other side of this black building which is the parliament, there has been water cannon used and pepper spray used against protesters as well.
At this stage, it looks like there is now another standoff though in place much, much closer. I can see police -- riot police here, they are carrying tear gas canisters and tear gas guns, but as you see there is a sort of no man's land between the police and the umbrellas that is just a jumble of barricades that has been strapped together by the protestors.
At the moment Kristie, we just have this standoff on this side, were on the other side we are seeing pictures which is being stream lived of water cannon being used against protestors and also pepper sprays as well.
LU STOUT: And as we are seeing these images, have you've been witnessing more Hong Kong people coming in to join this protest which has kicked off earlier in the day by mainly younger protestors, men and women in their twenties. Are you seeing members of the general population come in and join this protest movement? Is it intensifying?
STEVENS: Not so much to be honest, there has been a few older members of the Hong Kong society coming in, but this still seems to be predominantly about Hong Kong youth protesting. And there had been caused by union leaders, by teachers unions for people to come down and join these protestors. They haven't really materialized at least from our position, we haven't seen a big influx of non-student age protestors.
Although we have had calls, as I say, previously to bring them in. So, at the moment, predominantly inside the barricades there, young Hong Kong-ers and many of them mask, many of them prepared for tear gas, they are wearing gas masks, they have gas mask, they have goggles, they are covering themselves with protective clothing and they are telling us, that they are prepared to stay and stay until they see a result in this reading, and the only result they say they want is a complete scrapping of this extradition bill.
The one result of the Hong Kong government says, it is not prepared to give. So, at this stage, Kristie, it is Hong Kong's youth as it was back in 2014 facing off against the police, a very uneasy situation here at the moment. Tensions obviously are very high, there are speakers inside the compound area talking to the crowd, pro-democracy speakers, legislators had been talking to them as well. So, there has been quite an increase in the emotions, if you like inside there with those students holding on - holding firm to maintaining this protest.
LU STOUT: Andrew, tension is high at this moment, you're reporting that, you know, Hong Kong police. You're seeing them with tear gas canisters, earlier in the day we know that pepper spray was deployed. Water cannon as well. What is the objective of these police officers? And they are in riot gear, there had been out in force all day. Are they trying to take back the streets to avoid a long term occupation? That seems that we saw in 2014.
STEVENS: I can't say that for sure, the police have not been speaking really with the press about what they plan to do, but obviously they occupy of 2014 was the 79-day occupation. There were tense (inaudible) right across (inaudible) roads in and out of financial districts of Hong Kong. That is something the government does not want to see. They don't want those images flashing around the world once again over politics in Hong Kong, over protests about Beijing's influence in Hong Kong.
So, they would want to avoid that. Now, what their tactical move is at the moment, either no, but they've obviously move up into a decision where they are much more confronting to the protestors and you can now just see behind me, there's a lot of shouting, there's a lot of movement behind me, me at the legislative council building is quite difficult from where we are to get a hand on.
And you can see, I don't know if you can see it, the clouds of gas through the -- if they can focus in on that, but that does look like tear gas from this angle. I heard a couple of reports, you may have heard a couple of pops, just few seconds ago, now we are seeing that -- what looks like a tear gas warping across that big crowd there. And they are certainly -- I can see people moving out of the way there, so obviously this is a movement by the police, this is a coordinated movement by the police to try to clear out these protestors, who do say they want to stay here until they get their demands met.
[03:55:10] LU STOUT: Very significant police operation underway right now. We're seeing what Andrew Stevens is reporting what looks to be tear gas being deployed. Tens of thousands of protestors are gathered this day, thousands of police officers in riot gear as well. And Andrew, could you provide some context about where this is taking place for international viewers? Because this is not just happening outside what is effectively in Hong Kong, but the central business district of this global financial city.
STEVENS: That is right. The legislative council, the big black building behind me sits in between the financial district which is the downtown central heart of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Harbor. And the main roads going into the central district just behind me, just behind this legislative council building. They are now being blocked off by protestors, all eight lanes are being blocked off, which is creating traffic mayhem now around Hong Kong Island. Which again is exactly what happened back in 2014.
So, this is a strategically very important part of Hong Kong for -- if you want to disrupt Hong Kong coming here to disrupt Hong Kong is a pretty good place to start. We see they've got the place now starting to face backwards. You can see them standing up and trying to get to -- the cameraman to turn across there, they are now facing up the street. I can't see what they are -- there is no one up the street, they are facing, at this stage, I'm not quite sure, but they're keeping a clear lane if you like in the middle, and perhaps in the distance we can see more riot police walking across the roads there. And they look like they're heading around the outside perimeter which will take them around to the front of that legislative council building.
There is a big park there, called Big Green Park, which earlier this morning was the focus for the young protestors and they were camping out, they are now joining each other there nearly a thousand in the morning, and we are now seeing again, I can see, a big contingent of more riot police on the far side of the barriers and also marching in the same direction.
So, all around me, the Hong Kong police are moving, Kristie. They have -- there is an intention here obviously, as I said, we've already seen teargas canister, here's what appears to be a tear gas used and the standoff now, it looks like it's reaching a much, much elevated level.
LU STOUT: Andrew Stevens reporting live from outside the legislative complex in Hong Kong which has become a flash point between 10's of thousands of protestors and Hong Kong police. The protesters asking for a controversial extradition bill to be scrapped, as well for the top leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, the chief executive to step down.
We will continue to monitor the situation there. Thank you for your company. I'm Kristie Lu Stout, you're watching CNN, the news continues.