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Muslim Children Held in Boarding Schools in China; Southern California Hit by Strongest Quake in 20 Years; Salute to America; British Royal Marines Seize Iranian Oil Tanker Bound for Syria. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 02:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Dozens of aftershocks rattled Southern California after a 6.4 earthquake, a deeply divisive president delivers a unifying message on the U.S. Independence Day, and tensions rise between the U.K. and Iran after British marines seized an Iranian ship believed to be carrying oil to Syria.

These stories are ahead this hour. Hello, everyone. Welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is "CNN Newsroom."

We begin with this: A new report says that China is separating minority Uyghur children from their families and placing them in boarding schools while their parents are in detention camps. The report was conducted by an independent researcher, partly commissioned by the BBC. It provides new insight into China's so-called re- education campaign of the Muslim Uyghur population. For more about it, our Matt Rivers is in Beijing.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, new research today has shed some light on a question many have been asking for a very long time: What happens to the children of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who have been detained in the so- called re-education camps in Western China?

A new report by independent German researcher Adrian Zenz, commissioned in part by the BBC, alleges that over the last few years, China has built a vast new array of boarding schools where children are placed after their parents are detained by the authorities.

Zenz, who has emerged recently as a leading expert on China's system of camps in the northwest region of Xinjiang, used a conjunction of open source documents, propaganda, and also interviews with former detainees for his work in which he argues that these schools often look more like prisons with high walls, electric fences, surveillance, and alarm systems.

In certain areas of southern Xinjiang, Zenz says that preschool enrolment growth rates were more than 12 times higher than the national average, evidence, he says, of the fact that so many of these children's parents have been taken away.

For years now, hundreds of thousands of Muslim ethnic minorities up to two million in some estimates have been detained in China's sprawling network of re-education camps, usually without charge, trial or the ability to leave.

China's government claims the camps are combatting extremism in the region, but critics say the camps are nothing more than a friendly veiled attempt to eliminate Muslim culture and ideology in Xinjiang, arguing the camps are nothing more than brainwashing centers where torture and abuse are rampant.

The question of child-parent separation is not new in that sense. Journalists and rights groups have long thought there could be a separate crisis involving children, simply because so many of their parents have been detained. CNN has heard stories in the past few months from relatives of people inside the camps, terrified about the fate of their children.

Zenz's research, however, is the first comprehensive report to date on the likely scale of this coordinated state initiative. Request for comments from China's government weren't immediately answered, but a senior official with Xinjiang's Propaganda Department spoke to the BBC and denied there were many families where both parents have been detained.

Xu Guixiang told the broadcaster, "If all family members have been sent to vocational training, then that family must have a severe problem. I have never seen such a case." Still, it is a relatively simple equation here. If so many adults are being put in these camps, something has to happen to their kids. And with this new report, we have some more insight into the fate of Xinjiang's children.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


ALLEN: A major earthquake hasn't struck Southern California since 1999 until now. Look at this. The relative quiet ended without warning Thursday when a 6.4 earthquake shook the ground from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. More than 150 aftershocks followed, some of them quite strong.

The epicenter was about 240 kilometers north of Los Angeles, through the community of Ridgecrest. Children performing a holiday program in the town were terrified as the auditorium began shaking.



ALLEN (voice-over): Everyone got out OK, we are happy to say, but a wall behind the stage later collapsed. The town has now declared a state of emergency.

[02:05:00] We got the latest from CNN's Nick Watt, who is there. (END VIDEOTAPE)


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Ridgecrest, California, a town of about 30,000 people who bore the brunt of this earthquake, the biggest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years. This is a town of about 30,000 people. They have suffered some minor injuries, some power lines down, some gas lines broken, a few fires, some cracks in walls, some cracks in roads, but nothing major so far.

No terrible injuries and no fatalities. Authorities feel that they have got a handle on the situation, but what everybody is waiting for are the aftershocks. There have been many, many so far and we are warned that there will be many more. Seismologists down at Caltech say that there is an 80 percent probability of a 5.0 aftershock or greater.

Now, this quake was felt as far away as Vegas and the coast of Los Angeles. Now, people in L.A. are wondering why their early warning app didn't trigger. Well, because by the time it got to L.A., this was just felt as a 4.5 and the threshold to trigger was 5.0. That has already been changed.

People up here in Ridgecrest up in the Mojave Desert braced for the aftershocks, and of course, Southern Californians as they have been for a long time are braced, ready for the big one, and this might just be a warning sign for people to get prepared for, heaven forbid, if that ever comes.

Nick Watt, CNN, Ridgecrest, California.


ALLEN: Let's talk about it now with an expert. John Vidale is a professor of seismology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Professor, thank you so much for talking with us about this. First question for you, the earthquake is being called the biggest in Southern California since 1999, what did the size of this quake tell you?

JOHN VIDALE, PROFESSOR OF SEISMOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, it is one that we expect every few decades. It is a major quake, probably 10 or 20 kilometers long. It is the kind of thing we really dread having in our cities, so we will likely get a very good look at the earthquake with all of our modern instruments before one hits downtown Los Angeles.

ALLEN: Exactly. We have been talking about that because people as far away as L.A. and Las Vegas felt this and described it as long and rolling. What does that indicate?

VIDALE: Well, that is the way I would usually feel at one or 200 kilometers distance. I felt it in my office and I could feel the blinds swaying in the last 10 or 20 seconds, the way it is going to reverberate and spread out over another 20 seconds when you're at this distance. So, that essentially tells us that it was not anything too surprising about the way we felt the earthquake.

ALLEN: How many aftershocks have been recorded and how long may they continue to occur?

VIDALE: Well, they can find probably several thousand aftershocks by now. I think they have identified one or 200, but they will go back over the data and find all the smaller ones that they skipped initially, and there were several foreshocks as well. There were actually foreshocks that shook the ground fairly well itself, and the aftershocks continued for years, just gradually diminishing in rate.

ALLEN: What about the chances, professor, of another large quake happening in this region in the next few days?

VIDALE: Well, we don't have any special insight. The normal number we use is one in 20 chance of an earthquake bigger than the initial one within a week. Maybe it is a little higher because there have been a lot of aftershocks in the sequence, but it is on the order of five to 10 percent chance of seeing something bigger. That is just our guess. We do not really know.

ALLEN: Could this earthquake be connected to the big one that has been predicted for California for many, many years?

VIDALE: It is unlikely. It would only have a weak effect. It is pretty far from the San Andreas Fault system to really speed up or pull back a big earthquake. You have to have an earthquake much closer to the San Andreas. The faults on the desert are capable of earthquake this (ph) big. We've had magnitude seven and a half to eight earthquakes out there in the Sierra Nevada mountain but this one isn't likely to affect a big one on the San Andreas very much.

ALLEN: So this is a different fault system. What's the difference?

VIDALE: Well, the San Andreas forms the boundary between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate. Here in L.A., we are kind of riding (ph) along with Pacific, moving north compared to the rest of North America, and the San Andreas is that boundary.

[02:09:58] So this is the secondary fault up in the mountain that moves much slower. So there are a lot of faults out there, but we expect often big earthquakes on the San Andreas and that is what we have been most fearing around the bay area in Los Angeles.

ALLEN: And how challenging is it to predict an earthquake?

VIDALE: Well, it is impossibly challenging. We have a decent handle on the rates and probabilities of earthquakes and they do not really seem to change much year to year. You know, the earthquakes got a little more likely (INAUDIBLE) on a section of fault, but we have been looking for decades for something that proves (ph) that earthquakes are coming in the next few minutes or few weeks or even in the next few years. We are coming up empty. We are falling back on just trying to get the long-term probabilities or building codes. We are not planning to evacuate cities days before earthquakes from what we know now.

ALLEN: And speaking of cities, you know, fortunately this quake did not hit in a populous area as we mentioned, and you said you felt it in Los Angeles. If this quake had been centered in a city like Los Angeles, what could have been the impact?

VIDALE: Well, it could have been terrible. It is right under the downtown, which has all the new buildings. It could really take decades to rebuild core of the city and some of the infrastructure. As an example, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand a few years ago was just a direct hit on the town of Christchurch, much of the downtown, and they are still rebuilding.

So an earthquake in a wrong place, even a magnitude six and a half can be devastating. We are just lucky we have not had one of those for a long time.

ALLEN: Well, we appreciate your time and your expertise. We really appreciate it. John Vidale, thank you.

VIDALE: OK. You're welcome.

ALLEN: As he mentioned, there have been hundreds of aftershocks and there could be more. Karen Maginnis is with us now because you got map to show where this happened and the impact.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. This happened over 115 miles, convert it to kilometers, I haven't done it in my head just yet, but it is a significant distance away from Los Angeles, also a significant distance from Bakersfield. They haven't seen an earthquake of this magnitude in 20 years, so they were saying, we are in a drought.

Maybe this will be the big one. We are expecting the big one. But we saw two foreshocks. They were rather small, but people could feel one of them. It was over a four magnitude. But over the coming days, we could see four plus magnitude earthquakes, which would unnerve everybody --


MAGINNIS: -- because you can feel it. There has been damage here. We did not have any fatalities. But nonetheless, people have their homes damaged, the infrastructure has been damaged, a hotel was damaged. It has been fairly widespread. All right, let us show you what we were talking about, and Natalie in her discussion with a gentleman was talking about the San Andreas Fault.

Wouldn't this occur along the San Andreas Fault? No, because there are dozens and dozens of little mini faults across this region. Here is Los Angeles, there is Bakersfield, and you go out towards the desert. That is where this took place, thankfully, because had it been in a more populous area, we would be covering a completely different story. This earthquake was not -- the epicenter was not at Ridgecrest. It was about 10 miles further along. Well, the 6.4 magnitude earthquake is the first significant or strong earthquake that we have seen in 20 years. Prior to 1999, by 10 years, there were eight of these. But in the past 20 years, this is the only one. The last major earthquake occurred in 1999, which I have to remind, earthquake still occurred in kind of a deserted region.

All of these tiny dots that you see, these orange dots, those are the aftershocks we have seen since this earthquake occurred, now going on to about 10 hours, 11 hours or so. Where you see those red dots, those are the ones that have occurred in the past hour. There are hundreds of these. I counted 17 4.0 plus aftershocks.

What is an aftershock? Aftershock is essentially an earthquake. It is on a smaller scale. But Natalie, we have a one in 20 chance or about a five percent chance we could see something that is even stronger than the 6.4. Initially, this was a 6.6.

They have revised it. They looked at things. There are lots of seismographs that can estimate these things. It is also a little deeper than they had initially thought, but nonetheless significant and there are these swarms of aftershocks that are stunning to see.

[02:14:59] ALLEN: The city that was hit the worst, Ridgecrest, there is not a big population, but you feel for the people that are there.


ALLEN: I can't imagine living with that hanging over your head.

MAGINNIS: Yeah, 30,000 people in that city.

ALLEN: Right. All right, Karen, thank you so much.

MAGINNIS: Thanks, Natalie.

ALLEN: Very interesting. Coming up here, Donald Trump sticks to the script and stays out of the rain as he celebrates the U.S. 4th. Highlight from his salute to America after this.

Also ahead here, a diplomatic spat brewing between Britain and Iran after the U.K. detained an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar. Ahead here, why the ship was seized and who may have requested it.


ALLEN: In Washington, Donald Trump promised a show of a lifetime this Independence Day. Instead, the crowd got soaked by thunderstorms at a 45- minute history lesson. The president braved the rain to honor the U.S. military, something that usually happens on Veterans Day.

A source says White House officials were praying for rain so they would have an excuse for low attendance, but the crowd cheered as military jets and helicopters flew overhead and notably, the president avoided partisan politics in his televised speech.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never ever stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America cannot do.



ALLEN: We get more now on the celebration from CNN's Abby Phillip.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Independence Day is usually a non-partisan affair, July 4th. But this year, it was different as President Trump finally pulled off that military focused event he has always wanted.

There were tanks and fighter jets and military service members everywhere, leaving some to worry that the president was building himself in a usually non-partisan institution for his own benefit. But here on the National Mall, the biggest concern might have been the weather as the rain came down for hours before and during the event.

[02:19:58] But still, the crowd showed up even though some White House officials were worried that it wouldn't be enough for President Trump who has been so focused on his own crowd size.

In the crowd here were many of the president's own supporters, wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and carrying Trump focused memorabilia, but the president himself try to stay on message and try to stay non-partisan. He talked about the history of the United States, the valor of its service members, and called on the American public to tap into that patriotism in the future.

At the same time, the president talked at length about the U.S. military and as he spoke about each branch of the military, overhead was the roar of fighter jets and helicopters. And as the crowd here watch that go by, they watched in awe. It was a very rare occurrence here in Washington D.C. Almost never do you see planes flying over in that fashion, and that may be exactly what President Trump was hoping for.

Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Joining me now to talk about it is political analyst Peter Mathews. It is always good to have you with us. Hi, Peter.

PETER MATHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Natalie. Good to be with you again.

ALLEN: Let's start with President Trump crafting July 4th celebration centered around the military. Should guns in the military be celebrated in this way, in your opinion, in a country that was founded on ideals and not so much the military?

MATHEWS: In fact, I do not think it should be because the ideals are much more important in terms of today's commemoration. Military is important when it comes to a certain war defending the country.

But these ideals are what America is about and the declaration of independence that we celebrate says that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are really important words that Thomas Jefferson wrote and those should be focused on.

Is the U.S. guaranteeing that natural rights to its people? We have a problem with the Trump economy. While there has been some growth, there still been a huge gap between rich and poor. Growth in inequality has also been growing. You have trade wars on the rise and a lot of things have to be fixed, and not to mention the country being divided due to Trump's leadership.

ALLEN: Well, before he spoke, the president's appearance on the mall drew criticism from Democrats and members of the military, some of them who accused him of using the troops and equipment as little more than political props. Why do you think the president staged his celebration this way?

MATHEWS: I think that he thinks this will really keep his base of voters with him when it comes to November, the year after next -- next year, I should say. That is the thing he is looking at, the election. But also, he somehow seems to take the super patriotism to an extreme and at the same time covering up the problems that we have in the country.

He should be bringing people together, not hammering away at illegal immigration. He should be working on -- look what happened at the border, Natalie. Those kids are being torn from their parents and sitting in those cages. That is not an ideal this country can project to the world when we are the country with natural rights and believe in natural rights.

He should go back to the American ideal of protecting human rights and natural rights. So, maybe the military, overuse of that, is a way to hide from what is really going on.

ALLEN: Yeah. A Democrat senator who served in the military remarked, "Tanks aren't props. They are weapons of war." The president, of course, was flanked by tanks when he spoke. However, he did deliver a message that was unifying, Peter, not political. Here is part of it. "We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny. We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart."

Well, a poignant, hopeful message from President Trump who is often seen as a divider. Was that encouraging?

MATHEWS: Well, the words are beautiful and he stuck to the script. That is one reason he did not get into problem. But the thing is: What are his actions? That is what should count. The script was beautiful today, but the actions have to be followed through.

That is to unite people, to settle these problems and not divide us along economic lines and ethnic and racial lines. The president needs to become a uniter in chief, not a divider in chief.

It is very important for the American ideal of being a nation of immigrants. I don't see this happening. It has not happened in two and half years, and who knows what will happen in the next year or so. So, words could be beautiful but actions are more important, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right, this country has been struggling to fill unified under this president. What else would you have liked to hear from him on this day?

MATHEWS: I would like to hear from him about some of the economic problems we are facing and to say that it is important to provide economic opportunity because the American dream cannot be realized by anyone unless the economy is fair and shared prosperity exists for everyone, not just the top half of the country, mainly the situation with Trump.

The Trump economy has helped the top 10 percent, much more than the rest of us. Even the tax cuts were into the top one percent. Eight- five percent of the tax cuts went to the top one percent. That is not fairness for opportunity which America stands for. I would like to address that more honestly and then say what he could do to fix that.

[02:25:01] It is extremely important for America that he cares for all of us, not just a few at the top --

ALLEN: Right.

MATHEWS: -- especially his donors.

ALLEN: Well, there were donors in the crowd for sure and there were a lot of supporters of Mr. Trump. There were also protesters as well. Did he -- was this mobilizing for his base? Will we perhaps see this visual when we see the political ads for the next presidential election?

MATHEWS: Absolutely. He thinks that by holding on to that base of 37 percent, which, by the way, a number of Americans who say are going to vote for him, 37 percent is not enough to win. But he thinks he can do that like he did before with Electoral College. He wants that 37 percent. He can't win without them at all. But he's to expand that base.

Look at these pictures. The fire right there and the violence that was directed because people are so upset and it is wrong that this happened, but, you know, he needs to really bring people together and his base will not be enough, Natalie, for him to win again. If he thinks he can rely on that, that is not -- he may have something else coming, actually.

ALLEN: Political analyst Peter Mathews, we always appreciate your insights. Thank you.

MATHEWS: Thank you, Natalie. Good to be here.

ALLEN: Tensions are rising between Iran and the United Kingdom after British marines stormed an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar. They say that Grace 1 was carrying oil to Syria. That is a violation of E.U. sanction. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains why it was even near Gibraltar when it was seized.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was really a remarkable journey as to how the Grace 1 ended up in the early hours of Thursday in the custody of British royal marines off the coast of Gibraltar.

It seems, according to shipping experts, to have started its journey in early April, near the Iranian coast, possibly in an oil refinery there. Then, rather than going straight through the Suez Canal, shipping experts say in fact it was too heavily loaded, 300,000 tons, to pass through that particular channel.

It journeyed all the way around the continent of Africa, a startling route, but one that took it eventually to the Gibraltar Straight where the U.K. row marine commando seemed to have intercepted it, relatively uneventful boarding as far as we understand.

Now, there is an interesting development. The Spanish foreign minister said that deception occurred because of a request from the United States. The U.S. has not commented directly yet at this point.

But now, we are in a situation where the Iranian media is using words like taken hostage, and the British say they intercepted it because it seemed to be on route to Syria where it may have been about to deliver this oil, possibly fuel oil, according to shipping expert, to Banyas refinery. That would violate E.U. sanctions, against the Syrian regime, atrocities in the country's north.

On top of that too, the Iranian government has stepped forward and said it was an Iranian tanker. It was registered in Panama but it seems to be carrying some kind of Iranian oil. That, of course, could potentially be a violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

So a lot is going on here but really escalation yet again because of this very surprising journey taken by the Grace 1 super tanker, which in a period of time, I think 10 days ago, people breathe a sigh of relief that President Trump wasn't going to launch a military strike against Iran because of the downing of a U.S. drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Once again, we are talking about escalating rhetoric.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: New allegations against U.S. border agents. CNN has obtained e-mails detailing poor behavior like an agent allegedly trying to humiliate a migrant. We will have that story coming up. Here also, the U.K. leadership race is nearing the finish line, but there are still many unanswered questions about Brexit. We break down the candidates' plans just ahead here. Please stay with us.


[02:30:10] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top news this hour. A state of emergency has been declared in the town of Ridgecrest, California, following a 6.4 earthquake. It is the strongest to hit the region in a generation and was felt from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. No fatalities have been reported but many utilities were knocked out and damage is expensive.

Heavy rain could not keep Donald Trump from his salute to America celebration this 4th of July. The U.S. President delivered a 45- minute history lesson to crowds gathered in Washington. Military jets flew through the clouds above and Mr. Trump kept his speech free of politics.

A new U.N. report Venezuela says Venezuela security forces are killing thousands of young men and making it appear as if they were criminals who had resisted arrest. The report says it's part of a government strategy to target the opposition. It comes as Venezuela is braced for more anti-government protests in the coming hours.

Shocking allegations against U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents. CNN has obtained e-mails that detail how an agent allegedly attempted to humiliate a migrant at a detention center. The e-mails were written by another agent who saw the incident. Our Nick Valencia has more about it. He is in El Paso, Texas.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Customs and Border Protection says this incident happen in March here in El Paso at the processing center and what they say the witness was a border patrol agent who forced a Honduran migrant to hold a sign that said, Me gustan los hombres, which translates directly into, I like men. This migrant was then intentionally paraded around the processing center in front of other migrants in an attempt according to the witness to humiliate him and embarrass.

Now, according to this witness, there was two senior border patrol agents present who did nothing to stop this incident. We did receive a series of e-mails which shows that the witness, a Customs and Border Protection agent raised these concerns to supervisors within the agency. The witness says that no action was taken and we did take these very serious allegations to Customs and Border Protection.

They say they've handed them over to the Office of Professional Development and added that sometimes in misconduct inquiries and investigations, discipline action is taken without public knowledge but they stopped short of saying that any discipline was taken in this case. Now we're learning this news as we're also obtaining a new memo from Customs and Border Protection written by assistant commissioner of the Office of Professional Development, Matthew Klein that shows the Customs and Border Protection leaders knew about a closed Facebook group where their agency employees were posting inappropriate content.

That memo dates back to February of 2018. Here's what it says. Recently, the agency was made aware of a private Facebook group page that only a specific group of CBP employees could access, on which inappropriate and offensive poster were made. The bottom line is the agency may bring discipline against an employee who post offensive messages on a social media page where there was a nexus to the agency workplace.

What is still not clear is what specific Facebook group this memo is addressing or why it was sent out in the first place. But what is clear is that this is yet another stunning allegation against an agency that is already suffering from public perception problems. Nick Valencia, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

ALLEN: The Trump administration has until the coming day to explain how it plans to proceed with the 2020 census. The President wants to ask respondents if they are U.S. citizens. The Supreme Court ruled that would be OK if there was a good reason, but a source familiar with discussion says the administration's options are extremely limited especially since the forms are already being printed.

Sudan's military council has reached an agreement with the opposition over a future government.

[02:35:02] The African Union envoy to Sudan says both sides reached a power sharing agreement, a rotating council made up of military and civilian representatives that will last for at least the next three years. It will also work on establishing a civilian government. Talks between the two sides broke down last month after forces raided a prodemocracy sit-in. More than 100 people were killed.

The U.N.-backed government in Libya says it is considering closing all migrant detention centers in the country. This after an airstrike killed more than 50 people at one center. The U.S. says that facility has been hit before because it is close to a military base. The bloodshed is the result of a war for control over Libya's capital, Tripoli. For more about, here CNN'S Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, there is a huge blame game around this. To be clear, there are two sides in Libya, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and the warlords fighting them for control of the capital, the Renegade General Haftar. Well, the general's fighters admit hitting a weapons warehouse just minutes before the detention center was hit. But say, the subsequent attack was not them and they blame Tripoli-based militia who are largely allied to the government there of orchestrating a conspiracy, they say, to tarnish their reputation.

This, though, is what's really important here. Under international law, all parties to a conflict must take all feasible precautions to minimize the risk to civilians. So, even if the military depot was the intended target of the attack, the fact that there were some 600 migrants, men, women and children in close proximity would make this attack unlawful. Now, the government in Tripoli which runs this center should also take all feasible measures to protect civilians from the effects of attacks by avoiding locating military objectives like weapons storage sites in the vicinity of civilian areas. So, no one, it seems, is immune to blame here.

Unless we forget more than 50 people including six kids mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa who had fled their homes and families to seek out a better life across the Mediterranean in Europe, dead. Libya, their transit point, Italy in the past of course the destination of choice but under a new hard-line migrant policy, Italy is now refusing to accept these vessels and sending these migrants and refugees back and they end up in the squalid detention centers run by the Tripoli government and described by many to me as De facto prisons that the United Nations has repeatedly said should be closed down.

Not just because this for example, this one sits so close to -- if not on, a military site, but human rights staff have documented severe overcrowding, torture, ill treatment, forced labor, rape, and acute malnutrition, they say, amongst others serious human rights violations. And this is the second time this Tajoura center has been hit. This Libya conflict is very, very messy, but the victims here had no part to play in the battle. They have though paid the price. Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

ALLEN: The race for Britain's next prime minister is winding down by the end of the month. We will finally know which candidate will occupy number 10 Downing Street. As Conservative Party members prepared to select the next leader, our Bianca Nobilo looks at the final contenders and their plans for Brexit.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On July 23rd, one of these men will be named as the new leader of the Conservative Party and Britain's next prime minister. Over a series of votes, 10 Tory hopefuls will whittle down to two. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is now running against his predecessor and former mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Who gets the keys to 10 Downing Street will be decided by around 160,000 people.

The members of the Conservative Party. They will vote for that choice of leader in a postal ballot starting July 6th. The key issue in this leadership race is the same issue that defined and destroyed the premiership of Theresa May.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret for me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

[02:40:05] BORIS JOHNSON, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: We've been bringing back control --

NOBILO: Johnson, a key architect of Brexit, says the U.K. will leave on October the 31st, come what may do or die. Hunt, who back in 2016 campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the European Union, says he's now fully behind Brexit. He promised the call on a deal or no deal withdrawal on September the 30th. How either candidate will be able to break the Brexit deadlock remains to be seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ayes to the right, 202, the noes to the left, 432.

NOBILO: MPs have already rejected the withdrawal agreement three times and the E.U. says the deal is not open to renegotiation. MPs have also voted against a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson says he wouldn't rule out suspending Parliament to force an exit on the 31st of October. That something Jeremy Hunt has guaranteed he won't do. Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.

ALLEN: South Korea's President is raising the minimum wage and shortening the work week. All in a desperate push to fix the economy. So, why isn't it working? That's next here. Also, Russia's President has a quick but eventual trip to Italy. His meetings with Pope Francis as well as key European allies and what's it all about when we come back.


ALLEN: Unemployment in the United States is at its lowest level in half a century. But halfway around the world in South Korea, it is a different story. President Moon Jae-in is taken steps to fix the economy but everything just seems to backfire. Our Paula Hancocks is in Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Business is tough for (INAUDIBLE) He owns three convenience stores in Seoul, he's cut his stuff from 15 to 11 over the past two years. If you walk along the street, he says, you see so many signs in windows that say for lease. It's the same with convenience stores. The price of goods goes up with inflation, but this nowhere near makes up for the rising labor costs.

The minimum wage in South Korea has more than doubled since 2009. President Moon Jae-in raised it nearly 11 percent in January. The employment rate for the first quarter is the highest in almost a decade.

[02:45:04] Mr. Moon is being criticized for doing too much too soon raising the minimum wage. Raising taxes, cutting the work week.

[02:45:12] YANG JONG-SEOK, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS: They are driven more by personality --

HANCOCKS: One economics professor agrees, but also blames the one- term presidency in this country.

YANG: Yes, well, I think he is stuck in between a rock and hard place. Traditionally, in Korea, after your five-year term, your policies do not seem to get enacted. So, it's very unusual for policies to go across presidents.

HANCOCKS: Moon has re-shuffled his Cabinet and replaced his economic team to deflect criticism.

MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Through the minimum wage increased, salaries for those who currently employed in the job market has improved. The percentage of low-income workers has fallen to an all-time low.

HANCOCKS: Student support for Moon has slipped. The man they saw as the jobs president hasn't delivered in their eyes. Labor unions are protesting for the opposite reason, they don't think his reforms go far enough.

For Kim, he says, Moon's pledged to improve the country's work-life balance rings hollow. He and his wife now work opposite shifts in the store, so there's always someone home with their child.

"The government provides some support," he says, "subsidies to help pay employment and benefits, but these are only temporary. Because of that, we're constantly living in fear."

South Korea has the same issues as much of the rest of the world. Slowing growth, an aging population, a widening income inequality. And it's hard for experts to know if Moon's pro-labor policies will ultimately succeed. But short-term prospects look bleak.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


ALLEN: Soul singer Joss Stone had a goal to perform in every country on earth as part of her total world tour. Well, this week, five years and 199 countries later, Stone finally landed in her last destination. But she didn't get very far.


JOSS STONE, SOUL SINGER: Well, we got to Iran, we got detained, and then, we got deported. And I'm not quite got on the plane yet, but I got my phone back, it just can't --


ALLEN: Yes, Iran. It's unclear exactly what Stone planned to do in Iran since it's illegal for women to perform solo concerts there. She says she told immigration officials, she just wanted to show people the positives of the globe through her music, but it didn't work out.

Well, Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to repair relations with the European Union. He made a quick trip to Italy where he has some political allies. But his first stop was the Vatican for a wide- ranging discussion with Pope Francis. CNN's Phil Black is in Rome.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A third meeting for two global figures with very different global views. For Pope Francis, a chance to maintain dialogue and engage with a powerful leader, and perhaps, influence world events especially those that hurt vulnerable people.

While, for President Putin, the chance to engage with, listen to, and be seen listening to moral authority, the spiritual leader of the world's biggest Christian Church. President Putin, again, kept that spiritual leader waiting as he had done with two previous visits. Today, he was about an hour late for his meeting with the Pope.

Apart from that discourtesy, the two men were polite and friendly with each other in front of the cameras. They then spoke behind closed doors for about 55 minutes. We know some of the subjects but not the detail or the opinions expressed.

They talked about wars in Ukraine. In Syria, where Russia remains a key actor. They talked about Venezuela, where Russia has influence, and they talked about one of the Pope's passions, the fight to save the natural world.

When it was all over, Vladimir Putin thanked the Pope for an interesting and substantive discussion. Vladimir Putin, then, went on to enjoy something he rarely gets to experience, meetings with a Russian friendly government in Western Europe.

The populist, anti-establishment, coalition government in Italy is very open in its desire to establish better relations with Russia. It is very open in its belief that European Union sanctions against Russia over its behavior in Ukraine, well, it says, they should be stopped.

One particular leader in the coalition, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant, hard-right party known as the League is so open in his adoration for Putin. He's been known to wear a t-shirt with Putin's face on it.

In Rome, standing next to the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude for the Italian government's position on E.U. sanctions.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We're thankful for Italy's position, which is supportive of restoring our relations with the European Union. We see the efforts of the Italian government in this direction. We hope Italy can express its position in a clear and consistent way for the full restoration of relations between Russia and Europe as a whole.

[02:50:08] BLACK: Vladimir Putin return to Russia. But first, he scheduled time to catch up with his old close personal friend, the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Phil Black, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: A piece of ancient Egypt is auctioned off for millions of dollars. Cairo is livid that it was up for sale at all. We'll tell you what the controversy is all about next.


ALLEN: Egypt says Christie's auction house might be profiting from stolen cultural artifacts. This after an ancient statue of the country's most famous pharaoh fetched a huge price. Nick Glass, explains from London.

NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was created as a propaganda image to strike or among the masses. The Pharaoh is deity, beautifully, and naturalistically carved some 3,000 years ago.

Unmistakably, to those who know these things, the face of the boy King Tutankhamun. Almond-eyed, high cheekbone, full sensual lips. But was Christie's right to sell this statue at auction.

ZAHI HAWASS, FORMER EGYPTIAN MINISTER OF ANTIQUITIES: This is a black day for archaeology. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should be ashamed and angry. And you have to be angry. The whole world has to be angry because there is no ethics here.

GLASS: Ethics or not, here was the statue for all to see under the bright lights of a London saleroom. The Egyptian authorities wanted the auction postponed, say it breached international agreements. They demanded proof that the statue left Egypt legally. They asked the auction house for documentation about the statue's provenance and say that they didn't get it. Christie's refute this.

LAETITIA DELALOYE, HEAD OF ANTIQUITIES DEPARTMENT, CHRISTIE'S: So, we're having in touch with the Egyptian authorities, both in Cairo and in Egyptian embassy here. And we inform them about the sale even before the catalog was published. And so, we have a collaborative relationship with them and we've given them all the information that we have for the piece. Christie's has a word to claim in providing a transparent and legitimate market. We would never offer a piece where there's any concern about the provenance.

GLASS: Dr. Hawass, believes that the statue was removed illegally from the temple of Karnak near Luxor sometime after 1970. Again, Christie's dispute this. They say their research shows that the piece has been in a European collection since the 1960s.

The statue is carved from brown quartzite. Not only is it very beautiful and very rare, but the subject, of course, has been a celebrity for almost a century.

HAWASS: Tutankhamun is the king of the kings. Tutankhamun is unique. Tutankhamun is different.

[02:55:00] GLASS: Tutankhamun matters because he's famous. We've all heard of him because uniquely, his tomb was found in 1922 with all its golden treasures intact. These treasures will be the main attraction when the new Grand Egyptian museum finally opens near Cairo, next year.

Despite the auction, the Egyptian's say, they will persist in their attempts to recover the statue. Nick Glass, CNN, in London.


ALLEN: Christie's released this statement after the auction. "We recognized that historic objects can raise complex discussions about the past. Yet, our role today is to work to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects." CNN will seek comment from Egypt about the sale.

We're turning now from the sands of Egypt to the sands of Turkey. A new sand sculpture exhibition was opened at the so-called sand museum in the city of Antalya. It's called Legends. And it features sculptures from 20 artists from around the world.

And as you can see, it has everything. From mythical creatures to the Seven Wonders of the World. These works of art were reportedly completed in three weeks using more than 10 tons of sand. Well done.

Well, Americans celebrated the 4th of July Independence Day holiday with a bang. And cities across the country lit up beneath huge fireworks displays. Here's a sample.

Beautiful there in Atlanta and Chicago. And we leave you this hour with the photo of another historic American landmark. This is the famous lighthouse on Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. On the 4th, it was beautifully draped in the stars and stripes.

We hope everyone in the U.S. enjoyed their holiday. We're right back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM.