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CNN NEWSROOM

Iranians Warned before Seizing U.K.-Flagged Ship; Trump Says He'd Vouch for A$AP Rocky; Zimbabwe Water Crisis Hits 2 Million People; AOC Says Trump's Policies Are About "Ethnicity And Racism"; Tulsi Gabbard Joins Puerto Rico Protests; Seventh Week of Mass Marches in Hong Kong; Apollo 11 Anniversary. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 21, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A standoff over oil tankers. The U.S. tells Iran to release the ship it captured in the Strait of Hormuz as Britain holds an Iranian vessel.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Why Donald Trump is trying to get a New York rapper out of a Swedish jail and what Sweden has to say about this.

HOWELL: And triple-digit heat: more than two-thirds of the U.S. bracing for sweltering heat. And it is a big problem.

ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I hope you're inside in a cool home. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell from CNN headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts now.

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HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. And the United Kingdom is accusing Iran of illegal interference when it seized a British flagged oil tanker. The U.K. says the oil tanker was in Omani waters when Iran's military captured it Friday. The U.K. says no doubt, it is a move of retaliation because Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar.

ALLEN: In a tweet, Iran's foreign minister accused Britain of piracy in Gibraltar but claimed Iran is upholding international law. Britain's foreign secretary called that flat wrong.

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JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: They see this as a tit-for-tat situation following Grace I being detained in Gibraltar. Nothing could be further from the truth. Grace I was detained legally in Gibraltarian waters because it was carrying oil against E.U. sanctions, to Syria and that's why Gibraltarian authorities acted totally with respect to due process and totally within the law.

The Stena Impero was seized in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law. It was then forced to sail into Iran. This is totally and utterly unacceptable. It raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping and indeed international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

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ALLEN: NATO, France and Germany have all condemned the Iranian action but the U.S. secretary of state says Tehran does not appear willing to change its behavior.

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MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Iranian regime has to make a decision that it wants to behave like a normal nation. To date we've seen no indications that the Iranians are prepared to fundamentally change the direction of their nation.

If they do the things we've asked them to do on their nuclear program, their missile program, their malign behavior around the world -- I mean, you can just watch their actions.

These are actions that threaten. We saw the statements of Foreign Minister Hunt. Hunt; I spoke to him yesterday -- with other actions, these are not the actions of a country that looks like it's headed in the right direction.

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HOWELL: With this standoff over ships, here's why this all matters, about one-quarter of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The U.K. has advised British ships to avoid that narrow waterway and the U.S. Maritime Administration is warning ships to exercise caution there.

ALLEN: Our Matthew Chance joins us from the UAE.

This already dangerous situation, could easily tilt in the wrong direction, could it not?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly could. It's a very dangerous situation here. You join me here on the Gulf of Oman, just a few miles from the exact point in the Persian Gulf region, where that British flagged Stena Impero ship was intercepted a couple of days ago.

It's a point of the latest point of conflict that's emerged in this extremely volatile region. The two countries have been trading comments. The British calling the seizure unacceptable. The Iranians putting across comments, saying the British should reign in those that want to stoke tensions.

But this is more than a bilateral dispute between Britain and Iran. You have to set it against the backdrop of the escalating tensions in the region, particularly between the United States and Iran, which has seen allegations from the U.S. about Iran attack vessels in the Persian Gulf region.

The two countries have down each other's aerial vehicles, drones. There's been a buildup of military forces in the region as well. It's easy to see, even though the British say they want this to be resolved diplomatically, it's easy to see how an incident like --

[04:05:00]

CHANCE: -- this could escalate into a broader, wider kind of problem and even ignite a hot conflict in this Persian Gulf region.

ALLEN: Absolutely, Matthew.

Has there been anything recently coming from Iran, in response to what Britain is saying, that it needs to be released or there will be serious consequences?

CHANCE: There's been a comment from the Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom, saying the political forces in Britain should be reigned in, those that want to escalate tensions, I'm paraphrasing the statement he released.

But Iran has been absolutely categorical, putting out a video, saying it did the right thing, saying this ship was acting illegally, saying it went the wrong direction in the Strait of Hormuz, a busy shipping route in the region.

They have even broadcast video on state television on Iran of the operation taking place, with fast patrol boats surrounding the Stena Impero and Iranian special forces descending on ropes onto the deck of the ship and taking it into custody.

That's interesting. That's exactly the same tactics that were used by the British Royal Marines when they seized the tanker carrying Iranian oil off the coast of Gibraltar. Iranian officials have been using the some kind of language, saying that this tanker was breaking the law, what the British said about the Iranian tanker.

And they said it has to be due process in the courts that decides the future and the fate of their tankers. Using the exact phrase that the British authorities have used, regarding the Grace I. The Iranians are saying that this is a symmetrical response. It gives them a bargaining chip as well, so if there is a negotiation in the future, they can bring to the table the potential release of this British flagged oil tanker in exchange perhaps for that tanker carrying Iranian oil.

ALLEN: Considering that, it would be highly unlikely to release it, if it was a bargaining chip. Thank you so much, Matthew Chance, from the UAE.

HOWELL: Let's get some perspective with Bobby Ghosh in London.

BOBBY GHOSH, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hi, George. HOWELL: Through its way of acting by regional proxies, there's always been a veil of plausible deniability when it comes to Iran.

In the latest, who did what and why?

Is that part of the strategy as we see more of an assertive Iran?

GHOSH: It is becoming less and less about the strategy. Iran seems to be willing to identify itself in some of its actions. In the matter of taking of this tanker, there's no doubt it was by Iranian authorities. Iranian authorities have owned it and claimed it.

They put out videos showing that their own people did this. So Iran does -- when Iran is confronting the rest of the world, which is most of the time, it does it through multiple channels. And some are through proxies, which carry a bit of plausible deniability, using the Houthis in Yemen to fire rockets into Saudi Arabia. This happened yesterday and got lost in all of the news.

On the other side, they use the IRGC, the Revolutionary Guard, to directly do provocative and confrontational things. So Iran likes to have it both ways. That's what it's doing right now.

HOWELL: Iran has threatened before to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Whether they could actually do that, that's an entirely different question.

How much power does Iran have?

How much leverage there?

GHOSH: It's a very narrow strait and a quarter of all of the world's oil movement, takes place through that strait. Oil companies and insurance companies that underwrite the traffic, tend to be very skittish. Iran doesn't have to do a great deal to make the entire oil industry nervous and prices up.

Can they actually stop all shipping through the strait?

There's more are more American and British naval vessels in the strait to protect the shipping, it gives the oil tankers a certain amount of protection. But if oil companies and tanker owners decide they don't want to take the risk, then Iran doesn't have to do a great deal. They just have to convey a threat that --

[04:10:00]

GHOSH: -- they're going to do things like this, pick up civilian tankers, sometimes tankers that have nothing to do with Iran's conflict with the West. That will be enough. You don't have to physically close the strait, as long as you frighten companies into stopping the use of the strait.

HOWELL: Western powers like the United States have ramped up resources in that region. When you consider the number of U.S. bases surrounding Iran, how much

leverage does the U.S. have, to put pressure on Iran, beyond the sanctions already in place?

GHOSH: The U.S. sanctions, as you point out, have reached a stage where there's only incremental pain that you can inflict on the Iranians. The British are going to apply sanctions of their own.

Other European countries, Germany, France, European Union, are thinking of applying their own sanctions. We're getting to a stage where the impact of the sanctions is already so substantial, there's not a lot more that can be done to add to it.

So that part of the pressure on Iran is beginning to run -- we don't have that many more options left.

HOWELL: Bobby Ghosh, we appreciate your time and perspective today. We'll stay in touch with you. Thank you.

GHOSH: Anytime.

ALLEN: U.S. president Trump is trying to get an American rapper out of a Swedish jail.

HOWELL: However, Sweden's prime minister says their court system is completely independent and won't be swayed by outside pressure. The president told the prime minister of that nation, A$AP Rocky is not a flight risk and vouched for his bail. The rapper has been jailed for weeks on assault allegations.

ALLEN: CNN correspondent David Culver joins us from London.

David, hello to you.

What do we know about this assault allegation and President Trump's involvement in this case?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. Interesting it's reached the Oval Office. The president taking great interest in this, so much so, he has used part of his weekend, his Saturday, to call the prime minister of Sweden, spending about 20 minutes on the phone with him, we're told.

The president also discussed it from the Oval Office with reporters on Friday.

Why does he care about this?

And how was it brought to his attention?

It seems like it came from first lady Melania Trump and Kanye West.

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CULVER (voice-over): With all the pressing matters U.S. president Donald Trump has on his foreign policy agenda right now, including rising tensions with Iran and North Korea, he's also using his political sway for this.

TRUMP: The situation in Sweden.

CULVER (voice-over): "The situation in Sweden" that the president refers to involves jailed American rapper and music producer, Rakim Mayers, who goes by A$AP Rocky.

TRUMP: I personally don't know A$AP Rocky but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country.

CULVER (voice-over): A$AP's more than 10 million Instagram followers have not heard from him for nearly three weeks now. The Grammy- nominated artist is in custody in Stockholm.

Swedish authorities detained him on suspicion of assault in connection with a brawl on June 30th.

This edited video posted by TMZ appears to show A$AP in a confrontation in June. But additional edited videos uploaded onto A$AP's Instagram paint a different story.

A$AP ROCKY, RAPPER: Look, this what the shame is (ph), we don't want no problems with these boys. They keep following us. Look at them. They keep following.

CULVER (voice-over): A$AP telling his fans that these men kept following him and harassing him and his entourage, even alleging they threw headphones at his bodyguard.

The Stockholm district court decided Friday that A$AP Rocky should stay in custody until July 25th as the prosecutor continues to investigate, claiming that he is a flight risk.

The rapper's lawyer says the court's decision was expected but unfair, according to a report from Reuters. The lawyer says his client, quote, "believes he was assaulted and has acted in self-defense."

President Trump tweeting Saturday that he called Sweden's prime minister and told him that A$AP, quote, "was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail," despite the Scandinavian country not having a bail system.

It's earned the president praise from some celebrities, Kim Kardashian thanking Trump for helping A$AP and his commitment to justice reform.

Singer Justin Bieber weighing in, too, tweeting to the president, "I appreciate you trying to help him. But while you're at it, can you also let those kids out of cages?" a reference to the migrant crisis along the Mexican border.

CULVER: As for how Sweden's leader is responding, through a spokesman, the prime minister acknowledged that he spoke with President Trump. He characterized it as a friendly and respectful --

[04:15:00] CULVER: -- 20-minute phone call Saturday but telling the president that his government neither can nor will try to influence the judicial process with respect to A$AP Rocky's case. Both sides say they will likely talk further on the matter in coming days.

ALLEN: Another aspect of this, he's trying to help a black rapper. At the same time he has been called racist by those tweets. Even people in the U.S. and world leaders stepped up, calling that abhorrent and racist. Interesting timing.

CULVER: The timing cannot be overlooked, Natalie. It comes the same week they're trying to, the administration, calm the racist rhetoric. And world leaders have started to respond to that.

And you look at that press conference, that was gathering of reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. The president made reference This being important to the African American community, many friends of his within the African American community. He goes on to say, something to the effect of, this is not just for the African American community but for Americans as whole because we're all one.

He tries to paint a picture of unity in that moment, perhaps trying to contrast the racist rhetoric that has re reverberated.

ALLEN: Thanks so much, David Culver for us from London. Thanks, David.

HOWELL: Across the United States, extreme heat is punishing millions of people. Still ahead, how the long, scorching temperatures will be sticking around.

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ALLEN: In the United States, extreme temperatures have more than two- thirds of the country feeling the heat. Record highs reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 37 degrees Celsius. Millions are under heat advisories as local governments urge people to stay indoors.

Our Polo Sandoval is in New York to see what people are doing there to try to beat the heat.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As we stay cool here in Queens and you want to know how some folks are staying cool, you can look directly behind me where folks have been coming to the iconic Unisphere fountain in Flushing, Queens, trying to find a way of staying cool. Obviously, people here are having a good time, but the message is quite serious coming from authorities. If you just consider what we are expected to see across much of the country, at least 40 percent of residents in the lower 48 expecting at least 95 degrees or hotter. That's 95 degrees in the shade. Factor in the sun. Factor in the humidity and you do have those dangerously hot conditions here.

In New York, people are being advised to stay indoors in the air conditioning or, perhaps, turn to some of the area cooling centers that have been established, particularly for children and the elderly, some of the most vulnerable sections of the population here.

We're already feeling, as we get misted by this water, we're certainly feeling some of the impacts here by the heat. There have been multiple events that have been canceled here because of the heat, some running events.

Even in Saratoga Springs. Horse races there called off because it's too hot for the first time in 13 years. So in the northeast, it's even too hot for the horses.

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HOWELL: Polo saying it's too hot for the horses, it's too hot for a lot of people.

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ALLEN: We turn now to Zimbabwe, where a severe drought has depleted water sources and left more than 2 million people without access to clean water.

HOWELL: CNN's David McKenzie has more on this story for you.

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DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Harare, the taps are running dry. More than 1 million people in Zimbabwe's capital --

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MCKENZIE (voice-over): -- like Ben Mukosa, are struggling under severe water restrictions after the city began a rationing program.

Locals can now only access clean tap water once a week, forcing them to turn to water motors, open wells and bore holes to fill the void.

BEN MUKOSA, HARARE RESIDENT (from captions): There's no water coming from the taps. We have to depend on bore holes, bore hole water. And you got to have a wheelbarrow to push up from the bore up to your place. It's just bad. It's that bad.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): City officials say a severe drought and the cost of purifying process has drained the city's reservoirs and resources. The latest sign that Zimbabwe's economy is all but collapsing. Prices of basic supplies like sugar and cooking oil have skyrocketed in the past month, in some cases soaring by 200 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's also making us a less consumptive population. I'm saying, do I need this? Probably not.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The inflation rate has nearly doubled and reaching 175 percent in June. That's a troubling uptick for a country that saw hyperinflation go to 500 billion percent in 2008 at the height of its financial collapse.

Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to turn around the battered economy after he replaced Robert Mugabe in 2017 in the parent coup but widespread shortages have lingered.

CHARLES MWAZHA, HARARE RESIDENT (through translator): Life is becoming tougher for us because we do not have money to buy diesel and the price increase means only those who are rich can afford to buy.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Businesses are also floundering as power companies cut electricity to keep up with demand, sometimes for over 18 hours a day causing production lines to slow to a crawl and leaving workers in the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): I fell ill after working in the cold for two nights in a row. I am still not well but I had to come or else my family would not eat.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): A struggle for bare necessities felt millions of times over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Ethnicity and racism taking center stage, as the race for the White House heats up. We explore next how U.S. president Trump's 2020 strategy may be working or not.

HOWELL: Plus, the extradition bill is suspended. But the Hong Kong protesters aren't backing down. We'll have a live report from the city ahead.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. The headlines we're following this hour.

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ALLEN: One of the U.S. congresswomen on the receiving end of racist attacks by President Trump in recent days is firing back. HOWELL: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed him at a town hall event on immigration. It was held in her hometown of New York. She accused the president of enacting policies all about ethnicity and racism.

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REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: We do not have to acquiesce to the president's racism because he is using racism. He is stoking white supremacy and he is allowing, frankly, neo-Nazi groups to go off unchecked because that is a key part of rousing his base.

But we cannot allow and give into that. I think what our response has to do is in turning up and turning out an electorate because he doesn't have to win districts. He needs to win states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: "The New York Times" looked at that in a new report. It said the president's advantage in the electoral college could be even larger than it was in 2016. That's because his polarizing campaign may do better state by state, even if he loses the popular national vote.

Political observers say it may even lessen the political cost of actions, like those racist tweets, attacking the four minority congresswomen including Ocasio-Cortez. Let's put all this into perspective with James Boys, joining us now from London.

It all comes down to this question, who sets the narrative and in recent days we've seen the president attacking these four congresswomen of color. As Democrats respond in contrast, does that knock them off balance from commanding their own message, heading into 2020?

JAMES BOYS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Good morning, George. There's no doubt about it, that Donald Trump has from the moment he ascended the elevator in Trump Tower, he's been effective at dominating and guiding the political narrative of the United States.

And so long as the Democratic Party failed to have a single, coherent message or leader going into the election cycle, I think he will continue to do just that.

And of course, his goal, quite frankly, is that the Democrats remain divided as long as possible and, ultimately, in his view, to have somebody lead that party to the election, as far to the Left as possible, hoping for a George McGovern figure from 1972 to emerge and lead the party. That would very much play into Trump's hands going into the election cycle.

HOWELL: With the upcoming Democratic debates to be seen here on CNN, what must Democrats do to bring attention to the issues that are important to them and their electorate?

[04:35:00] BOYS: I think they need to stop fighting amongst themselves. That will be difficult because there's a lot of candidates running. It seems, quite frankly, anyone who has taken out a subscription to the "The New York Times" is seeking to be the Democratic candidate this time around.

As long as they keep doing that, that's going to play into Donald Trump's hands. They really need to coalesce around a single nominee and take the fight back to Donald Trump, if they have any hope to secure the White House in next November's election.

HOWELL: Anyone who has taken out a subscription to "The New York Times." You got me there. There's a ideological divide that has shifted the Republican Party to the right; among Democrats, the same divide pushing some to the left, on issues on immigration, health care, the move that centrists say could scare moderate voters away.

Do you believe the push to polarity will help or hurt Democrats in 2020?

BOYS: We've been seeing a drift towards the extremes of the Left and the Right and the right, for several years. The Republican Party has been moving to the Right. This last cycle, the Democratic Party moving further and further to the Left.

That's very much, of course, in contrast to what happened in the 1990s, when there was a great deal more centrism around candidates such as Bill Clinton. I think what you're seeing with the polarization in America, is the sense that it is becoming incumbent upon somebody to get that center ground.

Several election cycles ago, Mitt Romney talked about the idea that America is split between 47 percent Democrat and 47 percent Republicans. And he was right then. Both parties desperately need to tap into the middle 6 percent to win the presidential election.

Right now, Donald Trump's policy is to keep doing what he did three years ago with a view he will win. But in 2016, he was aided by the Green Party candidacy and the libertarians, both who hindered Hillary Clinton's ability to win and were instrumental in the key states she lost.

So Trump has a fight on his hands but the Democrats are making it easier for Donald Trump at this point.

HOWELL: It plays into the new information of "The New York Times," looking into polling data, where the president could have a big win state-by-state, when it comes to the electoral college, even if losing the popular vote.

Should Democrats be worried?

The question, what is their message and are they able to put forward a single, cohesive message, given so many that are competing?

James Boys, we appreciate your time. Thank you. BOYS: Thank you, George.

ALLEN: Protesters in Puerto Rico are not backing down until the island governor quits. Why they say they have completely lost faith in his leadership. That's next.

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ALLEN (voice-over): As you can see, protests in Puerto Rico are still going strong. Thousands are demanding that the island's governor resign. But he refuses to do so. The public outrage was sparked by a leak of offensive text messages between the governor and his aides.

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HOWELL: Protesters say Ricardo Rossello and his administration are hopelessly corrupt. Our Nick Paton Walsh has the story from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's this growing sense of momentum now, really night after night. While the protest numbers are small, they're noisy and they're looking forward towards Monday, where they hope they will possibly have hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, quote, organizers, of people on the streets, paralyzing parts of San Juan and a key highway.

Here behind me there are people who have been out all day long and the night before and the night before that, sadly clashes on Wednesday night briefly with the same singular message. They want governor Ricardo Rossello to step down immediately.

In operative, imaginative, sometimes profane in their slogans here, they've also found themselves joined recently on the streets by Democratic candidates. One particular, Tulsi Gabbard today told me she thought he should resign immediately.

Obviously what will happen next is a bit of an open question because most likely his immediate successor would come from the same political elite that everyone here is quite so furious about.

Governor Rossello himself, well, a bit of an air of business as usual. Certainly on Instagram. Releasing statements suggested he's not even contemplating the resignation that everybody here, small in their number, although increasing in momentum across Puerto Rico, want to get. Today he responded to further allegations in the local media about him having private bank accounts, in which he benefited, with extraordinary anger, rejecting that entire allegation.

It doesn't make much of a difference, though, to many here whose minds are already made up, who continue to grow in their numbers. And as I say, looking toward Monday's protests and the growing sense of momentum really about how long governor Rossello can really stay in power -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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HOWELL: Protesters are again taking to the streets in Hong Kong. They've been at it, now, for weeks, denouncing a controversial bill there. We're monitoring the protests as they get under way.

ALLEN: The bill would have allowed extradition to Mainland China. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam announced it was suspended last month but that's not good enough for the protesters. They want it completely withdrawn and they want Lam to resign. As you see from this video, they are out in throngs. Anna Coren is in the thick of it.

Hello, Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to believe that the protests have been going on for more than a month and a half. And yet they're still attracting hundreds of thousands of people.

We're at the front with pro-democracy activist Denise Ho as well as the founder of the pro-democracy movement, Martin Lee. We're now at the halfway mark. This is going on more than an hour.

Hundreds of thousands have turned out here for another Sunday of protests. They are enduring the heat and the humidity and they are not deterred. There is incredible momentum. As you say, they want Carrie Lam, to formally withdraw that controversial extradition bill. Earlier this month, she --

[04:45:00]

COREN: -- declared it was dead. But that's not good enough for these people. They want to hear the words "formally withdrawn." They also want her to resign. Now there's varying reports as to whether she has said to Beijing she is willing to step down.

Beijing saying, no, you have to stay in the job. But we're hearing from her office, she is staying there and not going anywhere. She wants to improve her relationship with the people, with the protesters.

But these people, Natalie, they feel she has lost credibility. She has lost the faith of the people, that she does need to step down. These people say she is not listening. The government is not listening. They are not responding to their demands, to withdraw the controversial extradition bill, to set up an independent police investigation -- investigation into the police use of excessive force on the 12th of June.

They also want the people who have been -- who have been arrested to be released. I want to just mention that, over the weekend, police arrested three people here in Hong Kong over the largest seizure of explosives.

We don't know if it's in relation to these protests. But they say that two kilograms of TATP, an explosive used by Al Qaeda, by ISIS, they were seized in a warehouse in the New Territories, along with weapons and extradition pamphlets, that three men between 25 and 27 have been arrested.

We cannot make any connection between the arrests and today's protests. But police are calling on everyone to be vigilant. There's a heavy police presence here. But this is extremely peaceful. These protesters are extremely peaceful.

They don't want violence. They are just here to deliver a message to Carrie Lam and the government they want that extradition bill withdrawn.

ALLEN: She said she killed the bill.

What is difference between killing the bill and it being formally withdrawn?

COREN: That's a good question. At the end of the day, Natalie, it comes down to legalities . To formally withdraw the bill, she would have to say those words and the process goes through the legislature. She has come out saying, the bill is dead, it will not get up in her legislature.

At the end of the day, these protesters do not trust her. They don't trust this woman that tried to push through the controversial extradition bill, that would allow anyone in Hong Kong to be arrested and charged with an offense and to be extradited to Mainland China.

No one here trusts China's legal system. And the fear, Natalie, is that Hong Kong's -- its freedoms are being eroded, that China is encroaching on Hong Kong's freedom, the freedom that they have enjoyed the last 22 years since the British handed Hong Kong back to Mainland China.

This generation, the young generation here, they've only known life as it is in Hong Kong, to have the freedom, to have the human rights, to have an independent initial system. They don't want Mainland China to encroach on their ideals and freedoms and their values.

But they see it as seriously under threat. I should mention that it's not just young people turning out here for today's protest. You have older people and families. It's a cross section of society that is coming to the streets.

And they are still coming. It's approaching 5:00 here local time. These protests started at 3:30 in the afternoon. Our cameraman is giving you an idea of the stream that is still coming. It is hot, Natalie. We're in the middle of summer. Humidity in Hong Kong is seriously high.

But the people here, it is just not about the extradition bill. We heard this man just say, free Hong Kong. They are fighting for the future of Hong Kong. The people here don't want China to think of Hong Kong as another big Chinese city.

ALLEN: The crowds are unbelievable. We'll wait and see what Carrie Lam will respond to yet another protest. Thank you, Anna Coren.

And CNN NEWSROOM will be back.

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HOWELL: It has been 50 years now. The U.S. marking the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by a manned spacecraft. And in Washington, D.C., take a look at this. People came together, treated to a light show, projected on the Washington Monument and it featured scenes from the Apollo 11 mission, from liftoff to reentry.

ALLEN: And fireworks soared over the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas. They were set off on Saturday, at the exact hour astronaut Neil Armstrong made his giant leap a half-century earlier. Mission Control was in Washington and as Rachel Crane tells us, the facility has now been restored to the smallest detail.

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RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: This is about as cool of a location as it gets for a live shot. I mean this is the iconic Apollo Mission Control. This is the room where it happened, where 50 years ago today the scientists and engineers were able to pull off the incredible feat of landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

And it feels as if the engineers and the scientists just stepped away from their desks as a result of a six-year restoration project. And the attention to detail is simply outstanding. Everything from the wallpaper to the carpets, to the cigarette butts, the ashtrays.

I mean it is all as authentic --

[04:55:00]

CRANE: -- as it gets and we have the opportunity to speak with Scott Millican, who was an astronaut trainer during the Apollo program. He was in the room when Neil Armstrong took those first steps.

He spoke about the emotion of being back in this room 50 years later, sitting in his seat. Take a listen to what he had to say.

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SCOTT MILLICAN, FORMER NASA TRAINER: Sitting in this seat again after 50 years, when we were stepping out on the moon, it is really an emotional thing. It's been quite emotional for me this year especially.

And I wasn't so emotional about things back when it happened. And I really didn't realize we were making a big historical event. I was doing my job as an engineer, doing my task that had to be done.

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CRANE: Here, you have the cigarettes they were smoking at the time. This is the Apollo 11 flight plan. You have the cigar ashtrays they used. They were chain-smoking around the clock. They needed big ashtrays.

This is where the flight surgeon sat. This restoration project, a real labor of love. They were able to restore this iconic Apollo Mission Control to all of its glory in time to this incredible 50th anniversary -- back to you.

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ALLEN: As I heard in a documentary, their heart rates were relatively low when they lifted off. Mine would be --

HOWELL: How was that?

ALLEN: They are just -- they're the right stuff.

HOWELL: They are the right stuff.

ALLEN: The day's top stories are just ahead.

HOWELL: Thanks for being with us. Right back after the break.

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