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Dow Jones Industrial Falls Dramatically; Hong Kong Protests Continue Today; New Lawsuit Filed In Jeffrey Epstein Case; Extradition Protesters Make Five Demands; Airline Caught Between Hong Kong Protesters And China; Russia Mines Resources In Central African Republic; Genoa Marks One Year Since 43 Killed In Bridge Disaster; Wildfire Consuming Greek Island Of Evia. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 14, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:21] BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Bianca Nobilo, in for Hala Gorani.

And tonight, recession worries as the Dow tanks. Are the world's top economies really on the brink? We look at the warning signs.

Then, protestors in the streets and troops on the border. We take you to Shenzhen, China, where CNN has just recorded these Chinese military


And later, a CNN exclusive on the ground in Africa, following Russian mercenaries in Vladimir Putin's private army.

What goes up, must come down. But how far down will it go? I'm talking about the U.S. stock market. A month ago, the Dow Industrials reached a

record high. Today, stocks are in retreat, spooked by signs the U.S. may be entering a recession.

An unsual occurrence in the bond market has investors worried. Short-term bond rates climbed higher than the long-term rates, a kind of warning sign

that has happened before every recession in the past 50 years. Christina Alesci is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to explain all of it

to us.

So, Christina, take us through the movements in the markets today, and what's the mood like there now, where you are?

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Let me just put some context around this first. Trump, three years ago, said he was the

only person who could save the economy. Three years later, recession fears are spiking because of his ill-planned trade war with China. Now he wants

the U.S. Federal Reserve to bail him out.

Well, investors, instead, are bailing on him. There is a lot of selling going on in the stock market right now. That's because investors are

looking for cover in safer places in the markets. And one of those places is obviously bonds and treasuries.

And that is causing that phenomenon that you talked about in the introduction, which is an inverted yield curve. Essentially what that

means is that it's more expensive to borrow over a shorter period of time than a longer period of time. That is an unnatural state of affairs, and

it is usually followed by a recession, which is why everyone is so nervous.

Also, investors, waking up to the fact that they may have been a little overly optimistic yesterday, when there was that huge spike after the

administration, the U.S. administration, announced that tariffs on Chinese goods would be delayed.

Well, now, investors, digesting that news and realizing perhaps this trade war will not have an end before the 2020 election. And more importantly,

there are still $100 billions' worth of products that will face those tariffs.

So U.S. investors and, by the way, business leaders and CEOs, cannot plan their businesses. They cannot move forward. That's precisely what's been

holding the U.S. economy back from really growing. But at this point, it seems like investors are very unnerved by the trade war, by other

geopolitical risks going on in the world.

And let's not forget, there's really no safe place. China announced less than expected retail sales today. Germany released data that showed its

economy is contracting. There's a lot of risk around the world. People are just -- they want to pack it up and go home right now. Doesn't mean we

can't come back from this, but it's looking pretty bad right now.

NOBILO: Christina Alesci, thank you, from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Well, as Christina was saying, it's not just the U.S. economy that could be seeing signs of trouble. Germany just reported that its economy shrank

during the second quarter. Britain is struggling to deal with the looming impact of Brexit, and the mighty Chinese economy is being hit by the trade

war with the United States. So let's bring in CNN Business Anchor, Julia Chatterley for us.

Julia, you monitor all of these developments very closely. How well- founded are the concerns that all of the big five major economies could be teetering on the brink of recession?

CHATTERLEY: It's an important question, Bianca. And I think that's what scared investors today. While we watched the United States and China slug

it out and asked questions over whether they can or they can't reach a trade deal here, behind the scenes, you can see collateral damage. We're

seeing it in Germany, we've seen the data weaken in China, for example, just today.

But Asia-Pacific, we've had warnings from those nations over the past week in particular. So there's lots of nervousness. Let's throw in Europe more

broadly as well. I think they're right to worry.

I think the other big question here, though -- and that's what's given jitters today -- is what's going on in the U.S. bond market. Now, for the

last 45 years, every U.S. recession has seen this phenomenon going on in the bond market.

[14:05:00] However, when we see this phenomenon in the bond market, we don't always ultimately see a U.S. recession. So you have to ask whether

the flight to safe assets that we're seeing right now amid the broader jitters, is what's creating this phenomenon, rather than, actually, there

being a risk of U.S. recession. And that's one of the big questions here. There's also big questions about (ph) what's going to happen with the trade

war, Bianca.

But I will make the point -- and I do think we have to take a step back here and be, perhaps, a little bit calmer. Over the course of the last 48

hours, we're only down half a percent. Remember, we've rallied. We saw gains of two percent, 1.5 to two percent, in yesterday's trading session,

so I just want to be a little bit cautious that we don't have a self- fulfilling prophecy and panic everybody here.

NOBILO: Yes. We definitely don't want to add to the panic. But, Julia, maybe you could help me decode this tweet from the president because he is,

of course, one of the big factors that's acting on the U.S. markets.

TEXT: Donald J. Trump: "The Fed has got to do something! The Fed is the Central Bank of the United States, not the Central Bank of the World."

Mark Grant @Varneyco Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside!

NOBILO: So he quoted a "Fox Business" host as saying, "The Fed is the central bank of the United States, not the central bank of the world. The

Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside."

So, Julia, decipher that for us. What do you think the president's getting at there? What's his message?

CHATTERLEY: Well, the president has been pretty consistent on this point. He wants lower rates. I don't think any U.S. president wants higher rates.

They'd always rather see lower rates and help juice the economy here.

He's alluding to the fact that he was saying back in December, the Federal Reserve should not be hiking rates, and they did. And then we saw the

market sell-off, the worst December that we've seen, actually, since the great financial crisis, back in the 1920s.

So we should make the point that perhaps President Trump has a point here. He continues to put pressure on the central bank of the United States, of

course, the Federal Reserve. But the bottom line is, the impact of the trade war that we're having and we're seeing here, between the United

States and China, is having a global impact.

And so while he's right that the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, doesn't set policy for the rest of the world -- it sets policy for the

United States -- it's having to react to the global economic weakness. Because ultimately, that does have an impact on financial markets and on

confidence in the United States.

So I'd argue he's wrong right now. But then, you know, that's not going to stop him.

NOBILO: Julia Chatterley, thank you so much for helping us sift the fundamentals from all of the panic. Thank you.

Just as operations at the Hong Kong airport are getting back to normal after violent clashes between protestors and police, new unrest is

unfolding today at a different location in Hong Kong. CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Ben Wedeman takes us to the streets.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're in Sham Shui Po, a working-class very crowded neighborhood of Kowloon, right

outside the police station. Earlier this evening, there were protests here. The protestors, outside the police station. The police fired tear

gas, quickly dispersed them. But now, they've come back and they're flashing these lasers onto the police station.

This has become a very common tactic used by the protestors. Hong Kong police, however, has deemed the use of lasers as an offensive weapon

because they claim some of their officers' eyes have been damaged by it.

Now, despite the fact that the protestors were dispersed earlier this evening, now, they're back, this crowd here, some of them goading the

police with these lasers. What's significant is that in addition to people wearing black clothing, which has become the color of these protests, there

are also ordinary residents out here.

Something that we're seeing in recent weeks is that ordinary residents are angry with the use by the police of tear gas.

Why do you think the government has not responded to your message, your five demands?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they don't care about the common people in Hong Kong. They don't -- they don't give a damn about whether -- whether the

streets are in chaos or not, they just care about they're still in power because they have the power, they have the votes in the parliament. That's

what -- what's what matters to them.

And that's why they haven't (ph) responded. And I think the protestors are trying to get their message out again and again, until they -- until they

succumb (ph) to (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

WEDEMAN: And as this standoff continues, what is apparent is that despite the apology extended by some of the protestors as a result of what were

seen as excesses by the protestors at the airport, that hasn't really put a dent in the momentum of this protest movement. Here, we have one of those

black-clad protestors out here.

[14:10:03] So despite the fact that the airport has gone back to normal, more or less, the streets of Hong Kong continue to boil (ph). I'm Ben

Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Hong Kong.


NOBILO: The world is watching to see how China responds to this growing unrest. You may have heard reports about Chinese troop movements near the

Hong Kong border. Well, CNN now has a team on the ground in the area, to show you exactly what's happening.

Our crew filmed this video of Chinese paramilitary units in Shenzhen today. One officer said they were there for a temporary assignment. Our Matt

Rivers is live in Shenzhen with the details.

Matt, you say that the presence of these troops is clearly meant to send a message. What is that message, Matt, and how do you think it's being


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, Bianca, look no further than the fact of where those troops are in relation to where we are right now.

So right over there, those lights over my left shoulder, that is the bridge from mainland China into Hong Kong, just on the other side of the bay just

behind me.

And where we filmed those People's Armed Police forces, that's just a couple of miles away from here. That is right on the border with Hong


We were able to go see that very briefly before an officer forced us to stop filming. But that's the first time that we've seen those armed

police, which is actually a part of China's Central Military Commission, it's a step below the People's Liberation Army, the centralized army.

It's the first time we've seen them deployed in large numbers, right on the border here, since these protests began. And that is a big deal, make no

mistake about it. We saw at least several dozen personnel carriers, we saw armored personnel carriers, and we saw uniformed members of China's -- that

would be described as their "paramilitary force," walking around with helmets and riot gear, riot shields and even some batons in some cases.

Now, look, no one is saying that, you know, those paramilitary forces are about to go into Hong Kong. You know, that's not what we're saying here.

But what we are saying is that it is significant development, that China, which has long said that it has the right under the Hong Kong basic law, to

send military personnel into Hong Kong to quell protest, to quell violence, the fact that they are deployed here right now, Bianca, that's a

significant development.

NOBILO: And, Matt, just so that we have some context here, what is the border presence like ordinarily? Is there any form of military presence

there? To what extent is this a significant buildup?

RIVERS: Yes. You know, there is. It's a good point to bring up. I mean, there are members of what's called the PAP, the People's Armed Police, the

paramilitary units, there are forces based here. There are members of the People's Liberation Army. There is a garrison, not only based in Hong

Kong, but also here in Shenzhen.

So there is normally a presence. But what's notable about this, is that it is a buildup. I mean, where we filmed those troops, that's normally a

sports complex where people play soccer and basketball, and it has essentially been temporarily requisitioned by paramilitary forces because

they don't have anywhere else to put the excess men and equipment that they have brought in.

So that gives you an idea that this is not normal for Shenzhen, that this has happened over the past couple of days and it coincides with increasinly

violent protests in Hong Kong.

There are myriad reasons, Bianca, for Beijing to choose not to send military forces into Hong Kong. The results could be catastrophic, both

economically and militarily, diplomatically, not only for Hong Kong but for China.

But the fact that there are members of the military that are gathering here on the border, shows you how seriously Beijing is taking what's happening

over the last two months in Hong Kong.

NOBILO: Matt Rivers, as ever, thank you very much for your reporting from Shenzhen, there in China. Thanks.

The U.S. State Department says it's deeply concerned by the reports of Chinese paramilitary movement near Hong Kong. A spokesman says, "The

ongoing demonstrations... reflect the sentiment of Hongkongers and their broad and legitimate concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy.

"We categorically reject the false charge of foreign forces as the black hand behind these protests. The continued erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy

puts at risk its long-established special status in international affairs."

So let's bring in CNN Military and Diplomatic Analyst, John Kirby. He's a retired U.S. Navy admiral who once served as assistant U.S. secretary of

state for Public Affairs.

Good to see you, John.


NOBILO: My question to you: The president was tweeting yesterday about the fact that troops were being moved to the border with Hong Kong. What

is the insight that the United States has into Chinese military positioning? And do you think that the president would be aware of a lot

more than that? Do you think that's just the tip of the iceberg of what he knows?

[14:15:12] KIRBY: Well, I think, you know, our intelligence community, which spans many federal agencies, is very, very competent. I suspect that

we have been watching their military and paramilitary movements now for quite some time.

And I don't think that what the president tweeted yesterday, I don't think it was helpful. I also don't think it was anything new. I think it was --

he was reflecting what we've been hearing, here at CNN, from many of our own sources inside the Trump administration, about what they knew about

China's military moves along that border.

NOBILO: John, why do you think that the president has decided to wade into this issue? Obviously, it's consistent with American values, by most

interpretations, that they would be supporting the rights --

KIRBY: Right.

NOBILO: -- to self-determination and democracy. But it's hard to tell with President Trump sometimes. So what do you think is driving him to

make statements on this?

KIRBY: It's interesting, your question. Because I think a lot of the experts that I've been talking to myself, over the last couple of days, are

wondering why Trump isn't weighing in more than he is.

I think a gracious way of reading that tweet yesterday was that he was trying to send a subtle message to President Xi that, "Hey, we're watching

this and we're -- you know, we don't want you to do anything rash and foolish," even though it was a bit of a soft mark (ph) attempt.

But in almost every other way, Bianca, he has, in effect, signaled that Xi is going to have sort of a clean slate, that he's going to be -- that the

United States isn't going to push back significantly enough if President Xi decides to be more forceful in putting down these protests.

I mean, one of his advisors, without -- even today, just saying, "Hey, this is an internal matter between the people of Hong Kong and the government in

Beijing," which of course it's much more than that. So I think a very legitimate question needs to be, "So, why isn't this administration being a

little bit more forceful?"

Now, I will say -- and you read it at the top of our interivew - that statement by the State Department just a couple of hours ago, was very

forceful, was aggressive, was complete and fulsome and it's the kind of statement that you want to see out of the United States government.

Unfortunately, it's not clear whether that statement and the State Department is speaking adequately enough for President Trump.

NOBILO: So even though you think it's unlikely that the president and his administration is going to take a tougher line on this at this time,

circumstances can change. We don't know how things may or may not --

KIRBY: Right.

NOBILO: -- escalate in Hong Kong. If they were going to take a more forceful step, what would the next step be?

KIRBY: Well, I think, you know, if there's going to -- first of all, I think they need to help garner the international community's support as

well. The United States needs to be seen as a convener of the international community's opinion on this. And to put some diplomatic

public pressure on Xi, not to intervene in a forceful way and make this -- and make the situation worse.

Number two, I think there should be, you know, talk -- and probably there is, preliminary talks -- of what kind of sanctions you might levy on

President Xi, so that there's an economic cost for this.

Now, I am told that President Xi very well knows that there's an economic cost, perhaps, if he weighs in militarily or he gets more forceful. But I

think that signal needs to be sent much more clearly to him and to his government in Beijing.

NOBILO: John Kirby in Washington, thank you.

KIRBY: Thank you.

NOBILO: Still to come tonight, Jeffrey Epstein once called British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell his best friend. We'll tell you why a new

lawsuit is calling her "Epstein's enabler."

Plus, an American rapper who gained the support of the U.S. president, learns the verdict in an assault case against him in Sweden. What's next

for A$AP Rocky?


[14:20:56] NOBILO: Welcome back. Investigators are trying to learn more about associates of the late Jeffrey Epstein. FBI agents have been spotted

on his private Caribbean Island. Among other things, they're following up reports that co-conspirators helped procure underage girls, both for

Epstein himself and for his acquaintances.

A woman who says that she was abused by Epstein when she was a teenager has filed suit against his estate and four people, including British socialite

Ghislaine Maxwell. The suit says that Maxwell, a former Epstein girlfriend, helped to procure underage girls for him. Let's bring in Kara

Scannell to discuss this.

So, Kara, what have we learned about the suit that one of these accusers has filed? And what recourse to justice is there, now, for victims after

Epstein's apparent suicide?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Bianca, the lawsuit today was filed by a woman who alleged that she was sexually abused and raped by Jeffrey

Epstein when she was 15 years old. Her name is Jennifer Araoz.

Now, she filed this lawsuit because New York had recently passed a law that allows any adult who was abused as a child to file a lawsuit to seek

recourse. Today was the first day that law, which was passed earlier this year, went into effect.

So she's filing today to try to get some kind of civil remedy for this. And she said that she was doing it even though Epstein is dead, she's suing

his estate, Ghislaine Maxwell and three others, you know, because she's saying she still wants there to be some justice. She said that they stole

her innocence, her childhood and she wants to still be able to obtain some sense of reclaiming her identity here.

Now, the recourse that any victim could have here, there are a number of lawsuits that are still ongoing in the courts, and I think we're going to

see more filed. We've heard from lawyers representing some of these accusers. They do intend to file to try to get some remedy from Epstein's

estate because he does have some amount of wealth, although that amount of wealth is still a bit in question.

So we will begin to see additional lawsuits coming against Epstein and some of these accusers. Ghislaine Maxwell is named specifically in this one,

for being one of the key enablers in this, in Epstein's operation -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Yes, Kara, I'd like to ask you more about Ghislaine Maxwell because she -- the focus has really shifted to her, and of course she is

one of these four people who's involved, now, in the suit from the accuser, which you've just outlined. What else are we learning about her and her

potential involvement in all this?

SCANNELL: Well, since Jeffrey Epstein is now dead, a lot of the attention and focus has shifted to Ghislaine Maxwell. And that's because she had

once dated Epstein, she is one person that has been repeatedly identified by accusers as someone who was by his side, someone who helped organize and

recruit some victims, who had also managed, according to these accusations, a number of recruiters who were sent out to go and find additional underage

girls to come in and be part of Epstein's operation.

So she's been identified, in multiple cases, as someone who has done this. And the attention has really shifted to her because she did date Jeffrey

Epstein, she knew him well. It appears that, you know, she might have -- she was supported by him in some way financially. And as someone -- she

would be the next kind of key person here, if true, who was involved in this operation.

And so that's where you're going to see a lot of, I think, investigators focus, as well as a lot of focus on her by some of the accusers, now that

Epstein is dead -- Bianca.

NOBILO: And just lastly, Kara, do we have any update on the investigation into what happened in the jail where Epstein seemed to commit suicide?

SCANNELL: It's pretty interesting. We've got Bureau of Prisons investigators and the FBI investigating, a number of them on-scene today at

the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where Epstein was found dead. You know, there are a lot of questions that exist here.

TEXT: Jeffrey Epstein Indicted: Florida multi-millionaire; Accused of operating sex trafficking ring to lure minor girls; "Dozens" of victims as

young as 14 years old; Would pay victims to recruit other victims; Some victims were abused for years

SCANNELL: We've been reporting that there were -- you know, someone who was not acting as a guard but was filling in and serving that role were

(ph) there.

Now, questions about whether a camera that was outside of the cell had recorded anything, and exactly why the guards were not checking on him. He

was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes, and what we're learning is that they had not checked on him for hours. These are all questions that

investigators are trying to get to the bottom of.

[14:25:13] But sources also tell us that the guards are not cooperating, that they've hired lawyers and that is making this investigation a little -

- it's dragging it out a bit more, and it's raising some additional questions as to why these individuals, who are employed by the federal

government, are not talking to, in effect, their bosses to try to explain why they were not checking on him. These are all open questions that

authorities are hoping to get to the bottom of soon -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks, Kara, for your updates across that investigation.

Kara Scannell for us there, in Washington.

One final note concerning the Epstein case. Authorities are investigating an ocean charity that Ghislaine Maxwell founded, The TerraMar Project.

Britain's Charity Commission says it's reviewing potential concerns about the organization's governance and operations. The TerraMar Project

suspended operations last month.

Now, a court in Sweden has found American rapper A$AP Rocky and two members of his entourage, guilty of assault. The court rejected their claim that

they'd acted in self-defense when they fought with a man on a Stockholm street. Hadas Gold has more on a case that attracted high-profile

attention, including from the U.S. president.

HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Bianca, a few hours ago, the American rapper A$AP Rocky and two codefendants were found guilty of

assault stemming from a street fight in Stockhold on June 30th.

Now, though they were found guilty, they will not face any more jail time. A$AP Rocky actually already spent a few weeks in jail, awaiting that trial,

but he was allowed to go back to the United States in early August, before the verdict was announced. Now, they will have to pay about $1,300 in

damages to the victim, and $8,400 in legal expenses and they will be technically on probation for two years.

What would have otherwise been, perhaps, an unremarkable story actually turned into some diplomatic strain between the United States and Sweden

because of the involvement of President Donald Trump. Trump said he got involved after getting a call from rapper Kanye West, asking for help on

A$AP Rocky's behalf.

TEXT: Donald J. Trump: Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community

down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly!


GOLD: And Trump started sending out some tweets, pressuring Swedish officials including the prime minister, to try and get A$AP Rocky's


TEXT: Donald J. Trump: Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn't seem to work the other way around. Sweden should

focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky

GOLD: President Trump even sent his special envoy for hostage affairs to Sweden to try to pressure officials there. That didn't seem to necessarily

work, and Swedish officials, including the judge in the case, said they were not affected by that pressure, and their judicial system is completely

independent from politics.

A$AP Rocky's lawyer said that while they're disappointed in the case, it's not clear yet whether they plan to appeal -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks to Hadas Gold for her reporting.

Still to come tonight, we have more on the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. We'll take a look at what the protestors are hoping to achieve, as well as

China's reaction.



CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the challenges of trying to nail down exactly what the Russians are doing here

is that once you get outside the capital, this is still a very dangerous and chaotic country. And just last year, three Russian journalists were

actually ambushed and killed while working on a story about Russian mercenaries.


[14:28:09] NOBILO: Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward, in what turned into a very scary cat-and-mouse game, as she and her crew

tracked the Russian president's private army in Africa. That's ahead.


[14:30:44] NOBILO: Welcome back. I want to return now to the situation in Hong Kong which we've been following closely. We brought you those scenes

of chaos between police and protesters barricading the airport's main terminal Tuesday. And it seems some of the protesters themselves wanted to

apologize for the disruption.

Returning to the airport today with apology posters. This one that you're looking at reads, "We were desperate. Please accept our apology."

What exactly do these protestors want to achieve? Well, you remember the protest began over a bill that would have made possible to extradite people

to China. That extradition bill was suspended, but protestors now have five main demands. The complete withdrawal of that extradition bill, an

independent inquiry into police behavior, the release of arrested of protesters, implementation of genuine universal suffrage and they demand

the government to stop the use of the word "riot" in relation to the protests.

And how is China reacted to those demands? At first, with science. But since then, Beijing has criticized them heavily, accusing protesters of

being thugs and terrorists.

Now, this has left many wondering of China will eventually take more direct action, especially after those reports about Chinese troop movements near

Hong Kong's border that we brought you earlier with Matt.

And I want to bring in Scott Kennedy on this. He's a leading authority on China's economic policy. A senior adviser in China studies at the Center

for Strategic and International Studies.

Good to have you on the program. You're joining me from our Washington bureau.

My first question to you is, in so far as it's useful to us, what is the profile of one of these Hong Kong protesters? Talk to me about that -- a

bit about their demography of this protest that we're seeing.

SCOTT KENNEDY, TRUSTEE CHAIR IN CHINESE BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, CSIS: Well, these are maybe not like protesters in some other places. You have

an amazingly highly educated group, middle class, mostly university educate, international, multi-lingual, but who are worried about their

future. They're worried about their futures apart because of the rejection of autonomy in Hong Kong that they're seeing, but also their economic

futures because of inequality in Hong Kong, and the difficulty of finding jobs, the price of housing.

And so these are folks who had expectations from when they were young of a bright global future, but who presently see the shadow of the future

looking bleaker to them.

NOBILO: And, Scott, with the protests and those who support them and being people that have wide ranging concerns, this isn't a specific grievance,

yes, they have their five demands,. But really the concerns are very broad here.

It seems to me that a clash with Beijing is almost inevitable. If China adhere to their policy as strictly as they have been, and yet, the

protesters continue to push for their demands, then what else could possibly happen?

KENNEDY: Sure. I mean if they play their roles as to find by us and maybe by them about each other, then what we're watching is a slow moving train

wreck that we won't be able to avoid.

But a small adjustment, change of expectations in Beijing amongst the protesters, amongst the Hong Kong government can find a way to avoid the

worst outcome. No one is going to get everything they want. I do think it's possible for Hong Kong still to maintain a significant degree of

autonomy for the next 27 years that they've been promised. But it's going to require folks to go outside their standard roles in which they're now


NOBILO: So what do you think if I decide wanted a ladder to climb down? What are the compromises that you think Beijing could make without, you

know -- while saving as much space as they can and that the protesters could also make without losing the sort of purity and passion of that


KENNEDY: Sure. I think the first thing is to understand -- for Beijing to understand that they're not saving face or losing respect by showing

magnanimity (ph), but actually gaining, showing confidence and being perceived as leaders of a great country. And I think signaling that

they're not going to use the PLR (ph), People's Armed Police, would be the first.

[14:35:11] Also to let signal to Carrie Lam that they can formally withdraw the bill and that she can have direct conversations with the protestors. I

think those things, if Beijing did that, that would get a lot of popular support and empathy.

And I think the protesters themselves have to realize that what they're trying to do is not get any specific goal, but get a voice today and

prepare for elections that are coming up in Hong Kong where at the ballot box they can try and achieve change.

NOBILO: What do you think would be the most effective pressure exerted on Beijing from the protesters' perspective? Do you think it would be the

optics of these continued protests? Do you think it would be potential economic or financial fallout? Or do you think it would be pressure from

other international bodies or word leaders? What would move the dial the most, if any of those?

KENNEDY: Yes. Well, I think actually the protesters have already done a very good job showing that they're unsatisfied that they have these huge

demands that they value Hong Kong's system of rule of law and they want to protect that.

I think what they need to show is that they are moderate enough that they can find common ground with Beijing, and that if Beijing meets them even

part of the way, that they won't end their seeking of greater autonomy in the future. But they'll try to channel in a way that would be consistent

with communist party rule.

As you mentioned before, Xi Jinping-led China doesn't live comfortably with Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy. But both sides need to signal

that they're willing to, at least, give that an effort, otherwise, we're looking at a very bad outcome.

NOBILO: Scott Kennedy in Washington, thank you very much for joining us.


NOBILO: The protests in Hong Kong all having an impact on businesses there, possibly none more than the airline, Cathay Pacific, with employees

who backed the protest and a major customer in the Chinese government. Cathay may be in a no-win situation. Andrew Stevens has the story.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tempers were fraying at Hong Kong international airport as weary travelers tried to pass

through a cordon of protesters to get to their flights this week.

It wasn't just travelers who suffered, airlines, too, were hit as Hong Kong airport was forced to close two days in a row.

The hardest hit, one of Hong Kong best known international brands, Cathay Pacific.

STEVENS (on-camera): Cathay is still counting the costs of the 272 flights cancelled over the past 48 hours. BU that's just a temporary headwind.

These demonstrations have thrown out a much more significant problem. How does Cathay keep its biggest and most important customer happy? That's

China, while still maintaining the support of its own Hong Kong stuff?

STEVENS (voice-over): Many Cathay employees support the protests and that doesn't watch with Beijing. Cathay was forced to make a hard U-turn after

the company said it would not stop employees joining the Hong Kong protests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We certainly wouldn't dream of telling them what they have to think about something.

STEVENS: It sparked a huge backlash in China, pushed hard by state media.

The communist party mouthpiece People's Daily ran the headline, "The four sins of Cathay." Actions by the Carrie and staff, it claimed supported the

prodemocracy movement.

A social media campaign with the hashtag, #boycottcathaypacific, racked up 44 million views. Within days, Cathay CEO, Rupert Hogg, reversed course,

telling employees there was zero tolerance for any staff joining illegal demonstrations.

And Cathay has also fired two pilots. A company source told CNN, the dismissals were linked to the protests.

Behind Cathay's change of heart is an economic imperative.

ELEANOR OLCOTT, CHINA POLICY ANALYST, TS LOMBARD: What the Cathay example shows us is that, essentially, for this company that is a Hong Kong legacy

brand. The mainland audience, the mainland consumer is just too important.

STEVENS: About 50 percent of all sits on Cathay, and its sister airline, Cathay Dragon, were sold to Mainland Chinese customers. Between them, they

serve 22 Chinese cities.

The Cathay staff, many of whom joined a general strike and support of demonstrations recently, is a new reality.

Carol Ng represents about 15,000 Cathay cabin crew.

CAROL NG, CHAIRPERSON, HONG KONG CONFEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS: I don't think any carriers, including Cathay, they are able to find the right

approach how to respond and completely, but not upsets the Chinese government.

But she says, many Hong Kong based crews are frustrated. Despite bouncing back to profits in the first half of the year, business conditions remained

tough. The disruptions at the airport helping Cathay's share price plunged to a 10-year low.

[14:40:10] The last thing Cathay can afford is to turn its biggest passenger market against it.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.


NOBILO: Now to a CNN's exclusive. This week, we're exposing Russian president Vladimir Putin's secretive private army. Chief International

Correspondent, Clarissa Ward, and her crew followed some of these Russian mercenaries to the Central African Republic. And soon learned that they

were being followed themselves. Here's Clarissa's report.



CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is boot camp for recruits to a new army in the war-torn Central African


The troops are being taught in Russian. Weapons are Russian, too.

It's taken months to get access to this camp. Officially, this is a U.N.- approved training mission. But the Russian instructors, wouldn't talk to us or even be identified because they're not actually soldiers, they're

mercenaries, sponsored by a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, they are the sharp end of an ambitious drive into Africa, stoking

fears in Washington of Russian expansionism.

Valery Zakharov is the man in charge here. A former military intelligence officer, he is now the security advisor to the Central African Republic's



already present in many countries during the time of the Soviet Union, and Russia is coming back to the same position. We still have connections, and

we are trying to re-establish them.

WARD (voice-over): That's not the only reason they're here. The Central African Republic is rich in natural resources, gold and diamonds, and the

Russians want them.

We are on our way to one of seven sites where a Russian company has been given exploration rights.

WARD (on-camera): One of the challenges of trying to nail down exactly what the Russians are doing here is that once you get outside the capital,

this is still a very dangerous and chaotic country. And just last year, three Russian journalists were actually ambushed and killed while working

on a story about Russian mercenaries.

WARD (voice-over): The drive is bruising and long, along rutted tracks to a tiny village of straw huts. And then we have to cross a river on this

hand-pulled ferry.

Local teenager Rodriguez (ph) agrees to show us where the Russians have been active. It's another bumpy ride through the bush. The last part of

the journey is on foot.

We asked the workers if they have seen any Russians.

WARD (on-camera): So he's saying that earlier this year, there were a lot of Russians here, looking for diamonds.

WARD (voice-over): Rodriguez says the Russians now employ hundreds of workers on artisanal mines like this across the area. In the pit, a group

of teenagers pan through the sand, in the search for a precious fragment. Whatever they find, they say, must be handed over to the Russians' agent.

WARD (on-camera): So it's interesting. These guys are saying that the Russians who visited this spot actually came from the training camp at

Baringo that we visited. It's pretty clear they're doing more than just training troops here.

WARD (voice-over): CNN has learned that the mining exploration rights have been given to a company called "Lobaye Invest." Lobaye is part of a

sprawling business empire owned by this man, Yevgeny Prigozhin. An oligarch close to Russian President, Vladimir Putin, he has been sanctioned

by the U.S. for meddling in the 2016 election.

And a CNN investigation based on hundreds of documents has established that Prigozhin's companies are also providing the mercenary muscle. He is

believed to be the man behind Wagner, Russia's most notorious private military contractor.

On our return to town from the mines, we notice we are being followed. We try to approach, but the car drives off. We catch a glimpse of four white

males. All but one hide their faces from our camera. There is no license plate. Police later confirmed to us that they are Russians.

Near our hotel, we spot the vehicle again. We try to get closer, but the men drive off.

WARD: So we're back at our hotel now, but a little bit shaken up because that car full of Russians has been following us for quite some time. We

don't know why, we don't know what they want.

[14:45:09] WARD (voice-over): Mindful of the murder of the journalists last year, we leave town the next day.

But back in the capital, Bangui, Russia's growing influence is impossible to escape, on the streets, even on the airwaves.

Radio Lengo Songo features African music and lessons in Russian. No surprise, perhaps, that it is funded by Prigozhin company, Lobaye Invest.

The manager tells us the station wants to deepen cooperation between the two nations. And in a country where education and entertainment are in

short supply, it seems that plenty of people are listening.

American officials say they are greatly concerned by Russia's actions here, and that they undermine security. But with the U.S. shrinking its

footprint across Africa and with minimal official Kremlin involvement, Putin has little to lose.

WARD (on-camera): For Russia, this is a straightforward bargain. They provide the weapons and the training. And in return, they get access to

the country's natural resources. And in the process, hope to reassert themselves as a major player in this region.

WARD (voice-over): It's a campaign for hearts and minds and hard power. And Russia is moving quickly to get a step ahead of its rivals.


WARD: CNN has tried repeatedly to reach out to Yevgeny Prigozhin through his Concord Catering company. But we have not received any response. But

it is worth mentioning that in the past, Prigozhin has stressed that he has no connections to any mercenary groups. Bianca?

NOBILO: Still to come on the program tonight, honoring the victims of the Genoa Bridge disaster one year later, lots of tears and prayers, but still

no answers.


NOBILO: Welcome back. The selling continues on Wall Street, as investors worry about the possibility of a recession. The Dow is down there, over

700 and 50 points, close to three percent. Investors have an eye on the bond market, while yields for longer time bonds dip lower than yields for

shorter term bonds. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also tumbled about three percent.

I want to turn now to a somber anniversary today in Italy. Political leaders joined grieving relatives in Genoa to remember the 43 people who

died after a bridge collapsed during a vicious rainstorm.

Today, there was silence and there was music, but one year later, there are still no answers as to why this disaster happened.

[14:50:08] We'll get more from Nic Robertson who was there that day.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): At the foundations of Genoa's now infamous, Morandi Bridge, commemoration for the

43 lives lost when it collapsed a year ago.

Victims came through on their suffering. Politicians too, it's the least prime minister, the local mayor that none with answers on why it collapsed.

MARCO BUCCI, MAYOR OF GENOA, ITALY: I'm not supposed to make any comment about that. I'm here also to promise to the relatives of the people that

died and that passed away, that Genoa will become a great city and we will remember forever that we will never forget that.

ROBERTSON: Prosecutors are still investigating why the half century old steel and concrete suspension bridge suddenly snapped without warning,

sending 200 meters of roadway crashing down cars and truck cascading to the ground below.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): I was here that day close to crossing it myself. The rain was torrential, the thunder echoed all around. Who lived, who

died was not in the hands of any driver, but somebody, some people are culpable for the calamity. And until now, that's a problem, because nobody

has been held to account.

At the commemoration, representatives (INAUDIBLE) charged with the upkeep and inspection of the bridge left before the service began, but their

requests of families of victims, some families even stayed away all together.

The collapse has become a symbol of corrupt business practices. The operator who's in charge of safety inspections and endemic political

infighting. In this case, over infrastructure investment.

A lightning rod that today threatens the split it's the least fragile coalition government apart. The populist right wing nationalist leader,

Matteo Salvini, who threatens to bring down the government unlike other politicians here pausing to pose for photos with construction workers,

riding high in the polls, choosing his words carefully.

MATTEO SALVINI, ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTER & DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: (through translator0: I know this will never bring back to life of the

young people who died. But this is the symbol of Italy looking to the future.

ROBERTSON: And within hours of the commemoration, construction of the new bridge pulls for the service restarted, opening as planned for April next



ROBERTSON: Well, I do hope to be back when the bridge does finally reopen. But being here today has brought back, vividly, all those memories from a

year ago. A terrible tragedy. I was traveling with my family. And I think I felt so lucky at the time that we weren't on the bridge, knowing

would it be fall and all those poor victims.

But doubling lucky as well because my family pitched in to help me cover the story. My wife, a former CNN correspondent, was getting interviews for

me, trying to find out information. My daughter became my camera woman for the day, long hours filming all those live shots. And my other daughter

feeding information from her newsroom to give me this sort of vital sense of the bigger picture of what was happening.

But I think on reflection, I do feel incredibly lucky to have the support of my family. But also a little sad because I did put, particularly, my

daughter in this very difficult position where she's witnessing this horrible tragedy. As a journalist, I'm used to it. But I think for my

family, that was a very tough day as well. Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks to Nic Robertson for sharing his personal story in his reporting there.

Stay with us. We'll be back in a few minutes after a short break.


[14:55:51] NOBILO: Welcome back. An island on fire. A nation stretched thin. A huge wildfire is consuming the Greek island of Evia, while dozens

of other fires burned across the country. The Greece isn't alone. An environmentalist say that climate change is creating extreme conditions and

challenges across Europe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Trying to calm the flames in Greece. A plane dumps water on the wildfire raging below. One of dozens of forest

fires that broke out around the countries in Sunday, some have spread and then now burning uncontained.

The largest blaze threatens the Greek island of Evia. A state of emergency has been declared for some parts of island. At least four villages were

evacuated and the flames forced to call for outside help from the E.U. prompting Italy and Spain to send assistance.

Tuesday into Wednesday, firefighters battled tirelessly through the night, as strong winds and high temperatures fanned the flames.

Officials say progress has been made and no lives have been lost. But the still uncontained fires will leave their mark on the Greek island and its

vast nature preserve.

KOSTAS BAKOYANNIS, REGIONAL GOVERNOR, CENTRAL GREECE (through translator): We have a big struggle ahead of us, and we are talking about a rare, unique

pine forest that serves as the lungs of Evia, and the ecological damage is enormous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundred kilometer south, a view of the ancient Parthenon shows cloud of smoke from Evia have reached the capital. The

thick haze covering Athens possibly worsen by spate of fires breaking out across, at least, four regions.

The number of blazes have stretched firefighters thin. And the last three days alone, Greece's fire brigade has been called to put out over 180

fires. Though this is not unusual during dry summer months, the country's prime minister points to a different issue.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: We know that wildfires will be with us. They will be a part of our -- as I've always been, but there have

been more part of our daily lives, as climate change is taking its toll on Southern Europe --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says coordination across the European Union is imperative now and in years to come. Environmental activists also point to

climate change as a contributor to the increasing number of wildfires in recent weeks in Greece, across Europe, and around the globe.


NOBILO: Thank you for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next with much more on that plunging Dow.