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Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Rally; Taliban Peace Deal?; Funerals Begin for Victims of Attacks on Kabul Wedding; Trump & Top Advisers Dismiss Economic Concerns. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired August 19, 2019 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:16] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of protesters come in peace in Hong Kong after weeks of violence. We speak with a leading student activist about what's next.

The U.S. President is downplaying talk of a recession after his economic adviser appeared on Sunday talk shows to call growing fears unfounded.

After more than two weeks stranded at sea, some migrants attempt to swim to an Italian island after the vessel is refused entry.

Hello everyone, thank you so much for joining. I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta, and CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Our top story, Hong Kong protesters are showing the world they are not giving up their fight for democracy. And to prove it, they're turning out in droves.

Protest organizer say nearly 2 million people joined the march on Sunday. Police say there were only 128,000 people at the rally starting point in Victoria Park that obviously changed.

Despite conflicting numbers, the pictures speak for themselves. The crowds filed out of the park and turned the city center into a slow- moving sea of umbrellas.

The march was unauthorized, but calm, after weeks of clashes between police and protesters. Sunday's march was a move to restore peace.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has been covering these protests, and she joins us from Hong Kong. Hello to you, Kristie. It's remarkable, isn't it? Such a massive crowd and they kept the peace.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely remarkable. Sunday's march was a massive display of strength, and also defiance. Scores of protesters defying torrential rain, defying a police ban, defying those ominous, frankly, menacing propaganda videos coming from across the border to speak out and to make their demands known on the streets of Hong Kong. As you mentioned, organizers say 1.7 million protesters turned out to march. Police have the number at about 120,000. Precise numbers aside, this was a massive display of people power that apparently has staying power as we go past 11 weeks of consecutive protests.

Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Sunday, the skies opened over Hong Kong, it's a tropical downpour that did not stop this sea of humanity. A mass protest against the government's handling of the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen in decades.

(On camera) If the authorities were hoping that this protest movement would fizzle over time, they were terribly wrong. Even pouring rain has not dampened at the protesters enthusiasm.

(Voice-over) From Hong Kong's Victoria Park, the crowd trudged west. Among them, 30-year-old Desiree Wong, here with her husband, mother and sister.

(On camera) It is pouring rain out here.


WATSON: And there are still a lot of demonstrators.

WONG: We are determined to let the government hear us. Because the weather cannot change our mind, cannot change our demands.

WATSON: Do you think that the government will listen to you this time?

WONG: I hope so, but to be honest I don't have a lot of hope.

WATSON (voice-over): Hong Kong has been locked in a cycle of unrest for more than two months, after two separate million man protest marches last June, the city's appointed government suspended but refused to completely withdraw a proposed law that would allow the extradition of suspects from this former British colony to Mainland China. Since then, the violence has only escalated. The authorities denounce protesters, calling them rioting criminals, while the opposition accuses the police of access use of force.

On Saturday, supporters of the government staged their own, smaller demonstration, supporting the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We support the police and one would have save the Hong Kong. We saved what we called, (inaudible), and we did by having my baby, for education.

WATSON: But the government in Mainland China has a more ominous message showing off its security forces on the border of Hong Kong, an obvious warning. But these threats from Beijing have not quelled Hong Kong's dissent. This 23-year-old volunteer medic says she has attended more than 30 protests in the last two months.

(On camera) Is there anything that the local government could do to satisfy the people? [00:05:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I think if they actually responded to those five requests, including, you know, withdrawing the extradition bill and setting up an independent inquiry council, I think that will calm a lot of things down.

WATSON: But earlier this, month a senior Hong Kong government official told CNN there would be no compromise when it comes to the protesters demands. The test of wills between the government and the people in the streets appears far from over. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


STOUT: So after that huge and peaceful protest march on Sunday, what is next for the protest movement in Hong Kong? Let's check in with activist and secretary-general of pro-democracy group Demosisto, Joshua Wong, who joins us now.

And Josh, Joshua, a peaceful, a massive show of people power on Sunday, and a lot of people here in Hong Kong this Monday are scratching their heads and saying what, there were no violent crashes. You know, there weren't, you know, episodes where there were tear gas canisters being deployed all across the city. Peace has been to a certain degree restored to Hong Kong, so does this provide an opportunity for reconciliation for political talks between the protest and the government?

JOSHUA WONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: When two out of 7 millions population joined the rally yesterday which is 25 percent of the population, to the crystal clear demand to withdraw, urge government withdraw the bill, stop police brutality, and respond to our calls on free election, it's just proof that when riot police do not storm into a crowd, protests could remain in the principle of peaceful without any clash.

In fact, is the first week in the past eight weeks without any tear gas fired on Saturday and Sunday. So, we respond with the question of, is there any chance of dialog? I would say that open dialog is only meaningful to communicate with the one who can make decisions, instead of Carrie Lam, the public (ph) of Beijing. We have long made our demand crystal clear but I'm sure protester we will welcome and open in public discussion with Chinese officials from Beijing.

STOUT: So you're, saying discussions need to take place not with Carrie Lam, but with officials from the Chinese central government. On that issue, there was that additional video of -- that raises the question of Mainland Chinese intervention that was release on Sunday, showing armed Chinese police at the ready across the border in Shenzhen. Joshua, do you think that that's propaganda or is that a warning shot for real potential action intervention by China?

WONG: Under the ideology of retirement rule where you can't totally be optimistic that President Xi will act rationally, when the troops are already moving into the border. Showing effect it's not only generated to Hong Kong people but also to the global financial center. I believe both leaders should pay attention to Hong Kong, prevent the next Tiananmen Square massacre happened in Hong Kong.

STOUT: Of course I would want to be prevented, and as you said, leaders in Beijing, you believe will think and behave rationally. There's another tactic being employed by Beijing and that's pressure on business, as we saw with the resignation of the CEO of Cathay Pacific. Do you think that will have an even more powerful effect on sort of quashing dissent in Hong Kong?

WONG: Beijing's strongly interference on Hong Kong people's freedom and also the operation of business markets, especially economic freedoms that was strongly eroded by the communist authorities, just like what had been experience by the CEO of Cathay Pacific. It just shows to the world that how Hong Kong of business markets might be forcing to serving the interests of Beijing communist party of China. That why how tycoons and businessman in Hong Kong strongly stand on the side of protester, urge government to withdraw and terminated the extradition bill, which experience and let us realize the solidarity and unity of Hong Kong people from those tycoons through grassroots. All we have our demand on freedom and democracy instead of being suppressed by communist parties of China.

STOUT: And I also want to ask you about Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is now drawing a connection between the events here in Hong Kong, the extradition bill protest and the trade war, saying that if the situation here worsens, it will make a deal harder to reach. Is that helpful or hurtful for the movement?

WONG: It's helpful for President Trump to realize the importance to put the Hong Kong's protest into the agenda a trade war negotiation. All we know is when Hong Kong being recognized as the global financial center and an Asian financial hub.

[00:10:06] When Hong Kong is facing the risk and the threat of having troops sending to suppress on protests, and having massacres happen in the next few weeks or next few months, I think now is the time for world leaders to pay attention and put pressure on the President Xi Jinping.

STOUT: All, right Joshua Wong joining us via Skype, thank you so much for joining us.

And Natalie, the protesters here in Hong Kong, they're undaunted. They are embolden because their five demands are still unmeet as for the government here in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, she refuses to withdraw the bill. She has said that there can be a political solution only until after law and order have been restored and there is relative peace in Hong Kong.

So the question is, is there this window for dialog to take place for political reconciliation, and is that going to take place between the protesters and the government here in Hong Kong, or is Joshua Wong just suggested, between the protesters and Beijing, the Chinese President Xi Jinping? It's an open question right now, Natalie?

ALLEN: Certainly is. All right, thanks so much, an enlightening interview as well, Kristie Lu Stout for us. Kristie, thank you. Well, the week long saga over a detained Iranian tanker appears to be over. The ship has left the British territory of Gibraltar after being held there for six weeks. It sets sail after Gibraltar rejected a United States warrant to seize the vessel. It's new destination? Well, that's not known.

Britain took over the ship last month that was suspected of carrying 2 million barrels of oil for Syria, in violation of E.U. sanctions. Last, week Gibraltar agreed to release the ship and its crew. Tehran is now calling it a diplomatic victory.

Afghanistan right now is supposed to be marking its Independence Day, instead the capital is marking another vicious attack. At least 60 people were killed and Kabul when a suicide blast tore through a wedding.

ISIS has claimed responsibility and families who should be celebrating are burying their dead. The wedding call hit by the bombing isn't a largely Shia neighborhood. The Taliban have condemned the blast, but they claim responsibility for a difference suicide attack in the same district earlier this month. CNN's Becky Anderson has more about this from London.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A pile of victims shoes, flood coating chairs, all in a shattered banquet hall. In Afghanistan's ending maelstrom of violence, this is how weddings can end.

MIRWAIS, GROOM AT WEDDING HIT BY SUICIDE BOMBER (through translation): I've lost hope. I've lost my brother, my friends who came to join my wedding party.

ANDERSON: Today after his wedding party, the groom recount what happened when a suicide bomber snuck in and decimated a massive bomb that had been scrap to his body, shaking the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I was in the wedding party when a blast occurred, it was very powerful, and the situation was terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): We were sitting in our home when a strong sound of the blast came up. We came to the site of the blast and I saw that many women and children were screaming and crying. Many murders and injured people were transferred by the ambulances and it was a really terrible situation.

ANDERSON: It's not unfamiliar. In Afghanistan death is a familiar business murdered by terrorism at night, the next morning, families already burying their dead, as the wounded, badly hurt, struggle to cling to life and dilapidated hospitals, while Afghans suffer through the bloodshed, the politics of finger-pointing goes on.

The Taliban, condemning the attack, deny any involvement. But, Afghanistan's president insists the group must share in the blame. Saying, "They provide a platform for terrorists." And later, as it often does, ISIS claiming responsibility, but offering no evidence.

This latest episode of violence, horrific but unsurprising, as it is comes as peace talks seen on the cusp of coming together. America could be about to agree to pulling out its forces. The deal is supposedly meant to be finalized in the coming days. Yet, it is unclear what that will mean for ordinary people.

The country is driven by religious and political factions, flooded with weapons, not to mention battle hardened fighters all after nearly 20 years of American involvement. So the only thing that seems certain, looking ahead is that these will be far from the last innocent deaths in Afghanistan. Becky Anderson, CNN, London.


[00:15:02] ALLEN: Despite the wedding attack the United States is moving ahead with Taliban peace talks. President Trump spoke with reporters Sunday and promised what could be a major announcement on the conflict.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have it very much under control, as far as what we are doing, but the rest is, you know, a lot of bad things happened in Kabul, a lot of bad things are happening in Afghanistan, and some very positive things. But we would-- well look, we're there for one reason, we don't want that to be a laboratory, OK. It can't be a laboratory for terror, and we've stopped that and we have a very, very good view.

I mean, some things are going to be announced over the next couple of weeks as to what happened, who has been taken out. A lot of people have been taken out that were very bad, both ISIS and Al-Qaeda.


ALLEN: Even if the U.S. reaches a deal with the Taliban, many Afghans are questioning if they will actually get peace. The U.S. wants to pull its troops out but the Taliban don't even recognize the U.S. backed central government.

The peace talks have also been behind closed doors, shrouded in secrecy. But it still looks like the two sides are close to a deal. According to the New York Times, here's some of what the agreement covers.

A timetable for U.S. troops withdrawing, a Taliban promise to cut ties to terror groups. The Times says a cease fire has been discussed, but no detailed plan has been agreed upon, along with direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. But ongoing violence could derail the plan, after Saturday's attack in Kabul.

Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani office tweeted that if the violence continued, the path to peace will narrow.

And investors are jittery about the possibility of a recession, but the United States President, well, he's not worried.


TRUMP: I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well, our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they're loaded up with money.


ALLEN: Next here, a look at the recession factors the White House is dismissing.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with you for CNN Weather Watch. And across the Midwestern United States really one of the only spots here with some active weather to be hot across not only that region but also into the Ohio Valley.

A chance for severe weather generally just into the early morning hours of Monday from Indianapolis onto Columbus Ohio and portions of the northeast there into Hartford, Connecticut this line of active weather does eventually arrived across that region. And with it bring with a few thunderstorms into the evening hours as well. But notice just offshore little rotation, little area of interest. In fact, there's a 10 percent probability of formation from the National Hurricane Center sitting there off the coast of the northeastern United States. (Inaudible) environment takes it away also 10 percent means 90 percent chance, nothing will come but it is an interesting pattern nonetheless across that region.

[00:20:11] Back towards the west, we go to Oklahoma City onto Dallas heat warnings, heat advisories among the hottest patterns of the summer season here coming in late in the season even for the northeastern United States.

Houston will feel closer to 40 degrees and a little bit cooler down towards portions of the gulf coast compare to this time last week but notice that across the southwest once again, heat advisories heat warnings in place across that region as well.

In Palm Springs, middle and upper forties running some six degrees above average here in the heart of summer. Board respected BC and Vancouver, high is there around 22 with partly cloudy skies.


ALLEN: Now to the economy, (inaudible) are raising red flags about the possibility of a recession. But U.S. President Donald Trump and his top advisers are downplaying the warnings. That is despite a volatile week on global markets and growing concerns about the trade war with China. For more about it here is Kristen Holmes.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well President Trump certainly had a lot to say as he was leaving New Jersey heading back to the White House. He stopped and talked to reporters for about 30 minutes on a wide variety of topics. But it was clear that the economy was really top of the mind for him. He came out there saying that he didn't believe these economists who are saying that there might be a recession that he believes the U.S. was one of the strongest economies in the world. And he actually talked about how other economies were not as strong as the U.S. particularly China. Take a listen to what he had to say.


TRUMP: I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich, I gave a tremendous tax cut and they are loaded up with money, and they are buying -- I saw the Walmart numbers they were through the roof just two days ago. That's better than any poll, that's better than any economist. And most economists actually say thrill that we're not going to have a recession, most of them say, we're not going to have a recession but the rest of the world is not doing well like we're doing.


HOLMES: And he also talked about those negotiations with China. He said they were going very well. He wouldn't say whether or not he spoke to President Xi but it was very interesting to see him out there because he was using the exact same talking points that we have seen earlier in the day from his top economic advisers. It is clear the White House is using a strategy of deny, deny, deny, deny that farmers are facing struggles because of these tariffs, despite the fact that we have talked to farmers in the U.S. who say it has been incredibly hard and that government aid is not enough. And to deny that Americans are feeling the burden or will be burdened with this trade war despite report that says that 95 percent of those price changes are going to fall on the shoulders of the U.S. importers.

So it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. A theory a tactic like this can only work for so long particularly when people start to feel it on their wallet.

Traveling with the President in New Jersey, I'm Christine Holmes, CNN.

ALLEN: For more on the warnings, the White House denial CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein joining us from Los Angeles. Hello to you Ron?


ALLEN: Well President Trump's advisers who worked all the news talk shows Sunday trying to convince Americans our recession isn't going to happen, top White House economic adviser emphatically saying, the economy is fantastic, let's listen.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I sure don't see a recession. We have some blockbuster retail sale consumer numbers towards the back end of last week, really blockbuster numbers. PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: The tariffs are hurting China. China is bearing the entire burden of the tariffs in terms of --


NAVARRO: Hang on.

TAPPER: What a lot of experts say.

NAVARRO: This is what this expert says. What we see here, unequivocally, is that China is bearing the burden by lowering their prices.

TAPPER: Right.

NAVARRO: They lowered the value of the Yuan by 12 percent talks

TAPPER: Right.

NAVARRO: At the tariffs --


ALLEN: All right, Ron, is that economic gobbledygook or do they have a case there?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look we don't know if there is going to be a recession between now in 2020. And one thing we do know is that every -- this is one case for Donald Trump is not that different than other presidents, every president tends to accentuates the positive about the economy, the difference though Natalie, I think, is that if there is a recession his fingerprints are more clearly on it.

You know, people talk about the President gets too much credit when the economy is good, embarrass too much blame when the economy is bad. In this case, I think there is a pretty widespread sense that the principle threat to the economy are the tensions created by his trade war now with China and earlier with other partners.

[00:25:06] So if there is in fact a recession before 2020 I think this president's fingerprints on some policy choices may be more directly related to it than what we've seen in the past.

ALLEN: And if and when that happens, he probably will find a way to will go away for conclusion.

BROWNSTEIN: Blame someone else, yeah.

ALLEN: Yeah. The President does blame others for recession fears namely the Federal Reserve but in reality as you say much of the uncertainty stems from his trade war with China.


ALLEN: So what if that issue does cause a recession? BROWNSTEIN: Right, I think that would be just devastating for the President. Because first of all, I think we've talked about this before. The President is facing more defection from voters satisfied with the economy than any incumbent on records. Something like 15 to 20 percent of the people who say that they approved of his handling of the economy still say they disapprove of his performance overall and/or they intend to vote for Joe Biden.

We have never seen anything like this. But there's nothing like that for George W. Bush or Barack Obama, usually a president can count on the vast, vast majority of people who say they are dissatisfied with the economy. Remember what James Carville said in 1992, it's the economy, stupid.

ALLEN: Economy stupid. Oh god.

BROWNSTEIN: In case of President Trump it is not only the economy is stupid because there are enough voters who are satisfied with the economy that he has alienated on other grounds, you know, either the way he behaves in office and how he talks and how he swear. So if the number of the share of Americans were satisfied with the economy goes down and he's already losing about 1/6 to 1/5 of those who are satisfied then obviously puts him in a very precarious situation.

ALLEN: All right. Let's turn to a different issue that's one on the minds of many people, still the President reiterating the problem behind the epidemic of mass shootings in his opinion, he says it is not guns, it is mental illness. Here he is.


TRUMP: People don't realize, we have very strong background checks right now, you go and to buy a gun you have to sign up, there is a lot of background checks and have been approved over the years, a lot of people want to see something happen but just remember this, big mental problem and we do have a lot of background checks right now.


ALLEN: So he says the background checks are adequate. We've seen this from him before after mass shooting. He talks reform and he seems to back off and adopt conservative talking points.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Well, look, the NRA strategy and the Senate Republican strategy on gun issues is always been to delay and kind of diffuse the immediate pressure. On background checks, on universal background checks we should be aware that, yes, if you're go into a guns or there is the background check since 1993, the Brady Bill. But for gun shows and online purchases the system, you know, does not provide that level of certainty.

ALLEN: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: Ninety percent of Americans consistently employ including 90 percent of Republicans roughly and 90 percent of gun owners say they support background checks for all gun sales. That is as high as it ever gets in American public opinion. That's as much unanimity as you will ever see.

And in fact, the last time the Senate voted on this in 2013 that if you assigned half of each states population to each senator, the senators who voted for the universal background checks in 2013 represented about 195 million people. The senators who voted against it a 120 million people, that's about decisive a margin as you can get in the democracy and yet because of the filibuster, because of the gun culture in many of the small rural states that's then Republicans to the Senate, 95 million people were defeated about 120. I do not see what's really changed on that. I don't see what will cause either this president who is so dependent on rural voters, small town voters, blue collar white men, the groups less supportive of gun control to really break with the NRA. But of course, this is a risk to those remaining Republicans in suburban district in the House, not to mentioned states like Colorado, Arizona and maybe Maine.

ALLEN: Right. We were just seeing video of rallies across the country this weekend and people trying to bring a gun reform pledge to spend one million dollar ads again some Republicans in the next election, we'll see how that works. Ron Brownstein, we always appreciate your insights, thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Next here, food shortages and delays at the border, a league government report suggesting what Britain faces in a no deal Brexit.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom, I'm Natalie Allen and here are our top stories.

The Iranian tanker detained in Gibraltar for six weeks has now left British territory. It set sail after Gibraltar denied a United States request to hold the vessel on a warrant. Britain has suspected the ship was carrying oil to Syria in violation of E.U. sanctions. The tanker's new destination is not known.

The crowds turning out to march in Hong Kong Sunday show that public support for the pro-democracy movement had not faded. Organizers say nearly two million people turned out to march.

Meanwhile police say there were only around 128,000 at the start of the protest. The march, while unauthorized, was peaceful.

Afghan families have then buried their dead after a suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding. The Saturday blast killed at least 63 people and wounded almost 200 others. ISIS is claiming responsibility. The attack came just days before Afghanistan marked its Independence Day.

The corruption trial of Sudan's ousted president is about to begin in Khartoum. Omar al-Bashir was arrested and forced from power back in April after a military coup. He also is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. Britain is expected to leave the European Union in less than 75 days with or without a deal. But government documents leaked to the "Sunday Times" suggest a no-deal Brexit would see food and fuel shortages and long waits at the border.

Here's CNN's Simon Cullen in London.

SIMON CULLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For years now the U.K. has been preparing for Brexit, but now with just under two and a half months to go and with no withdrawal agreement between the E.U. and U.K., time is becoming a lot more critical.

According to a report by the "Sunday Times" newspaper, which is based on leaked government documents, the U.K. is largely unprepared for the reality of a no-deal Brexit.


Code-named Operation Yellowhammer, it warns that because of potentially significant delays at the English Channel and shipping ports, medical supplies will be vulnerable to severe extended delays.

The availability of fresh food will be reduced and prices will rise and border delays could affect fuel supplies in London and surrounding areas. More broadly it warns that the return of a hard border between the U.K. and Ireland could spark protests and the potential unrest across the country could significantly stretch police resources.

But the ministers responsible for the U.K. Government's no-deal Brexit planning to the report on Twitter, saying, we don't normally comment on leaks, but a few facts, Yellowhammer is a worse case scenario. Very significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks to accelerate Brexit planning.

In the past few weeks the government has announced an extra $2.5 billion to prepare for no-deal Brexit, including $30 million for an express ferry service to ensure that medicines can quickly arrive in the U.K.

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is vowing to continue to pursue a no-deal Brexit unless the E.U. agrees to make changes to the withdrawal deal, something it has refused to do.

This week he is expected to meet his French and German counterparts for the first time since becoming Prime Minister, and while he continues to call on them to reopen negotiations, the increasingly likely outcome is that Britain will leave the E.U. on October 31, without a deal.

Simon Cullen, CNN, London.

ALLEN: In Bangladesh, more than 10,000 people have been left homeless after a fire destroyed their makeshift houses. This is what's left of their shanties in a slum located in the northern outskirts of Dhaka. No one died, but Friday's fire raged for more than four hours, destroying thousands of homes. Residents lost everything. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): After we saw the fire

caught the slum, we all just ran with our lives. We could not save any of our belongings. When we saw the fire we all somehow just managed to survive with our children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everyone started running out, some people were bathing, they ran out wet. Some left all their belongings and ran to safety, it was chaos. So I've lived here for more than 30 years and I have lost everything. I don't know where I will go and live. I lost everything and now I am homeless and I don't know what to do.

ALLEN: Friday's fire is one of many to strike the densely populated Bangladesh capital with at least 100 people dying this year alone.

Migrants stranded at sea make a desperate attempt to reach land, but some were determined to keep them out. Why their case is dividing the Italian government. Yes, they're trying to swim to where they want to be. That's next.




ALLEN: A stranded rescue ship carrying more than 100 migrants has submitted an urgent request to dock on the Italian Island of Lampedusa, but Italy's Interior Minister has refused to let the ship into port. For more on the story here's Rick Folbaum.

RICK FOLBAUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A desperate search for a place to land. Migrants seen in this video make a valued attempt to swim to an Italian island Sunday after being stranded on a rescue ship in the Mediterranean for more than two weeks.

The Spanish humanitarian ship called Open Arms, rescued more than 130 people in Maltese waters August 1. The ship now waits off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the quest for refuge at a standstill because of the stalemate with the Italian government.

And Italian court ruled Wednesday that the Open Arms should be permitted to dock in Italy, despite a ban by far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. A bitter political standoff between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Salvini as to whether or not the ship can dock on the island.

Salvini did allow 27 unaccompanied minors aboard the ship to disembark in Italy Saturday, but place the responsibility exclusively on Prime Minister Conte. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered Sunday to open Spain's doors to the ship at the Port of Algeciras. But Open Arms founder Camps said, another five days and 950 miles of travel could be unsustainable.

The four migrants who jumped ship have been rescued and returned to the boat, but the plea from Open Arms becomes urgent. Camp said they warned of this days ago. Despair has limits. Rick Folbaum, CNN.

ALLEN: Venezuela's economy is in shambles. Food, medicine and fuel are in short supply. One area of the country though is actually thriving, but it's based on corruption and violence.

In a CNN exclusive, Isa Soares takes us to Southern Venezuela and the search for gold.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the fringes of the Amazon rainforest, a state sponsored network of violent gangs and corrupt Venezuelan military hide amongst a vast land, rich in minerals and seeping gold.

All this has made this area is Maduro's Eldorado and it's this that giving him a financial lifeline. We've come deep into Venezuela's mining arch to find how Nicholas Maduro is holding onto power and able to resist American pressure.

He's given himself direct control over this land and he's bleeding it dry. Enriching himself and buying the allegiance of the military and it all starts with the local minors. Who, with mouths to feed at home, risk it all operating this lawless region.


ALLEN: You can watch Isa' full report on Monday at 4:00 in the afternoon in New York. That's 9:00 at night in London, only right here on CNN. Thank you for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. "World Sports" is next. I'll be back for another hour at the top of the hour, in 15 minutes. See you then.