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U.S. Official Shares Satellite Images Says Strikes On Saudi Oil Sites Would Be Difficult From Yemen; Crude Oil Prices Soar After Strikes On Saudi Oil Sites; Netanyahu To Annex Parts Of West Bank If Re-Elected; Tensions In West Bank Continue To Be High; Boris Johnson Vows to Get Out of E.U.; Is Brexit Driving Scotland and England Apart; Hurricane Victims Face More Tension Weeks after Storm; Humberto Becomes a Hurricane, Moves Away from Bahamas; Police Arrest Demonstrators in 15th Weekend of Unrest; Fishing Lines, Ships, Climate Change Threaten Right Whale; Rugby Legend Reveals Diagnosis. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired September 16, 2019 - 01:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: President Trump raises the specter of a U.S. military response after attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a move which could increase tensions in a region already on edge.

With just one day until a crucial election, Israel's Prime Minister is fighting to hold his grip on power. Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign is pulling out all the stops.

And only 400 North Atlantic right whales are left because of human activity. We talked with the researcher who warns unless something is done to save the species it will go extinct.

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. These stories are ahead this hour. I'm Natalie Allen coming to you live from Atlanta and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story. The United States could be eyeing a military response to this weekend's attacks on Saudi oil facilities. President Donald Trump tweeted the U.S. is "locked and loaded but still wants verification of who is to blame." His Secretary of State blames Iran for the attacks which the country denies. But its Houthi allies in Yemen say they are responsible and hit the sites with drones.

A U.S. official though says the angle of the strikes would have been difficult from Yemen and that the attacks likely originated in Iran or Iraq. Regardless of who's to blame, the strikes have crippled the Saudi oil industry. These pictures here from NASA show the damage from space.

And while Iran insists it wasn't involved, its President Hassan Rouhani is slamming the United States and Saudi Arabia for their roles in Yemen.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT, IRAN (through translator): The Americans are supporting the UAE and Saudi Arabia. They are transferring weapons, they are providing intelligence and parts of the war operations is being run by the Americans. And we see that every day innocent people are killed in Yemen. There is an ongoing insecurity in the region.


ALLEN: There was talk before the attacks Mr. Rouhani might meet with President Trump at the U.N. General Assembly this month. Senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway says the president is keeping his options open but that the Saudi attacks certainly don't help. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more on the fallout. He's in Tehran.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An extraordinary development frankly where just a matter of days ago with the departure of U.S. National Security John Bolton from the White House, many were thinking that now the ultimate Iran Hawk was gone, maybe diplomacy would get a chance.

Well, after the substantial attacks on those Saudi oil facilities, no doubt about it, it is really a game-changer in terms of the tension in the region. Iran woke up to find U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had, in fact, accused them directly of being behind that attack.

In his two tweets, he provided no evidence but he certainly set the idea that maybe diplomacy was going to get given a chance back a pace or two. Now, we're in a complicated situation of the world really waiting for the details of who carried out this attack.

Now, the notion is put forward by the Yemeni Houthi rebels who claimed responsibility for the attack as they launched ten drones that were adequately technologically advanced to fly through tens of billions of dollars-worth of Saudi Arabian air defenses and hit these two prized oil refineries, all ten of them.

Now, there are suggestions maybe that the Houthis have got the substantial advances in drone technology in the past years or so. In fact, Iranian officials have said they're within their capabilities but then there's also some who say the geography analysts who say the geography where these attacks were puts it a lot closer to Southern Iraq and even possibly Iran across the Persian Gulf there.

Iran has categorically denied any involvement in this attack at all. Their foreign minister Javad Zarif saying that the U.S. is rather than practicing maximum pressure and I paraphrase here, instead practicing max deceit. But what's also notable is the victim of these attacks, Saudi Arabia, has yet to directly accused Iran as well.

Is that because they fear if they did so they may be forced into retaliation that could inflame the situation yet more or is that because they're not clear themselves? We'll find that answer out possibly in the days and weeks ahead too.

Some analysts are saying maybe now the ultimate Iraq hawk at the Trump administration John Bolton is out the door, maybe Mike Pompeo the U.S. Secretary of State is trying to sound tough on Iran as well. Maybe the U.S. was trying to corner Tehran into some kind of negotiation at the U.N. General Assembly between Donald Trump and his counterpart in Iran Hassan Rouhani. That's unclear too.

But we had a sea change from where a matter of 48 hours ago. Diplomacy seemed to be the most likely option between U.S. and Iran after months of tension, now an entirely different world with the oil fields still burning. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Tehran.


ALLEN: Let's talk more about it right now. I'm joined by CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer. He is a former CIA Operative. Bob, thanks for being with us. Well, this is somewhat of a mystery, isn't it?

According to senior administration officials, the Saudi attack lightly came from Iran or Iraq, 19 Saudi targets were struck in Saturday's attack, Houthi rebels claimed it took ten drones. So how will officials be able to decipher who and what was behind this?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Natalie, I don't think we'll ever be able to. If Iran indeed was behind this attack, they use proxies. Now, whether they were from Iraq or Yemen, it's hard to tell. You know, that's -- that can't be determined from satellite photography. But they definitely would have used proxies and there will be no smoking gun against Iran.

Now, how the administration intends to frame this, this is something else. But we have to understand, Natalie, is an attack on (INAUDIBLE) is an attack table on the world's economy, and I do not see how the United States lets this pass.

Because if you don't do something now and act, there will be more attacks, there will be more escalation. I'm not advocating a war with Iran, it would be an absolute catastrophe, but right now tonight I don't see an easy way out of this.

ALLEN: Right. I just want to go back to the one part about Houthi rebels saying that it took ten drones. Would this be a first if this was a major attack carried out by drones on two oil facilities of this magnitude?

BAER: A concerted attack like this, yes, it's an absolute first. I mean, not even the United States uses that many drones when attacks terrorist targets in Pakistan or Afghanistan. I mean, this is -- this is a high degree of coordination.

Not only that, it's an understanding of the target because of Abqaiq if you hit it in the right place, you can take that facility out for months if not a year simply by releasing hydrogen sulfide which poisons the equipment and makes it -- you can't -- you can't work on it for a very long time.

And the Saudis, by the way, Natalie have not come out and explained what the damage is which makes me worry.

ALLEN: Well, if it is Iran in some way behind this which the United States says it is -- we just heard Hassan Rouhani say, it's not. How might Saudi Arabia respond? And we even heard President Trump indicate he might as well as he said, the country is locked and loaded.

BAER: Well, Saudi Arabia is the worst position possible because if there's a war between the United States and Iran, their entire -- all their oil facilities go down. The Iranians have rockets inside caves, solid fuel that can be pulled out and shot within minutes, and you cannot protect Saudi airspace.

They know a war would essentially bring down the kingdoms. And that's why they're terrified at this point what's next.

ALLEN: Yes, that was my next question in the what's next question. You know, this war and Yemen has been going on. You've got Iran pitted against Saudi Arabia, the United States is in there. Is this attack -- could this attack be a game-changer for upping the ante of the violence that we've seen in this region?

BAER: Oh I think I've never seen it this bad. And I worked in the CIA during the Iran-Iraq war, you know all these wars have been around and I've never seen it this bad. I've never seen an oil facility in the Gulf attacked like this even when the Kuwaiti fields were burned in 1991. It does not have the significance of the attack on Abqaiq. This is -- this is a game-changer.

ALLEN: Former CIA operative Bob Baer, all right, we'll talk with you again about this as we learn more about it. Thank you, Bob.

BAER: Thank you.

ALLEN: The attacks have threatened the global oil supply and President Trump says he's taking action. He tweeted, he's authorizing the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve if needed and he wants agencies to fast-track the approval of pipelines in the permit process.

Let's talk about the fallout here with the -- within the oil industry. Andrew Stevens is joining us now from Hong Kong following that angle. How our markets reacting, Andrew?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there's no doubt that attack sent shockwaves through the oil industry which was reflected in the oil price when the market opened just a few hours ago, Natalie.

The initial impact was a 20 percent jump in Brent crude. And as you can see now, let's come back a bit about half the jump now about ten percent higher whereas West Texas Intermediate is about nine percent higher. But make no mistake, these are still very, very big moves in the space of a couple of hours by oil prices.

And it's all to do with this new reality which is dawning if you like that A, the chances now have increased military tensions, potential military confrontation in the Middle East has increased dramatically, and also it underlines the vulnerability of the Saudi fields.

Remember, this particularly -- these two particular facilities that was hit, one of them Abqaiq is actually responsible for something like 70 percent of all processed crude oil that to Saudi sells to the world so it is a massive plant.

Now, the Saudis are saying that they should be able to get about two million barrels back online by the end of Monday, at least that's what they are reportedly saying, Natalie. Remember, 5.7 million barrels per day of production was lost. They think they can get two million back but we don't know how long it's going to take the remainder to get back online because we don't know the extent of the damage caused by those strikes on their oil facilities.

There is strategic reserves as you mentioned which can cover bridge that shortfall but it obviously can't bridge it indefinitely. And the longer this goes on, the more pressure there is going to be on the oil price. And what we've been hearing, Natalie, is if this does go on there will be a premium on all of perhaps $10 a barrel which the current prices is about 20 percent so that is a massive premium.

And obviously, higher oil prices play into the global economy. It makes energy more expensive which usually has the impact of slowing economic growth down. And we're already in a period of weakened economic growth. Just look at the Dow. Dow futures are pointing to a drop of about 150 or so points, the S&P is around about half a percent or so.

So it's not panic stations in the U.S. but certainly, it is a real concern now that the energy prices are going to be higher. The question is how much higher and for how much longer.

ALLEN: All right, we'll be watching it as the markets open here in a few hours. Andrew Stevens, thank you. A U.S. lawmakers have been weighing in on the Saudi oil attacks and there are mixed views on whether there should be any type of military response.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think it's safe to say that the Houthis don't have the capability to do a strike like this without Iranian assistance. So Iranian know how running technology I think was certainly involved. Whether the Iranians directly engaged in this or through the Houthi proxies has yet to be seen.

But I think it underscores just what we really frankly came to expect from this unending war in Yemen that it would escalate tensions in the region, but also or withdrawal from the JCPOA has led Iran to engage -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The nuclear deal with Iran.

SCHIFF: Exactly. It has led Iran to engage in these escalatory tactics to drive us apart from our allies but also to increase Iranian leverage to try to bring about an end to sanctions.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R-KY): I think an escalation of the war would be a big mistake. This all comes from the Yemeni Civil War where Saudi Arabia is heavily involved in another country indiscriminately bombing civilians, killing children, and then the Houthis are supported by the Iranian.

So it's back and forth. But really the answer is trying to have a negotiated ceasefire and peace in Yemen and bombing Iran won't do that. This is a regional conflict that there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into a bombing mainland Iran.

It would be a needless escalation of this and those who love the Iraq war, the Cheneys, the Boltons, the crystals. They all are clamoring and chomping at the bit for another war in Iran.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): You got Secretary Pompeo statements from yesterday. I think particularly now in the aftermath of this attack, we have to be absolutely clear that the Iranians are isolated and we're going to build a new coalition of support for putting back the sanctions that ought to be in place against them.


ALLEN: All right, coming next here on CNN NEWSROOM, Israel's prime minister fighting for his political life. We look at whether his latest controversial plan will energize his base before Tuesday's election.




ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Purdue Pharma, the company at the center of the U.S. opioid crisis has filed for bankruptcy. It's a move that's long been expected as the company faces more than 2,000 lawsuits, alleging it aggressively marketed prescription painkillers while misleading doctors and patients about the risks of addiction and overdose. Lawsuits came from almost every U.S. state, seeking billions in damages. Purdue reached a tentative deal to resolve this suits but many states remain opposed to the settlement.

We are less than a day away from Israel's general election which could see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win a record fifth term or lose his political dominance. The latest opinion polls suggest a tight race between Mr. Netanyahu's Likud Party and former Israeli Military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz's Blue & White Party. On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced plans to legalize another Jewish settlement on the West Bank, a move sure to energize his base. That announcement was made at a special cabinet meeting held in the Jordan Valley, which makes it part of the West Bank, an area Mr. Netanyahu promised to annex if he wins the election.



BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): We will apply the sovereignty immediately when the next government is formed. In the next Knesset, I'm proud to convene this special cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley. It's not only the eastern gate of the State of Israel, it's the defense wall from the east since the Jordan Valley along with the territories that control it, which will be a part of the State of Israel, assures that the Israeli Army will be here forever.


ALLEN: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation which includes 57 member states rejects Mr. Netanyahu's annexation plans, and says it endangers the future of a two-state solution.


RIYAD AL-MALIKI, FOREIGN MINISTER, PALESTINE (through translator): We must work collectively and united at all international levels. And with the international community to push them to shoulder their responsibilities and implement the international will, represented in the criteria of a just and lasting solution in accordance with international law and relevant resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.


ALLEN: CNN's Sam Kiley has reported from the West Bank for years. He takes us on a tour and provide some history of this hotly-contested area.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We weren't allowed to film it. We've just crossed from Israeli territory onto the West Bank, which was a landscape that was captured by the Israelis in the Six-Day War in 1967. And since then, has been seen at least by the international community as occupied territory.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leadership to deliver two neighboring nations living in peace began in 1991. And they limped on for decades, punctuated by terror attacks, Palestinian uprisings, and continued expansion by Israel into disputed territories like the West Bank. Now, the peace process effectively nonexistent since 2014 has collapsed. Israelis are banned by their own government from entering Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

The West Bank is divided into Area A, under Palestinian control, Area B, under Palestinian administration, but Israeli security control, and C, entirely under Israeli control. Jewish settlements have steadily increased. A key area for both sides comprises about a third of the disputed territory.

This is the Jordan River Valley. On the far side of it, the Kingdom of Jordan, the landscape below me is known as Area C, an area completely under the security control of the Israelis as part of any kind of peace negotiations that they've had with the Palestinians. They've almost always insisted that they would continue to maintain that control. But doing so, would mean that a future Palestinian state would have no international border, they would have to go through Israeli-controlled territory to contact the outside world. But from an Israeli perspective, this is an absolute necessity as a buffer between it and the rest of the Arab world.

NETANYAHU (through translator): Today, I'm announcing my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.

KILEY: Campaigning for reelection, Israel's Prime Minister has vowed to unilaterally place the valley under Israeli sovereignty, but not the 60,000 Palestinians living there. The plan has been condemned by the U.N., and has had only a lukewarm reception from the Trump administration, which says that it has an unpublished deal for both sides. Palestinians are cynical. They see Trump as openly favoring Israel after moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the divided city that both sides claim as their capital.

ALI HAMRAN, GARAGE MECHANIC: Since the conflict started, no decision was taken in benefit of Palestine. Yes, so people are so depressed and will never trust the American administration or any other.

KILEY: Palestinians have consistently said that the growth of settlements are an impediment to peace, and frequently accused some settlers of intimidation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They attack us almost every day. They burn our trees, throw stones so we leave our house. If you look there, they burnt the trees last week. All we can do is film them and document those attacks.

KILEY: Settlers also come under attack on the West Bank. There are killings on both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people who live here do all different kinds of -- teachers and builders and movers and --

KILEY: From small outposts, towns like Ari'el grow, and as well as the Jordan Valley, Benjamin Netanyahu has also promised to absorb settlements into Israel. Settler leaders are delighted and suggest that dreams of a Palestinian state may now be over.

Would you support still as two-state solution?

[01:25:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that that idea was a huge mistake, to begin with. And the people who to this day have not realized that the two-state idea is a mistake. My prescription is that Israel, the sovereign country that has controlled this area for the past 52 years, needs to complete and take full responsibility for this region.

KILEY: That's not going to fly with most Palestinians.

NASSER AL QIDWA, YASSER ARAFAT FOUNDATION: There is nothing called "one-state solution." That means greater Israel. That means Israel expansion, negation of the Palestinian national rights, Palestinian national existence even.

KILEY: But polls consistently show that belief in and support for a two-state solution dropping below 50 percent on both sides. So, the idea isn't dead yet, but the nails are going into its coffin. Sam Kiley, CNN on the West Bank.


ALLEN: Watch our special coverage of the Israeli election beginning at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday Israeli Time as the polls close. That's 8:00 p.m. in London, 3:00 p.m. in New York, CNN's Becky Anderson anchoring our coverage live from Jerusalem.

Next here on CNN, is Brexit pulling Scotland and England apart as the October 31st deadline gets closer? We'll hear what some Scottish citizens have to say. Plus ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to hear nothing, even but rain. I don't want to hear it.


ALLEN: Frustration in the Bahamas after the hurricane-ravaged islands narrowly avoid another strong storm. We have a weather update for you ahead here.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Here are our top stories.

U.S. President Trump says the U.S. is locked and loaded after this weekend's attacks on Saudi oil sites. He tweeted the U.S. may know who the culprit is, but still wants verification from the Saudis.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is blaming Iran and the Iranian- backed Houthi militants in Yemen and say they attacked the site with drones. A U.S. official though says the angle of the strikes would have been difficult coming from Yemen.

The coordinated strikes in Saudi Arabia disrupted 5 percent of the daily global oil supply and the effect can already be seen in trading, prices are surging as you can see, up almost 10 percent there the Brent crude and the WTI up 8.84 percent.

In Israel polls show the race is tight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party and the former Israeli military chief Benny Gantz's party. Mr. Netanyahu vows to annex parts of the West Bank if he wins reelection Tuesday. The move sparked international condemnation and threatens prospects for peace.

With the deadline for Brexit fast approaching, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tells "The Mail" on Sunday the U.K. will still break out of the E.U. even if no deal is reached.

Just like the Incredible Hulk when he gets angry, Mr. Johnson said this. Here's the quote. "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets and he always escaped. No matter how tightly bound he seemed to be. And that is the case for the country. We will come out October 31st and we will get it done, believe me."

Well, in the coming hours, he meets with the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker. He'll reportedly ask for a revised Brexit deal. His interior minister told British media she has faith in Mr. Johnson's ability to land a deal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The key question is whether Boris Johnson is going to get a deal with the E.U. now. In your heart, in your waters (ph), do you think it's going to happen?

PRITI PATEL, BRITISH INTERIOR MINISTER: Absolutely. The Prime Minister is fully committed to get in a deal. And I think it's (INAUDIBLE), Andrew. You, your viewers -- I hope the whole country has heard certainly too what we've seen in parliament over the last few weeks that sheer commitment and determination to ensure that, a, we leave on October 31st. And also that the entire machinery of government now is focused on getting that deal and is planning and preparing to leave on October 31st with a deal.


ALLEN: The prime minister's political opponents have a different take. On Sunday, the liberal Democrats approved a motion to cancel if they come to power at the next general election.

Well now to Scotland where citizens voted to remain part of the U.K. in the independence referendum five years ago. So, what do they think about Brexit today?

We sent CNN's Nic Robertson on a tour of Scotland to gauge public opinion.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is Edinburgh in Scotland. And I'm beginning a road trip around this country, asking the question is Brexit driving Scotland and England apart.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first off, Scotland voted to stay in the E.U. and the majority of England voted to leave.

ROBERTSON: His angered Scottish judges ruled PM Boris Johnson lied to the Queen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think Scotland is going to put up with the BS that's going on much longer especially after this (INAUDIBLE) incident.

ROBERTSON: Do you think another independence referendum is now more likely?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I think so. I think a lot of people who said no in the first round say actually they are scared now.

ROBERTSON: But not everyone agrees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People voted clearly in 2014 to be remain of the glorious union of (INAUDIBLE). It's quite a decisive vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I voted to remain part of the U.K. And I'm still with I know (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTSON: In this capital city the Scottish National Party the SNP have three of five MPs but does it represent the country. We head north to find out.

Through the spectacular highlands, to Elgin. I came here just before the last election two years ago and met the SNP MP. He lost his seat to the conservatives.

This lady helped vote the conservative candidate in but not again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- it got Boris Johnson in charge and they also make a mess of Brexit and that is turning people like me off.


ROBERTSON: In Elgin, Johnson's loss could be the SNP's gain. They are working hard to make it happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their argument is yes, it's actually -- Brexit is pushing Scotland more and more towards independence. Yes, you can see it.

ROBERTSON: Well, the SNP lost last election here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but Boris Johnson gets his way and there's another election, then SNP people will dominate.

ROBERTSON: Across Scotland today SNP have 35 of 59 seats, but can they hold what they've got?

I head west to the craggy coast -- the third stop on this road trip, Oban, gateway to Scotland's western isles. It's big on fishing here, big on tourism and they have an SNP member of parliament.

Brexit is a problem here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot of people and the tourism industry that are worried and they actually feel as if it's maybe been a bit quieter this year because there is a lot of unknown.

ROBERTSON: These fishermen exports to the E.U. Here their catch will get tangled in delays and rot. Most here like that the SNP looks out for their local interests but not everyone wants independence.


ROBERTSON: After close to 500 miles of driving, we are back here in Edinburgh again. And after all that travel it is clear the Union is under strain. The SNP does seem to be gaining strength but that alone does not translate simply into an independent Scotland.

Nic Robertson, CNN -- Edinburgh.


ALLEN: It has been two weeks since Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas but the effects of the storm are still visible. Not only has it left a trail of destruction it has also taken an emotional toll as you can imagine on the people.


SITHA SILIEN, DORIAN EVACUEE: I believe it was crazy (ph) but while I was sleeping I heard this noise, deep -- and I jumped up. When I jumped up I thought it was a storm outside, when I came to the door there was nothing. The officer said what happened. I asked him if (INAUDIBLE) -- he was like no, he said that's the airplane. I don't want to hear nothing, even the rain. I don't want to hear it. Like if we nap (ph) two or three minutes, I don't know what I could do. Like, I'd done -- I'm done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all takes you back to that day.

SILIEN: Yes, yes.


ALLEN: They've been through so much. And this weekend they face another scare as they narrowly avoided the brunt of a second storm.

Tropical Storm Humberto grazed the islands but it is now moving away and has become a hurricane. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us from the International Weather Center. Hello to you -- Pedram.

So fortunately for the Bahamas the tropical storm didn't do much but now that storm is marching onward and gaining strength.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely is. And as you said it is a Category 1 now. You see some of these images of the tourists across the Bahamas, this particular photograph taken out of NASA just south of, of course, where Dorian moved across and some of the folks there looking to the north where thunderstorms were present. Very close proximity of a storm systems that has now grown to a Category 1 system.

And notice the convection or thunderstorm activity near the Freeport area and also Marsh Harbor. Those are areas around the Grand Bahama region and also the Abaco Island there that are seeing thunderstorms even as the system moves away. So certainly still seeing plenty of rainfall which is the last thing you want to see.

But this storm system literally took a very, very fascinating track there because it kind of meandered around every single one of these islands and then eventually pulled away at the last possible moment away from the Abaco region and also of course, Grand Bahama, now a Category 1.

But again rainfall going to be expected as the system departs and the model suggests it will push farther towards the east potentially strengthen here over the next several days on approach towards Bermuda which has a possibility here to be impacted by this storm system later this week.

Now, you look beyond this, there's a 10 percent chance which is really not going to play out much as far as anything is concerned there for Gulf Coast with just some rainfall.

But back towards the eastern side of the Atlantic we go where we do have an 80 percent probability of development and concern is in place with this particular storm, models suggest it will push in towards the west -- Natalie.

And some of them do want to bring it a little farther south. If is the case, you are looking at the Leeward Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, and also round the San Juan region of Puerto Rico being in the path of this storm.

And other models do want to take it a little farther to the north but it does look like it has the potential to become a strong storm later this week. So we'll monitor that as the week progresses.


ALLEN: All right. It is that time of year --


ALLEN: -- and it is busy. Pedram -- thanks so much.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, police in Hong Kong arrested several protesters including a pro-democracy lawmaker when new clashes broke out Sunday. Authorities fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowds after they gathered for an unauthorized march.

As CNN's Ivan Watson reports the unrest shows no signs of letting up.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the 15th straight weekend of confrontations and protests here in Hong Kong and this is a very typical site here. Large numbers of riot police deployed after demonstrators conducted a protest march which had not been authorized by the police through the downtown of Hong Kong Island.

And then it was followed up with scenes of demonstrators coursing through the streets, tear gas, water cannons. It`s a scene that has repeated itself week after week.

We witnessed on this evening a group of demonstrators beating a man quite badly on a street corner. We`re not sure why he was targeted but he left dazed and bloodied.

Now the fact is, is that hundreds of people have been detained thus far, arrested. And this has taken a toll on the Hong Kong economy. Hotels have large numbers of vacancies. Airplane ticket sales are down. Retail sales are down as well. And Hong Kong's reputation has taken a beating.

The Hong Kong government has taken some steps to try to meet some protestor demands but at this stage there seems to be no political settlement in sight and as you can hear, many ordinary citizens now view the police as targets of derision.

Police commanders have told CNN it will take years to recover from the damage that their reputation has suffered through this cycle of confrontation.

Ivan Watson, CNN -- Hong Kong.


ALLEN: And coming next here, the urgent call for action to head off extinction of one species of whales in the North Atlantic.



ALLEN: A young sperm whale has died after spending several hours beached in Ocean City, Maryland on the U.S. East Coast. Onlookers tried to push the whale back into deeper waters Sunday but to no avail.

Experts will now try to figure out how it died. Sperm Whales had been listed as endangered for almost 50 years.

Another species of whale is once again facing extinction. The North Atlantic right whale was once hunted to near extinction and now their population is in sharp decline again. A report from Oceana, an advocacy group, says the whales are at risk from vertical fishing lines, ships, and climate change which has affected their food supply.

The group is calling for a ban on vertical fishing lines, and enforcement of feed restrictions at sea.

Whitney Webber joins me now. She is campaign director for Oceana United States. Whitney -- thanks for coming on with us.


WHITFIELD: Why is the right whale -- why their situation so precarious?

WEBBER: Well, the two primary threats are entanglement and fishing gear, and collisions with vessels. They are traversing a minefield of fishing rope, about a million lines span their migratory route from Florida to Canada. And then they are very slow swimming and dark in color. They feed near the surface and they lack a dorsal fin.

So ships have a hard time seeing them, and they move very, very slowly, so it's hard to get them out of the way in time.

ALLEN: Yes. Like ship collision, yes, and the fishing lines. We've seen, you know, you see so many of these videos on YouTube, of what happens when all kinds of animals get caught in fishing lines, and it's so sad.

And you see some people in boats rescue them, and the wales always seem to like kind of thank them before they go away. I watch those videos all the time.

But, yes, they are in need of something. And now, your organization, Oceana U.S. has launched a campaign. Tell us about that.

WEBBER: Well we, Oceana has actually a campaign in the U.S. and Canada. And that is why we are really excited. This is a binational problem. The whales are dying in both countries, so we are well positioned here at Oceana to tackle the issue of both the U.S. and Canada, to help move the needle in the right direction and reverse this drastic downward trend.

ALLEN: So what is the response? I mean what can the U.S., and what can Canada do, and what has been the response from these countries?

WEBBER: Right, well everyone is very worried, and both countries are trying to step up to address the situation. The biggest solutions are to get these fishing lines out of the water. Gear a modification and then out of enforcing and mandating slower shipping speeds will really help the species recover.

So both -- we're really are encouraging both the Canadian and U.S. governments to take aggressive action now.

ALLEN: Well, for people and the fishing industry, when you say gear modification -- what is that is that something that they what is that, is that something that they would sign up for?

WEBBER: Yes. We are really wanting to work with all stakeholders industry and government to really make the situation work for the whales and all stakeholders involved

So removing, you know, fishing lines from the water would be wonderful and there their technologies that are coming online that would really we think make a difference to help the species. And it is such a dire situation.

ALLEN: And what if we don't win this? What if right whales were to go extinct?. What would that signal for conservation? Because we have animals on land and in oceans that are threatened right now in our world. And it would be probably something significant if the headlines were, we couldn't save a species of whale.

WEBBER: Yes, it would be horrifying, to put it quite bluntly. This could be the first large whale species to go extinct in the Atlantic Ocean in centuries, and Oceana it's is going to everything we can to prevent that from happening.

ALLEN: And last -- where do you go in the United States when you say hey, we're launching this campaign? Where do you go recently we are launching the united states. Where do you go? Is it the federal government. Is it The federal government? Is it regional governments?

WEBBER: It's -- well I mean we hope everyone will weigh in with their voices. But it is primarily, yes, it is the administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association that is responsible for recovering the species.


So people can go to We have various tools at your disposal, sign our petitions, use your voice, your social media. Again, we really are hoping to get aggressive action taken immediately.

ALLEN: We hope it works. Whitney Webber with the Oceana United States. Thanks so much for coming on.

WEBBER: Thank you.

ALLEN: A former rugby star reveals a serious medical condition. Ahead -- why Gareth Thomas decided to go public, and what he plans to do next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ALLEN: Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas has revealed he is HIV positive. The former British Lions captain says he decided to make his condition publica after being threatened with black mail. Thomas is believed to be the first British sportsman to announce he is HIV positive.


GARETH THOMAS, WELSH RUGBY LEGEND: I am living with HIV. Now you have that information that makes me extremely vulnerable. But it does not make me weak.



ALLEN: Thomas is believed to be the first British sportsman to announce he is HIV positive.

Well, the famous rock star has died. Ric Ocasek of The Cars died Sunday, he was 75.


ALLEN: The Cars were enormously popular in the late 70s and 80s. The Band was part of the New Wave with hits like My Best Friend's Girl and Drive.

Ocasek cofounded the group and was the main songwriter and lead vocal on most of "The Car's" songs. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

That is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

Stay with us. Another hour of News is next with Rosemary and George.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are watching CNN.