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Thomas Cook Travel Firm Collapses, Travelers Stranded; New U.N. Report Shows Extent Of Climate Emergency; Extinction Rebellion: Young Activists Find Their Voice; Trump's Ukraine Call Fuels Talk Of Impeachment; Iranian President: Foreign Forces Threaten Gulf Security; Arab Lawmakers in Israel Endorse Gantz for PM; Solar Kiosk Offers Internet Access, Power to Charge. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 23, 2019 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- for a showdown with U.S. Thanks everyone for being with us. We're live from the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Michael Holmes.


We're just developing here in the past few hours. Long-time British tour operator Thomas Cook has collapsed, stranding 600,000 travelers worldwide and creating yet another headache for the British government.

Yes, they got to bail them out and get them home. The company that stood for 178 years has seen its stock plummet in the last year amid uncertainty over Brexit and stiffer competition in the tour industry.

All of Thomas Cook's bookings now canceled and the U.K. launching what has been dubbed Operation Matterhorn. It's going to be the largest peacetime repatriation in Britain's history to bring home the company's British customers. We spoke to a UK aviation official about this massive operation last hour.


TIM JOHNSON, POLICY DIRECTOR, U.K. CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY: In terms of where we're are at the moment, we have launched a repatriation program. So we've got outbound from the U.K. about 150,000 passengers in different parts of -- different parts of the world. And we have launched a repatriation exercise so when people get stranded at holiday they will be brought back to the UK.

We're bringing about 150,000 back to the U.K. We've charted over sort of 40 planes and we're going to be running up to 1,000 flights over the next two weeks.


HOLMES: And Sherisse Pham joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. That's 150,000 Brits they bringing home. There are 600,000 in total. So there's a lot of people in far-flung places who still need to get back.

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN REPORTER: Yes, if you are a Thomas Cook traveler trapped abroad at the moment, you really got to go to the Thomas Cook Web site to see what your next options and your next steps are going to be. Because, like you said, the Civil Aviation Authority of the U.K. is only going to bring back British Nationals as well as folks whose Thomas Cook vacation originated from the United Kingdom.

So that's key, because the protection program that is in place that allows the CAA to deploy this very expensive operation to bring folks back home, it only applies to vacation packages that originated in the United Kingdom. And you can see it is already causing confusion for travelers around the world.

We're starting to hear from folks who are trapped in far-flung places like Tunisia. Have a listen to what this one British traveler has to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is that we was given this letter last night to say that we should pay this amount of money which translates to about 1,800 pounds, which is a lot more than the holiday costs. And they've stopped coaches coming in and letting people go home because did not pay this morning.


PHAM: So you can see there is a lot of confusion out there because this woman is being asked by her hotel to pay her bill but she doesn't know if she's responsible for that or not. The Civil Aviation Authority is giving out a little bit of guidance on that. If you have booked a package that includes airfare, the Civil Aviation Authority will handle the hotel bill for you.

If you only booked a hotel, unfortunately, through Thomas Cook, you will be responsible for that bill and the Civil Aviation Authority is advising travelers to check with their credit card or their bank or with their travel insurance companies to see if they can get some sort of refund, Michael.

HOLMES: Wow, what a mess. I mean, talk about the regional impact of this. I mean, first out, I think there's 22,000 Thomas Cook staff as well around the world. They're all out of a job like now. I mean, what's the fallout ripple effect?

PHAM: You're going to see a lot of U.K. jobs lost from the collapse of this iconic British company. You're also going to be seeing ripple effects throughout the world, obviously, because you've got passengers stranded everywhere.

But also with the largest stakeholder in Thomas Cook is Guo Guangchang who is a Chinese billionaire and the founder of one of China's largest conglomerate companies Fosun International. Fosun International owns other travel companies including the all-inclusive holiday company, Club Med as well as a U.K. football team and shares and focus on tourism we're down five percent this morning. They've paired back a lot of those losses now.

But Fosun International is still trading a little bit down today. And we'll see there are going to be more effects, more ripple effects throughout the world. And this is unfolding in real-time so we will be keeping an eye out for what happens over the next few hours, Michael.

HOLMES: All right, I appreciate it. Thanks, Sherisse. Sherisse Pham there in Hong Kong. And a sad day for a venerable British company. The United Nations is going to be hosting a landmark climate action summit on Monday ahead of the U.N. General Assembly.

The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is asking world leaders to offer concrete actionable ideas before it is too late.


ALLEN: And a new U.N. report shows why it is so urgent. The data show that damage from climate change is hitting harder and sooner than expected, and it could soon be irreversible. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us down to explain more about this report, which really, Pedram, should not come as a huge surprise considering the warming trends that have been persistent for well, especially the past five years.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, it's not, of course, just five years. We know this has been going on for many, many decades. But the accelerated nature of the last five years is really what this study notes and points out here and the significance of that as well.

Of course, we know the temperatures have been rising, sea levels as a result of been rising and sea ice loss has been increasing dramatically. But you factor in the extreme weather events, the tropical cyclones, the intensity, and the rapidly intensifying nature of these tropical cyclones.

Of course, not just Dorian in the past few months, but you go back into Maria, and to Irma, and to Hurricane Michael, all of these storms rapidly intensified under very warm water. And our global temperatures have also increased at a rate in the past five years that we've never seen them even the previous five years before that.

So 2015 through 2019, warmest five years on record, just about every single year from 2015 forward has ousted the previous year. So it really notifies how quickly the warming trend is accelerated the 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous run of 2011 through 2015. And notice since the industrial average, their pre-industrial levels 1.5 degrees Celsius is how much we've seen it rise as well.

But look at this. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide being the predominant player, of course, we know the rate of that growing has also increased dramatically. In fact, just the past four years, a 20 percent increase going from 2011 compared to going from 2011 to 2015.

So you think that certainly, we've seen people kind of take more note of what's happening, and maybe they've decreased their consumption, and of course, the levels of follow suit, that has not been the case. That has been the exact opposite. This population, of course, rises dramatically as well.

But you notice the sea ice volume, anytime you diminish the ice, you take away the white color of ice and snow, which really does a great job reflecting that energy back up into the upper atmosphere and allowing or planet essentially they have a regulating factor. They're kind of a mother nature's air conditioning.

Well, we've seen that decrease to its lowest levels on record as well, 12 percent drop per decade going back in the past decade or so. And the sea level rise has also increased pretty impressively as well. And you take a look in the past 25 or so years, it was rising at a rate of about three millimeters per year. In the past five years, it is rising at its most rapid rate of five millimeters per year.

So in that period, essentially the rate of arise on our planet's oceans have been coming comparable to the rate your nails grow in a year and it really is an incredible way to think about when it comes to what's happening out there.

HOLMES: It's accelerating.


ALLEN: That's a lot of red and yellow on your map there. Time to do something. Pedram, thank you. Janet McCabe joins me now she is the director of Indiana University environmental resilience Institute and a former assistant administrator at the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Professor McCabe, thanks so much for being with us.


ALLEN: Let's look at some other findings in this report. The past few years on track to be the warmest five year period on record, continued decrease of sea ice and ice mass, sea-level rise is accelerating, seawater is becoming more acidic. So it sounds like, Professor, we're just not doing what we need to do. What's your reaction?

MCCABE: Well, I think -- I think we know we're not doing what we need to do. And this report, it seems like there's a report like this on a regular basis, right, coming from very, very credible scientific source. The data don't lie, the planet is getting warmer, and it is having all these impacts and they're picking up speed and it's very distressing.

So everybody's coming to the U.N. this week to talk about how we get this world back on track to get a handle on CO2 emissions.

ALLEN: Right, because rather than falling a carbon dioxide grew two percent in 2018, reaching a record high of 37 billion times. They're going to throw out a lot of numbers at this summit. But the bottom line is we're farther along than we thought we would be. And what can the U.N. do? What will you want to hear from the U.N. as they begin to talk about these issues this week?

MCCABE: Well, the U.N., of course, isn't the body that can require countries to do anything. But certainly when the countries came together in Paris, there was a much different spirit there of countries coming with commitment to tackle this and each country putting it's -- what do they call it --


ALLEN: Stand.

MCCABE: -- goal, it's ambition on the table, right. And since the Paris summit, things have not gone so well. The U.S. has reversed course. We had a lot of moral authority in Paris, and it's not there anymore, and this is hard.

Now, I don't think that anybody should think that this is easy to do. We're dependent on fossil fuels, and we need to shift away from it and that's a hard thing to do globally.

ALLEN: Right. They -- the word is that we can technically still bring back the warming just barely if we really step up the pace. But I have to ask you just straight up, without the United States -- President Trump will not be at the U.N. Climate Summit. He did not attend a meeting at the G7 summit. Just this week, he's trying to block California from cleaning up their air. Without the United States, then what?

MCCABE: Well, it's very difficult both because the United States is a significant contributor to global CO2 emissions, but also because of the moral authority that we bring. And if we're not there, what's the incentive for other countries that are competing with us or that want to have the kind of lifestyles we have in the United States, what's the incentive for them to move forward with difficult policies?

There are some countries that are -- that are doing this. Of course, some countries are a lot closer to sea level than we are and at very imminent danger of irreversible harm. And even in this country, we're seeing that kind of thing. There were stories in the -- in the New York Times today about -- I think it was the Times -- of people who just cannot live in their homes anymore in Florida, and they don't have money to go somewhere else.

We have homes of Americans living in Alaska that are being washed away by coastal storms in the -- in the fall that aren't stopped by sea ice. So without the U.S., this is going to be tough. I think it's important, though, for people to not give up hope and not feel like we're left here, we're not.

And every ton of carbon dioxide that we keep from going into the air is going to make this problem better for people and public house and our economies. So we have to keep working at this. And if the U.S. isn't there at this meeting, well, I have to believe that we will be there in a future meeting when we have different leadership in this country.

ALLEN: Right? Well, governments aside and the U.S. government, current U.S. government aside, 87 major companies have committed to set climate targets in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal so that's encouraging. And what about the groundswell of the youth that came out this past weekend and the world? What if the people in the world keep hammering away now at the government saying, you must do something? Because actually, there are solutions, we are we all don't have to be freaking out, but we're just not getting there.

MCCABE: That's right. There are solutions. There's renewable energy that's getting cheaper and cheaper. There's planting trees. There's different ways of growing our food and there's all kinds of things that we can be doing and many people are.

And it's very heartening to see major corporations say, well, I guess I can't wait for my government to require these things but I realized it's the right thing. And I realized that it's an extent, to central issue for my business and my employees and everybody who depends on my company. So I'm going to take the steps that I can take.

And wasn't it inspiring to see all those young people out in the streets all across the globe this week? I live in Indiana and we had youth climate marches in several cities here carrying signs and it's both inspiring and kind of shame making, right? As an adult, I'm ashamed that children have to take to the streets to tell me to do what I know I should be doing.

ALLEN: All right, we appreciate your insights. Janet McCabe for us, thanks so much for joining us.

MCCABE: Thanks so much, Natalie.

HOLMES: Great interview, such an important issue. So yes, that's going to get a lot of attention in the week ahead. And Meantime, young people around the world, they were holding Extinction Rebellion rallies and strikes over the weekend to address the lack of action on climate change.

ALLEN: The demonstrations were inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. These young activists are more connected and more aware of the issues than ever before. CNN's Becky Anderson attended and Extinction Rebellion Festival and heard from a generation determined to have a voice in the fight against climate change.



IRIS JONES, YOUTH CLIMATE ACTIVIST: This is our darkest hour. The science is clear: we're in the sixth mass extinction events and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly.

ANNOUNCER: -- is CNN "BREAKING NEWS". UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live breaking news as Hurricane Irma continues to show no mercy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a hell storm of --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, in alignment with our consciences and our reasoning, declare ourselves in rebellion against our government, and the corrupted inept institutions that threaten our future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're at the edge of collapse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call upon every principled and peaceful citizen to rise with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to act now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you. We love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you. We love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We act in peace, with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts. We act on behalf of life.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This is the call-to-arms that has inspired thousands worldwide to join extinction rebellions, colorful brand of civil disobedience.

In protest against a lack of action on climate change, their message is clear, act now or future generations will suffer.

Well, here in South London, people of all ages are soaking up the atmosphere and an Extinction Rebellion festival, including those who have the most to lose from climate change.

ALFIE CASTEL-O'LEARY, YOUTH CLIMATE ACTIVIST: What could we do to make our air clean again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fossil fuels. We need to stop using them.

THIERRY SPALL, YOUTH CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Ban all non-ecofriendly commercial advertising.

CASTEL-O'LEARY: I'm concerned because I want a future and I want the future for my little brother, he's only five. I'd like him to reach the age of 30 without having to worry about the climate crisis.

ANDERSON: And what about those who don't care. What do you say to them?

CASTEL-O'LEARY: It's your future. Why don't you do something?

ANDERSON: Today's youth activists are more connected and more aware of the risks of climate change than any previous generation. Inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg, these kids are determined to have a say in their future. JONES: The children are the people who will be affected by this. The children are the people who are growing up in this world with this -- all this pollution and cars.

ANDERSON: As tensions in the climate crisis grow, the rise of youth activism looks set to continue.

JONES: Children know about these things and that they do actually care, and it should be everybody is listened to, not just adults.

ANDERSON: And despite the gargantuan task ahead of them, these kids have hope that they will succeed where previous generations have failed.

SPALL: I hope that climate change in the future is going to be something that is in a book of myths that grandparents can tell to their grandchildren about how a group of activists realized the change needed to be taken. Save the planet and we need to make our stand and make sure that our voice is heard.

ANDERSON: Becky Anderson, CNN London.


ALLEN: All right. Well, this is a story you can imagine we're going to be continuing to import week and week.

HOLMES: Absolutely.

ALLEN: In and out. Well, President Trump says he wants to release records of that controversial call with Ukraine.

HOLMES: Yes, but that's not enough for some Democrats. We hear from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, when we come back.



ALLEN: Welcome back. U.S. President Trump once again facing scrutiny over questionable contact with a foreign leader.

HOLMES: Yes. He's neither denying nor is he apologizing for asking Ukraine's President to dig up dirt on a political rival. In fact, he's actually defending the move and says he wants the phone call he held with that Ukrainian leader released.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll be OK with the Ukrainian government releasing their version of the transcript?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think their version would be the same as our version. I mean, it would be identical. But they did, they put out a major statement last night. And in the statement, they said it was a very, very fine conversation. And there was no pressure, no nothing. There was no pressure. That was not pressure. I know when I give pressure, and that was not pressure.


ALLEN: The Ukraine scandal stems from a whistleblower complaint Mr. Trump has been pushing widely, discredited allegations about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. The story goes that the former vice president shielded his son, Hunter, from a corruption investigation in Ukraine.

HOLMES: And that has been widely discredited that story, too. No evidence of it, in fact, evidence the contrary that nothing untoward happened. President Trump though criticizing the whistleblower. He's trying to dismiss the controversy as another partisan witch hunt.

ALLEN: As some Democrats say using a foreign leader to go after a political rival justifies impeachment. House Democrat Adam Schiff discussed that Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you want to respond to what you just heard the president saying, he talked about how Biden had done something wrong and that there was no quid pro quo in that conversation?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, if that's the case, then what isn't? The President simply released the transcript of that call. And I don't know where the whistleblower complaint is on this allegation? But if it is, and even if it isn't, why doesn't the president just say release the whistleblower complaint? Clearly, he's afraid for the public to see either one of those things. And were determined to make sure that the public does that the nation is protected. That if the President of the United States is browbeating a foreign leader, at the same time, he was withholding a vital military assistance that Ukraine needed to defend itself against Russia, and trying to get dirt on his political opponent and he had a second campaign, then the country needs to know about it, and we need to take defensive steps.

TAPPER: Well, I said that to Secretary Mnuchin just two minutes ago, why not just released this to settle the issue? And he said, because it would set a horrible precedent, because world leader should be able to talk to President Trump without having this conversation shared. Your response to that.

SCHIFF: Well, not if those conversations involve potential corruption or criminality or leverage being used for political advantage against our nation's interest. And that's what's at stake here. This would be, I think, the most profound violation of the presidential oath of office, certainly during this presidency, which says a lot, but perhaps during just about any presidency, there is no privilege that covers corruption. There is no privilege to engage in underhanded discussions, you know, and again, I don't know if this is the (INAUDIBLE) or complaint. But if it is, it needs to be exposed. And we know the Inspector General have found that complaint urgent. We also know the Inspector General found this did not involve a policy

disagreement. It's one thing if you're talking about a presidential communication that involves a policy issue, that is not a valid whistleblower complaint. But here, the Inspector General said, this is not what's an issue. We're talking about serious or flagrant abuse, impropriety potential violation of law. And there's no privilege that protects that. And the reason I think that if these two issues are, in fact, one issue, if there was a relationship between this complaint and this issue, you have not only this illicit conduct by the President of the United States, but you also have the added element of a cover-up.

TAPPER: If the President did in fact, in that phone call, push the Ukrainian President to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden eight times as the Wall Street Journal reported, is it an impeachable offense in your view?


SCHIFF: Which I think you know I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment for the reason that I think the founder is contemplating a country that has elections every four years, that this would be an extraordinary remedy. Remedy of last resort, not first resort. But if the President is essentially withholding military aid, at the same time, that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit that is providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is coequal to the evil that that conduct represents.

We're going to hear from the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday, why he is the first director to withhold ever a whistleblower complaint. And we are going to make sure that we get that complaint that whistleblower is protected. And we're going to make sure that we find out whether the President is engaged in this kind of a proper conduct. But it may be that we do have to move forward with that extraordinary remedy. If indeed the president is, at the same time, withholding vital military assistance, he is trying to leverage that to obtain impermissible help in his political campaign.

TAPPER: Well, that's certainly the farthest I've ever heard you go when it comes to the possible need for impeachment. But for some Democrats, as you know, it's not enough. 2020 candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted on Friday that by having failed to impeach President Trump, by now, quote, Congress is complicit in Trump's latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in U.S. elections. And Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said something similar this morning on Twitter that the real scandal is Democrats letting this happen. How do you respond?

SCHIFF: Well, I would just say this, there's no chance of us persuading the Senate, the Senate Republicans in an impeachment trial, they have shown the willingness to carry the President's baggage no matter how soiled its contents. But I want to make sure before we go down this road, that we can persuade the public that this was the right thing to do. And part of persuading the public that impeachment is the right thing to do, is making sure that the country understands that this was a last resort.

Now, some of the folks that you mentioned have been embracing impeachment from the very beginning. I don't think that's useful in making the case the public that we did this reluctantly. But the President is pushing us down this road. And if in particular, after having sought foreign assistance, and welcome foreign assistance in the last presidential campaign, as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again, but now using the power of the presidency, then he may force us to go down this road. I have spoken with a number of my colleagues over the last week, and this seems different in kind, and we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.


ALLEN: All right. Well, on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she wants that whistleblower report delivered. We'll see.

HOLMES: And a lot of people are saying with the Democrats, what are you going to do if it doesn't? You know, what concrete moves will you take? We'll see. We'll see. All right, we're going to take a break. Meanwhile, when we come back, Iran today says outside troops in the Gulf are not welcome.

ALLEN: Ahead here, why the President believes they are problematic, what he plans to do about it.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.


Here are our headlines this hour.

More than half a million travelers are stranded worldwide after Thomas Cook, one of the world's oldest and largest tour operators declared bankruptcy. All of the British companies flights have been canceled, the U.K. will now launched its largest ever peacetime repatriation to bring home more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers.

HOLMES: The United Nations warning that there is a dangerous gap between what countries are willing to do to fight climate change and what actually needs to be done. They've released a new report the day before the Climate Action Summit showing that the crisis is hitting harder and sooner than expected and that the damage could soon be irreversible.

ALLEN: Britain's Prince Harry and duchess Meghan and Baby Archie are taking their first royal tour as a family. They are set to make their first stop in Cape Town Monday as part of a ten-day visit to Southern Africa. The trip includes 35 appearances in four countries -- good luck with that.

HOLMES: Yes, that's a bit busy for me.

All right. Now Iran's president telling foreign troops to stay out of the Gulf because he believes their presence is quote, "problematic and dangerous".

ALLEN: Hassan Rouhani says he will present a security plan for the region at the U.N. General Assembly. As our Nick Paton Walsh reports, Iran is expected to meet with many countries except the United States.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump does say he's not going to talk to Iran in New York at the U.N. General Assembly meeting. He sort of holds out the possibility that there's nothing is scheduled, maybe something might possibly happen on the sidelines. His messages trying to be clear and hold out the possibility that happenstance might change that.

His Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said clearly talking to U.S. media on Sunday that they want to give diplomacy every opportunity. I think he's more talking about trying to get an international coalition around Saudi Arabia and how military force after some days of bluster from the White House is unlikely to be used.

Iran has been clearer. It's foreign minister saying that they will not be talking to the United States in any way, shape or form until the sanctions that were re-imposed when the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal alleviated yet again.

And Iran's president Hassan Rouhani who's yet to arrive in New York will turn up there on Monday, use this day, which is the anniversary of the start of the brutal Iran-Iraq war of the 80s to suggest a peace initiative for the Strait of Hormuz where he will be focused mostly on the waterways tanker traffic trying to de-escalate tensions there but also focusing on the departure of foreign forces -- his sort of euphemism for the United States who will be sending they said dozens possibly hundreds more troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to back up their defenses there.

But what you learned from the last week, this escalated tension here, well you might say Donald Trump was willing to offer North Korea talks without something being surrendered or offered by North Korea first. When it comes to Iran, Iran has decided that actually it wants to get concessions from the U.S. before it's even willing to negotiate with them and also too. there has been this week, in which military retaliations have been held out as a possibility by U.S. President's always willing to talk about how they have the best military force in the world but it was never used.


WALSH: And instead although the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have yet to provide evidence to point to Iran being behind the attacks on all refineries in terms of whether it was launched from Iran's territory, we are still dealing with the stark accusation from Washington and Riyadh, and one that has not been met by a military confrontation. Iran has always denied involvement but I'm sure long term analysts of this last week will bee looking at exactly what it means for the U.S.' willingness to intervene on behalf of the allies in the Gulf.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN -- Tehran.


HOLMES: And CNN's Christiane Amanpour sat down with the Iranian foreign minister ahead of the General Assembly and asked Javad Sharif about the diplomatic stalemate with the U.S.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Foreign minister -- are you saying that there is a plan afoot to close the doors to negotiation by the U.S. President?

JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think the only reason they would re-designate our central bank is to make it impossible or very difficult for this president or his successor to remove the name from the list. The bar is very high now and I think those who propose this to President Trump wanted to close the door to negotiations, not during his presidency but even after his presidency.

AMANPOUR Some are saying that actually hard line element like the one you are describing here in the United States -- and Iran also wants to see doors to diplomacy closed.

ZARIF: Yes. There may be people but the leadership in Iran is more prudent than to all in their trap.


ALLEN: Watch Christiane's entire interview with Zarif Monday at 1:00 p.m. in New York. 6:00 pm in London, 1:00 a.m. Tuesday in Hong Kong.

HOLMES: Now, the Israeli president is meeting with political parties to see who they recommend to lead the country.

ALLEN: President Rueven Rivlin has to break the election impasse since neither prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Bennie Gantz won enough seats to form a governing coalition in last week's election.

We get more on it from CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really a week now since the election and Israel's political situation is no better now than it was before. The country now seems certain to re=main in the same political deadlock that led to these elections in the first place.

On Sunday afternoon, Israel's president Reuven Rivlin, began meeting Began meeting with the political parties to see who they recommend if the president met with the political parties to see who they recommended to lead the country. Blue and White recommended their leader Benny Gantz while Likud recommended Benjamin Netanyahu. No surprises there. But then it came to the King maker, former defense minister Avigdor Liebermann.

He has only eight seats but those seats are crucial for who ever wants the form of government. And he said nothing. He made no recommendation to the President on who should be the next leader of the country and that means both Gantz; and Netanyahu and Netanyahu will almost certainly short of the seats required to form a government.

One other thing worth noting, the joint list of Arab Parties made a historic move recommending Gantz. The Arab Party is normally making no recommendation, in fact the only other time they recommended a leader was in 1992, when they threw their support behind Itzak Rabin who campaigned on a platform of peace with the Palestinians.

Here the joint list said they would support guns in order to said in order to oust Netanyahu. Israel's president continues his meeting with the smaller parties on Monday morning. But it's not expected that there will be anything to break the political deadlock here. And that means the burden of changing this falls right now on President Reuven Rivlin.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- Jerusalem.


HOLMES: And we will be right back after a short break.



ALLEN: All right. We're taking you into Rwanda for this one. Plenty of people there have cellphones but what they don't have is the power to charge them or access to the Internet.

HOLMES: Now we've got a new series -- Innovate Africa. And we're highlighting some of Africa's best inventions.

Robyn Curnow has more on a solar kiosk that could offer Rwandans a solution.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Using the sun's power to charge electronics is nothing new, but what if it could also create business opportunities and offer connectivity in the most off the grid locations.

In Rwanda Henry Nyarkarundi (ph) is banking on this free form of energy to revolutionize the countries digital space.

HENRI NYARKARUNDI, FOUNDER ARED GROUP: The initial idea was to develop a hub could charge phones. If you look across Africa you see a lot of agents that work for telecos -- the biggest problem with agents is number 1, they are locked into one company.

He or she is not allowed to sell more people service to maximize state revenue. Well, that's the problem, right.

So we said why not turn -- those kiosks into a hub where you don't just come to charge your phone. You don't just come to buy services. But if you can also be connect and this whole kiosk basically combined all the technology into work.

CURNOW: (INAUDIBLE) 12.3 million, barely 77 percent have cellphones but only 30 percent have access to charge them and get online. That is where the rolling tech hub or shariki (ph) comes in to meet the demand.

NYARKARUNDI: So this is the shariki hub. We have 100 watt solar panels that is it's retractable, you can close it and folded. And as you can see it's very simple, it's light. And then you charge all your phones on the inside and then you have the wi-fi system also here that can connect up to 100 people.

CURNOW: ARED currently charges 30 francs or 3 U.S. cents per 10 minutes of data and 50 francs to fully charge a phone.

NYARKARUNDI: 80 percent of our sales are 20 minutes. The number one access right now is WhatsApp online and number one -- content, because the consumer's entertainment content.

CURNOW: This mobile one-stop shop also has a large social impact for employees, ARED operators the reason why I've chosen says micro franchises with small upfront costs and no costs two women and disabled people.

FLORIDE UWIMANA, ARED ENTERPRENEUR: The reason why I chose this businesses is because I found it to be profitable. I sell Internet, electricity and airtime to mobile phone companies, There are people who want to read news on what's happening around the world. With my wi-fi services all of that is possible.

NYARKARUNDI: If you compare our agent to other agent, they triple their revenue.

They sell multiple services, and because it's franchise model, if you the maintenance for them, we support you and we take care of the customers.

And the last impact we had is the users, now they don't have to walk miles, now they can get that aspect of the services from one location.

CURNOW: The sun is the limit for Nyarkarundi as his company continues to expand their reach in Rwanda and beyond.

NYARKARUNDI: I think we are be the first generation of entrepreneurs, I would say, that really trying to build something from the ground instead of trying to import solutions from outside. And I'm hoping the next generation will even do more than what we've done, because we have just scratched the surface. CURNOW: Robyn Curnow, CNN.


HOLMES: And thanks everyone for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Don't go anywhere "WORLD SPORT" is next. See you around.