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Bahrain, UAE to Sign Normalization Pacts with Israel; U.S. Ambassador to China Stepping Down; Cuba Extends Curfew and Lockdown Measures; Russian Opposition Leader Off Ventilator; Manhunt for Person Who Shot Sheriff's Deputies; U.S. Open Champ Naomi Osaka Speaks Out. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 15, 2020 - 04:30   ET


Start on Friday


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: So, Sam, how significant are these deals and the timing of all of this? And of course, how have they been viewed in the region?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it's highly significant from the U.S. administration's perspective to have what would appear to be a very significant diplomatic breakthrough negotiated by the Trump administration, signed on the lawn outside the White House in a symbolic moment that churns up memories of previous genuine peace deals between Egypt and Jordan.

This is often touted, this deal between -- separate deals between the UAE and Bahrain as peace deals. They're not, they're normalization of diplomatic relations deals. They're very significant to the Bahrainis and the Emiratis, the Gulf nations and likely to the others that will join them in normalizing relations with Israel because of Iran. They see Iran as the principal threat to stability across the region and to their own national sovereignty. And that's something that they're in lock step within terms of Israel foreign policy and indeed, current and even possibly future American administration's foreign policy when it comes to Iran. Although there will be a different approach under the Biden administration.

For the Palestinians they feel betrayed. That is a term that they use for this because this deal requires only a suspension, a postponement of Israel he plans to annex large chunks of the West Bank, rendering a future Palestinian state effectively an impossibility. But from the Emeriti perspective, and we're likely perhaps even to see maybe some months' time, maybe a year or so, maybe even the Saudis signing up.

Certainly, the indications coming from Oman that they're very favorable to a normalization. They are saying they want to move past the previous conflicts, the fact that the Israelis -- sorry, the Palestinians seem to be perpetually intransigent and get on with the business of international relations in the business of business -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Sam. And Oren, what is the view from Israel on this? OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Most here, I would say the

majority view this very favorably. Israel is growing closer to the Arab states in a shifting Middle East. And Sam is exactly right. It is Iran that is the driving reason behind this de facto alliance against Iran between the Sunni Gulf states and Israel.

But it's not just Iran. You see it in the statements from Emirate and Bahraini ministers and the communications between those ministers in Israel. Foreign ministers have already exchanged phone calls and look forward to meeting in person, defense ministers. Meanwhile, everyone here as is talking about the economic benefits, the tourism benefits, the health benefits, much of that -- to help at least on coronavirus and the tourism after the coronavirus pandemic.

But they see this as more than a military alliance. And that's key because that's the sort of broadening the scope of the relationships that are expected to develop between Israel and Bahrain and Israel and the Emiratis. In statements from Bahrainis and the Emiratis, you see them including mention of the Palestinians. Trying to get them on board. That's simply unlikely at this point because the White House wants to move forward with the Palestinians under the White House's vision for peace, which is heavily slanted towards Israel in heavily slanted against the Palestinians.

So, they'll wait on the sidelines to see what happens in November. The administration has left the door open but that the door they are certainly not going to take over the course of the next couple of months here.

So, a day that will be celebrated in Israel, perhaps we'll look to see how the Palestinians react. What statements they make and if there are protests as this ceremony moves forward. And let's not forget coronavirus here hanging over all of this as Israel had new records set last week and we're waiting for the official numbers here that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the country, it will be a country entering a lockdown. And that, too, is just as big a story here.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Sam Kiley, Oren Liebermann, many thanks to both of you for joining us, appreciate it.

Well, trade tensions between the United States and China have taken a new turn. The Trump administration has issued new restrictions on Chinese imports from companies suspected of using slave labor. Several companies have been named in the order including one that is believed to be weaker a mass prison camp for China's Uighur minority. The news comes on the heels of the U.S. ambassador to China leaving his post. Sources tell CNN, Terry Branstad will return to the U.S. to help Donald Trump's reelection campaign. The former Iowa governor is popular in the Midwest and that could help the President win back voters in several key states.

So, let's turn now to CNN's Steven Jiang. He joins us live from Beijing. Good to see you, Steven. So, what's the latest on all of these developments? STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, in terms of the

first matter you mentioned, this is the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Agency issuing five new orders targeting companies making hair products, cotton products, computer parts and clothing in this one industrial park in Xinjiang. Where there is an internment camp.


Now the Chinese government has long said these camps are so-called vocational training centers offering job-training and reeducation as part of their counterterrorism efforts. The government here actually just dismissed the latest allegations from the U.S. government. But the U.S. government and activists and former detainees have said these are places where the Uighur minorities and other Muslim minorities have been subject to torture and abuse and force to work in heinous conditions. That's why they're now trying to block all products made in these camps from getting to the U.S.

But there is actually a wider initiative being considered as well. That is potentially going all cotton and tomato parts from Xinjiang. But that is still going through legal analysis. But U.S. officials say they're definitely moving in the right direction. They're getting more aggressive in addressing forced labor in Xinjiang.

In terms of the ambassador departure, that in and of itself is not entirely surprising. And multiple sources have told us he had always intended to serve only one term. But the fact he is suddenly leaving before the November election and that the top U.S. representative in China is leaving his post at a time when bilateral relations are hitting an all-time low, of course, is catching a lot of attention.

As you mention, now we know he is being asked by President Trump to go back to Iowa to help the President's reelection because of his name recognition and that presumably he would be an ideal surrogate to talk about how Mr. Trump's tough on China policy has been benefiting the American people. But still the ambassador was chosen because of his personal ties to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and it seems he has been unable to translate this into improving overall relations. But many say is not his own fault because his role is largely symbolic. And the real decision makers sit in Washington, D.C. -- Rosemary.

All right, Steven Jiang, bringing us the latest their live from Beijing. Appreciate it.

Well, the world is closing in on 30 million coronavirus cases. That is according to Johns Hopkins University, and as a result of the growing case count, many countries are bring back COVID-19 restrictions. In England, a new rule now reduces the number of people legally allowed to socially gather from 30 to just 6. And in cases has led Israel to approve a second general lockdown. That's set to start on Friday.

In Cuba, officials are extending lockdown measures to help stop the spread of the virus. This as the island's tourism industry largely remains closed. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more now from Havana.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cuban officials have extended a nightly curfew for Havana and other lockdown measures. As they say, they've been unable to bring the number of coronavirus cases under control in the Cuban capital. So, for an additional 15 days, at least to the end of September, people of Havana will not be able to leave their homes at night. They'll not be able to travel to other provinces. They will basically be required to stay in their neighborhoods. Because public transportation is shut down. Public areas like beaches are shut down.

Cuban officials earlier in the summer had said, they thought they had the spread of coronavirus under control and began to reopen Havana and other parts of this island. But very quickly there were new outbreaks quickly and they had to shut down the island again. So, school in Havana remain shut down.

Officials had thought that initially 15 days of this nightly curfew and other lockdown measures, might be enough, but those 15 days are about to expire and still they say there's too many daily new cases of the coronavirus so they will keep these measures in place. And borders will remain closed almost everywhere on this island except for a few islands off the coast, which are only open to tourists. The entire mainland of Cuba, including the capital city of Havana has been closed to visitors, tourists since the beginning of this pandemic, since March. And that has had a major impact on this economy. Cuban officials say that their main priority though is getting the numbers of coronavirus under control. The number of new cases under control. Until they do that, this island will remain shut.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


CHURCH: Putin critic and Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny is now off a ventilator. He is being treated in a German hospital after being poisoned last month before boarding a flight from Siberia to Moscow. Doctors saying Navalny is able to leave his bed for short periods of time. French President Emmanuel Macron pressed his Russian counterpart for answers during a phone call on Monday. Vladimir Putin said it's unfounded and inappropriate to accuse Russia of the poisoning. And CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Berlin. Good to see you, Fred. So, what more are you learning about Navalny's condition?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. It's interesting also to see that row between Germany and Russia deepening.


Actually today, Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister was supposed to come here to Berlin. But late yesterday afternoon the Russian Foreign Ministry came out and said that that visit has now been canceled. So certainly, those two sides there really in a row over this that is deepening. As far as Alexey Navalny is concerned, he really does appear to be

improving. One of the things that we've seen from the hospital that treating him, the Charite here in Berlin, which is really one of the best hospitals in all of Germany possibly in all of Europe. They say that he continues to improve and that he's now completely off any sort of ventilator.

It's been interesting to see because about a week ago the Charite came out with an update and said that they were taking him slowly on ventilation which was already was showing that he was doing better. But at that point he had gained consciousness. He was already responding they said to verbal stimuli and now they're saying that they are trying to re-mobilize him, as they put it, and that he's able to leave his bed for short periods of time.

Now of course, one of the things that the doctors have said, is that they have said that obviously this is a very serious poisoning. So, this is going to be a very long road to recovery. They also quite frankly say they're not sure whether or not he's going to be able to make a full recovery at all. And of course, the nature of all that is, Rosemary, that he was subject to a chemical warfare agent.

And this chemical warfare agent, Novichok, is something that essentially impedes the communication between the brain and nervous system attacking pretty much everything that a human needs to survive. Being able to move, being able to breathe, being able to see. And so certainly, very, very difficult to come back from something like that. Get the same time the Germans are now saying, and the countries have confirmed that labs in France and in Sweden have also confirmed independently that Mr. Navalny was indeed subjected to a poison from the Novichok group -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Fred Pleitgen, joining us from Berlin live, many thanks.

And coming up, a manhunt is underway for the person who ambushed two Los Angeles county sheriff's deputies over the weekend. The latest on the brazen attack.



CHURCH: A manhunt is underway for the person who ambushed two Los Angeles county sheriff's deputies on Saturday. The shocking attack was caught on tape. And we are learning more details about the condition of the officers involved. Sara Sidner has the latest and a warning, parts of her report contain graphic video.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the moment two Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies are ambushed. The shooter walks up to their parked squad car and fires multiple times. Both are hit at point blank range outside of metro station in Compton.

SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: That was a cowardly act. The two deputies were doing their job, minding their own business and watching out for the safety of the people on the train and seeing someone just walk up and just start shooting on them, it pisses me off.

SIDNER: A 31-year-old mother and her 24-year-old partner are rushed to the hospital. Both have only been on the force 14 months. The sheriff says both were shot in the head. The female deputy was able to apply a tourniquet to her partner who was also bleeding from his arm. Miraculously, they both survived.

Outside the hospital, a small protest of just five people or so appears screaming at police.


SIDNER: One says he hopes for the death of the deputies.


SIDNER: The protester holding the phone identifies himself as a member of L.A. African Town Coalition, a group not nationally known. Before he set out, he took to Facebook.

KEVIN WHARTON PRICE, LA'S AFRICA TOWN COALITION: I've been depressed, but this right here enlightens my heart. Why? Because, you know, the Sheriff department has murdered too many of our brothers and sisters. As a matter of fact, law enforcement throughout the country has murdered too many of our brothers and sisters. This is a start of retribution and then I think this is a very good start.

SIDNER: The Mayor of Los Angeles reacting strongly to his callous comments.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CA: There's no place in civilized society for anybody to draw an arm to shoot our law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line. And I won't ever let a couple of voices that not only are uncalled for, but it's important to say something like that.

SIDNER: Both President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden weighing in on the shooting. Trump expressed his outrage to supporters in Nevada on Sunday.

TRUMP: And you saw a video of that animal that went up to the car, did everybody see that? This animals, this animal goes up to the car, two unsuspecting fine people, there were fine people. I mean, they're in very grave condition, as you know.

SIDNER: Biden responded with this statement.

Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America -- as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on. Those who perpetrate these crimes must be brought to justice and, if convicted, faced the full brunt of the law. SIDNER (on camera): It's not just politicians condemning those protesters and this shooting, but local residents here in Compton. One of them telling us he is discussed by the idea that someone would want these officers to die.

DAVID COLBERT, COMPTON RESIDENT: We don't want those police officers to die. You know, we don't want that. That's a tragedy and our prayers got out to those officers and their families. Yes, there's an issue. You know, we believe that there should be some kind of reform of the police department, you know, to make it better for everybody.

SIDNER: As police search for the suspect in this case, they are offering a reward that is now at $175,000 for anyone who can give information leading to the suspect's arrest.

Sara Sidner, CNN Linwood, California.


CHURCH: Still ahead, tennis star Naomi Osaka isn't used to speaking her mind.


NAOMI OSAKA, TWO-TIME GRAND SLAM U.S. OPEN TENNIS CHAMPION: I see myself in situations where I could have like put my input in but instead of held my tongue.


CHURCH: But now she's found her voice after the events of 2020 compelled her to take a stand.



CHURCH: The police chief of Rochester, New York, has been fired for not taking the death of Daniel Prude as seriously as he and other leaders should have, according to Rochester's mayor. Protesters gathered over the weekend calling for justice for Prude's death back in March while in police custody. His autopsy says he died while being physically restrained by officers while also high on the drug PCP. The outgoing police chief says he has been mischaracterized and the public has been misinformed about how the case was handled.

Well, tragedies like the one in Rochester have caught the attention of tennis star Naomi Osaka, once known as one of the shyest players in pro tennis. The new U.S. Open champ has found her voice with a powerful message on social justice. CNN's Christina Macfarlane has more.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the shy girl of tennis. A two-time Grand Slam Champion, not always comfortable in the limelight. But these tumultuous year has brought about a change in Naomi Osaka. A staggering sporting and public transformation in just four months. It began during lockdown in early May.

(on camera): I want to ask you about something you posted on Twitter. You spoke about the fact that you are done with being shy. What prompted you to tweet about that?

NAOMI OSAKA, TWO-TIME GRAND SLAM U.S. OPEN TENNIS CHAMPION: I don't know. I wanted to also take the quarantine time to just think about everything and for me, I have a lot of regrets before I go to sleep. And most of the regrets is due to like, I don't speak out about what I'm thinking.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): She put an end to that when she boarded a plane to Minneapolis to join the protest over George Floyd's death. In numerous tweets that followed, Osaka became a constant and leading athlete voice against systemic racism.


OSAKA (voice-over): Black rights are human rights. And this movement is not a trend. If our humanity makes you uncomfortable, get used to it.

MACFARLANE: Even voicing support for police reform. But her voice grew louder when lockdown ended, and tennis resumed. Forcing a 24 hour paused on the western and southern Open Semifinal as part of a wider protest after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

In a tweet, she said --

Watching the continued genocide of black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.

At the U.S. Open, her fight went global without having to say a word. With seven masks displaying the names of black victims of alleged police or race violence, one for each match to the finals, Osaka had to keep winning to wear them all. Fuel for her to stay focused and comfort for the victims' families.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Continue to do well. Continue to kick but at the U.S. Open.

MACFARLANE: Would Osaka recognize herself now, discussing her shyness just a few months ago.

OSAKA (on camera): There is a lot of times when I see myself in situations where I could have like put my input in, but instead I held my tongue and then things kept moving in a way that I didn't really enjoy. And I feel like if I had asserted myself, and maybe I would have gotten the opportunity to see what would've happened.

MACFARLANE: In the past four months, it was the hardest any of us can remember. This U.S. Open champion has found her best game and her voice. Just imagine what the years ahead may have in store. Christina MacFarlane, CNN, London.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.