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Strongest Storm on Record Close to Landfall; South Africa Scraps Tuition Hike after Protests; Sword-Wielding Man Kills Two at School in Sweden; Bus and Truck Collide in France, 43 Dead; U.S. Panel Grills Hillary Clinton for 11 Hours; Idlib Hospital Destroyed; Seventy Hostages Freed from ISIS in Iraq Rescue; Adele Releases New Single Ahead of Album. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 23, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW CNN HOST: Hi, there, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
We begin with what authorities are calling the strongest hurricane on record. Hurricane Patricia is just hours away from its expected landfall
in southwestern Mexico, including its tourist hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.
People are preparing for the worst as authorities warn of a, quote, "potentially catastrophic landfall."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): And now just to give you an idea of what kind of damage a storm of this magnitude can cause, take a look at this video shot
after Hurricane Andrew struck Southern Florida in 1992.
Homes, businesses, everything just leveled just south of Miami. Some experts are also comparing intensity of Hurricane Patricia with Typhoon
Haiyan which killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines in 2013.
So the big question now is where and when this monster of a storm will make landfall. Chad Myers is standing by for us.
Hi, there, Chad.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Robyn. It looks to me like Manzanillo, Mexico, will be the ground zero of this storm surge and potentially the
significant wind damage. We are talking 325 kilometers per hour. There's never been a lower pressure, never been a higher wind called a hurricane.
Now there was a lower pressure called Typhoon Tip (ph) back in 1979 but other than that, this is now a new record storm for the Eastern Pacific or
for the Atlantic.
And there's Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta still going to see very heavy wind, 75 to 100 miles per hour. So somewhere between 100
kilometers and 150 kilometers per hour there. But slightly to the south of there, near Manzanillo, Mexico, that's where the heaviest wind speeds and
where the probably 15-meter storm surge will be.
People getting away from the coast, going up the hill, getting into the strongest buildings they can find right now. This will be onshore in about
8-10 hours just later on today. Here's Friday. This is today. There's Manzanillo. There's the forecast center coming right on shore there near
Manzanillo, Mexico, maybe San Patricia. That's the area to see the heaviest, strongest winds.
And something else to go on with this, after the winds have died off, we're going to see flooding, flash flooding, mudslides, all of that because the
storm will come on shore with a half a meter of rainfall and that will be devastating.
Let's get to the floor and show you what this is. This is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range, talking about Guadalajara, talk about the
coast here. But the problem is that as the moisture goes up the shore, up the coast, up the mountains, all of a sudden all of that rain is going to
have to come back down.
It is not going to soak in. It will get into the river valleys and wash right straight back down into the Pacific Ocean. Very heavy rainfall, half
a meter deep and all of a sudden put it down all at one time, it is going to run right back off.
The mountains are very, very steep here and not that far from the coast almost 3,000 meters high and all of that is one big wash straight down.
So, yes, there will be saltwater flooding from the water coming in from the ocean and then freshwater flooding as the rainfall comes back downhill --
CURNOW: Chad, and of course we'll come back to you if there is any more information. Thanks so much for that.
Now for some perspective from the Mexican coast, Rodolfo Sanchez is a manager at the Las Hadas Golf Resort and Marina. He joins us now by phone
This has been very quick, hasn't it?
RODOLFO SANCHEZ, MANAGER, LAS HADAS GOLF RESORT AND MARINA: It's been -- yes. We have been receiving warnings since yesterday so we just ready
moving all the guests. All the guests are being evacuated. We have no guests in the (INAUDIBLE) but the persons have to be here to protect.
But we are now with, you know the.
CURNOW: So you say all the guests are evacuated. In a way, they're the lucky ones.
How is the mass evacuation in that area going?
SANCHEZ: Well, we are a hotel. There is located with roads. I mean, with roads that are easy to get out from here. So the nearest city is Colima
(ph) (INAUDIBLE) Guadalajara but they are dealing about their own security since yesterday.
SANCHEZ: So I told you we're beginning with this evacuation and their guests are checking out in -- throughout this time. Yesterday, that's the
last two of them, are going.
CURNOW: OK. Thank you for that perspective on the ground there, Rodolfo Sanchez (ph), thanks for calling in. Appreciate it.
Weather experts say Hurricane Patricia is more powerful than some of history's most devastating storms. Let's take a look. Supertyphoon
Haiyan, the previous record holder for sustained wind speed at 313 kph.
As we said, more than 6,000 people died when it hit the Philippines in 2013. Patricia is also said to be stronger than Hurricane Camille. That
storm battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969, causing more than 250 deaths.
Only one category 5 hurricane has made landfall on Mexico's Pacific Coast. That unnamed storm struck near Puerto Vallarta in October 1959, killing
some 1,800 people.
Well, we are also following breaking news in South Africa. President Jacob Zuma announcing just a short time ago that there will be no increase in
university fees next year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Now he was responding to a week of escalating protests over what was at first a 10 percent tuition hike. It was later
dropped to 6 percent before today's announcement.
You can see here from these images, anger boiling over earlier in the day as protesters tried to pull down a fence outside the presidential offices.
The crowds were also throwing rocks at police. One of them hit this news camera, as you can see it go dark with the cracked lens.
Riot police responded to the violence with stun grenades and water cannon. A short later came President Zuma's announcement. This is some of what he
had to say.
JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT, SOUTH AFRICA: There will be a zero increase of university fees in 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: OK. Jacob Zuma there, South African president.
Our David McKenzie in the middle of these protests for days now and joins us from Pretoria with the latest.
Hi, there. You're at the union buildings, David.
What's happening right now?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, now Robyn, it is the ghost of the protest that's left here because police pushed through just moments ago,
maybe 20 minutes ago, with rubber bullets.
Here's a casing for one of them.
They were shooting significant volleys at the protesters, many of them peaceful, some of them violent, pushing them down this lawn, out towards,
into Pretoria, downtown, firing teargas, using stun grenades. It was a very dramatic scene and it all ended at this stage.
But the running battles I can see are still going on down on the street. I want to show you over here, Robyn. This is the result of some of these
protests, these bricks on the ground here, stones.
They were throwing them at the press, at the police, at the politicians and that announcement by Jacob Zuma did nothing to quell the anger here though
he did cede to the key demand of the students to have a zero percent fee hike next year. What happens next is the key here, whether the students
will accept this or whether we'll see more protests and more violence in the hours and days ahead -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. It wasn't just today. These students have been very well organized and, in a way, venting the frustration that goes way beyond
MCKENZIE: That's right. There's a lot of deep-seated anger among Africa's youth, as you know Robyn, because of the inequality in this country that
has persisted more than two decades since the beginning of South Africa's democracy.
I must say that there was a smallish hardcore group of protesters which kicked off this violence. The vast majority of the protests, protests,
many of them, who were shot at by the police with these rubber bullets, were peaceful.
And there's this very deep ironic moment here. You have the union buildings, the seat of South Africa's government, which is populated mostly
by the leading ANC, which was the liberation movement in the country and now you're seeing a broad-based student movement and scenes very
reminiscent of the apartheid era student movement, protesting against that liberation movement.
It is too early whether to say this is a watershed moment but certainly it is very significant that these students have banded together to protest the
government here in South Africa.
CURNOW: Indeed. And as we know we know that -- I know that lawn very well, reported from there over the last 20 years on a number of things.
Presidential inaugurations take place where you are.
So looking down that south lawn is one view. But looking behind you is the union buildings. But also that very new statue of Nelson Mandela that
looms down over that vista where you are. And of course a lot of this has to do with anger at the leadership, the quality of leadership, of Jacob
CURNOW: That was also starkly brought into focus today.
MCKENZIE: Well, I think so. And a lot of people have directed their anger at Zuma. You know? During protests, people shout all sorts of things but
some of it has been "Down with Zuma, down with the government."
Again, this is specifically about fee increases but it's a broader scenario. I want to -- Byron to sort of show you the scene here.
This is the scene when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated. You had thousands of people on this lawn, as you said, Robyn, as he came into the presidency
at the beginning of the democratic era.
Now you have the situation that the police here are going up against students, many of them born in the democratic era, so-called "born free"
students. It's a deeply significant moment here and the violence of the students has been met by the violence of the police.
If they can come to some common ground, it might be diffusing this but right now it seems that the students are well organized but don't
necessarily have specific leadership in the social media era and it'll be interesting and potentially troubling to see how this moves from here --
CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks to you all. I know Byron Blancher (ph) is there, Brent Swells (ph) and David McKenzie, great reporting today. Thanks, guys.
Well, this is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. A horrible scene that one person said looked like a war zone. Details of a bus crash in southern France
that killed dozens of people. That's up next.
CURNOW: Police in Sweden say they believe race is what motivated the man who carried out a deadly attack at a school. A teacher and student were
killed in Thursday's stabbing attack. Police say the man targeted victims based on their ethnic background.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Agence Presse obtained this photo, said to show the masked man, posing with students before --
CURNOW (voice-over): -- the attack. The students at first thought he was playing a Halloween prank.
In addition to the two killed, two people were wounded in the attack. Police shot the sword-wielding masked man. He later died. The Swedish
prime minister called it a dark day for Sweden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: It is called France's worst road accident in decades. At least 43 people were killed today when a bus and a truck collided in southern France
near Bordeaux. Media reports say that the vehicles crashed head-on on a narrow road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): You can see there those aerial views; most of the victims were elderly people. The truck driver and a child believed to be
his son also died.
Fred Pleitgen is following the story for us from London.
Hi, there, Fred. This is horrible.
What more do we know?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is absolutely horrible and there are new details that are emerging by the hour
here as the investigation into that horrible road traffic incident continues.
So what happened is that the crash itself occurred at 7:30 am in the morning and this bus, which had about 50 passengers on it, most of them
were pensioners who were from a walking group from that region there near the town of Bordeaux.
Shortly after it departed, it hit that truck and both vehicles almost immediately caught fire. Now the death toll was originally put at 42 but
has just, in the past couple of minutes, been increased to 43 because of what you just said, that apparently there were two people inside the truck,
one of them believed to be the 3-year-old son of the truck driver who was killed.
Now an absolutely awful incident and the French are saying this is one of the worst road traffic accidents they've had in their history, certainly in
the past decades but it also appears as though, believe it or not, it could have actually even been even worse.
Local authorities saying that the bus driver, who also survived the accident, noticed that he was going to hit this truck, that the accident
was unavoidable and managed to open an emergency door, and that allowed at least eight people to get out of the bus, some of them escaped with some
very severe injuries, including burns and, of course, broken bones but at least eight people did survive that crash and the authorities believe they
might have also perished if the bus driver hadn't acted as quick as he did.
But there is an ongoing investigation. The French say they want to know what's behind all this, how this could happen. They still have not
recovered all of the bodies from the wreck of that bus. And they say the investigation will take months -- Robyn.
CURNOW: I'm just looking at a wire as you're talking and a French spokesman says that it might take three days to try and recover these
And the question is, just why both of these vehicles burst into flames so quickly. I think that seems to be a focus of the investigation.
Am I right?
PLEITGEN: It is one of the focuses of the investigation. One of them is, of course, how this accident could happen in the first place, how it could
happen that these two vehicles collided there.
Now there are some reports that we've been reading on local media that perhaps this area was one that was prone to accidents anyhow. We know that
it was a road that had only one lane in each direction.
We know that it was a fairly sharp turn in this area so it's unclear whether or not the vehicles would have been able to see each other if they
were not completely in their lanes as they were passing each other.
And then of course, as you say, the big question is how could they burst into flames that quickly?
One of the things that will have to be seen is what kind of load the truck had on it, whether that played any role. There was an indication earlier
that it could have been timber that was on the truck; again, at this point, not clear. But that certainly will be one of the focuses on this
investigation, why that fire spread so quickly -- Robyn.
OK. Fred Pleitgen, we'll leave it at that. Thanks so much.
Israeli police say they have lifted age restrictions for weekly prayers at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque for the first time since a continuing wave of
violence broke out in September.
But the city is on high alert as Palestinian factions call for a day of rage in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And Israeli security forces are
deployed in and around the Old City. The Israeli military says a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a soldier in the West Bank. They say the
attacker was shot and also wounded.
Take a listen to this. A Chinese foundation has made a controversial choice for its peace prize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who has often been accused of human rights abuses, Confucius Peace Prize is meant to
rival the Nobel award that emerged in 2010 after the Nobel Prize winner jailed Chinese dissident which infuriated Beijing. Past winners include
Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
You are watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK.
She was grilled for 11 hours by U.S. Republican lawmakers over the 2012 Benghazi attack.
So how did Hillary Clinton do?
And crucially, what does it mean for her run for presidency?
All that and more after this short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Well, she is back on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton there speaking at the Women's Leadership Organization Forum, in
Washington, D.C. These are live pictures. Of course, these images coming a day after she was grilled for 11 hours, it was a marathon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: As U.S. presidential hopeful and former secretary of state answered questions for those 11 hours about Benghazi on Thursday. Now a
U.S. House committee pressed her repeatedly on her handling of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Eastern Libya three years ago.
Seven Republicans on the panel made the case that Clinton ignored repeated requests from Ambassador Stevens for more security. It's the second time
Clinton testified on Capitol Hill over the incident. But the stakes were higher now that she is the leading candidate for her party's nomination for
Jeff Zeleny has the details.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You know I would imagine I thought more about what happened than all of you put together. I've lost
more sleep than all of you put together.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton stood her ground and kept her cool, testifying before the
congressional committee investigating the Benghazi attacks. The long- awaited hearing produced more fireworks than light on the 2012 terrorist strike in Libya that took the lives of the U.S. ambassador and three other
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), CHAIRMAN: We are going to pursue the truth in a manner worthy of the memory of the four people who lost their lives and we
are going to write that final definitive accounting of what happened in Benghazi.
ZELENY (voice-over): But the definitive account soon devolved into a familiar partisan argument. Chairman Trey Gowdy and his fellow Republicans
pressed Clinton for answers about those emails she sent as secretary of state.
GOWDY: It looked like certain things got straight to your inbox and the requests for more security did not.
CLINTON: Yes. Personal email came to my personal account. Work related email did, as well.
ZELENY (voice-over): This committee --
ZELENY (voice-over): -- first discovered that Clinton used a private email server, now subject of a FBI investigation. Her long-time friend, Sidney
Blumenthal, was a central figure, Republicans wondering why he had such easy access.
GOWDY: We just heard email after email after email about Libya and Benghazi that Sidney Blumenthal sent to the secretary of state.
You need to make sure the entire record is correct.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MD.: Yes. And that's exactly what I want to do.
GOWDY: Well, then go ahead.
CUMMINGS: I'm about to tell you. I move that we put into the record the entire transcript of Sidney Blumenthal. We're going to release the emails.
Let's do the transcript. That way the world can see it.
ZELENY (voice-over): Democrats on the committee forcefully defended Clinton.
CUMMINGS: Here's the bottom line. The select committee has spent 17 months and $4.7 million of taxpayer money.
ZELENY (voice-over): The day-long hearing was a spectacle with high stakes for Clinton's campaign. Her husband sent her off this morning from their
Washington home, where he hunkered down to watch.
CLINTON: Even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequences.
ZELENY (voice-over): There were plenty of props.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This pile represents the emails.
ZELENY (voice-over): And plenty of posturing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not done with my question. I'm just giving you the courtesy of reading your notes.
CLINTON: That's all right.
ZELENY (voice-over): Only occasionally did her frustration come through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans can live with the fact that good people sometimes give their lives for this country. What they can't live with is
when their government is not square with them.
CLINTON: I think the insinuations that you are making do a grave disservice to the hard work that people did during the course of some very
confusing and difficult days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton, you said my insinuation. I'm not insinuating anything. I'm reading what you said.
CLINTON: I'm sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative, Congressman.
ZELENY (voice-over): Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: Well, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows she's retaken the lead over challenger Bernie Sanders in the key state of Iowa.
Now it seem that is one of the most powerful positions in U.S. politics will soon be filled after weeks of saying he didn't want the job, U.S.
Congressman Paul Ryan announced he'll run for House Speaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): The change of heart after the House Freedom Caucus which is a group of conservative Republicans decided to back him. Its
members said Ryan just wasn't conservative enough to be a Speaker in the House. It's been increasingly divided and fractured.
Ryan would replace retiring Speaker John Boehner. A vote on the House floor is expected next Thursday.
Well, still ahead, a daring raid, dozens of hostages rescued and one American soldier dead. More on what happened in an ISIS-controlled prison
CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. I want to give you an update on the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Authorities in the U.S. say Hurricane Patricia is the strongest on record and it's expected to strike southwestern Mexico in just
a matter of hours. People are preparing for the worst as authorities warn of a, quote, "potentially catastrophic landfall."
After of a week of sometimes violent protests, South Africa's president announces there will be no increase in university fees for the next year.
Jacob Zuma met with university leaders and university administers a short time ago and said he is looking forward to working with both groups to make
tuition more affordable for struggling families.
At least 43 people are dead, several more injured after a bus and a truck collided in southern France. Media reports said it happened on a narrow
road near Bordeaux. Most of the victims were elderly pensioners. Officials say it could take three days to remove all the bodies from the
The top diplomats of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States are meeting in Vienna to discuss the conflict in Syria. Russian foreign
minister Sergey Lavrov and the U.S. secretary of state John Kerry sat down for talks earlier but didn't take any questions.
Lavrov says Russia and Jordan have agreed on military coordination in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Staying with Syria, where there's video of what a Syrian humanitarian organization says shows a missile strike on a hospital in the
rebel-held city of Idlib.
Now the images show the impact of what appears to be the second of two strikes on a hospital. The Syrian-American Medical Society, which runs the
hospital, says Russian warplanes were responsible. Moscow denies this strongly and says it does not target civilians. Here's Nick Paton Walsh
with the report.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Warplanes have just struck and missed in rebel Idlib.
Aid workers are out and say, "Run, the plane is coming back."
This aid worker from the Syrian civil defense unit runs inside the hospital. One of his colleagues dead, five injured, a dozen total dead.
The Syrian-American Medical Association, who run this hospital, told CNN it was targeted by Russian jets in, quote, "a double tap," one strike and then
another to catch the first responders.
Russia denies targeting civilians.
"In the first attack," this local man says, "thank God there were no injuries. Then the warplane turned around. And that time all the people
were gathered and it shot two missiles again."
It is the third report of hospitals hit in the offensive in and around Aleppo in the week.
Not far west of Aleppo, the same rescue group find what they say is an unexploded cluster bomb, markings visible. Russia deny at first they're
using cluster munitions.
But two appear to have crashed through this roof into this home, making the holes beneath this boy's feet.
"It came and hit for the first time," he says. "But the warplane shot a missile that had cluster bombs. It came on to us. None of us were injured
but our neighbor, Abdulaziz Bashir (ph), was injured and two women were killed."
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, southern Turkey.
CURNOW: Powerful report.
The U.S. is indicating it could help --
CURNOW: -- with more hostage rescues in Iraq after a dramatic mission on Thursday freed dozens of people from an ISIS-controlled prison. That
operation also left an American service man dead. Barbara Starr reports now on how special forces got involved on the ground.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The raid by U.S. special operations forces that left one American dead from ISIS gunfire was
the first U.S. military death by enemy action in this war, several military officials tell CNN, remarkably, a mission that President Obama did not sign
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PRESS SECRETARY: I believe that the Defense Department has said that the Secretary of Defense authorized this mission.
STARR (voice-over): Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's press secretary defending the decision to help Kurdish commanders, close U.S. allies.
PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: This was a unique circumstance in which very close partners of the United States made a specific request for
STARR (voice-over): The Pentagon says Carter approved the mission because the Kurds wanted to free prisoners facing imminent execution. Satellite
imagery showed mass graves had already been dug. But none of the freed prisoners appear to be Kurds.
STARR: You went on a hostage rescue mission and you didn't know who was going to be there?
COOK: We did not have a full accounting of everyone present at this compound. That is correct.
STARR (voice-over): The Pentagon adamant the operation was not mission creep and did not violate the president's ban on combat by U.S. forces.
The U.S. special operations forces were supposed to use their helicopters to just fly Iraqi Kurdish forces to the ISIS jail in Northern Iraq.
But there was one secret clause. If the Iraqis started to come under heavy attack, U.S. troops had the authority to step in and help, essentially
putting themselves in combat against ISIS.
That is exactly what happened when heavy gunfire broke out on the ground just after initial military action.
Nearby, U.S. warplanes had just dropped bombs on makeshift ISIS training camps, staging sites and bridges in the area. Then, five helicopters
brought in nearly 70 U.S. special forces, Iraqi and Kurdish troops. They approached the compound and that firefight broke out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get going!
STARR (voice-over): When the mission was over, the U.S. aircraft overhead destroyed the site. The U.S. service member was badly wounded inside the
compound during the firefight. He was airlifted to Erbil in Northern Iraq and later died of his wounds at a battlefield trauma center there.
STARR: The U.S. insists the main reason for the mission: the Kurds asked for help and the U.S. wanted to help them. The Kurds are valuable allies
to U.S. forces fighting ISIS in both Iraq and in the skies over Syria. It is possible, we're told, there may be more missions like this one --
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
CURNOW: And we'll have more here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK after this short break. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Welcome back. Now if you've been waiting for something new from British singer-songwriter Adele, your wait is almost over. Take a listen
CURNOW: That's, "Hello," Adele's first new song in three years and the first taste of a long-awaited third album, which is entitled "25." It's
due out next month. The award winning artist said this latest offering will explore her journey to adulthood and self-acceptance.
Really looking forward to that one.
Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thank so much for watching. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.