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Afghan Taliban Claim Deadly Blast in Kabul; Delicate Diplomacy; Rousseff Vows to Fight Impeachment; Vietnam Tries to Track Trafficked Girls; Israeli Police Investigate Jerusalem Bus Blast; Clinton, Trump Hold Leads Going into New York Primary; International Aid Pours into Ecuador. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 19, 2016 - 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 (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, a deadly suicide attack hits Kabul.
The U.S. president heads to Saudi Arabia and the tensions with the kingdom.
And all eyes on New York: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton look for big wins in the state's primary.
CURNOW: Hello, everyone, welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow.
We begin in the Afghan capital, a city reeling from a massive suicide blast. The Afghan Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack,
which left more than 2 dozen people dead, mostly civilians. Hundreds were wounded.
Officials say two attackers targeted the office of a security team that protects government figures. Let's get to senior international
correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh. He joins us from Beirut.
Nick, you've actually just returned from Afghanistan. You were reporting there on the spread, on the regrowth of the Taliban in the south. But
here, another example in the capital.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And again an example of how the Taliban like to project their ability to strike at the
heart of the security apparatus, the Afghan government.
This an attack on a part of the security service, essentially bodyguards for Afghan VIPs. Now we understand that two assailants were involved. One
drove a truck of explosives to a private parking lot behind this particular security services compound, detonated the device, causing carnage in the
car park there, where we understand many civilians, women and children, were among the 327 at least reported injured and around 30 people, who
appear to have lost their lives.
That blast blew a hole in the perimeter of the compound, which allowed a second assailant inside the compound, where it took a matter of hours, it
seems, for security forces there in the heart of their infrastructure to actually kill that attacker.
This is often what the Taliban do, to remind those in the supposed ring of steel of the capital that they're not that safe. This actually has all the
hallmarks of previous attacks we've seen from the Haqqani Network, a group of insurgents, who are now increasingly allies to the Taliban.
And it also comes just over a week after the U.S. secretary of state John Kerry's visit there ended with four rockets landing near the U.S. embassy.
Kabul itself is not a place where the Taliban have any sense of a full-time presence. But it is a place they like to remind residents of their ability
And this blast was so loud. People were terrified by it a number of blocks away -- Robyn.
CURNOW: The commander of NATO forces, Nick, has said that these kinds of attacks -- and as you say, this is a familiar pattern, a car bombing
followed by a small arms attack -- says that this is a sign of weakness.
Do you agree?
WALSH: Well, we hear that a lot from NATO because they perceive such attacks against civilians with some element of justification as being a
sign that they can't confront Afghan security forces on the battlefield.
But I have to say now they are confronting the Taliban Afghan security forces on the battlefield and still winning all the same. So the logic is
that they choose these targets in the capital because they can't penetrate the capital itself in large numbers and stage successful attacks on Afghan
There, yes, true, but if you look to the south in Helmand, well, Afghan security forces have ceded a lot of territory in the past months there.
And that's a vital province, where the opium trade is key and the largest province in Afghanistan.
And even, too, in the north, around the city of Kunduz, which the Taliban briefly captured entirely last year, well, there are reports of increased
insurgent attacks around that key city.
This is what's called the fighting season in Afghanistan, the warmer summer months, when violence peaks. The Taliban said that they declared their
operations open just over a week ago now.
This is the first major attack in Kabul that they've launched really since then; it's the deadliest by many counts since 2011, when Shia worshippers
were killed outside a mosque in grotesquely carnageful (sic) scenes there over five years ago.
But many, I think, are worried now that we may see more such large-scale attacks ahead and, I think, frankly, the death toll of around 30 here may
possibly edge up as well, given the sheer volume of people injured and how health care facilities must surely be struggling in the capital to deal
with everybody -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. A lot of civilians, I understand, women and children. This, of course, this bombing coming at the same time that the government
of Ashraf Ghani is struggling politically.
WALSH: Yes. He has obviously been hamstrung as president by having to share the government ostensibly election with the man he fought an election
WALSH: -- in 2014, Abdullah Abdullah, whose named as the CEO. That government itself says we've got an awful lot, frankly, on our plate since
we came to power, the withdrawal of NATO, which has caused a downturn in the economy; many Afghan jobs dependent on foreign investment.
And then as well we've had this governmental crisis and we've had a rise in the problems with security because NATO withdrew and the Taliban were on
the resurgence, too.
So they say there's been an incredibly hard challenge for them. But I think they accept to some degree they haven't been able to deliver.
Certainly economically for many Afghans, they're a substantial part of the migrants we see now, trying to get into Europe. And that has resulted in a
lot of internal discontent and the political class and amongst ordinary Afghans, too, resulting in high-profile critics of Ashraf Ghani,
questioning whether he really should be continuing in that role.
There isn't really much of an alternative, though, at this particular point. There is a clock ticking supposedly on the prime minister's job
being formalized as part of this power sharing agreement.
But John Kerry, when he was just in Kabul, in fact, said this compromise agreement could go on for a number of more years. So, yes, pressure
mounting on Ashraf Ghani to a point where U.N. officials are saying, frankly, the mere survival of a national unity government through this year
would, quote, "be a success." That's a pretty low bar for expectations.
But I think people also, too, see this increased security threat in Helmand in the north around the country the Taliban on their front foot now, moving
forward as the biggest challenge, frankly, that Kabul and its government face -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks so much, reporting there from Beirut on recent events in Afghanistan. Thank you.
U.S. President Barack Obama leaves for Saudi Arabia in a few hours, facing a very delicate diplomacy both in Riyadh and at home. There's a looming
bill in the U.S. Congress that would allow the families of 9/11 attack victims to sue Saudi Arabia.
Now its backers say some members of the Saudi government were complicit in the attacks, something the kingdom has repeatedly denied. Mr. Obama is
threatening to veto the bill if it passes. He explained why in an interview with CBS News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not just a bilateral U.S.-Saudi issue. This is a matter of how generally the United States
approaches our interactions with other countries.
If we open up the possibility that individuals in the United States can routinely start suing other governments, then we are also opening up the
United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Supporters of the bill want Mr. Obama to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 report that they say prove Saudi involvement.
Now former U.S. Senator Bob Graham co-chaired the congressional commission that investigated the attacks and I talked to him a bit earlier about the
partially classified report and the bill being considered in Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB GRAHAM, CO-CHAIR, 9/11 CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY: I think it's a perfectly appropriate legislation. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
a very wide-ranging in terms of its judicial philosophy committee unanimously, which, to me, indicates that it's had close scrutiny and would
stand the test of being not only in the interest of justice but also in the security interest of the United States.
CURNOW: Yes. Some critics say it would set dangerous legal and political precedence.
Let's, though, shift to these 28 pages, as they are called.
You've seen them; without giving too much classified information, just how complicit do you believe the Saudis were in supporting 9/11?
GRAHAM: I can't go into details because I'm under an oath of secrecy for classified information.
But it's been reported that the 28 pages primarily deal with who funded 9/11 and that they point at Saudi Arabia. I believe that the reason that
the Saudis have done such extreme things as threaten to sell almost $1 trillion worth of assets in the United States, if the legislation that
would make it easier for plaintiffs to bring a cause, claiming that Saudi Arabia was co-conspirator of 9/11, says volumes about how serious the
Saudis take the issue of opening up of the information.
And I add that the information that's available about the Saudis' role is by no means limited to the 28 pages. There are literally thousands of
documents that provide some insight as to the Saudis' role in 9/11. And my position is all that information should be made available to the public.
CURNOW: And this is not just about the Saudi government.
There are allegations, too, against charities and wealthy people within Saudi Arabia.
GRAHAM: That's true. What is the line between the Saudi government and the Saudi society is blurry.
In the litigation to date that the families, the husbands, wives, sons and daughters of the victims have brought, the Saudis have consistently used
the defense of sovereign immunity, the king can do no wrong; therefore, you cannot sue the king.
And they've applied that theory to foundations, to charities, to financial institutions. So the Saudi government seems to be taking the position that
all of those societal groups are part of the entity that deserves sovereign immunity.
CURNOW: And the Saudis have rejected these claims, vociferously denied them, saying the 9/11 Commission cleared all this up years ago.
GRAHAM: Well, the Saudis have taken some interesting positions. Shortly after the 28 pages were first classified, the Saudis asked that they be
declassified. And as recently as 2014, they repeated that request that they be declassified.
So I think we ought to do what the Saudis have asked and let the American people and the people of the world have this information. If it exonerates
Saudi Arabia from any complicity in 9/11, then that will govern our future actions.
If, on the other hand, it indicates that Saudi Arabia did provide support and assistance to the 19 hijackers, 15 of them, incidentally, being Saudi
nationals, then it's going to require a significant recalibration of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia.
CURNOW: Well, with that in mind, the Saudi threat to withdraw billions of dollars of assets here in the United States, how seriously do you think the
American government will take that?
What would you want President Obama to say to the king this week?
GRAHAM: I would like the President of the United States to tell the king in what needs to be a very direct, blunt, honest discussion that the United
States is not subject to extortion.
We are not going to reject justice for our citizens in order to avoid what most economists feel would be a very foolhardy step by the Saudi government
to try to dump on the market almost $1 trillion of their U.S. assets.
CURNOW: A little bit earlier, Senator Bob Graham talking to me there.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is holding a news conference. She remains defiant after the country's lower house voted to go ahead with
impeachment proceedings against her.
She's speaking at this news conference. Let's listen in.
DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): We take office during my second term was also not successful. And then something very
terrible happened in Brazil. Was the fact that actions that we should all condemn, that actions perpetrated by the active speaker of the house became
quite relevant when he took office as the speaker of the house.
And this occurred through what we called the bold (ph) guidelines where were the bold (ph) guidelines. Was the exception -- acceptance of certain
measures that will.
-- the fiscal responsibility of the country. We face as all countries around the world the need to rebalance our fiscal books. So we had to do
that at the same time that we needed to resume our growth.
They were also trying to make it impossible over these measures. They were trying to propose measures that were extremely impossible to be met by the
The last one, as a matter of fact, is the recent one from 2016, which represents the following: they want to just talk about the state that with
the correction with a simple interest, not a composed (ph) debt as it should be and it is done in Brazil.
ROUSSEFF (through translator): And if I believe I know in all countries in the world especially in the Western Hemisphere, that's what we abide by.
In case this is approved, this will mean $300 billion that will affect the government, around $90 billion. All this what we called bold (ph)
guidelines led to $140 billion. Moreover, they tried in a way to make it very difficult, our relationship with public accountability.
CURNOW: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff talking there.
Well, let's bring in our senior Latin American affairs editor, Rafael Romo, you joining me here on set.
We just heard a snippet of what she was saying but she remains defiant. She's going to fight back on this impeachment process.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Oh, most definitely. And we heard her last night, speaking to the nations, saying I am innocent, I will
And today the message goes to the international community, this message is intended for investors who may be shaky about the situation in Brazil,
about this political crisis. It is meant to reassure those people who may be thinking twice about attending the Olympics this summer in Rio.
CURNOW: Well, that's what I was going to ask because people are watching this. And not only are there concerns about Zika but people watch this
political crisis and think, what does this mean for my tickets at the Olympics?
Or do I want to even go?
ROMO: And, by the way, ticket sales are very, very low so far, only 55 percent and I was just checking the calendar: 107 days remain before the
inauguration of the games on August 5th.
Now the International Olympic Committee says that the political problems in Brazil are not affecting in any way the coordination of the Olympics
because those are being carried out by the local Olympics committee and the international committee, 98 percent of the venues are ready. There's no
problems in terms of coordination of events. There's slight problems in terms of transportation.
But from their perspective, the games are going to go on.
CURNOW: OK. Rafael Romo, thank you so much.
Well, I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, rescuers desperately dig through rubble in Ecuador. We'll tell you
about the international efforts to find earthquake survivors. Stay with us.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Thanks for joining me.
Israeli police are calling a Jerusalem bus explosion a deliberate attack. A bomb went off on the back of a city bus Monday during evening rush hour,
injuring at least 21 people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the bombing as a terrorist attack but as our Oren Liebermann explains, police are being cautious in
how they label the attack as they continue their investigation.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems the investigation here has been very methodical and deliberate. Police have not yet declared that
this was indeed a terrorist attack but they do say at this point that is the direction of their suspicions, that is the direction of their
If so, of course, that leaves two major questions.
First, how did a bomb get on an Israeli bus?
This is following the second intifada, when a number of -- that's years ago -- when a number of security measures were put in place to prevent this
And of course the more important question, who put it there?
Hamas and number of other Palestinian militant groups have praised and saluted the attack but nobody has taken credit for this yet.
CURNOW: Oren Liebermann reporting there from Jerusalem.
Now investigators are making new progress in the two-year search for Flight MH370. Australian officials are now confirming that two pieces of debris
found in Mozambique are almost certainly from the plane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Here's one of them and that's what investigators say is likely a flap from below the plane's right wing. They say the second
piece of debris is almost certainly the plane's stabilizer. It would have been near the plane's tail. These were found late last year on beaches 200
One more piece was found on the island of Reunion last year. The locations where they were found point to a crash in the Indian Ocean, where searchers
have been looking.
CURNOW: The CNN Freedom Project is dedicated to ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery. This week we travel to Vietnam to meet with girls
who say they were tricked and trafficked into China. CNN's Alexandra Field shows us how some of the victims are adjusting after making their way home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yiang Temow's (ph) daughter found a way to save her own life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Sometimes I thought that she would never come back.
FIELD (voice-over): She fought to get home from Vietnam, escaping the traffickers who held her in China, where they planned to sell her as a
bride, a country where the longstanding one-child policy has left a shortage of women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If I saw the person, I'd want to kill him.
FIELD (voice-over): Officials are trying to fight the problem by training border guards to spot potential trafficking victims before they cross the
FIELD: As we're out here filming on the Vietnamese side of the Chinese border, local officials tell us they just picked up five girls, who they
believe were being trafficked.
The girls had been led some 300 kilometers across the country but border guards intercepted, grabbing them before they crossed the river that would
have taken them into China.
The girls are 14 years old.
FIELD (voice-over): The suspected trafficker is under arrest. She's a neighbor from the girls' village.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
FIELD (voice-over): Because of their age, we won't identify them. But they tell me they went willingly with the woman. They didn't understand
FIELD: And none of your parents knew that you were leaving?
FIELD (voice-over): An outreach worker explains they were lured with lies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they were also promised each girl if they went (INAUDIBLE) which is about $600.
FIELD: And you'd stay for a year or two and then they'd help you get back?
FIELD (voice-over): In reality, many of the women who find themselves in China will never return.
FIELD: How difficult is it to find the women, once they've been taken to China?
And how much cooperation are you getting from the Chinese authorities in terms of locating these women and actually returning them to the border?
NGUYEN TUONG LONG, SOCIAL VICE PRESERVATION DEPARTMENT (through translator): Because of cooperation between the Vietnamese and the Chinese
police, we have found and caught trafficking rings. We've found women far inside China at brothels, where they're forced to become sex workers.
FIELD (voice-over): Trafficked women who aren't found in raids have to find ways of getting out on their own. Some of the women who did live at
the shelter run by the Pacific Links Found. Some of them tell us they were able to contact their families from China but they couldn't get help from
police because they didn't know where they were.
FIELD (voice-over): They're living together, finishing school, working on new skills, thinking about what they could do in the future and talking
about their past. They hope women will learn from it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mother.
FIELD: It's where you grew up, your mother.
Hi, I'm Alex.
FIELD (voice-over): Coming home isn't easy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Many people look at me differently, think I am a bad girl. That's why I was tricked.
FIELD (voice-over): All the girls we spoke to at the border know they're lucky they were able to come home. They don't know how many didn't --
Alexandra Field, CNN, Northern Vietnam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): For more on the story and how to report suspected cases of human trafficking, just go to the special section of our website,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: And still ahead, some well-known faces ducked into a polling place in New York just a few hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): There you go. We'll have more on Hillary Clinton and all the U.S. presidential candidates as New York's primary kicks off.
Plus: frustration in Ecuador's quake zone as some say aid isn't being delivered fast enough. We'll take you to an aid distribution center.
CURNOW: You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.
CURNOW: New Yorkers often joke about feeling separate from the rest of America. But over the next several hours, they will direct the course of
the race for the --
CURNOW: -- White House. Voting has begun in New York's primary and this time even Hillary Clinton gets to take part. This is her adopted home
state. And she says she hopes New York seals her nomination.
Donald Trump is also casting his ballot. He waved to the crowds on his way out of the door. But he's coming under fire for a recent slip of the
tongue and his campaign appears to be going through some staff changes. Still, no matter what, the state allocates delegates in a way that may
favor a Trump (INAUDIBLE).
But of course, Trump's rivals are trying to stop him and Bernie Sanders has been drawing huge crowds to his rallies. It's anyone's day. We go now to
"The Atlantic's" political writer, Molly Ball. She joins us from Washington.
Hey, there, Molly. It's New York, New York. Both Trump and Clinton have big leads.
If they pull ahead now, how difficult will it be for their rivals to catch up?
MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, it's a little bit different on the two sides. There are a lot more delegates at stake here for the Democrats
because it is a Democratic state. In both cases, the allocation of delegates is somewhat proportional.
But there is a chance for the winner to pick up the great majority of the delegates. And both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton need a victory to
reset the narrative of the campaign.
Neither of them has won a primary or caucus in nearly a month. And so this storyline has started to set in that they can't win. And so I think for
both front-runners, it would be an important moral victory.
For Hillary Clinton, it will make it almost impossible for Bernie Sanders to catch up to her in delegates. Trump still has a difficult path, even if
he does very well in New York. He's still going to have a hard time getting all of the delegates he needs to wrap up the nomination before the
Republican convention this summer.
CURNOW: Which we're going to talk about in just a moment.
But before we get there, Mr. Trump has said many things in this campaign, many of them you can't unheard, unfortunately. But again he's made a
startling slip-up. Just listen to this sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wrote this and it's very close to my heart because I was down there and I watched our police and our
firemen down at 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down and I saw the greatest people I've ever seen in action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, he said 7-Eleven instead of 9/11 and, as we know, 7-Eleven is a chain of supermarkets. But he just plows on regardless.
BALL: Well, as you said, most of the things that Donald Trump says that are outrageous are intentional. That seems to have been a totally
unintentional slipup, just a mix-up of two American -- common American pairs of numbers.
But Trump has very strong ties to New York, particularly to New York City. He's lived there all his life. He was born there, he's done his real
estate deals there. If the polls are correct, he seems headed for a very strong victory in New York.
CURNOW: OK. Well, a strong victory in New York. Let's talk about that convention. He's also suggested that the convention should be more
showbizzy. He wants to pizzazz it up.
But he also wants to control it, if he's leading the delegates.
What does that tell us about Donald Trump's relationship with the Republican Party?
BALL: Well, Trump obviously wants to win this nomination and he has a lot of issues with the way the primary has been conducted, mostly because it is
not allowing him to wrap up the nomination.
He is the leader in delegates but he doesn't have a majority of delegates and it's going to be very difficult to get to that 1,237 delegates before
the convention, which means that the convention would be a free-for-all and there's a potential for someone else to win the nomination.
Now the Republican Party and the Republican National Committee have pointed out that these rules have been in place long before Donald Trump entered
the race and it was his job and the job of the other candidates to understand those rules and to play by them.
But, you know, he is getting bested in a lot of these small-scale state contests, conventions and caucuses and the places that the actual delegates
are selected. Ted Cruz has been beating him soundly in a lot of those places.
CURNOW: Many people following this from the outside looking in, what is fascinating, both Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders have been getting a lot of
big crowds. And what's clear with both of those candidates is that they seem to be running against the very parties they want to lead.
BALL: Yes, I think it tells you something about the weakness of party institutions in America today, that you do have candidates on both sides
who have set themselves against the establishment.
And there is a real feeling, I think almost universally in America, that these institutions, these establishments, haven't served the people. There
is a real populist movement on the Left and the Right against the elites, that they view as having manipulated the system for their own good and not
as serving the people.
So you do see that enthusiasm for Trump and for Sanders. And even if the other candidates manage to overcome them --
BALL: -- they don't have the same kind of enthusiasm. Hillary Clinton doesn't have it and Ted Cruz doesn't have it, either.
CURNOW: We'll see how that all carries into the narrative around a general election.
Thanks so much, Molly Ball from "The Atlantic."
And you can follow the voting in New York all day and as results come in. Just stay here with us, right here at CNN, for continuing live coverage of
the New York primary.
Rescuers in Ecuador are combing through rubble looking earthquake survivors as the death toll continues to rise there. We know at least 413 people are
dead and thousands more injured after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Saturday.
International aid is pouring in but there is concern that it's not getting to where it's needed fast enough. Our Boris Sanchez joins me now from an
aid distribution center in Ecuador.
Hi, there, Boris, so aid is getting there but not getting out.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Logistics, Robyn, it's that simple. We spoke with some volunteers that were here this morning, hundreds of young
people that were packing all these water bottles, mattresses, food, even coffins for the deceased, into boxes, hoping to ship them out along the
hardest-hit areas along Ecuador's coast.
But they've had difficulty doing that. They shared with us their frustrations because they say the trucks that are supposed to be arriving
here to pick them up and send them that way are too slow in getting here and too few and far between.
They were expecting one at around 1:00 am this morning; it got here at about 10 o'clock, just shortly before 10 o'clock local time. So there is
some relief that the truck is finally here but there's frustration because what we're hearing from these people in these hard-hit areas is that they
We were actually in Portoviejo yesterday, the hardest-hit province in all of Ecuador, near the epicenter of this earthquake. And they were telling
us that they've gone without drinking water for at least a day and a half. They're struggling to get food as well. These are people that are
essentially homeless right now. Their homes have been destroyed or their homes are in such bad shape that they would rather actually rather stay
outside and sleep outside than risk going inside their homes.
So there's this gap between the resources that these people need and getting it to them. We've heard from the government over and over again
that the roads are impassable in some sections and it's totally understandable.
I can tell you, though, that our own team, our own CNN team got to Portoviejo yesterday, took longer than expected and the roads were in rough
shape but it's not an impossible task. So there's certainly this expectation from the volunteers here that their work hopefully will not go
to waste -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Not go to waste; also we know that time is running out if any survivors can be found underneath the rubble.
What did you see when you went out there?
SANCHEZ: Widespread destruction. One woman actually told us that she was frustrated because she kept seeing firefighters and military vehicles
passing right through her neighborhood as there was devastation there that they weren't actually focusing on.
The key is, though, that there are areas where they believe people may still be alive. I mentioned the promise of Portoviejo, just today, four
people were rescued from underneath rubble.
Yesterday, there was a man that was on his cell phone with his mom beneath the rubble, who was rescued.
The day before that, there was a 7-year-old girl. So obviously there are concerns with trying to get to places where people may still be alive. But
as every hour passes, time is slipping for those that may still be pushing through, trying to survive this devastating earthquake -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Boris Sanchez, thanks so much.
Well, moving on, rescuers in Japan are still desperately searching for victims there from a string of earthquakes. But they're facing huge
challenges as well.
This is the fault line that tore open this past week. And it's continuing to quake with aftershocks as strong as 5.8 magnitude. The damage has
ripped up roads and bridges like you seen here. That is making the rescues treacherous. Nine people are still missing and more than 180,000 people
are waiting out the aftershocks in temporary shelters.
And the U.S. state of Texas is bracing for even more rain after massive flooding on Monday. At least five people were killed and the flooding made
for some very dramatic rescues.
Teams rushed to save more than 70 horses near Houston.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Take a look at this. They were at an equestrian center that was swamped by high water. They were all rescued.
In another rescue, a man was seen swimming frantically to a rescue boat after he became stranded in floodwaters.
And parents used whatever they could to rescue their children. They floated them out of their homes in storage bins, inflatable mattresses and
even a refrigerator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Coming up here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Johnny Depp's latest performance isn't getting rave reviews. But it is getting a lot of
attention. Why one Australian minister is taunting Johnny to do it again - - with gusto.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER HEARD, ACTOR: I'm truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.
JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: Declare everything when you enter Australia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Perhaps Johnny Depp and Amber heard thought that somber apology was enough to end their doggy woes.
But, no, the Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce (ph) -- there he is -- was less than convinced by the couple's performance. He'd once
threatened, if you remember, to euthanize their pet terriers, Pistol and Boo. Now he's making the rounds on television to mock their mea culpa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARNABY JOYCE (PH), AUSTRALIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: He's very good at playing every person except Johnny Depp. But anyway, they said it and
that's the main thing.
Do it again, Johnny. Do it with gusto, mate, a bit of gusto. Come on, right to the camera, au frere.
CURNOW (voice-over): Some typical on the straight talking there. Now the celebrity duo illegally, if you remember, brought their dogs into Australia
on a private plane last year. Heard was spared a conviction for pet smuggling this week.
And Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry are apparently feeling the Force. The royal brothers visited the set of the latest "Star Wars" film
at England's Pinewood Studios. They met stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Mark Hamill. The visit was meant to spotlight Britain's film industry.
Episode 7 in the "Star Wars" franchise, "The Force Awakens," has become one of the most lucrative films of all time, bringing in $2 billion worldwide.
And that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Don't go anywhere, "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas
is up next.