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U.S. and Gulf Allies Share "A Common Vision"; Trump Slips Back into Old Ways; U.K.'s Longest Reigning Monarch; Olympic Torch to Pass through Refugee Camp; Ecuador Quake Death Toll Rises; Cross-Border Drug Tunnel Found on Mexican Border; North Korea Disputes Report of Defection; Harriet Tubman on the New $20. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 21, 2016 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK President Obama says the U.S. and Gulf states are united in the fight

against ISIS.

And, happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday.

And Donald Trump is back to calling his main rival Lyin' Ted.

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CURNOW: Hello, everyone. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

And we start in Saudi Arabia, where Barack Obama says the U.S. and its Gulf allies share a common vision. The U.S. president gave an upbeat assessment

at the end of a Gulf summit in Riyadh but he faced leaders weary of Iran's influence in the region, ongoing conflicts and the spread of ISIS.

Mr. Obama says the U.S. and Gulf nations will do more to stop ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We remain united in our fight to destroy ISIL or daish, which is a threat to all of us. And the

United States will help our GCC partners ensure that their special operations forces are interoperable and GCC nations will continue to

increase their contributions to the fight against ISIL.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins me now from the Saudi capital.

Hi, there, Nic. There was actually some sound problems during his press conference, so us in the newsroom couldn't hear as well we wanted to. But

it does seem like this is a positive trip and Mr. Obama's saying things are not as strained as it looks.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. He came into this and the sort of optics on it, if you will, the way people talk about

it, the king didn't meet him at the airport, he didn't get as warm a reception as President George Bush when he came here in 2008 -- was the end

of his presidency, too.

They talked about the strains in the relationship, the 9/11 Commission, the bill before Congress, the 28 pages, the possibility that victims of the

9/11 terror attacks, the families, will be able to sue the Saudi government, all of that seemed to cloud it coming in.

But President Obama said relationship with the GCC, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, has been productive over the past year since their first

inaugural meeting at Camp David May 2015. He said look at Yemen, there's a cease-fire there in Yemen. It's just come into place. He said that

wouldn't have happened without the GCC cooperation and support.

He pointed to Libya over the past few weeks we've seen a new government go into place there, the general national assembly. He said that wouldn't

have happened without the support of these partners in the region here.

And also on Iran he said the nuclear deal with Iran couldn't have gone ahead without the support and understanding from the Gulf countries. Sure,

he said, there continue to be differences of interpretation and perhaps how to proceed.

But the broad message here was one that this is a coalition, this is a group that understands each other, that supports each other on key issues.

And it's vital to keep going forward.

And when you look at the Saudi press, it's generally played it at the same way, saying, look, Saudi Arabia is hosting this important conference, Saudi

Arabia is a big player in the region and these -- the work that we have to do with the United States is important for all of us.

So I think coming to the end of something that looked tough and negative at the beginning, there's a positive shine on it at the end. Sure,

absolutely, there are some difficult, tough issues; differences remain -- Robyn.

CURNOW: A positive shine you say.

How deep do you think the reassurance is about the shift -- well, the perception in the region, that there's a shift away from -- towards Iran

after this Iran nuclear deal?

Obviously President Obama said that Saudi needed to be, you know, to share the neighborhood.

How sore a point is that?

And do you think the reassurance is enough?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's an important message, that's for sure. If you want stability in the region right now, having trust, built and developed rather

than ebb away, as is happening between Sunni and Shia, that sectarian difference, that's the biggest sort of cloud hanging over the region.

But President Obama has talked about how the Gulf countries should support the Iraq -- support the Iraqi prime minister, Prime Minister Abadi, that

they should, indeed, sort of go into Iraq in areas or support in areas of Iraq where ISIS has been pushed out, the Sunni areas, Ramadi, help

rebuilding there.

But for the Gulf countries they really look at the Iraqi government and feel that it's strongly under the influence of Iran. That's the prism they

view it in. President Obama had talked about White House officials told us it had raised the issue of Lebanon, the political stability in Lebanon.

Of course, in the past couple of weeks, Saudi Arabia cut $3 billion of funding to Lebanon.

Why?

Because they felt too much of that money was going to Iranian-backed Hezbollah --

[10:05:00]

ROBERTSON: -- who are fighting against Saudi interest and Gulf interests inside Syria, backing President Assad.

So there's -- the sort of the narrative that they're both on the same track, when you get to some of the detail, there are clearly some

differences in there -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks so much, Nic Robertson there in Riyadh, appreciate that perspective.

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CURNOW: Turning to the U.S. campaign trail, where Donald Trump is back to being Donald Trump. His New York primary win gave us a glimpse of a more

presidential sounding Trump. He told "The Wall Street Journal" he knows he needs to evolve because, in his words, "I'm not going to blow it."

But that didn't last long. Jason Carroll has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We got Lyin' Ted. We have Crooked Hillary.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump back at it.

TRUMP: I'd love running against Crooked Hillary.

In the case of Lyin' Ted Cruz, Lyin' Ted, lies, oh, he lies,

CARROLL (voice-over): Reviving some of his favorite nicknames less than 24 hours after delivering a more measured victory speech in New York.

TRUMP: I thought it would be very undignified for me to get up at that particular moment.

CARROLL (voice-over): The Republican front-runner doing a victory lap in Indiana and Maryland Wednesday and continuing to rail against the

Republican primary process.

TRUMP: So it's a rigged system. It's rigged for the lobbyists. It's rigged for the donors and it's rigged for the special interests.

CARROLL (voice-over): Reince Priebus fighting back again.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, RNC: It's not a rigged system. In fact, the rules are clear. I'm not going to do anything to help anyone and I'm not

going to do anything to hurt anybody.

CARROLL (voice-over): Priebus insisting that he's enjoying preparing for a potential contested convention.

PRIEBUS: I think people assume, oh, you must be miserable. I'm not pouring Bailey's in my cereal, I'm not sitting here trying to find the

Johnnie Walker. I mean, this is fun.

CARROLL (voice-over): Republican Party leaders sitting down with both Ted Cruz and John Kasich Wednesday night, as Cruz's irritation with Kasich

boiled over on the campaign trail.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: John Kasich has no path whatsoever to the nomination. Now it may be that John is auditioning to be Trump's vice

president. But a Trump-Kasich ticket loses to Hillary Clinton.

CARROLL (voice-over): Kasich defending his decision to stay in the race in an interview with CNN.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if he's so sure of that, why is he attacking me all the time?

All I know is if we pick these two guys, according to virtually all the polls, we are going to get creamed.

CARROLL: And Donald Trump weighing in on the race this morning, taking to Twitter, as he has done so many times in the past, this time lashing out at

both Ted Cruz and John Kasich, saying, quote, "Senator Ted Cruz has been mathematically eliminated from the race.

"He said Kasich should get out for the same reason. I think both should get out" -- Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks to Jason, for that report.

Well, this is a big day for Queen Elizabeth and all of Britain.

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CURNOW (voice-over): Cannons are just part of the celebrations today for her 90th birthday. Crowds of well-wishers gathered at Windsor Castle to

greet the queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

And there are new family photos to share, this one is with her two youngest grandchildren and her five great-grandchildren.

My favorite there, the little poppet, Mia Tindall, holding her granny's handbag.

Well, Queen Elizabeth is both the oldest and longest reigning monarch in British history. Here's Prime Minister David Cameron, putting all of that

in perspective.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: Mr. Speaker, in 90 years, Her Majesty has lived through some extraordinary times in our world.

From the Second World War when her parents, the king and queen, were nearly killed as bombs dropped on Buckingham Palace, to the rations with which she

bought the material for her wedding dress; from presenting the World Cup to England at Wembley in 1966, to man landing on the moon three years later.

From the end of the Cold War, to peace in Northern Ireland, throughout it all, as the sands of culture shift and the tides of politics ebb and flow,

Her Majesty has been steadfast, a rock of strength for our nation, for our commonwealth and, on many occasions, for the whole world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: (INAUDIBLE) words there.

Well, a private dinner party will be held tonight at Windsor Castle. For more we're joined by our royal correspondent, Max Foster and CNN royal

commentator, Victoria Arbiter, who's in New York. She's the author of the book, "Queen Elizabeth II."

But first, Max, I want to turn to you, you're there in the thick of things and as the prime minister was saying there, this is a woman who has not

just seen an extraordinary arc of history in her lifetime but she has been a steadfast icon.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Yes. And it's that sort of symbol of continuity which has sort of really defined --

[10:10:00]

FOSTER: -- her monarchy, more than 60 years of monarchy, if you can believe it. She's 90 years old and she's still out doing engagements, more

than 300 last year and today yet another walkabout. And it was up to -- lasted nearly an hour. So she's still a fully working monarch. But the

engagements are getting a bit shorter, they're closer to home. She spends most of her time here at Windsor Castle, which Victoria knows very well

indeed.

And she had a wonderful day. As soon as she came out, the sun was out. But it's really that idea that she's out there with the public. She pretty

much invented walkabout. So it's really symbolic that she was out on a walkabout today.

And she continues to represent the country and stay out of politics. So quite a politically charged environment here in the U.K. at the moment.

Should Britain stay in the European Union or should it leave?

President Obama flying in tonight and is expected to weigh into that. He'll be at lunch here tomorrow, may even discuss it with the queen. But

we'll never find out what she thinks about that subject truly, which is why everyone can relate to her because they don't actually know what her

opinions are, just that she's always represented them.

CURNOW: That's the point, isn't it, Victoria?

She's gloriously enigmatic as someone described her.

What's she like?

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We will never have a true sense of her personality because we, of course, get the queen on show. But those

that see her behind the scenes talk about her wicked sense of humor, her very quick wit, her ability to mimic accents and apparently she has the

royal of family in fits of laughter when she puts on a bit of a show in private circles.

But really, I think she's enjoying this moment. She's one that is quite opposed to making a fuss. And so when she became the U.K.'s longest

reigning monarch in September, she didn't want a big to-do then because, to her, she became queen upon her father's death. So that's not something to

celebrate.

And also she didn't want to be seen as trumping her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria's, record. So she did agree to do things up a

little bit for her 90th birthday. And I think really it allows the country and the commonwealth nations to offer their thanks, to show their respect,

to show their gratitude to a woman who really has given her entire life over to the service of her country.

She said on her 21st birthday that she would devote her whole life, whether it be long or short. So we're fortunate that she's lived a very long life

and continues to be very fit and healthy.

CURNOW: Yes, indeed.

And, Max, this is a queen who has in many ways been faultless in the way she's carried out her duty. She's made one or two errors, perhaps, in her

reign and one of them, critics say, is how she perhaps misread the public mood after the death of Diana.

Is that still something that people hold against her?

FOSTER: I think people generally think she is completely faultless and even on that occasion. And you're right to say perhaps she misjudged the

public on that, the way she would argue it or her courtiers would argue it is that she was up in Scotland with Princes William and Harry, protecting

them and looking after them.

They were her priority at that time and they would need that normality to be around their family. And she didn't then come down to London or she

came down to London a bit late and didn't express her grief with the nation.

And perhaps it did make her think -- because it's a reminder that people look to the queen in times of national crisis and she wasn't there for them

at that time.

But perhaps she had good reason; she's looking after her immediate family. But it's one of those occasions she would have sat back and thought about

it all, what is my role, should I have left sooner, should I have left the kids and helped the nation. It just does define the sort of scale of her

role in the national consciousness.

CURNOW: Yes. Absolutely, indeed.

Victoria -- and she has been quite flexible, despite being also steadfast, she has changed with the times in many ways. And let's put that in

perspective. In your book you talk about how her reign has spanned 12 prime ministers, the first one being Churchill. And she has weekly

meetings with them.

I mean, to be a fly on the wall.

ARBITER: Absolutely. And really I think what the queen's winning ticket, I suppose, is the fact that she's been able to adapt and evolve. She tends

to tradition and protocol when things get tricky and she's a real stickler for tradition and protocol.

But she also realizes that, in an effort to maintain the relevance of the monarchy in this day and age, you have to adapt to suit the moods of the

nation and what's happening within the nation as well.

I mean, a prime example, albeit a small one, is when Prince George's birth announcement was made, yes, it's an easel was put in the forecourt of

Buckingham Palace, as has been done for generations of royal babies.

But the news also went out via Twitter. And that was a first. So she's constantly in touch with what's going on in the country. Prince Andrew has

said that she has an amazing network of people that tell her what's going on and she likes to know what's going on.

[10:15:00]

ARBITER: She's very clued in. And in doing so, that is what has I suppose allowed the monarchy to continue to thrive in this day and age.

And these photographs that you're showing, we really see the future reach out. She's the 40th monarch. We have got Charles, 41; William 42; now

George, 43. So considering she came to the throne in 1952, we can now see the monarchy stretch out into the 22nd century.

And really I think she's leaving the single greatest blueprint of how it should be done. And so really, it will then be up to her successors to

maintain that way of doing things so that it continues to be relevant.

CURNOW: Yes. That motto, "Keep calm and carry on," is certainly reflective of her.

Victoria and Max there in Windsor, thanks so much.

ARBITER: Thank you.

CURNOW: And she doesn't have a passport but Britain's longest reigning monarch has packed in a lot of travel miles. You can learn about Queen

Elizabeth's guide to globetrotting at cnn.com.

Still to come here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, waiting in line for days, just for drinking water. Earthquake survivors in Ecuador are desperate as

the death toll soars. That's ahead.

Plus, the Olympic flame is burning in Greece as we start the official countdown to the Rio games. We'll show you the traditional torch lighting

ceremony.

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CURNOW: The official countdown to the Olympic Games in Rio has begun. A woman in the role of high priestess lit the Olympic torch at the site of

the ancient games in Greece.

Dance and music in tribute to ancient Greek gods were on display at the traditional ceremony. The torch relay is now underway around Greece. The

flames will then embark on a three-month tour of Brazil, ending at the games' opening ceremony in August.

And a Syrian refugee will be one of those torch bearers in Greece. Our Atika Shubert takes us to a refugee camp in Athens, where the Olympic torch

will pass through.

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ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to Eleonas Refugee Camp in Athens, about 1,600 people live here. And this is where

the Olympic torch will stop on its way to Rio.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Eleonas was the first official refugee camp set up last summer when the number of arrivals to Greece reached a peak of as many

as 10,000 a day.

Since then, dozens of camps have mushroomed across the country. Quite often, the numbers have overwhelmed the facilities.

SHUBERT: Two of the camps are actually in former Olympic sites. Take a look at what we saw a few weeks ago, when we were actually able to access

the former field hockey stadium.

This is a pretty extraordinary scene. The families sleeping out here in these abandoned buildings, children, mothers.

[10:20:00]

SHUBERT: There are now more than 50,000 asylum seekers stranded in Greece, hoping to be given a place somewhere in Europe. Greece's prime minister

has said the country has become a warehouse of souls.

For the first time in history, the Olympics will have a team of refugee athletes. About five to 12 competing under the Olympic flag. And to focus

the world's attention on the refugee crisis here in Greece the International Olympic Committee has selected a Syrian refugee currently in

Greece as one of the Olympic torch runners.

So how do people in the camp feel about this?

What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just heard that from you. I don't know. It's really nice, you know. I would love to see and I would love to share that.

SHUBERT: Do you think that by having the Olympic flame come here it will give hope?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Maybe help.

SHUBERT: Maybe a little?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SHUBERT (voice-over): A gesture of Olympic solidarity as thousands wait for an answer -- Atika Shubert at Eleonas Camp in Athens, Greece.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: The Olympic torch will make its way to Rio next month. But there is concern that Brazil won't fully be ready for the games once it arrives.

Our Shasta Darlington joins us now from Rio de Janeiro.

Hi, there, Shasta. There are always these concerns before these big games, these big sporting events, but real concerns about Brazil.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are still some concerns, Robyn. There's been a lot of good news about the venues,

which are 98 percent finished. But there are some hiccups, the Velodrome, for example, is not ready, they're having to start from scratch. It was

one of 44 test events that they tried to have and it didn't go through. So they're still working on that.

There's the water problem. This is something we've talked about over and over again. When Brazil bid to host the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, one of

the things they promised is that they would clean up the water here and that's because raw sewage is, frankly, a huge problem. Only about half of

the homes in the larger Rio de Janeiro area are connected to a sewage system.

So half of them are dumping their sewage into streams and rivers that flow down into the bay where the sailing event will be held, where wind surfing

will be held, some of it also ends up in the lagoon, where the canoeing event will be held.

And unfortunately, they have not followed through on their promises. That water is not any cleaner than it was before. So that is a problem we

actually saw some athletes get ill during test events. One man who said he thought he had a flesh-eating bacterial disease as a result of contact with

that water.

And then I think another hiccup here could be transportation. The metro system is supposed to be finished in July; behind schedule, but that's

really just one month before the games kick off. So there is concern that it might not happen or of the might not be fully on line and that's a

problem in Rio de Janeiro, where the venues are so far apart.

Another issue we've talked about lately are ticket sales; just over half of tickets have been sold. Brazilians are hoping that with this torch relay,

it will finally bring Brazil into the spotlight, the Olympics into the spotlight in a positive way and that Brazilians will wake up and start

buying those tickets -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes. Thanks so much. Shasta Darlington there in Rio. Thank you.

Well, Pakistan is mourning seven police officers who were killed while protecting health workers in Karachi. Police say militants on motorcycles

opened fire on the officers on Wednesday. They were guarding workers as they vaccinated children against polio.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Militants have targeted polio workers before. The World Health Organization says

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries where polio is endemic.

And the death toll from Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has risen to 570. More than 100 people remain missing and more than 7,000 are

injured. Ecuador's president has announced several financial measures, including a tax increase to help pay for recovery efforts.

And rebuilding is expected to take years and cost millions and millions of dollars. But right now survivors in the hardest-hit areas are just

desperate for the basics: food, water, shelter. CNN's Boris Sanchez has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Desperation quickly becoming anger.

Hundreds have spent hours in line outside this police station in vaqui (ph), waiting for trucks carrying relief packages since well before dawn.

"I haven't had lunch, no breakfast either. We've just been here waiting."

As the sun begins to set, they've watched the trucks come and go. As they plead for food and water, many are still empty-handed.

[10:25:00]

SANCHEZ (voice-over): "How many trucks have passed by since 6:00 am? And we're still with nothing," this woman tells us.

SANCHEZ: Military officials here are asking people to remain calm because there's an air of desperation here. A lot of people rushed to this truck

when it first stopped here, handing out water, offering perhaps their first relief in several days.

(Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANCHEZ: This woman says she's been waiting two days for water simply because there isn't any potable water around her to drink.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): This woman says she's been pushed around by people cutting the line all day. She calls the relief effort disorganized and

says her complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Down the street, others are looking through every piece of debris. Several families lived in this multi-story building. Neighbors tell us five people

were killed when it collapsed, including a young child.

SANCHEZ: You really get a sense of the pain they are feeling when you walk through the rubble and you see things like toys and their personal

belongings. Here's a baby's shoe. It's obvious an infant lived here. And the families are still here, trying to find what they can salvage.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Miguel Tequite (ph), a pediatrician, ran his practice here. He's scanning chunks of scrap metal for medical books and a

first aid kit. He has not had much luck.

Though one neighbor is happy to find some leftover tomatoes in one of the only rooms still standing, a kitchen.

Back at the police station, the military struggles to maintain order as another round of aid finally arrives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANCHEZ: She's saying God bless to the people that are helping her. While these provisions are certainly helpful, they're not going to last more than

a few days. So it's obvious these people will need more help soon.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): With aid reaching only a fraction of those in need, the people of Ecuador will face many challenges ahead, trying to move

forward while living in the shadow of a catastrophe -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, Monta (ph), Ecuador.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Powerful report there. Thanks to Boris and his team.

Still ahead, a drug tunnel so advanced it has its own elevator. What else was discovered inside. That's next.

Plus: were they defectors or kidnapping victims?

The unusual story of North Korean restaurant workers who crossed the border.

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CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.

(HEADLINES)

CURNOW: What's believed to be the longest cross-border drug tunnel ever discovered has been found along the U.S.-Mexican border. The 800-meter

long tunnel connects a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to an industrial lot in California.

Not only does it have its own ventilation system and lighting but it also has an elevator. Rafael Romo joins me with more on this.

This is very sophisticated.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Very sophisticated but at the same time authorities are describing it as a rabbit hole because it was

rather narrow. Very long, yes, 800 meters or 874 yards but very narrow. Just enough to carry a bundle of marijuana.

And, boy, did they find marijuana in that hole. Altogether it was six tons of marijuana, it was more than a ton of cocaine and it all started when

authorities say, on April 12, agents with the U.S. Border Patrol and deputies in that part of California followed a very suspicious truck and

they started following it.

And they found that the truck had a huge dumpster. And when they went to check out what they were carrying, they found that they had the drugs.

Now, Robyn, it is by far the longest drug tunnel that they have found in that area. There have been other tunnels that have been longer -- comes to

mind the tunnel that El Chapo used to escape in Mexico. But this was not a cross-border tunnel. This was a tunnel that stretched from the city of

Tijuana in Northern Mexico to the Otai Mesa (ph) neighborhood in San Diego, California.

And again, like we said before, 874 yards, 800 meters.

CURNOW: And you said there have been 13 or so of these very sophisticated long tunnels discovered since 2006. But you mentioned El Chapo because

that, in a way, is a sign of his cartel. They are good at digging tunnels, as we saw, and this points to the similar cartel.

ROMO: That's right. And law enforcement officials will tell you that this is the turf of the Sinaloa cartel and their -- one of their preferred

methods of smuggling drugs into the U.S. is precisely this.

We're talking about 13 tunnels since 2006. But those are only the tunnels that they've been able to discover. Nobody knows how many tunnels they've

been able to build. And we're talking about not only the state of California but also the state of Arizona.

But it's just the amount of drugs found at this tunnel and at the house. And, by the way, there was an elevator --

CURNOW: Yes.

ROMO: -- at the house in Mexico that led to a closet. So it's just incredible the level of sophistication they use.

CURNOW: Engineering. OK. Thanks so much, Rafael Romo. Appreciate it.

ROMO: Thank you.

CURNOW: It isn't clear yet what caused an explosion that killed 13 people at a Mexican petrochemical plant on Wednesday.

It happened at a facility in the state of Vera Cruz, partially run by the state oil firm, Pemex. More than 130 workers were injured. The fire sent

thick, black plumes of toxic smoke into the sky, forcing school closures and evacuations. This is the latest deadly incident at facilities linked

to the Mexican state oil company in recent years.

And the top U.S. commander in South Korea has a new warning about North Korea. General Vincent Brooks told a U.S. Senate panel that America

shouldn't be fooled by Kim Jong-un's latest missile test failure. Brooks says he believes North Korea will be able to fire long-range nuclear armed

missiles, quote, "if they're not stopped."

The general also warned that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un appears to be more risk tolerant, arrogant and impulsive than his father, the late Kim Jong-

il.

And we're hearing conflicting reports about the fate of a group of North Korean restaurant workers. South Korea says they defected but CNN's Will

Ripley in North Korea spoke exclusively with their colleagues, who claim the group was actually tricked.

[10:35:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a mostly sleepless night for these seven women. North Korean authorities brought them from

their homes overnight for an early-morning, last-minute interview in our Pyongyang hotel.

Behind their polite smiles, a heavy burden, trying to explain how 12 of their friends were supposedly tricked into fleeing their homeland.

North Korea calls it a mass abduction. South Korea calls it a mass defection. Thirteen North Koreans, 12 women, one man, lured by a life they

saw on TV, movies and the Internet.

"We would never leave our parents' country and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un," she says. They worked at a state-owned restaurant in Southern China, now

closed. The women, all in their 20s, waitresses; the man, their manager.

"All of this was planned by our bastard manager and the South Koreans," she says.

They say their manager lied, telling the women they were going to another North Korean restaurant in Southeast Asia.

RIPLEY: China has said that your friends crossed the border legally into South Korea. At some point, they had to know where they were going.

Why do you think they still went?

RIPLEY (voice-over): "They had absolutely no choice," they insist.

"We didn't even have our own passports on us."

South Korea's unification ministry tells CNN 13 defectors voluntarily decided to leave and pushed ahead with the escape without any help from the

outside. Following their voluntary request to defect, our government accepted them from a humanitarian point of view.

North Korea is believed to make millions from its dozens of restaurants in other countries. I visited this one in Northeast China in 2014.

Waitresses are allowed to speak with foreign customers, making them among the most trusted citizens.

A mass defection would be a humiliating blow to Pyongyang, especially one allowed by its strongest ally, China. North Korea is facing growing

isolation and sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs and allegations of widespread human rights abuse.

"To my loving friends, our leader Kim Jong-un is waiting for you," she says. "Parents and siblings are waiting for you. Please come back."

These are the seven left behind, left to explain why their friends are gone, left to wonder how life suddenly became so complicated -- Will

Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Coming up, if you carry U.S. currency, get ready to eventually say hello to a woman in your wallet. How the U.S.

Treasury decided to put an iconic former slave on the $20 bill.

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[10:40:00]

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CURNOW: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow.

The U.S. Treasury is making a historic change in the nation's currency. It's putting former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, on the $20

bill. But that wasn't the original idea.

Anderson Cooper reports that Plan A thwarted by a smash hit on Broadway. Here's his report.

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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): It all started last summer when the Treasury Department announced it would add a woman to the $10 bill in

2020 to coincide with 100-year anniversary of women winning the right to vote. The government wanted people's thoughts on the redesign and got them

in a big way.

JACK LEW, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: When we started this conversation not quite a year ago it wasn't clear to me that millions of Americans were

going to weigh in with their ideas.

COOPER (voice-over): Treasure Secretary Jack Lew announced that the new $10 bill will depict leaders of the women's suffragette movement, but

they'll be on the back of the bill, not the front. It just so happens the guy on the front also has top billing on Broadway right now.

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COOPER (voice-over): Hamilton creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, met with the Treasury Secretary last

month to lobby for keeping Hamilton on the $10.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley says when Hamilton mania took over the country, the government had no choice but to pay attention.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Treasury Department found themselves in a bind. They no longer could remove Hamilton from the $10

bill because of this pop culture phenomenon that -- what was going on.

COOPER (voice-over): With Hamilton staying on the $10, the $20 then came into play. The new $20 will feature Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and

women's rights activist, who led enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, gets booted to the

back of the new bill.

BRINKLEY: I think they very wisely shifted to the $20 and Andrew Jackson because Jackson is not a sustainable hero the way Hamilton is, mainly due

to the fact of his promotion of genocide of Native Americans and in the Trail of Tears.

COOPER (voice-over): Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both tweeted their support for the new bill. Clinton writing, quote, "A woman, a leader

and a freedom fighter, I can't think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman."

Ben Carson said on FOX Business that Jackson shouldn't be kicked off the front of the $20.

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DR. BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love Harriet Tubman. I love what she did but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2

bill.

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COOPER (voice-over): The Treasury Secretary said he knew they couldn't make everyone happy. But for the first time in more than a century, a

woman's face will be on American paper money.

The last time was Martha Washington on a dollar certificate in the late 1800s. And for what surely must be the first time in history.

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COOPER (voice-over): -- hip-hop was a driving force in a Treasury debate.

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CURNOW: Anderson Cooper reporting there.

That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. "WORLD SPORT" is next.

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