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Time Running Out to Find Quake Survivors; Lochte Charged with Filing False Police Report in Rio; Trump vs. Clinton; French Towns Banned the Burkini; U.S. National Park Service Marks Centennial; Underground Lava Tubes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Aired Midnight-1a ET

Aired August 26, 2016 - 00:00   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour, rescue crews dig through the rubble in Italy hoping to find more survivors of this week's devastating earthquake but time may be running out.

Plus, Rio police charge Ryan Lochte with falsely reporting a crime. Will the U.S. Olympian ever see the inside of a courtroom in Rio?

And these protesters say Muslim women ought to be allowed to wear what whatever they want to at the beach. The controversy on the French ban on burkinis.

Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Sara Sidner. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

We begin tonight in Italy. Rescuers in Italy are desperately searching for anyone who may have survived Wednesday earthquake. So far 250 people are dead and hundreds more are injured. The government has declared a state of emergency there. That is going to free up millions of euros for aid.

One of the hardest hit areas is Saletta. And that is where Barbie Nadeau is live for us. Can you tell us if you are feeling more strong aftershocks and if those aftershocks are making the recovery or the rescue effort difficult and if they're actually creating more damage -- Barbie?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They're absolutely creating more damage. You know, we have felt hundreds of aftershocks; some of them very, very strong; some of them just a light rumbling, but all of these aftershocks really put those rescue workers in jeopardy as they try to search for signs of life.

We're more than 48 hours after the initial earthquake and they're still holding out hope that there are people, that there are live people in some of pocket of air in a basement of a house and something under the rubble. But as the days wear on obviously the hours get longer for anyone who might be under those buildings. And there are 6,000 people here working -- 6,000 rescue workers from the army, civil protection. We are standing in front of, in fact a soccer field that has been converted into a camp for some of these rescue workers, a staging area. There are tents there.

Yesterday these people were sleeping in the rough with a bonfire to keep warm. There is some infrastructure moving into the area to try to help the rescue operation. You know, we are seeing a more ordered operation right now. In the first hours after this earthquake it was quite chaotic. There were ambulances going here, fire trucks there.

And today we are seeing a lot more order and with that though, that coordination comes, you know, the steps that come after that, not just about what to do about the buildings but what to do about the survivors, the people in the hospital. Where are they going to sleep when the dust settles on this?

There are a lot of people sleeping in tents right now. They've got to find some sort of temporary housing for them -- all those steps that happen after an event like this, after an earthquake are really kicking in right now. You are starting to see a lot of that happening here -- Sara.

SIDNER: We are looking at pictures of Pescara del Tronto and they are unbelievably bad. They are video where it's flown above and you can see all of this destruction. Can you give us a sense of how widespread the destruction is?

NADEAU: Well, you know, the epicenter is about a mile as the crow flies from us. But we are talking about like a ten-mile radius where every single building really is either cracked or, you know, the roof is gone or the side of the building has been sheered off. And you know, as you look at these buildings 24 hours ago, some of them still standing have fallen completely by today.

We spoke to a man last night in fact whose house was still standing when he was able to escape from it. The aftershock yesterday knocked that house completely down. You know, people are holding out hope they can maybe get back in there and get some of their belongings. But these aftershocks, as you suggested, are continuing to cause damage. Obviously nothing is going to cause more damage than that first earthquake. But it put things, you know, in such a precarious position. But you know, things that were standing are now fields of rubble.

And when you feel these aftershocks it's an interesting thing that you're hearing. You're hearing the sound of crumbling stone. You know, you're hearing things sort of rolling down the rubble pile and the whole landscape changes on an hourly basis as the aftershocks occur and the U.S. Geological Survey suggested the aftershocks could go on for many, many weeks.

That, of course, also makes the people, the survivors, those who escaped alive incredibly nervous. Everyone we've talked to so far says those aftershocks just stop their hearts because it takes them right back to that moment when the earthquake occurred now over 48 hours ago -- Sara.

[00:05:04] SIDNER: So terrible. Thank you so much, Barbie Nadeau from the scene there where you can see tents and people really just trying to survive after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. We appreciate you coming and giving us that information -- Barbie.

Joining us now to talk more about survival and what may have caused a lot of the deaths there, Jarrett Barrios, the chief executive officer for the American Red Cross here in Los Angeles in this region. He is live with us now here in Los Angeles.

We are in an earthquake-prone area.


SIDNER: Millions of people live in an earthquake-prone area. I do want to ask you about the buildings. How much do the buildings coupled with a large quake 00 how much do they play a role in the death toll that happens?

BARRIOS: You are just cutting straight to the chase. It is -- with the earthquake, the 6.2 which isn't as large as many which we have seen here in California and on the West Coast of the United States but because it is was a shallow quake, that is the energy was concentrated near the surface, the shaking was greater and the shaking is what causes the damage to the buildings, hence the pancaking or the collapsing of the buildings. If you can imagine the cement that's holding that stuff together basically turns into sand because it's rubbing and then it just falls down.

We have a lot of old buildings -- San Francisco, Los Angeles -- buildings which were built -- even though they're maybe 400 years newer buildings --

SIDNER: Right. Much more modern.

BARRIOS: -- they were built before the earthquake codes. And so we are looking at this very seriously. Yes, we want people to be trained on what to do -- you know drop, cover, hold on. But it's a question of building codes as well for commercial buildings and it's a question for homeowners about what you've done to retrofit your house to make sure it's not going collapse.

SIDNER: I wanted to ask you about that because retrofitting can be extremely expensive. And in some of these places, you know, in Italy you're talking about almost -- I don't know how you would retrofit a 400-year-old building made of stone. I mean how do you do that or what are some things you can tell people that they can do?

BARRIOS: Well, fortunately the high-price engineers are typically for the commercial buildings. Homeowners can typically retrofit a house in California for anywhere between $4,000 and $7,000. And the California Earthquake Authority will pay up to $3,000 to help cover those costs. So we have done stuff in California to make it easier. Unfortunately, very few people take advantage of it. I really hope that people are watching what is happening in Italy in California here and start to retrofit their homes, particularly if your home was older, was built before the mid-1950s you need to take a look at that.

SIDNER: The bolt and brace program I think was one of the ones that they just --

BARRIOS: Absolutely.

And you can get up to $3,000 to cover it. So really it makes it much more affordable and it's your families' lives at stake.

SIDNER: You talked about what to do in case of an earthquake and I think it is worth repeating. What do you tell people, the thing that you're supposed to do as soon as you feel the shaking?

BARRIOS: You've got to drop, cover, hold on, get yourself under a desk, under a table or something. Don't try to run outside, don't stand in the doorway, don't do this triangle of life thing which used to be what they teach. Get under something because stuff is going to fall.

If it is the middle of the night and you're sleeping put a pillow over your head and make sure that there are no pictures on the walls above you that could fall on you. Make sure you have a pair of shoes next to the bed. The greatest injuries that happened in the last big quake we had here in L.A. were people running out of their rooms and stepping on broken glass.

SIDNER: Cutting their feet.

BARRIOS: Cutting their feet. So have a pair of shoes. Exactly.

But, you know, it's also important to get prepared beforehand. You have to plan as if you're not going to be able to have police, fire, Red Cross support for up to five day because in L.A. we are 10 million people in L.A. County. 10 million people call 911 at the same time, nobody is coming. You have to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family -- water, food, flashlights. You also need to know how to turn the gas off and the water.

Our Northridge quake that we had here in 1994, 50 percent of the damage was from fires that were caused by gas leaks after the earthquakes because people didn't know how turn off their gas off. Relatively simple, using a wrench. But people didn't know their house well enough to know what to do.

SIDNER: Jarrett Barrios, thank you so much for coming and imparting that important information to anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area. We appreciate it.

And time is of the essence for rescue workers, as we were mentioning. They're trying to find survivors as we speak in the rubble.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now with more on that and give us some sense of how much time people have to survive in this sort of setting, this sort of situation.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Sara it is a race against the clock but if rescuers can learn from the past they know that there is a glimmer of hope for survival. Take for instance the earthquake in Haiti or perhaps the Philippines there were survivors that lived underneath the rubble for ten to 14 days. So survival from this earthquake going on 48 hours is certainly possible.

[00:05:00] But environmental conditions need to be just perfect. It can't be too hot, it can't be too cold and also it would be ideal to see some sort of water, at least rain water, because if people are trapped under rubble they have a potential to collect that rain water and survive in that because humans on average can only live or survive roughly three to five days without some source of H2O, being water.

Now we have the world temperatures going forward so that is some good news. But this is almost a double-edged sword weather forecast because we do not have any rain in this three-day forecast. Not good news.

You heard a moment from the interview that -- he talked about a shallow earthquake. What exactly does this mean? Well, the earthquake, which was a magnitude 6.2, was about 10 kilometers below the surface. So that does not allow for much of the earth's ground to absorb the shaking. So that allows for those buildings to just do that pancake effect he talked about and ultimately collapse and that was what made this particular earthquake so dangerous.

So going forward we do expect the frequency of aftershocks to start to dwindle and also the intensity. But certainly will be felt for days to come -- Sara.

SIDNER: And we certainly heard from Barbie Nadeau who's there that those aftershocks are causing even more damage and may get very, very dangerous for anyone thinking about going back into their homes. So a warning for people not to go back into a damaged home or building.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Now we move on to another of the big stories today.

Police in Brazil have charged Ryan Lochte with false reporting of a crime. The U.S. Olympic swimmer had said that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics but authorities say security guards confronted the swimmers at a gas station after at least one of them vandalized it.

Lochte later apologized saying he was responsible for the vandalizing and said that he had exaggerated the story although he never said that he lied.

Criminal defense attorney Brian Claypool is joining us now to discuss what his options are and what in the world is going to happen here.

I do want to start with this. You were on our show when all this started to tumble, when his story started to crumble and you said something that no one else said and that was he's going to get charged. And lo and behold, here we are and he has been charged. So you were right.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Surprise, surprise. Thank you for acknowledging that.

SIDNER: So what is he supposed to do? I mean what do you do in a situation like this? Is the U.S. going to extradite him for something like this?

CLAYPOOL: This is a dicey question. You've got to look at what the end game is for Ryan Lochte. If he wants to swim in the Olympics in four years, if he wants to repair his public imagine which he's starting to do then he needs to hop on a plane, go answer the charges in Brazil and apologize to the court. Because I will tell you, Sara, this is as much about respect to the Brazilian government as it is about criminal justice.

SIDNER: I've got ask you this, you're a criminal defense attorney. You would advise a client to do one thing or another -- is there any chance that he's going to do that? Because of the chances of him going over there and then not knowing exactly what the outcome might be is pretty scary for him.

CLAYPOOL: Let's clarify one thing. Brazil has a treaty with the U.S. The only way they can force Ryan Lochte to come over and answer in court is if he has charged with perjury. He hasn't been charged with perjury. He has been charged with the lightest crime which is filing a false report. He could spend one to six months in jail.

But the judge said today if you show up in court you have an opportunity to cop what is called a plea deal in the United States. You can get a plea deal done, agree to a fine amount, pay the fine and I would recommend that he does that. So basically the Brazilian judge is signaling to Ryan Lochte, get your butt over here, do the right thing --

SIDNER: Apologize.

CLAYPOOL: -- apologize, sell your $6,000 shoes that you posted on Instagram and use that to pay the fine.

SIDNER: Ok, now I have to ask you about this. Ryan Lochte goes through all this and he embarrasses the United States and he embarrasses himself and his team but then he is asked to perform on "Dancing with the Stars" and there is, although he lost most of his sponsors, there is someone who has come forward to sponsor him. Why? Why do that?

CLAYPOOL: Well, let me tell you this, from day one when I first met you I said this was a serious charge, what he did is very aggravating. Just to give you an example. In California if Ryan Lochte had lied during a law enforcement investigation he would be facing a felony charge of up to five years in jail. That's how serious this charge is. People haven't taken this seriously. And you know, taking off my lawyer hat for a minute. I'm a single father of a 10-year-old girl. From day one when she started school I taught her about not lying, telling the truth. And there will always be consequences if you lie.

This is bigger than Ryan Lochte. What message do we send to the world -- to our youth if we allow him to get off without facing the consequences?

[00:15:07] SIDNER: This is a really sticky situation that he has put himself in -- admittedly put himself in. We will all be watching to see what happens next. But you did call it, he did get charged -- no one else thought that. We appreciate you bringing that to us.

Brian Claypool -- thank you so much for being here.

CLAYPOOL: You bet. Thank you -- Sara.

SIDNER: Next on NEWSROOM L.A. Donald Trump sits down with African- American Republican leaders and hours later shows no regret for his latest charge against Hillary Clinton.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You called last night -- Hillary Clinton a bigot. Previously you called her policies bigoted. You directly called her a bigot --




SIDNER: Time for a little politics. Donald Trump is doubling down on his charge that Hillary Clinton, as he put it, is a bigot. He met Thursday with Republican African-American leaders in New York City as part of his new outreach to minority voters. Later Trump spoke exclusively with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


COOPER: You called last night, Hillary Clinton a bigot. Previously you called her policies bigoted. You directly called her a bigot --

[00:20:03] TRUMP: She is a bigot.

COOPER: In what way.

TRUMP: Because you look at what is happening to the inner cities. You look at what's happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country where she talks all the time, she's talking -- look at the vets where she said the vets are being treated essentially just fine and it's over-exaggerated what is happening to the vets not so long ago.

COOPER: How is she bigoted?


TRUMP: Well, because she is selling them down the tubes -- because she is not doing anything for the communities. She talks a good game --

COOPER: You think she has hatred or --

TRUMP: Her policies are bigoted -- her policies are bigoted because she knows they're not going to work.

COOPER: But you are saying she is personally bigoted?

TRUMP: She is. Of course she is. Her policies -- they are her policies. She comes out with the policies and others that believe like she does also. But she came out with policies over the years -- this is over the years, long time. She is totally bigoted. There's no question about that.


COOPER: But it does imply that -- she has antipathy, she has hatred toward -- in this case --


TRUMP: I think she has been extremely, extremely bad for African- Americans. I think she's been extremely bad for Hispanics. You look at what's happened with her policies and the policies of President Obama and others. Look at the poverty, look at the rise in poverty, look at the rise in violence.

COOPER: Her hatred is at the core of that?

TRUMP: Or maybe she is lazy.


SIDNER: All right. (AUDIO GAP) L.A. city councilwoman and a Hillary Clinton supporter. (AUDIOGAP) is the chairman of the L.A. County Republican party and a Trump delegate.

Ok. I heard you visibly take a deep breath and blow it out when you heard this conversation with Donald Trump. Your thoughts on his new sort of jibe at Hillary Clinton that she is a bigot and her policies are bigoted?

WENDY GREUEL, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I think one point is I'm not sure he understands what the word "bigot" means. When you look in the definition of what it really means that's not one -- you know, not Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton has been someone who has fought for those who have needed that kind of help over the years. She is someone who has been for civil rights and equal rights and been an individual who has been a strong advocate. I don't think he understands the word "bigot" and he confuses that in this part and I think it's really one of those times when someone says you're a liar, and then they go back, you're a liar. You know, and that back and forth. He doesn't understand what he is saying.

SIDNER: Mark, I will let you respond.

MARK VAFIADES, L.A. COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: First of all, I'd like to say that I think Hillary Clinton is getting a taste of her own medicine. And not just Hillary Clinton but the Democratic party in general. No offense to Wendy, of course.

It's been years that Republicans have been called racist, even Mitt Romney was called a racist. John McCain was called racist. It's something that we hear every presidential cycle and in between. It's, of course, not true and we're sick of hearing it.

So now all of a sudden the shoe is on the other foot and Hillary Clinton is getting a taste of this as well. Donald Trump, he says things that get the attention of the public and the press and then he clears them up. And he did. He said it was her policies that are bigoted, not her personally.

SIDNER: But he pushed back when Anderson said are you talking about her personally? And he said both -- her policies and her personally.

But I'm going to move on because Hillary Clinton has responded to this when he first said it. Here's what she said after being called a bigot by Donald Trump.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.


SIDNER: So making hate groups mainstream that seems to be something that we keep hearing. It's a new line from her. What are your thoughts on her putting that out there? It is something that the Democrats have pointed out in their ads, some of the things that he has said. Your thoughts?

VAFIADES: It's good marketing for the Democrats. I think if I was a consultant I'd be saying do the same thing.

Of course, it's ridiculous. It's not true. An anonymous supporter of Donald Trump, someone who he is not associated with, who he doesn't communicate with, just because they are supporting Donald Trump doesn't mean that Donald Trump is supporting them and also it doesn't mean that those hate groups are being mainstreamed. I guess you'd call me part of the mainstream Republican Party and we will not have them as part of our party.

SIDNER: Wendy? You heard her response.

GREUEL: I think if Donald Trump had just said your response which was we don't want them in our party but he hasn't. He was given an opportunity when David Duke and the KKK endorsed him and he didn't come out right then and there say I don't believe anything in that that they are saying and white supremacy and I don't accept this. Some previous Republicans have done that.

[00:24:56] And so I think what we're finding is that he's now meeting with African-Americans. Well maybe he has 1 percent of African- Americans that are supporting him and the Latinos, he is finally realizing that the speeches that he's given and the hate that he has spewed is coming back to haunt him.

We are in 2016. Everything you say and do is recorded and repeated. And his words are coming back to haunt him.

SIDNER: And I do want to say this, he didn't say anything about the David Duke situation until after the primaries but he has cleared it up and he has recently said he does not want those kinds of people. He doesn't support them.

GREUL: I'm thinking David Duke and the KKK it's a very easy thing to say. McCain's done it, Bush -- all the Republicans did it before immediately said we have no place in our party for that.

VAFIADES: Donald Trump is an amateur politician so he did clarify --

GREUL: Clearly.

VAFIADES: He cleared it up. He cleared it up. A politician would know immediately to do that.

SIDNER: He has gotten a lot of heat for it.

Let's steer to one more thing because this is a big thing that a lot of people have been talking about this week and that is his immigration policy. Here's what he said. Now, he says that he hasn't softened his policy.

Here's what he said to Anderson Cooper.


COOPER: If they haven't committed a crime, is there going to be a path to legalization or citizenship?


TRUMP: First thing we're going to do -- no, there is not a path -- there is no path to legalization.

COOPER: You are talking about paying taxes.

TRUMP: Unless people leave the country, well, when they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes. COOPER: So they still have to leave?

TRUMP: But there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.


SIDNER: To be fair we are not hearing what he said in the beginning which was he was going to deport 11 million people or deport anyone in the country who is here illegally. Has he softened his stance? He sounds like it but it certainly sounds like it, doesn't it?

VAFIADES: I don't know if I'd call it softening his stance. I mean the number one priority for Donald Trump, and for most of his supporters, are first of all to secure the border. And number two to deport criminal illegal aliens. I think most of his supporters are fine with not deporting 11 million people. I think he is going around throughout the country and listening to what they're saying and I think he is realizing that we don't want to just automatically deport 11 million law-abiding people -- otherwise law abiding aside from the fact that, of course, they're illegal aliens but otherwise law-abiding people.

He doesn't want to deport them but we want to secure the border and we want to again, get rid of the criminal illegal aliens that are committing crimes against not only citizens but against non-citizens as well.

SIDNER: Ok -- I'm sure you have a different take on this.

GREUL: I hear him say I want to deport 11 million and I want them to leave and maybe some of them will come back. And in his own words over the weekend after meeting with Latino leaders he said maybe I would soften -- in his own words -- I go back to the point which is everything you say is covered.

And so I think he's again realizing that a number of the Latino leaders and generally the public at large is saying how do you deport 11 million people? How do you separate families from their kids, parents from their kids? How do you force many of them that are actually working in the United States and are producing for this country?

SIDNER: Wendy and Mark, we thank you for your time and for your differing opinions of which there are many across America especially in this particular political season. We thank you.

All right, next on NEWSROOM L.A. the highest court in France is being asked to shut down a controversial burkini ban. We look at what's behind the move to keep women from wearing the full-body swim suit.


[00:32:10] SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner.

The headlines for you at this hour.

Another strong aftershock has hit the earthquake-ravaged town of Amatrice in Central Italy. Wednesday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 250 people. The government has declared a state of emergency there.

At least five people are dead after an attack in the Somali capital. Police say gunmen took hostages at a beach side restaurant in Mogadishu on Thursday. The attack was preceded by a car bombing near the Turkish embassy. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for that bombing.

Police in Brazil have charged Ryan Lochte with falsely reporting a crime. The U.S. Olympic swimmer has apologized for saying he was robbed at gunpoint while in Rio. If found guilty, he could face up to six months in jail. But the judge could simply impose a fine instead.

France's top administrative court is expected to rule Friday, whether the controversial ban on women wearing burqinis will be overturned. Anger over the ban escalated this week after photos emerge of police seeming to be taking --making a woman who is sitting on that beach remove some of her clothes there in Nice.

After this, wearing burqinis and everything in between protested the ban on Thursday by building their own beach outside the French embassy in London.

I am joined now by Edina Lekovic. She is a spokesperson for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Thank you so much for coming on.

I do want to first start with this. I can't see this improving relations in France in any sort of way.

What is your stance on what you're seeing and this ban that's been put in place?

EDINA LEKOVIC, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL SPOKESWOMAN: This kind of ban is counterproductive. If the French government is trying to make a gesture towards its French Muslims citizens to say you are French, or to embrace them or to encourage them to be French, embracing who they are three dimensionally is the best way to do that.

Banning something only makes it more popular and it politicizes it. So we have turned something that was just clothing, that it has become something that is about a symbol of identity, and that becomes an attack on one's identity. So even for somebody like me -- look, I wear hijab. I cover my hair. I have for a long time. I have a full body bathing suit. I hate the name that has been assigned to it because this has nothing to do with the Burka.

These are women like me who want to go into the ocean, who want to swim, who want to fully be able to participate and respect our values at the same time. While I felt in the past a little dorky about pulling out my, you know, my full body bathing suit, this even makes me feel like, you know what, what am I slowing down for? Let me go out to the ocean and get my swim in.

SIDNER: Your pushing (INAUDIBLE), because France says, well, this is about the rights of women, not to punish women.

Do you see it that way? And do you understand their argument at all?

[00:35:00] LEKOVIC: The rights of women are to make choices for themselves, right? Isn't that what feminism is about?

It's about every woman being able to choose for herself what -- how she would like to dress. What her career is. How her family operates. Her reproductive choices. All of it.

So telling women to take off their clothes is just as bad as telling them to put them on. I'm opposed to Saudi Arabia and Iran that violate the Islamic teachings and force women to cover themselves from head-to-toe. Just in the same way that I'm opposed to the French government banning, you know, women from covering themselves if they choose.

I have friends who don't -- you know, aren't Muslim, who say, you know what, I wear a rash guard and I wear leggings when I go to the beach, or I see guys in wet suits. So what's the big deal? What's the difference? We made one political, where it's really just about clothing and about access.

SIDNER: I want to actually ask you, do you think that France is punishing Muslims for some of the attacks, and this is kind of a reaction to that, or you think this is about something else?

LEKOVIC: I don't think that this is about clothing. I mean, clothing has not stopped -- it has not stopped Olympic gold medallists. It has not stopped -- as we just saw in Rio. It hasn't stopped heads of state. It hasn't stopped Nobel Peace Prize winners, who have all worn hijab. It hasn't stopped them in their pursuits of excellence.

So being inclusive and integrated within society is about meeting people where they are and about embracing what they bring into the country. And France has the opportunity to do that just like Canada is today, with announcing that it's going to allow women who wear hijab to be a part of the police force.

SIDNER: Some great points. We'll be right back.

Up next, we take you to a rare and beautiful place made by the explosion of volcanoes in Hawaii.


SIDNER: The U.S. National Parks Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this week. The agency manages dozens of parks all over United States as well as other natural and historic landmarks. CNN sent Stephanie Elam to explore the fascinating underground lava tubes. Very rare, rare, rare opportunity at the national park in Hawaii.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Just imagine, about 500 years ago, lava flooding down through this tube, it's about a mile long. And for the celebration of the centennial of the park, they're letting very small, select groups take a tour through here.

Let me introduce you to Ab. Ab is going to show us through the tunnel.


ELAM: Puapo`o.

VALENCIA: It's so delicate in here and it's so fragile. This place is awesome and I feel like a guest in here. Every time, it's a new experience.

ELAM: Let's go.

VALENCIA: All right. (INAUDIBLE), which means follow me.

All of this is scoured out by the lava. And the roof area was the top that crested over.

ELAM: To be able to move this much in, it create a tube. That must be going pretty bad, right?

VALENCIA: You cannot outrun that kind of lava flow.

If you can imagine, it's red, red hot into and the lava just melts the upper surface that causes the icicles to form.

These roots are coming from the ceiling of the lava tube, and above is the rainforest.

ELAM: It almost looks like some big earthmoving equipment came through here and dug up the bottom of the cave.

[00:40:15] VALENCIA: This was the upper surface. And then this was all still molten, flowing underneath it until it all drained away

We're in the area that's called "The Amphitheater" because there's a big opening here. In the absence of light, then this place becomes totally and actually black.

This is the area where we need to crouch. And when you get to the other side don't stand up too suddenly.

These are the standing lava waves. They kind of ebb and flow. So it came to hardened, and it came to it hard. This is the only place that we know of where there's this frozen standing lava wave formation in a lava tube.

ELAM: It looks staged like a Hollywood set.

VALENCIA: So at this point, actually, if you see above, that's our exit.

ELAM: Wow.

That's amazing.


SIDNER: Steph joins us now live to chat about her amazing trip.

I am jealous.


ELAM: It's one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I have to say.

SIDNER: I want to ask you about going in. It looked really, really, really dark. Was it also cold? I mean, how did you, guys, even film going through those?

ELAM: Yes, no, it was extremely dark. There is no light in there. So you have to take flashlights with you. You have to have the head lamps. You have to have gloves. There's a lot of things you have to do because they want to preserve the tube itself. So they spray down your shoes before you go in.

You have to wear long sleeves, long pants just to make sure that you are not taking your own contaminants into the lava tube to preserve it for the years to come.

Because there are other lava tubes that are there within the park that you can walk through. But they are completely just open, and that's because people have picked off those lava sickles. They've taken everything. They have lights in them. So that is part of the reason why they really want to keep this one hidden from people except for these small groups of people, who are going to take the tour this year, who get to celebrate the centennial of the park and the park service.

SIDNER: It's really a rare moment that you're about to see. And this is not something that everyone can see. So thank you for sharing that with us.

I want to ask you about volcanoes on the big island. Are they still active? I am fascinated by volcanoes?

ELAM: They are. And the reason it's called, you know, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is because besides Kilauea, which is the volcano that flow that lava, that created Puapo`o as you see here, they also have Mauna Loa, which is the most active volcano in the world. Right now, it's not doing anything. But they're saying it's just a matter of time before it does. And when it does erupt, you get such amazing spills of lava that overflow. It's dangerous, but it's also a sight to see when you do. And that is why the Hawaii Islands continue to grow. It's because of these active volcanoes.

SIDNER: Have you, just by any chance, ever seen the active flow of lava?

ELAM: Of it pouring down into the ocean?


ELAM: I've only seen imagery of it. But what I did see is when you're there, you know, a lot of people go when they are on the big island, they go to the Jaggar Museum inside of the park.

And if you get there after the sun goes down, it's about a mile away. It doesn't look like it's that far. But you can see the splatter popping out.

If you look at the beginning of the piece that we just showed you, you can see that splatter popping out. It's only about 100 feet or so below the top of the crater. Think about that.

And because of that movement of the magma under the earth, where we are standing that's what causes earthquakes.

You see sometimes in the Puapo`o, inside of the lava tube, you see these cracks and they're like it's because of seismic activity that is being spurred by the movement of the magma inside of this volcano.

So you are standing on a very alive piece of land as these volcanoes are constantly moving and growing and changing.

SIDNER: My envy just grew and exploded. Amazing pictures.

ELAM: If you can get to the big island, it's worth taking the trip through the national park. And it's just amazing what they preserve there. And if you can make it to do one of the tours through lava tube like Puapo`o, I have to say, again, one of the most amazing things I've ever seen with my own eyes. Sitting there in the darkness, no flashlight and listening to the water drip, there's nothing like it.

SIDNER: Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. That is just absolutely amazing. A great glimpse into what this country has to offer, anyone who wants to go and do it.

ELAM: Yes.

SIDNER: And thank you for joining us. I'm Sara Sidner. "World Sport" is coming up next. Then Isha Sesay will join you for another hour of NEWSROOM LA. You're watching CNN.