Return to Transcripts main page


Puerto Rico Begs For Help as Food and Water Run Low; Trump Warns of "Devastating" Action on North Korea; Trump Ramps Up Puerto Rico Response Amid Criticism; U.S. Defense Sec. Mattis Arrives In Afghanistan; IRS Is Sharing Info With Russia Investigators; Saudi Arabia Ending Ban On Women Driving; Barzani Calls For Talks With Baghdad; Volcano Forces 75,000 People To Evacuate Near Bali; Teams, Players Protest Trump During NFL Games. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 27, 2016 - 02:00   ET



Ahead this hour. In desperate need of help, Puerto Ricans facing a growing humanitarian crisis.

President Trump's new warning for Kim Jong-un. The US is totally prepared to use devastating military action against North Korea.

And by Royal Decree, women in Saudi Arabia finally get the right to drive, but the road to full equality remains a long one.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM LA starts right now.

Well, one week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island is suffering from a growing economic and humanitarian crisis. Signs of desperation are everywhere and sometimes literally like this SOS scribbled on the sidewalk.

Most people on the island don't have power or phone service and food and medicine are running out, especially in more remote areas. Crime, well, that is another big concern. Police say 60 people were arrested for violating the overnight curfew from Monday into Tuesday and 36 were arrested for looting and theft.

Take a look at these satellite images with me. They show just how massive the power outages in Puerto Rico really are. The bright one was taken July 24th, well before Hurricane Maria. And then look at that. The other was taken on Monday. The difference stunning. You can see most of the island has gone dark.

Well, with that being said, life has turned upside down for the more than 3 million people living in Puerto Rico. Many are spending their days searching for food, water and fuel. CNN's Bill Weir reports.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beside the highway in Utuado, this is the most dependable utility in rural Puerto Rico these days, a pipe packed into a mountain spring is now the watering hole for a community of over 30,000. (on-camera): It's a natural spring.

NICASO, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: A natural spring. It's always here.

WEIR: Are you boiling it or you drink it straight?

NICASO: You can drink it straight. This is clearer than the water you get from the (INAUDIBLE).

WEIR: OK. Well, that's good. You've got that. How is everything else in life? How - are you getting enough food, power? Awful?

NICASO: Awful, awful. People have a shortage of food. The National Guard is now working up to the way it should be. They're all just standing here, doing nothing. No electricity, no water for the city. It's going to take like about maybe six, seven months for anything to happen here.

WEIR (voice-over): While safe from coastal storm surges, Maria brought hellish mud slides to mountain towns like this, cutting off families for days and forcing desperate decision-making. Do you burn precious fuel searching for supplies or stay put and pray for help?

Lydia has two cars with no gas, two grand kids to keep alive on a ration of cracker. With no way to reach that highway pipe, they drink rainwater.

(on-camera): No water, no food, she tells me. It's nobody's fault. It's the weather. You have to go on. I can tell the anxiety. I can tell. My heart breaks for you.

(Voice-over): What worries me the most is my family doesn't know how we're doing, she says. We don't have cell phone connection.

(on-camera): On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being horrible desperate, where are you?


WEIR: You're in eight?

(voice-over): Eight and getting better, the young mayor tells me. If the gasoline arrives, it will fix our problems because people are starting to get desperate.

WEIR: Gas is more precious than water up here. National Guard vehicles can't move. Worthless ambulances sit idle. The hospital has one day's worth of generator fuel left and one volunteer doctor because the rest of the staff has no way to get to work.

(on-camera): People starting to turn on each other?

Yes, he says. There's been situations where people are stressed out, crying, folks with dialysis, patients with cancer, bedridden patients who need ventilators. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything you can help with a voice on the outside because I will need gasoline and diesel.

WEIR: I will tell. I will tell the world.

(voice-over): The fuel shortage is even more evident in San Juan where lines are miles long.

(on-camera): They open this particular service station at 6 in the morning. They run out of gas by 3:00 PM. So, some people at the end of this line may not get the fuel they need.

The folks here are telling me that a local ring of gangsters called (INAUDIBLE) drug dealers actually commandeered a gas station, took over two lanes, just so their guys could get the fuel.

[02:05:01] How would you describe the level of desperation?

JANICE TORRES, GAS STATION MANAGER: Oh, to the highest level. Not only here in the metropolitan area, but in the center of the island (INAUDIBLE) is very, very bad and they are suffering. Everybody is suffering. And it seems how we can work it out and begin again.

WEIR: You're putting a brave smile on. But -

TORRES: I will always do that. Of course.

WEIR (voice-over): And someday after the most primal needs are met, parents will have to figure out how to send their kids back to school.

And at Wesleyan Academy, this is what awaits. There is so much to rebuild and so many now considering leaving this island for good.

(on-camera): What message would you have for folks back in the mainland?

HARRY TORRES, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: Well, we have to definitely be calm. That's all I can say. Just calm because, like I said, if this week, we - I told my family, if this week we don't see anything getting better, I'm going to have to leave the island. I've been here already like 20 years, and I'm going to have to leave the island. I don't have any other choice.

WEIR: It was sobering to hear that sentiment more than once. Several people talking about the idea that maybe the United States would consider Puerto Rico a liability, with $70 billion plus in debt and now the cost of recovery after Maria that they're going to cut it loose.

And the most valuable thing they have right now is their American citizenship, so they can get out. But plenty are also vowing to stay and rebuild, but the need Is unfathomable.

It's hard to overstate just how desperate, just how broken this island is after this historic storm. And we haven't even gotten into the main concerns about disease, dengue fever, Zika, which could come as mosquitoes breed in the standing water.

The gas stations are expanding. That's the good news. The governor says they went from about 185 to 450, but distribution is a huge challenge. They don't have enough drivers to bring the fuel into the interior either because they can't get to work or they don't feel safe working without someone riding shotgun, a cop or a soldier.

But one more day and one more day of perseverance for the people of Puerto Rico. Back to you.


SESAY: Thanks to Bill Weir there for that reporting. Well, the San Juan Airport is also barely functioning. Hundreds of people have packed the main terminal hoping to get out.

But there are very few commercial flights available. To make matters worse, the terminal is on emergency power and has no air conditioning. And the situation is taking its toll.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My mother lost everything. I had bought a plane ticket before the hurricane and I'm here since Friday and I haven't been able to leave.

Sleeping on the floor, without air conditioning, it's horrible. And I have to sleep here again. It's very frustrating. You want to leave to go help your family and we are still here. My family does not know I am still here and I can't help them.


SESAY: Well, US President Donald Trump says he will visit Puerto Rico next Tuesday. The island's governor says the Trump administration has responded quickly and appropriately, but more help is needed.

Meantime, the US and North Korea are doubling down on their threats and counterthreats. Here's the latest in the war of words from President Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option. But if we take that option, it will be devastating. I can tell you that. Devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.


SESAY: Well, joining us now, CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea and political analyst Michael Genovese also joins us here in the studio. Welcome to you both.

Paula to you first, CNN has learned that North Korea has moved some of its military assets to the eastern coast. What is the current assessment of Pyongyang's military posture there in the region?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, we understand that there have been some aero planes, some military assets moved to that east coast.

But we also heard on Tuesday from the intelligence agency here in South Korea through lawmakers that they believe that the flyover, the B-1B bombers that the US sent to the east coast of North Korea last week may have gone unnoticed by North Korea.

They may not have picked it up from their radar and may not have known about it until the US told them. So, potentially, that's why we're seeing that military buildup.

We also know that they are telling North Korean soldiers along the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, to report something if they see an incident first and then take measures second.

That shows that they are aware that there could be some kind of miscalculation or a clash and they are trying to do something to try and prevent that. Isha?

SESAY: Paula, standby for us. Thank you. Michael to you, Paula talks of a certain kind of awareness on the part of the North Koreans report first, action second.

[02:10:07] President Trump on Tuesday, in the Rose Garden, kind of defended his posture in all of this, saying that he has merely been responding to the rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang.

His critics say his words (INAUDIBLE) language, as they say, has created this situation. What part of responsibility does he bear in where we stand today?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Only a part of the responsibility. He's only a part of the problem.

The real problem is Kim Jong-un who is kind of the bad villain in a bad James Bond movie. He's the one who started this. He is the one who is escalating it.

The problem is President Trump responds to that. He takes the bait and he escalates the rhetoric and there's no point in which the both sides will say, let's stop, let's deescalate.

And so, initially, I think it was Kim Jong-un who was responsible, but now President Trump has gotten involved and he can't seem to find a formula or an avenue to pull back. And this cycle -

SESAY: So you don't see an off-ramp?

GENOVESE: No, there are many off-ramps, if you want to take them. Neither side right now seems to be anxious to take those off-ramps. And President Trump seems to be trying to prove, along with Kim Jong- un, that he's tough, that he's going to be the guy. And you're playing a game with nuclear weapons.

These are two children - spoilt children poking each other in the eye with a stick. And when that stick is nuclear weapons, that can't come out to a good outcome.

SESAY: No, it certainly can't. Paula, back to you, on Tuesday, we heard from the parents of Otto Warmbier, the young American who was imprisoned in North Korea and returned home couple of weeks ago, had died shortly thereafter.

His mother and father have been speaking out about the state he came back in. And also, they've had some very pointed directed statements for the regime. Take a listen.


FREDERICK WARMBIER, OTTO WARMBIER'S FATHER: You're a coward. Your father is a coward and your grandfather is a coward. You are a terrorist. You live in fear. If you're in a room with four other people, you're worried who's going kill you. I pity you.

CINDY WARMBIER, OTTO WARMBIER'S MOTHER: I would say you took such a good, good person. And you'll have to pay for that one day.


SESAY: Paula, I've got to ask you. How will these statements go over in Pyongyang? I mean, the fact is, as the parents of Otto Warmbier are saying that they're in no doubt that their son was tortured. And now, they're making these direct criticisms of Kim Jong-un and how is that going to go over?

HANCOCKS: Well, Isha, there is only certain people who actually know what happened to Otto Warmbier, and they are all in North Korea.

There are certain members of that regime that know exactly what happened. The family doesn't know. The doctors in the US who treated Otto Warmbier when he returned, they don't know either.

But what we've heard from North Korea, as far as they are concerned, they did a humanitarian gesture by releasing Otto Warmbier. They also say that back in June they said there has been groundless accusations of torture.

This was when the parents first spoke out and they said that that was unfounded, that it wasn't the case, that the US doctors that had gone to Pyongyang as well to pick up Otto Warmbier agreed that all his vital signs were correct.

Now, of course, we know now that that was not the case. But I would be very surprised if we hear anything from North Korea in reaction to the parent's interviews. SESAY: Well, Paula, thank you for that. Michael, on Tuesday, we also learned from the US Treasury Department that new sanctions have been leveled on North Korea, taking in North Korean banks and 26 individuals. Just briefly, because we're almost out of time sadly, what's your sense of the implications here and how quickly they'll start to hurt, those sanctions?

GENOVESE: Sanctions aren't designed to work quickly. They're designed to send a message. And the message is we're going to keep squeezing and squeezing until you cry out for help, until you back down.

And so, sanctions are slow moving, but they can be effective, if you have time and patience. We seem to be running out of time.

SESAY: My thanks to you both. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea. Michael Genovese, thank you. Very much appreciate the insight and perspective.

Quick break here. President Trump keeps his feud with NFL players going with new tweets and new criticism from the White House Rose Garden.

Plus, we'll hear from the sportscaster and Vietnam veteran whose defense of the player protest is a viral sensation.


[02:16:49] SESAY: Well, the US President Donald Trump seemingly fixated on the issue of football players kneeling on the field after he stirred up controversy over the national anthem.

Once again, America struggling with issues of racism, patriotism and free speech. The intersection of politics in the sports world isn't new, but this time around it is a little different.

The president says he is shamed of how the athletes are acting. But many NFL athletes are making the point this is not about disrespecting the flag or anthem and just something that has everything to do with their constitutional right to protest.

The point is this is one of the great freedoms of this country. It's that right to show appreciation or dissatisfaction for the government, however you choose.

People on both sides have weighed in on the debate, but a monologue from Dallas sportscaster and Vietnam veteran Dale Hansen has a particularly strong message.


DALE HANSEN, SPORTSCASTER, WFAA-TV: The young black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem. They are respecting the best thing about America.

It's a dog whistle to the racist among us to say otherwise. They and all of us should protest how black Americans are treated in this country. And if you don't think white privilege is a fact, you don't understand America.


SESAY: Well, I'm very pleased to say that Dale Hansen joins us now from Dallas, Texas. Dale, thank you for being with us. It was a remarkable statement you made in its emotion and raw truth. What made you decide to speak out in the way you did?

HANSEN: Well, I like to speak out about social issues because I think sports basically is a metaphor for life.

But when I heard the president refer to black athletes as SOBs, and he was referring to black athletes, because it's only the black athlete who has taken a knee during the national anthem, at least so far. I just do not like anyone deciding who is an American, who is a patriot.

As I said in that commentary last night, my best friend Carol Meier was killed in Vietnam during that immoral war. And I do not accept the fact that anyone decides who is a patriot, who loves America more.

He did not die, so that you can decide what patriotism and what loving America means. Because it's such a hot button issue in America right now, I felt I had to speak out.

And I am fortunate enough to work for a station WFAA in Dallas, the Tegna Corporation, that quite frankly gives me the opportunity to use the platform I have.

SESAY: Sure. When you hear the president and his supporters say this is not about race, that he's not being divisive, rather than - well, this is the president acting out of love for this country, how do you respond directly to that point?

HANSEN: No. I don't accept it at all because, again, he is singling out the black athlete, who is taking the knee. He singled out the Mexicans who tried to move to America for a better life. He has singled out the Muslims. He has singled out now the black athlete.

He didn't say a word - he did not say a discouraging word - in fact, he told us that they were good people, the white men who were marching under the Nazi flag in Charlottesville. And even when he tried to say the right thing a few days later, he doubled down on the fact that there were some good people on that side.

[02:20:13] There were white men marching under the Nazi flag and he chose to say that there were some good people. And he refers to the black athlete who takes a knee as an SOB who should be taken off the field and fired.

He did not call any of the protesters in Charlottesville under the Nazi flag an SOB. He did not suggest that any of those men should be fired. And it's incredibly offensive, it's incredibly offensive because despite the fact that so many athletes in America, and football players, in particular, are thrown under this big umbrella of being bad guys, the reality is they're not.

They are good, young, hardworking men who have worked very hard to improve their craft and make the money they do. I was beyond offended. Beyond offended if it's possible.

And I think unfortunately for him, maybe for me as well, who knows, but most of the response that I've gotten since that commentary has been very supportive.

SESAY: It's interesting because when Colin Kaepernick started his silent peaceful protest, he was very clear that he's not opposing the military, that he loves this country, he's not trying to disrespect, just trying to draw attention to the police brutality too often suffered by minorities in this country.

Yet many people simply can't or won't accept what Kaepernick has said and they won't afford them the right to love this country and yet call out what is wrong about it. What do you make of that?

HANSEN: Well, again, I think it's wrong. I think it's absolutely wrong. I absolutely believe - and a lot of Americans do - that one of the best things about this country is that you do have the right to protest, you do have the right to call out what's wrong.

Again, I said last night, the constitution of America gives us the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression. They listed ten amendments. Free speech was the first amendment they listed and the ten amendments they listed, not one of them said that you have to stand during the national anthem.

I think these men have chosen a platform that they have to express the problems that they have. The flag represents the ideals of America. The flag represents what we all hope that America should be.

But the reality is that for too many in America, and black Americans in particular, we have not met that idea. As I said, we should protest what has happened to black Americans.

And again, I wouldn't kneel quite frankly. I probably will never kneel during the national anthem. But I do think it's the best thing about America that they have the freedom and the opportunity to do so.

SESAY: I was struck - very, very struck by the statement you made. And we played a clip of it. So, I'll just quote it back. You acknowledge something that not a lot of people feel comfortable acknowledging in public, and that is white privilege.

You say that they and all of us should protect how black Americans are treated in this country. And if you don't think white privilege is a fact, you don't understand America.

Well, I mean, the data bears that out. The data bears out the disparities between minorities and their experiences in this country. Why is that such a hard thing for so many people to accept and confront? HANSEN: I honestly don't know. I honestly don't know. If white Americans do not understand that we have been given this privilege because of our genetic makeup, that we have white skin, I don't know how they understand that it makes a difference.

I absolutely believe what Chris Rock, the great comedian said, and I used this quote last night as well. There's not a white man in America, who would trade places with him and he's rich. He's rich. A friend of mine, a man of color, he used to get stopped in this very nice neighborhood. He's driving home, he is a judge.

He drives home in a suit and tie in his Mercedes and was stopped about once a week just to check. Just to check because a black man was driving into this very nice neighborhood and driving a Mercedes.

I don't get stopped driving home. And many times, I probably should, but I don't get stopped driving home.

The first job I had, coming out of the navy in 1969, a man by the name of Steven Beach working for Dial Finance (ph) called me and said, please take this job because if you don't, I have to hire an-N-word. And I took the job because I was married with a baby girl. And I have almost regretted that to this day. But that is the reality of America.

We turn down a loan to a black college student who had never missed a payment. And as that man said to me then, you didn't tell me that he was the N-word and that was the day I quit.

White privilege is rampant in America. And I honestly don't understand how anyone doesn't understand that, but unfortunately too many people don't.

[02:25:06] SESAY: Dale Hansen, we could keep this conversation going for a very long time, but let me ask you this final question.

The fact of the matter is Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. He doesn't have a team. Nobody is willing to sign him. I mean, for all of this conversation, that's also a reality. Nobody has taken him on as the season gets underway.

When is it going to be OK in this country to raise the issue of inequality and social injustice, when is this country really going to be ready to listen to the pain felt by large segments of its population, when is the right time?

HANSEN: I don't think the right time is going to happen in my lifetime. I absolutely don't. It's one of the biggest problems that I have dealing with my own life, is that when I came out of the navy and I was a kid in the 60s, my generation believed that we were going to change all the problems.

We were going to stop the unnecessary wars, we were going to feed the homeless, we were going to feed the hungry, we were going to take care America, we were going to stop the discrimination against our people. And the reality is it's not going to happen in my lifetime. My concern and my goal right now quite frankly is to make it better for my granddaughter. I want my granddaughter, my children as well, but most importantly for my granddaughter, a special young lady, I want her to have the opportunity to grow up in a better America.

It is better now than it was when I was a kid in the 60s. It's a great deal better now than it was when I was a kid in the 60s, but it's not the world and it's not the country that it can be.

And I do not understand, I do not understand why so many people are afraid to simply sit down and discuss the issues on both sides, on both sides.

There was a day in America when we used to be able to agree to disagree. And I do believe we've lost that in America and we need to get that day back.

SESAY: Yes. I heartily agree and pray for a better world as a whole. Dale Hansen, thank you so much. Thank you for speaking out and thank you for joining me this evening. Thank you.

HANSEN: Thank you. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

SESAY: We'll join Anderson Cooper for an AC360 town hall special. Patriotism, the players and the president. It will re-air on Thursday at 9:00 pm in Hong Kong. That's 2:00 pm if you're in London. It is only right here on CNN.

We're going to take a quick break now. "State of America" with Kate Bolduan is coming up next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, driving is routine for most women around the world. Why Saudi women are just now getting permission to climb into the driver's seat.


[02:30:16] SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour, U.S. President Donald Trump says he will travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday. Millions of people there are without power and food, water, medicine are dwindling, days after the island was blasted by Hurricane Maria. Critics say Mr. Trump hasn't be in vocal enough in his response to the crisis?

The U.S. Defense Secretary is making an unannounced visit to Kabul, Afghanistan. James Mattis will meet with top American military leaders and the Afghan President. This is his first trip to the country since President Trump said, Washington would move away from nation-building in Afghanistan.

CNN has learned exclusively, the Internal Revenue Service is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation. Sources say the IRS is sharing information about Trump campaign stuff including former chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.

The head of the Ukraine Counsel is warning that Brexit talks haven't made sufficient progress yet so negotiation can't move onto the next phase. Now, Donald Tusk made this comment after the meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, on Tuesday.

Well, Saudi Arabia is finally allowing women to get behind the wheel. The King has decreed that women should be allowed to drive. The Saudi Prime Ministry says government has until next June to implement the change which the Saudi Ambassador to the U.N. calls "historic".


ABDALLAH AL-MOUALLIMI, AMBASSADOR TO U.N., SAUDI ARABIA: You may be interested to know that a few minutes ago, a royal decree has been issued in Saudi Arabia giving women the right to drive. This is a historic day for Saudi society, for men and women, and we can now say, at last.


SESAY: Well, let's bring in our Jomana Karadsheh who joins us now from Amman, Jordan. So, Jomana, we hear the Saudi Ambassador to the U.N saying, at last, we all agree, at last. But, what's making Saudi Arabia take this position now?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, the Ambassador also in that event where they announced it saying that there is no wrong time to do the right thing. But Saudi officials are also quite frank in saying that this has economic dimensions that this is also about the economy. If you ought to put this into context, this is the latest move but, of course, the most significant move yet by the Saudi monarchy when it comes to changing a lot of those repressive rules and laws when it comes to women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

This is part of what we're seeing these changes that are coming to the Kingdom under this new Crown Prince. This 32-year old Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the King who's more casually known as MBS. One of his main goals here is this vision 2030, when it comes to the Saudi economy, this is something that he announced last year. And this is to try and diversify the Saudi economy to move away from reliance on oil. And one of the key goals of vision 2030 is to bring more women into the workforce. And we heard yesterday from the Ambassador also saying that we want women to work and we're going to need them to drive to get to work, Isha.

SESAY: So, let's be clear, Jomana, are Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics in support of this move?

KARADSHEH: Well, you know, when this was announced, Isha, so many people took to social media celebrating this, so many jubilant voices especially the women, the activist who for decades have been fighting for this, who have been jailed to try and, you know, to realize this stream to get to this day. But there are also voices of discontent, some people who are questioning this.

We're going to have to wait and see if there's any sort of major reaction from the alter conservative religious authority in the country. It's not going to be an easy task for the Saudi Monarchy as they try and bring about these changes, while they're also -- they have these very conservative religious figures in the country. Just to give you an idea, Isha, just a short time ago, I was reading a report from a few days ago that -- it says that a cleric in one of the Saudi provinces was banned from all religious activities because he said women should not be allowed to drive because they have quarter of the brain of a man.

So, this is the kind of, you know, that they're going to have to deal with this kind of mentality to try and change something in the society that has been going on for so long, and it is going to be a tough balancing act. And they're going to have to tread carefully, trying to bring about this changes and reforms, Isha.

[02:40:15] SESAY: Yet, the ridiculousness of that statement aside, there's little to stop Saudi men from limiting the movements of their wives and daughters, right? I mean, as we talked about the freedom to drive, the guardianship laws are still in place.

KARADSHEH: Yes, the male guardianship law, of course, as you mentioned, this is a quite a restrictive law where women have to get the consent of a male guardian, a brother, a father, a husband, or even their son to do some of the most basic things like travel, or go get a medical procedure or even get a passport. But we're also, Isha, seeing moves towards ending not potentially in the past few months. There was also another order from the King asking for a review of some of those arbitrary guardianship rules that are implemented by certain government ministries when it comes to the services that women can get. So, there are moves towards ending that, and we'll have to wait and see what happens.

SESAY: Well, we are all waiting. Jomana Karadsheh is joining us there from Amman, Jordan. Always appreciate it, Jomana, thank you. All right, quick break, the leader of Iraqi Kurds claimed victory in an independent referendum. How he's opponents are responding, details next.


SESAY: Hello, everyone, the President of the Kurdish Regional Government is declaring victory after preliminary results showed a majority of Iraqi Kurds voted for independence.

Massoud Barzani told the Kurdish people a new face is the head and he wants talks with Baghdad on (INAUDIBLE) for the region. But Iraq's Prime Minister says he has a backing of parliament to use force to protect Iraq's territory. Meanwhile, Turkey and Iraq are threating to send off oil exports from the Kurdistan region. Official results on the referendum have not been released yet. Senior International Correspondent Nima Elbagir is in Erbil Iraq and joins us now. So, Nima, Baghdad clearly very unhappy and by these moves by the Kurdistan region. What are they going to do? I mean, they have issued these threats but will action follow the words?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, and that is the question of the hour. There is a real concern here about what is being perceived of this escalating regional brinkmanship. Baghdad now has the Iraqi parliament's authorization to take on any and all actions that they deemed necessary to maintain what they're calling the territorial integrity of Iraq.

[02:39:55]And meanwhile, we have these pictures we want to show you of the ongoing war games that Turkey and Iraq are carrying out very close to the Northern Iraqi border with the Kurdistan region. This is all, of course, incredibly concerning. And many of those that were speaking to here on the ground are like, look, well, we almost didn't expect it to get this far. There is, of course, the real politic of the -- of the key role that the Kurdish forces have played in pushing back ISIS and ISIS's territorial gains and that seems to be the diplomatic muscle that Kurdistan is currently flexing now, Isha, that they are sole key to not just achieving those gains but to stave off any fears about reversing those gains.

It is such a delicate, delicate balancing to act here on the ground. And we've already heard from the U.S., from the State Department in the afternoon, your time over there in the U.S. saying that, look, we are disappointed that this has happened but now it is very important that cooler heads prevail, Isha.

SESAY: So, to that end, what's Massoud Barzani's next move? I mean, this referendum went ahead in spite of the feelings of Baghdad and others in the region. Where do we go from here from the Kurdish side of things?

ELBAGIR: Well, Massoud Barzani says that he has been given the mandate by his people and that now what he hopes is that if they cannot be a good countryman, a good co-citizens, then they can at least be good neighbors with Baghdad. And that's what he is hoping to achieve that he can begin talks for some future date to have an independent Kurdish State. Iraq says that is -- not now, not ever on the table that they've view this referendum as unconstitutional, as frankly illegal, Isha, and therefore not a basis for any kind of talks. It is -- it's very difficult to see the way forward from where we're standing here in Erbil but the hopes are given.

The huge outpouring of emotion that we saw from the (INAUDIBLE) just a day or so ago given how this really is being seen by the Kurdish people. Not just here in Kurdistan but across the Kurdish diaspora, across the Kurdish nation so to speak, not just here but in the Syrian Kurds, the Kurds in Turkey, the Kurds in Iran is being such a huge moment. Such a moment of manifest destiny, the hope is that the dreams of so many people that are riding on this, that they can somehow come to some kind of fruition, Isha.

SESAY: Yes, it is a -- it's a very tricky path they walk. We shall see what happens in the days ahead. Nima Elbagir joining us there from Irbil. Nima, stay safe, my friend. Thank you.

Now, all eyes are on Indonesia's Mount Agung as Bali prepares for what would be its first volcanic eruption in decades. More than 75,000 people have been forced to leave the area. Some of them later prayed at this temple. The mountain last blew its top in 1963, killing more than 1700 people. While warnings are at their highest level, experts say it's hard to predict when an eruption might happen.

And thank you for being with me, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha SESAY. "WORLD SPORT" is up next, then Rosemary Church will join you from Atlanta with another hour of news from all around the world, you're watching CNN.


[02:45:15] KATE RILEY, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: All right. Welcome to WORLD SPORT, I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. It's matchday two in UEFA's Champions League this week, and that means 16 more matches over two nights with Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid as one of the picks of Tuesday's eight fixtures. And believe it or not, Real Madrid have never won in Dortmund but the two-time holder is doing their best on the night to defend their title. Well, after a feverish open in 15 minutes, Madrid struck first Gareth Bale (INAUDIBLE) side volley found the back of the net. What a strike that was. And in the second half, Real made it two Bale finding Christiano Ronaldo, he's not missing from there, is he? Well, Dortmund got one back, but in the end, Ronaldo would seal it with a first for Real drilling the ball past the keeper with his first touch. The final score, 3-1 Real Madrid, and their first win of Dortmund.

Well, here's a stat for you, (INAUDIBLE) now scored in 70 different Champions League matches. That's more than any other player, impressive stuff, isn't it? As for Dortmund, well that's now two losses from two, not a great start in a difficult group and too with Harry Kane with a hat-trick, his first, in their 3-0 win over Apoel.

Elsewhere, over in Group E, Liverpool traveled to Spartak Moscow. After a feverish first 15, the hosts would strike first the perfect free-kick from Fernando giving Spartak a 1-0 lead. It was short lived though. As Philippe Coutinho, the Liverpool's draw, hold the match level just eight minutes later. 1-1, it finished Liverpool's eight- year wait for an away win and the Champions League goes on. And perhaps more important, it both -- it leaves both Liverpool and Spartak with two draws from two games. Although, Sevilla took control of the group with a win over Maribor. So, that's Tuesday's big matches.

Wednesday perhaps here's an even more important match. That is, of course, Paris St. Germane are to truly meaningfully challenge for the Champions League a title. PSG will be able to judge themselves against German powerhouse Byron Munich, five-time winners most recently in 2013. In fact, with the exception of last year, the Bundesliga five weeks for semi-finals are better for five straight seasons. But this is a new PSG side with the like of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. They're hungry to prove they're among Europe's elite. The team tied the club record with a 5-0 win at Celtic in the opening Group H encounter two weeks ago.

Over the last 72 hours or so, we have seen the NFL become the center of sociopolitical focus in the United States as player's coaches and owners have each taken their own stand responding to President Trump's suggestion that any player that does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

One team that received more than a fair share of attention on Sunday was the Pittsburgh Steelers. They chose to remain in the tunnel, except for one player during the anthem. However, on Tuesday, Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, pushed back on all the political attention given to his team's games.


MIKE TOMLIN, HEAD COACH, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: We're a football group, man. You're asking us about middle ground, you're asking us about right or left. We are football group, that's what you guys don't understand, we don't care. Largely, professionally speaking, we have personal opinions, yes. Professionally, we about to kick a ball off. You guys ever thought to wonder what's going to a man's head, as he stands there respectfully and listens to the anthem? He's probably thinking about (INAUDIBLE) of things that's going to happen when that ball kicks off. If you asked them after the game, who did the anthem, they probably couldn't tell you. Anybody ever think about that?


Also, some golf news now, and of course, the President's Cup is a sporting competition and it pits the best of the USA against the best of the rest of the world in a match play format. Similar to that of the Riley Cup, but given their current climate in the USA, the U.S. Captain, Steve Stricker was asked what the team planned to do during the national anthem, which we played Thursday ahead of the first matches, Stricker said, the team had discussed and there's no suggestion any of his players will stage any type of protest or display as we've seen recently in the latest round of NFL games.


RICKIE FOWLER, AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well, I think the same reason that we have our flag, our freedom, the people that fought for our right to be able to do that. And those guys have their right and freedom of speech to do what they want. Do I necessarily think it's the right time to do it? No. You know, it's our national anthem, it's our -- it's our country's flag. So, it's a special time to -- I guess, in a way, pay respect and remember what a great country we get to living.

[02:50:08] PHIL MICKELSON, AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Look, we have social injustices in this country, and we should all strive to eliminate them. That we've made great strides over the years but we've got a ways to go and we should all strive to eliminate those. But this week, I'm so proud to represent United States, to play for my country, to play for my teammates, and participate in this great event.

RILEY: All right then, coming up, the sport of baseball is winding down for both Japan and Major League Baseball here in the United States. Up next on WORLD SPORT, we get one legend's take on the post- season pitcher in the MLB. Stay with CNN.


RILEY: Welcome back to WORLD SPORT. With the playoffs starting next week, the Chicago Cubs are again in the hunt for the sport's biggest prize. 10 teams will qualify for the postseason, five from each league, the three division winners plus two wildcards. Here's the current pitcher in the national league. The Dodgers and the Nationals have clinched their divisions with the Cubs on the verge of doing the same. Arizona has a wrapped up one wild card spot with three teams vying for the other one.

Now in the American League, the record-breaking Cleveland Indians World Series runners-up last year are into the playoffs along with the Astros, the Red Sox, and the Yankees. Minnesota almost certain to get that final wildcard.

Ron Darling is part of our sister network, T.V. access exclusive coverage of the entire National League post season. He's a former Major League All-Star, a starting pitcher for three teams, including the Mets and the Oakland As and, you know, exactly what it's like to celebrate World Series success having done it with New York back in 1986. And earlier, he's seen -- he told our Alex Thomas why even though they struggled a good bit of the season, you can't rule out the Cubs again.


RON DARLING, FORMER AMERICAN BASEBALL ATHLETE: I think all the teams have to go through the Cubs at some point. They have definitely suffered from a little World Series malaise, and why wouldn't they? It was an iconic win, it's a win that people will be talking about forever. But you know what, the Cubs right now are playing the best baseball they've played all season long. The acquisition of Jose Quintana who threw a shot out the other day. The Cubs are poised to repeat because of the way they played lately.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: How important was that World Series win for the Cubs last year? Because baseball then sometimes take along on its own bubble but that got national exposure, even global exposure.

DARLING: Yes, well, of course, it did. Cub fans are all over the globe and I think, you know, when it's 108 years, it's such that round kind of number, people have been dying for them, you know, in their lifetime they were -- hope that the Cubs would get a World Series Championship. So, to do that last year and the way they did it, you know, with the rain delay, doing it laid, winning in extra innings, all those things led to the great narrative.

[02:55:06] THOMAS: And, of course, last year, the Indians were forgotten about the losers in the World Series. We didn't forget about them when they went 22 games on the trot, winning each time. Does that mean anything though if they don't go on to make their mark in this playoff?

DARLING: Well, I think it's up to the Cubs, right? They haven't had any malaise after the World Series. They played their best baseball all season long, and their team is the kind of team that's built for everyday baseball because they have such outstanding pitching. But they did a lot of it without some of their all-star players like Andrew Miller who's a big part of the World Series last year. He'll be back. They did it without Jason Kipnis who was hurt a lot of the season. So, they did it with lot -- without a lot of their stars and still had, you know, one of the most -- greatest record this year for all teams when you watched them. So, it's -- they looked like a team that could be back in a two.

THOMAS: Ron, we've seen a record number of home runs this season, more than 5,800, at an average of more than 2-1/2 per game. Any particular reasons for that in your opinion?

DARLING: I think there's a couple of things, Alex, the baseball is a lot different than when I played 30 years ago. The scenes are different which maybe lets the ball travel a little more in the air. I think really the way that hitters think about hitting the baseball is totally different. In my day, you try to hit the ball on the ground or line drives. But today's player is trying to lift the ball, to hit the ball in the air. Smaller ballparks, more velocity by the pitcher that are facing them. There's a great number of reasons why the ball's going out of the ballpark, and I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon.


RILEY: And a bit earlier, we talked a bit about the President's Cup golf which tees off Thursday in New Jersey at Liberty National Golf Course. As you can see, very close to the Statue of Liberty. So, time to get excited about the competition itself. Our man, Don Riddell, is on the ground there and will be live for us all week beginning tomorrow right on this show. All right. Thanks so much for joining us from the team and me, I'm Kate Riley. Stay with CNN.