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North Korea Confirms Latest Missile Test; Anti-Trump Marches Held Across Mexico; U.S. Deportation Controversy; Dam Problems Lead to Evacuations; 2017 Grammy Awards Honor Best in Music. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 13, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:08] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea is declaring its weekend missile launch a success and the United Nations Security Council is planning an urgent meeting about it.

Plus, some undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are going into hiding after a series of deportation raids.

And problems with a major dam lead to an urgent call for thousands of people in Northern California to evacuate.

Hi, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier, live from Atlanta. And CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

North Korea claims that its latest missile can avoid interception and carry a nuclear warhead. Its state media confirmed the launch of a new ballistic missile on Sunday and said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un personally gave the order to fire.

In response to that Japan, the U.S. and South Korea have all called for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Secretary Council. South Korea says the missile appeared to be a modified Musudan type with an intermediate range.

Let me show you exactly what we're talking about here because how far North Korea can reach with its missiles is actually a very important part of the story and determines how much of a threat North Korea poses to the region and, indeed for the U.S.

This is the 500-kilometer range that that missile has reached. As you can see it puts South Korea and the U.S. military presence there, U.S. troops well within range of that missile.

Let's look at another map now. Multiple missile ranges here -- lines one, two and three -- those concentric circles around North Korea, very important because those are the missile that currently are believed to be in existence even though North Korean missiles are known not be very precise.

Lines four and five are what are really worrying the U.S. here. Because those are in development, they don't yet exist, intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially -- look at this corner right here -- reach one day, if they do exist, the West Coast of the United States. That's obviously a huge threat to the U.S., one of the reasons why the U.S. is being such a staunch ally protecting its allies South Korea and Japan in the region.

All right. Let's go and talk about it with our correspondents on the ground -- Matt Rivers in Seoul, and Steven Jang in Beijing.

Matt -- South Korea says it is going to seek punitive action but the U.N. has already forbidden missile tests. So what are the options here?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say that they're going to seek punitive actions while working with their international allies, namely the United States and Japan. They're going to go through the U.N. Security Council. And frankly that's what they always do in situations like this.

So they've got a couple of different options. One thing they could do again, go to the U.N. Security Council, enact more sanctions. We saw two different rounds of sanctions last year in 2016. And so that's one way they could do it.

The other way they could do it would be to rely on the United States to perhaps put more pressure on China in all this. Of course, China has a lot of leverage over what North Korea does in terms of its economy there -- big and major and only trading partner really on the world stage. So perhaps that's one way.

And then the last way is through negotiations directly with Pyongyang going back maybe to the framework of the six-party talks that failed in the mid-2000s and directly negotiating with Kim Jong-Un.

You know, you hear a lot of different opinions. Everyone has an idea of what would be the best way. But the fact is sanctions have been enacted and the Kim Jong-Un regime last year only ramped up what it was doing.

And a lot of people will tell you that China can only really do so much when it comes to the North Korean regime. They don't have an interest in seeing North Korea collapse and the North Koreans in and of themselves need these nuclear weapons, need this missile program as a bargaining chip on the world stage. So you do hear a growing chorus of experts saying that the only real way to tackle this issue and curtail this program is by directly negotiating with Kim Jong-Un.

VANIER: All right. And there haven't been, as you say, direct negotiations for years.

Let's bring Steve Jang, who's in Beijing. Steve -- China is understood to have leverage over North Korea and that makes Beijing obviously a key player here. But so far, all we heard from Beijing since this military test, this missile test is silence.

STEVE JANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, probably not for long -- Cyril.

We are expecting to hear some sort of official reaction from the government when the foreign ministry holds its daily press briefing in about two hours' time. We are likely to hear what they have been saying over the past months or even years.

They will probably urge all relevant sides refrain from taking unilateral actions that would escalate tensions on this Korean Peninsula. They would probably also add that the North Korean regime's security concerns have to be addressed as well, especially by the U.S. and its allies.

[00:04:56] Now, as both you and Matt mentioned, China is the only Pyongyang (inaudible) only major ally on the global stage and provides an economic and political lifeline to the regime.

But the two countries really haven't been seeing eye-to-eye on this issue in the past few years. One telltale sign of this strained relationship is, of course, the Chinese president Xi Jingping has yet to agree to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un since he took power a few years ago.

And as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China has also been increasingly joining hands with other members to impose tougher sanctions against Pyongyang and also getting more serious about enforcing these sanctions.

But on the other hand, of course, China does need North Korea as a buffer, security and strategic buffer between itself and South Korea which has a large U.S. military presence and also it does not want to see a massive refugee crisis on its doorstep if that North Korean regime collapses all of a sudden.

And one factor that's been complicating all this recently, of course, is the planned deployment of the south missile defense system in South Korea by the U.S. China has vehemently opposed that. That's why even though there's no official reaction so far, state-run newspapers have been running editorials saying the latest missile test by the North Korean regime would only give the U.S. and its allies another excuse to deploy the missile defense system and harden China's interest --

VANIER: Yes, that has raised tensions across the region. Gentlemen -- thank you both for the update. Matt Rivers in Seoul, Steven Jang in Beijing -- thank you very much.

We'll continue to monitor this story, of course, especially what might come out of the U.N. on Monday.

Now, the U.S. president's immigration policies and plans for a border wall are sparking huge protests in Mexico. Demonstrators jammed the streets and cities across the country on Sunday. One of the largest protests was in Mexico City itself where an estimated 20,000 people marched. Many wore shirts saying "no wall", "no immigrant raids" and "no aggression to Mexico".

CNN's Leyla Santiago reports.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We saw people here, from thousands of people here from all walks of life, all political parties, parents with their children, students, activists, political leaders. I mean this was quite a wide range of people, of thousands of people who came out to protest President Trump.

We heard things like out "Fuera Trump" -- so that means "Out Trump"; "Bridge, Not Walls" -- a variety of messages to send not necessarily directly to the U.S. and its people but to the White House and its president.

I had a chance to speak to a Mexican senator, who's been very vocal and really kind critical actually of the Mexican government and what it has done in this new relationship with the United States. And I want you to hear what he had to say.

ARMANDO RIOS PITER, MEXICAN SENATOR: Well, it's an important call for unification of different ways of thinking how we must work against Donald Trump. And I think it's very good as a society from different kinds of people, different ages are hearing "reforma" in the hearts of Mexico, of the city of Mexico making this kind of call.

SANTIAGO: And we also saw U.S. citizens out here protesting, marching along with Mexicans in unity just to show support. We talked to two women from Los Angeles who said they preferred to be on this side of the wall for this protest and to really show support for the people of Mexico.

But something that organizers made very clear was that this was about President Trump, not the people of the United States. And they do not want to in any way develop any anti-American sentiment.


VANIER: That was Leyla Santiago reporting there from Mexico City.

And President Trump is proud to say that his administration has arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in the last week. He tweeted, "The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers and others are being removed."

Critics accuse the Trump administration of spreading fear in immigrant communities. Immigration authorities however say that they'll release details and photos from the arrests on Monday. They're saying it's just business as usual.

For more on this we're joined by our conservative CNN political commentator, Ben Ferguson who's in Dallas, Texas -- thanks for being with us, Ben --


VANIER: -- and with me on set is immigration attorney Sarah Owings. Sarah -- thanks a lot.

First question goes to you. What we're seeing now with the raids, even though ICE recuses that term, is it different, significantly different from what we saw under the Obama administration? SARAH OWINGS, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It is. The last spate of raids I

can really remember would be January of 2016. At that point women and children were being picked up under the president's priorities.

[00:09:58] However, other than that, generally things have been accorded deference to the set of priorities laid out in the Johnson memo which basically means that people who are considered to be terrorists, who are considered to be aggravated felons, people who are high priority, that's how the government wanted to use its resources to make sure that those people were off the streets and that America was safe.

However, with this new set of priorities, where there basically just are no priorities. We're dealing with a situation where any soccer mom driving to pick up her kids or person waiting at the bus stop for their children is no different of a priority than someone who would have been a priority previously. So everyone is getting picked up.

VANIER: Let's listen to how the administration is talking about this -- the Trump administration. And this is Steven Miller explaining what's going on now -- one of Mr. Trump's top advisors.


STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP ADVISOR: It is true that Operation: Cross-Check is something that happens every year. But this year, we've taken new and greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our communities.

I had a phone call yesterday with someone from DHS who talked about an immigration enforcement activity at 4:00 in the morning where a gang member was remembered, a wife beater, somebody who was a threat to public safety with a long arrest record. But because they didn't have the right kinds of convictions they weren't considered a priority by the previous administration.


VANIER: Ben Ferguson, are you happy with what's going on in this country and what went on with these raids over the last week?

FERGUSON: I am. And if you talk to people in law enforcement, I come from a family that has background of law enforcement. And if you talk to individuals that are actually there doing these quote "raids", they say they're long over due.

I've talked to several different individuals that actually have been out there in the streets doing this work. And what they said to me was, very clearly, we were told by the last administration and roadblocks were put up in front of us to be able to do our job and to enforce the laws of the land.

All we're doing is enforcing the law of the land. But we are going after people specifically that have long rap sheets that maybe weren't deemed quote "terrorists" under the priority list that was before.

I also had one DEA agent say to me yesterday when I talked to him about this. He said look, there are many people that commit crimes in local communities that aren't crimes that we would considerate, I guess, at the federal level, high risk, a.k.a. rape, child sex assault or high-end drug dealing but they are doing lots of crimes in local communities. That is our top priority. We know who some of these people are and now we're able to go after them.

VANIER: But Ben -- wait, hold on. You're saying that roadblocks were being put in front of the immigration enforcement officials.


VANIER: But under the Obama administration, he had one of the highest rate of deportations of recent U.S. presidents.

FERGUSON: You also though have an awful lot of illegal immigrants here in this country that have come over and you've had a free flow of people going back and forth across the border, specifically into Mexico.

And I also say if you talk to these actual border patrol agents and local law enforcement many times they were directed on the local or at national level depending on who they were speaking to and who their authority was to purposely look the other way.


VANIER: All right. Ben -- let's (inaudible) and get the attorneys' point on this. Roadblocks -- ICE wasn't able to do its job under the previous administration?

OWINGS: I really don't believe that to be true. I think the enforcement was smarter under the previous administration. Also immigration, specifically undocumented immigration peaked in 2007 and since that time the numbers have declined.

So to say that everything was really -- could be laid at the President's doorstep as far as an increase in deportations and things like that happening now for President Trump. I don't believe that to be the case.

FERGUSON: When you have local law enforcement, I have to say this, that were specifically calling federal authorities and they were actually getting people that were saying, sorry, we cannot pick this individual up, they're not on our high threat list, this is not on our list of what we're dealing with, that is absolutely a roadblock in local communities.

If you go actually go to the border, you actually -- I live in Dallas where the scenario where a lot of raids have happened last week -- they will tell you exactly what I just said which they many times tried to get in touch with or did get in touch with ICE and they were deliberately -- they were told blatantly, sorry, we're not going to come and get this individual that you're saying is an illegal immigrant because they don't fit our standard of what we're coming to pick up. That is a roadblock.

VANIER: Sarah -- we're running out of time, final words.

OWINGS: As far as who is getting picked up, I've heard reports this week that people with no criminal record other than being unlawfully in the United States are being picked up --

FERGUSON: -- which is being a criminal. Let's be clear -- it's the law of the land.

OWINGS: It's actually a civil violation, sir. It's not considered a crime.

FERGUSON: It still means that you're here illegally.

OWINGS: It's a civil violation -- sir. It's not a crime.

FERGUSON: Ok. I will say this very clearly and I'm not bashful about this. If you are in this country illegally and you are picked up by a law enforcement officer, you should be deported from this country for breaking the laws of this country. I do not make excuses for people that are lawbreakers.


OWINGS: I would rather a terrorist was picked than someone who was going to pick up their kids from school.

[00:15:02] VANIER: All right. Ben and Sarah -- that's going to have to be the final word; unfortunately we're running out of time. But I really appreciate both of you coming on and pitching in to this conversation. Thanks a lot.


OWINGS: Thank you.

VANIER: Thank you.

And a dangerous situation in northern California -- the risk of an imminent catastrophe sends thousands fleeing. The latest on the hole in the Oroville Dam spillway -- ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.

Plus, some of the biggest stars in film walked the red carpet at the BAFTA awards. A look at the night's big winners coming up after the break.


VANIER: Welcome back.

Thousands of people living near the tallest dam in the United States have been ordered out of the are for their own safety. They're fleeing the area around the northern California's Oroville Dam after a hole was found in an emergency spillway. A devastating flood could be unleashed if the hole grows worst. Officials are working to plug that hole. They say there's no danger that the dam itself will fail. The spillway is a separate structure but they want the public to know this is still a very risky situation.

[00:19:58] Let's try and get more details on this. Joining us now is Doug Carlson on the line. He's with California's Department of Water Resources. Doug -- where do things stand right now?

DOUG CARLSON, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES: I won't say it's a fluid situation although it in fact -- as you usually use the word, Cyril -- it's really changing. The emergency warning went out about four hours, five hours ago -- it's very serious at the time.

And since then, there's been a great deal of effort put in to trying to stem the flow or the erosion. National Guard helicopters, I see on television coverage, are dropping bags full of large rocks and boulders onto strategic locations where apparently the erosion has occurred near the emergency spillway.

The hole that you mentioned is in the regular spillway. That developed earlier this week for reasons yet unknown. That has prevented the lake from being drained as easily and quickly as you normally would in high-water situations.

We had about 220 percent of rainfall since October in northern California. So the lake has filled up without the ability to drain it under normal conditions and capabilities. That brought into use the emergency spillway which was designed for this purpose in the 1960s but --

VANIER: Doug -- let me interrupt you for a second. I think anybody who's watching, especially on the West Coast of the United States right now or within that area is wondering, what are the scenarios that you're considering right now? And especially what is the worst- case scenario and how likely is that scenario?

CARLSON: I'm not in a position to say how likely it is. I don't know anybody who knows how likely but we're doing what we can to drop rocks into that area. The people in Butte County who know where the emergency could affect the people or could affect would have to be the source for that. But it is --

VANIER: We are looking at a situation where large amounts, uncontrolled flows of water could flood over that spillway -- that's correct?

CARLSON: That is what -- that's why the emergency was announced. But as I've noted, there's some optimism that the effort using helicopters to drop boulders in bags into the breach, as it were, will be enough to stop the -- or alleviate the danger. That, of course, is the goal.

We don't know for certain if it's going to work but that's the major effort that's under way right now.

VANIER: All right. Doug Carlson with California's Department of Water Services -- thank you very much. We're going to continue to monitor this and I hope it doesn't get any worse.

Let's go to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri now who joins us with more on this situation -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, as serious as it comes here and officials saying in the last hours or so -- Cyril but of course, the water level is beginning to recede. That's excellent news.

But this region of California and this lake in particular, if you go in for a closer when it comes to Oroville Dam, we know it is the second highest dam -- the highest dam in the United States as we say -- about 12 meters or 44 feet higher than the Hoover Dam. So that kind of gives you a scale perspective over the significance across this region.

But it was built back in 1968. This emergency spillway has never been used until yesterday when officials had to, of course, open it to reduce the water levels. Damage was discovered right here across the central portion of this particular spillway and that is problematic just because we know tens of thousands of people live downstream.

The lake itself has actually been kind of an iconic symbol of the California drought because just a couple years ago here on CNN I shared with you photos from January -- from July of 2011 from this region where you see the water levels across the lake in particular. And then you fast forward to the 2014, the height of the drought where the water levels were down to 33 percent of capacity.

Of course, right now they're pushing right up around 100 percent of capacity which is what is concerning but the images here really put it in perspective of what it looked like a couple of years ago with the foliage and then what it looked like as you go into 2014. And now that has improved, but of course, too much water has come down in a matter of just a few weeks.

And if you take a look, the rainfall in January over 200 percent normal across parts of coastal California. The snowfall so extreme in the higher elevations and that is what really translated to tremendous amount of stress on the spillway.

And here's the dam in particular -- 235 meters or 770 or so feet high sits in place right there. This is the paved spillway when we have the damage in place. There is an unpaved one that has yet to be utilized as well.

But downstream is where the main concern is associated with this because of course, of what's transpired here. So officials now dropping rocks and bags from a helicopter here trying to fill that void right here. And they think with the water levels receding that is good news in the next coming couple of days.

We do have a storm system on the horizon but Cyril you compare what had happened in the past couple of years with the extensive amount of drought in place in California to almost non-existent especially in northern California. That's good news. But of course, some of this comes in with bad news which is getting too much rainfall too quickly -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right. Pedram -- thank you very much. You're going to continue to look at this for us.

[00:24:59] And just as a reminder, thousands of people have been told by local authorities to evacuate the area. Thanks a lot.

And contenders from around the world gathered in London on Sunday for the 70th annual British Academy Film Awards, the BAFTAs, but it was Hollywood that stole the show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the BAFTA is awarded to --



VANIER: "La La Land" -- the musical tribute to Hollywood snagged not one, not two, not three, not four, but five BAFTAs including best film, best director, best actress that was for Emma Stone. Other major awards went to leading actor Casey Affleck for "Manchester by the Sea". That film also winning best original screen play. Best supporting actress went to Viola Davis for "Fences" and Dev Patel won the BAFTA for best supporting actor for the film, "Lion".

It was also a big night for music. The 2017 Grammy Awards were held Sunday in Los Angeles and Adele was the night's big winner there. The pop singer swept the top Grammy awards winning song and record of the year for her hit tune, "Hello" and album of the year for "25".

But one of the most memorable moments was Adele's emotional tribute to George Michael who past away in December. Adele stopped in the middle of her performance saying she had to get it right for the late pop star.


ADELE, SINGER: Thank you very much. I'm sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again? I'm sorry. I promise it's all for him. I'm sorry.


VANIER: Well, she nailed the redo and the audience gave her a standing ovation for that.

When we come back after the break, a new week in Washington for U.S. President Donald Trump and first up, a one-on-one with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Stay with us.


[00:30:13] VANIER: Hi everyone. Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. Here's a quick look at the hour's headlines. The U.N. Security Council is responding to the North Korea's latest missile test. It is set to hold an urgent meeting at the request of Japan, the U.S. and South Korea. North Korea and state media has confirmed the launch of a new medium to long-range ballistic missile. It said it can evade interception and carry a nuclear warhead.

Thousands of protestors across Mexico sent a message to U.S. President Trump. They marched through the streets of Mexico City wearing shirts that said "No wall and no immigrant raids." Most of the estimated 20,000 demonstrators focused on Mr. Trump. However, some also were protesting against corruption in Mexico's government.

The United Nations is blaming U.S. strikes for killing 18 civilians. Most of them women and children in Southern Afghanistan. The strikes last week were targeting the Taliban. NATO said its investigating. In retaliation, the Taliban targeted Afghan army soldiers killing at least seven civilians.

U.S. President Donald Trump is welcoming Canada's prime minister to the White House on Monday, and as CNN's Athena Jones reports NAFTA and Mr. Trump's stalled travel ban are sure to be high on the agenda.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): After wrapping up a weekend of diplomacy here in South Florida with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the president is kicking off another week of diplomacy starting today with a meeting and press conference with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Now soon after the inauguration last month, the president has said that one of the top items on the agenda when he meets with the prime minister would be NAFTA. Of course, renegotiating NAFTA was one of Trump's central campaign promises. Of course, doing so will necessarily require the participation of Mexico. And it's not clear yet when that cancelled meeting with Mexico's president Enrique Pena Nieto will be rescheduled. But, certainly, these two leaders could begin this process today.

It's worth noting that the prime minister has a very different views on people fleeing danger and persecution than Trump does. He was one of the world leaders who tweeted late last month in response to the president's travel ban, tweeted out that refuges are welcomed in Canada regardless of their religion.

And that travel ban was a big topic on the Sunday shows as the White House figures out its next moves in the wake of that ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It keeps in place a temporary hold on the ban. The president's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said that the White House is considering and pursuing all options including continuing to fight for the ban in court and issuing new executive actions.

Here's more of what he had to say on "Fox News Sunday."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: I want to say something very clearly. And this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress like Senator Schumer who've attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action. The president's powers here are beyond question.


JONES: So Miller there making the case of the travel ban was entirely within the president's statutory and constitutional powers and that this matter is not reviewable. The president's actions on this matter are not reviewable because they deal with immigration and national security. That is an argument that did not persuade the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The bottom line here is that even though President Trump told reporters they could be issuing a brand new executive order as soon as Monday or Tuesday, it's not at all clear that the White House is prepared to do that. But, of course, this White House is full of surprises so anything could happen and we will be watching.

Back to you.


VANIER: Yes. Athena Jones reporting there.

All right, let's get more on this. Let's get some analysis.

Joining me now for that is Lanhee Chen. He is a former public policy director for Mitt Romney, now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Lanhee, the White House is in a bit of a bind right now. Their agenda on immigration has been partly put on hold by the courts. They've said they were looking at their options. Politically, what's the best thing the White House can do right now as far as that travel ban is concerned?

LANHEE CHEN, RESEARCH FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: I think there are two things that they need to focus on. The first is the policy. And I think they are obviously, the White House feels that they are on relatively firm ground and I think it will require them to go back and issue an executive order that is probably more narrow in scope that focuses on the national security concerns and isn't overbroad like the previous one may have been particularly with respect to legal permanent residents, green card cardholders or to those who have helped the United States.

I think separate from that is the imagery and the process around this. And I think obviously with the first executive order, the process was not ideal. I think the right people that needed to be consulted were not. And so this has got to be a more fulsome process that they have got buy-in from folks in the administration as well as maybe outside of the administration who can support what the president is trying to do. VANIER: All right. You made two points there. To your first point, you think that they should resist the temptation to go to the Supreme Court, take this case all the way to the Supreme Court and see who is right or wrong about the constitutionality of the executive order?

[00:35:12] CHEN: I think given the existing executive order, taking it to the Supreme Court might be a mistake. Just given the composition of the court, we have to remember, there is one vacancy on the court which means that in many situations what you'll end up with is a 4-4 tie. And in that situation, what you're going to have is a default to the decision of the circuit court below, so that would be the Ninth Circuit decision recall the decision that kept the stay of the ban in place.

So I think the administration is thinking that they are better off maybe perhaps pursuing a new executive order rather than trying to defend one that if taken to the Supreme Court may end up in a loss.

VANIER: And what lessons do you think the White House has taken away from the last 10 days to two weeks. I mean, since the roll out of that executive order, you know, the lack of coordination with the various agencies. The protests around the country. Of course, the court striking it down.

What do you think is the lesson there for the White House?

CHEN: Well, I think there's a couple things. First of all, that the country is bitterly divided. Americans are very much in disagreement over some of the policies that this administration has put forth and probably more importantly, the way in which this administration may be pursuing these policies.

So there are differences of opinion. But more importantly, process matters a lot. And it sometimes, I think people outside of politics view it as just semantics. But in fact, the process through which policy is brought through matter a lot. And so this administration needs to make sure that they frankly have all their Ts crossed and Is dotted in terms of a process that has maximum buy-in from the right people on the administration as well as from people outside who can validate the administration's activities.

VANIER: All right, Lanhee Chen, thank you very much for your analysis. Thanks a lot.

CHEN: Thank you.

VANIER: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, innovation to fight plastic pollution. See how a company makes packaging that will fully dissolve in water leaving no waste at all behind.


VANIER: Traditionally food vendors in Thailand have wrapped their goods in banana leaves. Now plastic and Styrofoam are the norm. But some cyber companies are creating environmentally-friendly alternatives. Universal Biopack uses a unique technology to create packaging with absolutely no waste.

Our Saima Mohsin reports.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're not familiar with cassava starch, you might know it as tapioca flour instead, and it's the main ingredient in Universal Biopack's recipe for a remarkable material.

The company says its products are 100 percent natural and biodegradable. They will dissolve in room temperature water within a week, leaving zero waste behind.

[00:40:00] SUTHEP VICHAKYOTHIN, FOUNDER, UNIVERSAL BIOPACK: The cassava starch, we use the same as the (INAUDIBLE)so is the food crate, but for the bamboo (INAUDIBLE), we use the waste from the chopstick. We have to bring the bamboo, clean it up. This bamboo (INAUDIBLE) is helping to make the product more strong and rigid.

MOHSIN: Suthep Vichakyothin wasn't always in this business. For roughly two decades, this factory turned out compact discs, but with little demand for CDs, he decided to devote the entire facility to disposable dishware and eco-friendly packaging. Suthep hopes to have a semi-automated assembly line up and running next year.

VICHAKYOTHIN: We love it. That's why we not give up. And we believe we might find a way to match between the economy and production scale.

MOHSIN: Getting to this point has been a labor of love for Suthep and his daughter, Vara-Anong Vichakyothin. She's the company's managing director. Vara-Anong says she was inspired by a scuba diving trip when she noticed the damage being done by pollution.

VARA-ANONG VICHAKYOTHIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNIVERSAL BIOPACK: I think everyday we create a lot of waste already from our daily lifestyle. So if there's anything that we can do to give back and help the earth, I think this is the most of what we can do.

MOHSIN: Asian nations contribute the majority of plastic pollution, clogging waterways. Plastic does not biodegrade.

Bangkok dubbed as Venice of the east is crisscrossed by rivers and canals. The city faces an everyday struggles to keep its waterways clean. And one holiday in particular poses an extra challenge. Loy Krathong is celebrated in November by floating an offering traditionally out of banana leaves, but increasingly made from plastic or Styrofoam.

VARA-ANONG VICHAKYOTHIN: it become ugly, the biodegradable Krathong that use of material and we come up with the design to make it more like a lotus. So it's not only beautiful, but it's eco-friendly.

MOHSIN: Vara-Anong says she hopes to find more innovative uses for UB packs materials to expand its use and contribute to a cleaner future. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: And join us at the same time, Tuesday, for part two of "Made in Thailand." Learn how some organic farmers are growing a global brand. That's tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, 9:00 a.m. in Abu Dhabi.

Actor Alec Baldwin has been impersonating Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live." As you probably know, he'd been watching CNN, but it turns out he may be doing his job a little too well.

A newspaper in the Dominican Republic ran this picture of Mr. Trump on Friday accompanying a story about Israeli settlements. The caption identified him as Donald Trump, president of the United States, except, as you can see, it wasn't Donald Trump, it was Baldwin. The newspaper has since had to apologize.

All right, thank you very much for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier. "World Sport" is next. And I'll be back at the top of the hour with more news from around the world. Stay with us.