Return to Transcripts main page


Another Provocative Action from North Korea; Merkel: Europe Must Stand Independently; Hero Died Defending Teens; Macron Meets Putin; Plantation With Painful Story. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 29, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea does it again, firing a short-range ballistic missile. The U.S. and South Korea condemn it. Japan, though, vows concrete action. We have details.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Just days after meeting with President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe must fight for its future without relying on the U.S.

HOWELL: And the Manchester terror investigation. Work continues to hone in on the network around the accused bomber. We have details on the latest arrests ahead this hour.

ALLEN: And a warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts right now.

Good day to you. It is 3 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. North Korea defying the world yet again, firing another missile, the ninth test so far since January.

ALLEN: Pyongyang launched a short-range ballistic missile from its East Coast early Monday local time. It flew up about 450 kilometers. That's about 280 miles for about six minutes. Japan says it landed in the ocean within its exclusive economic zone.

HOWELL: And of course we're hearing reaction from throughout the region. Japan and South Korea strongly condemning the launch by Kim Jong-un's regime. This time, though, Japan's prime minister is vowing to take, quote, "concrete action" with the United States. Listen.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We can never tolerate North Korea's continued provocation, ignoring the repeated warnings by the international community. We have launched a firm protest against North Korea as we agreed at the G7, the North Korea issue is the priority for the international community.

In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete actions together with the United States. We will maintain high vigilance and coordination with South Korea and the international community and take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan.


ALLEN: Let's talk more about this. Joining us, Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea, and will Ripley is in Tokyo. And we know that, Will, you've been to North Korea many times. So we'll start with you since we just heard from Shinzo Abe, talking about taking concrete actions with the United States. What might that look like?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly with the United States policy towards North Korea has a lot to do with the U.S. Policy towards North Korea. So we have seen, for example, Japanese warships training in joint exercises alongside U.S. warships. And occasionally as well, we've seen exercises also coordinated with the South Koreans. So, three countries working together to show force.

But really what Japan and the United States and South Korea need here is the cooperation of China. And so some context from what the prime minister was saying there will be a concerted effort to try to convince China to use its economic leverage to rein in Pyongyang, which is a strategy that dates back more than a decade to the mid- 2000s.

The Bush administration hoped that China would solve the North Korean nuclear issue, and there have been now five nuclear tests and countless missile launches since then.

ALLEN: And it seems like recently, Will, that China has seemed to lose patience with North Korea. Do you think that they're really ready to step up and put some pressure on that will have an effect on North Korea's program?

RIPLEY: The official language out of Beijing is always a bit subdued, but some of the state-run news organizations such as the tabloid the Global Times have been much harsher in their language talking about North Korea and implying that China and the Chinese government, because the Global Times is state sanctions, that perhaps they are getting fed up.

We have seen North Korea suspend coal imports from Pyongyang. That's of course a major source of revenue for the regime. But we have seen other trade between China and North Korea continues. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, trade between China and North Korea was up an estimated 40 percent according to Chinese customs officials.

So there's still an economic relationship continuing between the two countries. What other steps they will take, they haven't really responded strongly to any of these repeated missile launches. And we've seen missile launches now week after week after week.

But I think the indication that we get is that the real red line for the U.S., for China, for Japan is not necessarily these missile launches but a nuclear test, a six nuclear test. That may provoke stronger response, and it is noteworthy that even though intelligence experts believe North Korea has been ready for quite some time to push the button, they have not yet conducted that sixth nuclear test. Although on the ground in Pyongyang last month, government officials told me they will conduct more nuclear tests when their supreme leader Kim Jong-un decides the time is right.

[03:04:58] ALLEN: All right. Will, we thank you for that. Let's go to Paula, she's in Seoul and get the perspective from there. What is the feeling there, Paula, with the rapidity of these tests from North Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, once again South Korea has condemned this launch. We've heard from the foreign ministry earlier this Monday morning, saying that it is a severe threat to the peace and stability not only of the Korean Peninsula but of the international community.

There was a National Security Council meeting early this morning when this missile was actually launched. And if you bear in mind that there is a new government here. There's a new president, I should say, Moon Jae-in, the liberal president who was voted in just a few weeks ago. And since he has been in power, there has effectively been a North Korean missile launch every single week that he has been in charge.

BAbd bear in mind, he is a man who has said that he is pro-dialogue. He is pro-engagement with North Korea. But obviously a baptism of fire for Moon Jae-in in the fact that it's very difficult to try and talk to your northern neighbor when there are these missile launches continually every single week since he's been in power.

So certainly it's a tricky time for the new administration here, for the new president, trying to condemn these launches at the same time as hoping that there will be more engagement with the north in the near future.

ALLEN: And they did sit down and talk, did they not -- north and south, it's been in the past year or two?

HANCOCKS: Well, there certainly have been talks in the past with the previous President, Park Geun-hye. She was far more hard line when it came to North Korea. The approach was far more hard line, a more conservative approach.

In fact, Park Geun-hye, the former disgraced president now at this point, she has been impeached, also cut economic ties with North Korea. There was a case on industrial complex which was in North Korea but had South Korean companies working there as well. She shut that down. Moon Jae-in has said that he would like to see that reopened. He would like to see economic cooperation between the two Koreas increase.

So, certainly there's a very different attack from the new president. But clearly from North Korea, it is business as usual. They are continuing to do these missile launches, and we have heard from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, that he will continue to perfect his nuclear and missile capabilities.

He is doing exactly what he said he would do, that he wants to be able to hit mainland United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile at the beginning of this year, saying that he was close to test launching an ICBM.

Obviously we haven't seen that. We haven't seen the nuclear test. But Kim Jong-un is doing what he said he would do. He was very clear when he said that he would continue with his tests no matter what the rest of the world did. Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, he certainly seems to be doing that. We thank you, Paula Hancocks and our Will Ripley as well. Thanks. George?

HOWELL: The U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says that diplomacy is critical, warning that a military conflict with North Korea could be disastrous. Listen to what he told CNN's Barbara Starr about that earlier this month.


JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We're going to continue to breed the same kind of pressure internationally that we've been trying to. We're going to continue to work the issue. As you know, if this goes to a military solution, it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale.

And so effort is to work with the U.N., work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation.


HOWELL: So all of this happening the first week back at the White House for the U.S. President. And aside from his Twitter habits, clearly he has a lot to do, reportedly considering a staff shake-up. Also he's set to decide whether or not to withdraw from the Paris climate accords this week.

ALLEN: Sunday he held staff meetings amid the latest revelations involving his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. Here's Ryan Nobles with more about that.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House has yet to confirm or deny the report that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser of the president, attempted to set up a back channel of communication between the Russian government and the transition shortly after the president was elected but before he was inaugurated.

In fact, no one from the White House has rushed to Kushner's defense, but there was a republican who took on that responsibility. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Listen to what he had to say on "STATE OF THE UNION".

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know who leaked this supposed conversation. But just think about this way. You've got the ambassador to Russia reporting back to Moscow on an open channel, hey, Jared Kushner is going to move into the embassy. I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it. I think it makes no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow on a channel that he most likely knows we're monitoring.

[03:09:59] The whole story line is suspicious. I've never been more concerned and suspicious about all things Russia than I am right now.

NOBLES: Now, Graham's defense of the White House is more than any staffer of the White House has offered up. Instead, they've sent out administration officials to answer questions on this more broadly, saying that they don't know specifically about Jared Kushner, but the concept itself wouldn't necessarily be that big of a problem.

Both H.R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, and John Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary, answering questions along those lines. Also spotted at the White House on Sunday was Marc Kasowitz, the high- powered attorney brought in by Donald Trump to represent him in his personal capacity as these ongoing investigations into Russia continue.

Kasowitz seen with Ivanka Trump leaving the White House's South Lawn on Sunday, an indication that the president is gearing up his legal team for a long battle ahead.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: And the president jumped to Kushner's defense in a statement to the New York Times. The president said, "Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. And in addition to that and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person."

President Trump was pretty quiet online during his foreign trip, but now he's back. He tweeted Sunday this. The fake news media works hard at disparaging and demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story.

HOWELL: The U.S. could also ban airline passengers from bringing laptops aboard as carry-ons on all international flights entering or leaving this country. Right now, laptops and other electronics bigger than a phone are banned in cabins on some U.S.-bound flights from the Middle East and North Africa.

On Sunday, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News why he's considering extending that ban.


JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: There's a real threat. There's numerous threats against aviation. That's really the thing that they're obsessed with -- the terrorists -- the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks, people. It's real.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Kelly told CNN on Friday that he would make a decision on a broader laptop ban when the time is right. It's a story we will continue to update you on.

Authorities are looking into possible hate crime charges in a deadly stabbing in Portland, Oregon. Now the men who tried to intervene and lost their lives, they're being praised for their bravery.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, though who knew the Manchester suicide bomber are trying to understand what turned him into a killer. We'll hear from a friend of Salman Abedi, who says that's not the man he knew.



ALLEN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europeans must fight for their own future, and they can no longer just rely on the U.S. and other longstanding allies.

HOWELL: A seismic statement. Ms. Merkel didn't mention the president, Donald Trump, by name. But she did say that she's sharing this warning because of her recent experience at international summits. Listen.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The times where we could completely count on others, they're over to a certain extent. I've experienced this in the last few days, and that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.

Of course, in friendship with the United States of America and friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia. But we have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans, and that's what I want to do together with you.


HOWELL: Well, a very fired up Angela Merkel there. To talk more about this, let's bring in Julian Reichert. He is the editor-in-chief at Bild Digital and joins us live from Berlin. It's good to have you with us. I want to set the context to you first.

So Brexit has happened. The election of Donald Trump has happened here in the United States. On the other hand, there's a new French president and renewed hopes for the E.U. project. Ms. Merkel also running for re-election within that context. The context is important here. Explain the significance and implications of the comments we just heard.

JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BILD NEWSPAPER: Well, the context pretty much is the place where Merkel made that remark. And that place wasn't parliament, wasn't, you know, one of the classic policy to think that where you would make such remarks. It was a beer fest in a tent in Bavaria, which tells you that she's in full campaign mode. You know, Donald Trump has become part of her election campaign.

She was attacked heavily earlier before she made those remarks by the opposition social democrats. They said her approach from Trump has failed, and they have been very successful with anti-Americanism before.

In 2003, Gerhard Schroeder won the election here won by showing opposition against the Iraq war. So the social democrats seem to dip towards a course where they say Merkel is too weak on Trump as strange as that may sound. And Merkel is trying to counter that by going into a classic campaign event, a classic beer fest in Bavaria and you know, coming up with those remarks that are highly unusual for a tempered character like she used to be.

HOWELL: From your point of view, is Ms. Merkel speaking more towards the domestic audience there in Germany or is the chancellor speaking to the world with this comment?

REICHELT: Well, you know, the truth is I always have my problems with that domestic audience, the broad audience thing, because you know, since social media came around, there's no such thing as speaking to a domestic audience when you use that language.

I think it was on the Washington Post web site before it was on any government web site whatsoever. That you know, although this may have been targeted and tailored for a German audience, obviously it has traveled around the world on that anti-Trump sentiment that exists right now, and there is no such thing as a domestic audience or so.

[03:20:07] I think there will be some frosty times for German-American relations ahead.

HOWELL: Let's talk about the G7 summit that wrapped up. Climate change was front and center there, yet the leaders left that summit with a bit of frustration that the United States maintained a non- committal approach toward the Paris climate accord with president Trump.

REICHELT: They certainly did, and I think that in part at least is their failure because although we by now should know that Donald Trump, no matter what one thinks about him, a very difficult -- shows a very different style. He's not committed to all these international (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY).

And let's not forget there was huge, huge fighting about that climate change agreement even with the Obama administration. It's not that everyone has always agreed on that. But, you know, with all that out there, with everyone knowing by now what kind of character President Trump is, you know, maybe the other -- the other stick that could come up with a new concept of debating things there and not just declaring things (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY).

You know, meeting for a G7 summit, then just declare something in perfect unity. Those times are certainly over. You know, when Merkel now says that, you know, the times where we can 100 percent rely on someone are over, I would always argue, you know, that is not the position that you know that we rely on someone 100 percent.

As 500 million people, we have our own interests, and we shouldn't be relying 100 percent on allies even if they are friends because we do have our own interests and positions here on this continent.

HOWELL: Julian Reichert in Berlin, your audio is just a bit -- we had some technical issues with the audio, but we got the gist of it for the most part. We appreciate you being with us today. Thank you so much.

REICHELT: Thank you.

HOWELL: In the U.S. State of Oregon, Portland police are investigating a deadly stabbing on a commuter train. Witnesses say that a man started shouting slurs at two teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, before stabbing three men who came to their defense. Two of those men died. The FBI is trying to determine if the 35-year- old suspect will face federal hate crime charges.

ALLEN: One of the target of those insults, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum is struggling as you can imagine.


DESTINEE MANGUM, TARGET OF PORTLAND TRAIN ATTACK: Thank you to the people who put their lives on the line because they didn't even know me. They lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way that we looked. And I just want to say thank you to them and their family, that I appreciate them because without them, we probably would be dead right now.


ALLEN: The city is also honoring the men who lost their lives standing up to hatred. CNN's Dan Lieberman has more.


DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: They're being hailed as heroes. The three stabbing victims in Friday's brutal knife attack were honored in a vigil in Portland. The victims came to the defense of two women aboard a crowded train at rush hour, who were the target of the suspect's anti-Muslim and racial slurs.

One of those killed, 53-year-old Ricky John Best, was on his way home from work. He was a city employee, an army veteran, and father of four. His employers remember him as a model public servant. His mother telling CNN he liked to help people and said he will be missed greatly.

And 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a recent graduate of Reid College, an economics major. His school remembering him in a statement. One professor saying, quote, "He was a wonderful human being, as good as they come, and now he is a hero to me."

A third stabbing victim, 21-year-old Micah David Cole Fletcher survived and is recovering at a hospital. His mother speaking out, grateful that her son is alive.

MARGIE FLETCHER, MICAH FLETCHER'S MOTHER: I am feeling very, very lucky and thanking God. I'm feeling bad for my son, who thinks it's his fault.

LIEBERMAN: She says she's not surprised he tried to intervene and help others.

FLETCHER: Micah's always done that. I've told him his whole life, one of these days, Micah. I worry and I've always worried about it. But he's always been that way.

LIEBERMAN: Strangers are leaving notes and flowers at the site of the attack, calling the men heroes.

Dan Lieberman, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: They certainly are.

British police now have 14 men in custody in the Manchester terror investigation. They're conducting more raids trying to track down people connected to Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people at the pop concert last week.

[03:25:01] HOWELL: CNN's Atika Shubert spoke with a friend of Abedi. He says that he never thought that the person he knew would be a killer.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The last images of Salman Abedi on his way to carry out the attack that killed 22 people. Police released these photos to the public for help in retracing his movements. Those who knew Abedi are also looking back. Local Rapper Geko still can't fathom how his friend turned into a mass murder.

RAPPER GEKO, SALAM ABEDI'S FRIEND: He's always been a happy person. I don't know what happened though. He brings us, he's always been a happy person. The Salman I knew from ages ago is not the person that just went and bombed kids. No way.

SHUBERT: Police now believe Abedi assembled the bomb here at a short- term rental apartment in the city center just a mile and a half from the arena.

In north Manchester, police are also still scouring this apartment Abedi rented weeks before the attack. But many of the arrests have happened here in south Manchester where Abedi lived. Two years ago, Geko says abedi was another friendly face in the neighborhood. Then something changed.

GEKO: Every time I see a picture of him anyway on Facebook or whatever, I just think how -- like I still don't understand how. He was the most like laughable person two years ago when I would see him. How did he just switch like in two seconds? I don't know, man. This is all confusing to me. We still chilled together, and then he kind of left because he was -- he was like, going to be religious.

SHUBERT: Parts of south Manchester are known to be rough, gangland, but it's also the kind of place everyone knows each other. And the attack and its aftermath has hit the community hard.

GEKO: I even cried because I found out it was someone I know. Someone that has done such a bad thing like that is someone I know. So I even ended up crying in my bed when I found out. I was like what's going on here? Like what's happening? People were just telling me, yes, it's him. I couldn't believe it. Till now, I still can't. I see his picture, and I think he was alive two seconds ago.

SHUBERT: Police are still trying to understand how Salman Abedi plotted the attack. His friends are trying to understand what turned him tiny a killer.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Manchester.


ALLEN: And coming up here, political comeback might be under way in the U.K. How Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are doing in new polling. We'll have that.

HOWELL: Plus, two world leaders meet for the first time. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, will host the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, at Versailles on Monday. We'll go to Moscow for a live report on that ahead.


HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

South Korea and Japan are condemning North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch, and Japan's prime minister vows to take "concrete action" -- that's a quote -- with the U.S. South Korea says the missile was fired from North Korea's East Coast early Monday. Japan says it landed in the ocean within its exclusive economic zone.

HOWELL: British police have made three new arrests in connection with the Manchester terror attack. Now bringing the total number of people in custody to 14. You'll remember that 22 people were killed, many of them teenagers, in last week's suicide bombing. Britain's home secretary warns that some of those behind the attack could still be at large.

ALLEN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging Europeans to become more self-reliant. She did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump by name, but she said after a recent international summit, she's realizes you cannot completely depend on the U.S. and other allies.

HOWELL: And British Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will face a live TV audience in the coming hours. They'll be taking questions before the June 8th general election. This could be a critical event because the conservatives' lead seems to be shrinking.

ALLEN: They once dominated polls but now only appear to have a single-digit lead. A loss would be a major upset for Mrs. May. She called for the snap election last month, hoping to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks.

For more about it, we're joined from London by Quentin Peel. He's an associate fellow at the Chatham House Europe program and the commentator for the Financial Times. Mr. Peel, thank you for joining us.


ALLEN: Let's talk about this Labour Party looking like it's growing stronger here. What's behind that?

PEEL: Well, it's an extraordinary election. I mean as you said, a month ago when Theresa May called this election, she was 20 points ahead in the polls. It looked like it was going to be just a coronation. And the whole campaign on her side was, look what a hopeless leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader would be vote for me. I would be strong and stable.

And suddenly in the middle of the campaign, she's had a pretty bad wobble. And Jeremy Corbyn is starting to look not strong and stable. I don't think one would exaggerate, but the sort of person that the electors might like to vote for, somebody who is humane, who's engaged, who is not always on message. And I think that it's more, if you like, Theresa May's wobble than a dramatic breakthrough by the Labour Party.

ALLEN: And break down that wobble, would you?

PEEL: Well, the whole thing about Theresa May's campaign has been this dreadful phrase strong and stable leadership. That's what she was offering. And then they came out with their manifesto, their program for the next government, including a key area which was going to be that old people are going to have to pay more for their care.

And in particular, there's no cap on the level they'll have to pay. And four days later, after a huge backlash of this whole thing being described by the Labour Party as a dementia tax, she reversed. She did a U-turn and said, woops, we're not going to do that anymore. And that suddenly makes her seem the opposite of strong stable. She's now called weak and wobbly.

ALLEN: This snap election thing, so this may backfire for her. Cameron did it to shore up his support, and then Brexit happened. So, yes, why do the snap election? Why take that risk? [03:35:04] PEEL: It's we all thought she was too cautious to do it,

and then suddenly she said, I think it was just too attractive to think that she could have a majority of more than 100 seats, and then this dreadful Brexit negotiation, which is going to drag on for years. It's going to be really difficult.

She would have much more room to maneuver in getting it through her own party. That was the temptation. But what's actually happened is the unpredictable. And of course, the biggest unpredictable has been this tragic bomb in the middle of the election campaign. That should play for Theresa May.

She's the one who's used to being the tough woman on security. But somehow the whole thing is starting to look much more unpredictable, and I think that is still in the air. I don't think she's going to lose, but she's not going to win by a mile.

ALLEN: Very, very interesting. Quentin Peel for us. We look forward to talking with you again as we get closer to it. Thank you.

HOWELL: In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing for his first meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. The two leaders will meet at the Palace of Versailles and mark an art exhibit on Russian Emperor Peter the Great's visit to France 300 years ago.

CNN's Clare Sebastian following the story live for us in Moscow. Clare, which topics will be on the table for these two world leaders?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, they're going to be talking about the traditional issues that France and Russia have continued to talk about, the conflict in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria. They have serious disagreements on both.

But this meeting is really being billed as a more informal kind of conversation for the two to get to know each other. Of course, Emmanuel Macron has only been President of France for a couple of weeks and Russia really has good reason to try and reach out and sound out this new leader out of all the candidates for the French presidency, he was definitely the least friendly towards Russia.

His closest rival, Marine Le Pen, you remember openly called for the lifting of sanctions on Russia and even visited Moscow just a month before the first round of that vote. But I think, you know, they have clashed in the past.

You know, Emmanuel Macron's campaign accused Russia of hacking their e-mails and leaking them online less than 48 hours before the final vote. Russia at the time called that pure slander.

But nevertheless, here in Moscow, the very fact of this visit coming after a Trump visit to Europe and the Middle East which yielded very little in the way of good news for Russia, the very fact that Putin is going to Paris is being seen in some quarters as a positive thing, as a small victory.

I want to read you a tweet from a prominent Russian Senator, Aleksey Pushkov. He said, "The invitation of the Russian leader to Paris by the president of France shows the final rejection by the E.U. of efforts to isolate Russia. Obama's policy has slowly died."

So there's some hope here that, you know, after we heard from Merkel saying that the E.U. could no longer rely on the U.S., its traditional ally, or the U.K. that there is some consensus building in Europe that Russia really needs to be given a seat at the table. That is certainly what President Putin will be hoping for.

HOWELL: Clare Sebastian, live for us in Moscow. Clare, thank you.

ALLEN: This week, the CNN Freedom Project is exposing modern-day slavery in the agriculture industry. Coming up.

HOWELL: Now we'll show you one organization that is fighting the use of forced labor in the tomato fields of Florida.


HOWELL: The CNN Freedom Project is committed to helping bring an end to modern-day slavery.

ALLEN: In part one of a special series this week called Fair Food, we show you how forced labor was wiped out in the tomato fields of Florida.

Amara Walker has the story.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Immokalee, Florida. Hot, humid and home to thousands of migrant workers who board buses, bound for tomato farms scattered throughout the region. Immokalee is the epicenter of tomato production in the United States. Florida produces 90 percent of the country's winter tomatoes. It also used to be ground zero for modern-day slavery in agriculture.

LAURA GERMINO, CO-FOUNDER, COALITION OF IMMOKALEE WORKERS (CIW): We found out that workers were being held by armed guards, prevented from leaving, pistol whipped, some sexually assaulted.

WALKER: Laura Germino is one of the founders of the Coalition of Immokalee or CIW, a grassroots, non-profit that began in 1993 to improve wages and working conditions of migrant farm workers.

GERMINO: So initially it was not an anti-slavery organization or an anti-human trafficking organization, but in the course of our outreach, we began to come across situations where workers were being held against their will.

WALKER: Since then, the CIW's anti-slavery program has uncovered and helped the U.S. government prosecute several horrific cases of forced labor on tomato farms. In one of those cases just 10 years al, farm workers were locked inside a truck at night.

GERMINO: It was a dozen workers housed in a windowless box truck, forced to be in there at night, sleep in there at night, use the bathroom in there at night. One of them held out his hands, and you could see the marks from the chains, which his wrists had been chained with.

WALKER: That case was so shocking, CIA decided to buy a box truck that was the exact make and model as the one used in the case and turn it into a mobile museum, highlighting other cases of forced labor from the past 20 years.

Today, the CIW has a staff of 17 people. Nearly all of them former migrant farm workers themselves. And their focus is no longer uncovering cases of slavery. It's preventing it from happening in the first place.

GERMINO: Forced labor has been virtually eradicated. If it were to take root, it would be identified and dealt with really quickly.

WALKER: They do that through an innovative initiative called the Fair Food program.

[03:45:00] Participating growers allow CIW staff to come onto their farms and hold mandatory education sessions for all workers. They're given booklets that outline their rights and a hotline to call if they experience violations.

The growers also agree to regular third-party inspections of their farms. A team of auditors speaks confidentially with at least 50 percent of workers to ensure their rights are being respected.

Laura Safer Espinoza is a former Supreme Court justice for the State of New York. She now spends her retirement in Florida, running the Fair Foods council.

LAURA SAFER ESPINOZA, RETIRED NEW YORK STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Places that were called ground zero for modern day slavery by federal prosecutors are now cited by national and international human rights experts as the best work environment in U.S. agriculture.

WALKER: And there are real market consequences at the top of the supply chain if violations are found. That's because many of the largest buyers of tomatoes have also joined the program, agreeing to purchase tomatoes only from farms that are part of the agreement.

The Fair Food program started in Florida and now covers seven statements in the eastern part of the U.S.

Carlos Hernandez spends the tomato growing season in Florida. In the offseason, he travels to the western U.S., where he says it's much different.

CARLOS HERNANDEZ, FARMER (through translator): Sometimes when you don't work fast enough, they threaten to fire you. Well, that doesn't happen here. There are better protections here.

ESPINOZA: When we get calls from outside the Fair Food program, it is heartbreaking. WALKER: There are roughly 30,000 people currently working on Fair

Food program farms and receiving all the protections and benefits outlined in the agreement. But there's still a long way to go to bringing the rest of the country onboard.

Amara Walker, CNN.


HOWELL: Coming up tomorrow on CNN's Freedom Project, the story of Alejandrina Carerra, a migrant worker on a Florida tomato farm. She arrived in the U.S. from Mexico when she was 14 years old. Young and naive, she was easy prey for those wanting to take advantage of her.


ALEJANDRINA CARERRA, MIGRANT WORKER (through translator): He told me if we don't do this the easy way, we'll do it the hard way. I was afraid and trembling. He tried to abuse me sexually, but he didn't get to because another worker heard me screaming and came to help me. The next day, the boss fired us both.


ALLEN: Find out how one organization is changing the lives of migrant workers in the U.S. by protecting them from forced labor. That's tomorrow on the CNN Freedom Project.

And coming up here, more on the investigation into the Manchester terror attack as the city in mourning tries to get back to a normal life. We'll take you there next live.



HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Manchester showed its resilience on Sunday, moving forward with one of its biggest events.

ALLEN: A band played the Oasis anthem, "Don't Look Back in Anger." And runners sang along before taking part in the Great Manchester run.

HOWELL: It's beautiful.

ALLEN: Certainly we have seen the spirit of Manchester. Phil Black joins us now live there in front of the memorial that we've all gotten used to seeing. It's really remarkable, this city and all they're doing to band together and support one another, Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it really is. And we saw that over the weekend. It was just a time of such extreme, raw emotion. This memorial site here behind me that you mentioned that remains the focal point for the community's grief. This is where people have continued to come. And they've been lining up over the weekend for really long periods of time just for the opportunity to leave flowers and messages and candles and to spend a few moments standing next to it, stopping and reflecting.

In addition to that, we've had huge numbers of people going out of their way to try and prove that the city, the community, the people here, the way they live will not be changed as a result of the attack.

And you saw that so clearly with the many tens of thousands of people who defiantly turned out and took place in the Great Manchester run. Take a look.


BLACK: Young girls, tense, single minded, ready to launch through the streets of Manchester. For their parents watching from the side, the emotions are more complex. Is one of yours out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our daughter is running there, yes, yes, the little one in the blue.

BLACK: The little one, what's her name?


BLACK: Tell me what you're feeling this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud and I'm nervous. I'm proud of her that she's doing it.


Girls, boys, men, and women came to run and cheer, defying those who murdered 22 people just days ago, including seven of the city's children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd just like to show that there's (Inaudible) that can provide us and we can stand.

BLACK: On your mind this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bit, yes. It's going to be on my mind for a while.

BLACK: He's not alone. More than 35,000 people turned out, all of them aware this was more than a running event. Many wore yellow shirts, ribbons, and bees, the symbol of Manchester. The crowd honored the victims with silence. There were some tears too and huge applause for the police and emergency services who responded to the attack and worked to make sure this event could happen.

BLACK: Do you have second thoughts about being here today given the way?

[03:54:58] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it made me want to do it more actually. It made me more determined to come together and then show that we won't be defeated.

BLACK: What does it mean to you to be here today? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the recent events, just to show that we

want to stay united.

BLACK: Show me your back. They're all 22.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You can't let them change how you live your life.

BLACK: A short distance from the run, people stood in a long line waiting to leave flowers and messages at the city's growing memorial. Others have been busy painting bees on walls. And people are waiting for hours to have bees inked into their flesh with all money going to the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's something that I'll have forever, and I know that when I look back on it, I'll know that I helped.

BLACK: The people of Manchester are exploring many ways to prove their resilience. But few things show it more powerfully than the pride and happiness of a young girl and the love of her parents.


BLACK: The investigation is still leading police to raid properties and conduct arrests. We saw that again overnight, which means that there are now some 14 people in police custody. The officials here have spoken about making significant progress, but they admit it's still possible that other people connected to the attack here could still be at large.

Crucially, the authorities announced over the weekend that the terror threat level for the country has been reduced from critical to highest possible level, which is when the authorities feared that another threat by the same people could have been imminent.

It's been lowered to severe, which means an attack could now -- is now considered likely, but what that also means is a lot of the more extreme security measures that we've seen on the streets of this country will begin to be rolled back over the coming days.

HOWELL: Phil Black, thank you so much in Manchester.

ALLEN: That will wrap this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues after the break.