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Police Identify Woman Killed At White Nationalist Rally; Car Attack Suspect Faces Second Degree Murder Charge; Trump Quiet As Aides Defend Remarks On Violence; Tillerson And Mattis Pursue Diplomacy; Top U.S. General To Meet With South Korean President; At Least 17 Killed in Attack in Burkina Faso; The Violence History of the India/Pakistan Partition; India, Nepal Hit by Landslides; Syrian Military Fight Escalates to Defeat ISIS; Russia Wins Big at International Army Games. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 14, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Charlottesville, Virginia is still reeling from Saturday's violence after a White Supremacists rally, and the U.S. president is under fire for his reaction. Plus, diplomacy is our preferred option in North Korea; the U.S secretaries of state and defense signaled that they're not looking for war in Pyongyang. And 70 years ago this week, independence of India and Pakistan and a partition that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. We'll go to both sides of the border. Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier live from the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta.

And we start in Charlottesville, Virginia, which remains on high alert after a car ripped through a crowd of protesters on Saturday. They have been demonstrating against a White Supremacists rally. 32-year- old, Heather Heyer, was killed in the incident; 19 people were injured. Investigators are looking into why the suspect carried out the attack. Our Brian Todd has details about the investigation.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting some important new information now about the suspect in the car strike which killed the young woman here in Charlottesville. The suspect, of course, named James Alex Fields, 20 years old, from Ohio. This information coming to us from our Justice Producer, Mary Kay Mallonee. She -- from a Justice Department official familiar with the investigation is reporting that Federal investigators have enough evidence to be suspicious that this suspect, James Fields, intended to send some kind of a message with that strike, aside from just intending to harm these victims on the street. They say there may be some evidence to just that he may have intended to send a broader message.

Also, according to this official, officials are investigating whether he had any accomplices in this attack -- people who might have helped him plan this attack, but that is part of an ongoing civil rights investigation from the Justice Department. Some other information we're getting about this suspect, a teacher of his from high school, a man named Derek Weimer, has told reporters that James Fields had some kind of an infatuation with Nazis, that it was disturbing to him, this teacher, and that is, you know, again what he's telling reporters indicating that there may have been some extremist views on the part of the suspect. The suspect due to the arraigned Monday morning here in Charlottesville. He's charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, one count of -- high tension here in Charlottesville, Virginia.

One of the White Supremacists leaders stays that rally on Saturday tried to hold a news conference here on Sunday, not far from where I'm standing. And he would shout at them, this man's name is Jason Kether. He showed up here; he was shouting at them by a crowd of protesters, people played music trying to draw him up, then people converged on him, and he went down to the ground -- not clear if he was pushed or if he fell, but at that point, the police swooped in and got him out of there for his own safety. They held him for a period here in the police department here in Charlottesville, and then they wisped him away.

But again, anger and frustration, still boiling over here in Charlottesville. Brian Todd, CNN, Charlottesville, Virginia.


VANIER: U.S. President, Donald Trump, is being slammed for what he didn't say about the violence in Virginia. While he condemned hatred and bigotry on many sides, Mr. Trump would not denounce White Supremacists by name. White House Correspondent, Athena Jones, has the latest.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. We still have yet to hear President Trump himself, directly and explicitly condemning the neo-Nazis and White Nationalists who organized the protest over the weekend in Charlottesville that sparked the violence we saw on the streets of that city. We did hear from the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, early Sunday morning on Twitter; here's what she had to say. She said, "There should be no place in society for racism, White supremacy, and neo-Nazis. We must all come together as Americans and be one country united." That from Ivanka Trump was also, of course, one of the president's senior advisors.

A couple of hours after those tweets from the president's daughter, a White House officials, who asked not to be named, issued a statement that did go a bit further than what we heard from the president -- initially responded to what was going on in Charlottesville. Here is what that official said, "The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred. And of course, that includes White Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."

So, that statement certainly going further than we heard from President Trump, but a lot of folks not just Democrats, but also a growing list of Republicans and the president's own allies want to hear the president himself explicitly condemn those White Nationalists and White Supremacists, who took to the street in Charlottesville. One former advisor, Anthony Scaramucci, said the president should use his moral authority to speak out on this issue. And one reason this is so noticeable that the president isn't out explicitly, is that he has been shy about criticizing a long list of people on Twitter, and repeatedly doing so whether it's Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or fellow Republicans like Mitch McConnell or John McCain, or of course the media who has frequently called enemies of the people. But not on that list of groups or individuals that he's criticized are neo-Nazis or the KKK, or White Supremacists, or White Nationalists.

[01:05:34] To be fair, soon after the election, the president in an interview with the New York Times, did say he didn't to energize the alt-right movement, the White Nationalists movement. But a lot of folks want to hear him repeat that kind of terminology, and even go further to explicitly condemn the kind of hate groups that we saw on the streets of Charlottesville. Still, so far, no change from the president, no additional commentary from the president on what we saw over the weekend. Back to you.


VANIER: Joining me now are CNN Political Commentators: Mark Lamont Hill, and Ben Ferguson. Gentlemen, first, the vice president weighed in a short while ago. Let's listen to Mike Pence.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have no tolerance for hate and violence from White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, or the KKK. These dangerous groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms. The president also made clear that behavior by others of different militant perspectives is also unacceptable in our political debate and discourse.


VANIER: So, Mark, to you first. Over the last 36 hours now the President Donald Trump was criticized for not naming White Supremacists. Do you feel with the response with this intervention by Mike Pence that the overall response by the president and the vice president was appropriate?

MARK LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (via Skype): I think the vice president's response was appropriate. You wish that Donald Trump had been so clear and articulate in his first statement. Obviously, Mike Pence represents the White House, and I'm glad that, again, he extended the conversation. But this is something that the president should've done, Mike Pence should not have had to come in and pinch it for the president any more than he has on Middle East issues, any more than he has on domestic issues. This is the one issue where President Donald Trump has fallen short of his own commitment to saying whatever he's thinking, whatever he's feeling if in fact, he feels as strongly as Pence does.


BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think the president, when he walked out there, initially, knew that there was a state of emergency that has been declared. He just talked to the governor. He realized that there was -- both sides were very angry, the number one concern of the governor, from what we understand at that point and the state police and the local authorities, was that there was going to be major problems last evening and that it could cost people their lives. And I think when the president walks out, and I want to quote him exactly, he said, I condemn the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence."

VANIER: Well, Ben, I can actually play the sound bite from the president. Let's listen to that.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.


VANIER: On many sides. So, the U.S. president got a lot of criticism for that, Ben.

FERGUSON: Right. And I think what his point was, is that we do not need to have more violence spill out on the streets overnight. And that's what he was trying to avoid. The state of emergency has been declared in that state by the governor, for goodness sake. I mean, this is a situation where I think being a leader is actually saying to both sides that were involved in violence go home, and there was violence on both sides. I know that --

VANIER: Let me read it to you, Ben. I want to read to you how some White Supremacists actually react into that. This what some of them wrote on The Daily Stormer, if you're not familiar with it -- a neo- Nazi Web site.


VANIER: "The Trump comments were good," they said. "He didn't attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. Also, he refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room really, really, good." So, he got some White Supremacists feeling that the president is on their side, apparently.

FERGUSON: Or you just took the bait, and you gave White Supremacists groups free advertising, which is exactly what they do in these situations. That's the reason why I don't look at what these individuals say. And I certainly don't give it the air time, because whether it's Data Duke or whatever the name of that publication was that you just cited, that's exactly why they write things like this. Because then the media will grab it and run with it, and it gives them free press and free attention. VANIER: OK.

FERGUSON: Here's what I'll say, those people are crazies. And guess what, they now are able to reach more people and bring more crazies into their group which is unfortunate. But I don't think we should give them any air time, because of their disgusting, racist, bigoted, gut awful human beings and we should never mention their groups, in my opinion.

VANIER: So, that is precisely what the president did not say, the words that you just said. Mark?

[01:10:21] HILL: So, to put up with these. One, you know, President Trump, or even Ben, in this case, is talking about this whole both sides argument. To use the language of both sides suggests that there are two groups of people who are of equal moral footing who are simply disagreeing with each other. This was not a clash of the titans between extremist groups, this was White Nationalists, anti-Semites, White Supremacists, who started a protest and a riot in a public space. They should be condemned. It means to say that those who resist them are on the same ground of all sides of bad. That is an absurdity. All the president say is these people are wrong, and everyone else should go home. But instead, he says both sides, that way it doesn't frame the White Supremacists is bad.

One more thing, Ben. And bringing out my second point is when we talk about -- yes, you can say we shouldn't be advertising the White Supremacists, I would probably be excited to agree with you. However, it doesn't negate the fact that if you give a message that people read as support of White Supremacists -- that journal is read as support of a White Supremacists. And then the White Supremacists themselves read as White Supremacists, that is troublesome. If Barack Obama gave a speech that al-Qaeda said, we love it, he just made us look good. The right will be jumping on it and say, oh my God, this proves the point. Now, somehow, we can't acknowledge the point because we don't want to give them (INAUDIBLE) or publicities that the White Supremacists were right.

FERGUSON: Let me say this though.

VANIER: Both you, gentlemen, because --

FERGUSON: For example, let me say this, though, two things. David Duke, for example, was going to bring out every single time there's a camera around.

VANIER: A former KKK leader, by the way, of a foreign international alliance.

FERGUSON: Sure. He's going to bring out Donald Trump's name, why? Because, then he gets on T.V. And I think, we just literally say we're not going to take your bait. Now let me say something else about, about what was going on the ground there. You do have to be kept clear, there were people on both sides that we violent. There are pictures that show people using spray paint cans as blowtorches -- I tweeted one of them out from a major news organization. VANIER: Ben, the Governor of Virginian, Mr. McAuliffe, says that the White Supremacists were coming with automatic weapons. He didn't say that there were automatic weapons on both sides, he's saying that they were armed like a militia and had weapons superior fire power to what the police had. Gentlemen, I want both of you now to listen to what the mayor of Charlottesville said earlier this morning to this general question that some have asked as to whether the presidency of Donald Trump favors this kind of moment. Listen to him.


MICHAEL SIGNER, MAYOR OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: Well, look at the campaign he ran. I mean, look at the intentional courting both on the one hand of all these White Supremacists, White Nationalists group like that, anti-Semitic groups. And then, look, on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts just like we saw yesterday. This is not hard.


VANIER: So, the question the mayor is raising is: is the U.S. president -- has the U.S. president, through his policies and through his previous campaign, emboldened racist, Nazis, White Supremacists. Mark, you first.

HILL: Well, certainly, they feel emboldened. They say they're emboldened. That's the public statement -- this been and has quite been. You don't want to just get (INAUDIBLE) to their public claims; we'll (INAUDIBLE) behind the scenes, rule it in your private (INAUDIBLE) that this served in newsletters to check their transmissions. We see that they -- they clearly say, we're emboldened by them. Now, public statements say the same things; public policy reflects that.

The fact that Donald Trump, during his campaign was very, very reluctant to denounce. They had to do it and he finally did it -- this is the day he had announced it, right? And so, there's this way in which they feel inspired by his campaign. White Nationalists groups are getting more and more public, and more and more powerful during the Trump-era -- that is an empirical fact. So, whether we pick if it's Trump's fault or not, isn't even a point. They certainly feel and act by acting in power by his president.

VANIER: Ben, I want to get you right of response, but it's got to be really quick.

FERGUSON: Yes. Look, these groups had been dying out and getting smaller, and smaller. The majority, the White Supremacists, Nazis that were there yesterday, weren't even from the state of Virginia. They came from across the country. And they figured it out, if you show up and then you get the media there, and you say that somehow, Donald Trump, you like him, they put you on T.V. And it makes these groups look bigger than what they are and it helps them recruit people, crazies that may not even know exists or where they're coming from. We've got to stop propping them up with their propaganda in the public when they played the card of, oh, I mentioned Donald Trump's name, now look at me, me and my extremist racist group is on T.V.

VANIER: All right. Ben Ferguson, and Mark Lamont Hill, really good to have you both on. Thank you very much.


[01:14:54] VANIER: Coming up after the break, top U.S. officials say they are taking a new approach to North Korea -- one that can work where other policies have failed. Plus, the battle against ISIS in Syria is raging on. After the break, we'll take you to one of the frontlines of the offensive against the terror group. Stay with us.


VANIER: The United States top general is now in South Korea to address the looming missile threat from North Korea. Joint Chief Chairman, Joseph Dunford, will meet with South Korea President, Moon Jae-in, to discuss the situation. Also interesting, the U.S. defense secretary and secretary of state wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the North Korea tensions.

Part of it reads, "We're replacing the failed policy of 'strategic patience,' which expedited the North Korean threat with a new policy of strategic accountability. The object of our peaceful pressure campaign is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." They go on to warn that, "Any attack will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response."

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul. Let's talk about both of those things, Paula, and let's start with the op-ed. It was just a few days ago that the U.S. president uttered some really unprecedented and war-like remarks, you know, about the military being locked and load, about the fire and the fury. And now a few days later, his top security officials are actually saying, well, we're prioritizing diplomacy.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's interesting, Cyril. I think certainly from here; this is being read as somewhat of a pullback or a confirmation that actually diplomacy comes first. All this talk about military options, all the fairly bellicose rhetoric we heard from the U.S. President, Donald Trump, about the military options being locked and loaded. That has appeared to be tempered somewhat with this op-ed that we saw from the two top diplomats because they are focusing on the fact that they want diplomatic and economic reforms to work. They want these issue to actually get them to the point of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

[01:20:26] Now, of course, whether or not North Korea is willing to give up its nukes, we know full-well that they have no intention of doing so, at least that's what they've said publicly. But what we're hearing from the U.S. side now is at least that, that they want to focus more on sanctions, they want to focus on the troops -- sorry, the alliances around the region, and to make sure that the region knows that the U.S. is on the same page as Japan and South Korea, and in some ways as China that diplomacy comes first. But of course, they also specify that the military option is there, Cyril.

VANIER: Yes. As if -- underlying that, the top U.S. general just landed in Seoul. What is going to be discussing with the South Koreans?

HANCOCKS: That's right. Yes, General Joseph Dunford is here in Seoul. He's just met with the South Korea defense minister. He's also going to meet with his Korean counterpart. Later today, he'll meet with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and we expect some kind of a readout press conference after that. What we're hearing from the Defense Ministry, certainly in the press briefing this morning was that they wanted to make sure that they discuss the topic of deterring and effectively responding against the North Korean's nuclear and military threat -- very general terms.

They will be talking about North Korea. They will -- certainly, from the South Korean's side, be hoping to hear from General Dunford that the alliance is strong that the South Koreans will have a say in what happens if there is any kind of response to North Korea. Certainly, that's been the concern in the past that put the U.S. unilaterally at, and with this kind of meetings, it does (INAUDIBLE) with the South Koreans. Cyril.

VANIER: Paula Hancocks, reporting live from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much. And the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea reached a fever-pitch as we were saying this past week. But at the Korean DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone, an international group of musicians are trying to send a different message. Alexandra Field has more on their mission for peace.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the sound carries beyond these walls --

PATRICK SANGUINETI, HARVARD-RADCLIFFE ORCHESTRA: You look around over these mountains after this, it is really a beautiful place.

FIELD: It will take you to a beautiful place, and estranged place.

SANGUINETI: Before coming here, like, this seemed like a really scary place. I mean, with the barbed wire, like the tank traps.

FIELD: A dark place.

SANGUINETI: They tell you not to hop the fence, you know, don't do anything stupid. You know, the reality is that it is -- there is like a lot of anxiety heads up here.

FIELD: Mostly though, there is the pain they've known almost forever now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart is boom, boom, boom, boom. Why we can't go there? Part of my heart; it's something very painful.

FIELD: The idea seemed like a stretch. A senior choir, a South Korean youth orchestra, a group of Harvard students in concert, during the time of rapidly rising tension right on the edge of North Korea.

SANGUINETI: This is really scary for a lot of people not just us. Our own family was contacting us, making sure that we're OK with what's actually going to happen.

FIELD: As the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea gets ever wilder, for a moment, they're drowning the North. Why are you singing at the DMZ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wish for -- you know, to send our wishes to the North. Our wishes for reunification. That is my dream and my choir's dream as well.

FIELD: They can't go any further than this. This is one of the most heavily fortified border areas in the world. The Demilitarized Zone cuts the Korean Peninsula in half. It's 160 miles long; it's two and a half miles wide. And that's been enough to keep families permanently ripped apart. Bae Yung-Ja feels close to her husband's family in the North when she's here. She never met them, and she's already lost him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before I die, I want to hear something useful from his family.

FIELD: When the choir and the orchestra walked outside, she's looking in the right direction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Music is the one way. Why can't we be together?

FIELD: For Grant Riew, who came from Harvard to be here, it's already that.

GRANT RIEW, HARVARD-RADCLIFFE ORCHESTRA: Music is, actually, a universal language. And so, you can come to Korea. I don't speak any Korean, but I am Korean and I can sit down with all these people and be able to make music together. And you know, it's really something that everyone can personally relate to. There are some like 80-year- old people in the choir, and there's like 10-year-old children that we're playing with.

[01:25:16] SANGUINETI: When we started playing these folk songs, this traditional music, I had heard (INAUDIBLE) before like -- none of it really had any kind of real sentimental value for me. I had this emotion on me on stage, like I felt like I was a part of it.

FIELD: The finale is this song composed in the North when the Korea's were still one. If the sound could carry, these musicians hope it would travel back there. Alexandra Field, CNN, at the DMZ.


VANIER: Marking 70 years of independence and a high-priced pay for it -- the anniversary of India's partition after the break, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VANIER: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Cyril

Vanier. The main stories we're following, three of this hour: protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, shouted down the organizer of Saturday's neo-Nazi rally when he tried to make a public statement on Sunday. That comes just a day after a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against that same White Supremacists gathering; one woman was killed by the car ramming.

The U.S. President, Donald Trump, is being slammed for what he didn't say about the violence in Virginia. Mr. Trump condemned hatred and bigotry, but he did not denounce White Nationalists by name. And neo- Nazi went psychic and celebrated the president's remarks as "really good." Since then, the White House has said, of course, the president's condemnation included White Supremacists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis.


[01:30:28] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities in Burkina Faso say attackers have barricaded themselves in a cafe in the capitol. At least 17 people were killed and eight others are wounded. Reuters reports that security forces killed three suspected jihadist assailants, according to the communications minister.

Farai Sevenzo is tracking development and joins us from Nairobi, Kenya, with the latest.

Farai, what do we know about the attack and what do we know about the area that is took place?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Cyril, we're learning that in Burkina Faso, in the capitol of that country, gunmen attacked the cafe, which is frequented by foreigners. You must remember Burkina Faso is a former French colony, so it has the feel and habits of a typical French city where people sit in the evening about 9:00 in the evening. These people have barricaded themselves in this cafe. The numbers you quoted, 17 people were killed. And the communications minister told us basically said to mainly Reuters and other news agencies that this was a terrorist attack -- Cyril?

VANIER: And Burkina Faso, do we know about the assailants? Was he more precise in his description?

SEVENZO: Well, no, he said terrorists. Remember, of course, Cyril, back in January 2016, Turkish foreign nations, or many of them foreign nationals, were killed in an attack on the hotel, and across the borders is the countries of Mali and Niger, and the ongoing attacks by al Qaeda in the Maghrib and that sort of thing in North African has been targeting this poor, landlocked country. And it seems that these attacks are now escalating.

VANIER: All right. Farai Sevenzo, reporting live from Nairobi, Kenya. Thank you very much

It's now been seven decades since India won its independence from the British empire. Power was handed over and the new country of Pakistan was created as well at the time. But the partition of India also led to a massive, deadly migration, and a legacy of hostility between the two countries that remains to this day.

More now from CNN's Mallika Kapur.



MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're neighbors with a shared history but a fractured present. Seventy years ago, this week, British rulers sliced a giant Indian empire into two countries, a Hindu-majority India, and Pakistan, home to mostly Muslims. From the 18t h century through independence, the British empire in India stretched from Afghanistan in the west to Burma in the east.


KAPUR: But by the 1940s, anti-colonial sentiment swelling in British colonies around the world, including India.


KAPUR: Demands for India's independence grew, led by freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who favored a separate state for India's Muslim minorities. India was burning. Continued tensions between Hindus and Muslims spiraled out of contrrol. Calls for ending British rule were reaching a boiling point.


KAPUR: On the back of a costly Second World War, Britain lacked the will and the means to defeat the independence movement. Britain decided to quit India.

In March 1947, Naval Officer Lord Mountbatten was appointed the viceroy of India to oversee the handover of power. He assigned British lawyer, Cyril Radcliffe, to draw the partition line. In just six weeks, he finalized a plan to divide India along religious lines.

There would be a new India, a secular India, through it's where the Hindu majority would leave, and a separate country called Pakistan for Muslims.

On midnight of August 14, 1947, the British empire officially transferred power to India and Pakistan.


KAPUR: After nearly two centuries of colonial rule, India became a sovereign nation and Pakistan was born.


KAPUR: Jinnah became head of the newly formed Pakistan. Nehru became the first prime minister of India.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, Indians will awake in freedom.


[01:35:00] KAPUR: The partition saw one of the largest human migrations the world has ever seen. Millions of Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan headed to India. Millions of Muslims migrated to Pakistan. In trains and on foot. In a matter of months, at least 10 million moved across the border.


KAPUR: At least a million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs died in communal attacks as they crossed the border. Tens of thousands and girls were abducted and raped, families were divided.

Twenty-four years later, in 1971, the east wing of Pakistan split away to become a separate country called Bangladesh. The west side remains as president-day Pakistan.


KAPUR: India and Pakistan have fought four wars since 1947, mostly fueled by disputes over the northern Kashmir. Both countries claim it in its entirety but only control part of it. Though both sides have attempted to restore peace many times, they remain hostile, nuclear- armed neighbors even today.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, India.


VANIER: And so let's delve a little further into that India/Pakistan relationship and what's it's like today.

We're joined by Mallika Kapur, in India, and Sophia Saifi, in Pakistan.

Sophia, let's start with you.

I want to ask you both the same first question, which is how is the anniversary of the partition and independence celebrated where you are, Sophia?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, I'm in the city of Lahore, and right behind me is a monument that celebrates the time of the idea of when Pakistan was conceived. In this city, at midnight, fireworks lit up the sky behind me. All across there was the sounds of fireworks exploding. People took off on the roads. There were flags being waved all around. Bunting was on all of the buildings.

In the capitol, the prime minister will be hosting a ceremony which will be attended by foreign dignitaries and the Pakistan air force will hold air shows in Karachi and in the capitol as well.

In the meantime, while there's a lot of celebration and jubilation, there's also a reopening of old wounds. We've been speaking to a lot of partition survivors who saw that bloody divide happen in front of them and actually lost some of the people they loved. There's a sort of reconciliation, a sort of understanding that that time was a mad time, that time was full of turbulence. And now is a time when there should be better relations with our eastern neighbor, India -- Cyril?

VANIER: Mallika, does that square with what you're likely to see in terms of celebrations and feelings on your end?

KAPUR: Very much so. India marks Independence Day tomorrow on August 15, and it's a national holiday over here. It is typically a day of great patriotic pride, patriotic fervor. There are flag ceremonies across the country. People get together to sing the national anthem. There's a big, colorful parade in the capitol of New Delhi. And the prime minister addresses the nation on August 15, Independence Day, every single year.

So a day of great patriotic fervor, but this time, perhaps, for the first time, because we are marking such a significant milestone, 70 years since independence from British rule, the national conversation has turned towards partition. For a long time, for all these decades, there was very little conversation about that. But as Sophia pointed out, on both sides of the border, people are talking about what happened when people crossed the borders between India and Pakistan back in 1947. Survivors are telling their stories. People are talking about family members who never made it across the borders. And here in India, India is opening its first partition museum on Friday, which is going to be a museum really devoted to chronicling the stories of people who lived through partition.

VANIER: Sophia, you told me earlier, despite the tensions between the two countries, which are persistence and ongoing and are high, we tend to forget that Indians and Pakistanis have a lot in common.

SAIFI: Yes, Cyril. When you look at the current generation, the generation that left behind everything to come here, there are still a lot of familiar links back across the other side of the border. There's nostalgia, this poignant desire to connect with the other side. Whenever you hear music from India, Pakistanis dance to it at their weddings. The food is similar. The culture is similar. The languages are similar. So when you go to a cinema in Pakistan and you watch a Bollywood film, you see Pakistanis enjoy it and have as much enthusiasm as you would see on the other side of the border. So whenever the two meet, whenever a Pakistani and an Indian meet, it's always a meeting of two long-lost neighbors who haven't spoken in a very long time and have a lot to catch up on -- Cyril?

[01:40:13] VANIER: Mallika, on your end, how do you think the relationship between the two countries could evolve? There's been a lot of tension and there's been numerous wars over the last 70 years. How do you think that would evolve going forward?

KAPUR: That's right. I think on the political front, the diplomatic front, things are tense, and they are likely to remain frosty. This has been a pattern since independence that both sides attempt peace, they try to restore peace, and it's always a case of one step forward, another two back. And it's unlikely that will change.

What has happened, though, is the hostilities have spilled into other areas as well. On a one-to-one basis, as Sophia mentioned, it's different. The people speak the same language, they enjoy each other's culture, they enjoy each other's music and films. But when you look at it -- sports, for example, there is nothing as exciting as an India/Pakistan cricket match. But because of the strained relations between the two countries, India and Pakistan don't play cricket on each other's soil. If they have to play cricket, they have to meet in a third location, and that's been the case for the last 11 years. If you look at it from the cultural point of view, yes, they enjoy each other's movie, but just last year, after we had some skirmishes along the border, along the line of control, that Indian producers and directors have said they will not hire Pakistani artists to act in Indian films. So you can see the strained relations over there as well.

So while the will of the people is to have better and closer relations, it doesn't look like that will happen any time soon.

VANIER: Mallika Kapur, in India, and Sophia Saifi, in Pakistan, great talking to you both. Thank you.

We'll take a short break. We'll be right back after this.


[01:45:10] VANIER: Welcome back. Northern India and parts of Nepal are seeing terrible landslides caused by some of the worst weather in decades.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the details - Pedram?


This is a pattern we expect during the monsoons but the significance of this, the widespread coverage of this impressive. Look at the subcontinent here. The monsoons are expected. They are shifting to the north a few weeks ahead of time. In this region of northern India and parts of Nepal, very mountainous region. When you look into the valleys, you have a recipe for heavy rainfall in the mountains but it wants to come back downhill and end up in the valleys. That's where there's flooding and landslide concerns. The mountains scattered about this region as you work your way to the north. Put monsoon moisture in place and scenes like this play out. Northern and northeastern India, where we have multiple buses there at a 1:00 a.m. landslide. Buses were driving across a national highway. A 250-meter stretch of the highway collapses. Almost 50 fatalities across this region this past weekend with heavy rainfall. The pattern is widespread over this region. Over one million people impacted with floods across northern India. Look areas by the ISS, the international space station, shows an image there. Cloud tops coming up to 10 kilometers high. So high that these thunderstorms. The clouds are expanding out to the side. Very impressive setup with wet weather.

In Nepal, the wet weather has brought in upwards of 200 millimeters in a few spots. Scenes like this playing out across Nepal. Almost 50 people have lost their lives across this region. Look at the airport near Katmandu. This plane isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Some 100,000 people left homeless across the region as a result of the floods.

Better story to end with, want to talk about a total solar eclipse in place across the U.S. Pretty interesting animation. We have the sun, the moon, the earth in perfect alignment. This is the first time in 99 years across the continental U.S. where we have this sort of alignment. The path of totality where you get to see it is actually the first time in U.S. history, it will be exclusive only to the U.S. About 100 kilometers in length. Goes from the northwestern U.S. to the southeastern U.S. You have to be in the right place at the right time.

Cyril, when you think of the odds and the rarity of this, a total solar eclipse to go over your head at any point is a one in a 375-year possibility. So one in five lifetimes, you have a path pass above your head. Across the CNN center, it's happening here. So we'll have some great coverage of that as well.

VANIER: I was looking at the path. It goes through northern Georgia, so.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.


VANIER: Pedram, thank you very much. Good to talk to you.

JAVAHERI: Likewise.

VANIER: Seven Syrian rescuers killed in an attack have been buried in an emotional funeral. The White Helmets say unidentified gunmen stormed the office of the volunteers on Saturday and shot them dead. It happened at Idlib, one of the last provinces the Syrian government does not control.

Meanwhile, Syria says it's making progress in recapturing areas controlled by ISIS.

Our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, has more from one of the frontlines in the battle against the terror group.



FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An assault on ISIS in the eastern Syrian desert. The Syrian government says it has drastically stepped up its offensive against the terror group on various fronts and recently released this video showing their gains on the battlefield. (on camera): Syria's military gave us access to one of those

frontlines, where ISIS, too, is increasing the pressure, the local commander says.

(voice-over): "You feel like the fighters of ISIS are brainwashed," he says. They are coming here to died. They're fearless. They fight until the end."

ISIS is attacking this area because it's near a strategic road and a pipeline.

But also, the Syria army believes because the group is losing so much territory in other parts of Syria and in Iraq.


PLEITGEN (on camera): As ISIS gets squeezed out its urban strongholds like Raqqa, more and more of its fighters are coming to this region. The men we're with say they have had to deal with a lot more ISIS attacks than before.



PLEITGEN (voice-over): Sometimes those attacks amount to massacres. ISIS fighters invaded the village of Akarad (ph) in May, killing more than 50 civilians, according to Syrian government media.

Nine-year-old Buddar (ph) says he was forced to watch his mother, brother and two sisters get executed by the militants, only barely surviving himself.


[01:50:03] PLEITGEN: "I acted like I was dead," he said. They started stepping on me but I didn't move at all.

The massacre in Akarad (ph) has fueled hatred towards ISIS among Syrian government troops, vowing to rout the terror group at any cost.


PLEITGEN: "I'm ready to fight day and night against ISIS," this fighter says. We've decided already that ISIS will not get out of this area.

And the commander adds, "Getting rid of ISIS is only a question of time, because the Syrian army has decided to defeat them totally in this area. We tasted their massacres like the one in Akarad (ph)."

(on camera): Both attacking a defending against ISIS are difficult in this desert area. Still, the Syrian army and its Russian backers say ousting the terror group from the southeast of the country is now their main priority, and they hope to accomplish that task in the coming months. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Akarad (ph), Syria.


VANIER: Coming up after this break, Russia hosted a military Olympics to compete against its allies. Did the results surprise Moscow?

Stay with us.


VANIER: As the say goes, all is fair in love and war games, especially for Russia, which won most of the competitions at the annual International Army Games. Twenty-eight mostly non-NATO countries flexed their military muscles in the two week competition.

Oren Liebermann reports.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPODNENT (voice-over): The color-coded tanks give the International Army Games a sense of friendly rivalry. Even the name of the hallmark even, tank biathlon is more reminiscent of the Olympics than a military exercise.

Make no mistake, this is a spectator sport. And it seems all is fair in love and war games.

"I think this shows how developed the Russian armed forces are," says this young woman. "And I'm proud that they can stand up for us. I'm sure now that they can do it."

Russia's latest fighter jet, fifth generation SU-57, highlighting the air show and culminating a century of Russian military history.


[01:55:17] LIEBERMANN (on camera): As the U.S. prepares for its own military exercises with South Korea, this seems Russia's way of reminding the world of its own strategic allies as the Kremlin urges calm in the Korean peninsula.

The competitors list for the army games includes a who's who of countries that Trump has recently threatened, including Iran, China and Venezuela.

(voice-over): Nearly all of the countries competing here were non- NATO countries, the de facto alliance working together.


LEIBERMANN: "I think this is just a showcase of our strength. Don't touch us and, we won't touch anyone," this man says. "And in general, our strategy is world peace. Everyone says so, including the president. This is our truth."


LIEBERMANN: Russia was the heavy favorite after winning the games every year since they started in 2015.


LIEBERMANN: Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, on hand to award the trophy, declined to speak with CNN.

In all, 28 countries took part in 28 events. Russia took first place in 19 of those events. A chance for military glory, without the battle.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Moscow.


VANIER: That's it from me. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

The news continues Next with Natalie Allen and George Howell. You're in good hands. Have a good day.