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Police search site west of London after Dover arrest; US administration denies shift on Paris accord; Hurricane Maria on its way to the Caribbean; St. Maarten slowly starting to recover; 60 percent of the fleeing Rohingyas are children, says UN; Catalonian mayors back independence referendum

Aired September 17, 2017 - 02:00   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: British authorities make a significant arrest in the subway attack, but the search for more clues goes on.

Reports suggest the White House could be softening its hardline on the Paris climate deal, but the Trump administration says that's not true.

It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen. We're live in Atlanta. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

British authorities are still hunting for clues on Friday's bombing on the London tube. An arrest has been made in the case, but officials say the suspect may not have acted alone.

For more, here's CNN's Nima Elbagir. She is in London.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The return to normal of Parsons Green station behind me here belies the unfolding of a major counterterror operation, firstly, in the suburbs to the west of London, deep in the commuter belt.

Houses have been evacuated. Streets have been cordoned off. An address linked to the significant arrest of an 18-year-old man at the Dover Port departure area earlier today is still being searched by authorities.

The London police commissioner says that all this is going on while the terror threat level remains at critical, perhaps indicative of the broader concerns playing through the minds of authorities here.

This, they believe, is part of a significant shift in the tactics being employed by jihadis.

CRESSIDA DICK, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have a very considerable threat. My colleagues in the intelligence agencies would say that this is a shift in threat. It's not just spike.

I won't go on in detail about that, but it is a change to threat. That does not by any means necessarily mean that people have to get used - God forbid that they should get used to repeated attacks. We are doing everything we can.

ELBAGIR: As ISIS' territorial footprint has been eroded in Iraq and Syria, increasingly, authorities are concerned that the uptick in terror incidents that we've seen here in the UK, the four or five attacks in the last six months, that that sadly will result in Londoners, residents in streets like this across the UK, having to get used to picking up their lives and getting back to normal as soon as they can, as they have done here in the streets of Parsons Green.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


ALLEN: The White House says it has not changed its position on quitting the Paris Climate Accord. Earlier, a European diplomat told reporters it appeared the US had softened on the issue. Not so according to the White House. It says President Trump's remarks in June still stand.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.


ALLEN: CNN's Athena Jones has more now on how the confusion over the White House position came about.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Right, the White House is pushing back on this "Wall Street Journal" report. This is the statement we got from Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters.

She said there has been no change in the United States' position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.

Now, that very much echoes what we heard from the president in that Rose Garden address back in June when he said we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair.

That has been the key to the White House's argument here that this deal is not fair to the US, that it hurts the US economy and US workers.

And we should mention that this is a campaign promise. This is something that candidate Trump ran on doing. He ran on canceling the Paris accord. Now, it's important to remember that, even though he announced that the US will be withdrawing in June, this is a lengthy process under the terms of the Paris agreement. It was something that was going to take until November of 2020.

It's also important to note that the US sets its own goals when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under this agreement, and so that is something the US could look to change - to change those targets that it set for itself.

But this has now become something of a muddle, now that you have this EU official telling reporters what a White House official told the EU official. This is something that the White House is going to have to address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

Top economic adviser Gary Cohn was already set to meet on the sidelines of that summit with climate ministers from about a dozen countries. They're going to want to hear what the White House's stance is on this, if there has been any change.

[02:05:05] But this also speaks to the larger challenge the president faces, heading into the UN General Assembly, which is how to promote his America First agenda at a meeting of the United Nations, a global body that is all about addressing global issues.

A-hundred-and-ninety-five countries signed on to this climate accord. They certainly see this as a global issue, the issue of climate change. So, we'll have to wait and see whether the White House has any more to say about their stance on this in the coming days.

Back to you.


ALLEN: Derek Van Dam joins me now. And you're not going to believe this, but it seems like more hurricane misery may be headed toward the Caribbean.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It was just over a week ago that we saw complete destruction of some of those islands across the Caribbeans, Barbuda and into the St. Maarten region.

Check out this image. This is one of many images that, obviously, we've seen within the past week of the destruction down there from Hurricane Irma.

And I put the title on there "not again." Unfortunately, it is happening again. Well, they have had a string of very, very bad luck - Hurricane Jose, then Irma, and now Maria.

This is the latest tropical storm warnings or rather watches, I should say, for the Leeward and Windward Islands that stretches from St. Maarten all the way to the Grenadines. And this storm is packing quite a punch.

Eighty-five kilometer per hour sustained winds, higher gusts at the moment. But they're showing sign of strengthening. This is the official track from the National Hurricane Center. You can see how it starts to strengthen to equivalent of a Category 3 Atlantic hurricane that makes it a major hurricane. Winds nearly 200 kilometers per hour by the middle of next week.

Now, we have three main storms across the Atlantic right now. Unbelievable, because a week ago, we also had a similar situation with hurricanes spinning up left, right and center.

Of course, we've just now passed over the peak hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. We're still monitoring Jose that will - set to bring large waves and dangerous rip currents to the entire East Coast of the United States today through the rest of the weekend and early parts of next week.

It does, however, bring the cone of uncertainty or path of uncertainty just off the New England coast line, perhaps into the Cape Cod area. If this storm system spreads out, we could pick up strong winds and also some showers that move across the region.

You can see the probability of tropical storm force winds extend from Cape Hatteras basically to Cape Cod. But that continues to diminish as time goes on.

We get these new models coming in from the National Weather Service. You can see significant waves associated with the system. That will be a concern.

And I am going to leave you with this stat because this is quite astounding. We have had six years within satellite era data available to us where we've had 13 or more name storms as of September 2016 and we can add 2017 to that one, kind of an infamous list there. We all remember 2005 with Katrina and Wilma.

ALLEN: Yes, certainly. But 2017 -

VAN DAM: Here we are.

ALLEN: - My goodness.

(INAUDIBLE 3:07) you have been there down in Florida. Our colleague Cyril Vanier is on St. Maarten and he is on the southern sides. (INAUDIBLE 3:14) the north is administered by France, the south by the Netherlands and he found the folks there are building back and coming back and with the help from a little Domino's Pizza. Here's his story.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is still a lot of damage and destruction in St. Maarten, no doubt about that. These power lines are down, those street lights here and there were ripped off by the winds of Hurricane Irma and the island is nowhere near done picking up all this trash and debris that is littering all of St. Maarten.

And yet, it feels like the island is starting to turn a corner. Let me just show you what recovery is looking like on this one street alone.

(voice-over): Unmistakable through the decay, the smell of fresh dough. And when you get closer, the promise of a pepperoni topping.

Domingo's Pizza churning out pies, at least 300 since this morning. They're free for relief workers, 30 percent off for everyone else - the hurricane rates.

Owner John Caputo wanted to give back to the island that welcomed him 25 years ago. It's good business. It's also just the right thing to do.

JOHN CAPUTO: Amazing job guys. Good job.

VANIER (on-camera): You can tell people are hungry still.

CAPUTO: Oh, yes. And it's one of the things that surprises me more than anything that it's - food is not getting to those who need quick enough and we're probably one of the first places they are able to open our doors to provide (INAUDIBLE 4:37).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never loved Domino's more my life than today.

VANIER (voice-over): Two blocks down, the local gas station at long last open to the public. Until now, only the military had access and the fortunate few who could pull some strings.

Yes, the line is long, three hours; and the gasoline is rationed, $20 max; but it's worth it.

[02:10:02] (on-camera): How long you've been without gas, tell me about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About a week, two weeks.

VANIER: Two weeks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our houses are gone. We don't have anything, but then we have each other.

VANIER (voice-over): A few hours of power, perhaps a few car trips across town. One jerrycan doesn't last forever, but that's as good as you'll get right now in St. Maarten. And it trickles down to those who need it.

Nearby, an improvised charging station kindly left out for neighbors, just enough to call relatives.

At the end of the road, another sign of recovery, this one barely noticeable. One by one, hurricane shutters are coming down.

Cyril Vanier, Dutch side of St. Maarten, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) houses are gonethen we have each other.

ALLEN: A violent military crackdown against Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar is fueling a humanitarian catastrophe.

The UN says it appears Myanmar is carrying out ethnic cleansing. Nearly, 400,000 Rohingya have fled making the dangerous trek to Bangladesh, but there's no more space at the refugee camps there. And many are in desperate need of water and food. Aid groups cannot keep up.


CHRISTOPHE BOULIERAC, UNICEF SPOKESMAN: All the needs are not met so far. Four hundred thousand people arriving in three weeks. That's the equivalent of the population like Canberra.

We believe there are 60 percent of children among them. That means maybe 230,000, 240,000 children. They are clearly at risk.

No, the needs have not been met. We are scaling up our response. The children are the most vulnerable. They need safe access, they need protection, they need the nutrition and they need also to keep going to school.


ALLEN: Activists say now is the time to prevent a genocide of Rohingya, often called the world's most persecuted minority.

Some call it justice, others say it's civil disobedience, but just about everyone in Spain have something to say about next month's planned referendum.

More than 700 mayors from across the country's Catalonia region met Saturday to show their support for the independence vote. Madrid considers the vote illegal. Catalonia's president says that's not preventing supporters of the vote from moving forward.


CARLES PUIGDEMONT, CATALONIAN PRESIDENT: To those who threaten us, like Mr. Rajoy, for those who look somewhere else or just avoid their crisis, for those who keep denying what is evident, do not underestimate the strength of the people in Catalonia.

They can have a lot of laws, but there's something they don't have. They don't have you. They don't have the people of Catalonia. They don't have it.


ALLEN: In Catalonia's informal 2014 vote, 80 percent supported independence.

That is a shortened version of CNN NEWROOM.