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Wildfires in California Left Thousands Homeless; Puerto Ricans Asks for More Help from Government; Harvey Weinstein's Evil Side Now Comes to Light; Macaque Monkeys Also Left Without Shelter; Catalonia's Independence Hanging by a Thread; U.S.-Turkey Gap Widens. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 12, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Nearly 8,000 firefighters are taking on the California wildfires, which have left hundreds missing and thousands of families without homes.

More accusers are speaking out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. And more democratic politicians are breaking their silence about the allegations he's facing.

And North Korea's foreign minister says President Donald has licked the wick of war that can only be settled with a hail of fire.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

California is dealing with some of the worst wildfires in the state's history. Nearly 8,000 firefighters have so far been unable to contain 22 fires. Dry conditions and gusty winds are making their jobs very difficult. At least 23 people are now dead, hundreds more are missing.

The fires have destroyed tens of thousands of hectares and forced more than 20,000 people from their homes.

Our Dan Simon has more now from Sonoma County.

DAN SIMON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This fire is still going. You can see the smoke behind me. And obviously there are flames. This is just one small section of this massive wildfire. And the concern is that as the winds kick up that you have the potential for more destruction.

I spent some time Wednesday afternoon in a black hawk helicopter. And two things really struck me. The first, just the sheer level of destruction. Only with that bird's eye view can you really get a whole appreciation of what we're seeing, just street after street, home after home that has been leveled.

The other thing that struck me is just how much active fire there still is. And that is why authorities are still evacuating people, trying to get people to safety. Because there is concern of course with the weather that we could see more active flames approaching people's homes. This fire now this active wildfire is the most destructive in

California history. You have to go back to 1991 that is when we saw 2,900 buildings destroyed. This time around 3,500 destroyed. And unfortunately, this wildfire has the potential to be the deadliest of all time as well.

Dan Simon, CNN in Sonoma County, California.

CHURCH: And Derek Van Dam, our meteorologist joins us now in the studio. The problem here of course is the weather is not helping at all.

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes, that's right. So the wind speed has picked up again but it has also changed direction making it more sporadic for the firefighters to try and contain these blazes. So thanks to a cold front that passed through.

Check this out. I want to give you all the details in terms of the weather. Cold front dropping south across the state right now. Again, that changed the winds from any of the components, the northerly component. And the winds will continue to be blustery through the day today and right through the course of the weekend.

This is in kilometers per hour. Look at the gusts there between 20 to 35 miles per hour. Right now we have 35 active wildfires burning across the state of California. By the way, that has consumed more than six times that of San Francisco.

And speaking of San Francisco, SFO, the international airport there has canceled 115 flights on Wednesday alone with still 60 to 75 minute delays impacting your travel plans. If you're heading in and out of San Francisco today or even into the early parts of your Thursday, look at this, you can see the smoke that has moved in across parts of San Francisco and over the international airport there forcing the cancellations as well.

So what in the world has happened here? Why all this dry weather? Remember, we started 2017 with record breaking precipitation but the Mother Nature decided well, we're going to turn the tap right off, and that's exactly what she did.

So, Mother Nature took advantage of the rainfall, very green setting across the first half of the air and then turned this off and with dry things out so that vegetation quickly became fuel for fires.

We have over five millions Americans at the moment that are under an elevated risk of fire through the course of the day today. Again, expecting those to continue right through the course of the weekend.

Look at the elevated mountainsides across this area. That allows for the fires to spread very rapidly. In fact, when you start to change the slope with the rolling hills that are crossing across central and northern California, a 20-degree slope allows for a fire to travel at about 20 kilometers per hour up hill.

[03:05:00] You increase that slope by 10 degrees and you double the speed of that fire. You change the direction of the wind speed and then makes it even more sporadic for those firefighters. Remember those ambers can get push so easily in the wind and battling the fire up hill that makes it much more difficult.

Well, another thing that people haven't really been speaking about here is the countless number of animals that have also been impacted by this. There's been plenty of ranches and farm lands where they are desperately trying to get their animals away from harm. And some of them have been successful, and some of them unfortunately have not as well. So that's another story, too about this ongoing kind of saga and crisis that's happening across central and northern California.

CHURCH: And it's just horrifying. And of course, those flames move so quickly and in many instances dogs have sounded the alarm...

VAN DAM: That's right.

CHURCH: ... and saved their owner's lives. That's incredible...

VAN DAM: We're so thankful for the volunteers that out there, all 8,000 of them.

CHURCH: OK. All right. Thank you so much, Derek.

VAN DAM: Thanks, Rosie.

CHURCH: I appreciate it. Well, so many lives have been changed forever by these fires. We are hearing emotional stories from those who have lost so much.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So many family heirlooms I thought my whole life I'm going to inherit this someday. This is what I'm going to pass down to my kids. Don't cry. I can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a house. I was telling my wife, you know, I'm not -- I'm not too broken up about the house or the belongings or anything like that, it's just that part of our life is gone. That's what -- that's what hurts the most. It's not the possessions and all that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of our stuff is saved, and I'll take that. My family is safe. That's all that matters.


CHURCH: So many people's lives changed forever.

We move now to another big story we've been following. A growing number of women are accusing movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. At least two dozen women now claim Harvey harassed them including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mira Sorvino.

And according to the New Yorker, three women say Weinstein raped them. Actresses Dawn Dunning describes what happened to her. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAWN DUNNING, ACTRESS: He said, listen, these are contracts for my next three films. I will sign them right now, but I want you to have a threesome with me and my assistant. And, you know, he had pretty raunchy sense of humor. And I thought he was kidding. I laughed, and he got angry at that point. He started yelling at me.

And he said this is how this business works, you will never make it in this industry. This is how x, y, and z have got to where they are. And at that point I turned and went out the door.


CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more out this is Rebecca Sun, she is a senior reporter with the Hollywood Reporter. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So it now appears that Harvey Weinstein's reputation was well-known, Hollywood's open secret, if you like. So let's just listen to what Ronan Farrow said about that very point when he spoke to our Anderson Cooper about his explosive New Yorker piece that came out on Tuesday.


RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORKER: Every single woman in this story, 13 of them talked again and again about a culture of fear, a culture of silenced and a vast machine really designed to shutdown these allegations. You know, they faced off against P.R. operatives who planted smear items. They faced off against lawyers. And we talked at length in this story about the kinds of restricted nondisclosure agreements these women were asked to sign.


CHURCH: So Rebecca, the women involved didn't feel they could speak. And now the spotlight is on those within Weinstein's own company. Why did it take this long to become public knowledge and who at his company knew about his activities and when did they know?

SUN: Well, I think one of the reasons why it took so long is because like anywhere else in the world unfortunately, there's a culture of silence around sexual assault and sexual harassment. And so, you know, women or victims are afraid to come forward for legal, fear of legal reprisal, sometimes, you know, threats of physical danger, you know, financial ruin.

These are all reasons that contributed to the fact that this didn't come out until now. Nobody was willing to risk their lives or livelihoods by going on the record.

[03:09:55] In terms of who knew, you know, you're right, Ronan's report, as well as the New York Times and a lot of the other reports that have come out since then, show that the way that Harvey Weinstein was able to operate involved, you know, enlisting his assistants or other associates in order to sort of serve as honey pots and lure women to his room and then sort of conveniently leave, to sort of clean up the mess afterwards.

And so, other people, there were absolutely other people who had to have known in order to pull these off. How long they knew, for as long as this has been going on.

CHURCH: Yes, and it will be interesting to see on what happens on that point going forward. And of course in his New Yorker article Ronan Farrow interviewed 13 women as he mentioned who said they had been sexually harassed or assaulted by Weinstein. Three women alleged they were raped. And now we're learning that Weinstein has added a criminal defense attorney to his team. He's clearly preparing for the worst. What could happen here?

SUN: So depending on statutes of limitations and where, you know, the specific incidents occurred; there is the possibility of opening up criminal investigations in specific jurisdictions.

And so, that's, you know, one reason why he added, you know, criminal defense attorney to his legal team. You know, if those -- if that's carried forward, he could end up getting charged for anything, you know, from a misdemeanor to felony assaults and it kind of plays out from there.

But absolutely with Ronan Farrow's report in the New Yorker this has escalated to possible felony -- felonies being committed.

CHURCH: And Ronan Farrow also revealed that Harvey Weinstein threatened him personally with a lawsuit. What does that tell us about why we haven't heard very much about this, and what does it say about men in power and sexual assaults?

SUN: Well, yes, Ronan Farrow is not the only person who's been threatened with a lawsuit. So I guess specifically speaking, yes, absolutely. I mean, all of those women who signed nondisclosure agreements Harvey Weinstein being like any powerful person, had almost any legal resources at his fingertips.

And so, certainly it was easy to sort of -- you really had to have all of your docs in a row before coming forward with something like this and that was something that the Italian actress who accused him in 2015, you know, again, found herself really unable to overcome that kind of legal power.

In terms of your question about the culture of silence and the culture of fear, again, threat of litigation is a very, very real threat that is able to serve as a very powerful way to -- powerful method of covering up these sorts of behaviors.

CHURCH: Rebecca Sun, thanks such for talking with us. We appreciate it.

SUN: Thanks a lot. CHURCH: And it's worth noting a New York prosecutor had a chance to

file charges against Weinstein back in 2015. But he decided he didn't have enough evidence.

And as CNN's Jason Carroll reports, that's not the only case that has him under the microscope.


AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: Why you yesterday touched my breast?

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: Please, I'm sorry, just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on, please.

GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?


JASON CARROLL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The 2015 recording of Harvey Weinstein trying to lure a young actress into his hotel room shed a luried light on what some Hollywood insiders call an open secret about Weinstein and his behavior toward women.

The New York district attorney coming under fire for his response to that 2015 incident involving the former movie mogul.


CYPRUS VANCE, NEW YORK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'll take criticism for my decisions but my decisions were based on the law.


CARROLL: Vance said his office determined there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute Weinstein for a misdemeanor.


VANCE: I understand that folks are outraged by his behavior. I understand that there are many other allegations that have surfaced, but in our case we really did what I think the law obligates us to do.


CARROLL: The district's attorney office also seems to blame the New York City Police Department for not bringing them into the case sooner. But the NYPD tell CNN the detectives used well-established investigative techniques. The recorded conversation with the subjects corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim's complaint.

A few months after, Vance decided not to pursue charges against Weinstein in 2015. Nationally known attorney David Boies donated $10,000 to Vance's re-election campaign.

[03:14:53] Weinstein later hired Boies as part of his legal team. Both Boies and Vance deny any link between the donation and the decision not to charge Weinstein.

Vance's campaign spokesman noting, "David Boies was no Mr. Weinstein's lawyer on the case that was in front of the D.A.'s office."


VANCE: It's absolutely legal but it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be re-examined office by office.


CARROLL: Critics were already questioning Vance for legal matters centering on Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr. and another attorney.

In 2012, the Trumps were under investigation for allegedly inflating condo sales at the Trump Soho hotel. But Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr. denied wrongdoing. The office determines while the Trumps may have exaggerated their statements, no laws were broken.

Later, it was learned that Donald Trump, Sr.'s long-time personal lawyer had intervened Marc Kasowitz. And that Kasowitz had donated $25,000 to Vance's re-election campaign.


PAUL CALLAN, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: This was handled poorly. On the other hand, I don't know that I would coral with his ultimate decision.


CARROLL: Vance returned that $25,000 from Kasowitz before initially meeting with him, but later, that same year in 2012 Kasowitz donated another $32,000. That was returned just this month after the second donation was uncovered in a news report. Kasowitz has not responded to CNN's calls for comments.


VANCE: I don't regret as a D.A. having to raise money in order to campaign for office. And nothing that Marc ever contributed or anyone else ever contributed has had the slightest impact on my decision- making.


CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: And many democrats received generous campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein over the years. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she will donate Weinstein's money to charity.

She spoke with CNN's Fareed Zakaria about the allegations against the Hollywood mogul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was just sick. I was shocked. I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way. And you know, like so many people have come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN: Would you have called him a friend?

CLINTON: Yes, I probably would have. And so would so many others. You know, and people in democratic politics for a couple of decades appreciated his help and support. And I think these stories coming to light now and people who never spoke out before, having the courage to speak out just clearly demonstrates that this behavior that he engaged in cannot be tolerated.


CHURCH: And be sure to tune in Sunday to see Fareed Zakaria's entire interview with Hillary Clinton. That is 3 p.m. in London, 10 p.m. in Hong Kong, only here on CNN.

Let's take a short break here. But when we come back, has U.S. President Donald Trump lit the wick of war with North Korea? We will tell you who says, yes, he has.

And later this hour, three weeks after hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico still has a long way to go. The new issues impacting recovery efforts. We're back in a moment.



CHURCH: ... to help reconcile the two sides to form a power sharing government in Gaza and the West Bank.

And CNN's Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem. He joins us now. So, Oren, what have you learning about this reconciliation agreement that was reached and what are the expectations and how is it going to work?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, at this point, both Fatah and Hamas are hailing a reconciliation agreement. And yet neither side has given many details of what's actually included, and that's crucial because the details are where these reconciliation attempts have fallen apart in the past.

In fact, over the last 10 years detail such as what happens to Hamas' military wing and their weaponry and who controls the borders. That's what we're looking to find out. And some of those answers may come out in a press conference held in Cairo in just a few hours.

The only hint as to what might be inside the reconciliation agreement has come from Zakaria al-Agha, who's on the Fatah central committee and says this reconciliation is based on a 2011 document. That was a failed attempt back then, but a document came out of that stipulating elections, who would be in charge and how the prime minister and president would be chosen. He said that is the basis for this reconciliation agreement.

Still, we're looking for the details on how this works. As for expectations, we know just looking at social media coming from Palestinians in Gaza there is already a sense of excitement here. But it tempered. Why? Because the Palestinian authority has not said they'll remove punitive measures they've taken against Gaza, including cutting electricity and cutting salaries.

When Gaza see those measures taken, electricity restored, salaries restored, it will be a full out celebration there.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And the long way to go for sure. But Oren, how significant is this deal and how difficult was it to actually get to this point?

LIEBERMANN: As for the difficulty it's been a decade of trying. This is the fourth (TECHNICAL PROBLEM).


BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: ... back and forth threatening language is very, very high indeed.

Now we do know, for instance, press reports out of Washington indicating that North Koreans through back channels were in touch with republican lawmakers trying to figure out what was behind President Trump's rhetoric. But it's not altogether clear that even the republicans in Washington have a really clear idea of what's going in the mind of President Trump. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And that's exactly what has people in the region and indeed, across the globe very uneasy. So, Ben, what is North Korea likely to make of the increase American firepower on display right now in the region?

WEDEMAN: I'm sure they are in the halls of power in Pyongyang quite alarmed by all of this. We did, for instance, in late September when the United States flew two B1 bombers up north of the 38 parallel which divides the Korean Peninsula in international airspace off the coast of North Korea.

We heard Ri Yong Ho, the North Korean foreign minister threatening that North Korea would shoot those bombers down. Now it's questionable whether the North Koreans even have the capability to do this.

So, I think we can expect more such verbal reactions, but it's hard to say what the North Koreans can do short of something absolutely catastrophic to stop the United States or deter it from these shows of power. Rosemary.

CHURCH: A lot of concern, indeed. Ben Wedeman joining us there with a live report from Seoul in South Korea, where it's nearly 4.30 in the early evening. Many thanks.

Well, still to come, how hurricane Maria has devastated one of the world's most important areas for scientific research. And later, CNN's exclusive sit down with the Catalan president. He

tells us what he thinks is the best way forward. We're back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. This is CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church.

Let's update you now on the main stories we're following.

U.S. President Trump saying Wednesday that he wants the U.S. nuclear arsenal to be, in his words, in tiptop shape. Mr. Trump also said he listens to many different opinions on North Korea and admits his attitude is probably tougher than most. But he says only one opinion really matters. His.

More than two dozen women now accuse movie producer Harvey Weinstein of misconduct. Allegations ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Weinstein denies any claims of non-consensual sex.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton says she would donate Weinstein's contributions to her campaigns to charity.

Crews battling at least 22 wildfires in California are facing dry and windy conditions which could spread the flames even further. At least 23 people have died so far. Hundreds more are missing. About 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed since Sunday.

The wildfires are also tearing through more of California's world famous wine country, destroying the livelihoods of so many who live and work in that region.

Our Miguel Marquez visited one winery now trying to pick up the pieces.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: An enormous swath of northern California threatened by fire. Smoke filled valleys and charred remains of entire neighborhoods in an area known for its natural beauty, good food, and wine.


PIERRE BIREBENT, WINEMAKER: I've been here for 20 years, so it's my mine, yes.

MARQUEZ: How tough is it to see this?

BIREBENT: I want to cry. Trying not to.

MARQUEZ: Pierre Birebent has made wine in Napa Valley for 30 years. In the last 20 at Signorello Winery.

BIREBENT: My dress closet. This is my five cabinets. The door was here. You can see the marks still moving, but there is nothing left.

MARQUEZ: The winery, tasting room and public areas all gone. But the important stuff.

BIREBENT: Looks fine.

MARQUEZ: The barrel room and vintages from this year and last all spared. And the most important part, the vines, the future.

RAY SIGNORELLO, OWNER, SIGNORELLO WINERY: Twenty-eight-year-old vines here, and as you can see this is right on the edge and there's no damage, which really nice to see. The building, I can replace. There's nobody hurt here, which to me is the most important thing.

MARQUEZ: The wine industry pours $57 billion into California's economy.

BIREBENT: When I go back to France, my friend from school (Inaudible) in Napa Valley some three years ago they were kind of making fun about California wine. And now they don't make fun anymore. Say, Napa, yes.

MARQUEZ: Today, no one laughing. Fires still burning, the death toll rising, and communities from miles around bracing for the worst. As those who have been through it start planning for the future.

SIGNORELLO: It's not just Napa. It's Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, all of these areas. I mean, we're on the same boat.

MARQUEZ: With the fires burning from just north of San Francisco to nearly the Oregon border it's an enormous boat. Still in a collision course with fire.

And it's just these sorts of fires that officials are most concerned with. Fires have been burning up in the hills for days. The winds has just changed directions. And what they're afraid of now that they're going to get gusts up to 45 miles an hour. If that happens, whole new communities could be wiped out.

Miguel Marquez, CNN in Sonoma County, California.

CHURCH: Most of Puerto Rico is still without power three weeks after hurricane Maria hit the island. The death toll has risen to 45 while more than 110 others remain unaccounted for.

San Juan's mayor says water quality is a growing issue.


CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: We are now starting to see a lot of health issues conjunctivitis, scabies. There have been two reported deaths, I'm sorry if I say it wrong in English, leptospirosis which is something that you get usually from not only from the rats urine but from animals dying increased where people are drinking water.

[03:35:00] So we are in great effort, great humanitarian efforts, so SOS out there, we need a lot of water, drinking water or we need ways to making non-drinkable water into drinkable water. With respect to San Juan, the supply of food from FEMA has improved.

It's not where it's supposed to be but it has improved. And communications with the federal government have improved.


CHURCH: And people living in the most remote parts of the island are experiencing some of the worst desperation. One volunteer describe what he's encountering as he tries to help.


JASON MADDY, VOLUNTEER, PUERTO RICO: What we are seeing on the ground are what we have for the have past week very limited supplies getting to us. We've been going up into the mountains to help people that are trapped up air and they are isolated.

From what we have been seeing the past couple weeks they had been giving, you know, what we could give them as far as supplies was concerned was one small box milk and six bottles of water per day per family and that's per family.

And sometimes because of rains, the rainstorm are so bad and wash outs there would be days that we couldn't get back up to them. So those families would be dependent on that one box of milk and six bottles of water.


CHURCH: And one part of Puerto Rico devastated by hurricane Maria is a crucial resource for scientific research. Now its future and the role it plays in the research of autism is in doubt.

Lynda Kinkade has that story.

LYNDA KINKADE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's been three weeks since hurricane Maria left tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans hungry and homeless. The effects have being felt by all communities even this group of monkeys.

Since the 1930's, nine generations of monkeys have been studied to further understanding of primate behavior. The island was sufficient of its scientist named Clarence Ray Carpenter who bought the monkeys from India in an effort to study them more easily.

The monkeys are located of the East Coast of the mainland on an island called Cayo Santiago. These were among the best studied primates in the world. The hurricane demolished every man-made structure on the island and left the monkeys.


NOAH SNYDER-MACKLER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: All the buildings were just flatten and destroyed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KINKADE: Noah Snyder-Mackler studies the psychology of the races macaque monkeys and says the project has suffered a major setback.


SNYDER-MACKLER: It's really tempered our ability to collect data so were delayed in that aspect for at least one year.


KINKADE: Researchers fear additional scientific discoveries are at stake if the project is not restored quickly.


SNYDER-MACKLER: I mean, you really don't want to lose this, I think how could this prove ban for human health and, you know, research and human health in general, is it we aren't able to save this vulnerable and extremely valuable population of races macaques that have led to numerous discoveries into understanding human health, the human brain.


KINKADE: This could hinder autism research being conducted on macaque monkeys that have genetic similarities to some humans with autism. But the lack of resources haven't seem to weaken the scientist's dedication to their primate subjects.


SNYDER-MACKLER: But I think more incredible is the resilience of the human primates, this -- our staff and the other Puerto Ricans who despite the fact that they lost almost everything from the storm are still going out on a daily basis to the island to try and help the animals to make sure that they survived and preserved this valuable scientific resource.


KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break. Still ahead this how relations between U.S. and Turkey go from bad to worse. We will explain what's happening between the two NATO allies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They used don't realize, you know, how great you really have that you don't realize there are couple evil in this world.


CHURCH: And CNN' Freedom Project introduces us to a U.S. football champ who is making a difference in the lives of human trafficking survivors. [03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Within the next two hours pro-unity demonstrations will begin in Barcelona, the capital of the Catalan region, as well as the Spanish national day demonstration in Madrid. The Spanish government is working to keep Catalonia under its rule with a thinly veiled ultimatum.

Our Atika Shubert has more.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is really turning the screws on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont basically he's signed an order which put in place a deadline. Puigdemont has until Monday to clarify whether or not he in fact made a formal declaration of independence.

If it is a formal declaration, well that will be against Spanish law. He would then have until Thursday to rescind that declaration. Clearly the prime minister is taking hard lines here and he is saying if the law is not followed he could take much drastic measures such as article 155 which would allow the national government to take control of the regional government here.

Take a listen to what the prime minister said when he addressed the parliament earlier today.


MARIANO RAJOY, PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): This commitment of clarity is even more important now versus the confusion created yesterday with the events that happened in the parliament of Catalonia. The council of ministers has agreed to require formerly the government of Catalonia to confirm if they have declared the Declaration of Independence in spite of the confusion generated by the suspension.


SHUBERT: While the ball is now firmly in the court of the Catalonian government they have until Monday to respond.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Barcelona.

CHURCH: And our Nic Robertson got an exclusive interview with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. Here is part of the conversation.


NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Are you concern that the Spanish government could invoke article 155 that you could be arrested. Do you worry about?

CARLES PUIGDEMONT, PRESIDENT OF CATALONIA (through translator): The Spanish government has no reason to invoke article 155 and it would be a mistake. I'm worried that they may do it because it would not be walking towards a solution of the conflict. And obviously, my detention what could would that be? I'm not a criminal.

I do what my parliament asks me to, what Catalans voted for. It would not only be unjustified my detention, it would be a terrible mistake. It's not the time to send people to prison because of political discrepancies.

ROBERTSON: But what is your bottom line, is your bottom line that you would accept a referendum that the Spanish government accepts, a referendum about independence you said in your speech yesterday, what about the Scotland scenario in Britain, would you accept that type of referendum accepted by Madrid?

PUIGDEMONT (through translator): Of course, we are ready to accept the referendum like the one that took place in Scotland. We tried that in the past but the door still open. Of course it's a good scenario. Why, because it is what the vast majority of people are willing to accept inside and outside of Catalonia and it's a good solution. I'm willing to work on all conditions that would allow Scottish scenario.

ROBERTSON: Your critics here in Catalonia say that you are dividing the people that you are damaging business here. Don't you worry about what you're doing to Catalonians?

[03:44:56] PUIGDEMONT (through translator): My responsibility is obviously to pay attention to what happens and to be worried when things don't thrive. But look, the problem started after the use of violence by police forces deployed in Catalonia. We're facing a political problem which must be solve within politics not with police.


CHURCH: Well, diplomatic relations between Turkey and the U.S. have been strained in recent years but the two NATO allies may have reached their lowest point yet.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has snubbed the American ambassador saying he no longer recognizes John Bass as the U.S. representative. And visa services between the two countries have been suspended.

This all comes after Turkish member of the U.S. consulate staff was arrested last week. The Turkish government provided no details of the arrest except to say it was for terrorism.

Well, CNN producer Gul Tuysuz joins us now from Istanbul with the very latest. Gul, how bad is this and what efforts are being made to try to find a solution to this diplomatic crisis?

GUL TUYSUZ, PRODUCER, CNN: The relationship between Turkey and the U.S. is at an all-time low. It's never seen relation get as bad as suspending visa services between these countries which are traditional allies are members of the same NATO alliance.

Since this diplomatic grow erupted over the weekend, we have the first steps being taken on high official levels last night with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson having a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and that was really a step that's trying to hoots this relationship back in step to where it was before perhaps.

In that phone call, apparently U.S. State -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came out and said and expresses his profound concern for the arrest, over the arrest of the U.S. consular mission the Turkish national that was detained by Turkish police.

He said that this needs to be communicated more clearly that the Turkish side needs to show evidence, credible evidence around these accusations which are great accusations of, you know, terrorism and espionage and the sort.

And Turkish officials also coming out and saying that there will be a U.S. delegation headed here to try to solve the visa crisis but whether or not this relationship can be repaired to its former glory is something that we'll have to watch and see, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, that is certainly the big question. Gul Tuysuz joining us there from Istanbul in Turkey, where it is nearly 11 o'clock in the morning. Many thanks.

CNN's Freedom Project is committed to the fight against modern-day slavery and amplifying the voices of victims.

Our Don Riddell introduces us to a U.S. pro football player, a Super Bowl winner who went to the Dominican Republic to help human trafficking survivors.

DON RIDDELL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: How will they remember you when you're gone, will it be the tackles, the blacks, the championship rings or perhaps something else.

Max Garcia has only been in the NFL for two full years but already he is Super Bowl champion. The giant Denver Broncos god is now trying to make an impact off the field as well.


MAX GARCIA, FOOTBALL GUARD, DENVER BRONCOS: When you're done plan, when the lights are off, you know, and no one wants to talk to you anymore, when you're not famous anymore you're going to look back and say what did I do that really made a difference in this world.

RIDDELL: So that's why he ventured to the Dominican Republic to get a firsthand look at something others often turn a blind eye to, the trafficking and the exploitation of children in a country where we reported one out of every 10 victims of commercial sexual exploitation is a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable that's the norm. (Inaudible).

RIDDELL: Before the turn of the new season Garcia and a handful of other NFL players made the trip, some brought their wives and girlfriends to lend a hand but Max brought his mom. GARCIA: I knew I'd be proud of my mother, she's been here three times before and I just thought it would be a great experience for us to have together.

SONIA GARCIA, MAX GARCIA'S MOTHER: It means a lot because I think his passion on helping others is just seen how he cares for everybody else.

[03:49:57] RIDDELL: In 2017 to pro athletes and their families have donated $1 million to IJM but it goes beyond just the money. In Santo Domingo these players met young girls who had been exploited but who were now trying to rebuild their lives.

On this occasion Max heard from a young woman only 18 who shared her story about her exploitation and what she went through to survive.

GARCIA: You know, as then she was marching off, you know, I was hearing testimony, so start to realize, you know, how great you have it, you don't realize a couple of evil are in this world. I feel angry, you know, someone will try to get advantage with a person like that.

RIDDELL: It's not just young girls who are trapped and victimized but boys, too. These children have been rescued and they're in the process of being rehabilitated. And even though it was only for a few precious hours Max was able to make them smile again, something that wasn't lost on Fernando Rodriguez, IJM's local field office director.

FERNANDO RODRIQUEZ, FIELD OFFICE DIRECTOR, IJM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: It's also just a great opportunity for these young survivors that are going to be able to play some games where they can engage and enjoy the fun because sometimes the world scares with them.

GARCIA: You know, the world and have fun. I mean, they don't really know who we are but that doesn't.

S. GARCIA: For him to experience this see what's happening in the real world is a lot and I know he's going to take all of these with them and spread the word.

RIDDELL: The three and IJM hosted speaking events and supporting them during the NFL week, Max will take what's he's learned here and help deliver the message to a wider audience. He also thinks that things will now be different between he and his mom.

M. GARCIA: And a lot of ways I'm the way that I am because of her and the life that she's led. I think it's something that will both look back and say this really was a pivotal moment in our relationship as a mother and son.

RIDDELL: Don Riddell, CNN, Dominican Republic.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. A major milestone in the history of the Boy Scouts of America for the first time since its founding back in 1910. The Boy Scouts will begin accepting girls. The organization says it took the step after receiving millions of requests from girls to join. The Girl Scouts organization which is almost as old was not very pleased as you would imagine.

It accuses the Boy Scouts of accepting girls to boost declining membership. The Girl Scouts sent out this defiant tweet, "We are the best leadership organization in the world for girls and no one can do what we do. Diversity is our strength."

When it comes to world leaders perhaps there is none thought to be as ruthless as ruthless testosterone filled as feared as Russia's Vladimir Putin. But maybe that's not the whole story. Maybe, just maybe there is a soft cuddly side to former KGB spy.

Here is CNN's Amara Walker.

AMARA WALKER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: When planning to negotiate with the Russian president ordinary tactics might not work on the notoriously fierce leader. But if you bring a puppy Vladimir Putin's heart might just melt.

The Turkmenistan leader gifted Putin a top breed pup during their meeting Wednesday. Both men seemed all smiles while Putin held the belated birthday present and pose for a photo op. If you know Putin you know this was a smart move.

[03:55:07] The Russian alpha dog had a history of mixing politics with pooches whether it's the Japanese Prime Minister for a summit in Sochi or the former Italian prime minister for talks on energy cooperation, or in a meeting with Tony Blair outside Moscow, or having the former U.S. president wait and he greets the family pup or even racquetball with the Russian prime minister.

You can't hang with Putin if you don't like his dogs. He made that abundantly clear in a 2007 press conference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel who has a reported fear of dogs was photographed looking distinctly uncomfortable with Putin's Labrador and Putin distinctly seem to not care.

While the Russian president maybe a former KGB agent with a reputation as a tough guy he's often revealed his softer side in a long and sometimes illustrious relationship with the animal kingdom. Shaking hands with the walrus, throwing treats to dolphins at the zoo, feeding baby elk at a Russian National Park are among his most cuddly photo- ops.

And that's him in 2012 leading a flock of Siberian light crane to safety in hang glider. Putin help the endangered birds prepare for migration and what was dubbed the quote, "flight of hope."

He is also the proud owner of the tiger who he received on his 56th birthday and has personally helped oversee the care of endangered tigers in Siberia. Before you get all choked up don't forget Putin is a hunter and a man's man who rides shirtless to the Russian countryside.

Amara Walker, CNN.

CHURCH: Lots of the different images to digest there.

Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with any time on Twitter. I love to hear from you. And the news continues with our Max Foster in London.

You're watching CNN. Have a great day.