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Changing Stories Spark Credibility Crisis For Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani Stealing the President's Headlines; Status of Americans Detained in North Korea Unclear; Hawaii Evacuation Order after Volcanic Eruption; At least 100 People Killed in Intense Storm in India; Expensive Pollen Problem Peaks in Japan; Celebrating Free Press; Human Trafficking in Hong Kong: "Atik's Story"; Giro D'Italia Begins Soon in Jerusalem. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 4, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:09] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: It is hard to take the spotlight from President Donald Trump, but his friend, and new lawyer, has done just that.

A military buildup in the hotly contested South China Sea has prompted a warning from the White House to Beijing.

And, happening right now, a volcano erupting on the big island of Hawaii is forcing thousands to get to safety. The very latest just ahead.


Hello everyone, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church, here in Atlanta. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

It was President Donald Trump admitting he paid the hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. Raising questions, again, can the American people trust what's coming from the White House?

Here's senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended herself, and the president, saying they were giving accurate information at the time as they knew it, as it relates to the changing story about Stormy Daniels.

But, it's also clear Sarah Sanders said she only learned about that last night watching television. That's one clear sign this credibility crisis is rooted in the oval office.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What a day. What a beautiful day.


ZELENY: President Trump, searching for rays of optimism today. Amid more White House whiplash over new revelations he was the source of hush money paid to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Rudy Giuliani, one of the president's new lawyers, contradicting months of denials the president knew anything about the $130,000 payment his lawyer Michael Cohen made to the adult film star.


RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: Funneled through the law firm and then the president repaid it.


ZELENY: Those four words "the president repaid it" are at odds with everything the president, and the White House, have led Americans to believe.

It's clear Trump and his new legal team are waging a two front war, a political fight and a legal one. By trying to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, their hoping to inoxilate (ph) themselves for the outcome of an investigation for which they cannot control.

A month ago, Mr. Trump said this on Air Force One.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don't know.


ZELENY: In the rose garden today, at a National Day of Prayer ceremony, he did not answer a central question weighing on the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, why are you changing your story on Stormy Daniels?

ZELENY: In a string of Tweets, he acknowledged the payment and the legal rational. Saying, "The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair".

Cohen, the president's long time lawyer and confidant, is under FBI investigation and issues whether the $130,000 paid to keep Stormy Daniels from telling about her alleged affair with the president, could be seen as an illegal campaign contribution.

Giuliani addressed that point during interviews on Fox News, when he insisted Cohen was paid back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: He was definitely reimbursed. There's no doubt about it. If we had to defend this as not being a campaign contribution, I think we could do that. This was for personal reasons.


ZELENY: CNN has learned White House officials were caught off guard by Giuliani's remarks, a point he did not dispute. He told CNN, "They were, there was no way they wouldn't be. The president is my client, I don't talk to them".

For months White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has denied allegations of the president's affair or knowledge of the hush money. She said today she was not knowingly misleading Americans.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The first awareness I had was during the interview last night. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Now, Sanders said the president eventually learned about the payment that was made, but she did not say how. In a separate question at the briefing, she was asked if the president believes he's above the law. She had a one word answer for that, she said, "No".

CHURCH: Alright. So, let's talk more about all of this with John Phillips. He is a CNN political commentator, talk radio host and Trump supporter. And, Caroline Heldman, a democratic strategist and associate professor of politics at Occidental College, and they join me, again, from Los Angeles. Of course we spoke last there, good to have you back with us.

So, Caroline, let's start with you this time. a day after Rudy Giuliani dropped his bombshell, essentially contradicting everything the president and the White House had been saying up to this point about the Stormy Daniels hush money, and of course, the firing of James Comey, a whole lot of other things as well.

But, would you consider Giuliani a loose cannon? Or, is he now the new voice of Donald Trump delivering a new legal strategy?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, PROFESSOR OF POLITICS, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE: Well, I think he's a loose cannon, given the fact that the White House didn't know what he was going to say, and that he actually harmed Donald Trump's legal case.


He acknowledged that Donald Trump made a payment. So, the question is if it didn't come from the campaign and it wasn't an FEC violation, it didn't appear in his personal disclosures. So, it must be a violation of that, either way, he got the president - - his admission go the president into hot water. [01:00:05] He also seemed to confirm what a lot of legal analysts are saying is obstruction of justice by saying, yes, he fired Comey having to do with the Russian investigations. So, he's not helping the President's case.

I can't imagine that Donald Trump would be happy about this. Especially given the fact that Rudy Giuliani is dominating the headlines and everyone knows Trump doesn't like others to dominate his headlines.


CHURCH: Right. And, John, on Thursday at the White House press briefing we saw Sarah Sanders really struggle in actual fact. She was bombarded with questions about the Giuliani interviews and the information that he revealed. She's been put in a pretty impossible spot.

Let's just listen to a portion of what she had to say.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We give the very best information that we have at the time.

Again, we give the best information possible at the time, and again, I've given the best information I had at the time.

Again, I gave you the best information that I had.

I gave the best information that I had.

Again, I'm giving the best information I have. Some information I'm aware of and some I'm not.


CHURCH: So, John, we get it. She's not getting any information, right? I mean, is that any way to run an administration where the press secretary is put on the spot like that? Finding out what's going on in the Trump administration by watching television?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's certainly how you handle these sorts of situations. Rudy Giuliani is an outside counsel, it's called an outside counsel for a reason. He works for the president, she works for the White House.

She's there to talk about policy, she's there to talk about politics, she's there to talk about everything related to that. Rudy Giuliani is clearly now the point man on this particular subject. If I were Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I would just refer all of those questions to Rudy Giuliani.


And, I would note Rudy Giuliani is someone who is a seasoned lawyer. This guy - - it's not his first time at the rodeo. He helped put the mob is prison. He was a mayor of a big city, the big city of New York and he's a guy who's doing a job that really has an audience of one, and that is President Trump.

And, all indications are - - everything I've seen and read, and from people that I've talked to, is that the president was very happy with the job that Rudy Giuliani did out there on Fox and out there on TV today. The president likes it when his defenders, when his supporters, are out there and they're arguing very passionately on his behalf.

Let's not forget, this is a guy that brought Anthony Scaramucci into the White House.


And, almost didn't give Callista Gingrich an ambassadorship, because he thought that Newt Gingrich was such an effective television presence arguing for him and his policies.

CHURCH: Well, Scaramucci didn't last very long, didn't he?

So, Caroline --

PHILLIPS: He did go out with a bang, though.


CHURCH: He certainly did.

Caroline, back to you. When you hear John explain the situation with Giuliani, he's outside counsel, so it's okay and he's voicing what Mr. Trump wants to hear. But, of course, the legal team - - the president's legal team is in disarray now, completely blindsided by this.

So, do you think that explains what's going on here?

HELDMAN: No, I think that John is doing a fine a job of spinning, but I don't know how you spin your way out of this. I think Rudy Giuliani did not do the White House any favors. He definitely gave more ammunition to Mueller.


And, we've seen Donald Trump really go on the offensive with Mueller, his new strategy ride is to use the media to bludgeon him and I think it really works, right? As a recovering evangelical, he's using this kind of evangelical framing of being persecuted. This persecution complex, which is really resonating, right?


He's painting himself as a martyr and we see that, indeed, support with Republicans from Mueller has plummeted in the past month. So, I think this - - you know, this doesn't help him. The president was actually on a pretty good spin strategy to try to dissuade voters from supporting Mueller, because I think he's really desperate.

He is worried about the outcome of this, because there's ample evidence of obstruction of justice. The question now is whether or not there is evidence of collusion?

CHURCH: Alright. So, let's take a listen now to what Giuliani had to say on Fox and Friends.


GIULIANI: We got Kim Jong-un impressed enough to be releasing three prisoners today and I've got to go there, and Jay Secco (ph) (inaudible). We have to go there and prepare them for this silly deposition about a case in which he supposedly colluded with the Russians, but there's no evidence of that.


CHURCH: Caroline, first, the three U.S. detainees were not released Thursday, as Giuliani said there. What did you make of what he was trying to say there?

HELDMAN: I think he was trying to paint himself as a hero. Rudy Giuliani may have done a lot of great things, as John pointed out, but this is a man that didn't remember that Hilary Clinton was on his right hand side during 9/11.

I mean, his best days are definitely behind him. So, I really vehemently disagree that the president likes him going out and speaking about things that he doesn't have the authority to speak on.

CHURCH: John, it's embarrassing when you've got Rudy Giuliani saying that those three U.S. detainees in North Korea would be released Thursday. Thursday has come and gone, but they have not been released.

[01:00:10] I mean, we're hearing from North Korea it's eminent, but he was wrong to say that.

PHILLIPS: Well, I mean hopefully it'll happen in due time. What do they say, that bad things happen fast and good things take forever?

But, I think the frustration that you saw from Rudy Giuliani there, is a frustration that is common at the White House right now. Good things are happening around the world.

If there is peace between the Koreas, for example, President Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for that. He passed his tax cut bill, he put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. There's a lot to be celebrated.

There's a lot of good stuff that's going on, but the only thing that his critics want to talk about is this investigation and it - - it - - it's really harming the ability to push his public policy proposals through.

CHURCH: Alright. We'll have to leave it there.

John Phillips, Caroline Heldman, thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

HELDMAN: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, the White House says it cannot confirm reports that three Americans held in North Korea will soon be freed. One of those reports came, as we just mentioned from the U.S. President's lawyer, who said the prisoners would be freed on Thursday.

Our Brian Todd has more now from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fate of three Americans detained by Kim Jong-un's regime is a mystery. An official with knowledge of the negotiations over the three men, tells CNN the release is eminent. President Trump Tweeted, "Stay tuned".

Rudy Giuliani, the president's new legal advisor, but not a government employee, made a bold promise.


GIULIANI: We got Kim Jong-un impressed enough to be releasing three prisoners today.


TODD: But, other officials inside the White House and State Department could not verify that the three would be released eminently.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We can't confirm the validity of the reports currently out about their release.


TODD: Some administration officials told CNN they were frustrated that Giuliani was saying too much too soon. One U.S. official told us they were confident of a release, but officials say they're working to verify reports that the three Americans had been moved from labor camps to a hotel in Pyongyang.


BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S.-NORTH KOREA NEGOTIATOR: Well, what the North Koreans do is, right before they release hostages, they give them good food, they put them in a hotel, they move them from prisons, those are good signs, but they were unjustly apprehended. TODD: Tony Kim and Kim Hak-seong, teachers at a Pyongyang Science University, were arrested in the spring of last year, accused of hostile acts against North Korea.

The American longest held Kim Dong-Chul, was arrested in October 2015, charged with spying for South Korea. When CNN interviewed him two years ago, he seemed to be aware the North Korea were monitoring the conversation.


KIM DONG-CHUL, AMERICAN PRISONER IN NORTH KOREA: I committed an act of espionage against North Korea. I gathered information about its nuclear program and military facilities.


TODD: South Korean intelligence denied that.


GREG SCARLATOIU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: That was definitely a forced confession. We have seen this done to many other American detainees, actually, all American detainees.


TODD: Joseph Yun former U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, was the official who went last year to get American Otto Warmbier out of Pyongyang just before Warmbier died. Yun says he was the last non- North Korean to see the three Americans currently being held in June of last year.


TODD: What was their condition then?

JOSEPH YUN, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA POLICY: I saw them, of course, in the presence of North Korean authorities. I talked to one by one, all three of them, and certainly when I asked them how their health was they responded it was good.


TODD: Former negotiators say Kim Jong-un is releasing the Americans because he knows a summit with President Trump won't happen if he doesn't. What conditions could they have faced in the labor camps?


GREG SCARLATOIU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: They are under extraordinary pressure, there is of course, psychological pressure. As we have learned from many of the former hostages there is actual physical torture involved as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: The three Americans will undoubtedly debriefed by U.S. intelligence when they get out and will be able to give some information about where they were held, and other conditions, but veteran negotiators and human rights experts tell us there's a lot they won't be able to say.

They tell us that in North Korea, American detainees are held separately from North Korean prisoners, and given much better food and other conditions. The last thing Kim Jong-un wants, they say, is for the Americans to be able to give specific information about just how harsh North Korean labor camps really are.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: And our Paula Hancock joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea.

Paula, we've been getting all this conflicting information regarding the possible release of these three U.S. detainees in North Korea. What is the latest information you're getting?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one official who is familiar with these ongoing negotiations tells CNN that the release is eminent. Now, they don't give any more details than that, there's no more specific timeframe, just eminent.


[01:0015] Saying that it's been months in the making, this deal that Ri Yong-ho, the North Korean Foreign Minister, traveled to Sweden in March. Sweden represents the U.S. when it comes to North Korea, and they had actually proposed - - he had proposed, that these three be released.

Now, at that point, we understand from this official, that the U.S. officials had said they didn't want it linked to denuclearization. They wanted there to be a loose connection and not to affect that in any way.

Now, we have heard from the White House, we've heard from the State Department, that they can't confirm that this is eminent. They can't confirm reports that potentially these three individuals have been moved from a labor camp, or a labor correction facility, to a hotel in Pyongyang.

So, at this point, it's very difficult to pinpoint exactly when they might be detained, but there is an overwhelming opinion that they will be.


Either ahead of this summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, or during it.


CHURCH: We're hoping that that happens very soon.

We're following another developing story. The New York Times reporting that President Trump has requested options for the removal of the U.S. troops in South Korea. What might that signal? And, how would South Korea react to such a move?

HANCOCKS: Well, we've had a response from the White House already, from the national security chief saying that it's simply not true. Now, this was told to Blue House by the South Korean National Security Chief, Chung Eui-yong, who is currently in Washington.

He's expected to meet with John Bolton on Friday, as well, to talk about the upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Potential dates, potential locations and also to debrief a little more on the North-South Korean summit, which happened a week ago.

So, at this point, the White House has denied that report.

CHURCH: Alright. Just after 2:15 in the afternoon in Seoul, South Korea. Our Paula Hancocks joining us live from there, many thanks, as always.

Well, parts of Hawaii are under mandatory evacuation after one of the state's most active volcanos erupted.


You are looking now at smoke rising from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's big island along the east coast, almost 800 structures are threatened. Steam and lava a bubbling up from cracks in a subdivision. Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes have shaken this part of the island.

Authorities have opened shelters and ordered more than 1,700 people to leave immediately.


So, let's get the latest now from Ken Rubin, the Chair of the University of Hawaii's Department of Geology and Geophysics. He joins us now from Honolulu.

Thank you so much, sir, for talking with us. So, what is the latest information that you have on this eruption? And, just how bad will this likely be?

KEN RUBIN, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII: Well, it's difficult to say how bad it can get, but a fissure opened up and lava came out of it.


And, it was about 4:45 this afternoon, which is about two and a half hours ago and the lava started spreading away from that fissure. It opened up in the vicinity of some homes, but at least the earliest reports from people who have been evacuating the area is that, so far - - at least as of about 15 minutes ago, no structures had been hit by the lava yet, but it is a populated area.

It's sparsely populated and we anticipate that things could get bad, if we use the last two eruptions in that area as any guide. They happened in 1955 and 1960, the last two eruptions that initiated down there.


And, they caused some fairly extensive damage.

CHURCH: So, Ken, how many people are we talking about, who were in that particular area, who might be affected by this directly?

RUBIN: It's a great question, and I don't have an exact answer for you, because this is part of the island - - some people go there to be sort of off the grid.


But, I would say we're talking about probably something like 1,000 or 2,000 people living in that immediate area. It is sparsely populated, it is rural.

CHURCH: And, we're hearing about, what 1,700 or so have been evacuated already?


Or, in the process of being evacuated, is that right?

RUBIN: Yes. Yes, correct, and those numbers are a little bit influx. The civil defense and the Hawaii volcano observatory of the U.S. geological survey have known about the potential for this eruption for about two days.

There have been a lot of earthquakes in the area, and so they've been making plans, everything's very organized.


And, I think as we learn more about exactly where the fissure is, or how many fissures are going to open up, they'll have a better idea about how many more people might need to be evacuated. But, I think they've been you know, taking a pretty conservative view of this and asked many people to evacuate just in case.

[01:20:10] CHURCH: Alright, we're actually looking at new video right now, as you speak. This has just come in to CNN in that subdivision near that volcano. I mean, the thing here that - - there will be some people who will remain, despite the mandatory evacuation.

Is that what you've found in the past? That's certainly what we've found with past situations like this.

RUBIN: Yes, absolutely. There's a whole range of reasons why people live in the area. I've already seen some reports on a local news - - some interviews with folks that are - - I'm not going to say celebrating, but they're happy to see the Hawaiian goddess Pele, who is the personification of volcanos and volcanic fire.

You know, it takes all type, many people live in this area, they have sort of long cultural roots to it and I think they sort of anticipate that you know, maybe, once or twice a century they have to rebuild their home.


CHURCH: Right. Yet, that can be problematic. Certainly as this problem advances.

Ken Rubin, thank you so much for joining us.

We will, of course, have more on the volcano later in the show.


But, coming up next, another flashpoint between the U.S. and China. What we know about a possible missile deployment in the South China Sea.

Plus, Iran's warning to the U.S. about quitting the nuclear deal. We'll explain on our return.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, Iran has warned the United States it won't renegotiate the nuclear deal. According to Iranian media, a senior advisor to Iran's supreme leaders says if the U.S. pulls out, Iran will too.

Iran's top diplomat posted this message. Apparently aimed at U.S. President Donald Trump.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Bluster (ph) or threats won't get the U.S. a new deal. Particularly as it is not honoring the deal it has already made. Relying on cartoonish allegations, rehashed from more than a decade ago and (inaudible) by the IAEA, to make a case for nixing the deal has fooled no one.


[01:25:04] CHURCH: And, the foreign minister didn't stop there, he also framed the nuclear deal in terms he says Mr. Trump would understand.


ZARIF: In real estate terms, when you buy a house and move your family in it, or demolish it to build a skyscraper, you cannot come back two years later and try to renegotiate the price.


CHURCH: Now, the U.S. President is a huge critic of the deal calling it one of the worst ever. He has repeatedly threatened to pull out and now faces a May 12th deadline to decide whether to recertify it, something done every few months.

Well, the United States and China are in another stand-off over the South China Sea.


It centers on the Spratly Islands. U.S. intelligence says China likely deployed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles there during recent military drills.


For more, we turn to CNN's Matt Rivers, who's live in Beijing. Good to see you again, Matt.

So, let's start with the South China Sea and this dispute over the Spratly Islands. How's China responding to U.S. claims of a military buildup on the islands?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're responding in the same way that they have any time they're accused of militarizing these artificial islands that they've built in the South China Sea over the past several years.


They say that, "Anything we're doing is peaceful. It has no intention of having military use, other than for defensive purposes", as they put it. They say that "this deployment targets no one" and that "anyone with no invasive intentions" as they put it "will find no reason to worry about this".

But of course, other countries are going to worry about this. You're talking about missiles that have the ability to shoot down airplanes, that have the ability to sink ships nearby. That is something that countries - - the United States included, Australia, the Philippines, all of these other countries in the region, they're going to worry about this.


But, it's really the United States that will have to take the lead, in terms of combating this Chinese military expansion, if they so choose and we heard a little a bit from the White House about this on Thursday.

Let's play you a short clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're well aware of China's militarization of the South China Sea. We've raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences.


RIVERS: So, what do those consequences look like, Rosemary? Well, to be honest, we're not sure. You can talk about targeted sanctions, maybe.

You could talk about freedom of navigation operations continuing. That's where U.S. Navy ships sail very close by these artificial islands as a show to China that the U.S. does not recognize them as Chinese sovereign territory.

But look, most analysts that you talk to here will say there's not a lot of good options for the United States. The Chinese government seemingly has taken step after step, whether it's building runways, whether it's building facilities, whether it's deploying these missiles.

They have gone down this path of militarization, despite making claims - - even Xi Jinping, himself, back in 2015 at the White House saying that they would not militarize islands. And yet, they're moving ahead and it's not clear how the United States or anybody else is going to stop them from doing that.

CHURCH: Alright. Many thanks to our Matt Rivers, joining us live from Beijing. Thanks so much.

Alright, we'll take a short break here.


But still to come, a deadly storm lashed parts of India brining violent winds and intense rains, but this dust storm was different than others and we will explain when we come back.




CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM I'm Rosemary Church.

Let's check the headlines for you now.

A firestorm of credibility questions for the White House sparked by presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani. Spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Thursday she didn't know about the President's repayment to Michael Cohen of hush money to a porn star until Giuliani said it on television Wednesday night.

The status of three Americans detained in North Korea remains unclear as questions remain over their possible release. Rudy Giuliani, a member of President Trump's legal team, said they would be freed Thursday. But the White House says there is still no official word when they will be released. >

Parts of Hawaii's Big Island are under mandatory evacuation. Steam and lava are bubbling up in a residential area and authorities are ordering more than 1,700 people to leave right now. The eruption comes after hundreds of earthquakes shook the eastern part of the Big Island.

An intense dust storm has ripped through northern India killing at least 110 people. The storm's powerful winds destroyed buildings, uprooted trees and downed electric poles and rapid lightning strikes also sparked fires.

Our Nikhil Kumar has more now from New Delhi.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: North India is still reeling from the aftermath of a deadly night. More than a hundred people died after a violent summer storm lashed the region Wednesday. Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state, which sits just south of Nepal was the hardest hit as a deadly cocktail of wind, dust, rain and thunder swept through the area.

We even witnessed the storm here in Delhi with the squall hitting the Indian capital during the evening rush hour. Across northern India hundreds more people have been reported injured.

And not just people. Out in the countryside livestock was hit. More than a hundred cows, buffalos, goats and other animals were killed. Power to many homes across the state was also knocked out.

Now dust storms are a common occurrence here at this time of hear ahead of the annual monsoon but this was unusual and it felt unusual. We don't usually see rains and thunder after these dust storms.

Weather experts say this happened because of an unusual combination of factors as different storms effectively came together. On the ground rural areas suffered the most. Officials say many of the deaths occurred because of falling trees and collapsing ceilings and walls in village communities with weak infrastructure.

The worst of the storm hit many of these communities very late at night. The victims and the houses they were sleeping in were simply not prepared.

Nikhil Kumar, CNN -- New Delhi.


CHURCH: And our meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now to talk not only about this dust storm but also this volcanic eruption in Hawaii.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have a lot going on obviously; a disaster -- a calamity there in India. We'll talk specifically about what happened there had nothing to do with the monsoon by the way. But Kilauea has been calling the shots as well in Hawaii. And now we have evacuations, Rosemary, as you've been talking about. Boy, I'll tell you what, when you have the civil defense in your backyard and your backyard starts filling up with lava you've got problems here.

You want to fly you went to the Big Island of Hawaii, Kilauea the most active of the five volcanoes here. There had been spectacular eruptions in the past with this particular volcano. And this one has been letting us know really over the past couple of weeks that it's been getting active here.

We've essentially recorded hundreds of small earthquakes anywhere from 2 to 2.5 on the magnitude scale. But then yesterday we had a 5.0. And that is what caused the rupture that we saw there and essentially lava that had began to flow.

[01:34:50] Particularly -- this is called the East Rift Zone by the way, and anywhere here we can have vents that open up but volcanologists are telling us now that they're more concerned about the area that has been evacuated which is Leilani Estates here which is a good, by the way, 30 kilometers away from where the volcano is.

But this is a particular area that has already seen lava here. So we're talking about an area that has now seen an eruption as far as this volcano.

The alert we had yesterday was a watch in anticipation of this becoming more of an event. Well, the even is now here so now we're talking about a volcano warning. And aviation alert is also out. That is color orange. And there is the 5.0 earthquake that triggered everything here.

So we're watching things very closely. It's hard to predict these things and where they're going to pop up here but it looks like that area, they're focusing in on the evacuations occurring there.

Want to talk about India now as we check in on what happened there with our good friends here across the north, my goodness, 132 kilometer per hour winds. By the way the death toll and the reason it was that high -- very little warning with this storm cell as it continued to propagate south and east. It just exploded basically here. Not enough time to warn folks.

Nothing to do with the monsoon. This is basically a cluster of thunderstorms that just got together. And the outflow from these thunderstorms was strong enough to kick up all dust which is not what killed a lot of people.

It was these intense winds that brought down all the trees and then the trees on top of the lodgings there and houses and the destruction that took place. Almost looks like a typhoon rolling through, right.

A huge storm, unusual certainly for this time of year and for this particular area. Nothing to do with the monsoon. It's just a very unfortunate occurrence and the fact that you had structures that could not handle that kind of wind that came down and it came down in a hurry.

And as you mentioned -- 41,000 strikes as far as lightning strikes as well. So nothing to do with the monsoon, we're monitoring for the potential of additional storms but I don't think they're going to be as strong, anywhere near as strong as what we had there and what ended up being just a disaster for --

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely.

CABRERA: Uttar Pradesh.

CHURCH: Thank you so much for covering that-- a lot to bring to us. Appreciate it Ivan.

Well springtime in Japan makes most of us think of the country's famous cherry blossom trees, the festivals, picnics and celebrations that come with it. But this year it's also bringing record amounts of pollen.

As Anna Stewart reports it's going to take a heavy toll on the economy.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Surgical masks are a common sight in Tokyo often worn to prevent spreading a cold but at this time of year, you see more than usual as people battle against hay fever.

This year is one of the worst. The pollen count has more than doubled from last year in some parts of the country. And in Tokyo half the population suffers from hay fever according to a local government survey.

After the Second World War, Japan started a major reforesting initiative. Unfortunately, for hay fever sufferers many of the trees planted were cedar and cypress. Over the years they've matured and now many have hit their peak pollen producing years.

This year hay fever is expected to cost the Japanese economy $1.8 billion according to the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

TOSHIHIRO NAGAHAMA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, DAI-ICHI LIFE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (through translator): Fewer people go out during a pollen outbreak which pushes down consumption and then the productivity of those suffering from hay fever also goes down. So it hits both demand and supply.

STEWART: Tokyo's local government has started cutting down and replacing trees with lower pollen varieties. It costs over $7 million U.S. each year and it's going to take between 100 and 200 years to complete.

MAMONU ISHIGAKI (ph), TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT (through translator): Trees don't just spread pollen they also store water and they prevent natural disasters like landslides and people enjoy them. So we want to act in the public interest as well as tackling hay fever.

STEWART: It's not all doom and gloom. Drugstores and pharma businesses can cash in on anti-hay fever drugs. And of course there is the sale of all of those surgical masks.

Anna Stewart, CNN Money -- Tokyo.


CHURCH: Risking it all to report the truth. An Ethiopian journalist was jailed for years for doing his job. We sit down with him just ahead.

Plus, a global problem with a human face -- a CNN Freedom Project report on the personal cost of modern day slavery in one of the world's busiest cities.

We're back with that.


CHURCH: Thursday was world press freedom day and we are constantly reminded of the sacrifices journalists make to tell the stories people need to know. Just a few days ago nine journalists were killed in a terror bombing attack in Kabul. One of them was Afghan photographer Shah Maria of AFP Getty.

Now, we wanted to show you some of his extraordinary pictures. This photo from February shows two Afghan men who lost their legs to land mines. Then an Afghan man weeps for his relatives at a hospital following a suicide attack. It killed 40 people at a Shiite cultural center in December.

And these are burnt pages from a Koran after another suicide attack on a Shiite mosque last August. Here Afghan government officials and policemen run as a cache of alcohol and drugs is destroyed in December 2016.

And it was Shah Maria who brought us the picture of this young boy in a homemade Lionel Messi shirt. The boy eventually met his hero largely because of this picture.

Incredible work there.

Well, persecution, imprisonment, even murder -- these are just some of the threats journalist face around the world for simply doing their job and reporting the truth.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo spoke to one journalist in Ethiopia who spent years in prison because of what he wrote.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For months now Ethiopia has been engulfed in a state of emergency. Protests were met with a government crackdown and thousands fled across the border into Kenya. Under public pressure hundreds of prisoners were released from Ethiopia's notorious Kaliti prison. The prime minister resigned.

Some of the jailed were journalists including this man who served seven years on charges of terrorism because he wrote about the Arab Spring.

As the world marks Press Freedom Day it is impossible to overstate just how harsh Africa's media terrain can be. The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ estimate that there are 61 journalists in jail in Africa for their journalism and says Ethiopia is tied with Congo as the fourth worst jailer of journalists in the world.

Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has pledged to expand political freedoms but there is still a state of emergency and hundreds of political prisoners remain in jail.

CNN caught up with Eskinder Nega in the Kenyan capital in Nairobi after his final release.

ESKINDER NEGA, ETHIOPIAN JOURNALIST: I was the only dissident blogger at that time from Ethiopia. And that put me in the limelight.

SEVENZO: When they re-arrested you what was going through your mind. Did you think, oh my God, not another seven years?

NEGA: The possibility that this will be, you know, this will be another imprisonment had come up on our minds but had we panicked? No, we did not panic. Had we -- were we bitter? No, we were not embittered. Why? Because not every country has paid the price to get democracy.

SEVENZO: You were telling me earlier that your wife is a journalist; that your son was born in prison.

[01:45:03] NEGA: He was born in prison, yes. There is no way that I can think about, only about my immediate family. The nation is also a part of our family.

This is how my wife sees the situation. We have responsibilities to the nation.

SEVENZO: How do you see the state of press freedom in Africa at the moment?

NEGA: It would be a mistake to seek an island of liberty by fighting specifically for it, freedom of expression. Democracy is possible in Africa. Where democracy exists there is the ideal environment for journalist to work so let's work on democracy first.

A price has to be paid to attain democracy, to get to democracy. And if I am the one who has to pay that price so be it.

SEVENZO: And what is that price? Would you be willing to die for these beliefs?

NEGA: Unquestionably. We yearn for freedom. And I think this is common to all humanity. And until we get that freedom we shall not rest.



CHURCH: Later this summer lawmakers in Hong Kong are expected to discuss a proposed bill to criminalize human trafficking. Advocates hope it's the first solid step to tackle a problem that's thriving in Hong Kong's darkest corners.

As part of CNN's Freedom Project shining a light on human slavery CNN's Anna Coren has the story on one woman who lived that nightmare in one of the world's wealthiest cities.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through a nondescript gate off a busy Hong Kong street is a place called Bethune House. It's basic, cramped and exposed to the elements. But it's the only sanctuary thousands of domestic helpers have ever known, who have suffered abuse and exploitation at the hands of their employers.

Twenty-eight-year-old Atik who wants to hide her identity for safety reasons arrived from Indonesia in 2012 with the promise of a good paying job by an employment agency.

"They told me Hong Kong is a place to earn more money and achieve your dreams", she said. "So I came here hoping to save enough money to one day build a home and support my son's education."

Instead Atik says her female employer deceived her. She claims the woman took her passport, made her work seven days a week, 20 hours a day; physically and psychologically abused her; threatened to have her deported if she didn't resign her contract and to top it off refused to pay her salary.

"My employer said if I completed my five-year contract she would give me a bonus pay. That's why I put up with the mistreatment but it was all a lie."

After almost five years Atik claims her employer paid her a total of $1,500 U.S. -- 5 percent of what Atik says she was contractually owed. And it wasn't until a particularly harsh beating where she was punched in the face and kicked when Atik says she finally gathered the courage to escape.

ERI LESTAN (ph), CHAIRWOMAN, INTERNATIONAL MIGRANT AFFAIRS: The experience of Atik is actually also the experience of many domestic workers in the city. The fact is that this continues to happen again and again. It's quite alarming.

COREN: Atik is one of the 350,000 foreign domestic workers living in Hong Kong and it's estimated that one in six is a victim of labor exploitation according to a 2016 NGO report. And while Hong Kong prides itself as one of the wealthiest and most sophisticated cities in the world one activist speaking to CNN called its track record on human trafficking appalling.

The U.S. State Department's annual trafficking in persons report last year placed Hong Kong on the tier two watch list for the second consecutive year. On par with countries like Iraq, Bangladesh and Rwanda.

And unless it makes some drastic changes, it's at risk of dropping even further down the list joining the likes of North Korea, Sudan and the Congo as the worst offenders of human trafficking.

DENNIS KWOK, MEMBER HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: We don't want to be placed on the same level as African -- some African states or North Korea who doesn't even come close to acknowledging human trafficking as an issue.

We don't want to be associated with that so that's why I think the Hong Kong government and the legislative council in Hong Kong needs to positively make the change.

COREN: Hong Kong legislative counselor Dennis Kwok has proposed a bill based on the U.K. and Australian model to create a law that would combat all forms of human trafficking. And while Hong Kong claims it is fighting the problem Mr. Kwok believes the government which drafted a national action plan to combat trafficking five years ago is still dragging its feet.

[01:50:04] KWOK: It's not just about Hong Kong. If we don't have laws that are here to tackle international human trafficking we are actually affecting the rest of the region or the rest of the world.

COREN: As for Atik her fight for justice lies with the courts. Her employer has been charged with assault and is yet to enter a plea. But as long as this court case drags on, Atik must legally stay in Hong Kong when all she wants is to return home and wrap her arms around her son who she hasn't seen in more than five years.

Anna Coren, CNN -- Hong Kong.


CHURCH: And we want to follow up now on CNN's Freedom Project report on child labor in the cobalt trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt is used in batteries for electric cars.

And reporter Nima Elbagir and field producer Dominique van Heerden appeared on CNN Talk with Amnesty International's Mark Dummett. They talked about who is benefitting from the cobalt trade and how hard it is to regulate the small-scale mines.


MARK DUMMETT, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Why are they there? And where's the money going? And the fact is it's not going to the people who we see in the film, the people working, you know, along that river. It's going towards the people in the government and the presidency as well as foreign corporations. Lots of vested interests, protected interests -- how hard was it to get to the site of the story?

DOMINIQUE VAN HEERDEN, CNN FIELD PRODUCER: Well you know as Nima has been saying, you know, we had full government media accreditation to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We hadn't snuck into the country. You know, we were there will full accreditation.

And before we even set out to all these mines that you see in the report we, you know, we checked in with the governor. We said we were in town. And as Nima said in her report he warned us we may see children.

But then when it came to the actual access at the sites, I mean first of all you're talking about hours of driving to get there in the rainy season -- very, very muddy. And then you're looking at one particular mine, a four-kilometer walk down to the waterside to see the children at work.

And sort of we discussed at the time well, how difficult would it be for inspectors from these big companies to actually come? I mean that's a whole another logistical problem in itself.

DUMMETT: If you can do it, they can do it can't they?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly what we were trying to prove.

VAN HEERDEN: Yes, exactly what we're trying to prove.


CHURCH: And you can see Nima and her team's exceptional reporting on our Freedom Project Web site. That's at

And still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM a world class sporting event gets underway in Jerusalem just a few hours from now. We will explain why this bicycle race is such a big deal in Israel.


CHURCH: Just a few hours from now one of the world's premier bicycle races begins not in Europe but in Jerusalem. Some are calling it the biggest sports event in Israeli history. The Giro d'Italia is second only to the Tour de France in size and ends May 27th in Rome.

We get the latest now from Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: a new sporting age is dawning in Israel or at least that's what they're hoping for here. Cycling, a sport in which Israel is a virtual unknown is coming to the Middle East in a big way.

[01:55:05] RAN ALLERMAN (ph), CYCLING COACH: I will say it's the biggest event ever. It doesn't matter if it's, you know, soccer or if it's cycling you just have to be there.

LIEBERMANN: The Giro d'Italia, the world's second biggest bike race behind the Tour de France has its big start in Israel; so big the prime minister celebrated the race with this video.

And this is the man who made it happen -- eccentric Canadian/Israeli multimillionaire and cycling enthusiast Sylvan Adams who built this velodrome.

Between this velodrome, the Giro and the Israel Cycling Academy team, how much have you invested here?

SYLVAN ADAMS, ORGANIZER: A lot. But I like the word investment that you used. It's an investment in the present and the future towards the two goals that I have for this project which are promoting Israel abroad and development of the sport of cycling.

LIEBERMANN: Adams an amateur velodrome champion sees cycling as a bridge between nations. The Giro will have teams from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, two countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel.

ADAMS: Being the only velodrome in the Middle East, if our neighbors want to develop track riders they're welcome to come here and ride with us and develop the sport.

LIEBERMANN: Adams' vision is not the first politics that comes to mind with this Giro. The opening stage in Jerusalem winds its way through arguably the most sensitive city on earth. The course never enters the old city or crosses into East Jerusalem considered Israeli- occupied territory. The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat who says the city is and will remain united, demurred on this point.

NIR BARKAT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM: We chose the route by beauty and not by anything else. So the whole issue of how Jerusalem was in '67, in '48, a hundred 100 years ago, 2,000 years ago is totally irrelevant.

LIEBERMANN: The favorites in this year's Giro d'Italia are the usual big names in cycling such as reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome. The few Israeli cyclists in the race aren't expected to make an impact. For cyclists and the country this Giro is already a victory.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- Jerusalem.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.

Another hour of CNN NEWSROOM coming your way with our Natalie Allen.

You're watching CNN. Have a great day.