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Trump to Name Supreme Court Pick; Trump-Putin Summit; U.S. Newspaper Shooting; Comedian Pranks U.S. President on Air Force One; U.S. Faces Deadline for Reuniting Immigrant Families; Syrians Flee to Southern Border; Bali Airport Reopens after Volcano Eruption; Thailand Cave Search; World Cup 2018. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired June 30, 2018 - 05:00   ET




ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Filling a vacancy. President Trump teases he's narrowed his choices for Supreme Court justice. That announcement just days away.

Plus --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.


COREN (voice-over): The president shows rare support for journalists who lost their lives in the "Capital Gazette" newspaper shooting.

Later, time is running short for a teenage football team as search crews work to find them inside a cave in Northern Thailand.

Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


COREN: The U.S. president is at his golf resort in New Jersey for the weekend but Donald Trump has plenty of business to attend to. Foremost, he's picking a Supreme Court justice to replace Anthony Kennedy. He offered reporters a glimpse into his thinking so far.


TRUMP: I'll be announcing it on July 9th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you leading?

TRUMP: Well, we have great people. You know, we have 25 very outstanding people. Hey, look, I like them all. But I've got it down to about five.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a woman on the short list?

TRUMP: Yes, I do have a woman.


TRUMP: I have two women on the short list.


Two women on the short list?

Two women out of the five?

TRUMP: We have three women on the court now. I have two women out of the five.


COREN: President Trump also has to get ready for a summit next month in Finland with Vladimir Putin. He shared with reporters some of what he plans to talk about with the Russian leader.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you hope to achieve with President Putin?

TRUMP: We're going to talk about Ukraine. We're going to be talking about Syria. We'll be talking about elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which elections?

TRUMP: And we don't want anybody tampering with elections.


COREN: Boris Sanchez is traveling with the president and has this report.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump making headlines on a number of topics during a short gaggle with reporters on his way to Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend, notably talking about a possible replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced earlier this week he's retiring from the Supreme Court.

The president saying that he has whittled down a list of 25 names to a possible five candidates, two of them including women. The president also making news saying that he plans to interview one or two of these possible candidates over the weekend here in Bedminster.

But among the topics of conversation, their stance on abortion will not be discussed. President Trump saying he'll not ask these possible candidates their stance on Roe v. Wade, a very controversial issue, one that Justice Anthony Kennedy was previously known for creating a lot of controversy over.

Here's more from President Trump on what he plans to talk to these candidates about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you looking for somebody who would overturn Roe v. Wade?

TRUMP: Well, you know, it's a great group of intellectual talent but we really, you know, they are generally conservative. I'm not going to ask them that question, by the way. That's not a question I'll be asking. But it is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges.

SANCHEZ: President Trump also saying he does not plan to ask these possible candidates about their stance on LGBT issues.

The president also made news on several other fronts, including suggesting that he plans to talk to Vladimir Putin about election meddling, telling reporters there should not be election meddling anywhere in the world.

There has been some discussion previously, even among those in his own party, that President Trump has been weak when it comes to confronting Vladimir Putin over this. In previous meetings, the president seeming to accept Putin's version of events and denials, saying Russia had nothing to do with meddling in the 2016 election.

Just on Friday, the president tweeted that assertion before pivoting to attacks on Democrats, the FBI and his own Department of Justice. Lastly the president also made news on the topic of his chief of staff, John Kelly, and reports that Kelly was planning to leave the White House as early as the end of summer.

The president suggesting that he did not know anything about those reports and that they were fake news.


SANCHEZ: However, sources have told CNN previously that President Trump has been talking to allies and advisers, polling them on possible replacements over the course of the last few months.

So we know from those sources that this, in fact, has been something on the president's radar for some time -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president near Bedminster, New Jersey.


COREN: Joining us now from London is Leslie Vinjamuri. She is the head of the U.S. and Americas Program at Chatham House.

Great to have you with us, Leslie. Let's start with President Trump's appointment to the Supreme Court. If it goes through, it could potentially shift the ideological makeup of the court for generations to come.

What are your greatest concerns?

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, this is a very significant moment. Of course, this is where the president can most affect the future of the United States of America and, of course, there are a number of issues that I think we imagine will be on the agenda coming forward that could be shifted, depending on who is chosen: abortion rights, gay rights, the future of health care, the Affordable Care Act.

One thing to note here, of course, is that getting this through the Senate will only require a simple majority. So that's a change that's significant in this case. And of course President Trump is going to announce his preferences just as he leaves the country.

But there's no understating the significance of this and it's tapping into what is a very divided America right now. So what will inevitably be inflammatory because people disagree very much on the key issues that are likely to be on the agenda.

COREN: Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he is not going to ask these candidates about their views on abortion. But let me ask you this.

What does an appointment from Trump mean for liberal court precedents on abortion, civil rights, gay rights, affirmative action and even the death penalty?

VINJAMURI: Well, inevitably, it's going to potentially shift the balance. Remember, he is replacing -- the next candidate, he or she, will be replacing a justice who is a swing vote. Didn't always go one way or another. Wasn't clear where he would go.

But the stakes are high. It will move the court, probably, in a more conservative direction. Certainly that's what everybody anticipates. And it will just change the course of politics and society for a very long time to come.

And, obviously, on those issues that you outlined, those are the ones that a number of liberals are worried their rights will be rolled back. But we have to wait and see. But this is something that has been anticipated for a very long time. And so it's not surprising. Perhaps the timing is but it's not especially surprising.

COREN: Liberals have said they've got the biggest fight on their hands. One Democrat said if Trump's appointment gets through, there will be Trumpism in America for the next 40 years, not just the next 4-8 years.

VINJAMURI: That's right. And so one question is whether or not there will be some senators that might push back, Republican senators. There's a question of whether Senator Collins, Murkowski and others might perhaps go another way. Their views on abortion rights are more liberal than their party's. So it's not entirely clear.

But, again, it will be interesting to see which candidate he puts forward in the coming days. But this is, again, something that's been seen as a long time coming and perhaps the area in which the president can have the most significant impact on politics and society in the United States for a very long time to come.

COREN: Leslie, I just want to ask you about Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin next month. He said that he's going to talk about Syria, Ukraine and election meddling. This is what he told reporters. Yet the day before, in a tweet, he said that Russia maintains it had nothing to do with meddling.

Which one is it?

VINJAMURI: Yes, no, so as we know, this is a president who has wanted to have a very -- who has felt an instinct and a kinship with President Putin, much to everybody's surprise. And that hasn't gone away.

And this question of Russian meddling, which Donald Trump takes personally, because it raises the question of whether or not there was any link between his own campaign staff, his administration and Russia and that -- it's gotten in the way of his support for the basic question that's at stake in this investigation, which is Russia's role in the U.S. presidential campaign.

As he approaches this summit, there are a number of key issues on the table. One thing to note is that, despite Trump's desire to have a strong relationship with Russia, especially with this president, America's position with respect to Russia has gotten tougher and stronger under this presidency.

It hasn't moved in the direction that President Trump had wanted. Sanctions are tougher. So some of those questions that are going to be on the agenda --


VINJAMURI: -- with respect to Ukraine and Syria, the U.S. hasn't stepped back under this president.

There is a question, I think, about whether or not Trump will be willing to give on Syria. He'd like to bring those troops back home. So a number of very critical issues.

And, remember, this will be on the back of what's anticipated as being a very difficult NATO summit.

COREN: Leslie Vinjamuri, great to get your insight. Many thanks for joining us.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

COREN: In the U.S. state of Maryland on Friday, remembering the victims.


(MUSIC PLAYING) COREN (voice-over): Tears and prayers at the vigil for the five people killed at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis. Hundreds of mourners united in grief remembered those gunned down as they worked.

Outside the office building where the newspaper is located, a memorial. Also Friday, the suspect appeared in court as we learned more details about the shooting. Our Tom Foreman has that.


TIMOTHY ALTOMARE, ANNE ARUNDEL POLICE CHIEF: The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The attack was planned, the newspaper a specific target, the weapon a pump-action shotgun. That's what police said even as the suspect, Jarrod Ramos, was denied bail on five counts of first-degree murder.

President Trump, a frequent and harsh critic of the media, weighed in too.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The glass shattered. I turned around to see it.

FOREMAN: But amid recollections of the horror, police and folks at the paper are also sharing stories of that 38-year-old man's apparently simmering rage and years of warning signs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was going down our newsroom, starting from the front. And the -- yes, just continually shooting people.

FOREMAN: People at the paper say it started when "The Capital Gazette" covered a criminal harassment claim against him by a woman in 2011. He was convicted and tried to sue the newspaper for defamation.

After a relentless campaign to keep his claim active, it was thrown out, but, by 2013, police say he was routinely raging online against the newspaper.

TOM MARQUARDT, FORMER EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, "THE CAPITAL GAZETTE": I alerted my staff to call 911 if anybody resembling him came into the room.

FOREMAN: Threats, hints of violence, furious obscenities.

ALTOMARE: You have all looked at the social media platforms. There's clearly a history there.

FOREMAN: Detectives had talked to the newspaper staff, but:

ALTOMARE: "The Capital Gazette" did not wish to pursue criminal charges. There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation.

FOREMAN: And yet police say he bought a shotgun anyway, legally purchased about a year ago. And that's what he used to storm through the open newsroom, where some escaped, some hid and one was shot trying to open a door the alleged shooter had barricaded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person is still shooting.

FOREMAN: When police found the suspected gunman, he was hiding under a desk.

Intern Anthony Messenger describes the scene.

ANTHONY MESSENGER, SURVIVOR: There's chaos. The office was kind of in shambles. Unfortunately, we saw -- we had to pass two bodies of our colleagues, which was something that nobody should have to stomach.

FOREMAN: Now, amid questions of how all of that played out begins the long morning by families and friends of the victims.

Robert Hiaasen, assistant editor and columnist, known as Big Rob, not just because he was tall.

CARL HIAASEN, BROTHER OF VICTIM: He was just this big, generous, gentle guy.

FOREMAN: Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor, quiet, reserved, with an encyclopedia knowledge of everything.

John McNamara loved sports and history, a jack of all trades and a fantastic person.

Rebecca Smith, sales assistant, kind and considerate and willing to help.

And Wendi Winters, editor, reporter and columnist, her life was a gift to everyone who knew her.

Despite their grief, the surviving staff is doing what journalists do, reporting on what happened, with one big difference. The first editorial page after the shooting was blank.


COREN: That was our Tom Foreman reporting.

You heard Tom mention the harassment claim against the suspect, Jarrod Ramos, in 2011. The coverage of that led him to sue the newspaper. The case was thrown out but his rage continued. The attorney who represented the newspaper spoke to my colleague, Erin Burnett.


W. ZAK SHIRLEY, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR "CAPITAL GAZETTE": As the case wore on, I became aware that Mr. Ramos was singularly obsessed with the idea that he had been wronged by the paper.

And what seemed to happen was the more people told him that he was wrong, those people just who got added to his enemy list.

And so he got to a point that every morning I would walk into my office and I would sit down and I would check his Twitter feed, to see who the target of the day was. You know, sometimes it was me, sometimes it was the paper, sometime it was another attorney.

It was rare for a week to go by that he didn't lash out on someone on the Twitter feed. And as I said, the more people told him he was wrong, the more judges came out against him, he would just add the judges to the list and start tweeting against them.


COREN: The attorney says the number of people on that enemies list doesn't mean that people took the --


COREN: -- threat less seriously.

Thousands of people are planning to march in cities across the U.S. to urge the government to reunite and keep immigrant families together. The latest in the heated immigration debate coming up.

Plus, have you heard the one about the prankster who conned his way into a phone call with the president?

We'll tell you about it.




COREN: In what could be called a mile-high security breach, a New York comedian got a call back from the U.S. president on board Air Force One after pretending to be a Democratic senator from New Jersey.

This is Senator Bob Menendez, no real pal of President Trump and recently out from under a federal corruption case because of a mistrial.

This is a comedian who calls himself Stuttering John. That's John Melendez. Obviously, quite similar surnames. With that, the comedian convinced the White House switchboard he was the real New Jersey senator and left his number.

And he soon got a call back from the president. They talked about the senator's recent encounter with the federal justice system and about politics. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: You know, I have a good relationship with the party, you have a good relationship with the party. And I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border, we have to have it.

I mean, look, you got 60 percent of the country, saying you got to have security at the border. And that's a good issue for the Democrats too, Bob. It's not like it's good for you or good for me. It's good for both of us.


TRUMP: You know, of the problems.

JOHN MELENDEZ, COMEDIAN: No, I understand that. No, but I am Hispanic, so I have to, you know, I have to -- I'm sure you understand.

TRUMP: Oh I understand.

MELENDEZ: You know, I have to look into my people as well. You understand.

TRUMP: I agree, I agree.


COREN: The comedian says he could barely believe it worked.


MELENDEZ: I got on the phone with Trump. And Trump is like Bob, I want to congratulate you. I didn't even know that Senator Menendez was in any really legal problems. And really if they would just screen me and asked what party affiliation Senator Menendez had or what state he represented --


MELENDEZ: -- I would have been -- I would have been stumped because I had no idea anything about Senator Menendez.


COREN: Got to love his honesty. The White House says the president wants to be accessible to members and mistakes like this can happen.

Well, in the coming hours, we are expecting to see massive protests against the Trump administration's hard-line immigration policy. Organizers say the Families Belong Together rallies will take place in hundreds of U.S. cities.

They are demanding the Trump administration immediately reunite migrant families, who were forcibly separated after they illegally entered the U.S. As the Trump administration faces outside pressure, there's a shake-up

in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. That agency's controversial chief retired Friday and the White House has not named a replacement.

We're also learning the U.S. government says it never created specific plans to help parents find their children after they took them away. All this as roughly 2,000 migrant children wait to be reunited with their parents. It's an uphill climb of a bureaucratic mountain that mothers and fathers face to find their children.

Polo Sandoval has the story of one mother who made it through.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we witnessed today here in Washington Dulles International Airport, very similar to what's happened across the United States, with some of these reunifications slowly happening. These mothers and fathers able to see their children again.

This one had to do with 25-year-old Brenda Garcia, a woman from El Salvador, who says she entered the country illegally in late May with her 7-year-old son. A day after that happened, after she was detained by immigration authorities, she says her child was taken away.

Her attorneys believe that that was so that the U.S. government could prepare to file these criminal charges against Garcia. Well, that never happened but still she says the damage was done.

What followed is a trip for her to Colorado and a detention center there for a child. He had to be taken to a child care facility in Florida. They were separated for weeks. It wasn't until last week and with help of immigration attorneys that Garcia was able to speak to her son over the phone.

This is what all played out here. This woman finally able to hold her child in her arms. The struggle and the fight is certainly not over, though. Now it will be up to them to prove to the U.S. government that they should remain in the United States, that a return to El Salvador could mean placing their lives in danger not just her but also her little one because of the violence and the poverty that they were fleeing in the first place.

For Garcia, you speak to her and she says, that fight, that uphill battle is what is ahead. That's OK as long as she has her child by her side.

So these are the pictures, these are the images that are playing out throughout parts of the United States as these families slowly are getting to see their children again. That's the latest from Washington Dulles International Airport. I'm Polo Sandoval, CNN.


COREN: Several thousand people are under mandatory evacuation and pre-evacuation orders in Colorado after a wildfire burned through nearly 10,000 hectares, roughly 25,000 acres in just one day. Dry conditions and strong winds are responsible for this fire spreading so very quickly.



COREN: Coming up after the break -- President Trump momentarily drops his demonizing of the media after five journalists are gunned down in cold blood just a short drive from Washington.

Plus, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled their homes with little hope to an end of the conflict there. And another government offensive is driving still more out of the country. A look at a new dimension to this crisis. That's next.




Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren. These are the headlines.



COREN: President Trump is at his golf resort in New Jersey for the weekend, pondering his options for the U.S. Supreme Court and planning for his upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin.

Before leaving Washington, Mr. Trump spoke about the mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper. His words of condolence were a sharp departure from his normally hostile tone towards the media. CNN's Jim Acosta has our report.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a president who routinely demonizes the media, it was a significant moment. One day after the mass shooting at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis.

TRUMP: This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But as the president left the room, he would not specify whether this is only a pause in his battle against the press.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, will you stop calling us the enemy of the people, sir? ACOSTA (voice-over): Even White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who

is rarely rendered speechless, declined to answer the question from CNN's Abby Phillip.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Is it time for the president to stop calling journalists the enemy of the people?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: The president -- thank you very much. Thank you.

TRUMP: Look at all those fake newsers back there. Look at all them. That's a lot.

ACOSTA: It's a critical question for the White House as the president has repeatedly labeled the press the enemy of the people, from early on in his administration --

TRUMP: A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people.

ACOSTA: -- to just this week.

TRUMP: You know, the enemy. The enemy of the people, I call them.

ACOSTA: As we found at his rally on Monday, his supporters are often swept up in the moment.

There are seemingly endless examples of the president's preference for extreme rhetoric. From a tweet showing him body slamming a CNN reporter to his remarks during the campaign.

TRUMP: Like to punch him in the face. I'll tell you.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump has boasted there are no consequences for his actions.

TRUMP: I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's, like, incredible.

ACOSTA: Investigators have found no link between the gunman's actions in Annapolis and any of the rhetoric coming out of Washington. Still, Trump supporter Sean Hannity quickly blamed Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I've been saying now for days that something horrible is going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine? You want people to create -- "Call your friends, get in their faces."

ACOSTA: The renewed questions about the president's rhetoric comes as Mr. Trump appears to be searching for a replacement for chief of staff John Kelly. Sources tell CNN the president recently touched on the subject with budget director Mick Mulvaney over dinner this week.

The president may have other staffing concerns to consider after aides patched through an apparent prank call to Air Force One earlier this week. That caller pretended to be New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who was recently cleared of corruption charges in federal court.

TRUMP: Congratulations. Great job. You went through a tough, tough situation. And I don't think a very fair situation. But congratulations.

MELENDEZ: Obviously, my constituents are giving me a lot of biz about this immigration thing.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, I want to be able to take care of the situation. I'd like to do the larger solution and I think we can do a real immigration bill.


COREN: That was CNN's Jim Acosta reporting from Washington.

The United Nations is warning of a catastrophe in southern Syria as tens of thousands of civilians escape a government offensive. In the southwest town of Daraa, almost 220,000 people have fled the fighting. That's according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations.

Meanwhile, along Syria's border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, thousands are taking refuge in a tent city. Ian Lee joins us now from Israel's side.

Ian, the U.N. is saying this has the potential to be a humanitarian catastrophe which, seven years into this war, sadly, people are numb to.

But why is this situation so dire?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just have, Anna, over 200,000 people who are going to need this emergency --


LEE: -- assistance, food, water, shelter, clothing, medicine. Let me catch you up on what we're witnessing here right now.

I don't know if you just heard that. Right now, this is Quneitra behind me. We are actually seeing what looks like are artillery strikes inside this area. There's been about five or six within the last 20-30 minutes. This is the kind of fighting that these people are fleeing right now.

And yesterday we were on down closer to that fence that separates the Golan where we are right now and Syria. And we saw those people coming in, in the droves, really creating what looks like a tent city along that fence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LEE (voice-over): The latest wave of human suffering in Syria shove what they can, a life's work of possessions, crammed into a truck. Kilometers away, the Syrian regime bombards the Daraa region, in the country's southwest corner.

The familiar black smoke of this civil war, more buildings, more towns and villages reduced to rubble. Tens of thousands have fled, most towards Jordan. Others to the frontier separating Syria from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

A new life on the run, family in tow without electricity or clean running water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We fled because of the indiscriminate bombings that never stop. Every day there is a massacre in Daraa. The situation is so terrible. We've been here for a week and we have seen zero help. No water, no food. It's a catastrophic situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have no shelter from the sun or the cold. We can't go back and get anything because of the heavy bombing.

Where are we supposed to go?

There are no tents here. There is nothing here. And we have been like this for a year.

Where are we supposed to go?

Do we go back to the bombing and shelling?

LEE (voice-over): On the high ground, Israel watches for new arrivals, thousands so far, gathering at the fence. Thursday night an Israeli army convoy opened the wire and delivered tents, food, medical supplies and clothing.

Over several years, Israel has treated thousands of injured Syrians but the Assad regime's latest offensive creates a new crisis and Israel is adamant it's not going to open the gates and let refugees in.

Crossing on foot would be dangerous, too. Leftover mines span this frontier.

LEE: Standing here on this side of the fence we are relatively safe, although we have heard some gunshots. But just a couple of meters down the road, for those Syrians fleeing that fighting, their future is uncertain.

LEE (voice-over): Tonight the war will be in the distance. They'll get some sleep they've lacked for days. But who knows what tomorrow will bring.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEE: Anna, tomorrow could bring more of this. We've been watching more of these artillery strikes coming in. And these camps that I was talking about are just about maybe 10 or so kilometers away from this fighting.

Today we heard reports that there was a cease-fire in place. This came from the Jordanians to try to get some sort of reconciliation between the regime and the rebel fighters. But it seems like the cease-fire may be over, at least if it is taking place, it's over here because we've been seeing this continuation of the fighting -- Anna.

COREN: Ian, we can see, obviously, the razor wire behind you. We know that Israel and Jordan have said they are refusing to allow these people to cross their borders.

What is going to happen to these poor and desperate people?

LEE: That is the big question.

What would happen if this fighting does intensify?

There's no cease-fire. There's no reconciliation. And it does go up against the borders of Jordan and here in the Golan. And it's going to be difficult for Israel and Jordan to not allow this wave of people because desperation yields desperate measures.

And these people may try to cross over with -- even though those two governments say that that's not going to be an option. Another thing we'll be watching, too, is the U.N. They have posts that are up and down this border fence area here. And these are to observe this cease-fire between Israel and Syria.

This goes back to the '73 war. And there is the possibility that these refugees could try to take shelter in these U.N. camps. We haven't heard from the U.N. if this is an option for them.

But these are all the possibilities. But, really, it just is uncertain, without any formal agreement or anything that we're hearing from the Israelis or the Jordanians about what would happen if the fighting does push up against their borders.

COREN: Ian Lee, we appreciate your reporting.


COREN: Many thanks for that.

Coming up, pumping out the endless amounts of muddy water in a cave in Thailand. The latest on efforts to save a trapped youth football team -- ahead.

Plus, it's knockout time at the World Cup. How Lionel Messi and Argentina look to overcome a disappointing group stage. That's next.




COREN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Bali's international airport is open again after volcanic ash grounded more than 300 flights. One of Bali's most active volcanoes sent a huge plume of ash into the sky.

Flights were canceled because the ash can enter a jet engine, causing it to fail. A change of wind direction made it possible for the planes to take off again. In the distance, you can see which way the cloud of ash was headed. Thousands of passengers had been grounded on the popular tourist island.

It's been one week now since 12 boys and their football coach went missing in Thailand but rescuers are not giving up. They have been battling rain in the country's north, trying to reach the team they think is trapped in a flooded cave.

The area is mountainous and covered in trees. Rescuers are searching for ways inside. They're looking to drill into the mountain. They've rappelled down a shaft and they've even dropped in food and water, hoping the team finds the supplies.

CNN's Nikhil Kumar is tracking the story from India. He joins us from New Delhi.

Nikhil, you have to admit, one week on, the odds of them surviving are certainly grim.

But have there been any developments in the search for these 12 boys and their coach?


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Anna, it has been a week but the rescuers and the rescue effort, nobody is giving up just yet. Yesterday, a team, as you said, managed to go down a shaft, abseiled 40 feet down a shaft, trying to access the cave, trying to locate these 12 boys, aged 11 to 16 and the coach who went missing, 25 years old.

There was no luck yesterday but they are continuing. The biggest problem is the rain and the floodwater. This area Chiang Rai, in North Thailand has been hit by a lot of heavy rain in recent days. That's complicated efforts because it's blocked the entrances to this cave network.

The governor of the region, in fact, spoke about this earlier today. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The divers have tried their best in the cave but you can see nothing inside, as the water is full of mud. You can't see your hand, even if you put it in front of you. Every measure of solution is important. But currently, we're mainly

focusing on draining water and entering into the cave because we believe this is the best and the most sensible way.


KUMAR: As you see, this floodwater is a big problem and that's why one of the things the rescuers are looking at is drilling from the top. Drilling from the top to get inside the cave from the forest bed.

And that's because of this floodwater. The teams themselves, the rescue effort, has broadened over the week. We're now at about 1,000, over 1,000 rescuers over there. Thai teams being supported by U.S. teams and some British cave experts. So the effort continues and nobody is giving up just yet -- Anna.

COREN: Nikhil, you alluded to the rain. It's been persistent. And in Thailand it's monsoonal season in Thailand. And, sadly, there was a warning sign out the front of that cave, telling tourists, people not to go in because of potential flash flooding.

Do we get a sense how long they will continue searching, considering these caves stretch for some 10 kilometers?

KUMAR: For now, Anna, they are fully devoted to the search, to locating where these boys and the coach are and then to try and rescue them. In fact, some drills were conducted earlier today to practice if they were to encounter them, in that event, how they would evacuate them.

So everyone is fully focused on trying to get them -- trying to find them, locate them and bring them out.

And the whole country is transfixed on this case. The case has been on the front pages of newspapers. It's been all over the television so much so, Anna, that Thailand's public health department has issued an advisory, telling people to moderate how much of the coverage they watch.

They are worried that people will become, quote, "overly obsessed." So that just gives you a sense of the attention on this in the entire country and, of course, internationally as the days draw on -- Anna.

COREN: Yes, very difficult not to care and, obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the parents of those 12 boys and coach, who are stationed outside the mouths of that cave. Nikhil Kumar, many thanks for that update.

Coming up, Cristiano Ronaldo looks to bring his outstanding group play to the last 16. We're live in Moscow for the start of the World Cup knockout stage. That's ahead.





COREN: Welcome back.

It's win or go home time at the World Cup in Russia. The group stages are over and the final 16 teams are about to kick off the knockout stage. Saturday, we'll see two explosive matches with two of football's biggest stars.

First, it's Lionel Messi and Argentina taking on France. The South Americans have a lot to make up for after barely clearing the group stage.

After that, it's Cristiano Ronaldo's turn. His Portuguese squad is set to take on Uruguay.

For a breakdown of all the football action, CNN's Amanda Davies joins us now live from Moscow.

And, obviously, the storms have not hit just yet. Amanda, a lot going on today. Both France and Argentina failed to impress in the group stages, despite having a wealth of talent.

Who do you see will have the upper hand?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anna, this is where things get serious, very much down to the serious business. Some fantastic matches on just day one of the second round of matches.

What we've got today is Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for their respective teams, knowing if they both win, they'll be facing each other in the next round. Talk about that for motivation. The first game is France against Argentina, an Argentinean side who, it's fair to say, have not impressed up to this point in the tournament.

Many people feel they've been incredibly lucky to have scraped through from the group stages. Just courtesy of that late, late goal from Marcos Rojo across Nigeria. The word from the camp has been about how much they've been suffering.

They held that minute of silence on Argentinean television after their devastating 3-0 defeat to Croatia, seen as really the country's biggest ever footballing embarrassment. They were better against Nigeria, playing much more as a team. Messi scored for the first time in this competition.

But you expect it will be tough for them against France. If they said their tournament began after their victory over Argentina, they need to step up to a whole different level if they want it to continue because France have one of the most arguably talented attacking forces in this competition. A very young but exciting squad, the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine

Griezmann, Paul Pogba, who are likely to take advantage of an pretty aging Argentine defense.


DAVIES: Be very interesting because Didier Deschamps and France themselves have been criticized. They have a lot of pressure on them People were expecting them to take another step forward after we saw them finish runners-up in Euro 2016 two years ago. And that hasn't necessarily happened.

So fascinating to see how that one plays out -- Anna.

COREN: OK, Amanda, very quickly, Uruguay-Portugal.

How reliant will they be on Cristiano Ronaldo, that being the Portuguese, of course?

DAVIES: Yes, well, Ronaldo scored four or five Portugal's goals in the tournament so far. But their boss, Fernando Santos, has done what we've seen him do time and time again, in the press conference say it is not just about Cristiano Ronaldo.

We have 22 other players in the squad who are expected to step up. The only way we will progress in this tournament is if they do.

But there's a fascinating subplot really to this game. There's lots of players who play in La Liga on both sides. So Diego Godin from Uruguay plays Atletico Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid; Luis Suarez from Barcelona, they all know each other inside out and know how to stop each other.

But it will be a very, very close encounter. The sad news is, whoever wins, there will be a whole host of fantastic superstars heading home at the end of today.

COREN: OK. Amanda, enjoy the action. Thank you.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. For U.S. viewers "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else, stay tuned for "AMANPOUR."