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Protesters Demand Families Be Reunited; Mexico Elections; Thailand Cave Search; UNESCO Announces New World Heritage Sites. Aired 12m-12:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2018 - 00:00   ET





LAURA DERN, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: We're here to say families belong together. We're begging, demanding a policy change so that families are not only reunited but this ends immediately. We ask for other countries, our allies to support us.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Actress Laura Dern there, joining in with thousands of other people, taking part in a nationwide protest on Saturday against the U.S. government's immigration policy.

Also ahead, in Mexico, voters head to the polls in the coming hours. They're set to elect a new president. We'll tell you about it.

Plus, rescuers in Thailand, they're closing in on a target for where a missing teen football team may be. We'll have a live report on that story ahead.

We are live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We welcome our viewers around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: We start in the United States. Thousands of protesters came together in massive rallies across this nation on Saturday and they are demanding that the Trump administration end its zero tolerance policy on immigration.

The controversial policy led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents after the families crossed into the U.S. illegally. President Trump ordered a halt to the family separations following weeks of outcry. CNN's Polo Sandoval reports protesters say it is taking far too long to bring these families back together.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the rallying cries heard across the country Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are the kids?

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Protesters led by immigrants rights groups, marching in masses with a message for President Trump, eliminate his zero tolerance policy, calling for the prosecution of people crossing the border illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that my own family would have difficulty coming across the border, if they needed to seek asylum for any reason, chills me to the bone.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In New York, a mile and a half march from Manhattan to Brooklyn, a symbolic moment. The head of the group paused in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge, looking towards Lady Liberty, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Speakers at podiums from coast to coast demanding children be reunited with their parents.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, "HAMILTON": We're here because there's parents right now who can't sing lullabies to their kids.

ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: This is all of our fight because, if it can happen to any child, it can happen to my child and your child and all of our children.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In the nation's capital, a 12-year-old daughter of an undocumented family sent a message to children still in the care of the government.

LEAH, DAUGHTER OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: I want to tell kids at the border and all over the country not to give up and fight for their family. We are all human. And deserve to be loved and cared for. We are children.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Fiery Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren also spoke to the masses in Massachusetts.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This is about babies scattered all across this country. This is about mamas who want their children back.


WARREN: President Trump seems to think that the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their families, is to treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Trump signed an executive order last week, reversing his administration's practice of separating families. But more than 2,000 children are still waiting to be reunited with their parents.

Though protests across the country remained peaceful, first responders in Washington treated dozens of demonstrators for heat-related emergencies.

For some marchers, their protest isn't over. They plan to make their voice heard come November during midterm elections.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want people who want to come here, who want refuge in our country, to know that there are many, many citizens of the U.S. who do not agree with what is going on now.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: A lot of noise, certainly, a lot of protests. People raising their voices on the streets. But the White House for the most part remaining quiet, perhaps because the president focused on other things on his agenda.

One of those priorities, trying to find someone to fill a new opening on the U.S. Supreme Court. CNN's Boris Sanchez has the latest for us.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House not putting out an official on-the-record response Saturday to our questions about the nationwide protest against the president's immigration policy.

President Trump himself did weigh in --


SANCHEZ: -- on immigration via Twitter early on Saturday morning, bashing Democrats, writing that they wanted to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting at one point that they are an open borders party and drawing a line between the restructuring of ICE, that some Democrats, like New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are calling for, and the abolishment of all police, quite a leap for the president to make.

No response to questions about the protesters that were near his property in Bedminster, New Jersey. According to organizers, some 300 or 400 protesters gathered at a library some 3 miles from his property. Unclear if the president was aware that they were there, trying to send a message to him.

We do know the president has kept busy this weekend. Initially, he told reporters on Friday that he would spend the weekend interviewing one or two possible nominees for the Supreme Court, following the announcement from Justice Anthony Kennedy earlier this week that he would be retiring.

The White House on Saturday night put out a statement, saying that the president was continuing conversations with allies and with White House counsel Don McGahn over that possible replacement but would not confirm that any of those meetings took place.

We should note that President Trump on Friday told reporters that he had dwindled (sic) down an initial list of 25 names to just five, though he would be interviewing with six or seven candidates -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in Bedminster, New Jersey.


HOWELL: Boris, thanks so much for the reporting.

Let's talk about this with Peter Matthews, a political analyst who teaches political science at Cypress College, joining us from Los Angeles.

A pleasure to have you here on the show. We'll talk about the president's tweet attacking Democrats here, painting them all with the same brush as anti-ICE, anti-police. Talking points that you see there that certainly play well to his base.

But the question here, does it gain traction to those possible swing voters as he and the Right, quite frankly, continue to push this narrative of a radicalized Left?

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: It holds on to his right-wing base that is only 35 percent of the voters. Let me give you some numbers quickly, George: 60 percent of Americans want -- they think immigrants are a net positive to the United States. They want a diverse country.

And 60 percent think there should be a path to citizenship. Only 17 percent want to decrease even legal immigration.

Given those numbers, no, this is not going to help him (INAUDIBLE) Democrats in this negative way. I don't think so.

HOWELL: You're suggesting that the numbers are lower. The tail wagging the dog in that sense, but given the protests we've seen today, the topic of immigration front and center, do you surmise this puts any pressure on President Trump?

Just look, Peter, we're showing our viewers a map. So many cities across this nation, just protests throughout the streets of the United States.

Do you think that this translates into actual votes come the midterm election?

MATTHEWS: Absolutely, George. I've got numbers on it also. In fact, I attended one of those protests to see firsthand what people were thinking and it was quite amazing because if you look at the numbers, the protests reflect the fact that most people are going to vote this fall.

And 60 percent of Democrats -- I'm sorry, 90 percent of Democrats are going to vote for a Senate Democratic candidate because of the concern about what's going on in the Supreme Court.

But the protesters were also not just talking about the court, they're talking about why it's human rights. It's a real human rights issue. And most of the people there I saw were totally for giving the immigrants a chance and stopping the child separation.

And I'm sure that looking across the polls across America, the same thing. The majority of Americans are totally against the child separation that Trump has engendered and that's a real important situation.

If you look at 66 percent of America who is against the child separation, that's a huge chunk of people and that's not going to budge. The moderate or the swing voters are on the side of those who believe in human rights and keeping the children together with their parents and giving them a path to citizenship eventually.

HOWELL: As President Trump continues to narrow down his choice for the Supreme Court, he says he doesn't plan to talk about Roe v. Wade nor discuss issues of LGBT rights.

With this president's track record and his background that we've seen during the first part of his term here, do you take him at his word?

MATTHEWS: I think he's going to try to avoid that issue because, if he does not avoid it, he might lose two pro-choice Republican senators, Senator Collins of Maine and Senator Murkowski of Alaska.

If those two vote against the nominee, then the president will have a difficult time getting that nominee through. It is true, the Republicans have, generally speaking, by numbers a majority of the Senate, 51-49. If they all stuck together, they can get this through.

Hopefully if some Democrats don't defect and vote for the nominee. There are a couple of Democrats who I think are either pro-life or they're very shaky on the issue that --


MATTHEWS: -- could go either way. We have to see how that plays out. It's very close right now.

I do believe the president really wants to get his nominee through quickly. That's why he met with Justice Kennedy. I think they worked out a deal where Kennedy would resign right away so they could get this passed before the election, which might end up with a Democratic Senate possibly. That's what he's concerned about.

HOWELL: All right, we'll have to see how it plays out. Peter Matthews, thank you for your time today.

MATTHEWS: My pleasure, George. Thank you.

HOWELL: More shake-ups to tell you about in the Trump administration. The U.S. ambassador to Estonia is resigning because of President Trump's comments about and treatment of European allies. James D. Melville is now the third ambassador in the last year to leave the State Department early.

Even so, the Trump administration has finally filled one key diplomatic job. Retired Navy Admiral Harry Harris was sworn in as the ambassador to South Korea, a position that has been open since the Trump administration took office. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo says Harris will work with him to achieve a denuclearized North Korea.

Sunday is Election Day in Mexico and among those on the ballot for president, the former Mexico city mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; another, Ricardo Anaya from the National Action Party. There's also Jose Antonio Meade. He is from the ruling Free Party and the independent Jaime Rodriguez is also vying for the president's seat.

Mexico also has presidential elections every six years and the winner serves just one term. There are also 3,400 state and local seats up for grabs, including 128 senators and 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies.

The election comes at a time of rampant crime and violence in that country. In 2017, it was a record-breaking year for homicides in Mexico. This year, it is on track to far exceed that number. More than 100 candidates or politicians have since been killed -- been killed since the campaign started, by one count. Our Rafael Romo has details for us.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Crime, corruption --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

ROMO (voice-over): -- gang violence. Trails of blood staining Mexico as the country votes in its largest election ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's worrying. So much violence. So many dead. So many people dying that had nothing to do with the violence. We all worry about that.

ROMO (voice-over): Organized crime in Mexico has become more deadly over the last few years. 2017 saw more than 29,000 homicides, the most killings recorded since officials began tracking the data.

And 2018 is on track to set another grim milestone; more than 20,506 have been killed since the start of the year. Others have simply gone missing. It's a gruesome trend, sending some to take their chances at the border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's more dangerous where I live. It's more dangerous there than in comparison to what could happen here at the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, in all truth, I am scared. I have come with my family to see what happens. In the end, we're going to give it a try.

ROMO (voice-over): Locals say widespread corruption has created a vacuum for cartels and organized crime to proliferate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A lot of businesses are closing down because there is no security. The owners are scared they will be kidnapped or murdered over the payment of extortions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Many companies have had losses this year. Talking to our colleagues, robberies with grocery store owners, with people in the food industry, take place from three to four times a week, depending on the company.

ROMO (voice-over): Sunday closes a brutal campaign season, according to risk analysis group Entelect: 132 candidates or politicians have been murdered since last September, ahead of an election where thousands of seats are at stake. Mexico's security crisis is a central issue, with the most high-profile voices calling for more accountability.

GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, ACTOR: The stakes are pretty high. This is a moment -- this is a moment to overturn things. And I don't want to go into my 40s thinking that I'm going to have systematic violence, systematic impunity in my country.

ROMO (voice-over): Rafael Romo, CNN.


HOWELL: Rafael, thank you.

Still ahead, divers press on, swimming through darkness. Why Thai officials say they could be close to saving a missing youth football team. We'll have that story for you. Stay with us.





HOWELL: A Free Syrian Army spokesperson says there is no cease-fire in Daraa after peace negotiations with the regime and Moscow failed. Daraa has been under government bombardment since earlier this month, causing tens of thousands of people to try to escape the violence.

Jordan is sending aid convoys to makeshift camps on its border, where those people are trying to escape Daraa where they're gathering. But it is refusing to let any more refugees into that country.

Officials in Thailand, they are now raising new hopes of finding 12 boys and their football coach alive. They say divers are closing in on a spot where they think the missing teens took shelter. It's believed that they became trapped in a flooded cave system more than a week ago.

The team's plight has gripped the nation and prompted an international rescue effort. CNN's Nikhil Kumar following this story live for us in our New Delhi bureau.

It's good to have you with us to tell us the latest here. As we understand it, the rains have certainly subsided a bit. The water levels dropping.

Is there a sense now that these teams are closing in, getting closer to where they think this team might be?

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's certainly the hope, George. So the context here, of course, is that, for the last few days, the group of 12 boys and their football coach, they've been missing now for a week, over a week, in fact. They went missing the previous Saturday.

Since then, the rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rain hammering this area in Northern Thailand. It's in Chiang Rai; there is a dense forest. And below this dense forest is a network of caves. This is where they've gone missing.

Because of the heavy rain, the regular entrances to this cave network have not been possible for the teams to use. The rescue teams are trying to find other ways around it. Earlier in the week, a team of divers sort of made it in and had to come back out because of the floodwaters.

As you said, yesterday, a team of divers, Navy SEALs from Thailand, got quite far in. They're nearing an area where they think that this team and their coach might be seeking shelter.

It's an elevated area called Pattaya Beach. I should clarify that this is different from the tourist spot. This is an area that the cavers have named Pattaya Beach and the divers are now approaching this area in the hope of finding these boys and their coach who have been missing for, as I say now, over a week -- George.

HOWELL: Nikhil Kumar, following this story, we'll stay in touch with you. Thank you.

So if you're a casual football fan, you may have to learn some new names. Two of the game's biggest stars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have been knocked out of the World Cup. CNN's Patrick Snell has a breakdown now of Saturday's action.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an absolutely enthralling Saturday at the World Cup in Russia, where both France and Uruguay have become the first two nations to book their places in the tournament's quarterfinals.

And ponder on this for just a moment or two: Saturday, June the 30th, will now go down as the day both Lionel --


SNELL: -- Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo went out of the World Cup on the very same day, with neither still having ever scored in any of the tournament's knockout games.


SNELL (voice-over): Ronaldo and Portugal were facing Uruguay and the Uruguayans got off to a great start when Luis Suarez finds Cavani with the cross, obliging with the perfect finish, possibly a combination of shoulder and face, too.

After Portugal had leveled, Edinson Cavani, again, providing the sublime moment of the game, a breathtaking curl finish, superb skills, just past the hour mark: 2-1, Uruguay. Heartbreak for Portugal and their star talisman as well, Cristiano Ronaldo -- look at this -- visibly moved by the outcome.

And it's a wonder at 33, has he now possibly played for the last time at the World Cup?

We shall see. All right. Earlier in the day, we witnessed pure theater. A 7-goal thriller of a game between two-time world champions Argentina and France. Much had been made about Argentine disunity and whether the squad lost faith in the manager, Jorge Sampaoli. Argentina's stunning equalizer though appeared to indicate otherwise.

At that point and especially when Lionel Messi's shot is deflected in by teammate Gabriel Mercado for 2-1 La Albiceleste. It looked like Argentina could be in for the big win but the Blue dug deep to turn this match on its head. The young Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard with a brilliant goal for the French. What a moment he'll never forget.

Then it really was the Kylian Mbappe show. He wouldn't turn 20 until December, showing composure way beyond his years, becoming the first team to score two goals at a World Cup since the great Pele six decades ago.


SNELL: All right. Here is a look at the draw then. France and Uruguay, the first teams through. They'll play for a place in the semis on Friday. Sunday will see two more teams punching their ticket to the next round, when Spain face the host nation, Russia. Croatia kicking off against Denmark.

And that is your FIFA World Cup update. I'm Patrick Snell.


HOWELL: Patrick, thank you.

Still ahead, a major crisis averted in Cape Town, South Africa. How that city saved itself from running out of water.



HOWELL: The city of Cape Town, South Africa, was on the verge of running out of water for more than a year but conservation measures have certainly played a part.



HOWELL: Now to tell you about UNESCO. It selected six new World Heritage sites, each with a cultural, historic or scientific significance for humanity. Those sites include the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles of Mumbai, India, which were part of an urban planning project in the 19th century.

The Sassanid archaeological landscape in Fars, Iran, this is a combination of eight sites that date back more than 1,500 years.

In Nagasaki, Japan, there is the hidden Christian sites, 10 villages, Hara Castle and a cathedral built between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Then there is the Sansa Buddhist mountain monasteries in South Korea. That includes seven temples built between the 7th and the 9th centuries.

In the Arctic Circle, there is the Inuit hunting ground, which contains 4,000 years of human history.

And finally the archeological border complex of the Hedeby and the Danevirke in Germany. This holds the remains of a trading town dating back to the 1st and 2nd millennia. It's amazing to see these sites.

We thank you so much for being with us here for CNN NEWSROOM. Your world headlines right after the break.