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Wildfires Devastating Southern Region of Portugal; Researchers Studied Geoengineering and Its Effects On Agriculture; NASA Probe Will Fly Closer To Sun Than Any Craft Before. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:00]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWROOM ANCHOR: This is "CNN Newsroom" live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour the Saudi-led coalition say's it was a legitimate military reaction. An air strike on a school bus in Yemen, killing and badly wounding dozens of children.

Turn the plane around. A U.S. Federal Judge makes a dramatic court order after revelations the asylum seekers at the center of a legal battle were in the air being deported and on their way back to El Salvador.

Plus a radical plan to combat climate change. How mimicking volcanic eruptions could cool the earth. Hello, very welcome now viewers now all around the world. I'm John Vause "Newroom" L.A. starts right now.

Moving in with those images out of Yemen which are the most horrific we've seen in a very long time, dozens of small children riding on bus through a market when the bus there was suddenly blown to bits in an airstrike. This is conducted by the Saudi-led coalition who are backed by the U.S.

Many of the pictures from the side are just too awful for television. But the images your about to see are still extremely graphic. So say the world is outraged is an understatement. The U.N. Secretary General is among those who have condemned the carnage and is calling for a full and transparent investigation.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a lot on (inaudible), it has been a lot of (inaudible).

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bloody children attempt to crawl to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in foreign language).

ELBAGIR: Behind them the bodies of their friends lie still and unmoving. In the middle of a busy market place eye witnesses say a missal hit a bus carrying school children in a direct strike.

At the hospital they're still counting the dead and the dying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in foreign language).

ELBAGIR: This little boy is one of the lucky ones. Wearing his little blue back pack he like the other children on the bus was on this way to summer school. Most of the casualties today were children. Many health authorities say under the age of 10.

This is just the latest volley in assumingly unending war in Yemen. A spokes man for the Saudi-led coalition told CNN the missal strike was aimed at a legitimate target.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attack was against those element, terrorist element by Saudi at launched a ballistic missal (ph).

ELBAGIR: Three years ago the coalition lead by Saudi Arabia launched an attack to return totality elected government of Abdur Raham Al Ossi (ph), after his overthrow by Iranian backed Houthis rebel militias. Progress has been torturously slow and recent weeks has seen an intensifying of air strikes.

In Saada (ph) a core town in Yemen's last remaining lifeline for supplies from the outside world, missals struck at the entrance to the last functioning hospital in the city. In spite of pleas from humanitarian organizations, the offensive on Houthis (ph) continues.

The U.S. and U.K. provide much of the weaponry deployed by the Saudi- led coalition, at a price. U.S. President Donald Trump returned from a trip in May last year to Saudi Arabia touting a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. Just over a year later in June the U.S. and U.K. refused to allow the Security Council to even release a statement calling for a cease fire in Hudaydah offensive.

In the hospital one child begins to scream. It's been a day filled with children's crying. The sound they say they've grown accustom to here in Yemen. And most don't think that will change anytime soon.

Nima Elbagir, CNN Yemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN (inaudible) Rick Francona joins us now from Portland (ph), Oregano. Ricks a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force, served as a military attache (ph) in Syria. Colonel good to have you with us, it's been a while. It's just a hideous story. There is a statement which has been put out by the Saudi-led coalition which seemed totally un-repented.

Here's part of it. Saying that legitimate - calling it a legitimate military action which was conducted in conformity with the International humanitarian law. And is customary rules to target the militants responsible and for planning and timing civilians, which resulted in killing and injuring them.

OK, how can this be justified as a legitimate military action before there's even been an investigation? Because we've heard from the international Red Cross which tweeted out that on under International humanitarian law civilians must be protected during conflict.

RICK FRANCONA, RETIRED LT. COLONEL US AIR FORCE: Exactly that's a boiler plate explanation that they gave and its ridicules. On the surface, and I think once we find the - once they do launch an investigation, if they they're going to find out that this was totally inappropriate. They violated every norm.

You know we worked with the Saudi's for a long time. They use our protocols, we've tried to instill our sense of what are valid targets and what are not. This is truly beyond the pale (ph) John.

I saw these pictures. It's heart wrenching to watch this. And these guys are flying state of the art aircraft, they're using state of the art weapon, precision guided munitions. There's no way they were going after legitimate military target in a market place, where there are school buses.

VAUSE: There are nine countries in the Saudi-led coalition. All but one of those counties is a U.S. alley. Doesn't that open up a role here for the U.S., to at the very least push for an investigation and open an honest investigation?

FRANCONA: We've got to hold these people accountable. There's got to be an investigation and people have got to answer for what's going on there. And this is not an isolated incident John, this happens a lot in Yemen we see a lot of these what the Saudis describe as going after a valid military target.

But something malfunctioned. We missed the target. I'm not buying it. I believe that market place was targeted out of retaliation for this missal strike that occurred the other day, which someone was killed in Saudi Arabia. So I just think this a brutal act of retaliation.

VAUSE: You mentioned that this has been a concern for a while. In April last year a few U.S. law makers tried to set new conditions for military support for Riyadh. Here's part of statement for the Democrat Senator Chris Murphy.

The Saudi's are important partners in the Middle East but they have continued to disregard our advice when it comes to target selection and civilian protection. Now on the same day that - that statement came out we heard from the Saudis.

The official spokesman for the Joint Incidents Assessment Team in Yemen, JIAT the legal advisor Masnur Almansor (ph) confirmed that the Arab collation forces that they say support the legitimate coming (ph) in Yemen are carrying out an inclusive revision for the rules of engagement which it follows.

So is it known what that revision included? Or did nothing happen? Was that just pandering to American lawmakers to continue ourselves (ph)?

FRANCONA: I suspect that's the case John. I think they're saying what we want to hear. You know you have to look - and if you look at what the United States is trying to do here, we're trying to back an alley.

And I think it's backfiring on us because they are operating totally out of bounds here. We're trying to bolster the Saudi's so that they'll stand up against Iran as part of our collation against the Iranians. But you've got all these other, as you said these nine alleys. But the real countries that are fighting this is Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Those are the ones.

We don't see this kind of activity from the UAE. This is the Saudi's and we have a lot of sway with the Saudi's. I don't understand why we can not get a handle on this.

VAUSE: You know last year it was reported that Saudi Arabia had agreed to buy about seven billion dollars worth of precision guided munitions from U.S. Defense contractors. But it's not just the United States. The campaign against arms trade say's the U.K. has licensed about $6 billion worth of arms sales to the Kingdom. That's sine 2015 and there are other countries as well.

What are the responsibilities for those countries selling weapons which are doing the killing?

FRANCONA: Yes, this is an age old question. What responsibility do the suppliers of the arms bare? It's - I don't know what the international law exactly say's on that. But once you transfer the weapons to another country it's kind of out of your hands.

We've tried to keep restrictions on things. And it's never worked. We tried in Afghanistan, we tried it in Iraq. Everywhere we do this the weapons end up in the wrong hands or they end up being used incorrectly, inappropriately.

This is - I think maybe today this will cause a real hard look at what we're doing in Saudi Arabia. It needs to. I mean no one can look a these pictures, nobody that served in any military can condone this kind of activity.

VAUSE: Yes. It was horrendous. Rick, thanks. Good to see you.

FRANCONA: Sure thing John.

VAUSE: A look at Washington now, a threat from a Federal Judge to hold U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session in Contempt of court. The Judge ruled the Trump administration can not deport immigrants while they're waiting for their court hearing.

But for two asylum seekers it was almost too late. CNN's Tal Kopan reports.

TAL KOPAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well it was a dramatic day in a Washington D.C. courtroom today. As a Federal Judge was hearing a plea from a group of asylum who are tying to challenge their deportation orders and broader policies from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, making it harder for them to seek asylum in the U.S.

[00:10:00] But as the court hearing was happening, in a brief break, one of the attorneys got word that two of their clients were already on a plane being deported back to El Salvador.

Now when the attorney brought this to the judge's attention, the judge was reportedly frustrated and borderline furious at the government for doing so after having told him the day before that it wouldn't do such a thing. And he ordered the plane either turned around or those immigrants brought back to the country immediately. And he went so far as to say that if that didn't happen, he would be ordering officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen into his courtroom to justify why he shouldn't hold them in contempt of court.

Now after this court proceeding happened, the government did in fact bring those individuals back to the U.S. They landed in El Salvador, were turned around, and our understanding is they are now back in the United States. But there is a long road ahead for this hearing. And at the end of the day, the judge is saying the government may not deport any of these immigrants fighting for their right to stay in the U.S. until he at least has time to weigh their arguments going forward.

Tal Kopan, CNN, Washington.

VAUSE: Well, joining me now Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman and Conservative Commentator Joe Messina. Good to see you both. OK, here are a few more details about the woman at the center of this legal challenge before the court.

According to the ACLU, "Carmen," which is, you know, a pseudonym, "her husband had regularly raped, stalked and threatened to kill her for two decades. She never reported it to police in El Salvador, having seen other women do so only to be killed by their husbands in retaliation. After she left her husband, taking her daughter with her, she claimed gang members in town targeted her as a single mother, threatening to kill her and her daughter unless she paid them a monthly sum."

Joe, assuming what this woman says is true, and there is a process in place, there is a vetting system which these people go through and it is stringent and it is difficult. So let's assume it is -- it is true, why would the Trump administration want her, and others just like her who have experienced this trauma to be turned away, to go back to the place where this happening? How does that fit with American values?

JOE MESSINA, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, look, as far as American values go, we don't want people to suffer. We don't want to see that kind of thing happening. But that thing is happening in villages all across the world, not just in that particular place.

You know, is there a -- is there a point where we go, OK, that's -- that's a domestic situation, that's a local situation. Is every woman or every guy that's threatened by a local gang, are we obliged to take them into the country? Because that's not just happening there, it's happening in Italy, it's happening in Greece, it's happening in Europe and in England.

Are we obliged to take every one of those families, every one of those women that's being somehow threatened by a gang? Now, again, nobody should have to live in fear. I get it. When does their government step in? Are we responsible for everybody and everybody's woes?

VAUSE: Caroline?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I would say that we are. I would say that that's actually what this country is built upon, right? Immigrants have come here, people in situations where they are -- they have been raped, and stalked and are now being threatened by a local gang.

It seems to me pretty obviously that that is right in line with American values, to allow people who are in these dire circumstances to go through a process and to accept them. And we have for the past 10 years, right? This is a new policy that Jeff Sessions has put into place where he -- we're -- we're no longer -- and this Trump, right -- we are no longer allowing people who come in with just cases of domestic violence or just gang violence ...

MESSINA: (inaudible) my point though ...

VAUSE: Well, I'm just wondering if I could weigh in ...

MESSINA: ... domestic violence (ph) ...

VAUSE: ... here (ph) -- I'm just wondering because places like Italy, places in Europe there's a rule of law. There's a common structure which set out there (ph). You know, there's a pretty good functioning governance system.

Places like El Salvador where the government is corrupt, and the system doesn't work, and you can't go to the police because you know that they're on the take (ph) -- all those (ph). I mean, isn't there a degree -- isn't there sort of a sense of real-worldness (ph) here that you can say, OK, these places are awful and terrible, and the system doesn't work, and as a priority we should look at these people.

You know, maybe Europe -- maybe your argument for Europe is absolutely true, maybe their governments need to step up and look after those places ...

MESSINA: But, John, you've (ph) got places in Europe right now that are lawless as well. You've got ...

VAUSE: Sure. (inaudible) but they're like (ph) -- there's it's ...

MESSINA: ... Right. So we can't use that argument. So -- so, are we saying we're now the keepers -- the protectors of domestic violence all across the world, is that what we're saying? Right (ph), because ...

HELDMAN: Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't that be greater for those at our borders to that (ph) ... MESSINA: No, listen, I would accept that argument. I would accept that argument from you, is -- is -- if you would also be along with the fact that we get -- we get so much heck every time we send our troops in to shore up a city, to shore up an area, to shore up another country. I mean, oh, here we go invading another country again.

HELDMAN: I think that's apples and oranges, Joe.

MESSINA: Which is it?

HELDMAN: I -- you're mixing ...

MESSINA: No, I do not.

HELDMAN: ... two different subjects.

MESSINA: When kids are being dragged through the street, when kids are being killed in the street, women are being stoned in the street, I'm sorry we should be in there protecting them if we're protecting domestic violence (ph)...

VAUSE: OK. I -- I want play a little clip from Laura Ingraham on Fox News talking about immigration and a changing America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: It does seem like the America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they're changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don't like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country's changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, Joe, sometimes you can use a dog whistle and sometimes you can just turn up to work and say it on t.v.

MESSINA: Look, I do think America has changed. It's changed since I was a young guy. Every one of my -- my -- every one of my relatives has had a green card to come here. So I'm not -- this is -- I'm not -- I'm not the quote/unquote white guy that grew up in -- in Georgia and I saw (ph) many things they -- see a things a certain way. I've seen immigration first-hand. I've seen what (ph) ...

VAUSE: Has it changed for the better?

MESSINA: ... I've seen people come here for a better life ...

VAUSE: And has it changed for the better?

MESSINA: ... and not to take advantage of the system. So, yes, I do believe.

Look at California. Look at the mess that we're in here. We don't want any borders. We want to let anybody in. We really don't care what your skill set is or isn't. And we're ...

HELDMAN: How are we in a mess? We are a thriving economy.

MESSINA: ... Really?

HELDMAN: How are we -- how is California not the ideal?

MESSINA: Are you serious? We have -- we have $127 billion in pensions we're not going to be able to pay, OK?

HELDMAN: That has -- and what -- and what does that have to do with ...

VAUSE: To do with immigration.

HELDMAN: ... Like, like apples and oranges again, Joe.

MESSINA: Where -- where is the money -- where is the money going? Where is the money that the state has put there (ph) going?

VAUSE: Immigrants (ph) actually boost the revenue in the (ph) (inaudible) ...

MESSINA: Anybody gets to go to college now, first year, for free. We don't care really what they do, or how they do, or what they're doing here. I'm tired of hearing about the argument in California where illegals pay taxes. Yes, they pay sales taxes ...

HELDMAN: $80,000 of the ...

MESSINA: ... when they buy a t.v. set.

HELDMAN: ... People who are not documented give the American taxpayers an average of $80,000 over the course of their lifetime. That's a fact.

MESSINA: And that's the -- over the course of their lifetime. How many of us do that ...

HELDMAN: Over the course of their life ...

MESSINA: ... in the course of a year or two?

HELDMAN: ... The course of a year you're paying $80,000 in taxes?

MESSINA: When you go buy -- when you -- you're talking about sales tax with these people over the course of a lifetime, over the course of 40 years?

HELDMAN: I'm talking about sales tax, I'm talking about Social Security, and Medicare and all of the things that employers gather and then don't -- and put into the system and they don't reap the benefits.

VAUSE: And unfortunately ...

HELDMAN: It is a myth that -- that undocumented and -- and illegal immigrants don't contribute to the economy, they do.

VAUSE: ... And -- and in that clip, she's -- she's talking Laura Ingraham is talking in these general terms, what all Americans believe, what everyone feels. The problem is that, you know, the latest polling that we have from Gallup, 75 percent of Americans say that immigration was in fact a good thing. And that's the highest level recorded and that's under the Trump administration.

So, Joe, when -- when Ingraham says we, she means ...

MESSINA: It (ph) wasn't talking about with immigration.

VAUSE: ... Trump supporters and Fox News.

MESSINA: Yes, but -- no, no. But I don't -- I agree with you. It's like I always say, when -- when -- when you're talking about comprehensive immigration -- let's be honest about this, when the right is talking about comprehensive immigration, they're talking about adhering to the law, and make sure that people come here the right way and what have you.

When the left talks about comprehensive immigration, it's we should open it up to them more. We should make more ...

HELDMAN: Joe, that's just ...

MESSINA: ... make believe that ...

HELDMAN: ... an overstatement of the left ...

MESSINA: ... No, it's a true statement.

HELDMAN: ... because it's not. You know what we don't want? We don't want children ripped from their families. We don't want women who've been raped and are under threat of violence from gangs and ex- husbands to not be able to seek asylum. We want common sense immigration. We ...

MESSINA: So why aren't we helping out the people in Chicago?

HELDMAN: ... are, most of us, immigrants in this country.

MESSINA: They're -- they're -- they're being raped.

HELDMAN: Apples and oranges. Apples and oranges, Joe. You're -- you're making ...

MESSINA: No, violence is violence no matter where it's happening at (ph).

HELDMAN: ... Look, Laura Ingraham's rhetoric, we've heard this before. We heard the exact same rhetoric in the buildup to the -- the re-emergence ...

MESSINA: And it -- it is ...

HELDMAN: ... of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago.

MESSINA: ... it is not true. OK.

HELDMAN: This is an astonishingly racist rant and it is unfortunately the state of the Republican Party.

MESSINA: That's a wonderful word. I love it when you guys use that world.

VAUSE: Well, the fabric of the nation changed a little bit on Thursday. The fabric of the nation changed a little bit on Thursday with the president's mother- and father-in-law becoming U.S. citizens. So how did they do it? Lawyers for the First Lady described this process as family reunification.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL WILDES, IMMIGRATON ATTORNEY: They have travailed (ph) a wonderful journey like most have -- millions have, in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time. The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else's other than security arrangements to -- to facilitate today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The president though, he prefers to call it "chain migration" and this is what he thinks of chain migration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.

TRUMP: We want to get rid of chain migration.

TRUMP: Ending chain migration.

TRUMP: Ending chain migration.

TRUMP: You have chain migration, this was a Schumer deal. Schumer wanted this.

TRUMP: We have to get rid of chain migration, all of these things we've been talking about.

TRUMP: A guy comes in and then you have to bring his aunt, his uncle, his father, his grandfather, his grandparents.

TRUMP: A total disaster which threatens our security and our economy.

TRUMP: His third-niece by a different marriage.

TRUMP: And provides a gateway for terrorism.

TRUMP: They think it's good politically. I'll tell you what; I think it's horrible politically. What do I know? But I did become president in, like, a year and a half.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: A double stand, Joe?

MESSINA: Yes.

VAUSE: OK, good.

MESSINA: You know, we talk about apples and oranges, OK? No, no, no, really -- seriously. Here you are, you're talking about her mother and father, two people who can obviously take of themselves financially, who could make a way for themselves in this country. He's talking about aunts, uncles, cousins, 17 brothers and sisters, and 5 other people. Apples and oranges, for sure.

HELDMAN: Really, it's the exact same process. Its only difference is Melania comes in with an Einstein visa and her parents use chain migration, and they're white people. And the people who've ...

VAUSE: Oh (ph).

HELDMAN: ... have been consistently demonized throughout the election and today are Latinesque (ph) people from south of the border.

[00:20:00]

VAUSE: I want to say show you something very quickly. It's the Vice President, Mike Pence, and Space Force.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces to prepare for the next battlefield where America's best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation. The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

VAUSE: Space Force. Do we really need a Space Force or couldn't we just build a great big wall around the Earth and get Mars to pay for it?

HELDMAN: Oh goodness. Yes, we don't need a Space Force, but this will be a boondoggle for defense contractors. This is just out and outgraphed.

VAUSE: Joe?

MESSINA: I want to ride the first Enterprise - real Enterprise that goes into space. Stop. You know, when you talk about this, it's really funny how we giggle about these things for years. We've giggled about these kind of things for years, but look. The Chinese sent up a rocket to show that they could take out a satellite. You're not thinking that flexing muscle. You're thinking it's sharp (ph).

Are we going to wait until they shoot one down? Are we going to wait until they do some damage? Because that's what we do in this country.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, that got a satellite -

MESSINA: Because it's uncomfortable to get out in front of there.

VAUSE: But the U.S. is a satellite killer as well, so, you know, it all sort of evens itself out at the end of the day.

MESSINA: OK. So I - we don't know whether the Chinese already have something to shoot their stuff (ph), OK?

VAUSE: Well, they do. They can.

MESSINA: All right. So why should we -

VAUSE: I think it was 2007 -

MESSINA: - shouldn't we defend ourselves? That's the question.

VAUSE: $8 billion I think is the original budget, but you get a free hat.

MESSINA: Well, hey, we can spend $32 billion for -

HELDMAN: As long as there's Darth Vader involved, you know -

MESSINA: - full healthcare for everybody. That's -

VAUSE: Yes, for the wall. Joe and Caroline, next hour come back, please. It was good. Appreciate it. We'll take a short break. When we come back, nearly a year after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico. The governor there now admitting that the real death toll is likely to be much higher than the official toll.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Welcome back, everybody. Puerto Rico's government has admitted the death toll from Hurricane Maria will far exceed the current official number of 64. CNN's Leyla Santiago reports on why these numbers are so drastically different.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The government of Puerto Rico now publically acknowledging the excess in death following Hurricane Maria and the aftermath of it all. That number, about 1,400 mentioned in this report which was sent to Congress on Wednesday night.

Now, that said, even though the government is acknowledging that -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, exactly. SANTIAGO: - there was a rise in death compared to the years prior to Hurricane Maria, they still stand firm that the official death toll remains at 64. So why? Well, when we spoke to government officials, they say that they are waiting for their own study that they commissioned from George Washington University before they make any changes to the death toll.

The problem with that is that study was due to have some findings out in May. That never happened. And so, now they're still waiting to get some results from the study that they commissioned out of G.W.

So what's next? Well, they say that because we are in hurricane season, they want to get to the bottom of the number, and that is important because if you don't understand who died when, where, and how, there's not way to really prevent any death in the future. And the timing of it is important because we are now in hurricane season, and historically, the big storms usually come to Puerto Rico sometime in September.

In the meantime, the government says it does not plan to change the death toll until their report in complete? Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, still to come here reporting the massive fires burning across the world including blazes here in California, which have forced a state of emergency declaration. Also, could mimicking a volcanic eruption safely cool down the Earth? We'll talk to one researcher studying this radical idea to try and reverse the impact of climate change.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. Dozens of children in Northern Yemen were killed Thursday what a Saudi coalition air strikeage (ph) their school bus as a busy marketplace. Many other people were killed and wounded as well.

Yemen Secretary General has condemned the attack and called for an independent investigation. The collation says it was a legitimate military action directed at the key (ph) rebels.

A U.S. judge is threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court over deportation of immigrants. The judge says asylum seekers have a right to stay in the U.S. until their cases are heard. He ordered two immigrants on a plane to El Salvador be brought back to the U.S.

Puerto Rico's government says it's likely more than 1,400 people have died from Hurricane Maria last year. That's a big jump from the official death toll, which still stands at 64. Authorities are waiting for a new comprehensive study that will give and accurate casualty count. It should be released later this month. The number of deaths from the new Ebola outbreak in the Congo has reach 27 according to the health ministry. Nearly 100 more cases are being investigated. And experimental vaccine is being administered to combat what is the most deadly strain of the virus.

California's governor has declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties due to a massive wildfire burning there. These stunning, new images show the holy (ph) fire going southeast of Los Angeles. It's only 5 percent contained and has prompted mandatory evacuations of thousands of people.

In this video obtained by CNN shows fire creeping up towards a home. The man who lives there shot this video. He's actually a police officer and may know the man accused of starting the blaze is being held on $1 million bail, expected to make a court appearance in the coming hours.

[00:30:00]

Meantime, the biggest fire in California's history, the Mendocino Fire Complex has now grown to more than 123,000 hectares and has destroyed almost 120 homes in the northern part of the state.

In Portugal, battling a massive wildfire on its own in the Algarve tourist region, it's been burning for a week, injuring dozens of people and damaging thousands of hectares in its wake. CNN's Nina dos Santos has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hundreds of people are evacuating as wildfires close in on homes and hotels in Portugal's southern tourist region. The fire in Monchique is now the largest this year, in Portugal.

Thousands of hectares have already been scorched. Dozens of people injured as well, including several firefighters. The thick smoke and flames are coming down the hillside, and it's worrying many.

ROBERTO CONDE, HOTEL OWNER, SILVES, PORTUGAL (through translator): Well, it's not easy. You want to sleep, but you can't because you want to see what's happening. But you can't see anything because all you can see is smoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translator): It doesn't look good at all. It's bad. We are here and our lives are at risk. But we must persevere.

DOS SANTOS: More than 1,300 firefighters are on the ground battling the blaze, with the help of hundreds of fire trucks and more than a dozen aircraft. Portugal's prime minister warns that this massive fire could take days to put out. The blaze started more than a week ago. Crews fear the wind could pick up and reignite the flames.

KEN MANSFIELD, TOURIST FROM U.K.: It's a tragic, tragic episode, really, with all the people that live out here, further out of (INAUDIBLE) but it's very, very sad, and it needs more help. DOS SANTOS: Nina dos Santos, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now with more on this. It seems there are fires burning just throughout everywhere around the world.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Pretty much. And where we have the fires, we have extreme heat, John, they'd go hand in hand. We'll talk a little bit more about that, but yes, Portugal on fire, especially across the southern area here.

This is the same spot, right, that last year, we lost dozens and dozens of people as a result of multiple fires. And this is what we have going here. We have a lot of personnel now. I was with you last week when this began. We had upwards of 300 fire personnel, that is up now to 1,300.

What is also up, the people that have been evacuated at 300. And this fire, despite the 1,300 fire personnel, has now consumed almost 24,000 hectares here. So, obviously, they've not got a good handle on it, prevailing wind flow is out of the south. So what that means, is replaces out to north.

Look at this plume, the smoke picked up by our satellites earlier this morning, and this will continue. All that smoke is going to be providing big-time air quality problems the next few days, and that is going to be with us as we continue to see fires as well, of course, in California.

So, let's fly you into the Mendocino Complex Fire here, two fires, big ones burning now, 87 percent contained, but that still gets us close to 20,000 hectares impacted. And then we're over 103,000 now, across the ranch fire as well.

So, as I mentioned, this comes hand in hand with the heat waves that we've been seeing, right, went through here across the north eastern U.S., western California seeing their hottest month ever, July, the hottest July ever since we've been keeping records, and this not occurring in a vacuum. This is a planet-wide event.

In fact, 9, of the last 11 years, have been the warmest years that we have recorded on this planet, so, obviously, not a coincidence, John, that these things are happening. They're going to continue to happen, more frequency and more severity as we continue to see the planet warm, back to you.

VAUSE: OK. Yes, the new normal, as they say. Ivan, thank you. Well, as I have mentioned, those record high temperatures around the world are creating ideal conditions for wildfires. Researchers have been studying the effects of mimicking a volcanic eruption to reduce global warming.

By injecting reflective particles in the upper atmosphere, this type of geoengineering could cool the earth but there could be consequences to tampering with Mother Nature.

As a newly published research paper has revealed, the lead author of the study, U.C. Berkeley's Jonathan Proctor, joins us now, Jonathan, thank you for being with us. I'm sure you've read a lot about the reaction to these plans being described as everything from a Hail Mary pass to a barking mad, bad idea. What do you say?

JONATHAN PROCTOR, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIST, U.C. BERKELEY: Yes, I mean, I think geoengineering can be quite scary, but I think we really have to weigh that with the -- also scariness of climate change and the real damages that that could incur.

So, I think the most important thing is to, kind of, evaluate these policies with as much sort of scientific rigor and objectiveness as we can, because they could be a valuable tool. We just don't know really enough yet to determine what their total effects would be.

[00:35:25] VAUSE: So some said that, you know, the side effects here could be simply as bad as the disease, a bit like, you know, taking up smoking to try and lose weight.

PROCTOR: Yes. Another way that I'd like to think about it, is it's kind of like paying off one credit card with another credit card, because essentially, what our study finds was that the benefits for agriculture that you get from cooling the planet down, are offset by the damages to crops from shading them, from reducing the amount of energy that they have to grow.

VAUSE: So essentially, the way that would work would be pumping air pollution into the atmosphere to fight climate change. You know, so who has the authority to, you know, to authorize that on a, you know, planetary-wide basis, and how would you convince the public that that's a good idea?

PROCTOR: Yes. I mean, obviously, those are some of the biggest challenges. Kind of, how do you get everyone to agree on how to set this global thermostat? How to agree on who is going to share the risks of this policy? Where is it, kind of, where are the particles actually injected overhead?

A really big question here is, how do we build appropriate and respectful governance strategies to manage both the research of this technology, as well as potential deployment?

VAUSE: If you look at the research, to what you're saying, it's actually already been proven true because as, you know, sort of, atmospheres clean up, and as they get rid of air pollution and the skies clear, you know, those parts -- you know, those cleared areas, you know, the temperatures go up initially, before they start coming down, don't they?

PROCTOR: Totally, yes. So I think we know fairly well that if you put reflective stuff into the high atmosphere or into the low atmosphere with the case of, sort of, air pollution, the earth will cool down because these particles are reflective, and they bounce energy back into space, which cools you down, similar to how you might cool yourself down during a hot day by standing in the shade of a tree.

What we don't know are, sort of, what potential other effects on planet might be, and importantly, what impacts on human well-being might be, right? We studied agriculture, but the remaining questions of are how my coral reefs respond or how my human productivity or skin cancer? We really just -- there are so many unknowns.

VAUSE: Yes. It sounds to me like -- correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you're putting this out there as a plan because of our collective failure as a society, as a global society, to implement any real significant changes to reduce CO2 emissions and to do anything of a significant nature to minimize the impact of climate change.

PROCTOR: I mean, what I can say is that, the most certain way to reduce the risks that climate change poses to global well-being, would be to reduce emissions. That's really fail-safe. Kind of, the trade- off there is that a lot of poorer places still, kind of, need to burn some of these fuels.

But, as much as we can do to transition to a cleaner economy, the more prepared we will be to deal with the threats of climate change.

VAUSE: OK. It is an interesting plan. It's an interesting idea. I guess, hopefully, we'll never have to use it.

PROCTOR: I agree.

VAUSE: Thanks for being with us. Cheers.

PROCTOR: Thank you.

VAUSE: Coming up here, NASA, counting the days. A mission to the sun will take us closer to the surface than ever before, details in a moment.

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[00:40:00] VAUSE: Well, NASA will launch the fastest made human object ever, on Saturday, getting closer to the sun than ever before. CNN's Lynda Kinkade has more on the incredible milestone and what it all means.

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LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: NASA's next mission is aiming high. As early as this weekend, it plans to launch the Parker Solar Probe, which will fly closer to the sun than any spacecraft before it. The journey by a robotic probe about the size of a small car is literally, one of the hottest in science.

GERONIMO VILLANUEVA, PLANETARY SCIENTIST, NASA: We're going to be very, very close. We're going to be actually touching the particles of the sun.

KINKADE: It's a seven-year mission with a price tag of $1-1/2 billion. That will bring NASA about 6 million kilometers from the sun's surface. The craft is designed to withstand searing temperatures which could reach more than 1,300 degrees Celsius.

VILLANUEVA: Not only we had to go flying very fast, entering the sun's atmosphere, but we also had to go reaching millions of degrees temperature. So, we have this special heat shield. It's going to be around five inches thick and that thing is made up of special materials.

KINKADE: The probe will eventually swoop into the solar corona, the outer most part of the sun's atmosphere known for its magnetic charges and solar winds. There energized particles are whipped into space, which interfere with certain technology systems back on earth.

VILLANUEVA: The sun emits a lot of particles -- high magnetic particles that they affect our communication systems. So when we get a massive (INAUDIBLE) happen in the sun, they may kill, you know, satellite or a power grade, here in our own planet.

KINKADE: It's the first time NASA has named a mission after a living person. Astrophysicist Newman Eugene Parker, who pioneered the study of solar winds. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.

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