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California Wildfires; Can Mimicking Volcano Eruptions Safely Cool the Earth; New Film Could Be Watershed Moment; French Winemakers Oppose Health Warnings on Bottles. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, they were on a school trip, children on a bus in Yemen, to the Saudi-led coalition though they were a legitimate military target and now dozens of dead after an airstrike. Also ahead, Space Force, the Vice President announces the sixth branch of the U.S. military. It doesn't exist but at least it has its own line of merchandise. And later, whitewashing no more, How Crazy Rich Asians, a movie about crazy rich Asians might just change some old prejudices. Hello everybody thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause, this is NEWSROOM L.A.

In three years and four months of war in Yemen, after all the atrocities which have created what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian disaster with a death toll already north of 6,000, now comes this. Dozens of children on a school bus, little kids, innocent kids, killed in an airstrike. They were according to the Saudi-led coalition a military target. The images you're about to see are gruesome. We can't show you other scenes that are far worse and more disturbing. Here, one little survivor is still wearing a small blue backpack which rescuers brought in. Like the other children on the bus he was on his way to summer school.

The airstrike in the northern province of Sanaa was launched by the Saudi-led coalition which is backed by the United States. We get more now from CNN's Nima Elbagir.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A U.S. State Department spokesperson has now called for a thorough investigation but this comes after many, many calls for both the U.S. and the U.K. to stop blocking action in the U.N. Security Council in June during intensifying strikes against the Yemeni Port of Hodeidah, the last remaining lifeline for supplies into the country. Both the U.S. and the U.K. blocked even just a statement calling for a ceasefire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's lots of children in the bus. We do have high standards meter for targeting. Civilian casualties is one of the points and civilian casualty is one of the points that we are limiting our army are enforcing our (INAUDIBLE) and children casualties means a lot to the commission. We cannot high civilian casualties in Yemen.


ELBAGIR: Many of those on the ground are concerned that despite the horror of what we have seen, despite of the images being beamed around the world, that nothing much will change, that the torturously slow onward grind of the war in Yemen will continue. The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition has said that they will continue in their strikes and has not made clear whether there will be an investigation. Nima Elbagir, CNN London


VAUSE: CNN Military Analyst Rick Francona joins us now from Portland, Oregon. Rick is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from U.S. Air Force and served as a military attache in Syria. Colonel, it's good to have you with us. It's been a while. It's just a hideous story. There is a statement which is put out by the Saudi coalition which seemed totally unrepentant. Here's part of it saying it legitimate -- calling it a legitimate military action which was conducted in conformity with the international military and law and it's customary rules to target the militants responsible and for planning and targeting 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 under international humanitarian law civilians must be protected during a conflict?

RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Exactly. That's a boilerplate explanation that they gave and it's ridiculous. On the surface and I think once we find -- once they do launch an investigation, if they do, they're going to find out that this was totally inappropriate. They violated every norm. You know, we worked with the Saudis for a long time. They use our protocol. We've tried to instill them you know our sense of what are valid targets and what are not this is truly beyond the pale, 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 -- they were going after legitimate target in a marketplace where there are school buses.

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

[01:05:03] 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 the Saudis described as going after a valid military target but something malfunctioned, we missed the target. I'm not buying it. I believe that marketplace was targeted, the retaliation for this missile strike that occurred the other day which someone was killed in Saudi Arabia so I just think this is a brutal act of retaliation. VAUSE: You mentioned that this has been a concern for a while, in

April of last year a few U.S. lawmakers tried to set new conditions for military support for Riyadh. Here's part of a statement for the Democrat Senator Chris Murphy. The Saudis 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 came -- that statement came out we heard from the Saudis.

The official spokesman for the Joint Incidents Assessment team in Yemen JIAT the legal adviser Mansour Al-Mansour confirmed that the Arab coalition forces that they say support the legitimate government in Yemen are carrying out an inclusive revision for the rules of engagement which it follows. So is it a non what that revision included or did nothing happen? Was that just pandering to American lawmakers to continue ourselves?

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 you know if you look at what the United States is trying to do here, we're trying to back an ally and I think it's backfiring on us because they are they are -- they're operating totally out of bounds here. We're trying to bolster the Saudis so that they'll stand up against Iran as part of our coalition against the Iranians but you got all these other, as you said, these nine allies but the real countries that are fighting this is Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Those are the -- those are the ones. So we don't see this kind of activity from the UAE. This is the Saudis and we have a lot of sway with the Saudis. I don't understand why we cannot get a handle on it.

VAUSE: You know, last year, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had agreed to buy $7 billion worth of precision-guided munitions for U.S. defense contractors but it's not just the United States so the campaign against arms trade says the U.K. has licensed about $6 billion worth of arms sales to the kingdom that's since 2015 and there are other countries as well. One of the responsibilities for those countries selling weapons which is doing the killing.

FRANCONA: This is an age-old question. What responsibility do the suppliers of the arms bear? It's -- I don't know what the international law exactly says 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 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 Saturday. It needs to. I mean, no one can look at these pictures. Nobody that's 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: Joining me now Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman and Conservative Commentator Joe Messina. OK, there's a lot of stuff to get to this hour but I just want to stay with (INAUDIBLE) for a little bit, Joe, because given the U.S. role not just as a supplier of arms and of weapons to Saudi Arabia but also has this you know, this close ally, this best friend to Saudi, isn't there some kind of moral responsibility here that Washington or the Trump Administration has at the very least to force the Kingdom to carry out some kind of open, transparent, and you know maybe even you know, (INAUDIBLE) and independent investigation to find out exactly what happened?

JOE MESSINA, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well I listen, I think we should work with any of our allies when something like this goes down or happens to try to make sure the real information comes out. Every administration, I'm not going to bring up any anything that the prior one did. I'm just saying any administration has a right. If you've got a relationship, you've got allies that you're working with, that you're supplying arms to, yes, I would -- I would ask them to give a real open honest explanation for what happened.

VAUSE: Caroline, the problem is the Trump Administration isn't even willing to mediate a dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Canada is our traditional ally and friend. One of the chances that you know, the President and Jared Kushner and you know, the gang got to stop dancing around the orb and actually pressure you know, the Saudis to do something.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think there's any possibility that that will happen. This is an administration whose foreign policy has been erratic at best, inexplicable in terms of alliances with Russia and I don't expect us to respond at all to this situation because I don't think that Donald Trump understands the seriousness or the intricacies of this situation. It's obviously about retaliation here. It doesn't matter what Saudi Arabia says. That is clear as day.

[01:10:00] VAUSE: OK, yes, it's a gruesome situation and clearly you know, this is something -- this -- was the United States would traditionally step up and do maybe they'll happen again. I guess we'll have to wait and see. We move on now because the U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and the Secretary of Homeland Security have been threatened by a federal court with contempt. This is after Judge Emmet Sullivan learned that a mother and her daughter at the center of a legal case before his court they are requesting asylum.

They're actually on a plane heading back to El Salvador. Bloomberg put it puts it this way. The removal process from the El Salvadorian mother and daughter was supposed to be delayed too similar to conduct an emergency hearing on Thursday on their appeal. Government laws specifically represented to the court that Carmen, that's her name, and her daughter would not be removed prior to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Someone said in an order he issued later in the day. So why would the U.S. government be such in such a rush to deport his mother and a daughter that you know, that these officials would actually defy a directive issued by a federal court?

MESSINA: I think your you're thinking that maybe the government does everything proper the first time around. I don't think you can just take this on face value that they did this on purpose in the face of the judge. Come on, let's really think about how the process works, how bureaucracy works. And I think this was a mistake. That's my personal opinion. I just think it was a mistake.

VAUSE: If it's a mistake, it's kind of a came at a bad time, Caroline, because you know, given everything that has happened, they probably didn't need to have a mistake like this. Do you think it's a blunder or something else?

HELDMAN: You know, I tend to think that it's a mistake. I tend to think that instead of intention, since they had to immediately turnaround from the Salvador and come back to Texas, that this was an issue with paperwork probably. But at the end of the day, you know, it's just highlighting these draconian policies.

VAUSE: Is it a blunder by the current atmosphere in the policies within the department?

MESSINA: We've seen this -- look at we've seen this for years even in those past administration but it was it at one point in time 3,500 people were released from prison that should not have been because of the paperwork there. It happens.

VAUSE: OK. Well, the mother here who claims she's a victim of domestic abuse says she was repeatedly raped by her husband, when she left gang members, threatened to kill her and her daughter, they demanded protection money. You know, Caroline, in the past that would have been grounds for asylum at least part of a case to be considered for asylum but not these days.

HELDMAN: Right, so Jeff Sessions actually withdrew that policy and has made it virtually impossible for people who are suffering from domestic violence or sexual violence or threatened by gang violence to obtain asylum in the United States which means that he is essentially sentencing hundreds perhaps thousands of people over the years to being abused, to being raped, to being killed. This is simply an American policy but I think it really highlights that this administration especially doesn't care about Latina immigrants because if you look at what's driving this I think it's racialized rhetoric.

VAUSE: 30-second Joe, so we want to move on so -

MESSINA: I think it's -- I think it's a flat and sorry argument to say it's brought on by racism. All right, we're not responsible for everything that's done to every person on the face of the planet. You know, she was obviously raped repeatedly by her husband, there not a local government that can step in and were responsible for every woman across the planet that's having a bad relationship, I don't think so.

VAUSE: Well, congratulations to the newest U.S. citizens, that would be the parents of Melania Trump the First Lady's mom and dad, both from Slovenia. They became U.S. citizens on Thursday legally eligible under a federal law which allows for family reunification or as the President tweeted back in November "chain migration must end now. Some people come in to they bring their whole family with them. Truly evil, not acceptable." Joe? Is the President referring to his in- laws? MESSINA: Two lengths are not a chain my friend. We're talking about

two people who can actually -- they've waited the five years, they can actually go ahead and take care of themselves. They can sustain for themselves. I think when he's talking about chain migration, if you're really looking at what he's talking about, the seventeen aunts and uncles, the fifteen other kids that have brought along the other relatives. You get up to thirty, forty, fifty people up on one hit.

HELDMAN: Where are you getting these numbers? I mean, you are --

VAUSE: How does that happen?

HELDMAN: Your just making this up. This is chain migration. This is exactly what this is.

MESSINA: I happened quite often where you've got a multitude of people or families --

HELDMAN: Really? What is the average -- you think the average is 17 people coming over from a family?

MESSINA: No, obviously when I'm saying that I'm kind of exaggerating but it's more than -- much more than two.

HELDMAN: So it's OK as long as it's two. So that would be your law then?


MESSINA: My logic -- my logic is you just -- it doesn't crack the dam open because you got here legally, now you want to bring the family over.


VAUSE: So if it was like -- I'm sorry -- if it was limited to immediate family the chain migration or family reunification, it's OK?

MESSINA: I think it's what he said and others on both sides of the aisle and said you have to think about case by case scenario. Where are they coming from, you know, what's going on, what's happening, you talk about protecting these people from rape gangs and everything else as I've said before, bring them in from France or rape gangs going on in France and Germany and other places if that's really how we're looking at this, bring them all in.

[01:14:55] HELDMAN: Well, absolutely.


MESSINA: Right. Let's bring over the flames.

HELDMAN: Anybody who qualified to asylum but that's a different subject than chain migration which is something that Trump on one side of his mouth speaks against. But then, Melania Trump's parents come over. It is (INAUDIBLE). (CROSSTALK)

MESSINA: OK. But if somebody comes over here from -- even from Europe, OK? Whether they are white, black, brown, or what have you, do we bring the whole family over because one is being threatened, because one has a problem?

HELDMAN: They go through a process, it's a 10-year process. I believe in our process, it's one we've had for a long time and it's one that has served us well.

MESSINA: That's the legal one is ten years, the -- an illegal one is much (INAUDIBLE).

VAUSE: Very quickly, we got to move on because we've -- there's some secret recordings of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, a good friend of the White House, a good friend of Donald Trump. Here is secretly recorded having a conversation to other Republicans about why -- just why they have to keep the House? Because they've got to protect the president.


REP. DEVIN NUNES (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones which is really the danger. That's why I keep and thank you for saying it by the way. I mean we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.


VAUSE: So, you say, Joe, you're basically what he's saying is that they need to keep the House, otherwise the Robert Mueller investigation goes forward and the president will be exposed because there'll be a Democrat majority.

I never thought it was -- that you need the Congress to protect the president. I do think that was out there.

MESSINA: Yes, I think -- I think we're being a little immature if we think that this doesn't go on all the time under other administrations as well, all right? And I think what he's saying there is it's -- they pick up more seats.

If they pick up a majority this is going to be a 24/7 push to impeach the president, nothing else will get done but that. Look, they're in the minority now, most of their members are 24 by seven push to impeach the president. There are other things going on in the world other than trying to impeach the president. They're stuck.

HELDMAN: Very few previous administrations have had an ongoing investigation certainly, nothing of this scale. So, justifying our -- or defending the Congress not doing its job and looking at this president as possibly impeachable because of partisanship, is putting party before country. MESSINA: I am so glad you brought a partisanship. There wasn't an A.G. in the last administration it would have done anything to Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton. You see what's going on right now.


HELDMAN: We actually -- they're not -- they're not suspected criminals, so we didn't have investigation.

MESSINA: You have Mr. Comey that they prove that Mr. Comey changed the verbiage in the report he gave out so that she couldn't be prosecuted. This is --


HELDMAN: Oh, my goodness. This is not a place for conspiracy theory, as well.

MESSINA: This goes on all the time.

HELDMAN: There is an active investigation for collusion and obstruction. And you are defending -- you are -- you are defending Nunes, not doing his job and looking at this president for impeachment.


MESSINA: Collusion. They've even said there's no collusion.

HELDMAN: Partisanship over country.

VAUSE: It's going to be -- it's going to be interesting. Well, 89 days I think, until the midterms.


VAUSE: Maybe 88 now. OK. Caroline and Joe, thank you.

HELDMAN: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: OK, next up here on NEWSROOM L.A., aftershock escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, could a ceasefire it had?

Also, protecting the world from alien attack. The U.S. Vice President says Space Force will save us. Well, it doesn't exist, at least you can (INAUDIBLE)


[01:20:32] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. We have this just into CNN. Hundreds of Taliban fighters have storm Ghazni Province in Afghanistan, coming in from four directions.

One official there says the fighting is still ongoing and reports of casualties. Ghazni security forces have driven most of the militants out of the city center according to this official, but a group of Taliban fighters are holed up in a building, continuing to fire police headquarters. More details on this developing story as soon as we get them.

Israel and Hamas have reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement after a violent flare-up between these two sides.

On the fighting started on Wednesday as Israel unleashed a series of air strikes on Gaza, and Hamas militants fired rockets and mortars into Israel. The Palestinian Health Ministry, says three Palestinians were killed, and Israeli official denies a ceasefire exist. There's been no comment yet from Hamas.

Well, the Trump administration is hoping to make military inroads to enter the final frontier, the vast reaches of outer space. It's truly a brave new world. Vice President Mike Pence, says the administration will start establishing a new military branch which will hopefully be ready by 2020. Barbara Starr, explains why the White House thinks this is so critical to America's safety.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Space Force. Space Force. So, we have the army, the Navy, the Airforce, the Marines, the Coast Guard, now we're going to have the Space Force because it's a whole -- we need it.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: At the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence, unveiling the White House plan.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.

STARR: Hence, making the case, the U.S. is under threat.

PENCE: Russia and China to North Korea and Iran, have pursued weapons to jam blind and disabled our navigation and communication satellites.

STARR: In 2007, China used a missile to destroy one of its own out- of-date satellite. What if it had been targeting U.S. satellites?

COL. CEDRICK LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What that means is that it put every single thing that we have in space at risk that includes GPS communications it includes all of the communication satellites that we have. All of the things that we depend on nowadays for a daily life was all of a sudden put at risk by that one action by the Chinese in 2007.

STARR: The Kremlin working on a similar threat.

PENCE: Russia has been designing an airborne laser to disrupt our space-based system and it claims to be developing missiles that can be launched from an aircraft mid-flight to destroy American satellites.

STARR: Defense Secretary James Mattis, was initially unenthusiastic about adding more bureaucracy to the Pentagon. Telling Congress in 2017, "I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations."

Mattis, now says he's on board with the plan. Congress would have to approve a new branch of the military and there are questions if more military offices are the right solution for a 21st-century threat.

LEIGHTON: I think this is maybe the wrong bureaucracy for the problem.


STARR: And what if there was an attack against a U.S. satellite, one analyst says it could push American life back into the 1940s and 50s. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

VAUSE: Space Force. Let's talk about this with Dr. David Wolf, a former NASA astronaut. Serves on the National Space Council's Advisory Group, and he is with us from Houston, Texas. Dr., thank you being with us.

OK. So, I'm like have two things in my head going around when it comes to Space Force, and one is really stupid because it's like this, take a look.


ANNOUNCER: Space Ghost.


VAUSE: And then, I stopped being a 12-year-old boy, and actually think, well, maybe is this actually kind of serious? Because there is actually a threat to the U.S. satellite system. And you know, to space assets. So, is that kind of what we're looking at here, or are we like -- you know, looking at Space Ghost?

DR. DAVID WOLF, FORMER ASTRONAUT (via skype), NASA: Like it or not, our world has already moved out into space. Civil space, commercial, and military assets. And these need protected as they do on earth. The world has changed a lot in the 70 years since a last branch of the military was formed.

[01:25:12] VAUSE: So, OK, so, essentially, is it -- so you're saying it's about protecting the satellites, not necessarily from alien attack but maybe from -- you know, Chinese or Russian attack.

WOLF: I think we're fairly safe for a long time from alien attack.

VAUSE: Yes, we're doing a pretty good job of destroying the earth all by ourselves at the moment. I don't think the aliens have to help us. You know, one of the criticisms that you hear a lot and it was in Barbara's speech there, is that this was just simply create a whole lot of bureaucracy. The expense is about $8 billion over the next five years.

You know, is it worth it that sort of money needs to be spent at this present point in time? Is there a pressing need for this? WOLF: The activity is worth it in my opinion. I've looked into it airplay, of course, along with others. The dissenting opinions are very important. The wisdom lives in those that others bring forward, it's all in the time that the tactical execution of the program. It can be done well or poorly.

Done well, this is a fabulous opportunity. It can unite this globe, unite this planet.

VAUSE: OK, so, it's all about how it's executed. If you look at what the Trump administration is doing here, the Trump campaign has sort of jumped onto this big time. Selling branded merchandise, you know, they're getting supporters, the opportunity actually go out and vote for Space Force logo.

So, it kind of seems a little cheesy and maybe even sort of like an election -- you know, stunt as opposed to a serious proposal to protect satellites and other space assets.

WOLF: I can guarantee you, this is important part of the national treasure we're talking about protection of. It's a very serious matter, space situation awareness, space traffic management, sensors of all kinds -- all the various discussion points are good valid, and very serious points to the quality of life on our planet, and sustaining that into the future.

VAUSE: OK. Well then, given the seriousness of what we're looking at here, could this administration have taken a different approach in introducing this idea to the U.S. public and I guess, near the rest of the world?

WOLF: There's certainly been some sticker shock you might say. All innovations are usually met with that great innovations. For I believe this is the approach but also it should be looked at carefully as critics have pointed out, this is early in the process of the execution. The intent is very good.

Yes, or probably, other potential pass would be followed, I do agree with this one. But we -- I can't believe that the administration would not be open to alternative as they would emerge and be reasonable.

VAUSE: Very quickly, you know, clearly the -- you know, the vice president, the president, they're all for, but they do not have the authority to establish -- you know, this new branch of the military, that is up to Congress. From what you know, from what you're hearing, is there a lot of support in Congress at the moment to do this?

WOLF: This is a place where if we can be a partisan as you can be, space is it -- you were -- I've heard, it's very true, space -- our space stations is like that orbiting international laboratory, and meeting place. Yes is the answer.

VAUSE: OK. Well, I guess time to sign up if we want to go into space. David, thank you. Dr. David Wolf, reshaping with us, staying up late there in Houston. WOLF: Thank you, (INAUDIBLE) interest in space.

VAUSE: Appreciate, thank you. Appreciate it.

We'll take a short break here. When we come back, we're following massive fires burning across California that are forced evacuations and destroyed hundreds of homes.


[01:31:29] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: 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 on Thursday when a Saudi coalition airstrike hit their school at a busy market. Many others were killed and wounded as well. The U.N. Secretary General has condemned the attack and called for an independent investigation. And the Saudi coalition said it was a legitimate military action directed at Houthi rebels.

A diplomatic source tells CNN that Israel and Hamas have reached a cease-fire agreement ending more than 24 hours of violence. The Palestinian ministry of health says three Palestinians were killed in the fighting. An Israeli official denies there was in fact a cease- fire and Hamas is yet to comment.

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from deporting immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. And he threatened to hold Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in contempt when he found out a Salvador woman and her child were already on a plane back home. They've since been returned to the U.S. for their court hearing.

California's governor has declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties because of massive wildfires. We get more now from CNN's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): responders are scrambling to save lives and contain the damage as fires blaze across California. These images from the Holy Fire in Orange County show what looks like a fire tornado. The smoke billowing as flames swirl along the hillside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm caught on fire. I'm burning.

ELAM: Authorities believe the Holy Fire was man made, allegedly started by this man -- 51-year-old Forest Gordon Clark now behind bars and facing several felony arson charges. And if convicted could spend the rest of his life in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know how this fire started?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I was asleep. I had two earplugs in. I just woke up, dude. I got burned. I walk up and my stuff was all on fire.


TODD SPITZER, ORANGE COUNTY SUPRERVISOR: This is a monster. Who would go out with low humidity and high wind and highest heat temperatures this time of the year and intentionally set the forest on fire?

I mean, he's going to be in jail for the rest of his life. He truly does.

Holy Jim volunteer fire chief Mike Milligan has known Clark for decades and showed us a text he says Clark sent him just weeks ago. "It's all going to burn just like you planned," it read. Alleged behavior Milligan says he warned officials of in the past.

MIKE MILLIGAN, HOLY JIM VOLUNTEER FIRE CHIEF: I said you have to take care of this or he's either going to burn something or kill somebody, you know. And that was three years ago.

ELAM: California's warm and dry conditions including July registering as the hottest month on record here has created a perfect storm for wildfires.

Nearly 17,000 structures are threatened by three fires alone as thousands of people have evacuated their homes. More than 13,000 firefighters are battling 19 major fires across the entire state including what has already become the largest in California's history, the Mendocino Complex fire.

On the front lines a first hand glimpse at how they are trying to fight it. Controlled burns help get rid of any potential fuel that can help spread the wildfire.

(on camera): This fire is huge. But why has it been able to grow so big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, our first priority is protecting the communities and the homes. Secondly in doing our control lines, we have to use the naturally occurring geographical features to help us control the fire.

[01:34:59] ELAM (voice over): Back in southern California, residents here are grappling what the possibility this destruction may be intentional. Already the second wildfire authorities here are calling arson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say I'm not surprised. However, I just feel terrible that this has all gone down.

ELAM (on camera): And here in the midst of the Holy Fire, if you take a look, you can see that this neighborhood is severely under threat. Firefighters are out here making a stand, working to save these homes. And what is not helping them -- the wind which is really picking up.

This is what it does in the afternoon hours and with this really dry brush here it is just the perfect storm for a wildfire to spread. So they are working here.

They're pulling water from the nearby lake and dropping it nearby on these hills besides these homes but at the same time they know that their work is not done here, that they are nowhere near containing this Holy Fire. And this just gives you an idea of what they are dealing with all across the state.

Stephanie Elam, CNN -- Lake Elsinore, California.


VAUSE: 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 reflected particles to the upper atmosphere.

This type of geo-engineering 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.S. Berkeley's Jonathan Proctor (ph) joins us now this. Jonathan -- thank you for being with us.

I'm sure you've read a lot about the reaction to this plan being described as everything from a Hail Mary pass to a barking mad bad idea. What do you say?

JONATHAN PROCTOR, U.C. BERKELEY: Yes, I mean I think that geo- engineering can be quite scary, but I think we really have to weigh that with the kind of also scariness of climate change and the real damages that that could incur. And 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. And we just don't know really enough yet to determine what their total effects would be?

VAUSE: So someone said that, you know, the side effects here could be simply as bad as the disease -- a bit like taking up smoking to try and lose weight.

PROCTOR: Yes. Another way that I -- I would 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 or 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, you know, to authorize that on, you know, a planetary wide basis and how would you convince the public that that's a good idea?

PROCTOR: Yes, I mean, honestly 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 -- 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 and 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 -- 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 there are remaining questions of how many coral reefs respond or how might human productivity or skin cancer -- we really just -- there's so many unknowns.

[01:39:57] 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, you know, 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 failsafe. And the trade-off there is that a lot of poor 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 threat of climate change.

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

PROCTOR: I agree with that.

VAUSE: Cheers.

PROCTOR: Thank you.

VAUSE: Next here on NEWSROOM L.A. a landmark new film with an all- Asian cast might reset Hollywood's portrayal of Asians. I'll talk to two of the stars of "Crazy Rich Asians" when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: From the moment Hollywood fired up the dream machine transforming our stories of imagination and fantasies into moments captured forever on celluloid they have been whitewashing as well. That's what a major character in a movie of Asians that a white actor is cast in the role. Think Warner Oland in Charlie Chan.

And while this keeps happening today, for truly the most egregious example of whitewashing ever, I give you John Wayne as Genghis Khan.


JOHN WAYNE, ACTOR: I assure you your taste in women (INAUDIBLE), but not in blood.

Farewell, Tartar woman.


VAUSE: Farewell Tartar woman.

Ok. Yes, there was someone in the studio somewhere who thought that was actually good. The other part of whitewashing is when minorities like Asians are characterized as immoral, poor or untrustworthy or they're a comedic contrast to a leading white actor.

But now more than a hundred years since Hollywood made its first movie and finally what could be a watershed moment.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just thinks you're some, like unrefined bananas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a few fingers (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yellow on the outside and white on the inside.


[01:45:00] VAUSE: The movie is called "Crazy Rich Asians" and it's the first time in 25 years a major studio has cast mostly Asians and Asian-Americans in leading roles. And much like "Black Panther" proved an all-American -- African-American cast can succeed both critically and commercially, many believe "Crazy Rich Asians" has the same potential.

Joining me here right now in Los Angeles, two of the stars of the movie. We have Selena Tan and Janice Koh. So welcome.

You know, this -- this movie looks like a lot of fun from what I've seen already. Congratulations.

SELENA TAN, ACTRESS: Oh, thank you.


VAUSE: Ok. Why, like especially from what I've seen already is that banana joke because I had a producer when I was the Beijing correspondent for many, many years, a Chinese-American, Susie Shu (ph) she made jokes like that all the time. And what that said to me about this movie is that it's real and it's sort of embracing Asian or Chinese culture for better or for worse.

TAN: Well, we've been called bananas for as long as I can remember because we are ethnically Chinese but we're Singaporean. So we're Singaporean Chinese and we've grown up all this time speaking English, watching a lot of western movies, a lot of western pop culture. So, feeling very kind of white on the inside but really yellow on the outside.

VAUSE: Right. And it's a common joke. I mean it's a common -- I mean it's almost a joke now among Asian people. I mean it's not really seen as offensive, probably sort of done with good humor and it's good nature, right.

TAN: Well, I guess as well those jokes were if you're Asian you can make -- you can crack that joke, but it's different when a white person does that, you know.

VAUSE: Yes. It's sort of emotional correctness I guess and how everything is done.

TAN: Yes.

VAUSE: I want you to look at another clip. It's a small moment from the movie, but I thought it was significant for a number of reasons. Here it is.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Nick you're dating is Nick Young.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know him or something?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, yes. They're just the biggest developers in all of Singapore.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ready to go like the Asian (INAUDIBLE).


VAUSE: Ok. The reason why I thought it was significant, it's a small detail, but it's very rare if at all Asian men are cast as the romantic lead. They seem to be sidelined all the time. And this movie is obviously different in many ways. And there's almost a sort of objectification, if you like, of Henry Golding, the lead male, right? TAN: He lends himself so well to it. We couldn't help it.

Well, you know, back in Singapore, of course, we are very much the majority so we do -- we do perform in a lot of films and pop culture in the lead roles I mean so the Chinese guy or an Asian guy would get the lead.

But it is special when we're watching it here at a Chinese theater, the premier.

KOH: Well, in any -- in any Hollywood movie there's always a leading man.

TAN: Yes.


KOH: And I think the fact that we are cast, you know -- we have an all-Asian cast and Henry Golding is the leading man means audiences have changed as well because well, audiences wanted to see themselves in the movies. I mean audiences change and we become more open to other ethnicities taking on these leading roles.

VAUSE: And for the record there is no Asian bachelor, right?

TAN: Is there one?

KOH: I don't know. I think there might be one. I think there is.

VAUSE: They got one on the way.

TAN: I think there's a version of it.

KOH: Yes.

VAUSE: I think there's different versions around the world, I guess. So with this movie all the reviews so far have been really positive, have all been great. You know, it's essentially, you know -- it's a Cinderella story. It's a rom-com but with really different characters and different settings that we've never seen before.

But sort of beyond the expectation of a group movie there is this sort of hope that maybe there will be a cultural breakthrough, I guess, along the lines of what, you know, "Black Panther" did for African- Americans. You know, there is this hope or expectation that, you know, "Crazy Rich Asians" can change the way Asians are portrayed on the screen. I guess that is a lot of weight for a movie to bear, right? I mean you could be --

TAN: Well, it has been 25 years.


KOH: Yes.

TAN: And people have -- you know, the Asian community, and I don't even want to say Asian audiences because it could be regular audiences of any ethnicity waiting to see something different and waiting to accept that difference, a different way of story-telling.

KOH: Actually we were just -- we did a surprise visit at three cinemas last night, and they were fully bought up. And we were looking in the audience and it was really -- it was not just Asian faces. It was everybody really.

VAUSE: Because the thing I like about this movie is that's it's a really similar story, right, but because the setting is so different and the characters are so unique it feels really fresh and feels really different because most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood these days seems to be tired and old and just a regurgitation of what we've seen before.

TAN: Yes.

KOH: Well, it's a universal story and it's about love. It's about family. It's also about sacrifice. Nothing that no one across the world couldn't identify with, especially the concept of family and what it means to -- to love and to lose someone because they're not accepted.

[01:49:58] VAUSE: Some of my Asian friends also said this is the first time they've seen what looks to be their real life depicted in a movie.

TAN: Yes. And at the same time, you know, it is their real lives depicted in the movie but Jon Chu the director has really kind of put a very modern twist to it. So the sound track is great. And you feel really uplifted and everything is moving at a pace that -- it's very modern and very up to date now. And you just feel like it's a cutting edge movie.

VAUSE: Almost out of time. I just want to finish with this. A report from "The New York Times" on diversity in television and films according to a recent study, 64 percent television series in 2015-2016 series did not have a single Asian-American regular. Another report revealed that the top 100 films of 2017, nearly two-thirds, did not include a single Asian or Asian-American female character.

So look, if you look at "Crazy Rich Asians" here, if this is to be the breakthrough film, at the end of the day it's all about the box office, right. You guys do really well at the box office, money talks. This one goes --

KOH: I think the success of this movie is very important and critical to whether or not there will be a tipping point.

TAN: Yes.

KOH: But I feel that the movie alone cannot carry the burden of changing perceptions and mindsets overnight.


KOH: And what it can only do is to start the ball rolling --

TAN: Yes.

KOH: -- and hopefully the momentum will continue and people will be a lot more accepting and open to diversity casting because they cannot on its own carry that responsibility.

TAN: Although I think it makes a really brave and really strong start to that movement.


TAN: Because, you know, it is -- I mean, it's 100 percent of the movie that Asians not like, you know, majority of us were Asian in the cast. This is a really big step, and I think it will have that momentum to push us forward to a sequel. There are three books now.


TAN: And other movies and other stories to be told.

VAUSE: Well, you know, hopefully -- look, it's a good movie in and of itself.

TAN: Yes.

VAUSE: Let's hope it's one of those great moment movies that's going to make the change.

TAN: Absolutely. It's 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes now.

VAUSE: Yes, I read that. You guys are awesome, too. Thank you so much.

TAN: Thanks.

VAUSE: Ok. We'll take a short break. When we come back we'll head off to France where oh, my gosh, sacre bleu, a health warning on French wines -- for many an attack on the very soul of the country.


VAUSE: It goes to the very soul of France, the heritage and tradition of drinking wine because that's what they do. But now the government wants to slap great big health warnings on bottles and wine producers are incredulous, how could they. CNN's Ian Lee reports.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If Paris is the heart of France, then this is the soul -- a thousand years of history tilled into the soil, producing not just a multi-billion dollar industry but an identity, culture. It's sacrosanct. Of course -- I'm talking about wine.

FRANCOIS LABET, WINEMAKER: It's really part of our civilization. The priests do the mass with wine as the Blood of Christ.

LEE: Francois Labet's (ph) roots in the land run deeper than the vine. The sixth generation farmer and winemaker tells me that heritage is under threat, not from pestilence but from the government. This storm in a wine glass involves potential new health warnings on alcohol.

The health ministry wants to cut down on the number of pregnant women drinking by enlarging the label on bottles of wine. Some are suggesting this where it currently looks like that.

[01:54:58] Winemakers say it's not just sour grapes. They worry their product could be tarred with the same brush as cigarettes.

LABET: We are afraid to see the possibility to having "alcohol kills" on our bottles -- yes, we are. This is why we consider that it's really excessive.

LEE: A 2017 study showed some 27 percent of pregnant women in France drink alcohol compare that to merely 15 percent in the United States and Ireland's staggering 60 percent -- a sobering figure. Dr. Bernard Basset says evidence shows warning labels work but they need to be bigger.

DR. BERNARD BASSET, NPAA: It's a small -- I could say a microscopic -- warning and it's not visible, you know. It's not understandable when you have your bottle in your hand. With only one advice to give to the women, don't drink if you're pregnant.

LEE: France's ministry of health says it's not about prohibition but prevention -- a larger label to start the conversation, to birth a new healthy lifestyle within French culture.

And take this into consideration. Last year 8,000 babies were born with neurological disabilities linked to alcohol consumption.

BASSET: Alcohol is going directly to the baby through the placenta, and it can damage the brain of the baby so then the babies could have disabilities for their whole life.

LEE: Labet isn't against warning pregnant women but believes once the wine has been bought they are going to drink. Both sides know it's a personal choice -- one, potentially with serious consequences.

Ian Lee, CNN -- in Burgundy.


VAUSE: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause heading home for a glass of wine. It's ok, I'm not pregnant -- only in moderation.

See you next week.

The news continues on CNN right after this.


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Heartbreaking scene of war -- dozens killed, many more badly injured when an air strike hits a school bus in Yemen. The story ahead.

[01:59:58] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus in the U.S. state of California, a state of emergency declared there -- the death toll climbing and fires burning even closer to people's homes.