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Saudi-led Coalition Killed Children in Yemen; Another Tit for Tat between North Korea and U.S.; Wildfires Cause by a Monster Arsonist. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 03:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST: Dozens of children killed by an air strike in Yemen while on their way from a summer camp. We'll have the latest on this atrocity in Yemen's brutal war.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Russia warns the United States more sanctions against Moscow would be a declaration of economic war. What would that mean.

ALLEN: And a state of emergency in California. Flames continuing to scorch property, forcing thousands more to rush to safety.

HOWELL: Live from CNN word headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen, and this is CNN Newsroom.

And we begin with those pictures out of Yemen after dozens of children were killed and maimed by an air strike. Many of the pictures are just too terrible to put on television, but we warn you this next video is still very difficult to watch. It shows one little survivor of this terrible attack.

HOWELL: And here's the video. This was the video you see here, still wearing his small blue backpack, this child, when rescuers brought him in. Like the other children on the bus, he was on his way to summer school when his little world was shattered.

ALLEN: The air strike in the northern province of Saada was launched by Saudi-led coalition forces who are backed by the U.S. The coalition justified the attack as a legitimate military action directed at Houthi rebels.

For more on this, here's CNN's Nima Elbagir in london.

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 ports of Hodeida.

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.


TURKI AL-MALKI, SPOKESMAN, SAUDI-LED COALITION: No, this is not children in the bus We do have high standard measures for targeting. Civilian casualties is one of the points that we are implementing our armies (Ph). And we are importing also the armies. And civilian casualties means a lot to the coalition. We cannot accept high civilian casualty 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.

MACDONALD: Nima, thank you for the reporting. Condemnation of the attack has been almost universal. The regional director of UNICEF in the Middle East and North Africa said the war in Yemen needs to stop.


GEERT CAPPELAERE, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, UNICEF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: To those parties who are fighting that brutal war on children in Yemen, to those who are supporting those who are fighting the war, to the members of the Security Council, one simple message. Stop this brutal war on children. Children have been suffered enough in Yemen.


HOWELL: In the context, the background important here. The reminder of all of this. Houthi rebels allied with Iran took over much of the country, including the capital of Sanaa back in early 2015.

ALLEN: In March of that year, a Saudi-led coalition backed by the U.S. began a military campaign against the Houthis. The crisis escalated into a multi-sided war, allowing Al Qaeda and ISIS to grow stronger.

HOWELL: Then in August of 2016, peace talks failed to end the conflict. In November 2017, Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile at Saudi Arabia's capital city. That prompted Saudi Arabia to tighten a blockade on Yemen, worsening the humanitarian crisis there.

ALLEN: And in June, Saudi-led forces began an attack on the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, where badly needed food and humanitarian supplies are brought in. Reports of civilian casualties at the end of Saudi-led air strikes have continued now since 2015. [03:04:59] HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with CNN military

analyst Rick Francona live via Skype from Oregon this hour. Rick, thank you so much for your time today.

Given what we know from this air strike in Yemen, an air strike hitting a school bus filled with children, condemnation coming from all corners around the world. What do you make of the Saudi response to it?

RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This claim that this was a legitimate military target, they were going after a group of Houthis that had fired a ballistic missile at them, there is no excuse to hit a civilian market. None.

Now that school bus happened to be in that market and was hit, and now we have this terrible death toll. We've seen this image is all over there. There is no way to justify this. The Saudis are wrong here, and they need to stop doing this.

We need to put pressure on them to start adhering to real military protocols. We worked with the Saudis a long time, and we tried to teach them the proper way to do this. And what they did is absolutely against everything we've showed them.

HOWELL: You mentioned this, but again what we're hearing from the Saudi-led coalition, they say the target was not intended for civilians. Again, in your expert opinion, pushing ahead on that, do you believe that to be the case?

FRANCONA: It's hard for me to fathom that, George, because they are flying state of the art, fourth-generation fighter bombers using precision-guided munitions, using the best intelligence that we often provide to them. There's no way that they hit that target by accident. It's just inconceivable to me that that wasn't the target.

HOWELL: This war has been described by many around the world as the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen. And, in fact, we've seen the air strikes intensify in recent months. Does either side have an out in this fighting? Is there ground for diplomacy, or do you see the carnage to continue there?

FRANCONA: No one wants to be the first one to give. This has been a tit for tat back and forth. If you say why was this air strike launched, they're going to say it was in response to a ballistic missile fired at Saudi Arabia. Then you say, why did you fire at Saudi Arabia? Then the Houthis will say, well, that's because they had air strikes against us. It just goes on and on.

It's this unending cycle. Someone is going to have to stop, and they're both going to have to sit down at the table. That's the hard part. Neither one wants to be the first one to stop.

HOWELL: Saudi Arabia certainly front and center in this. But look, there are nations certainly that supply Saudi Arabia with the missiles. The United States, the United Kingdom. We heard this response from the spokesperson from the U.S. State Department. Let's listen. We can talk about it here in a moment.


HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: We're certainly concerned about these reports that resulted, that there was an attack that resulted in the deaths of civilians. We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident.


HOWELL: OK. So statements like that, Rick, compared to images that we've seen, the sounds that we heard of children screaming in hospitals. Does that put more pressure on these governments to put pressure on Saudi Arabia?

FRANCONA: Time this has happened. We see a lot of civilian casualties in these air strikes, particularly in Yemen, and nothing seems to change. And we keep calling for the investigations, and the Saudis say it was a valid military target, but we'll look into it. And then they continue to do it.

And of course we're in a difficult position with the Saudis. You could supply weapons, and once they're there, no matter what restrictions you put on them, they always end up in the wrong hands. We've tried this in Afghanistan. We tried it in Iraq. We're trying it now in Syria. The weapons always find their way to either illicit use or into the wrong hands, so very difficult.

And we try to maintain our relationship with the Saudis because they're key in our standing up to Iran. So, you know, we're kind of in a difficult position here too. But we've got to impress on the Saudis that they cannot continue this way. This is not how to resolve the situation in Yemen.

HOWELL: Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona live for us in the U.S. State of Oregon. We always appreciate your time and perspective. We'll keep in touch with you as this war continues to rage on.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you.

ALLEN: The interesting footnote there is this happened when those kids were going to a summer camp.


ALLEN: I mean this country is in a terrible war, and somehow parents are still trying to send their kids--

HOWELL: Life going on in the middle of pure chaos for sure, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, we have more signs that the U.S. and North Korea are struggling to find common ground.

HOWELL: Sources say that North Korea keeps rejecting proposals from the U.S. in its denuclearization talks. And Pyongyang issued a statement saying the U.S. government is not adhering to the spirit of the talks established during the Singapore summit that happened back in June.

ALLEN: So it seems to be a little bit of a catch-22. Will Ripley joins us now from Hong Kong to tell us who wants what, where, when. That's the issue here, I guess, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know when you're just sitting in traffic and the cars aren't moving and you're honking on the horn and you're just getting increasingly frustrated and angry at the other car. Well, that's like the U.S. and North Korea right now basically.

[03:10:02] ALLEN: Yes. That's a good analogy.

RIPLEY: Yes, you know, they're both kind of -- they're coming to the table with two different ideas of what denuclearization is. Big surprise, right? We've been saying that months before, you know, this summit even happened that this is going to be default. It's going to be a very long process.

You know, you have the United States, Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the U.N. You have Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, the national security adviser John Bolton all coming out with these statements saying that North Korea is not fulfilling its end of the denuclearization deal.

And then you have this in response from the North Korean permanent mission in New York. This is a statement from the North Koreans basically saying they feel they've already, you know, blown up their nuclear site. They say they haven't launched a missile or conducted a nuclear sense since November. They returned what they say are the remains of U.S. service members killed in the Korean War.

And I'll read you just a little bit of this. It goes on to say that, you know, "Given these goodwill measures we hope that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust existing between the DPRK and the U.S. and also establishing mutual trust."

I thought we had that on the screen there for you. But the North Koreans saying the U.S. responded to the expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure against them.

So basically you have it right here in black and white, Natalie. The North Koreans feel they've already done enough. The U.S. says the North Koreans haven't done anything yet.

And reportedly what was happening at the negotiations in Pyongyang with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is he kept kind of making the same request. The North Koreans kept saying no, and both sides got so frustrated with each other that now our sources are saying they're not even sure that they are able to work together.

This is why the North Koreans are kind of hinting and saying that they would like a second summit with President Trump. They think they might get more results, more favorable results for them if their leader sits down with the U.S. president. So wouldn't that be something? Could it happen next month at the United Nations general assembly in New York? That's--



RIPLEY: -- people are guessing. But we'll have to wait and see.

ALLEN: Yes. That would be a stunning development, would it not? I was about to ask you, Mike Pompeo is the one who went to North Korea at first and has been working with North Korea. It sounds like they're not feeling very warm and fuzzy towards Mike Pompeo, are they? So what is the other option?

RIPLEY: Yes. And Mike Pompeo, you know, the secretary of state sitting down with Kim Yong-chol, the chief nuclear negotiator for North Korea, and they just were butting heads. They didn't have the kind of rapport that President Trump apparently had when he sat down with Kim Jong-un.

There's reporting in Vox magazine saying that the United States made this, you know, kind of demand that North Korea get rid of 60 to 70 percent of its nuclear warheads within the next six to 12 months. That was a non-starter for the North Koreans according to Vox.

According to our own CNN reporting we couldn't verify those percentages but there was this kind of specific request made by the U.S., and each time that the U.S. makes that request, the North Koreans have rejected it.

So that's where we stand right now. There really has been no substantive progress. Two months or so after the Singapore summit. Should the North Koreans be rewarded for that with a summit with the U.S. president yet again, or does the United States feel frankly that might be the only way to salvage this thing? That's the big question moving forward.

ALLEN: All right. We'll wait and see. We thank you for your information. Thanks, Will.

HOWELL: Russia is sounding off against the latest round of sanctions coming from the United States. Let's go live to Russia.

CNN's Matthew chance following the story in Moscow. Matthew, we are hearing sharp reaction from the Russian prime minister. What more can you tell us?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, the Russians of course reacted angrily to the latest raft of sanctions that have been imposed on it by the United States. This time over its violation or alleged violation of chemical weapons bans.

It was sanctioned by the U.S. State Department yesterday. They called that illegal. And there's been more reaction that's come from the Russian prime minister within the past couple of hours. He's speaking at a meeting that he's having in the far east of Russia, and basically he said that, look, you know, it would be necessary if needed to react to this economically, politically, or if needed by other means.

Basically he's saying that if more sanctions are imposed against Russia, particularly against its banking system, Russia would consider this an act of economic war.

Now, what exact consequences or countermeasures the Russian government have in mind isn't clear at the moment. In fact, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev said it's not the time to talk about future sanctions or what Russia might do in response.

But in the past, of course, Russia has responded to sanctions that have been imposed against it by the United States and by others with a whole array of asymmetrical retaliation techniques.

For instance, when one raft of sanctions was imposed against Russia, it banned adoption of Russian children by American parents. Well, recently in response to sanctions from the European Union, it banned fruit and vegetable imports from that economic bloc.

[03:15:01] And so it got some -- it doesn't have the same -- it can't respond in kind, as it were. It can't, like, you know, inflict financial pain on the United States in the same way that the U.S. can on Russia, but it can take other measures in response, which it is at the moment apparently considering which ones to look at. George?

HOWELL: I suppose more symbolic, just making a statement. But as you point out, not quite the muscle to really make an impact here in the states. But Russia responding angrily to this. Matthew chance on the reporting. Matthew, thank you.

ALLEN: A developing story we're following in Afghanistan. U.S. forces are calling a Taliban attack in Ghazni province a failed attempt to seize terrain.

HOWELL: They say Afghan forces were able to maintain control of government buildings with the help of U.S. air support. A Ghazni province spokesperson says hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed the province earlier on Friday with a four-pronged attack. Multiple casualties were reported though it's not clear how many.

A diplomatic source has told CNN that Israel and Hamas have reached a ceasefire agreement, this ending the latest round of fighting. Egypt and the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process led the efforts to end the violence there.

ALLEN: But an Israeli official denies the ceasefire exists while Hamas has not yet commented.

For more now, here's CNN's Oren Liebermann.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the sharpest escalations in hostilities between Israel and Hamas that we've seen in recent months as the international community tries to step in here to get both sides to back away, to de-escalate the situation before the hostilities continue and get worse.

This round of violence, this exchange of fire begins on Tuesday afternoon when Israel, an Israeli tank targets a Hamas military post in northern Gaza killing two Hamas militants.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza vowed to respond and we saw that response begin on Wednesday night. A barrage of mortars and rockets fired over. Israel says since Wednesday night, more than 108 have been fired. Most landed in open areas, many were intercepted by (Inaudible).

Some landed in populated areas sending a small number of Israelis to the hospital with injuries. Israel's response was a ferocious wave of air strike across targets in Gaza. More than 150 Hamas military targets according to the Israeli military were targeted over the course of the evening and into the morning.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says three Palestinians were killed in those strikes including a pregnant mother and her 18-month daughter.

It's been very much the United Nations and Egypt trying to step in here to mediate between Israel and Hamas to find some sort of common ground for a ceasefire. Because Israel and Hamas won't talk to each other, they need a third party.

And in this case, as it has been in some previous cases in recent months, it's up to the U.N. It's up to Egypt to find that common ground to bring both sides back from the brink to deescalate. They've been working in doing that since Wednesday night. The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process has warned there are devastating consequences ahead if this continues to escalate.

Oren Lieberman, CNN, Ashkelon.

ALLEN: Let's take a look now at California where you know massive fires have been burning, causing a state of emergency declaration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This shouldn't be called the Holy Jim fire. This should be called the holy hell fire.


ALLEN: And it was caused by an arsonist. We'll have more about it next here.

HOWELL: Plus, nearly a year after hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the government there is admitting the real death toll is likely much higher than the official number that was given. We'll explain. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. In the U.S. State of California, the governor there has declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties. This because of a massive wildfire that's burning there.

Take a look at these images of the holy fire. It's burning to the southeast of the city of Los Angeles. It is only 5 percent contained, and it's prompted mandatory evacuations. More than 21,000 people have had to evacuate.

ALLEN: This video here shows fire creeping toward a home in the town of Lake Elsinore. The man who lives there and who shot this video is actually a police officer. The man accused of starting this fire -- yes, it was started by someone -- is being held now on $1 million bail and is expected to be in court in the coming hours.


TODD SPITZER, SUPERVISOR, ORANGE COUNTY: This is a monster. Who would go out with low humidity and high wind and the highest heat temperatures this time of the year and intentionally set the forest on fire? I suppose if your name has Forrest in it, maybe that's not relevant to you. The irony here is not lost on me that his name is Forrest Gordon Clark, but he's literally destroyed our forest.


ALLEN: What a shame. The biggest fire in California's history. The Mendocino complex fire, has now grown to more than 133,000 hectares. It's destroyed almost 120 homes. That's in the northern part of the state. So California really taking it so very hard.

HOWELL: That's right. And we've also learned a firefighter was killed in a traffic accident, this on his bay to fight a wildfire in northern California. Officials say eight people have now been killed in what's known as the Carr Fire, C-a-r-r Fire, including three firefighters.

ALLEN: In Portugal, it's battling massive wildfires of its own in the Algarve tourist region.

HOWELL: They've been burning now for a week, injuring dozens of people, damaging thousands of hectares in its wake.

Our Nina Dos Santos reports for us.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: 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.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (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 (through 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.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a tragic, tragic episode really with all the people that live out here further out here further out of Silva (Ph). But it's very, very sad. And it needs more help.


DOS SANTOS: Nina Dos Santos, CNN.

[03:24:58] HOWELL: All right. Now let's get the very latest on these massive wildfires in Portugal and in the state of California.

ALLEN: Two such beautiful areas of the world, my goodness.

HOWELL: Ivan Cabrera--


IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It is a difficult and it doesn't take much to start the fires, right? My brother is a firefighter. We were talking about this earlier today. You can use just a grass trimmer. That is not a good idea to use because if it hits concrete, it sparks, and that is all you need in California right now. That's how sensitive things are there. It's tinder is what we're talking about there.

So we're talking 16 large fires in California. We were looking at this last year. My God, one of the worst wildfire seasons ever and it eventually ended up being that. Well, we've surpassed that now in 2018. So we continue day in and day out here.

River fire burn area, talking about this containment now doing better, 19,000, almost 20,000 hectares here. And the ranch fire, both of which compromise the Mendocino Complex here have containment here, but that is remarkable because firefighters fighting efforts have been done with gusty winds and low level altitude humidity and temperatures well into the 30s and sometimes even the 40s as well.

This is the Holy Fire in southern California. That's only 5 percent contained. That's around in the U.S. There are 1,200 fire personnel fighting that fire there and 4100 hectares.

The containment is going to be difficult because of this. Where you see the pink, those are red flag warnings. You get those when you get lower altitude humidity, high winds and high temperatures. We're getting all that once again heading into the weekend before from begins to cool (Inaudible) in northwest.

But where the fires are, unfortunately, we're really not going to get any help. And as we showed you there, lead us, well, southern Portugal on fire with that recent one that. That's been under way. We saw that last week as it ignited.

And at this point, I mean, I was here last weekend. We were about 500 hectares, 23,000, almost 24,000 hectares have burned despite 1,300 personnel attacking that fire. And of course you have upwards of 300 people evacuated.

We've been talking so much about some areas getting too much of this and too little of that. Look at this. I'm going to fly you just a little bit further to the north and east and take you to southern France where we have had just a disaster unfolding here in the last 24 hours.

Southern France picking up 42 millimeters of rainfall in just one hour, 7,500 lightning strikes within a matter of hours. I want to take you to the scene, though, because the pictures are dramatic indeed. We have 1,600 campers that had to be evacuated. Hundreds of firefighters also involved in plucking children out.

Imagine, Natalie, we're talking here, George, about folks camping out for the summer. This is the time where people take holiday, and look at that. They had to evacuate rapidly from what became a raging river overnight, literally overnight.

ALLEN: Right. You know, we're either talking about fires or we've been talking about flooding lately, haven't we.

CABRERA: Too much, and the extremes are going to continue as the planet warms. We've been talking about that for years.

ALLEN: Very long time. OK.

HOWELL: Ivan, thank you.

Still ahead, a U.S. judge has made an important decision about immigrants waiting for asylum in the United States. Why he threatened to hold U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court.

ALLEN: Also ahead, it's not star wars, but a military force could be flying in space in the near future. And they'll wear U.S. Badges. We'll tell you about this idea announced by Vice President Mike Pence.


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back to our viewers. You're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: And I'm George Howell with the

headlines we're following for you this hour.

Dozens of children in northern Yemen were killed on Thursday, this when a Saudi coalition airstrike hit their school bus at a busy market. Many other people were killed and wounded as well. U.N. Secretary-General condemned the attacks and called for an independent investigation. The coalition said it was a, quote, "legitimate military action directed at Houthi rebels.

ALLEN: The U.S. and North Korea are struggling to agree on key issues regarding denuclearization on the peninsula. A source says Pyongyang keeps rejecting proposals from the U.S. in its ongoing talks. And North Korea issued a statement saying the U.S. government is not adhering to the spirit of the talks established during the summit in June in Singapore.

HOWELL: 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 the cease-fire exists. Hamas has not yet commented.

ALLEN: A U.S. federal judge has been threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court. The judge ruled the Trump administration can't deport immigrants while they're waiting for their court hearing.

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

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITIC REPORTER: 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 seekers who are trying 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.

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 them 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.

ALLEN: Holly Cooper is the co-director of the University of California-Davis Immigration Law Clinic, and last hour I asked her about the judge's decision.


HOLLY COOPER, CO-DIRECOTR UC DAVIS IMMIGRATION LAW CLINIC: The lawsuit in part says that Jeff Sessions has overstepped his authority by failing to abide by courts' rulings on asylum-seeking law. So, when he seeks to then take the lead plaintiffs in this very case and put them on a plane so that they can't have their day in court, it becomes even more about the balance of powers in this country. And the judge in this particular case, Judge Emmett Sullivan, showed to Jeff Sessions exactly what that separation of powers is about.

ALLEN: Right. And the government maintained that this particular case, that this asylum seeker did not meet their credible fear threshold. What is that in the Trump administration's view?

COOPER: So, the credible fear process is a process that anybody coming to this country who is caught at the border or is seeking admission at the border must go through it. It's like a pre-screening. So the asylum office looks at your case and says, do we think that there is a fear here?

[03:35:09] And if there is, they're supposed to give you a full hearing in front of an immigration court, a full trial on your asylum case. And what happened, the big issue that happened in this particular case

as Jeff Sessions says, we're no longer going to give women who are coming to this country afraid for their lives because of domestic violence the opportunity to apply for asylum.

And he's basically shut down that avenue for women and children coming to this country. And so this case is really also about women's rights and the right for women to seek protection against domestic violence. And this case demonstrates, you know, through the facts of this case, this particular woman who is being deported was under immense danger in her home country. And the judge essentially, as you said, turned the plane around and brought her back to safety.

ALLEN: Right. According to the lead attorney for the ACLU in this case, the administration had pledge Wednesday that no one would be deported until at least midnight at the end of Thursday. It's about two hours ago.

COOPER: Right.

ALLEN: And then they turned around and in violation of the judge's order, put her on a plane and off she went. It makes you scratch your head why they did that.

COOPER: Well, I mean it's common that the -- it's not the first time that the federal government, the immigration authorities have violated a court order. But in this particular case, it's very, very important because she's one o4the lead plaintiffs suing Jeff Sessions, saying you're violating international and asylum law by not giving us a fair chance to show our claim under -- for political asylum on the basis of domestic violence.

And when you take that witness, that claimant, and you try to deport her, you're essentially obstructing a fair process, a fair judicial process in which the judge obviously was very angry at that and ordered her to be brought back in the country immediately or for Jeff Sessions and Nielsen to appear in court and to show cause as to why they should not be put under court sanctions.

ALLEN: Well, we will follow that case and we'll tell you what happens next with it.

HOWELL: That's right. The U.S. First Lady Melania Trump's parents are now U.S. citizens. The couple are from Slovenia, but they've been living in the United States for some time now as legal residents.

ALLEN: And here's the twist. The president's in-laws got their citizenship through sponsorship from their daughter, the First Lady. That is something Mr. Trump calls chain migration, and he has been very outspoken in his criticism of that practice.

HOWELL: The Trump administration hopes to make military inroads into the final frontier, the vast outer reaches of space.

ALLEN: The vice president says the U.S. will establish a new military branch. He's calling for the Space Force, as it's called, to be ready by 2020. Barbara Starr has more on 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 Air Force, 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 (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): Pence 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 disable our navigation and communication satellites.


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


CEDRIC LEIGHTON, 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 our daily life was all of a sudden put at risk by that one action by the Chinese in 2007.


STARR (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 onboard with the plan.

[03:40:02] 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 (on-camera): 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. HOWELL: President Trump's re-election team is latching onto the idea

of a U.S. military Space Force. Well the Trump campaign says it plans to sell a new line of Space Force gear to celebrate what they call Mr. Trump's groundbreaking endeavor.

ALLEN: And they're asking supporters to vote for their favorite logo for the proposed military branch out of the options there. Unusual.

This weekend marks one year since the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and protesters plan to gather in a much more high-profile location across the street from the White House.

HOWELL: But racism and hate live in many corners of the United States. CNN's Sara Sidner has our report, which we do warn you contain some offensive language.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the calm of this rural northern Pennsylvania town, a sign that hate lives here.

(on-camera): Are you a neo-Nazi?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do I embrace it? Um, I don't try to push it away.

SIDNER: Well, you're wearing a swastika on your shirt.


SIDNER: And you've got swastika flags. Why the flags? Why the shirt? Why these hateful symbols in this town?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they're hateful. I think it's an ideology that has been completely misinterpreted since the Third Reich.

SIDNER: OK now, I've got to stop you. Misinterpreted? Misinterpreted? Six million Jews were killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. You'll never sell me on that.

SIDNER: I'm not trying to sell you. It is reality. It's history. It cannot be denied.

(voice-over): Daniel Berneside (ph) is a lightning rod of discord in Ulysses, Pennsylvania --population, 690. With the help of the internet, his message has spread far and wide giving his town attention it does not want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rural America spoke up when they elected Trump. Rural America.

SIDNER: And by rural America, he means white America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're staring down the barrel of a gun here in white American. There is still 193 million white Americans. Yes, the vast majority of them are in their 60s and 70s, will be in the ground in the next 20 years and therefore we have the possibility of becoming a minority in our own country. A possibility of becoming a minority in our own country.

SIDNER: It sounds to me like you're afraid of being me. And being me --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my country.

SIDNER: -- is great. This is also my country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys didn't win the culture war.

SIDNER: He invited us on his property to talk, but when he doesn't like our conversation, he explodes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the (BLEEP) out of here. (BLEEP) now!

SIDNER: We do. Just down the street we're met by a dozen residents who say Berneside (ph) does not speak for this town.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are families in this county that blame politics for people like him being able to come out and be very loud. Is that fair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our president we got right now hasn't helped the situation a whole lot. You know, he's done a lot of the same beliefs. At least he won't speak against him, OK. This guy feeds off that stuff.

SIDNER: Among the crowd, many with grandfathers or fathers who fought the Nazis in World War II.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're good people and he's stepping on us. He's stepping on all of us. We are all one tribe, you know. Who does he think he is?

SIDNER: Teacher Debbie Hamilton says she just returned from touring concentration camps in Poland.

DEBBIE HAMILTON, TEACHER: One of the things that we spent a lot of time talking about was passive resistance versus active resistance.

SIDENER: So far, they've chosen passive resistance with Berneside (ph). On the other side of Potter County, Joe and Shashina Loeschener are convinced passive resistance is the wrong choice.

JOE LOESCHNER, RESIDENT: I'm not saying you should go to their houses with pitchforks and guns. I'm saying hold a peaceful protest against them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traditionalist American Knights of the Klu Klux Klan Neighborhood Watch. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: After seeing KKK flyers appearing in their neighborhood, and Berneside's (ph) decorations in their county, Joe did protest, only to receive a threat by one of the supremacists he stood against.

LOESCHNER: They would look at me and give me the finger and even make little gestures, you know, like they were going to shoot me.

SIDNER: Joe says the racial hatred intensified when his Jamaican bride arrived.

SASHINA LOESCHNER: In Wal-Mart, you know, I get a lot of that (BLEEP).

SIDNER: In their minds, if more people stood up against hate, the racists would be forced to leave and let love stand. The Loeschners moved about four hours away to another small town, but Shashina said its made all the difference she finally feels comfortable walking down the street. And as for Ulysses, the borough president told us they have dealt with an outspoken neo-Nazi in their midst before. They pushed him out several years ago but that was because he broke the law, and he says there is nothing they can do about Berneside (ph) unless he does the same.


[03:45:08] ALLEN: Sara Sidner reporting there. Very powerful story and it just illustrates what hate can do to an entire community.

HOWELL: We'll be right back after the break.


ALLEN: Puerto Rico's government is admitting that it is likely that far more than 64 people died from Hurricane Maria. That number still stands, though, as the official death toll. But almost a year after the storm -- a year -- devastated the island, authorities say it's probably like 1,400 people died.

HOWELL: Substantially larger number there but before the change of the official record, Puerto Rico's government is waiting for a new comprehensive study that would give an accurate casualty count. It should be released this month. We will of course continue to follow that story closely.

ALLEN: A shocking report from the United Kingdom. Men, women, and children exploited for sex, drug running or cheap labor, and this issue is getting worse.

HOWELL: British prosecutors say they've charged some 27 percent more suspects with modern day slavery offenses this year than last. CNN is bringing modern day slavery to light through our Freedom Project. Our Erin Mclaughlin takes a closer look for you now.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORESPONDENT: Well there has been some progress in the fight here in the United Kingdom against modern , day slavery and human trafficking, but it's clear from the report released by the Crown Prosecution Service on Thursday that more work needs to be done.

Now, the report sites an uptick in the number of suspects charged, up 27 percent. However, the number of convictions according to the report is pretty much stalled between 2016 and 2017 -- there were 181 convictions. Between 2017 and 2018, 185, so only four more convictions, this despite a push by the British government to address this problem as well as new legislation which was introduced in 2015 to tackle human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Now, the report points to the complexities of prosecuting cases as part of the reason it's becoming more complicated to put these cases to trial. For example, the average length of a trial has actually doubled since 2015 to three years and that's because many of these cases are spanning multiple countries including multiple suspects, multiple witnesses, and multiple victims, making it very difficult to prosecute.

[03:50:14] Now, NGO's are speaking out acknowledging the difficulties but at the same time expressing their disappointment, saying that more resources need to be dedicated to this issue, citing cutbacks to law enforcement budgets, that if the U.K. wants to take the lead on this issue, it simply needs to spend more money towards law enforcement. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

ALLEN: We've got another story now. We had one from the Dominican Republic just a couple of weeks ago, about ocean pollution ravaging a popular beach. Tourists visiting the popular Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas saw this.


HOWELL: Wow. And when you see that, you really understand this is not something that's out of sight, out of mind. In fact, there it is right there in front of you. The video from Medano beach was shot on a cell phone and shared across social media. Reports say the local residents are trying to clean up the beach, but it seems they have a long way to go with that.

ALLEN: because yet again, the problem is all of our production of plastics and it winds up in the ocean. And now it's headed into the beaches.

HOIWELL: Yes. Yes.

A fight is brewing in France. Don't tell a French vineyard owner how to make wine or what to put in a bottle. We'll explain that story ahead.

ALLEN: Also, a dramatic rescue caught on camera in China. How some quick thinking saved a young boy's life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOWELL: I really wish Cyril Vanier was here for this story. The French wine makers, they don't like to be told how to make what goes in their bottles or what goes on them.

ALLEN: Especially when the government wants to put warning labels on them. CNN's Ian Lee went to Burgundy for us for this story.


IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL 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, WINEMAKLER: It's really part of our civilization. The priests do celebrate the mass with wine as the blood of Christ.


LEE (voice-over): Francois Labet 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 the government. The storeroom in a wineglass 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. 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 is really excessive.


LEE (voice-over): A 2017 study showed some 27 percent of pregnant women in France drink alcohol.

[03:55:03] Compare that to nearly 15 percent in the United States and Ireland's staggering 60 percent. A sobering figure, Dr. Bernard Basset (ph) says evidence shows warning labels work, but they need to be bigger.


DR. BERNARD BASSET, ANPAA: It's 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. We have only one advice to give to the women. Don't drink if you're pregnant.


LEE (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): Labet isn't against warning pregnant women but believes once the wine has been bought, they're going to drink. Both sides know it's a personal choice, one potentially with serious consequences. Ian Lee, CNN, in Burgundy.

ALLEN: We have this for you finally this hour. A dramatic rescue caught on video. A driver in China spotted a little boy dangling from a window, and thanks to his actions, that child is safe.

HOWELL: Here's the video. The 7-year-old, hanging from the fourth floor when the driver saw him. Look at that. He quickly realized he could use a bed sheet in his car to catch him. The driver and other good Samaritans stretched out the sheet in time before the boy lost his grip and fell. The impact split the bed sheet in two, but it broke his fall enough to save his life. My goodness.

ALLEN: You can hear people screaming. Thank goodness that had a happy ending.

HOWELL: The child now in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Absolutely amazing (ph).

ALLEN: Very, very fortunate. Thank you for joining us on "CNN Newsroom." I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Hannah Vaughan Jones will be back next with "Newsroom" after the break live in London. You're watching "CNN Newsroom" from Atlanta this hour.

ALLEN: See you later.