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Indonesia Earthquakes; India Flooding; 89 South Koreans Are In the North Korea for Brief Reunions; Economists: Maduro's New Reforms Won't Fix Hyperinflation; Venezuelans Rush Back after Anti-Migrant Attack in Brazil; Ecuador Requiring Passports from Venezuelan Migrants; Mystery Graffiti Artist Banksy Opposes Moscow Show. Aired 12m-1a ET
Aired August 20, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Families finally coming together after decades apart. Some lucky people on the Korean Peninsula get to reunite with their loved ones.
Thousands of people still trapped and rescue teams scrambling as Kerala, India, struggles with its most devastating flooding in decades.
And this lavish exhibit might have Banksy written all over it but the mysterious artist is sharing his outrage instead.
These stories are all ahead here. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen, coming to you live from Atlanta and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Our top story: for a few lucky South Koreans, the day they had hoped for but feared would never come is finally here; 89 South Koreans are now in North Korea for reunions with loved ones they have not seen in decades.
Thousands of families were separated when the Korean War broke out in 1950. These reunions will be brief, just three days, but it could be the last chance for these elderly Koreans to see their relatives.
Our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul, South Korea.
Just seeing people on buses makes you excited for what they're about to experience -- Paula.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, there has been a huge amount of excitement from these participants, as you say, they have now crossed into North Korea. Within a couple of hours, they should have their first session with their family members. It's very choreographed. It's very well organized.
So there's only certain hours of the next three days they'll be able to sit down with family members that they have not seen in decades. We spoke to one lady who was going to see her nephew and she said it was a bittersweet experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: So these family members will be reunited for just three days and then they'll come back on Wednesday, knowing they're very unlikely to see those family members again. But they are considered among the lucky ones; 89 families are going as part of this first round of the reunions; 57,000 were up for consideration.
So it just shows you how it's a drop in the ocean, a tiny fraction of those who want to be reunited with family members, who are actually lucky enough for this to happen.
Now I spoke to the head of the Red Cross here in South Korea. He said he is pushing for more of these reunions and he's pushing to make sure there's more than just 89 people within each reunion. He wants to find different ways of getting these families together and also to make sure that they can stay in touch afterwards. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine, 73 years long without knowing whether their family members are still alive or passed away. No news (INAUDIBLE), the agony and anger (ph), that's an unthinkable human tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: So certainly a very emotional time for those families involved in this round of reunions and a tragic example of just how this is a race against time, to try and bring as many families together as possible.
Four of those families who were supposed to be part of this first round had to pull out in the past few days because of worsening health. The majority of people who are applying to see their family members are in their 80s and their 90s. So it is definitely a race against time -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right. We look forward to hearing more about this reunion as it takes place. Paula Hancocks, thank you so much.
There are signs a cease-fire could be getting under way in Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani announced a deal on Sunday to mark the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday. If the Taliban agrees, the truce could last three months.
It's still not clear how the militant group will react. It's not formally accepted but says it will release hundreds of --
ALLEN: -- prisoners for the holiday. Last week, the Taliban was sending a very different message. Its failed offensive on the city of Ghazni reportedly killed hundreds of people.
Another powerful earthquake is rattling some already jittery nerves in Indonesia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): See the shaking right here with this camera. A 6.9 magnitude quake struck Sunday, sending people running from buildings.
That island still reeling from a devastating quake that killed more than 430 people two weeks ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Two other tremors shook the South Pacific Sunday but fortunately there are no reports of major damage or injuries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): Right here, you're seeing a child being rescued by helicopter in the Indian state of Kerala. Water levels are slowly receding in the worst floods there in nearly a century. But the threat is not over. Thousands remain trapped or stranded. The death toll has increased to 391 since the monsoon season began in May.
And officials fear there could be an outbreak of disease among the more than 800,000 people staying in shelters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The recovery ahead could prove overwhelming for Kerala and its 33 million people. Our Alexandra Field is following the story from Hong Kong.
Alex, yes, 33 million people and most of that state is under water.
It does seem overwhelming, doesn't it?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this really is a major effort now not only to do the cleanup and to assess the damage but also to rescue all those who are still stranded. That's an operation that officials are hoping they can wrap up today, reaching people who are still out there on their rooftops or even inside those flooded buildings.
FIELD (voice-over): Rescuers can only reach the most desperate by boat and by air, people left stranded by raging waters by the thousands.
CHRISTOPHER JOSEPH, FLOOD VICTIM: No houses left here, no houses left here. Almost all the houses are flooded. It's currently 4 feet water has come down in this particular place. And when we get inside, still you can't walk. You need a boat or something like that.
FIELD (voice-over): Emergency workers among them, the Indian Air Force and the National Disaster Response Force must navigate the washed out roads to deliver supplies, a hand, any help they can give.
DHARAMBIR SINGH, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT, NATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE FORCE: On the day we were deployed here and -- the situation was very horrifying. Almost 10 feet to 6 feet and you can find water everywhere. There are water (INAUDIBLE).
But today as we speak, the water is depleting. The water level is coming down and down. But the main work will start now.
FIELD (voice-over): The Indian state of Kerala is now a disaster zone. Food is airdropped to those who can't be reached, the injured and traumatized taken to hospitals. Days of deadly landslides and flash floods brought devastation worse than any they've seen before, even here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing is, right now, the flood which we are experiencing right now is horrible. We never had such a chaos situation. Every flat, every house is filled in the water.
FIELD: Hundreds of thousands who have reached shelters are still in need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing is, there's no toilet over here, OK?
There's nothing, no sanitation, basic sanitation thing over here. There's no drinking water over here. We have no drinking water. The water issue is the primary -- that's also a primary concern.
FIELD (voice-over): Every year, millions of tourists visit Kerala, drawn by its rivers, its natural beauty. Its natural disaster has now claimed hundreds of lives.
FIELD: And, Natalie, those pictures are really images of some of the worst flooding in that region in some 100 years. The damages are estimated to cost almost $3 billion.
But the priority right now is on freeing up resources and getting them to the people who are in need. We're talking about essential items, like oxygen in some cases, medicine, food, fuel and, of course, water to stop the spread of disease -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Absolutely. Alex, thank you.
ALLEN: Another bombshell development could soon hit Washington. Donald Trump's longtime fixer may be criminally charged within days. We'll take a look at what that might mean for the U.S. president.
Also, what Twitter is doing to stop hate speech on its platform. Ahead here, a conversation with the CEO.
ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. New details surfaced about Michael Cohen, U.S. president Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney. Federal prosecutors are said to be preparing criminal charges against Cohen and could charge him by the end of the month. That's according to CNN sources, who add, prosecutors are being mindful of the upcoming midterm elections.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether Cohen broke campaign laws by arranging hush money for women who allegedly had affairs with the president. Cohen has hinted he is ready to cooperate with prosecutors.
Meanwhile, another Trump attorney was on the hot seat. White House counsel Don McGahn spoke extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller three times. A source tells CNN, McGahn's attorney did not fully brief the White House on what was said in those interviews. As Ryan Nobles reports, that could mean trouble for Donald Trump.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president and his legal team spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to convince the American people that the report from "The New York Times" is actually not damaging to the president. And that in fact it was his legal team's idea for Don McGahn to sit down with Robert Mueller and the special counsel.
Listen to what Rudy Giuliani, has become the president's chief spokesperson in terms of his legal defense, had to say about Don McGahn's cooperation with the special counsel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ATTORNEY: We had a good sense, obviously, of what Mr. McGahn testified to. I can figure it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know 100 percent what he testified to -- to Mr. Mueller? GIULIANI: I think through John Dowd, we had a pretty good sense of
it, John Dowd yesterday said, I'll use his words, rather than mine and that McGahn was a strong witness to the president. So, I don't need to know much more about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Now even though Giuliani contends that they have a good handle on exactly what Don McGahn said to the special counsel, there's another "New York Times" report that says exactly the opposite, that the White House and the president's legal team was not prepared for the voluminous amount of information that Don McGahn could have potentially given to the special counsel and that he's not been fully debriefed, outside of a very short list of notes that was provided by Don McGahn's personal attorney to the effect of exactly what he talked about.
And that could be the problem for the White House. McGahn and his legal team have said repeatedly that they've been honest. And there are few people who know as much about exactly what the president's been up to over the past year and a half as it relates to the Russia probe than Don McGahn.
So the big question is, what did the special counsel learn and how could that impact their investigation?
That's an answer we may not have for several weeks to come -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
ALLEN: Daniel Lippman joins me from Washington. He is the co-author of the daily newsletter, "Politico Playbook."
Thanks for being with us, Daniel.
DANIEL LIPPMAN, "POLITICO": Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: We've now learned longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen may be charged with bank fraud by the end of this month. That is soon.
What does this indicate about whether Cohen is cooperating with the Mueller team about issues that could involve the Trump campaign?
LIPPMAN: I think this big question has been, what are the charges that he's going to get indicted with?
And so there's $20 million worth of loans that he and his family got for their businesses. That's serious stuff. So he's given lots of indications about -- that he wants to cooperate. He used to be the guy that would say he would take a bullet for Trump. But now he seems to be willing to put his family first.
Today I broke in "Politico" that Michael Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, is talking regularly with John Dean, who is the White House counsel under President Nixon, who cooperated and helped seal Nixon's downfall. So there is kind of a parallel track here.
ALLEN: Right. I was going to ask you to connect the dots on that one but you just did. That is something that we'll be watching as well.
The Trump team at the White House said they allowed McGahn to talk to the Mueller team because there's no there there, because the president did nothing wrong, McGahn could clear the air on that. But McGahn talked for 30 hours. And we've learned now that it appears the White House is in the dark about what he said.
Why would that be?
LIPPMAN: Trump's initial criminal defense lawyers who he hired, including John Dowd, they were way too trusting of Mueller's team. They thought, let's just be as open and cooperative as possible. They helped deliver a million-plus documents to Mueller's team.
LIPPMAN: And they let Don McGahn testify and provide a -- be a crucial witness. And they almost laid a guidebook to everything that Trump was thinking.
And so their willful ignorance or their, just belief that Trump didn't do anything wrong made it much harder for Donald Trump to protect himself if, in fact, he gets charged eventually.
And Don McGahn was worried about his own legal liability. He thought that the only way that he could protect himself, not the president, was to talk to Mueller. And they thought that he would serve the president more than he did the office.
But they really forgot that the White House counsel represents the presidency, not the president. And so they can sometimes get that confused, when thinking that all the lawyers who work for Trump, they're going to just protect him. That's not the case.
ALLEN: Right. And the president's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was talking about the McGahn testimony. And he says Mueller's team, meantime, is trying to trap Donald Trump into talking so they can, perhaps, get him on perjury.
Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" Sunday asked him about this and the question turned into a mouth-dropping definition of truth by Mr. Giuliani. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ATTORNEY: I'm not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he's going to tell the truth, he shouldn't worry, well, that's so silly because it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth. He didn't have a conversation --
(CROSSTALK) CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST: Truth is truth. I don't mean to go, like --
GIULIANI: No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth. The president of the United States says. 'I didn't --
TODD: Truth is truth. Mr. Mayor, do you realize what -- I --
GIULIANI: No, no --
TODD: -- this is going to become a bad meme.
GIULIANI: Don't do this to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, "truth isn't truth." That sounds like semantics on speed there.
Could you decipher what Giuliani meant?
LIPPMAN: It's very hard for anyone who's talked to Giuliani -- and I've interviewed him in the past -- for him -- for us to understand what he's saying. This kind of will go down in history as one of those great lines that seems like it's from "1984," that novel.
You know, if Trump didn't do anything wrong, he should just testify, say exactly what was in his mind.
But the fact that Rudy Giuliani doesn't want him to testify to Mueller and cooperate indicates that there may be something there, because I think Don McGahn, as we talked about earlier, he was talking about the -- what was in the president's head when he fired Comey, when he asked Comey to drop any investigation into Michael Flynn.
And Rudy's latest statement is leaving a lot of people bewildered. They think maybe he should go back to the Hamptons, that resort near New York City, where a lot of the elites spend their summers, instead of going on Sunday news shows to embarrass himself.
ALLEN: He does seem to walk back some of the things he says. We'll see about this one. Daniel Lippman, we really appreciate your time, co-author of the daily newsletter, "Politico Playbook." Thanks for joining us.
LIPPMAN: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: With the U.S. so politically divided, social media is often flooded with false information and hate speech. Now tech companies are looking for ways to stop it. Brian Stelter spoke with Twitter's CEO about how he's facing the challenge.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, yes, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is talking about being more open, transparent and trying to explain Twitter's policies to the public. That's one of the reasons why he said he sat down with me for this interview.
He also wanted to acknowledge some mistakes in the past, some regrets in Twitter's past, and he says now he's willing to rethink pretty much everything about the platform, even the fundamentals like the follower count and the like button.
It's obviously a moment of reckoning for Silicon Valley, for all these big tech companies that are under increasing public pressure to figure out how to stamp out misinformation and hate speech, harassment and trolling, while, at the same time, providing a platform and a public square for the entire world.
Here's a part of what Dorsey told me about recognizing the pressure Big Tech is under and the fear that many members of the public feel about his company.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK DORSEY, CEO, TWITTER: There's a lot of emphasis today on politics Twitter. And politics Twitter tends to be pretty divisive and it tends to be pretty contentious and you see a lot of outrage and you see a lot of -- a lot of unhealthy debate that --
DORSEY: -- you probably want to walk away from tangibly.
If you go to other Twitters like NBA Twitter or K-Pop Twitter, you see the complete opposite. You see a lot of empowering conversation.
So we do have a lot of focus right now on some of the negative things given the current environment and I believe it's important to see those. I believe it's important to see the dark areas of society so that we can acknowledge and we can them.
And I think the only way to address them is through conversation. But it is hard, especially when it feels toxic and you want to walk away from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Dorsey is under pressure from multiple directions. There's been a controversy recently about the far right hatemonger, Alex Jones, and whether his Twitter accounts should be suspended or deleted. Right now, Jones is in a one-week time-out. Twitter has been criticized for not explaining those policies clearly.
At the same time, people like President Trump are criticizing the site for allegedly discriminating against conservative points of view. Dorsey denied that allegation, said the company does not make decisions based on ideology or viewpoint but instead on behavior. If a user is engaging in harassing behavior, then the account might be suspended or blocked.
These are all really complicated questions for CEOs, not just of Twitter but of Facebook and Google and other companies as well. What we see are a handful of men in Silicon Valley, trying to figure out what the rules of the digital age are going to be and making some mistakes along the way.
What I found from Dorsey is that he was asking the right questions, addressing the right problems but not yet able to provide all of the solutions, all of the answers. That's something that perhaps he'll provide in the weeks, months and years to come -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
ALLEN: It is hard to imagine an even tougher economic crisis in Venezuela but that's what experts are warning, as the president gets ready to launch a new currency.
Will it work?
[00:30:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. And here are our top stories this hour. Eighty-nine South Koreans are now in North Korea for brief reunions with relatives they have not seen in decades. Thousands of families were separated by the Korean War in 1950 and many have had little or no contact since, but they are back.
Monday marks an economic milestone for Greece. The country is emerging from three bailouts after a nearly nine-year debt crisis and painful austerity measures. Public debt is still the highest in the Eurozone but the economy has started to grow, unemployment is coming down, and tourism is strong.
A British woman is safe on dry land after spending a long night in the Adriatic Sea. She said she fell off the back of a cruise ship and tread water for close to 10 hours. She was rescued by the Croatian coast guard. No word on how she fell off the ship. She's quite fortunate.
Venezuela's economic and humanitarian crisis could soon become even more devastating. New economic measures announced by President Nicolas Maduro are set to begin in a few hours and many Venezuelans rushed to supermarkets over the weekend because they're nervous it could get even harder to find and afford food and other basic necessities.
Meantime, Venezuelan refugees face more backlash as they try to flee to other Latin American countries. For more on this, here's our Rafael Romo.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The constant stream of refugees out of Venezuela is putting a lot of pressure on neighboring countries. Let's take for example, the border town of Pacaraima in Brazil, where a mob attacked a group of Venezuelan immigrants over the weekend. They also destroyed a camp where the immigrants were staying sending their belongings on fire. This attack prompted a group of about 1,200 Venezuelan refugees to rush back into their own country. Last week, two other countries in the region announced restricted measures affecting Venezuelan nationals.
Ecuadorian officials said Venezuelan migrants will have to show their passport, and not just an I.D. card, before being allowed to enter its territory, although we noticed the new rule wasn't being enforced that immigrants were still crossing into Ecuador.
Peru announced Friday, it will do the same. Some immigrants say they were taken by surprise by the new measures as they were traveling in Colombia, on their way to Ecuador and Peru.
VENEZUELAN FEMALE REFUGEE (through translator): We're already on our way here when they started asking us to show our passports because they were no longer going to accept I.D. card. That's why we're so worried. Many of us may spend the night here waiting for an answer.
ROMO: Meanwhile, Venezuelans at home are bracing for the effects of new economic measures announced Friday by President Nicolas Maduro, that are supposed to go into effect Monday.
First of all, the president created a 60-fold increase on the minimum wage. Employers don't know if they'll have enough money to pay employees. Although, Maduro says the government will provide assistance for 90 days.
Also Monday, the government is removing five zeros from the Venezuelan currency, dropping its value by more than 90 percent. Many merchants closed their doors over the weekend and they will, to understand how to change prices to reflect the new currency while shoppers rushed to supermarkets and gas stations that remained open.
According to the international monetary fund, Venezuela's inflation may hit 1 million percent by the end of the year. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ALLEN: Jennifer McCoy joins me now to talk more about it. She is a distinguished university professor, Political Science at Georgia State University here in Atlanta. Thanks for being with us, Jennifer.
JENNIFER MCCOY, PROFESSOR, POLITICAL SCIENCE, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Thanks so much.
ALLEN: I want to ask you first, it is hard to fathom the situation in Venezuela, getting any worse and now, we learn that Nicolas Maduro is going to print new currency, lopping off some zeros because his other currency is just about worthless because he was overprinting to try to fight inflation. How desperate is this plan?
MCCOY: Well, a lot of people are confused by the plan, so we're not exactly sure how it's going to work out. But, I think, that right now, the people in Venezuela are very anxious and trying to, you know --
They've been trying to take their money out of banks, what little they have before it gets devalued even more, because after tomorrow, if you had savings in the bank, you would be getting out an equivalent of about four percent of what you had previously. So it's a huge deal for them.
[00:35:10] ALLEN: Right, here's another example of the confusion. Shop owners don't want to open their doors because they don't know what to charge. They also don't know if people are going to come in because they may not have any money to buy.
Plus, Maduro's now saying he's increasing minimum wage. What is it, 60 fold? So how can they even pay their employees? Really, again, it's all the citizens that are struggling in this.
MCCOY: They really are struggling, and it's, you know, this lopping off of the zeros helps, because before, it's what they called wheelbarrow money, you had to bring in so much, a wheelbarrow full of money.
But, it's hard for people to even get cash, because the government has not had the funds to buy the paper to print enough of that old worthless currency. So we'll see if this improves it. Paying the new minimum salary, Maduro says he's going to help small businesses, pay it for the next three months. But what happens after that is another question.
ALLEN: Right. Meantime, more Venezuelans are trying to just get out and now they're being blocked by other countries. Brazil, Peru, even Ecuador is requiring passports. So this puts these poor citizens in a terrible quagmire. They're kind of trapped. They're getting trapped.
MCCOY: They certainly are, and there are people at the borders in Ecuador and in Peru. The requirement for a passport may not seem like a big deal, but the problem is, people have not been able to get passports in Venezuela. There'd been long lines for them. And the government hasn't, again, had the money to actually buy the paper for the passports.
So there's a long, long wait for them. So, if they can't get into other countries, they're stuck on the borders. People have been traveling, walking, taking buses for days and weeks. And now, they're just stuck overnight.
ALLEN: So, is there any reasonable way out of this economic disaster for Nicolas Maduro? The United States has had a hands-off policy. They encouraged other countries to isolate him. What next for him as far as any moves he has other than what he's doing now? Anything?
MCCOY: Well, you know, people have been waiting for five years since he was elected for him to take some real economic policy changes. He seems to be doing that now, but it is very anxiety-producing. This new currency is going to be based on something completely new. What he's calling the petro, which is a cryptocurrency based on the price of oil, with oil backing it up. This is the first time it's been done in the world. Other than that, the financial sanctions that the United States and other countries have on him are waiting, or the requirement to lift them is that he improves the human rights abuses and the Democratic situation and have free and fair elections. So far, he's not been willing to do that.
ALLEN: That certainly would be a goodwill move that would get the attention of the world, but you're right, that's not happening. We appreciate you joining us so much, Professor Jennifer McCoy of Georgia State. Thank you.
MCCOY: Thank you.
ALLEN: One of the world's most reclusive artists is breaking his silence. He's got something to say about this Moscow exhibit showing his work. We'll hear what it is, coming up.
[00:40:00] ALLEN: U.S. audiences have fallen in love with the glitz and glamour of Singapore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY GOLDING, ACTOR: Dating for over a year now and I think it's about time people met my beautiful girlfriend. What about us taking an adventure east?
CONSTANCE WU, ACTRESS: Like, Queens?
GOLDING: Singapore. Collin's wedding. Don't you want to meet my family?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: A romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians, got the top spot at the box office in its opening weekend, earning $34 million over five days, beating all expectations. It is the first major studio film in 25 years with a mostly Asian cast. One analyst says, it is proof that diversity can be good for business in Hollywood.
The underground graffiti artist, Banksy, isn't happy. That is because there's an unauthorized exhibition of his work in Moscow, and they are charging people for admission. Banksy is famous for his subversive street art and for being reclusive and ultra-secretive. But this time, he's not hiding his feelings. Robyn Curnow has the story.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A rare public rebuke from the underground artist famous for his subversive street art whose identity remains a closely guarded secret. The graffiti artist known as Banksy, called out a gallery in Moscow, over a new exhibition. Not only displaying his art without his permission, but also taking in top dollars for it. You know it's got nothing to do with me, right? He said. I don't charge people to see my art unless there's a fairground wheel. The normally reclusive Banksy, was made aware of the Russian exhibition when an unnamed person informed him via text message and urged him to speak out against it.
Banksy posted the exchange on his Instagram and couldn't help noting the irony of it all saying, hmm, not sure I'm the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission. With or without his approval, this is the first time Banksy's art has been seen in Russia.
So far, a reported quarter of a million people have seen the display, with tickets selling close to $10 a person on weekends. The spokeswoman for the gallery says even though the artist isn't happy, his comments are good for business.
ELENA BUKHMAK, DIRECTOR, EXHIBITION'S PUBLIC RELATIONS (through translator): In our view, in this way, he indirectly showed approval for our exhibition and showing this is a significant event for him, too.
CURNOW: But some visitors agree with Banksy, that there should be no price for his art, though exposing his work to a new audience, has a value of its own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is graffiti and it is made for free public viewing. Therefore, of course, it is rather doubtful to take money for this, but seems to me that many people in Russia have learned about Banksy as an artist, thanks to this exhibition.
CURNOW: For now, the show, unauthorized or not, will go on, until the exhibition closes in September. Robyn Curnow, CNN.
ALLEN: I'll be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM at the top of the hour. Next, here is "WORLD SPORT." See you soon.
ALLEN: A meeting wanted for decades, and it is here. Fortunate families --