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Saudi-led Coalition Official Says Bus Full of Children was Legitimate Target; Microwave Weapons Suspected in Attacks on U.S. Diplomats; Myanmar Judge Finds Two Reuters Reporters Guilty; U.S. Flags Raised after Senator McCain's Burial; Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing. Aired 12m-1a ET
Aired September 3, 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): This Saudi-led coalition now says a vehicle targeted in an airstrike in Yemen was not a school bus full of children, despite much evidence to the contrary.
Microwave weapons may be the mysterious culprit in attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China in 2016 and last year.
And a massive fire is raging in Brazil at a 200-year-old museum.
That's tough to see. Hello and thank you for joining us, I am Natalie Allen, coming to you live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: We begin with denials and mixed signals coming from the Saudi- led coalition in Yemen. An official says an airstrike in the country's north hit a legitimate target, not a school bus full of children. The coalition earlier admitted mistakes in last month's attack. Houthi officials say 51 people were killed and 40 of them were children.
For more now, here is CNN's Salma Abdelaziz from London.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: In an extraordinary admission of guilt, a Saudi investigative body found that there were mistakes made in the compliance to the rules of engagement in an airstrike last month that killed dozens of schoolboys.
We dug further on this statement, interviewing Col. Turki al-Maliki (ph), the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. He gave some extraordinary remarks in defending the attack as a legitimate military operation.
COL. TURKI AL-MALIKI, SAUDI-LED COALITION, YEMEN: As been announced yesterday by the jihad yesterday, it is an legitimate target. It is not a school bus. The bus is carrying some fighters elements and they are responsible about recruitment and also the -- some of the Houthis' expert in that bus.
So it was announced has been -- has been announced why the jihad is a very legitimate target and the only thing, the only mistake being committed by the coalition is the timing, wrong timing where the target had been conducted.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Colonel Turki al-Maliki went onto say that the rules of engagement would be improved and revised. It's unclear what that means at this time but it was a step that was welcomed by the State Department in a statement today.
It's not just Riyadh that's implicated in this attack. The Saudi-led coalition has a myriad of partners. Key among them is the U.S. It was an American supplied bomb that was used in the airstrike last month that killed dozens of schoolboys and sparked an international outrage.
Human Rights Watch today saying the attack is a, quote, "apparent war crime," calling on all countries to stop armed sales to Saudi Arabia and saying anyone who continues to supply weapons to the kingdom could be complicit in war crimes -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
ALLEN: A chance of command for NATO forces in Afghanistan in the conflict that has become America's longest war. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Austin Scott Miller is assuming command of U.S. and coalition forces there. Miller was among the first U.S. troops to arrive in 2001 as part of the campaign to topple the Taliban following the September 11th attacks.
At the handover ceremony, Miller said NATO forces must continually learn and adapt to the enemy and the environment.
Washington faces growing questions over its strategy to bring the Taliban in for talks to end this 17-year-old conflict.
The outgoing commander, Gen. John Nicholson, had a message for the Taliban, "The time for peace is now." He urged the Taliban to accept a cease-fire offer and begin peace talks with the Afghan government. Sam Kiley has our story from Kabul.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Emerging from the desert, a glimmer of hope coming from Taliban commanders on the ground to offer to talk and to talk about peace. In this exclusive video, Mullah Sher Aga (ph) laying out the terms.
"Peace negotiations should be among Afghans and for Afghans. We should not wait for Pakistan, Iran, Russia or America to bring peace to Afghanistan. (INAUDIBLE) they are Afghans. If Taliban die, they're Afghans. Foreign countries are playing in Afghanistan to weaken Islam," he says.
Taliban leaders outside Afghanistan -- [00:05:00]
KILEY (voice-over): -- have inched towards peace talks but it is a rare offer from fighting commanders.
Just weeks ago, the Taliban overran Gazmi (ph), a city only 81 miles from the capital. It was recaptured and is being rebuilt. But this brief Taliban victory has shown that they may enter negotiations if they have a position of strength; an increase in violence, a prelude to talk if you're recognized by the outgoing U.S. commander...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Austin Scott Miller.
KILEY (voice-over): -- as he handed over the NATO mission to the former head of American Special Forces.
GEN. JOHN NICHOLSON, OUTGOING COMMANDER: I believe that some of the Taliban want peace also. But they are being encouraged to keep fighting.
KILEY (voice-over): His success is suggesting that the focus should be directly on fighting terrorist organizations.
GEN. AUSTIN SCOTT MILLER, COMMANDER, ABSOLUTE SUPPORT: There are groups in Afghanistan who want nothing more than to harm others. These groups thrive in ungoverned spaces. They raise money, they recruit, they plan, they inspire attacks. We must maintain pressure on them.
KILEY: There's a degree of optimism being shown inevitably by the general's handing from one command to the other here. But the experience of 17 years, they acknowledge, means that the Taliban have to be brought in the from the call. They have to join the political process.
And that leaves ISIS, so-called daish, as the main focus, both for the international community and, ironically, also for the Taliban.
"Our enemy is first ISIS and then government. A common enemy in ISIS does not make the Taliban friends with the Afghan government or the U.S. But it may be a rare platform for agreement in future talks." -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Kabul.
ALLEN: Scientists believe microwave weapons may have been used to injure U.S. diplomatic staff in Cuba and China in the past few years. Starting in 2016, those staffers reported mysterious headaches, nausea and other ailments and described hearing strange sounds.
Now experts who examined them say the diplomats likely suffered brain injuries and microwave technology was probably to blame. For more on this, CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Havana.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Investigators who are looking into the alleged health attacks here on U.S. diplomats both here in Cuba and in China have a new theory. And it is looking at so-called microwave weapons.
These are devices that emit an electromagnetic beam of energy, very precise beam, of energy that can cause numerous symptoms, including apparently concussions. It can cause people to hear sounds that don't actually exist.
Initially, when U.S. diplomats complained that they were being targeted by some sort of mystery device in Cuba, investigators thought that it could involve a sonic weapon. Now they appear to have discounted sonic weapons and are looking at microwaves, saying that there are weapons. There a number of countries that have microwave weapon programs going back decades and that they could have been used to essentially bombard these diplomats in Cuba and in China, that has caused them to have concussion-like symptoms when doctors look at their actual brain scans. They see evidence of a concussion, evidence of brain trauma.
But there was never a physical event that would correspondent to that kind of brain trauma. But this is a theory the FBI has come here on numerous occasions to Cuba to investigate and has not found any hard proof that there were attacks against these diplomats.
The Cuban government denies any involvement at all, says that they have put hundreds of government officials on the case, looking at any kind of attack that could have taken place, any kind of health evidence and said that they have found absolutely nothing.
But the U.S. has pushed back, saying that the Cuban government, even if they were not behind the attack, that they must know more. So, for the moment at least, this remains a theory in search of evidence -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
ALLEN: That is a bizarre story. We will stay on top of it.
Another story we are following. Brazil's president is calling it a sad day for all Brazilians. Firefighters are scrambling right now to control this massive fire at the National Museum in Rio.
The building goes back more than 200 years and was once home to the Portuguese royal family. State media report it held at least 20 million artifacts. Whole collections could now be lost to the flames. No word on what started it.
Friends and family bid farewell to an American hero. Coming up here, why the late U.S. Senator John McCain wanted to be buried at his former school.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [00:10:00]
ALLEN: We have breaking news just in, in a case that people have been watching worldwide because it involves freedom of the press. A judge in Myanmar has just found two journalists guilty of possessing top secret documents, sentencing them to seven years in prison.
The two news agency reporters for Reuters News Agency were investigating the death of Muslim Rohingya men and boys when they were arrested for allegedly collecting state secrets. For more on this story, let's go to Alexandra Field in Hong Kong.
Alex, very unfortunate outcome for these journalists. This story much about freedom in a country where freedom of the press, for the most part, is just not allowed.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly very much under attack and this verdict would represent that. You have got this two journalists, who have both received a seven year sentence, the maximum for this colonial era law concerning state secrets. Is 14 years the men were given seven years.
The proceedings took about 45 minutes in court and then they were swept out a side door and they'll return to prison. These men have been held in prison for the last --
FIELD: -- eight months. They were arrested while reporting on a massacre of Rohingya men and boys, reporting about the deaths of 10 men and boys. The military in that country has since admitted that its forces had a role in those killings.
And yet these two men have been detained for the last eight months, finally being found guilty today. Absolutely, this would represent an attack on the press. The men say that they were framed by police. Their news organization, Reuters, has stood firmly behind them throughout this process.
ALLEN: Is there any recourse that we know, in the judicial system?
Do they have any chance of appealing this or is there any chance that Reuters and human rights groups can sway what just happened there in Myanmar?
FIELD: It is our understanding that they'll have the ability to appeal this judge's decision. This case has drawn a lot of international attention and a lot of outcry over the last few months, not only from international organizations but officials from other countries.
U.N. officials and Canadian officials, officials from the U.K. and the U.S., even the United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, they have all pushed for Myanmar to release these journalists.
This comes as a time where Myanmar has faced massive international pressure, a reaction to a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority. It was just a week ago, Natalie, that a U.N. fact-finding mission accused Myanmar's top military leaders of acts of genocide and acts of war in their campaign against this minority ethnic group.
ALLEN: The murders that these reporters were covering, were those murders, did they happen like before we saw the mass exodus of Rohingyas fleeing because of violence brought on them?
FIELD: It was about a year ago we saw this exodus being to happen. That's when a major military crackdown happened back on about August 25th of last year. As that campaign began, you saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar, leaving Rakhine state in the Western part of Myanmar and traveling into Bangladesh.
You had these Reuters journalists, who were investigating some of the crimes, some of the violence that had happened inside of Rakhine state.
It was December when the men were arrested and they were looking back at a massacre of men and boys. They say they were framed by police and given secret documents by police and then immediately arrested for being in possession of those secret documents.
Again, the reporting that they were working on had to do with 10 specific deaths and it is certainly important to point out that these are 10 deaths that the military had acknowledged its forces did have a role in.
That acknowledgement came after the arrest of these men and it did not have any bearing or impact, as you can see on this case itself, Natalie.
ALLEN: We'll continue to follow it and we hope that somehow these men will not go to prison for seven years. One of them, their wife had a baby while he was being held. Alexandra Field, thank you so much. I know we'll cover it for us and we'll have more that next hour of this case.
Flags are back to full staff after a week of mourning the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain, a national hero. The White House flag was initially lowered for just one day. After a backlash, it was lowered again until McCain's burial, as is tradition.
Meantime, Senator McCain ended his 81-year journey at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Sunday, where he has now been buried. More about this final service for Mr. McCain's, here is Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was one of the most powerful and emotional days among the five days of the collective national send-off for Senator John McCain, even though this day, on Sunday, his final burial ceremony at the Naval Academy chapel, where it is supposed to be private.
Two of the images we're left with were very powerful images that the public was able to see. The first one was the images of the throngs of people, hundreds of them, gathered on the streets of Annapolis, in the streets leading up to the Naval Academy gates.
Even though these people were not allowed to take part in the ceremony and get inside and see it, they still lined up along the streets to pay their respects to Senator John McCain.
Another very powerful images was one for the entire world to see if they were watching this and that was the flyover on Sunday afternoon. Just as the burial service at the cemetery was getting underway, a formation of FA-18 fighter jets flew overhead, over our live position, and we could watch as one of them peeled away.
That symbolizes a lost comrade. So very, very powerful images on a day that was a very private ceremony for the McCain family and their close friends. And yet we, the public were able to take part of this.
A lot of questions asked about why Senator McCain --
TODD: -- is being buried here when his father and grandfather, who were two very accomplished admirals in the U.S. Navy, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Well, according to Senator McCain himself and those who knew him, this was the place that really forged his character.
He had an imperfect run of things here at the Naval Academy. He was not such a great student; he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class. He piled up a lot of demerits.
And yet this was the place that really forged Senator McCain's character. It gave him a toughness that served him so well in Vietnam and as a prisoner of war. So this is the place where he said himself, that he wanted to be buried, next to his friend, Admiral Chuck Larson.
He said at the end of his book, "The Restless Wave," this is where he wanted to be buried because this is kind of where it all began for him -- Brian Todd, CNN, Annapolis, Maryland.
ALLEN: President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will begin confirmation hearings on Tuesday. He's considerably more conservative than the justice he's replacing, Anthony Kennedy.
If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh could cement a conservative dominance in the U.S.' highest court for decades to come. One crucial question, whether he would vote to over turn a landmark case that affirmed a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, Roe versus Wade.
Meantime, the Trump administration is refusing to release more than 100,000 pages of records related to Kavanaugh. CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez reports on this.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The attorney charged with reviewing some 660,000 pages worth of documents related to Brett Kavanaugh's time at the White House as a staff secretary for President George W. Bush has determined that about 100,000 pages should not be released to neither lawmakers nor the general public because of what he claims was constitutional privilege.
That is angering Democrats and further angering them, the fact that another 148,000 pages worth of documents will be released to lawmakers. But then lawmakers will not be able to even describe those to the general public.
Several Democrats have spoken out against this declassification process, namely Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and a senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. She spoke on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, saying that this process has been anything but normal. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D): This is not normal. You have a nominee with excellent credentials, with his family behind him. You have the cameras there. You have the senators questioning.
But this is not normal. It's not normal we are not able to see 100,000 documents that the archivist has just -- because the administration has said we can't see them. They exerted their executive power; 148,000 documents that I have seen that you cannot see because they won't allow us to make them public.
So I can't even tell you about them right now in the show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The White House is pushing back on this criticism from Democrats. Deputy press secretary Raj Shah weighing in on Twitter this weekend, writing that the 440,000 or so executive branch documents related to Brett Kavanaugh's time at the White House that have been released far eclipse the number of documents released for previous Supreme Court nominees, the previous five, in fact, combined.
You can bet that this conversation about documents and further about a number of hot button issues including Kavanaugh's stance on Roe versus Wade and abortion will come up during his hearings which begin on Tuesday -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.
ALLEN: Joining me to talk more about this is Michael Shear. He's a CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times."
Michael, thank you for being with us. MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, happy to do it.
ALLEN: First, why is the president withholding 100,000 pages of Judge Kavanaugh's records?
That sound like a lot.
But is that an unusual amount?
SHEAR: It is an unusual amount, part of that relates to the fact that the overall number of documents that senators have asked for relating to Judge Kavanaugh is in itself unusual that he has a very large paper trail, much larger than any previous Supreme Court nominee.
That said, the Democrats definitely are arguing that the sheer amount of documents being held back and not made public is really large, some 100,000 pages of documents that the Trump administration largely is claiming are work product and personal information that, in terms of lawyers providing advice to the president; in this case, President Bush, that that should not get -- be made public because you got to protect that.
That's certain to be at the center of a pretty big fight in the coming week as these hearings start.
ALLEN: The deputy press secretary said that they've satisfied the request for documents, over 440,000 pages of documents that have been revealed. But we have this 100,000 that --
ALLEN: -- have not.
Has this ever happened before with a Supreme Court nominee, this much information kind of being kept in the dark to the American public and to the Senate Judiciary Committee?
SHEAR: No, it has never happened before at this extent. Previous nominees Supreme Court who had documents that were related to the White House in by and large, those documents had been made public.
The people in charge of them, the previous president presidents whose papers they were, largely said we'll go ahead and waive whatever privileges we have so that those documents can be public.
So it is unprecedented. Both sides have their arguments to make in terms of numbers that they cite, withheld or made public. But ultimately that's going to be for the senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who are holding these hearings this week to fight over it. And the American public to decide who they think has the best case.
ALLEN: As far as Judge Kavanaugh himself, he certainly can have an impact on this court as far as another conservative coming on the Supreme Court.
What would be the issues?
SHEAR: Yes, it is not actually uncommon for a judge to come on the bench with particularly strong views. That's not so unique.
What's unique is that he would be the swing vote in many cases. He's replacing somebody, Anthony Kennedy, on the court, who was himself, the fifth vote that swung one way or the other on the nine-member court.
Issues like abortion or issues like campaign finance and there is this question about if something came to the court having to do with whether or not President Trump could be subpoenaed in the Russia investigation, that question may well come to the court.
And it could be Judge Kavanaugh who can cast the deciding vote on whether or not the president has to submit an interview to Robert Mueller, the special counsel. All of those are issues that'll come up.
ALLEN: That's a complex issue in of itself. Usually these things are complex enough when you are talking about putting somebody on the Supreme Court.
What would be the major laws that could be reversed if, say, a Judge Kavanaugh got on the Supreme Court?
SHEAR: Well, look, sometimes we can overstate this. There are justices that we have seen, have gotten on the court and people expect them to go one way or another. Sometimes they can surprise you.
But the Democrats are definitely making the case that abortion is one of the main legal precedents that they question whether or not Judge Kavanaugh would uphold, given his record.
Then there is the whole litany of more liberal issues like climate change and environmental regulation and that kind of thing, that if, as questions come to the Supreme Court, immigration is another, as some of these questions come to the Supreme Court, in the past, there has been pretty stark divide between liberal justices, for conservative justices.
Judge Kavanaugh would be in the position to say do environmental regulations get upheld, do labor laws get upheld or not. Those, and of course, abortion is a big question and whether or not restrictions would be put on abortion or whether, in the end, abortion could be ruled illegal altogether.
Those are the kinds of things that all the senators are going to be arguing about this week.
ALLEN: Your point is well made. You may never know once someone gets on the Supreme Court, how they'll handle their job. One remembers David Sutter brought on by the first President Bush and he certainly tilted left in his decisions.
We really appreciate your insights. We'll talk with you again. Michael Shear, thanks so much.
SHEAR: Sure, happy to.
ALLEN: The Catholics vent their anger over the sex abuse scandal plaguing the church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Considerable animosity --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you!
ALLEN (voice-over): More on the protest that erupted at a Sunday mass in Washington -- next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[00:30:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. We're live from Atlanta, Georgia. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories this hour.
A judge in Myanmar has just found two journalists, guilty, of possessing top secret documents sentencing them to seven years in prison. The two Reuters knew -- the reporters were investigating the deaths of Muslim Rohingya men and boys when they were arrested for allegedly collecting big secrets.
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition denied an airstrike in Yemen last month, hit a school bus full of children, that despite evidence to the contrary. The coalition says Saturday mistakes were made but the spokesperson told CNN, the vehicle was a legitimate target and not a school bus.
A massive fire have engulfed Brazil's 200-year-old national museum in Rio. Firefighters are scrambling to put it out, but you can see how big it is. State media reports there where at least 20 million artifacts inside the building. It is feared entire collections are lost forever and no word yet on the cause of the fire.
The time for peace is now. That is the message from the outgoing commander of NATO force in Afghanistan. General John Nicholson is urging the Taliban to accept the ceasefire offer and begin peace talks. His comment came Sunday during a Change of Command Ceremony in Kabul.
Many Catholics say they have had enough inaction from the church on the clergy sex abuse scandals that have rocked the world. One man targeted his outrage at the archbishop of Washington during a mass Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: We need -- we need to hold close in our prayers and our loyalty our Holy Father Pope Francis. Increasingly, it's clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.
BRIAN GARFIELD, PARISHIONER: Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: That was someone yelling, shame on you. Cardinal Wuerl, Donald Wuerl, is accused of covering up clergy misconduct when he was a bishop in Pennsylvania. CNN's Rosa Flores has more on the protest at Sunday's mass.
[00:35:06] ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just outside the church, I spoke to the man who screamed, shame on you, to Cardinal Wuerl, and he says that he screamed that out because he's frustrated, because he's hoping that the church can be held accountable and he's hoping that the church will be transparent.
But he wasn't the only one to send a loud message during that mass in Washington, D.C., there was another woman who sent a very loud message with her silence. She stood up, she crossed her arms and gave the cardinal, her back
MARY CHALLINOR, PARISHIONER: I think he should resign. I think he should understand that just because you did not mean to do something, it doesn't mean that there weren't terrible consequences for a lot of people. And I feel he should resign as cardinal.
FLORES: We reached out to the archdiocese to ask about this protest. And here's what they said in a statement, "Cardinal Wuerl has spoken extensively over the past two months, conveyed his profound sadness, apologies and contrition, and addressed every issue as it has arisen in a straightforward and transparent manner."
I was inside that church. I can tell you that the cardinal was received warmly, he also received applause, but it was not until the end of the mass, when he started speaking about clerical sex abuse that emotions boiled over. Rosa Flores, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Pope Francis is also facing increased scrutiny about the church abuse scandals. A former top Vatican official accuses the pope and church leaders of weaving a "conspiracy of silence." For more about it, here's Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen.
JOHN ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: One week after Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Pope's former ambassador in the United States from 2011 and 2016, made a bomb shell charge that he had informed Pope Francis of sexual misconduct warnings against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013, and that the Pope essentially ignored them for the next five years.
Vigano was back at it, this week, also suggesting that Pope Francis and his allies had lied about what they knew when Pope Francis met Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis, in September 2015. Davis was the county clerk who had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Obergefell decision, and became a symbol of opposition to gay marriage in the United States.
At the time, the papal spokesperson suggested that the Pope did not know who Davis was, and that this was entirely Vigano's fault, in his role as the ambassador. Vigano is now claiming he presented a memo to the Pope in advance, he briefed his top officials so they knew full well, who the Pope was meeting.
Today, the Vatican has not issued comment on the second accusation from Vigano. There are some sources suggesting we made yet some clarification from them, perhaps, later this week. But in the meantime, what seems clear is that the contratante that has been unleashed by the accusations of Archbishop Vigano are not going to go away any time soon.
From Rome, this is John Allen, reporting for CNN.
ALLEN: Japan is bracing for a powerful typhoon, they've already gotten hit by many in the past few months. The storm may weaken but it could cause life-threatening floods. We are tracking the typhoon for you, next.
[00:40:00] ALLEN: Typhoon Jebi is approaching Japan, and it will pack quite a punch. Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, joins us now. And for Japan, Pedram, this is one of many that they've seen in the past few months.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: It has been incredible. You know, when you look at the number of storms that have made landfall -- and I'll touch on that momentarily, it is remarkable, this region, on what they've had to go through, because, again, as you said, Natalie, it is a menacing storm.
It is going to gradually weaken, fortunately, as it approaches land there, about 185 kilometers per hour as it sits there, which about 500 kilometers east of Okinawa, that's Category 3 equivalent. So we'll watch the system here, we think landfall sometime inside the next 18 or so, hours.
Notice the projection on this as it moves its way to the north and northeast here. The models and what we have seen, at least, over the last six or seven weeks, since the beginning of July, we've had upwards of six tropical systems that have either directly or indirectly impacted Japan.
This would be number seven, coming in fact, the track of this particular system, comes near the Chugoku Region, which is -- in fact, where in July, we lost about 200 lives across this area because of the flooding, associated with one of those systems. We're going to watch that very carefully because this soil is fully saturated. Again, we think, sometime early Tuesday morning for landfall, as a category to equivalent system, and notice the rainfall amounts, 70, 100 plus.
In some areas, certainly, the flooding is going to be a big story across this region that had been so hard hit. Even Tokyo gets some rainfall out of it as well and could impact some travel across that region over the next about 24 or so, hours as well.
I want to take you out towards the Caribbean, we do have another system to tell you about -- in the works is this, Tropical Cyclone Seven that is in the works across this region, impacting the Bahamas and portions of Cuba. It will -- and this poised to become Tropical Storm Gordon over the next 24 or so hours, moving over the Florida Keys, of course.
It is a holiday across the United States and certainly people are going to be impacted by there -- by this, across that region and notice as it moves its way into the Gulf of Mexico. We do expect gradual strengthening going in towards somewhere around New Orleans on Wednesday morning.
It could be a Tropical Storm Gordon at that point. It could be a strong tropical storm and maybe even be flirting with hurricanes.
We'll follow that here carefully. But we do know it is poised to strengthen, and a lot of people on its path across the heart of the week. There was tremendous rainfall, potentially, as much as 200 plus millimetres, Rosemary, so very quiet across the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, not so the case in Japan. But it looks like activities are picking up here as well.
ALLEN: All right, two storms to watch.
JAVAHERI: Natalie, I am sorry.
ALLEN: That's all right. Two storms to watch in two different parts of the world, Pedram, thank you.
ALLEN: And that is CNN NEWSROOM. But don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" is next. And I'll be back in 15 minutes for another hour of news, thanks for watching.
[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)
ALLEN: A Myanmar court has just sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison. We'll have reactions, just ahead.