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Huyrricane Florence Set to Rip the East Coast; U.S. FEMA on Full Alert; Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping New Bromance. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 12, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: A monster storm is headed for the United States. Hurricane Florence is set for a direct hit on the East Coast with millions of people in its path.

Plus, strengthening new alliances, Russia hosts the president of China as Moscow made a pivot to the east.

And a controversy, why a depiction of tennis legend, Serena Williams is drawing outrage worldwide.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

We are following two dangerous storms. One could bring historic destruction to the U.S. East Coast, the other could slam heavily populated areas in East Asia. Super typhoon Mangkhut is expected to intensify as it moves toward the northern Philippines, southern China, and Hong Kong.

And hurricane Florence is now a massive category four storm. About 1.5 million people are under mandatory evacuation orders along the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia.

So let's get more on the storms from our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. And they -- I mean, you're going to start there of course with what's happening along the U.S. coastline.

Talk to us about this -- we're hearing that a lot of people are actually saying that they're going to ride this out. Talk to us about what the outcome could be if they choose to do that.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, regardless of what they decide to do, unfortunately, the truth here is that how things play out typically with storms of this magnitude. You'll have dozens of fatalities, we'll have billions of dollars in losses and certainly, we're going to have hundreds of thousands of people left homeless across the region.

So that's how things play out. Historically storms of this magnitude kind of almost always how it plays out. So it is your choice whether you leave you location or not.

But you look the weather pattern the hurricane warnings, and the watches, they're widespread across this region. So the National Hurricane Center is taking this as seriously as you'll ever see them take it because of how significant of a storm it is and potentially how much more intensity it can unpack while it approaches land.

So, again, historically speaking, when you are talking category four or 240 kilometers per hour, essentially what this storm has the potential of reaching here in the next 24 or so hours. What is left of such storms is typically areas that are impacted by it or left inhabitable for a period of weeks or months. Power outages are also something that would last on the several weeks as well.

And of course we saw this play out in 1989 with Hugo with a very similar storm. But Hugo did not do what this storm can do, factoring of course an increase in population as well.

As this storm system comes ashore with the latest model guidance, it comes ashore or near the land around 6 a.m. on Friday and it kind of meanders it. It doesn't make landfall. Potentially pushes farther to the south and sits there for a day or so for a period of between 12 and 36 hours.

It meanders off the coastline and produces rainfall on the order of half a meter storm surge, on the order of about say, 12 meters -- I'm sorry -- 12 feet upwards of at least four meters across some of this region.

Certainly, a life threatening scenario when you factor in what can take place across this region. And it's not just -- a close look into it, Rosemary. When take a look how far the wind field is over 500 kilometers just the tropical storm force winds.

So it doesn't necessarily matter where it makes landfall. Even hundreds of kilometers away, you can have some significant damage and threats with the storm system.

CHURCH: Yes, important point, sir. Thank you so much, Pedram. I appreciate you following all of that.

Well, time is running out for those in the path of hurricane Florence. Federal and state officials are warning resident and tourists, this is not the kind of storm you want to ride out but some are hunkering down.

Our Nick Valencia reports from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.


JEFF BYARD, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, FEMA: This storm is not a glancing blow. This storm is going to be a direct hit on to our coast.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight officials are pleading with everyone to heed the warnings and not underestimate Florence's strength. The hurricane seen in this close-up satellite image expected to be the most powerful to hit the coast in decades. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD HENNING, METEOROLOGIST AND FLIGHT DIRECTOR, NOAA: Everything that you've been hearing about this storm in terms of its severity is all true.


VALENCIA: This hurricane hunters speaking to CNN from inside the storm has a firsthand look at just how serious it is.


HENNING: There's nothing to prevent this storm from continuing to intensify.


VALENCIA: More than one million people in Virginia and the Carolinas are under mandatory evacuation there. States of emergency have been declared there, as well as in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

South Carolina police are reversing the highway traffic to make it easier for people to get out of harm's way.


HENRY MCMASTER, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: We know it's coming, it's even stronger than hurricane Hugo. Once it gets on the ground, the velocity will be more. But it would be crawling across ground which means more and more rain.


[03:05:04] VALENCIA: Some are waiting it out taking to risk of a last-minute evacuation, especially in areas like Myrtle Beach where there is no major highway access.

For those staying and stocking up, long delays at gas stations and home improvement stores like at this Home Depot in Wilmington, North Carolina where there's a 90-minute wait for plywood.

Myrtle Beach mayor tells me that they're just now starting to evacuate the hospitals. And she emphasizes that for those who are planning on sticking this out, they won't have no immediate help from first responders. In fact, the emergency room in Myrtle Beach will be closed.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump is reassuring people who live in the hurricane zone that the government is ready to help.

Kaitlan Collins reports he's pointing to a previous relief effort many criticized as a deadly failure.




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Tonight, President Trump says the White House is prepared for hurricane Florence, citing the way his administration handled hurricane Maria which devastated Puerto Rico one year ago.


TRUMP: The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority. We are sparing no expense. We are totally prepared.


COLLINS: In the briefing with the FEMA administrator Brock Long late today, the president called his management of that storm an unsung success.


TRUMP: I think in a certain way the best job we did was Puerto Rico. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success.


COLLINS: That despite estimates that nearly 3,000 people died in the storm. And millions were left without power for months.

The president's comments after a morning spent marking the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, paying tribute with these solemn words as he remembered the Americans who perished on board flight 93 when it crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


TRUMP: They boarded the plane a strangers, and they entered eternity linked forever as true heroes.


COLLINS: Trump started the day not with a tweet of remembrance but with a message about the special counsel, quoting in allies, saying there was no collusion. The president's son telling ABC in an interview that he's not worried about the outcome of the Mueller investigation.


DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: I'm not, because I know what I did. I'm not worried about any of that. You know, that doesn't mean they won't try to create something.


COLLINS: Trump Jr. also speaking out about the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, saying he believed it was authored by a low level staffer while acknowledging that the president's inner circle is shrinking.


TRUMP JR.: I think there are people in there that he could trust, it's just a much smaller group than I would like it to be.


COLLINS: And on the day of the official release of Bob Woodward's book two of the president's former aides, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and staff secretary Rob Porter issuing carefully worded denials after Trump told allies he believe they cooperated the most.

Cohn writing, "This book does not actually portray my experience in the White House. I continue to support the president." Porter adding he thought it was selective and misleading.

But neither statement denied specific instances from the book including one of the most explosive that Cohn stole a draft of a letter terminating a critical trade agreement with South Korea off the president's desk to prevent him from signing it.

Woodward warning today, that sources often try to save face with public denials.


BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: One key person in office called me and said everyone knows what you said here is true. Its 1,000 percent correct. And then this person has said some public things that contradict that.


COLLINS: Now when President Trump was asked about those denials he said that he appreciated them, he thought they were excellent and thought those denials from Rob Porter and Gary Cohn proved that Bob Woodward's book was fiction making it pretty clear why those two former top aides of the president issued them in the first place.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Well the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital is a vocal critic of the Trump administration's relief efforts last year.


CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: The humanitarian crises, you should not be grading yourself. You should not just have a parade of self-accolade. You should never be -- this content with everything we did. I'm not content with everything I did. I should have done more. We all should have done more.

But the president continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of South Carolina and the people of North Carolina that. If he doesn't learn from his mistakes, he's going to make them again and people are going to continue to that.

[03:09:58] This is a stain on the president on his presidency and the world has seen what he does. He said he's done a good job when 3,000 people have died. Well, God bless us all if this man continues on this path.


CHURCH: Earlier this month, a government report said FEMA was so overwhelmed by the time hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico more than half of its workers were not qualified for the jobs they were doing in the field.

Well, now to U.S. politics and the midterm elections. We are seeing a grassroots hunger for change in the Democratic Party in Massachusetts.

Ayanna Pressley just beat a 10-term congressman whose liberal policies are very similar to her own. But voters are looking for new leaders. Candidates willing to challenge the Republican Party and the establishment.

Our Miguel Marquez reports.


AYANNA PRESSLEY (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, MASSACHUSETTS: We have arrived, change is coming and the future belongs to all of us.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ayanna Pressley, the 44-year-old Boston City councilor thrust into the national spotlight after defeating another equally progressive Democrat, 10-term Congressman, Mike Capuano.


REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The district justice is very upset with the lots of things that are going on. I don't blame them. I'm just as upset as they are.


MARQUEZ: Pressley campaigned on her personal story raised by a single mother, the survivor of sexual assault. Her slogan change can't wait captured liberal anger and a desire for a more aggressive stance against President Trump and the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESSLEY: That with our rights under assaults, with our freedoms

under siege, that it's not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power. But it matters who those Democrats are.



MARQUEZ: The district is deep blue. Liberal. An area once represented by John F. Kennedy. Pressley's stunning primary win follows several similar progressive outsider victories.

Political newcomer and Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off a major upset in defeating more moderate and New York powerbroker Joe Crowley.




MARQUEZ: Andrew Gillum, the first African-American major party nominee for Florida governor embraced progressivism to pull off a surprise upset in a competitive Democratic primary.




MARQUEZ: And Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party could become the first African-American female governor of Georgia.


MARQUEZ: Is there something bigger going on in Democratic politics?

PRESSLEY: There is. I do believe that there is a paradigm shift that is occurring. And there are winds of change that are afoot.


MARQUEZ: Pressley's district like others that have produced upsets this year is racially diverse, nearly 60 percent minority, still Capuano was like double digits in polls leading up to Election Day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overall, the population is majority, minority in the district, but when you get down to first, whose registered to vote than who actually vote and then who votes in a Democratic primary, historically that's been actually majority white. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Voters torn between an incumbent they trust and a challenger representing a new voice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm leaning towards Pressley.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really like her story. Capuano is great but I like -- I think I resonate with her story.


MARQUEZ: Pressley's story a shocker even to her. A friend took cell phone video when Pressley got word that she had done the unthinkable.


PRESSLEY: It seems like change is on the way.


MARQUEZ: With no Republican challenger in the general election, she will represent Massachusetts seventh district next year when she'll be expected to turn the slogan into action.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Boston.

CHURCH: Let's get more on this with political analyst Peter Mathews. He is a professor of political science at Cyprus College and the author of "Dollar Democracy." Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So why is Democratic Party undergoing this massive transformation right now.

MATHEWS: It's a demographic change foe one thing. But also what occurred in 2016 with Bernie Sanders running and Hillary Clinton together, they allowed the party to air the different perspective that was inherent in it. You know, whether an upset progressive message or to go with the initial message or what was winning for Democrats before.

And it was very dynamic season in 2016 and now the party is reaping the benefit of that in reevaluating its goals, its platform. And I think it's a very dynamic time for the party. It is very exciting to see which way it might go actually in this midterm election of what's their message.

[03:14:59] CHURCH: Of course what's the profile do you think of a Democrat voter these days and how much has it changed in these past two years?

MATHEWS: Considerably because a lot of the young people have started voting now and they are most diverse generation. The millions are the most diverse generation in our history in recent history. And they vote Democrat overwhelmingly, at least two to one now. And they're also pretty excited about voting this time around.

Many of my students are in that generation and I saw a sea change in this 2016 in their attitude toward politics. They are more interested in how a government affects their lives and how politics affects their lives. And they know that elections have had consequences.

They've seen what happens with President Trump being elected with a turnout that was not high back in 2016 of their generation. So this time around I think there are going to be a higher voter turnout among the millennials and they'll probably going to vote more progressive and more Democratic this time around.

CHURCH: Right. And we see that transformation within the Democratic Party. We're also seeing a change within the Republican Party, aren't we? It's undergoing that similar transformation. So is it time perhaps for a viable third party option for those voters who don't feel they fit this new idea of what a Republican is and what a Democrat is.

MATHEWS: A third party always been a problem in American politics. From the very beginning of our history, we had a two party system and we stayed that way pretty much out of tradition out of political culture and it seems to work better for a country like this that wants to decide quickly on issues.

And two choices are much easier to decide than seven or eight like in Europe. We have a parties of all kinds of ideology are running and we have a system of single member plurality elections not proportion of conation which would reward two party -- more than two parties.

So that's one reason we stick to the two party systems. And there's always a chance for third parties, they're quite small in number. There are some significant third party with good ideas but they can't seem to get their ideas out there unfortunately. I think we should give them more air time for one thing.

CHURCH: Right. And what do voters expect from the Democrats in this Trump era do you think?

MATHEWS: In this era I think the overarching concern is to stabilize the country from the incredibly (TECHNICAL PROBLEM).

He should be talking (AUDIO GAP) jobs as Democrats should, such as clean energy, bringing in solar panel production, wind power, tide power as they've done in many countries in Europe, and you know, bring in electric cars and build them and get high -- young people to hire engineers to build those new products.

That will excite the young people and other voters as well if the Democratic Party took that tack. CHURCH: All right. Well, the midterm elections are the test, aren't

they? We'll see what the outcome is. Peter Mathews, thank you so much for joining us.

MATHEWS: My pleasure. Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a break right now. But still to come, war games and business deals once rivals, Russia and China cement deeper ties as relations with the west grow more strained.

Plus, it is the controversial cartoon seen around the world and widely condemned. We will tell you how its publisher is fighting back.


CHURCH: Well, their nations were once staunch rivals. Now the leaders of Russia and China are side by side at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping outlined the deepening economic bonds between their countries. And Mr. Putin took a swipe at protectionism and trade barriers that he says challenge growth and the global economy.

Japan's Shinzo Abe has also been addressing the forum.

Let's get the latest now from CNN's Ivan Watson who joins us live from Hong Kong. So Ivan, what has Japan's prime minister been saying?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he endorsed the somewhat recent summit between them. And you know, very historic summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He urged all the leaders that have gathered there in Vladivostok to speak as one voice to North Korea and try to work towards peace.

He did also mention the fact that to this day, Japan and Russia have not signed a peace treaty since World War II if you can believe that because of an ongoing territorial dispute over a chain of islands that the Soviet Union occupied at the conclusion of that war which Japan continues to claim. But was trying to send messages of, hey, let's work together, let's try to resolve the North Korea dilemma.

Meanwhile, as you alluded, President Putin of Russia used this language talking about the threat of protectionism which was echoed by the Chinese head of state, Xi Jinping who was attending this Far East economic forum for the first time even though it has been taken place now, it is in its fourth year.

He also issued a warning talking about Russia and China standing firm against what he described as unilateralism and protectionism, also called for constructing a new type of international relations.

You got to basically interpret this as a kind of response to the Trump administration, the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing, the U.S. and China being the world's two largest economies. It is interesting to hear Russia chime in on the protectionist issue, especially given the fact that Russia and China do take significant measures to protect their own economies. Rosemary?

CHURCH: So Ivan, how concerned should the west be about this strengthening relationship between Russia and China, both militarily and economically and of course, made even more obviously with their pancake diplomacy that we saw on show.

[03:25:04] WATSON: That's right. There was the photo-op where you had the Russian and Chinese leaders making blini which are these traditional Russian savory pancakes that they had with caviar and a sip. I don't believe they finished their shots of vodka.

But what we've seen has been developing over several years where Beijing and Moscow have been getting closer together despite the fact that if you go back to 1969, the Soviet Union and China fought a border war. They share a long border. There has been competition, for example, over Central Asia and former Soviet republics there that Russia still regards as its backyard.

But as Moscow's relations with western countries and the U.S. have deteriorated since its invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 more recently, the allege poisoning by Russian agents of a former Russian intelligence officer in the United Kingdom and with the trade war, these have effectively helped push two neighbors that didn't see eye to eye, push them closer together.

And it's notable especially that in addition to the two leaders, politically, diplomatically standing shoulder to shoulder, Rosemary, you have Russian and Chinese troops conducting war games together at the same time.

The largest war games ever Russian says since the conclusion of the fall of the Soviet Union and that's also has taken place in eastern Russia, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Ivan Watson, bringing us that live report from Hong Kong.

We turn now to Barcelona where a million people took to the streets to call for Catalan independence. The images are stunning, polls show Catalans are almost evenly divided on whether to secede from Spain.

But Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is firmly against a vote to reconsider Catalonia's independence.

We'll take a short break here, but still to come, a controversial newspaper cartoon of Serena Williams isn't racist if you ask the man who draw it but the world has a very different opinion. We will explain when we come back.

And as fears grow of an all-out assault on the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, the U.S. has a warning from Syria, Iran, and Russia. Back with that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update

you on the main stories we've been following this hour.

[03:30:02] More than 20 million people could be impacted by hurricane Florence which is heading towards the U.S. East Coast. The category 4 storm is expected to move slowly inland after making landfall in the Carolinas Friday morning. Days of torrential rains and storm surges and severe flooding are possible.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling trade barriers and, quote, new forms of protectionism serious challenges to the global economy. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are with him at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Mr. Abe told the forum he has great expectations that an upcoming summit between the Korea's will advance denuclearization.

Brazil's former president Lula Da Silva has stepped aside as a candidate in next month's election. His running mate, a former mayor of Sao Paulo takes his place at the top of the worker's party ticket. Lula is serving a 12 year prison term for corruption. The court rule, he is ineligible to run.

An editorial cartoon has generated outrage around the world for its depiction of American tennis star, Serena Williams. It is a racist cartoon that many viewers will find offensive. But the man who drew it and his employers are doubling down in their defense. Reporter Brett McLeod explains.


BRETT MCLEOD, REPORTER: One of Australia's most popular cartoonist drawing fire from the world's most popular author.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done on reducing one of the greatest sports women alive to racist and sexist tropes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: J.K. Rowling trolling me, well is something I didn't expect in life.

MCLEOD: harry Potter writer, just one of thousands who had taken to social media condemning this depiction of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. A reaction, the cartoonist didn't anticipate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the greatest players of all time who I had admired and drawn many times. I can say when I drew the cartoon it was like that is not bad and off it went.

MCLEOD: The U.S. association of black journalists referenced a racist past when it called it a repugnant cartoon which exudes racist and sexist caricatures of both women, but William's depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her facial expression are, I want it somebody having a dummy speech. I don't know how I could have done it in any other way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support him, he is a great cartoon and I don't think there's racism there at all.

MCLEOD: Mark Knight has the support of his news corps chiefs who dismissed the online attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this world of perpetual outrage where people are looking for victimhood, nothing surprises me.

MCLEOD: The daughter of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King called that response unfortunate and that consideration to the painful historical context of such imagery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The God say in my defense, I'm not a racist. I've done cartoons supporting Adam Goods in his situation.

MCLEOD: As Mark Knight goes back to the drawing board he says, he won't reference himself tomorrow's cartoon, but he may rethink just what he depicts in future drawings and not just because of the response he has been getting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My family are worried and upset about the threats that we're getting. Is it going to affect me in the future? Maybe it will. Maybe I will have to call my punches.

MCLEOD: He'll leave this last word to his famous cartoon piece. Brett McLeod, News.


CHURCH: Cartoonist Paul Zanetti, joins us now from Australia's Gold Coast, thank you so much for being with us.

PAUL ZANETTI, CARTOONIST, AUSTRALIA: My pleasure, Rosemary. Pleased to be with you.

CHURCH: And you're an Australian cartoonist yourself, a good friend of Mark Knight's as we saw in that report, global outrage has been swift. And in Australia, (inaudible) wrote this in an op-ed for the special broadcasting service. Today we woke up to yet more disappointing racist imagery of Serena Williams. It was like looking into a magazine from the Deep South in the 1950s and then this. In a society that does not particularly like angry women, those who dare to challenge and to stand defiantly this the face of injustice by expressing their resistance through anger are marked and silenced.

Paul, want to bring up the cartoon you drew in response to this global outrage if we can. Can we bring that up? You clearly see this as a matter of political correctness and not about racism. Do you understand any of this global outrage at all?

ZANETTI: Not really. We're in Australia. Most of the outrage has really come from the United States.

[03:35:00] The Jim Crow cartoons were largely referenced. So it is probably a matter of that, but from down here, you know, what happened was complete surprise. The firestorm that erupted around the cartoon and erupted around Mark was unprecedented and very unexpected. I've known Mark Knight since we were both 18-year-old cadet artists at

a media group in Australia. Mark is the gentlest most generous person I know. I don't want you to (inaudible) his character, but I do know that Mark does a lot of work for charities. He is got a lot of friends and from all walks of life. As long as I've known him he is probably the only cartoonist whose political persuasions I can't figure out, because he hands out his humor evenly and fairly on all sides.

CHURCH: But do you think -- if I could just interrupt? I mean, you know, you're want to defend him, he is your friend of course. But do you think that at this point Australia needs to be perhaps a little more aware? Mark Knight's news corps boss said we live in a word of perpetual outrage. His newspaper pushed back, publishing this front page. We'll bring that up, again insisting this was about political correctness not racism. Are you perhaps missing the point? Is it time now that we do live in a global world, don't we? We live in a time where we have to be a little bit more aware and stop and think. Will someone be offended by this?

ZANETTI: No. You can censor yourself and your opinions. However, that doesn't mean we can't be aware of other people's feelings and their backgrounds. Australia is one of the -- if not the most emotion tolerant nations on the planet. We have just about every nationality and race and religion here. We have always had -- for the last 20 or 30 years, an open arms attitude toward migrants. I'm the son of a migrant. Many people here love this country, but still wants to protect its freedoms. So, I think that we can't get into a track of censoring ourselves, because one of the fundamental values that we have as a very Democratic country is freedom of speech. You don't have to agree with Mark or you don't have to agree with me.

CHURCH: Let me just -- I just want to read a portion of another -- another portion of the op-ed. She also wrote this. Her body, talking about Serena Williams, her body is made subject of mockery with over exaggerated grotesquely racist physical features which are an attempt to make Williams unattractive and unappealing and to diminish public sympathy towards her. So, Paul, I do want to ask you this, because cartoonist do tend to be middle-aged white men. Is it perhaps time for them to become more sensitive to those who don't look like them and become more -- just hang on a moment and become more aware of the repercussions of racial and gender stereo types just as journalists are expected to be aware of the very same thing. The world is changing.

ZANETTI: Have you seen how Mark draws Donald Trump? He is big fat old angry white man. He draws him grotesquely which compare him to draws during the Williams.

CHURCH: You're comparing a president to a sports hero.

ZANETTI: Well, to a lot of people, Donald Trump is a hero. He may not be my hero or your hero, but depending on your persuasion, he is angry old deranged white man or he is the leader that is putting America back on the world stage. Now, you take your pick. As far as Mark's approach to the cartoon, it was not meant to be racist. He is not racist. It was not meant to be discriminatory. Mark actually has a particular style. That is his style. And he can draw from that cartoon, whatever you want.

A lot of people draw from that cartoon in things that Mark did not intend. So, I think this is an overreaction. And we're not going to be taking a particular line, because some people might get offended. When we draw cartoons, we come from the decision where we actually want to entertain and we want to humor our readers. Now, at times, we make strong statements and so we provide thought and that kind -- and that can also promote outrage in some people and would not promote the outrage with other people.

[03:40:00] I think though, the problem here is with social media, sort of a tribalism exists where people are out to signal there, you know, good intentions, let's just say, kindly and they look -- they're looking for -- for reactions from their own. That is going to eventually lead into a mob mentality and Mark was a victim of that as far as I can see.

CHURCH: All right. Paul Zanetti, thank you so much for joining us and clearly defending your friend. We will see what reaction there is globally to the way the newspaper now has pushed back. Thank you so much for joining.

ZANETTI: Thank you, Rosemary. I appreciate it the time.

CHURCH: Well, the President of the European commission wants more respect for the European Union. In his state of the E.U. address, Jean Claude Juncker said, the E.U. should get credit for preventing wars and he emphasized the importance of unity. In a few hours, the European parliament will vote on whether to punish Hungary for undermining democracy. In a fiery debate Tuesday, members took aim at Hungary's Prime Minister for his hardline immigration policies and for clamping down on the media, the courts, and nongovernmental groups.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): With respect I inform you that whatever decision you will make, Hungary will not accede to the blackmailing. Hungary will protects its borders, stop the illegal migration and Hungary will defend its rights, if needed even against you.


CHURCH: It is unclear whether the 751 member parliament will get the two-thirds majority to pass the censor motion.

Well, the U.S. ambassador of the U.N. has warn Russia and Iran of quote, dire consequences of air strikes against the last major rebel held stronghold in Syria continue. Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council, the world has seen a military escalation by Syria and Russia on Idlib, but her Russian counterpart blames what he calls terrorists for the assault.


is long past taking Russia and Iran at their word that they're interested in protecting civilians in Idlib from further violence. No matter what type of weapons or methods are used, the United States strongly opposes any escalation of violence in Idlib. Every member of the Security Council should feel the same. It is time for Russia to stop wasting our time when it comes to peace in Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): Incantations we hear about Idlib, there are result, not only for concern of the citizens there and we are concerned about them as much as you are, but they're explained rather by an attempt in any way possible to keep a major terrorist enclave in Syria and does prevent restoring the full control by the Syrian government over its territory.


CHURCH: The U.N. Secretary General has appealed to all sides to prevent a bloodbath. CNN's Frederick Pleitgen has more now on the situation unfolding there.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The situation in and around Idlib province in the north of Syria continues to intensify. You look at where most of these areas air strikes had been taking place. They take place in a lot of places, but specifically in the south of Idlib province. That is where the casualties happen and that is also a lot of the air and also the artillery strikes happen as well.

The Syrian government provided us with some video showing some of their planes and some of their rocket launchers firing toward the Idlib province. They also said from the other side, from the rebel side, there's cross mortar firing in the other direction. And some people were killed on the other side as well. The message that we are getting right here in Damascus, is they say that the offensive could be imminent and it could happen at any time and they also say as long as the wheels haven't been set in motion, there could still be some room for diplomacy.

Of course, we know we got meeting today at the United Nations, the U.S. and Russia going at it once again. And also, there was another meeting with the U.N. and the Russians and Iranians and the Turks to try to find some sort of compromise, but of course with every moment that goes by. And with these airstrikes continuing in Idlib, the chance of stave off an offensive growing dimmer by the minute.


CHURCH: Still to come, a group of nuns in India demanding the police arrest a bishop accused of raping one of their own.


CHURCH: A prominent photographer and social activist remains in jail in Bangladesh. A court just turned down a bail plea for Shahidul Alam. He was arrested last month accused of spreading propaganda and false information during student protests. In an interview with (inaudible), Alam accused the government of extra judicial killings and corruption.

We turn now to a disturbing case out of India that is getting international attention. Several nuns are urging authorities to arrest a bishop accused of rape. But he insists he is innocent. We get more now from CNN's Nikhil Kumar.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI'S BUSINESS CHIEF: A group of nuns in one of the oldest catholic communities is calling for the arrest of a bishop accused of raping a nun multiple times over a two-year period. The case in Southern Kerala State has attracted international attention. Kit is extremely rare for nuns to publicly accuse a superior of wrongdoing, the long sexual assault. Five nuns are protesting outside the Kerala high court calling for Bishop Franco Mulakkal from northern (inaudible) State to be arrested and for the investigation to be sped up. They had been joined by more than 100 people in what they say is a fight for justice.

Now, the bishop in question, through his attorney denies the allegations leveled by 44-year-old nun who said she was attacked 13 times between 2014 and 2016 when he visited Kerala. His attorneys told CNN that the bishop believes the nun made up the story, because she was been accused of having an affair with another man.

The spokesman for the Bishop diocese told us, the accusations were quote, fake. Claiming that there was an anti-Christian conspiracy at work. Now the police have not moved to even charge or arrest the bishop. The local police told us, the bishop would only be arrested if there was enough evidence. The nun supporters though disagree. And all of this are local advocacy group asked the Kerala high court to order the Bishop's arrest. Saying the police were moving slowly on purpose, because the pressure on church leaders and politician in Kerala, it is more than six million Christians.

The police deny those claims. The court turned them down, but the judges saying the investigation was on the right track. The advocacy group has now gone back to court asking the judges to revisit their decision and direct the police to detain the bishop. They are now due to announce their ruling on Thursday. Nikhil Kuma, CNN, New Delhi.


CHURCH: A three-time former first lady of Pakistan Kulsoom Nawaz has passed away in London. She was diagnosed with cancer last year and has spent months in a coma. Her death comes two months after her husband, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter returned from London to Pakistan and were jailed on corruption charges. Both are expected to be released on parole for the funeral on Friday. New Prime Minister Imran Khan says that Nawaz was a courageous woman of great dignity. Well having breakfast with a woman led to the arrest of one man in

Saudi Arabia. Authorities caught the video showing the man eating with a female coworker offensive. The two violated public interaction laws between unrelated men and women. CNN's Becky Anderson explains.


[03:50:10] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: The most remarkable thing about this story is how utterly innocent the video is. Let me walk you through it. You're watching a man and woman having breakfast together. They're laughing and joking. They invite others to join. They appear to be (inaudible) their friends sit all happening in Jeddah, normally a pretty relaxed part of the kingdom. The woman dress here, head to toe in black with a (inaudible) feeds her male friend something. This video shared widely in the kingdom. That is where the modernity of social media crashed into what is powerful traditional elements in Saudi culture. Conservative forces kicking up a fuss. The man then arrested, what authorities are describing as appearing in and I quote an offensive video and breaking rules that quote, regulate women's placement at work.

Remember, public spaces are gender segregated by law there. Even as the kingdom goes through transformative social and political and economic changes led by immensely powerful Crown Prince Bin Salman. In Saudi Arabia, absolute power is not so absolute since its founding the ruling family has been in a unique deal with a conservative brand of Islam. Its future must always be in lock step with the past. That is why even a breakfast in Saudi Arabia can be a really, really big deal. Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


CHURCH: At least 68 people are dead and more than 165 wounded after a suicide bomber targeted a demonstration in Afghanistan. Officials say that the bombers set off explosives in a crowd gathered outside a police station near the Pakistan border. The Taliban denied involvement. Authorities predict intensifying violence ahead of next month's parliamentary election. And we'll be right back after this very short break.


CHURCH: Well, a faster phone with a bigger screen. That is what apple is expected to unveil on Wednesday. The company's new phone will be called the iPhone XS, according to Bloomberg that claimed to have seen leaked photos of the phone. Lower cost phones will get upgrades including new colors and the Apple watch is likely to get a few minimal changes, but expect to pay more for all of the devices. Surprise, surprise. Apple makes these announcements at this time of year ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The game show stars facial hair has proven to be a winner. First it was a moustache, but now it is a full on beard. CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on that.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what is not on jeopardy? Host Alex Trebek, brand new beard is a hit. The game show once paid homage to his moustache with a montage. And now bearded Trebek says, he just meant to regrow another moustache.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things got a little out of hand. These hairs attracted friends.

MOOS: Wallah for the 35th season of jeopardy, a beard. Wow, reminds me of Sean Connery.

[03:55:00] The older the better. Yum, yum. Hash tag, Alex Trebeard took off and when the votes were counted, the beard won by more than a hair. Is he following in the follicles of Steven Colbert?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came in all white. I had been talking about Donald Trump for two years has made my mouth old.

MOOS: These hosts tend to go away on break and come back hairy. Polling their fan based. 37 percent said yes beard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 24 says, no beard, 17 percent said that is not a beard. 22 percent security, stop that hobo.

MOOS: Colbert says, the beard sort of won a popular vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife is the Electoral College.

MOOS: She sounds none too happy unlike this jeopardy fan who tweeted Alex Trebek is looking like the sexy brother of Santa Claus. But if you want a beard that looks like it belongs on Santa himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I forget that I have the damn beard. And I am surprised that no one has said to me, hey, dumb ass.

MOOS: Gillette reports, the average number of times men shave has fallen to 3.2 time a week and razor sales are down. Someone suggested Trebek should look like Letterman by December. If nothing else it gives them something to stroke between jokes. CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hearings are beheaded.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look like a civil war statue.

MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: I vote no to the beard. And finally here is an awful new fact, sometimes saving snakes could jack up on testosterone, can lurk in your ceilings and sometimes they could crash through it. These coastal copper python fell into a bedroom. Where else? But in Australia. The snake just up to two meters long were apparently fighting in the home's air duct. The snake catcher said they likely caught the scent of a nearby female and were vying for her affections. Which of course leaves us to the next question, where is she? The male pythons were reportedly released a safe distance away. Whatever that means.

Thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter @rosemarycnn and I will be back after this short break with some more global news for you. You're watching CNN. Stick around.