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U.N. Chief Condemns Rohingya Persecution; Yemen in Crisis; North Korea Relations; Venezuelan Refugee Crisis; German Anti-Migrant Protests; Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal; Myanmar Rohingya: U.N. Says Military Leaders Must Face Genocide Charges; Florida Algae Infestation Driving People To Vote; Dolphin's Fate In Limbo After Aquarium Abandoned. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 29, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Unspeakable crimes but the U.N. is blocked from taking concrete steps against Myanmar for its persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
Plus as both sides are blamed for the bloodshed in Yemen, the people of the country deal with the horrifying aftermath.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you get up close to this stuff, it's disgusting. It's smelly. You can only imagine what the wildlife is going through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: We will tell you why this green slime is dividing voters in Florida.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: We begin with tough talk but no action from the United Nations on atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
The Security Council met to discuss a new report accusing Myanmar's military leaders of genocide and crimes against humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, where they are living in sprawling refugee camps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They raped our women, killed people with bullets, threw and killed small children, burned our houses. And now there is no place to stay. We have nothing there. So we demand to the U.N. that they give us justice. We need our citizenship back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: China and Russia are blocking U.N. attempts to refer the atrocities to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. CNN's Richard Roth reports.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Despite a devastating report out of Geneva by the U.N. accusing military leaders in Myanmar of genocide-style intent, the U.N. Security Council failed to hold anyone accountable at a meeting in Myanmar. No surprise, considering big power divisions regarding Myanmar.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said, the Myanmar leaders in general should be held accountable.
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We are now all armed with the devastating eyewitness accounts of the Rohingya which lead us to the following conclusions. Children, babies, women and men suffered unspeakable crimes.
The attacks were planned, premeditated and coordinated. The perpetrator was the Burmese military and security forces. The whole world is watching what we will do next and if we will act.
ROTH: The reason the Security Council has not yet acted, China and Russia, blocking any attempt to refer this issue to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. China's Deputy U.N. Ambassador said, now is not the time to put pressure on the leaders of Myanmar.
WU HAITAO, CHINA DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): Given the current situation, the international community should cherish the hard-earned progress and develop (ph) understanding to the great difficulties faced by the countries concerned and continue to provide constructive assistance instead of simply putting pressure on them.
ROTH: The government of Myanmar has rejected the findings of the U.N. Commission. U.N. ambassador broke down emotionally at one point when discussing a terrorist attack that Myanmar said rebels are responsible for and he disputed the findings of the report.
HAU DO SUAN, MYANMAR AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This action raises serious question about the objectivity, impartiality and sincerity of fact-finding mission.
ROTH: Western countries have been unable to convince China and Russia to act on Myanmar. The U.N. had its Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees, Cate Blanchett, appear at the Security Council table.
CATE BLANCHETT, ACTOR AND UNHCR GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: Together we need to change the future of Laila, of Yousef, of Gosaha (ph) and of the Rohingya living in Myanmar, in Bangladesh and beyond. There are no shortcuts. There are no alternatives. We have failed the Rohingya before. Please, let us not fail them again.
ROTH: The U.N. secretary-general said U.N. member countries should seriously consider the findings of that U.N. report and he urged Myanmar to cooperate. But member countries have heard those pleas for months -- Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
CHURCH: And a U.N. fact-finding report confirms what has been claimed about the brutal --
CHURCH: -- war in Yemen. Both sides in the conflict may have committed war crimes. The fact finders' chairman said, quote, "There is little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties."
But as CNN's Nima Elbagir tells us, the Saudi-led coalition and its relentless airstrikes have caused the most harm.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A damning report by the U.N. panel of experts on Yemen, listing a litany of violations.
They believe, they say, that both parties to the conflict, both the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel militias, are guilty of suspected war crimes. These, they say, range from recruitment of children under the age of 15, disproportionate use of force that could constitute war crimes.
They also say that the violations documented by the panel of experts are horrendous and they include sexual violence, which is vast in scope and horrific in nature.
The Saudi-led coalition spokesman has released this statement in response. He says, after a legal review, the coalition will take the appropriate stance regarding this matter and it will be announced.
This all comes at a time when the Department of Defense has been ratcheting up its pressure. There have, we understand, for some time, been concerns about the specificity of the targeting of the U.S.- backed Saudi-led coalition.
In fact, that's one of the things that the panel of experts specifically picks up on, saying that the majority of the civilian casualties in Yemen's three-year civil war are caused by aerial attacks.
This is something that has been of huge concern in the Pentagon because of course much of the weaponry used in those aerial attacks is supplied by both the U.S. and the U.K. The U.S. secretary of defense, General Mattis, speaking, said that their report for Saudi Arabia was not unconditional.
JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are constantly reviewing what support we are giving, yes. We also had an army lieutenant general in Riyadh almost immediately following the early August tragedy to convey our concerns and ask for a swift and complete investigation.
It is not unconditional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): What is the condition?
MATTIS: That they do everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life and they support the U.N. brokered peace process.
ELBAGIR: So where does this leave us? Many of those we are speaking to in both the U.S. and U.K. are throwing their heads to the September 6 talks in Geneva where the parties in the conflict are expected to meet for the first time in two years to try and hash out at least a framework for a peaceful negotiation.
But there is a concern that if the findings of the U.N. panel of experts aren't backed by real concerted action, aren't backed by some sort of security council resolution, that this opportunity will be allowed to fritter away -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
CHURCH: Barbara Walter joins me now. She is a professor of political science at the University of California in San Diego.
Thank you so much for being with us.
BARBARA WALTER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: My pleasure.
CHURCH: So, the U.N. panel of experts on Yemen found both the U.S.- backed Saudis and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels guilty of suspected war crimes, including horrendous violence suffered by civilians.
What was your assessment of their findings and their recommendations?
WALTER: Well, their findings are correct. There's been an enormous amount of civilian killing starting in 2015. The U.N. has known about this. It's actually quite heartening that they finally made it public and are taking a stance about it.
They did emphasize that most of the killing, about two-thirds of the killing, is being done by the Saudis, who are, unfortunately, being armed both with weapons and helped logistically by the United States and the U.K. About a third of the killing is being done by the Houthi rebels.
So blame can't be place equally on both sides. Most of the killing over the last few years has been perpetrated by the Saudis with the help of the United States.
CHURCH: Yes, as you say, the panel found that the majority of civilian casualties in Yemen are caused by these aerial attacks. That is a concern for the Pentagon because the U.S. supplies a lot of the weaponry to Saudi Arabia.
Now the U.S. says the Saudis need to avoid the innocent loss of life.
But is the U.S. applying enough pressure to make sure that happens?
CHURCH: There was that threat that they would withdraw military and intelligence support if they didn't see a move in that direction.
WALTER: So, the U.S. did make a statement today, that they could potentially withhold aid. The U.S. does this whenever the Saudis behave quite badly and there is no credibility to that threat.
The United States has never withdrawn aid from the Saudis. We see them as a very important ally. And because the Saudis understand that U.S. is going to back them unconditionally, no matter how badly they behave, they don't restrain themselves.
And in terms of their objectives in the Yemen civil war, their objectives are to defeat the Houthis. And they have been consciously pursuing a strategy of civilian targeting. As long as they believe the U.S. will never withdraw aid, they're going to pursue the strategy and I think that statement today by the Pentagon that we could withdraw is simply a way to placate public opinion.
CHURCH: So you see the U.S. as a toothless tiger here and not committed to make any changes in what's happening in Yemen.
WALTER: I think that is absolutely true. This doesn't mean that the U.S. is doing this gladly.
I've talked to many friends and colleagues of mine in D.C. who hate that we're doing this, who wish we weren't doing this and yet also understand that the Assad is an important ally, both in our war in Syria and in our war against ISIS and Al Qaeda, although there is irony there as well.
And we're not willing to do anything that could damage that relationship. Not to mention that Saudi Arabia is an important source of cheap consistent oil for our allies.
CHURCH: So given that, what are your expectations, then, of this September 6th talks in Geneva?
Will all parties to the conflict are going to come together and talk about a framework for piece in Yemen.
WALTER: I don't think there is going to be a disagreement in Yemen anytime soon. I don't think there is any incentives yet for any of the sides to compromise. And I think this is going to end up maybe perhaps in a cease-fire, but not lasting particularly long.
CHURCH: Barbara Walter, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate your perspective on this issue.
WALTER: Yes, my pleasure.
CHURCH: Well, relations between the United States and North Korea continue to sour --
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The secret letter came from Kim Yong-chol, the former head of North Korea's spy agency, once welcomed at the White House by President Trump.
The letter warning denuclearization talks are "again at stake and may fall apart," sources told CNN, a suggestion the regime could resume weapons activities.
DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: I think we're back in a very tense moment. I think frankly that the declaration that was achieved back when the president and Chairman Kim met was probably vaguer than one would have hoped. Denuclearization doesn't mean the same thing to us that it means to them.
STARR: North Korea pressing for a full peace treaty, a concession the U.S. is not yet ready to grant. All of this leading the president to abruptly canceled U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo's fourth trip to Pyongyang hours before departure.
So is denuclearization in trouble?
President Trump had high hopes just after the Singapore summit when he tweeted in June, "There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea," but in August, "I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Today a not so simple answer from Defense Secretary James Mattis, when asked if he agrees with the president's original optimistic assessment.
JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The bottom line is there was progress made, the whole world saw that progress when the two leaders sat down. We also knew very clearly this was going to be a long and challenging effort.
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We knew this was going to be a slow tough process.
STARR (voice-over): The reality so far North --
[02:15:00] STARR (voice-over): -- Korea continues its weapons work at several nuclear sites. And getting them to give it all up and allow international inspections could be years away.
SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: I think one of the problems is that this administration doesn't seem to want to remember history. This is the fifth time we've been in negotiations about nuclear weapons with North Korea. And the dance has been pretty much the same each time.
STARR: So if the North Koreans do not agree to denuclearize, to give up their nuclear weapons, the next question on the table may be, will the Pentagon, in fact, resume large-scale military exercises with South Korea?
Will South Korea even want those exercises to take place? -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
CHURCH: Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, Germany's leader condemns the far right, with thousands turning out for violent anti-migrant protests.
Plus predator priests and a cover-up: now Pennsylvania's attorney general is telling CNN, the effort to hide the abuse went all the way to the Vatican.
Plus Puerto Rico is revising the death toll from Hurricane Maria to almost 3,000. That is 46 times more deaths than what officials claimed for almost a year.
CHURCH: Well, the two South American countries receiving the highest number of Venezuelan refugees have agreed on a joint response to the growing crisis.
Colombia and Peru say they will now share a database of migrants and refugees from Venezuela. Officials hope this will keep Venezuelans safe while preventing them from applying for residence permits in both Colombia and Peru.
Meanwhile, Brazil's president is sending more troops to its border with Venezuela more than a week after residents of a Brazilian town attacked a group of Venezuelans.
Officials in Germany say fake news is at least partly to blame for fueling anti-immigrant violence in the east of the country over the past few days. Protests erupted after reports a 35-year-old man was killed during an altercation with two men from Iraq and Syria.
But officials say many details on social media were inflammatory and inaccurate and quickly spread. More now from CNN's --
CHURCH: -- Atika Shubert.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A mob of thousands targeting immigrants and refugees. Some gave Nazi salutes, a brazen violation of Germany's tough laws against hate speech. Fireworks were launched as weapons. Bottles thrown injuring 20 people, including two police officers.
Police now admit they underestimated the crowds and the anger temporarily losing control of the streets and this violent revolt against Germany's refugee and immigration policy. Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced intense political pressure after opening Germany's doors to more than a million asylum seekers, many from Syria.
At a presser with his Irish counterpart, Germany's foreign minister trying to explain what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEIKO MAAS, FOREIGN MINISTER, GERMANY (through translator): It is intolerable what happened. It is the task of the state to shed light and investigate crimes and also hold perpetrators to account. And this is why Germany has not presented itself in the best light. I don't believe that this reflects the reality in Germany.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: Now, this is where it all started in the east German town of Chemnitz. This is a spot where according to place a fight broke out between five individuals at around 3:00 am on Sunday morning. A 35- year-old German man was killed, stabbed to death. Later on, police arrested two individuals, a Syrian and Iraqi on suspicion of murder.
That triggered calls on social media to take to the streets, including this Facebook post with a photo of the blood-stained crime scene from the anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany.
What was supposed to be a spontaneous demonstration on Sunday afternoon against Germany's refugee policy had become an angry mob with hundreds shouting foreigners out and this is our city. Police had promised to regain control of the streets but on Monday, it happened again with even bigger numbers.
What is behind the lawlessness and will it spread?
On the streets of this city, residents tell us what they think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I just don't think it's so good that this murder has been manipulated. I find this very frightening to hear people saying we must defend our city. I found it frightening when I saw the video chasing down foreigners. It sent shivers down my spine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): In Chemnitz we stand for humanity, for solidarity, for togetherness, against agitation, against a raging mob which portrays Chemnitz as a racist city.
SHUBERT: East Germany has been chafing under the refugee policies of the federal government. The chaos in this city has been the most serious manifestation of that public anger so far -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Chemnitz, Germany.
CHURCH: Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square in two hours from now.
But the event is being overshadowed by stunning new allegations. Pennsylvania's attorney general says the Vatican was aware of the effort to hide sexual abuse of children by priests in the U.S. and failed to act. But he says he doesn't know if the pope himself knew about the cover-up. More now from CNN's Alex Marquardt.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is an explosive claim from Pennsylvania's attorney general, that the Vatican had been ignoring repeated warnings for decades that this rampant sexual abuse of children was happening.
The almost 900-page grand jury report, released two weeks ago, details how the cover-up of these abuses went all the way to the Vatican. That has not been highlighted until now.
The attorney general, Josh Shapiro, says he does not know, though, whether Pope Francis was aware. Take a listen to what Shapiro told CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: That cover-up went all the way to the Vatican. The church's own documents, that were in the secret archives, presented in the grand jury report, show the connection between the abuse and cover-up in Pennsylvania and the fact that the Vatican was informed of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: A Vatican spokesman has responded saying, quote, "If the prosecutor is referring to something outside of the report, we'll wait to see that before commenting."
That was in the report, so the Vatican has yet to really respond to this stunning allegation. Shapiro went on to say that the abuses were documented, as were the efforts to cover up for what he --
MARQUARDT: -- calls the predator priests, the documents kept in what Shapiro called secret archives.
More than 300 priests are accused of abuses in this Pennsylvania report. But because of the statute of limitations in that state, only two of them have been prosecuted -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Puerto Rico's governor has revised the official death toll from Hurricane Maria to nearly 3,000. That is 46 times larger than the previous death toll of 64.
CNN's Leyla Santiago was one of the first journalists to report that the government's estimates did not match the loss and devastation she was witnessing on the ground. Here's Leyla with more details on that.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A new number when it comes to Hurricane Maria death toll. The government of Puerto Rico has changed it. And what was just yesterday 64 is now 2,975.
This comes after a study from George Washington University; the government of Puerto Rico commissioned, paid for this study. And in it, researchers talk about the challenges that Puerto Rico had and made recommendations, saying that one of the big problems, Puerto Rico was only prepared to handle a category 1 hurricane.
Obviously Hurricane Maria was much, much more than that. But this study was a statistical analysis. It is not a list of names, a list of deaths, which so many families say they still want as a matter of closure and also to qualify for financial assistance from FEMA.
Of course, the big picture of all of this, if you don't understand who died, when, where and how, there's no way of preventing this in the future. Any expert in the field will tell you that.
So what's next?
Well, this was phase one of the study. Researchers from George Washington University say they want to get to phase two, a deeper dive into the issue. They want to talk to families who have lost loved ones and possibly get to that list that accounts for all the deaths.
But the big problem, that part of the study still has not been funded. And of course Puerto Rico is very much in debt.
So will Puerto Rico take action on those recommendations made in this study?
We'll have to wait and see -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: President Donald Trump is attacking social media on social media and he now claims search results on Google are rigged against him. Plus itchy eyes, headaches, trouble breathing. Now there could be another health effect from air pollution on your brain.
And there's a slime invasion in Florida. Green algae is having an effect on businesses, the environment and the upcoming elections. We'll have all that when we come back.
[02:30:19] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you know on the main stories we've been following this hour. Some members of the U.N. Security Council are demanding Myanmar's government and military be held accountable for atrocities against Muslim Rohingya. The council met after an independent report accused top military leaders of genocide. Myanmar says it was cracking down on terrorists.
A U.N. fact-finding report on the war in Yemen is blaming both sides for atrocities against civilians that could be considered war crimes. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels is accused of thousands of civilian deaths caused by air strikes. Both sides are also blamed for torture, sexual violence, and using child soldiers. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says Washington is not suspending any more military drills with South Korea.
President Trump halted the exercises in June after his meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. The move comes as progress toward the North's denuclearization has slowed to a crawl. Well, some major primary elections were held on Tuesday in three key U.S. states. President Trump warns there will be violence if Republicans lose control of Congress in November's midterms. His comments were made to a group of evangelical Christian leaders meeting privately at the White House.
Mr. Trump is encouraging them to get his Republican base out to vote in November. And President Trump is also promoting an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Google. He is claiming search results are rigged against him and other conservatives. It appears Trump's inspiration was in part a segment on the Fox Business Network. CNN's Jim Acosta has more details now from the White House.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump has just taken his battle against the news media to the next level. Now, the president is warning he may be coming after social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what Google and what others are doing if you look at what's going on at Twitter, if you look at what's going on in Facebook they better be careful because you can't do that to people. You can't do it. We have tremendous -- we have literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in. They're really treading on very, very troubled territory.
ACOSTA: The reason behind the president's rant, he doesn't like the news reports he sees when he searches Google tweeting, Google search results for Trump news shows only the viewing reporting of fake news media. In other words, they have it rigged for me and others so that almost all stories and news is bad. They are controlling what we can and cannot see. This is a very serious situation will be addressed. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters the administration may actually investigate the practices of social media companies.
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, listen up, we're taking a look at it. We'll let you know. We're just going to do some investigation and some analysis. That's what we do.
ACOSTA: Google released a statement denying it's politically manipulating its search results saying, search is not use to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology. The president's social media fixation shouldn't come at a surprise. At a rally in West Virginia last week, Mr. Trump began echoing the complaints of some conservatives who claim they're treated unfairly on social media.
TRUMP: There's too many sources. Every one of us is sort of like a newspaper. You have Twitter. You have whatever you have, Facebook. But everyone -- you can't have censorship.
ACOSTA: Even with his new crusade, the president hasn't given up on one of his oldest rallying cries, his demand that Mexico pay for a wall on the border.
TRUMP: We will build the wall and who is going to pay for the wall? 100 percent.
ACOSTA: One day after he announced the new trade deal with Mexico, he insisted the Mexican government will one day fund that wall.
TRUMP: Yes. The wall will be paid for very easily by Mexico. It will ultimately be paid for by Mexico.
ACOSTA: Another unresolved issue for the president, the fate of his attorney general. After a top Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, suggested the end may be near for Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The president's lost confidence in Jeff Sessions, and I'm telling you what everybody in the country knows. This is a dysfunctional relationship. We need a better one.
ACOSTA: The senate majority leader made it cleaver he disagrees.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I have total confidence in the attorney general. I think he's going to stay exactly where he is.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: As for the president's comments on the wall, Mexico's foreign
minister tweeted out a response to the president saying, we just reached a trade understanding with the U.S. and the outlook for the relationship between our two countries is very positive. The foreign minister goes on to say, we will never pay for a wall. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
[02:35:06] CHURCH: Political analyst Peter Mathews joins me now. He is a professor of political science at Cypress College. Good to have you with us.
PETER MATHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump is accusing Google of political bias, accusing Google of rigging search results, suppressing conservative voices. Is there any evidence to suggest that is the case, and how likely is it that the White House would investigate Google over this?
MATHEWS: First of all, the evidence is not overwhelming or clear that that's the case because most of this -- when a search is conducted by someone, it's based on algorithms and how many -- what the person is actually looking for, what kind of subject matter, and how popular is the particular topic and the particular source. For example, I just Googled Trump news today about half an hour ago, and the first source that came up was the conservative Fox News or the right-wing (INAUDIBLE) Fox News and the next one was the slate magazine.
And then it came up the last one -- the next one was USA Today and CNN came in fourth. So I think Trump is exaggerating it. And I do believe, however, the algorithms -- the algorithms can be in some ways biased because people who write them have their own biases. But overall, I don't think there's a wholesale attempt of Google to keep out conservative viewpoints and only have negative viewpoints of Trump put forth on the liberal media.
CHURCH: Interesting. So how much of this is about trying to distract attention perhaps from the death of John McCain and how the president has dealt with the passing of the senator?
MATHEWS: I think there's a good case to be made if that's what's going on because the senator's passing was very tragic for many people, a very sad occasion, and he was certainly lauded by many people, but Mr. Trump basically insulted him by refusing to lower the flag for a while at half-mast. He was not invited to the funeral for various reasons and Trump resented that. So he was trying to get back at McCain (INAUDIBLE) negative publicity for Trump to be seen that -- the hero of America.
So he changed the subject by bringing this up. He does that all the time and that's hope -- he's hoping to take the attention off of his negative coverage of what happened with McCain. I think that's a lot of it, and he does that quite often.
CHURCH: Right. In fact, President Trump so far this week has raised a whole lot of other issues repeating his call for Mexico to pay for the border wall, the fate of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But one issue he perhaps didn't expect to go public was his private conversation at a White House dinner Monday night hosting evangelical leaders where he warned of violence if Republicans lose their majority in Congress in November's midterm elections. What do you make of that threat?
MATHEWS: Very disturbing comment and warning that he comes up with because this goes to the very heart of our democracy and our republic and the way the rule of law should work. And if someone loses an election, if a party loses an election that should be accepted by the other side and this side as well. And the legitimacy of the country is at stake here. If he says there's going to be violence, he's suggesting that the Republicans should not lose or that people should be scared into voting for them because of the fear of violence.
Very egregious, very dangerous, very anti-democratic, and very anti- openness, and I think it's very dangerous for him to talk in those terms.
But that's interesting how that tape leaked. I'm really glad that we heard it because we can see what kind of game this person is playing and this people who back him are playing. We should really be very cautious and ready for that, and hopefully nothing will happen in terms of violence.
CHURCH: Let's just quickly go back to that other topic that was raised this week, and it was a big discussion throughout Tuesday, the fate of course of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We heard Lindsey Graham say basically that relationship between Sessions and the president is untenable and something has to be done about it whereas, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader on the other side, he was saying, no. He has his full support. What is going on there? What needs to happen in that situation with Jeff Sessions?
MATHEWS: I think Jeff Sessions should have the support of the president included because he's the attorney general. He did the right thing by recusing himself regarding because of the Russian meeting that he had with the Russian ambassador I believed. He recused himself so he wouldn't be biased in any kind of investigation. And I think the investigation is going on the right path with Mr. Mueller and Rod Rosenstein actually supervising it.
I think it's absolutely wrong for the president to threaten Jeff Sessions in anyway. But it also goes against constitutionalism, the rule of law, because you're talking about separation of powers here and checks and balances. The president can use a heavy hand against the attorney general by speaking out so forcefully and constantly against him and wants to get rid of him it seems to me. That really puts -- strikes fear and strikes uncertainty into the hearts of those who are doing the investigation.
It could very well do that and that would be very wrong for the rule of law and the chance to come out with an equitable really carefully investigated case that will get to the bottom of the truth which is exactly what this country needs right now.
[02:40:09] CHURCH: Peter Mathews, thank you so much for sharing your perspective with us on these matters. We appreciate it.
MATHEWS: Thank you, rosemary.
CHURCH: We already know what air pollution can do to our lungs, but now researchers say it can also have a major impact on our intelligence. Plus, green algae is infecting Florida's waterways and the issue may have big political implications come November. We're back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Air pollution is not just bad for your lungs. It could also be bad for your brain. Nikhil Kumar has more now on a new study.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Breathing in dirty air could reduce brainpower. That's according to a new study which shows air pollution has a significant impact on our cognitive abilities. The research published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows prolonged exposure to air pollution causes a steep reduction in verbal and math test scores. Researchers looked at data from China covering more than 30,000 people whose test scores between 2010 and 2014 were mapped against their exposure to short and long- term air pollution.
Here's the sobering finding. Both verbal and math test scores went down as the exposure to air pollution went up. When it came to verbal test scores, the link was particularly stark among older, less educated men. Now, this is only the latest in a series of warnings about the impact of air pollution, a problem not just in China but across large parts of the industrializing world including here in the Indian capital, Delhi.
Come winter, this city is often enveloped in a thick chocking smog, the result of breakneck growth and little planning both environment or land. The World Health Organization said that nine out of every ten people on the planet breathe air containing a high level of pollutant with the worst affected regions being Africa and Asia. In fact, the WHO says all of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in developing countries and the problem isn't just limited to major cities. A study earlier this year found that 75 percent of air pollution-related deaths in India were in rural areas.
[02:44:53] Warnings have been repeatedly sounded about the impact on our lungs. In Delhi, sometimes the air is so bad that breathing it is roughly equal to smoking more than 40 cigarettes a day.
But at this latest study shows, the health effects of air pollution can extend beyond our lungs into our brains. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.
CHURCH: And let's get more on this from our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. So, I know, Pedram, you've had a chance to look at this. What more do we know about the details of this? And I guess it seems logical doesn't it that the brain would be affected.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Yes, you know, when you look at how this all works, of course, we've often talked about, Rosemary the size of the particulate matters in question here. The P.M. 2.5 which is essentially 2.5 microns in diameter, something that small not only easily gets into your bloodstream.
Of course, that can easily travel and impact other areas of your body as well and images like this really kind of we hit at home because it is something that we often talk about on the winter season, in places like Beijing.
But this photo taken in the last 24 hours shows you it is now becoming a summertime regime across parts of the world where it doesn't matter if we're not talking about pumping heat into homes to try to generate heat and that leads to the pollution.
It is industry does the population growth, and of course, when you look at the particulate matters at 2.5 microns in diameter, that is about 30 times smaller than a grain of sand, about five times smaller than the diameter of a single strand of human hair.
So, again talks about the significance of how this could be impacted and what we're looking at here is 17 of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world. Notice the concentration right here.
If Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh taking the test 17 in the top 20. You broaden out the perspective, the other three cities are two of them are in Africa, and the only one and in China believe it or not is Balding which is right there not too far from Beijing.
But, when you look at some of the major cities across the Eastern China, they are not on the top 20 list of most polluted cities. But, of course, a lot of Industry, a lot of people. So, the amount of people impacted, the amount of people losing their lives almost 51 percent of them come from China, in India combined.
So, that kind of puts it in perspective of significance and the concentration of it over just several nations. In fact, in 2016, when we got data that suggests that about 6.1 million people lost their lives because of air pollution alone. That is roughly 16,500 people every single day impacted by air pollution.
And a recent 2018 study breaking down exactly where air pollution comes in as far as the leading cause of global fatalities. And notice, we have it right underneath us, smoking they're coming in fourth place.
And when you take a look at this, of course, we know impoverished nation does you work your way towards the East, developing nations whether it be across portions of Africa in the Middle East, on it to the Indian subcontinent and in particular Eastern Asia, that's where the highest concentration of all of this is.
You notice the yellows which are moderate air quality across parts of our Europe. And then, good air quality is you virtually into parts of North America. So, here is what it looked like in places such as Jakarta, of course, when you have a man-made impact, its one thing and then when you have illegal field burning, it's another thing that's happening across this region and things like this really exacerbate the problem.
And, in fact, the most polluted city on our planet in the past month has not been in Asia, it has been in North America, and it was in Vancouver British Columbia. This was associated with the 600-plus wildfires across that region, Rosemary. So, again, kind of talks about the broad scope of this, and, of course, impoverished nations developing nations are most severely impacted.
But once you look at other areas that are now routinely being impacted whether it be California or parts of the Western United States and to Canada, all of these impacts could have essentially lead down and influenced other people, as well.
CHURCH: We appreciate the detail on that. Thanks so much, Pedram, and we'll chat again next hour. Appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, draining the swamp has new meaning in Florida. Algae has infested the state's freshwater system. It's not just unpleasant, it's affecting businesses, and it's driving some people to the voting booth. CNN's Jennifer Gray has that report.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This election season, voters in South Florida are focused on slimeballs. Pink-green algae like this has been menacing waterfront communities for months. Warmer weather and runoff of manmade nutrients like fertilizer acts as steroids boosting the natural bacteria into monsters like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's already paid for on a spinning this way up at shell point.
GRAY: Scaring away homebuyers and tourists alike. Constituents say it's time to drain the swamp back.
NICK FISCHER, CAPTAIN OF CHARTER BOAT: I've never been into politics and now I'm all over.
GRAY: Charter boat captain Nick Fischer, says his business is suffering. He took us into this gooey Cape Coral canal to show us what's motivated him to vote for the first time in his life.
Have you ever seen conditions this bad?
FISCHER: No, this is -- this is horrible. I've never wanted to vote or anything my entire life. This year I register to vote specifically to vote for a candidate that's going to help benefit Florida.
[02:50:00] GRAY: While with deadly red tide bacteria is decimating sea life off the Florida coast, this separate blue-green algae is impacting the state's freshwater systems in land. It's a rare one-two punch for those that rely on clean waterways to survive.
And when you get up close to this stuff, it's disgusting, it's smelly, and you can only imagine what the wildlife is going through that lives in it, and near it.
The bacteria accumulate in Lake Okeechobee. When water levels rise, billions of gallons are released, but natural flows south to the Everglades and sugar farms is mostly blocked. Instead, bacteria-laden water is redirected east and west.
Many impacted residents lay blame on a political system that prioritizes profitable agriculture business in exchange for campaign funding. Captain Chris Whitman is a co-founder of Captains for Clean Water.
CHRIS WHITMAN, CO-FOUNDER, CAPTAINS FOR CLEAN WATER: Smell it.
GRAY: And on profit working to restore the Everglades and preserve Florida's natural habitats.
WHITMAN: Unfortunately, our water management system decades ago was manipulated, and ultimately this does come back on our representatives. It's their responsibility to manage our water systems for the good of the people and for the good of the entire system, and right now they're not doing that.
GRAY: So, do you feel like we're now at a breaking point?
WHITMAN: I think we are.
GRAY: That breaking point may be soon for business owners like Rob Smith.
ROB SMITH, BUSINESS OWNER: Jeff has bait tackle.
GRAY: He says sales that his bait and tackle shops are down some 70 percent. Platforms and stuff are made to win elections. You don't know if they're actually going to follow through with anything. So, it's -- I mean, a lot more people are going to vote, they're trying to find out where the candidates are.
GRAY: Cute, the political slime slinging. In this race for the Senate, Republican Governor Rick Scott love this ad at Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.
ANNOUNCER: With Bill Nelson, we get more waiting, more talk and more algae.
GRAY: And Nelson slapped back telling voters, Rick Scott caused this problem. The message from voters, figure it out now. Jennifer Gray, CNN, Cape Coral, Florida.
CHURCH: What a mess. While a dolphin left behind trapped in an abandoned aquarium, what lies ahead for Honey the dolphin and the facilities other abandoned animals. We'll take a look at that for you when we comeback.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: British Prime Minister Theresa May is dancing her way across South Africa, and she hopes to drum up new business for the post- Brexit U.K. Mrs. May will also visit Kenya and Nigeria during that trip. And though, it's only just begun, the visit may already be overshadowed by the biggest topic in the U.K. as the Prime Minister brushed off a dire warning of Brexit financial repercussions saying. "A no deal Brexit," in her words, "wouldn't be the end of the world."
Interesting dance moves there. Well, outrage is growing in Japan and around the world after the owners of a Tokyo aquarium deserted the facility leaving helpless animals to fend for themselves. Lynda Kinkade, reports on the plight of an abandoned dolphin known as Honey.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Alone and abandoned. Honey the dolphin swimmers in her tank at a deserted aquarium in Japan. With no companions, nor visitors in the stands, if the lonely existence for the bottlenose dolphin who once lived in the open ocean.
The aquarium in the city of Toshi just east of Tokyo shut down in January because of a lack of visitors. Since then, employees have been feeding honey and the other animals left behind including 40 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles.
[02:55:29] SACHIKO AZUMA, LOCAL ACTIVIST, PUT AN END TO ANIMAL CRUELTY AND EXPLOITATION (through translator): I did not expect that the animals would be abandoned. However, even in February, people were able to see there were still animals in the park. So, I started researching and found out that the negotiations to transfer them had not progressed.
KINKADE: City officials say they have not been able to contact the owners of the aquarium about what they intend to do with the animals. And as word spreads about the derelict condition, public outrage is growing.
AZUMA: The aquarium is an agency dealing with animals. So, it's their responsibility to explain what they're going to do with Honey and the other animals.
KINKADE: Animal welfare activists say Honey is showing signs of stress.
AKIKO MITSUNOBU, CHIEF, AQUARIUM ISSUES FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS CENTER (through translator): I think dolphins staying like this without swimming, affects their mental health badly.
KINKADE: Honey spayed it seems went from bad to worse. She was captured in an annual dolphin hunt in 2005 in the port of Taji. That was featured in the film, The Coat. Many dolphins are killed for their meat and summer sold to marine parts like honey. The Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums has since agreed to stop buying dolphins from there.
Social media uses a spreading Honey story trying to find her a new home. But until then, she continues to swim in solitude. Waiting on a rescue from a species that has already led her down.
MITSUNOBU: I see Honey as a symbol of both a problem of having animals in captivity, and the problem of what happens when they are put on display. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
CHURCH: And we thank you for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news after this short break. You are watching CNN.
CHURCH: Condemnation but no action at a U.N. Security Council meeting detailing the horrors faced by Rohingya Muslims inside Myanmar.