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Pope Delivers Powerful Address to Congress; 700 Dead After Stampede in Mecca; Chinese President on State Visit to Washington; Mexican Director's Father, Brother Found Dead; Pope Stays in Multimillion-Dollar New York Home; Is North Korean Leader a Peacemaker; Russian Czar Nicholas II Exhumed; Fake IPhone 6S Sold in China. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 25, 2015 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:07] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Pilgrims are now returning to their holy rituals after more than 700 died during a stampede at the hajj.

Pope Francis is in New York. The Holy Father lands in the city after preaching compassion before U.S. lawmakers in Washington.

And Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Washington where tense talks are ahead with President Obama. Cybercrime, one of their top issues.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

Thank you for joining us. We begin in New York City where Pope Francis will speak to the U.N. General Assembly and visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum in the coming hours. New York is the pope's second stop on his six-day tour of the United States. On Thursday, he received an enthusiastic welcome in America's largest city.




ALLEN: Throngs of people, thousands lined up along Fifth Avenue to greet Pope Francis as he rode inside the popemobile. He then led an evening service at the newly renovated St. Patrick's Cathedral. He began by offering prayers for the victims of the Mecca stampede.


POPE FRANCIS (through translation): In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers.


ALLEN: Before arriving in New York, the pope delivered a powerful address to a rare joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in Washington. At one point, he paid homage to U.S. civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.


POPE FRANCIS: The dream continues to inspire us all, and I am happy that America continues to be for many a land of dreams.



ALLEN: The pope also urged Congress to focus on fighting poverty and to promote a fairer world economy.


POPE FRANCIS: The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its cause. I know that many Americans today have seen a past. I want you to deal with this problem. It goes without saying that paths of this great effort is declaration (ph) and distribution of wealth.


ALLEN: Pope Francis also urged lawmakers to take action on key issues he holds dear like immigration and climate change.

CNN's Dana Bash is in Washington with more on the pope's speech and how it was received by Congress.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the pope of the Holy See.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Words never before uttered in history to introduce a figure who came to prod this partisan institution to work together for a better future.

POPE FRANCIS: Renew spirit of solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

BASH: Citing beloved American figures like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Pope Francis reminded America of its past and its promise.

POPE FRANCIS: -- knowing that so many of you are also descendents from immigrants.

BASH: -- eliciting emotion even on politically divisive issues like immigration.

POPE FRANCIS: Thousands of persons have left to travel north in search of a better life.

BASH: Francis delivered his signature caution about capitalism and warnings about climate change that made some Republicans uncomfortable. POPE FRANCIS: -- and the most serious effects of the environmental

deterioration caused by human activity.

BASH: Liberals like presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, were ecstatic.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The issue of poverty and environmental degradation, immigration, the death penalty, the need to do everything we can to create a peaceful world. And I think he did it in a very dignified, nonpartisan type way.

[02:05:04] BASH: Still, the pope also mentioned church stances Republicans typically agree with, like opposition to abortion.

POPE FRANCIS: To protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

BASH: Francis, a student of politics, had the usually unruly chamber hooked from the start with this.

POPE FRANCIS: In the land of the free and the home of the brave.

BASH: That even brought four Supreme Court justices, who almost never clap during political addresses, to their feet.

In fact, even Catholics like Senator Mike Rounds, who pressed colleagues to treat the speech like a sermon, no clapping, couldn't help themselves.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: We found ourselves saying, look, we're agreeing with what the pontiff is saying and found ourselves standing up and sitting down more than we had anticipated.

SEN. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Your Holiness, welcome.

BASH: The pope was invited by John Boehner, a Catholic who has been trying to get a pope to speak to Congress for 20 years. The man known for being emotional couldn't hold back his tears.

POPE FRANCIS: And God bless America.

BASH: Especially on his own capitol balcony with the pope looking down at thousands below.


ALLEN: Earlier, I spoke with a parish priest who is from West Virginia. Father Chapin attended the pope's events in Washington and his speech to Congress. He says the pope was not being political when he talked about things like climate change and immigration.


FATHER CHAPIN, PARISH PRIEST FROM WEST VIRGINIA: They call it a political issue, but, you know, when you're talking about climate change or immigration or poverty, these types of things, it's not a political statement. It's a human statement, you know? We're called for stewardship in this world and the people that live in it.

ALLEN: Let's break down the issues he's highlighted. Let's start with climate change. He discussed that yesterday and talked about it in front of Congress today and encouraged Congress to vote through environmental legislation. When he first came out as a passionate person behind climate change a few months ago, the hope was it would trickle down to the masses and throughout churches throughout this world. Do you think that message is being taken out the way he'd planned?

CHAPIN: I'm not quite sure. With the whole climate change issue, because I'm not a scientist and I'm not going to go against the boss, but I will say that it is a very, very divisive issue. You have passionate people on both sides. Both absolutely convinced that they are right. And we have an inability in this world to dialogue with each other without, well, getting all upset about it. And I think hopefully Pope Francis is showing us that we might not necessarily agree on an issue, but we can still talk about it.

ALLEN: There have been people of other faiths that have talked about it since he's been here. And using the message that this is God's earth he gave to us, and despite where you fall on climate change, what's wrong with protecting it. What's your response to that?

CHAPIN: I would agree that it is our responsibility to take care as best we can of this world and the people in it. Absolutely, I would.

ALLEN: And I want to talk about the fact he did talk -- really talked about immigration and said that people traveling north on this continent are looking for a better life like so many of our parents and grandparents did. That's why we are here. That was something very important to him. He asked the two sides in Congress move away from gridlock. And as soon as he stopped talking, sadly, they move back into their gridlock way. So the question is, how much of the pope's words and messages will really resonate after he is gone? And how much of this is just the pageantry of the pope?

CHAPIN: That's a good question. That's a good question. We should keep in mind that Joseph and Mary were immigrants and homeless. You never know. You never know who you are entertaining. I hope it makes a difference, I really do, but only time will tell. But I think the idea of bringing up the conversation is amazing. At least he puts the whole issue in the forefront, and it needs to be.


ALLEN: We turn now to Saudi Arabia where more than 700 people are dead in a stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca. Live video here as an estimated hundreds of thousands of people continue to go to the hajj. They are wrapping up their final day of the hajj. More than two million were expected to make the pilgrimage this year. It was just about this time Thursday that the crush happened. Iran, which lost at least 131 citizens, is blasting Saudi Arabia over the disaster. The country's supreme leader has declared three days of national mourning in Iran. The crush happened during a hajj ritual known as the stoning of the devil.

Hala Gorani has more.

We want to warn you, the video is graphic.


[02:10:32] HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pilgrims, hundreds of them, lie lifeless in the streets. This is the horrific aftermath of Thursday morning's stampede in Mina, just outside the holy city of Mecca.

According to Saudi state media, these worshippers had been walking together during the hajj when there was a sudden surge in the crowd. People fell and were crushed.

One pilgrim described how rescue workers spent hours trying to help the hundreds of injured.

UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: I saw the ambulances, bodies, lots of responders, a helicopter landing. At least 20, 30 ambulances passed me by. Ever since I arrived, the sound of the sirens hasn't stopped.

GORANI: The stampede happened during a ritual known as the stoning of the devil.

World leaders extended their condolences.

BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I'd like to join the presence of the General Assembly in expressing my deepest condolences to many hundreds of people who died. I sincerely hope that under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, there will be immediate necessary assistance for those people.

GORANI: It's not the first time lives have been lost during the hajj, which attracts more than two million Muslims each year and is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. Over the years, hundreds of people have been killed because of overcrowding. In 2006, another stampede killed at least 363 pilgrims, prompting the Saudi government to make the area safer. Those improvements, though, failed to prevent Thursday's tragedy.

Hala Gorani, CNN, London.


ALLEN: We want to talk now with Jamal Khashoggi, with al Arab TV. He joins us on the line from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Jamal, thank you for talking with us.

It's so sad to hear so many people dying during this solemn religious event and in such a horrific way. It has happened before. What do you know about what triggered this stampede this time? JAMAL KHASHOGGI, AL ARAB TV (voice-over): It's a tragic event. It

happened about 24 hours or before with the sunrise. In Mina, it's the most difficult day for the security to move around. More than 2.5 million hajji pilgrims out of their tents, out of their camps, into two locations. One is called Jamara (ph) and then the second location is the Grand Mosque, and then bring them back. So you're talking about organizing the movement of huge masses. So the Saudi government, with experience over the years, have developed a system that involved the security people, involved the tribal agents who take regiments of the pilgrims, which comprise of about 1,000. They go at a certain time of the day. They have to move into a certain direction, come back through a certain street. If a mistake happens, if a group makes the wrong turn, that will cause a disaster, and that's exactly what happened yesterday. The government promised an investigation, and announce it soon. Who made that mistake? And the hajjis who defied order of the police and went the different direction from certain street to another, or is it the tribal guide, that is still an interesting issue.

ALLEN: Right. But couldn't they have made a mistake? It's their first time here. There's so many people. It was unbearably hot, 100 degrees Fahrenheit during this time. And some reports indicate that the people that got caught up in this were pretty much on their own, that there was no one there to help them. What do you know about that?

KHASHOGGI: It was a big number of different nationalities all led in one area. And, of course, they cannot be on their own because it's a very crowded place. While the hajj is experienced by Saudi Arabian authority over the years, it's a new experience for many hajjis themselves. So it's often that many of the hajjis do not follow the instructions of the security. And they could go on their own or try to take a shortcut, and that often leads to such a situation. But the authorities rushed to the locations in a few minutes and start taking the hajjis away from that location and blockading the area to make sure that no more pilgrims moved. So the incident was very much controlled. But you can't imagine the huge masses will move into those two locations in a short period of time.

[02:16:04] ALLEN: Yes, we can see that. We see the video. And you wonder, how does it work, and this time, it tragically did not.

Journalist -- thank you, Jamal Khashoggi, for us. Thanks so much for talking with us, Jamal Khashoggi.

We turn now to a disaster in the U.S. State of Washington on the West coast. Four international students are dead after a tour bus collided with another tour vehicle in Washington State. Dozens of people were hospitalized. Two remain in critical condition. It was a horrific scene on this bridge as you can see in downtown Seattle. The bus collided with a popular tourist bus called a duck boat vehicle from city streets. The duck boats can roll on land and float on water. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the crash. No one is sure how it happened.

With the number of recent strains on their relations, China's president arrives in Washington for talks with President Obama. Next here, we'll tell you what's topping the agenda. We'll have a live report from Beijing for you.

Plus, from Mexico, kidnapping, ransom, and the worst possible outcome. The father and brother of a prominent movie director, who is married to a former Miss USA, are found murdered. We'll have that.



[02:19:46] DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good day. I'm CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam with a quick look at your "Weather Watch."




ALLEN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live coverage on CNN. I'm Natalie Allen.

Japan's sports minister is resigning over plans for the national stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The minister is a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said Mr. Abe asked him to stay on until a cabinet reshuffle next month. In July, Mr. Abe said the stadium would be scrapped because the cost had soared to more than $2 billion. That's nearly twice the original estimate.

The minister had this to say about his salary for the project.


HAKUBUN SHIMOMURA, JAPANESE SPORTS MINISTER (through translation): The first time I received word regarding the possibility of the stadium's cost blowout and construction delay was in April, which is why I have decided to return the six-months worth of pay that I received from that day onward.


ALLEN: The stadium was also meant to be the centerpiece for the 2019 World Cup.

We turn now to China. The Chinese president is in Washington for talks and a state dinner with President Obama. That's the president greeting the Chinese premier there. This visit comes as a number of issues have strained relations between the two countries. Cybersecurity expected to top the agenda at Thursday night's working dinner. Later today, Mr. Xi is expected to announce a program to cap carbon emissions of Chinese companies.

So the two have some commonalities as far as issues that they are connected on and issues such as cybersecurity, not so much.

Saima Mohsin is following this from Beijing for us.

And, Saima, I don't know if you'd call these two leaders "frenemies" or if their relationship is a notch above that. Certainly, they have some tense issues on the table.

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, a lot of issues to talk about. It's in these private dinners and private meetings between President Xi Jinping and President Obama that there are often a lot of headway made. That's what we hear, rather than the larger, wider bilateral talks. We hear there's a lot of headway that can be made, but will there be? I mean, the cybercrime issue that you've brought up, it's a really touchy subject. We've heard Susan Rice speaking, that "This must stop." President Obama saying, "You want to make it a competition? We will win it."

President Xi Jinping came with a more conciliatory tone earlier this week. He said, "China is not responsible. There's no state-sponsored hacking going on and wants to help address that." Let's see if anything comes of that -- Natalie?

ALLEN: Yes, we will. And what about climate change? That is an issue, contentious in many parts of the United States as far as Republicans and Democrats dueling over, but these two leaders came together on that issue.

MOHSIN: Yeah, a complete contrast with climate change, Natalie. China is expected to make a joint announcement with President Obama tomorrow after their bilateral talks Friday on climate change. They're going to announce a Cap-and-Trade system. Basically that caps the level of carbon emissions. It allots various companies an equal number of permits. Now, if one company is emitting more, they'll need to buy permits. Effectively, it's like paying a penalty. They'll buy them from companies who aren't emitting so much, which will be making money from the companies buying them off them. There's kind of an incentive scheme there as well to reduce your emissions. That's the big announcement we're going to expect on Friday when the two leaders meet then -- Natalie?

[02:25:18] ALLEN: All right. And all of that will be followed by a state dinner we'll be hearing more about as well at the White House.

Thanks so much, Saima Mohsin, for us live from Beijing.

We have this story out of Mexico. The father and brother of one of Mexico's best-known film directors have been found dead after being kidnapped and held for ransom. It happened at an eastern coastal state where this kind of violence happens all too often.

CNN's Rafael Romo reports for us from Mexico City.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to Mexican authorities, the victims were kidnapped on September 4th. The family waited for two weeks for their return and even paid ransom, according to Mexican media. Then they got the tragic news. (voice-over): A father/son moment shared on Instagram. Kind words on

their minds. Alejandro Gomez Monteverde calling his father his best friend, mentor, and the wisest man he knows. That was nine months ago. Now the sweet snapshot taking on a somber meaning.

This weekend, the bodies of his kidnapped father and brother found in Pueblo Viejo, Mexico, a tiny coastal town on the border between Tamaulipas and Veracruz States. The pair had suffered apparent head trauma and had been dead for several days.

The Veracruz attorney general says they were discovered Saturday night, more than two weeks after being abducted while leaving their home in Tamaulipas. The deaths are under investigation. And CNN affiliate, Telavisa (ph) reports the family paid a ransom.

Police have also found the car they believe is connected to kidnappers. It has Tamaulipas plates and is being tested for evidence.

The region, which borders the United States, is among the most violent in Mexico thanks to ongoing disputes between rival gangs over lucrative drug trafficking routes, though it's not yet clear if gangs or cartels are involved.

Monteverde is married to Ali Landry, an actress, model and former Miss USA. He most recently directed "Little Boy," which stars Eduardo Verastegui. The actor shared his condolences on Twitter requesting prayers for his friend.

(on camera): The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning Wednesday, saying kidnappings in Mexico appear to be on the rise. Tamaulipas, the warning says, has the highest numbers of kidnappings in the country.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


ALLEN: Pope Francis brought a group of nuns to their feet in New York Thursday. Why he says they are crucial to the Catholic Church. We'll have that for you next here. And our top stories in just a moment.


[02:31:25] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Here are our top stories.

The king of Saudi Arabia promises a speedy investigation into the deadliest tragedy at the hajj in 25 years. At least 717 people were killed in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca. It happened during a ritual known as the stoning of the devil.

Chinese President Xi Jinping received a cordial welcome at the White House Thursday ahead of what are expected to be tough discussions on cybersecurity. The White House is threatening sanctions against Chinese hackers allegedly stealing intellectual property.

Four international students were killed in Washington State after a tour bus and a duck boat tourist vehicle collided. It happened on a highway near downtown Seattle. Dozens of people were hospitalized. Two of them remain in critical condition.

Pope Francis had high praise for the women of the Catholic Church when he visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York Thursday. The pope told a group of nuns he loves them very much and thanked them for their courage.

Francis' evening prayers at the Cathedral capped a busy day. Thursday morning, he addressed Congress back in Washington where he touched on two hot-button topics in the United States, climate change and immigration.


POPE FRANCIS: I call for a courageous effort to redirect our steps. The most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I'm convinced that we can make a difference, I'm sure.

I say this to you as a son of immigrants knowing that so many of you are also descendants of immigrants.


POPE FRANCIS: Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected.


ALLEN: Later today, the pope will speak at the United Nations, and we'll bring that to you here at CNN.

Pope Francis spent the night at a multimillion-dollar home in New York.

But as Miguel Marquez reports, the Catholic leader doesn't need much to be comfortable.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's where pontiffs have laid their papal heads when visiting the Big Apple for nearly 40 years.

BERNARDITO AUZA, ARCHBISHOP OF SUACIA & APOSTOLIC NUNCIO: For this pope to visit the United States for the first time, and Cuba, I think that means a lot to him.

MARQUEZ: Archbishop Auza will host him at the Vatican's official home in New York, the Apostolic Nunciature for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. A big title, but for this pope, it will a simple affair. AUZA: Dinners and lunch and breakfast will be very simple, really.

No, no, no. No red meat.

MARQUEZ: All fine for a pope who shunned the ornate papal apartment in Rome for the simplicity of the Vatican's more humble guest house. "The New York Times" reports Francis has asked only for water and bananas in his room during his stay.

The five-floor home is 11,000 square feet located on Manhattan's Upper East Side, valued at around $20 million. It was given to the church in 1975 by the family of former New York City Mayor Hugh Grant. Francis will be the third pope to stay.

UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST: That's where Pope John Paul II stayed his visit in '79, his visit in '95 and then again when Pope Benedict came in 2008.

[02:35:32] MARQUEZ: Pope John Paul II dedicated the building on his first New York trip as pontiff in October 1979, even shaking hands with Hugh Grant Jr, the son of the New York mayor who owned the house. Grant grew up in the home.

UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST: The house was completed in 1894.

MARQUEZ: Regis High School, also founded by the Grant family, made this video, "The Pope's Home Away from Rome," for Francis' visit.

Those who have been inside the residence say it's modest by New York standards. Even the bedroom where the pope will sleep is described as basically a room. It does come with its own chapel.

UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST: In 1914, Mrs. Grant had a private chapel built in the residence naming it the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

MARQUEZ: After two nights in New York, the pontiff moves on to Philadelphia and somewhat less storied accommodations, The St. Charles Seminary. The church was forced to sell its 23,000-square-foot mansion in 2012 for budgetary reasons.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.



ALLEN: To the other side of the world now, and North Korea. And the question, Kim Jong-Un the peacemaker? That's not a widely held view of the North Korean leader outside North Korea, but a top North Korean official says that Kim averted all-out war when tensions spiked between North and South Korea last month.

Will Ripley has more from North Korea's capital, Pyongyang.


PARK YONG-CHOL, NORTH KOREAN OFFICIAL (through translation): We've characterized it as a suspicious incident. The South Koreans are saying it was caused by us, but it was definitely not us. We expressed our regret meaning we felt sorry it caused injury to their personnel. That is all. Importantly, our respected marshal, Kim Jong-Un, brought the situation under control with his firm decision to preserve peace and security, taking the safety of our loving people and the entire nation as his top priority and for the future of mankind.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You characterize leader, Kim Jong-Un, as a peace maker. The outside world has a different impression. Case in point, the statement recently from your own state media that North Korea is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the United States at any time.

YONG-CHOL (through translation): This is simply our official position on the fact that we have been under constant military threat from the United States. It's not a declaration of war or threat of a preemptive strike against the United States.

RIPLEY: Any preemptive nuclear strike from North Korea?

YONG-CHOL (through translation): America has said it would launch a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea. We're just showing we have such rights to preemptive strikes as well.

RIPLEY: Is your leader, Kim Jong-Un, the person that would push that button and make that call?

YONG-CHOL (through translation): Of course, yes. To use the nuclear option or not is solely decide by the central committee of the Workers Party of Korea. You have to understand it correctly. The fact that we're a nuclear power does not mean we're going to use it randomly.

RIPLEY: I want to talk about the North Korean economy. Here in Pyongyang I see more cars, people carrying Smartphones. We even saw a woman with a pet the other day. There are signs the economy is growing here. Is that growth happening also outside of Pyongyang and other major cities? Is everybody seeing the benefit?

YONG-CHOL (through translation): You've seen for yourself some of the good signs of the improvement in our national economy. Things are happening here in very positive ways, not just in Pyongyang but throughout the country. We have fully now emerged from the economic difficulties of the arduous march. Now we're entering the heyday of the prosperity of the country. We think the country will make a rapid and strong leap forward to make this young nation into an economically prosperous nation and in the very near future.


[02:39:34] ALLEN: CNN's Will Ripley again there reporting live from inside the capital of North Korea. And I'll talk with Will about his reporting from there in our next hour. He'll be live from Pyongyang.

The remains of a Russian czar have been exhumed nearly 100 years after his execution. Many people in Russia are buzzing about this story. Ahead, what investigators hope to learn about Nicholas II.


ALLEN: Welcome back. Russian investigators say they have exhumed the remains of a former czar and his family. Czar Nicholas II was executed, as you know.

And as Matthew Chance reports, the story continues to fascinate the people of Russia.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were Russia's imperial dynasty, enjoying absolute power until being overthrown in the Bolshevik Revolution. By 1918, all seven members of the Romanov family had been executed, lined up as if in a family photograph and gunned down in a dingy cellar.

But what has for years been a closed case has now been reopened at the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I would like to highlight that the recent reopening of the criminal investigation is not an attempt to revise the facts established before. It is about the exclusive need to consider new facts due to the request made by the Russian Orthodox Church.

CHANCE: The remains of Czar Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, and three of their daughters were reburied in St. Petersburg in 1998, the 80th anniversary of their murder. The Russian Orthodox Church made them saints two years later.


CHANCE: But the remains of the czar's two other royal children, bone fragments of 13-year-old Crown Prince Alexi and 19-year-old Grand Duchess Maria, found separately in 2007, have never been accepted as genuine by the church. The reopening of this infamous murder case is meant to end any uncertainty.

(on camera): As well as exhuming the bodies of Czar Nicholas and his wife in St. Petersburg, the investigative committee says tissue samples from Romanov family members buried in Jerusalem have also been obtained, as well as blood samples from the czar's grandfather, Alexander II, who was assassinated in a bomb attack 1881 in a bomb attack. The point is to prove beyond any doubt that the remains are indeed of the two Romanov children.


(voice-over): The brutal murder of the czar's family is no longer the politically charged issue it once was when the Soviet Union collapsed and the first remains were unearthed. But until a thorough identification is complete, Russia's violent past may never be laid to rest.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


[02:45:37] ALLEN: Matthew Chance will continue to follow that for us.

We have a more current story involving the Kremlin and also a world- famous performer. This time it is for real. A Kremlin spokesman says President Vladimir Putin called Elton John and agreed to meet the British musician if their schedules permitted. Days ago, a Russian TV personality called Elton John pretending to be Mr. Putin. Typical radio hijinx there. John fell for it and posted the news online, but then the Kremlin denied it. But Elton John said he wants to meet with Mr. Putin to discuss Russia's treatment of gay people. We'll see if it actually happens, that meeting.

We have this just in to CNN. A possible tornado reported near Charleston, South Carolina.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam following that story for us, and he joins me now.

Hey, there, Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, that's right, Natalie. This is about 10 miles south and west of Charleston in an area called Johns Island. Reports of damaged houses, uprooted trees, and firefighters on the ground saying that there are some families still caught inside their homes or having difficulty reaching them. This is the latest radar imagery coming out of the South Carolina area. As we zoom into the region, this is the thunderstorm in question. And you can see these tornado vortex signatures. This is what meteorologists look for when they identify tornadoes or thunderstorms potentially producing tornados. That distinct shading of green and red. Green showing rotation towards the radar. That's that rotation signature that we often identify to pick up on tornados. It's thanks to a broader situation meandering off the coast of the United States. This low could have been something more significant if this was not an El Nino season. El Nino typically keeps cyclones like this or low pressure systems from developing into something further, tropical storms or hurricanes.

The same cannot be said for the warm waters of the Pacific. Look what's developed over the Pacific. This is in the Philippines Sea. We're talking about Typhoon Dujuan. Look how quickly this storm is set to intensify, potentially impacting northern Taiwan and southeastern China over the next three to five days. Wind gusts in excess of 215 kilometers per hour. By the way, that's equivalent to a category 4 hurricane if it were to make landfall with that. One thing we're also watching is the possibility of 10-meter high waves on the open ocean. That's going to be a major concern for the boating and fishing industry across the Taiwan Straits.

Back to you.

ALLEN: That region certainly has had its share of storms, hasn't it, Derek.

VAN DAM: Sure.

ALLEN: Thank you, Derek.

VAN DAM: Thanks, Natalie.

ALLEN: The new iPhone is out today. But in China, it has already hit the streets. Or has it? Apple lovers beware, the counterfeit 6S.



[02:50:13] PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell, with your CNN "World Sport" headlines.

Defending Rugby World Cub champs New Zealand have made it back-to-back wins, easily overcoming the tournament's lowest ranked team Namibia in London. The All Blacks scoring nine tries making it 26 matches unbeaten in the group stages of the World Cup, which is a record stretching back to the first tournament in 1987. Namibia by no means disgraced the African team. The highlight for the team an excellent second half try by Johan Dato (ph).

An update to a story we brought you last week when we told you FIFA's Jerome Valcke had been suspended from his post at football's world governing body. The Swiss-based association saying it has given investigators now access to the Frenchman's e-mails dating back to May of this year. It comes following allegations the 54-year-old had been implicated in a scheme to sell Brazil 2014 World Cup tickets for higher than face value. Valcke denies any wrongdoing. Well, they're the talk of the town of the PGA. The top three players

in the world, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, are going all out for the lucrative FedEx Cup crown. The day one dominated by the Swede Henrick Stenson. He shot a seven under 63. He holds a two-shot advantage over Paul Casey. McIlroy is tied for third. Spieth and Day have some work to do further down the field.

Thanks for joining us. You're bang up to date. That's a look at your sports headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.



ALLEN: Volkswagen's supervisory board will meet Friday to appoint a new chief executive. The German automaker has reportedly picked Mattias Mueller. Martin Winterkorn stepped down on Wednesday. Mueller is currently the head of Porsche, Volkswagen's sports car brand. That's him there. Volkswagen admits it manipulated emissions tests in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. The company is facing pressure to identify who is responsible. And there are also expected to be penalties against them as well.

The new iPhone 6S from Apple comes out today, but buyer beware, a bogus version has already hit the streets in China. It looks like the iPhone 6S right down to the rose-gold color and the packaging. At $91, the fake is one-tenth of the cost, though.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Many people, especially ones in their 20s and 30s really like Apple. The Apple logo attracts them. When they see a shop selling Apple, they will go inside. And if they don't sell Apple, maybe they won't go in. Even if the shop doesn't sell real Apple products, they think getting a pilot or refurbished one is not bad any way. They think they have face and face is very important for many people.



ALLEN: Face more than the real thing. I'm not so sure about that.

In Sydney, Australia, Apple fans, including a robot, lined up in the rain to buy the real deal. The tele-presence robot, operated by Lucy Kelly, managed to get her new iPhone. Lucy, by the way, was able to carry on with her day thanks to her stand-in, the robot, which bought the phone. OK. We'll have to look into more of that.

Imagine a car so fast it takes an air force pilot to operate it. The Blood Hound SSC is going on display in London this weekend. We'll have more about that in our next hour.

Thank you for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be back with George Howell for another hour of CNN NEWSROOM right after this.


[03:00:06] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A deadly stampede at the hajj pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia orders an investigation after more than 700 people died there.