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Struggle For Survival In Puerto Rico; Pyongyang Moves Jet's And Trump Warns Of Military Action; Ex Thai Prime Minister Sentenced To Five Years In Jail; South Africans Demonstrate Against Corruption; Iraq, Turkey And Iran Oppose Kurdish Independence; World Headlines; Saudi Arabia to Allow Women to Drive; Twitter Looks at Doubling 140-Character Limit. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 27, 2017 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:00] KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to News Stream.


LU STOUT: Now a week after hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, more aid is heading to the island. And more words of warning for North Korea from

the U.S. president. While the White House maintained, it is still seeking a peaceful solution.

And Saudi Arabia finally allows women to drive but there is still a long way to go before the conservative kingdom achieves gender equality.


LU STOUT: Millions of people in Puerto Rico are struggling to survive one week after hurricane Maria brought its fury to the island. More aid is on

the way from the U.S. mainland in the coming hours.

But right now, food and medicine are running low. Most people don't have power or phone service, and crime has become a concern. Some three dozen

people have been arrested for looting. Bill Weir has more on the difficult situation facing millions in San Juan and beyond.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beside a highway in Utuado, this is the most dependable utility in rural Puerto Rico these days. A pipe tapped into a

mountain spring is now the watering hole for a community of over 30,000. It's a natural spring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a natural spring. It's always here.

WEIR: And are you boiling it or you drink it straight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can drink it straight. This is clearer than the water you get from the -- from the Department of Water Resources.

WEIR: OK. Well, that's good. You've got that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is cleaner than that.

WEIR: How is everything else in life? Do you have enough food? Power?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awful. Awful. There are people that have a shortage of food. The National Guard is not working up the way it should be. They

are all just standing there doing nothing. No electricity, no water for the city. It's going to take like about maybe six, seven months for

anything to happen here.

WEIR: While safe from coastal storm surges, Maria brought hellish mudslides to mountain towns like this, cutting off families for days and

forcing desperate decision making. Do you burn precious fuel searching for supplies or stay put and pray for help?

Lydia has two cars with no gas, two grandkids to keep alive on a ration of crackers. With no way to reach that highway pipe, they drink rainwater.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through a translator): No water, no food, she tells me. It's nobody's fault. It's the weather. You have to go on.

WEIR: So the anxiety, I can tell -- my heart breaks for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through a translator): What worries me the most is my family doesn't know how we're doing, she says. We don't have cell phone


WEIR: On a scale of one to 10, 10 being horrible desperate, where are you?


WEIR: You're an eight.

IRIZARRY: Eight, yes and eight going "bajando".

WEIR: Eight and getting better, the young mayor tells me. If the gasoline arrives it will fix our problems because people are starting to get


Gas is more precious than water up here. National Guard vehicles can't move. Worthless ambulances sit idle. The hospital has one day's worth of

generator fuel left and one volunteer doctor because the rest of the staff has no way to get to work. People starting to turn on each other?


WEIR: Yes, he says. There have been situations where people are stressed out, crying, folks with dialysis, patients with cancer, veteran patients

who need ventilators.

IRIZARRY: Everything you can help with a voice to the outside because I need gasoline and diesel.

WEIR: I will tell. I will tell the world. The fuel shortage is even more evident in San Juan where lines are miles long.

They open this particular service station at 6:00 in the morning. They and run out of gas by 3:00 p.m. So some people at the end of this line may not

get the fuel they need.

The folks here are telling me that a local ring of gangsters called "titere", drug dealers, actually commandeered a gas station, took over two

lanes, just so their guys could get the fuel. How would you describe the level of desperation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the highest level. And not only here in the metropolitan area but in the center of the island (inaudible), is very,

very bad. And they're suffering, and everybody's suffering. And let's see how we can work it out and begin again.

WEIR: You're putting a big smile on it.

TOMAS: I will always do that, of course.

[08:05:00] WEIR: And some day after the most primal needs are met, parents will have to figure out how to send their kids back to school and at

Wesleyan Academy this is what awaits.

There is so much to rebuild and so many now considering leaving this island for good. What message would you have for folks back in the mainland?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have to keep calm. That's all I can say. Just keep calm because like I said at this point, I told my family this

week if we don't see anything getting better, I may have leave the island. I've been here already like 20 years and I may have to leave the island. I

don't have any other choice.


LU STOUT: A call for common needs, such an extent of devastation. That was CNN's Bill Weir reporting in Puerto Rico. Donald Trump is pushing back

against claims that his ministration fumbled the response to the crisis.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got A-pluses on Texas and Florida and we will also on Puerto Rico, but the difference is this is

an island sitting in the middle of an ocean, and it's a big ocean.

It's a very big ocean, and I think we're doing a really good job. Out in the ocean, you can't just drive your trucks there from other states.


LU STOUT: But in main west Puerto Rico is just like many states in the U.S. mainland. It is home to more than 3.4 million people, a population

that is bigger than that in 21 states including Iowa, Arkansas, and Nevada.

It's less than a three hour flight from Miami and just 13,000 square kilometers smaller than every U.S. state except Delaware and Rhode Island.

The largest airport in Puerto Rico is still crippled after the hurricane in the past. In the past two days, only a limited number of commercial

flights have taken off between San Juan and the U.S. mainland. Ivan Watson talk to would be passenger and the frustration is building.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the scene in Puerto Rico's main international airport. It's night-time and people are lined up hoping for

the possibility of getting a seat on a flight the next day off of this island.

But the chances are slim because all say Tuesday only about 10 commercial flights were able to fly out of this important airport. In part, the U.S.

military says because a key radar installation was destroyed, was damaged by hurricane Maria.

So all of these people here are waiting first come first serve, hoping that in the morning they can get a seat on the next Southwest Airlines flight

off of here and some people even traveling with very cute rottweiler puppies waiting for their chance to get out of here.

But this is tough. People are traveling with children and there are people who have been stranded here in Puerto Rico for days. I spoke earlier --

over here I want to come over and say hi again.


WATSON: Hey, can you introduce yourself, please.


WATSON: And you're here with your grandson, three years old, hi, there.


WATSON: Chenille (Ph).



WATSON: Do you think you have any guarantee of getting on tomorrow's flight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not really, because first the family and -- family of the crew and then it's the people that have plane tickets.

WATSON: So what has the airline told you then to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So just sleep here, to spend the night here waiting to see what they can do for us because there are only two flights coming


WATSON: So you guys are going to be sleeping on the floor here tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Cheny (ph), we're going to be sleeping on the floor?


WATSON: Thank you. Good to meet you. And then part of the problem here is that people have already been living on the island for the better part of a

week with no electricity with almost no running water as well.

The U.S. military insists the flight capacity will improve in the days ahead, but for now this is the very difficult situation again, nearly a

week after the hurricane Maria struck this island. Ivan Watson, CNN, Puerto Rico.


LU STOUT: And more words of warning from the U.S. president in squarely at North Korea. Donald Trump says the U.S. is prepared to use devastating

military force if it comes to that. Sources tell CNN that Pyongyang has been moving military equipment, PIATs and missiles to its east coast.

The U.S. sees that as an effort to boost military readiness allowing North Korea jets to travel further east if needed. The White House says it is

still seeking a peaceful solution to the denuclearization of North Korea.

Some are worried that the escalating rhetoric is pushing the region closer to conflict even if it begins accidentally. Let's bring in Nic Robertson

who joins us live in Seoul.

And Nic, as just mentioned, North Korea has moved a number of military assets to -- to another area of the country including fighter jets. I

mean, your thoughts on this. Is this more than a symbolic gesture?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it certainly appears to be to serve a specific purpose. Well, two U.S. officials are

saying at the Pentagon.

[08:10:00] Is that they can see some fighter aircraft have been moved, not a large number and the additional fuel tanks for those fighter aircraft as

well as the missile systems, rocket systems for those aircraft have been moved as well this location on the east coast of North Korea.

The assessment by the intelligence services here in South Korea as they been telling lawmakers at least is they believe that in the past couple of

days when the U.S. flew those B-1B bombers in international airspace off the east coast of North Korea, that the North Koreans didn't realize that

they would end.

And we found out about it afterwards, so in a way what they're doing here is building that awareness capacity. Now if you putting additional fuel

tanks there and if you are putting rocket systems with those aircraft, then yes you have the potential for a mistake, a misunderstanding you know, the

ability to fly a longer-range and the ability to shoot something down.

When would be assessment again from -- you know, from South Korean intelligence officials is that what they're hearing is that those frontline

full system once a close the DMZ and those who will be stationed in the east of North Korea there.

They're being told, if you see something out of the ordinary, make a call first, call higher-ups, call up the Chain of Command, don't take some

immediate unilateral action, make a call before you take any action.

So you know, there's a sort of a buffer there to potentially limit that possibility of a mistake being made. Nevertheless, the equipment that

could trigger a mistake is now getting closer. North Korean equipment is getting closer to the U.S. equipment, these flybys, if there's another one.

And therefore, you are in a situation where there is a greater risk but again, it doesn't appear for the rhetoric and it does appear from the

assessment of the South Korean intelligence services that North Korea is looking for that fight at the moment.

LU STOUT: OK, good to hear. I also want to ask you about just the reaction to the messaging that we hearing from the Trump administration.

You know, the White House says there is no declaration of war.

And then Trump later says that the U.S. is prepared to use devastating military action if needed. How was that being interpreted in the Korean


ROBERTSON: With concern because there's uncertainty when you have a President Trump one side. His administration has had one message and then

he seems to step out of that message by getting very specific derogatory about Kim Jong-un and suggesting that he will be gone from power.

And at the same time, you have Kim Jong-un on the other hand who is also, you know, speaking directly according to North Korean media -- speaking

directly to President Trump with warnings about what could happen and what he will do.

Threats that are getting more personal by nature but you know, the assessment I think is that while people are more worried than they would be

about that in the past, the concern is how do you dial it back -- how you dial it back to a rhetoric where you can get into talks.

Whether pressure of sanctions can have an impact to North Korea and where Kim Jong-un doesn't feel that is under threat of being removed from power

because just a few months ago, the message -- the very clear message the White House, the Pentagon and others that stated problem they're trying to

put out was the message that this isn't about regime change.

But when you use some of the language that President Trump has been using that you know, he won't be there for long -- they won't be there for long,

that is not language that seems to fit the narrative of de-escalating.

So what you are hearing in South Korea for example is that there is a need to do to find a way to dial back that language, keep up the very real

possibility of military preparation and military readiness in conjunction with United States.

But at the same time find a way to get this back to a place where both sides -- both Kim Jong-un and President Trump if you will can step apart in

the rhetoric and that's going to meet, you know, a lot of help and a lot of managing.

LU STOUT: Yes, absolutely because ahead of that dialing back, the tension continues to simmer. Nic Robertson reporting live for us from Seoul. Nic,

thank you. The parents of an American University student who died days after North Korea released him say that their son was brutally tortured.

Otto Warmbier was accused of attempting to steal a political poster. He later admitted to the crime and pleaded to be released and said he was

sentenced to 15 years hard labor. After 17 months, he was returned to the U.S. with severe brain damage. In a new CNN interview, his parents

revealed details about their son's final days.


[08:15:00] CINDY WARMBIER, OTTO WARMBIER'S MOTHER: We weren't prepared for this at all. No one...


C. WARMBIER: ... no one...

BALDWIN: How could you be?

C. WARMBIER: ... had any idea going in there what we were going to see. His hands and legs were...


C. WARMBIER: And he was...

F. WARMBIER: You know, you want to say -- you want to say this was not our son. This was our son. We are proud of him.


F. WARMBIER: But this was our son. And this was the condition that Kim and his regime intentionally put him in. He was on his death bed when he

came home to us. This was not a pleasant sight. This was a horrible...

C. WARMBIER: That's why they released him. They didn't want him to die on their soil.

F. WARMBIER: This is solely the responsibility of the Kim regime -- Kim and his regime.

C. WARMBIER: And nobody should go there, ever. Nobody needs to go there. It was legal. He went with a tour group. Nobody needs to go there. You

know, the Wall Street Journal just went there.

They show you what you want to see. So why are we playing into this? Why do we play into this at all anymore? I mean, I don't want to see anyone

else hurt or taken.


LU STOUT: Brutal account there from the parents of Otto Warmbier. Now, they are now asking the U.S. government to add North Korea to its list of

state sponsors of terrorism.


LU STOUT: Rockets slammed into the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan just hours after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived for talks with

Afghan leaders.

An official says 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport including rocket propelled grenades. Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility and say

that they were targeting Mattis but he'd already left the airport. There are no reports of casualties.

You're watching News Stream and still to come, protest and a general strike in South Africa. Why many there are calling on President Jacob Zuma to

resign and Iraq calls for the Kurdish independence referendum to be annulled but the Kurdish leader in Iraq is ignoring that and calling for



LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, welcome back, this is News Stream. Now report in Thailand has former Prime Minister Yingluck

Shinawatra to fiver years in prison. But she won't be jailed anytime soon.


LU STOUT: She fled the country right before the verdict was scheduled to come out. Now she's been found guilty of mismanaging a rice subsidy

scheme. Critics say it was a waste of public funds. Yingluck maintains that the scheme was beneficial to farmers.

And South Africa's largest trade union has started a general strike to protest alleged government corruption. Thousands of demonstrators are

marching, singing songs and waving signs, calling for the immediate resignation of President Jacob Zuma.

[08:20:00] Now Mr. Zuma is under fire in part for his ties to the powerful Gupta family. Now critics say the Guptas have under the influence over the

awarding of government contracts.


LU STOUT: Correspondent David McKenzie joins us live from Johannesburg. And David, this is a major march against corruption under Zuma, what's the

turnout like?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. It's not just the turnout because there are thousands here in Johannesburg striking and

marching against effectively, Jacob Zuma.

But also, the extraordinary scenes we're seeing here. Now, they're singing revolutionary songs. These supporters of the main trade union in South

Africa should be a lot for President Jacob and the ruling end soon.

As you see signs today saying Zuma must fall. We're seeing other signs saying corruption should be seen as a crime against humanity. We have

these seen these corruption scandals and this really -- there's potential speech chains in politics here in South Africa. These scandals are

affecting both patrol in South African and global corporate advocacy.


MCKENZIE: For his cattle to survive, (Inaudible) must take his herds to the cemetery. He says black farmers in the pre state province have it


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to send our children to school. That's the main thing.

MCKENZIE: A few years back, these ranchers said they signed up for shares and cash in a large-scale government finance dairy farm. You were supposed

to have ownership of this property?


MCKENZIE: And have you seen any money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, nothing. Not even cent of it. We have never got it.

MCKENZIE: We are from CNN. We just wanted to see if we could access the property to talk to people. So the allegation is that millions of dollars

were siphoned away from this dairy project into the hands of other people and that it hasn't really benefited the community at all. What do you make

of the allegations of corruption?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a secondary question to me. I'm just an assistant farm manager. I'm operating the farm. I don't even have a

single million.

MCKENZIE: But records first exposed in South African media show that much of the money meant to uplift poor black farmers allegedly paid for this. A

lavish wedding at Sun City for the Gupta family covered in local celebrities' show top billing.

In attendance, four partners of global accounting firm KPMG. KPMG says that the orders of the company that paid for the wedding fell well short of

the quality expected.

In South Africa, KPMG is now under fire because of their work for the Guptas, clients they have now dropped. Wealthy Indian businessmen with an

empire that spans media, mining, and energy, the Guptas are implicated in this and other corruption scandals, allegedly profiting from their cozy

relationship with President Jacob Zuma, allegations that the Guptas and Zuma have repeatedly denied.

DAVID LEWIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CORRUPTION WATCH: When corruption reaches a scale that it's reached here and particularly where it starts to involve

cross-border flows of illicit money. It's absolutely necessary to get law firms, auditing firms, management consultancies, banks involved in it.

They could not do it without them.

MCKENZIE: KPMG says it found no illegal or even unethical actions by its auditors but it's made changes in leadership and improved quality control.

In a statement their chairman said they made serious mistakes to continue working for the Guptas.


MCKENZIE: But these ranchers say their livelihoods and community was put at risk and kept promise of prosperity enriching others.


LU STOUT: OK. I apologize for that technical issue at the end. That was David McKenzie reporting live for us in the scene of that protest in

Johannesburg. Our apologies once again.

Now meanwhile in Iraq, the prime minister there has called for an annulment of the referendum on Kurdish independence. Iraqi Kurds are close to

hearing the results of that vote.


LU STOUT: The president of Iraq's Kurdish region already announced it was a victory for the yes camp and has urged Iraq to hold talks on Kurdish


But Baghdad says that the vote was unconstitutional and has made it clear, it won't allow separation. Now this vote has provoked international

concern as well as condemnation from neighboring countries.


LU STOUT: Nima Elbagir joins us now live from Erbil in northern Iraq. And Nima, first, new developments in regards to the Iraqi parliament's decision

to demobilize troops into Kirkuk and other so-called contested areas, what can you tell us?

[08:25:00] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is being viewed as quite a worrying development from here on the ground. Iraqi parliament had

issued a key set of instructions to the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, included amongst the movement of the Iraqi Armed Forces troops to Kirkuk

which is contested between the Kurdish regional government and the central government.

And other's co-called contested areas. They've also called upon the Kurdish regional government to hand over control of the airports. They

have called on regional carriers. A number of whom have already act to these demand to stop flying into Erbil airport by 6:00 p.m. local time on


They will still ask the Kurdish regional authorities to hand over any and all border post under their control, essentially what they're seeking is to

undo the constitutional underpinning of Kirkuk -- sorry, Kurdistan region.

States have told them to back in, so not only are they seeking to halt the Kurdistan regions movement towards independence, they're also seeking to

undo even it's very (Inaudible), Kristie.

This is hugely concerning, especially when you have two of the key allies in the fight against the ISIS terror group potential facing off against

each other. Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes, there is so much opposition to this war that took place on Monday, you know, especially from Baghdad, from Turkey as well and

elsewhere. Does the Kurdish region face independence, yes perhaps, if it does come through but with crippling isolation?

ELBAGIR: For the Turks of what he called essentially for an economic boycott, that threatening cut off boot just the top on Kurdish crude

exports, but also their threatening to block any land movements.

So essentially what you have is a landlocked country that is dependent on its neighbors for goods coming in, there is a real concern here on the

ground about the impact that we have on the quality of life, on the cost of life.

This is a very hostile region, even if they fought of Kurdish independence specifically because so many of the surrounding countries have their own

rested Kurdish minorities and they're really concerned, the Turks, the Iranian and the Syrians are very concerned that this will empower their own

rested Kurdish minorities.

But there is also extents amongst those who were speaking to that the dire is cast, the wheels of history are turning in perhaps even under an hour,

the Electoral Commission is set to officially announced the results.

The results of course are already a full blown conclusion but the fact that in the face of Baghdad's demands that the entire referendum be announced.

The fact that they're willing to go ahead with the steps as they have been laid out, I think that is sending a pretty clear message to Baghdad and to

the greater region. Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes, rising rhetoric and threats that seeks very high in this road, an official announcement to come up very soon. Nima Elbagir, across

it all. Thank you, Nima. You're watching News Stream. Still to come, volcano fears so tens of thousands of Indonesians looking for safer ground.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN NEWS STREAM SHOW HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching "News Stream" and these are your world headlines.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will visit Puerto Rico next week. Millions of people there are still without power a week after Hurricane

Maria struck. Some 1,500 kilos of water, food, and other key supplies are being flown in from Miami in the coming hours.

Meanwhile, President Trump has again warned North Korea it could suffer devastating military action. Sources tell CNN Pyongyang has moved fighter

jets and missiles to its east coast. U.S. bombers recently flew along that coast over international waters. Despite this, Mr. Trump says the U.S. is

still seeking a peaceful solution.

A court in Thailand has sentenced former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to five years in prison. She was found guilty of mismanaging a rice subsidy

scheme. The verdict was delivered in absentia. She fled the country last month.

A general strike and huge protest in South Africa, calling for the immediate resignation of President Jacob Zuma for allegations of

corruption. Mr. Zuma is under fire in part for his ties to the powerful Gupta family. Critics said that Guptas have influenced the awarding of

government contracts.

A 500-meter high blast of smoke is sparking fears of a major eruption at a volcano in Indonesia. Experts say the Mount Agung volcano on the resort

island of Bali could erupt at any time. More than 75,000 people have been relocated to 377 temporary shelters.

Let's get more on the threat facing Bali from CNN's Chad Myers. Chad, Bali is on alert, watching and waiting for an eruption. We are already seeing

smoke rising up. What's the latest reading of the area?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST AND SCIENCE REPORTER: Well, the volcanic activity around it, around the earthquake itself, around the area that is

rumbling, the inches (ph) going astronomically, the numbers like 500 earthquakes per day in that volcanic zone. So, that's the true reading of

how much danger they are in, last erupting 50 years ago. So, level four as high as you go here in the area for the caution.

What's going on with it? We're seeing the volcanic earthquakes, obviously. They are everywhere. We are watching for the lava dome. Is it going up or

down? It's actually the level of the lava inside the crater, it can go up and down if magma is actually coming up or going back down into the

chamber. And obviously, there are gases coming out. The gases change from CO2 to sulfuric acid-type of mix, and that's how they know what's going on.

I want to show you here, this is a map. You have to hang on with me for just a second. This is the earthquake activity for July, August and then

I'll back here into September. I stopped this somewhere around September the 15th. I'm going to take the top of this and then show you what has

happened over the past couple of days. That was up here is now down here.

So, the earthquake activity has gone up so significantly here that they are worried that this now is the time, this is the time that because of the

earthquake activity that they believe this volcano is in danger of erupting.

What kind of eruption? Will it be a pita tubal blast? Will it just be a lava blast? Will it just be a lava flow or pyroclastic flow? That's what

they don't know right now. This is still an ongoing eruption potential here. Anywhere that you see the red, obviously, this is the evacuation

zone. The yellow circle here, the 12-kilometer zone, everybody there has to be completely out of that zone in case this thing in fact goes.

This can go on for a very long time. So, the people there may be waiting and waiting and waiting. But the way the almost -- it's an astronomical

rise in the earthquake activity. It has to be soon or at least it seems like it. At least in geological time, it has to be soon.

LU STOUT: Yes, you showed us the numbers, the data points that suggests that this is going to happen. It's just a matter of when. We know that

quite a number of people have been evacuated, about 75,000. What is your advice for international travelers who were still planning a trip to Bali?

Should they go?

[08:35:00] MYERS: Most of the attractions in Bali are not affected by this. But the thing that we are talking about here in the weather office is that

if the eruption does go and put so much significant ash in the atmosphere, then jets won't be able to fly in and out. So you may be stuck trying to

get in or you may be stuck trying to get out if your timing is wrong with this.

But the Bali officials are saying please come visit, we are OK, just don't go here, the island is pretty big enough. I mean, there is plenty more room

to go around. Maybe some tours would actually go there to watch the eruption from afar, not from close, but from afar. But, I mean, it's just

such a beautiful place there. If you already had something scheduled, I don't think if you're 100 kilometers away from this, you need to worry

about it too much.

LU STOUT: Good advice. Chad Myers, thank you so much, take care.

Saudi Arabia's landmark ruling to allow women to drive is a huge step but they still live under strict guardianship laws. What they now can and can't

do, that just ahead.


LU STOUT: Right now, there is only one country in the world that does not allow women to drive cars, but that number will soon become zero. Saudi

Arabia has issues a royal decree that will lift the restriction by June the 24th. Until now, women were fined or jailed if they were caught behind the

wheel. CNN's Becky Anderson is in Jeddah. She joins us now live. Becky, finally, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive but they are going

to have to wait a little longer.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are going to have to wait just a little bit longer. But look, I've spent most of the day speaking to women

here in Jeddah. It is almost impossible to underestimate just how historic decision this is for those women here in Saudi.

The timing of King Salman's decree, released as it was late last night reverses what is nearly 30-year-old decision that made this a very unique

place for many people will say all the wrong reasons, the only country in the world that bans women from getting behind the wheel.

The impact is interesting in terms of numbers. It will affect some 15 million Saudi women, about half the kingdom's population. It will be fully

in place by next summer. That's June, late June, next year in 2018. And it very much speaks to what is the young crown prince's vision here.

For a new Saudi, a new Saudi economy. His vision, 2030, as it's known, pledged among a whole load of other things to up the amount of women in the

workplace. The problem was, when that vision was announced 18 months or so ago, that's just getting to work for a woman, swallows up their pay, a

significant amount of their pay.

They need their own drivers or they spend a lot on taxis or Uber, for example. The time I spent just in the past hour with one businesswoman and

she told me that families that she employed spend something like $1,000 or so a month on drivers. That money, if they can drive themselves, will go

into Saudi's pocket. But let's remember,

[08:40:00] it's more than just the fiscal empowerment, getting people out and about, having women actually drive. It's about empowerment, driving

perhaps the issue that grabs the headlines. There are also issues of segregation and male guardianship. And these are issues that the young

prince is also looking to address. But the work starts now. The government has 30 days to get together and plan how to make this driving happen so

that we could see women with licenses really sooner than possibly June. Kristie?

LU STOUT: Absolutely. As you point out, this is about modernizing Saudi Arabia and it's also about empowerment as well. Becky Anderson reporting.

Thank you so much, Becky. Take care.

Becky will have much more on a special edition of "Connect the World" from Jeddah, and we look at what this means for Saudi Arabia and beyond.

"Connect the World" is coming up in about two and a half hours from now.

Twitter is a major part of how many of us communicate online. Let's face it, it is tough to sum up. International policy, complicated news stories,

even your feelings about "Game of Thrones" and just 140 characters. Twitter is now doubling the character limit. The expanded character count will be

tested by people who tweet in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

That's because the same information in some languages takes up more characters that in others. This is not the first time Twitter has stretched

its 140 character limit. Early this year, it excluded images and handles from the character count.

And that is "News Stream." I'm Kristie Lu Stout, but don't go anywhere, "World World" with Alex Thomas is next.


[08:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)