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U.N. Calls for Inquiry into Violence in Catalonia; Progress in Puerto Rico's Recovery; Two Women Plead Not Guilty in Kin Jong Nam's Killing. Aired 4:30-4:45p ET

Aired October 2, 2017 - 16:00   ET



[16:30:00] PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Paula Newton in New York. You have been watching our continuing coverage of the massacre in Las

Vegas. We will continue with that in just a moment. But first some of the other major international stories we're following for you this hour.

Spain is facing deep divisions and political uncertainty after a contentious vote this weekend. The U.N. human rights chief is calling for

an inquiry into violence that you see there, during Sunday's independence referendum in the Catalonian region. Votes cast were overwhelmingly in

favor of separation from Spain. But the turnout was low and the vote tally has been overshadowed by those clashes that you see right there with

police. Now Catalan authorities say nearly 900 people were injured. The central government tried to stop what it called an illegal vote. And the

Foreign Minister tells CNN the response was reasonable.


ALFONSO DASTIS, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: It was not a riot police. It was the normal police that was sent by the judges to follow their orders,

which was to remove ballot boxes and ballot papers. And in no way harm any people. And if there was, again, any harm it was not deliberate and I

don't think it was excessive.


NEWTON: It was not excessive, he says. Our Erin McLaughlin is in Barcelona. You know, Erin, they can't even agree on what happened at those

polling stations over the weekend. You have the minister saying that the violence that we just saw was completely reasonable and proportionate. And

yet the Catalan authorities are saying they were shocked by the violence.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And in fact, Paula, the one thing that both sides can agree on at this point is that this is a

country in crisis and there's no resolution at this point insight. Today, we heard from the regional government calling for dialogue, calling for

mediation, asking for third-party intervention. Saying that they want a new relationship with Spain. But we haven't heard from the Spanish Prime

Minister directly, Mariano Rajoy. That dialogue as far as we know is not taking place.

He's chosen instead to talk to members of the opposition. Because remember politically he is in a precarious position. What members of the opposition

have to say, given that he has a minority government, matters, especially in this case. And what members of the opposition are saying is they're

trying to push him to the negotiating table. But that doesn't seem to be happening so far -- Paula.

NEWTON: And Erin, do you think that the EU has a role to play though and getting him to that negotiating table?

MCLAUGHLIN: You know, is interesting. Up until this point the EU has been markedly silent on this referendum. Dismissing it as a domestic Spanish

political issue. Though created the violence we saw yesterday, really creating a sort of an awkward situation in the noon briefing at the

European Commission in Brussels. The spokesperson there really coming under some heated questions for the EU's response to all of this. And then

earlier today the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, having a phone call with Rajoy. He tweeted about it after saying, quote, just spoke

to @MarianoRajoy. Sharing his constitutional arguments. I appeal for finding ways to avoid further escalation and use of force.

So, that is the official response there from the European Council.

NEWTON: Yes, Erin, the situation is ever evolving and we'll see if there is that kind of negotiating breakthrough in the next few days. Erin,

appreciate it, thanks.

Now Facebook says it is introducing new measures to increase the transparency of adverts on the social media platform. The announcement

comes as Facebook since copies of more than 3,000 Russian bought adverts to Congress. It says most of them were calculated to amplify political

discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Yet Facebook says it's new measures would not necessarily have prevented the Russian ads from

appearing on its site. You can bet Congress will have a lot more questions about that.

Now, President Donald Trump has defended Washington's response. Meantime the disaster in Puerto Rico ahead of his visit to the island on Tuesday.

He's due to meet officials from Puerto Rico and the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The President said the islands infrastructure was all but

destroyed by hurricane Maria. But the relief effort is making a difference.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's been amazing what's done in a very short period of time in Puerto Rico. There's never been a

piece of land that we've known that was so devastated. The bridges are down. The telecommunications was nonexistent and is in very, very bad

shape. The electrical grid is, as you know, is totally destroyed. But we've gotten tremendous amount of food and water and lots of other things,

supplies generally speaking.


[16:35:00] NEWTON: Now a reminder, nearly half of Puerto Ricans now have running water. Thank goodness. Boris Sanchez is in San Juan where the

lines at gas stations have also been improving. There is a lot of other things though, Boris, that have not been improving. I mean, you've been

there really from the beginning in terms of looking at the logistical situation. I've seen you at the airport. I've seen you at the ports.

What has improved and what is still a real mess?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, yes, it's been a uneven recovery at best. There are about 70 percent of gas stations on the island now

operational. But when you keep in mind that the electrical grid is as you said, in pretty rough shape. It puts a drain on gasoline. Because people

need gasoline to fuel their generators. So, there are still very large lines at gas stations. But there are signs that they are improving.

We came to this Walmart supermarket in the center of San Juan earlier and there was a massive line, hundreds of people in line. It curved around the

block. And now as you can see behind me, it has wound down. So, at least people are getting inside. Whether or not there is portable water or

specific foods or medications that they need is a separate question altogether. The signs are promising here in San Juan. As soon as you go

to other parts of the island, not so much.

Yesterday I went to Ponse, which is about two hours south of San Juan, and I got to a neighborhood that had yet to be visited by FEMA officials or

local officials here. There was a husband-and-wife who live there. He was a Korean War veteran. And she the wife, was devastated because a tree when

into their living room, Jose and Lydia are effectively homeless. Right now, they're staying with the neighbor who's providing them with aid. But

they say that they have received no kind of aid from any government. Here's more of what they had to say.


LYDIA PABLON, LOST HER HOME IN PONCE, PUERTO RICO (through translator): We have nothing else. We are senior citizens. He is 83, I am 78. To try to

live somewhere else, well, I don't see myself doing that.


SANCHEZ: It's really tough to hear that. Lydia was actually born on their property. She grew up there with her sisters. And as you heard her say,

she was envisioning herself living out her golden years there. They registered with FEMA shortly after the hurricane, but they say that they

have seen nothing in the form of aid so far. They're hoping that when President Trump arrives tomorrow he comes not only with open arms, but also

a helping hand -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. Donald Trump is promising he will have that. And yet, what do you think the reaction will be to the President tomorrow.

There's been a lot of acrimony between local officials and himself. Do you think that they actually do welcome the visit from the President despite

everything that's going on?

SANCHEZ: I spoke to several people after the President's tweets were sent out on Saturday. Those controversial tweets in which he refers to, they

wanting everything done for them. That was not well received on the island. Some people saying, using adjectives that I could not repeat you

on television now. But I do think there is a sense here that people want leadership. They want help and they'll take it from anywhere that it

comes. So, if the President, and again, comes here and maybe shifts the tone slightly in a more hopeful one, then that would be much more well


NEWTON: Yes, and Boris, I'm sure you'll be the first to say that he can't help but be affected by what he's going to see there on the ground on

Tuesday. Boris, thank you for staying on top of all of this. We appreciate it. We'll check in with you again later in the week.

Now, U.S. President Donald Trump still has confidence in his top diplomat. That's the word from the White House Press Secretary within just the last

few hours. This is despite President Trump posting a series of tweets that appeared to undermine Rex Tillerson on North Korea. Mr. Trump says the

U.S. Secretary of State is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Kim Jong-un. Now, Mr. Tillerson has been working to try and calm those

tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Two women, meantime, charged with murdering Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, say they are not guilty and were tricked into doing it. Their

trial started Monday in Malaysia and the pair face the death penalty if convicted. Nic Robertson reports from Kuala Lumpur.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The women were driven into the courthouse right up here, high-speed, heavy police escort, about an hour

before the trial began. Taken into the building, both women escorted by female police officers. Both women wearing flat jackets. Within a few

minutes of the trial beginning, both of them had pled innocent to the charges. Charge and accused of murder. Murder of Kim Jong Nam using VX

nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur Airport earlier on this year.

[16:40:00] The prosecution alleged that the women individually with the help of four unnamed others were responsible for causing his death. And

they will try to prove that they had knowledge and premeditation, and pre- intent of this during the trial. But the defense lawyers move swiftly to say -- to ask the judge in fact, to name these four unnamed individuals

that the prosecution talked about. The judge refused to do that.

HISYAM THE TOH TEIK, DEFENSE LAWYER: This is our argument this morning that our client was charges with orders, sharing the common intention

because of death of the deceased. So, we the unknown identities and law of the assault. That is not fair, prosecution did not disclose. There's

nothing to hide. There must be no suppression in this relevant and material effects must disclose to the defense.

ROBERTSON: The trials expected to last until the end of November. The prosecution case expected to last about two weeks. They're expected to

present expert witnesses who can prove that Kim Jong Nam was killed by VX nerve agent. They're expected to present that CCTV video of the attack at

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, as well as possibly other CCTV video of the women been taken on dummy runs.

Now the women of course, have said that they're innocent. That they thought that they were just training, practicing for a TV reality show.

That this was a spoof show. And this is going to be the critical part when the defense puts them on the stand. Each of those women could be on the

stand for as long as two weeks facing cross-examination from the prosecution. The key to their success will be are they credible. This is

attracting international attention. The Indonesian ambassador here, the witness, the evidence given by his national.

RUSDI KIRANA, INDONESIAN AMBASSADOR: We can't interfere on the process of the law. We have to respect it. But again, as I say just now, that we

have to be on her side. Because she is our citizen.

ROBINSON: Watching the two defendants leave, they looked a little more tired at the end of the day. But still their lawyer say that they are

strong, confident that they can win. They'll need that strength for another two months of this expected to come. Nic Robertson, CNN Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia.


NEWTON: Now we'll have full coverage of these stories and more throughout the rest of the day. For now, though, we're going to take a short break

and of course we will return to Jake Tapper and coverage of the shooting in Las Vegas.