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Thousands Flee Fierce Battle For Aleppo; U.N. Special Envoy On Syria Speaks To CNN; Clinton And Sanders Tangle Over Meaning Of "Progressive"; Source: Military Grade TNT Caused Airliner Explosion; Eleven-Year-Old Afghan Boy Killed By Taliban; Security In The Spotlight At Cologne Carnival; Preview of New Top Gear Season. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 4, 2016 - 15:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for being with us today. We are live from CNN London and this is


It is a war with no end in sight. Military action has not stopped the violence. Far from it. Diplomacy has ground to a halt. Now British Prime

Minister David Cameron says donors at a conference in London have pledged more than $10 billion in new funds to help displaced Syrian.

The U.S. secretary of state says there's a moral imperative to act. Listen.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: These people are reduced to eating grass and leaves and killing stray animals in order to survive on a day-to-

day basis. That is something that should tear at the conscience of all civilized people, and we all have a responsibility to respond to it.


GORANI: The U.S. secretary of state. While money is pledged here in London, the bombs keep raining down inside Syria and on Syrians. Russian

air support helped regime forces retake two key towns near Aleppo.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more on how the advance is triggering more violence and a new rush of refugees.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new exodus of Syrians hailing for Turkey and maybe beyond. These images,

which we can't verify, seemed to show thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing late Thursday to the Turkish border, north of the city of Aleppo, one

serious commercial heart.

You can sense the panic here. They're fleeing what could be one of the worst fights yet, the battle for Aleppo. A key move in that fight came

Wednesday when regime fighters broke the long siege just to the city's north.

Russian airpower led this long-desired tactical advance. Rebels left in retreat. The onslaught here, the peace talks collapse. The changes now in

Northern Syria.

The two key Shia towns were reached by the regime through cutting the rebels' main supply route east of Aleppo that could isolate hundreds of

thousands of civilians.

Further north, the Kurds are moving in two different directions, potentially cutting is off from the Turkish border.

Aleppo itself, a skeleton of a city, where hundreds of thousands live among the bones, the smell of burning plastic strong in the air when we were

there 18 months ago.

And for those civilians trapped inside, it will be little comfort that these men are to the rescue (inaudible), al Qaeda in Syria. Pouring here

they claimed into the city to defend it.

Many rebels in Aleppo are moderate activists insists that it is Nusra making the call to fight. Today is the epic day, a historical day, of the

Aleppo war, this fighter says. God willing, it will be the cemetery for invaders who came from Russia and Iran.

As with most atrocities in this war, nothing is really new. It's all happened before. Aleppo's been bombed and besieged for three years. It is

just like most atrocities in this war remarkable that each hell could get still worse. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.


GORANI: Whether you talk to military men, politicians, or diplomats, pretty much there is consensus that none of this will stop until there is

some sort of political resolution in Syria. But these talks that started at the end of January were halted.

The U.N. special envoy for Syria, Steffan de Mistura, announced a pause in the talks when the opposition walked away from the table in Geneva.

I spoke to him a short time ago from today donor conference in London. I began by asking him what factors need to be in place so that the stalled

talks actually restart as he hopes on February 25th.


STEFFAN DE MISTURA, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA: What do we need? Facts. The Syrian people are tired of hearing about conferences. The Syrian

people are tired of just knowing that we are talking about processes. They want facts.

[15:05:00]And facts means lifting sieges, stopping bombing, giving access for food, and seeing all of us talking with the Syrians about the future,

which means a new constitution, a transition towards a new governance and new elections.

If they don't see any of that and we don't see any of that, we don't need talks about talks.

GORANI: But you're saying stopping the sieges and stopping the bombings by all accounts, the bombings of Aleppo in the last few days have been the

most intense in years with the regime bombing portions of rebel-held Aleppo aided by the Russians. Do you blame Russia here for making things very

difficult at the negotiating table?

DE MISTURA: I'm not going to blame any country or another. What we are blaming, the fact that this is an occasion that cannot be missed. In other

words, whoever is accelerating military activities should be knowing that this is the wrongest thing to do when we talk about peace negotiations.

What we need at the moment is actually gestures towards every both sides about the fact that we are serious about wanting to seek negotiations.

GORANI: Let me ask you, you haven't qualified these talks as having collapsed. You're saying they're simply suspended. But you know, those

who observe the talks and negotiations in Geneva say all the warring participants are not even present at the table.

For instance, the Kurds are not even there because Turkey doesn't want them represented. But is it Turkey's job to pick who will be represented at the

negotiating table and not the U.N.?

DE MISTURA: At the end of the day, everyone who is involved in Syria should be involved in their future and the chance for every component of

the Syrian entities -- and there are so many, from the Kurds -- there are the Christians, the Sunnis, the Shia -- should be all part of the future.

And they will have a chance to contribute to that. But we need to start first gunmen and opposition because peace is made among people who are

fighting each other.

GORANI: But when will the Kurds and other parties be involved? Because in the end, it appears as though the stakeholders, the countries who have some

sort of stake in the future of Syria, seemed to be setting some of the agenda. The Russians with the bombing, the Turks with their opposition to

the Kurdish parties, et cetera, et cetera. At what point will all the parties be represented?

DE MISTURA: There will be a moment when everyone will have its own chance to be represented. Meanwhile, let's give a chance now that we have

challenged ourselves and the 18 countries who do constitute the so-called special group of support of Syria to meet in Munich.

That's only few days from now. They will have to give us an answer whether they are serious in one thing to be serious about the future of Syria and

not just simply asking for a conference.

GORANI: Mr. De Mistura, I have to ask you, if you have to opposition and the government not even sitting at the same table, not even really in the

same building on the same day, how do you not qualify these talks as a failure?

DE MISTURA: You know, that's what diplomacy is all about, Hala. You can have talks when people don't want to talk to each other, and we talk to

them, and then convey the message and try to come up with some type of common ground.

That's what we call creativity. You know, you don't need to sit across the same table. You can have a meeting in one room and tell me what you feel

and then I meet the other group, like basically when people disagree with each other.

They don't like each other, but they came to talk about the future, we give them a chance. Don't worry. There will be a moment when they will be

sitting in the same room if they do have some common ground. That's our job, to try to find that.

GORANI: Yes. Well, I think the other question is going to be will the parties even come back? I mean, the opposition has said as long as the

bombing continues, we won't come back on February 25th. Have you received any concrete assurances that the two sides will come back at the end of the

month of February?

DE MISTURA: Wait for Munich, and wait to see what the 18 countries especially those who have an influence in it, and you know who they are.

There's U.S., Russia, and Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, who have an influence on what's happening on the ground, to actually confront the


Which is they -- we need, the Syrians need some concrete demonstration that these talks can be serious and then we will judge again. Do give me a

chance to be interviewed after Munich and then I will be able to be more precise.


GORANI: All right. Steffan de Mistura is asking us to be patient. Just a few more days and we'll get more details on what might happen. But the

hope is that at the end of the month the two sides minus the representatives of some of the warring factions will meet again in

Switzerland. We'll keep you updated on that.

Now to the U.S. election. The Democratic presidential candidates meet face-to-face in about six hours. You'll probably hear the word

"progressive" a lot during tonight's debate in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tangled over the meaning of the word during a pretty contentious town hall on Wednesday.

[15:40:05]But they didn't actually take the stage together. Brianna Keilar has your recap.


BERNIE SANDERS (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are taking on the most powerful political organization in the country, and that's, you know, the

Clinton organization.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Only five days away from the New Hampshire primary, Senator Bernie Sanders taking off

the gloves during last night's Democratic town hall, jabbing Secretary Clinton over which candidate can claim to be progressive.

SANDERS: You can't go and say you're a moderate on one day and be a progressive on the other day. Some of my best friends are moderates. I

love moderates. But you can't be a moderate and progressive. They are different.

KEILAR: Clinton pushed back at his assertion when she took the stage.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've said that I'm a progressive who likes to get things done, and I was somewhat amused today

that Senator Sanders set himself up to be the gate keeper on who's a progressive because under the definition that was flying around on Twitter

and statements by the campaign, Barack Obama would not be a progressive, Joe Biden would not be a progressive.

KEILAR: Sanders forcing Clinton to defend her relationship with Wall Street.

SANDERS: I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street. That's just not progressive.

KEILAR: The former senator from New York stumbling a bit when Anderson Cooper asked her about her paid speeches from investment giant Goldman


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": But did you have to be paid $675,000?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know. That's what they offered. So, you know, every secretary of state that I know has done that.

COOPER: But not running for an office.

CLINTON: I didn't know -- to be honest I wasn't -- I wasn't committed to running. I didn't -- I didn't know whether I would or not.

COOPER: You didn't think you would run for president again?

CLINTON: I didn't.

KEILAR: Clinton tackling another tough subject when an audience member asked her about her vote for the war in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What have you learned since that vote that could give me confidence that you wouldn't make a mistake of that magnitude again?

CLINTON: I think that's a very fair question. You know, I did make a mistake and I admitted that I made a mistake.

KEILAR: That mistake, one that Senator Sanders has repeatedly gone after.

SANDERS: The key foreign policy vote of modern American history was the war in Iraq. The progressive community was pretty united in saying don't

listen to Bush. Don't go to war. Secretary Clinton voted to go to war.

KEILAR: But Clinton standing firm.

CLINTON: All I can do is to just get up every day and work to do what I believe our country needs, find ways to help people, whether it's on mental

health or addiction or autism or student loans, whatever it might be.

And I trust the American people. I trust the people of New Hampshire to see my lifetime of work and service and to sort out all of the static and

to know that I will work my heart out for you.


GORANI: Well, it was a very interesting event on CNN hosted by Anderson Cooper. Brianna Keilar was recapping that for you there.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, is in Durham, New Hampshire, this hour. We're just a few days away. What's going on here?

Here we heard from the Democrats, also the Republicans are working hard trying to get every last vote to go their way.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's for sure. And I have to tell you they are crisscrossing the state. Donald Trump has been

here actually doing four events today trying to get back on track after that loss in the Iowa caucuses.

Ted Cruz is here. He's been pushing very hard as well. There's been quite a bit of back and forth between Trump and Cruz because, as you know, they

finished one and two in Iowa.

And jockeying for position even though Trump is leading in the polls. So the Republicans are very busy as well. I think when you look at what

happened last night, though, here in the state of New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders is running very strong.

Hillary Clinton is trying to show herself as competitive and both candidates had a very good night in the CNN town hall. They both were able

to really touch on the points that are important to them.

I think, including that back and forth you saw in the Brianna piece about Hillary Clinton's assertion that she's a progressive. Pretty clear there's

some dividing lines there, but both articulated their positions very well.

Some of the other issues, as well, religion I think, spirituality was something both of them touched on in a way we hadn't seen before. And they

both had their stumbles, most notably Mrs. Clinton's issue with the financial industry.

This is something that has dogged her on the campaign trail and that was kind of a difficult answer for her and some say unfortunate.

[15:15:06]The campaign in previous days has suggested that one of the reasons why she gets so much money from the financial sector is because she

is a former senator from the state of New York, which is where Wall Street is.

Perhaps it would have been better for her to stick to that. Even there, some problems. Bernie Sanders, the issue of the VA and whether the

veterans administration, the veterans, I should say, committee in the Senate moved quickly enough.

I think he was very candid there, but that's the kind of thing that voters take into account when they head to the polls -- Hala.

GORANI: And let me ask you very briefly among Republicans, because Trump, of course, was leading in the polls before Iowa, he ended up coming in a

very close second. What do the polls indicate from New Hampshire on the Republican side and are any of the candidates altering their strategies


JOHNS: Right. Trump has a healthy lead here in New Hampshire the last poll I saw. But there are some questions about whether Ted Cruz can make

some inroads, if you will, especially now that Rand Paul has gotten out of the race.

And that's because while Cruz has always been considered a true conservative by every standard, the fact of the matter is because he's also

the type of candidate who believes in limited government, some people say he might be able to appeal to that libertarian audience that Rand Paul left

when he got out of the race.

So anything can happen. These voters are very independent in the state, something like 40 percent of them are registered independent and they can

surprise you.

GORANI: OK. Joe Johns, thanks very much. Live in New Hampshire. A lot more to come this hour. We will take you back inside Syria to an oil

field. It once helped fund ISIS and still bears the grim reminders of the group's brutality.

But first, Rio De Janeiro gears up for its most glamorous and festive celebration of the year. Brazil is ready for carnival, it says, despite

the looming threat of the Zika virus. Stay with us.


GORANI: Many of you saw that scary amateur video of a whole blown out of a fuselage of a jet and a military-grade explosive TNT is what caused the

blast on board that Somali airliner on Tuesday apparently according to a source close to the investigation.

This is an amateur photograph that shows some of the oxygen masks down and there you have it, just that giant hole in the fuselage. The explosion

happened just after the plane took off from Mogadishu.

Evidence recovered from the Somali airline indicates a bomb is responsible for the explosion according to a U.S. official. Investigators believe that

the extremist group, Al Shabaab is responsible for the bomb.

[15:20:04]Authorities later discovered a body near Mogadishu which unfortunately they believe fell from that plane as a result of that


A United Nations panel is expected to rule that Julian Assange is, as he remains in the Ecuadorian embassy here in London, effectively being, quote,

"unlawfully detained."

The founder of WikiLeaks has been holed up inside that embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is accused of rape. Assange

says he would be prepared to leave the embassy if the U.N. ruling went against him.

Apparently that hasn't happened. A little bit later, I will be speaking to Von Smith, a friend of Julian Assange. That's in around 15 minutes from

now. Stay with us for that.

Let's bring you the latest on the Zika virus in Brazil. Despite the threat of the virus, more than a million tourists are expected in Rio de Janeiro

for carnival celebrations.

Shasta Darlington joins me now from Rio with more. Shasta, first of all, we're talking a million people. Is that lower than usual or have numbers

not changed because of this Zika scare?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Believe it or not, Hala, it's actually slightly higher than last year. The same in the city in

northeastern Brazil that's really at the heart of this whole Zika virus and birth defect crisis.

They're expecting more than usual and while this health cry is casting a shadow over the celebration, what's playing a bigger role is the exchange

rate. It's gotten more expensive for Brazilians to travel abroad on their holidays and cheaper for foreigners to come here.

So you head out on the streets and we're seeing tons of block parties that get up to 100,000 people out partying in the street. We've been to the

Samba Drome where the schools are practicing for the big parades over the weekend.

Frankly, Zika isn't the topic of the day. That doesn't mean that officials aren't doing what they can. They've been fumigating the samba drome.

They've stepped up the radio campaigns.

We even heard from the president urging people to take precautions to eliminate the pools of water in their homes, which are the main source of

breeding for these mosquitoes.

If they can eliminate those pools of water in the homes they'd actually take a huge step towards eliminating the mosquito itself, Hala. But again,

you're not hearing a lot about Zika on the street as people get ready for carnival.

GORANI: All right. Shasta Darlington, thanks very much. People looking forward to a bit of fun.

Coming up, it is carnival time as well in another part of the world, the German city of Cologne. But after that spate of assaults on New Year's

Eve, security is being beefed up a little bit. We'll have a report from Cologne for you.

And later, he's known for his role as Joey in "Friends," but now Matt Leblanc is revving his way toward a new show. Stay with us to find out

which one.


GORANI: Well, this is just how tragic the situation is in a country like Afghanistan where 11-year-olds are fighting the Taliban. An 11-year-old

boy was killed this week, (inaudible) Ahmed was hailed as a hero for leading a police unit for 43 days against the Taliban siege.

This week Ahmed was shot in the head at a market near his home and the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Pakistani education

activist, Malala Yousafzai spoke to CNN earlier about Ahmed's death.


MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: Well, it's tragic and it's not just this one boy, but it's happening to many children and many people in that

region. And it's tragic that they do not have sympathy for children, for innocent children. The only crime is that you want to go to school. You

want freedom. You want to have the right to live in peace. That's the only crime.


[15:25:02]GORANI: Malala Yousafzai just a bit earlier there at that Syria donor conference.

Carnival season in the German city of Cologne is usually all about the funky costumes and crazy parties and lots and lots and lots of beer.

But after a spate of New Year's Eve assaults, security is being ramped up with a focus on women's safety. So how will the police presence alter the

party mood? Atika Shubert is in Cologne.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carnival in Cologne has just started and it's all about the crazy costumes, the drinking, and

the partying. Take a look at this. This is what's being described as a women's security point.

And there are police stationed near here and any woman feels in danger can come here and police will immediately come to her aid. They are also

distributing these pamphlets in English and Arabic.

It's all part of the effort to try and secure this year's carnival in the wake of those assaults on New Year's Eve. What do you think of carnival

this year?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like it every year and I think it's the same as every year. A little bit more police maybe, but that's OK. Yes.

SHUBERT: Are you worried about security at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'm happy about security. I feel safe here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going in a big group so it's OK. But you see there are not a lot of people around.

SHUBERT: What do you think of the security points?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a drag, isn't it? Just look around, nobody's there.

SHUBERT: So this is what it's going to be like on the streets of Cologne for the next few days. More than a million people are ultimately expected

to come out. It's a tradition, an institution in Cologne. People here are determined not to let politics or security concerns get in the way of a

good time. Atika Shubert, CNN, Cologne, Germany.


GORANI: This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. What was once an ISIS stronghold making millions of dollars a month now sits idle. CNN visits an oil field

that Kurds are desperate to get up and running again.

And WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than three years now. The U.N. will soon

address his case. I'll be speaking to one of his supporters in a few minutes.


GORANI: A quick look at our top stories, more than $10 billion British Prime Minister David Cameron says was pledged for Syria at a donors'

conference held today in London. The money is meant to improve education and job opportunities for displaced Syrians.

Also among our top stories, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate this evening in New Hampshire. The state holds it primary in just

five days. Wednesday's town hall revealed some pretty deep divisions inside the party and among the candidates.

A source close to the investigation of an explosion on a Somali jetliner says a military grade of the explosive TNT is to blame. You're seeing

amateur cell phone footage of moments after that explosion blew a hole in the fuselage. One person is believed to have fallen from the plane and

died. Two others were injured.

An Italian student who disappeared in Cairo has been found dead. The 28- year-old disappeared on January 25th. The fifth anniversary of the uprising that ousted the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Italian

government has demanded a full inquiry.

The situation on the ground in Syria is already complex, but it could get even more crowded. Saudi Arabia says it's now ready to send ground troops

to Syria to fight ISIS it says if it is asked to do --


HALA GORANI, HOST: The situation on the ground in Syria is already complex. But it could get even more crowded.


GORANI: Saudi Arabia says it's now ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS, it says, if it is asked to do so by the coalition according to

a Saudi ministry of defense spokesperson. The message was tweeted out by the Saudi embassy in Washington in English. Saudi Arabia's press agency

reported that Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri reaffirmed that statement saying "the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ready to participate in any ground

operations that the international coalition against Daesh terrorist organization may agree to carry out in Syria." We'll see what that lead to

in terms of actual troops on the ground.


GORANI: In the north of Syria, ISIS has exploited the land's natural resource for major profit. CNN's Clarissa Ward visited an oil field that

used to be under ISIS control. She's now in Erbil in neighboring Iraq with more. What did you find, Clarissa?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Well, Hala, it's very interesting because it wasn't that long ago that ISIS was making

nearly $500 million a year through oil. This was the most important continuous revenue stream for the militant group. But on the back of a

protracted air campaign led by the U.S. and also as a result of plummeting oil prices, ISIS is now really starting to feel the pinch as we saw for

ourselves. Take a look.


WARD: Bubbling beneath this desolate landscape is the black gold that funded the ISIS war machine. (Baz Shiro) is a fighter with the Syrian

Democratic Forces who are battling ISIS in this part of the country. He showed us around an oil field in a rural (Hasika) that was seized from the

militants two months ago.

ISIS earned a lot of money from these fields, he tells us. People from all over this area came here to buy their fuel. You can still hear the hiss of

gas, but the pump is no longer operational. The U.S. led coalition has been hammering ISIS' oil, which at one time generated $40 million a month. Air

strikes have targeted refineries, pumping stations, and lines of tankers waiting for gas.

(Shiro) says the militants learned to adapt. In each field they put just one person as a cashier to sell the fuel and only one tanker could come at

a time, he says. They used this tactic because the planes are looking for big groups, not individuals.

But Kurdish fighters and U.S. air strikes eventually forced ISIS into retreat. All that remains now of their presence is some graffiti. The Kurds

and their Arab allies here are desperate to get the oil pumping again, but they have two major problems. Firstly, the front lines are still just a few

miles away from here, and secondly, they don't have the money or the expertise that they would need to start repairing the damage that has been


The trickle of oil will not become a flow for months or even longer as ISIS fighters fled, they destroyed what they could, electric cables were cut,

booby traps were laid. Only one facility was left untouched just behind the refinery, a row of tanks turned into an underground prison. Each cell held

up to 15 people, he tells us, among them women and children. Written on the walls of one, a harrowing message -- "I'm not afraid of dying but I fear

the tears of my loved ones."

(Shiro) and his men are now starting to clear the wreckage left behind by ISIS. But they can't erase the terror inflicted here.


WARD: And I wanted to just read you some more of that graffiti, Hala. This was obviously written as a message to a loved one. It said, "even if my

eyes can't see you, my heart will not forgive you." really painting such a vivid picture of the horrors those people must have experienced. And our

guide on the ground told us that ISIS used these cells for the people they perceived to be the worst offenders. Hala?

GORANI: All right. Well, a great report. Let me ask you for your thoughts a little bit on what came out of Saudi Arabia. The fact that they're saying

they would get involved with ground operations, basically boots on the ground, in Syria to fight Daesh, they said, if the coalition asked them.

Will the coalition ask them?

WARD: Well, I don't think the coalition is talking about ground forces at this stage, although at the same time what we're seeing on the ground is a

little different to the rhetoric that we're hearing coming out of various countries.

The U.S. is definitely bolstering its presence on the ground. At least 50 U.S. Special forces, troops, now we know an airfield has been taken over

for U.S. use. The Russians are obviously participating heavily in this conflict. We're also hearing reports that they are bolstering their

presence at an airfield just, you know, less than 50 miles away from the airfield that the U.S. is using.


WARD: So the idea at this point of introducing more boots on the ground with, you know, Saudi Arabia having all of -- Saudi Arabia having its own

very specific ideas about how it sees this conflict, not necessarily gelling with how the U.S. sees this conflict. It's bound to raise a lot of

eyebrows here, a lot of people will want to know whether this is a step in the right direction or whether this is simply rhetoric. Hala?

GORANI: All right. Yes, and we'll see how that materializes perhaps on the ground and how it will be received by coalition forces. Thanks very much.

Clarissa Ward is in Erbil in Iraq.

Let's get more on a story we brought you earlier.


GORANI: A United Nations panel is expected to rule that Julian Assange is effectively being, "unlawfully detained."

Assange of course founded website "Wikileaks" which in 2010 posted more than 90,000 classified documents related to the Afghanistan war. In

November of that year an arrest warrant was issued for Assange in Sweden based on allegations of sexual assault from two "Wikileaks" volunteers.

Assange feared Sweden would then extradite him to the United States. He sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 and was later granted

asylum. He has been there ever since.


GORANI: Now we turn to someone who knows Julian Assange well; Vaughan Smith is the founder of the front line in London and Julian Assange stayed in his

home in Norfolk at one point before his - before he basically went to the Ecuadorian embassy.

So this U.N. Panel, let's talk about it. They ruled Julian Assange as being arbitrarily held. But people are asking the question, what do you mean?

Because he voluntarily went to the Ecuadorian embassy saying he doesn't want to go to Sweden to be questioned because he's afraid he'll be

extradited to the U.S. What does that mean, exactly?

VAUGHAN SMITH, FRIEND OF JULIAN ASSANGE: Both the British authorities and Swedish authorities submitted their case to the U.N. panel, which is quite

important. The U.N. panel have now made this comment that they've determined that he's arbitrarily detained, which of course is defined as

them determining that there's no likelihood of a crime having been committed or the legal process has been improper. So it's a pretty damning


GORANI: But how can they determine that if the U.N. - that no -- there's no likelihood or not a high likelihood that a crime --

SMITH: Well because they're lawyers, they're legal professionals and they studied the evidence as presented, because we've participated, our country,

Britain has participated, and Sweden as participated, so they've looked at all cases. I would suggest they're probably the only people who have really

looked at this in a dispassionate way and with all the facts and they're obviously a significant authority.

So it is quite disappoint that we appear to be giving lip service to this because I think it damages our international reputation.

GORANI: But Sweden has said this doesn't change anything regarding the case and the allegations of rape against Julian Assange. They said this doesn't

change anything from our point of view.

SMITH: Yes, which is unfortunate, because it's -- that is clearly going to make it difficult. If Sweden and Britain ignore these things that's going

to make -- it's very difficult when we comment, as we often do, you know press the siren on other people's, other countries' human rights issues, if

we're unprepared to acknowledge our own when the U.N. determine that we failed, which clearly they have.

GORANI: But there' a - I'm sure you heard and I know you appeared on other news networks today. Oliver Cam, the columnist for "The Times" he was

actually very critical of you, specifically naming you, said why wouldn't Julian Assange just answer questions? Why is he evading justice? And that

you should be ashamed of supporting him in his desire to stay at the Ecuadorian embassy and not answer questions in this case. How do you

respond to that?

SMITH: Well what I would respond is; I know that Julian Assange would like to address these allegations. But I think we should focus - you know, I

know we should be sympathetic because I think we all are sympathetic to the alleged victims. But here we have a real victim and we shouldn't disregard

his rights. My response would be to that, that actually Julian Assange, I'm absolutely convinced, and he has stated and his lawyers have stated that he

wants to have this interview, he wants to address these allegations --

GORANI: Why doesn't he then?


SMITH: Well, hang on. The point is the U.N. who have looked at the facts better than anybody else, have determined that this legal process somehow

isn't safe and that they're pointing to him being the victim of the peace. So you know - and they've looked at the evidence. So, you know, I think

it's reasonable for us and you know, countries that were you know perhaps more confident and assured of their human rights might not be so defensive

about this. Why can't we listen to the U.N. and perhaps you know think --

GORANI: What would he want now? I mean, let's assume that Sweden and the U.K., you would like them to listen or to take into account the results of

this U.N. panel.

SMITH: I think these allegations need to be addressed. They really must be addressed. Of course they must be addressed but in a framework that is fair

and reasonable to Julian Assange. And the U.N. has determined that what has happened so far hasn't been. And this accounts for him he sought political

asylum because -- and they support that.


GORANI: So what's he going to do now - what's he going to do now?

SMITH: Well I can't imagine he's going to leave the embassy unless Britain and Sweden can come to some sort of arrangement on this. This is quite

embarrassing to us. I mean how do we go to the United Nations you know, Human Rights Council now? We look like hypocrites.


SMITH: And so I think we should look at this and perhaps listen a little bit more when we're criticized rather than being so defensive.

GORANI: But is he going to wait it out essentially? Because doesn't he have a few years after which he can actually leave without having to --

SMITH: I don't - well would you want to? I mean, the chap, you know, lives with no fresh air. He says it's much worse than prison. Actually,

it's quite interesting because even if we accept the detention part of this whole thing, then he's being detained for five years, which is beyond -- my

understanding of anything he could receive if these allegations ever led to charges and ever led to a guilty verdict --

GORANI: Are you in touch with him? Were you in touch with him?

SMITH: With Julian?


SMITH: Yes, yes no I -

GORANI: Today?

SMITH: No, not today - not today. But I have been over the years. I've wanted to support him and he stayed with me. I got to know him quite well.

I don't believe it. Nor does my wife or my family believe that he's a rapist or anything like this. I think he --

GORANI: But he needs to answer the questions, there are legitimate questions out there, many allegations.

SMITH: But I think - I think your by saying that I think you're disregarding what the U.N. has come and said. And they've condemned the

legal process and, you know, the definition is no likelihood of a crime being committed. And what everyone thinks --

GORANI: But the jurisdiction in Sweden is in Sweden. I mean these allegations are made in Sweden. So the U.N. has one ruling and the results

of one investigation but then the Swedish authorities are conducting another investigation in their own jurisdiction and should not Julian

Assange --

SMITH: It depends on what we consider the authority of the United Nations really is and how we value that. I think that's obviously the key thing.

But it is the highest authority that Julian Assange can appeal to.

And so I think that's pretty relevant and we should listen to it. But with regard to Sweden, I don't know what the Swedes do now. I'm hoping that they

will look at this again, they will go and interview him, and try and resolve this, because they haven't charged him, they can't charge him until

they interview him.

Interestingly, the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain have been found to have e-mailed the Swedes trying to discourage them from coming to England

to actually prosecute the case.

GORANI: We're going to hear from Julian Assange I believe in a news conference -

SMITH: Well, you know I hope so.

GORANI: From a - from a -- from inside the Ecuadorian embassy at the window tomorrow perhaps.

Vaughan smith, thanks very much.

SMITH: Thank you.

GORANI: A friend and supporter of Julian Assange. This is "The World Right Now."


GORANI: An emotional tribute to a baby boy gunned down with his parents in Mexico. The story of another young life cut short by the country's long-

running drug war.




(MUSIC PLAYING) [15:45:00]

GORANI: Brutal killings in connection to the drug war have become common place in some parts of Mexico. But the brazen murder of a 7-month-old and

his parents is generating an all new kind of outrage on social media.

Our Latin American affairs editor Rafael Romo joins me now from CNN Center, and we want to warn you he has some disturbing content to share. Rafael.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Hala, as you can imagine, there's plenty of indignation in Mexico about this case. One twitter user

says asks what was this child's crime? Having been born? This is his story and we need to warn our viewers again that the picture showing the baby on

the ground after the shooting is very graphic.


ROMO: The picture shows a 7-month-old baby in a blood-stained onesie. He's lying face down between his father's torso and left arm. His mother wearing

denim shorts and a red blouse, is to their right, also dead. The family of three was shot and killed in the city of Pinotepa Nacional in the Mexican

state of Oaxaca.

The image has triggered outrage on social media in Mexico. Many say it's emblematic of the horrors drug-related violence has brought to the country.

Candlelight vigils have been held to honor the family's memory.

Author (inaudible) in an opinion column posted a Mexican flag with the drawing of the dead baby's silhouette in the background. "Is it possible to

imagine anything more unjust than the cold-blooded murder of a family carrying a baby in their arms," (Martinez) asks his readers.

Authorities confirmed to CNN that the shooting was drug related. The family was executed. Prosecutors say because the baby's parents sold drugs for a

gang, a rival gang targeted the parents outside a convenience store. But many say that regardless of what the parents did or did not do, the death

of a 7-month-old baby in such a violent way is a tragedy that should have never happened.

Is there no indignation about what happened in Pinotepa Nacional another twitter user asks. His post shows the picture of the Mexican baby side by

side with that of the 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body was found on a Turkish beach last year after he drowned in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian boy's death was emblematic of the ordeal Syrian refugees endure. The Mexican baby's death reflects the horrors of a drug-related violence

that has terrorized a generation of Mexicans.


ROMO: A local legislator is describing what happened to the baby as abominable, inhumane, and a shameful act for the Mexican state of Oaxaca,


GORANI: Is this going - I mean the question is, is this a one-off, a horrible one-off, or is this starting to become a trend, these types of


ROMO: Well Hala, the very same night the baby was shot and killed, listen to this, a 14-year-old girl also died in similar circumstances. Oaxaca

neighbors the state of (Guerrero) which had the highest number of murders last year in Mexico with 2016. And this state Hala, is where drug gangs

are fighting for territories. So that's where everything comes from.

GORANI: All right. Rafael Romo, thanks very much for that report. A very sad report.

Don't forget, you can get the latest news, interviews and analysis on my Facebook page, A lot more after a quick break.

Stay with us, we will be right back.





GORANI: Well the British television show, "Top Gear" just got a new friend, Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey in the hit T.V. sitcom "Friends" for years.

He is now joining Top Gear as co-host. It's the first time there will be a non-Brit host. "Top Gear" is getting a revamp after previous presenter

Jeremy Clarkson was fired after an altercation with the producer. Phil Black has more.



PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Matt LeBlanc already has a special place in the history of the world's most popular car show. The

fastest star in a reasonably priced car around the "Top Gear" track. The man next to him is Jeremy Clarkson, whose sacking a year ago after a

violent moment with the producer set the scene for a hugely anticipated "Top Gear" re-launch, and now the news, LeBlanc will be one of the show's


Of course LeBlanc is world famous for this character, the slightly dim but sexually potent Joey Tribiani in Friends.

MATT LEBLANC, ACTOR: So, how you doin'?

BLACK: BBC made the announcement with this image. LeBlanc tweeted, "I love the show, should be fun."

The man next to him this time is Chris Evans, the British broadcaster who will anchor the new presenting lineup. Evans says he's thrilled to be

joined by LeBlanc who he describes as a life-long petrol head. The car cred will play a big part in deciding how the actor is ultimately judged in his

new role.

"Top Gear" became a world conquering show through a special mix of serious car loving and outrageous silliness. Mostly through the rapport of its

hosts. Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond.

The LeBlanc announcement triggered a spirited conversation on twitter. Much of the reaction was positive, especially from some female fans who

suggested the American will be slightly easier viewing than Jeremy Clarkson.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


GORANI: Easier on the eyes, perhaps. So what can LeBlanc bring to revamped show? I'm joined by writer and media consultant, Steve Hewlett, he's in Los


Steve, first of all, Matt LeBlanc, your initial gut reaction. Good choice?

STEVE HEWLETT, WRITER AND MEDIA CONSULTANT: Look, I think he's a great get. I mean, he's well-known in Britain you know because of "Friends" and also a

show which is over in the States called "Episodes," but it's on the U.K. television as well.


HEWLETT: So he's well-known to British viewers, he's well known around the world, probably better known around the world than anyone else who's ever

presented "Top Gear," again, because of "Friends." So, he's funny, he's approachable, he's witty. You know, so I think he's a really good get. I

also think it's worth saying that you know --

GORANI: And he's a legit --

HEWLETT: -- this is the first bit of good -- I'm sorry.

GORANI: Go ahead. Go ahead.

HEWLETT: Well, I was going to say for the program I think this is a welcomed piece of good news because they've been through a patch where, you

know, it's all in the press at least it's all been pretty bad news. So, they lost their executive producer, they lost the key writer. The

controller of BBC2, the channel which runs the show, she's left the BBC or leaving the BBC rather suddenly. And then there was an extraordinary

picture of Chris Evans, the main presenter you featured there, actually being car sick which you know doesn't bode well if you like for the

presenter of a fast car show. So this is -- for the show at this point in time this is fantastically good news.

GORANI: What I was saying was he's a legit car enthusiast. I mean, you know, he's somebody who talks cars and motorcycles and has some knowledge

to back it up.

HEWLETT: That would appear to be the case. As Chris Evans says, he's a petrol head. That is indeed how Matt LeBlanc describes himself as such. As

you saw in the clip there, you know he's not a newbie to the show either. He's been there, he enjoyed it, he enjoyed the atmosphere and so on.

But look, I mean the critical question going forward, and it's always the way in T.V. is chemistry. And, you know, that's never a given.

You could have the best lineup in the world but if they don't hit it off, if the chemistry doesn't work, then the show will flop. In this case,

there's no reason why it shouldn't, every reason why it should, but that's the uncertainty.

GORANI: Well presumably they tested it all out and it worked out well when they sort of filmed pilots and tryouts and things like that.


GORANI: Let's talk about Chris Evans because Chris Evans may not be familiar to our international viewers watching us right now, as familiar as

Matt LeBlanc is. Does he have what it takes?


GORANI: Because I mean Jeremy Clarkson, like him or not, the show was him, you know? I mean it wasn't so much a car show. It was a Jeremy Clarkson

show. Does Chris Evans have it?

HEWLETT: Well, I think when Jeremy Clarkson left in those circumstances, if you surveyed the British scene and said, well, is there anybody else on the

horizon as a T.V./ as a presenter sort of character who's got the character to hold this kind of show together, the only name that would come up is

Chris Evans. I mean Chris Evans is definitely a petrol head. He has got a fleet of vintage cars.

GORANI: Sorry, what's a petrol head? I may not -- I should know this, I'm sure.

HEWLETT: Oh sorry - oh sorry.

GORANI: What is a petrol head?

HEWLETT: A petrol head is a nutty car enthusiast.

GORANI: I see.

HEWLETT: So hence the term petrol.

GORANI: There are many reasons why it makes sense that I don't know what that means by the way.

But let me ask you --

HEWLETT: It also sounds a lot better than (inaudible) --

GORANI: We're waiting for a high profile - that's correct. A high-profile female host? Who might that be?


HEWLETT: Well, there's a German racing driver whose name I'm afraid escapes me in the frame and who knows what they'll dredge up or who they'll find.

Matt LeBlanc came out of the blue. I'm not sure anyone knew he was coming. The other thing by the way just to go back to one of your comments earlier.

Whereas over here in the states of course these things would be focus grouped to within an inch of their life before they were announced,

somebody would have checked it out, I'd be very, very surprised if the BBC has had the opportunity to do any of that. This is a punt. It's quite a

good punt. It's a great get in the start but as I say, the critical thing in the longer term will be chemistry, and that's very, very hard to predict

even with top talent.

GORANI: But the other thing, too, is you have Matt LeBlanc, who is an American actor, well-known for "Friends," and well-known all over the world

because "Friends" is probably one of the most successful shows of all time.


GORANI: And so therefore this show is going to be exportable. I mean, it's going to be watched everywhere. That's kind of also how you make up some of

the money here by selling it to other markets.

HEWLETT: Well absolutely. I mean "Top Gear," the old "Top Gear" as it were with Jeremy Clarkson, Hammond and May, is I think the BBC's top earning

show. It was generating revenues around 100 million pounds, that's you know probably $150 million a year. I mean that's mainly based upon the library

of completed shows.


HEWLETT: So this brand, "Top Gear," already has huge international potential or it has international recognition.

The (inaudible) question will be whether it's the Top Gear brand that is stronger or whether it's the Clarkson, Hammond, and May brand that is

stronger, and the proof in the pudding will be in how this show does against what is going to appear on Amazon shortly. Its new competitor with

the old "Top Gear" team. I suspect actually the "Top Gear" brand internationally might be stronger than Jeremy Clarkson.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Steve Hewlett, in L.A. we appreciate your time.

HEWLETT: You're welcome.

GORANI: This has been "The World Right Now." I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks to all of you for watching, a quick break and then it's "Quest Means Business."