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U.S., Turkey And Russia Hold Meeting On Syria; Milestones In Fight Against ISIS; Intel Committees To Probe Wiretap Accusation; Bill To Replace Obamacare Faces Challenges In Senate; House Of Lords Demand "Meaningful Vote" On Brexit; Rhino Killed For Its Horns At Paris Wildlife Park; George Michael Found to have Died of Natural Causes; U.N. Chief: World Neglecting Somalia Famine Risk; Breaking the Bonds of Child Slavery in India; Ice Cream Venture Offers Golden Opportunity in Japan. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 7, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET




[15:00:10] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani live at CNN London. Thanks for being with us this Tuesday. This is THE WORLD


We begin with the major developments in the fight against ISIS, in a surprise attack, Iraqi forces have taken control of Mosul's main government

building. That means that Iraqi soldiers now have a better foothold to fight thousands of ISIS terrorists near the old city. Iraq's prime

minister is warning all those remaining fighters to surrender or face death.

In parallel across the border in Syria, U.S.-backed Syrian fighters now have control of the last supply road out of Raqqa. Here's why that is so



GORANI (voice-over): Closing in on Raqqa, the last major road to ISIS' de facto capital city now cut off by U.S.-backed forces. Another strategic

loss for the terrorist group whose area of influence is shrinking. U.S.- backed Kurdish and Arab forces squeeze them from the north while Syrian government troops backed up by Russia had been pushing from the west.

Raqqa has been the main base of operations for ISIS since it first declared its caliphate in 2013. If the city falls, could it spell the beginning of

the end of ISIS and even the Syrian conflict? Any end to this war would need compromise from the multiple opposing parties and there are signs

concessions are starting to be made.

In an extraordinary move, for instance, U.S.-backed Kurdish forces are handing back territory around Manbij, a strategic town in Northern Syria to

the Syrian government. The deal could leave about 500 Americans Special Forces, pictured on the ground near Manbij in the past few days, within a

short distance of Russian troops.

Manbij was won back from ISIS in a bitter fight last August with heavy support from U.S. airstrikes. Turkey, though, was not happy about the

Kurds being in control of such an important city on its doorstep. Turkish officials are likely to have raise this as a key issue in today's meeting

with U.S. and Russian counterparts.

It's the first time Turkey, Russia, and the United States have met to discuss the Syrian conflict and they all have massive and often opposing

stakes in the war. One key question on the table, will the U.S. send in a wave of new troops in a final push?

While they have differing ideas about who should be in charge in Syria, they can all agree on one thing, ISIS now needs to be defeated. Now that

Raqqa is encircled, this goal seems more within reach than ever before.


GORANI: Let's get the latest developments on what's happening in both Syria and Iraq, Ben Wedeman joins me now from the northern Iraqi city of

Erbil, and Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut, both our senior international correspondents.

Nick, let me start with you and this meeting in Southern Turkey between these three rivals in this conflict, is it significant? What can it yield?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's unprecedented that we see these three militaries wanting to be publicly

seen around the same table. You got to bear in mind, Hala, any practical discussions about how they are going to operate between each other didn't

necessarily have to be accompanied with quite such a ceremonial photograph being released.

I think as part of this is stage craft. It's designed to say we are capable of having a meeting and working out the fact we are not going to

conflict with each other on the battlefield. Bear in mind, one important party not at that table, the Syrian regime, obviously because there's past

antipathy with the Turkish government and the United States too.

[15:02:00]But it does also give you some idea as to how complicated task the U.S. is facing in the battlefield around a key town that has to be

(inaudible) before they even start thinking about Raqqa and that's Manbij. That's in Northern Syria.

The U.S. fighting around it on the side of the Kurdish militants fighting ISIS, but also on the side of the Turkish military who are fighting with

Syrian rebels against ISIS too. Then throw into the mix the Syrian regime and the Russians on another side.

Three or four, and then finally ISIS, it's a very volatile mix there. The U.S. playing two of the four sides in that battle and many I think looking

at this meeting in Antalya today, unprecedented as it was, two NATO allies sitting down with the Russians potentially talking about how they are going

to try and carve up some kind of peace inside of Syria.

This really gives us a window I think as the complexities and the geopolitical mess ahead of what happens in that tranche of Northern Syria.

The regime don't really seemed able to walk in and pacify for their perspective just yet -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes, so many different interests, so many competing strategic interests inside of Syria. To Iraq now there where we're seeing some

significant gains by the Iraqi army inside Mosul. Tell us more about Iraqi soldiers taking over some of these buildings in Mosul.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala. This took place within the last 36 hours where Iraqi forces took one government

building after another, which is just south of the old city of Mosul where it's believed many ISIS fighters are held up.

Now among those buildings was the Central Bank of Mosul, the Governor's Palace, as well as the Mosul Museum, which was vandalized and looted by

ISIS back in February 2015. They've also taken control of (inaudible) Bridge, which is the second bridge that the Iraqi forces has been able to

take control of over the Tigris River.

But they have run in to increasingly stiff resistance. It's been a hard battle for the last two and a half weeks, but what we've seen when we've

gone to the frontlines, Hala, is that the amount of fire power being poured into Mosul is something we didn't see when the Iraqi forces were trying to

take the eastern part of the city.

You see U.S. B-52s overhead, F-16s in others, but it's really anticipated that the fighting is going to get tougher as the Iraqi forces get closer to

the very center of the city -- Hala.

GORANI: Right. And Nick, when you were describing the situation on the battlefield inside Syria, I mean, even to someone following this war very

closely as we all do, you're talking about the Kurds, the U.S.-backed militia, the forces inside of Syria from America, the Syrian regime, the

Turks, what the Iranians want, what Hezbollah fighters might be doing inside Syria.

I mean, when we hear of a meeting like we did in Antalya, there is always that glimmer of hope that this could lead to some sort of stabilization.

Are people being overly hopeful?

WALSH: Possibly I think. I mean, you must run out of breadth there trying to list the number of access just in that small area of Syria. It's

extraordinarily messy and it isn't likely to suddenly have a solution given on a plate. That meeting in Antalya to some degree unprecedented because

of the sheer volume of I think military fire power focused on that area.

The aspirations of all those different militaries. They don't want to find themselves as U.S. officials suggest within rifle range of each other and

perhaps unfortunately making some kind of mistake. I think that's where the complexity possibly bring some sense of success when there are quite so

many large powers wanting an end of this.

Committing resources (inaudible) spending weeks or months further there that might be when we see a peace imposed from the outside, when sponsors

said we've had enough, we want to back out of this. But at the same time, too, the sheer volume of resources now being applied there and the

differing political agendas.

Remember there is one major problem here, Hala. It's going to be very hard to fix, how do you get the U.S.' two different allies, Turkey and the

Kurds, to somehow be comfortable with any policy going forward around Raqqa? There's four enemies frankly right now and the U.S. is on both of

those sides -- Hala.

GORANI: Right, indeed. And the civilians as always suffering as they are. Those civilians fleeing from Mosul. We've learned, Ben, that the prime

minister of Iraq, Abadi, is going to visit the White House in a couple of weeks. What would he want from Donald Trump do you think? What will he

asks him for?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think he'll probably be asking for continued U.S. support in the fight against ISIS because this battle is not over. Even if in a

few weeks or months the Iraqi forces are able to retake Mosul, there's still other parts of the country, Hauija (ph), south of Kirkuk, Tel-Afar

(ph), between Mosul and the Syrian border. They're still under ISIS control.

And going forward, looking beyond that, ISIS maybe defeated as a political entity that controls territory.

[15:10:06]But you will have the problem of ISIS as an urban terror group, which is how it started functioning for possibly years to come. So the

Iraqis do need American assistance, not just in this current battle in Mosul, but going forward -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes. It's about taking care of the root causes and it's something that will take, as you say there, Ben, a very, very long time. Thanks to

both of you, Ben Wedeman and Nick Paton Walsh, respectively in Erbil and Beirut.

Let's get you to Washington now, after the first big test of President Donald Trump's ability to work with Congress to pass laws rather than just

sign executive orders at his desk.

Mr. Trump is now throwing himself behind the House bill to replace Obamacare. On Twitter he called it wonderful and derided the Affordable

Care Act as a complete and total disaster.

Lobbying like this is pretty typical fare for a president of the United States. What's not typical when that president accuses his predecessor of

wiretapping, here's what the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said to our Jim Acosta about that just moments ago.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president made a very serious allegation over the weekend and I think we would all be

remised if we went through this briefing and not try to get you on camera to at least offer us some evidence. Where is the evidence? Where's the

proof that President Obama bugged President Trump?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I answered this question yesterday on camera on your air. So just so we're clear, I know this is

now the place, but I think I've made it clear yesterday --

ACOSTA: Since yesterday --

SPICER: Nothing has changed. No -- it's not question of -- it's not a question of new proof or less proof or whatever. The answer is the same

and I think that -- which is that I think that there is a concern about what happened in the 2016 election.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have the staff and the capabilities and the process is in process to look at this in a way that's

objective and that's where it should be done and frankly if you've seen the response from especially on the House side, but as well as the Senate, they

welcome this.

And so let's let the Senate do their job and the House intelligence committees and then report back to the American people.

ACOSTA: Will the president withdraw the accusation? Does he have any --

SPICER: Why would he withdraw until it's -- I mean, until it's adjudicated. That's what we're asking, is for them to look at this and see

if there is -- no, it's not -- absolutely not.


GORANI: Well, there you have it. Our Jim Acosta with Sean Spicer at the briefing just minutes ago. Let's get some insight on all this from a Trump

supporter who advised the campaign, CNN political commentator, David Urban, joins me now from Washington.

So David, that's a fair question by Jim Acosta. Why wouldn't the president withdraw this accusation? There is no proof. He just loves this grenade

and walks away and says let's wait until an investigation is conducted.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Hala, I'm not certain -- I wouldn't say there is no proof. I would say that the president has access

to information that you and I don't and other don't, and I think that Sean Spicer's comments to Jim Acosta were exactly on point.

The House and the Senate Intelligence Committees have the capability, the ability to look into these things. They'll conduct hearings. They're

going to conduct hearings on a broader issue whether Russia was involved in this whatsoever and I think --

GORANI: But this is a hypothetical. That would be classified. I mean, you agree it would be classified information -- tweeting classified

information if you're the president, it's not ideal.

URBAN: I wouldn't say he tweeted classified information. It was classified information, which was revealed to the "New York Times" by

sources, which was published regarding, you know, very kind of spurious allegations that people from the campaign were in constant contact with

Russian operatives. If you read that article critically you'll see that it's full of holes -- it's like Swiss cheese.

GORANI: But David, we are not talking about the "New York Times" reporting. We are talking about the tweet by the president accusing Barack

Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower with no evidence whatsoever that we can see and then just walking away and saying, no comment.

URBAN: Well, again, I would defer to the president's -- I think his remarks stands by themselves. I they'll be investigated and as Sean said

there, they'll be adjudicated and we'll see if there's any there "there," along with other things dealing with the Russians.

There have been many allegations made about this campaign and Russian influence with the Trump campaign that are wholly expicious and don't hold

water and so they'll all be aired. We'll see a report or maybe won't see a report from the intelligence committees on all these matters.

GORANI: All right, well, I guess, the issue that some people have with it is that it was tweeted by a sitting president accusing a former president

of highly inappropriate, possibly illegal behavior without providing evidence. But then the other question is, look, he's also tweeted that

millions of votes -- illegal votes cost him the popular vote also with no evidence. Why not investigate that and just investigate this? I mean, why

pick and choose one over the other?

[15:15:02]URBAN: You know, Hala, I think -- that's an apples and oranges situation. One, we're talking about, you know, there are plenty of

allegations that -- by the Democrats. The Democrats refused to accept the fact that they lost the election.

You know, their team wasn't as good as our team this time. To put it in simplest terms. We won and they lost. They can't accept it so they're

trying to blame everybody for that loss, the Russians, you know --

GORANI: But in this case, it's the president blaming illegal voters for his loss. It's the other way around.

URBAN: No, again, I think it's --

GORANI: Without evidence.

URBAN: No, I think you're complaining two things. We are talking about, you know, if you want to talk about the Russians and the president's tweet,

I think those are all going to be examined by the Intelligence Committee. Look, I think the states -- there will be reports coming out in terms of

who voted in what states.

They're going to combine and you know, there's combined reporting requirement here amongst the states, certain states in the United States on

voter irregularities, whether or not people voted in one state, two states. There were irregularities with license registrations. Those things all

come out in the next, you know, three to six months.

But you know, on the point of whether the Russians have anything to do with this, I think, you know, we'll find out sooner or later and I don't think

there's anything there. I agree with the president, it's a complete witch hunt.

GORANI: OK, well, quick question on Obamacare, repeal and replace, so we have a situation here where it's going to be tough for President Trump

because it's not about signing an executive order. He actually needs the support of Congress for this.

This is a law. It's not just a piece of paper he's signing and already four Republican senators are saying, they cannot support a plan that would

reduce essentially the extension of Medicaid coverage to more lower income Americans.

So therefore, first road block right there. How is President Trump going to work Congress in order to get this through because this is a simple --

URBAN: This is the art of the deal, Hala, here. This is what the president is famous. The president is a great negotiator. This is an

opening bid. As you know, you don't ever negotiate, you don't open with your -- you know, the bid that you intend to end up with and we'll see.

There's going to be a negotiated process here where the House and the White House and the Senate will be together, work together to come to a consensus

and a solution that best served all Americans. And there will be a few folks in the Republican Party that don't necessarily agree with it.

You don't have to have unanimity to have unity in the party. I think that's something the people tend to forget.

GORANI: You need a majority to pass the bill though --

URBAN: You'll get a majority. I have no doubt and I don't think anybody in this town thinks that this will not pass. It will pass maybe a little

bit different flavor than this initial package that's put up. It will be substantially very similar.

GORANI: All right, David Urban, thanks so much for joining us on CNN this evening.

URBAN: Hala, thanks for having us.

GORANI: All right, we appreciate it. Let's cross now to CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick. David is an assistant editor for the

"Washington Post." David, let's talk a little bit about first of all this presentation to the world of the new legislation that Republicans hope will

replace Obamacare.

I was just talking with David Urban there, a Trump supporter, saying this is going to be tough for the president. This is not just signing an

executive order. Do you agree?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think it's going to be an uphill climb. It's not just signing an executive order. I did hear David

Urban say that as President Trump himself has said, Hala, that he's the world's greatest negotiator and that this is his opening bid.

But the opening bid is one that has to be sold to 535 members of Congress to the American people and the onus is on Republicans because they control

the White House and both houses of Congress.

And so the results of whatever winds up passing ultimately is what they're going to be judged on, not by the sausage making, but how people feel about

the law after they eventually are able to pass this repeal and replace or partial repeal or repeal and change or whatever they are calling it.

GORANI: Yes. And abroad, most of what people are talking and have talked about over the last several days is the newly revised travel ban executive

order that removes Iraq from the list, now you have six Muslim majority countries. But in the United States, are you already seeing legal

challenges in the same way we saw legal challenges for the initial executive order starting to organize themselves to oppose this?

SWERDLICK: Right, absolutely. You know, most legal analysts have concluded that and my own senses, Hala, is that this executive order was

crafted with a little more precision. It will be -- it will stand up a little bit stiffer to a legal challenge, but that is not going to prevent

legal sources on the side of immigrants' rights from challenging this.

If I can, let me give you a piece of a statement from the ACLU, this is from Cecilia Wang, the deputy legal director for the National ACLU. She

told me that this, in her view and in her organization's view still attempts a post-(inaudible) rationalization for a Muslim ban, still calling

it a Muslim ban.

[15:20:08]And said that particularly when there is no national security justification that is going to be the basis on which some of these

challenges are going to be broad for the way that this executive order was crafted.

So you are going to see those challenges. I do think that this has to play out on the courts and I think it's going to be interesting to see what the

first federal district court challenge brings when this comes before a judge.

GORANI: It sure will. David Swerdlick, we'll speak about this again I'm sure. Thanks so much for joining us.

Still to come this evening, the British prime minister suffers her second Brexit defeat in a single week. We'll be right back.


GORANI: The British prime minister is under increased pressure over her Brexit plans after she suffered her second defeat in the House of Lords.

The U.K.'s upper house voted to add a second amendment saying that the parliament should get a vote on the final Brexit deal.

Phil Black joins me live from outside parliament. If you're trying to understand what this exactly means and why this is a setback for Theresa

May, Phil is our man. Why is this an issue for her that it's happened -- that essentially this amendment from the House of Lords is getting in the

way of her ideal Brexit plan?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, what the prime minister wants is a very simple bill, one that's simply commits the government, gives it

permission to formally trigger Article 50 of the E.U. Treaty and begin that formal two-year process of exiting the European Union. It doesn't want

anything else attached to it.

But now, it has two amendments that have been attached to it. As you mentioned, previously they voted to say or to try and enforce some

protections for E.U. citizens already living in the U.K. saying that their rights would still be secure.

And now there's this second amendment, which is just passed tonight, which is that parliament must have a final say on any final agreement that is

reached between the European Union and Britain. But more than that it also says the parliament must decide what happens in the event that there is no

final agreement.

The prime minister, the government, their view is that this just simply gets in the way of the negotiation. They do not think that this should

include anything to do with the substance of what a final agreement should look like nor do they want any sort of amendment or change that in their

view could tie their hands when it comes to the negotiating process -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, and we're seeing live images, by the way, not many people there sitting on the benches, but still some discussions going on at

Westminster. But I guess, the question is, I mean, could this delay the timeline at all? There were reports Theresa May might have wanted to

trigger Article 50 mid-March. We're talking a week from today. Are we looking at a delayed timeline here?

BLACK: Yes, it was just (inaudible) tonight. We think they've moved on to other issues in the House of Lords now. But what happens next in terms of

this Article 50 issue will certainly be interesting.

[15:25:04]We know the government doesn't want these amendments. So when the bill goes back to the House of Commons, it means that they will try to

use their majority there, the slimmest majority to strip them away.

If there's any sort of sizable rebellion, well, it's possible that that may not work, but assuming it does, that it must then go back to the House of

Lords again, and this is where you're getting that pingpong situation that we were talking about because both houses must agree on the final words.

And that is where the government will try to use all possible pressure to get the lords to back away from these amendments, to back down from them,

and you can expect to hear a lot of talk about democracy and reminders that the lords are not directly elected. They're either by appointments or they

are -- received their positions through hereditary title, of course.

So what it means is that, yes, there is this deadline, Hala, that Theresa May wants to declare Article 50 by the end of the month, and so that's what

she's trying to do. But there's going to be a lot of drama in both houses of parliament now, and there's a question about just how achievable that

deadline now is.

GORANI: All right, and those images we were seeing from the House of Lords you're saying they're talking about other matters? Are those live images -

- whatever it is, though, Phil, it doesn't have anyone on the edge of their bench. There it is. There you go. All right, thanks so much, Phil Black

at Westminster.

Now to this just bizarre story, poachers broken to a wildlife park, a zoo park, near Paris overnight and killed a rhino for its horns, outside Paris.

The officials found the 4-year-old white rhino shot dead in its enclosure with one of its horns cut off.

Jim Bittermann joins us now from Paris with more. How can this happen in an enclosed park like this?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, it's a sad and shocking story. The employees of the park said they were really

shock this morning when they found the rhino three shots to the head. And in fact, it was dead, and the horn, two horns had been cut off with a


The other horn had been attacked, but they apparently couldn't get off or they got scared away, the poachers, and it took place in the middle of the

night. They were five game keepers that were sleeping on the property as well as surveillance cameras.

But apparently, the poachers were able to make a clean getaway with the one horn that they were able to take off from the dead rhino, which could be

valued anywhere from 80 to 100, maybe 1,000 euros because these things are treasured in some Asian cultures as aphrodisiac.

So the trade in these horns has been, of course, been illegal internationally for years, but in fact, this has been real shocking attack

because it happened in Europe, in a game park. It's not the kind of the thing that happens every day -- Hala.

GORANI: No. And how is it possible that -- I mean, they used a chainsaw and then they attack the second rhino, and there were games keepers

sleeping on site? How did no one hear any of this commotion? I mean, people must be wondering.

BITTERMANN: Well, this is a huge park. This is not a zoo. It's a game reserve that is based at a chateau with about 300 acres of property and

during the day, the wild animals are actually allowed to roam fairly freely around the grounds and then kept in these pens at night. So it is a bit

shocking. I'm sure there is going to be an investigation into that.

By the way, it was only the one rhino that was attacked. It was the first horn was cutoff and the second horn on -- they have two. The second horn

was -- it looked like it had been cut partially, but they are not taken off entirely, but the animals --

GORANI: OK, misunderstood you. I thought the second rhino had also been attacked. So this is just one rhino unfortunately they killed that poor

animal and then -- and also security cameras so hopefully they'll catch the people involved very soon. Thanks so much, Jim Bittermann live in Paris.

Still to come tonight, U.S.-backed militias close on in ISIS in Syria as the U.S., Russia, and Turkey talk coordination for the first time inside

Turkey. The latest on that push.

Also famine looms over Somalia again, a crippling drought in the war-torn country pushing its people right to the brink. CNN traveled with the U.N.

to Somalia to witness the unfolding crisis. We'll be right back.


[15:31:49] GORANI: The White House is making its case for a U.S. House bill to replace ObamaCare. The Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, says the new

legislation is about patients, not about money. But the bill may not overcome hurdles in the Senate.

Malaysia is accusing Pyongyang of holding 11 Malaysians hostage inside North Korea. The countries are at odds over the investigation into the

murder of this man, Kim Jong-nam, the North Korean leader's half-brother. Malaysian police wants to question three men thought to be holed up in the

North Korea embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

British pop star George Michael died of natural causes. That's what we're learning today from a coroner's report. The final post-mortem into the

singer's death found that he had a heart condition and also a fatty liver. Michael was 53 years old when he was found dead at his home on Christmas


Diana Magnay was outside his home in the London suburbs. Diana?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, two and half months now since George Michael's death in his home in Oxfordshire on Christmas day. The

coroner now saying that he died of natural causes relating to the heart and the liver.

Dilated cardiomyopathy, which is when the lining of the left ventricle becomes dilated and baggy and can't pump the blood around the body fast

enough. Myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. And also a buildup of fatty acids in the liver, and that can be alcohol or non-

alcohol related. The coroner didn't specify which but it's well-known, of course, that George Michael struggled with alcohol and with drugs over the

course of his life.

Now, this ends months of speculation as to the cause of death. The initial post-mortem at the end of December was inconclusive, but the police said

that they weren't treating it as suspicious. But that did not stop the speculation.

And today's announcement will bring some closure to his family and, of course, to the millions of fans around the world for whom George Michael

and his days with Wham, from 1984 to 1986, and then his solo career that was launched with "Faith" in 1987 and continued throughout the '80s, the

'90s, and this century was such a legend. Really, the soundtrack to many, many people's youth, Hala.

GORANI: Diana, thanks very much for that.

Turning now to the major offensive -- I should say the major games in what is a major offensive to drive ISIS from Western Mosul. Iraqi forces

recaptured several key government buildings. Also, they took a bridge from the terrorist group overnight. They now have better access to their next

target, and that is Mosul's old city.

Now, efforts to clear ISIS from neighboring Syria are also gaining traction at a highly unusual trilateral meeting. This set of pictures were put out

by the parties involved. It had happened in southern Turkey. Top military brass from the U.S., Russia, and Turkey sat down to talk strategy and

coordination. It's the beginning of at least something.

Turkey's Prime Minister says all three nations need to work together to avoid clashes, but that's complicated by U.S. support of Kurdish militia

that Turkey considers terrorists. Right there is your first roadblock.

[15:35:06] Barbara Starr joins me now from the Pentagon with more.

Let's talk, first, about this trilateral meeting, the U.S., Turkey, and Russia together -- OK, it's the first time that's happened, to discuss this

war. What will it yield? What will it produce, of significance?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, none of the parties involved are exactly very forthcoming about that very question,

Hala. You're right, it was an extraordinary meeting. And the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joe Dunford, you know, quietly

slipped out of the Pentagon and went off to Turkey to have this meeting.

One of the big concerns that all three have right now is, in fact, in northern Syria, in and around Manbij. They are trying to, you know,

deconflict, coordinate, whatever you want to call it -- they don't like to call it coordination, but it is essentially deconfliction.

You have a lot of forces up there. You have the possibility of Turkish forces in there, U.S. Special Forces in there, Syrian regime forces,

Kurdish militia forces in there, and there's a lot of concern that, basically, Manbij again will turn into a shooting war, even more than it's

been in recent weeks.

And the U.S., very publicly actually, has put about a hundred U.S. troops into the area for just a presence mission. They are just there, we are

told, in a new capacity, to make it basically be a presence on the ground to try and encourage all the parties not to take up arms against each other


So this meeting has talked about that. It talked about additional coordination measures in Syria because, of course, the big prize still lies

ahead, and that is Raqqa. If the Turks cross the border, if the Kurds keep moving towards Raqqa, upsetting the Turks, if the Russians get more

involved on the ground, if the Syrian regime forces get more involved, what will happen? And the U.S. and these other partners are trying to see if

they can work their work through it, Hala.

GORANI: So this just is a very localized effort to try to prevent, you know, people shooting at each other -- deconflicting is what it's called in

the jargon, I'm sure, of the Pentagon -- and not a wider effort to come to some sort of stabilization plan for the conflict as a whole. I mean, is

that fair to say?

STARR: Well, I think we don't really know the answer to that yet because, from the U.S. point of view, President Trump, still said to be reviewing

proposals, ideas, options, whatever they Pentagon wants to call it, to accelerate the war against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. The mission for

U.S. troops is to fight ISIS. The Turks, the Syrian regime, the Russians, may have a bit of a different view.

So, first, you have to get the U.S., really the Trump administration, to put down its markers, what it is willing to do. And one of the big

unanswered questions still is anybody really willing to take on the notion of safe zones to protect civilians across this area? The U.S. military has

been very reluctant to get into that. It is still something that others in the region very much want to see.

GORANI: Yes. Thank you very much. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, with the very latest on a very complicated situation and an unprecedented

meeting. Thank you.

While the world's attention has been fixated on the fighting in Iraq and Syria, Somalia has been mired in conflict for two and a half decades. It

is one of the world's poorest countries. And on top of the violence, Somalia's drought is pushing the nation, once again, to the brink of


The head of the U.N. is -- sorry, I should say, the head of the U.N. -- yes, there you have him -- Antonio Guterres is in Mogadishu. He's warning

that the world is overlooking this crisis. Drought, the threat of famine and violence, and let's also not forget that Somalia is one of the

countries on President Trump's travel ban list.

CNN David McKenzie has been travelling with the U.N. in Somalia, and he joins us now live from Nairobi, Kenya.

Tell us what you saw inside Somalia.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you saw is the brink of famine, certainly, Hala. We were with the new U.N. Secretary

General, traveling into the country, into Mogadishu, meeting with the new Somali president. And then onto Baidoa, in a region that really is the

epicenter of this hunger.

Drought mixed with conflict and the difficulty to get that food aid into the people that need it is really all compounding this issue. And on top

of all of it, this travel ban has re-added Somalia to the list of these Muslim majority countries that are having an issue, it seems, with

President Trump and his administration.

I spoke to the new Secretary General in one of those displaced camps, and he's passionate saying that there need to be more help for the people of



[15:40:00] ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: It is the dramatic situation of countries like Somalia that create all the conditions

for terrorism to prosper and be a reason it became a global problem as felt everywhere.

MCKENZIE: Speaking of terrorism, Donald Trump has just instilled another travel ban affecting Somalia. Is that helpful way of dealing with the

threat of terrorism?

GUTERRES: I've said, time and again, that countries have the right to protect their borders and to manage them in a responsible way, but that

should not be done with any form of discrimination, in relation to nationality, to religion, or to ethnicity.


MCKENZIE: And the Secretary General went on to say, Hala, that really if you don't help these countries where there is an aspect of terror, you'll

just reinforce the cycle and potentially breed more terror for rich countries, as he put it. More than 6 million people in Somalia are in need

of food aid right now. That's more than half the population of the country -- Hala.

GORANI: And about this drought and its impact on ordinary Somalis, clearly, already living through a very, in some cases, hellish war, I mean,

what happens if aid doesn't arrive in time? What kind of disaster are we looking at here?

MCKENZIE: Well, you know, the U.N. uses this technical calling of a famine as a way to spark also to think. But what the Secretary General said is

that's really a technicality. The last time they had a famine in 2011 in Somalia and in the region, really, more than half the people who died

because of that hunger died before the famine was even announced to the world.


MCKENZIE: So it seems like the United Nations is trying to get ahead of the curb here to get food aid in, but it's very difficult given the

security situation. We had to travel in those armed personnel carriers just to visit an IDP camp right near African Union forces. It's even more

precarious out in the rural areas in the southern part of Somalia.

And what the Secretary General stressed many times over, though, is that they need to have the commitment of the global community, including the

U.S. which is the biggest single donor to the United Nation, despite the fact that Trump administration is threatening to reduce foreign aid --


GORANI: Yes. And we're seeing some of the video your team shot in Somalia during your reporting there. Thanks very much, David.

We want to bring you some pretty explosive claims now from WikiLeaks today. The organization released thousands of purported internal CIA documents.

It claims that they show how the Central Intelligence Agency can hack high tech phones and televisions as well and spied people worldwide.

WikiLeaks says in order to hide operations, the CIA routinely adopted hacking techniques that enabled agents to appear as if they were hackers in

Russia. That's according to the documents that WikiLeaks have done today. The CIA declines to say whether the published documents are genuine.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. The school trying to help child slaves break from their shackles. That story, next.


[15:45:27] GORANI: Well, big sigh of relief for many people wondering what happened to a British backpacker who is safe, but she really went through a

very tough experience. Police say she was held captive for months on a trip crisscrossing Australia's outback.

Police found her the small town of Mitchell in Queensland when the pulled over a car that didn't pay for gas. She was behind the wheel but covered

in scratches. That tipped off police.

They searched the truck, finding her alleged captor in this compartment, believe it or not. He's accused of strangling, chocking, and raping her.

A police spokesman described why she wasn't able to flee.


PAUL HART, INSPECTOR, SOUTH WEST DISTRICT CRIME GROUP: A lot of the areas where she would have been would have been unknown to her, and she wouldn't

have known anyone there. So it would have been difficult for her to make an escape.

We have potentially saved this young girl's life. Given what's happened to her, the extent of what's happening over the period of time, anything might

have transpired.


GORANI: Well, there you have it. Now, in some parts of the world, a happy childhood is not possible. Some children are snatched from their parents

and forced into labor. CNN's Ravi Agrawal introduces us to "Schools4Freedom," where hundreds of former child slaves are educated so

that they can break the shackles of this modern slavery.


RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN INDIA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Meet Sitara. She just loves to dance. That schoolyard game, she more than holds her own. In the

classroom, she is a top student.

Sitara is Hindi for star. It's fitting. She's a shining, success story of a group called "Schools4Freedom."

AGRAWAL (on camera): This is a school of boys and girls who are singing, reciting poetry, enjoying themselves, and you can feel that they have rich

futures ahead of them. When you speak to them though, you learn that some of them are hiding dark pasts that no child and no family should ever

have to go through.

AGRAWAL (voice-over): Just one year ago, Sitara was working at a brick kiln like this one. It was dusty, unforgiving work, she says. It was

bonded debt labor, but let's call it what it really is -- slavery. And it's prevalent across these parts of Uttar Pradesh, an Indian state with

200 million people.

Sitara's parents were enslaved there, too. They haven't forgotten that their own daughter was sucked into bonded labor to help payback their



AGRAWAL (voice-over): They used to beat at the brick kiln, Sitara says. She hated her life then.

This is Chamela, Sitara's mom. She isn't sure how old her daughter is. Thirteen, she reckons. Sitara thinks she's 15. Time blows out here.


AGRAWAL (voice-over): Chamela tears up when she recalls watching her daughter being beaten. What can you do when you're in debt, she says.

A big part of the solution here is awareness and education. And that's the battle being led by people Peggy Callahan. She's the co-founder of

"Voices4Freedom," which runs and sponsors "Schools4Freedom."

AGRAWAL (on camera): How important are these schools for villages like this?

PEGGY CALLAHAN, FOUNDER, VOICES4FREEDOM: They're all-important. They're all-important because the parents will risk everything to try to get their

kids educated. So they will move forward even when they're afraid of the slaveholder. Even when the slaveholder is threatening them, they have the

courage to do what it takes to help free themselves and to get their kids educated.

And because the bottom line, education is the greatest vaccination against slavery all over the world. And it is working miracles here.

AGRAWAL (voice-over): The miracle isn't complete. At the village we visited, Callahan said 84 people have found a way out of bonded labor. A

few others are still trapped. How do they get freed?

Sometimes, they pay off their debts. Sometimes, charities intervene. And sometimes, it can be simple like understanding their rights and just saying


One of the people still enslaved is Pappu. He is just 12. We're not showing his face. We don't want him to get into trouble for talking to us.


AGRAWAL (voice-over): Here, Pappu tells me the masters at the brick kiln come and beat him if he skips a day at work. He shows me his fingers.

They're almost sandpapered by brick. He has cuts, callouses. When he walks, his bare feet betray the scars of his life.

[15:50:11] But they haven't broken his spirit. Pappu tells me he sneaks in an hour a day at the classroom. Sometimes, when the other kids line up to

wash their hands, he joins in.

The children get free, hot lunches at the school. It's a marvel to see these kids fight the odds and still smile. At night, Pappu practices the

alphabet in dim light. He dreams of being a teacher someday.

And here's Sitara again, cooking for the family. She knows her parents need to work late.

Every day, it's hard in this village. Even when they're free, there are a million reasons for these children to just give up, to despair. And yet --

The school is an example for Sitara. The Sitaras are an example to the Pappus. This is what freedom looks like. This is what can be.

Ravi Agrawal, CNN, in rural Uttar Pradesh, India.


GORANI: Well, we're teaming up with young people for a unique student-lead day of action against this type of slavery. March 14th is my freedom day.

These students in Europe told us what freedom means to them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, freedom means having control of my own body and habitat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that freedom is everything. It should not be based on where you're from, what you're doing, or where you're going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means the right to be safe, to be happy, and to be proud.


GORANI: Well, you can also tell us what freedom means to you. You can send your answer via text, photo, or video across social media. And use

the hashtag, "#MyFreedomDay."

I'll be right back.


GORANI: Now, a break from the headlines to bring you something totally different. Ice cream is always a treat, but covered in a sheet of gold and

you have, apparently, a globally sought-after dessert.

Here's Will Ripley.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gold Leaf is a very Japanese cognizant (ph) craft.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kanazawa has a 400 hundred-year relationship with making gold leaf, and Hakuichi is one of

the biggest companies in Japan doing so. But they struck gold, so to speak, when Tatsuya (ph) came up with this.

TATSUYA (ph): It was a very unique product for them, maybe they've never seen before.

RIPLEY (voice-over): He's referring to gold leaf ice cream.

TATSUYA (ph): One day, my assistant bought to me. There were so many lines waiting for the gold leaf ice cream, so I went there. I was so

surprised. We didn't advertise at all.

[15:55:08] RIPLEY (voice-over): It's an ice cream cone that's taking over the Internet. Vanilla soft-serve with an entire sheet of gold. So what

exactly does gold taste like?


RIPLEY (voice-over): Well, at $7 a cone, tempting not to bite into gold. Come rain or snow, this corner shop always has a line.

Whether or not Tatsuya (ph) realized it, he brought in unexpected new life to a perhaps declining trade. But the delicacy of creating gold leaf

remains unchanged.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Tatsunomo (ph) is a shokunin.


RIPLEY (voice-over): There you have it. Decades of expertise and the quiet pursuit of perfection on your next ice cream cone. It's an Instagram

photo worth its weight in gold.


GORANI: And before we leave you, one more story from the world of politics. Some tourists visiting the White House got an unexpected

surprise today.

President Trump himself popped out to say hello to their tour group. It's the first day of White House tours since Mr. Trump took office. The crowd

seemed to enjoy the quick encounter.

Interesting to note. That's a portrait, on the left, of former first lady and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, behind Donald Trump.

There it is. It all happened under her watch fly. Her portrait is hanging there from her time as first lady, by the way, if you are wondering.

That has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow hopefully. "QUEST MEANS

BUSINESS" is next.