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U.S., Turkey And Russia Hold Meeting On Syria; China Is Urging All Sides To Exercise Restraint; International Women's Day Promotes Gender Equality. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 8, 2017 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(HEADLINES)

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm John Vause. Thank you for staying with us. We're now into the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.

SESAY: We're following an attack on a military hospital in Afghanistan's capitol. At least two people were killed and seven are injured.

VAUSE: Initial report say the attackers dressed as medical workers set off an explosion before entering the hospital in Kabul's diplomatic district.

SESAY: Let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh, who joins us now from Beirut. Nick, what's the latest you're hearing about the situation on the ground now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One Afghan official describing the loud blast heard on the outskirts of the hospital potentially a hand grenade. We're talking about a multi- story complicated building full of wounded Afghan soldiers being under a complex attack.

Clearly these attackers aimed to get inside owing to the nature of the noises we are hearing from inside that compound, they do appear to be in an intense gun battle with both police and the Special Forces from the Afghan military that rushed the scene to try to take this on.

But I can't tell you really how at the heart of what should be Afghanistan's secure establishment, this hospital lies. The Sadar Mohammed (inaudible) Building that's huge and right here the U.S. embassy and is slap in the middle of the diplomatic area of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

And this attack comes at a chilling time for the Afghan military itself currently experiencing record casualties, 6,785 dead in the Afghan military and police just last year until November alone according to a U.S. auditor of the Afghan campaign there and over 11,000 injured.

Staggering numbers, way in excess of anything the United States experienced in now what's the longest war in recent history. A deeply troubling time and deeply symbolic target slap at the heart of the capital here at a time what would normally be considered to be beginning the fighting season in Afghanistan.

A crude term for what happens in March when the weather warms up and the tempo of violence increases. It never really stopped this winter. And one important thing to remember, too, we see a symbolic and pro being (inaudible) attack like this at a time when the same U.S. watchdog for the Afghan war reports now that about 57 percent of the country is under what they call uncontested control of the government, a third uncontested, and a tenth of it under Taliban control.

These are chilling numbers indeed and this attack itself perhaps an example of how confident Taliban militants feel at the heart of the Afghan capital.

SESAY: Chilling indeed. Nick Paton Walsh joining us from Beirut with the very latest there. Thank you, Nick.

VAUSE: Wikileaks says the CIA's most advanced cyber spying tools have been stolen and are now in the hands of criminals and foreign spies. They include the ability to infiltrate people's cell phones, tablets, computers, even smart televisions, anytime, anywhere in the world.

SESAY: Wikileaks published what it says are internal CIA documents Tuesday detailing the agency's techniques. The CIA would not say whether the documents are authentic.

VAUSE: Let's bring in CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen. He is live this hour in Moscow. So Fred, this Wikileaks release seems to gift to the kremlin when you look at the timing and the details about CIA using Russian malware to cover its tracks.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It certainly does seem like it. And you're right. It's a very comprehensive leak that Wikileaks put forward. Obviously, the CIA at this point in time not saying whether or not they believe that it is authentic.

But there's one program that was specifically focused in this called umbrage. That's the one that you were talking about that is apparently able to steal from malware. They say some of it was made in the Russian federations, and also actually able to mask the tracks of those who are using it and possibly pretend for things like the installation of malware for hacks to seem as though they came from somewhere else.

Obviously that is something that some folks here are jumping on saying, look, maybe this was they called a red flag operation, maybe it wasn't the Russians after all who were behind these DNC hacks that happened during the campaigns in 2016.

There's one very senior lawmaker, John, who came forward, his name is Alexi (inaudible). He's used to be the head of the Russian Foreign Relations Committee. He's now a senator from (inaudible) region. He says in context of the new revelations, the Russian hacker scandal looks like a diversion. That's what he says.

[02:05:00]Called to hide huge global hacking operations by the United States. So that's what he's saying. Obviously still very early times here in Moscow.

But we're already seeing some of these reactions casting doubt on some of the things that we've already heard out of the intelligence community in the United States out of a lot of politicians in the United States, of course, squarely blaming Russia for the DNC hacks that happened last year -- John.

VAUSE: And to be clear, the information in this Wikileaks doesn't actually clear Russia of any involvement in hacking the DNC, but it certainly muddies the waters.

PLEITGEN: Yes. It certainly does. You're right. It does not say, look, the Russians didn't do this, but it certainly does seem to cast a shadow of doubt on whether you can say with certainty, at least from the information that's out there in the public, whether or not Russia would have been behind all of this.

Now, as you can imagine, all of this setting forth the storm already of commentary on social media in the media as well here and in other places. On the one hand saying look, yes, it does muddy the waters and on the other hand calling the question the role of Wikileaks itself.

Which, of course, some of the U.S. perceive to be an organization that might be fairly close to Russia. Maybe not institutionally, however, seemingly they haven't criticized the Russian federation or put forward any leaks from Russia.

It all has been pertaining to the U.S. government, especially the government of the Obama administration. So yes, there is already a big discussion, certainly has the potential to muddy the waters, but at the same time, of course, Wikileaks itself under scrutiny as well -- John.

VAUSE: OK. Fred Pleitgen, senior international correspondent there live in Moscow. Fred, thanks for being with us.

Let's bring in the former director of the National Cyber- Security Center, Rod Beckstrom. He is joining us now from Santa Cruz, California. Rod, thanks for being with us. Is the bigger headline the CIA's ability to hack your phone and computer or the fact there appears to be there's a major security breach at the agency?

ROD BECKSTROM, FORMER CEO, ICANN: The first thing is as experts know, anything electronic can be hacked and anything connected to a network is extremely vulnerable. Everything is being connected to networks. So no surprise there that these devices can be hacked.

I think the surprise for many people is to see this kind of alleged treasure-trove of information of exploits being spilled out of the CIA, and that's big news, and potentially it's very deleterious and unfortunate for American national security. SESAY: Rod, another question in the minds of many is whether this kind of activity as laid out in the Wikileaks papers, whether it exceeds the CIA's mandate.

BECKSTROM: Well, you know, that's a good question. So the CIA's job is to gather overseas intelligence for the United States national security interest and to monitor as appropriate foreign parties in the United States of America for foreign agents and diplomats, et cetera. And that is the proper role of the CIA.

If these tools are being used for that purpose then it's entirely appropriate and it's necessary for them to fulfill their mission. Now historically, the CIA has, of course, focused on what we call human intelligence, which means agents talking to sources of information and gathering data poignant together.

In this case, this is really a lot of digital exploits or what we would call signals intelligence, which is more typically the NSA role.

VAUSE: Rod, we're also reading in the Wikileaks file that the CIA uses this malware, which covers it tracks and makes its hacks look like it could be done by other foreign entities, in particular, Russia. That has a lot of political connotations with it.

BECKSTROM: Sure. And you know, the reality is that's on its operandi for all intelligence organizations worldwide that they seek to gather information, cover their tracks, and use arts of deception. It's what we would call counterintelligence activities. I don't think there's any great surprise there. That's part of the trade craft every major nation state uses in their digital intelligence operations.

SESAY: Rod, the very fact that there are vulnerabilities in iPhones and other devices of the like, really begs a question of tech companies' roles in all of this. Does it not?

BECKSTROM: Well, it may or may not. The reality is that the companies don't have to cooperate to have their hardware hacked. In many cases it's because whoever the hackers are, whether they're working for the government or they are private parties hired by the government have found their own ways to break into the technology.

I mean, you're right in theory that it could have been done by employees within the company putting in a back door or tools and hooks for government parties to leverage and use, but I would bet in most cases that this is done simply by hacker experts that know how to break into devices.

[02:10:07]VAUSE: Rod, thanks for being with us. We appreciate your insights.

SESAY: Thank you, Rod. All right, we're joined now by political analyst, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, pollster, Justin Wallin, and senior political writer for "La Opinion," Pilar Marrero.

VAUSE: OK, thank you all for being with us. OK, during the election campaign, no one loved Wikileaks more than Candidate Donald Trump. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This just came out. Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks. Did you see where on Wikileaks it was announced that they were paying protesters to be violent, $1,500? Did you see another one, another one came in today, this Wikileaks is like a treasure-trove -- I love reading those Wikileaks --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. We get the idea. Justin, President Trump said he loved Wikileaks even more now. Essentially the timing of this is incredible, and it's also given him another stick to beat the intelligence community with, right?

JUSTIN WALLIN, POLLSTER, J. WALLIN OPINION RESEARCH: Yes. I think one of the biggest takeaways of this is that there's a massive war between the president of the United States and the intelligence community, which in many ways is unprecedented, at least in recent history.

So yes, he definitely has an opportunity, and I doubt based on his personality and what we know of it that he will hold back from that opportunity to really beat up the intelligence agencies.

Because it's a massive leak and there are very serious repercussions for these sorts of things. It's a serious issue and the intelligence community has to take responsibility for it.

SESAY: Peter, to bring you in here, this investigation into the Russian interference in this election is gaining a pace. It's intensifying, and then here we are now with a Wikileaks dump. Some are looking at the timing of this and asking questions saying is this potentially a get out of jail card for Russia. How do you see it?

PILAR MARRERO, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, "LA OPINION": Well, it's interesting. It's pretty obvious that the political world has been robbed by the Russia possible ties with the campaign of Donald Trump, but at the same time, it has been distracted by all these other issues that the president is bringing up.

You know, the supposed tapping by President Obama, et cetera, I would think we already know about. But this brings the attention back to the role that Wikileaks had during the campaign, and a potential collision or cooperation with the Russians and the president of the United States, which is what bothers and worries a lot of people.

And that the Republicans in Congress are resisting to investigate, but I think the public, I think it's something that the public wants to know. I don't know if the president will be so enamored with Wikileaks in this case or in future cases.

If Wikileaks decides to leak something else that they may have about the president, it's been suggested that they may have information about his campaign, that is compromising or of himself when he went to Russia that is compromising. So, you know, it's almost like a soap opera that keeps developing.

SESAY: It is.

VAUSE: The former director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said earlier on CNN that the president seems more worried about political leaks than Wikileaks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: As we've seen President Trump is very concerned about leaks that indicate what's going on in the White House or what's going on within his administration. What Wikileaks is doing and continues to do is to leak the most sensitive information about how our intelligence operations conduct their business.

So I would think that if the president is truly concerned about leaks he would not support Wikileaks, nor would he support any other kind of intelligence leaks that damage our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Earl, to you, is Secretary Panetta right?

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think he's saying you can't have it both ways. On one hand, President Trump is saying we're going after leaks, going after leaks. It's damaging us. It's damaging us in our administration. Too many things are going out. There's no accountability.

On the other hand, we just saw the Candidate Trump, not President Trump, proudly praising Wikileaks when the shoe was on the other foot. So you know, it's really a question of do you support what Wikileaks is doing when it's advantageous to you but at the same time are you critical of it when it's not advantageous to you.

That's the problem that President Trump has and by the way, it's not going to go away. Wikileaks has been around for a while. They've been leaking a lot of information, very sensitive and classified. Some questionable. Some debatable, but nonetheless, it's grabbing the headlines.

It's grabbing media attention, and obviously grabbing the attention of President Trump. We're going to have to see how it plays out in terms of when leaks come out that damage him, will he praise Wikileaks then?

[02:15:00]SESAY: Justin, I want to pick up on something you brought up. You talked about the schism between the president and the intelligence agencies. Big picture question, I mean, this dump by Wikileaks really does add to this notion of mistrust that you can't trust the intelligence agencies. I mean, where does this go? I mean, what is the potential fallout here?

WALLIN: Right. I think right now the problem is massive there in the intelligence community. This isn't a Wikileaks problem. This is an intelligence problem. This is an own your own home kind of problem. We have people who are vested with the trust of keeping secrets that basically keep all of us safe.

There are many, many bad folks out there with naughty intentions toward us and would like nothing better than to see large swaths of our population dead or put to the side. That's a serious business, and the amount of things floating around that reveal, really remarkably sophisticated information, it's terrifying actually.

VAUSE: Let's go to the wiretap allegation from the president because it seems even some of Mr. Trump's most ardent supporters in Congress are now trying to back away from the president.

DEVIN NUNES, U.S. HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The president is a neophyte to politics. He's been doing this a little over a year. I think a lot of the things he says, you guys sometimes take literally. Sometimes he doesn't have 27 lawyers and staff looking at what he does, which is, I think at times the refreshing and at times can lead us to have to be sitting at a press like this answering questions that you guys are asking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That was Devin Nunes, the man in the House of Representatives, who is in charge with the House Intelligence investigation into the wiretapping, he's actually suggesting we shouldn't take the president seriously or treat his words literally.

HUTCHINSON: Surprising. That's what you hear from Democrats all the time. I mean, they pound away. Anything that comes out of President Trump's mouth, we have to discount because it's partisan politics. However, on the other hand, sometimes partisan politics can be true.

So we don't really know. I think really at the end of the day, it is true that intelligence, intelligence is need. Intelligence is very important, and intelligence is vital to our country's security. But it's got to be responsible intelligence backed up with some real facts and support, and verifiable.

I think at this point in time, they really have really a conundrum in Congress. Do we investigate? How do we investigate? Who do we investigate? What committees do we assign this to? I have to tell you they really have the tiger by the tail here.

SESAY: A lot to get to. Let's shift onto Obamacare. President Trump thinks people will be very happy with the long awaited Republican plan to replace Obamacare, but as soon as the bill was revealed Tuesday, critics were all over it.

Conservative Republicans dismiss it as Obamacare Lite saying it doesn't go far enough in cutting the current plan, and we still don't know some of the crucial details about it including how many people would lose coverage and how much would it cost? President Trump says he's behind it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties, I think really that we're going to have something that's going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Pilar, to you, Republicans have been good at repeal. They voted to repeal Obamacare 60 times. Why aren't they ready with an acceptable replacement?

MARRERO: Well, we're going to find out. I think the president many times offered that he would repeal and present or they would repeal and present a plan that was much better, that would cover, I remember the president saying something like would cover more people, better plans for cheaper money.

It's almost like it was a magic wand that they were going to use and now they're finding out it's not so easy. That health care as the president put it a few days ago, it's really complicated, and they find themselves in the same situation almost in a way that the Democrats found themselves back when Obama administration started.

They had the Congress and they had the majority in both houses of Congress. They had the president, and it was still hard to pass a health care law. In this case I think the key for most people is going to be am I going to lose my coverage? How much is it going to cost me? What's going to be the results of this replacement?

And so far we don't know because they have put forth a replacement on a fast track in Congress without the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office. So we don't know what this plan is going to do, but activists are telling us the analysis shows there's a lot of people who are going to lose coverage.

SESAY: Very quickly, I want to get to the notion of the cost of all this. Many people are asking that question. Republican Jason Chaffetz suggesting that, you know, when it comes to the issue of cost, maybe some Americans could go without some of their luxuries. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:20:11]REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: U.S. Well, we're getting rid of the individual mandate. We're getting rid of those things that people said that they don't want. And you know what? Americans have choices, and they have to make a choice. Maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just lover and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They have to make those decisions himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Earl, Mr. Chaffetz taking some heat for that. HUTCHINSON: Well, here's the problem that Republicans have. Any time you talk about repeal and replace, you have 21 million to 22 million Americans that signed up under Obamacare. Not all of them are in California. Democrats, liberals, not all of them in New York, liberals, Democrats.

Many of them are conservative and working people. Many of them are in rural areas, blue collar workers. Many of them are constituents of Republicans. That's why it's taken so long because they're feeling the pressure.

How do we get rid of Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, which is more accurate to say at the same time without jeopardizing our base? Because a lot of them support that, and they depend on it. That's the real problem. It's a political issue.

INVJ We'll leave it there. We're out of time. Earl, Justin, and Pilar, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

Still to come, we head to Somalia with the U.N. secretary general for a closer look at how President Trump's travel ban is complicating famine relief efforts.

SESAY: Plus "Game of Thrones" actor and father, Nicolai (inaudible) joins us to talk about his pledge for International Women's Day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. Somalia is one of six countries on U.S. President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

VAUSE: Many experts including the U.N. secretary general says that could complicate efforts to fight terrorism in the country's worsening famine. CNN's David McKenzie explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flying above droughts stricken terrain where Somalis fleeing al Qaeda linked terrorist now fear famine the most.

(on camera): There's no doubt that Somalia is insecure. We are in an armoured personnel carrier right now, but the new U.N. secretary general says that's no reason to ignore a looming humanitarian crisis.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: It is the dramatic situation of countries like Somalia that create all the conditions situation for terrorism to prosper and terrorism became a global problem as swept everywhere.

MCKENZIE: Donald Trump instilled another travel ban affecting Somalia. Is that a helpful way of dealing with the threat of terrorism?

[02:25:02]GUTERRES: I have 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 (voice-over): Here survival is the only concern. This boy is tired, gaunt. I fled with my children more than 100 miles on foot, she says. My one child cried the whole way, she says, little Rakma (ph) is exhausted.

A famine hasn't been declared yet, but that means little to the sick and the hungry at the regional hospital. The U.N. says more than 6 million people desperately need food assistance. That's half the Somali population.

The United States is the U.N.'S biggest donor, but the secretary general faces a White House that's threatened to slash U.N. funding and foreign aid budgets. The new Somali president was given a "Make Somalia Great" hat in his first meeting with the U.S. ambassador, but now a travel ban.

(on camera): Does it weaken the relationship?

MOHAMED ABDULLAH MOHAMED, SOMALI PRESIDENT: It's something we have to work on. We have to work with the U.S. government to see that this ban must be lifted.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): His country in need once again of an international community he hopes is still willing to help. David McKenzie, CNN, Somalia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Time for a quick break. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is up next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, top military leaders from the United States, Turkey and Russia have a rare meeting with a common goal pushing ISIS and other terror groups out of Syria.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:15] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour, WikiLeaks claims the CIA is using high-tech hacking tools that can spy on anyone cell phones, computers, even smart T.V.s. And it says those techniques have been stolen, potentially in the hands of criminals and foreign spies. The CIA won't comment on whether the documents published by WikiLeaks are authentic.

VAUSE: The U.N. Security Council takes on North Koreas ballistic missile launches in a close session Wednesday. The meeting comes after a condemned Pyongyang for violating resolutions. The council says North Korea's action increase the risk of a regional arms race.

SESAY: Iraq's prime minister has a message for ISIS in Western Mosul, "Surrender or be killed." Haider Al-Abadi met with troops who recaptured key government building and a bridge there on Monday. It's the first time those buildings have been under Iraqi control since 2014.

VAUSE: Turkey hosted a rare high level meeting between military leaders from the United States and Russia aimed at defeating ISIS and other terror groups in Syria.

SESAY: Turkey's prime minister says the countries must coordinate so they don't interfere in each other's operations and avoid friendly fire incidents.

VAUSE: Of all of this CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now. Colonel, good to speak with you. How do you see this meeting in the military chase from Russia and the United State? Is this the start of the United States working alongside Russia a lot more closely to try and defeat ISIS in Syria?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. It has the potential. I think this is a positive step. For the first time, we actually have the primary sponsors of the combatant groups in Syria sitting down and actually discussing how we're going to go after ISIS. And that's been the goal all along is, how do we fight ISIS?

But over the last several months, what is happening is although these three groups are fighting ISIS, they spend a lot of time fighting each other which is just counterproductive to the over all mission. So, for the first time, we've got the Turks, the Americans and the Russians. So, these are the three major's sponsors.

The Russians is supporting of course the Syrian government. The church is supporting the free Syrian army, the rebels. And of course the United States is supporting this Kurdish-Arab group called the Syrian Democratic Front.

And I think it's a good thing that they're all getting everybody back focussed on ISIS. This does represent a shift in U.S. position though, because whereas in the past we wanted to fight ISIS. Yes. But we also wanted the removal of the Bashar al-Assad regime. If we're going to be talking to the Russians, that's probably going to go by the waste side.

VAUSE: But of all of those is moving towards an offensive to take Raqqa away from ISIS, its self-declared capital day in Syria. As you mention, one of the issues is the involvement of the Kurdish fighters. And according to Turkey's prime minister, it's a big issue that needs to be dealt with. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BINALI YILDIRIM, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have told our interlocutors that they fight against dash. One cannot cooperate with groups which have an agenda that is against Syria's unity and integrity. Therefore, it is unfortunate, that some of our allies have chosen terrorist organizations as partners such as YPG and PYD which share PKKs nature. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, how will these plays out especially given the fact that the Kurds are probably the best most effective fighters in Syria against ISIS and as you say the other ones backed by the United States.

FRANCONA: Well, here's the situation on the ground. It has changed radically in the last two weeks, because the Turkish led Frank Frischer (ph) in army has been cut off from their front lines with ISIS. They're no longer confronting ISIS. They have been cut off by the Syrian regime and the Kurds.

So, the Turks have really been marginalized. And they're now, they're really pushing back. So, what we have are the Kurdish groups that are sponsored by the United States are only within about five to six miles of Raqqa. Whereas, the Turks who really want to lead this assault are over 100 miles away.

John, it would take them months to fight their way through to get to Raqqa. So, I think the United States is looking at this, there's a time and distance factor. We've got the Kurds right there. They're capable with American support of taking Raqqa. Let's liberate Raqqa now rather than let this people just fester for moths under the tyranny of ISIS.

VAUSE: Is that something that will be worked out at this meeting that had in Turkey essentially which group will go in, which group in fact liberate Raqqa?

FRANCONA: Well, I think so. And it's going to be very important point. And the Turks are adamant. They want some role on this. They've come up with a bunch of ideas, one of them most. So, how about United States opening up a corridor through Kurdish territory, I think that's a nonstarter. The Turks are desperate to be involved in this.

And they've been very effectively marginalized by the Russians and the United States. So, I think we're trying to come up with some way where we can assuage the Turks yet let the Kurds retake Raqqa. They're in the best position to do it. But they don't have the fire power. They're going to need a lot of U.S. support. And that's what you're seeing here. You're seeing a lot of more American army.

[02:35:13] We got army rangers going in. The 75th Ranger Regiment has deployed units there. And in a remarkable display, you see these striker vehicles rolling down the road flying the American flag. We've not seen that before.

VAUSE: Right. Yes. And if the U.S. president and the Pentagon's we believe -- it seems it could be a greater involvement of U.S. troops in the weeks ahead. Colonel, thank you. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

SESAY: Now, well, let's update you on the developing story we're following for you in Kabul. At least two people are dead, seven injured in an insurgents attack on a military hospital in the after Afghan capitol.

VAUSE: Early report say the gunmen were dressed as medical workers. They set off explosions before entering the hospital in Kabul's diplomatic district. Afghanistan Special Forces are on the scene. There is an ongoing gun battle.

SESAY: The story we will continue to follow for you.

Now, Hungary will soon start detaining asylum seekers in container camps along its border. Lawmakers approved the controversial legislation Tuesday. It means the Asylum Seekers will be kept in the camps and unable to move around Hungary while the applications are processed.

VAUSE: Hungary's prime minister says he's trying to protect the country from a Trojan horse to terrorism, but the U.N. calls the move illegal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CECILE POUILLY, UNHCR SPOKESWOMAN: In fact is, it means that every Asylum seeker including children, will be detained in shipping containers surrounded high razor wire fence at the border for extended periods of time. This new law violates Hungary's international obligations under international law and E.U. law.

(END VIDIEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, Hungary is also building a high-tech fence along the border with Serbia with electroshock and surveillance systems to stop undocumented migrants.

VAUSE: When we come back, some expert say the THAAD missile defense system is like a bullet shooting another bullet. We'll explain how it's expected to work in South Korea in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:40:35] VAUSE: The U.N. Security Council will meet in a few hours to talk about North Korea in a statement, Tuesday. It said North Korea's missile -- ballistic missile tests were a violation of a number of resolutions.

SESAY: Meanwhile, China is demanding the U.S. and South Korea stop deployment of THAAD missile defense system. In the news conference, China's foreign minister says it undermines the country's security. He also urged North and South Korea to deescalate the situation.

(BEGIN VEDIO CLIP)

WANG YI, CHINES FOREIN MINISTER (through translator): The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way. The question is, are the two sides really ready for a head on collision? Our priority now is to flash the red light and apply brakes on both trains.

(END VEDIO CLIP)

VAUSE: The U.S. military has been using the THAAD system in Guam and Hawaii for years.

SESAY: CNN Tom Foreman explains how it all works.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPODENT: This missile defense system is a state of the art array of vehicles. Typically, nine of them, most of them are launchers, but they also have a couple of command centers and they have an advanced radar system which both acquires the targets and helps guide these missile killing missiles toward that target.

About 70 missiles would be with all these trucks out here, and each one would be like this, about 20 feet long, weigh about 2,000 pounds. This is the booster down here that gets it going. And once it gets closer to the target, this part will break away leaving only the front up here. You have some advanced electronics and infrared system that will enshroud in flight so it can seek out the target very specifically and the control system that helps guide it in.

Collectively, all this is called the kill vehicle. The range on it, not too bad, across the ground, it can go about 125 miles away and about 16 miles high. Now, does it explode when it gets there? No. Not at all. What it does is simply intercept and ram into the target. Look at this video for a minute.

Bear in mind, when this thing takes off and it's meeting up with an incoming missile, a threat out there, the incoming missile may very well be traveling close to 4,000 miles an hour. So, when they hit, that's the result. Military analysts say, you can't really use this so effectively against great big ICBMs, but for short range and middle range missiles, the kind South Korea might be worried about from North Korea, yes, it's got to pretty good record.

VAUSE: Now, thanks for Tom Foreman for that report, OK.

An endangered white rhino named Vince is dead after poachers broken to a wildlife reserve near Paris.

SESAY: They killed the Rhino, cut off one of its horns with a chain saw and partially sawed the other horn. Two other rhinos were not hurt. Rhino horns worth tens of thousands of dollars on the black market and some people believe they are mythical or medical properties.

VAUSE: Even though they don't.

SESAY: Even thought, it's been said lots and lots of times.

VAUSE: Yes. OK. Up next here in honor of International Women's Day, we'll be joined by "Game of Thrones" actor and father of two, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The pledge he made to his daughters, right after this.

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[02:45:57] KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Hello everyone. I'm CNN meteorologist, Karen Maginnis. This is your WEATHER WATCH. Topsy-turvy weather all across United States, where fires have turned deadly all the way from the Lone Star State of Texas into Oklahoma as well as into Kansas, also a very large fire burning across South Western Florida. And in sharp contrast to that, it looks like a shot of winter returns it across in Northern Tier States. But gusty winds will accompany the weather system that pulls in across the Northern Tier States into the Great Lakes. Could see wind gusts on the order of 60 miles per hour or 100 kilometers per hour.

Dry weather continuing and still keeping that elevated fire risk, meaning it is tinder dry and the winds whipping things around, going to be very difficult for firefighters to get a handle on those fires and blazes, huge acres or hectares being burned there. Denver 18 sunshine, for Hine Winnipeg minus 11, Chicago 10, don't get used to those temperatures. It's going to be dramatically cooler over the next several days. Belize City, some afternoon thunderstorms is expected in 28 degrees. And we will see Lima Peru with 29 and for Bulim 29 degrees and thunderstorms.

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SESAY: International Women's Day is being celebrated around the world. In the U.S., women are being urged to skip work for a day without a woman on Wednesday, while at some schools they didn't cancel classes for the day.

VAUSE: The theme to this year's Women's Day is, "Be bold for change calling for a more gender equal world". Rallies will be held to celebrate the many achievements of women and other marches will protest domestic violence. Also show support for abortion rights.

SESAY: Well, joining us now is actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. He's best known for his role as Jaime Lannister in the HBO series "Game of Thrones," but he's also a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme. And in honor of International Women's Day, Nikolaj teamed up with UNDP and started a petition to fight for gender equality. Nikolaj, so good to have you with us.

NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU, ACTOR "GAME OF THRONES": Well, thank you for having me. Good morning. Good evening.

SESAY: So, good morning. Good evening. Where did the idea for this petition come from?

COSTER-WALDAU: Well, the idea is that, as you said, I'm a goodwill ambassador for the UNDP. And we have these 17 global goals that we're trying to promote and spread the word on. And then, goal number five is gender equality. And today is International Women's Day. I'm a father and I have two daughters.

And that, you know, I'm very much aware that I live in a part of the world. And my daughters grow up in a part of the world, where they have their rights protected. And we have a very high level of gender equality in Denmark. And so, they can, you know, go out and pursue their dreams and when that time comes. But obviously we want that to be the case for every girl and every woman around the world. And sadly, that's not the case today. And you have, you know, the basic -- it's about human rights, really. Basic human rights like education. Half a billion women can read. And 1 in 16 million girls are denied the right to education. One hundred fifty-five countries around the world have laws that discriminate against women. And that's not right. And it's in all in our interests to change that. So, this is a very simple pledge that you can go online and take. And as a father, as anyone and just say I support women's rights. And I believe that's important and because I do.

[02:49:59] SESAY: Yes. You know, you made the point, it's a very important point that, you know, it's being due from Denmark. It's a progressive nation. The question is, how do you make this message, this message of male participation when it comes to the empowerment of women and girls? How do you make that message resonate in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan?

COSTER-WALDAU: Well, I think, you know, there's no one magic bullet. There's no one way you could just do this. I think if you have to accept this is a small little steps, baby steps all the way. But I also think that we have a lot of work to do even in our part of the world to educate also men. And that we have to understand that we are -- and, you know, what I like about the 17 global goals is that they're global.

And we have to understand that we are all in this together. And that my freedom and my rights have less value if you don't have those rights as well. And we have some massive global challenges. And the only way to solve them is that it we'll able to participate. So, we in our part of the world has that we have a huge responsibility to stand up and try to help less fortunate countries.

SESAY: Let me ask you this. You're doing this great work with UNDP as a goodwill ambassador. While you're also on the hit show "Game of Thrones" which has faced criticism as you know, for the violent treatment of some of its female characters.

COSTER-WALDAU: Yes.

SESAY: How do you reconcile those two realities?

COSTER-WALDAU: Well, I think you have to accept the premise. I'm not sure I accept the premise. I think the women on "Game of Thrones" are very powerful, very much empowered. But they're also reflecting, you know, it's a story. And I think it's important that stories reflect the reality of the world and not just create some, you know, illusion of the world. And the fact is in this world we live in, women are, you know, are not empowered, you know. There is a huge gap in the gender equality that we have to fix. And I don't think you necessarily fix it by making movies where that doesn't resemble the world we live in.

SESAY: Could this -- sorry. Go ahead.

COSTER-WALDAU: No, no. You go ahead.

SESAY: The -- thank you. The petition that you have launched with UNDP, what is your -- what's your metric for gauging its success?

COSTER-WALDAU: I mean -- I think these are -- this is very difficult to, you know, how do you look at the success. We have a hope that we will get to 30,000 signatures. That's what we start out with. This is all about -- the global goal is my job as a goodwill ambassador is to create some kind of discussion, to raise awareness of these things. I have no illusion that my participation will change the world of anything like that. This is all about just trying to put the spotlight on some important issues. And then, hopefully people to make up their own minds if they think it's valid and it's important.

SESAY: And final question before I let you go.

COSTER-WALDAU: Sure.

SESAY: Obviously having the platform that you have. You're approached by a lot of different organizations for lots of different causes. Why did you choose this? Why is this the one that you decided to stand by?

COSTER-WALDAU: Well, gender equality, you know, I have two daughters. And I love them. I'm very proud of them. And I want them to be able to enjoy the rights that their friends have. And I want that woman and girls around the world to enjoy the same rights that my daughters do. So, that's very important. And of course in the UNDP the United Nations, I strongly believe in that as an institution. And that it's key that we all in this world stand together. And to solve these huge problems we face.

SESAY: Well, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, we hope you get far more than the 30,000 signatures. And thank you for speaking to us. We appreciate it.

COSTER-WALDAU: Thank you so much for having me.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: CNN is teaming up with young people around the world for a unique student led day of action against modern day slavery, with the launch of "My Freedom Day" on March 14th. Driving My Freedom Day is this simple question. What does freedom mean to you?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means that you have the right to do what you want to do, not what anyone else wants you to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, freedom means the ability to be all that you can be. It also means fighting for the freedom of others so that they too can be free to be all that they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom for me is being myself without anyone's permission. (END VIDEO TAPE)

VAUSE: So, send us your answer by text, photo or video across social media. Please use the #MyFreedomDay. OK. Depending on your politics, you either love it or you hate it. But regardless, Alec Baldwin's impersonation of Donald Trump may not be around for much longer.

SESAY: That's right, the access betrayal of the president gain status in night live. Its best rating in six years, but the gig was only supposed to last until the election. And Baldwin told the television show "Extra", he's not sure how much longer people will take it since the tweeter in chief was never really amused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Trump is overwhelmingly lacks any kind of sportsmanship. He remains bitter and angry. And he won't look at me when I go you won. His policies aside what you can hate, I thought he would have just relaxed and said, "Hey man." You know, there's a style the president has to have. And I think the maliciousness of this White House has a real -- has people very worried, which is why I might not do it much longer by the way, that very impersonation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: A very serious Alec Baldwin there. And with the president not attending the White House correspondent sooner, Baldwin says he would actually be willing to fill in, if he was asked, but he has to say, no.

SESAY: All right then, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. The news continues with Max Foster in London after a short break. I can't talk.

SESAY: This is CNN.

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