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Students Use Theater to Highlight Plight of Child Trafficking Victims; Republicans Push Health Care Bill Through First Hurdle in House; U.S. Marines Deployed to Syria. 10:00-11:00a ET

Aired March 9, 2017 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:16] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Sources tell CNN, U.S. Marines are on the ground in

Syria getting set to join the fight against ISIS. Details for you this hour from the Pentagon and a live report from the region.

Also coming up this hour, clearing a hurdle on The Hill. We look at what the first Republican win for their health care plan means in practice.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Theater and art is one of the most powerful ways to show people

what is hidden.


ANDERSON: The power of performance, how teens are using theater to raise awareness of modern day slavery, a special report from right here in Abu


7:00 p.m. here in Abu Dhabi. Hello and welcome. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

U.S. marines have deployed to a second Middle Eastern country. U.S. officials tell CNN they arrived in Syria with artillery to support Arab and

Kurdish troops fighting ISIS.

Now, they join around 100 U.S. army rangers already deployed in the north of the country. Those rangers have a very visible presence aiming to deter


American officials say U.S.-backed local forces in the region are getting ready to attack the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, its self-declared capital.

Now, in Iraq, several hundred marines are part of the fight to recapture Mosul from the terror group there.

Well, from Irbil in northern Iraq, senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman covering the push there against ISIS, and our Pentagon

correspondent Barbara Starr is in Washington for you. Barbara, how many marines are we talking about and what is their role as far as you

understand it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's take it back. First, that you were talking about any U.S. troops that are in Iraq out in

the field really are limited and bound by the rules of providing training, assistance, and advice. Some special forces, obviously, helping assisting

the Iraqi forces in calling in air strikes, helping them with targeting. But again, under the rules of assistance.

Across the border in Syria now, we know that marines have gone in with this artillery, the

Pentagon not saying how many, because it's a security issue to say exactly how many are there. But the last time they did this in Iraq, it was a few

hundred marines that went in with an artillery unit. It's being called assistance, support, whatever you will. The idea is that artillery in

Syria will provide covering fire as local forces advance on Raqqa - Becky.

ANDERSON: Barbara, would this deployment, this new deployment in Syria need to have been sanctioned by President Donald Trump?

STARR: Well, I think one can assume safely he knows about it. The White House would have been told.

Now technically, and this is a very fine point, the marines were already in the region, so there was authority by the commander in the region to move

them wherever he saw necessary. But it's no small matter to put U.S. marines on the ground not a on the ground in Syria in a very difficult

situation, just like those 100 army rangers.

So, yeah, the White House would have been informed, Defense Secretary James Mattis, whatever the technical rules are, they would have known, they would

have given the thumbs up to do this because they are also contemplating sending more forces into Syria in the coming days and

weeks. We're told no final decision yet on that.

ANDERSON: And reports suggesting that this U.S.-backed alliance of Arabs and Kurds expected to launch an assault on this self-declared ISIS capital

of Raqqa in the coming weeks. Do we have any further details on that?

STARR: Well, you know, it's no secret. In a way, it has already begun. These forces have begun to isolate the areas around Raqqa and limit the

flow of ISIS to be able to get into Raqqa and re-enforce it or to escape from Raqqa.

Yesterday, a U.S. defense official told journalists that that were seeing ISIS fighters trying to get out of the city. They have very limited

ability to do that, so the U.S. thinks that's good, that the isolation is working, and that they have intelligence, they say, that IEDs, tunnels, all

kinds of obstacles are being laid in Raqqa. It's a very typical ISIS tactic that when they think that opposition forces are coming at them.

[10:05:27] ANDERSON: Ben, we are told, then, that this deployment of U.S. troops in Syria comes as no surprise, to a certain extent, military

commanders have been reportedly looking at accelerating the capabilities there for some time.

I know gains have been made against the enemy ISIS in Mosul. Just how significant are these successes on the ground close to where you are?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are significant. What we have seen is that since this offensive began, Becky, about two-and-a-

half weeks ago, that Iraqi forces have managed to take half of western Mosul. And if you go

back to the operation that began on the 17th of October, essentially three- quarters of Mosul has been cleared of ISIS. They're now - Iraqi special forces and the federal police the old city, which is considered, or it's

anticipated will be where ISIS has really dug in deep. So the fighting has been intense.

But certainly what we have seen in the last two-and-a-half weeks, it is relatively dramatic progress when you compare it to the long three-month

slog that it took to retake the eastern part of the city. But it's coming at a very high price. We - the Iraqi government

doesn't put out casualty figures about it's own forces, but what we're seeing, what we've - in terms of just visually, what you can see is

that they've taken a lot of casualties and not only that, because of the intensity of the bombardment by Iraqi forces, by coalition aircraft on

western Mosul, there's a high probability that many civilian casualties have occurred as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben, you know, this battlefield well. You are in Iraqi. We have been talking

Syria in the fight against ISIS there, the border between the two countries of course, the group doesn't recognize. Are we looking at their demise at

this point?

WEDEMAN: I think we're looking at the beginning of the beginning of beginning of the end of their demise. Certainly, what we have seen since

the height of ISIS's power that they have lost about 65 percent of the territory they controlled. In Mosul, one, according to Pentagon officials,

they have lost half of their fighters, killed most of them.

So - and their sources of income - smuggled oil and whatnot, tax revenues, they have been cut

dramatically as well. But they still hold significant areas of Syria and Iraq. In Iraq, for instance, they control the town of Hawijah (ph) just

south of Kirkuk. They control the town of Tel Afar, halfway between Mosul and the Syrian border.

In Syria, they control large parts of the city of Deir ez-Zor. They control Raqqa, the countryside around it. So, they're definitely on the

back foot. They're being pushed back. They're losing revenue, they're losing territory, they're losing men, apparently fewer people are willing

to volunteer to join ISIS.

But in the long-run, ISIS will remain a threat, because they can do what they did yesterday in the town of Hajej (ph) in Salahudeen Province where

several suicide bombers went to a wedding party here in Iraq and killed more than 20 people. So they will remain a threat

in the long-term, they just won't have the trappings of a state with territory and what not.

But they're by no means -- we're by no means seeing the final demise of ISIS, Becky.

ANDERSON: The latest on the ground in Iraq. And from the Pentagon, Barbara Starr on the latest moves by the ISIS in Syria. To both of you,

thank you.

Syria expected to dominate the agenda during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow

on Friday.

Relations between the two countries have been warming up of late, even though they support opposing sides in this Syrian civil war. Russia and

Turkey are now allied in the battle to defeat ISIS.

Frederik Pleitgen joining me now from Moscow.

Is it clear, Fred, whether this U.S.-backed move against ISIS in Syria has been in coordination with the Russians and the Turks?

I'm pretty sure that it has been. And you saw that over the past couple of day when those pictures, those photos of that meeting between the chairman

of the chiefs of staff of all three countries came forward where they said they were trying to coordinate their action in Syria. And it certainly is

something, Becky, that is very much necessary on the ground. Because as Russia, Turkey, the U.S.

and all the forces that are allied with them, of course, many of them at loggerheads with each other,

as they pushed ISIS further back, a lot of those forces are in close proximity. For instance, now you have Russian backing the Syrian military

and you have the Turks backing some of the rebels. And they're very close to each other right now. So, the two countries with the help of the United

States need to make sure that the focus remains on ISIS.

And that certainly is going to be one of the main points that Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are going to discuss here on Friday, keeping

that effort going.

There are other things, of course, that they'll be going to be other things they'll be discussing as well, what is going to be a very, very important

meeting, Here's a look forward.


PLEITGEN: Two strong men with a rocky relationship in the past. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan have become the

most significant power brokers in the Middle East.

Nowhere more so than Syria where the two countries back opposing sides in the Civil War but are coordinating in the fight against ISIS. Recently top

generals from Turkey, Russia and the U.S met, Turkey says to keep all sides focused on the battle against the terror group.

BINALI YILDIRIM, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): The real reason of this meeting is to find the best way to maintain coordination and

to prevent the parties from interfering in each other's operations and to avoid unwanted incidents.

PLEITGEN: Relations between Russia and Turkey hit rock bottom when the Turkey's air force shot down a Russian military jet in 2015, but Moscow and

Ankara soon developed a pragmatic approach dealing with each other's interest in Syria.

James Nixey is an expert in Russia and Eurasia.

JAMES NIXEY, CHATHAM HOUSE'S RUSSIA AND EURASIA PROGRAMME HEAD: They have totally different agendas, and yet despite this their relationship has

improved remarkably in the last four months alone.

PLEITGEN: And by the time the attempted coup happened in Turkey in 2016, Putin strongly endorsed the embattled Turkish president.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I know I was one of the first people who called him on the phone and expressed my support.

PLEITGEN: There have been further challenges to Russian/Turkish relations like the murder of Russia's ambassador to Turkey in Ankara late last year.

And last month, the accidental bombing of Turkish troops in Syria by Russian jets. So far however, the leaders of both nations say the incidents

haven't hurt ties.


PLEITGEN: And so aside from the Syria topic, which will, again, be most probably be one

of the most important ones on the agenda, the two sides are going to speak about economic issues as well. The Russians, of course, want to build a

nuclear power plant in Turkey. There's talk about oil and gas deals, pipeline deals. So, a lot to talk about. And really the Russians are

saying, look, it is quite remarkable how much relations between these two countries have improved after they're hitting rock bottom, of course, as

the Turks downed that Russian jet.

That, of course, was something that really nearly set off a huge conflict between these two countries, Becky.

ANDERSON: Sure. All right.

Meantime, is it clear why the former Utah Governor and former U.S. ambassador to China would be the U.S. president's pick for his man in

Moscow? I'm talking Jon Huntsman of course.

PLEITGEN: Yes. Yeah, Jon Huntsman, you know, that's something that's actually being widely debated here in Russia and it was actually also a

question that was put today to the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, to Dmitry Peskov, who said, look, we are going to welcome this man as we would

anybody else who would be up for the ambassadorship of the United States here in Russia.

Certainly, there are many people who say this is a seasoned diplomat. This is someone who is very well versed in international affairs. He was, of

course America's ambassador in China and in Singapore as well; however, he has also been quite critical of Russia in

the past, saying that Russia needed to change its ways if it wanted better relations with the West, that's something that's also been noticed here.

And first and foremost, he's had quite a rocky relationship with President Trump as wel. President Trump criticizing Huntsman when he was the

ambassador in China. But it appears as though the two men really buried the hatchet, especially in the transition period before President Trump

went into office.

And so right now if you look at the political scene here in Moscow, you look at what's being written, it really seems as though there is at least a

fair and objective attitude towards Jon Huntsman taking over that office. People really here in a wait and see mode, if you will, Becky.

ANDERSON: When I spoke to him here, actually, a couple of months ago and he certainly told me that he would be happy to serve his country again.

So, we'll see.

All right, thank you, Fred.

Now a federal judge in the state of Hawaii has agreed to hear what will be the first legal challenge to President Trump's revised travel ban. The

hearing set for Wednesday, just hours before that ban goes into effect.

Now, President Trump's new order prevents foreign nationals from six Muslim majority nations the U.S. considers a security risk from entering the

country for 90 days and bans all refugees for 120 days. Hawaii's attorney general says parts of it are unconstitutional and exceed the president's


Well, CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos joins us now live from New York. And I understands, Danny, that this is not familiar territory for Hawaii.

The state sued over Trump's initial travel ban, but that lawsuit, I understand, was put on hold. What's the Hawaii attorney general

specifically arguing at this point?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you have a new travel ban or executive order that really limits now the class of people affected.

Before, the original travel ban or executive order affected visa holders, this new one seeks to limit it to a class of people that arguably have the

least amount of rights to set foot in the United States, and those are people who have never been here, don't hold a visa, they're not lawful

permanent residents.

So, the basis of Hawaii's claim is similar to the original challenges to the travel ban, the executive order, which is number one that they're a

huge economic interest and therefore Hawaii has standing, concrete interest in the outcome that allows it to even set foot in the courthouse to begin


Part two is the claim that the executive order violates the establishment clause. And that means that the government, the U.S. government, cannot

endorse any particular religion. And the logic here is that the current executive order acts as a de facto discriminating event against Muslims.

And you couple that president all of the statements that President Trump, then Mr. Trump, gave on the campaign

trail, that were categorically anti-Muslim immigration -- than those together show a violation of the establishment clause. In other words, the

executive branch, the government is expressing a preference for one religion over the other.

ANDERSON : Danny, this revised executive order will have been crawled all over by the administration's legal advisers. What chance of Hawaii's

success in this?

CEVALLOS: We have to take a step back. And remember, the original executive order was

never adjudicated on the merits. Yes, the ninth circuit appellate court basically handicapped it. They said there was a likelihood of success, as

did the district court.

But those are not adjudications on the merits. We have to realize that even with the original executive order, the Trump administration may have

ultimately prevailed, even though the district court said it wasn't likely, they could have prevailed on the merits.

So, now, you have a new executive order that could also prevail on the merits. But Trump's advisers are going to take the same stance they did

with the original executive order, which is that the executive court has this power to affect immigration almost without any

sort of restraints.

On the other hand, is going to be the position, and the 9th Circuit mentioned this, that even in the area of immigration where the executive

branch has considerable power, the courts do have the authority to review executive orders for constitutionality, just as they have the power to

review legislation, federal legislation for constitutionality as well.

ANDERSON: Danny, it's always a pleasure. Thank you.

Lots more ahead, viewers, this hour, including...


ANDERSON: Finding their voice, how students are using performance to explore whatfreedom means and how to help those deprived of it. That's



[10:21:49] ANDERSON: CNN has been bringing you inspiring stories of youngsters around the world taking a stand against modern day slavery.

Here in Abu Dhabi, students using the power of performance to get their message across. Have a look at this.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Millions displaced in the refugee crisis, Among them, children and teenagers, thousands of whom are

now feared to have fallen into the hands of traffickers.

NORA RAMSEY, STUDENT: I saw it, the island, that's where that guy told me needed to be. I

got excited and I turned around and told my momma that we were finally here. Ma!

ANDERSON: Syrian student Nora Ramsey dramatized the story of one teenage refugee who arrives in Germany alone.

RAMSEY: Your momma is buried in the Mediterranean.

ANDERSON: A passionate performance with a serious point.

RAMSEY: Theater and art is one of the most powerful ways to show people what is hidden. When emotion is provoked, there's catharsis and then

there's motivation to go out and do something about it.

ANDERSON: This is why students at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi are using performance to spread the word about issues issues like

modern-day slavery. From public speaking about the enormity of the problem to shocking their public into seeing just how wide spread it is.

RAMSEY: A way for people to get marked, as owned, is getting tattooed. So, if you were stamped on the way in, please stand up.

Imagine, imagine you have all disappeared.

ANDERSON: Dramatic ways to get their message across. The school's advanced theater class is using a technique called verbatim drama after

interviewing victims and those who help them, they are bringing those testimonies to life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They think that they're going to get a job to work in a beauty parlor or a massage salon or get a job as a flight attendant but

that person that's selling them this idea is actually planning to sell them into slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that as a student, we should be the ones that know the most about this because we're the ones still learning and are in

school. But we before this topic, we had no idea about any of the statistics and, like, how many people are still in slavery today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that performance can show a lot of people that these stories are real and since it's a verbatim play, it's everything

that people we interviewed said word by word. So, we didn't make anything up. It's all real.

ANDERSON: Other students have found their voice in a different way. These sixth graders even composed their own song about freedom.


[10:25:04] ANDERSON: Students here understand that if all the world's a stage these days, then all the world's an audience, too. So a little

performance can go a long way in helping to raise awareness about what is this global scourge.

Take it away, girls.



ANDERSON: And CNN will be coming to you live from the American Community School, and other schools around the world on My Freedom Day. That is

March the 14th.

On that day, young people around the world taking the lead in 24 hours of action against modern-day slavery. And ahead of My Freedom Day, CNN has

been asking one simple question: what does freedom mean to you?

Here's what students here told us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is the ability to express anything you want in

way you want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means having a choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom means being able to express my individuality whenever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is the ability to move around and express yourself and given all those civil rights without having the risk of



ANDERSON: Well, we want to hear from you. What does freedom mean to you? Post a photo or video using the #myfreedomday. You can see your

submissions online. That's

Well, the latest world news headlines are just aheadway.

Plus, an uproar in the Israeli parliament over a bill that critics say violates freedom of religion. Supporters say it keeps the peace. We're

live in Jerusalem just ahead.



[10:31:17] ANDERSON: Well, a strong backer of Israeli settlements could soon have a key role in Donald Trump's administration. A U.S. Senate

committee is due to vote any time now on David Friedman's nomination as U.S. ambassador to Israel. If approved, the full Senate would then hold a


Now, Friedman faced tough questioning at his confirmation hearing last month. He dialed back many of his controversial statements, including

calling Palestinian statehood an illusion.

But as CNN's Oren Lirebermann reports, Friedman's ties tio the settler movement run deep. And even President Trump himself has a personal



OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the shadow of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, this is the settlement President Trump has

supported. His name is not in any of the buildings, but his mark and those of his administration are here in Beit El, one of the oldest settlements,

home to 6,500 Israelis.

(on camera): Do you see Trump as positive for the settlements and positive for Beit El?

CHAIM SILBERSTEIN, BEIT EL SPOKESPERSON: Absolutely. I think that he loves Israel.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Trump donated $10,000 to the settlement's schools in 2003 according to tax filings from the Trump Foundation. Tax documents

show the Kushner Family Foundation, his son-in-law's family charity, also donated tens of thousands of dollars.

But Trump's pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has the deepest connections. Friedman's name is on some of the buildings here, so is his

father's. Friedman, a long-time supporter of a settlement school. He's even president of the school's fundraising arm, which raises some $2 million a


Critics question whether Friedman's loyalty of Beit El could conflict with what's in the best interest for the U.S., which considers the settlement

expansion unhealthy to peace.

SEN. TOM UDALL (D), NEW MEXICO: I would like you, for the record, to answer in writing whether you've separated your financial interests from that of

Beit El.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): On the conservative Arutz Sheva news outlet run from Beit El, Friedman, a regular columnist, has advocated for settlements,

illegal under international law, and against the Palestinian state. He compared liberal Jews to Kapos, Jews who worked for the Nazis during World

War II, accused the U.S. State Department of a century of anti-Semitism, and called the two-state solution an illusion for a nonexistent problem.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Friedman apologized for those comments during his confirmation hearing, even saying he'd support Beit El becoming part of a

Palestinian state in a peace deal.

SEN. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: If the land in Beit El was included in a two-state solution and that that land had to be returned to the

Palestinians, would you support the return of that land to the Palestinians?

FRIEDMAN: In the context of a consensual filigree to a two-state solution?

MARKEY: That's correct.


MARKEY: You would?


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Beit El's spokesman Chaim Silberstein standing by Friedman.

SILBERSTEIN: In his position as ambassador, he would certainly fulfill the requirements of that position and he would support what his government



ANDERSON: Well, Oren joining us now live from Jerusalem, what would be the consequences, then, of a Friedman appointment, Oren?

LIEBERMANN: Well, the concern here is that Friedman would impose his own views and not follow the administration's line or would change the

administration line from being more open, right, it was President Donald Trump who was very noncommital when asked about two-state or one-state

solution, yet Friedman himself has made it very clear he is opposed to a two state solution and he's pro

one-state solution.

The concern is that he imposes that view, or convinces the administration of that view and makes that U.S. policy. That would break with decades of

foreign policy. It would break with the international community. He pledged not to do that. He said he would follow the administration line if

he said appointed to the position, and yet one senator in that confirmation hearing, wondered whether it was a, quote, nomination conversion, whether

he in fact said what he said just to get appointed.

His vote in the senate should be under way now, or it will be in just a few moments.

He is expected to pass. The Republicans have the vote, not only in the committee, but also the full senate. And yet, because of how drawn out

this was, you get a sense of how controversial Friedman is as a nominee here.

ANDERSON: Exactly, and as you rightly point out, that Senate committee should vote any time now on what is this nomination for David Friedman as

U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Oren, I also want to discuss with you, legislation that led to an uproar in the Israeli parliament. The Knesset has been given preliminary approval to

bills that would limit calls to prayer from loud speakers in mosques. Now, critics say it's a violation of freedom of religion, but supporters say

it's needed improve the quality of life of people who have been losing sleep.

That debate, as you are well aware, Oren, degenerated into this: a shouting match on Wednesday. Arab-Israeli lawmakers say it's clear discrimination.

Just have a look at this.


AHMED TITI, ARAB-ISRAELI PARLIAMENT MEMBER (through translator): This alw is

racist. This is it's fate, to be pulled apart. Islam and the call to prayer are stronger than all of you.


ANDERSON: What chance that would get through?

LIEBERMAN: It has the votes. It had them to get through a preliminary reading. It could

get through. It would go back to committee now for a little more work, and then it will have a first, second and third reading.

The votes are there, because the coalition is there. There is some dissention in that coalition. You saw that uproar. You called it an

uproar. Uproar seems to be an understatement based on what we saw coming out of the Knesset with some of the Arab lawmakers ripping up the text of

the - what's called here the Moazim (ph) bill.

But they're getting some help that would seem unlikely. One of the right wing religious law

makers, Juda Gluick (ph), who is known as a Temple Mount activist opposes the bill, because he says look, you don't need this bill. You don't have

to - and he even calls it a discriminatory bill. He says you can even work on this with Jews and Arab sitting down and talking it over and working

through the differences in opinion here. How loud it should be. What time it is. And yet the coalition still has the votes to get this through.

It has not been an easy process for this bill. It may get held up at some point if it doesn't have the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He is in Moscow at the moment, so there is a chance it won't go through. But if put to the Knesset for a vote, it has the numbers to go through.

And I will point out more thing about this bill, two different versions of it were passed. One is

considered harsher, it muffles the call to prayer. It muffles religious loudspeakers at all times throughout the day, 24 hours a day. A second

version, a lighter version, was also passed that limits it between 11:00 p.m. at night and 7:00 in the morning. That's considered a lighter bill if

the harsher bill gets held up because of too much opposition.

ANDERSON: What's been reaction on the streets to this?

LIEBERMANN: Well, Muslims are furious about this. Critics have called it, as well as some Jewish critics have said this is a discriminatory bill.

Although, it doesn't mention Moazin (ph), it doesn't mention Muslims, it is the only the Muslim call to prayer that sounded overnight between 11:00

p.m. and 7:00 a.m. So you have seen that opposition to this bill. And that's how it's being seen here.

It is worth nothing that when this was first talked about, we're going a couple of months back now, the justice minister and a few other ministers

pointed out that Israel already has noise bills on the law, noise ordinances, that is to say, not bills, but laws, as do most other

countries, if not all other countries.

Those could also be used to enforce this. And that's another point that Critics are making, if you want to enforce a noise ordinance, a noise law

that's already there, it's already on Israel's books, and that's why critics say going beyond that with this bill is another way of targeting

Muslims here.

ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for you. Oren, thank you.

Well, after a marathon 18-hour session, and opposition from both sides in the states. Republicans have scored a minor breakthrough in congress.

House lawmakers have approved part of a bill on Obamacare as it's known. Now, President Donald Trump warned Republicans if they can't pass health

care legislation, it could be a blood bath in the mid-term elections.

But it faces a swell of criticism from doctors, senior, Democrats and even some conservatives. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux explains.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONENT (voice-over): As opposition grows to the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump

coming up with a back-up plan. Sources inside an Oval Office meeting with conservative and Tea Party groups say the president announced if the plan

fails, he'll allow Obamacare to fail and let Democrats take the blame.

[10:40:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let it be a disaster, because we can blame that on the Dems that are in our room; and

we can blame that on the Democrats and President Obama. But that's not the fair thing to do for the people.

MALVEAUX: The president telling these skeptical right-wing groups he is, quote, "open" to discussing some changes for the American Healthcare Act,

like moving up the rollback of Medicaid expansion to 2018 instead of 2020.

The president also chastising them for their opposition, according to sources. The president claiming they're, quote, "helping the other side."

RYAN: Good afternoon.

MALVEAUX: Conservatives opposing the bill, backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, argue the proposal doesn't go far enough in getting rid of Obamacare.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: I believe when you look through it is Obamacare in a different form.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a lump of coal.

MALVEAUX: Ryan claiming otherwise, pitching it to his own party Wednesdays.

RYAN: This is a conservative wish list. It repeals Obamacare's taxes. It repeals Obamacare's spending, Medicaid expansion and the Obamacare

subsidies. This returns power from Washington back to doctors and patients.

MALVEAUX: But the backlash is also coming from the nation's leading hospital and doctor groups, concerned about the more than 20 million

Americans currently enrolled in the system. The American Medical Association writing, "We cannot support the American Healthcare Act as

drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage."


ANDERSON: Well, live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. We will be right back after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is being able to pursue your independence and your long wanted dream, but having the rights of real education for all of


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom means to me the ability to choose the life I want to live and to bring freedom to others,

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Freedom, the ability to fulfill your potential and to follow your dream regardless of where they lead.


ANDERSON: Bringing freedom to others, that is CNN's mission right now as we ask students around the world what it means to them ahead of what is our

My Freedom Day on March 14 next week.

The kids you just saw are doing it for other young people around the world, like those in northern India where countless children are caught in modern

day slavery. CNN's Ravi Agrawal takes us to meet some who managed to escape life in a brick kiln. Have a look at this.



RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Meet Sitara. She just loves to dance.


AGRAWAL: At schoolyard games, she more than holds her own.


AGRAWAL: In the classroom, she's a top student.

Sitara is Hindi for star. She is a shining success story of a group called Schools for Freedom.


AGRAWAL: This is a school of boys and girls who are singing, reciting poetry and enjoying themselves. 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.

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 its prevalent across these parts of this Indian state with 200 million people.


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



UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANUAGE) AGRAWAL: "They used to beat me at the brick kiln," Sitara says. She hated her life then.

Here's Sitara's mom. She isn't sure how old her daughter is, 13, she reckons. Sitara thinks she is 15. Time blurs out here. Her mother tears up

when she recalls watching her daughter be beaten.

"What can you do when you are in debt," she says?

A big part of the solution is awareness and education. And that is a battle led by people like Peggy Callahan.


She is the co-founder of Voices for Freedom, which runs and sponsors Schools for Freedom.

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

PEGGY CALLAHAN, CO-FOUNDER, VOICES FOR FREEDOM: 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 are afraid of the slave holder when the slave holder is threatening them they

have the courage to do what it takes to free themselves and get their kids educated. 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 this village we visited, Callahan says 84 people have found a way out of bonded labor. A

few dozen are still trapped. How do they get freed? Sometimes they pay off their debt, sometimes charities intervene, and sometimes it can be just

understanding their rights and just saying no.

One of the people still enslaved is this boy Papu (ph), who is just 12. We're not showing his face.

Here, he tells me the masters at the brick kiln beat him if he skips a day at work. He shows me his fingers. They are almost sandpapered by brick. He

has cuts and callouses. When he walks, his bare feet betray the scars of his life.

But they haven't broken his spirit. Papu (ph) 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, Papu (ph) 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 is 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...


AGRAWAL: The school is an example for Sitara. The Sitaras are an example for the Papu (ph). This is what freedom looks like. This is what can be.


AGRAWAL: Ravi Agrawal, CNN, India.


ANDERSON: Well, that was just part of some of Ravi's reporting this week. I want to get the response to that now from New Delhi, just before we came

on air tonight. India's minister of labor, Bandaru Dattetreya joined me. And I asked him both for his personal reaction to that report and for

his official response as part of the Indian government. Here's what he said.


BANDARU DATTATREYA, INDIAN LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT MINISTER (through translator): The report of the child in brickland was shocking for me to

see, but it's been going on for ages in our country. It's a social stigma and a scourge on our country and the main reason

for it is the poverty and lack of education, there are people who are sucked into slavery, because of working over the years because of that

social structure. It is as if they are living in a a jail and this can stop only if you change the social structure in India.


ANDERSON: Well, it's not changing quickly enough of course. CNN has been following this

closely for years. CNN's own Sara Sidner investigated another brick factory back in 2011, that's when the Indian government again pointed the

finger of poverty.

But look at this graph of India's economic growth, going from 1976, the year India banned bonded labor, right up until 2015.

Let's listen to labor minister again who told me about the effect of his country's growing wealth.


DATTATREYA (through translator): According to the government figures, the number of bonded laborers are going down, because education is spreading

into rural areas and we have better employment opportunities with many people leaving those rural areas to the cities for work.

The only way to stop bonded labor is by involving more NGOs, raising awareness and implementing the labor laws properly.

There is no denying that stories like the one you showed me are still happening, but we are taking steps as a government to stop them.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN has been committed for years now to end modern day slavery. We are passionate about this wherever it is found, let's stamp it

out. As you have heard this hour, we are teaming up with young people around the globe for a day of action against it with the launch of My

Freedom Day March 14.

We are asking one very simple question, you may have heard me talking about this earlier on, you'll have heard it all week, but I want to remind you,

that this question is simply this, what does freedom mean to you?

We have heard tonight from what some students in this region had to say. What about these guys from Europe?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom means the right to have a voice and the right to feel safe wherever you and whoever you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is the act of everyone having equal rights and equal opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you still have time to get involved. Get on board and show your support by posting a video or a photo using the hashtag


We're going to take a very short break, viewers, do stay with us. Back after this.


[10:51:34] ANDERSON: Right. It's 10 to 8:00 here in the UAE. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Unbelievable, historic, will be remembered forever: those are just some of the ways that Barcelona's Champion's League victory against Paris St.

Germain is being described.

The reason for all these superlatives, well, Barcelona were 4-0 down from the first leg, and no side has ever come back from that in the

competition's history. But three goals in the last few minutes completed what is and was and will always be an incredible come back. And scenes of

unbridled joy.

Let's talk to World Sports Patrick Snell who I know has spoken to one of those who was actually on the pitch, one of the heroes of the evening, sir.

Take it away.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Becky, incredible. Everyone is still buzzing about

that game. Absolutely incredible. One for the ages. History in the making. There's no - how about using the words, as Gerard Pique (ph) the

Barca defender said "un milagro" which is Spanish for a miracle.

It was a miraculous come back. 88 minutes were on the clock. And they still need three goals to advance to get to the quaterfinals, Becky. This

was the reaction among their fans in Catalonia last night. Incredibly, Neymar Jr.. stepping up to the plate and they scored those three goals in

the last seven minutes to leave PSG absolutely shell shocked. And their Qatari owners, as well, no question about that.

But look, Barca becoming the first club ever to overturn a four goal deficit in the Champion's League. It's now a 10 straight season. They're

through to the quarterfinals of the tournament. And I mentioned Gerard Pique, the Barce defender earlier, Shakira, his superstar Colombian

girlfriend getting plenty of attention due to this post she put on Instagram which a short while ago it had well over a million viewings. The

celebration. She's Pique's partner, and this is just absolutely incredible stuff.

But you mentioned the player, even Ralkitic, Barca's Croatian star, I spoke to him exclusively earlier. And even he, Becky, was apparently still

coming to terms with it all.


IVAN RAKITIC, BARCELONA MIDFIELD: I think there are no words to explain it. It was like everybody jumping, crying and I don't know really

unbelievable. This may be 15, 20 minutes of a lot lot of emotions, it was like it's impossible. We do something impossible possible yesterday.

And this is just Barca, just to say welcome to Barcelona. That's I think the only team who can make something like this - it's Barcelona.


SNELL: Just incredible. Great video there of the young futsol players there at FC Barcelona, Becky.

It was truly incredible. You almost feel now that having achieved this they've almost got a goal on and win the tournament. Back to you.

ANDERSON: Yes, because of course it's sort of only just begun isn't it, because the knock out rounds - is this the best Barca team ever?

SNELL: That's a tough one. They've definitely got to go on and win it. I tell you what, though, Luis Enrique, the club's now outgoing manager, he

can't have set the standard very high. He announced last week, did Enrique, that he's leaving the club at the end of the season, so I think

his players are clearly determined to give him a great sendoff.

In terms of best Barcelona team ever? Well, of course Lionel Messi, he straddles more than one Barca team, doesn't he, including the reign of a

certain Pep Guardiola. But Enrique actually won the Champion's League, he won the treble in his very first season, so he's looking to out on another


You know, the parallel here. I love the parallel here, Becky, because Barcelona can actually win another treble. They're still in the hunt big-

time for the Primera Liga. They're through to the final of the Copa Del Rey. They'll play Alaves there. Really strong favorites for that one.

They need to get the job done, though. This is a terrific achievement. It's one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all-time, many would argue,

but you do sense they have to go on and win the tournament now. There's no question about that.

[10:55:33] ANDERSON: Boy's own stuff. All right. Thank you, Patrick.

All right, just time tonight for your Parting Shots. And the last word goes to you, our young

viewers around the world who have been helping us keep the focus on the fight against modern day slavery by sharing with us what freedom means to



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those who have freedom forget how important it is and I think

it's the right to express yourself without interference, whoever or wherever you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means being able to express myself in every area of

my life without fear of persecution or retaliation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means having no limitations. It means you is the opportunity to create vision for your life. Freedom is also the

opportunity to chase your dreams and aspirations.


ANDERSON: Well, March 14 is #myfreedomday. CNN will be live from schools around the world with a day of student-led action and awareness. We'll be

at the American Community School, for example, here in Abu Dhabi. It is all aimed at highlighting the plight of millions of people, men, women and

children who are victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

So your photos, your videos, on what freedom means to you is what we want to see. There are lots and lots of submissions already on the website at So you've got time guys. Send those submissions in.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. From the team here, it's a very good evening. Thank you for watching. CNN does, of course, does

continue after this short break. Good night.