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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Young Children Among The Dead In Idlib Attack; Activist: Airstrikes Gave Off Poisonous Gas; Senate, House Committees Investigating Russia Ties; France Goes To The Polls On April 23; Officials: Metro Bomber was From Kyrgyzstan; Russia Faces Emerging Terror Threat; Gibraltar Accuses Spain of Ship Incursion; Invention Can Filter Salt out of Seawater. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 4, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Good evening. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones standing in for Hala Gorani, and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
We are hearing now from the Syrian Army in the wake of the chemical attack that killed dozens of people. The army claims that it did not use chemical
or indeed poisonous material in Idlib Province, in the north of the country.
And the army blames what it calls terrorist groups for carelessly wasting the lives of innocent civilians. We have to warn you that the video from
the scene is very graphic indeed, but we are showing it to you to give an idea of the devastating effects of this attack.
You can see very, very young children receiving oxygen in a hospital, and activist groups say airstrikes that hit the city of (inaudible) on Tuesday
gave off a poisonous gas. CNN still has not confirmed what kind of substance was used in the attack or whether the planes that launched the
airstrikes were indeed Syrian.
I want to bring in someone now who was on the ground after this attack. Dr. Abdulhay Tannari has been treating people injured in the strikes and
joins me via Skype from Idlib.
Doctor, thanks for speaking to us. Please describe what you have seen and the injuries that you have had to treat today?
DR. ABDULHAY TANNARI, TREATED ATTACK VICTIMS: This morning at 6:00 a.m., hundreds of patients started to arrive (inaudible) and part of them were
suffering from what we believe is some gas poisoning. Many of them died in the area, before it evaporated and many others died when they arrived at
Hundreds of patients were treated by us. There was -- some cases that were severe, and some case were referred to Turkey. So, we started to treat
them. And as I mentioned, we believe it was gas, sarin gas because of symptoms, which constitute for this agent. And the very good response
after we are giving the antidote --
JONES: There were reports, Doctor, that the medical facilities were also hit by airstrike in the aftermath of the attack of this gas attack. Was
your hospital facility struck by an airstrike?
TANNARI: No, my hospital was not stuck. The patient first spread for many hospitals because there was hundreds of patients and they were spread for
all hospitals in the area. So I heard that one hospital was attacked by military airplane.
JONES: Who were the victims of this? We understand lots of young children were involved, but were these ordinary civilians or possibly soldiers,
rebels, regime fighters?
TANNARI: No, all of the patients which I saw were civilian, children, womans, and they were in their homes when the attack was in the early
JONES: And you are very confident that it was indeed a gas attack, a sarin gas attack because of the injuries you treated?
TANNARI: Yes, because of the symptoms and the very good response for the antidote that we give to make us believe that it was the sarin.
JONES: Doctor, we really appreciate you talking to us, and thank you for the work that you have had to do today in the aftermath of this strike.
Dr. Abdulhay Tannari there live from Idlib. Thank you.
We wanted to get some perspective from the Syrian opposition. Dima Moussa is the spokeswoman for the Syrian National Coalition and joins me now via
Skype from Istanbul.
[15:05:03]Such a horrific crime it appears to be, anyway, if it is indeed a gas attack, who do you think is responsible for this massacre? Who is
capable of being responsible for such a massacre consider?
DIMA MOUSSA, SPOKESWOMAN, SYRIAN NATIONAL COALITION: Well, it is the same party responsible for the last horrific one. Of course, it is the regime
or one of the allies that on the capability that these types of weapons, so, most likely, everything is pointing to the Syrian regime behind these.
JONES: What does this do for people on the ground, the ordinary Syrians who are on the one hand are being told you can't trust your own government
because your own government is gassing you, but on the other hand, they are being told that the international community won't do anything to help them
either. What does that do for the psyche of the people?
MOUSSA: I think that it has not really changed. There is a lot of distrust in the international community, and nothing has been done. As
you remember in August of 2013, it is a much larger scale. It happened in (inaudible) where there were over 1,500 casualties, and nothing happened
Also, the red lines have been drawn and they have been crossed and the international community has done nothing. So the people are on standby,
and we are waiting and calling on the international community to take the appropriate steps which pursuant to as you know the Security Council
Resolution 2118 under Article 21.
It calls for imposing the measures under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, because it calls for, if for any party that violates the resolution to that
automatically making it go to the Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter.
JONES: We will be talk a lot about the red lines if there are indeed any left on Syria throughout the program, and you talking to us from Istanbul,
and the Turkish response has been very strong so far. What did you make of President Erdogan's ability, though, to negotiate with President Trump in
the United States, and Vladimir Putin in Russia when it comes to security any kind of future for Syria?
MOUSSA: Well, we are hoping -- I mean, so far, like you said the response by the Turkish authorities, Turkish government has been positive. They
have opened the borders to bring in those who are injured to get treated in Turkey. We believe that they will be standing with the Syrian people, and
continue to do that and hopefully provide some more pressure on the United States and Russia and the rest of the members of the Security Council to
take the appropriate steps.
JONES: Dima Moussa, thank you very much for speaking to us on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Meanwhile, the White House seems to be blaming the attack in Idlib Province on forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Even though
members of the administration have said that regime change is no longer their focus in Syria.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer also suggested that the former President Barack Obama was to blame for the current conditions in Syria because he failed to
take a firm stand on chemical weapons.
Well, the British Prime Minister Theresa May, has a very different view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm appalled by the reports that there has been a chemical weapons attack on a town south of Idlib allegedly
by the Syrian regime. We condemn the use of chemical weapons in all circumstances. If proven, this will be further evidence of the
barbarianism of the Syrian regime.
I'm very clear that there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria, which represents all the Syrian people and I call on all of the parties
involved to ensure that we have a transition away from Assad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Theresa May there. The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday in response to the attack.
We have, of course, seen this kind of horror before in Syria in the seven- year war, and today, many are asking, how, how could the world let it happen again.
We want to warn you we are about to show more highly disturbing video. You may remember and as our guest just mentioned as well back in 2013, a
massive chemical attack that the west blamed on the Syrian regime that killed more than 1,300 people.
The United Nations called it the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st Century and demanded the world response. Well, a year earlier,
then U.S. President Barack Obama has promised to take action if a red line was crossed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is
we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized, that would change my calculus and equation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, has been covering the war in Syria for years, and she's following the story for us
right now from New York.
[15:10:05]Arwa, one thing we know for sure is that there is absolutely no consensus yet on who is to blame for this atrocity and certainly no claim
of responsibility or anything.
The Syrian regime, though, has come out to say that it was not responsible, and that it was actually a rebel-held chemical factory that was targeted by
an airstrike and that it exploded and the rebels are to blame for the massacre that followed. What is your reaction to that? How plausible is
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, it would not be the first time that the Syrian regime is denying any sort of
culpability when it comes to these types of attacks. They still continue to deny the fact that they were even involved in the chemical attack that
took place in Hulta back in 2013.
Let's assume that they did strike a rebel weapons chemical factory of some sort, and that that detonation is what caused these horrific deaths and
injury, and then how will they explain away the fact that the numerous activists on the ground have reported and doctors as well that hospitals
were then themselves targeted?
This wasn't just one strike that took place in this particular area of Idlib. It was one strike that seemingly caused this reaction to the
chemical substance that it generated and then you had numerous strikes that took place as well.
I mean, look, we have seen this before. We have seen this blame and counter blame. We have seen various different world powers talking about
how horrific the atrocities are in Syria, and the bottom line is the plight of the Syrian civilians has continued to be and has always been to a
certain degree something of a pawn in this sickening political game of chess that is being played out by global leaders.
That is what is really has to change. These various different leaders need to put aside their own personal gains if they want to begin to come
together and actually do something for the Syrian people.
JONES: What about the somewhat split personality of the White House it seems on the one hand condemning the attack, but on the other hand, saying,
that former President Obama was partly to blame. Is this sort of Donald Trump effectively washing its hands as there is saying it was his fault,
and he is not going to do anything about it?
DAMON: It very well could be, and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that this particular administration does not necessarily think that
Bashar al-Assad needs to step down per se, so that they are not into the game of regime change.
But at the same time to turn around and blame it on the Obama administration and try to create this image of America where it does not
exist or have a responsibility when it sees these kinds of egregious human rights violations taking place, that is not the America that has existed
for so long.
That is not the America that many Americans want to believe in. There is a burden of responsibility like it or not on the United States to do
something because the United States does have pressure points at the end of the day that it can use with certain key players on the ground in Syria.
And I think for many Syrians who are watching all of this unfold, they have already felt betrayed on so many levels by the United States, and by the
west, taking a back seat and saying, we don't care having an administration who does not seem to value the importance of human rights.
That sends a very potentially frightening message to other leaders that may themselves want to carry out a various different human rights violations
against their own population, and inaction at this stage, and same as underneath the Obama administration, it must be said, but inaction also has
very dire consequences when it comes to global security.
JONES: You mentioned the regime change, and the somewhat confused international approach so far, is any talk of a transition of power in
Syria now obsolete?
DAMON: Well, there is still talk of it. The issue is who is actually talking about it, and what kind of a transition is there going to be and
how do you bring all sides to the table given that this conflict has been so polarizing.
There are so many players. You have, you know, the Russians backing the Syrian regime, and the Iranians are also involved and the Turks are backing
certain opposition rebel groups.
You have ISIS and Nusra Front, Syrian Kurds and all of these very different pieces to a very complex puzzle that arguably are presenting one of the
biggest challenges in terms of finding any sort of lasting solution for peace in modern history.
But all of that being puts aside, as I was saying earlier, key players, if they do in fact want to end the bloodshed need to quite simply stop, stop
massacring people, and stop to allowing these things to be carried out with impunity.
Otherwise, what kind of a world do we live in where these atrocities can happen while we are all watching and absolutely no one is being held
accountable? We are talking about entirely changing the global dynamics of this world that we have been trying to create.
[15:15:08]JONES: The world right now is indeed a scary place at times. Arwa Damon, thank you very much indeed.
Still to come on the program tonight, new details of the investigations of the Trump campaigns ties to Russia. The head of a Senate committee
interviewing witnesses behind closed doors says they are learning, quote, "a lot."
Plus, we will be live in an open Paris cafe with friends, voters as election cabinets face off in a second televised debate. That debate is
going on right now. Stay with us for more.
JONES: Welcome back. U.S. President Donald Trump is focused on international diplomacy this week holding high stakes meetings with three
world leaders. First, he rolled out the red carpet for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. They agreed to work together to fight terror. The
critics say Mr. Trump's warm welcome wasn't fitting for a strong man who sees power in a military coup.
Well, next, President Trump meets Jordan's King Abdullah on Wednesday and then the Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the week. But controversies
closer to home are still casting a cloud over Donald Trump's White House.
A Senate committee is interviewing witnesses behind closed doors this week as it investigates the Trump campaign's ties, yes, to Russia. The House
committee conducting a similar investigation has now agreed on its own list of witnesses to call.
Let's bring in CNN's political commentator, David Swerdlick. David, they are apparently learning a lot in these closed door meetings, do we know
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, hello, Hannah, I don't know that we've learned everything that they are learning yet, that's one
of the reasons I think they've decided to hold these closed door meetings to initially interview witnesses.
Everyone in the public and the media of course is waiting to see if there will be further public hearings as there were two weeks ago in the House
Intelligence Committee. The investigation now in two committees and at the FBI has really sort of, you know, spread out in three different directions.
You have got the initial investigation by the FBI into whether there was any kind of collusion between members of the Trump inner circle, and
Russian government officials leading up to the Trump administration, that investigation is going on.
And then you have pushback coming from the direction of the administration and from Republicans in general about the lack of focus as they see it on
leaks that have brought some of this out into media.
And then you have also some sort of newer information that this idea that there was unmasking or as they say of the incidentally surveilled or
incidentally collected information about Americans or American officials related to surveillance that may or may not have taken place.
We still don't know the results of this investigation during the Obama administration. The Obama administration, and today, former national
security adviser, Susan Rice, pushed back on that pretty strongly.
[15:15:10]So it is moving about as fast as it can, but we still don't have all of those answers yet.
JONES: A web of intrigue continues. Russia aside as Donald Trump would love us to do, this is of course, a week of diplomatic meetings with these
hardline leaders as I've mentioned in our introductions, Egypt, Jordan and China coming up as well. Is it fair to say, though, that America is first
puts human rights last?
SWERDLICK: Are you speaking about Syria? I mean, the -- the serious situation --
JONES: Well, not necessarily about Syria, I'm talking, you know, his meeting with the king of Jordan and the president of China as well, human
rights are one of the main topics that most world leaders would raise with these particular individuals and yet Donald Trump has said that it is off
SWERDLICK: Indeed. I mean, I think that one thing that the Trump administration is trying to do generally is suggest that they are setting a
different tone. They want to do two things at once. They want to project the image that they are resetting relationships with people like Egyptian
President El-Sisi, China President Xi.
And show that they have a better ability than the Obama administration to work America's will vis-a-vis these other nations, and at the same time as
you suggest President Trump wants to signal to the people at home that their priority is American interests and not necessarily the interests of
the people in other countries first.
And that may mean keeping the issues of human rights out of the discussion or off the table for right at the moment. I think that they are in for
criticism on that front because these are the rare opportunities when the president of the United States can look another world leader in the eye,
and say that, you know, the United States has can concerns about potentially human rights abuses in those countries.
And at the same time, I just wanted to say I think that being realistic, I don't this is something that he is going to see pushback on from the
JONES: The president of the United States and not the president of the world as he said himself. David Swerdlick, thanks very much.
SWERDLICK: Thank you.
JONES: It is been a campaign full of intrigue, fiery rhetoric and no shortage of scandal. In a few weeks, France goes to the polls to elect its
new president, and right now, all 11 candidates are on stage for the second televised debate.
So let's go live now to Melissa Bell who is in (inaudible) in the north of Paris. Melissa, all eyes on Macron and Le Pen, how are they fairing so
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: No knock out votes for the time being, Hannah, but as you suggest, this is a debate that is being extremely
closely watched in at least here at this burger joint in what the French called (inaudible). It's just outside of Paris.
Those parts of the country where traditionally there is higher unemployment than elsewhere and a number of issues particular to these pars of Paris.
So the group of guys I've been sitting with have been watching closely.
They really reflect what a number of French people have said in a poll that came out today, which is a huge proportion of the French population,
Hannah, is undecided even at this late stage, which is why debates like this one gathering the 11 candidates around are so crucial at this stage.
What these guys are hoping is that tonight, they will be saddled on which of the candidates is likely to deliver on what they tell me that the main
concern is, and that, Hannah, is jobs.
JONES: Not immigration. That is interesting that. I know that you have been investigating the appeal of the far right of Marine Le Pen across
France, tell us more.
BELL: Now, no great surprise, she does not have much appeal here. I mean, what the group that I was sitting with a moment ago saying they were
worried that she would do things like take away their dual nationality. So many of them are French, but have a nationality from another country.
They are worried that they would lose that. They are worried about the fact that she is against immigration. She wants to put a stop to it, but
of course, she does have huge pockets of appeal, in which she tends to have, Hannah, are people who are absolutely determined to vote for her.
They have no question in their minds about their support for Marine Le Pen. We headed to the south of France just a few days ago to try and find out
precisely what her appeal was in a part of France that has shown very strong support for her party in the past.
And what we found was is it was not so much about economic hardship as we have found in other parts of France, but it is about the question of
national identity. Have a look.
BELL (voice-over): Nearly 700 kilometers to the south of Paris in the heart of (inaudible) sits (inaudible), a town protected by a gate built in
medieval times when popes still called nearby town home. Today, the town's Christian heritage continues to loom large even if the splendors of the
past have long since faded in what is one of the poorest parts of the country.
[15:25:06]It is market day and with less than a month until the election, the far right is out leafleting as is the far left.
On the whole, though, the National Front gets a warm reception. The party has not only one MP here but also two mayors.
GEORGES MICHEL, NATIONAL FRONT ASSISTANT SECRETARY (through translator): When you start to have the local representatives like mayors, you are in
the political landscape and recognized and then you will get a necessarily, a different reception, as they say victory leads to victory.
BELL: It is the victory of Marine Le Pen that Georges now believes will follow. He doesn't hesitate to hand his leaflets even to the town's veiled
women. There are new figures on the sides of the Muslim population here. (Inaudible) doesn't allow the data to be collected, but Georges believes
that it is now not far from half.
(on camera): The market here in (inaudible) has existed since Roman times and much to what is sold has been sold here for centuries. What has
changed, though, is the nature of the local population, some say it is changed beyond all recognition.
And what many of those intending to vote National Front here told us here today is that they are intending to do so not only to make France great
again, but to make France French again.
(voice-over): Karine Clement began campaigning for the National Front five years ago when she said she realized that the Muslim population was
KARINE CLEMENT, NATIONAL FRONT CAMPAIGNER: Twenty years ago their parents come here, and the new generation is born in France and they don't want to
assimilate as French.
BELL: Karine shows us into the National Front headquarters, from here, the party thwarted a successful campaign to get Marine Le Pen's niece,
(inaudible), elected as a lawmaker in 2012. Now, the fight is to get Marine Le Pen into the Elysee Palace. One of the party's volunteers
JEAN-PAUL CHAUVIN, NATIONAL FRONT CAMPAIGNER (through translator): We feel a little less French. We have given a lot to these migrants who have come
into France illegally and now we don't look after our homeless people. We should look after ourselves first.
BELL: Back in the market, it is a view rejected by some who fear that the National Front, is scare mongering, even if there does seemed to be a
strong sense of abandonment by the more traditional political elites.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The politicians prefer to say that it is the Syrians who want to come to steal your jobs, and who are
going to be taking your houses, but there is no money nor French and homeless people in the street. It is just dividing all the better to rule.
BELL: Even here where support for the National Front has been strong and the desire for change is real, there is a sense that Marine Le Pen might
just represent a change too far.
BELL: Which is why, of course, Hannah, Marine Le Pen like the other candidates tonight in that debate is hoping to convince those who are yet
undecided one in three French people have yet to make up their minds. There are less than three weeks to go until that crucial first round of
voting that will narrow the field down to just two.
So all eyes very much on the 11 candidates tonight to see who comes out on top, and who are the two most credible people likely to go through to that
runoff -- Hannah.
JONES: All eyes indeed. Melissa Bell live for us there in Paris. Thank you.
After the break, we will be live in St. Petersburg, a city in shock after a devastating terror attack. We've got new details about the man officials
say is behind the Metro bombing.
[15:30:00] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Activists say at least 70 people are dead after an apparent
chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province. Hundreds more are wounded. The activist group says an airstrike hit the town, releasing what some describe
as a poisonous gas. The Syrian army categorically denies the use of chemical weapons.
Russian officials say a suicide bomber was behind Monday's metro attack in St. Petersburg which killed 14 people. The man has been identified as a
22-year-old Russian national from Kyrgyzstan. Investigators are trying to determine whether he had links to terrorist organizations.
In the U.S., debate is underway in the full Senate over the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. The Democrats now have enough
support to block to confirmation, but Republican lawmakers are threatening a major rewrite of the rules to get his confirmation through.
Now, imagine being awoken at dawn by an airstrike hitting your neighborhood. Then imagine that in the aftermath of that airstrike, you
lost the ability to breathe. Well, that's what apparently happened in the town of Khan Shaykhun in northern Syria today. The images are indeed very
hard to watch. They are very disturbing.
Activists say that this town was hit by a chemical attack, but Syrian state media claims a rebel-held poison gas factory exploded. Young victims
convulsed as emergency workers desperately tried to save them. Turkey's Foreign Minister called this a crime against humanity. A local doctor said
these scenes would stay with him for the rest of his life.
While White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer blamed the chemical attack on former President Obama, Republican Senator John McCain questioned the Trump
administration's own resolve in drawing any red lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: When Barack Obama said that they would have a red line, they crossed it, and they did nothing. And Bashar al-Assad and
his friends, the Russians, took note of what Americans say. I'm sure they took note of what our Secretary of State said just the other day, that the
Syrian people would be determining their own future themselves, one more of the incredible statements I've ever heard given the involvement of
Hezbollah, of the Iranians, of the Russians, and, of course, the barrel bombing and precision strikes by Russian aircraft into hospitals in Aleppo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHAN JONES: Well, for more on the reaction in Washington to this, let's go to the White House now with CNN Politics Producer Dan Merica is standing
by for us.
Dan, just explain for us what the White House policy is at the moment. We have heard already from Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, who says
that the Syrian people would decide Assad's fate. We heard there from John McCain saying that that's another disgraceful chapter in U.S. history.
Sean Spicer then blaming it on Obama. Where does the White House stand right now on its policy for Syria?
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS PRODUCER: I think the most telling comments came from U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley who said recently that, you know, the
United States is not going to sit around and wait for Assad to get out of office, sort of force Assad out of office.
And that is somewhat of a change and it was somewhat represented by Sean Spicer at the press briefing today, where he's condemned the attacks, said
that there perpetrator forces aligned with Bashar al Assad, and then blamed the Obama administration, as you mentioned, for the attack and creating the
situation that led to the attack. That wasn't exactly welcomed by a lot of national security experts in Washington, D.C.
And, Sean Spicer, you know, was somewhat just reiterating what the Trump administration has said in the past. Donald Trump, throughout the
campaign, said he was open to working with Russia in Syria. He talked about safe zones, protecting areas in Syria with Russian cooperation. So
the attack, the tragic videos that are being shown across the world now, certainly, are getting a rise out of the Trump administration, but it's not
exactly like they've changed their policy based off of what we saw in Syria.
[15:35:08] VAUGHAN JONES: So much had been made about Barack Obama's red lines being crossed back in 2013 with the last major chemical attack that
we saw in Syria as well. Does Donald Trump have any red lines, or does he just refuse to draw them?
MERICA: Sean Spicer was actually asked this today and said that the President wasn't going to telegraph what he was going to do, something they
criticized Barack Obama for. But you heard from John McCain there. They were fine with Obama setting a red line if he was going to follow it. They
want to see not only what will President Trump say but what he will do in Syria now that we have, you know, a chemical attack and what his response
It is worth mentioning that, on the day that Sean Spicer is saying all of this, President Trump later this afternoon will meet with a Congressman who
actually said that Bashar al Assad is not the enemy of the United States. So while Sean Spicer is saying this, Trump is actually surrounding himself
with people who think it is important to work with Assad to fix the civil war in Syria.
VAUGHAN JONES: Dan, just stand by for a second because we've just had a statement from Donald Trump on the attack so far as we've just been hearing
from Sean Spicer and the like.
Let me just read this statement. It is indeed from Donald Trump. "Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and
children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world."
He goes on to say, "These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad's regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution.
President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands
with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack."
Daniel, thoughts on that statement from Donald Trump echoing, really, what we heard from Sean Spicer saying that it is an indefensible attack but also
saying the Barack Obama is much to blame.
MERICA: Yes, I think it echoes what Sean Spicer said today, and I think the questions going forward are, so what are you going to do about it? Are
you going to align yourself with Republicans who have said we need to work with Assad, we need to work with Russia, and echoing what Trump said on the
But it is significant that President Trump is putting this out in his name. It's not coming from his Press Secretary. But I think a number of people
want to see what's next, what the U.S. response is going to be, more than just words but actions.
VAUGHAN JONES: Dan America, live for us at the White House. Thank you.
And now, so far, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has been relatively silent about the tragedy in Syria today. Instead, of course, he's been
dealing with a terror attack at home, in St. Petersburg. Mr. Putin laid flowers for the victims of Monday's metro bombing.
As Russia continues to mourn, new details are emerging about the man believed to be behind the attack. Officials there say a 22-year-old
Russian national from Kyrgyzstan set off a suicide bomb inside a train car, killing more than a dozen people. All of them said the suspect was born in
Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. Investigators matched traces of his DNA found inside the bombed out train
with DNA on second unexploded bomb at another metro station.
Paula Newton is covering the investigation for us, and she joins me now live from St. Petersburg.
Paula, the attacker has been identified but still no clear motivation. Why might Russia, though, face a terror threat from Kyrgyzstan or from Central
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Akbarzhon Jalilov has been identified but very little else has been said at this point in terms -
- we were just talking so much, you know, about the war there in Syria. There are many, many reasons this could be attached to the Russian campaign
which has been set up quite bit in the last year and a half in Syria, or it could have something to do with the rest of Caucus region here in Russia
and any kind of Chechen/Muslim alliance that has been created down there.
The alliances, though, are difficult to figure out. And, obviously, Hannah, we've heard so little from authorities here except for that
identify. It's clear that they're still trying to question the family, question friends, and see what could have been a motive. So far, Hannah,
absolutely no one has claimed responsibility in all of there, ever the more chilling for residents here who still feel quite a bit on edge.
We went to hospital today, spoke to a doctor who had operated on some of the most severely wounded patients. I mean, these were fierce bombs. They
were cruel. They were packed with different kinds of metal that would've inflicted yet more carnage when it exploded inside that carriage. As you
mentioned, another bomb, again, very powerful, was thankfully not detonated.
Having said all that, there are very few answers. And it has been, you know, a bit uncharacteristic of Vladimir Putin. He has said very little,
continues to meet with his security services, with the prosecutor's office in terms of keeping close contact in the investigation. But it has been
interesting that he has said so little even of this very attack.
[15:40:08] VAUGHAN JONES: How much concern is there, Paula, that this wasn't a lone wolf attack, that potentially there's a wider terror network
NEWTON: Yes, and that's the key there, Hannah. Since about 2011, most regions in Russia say the Caucus region has been fairly immune from
terrorist attacks. That doesn't mean the threat hasn't been here. Authorities have been breaking up what they call terrorist cells month
after month. But I think many people in Russia are thinking, is this going to usher in a whole new reign of terror?
You will remember, of course, the plane crash, tragic, over Egypt. Still a lot of mysteries surrounding that crash, but many believing, obviously,
that it was linked to Russia's campaign in Syria.
I think it is that fear, though, that they could strike at anywhere at any time. This is a resilient city. They're back up and running today. The
station that was hit, there were people on the platform there again riding those very same trains.
They have stepped up the security but, Hannah, as we have spoken so many times before from so many cities, there is very little you can do in order
to restrain that kind of threat. And it becomes all the more important that the investigators here really get the motive.
VAUGHAN JONES: Paula Newton, we appreciate it. Thanks very much indeed.
Well, so far, no one, as Paula was saying, has claimed responsibility for the attack, and investigators are trying to determine whether the suspect
has any ties to any extremist organizations. But fears are increasing that Russia may now be facing a growing terror threat.
We caution you, our report contains video that some viewers might find disturbing. Here is CNN's Mathew Chance from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Russian investigators are quickly building up a profile of the man they say is
behind this devastating bombing attack. He's been named as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan but
also a Russian citizen. Russian investigators say they found his DNA on a bag with a second bomb at another metro station. They also say they have
CCTV footage supporting their suspicion.
The next day, on a scheduled visit to Moscow, the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan unexpectedly found himself in the spotlight and revealing
further details on the investigation.
ABDYLDAEV BEKESHOVICH, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (through translator): Our national security council determined it was a
suicide bombing. We're still waiting to see if there's a link to ISIS.
CHANCE (voice-over): Russia is no stranger to ISIS threats.
"This is a message to you, Vladimir Putin," says this ISIS militant, showing off a Russian made warplane captured on the battlefields of Syria.
"This are your jets you sent to Bashar al-Assad," he says, "now we will send them back to you."
Russia's military intervention in Syria has made it a giant target for jihadist, particularly from former Soviet states.
CHANCE (on camera): Russian officials admit thousands of its own citizens have joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In mainly Muslim Central
Asia, the figure is far higher. But while the threat of battle-hardened jihadists returning to wage war is real, Russia has also seen an upsurge in
ISIS sympathizers drawn from former Soviet states and inspired to carry out attacks.
CHANCE (voice-over): Russian television broadcast these images in November of what it called members of a terror cell being arrested in a St.
Petersburg apartment bloc. Russian officials said the men, all from Central Asia, were threatening attack on shopping malls in the city in a
bid to prove their loyalty to ISIS before joining the group. It is still unclear why a bomber chose to wreak so much havoc and bloodshed on this
metro, but it is a brutal reminder of the deadly threat Russia faces.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
VAUGHAN JONES: This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. As Britain's Prime Minister and Chancellor travel to try to shore up trade relations, Gibraltar
complains of an unwanted intruder in disputed waters, adding to the fallout from Brexit. Stay with us for all the details are next.
[15:46:44] VAUGHAN JONES: Welcome back. Now, it's just days since Britain kicked off the Brexit process, and now senior members of the government are
clocking up the air miles to try to drum up support for new trading relationships.
The Chancellor Philip Hammond is in India for talks with his counterpart there. He is playing down the risks of the so-called hard Brexit.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May is in Saudi Arabia where she is expected to explore ways to boost trade. She is under pressure, though, to
raise the war in Yemen and, of course, human rights abuses with the Saudi leaders.
On that trip, Mrs. May laughed off a Brexit-fueled row with Spain over Gibraltar, but the dispute is rumbling on. The Gibraltar government is
accusing a Spanish Navy patrol ship of an incursion into disputed waters earlier, an accusation that Spain is denying. Let's go live now to
Gibraltar and speak to Nic Robertson.
Nic, the waters just got a little murkier there. Just explain what's going on.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Well, the Gibraltar authorities here, the spokesman of the government office, called
us up to say that this Spanish warship, he said, was just off the coast of Gibraltar, in their waters. We weren't the only journalists who clearly
got the call to go out there and take a look, but it is being very, very keenly felt.
And this is what we've been finding here talking to the some of the residents of Gibraltar, just how much they feel this sort of the pressure,
this threat, the history, in essence, weighing down on them. That, Spain, they feel, really wants to get its hands on Gibraltar and it's trying to
use Brexit in a way, they feel, to do that.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Gibraltar, famous for its rock and British resolve is where no tiny territory, a thousand miles from the homeland, wants to
be, facing a diplomatic dust-up with a far bigger neighbor.
FABIAN PICARDO, CHIEF MINISTER FOR GIBRALTAR: Spain insists that Gibraltar must be Spanish, and that we must hand over a slice of Gibraltar, at least,
to her whilst we become entirely Spanish.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's an old problem, but Brexit has brought it front and center. Almost none of Gibraltar's 30,000 residents voted for it
but fear they could be the big losers.
ROBERTSON (on camera): What is it you're worried about that Spain wants here? What are they trying to get out of this Brexit to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what they want to get out of this is Gibraltar back.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): A glance around the streets here, a bobby on the beach, a bright red phone box, pub on the corner, you could be forgiven to
thinking you had found a sunnier version of England. And with good reason. Every time over the centuries, Gibraltarians have been asked if they want
British sovereignty, the answer has been a resounding yes, and it's no different today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred percent British. I'd rather die than to be Spaniard.
ROBERTSON (on camera): There is no shortage of passion in mainland U.K. either. These newspapers, flown in every day, "Up Yours, Seniors." But
for all the feisty talk, no one's expecting a return to war of the old days, but neither is anyone here expecting an easy path ahead.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): These two retirees lived through the 1969 to '82 border blockade by Spain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they come, then we will find a way to survive and we will find a way to take Gibraltar forward despite Spain's attempts.
[15:50:09] ROBERTSON (voice-over): Besides, they tell me, they're used to Spain leaning on them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spain, they've always treated us the same, so it doesn't change.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Through it all, though, thanks in part to the E.U., Gibraltar is prospering, its economy intertwined with Spain. Every
day, 12,000 people, 7,000 of them Spanish, cross the international border into Gibraltar for work. No one knows how they'd be affected by Brexit.
It's one of many things that makes leaving the E.U. a particularly bitter pill here.
PICARDO: But we're not the culprits of Brexit because we didn't vote for it.
ROBERTSON: But we're going to lose out.
PICARDO: We are reluctantly going to ensure that we do everything possible to assist the United Kingdom to make a success of Brexit for the United
Kingdom and for Gibraltar.
ROBERTSON: This is not what you wanted.
PICARDO: But we are not going to be the victims of Brexit. We're not going to be the Brexit bargaining chip.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): For three centuries, Gibraltar has been loyal to Britain. They're counting that will be repaid over the next two years of
ROBERTSON: The worry is that because Gibraltar is so small, people here recognize that, and they figure that when Britain is in those E.U.
negotiations, there may be other things on the table that may seem more relevant, more important to the British government at that moment. So this
is a very real worry. They feel under pressure here at the moment, Hannah.
VAUGHAN JONES: Nic, thank you, from that rocky headlands in the southern Spain. We appreciate it.
Now, you're watching THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Still to come on the program, an invention that could create an ocean of difference in providing fresh,
drinking water. All of the details, up next.
VAUGHAN JONES: Now, it is an invention that could change the lives of millions of people around the world. Researchers here in the U.K. have
developed a graphene-based sieve which could filter salt out of seawater, potentially providing drinking water to millions.
Well, let's speak to Rahul Nair, a professor of Material Physics at the University of Manchester here in the U.K.
Professor, welcome to the program and congratulations, to start with, on this invention. Just tell us how it all works.
DR. RAHUL NAIR, RESEARCH FELLOW, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: Yes. We made a graphene oxide membrane which can perfectly see the common salt. The
membrane is made up of a material called graphene oxide, a derivative of graphene. The membrane as very small sieve size, maybe you can call it as
the finest sieve you can imagine.
The sieve is made up of, like, graphene oxide, which is trapped together. The space in between two graphene oxide sheet actually provides a sieve
size. That size is around one nanometer and that is the typical size of a salt molecule. So when keep salty water on top of this membrane, water
freely goes through these tiny holes in this membrane and the salt molecules get rejected by the membrane.
So effectively, we can use this membrane for the water filtration, the seawater desalination, and so on.
VAUGHAN JONES: If this membrane is to be used commercially, how big could the membrane be and therefore, how many people could it potentially help to
serve in terms of getting clean drinking water to those who desperately need it?
[15:55:05] NAIR: Yes. So at this stage, we have done a comprehensive study. We can make centimeter scale membrane. But this material was known
before. And we also have made this old membrane available, but that was not suitable for desalination membrane.
And that kind of membrane, actually, we have large area membrane in the real module kind of structure. So now we wanted to develop desalination
membrane in the same way, what we did before. We wanted to make large area membrane, which is more useful for us, larger applications such as seawater
desalination. We hope we can get into there in a couple of years' time.
VAUGHAN JONES: How big a deal is this? I mean, how long have you been working on it and what are the ambitions for this invention?
NAIR: The real ambition is making clean drinking water available for millions of people around the world. The current real challenge is making
the filter or the clean water cheaper, right? The existing membrane are really portable base membrane. They are really expensive. And also, it
takes quite a lot of energy to make drinking water from the dirty water. So we --
VAUGHAN JONES: Well, we very much appreciate you talking to us this evening. Professor Nair from the University of Manchester with this
incredible invention. Well done and thank you.
And a finally, tonight, on the program, the White House has released the official portrait of the first lady of the United States. Melania Trump
was photographed wearing a tuxedo style jacket with a sequined neckerchief. Her 25-karat engagement ring is also on full display. Well, the photo now
accompanies President Trump's biography on the official White House website.
And that is all we've got time for. That has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks so much for your company. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.