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CONNECT THE WORLD

Provocations On Both Sides as U.S., North Korea Flex Military Muscle; Satellite Images Show Glimpse of Life Inside Raqqa; Ivank Trump Makes First Official Visit Overseas; Le Pen, Macron Prepare For Debate Ahead of Second Round of Voting. 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired April 25, 2017 - 11:00:00   ET

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


[11:00:15] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, HOST: A show of force, the U.S., Japan and South Korea flex their military might conducting exercises as tensions

rise with North Korea.

Next reports from Seoul and Pyongyang.

Also.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Life is not life, life is death. We are besieged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Satellite images and eyewitness accounts obtained by CNN give us an exclusive view of life under ISIS in Raqqa.

Plus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts Trump in Berlin, but it's not the Trump you might expect. What has brought Ivanka overseas. Find out

later on this hour.

Welcome to Connect the World, I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones sitting in for Becky Anderson.

North Korea is showing off its military prowess again to mark the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army. It conducted a major live fire

exercise in the Wonsan (ph) region on its east coast. North Korea has an air base there and has tested missiles from that location in the past.

Well, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency says the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may have even personally supervised the drill.

Well, this show of force comes a day after the U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed Kim

Jong-un as someone who isn't as strong a leader as he portrayed himself to be.

South Korea is taking the drill from the north seriously, though. It's holding its own naval exercises with the United States. Alexandra Field

joins me now live from Seoul.

Alexandra, is it fair to say that South Korea is now on a war footing, that it's taking Kim at his word?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, every time they see provocative action from the north, they respond in a serious way, saying

that they're prepare today defend themselves and also that they're working on deterrence and that takes shape in the form of the alliance with the

U.S. and these strong deterrent signals are being sent to North Korea like the decision to deploy the USS Carl Vinson, that U.S. aircraft carrier to

the waters off of the Korean peninsula.

And then also you have this high powered U.S. submarine, the USS Michigan that's arrived at a port in the southern part of South Korea. It's not

there for training exercises, it's part of the routine stop, but it is being heralded by one U.S. official as a show of U.S. strength.

But nobody, nobody wants to see a peaceful resolution to the tensions with North Korea more than the people here in South Korea and of course their

government officials. And that is because the city of Seoul with millions of people is just some 30 miles from the DMZ, the heavily

fortified border between North Korea and South Korea.

While the North Korean nuclear threat is one thing, people here in South Korea know that the threat of conventional weapons is a very pressing

concern as well, and that concern is certainly underscored when you see the kind of training exercises, long range, large-scale artillery exercises

that took place inside of North Korea today, Hannah.

JONES: And Alex, what's been made of Donald Trump's comments about Kim Jong-un, sort of saying he's not as strong as you think you are?

FIELD: It certainly does sound like baiting from the U.S. president. We can't predict how Kim Jong-un will receive those words. There hasn't been

a direct response in state media. But North Korean state media did issue a threat of its own over the weekend, saying that North Korea was capable of

sinking that U.S. aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson. And you do consistently see very sharp words delivered in the North Korean state news,

these strong responses to threats.

But again, no direct response to what was said by Donald Trump.

It will be interesting to see if and how Pyongyang reacts to President Trump's decision to hold a very high profile meeting at the White House,

which is scheduled for tomorrow. It's an unusual meeting. He has summoned all senators to the White House for a briefing on the situation with North

Korea. That will also be attended by the secretary of state and the secretary of defense. And certainly it would seem that the decision to

summon these Senators to the White House for this purpose is clearly intended to send a strong message to Pyongyang about the seriousness that

Washington does regard these threats from North Korea.

Of course again the wild card is always how North Korea will respond and officials here in South Korea are saying they're consistently prepared for

further action from the north, Hannah.

JONES: Alexandra, thanks very much indeed. Alex is there in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

Well, let's find out now exactly how the north is reacting and how it's celebrating its army day.

Our Will Ripley is the only western journalist in North Korea right now. He just filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite warnings from President Trump and the Pentagon, more provocative behavior from North Korea's Supreme Leader

Kim Jong-un. He conducted a military exercise, a long range artillery drill at the very same moment that other celebrations were happening in his

country to mark Army Day, a celebration of the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army.

Now, these long-range artillery drills are concerning, especially for people in South Korea because the north has a lot of these conventional

weapons pointed directly at the Seoul metropolitan area, home to tens of millions of people. In fact, analysts believe that those weapons, in the

short-term at least, could be more harmful that their nuclear develops, which are still under development. There still has not been a sixth North

Korean nuclear test, even though analysts say that Kim Jong-un could push the button on that at just about any time. In the city of Pyongyang,

we saw dancing in the streets, soldier and citizens and civilians coming out to celebrate Army Day. And there was also a more somber ceremony, an

event to mark the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans who died in the Korean War, a wreath laying ceremony there.

All of this as the U.S. is also engaging in provocative behavior of its own, deploying a nuclear submarine to the waters off the Korean Peninsula

as that USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group moves ever closer to this turbulent region with tensions at their highest level in years, and adding

to the complicated situation, another U.S. citizen was detained here in Pyongyang over the weekend, an American professor named Tony Kim who had

been teaching at a local university for several weeks. He has been teaching at a local university for several weeks.

He has been taken by the authorities. We don't know where he's being held or what charges he's facing in North Korea, but he joins at least two other

U.S. citizens who are being held here right now, a University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, serving a 15 year sentence for taking a sign off the

wall of his hotel. That sentence hard labor, by the way. Also, U.S. citizen Kim Dong-chul serving a 10 year sentence of hard labor, accused of

spying.

So, you have the military provocations and the situation with the detained Americans. We'll have to see how President Trump reacts.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: Well, as I mentioned earlier, Will Ripley is the only western journalist inside North Korea there on his remarkably his 12th trip, all to

bring us an incredible peek from the inside.

Like all these glimpses into every day life in the North. You can see all of these photographs and many more as well as the stories behind them on

Will's Instagram page. That's Will Ripley, CNN.

Well, Pyongyang is of course extremely reclusive and life there can be punishing. But perhaps the world's most cut off and brutalized city is

here, it's Raqqa, what ISIS calls the capital of its crumbling self- proclaimed caliphate.

The terror group is often the only lens to life there, but in a CNN exclusive using images from space, our Nick Paton Walsh gives us a rare

snapshot of what it's really like.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The final target in the war on ISIS, their capital, Raqqa. So wretchedly isolated, held hostage in

terror, the closest we get to it is from space in these exclusive satellite pictures taken for CNN. Here, two checkpoints in the street and nearly an

ISIS flag. Precision strikes cutting its people further off from the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Life is not life. Life is death. We are besieged. We can't leave or walk around. Anyone who breathes is

slaughtered.

WALSH: She escaped a day earlier and describes from safety to the north the claustrophobic, paranoid world of living with ISIS in streets covered by

massive (inaudible), put up across this central market to hide ISIS fighters from coalition drone cameras overhead. Another escapee describes

how ISIS fighters (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The foreigners treat residents very well. But the Syrian ISIS members, they are very aggressive with

people.

WALSH: ISIS used their own drone to film the damage from coalition strikes, part of a slow net slipping over the city. Images of life inside Raqqa are

rare. By one occasion, filming the panic of residents trying to flee. Only seconds of horror filmed here as ISIS have just told them the dam at Kapca

(ph) to the west might break open, flooding Raqqa. It never happened, like so much of their propaganda. The dam was fine.

But to the west, fierce fighting backed by U.S. special forces has drawn the noose yet tighter. These coalition backed fighters to the west, north

and east are about to move in from the south. Then the noose will be complete and the countdown begins to when these distant streets are open

for the world to see again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:10:21] JONES: Nick joins us now live from Irbil in northern Iraq, not far from the fight against ISIS in the city of Mosul.

Nick, we'll talk about Mosul in just a moment, but first of all, an incredible insight there into what life is actually like in Raqqa. Is

there a plan, a time frame in place for liberating the city from ISIS?

NICK PATON WALSH: The time frame isn't clear. The drum is beating a lot faster and it is the same plan that's sort of been lingering in the

background now for about a year, which is U.S. special forces, other western nations, perhaps too, assisting that group called the Syrian

Defense Force, mostly frankly Syrian Kurds, but some Syrian Arab fighters, too. And they will

potentially in the weeks ahead, finish encircling Raqqa, by moving in from the south and then slowly begin to move in on the urban

sprawl itself. That's in the potential for months ahead.

We frankly don't know what the time table is. Suggestions it should be over by this year. It could be mostly done by the end of summer, very hard

to read. It really depends on one person, I think, Donald Trump, how fast he wants to lay his hands on this, which will most likely be the first

significant military operation of his presidency. And it's one, of course, that could potentially deprive ISIS, depending on how the fight for Mosul

goes, of its last city that it genuinely controls - Hannah.

JONES: And, Nick, just briefly we mentioned that you're not far from Mosul. Without Mosul and without Raqqa, is ISIS effectively finished?

WALSH: Well, finished in terms of grip on major cities I think it's fair to say. When those two fall back into the hands of those who originally

lived there. But they're not finished as an idea and they're not finished as potentially a rag tag insurgency that could cause trouble, an awful loss

of life across Syria and Iraq.

Remember, they began as a loose bunch of guys who are more into kind of car bombings and attacking at times the American occupation and other parts of

Iraq and then spread into Syria. They can back to that easily and none of this stops the spread of the idea of ISIS, the sort of virus of such great

potential it can attract somebody who has never met anybody from ISIS purely by watching their propaganda online and cause them to decide to

carry some rather disgusting acts like we've seen in London recently or Paris, too, in the name of the brand. That's the enduring threat, really.

And no one has come up with a good idea how to really to curtail that at this point - Hannah.

JONES: Nick, we appreciate it. Nick Paton Walsh live for us there in Irbil, Northern Iraq.

Well, with coalition forces taking the battle against ISIS closer and closer to the militant stronghold of Raqqa, as Nick was just saying,

civilians are fleeing and describing chilling accounts of life under ISIS control. For one young woman, the horror began before she

arrived in Syria on her honeymoon when her new husband revealed she had become his ISIS bride.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 23-year-old Islam Mitat's (ph) journey to Syria started more than three years ago with a visit to an

online Muslim match-making site, Muslima.com where she met her future husband, Ahmed Khalil, British national of Afghan origin.

ISLAM MITAT, FORMER ISIS WIFE: He was in Dubai and he told me he have job in Turkey, so he told me to come with me, he is going to do his job and we

go to for holiday too, me and him.

WEDEMAN: The 'holiday' her husband had in mind however, was in Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Tune in to Amanpour today to see Ben Wedeman's profile of this young woman who escaped from Raqqa. That's at the times you can see there

on your screen.

We are witnessing the starving and crippling of an entire generation, blunt words there from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaking about

what he called, quote, a tragedy of immense proportions in Yemen. Aid agencies say the country is on the brink of Famine after years of civil war

and Saudi-led airstrikes. The country is on the brink of famine after years of civil war and Saudi-led air strikes.

International donors are in Geneva this hour trying to raise the $2 billion of aid desperately needed. As of Tuesday, the UN says only 15 percent of

that appeal has been raised.

For more now on what is often seen as the world's forgotten crisis, Sara Tesorieri is roving advocacy and policy adviser for the Norwegian Refugee

Counsel. And I'm delighted to say joins me now via Skype from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

Sara, thanks so much for joining us.

This conflict so often overshadowed by other world crises of course. I'm wondering if you can put it. Can you put into words or perhaps numbers the

scale of the tragedy unfolding in Yemen today?

SARA TESORIERI, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: It is indeed a tragedy and we heard that very clearly as you noted from the UN Secretary General today.

It's a desperate situation and it's headed towards being a worse situation. We have a conflict that shows no signs of stopping. It's not clear to me

who thinks they're winning in this situation, but we can see very clearly here who is losing, and that's the almost 19 million Yemenis who now need

humanitarian aid because their lives are being destroyed.

7 million of those people are now on the brink of famine. And that's essentially like leaving the entire city of Amsterdam or Dallas, about the

equivalent to starve. So, it's a very serious situation.

We have an economy that's basically slowly and painfully collapsing under the burden of inflation, destruction of livelihoods, lack of payment of

salaries. And it's - we're just watching this happen in slow motion. So, we can't point to an exact moment when we can say, you know, this is going

to tip into famine. But it's closing in every day. And it's already here for a lot of people, unfortunately.

JONES: Well, another number to throw into the mix is that $2 billion of aid that the UN says is

necessary. The latest we've heard from Geneva is that $1.1 billion has been pledged. It's still not the full amount, of course. Why is it the

international community has been so slow to respond?

TESORIERI: The other thing I want to highlight about that number is that's the amount we need to reach 12 million of the people who are in most

desperate need out of that almost 19 million. So, it's, you know -- as of today, it looks like we're maybe now about 60 percent to what we need for

just this year to reach those people.

It's really not enough and we do need to see more.

Why do we not get more? It's a very good question, a question to which certainly the people here working here and the people suffering here would

like an answer, but the situation unfortunately does not get the visibility of some other situations, including those that push refugees towards the

west, but it's no less severe for the lack of attention.

And let's hope that attention brings not only there is more attention, and that gets us not only

the assistance we need to deliver, but we focus on finding a solution, because people are going to

continue to suffer, we're going to need increasing amounts of aid to try to just hold people back from the brink of losing their lives.

Unless we actually get a political solution. So, this meeting was good. It's good to see some money being pledged. We need see it dispersed,

because we need to see the cash to actually deliver. And we need to see that the next international meeting of this level on this country with some

of these same actors is about finding a political solution to the conflict.

JONES: Is there an end to the conflict in Yemen in sight, or are all of the efforts now on a

short-term relief, you know, just trying to stave off hunger and famine. Is there any long-term plan to

resolve this crisis and rebuild this country?

TESORIERI: Well, I'm an aid worker and not a diplomat. So, that's a question I ask every day myself. Unfortunately, what we appear to see very

much from outside where decisions are being made on these things is actually an escalation of the fighting. And there has been public talk of

potentially an attack on Hudeda (ph) port, which is one of the vital entry points for aid. An important point to flag is

that Yemen is massively dependent on imports for its basic needs. This is a country that imports 90 percent of its food.

So, you know, any kind of escalation of the conflict that cuts any further into the entry points into this country, sea, air, land, and particularly

one as large as Hudeda (ph) just has a huge and devastating effect.

So, I wish we were going in the other direction, but it's looking rather bleak at the moment unless some better decisions are made.

JONES: Yeah, and we'll continue to monitor what's going on in Geneva with that aid conference there. One report I heard earlier was one child dies

every 10 minutes of hunger and disease in Yemen. We appreciate, Sara, thank you.

Now, for a list of aid agency who are indeed helping on the ground in Yemen and information about how to donate, you can go to our Impact Your World

page. That's at CNN.com/impactyourworld.

There is, though, some rare good news for one part of war torn Yemen. People on Socotra Island who were affected by a major cyclone are getting

used to their new medical facilities and schools built by the Emirates Red Crescent. The charity is also providing shelter for dozens of families on

the island, which is home to up to 60,000 people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMED AL-FALAHI, SECRETARY GENERAL (through translator): We're going to give 161 houses to the people whose homes were damaged by the cyclone in

2015. As part of the opening, we're carrying out a group wedding for 40 people who otherwise couldn't afford to get married. We've also opened 14

schools as well as medical clinics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:20:14] JONES: Still ahead on Connect the World this hour, KIvanka Trump is getting a warm reception from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but

she faced a slightly tougher crowd at a woman's summit in Berlin.

We'll see why the audience hissed and booed at some of her remarks about her father.

(COMMERCAL BREAK)

JONES: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. Welcome back. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. One of the most influential women in the White

House is meeting with the world's most powerful female leader today. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is welcoming U.S. first daughter Ivanka

Trump to Berlin after personally exending the invitation.

Earlier, they attended a women they attended a women's economic and empowerment conference. And things got a little testy when Trump defended

her father's record on women's issues.

The crowd actually hissed and booed. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVANKA TRUMP, FIRST DAUGHTER: He has been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive. In the new reality of...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear the reaction from the audience, so I need to address one more point, some attitudes towards women, your father has

publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he's such an empowerer for women. How do you relate to that are

things changing, what's your comment on that?

IVANKA TRUMP: I've certainly heard the criticism from the media and that's been perpetuated. But I know from personal experience, and I think the

thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid

conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Let's get more from our Atika Shubert who is live for us in Berlin. Atika, a bit of a rough reception there for Ivanka Trump. But what are the

areas of potential collaboration with Chancellor Merkel? Is it all about female empowerment?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, she was invited to attend this summit as part of building a relationship with the

Trump administration. It was actually Chancellor Merkel who reached out to the White House before her visit to the White House. And they asked for

Ivanka Trump in particular to organize a sort of meeting about vocational training with business leaders and the president.

And it was precisely defined that sort of, you know, common ground between Trump and Merkel, because frankly, the two leaders do not see eye to eye.

But after Ivanka Trump was essentailly able to break the ice, since then the two leaders have been getting along better.

President Trump calls Angela Merkel maybe nearly once a week now on issues big and small. And so there has been this improvement. And as part of

building on that relationship, is why Chancellor Merkel invited Ivanka Trump to this W20 summit here in Berlin. She did get a rough reception

briefly. I mean, it's perhaps not surprising that she would face a very skeptical audience. But for the most part, the audience was polite and

certainly respectful as she made her points.

So, she's done her homework on women's empowerment and entrepreneurship issues. And she was facing an intimidating panel of women, very formidable

leaders - Christine Lagarde of the IMF and of course Chancellor Merkel herself. But she held her own. And she went on to other events.

She is, for example, at the moment here at the Holocaust memorial paying her respects.

[11:26:00] JONES: Atika, so much interest, of course, in this visit. I know that Ivanka Trump was also making some comments off camera when she

was asked in particular about her role, her influence over her father, particularly when it came to that U.S. strike on Syria. Tell us what she

said.

SHUBERT: Yeah, she said that essentially she felt that her role in this, her emotional reaction seeing that strike in Syria was overplayed and that

her father took a very consciousness decision. It was something she said that was not just an emotional reaction, but he took advice from his many

advisers before taking action. That was, in her view, what happened.

She also said, you know, it's very clear Ivanka Trump is still sort of defining her role not only as an adviser to the president, but in a sense

as his emissary. So, in off-camera comments she made, she said, for example, that with the tax initiative being started tomorrow -- due to

start tomorrow that there would be more provisions for family and family care. And so she really has touched upon a huge range of issues. But

again, this is part of her embracing her new role at the White House.

JONES: OK, Atika, thanks very much indeed. It will be interesting to see what Ivanka Trump's remit is as she continues with her world travels and

her talks through her foreign policy. Atika, thanks very much. Live for us in Berlin where Ivanka Trump is currently behind you at the holocaust

memorial and we hope to see more pictures of her later on this hour, hopefully.

The latest word news headlines are just ahead here on Connect the World. Plus, it is a race against the clock in the U.S. to strike a deal and avoid

a government shutdown. How President Donald Trump is looking to compromise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JONES: We're going to take you straight to the U.S. Capitol now where Donald Trump is honoring the victims of the holocaust speaking at a

ceremony for the Holocaust Memorial Museum's national day of remembrance. Let's listen in.

(U.S. PRESIDENT NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE SPEECH)

[11:44:53] JONES: President Trump there speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's national day of remembrance. He was of course the

keynote speaker.

Let's bring in Joe Johns now who joins me from the White House.

Joe, he's been criticized, the president has been criticized in the past for not setting the right tone, really when it comes to such a sensitive

subject as the holocaust. But a very impassioned speech there. How do you think he did?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it was important for him to do this, acknowledging the 6 million Jews killed during World War II by Adolf

Hitler, saying its his intention to stamp out anti-Semitism and prejudice.

It's important for this administration to make a statement like that, especially given the misteps, miscommunications that have occurred with

this administration. And even during the campaign, most notably, I think most recently, his own press secretary Sean Spicer in the briefing room on

the record suggesting in error that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons against his own people in World War II, of course he had to back

track and try to correct that.

But the president making a clear statement here at a very important event in the Capitol Rotunda and embracing many of the issues that this

administration has created some questions about, Hannah.

JONES: And this speaking engagement aside, it's a big week, of course, for President Trump. Just four days to go until that big 100 mark. Rumor has

it that he might be going soft on this idea of his great big, beautiful wall that he said he was going to build.

JOHNS: And he's trying to make clear that that is an error. What has happened here in Washington is the president and Republicans on Capitol

Hill have come to the agreement, which was perhaps the only agreement they could make, that they had to at least for now stop pushing for the seed money for the president's border wall in a

spending bill that must be passed by the end of the week, otherwise key parts of the government might shut down. So, the president has said he

would withdraw that in order to get the spending bill passed, and in order to keep the government funded.

However, the president made very clear in a tweet earlier this morning that he has not given up

by any stretch of the imagination on his border wall. And in his view it will be built despite a lot of opposition on Capitol Hill among Democrats

and even some Republicans from border states have real questions about it, Hannah.

JONES: We await to see what's done about this looming government shutdown. Joe Johns from the White House, thank you.

Stay with us here on CNN Connect the World. We will be right back after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:50:11] JONES: Welcome back, you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. Just coming up to 10 to 5:00

in the afternoon local time.

Now, the two remaining candidates in France's election are building up their campaigns ahead of the May 7th run off. But earlier, there was a

pause and a somber reminder of the difficulties that France faces.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial for the police officer murdered in a terror attack just days before Sunday's vote. Xavier Jegule was shot and

killed by a gunman on the Champs-Elysees last Thursday. Among those attending were both presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel

Macron.

In a few hours time, Le Pen is due to take part in a live interview on French television, Macron is to do the same on Thursday.

Let's go to Paris now and speak to CNN's Jim Bittermann who is standing by for us.

So, full steam ahead then with the campaign ahead of May 7th. But perhaps a surprising move from Marine Le Pen, she stepped aside as the leader of

her party. Why?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a surprise as she announced it last evening on the news. But - and the significance

is pretty minor, I think, actually. It basically means she's going to release the reins of the party to her number two and long time confederate

who will take over the party. And as she explained last night, she basically was saying that presidency should be above partisan politics,

kind of a nice political gesture that she was making there. And also, harking back to something that Charles de Gaulle always said, which was the

president of France should be above partisan politics.

I think it's a way for her to identify with the de Gaulle whom she liked to identify with or at least have her voters identify with - Hannah.

JONES: And we mentioned just now that they've got these TV interviews, TV debates coming up ahead of that vote on May 7th. Is either Le Pen or

Macron seen to be the better public performer? And could either of them, therefore, capitalize on this exposure ahead of the next vote?

BITTERMANN: I think the debates will be really telling. The debate is - I guess it's going to be the only debate, because it's the only one we know

is scheduled is coming next Wednesday. There are other TV performances, but these are not debates tonight and on Thursday night.

But next Wednesday night there's a debate where the two are face to face. And Marine Le Pen is relishing that. She's the underdog and she's been

saying that she wants to get face to face with Macron, confront him about his policies. It is going to be a real contrast just as their platforms

are contrasting, because Macron is a very cool -- I wouldn't say laid back, but a very cool guy in a debate. We've seen him debate in the first

round of the elections, whereas Marine Le Pen has much of what her father used to give us on television, which was a kind of very pugnacious style in

your face. And her father, by the way, today, was giving her some advice saying she was too laid back on the campaign trail so far.

In fact, she has been pretty pugnacious and pretty aggressive as we've seen, in fact, even this

morning when she was in the marketplace this morning.

So, it's going to be a very interesting confrontation. It could really sway some voters' minds I think. She's been working all along to change

the image of the National Front Party from that of her father, to make it more like a normal party. So in fact, she could make an

error if she was too aggressive, but by the same token, if she's going to score points and she's way behind now, according to

public opinion polls, she's going to have to do something - Hannah.

JONES: Yeah, she is the underdog, of course. You mention the polls, Jim, and all the polls are putting Macron ahead by some distance in the second

round of voting

Could Marine Le Pen still spring a surprise, though?

BITTERMANN: Well, it will take some amazing work with the numbers, because when we look at the numbers, the way people voted on Sunday, there is just

not a lot of ways that they can add up in a way that's to her favor. She's got to gather in some votes from people who voted for the main stream

parties, for example, on Sunday, from people that voted on the fringe parties.

A couple of the fringe parties have said their candidates have said they want their voters to

pledge their votes to Le Pen, but that's not going to be enough to push her over the top.

We'll have to see in the next week and a half is going to be determinate.

JONES: We will have to wait and see. Jim Bittermann live in Paris. Thank you very much.

In our Parting Shots tonight, life after the presidency. With the weight of the world off his shoulders, Barack Obama looks remarkably relaxed.

He's ditched the tie. He'd probably even let his hair down if he could.

Yes, the former U.S. president is back on stage for the first time since leaving office. He spoke to students at the University of Chicago and

warned them that while sharing the good times on social media is fun, the past can become permanent in our high tech age.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:55:25] BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If is true if you had pictures everything I done when I was in high school, I probably

wouldn't have been president of the United States. So I would advise all of you to be a little more circumspect about your selfies and what you take

pictures of. Just a suggestion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: He says the most important thing he can do is help the next generation as they prepare to change the world.

That's it, that's all we've got time for. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London, that was Connect the World. Thanks for watching.

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