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School Shootings; Police; South Africa Politics; South Africa Protests; Cyril Ramaphosa; Jacob Zuma; Alpine Skiing Takes Center Stage On Day 6. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 15, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN, HOST: The teenager expected of killing 17 people in his former high school is due in a Florida courtroom in the coming hours. Students came running from their classrooms on Wednesday, after a fire alarm was set off, and soon after that, they heard this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Nineteen-year-old Nicholas Cruz has now been arrested. Last year, he was expelled from the school, reportedly for threatening his classmates. Investigators have found his social media accounts, which appear to be filled with violent and threatening posts. Police have recovered an AR15 firearm, which one source tells CNN Cruz purchased legally after passing a background check.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another horrific day, a detestable day, absolutely sick to my stomach to see children to go school, armed with backpacks and pencils lose their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could this ever happen to this country? How could this happen in this state? This is a state that is focused on keeping our children safe. You can come to the conclusion that this is just absolutely pure evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There have now been 18 school shootings in the U.S. since the start of the year. That is 18 in 2018, and the year is only 45 days old. CNN's Randy Kaye now on how this latest shooting unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY KAYE, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Around 2:30 p.m., the Broward County Sheriff's Office responds to reports of the shooting with multiple injuries it Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, the student population, close to 300. At first, those inside the school didn't realize what was happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids freaking out. Some kids froze. Some kids were on their phone. A lot of them were on their phones, trying to Snap Chat everything.
KAYE: At this point, the shooter's whereabouts are unknown. SWAT teams go from room to room, securing areas before allowing students and teachers to evacuate. Students run to safety after they are escorted out of the school building, some with hands still in the air, others clutching each other for support. Outside the school, first responders tend to the wounded, and parents anxiously wait to see their children outside of the lockdown zone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know is your daughter safe?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Thank God. Just 10 minutes ago, she was able to call me. I had not heard from her since 2:48. She kept texting me and she said that she was hiding, that she was crying, but for me to please call 911 because there was somebody hurt on the search for -- in the 1200 building.
She was very nervous. She said that she could hear the person who was shot, crying out for helping and us just was a nervous wreck.
KAYE: The FBI and ATF join local law enforcement on-site. Police say they know the identity of the suspect and confirm he has left the school grounds. Just before 4:00 p.m., the Broward County Sheriff's Office announces they found the shooter and arrested him without incident, Randy Kaye, CNN, Parkland, Florida.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining me here now in Los Angeles is Steve Moore, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and retired FBI Special Agent, and from Palm Springs in California, Bobby Chacon, also a retired FBI Special Agent. We're luck to have you both with United States, OK. So now, just after every school shooting and they're being so many, there is this question, why, why did he do it. What was the motive?
Here's Sheriff Scott Israel on the investigation so far. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:05:00] SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL: Investigators have certainly begun dissecting social media and looking at the website and the -- Nikolas Cruz was the killer. He is in custody and we've already begun to dissect his websites and social media that he was on, and some of the things that have come to mind have been very, very disturbing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Bobby, some of those social media postings, he has been seen holding BB gun, as well as a knife as well. In some of his other posts, he writes about wanted to kill a lot of people. I guess there are people who make threats like that on social media. They post photos, I guess, but they don't go and shoot 17 people dead. So what's the difference here?
BOBBY CHACON, CNN, LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know you don't know that until it actually happens, right? I think it might be time for these schools and in the school districts -- within each individual school to designate a Vice Principal or somebody that monitors the students -- they -- every school has it, and you sort this the population here of its population.
They all knew this kid. They were not surprised that it was him. So I think it needs to be an earlier outreach to identify and monitor kids like this, even after leaving the school. We've seen it in the workplace when somebody gets fired, comes back months later and shoots their supervisor or their fellow employees.
The schools have the same problem. But I don't think there is enough accountability within the school system for people to be monitoring and tracking. And schools are very reluctant to do this kind of stuff. But really this kind of case where it could've been prevented had he been monitored and tracked, and law enforcement alerted to have him taken for some involuntary treatment.
I think that you know the schools have to start thinking about having a permanent person, like a guidance counselor who monitors these kinds of kids in the school, making threats online or bullying kids in the school or showing themselves with guns.
And in this case, if they were monitoring him, the minute he bought that weapon, hopefully they would've been advised and then law enforcement could have interceded.
VAUSE: OK, so with that in mind, Sheriff Israel he made this plea to everyone out there to speak out and let somebody know if there's a change of behavior with the person to certain messages on social media. But what we heard with this kid is he actually -- he wasn't living with his family.
He was essentially a loner, and he was living with a family. He was living with another family from a kid at school. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a residence. The alleged shooter lived here for the last three months. His mother had died back in November of this last year and his family took him in. He knew another student at Douglas. That's how they met. They offered a home and tried to help the kid out, because he didn't really didn't have any place to stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So Steve, for the most part this 19-year-old kid was pretty much left with to own devices. He was pretty much left alone to plan this attack.
STEVE MOORE, CNN, LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: He was, and the fact that he was living with somebody other than his immediate family is actually one of the categories that you add into your threat assessment matrix, dovetailing on what Bobby said, I worked with the University for several years, and the University had a Student Of Interest Committee, a forensic psychiatrist, law enforcement, school counselors, and people who were displaying aberrant behavior or aberrant social media that could potentially become a threat to students on the campus were actually looked.
And it was not just one person. It was an entire committee who were actually very forward leaning on this. We may have to see that as a model.
VAUSE: OK. CNN's Drew Griffin has more details now on the shooter who had been expelled from the school last year. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: CNN talked with a former fellow student who told us, I can tell you this is a violent kid. He wasn't in my class but I saw him in class, he said. He was one of those kids that if you did wrong, he would get you back. He would threaten to kill people. He wore dark clothes, put weird marks on his arms. He was pretty shy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Bobby, putting together what we know at this point, is there an outline for a motive. Is this just some kind of revenge?
CHACON: Yeah, the kid obviously built up some rage against the people that he felt wronged him, and obviously getting expelled from the school and having noted on alternatives school was probably a trigger against both the school and the students who go there. SESAY:
[02:10:00] I think you know -- I think Steve's right. I think you know he worked in a forward leaning, very progressive school that had a program in place like that. I think it's time for these high schools and sometimes these middle schools, or at least these school districts to have teams in place like that, had they been monitoring a kid like this and been talking to fellow students like we just heard from.
I think that law-enforcement would've been a little ahead of the game and been able to take action before a tragic instance like this occurs.
VAUSE: The County Sheriff seems to say there was a lot which could have been done to prevent this shooting. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISRAEL: If a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific event, like go into a school and shoot people, if a person is going to drive a truck into a crowded area, if a person is committed to committing great carnage, there is not anybody or not a lot law enforcement can do about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I get what he's saying, Steve, but this is a kid with a violent background. He passed a background check. He had an automatic weapon. He was 19 years old. It seems that they could have been something along the way.
MOORE: John, I sympathize with the Sheriff. But it's simply not completely accurate what he said. In the FBI, I was part of the team that interdicted a mass attack, simply because somebody came forward and said something's wrong with this person.
They contacted the FBI. We contacted forensic psychiatrists, and we said something serious is going to happen if we don't interdict. I will admit to the sheriff that is rare so that, but that can't be rare anymore.
VAUSE: OK. As a former student, it seems he timed the attack for maximum carnage. This is what one of the students said.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that a lot of students don't have a seventh period, so that ends at 2 o'clock. So the time was too long. So there are going to be a lot of kids that are walking out there like towards their bikes, towards their cars, are right in the area. The senior parking lot is right where this went down and exits where you walk, to where people go home or to their bike is also in the area. So there's going to be a large of mass of people at that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Bobby, he was also apparently wearing a gas mask. He had smoke grenades. How do you get smoke grenades? This wasn't a spur of the moment decision. A lot of planning and thought went into this.
CHACON: Right. And you know with all due respect to the Sheriff, that's why -- you know sure, it might be difficult to stop someone who rents a vehicle to drive it into a crowd or walks into a school. If there are no pre-incident indicators, but here you had a ton of pre- incident indicators that should have hit someone's radar and the threats online and him amassing a weapon like that, like he purchased and buying these things.
If someone had been monitoring, if someone had been responsible for monitoring students of this type, you know they would've seen this and all of these pieces would've led at least to some point him crossing a threshold, where that law-enforcement can get involvement and say we're going to take this kid in for a 72 hour evaluation, a psychiatric evaluation.
Let the doctors decide whether or not we can keep him longer and let a judge decide that. So I think that Steve is right. I think that these schools need to adapt a model he explained earlier and start being proactive in looking at this. Reactively, you can't stop it, but you can be proactive to see the indicators leading to it before it happened certainly. And once a number of those indicators meet a threshold, and then law
enforcement can use something like the Baker Act and take this person in for a psychiatric evaluation. That's what needs to be done.
VAUSE: With the school had prepared for this in a way, because the kids have done drills, and so when the shots were fired, they knew pretty much initial confusion what to do. Listen to this.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the gun shots. I went to call someone immediately. I called my mom. Mom, there is a school shooter. There is a school shooter. I was crying. I sat down. They were all backed on a wall. OK, I don't feel safe being near the door. I went to the closet because I just felt safer in there. I sat in there. There was, like, 10, 15 people in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We hear about these kids in this situation, texting their mom, saying this is happening, which I guess is OK. But they're also texting out videos and images in real time as this is happening. That to me does not sound like the best idea.
[02:15:00] MOORE: No, it's not, because if you got your phone out, just like before we come on air, we make sure that nothing is going to make a ring. If this guy searching a room and you're hiding under a desk, you do not want a ping coming up, saying are you all right. Yes. It gives that away, just annoys.
The other thing is that, as Bobby said last time, yes, they've trained, they've trained. And done everything they can do. But in the meantime, until we can do something about these guns getting in the hands of these people, we have to do something about putting people at the schools to protect them in case this happens.
That can't be the way we live as a country. But in the meantime, we got to do something. We guard 7-Eleven's. We guard our liquor better than we guard our kids.
VAUSE: I want to finish here with CNN's Counter Terrorism Analyst, Phil Mudd. As this story was breaking, Phil was on air with Wolf Blitzer. They've been hearing some absolutely harrowing accounts of what the students have gone through. You know and Phil is a tough guy. He's former FBI like you guys, former CIA, but he had a moment.
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PHIL MUDD, CNN, COUNTER TERRORISM ANALYST: I have 10 nieces and nephews who were talking about bump stocks, who were talking about legislation, a child of God is dead. Cannot we acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this? I cannot do it, Wolf. I can't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Bobby, the violence impacts pretty much everyone, you know? It was just a rare human moment from Philip. I'm sure there are moments that you felt the same.
CHACON: Sure. Steve and I both have been involved in children's cases where children have been the victim of predators, and I myself have recovered too many of those children when I used to run the FBI Dive Team and they were put in the water. So we all have those moments. We deal with them differently at different times.
You have to have coping mechanisms to deal with it, because I was on the dive team for 19 years, and like I said, I did far too many child recoveries. So yeah, this stuff does get to you. We all do it in our own time and our own way. No one goes unaffected by these things, no one.
VAUSE: And Steve, for many FBI agents, it just seems so senseless.
MOORE: You don't get used to it and it doesn't make any more sense after 25 years. I was on with Ashley Banfield today, and she played the raw tape for the first time of the gunshots going off, and Bobby and I have heard high-powered guns in houses over our heads, past our heads. I have never been more chilled by the sound of firearms than I was by that tape.
VAUSE: Yeah, you know and like we said, it is the 18th of 2018. Some of those were non-fatal shootings, some of them fatal. But this school shooting is senseless and it shouldn't happen in schools. It should happen anywhere, but especially schools. Bobby and Steve, as always, you guys are great. Thank you.
OK, we will take you to a break. When we come back, the end of an era in South Africa after nearly nine years in power, Jacob Zuma is now out as President. We'll look at what's next for the country in just a moment.
[02:20:00] VAUSE: We're back now to our breaking news. At least 17 people are dead after a high school shooting at Broward County in Florida. Others have been wounded, including at least five people who remain in life threatening condition. Police believe the suspect, 19- year-old Nicolas Cruz used an AR15 style semi-automatic rifle. His first court appearance is expected in the coming hours.
We're not to what was an extraordinary day in South African politics. Just hours after the embattled President, Jacob Zuma seemed to be defiant and refusing to step down, he addressed the nation and announced his resignation effective immediately.
This coming after the ruling of African National Congress, which had demanded his resignation threatened to hold a no confidence vote.
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JACOB ZUMA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: The ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as President of the Republic with immediate effect. Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, the head of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be sworn in as President either on Thursday or Friday. The man he's replacing almost, until Wednesday, seemed politically invincible clinging to power for nine years, despite hundreds of allegations of corruption. We have more now from David McKenzie on Jacob Zuma's rise and fall.
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DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A charismatic traditionalist with a common touch. Jacob Zuma was also a deeply divisive and flawed President. He would never have the gravitas of Mandela or the intellectual rigor of Thabo Mbeki, his predecessors. But he too, was a key member of the ANC during a party, spending a decade in Robin Island Prison.
Lacking a formal education, Zuma was a savvy politician and a brutal tactician. He helped to bring peace to his troubled KwaZulu-Natal region in the lead up to the first Democratic elections. He is credited with an aggressive expansion of HIV-AIDS treatment that saved thousands and presided over a hugely successful World Cup.
But it was the scandals, seemingly one after another that would define Jacob Zuma. An acquittal after a rape trial that would have sank most politicians followed by hundreds of allegations of corruption too numerous to list. Yet, Zuma would firmly hold on to his power and always denied the allegations.
A low point, being ordered to pay back some of the millions of public funds he used to upgrade his lavish, private homestead at his home, including a chicken run and swimming pool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President does fail to uphold, defend, and respect the constitution and the supreme law of the land.
MCKENZIE: The country's highest court ruled that the President contravene the constitution, but still, Zuma remained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zuma has not put on the table a single policy position that has moved the country forward. Instead, we have had one problem after the other. The country is not divided than it was when he took over.
MCKENZIE: He presided over the ratings downgrades, a failing economy and widening wealth gap. He saw the ANC lose significant ground in elections, local and national. Through multiple no confidence votes and street demonstrations, he survived the role until now, David McKenzie, Johannesburg.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Chris Vandome is a Research Analyst for the Africa Program. He joins us now from London. Chris thanks for being with us. Is this the end of the political crisis, the ANC, the country now rallies around the new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, or what are the chances this ends up in bitter party in-fighting as they try to take down a new President?
CHRIS VANDOME, RESEARCH ANALYST FOR THE AFRICA PROGRAM: Yeah. I think that's a very good question. It's known that there is a dispute within inside the party when Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as President of the party in December. It was an incredibly close race. He wasn't Jacob Zuma's favorite successor (inaudible).
[02:25:00] And so there is still an element within the party, either behind Jacob Zuma through the patronage. Jacob Zuma will know a lot about what has happened over the last 10 years and there could be some people who are worried. There could be some people who don't want to see a large, widespread anti-corruption movement within the party.
But there are also those people, as we heard at the beginning of your report that was still supporting him because this was a guy who came in and was the people's champion. While his record may show that he never fulfilled any of those expectations, there will still be someone in the party, who Cyril Ramaphosa who is possibly being a little bit too economic, a little bit too in favor of private enterprises.
VAUSE: You know just the possibility of Zuma being forced out of office was enough to see the currency, the rank strengthen and there is also this upward revision for economic growth. So in terms of the economy, what does Cyril Ramaphosa have to do now, apart from not being Jacob Zuma?
VANDOME: We can expect to see Cyril Ramaphosa move quickly on economic matters. We saw back in January shortly after he became President of the party, with the weight of the party behind him moved against Jacob Zuma and pushed forward for this, re-balancing on the state electricity provider. And I think that this is where we're going to see some reforms from Cyril Ramaphosa, maintaining fiscal discipline, tightening up the state-owned enterprises.
And I think in the short term, we're likely to see (inaudible) key economic ministries that he will need to fill and we can expect to see some progress some good news for markets and foreign investors watching the country.
VAUSE: What about Zuma? Does he disappear now from public life? It would seem hard that he's even capable of doing that.
VANDOME: I don't that he'll heckle from the sidelines. In his speech, the conference last year, he made a lot of reference to the importance of the oldest within the parties, so I think about with not understanding. We've seen in his rhetoric over the last two days, how he is still a party man at heart. But I think that we'll see some loyalty there.
But I think he's got a tricky future ahead of him, because of these corruption allegations hanging over his head and -- or the party to rebuild his credibility. They won't be able to offer him too much protection. This is someone who -- we'll have to see his day in court.
VAUSE: OK. So a lot of uncertainty ahead as they like to say, and Chris, pulling early morning duty there, it's 7:27 in the morning. We appreciate it. Thank you.
VANDOME: Thank you so much.
VAUSE: When we come back, CNN's exclusive revealing U.S. military weapons being sold in Jihadi-controlled areas of Northern Syria, the details when we come back.
[02:30:29] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. Place in Parkland, Florida searching for a motive in a school shooting which left 17 people dead. At least five others have injuries which are described as being life-threatening. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is in custody. Police say he was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons last year.
Jacob Zuma has stepped down as president of the South Africa. He announced his resignation just hours after the ruling ANC party called for no-confidence vote. Zuma's presidency has been overshadowed by spring of corruption scandal. ANC Leader Cyril Rhamaphosa is now acting president and could be sworn in as the new head of state on Thursday or maybe Friday.
Friends and family of at least four Russian paramilitary contractors say they were among the dead after a U.S. attack in Syria. The airstrike by the United States last week targeted fighters which were attacking a base held by U.S.-supported forces leaving more than 100 dead. Matthew Chance is in Moscow with more details on this. Mathew, at first it seems the Kremlin is playing it little down as supposed to you talking it up using it to use lash out at the U.S. and fuel anti- American sentiment. It seems very much out of character.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. That's right. And they are trying to talk this down and part of the reason for that is that they don't acknowledge that there are private military companies, contractors, military contractors using Russian citizens in Syria. In fact, the closest they've got to acknowledge that has been a statement the Kremlin issued just yesterday that it was challenged about the reports of dozens of deaths of Russian nationals in these U.S. air strikes which were intended to repel an attack on a U.S.-supported militia in Eastern Syria. The Kremlin basically said look, it can't rule out that citizens of the Russian Federation are in Syria but it categorically stated they were not members of the -- of the armed forces. But it's shown a spotlight on this shady business of private military companies and that one in particular called Wagner which employs Russian nationals and sends them to fight basically in areas like Syria. And where the Russian military does not want to be officially involved. And again this is -- this is shined an important light on that. What
CNN has confirmed so far is that at least four Russian nationals were killed in those U.S. airstrikes that took place last week near Deir al-Zour in Eastern Syria. There are reports of more. But that hasn't been confirmed. The majority of the people who were killed it seems were a part of this pro-Syrian government militia from a Christian group that call themselves the ISIS hunters. And there is online video, a video has been posted of the funerals of at least 30 of those individuals that were killed in the air strike. But again, there are these reports that Russian and nationals were involved. CNN has confirmed that these four Russian nationals were involved. And that would really be -- I think it's fair to say the first time that U.S. airstrikes have killed as far as we're aware, Russian nationals on the ground were in Syria. So in that sense, it's quite significant.
VAUSE: With that in mind, you know, this shines a light on, you know, the presence of Russian mercenaries or contractors, but these are contractors they weren't Russian, you know, soldiers. It seems to indicate as how precarious the whole situation is there, how quickly this could escalate in this some type of serious confrontation between the U.S. and Russia or Turkey or Iran or, you know, any country which is currently involved in Syria that goes, the list goes on.
CHANCE: Well, exactly. I mean -- I mean the fact that there are Russian nationals in the -- in the firing line and who are being killed by U.S. airstrike and U.S. forces in the region. Of course, opens up that horrific scenario where you have a direct confrontation between the Russian military and the U.S. Military. It's something that for decades that the leaders of these two nuclear superpowers have tried to avoid. Simply because of the unimaginable consequences of them coming into direct military contact. I mean, it's one of the reasons why that Russia likes to use it seems increasingly these private military companies to do its dirty work in theaters like Syria but also in places like Eastern Ukraine as well.
[02:35:05] It doesn't want to be seen to be there. It doesn't want its official army to come in direct contact with the U.S. Military. And so, you know, these private military companies are an important sort of, you know, foil for that.
VAUSE: Blackwater anybody, Matthew? Thank you. Good to see you. Well, CNN has learned sophisticated weapons the U.S. military provided to Syrian forces can be born in Jihadi-controlled areas of Northern Syria which is a few hundred dollars. So, how did these weapons actually get there and who is selling them? CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the exclusive details.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After six years of war in Syria it's a wash with weapons yet no more so alarming than here on Jihadi messaging forums in al Qaeda dominated areas of the north. Scan hundreds of guns for sale on the app telegram and you can see just how distant peaceful normality is. Grenade launchers, sniper rifles, heavy machine guns, shoulder-launched missiles, thermal sniper scopes.
But one offer stands out, an M-16 A4 all the way from South Carolina Company (INAUDIBLE) but somehow (INAUDIBLE) he's in the Syrian City of Idlib while al Qaeda-linked jihadists dominate. He offers to make and makes an extraordinary claim about where he got it from, Division 30, he says. They were U.S.-funded and trained elite group of Syrian rebels deployed in 2015. The unit was swiftly derailed by jihadists some linked to al Qaeda and eventually collapsed. A top-end U.S. taxpayer funded weapons they had vanished into the void of the Syrian civil war. The weapon serial number suggests it was supplied as part of a U.S. program in the region.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What this -- that show is that this weapon was made in the USA and its serial number is very close to another weapon that our field investigation teams have documented in Northern Syria in July 2014, recovered from ISIS forces there and who -- presumably stole it from Iraqi forces earlier. It doesn't mean that the exact same thing happened with his weapon just that it probably shares the same or similar American source.
WALSH: Over the past three months, we've been observing this robust trade-in anything from rifles to cell phones to mortar shells. We can't be sure that every telegram user is in possession of the extraordinary array of weapons on offer. The U.S. Military declined comments and telegram say they block such content when it's encountered or reported but it barely seems to let up. What's more, it's all in an area where an al Qaeda-affiliate known as HTS is the predominant military power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: al Qaeda there being active and having basically access towards us and to human resources will for sure increase that challenges of ending the war anytime soon.
WALSH: Idlib is fast bearing the front of the regime's fresh onslaught, civilians trapped. Among extremists whose clout has grown as the focus has been on fighting ISIS. And the market and sophisticated weapons is making peace for these people even more distant dream. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN London.
VAUSE: Well, he was known for using an open palm to oppose a tyrant's closed first. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the life and legacy of Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsrangirai.
[02:40:43] VAUSE: Well (INAUDIBLE) Morgan Tsrangirai was fighting, an autocratic leader and brutal regime but the opposition leader from Zimbabwe lost a long battle with cancer on Wednesday. He was 65, it was colon cancer which took his life. (INAUDIBLE) has more now on Tsrangirai's life and legacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chanting voices and the open palm, this is how many will remember Morgan Tsrangira's. The son of a bricklayer Tsrangirai rose through the ranks in Zimbabwe's trade unions. The one entity in Zimbabwe that was strong enough and autonomous enough to challenge the country's autocratic president Robert Mugabe and his ruling political party, ZANU-PF. Tsrangira's political party, a movement for Democratic change of MDC adopted the symbol of the open palm to express opposition to Mugabe's party's closed fist. Tsvangirai was beaten by police and arrested repeatedly and accused of among many other charges, treason and plotting to as assassinate the president. He was never convicted but continued to serve as the head of his party and to stand against Mugabe in various presidential and parliamentary elections.
Tsrangirai was the only serious political contender against the President Mugabe who ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and he came close to winning several times particularly in 2008 which the MDC claims was stolen from them. Facing economic and politic crisis and mounting opposition even from within his own party in 2009, Mugabe agreed to a unity government where she would continue to serve as president and Tsvangirai as Prime Minister. However, this posting was largely symbolic and the MDC was left without any real power.
Nearly one month after being sworn in, Tsrangirai and his wife Susan were involved in an horrific car crash. His wife as killed, Tsvangirai was injured. In June of 2016, he announced that he was suffering from colon cancer. But Tsrangira's dream is a peaceful and Democratic transition of power from Mugabe was never realized. In November 2017, Mugabe was forced out in a largely non-violent military coup. He was replaced by another member of ZANU-PF, Emerson Mnangagwa. Outspoken, welcoming, jovial by meyered in tragedy. Morgan Tsrangirai will be remembered as the politician with the common touch.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" starts after a short break.
[02:45:11] AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Welcome along to WORLD SPORT. Live from day six of the Winter Olympics here in Pyeongchang. I'm Amanda Davies, do not adjust your T.V. set. It's really is a relatively warm, calm and still day. And after four days of events being affected by the weather, here on Thursday, everything has got underway as planned. And up there, on the downhill course, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal has taken full advantage.
Yes, the 35year old made history, became the oldest man to win the Olympic, downhill event, had this fellow Norwegian, Kjetil Jansrud. He won by 0.12 seconds to complete, quite a comeback after serious injury. In fact, Svindal has had a multitude of injuries over years. Broken knees ruptured Achilles, like gashes to his back as well. But he's always managed to fight his way back to the top. And now, he can claim to be an Olympic downhill champion adding to his super-G victory from 2010.
In terms of the women, well, we've certainly been talking Mikaela Shiffrin off in recent times. Suddenly, deservedly so, low. And despite two days of delayed raises, the 22-year-old regrouped to produce. And when it matters in the giant slalom to claim her second Olympic gold after victory in the slalom in Sochi four years ago, aged just 18.
Shiffrin is widely regarded as the best slalom skier, there is at the moment, she -- you may remember made a World Cup debut at 15 and has been turning heads ever since. In Sochi, she was the youngest Olympic slalom gold medalist and goes for her second gold in two days as she tries to defend that crown on Friday. In fact, she's expected to be going for gold in five events in all. Well, first of our alpine edge show Christina MacFarlane was out there watching the action at the alpine center joins us now. Christi, was there any doubt in terms of Shiffrin? You obviously didn't think that actually, judging by your hat.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I was ready
MACFARLANE: I was ready for the (INAUDIBLE), there was some doubt, remember she finished second in her first run which is kind of uncharacteristic for her. But then, she came on absolutely blitzed in the second run as we have seen her so off often. And you know, it's funny, Amanda. We're so used to seeing her win that we forget the pressure she is under, and also all the bottled up emotion.
And it was on display today earlier in the alpine venue. I was like just sitting right next to her dad the whole way through that second run. Unlike any proud parent, it was taking photos, the whole way through. He was standing up, he was sitting down he was getting back up again. And when she crossed the line, he cried. You know, he had tears of joy, and then as I said, are you proud? He said, are you kidding? But she is the one that has done this.
I also went down to speak to her coach might day, and the mixed zone of to it, he's been what he have for a couple of years. He's the coach that actually won gold with Bode Miller, as well. And he was in tears as well. I was really surprised to see this team who I know quite well, so emotional. And he said, she had some of the best skiing today but he's actually ever seen from her. She rallied to come back in that -- in that second race down. And so, be really interesting to see where she goes from here now, obviously without packed schedule and the (INAUDIBLE) weather.
DAVIES: Yes, that is now the big question isn't it? You know she has been rightly saying, you know what, I've got my reason not to give all five events ago. But twice in three days, she's gone up expected to ski, hasn't happened. And then, that then has the repercussions as we go on in terms of the schedule. So, what impact do you think it will really have? Will she still be doing all five events do you think?
MACFARLANE: It's a good question, I just say she was originally got to be going for five events now with the condensed schedule. She has the prospect of three events. Now, back to back, we have the giant slalom today, the slalom tomorrow. And then, on Saturday, was switch to a speed events with the super-G. I spoke to Mika's coach, you know, he said, look we are disappointed that it ended up this way because they had a real shot of making what would have been history here. What could still be history here now they're not so sure whether or not she will race all five, he said, they'll going to take it day by day.
Remember, when she's out there racing, it's not just the race but his media commitments all in all it's like a seven-hour day for her, day in day out. And there are other racers on the hill who are preparing for just one race. And they have been resting up -- you know, back in the village, waiting on about one race.
Lindsey Vonn is one of the -- let's not forget, she's going to be starting her speak campaign here on Saturday. Will it be worth, Mikaela is while racing that if Lindsey is in top form? Well, that's a decision they'll make Friday night.
DAVIES: Yes, it's really interesting Lindsey, Vonn's Instagram post today. She said, haven't really been posting much because not much has been happening, I just be in training. And that is the reality of the Olympic, giving all. It's all about this one event or maybe two or three. But before you go, we have to ask you about Aksel Lund Svindal. I mean, talk about somebody whose body had being put through the male. But, wow, as he did it.
[02:50:07] MACFARLANE: Yes, as many injuries as he had victory. This is ago, his body is hanging together. You know, he's in constant pain when he skis but such an emotional victory for him and what is going to be his last Olympics.
You know, to be considered one of the greats in alpine racing, you really need to win the downhill gold. He's won 14 downhill on the World Cup. He is one of the greatest of his generation. I had a moment to text him earlier to ask him how he's feeling, and he said, "It felt as though a load has flown from my shoulders." So, for him, this is the high point, and I can tell you back in Norway, they are going to be celebrating into the night the first Norwegian winner to win the Olympic downhill gold.
DAVIES: Yes, amazing up taking us of this point in Sochi -- Korea, Christi, thanks very much, indeed. Also being really big day for the North Korean figure skating pair, Ryom Tae-ok, and Kim Ju-sik on Wednesday. They had to fight the odds by advancing to the three skate final. And Christi was up the Hill, I went down by the coast earlier today.
They got a really fantastic reception from the arena as they took to the ice. Of course, the only North Korean to qualify outright for these games. They were incredibly well received not only by the crowd, also the North Korean cheer squad, and their fellow skaters as they were introduced to the arena. They went on to finish the team, so, there was one stage, they were actually up to third with the score, but will no doubt, be remembered for their incredible style and grace amidst the incredible pressure of they watching world.
Taking the gold where the German pair of Aljona Savchenco and Bruno Massot, setting a free ago free program world record of 159.31 won. Beating the previous record there, she set two years ago. That's sort of votes from vault from fourth after the short program to the top of the podium. Well, Germany's first pair's gold since 1952. The eight gold medal of the games which increases their lead at the top of the medal table there. So, three over the Netherlands and the United States. So really, calling nine gold's being handed out in all on Thursday here in Pyongchang. More news of what's going on in just a couple of minutes here on world sport, don't go anywhere.
DAVIES: Welcome back to WORLD SPORT, live from Pyeongchang where it's day six here at the Winter Olympics. The speed skating cross-country skiing and the men's triathlon all still to come here in South Korea, but let's tend our attention to a huge champion league showdown back in Europe. We can cross live to CNN Center where Kate Riley is for us. Great to see you, Kate. What's been going on?
KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, thanks, Amanda. We'll tell you down the things that are trying to win the champions league for third straight season at Real Madrid. The harsh reality is that this is a club where it doesn't take long for patience with struggling head coaches to notoriously wear thin, especially, when you are whopping 17 points behind rivals.
Barcelona in the league where the omens were not good on this tournament. A name (INAUDIBLE), came to town and took the leave through Adrien, Ravio, and they could no hold on. Cristiano Ronaldo, leveled with the penalty before the Portuguese struck again in the second half. Reacting quickly for its 2-1, Real. And it goes even better for these 12-time European champions Marcelo, ensuring the hosts win the first leg at 3-1.
Well Elsewhere, five-time European champions Liverpool went to Portugal and (INAUDIBLE) outclassed forte who had only lost .few dangle season. Liverpool's Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, made it 2-0, showing outstanding scale and compassion to finish in style. However, it's the Senegal striker, Saturday morning he who's got post much headlines with a hat-trick. His -- third the breathtaking strike, Liverpool, five new winners this time or for all of them. (INAUDIBLE), Amanda, back to you in Pyeongchang.
DAVIES: Thanks, Kate, you got goal still is good to look at, second time around as do they was first. In terms of what's going on here first, it's hard to talk about the women's hockey tournament without discussing the USA-Canada rivalry. And they went head to head with each other earlier on Thursday with the defending champion, Canada.
Coming out on top, they beat the U.S. 2-1 in a very hard fought game at the Kwandong Hockey Centre. Meghan Agosta and Sarah Nurse, with the goals in the second period for the Canadians, they hang on to the wind after stopping a flurry of U.S. chances in the final minute. Kind of just 23rd straight Olympic Hockey win, and they are now into the quarterfinals.
Canadian man, get there, Hockey campaign underway, a little bit later on in the day, but that's it from me and the team for this edition of WORLD SPORT, live from Pyeongchang. Thanks for joining us. I'm Amanda Davies and I will be back with more updates throughout the day right here on CNN, stay with us.
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