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Congress Under Pressure To Act On Gun Control; Russian State Media: Evacuations Planned In Eastern Ghouta; U.K. Summons Russia's Ambassador Over Syria Ceasefire; British Secretary: Aid Scandals Are "Wake Up Call"; Nigeria Enlists Air Force In Search; Labour Leader Piles Pressure On Theresa May. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 26, 2018 - 15:00   ET




HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. Live from CNN London, I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in for Hala Gorani.

Tonight, the debate dominating the United States as Congress works out what to do with gun control. President Trump claims he would have run into the

Florida school with or without a weapon.

Also, a possible break in the Ghouta horror, Russia says it wants a daily humanitarian pause, but will it work?

And the undisputed leader, Xi Jinping will have a level of power no Chinese leader has had in a century, but how will he use it. We'll explore.

Now after nearly two weeks of speeches and protest, it's time to see if all the talk in the U.S. about gun control will finally turn to action.

Congress is back in session after a break and poised to consider tougher gun laws, of course, in the wake of the school massacre in Parkland,


The subject dominated President Donald Trump's speech to the nation's governors. He says he'll act on his own if Congress doesn't. This hour,

we are expected to hear even more from the White House at the daily briefing. We will keep monitoring this for you and bring you more details

as when necessary.

But President Trump already repeated his call for arming teachers and criticize the deputy in Florida who stayed outside the school during the



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I really believe I'd run into even if I didn't have a weapon and I think most of the people

in this room would have done too because I know most of you, but the way they performed was really a disgrace.


MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: Thank you. I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to

create change. They're our future and they deserve a voice.


JONES: So, in a country where there are nearly as many guns as there are people, will those voices be heard? CNN's Stephen Collinson joins us now

from our Washington bureau. Stephen, good to see you.

First up, Melania reemerges, the first lady speaking for the first time in quite a long time, and speaking about a topic which everyone is talking at

the moment, gun control. The president has talked about it.

Even the first daughter has been speaking about it. Is there any divergence in the first family's position, though, on gun control?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You know, Hala, it's been interesting over the last 10 days or so, we've been seeing momentum that we

haven't really seen towards more gun control efforts ever since the Newtown massacre, the killing of those children in 2012.

It does seem, though, that as soon as the politicians in Washington got back to work, that momentum certainly seems to have slowed. Now, you're

right. The president did speak about taking measures himself during his appearance with the nation's governors today.

But, you know, I've read over the transcript of this speech a couple of times, and it's very unclear exactly what the president is proposing. It's

very vague and there aren't many details. He says he wants strong background checks.

That's something that many Republicans on Capitol Hill are not interested in doing. He says he's going to prevent bump stocks, these devices that

make weapons fire like machine guns.

It's not clear that he has the power in a regulatory way to that without Congress acting to mandate it by law. So, there is a lot of talk,

positioning, but I feel like the signs that if there is going to be some gun control reform, it's going to be very modest.

Nobody is talking, for instance, like those students were down in Florida last week in Washington, at least, about banning assault weapons. It

doesn't seem that what we are going to see, whatever the politicians say, and they may say this is a significant change is actually going to be that


JONES: Yes, you mentioned there about a lot of listening going on. This is yet another listening that the president has held since that shooting.

His approval rating, though, overall has gone down again. It's down to historic levels. I think 35 percent is the latest poll showing on that.

So, clearly the role of consoler-in-chief, isn't really working out for the president.

[15:05:04] However, when it comes to commander-in-chief, he's saying he would have gone into that building straight away as soon the gun is being

fired, even if, he didn't have a weapon himself. What do you make of that?

COLLINSON: I mean, it's just one of those weird kinds of things that Donald Trump says that no other president I think would even think about

saying. You have to say that it's not really consistent with the picture of Donald Trump's behavior throughout the years where he got deferments

from going to the war in Vietnam when he was a young man.

So -- but it's the way Donald Trump talks about himself. He creates this kind internal world which he then seems to believe very adamantly. But it

certainly something we wouldn't have seen another president, President Obama or President George W. Bush say, for example.

And it's again a case where the president makes a situation not about the victims or the policy, but about himself and how he would have rear reacted

to it. So, I'm not sure that we should put too much stock in that in terms of policy. It was something that really did, given the insight into Donald

Trump character I think.

GORANI: Yes. And talking to the various state governors today, he was going to really have to try and play a role of unifier if any kind of gun

control is going to pass. But of course, each state has different priorities and needs and opinions as well.

There is though one poll showing just a shift in American attitudes when it comes to gun control saying that 70 percent of Americans do want some kind

of gun control, some stricter U.S. gun control laws. How is the president going to match up, to meet the expectations of the American people when

this is such a partisan issue still?

COLLINSON: Yes. I think and that's what we saw happening in the speech today. He was very adamant that he wants something done, but he was very

unspecific about what that might be. And it's when you come to the details that that 70 percent number starts to sort of break down a little bit.

If you look inside the poll, you'll also find that people who strongly approve of Donald Trump, they're much less interested in gun law reform,

you know, real down the line conservatives out in rural areas of the United States where the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms is a huge issue.

So, although, it looks like when you ask the question 70 percent of Americans want something done, that doesn't mean 70 percent of Americans

want something seriously done to curtail access to firearms.

They might be talking about increase background checks, for example, the banning of bump stocks. So, although it looks -- and it always does after

these shooting outrages that there is overwhelming support for changing the character of the American nation as it relates to gun ownership.

When you get to the point of actually doing something and this is why things don't happen very often. Republicans and moderate Democrats don't

want to take tough votes against the gun lobby, and that's the simple fact of it.

And for all the anguish and the activism and the inspirational occurrences last week, it doesn't seem that that has changed right now.

JONES: Yes. Well, as you say, Stephen, a lot of listening have been going on and the talking starts right now. Just to remind our viewers as well

that there is currently a White House press briefing and we will dip into that as soon as -- well, it's about to start. Sarah Sanders, the press

secretary will be speaking. No doubt she'll be addressing gun control so we will wait to see what is said there. Stephen Collinson for now, thank


Today, teachers reported back to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and just look what was waiting for them, a rainbow right over the school. If

you believe in signs, you could see this as a sign of hope for a community that has seen so much trauma.

And here is something else remarkable, 17-year-old Madeleine Wilford with her mom. Madelyn was shot multiple times in this massacre and had three



[11:05:08] MADELEINE WILFORD, PARKLAND, FLORIDA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm so grateful to be here and it wouldn't be possible without those officers and

first responders and these amazing doctors and especially all the love that everyone has sent. I was sitting on my couch today just thinking about all

the letters and gifts everyone has given and just, like, all the love that has been passed around. I wouldn't be here without it.


JONES: Madeleine Wilford there. On another note, a bit of good news for students of this high school. The Stoneman Douglas boys' hockey says it

will honor the 17 shooting victims with the 17 medals they received on Sunday when they won the state title in something of an upset.

Congratulations to them.

To other news now, it's a place experiencing what Amnesty International calls war crimes on an epic scale and violence so severe that even UNICEF

is lost for words. It is Eastern Ghouta, one of the last rebel held areas in Syria and it's become the horrific focal point of the country's long


[15:10:11] But now, there could be a glimmer of urgently needed hope and help with reports from Russia that evacuations may be planned from area.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Istanbul with more on this. So Sam, let's talk about these evacuations, talk of humanitarian cause, (inaudible), what is the

latest on getting people o of this area?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Russians say that they will ask the Syrians and generally speaking the Syrians do as

they are asked to suspend military operations against rebel-held East Ghouta from 0900 to 1400hours, 2:00 in the afternoon, a five-hour window to

allow humanitarian evacuations.

They say that the Syrian Red Cross is standing by. That there are ambulances. There will be hot food and medical facilities. They've also

demanded that the rebels de-mine the access to allow people to get out.

Of course, the danger there from the rebel perspective is that by demining their frontline, they will also allow the government forces to get in

because the rest of the day, the other 19 hours of the day mean that there is no ceasefire, humanitarian operation being conducted in East Ghouta.

And indeed the Syrians and the Russians will be in direct defiance of the United Nations Security Council resolution agreed over the weekend that the

Russians allowed to go through, did not exercise their veto to block, which is supposed to enforce a humanitarian ceasefire across Syria with the

exception, and this is the key part of it, for opportunities to attack so- called terrorist groups.

And these would include certainly from the Russian and Syrian perspective al Qaeda relate groups that remain within East Ghouta. So, there is some

glimmer of hope. I think in all probability, if this happens, there will be, Hannah, numbers of the very severely injured that cannot be treated in

East Ghouta since hospitals have been severely targeted by the regime over the last week or so.

They may well be evacuated into government-held territory. It's very unlikely that able-bodied civilians will take their option at this stage

because they've been besieged by the government for many years now and many of them will fear a resident detention or something worse could (inaudible)

if they move into government territory.

So, this is being seen, I think, by the international community as something of a gesture from the Russians and the Syrians, but not a full

sign up, if you like, to the demands of the Security Council, which is for a complete ceasefire -- Hannah.

JONES: Sam, so much talk about ceasefires or humanitarian causes, whatever you want to call them, and yet there are scores of people dead just in the

last 48 hours alone. The airstrikes as you say have been continuing. So, to what extent is any ceasefire actually holding or plausible?

KILEY: To no extent has then been a ceasefire whatsoever indeed. The forces of the Syrian regime have been using artillery and aircraft.

They've also been reportedly using chlorine gas. They've dropped chlorine gas causing, according to activists and medical sources on the ground,

significant number of injuries, at least 16 people severely injured.

There reportedly one young child boy even dying from contact from this toxic gas that people have been brought to respirators. And so that puts

further strain on medical facilities. It's also a gas that's heavier than air.

So, although, it's frequently non-fatal, it can force people sheltering in undergroun shelters to the surface. So, it's a particularly malicious,

type of weapon. It's reportedly the seventh occasion that has been used in Syria this year. That is chlorine gas.

And of course, East Ghouta has bitter memories of the use of chemical weapons a few years ago, 14,000 people were killed when the regime fired

sarin gas. That is a nerve agent much more deadly nerve agent into East Ghouta.

All of this fits in with sort of tactics that we saw before in East Aleppo where the government and the Russians hammer away very heavily particularly

targeting medical facilities then ease off. It almost process of psychological pressure being put on population ahead of a final ground


And that is certainly something that people on the ground in East Ghouta fear. The difference between the two, though, is that escape routes from

East Ghouta are simply not there. There is no rebel territory that they could move into. Anybody who comes out of there is going to end up in

government hands -- Hannah.

GORANI: All right. Sam Kiley, Sam, thanks very much (inaudible) from Istanbul. Thank you.

[15:15:06] And this ceasefire that Sam has been talking about in Syria is the focus of British lawmakers as well with the U.K. summoning its Russian

ambassador to explain exactly how Moscow will indeed implement a ceasefire. This was the response from British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson moments



BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I've instructed the U.K. mission at the U.N. to convene another meeting of the Security Council to discuss

the Assad regime's refusal to respect the will of the U.N. and implement the ceasefire without delay.

Only a political settlement in Syria can ensure that the carnage is brought to an end and I believe that such a settlement is possible if the will



JONES: Still ahead on the program tonight, how do you restore trust after some aid workers tasked with protecting vulnerable people actually harmed

them. That is one of the top priorities of a development conference in London today.

And it happened again, more schoolgirls go missing in Nigeria and the country is throwing military hardware at finding them. We'll have a full

report just ahead.


GORANI: Welcome back. Britain's secretary for international development says it's a wakeup call for aid agencies that some have become complicit in

exploiting the world's vulnerable people and something must be done to restore trust now. Penny Morton spoke at a development conference in

London today, after yet another charity got caught up in the scandal. Erin McLaughlin has more.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the charity tasked with finding landmines before children do. Saving lives in war-torn

countries around the world, supported by Princess Diana and Prince Harry.

PRINCE HARRY: My mother had been shocked and abhorred by the impact that landmines were having on incredibly vulnerable people.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Mines Advisory Group or MAG now marred by sexual exploitation allegations. On Sunday, a former employee revealed claims of

abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo, writing anonymously for the "Sunday Times," "Some staff use prostitutes, some had parties with them,

others formed relationships with the local women."

The whistleblower went on to write, "I and others raised the alarm through proper channels. Some individuals were moved to other country programs,

others stayed, but I was always surprise that more was not done to stop this behavior. Here is why. Nobody wants to write about this and be

responsible for funding being cut."

MAG responded to the allegations saying they've investigated what they described as 11 safeguarding issues over the past 10 years not detailing

what that means but noting that several employees were fired or resigned.

Two cases were unsubstantiated. The incidents reported to British authorities. MAG went on to say in its statement, "We massively regret

that things have happened within our organization," adding that it's taken measures to guard against future incidents.

[15:20:13] The account echoes the Oxfam scandal now accused of covering up sex parties in Haiti in 2011. The charity apologized but denied

allegations of a coverup. Oxfam Haiti operation suspended because of the scandal.

The scandal, which triggered a wave of allegations of sexual abuse with other organizations including Children's Charity Plan International last

week confirmed six cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by staff or associates and apologized.

The International Committee of the Red Cross which admitted since 2015, 21 staffs have been dismissed or resigned for paying for sexual services.

(on camera): Across this sector, there is this growing acknowledgment that this problem is systemic, important lifesaving work is at risk, and

donations are down. Now at conferences such as this one trying to figure out what to do about it.

TAMSYN BARTON, BOND CEO: This is about the root causes and about power imbalances that do go very deep, which is why we do have to take action in

terms of cultural issues. They are very practical and immediate steps that we can take.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Steps may include a global registry for aid workers so that badly needed aid continues to reach the world's most

vulnerable, while making sure they are no longer exploited by those sent to help. Erin McLaughlin, CNN London.


JONES: My colleague, Arwa Damon was also at that conference in London and joins me now in the studio. Arwa, what was the mood like today given the

fact that this is now potentially a systemic problem across the sector?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the mood is one of extreme gravity because already the humanitarian sector is

struggling in terms of funding, in terms of actually being to reach those who are most in need and now on top of all of these, they are having to

take this.

And they are taking this incredibly seriously. They repeatedly say have a zero-tolerance policy and there is a certain underlying recognition of the

fact that right now there is still an opportunity if concrete and decisive action is taken to be able to sort of mitigate the impact that these kinds

of allegations might have on the much-needed work to be done down the line.

And the issue is not just building trust between donors and organizations, it's of course now building trust between organizations and the

beneficiaries, those vulnerable populations.

JONES: Yes. What about this idea that many governments, British government in particular, already saying that it will pull funding from

those organizations that have been found to have misdemeanors along the way?

DAMON: And that's one of the critical issues because yes, organizations do need to clean themselves up. Yes, there are certain benefits to the fact

that this is being talked about because it needs to be talked about, because it has to end.

It is a good thing that the silence that surrounds all of this is being broken, but at the same time, so many of these organizations out there are

doing excellent, much-needed work. And at the end of the day, who is going to pay the prize.

It's not necessarily going to be the staff that work for these organizations, it's the people that need that humanitarian assistance and

frankly, we are not really in a stage in our history where we can afford to have less humanitarian assistance versus more.

JONES: OK. Well, thank you very much for covering the story for us. We appreciate you coming in, Arwa, thanks.

Now we turn our attention to Nigeria and to a story that might give you a horrible sense of deja vu. Authorities are ramping the search for more

than 100 girls taken from a school. The military has been drafted in to help find them. Again, the suspects, Boko Haram militants. Farai Sevenzo

is tracking developments for us from Nairobi in Kenya.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hannah, nearly four years after that terrible outrage of "Bring Back Our Girls" which happened in Chibok

where over 300 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. The same thing has happened again. The same modus operandi. Take a look.


SEVENZO (voice-over): Just four years after the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok, north east of Nigeria, by Islamist insurgents, Boko

Haram, the terror group struck again last Monday attacking a science and technology school for girls in Dapchi (inaudible) state.

At first Nigerian officials gave mixed messages claiming at one stage that the students have been rescued by Nigerian forces, only to change their


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's no doubt that the girls (inaudible) the soldiers were actually (inaudible) Monday and so today, we cannot account

for (inaudible) students because the total register of the students came to school from the Monday was 906.

SEVENZO: But there's conflicting information on the exact number missing and parents who could not find their children are already grieving another

audacious abduction by Boko Haram.

[15:25:04] For months now, President Buhari's government claimed to be taken the (inaudible) to Boko Haram and it seemed (inaudible). Despite the

purchase of new military hardware, the Nigerian forces have been unable to stop further attacks on civilians in the troubled northeast.

This new abduction has revived memories of the missing Chibok girls made famous by the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign. About 100 of those girls

are still missing and it hurts to see (inaudible) the parents of the missing are now turning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means that government of Nigeria did not learn anything from the tragedy of Chibok girls. It feels too late. They're

more interested in propaganda and saying they have defeated the terrorists, (inaudible) abducted girls have been rescued.

SEVENZO: The president has called this latest abduction a national disaster, "We are sorry that this happened, we share your pain," he wrote

on Twitter and he has deployed more troops and surveillance aircraft. But he must find the missing quickly and restore confidence in his troop's

ability to end Boko Haram terror.


SEVENZO: And of course, Hannah, this is not the first time the people of North East Nigeria have suffered to such an extent. It's almost as if we

can almost repeat the (inaudible) when sorrows come, they come not in singles spice but as battalions.

Because you remember back in January 2017, Nigeria's own air force bombed refugees and ran near the border with Chad. And now the Boko Haram

attackers, despite many years of claims for the Nigerian government that they are on the verge of defeating them, have done exactly the same to

these girls.

They come in with trucks, armed with heavy guns and they shoot indiscriminately at teenage women. It is up to President Buhari to see if

they can find this new batch of girls as quickly as they can -- Hannah.

JONES: Farai, thank you. Britain should remain within a customs union with the European Union, that is the pledge of the U.K. opposition leader,

Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader today is setting out his party's path to Brexit.

Mr. Corbyn's approach is distinctly different to that of the British Prime Minister Theresa May. Take a listen.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: (Inaudible) will seek a final deal that gets full access to European markets and maintains the benefits

of the single market and the customs union. So, Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive U.K.-E.U. customs union to ensure there are

no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need whatsoever for a hard border in Northern Ireland.


JONES: Now this is important because it's piles on the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and here to explain why is CNN's Bianca Nobilo.

Bianca, why is it that some people are saying this is the moment that we could see a Labour government potentially a Prime Minister Corbyn ushered


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN LONDON: It's a pivotal moment because by the opposition leader today setting out Labour's position that they support remaining in a

permanent customs union with the European Union after Brexit.

It provides a platform for the rebels within the prime minister's own party, who support a soft Brexit, a closer relationship the European Union

in the future to join potentially with the Labour Party and defeat the government on a bill, which would essentially force the prime minister's

hand in negotiating a customs union going forward.

All sounds very complicated, but essentially what it means is there's now an opportunity for the opposition and the prime minister's rebels within

her own party to join forces and potentially defeat the government.

JONES: So, this isn't about there being no Brexit whatsoever. Jeremy Corbyn is effectively saying this isn't about a second referendum or

anything like that. It just means to have a meaningful discussion, votes, I guess, whatever the government comes up with.

NOBILO: Yes. So, the prime minister has promised that there will be a meaningful vote on Brexit beyond these negotiations. What that means

exactly, we don't know and that's going to be very contentious point.

So even if the prime minister agrees something with the E.U., will parliament pass this in a meaningful vote. There are so many hurdles and

we don't know the answer to that just yet. But Jeremy Corbyn certainly isn't suggesting a second referendum. That's something that the Scottish

National Party today said he should have gone further.

He should have said we should have a second referendum. Let's take it back to the people and see what they think. So, at the moment he's just

suggesting let's stay in a customs union.

Now of course, the Brexiteers within the prime minister's party say that that's not a good idea because it binds Britain's hands. It means that

they can't strike trade deals with other countries where they would argue future growth is mostly based.

That's the main argument against being part of the customs union with Europe because it prohibits that. But Jeremy Corbyn saying pay customs

union. So, that could look more like Turkey which has a form of customs union with European Union, but it doesn't include agricultural (inaudible),

but it can set its own trade deals when it comes to that.

So, there are options here. Jeremy Corbyn still suggesting have all cake and eat it too approach which is prime minister is too, but certainly is

drawn a line in the stand and he's created a more clear position for the Labour Party than the prime minister has set out for herself and her own


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN HOST: One to watch. As always, Bianca, thank you very much.

And still to come on the program his evening roll, the emperor's new rule. Why China's president could be in line for a historic promotion?


JONES: Welcome back. China hasn't had an emperor for more than 100 years. Bu right now, some are joking that Xi Jinping is next in line to the

throne. Beijing is clearing the way for him to remain in power indefinitely, by announcing a proposal to abolish presidential term limits.

It is a bold break from established policy and it means that president Xi could remain exactly that for the rest of his life.

Well, for more on the significance of this both in China and globally. Let's speak to James Rubin, former U.S. assistant secretary of state. He

joins us from Washington. Jamie, good to see you.

So a Xi dynasty, could that be what is going to start again now? A hundred years on from when we had another dynasty? And if it does, then it's not

China sort of going backwards or really giving a statement of intent going forwards?

JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, let's hope it's not a step backwards. Unfortunately, it does look increasingly like a

cult of personality is going to be built around China's president. And last time around under Mao, that didn't work out so well for the people of

China or the world. Now hopefully China is changed since then and it certainly wants to play a bigger role on the world stage. It wants to see

as it sees a rightful status as a global power.

But that means more coming up against the rules of the international community, coming up against the United States. And so I think we're going

to see a lot more Putin/Xi/Trump diplomacy and some of that may be a little scratchy.

JONES: And just that you mentioned the likes of Putin, Erdogan as well. I'm wondering if this is a start of a trend, whether we could see more and

more autocratic leaders taking the helm, which is reinforcing already that power that they have going forward.

[15:35:45] RUBIN: Well, yes, I think it is part of a trend. Whether it will continue, we'll have to see. But clearly, in some of the great

powers, as you mentioned, Turkey, certainly Russia, the United States under Trump. The idea of putting pressure to push for democracy, to push for

controls on leaders, to push for having some check and balance on leadership has gone away and there's very few powers in the world who are

willing to fight for the democratic value that had been so successful after the fall of communism for at least 20 years or so. Now the trend is in the

other direction. And whether that's Poland, whether that's Turkey, whether that's China as we're talking about today, it's the cult of personality,

individual power of leaders. If they make good decisions, maybe the pressure won't return. But if they make bad decisions and we all suffer

the consequences, you can expect a lot of pressure to build around the world to change this new trend.

JONES: You mentioned that about all of us suffering the consequences. But I'm wondering who is affected most by one man or one person rule. It's

obviously difficult to find out exactly what the Chinese people might actually think about this, given that there is one party communist rule in

that country. But does it affect Chinese people more than it affects the rest of us in the global community if there's just one man at the helm?

RUBIN: I think it depends on what he does. Let's take a very concrete example. In the South China Sea, China's government by building up its

naval forces, building up its military and rejecting the international court of justice's rulings has thumb its nose at the international

community. And they are grabbing for territory. They are trying to develop sovereignty and accepted on the ground facts in these islands and

they are pushing against these legitimate rights of countries like Japan and the Philippines and other Asian countries.

And if this becomes a possible conflict where shots are fired by naval vessels or fishing vessels are taking hostage and there's a risk of a wider

or broader or even escalating military confrontation, then I think it's going to bad for the Chinese people, bad for the United States, bad for


Again, it depends on what these leaders do. And in China's case, the accompanying his desire for a cult of personality and increase power has

been a press for a more aggressive Chinese foreign policy. Prior to Xi, the Chinese had a saying that they were going to hide and bide. They were

going to bide their time and hide their power. That era is over now and we're going to see, if China come up against and perhaps exceed the

tolerance of the rest of the world.

JONES: He's obviously trying to consolidate his power. That's pretty clear. But could this backfire to Xi Jinping? Lastly, because if

something goes wrong, if his global markets crashed or something like that, then everyone blames just him.

RUBIN: Well, that's right. In China now, there's not collective decision making the way people perceived it before. It's going to be one man rule.

And if there's a terrible accident on a train and hundreds of people are killed as a result of corruption or incompetence, there's only one person

they're going to turn to. Similarly, if there's, as you say, a market change and a lot of people lose their money in the stock market as happened

to couple of years ago, again they're going to be looking to one person.

However, it's clear that China has consolidated power in this communist party and now in this one ruler that it's not obvious that everyone can do

anything about it even if they're increasingly angry, lawyers, human rights activists, democracy activists. All the tools for expressing opposition

are being shrunk. And so, yes, you might get everyone blaming one person, but it's not clear there's much they can do about it.

JONES: Fascinating stuff. Jamie Rubin, great to have you on the program. Thank you.

RUBIN: Very welcome.

JONES: OK. To South Korea now, whose president says the U.S. needs to lower its threshold for talks with Pyongyang. Moon Jae-in's remarks were

made during a meeting with the Chinese vice premier in Seoul. The comments come on the same day a North Korean official, who you can see here said

Pyongyang is indeed open to dialogue with the United States. And that was something we put to the South unification minister when he spoke to our

Paula Hancocks at the end of the Winter Olympics.


CHO MYOUNG-GYON, SOUTH KOREAN UNIFICATION MINISTER (through translator): We think that both North Korea and the U.S. understand and agree to the

necessities of dialogue. I'm sure Washington does also. There might be some discrepancies between the two countries on what the preconditions to

start a dialogue might be and that might impede starting talks. But I'm sure the U.S. understands and agrees it is necessary to talk to North


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Supporting diplomacy is one thing. How do you translate that into diplomacy? Where does the momentum come? Once

the Olympics is over, once the Para-Olympics is over, the joint U.S./South Korean drills start. How do you keep the momentum for diplomacy going?

[15:40:57] MYOUNG-GYON (through translator): Our goal is to contain and continue the momentum to improve the situation between the two Koreas and

the U.S. And through Kim Jong-chol's visit to the South, I believe we'll be able to use this as an opportunity to talk to North Korea and how to

solve the imminent problems that will occur because of the military exercises.

HANCOCKS: From January to February, the conversations you had with the North Korean delegations, did they seem more receptive to talking about

nuclear issues or at least having it as part of a discussion?

MYOUNG-GYON (through translator): North Korea's stance in the past was that it would talk about nuclear issues only with the U.S. and wouldn't

discuss them with South Korea. If South Korea brought up the issue, they would refuse to listen or walk away from the table. We explained our

position on North Korea's nuclear issues in detail on several occasions, and North Korea listened closely to what we had to say.


JONES: Well those joint U.S./South Korean military exercises were postponed ahead of the Olympics and a new date is expected to be announced


Now from India's political elite to Bollywood fans across the planet, tributes are being paid to film star Sridevi, considered an icon of Indian

cinema, as we know it. But dark new concerns are surrounding her death which came at the age of just 54 last weekend. Police say she drowned in

her bathtub and authorities are now investigating.

Lynda Kinkade has more now on the legacy that she leaves behind.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was India's sweetheart. Her dazzling eyes and the glamour and sparkle of Bollywood. Sridevi was one of

India's most popular and beloved actresses.

She began her career at just four years old making her debut in the Bollywood film "Julie" at age 12. Now, the teenager really became one of

the country's most sought-after actresses. Her popularity grew in the 1980s and 1990s with films like "Mr. India," "Chandni," and "Juddai". She

later took a break from the spotlight to raise her two daughters.

SRIDEVI: From India.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not from the India. From India.

SRIDEVI: Why India, north or India. Why America or United States of America.

KINKADE: She then made a spectacular comeback with a box office hit "English Vinglish" in 2012 which solidified her place as one of Bollywood's

most treasured talents. One Bollywood movie critic tells CNN that she was elegant, but quiet and reserved off screen. She came alive when the camera

was on her. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi called her a veteran of the film industry. Her long career included diverse roles and memorable

performances. Sridevi made her mark on Bollywood with a career standing five decades. Some call her an inspiration to a new generation of Indian

actresses. One thing is for sure, Sridevi has made a lasting impact in India and beyond. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


JONES: Now, imagine signing up for a journey in which you are warned the upfront that you might be raped? Well, that's what our Nima Elbagir's fate

in a follow-up to her undercover report on slave auctions in Libya. Nima went to undercover in Nigeria to learn how people are smuggled through

Libya trying to get to Europe.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To prove just how brazen these criminals are, we're trying to see if someone will agree to traffic us to Europe.

He calls himself Avake (ph) one of an army of pusher men. The brokers who work alongside smugglers on the Nigerian end of the Africa to Europe

migrant trip.

Taking me aside, Avake repeats again. Condoms. Don't struggle if you're raped and ultimately trust in God.

From here begins a journey to Europe. The journey into the unknown. Many who undertake this journey are still unaccounted for.


JONES: And tune in on for Nima Elbagir's exclusive report on the business of smuggling people through Africa.

All right. Still to come on the program this evening, yet another arrest in the corruption probe involving some of Benjamin Netanyahu's inner

circle. We'll have a live report on the latest legal troubles surrounding the Israeli prime minister. Say with us for that.



JONES: The net is widening in an Israeli graft investigation that's led to the arrest of some of Benjamin Netanyahu's closest confidants. We are now

learning that in eight suspects has been detained and questioned, authorities have said there is enough evidence to indict the prime minister

himself in two separate cases. Well, Mr. Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police this week. He strongly rejects the allegations and

intend that he is innocent of all claims.

So let's get more now from our Oren Liebermann. Oren is live in Jerusalem for us. Oren, so the plot thickens. We've had dismissals and more

arrests. So tell us more.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does here. And the expectation now is that Netanyahu will be questioned. That will make

it an eighth time. It could happen this week. It could also be delayed until after he comes back from Washington where he's expected to meet

President Donald Trump next week. So we're watching that very closely. And the keyword we'll be looking for in what will be the eight questioning

of the Prime Minister or the words under cautioned if police in the statement following that question use those words that means Netanyahu has

been questioned as a criminal suspect in perhaps another case. Police have already said they have enough evidence to indict him in two cases. This

would make a third case. And it's being a case that's viewed as being far bigger than those first two cases.

So let's talk about that case for a second. The case is known as case 4,000 and it involves the relationship between the Israeli ministry of

communications and the telecommunications firm Bezeq. Key to this case is that Netanyahu himself was the communications minister at this time,

although he's not suspected -- or he's not a suspect in this case.

And this is where that eighth arrest comes in. It is one of the bigger cases. That eighth arrest means police investigators are continuing their

investigation in a growing net that has seen, as you pointed out, many in Netanyahu's inner circle arrested as suspects. What's also key to this

case, Hannah, is that one of Netanyahu's closest confidants has turned state's witness here agreeing to work with the prosecution. We're at the

stage where these details are very sort of the inner workings of the case, but they are critical to the future of the prime minister here.

JONES: And while the legal rumblings continue, can Benjamin Netanyahu who stay in political control of the country?

LIEBERMANN: So far that answer is yes. And key to that answer is does he have the political support from his coalition partners? So far, they've

backed him and have said that they'll wait for the attorney general to make a decision. That's expected to take months. So Netanyahu is sitting

strongly right now. But as the investigations continue, as the allegations mount and as more people are arrested as suspects in this case and perhaps

even turns state's witness, that pressure grows on the prime minister which means it grows on his coalition partners to make the decision on whether or

not they want to continue supporting the prime minister. That's the question his coalition partners ask every day now.

JONES: Oren Liebermann, we appreciate it. Oren, thank you.

Thing in the region. And to many Christians coming to Jerusalem to trace the steps of Jesus is the trip of a lifetime. Well, some pilgrims in the

city right now are extremely disappointed but their holiest site of all is closed.

Ian Lee explains how a local dispute led the church of the Holy Sepulchre to shut its doors.


[15:50:56] IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just behind these wooden doors is the holiest site in Christianity, the church of the Holy Sepulchre where

many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. Millions of pilgrims flock here, each year. But for the second day, this

door remains closed.

Jerusalem's church leaders shutting them in protest, saying they feel persecuted by two new proposed laws. One they say would make it harder for

them to sell their land which they need to do to raise funds. The other would see them starting to pay taxes on buildings that served as more than

just places of worship like schools or hotels. It prompted a rare show of unity and anger.

THEOPHILOS III: This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during the darker periods in Europe.

LEE: Rachel Azaria is the Israeli lawmaker who sponsored the new property law. She says it's not about targeting Christians, it's about providing

security to people living at homes previously sold off by the church to private investors.

RACHEL AZARIA, ISRAELI LAWMAKER: The bill has nothing to do with the church. It's all about land that were sold by the churches. We're very

happy when the church owns the land. That is fine with us. We get along with them very, very well. It's only about taking care of these thousands

of families that we don't want them to lose their homes.

LEE: Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat who is driving the new taxation law says it's about correcting an imbalance that has unfairly favored the church to

the tune of nearly $200 million. He tweeted, "We will no longer require Jerusalem residents to bear or subsidize this huge debts."

In normal times, the church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of Jerusalem's most visited spots. Today, with the doors closed, pilgrims worship


TOM O'FLYNN, AMERICAN TOURIST: In general, I support Israel, but man, in this case, my politics are changing.

LORRAINE HERBERT, AMERICAN TOURIST: I think they're just being stubborn about it. I mean, a church is a church and you should be able to go into

it no matter what.

LEE: Pilgrims pray for a resolution. Politicians and church leaders are talking. But if they fail, Jesus' tom could once again be closed. Ian

Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.


JONES: Still to come this evening, it's a small change in number, but it's a huge change with the way we use mobile technology. 5G is on its way.

Our report from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is up next.


JONES: More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the Mobile World Congress to try out new devices and to dream and visualize what's up next.

If there's one thing that's getting a lot of buzz, it's the big promises from a new generation of wireless technology. Kristie Lu Stout has the

very latest from Barcelona.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to the mobile world congress in Barcelona. And once again, 5G is taking center stage. 5G is the next

generation mobile network that will take your data from OK fast to insanely fast, at least that's what the industry is promising.

MATS GRANYARD, DIRECTOR GENERAL GSMA: I think if we go back in time 2G and 3G were sort of more you and me communication. Now with 5G, we're going to

see sensors. We're going to see high speed real time interaction in industries, in manufacturing clause, in surveillance, in artificial

intelligence, with avatars and holograms. It sounds a little bit futuristic, but it is around the corner.

[15:55:01] STOUT: But don't get too excited just yet. It's going to take a few years for the proper rollout of 5G. The industry still needs to iron

out a few things, as well as filled out entirely new infrastructure and devices. And by devices, it also includes the so-called this internet of

things like this. Internet connected punching bag, which can measure, using existing infrastructure, the power of each punch and transmit the

data in real-time.

The real magic happens when 5G comes on board and scores of connected devices can be able to react and respond to each other immediately like

these robots. Now, this is an example of a factory floor. These robotic arms are busy manufacturing colored pens. When controlled over a 5G

network, they'd be able to work in concert and also adapt to new directions instantaneously.

ROGER CHENG, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNET: I don't think that 5G is going to change your life right away. This is still early days. Even when these

networks have deployed next year, there are going to be limited areas, there are going to be limited devices.

STOUT: So for now, 5G is (INAUDIBLE) that tantalizes us with the promise of super-fast speeds and reliability. So, I can go ahead, activate the

sensor and kick this ball and a robot and a completely different hall will mimic my kick. 5G is a work in progress for now, but at least the goal is

in sight. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.


JONES: Great stuff, Kristie. Thanks so much. And before the program ends this evening, the city of Rome has turned into a snow globe, thanks to some

pretty unusual weather. Well, unusual for Rome, Anyway. The snow brought the city to a standstill, schools, streets, airports, all closed for the

day. It is the heaviest snowfall to hit the Italian capitol in six years.

And take a look at this. Even student, priests got into the snowy spirit, having a snowball fight in St. Peter's Square. The chilly weather there is

being caused by winds from Siberia sweeping across Europe right now, as winds are being cold at the beast from the east. And I can safely tell you

that the beast has also hit London, perhaps not in quite such spectacular style today. Lots of fun now in Rome.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next. Have a great evening.


[16:00:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a strong start of the week for stock markets. The Dow is up around 400 points. It is Monday, the 25th of