Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

South Africa's Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Dead at 81; Macron Reform Plans To Face Resistance From Strikes; U.S. Local T.V. News Group Attacks Mainstream Media; Pressure Builds on U.K. Opposition Party Leader; Syrian Artist Reimagines World Leaders As Refugees; Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 2, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:35]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, an anti-apartheid crusader dies, we are live in South Africa as we look back on the life of Winnie Mandela.

Also, President Trump says the U.S. is being stolen in wide ranging barrage of tweets. We are in Washington, D.C. and in Mexico City live.

And it's nearly a month since the Skripal's were poisoned in Salisbury and the blame game keeps on growing. We are live in Moscow.

We start tonight by remembering an activist, South Africa's Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She's passed away at the age of 81 today. Her family

says she died peacefully after a long illness. Her struggle against apartheid will shape how she is remembered.

It is a mission she took on alongside her former husband, Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, who, of course, spent many decades in

prison. Now it is a fight that earned her the title "mother of the nation."

CNN's Robyn Curnow looks back at her life, its achievements, but also its controversies.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Winnie Madikizela-Mandela considered himself a warrior. She was a powerful yet controversial figure

in the anti-apartheid movements.

WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA: We not only fought on political platforms. I was one of those who were with the people fighting physically against the

apartheid regime.

CURNOW: While her husband, Nelson Mandela, was incarcerated, she became the face of Mandela's fight against oppression. When he was released from

prison after 27 years, she was right by his side. She told CNN what was going through her mind at the time.

MADIKIZELA-MANDELA: I was thinking about the liberation of my country and the trust culmination of (inaudible).

CURNOW: While their marriage withstood the battle against apartheid, couldn't withstand the pressure of freedom. They divorced in 1996, two

years after Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa.

MADIKIZELA-MANDELA: He is very difficult to (inaudible) and even through me.

CURNOW: In the years after the fall of apartheid, the woman who was once revered as the mother of the nation fell sharply in the public's esteem.

She was convicted of theft and fraud and the Truth Commission accused her of gross human rights violations, allegations she denied.

When Nelson Mandela died in 2013, Winnie was at his funeral, grieving alongside his widow, (inaudible) Michelle. The scars of apartheid wounded

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela deeply rights until the end.

She remains disappointed with the South Africa she had so fought so hard to liberate. Nevertheless, she said it was well worth the sacrifice.

MADIKIZELA-MANDELA: We won in the end.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: A look back there at Winnie Mandela's life who died today at 81. Let's go straight to David McKenzie on the ground in Soweto, South Africa,

and he is live for us. Talk to us about the reaction there in Soweto and across South Africa -- David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, certainly here outside the house of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, they are celebrating

her life and they are chanting all the struggle songs. Certainly, she has been seen as an icon of the struggle.

The president of South Africa speaking to the press earlier and said she was a mother, a leader, an icon. She is not without controversy, but I

spoke to an ANC member outside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: What is the legacy of Winnie Mandela?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A (inaudible) leader, a liberator of the people, society of South Africa. As members of the ANC who are grieving for a loss

although we knew that she was old and ailing, but we still wanted to be with her to enjoy the fruits of freedom and we'll always miss her.

[15:05:03] The words we use in an African language (inaudible). You strike a woman, a rock, that woman was stronger than the rock itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Well, Hala, you strike a woman, a rock certainly she was an icon for women's rights in South Africa, but she is also a polarizing figure

much more so than her late husband, Nelson Mandela, and she is an icon even separate from Nelson Mandela's legacy. She was uncomfortable with the

connection as she became a struggle leader in her own rights -- Hala.

GORANI: Interestingly, she chose to keep his last name. Now, of course, we know the funeral event surrounding Nelson Mandela's death with world

leaders paying their respects in South Africa. What are the funeral plans for Winnie Mandela?

MCKENZIE: They haven't announced the funeral plans yet and certainly this came as a shock to the family. She has been sick for some time, but in the

end, it was a very brief illness that led to untimely passing, though, at the age of 81, she was still a member of parliament, Hala, until the day

she died.

Very active in politics and seen as really a leader of the marginalized and the more radical elements within the ANC. She is a polarizing figure or

was so and she was convicted of fraud and kidnapping during her long and colorful history.

But, tonight, the sentiment outside her house here in Soweto is one of celebration and with the president here still talking to the press and

other ministers and senior leaders of the ANC, you rarely see the impact of her legacy.

The ANC said she is really one of the last true icons of the anti-apartheid struggle that was left and now she too has passed -- Hala.

GORANI: And very briefly, can you show us what is going on behind you? I know it's dark and we won't be able to see as well as during the daylight

hours, but what's happening behind you. There are big crowds and we can hear chanting.

MCKENZIE: Sure. So, if you just look over here, you see the ANC flag is raised above. There is a group of supporters here in Soweto. You know,

the house here, Hala, is right here (inaudible) where Nelson Mandela himself and other struggle icons lived.

Several Nobel Peace Prize winners just in this small neighborhood. So, Winnie Mandela stayed in Soweto. She was always seen as someone who is

closely attached with the people despite her senior ranks within the ANC.

And that legacy I think that is tonight is being shown out on the streets and with the mighty and powerful coming here to pay their respects to the

family -- Hala.

GORANI: Thanks very much. David McKenzie is live in Soweto, outside of Wendy Mandela's home. We will have more, by the way, on the legacy of

Winnie Mandela a little bit later in the hour with one of the preeminent experts on South Africa.

But I want to focus on this now, a dire warning from Donald Trump yet another one. He says the United States is being, quote, "stolen" urging

Congress to stop what he is calling a massive influx of illegal immigrants.

The U.S. president is on a two-day Twitter tirade that began over Easter weekend when he hosted a series of immigration hardliners at his resort in

Florida including several prominent Fox News personalities, Janine Pirro, she hosts the show called "Judge Janine, and then you have Sean Hannity,

who likes tweeting oftentimes conspiracy theory-type stories.

Don King, the famous boxing promoter, Mike Lindell who invented a special kind of pillow. The tweets have been coming fast and furious, one today

warning about what he called large caravans of Central American migrants heading for the American border through Mexico.

We should mention that illegal border crossings are actually down, not on the rise as Mr. Trump himself pointed out just weeks ago. So once again,

facts do not support some of these assertions.

Let's bring in White House reporter, Stephen Collinson. We're also joined in Mexico City live by Leila Santiago. Stephen, I want to start with you.

Even by the standards of the president, this is one of heck of a Twitter storm going on here. Everything from DACA to immigration to the Justice

Department to the FBI to fake news to Amazon. I mean, one after the other, what is going on with the president these last couple of days?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You're right. It's an epic tirade even by the president's standards. What's going on is politics.

All of these issues, particularly immigration, are so key to Donald Trump's sense of his bond with his own voters.

Something which he is obsessed about and you mentioned those Fox News personalities that spent the weekend down at Donald Trump's resort in

Florida. Those are some of the most hardline voices on immigration.

[15:10:06] Those are the people that say that Donald Trump's immigration message, warnings about hordes of people coming into the United States are

the absolute key to his continued support with his political base in the run up to midterm elections.

And when Donald Trump hears that his own voters are perhaps disappointed that he's so far not got the wall bill, for example. That he has not

started to deport more undocumented migrants, that is when he tends to sort of go more and more extreme into the DACA aside of his rhetoric on

immigration.

I think we will see this ramping up throughout the rest of the year in the run-up to the midterm elections in November because Donald Trump's fate and

the fate of Republicans relies on Donald Trump's voters getting out to the polls and an incumbent president's voters generally don't go out to the

polls in the midterm elections. So, I think that is what is underneath all this, this epic tirade that you mentioned.

GORANI: Leyla Santiago live in Mexico City. So, the president is talking about caravan that Mexico has the power to stop. What are these caravans

he is referring to?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, typically when people talk about caravan during Holy Week, Hala, it is what they called (inaudible) and

there was one in particular, it sorts of like a pilgrimage or a religious march, but there's one in particular that's getting a lot of attention.

It is one that is collaborating with a group out of San Diego and that is Pueblos (inaudible), that's the people without a border. They have more

than a thousand people and they say they are many from Central America fleeing violence and poverty.

It started on the southern border of Mexico to Guatemala and they've made their way up slowly. Right now, they're in (inaudible), which is about

2000 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border, but when I speak with organizers, they tell me this is about making a statement, not necessarily

a political march but a humanitarian march.

And that when many of these people get to the U.S.-Mexico border, some of them will be seeking asylum. How many that will be, you know, we'll have

to wait and see, but that is plan. I also want to note, Hala, that just in the last few minutes, Secretary Nielsen, Homeland Security in the U.S. just

tweeted.

She said, "working with Mexican officials to address the yearly illegal alien caravan exploring all options." I reached out to the Mexican

government to see who he is the U.S. working with on this, what are the options that they are exploring, and at this point, they said they had no

comment.

That said, yesterday, the Foreign Minister did mention in response to President Trump's tweets that they are working with the U.S. to try to

solve these problems together and said that that is just a pure fact -- Hala.

GORANI: And even to you now when we talk about these caravans and Leyla explained them very well what they are. First of all, this is not the

first time that you've had these kinds of events that are designed to raise awareness.

But also, we are talking about a thousand people, it's hardly an immigrant invasion here and the American border with Mexico is not made of Swiss

cheese either. So, why is politically beneficial to this president to make it sound so much more dangerous than it actually is?

COLLINSON: Well, the key phrase that you mentioned in one of Donald Trump's tweets was our country is being stolen. So, you see the pictures

of people trudging through Mexico coming towards the U.S. border.

This plays into this idea of hard right immigration advocates in the United States of people like Donald Trump, who make this cultural argument that

white America is going to be overwhelmed by this tide of non-whites immigrants, mostly from South and Central America.

So, it is it is a symbol of the argument itself. It's not really an issue of this particular caravan, or other caravans. It is the way it's

demagogue in the weak media and it's a way that the president can whip this up and make a clear connection with those feelings among many of his voters

that the country that they grew up in is somehow going away.

It is changing too quickly. American traditions and cultures are under threat that was something that was so vital to Donald Trump's election

campaign and you can see him again hitting those same notes here.

GORANI: Stephen Collinson, thanks very much in Washington. Leyla Santiago in Mexico City, thanks to both of you.

Now you may have noticed that we have put up the Dow Jones Industrial Average there as it tanks today. It's one of the top 10 worst daily

decline so far and we are about 45 minutes away from closing.

[15:15:02] It was a roller coaster start to 2018. The U.S. markets have kicked off the second quarter in a very downbeat mood less than an hour of

trading left. We are down -- although we are off-session lows, you can see it on the graphic, but it is still pretty dismal.

Richard Quest is in New York with more. What is going on? Tech stocks and Donald Trump's tweeting repeatedly about Amazon cannot be helping.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": I mean, that's exactly it. There's no particular one reason that when you have tweets from the

president basically running the most successful company in America retailing to date. You have China retaliating with only $3 billion worth

of goods and produce against the U.S. for the steel tariffs.

But, Hala, that is fascinating move by the Chinese because they are basically saying, all right, we'll give you this one. We'll only retaliate

3 billion, but soya beans and soya products, you cannot trust again and just see what you will get.

GORANI: Right. But the Amazon thing, I mean, what is within the power of the president to do -- I mean, if I'm an investor and I hold Amazon shares,

how worried should investors be that the president, the White House, the administration itself could hurt the bottom line at Amazon?

QUEST: We do not know because they haven't given us any details, but one can imagine a series, for example, the Post Office has its contracts with

Amazon. The president is the head of the government and therefore, the Post Office, so one can assume that you would look to redo the contracts

with Amazon.

Whether or not there could be some Federal Trade Commission, whether they could be some look at to see whether or not it is fair trade, but

ultimately, you could also look at whether Amazon is and third-party sellers are paying their correct share of tax and that's another way.

But, we do not know the extremity because frankly there isn't much that can be done other than a show of full-scale Department of Justice investigation

and that is, you know -- what was it he said. He's called his own Department of Justice today an embarrassment to the country, so that

doesn't bode well either.

GORANI: Well, you put the word in quotes, "justice." So, there you go. Thanks very much, Richard. We'll see you at the top of the hour on "QUEST

MEANS BUSINESS."

Still to come tonight, Moscow offers a new theory about why a former Russian spy was poisoned in the U.K. and this time, according to Moscow, it

has something to do with Brexit. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Nearly a month after a Russian spy was poisoned here in Britain, Moscow is repeating its claim that it had absolutely nothing to do with it.

In fact, the Foreign Ministry took that claim even further today, suggesting without offering any evidence that Britain could actually be

behind the attack.

As part of a campaign to rally people against Russia and distract its public from other issues. All of this as authorities close in on answers

to how Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned.

[15:20:11] British and U.S. officials say the sophisticated placement of the nerve agent on Skripal's front door indicates that the attack likely

had the approval of the Kremlin. This is coming from British authorities.

Matthew Chance is following developments from Moscow. And the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was speaking about this. What else did he have to

say?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I mean, the Russians have been floating all sorts of different narratives as

to what could have happened. They pointed the finger of blame at the United States and Britain and France, other countries, the Czech Republic

is being a possible source of the Novichok nerve agent.

Any country that don't seem to have pointed the blame at all is Russia itself and that seemed to (inaudible) today with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian

foreign minister floating the latest idea that is coming from the Russians as to what could have explained this mysterious poisoning of Sergei Skripal

and his daughter, Yulia. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): There are other explanations in addition to those mentioned by our western colleagues

stating that it is only Russian trace that can be taken as the only plausible versions. Some experts state it could have been very beneficial

for American intelligence services.

It could have been beneficial for the British government who ended up in a very difficult situation because it had failed to deliver on the terms

promised by the British electorate for Brexit. There is a whole number of reasons and one should not brush them away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Well, Sergey Lavrov said not brushing them away. The British, though, are doing just that saying this is just typical of the Russians

whenever they are confronted of violating international norms in this extremely serious way.

They seek to confuse the matter by flooding the entire space with as many narratives as they can think of. They've done this before over MH-17, the

shooting down of that Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine and they are doing it again now.

GORANI: And beyond these diplomatic expulsions and the closing of the consulate, the American Consulate in St. Petersburg, I mean, how else could

this all escalate and is that something that that is really likely to happen?

CHANCE: I think he said it's possible that could happen. I mean, for instance, the Russians have already said they want to reduce the number

that they're ordering the British to reduce the number of staff they have in Russia by a further 50 individuals.

So that may have not a knock-on effect and may have provoke another tit- for-tat response from the British. There's all sort of other economic sanctions as well the Russians through the media are increasingly concerned

about whether the country will come under renewed sanctions from the United States and Britain on the west at large.

GORANI: Matthew Chance, thanks very much live in Moscow with the very latest Russian theory on who might have been behind the Skripal's

poisoning.

Now the latest on Gaza and what happened there, the Arab League is going to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow on the killing of Palestinian protesters

in Gaza. It's joining calls for an investigation of the Israeli military's actions, something Israel has rejected, saying no inquiry needed.

Troops used force, live ammunition against the massive demonstration along the Gaza border Friday and ended up killing 18 protesters, shooting

hundreds. The Gaza Health Ministry says more than 1,400 Palestinians were wounded about half by live bullets.

Palestinian leaders are calling it a massacre. Israel says it is protecting itself accusing Hamas of orchestrating the event in an attempt

to have thousands of Palestinian storm into Israel.

Let's bring in Ian Lee in Jerusalem. Why does Israel say it does not need an inquiry? I mean, after all 18 people were killed with live ammunition,

hundreds more wounded.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, for the Israelis they see this very simply. They say that this border is a war zone. That is not a place for

civilians. Then they say they reserve the right to protect their sovereignty and protect them from anyone trying to infiltrate it.

You know, when we were out there on the border on the Gaza side watching these Palestinians move towards it, there were tens of thousands of people

there. Initially, there was tear gas being fired, rubber bullets, and that's when -- and then came the live rounds.

And just so many casualties, you know, at times two to three people per ambulance, but when I was speaking with the Palestinians, I asked them, you

know, what do you want to achieve here? What's your goal and they said we want to cross that border.

So, you can see how this is going to be a very dangerous situation moving forward too because this is not over, they want to keep going for the next

six weeks.

[15:25:07] And so the Israelis so far have said, we are protecting ourselves, our sovereignty, but there is a lot of criticism. The E.U. has

called for an independent inquiry. The United States blocked a statement about the violence at the U.N. Security Council.

And as you mentioned, the Arab League is having an emergency session tomorrow, but as this progresses, we will be watching to see how this

violence unfolds. If it does get as little as it did last Friday and how the international community will react.

GORANI: But you were at the -- you were on the Gaza side you said last Friday, were the were protesters armed? I mean, were they armed in a way

that would threaten the soldiers on the Israeli side?

LEE: When we were there, you know, there were about six camps open down the Gaza border and we were at one camp, which is in the north eastern

part. This is a makeshift camp that they created that was about 600 meters from the border.

We did not see any weapons in the sense of any firearms. We did see a Palestinian youth with slingshots and rocks, and we saw them burning tires.

Now, the Israeli stayed in other parts of the border, that is where Hamas was firing projectiles across the border at their soldiers and that is why

they say they responded.

But when we were there, you know, we just saw tens of thousands of people and when you when you looked at who actually went to the front, maybe a

thousand people. The rest were back. They were women, children, fathers, you know, out for the day, but up in the front. That is where really this

deadly -- this deadly violence happened.

GORANI: Ian Lee, thanks very much live in Jerusalem.

The only Jewish candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential race is criticizing Israel's actions. Senator Bernie Sanders called the situation tragic and

said it's the right of all people to protest for better future without a violent response. This is what Sanders told my colleague, Jake Tapper, on

Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: There are tens and tens of thousands of people who were engaged in a nonviolent protest. I believe now 15 or 20

people Palestinians have been killed and many, many others have been wounded. So, I think it is a difficult situation, but my assessment is

that Israel overreacted on that. Gaza is a disaster right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: There you have it. Still to come tonight, we return to our top story, a look back at the iconic yet sometimes controversial life of Winnie

Mandela, who died today at aged 81.

And singing from the very same songbook, dozens of local journalists across the U.S. read an identical script bashing mainstream media. Detail and

reaction coming up on why this happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:29] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Let's return now to our top story. A sometimes controversial figure, an icon of the anti-apartheid

movement as well, South Africa's Winnie Mandela passed away today, and she is leaving behind the undeniable mark on history. She was 81 years old.

Joining me now on the set now is John Battersby, the former South African journalist and the co-author of "Nelson Mandela: A Life in Photographs."

Thanks so much for being with us.

JOHN BATTERSBY, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNALIST: Thank you.

GORANI: All right. So, what will be the main legacy of when you -- you met her several times, what will be her main legacy?

BATTERSBY: Well, there's no question that the main legacy is her contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. The fact that she sustained

Nelson Mandela for nearly three decades in prison and she was the public face of the ANC, and a very beautiful face supposed to and has to say when

we see her, when major events happened in South Africa being interviewed on international television. Although for a large part of the time, she was

sitting under banishment in the very remote town in the Orange Free State and she suffered tremendous persecution, detention, punishment. But she

gave as good as she got. She never took anything lined up.

GORANI: Before we started the interview, you said you met Winnie Mandela in good times and in not so good times. What were some of your most

salient memorable moments that you spent with her?

BATTERSBY: Well, when I took over as the New York Times correspondent in South Africa, between '87 and '89, she was at her absolute peak as a drawer

of huge crowds. There are few figures in South Africa, apart from Mandela himself that have been able to mobilize a crowd like she could.

GORANI: What was it about her that would mobilize crowds, just sheer charisma?

BATTERSBY: Sheer charisma and a kind of electric energy which she would just light up. I mean, she just have to step on to the stage, the crowd

would go crazy. Populist in the true sense of the word. Yes, the bad times involved when I was Chitin Science Monitor correspondent and I did a

long investigation, marked into the death of the young boy, Stompie Moeketsi who had been -- who had been convicted -- who had been killed in

the circumstances with these so-called Winnie Mandela football club. She wasn't convicted of the murder, but there was a long trial involving

kidnapping and murder.

And subsequently, the doctor who had treated the young boy, Stompie Seipei actually the surname was, was murdered. And did an investigation into that

and there were strong indications that she had at least an indirect roll. So she wasn't very happy with that. So when I met her at a dinner party, I

got a bash from the arm from her, you know, partly ingest, but it was harder than a playful slap.

GORANI: What was she like in person with journalists, with people who are there like yourself to ask questions and get to the truth?

BATTERSBY: She was -- she was brilliant with a crowd. She was compelling in an interview, but she was quite defensive. By the time one got to

Mandela around -- Mandela's released and when the Stompie incident had taken place, she was -- she was quite defensive and she could get quite

aggressive, if one sort of pushed her in particular directions.

There's been a movie made recently. There's been several movies made about her. But the most recent one at the London Film Festival called just

"Winnie." She opened up in an extraordinary way compared to anything that she's done for many years. So when it gets a very good look into her

personality there.

GORANI: Why did they divorce with Mandela, Nelson Mandela?

BATTERSBY: It's a complicated story. I attended the press conference when Mandela announced his initial separation from Winnie about two years after

he was released and that of being through the whole trial and all of that. Look, I mean, only people involved know why they get divorced. But

clearly, there'd been a great alienation.

Despite the fact that she sustained Mandela and the letters that they read to each other are incredibly moving. And they'll soon be released in a

book in a few weeks' time. But they have grown apart in many ways, because Winnie had been the public face of the ANC, because she had been intimately

involved in the underground and being the main link between the exile movement in the soccer and what was going on underground in South Africa.

She became a very -- she had to be very hard with a lot of that -- a lot of that stuff.

[15:35:22] GORANI: Perhaps she wasn't the Winnie he'd married 30 years ago.

BATTERSBY: Well, she wasn't -- she wasn't. But it's just -- it was just not to be. There were other relationships involved and clearly, they would

not going to settle down as a happy married couple. And Mandela had changed enormously. He's time in general.

GORANI: Right. Last question, obviously this is a chapter that's closing here for South Africa, isn't it? Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela, first a

few years later. Winnie Mandela, and she was headed in the different direction. What's the outlook do you think?

BATTERSBY: Symbolically, it is the end of an era. And we now have often very difficult years under the previous president. We now have the

president who's inspired quite a lot of hope.

GORANI: Cyril Ramaphosa.

BATTERSBY: Cyril Ramaphosa, inspires a lot of hope in the country that things will go back. In line with the vision that Mandela had and the

example that he sits and things had gone quite --

GORANI: That's really the hope? In line with the vision of Mandela is a huge -- is a very high bar.

BATTERSBY: It's a high bar. It's a high bar, but it's not -- it's not unattainable with the right leadership.

GORANI: John Battersby, thanks so much for joining us, live on the studio on this day. We really appreciate your time this evening and your

expertise.

BATTERSBY: Thank you.

GORANI: At this hour in France, officials and train passengers are bracing for a rail strikes that could cost travel chaos. These are the first in a

series of walkouts. This is all about pushing back ends against Macron, because he wants to reform the labor market and unions do not want a lot of

that to happen.

Jim Bittermann has more from Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For decades, French leaders have tried to reform the nation's economy and while it have some successes, there have

been some spectacular failures, as union, especially in the public sector have pushed back against attempts to change workplace rules.

In this case, the protest against Jacques Chirac's plans in 1995 went on for weeks, brought the country to a halt and contributed to the downfall of

Prime Minister Alain Juppe.

There's been one attempt after another since and now French President Emmanuel Macron who was elected on a promise to enact reforms and would

began the process shortly after Election Day is taking on the most difficult one yet, modifying the work rules in the public transportation

sector. For economists like Pascal Perri, it's long overdue. If for no other reason, then France is facing a deadline at the end of the year when

European Railway Systems must open up the competition, meaning that there could soon be German and Italian trains running on French tracks.

PASCAL PERRI, ECONOMIST: It's a question of competitiveness, of, you know, profitability. So today, the government has decided to play its role.

BITTERMANN: Perri points out that the French Rail System runs at a loss each year and it's currently 50 billion Euros in debt. But French railway

workers, some of whom, are unemployed under work rules that go back to World War II in the days of coal-fired locomotives are resisting any

attempt to tamper with their pay, pension, or benefits. Once more, they fear the government as is done in other sector is heading towards

privatizing the rail system, a system some union leaders think should be entirely free.

BRUNO PONCET, GOVERNING COUNCIL, SUD RAIL (through translator): We want to explain everyone that like medical costs, healthcare costs, and education,

transportation should be free in order to have true social equality in France.

BITTERMANN: Even among the other rail unions involved, not everyone would agree with that. But Poncet points out that public employees and other

scooters like the ones he mentioned and others like Air France will go on strike and labor actions that could continue well beyond this week.

In fact, the leadership of one rail union is calling for train strikes from April through June at a pace of two strike days for every three days' work,

an innovative protest that could infuriate rail users and bedevil the government. And so the government and passengers could be in for some

trying times ahead. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Check out our latest news interviews and announcements on our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. And check me out on Twitter,

@HalaGorani.

In the United States, some local TV stations are taking a page from Donald Trump's playbook by bashing the mainstream media. Sinclair Broadcast Group

which owns the biggest number of local television networks in America ordered their anchors to read an identical script saying national outlets

are plagued by fake news. Now, it went viral when Deadspin made this montage. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:40:12] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Checking facts first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sharing of bias and false news has become all too common on social media.

[ALL TALKING AT THE SAME TIME]

ALL: -- exactly what people think and this is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: "CNN MONEY" senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter is in New York. It looks like something out of futuristic movie, you know, where

everybody's reading the exact same script. What are they reading? What is it that they're reading? What's the point? What's the goal?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like double speak, but the company calls it a journalistic responsibility message. It

says this is a marketing campaign that promoted stations. But as you mentioned, a lot of critics here that the language of this campaign and

say, gosh. This sounds like a pro-Trump talking point thing, bashing the rest of the media saying these fake stories out there and bias reporters.

So this is certainly getting a lot of attention because Sinclair's conservative bent has been getting a lot of attention. The company owns

more TV stations in the U.S. than any other companies and it's trying to buy more. In fact, it has a deal its waiting for approval from the Trump

administration so they can buy even more stations. And that is part of the reason why there is so many critics of Sinclair saying, wait, this company

is not producing the highest quality news. It's putting on some political ideologically controversial content. Why should it be allowed to get

bigger? And in the middle of that, these promos are now getting a lot of attention.

GORANI: And how many Americans actually get their news from their local television station? In other words, how many people are exposed to this

type of coverage?

STELTER: I'm glad you brought that up. Local TV is still the number one news source for the most -- the biggest number of Americans. Starting from

Pew and other researchers find a local TV, it's still number one, even though the internet is becoming a bigger and bigger source of news. So

what happens on the local level, ends up having a big impact and even though if you're watching at home in a Sinclair market, you see one of

these promos. It sounds like it's your local anchor how you've watched for years, when in fact, it's the guys management that are making the anchors

read this stuff. This is probably why they seem so sketchy. There's such a history in the U.S. of independent local journalism and this is not that.

GORANI: And Sinclair was defended by Donald Trump in a tweet, in the middle of his tweet storm over the last 48 hours. Explain to our

international viewers, what is Sinclair broadcasting and why are they in control of so many local news networks?

STELTER: They've been investing when other have been retrenching from the broadcast phase. They see a market opportunity to buy up more and more

stations and try to grab more of the market place. And that's the Sinclair has been doing for a number of years. A lot of local journalists is trying

to do good work. What happens is when the corporate management gets involved tries to insert certain stories, eat up news reporting time with

Pro-Trump commentaries. That's where there become issues, that's where there's tension and the tension's been exacerbated by this new marketing

promos that like you said, it looks like something out of a futuristic movie. These anchors looks like robots. Bottom line though, President

Trump love Sinclair, he's having a tweet there. He thinks Sinclair is a period of CNN. Why? Well, I think it's pretty clear, it's because

Sinclair employees, pro-trump commentators and promotes his agendas, pretty much as simple as that.

GORANI: Thank you very much, Brian Stelter for joining us from New York.

A lot more to come this evening. You know their faces, but you have never seen them like this. How world leaders are being drawn into the

conversation about refugees. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:45:06] GORANI: Now to something never seen before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

GORANI (voice-over): Well, you might have seen a K-pop concert, but you haven't seen one in Pyongyang. It's actually a punishable offense in the

secretive North Korean state to watch cultural experts from the south, but that did not stop North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un from applauding the

performance, and even greeting the girl band named Red Velvet. This is the first time in more than a decade that musicians from the South have

traveled to North Korea.

At the same time, there's a much more familiar side on the peninsula so- called war games. The U.S. and South Korea's annual joint military drill usually provoke fury from Pyongyang, but tensions had eased ahead of an

historic high level summit between the North and the South. And by the way, those drills, the length of time during which they will be held has

been shortened.

Meanwhile, fears of a potential trade war between the U.S. and China are stoking fears on Wall Street on another issues. The Dow is up, well, it's

off its lows. Not so bad. Two and then tenth of a percent lower, 515 points down. But Amazon is taking a beating because of various tweets from

the president.

Now, this Monday, Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods worth billions of dollars have gone into effect. China slapped them a nearly 130 American products,

that is of course in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum announced last month. Now, the U.S. is preparing new tariffs of

its own on Chinese techs. So we'll see what other products that are involved.

Here in London, it is the acquisition of the Labour Party cannot shake. British media say party leader, Jeremy Corbyn has deleted his personal

Facebook account, less than two weeks, after he was accused of belonging to social media groups or people had posted anti-Semitic content. Phil Black

has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeremy Corbyn, Britain's alternative prime minister, a man once credited with saving the fortunes of the Labour Party

is now accused by his own colleagues of tolerating bigotry towards Jewish people.

SIOBHAIN MCDONAGH, BRITISH LABOUR MP: I think he's been too tolerant. And I think he's perhaps been too generous in his interpretation of certain

things that are said.

BLACK: Tolerance and generosity at usually should more anti-Semites in mainstream British politics. The Sunday Times investigation found more

than 2,000 hateful and anti-Semitic messages posted by Corbyn fans on Facebook. Another Times report claims Labour's membership is fully,

because of Corbyn's failure to tackle the issue. And among those who have been in the party is one of Labour's biggest private donors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not the Labour Party. This is a party which has been hijacked. Why would I remain in the party that has become so

manifestly supportive on the anti-Semitism? I'm a Jew.

BLACK: Under Corbyn's leadership, numerous anti-Semitic scandals involving Labour politicians, officials, and members led to an internal inquiry two

years ago. Many of its recommendations have not been implemented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you're a lying racist.

BLACK: Last week, Corbyn admitted to publicly supporting the artist responsible for this anti-Semitic mural in 2012. He says, he should have

looked more closely at the artwork.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY: We in the Labour movement will never be complacent about anti-Semitism.

BALCK: Corbyn's critics not buying that line any more.

MCDONAGH: I think he's got a lot of wittily way. I think people are at the endpoint of their tolerance and they want to see action now.

BLACK: On this issue, the party is divided. Some Corbyn supporters to leave the attacks are unfair.

[15:50:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think this has been exaggerated by Corbyn enemies, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. The wide

range of --

BLACK: The committee and Eddie Izzard has been appointed to the Labour Party's national executive committee after his predecessors supported an

accused holocaust denial. In a statement Izzard said, "We must make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community, as Jeremy Corbyn has

promised to do.

On the Streets of London's Jewish communities, there is concern about deceit, hatred within a party many Jews have long supported and what they

believe is a significant rise in anti-Semitism across the wider community as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've gone through a one holocaust and he's got people on his team that are denying that there was a holocaust. I mean, how

should I feel?

BLACK: Anti-Semitism isn't the first significant test for Labour and to Jeremy Corbyn. But it is proving to be one of the most persistent and

damaging to his leadership

Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Coming up from powerful to powerless. We'll look at the work of one Syrian artist asking us to reconsider how we see refugees.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, we are constantly inundated with images of the world suffering. If you watch the news, of course, you can only agree with me.

It's an uncomfortable reality, refugees who flee their war-ravaged countries left with nothing. Well, a Syrian artist, Abdalla Al Omari has

reimagined these very familiar scene by casting the world's most powerful people in this destitute roles. I spoke to him in Brussels about his work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Abdalla Al Omari left Syria in 2012. After being forced to run from a conflict that was tearing his country apart, he found inspiration

for new series of artwork that would go viral online.

ABDALLA AL OMARI, SYRIAN ARTIST: Using these familiar faces, a very accessible faces to the media, to a bigger, the most wider scale of

audience was a tool for me to talk about a more elevated idea which is the vulnerability.

GORANI: His work titled, "The Vulnerability Series" depict refugees and people in desperate situations but with a major twist. He paints in the

faces of world leaders.

OMARI: My personal experience as a beginning of being exiled and being a refugee. That was the beginning. I have the anger and the frustration

that anyone would have in this situation.

GORANI: Omari claimed asylum in Belgium and now works from a studio in Brussels.

I particularly like the one of Donald Trump, because he's holding a small girl and he's got a mat kind of rolled up on his back and he's holding a

picture like some refugee sometimes when they hold up a picture of their family to say, this is the family I've left behind. These are the people

I've lost. And the picture he's holding up is inspired by one of your family or family photos.

OMARI: Yes, a black and white family photo I have. There was this moment like almost the transition from the anger I had towards something more

powerful which is the impact of vulnerability that I started feeling empathy towards these characters that's absolutely don't need our empathy.

[15:55:13] GORANI: What is your fantasy version of Bashar al-Assad would think to himself if he saw your painting?

OMARI: If Bashar al-Assad would look at this painting, I'm very sure he would emotionally be triggered. He would look himself and in his eyes in

this very vulnerable state. And he would think that wow, how difficult that could be if I'm in that position.

GORANI: One of Omari's most powerful painting was inspired by a photo that went viral in 2014. It shows people lining up for food in the Damascus

district of Yarmouth where Omari himself lived for the first 20 years of his life.

OMARI: These people were in the most vulnerable situation, they didn't have food to eat. They were eating grass. They were eating pets, their

pets, so that they can survive. It was the most apocalyptic image that he could see that he wouldn't imagine this could happen in reality in the

world.

GORANI: And so then you put all these leaders in that group. Is it satisfying sometimes to see them suffer?

OMARI: Absolutely. You would feel satisfied at some point, but just the layer underneath is the most important for me which is realizing the

connection that he would suddenly have with this face. I didn't want to humiliate any of them. It wasn't actually criticizing them and it's very

superficial for me to criticize political leaders in this case.

GORANI: One of Omari's current project is a work he called, the boat. A painting of a refugee boat crumbed full of people. But look closer and you

notice a differences, the faces of Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, or Benjamin Netanyahu. The pieces being moved from gallery to gallery around the world

and Omari constantly updates with the faces of new world leaders.

OMARI: The idea is to point out that political leaders are always changing, so the power has being inherited with the problems, just being

passed from one political leader to the other.

GORANI: Omari's art, he says, will continue as long as the world's problems persist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Thanks very much for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

END

END