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CNN NEWSROOM

Canadian Hockey Team Bus Crashes; Trade War Talk And Russia Sanctions; Deadly Clashes Rock Israel-Gaza Border; Inside Eastern Ghouta; Trump Begins Prep For Possible Mueller Interview; Lula da Silva Defiant; How Oligarchs and Putin Assist Each Other; Deadly Spate of London Gang Violence; Bollywood's Salman Khan Awaits Decision. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired April 7, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A tragic accident in Canada; 14 people killed when a bus carrying a hockey team was hit by a tractor trailer.

Trade tensions: U.S. markets bear the brunt of a possible trade war between the United States and China.

And targeting Putin's friends: The U.S. imposes new sanctions on oligarchs to close in on the Russian president.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOWELL: And 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, we start with the breaking news in Canada, where 14 people are dead, this after a bus carrying a hockey team and a semi-truck collided; 14 others were hurt in the accident.

The Humboldt Broncos team was on their way to a playoff game. Witnesses say it took several hours for victims to be pulled from the wreckage. This happened in the western province of Saskatchewan. This is where hockey is a way of life and local teams are idolized.

The Humboldt Broncos posted a recent photo of the team, the players all in their late teens but it is not clear who was on this bus.

A team statement said, quote, "The organization experienced an incredible tragedy. The Broncos' bus was involved in a terrible accident which has resulted in multiple fatalities and serious injuries."

The Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted condolences saying, "I cannot imagine what these parents are going through and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."

Of course we'll continue to follow this breaking story here on CNN.

A new round of U.S. sanctions to tell you about, this time targeting the Russian president's inner circle, all this partly in retaliation for U.S. election meddling. On the list, seven powerful Russian oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, these people some of the wealthiest in the country.

Also named, 12 companies those oligarchs either own or control. And to drive the point home the sanctions also target 17 senior Russian government officials.

Not to be forgotten in all of this, the special counsel probe into the 2016 election meddling also focusing on oligarchs and possible connections between members of the Trump campaign. CNN's Jessica Schneider explains for us.

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JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight several prominent Russians who have been sanctioned by the Trump administration have ties to President Trump's associates and could be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.

On the list, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who agreed to invest nearly $19 million in a failed business venture with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is it true that Mr. Manafort owed you millions of dollars when he was the head of the Trump campaign?

SCHNEIDER: He wouldn't answer questions from CNN's Matthew Chance when confronted last year.

"The Washington Post" previously reported Manafort offered to provide Deripaska with private briefings when Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman.

Also on the sanctions list, Alexander Torshin, a top deputy at Russia's central bank. Torshin has longstanding ties to the National Rifle Association. And McClatchy has reported the FBI is investigating whether Torshin may have used the NRA to illegally funnel funds to the Trump campaign.

Torshin has denied this. And the NRA says no foreign funds went to election spending. Torshin had a brief interaction with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016 and also reportedly played a role in an effort to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin that same year.

And Viktor Vekselberg, an oil and metals tycoon, has also been targeted for sanctions. Vekselberg attended President Trump's inauguration and two of Vekselberg's associates who are American donated to the event. Vekselberg also attended the same dinner in Moscow were Michael Flynn sat near Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2015, according to NBC.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's thought, though not proven yet, that there may have been back channels use by oligarchs to fund the Trump campaign and perhaps the inauguration as well.

SCHNEIDER: CNN reported this week that Mueller's team has pinpointed at least three Russian oligarchs whose identities are unknown for questioning.

One was stopped when his private plane landed in the New York City area and agents searched his electronics.

ZELDIN: There's a clear connection not only between Manafort, Gates and the oligarchs, but now Mueller looking at the oligarchs directly and interviewing them in an effort to understand from their point of view what happened here.

[04:05:00]

SCHNEIDER: So it's a widening net for Mueller and a tightening noose for Manafort.

SCHNEIDER: Manafort has pleaded not guilty to criminal indictments in Virginia and Washington, D.C., stemming from the Mueller probe.

And now CNN has learned Mueller's team is using information obtained during the Manafort investigation to continue to look for alleged criminal activity. In fact, prosecutors revealed they obtained a search warrant in early March that gave them access to five AT&T phone numbers and that warrant is somehow related to Paul Manafort.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: That was Jessica Schneider reporting for us. Thank you.

More now on the Mueller investigation. CNN has learned exclusively, attorneys for the U.S. president have started preparing him for a possible interview with the special counsel. A White House official and a person familiar with the situation says the legal team is in the initial stage of preparing Mr. Trump for an interview.

Keep in mind the president has not formally agreed to talk with Mueller. Let's bring in Nic Robertson live in Moscow with us.

Nic, let's start with our colleague Richard Quest's interview with one of the Russians targeted, the chairman of the VTB bank, Andrey Kostin. He says all of this is a big misunderstanding. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREY KOSTIN, CHAIRMAN, VTB BANK: I did nothing wrong to America, to American interests. I was always trying to promote good business relationship with American banks, with American investors.

So I am punished because the American administration considers that the Russian government is conducting the wrong policy, and it's very unfortunate.

It shows the very high level of misunderstanding of Parliament and American administration of the intention of the Russian government, of the Russian leadership. It is very unfortunate. I think we should stop somewhere because we are going from bad to worst and if not for us, but for the sake of our children who definitely deserve the better world and peaceful world. We should stop somewhere.

So, I don't have any feeling of revenge. I don't even recommend my government to retaliate because we already had tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats. Now, there is sanctions against Russian businessmen, including the private ones. I think we should stop somewhere and start to rebuild our relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Kostin there saying, Nic, that this is a point where both nations should take a pause here and find a way to rebuild the relationship. But the greater question here, this round of sanctions, described as targeting the Russian president's inner circle, explain how targeting these oligarchs directly affects Mr. Putin's bottom line.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think you heard in that interview there precisely what these sanctions are intended to do.

They are intended to have the people that are closest to President Putin and on that sanctions list his son-in-law, for example, and others who are very close to him, just as we heard in that interview with Richard Quest, who are going to say -- and said in that interview -- this is time to stop, that we need to stop this, we need to leave a better place for our children.

Of course the way that he is framing it is slightly different to the way that, you know, that American and British diplomats would hope that it is framed, because they are hoping that this is a message that goes to President Putin across his business table at the Kremlin -- or around the dinner table if it is a more social setting -- the people around him, who are his close friends who have the most influence over him get a message to him that this has to stop. That is the effort here.

When it talks about affecting the bottom line, Russo-borne (ph) the arms exporter here in Russia, has said that these sanctions are essentially unfair competition, that they show precisely what the nature of the sanctions are supposed to do, which is remove their ability to sell Russian-made weapons around the world.

Again, that is the message that is intended to be sent. There is a financial cost to pay and that financial cost, the message of that financial cost, has to be communicated to President Putin and the Kremlin in a way that they will understand.

So when we hear these types of statements that are emerging in this context, that is the hope. That is the hope that actually this is sent more to President Putin than it's said as a public international complaint.

HOWELL: So that is the impact but now let's talk about Russia's response, Russia saying that it will be a harsh response.

Given that it can't necessarily be a symmetrical response, what are you hearing about what course that nation could take?

ROBERTSON: It was given -- the issue was given, these new sanctions were given about 30 seconds or so on state television news last night, which is generally indicative of the fact that the government --

[04:10:00]

ROBERTSON: -- hasn't decided on its position. This is a weekend, the Easter weekend here. So perhaps this weekend we won't get many details of what the government plans to do.

But we heard the foreign ministry in a statement saying that they will respond in a harsh way. They say that the theft of property and money is robbery when you take away people's money and their ability to do business that is, in effect, robbery. So that is part of the narrative that I think will emerge.

But the trade minister said that the government will support those affected by this. We've heard other officials saying that people will find a way of working around these sanctions. But I don't think we've heard the full response from the government yet. But very clear they are not backing down.

This escalation, if you will, in terms of rhetoric and actions at the moment, is begetting a response from the Russian government. And all indications are from the foreign ministry, they will not shy away from trying to respond in a like manner.

HOWELL: The icy relations that we're seeing between Western nations and Russia on a variety of different issues, quite frankly, but how is that playing in the minds of everyday Russians there?

ROBERTSON: Well, the Kremlin, if you will, and Russian state media, which the Kremlin has a very significant role in shaping, is able to shape the narrative for the population here. And the narrative has been on the issue of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in the U.K., Russia didn't do it.

On the issue of U.S. sanctions, which are, for a wide ranging number of reasons -- meddling in the U.S. elections, meddling in other elections in 2017 in Europe, annexation of Crimea, involvement in Ukraine -- all of these issues -- the use or the support of the use of chemical weapons, that is the implicit line by Bashar al-Assad in Syria -- all these things that the West is angry and frustrated with Russia about for not curtailing, not dialing back those actions and activities, that is the rationale behind these latest sanctions.

But that is not the way that its being told to people here. People here are being told essentially that the government hasn't done anything wrong in Syria, wasn't involved in that poisoning. And these latest sanctions, the message seems to emerge, that they

are in effect to punish Russian businesses just so that Western businesses, American businesses, can hoover up some of that business, the arms industry being one point in case.

So I think that the message that people will receive here is one that is very finely tuned by the Kremlin because that is the way that opinion here is shaped and formed and that is partly, if you will, the reason why President Putin was returned so resoundingly with such a high proportion of the voter turnout in the recent elections.

And that is something that we've heard in statements here from the government, pointing towards; when Russia is under pressure, they turn to their president and they say -- officials say, just look at the latest results. That shows that we are behind the president. Push the country, we will rally behind the president.

So the message that comes from state media is the message that helps achieve that.

HOWELL: It is always good to get that context from you, Nic, thank you so much for your insight today, there live in Moscow.

Now another update on that former spy who was poisoned in England. Doctors treating Sergei Skripal say now that he is no longer in critical condition and improving rapidly; his daughter, Yulia, in stable condition now. Both were attacked with a nerve agent last month. Moscow denies that it had anything to do with their poisoning.

U.S. markets fell sharply on Friday, at one point the Dow plunged more than 700 points. It closed the day down 527 points, wiping out all of the gains for the week. The Nasdaq and S&P fell more than 2 percent, although a weaker-than-expected jobs report primed the fall.

Talk of a trade war with China also having an impact on the markets. This after President Trump threatened China with $100 billion in tariffs on top of the $50 billion that he'd already threatened.

The president's new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, tried to tamp down the fears, saying there was no trade war and all the talk of tariffs, only a negotiating tactic, proposals. That eased the freefall somewhat --

[04:15:00]

HOWELL: -- but only until Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, quote, "There is the potential of a trade war." Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The tariffs will take some period of time to go in to effect. There will be public comments. So while we're in the period before the tariffs go on, we'll continue to have discussions. But there is the potential of a trade war.

And let me just be clear, it is not a trade war. The president wants reciprocal trade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: To talk more about this, let's bring in Peter Matthews, professor of political science at Cypress College, joining us this hour from Los Angeles.

A pleasure to have you on the show, Peter.

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: Good to be here, George.

HOWELL: The White House is saying this is not a trade war.

If not, the question, are they playing chicken here and why?

Is this a negotiation tactic in your view?

MATTHEWS: It is the beginning of a trade war and they are playing chicken and it's a negotiating tactic as well, all three things. But it could end up in a disaster, George. We had the Smoot-Hawley tariff back in 1930 after the Depression, which made the depression far worse than what it had been.

And it was put on there by Republicans, Smoot and Hawley, the senator and congressman, in order to protect American industry, which was not needed and ended up all of the other countries, many in the world ending up putting tariffs and it escalated. And it is happening today with China and it won't end very well.

HOWELL: So let's talk about the White House pushing sanctions forward on a list of Russian oligarchs, one of whom married the Russian president's daughter. These are the actions but the president's words don't quite match those actions. Your thoughts.

MATTHEWS: Well, his words are a lot milder than his actions. And I'm wondering why that is happening. But it is true that several Russian on oligarchs are closely tied to the Kremlin were sanctioned. And that will be another problem as far as U.S.-Russia relations.

But on the other hand, we can't be letting these folks in any way influence the American elections and there has to be some retaliation for what happened in a measured way. That's what I would suggest.

But it is getting closer to the Kremlin themselves because these are Kremlin associates. And the oligarchs in Russia are different than wealthy people in America because they are connected to the government. The government has a lot of leverage over the oligarchs as well, not just the other way around, as more the case here.

So if you're an oligarch, you don't want to alienate the Kremlin. You also want to go along with what the Kremlin wants you to do in many cases.

HOWELL: So as far as the Russian president is concerned, are these mixed messages? MATTHEWS: Certainly it seems that way. It would be that way probably to Mr. Putin as well. So you really won't know exactly what Trump is doing, what the Congress doing. Don't forget, it's not just Trump himself but the Congress has a different message than the president at times. And this is very confusing for many leaders in the world.

Especially with Putin, we don't know how Putin will take it and it is very dangerous because right now these two countries are in the worst relationship they have been in since the beginning of Russia -- after the Soviet Union fell.

And that is not a good place to be right now, with two nuclear super powers that with a miscalculation could start another conflict in many ways.

HOWELL: And finally the president's informal adviser, Roger Stone, he spoke to my colleague Anderson Cooper earlier. When asked whether the president would speak to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, if invited to do so, here's what he had to say. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In your opinion, should the president ever sit down with the special counsel?

ROGER STONE, TRUMP ADVISER: I have written and said on "Info Wars" repeatedly that I thought it was a perjury trap, that there is every possibility the special counsel is looking at some process-related crime that doesn't relate to Russia.

I obviously believe the special counsel has a political bias, as demonstrated by the FBI text messages and e-mails that have surfaced and the political nature of this investigation. So I think it is very dangerous for the president to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Again there, Roger Stone, a man who clearly has the president's ear.

Peter, the question to you, this advice that he is giving the president, what do you make of it?

MATTHEWS: Well, I think that he is correct that there is a big danger if Trump sits down with Mueller and he ends up, whether under oath or not, not telling the truth or waffling on something that seems like it is not fully the truth.

That can be prosecuted as a felony or he can be charged and then brought in to be impeached, based on a report that Mueller would write up. So he cannot in any way say the wrong thing that could seem to be an untruth in any way at all.

And the thing is with Trump, he has a very difficult time giving the same story which is true -- it should be true -- in the same way the next day. He changes the story, he obfuscates, the also comes out and lies at times.

There is a real danger if he does testify to Mueller. There could be real serious problems for him. And that is why Roger Stone came out strongly and advised him not to do it.

HOWELL: All right, Peter Matthews, thank you for your time and perspective.

[04:20:00]

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, George.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, the latest on the violence along the Israel-Gaza border. We have a live report ahead from Jerusalem on what's happening there.

Plus, one of Bollywood's biggest stars fights to stay out of prison. The latest on Salman Khan's plea hearing.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

The former president of Brazil has refused to turn himself in to police. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is holed up in the headquarters of the metal workers' union in Sao Paulo, surrounded by supporters there.

He was convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison and was supposed to surrender to police on Friday. His attorneys have asked the Brazil supreme court to postpone the arrest until Monday.

Deadly violence broke out again on Friday along the Israel-Gaza border. Palestinians have been protesting for a week in what is called the March of Return. It has led to clashes with Israeli forces, who are trying to stop Palestinians from --

[04:25:00]

HOWELL: -- crossing the border. Gaza health officials say at least seven people were killed on Friday.

Let's get the very latest now; CNN international correspondent Ian Lee is live in Jerusalem.

Ian, you've been covering this now for several days. Tell us about the concerns and the situation today.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today, the situation is calmer than it was yesterday, George. Today we are seeing funerals, though, of some of the people killed. We're hearing from the Palestinian ministry of health that the death toll has now risen to nine people, including one journalist.

That makes a total death toll since the protests began last week 31 people with more than 2,000 injured.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEE (voice-over): Burning tires draw a black curtain across the border of Gaza and Israel. A Friday of fire mixed with tear gas and water, ingredients for another volatile day. Thousands of Palestinians again rallying near the fence; meters away, Israeli forces, each side bracing following Gaza's deadliest week in years.

LEE: This thick, black smoke is designed to obscure the sight of Israeli snipers. But the military fears that it could also be used as cover for Palestinians moving closer to the border.

LEE (voice-over): This video provided by the IDF allegedly shows a Palestinian cutting the border fence, a red line for Israel, who warns anyone threatening the country's sovereignty is risking their life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our mission today is to deny the Hamas that ability and to make sure that nothing harms our security infrastructure and nothing comes across.

LEE (voice-over): Tear gas and water cannons try to repel Palestinians making a run at the fence. When that doesn't work, live rounds and the death toll rises.

"I'm hoping that I will be a martyr," Nihal Walid (ph) says. "My son is carrying the Israeli flag. He will burn it in front of them and I want him to be a martyr, too, God willing."

She is not the only one that says so. Many of these Palestinians tell us they have nothing to lose and will do anything to return to lands they lost to Israel 70 years ago. Their determination can be measured by their casualties. And the dead and injured overwhelming the already struggling Gaza hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) some kinds of medicines and supplies. So we are trying but it is not so easy.

LEE (voice-over): It is likely to get more difficult with the violence expected every Friday until mid May. And many worry a single incident could burn out of control leading to yet another war.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: George, international and as well as Israeli human rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force in these protests. Israel has said though that every person who is shot is a known threat to Israel's security. They also say that they are looking into the death of that journalist.

But what we'll be watching going forward are these protests. They are expected every Friday for the next five weeks. So we're expecting to see the kind of violence that we saw last week and this week to continue -- George.

HOWELL: Ian Lee, live for us in Jerusalem. Thank you for the reporting.

And thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead, Russia's oligarchs are now in the crosshairs of U.S. sanctions. That could be a big problem for the Russian president. We'll explain ahead.

Plus, London struggling to deal with deadly stabbings. Ahead, what is causing this violence and how authorities are handling it. Stay with us.

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HOWELL: Coast to coast across the United States and around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following this hour.

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HOWELL: The Russian government insists there are no more oligarchs in the country, only businessmen. Yet experts say every one of the businessmen owes his fortune to President Putin. We get more now from CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oleg Deripaska doesn't like to talk about his connections to Vladimir Putin. But, tonight, Deripaska is one of several Russian oligarchs in Putin's inner circle sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Another is Putin's son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, who became a billionaire after marrying Putin's daughter. What is a so-called oligarch? Experts say they are rich Russian businessman who got their money through their connections to power, specifically Putin's power.

BEN JUDAH, AUTHOR, "FRAGILE EMPIRE": His allies, his oligarch, his chiefs of police in the military can pillage the country and then store those assets in the West. And they're permitted to do so by Vladimir Putin, as long as they get loyalty in return. What they then give Putin back in return is enthusiasm, support, a cut.

TODD: Putin denies that.

But Bill Browder, a financier who's exposed much of Putin's alleged corruption and successfully pushed tough sanctions laws in the U.S., says Putin's cuts of the oligarchs' deals are legendary. BILL BROWDER, LED SANCTIONS CAMPAIGN AGAINST VLADIMIR PUTIN: Vladimir Putin, I believe, to be the richest man in the world. I believe he's worth $200 billion. That money is held all over the world, in banks in America and all over.

The purpose of Putin's regime has been to commit terrible crimes in order to get that money.

TODD: CNN can't independently verify Browder's assertion. There's no doubt Putin is wealthy, but he tries to hide it.

NATE SIBLEY, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: From his official wealth declaration, that he owns, I think it's two Soviet era cars. I think he owns a flat in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

TODD: Experts tell --

[04:35:00]

TODD: -- CNN once they build up their cash in Russia, they're eager to bring it to the West.

SIBLEY: There's a lot of cash flowing around under the table and in private jets being flown all over Europe and the U.S. That's hard to keep track of.

TODD: Oligarchs buy mansions and condos in Florida and London, apartments in New York, yachts, even sports teams. In 2008, Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a mansion in Palm Beach from Donald Trump for $95 million.

Oligarchs buy up these properties to park their money outside Russia and protect it.

SIBLEY: The great benefit of money your money into the West via anonymous shell corporations, usually, is that suddenly you own high- value assets, houses, yachts, private jets, whatever it is, in countries that will defend your legal right to keep these things in a way that Russia itself won't.

TODD: And for oligarchs, an added benefit to owning those properties, a sense of social acceptance.

SIBLEY: It makes them look glamorous. It makes them society figures on the social scene in New York. They can then engage in philanthropy, funding art galleries, museums.

TODD: Many of the oligarchs now under sanction have denied any nefarious deeds. And the Kremlin is denying their existence, Vladimir Putin's spokesman saying there are no oligarchs in Russia. As for Bill Browder's claim that Putin has amassed huge personal wealth, Putin has called that accusation "garbage" -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Brian, thank you.

Now to London, where authorities are struggling to fight a growing crime rate. Since the year started, more than 50 murders have been reported and that number is rising nearly nightly with incidents. This surge in violence has now put social media and gang culture in the spotlight. Our Erin McLaughlin explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what gang warfare looks like in London. Kids hide their faces with balaclavas and show off their weapons, set to music composed to provoke rival gangs.

Nana Agyeman runs Access U.K. He specializes in gang intervention.

MCLAUGHLIN: (INAUDIBLE)?

NANA AGYEMAN, ACCESS U.K.: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

AGYEMAN: Because this is what we see being played out all the time on social media. (INAUDIBLE) if you come down here, there will be repercussions, et cetera, et cetera. So they're all bravado, they're all kind of taunting other groups and they have got a platform now, which is their phone, to record and just send it out there. So it's very easy to do these things.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Is this a recruitment tool as well?

AGYEMAN: Possibly. Possibly. Possibly because apparently there are people that actually are competing on who has got the most dangerous end or area, who has got the most goons, as it were, in a particular area. So that rules the whole -- it's almost like a sport.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): It's a deadly game. This year alone, over 55 murder investigations launched in London, many of them gang related, mostly knife attacks but there's gun violence as well.

Compared to 10 years ago, Agyeman says the terrain has changed. The gangs are getting younger, recruits as young as 14 years old. Agyeman says that's because they are less likely to be scrutinized by police.

And not all of their victims are gangsters. Seventeen-year-old Tanisha Melbourne (ph) was killed Monday. Locals say that Tanisha (ph) was hanging out with her friends on this street, 9:30 pm, when she was shot and killed. Locals says she was an innocent bystander in what is escalating gang warfare in this neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wasn't the type of person to be in the problems like that. She wasn't like he is light/dark (ph). She was fine with everyone. So I didn't know why gangs are being involved in this now or whatever. And it's some people are like too stupid, that's what. Some people

are just, I don't know. I have no idea. I don't know what is going on.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Not far away in Walthamstow, two hours after a knife attack, an argument breaks out, a sign of simmering tension.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me go past.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): People here say that they are frustrated and afraid.

AGYEMAN: This is a hardcore contingent (INAUDIBLE) are committing these crimes, not just, you know, the (INAUDIBLE).

MCLAUGHLIN: How worried are you about this?

AGYEMAN: I am worried. I am worried because I know that this is long term, it is not a short fix. And people (INAUDIBLE) a magic wand that's just going to miraculously change it overnight. So, for me, I think it will get worse before it gets better.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Erin, thank you for the report.

Let's get some context now on this growing problem, this murder rate with Dal Babu, the former chief superintendent for the Metropolitan Police, live in London.

Thank you for being with us today.

[04:40:00]

DAL BABU, FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT FOR THE METROPOLITAN POLICE LIVE IN LONDON: Good morning, George.

HOWELL: Let's talk about this. You heard the guest just a moment ago saying that it seems that it is getting worse.

What is the answer?

Is this a matter of different tactics?

Are police cuts to blame in your view?

BABU: Well, yes, if you look at New York and London, sort of very, very similar cities. You have 8.5 million people, you have a couple million people traveling in each day. In London, we have less than 30,000 police officers; New York has 35,000.

So there has been a significant reduction. When I was a borough commander, we had 32,500 a few years ago. So we've had reductions in police and we've also had reductions in support programs that deal with young people who are involved in crime or likely to go into gangs.

So resources is a really key area. I think the other feature, which I think your program focused on, was around social media. I think social media have played a huge amount in making terrorism accessible but also gangs accessible to lots of people.

So we really need to have some controls and measures in place where social media take more responsibility to ensure that they take down videos that promote violence.

HOWELL: Making it acceptable, you say, easier for gang members to upload images. And those images certainly important when it comes to recruiting for them.

But this other question, as we heard in the report, many of these gang members getting younger and younger, how much more difficult does that make it in solving this problem?

BABU: Yes, absolutely. I think what we need is much more work in schools. So we need people to come into schools and talk to young people. You hear of 10-year olds taking knives into schools. This is unheard of.

Fortunately, in this country, we don't have the relaxed gun laws that you have in America. So if you have young people with guns, you can just imagine how much more dangerous that would be. But the knives are killing people.

And every single person killed is a tragedy, clearly for the families of the victims but also the individuals that do the murders.

You know, we have very, very sophisticated CCTV here, we have DNA, we have witnesses, we have social media profiles just like you do in America. Those individuals will be arrested.

And so it destroys everybody's lives involved in this. And we need to get the message into schools and try and make sure that young people don't go into this area, thinking that they will be able to do a gang video or do a stabbing and get away with it.

HOWELL: You know, Dal, I spent a great deal of time in Chicago, working as a correspondent, focused on many of these issues. Violence on the streets of Chicago -- and as I remember, many of the officials focused on what could be done as far as community outreach.

So I guess the same question to you, from your experience, do you think enough is happening with community outreach, getting onto the streets to engage, to have dialogue, to help curb the tide?

BABU: Well, I think, George, that you have hit the nail on the head. I think that is a key element because, by the time it get to the police, you already have the crime committed. What you need is engagement on programs where it takes young people away from crime.

And in London, we've had that. We had -- the Metropolitan Police had 55,000 police officers and staff a few years ago, it is now down to 40,000. So we've had significant reductions in resources.

And you need the feet on the ground, you need boots on the ground to go in, talk to young people, arrest them if necessary but also try and help them divert away from crime.

So it's the arts projects, it's working; it's -- we have very, very successful -- one of the initiatives we borrowed from you is basketball clubs late at night. So it engages young people in a positive way. So those kind of initiatives are being cut back and really we need those returned.

HOWELL: Very important initiatives indeed. Dal, thank you so much for your time and perspective.

BABU: Thank you very much.

HOWELL: Still ahead, we're following this breaking news story in Canada, where 14 people were killed when a bus carrying a hockey team and a tractor-trailer collided. Stay with us.

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HOWELL: Welcome back.

We're following the breaking news out of Canada, where 14 people were killed in a bus crash involving a junior hockey team.

Let's bring in Rob Vanstone, the sports editor and columnist for the "Regina Leader-Post," live by phone with us.

Thank you for your time today. First of all, I'm sure you've been in touch with officials or learning information.

What more have you learned about this situation?

ROB VANSTONE, "REGINA LEADER-POST": Well, pretty much on everything you said as far as the numbers, nothing has been updated. An update is expected this morning. There are 14 people killed; there 28 were on the bus and three are in critical condition.

So just wait and see and hoping for the three people who are seriously hurt to -- at least maybe there is some good news coming out of that if they can pull through.

HOWELL: That is certainly the hope here. And many of our viewers just understanding more about this particular team.

Can you give us some insight about this hockey team?

VANSTONE: Well, in Canada, there is a lot of small-town hockey teams, small-city hockey teams. And there is sort of two -- the main level of junior hockey is called the Canadian Hockey League and a lot of those players would be drafted by the National Hockey League.

And the next tier below that is known as the Junior A League, in which the Humboldt Broncos played, it's known as the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. And a lot of wintry nights on buses going from place to place, it is just a way of life for the junior hockey player.

And the small cities, small towns revolve during the winter around these teams, around these players. And 6,000 people in the Humboldt, Saskatchewan community. And I doubt that there's very much of those 6,000 people that would not know someone on the hockey team.

HOWELL: Rob, I want to talk about that team one more time, if we can pull up the image. It is unclear exactly who was on the bus but from what we do know from this image and as background is that all the players are in their late teens.

A very young team, yes?

VANSTONE: Yes, generally players in that league would be as young as 16 and as old as -- having just turned 21. And a large number of them were 19 and 20. That seems to be the trend.

And just so sad when you consider what young people and families and billets and just one -- Chris Cuthbert is a very well respected hockey commentator in Canada, said it is the saddest day ever in hockey. And it is really hard to -- saddest day ever in hockey --

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VANSTONE: -- in Canada and it is hard to argue with that. I can't think of anything that even comes close to paralleling it -- George.

HOWELL: It is an incredibly sad day in hockey for sure. But there are families that are unsure, uncertain as to whether their loved one, you know, was on this bus. So we need to wait and see as we hear more from authorities. But again, 14 people dead from this crash. Thank you so much again to your time today.

VANSTONE: Thanks for your time, George. Take care.

HOWELL: Now to one of the world's highest paid actors sitting behind bars, ahead, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan wants to hear if he will make bail. Stay with us.

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HOWELL: One of the world's highest paid actors is sitting behind bars. Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is waiting for a court to decide on whether he'll be granted bail. He was convicted of killing a rare protected antelope and was sentenced to five years in prison. He is appealing that.

Let's bring in journalist Liz Neisloss in New Delhi, following the story.

Liz, this case has been dragging on for nearly 20 years.

What is the sense of where it goes from here?

LIZ NEISLOSS, JOURNALIST: It's been --

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NEISLOSS: -- dragging on certainly but not just sitting idle for 20 years. Salman Khan, one India's highest paid actors, has an army of lawyers who have challenged this case at every turn. It's moved through many courts. Things sometimes move slowly through the courts in India, hence the 20 years.

Right now we are waiting to see what the decision will be on bail for Salman Khan. He has spent a night in prison. The judge is currently deliberating. Salman Khan's lawyers are hoping that they will hear a positive answer, that bail will be granted and they can move this case to an appeal in a higher court -- George.

HOWELL: This is an individual who has sort of a bad boy image, right?

He is loved and revered by many there but, at the same time, he does have a history and a background that is questionable.

NEISLOSS: He does. He has had several brushes with the law. He was also tried on two related poaching cases, which took place at about the same time. That judgment was overturned; he was acquitted. He was tried in a hit-and-run case, which took place in Mumbai. He was also acquitted with that.

He has had a history of one girlfriend publicly accusing him of domestic violence, something he denies. But he also does have a reputation as a very generous, very charitable person. And in the end, he is one of India's most popular stars -- George.

HOWELL: Liz Neisloss, live for us in New Delhi, thank you for the reporting.

And thank you for being with us for NEWSROOM. We will continue in the next hour following this breaking news in Canada, again, 14 people killed after a bus crash there. Stay with us.