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New Zealand to Improve its Gun Laws; Two Plane Crashes Being Tied Together; Donald Trump's Stance On Muslims, Fox Host In Spotlight After Mosque Shootings; Students Strike Over Climate Change; Students Protest Inaction On Climate Change; Assassination Attempt on Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro; President Donald Trump Continues to be Criticized; Prime Minister Theresa May Makes a Plea to Lawmakers. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 18, 2019 - 02:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Seventy two hours, it just took that long for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cabinet to agree on principle on tougher gun laws for New Zealand after a gunman killed 50 worshippers at a mosque Friday. And two plane crashes being tied together. Investigators say data from the black boxes of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight are similar to the information recovered from the deadly Lion Air crash months ago.

Also this hour, a plot to murder a president, our CNN exclusive digs into the bizarre drone attack that tried to kill Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers joining us in the U.S. and around the world, I'm Natalie Allen. And this is CNN Newsroom. New Zealand's leaders say they have agreed in principle to toughen the country's gun laws.

This comes in response to Friday's massacre at two mosques in Christchurch. Fifty people lost their lives when a gunman opened fire there. Earlier, the prime minister compared Friday's tragedy to the 1996 Australian mass shooting that prompted tougher gun laws there.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: When Australia found itself tragically in a similar position to what we find ourselves now. They took 12 days to make the decision. We have taken 72 hours. There is some detail that needs to be worked through. I want to do that but still move as quickly as we can.


ALLEN: The prime minister adds there is an increased police presence as a precaution. And she says all of the country's agencies are especially alert, hoping to catch any copycat activities before they happen. Meantime, officials have begun the grim and complicated task of identifying and releasing the bodies of the victims. The prime minister says the process should be completed Wednesday. Mourners have added music to the flowers, candles, and cards at this

growing the memorial outside of Christchurch's botanical garden. The prime minister said a national commemoration and service for the victims will be scheduled soon. Let's bring in Ivan Watson who joins us from the memorial at the gardens there in Christchurch.

And, you know, an announcement from the prime minister there about gun control, Ivan, but no details. What's the latest from there?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. No details yet. She says that will come 10 days after the initial attack. And here we are, three days after the attack, and you have a constant stream of well-wishers, of visitors, coming to this improvised memorial here that has been -- organically grown up in response to the most deadly terror attack in New Zealand modern history.

And just to give you a sense of just how enormous this is, for this city and for this country, the Christchurch Hospital, for example, where you have at least nine people in critical care, fighting for their lives. It has had to postpone surgeries for other patients to try to deal with trying to keep these victims alive, who -- some of whom have undergone multiple surgeries as a result of their wounds.

The police here say this is the single largest investigation they have ever conducted now. After the attacks on two mosques on Friday here in Christchurch, the police commissioner has gone on to say that he believes that the two attacks were initially reported to be simultaneous. He believes that they were the work of one suspected terrorist. Take a listen to what he had to say a couple of hours ago.


MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE COMMISSIONER: I want to definitely state that we believe that there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event. There were two scenes, as you know. And again, I would like to state that we believe, absolutely, there was only one attacker responsible.


WATSON: One attacker. And that suspect has been identified and charged with one count of murder thus far, Brenton Tarrant. He appeared in a Christchurch court on Saturday. We have spoken with his public defender, the lawyer who represented him during that court appearance on Saturday, who said that the suspect has requested to deny any legal representation, effectively wanting to represent himself in court, which is raising questions about what kind of statements he could make during court appearances.

[02:05:19] Since this individual is a self-avowed white supremacist. And concerns about him getting a larger platform to spread an ideology of hate, particularly in a country that has never seen loss of life due to an act of political violence on a scale like this before. Now, the prime minister also made clear, in the wake of this act of terrorism, that there would be changes in the gun laws here. And that they would be coming some 10 days after the attacks. We

don't know quite yet what the -- what the exact policies will be. She and the police commissioner have said that ordinary citizens can are welcome to start surrendering voluntarily their weapons if they so desire. To get a little bit more understanding on this, I'm now joined by -- this is Kevin Clements, who is speaking from Wellington.

He is the Chair and Foundation Director of the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Mr. Clements. What particular policies can you imagine that the government would introduce in the aftermath of this terror attack?

KEVIN CLEMENTS, NATIONAL CENTRE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES CHAIR: Well, one of the things which we've been advocating for some time and indeed (Inaudible) commissions on gun control we have been advocating is that military-style, semiautomatic weapons should be banned. That would bring us in line with the U.K., Australia, and to some extent Canada, which has got a partial ban.

And that would immediately remove the two of the kind of most lethal weapons that are available to terrorists.

WATSON: I want to point out that already we've seen the online marketplace, Trade Me, has put out a statement today, announcing that it is temporarily, at the very least, banning the sale of semiautomatic weapons. So we see at least one retailer taking that step. Another company here in New Zealand, Gun City, their owner has announced that they did sell four weapons to this suspect, Brenton Tarrant.

And it all went through legal channels. What kind of measures do you think you would like to see implemented. So what kind of measures do you think you would like to see implemented? What kind of lessons could New Zealand learn from other countries that have faced this kind of violence in the past?

CLEMENTS: Well, in terms of the particular state of weapons, I mean he turned those -- it turned what was an ordinary AR-15 with a 7 cartridge magazine into a 30-cartridge magazine, which immediately turned it into a very, very lethal weapon indeed. So banning that capacity would go somewhat towards it. But banning the actual category of weapons itself, we feel would be a very, very important step.

And it could be accompanied with an amnesty and a buyback, and the prime minister has already indicated that if gun owners wished to give up some of these up voluntarily, that the police are very happy to receive them. We also would like to couple it with a register of all firearms. At the moment in New Zealand, the gun owners have got to be licensed, but the guns do not need to be licensed, which means that we don't know where the 1.25 million guns that exist in private hands in New Zealand are located.

There are 250,000 licensed gun owners. But we don't know for sure how many weapons each one of these gun owners has. The only difference there is that we do know where most of the (Inaudible) or assault weapons, military-style weapons are located because they have to be registered.

WATSON: Can you explain to me -- in the U.S., for example, gun control, gun ownership. These are very politically divisive issues. Can you tell me a little bit about gun culture here in New Zealand, where you have roughly one gun for every citizen in this country?

CLEMENTS: Well, it's a little less than that. There are about 1 1/2 million guns and there are 4 million people in the country. But there is a gun culture here. We have a longtime outdoors tradition of going hunting and fishing, so forth. And guns are also used for agricultural purposes and for sporting clubs. So most guns most of the time are used for those purposes.

[02:10:03] There is a very active and growing gun lobby in New Zealand, which has got the ear of government, and it's much more active and organized than the opponents of guns. And so they have the ear of the last government, which had a commission of inquiry into gun laws. And that commission requires that the gun owner should be consulted and indicates the level of citizenship, so that's an area where I think the gun lobby has already demonstrated to pass the bill effectively.

WATSON: Have you seen changes amid politicians in the wake of Friday's tragic loss of life, when it comes to their positions on this issue here in New Zealand.

CLEMENTS: Yes, yes. Winston Peters, a New Zealand (Inaudible) which is one of the three parties in the coalition government, has already indicated that Friday has changed everything when it comes to New Zealand's first policy on guns. So the Labor Party, the Green Party, and New Zealand's (Inaudible) which is the governing coalition right now, have all indicated they see a need for tighter controls on guns and more restrictions on gun ownership and more restrictions on the types of weapons that are publicly available.

WATSON: All right. We will certainly be following this and following how New Zealand copes with the aftermath of these terror attacks. I want to thank you, Kevin Clements, from the University of Otago in Wellington, for taking the time to speak with CNN. Now, the leader of the government in this country, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has been governing in a time of crisis for this country.

My colleague, Kristie Lu Stout, has taken a look at the prime minister and the role she is playing in society, again, after what she has described as one of this country's darkest days.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jacinda Ardern burst onto the international political scene in 2017, becoming New Zealand's youngest prime minister in 150 years. She emerged as a symbol for progressive politics, pushing the envelope time and again. Thirty seven at the time, she became only the second leader in the world to give birth while in office. Ardern now faces her toughest challenge, the worst massacre in the

island nation's modern history. At least 50 people kills and 50 wounded in a terror attack at two different mosques in Christchurch.

ARDERN: What I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days.

STOUT: On the day of the attack, Ardern was quick to tell the country that New Zealand will never become the center for harboring hatred.

ARDERN: For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here. We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we're a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we're an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very facts that we are none of these things.

STOUT: She made the promise to change the nation's gun laws in the aftermath of this horrific attack.

ARDERN: I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change. There has been a (Inaudible) change in our laws in 2005, 2012, and after an inquiry, in 2017. Now is the time for change.

STOUT: After speaking to the nation, the prime minister joined mourners in Wellington to console families in grief. She later laid a wreath at a mosque. Ardern flew to Christchurch on Saturday to meet with the victims, families, and Muslim leaders, looking sorrowful, wearing a black dress and black head scarf out of respect. Ardern showed full support to the Muslim community in Christchurch.

ARDERN: This is not New Zealand. The only part of the incident and actions that we have seen over the past 24, 36 hours, that is New Zealand, is the support that you're seeing now. But nothing that led up to it is who we are or is who this city is. This act of terror was brought to our shores and rained down upon us here.

STOUT: While, perhaps this nightmare will never be over for dozens of families who lost loved ones, Prime Minister Ardern promise to make changes to gun laws is perhaps one thing that would give a mourning nation some degree of hope. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Christchurch New Zealand.


[02:14:56] WATSON: You know, in my reporting career, I tend to judge the health of a society, of a democracy by a couple of things. And one of them is the treatment of minorities in a society. And here, you have a minority of about one percent of the population, which is the Muslim minority, which was savagely attacked. The scenes we've seen here, the commentary from the government, the reaction at all levels of the government, are an outpouring of support for this tiny, Muslim minority.

Written in chalk on the sidewalk behind me are expressions like one for all, all for one. We are all human. They are us. And that suggests that even after this tragedy, after this act of terror, that this is a society that is determined to embrace the victims and embrace the minority that was targeted by this suspected terrorist, Natalie.

ALLEN: And we have felt that through your reporting for us, Ivan. Thank you for that perspective. It's so important, Ivan Watson for us there at Christchurch. We turn now to the investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people last week. Ethiopia's transport minister says the incident has similarities to October's Lion Air crash based on early analysis of the black boxes.

The transport minister says investigators have recovered all relevant data, but still have more evidence to analyze. Our Melissa Bell joins us from Paris where the investigation is headquartered, with more on what else they will be looking for from this information. Hello, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Natalie. One of the big questions, of course, for investigators will be just how great those similarities are, even as the investigation continues into both that Lion Air crash of last October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash 302 of March 10th. We hear from Ethiopia's transport minister there are similarities.

That's according to the preliminary data. And, of course, there is much more work to be done. We now know that that data has been extracted, that it can be read. It will take, though, we're hearing about 30 days for a report to be published. The question is whether the analysis of that date that will continue to take place here behind me at (Inaudible) headquarters in the outskirts of Paris, or whether that data will go back to Ethiopia for analysis there.

That is one of the questions. And what that analysis will try and answer is particularly that question of the maneuvering characteristics of the augmentation system that we've been hearing so much about, Natalie, these last few days, on this particular type of Boeing aircraft. We know because we heard also from the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines these last few days that in the minutes after the takeoff, the pilots of Ethiopian Airlines flight have had flight control problems.

Were those the same kind of problems encountered by the Lion Air crash, where we'd heard of the nose being forced down by this automated software within the aircraft against the pilot's will. The pilots' attempts in that flight, the Lion Air flight, to try and pull that up to try and correct that automated system before finally the jet crashed into the (Inaudible) Sea.

Were those similar kinds of issues that were taking place in the Ethiopian Airlines flight? That is clearly one of the big questions that we'll be looking to hear from that report once it's published, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. And the whole world will be watching this since those planes have been grounded. Melissa Bell, thank you. More about that grounding, as you recall, Boeing 737 max8 has been grounded around the world out of an abundance of caution. And now, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. transportation -- inspector general's office is investigating why the Federal Aviation Administration allowed this fleet to fly in the first place.

The report says the inspector general's office is focusing on a safety system implicated in the Lion Air crash, according to a government official request for comment by CNN have not been returned. But the FAA says the aircraft certification processes are well-established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs.

It goes on to say the 737 max certification program followed the FAA's standard certification process. This is the story, of course, we'll continue to follow. Well, it may be the first known attempt to kill a head of state with a commercial drone. In a CNN exclusive, new videos provide insight into the failed attack on Venezuela's president. We'll have that for you coming next.


ALLEN: New developments on the crisis in Venezuela. The dangerous and volatile standoff between sitting president, Nicolas Maduro, and the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido nearly didn't happen. And that's because Mr. Maduro was targeted, you may recall, in a drone attack in August. Videos provided to CNN apparently show the attack was carried out by commercial devices that were brought online and prepared over weeks by army defectors.

One of the organizers claims he met with U.S. officials after the attack, but the U.S. has declined to comment on that. The plot ultimately failed, but it could have killed dozens of civilians. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report from neighboring Colombia.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They thought it was fireworks first, but it was a drone bomb, a brazen assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The first bit to kill a world leader with commercial drone technology brought online, it could have killed everyone on the stage or dozens of civilians nearby if it missed.

The crowd scattered, and Venezuelans began to wonder. What really happened? Was it a fake? Even now, the opposition leader Juan Guaido told CNN he condemned the attack and thinks Maduro staged it to get sympathy.

[02:24:56] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It ends is up making them look like victims, he said. I think this was something internal done by the government, and so definitely no such options are not good. CNN has tracked down one of the apparent organizers of the attack, who supplied these videos seen here for the first time to prove his role in what he claims was a genuine assassination attempt.

Why did you plot to kill Nicolas Maduro? There's a peaceful protest movement. Why did you think an assassination plot was necessary? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have tried every peaceful and democratic way to

bring an end to this tyranny that dresses itself as democracy. We have friends who are in custody, tortured. This was a hard decision.

WALSH: You're not worried about potentially killing innocent people, flying a drone with that much explosive straight at a crowd?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the risk we had to take. We cared about that, as the Venezuelan people are always the ones feeling the consequences.

WALSH: The drones, they say, were purchased online in the United States and brought over six months ago to this rented farmhouse somewhere in Colombia. We aren't showing you the details of how they say they made the bomb here, but blew one up in a test. And in a remote countryside, they practiced the tricky bit. Flying the drones high enough to not be scene and then down at a steep and fast enough angle to hit their target, a garden tent here.

They even try it at night, in case that is when the chance to strike comes. Later, they say they dismantled the device to sneak it into Venezuela. Their videos show it being reassembled and then ready hours before the attack. A presentation days after the attack by Venezuela's interior minister confirms part of the attacker's story, including the path of the drones which both detonated prematurely.

The cell's signal blockers that protect Maduro from attack had been switched off, the organizer said. But suddenly came back on thwarting the attack. The U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, the morning after, thought it might have been faked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else.

WALSH: But U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence have since concluded the attack was a genuine attempt gone wrong. And separately, the organizer said he met with several U.S. officials three times after the attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After, they set up three meetings, which I imagined were to collect information to study the case, but it didn't go past that.

WALSH: And did they offer to help you try something like this again or were these meetings just about them finding out more about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think both. They wanted to get information, and then we asked for things in return. They took notes on this. And we asked if they would be able to help. Then they simply left with their notes, and they never appeared again.

WASH: CNN could not find proof these alleged meetings happened. A State Department spokesperson would not comment on the claim, but to say our policy is to support a peaceful transition in Venezuela. Venezuelan officials said the plot, which shook their capital, was assisted by Colombia and the U.S., which both have denied. It unveiled a blend of (Inaudible) and ingenuity using technology that's terrifyingly simple to get, Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Bogota, Colombia.


ALLEN: Next here, Donald Trump continues to be criticized for his remarks on white nationalism. Critics say he failed to condemn the ideology after the New Zealand attacks, but his staff stands behind him. We'll have more about that. Also, Britain's prime minister makes a plea to lawmakers and vows to hold another Brexit vote this week. Why some say it may not happen, we'll look into it on next here CNN Newsroom.



ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen with our top stories this hour. Ethiopia's Transport Minister said the preliminary on the Ethiopian Airlines crash will be released within a month. She says that investigators have recovered all relevant data from the planes boxes that's what you are seeing there and that there are similarities to October Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

In Eastern Indonesia, flash floods triggered by torrential rains have killed at least 50 people. Officials say heavy storms have soaked the region in the past three days, rescue teams combing through the debris, as you can see right there searching for survivors but officials fear the death toll could continue to rise.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern says her government has agreed in principle to toughen the nation's gun laws. At a news conference Monday she said officials will soon announce details on a new gun restriction proposal. Ardern had promised reform after Friday's massacre in New Zealand.

Meantime, the White House is defending U.S. President Trump over his remarks following the attacks there in New Zealand, on Friday he downplayed the global threat of White Nationalist suggesting the racist group is too small to be dangerous. CNN's Boris Sanchez has more from the White House.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Critics of the President charge that the White House has not had a strong response to the attack we saw last week in New Zealand. Some saying that the President should use the energy that he uses to attack Democrats, and the press, and others on Twitter to attack the white supremacists. The President last week made a remark that suggested he did not believe that white supremacy and white supremacist groups were on the rise around the world.

Something refuted by evidence, the Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney laughed at a question in a frustrated way about whether the President will come out more vociferously against white supremacy. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The President is absolutely briefed on all of the threats both domestic and international. But I'm going to push back against this idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump's seemed to blame it on Donald Trump.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: To the degree that there is an issue with white supremacists, white nationalist, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country and there is an issue with that, why not deliver a speech to condemning it?

MULVANEY: You've seen the President stand up for religious labor and individual labors. The President is not a white supremacist and I'm not sure how many times we have to say that.


SANCHEZ: The White House pushback saying that the President Trump has condemned the intolerance of all kinds thoroughly, the President also making news this weekend for his attacks on Twitter at late Senator John McCain. President Trump still upset over a vote that McCain cast in the Senate in 2017 against a slight repeal of Obamacare.

[02:35:00] A lean repeal of Obama care. President Trump going after McCain saying that it is a stain on its legacy. McCain's daughter Meagan McCain shot back on President Trump in a stinging rebuke. She writes, "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father. I wish I'd be given more Saturdays with him, maybe spend years with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine." Despite the fact between this two prominent Republicans still something that President Trump holds as a grudge.

Remember that back in 2015 when he launched his campaign for the presidency and got criticism from McCain, President Trump criticized the Arizona Senator saying that he was not a war after he had been captured as prisoner of war in Vietnam. Boris Sanchez, CNN at the White House.

ALLEN: Let's discuss this with Peter Mathews a political analyst and a professor of political science at Cypress College, he joins me live from Los Angeles, a frequent guest here. Peter, how are you doing thanks for being with us?


ALLEN: We'll let's begin with the comments or the lack of comments from President Trump, who did not point a finger after a massacre at far-right wing white nationalism. What are your thoughts on that?

MATHEWS: The silence is deafening, isn't it? I mean, can you imagine it's pretty expected in a sense because this man has been avoiding in anyway criticizing the right-wing extremist from Charlottesville all the way down to what happened in New Zealand. And he said that's not a -- white supremacy is not a problem he says. The violence as he says it's not a problem in the world. And with all the experts know it has been growing, we know that President Trump's remarks about go at it to hecklers when it was campaign he said the supporters go out and beat them up and I'll take care of the legal bills.

These many things I have with police and military on my side the left better watch out because when the right-wing who I have on my side gets tough, there is going to be something that's really hard pay, you have what pay for it, you have to really, really give warning against his political opponents, the very not so veil warning against it. And this is very much of an intimidation tactic and against freedom of speech and true democracy, democratic larkish flourishing.

ALLEN: We saw in that interview with Fox News. And pushing down on the -- on the White House Administration for President Trump's lack of speaking out more about it, what kind of struck me with Mr. Mulvaney there talking with Chris Matthews was he chuckled at the notion.

MATHEWS: Yes. He was just...

ALLEN: That the U.S. President has a problem here, a chuckle that was just odd.

MATHEWS: It's not -- well, it's more than odd because I think he might be kind of outrageous that someone is closest to the President he is would just make a joke out of it of what President's lack of concern about this. And it's more of the same coming from his administration not really wanting to be really fair and critical about this right-wing extremism. By the way, I just had a lecture on right- wing extremism on my class.

These folks believe in social Darwinism, they believe in the survival of the fittest, and those who can dominate through violence and force are legitimate. Every -- step down on everyone else, that's the way works in that ideology, and these folks do not meant any words, you know, the people that supporting extremist who we saw in Charlottesville and the President doesn't want to hit back at them, because the things that even those who supporting who won't be vocal about it might pull back their support if his not supported in a sense of the actual right-wing extremist.

So, that's why he's playing this game which is very dangerous for democracy and we all have to watch out for that and see we can anyways stop him from doing this.

ALLEN: All right. The mass murderer there in New Zealand mentioned President Trump in his manifesto. So, quite obvious he was affected by Mr. Trump. And it just -- it begs the question without the United States, which the world looks too to make a stand on things like this, does that cause a more dangerous situation for the world? You know, you look at New Zealand, we just heard from the Prime Minister and what they're dealing with there.

And it almost is worrisome that more things will be carried out like this unless you have the United States joining with other leaders around the world, condemning this and taking it very seriously.

MATHEWS: Absolutely. In fact, if you look at the shooter, the killer in New Zealand, he actually said that President Trump -- he praised him, he said this man is giving us a white identity. And his fought it on politics for the white in "race" we just saw, that's what his known, there's only one race the human race but this supremacist, they're exceptional. Mr. Trump is their symbol and this man mention Trump's name.

That's so alarming because you're right. This could spell -- this could spread all over the world or already has been this white supremacy has gone all over the world, in Europe for example, eventually in electoral politics, the extremist Marie Le Pen, she was able to win so many votes in France. Many of the people like that in the electoral system alone but then these folks are outside in the electoral system.

They're coming with guns and rifles, and bombs and imagine what Muslim-Americans and Muslim people around the world might feel right now in when they worship mosque on Friday's.

[02:40:04] They're not secured at all in the very most intimate activities someone can do this to communicate with their particular god or higher power and this is not right. No one should be intimidated.

When President Trump heard about the Coptic Christians in Egypt, he mentioned that Christians were massacred or threaten. Hear about the Jewish killing and he mentioned the Jewish people are threatened, when it came in this situation they did not know a word about the fact that folks at the mosque were Muslims, even -- Muslim wasn't mentioned by him at all and that is very telling that he seems to have some kind of anti-Muslim bias, that's very wrong. Especially the American people.

ALLEN: Right. Right. And as you say, he continues to attack his political enemies, he attacked John McCain who passed away a few months ago, he attacks Hillary Clinton, but he does not attack white nationalist groups. A big question there.

MATHEWS: So I'm looking at -- yes.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Well, Peter, we always appreciate your insights, Peter Mathews for us, thanks so much. We appreciate you joining us.

MATHEWS: Thank you, Natalie. Appreciate it.

ALLEN: Another Democrat has joined the 2020 Presidential Election, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released a video Sunday making it official.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a leader who makes big bold...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone who isn't afraid of progress.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: That's why I am running for President.


ALLEN: Gillibrand's first week as official candidate includes trip to Michigan, Iowa and Nevada. She'll deliver her first major speech in front of Trump International Hotel in New York next week. That should be interesting. Gillibrand is one of one six women in the crowded and diverse field of Democratic contenders.

A third vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal may not happen this week after all. The British Prime Minister was expected to stage another vote on the deal Wednesday if it pass she would asked for a short delay in the exit date to June 30th. But, if her deal is rejected, a third time, by law, Brexit is slated to happen March 29th unless Mrs. May secures an extension. In the Sunday telegraph the Prime Minister pleaded for unity saying, I'm convinced that the time to define ourselves by how we voted in the 2016 referendum must now end.

We could only put those old labels aside if we stand together. As Democrats and patriots, pragmatically making the honorable compromises necessary to heal division and move forward. But, two of Mrs. May Government Minister says a third vote may not happen if the plan still doesn't have enough support.


PHILIP HAMMOND, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: It's a work in progress and obviously we're talking to a lot of colleagues about what the way forward is and clearly if we don't get this deal through, we are almost certainly going to have to fight a European Parliamentary Election, almost certainly going to have to have longer extension, almost certainly not going to be able to gain access to the headroom, the fiscal headroom that I talked about in the spring statement.


ALLEN: Meanwhile, British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn says his party will not vote for the Prime Minister deals instead he vowed to call a no-confidence deal on the government if the deal is rejected again. All right. If all this has you dizzy in the next hour, we'll have a guess here to analyze a little more about what is going on and what could be the future for the U.K.

Well, coming up next here. This is Nebraska and large portions of it are underwater. We take a look at a history making flood in the American Heartland. Also the environmental movement gets a jolt of girl pile power, how young women are making a difference in the fight against climate change.


[02:46:59] ALLEN: Spring is slowly arriving in the U.S. but with the melting snow comes flooding. Our meteorologists Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more on all of that. It's serious flooding, and I was even reading, Pedram, that they're having to move some military warplanes out of the Midwest because they're parked where the flooding is headed their way.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: To go to those spots. Yes, absolutely, the Midwest areas of the Upper Midwest, that's where we're seeing them the most significant flooding take place right now.

But frankly, when you look at the weather map across the United States, as quiet as it gets the -- on these final two days of winter before we transition into spring, of course, starting on Wednesday.

But mild temperatures, dry weather out towards the Southwest. Dry weather, at least, from above happening across portions of Midwest. But at the surface level, significant flooding in place. And as Natalie alluded to there, we're talking about snowmelt really being the predominant threat here as widespread flooding takes place from Omaha down towards Kansas City, work your way toward St. Louis.

That's where flood warnings are in place. Meaning, flooding is imminent or occurring and work your way towards the Mississippi River Valley, and that's an area of concern as well and a lot of this because of the ice melt, the snowmelt that creating some ice jams.

Essentially, the ice is maybe blocked up across some of the bridges across these communities to the north. So, water begins to fan out and the rivers burst their banks. And seas like the side of Wisconsin can have shown you what's been happening across this region as temps rise. And, in fact, the places across the Midwest, we're seeing rainfall for the first time in some four months that we've seen just snow.

In fact, some 300 gauges recording some flooding from the Midwest toward the south. If you look at how much snowfall has come down this winter, these are areas that have seen some 20 to 30 inches of snow above what is typically the snowy season in the winter months there from Lincoln out towards even Minneapolis. Some 20 inches above what is normal.

And look at this temperature trend just in time for spring, well above average for much of the country as the cool air exits the picture. And the 60s, 70s, even the 80s come back into the forecast within the next week, rest portions of the country. Natalie?

ALLEN: All right. Pedram, always good to see you. Thanks.

JAVAHERI: Likewise, thanks.

ALLEN: The climate change movement gets a jolt of youthful energy around the world. We'll tell you how young people are joining the fight against climate change.


[02:51:18] PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN "WORLD SPORT" headlines. We begin with Formula One, and the season opener down under the Australian Grand Prix defending champion Lewis Hamilton had pole position, but the day would not belong to the Brit.

Hamilton making a slow start and he would come to regret back because it would be his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who takes the lead from him and he would never look back the finished driver.

Bottas scudding a frustrated figure last season. He didn't win a race all year. So, he'll certainly enjoy this moment of victory.

In English Premier League, Liverpool have reclaimed top spot, but it was far from easier. Here, Sadio Mane, setting them on their way midway through the first half. But their opponent, Fulham, did not give up the fight. They level 16 minutes from time. Liverpool kept pressing though for the winner and James Milner's

penalty would seal the deal, 2-1 win for the Reds in West London.

And finally, to something nobody told saw coming, in Italy's top- flight Serie A, a defeat for Juventus. Know Cristiano Ronaldo after his midweek hat-trick heroics against Atletico in the Champions League. But this loss to Genoa, well, it matters not really.

In fact, the Bianconeri are so far ahead. Atop the table a former Juve player, in fact, opened the scoring for Genoa. Stefano Sturaro on target 18 minutes from time. Goran Pandev then settling it despite the loss. Juve still 15 clear atop the table.

That is the look at your "WORLD SPORT" headlines, I'm Patrick Snell.


ALLEN: Students worldwide skipped classes a few days ago, demanding the world take action on climate change. CNN's Bill Weir talked with one of the students.


BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Every Friday, Alexandria Villasenor, walks to the front of the United Nations and chooses this bench over seventh grade. It is a one girl strike. And it started months ago, after a trip to California brought her frightfully close to a paradise in flames.

ALEXANDRIA VILLASENOR, STUDENT ON STRIKE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION: Because the air quality was the worst in the world, and I have asthma, and we had to like even roll up wet towels and put them under windows.

WEIR: It was so scary, her family sent her back to New York early. Where she began researching how hotter fires, longer droughts, bigger storms, are all being baked into her future. Thanks to our relentless reliance on fossil fuels.

And that is how she found another very worried teenager named, Greta Thunberg.

GRETA THUNBERG, ACTIVIST FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: You say you love your children above all else, and yet you're stealing their future in front of their very eyes. WEIR: After starting her one girl school strike in her native Sweden, the 16-year-old made headlines by going into rooms full of world leaders and billionaires, and calling them out for a failure to act.

THUNBERG: Adults keep saying, "We owe it to the young people to give them hope." But I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to act as if the House was on fire because it is.

VILLASENOR: There, she retweeted. She's going to be one for the history books.

WEIR: Absolutely. And do you think you will be too?


WEIR: Thanks to social media, the girls are now connected with young activists around the globe.

VILLASENOR: Here is the Sydney organizer for school strike for climate Jean Hinchliffe.

[02:55:02] WEIR: She's emboldened by every new friend who seeks out her bench. Every retweet from celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have come to a point where our earth is dying.

WEIR: And she devours every viral clip of kids challenging leaders like Senator Dianne Feinstein to do something, anything to save the broken planet they'll inherit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scientist have said that we have 12 years to turn this around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's not going to get turned around in 10 years.

WEIR: She says, seeing them get dismissed like naive kids only steals her resolve.

How long will the strike go you think?

VILLASENOR: As long as it -- as long until the necessary actions to make sure we stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius is met. It's simple as that.

WEIR: Simple as that. That means a complete overhaul of the biggest economy in the world.


WEIR: Easy-peasy.

VILLASENOR: Easy-peasy. WEIR: Inspired by the youth-led March for Our Lives, they are hoping that millions of kids across 60 countries make a statement that cannot be ignored.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the revolution.

WEIR: Change is coming and action is needed, whether the grown-ups like it or not. Bill Weir, CNN, New York City.


ALLEN: Thank you for joining us this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be right back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Our top stories right after this.