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Gun Laws Toughen in New Zealand; Similarities Found Between Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air Crash; President Trump Does Not believe in the Rise of White Supremacy; Theresa May Full of Optimism; War with No End; Melting Snow Causes Flash Flooding; Borussia Dortmund Fighting Against Racism and Bigotry. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 18, 2019 - 03:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's taken New Zealand just three days. That's what's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stressed when she revealed her cabinet had agreed in principle to stronger gun laws after Friday's devastating terror attack that killed 50 people.

We'll have more about that this hour.

Also, two tragedies getting linked together. Investigators say data from one crashed airliner shows similarities to the data from another jet that went down late last year.

And another Brexit vote perhaps. Some of Theresa May's ministers are worried there's still not enough support for her Brexit deal and the third time may not be the charm after all. So, what will this week bring? We'll look into it this hour.

We're live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers joining us in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN Newsroom.

Our top story, New Zealand's prime minister says the time for tougher gun control has come.

Jacinda Ardern says she and her cabinet have agreed in principle to new gun laws. The details of which will be announced within one week. The prime minister compared their action to the 1996 mass shooting in Australia that prompted tougher gun laws there.


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

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: This, of course, follows Friday's attack at two Christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead, 50 injured. Officials have begun the grim task of identifying and releasing the victims' bodies to families, a process that's expected to be complete Wednesday.

Meantime, the investigation into the attacks has spread to Australia. Police there have raided two homes in new South Wales as part of the shooting investigation.

CNN affiliate 7 News reports one of the homes is believed to belong to suspect Brenton Tarrant's sister. Tarrant remains in jail. His next court appearance is April 5th where he reportedly wants to represent himself.

Let's talk more about these developments with Ivan Watson who joins us from the memorial at the Botanical Garden in Christchurch.

So, some movement on gun control and that odd development about the suspect here, perhaps representing himself. Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's raising some concerns I think that we're hearing that the suspect might try to espouse some of the ideology in his manifesto in a courtroom and spread ideas of hate even further than the alleged killing of some 50 innocent people, the worst terror attack in New Zealand's modern history.

But, Natalie, I'd like to introduce you to some of the people who have been coming here to this improvised memorial by the Botanical Gardens here in Christchurch, a group of students, tutors, community workers who came to pay their respects today.

Thank you, guys for coming to speak with CNN. I guess I'll start with you, Eviolae (Ph). You're 18 years old. Why did you want to come down here today? What prompted to you come here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we actually, we were performing for the public and just paying our respects to the people that had passed and so we thought it would be a good idea to come and just jam with the community and show our love.

WATSON: You are 15 years old, Anna (ph), right?


WATSON: Were you in school when the attack took place?


WATSON: I imagine you've never heard of anything like that happening here. Was it a frightening moment for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it was in a way, yes.

WATSON: What would you like to say? Some of the victims are your age? What kind of message would you like to pass on? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. Just stay close to your loved ones

and be safe. And just pray to God that he's got you.

WATSON: Can I ask, Marley (ph), I've been impressed by the outpouring of support for a very small community that was targeted.

[03:05:00] The Muslim minority makes up 1 percent of the population in New Zealand. Is that a normal reaction?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say it is because I think New Zealand are quite strong in the effect of standing together no matter what happens. We win together, we lose together. We're always together. And there are always difficult times in the world, but I think New Zealand does show that we stand together.

WATSON: And I do see this expression repeated Kia Kaha.


WATSON: It's a Maori expression.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It means be strong. Yes. Kia Kaha. It means be strong and be together as one.

WATSON: Zion (ph), I want to ask you. The prime minister has talked about changing the gun laws in this country. In the wake of these terror attacks, what would you like to see done? Do you support that? Do you want to see changes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'd like to see a bit more monitoring of some of the guns and gun laws and also distribution of guns. They had some policies that had sort of fallen through the cracks in terms of people, yes, just like tighten the security and monitoring of people that have these class a or a class gun. That would be good.

WATSON: The suspect had five firearms. He purchased them all legally.


WATSON: And he didn't have a criminal record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he didn't. He didn't, which is -- that's scary. That's a scary thought that you can just purchase guns that those kind of heavy artillery guns that can sort of bring that much damage to, well, you know, to people and ye, it's concerning a little bit.

WATSON: Some of you guys are teachers and tutors. If I can ask you, what do you tell young people to help explain what happened here and to perhaps reassure them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think just keep on keeping on and just carrying on doing what they do best. Christchurch is not a place of fear. It's always been a safe place here and it's (Inaudible). This is just one thing that struck our nation, but at the end of the day, we're going to come back together and stand together and move forward. Yes. WATSON: Eviolae (ph), we've been hearing from some members of the

Muslim community who are quite traumatized.


WATSON: Saying some people saying they're afraid to step out on the streets if they have a herd scarf --


WATSON: -- who are here right now. Do you have any message for them right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just you know, just carry on being yourself. Don't change who you are for the world and even if you feel scared, we shouldn't feel scared especially in Christchurch. It's such a safe place. I believe it's a safe place. You know, just I don't know. I'm speechless. Yes.

WATSON: Before we wrap up here, I think you guys said you wanted to sing a song. Which song is it and why would you want to sing that here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a hymn. It's (Inaudible) And it just sort of means bring peace to the land. You know, especially in times like this. So, we want just to put across the song to the world and for our people here that are still struggling and suffering.

WATSON: All right. Why don't you guys go ahead.


WATSON: Guys, thank you very much. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.


[03:10:01] WATSON: I want to thank our guests for sharing their harmonies, their music and their kind thoughts. That's it from Christchurch for now, Natalie. Back to you.

ALLEN: How wonderful. I got chills, just goosebumps just sitting here listening to that, just beautiful. Ivan, thank you.

Another part of this story is what's coming from the White House. It is defending the U.S. President Trump over his actions and remarks following the New Zealand attacks.

On Friday, he downplayed the global threat of white nationalists and he later attacked a late senator on Twitter.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has this is about the White House.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE 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 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 would come out for vociferously against white supremacy. Listen to what he said.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president is briefed on all the threats both domestic and international. But I want to push back against the idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump seem to blame it on Donald Trump.

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

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


SANCHEZ: The White House push back saying that President Trump has condemned 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 McCain cast in the Senate in 2017 against a slight repeal of Obamacare, a lean repeal of Obamacare.

President Trump going after McCain saying that it is a stain on his legacy. McCain's daughter Meghan McCain shot back at President Trump in a stinging rebuke.

She writes, quote, "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father. I wish I had been given more Saturdays with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine."

The spat 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 he was not a war hero after he had been captured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

ALLEN: Let's talk about this with Natasha Lindstaedt. She is a professor of government at the University of Essex. She joins us live from the U.K. Natasha, we always appreciate you coming on and giving us your insights.

And I want to start right there with John McCain. The U.S. president attacking this hero, this former senator who served his country for many years in Washington. And in Vietnam and who died, and the president attacks him.

The president continues to attack Hillary Clinton. He attacks his political foes, yet, in the story that we were talking about Mick Mulvaney chuckling when asked about the president being, you know, a white supremacist.

You know, he doesn't attack the far right with something like this. What we saw in New Zealand happens. What do you make of that?

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Well, I think there's several reasons for this why he didn't really provide a stronger response to what happened in New Zealand. I mean, I think actually the first reason is something he admitted himself. He acted as if he didn't really even know much about what happened.

And that is an issue because he doesn't tend to listen to the intelligence community and get briefings on domestic terror threats, threats, you know, from right wing terrorism compared to Obama or Bush.

And so on the one hand, you could say he's just not that well informed on these issues. But the other big problem is that he doesn't want to acknowledge that he himself, that what he says would be responsible for encouraging this type of violence.

He doesn't want to actually take a look at himself and some of the rhetoric that he has offered the right-wing community and actually, you know, admit that it hasn't been helpful at times.


ALLEN: Why? Because he has made comments during the campaign and as president that one could construe as almost stoking violence in some regard.

[03:15:00] LINDSTAEDT: Yes, he does stoke violence in his rhetoric. His rhetoric has validated right wing extremist groups, you know. He doesn't want to take ownership about that, and he also knows that some of these individuals are, you know, comprise his base. He doesn't want to upset his base.

And you know, his advisers of people that are defending him say everybody always blames everything on Donald Trump. But if you look at the way he responds on Twitter to things that Saturday Night Live says, a comedy show, versus the way he responds to right wing acts of violence, he's incredibly tepid, not particularly very intense or compassionate in the way he responds to these types of acts.

ALLEN: Right. He seems to respond to the criticism that he receives. That's what he responds to. So, Natasha, I want to ask you, without the United States, without the White House, a big more vehement in speaking out about the growing white nationalist movement.

We had Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, write a book about growing fascism in Europe without the United States. Is that dangerous for the world?

LINDSTAEDT: It is dangerous because anyone who studies terrorism knows that the increase in terrorism is coming from lone actor, lone wolf terrorism and right-wing terrorism. And in the U.S., if we're just even to look at the U.S., we're more likely to be affected by right wing terrorism than Islamic extremist terrorism.

And this is something that actually both intelligence communities in the U.S. have been studying and focusing on for decades. And many right-wing terrorist groups are actually imprisoned in the 1980s and early 1990s.

But the issue with Trump is that he has emboldened these movements with some of his rhetoric. You know, he validates them. He feels recruitment and mobilization. And it's been, you know, his election was basically a coming out party for some of these right-wing groups.

And, this particular terrorist in the case of New Zealand, you know, he mentioned Trump, that he was inspired by Trump's rhetoric.

ALLEN: Right. So, there's some evidence right there about the effect President Trump's words are having. It is -- these are very dangerous times and the president doesn't seem to acknowledge that. We'll continue, of course, to talk about this. Natasha Lindstaedt, we always appreciate your insights. Thank you.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: We turn now to what we're learning about the doomed Ethiopian airlines flight. When we come back, what some of the initial data from the black box is revealing about the deadly crash.


ALLEN: The Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed 157 people has revealed similarities to October's Lion Air crash based on early analysis of the black boxes.

Ethiopia's transport minister says investigators have recovered all relevant data but still have more evidence to analyze and will release a preliminary report within one month.

Some experts suspect the crash was caused by a sensor transmitting incorrect data forcing the plane's nose down. Boeing which builds the new 737 MAX 8 involved in both crashes released a new statement saying, "Boeing continues to support the investigation and is working with authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available. Safety is our highest priority as we design, build and support our airplanes."

Those airplanes have been grounded now. Melissa Bell joins us from outside Paris where the investigation is

headquartered and certainly, this information from the so-called black boxes has to be revealing for investigators there.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's going to be crucial in working out a number of things, precisely what happened on that Ethiopian Airlines flight in the first few minutes just after it took off, how similar that was to what happened to the Lion Air flight back in October that crashed into the Java Sea, you'll remember, killing 189 people.

And perhaps, most importantly, Natalie, whether after that accident back in October of last year and the accident of the Ethiopian Airlines that took place on March 10th, more could not have been done to ensure that this kind of accident didn't happen again.

And you'll remember, Natalie, that when the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Wednesday that it was grounding those Boeing 737 MAX, it referenced that similarity in the flight path between the Lion Air flight and the Ethiopian Air flight.

And it is those similarities and precisely what might have provoked them with this question hanging over, that specifically the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, an automatic system that was put on these planes because of the position of the engines on the wing, Natalie, it is specific to this kind of aircraft.

What was the power of that system? What was the ability of the pilot to override it? Those are some of the questions that we'll be looking to get.

Now what we've heard is, we heard from -- on Saturday from the BEA that first of all, the cockpit voice recorder data had been successfully extracted from that first black box. We heard then on Sunday that the information from the flight data recorder, the other black box, had also been successfully downloaded.

What that data is now going to be able to tell us about all of those questions, those unresolved questions, those urgent questions that need to be answered, that will be a matter for the report itself. And as you say, it may take up to a month for that report to be published, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right, so considering that one month for the report, the question is, how long could all of this fleet, this new fleet by Boeing, be grounded? It sounds like there may not be an answer to that.

[03:24:56] BELL: Well, very difficult to imagine how they could be allowed to fly again until we have the results of this investigation. Because we already know so much about the preliminary report into that Lion Air crash, Natalie.

And the clear failings to which that pointed in terms of this particular system and how it was put in place. So many questions also over, in particular, the Federal Aviation Administration's handing over of so much of the controlling of the systems, the testing of their air worthness -- air worthiness, I'm sorry, to the aviation companies themselves, and in this case, specifically Boeing.

So, there are so many questions that need to be answered. Also, perhaps why it took the United States and Canada much longer than other countries who immediately after that Ethiopian airlines crash on March 10th said that as a sort of precautionary measure and that China was -- China was the first to do this. They were going to ground that fleet of particular Boeing 737s.

It wasn't until the Wednesday when a new information, apparently, emerged that both the United States and Canada decided to ground them. Very hard to see how any of them will be up off the ground until all of these important questions are answered. Natalie?

ALLEN: Right. And the questions about why it took Canada and the U.S. a little bit longer to ground these planes is something that of course, we'll still look into.

Melissa Bell, from outside Paris, thank you so much, Melissa for the latest.

Well, as the war against ISIS and its last bits of land winds down in Syria, we get a close look about the people still trapped there and what's left of the ISIS state next here.

Also, yet another week of uncertainty for Brexit. The prime minister promises their vote may not happen this week. We'll explore that as well as push on here. You're watching CNN Newsroom.



ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen.

Here are our top stories.

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 earlier, she said officials will soon announce details of a new gun restriction proposal. Ardern had promised reform after Friday's mosque shooting in Christchurch.

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 as we can see are combing through debris searching for survivors. But officials fear the death toll could rise.

Similarities between the deadly Ethiopian airlines crash and October's Lion Air crash have been found based on early analysis of the information boxes that were found.

Ethiopia's transport minister says they've recovered all relevant data. Some expert suspects the crash was caused by a sensor transmitting incorrect data forcing the plane's nose down.

An intense battle is still raging over the so-called Islamic state's last enclave in eastern Syria.

After weeks of fighting, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces estimate about 5,000 people still remain in ISIS-held territory.

Our Ben Wedeman has some of their harrowing stories and to look at what's left of the ISIS state.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A torrent of guns inside the last shell cratered pocket held by the so-called Islamic state. Some scramble for cover. Others fire through the barricades. One woman carries an AK-47 assault rifle.

ISIS supporters posted the video entitled "the epic of Baghouz." On social media it shows the insanity of that state and its dying days.

Three times since early February, the Syrian Democratic Forces have launched operations to finally extinguish the caliphate. Night and day, U.S.-led coalition warplanes, artillery and mortar barrages have pounded the encampment.

Yet, during lulls, people can still be seen strolling through the wreckage. Buildings appear untouched by the bombardment. This is all that's left of the once vast, once feared so-called Islamic state. All it is a sprawling junk ward, a junk ward of wrecked cars and tattered tents that's defying all predictions of a swift and final victory over ISIS.

Last week, as a gun battle raged around us, we got a glimpse of the conditions ISIS followers lived under. What you can see here is where the tents were. This black spot was where a tent was. And all around here, you can see tents and almost every tent they've dug these trenches to try to get cover.

The SDF says there might be as many as 5,000 people including women and children still inside the encampment.

"As long as they give themselves up, we won't attack SDF commander," Kobani (Ph) tells me. "For that reason, it may take some time, but not too much."

Nearly 30,000 ISIS family members have left along with 5,000 ISIS Jihadis who have surrendered. The end of the caliphate is near, yet so far.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Baghouz, Eastern Syria.

ALLEN: British Prime Minister Theresa May had vowed to hold another vote on her Brexit deal this week, but now we're hearing it might not happen.

In an article in Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Mrs. May called on lawmakers to come together for a third vote. But will it take place? Let's go now to our reporter Hadas Gold. She's outside parliament and

joins us now with what's ahead. Can this be any more bad news for Theresa May if they won't even give her one more chance, Hadas.

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, Natali, Theresa May is hoping that third time is the charm for her Brexit deal that has already twice been voted down by parliament, by quite some wide margins.

[03:34:56] This week Theresa May is hoping to go to the European Union and ask them for an extension because last week parliament did vote instructing her to go get an extension from the European Union.

So that March 29th date, we spent so much time talking about as that final deadline will likely be moved. But the question is what kind of extension will she get from the European Union this week because if parliament votes through her deal this week as she hopes, then it will likely be a short technical extension of just a few months.

But if they don't vote on her deal at all or if they vote it down for the third time, she will likely be asking for quite an extended. The question of course is the numbers. And as you noted, two of Theresa May's cabinet ministers said this weekend that they're not sure they're there yet on the numbers, and that they likely won't bring a third vote about unless they're confident they will have the numbers, enough numbers of parliament to vote for her deal through.

The biggest question here is the DUP. This is the Northern Ireland party that props up Theresa May's majority in parliament. The question is whether she get that small number of members onto her side. Giving them enough assurances regarding things like the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland to get them to vote for this deal.

If the DUP votes for her deal that will then hopefully cause a water fall effect of other conservative members of parliament to vote for this deal. Of course, after all of this drama in London gets worked out this week, if it does, then the question is to the European Union. Will they then approve the extension because for Theresa May to get what she needs to extend this deadline; all 27 members of the European Union need to agree. Natalie?

ALLEN: Now I want to ask you, Hadas, what are -- what are citizens thinking right now of their government? Three years they've been looking at this trying to figure this out. And yet, they still don't know what's going to happen.

GODL: Natalie, I've been all over the country talking to people from East to West Coast and in between people who voted to leave and people who voted to remain. And I have to say what struck me is that no matter how they voted almost everybody just wants the politicians to get on with it.

Even the people who voted to remain who wanted to stay in the European Union, they recognize this is how the country voted and they just want some certainty because businesses, regular citizens, U.K. citizens living in the European Union, E.U. citizens who live in the United Kingdom they have no idea what's going to happen.

This is affecting people's everyday lives, how quickly they'll get medicines across the border, whether they are going to have health insurance as they live in the European Union and businesses have spent billions, if not billions of dollars preparing for this renting out office space in the European Union because they just don't know what's going to happen and they don't see any guidance coming from the government or from parliament about what's headed next. All they want is just certainty.

ALLEN: It is an explicable saga that just keeps being more of a saga every day. You've got to feel for everyone involved. Hadas Gold, we appreciate it. Thank you. We'll be talking with you again this week.

For more on all of this let's bring in Steven Erlanger. He's in Brussels for us. He is the chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times. Steven, we often call on you to talk about various issues affecting Europe. But what do you make of this situation that Britain has got itself into and where things stand this week?

STEVEN ERLANGER, LONDON BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, first of all, I think it's a tragedy. It's a tragedy for everybody. You can say that the referendum was to leave, but the mismanagement of what happened after the referendum is pretty shocking and it's open for everyone to see.

I think we'll have a better idea by the end of today because then we'll know whether the Democratic Unionists going along with Theresa May or not just as Hadas Gold was saying. If the government wants a vote tomorrow, it's going to have to put down an emergency motion today.

So by the end of tonight, we should know whether they think they have enough votes to get it through. I think they probably won't have enough votes to get it through which will mean a real quandary for the European Union leaders who gather Thursday and Friday this week in Brussels to decide on one, should there be an extension and two, if there is an extension for what reason, and three, how long an extension there should be. There's no unanimity on this question.

ALLEN: What has been the reluctance? Is it the great unknown that Brexit may bring?

ERLANGER: Well, I think the reluctance is simply a very divided Britain. I mean, 52-48, you know, is fairly narrow. And that was three years ago. Moods change and then the divisions within the parties.

It's not like, you know, the Labour Party was for one side and the Tories were for another side. There's divisions inside which makes it very difficult to create in the British system a cross-party majority for anything.

[03:09:56] And then have you two party leaders in Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn who are widely disliked by large parts of their own M.P.'s. If the M.P.'s were left to themselves which they have a responsibility they've chosen not to take so far, they would probably vote for a softer Brexit, but a Brexit indeed.

So that her -- Theresa May is basically trying to talk everyone to death, to get to the very last second, and simply say again and again and again, look, you want Brexit, there's my deal. If you don't take my deal, you may lose Brexit. And that is becoming a more powerful argument as we've always said it would. Now, whether it's going to be powerful enough given the divisions within all these parties, we really don't know. Frankly.

ALLEN: Right. And I want to ask you analysts have predicted that Brexit could be an economic disaster for the U.K. There are always questions about what effect it will have economically on the rest of Europe. Italy is in recession. Germany could be headed there.

But I want to ask you what could Brexit mean for the U.K. from a foreign policy perspective?

ERLANGER: Well, that I think is very important. You know, whether there's a crash out or not, I think people have made some judgments about the character of British government these days that are deeply harmful.

It's very difficult to you know, feel in Britain this is the country we used to know. This is the pragmatic, reliable, do what needs to be done nation of shopkeepers, you know --

ALLEN: Right.

ERLANGER: -- country that we all admired. So, this is -- this is out the window. I think the Americans are very upset because Britain has been their bridge to the European Union. The Americans and the British are very close on many foreign policy issues.

ALLEN: Right.

ERLANGER: And this way, Americans could talk to the Britons who can be talk inside the European Union. That will be gone. And then there are all kinds of questions about intelligence sharing and European defense because Britain is after all, the first or second largest military inside the European Union.

ALLEN: Right.

ERLANGER: And once it's out, yes, it will be part of NATO but these are big issues to discuss.

ALLEN: It's certainly are. We'll talk with you again as we see what happens this week. We always appreciate it, Steven Erlanger for us. Thanks, Steven.

ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, a large portion of the state of Nebraska is under water. We'll see how extreme weather is making it history in the American heartland. Pedram will have that for us, coming up.

Also, a German football club rallies fans to fight anti-Semitism by revisiting history.


ALLEN: Spring is just around the corner in the U.S., but the melting snow is causing major flooding in parts of the U.S.

Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri he's got his eye on that for us. Pedram, hello.


You know, it's actually a very incredible trend here. As quickly as we've seen conditions change in the last couple of days, of course, we're talking about blizzard conditions around portions of the plains and even parts of the Midwest where significant snow and cold temps are in place.

Now we're seeing a rapid warming trend as we transition in the couple of days here to the start of spring. And unfortunately, that's happening so quickly here that we're seeing the water levels rise quickly, as well across the rivers and the streams in this region.

And we have flood warnings, meaning is imminent or occurring from Omaha all the way down towards St. Louis, work your way farther south towards the Mississippi River Valley. And that's the area of concern here for additional flooding.

And in fact, it all starts to the north where we see ice jams take place where snow and ice that is beginning to melt kind of begins working its way farther downstream in rivers and gets blocked by bridges as not all of it is melted yet.

So, you get scenes that are similar to this in parts of Wisconsin in the last couple of days. So, communities are seeing rivers burst their banks and essentially flood a lot of neighboring areas.

And in fact, when you break down how many river gauges are reporting flooding even at this hour, we're seeing about 300 rivers widespread around portions of the Midwest all the way towards the south report of the flooding.

And look at how much snow came down this winter. And this is not just the amount of snow that came down but it's plus the amount of snow that's average. So, it's in excess of what is typically coming down in the winter in some of these areas.

More than three -- 33 inches above normal in Lincoln, in Minneapolis upwards of nearly 20 inches above normal for their winter of snowfall in recent months.

And then you look at the forecast for the first week of spring over the next several days. Well above average for a widespread area of the country in particular around the Midwest. So that sort of a warming pattern is really what's concerning here when it comes to flooding the couple of days. And look at Minneapolis. They saw their first rainy day since

Thanksgiving weekend just about a week ago where temps were warm enough to support just rain and not snow. And now just like that, we climb up to almost 60 degrees by this first weekend of spring. So, a very dramatic warming trend in the forecast in the next few days. Natalie?

ALLEN: Minneapolis, a hearty folk there. They will probably enjoy that a lot all day.

JAVAHERI: Yes, absolutely.

ALLEN: All right, Pedram. As always, thanks.

Next here, athletes fighting racism. See how a football club in Germany is tackling the problem of anti-Semitism in the sport.


ALLEN: Nowhere in Europe is rising anti-Semitism taken more seriously than Germany.

CNN's Atika Shubert shows us how a football club is tackling that issue.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Match night in Dortmund. The Signal Iduna Stadium is a magnet for thousands of Borussia fans. This match BVB needs four clear golds to beat English rivals Tottenham Hotspur to advance to the next round of the European Champions League. But the tension isn't just on the pitch.

Spurs fans often call themselves the Yids, a slang term for Jews and a rallying cry for the club's roots in Tottenham, a once prominent Jewish area of London. But the Jews has also been used as an anti- Semitic fans, including those from BVB, an insult to throw at rival teams even chanting take the train to Auschwitz.

Anti-Semitism is still clearly a problem in football but the Borussia Dortmund football club is determined to fight it. It's knitted into their merchandise. On this scarf it reads "together against racism."


DANIEL LOERSHER, DIRECTOR, BVB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACTIVITIES: First of all, I want to show you the house on the corner.


SHUBERT: Daniel Loersher is a former Ultra, a diehard fan. He has seen the best and the worst of football. He now spearheads Borussia's community program.

And the day of the match he visits a Holocaust Memorial with members of the European parliament sports commission.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SHUBERT: What do you to somebody who say well, it's not the role of a football team to be involved in this kind activity? What would you -- what would your response be?

LOERSHER: You're not the first person who said that. I love it if people say something like that. This is a part of the society and we are part as a big football club. We have more than 150,000 members. We are part of the German society and for sure we have to take care and take awareness of some important topic.


SHUBERT: BVB tackles the problem from all sides, using slap stick humor and this TV ad to deliver a serious message. Neo-Nazis and football don't go together.

But what's more effective for Borussia, Loersher says is a direct appeal to the Dortmunder identity. In this video for Holocaust Remembrance Day, BVB fans, employees and players read the names of fellow Dortmunders who perished in the Holocaust.


SHUBERT: And once year, BVB takes fans to those camps where so many were murdered like here in Treblinka.


[03:54:54] LOERSHER: What we want to empower the people, you are not the generation of the murders. You are the generation of the people who are responsible for all the things that are right now take part in Germany. And for sure there are big reasons we have to send clear.


SHUBERT: Historian Markus Gunnewig walks us through the reinforced doors of the former Gestapo headquarters in Dortmund, now a museum, it is a world away from the football stadium. And Gunnewig says he was surprised to get a call from Borussia football club. Then realized it was the perfect way to keep history relevant.

MARKUS GUNNEWIG, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, STEINWACHE MUSEUM: History is a very important part of identity and people are part of this football culture because of their identity as Dortmund and as football supporters of the local club. They're interested in that part of history, as well.


SHUBERT: These cells were used to gather thousands of Jews, political prisoners and others deemed undesirable to the Nazi regime, it was the gateway to death for many. From here thousands were shipped to Nazi extermination camps.


SHUBERT: How normal was it to use a sporting facility like this as a gathering point for these deportations?

GUNNEWIG: Everything that happened wasn't done in secret but was kind of everyday life during the war.


SHUBERT: On the city streets, Dortmunders grapple with history and show their football pride on mash night.

The atmosphere is electric but respectful. And despite losing to Tottenham, Borussia holds its head high on and off the pitch.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Dortmund, Germany.

ALLEN: Thank you for joining us this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.