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New Zealand Bans Semi-Automatic Assault Rifles; New Revelations about Lion Air Disaster; 8-Year-Old Homeless Boy Wins New York Chess Title; Photo's Social Media Comments Stir Controversy; Japan's Rugby Excitement Already at Fever Pitch. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 21, 2019 - 00:00   ET




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

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm John Vause.

We begin with breaking news this hour. Less than a week after 50 people were shot and killed in a terrorist attack in New Zealand, the government has announced sweeping changes to the country's gun laws, including a ban on military style semiautomatic weapons and high capacity magazines. Here is prime minister Jacinda Ardern.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: Today I'm announcing that New Zealand will ban all military style semiautomatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semiautomatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause the firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire. In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.


VAUSE: Ivan Watson is in Christchurch, he joins us now live this hour.

Ivan, these few changes are effective locally, under a procedure known as an order in council.

What are the details here?

What are the changes and what do they all involve?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is pretty striking because people who had legal gun permits and had purchased some of these firearms previously are now being informed by the police that they are now in possession of an illegal firearm.

The announcement, though, of this ban comes with an announcement that there will be a transition period, an amnesty and planned for some kind of a buyback program, that is yet to be revealed and that the owners of these weapons can legally surrender them to the authorities.

Some of this still to be worked out, this has to be made into formal law when parliament will gather in April. But the authorities are making it very clear that they were signaling that change is coming and now they are announcing what the change will look like.

And it is significant because, according to the official statistics, there between 1.2 million and 1.5 million firearms in this country of under 5 million people. So a lot of weapons. The prime minister pointed out that there would be some exemptions made for pest control, for example, for sports.

But the system will be changing dramatically. CNN has reached out to Gun City, that's the company that acknowledged that it sold a number of firearms to the chief suspect accused of carrying out the attack.

And they told us, no comment.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand police association, which was calling for stricter gun control laws, they have applauded today's announcement.

VAUSE: So these laws have to be worked through parliament and this new legislation being moved under a process known as urgency, which is a much shorter time before actually gets to a real vote. Should be about three weeks from, mid April.

Is there expected to be much opposition to the prime minister's plan?

WATSON: There have been attempts to make stricter gun control laws in the past, that have not succeeded, so there may be some voices that speak out against this.

Anecdotally, here in Christchurch, in this traumatized city, I have not heard anyone say -- I haven't heard anyone oppose these type of measures thus far. But that's very anecdotal, thus far. The prime minister was asked if she's been looking --


WATSON: -- to Australia, to its example of the gun massacre there in 1996, which led to Australia moving swiftly to institute a buyback program, so that Australia has far fewer firearms per capita than New Zealand right now.

And the prime minister said they have looked at the Australian model and it does appear that parts of that are going into what their plan is for New Zealand moving forward for gun ownership and its gun control laws.

VAUSE: What is really striking about this is the speed -- we were told to expect some gun control in the coming days. But when the prime minister made the announcement it was effective immediately and we're looking at a very short period of time before it becomes law.

And it seems that Ardern is intent on capturing the moment, the window of opportunity, when the country is behind making these changes and it's like now or never to get this through from a political sense.

WATSON: Absolutely. She is seizing on the moment when there is tremendous unity, tremendous national grief and call for protection here. And I do have to state that New Zealand is different from European countries, from North America in that people will tell you that they are not accustomed, for instance, to even seeing law enforcement here carrying sidearms.

That is quite a rarity. In connection with the security crackdown after the terrorist attacks here in Christchurch on Friday, you now see police officers carrying around rifles on their chests. And that is an unusual sight for New Zealand as well.

So we're getting signaling of a new normal moving forward for this country, which had, in many respects, escaped the violence, terrorism and other kinds of violence that have plagued North America and Europe.

VAUSE: Politically, the process is very simple, there's only one government, no state legislature to worry about, no senate, so here to get it to the government, it's a law, as opposed other places like the United States.

Ivan, we'll have more on this story, will catch up with you next hour.

British prime minister Theresa May has finally admitted what is painfully obvious to the rest of the world for weeks: she has failed. Failed on her promise to deliver on the Brexit referendum, which is eight days until the deadline, the prime minister is treading the well worn path back to Brussels to ask the European Union for a three month extension until June 30th.

The E.U. may agree, if the British Parliament actually approved a deal. But lawmakers remain divided how, when and if they want to leave the E.U. CNN's Bianca Nobilo has the latest from London.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Parliament now gridlocked over Brexit and Theresa May forced to go to the European Union and ask formally for an extension until the 30th of June, the prime minister is now trying to urge the House of Commons to support her deal and leverage public frustration at the lack of progress over Brexit to do it.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Two years on, MPs have been unable to agree on a way to implement the U.K.'s withdrawal. As a result, we will now not leave on time with a deal on the 29th of March. This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me. You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide.


NOBILO: In her address from Downing Street tonight, Theresa May departed from her usual style. She struck a more personal tone and in siding with the people and pitting herself against Parliament, she took a risk.

After all, the prime minister needs the Members of parliament in order to pass her Brexit deal. In fact, if her deal has any chance of passing at the third attempt, she needs to win over 75 more MPs and not lose any of the other votes that she managed to scrape together between the first and the second attempts.

But if the reaction after the prime minister's speech tonight from lawmakers is anything to go by, her word certainly didn't help to ingratiate her with the House of Commons -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


VAUSE: CNN European affairs commentator joins us now.

Dominic, here's a little bit more from Theresa May. Listen closely because that noise in the background sounded like members of Parliament being thrown under the bus.


MAY: You, the public, have had enough. You're tired of the infighting, you're tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows --


MAY: -- tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children's schools, our national health service, knife crime. You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with.


VAUSE: All very valid points, all true but Theresa May fails to mention one small point here, that she was the prime minister and is the prime minister overseeing the political games, overseeing the inability too focus on any other issue of substance apart from Brexit. And now she wants to wipe her hands clean and walk away.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: It was both politically and lacked a strategic plan. If she is allowed to bring this vote to the Houses of Parliament for a third time, she is going to of course, need to enlist of members of Parliament to support them and she only alienated them. But beyond that, I think it is one of the most disingenuous statements

made by a politician, arguably, in history. Let's not forget that in 2010, when David Cameron was elected, she served as home secretary. She served as home secretary throughout that entire six-year period that he was in office, including in the early days, when they formed a coalition with the LibDems, arguably the last time that the Parliament demonstrated any kind of cross-parliamentary solidarity.

But it was the Conservative Party in 2015 that put on their manifesto that they would allow for a referendum and started, at that time, courting, flirting with, not just UKIP but also those that would then become the far-right Brexiteers.

When she took over in office, one of the first things she did, instead of reaching across the aisle in what was an extraordinarily divided parliament and divided country, she called a snap election, a snap election that was designed to try to further boost her power in Parliament, so that she would not have to consult across the line.

And these things must not be forgotten in this particular context, that it is the young people of Britain, it is people in Scotland who voted to leave, people in Ireland that voted to leave and so on, that are the ones that are really suffering here.

And the irony is that all of this is that she has been the one that has denied the opportunity for the people to weigh in on this particular process at this juncture and three years down the road. It was really quite a shocking moment.

VAUSE: The E.U. has made it perfectly clear that there is a possibility of an extension to the deadline. But there is a condition and that is that Parliament must agree on some kind of Brexit deal. So it wasn't a good idea to go out and trash the same parliamentarians that already voted down twice your deal in historic margins.

Donald Tusk, when he was talking about an extension, he seemed to hedge a lot, not saying that it was an extension that he may agree to but there has been no hesitation from France, the foreign minister has a much tougher line, saying, in the case of a favorable vote in the U.K. parliament for the exit agreement, we will, of course, be open to a technical extension of a couple of weeks to let British institutions finalize the ratification of the text.

Without a vote approving the exit agreement, the main scenario is a no deal exit, we are ready for it.

So even the three month extension, which May is hoping for, that's a long shot. It may not happen.

THOMAS: It may not and when the 27 get together, that's one thing they'll be certain of, this will not be an easy meeting. If indeed, the vote is allowed to go ahead in Parliament and she was, by some miracle, able to pass or get an agreement about this withdrawal position of the E.U., so the U.K. wants to leave; they now have a vote; it s clear that an extension would be granted, what gets to be complicated is whether or not this vote would even be allowed in Parliament.

And secondly then, if it was to fail, what would happen at that particular point?

And as you just suggested, particularly after the statements, the default position is a no deal. So it's a very hard to see how the Brexiteers would rather have the deal that they don't like and they rejected twice over a no deal.

And for the DUP, that are concerned about the iris backstop, not supporting this deal at least maintains the integrity of the U.K., because they would all end up leaving together. And it doesn't look like she will be able to get support from them.

I think what we are really looking at now -- and we have started to see this over the past few weeks with members of her party refusing to vote along and defying her orders, the votes of no confidence, the end to the capacity to legislate -- it's now that we've got to this final stage and Theresa May has ultimately failed to deliver Brexit by the 29th, is that we're going to be counting most likely on the space of 10 fingers how much longer she is going to remain in that particular office.

VAUSE: George Parker (ph) from the "Financial Times" tweeted out a good line to explain what could come next.

"So if Tory eurosceptics vote down May's deal again next week, they will hand over to 27 European leaders a decision on whether or not to let Britain's economy and business drop off a Brexit --


VAUSE: -- "cliff on March 29th, a novel way of taking back control."

It does seem that Brexit is turning out to be the opposite of everything that the Brexiteers promised and hoped for.

THOMAS: It is except, for them, a no deal extricates them from the European Union and we keep coming back to the idea of delivering the deal that the people asked for and so on, as we've talked about previously, the ballot on the referendum, simply ask the British people to decide whether or not they wanted to remain or leave in the European Union.

It did not get into the fine details and so you could argue that, for the Brexiteers, going down this road of a no deal is much more attractive to them than supporting Theresa May's deal. And given the fact that Theresa May has said that she would not, as a standing prime minister, basically stay beyond the June 30th deadline, the vote that lies, as far as I'm concerned, for those Brexiteers before them is quite clear, is to reject Theresa May's deal and hope that a no deal comes down, particularly since the European Union, at this juncture anyway, seems likely to support that.

There are two ways to leave, either with the deal or without. And I don't think the European Union is going to be very interested in them continuing on negotiating this for a year or two down the road.

VAUSE: And with everything that comes with a no deal, crash out Brexit, the ramifications around the world will be felt and will be horrendous. According to some, who are predicting financial Armageddon.

We'll see you next hour, Dominic, thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: So what would you pay to have dinner with the U.S. president?

How about 50,000 dollars?

That's what donors at a fundraiser in Ohio paid on Wednesday. As new polling suggests, fewer people actually want the president impeached. An exclusive new CNN poll found that 36 percent say that he should be impeached, down 7 percent from December. That comes after Nancy Pelosi said the move would be divisive.

The poll also shows 48 percent approve of how the special counsel Robert Mueller is conducting the Russia probe and a massive majority of 87 percent say that the Mueller report should be made public. Even Trump claims he wouldn't mind it if Mueller's findings were released. CNN's Abby Phillip is traveling with the president. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: Let it come out. Let people see it.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A change of tune from Trump, who now says he wants to public to see the Mueller report.

TRUMP: I think it's ridiculous. But I want to see the report. Tens of millions of people love the fact that we have the greatest economy we have ever had.

PHILLIP (voice-over): This coming weeks after the president suggested his willingness for transparency would depend on what's in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would not have a problem --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- being public?

TRUMP: Excuse me. That's up to the attorney general. I don't know, it depends. I have no idea what it's going to say.

PHILLIP (voice-over): But Trump isn't giving up his attacks on Robert Mueller.

TRUMP: But it's sort of interesting that a man out of the blue just writes a report. I know that he's conflicted. And I know that his best friend is Comey, who's a bad cop. And I know that there are other things. PHILLIP (voice-over): The president insisted this afternoon that he has no inside information about the timing of the report. But he expressed confidence in his new attorney general, William Barr, to make the final call.

TRUMP: I have no idea when it will be released. At the same time, let it come out and let people see it. It's up to the attorney general. We have a very good attorney general. He is a very highly respected man. We'll see what happens.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Trump's attack on the Mueller probe comes as he launched into an unprompted rant against the late senator John McCain at a tank factory in Lima, Ohio, today.

TRUMP: I have to be honest, I have never liked him much. Hasn't been from me. I have really probably never will.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Blaming McCain for his handling of the dossier.

TRUMP: John McCain received the fake and phony dossier. And what did he do? He didn't call me. He turned it over to the FBI, hoping to put me in jeopardy.

PHILLIP (voice-over): As the crowd listened silently, Trump evoked McCain's funeral last summer in Washington.

TRUMP: And I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which, as president, I had to approve. I don't care about this. I didn't get thank you. That's OK.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Trump also feuding with the husband of his top aide, Kellyanne Conway, after her husband, George, questioned Trump's mental stability.

TRUMP: He's a whack job. There's no question about but I really don't know him. He -- I think he is doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife. Kellyanne is a wonderful woman. And I call him Mr. Kellyanne. The fact is that he is doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She is a wonderful woman.

PHILLIP (voice-over): On the White House lawn and again at the tank factory in Ohio, Trump paused for some show and tell.


TRUMP: I brought this out for you because this is a map of -- everything in the red. This was on Election Night in 2016.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Months after he declared ISIS defeated and ordered his generals to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, the president acknowledged that some 400 troops would remain. But today he insisted that ISIS is nearly gone.

TRUMP: Everything red is ISIS. When I took it over it was a mess. Now on the bottom that it is the exact same. There is no red. In fact there's actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight. PHILLIP: As president Trump spoke in this room, it was virtually silent as he attacked senator John McCain. There were several members of the military in the audience, one of them, I could see from where I stood, who stood stoically as the president's attacks went on and on.

Meantime, many Republican senators back in Washington said very little about the president's attacks on one of their own. But one of those Republican senators, Johnny Isakson, did speak out. He called the president's comments "deplorable" -- Abby Phillip, CNN, Lima, Ohio.


VAUSE: A quick break here and then scenes of destruction and stories of desperation, in the aftermath of that deadly cyclone in Southern Africa.

A school bus driver in Italy suddenly hijacks the bus, threatens to burn the students alive.




VAUSE: Rescue workers in Mozambique are still trying to save thousands of victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai. The port city of Beira is cut off from the outside world, much of it has been left underwater. Survivors are waiting on roof tops, hoping to be rescued. CNN's Farai Sevenzo has details.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Several days after cyclone Idai struck Southeast Africa, enormous damage left in its wake is proven difficult to quantify. Villages and communities in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, still don't know how many had been killed.

Mozambique port city of Beira submerged and battered. In rural areas, rivers have burst their banks, creating an inland ocean and leaving untold numbers (inaudible). Waiting for the miracle of survival, they stand on rooftops for reach of higher branches.

This man clinging to a tree was rescued --


SEVENZO (voice-over): -- Shimane Mane (ph) in Zimbabwe, mudslides that buried people in their sleep. Muddy waters destroyed bridges and disappeared road networks. As rescue efforts for those still alive continue many are still in accessible and aid agencies to have their hands full.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see around us, it is atrocious weather conditions, the weather is still persisting and despite that everybody is helping and we are offloading 20 tons of cargo manually by hand, because the equipment has been destroyed by the cyclone.

SEVENZO: Mozambique's president Filipe Nyusi says this disaster of enormous proportions may claim more than a thousand lives in his country. That estimate may prove staggeringly low, given the long stretches of n Southern Africa, the cyclone hit. And for those rescued, there is only more trauma and anxiety. This young woman is struggling to accept that she may now be a widow. Because her family and husband were left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's no way to save them, all of them. The rescue team told us to get in the helicopter, but all our relatives stayed there.

SEVENZO: As humanitarian disasters go, cyclone Idai may prove to be the worst for the African continent. Their questions now as Mozambique experienced is extreme heat and whether bodies not recovered would lead to the crisis of disease. Questions too over food security for the region. Cyclone Idai struck just before the harbor season. And with questions of debate of a climate change.

Africans are asking, is this the new normal. Can a cyclone of such ferocious power strike again? What is certain know, is that in this rainy season another month of rain is set to fall on this drowning lands -- Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Maputo, Mozambique.


VAUSE: And in Milan, Italy, 51 students barely escaped with their lives, when the driver of their bus set it on fire. On the return leg of a school trip when the driver announced he was hijacking the bus, then poured gasoline on it, lit it and crashed into a car.

Police arrived moments later, evacuating students and teachers just before the bus was totally consumed by flames. The driver said he was protesting Italy's immigration policies.

Still to come, how hitching a ride on a 737 MAX prevented what could have been a disaster. But just a day later and the real thing, tragedy for another 737 and now comes what might be a fix for the grounded airliner.




VAUSE: Welcome back everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with headlines this hour.



We have new details now on the Lion Air flight which crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. Bloomberg reporting an off- duty police -- off-duty pilot, rather, helped save that very plane just a day before the actual real disaster by disabling the flight control system when it malfunctioned.

And according to Reuters, on the day of the doomed flight, a different flight crew rifled through a handbook, desperately searching for a way to stop the plane's nosedive.

Meantime, Boeing says there's now a software patch and pilot training program to address the issues with the Boeing 737 Max 8 involved in the Lion Air crash. But the timing of these new safety measure raising questions, as CNN's Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For nine terrifying minutes, the cockpit recorder captures a crew fighting to pull up a plane that is repeatedly diving toward the sea, scouring the operations manual for any explanation, apparently unaware that they are battling an on-board computer that is forcing those dives.

This is what Reuters is reporting tonight from sources familiar with the Lion Air crash off Indonesia last fall. Reuters says the crew oblivious to the fact the tail was automatically tilting. They didn't seem to know the trim moving down. They thought only about airspeed and altitude. In the final moments, Reuters says one pilot issued a short prayer before the crash killed all 189 people aboard.

Boeing and Indonesian authorities are not commenting, but analysts say the training was insufficient.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: Well, it must been just horrifying in the cockpit for these professionals. I mean, you know, it's been stated, "Well, it should have been a memory item." Well, clearly, it wasn't.

FOREMAN: What's more, Bloomberg reports that same Lion Air jet had the same problem one day before, and was saved because an off-duty pilot in the cockpit told the crew to cut power to that automatic system. Still, the plane took off again.

DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR: This is what I call the flight it and watch it kind of attitude. That that should not have occurred here. This was replicatable, and there's -- I can't understand why at least it wasn't test flown or brought in on the ramp and tested again.

FOREMAN: It all raises troubling questions about the fatal Ethiopian jet crash, which authority say that looks a lot like the Lion Air disaster. Why did Boeing design that anti-stall software to rely on only one sensor? Why were pilots not given more pointed warnings and more extensive training? And where was the Federal Aviation Administration?

JEAN-PAUL TORADEC, FORMER FRENCH AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY PRESIDENT: What happens, in fact, is that the measures taken by Boeing after the first accident were not enough to avoid a second accident. FOREMAN (on camera): In defense of Boeing, some analysts are pointing

out that this type of plane has taken off and landed safely tens of thousands of times since the Lion Air crash. But for the worldwide aviation community, that is simply not enough at this point. They're saying that Boeing has to prove the planes are safe before they can carry passengers again.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Alan Diehl is a former U.S. accident investigator and author of the book, "Air Safety Investigators." It's been a while, Alan. We are pleased that you could be with us. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so piecing together the new details about the Lion Air crash, in particular the news about the incident a day earlier of the actual crash for the Lion jet, one which left more than 100 people dead, now we have word from the FAA that Boeing is developing a service bulletin that would specify the installation of new flight control computer operational program software.

Put all this together. What does this say about the likely flaw in the 737 Max, which has caused two fatal crashes?

DIEHL: Well, obviously, it was a very serious flaw, and somehow it got through their certification system. As was said earlier, you had that single angle of attack sensor telling the computer what to do, and it was telling the computer to have the trim of the tail maneuver so that the nose would be shoved down.

[00:35:02] I've spent a lot of time sitting on jump seats. And the way pilots know that the trim is changing, typically, is to watch two trim wheels. These are not the control wheels that they hold onto, but they're about the size of two frisbees next to their knees that move very slowly when the autopilot is maneuvering the aircraft. So they're used to seeing these trim wheels move, so there wasn't much of a clue.

And I think that jump seat rider, sitting back there, could watch the trim wheels move, and that's when he said, "OK, I think if the throw the toggle" -- apparently said, "OK, maybe you ought to throw those toggle switches that are controlling the trim wheel motors" -- John.

VAUSE: We have a member of news organizations which are reporting the FBI has joined a criminal organization into the 737 Max's certification process, asking how the jet was actually deemed safe in those months before the two crashes.

Firstly, how rare is it to have a criminal investigation into the U.S. aviation industry?

DIEHL: Extremely rare, John. Just -- I'm trying to think of another case, other than the use of illegal parts. You know, sometimes in the past, people have tried to substitute certified parts to repair aircraft with, basically, homemade parts, or parts that weren't certified by the manufacturer. That was a big criminal investigation decades ago.

But other than that, it's pretty rare that they go after the manufacturers or the maintainers or the designers of aircraft.

VAUSE: Yes, so with that in mind, the focus now seems to be shifting to the relationship that they're -- that exists between the aviation industry and the regulators in the U.S. Here's part of an op-ed written by Captain Sully Sullenberger, he of the Miracle on the Hudson fame. You may recall that.

He writes, "Our credibility as leaders in aviation is being damaged. Boeing and the FAA have been found wanting in this ugly saga that began years ago but has come home to roost with two terrible fatal crashes, with no survivors, in less than five months. There is too cozy a relationship between the industry and the regulators. And in too many cases, FAA employees who rightly call for stricter compliance with safety standards and more rigorous design choices have been overruled by FAA management, often under corporate or political pressure."

So from all of your experience, all your years in the industry, does that ring true from what you've seen?

DIEHL: It can happen. I have seen that happen, both with the airlines and with the manufacturers, being able to pressure political appointees.

Full disclosure: I worked at FAA headquarters, and I was the guy that the administrator called when the first automated aircraft were being designed. He asked me if automation was safe, and I told him.

But a lot of times that doesn't sit in, because the political appointees will ignore your device as a scientist or an engineer. So yes, oftentimes, they are overruled.

The other problem with the airline deregulation in the States, which of course, spread throughout the world, we never got more engineers or inspectors, at least not enough, to oversee the rapidly-changing industry. So, yes, this is a problem. Sully's right.

VAUSE: And it seems that Boeing is failing that "can we trust you" test at the moment, in the wake of all of this. They've got some work to do for themselves.

As always, Alan, good to see you. Thank you.

DIEHL: Thanks John.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, he'd never played chess before his family fled Nigeria back in 2017, and now this 8-year-old, New York state chess champion. His story in just moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [00:40:44] VAUSE: A young immigrant from Nigeria who learned how to

play chess a year ago is now the New York state chess champion for his age group.

He's eight years old. His name is Tani Adewumi, and he first learned to play while his family was living in a New York City homeless shelter. That's after they fled Nigeria back in 2017.

The young prodigy explained to CNN how he only needed to get a draw in that final game to win the title.


TANITOLUWA ADEWUMI, NEW YORK STATE CHESS CHAMPION: I did not know I was going to win, because on my last game, I was scared of losing, because my opponent was winning. I was losing, then I acted drawn, and he took it.


VAUSE: Yes, and after Tani won the championship, a well-wisher gave his family an apartment. So chess actually does pay, and they're no longer homeless. That's a happy ending.

OK. In Australia, a cute but unwelcome visitor made himself comfortable in a wine maker's car which had been left open. Apparently, this may be the cutest video you'll see all day. I don't know about that. Here it is.


TIM WHITROW, WINEMAKER: This is what happens when you leave your -- no, Maggie -- when you leave your car doors open in a vineyard. Koalas jump into your car, and the dog's really curious.


VAUSE: Yes, clearly preferring the cool interior of the car, as opposed to the hot exterior. The koala refused to leave. It refused even a sip of water. It ignored all of the open doors and then climbed into the front seat and, just for good measure, left behind quite a few scratch marks.


WHITROW: Oh, man, you're destroying it. Come on, buddy. You're tearing up my dash. Go! Thank goodness!


VAUSE: "You're tearing up the dash." It all took a bit of work. Wild animal experts say, though, it was the right thing to do, by gently trying to scoop the koala out of the car and back out into the country somewhere.

Before we go, some colorful pictures from India. The Hindu festival of Holi is officially underway in India and other parts of the world. Take a look. People flinging colored powder. There's drumming. There's dancing, celebrating good over evil and the arrival of spring, forgiving and forgetting. It's like a whole month holiday. All of it with a lot of laughing and playing. We could all use a bit of that at some point in our lives.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next. You're watching CNN.


[00:45:00] KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello there. Welcome along to WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center.

We're going to start with a sports story which starting over in Australia but is making headlines around the world, involving an athlete simply doing her day job.

It all stars with a photo of 21-year-old Tayla Harris, who plays for Aussie Rules football women's side Carlton in Melbourne. the shot captured her kicking the first goal of the game, and despite, however involving an Australian broadcaster posting the image on their Facebook page.

Well, a barrage of comments of a sexual nature were then posted by online trolls, and the athlete said she felt as though she had been quote, "sexually abused" on social media.

Harris is a successful athlete, so much so that he features in a recent Nike campaign tagged "Make the world listen."




RILEY: But this one picture of her in full flight, kicking a goal in the game between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs has sparked a storm of controversy. The image was posted by Australia's Seven network but removed because it was attracting comments of such an awful nature. Well, the comments were simply abhorrent.


TAYLA HARRIS, ATHLETE: I can say in people's profile pictures that may have said something -- something whatever, they've got kids or they've got daughters, or women in their photos, even. And that -- that is the stuff that I'm worried about.

So perhaps this is an issue that might even have to go further, because what are these -- if these people were saying things like this to someone they don't know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they -- what are they doing?

These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also then taken further. Maybe this is the start of domestic violence. Maybe this is the start of abuse. And the comments that I saw were -- were sexual abuse, if that's -- if you can call it that. Because it was repulsive, and it made me uncomfortable. So as soon as I'm uncomfortable with something like that, that's what I would consider sexual abuse on social media.

So, this needs to, whether it's Victoria police, whatever it is, need to at least contact these people, or some sort of warning. Facebook delete them. Something needs to happen. Because we can talk about it as much as we want, but they're not listening, and they're probably smiling about it, that we're talking about it.


RILEY: All right, but the act of removing the picture also attracted criticism, Channel Seven ended up republishing it. Well, they then apologized by posting the following: "We're sorry, removing the photo sent the wrong message. Many of the comments made on the post were reprehensible, and we'll work harder to ban trolls from our pages. Our intention was to highlight Tayla Harris's incredible athleticism, and we'll continue to celebrate women's footy."

Kelly O'Dwyer is Australia's federal minister for women. On Twitter, she posted, "Tayla Harris is a superstar. She should be should celebrated for her talent and athleticism, as we celebrate any male footballer. I am disgusted by the trolling that has taken place."

Tayla Harris herself has posted a picture on her Instagram page, saying, "My hamstring is OK, but derogatory and sexist comments aren't."

And the head of the AFL says, "It's a remarkable photo which shows a great athlete at her most powerful."

Well, this story has plenty of angles to it and once which will continue to be talked about in the days to come, and you can read more online at our website:

Hosting the Rugby World Cup is a big deal for Japan, but their top club side is fighting for its survival. That's a shame, really, because their game days, as you can see, are a lot of fun. More on this in a moment.


[00:51:02] RILEY: Welcome back to WORLD SPORT.

Fans got a treat in Japan with the first pitch of the new Major League Baseball season. That happened in Tokyo, some 6,000 miles away from the U.S. The fans are excited. The country's most famous export to MLB, Ichiro Suzuki, took to the field for the Mariners.

There's some doubt over his future. He is 45, and his time in MLB might be limited. He's had an amazing career, selected to ten MLB all-star teams, and walking away with ten Golden Glove awards. He was involved with this game over in Japan, and it was great for him

to return home, where he'd actually won three MVP awards prior. When he left the game in the fourth inning, Ichiro received a rapturous standing ovation from the 46,000-strong sellout crowd.

Elsewhere, Leicester City players have been in Thailand paying their final respects to the club's late chairman. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash last October after watching his side play West Ham in the English Premier League.

Club's star front players, including the captain, Wes Morgan, and star striker Jamie Vardy, all traveled to Bangkok. They joined Vichai's son, Aiyawatt, who is the vice chairman of the East Midlands club now. His father will be cremated on Thursday after his body rested in a temple for 100 days, following Buddhist tradition.

We are marking the six-month countdown to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and many of the players involved will come from Super Rugby. It's the premier club competition in the Southern Hemisphere.

Fifteen team from five nations compete: the power nations of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and then there's one team in Argentina, and one in Japan. The Sunwolves in Tokyo were only recently established back in 2015, but they struggled, finishing last in two of the previous three seasons, and it appears the Sunwolves may be running out of time. There are talks of them being cut from the competition after this season. Some feel they aren't being competitive enough, that Tokyo is too far of a trip for players, that nobody outside of Japan wants to watch them.

Others say they are the key to growing rugby worldwide, that they are the gateway to Asia. A decision on their fate could drop any day now. The players are fighting for their careers, the fans and the very future of the club.

On a recent trip to Tokyo, our Coy Wire spent a sample of the game day experience.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: As a former NFL player, one sport I always respected: rugby. It's kind of like football but without pads. These guys are tough!

I'm here in Tokyo to take in my very first ever Super Rugby match, the New South Wales Waratahs taking on the Sunwolves. Awooo!

Now, a big part of any game day culture: the food. And you'd expect that the Sunwolves here in Tokyo would be serving up something authentic Japanese, like sashimi or ramen, but not today. They are serving up Aussie lamb, lamb chops, just on the barbie, just like they do down under. And they're not doing this to be awesome hosts for their guests from Australia. They're doing it to symbolize what they're going to do to their opponents on the field. Eat them up!

(voice-over): One of the things you'll see and hear during Sunwolves games that you won't find anywhere else, the fans who howl during scrums. That's right, howl.

This howling initially upset some of the older rugby purists, but now it's one of the most beloved traditions of Sunwolves fans.

(on camera): What's your favorite part about game day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howling and encourage them. That's the most exciting part.

WIRE: I've noticed the howling. That's pretty unique. You've got to teach me to proper howl. How do I do it?


WIRE: All right. We'll all do it together. One, two, three. Wooo!

(voice-over): In front of a colorful home crowd, the Sunwolves scored early, and they went into the break leading 20 to 17. Many experts had them as big underdogs, but the Sunwolves showed a lot of bite.

(on camera): All right. The Sunwolves have only six wins in the last three years, but they're up at halftime, and the Sunwolves cheer team, they're going to get this crowd hyped for the second half.

(voice-over): The Sunwolves put on a brave performance. They were creative. They were relentless in their attack. And the game went down to the wire, but they just fell short, a 31-30 loss. But still the fans stayed to honor their team afterwards, and that meant everything to the players.

(on camera): How does this feel, man? You're getting selfies with all these fans? What do you have to say about the Sunwolves fans?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to say, unbelievable? As soon as you come out here, you hear them screaming. It's awesome. Such a cool vibe! Such a cool vibe.

WIRE: Well, it's another loss for the Sunwolves, and while the future of the franchise may be uncertain with the way they've lost in recent years, it's the type of heart and effort that they've showed today that will allow them to continue to improve, and hopefully someday prove to all of their fans that they can be a shining light for rugby in Asia.


RILEY: Thanks to Coy, and good luck to them.

Well, the baseball season starts here in America in just a few weeks' time, and the New York Yankees revealed to their fans there's more than just ball on offer. Here is something to whet the appetite, as it were.

The Yankees Stadium this season, well, it's offering fans to wrap their chops around the likes of these. These are called mega burgers. And if that's not enough, we've got bacon on a stick for you, as well, and you can wash it all down with one of these. Wait for it.

And as they say, if you're standing up, the calories don't count. Allegedly. All right. That looks a lot of fun.

That does it from us. Many thanks for watching. Stay with CNN. The news is next.