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Winchester Residents Frustrated With Process; British Lawmakers Reject All Four Alternatives; Early Results: T.V. Comedian Has Big Lead; Maduro Falsely Says Blackouts Are Terror-Related; Trump Threatens To Close U.S. Border With Mexico; Alex Jones Now Says Killings Were Real, Not Staged; Outrage over Brunei's Adultery and Anti Gay Laws; Kim Jong Nam's Alleged Assassin Takes Plea Deal; Ocean Pollution; Twilight Zone Reboot. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired April 2, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, dosey-doe and around we go for Brexit Palooza 2.0. That never gets old. Once again, alternative plans for leaving the E.U. voted down by the British Parliament.
Also, he says, he really, really means it this time. Aides to Donald Trump says his threat to close the southern border is not a bluff and will happen unless Mexico does more to stop the increasing flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. And return to The Twilight Zone. The classic psychological thriller series gets a 21st-century reboot.
It wasn't an April Fool's Day joke but it could have been. On the one hand, Britain's Parliament overwhelmingly rejects leaving the E.U. without a withdrawal plan in place. And yet that same Parliament repeatedly fails to agree on a plan. And on Monday four alternative breaks and options were all voted down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, U.K.: The ayes were 273 the noes were 276 so the noes have it. The ayes were 261, the noes were 282, so the noes have it. The ayes were 280, the noes were 292, so the noes have it. The ayes were 191, the noes were 292, so the noes have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: They said no to one option which would keep the U.K. in a customs union with E.U., no to a common market option, so-called soft Brexit. Its sponsor resigns from the Conservative Party in protest after that defeat. Prime Minister Theresa May has called a marathon cabinet meeting which is set to start in the coming hours to try and work out the way forward.
And with Parliament either unwilling or unable to compromise and move beyond this deadlock, a sense the frustration seems to be sweeping across the U.K. even those who voted to remain like the city of Winchester, just want their elected representatives to get on with it already. CNN's Nina dos Santos reports.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: What you saw was an ancient cathedral city in the south of England. It voted heavily to remain inside the E.U. when the referendum was held nearly three years ago with nearly 59 percent of its citizens opting to stay in rather than going out.
And we found that the views on the streets of Winchester have become more entrenched since that referendum was held with some saying that they wanted to leave as soon as possible and in the cleanest manner possible, whereas others said they wanted another say on the subject straight away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a mess and if the politicians didn't all come together and just refused on everything that Mrs. May puts to them, perhaps it would be a fair vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democracy is a fluid thing. And now people have seen more and all the consequences what they vote for. I believe they should have a final say of saying whether this is something that you want to go forward for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I signed to leave but now, I don't care you know, because it's so much infighting with MPs and everybody arguing and people turning against people. It's just vote that should've gone one way.
DOS SANTOS: And in fact, the local member of Parliament for this part of the world, a Conservative Steve (INAUDIBLE) recently resigned from his government ministerial position partly in protest and how Brexit had been handled. He's one of the conservative members who would like to see a slightly softer Brexit than other members of the Parliament, having voted in favor recently of a customs union. And also with the house considering other softer options like friends since common market 2.0, the membership of the common market.
Whether or not the MPs are considering this, what we learned on the streets of Winchester is that the people don't really want to be bored with the details of Brexit. They just want Westminster to get it over and done with so that they can all get on with their daily lives. Nina dos Santos CNN in Winchester.
VAUSE: Joining me once again Los Angeles CNN European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas. OK, so it would seem there is some clarity of these indicative votes is that there is a preference, not a majority for a soft Brexit. The customs union which would keep Britain in a trading zone with the U.K., no tariffs on goods, no checkpoints, no backlogs at ports came within three votes of passing, 273 and favor 276 opposed. Last week it lost by eight votes so that's some kind of incremental
movement there. Having said that the Home Secretary tweeted, given the challenges of getting a deal through, the customs union might feel like some kind of soft comfort blanket but in reality, it is more of a straitjacket.
Specifically what is he refers you there and if there is another round of voting on Wednesday and this option actually gets a majority, there's no guarantee the Prime Minister will accept it right?
[01:05:02] DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: So whenever you're talking about customs unions, single market, and so on, you're basically talking about your level of alignment to the E.U. and therefore to all of the obligations that go along with that.
And so in this particular case what he's talking about when he thinks about a red line is that he's concerned that with a customs union, essentially your ability to strike trade deals which has been so much of the Brexit narrative, your ability to control the laws, the borders, the regulations, trade, etcetera, etcetera are pushed to the wayside and essentially it's the E.U. that determines that.
Now, in terms of how Theresa May, for Theresa May this has also been a red line throughout this process. But as we've moved along and as we've seen how much difficulty she's had in getting support for her withdrawal agreement.
It is not impossible that if she makes the decision to leave or to get a Brexit deal that requires moving towards the center and towards the kind of consensus that we saw in Parliament today she may cross that line as she's crossed others and move in that particular direction. So things could evolve and we'll see what happens tomorrow after that cabinet meeting.
VAUSE: You know, the customs union option will be confused with the Norway Plus plan or the C.U. 2.0. That was the option which had been championed by Nick Boles, a conservative whip who quit the party after it was defeated. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK BOLES, FORMER CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I've given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore to announce that I can no longer sit for this party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, it was a big moment and you, he sort of like (INAUDIBLE) there with the rub. You know, no one seems willing to give any ground on anything.
THOMAS: Right. So we've seen not only for example in Nina de Santos' reporting that constituents in leave areas or in remain areas have remained relatively stable in terms of their positions. But then when it comes down to the politicians yes, what he was referring to there, and I think he's quite right that what was indicative about the votes today which was really their fundamental purpose, of course, had any of them passed the situation would have been a little bit different.
But what was so indicative was that in fact, the Conservative Party voted overwhelmingly against every single one of those options and the only one in which they did vote when 37 members of their party, so roughly 11 to 12 percent of them was for the customs union.
So it's really on the conservative side when it comes to these indicative votes that there has been virtually no flexibility whatsoever, that they remain absolutely committed to either the Brexiteer vision or towards Theresa Mays withdrawal agreement and there's been very little movement really on that side of the aisle.
VAUSE: And the E.U. watching all of this was some concern because you know, with each passing day and there's not many passing days left, chances increase of the U.K. crashing out with no deal in place. The Brexit coordinator of the European parliament tweeted this. There are some comments, again votes against all options. A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable. On Wednesday, the U.K. has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss.
I mean, you know, it could quite possibly have early election. Theresa May could try for a fourth time to get her deal through Parliament. My money though is on the abyss.
THOMAS: Well, John, your money might be well spent. I mean I think here that we know what we're talking about is risk and risk assessment. And there's been a lot of discussion about that today. There are many unpredictable factors right now as we near this deadline. How will the European Union respond? Will there be consensus? Will Theresa May present withdrawal agreement fall? Will there be an opportunity to vote on the indicative votes again?
All of these add in tremendous uncertainty to what is already a process that has been defined by chaos. And the further you go down that road, the greater the chances of there being some kind of fall- off the abyss.
Now, the alternative to that of course beyond them striking a deal is, of course, the question of the general election. And the irony, of course, is that a deal lies in the center that by moving to the center Theresa May risks fracturing her party.
And by going to the center there's also a scenario where you then find the Brexiteers who really do not want any kind of consensus in that particular area potentially supporting Jeremy Corbyn in a vote of no- confidence to oust the prime minister and go to a general election.
Rather that then end up with some kind of Brexit that in their sense would not really correspond to anything they've been arguing for over the past few years.
VAUSE: Yes. They sort of like you know this soft Brexit is counter to the spirit of the referendum. But you know, even the option for a lengthy delay it's no slam dunk. It's not the U.K. alone which will make that call. Listen to the Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN BARCLAY, BREXIT MINISTER: To secure any further extension, the governments will have to put forward a credible proposition to the E.U. as to what we will do with that extra time. This house has continuously rejected leaving without a deal just as it has rejected not leaving at all. Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the U.K. to leave with a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:24] VAUSE: Do you ever have a Chinese finger trap? You know, that's what -- it seems like whatever you -- whatever they do, whatever they did to get out of this thing seems making this harder.
THOMAS: You're absolutely right. I mean, what's so extraordinary here is not as if there is a ruling government pushing for Brexit and an opposition that is absolutely categorically against this. This is the dilemma and the problem that we've been following all along that the Labour Party in so many ways is part of the problem and not of the solution.
They're so terrified about the votes in their leave constituents that they're unwilling to sort of to push for a dramatic you know alternative here. And of course when it comes down to the European Union, it was all very well two weeks ago for them to come together and provide an extension.
They've been very careful to give the U.K. the space and the time that they need to come out with some kind of solution. But the level of frustration there is on the rise. There are several heads of state who essentially would be concerned about a kind of Brexit failed U.K. sending along 73 representatives. And so the outcome of that is highly unpredictable.
And unless they can come up with some kind of miraculous cross-party consensus in the next few days, it is possible that European Union does not provide them with an extension or that the only extension they're willing to provide them with is a very, very long one with the hope that this whole problem goes away once and for all.
VAUSE: It's incredible. And we'll see what happens. There is now just literally days left we think.
VAUSE: Dom, thank you. Well, Ukraine might soon be electing a comedian as their next president. Early poll results Volodymyr Zelensky is in the lead with 30 percent of Sunday's vote. That's short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff election. That race will be against the current president and non-comedian Petro Poroshenko with last check had 16 percent of the first round vote. Moscow Bureau Chief Nathan Hodge has details.
NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: With over 90 percent of the votes counted, Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has retained the lead in Sunday's Ukrainian presidential vote and setting the stage for a likely run of votes on April 21st.
Sunday's vote sets the stage for a possible runoff between the two leading candidates that's Zelensky and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the incumbent. Poroshenko has run on a national security platform casting himself as the man who is the best defender of Ukraine's sovereignty and freedom.
And Ukraine has been locked in a proxy conflict, a bitter conflict in the country's East with Russia and against Russian backed separatists, a conflict that has claimed over 13,000 lives to date. This conflict is only one of the many problems that a new Ukrainian president would inherit.
The country is struggling economically and of course, the winner of the runoff likely at the end of the month will have to manage the very tricky relationship with Ukraine's larger neighbor and nuclear-armed neighbor Russia. Nathan Hodge, CNN Moscow.
VAUSE: And now to Turkey where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a major political setback after local elections. His AK Party lost control the capital Ankara for the first time in 25 years to the opposition party. His party also lost Turkey's third largest city Izmir. They're still counting the ballots in the city of Istanbul where that race at this point is too close to call. Some are calling Sunday's election a test of the president's popularity amid an economic downturn.
It's been ten weeks since the leader of the National Assembly Juan Guaido declared himself interim president and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela seems to have gone from bad to worse. The ruling regime is now ordered 30 days of electricity rationing to deal with prolonged blackouts. And as CNN's David McKenzie reports, a new U.N. report details the toll all of this is taking on a once thriving country.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The alarming UN draft report says that up to 94 percent of Venezuelans are living in poverty. 94 percent for a country that has arguably the largest oil reserves on the planet. The report also says that almost two million people are expected to leave this country just this year because of the ongoing crisis.
Across Venezuela, they are still blackouts and also water shortages. We saw people here in Caracas on the mountainside collecting water for their daily needs. This is how one person saw the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As Venezuelans, we're very upset. Listen, brother, we don't have power, we don't have water, services work badly. It's -- I don't know how to explain. If it was for me, we would have forced this government out. Five people come forward, they get killed and nothing is achieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:15:07] MCKENZIE: Schools have been closed and workers have been told to go home early. Here in the capital, the subway system isn't working and people are having to cram on buses just to get to and from work.
The president of the country, embattled Nicholas Maduro is standing by the promises to bring back the power and says schools will open next week.
In a live television broadcast, with cabinet members and other government officials, he blamed the power outages on a terrorist attack. Something he's done before. Even though experts say, the main issue has been investment and allegations of corruption against the regime.
Despite anger on the street, the regime is trying to maintain its grip on power. The loyalist Supreme Court, saying that they want the opposition leader, Juan Guaido's immunity to be stripped from him. And so, that they can move with potential allegations and even arrest in the coming days.
Guaido is calling for intervention from countries around the region and across the globe. But, at this stage, Maduro isn't going anywhere. David McKenzie, CNN, Caracas, Venezuela.
VAUSE: Still to come, President Trump likes to boast about his role in a thriving U.S. economy. He also seems fond of making threats to close the border with Mexico. How both could backfire in the 2020 election? That's coming up.
Also, forget about the parents of Sandy Hook whose kids were shot dead. Its conspiracy theorists Alex Jones, who says he's the real victim here who he's repeatedly calling the school massacre a hoax. More on that in just a moment.
VAUSE: President Trump is standing by his threats to close the U.S. border with Mexico. Customs officials say they're at breaking point unable to deal with a surge of migrants from Central America. Mr. Trump is blaming asylum laws, and Democrats tweeting out demands, they act on what he calls a national emergency.
The Trump administration also says aid will be completely cut to three countries. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The president accusing they were setting up migrant caravans. And joining us from Charlottesville, Virginia is Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry, it's been awhile, good to see you.
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Nice to see you, John.
VAUSE: OK, let's go back to Friday. I would like you to listen to part of what the president said when he announced an end to financial assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:02] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They set up these caravans in many cases. They put their worst people in the caravan. They're not going to put their best in. They get rid of their problems. And they March up here, and they're coming into that country, we're not letting them in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Who's that "they"? Who's that "they" that's putting them in the caravans?
SABATO: They are the enemies of the United States and people who don't like Donald Trump. He's back to the caravan story again. And actually, there are certain words and phrases in what the president just said that are reverberations of what he said right after coming down the elevator when he announced his candidacy.
Nothing changes no matter what the policy is. And as a result, I think we see many times that people in the administration are setting policy in one direction and Trump comes at it from a completely different direction.
I've come to believe that Trump is not winning that fight that the policymakers are the ones winning the battles.
VAUSE: It's funny you mentioned that because -- you know, there this decision by the president, it did come as a surprise to pretty much everyone it seems. The Washington Post reports the announcement came just a day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen signed what the Department called a historic memorandum of cooperation on border security in Central America.
So, again, one of the consequences here, we have a president sort of making laws or policy if you like on the fly via a tweet. Well, the rest of the government is sort of paying in a different direction or just left in the dark.
SABATO: Yes, and of course, this happened with North Korea as well. With new sanctions supposedly going into effect, and Trump remanding them by tweet. So, this has also become a pattern.
The most charitable thing you could say is that Trump is using the old carrot-and-stick approach. He's always the stick and his policymakers within the administration are offering carrots.
I think what it says to foreign governments is that you can't pay too much attention to what Trump may say in public gatherings or what he may tweet. That he's expressing himself and some of his aides have said the very same thing.
These are his thoughts independent of what policy may be. It's unprecedented not just here but I think in any government.
VAUSE: We also have this -- you know, the economic consequences of closing down the border. Forbes has a pretty blunt warning. "Trump closing the Mexico border could throw the U.S. into a recession."
And apparently, the president knows this. CNN reports Trump has been briefed several times since last year about the economic consequences of shutting down U.S. ports of entry at the southern border but has continued to contemplate the idea of shutting down sections or the border in its entirety.
But then, when asked about the impact on the economy and the cost of all of this, Kevin Hassett who's a senior adviser to the president on economics, he told reporters on Monday, he's sure they're looking into it. "There's a lot of stuff that moves," Hassett told reporters. "And exactly how Customs and Border Patrol would deal with that would be something that we'll have to confer with them about, should we get to that."
It seems to time for conferring has long passed. And all this information have been considered ahead of time before any presidential decision?
SABATO: Well, you think so. I've joked that maybe Donald Trump doesn't like avocados, which would be one of the first things to disappear from the American table if this actually took effect.
But look, seriously this is very self-destructive on Trump's part. You can make a good argument that the only way he can be defeated for re-election is if the economy weakens seriously. And some are suggesting that this could be one of the factors if it goes forward. One of the factors that could weaken the U.S. economy and potentially throw us into recession by the election year of 2020.
VAUSE: The conservative commentator Ann Coulter who has been a big fan at Donald Trump, and then, not so much a fan of Donald Trump when we need to get the funding for the wall on the border.
And now she's a big fan again. She tweeted her support of this idea of closing the border down. "As the world's leading consumer of margaritas and guacamole, I nevertheless would fully support a shortage of avocados if it also meant a shortage of illegals," which is the drug return for people in the United States who don't have the proper documentation.
This is about a lot more than avocados so being in short supply. You've got the economic impact. But what about -- you know, relations between the United States and Mexico? SABATO: Well, they haven't been particularly good since the Trump was elected, of course. They've gone back and forth, I think, the Mexican government has adjusted to Donald Trump's ways. But this can't help and it can help in Central America. And it probably doesn't help in a lot of other places around the world because it introduces instability into the international system.
VAUSE: Yes, that seems to be the case the last couple of years. Larry, thank you. Good to see you.
SABATO: Thank you, John.
[01:24:56] VAUSE: 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook elementary in 2012. Ever since then, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has repeatedly claimed it was all a giant hoax by the Obama administration to try and take guns away from lawful gun owners. That's crap.
Now, as he faces multiple lawsuits from victim's families. He's blaming a form of psychosis for his outrageous and sickly claims. Here's Randy Kay.
ALEX JONES, HOST, INFOWARS: I legitimately have believed, the Sandy Hook was probably completely staged. Different -- your periods of my life --
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right-wing conspiracy theorists Alex Jones of InfoWars in a recent court deposition. Answering for his outlandish theory, the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut never happened, and was instead carried out by crisis actors. This was Jones in 2014.
JONES: It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake. I mean, even I couldn't believe it. I knew they jumped on it, use the crisis, hyped it up. But then, I did deep research, and my gosh, it just pretty much didn't happen.
KAYE: That twisted conspiracy theory led to a lawsuit against him by, at least, eight Newtown families. In the video deposition, Jones is combative, unapologetic, and defensive.
JONES: I do not take the responsibility. I do not take your indictment or your presumed conviction of me as the villain, or the star of homeland because I'm that's not who I am. And so, I reject it.
KAYE: Refusing to admit his baseless theories have harmed Newtown parents who lost children.
MARK BANKSTON, ATTORNEY, KASTER LYNCH FARRAR AND BALL, LLP: So you do not believe that you've done an outrageous wrong to these parents?
JONES: I do not. No, I'm not done an outrageous wrong to the parents.
KAYE: A stunning response. Especially after stunts like this.
JONES: And then photos of kids that are still alive, they said died. I mean they think we're so dumb that it's really hidden in plain view.
KAYE: For years, he's pushed the idea in Newtown was a false flag to rally support against gun control. And everyone was in on it.
JONES: The trauma of the media, and the corporation's lying so much, then, everything begins, you don't trust anything anymore. Kind of like a child whose parents lied to them over and over again, well, pretty soon they don't know what reality is.
KAYE: And jones for the first time offers up an explanation for his conspiracy theory.
JONES: I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I'm now learning a lot of times things aren't staged.
KAYE: Jones wasn't alone. He regularly corresponded with other conspiracy theorists. Including this Florida man, Wolfgang Halbig.
BANKSTON: And looking at those e-mails, taking a look at them. You wouldn't agree with me that, that man is a raving lunatic?
JONES: He seemed very credible and put together earlier on.
KAYE: Halbig and others like him are known for harassing Newtown parents. In fact, a Florida woman was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to sending threatening e-mails and voicemails to Leonard Pozner, whose son, Noah, died in the shooting.
The messages said, "You're going to die, you're going to rot in hell. Death is coming to you real soon and there's nothing you can do about it.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is still so hard --
KAYE: And Jones's conspiracies didn't stop at the shooting, he also made the ridiculous claim, Anderson Cooper faked reporting from the scene.
JONES: Folks, we've got video of Anderson Cooper with clear blue screen out there. He's not there in the Townsquare.
BANKSTON: You said that Anderson Cooper wasn't at Sandy Hook, he was not there.
JONES: Yes, I believe that he used -- that he faked being on location once.
KAYE: All these years later, Jones claims he's had a change of heart. Saying he now does believe the shooting at Sandy Hook which killed 20 children and six adults was real.
JONES: And this whole thing mattered -- you know, I've had a chance to believe that. Children died and it's a tragedy.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM. Pressure is mounting on Brunei as a deadly new law goes into effect in the coming hours, actually. More on that in a moment.
[01:31:29] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with her cabinet in the coming hours to discuss what to do now with Brexit. Parliament voted down four more Brexit alternatives on Monday, including a customs agreement, a common market plan, and another deadline extension.
Early results showed the Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has the lead in the country's presidential election. At last check he had 30 percent of the vote. Because he did not get a majority he will have to face current President Petro Poroshenko in an April 21st runoff.
The United Nations says most Venezuelans are living in poverty after 94 percent of the country are suffering through food and water shortages and now power is being rationed. Some are calling for President Nicolas Maduro to go.
At least 50 firefighters have been treating multiple patients at a memorial for the slain rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles. Large crowds were seen scattering in Monday's event, not sure yet what triggered that. Most of the injuries came from people who were trampled. Hussle was shot and killed on Sunday near a clothing store which he owned in L.A.
The Torah describes four methods of execution -- molten lead poured down a guilty person's throat, beheading, strangulation and stoning. Capital punishment though was abandoned around the time of the destruction of the second temple, 66 CE -- current era.
But Brunei has decided to revive the age-old brutality of stoning. And on Wednesday a new law goes into effect in this tiny oil-rich nation which will see adultery and homosexual sex punishable by stoning to death.
Alexandra Field reports now on the outrage being heard around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A tiny Southeast Asian nation, Brunei, now the target of international outrage. This week it will fully implement their plan for Sharia law -- punishing adultery and homosexuality and adultery with death.
SHAHIRAN S. SHAHRAN, BRUNEI REFUGEE: It's hard to think that just being who you are can get you get stoned to death.
FIELD: George Clooney leads a pack of global superstars speaking out. He says "Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be a gay. Let that sink in. In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone."
And from Elton John, "Discrimination on the basis of sexuality is plain wrong and has no place in any society."
Both now urging the public to boycott hotels around the world controlled by the Sultan of Brunei who defends his country's right to impose its laws. The government issuing a statement that says Brunei is a "sovereign Islamic and fully independent. And like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of law."
A transgender woman whose identity we're protecting fled the country to be able to live freely in Canada.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want my family and friends to be safe and if possible, get out of Brunei. It's not a good place to have your freedom taken away from you. (INAUDIBLE) It is a terrible way to live.
FIELD: Shahiran left Brunei after he says he was charged with sedition for criticizing the government. He hid sexuality until he was safely in Canada. He sends this message home.
SHAHRAN: Stay safe, and please watch out for yourselves. If you feel that you are in danger, I made it out. You can too.
I hate to be a pessimist. I know Brunei can change but I don't think Brunei can change anytime soon.
[01:34:59] FIELD: Brunei imposed parts of Sharia law back in 2014, full implementation was quietly announced on a government Website last December.
MATTHEW WOOLFE, FOUNDER, THE BRUNEI PROJECT: In Brunei, the economy is starting to decline and has been declining for sometime now. It could possibly be a way of further strengthening the government's grip on power.
FIELD: We have concealed the identity of a young gay man who spoke to us still inside Brunei.
To hear that it will be law in your country that homosexual acts can be punished by stoning -- what is your reaction to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inhumane is a very, I guess, aggressive punishment. It's not something that humans should suffer just because of being a homosexual. The degree of punishment should not even exist in our modern time.
FIELD; Despite mounting international pressure, he believes the laws will be imposed April 3rd as scheduled. He now lives with the fear that those laws will be enforced.
Alexandra Field, CNN -- Hong Kong.
VAUSE: In a matter of weeks, the last defendant accused of killing Kim Jong-un's half brother could walk free. This comes after her legal team accepted a plea deal from prosecutors in Malaysia.
Brian Todd reports now on the implications of deal.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A murder in broad daylight in a crowded airport -- stunning for its brazenness. Kim Jong-Nam, the half brother of North Korea's vicious young dictator is smeared in the face with VX, the world's deadliest nerve agent.
Two women are seen on surveillance footage carrying out the assault from two sides. Kim Jong-nam dies within an hour at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
Now one of the women charged with this 2017 murder is set to walk free. Thirty-year-old Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam who had faced death by hanging pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and her lawyer says she will be released from prison in about a month.
Her alleged accomplice, an Indonesian national named Siti Aisyah was released last month after her charges were dropped.
ERIC O'NEIL, NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIST, CARBON BLACK: It's a good chance that they were duped. And the idea behind that is that she used people who when they are caught, can't really explain much that leads back to intelligence.
TODD: Both women claim they were tricked into thinking they were pulling a stunt for a reality TV show. And Indonesian officials said one of them was Siti Aisyah was paid about $90.
Four men alleged to have been North Korean agents were seen on surveillance footage that day at the Kuala Lumpur airport. South Korean intelligence said they were part of two North Korea's assassination teams who recruited the young women and trained them separately for the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We emphasize that they must be brought to justice.
But that's not likely. The four men are believed to have been shuttled back to North Korea just after the hit. South Korean and Malaysian authorities accused Kim Jong-un of ordering the murder. The Kim regime has consistently denied it.
Analysts say Kim may have seen his older half brother as a threat.
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA KOREA ANALYST: There were some discussion that, you know, China may see Kim Jong-nam as a batter alternative than Kim Jong-un. And it's not that he was under Chinese protection when he was living in Macau. When he was in Malaysia perhaps, he was more vulnerable. But China was not going to try to overthrow Kim Jong-un.
TODD: Now, a key question. Will the dictator ever be brought to account for a cold blooded murder in another country using a banned chemical weapon which could've also killed innocent bystanders?
LINDSEY FORD, FORMER TOP PENTAGON ADVISER FOR ASIA: The only real thing you can do is actually put more diplomatic pressure on the regime. And the problem here is we are now in a moment where the diplomatic pressures coming off of North Korea.
So, essentially, North Korea's plan worked, and they walk away with no real consequences from the entire thing.
TODD: Analysts say because he appears to have gotten away with this hit, Kim Jong-un may well feel emboldened to order similar audacious attacks on his enemies elsewhere. Analysts say that dissidents and defectors could be in danger from similar attacks in Asia, in Europe, possibly even here in the United States, although they say that might be a risk for Kim, given his new relationship with Donald Trump.
Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
VAUSE: Over the years, we all heard the slogan, save the whales and keep the oceans clean. But now those two pleas have come together in the waters of Italy. We'll tell you why in a moment.
[01:39:21] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: As our oceans become more like garbage dumps especially with plastic, the consequences are becoming more deadly to sea life. This pregnant sperm whale washed up on the coast of Sardinia and according to the environmental group SEAME (ph) she had 22 kilograms of plastic in her stomach. And the calf likely died before it mother most likely from starvation.
Graham Forbes is a global project leader of Greenpeace, U.S.A. he joins us from Monterrey in California. So Graham, you know, the president of SEAME told CNN that in that 22 kilograms, 48 pounds of plastic they found garbage bags, fishing nets, lines tubes, a bag of washing machine liquid which could still be identified with the brand and barcode, other objects no longer identifiable to.
You know whales feed in deep water, really deep water so you know, this seems to tell us that, you know, there's a lot more trash and junk at the bottom of the sea than most of us had ever we realized. GRAHAM FORBES, GLOBAL PROJECT LEADER, GREENPEACE: Absolutely. I mean
we dump the equivalent of a truckload of plastic waste into the oceans every minute of every single day, all year long. And I think we are starting to see the results.
And this isn't a crisis that just affects marine animals, but it's also increasing the human health crisis.
VAUSE: And the cause of death here seems especially cruel because when they looked at the whale, they found that two thirds of its stomach had been filled with this plastic and she just simply couldn't store enough food to keep it alive.
FORBES: Yes. And you know, this is happening to millions of birds every year. We're hearing more and more stories like this. And fundamentally, we really just need to produce less plastic.
VAUSE: Yes. The big problems is that plastic, as a substance just never fully breaks down. So the E.U. among others have introduced new regulations to reduce the amount plastic waste. They tweeted out, "Cutlery, cotton buds, straws, stirrers. Thanks to our new rules, all products made of oxo-degradable plastics will be banned. A victory of everybody who came together to support our -- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
But you know, seriously is that enough?
FORBES: Yes, I mean we've got a long ways to go right. I mean you look at consumer goods. In fact there are companies like Nestle that produces a billion products a day, and 99.9 percent of those are coming in single use plastics packaging and so we relay need to rethink how we bring products to people.
And so we're just starting to see some of the shift, but fundamentally, we need to move away from single use plastics as a delivery vehicle for food and other goods.
VAUSE: There's so much low hanging fruit out there, which we dub (ph) but has not -- these actions have not been taken. Like, in the United States, for example, some say, you know, they charge for a plastic shopping bag but in many other states they're still free. They're still given away. They're still one-use and they're still going out into the environment.
FORBES: Absolutely. And in a lot of cases it's like we aren't even trying, right. And I think the more we hear stories of things like this sort of heartbreaking story of this pregnant whale. We're going to -- we're going to see action, and it just a matter of time before some of these big corporations and other players are going to really need to rethink kind of business as usual.
VAUSE: You know, one of the most popular "Star Trek" movies ever was "The Voyage Home". (INAUDIBLE) the plot line is basically the earth is facing destruction from a probe that can only be answered by the songs of humpback whales which in that time, the 23rd century were extinct. [01:45:03] Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do I preserve power, now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The extinct species humpback whale can give a proper response to the probe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabilize, emergency reserve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. I'm hearing --
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: I'm going to attempt time travel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That was 1986. Back then, humpback whales were actually facing a real threat from commercial whaling. They're on the endangered species list.
But we heard from federal authorities just three years ago say the numbers have recovered significantly. Nine out of the 14 species recently for taking off that list. Mostly because of an international ban on whaling.
And I wonder is that sort of global consensus -- is that global cooperation possible now when it comes to dealing with this threat from plastic because it seems to be a much bigger challenge?
FORBES: Yes. I mean I think the awareness is increasing but we really still have a long way to go. I mean the U.N. environment had a meeting just a couple of weeks ago in Africa. And unfortunately, the U.S. was sort of the biggest sort of blocker to making progress there.
But I think, you know, as public awareness grows, and plastic breaks down, it's in our food, it's in our waters. It's increasingly in our bodies. You know, we're going to need to see governments taking action. And when there is that incentive to do so, I'm optimistic that people will step up and put the regulations in place that are really needed to protect us..
VAUSE: Because this is just the latest of a string of examples of whales washing up, you know, dead from consumption of plastic. It seems that there's been sort of maybe a tipping point. We are seeing this a year ago, a couple of years. And now it's becoming increasingly common. Do you think that the oceans are (INAUDIBLE) point of toxicity that now we're seeing the real world consequences of all that plastic in the ocean?
FORBES: Yes. I mean absolutely. It's just becoming so much more visible. And it's a little bit slow-moving crisis. But I agree with you. I mean I think it has reached a tipping point.
I mean we're hearing that we are hearing a banking up sort of the agenda of corporate social responsibility, and governments around the world. I mean you saw the response from the Italian government and this is something they take very seriously.
And so, yes, I think there is reason for optimism, and at the same time, we are still producing so much plastic, when we think about companies like Nestle and Coca-Cola, we're talking millions of metric tons of plastic every single year. And so we have a long way to go. But I think with the growing public attention, we're going to start to see some change.
VAUSE: Always use a refillable bottled water, always get it from the tap. Always use a shopping bag. There is so much for people to do and it does not take much effort at all.
Graham -- thank you.
FORBES: Sure. Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, a TV classic makes its return nearly 60 years after its creation with an A-list and some of the hottest talent in Hollywood taking you to "The Twilight Zone" in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It seems like a bit of a gamble to revisit the television series whose title has become shorthand for the bizarre times we live in. Nonetheless, "The Twilight Zone" is back, 60 years since TV audiences were first ensorcelled by its unique mix of sci-fi, horror, and psychological thriller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. You've just crossed over into "The Twilight Zone".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: This time, "The Twilight Zone" will be streaming on CBS All Access featuring host Jordan Peele, director of recent big screen hits like "Get Out" and "Us".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, what are we going to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make a wish. Put off the candles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saved us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do? Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Let's go to "The Twilight Zone" now. Joining us in Los Angeles, Sandro Monetti, editor-in-chief for the "Hollywood International Filmmaker" magazine. The reboot of the series, it started with "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" which is a remake of the classic original episodes which is called "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". It stars William Shatter. This is the original. Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHATNER: Quickly. There's a man out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What.
SHATNER: Look. Lok, it's crawling on --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Have they taken a big bite to start with. You know, that is so well-known, it's so famous. This is a big place for a reboot to start.
SANDRO MONETTI, "HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL FILMAKER MAGAZINE": It really is. But if you're going to remake the greatest show of all time, why not start with one of the greatest episodes of all time?
I've just watched it and one of the things the original "Twilight Zone" did so well is playoff fierce in society. And that's what this new version does. Adam Scott plays a nervous passenger, and this time he fears the monsters might be inside the plane. He jumped to the wrong assumptions about the bearded Muslims, and Muslim (INAUDIBLE) Russians that are sharing the flight with him. So there's a good bit of social commentary there from Jordan Peele.
VAUSE: Ok. Well, overall though, the reviews are not from. From "Rolling Stone" "Twilight Zone's" reboot failed to find a new dimension. Jordan Peele's "Twilight Zone" update for CBS All Access has many bright moments but doesn't quite live up to the original.
"Vanity Fair" writes, "Despite the advantages of technicolor, a marquee cast, double length for each story, the new series episodes lack vitality and flare."
And harshest of all, "The Hollywood Reporter", "A limp mess that lacks things like surprises, scariness, originality and pacing. Jordan Peele reboot isn't even on the level of a weak black mirror episode. Ow.
Ok. Let's take a look at Jordan Peele now. He's basically taking on, you know, the Rod Sterling role, the producer and narrator. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN PEELE, PRODUCER: Samir Wasan (ph) is an artist of great principle, a man who refuses to compromise his beliefs for a cheap joke.
But tonight, he felt the rush of the limelight for the first time. Now, he will have to decide what really matters to him when the laughter stops and how much he is willing to give to "The Twilight Zone".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Is this one of those gigs that no matter who took it on, they're in for a world of hurt?
MONETTI: Absolutely not. One of the few people who could take this on is Jordan Peele because in his sociological horror hits, "Get Out" and "Us", he has really reflected modern society through allegorical storylines. And that's what the original "Twilight Zone" did.
Now, yes the series is off to a slow start. But I would argue it's promising. And the first two episodes of the original "Twilight Zone" weren't great. 80 episodes later, it was hailed as a classic.
Yes, Jordan Peele is pretty much the hottest thing in showbiz right now and I love his hosting of to show. He does it with a knowing wink as well. So I know the critics have been tough, but I think there's real promise there especially in his hands. No one else has got a good chance as him as pulling off this mission impossible.
VAUSE: Ok. Well, it is mission impossible because the old episodes, you know, are sort of like iconic status. Here's one which is a classic or part of one -- "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand the procedure now. To stop a few of their machines and radios and telephones and lawnmowers. Throw them into darkness for a few hours and then sit back and watch the pattern. All we need to do is sit back and watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take it this place, this Maple Street is not unique.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By no means. The world is full of Maple Streets, and we will go from one to the other and let them destroy themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: This is a great episode because the town, or Maple Street was under threat of alien attack. It's about, you know, xenophobia or a nationalist they're sort of talking about. Neighbors hit on neighbors. You know, the fears -- (CROSSTALKING)
MONETTI: We come in peace.
[01:55:00] VAUSE: Ok. So this is the thing. You know, you seem to think that this new series has a potential to live up to that tradition.
MONETTI: I really do. But perhaps not with the first episode, "The Comedian" which is a massive clunker, unfortunately. And you mentioned, you know, in one of the reviews before, a bad black mayor episode, they've actually got one of the directors of "Black Mirror" directing that one, I noticed.
And yes, that might be the main competition for this new "Twilight Zone" because the idea of an anthology series reflecting modern society has already been done to great effect with "Black Mirror". So that's as much the shadow over this new series, as the original "Twilight Zone" is.
VAUSE: And this is the third time they've rebooted it and it's being streamed by CBS, a relative minor player in streaming world. So could this reboot be, you know, kind of stranded behind the pay wall?
MONETTI: Well, you know, I've said that the show has is promising so far. But because it's behind of pay wall it needs to be great. So streaming is the biggest thing in entertainment.
We've with CBS all access, which is not an early start heard recently about the big fans but Disney plus for Apple plus --- as well taking on Netflix and Hulu.
So it's CBS All Access which has gotten an early start in the game here, wants to emerge as the eventual winner, than they've really got to hope that the "Twilight Zone" delivers for them big time.
Yes they're asking the people to pay $5.99 a month with commercial interruption to watch this, but, you know, one good thing of paying that money is they have all the old "Twilight Zone episode on there as well. So if you think the reboot is a bit rubbish, don't worry -- go back and watch the classics.
VAUSE: you know, speaking of the classics, one of my favorite episodes, here's a clip. Talking Tina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her name is Talking Tina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Talking Tina and I'm going to kill you.
My name is Talking Tina.
My name is Talking Tina.
And you better be nice to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It's terrifying, like Chuckie, long before there was Chuckie.
MONETTI: Yes. Long before Chuckie and Annabel, you know, Rod Serling really showed that dolls can be scary, ventriloquist dummies as well. So he took the ordinary and the mundane and made it terrifying.
VAUSE: Very much so.
MONETTI: and so there's a template laid down there. So with this show, it's going to succeed it need s to do what the original did really well. It remains to be seen, a promising start -- but .
MONETTI: We'll see.
VAUSE: Sandro -- thank you so much, it's always good to have you.
And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause.
The News continues on CNN with Rosemary Church after a short break.