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Brunei Institutes Death Sentence for Adultery & Gay Sex; Venezuelans Struggle for Basics & Many Blame Maduro; Mick Jagger Scheduled for Heart Surgery. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 3, 2019 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour, Britain's prime minister chooses a Brexit deal over party unity, offering to work with the Labour opposition to find a compromise plan that would win support in Parliament.

Welcome to the race for the White House, Joe Biden. He isn't even officially in but the former vice president already taking heat.

And Mick Jagger going under the knife to replace a valve in his heart. How modern medicine is making the Rolling Stones' frontman's return to the stage a very real and very quick possibility.


VAUSE: A 1,013 days ago they voted to leave the E.U. And now the British prime minister says it's time for a new approach. She plans to ask the E.U. for another delay while she takes time to huddle with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a new way forward.

We get details from CNN's Bianca Nobilo reporting from London.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a marathon seven-hour cabinet session and months of equivocating, Prime Minister Theresa May has taken a position.

She's going to ask the European Union for a longer extension and work cross-party to break the Brexit deadlock. Speaking from Downing Street, Theresa May said this was a divisive move which required national unity to deliver the national interest.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I know there are some who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments that they would like to leave with no deal next week. I've always been clear that we could make a success of no deal in the long term. But leaving with a deal is the best solution.

So we will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible, and which ends when we pass a deal.


NOBILO: Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, whose party supports a permanent customs union, dynamic lineup with the single market and is not opposed to a second referendum, said that he would be very happy to speak to the prime minister.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: I listened very carefully to her statements and I've since read a copy of it and, of course, I'm very happy to meet her. We need to have a discussion with the prime minister. We need to ensure the Parliament has an opportunity to vote on proposals that prevent us crashing out of the E.U. at the end of next week.

The most important issue is to make sure that we don't crash out of the E.U. next week with no deal and what I believe will be a degree of chaos to follow as the result of it.


NOBILO: The prime minister said that if she failed to agree on a unified path forward with Jeremy Corbyn that she would put forward a number of options to MPs for them to choose.

It's a bold strategy for the prime minister, one which risks the unity of her Conservative Party. Already the response from Brexiteers has been surprise, disappointment and frustration.

Time is also running very tight because Theresa May said she wanted to get this new course of action put to the House of Commons before the 10th of April when the European Union is holding an emergency summit -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Joining me now from Los Angeles, CNN European affairs commentator, Dominic Thomas.

OK. So, Dominic, I guess it was a surprise decision by Theresa May to work with the Labour opposition. It's left the hardline Brexiteers fuming. Here's Boris Johnson. Listen to this.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: For those of us who campaigned for Brexit and who believe in it and who believe in the opportunities of Brexit, it is bitterly disappointing.

What I hope is that there's still time for the prime minister to get any improvements to the deal which she has or just to get her existing deal, through which is frankly better now than the chaos of having a Corbyn-controlled customs union.


VAUSE: But the reality is, Boris Johnson or the rest, they have themselves to blame, don't they?

Theresa May tried to do Brexit with just Conservative votes. The hardline Brexiteers in her party repeatedly said no. So now she'll try to get it through by using Labour votes.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: You're ability right. From the beginning these Brexiteers have been nothing but detractors in the whole process in the way that other far right political parties in Europe have been a problem for at least the last 10 years.

One thing to remember is Boris Johnson is no longer in the cabinet. So he's speaking as a Brexiteer on the outside.

What I think is remarkable today is what happened during that cabinet meeting. And, in fact, we don't really know yet what went down during that multi-hour session they held and I find it --


THOMAS: -- absolutely extraordinary that just a week or so ago, offered to support Theresa May's deal in exchange for her stepping down, should it make its way through the Houses of Parliament.

They voted just yesterday overwhelmingly against every single indicative vote proposed to Parliament, most of them around the very question of consensus. And that the prime minister has suddenly, after two or three years of putting the party before the country, is now talking about not only national unity but moving to have a discussion about a customs union that completely goes against the very principles of Brexit and all the more so to reach out to Jeremy Corbyn, so I find it -- I would like to know what it is that was negotiated, why people didn't step down after that cabinet meeting and what each side of the aisle here, in terms of her party, each group, has been promised in this.

I think this is going to emerge over the next few days. It just seems too much that these Brexiteers suddenly rolled over in one cabinet meeting and somehow or other have supported whatever it is that she's doing now.

VAUSE: But still there's no shortage of skepticism that May and Corbyn can actually reach a compromise.

Vince Cable tweeted this, "This is just piling more logs on the logjam. Does the prime minister seriously think we can have a German- style grand coalition between her and Jeremy Corbyn to deliver Brexit? May meets Marx?"

Here's part of the statement from the DUP, the minority party propping up May's Conservative government in Parliament. "Her announcement comes as little surprise though it remains to be seen if subcontracting out the future of Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn, someone whom the conservatives have demonized for four years, will end happily."

And Theresa May is able to make a deal with Labour -- and that's a big if -- how long will it last, given she said she will step down as prime minister and the new leader will take over the second stage negotiations?

THOMAS: Yes, we have to question to the extent to which they really are going to be committed to this or whether it's simply a ploy to get her deal through. As far as the Brexiteers are concerned, they could very well just wait patiently here and watch this effort to reach out to the Labour Party collapse, in which case they're back to either the withdrawal agreement or the possibility of a no deal or that somehow or another they have negotiated something with the prime minister during their meeting today, giving her an opportunity to reach out to the Labour Party and see where that goes.

If that collapses, the ball is back in their court again, let alone if a withdrawal agreement actually goes through and they're back in control.

But as far as they're concerned anything would be better than a customs union agreement or something that involved closely working with the Labour Party. This is not what they signed up for.

VAUSE: They wanted to take back control of British trade policy and immigration policy. They were the two Holy Grails for hardline Brexiteers.

But here's a headline from "The Independent."

"Does Theresa May really think Jeremy Corbyn is stupid enough to walk hand in hand with her to a Tory Brexit?"

It's not as if the prime minister gives Corbyn the chance to shape Brexit but it's not without political risk for him as well.

If it all goes badly, does he end up in the same boat as Theresa May?

THOMAS: Well, among many things, absolutely tremendous risk for him. First of all, what he has to do is similar to Theresa May. She has been trying to negotiate between the centrist members of her party and the far-right Brexiteers. But let's not forget that the overwhelming majority of Labour supporters voted to remain in the European Union and roughly 30 percent of its constituencies voted to leave. So he's now got to negotiate that.

The other question would be, what is it that Jeremy Corbyn going into discussions with Theresa May negotiates for himself?

Does he ask for a second referendum or a people's vote on the outcome of their discussions?

Does he also ask for a general election should this particular deal go through?

Yes, there are tremendous risks for him and the greatest risk of all is signing up through a Conservative Party led Brexit plan and then taking the blame for it ultimately. So it is a strategic move by the Conservative Party that caught him somewhat by surprise and puts the ball firmly in his court now.

And he has to be very difficult -- very careful, sorry, as to how he's going to navigate this discussion with Theresa May.

VAUSE: Let's finish with more from Theresa May at Number 10, making that surprise announcement. Here she is.


MAY: Despite the best efforts of MPs, the process that the House of Commons has tried to lead has not come up with an answer. So today, I'm taking action to break the logjam.

I'm offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan that we would both stick to, to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.


VAUSE: When politicians speak, what they don't say can be just as important as what they do say. She made no mention, no hint of a possibility of compromise on her Brexit red lines --


VAUSE: -- which basically took the customs union and the single market off the table. There's no role for the European court, according to Theresa May. But she did talk about hoping to find a Brexit deal that delivers on the results of the referendum which requires Britain leaving the customs union and the single market.

She said we've heard this before. So that then gets to, how does she expect to find this deal with Corbyn?

THOMAS: This is what is remarkable, too, about this. What was so absolutely crucial in what she said is she mentioned that it's a discussion with Corbyn. We have been talking so far about common market plus customs union.

What she is actually talking about is her withdrawal agreement plus. And she laid that down, that no matter what deal comes out of it, it would be her withdrawal agreement added onto whatever it is that comes.

Now remarkable U-turn and crossing these red lines over the customs union and so on, which raises the question, is by maintaining the withdrawal agreement, is this a negotiated settlement with the Brexiteers that, no matter what happens out of this, Parliament most likely is going to get legislation through that would prevent a no deal. So between a no-deal or a very, very long extension with the European

Union, there's an opportunity here for her to get her deal through with whatever it is that Corbyn has. And I think this is where we raise some serious questions about the extent to which the Conservative Party is genuinely committed to these negotiations, is that they get the withdrawal agreement through. Theresa May has secured her historical legacy by having delivered Brexit.

But then the deal is that she hands over the reins to the Brexiteers and they would then shepherd this process along, which is why, to me, it raises serious questions as to why Jeremy Corbyn would go along with it and why, at the end of the day with the support of some of these Brexiteers, he could actually paradoxically end up with the general election he has been seeking all along and with a Brexit that is not delivered by Theresa May here, that the Conservative Party will take the blame for this.

So there's going to be a lot of chess taking place over the next few days and the big problem is we only have four or five days before the E.U. meeting and this raises all sorts of additional risks.

VAUSE: Absolutely. It's so close to the wire and then they get that little bit of extra breathing room and it keeps going. Thank you for this, Dominic. We're going to take a close look at how all this is playing out from the point of view of the E.U. and from Europe. So we'll be back next hour and we'll look forward to that. Thank you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Algeria's ailing president has resigned after weeks of mass protests and calls from the country's army chief to step down. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was first elected in 1999. Here he is now, handing in his resignation letter.

He is rarely seen in public since a stroke six years ago. His announcement to step down was celebrated in the streets of Algiers on Tuesday. They believe he has grown out of touch with ordinary people and has governed over an economy which favors the elites.

Six months after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we are learning his four children have been getting a major payout from the Saudi government. Khashoggi's vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

U.S. officials believe the crown prince ordered his killing, though the Saudi government denies that. The source says the payments are expected to keep Khashoggi's family from criticizing the royal family. CNN's Nic Robertson has details.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: So what we understand is each of Jamal Khashoggi's four children have received a lump sum payout of 1 million Saudi riyals. That's about $266,000 U.S., one lump sum to each of them. They're also going to receive a monthly stipend between $10,000 and

$15,000 U.S. as well as receiving 15 million Saudi riyals' worth of housing. Those are houses purchased by Saudi authorities and given to each one of the children.

Now as we understand it at the moment, only Sala (ph), the eldest son, plans to continue living in Saudi Arabia. So the other three children, the younger son, Abdullah, and his two sisters, will not be moving into that housing will not be able to take advantage of the value of that property, not be able to sell it on effectively.

There's also another element of this blood money, if you will, under Saudi law, that Khashoggi's children may be able to receive and this would come from the -- essentially from the people who are accused of his murder.

So far Saudi authorities have accused 11 people of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, five of them are being potentially -- could be convicted and sentenced with a death penalty.

Now under Saudi law, under sharia law, they could appeal for clemency to Khashoggi's children. But under sharia law in Saudi Arabia, the way to get clemency would be to pay for it. And that could total, for all of those five, if convicted, if they do pay out for this clemency, could amount to 100 million to 200 million Saudi riyals, $25 million to $52-$53 million U.S.


ROBERTSON: So the family, his children, Jamal Khashoggi's children, do stand to receive a potentially significant lump sum from Saudi authorities -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president may be laying the groundwork to walk back his threat to close the border with Mexico.

After the break, is this another example of classic Trump imitating tactics?

Plus international outrage over new adultery and anti-gay laws in Brunei. Punishment for violators: execution, stoning to death.




VAUSE: The U.S. president is taking a wait and see approach on his threat to close the border with Mexico. Now though, he says, only parts of the border could be closed. On Tuesday he continued to attack Democrats as well as the asylum system and Trump said lawmakers had to act if they wanted to keep the border open.

He also admitted that closing it could be a major blow to the U.S. economy.


TRUMP: I agree it's going to be a big toll but trade and commerce and making money for our country, it's all very important but to me the most important job I have is the security of our country, even more important than the other things that I talked about.



VAUSE: We're joined by Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Lynn, it's been a while. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. Let's take a close look here at what the president has been saying about closing down the southern border.

If we go all the way back to Saturday, Trump tweeted out, "Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out and we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the border. Will also help us with stopping the drug flow from Mexico."

OK, adamant, next step: close the border. By Tuesday, he's laying the groundwork to walk away from that threat. Mexico, he say, was apprehending more people. You know, there was a claim without any evidence. He also said large sections of the border would be closed as opposed to all of it.

Is this classic Trump in terms of negotiation so to set up this extreme position playing the other side is giving ground whether they are or whether they're not and then, ultimately settle?

VAVRECK: It's classic Trump on multiple dimensions. The first is the one you just -- you just described where there's a declarative vitriolic statement. People love that about him because it seems authentic and it seems honest. Even though as you described sometimes there's no evidence for the claims.

But it's classic Trump in another way too and it's equally important. Which is that it's yet another effort by the president to make white voters in this country feel threatened and feel like they are becoming the minority.

And he does that repeatedly and it --


VAVRECK: -- and he has demonstrated there's a payoff to doing that. So, this is classic Trump on two dimensions. VAUSE: Right. And the Speaker of the House there, Nancy Pelosi, she described this approach -- you know, its overall approach to immigration the threat to close the border, as well as cutting foreign aid to three South American countries as one of the president's worst ideas ever. Here she is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Stiff competition, mind you. This is one of his worst ideas.

But there's just -- it could cover so much territory that it's hard to say worst. This is not a good idea. I don't know who's poisoning his mind on some of these subjects. But it's not a good idea to say, "I'm going to cut off the assistance."


VAUSE: Before what we know though is that many of the president's advisors, as well as leaders -- our Republican leaders in Congress. They've all warned him about the political backlash, you know, especially, when it comes to closing the border.

So, he may be getting advice from someone else. But, at least, the Republican leaders are saying this is not a good idea.

VAVRECK: Well, I think it's part of the reason that you see the declarative statement with the vitriol and emotion and then walking it back. It allows him to accomplish the thing that he really wants to accomplish which is talking to that set of the electorate for whom this message really resonates and is important.

And then, the fact that he has to dial it back, that he has to step it back. And he can say, he can blame other political leaders, he can blame Congress. That works for him politically. And so, sometimes I think the mistake here is thinking of these actions as being about policy. They are and it's unclear maybe he believes these things he says maybe he doesn't.

But one thing for sure is that he knows that there are people in both parties who do feel threatened by the changing landscape in America, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, other ways that people are now different. And he knows that he can get payoff from raising these kinds of topics. And it's a big part of why he does it.

VAUSE: Yes, he also seems to be pretty good spirits at a Republican gathering a few hours ago. He predicted that Republicans would take the House in 2020. It also said the party should embrace health care for the 2020 election.

He also seemed mostly though to take delight in the controversy surrounding the former Vice President Joe Biden, on accusations of touching two women in an overly familiar way. Here is Donald Trump, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We're going into the war with some socialist. And it looks like the only none sort of heavy socialist, he's being taken care of pretty well by the socialist they got to.

Our former vice president, he's -- I was going to call him, I don't know him well -- I was going to say, "Welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe?


VAUSE: You know, when I heard that, I took that sort of your Trump referencing -- you know they all try to equate the controversy surrounding Biden with -- you know, Trump's own sexual harassment scandal.

You know, the grabbing moment, as all the allegations of -- you know, sexually inappropriate conduct. That -- you know, that seems to be a bit of a stretch, but that's never been a problem for Donald Trump, though, I guess.

VAVRECK: I don't even know what to say. The idea that the president of the United States is saying to a former vice, "Welcome to the world," is what he said. But I think everybody understands that what he's sort of saying is, welcome to the club.

And that is just problematic on so many levels more than we have time to talk about. But again, it's something that Donald Trump does all the time, us versus them.

And this is again its strategy, how do you neutralize Joe Biden as a potential opponent -- a 2020 opponent?

Well, you make it seem to voters as if your opponent and you are the same on a whole bunch of things. And here is a dimension that a lot of people are probably going to care about in 2020. How men treat women.

And he's basically said, "Welcome to the club, Joe, we're the same on this."

And so, as much as it seems like he shoots from the hip and it's just talking emotionally, a lot of these things that he says and he does really are strategically motivated.

VAUSE: This is strategy here, as a former president may say. Without in mind, you know, the president -- you know, he had a couple of good lines, I seen couples of the Democrats have this job at wind power, which seem to be a dig at this -- you know, the Green New Deal plan, which was put forward by these young progressive Democrats. Here he is.


TRUMP: If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say, the noise causes cancer. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And, of course, this is the president who's long had -- you know, a dislike for a strong gust of wind. But you heard the laughter in the room from here for that sort of schoolyard joke that taunting. It goes down very well a big part of the country. And in many ways, there will be a big challenge whoever the Democrat nominee --


VAUSE: -- will be in 2020.

How do you deal with that and move on?

VAVRECK: Well, I think that this is again, I'm not sure you want to be on the wrong side of saving the planet. So, that --

VAUSE: Good point.

VAVRECK: The trick is, to talk about this and this, this is complicated now for the Democrats. You know, Trump, again, cleverly labeling them as socialists. We heard that in that last segment that you played. "They're all socialists now, we're going to war with the socialists."

And part of that socialist agenda now is saving the planet. So, in his us-versus-them way, he's now lumped in saving the planet with these socialists who in reality are Democrats in the United States of America.

So to unravel all of that in your primary campaign as you're running for the nomination in 2020, that's a big ask. And they sort of gave that up to Donald Trump. And he took it.

And so now they're all lumped together and this issue is now part of that socialist agenda. It's going to be hard.

VAUSE: And of course, there's some people who don't think the planet needs saving which is also a big problem.

But Lynn, we're out of time. It's great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

VAVRECK: Thank you.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, a law straight out of the Stone Age or the Dark Ages now in effect in the country of Brunei. Those found guilty of adultery or gay sex will be stoned to death. International reaction in just a moment.




VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome back. I'm John Vause with a check on the headlines this hour.


VAUSE: There's been swift and widespread condemnation of new laws in Brunei that punish gay sex and adultery with death by stoning. CNN's Alexandra Field has been coverage local reaction and she joins us now live.

So what we're hearing from Brunei's sultan is that he doesn't expect the world to accept this law or agree with it. So it would seem there's no plans to change it.

[00:30:10] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, certainly not. From Brunei's perspective, they've reinforced the fact that they're Brunei's perspective they reinforce the fact that they're a sovereign country with a right, they say, to enforce their own laws.

And Brunei is used to being the subject of some international scorn and criticism, because John, it was back in 2014 that they first started implementing parts of Sharia law. The penalties for the -- for the breaches of law at that time, though, had to do with the jail sentences or fines.

So this is certainly the next level or the final phase, as they've describe it. And it includes corporal punishment, floggings, death by stoning, amputations for various crimes under Sharia law.

Of course, that has triggered international outrage; that has triggered boycotts. You've got the U.N. high commissioner for human rights speaking out against Brunei right now, calling on them to halt the implementation of this law; to convene meetings between religious leaders, civil society and government leaders; to work on a penal code that respects human rights.

You've also got Human Rights Watch and other human rights activists raising alarm about the dangers that people are placed in inside of Brunei right now, saying that certainly, the world could expect to see refugees leaving, in fear for their lives at this point.

The question, now that the law goes into effect, is how it will be enforced -- John.

VAUSE: OK, Alex, thank you. Alexandra Field there, live with the latest on that international reaction to those brutal new laws. Thank you, Alex.

Well, to Venezuela now, and the Maduro regime has voted to continue an investigation of the National Assembly leader, Juan Guaido, and this possibly clears the way for his arrest.

At least 50 countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate interim president; but now a Supreme Court justice says Guaido is in contempt for leaving the country without permission in February. He wants Guaido stripped of parliamentary immunity.

Venezuela's opposition says it will not recognize any decision that could lead to his arrest.

For Venezuelans, though, the situation seems to get worse every week. Food shortages, power blackouts, hospital closures, all making life miserable. And many blame the man at the top. That would be President Nicholas Maduro.

Details now from CNN's David McKenzie.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuela's president could always count on this neighborhood in Caracas for support. Now, they want Nicholas Maduro out.

ANTONIO PARERA, UNEMPLOYED MECHANIC: They no have water, no have electricity. They no have security, no have so many things on the hospital. We have broke down. The Venezuela right now is broke down.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Are you angry right now?

PARERA: Yes. Very angry. Very angry.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Angry and some asking for help. "President Trump, come and help us," she says. "We cannot take it anymore."


MCKENZIE: Trump hasn't ruled anything out.

TRUMP: All -- Just so you understand, all options are open.

NICHOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): Donald Trump said he had all options on the table. They didn't go ahead with the invasion, because they couldn't. They went ahead with the sabotage of the electrical service instead.

MCKENZIE: Maduro blames the nationwide blackouts on the U.S. But years of government mismanagement and corruption and little money for maintenance has hammered the grid. U.S. oil sanctions could make it difficult to fix.

So the shops are shuttered, and the people jam into buses for the shortened work day. A draft U.N. report seen by CNN found that more than 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty.

Even in the capital, it's a struggle for the very basics.

"Listen, brother, us Venezuelans are very upset," says Javier (ph). "If it was up to me, we would have forced this government out."

More than three million people have fled Venezuela because of this. The U.N. believes almost two million could leave just this year. But one man still refuses to go.

David McKenzie, CNN, Caracas, Venezuela.


VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, it's hard to believe that anything can slow down this man, but apparently Mick Jagger, the front man of the Rolling Stones, who's been strutting his stuff onstage for decades, is about to be sidelined with heart surgery.


[00:36:22] VAUSE: CNN has learned that Mick Jagger will undergo surgery this week to replace a faulty heart valve. This means the Rolling Stones has postponed its North American tour. Doctors advised Jagger it was unwise to go on the road and perform. And Jagger, who's 75, knows the news is disappointing.


VAUSE: Joining us now is Dr. Vasilis Babaliaros, the co-director of the Emory Structural Heart and Valve Center.

Doctor, thanks for coming in.


VAUSE: It's important to note here that we're looking at Mick Jagger's case here from 20,000 feet. You don't know the specific details about what he's going through, but you know a lot about heart valves and heart surgery, right?

BABALIAROS: Absolutely.

VAUSE: OK. So what we're talking about here, in general terms, is a failed heart valve. And this is -- I guess there's no real way to prevent it, and the only way of treating it is surgery. Is that what's -- is that what's happening to Jagger right now, right?

BABALIAROS: Yes, there are four different heart valves; and they can degenerate by leak or being narrowed. We really don't know what Mr. Jagger has, but we assume, based on the age, that he probably has a problem with a narrowed valve. Maybe even aortic stenosis.

VAUSE: Two weeks ago, there was word that -- something of a breakthrough in treatment of heart valve problems in -- with the surgery. Here's part of the report from "The New York Times."

"In open-heart surgery, a patient's ribs are cracked apart and the heart is stopped to insert a new aortic valve. With trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, the only incision is a small hole in the groin where the catheter is inserted. Most patients are sedated, but awake through the procedure. Recovery takes just days, not months, as is often the case following the usual procedure. Reserved -- this procedure has been reserved mostly for patients so old and sick they might not survive open-heart surgery. Now, two large clinical trials show that TAVR is just as useful in younger, healthier patients."

So for someone like Mick Jagger, what are the factors here that would determine what procedure he'll undergo, whether it will be the traditional open-heart surgery or this new TAVR procedure?

BABALIAROS: So there's anatomical factors: what the valve disease looks like. There's also going to be physiologic factors. If he could tolerate an open-heart surgery; it's a much heavier insult to the human body than doing something less invasive.

I think most of the patients today are pushing for a less invasive approach; and that's where the news from the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans came through, with TAVR being a low-invasive but very effective therapy for patients with aortic stenosis.

VAUSE: And would that be approval ready for someone like Mick Jagger?

BABALIAROS: Well, it depends.


BABALIAROS: The TAVR procedure has been approved for high-risk patients. It's been approved for intermediate-risk patients. The final approval has not come forward for low-risk patients, though we believe the FDA probably will rule in this favor, based on all the data that's come forward.

Two different multi-center (ph) have -- that have shown it's just as good as surgery; in some cases, better than surgery for the patient.

VAUSE: Right. On Saturday, when the band first announced that the tour was on hold, Mick Jagger tweeted out his apologies. And he also added, "I'll be working very hard to be back onstage as soon as I can."

When he's talking about getting back onstage, take a look. This is what he means.




VAUSE: This is a guy struts around for hours on end. And the tour goes through -- this is a multi-city tour, spread over weeks and months.

You know, so how long, I guess, it will be before he's strutting his stuff again, I guess, is determined, firstly, by what procedure he undergoes and also his own physical condition right now.

BABALIAROS: I think you've said it quite well; you summarized it. I think if he has open-heart surgery, we're talking about months of recovery. If he has something like -- less invasive or TAVR, he could be on his feet the next day. I'm actually hoping he's not going to cancel the tour.

[00:40:10] VAUSE: Yes. I mean, that's the thing. This TAVR procedure, it's so simple and so much easier than what we've traditionally seen for -- for heart valve treatment. Right?

BABALIAROS: Yes, it's been a breakthrough. It first was performed in 2002, and it's only been iterated to be better and safer over the last 17 years. So it's no surprise that the trial was very positive in favor of a less invasive failure for valvular heart disease. We'll see this trend, likely, in the other three valves, as well, over the next decade.

VAUSE: So if we see Mick back onstage here in a couple of weeks we know that he's had this less invasive procedure.

BABALIAROS: Absolutely.

VAUSE: It's also raising the questions of this sort of cruel twist of fake. Because you know, Mick Jagger, you know, who's lived this sort of healthy lifestyle. He's a bit -- he's a vegan. He spends $1,000 on face creams. That's nothing to do with the health.

But then we have Keith Richards, who you know, has lived the opposite style of life. He's a man who admitted he snorted the ashes of his deceased father.

And the talk-show host Rush Limbaugh seemed to put into words what many were thinking. Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: This boggles my mind. Take a look at Keith Richards. The guy has defied every -- the guy has done so much coke. The guy has done so much heroin. He still gets up, drinks a bottle of beer first thing out of bed. He smokes cigarettes like he owns the tobacco company.


VAUSE: So how do you explain this? Because you often hear these stories of the -- you know, the person who's lead this very healthy lifestyle and needing some kind of major procedure, some kind of major surgery or contracting some kind of serious ailment, whereas the other one who, you know, lives a life maybe not quite like Keith Richards but you get the idea, you know, going through, skating through with nothing happening.

BABALIAROS: So some of it's luck. A lot of it is genetics. And certainly, diet doesn't seem to affect valve disease that we're aware of. So, though I think the vegan lifestyle or the vegan diet did help Mick do all his touring for years and years, I'm not sure it had any effect on his valve disease.

VAUSE: And Keith? BABALIAROS: Keith is an enigma. And will remain so. A medical

mystery. So we -- we root -- we're rooting for both of them.

VAUSE: Right, yes. Because they're both the same age. So that's the point to be made here.


VAUSE: Wow. Doctor, good to see you. Thank you for coming in.

BABALIAROS: Thanks for having us.


VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. WORLD SPORT starts after the break.




VAUSE: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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