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Boeing Admits Equipment Played Role in Two Crashes; Brexit; Frustration on the Mueller Report; Accused Mosque Gunman Charged with 50 Murder Counts; Russian Military Pushing to Control Arctic Region; Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Reach Richest-Ever Divorce Deal; South Korea Rolls Out 5G Smartphone Networks. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 5, 2019 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:00] JOHN VAUSE: Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN Newsroom.

Ahead is out, Boeing takes the blame. A preliminary report into the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Jet found a faulty sensor forced the plane repeatedly into a nose dive and the pilots couldn't save the flight even though they followed recommended procedure.

Also, an absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. In this case, a crime. Did the Trump administration celebrate too soon as leaks emerge that the Mueller report might be more damaging to the president than the four-page summary released by his attorney general?

And just when you think everything that could go wrong in the Brexit fiasco already has, a leaky roof forces debate in Parliament to wait for another day.

Boeing admits its equipment played a role in two plane crashes that killed 346 people. A preliminary report from Ethiopian Airlines found incorrect data was being sent to the plane's flight control system and the pilots couldn't correct it, another deadly crash involving the same Boeing 737, the Max 8. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.

TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The report says the trouble starts right after takeoff, with air speed and altitude readings from the left side of the 737 Max 8 that don't match the readings from the right side and two sensors on the front disagreeing about the angle of the aircraft's nose.

The sensor on the right shows steady readings around 15 degrees but the one on the left swings wildly from 11 to nearly 75 degrees' steep as if the plane is rocketing upward. Those readings are false but they appear to trigger the MCAS system, an onboard computer which starts pulling the nose down.

If the plane were climbing steeply, that would prevent a stall but because it is climbing normally, the system erroneously starts pushing it toward the ground. Report does not name MCAS but Boeing has now acknowledged it was involved.

The captain asked the first officer to pitch up together to pull back on their control simultaneously. It does not work. Instead, the flight data recorder shows the plane diving, in all four times, without the pilot's input. An impact warning sounds in the cockpit, don't sink, don't sink.


DAGMAWIT MOGES, ETHIOPIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.


FOREMAN: The report says the cockpit crew even figures out what is wrong and disables the MCAS system. Then the captain asks his first officer about a key part of the plane needed to regain control, the trim. The reply, it is not working.

Less than six minutes in, once again the aircraft began pitching nose down eventually reaching 40 degrees and it slams into the ground with 157 people on board at nearly 600 miles per hour.

It is all eerily similar to the crash of an identical jet near Indonesia last fall killing 189 people. And even though this is just a preliminary report, which does not find a probable cause, Boeing is promising a software update for MCAS, some additional safety measures and trying to regain public confidence.


DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: This update along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS related accident from ever happening again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still only a couple of years ago, Boeing was talking about how much it appreciated the government's new streamlined approach to regulation. Particularly in regard to the Max line of planes. And now, these planes are surrounded by investigations into how they were developed, how they were tested, how they were certified, and whether people should ever really trust them again.


VAUSE: Within hours of the release of the accident report came a stop and rare admission of fault from Boeing.


MUILENBURG: It's apparent that in both flights, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information. It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it, and we know how to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Well, joining me now is CNN's transportation analyst, Mary Schiavo. She is a former inspector general with the U.S. Transportation Department. She is now practicing law and represents crash victims and currently has litigation pending against Boeing.

OK, legal stuff out the way, Mary. I want to --


--focus for a moment on that statement from Boeing's CEO, specifically referencing the NAC -- the NTAS. He said, "It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it. We know how to do it."

But what does that suggest -- does that mean? What does it mean in terms of the company's legal liability in both accidents?

MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION ANALYST: Well, owning the risk doesn't have any legal terminology in the American court system but it certainly indicates that Boeing realizes they are responsible. They will be liable.

They will be held accountable certainly in the courts of law for the problems, the crashes, and all the difficulties with this new aircraft and with the MCAS system. So it's finally -- very tardy but finally they're coming to the realization that they are going to be held accountable.

VAUSE: Well, part of the fix from Boeing is a software patch for the anti-stall system in the Max. Once installed, the flight control system will compare inputs from both AOA, the angle of attack sensors. If the sensors disagree and say "Yes, will not activate," an indicator on the flight deck display will alert the pilots.

So that then just leaves the problem that one faulty sensor will deactivate the entire flight control system which is designed to fix a major problem with the 737 Max which the FAA said was so serious. It meant the plane was unstable and not safe to fly.

SCHIAVO: That's right. And I think that's part of the reason we also heard from a very tardy to respond FAA that not so fast, maybe this software patch is not going to be ready in a few weeks and once, by the way, Boeing, you are finished with it, the FAA has now this time really gone to review it.

So it looks like it's going to take not a few weeks but certainly stretch into months to get this repaired but I think also that the FAA and certainly the other aviation authorities around the world will be looking to see if the software patch is really effective.

And what we're clearly dealing with is a control surface of the aircraft. These are critical flight controls and it's a single point of failure. So should we have the flight dependent upon this software patch to keep the nose up or down depending upon what this angle of attack indicator, now two of them sent? I think it's a very serious point of risk. And after all, Boeing says it is their job to eliminate the risk. VAUSE: So, like here's the warning indicator. This is what it will look like on the AOA display, it's on the bottom right there. AOA disagree.

On Boeing's website, they claim all primary flight information require to safely and efficiently operate the 737 Max is included on the baseline primary flight display. Boeing does not put a price on required safety features but they did put a price on safety because that warning light is an optional extra, like (INAUDIBLE). You know, $80,000 (INAUDIBLE).

SCHIAVO: Well, absolutely, they put a price on safety because after all remember this whole software system was a patch. It was designed to make the plane fly like the older 737s without required additional pilot training and that was the order that went throughout Boeing when they were developing it. We don't want any new pilot training because it costs money.

VAUSE: And so with that in mind, you've heard about the aviation taking recording system, there's an honest database for people in the industry for pilots, engineers, flight attendants. They can post about safety information.

And one pilot wrote this, "It's unconscionable that a manufacturer, the FAA, and the airlines would have pilots flying an airplane without adequately training or even providing available resources and sufficient documentation to understand the highly complex systems that differentiate this aircraft from prior models."

You know, if this was a whole brand new plane, they have to spend hours and hours and hours in a flight simulator. The 737 Max they could train on by using an iPad and that's the point. There are billions of dollars involved here compared to certifying a redesign as opposed to a whole brand new plane.

SCHIAVO: Right. And, of course, as we find out, it really is a whole brand new plane because the software patch didn't work and now the system has gone off twice killing almost 350 people when in fact what they probably needed to do from the get-go is provide this additional training and say look, folks, pilots, airlines. this does not fly exactly like the old 737.

But going along with that in addition to the expense and more training would mean, as you mentioned, a full Certification process which is much more expensive and much more time consuming.

VAUSE: Yes. And it seems the 737 Max will not be flying any time soon. Some industry experts say it will take a minimum of 6 weeks up to 12 weeks before the grounded jets are airborne again. And we should note, China has suspended the 737's airworthiness certification.

A whole lot of other problems out there. So given all of this, should the question here be not when will the 737 Max be flying again but should it be flying again?

SCHIAVO: Well, I think that's a fair question and I think it's undoubtedly that the expected result, the U.S. Federal Aviation --

[00:10:00] --

Administration will get it back in the air as soon as they can reasonably do it without causing a great amount of suspicion on the government.

I think that the aviation authorities around the world will take the second look and some of them may want to recertify and that's perfectly within their power. Usually, every nation respects the other nation's certification. But in this case, it proves that wasn't bonafide and it wasn't deserve.

VAUSE: Yes, there are still so many questions in all of this but it just seems to get worse by the day for Boeing. Mary, thank you so much. It's good to see you.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

VAUSE: For about 10 days, the U.S. president, Republicans, and the conservative media celebrated euphorically those few words quoted from the Mueller report by the attorney general, the ones about no collusion.

But now, well, the investigation, it's once again a witch hunt. There's talk of Democrats and sneaky unethical leakers after reports from inside about what really happened is actually not in the report. What we're hearing from investigators from the Mueller team, they say they're frustrated with how the attorney general summarized these findings.

In particular, they say the Barr memo does not accurately describe the evidence of obstruction of justice. With some calling the findings alarming and significant according to reporting by "The Washington Post".

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler wants to separate the facts from the alternative facts. He's asking for all communications between the special counsel and the Justice Department about the Mueller report. He also wants the full unredacted report itself.

Jessica Levinson joins us now in Los Angeles. She is a professor of law at the Loyola Law School. OK. So Jessica, it seems the witch hunt is back.

The president tweeting out on Thursday, according to polling, few people seem to care about the Russian collusion hoax but some Democrats are fighting hard to keep the witch hunt alive. They should focus on legislation or, even better, an investigation of how the ridiculous collusion delusion got started, so illegal.

Just for the record, a majority of Americans, according to an old CNN poll, overwhelmingly say President Clinton should not be impeached and removed from office but that did not stop House Republicans from trying. OK. But the point here is that the witch hunt never actually really went away and this administration has accelerated, they forgot that old saying, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

JESSICA LEVINSON, LAW PROFESSOR, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Exactly. I mean this is fascinating how the narrative has changed so many times. So it started with Mueller is not to be trusted and he is very biased and Mueller and his gang of angry Democrats.

And then when Attorney General Barr came out with his cliff note version apparently of some of the conclusions from the report, it was Mueller is an honorable man and he acted very well. And now apparently, there's leaks that say, look, there were summary sessions which frankly everyone expected.

This was over 300-page report. There were summary sections to that report. And, in fact, we may be -- we, being members of the Mueller team thought that they would be used. And they don't necessarily like the way that Attorney General Barr has characterized the Mueller report.

And now all of the sudden the witch hunt is back and everything is biased and it's just disheartening frankly to see how we like the investigation, we hate the investigation, and we hate the investigation again.

VAUSE: This is like James Comey. The Democrats loved him. Republicans hated him. Republicans loved him. It was back and forth.

Here's part of a statement from the Justice Department defending the attorney general. Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the attorney general decided to release the report's bottom- line findings in his conclusions immediately, without attempting to summarizing the report. With the understanding that the report itself would be released after the reduction process.

But as you mentioned, the report had these summaries of each section. And they were written, according to the reporting of this, specifically to be made public and yet they weren't. Here's Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think that these questions are just showing again why we need the full Mueller report with underlying documents released. We need to see all of that and that would answer all of these questions.


VAUSE: We also have for the fifth time Senate Republicans have blocked this resolution calling for the report to be released. It's a strange idea here that he made the report so incredibly exonerate the president. He's been found pure of heart, innocent as a newborn angel delivered on the driven snow but you'll just have to trust us on that. LEVINSON: Well, I mean it is troubling. So clearly, it's not a move that's in favor of transparency. With respect to the Barr memo, I would say something I tell my students is there's two different ways to frame the exact same set of facts and they might both be accurate.

So Attorney General Barr clearly gave what he viewed as the "principal findings". I think -- and you and I have talked about this. Specifically, with respect to the claims of obstruction of justice, let's say at best it seems that he glossed over the evidence on the other side.

And he just said --


-- there are some evidence on one side, there are some evidence on the other, basically let's call the whole thing off. And what's -- on the other side, you can paint a picture of here is all of this evidence that we have against the president. It may not rise to the level of being prosecutable but we think that you should know about it.

Now, I think that what is really interesting with respect to the principal findings is one, that we're even hearing about these potential leaks that the Mueller investigation apparently is upset with the attorney general. And also that I think what the attorney general was able to do was basically control the first bit of information and likely the most important bit of information.

He was able to frame what we all initially thought of. And so even if the Mueller report comes out, I think for some people frankly it will feel like too little too late, what were Democrats complaining about?

And I think that my guess is actually we'll never see the full Mueller report. What we'll see is a heavily redacted version, even if there are summaries.

VAUSE: Right. What's interesting though is that for two years, also there wasn't so much of a hint of a leak from Mueller and his team. Now, we have two major leaks.

Clearly, this goes beyond the level of concern or unhappiness. Are they trying to send a message to the attorney general?

LEVINSON: Well, I think that they have. I mean I think that maybe they haven't even not just tried but they have done so effectively.

I would also say that obviously, when you work for over two years and you feel that maybe your work has been mischaracterized, that must be enormously frustrating. And I think that the Mueller investigation in terms of the parts that were potentially the most sensitive obviously have wound down.

We have the report and so the fears about the leaks I think have really changed at this point. It will be really interesting to see again what happens particularly with that -- the claims of obstruction of justice because when it comes to this attorney general, I think really the way he auditioned for the job of attorney general was to write that 19-page memo which I think put forth a really bizarre legal theory for why the president could not be guilty of obstruction of justice. And here, he's kind of made it -- he's used that memo and now repackaged it in telling us about the Mueller report.

VAUSE: Yes. If this was a message from the prosecutors to the attorney general, for the administration at least, message not received. Listen to the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders hitting back at Democrats demanding for the report to be released. Here's what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They have wasted two years of their life and they need to find a way to validate it. They lost in 2016. They lost on the collusion battle.

And now, they're looking for any and everything they can to continue to attack this president because they have no message.


VAUSE: And so with that in mind, here's the headline from "Politico", reports the special counsel's investigators dislike Trump's victory lap seemed intended to force their work into the open.

You mentioned this. The Treasury controlling or setting the narrative. But there's also a lot to be said for setting expectations low. So whatever comes out of the report, it looks like good or maybe not such bad news, right?

LEVINSON: Yes. I think what's really interesting is the Sarah Sanders comment that essentially collusion was almost like an election contest like it was something that you win or lose on. Like you needed to prove it and that's somehow a political game just like passing legislation.

And I think it really misses the point of an investigation. Point of investigation is just what it sounds like, it's to look into whether there's potential wrongdoing.

And so the idea that we framed -- and frankly, I mean Democrats have been slightly guilty of this as well as Republicans. We framed this as something where we're going to win if Mueller found evidence of collusion or more accurately conspiracy and we're going to lose if he didn't I think is really troubling.

VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. That's a good point to finish on, Jessica. Thank you.

LEVINSON: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, T minus one week until Brexit and hopes are failing fast that Theresa May's cross-party talks will actually produce anything.

Also, the search for justice for New Zealand's so-called darkest day. There are new charges for the man accused of murdering 50 Muslims as they pray. That's coming up.



VAUSE: If you've heard it before, that's because we've said it before and we'll say it again. We're now one week away from Brexit and the U.K. is set to crash out of the European Union without a deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn met for more than four hours on Thursday without announcing any progress. Labour says Mrs. May's unwillingness to compromise has the talks on hold for now. Number 10 is hoping that maybe they can resume talks ton Friday.

Angela Merkel was in Dublin to talk Brexit with the Irish prime minister. She remains hopeful the British government will avoid a no deal crash out, but no way, and says Germany will do all it can to help.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: We want to stand together as 27 until the very last hour. I can say this for the German side, we'll do everything we can in order to prevent a no deal Brexit, Britain crashing out of the European Union but we have to do this together with Britain and with their position that they will present to us.


VAUSE: Joining me now from Los Angeles, European Affairs Commentator and our very own Brexpert, Dominic Thomas. OK.

So with the eyes of a nation's sanction, watching number 10, with all hopes and dreams on the outcome of this cross-party talks, all desperate for any hint of a clue as to the possibility of avoiding self-inflicted Armageddon, we have this statement on progress from Labour's Brexit's spokesman.


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR BREXIT SPOKESMAN: We've got further discussions so we will be having further discussions with the Parliament.


VAUSE: Yes, we've had discussions, we'll have more discussions But, there's only hopes of more talks. How bad is it when your only hope is resting on Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn getting together for another round of talks? That's putting the rock in the rock bottom, right?

DOMINIC THOMAS, COMMENTATOR, EUROPEAN AFFAIRS: It's just incredible. I mean look, John -- and the irony of it all, of course, is that there's a possibility here. Let's just say they do come up with a deal, right, of some kind that they then go back to Parliament.

And from everything that's been going on in the last two days, it's a sort of deal in which they think they will make the majority happy but in which alternately they're upsetting just about everybody that currently sits in Parliament and there's a likelihood that it would never make its way through.

The folks sitting in Parliament are worried about this whole process imploding, a general election and being accountable to their constituents. And what they see here is Theresa May going on and on and on about how wonderful the withdrawal agreement is.

Jeremy Corbyn reiterating their five binding commitments that include a custom's union and alignment with a single market. These are just deep, deep, deep red lines. And what they seem to have just completely misunderstood in this process that the whole definition of the word consensus implies trying to reach an agreement and making concessions in order to get there. And neither side is really willing to do that.

VAUSE: In particular, it seems the prime minister is refusing of any ground on her red lines. Listen to this.


NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: It's still, to be frank, not entirely clear to me where the prime minister is prepared to compromise. She seems to know where others might want to compromise but is not being particularly open about where --


-- her red lines might be moved or where she sees the room for compromise on her part is.

I suppose overall my concern is that in the rush to reach some compromise with the clock ticking, what will happen over the next few days if anything will happen over the next few days, is that a bad compromise will be reached.


VAUSE: I can't believe I'm about to say this so forgive me in advance. Is a bad compromise better than no compromise?

THOMAS: Oh my goodness, John. I mean I can't go there. I mean the whole idea that you're trying to sort of build numbers by abandoning the Brexiteers and moving toward the center to try to get this deal through. You have five Labour MPs that voted for it, nobody from the Scottish National Party, the Northern Irish DUP, or the Lib Dems.

It seems that even in terms of doing the math that the numbers are not there. But what is you could argue genius about the whole strategy is, there's no way the deal withdrawal agreement gets through let's say so at least you can share the blame now with the Labour Party, right, by enlisting them in this process and ultimately saying that is both the Conservatives and let's not forget the main opposition party, the Labour Party that together have been unable to come up with a deal here.

VAUSE: So along with Brexit, we now have Brexpert, Brex regrets. And we now have flextension. Let me use it in a sentence. The British prime minister after months of humiliation and a series of bad choices must now go to Brussels on bended knee begging and pleading for a flextension which would allow her to continue to kick the can down the road.

A flextension is defined as a long extension that could be cut short if Parliament finally approves an exit deal. Actually, it's not a bad deal in the sense that actually reassures hardcore Brexiteers within the Conservatives because this fear that a long-term delay which is what she's going to ask for could mean the death of Brexit. The question though is will the Europeans go for it?

THOMAS: Well, the European Union was very clear, you come back to us next week at the latest by April 12, either with the withdrawal agreement or some kind of cross-party agreement. If you don't, then it's quite clear. You have a choice between a no deal or you have a choice between revoking Article 50 unless you can come up with a compelling alternative which clearly they will not be able to do.

So by asking for a flextension, the advantage to that has of course is, A, they're being proactive by coming to the European Union with some kind of solution and B, it takes off the table potentially Article 50 being revoked.

And if it is revoked, the big concern would be whether or not it would ever in the history of the U.K. get a positive vote again to be re- announced or re-declared at some later point down the road. So the flextension offers some kind of hope you could argue for everybody.

VAUSE: Well, so now the earliest that Parliament would be able to vote on a yearly Brexit deal if they can make one is Tuesday because, on Thursday, it rained in Parliament.



JUSTIN MADDERS, LABOUR MP FOR ELLESMERE PORT AND NESTON: Mr. Speaker, I hope I can finish my speech before rain stops play. I think there's probably some kind of simile for how broken Parliament is right now. But let's return to the matter at hand.

LINDSAY HOYLE, HOUSE OF COMMONS DEPUTY SPEAKER: I'm going to suspend the sittings and when we come back, the bells will ring two minutes before we restart. So the sitting is now suspended and no photographs, please.


VAUSE: Yes. The roof is leaking oddly enough because lawmakers keep delaying a major renovation. And that means Parliament actually finished two hours earlier on Thursday so the government can't table a motion to hold a vote until lawmakers return on, which means as soon as they can have a vote on anything it's Tuesday which is the same day Britain must formally tell the E.U. it wants an extension of Article 50.

European leaders I should say, they made it clear that Britain needs a really good reason for extension. A big hole in the roof of Parliament, that's as good as any reason, isn't it?

THOMAS: Well, a big hole in there. I mean there was a big hole in the Titanic too I think, John, from what I remember. So I mean this is -- we know where this is going. It's quite clear at this particular stage.

I mean the element of risk is obviously heightened in unpredictability which can potentially lead to all sorts of dangerous uncalculated outcomes and so on. So no, I think the writing is on the wall where we end up.

And in terms of the European Union, you either leave or you're part of the -- you must take part in the elections and those are understandable red lines. This is the whole process that must move forward here. And so we can see where this is going and perhaps they were saved by the leak.

VAUSE: I wonder what is going to happen tomorrow or Friday, I should say, today.

THOMAS: A new word, John. New word.

VAUSE: New word. Thanks, Dominic.

THOMAS: Cheers, John.

VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, Russia increasing its grip on the Arctic by building a military base right on America's doorstep, an exclusive look, that's next.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Thank you for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines at this hour.


For the first time, Boeing says the anti-stall system on a 737 Max passenger jet played a role in both the Ethiopian and Lion Air crashes. The admission comes after a preliminary report found the automated system repeatedly forced the plane into a dive and the pilots could not regain control.

President Trump back on the attack after some of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team say their report is more damaging to the president than the Barr memo would have you believe. The president again repeating cries of a hoax and a witch hunt. His attorney calling Mueller's team rabid Democrats.

An effort to break the Brexit deadlock seems to have hit an impasse of its own. Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met with -- met for more than four hours on Thursday. A Labour spokesman says Ms. May's unwillingness to move away from her red lines means there will be no more talks, at least for now.

The man accused of committing New Zealand's worst mass shooting in modern history was formally charged in court on Friday. The 28-year- old suspect now faces 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder. He's accused of killing Muslim worshippers in two Christchurch mosques last month. New Zealand has no death penalty, but if convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Journalist Blis Savidge is live this hour in Christchurch.

Bliss, I know that New Zealand has a very tight legal restriction when it comes to reporting an ongoing legal matter inside a court. So with that in mind, what can you tell us about what happened today?

BLIS SAVIDGE, JOURNALIST: Yes. Yes, so the alleged shooter did appear in court Friday morning here. He appeared via audio-visual link. So he was not there physically. He was muted, so anything that he did say, we could not hear, although the only thing he did appear to say was just confirming that he did hear the judge and see the courtroom.

For the most part, besides being handcuffed, he looked generally relaxed, even looking around at some points as if bored. The small courtroom was filled with family members, media, and there's a large security presence both inside and outside of the prison.

Such an unprecedented case. Of course, everybody wants to know what is the maximum sentence that this man could face if found guilty. And we talked to the attorney general's office. While they had no comments specifically on this case, they did confirm to us that the maximum sentence someone can serve is life in prison without parole. Now of course, that's still awhile off.

So as for what's immediately coming up next, a mental evaluation has been ordered, which the judge wanted to stretch (SIC) is very -- stress, is very normal for a case like this. And also the next time that he will be appearing in court is going to be June 14.

VAUSE: Blis, thank you very much. We appreciate the update.

[00:35:06] Russia is pushing rapidly into the Arctic in a bid to gain greater control over the polar region. A modern new base in the far east has just about everything to do with that. And it's closer to Alaska than it is to Moscow.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has this exclusive report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Racing north across the frozen Arctic Sea on a Russian army chopper.

(on camera): The Russians are making a huge effort to upgrade their military infrastructure in the Arctic. Several of their bases are already fully operational; and right now they're flying us to one of their most modern ones.

(voice-over): They call the space Northern Clover. The Russian army has already deployed coastal defense rockets here and specialized Arctic anti-aircraft systems built to perform in the cold.

CAPT. EGOR OGARKOV, RUSSIAN ARMY (through translator): This complex is adapted for much harsher weather conditions of the Arctic. It works in temperatures as low as negative 50 degrees.

PLEITGEN: It's all part of Vladimir Putin's long-term strategy to dominate the Arctic.

(on camera): The space has a clear mission: to defend and enable Russia's interests in the Arctic North. And as the ice here becomes weaker because of global warming, those economic interests are becoming more important.

(voice-over): The Northern Clover base is in a strategic location in Russia's Arctic far east. It seems remote until you look at the world from the top and see that this space is one of Russia's closest to U.S. territory.

The base can house up to 250 soldiers. Aside from its weapons arsenal, it also has high-powered radars to make sure America and its allies don't come close.

Russia is pouring major resources into its Arctic endeavor. It's the only country with a fleet of nuclear ice breakers to open up and control Arctic trade routes that could make trade between Asia and the west much faster and cheaper.

And Russia is already tapping into natural resources in the Arctic like liquid natural gas, even deploying floating nuclear power stations to fuel its Arctic ambitions.

MAJ. VLADIMIR PASECHNIK, RUSSIAN BASE COMMANDER (through translator): Our base performs radar control, monitors the airspace, secures the Northern Sea route, and eliminates damage to the environment.

PLEITGEN: The Trump administration seems woefully in-equipped to counter Russia's Arctic endeavors. While Moscow is expanding and fortifying its position in this vital area, America and its allies lack even the same ice breaking power of Russia's fleet.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, on Kotelny Island in Russia's Arctic north.


VAUSE: How do you become one of the richest women in the world? One way: divorce the world's richest man. Details in a moment on the settlement of the divorce of Amazon CEO from his former wife. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: The world's richest couple has finalized the terms of their divorce, and it's being called the most expensive split of all time.

[00:40:05] Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has agreed that his wife, MacKenzie, will keep 25 percent of their stock in the company. That's worth about $35 billion.

MacKenzie Bezos says she will give her husband voting control over her shares, along with her interest in "The Washington Post" and the space firm Blue Origin.

The couple announced they were splitting back in January.

South Korea says it's now leading the global 5G race. The country is the first in the world to roll out the ultrafast smartphone network nationwide, beating the United States, as well as China.

CNN's Paula Hancocks reports now from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been hearing about 5G for years, about how it's going to be more than ten times faster than 4G; how you'll be able to download an HD movie in a matter of seconds.

For South Korea, it's here.

(voice-over): Samsung is launching its Galaxy S10 phone Friday, and it's the first handset here to be 5G compatible. A coup for the Korean tech company and also a useful litmus test for companies around the world to see how many consumers actually sign up.

The largest telecom operator in South Korea, SK Telecom, launched its plan this week, saying they're aiming for 1 million subscribers by the end of this year.

Eighty-five cities are covered so far, with customers paying between 70 and $115 a month for the updated service.

SK Telecom insists we should believe the hype.


GRAPHIC: Speed that goes beyond our imagination. Latency (transmission speed) that exceeds our expectations. I think 5G will provide experiences above and beyond.

HANCOCKS: SK Telecom and rival KT are highlighting what 5G could mean for VR, virtual reality, and AR, augmented reality.

Sitting with your friends at a baseball match without actually going to the match or even being in the same city as your friends. The smallest provider, LG U+, has 18,00 5G units across the country.

They're the only ones using technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei, who's currently locked in legal battles with the United States.

The Trump administration has been pushing allies to remove Huawei technology from their networks, claiming the company is too close to the Chinese government.

(on camera): South Korea may be the first, but it's also somewhat of a guinea pig. Many countries around the world will be watching this rollout very carefully to see how many customers actually sign up.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


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