Return to Transcripts main page


Protesters Keep Up Demands After Fall Of Omar al-Bashir; Pompeo In South America To Boost U.S. Position; Trump Denies Offering Pardons To Homeland Security Officials; President Set To Meet With Winning Parties; Violence Part Of Life For Kashmir Residents; WikiLeaks Founder's Lonely Life In Ecuadorian Embassy. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired April 14, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] RICK FOLBAUM, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum filling in this Sunday for Becky

Anderson. Thanks for joining us. And we begin this hour in Sudan where protesters aren't backing down. They have already seen the fall of a

dictator the military toppled President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday putting an end to his three-decade-long rule.

But now the strong man's former generals are in charge. They are running the country in what they say as a transitional military council, and they

have promised eventual civilian rule but it could take two years they say, and that's too long for many. CNN's Farai Sevenzo is live in the region in

Nairobi, Kenya. Farai, things moving so quickly in Sudan. Bring us up to date.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. Since I last spoke to you, Rick, this Sunday is a Palm Sunday. And of course the Palm Sunday,

Sudan has a lot of different faiths and many of them are Catholics. And -- but the point is that all those churchgoers wanted to have a mass at the

military headquarters where all these protesters had been had been -- had been gathering.

And of course, the the the truth of the matter is now the story and indeed the entire Sudan episode is now being seen by the international community.

Earlier on today we heard encouraging noises from Saudi Arabia saying they stand with the brother countries in the Sudan. Then of course. the United

Arab Emirates issued a statement, everyone, Egypt as well.

Remember all of these people were great supporters of Omar al-Bashir and they see this transitional council as a thing moving forward. But on the

other hand the Sudanese Professional Association, the umbrella body comprising of many other people like political parties, lawyers, activists,

doctors, they are all saying no, let's wait and see.

And it remains to be seen whether or not the new man left General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has been accepted by everybody. It doesn't seem likely

because the protest are continuing. Let me just read to you a little bit of the Sudanese Professional Associations statement. They are saying a

revolution that we gave our lives and blood too. We defend our own revolution country. We shouldn't let them play us as fools. If we believe

them, then we betray everything we have given to this revolution.

And they're saying the only safe space to be is at that military headquarters to make their point that they want a quicker transition than

two years with the military and a transition as soon as possible to civilian government.

Now, where does this leave us? It leaves us in a situation where the government -- the transition or military government is still trying very

hard to open this idea of a dialogue between all stakeholders. But the problem is Sudan has suffered many grievances under the military and trust

is not cheap on the ground as far as these proteases are concerned.

And remember what the flesh wounds that the country still has. We're talking about the Nuba Mountains, we're talking about flushes in the

(INAUDIBLE) region and the four many -- the scene of many killings which prompted, of course, the International Criminal Court to confer charges of

war crimes on Mr. Omar al-Bashir.

And then again you consider his, Rick, that all that military council may well have been tainted by that dark history.

FOLBAUM: Talk to us, Farai, about the military rule there, the council, and how they're treating the protesters.

SEVENZO: The things have gone completely full circle. I mean, you know, 48 hours ago we were talking about Ibn Auf, the former vice president and

former minister of defense in the al-Bashir government imposing a one-month curfew. That curfew was scrapped on Saturday by his successor General

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and he said there's no more curfew. And we know as well that it was floated so readily by the protesters.

But how they are treating them, to answer your question, there is a kind of a kid gloves approach, a conciliatory approach, idea that all prisoners

will be released and anybody who was hurt or killed out during this purchase, they're going to get to the bottom of it.

Of course, it remains to be seen what action, what real action they're going to take to make that happen because if you remember, December 2018 up

until April the 11th, 78 had died. And then on the actual day but Omar al- Bashir fell from power, 13 people lost their lives including all across the country.

So it's a question of regaining the people's trust in order for this military council to move ahead and also regaining the trust of the Sudanese

Professional Association. We'll keep watching it for you.

FOLBAUM: All right, Farai, thanks very much. Farai Sevenzo in the region there in Nairobi for us. Let's go straight to Khartoum, Sudan now and

journalists Reem Abbas is joining us live. She's been covering and actually participating as well in the protest. And it's so great to be

able to talk to you, someone who has been there on the ground. And why don't you describe for us what it's like as history is literally being made

there in Sudan?

[11:05:15] REEM ABBAS, JOURNALIST: It's great. There are millions of people on the streets, and people have been on the streets now for four

months since last Saturday so it's been eight days now and people have been camping out in front of the army headquarters in millions.

So you find you know children, you find older people, you find people from all over Sudan from all you know, social classes and different backgrounds

camping there. People are bringing food, they're bringing water. They are -- they're performing theater, plays, they are singing, they're chanting,

they're organizing, they're mobilizing on the ground.

So it is absolutely great right now and people are making history and they are continuing to make history actually. Right now they are still on the


FOLBAUM: And we see these pictures, it looks like a very celebratory mood there on the ground in Sudan. Talk to us about what life had been like

during the long reign of al-Bashir.

ABBAS: It was -- his era was marked with terror actually the people were scared. He -- when he came to power, he dissolved everything, the

political parties, the National Assembly, all the laws and then we had new oppressive and discriminatory laws in place.

His era was also marked with conflict. He waged conflict all over Sudan in different areas and people were just under a lot of terror. They could not

speak. There was no freedom of the press All the newspapers were free read basically and censored by the national security. There was a lot of -

- the security group was very, very, very tight, OK.

And at the end of the day also people suffered economically because all the resources were actually poured into the security and the military

operators and all the other different sectors whether it's education and health care was absolutely missed knowledge and neglected.

So people lived a very difficult economic situation and under a lot of security threats because of the ongoing conflict and because you could get

arrested anytime actually.

FOLBAUM: And yet he ruled for almost 30 years. So Reem, what was the tipping point? What finally led to the uprising that we're watching unfold

right now?

ABBAS: I think a number of issues. I mean, Bashir was smart. He knew how to maneuver the you know, regional and geopolitical situation. But at the

same time the economy was in shambles for a very long time specialists in South Sudan got its independence. But things got particularly rough last

year. People who would kill for days to get petroleum outside (AUDIO GAP).

And people had no access to basic food items and the economy was in a state of disarray. And he could not do anything about it because his government

was mismanaged and corrupted. So I think the economic situation was definitely one of the tipping points, and also because he kept reshuffling

the cabinet promising people solutions and then nothing would happen.

So people got to a point where they believed that this government is incapable of finding solutions to their problems and they just have to go.

FOLBAUM: Reem Abbas is a journalist, she's also a participant in the protests that have been taking place in Sudan. Reem, very good to talk to

you. Thanks so much for your perspective.

ABBAS: Thank you.

FOLBAUM: Turning our attention now to South America and the political crisis that continues to grip Venezuela. The U.S. Secretary of State will

be visiting aid groups just across the border in Colombia later today. Mike Pompeo is now in Peru, one of several stops in the region to gain

support for President Trump's position on Venezuela.

Meantime, Venezuela is embattled leader Nicolas Maduro calling for one million more people to join his country's military. He told a crowd in

Caracas that he expects more than three million troops by December of this year. David McKenzie covering developments from the Venezuelan capital,

Caracas. Good to talk to you, David.

So U.S. pressure, Mike Pompeo there in the region. Is it leading to any results, any changes on the ground in Venezuela?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No changes at this stage, Rick. And certainly, the U.S. administration is trying to push the

pressure, pile on the pressure with sanctions and also gathering together from their perspective the regional pressure on Nicolas Maduro to step


But on Saturday, he held this massive rally, an anniversary of an attempted coup against previous President Hugo Chavez where you saw these tens of

thousands of civilian militia lining up in the military base here in Caracas listening to a speech where he called as you said, for a million

more to join that group of counter quasi-military, quasi-civilian militia to support him, a power base of his regime.

We went earlier to a rally in support of Maduro and here's what people had to say about the upcoming trip of the Secretary of State to the border.


[11:10:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To Pompeo, take your hands out of here. Stop with the conspiracy. Stop with the conspiracies

and let us deal with our things on our own. To the people of the U.S., we love you but we don't want any imperials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These people are respected. Venezuela is respected. We don't want anyone to get into our internal

problems. We are in solidarity with all the countries in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thinking that South America will give up, we will keep fighting to the end, Pompeo. Don't think we are



MCKENZIE: And the time that I've been here certainly many people have expressed support for the opposition, not the regime. But there you had

some voices for those who've seem to still be loyal to the president. Juan Guaido, the opposition leader, self-declared president was in the west of

the country meeting supporters. And that part of the country, Rick, there have been terrible blackouts and still water shortages. Rick?

FOLBAUM: I'm wondering, David, about Maduro's call to arms, his request for people to volunteer, to enlist in the military. How are people

responding to that?

MCKENZIE: Well, this is more a request for people to join civilian militia. It's not entirely unique to Venezuela but it was interesting to

see many of those were elderly or elder people, they had weapons but with no magazines or ammunition in them. It's kind of a support political

militia not necessarily groupie people who would rush onto the streets and fight for the regime.

But it does show, Rick, that he wants to solidify his political support base with you know hand me out and the opposition would say, buying of

loyalty. We will also add in the west of the country, in the oil centric region of Venezuela, it was quite shocking to see the collapse of that



MCKENZIE: Venezuelan oil workers giving us a rare look inside their crumbling industry. They brought us to the Salinas oil fields. It's risky

speaking out they could be fired or detained by Venezuelan intelligence. But they want the truth to get out.

Populism finished all of this he says, do you see this, nothing works anymore. The government finished us completely.

They say successive Venezuelan regimes use state oil company PDVSA as a slush fund for socialist programs and their own personal gain. This entire

coastline is just covered in oil sludge. The regime blames the collapse of the oil industry on the U.S. that it's been collapsing for years.

Trump administration sanctions could make it worse. The U.S. PDVSA's biggest customer. In March, the U.S. bought zero barrels of oil, the first

time since the 70s. And the retired oil workers who helped build this company say they gave decades of their lives for almost nothing. Some say

they are forced to eat dog food. They say their pensions worth around $5.00 a month.

It's outrageous, outrageous. Look at us, he says. We don't have money for medication, for food. Soon we'll have to bring our dead colleagues to this


Normal, well normal if you're living in this country, he says.

I want America to take out Maduro, to get him out of here, he says. He's stealing from the people. He's taken food from us. Now they're taking for

themselves. Last week looters ransacked this pharmacy looking for medicine.

In nearby Maracaibo, a mob spent two days tearing a hotel apart. They even ripped out the carpets. The true scale of Venezuela's crisis becomes clear

when the sun sets. Business leaders say it's like The Walking Dead, a zombie economy with 80 percent of businesses closed here. In this energy

rich region, people are left to shelter in their homes in darkness.


MCKENZIE: Well, you know, Rick, this part of the country people called the bubble because they have managed to return services to some degree like

power and water to the capital, obviously a priority of the regime. But outside of Caracas it certainly is still a dire situation. Rick?

FOLBAUM: And David, we heard from that man in your report who said he wishes the U.S. would get rid of Maduro. And that is part of the U.S.

policy. They'd like to see him go and see a new government come in. Is there -- has there been any movement on that front? Is the U.S. succeeding

in its attempt to have regime change?

[11:15:04] MCKENZIE: Well, the short answer is no. At this stage the U.S. is not succeeding in pushing Maduro out. They have increased sanctions

every week it seems. New sanctions are put particularly against the oil industry and they've implored the military to defect from the Maduro


You saw that kind of flood of defectors earlier on this year. That's now turned into a trickle of people going over to Colombia. I'm sure the

Secretary of State will point out at the border today that this is still a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. But from the political perspective, you

do hear noises now from the U.S. administration and even the opposition here in Venezuela that this could be a long fight from their perspective to

push the president out.

Certainly, this weekend, looking at those thousands of people on the streets supporting the president, it doesn't appear that he's going anytime


FOLBAUM: David McKenzie live for us in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. David, thanks very much. While the U.S. is pledging money to countries

hosting Venezuelan refugees back at home, President Donald Trump is doubling down on the threat of a controversial immigration policy where he

says he might send undocumented immigrants if Democrats don't back his plans. That's ahead.

Plus, the list of challengers to Trump's presidency keeps on growing. How a little-known mayor from the U.S. Midwest may have a real shot at the

Democratic nomination. What is driving his popularity? Don't go away.


FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum. Welcome back. U.S. President Donald Trump is floating an

immigration policy that is being roundly criticized as using migrants as political pawns. He's threatening to dump undocumented immigrants into so-

called sanctuary cities and claims "absolute legal right to do so." Those are cities which limit their cooperation with immigration enforcement.

Critics say Mr. Trump is using the move to retaliate against border wall opponents. He tweeted, "Democrats must change the immigration laws fast,

if not sanctuary cities must immediately act to take care of the illegal immigrants." And he's making the claims despite questions about the

possibly -- the policy's legality and his own administration rejecting the idea.

Meantime, President Trump is denying reports that he offered pardons to homeland security officials. This after Mr. Trump reportedly told the

Customs and Border chief that he would pardon him if he was jailed for blocking asylum seekers from entering into the United States. That would

be a violation of U.S. law according to some.

Mr. Trump tweeted his denial saying that it's his right to close the border and that he might still do it. The President writes "it is all fake and

corrupt news," a common refrain from the U.S. President. CNN Political Analyst and friend of the show Julian Zelizer joining us now from New York.

Julian, always good to talk to you.

Is the President right? Does he have the law on his side when it comes to closing the borders or transporting migrants to these so-called sanctuary


JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He does have a lot more leeway using executive power than many Democrats are going to be comfortable with.

Obviously, this can be challenged in the courts. Congress can over -- also use its oversight power to try to stop him. But I think we've seen with

the national emergency declaration for example, the president can go pretty far especially when he has Republican support in the Senate.

FOLBAUM: Let's talk about this whole pardon question. As we take a look at a map here these are sanctuary cities that are spread out among many

regions in the United States mostly close to the border. On the question of pardons though, because it was unclear according to reports whether the

president was joking when he offered a pardon to the U.S. border official. But explained a president's pardon powers and why this has so many of his

critics up in arms.

ZELIZER: The President does have the power to pardon people for federal crimes. Usually it's a right that is reserved and used at the end of the

presidency for symbolic purposes to free someone who has been in jail for something that is no longer you know, considered to be criminal or other

reasons. This is very different.

This is about -- if this story is true, the President essentially telling a member of his -- of his cabinet to go ahead and do it what is necessary

even if it violates the law and he will protect them with the pardon. Most people would agree that is not a legitimate use of presidential power.

That's an abuse of power.

Again, we don't know if the story is true nor do we know if Congress would take action.

FOLBAUM: All right, so a lot of questions on that. Julian, let's talk about another topic that's raising controversy. It's over comments that a

freshman lawmaker Congresswoman Ihan Omar made back in March to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Take a listen.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I'm tired of it and every single

Muslim in this country should be tired of it. Here was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us

were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.


FOLBAUM: It's "the some people did something" that is getting a lot of people upset. The President meantime, posted a video, Julian, with those

words "some people did something" spliced with images of the 9/11 terror attack. And Democrats say that the congresswoman's words are being taken

out of context, that Mr. Trump is inciting violence against her, against Muslims in the country, and she's really no stranger to controversy. Why

is she become such a lightning rod?

ZELIZER: Well, she used some comments earlier on that many people thought were anti-Semitic tropes. She apologized for this. They were in the

context of criticizing a U.S. policy towards Israel. He or she was talking about bias and attacks on Muslims and again her words became a problem.

She's been threatened, her life has been threatened including by people who mimic the President's own words. She has been a focus of attack on Fox

News and other conservative media outlets. So what people were reacting to was the President putting this video of her and then the 9/11 attacks and

that that can really be a dangerous thing for the President to do.

And so I think even though not everyone agrees with the words she chooses, many are taken aback by his putting up that tweet.

FOLBAUM: Let's turn our attention now to the 2020 presidential race because it's already packed with Democratic candidates who would like to be

able to oppose President Trump in the next presidential election in the U.S. Still someone named Pete Buttigieg is expected to officially announce

his candidacy in the coming hour as he's someone that folks around the world might not be super familiar with, a lot of Americans aren't super

familiar with him either.

But you right, Julian, it looks like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a married gay millennial whom few voters had heard of until a few months ago now has a

real shot at the Democratic nomination. Who would have thought that the Mayor of South Bend, the fourth largest city in Indiana could compete in

one of the most crowded primary fields ever? So what's behind Mayor Pete's growing popularity?

ZELIZER: Part of it is in many ways, he's the antithesis of President Trump. He's very deliberative when he speaks. He's very intelligent, well

educated, and he thinks through problems and makes kind of logical fact- based arguments.

I think there's some appeal in looking to something different than the president. He's also a bit of an enigma. Moderates like him and see him

as someone who can win in a broad part of the electorate, yet he says things that are pretty left wing. He's for Medicare for all, he's for

expanding the size of the Supreme Court, he's called for the abolition of the electorate college.

And so he has the unique ability, a little like Barack Obama did in 2008 to say many things to different people but actually broadens his support

rather than narrow it. And many Democrats feel this is a moment of crisis and disillusionment because of our current president. So I think they're

looking for someone not simply who can fight, but who they can believe in.

FOLBAUM: So Buttigieg officially jumping into the race today. There are well over a dozen Democratic candidates who are vying for the nomination

and we're still a year away. So who stands out to you, at the moment? Is there such a thing as picking too soon since the primaries aren't going to

begin for some months now?

ZELIZER: Well, I don't know if old rules apply anymore. I think we've seen our political system and the media coverage of the system. It's all

changed. And we don't really know what dynamics work and don't. Look, there's certain prominent figures like Bernie Sanders and possibly Senator

-- Joe Biden, former Vice President who are still front runners. They're polling well and they have the capacity to raise money.

There's Buttigieg who is like Beto O'Rourke, less known but attracting a lot of interest. And then there's candidates like Senator Warren and

Kamala Harris. And Harris, in particular, is putting on a strong campaign. She's someone to keep an eye out in terms of how she's polling, her money,

and the overall package that she brings to the campaign I think in many ways could make everyone happy which is what candidates are looking to do.

FOLBAUM: Julian Zelizer, always great to have you on. Thank you so much for your insight.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

FOLBAUM: And, of course, you can read Julian's piece on why Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana is emerging as a formidable

candidate. He may not be well known in the United States, let alone globally, but being a bit of a mystery seems to be working in his favor.

You'll find that on

Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the wheeling and dealing is underway in Israel to try to put together a coalition government, but where might

corruption charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fit into the process? We'll go live to Israel. Plus, here in the U.S., roofs, walls,

ripped off. A trail of deadly destruction and the worst, according to forecasters, is likely yet to come. We'll be right back.


[11:31:46] FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum. Welcome back on this Sunday. In Israel, the election is

over but the deal-making is just getting started to form a new government. Israel's president will be meeting with all parties that won seats last

week about their financial and their legislative priorities.

Benjamin Netanyahu is heading towards a fifth term as prime minister with a slim majority. Expect to be made up of a coalition of right-wing and

religious parties. One big complication, though Mr. Netanyahu has corruption charges hanging over him.

Oren Liebermann is watching the process unfold in Jerusalem, and he joins us now. And Oren, those legal issues didn't seem to hurt the prime

minister in last week's elections. How will they play a role if any as he tries to form a government?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: So, as all of the parties going and prepare for this meeting with the president, they're also trying

to think about what demands they will make of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is, of course, expected to be the one named after this

process of meeting with the president, as the one who will form the next government: the next prime minister.

In essence, these smaller parties will then say, "All right, we'll support you for prime minister if you give us this. And that's how these demands

will work. Right now, all of those parties are talking amongst themselves trying to figure out if they should unite -- to increase their chances of

extracting demands from Netanyahu.

Crucially, Netanyahu is also doing the same thing except in reverse as those criminal investigations hanging over his head. He can then say to

the parties, "I will give you this if you promise to protect me if there's an indictment filed against me later on this summer, or later on this


And that's what we're looking for. Does he try to advance some sort of legislation or put together a coalition that would protect him from

possible indictment after a preliminary hearing expected sometime this summer? And that's all part of the background of what's happening here.

You're absolutely right, Rick that Netanyahu won the election and did very well in the election with those investigations hanging over his head, but

that doesn't mean they've suddenly gone away.

FOLBAUM: Let's talk about this coalition and what it might look like. Because we know that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to have to join

forces with some very conservative right-wing factions in Israel. What does that mean for peace in the region or a lack of peace in the region?

LIEBERMANN: So, let's talk about what the coalition looks like first, he's likely to create a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties two of them,

as well as the smaller right-wing parties.

The ultra-Orthodox parties don't really have political demands or demands on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or a peace process. They basically

have religious red lines, don't desecrate or violate the Sabbath in their eyes or passed laws or policies that in their view, offend in some way


So, those are their demands, and they're going to -- they're probably going to be the second and third biggest party in this coalition.

The smaller right-wing parties, two of the three we're looking at are -- it could support some sort of a peace process. It's unclear exactly what

concessions they may be willing to make. The crucial party is this smaller third party. That's the far-right party called the union of right-wing

parties. And in the elections, they said, look, we're going to join a right-wing coalition. Specifically, to make sure the Trumps peace plan

doesn't go anywhere.

So, that's their demand here and they will keep essentially, shouting that out as this process continues. What does a peace process look like? I

don't think anyone is hopeful right now. I don't think anyone here on the Israeli side or the Palestinian side is optimistic that Trump's peace plan,

whenever it comes out, they may come out in the first few weeks -- in the next few weeks, is actually going to get some sort of traction in terms of

moving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one direction or another.

[11:35:10] FOLBAUM: Netanyahu, trying to form a government in Israel. Oren Liebermann, live for us in Jerusalem. Oren, thanks very much.

Now, to the elections underway in India, the world's largest democracy, 900 million people are eligible to cast ballots in a process that takes nearly

six weeks. Now, a decades-old conflict with Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir is dominating voter concerns. CNN's Nikhil Kumar recently traveled

to the region where violence remains part of everyday life.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: In the shadow of the line of control, the de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir region

between India and Pakistan, a protest.

These locals in Indian-controlled Kashmir want bunkers to protect them as the two nuclear powers continue to fire artillery shells at each other.

Just weeks after an aerial dogfight, the first such confrontation in almost five decades threatened all-out war.

The driving impulse behind these protests just kilometers from the de facto border is fear, fear of cross-border shelling that's already maimed or

killed innocent civilian.

Innocents like 32-year-old Mohamad Dreyad. His voice cracking, he tells me a shell struck his border home in late February. Shrapnel ripped open his

abdomen, his intestines spilled out.

And 16-year-old Mohammad Ansar, the fear in his eyes, this black head- wound, the result of shelling in mid-March. His brothers, both 10, and his mother were also injured.

Are you still scared? "We're still very scared," he says. "Every time I hear a loud noise, I panic."

India and Pakistan have already fought multiple wars over Kashmir. Now, as India votes in its general elections, the conflict here has become a

campaign talking point.


KUMAR: India's nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding up the recent air skirmishes as proof that he is strong on defense.

The tensions were sparked by February car bomb attack on Indian forces, in which India says Pakistan had a "direct hand". Pakistan rubbishes India's

claims. As politicians grandstand, fear stalks ordinary Kashmiris.

For people here, violence is nothing new. The Line of Control, the sight of so many armed showdowns between India and Pakistan is right there

nestled in those mountains. But residents say, the shelling hasn't been this bad for several years.

Babur Ali and his family fled their border village earlier this month. A hail of shells drove them out. Huddled together in temporary housing in

the biting Kashmiri cold, they tell me they don't know when they can return home.

"We were having lunch when the shelling started. The children were terrified. We had to flee," he says. "We had to leave our home, our

possessions, everything. We had no choice."

With Kashmir still tense, they become refugees in their own land. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, Indian-controlled Kashmir.


FOLBAUM: Now, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. In Libya, the World Health Organization says, at

least, 121 people have been killed since fighting broke out a week ago.

And UNICEF says, fighting between the forces of a renegade general and the U.N. backed government is putting more than half a million children at


It's now five years since more than 200 girls were abducted from a boarding school in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants. The mass kidnapping triggered

the Bring Back Our Girls movement, you may remember that. More than 100 of the young women have since been freed.

Nigeria's president has promised to rescue all the remaining girls. But some are believed to have been killed or forced to marry their militant


American Airlines says it will extend flight cancelations into mid-August because of the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. That's in

anticipation of the busy summer travel season. The plane was grounded after two recent crashes killed more than 350 people.

Some 80 million people across the U.S. are under a severe weather threat this Sunday as powerful storms head east. Tornadoes, hail, life-

threatening wind, all in the forecast.

And here in Atlanta, Georgia, already three people have been killed across the south, in Texas, and Louisiana. Meteorologist Allison Allison Chinhar,

tracking the storm for us. This is a dangerous system, isn't it, Allison?

[11:39:46] ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It really is, Rick, when you look at what it's done over the last 24 hours, all of these dots here

indicate a severe weather report. We've had over 100 of them in just the last 24 hours. 17 of those have been reported tornadoes. Now, again, when

we talk about a lot of the damage that's taken place with this, this same line that caused that damage yesterday is pushing further east and also to

the north.

We have tornado watches in effect for three states, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. And even some warnings embedded within that line. Now, as it

pushes east, the main threats for severe weather today extend from New York State, all the way down to Florida. With the bullseye kind of being right

in the middle of that, where you see the orange color.

The threats themselves will remain the same that we had yesterday. Damaging winds, the potential for very large hail. We had numerous reports

of baseball sized hail yesterday out of Texas. And then, also, the potential for some isolated tornadoes.

Here is a look at the system as it moves forward. This is the main line that we've been watching. But this skinny line that begins to form, that's

a potential redevelopment right along the front as well. So, not just one wave, but perhaps, two waves for a lot of these cities looking at the

potential for some strong to severe storms.

For the places like Washington, D.C. Raleigh, the main threat is this afternoon for a place like New York City. The main threat is actually

going to be overnight tonight. But for a lot of cities in the U.S., if you have any travel plans today, please check with your carrier.

Chicago, for example, the main concern here is actually going to be a bit of wintry mix, rain, and snow that could cause some delays. But for cities

like Cincinnati, Atlanta, Raleigh, Washington, D.C., and even New York, the main threat is going to be those strong to severe thunderstorms that are


Also, one other thing, this is a particular line of storms making its way just south of Atlanta. But it's pushing towards Augusta, Georgia. Now,

the reason this is important is the Masters is taking place today.

Now, they did push up some of those times to try to get as much play in as possible before the storms arrive, but they're going to be cutting it

awfully close. Once we get to say around 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 in the afternoon, Rick, that's when we really expect those stronger thunderstorms

to push back in. The question is, can they finish up the play before those stronger storms actually arrive?

FOLBAUM: Yes, and you think about all of the fans, all the people that are there watching the tournament. And you certainly don't want any of them to

be put in harm's way. So, I'm sure that the organizers of the Masters are keeping a very close eye on the -- on the weather.

CHINCHAR: Yes, they are, indeed. And they've made the announcement that if severe weather is approaching, they will try to give as much as an

hour's notice to those fans that are out there so they can get in their vehicles or some other place that's safe so that they don't have to be out

in those storms.

FOLBAUM: Allison Chinchar, live for us. Allison, thanks very much. Well, those storms across the U.S. as Allison was talking about, they have not

dampened the electricity of the golf -- golf's Masters Tournament, the first major of the year.

The final round as Allison mentioned is now underway. And Augusta, Georgia players teeing off in groups of three early Sunday to try to squeeze in the

finale before the storms roll in. There's Tiger Woods there.

The competition for Tiger and the other golfers could not be much tighter. Several players have the lead in sight, including Mr. Woods. CNN's "WORLD

SPORT" host, Don Riddell, joining us now from Augusta National.

It looks kind of nice behind you, but they've moved up play. Talk to us about the conditions as they stand right now, Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, really kind of a very unusual feel to Master, Sunday, because it's not even noon and the round is already half

over. Very, very strange situation here, of course, as you've been discussing with Allison, we all know the reasons for it.

The breeze is definitely picking up here. As you can see, it is fairly overcast, it's cooler than it was yesterday. It was like 85 degrees

yesterday, but you can definitely sense that the storm is coming, and those groups really do want to get finished up if they can before this weather

system hits. Especially, given the fact that the organizers have said, they will give this hours' worth of notice to clear the patrons from the


As it stands, it is fascinating and it is delicately poised. Francesco Molinari, the Italian star still leads the tournament on a score of 13

under par. He made only a second bogey of the week a short time ago, but he recovered immediately with a birdie on the next hole. He's just a

stroke ahead of Tiger Woods.

There is no doubt who the patrons want to succeed here this week. So much support for Tiger Woods out on the course. He's had a mixed round, it's

been up and down but he's there, 12 under par as they approach the turn and as they prepare to head into Amen Corner. He's the only a shot behind, so,

it could happen.

Remember, Tiger has only won one tournament in the last six years. Admittedly, that was the Tour Championship in Atlanta at the end of last

season. He hasn't won a major for more than a decade. He hasn't won a Masters title. He has won four of them, but none since 2005. So, this

would be among one of the greatest all-time comebacks in sport if he can pull it off.

He certainly believes he can, he's playing like he can. I think the big question is: will Molinari falter or not? Because Molinari has had a

brilliant run in the last year, he is the Open Champion, he was superb in the Ryder Cup, and this guy seems to be made of steel.

But, with nine or 10 holes to play, it is still what to play for. Rick, back to you.

[11:45:14] FOLBAUM: Talk to us about Tiger's game. What is it as you watch him, Don, that has made the difference. You know, he has struggled

so much, and with injuries, and other things over the last decade or so, how has he been able to turn it around so well?

RIDDELL: Well, I mean, he's had all these back surgeries. And evidently, the last one was successful. I saw him in New York for the Presidents Cup

about 18 months ago. And given that, 18 months ago, not that long ago. And he sat in front of the media and said, "I'm not even sure I can hit a

golf ball again. I'm not even sure I can compete."

And to see what he's done since, it's just remarkable. He's obviously had to completely readjust the way he approaches things rather than trying to

play on the tour all year, he now tries to just peak for four events of the season, the four majors.

He was hampered by the fact that because of his back, he can't be out there practicing as hard as he used to. And he admits that some areas suffer as

a result of that. Notably, his putting. Some of his putts this week have been off, especially, the shorter putts. Ironically, he's been making the

longer putts.

But he just seems so focused. I mean you can see that look in his eye. He is not being distracted by anything, he is all business. He said earlier

in the week that he doesn't need to win a Masters title again, but he would certainly want to win one. And given all the experience, he's got around

this course you certainly wouldn't count him out.

FOLBAUM: Lot of golf fans in Augusta, and around the world would like to see him win as well. Don Riddell live for us in Augusta, Georgia. And

Don, we'll have much more for you from Augusta coming up on "WORLD SPORT". That's in about 20 minute's time.

Still ahead, as Julian Assange sits in limbo in a London prison, we take a look inside how the WikiLeaks founder spent the past few years before his

arrests last week.


FOLBAUM: Welcome back. The lawyer for Julian Assange speaking out after the WikiLeaks founder's dramatic arrest. She says that Ecuador is lying

about Assange's behavior while he lived inside their Embassy in London. Take a listen.


JEN ROBINSON, ATTORNEY FOR JULIAN ASSANGE: Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an

unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy.

Now, the politics of the case with respect to Ecuador changed with the change of government with Lenin Moreno, coming to power. And ever since

then, inside the embassy, it's become more and more difficult --


FOLBAUM: Meantime, Assange's father tells the Herald Sun that the WikiLeaks founder is should be allowed to go back to his birth country of

Australia and that Australia's government should help to make that happen. He also says that he is shocked at his son's appearance after the arrest,

We're learning more about Assange's seven years stay in the embassy in London before he was forced out. Salma Abdelaziz explores his life there

and the bizarre behavior that he is accused of displaying.


[11:50:09] SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL FIELD PRODUCER: In the summer of 2012, Julian Assange arrived here, the Ecuadorian embassy in


The WikiLeaks founder would not again step foot outside the property for nearly seven long years. His home became a roughly 200 square foot room,

where he kept a workspace, treadmill, and bed alongside all his personal possessions.

This footage is of an artist's replica of that room. The living conditions were challenging. Fidel Narvaez, the former consul of Ecuador and a friend

of Assange, said.

FIDEL NARVAEZ, FORMER CONSUL, ECUADOR: It's an apartment suitable for offices. It's not a residence. Some adaptations need to be done.

ABDELAZIZ: From his tiny space, Assange found ways to stay busy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you decide to do your own show --

ABDELAZIZ: He launched a show on a Russian-state T.V. network in 2012. And entertained celebrity supporters from Lady Gaga to Pamela Anderson. He

even got a tie-wearing cat named James to help him pass the time. But, his supporters say, it was a lonely existence.

JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: This is a big free that cannot be denied.

ABDELAZIZ: Other than his occasional balcony statements, Assange rarely got sunlight or fresh air. He complained in a 2014 interview of the impact

on his wellbeing.

ASSANGE: We need is an environment in which (INAUDIBLE) because we find so (INAUDIBLE) off with certain difficulties.

ABDELAZIZ: The conditions took a toll on the 47-year-old. He suffered shoulder pain, depression, and a toothache.

NARVAEZ: It was a very, very hard and difficult environment for him to cope for so long.

ABDELAZIZ: In 2018, Ecuador's newly elected president, Lenin Moreno, imposed a new set of rules on Assange. No phones, no internet, and only

visits from his lawyers.

NARVAEZ: That's a very, very huge difference between the first six years and the last one. He was isolated.

ABDELAZIZ: Assange did not respond well to the changes. Ecuadorian officials accused Assange of aggressive and hostile behavior. One minister

said Assange had smeared a feces on the walls. He had gone for one sad man to an unwanted house guest. Finally out of the embassy, Assange's fate

lies in the hands of U.K. authorities. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


FOLBAUM: Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, this Korean boy band has just made history. There they are. BTS taking the world by storm, and they

have just conquered a first for U.S. television. We'll tell you about it.


[11:55:13] FOLBAUM: And in today's "PARTING SHOTS", a world first for Korean boy band BTS. It's become the first K-pop group ever to perform on

the American television show, "Saturday Night Live".

Once again, the group is propelling their musical genre to new heights. BTS is expected to smash international sales charts. Pre-orders have

already topped three million. And clearly, I need to get some hair dye or something.

You can always follow the story as the team is working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page,

I'm Rick Folbaum. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, from the team here in Atlanta, Abu Dhabi, and London. Thanks for watching.