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Latest on Sri Lanka Bombings Investigation; Cyclone Kenneth Hits Mozambique; Joe Biden Enters Crowded Democratic Field; Emmanuel Macron's Problems Detailed; Sources: North Korea Billed U.S. $2 Million for Warmbier's Care; Kremlin: First Putin-Kim Summit Was Constructive; China Redeveloping Former U.S. Base in Philippines. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired April 26, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause and you're watching CNN News room. Ahead this hour, confusion amid the carnage.
The death toll from the terror attacks in Sri-Lanka revised down by about 100. As authorities warn more suspects may still be on the run. Plus, a little more than a month after the deadliest and costliest storm in Mozambique's history and even more powerful cyclone strikes to come.
And he's branding himself not only as the best candidate to beat Donald Trump but the one who'd beat him at fist fight as well. Joe Biden announces his third run for the White House in very Joe Biden style.
Authorities in Sri-Lanka are asking Muslim's to avoid public gatherings during Friday prayers and the Prime Minister has warned the terrorism threat has not passed and there is still the potential for more attacks.
At least 70 people have been detained suspected of helping the suicide bombers who targeted churches and hotels on Easter Sunday. The death toll has been lowered significantly from 359 to 253.
They say many of the victims' bodies were just severally damaged. Police (ph) also says investigators found bomb making plans as well as the component at a house which was raided south of the capital.
We get the very latest now on the investigation from CNN's Will Ripley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN REPORTER: Are you guys with the FBI? The answer comes later from Sri Lankan police who tell us these four silent men are with the FBI. Driving off in an SUV with diplomatic plates on the trail of a terror network. The front gate is partially open then quickly closed as we pull up to the house on Sharif (ph) lane. Police and neighbors say this is a rental. The owner hasn't lived for years. The new neighbors moved in about two months ago, offering 40,000 rupees -- about $230 a month.
Twice the normal asking price. Police won't allow us inside the house but they did describe what it looks like inside. They said there was evidence that people had been living there, things like clothing scattered around, but no beds.
They found bomb making materials but most of them had been cleared out. There wasn't even any food in the kitchen. It seems like who was ever in there they were there to work. Police say the items found inside included packaging for ball bearings, batteries, and designs for bombs.
This neighbor doesn't want to show his face. People in the neighborhood tend to keep their doors open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
RIPLEY: Tend to be friendly. Did these people do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
RIPLEY: What did they do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were just inside. They don't speak much they were just very silent.
RIPLEY: A.A.B. Haefi (ph) lives next door. He says the new neighbors were clean cut with short beards. They blended in. How many people would go in and out of house.
A.A.B. HAEFI (PH): Two person I see.
RIPLEY: Two men.
HAEFI (ph) : Two men yes.
RIPLEY: Neighbors were shocked when Sri Lankan security forces raided the house late Sunday afternoon. Hours after the horrorific bombing attacks on three churches and three hotels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE : They came and they searched around and they came here and there, they searched everywhere. And they just go inside they told us too go behind.
RIPLEY: Our camera catches a glimpse of two police canines. We're told there bomb sniffing dogs.
HAEFI: I'm scared yes.
RIPLEY: You are scared?
HAEFI (PH): Of course. RIPLEY: Why?
HAEFI (PH): I have the children. My families here. Of course I want (ph) to (ph) be (ph) scared (ph).
RIPPLEY: Neighbors say their sense of security, neighborly trust is lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cant' trust anyone now because of these we can't trust anyone.
RIPLEY: Police tell us now they're searching for other houses with similar profiles. Recently rented by well paying tenants who keep to themselves. On the trail of a terror network that may be hiding in plain sight. Will Ripley, CNN, Sori (ph) Kamola (ph), Sri Lanka.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Now to Mozambique where once again thousands of residents have rushed to shelters as Cyclone Kenneth makes landfall. This powerful storm is bringing heavy rainfall and hurricane strength winds to the northern part of the country.
It's the strongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique it comes more than after Cyclone Idai killed more than 700 people in the region. Okay lets go to CNN's meteorologist Ivan Cabrera for more on this. Okay this is a-this has been a really deadly one-two punch here. These are really strong storms.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Strong storms and very interesting. So what happens is in this part of the world not only do they hit but the steering currents because the storms don't steer themselves are vey weak.
And so what happens is they stall and that's what's happening with this one. So now we're not just talking about the storm surge which is deadly but also the flooding because of the rainfall that's going to be just quite something over the next few days.
So as John was mentioning, let's recap here cause this is quite something, so this is yes indeed a historic event. Strongest cyclone for Mozambique this is a CAT 4 equivalent typhoon or Atlantic hurricane. Its furthest northern strike here.
And remember of course on the heels of CAT 3 back in March. It's just unbelievable, about a month and we get another monster storm. Notice the movement here, west, southwest at 13.
That is very slow so, it's already in land the wind's probably not 140 kilometers per hour. Talking about less because they do weaken once they go inland but notice the movement, not all that much and what that means is the incredible mounts of rain that we're talking about here over the next few days. I mean look at this so I mean 12 hours a little further south and west
24 hours. So this time tomorrow it basically hasn't moved all that much and all the while as we put this into motion you'll be able to see what it does.
It's just basically spinning it's wheels, pumping in moisture from Mozambique channel here and we're going to continue to see-we're losing the color table here but half a meter of rainfall certainly a possibility over the next few days.
So now we're talking about transitioning from what was a strong storm surge event to now what will be an incredible rain event that just like the last on-and by the way population density yea a bit less.
Obviously up to the north but never the less that rain will continue then funneling further to the south over the next several days. So we'll watch the historic events underway across Eastern African here as a result of two powerful storms.
And both will leave their mark unfortunately in the worst possible way.
VAUSE: Yes, again these are the countries the power (ph) over (ph) to at least deal with these sguys-storms, Ivan thank you.
VAUSE: Catch up with you soon appreciate it. but a months of speculation would he or wouldn't he, former Vice President Joe Biden has made it official. He's running in 2020, his third bid for the White House.
Biden is the 20th Democrat to enter this race but he's a clear leader in the opinion polls and widely seen as the candidate with the best chance to beat Donald Trump. A campaign video released Thursday morning Biden defied the current political wisdom.
He did not outline a grand vision for the country, no policies, instead he made his candidacy all about the urgent need to prevent Donald Trump from winning a second term.
JOE BIDEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in the battle for the soul of this nation. I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time.
But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. Who we are and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Washington Bureau Chief for the Christian Science Monitor Linda Feldman joins us now for more. Okay, well first of all good to have you with us. LINDA FELDMAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR:
VAUSE: We've heard from every other Democrat running in 2020 for months now. The voters are only interested in kitchen table issues, healthcare, wages, jobs. Health care number one issue among voter in 2018 at the midterms.
But it seems part of Biden's calculation here is he's betting on a visceral hatred that so many Democrats have for Trump as the motivation to get them from the house to voting booth in record numbers.
I think it's all of the above. I do think the kitchen table issues are absolutely crucial. It's all about that economy, health care education, climate change, the future of our children but it is also about Donald Trump.
Let's be real. Donald Trump is a lightning rod. People love him or they hate him and if you want to get people to vote for you, you have to really go right for the jugular with Donald Trump.
And I thought his roll out was actually very clever with him going for the Charlottesville moment which was appalling to most American's including Donald Trump's reaction. And this was Joe Biden saying this is not us we can do better than this.
VAUSE: Yes, this is the moment where Donald Trump described that protest in Charlottesville we had the Neo Nazi's and the Tiki torches on one side and the people protesting them on the other.
And Trump said there was good people on both sides.
VAUSE: It's interesting though because 12 years ago when Biden was Barack Obama's running mate the message was hope and change this time is be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Very fine people on both sides? With those words the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalents between those spreading hat and those with the courage to stand against it.
In that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had every seen in my lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If you look at the overall picture of Biden it seems elect me and we can forget about the last four years. They were an aberration, it'll be like that final scene in the ninth season of Dallas the shower scene, Bobby Ewing, you know he's alive the last year and it was all just a dream and it never happened.
Which in a way it seems like Biden is going to trying to run as an incumbent almost like Hilary Clinton did in 2016?
FELDMAN: So in a way that's an interesting thesis but I think that by the time we get to November of 2020 Donald Trump will be the incumbent. The Obama era is for a lot of people kind of a happy memory.
But he will have been out of office for four years and I think what he's trying to say is I'm going to-not make America great again but I'm going to sort of end this nightmare and bring us back to the nation that we know we are.
Americans are sick of the polarization and the divisiveness and the nonstop embarrassment as Democrats see it of having Donald Trump as President. And so there is a bit of a throw back feel but I think for Joe Biden it's a question of I am some body who can go toe to toe with this guy.
I will not be intimidated. I know what I'm doing. I have the experience and just trust me.
VAUSE: He does have some baggage though, especially with the African American community. He saw to that same crime bill which Hilary Clinton supported and cost her dearly for her run for the White House.
And then there's his role as the Chairman of the Senate committee during the confirmation hearing of the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill.
She was viciously attacked during this hearing by some on the committee and Biden was the Chairman. He failed to stop those attacks. He's apologized for that actually. He actually called Hill and apologized.
In an interview with New York Times Anita Hill said the apology alone just was not enough. African American support will be especially important in the Primaries. So how does Biden win over that support?
How does he compete with at least what three other candidates who are black?
FELDMAN: Right so this is going to be a huge challenge. Joe Biden has a habit of saying things that aren't quite right or don't quite resonate. He has a habit of committing gaffs but in terms of reaching to minority voters for sure that's a challenge.
As you say there are several people of color running in the Democratic Primary. It's possible that that vote will be split among those different candidates but it's also true that voters of color aren't necessarily going to vote for candidates of color.
They're going to like all the other Democratic voters want some body who's electable. And so they're going to look at everybody and not just say well I'm African-American or Hispanic and just vote for a minority candidate.
VAUSE: Yes. Soon after Biden made it official President unleashed his rapier like wit on twitter. Welcome to the race sleepy Joe, I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful Primary campaign.
It will be nasty. You'll be dealing with people who truly have some very sick and demented ideas. But if you make it, I'll see you at the starting gate. And Biden was asked about that.
And we kind of saw why he is considered to be one of the most effective candidates in this field to take on Donald Trump. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President do you have a message for President Trump. He welcomed you into the race, questioned whether you had the intelligence to be the President of the United States.
BIDEN: Everybody knows Donald Trump.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
VAUSE: And he just smiles with those big white teeth, he brushes it off, everyone knows Donald Trump. I guess, he's been around so long it's very hard for Trump to define him. Like lying Ted Cruz, little Markio.
Sleepy Joe just seemed kind of lame.
FELDMAN: Exactly, no I'm surprised. I think Donald Trump puts a lot of thought into his nicknames and I somehow think he's going to come up with something better than sleepy Joe.
You wonder is this Donald Trump making an age reference or you don't know what that's about but I agree with you I think sleepy Joe is kind of weak.
VAUSE: Yes and he doesn't have a nickname for Nancy Pelosi either which is interesting.
FELDMAN: That's because he respects her. He really-and fears her. So that's a badge of honor for her.
VAUSE: One of the things that a lot of voters see in Biden is that he makes no apology for wearing his heart on his sleeve. He could get angry, often over reacts like normal people do. Here's a sort of example of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: When a guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it and then said I made a mistake. They asked me if I'd like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, if we were in high school I'd take him behind the gym and beat
the hell out of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And we're also going to make note, this is a guy who is parodied by the onion as shirtless Joe Biden washing his Trans am in the White House driveway. And it's funny because it could almost be true.
FELDMAN: Yes, I know.
VAUSE: He's just an everyday guy.
FELDMAN: It's true and what would be so amazing about a Donald Trump versus Joe Biden general election is that they, in some ways they're similar right? They both say things maybe that they shouldn't say.
They're both kind of characters. They have a certain authenticity about them that's kind of appealing to their respective voters and parties. So it would be a battle of two septuagenarians which might be a turn off to younger voters.
But it would be epic actually, to see them go up against each other.
VAUSE: I would like to see them both on the debate stage and trading blows...
VAUSE: ...one blow for one blow it would be very interesting. Linda thank you so much it was good to speak with you.
FELDMAN: Sure, my pleasure.
VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NewsRoom France's President promising tax cuts, economic and political reforms to try to end months of nationwide protests. But is this too little and too late.
Also the $2 million bill for medical care which lead to a coma and ultimately brain death. The North Korean shake down for the release of American student Otto Warmbier. Details later this hour.
VAUSE: Embattled French President Emmanuel Macron addressed an angry nation on Thursday, announcing a long list of economic and political reforms but above all of that was his message, hello France, I'm listening and I understand.
For almost six months now, yellow vest protestors have taken to the streets, at times clashing with security forces. Initially the demonstrations were over a hike in fuel prices but quickly grew into a nation wide movement. Seething over economic inequality which they say has only been made worse by Macron's pro business agenda. Now Macron says he's ready to make some concessions, including cutting income taxes for lower and middle wage earners.
They'll be paid for by cutting the notoriously bloated civil service. And for Macron it seems the last six months have been a teachable moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This time has transformed me too. I think I've touched much more deeply the depth of it. what many of my fellow citizens living the pains, the misunderstandings and we are a country.
I said this myself before the election we are waiting for a huge amount sometimes too much. And so we can think it is unfair and so on and sometimes I was not aware of that expectation and this expectation justifies certain anger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN European Affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins me now from Los Angeles. Okay, Dominic good to see you.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Good to see you John.
VAUSE: A big part of this speech by Macron was this certain mission. He needs more humanity or less arrogance. So when it comes to this question about his pro business pro wealthy policies which spark the nationwide protest in the first place well let's hear the answer from the less arrogant more human President Macron. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACRON: Did we take the wrong path? I think it's the opposite, I think the current and the slated transformations in our country should not be stopped because they answer deeply to the feelings of our fellow citizens.
They may not have been implemented quickly enough for some, not radical enough, not human enough, but I think sincerely the directions taken in these first two years in the eyes of many were right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So much for I understand, I hear you, your demands are just but I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing anyway.
THOMAS: Right and I think that Macron is here arriving at the two year anniversary of his election and he took this opportunity as you pointed out to speak directly to the French people rather than specifically to the yellow jackets that we've been following all along.
And unfortunately the movement itself has morphed into something completely dofferent and there's a general misconception that Emmanuel Macron started off with incredible support.
But in fact the French electoral system is such that only 25 percent of those people who went to vote for him in the first round of April of 2017 was a very small number. And there fore there is not one single opposition but there is a fairly large opposition to his policies, to his vision.
And the yellow jacket movement has in many ways morphed into a broader way of measuring in on Emmanuel Macron's measures. So when he says that for the most part people are supporting his changes it's not quite clear who he has in mind when he says that.
VAUSE: So, beyond ignoring a core issue which is driving these protests across the country, Macron then adds into the mix, and by the way you lot have had it way too good for way too long say good bye to that 35 hour working week. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACRON: And we need to work more. I've said that in these debates which we've seen over the last few weeks. Because when I look at it France works a lot less than its neighbors. We enter the job market later, we leave it earlier, and we work less over the course of the year.
So we need to have a real debate about that and find some real options so we can move forward, that's essential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: A 35 hour working week is as much part of the French DNA as the visceral hatred of Euro-Disney. There's not going to be a lot of enthusiasm for giving that up.
THOMAS: No and in fact the question of who works more or less is really open for debate but beyond this is in many way Macron speaking to an international audience well aware of the fact that this delayed speech in the aftermath of the fires at Notre Dame Cathedral will be watched and scrutinized by the international media and so on.
But when it comes to domestic policy good luck tinkering and messing around with those work hours. This is a situation here that is likely to inflame people even further as he goes on to that.
But what we do see is Emmanuel Macron wrestling with essentially what are the two wings of his support, and of his cabinet, and of his party. This is a movement that emerged that was neither left nor right.
And we have on the one hand those supporters that he took from the right, pushing him for tax concessions, for reductions to welfare benefits and son and so forth. And we have those that he was able to capture from the socialist party that are pushing him to be a softer, gentler, Emmanuel Macron.
And those two invariably, historically have proved are not reconcilable. You have to choose one or the other.
VAUSE: There's also the optics here. The Guardian report said Macron has his news conference at the Presidential palace. He took questions from reporters behind a sleek desk under hundreds of lights twinkling from chandeliers in the Elysee Palace's hall of Festivities.
A room which was recently completely refurbished in muted dove grey tones of carpet and wallpaper. And check out that room. It was just renovated. One of the most beautiful rooms they say in the Presidential Palace.
Some reports say that the renovations cost about EURO500, 000. An absolutely brilliant choice to address the nation growing angry by what they see as an under taxed elite and an over taxed middle and lower cast.
It's almost like let them eat cake which leads to this conclusion that the policies aren't the problem here Macron is the problem.
THOMAS: Right and that is the reputation that he has and this is not the first time that he has given a speech from an ostentatious setting and he has difficulty shedding this reputation of being the President not just of the wealthy but of the very wealthy.
This was exacerbated by for example taking Donald Trump for a luxury dinner, to the Eifel Tower, from some of his condescending and patronizing statements that he has made to people that there is a fundamental disconnect between the persona and the image and the language and the way in which he comes across treating people.
And this will just further galvanize those that are eager to express their opposition to him.
VAUSE: I guess finally, there was some credit for -- some praise for Macron from certain parts of the -- of France when he announced the plan to end these closures of a number of public hospitals and schools. That's won him some praise among these yellow vest protesters. I guess that was a bit of a surprise in some ways.
THOMAS: Yes. But the thing is the yellow vests are not one monolithic entity. This is the thing, the movement itself started off expressing some very legitimate grievances in a nutshell between those living in say the provinces and the major cities. He's already made economic concessions.
He's already raised the minimum wage. He's already increased penchants and so on and so forth. That within that movement, there are these disbarment elements. Some of the progress has been accepted and has satisfied some of the members.
But the broader movement itself represented under the ages of the yellow jackets is a much boarder call for sort of rethinking of the way in which French society is going. And as I said, there's a lot of opposition to Emmanuel Macron in general coming from all sides of the political spectrum.
VAUSE: Yes. He is a man under pressure. And he just can't seem to be in the right place to sell the message. Same thing what's he's struggling with and has been struggling with for some time. Demonic, as always thank you. Good to see you.
THOMAS: Great. Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Potential break, next up on CNN Newsroom, have details of what North Korea demanded in return for releasing American Otto Warmbier, a live report from (inaudible).
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I am John Vause with the headlines this hour. (Inaudible) government is asking Muslims to avoid public gatherings through Friday prayers after Sunday's deadly bombings. The prime minister is also a (inaudible) which could be planning more attacks.
Visuals have now lowered the death toll significantly to 253 as some bodies were barley damaged. In all over Mozambique and surrounding areas are being hammered by a powerful storm.
Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on Thursday bringing heavy rain as well as destructive winds. And it came just weeks after the devastating cyclone Idai that hit central Mozambique, leaving hundreds dead.
[07:00:10] Joe Biden officially in the 2020 U.S. presidential race. The former vice president kicked off his campaign on Thursday by releasing a video online, where he frames this election as a battle for America's soul. Biden is now the 20th Democrat candidate to join the race.
Sources tell CNN the Kim Jong-un regime presented the U.S. government with a $2 million medical bill for treatment for Otto Warmbier, the American student who was arrested in January of 2016 while on a university-organized visit to Pyongyang. A year later, in a coma and diagnosed with brain damage, he was allowed to return home; died six days later.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul.
This was a ransom payment, right?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Effectively. And that's exactly what -- what the father of Otto Warmbier, Fred Warmbier, said to "The Washington Post," saying, "This is a ransom for my son."
Now, it's a particularly brazen request from a country which is known for its aggressive attacks and aggressive actions; but the very fact that they did ask for this money while Joseph Yun, who was the former main point person for North Korea from the United States, was in Pyeongyang.
Now, we understand from Joseph Yun that he went to North Korea, not knowing if he would be able to bring Otto Warmbier back. He just knew he would be able to see him. But then, that's when, apparently, according to two sources, he was given this bill, which he then signed, which had been sanctioned by Rex Tillerson, the then-secretary of state, and his boss, President Trump.
As far as we know, according to one source, it hasn't been paid up until this point, this -- this $2 million by the Trump administration; and it hasn't been brought up again by the North Koreans. But of course, the concern is that the North Koreans do keep these kind of things in their back pocket for when they feel it could be more useful in negotiations -- John.
VAUSE: It's funny. You know, it's being described as brazen and all that. It's disgusting. But, you know, I guess is this how the North Koreans do business when they're holding foreign nationals and their countries and governments want them back? They essentially, you know, release them for money?
HANCOCKS: Well, this is certainly the likes of which we have not seen from the North Koreans before, or at least not publicly.
This is all coming out from sources. There haven't -- hasn't been a direct response about this from the Trump administration at this point. Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, was asked about it, and she said, "We don't comment on hostage negotiations. That is why we are so successful at them."
But certainly, there's a great deal of concern about this. The parents of Otto Warmbier didn't know about this until they were contacted by "The Washington Post," which first broke this story. So it's certainly something that appears to have been kept below the radar. And there are many concerns about what this could potentially mean if there are future hostages or detainees in North Korea that are American.
The fact that the Trump administration signed this bill, saying that they would pay that money and then didn't, does that then effect, then, negotiation going forward?
VAUSE: Also wanted -- that makes you wonder how those previous negotiations went for other Americans who had been held over the years and had been released by, you know, the likes of Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson, you know, the former U.N. ambassador, how -- you know, how they managed to gain their release, as well.
Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul.
The first ever summit between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is now over, ending with no agreement, no joint statement, but that was always the plan.
The North Korean leader, though, did come out of it sounding more belligerent towards Washington. In a statement carried on North Korean media, he says, "The situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state as the U.S. took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-U.S. summit talks."
CNN's Matthew Chance has details.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heaving himself out of his specially-imported stretch limo, the North Korean dictator gets a red-carpet reception from Russia's strongman president.
This is the first time these two autocrats have actually met. A first chance to discuss Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons and how Russia might help get rid of them. This is classic Vladimir Putin, inserting himself yet again into an international crisis.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I'm sure your visit to Russia will also help to develop our bilateral relations and will help us to understand the ways we can settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
CHANCE: Putin says Kim has asked him to inform the U.S. about North Korea's position. This now looks increasingly like a three-way nuclear negotiation with the Kremlin bang in the middle.
Details were sparse, but there was no shortage of diplomatic niceties at this summit. President Putin giving Kim a saber and a special Russian tea set. Putin was gifted an elaborate ceremonial sword.
[00:35:13] Later a normal reception dinner for both leaders. These optics are key. Growing allies with a close personal bond, not the isolated figures often portrayed in the west.
(on camera): While these talks seem to have been pretty short on specifics, what exactly they talked about when it comes to disarmament on the Korean Peninsula is unclear.
We do know, though, what they ate, because we got into this room where the reception was held. You can see here there's a plate of bulgur wheat and beef, some confectionaries and chocolates, and this little cheesecake here, a chocolate cheesecake with the North Korean and the Russian flag.
(voice-over): Outside the Vladivostok summit, a final farewell after what the Kremlin describes as constructive talks. Next stop for Putin is China, another key ally, leaving his new North Korean friend to explore this Russian city on his own.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Vladivostok in eastern Russia.
VAUSE: Well, still to come, China hosting world leaders to pitch its one belt, one road initiative. But just ahead, we'll show you why this new silk road is already in full swing and why some critics are calling it a debt-trap diplomacy.
VAUSE: Well, leaders are gathering in China for the second annual "one belt and one road" forum, President Xi Jinping's grand plan to rebuild the ancient Silk Road and connect China to Asia and beyond by investing in the infrastructure of other countries.
Critics, though, calling it debt-trap diplomacy, especially for developing countries, as they become beholden to Beijing because of these loans.
In the Philippines, one country holding out its hand for a share of Chinese investment, a city in northern Manila will soon be home to a gleaming new airport, residential neighborhoods and shopping malls, all financed by Beijing.
CNN's Matt Rivers reports.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was U.S. military power in the heart of the Philippines. For decades, Clark Air Base was the largest American base outside the U.S. Veterans Anthony Grimm and John Gilbert remember it well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a little America. It really was.
RIVERS: The town is still called Clark, still has a VFW post; but the base is a memory. The Americans left in 1991.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, after Vietnam, we no longer needed those bases. They were not a critical asset.
RIVERS: So the old base sat idle for years, but not anymore.
VINCE DIZON, BASES CONVERSION & DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: So this is going to be a major hub of the country, not just of the country but of the entire region.
RIVERS: It will cover more area than Manhattan. Skyscrapers, a new airport, residential, billions of dollars of investment; and who's helping build it?
(on camera): You are seeing more of a Chinese influence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. A lot of -- a lot of projects.
[00:40:03] RIVERS (voice-over): Chinese money has poured into the Philippines recently, joining other firms already here. This company, owned by Chinese government, is building a road. A half mile away, the steel going up isn't from Pittsburgh.
(on camera): The fact that I'm surrounded by Chinese steel and that China is one of the biggest country investors in this new city is remarkable, given the state of relations between the Philippines and China just a few years ago.
(voice-over): Chino-Filipino relations hit rock bottom in 2016 after Manilla took Beijing to international court over artificial islands China has built and militarized not far from the Filipino coast.
About that time, though, came a new president, Rodrigo Duterte.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: I announce my separation from the United States.
RIVERS: Duterte said that in Beijing and soon cozied up to China. China has since pledged tens of billions of dollars to projects in the Philippines, whose supporters call healthy, necessary loans.
DIZON: The sheer scale that China brings is something that not a lot of countries can bring to any economy.
RIVERS: But some see that spending as dangerous. Should anything go wrong with repayments, Manila could be beholden to Beijing.
ANTONIO TRILLANES, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: It's the ultimate symbol of the eventual subjugation of the Philippines towards China.
RIVERS: China has doled out hundreds of billions in similar loans to developing countries across Asia and Africa. And the U.S. has warned of debt-trap diplomacy.
Beijing recently took a 99-year lease on a key port in Sri Lanka, after the government there defaulted on Chinese loans used to build it.
The Duterte administration argues the Philippines is different and faces no such threat. Plus, the U.S. still has a defense treaty with Manila. But in this zero-sum game for influence, when America gives room, China will try to fill that void.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Clark, The Philippines.
VAUSE: Well, we have the plotlines. We know the cast. We know the writers. We know who's going to be starring as the good guy, and we know who's going to be starring as the bad guy. What we don't have at this point, of course, is an actual title for the 25th James Bond film, which is set to be released in theaters about a year from now.
Cast members, including 007 himself, Daniel Craig, joined a livestream announcement from Jamaica with -- the estate of Bond creator Ian Fleming.
The unnamed film expected to be Craig's last, and this -- he was brought back to service, apparently, in this movie, because he was rescued as -- rescued, rather, a kidnapped scientist. I'm having trouble reading this. Co-starring a franchise newcomer, Rami Malik, fresh from winning an Oscar for portraying Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody." He's going to be the bad guy. And I'm going to learn how to read.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. WORLD SPORT starts after the break.
[00:44:42] (WORLD SPORT)
[00:56:50 (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[00:59:35] VAUSE: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Ahead this hour, confusion amid the carnage. The death toll from a wave of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka revised down by about 100 as authorities warn sleeper cells could be active, and the threat of further attacks is still very real.
Plus, a month after Cyclone Idai left hundreds dead and caused widespread devastation, at this hour, Mozambique being hit by an even more powerful storm.
And after 21 films, several billion dollars in ticket sales, the end game is here. The final "Avengers" film hits theaters worldwide.