Return to Transcripts main page


Nepal Could Change Requirements for Mt. Everest Climbing Permits; Top Jobs Like EU Commission President Up for Grabs; Britain to Pick New PM to Lead Through Brexit; Trump Agrees with North Korean Insult of Biden; Collecting Evidence of Possible War Crimes. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 28, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London. I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, Everest, once the ultimate achievement of any climber now suffering from major overcrowding. CNN travels to base camp to see how bad

it's gotten.

Also tonight, CNN gets rare access to a group of people risking their lives in the quest for justice. They're looking at possible war crimes by

Syria's Bashir al-Assad. And German chancellor Angela Merkel talks Trump and feminism in an exclusive interview with CNN.

Lines are long, oxygen is low, a potentially deadly combination on Mount Everest. Now after a series of deaths, and their numbers have increased in

recent days and weeks, an official in Nepal tells CNN's Arwa Damon, that they considering requiring climbers to show proof of experience before

letting them go up the world's tallest mountain. Listen.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically what you're saying though is that the government is going to at least discuss putting

in certain --


DAMON: My other question to you, this is also what we've heard on the mountain, is that some of the companies that are taking people up are

trying to do it on the cheap. What kind of restrictions are there or criteria are there for companies that want to be licensed?

GHIMIRE: Actually, we changed the system. Actually, this should have to fulfill certain conditions. If they cannot fulfill certain criteria, they

are not allowed to come for the permit. Actually, we have certain restrictions and the conditions. Actually, they should have certain

guarantees and they should have certain liquidity. This is the system. We already made it.


GORANI: This was the Director General of the Tourism Department in Nepal. Obviously, this is a big money-generating activity for Nepal which is a

country that desperately needs this revenue. You see this picture. In this picture went viral for a reason. There are so many climbers that

they're getting stuck in an area known as the death zone where there's a lot less oxygen, 10 climbers and a guide have died this season alone and

many of them are blaming at least partly on this on the overcrowding.

I'm going to talk with a climber who took this incredible photo. Arwa Damon was at an Everest base camp a first hours ago. And she got to

experience the effects of the thinning air firsthand. Take a look.


DAMON: We have just arrived at Everest base camp and I have to say even at this altitude, even without being anywhere near the summit, you feel the

impact of the decreased oxygen level. The scenery is spectacular. You really understand what the draw and feel is. That's the ice fall that is

so famous. It's what the climbers first have to go through to get to camp one.

And then as they move on up through the different camps and stops, trying to reach what is the one main goal that unites everybody here. Normally

this entire area at the peak of the season is covered in tents. What you have right now behind me is just a few tents that have been left. There

are cleanup crews. There are still a handful of climbers that are down there, some of the last ones to come down from the summit on what has been

an especially devastating hiking season for the summit of Everest.

Because of the level of fatalities and from all of the issues that arose from this backlog that took place, the photographs of the long lines of

people waiting inside the death zone. It's called that because the levels of oxygen are so low. Every breath you take, only gives you a third of the

oxygen you would get at sea level.

[14:05:00] So you have to be climbing with oxygen tanks. These long waiting hours may have led to the deaths that we did see, at least to most

of them. A lot of these climbers aren't dying on the way up. You can make it to that goal, you can make it to the summit.

When you come back down, that's when people's bodies tend to succumb to altitude sickness. A lot of debate now as to whether Nepal needs to do

more to regulate the number of permits, regulate who goes up, what level of experience they have. There's been a lot of criticism about inexperienced

climbers going up. But there's a burden of responsibility on the individual. Yes, this is such a challenge. It is such a goal that is

really going to push you mentally and physically to the limit.

But all of the climbers we're talking to are saying you really need to know how to listen to your body and just being here right now, one really feels

the effect of the lower levels of oxygen. Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Nepali side at Everest base camp.


GORANI: Arwa Damon there at base camp which is obviously not the peak of Everest where you have oxygen conditions that are much more severe. I want

to go back to that photo that went viral. In most of you saw. It was taken by Nirmal Purja. Who set a record by climbing six of the world's

tallest mountains in just four weeks. He's trying to break that record. By climbing 14 mountains in seven months. He's calling that effort project

possible 147. He joins me on the phone from Kathmandu.

I want to ask you about this photo. What was going on here is that you had reached the peak and you were on your way down, and then you turned around

and you saw this traffic jam on the way up of about a hundred climbers. Talk to us about what you witnessed.

NIRMAL PURJA, EVEREST CLIMBER (via telephone): Well, to be honest, that day was really a busy day because of the tight weather window. One of the

world records was trying to break my own world record which is, you know, from summit of Everest as far as I could. And my previous one was ten

hours. But on that day, what happened was, I was stuck in the traffic for at least four hours on the way to the summit. And 2 1/2 hours on the way


For me to break my own record was almost impossible. I was stuck in the traffic. I did remain in the traffic at least for an hour and a half

because people were actually fighting, trying to say, you want to go up first, and people who are going down are saying that --

GORANI: But let -- if I could just jump in. This, I think, to a lot of viewers, is a big surprise to learn from such an experienced climber as

yourself, that at the top of Everest there are traffic jams with people arguing about who should go up first or go down first. This sounds to me

like there's major overcrowding on Everest here and that's becoming a potentially deadly issue.

PURJA: Yes, that's absolutely correct. When you are there, a lot of people get phased out by the -- you are on a survival instinct. People are

worried about their safety and everybody wants to have their -- Yes, I managed to take that picture. I come around and I said, OK, let me take

the picture. This is the reason why I couldn't break my own world record.

GORANI: By the way, we are showing video of you on one of these high peaks. You've participated in rescues as well. I want to ask you about

the guides, the Sherpas. If the numbers go down, will their livelihood and how they make their money, will that be an issue for them, because

obviously it's better for the mountain not to have that many climbers. But what about the local people who live there?

[14:10:00] PURJA: Well, I think it's a very fine balance, to be honest. In the age of -- in the last year, we didn't have that much crowd. It was

still OK. But the whole thing you have this issue that can be solved easily. What the government has to do, we need to fix the lines to the

summit of Everest by end of February no matter what. We've got the whole of May for the people to summit with a window to make that happen. That's

one of the most easiest and simple ways to probably solve this -- resolve this issue, I guess.

GORANI: And you are on your way to climbing 14 peaks in 14 months. How many have you climbed so far? This is called project possible.

PURJA: Yes. There are 14 highest mountains in the world. The fastest someone has done is eight years. I'm trying to do that in seven months.

So far, I have climbed, you know, six of typical mountains, including some of the most extreme mountains in the world.

GORANI: Good luck to you. He's a record-breaking climber with more of what's going on Everest. It's gotten a lot of attention. More deaths this

season than last season and a lot of overcrowding. Thanks for joining us.

Now to Europe. Days after the elections shook up the old establishment, today the jockeying for power begins. Leaders are holding a high-stakes

meeting in Brussels right now. They include the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who is not expected to be there before Brexit stalled out.

There she is. They'll decide who will lead the European Union through a new era, presumably without the UK. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels and she

is live. She was asked about these dismal results of her party, and she said what, I believe she blamed Brexit?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: Yes, that's right, Hala. British Prime Minister Theresa May making a rather

awkward appearance here in Brussels for this summit which is meant to kick start a process that is going to be choosing the next leaders of the EU and

there are several key positions up for grabs, the President of the European Council, the President of the ECB, the high representative of the EU, as

well as the top job, which is the President of European Commission. Who will replace Jean Claude Juncker?

And I can tell you that negotiations have already begun. Battle lines are being drawn at this summit. I'm told by one EU official they are going to

be focusing on process and process is important in all of this. They're going to be deciding whether or not to go with the so-called lead candidate

system. That system would favor the leader of the biggest party here in the EU, the EPP. That is Germany's pick for Jean Claude Juncker's


But French President Emmanuel Macron perhaps unsurprisingly wants to take things in a different direction. We'll have to see what comes out of these

talks. It's the beginning of the process. Anyone who comes forward as the leading candidate for the council for the President of the European

commission will need to be approved by Parliament. As we know, Parliament is highly fragmented given those election results we saw Sunday, Hala.

GORANI: Thank you very much. It's an unprecedented and frankly a strange time for the European Union. Peter Goodman writes economics for "The New

York Times."

Before we get to our interview, Theresa May kind of awkward appearance here at this summit. This is what she had to say in Brussels today.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UK: Well, I think I've been to 15 meetings or more. And at every one of those, I've been working hard to negotiate the

best possibly union for the UK. It is a matter of great regret to me that I haven't been able to deliver Brexit. But of course that matter is now

for my successor and they will have to find a way of addressing the very strongly held views on both sides of this issue and do that and get a

majority in Parliament as I said on Friday, I think will require compromise.

GORANI: All right. Well, it will require compromise. Is compromise a word that can even be used to describe what is happening in British

politics today?

[14:15:00] PETER GOODMAN, EUROPEAN ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There's been no appetite for compromise and the people selling

compromise just got eviscerated in a European parliamentary election. Compromise seems further away than ever. What the elections have done,

they've clarified the more extreme position. Any kind of soft Brexit, by the end, the Prime Minister was offering something that you could call

Brexit but wasn't really Brexit because Britain would stay in the single European market, trade would be largely unaffected.

But officially, Britain would be out. Nobody went for that. And anybody who's advocating for the middle ground is gone. What you have is a clear

hardening of positions. You have the Liberal Democrats doing well on the strength of a pledge to stop Brexit to have a second referendum that will

hopefully undo Brexit.

And on the other side you have the Conservative Party that is probably now going to coalesce around and new Prime Minister who's going to be all for a

no deal Brexit. We'll just leave and if the Europeans don't like it, we are out.

GORANI: Right. I wonder how that will -- Parliament doesn't want a no- deal Brexit. You need a majority. You know what I found interesting, I was in Brussels for a couple of days, among EU officials, more and more I'm

hearing just let's get this over with. They want to leave, let them leave. Let them leave without a deal. A year ago, I would have said that's a

bargaining position. Today I would say that's probably a reflection of actually a position here.

GOODMAN: That position is out there among some leaders. Certainly Macron, the French leader, has been actually quite public in saying, let's get this

over with. The uncertainty is hurting us. The status quo is we're going to have probably another need for an extension on October 31st if Britain

isn't out by then. And that uncertainty is delaying investment, it's making hard for the European Union to deal with its own business.

GORANI: Now it's having an impact on the economy.

GOODMAN: It has been.

GORANI: Deferred FDI, foreign direct investment. Certainly, yes, you can look and cherry pick numbers like unemployment, but when you look at what

the economy was doing before the referendum and today, there's a clear, clear impact.

GOODMAN: Britain has gone in the space of now three years for being one of the fastest-growing major economies on earth to one of the slowest growing.

That's a product of three years of wasted time arguing about what kind of Brexit to undertake. While international investors are either leaving or

delaying investments deferring decisions. It has not been good for business.

GORANI: It is not a rosy picture on the mainland either. You look at Germany, it's suffering a lot from trade tensions. It's got low

unemployment, but its economy is suffering. France has its issues and the yellow vests. Southern Europe recovered, but we can't call it an economic

boom. So the whole continent is struggling.

GOODMAN: The continent is struggling with a lot of issues and Brexit is only one of them. Britain is much more directly affected by Brexit than

the continent is. The continent is dealing with the trade war, uncertainty as the U.S. and China square off, and it's laid in this supposed business

cycle. A cooling off was likely. The Brexit uncertainty is not helping anybody.

GORANI: Thank you -- before we go, did you read the news that a frequent guest on this program who tweeted he voted Lib Dem was expelled from the

Labour Party.

GOODMAN: That's extraordinary. It shows that people are willing to put their careers on the line at this point because this is a truly divisive

issue in the history of this country and there's a lot of impatient with Jeremy Corbyn for his unwillingness to take a clear position. We know he's

relatively hostile to the European Union as a concept and he's been trying to straddle the fits.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much as always. Really appreciate your time.

Before heading to Brussels to take part in that summit, the German chancellor sat down with an exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour.

Among the topics discussed she opened up about her relationship with Donald Trump.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: You've been a bit of a punching bag for Donald Trump, he's said some strong things. I just wanted to show you this

picture because that went viral around the world. Do you consider him a friend?

[14:20:00] ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR, GERMANY (through translator): I think we have close cooperation which results from problems we have had to

resolve together. And this picture also shows that we are indeed grappling with an issue. The President has his opinions, I have mine and very often,

we find common ground. If not, we have to keep on talking and negotiating.


GORANI: Well, Mrs. Merkel also shared what feminism means to her.


AMANPOUR: You are the first female chancellor and you're the most powerful woman in the world. That's what everybody calls you. You very rarely talk

about being a woman. You haven't defined your political career as being a woman. Are you ready to say you're a feminist? Are you pleased with the

lot of women in the world and in Germany even where gender pay equality doesn't exist?

MERKEL: Well, the Dutch Queen at one point in time during the Women's 20 meeting helped me a little bit by saying feminism means women have the same

rights everywhere. This is parity. It must be objective. We are not there yet. There's still a gender pay gap. And for many girls, I've

become a role model. During my time as chancellorship.


GORANI: Still to come tonight, U.S. President Donald Trump is back from Japan and facing some pushback yet again over his weekend tweets. We'll be

right back.


GORANI: Donald Trump is back in the United States. His plane touched down a short while ago following a state visit to Japan. Even though he was

overseas, Mr. Trump was never very far from U.S. politics or his Twitter account. In defiance of a U.S. tradition that politics should end at the

water's edge, he took shots at rivals including Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. Stephen Collinson joins us.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: He picked up a criticism of Joe Biden by the North Korea's official news agency KCNA. The North

Korean's described Biden as a low IQ fool. It seemed like it was almost a phrase tailored to tweak the President's attention. On Twitter and later

on during a news conference during his trip to Japan the President picked up that criticism and said he agreed with Kim Jong-un about North Korea's

assessment about his potential 2020 Democratic rival.

[14:25:00] This of course has caused an outrage in the United States because this was a President of the United States on a foreign trip siding

with a murderous autocrat in attacking one of his political rivals. And we've just in recent -- in the recent few moments had a response from

Biden's campaign and they're saying exactly that, that the President shouldn't be siding with Kim Jong-un on a foreign trip and this is another

example of the way that he's demeaned the dignity of the presidency.

It was interesting that Biden waited until Trump set foot back on U.S. soil to underscore the point about this tradition that you mentioned, the

Presidents and candidates shouldn't attack each other while they're out of the country.

GORANI: It was a pretty mild response coming from the Biden camp saying the President shouldn't attack rivals while on foreign soil. I do wonder,

strategically speaking from a campaign perspective, is there any consideration given to responding to these types of tweets with similar

aggressive tweets and nicknames and that kind of thing. What are the Democrats' strategy?

COLLINSON: That's a good question and I don't think even over three years of Trump being in politics and then being President, many of his opponents

haven't really found a good answer to that question, how do you respond to Trump? Do you get down in the gutter with him? Do you play his game? Or

do you try and stay above it, look Presidential, and try and address the questions that Americans really care about?

We saw both approaches adopted by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. Both approaches also adopted by Republicans. I think Biden, if he gets

asked about this on camera, will offer a response, but he's trying to appear Presidential. He wants to preserve his own dignity, so I don't

think he necessarily wants to get down in a knockdown fight about this with the President. That's the President's technique.

GORANI: Of course. But it's a technique that with his supporters works, and then it gets airtime, then it becomes viral, then it becomes shared

tens of thousands of times on Twitter and it is a valid question as far as a Democratic question is concerned is how do I respond to this. Pete

Buttigieg is one who may be, according to some, has found a good formula there. He does respond, but not in kind, not with the kind of childish

name-calling. Even though he's not polling highly, he's found a way to respond to Donald Trump.

COLLINSON: Yes, and he's a much younger candidate than Trump. There's a contrast between he and the President. I don't think Biden who is of the

same generation of President Trump and is trying to make an argument that Trump isn't fit for the office, an argument that the Democrats are going to

make for the next 18 months or so necessarily wants to get into that kind of a fight with the President.

But it's interesting that even when he was in Japan, President Trump was almost obsessing about joe Biden. Several tweets, he was talking about in

the news conference, on the way back he started focusing on Biden's record with a 1994 crime bill. Trump is already almost in a campaign against

Biden and he's trying to weaken Biden so that it helps Biden's rivals. It's very interesting, double campaign, that's already going on this far

from the November 2020 election.

GORANI: Thanks very much, Stephen Collinson.

Still to come, investigators say they have evidence by possible war crimes by Syria's government. CNN gets rare access to a group of people risking

their lives in the quest for justice.


[14:30:42] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: To Syria now where the horrors of war show no sign of abating. A recent escalation in violence in

the country's last rebel-held providence has killed hundreds of people and forced, yet again, thousands to flee.

Airstrikes in Idlib have destroyed schools, hospitals, and most recently an open-air market leaving dozens wounded. International organizations

believe some of these airstrikes may have been aimed intentionally at civilian targets and could amount to war crimes. Just some of many

committed by all sides of the Syrian conflict over the past eight years.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and her team were granted rare access to a clandestine operation by a group of investigators risking their lives to

collect evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the Assad government.

We must warn you that some of the images in this report are disturbing. They include images of detainees who were killed in custody and are very

graphic, but we are showing them to illustrate the horrors and the material that these investigators are gathering.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a nondescript building in Europe is a room called the vault. Nearly 800,000

documents smuggled out of Syria are here, logged and translated, stored, and preserved.

Chris Engels heads the regime crimes unit at the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, known as CIJA, a nonprofit

organization funded by western governments. In these boxes is potential evidence of alleged war crimes that could one day be used against the

regime of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.

CHRIS ENGELS, DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATIONS AND OPERATIONS, CIJA: The documents cover a wide range of information and levels of command. They

start from the highest levels of command that include information on the president and the policymakers at the national level. We're able to get

quite a lot of clarity on how orders went up and down the chain of command, how the responsibility at the highest level for policy is implemented in a

way that we can see criminality actually take place on the ground.

KARADSHEH: There is no one document here that's a smoking gun. But in international criminal justice, it's about linking the crimes to those


Documents like this 2011 order, authorizing pay raises for military personnel, signed by President Assad, the commander in chief of the armed

forces, may seem innocuous. But Engels says even this is crucial evidence.

ENGELS: We have several documents that are similar to this, naming Assad and others, that demonstrate that they are in control, and they have the

power to direct the army and security services. And it is a fact that the army and the security services are continuing to commit crimes, and these

individuals aren't doing anything to stop it.

KARADSHEH: CIJA has built dozens of cases against the regime, most relating to the early days of the revolution, the violent repression of protests,

and the alleged torture and killing of thousands of demonstrators detained across the country.

Since 2012, in the shadows of a war that's unleashed some of the worst atrocities of our time, a network of more than 100 Syrians were recruited,

vetted, and trained by CIJA. We get a rare opportunity to meet one of those document hunters.

Adel, as he wants to be called, was a lawyer. Now he heads this team that has risked everything to save the evidence.

ADEL, CIJA INVESTIGATOR (through translator): All members of our team, men and women, have been subjected to arrests, or beatings, or humiliation, or

danger. We are operating in a war zone. In most cases, we would enter areas as airstrikes would be ongoing. But we have to go in to collect the

evidence before it's damaged.

KARADSHEH: For Adel and his fellow evidence hunters, a treasure trove of documents has been left behind by the regime's infamous bureaucracy.

ADEL (through translator): After the Free Syrian Army captured locations from the government, like military or intelligence sites, our teams would

be ready, and they would enter these sites. Their primary task: to preserve these documents, or what is left of them. Because in many cases,

these documents would be destroyed.

[14:35:01] KARADSHEH: CIJA has not only relied on evidence collected by its own network of investigators. In a number of cases, they've combined

that with some of the most damning visual evidence of this conflict. Twenty-eight thousand horrific photographs of dead detainees smuggled out

in 2013 by a military defector, code named Caesar.

CIJA has been able to cross reference the identifying numbers seen in these pictures with ones in the smuggled documents, allowing them to identify

some of the prisoners, and link them to specific facilities and the security apparatus who were holding them.

One of those photos of those numbers was 30-year-old Mohammad Al-Kholani (ph), a newlywed law student detained in April of 2012. His sister, Amina,

a survivor of government jails, now a refugee in the U.K., is a living testimony to the Syrian regime's brutality.

AMINA AL-KHOLANI, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (through translator): When the Caesar files came out, Mohammad's photo was the first one. We went to issue a

paper from the civil registry to confirm his status. They told us he died as a result of a heart attack. Our 34-year-old boy died of a heart attack.

KARADSHEH: Documents issued by the regime claimed thousands held in its facilities all died of natural causes.

Three other brothers from the Al-Kholani family were also detained. Only one of them, Ilal (ph), emerged alive, his gaunt face testament to the

horrors inside government jails. According to CIJA's investigations, it's a story replicated thousands of times over in Syria, where torture is

rampant and systematic and forced confessions are the norm.

Syrian government officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But the regime has repeatedly dismissed evidence as fake and

insisted it he was fighting terrorists, not peaceful protestors.

Amina Al-Kholani still desperately calls for justice for her brothers, but like so many other Syrians, she fears she may never live to see the regime

held accountable for its crimes, as Bashar al-Assad seems to have defied the odds for now, surviving a revolution, and is on the verge of winning

the war.

ENGELS: The tide's changed. And what we're making sure of is that when the shift does come, when the discussion about justice does appear, in

five, or 10, or 20 years, that there will be evidence there.

KARADSHEH: Evidence collected by CIJA has already been used in individual trials in the United States and Europe. It has also led to the arrest in

Germany of at least one mid-level regime member accused of torture. For Adel, this is just the start.

ADEL (through translator): I said goodbye to my wife and children and told them, "I am no longer yours. I am now owned by Syria and justice."

KARADSHEH: Justice, he says, is a duty from which there is no turning back.


GORANI: And Jomana joins me now live. She's in Istanbul.

And those who were the victims, what do they say about this effort to collect evidence? Because obviously, as one of the gentlemen in your

report said, this is looking forward to five, 10 years from now, potentially.

KARADSHEH: Absolutely. And one of those victims, Hala, we spoke to in our piece Amina Al-Kholani there, it's an extreme case of what has been taking

place in Syria over the past few years.

She was a detainee. She says that she was tortured -- well, she witnessed her husband being tortured in regime jails and she lost three of her

brothers. And she says it is very difficult for her to believe in justice right now.

She got to a point last year where she says she completely gave up. She wanted to stop talking to the media and speaking out and telling the world

about what happened because she just gave up hope that anything will come out of this.

But she says that she's decided to continue speaking out because she says she may never live to see justice or the perpetrators held accountable, but

she hopes her children will. And she says she has this duty to speak out for the victims and for history.

GORANI: Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, thanks very much.

Japan is in shock after a deadly stabbing rampage targeting young girls. It happened yesterday morning to a group of girls who were waiting for a

school bus. One girl and the father of another student were killed and more than a dozen girls were wounded.

Police say the suspect stabbed himself to death after the rampage.

Now, this is significant because violent attacks are almost nonexistent in Japan. And as CNN's Ivan Watson reports, this crime has truly left the

entire country in shock.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Every morning, school children line up at this bus station in Kawasaki, Japan,

and wait for a ride to a nearby Catholic Caritas school. But on Tuesday morning, acts of unspeakable violence were committed here.

[14:40:01] Police say an attacker armed with knives started stabbing the school children. He killed at least two people, a father and an 11-year-

old girl. They say he also wounded at least 17 people. The attacker, police say, later died of self-inflicted stab wounds.

Now, this has come as an immense shock to this city and the entire country because Japan has relatively low levels of violent crime. In fact, it's

not uncommon to see kids as young as five, six, years old walking unaccompanied to school in cities like this.

But there are some tragic exceptions, three years ago, a man attacked a center for disabled elderly, killed at least 19 people, stabbing them. It

was the deadliest massacre this country had seen since World War II.

Now, throughout the evening here, we've seen well-wishers coming to this makeshift memorial laying flowers and saying a silent prayer for some of

the children who were victims of this violence.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Kawasaki, Japan.


GORANI: Officials say 55 prisoners have been killed in a wave of gang violence inside several prisons in Brazil. Family members of prisoners

showed their anger outside of one of the jails protesting and even clashing with police.

The riots occurred over two days in four different facilities in the northwestern city of Manaus. The president, Jair Bolsonaro, is saying that

he will regain control of the country's prisoners. Family members are angry.

Check out our Facebook page, Check me out on Twitter, @HalaGorani.

Still to come tonight, prosecutors say the drug company, Johnson & Johnson, knew about the dangers of opioid painkillers and deceitfully pushed them on

people like a drug kingpin. A landmark trial is under way. We're live in America's heart land at the center of the opioid epidemic, coming up next.


GORANI: The top two executives at Facebook could be charged with contempt of parliament after refusing to attend a Canadian hearing into the impact

of social media on politics.

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg ignored the Canadian subpoena sending other Facebook representatives instead. The chair of the committee said no

one at Facebook told him Zuckerberg and Sandberg would refuse to show up. He said committee members learned the news from a CNN report.

CNN's Paula Newton has been following this story from Ottawa.

So, what could happen? I mean, what are the implications of being held in contempt of parliament in Canada, Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one thing is for sure, as the chair told me in finding out from CNN, in fact, that the two

executives wouldn't be showing up and two other executives showed p instead.

[14:45:05] The point is, he's saying, look, they're not going to get hauled off in handcuffs, but it is clear that what they have now is what they an

open summons, that means any time that Sheryl Sandburg or Mark Zuckerberg show up in Canada, they will be expected to appear.

This is much more than what the Canadian parliament is handing out. This is an international grand committee and they're making it clear that they

want to hear from these two executives and these two alone. Take a listen.


CHARLIE ANGUS, CANADIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Sandberg decides to come here for a tech conference or to go fishing, the

parliament will be able to serve that summons and have them brought here.


NEWTON: You know, what's at stake here is what these very literal social networks may look like as we go through this process. And, I mean, Hala,

we've seen it around the world, right? Obviously notably in the United States where they continue to have these hearings.

But what these legislatures are doing, remember, they represent more than 400 million people.

You know, Joe Stevens, from the U.K., actually an MP from there, for the past he said, "We're tired of Facebook giving us attitudes." It's clear

we're all going to have to act and we're going to have to act in concert so that people's privacy, people's data are protected and that our democratic

institutions are -- also keep their integrity.

GORANI: But it doesn't -- it doesn't affect operations of Facebook in Canada or anything like that?

NEWTON: It doesn't this week, no. I think there was some imaginative ideas that they've heard at hearings and one was as much as shutting down

the platform. Now, that would never happen, Hala.

And the hearing -- the committee members are very clear, saying, look, we want to work with these social platforms and that includes Facebook, but we

need answers to our questions. What are you actually going to do?

And while the social platform won't be hauled down, the Canadian government is saying and other governments, I should add, Hala, are saying very

clearly, we will start to impose fines that hurt, not a billion dollars that you can write off of your $20 billion profit. No. Fines that

accumulate as a percentage of revenue, fines that are not limited to one- time fine, but continuing fines.

So I'm not sure -- not showing up to this hearing really did -- those two executives or any other executives any good. It was quite a grilling. And

while, of course, the politicians there, Hala, are doing some grand standing of their own. They are certainly echoing the concerns of many

people, trying to understand what is that data surveillance that we all expose ourselves to when we're on Facebook or Google, or Twitter, or just

on our iPhones. Right?

GORANI: I was going to say, just on our iPhones sometimes is enough.

Thanks very much, Paula newton.

Now, many people around the world have heard of this opioid epidemic in the United States and how it has led to more and more deaths by overdose, for


Well, prosecutors in the U.S. are saying that the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, ran a deceitful multimillion dollar brainwashing

campaign to push opioids on Americans.

A historic trial in Oklahoma is the first major test of whether or not a drug company can be held accountable for the deadly epidemic.

Now, Johnson & Johnson makes a whole range of consumer products, you probably use some of them, they use -- they make baby powder, they make


But you might not know this, they also make prescription painkillers. The state's attorney general says the company acts like a drug kingpin flooding

the market with a surplus of opioids and deadly drugs.

Jean Casarez is outside the courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma. I understand that proceedings have resumed and that this courtroom is at capacity. A

lot of interest in this case, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It is packed wall to wall, every seat is taken. And right now, they are in the middle of the

defendant's opening statement, representing Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiaries. And what was just said to the judge moments ago was that

there are people in this country that have severe chronic pain, that are in pain every moment of the day, every day of the week, every month of the


And those people legitimately should be able to have this prescription to have that quality of life because such pain can cause depression, it can

even cause suicide, and that has to be separated out from anything else.

But the day began with the State of Oklahoma giving an opening statement. There were several attorneys representing the state. But one sentence that

kept being repeated over and over again, when you oversupply, people will die, saying that Johnson & Johnson knew that opioids were addictive. But

what they did when they came into this market in 1996, they began to market it as safe and effective for people that had every day pain knowing that it

was false. And they said that they are going to put victims on the stand in the civil trial. People that have lost children to opioid addiction,

victims themselves who were addicted, who through the shame are going to take the stand.

[14:50:04] They talked about how in the United States that if you have, for instance, cancer, everyone feels sorry for you because of what you have and

there'll be fundraisers and trying to help you. But if you are addicted to opioids, that's not the case, the people blame you that it's your fault.

But it is a disease of the brain, they say, and a medical doctor, at least one, will take the stand to describe in detail what opioids do to the


They said that when it came to Johnson & Johnson, they are going to show internal e-mails, they're going to show marketing plans and the operative

words that Johnson & Johnson used in the state of Oklahoma to market their opioids leverage, squeeze, drive, convince, and target.

And, Hala, one thing they said also is once Johnson & Johnson pulled out in 2016 of the market here in Oklahoma, they began to market extra strength

Tylenol for the senior citizen population saying that take this, because this is not habit-forming.

GORANI: Interesting. I wonder, what are the -- in what way could they legally be held accountable? And what impact would it have on their

business if they are?

CASAREZ: This is a civil case. It's all about money. And the other defendants have all settled, Purdue Pharma has settled for $270 million in

March, Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli company, settled over the weekend for 85 million. So Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiaries, they have

refused to settle.

And so the result will be, it is a judge, it is a bench trial, not before a jury, only one count, and it is the count of public nuisance which is

actually from the common law in the United States.

But saying that by creating this opioid crisis here in Oklahoma, you have created a public nuisance that we now have to abate and that we can only do

that through money.

GORANI: Jean Casarez in Norman, Oklahoma, thanks very much.

More to come including caught between a rock and a hard place. The Rock of Gibraltar that is. After the break, we'll bring you details on why Brexit,

well, could pose yet another serious problem to a British territory. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Gibraltar voted solidly for the pro-E.U. liberal Democrats in the parliamentary elections and twice the territory voted overwhelmingly to

remain under British rule.

But now, there's frustration over London's perceived lack of understanding of the stakes for Gibraltar in Brexit. Isa Soares has more.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From this vantage point, it's clear to see what's at stake for Gibraltar, it's feet

firmly in Europe, but with its heart 2,000 miles north in the United Kingdom.

The decision by the U.K. to leave the European Union has only reinforced this separation. While the Rock has had a long and tempestuous

relationship with its neighbor, it's economic success has been underpinned by access to the single market, and in particular, its close economic

relationship to Spain.

SOARES (on-camera): Every day 14,000 workers commute between Gibraltar and Spain with frontier workers, those living in Spain, accounting for roughly

40 percent of the jobs here in Gibraltar, everything from hotels to restaurants, even construction, as well as the gaming industry. With

Brexit, this crossing, the fluidity of its crossing could get much more difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So now, you just put I.D. card on the passports and show it to the person he's not (INAUDIBLE) no travel, but it comes in. And

then we have more travels with the crossing. I might try to -- I might have to reconsider the fact that I'm working at Gibraltar, yes.

SOARES: But it seems he's not alone. Alvaro Espinoza (ph) is a restaurant owner here and tells me roughly 90 percent of his staff are Spanish. A

hard border or prolonged delays at the border would see him lose much of his staff as well as his produce, he says. So he's working on a backup

business plan if Brexit negotiations go sour.

ALVARO ESPINOZA, RESTAURANT OWNER (through translator): We don't really know how things will be, so we are already thinking of possible solutions

for the different scenarios. We are even thinking if it will be necessary to go to Morocco to buy the produce with our own boats.

SOARES: No one knows the risks to the Rock better than Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo.

FABIAN PICARDO, GIBRALTAR CHIEF MINISTER: That means 14,000 stamps in two hours in the morning moving people from Spain to Gibraltar, another 14 as

they go in in the evening. That's 28,000 stamps in one day. Multiple that by five, that's your working week. Multiple that by four, that's your

month. We're going to run out of ink.

SOARES (on-camera): There's a lot of talk right now about joint sovereignty. Would you support that?

PICARDO: Our answer to the claim to half our sovereignty is exactly the same as our answer to the claim to all of our sovereignty, absolutely not.

SOARES (voice-over): His words are echoed by a Guy Olivero, a local Gibraltarian businessman with several restaurants in the center of


GUY OLIVERO, GIBRALTAR BUSINESSMAN: No, no, no. I don't want sovereignty. We don't want nothing with Spain, or me, personally.

And I'll tell you why -- and I'll tell you why I don't want nothing to Spain. I love Spain. I've got my house in Spain, my finca.


OLIVERO: I don't live there, but I go there weekends and everything. I've got nothing, it's we don't trust the Spanish government.

SOARES: After years of living side by side as members of the E.U. club, it seems not even the fear what Brexit might bring can put a stop to decades

of mistrust.

Isa Soares, CNN, Gibraltar.


GORANI: All right. Thanks for watching. And by the way, on the other side of the break, we'll have more on CNN of that exclusive interview with

the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

And, of course, all of the day's top business stories. As well as Theresa May's visit to Brussels. Certainly it must have been awkward for her after

announcing that she is stepping down as leader of the Conservative party and she was certainly under the kind of spotlight that must have felt in

some instances uncomfortable for the prime minister.

That's going to do it for me here in London. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you next time. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.