Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Cases Surge Outside Of Mainland China; Virus Taking A Heavy Toll On Major Economies; Trump And Modi Meet For Talks In New Delhi; Italy Enacts Containment Measures in Affected Areas; Disgraced Movie Mogul Convicted of Two Sex Crimes. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 25, 2020 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Ahead this hour, it's not a pandemic but fear it will be as global markets tumbling after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases surges worldwide.

It's been pageantry before policy, style over substance. But now, with these 36 hours in India coming to an end, the U.S. President and Indian Prime Minister will be meeting in fact to talk trade, tariffs, and defense. Harvey Weinstein is a rapist. No if, buts, allegedly, maybe, it is a fact. A New York jury says the movie big shot who preyed on young starlets and Hollywood royalty is a rapists.

The world is on a knife's edge a pandemic. Officials from the World Health Organization say well, the novel coronavirus is spreading quickly beyond Mainland China, it's not a pandemic yet. But a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases has driven a big fall on stock markets around the world.

Monday was the worst day in two years for the Dow dropping more than 1,000 points. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also saw big losses. And it's been four years since the U.K. is FTSE sow losses as big as Monday's. The economic contagion has spread with the virus. Markets are down in Italy which now reports well in 220 cases. And in South Korea, officials say almost 900 people are infected mostly in the country's southeast.

As a precaution, parliament in Seoul was closed on Monday for disinfection. The latest numbers we have worldwide, more than 80,000 cases, and the virus is claimed nearly 2,700 lives. Again, we should note most in mainland China. Standing by live this hour is CNN's Paula Hancocks in Seoul and Manisha Tank live also this out in Singapore.

Manisha, we'll start with you. During a crisis like this, words matter. And the director of the World Health Organization had this warning. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WHO: Using the word pandemic now does not fit the facts, but it may certainly cause fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: It may cause fear. Now, that hasn't deterred many financial experts from using the P-word like in this tweet. "Not a health pandemic but rapidly becoming an economic pandemic. Efforts to stem outbreak, stop economic activity, and feed into fear that pandemics reality that we all have to deal with going forward. That acts as a tax on global economy."

All is fairly reasonable, but talking about the economic impact in those terms, is that partly driving you know, big reason for these market sell-offs? OK, I think we've lost Manisha, but let's go to Paula because we -- we'll get back to Manisha in a moment over the economic impact because, Paula, one of the reasons why the sell-offs in the markets that's happening now is because there's been this spike in cases in places like South Korea. And the reason there in South Korea, it's because of this one religious group which has a very strict set of rules when it comes to wearing face masks and attending church. And that seems to have made a bad situation even worse.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John, yes. Certainly, the coronavirus was here in South career already, but we know now that more than half of the almost 900 cases that we have reported here in South Korea on links with this one particular religious group. Let's learn more about them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANCOCKS: Duhyen Kim was a member of the Shincheonji religious group for 11 years, the group at the heart of South Korea's spike in coronavirus cases. He says he was the International Affairs Director and interpreter for its founder and chairman Lee Man-hee. His mother in law was Lee's partner. He says the nature of the group makes it easier for a virus to spread. He says friends from within the group told him they were banned from wearing masks as it's disrespectful to God.

DUHYEN KIM, FORMER DIRECTOR, SHINCHEONJI INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: They're packed together like sardines in one area. They're forced to sit line in line and literally your knees will be touching the other person's knee.

HANCOCKS: Missing services because of illness was not an option, he says.

DUHYEN: It'll take roll call. You're given card, like a little credit card. And when you go to church, you have to swipe it like you're going to work.

HANCOCKS: The group itself says it deeply regrets the outbreak, but insists they are cooperating with authorities.

SIMON KIM, SPOKESMAN, SHINCHEONJI (through translator): We are sincerely urging everyone recognize that Shincheonji church and its devotees are the biggest victims of the coronavirus and refrain from hate and groundless attack.

[01:05:04]

HANCOCKS: But Daegu police say 600 officers had been tasked with tracking down hundreds of missing members, knocking on doors, tracking phone calls, scanning CCTV footage to track members' movements. Kim says members from around the world may have been in South Korea twice in recent weeks, once for an annual gathering like this one from a few years ago, and the funeral of the leader's brother from January 31st to February 2nd in a hospital in Chong-dong. Numerous coronavirus infections and deaths have since been recorded at the same hospital.

HANCOCKS: This isn't just a Korean issue. This is --

DUHYEN: This is not -- this is not just a Korean issue because since those people from overseas all gather together at once, what happens is we don't know how many of those people who went back overseas are infected as well.

HANCOCKS: Shincheonji claims it has 230,000 members with basis in the United States, China, South Africa, and Germany to name a few. Professor Tark Ji-il has been studying the group for many years.

TARK JI-IL, PROFESSOR: Shincheonji people hide who they are. And then to recruit to people, they go into the church and try to recruit Christian.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANCOCKS: And in the last hour, John, one more fatality has been confirmed here in Korea bringing the death toll to nine. And that particular woman also was in contact with a member of that church.

VAUSE: Well, OK, Paula, thank you. We appreciate you being with us. Let's go to Manisha now. Manisha Tank who we've got our issue sorted. So Manisha, we're talking about this warning from the health -- World Health Organization don't essentially use the pandemic word, at least not yet. One of the reasons why is because it's driving fear. But we're hearing a lot of economists and financial experts calling this an economic pandemic. So is that one of the reasons why you know, behind the market sell-off?

MANISHA TANK, CNN REPORTER: Yes, it certainly feels that way, John. An economic pandemic, perhaps, fear pandemic. You know, there's this phenomenon that we call the VIX index. It's otherwise known colloquially as the fear index. And the VIX spike more than 40 percent yesterday. So that gives you an idea of how jumpy people feel.

There's a lot of volatility around and you get that when there's a lot of uncertainty on these markets and a lot of fear. Here in Asia, as for sentiment, we woke up first thing in the morning to see the headline of the Dow falling more than 1,000 points. And that gives you a sense of how we must have felt when it went into the trading session when everything opened up here in Asia. I do want to talk about the KOSPI though. So the KOSPI bouncing back a

little bit. This, of course, is the benchmark South Korean index, bouncing back a little bit. And this is because now the big conversations become, no matter what you think about the economic concerns, you have to think about, OK, what can be done about it? Will it be fiscal stimulus or will it be monetary stimulus?

And there are expectations in the market in Korea, at least, that perhaps we'll see some movement by the central bank with another rate cut in this easing cycle later this week. We've also had the President talking about possibly indications maybe of a supplementary budget that might soften the impact of the coronavirus in South Korea.

Don't forget, we're talking about the world's eighth-largest economy and a number of the economies that have been hit by this. They're all in the top 12 economies in the world. So we can't ignore this. People have been talking about the fact that many commentators saying last week we had a profit warning from Apple. And perhaps we should have sat up straighter and listen because we now need to look at our positions and stop being so complacent about expectations for economic growth, John.

VAUSE: Yes, I think it was sort of relying on the SARS model that we got everything was OK, we got through SARS, and this will be just a replay of that, and it isn't. But I wanted -- the other things to see apart from the coronavirus which is driving this sell-off, there was one note put out by one fund which warned that you know, Bernie Sanders could win the Democratic nomination for president and that could have an impact on the economy in the U.S. It's also have been the U.S. and China trade war, tariffs are being put in place everywhere else. Is this going to warn it seems that everything is coming together at once?

TANK: Yes, you know, you make a great point. We have to admit the fundamentals weren't looking that good before coronavirus came along. So right here, for example, in Singapore, this is just a microcosm of an example, but it tells the story really well. Singapore was flirting with a technical recession in the last half of 2019. It managed to avoid that, and we were all expecting the budget to come out last week.

And we were expecting the usual sort of, you know, coming towards the end of a five-year cycle and, you know, prospects for more upskilling and long term -- long term measures in respect of the transition economy, you know, going high tech, this sort of thing, then coronavirus came along.

And that resulted in a $3.5 billion U.S. package. For such a small economy like this, even though it's a very valuable, very big economy for a small country, but $3.5 billion U.S. dollars-worth of stimulus fiscally to kind of ward off the impact of coronavirus here. So yes, the first fundamentals are week. You're quite right. The trade war, we were worrying about that.

And there have been a number of commentators for a while, in fact, Goldman Sachs have put out a note just a week or so ago saying exactly this, you shouldn't be so complacent, and the time for a correction seems to be coming. You know, the Dow kept reaching these record highs, in percentage terms, yesterday, what we saw was not the most dramatic fall that we've ever seen on the Dow, even though it was the worst in two years.

So, I think that gives you a sense of how we have to look at all of this, within reason to say, you know, fundamentally, perhaps we should have been looking at this in the first place.

[01:10:33]

VAUSE: And just very quickly. You touched on this with South Korea, talking about maybe some stimulus package. To you know, to kick start the economy in the wake of all of this. OK, so maybe South Korea is in a better position than a lot of other economies because a lot of countries just can't cut interest rates because they're negative, or they're at record lows, or close to record lows. And then there's the issue of be out of, you know, financial stimulus. A lot of companies -- countries rather, if you look at the debt levels, they are historic debt highs right now.

I mean, you know, right now, Japan is huge. And it's got a 250 percent of GDP. You got France, which is out there in the stratosphere, the U.S. 115 percent of GDP. There's a lot of room there to borrow money to try and get the economic activity going. Do you think if GDP growth, which is needed should this coronavirus have this impact? So where do they go?

TANK: Well, I completely see what you're saying. It's like being between a rock and a hard place. And you're sitting in the United States. I mean, this is one of the countries that's dealing with one of the biggest deficits, and we're talking about trillions of dollars. Here in Singapore, we're talking about a much more healthy situation, but you're quite right.

And as I said earlier, you're talking about the biggest economies in the world. we're talking about economies that all hit the top 12. Yes, where does the stimulus come from? This is where the sentiment plays in. And this is where, you know, you want to be getting things back on track. People talking about these V-shape recoveries. But you know, commentators coming out and saying this is really wishful thinking.

I just want to say, you know, it's kind of anybody's guess, at this stage, and we're going to have to look at more innovative and creative measures to get through this time. But you know, the International Monetary Fund comes to mind because Kristalina Georgieva, who is the managing director of the IMF was addressing the G-20. finance ministers before the weekend.

They of course, had a meeting in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. And she was saying, talking about more dire consequences and kept saying, you know, we shouldn't keep comparing this to SARS, because SARS was then. And SARS was a particular type of virus, but this one is different. There's so much, so much uncertainty. You know, we've got to watch wait and see. VAUSE: And the world economy is so much different now than it was back in 2003. China is a much bigger economy, much bigger player or integrated like never before. So there are a lot of factors there which make this very different. And we don't know where we're going with this, I guess, with the -- as far as the economics are concern. But Manisha, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it. Manisha Tank live in Singapore.

Well, right now, the US President Donald Trump is holding talks with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They're expected to discuss trade among other things. Until this point, this statement It has been heavy on spectacle. Earlier President Trump was welcomed to the official residence of the Indian president. That was followed by a wreath-laying at the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi.

CNN Sam Kiley is live again for us this hour in New Delhi. So they go into this meeting, Sam, and what, we're expecting sign documents and memorandums, and what will be coming out of it?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think we'll see any signed documents. We might see perhaps some kind of memorandum that well, there's going to be a press conference or a joint press statement from both the Indian Prime Minister and the U.S. President later on today, which they may well reveal what we are led to believe could be some side orders, if you like, from -- particularly from India in terms of perhaps buying of American weaponry.

But the big trade deal that Donald Trump said yesterday could be good or great, in his words, we'll probably have to wait until after the November elections. He's assuming, of course, that he wins. This is a trip, John, that's laden with pomp and circumstance pageantry, parades in New Delhi, rally in Ahmedabad, all intended really to mutually burnish one another's reputations for these two populist leaders who are, make no bones about it, very close personally and in many ways, they're very close politically.

But that must have been highly problematic over the last 24 hours for Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister who would rather it will not mention, for example, that yesterday saw a policeman and four demonstrators killed in Delhi during rioting that was stimulated, at least in part, in a predominantly Muslim area as part of demonstrations that have been widespread across this country over the last few months against the new citizens act which essentially allows immigrants, rather refugees from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship so long as they're not Muslim.

And it is that aspect of this legislation which has caused dismay in India's minority Muslim population, also horror among the more secular elements of Indian society who really fear the general drift of the Modi years being towards a very xenophobic Hindu nationalist form of politics here, which until him was seen as entirely alien.

One of the policemen killed yesterday, we understand from medical sources, hospital sources was actually killed with a gunshot wound. Now, if that is been confirmed by a corner, that will be significant in denouncing armed response to this legislation here in Delhi, just as the U.S. president is supposed to be enjoying the pageantry, John.

[01:15:51]

VAUSE: Yes, the protests over the citizenship law and the national registry have been going on for a while and obviously they're not done yet. Sam, we appreciate you being with us. Sam Kiley live in New Delhi. To Washington now, and joining us is Alyssa Ayres, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia during the Obama administration. So Alyssa, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

ALYSSA AYRES, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Thanks, John. Good to see you too.

VAUSE: OK, the U.S. president, he ruled out any kind of breakthrough in trade talks. He reportedly raised some us concerns about a new law which is backed by Modi which specifically denies citizenships to Muslims. There's also a concern of the national registry for citizenship. But the closest Trump came to raising those issues, at least publicly, was when he said this at Monday's rally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your nation has always been admired around the earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side by side in harmony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Sort of damning them with faint praise. CNN also reporting with regard to that massive rally. The whole event took on the atmosphere of one on Trump's political rallies, complete with the Elton John playlist. "And that, aide say is what Trump was looking for when he agreed to travel 8,000 miles for a night in India. An uproarious reception, and the biggest crowd he's ever drawn."

Well, certainly it was, about 110,000 people. So without that explanation about the crowds, so far, it seems typical to explain the specific purpose of Trump's trip besides a credible session.

AYRES: Well, there's -- I mean, he would -- he was talking about his trip to India. It seemed that the crowd size was the most important thing the President himself was emphasizing. But India is an important U.S. partner. And I think we should look at it in this way. This is the last year of President Trump's term. If he didn't go to India during his four years in office, that would send really quite a negative signal about the role of India in U.S. foreign policy and U.S. grand strategy more generally.

So he needed to go. It's good that he's making this trip. The crowd, whatever, he did make this apparent. Tomorrow is the important policy day with the long bilateral meetings in New Delhi. And I think we'll hear more substance coming out of those meetings.

VAUSE: And I guess with the rally at the crowds, I mean, Donald Trump can often freelance go script and you know, riff a bit. It wasn't really the case.

AYRES: Yes, I'll be honest, my big concern about this was that he wouldn't be able to resist. I mean, if you think about it, this is more than what, 110,000 to 120,000 people. That's three times or so the size of most of his stadium rallies in the United States. So for someone who loves speaking in these large rallies, I really was concerned that he wouldn't be able to help himself going off on his many digressions that really, frankly, are all about U.S. politics, kind of demonizing U.S. political opposition and he was very disciplined in sticking to the prepared text.

VAUSE: So what, we're now three and a half years into the Trump presidency, is there sort of now an understanding among countries around the world that when Donald Trump comes to town, it's essentially about feeding his ego. You know, to be fair, that's sort of the case with a lot of American presidents, but it seems now too much is just never enough.

AYRES: Well, look, in general, it's hard for India to stay on the top of the radar. And the Modi government has been pretty focused on finding ways to do that. Prime Minister Modi invited Ivanka Trump a few years ago, I guess, summer of 2017 to speak about Women's Entrepreneurship at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. They've found ways to make sure that the invitations, the engagement with the United States doesn't simply disappear among the many different other priorities that will typically land with much more urgency on a president's desk.

VAUSE: Another sort of head-scratcher out of this 36 hour joint, a wise Ivanka Trump tagging long. And you know, she's been putting out a photo. There she is in front of the Taj Mahal, the real one, not the bankrupt casino, dead one. And then she was also sort of on another photograph there, sort of an homage to a heartbroken Princess Diana back in the day. You know, her role as a White House advisor, it covers job creation, economic empowerment, workforce development. It doesn't seem to be relevant in any official capacity for this trip.

[01:20:06]

AYRES: She wasn't originally discussed as a member of this traveling delegation. Her name appeared on a manifest that was released publicly I think late Friday. Frankly, initially, this was supposed to be previewed as a very Economics and Trade focused trip. As you know, the U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer was talked about as being part of it. Of course, he's not there now.

I will add that Ivanka Trump did travel to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, what was it three years ago to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that the United States and India co- convened in 2017 that took place in Hyderabad. That was actually an initiative that the Obama administration began. It was very exciting that India agreed to be one of the hosts. She traveled and spoke about the importance of Women's Entrepreneurship. OK, this is an important issue. I'm not entirely clear on what role these issues will play in tomorrow's policy meetings. VAUSE: Well before her role in the White House, Ivanka Trump oversaw development and acquisition to the Trump Organization. India is home to most Trump ventures outside of North America. That's according to The Washington Post, which goes on report two of Trump's business partners in India have developed problems of their own. One is accused of massive fraud, while the other is facing a funding crunch. Ivanka Trump in town, probably does businesses over there, all just what a coincidence?

AYRES: I don't know. You know, Donald Jr. traveled to India a couple years ago, specifically on a property related visit. These properties are a little bit different than the properties that we're used to seeing the president visit in the United States, obviously, where he's there quite frequently, or his golf course in Scotland, for example.

These are all properties where they've licensed his name. So it is not as if he can kind of go land up in these locations and entertain all of his guests. It's a very different scenario there. I would hope they're not mixing personal business on this kind of a trip. But certainly, it does elevate the name recognition.

VAUSE: Yes. There could be gambling going on, who knows? Alyssa, thank you so much. Good to see you. I appreciate you being here.

AYRES: Thank you. Absolutely.

VAUSE: Well, the man who allegedly drove his car into a parade in Germany has been detained but he's not talking to police about what appears to be a deliberate act, which left dozens hurt,

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: I'm Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. CNN weather watch time. We look across the Americas here for some wet weather once again across the southern tier of the United States off towards the eastern seaboard as well in a system here parking in place will eventually interact to some cold enough air to support a decent snowstorm across portions of the Ohio Valley into parts of New England as well. That'll be going in from Tuesday through parts of Thursday, depending on where you're tuned in from.

In Chicago, the bigger days Tuesday into Wednesday, temps dropping to below freezing eventually, but you notice, snow showers in the forecast for the next couple of days in what is frankly been a quiet winter season across portions of the upper Midwestern United States. Notice this time next week we are well above average yet again and get a taste of spring across portions of the U.S. or at least the northern tier where temps climb above average.

But snow showers you'll notice the heaviest into portions of the Ohio Valley and into the Western Great Lakes -- Eastern Great Lakes region, I should say, where the favorable spots are there into Western New York where snow showers could accumulate to at least 15 or more centimeter.

Showers also the kind of the concern moving forward over the eastern United States. Flooding has been a big-time concern here. Watch for additional rains as much as 50 or so millimeters into parts of say Georgia into the Carolinas. Atlanta climbs up to 19 degrees, Dallas at 16, Los Angeles enjoying sunny skies into the upper 20s. We leave you with areas across the south.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:25:00]

VAUSE: A German man is in custody after driving into a parade on Monday. Eyewitnesses told police a silver Mercedes appear to intentionally target the crowd. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Devastating events there in that very small town pretty much right in the center of Germany. Now what we're hearing from the local police office is that this all happened during the Rose Monday Procession, which obviously is a big event, not just in that small town, but in that entire region.

It was shortly after that procession got underway in the early afternoon hours, that a driver hits a group of people in that March. Now what we're getting from the police is that apparently, the driver accelerated that as he was going towards that crowd and that he hit the crowd at a high speed. The police saying that they believe that this was a deliberate act, even though they're not sure at this point in time what the motivations are.

As you can imagine, with something like that, the toll, the carnage so far has been devastating. The police are saying that at least 30 people, probably more have been injured, some of them seriously injured. And among those who are injured, there are also a lot of children as well.

Now, so far, the police is not saying what they believe could have led the suspect to do this. They say that so far they've not been able to interrogate the suspect. That's something that they're obviously going to be looking to do in the not too distant future. So right now, it's impossible to say what the motivations of all of this has been.

But of course, comes with a very difficult time here in Germany where just a couple of days ago, there was an act of terror in the town of Hanau, actually in the same state as the events that unfolded on Monday where a man shot and killed 10 people before killing himself. Obviously, that's something that really rattled this country. And certainly, the events now are also making big news all over Germany as this country tries to come to grips with the violence that has been becoming all too common in many places here in this country. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come, from masquerade masks to surgical masks. Venice dispenses its famous Carnival as the coronavirus continues to spread. How Italy is trying to contain this outbreak when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:31:29]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

And at this hour, President Trump is meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. They're expected to focus mainly on trade, but Mr. Trump has warned they will likely not reach any major agreements on this trip.

Later, the President will attend a state dinner before boarding Air Force One and returning back to Washington.

In Germany, a man is in custody after police say he intentionally drove through a parade on Monday injuring at least 30 people including children. The driver is in the hospital and will face some charge when he's able to be questioned.

The World Health Organization says the novel coronavirus is not a pandemic but has the potential to become one. The outbreak is spreading rapidly beyond China with hundreds of cases reported in Italy and South Korea.

It's also rattling world markets. The Dow dropped more than a thousands points on Monday.

The biggest outbreak of the virus outside of Asia is in Italy which is now implementing some extreme measures, to try to maintain the outbreak and that includes canceling the last few days of a popular festival in Venice.

Details from CNN's Melissa Bell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Swapping one mass for another, locals and tourists missed out on some of the usual sights and sounds of carnival, as Venice became an unlikely epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia.

FRANCO GABRIELE, BUSINESS OWNER (through translator): 800 years since the plague in Europe, and therefore also in Venice, and now the same situation is reemerging as the authorities persist. And it is mandatory for me to be wearing a plague doctor's mask.

BELL: Authorities canceled the last two days of annual festivities as they work to contain the spread of the virus. St. Mark Square remains open for now, and revelers continue to flood the streets with elaborate and ornate costumes, some even wearing masks upon masks.

LUCA ZELA, PRESIDENT OF THE VENETO REGION (through translator): I never thought I would have to sign an order to close the Venice carnival. I would never have thought of closing schools churches, museums -- all aggregation centers. I know it is asking for a sacrifice to the Venetians but it is true that the Venetians know that when the going gets tough, we Venetians all work as a team. The team has no political color.

BELL: 11 Italian municipalities with a combined population of nearly 100,000 have fallen under quarantine, officials maintain however that it is safe to travel to Italy.

ANGELO BORRELLI, HEAD OF THE ITALIAN CIVIL PROTECTION (through translator): We have registered to outbreaks in our country, and we have intervened through strong and important measures. So I think our country is able to guarantee security, and the people can come with peace of mind.

BELL: Other high profile events have also faced disruption. Giorgio Armani's show at Milan Fashion Week was livestreamed from an empty theater due to coronavirus concerns. Videos posted on social media show empty shelves and long queues of customers at supermarkets.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said residents could face weeks in lockdown in an effort to sit out the virus. And while fears of a potential pandemic continue to spread, locals here are asking what is the government doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared of it because I worked with immense number of people coming from all over the world, but I don't think it's that dangerous and they're cutting our legs (ph).

[01:34:51]

BELL: Up to three million visitors descend on Venice each year for carnival, but those hoping to masquerade their bejeweled artisan masks normally a symbol of the city will this year be disappointed.

Melissa Bell, CNN -- Venice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Harvey Weinstein is now a convicted rapist, (INAUDIBLE) from a New York jury is just the beginning of his legal problems.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, it's being called a landmark moment in the MeToo Movement. A jury in New York has found Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein guilty of two sex crimes. The disgraced movie mogul faces at least five year and possibly more than 20 years in prison.

After the verdict, Weinstein was handcuffed but not taken to jail but rather to the hospital. His lawyers say he was suffering chest pains. Manhattan's district attorney says the verdict sends a clear message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CYRUS VANCE JR., MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The message is this is a big day. This is a new day. And I hope women will -- I hope women will understand the significance of the jury verdicts today.

My hope is with these verdicts, survivors of sexual assault -- whether it's of Mr. Weinstein or whether it's of someone else -- will come forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN legal analyst Areva Martin is with us now from Los Angeles. Areva -- Harvey Weinstein is a rapist. It's official. But very quickly what do you think the jury decided he was not guilty

on the most serious of those charges.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the serious charges that he was found not guilty on were enhancement charges. So essentially if the jurors found that he was guilty on the lesser charges, they could look to the testimony, say for instance of Ms. Sciorra, to determine if he did indeed rape her. If they found beyond reasonable doubt that she had been raped by Harvey Weinstein, they could use that rape to the escalate the charges and find him guilty of the predatory charges.

And there was some question about Ms. Sciorra's testimony. She couldn't remember the exact date. She couldn't remember other key details of the rape that she said occurred with respect to her.

So the jurors weren't certain about that testimony, it's not clear if they totally rejected the testimony or if they just couldn't reach consensus about the believability of that testimony.

But in any event, they didn't need that testimony to find him guilty on a very serious rape charge and a very serious criminal sexual assault charge which, as the piece indicates carries up to 25 years.

And we shouldn't forget -- John, this is not the end. This is the beginning in some ways for the legal trouble that Harvey Weinstein finds himself in.

VAUSE: Oh, yes. This is just the start.

But I want you to listen to part of what Weinstein's defense attorney said to CNN after the verdict came in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONNA ROTUNNO, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: First of all, Harvey Weinstein was not the only game in town.

Second of all there are many other careers that you could find and pass as you can go down and not put yourself in situations.

[01:39:52]

ROTUNNO: At some point if you are saying, I want this career, and I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to have that career, then at some point that is a choice that you are making.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Wow. I mean that sounds like a pretty big serving of victim shaming and blaming.

MARTIN: Yes, John.

And the jurors told that defense attorney where she could go with that outdated, antiquated argument. And they voiced their beliefs about that argument by convicting him of rape.

That is absolutely ridiculous. You make a choice and go on a date with someone. You make a choice to go to someone's hotel room. You may even make a choice to kiss someone.

That is not the same as consenting to sexual intercourse or sexual relations with that person. At any given moment in time, you have the right to say no and no should mean and does mean no.

So any argument that women somehow put themselves in tenable (ph) positions, you know, by opening their hotel rooms, or going to a man's apartment -- those are just antiquated notions and there is no place in our criminal justice system for that kind of thinking.

VAUSE: As they say you're often judged by the company you keep and Bill Cosby's spokesman, I kid you not, has come to Weinstein's defense posting this on Instagram.

"There is no way you would have anyone believe that Mr. Weinstein is going to receive a fair trial, an impartial trial. Here's a question that should haunt all Americans especially wealthy and famous men. Where do we go in this country to find fairness and impartiality in the judicial system? And where do we go to in this country to find due process."

You know the discrimination against rich, wealthy men in the United States is a travesty. It's a travesty.

MARTIN: Yes, I think we need a whole category for those men to, you know, speak some kind of redress.

The reality is I wouldn't expect anything less from Bill Cosby's spokesperson. Unfortunately this is what happens when rich and powerful men are held accountable.

And that's what today was. It was a reckoning. You know, this prosecutor and the prosecutorial team sent a loud and clear message that it doesn't matter what your wealth status is. It doesn't matter what your power base maybe. But if you engage in this kind of predatory conduct, you will be held accountable.

This was a victory for so many victims -- John. Victims who have suffered in silence, afraid to come forward, afraid to lose their jobs, afraid of being humiliated and ashamed. Now I think those women have some solace. They can at least believe that they will be believed and that their cases will be taken seriously.

VAUSE: Yes. You bring that point up because there has been a variety of reactions. For example, there was this tweet from the Oscar winner Mira Sorvino. "The beginning of justice. More to come, my sisters. #weinsteinguilty."

Well, the creator of the MeToo Movement, Tarana Burke said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TARANA BURKE, ACTIVIST AND CREATOR OF #METOO CAMPAIGN: It's hard to take -- to call it a triumph. I think it is important. It is important, it's symbolic. But a triumph would be a real examination of how we get a Harvey Weinstein.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, so where do you sit on this. I mean do you see this as a triumph or just sort of the beginning?

MARTIN: Well, I understand what Tarana is saying. And she is saying that we've got to get to the root cause. What allows someone like -- you know, what is the process by which someone like Harvey Weinstein could exist and be engaged in this kind of conduct. And in many instances in plain sight.

It took years. It took investigative journalism. It took brave victims to come forth and tell their story. You have to think about all of the lawyers, all of the handlers, the agents, the corporate executives, the nondisclosure agreements -- all of the things in the system that kept this kind of conduct secret for so long.

And some of that was revealed during this trial -- John. We saw that, you know, Harvey Weinstein used publicists. He used these very aggressive investigative tactics to, you know, try to shame and silence his victims.

So I do agree that this is in many ways just the beginning of something much larger in terms of how we keep women safe.

VAUSE: I feel like -- we're out of time, Areva -- I feel like we've been talking about this for so many years. And now, you know, Harvey Weinstein is paying (ph).

MARTIN: Yes.

VAUSE: And it's official.

Areva -- thank you so much. Good to see you.

MARTIN: Thanks -- John.

VAUSE: Before we -- go live pictures of the meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They met privately for a one-on-one for an hour -- earlier this hour rather. Now, the delegations of both leaders will be joining them. The focus of the talks believed to be mostly about trade. But the President of the United States has made it fairly clear that there is no expectation for a major breakthrough, at least at this point.

We'll continue to monitor the story. If anything happens, if major developments -- we'll have a look at the top of the hour.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

"WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.

[01:44:24]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END