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Ukrainian President Urging Allies to Send Tanks; Workers Stage Walkouts to Protest Pension Reform Plan; At Least 54 Deaths Reported as Protests Enter Seventh Week; Ardern Stuns Political World With Unexpected Resignation; Greta Thunberg Blasts Climate Talks AT World Economic Forum; European Parliament Calls on E.U. to Add IRGC to Terror List; London Police Face Growing Scrutiny over Criminal Officers; Growing Support in South Korea for Developing Nuclear Arsenal; German Language Film Leads BAFTA Nominations. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 20, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company. Coming up here on CNN Newsroom, Ukraine's Western allies pledge more money and weapons but that the German and American tanks they really want are still out of reach, at least for now.
Anger over pension reform in France, nationwide protests causing disruptions of across the country, and organizers planning for more strikes. But she's one of New Zealand's most popular prime ministers, but don't want the job anymore. What could be next for Jacinda Ardern?
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.
HOLMES: Ukraine could be getting a major boost on the battlefield as western allies are set to meet soon at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is already in Germany for the talks. Ukraine's President says he expects, in his words, some strong decisions on powerful military support. The U.S. has officially announced another $2.5 billion in aid, including striker combat vehicles, more Bradley Fighting Vehicles and HIMARS rocket systems.
But Germany is resisting Ukraine's call for Leopard tanks unless the U.S. commits sending in M1 Abrams tanks. A senior Biden administration official says Germany has the U.S. over a barrel.
Now, Ukraine's President met with the European Council President in Kyiv on Thursday, expressing his gratitude for new weapons promises from nine European countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We push politically as best as we can, but the most important thing is we push with argument against thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation. It is not enough. The courage of our military is not enough. And the motivation of the Ukrainian people is not enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The Ramstein conference comes as CNN has learned about a secret meeting in Kyiv, where CIA Director Bill Burns briefed Ukraine's President about Russia's battlefield plans for the spring. And now, a number of allies are pushing for more advanced weapons shipments to Ukraine, including tanks, as they believe the war is reaching a key turning point. CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Germany today to step up the pressure on them to allow critical German tanks to be sent to Ukraine.
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Your contributions of security assistance and training for Ukraine's defenders have been invaluable.
MARQUARDT: But Germany so far resisting pleas to approve its widely praised Leopard II tanks. Germany's chancellors saying they don't want to make such a bold move alone, and calling on others, including the U.S. to do the same.
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: And this is the strategy we have that we are strategically interlocked together with our friends and partners. That we are never doing something just by ourselves, but together with others, especially the United States.
MARQUARDT: That German resistance straining the NATO alliance when they have acted largely in unison for the past year of this war and frustrating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
ZELENSKYY (through translator): Do not hesitate, there is no need to compare, if you say I will give tanks if someone else also gives tanks or I am powerful in Europe, but I will help if someone else outside of Europe also helps. It seems to me that this is not a very correct strategy.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry putting out a light hearted video appeal. The American M1 Abrams tank U.S. officials say, is too heavy, too complicated, too hard to maintain to send to Ukraine. Instead, in a new aid package worth around $2.5 billion, the U.S. is expected to step up its support with Striker Combat Vehicles, fast, nimble armored vehicle that, alongside the American Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which were already committed, will give Ukraine a significant mechanized capability. This as Ukraine tries to claw back territory as it warns of a Russian spring offensive in the coming weeks.
(On camera): On Friday, the U.S. is convening a meeting of the Ukraine contact group with around 50 countries and organizations coming together to discuss what more military aid Ukraine needs. A senior Pentagon official says that the U.S. is confident that they will be able to unlock Germany's decision on the Leopard II tanks by the end of the week. But it's clear that Germany has the U.S. in a tough position. A senior administration official telling CNN they have us over a barrel. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: And Malcolm Davis joins me this hour from the Australian Capital. He's a Senior Analyst of Defense, Strategy and Capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Always good to see you, mate.
So, this $2.5 billion military aid package from the U.S., European nations announcing more help, and these discussions Friday by leaders in Germany, what will -- what's unfolding mean in terms of more material? Will it be enough to turn the tide of this war?
MALCOLM DAVIS, MILITARY ANALYST: Well, thanks, Michael. Look, I think it largely depends on how quickly we can get these systems to the Ukrainians, how quickly they can be trained up on them. The Bradleys, the Strikers in particular, are, you know, sort of not exactly simple pieces of equipment to operate. They're not nearly as complex as the M1 Abrams tank, but they will require some training and support. There's other aspects in the package, additional ammunition for the HIMARS capability, additional air defense capabilities. All of these are really important. But certainly, what is missing so far is the main battle tanks, the Leopard 2s coming from Germany and other European states, and the M1 Abrams.
HOLMES: Yeah, and you've been saying this for a long time. I mean, Ukraine desperately needs those tanks in addition to the armored vehicles which have been promised. And as you've been saying, too, in previous times you've spoken, they need them now. You've got the U.S. saying no, Germany is saying not yet. How crucial are tanks in this war? And what do you make of the debate over who will and who won't send them?
DAVIS: Well, look, I think we're running up against the clock here because the Russians are planning a spring offensive probably from late February onwards. You know, ironically, it might start twelve months the day after their initial invasion. All the online analysis from informed sources suggest that it's most likely to occur in the Donbas Region, in Donetsk, Luhansk, to try and push the Ukrainians back towards Kharkiv. There's a possibility that it could occur from Belarus towards Kyiv, but that's more likely to occur later in the year.
But even so, the Russians have been mobilizing massive forces in preparation and anticipation for these offensives. So, it really would help the Ukrainians if, firstly, the German Chancellor would give the OK for European actors that operate the Leopard to send that to Ukraine. And secondly, for Germany to send their own Leopards. And thirdly, for the Americans to send some M1s to make sure that the Germans are on board.
HOLMES: Russia has, meanwhile, been ramping up the rhetoric claiming that this assistance, the Western weapons risk, escalating this war, making a more direct Russia-NATO sort of conflict. How much do you think of that is bluff and bluster. How might Russia react to all this more hardware being introduced to the battlefield?
DAVIS: Escalation is always a potential risk. I think Chancellor Scholz needs to understand that if Ukraine loses this war, if the Russians managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by launching these offensives this year, that turn the tide of the war in Moscow's favor and then continue to push Ukrainians back because they don't have the capabilities to resist the Russian attacks, then the risks of a much larger war between NATO and Russia go up. Because Putin will be emboldened. He'll have time to reinforce and rebuild his forces in anticipation of relaunching the war in Ukraine in a few years' time, or even attacking NATO directly. So, if Chancellor Scholz wants to avoid that escalation, the way to do it is to defeat the Russians here and now and to deter Russian aggression in the future, probably by bringing Ukraine into NATO.
HOLMES: Russia has, of course, always wanted to divide Europe on the issue of this war and ongoing help for Ukraine. Given what we're seeing from the Germans, I mean, are you seeing cracks developing or any substantive cracks in unity?
DAVIS: Look, I do worry that the Germans don't seem to be on board. I do think that the Biden administration does need to also step up here. I completely understand their concerns about sending the M1 Abrams in terms of its sustainability and the complexity of the system. Maybe that's an indication they should be thinking about simpler tanks in the future.
But they also need to be stepping up in terms of providing Ukrainians with longer range fires, including attacking missiles. But the real concern at the moment is the Germans and whether the Germans are going to burden share as appropriate alongside their NATO partners at the critical moment where NATO and Europe and Ukraine is threatened by an aggressive expansionist, Russia, if they don't step, they don't step up to that task, then there has to be real concerns about whether Germany would, in fact, burden share and do the required thing under Article Five of the NATO alliance in another crisis that could threaten, for example, the Baltic States or Romania.
HOLMES: Malcolm Davis, always a pleasure to get your analysis there in Canberra for us. Thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
HOLMES: Now, nationwide strikes triggered transportation chaos across parts of France on Thursday with all sorts of delays and cancellations. Many schools, government businesses -- government services and businesses were closed. That was after more than a million people walked off the job. They're furious over the government's pension reform plans, which would raise their retirement age by two years. And another round of strikes is planned for January the 31st. CNN's Melissa Bell with this report from the French capital. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the first day of what French Trade Unions hope will be many more days of strikes and protests against the proposed pension reform here in France. The age on the part of the government to try and raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64. And this despite the fact that Emmanuel Macron doesn't have a parliamentary majority right now. He's made it his goal to get that pension reform pushed through by the summer. But as you can see, these demonstrations remarkably well attended for a first day of strike and protests across the country with public sector workers, private sector workers that walked off the job and many people attending this rally here in Paris, but also across the country. The beginning of whether trade unions hope will be enough opposition from the streets to force the government to back down. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Joining me now from Los Angeles, CNN's European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas, who is also a professor at UCLA. Good to see you, professor. What do you make of the sheer size of these protests and what it might mean for the proposed changes?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yeah, so, Michael, before COVID remember, a lot of our discussions were around the yellow vest and the economic grievances and disparities between the wealthier and the poorer in French society, those that lived in urban centers versus the provinces and in many ways, those issues did not go away. They were exacerbated during COVID and by the recent cost of living increases.
And so, I think they were put on pause. And we're seeing some of that coming back here now. What's interesting about Emmanuel Macron's retirement proposal here, always a very sensitive and emotional issue in France is I think there really -- there are two components. There's, on the one hand, measures that, you know, that people support, such as providing a minimum level of retirement and costs and contingencies that are made for those who started working at a very young age or very difficult jobs, or that were not able to contribute to their pension plan because they were taking care of elderly or disabled and family members. But the other aspect which Melissa alluded to there is this increase from 62 to 64 and the fact that the contribution years are extended to 43 years. And people are arguing that this is creating and exacerbating social inequities. Michael.
HOLMES: I guess for a lot of. people watching an official retirement age of 62 is pretty generous. I mean, elsewhere in Europe, you see retirement. I mean, in the U.K. at 66, they're moving towards 67 in Germany and Spain, 67 in Italy right now. In a purely economic context, do these proposed changes make sense? Does the economy and specifically the pension program need a change like this?
THOMAS: Yeah, well, that's where you get this argument here, Michael, is really between the kind of a social justice element where people would rather see higher taxes on the wealthy and they're concerned about public spending, but the government is making this economic argument and this economic sustainability argument. You already mentioned they have one of the lowest retirement ages in the European Union. They also have one of the highest life expectancy rates. They also contribute more out of their GDP to pension plans in just about any OECD country. And the number of people retired versus the number of people growing -- working, sorry, is growing exponentially.
So, you can see the kind of logic there in that government attempt to go about reforming this pension plan. Michael.
HOLMES: Yeah, I think a recent poll said 68% of the French are opposed to these changes. When it comes to making the change, Macron's party doesn't have a majority in the assembly. He needs others to vote with him. How likely is that to happen? And what do you see as a potential political fallout for him over this?
THOMAS: Yeah. Well, we saw with the 2022 election, I mean, Macron 1 and Macron 2.0 are two very different individuals. His Prime Minister is struggling to get legislation through Parliament, and he said they've lost the majority. But you also see an opposition that is increasingly and galvanized and mobilized by trying to separate itself, distinguish itself from the government when it comes to these particular policies. And I think that he's already had recourse to Article 493, or his Prime Minister had to push legislation through without it having to go to a vote. But that's increasingly problematic for something of this kind of side.
And I think that Macron's position is weakened to the extent that he will be termed out in 2027 and the folks around him are concerned about reelection and they're concerned about the future of the party. And ss this continues and we'll see how this plays out. The big question is going to be whether it's worth for Macron to win this particular battle when the electoral war may be lost down the road, given the level and the degree to which these measures are so incredibly unpopular.
HOLMES: Yeah, a great analysis, as always, our European Affairs Commentator, Dominic Thomas. Appreciate it, sir. Thank you.
THOMAS: Thank you.
HOLMES: Peruvian authorities are bracing for more mass demonstrations as the death toll climbs from weeks of political unrest.
The government reports at least 54 people have now died in nationwide protests which began in early December after former President Pedro Castillo was impeached forced from office and then detained. Thousands of police, backed up by soldiers, have now taken up security positions around key buildings, including Congress and the Supreme Court. Reporter Guillermo Galdos was in Lima on Thursday as police and protesters again faced off in the city center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GUILLERMO GALDOS, JOURNALIST: The police -- the police were just gassing the protesters just down the corner. Thousands of people have arrived in Lima from all over the country on what has been called the takeover of the capital. They want Dina Boluarte, the President, to resign. The Congress to be shut down. And a new constitution to be written.
In the past five years, Peru has had five precedents. And now, in the past month alone, more than 50 people have been killed all over the country in this protest.
The police are throwing deer gas and bullets to the protesters. I've seen people from the Amazon, people from the army catch to us. I met people from the south, people from all over the place have converged here in the capital to protest.
HOLMES: Journalist, Guillermo Galdos there, covering the ongoing protest in Peru for us.
Still to come on the program, a sense of relief. That's just one of the emotions Jacinda Ardern says she's feeling now, a day after she stunned the political world by resigning as New Zealand's Prime Minister.
Plus, law enforcement officers in London committing terrible crimes, growing mistrust and demands for accountability. That's when we come back.
HOLMES: A day after stunning the world with her resignation, new Zealand's outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is a weight off her shoulders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I feel that I sleep well for the first time in a long-time last night. But it's still a range of emotions. So, of course, feel, you know, sad, but also I do have a sense of relief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The Prime Minister says she feels deeply humbled by the response she's received, as messages of support and gratitude have poured in from world leaders in the past 24 hours. Her resignation surprised many in New Zealand, too. CNN's Randi Kaye takes a look at her political legacy.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jacinda Ardern was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017, making her the world's youngest female leader. A former DJ, the 37-year-old Ardern had attracted young people and huge crowds at rallies, a wave of support dubbed Jacinda Mania.
ARDERN: This is the thing that we have to act on.
KAYE: Ardern quickly became known for her kindness, empathy, and humanity. All of that was on display just a year and a half after her election, when her country experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history.
On March 15, 2019, a lone Australian white supremacist shot and killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques. Soon after the attack, Ardern visited those impacted by the shooting. Wearing a hijab to show respect for the Muslim victims. She moved swiftly to ban military style semiautomatic weapons just six days after the attack.
ARDERN: And to others, I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them.
KAYE: A few months after that attack, new Zealand's White Island volcano erupted, killing 22 people. Again, Ardern consoled New Zealanders.
ARDERN: To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief at this moment in time and in your sorrow.
KAYE: When the Pandemic hit in 2020, Ardern quickly closed her country's borders to protect the 5 million or so New Zealanders.
ARDERN: Our plan is simple, we can stop the spread by staying at home and reducing contact.
KAYE: Protesters made their voices heard for weeks outside parliament and threatened violence. Still, Ardern stood strong. Her popularity brought an onslaught of media attention. She was featured on the COVID of British Vogue. She made Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people and appeared numerous times on America's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
ARDERN: I do find it slightly offensive that everyone thinks that every New Zealander starred in The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Were you in The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit?
ARDERN: Some of us auditioned but weren't successful, OK.
KAYE: There were persistent questions, some of them openly sexist, about her style, her partner she isn't married. And her pregnancy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's the hair doing after the dye? But why are you dying it anyway? Is it going gray or something? Why did you dye your hair for?
ARDERN: That's not a polite question to ask.
KAYE: She handled it all with grace. Ardern is only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office, and when she took her then three-month-old daughter to New York City for the U.N. general assembly, together they made history.
ARDERN: But it's equally special to us.
KAYE: Despite her popularity during her six years in office, some recent polling for her show's support is waning and at the lowest level since she took office in 2017. Still, she says that is not the reason she's stepping down.
KAYE: And so, today I am announcing that I will not be seeking reelection.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN.
HOLMES: Jenna Lynch joins me now from New Zealand, where she is the Political Director of our affiliate, Newshub. It's good to see you, Jenna. You just come back from all the drama. How is the Prime Minister's announcement been received there in New Zealand?
JENNA LYNCH, POLITICAL EDITOR, NEWSHUB: Total, complete, utter shock from the public to the MPs in Jacinda Ardern's own caucus, to even the political journalists that are supposed to watch her and know her every move like a hawk. No one in the world saw this coming. No one thought that she was going to resign yesterday. We were all gathered overnight here were expecting her to announce the election date, which she did. We're going to have an election on October the 14th. But soon after, she all of a sudden said, look, I've been reflecting and there was this kind of audible gasp in the room and then a deathly silence as the Prime Minister went on to say that, look, she's done, she's out of here.
HOLMES: Yeah, a real shock. And politicians always seem to want to hang on to the better end, usually well past their use by date, but that didn't seem to be the case with her. Why do this and why now at that political retreat she was attending? What might have stirred it?
LYNCH: Yeah. So, Jacinda Ardern official reason, she just says she's not got any gas left in the tank. She is just exhausted. There's probably of poll ratings in there as well. Her personal popularity has been tanking as we come out of the COVID-19 crisis. But I think if you look at what she has faced as a leader over the past two terms of government, it's almost like she's packed a lifetime worth of crises into it. She's steered the country through the Christchurch terror attack, she had the Whakaari White Island eruption, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. It just feels like she's been bouncing from crisis to crisis and that must take its toll on the leader as well.
HOLMES: Yeah, that's a good point. She has packed a lot. And I think, it's -- and to your point there, I think it's fair to say she was pretty widely admired internationally on the world stage, but as you point out, less so at home, particularly of late, why do you think that is? Because it's a juxtaposition that a lot of people internationally note? LYNCH: Yeah, I think there's a number of things that probably contributed to that. Jacinda Ardern's government was a government of reform, or at least they tried to be. They tried to push through a lot of policies that were unpopular here, particularly around climate change, with farmers and that thing. But I think there's also just a sense of oversaturation of the Prime Minister for the last two or three years. We have just seen her on our screens every single day. And probably just got sick of seeing the same person turned off for a bit. There was a point in the COVID-19 pandemic when she reached these highest highs of popularity, but once she got up to that peak, it was always going to crash down at some point, but it just tumbled so quickly. The public turned on her so quickly, specifically after the Auckland lockdown back in 2021. So, she had a pretty, pretty challenging year last year.
RUHLE: Yeah, I mean it's interesting, former fellow female PM Helen Clark is still very visible around the world. She's in Davos right now. What are the pundits perhaps expecting Jacinda Ardern to do going forward? I know there's whispers about the United Nations?
LYNCH: Yeah, there's always kind of been whispers and nods around Jacinda Ardern's future and what she might like to do after Prime Minister. She hasn't indicated, and she's always kind of denied that she would like a job with the U.N.
One thing that she might want to carry on that I think is a real interest project of hers is the work that she's doing around, that she was doing around the Christchurch call, that call to counter online extremism with the tech companies. That was a real pet project of her. So, I wonder whether she perhaps wants to continue that as a global role.
But the only indication that she's given us of her future thus far is that she's going to be there to send her five-year-old off to school this year and she's finally going to be able to get married to her fiance, Clarke Gayford.
HOLMES: Yeah, that's right. Very famous baby. Jenna, I got to leave it there. Jenna Lynch with Newshub. I appreciate you joining us there.
LYNCH: Good night.
HOLMES: Climate activist Greta Thunberg lashing out against climate talks at the World Economic Forum. Thunberg was on a panel discussion in Davos and said it was, "absurd" to look for solutions at that annual conference. The Swedish activist said grassroots pressure from the outside side will make more of an impact on leaders and key decision makers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: I think that right now the changes that we need are not very likely to come from the inside, rather I believe it will come from the bottom up, so to speak. And because without public pressure, without massive public pressure
from the outside, at least in my experience, these people are going to go as far as they possibly can, as long as they can get away with it. They we will continue to invest in fossil fuels. They will continue to throw people under the bus for their own gain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Thunberg said it was time to not rely on investing in fossil fuels to solve the climate problems saying they're prioritizing corporate greed and short term profits.
Still to come here on the program, a nuclear arms race in Asia, how deterrence for one country is seen as escalation by another.
We'll have a live report from Paula Hancocks after the break.
HOLMES: And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.
Now, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard is slamming the European parliament after lawmakers called for the guard to be added to the E.U. terror list.
According to Iranian state media, the Guard called described the resolution as a sign of Europe's desperation claiming its plans to spark unrest inside Iran failed. The E.U. has been a harsh critic of Iran's crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz picks up the story.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The E.U. parliament has passed a nonbinding resolution, urging E.U. member states to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, this elite fighting unit, as a terrorist organization.
This was voted by an overwhelming majority of E.U. parliamentarians. And again it is nonbinding. But it's a significant step and one that prompted a very quick response from Iran's foreign minister.
He in a statement said that the E.U. should be focused on diplomacy and went on to say that if the E.U. did indeed designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, that that would be like -- and this is the word of Iran's foreign minister -- like the E.U. shooting itself in the foot.
ABDELAZIZ: This vote -- this nonbinding resolution came about after an annual report was released yesterday that reviews for E.U.'s parliament, its relationships -- its security relations and foreign relations -- in that report, the E.U. parliament again heavily criticized Iran's crackdown on protesters, this movement, these demonstrations that have been happening now for around four months.
I'm going to read you a small portion of the E.U. parliament's statement in that report. Again it says, it is appalled by unrestrained and disproportionate use of force by Iranian police and security forces.
Again, this designation would be highly controversial, a hot button issue for Iran. The United States had designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization in 2019. Now the E.U. potentially looking at making that same move, the U.K. as well considering that designation.
All showing just how much relations between the West and Iran have deteriorated since the start of these protests and that very brutal crackdown.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN -- London.
HOLMES: A trial for Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the bosses of Sicily's Cosa Nostra Mafia has been adjourned until March the 9th. Messina Denaro did not appear by video link at his hearing on Thursday. He was actually not required to do so, but his attorney appeared in court briefly on his behalf.
Messina Denaro had been on the run since 1993, and was considered one of Europe's most wanted criminals before his arrest on Monday. He's now been held in a maximum security prison in central Italy.
London's metropolitan police are under fresh fire for failing to oust officers accused of sex crimes. On Thursday, we learned a serving officer suspected of distributing child pornography was recently found dead the day before he was due in court.
And two retired officers face similar charges. Earlier this week, another police officer confessed to being a serial rapist.
This report from CNN's Nina Dos Santos.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Outrage like this has simmered across the U.K. since the death of Sarah Everett, raped and murdered by a mile London metropolitan police officer almost two years ago.
Now news that this other serving policeman has admitted to 24 counts of rape, has left Britons especially women questioning whether they can trust the very people who are supposed to keep them safe.
Patsy Stevenson was among those manhandled by officers from the U.K.'s biggest force at a protest mourning Sarah Everett in 2021.
PATSY STEVENSON, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It feels like we are all screaming out, can you just change before something like this happens. And now it's happened again. DOS SANTOS: Both of these policemen had a history of misconducts
towards women and as diplomatic protection offices, they also had access to guns, a rarity within British law enforcement.
MARK ROWLEY, COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITIAN POLICE: I'm sorry. I know we put women down, I mean I think we've failed over two decades to be as ruthless as we ought to be in guarding our own integrity.
DOS SANTOS: The Met says it's investigating 1,071 officers involved in 1,633 different cases over a decade. Commissioner Mark Rowley has complained he doesn't have the power to sack them.
That's little comfort to the women who reported the latest defending officer repeatedly both before and during his more than 20-year career with the police to deaf ears. Again and again, he was vetted and given the greenlight.
Dal Babu spent 30 years with the Met police and was once head of the firearms unit.
DAL BABU, FORMER LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: I have turned down people when I was a police officer, who I did not think were appropriate. Despite people knowing about this individual, they still allowed him to become firearms officer.
DOS SANTOS: Why? Is that just internal protection culture that is prevalent?
BABU: No, you've got multiple failures in leadership, in making proper decisions. I remember on one occasion being appalled when a detective sergeant had taken a young constable to a call, pulled up in a side area, and sexually assaulted her.
And I wanted him sacked but he was protected by other officers. And he was given a warning. I asked my daughters to text me whenever they go out.
DOS SANTOS: Their dad was a police officer for many years. Do you think they trust the police?
BABU: My daughters don't trust the police.
DOS SANTOS: Poll (ph) information by government watchdog in the aftermath of Sarah Everett's murder suggested that less than half of the British population had a positive view of the nation's police forces. Other surveys since then indicate that that confidence has only fallen further.
Campaigners like Harriet Wisthirch (ph)want government inquiries under way to have legal powers, to bring in changes to better protect women and has filed a super complaint in the courts.
HARRIET WISTRICH, FOUNDER, CENTRE FOR WOMEN'S JUSTICE: There is a culture of misogyny within the metropolitan police. Clearly, they have to make some very radical changes in order to sort of really encourage women to come forward. But some -- many women won't come forward.
DOS SANTOS: Transparency will also be key. But some say taking more officers to court might not cut it.
STEVENSON: I don't personally think they're going to change in the way that everyone thinks they are. They really need to start from scratch.
DOS SANTOS: Until that happens, Patsy says turning to Britain's police for her and millions more will not always be preferable or indeed possible.
Nina Dos Santos, CNN -- London.
HOLMES: Dozens of people have lost their homes after a massive fire in one of the last slums in Seoul, South Korea. Flames and black smoke billowing from the makeshift homes, in Seoul's famous Gangnam (ph) district early on Friday morning. Officials say about 60 homes many made of vinyl and plywood were destroyed. More than 500 people had to be evacuated, no deaths or injuries reported, fortunately.
In that same country, South Korea's president recently raised the prospect of his country developing its own nuclear arsenal amid a nuclear threats on the north. It's an idea that's getting increasing support from some South Koreans.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Seoul. And I guess the question is why is the idea of South Korea wanting nuclear weapons getting so much attention now?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, it's been a topic that is always been in the background, but it's certainly been a fringe discussion, at least ten years ago. And it's getting more discussion now, basically because of North Korea.
For example at the beginning of the year, you had Kim Jong-un saying he wanted an exponential increase in the number of nuclear weapons and nuclear arsenal that the North had. And this is really fueling the argument here that some conservatives have actually said that if North Korea has nuclear weapons, then why can't we.
HANCOCKS: Kim Jong-un wants bigger and better nuclear weapons, calling for a quote, "exponential increase" in North Korea's nuclear arsenal, a compelling reason for a growing number of South Koreans who believe that they too should have nuclear weapons.
BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: It is very striking how it's gone from really a fringe discussion to very mainstream.
South Korea is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella but for some conservatives the pledge to come to Seoul's aid up to and including using nuclear weapons if under attack is no longer enough. Not helped by former U.S. President Donald Trump who turned
traditional alliances on their heads, suggesting the U.S. shouldn't be defending South Korea citing expense.
ANKIT PANDA, STANTON SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: The alliance was on thin ice during the Trump administration, and so on some level it's a natural response for South Korea to seek out ways in which to enhance this autonomous defense capability.
CHEONG SEONG-CHANG, DIRECTOR, CENTER OF EAST ASIAN COOPERATION, THE SEJONG INSTITUTE (through translator): Of course, North Korea doesn't want South Korea to have nuclear weapons. Now, they can ignore the South Korea military, but they will be nervous if we have enough nuclear weapons as we have enough nuclear material to make more than 4,000 weapons.
HANCOCKS: A poll conducted by Gallup Korea last September found 55 percent of those polled supported South Korea having its own nuclear weapons. Other polls show even higher support, but some experts say the reality would be very different.
JEFFREY LEWIS, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The funny thing about nuclear weapons is that your weapons don't offset their weapons. and the best example I can think of that is look at Israel. Israel has nuclear arms and it is terrified of Iran getting nuclear weapons. So Israel's nuclear weapons don't, in any fundamental way, offset the threat they feel from Iran's nuclear weapons.
HANCOCKS: South Korea's president, Yoon Suk-yeol also floated the idea of a nuclear program last week, speaking to his defense ministry. Comments walked back by those around him, Yoon has been calling for stronger extended deterrence for months.
Some conservatives (INAUDIBLE) a redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula.
KLINGNER: Putting those nukes back on the peninsula makes no military sense. They currently are on very hard to find, hard to target weapons platforms. And to take the weapons off of them, and put them into a bunker in South Korea, which is a very enticing preemptive target for North Korea, what you've done is you've degraded your capabilities.
HANCOCKS: Now Washington has said that the extended deterrence is solid, that the nuclear umbrella is intact. And they also point to the fact that there is some 28.5 thousand U.S. troops permanently stationed on the Korean Peninsula which would have a very real trip wire effect.
And the last thing that the United States wants and certainly the last thing China wants is to have a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia, Michael.
[01:44:49] HOLMES: All right. Paula, appreciate the update. Paula Hancocks there in Seoul for us.
Quick break here on the program. When we come back the actor Alec Baldwin is vowing to fight the charges he's now facing in the shooting death of a cinematographer on his western movie set.
We'll have the details on that after the break.
HOLMES: David Crosby, one of the most revered rock musicians of the 60s and 70s has died at age 81 following what his family describes as lengthy illness. Like many musicians of that era, he did struggle with addiction and health problems over the years. He was a central figure of the 1960s California music scene and was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of The Birds and later with Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Many of those songs that Crosby co-wrote and performed 50 years ago are still frequently played on classic rock stations, a legend.
Actor Alec Baldwin says that it is quote, "a terrible miscarriage of justice", after a district attorney announced plans to charge him with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death on a movie set.
CNN's Chloe Melas has the details.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Actor and producer Alec Baldwin, now facing criminal charges in the death of cinematographer's Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the film "Rust" in 2021.
Baldwin, as well as the film's armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed will be charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death.
District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies saying lack of safety protocols led to the tragedy and the chargers announced today.
MARY CARMACK ALTWIES, NEW MEXICO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It was the totality of the circumstances that this was a really fast and loose set and that nobody was doing their job.
Hutchins was shot on the Western movie set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 21st 2021. After the lunch break that day, the assistant director Dave Halls yelled cold gun and gave the prop gun to Baldwin who pulled it from a holster, according to an account in the search warrant and affidavit.
The scene called for Baldwin to point a gun toward the camera. At 1:50 p.m. a loud pop rang out and Hutchins fell to the floor, shot in the chest.
CARMACK-ALTWIES: He didn't check it. He didn't do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he would safe or that anyone around him was safe.
Baldwin blamed the armorer and the assistant director saying he had no reason to believe the gun was loaded.
Baldwin telling CNN last year --
ALECK BALDWIN, ACTOR: Why didn't she check that bullet? Why? Why did he give me the gun? Why didn't he check.
MELAS; A flurry of lawsuits ensued. Attorneys for both the armorer and the assistant director have accused Baldwin of deflecting blame, maintaining they were not at fault in the shooting.
MELAS: In a statement, Baldwin's attorney called the decision to file charges against him quote, "a terrible miscarriage of justice", saying he was assured the gun did not have live rounds and that he will fight the charges. Baldwin maintains that he never pulled the trigger.
BALDWIN: I never once said, never, that the gun went off in my hand automatically. I always said I pulled the hammer back and I pulled back as far as I could. I never took a gun and pointed at somebody and clicked the thing.
Gutierrez Reed's attorney said in a statement, "She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime."
The assistant director signed a plea agreement for negligent use of a deadly weapon and received six months probation and a suspended sentence in the shooting.
Hutchins family, who reached an undisclosed settlement with Baldwin and the other producers of "Rust" in a separate wrongful death lawsuit saying in a statement they support the charges and will cooperate with the prosecution. Adding quote, "It is a comfort to the family that in New Mexico no one is above the law".
CARMACK-ALTWIES: This is really about justice for Halyna Hutchins. Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they are going to handle the gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone.
MELAS: We've heard from Alec Baldwin's attorney but we have yet to hear from Alec himself. I'm standing in front of his downtown Manhattan apartment where over my shoulder you can see photographers, some reporters waiting to catch a glimpse of Alec to hear from him.
We know from his attorney that he felt blindsided by the charges, that they learned of them through the media. But based on the statement, we know that he is maintaining his innocence, that he will fight these charges and he will see this through to a trial.
Chloe Melas, CNN -- New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: The BAFTA nominations have been announced and Netflix is celebrating. Just ahead, the German language film that is topping the list of nominations.
HOLMES: Spectators at the Australian Open were on the edge of their seats until the early hours Friday morning as an instant classic which did not finish until 4:00 a.m. unfolded in front of them.
Former world number one Andy Murray, who underwent multiple potential career-ending hip surgeries back in 2018 and '19 found himself down two sets to one against the Aussie, Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.
Murray fought back to take the match to a deciding fifth set. The match ran to five hours, 45 minutes before the 35-year-old Scot finally completed the win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY MURRAY, TENNIS PLAYER: Unbelievable that I managed to turn that around. Thanasi was playing -- I mean serving unbelievable (INAUDIBLE). I don't know how I managed to get through it. I did start playing better as the match went on. Anya, I have a big heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: "All Quiet on the Western Front" is a well known story many of us studied in school. Now it is leading the 2023 nominations for the British Academy Film Awards having been nominated for 14 Baftas. This is the first time the book has been made into its native German on film.
Nada Bashir with more.
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As bloody conflict rages again on European soil, Netflix's "All Quiet on the Western Front" takes us back into the deafening trenches of World War I.
Vying for nominations this award season, this is the third movie adaptation of Erich Maria-Remarque's 1929 novel. Considered definitive in its hellish portrait of the war to end all wars.
It is however, the first time the story has been adapted for the big screen in its native language.
EDWARD BERGER, DIRECTOR: I felt it was important to tell the story from a German perspective since Germany wrought havoc on the world in the past century. You know, two wars started from that country.
BASHIR: The film tells a story of young German soldier Paul Baumer, a schoolboy sold the imperial dream -- naive and fresh faced, soon caked in blood.
It's a story told before, the grim cycle of trench warfare, miner gains and massive losses. (INAUDIBLE) leaders making decisions for cannon for the troops.
Director Edward Berger says he believes the world must be reminded of the futility of war. The German national psyche, in his view, scarred by its own history.
BERGER: Hopefully it helps, you know, understand that nothing good can come from war. We all know it, but we seem to be forgetting it at every turn.
BASHIR: Berger co-wrote the screenplay captures the senseless loss of life experienced on the frontlines between 1914 and 1918.
ALBRECHT SCHUCH, ACTOR: I'd say the core of the novel is there, whether they survived or not. War just led to devastation and for generations and generations to come.
BASHIR: "All Quiet on the Western Front" is Germany's official contender for Best International Feature Film at the 2023 academy Awards. However many awards it brings home, the film serves as a stark reminder of the more than 8 million troops killed in the Great War and why such horrors should never unfold again.
Nada Bashir, CNN -- London.
HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes, thanks for spending part of your day with me.
My friend Kim Brunhuber will be her with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.