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CNN International: Seven People and Gunman Dead at Jehovah's Witnesses Center; Memorial in Kyiv for Commander who Died in Bakhmut; Xi Jinping Secures Unprecedented Third Term as President; Saudi Arabia and Iran Agree to Resume Diplomatic Relations; Battle Against HIV at a Crossroads. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 10, 2023 - 08:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN "Newsroom", I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead, German police are investigating the motives behind a shooting that left 7 people dead in the Jehovah's Witnesses center in Hamburg. Amongst them, there was an unborn baby. We will have the latest.

Then, Xi Jinping officially secures a third term as President, making him a longest serving Head of State in Communist China since its foundation. Plus, 20 years ago, then U.S. President George W. Bush launched an emergency plan to combat HIV/AIDS. CNN travels to Africa with that initiative that saved millions of lives.

German police are trying to figure out why a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Jehovah's Witnesses center in Hamburg. It happened on Thursday night. The city's Interior Minister says the government opened fire, killing 7 people before taking his own life after police stormed the building, and witnesses describe the chaos.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard gunshots, and there were 12 continuous shots. We saw people being taken away and black bags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I also heard 12 shots at the Jehovah's Witnesses, and then kept away. I saw seriously injured people.


FOSTER: The State Prosecutor has just revealed the shooter was a Former Member of the Church. Hamburg's Interior Minister says among the victims was an unborn child. Jim Bittermann following the story from Paris, do you watch the Press Conference?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. It's very, very sad details that are coming out here, that unborn child, 7 months old, did not survive but his mother did. She's one of the 8 people who were injured in this. We're getting some more details about the shooter himself, 35 years old, he was a German national. And as you said, he was a member of the church he left about 18 months ago, according to a Hamburg Security Official. Not perhaps under the best of terms is the way that the Security Official put it. It's not clear whether he left voluntarily or he was forced out.

So it appears that he was not part of the group that was meeting last night, but then came to the group of about 50, who were in the Kingdom Hall last night in Hamburg meeting, as they often do. The Chancellor Scholz called this a brutal act, violence and he feared that some of those 8 who were injured may in fact succumb to their injuries.

So that's kind of the way it stands now. We still don't have a very clear idea, what the motive of the government was? But clearly, he was had some difficulties with the church itself, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Jim Bittermann in Paris. Thank you back with you when we get more. Now to Ukraine, though, where the country is trying to recover after Thursday's deadly missile barrage. Authorities in the capital Kyiv say power and water supplies are restored there.

But that isn't the case in the nation's second largest capital; nearly half a million residents of Kharkiv are without electricity. Russia's attack on Thursday was one of the most intense of the war, Ukraine reported 95 missiles were launched and 6 people were killed in the attacks, most of them in a residential area of Lviv. CNN's Ivan Watson is in Kyiv near a public memorial to a Ukrainian commander who died in the ravaged City of Bakhmut, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, its right this is a memorial it's a very somber ceremony attended by thousands of people here in Kyiv in the Maidan. This square where in 2014 demonstrators faced off battled against security forces and ultimately drove out a pro-Russian President.

The man who's being honored is Ukraine's youngest battalion commander, a man named Dmytro Kotsiubailo, who goes by the codename Da Vinci killed just days ago in the battle for Bakhmut. He was one of the demonstrators here in the Maidan in 2014, and has been fighting against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region ever since.

This just kind of underscoring the immense cost that Ukraine is paying in this grinding war the Russian President, the Ukrainian President, excuse me, Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended the funeral, in a cathedral up the hill. And I've just met somebody who's come to pay their respects. Sergiy Ivannikov, you didn't personally know Da Vinci, why did you decide to come here today bringing flowers?

SERGIY IVANNIKOV, KYIV RESIDENT: Well, I know someone who's very close to him and, of course, he's very well-known personality. But important thing is that I'm here because life is important and he lost his life for us, for me, for my children, for my family, and who want to live good life, and I am here to celebrate his life and to say final respects to him.

Unfortunately, it's not the first time that I'm here to say final respects to our fallen heroes. They are the best of us. That's why it's I mean, it's such a horrible moment, in a sense, but we're doing this to, you know, to continue our life, our way of life, our traditions, what we like to do, and I really, you know, I take my hat off to Dmytro.

WATSON: The Russian government, which has invaded your country and is battling your armed forces, would say they would probably use very critical terms against an officer, like Da Vinci. They frequently call the government here, Nazis and fascists and he was a member of the Right Sector. What is your response to that kind of criticism?

IVANNIKOV: Why should we care about fascist government saying something about people who fight for their freedom? I mean, I don't care what they say. It's nonsense, whatever they say. He's our hero, and he fought for us and due to him and people like him. Who will win, who will save our country and we will develop and glory.

WATSON: All right, thank you very much for speaking with us.


And I'll just finish, Max, by pointing out that last year Ukrainian President Zelenskyy awarded Da Vinci the honor of being a hero of Ukraine, now fallen and being honored here remembered as a national hero, Max.

FOSTER: Ivan in Maidan Square thank you so much for joining us. And sources are telling CNN that Russia has been selling military equipment is captured in Ukraine to Iran. They say American and NATO Officials have seen instances of Russian forces seizing smaller weapons like Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft systems that Ukrainians were forced to leave on the battlefield is believed the Russians are hoping the Iranians can reverse engineer the weapons.

So far it's unclear that if it's been successful, though. Now imposing new penalties on Moscow and shoring up the support for Ukraine will be front and center at a meeting in Washington on Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for talks at the White House.

Also high on the agenda a new U.S. tax credit for electric vehicles that some European countries say unfairly penalizes them. The French President and the British Prime Minister also tackling a myriad of issues at their summit in Paris the meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak marks the first significant talks between the two countries in five years.

The Elysee Palace says besides reaffirming their mutual support for Ukraine, the two leaders will also discuss illegal immigration across the English Channel climate change efforts and the fight against radicalization. Israel's Prime Minister is in Rome today and deepening political crisis back home over his government's judicial overhaul plan.

Benjamin Netanyahu met Italian Officials and right wing Prime Minister Georgia Meloni. He says he'll ask Italy to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. His chip comes amid weeks of protests in Israel over his controversial proposals and more violence. 3 Israelis wounded after a Palestinian man opened fire in Tel Aviv.

He was fatally shot by off duty police. Hadas Gold is monitoring all of the developments in Jerusalem for us right now. And Hadas, any sign that Netanyahu is going to back down on what he promises to do with these reforms.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: No, and in fact, he's being criticized, especially by the opposition for taking off for Italy in the midst of this political crisis here. In fact, his trip to Italy was even affected because instead of being able to drive to the airport as he initially planned, protesters decided to try to block the entrance to the airport by essentially just driving very slowly all through the airport grounds.

As a result, Netanyahu had to actually helicopter into the airport. It also affected U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's visit, he also had to change his trip plans to go with Officials in Tel Aviv. Instead, he also actually just flew into the airport met Officials at a complex just near the airport and then left again because of these massive protests.

Now 10 weeks in a row or so of people taking to the street to protest Benjamin Netanyahu is far right wing government, and especially their plans to completely overhaul the judicial system, essentially allowing the Israeli parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions with just a simple majority now.

So far, we haven't heard any issuance of any sort of backing down from Netanyahu or his government. But last night, there was an impassioned plea from the Israeli President Isaac Herzog. He made a televised address, we were hastily arranged, and we only got about a half hour notice on it.

Essentially warning that the country was at a point of no return and for the first time, speaking out specifically against the legislation so until now, he's been rather sort of trying to play the negotiator trying to get people to come around the table to talk to come to a consensus on what these reforms may look like.

And for the first time last night, he came out and said he believes that these reforms could damage the democratic foundations of Israel. Now, Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be in Italy over the weekend. So we'll see whether the President's speech will affect his point of view when he returns.

But as you noted, this is all happening in the wake of this ongoing deadly violence we've been seeing between Israelis and Palestinians last night actually, not far from where the protests were taking place just as they were wrapping up a gunman opened fire on pedestrians along one of the busiest nightlife areas in Tel Aviv.

Wounding 3 including 1 critically and then passers-by amongst them off duty police officers shot and killed the man. Hamas, the militant group that runs the Gaza Strip claimed the man as a member of fighter of theirs. And it just goes to show you that this ongoing cycle of violating Israelis and Palestinians that is continuing it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon, at the same time as these political crises are happening in Israel, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Hadas, thank you. Xi Jinping enters historic territory as China's National People's Congress endorses him for an unprecedented third term as President.


No other leader has been Head of Communist China for more than 10 years not even founding father. Chairman Mao Zedong his unanimous vote was a formality though. He'll serve another 5 years. CNN's Selina Wang is in Beijing joins us now. It was just a formality, wasn't it, because the real power is with his position within the Communist Party?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, I mean, the role of President in China is largely ceremonial, but as you say, it's symbolic and it is important. The fact that he's gotten this unprecedented third term, it's a reminder that he's got an iron grip over this country, it solidifies his control.

And remember that back in 2018, Xi had scrapped the two term limit on the presidency meaning he can stay on as Head of State forever. But as you say, his true power it comes from being head of the party and the military. And these are roles he was already reappointed to at the Communist Party Congress back in October.

So what we saw today, what we see in that footage, it's really political theater, he got more than 2900 unanimous votes from China's rubber stamp legislator, then they got up for a standing ovation. Now at this ongoing big political event we're also going to see reshuffles in leadership roles and state organizations.

These are all changes that will further increase Xi's power. On Saturday, Li Qiang, who is one of Xi's most trusted proteges, he's expected to be chosen as China's Premier. He was Former the Party, Secretary of Shanghai and oversaw that brutal two month COVID lockdown last spring.

Now so Max, what should we expect from this term? Well, we should expect increasing communist party control at home and abroad, we should expect to see more of this assertive, aggressive foreign policy. Beijing sees these actions as trying to restore China's rightful standing in the world as a great power.

It's also clear that there's going to be no easy or quick off ramp to U.S.-China tensions. Xi Jinping's view of the bilateral relationship it is turning more pessimistic. Earlier this week, she made a rare move by directly accusing the U.S. of leading a campaign to contain and suppress China it is very unusual for him to directly call up the U.S.

Then the following day, China's new Foreign Minister warned that conflict with the U.S. is inevitable if the U.S. does not change course. So there's a very clear message from Beijing to the people here in China and that is the message that the U.S. is trying to choke the country off, Max. FOSTER: Selina, thank you. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is again showing off his daughter at high profile military events. According to state media, the child recently appeared next to her father with a live fire artillery exercise. The girl is believed to be Kim's second child, and is estimated to be about 10 years old.

She first appeared by Kim side last November. Western observers believe her recent public appearances of Kim and his daughter are meant to show that the Kim family dynasty backed up by the North Korean Military will continue after he's gone.

Buckingham Palace announced that there's a new Duke of Edinburgh, Britain's King Charles has passed on the title to his youngest sibling Prince Edward was previously known as the Earl of Wessex and Forfar. The Palace said Edward received his new title on his 59th birthday and he'll hold it for the rest of his life.

The Dukedom was created for the late Prince Philip in 1947 when he married the future Queen, who was Princess Elizabeth, at the time. Still to come, a seemingly endless parade of lawsuits has followed Donald Trump for years. We'll look at whether he'll soon face criminal charges in New York and what that might mean?



What could a possible indictment mean for Donald Trump's race for the White House? Well, according to The New York Times, Former U.S. President Donald Trump could face criminal charges for his alleged role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The investigation stems from events in October 2016 only days before the Presidential election and relates to an alleged payment of 130,000 U.S. dollars to Daniels to keep her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier, an affair that Trump has always denied.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's office have offered the Former U.S. President the chance to testify next week before a grand jury. Hush money payments aren't illegal. So what exactly are prosecutors looking at here?

Let's bring in from Washington. Our CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid, thank you so much for joining us. I mean, it is complicated, isn't it when you explain it like that, but essentially what are we considering here in this case?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, hush money payments are not illegal extramarital affairs are not illegal. The possible crime here is falsifying business records to explain how Michael Cohen was receiving the money that was a reimbursement for the hush money payments that he made to Stormy Daniels.

Look, this investigation has been going on for around 5 years, but over the past few weeks, we have seen this sudden uptick in activity. And the District Attorney in Manhattan is under a lot of political pressure to do something about this case. And in recent weeks, we've seen Trump allies like Kellyanne Conway, his former aide Hope Hicks, going to testify before the grand jury.

And the fact that they have extended this invitation to the Former President to come and testify before the grand jury suggests that this investigation is wrapping up and there could potentially be an indictment. Now it's unlikely that he will take them up on that invitation to go and testify.

But if he was to be charged, look, this is a complicated case. This is not one of the stronger legal threats that he is facing. This is conduct that occurred around 7 years ago in the lead up to the 2016 campaign at the heart. It is a paperwork crime that in Manhattan would have to be prosecuted under a pretty novel legal theory.

And at the center of this would be the star witness Michael Cohen, who is a convicted liar, who has been publicly really fixating on the Former President and his desire to see Trump charge. So any could Defense Attorney would likely seize on that, and it's unclear if there will be charges. But if they are brought it will be challenging to successfully convict the Former President.

FOSTER: If he is found guilty, does it disqualify him from running for President?

REID: Not this particular set of charges, it does not disqualify him from running. These would be state level charges. He does face a possible legal Jeopardy at the federal level. There's a special counsel investigation into January 6, as well as classified investigation into possible his handling of classified documents.

There are other cases in Georgia as well. He has said if he's indicted on any of these, he will continue to run but when it comes to the Manhattan charges. No, that would be up to the court of public opinion how that plays out.

FOSTER: OK, Paula, we'd appreciate your expertise on that. Thank you so much for explaining. Still ahead an American Presidents plan two decades ago, helping save millions of lives. We'll tell you about the impact of a foreign aid program called PEPFAR when we return.



FOSTER: Just into CNN, Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to resume diplomatic relations. After a 7 year freeze the 2 nations will reopen embassies within the next 2 months Saudi Arabia cut ties after executing a prominent Shiite cleric which led to protests in Iran at Saudi diplomatic posts in 2016.

China helped media the agreement in Beijing. Now a plan to combat the AIDS epidemic announced by U.S. President George W. Bush 20 years ago has had an astonishing impact. The U.S. government says the foreign aid program known as PEPFAR has saved 25 million lives. But now the fight against HIV is at a crossroads. David McKenzie explains.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When you started taking the medication did you start feeling better straight away or took a long time?

PHILISANDE DAYAMANI, 14-YEAR-OLD LIVING WITH HIV: I feel better straight away.

MCKENZIE (voice over): It's an epidemic that many have forgotten.

DAYAMANI: It wasn't easy for me to accept. Many people cry when they hear but their status--

MCKENZIE (voice over): Philisande's young life up ended when she tested positive for HIV last year. Years ago, her mother died of suspected AIDS.

DAYAMANI: I first cried. I said I've been crying. They're not even shall happen. And you gotten have to take my pills. These are the most important ones.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Are they're easy to take?

DAYAMANI: It is so easy nothing harder, but taking pills.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Lifesaving antiretroviral drugs that she will take for a lifetime.

DAYAMANI: I got it from press.

MCKENZIE (on camera): How do you feel about that?

DAYAMANI: I feel normal, that's part of life.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Part of life for nearly 6 million South Africans on treatment. The country still has the highest HIV burden in the world, people who could otherwise die living normal lives. It's an extraordinary public health achievement.

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Many hospitals tell people, you've got AIDS. We can't help you. Go home and die. In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words.

MCKENZIE (voice over): 20 years ago, President George W. Bush announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR. The region was in crisis. In the hardest hit areas, the virus was seen as a death sentence, because it often was life expectancy dropped by 20 years, child deaths had tripled. Multiple generations were at risk.

BUSH: Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.

JOHN BLANDFORD, CDC DIRECTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA: It was complete surprise. MCKENZIE (voice over): John Blandford CDC's, Director in South Africa has been HIV positive since the mid-80s on was antiretroviral pills since the 90s.

BLANDFORD: Despite the fact that we had highly effective therapies starting in 1996. But were largely limit available in Western Europe in the United States. And so the challenge was then getting the effective drugs, lifesaving drugs, to the places where they were needed most.

MCKENZIE (voice over): And in those regions, PEPFAR saved more than 25 million lives. Like 64-year-old --, who's been on treatment for 10 years. If you have faith in the pills, they will work for you; he says you'll start to get sick if you skip the treatment. But public Health Officials say that the AIDS epidemic is at a crossroads.

Infection rates among men who have sex with men and young women remained stubbornly high. So these groups have been a special focus. And globally, more than 600,000 people still die of AIDS. Despite wide access to prevention and treatment that can save their lives and stop the spread of HIV.

MCKENZIE (on camera): A lot of the world has sort of forgotten about HIV, but you haven't forgotten.

MAKHETHA MOSHABESHA, KARABO EA BOPHELO: No, we haven't. Why we haven't forgot we still have people who are dying of HIV. Yes, it's not a bit as bigger numbers. We have seen it before. We still see HIV impacting lives of people in the household. We see children who are still born with HIV.


We still see young people still being exposed to HIV because of issues of vulnerability. So we can't put it we can't forget it.

DAYAMANI: It's a very big risk, like for personalities to take a medication if they're HIV positive, and also not to be sure that they are not HIV positive and they have to go test. It's a very risky thing.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Why is it risky?

DAYAMANI: Because a person can die without knowing what killed them.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Philisande once become a doctor, or a singer. The burden she has to carry is one no child should carry. But in the next 20 years, with enough well, this virus can be beaten. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


FOSTER: Now before we go, there are millions of asteroids in the solar system of course, but scientists have their eyes on one particular one. The newly discovered space rock called 2023. DW has a very small chance of colliding with Earth on Valentine's Day in 2046. That's according to NASA and the European Space Agency has added it to their respective risk lists.

Here's what we know the asteroid is the size of the Olympic sized swimming pool, about 150 feet in diameter. It was discovered almost two weeks ago by an observatory in Chile. But NASA says there's no reason to panic, certainly not yet. Thanks for joining me now on CNN "Newsroom", I'm Max Foster in London. "World Sport" with Andy Scholes is up next.