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Deadly Storms Batter California; Silicon Valley Bank Collapse; Race for the White House; Saudi Arabia and Iran Agree to End Years of Hostilities; China's National People's Congress; Russia Giving Iran NATO Weapons Seized in Ukraine. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 11, 2023 - 02:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to all of our viewers watching from around the world, I'm Laila Harrak.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, thousands of people ordered to evacuate their homes in California. As a storm battered state endures another round of heavy rain and flooding.

Donald Trump facing new legal blows. The former U.S. president now weighing whether to testify before a grand jury about his alleged role in a hush money scheme.

Plus, a major step for the Middle East as Iran and Saudi Arabia struck a deal to establish ties. The surprise agreement helped along by Beijing. We will break down what it all means.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Laila Harrak.

HARRAK: We begin in California, where at least two people have died and massive storms hitting the state. The results of yet another atmospheric river. Nearly 10,000 residents are under evacuation orders. Shelters have been set up to help those forced to leave their homes because of intensive flooding.

More than 40,000 homes and businesses are currently without power. The central coast has been the hardest hit, with creeks turned into raging rivers and roads washing out, stranding thousands. The worst is now expected to impact the foothills of the central and southern Sierras.

All of this led the Weather Prediction Center to issue the highest level risk warning for the region. Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom's request for a presidential emergency declaration was approved by President Biden. That frees up federal money for storm response and cleanup. CNN's Nick Watt has more on what residents are dealing with.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Water everywhere causing chaos across central California. Some 25 million are under flood warnings. The Kern River usually runs at about 6 feet. It's up over 17. Snow is the issue up at altitude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a quick sec, where I lost control, but I caught that back.

WATT (voice-over): In SoCal, they're rushing to rebuild some sort of road for 450 households. This is their only way out. Springville's Pleasant Valley Road now, anything bad. In my 40 years, never seen it like that. So the man who shot these images.

A major artery in Oakland closed at rush hour nearby a Peet's Coffee warehouse roof collapsed, killing one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A longtime employee beloved by everyone.

WATT (voice-over): Around 25 times the volume of water that flows in the Mississippi is flowing through the air and this is the 10th so called atmospheric river to hit California this winter. Low pressure from the north meets moist air near Hawaii, they call it a Pineapple Express. Sounds fun?

It's not. Essentially a fire hose aimed at the state usually famed for its sunshine.

Throw in a couple of other winter storms that dumped a couple of years' worth of snow on some upland areas and this is the result. Today's storm is a warm one. So along with all this rain, some of that snow is melting. The residents of Felton flooded in January once more told to evacuate. Here and elsewhere, yet more upheaval.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we have to go home, pack our stuff and leave once again when we were just able to come back a couple of weeks ago.

WATT (voice-over): Good news, all the water this winter is significantly rolling back the years long drought suffered in the West. Bad news, yet another atmospheric river is forecast to hit this state early next week.

WATT: Some places in California have had more than a foot of rain dumped by just this system alone, in this little farming town about six inches so far and look at what has happened. And it's not over. Here, this town is not going to stop raining until the middle of next week -- Nick Watt, Watsonville, California.




HARRAK: The swift collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is the second largest financial failure in U.S. history. And it took only 48 hours to unfold. The bank's downward spiral started on Wednesday when it needed to raise billions to shore up its balance sheet.

That triggered a run on the bank. And on Thursday, the tech lender's stock price cratered. On Friday, a government regulator seized control after the bank failed to raise funds or secure a sale. U.S. officials are now trying to tamp down fears of other banks meeting a similar fate.

Here's what a senior Treasury Department official told CNN exclusively.


WALLY ADEYEMO, U.S. DEPUTY TREASURY SECRETARY: Our regulators are paying attention to this financial institution. And when we think of the broader financial system, we are very confident in the ability and the resilience of the system.


HARRAK: In the meantime, the U.S. jobs report came in hot. Over 311,000 positions were added in February. Far more than predicted. President Joe Biden touted the report and other improving economic factors.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And while we still have more to do and there may be setbacks along the, way inflation is now down 30 percent from what it was this summer. Gas prices are down more than $1.50 since their peak. At the same, time take home pay from workers has gone up.


HARRAK: CNN's Rahel Solomon takes a look at the big economic stories we are following for you.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a stunning development this week, a U.S. bank has been shut down and taken over by regulators in what is the largest bank failure since the financial crisis. The downfall of Silicon Valley Bank was swift.

Just two days earlier, the bank tried to raise over $2 billion in capital after suffering a loss in asset sales. Shares of its parent company, SVB Financial Group, fell 60 percent on Thursday and sparked a sell-off in banking stocks worldwide.

It was then halted on Friday after following another 60 percent in pre market trade. SVB may not be a household name but it is a bank that was heavily relied on by the tech and venture capital sector.

As the funding dries up, these high-risk companies have been burning through cash and drawing down deposits. That put the squeeze on SVB's balance sheet. [02:10:00]

SOLOMON: And its plight has really spooked the entire financial sector. Also on Friday, the U.S. data is stronger than expected, 311,000 jobs in February. But the devil is in the details.

The headline number adding weight to the argument that the Fed needs to continue raising rates.

The big question, will bank stress give Fed chair Jay Powell pause about moving more aggressively in the future? -- Rahel Solomon, CNN, New York.


HARRAK: A source tells CNN that former president Donald Trump plans to huddle with his legal team in Mar-a-Lago this weekend. After he was invited to appear next week before the grand jury, investigating hush money allegedly play to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The source says the team will be weighing options and deciding whether Trump will actually appear.

Meantime, former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen met with the Manhattan district attorney's office on Friday. He is set to meet with them again on Monday. CNN's Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is in Washington with more on the story.



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In what would be a historic case, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg one step closer to bringing criminal charges against former president Donald Trump in a long-running investigation.

BRAGG: We're going to look at the facts and the law and let the investigation and justice and what justice requires will dictate how much time we take.

SCHNEIDER: Prosecutors are now giving Trump the chance to testify before a grand jury investigating his alleged role in that $130,000 hush money payout to adult film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election to cover up their alleged affair a decade early.

Since potential defendants in New York are required by law to be invited to appear in front of a grand jury, it all indicates a decision on whether to charge Trump could come soon.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: It's one thing to turn around and to lie on your untruth social. It's another thing to turn around and lie before a grand jury, which all I don't suspect that he is going to be coming.

SCHNEIDER: Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, meeting with prosecutors again Friday. He was sentenced to three years in prison in part for his role paying off Stormy Daniels and then getting reimbursed by the Trump Organization. That reimbursement would be at the heart of any case brought against Trump.

Prosecutors could charge Trump with falsifying business records, for improperly recording his repayment to Cohen. That would be a misdemeanor. Prosecutors could also charge Trump with a felony for falsifying business records in connection with violating campaign finance laws. It could be a risky case to proceed with.

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: If the prosecutor's plan is to rest their case on Michael Cohen, that's a big gamble.

SCHNEIDER: Though some argue it's straightforward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty simple. I mean, he paid money to keep her quiet. They took the money. They laundered it and hid it in the papers of the Trump Organization. And ultimately, it meant that the Trump Organization paid tax on something and filed an income tax return that was false.

In New York State law, no, that's a felony.

SCHNEIDER: Several key people have already testified before the grand jury, including former top White House aides Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks. Trump has repeatedly denied any affair with Stormy Daniels or any involvement in the payoff.

QUESTION: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?


SCHNEIDER: And a spokesman blasted the D.A.'s investigation saying, "The Manhattan district attorney's threat to indict President Trump is simply insane. For the past five years, the D.A.'s office has been on a witch hunt, investigating every aspect of President Trump's life. And they have come up empty at every turn and now this."

Trump has already said that he will not leave the race if he is indicted and legally he wouldn't have to since there is nothing barring presidential candidates from running if they're charged or even convicted.

But Trump, of course, would be the first former president ever indicted and this isn't the only case Trump is facing. He's also under investigation in Georgia for allegedly working to overturn the 2020 election.

And then the special counsel Jack Smith was investigating Trump for his role in January 6 and also Trump's handling of classified documents after he left office -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


HARRAK: All roads to the White House starts in Iowa. So it's no surprise that Florida's governor showed up there on Friday for the first time.

Ron DeSantis is widely expected to launch a bid for the Republican nomination in the coming months. And Iowa is a crucial place to test the waters. Appearing before voters on Friday, DeSantis hit on popular conservative talking points. Take a listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They like criminals roam the streets. We do need a border wall. Probably wouldn't happened with California's government, I'm just saying. Come on, Joe, let's going to it done. We'll do it. We're not going to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each. Other


DESANTIS: We've done things like eliminate critical race theory from our K-12 schools.


HARRAK: Many conservatives have been looking to DeSantis as the new face of the Republican Party after the turmoil of Donald Trump. The governor seemed aware of this as he spoke about his own leadership in Florida. Here he is.


DESANTIS: We made very clear, people who work in the administration, you're not going to leaking. If you have any other agenda but doing the business of the people of Florida, pack your bags right now.

And we did that. And the one thing I can say, if you talk to Floridians, there is no drama in our administration. There is no powerless intrigue. They basically sit back and say, OK, what's the governor going to do next?

And we roll out and we execute.


HARRAK: It will be very interesting to hear what former president Trump has to say when he travels to Iowa on Monday.

Two Middle East rivals agree to restore ties. The latest on the deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia and how it's expected to shake up the region.

Plus, Western military technology falling into Iran's hands. You'll hear how the war in Ukraine can make that happen.



[02:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

HARRAK: After years of open hostility, Saudi Arabia and Iran are restoring diplomatic ties. Embassies in Riyadh and Tehran will reopen within the next two months.

The two bitter rivals made the agreement in Beijing on Friday in a deal brokered by China. They will also reestablish trade and security pacts. CNN's Nada Bashir has more on how the deal was reached and how it could impact the region.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're talking about two of the most geopolitically significant players in the region now reinstating diplomatic relations after a seven year rift.

This is a significant step and will not only see the two nations reopening their respective embassies but both parties activate a security cooperation agreement signed back in 2001, as well as a revival of a trade and technology deal brokered in 1998.

The reconciliation comes after five days of intensive talks by high level delegations from Iran and Saudi Arabia, mediated by China in Beijing. Saudi severed ties with Iran back in 2016 and the ramifications of that decision have been huge, to say the least.

Intentions in the Gulf and deepening conflicts in Syria and Yemen now Iran's foreign minister says the regime actively seeking to take further diplomatic steps for its regional neighbors.

Of course, internationally this deal also marks a diplomatic victory for China in a region that has long been considered part of the U.S. government's sphere of influence, a signal of president Xi's intention to expand China's diplomatic and economic reach in the region.

But of course, it's important to remember the context in which this deal has been signed. Tehran finds itself increasingly isolated on the international stage, first in response to the regime's brutal human rights abuses against anti regime protesters in recent months and crucially Iran's failure to adhere to its international commitments when it comes to its nuclear activity with efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal now frozen.

It's not the first time that we've seen attempts to broker dialogue between the two arch rivals. Between 2021 and 2022, efforts were led by Iraq and Oman to coordinate dialogue between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

But this is the first time we've seen any success in efforts to improve relations between the two parties. And the regional implications could well be significant -- Nada Bashir, CNN, Istanbul.


HARRAK: For the Saudi perspective, I'd like to welcome Mohammed Alyahya. He's a fellow at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University's Belfer Center and he joins me now from Dubai in the UAE.

Very good day.

How has this news to restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Tehran been received in the Gulf?

MOHAMMED ALYAHYA, FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE, BELFER CENTER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It's a very interesting development. I think this is a development that tells the story of a rising Chinese strategic role in the region but more so the story of Iran or Saudi Arabia, a rapprochement between the two countries.

What we're seeing today in the Gulf is that the Chinese are walking the walk rather than just talking, as they have about strategic issues in the past. Today, the Chinese have brokered this deal, they've considerable leverage over Iran.

They happen to have the same interests that Western Europe and the United States has in ensuring the free flow of oil to (INAUDIBLE), those two choke points on either side of the Arabian Peninsula.

So today we're seeing China utilizing this vacuum that it sees left by the United States. It's no secret that American officials, specifically on the Democratic side but also on the Republican side, have been touting this idea of pivoting away from the Middle East in order to face the China threat.

The Chinese today are viewing the region as a primary arena for competition with the United States. So this dissonance has grave strategic consequences. And that's what we're seeing today. This is a story about China much more than it's a story about Saudi Arabia or Iran.

HARRAK: Let's continue then on China because, as you have pointed out, it has played a pivotal role brokering these talks. In an opinion piece that you wrote for "Foreign Policy" at the end of last year, it was titled, "Why Saudis Don't Want to Pivot to China."


HARRAK: For Saudis like me, nothing could be more disheartening than a divorce from the United States. So having said that and putting it into perspective, what is happening today and this week, what do you make of the state of U.S.-Saudi relations and China's influence?

Could this backfire?

ALYAHYA: So I think it's important to differentiate between the bilateral U.S.-Saudi relationship and the dynamics surrounding America's role in Middle East security. These are two different things. Of course they're linked.

U.S.-Saudi relations have improved over the last 1.5 years. U.S. and Saudi officials have a working group, just a couple of weeks ago, and they're seeing eye-to-eye on more issues than they agreed on just a year or two years ago. But this issue with China in the region it's a larger one. It's a

strategic issue, it's a geopolitical issue. The Chinese have a base in Djibouti now and are starting to look at the region in strategic terms.

While as I mentioned, the United States is trying to pivot away from the region in order to face this Chinese threat, so, of course, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states don't see China or Russia or any other world power as capable of replacing the United States as a strategic partner for the Gulf.

But that also doesn't mean that there is value in -- there is no value added, rather, in the Chinese role in brokering this (INAUDIBLE) for example. Iran -- China is Iran's largest trading partner. It has considerable leverage over Iran and at the same time there are important economic relations between Saudi Arabia and China. So it makes sense.

HARRAK: The U.S., of course, is historically one of Saudi's staunchest allies. And I was wondering, especially with the tense situations, the bilateral relations between China and the U.S., does Riyadh risk overplaying its hand by alienating one of its most important allies?

ALYAHYA: You know, first of all, this deal, this idea of sharing the region with Iran, the idea of integrating Iran is not something that came up in Beijing or (INAUDIBLE). This idea originated during the Obama administration and has been repeated by the current folks in the Biden administration.

It was for the brief period when Donald Trump was in office that idea was (INAUDIBLE). So the idea of sharing the region with Iran or finding the sort of modus vivendi is not an idea that originated in Riyadh.

And it's worth considering also that Iran's problem fundamentally is not with Saudi Arabia. There is also this mistaken idea in Washington that this is 1,000 year old international struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran because one side is Sunni and the other side is Shia.

The reality of the matter is the slogan of the Iranian regime's is death to Americans (INAUDIBLE). It's not death to Saudi Arabia. So it's true that (INAUDIBLE) it's important to assess what's happening right now.

And, of course, it's important to also consider that this is not a peace (ph). We see all these headlines saying that Saudi Arabia has made peace with Iran or that Iranians have (INAUDIBLE) behind us. It's history.

That's not the case. All they've agreed is to reopen diplomatic relations and work toward respecting these basic principles, like sovereignty and noninterference in the affairs of your neighbors, et cetera, et cetera. So it remains to be seen where this goes.

HARRAK: Mohammed Alyahya, thank you so much for joining us.

ALYAHYA: Thank, you thank you very much.


HARRAK: As has been widely anticipated, the National People's Congress now meeting in Beijing has formally approved a new premier, who is second in power behind president Xi Jinping.

That man is Li Qiang, a longtime protege of president Xi's as the Communist Party chief in Shanghai. He presided over that city's harsh zero COVID lockdowns. Traditionally, the premier handles the country's economy. But most decisions these days appear to be made by Mr. Xi.


HARRAK: He earlier secured an unprecedented third term as president. It's mostly a ceremonial title but still very important. The Chinese Congress is not like Western legislatures. The 3,000 or so delegates only meet annually to formally approve decisions that have already been finalized by the top leaders.

Ukraine is honoring a decorated military hero who died on the front lines. Still ahead, an emotional farewell for an officer who spent his entire adult life fighting for Ukraine.




HARRAK: Western military know-how could fall into the hands of Iran, thanks to the war in Ukraine. That's according to four U.S. officials, who spoke with CNN. They say Russia is sending Iran some of the U.S. and NATO weapons it seized in Ukraine. They include the Javelin anti- tank missiles, which you see here, and Stinger anticraft systems.


HARRAK: The officials are concerned Tehran may reverse engineer those weapons as it did with other military technologies in the past.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is seeing a shift in Russia's strategy in the fight for Bakhmut. Kyiv says Russian army troops are starting to replace Wagner mercenaries, who have been leading the charge for months.

The reason could be a public feud between Wagner's boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Russia's top military brass.

In Kyiv, Ukraine has bid its final goodbye to a fallen hero who died in fighting in Bakhmut.



HARRAK (voice-over): Thousands of people, including president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, took part in a tearful funeral ceremony for the officer, best known under his nickname Da Vinci. As Ivan Watson reports, he made his name in the military at a very young age.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Funeral for a fallen warrior and honor guard and thousands of mourners gathered to remember Junior Lieutenant Dmytro Kotsyubaylo, better known by his codename The Vinci.

He was the youngest battalion commander in the Ukrainian army, killed this week in the battle for Bakhmut. A months-long deadly test of wills between the Russian and Ukrainian militaries over a small city of questionable strategic value.

WATSON: This is how Ukraine is honoring one of its fallen heroes and also proof of the terrible cost that the Ukrainian military is paying in the battle for Bakhmut.

WATSON (voice-over): In 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially declared Da Vinci, a hero of Ukraine. On Friday, the President paid his respects to Da Vinci's surviving family members, accompanied by the prime minister of Finland.

Mourners gathered on their knees around Da Vinci's coffin in the Maidan, the Square in central Kyiv, where in 2014, Da Vinci then just a teenager, joined thousands of demonstrators in a bloody battle against Ukrainian security forces.

They ultimately sent the country's pro-Russian President fleeing to Russia. Soon after, The Vinci joined a nationalist militia and fought for years against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region, before formally joining the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Many of the people attending Da Vinci's memorial never met the young commander face to face.

SERGIY IVANNIKOV, KYIV RESIDENT: 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.

WATSON: What did Da Vinci fight for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Ukraine, for freedom, for us.

WATSON (voice-over): This woman knows the stakes all too well.

WATSON: Your husband is fighting in Bakhmut right now.


WATSON (voice-over): There is a price for freedom, she says. One life dies so that other lives may be born.

Though only 27, Da Vinci knew the risks he was taking.

"I'm ready to go to victory with you," he told his troops, "and, if need be, to give up my life for you."

Nearly everyone in Ukraine has lost something since Russia's invasion one year ago. A war in which far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Kyiv.


HARRAK: Now to the Americans killed in Mexico and take a look at this new video that CNN has obtained.


HARRAK (voice-over): It was taken by one of the four Americans who were kidnapped. CNN geolocated it and it shows them driving in the north of Matamoros, just after they crossed into the country.

The FBI has set up a digital tipline for their investigation. Mexican authorities concede the case is very confusing. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is following the story from Bogota, Colombia. He has more details on how the kidnapping and killings unfolded, the latest arrests and the repercussions for the Mexican government


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mexican authorities on Friday arrested five people in connection with the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens in the border town of Matamoros according to the local attorney general.

The four U.S. citizens were abducted on the 3rd of March after they crossed into Mexico to go to a doctor's appointment. They were in Matamoros for almost four hours before they were abducted by the cartels, according to new video analyzed by CNN.


POZZEBON: They were located four days later but two of them were found dead. The two survivors returned to the United States on Tuesday. And the bodies of those killed were repatriated on Thursday, the U.S. ambassador Ken Salazar to Mexico said on Friday.

Salazar also urged the United States and Mexico to join forces to fight crime in the area.


KEN SALAZAR, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO (through translator): These cartels that wage so much power in that area must be dismantled. It's a job that we need to do together with the Mexican government and respect Mexico's sovereignty.


POZZEBON: The border region between the two countries has been controlled by various criminal organizations for years. While U.S. tourists are already the targets of kidnappings and murders, more than 100,000 people have disappeared in Mexico in recent years, mostly local and migrants who were heading toward the U.S. southern border from Central America and whose bodies have never been found.

This, week the Mexican government has come under fire for failing to rescue so many of its own citizens while these four U.S. citizens were located in a matter of days -- for CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


HARRAK: We'll be back with more news after this break.





HARRAK: Italy has launched more than a dozen rescue operations to save hundreds of migrants off its coast. The Italian Coast Guard say they safely rescued a boat with 500 people on board just hours ago and escorted it to shore.

They also say the Italian navy was called in to assist with the rescue operations to reach more than 1,000 people on boats at sea. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 migrants in 41 boats arrived at the country's Lampedusa Island within 24 hours earlier this week.

The latest influx comes nearly two weeks after more than 70 migrants were killed when a boat broke up off the coast of Calabria. Barbie Nadeau joins us live from Rome.

Barbie, what more can you tell us?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You, know this is an ongoing crisis right, now there are about 1,800 people in various operations that were escorted to this port. It's important about this particular influx. It's different from usual influxes of migration.

We don't usually see this many people arrive in Italy this time of year. Almost 20,000 will have arrived by -- as opposed to only 6,000 who arrived last year at this time. We're not used to seeing this many people and this number of rescues, especially here.

You remember on February 26th, that devastating wreck, the death toll of that has reached 73 people after they found a little boy about five or six years old. Rescuers took his body out of the water yesterday.

The authorities are really pressed right now trying to rescue these people. There are no NGO boats out there to assist in the rescue. That's why they called in the navy for assistance.

We're expecting to see more of these boats continuing to come as it puts a lot of pressure on the government under Giorgia Meloni who won her campaign on an anti-immigration stance.

HARRAK: Barbie Nadeau in Rome, thank you very much.

Britain will funnel almost $600 million into French efforts to stop illegal immigration across the English Channel. The deal was announced during Friday's summit between British prime minister Rishi Sunak and French president Emmanuel Macron.

The money will go to French security staff and pay for a migrants detention center in France. They say they are trying to put behind years of bickering over Brexit, immigration and other issues. They also pledged to closer cooperation on Ukraine and possibly on defense. For Mr. Macron, that was the right call to make.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: It makes sense with our history, our geography, our DNA, I would say. It is to have the best possible collaboration and the closest alliance. But it will depend on our commitment, our willingness. But I'm sure we will do it.


HARRAK: Investigators in Germany are working to understand why a 35- year-old man opened fire at a Jehovah's Witness center on Thursday night. Six people, four men and two women, were killed. Another eight were injured, including a woman who lost her unborn child.

Hamburg's interior minister said the crime was unlike anything the city has seen.


ANDY GROTE, INTERIOR MINISTER, HAMBURG (through translator): It is the worst crime, the worst crime in the recent history of our city. It is most likely due to the very fast and determined intervention of the police that there are not more victims.


HARRAK: Police have identified the suspect only as Philipp F., a German national, who shot himself as police closed in. They say he was once a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses and apparently did not leave on good terms.

We will be right back with more news after this break.





HARRAK: Welcome back. The color scheme for the new Air Force One has been revealed and it does away with former president Trump's requests. The new Air Force One looks a lot like they have since the Kennedy administration.

Former president Trump had wanted the two planes painted red, white and blue. According to the Air Force, those paint colors would have created delays. Most problematic was the dark blue, which could have overheated certain electronics. The first plane is scheduled to be delivered in 2027.

The International Space Station is a bit less crowded right now.


HARRAK: NASA's SpaceX dragon capsule undocked from the ISS a short time ago with four crew members, who had been orbiting the Earth since last October. Taking their place is a new crew, who arrived at the space station last weekend.

Splashdown off the Florida coast is expected late Saturday night local time.

And further out in space, after 10 years of roaming the Red Planet, the Mars Curiosity rover has finally sent us a picture of a sunset. The image shows sunbeams shining through clouds at twilight, something the rover is studying.

Scientists hope the information on when and where clouds form will help them learn more about why the Red Planet went from warm and wet to a frozen desert.

A bit foggy.

Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Laila Harrak, do stay with us. I'll be back with more news after a quick break. See you soon.