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Two Russian Jets Intercepts US Drone; More States Batter Floods and Snow as US Tracking Two Coastal Storms, Nor'easter; Wall Street Rebounds as Authorities Launch into SVB Investigation; President Biden Tells Congress to Pass Measures to Ban Assault Weapons; UK's New Budget to be Presented amid looming Inflation, Recession Fears. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 15, 2023 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom", and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, Russian warplanes accused of taking down the U.S. drone over the Black Sea. U.S. officials say it was reckless and unprofessional. We'll look at how Moscow is responding, ahead.

And we're tracking two major coastal storms in the U.S. more flooding in California and a nor'easter dumping snow on the East Coast.

Plus, U.S. Stocks appear to rebound following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, this as Federal authorities launch investigations into the bank's failure.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well, Russia is disputing a U.S. claim that one of its fighter jets hit a U.S. drone, forcing it to crash into the Black Sea near Ukraine. The U.S. military says Russian warplanes intercepted the American surveillance drone on Tuesday, dumping fuel on it and hitting its propeller. The Air Force reports the drone was a complete loss.

US-European command says the drone was conducting routine operations over international waters, and the White House calls the actions of the Russian pilots reckless.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: I mean, somebody could have gotten hurt. Nobody wants to see that happen. And it could -- it could lead to miscalculations between, you know, two militaries that are operating not obviously in Ukraine together but certainly in proximity in the region. And we don't want to see this war escalate beyond what it already has done to the Ukrainian people. And so, this is -- this is --clearly, this was inappropriate, unsafe, unprofessional conduct by the Russian pilots.


CHURCH: Russia's defense ministry denies its jet ever came into contact with the MQ-9 Reaper drone. Moscow's ambassador to the U.S. says the drone was flying with its transponders off and had been warned not to enter what Russia calls its special military operation zone.

More now from CNN's Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: All of this plays out early Tuesday morning in international airspace over the Black Sea when the U.S. says its MQ-9 Reaper drone was intercepted by two Russian Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jets. That part is not that uncommon. These sorts of intercepts have happened in the past.

What is extremely rare is what happened as this played out over the course of 30 to 40 minutes. The Russian fighter jets, according to the Pentagon, repeatedly flew around and in front of the U.S. drone, dumped jet fuel in front of it, and even collided with it, damaging the propeller, and forcing the U.S. to take down its own drone in international waters in the Black Sea.

Now, the National Security Council's coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told CNN that the U.S. took steps to protect its equities, but it's unclear exactly what that is, whether that's some sort of self-destruct or other step to protect it.

Now, the drone has not been recovered partially because at least there is no U.S. naval asset in the black sea to have carried out such a recovery. So, the U.S. took some steps to protect its own equities. This MQ-9 reaper drone, but again, unclear what that is. Much of the response so far has been in the diplomatic lane.

The U.S. summoning the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. and carry out at least a 30-minute conversation at the State Department. Russia giving an entirely different version of events, saying there was no collision, there was no Russian jets firing at that U.S. drone. But Russia saying, it does not want confrontation. So, at least, it looks as if the response to this right now will be in the diplomatic lane.

The National Security Council saying it will repeatedly and again continually as it sees fit fly surveillance drones and other assets in international airspace as it has the right to do, as the Russians have the right to do. So the U.S. saying it will continue to do what it has done and will do, which is fly in international airspace in the black sea. We will see how this develops at such a sensitive time.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.



CHURCH: CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following the developments. She joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Salma. So we know the Russian ambassador to the U.S. was summoned to the State Department. What did he have to say about the incident?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, you heard there from our colleague, Oren Liebermann, the United States' view of events, their retelling of how this incident unfolded. The Kremlin, rather, has a very different story.

They say there was no physical contact between U.S. aircraft and Russian aircraft in the black sea. They say, quote, "that an intruder was detected by the Russian military operating in that area," and that they scrambled Russian fighter jets to try to intercept, again, them using -- the Kremlin using that term "intruder" for the drone.

They say the transponders, rather, for that drone were off. The Kremlin saying that's a violation of international standards. And again, they say there was no direct contact, that that drone went into an unmanned flight once it detected a lower altitude. That's the retelling of events from the Kremlin. As you heard there, the Russian ambassador was called, summoned to the State Department to hear the U.S.' concerns. This is what he had to say about the incident.


ANATOLY ANTONOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: This drone can carry 1,700 kilos of explosives. This drone can carry a few bombs. You'll see what will be the reaction of United States if you see such Russian drone very close, for example, to San Francisco or New York. What will be the reaction of the United States? For me, it's clear.


ABDELAZIZ: Now, Russia went on to say the Ambassador there went on to say that they do not want -- Russia does not want any direct confrontation with the United States. But of course, this raises that concern. This raises that fear. This is the first time we've seen Russian military aircraft and U.S. military aircraft physically contact according to the United States in that conflict zone.

So highly concerning when you have the two militaries, of course, operating in the area. Russia insisting that they have alerted U.S. authorities, that they have alerted the international community, that this is the airspace they are using for their so-called special military operation. But it's going to be up to the diplomatic channels here to resolve any potential future incidents like this one, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Salma Abdelaziz, many thanks, joining us live from London.

One Ukrainian soldier says the intensity of fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut has increased significantly in recent days. He says Russian forces on the ground cannot overcome Ukrainian strongholds. So they're calling for artillery and air support, which means more shelling and airstrikes.

And as that battle rages, Ukraine's deputy defense minister says it's premature to draw conclusions. She says both sides are moving with Bakhmut remaining the epicenter of fighting along the eastern front. One Ukrainian soldier who posted videos of himself in the trenches spoke to CNN about what he's been experiencing in Bakhmut.


ROMAN TROKHYMETS, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER FIGHTING IN BAKHMUT: It's a really hell on earth, that what I can say, just in few words. They have some units that spend near behind the break, and they shoot all of them who try to return. So Wagner have only one chance to survive is to take our position, our trenches. That's all. They have no choice to return to the position, because they will be killed from their fellows.


CHURCH: Two storms are battering opposite sides of the United States. The latest atmospheric river event is bringing hurricane-force wind gusts and rainfall up to 3 inches to parts of central California. But although the rain will linger across southern California Wednesday, the overall threat of flooding is expected to diminish.

Meantime, in the northeast, more than 270,000 customers are without power in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania and more snow, wind, and widespread power outages are expected Wednesday before the storm exits out into the Atlantic.

And Meteorologist Britley Ritz has the latest forecast for us. So britley, what are you seeing?

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Some locations in New York, like south of Poughkeepsie from a storm reporter bringing in 43 inches of snow, others just showing you how sharp this cutoff was and how difficult it is to forecast this kind of system.


And look at this, from Paxton, to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, a 20-inch difference, within a 14-mile spread. That's insane. There is your Nor'easter, that area of low pressure riding off the side of the coastline, bringing in still heavy snow bands to parts of New England. This is going to be an ongoing situation through the rest of your Wednesday.

But the heaviest snowfall, expected to stay in northern New England, parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, where another foot of snow is expected but widespread and additional two to four inches. And in some instances with these bands of snow, we could be bringing an inch per hour.

I know, that doesn't seem like much compared to what we just picked up over the last 24 hours. But on top of what we already dealt with, that heavy wet snow and a factor in wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour, we're still dealing with widespread power outages here with over the next 24 hours.

Now, here we are with still that flood threat on the West Coast, that A.R. still bringing in that moderate flooding concern across the foothills of the sierras. And down across the southern coast of California, about a quarter inch per hour in some cases, already moving on to shore. So, flood watches are still coming into play here through the rest of the morning.

And there is your radar showing you that heavy rains, this is going to be an ongoing situation through the rest of the overnight here on the pacific coast and continuing on through the morning hours. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Meteorologist Britley Ritz, many thanks for that.

With gun violence in the United States on the rise, President Joe Biden is urging Congress to move quickly to ban assault weapons. That's pretty much an impossible request, given the balance of power on Capitol Hill. So, he's taking executive action he hopes will help keep people safe.

Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden meeting with victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California where 11 people were killed and nine wounded in a dance hall in January amid the push to reduce gun violence in America.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Enough. Do something. We remember and mourn today, but I'm here with you today to act.

TODD (voice-over): The President marks the moment by announcing a new Executive Order. Among other steps, it will attempt to increase background checks by clarifying and enforcing which gun sellers need to do them.

BIDEN: They'll accelerate and intensify this work to save more live more quickly.

TODD (voice-over): But the President has still not been able to press into law some of the gun measures he is most passionate about, like universal background checks. As for his other ambitious goals?

BIDEN: And I am determined once again to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

TODD (voice-over): Analysts say there is no realistic chance of that with a Republican-led house of representatives.

UNKNOWN: When it comes to assault-style weapons, whether individual Americans should be able to privately own military-style weaponry, public opinion is clearly on the President's side. What's not on his side is the numbers on Capitol Hill. And increasingly, it looks like the judiciary isn't probably on his side either.

TODD (voice-over): Last year in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas mass school shooting, the President signed into law the most comprehensive gun control measure in almost three decades, providing incentives for states to enact red flag laws which allow for courts to temporarily deny guns to people perceived to be threats to themselves or others and imposing enhanced background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21.

But many, including Biden himself, saw that law as just a tiny step. And since the beginning of this year, there have been at least 110 mass shootings in the U.S., leaving more than 150 dead.

Gun violence is now the leading cause of death among children and teens, and getting worse. During a surge of child mortality in America over the last two years, a new study says gun violence is a central factor responsible for nearly half the jump in 2020.

JANNIFER MASCIA, THE TRACE: I think that there is a certain numbness that's developing. We've been dealing with this at least two decades of just mass shootings, public shootings, school shootings. At the same time, 456 million guns have been produced for this market, this domestic market since 1899.

TODD (on-camera): While the politics continues to play out over stronger gun measures, some of the nation's top law enforcement figures have been weighing in, pleading with lawmakers to take stronger action on guns.

In one senate hearing, recently retired Phoenix police chief Jerry Williams said, quote, "We're outgunned, we're outmanned, we're outstaffed. We need more responsible gun legislation."

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Still ahead, U.S. Prosecutors are investigating the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank as scrutiny mounts over the bank's sudden failure. We'll have a detailed report, next.




CHURCH: U.S. Federal authorities are launching an investigation into the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Sources say the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are in early stages of their probe. They're looking into the bank's failure and actions by senior executives.

Meanwhile, the mood on Wall Street was cheerier on Tuesday as markets surged and bank stocks rebounded.

CNN's Clare Sebastian joins me now live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. So the markets seem to suggest the initial panic has abated. But clearly, that doesn't mean the crisis is over. So what comes next?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, in terms of Silicon Valley Bank specifically work is already under way to see if any law-breaking took place. This is a pretty standard procedure when you get an incident like this. The Department of Justice and the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, said to be in the preliminary stages of an investigation, according to sources.


The SEC will be specifically looking at the market manipulation violation of securities fraud, the DOJ for some law-breaking in general. That's pretty standard. Big picture, though, despite those extreme measures taken by the federal government over the weekend, back-stopping depositors launching that loan facility for banks, there are still concerns out there that this could happen again.

Moody's has now downgraded the outlook for the entire U.S. banking system, saying as the Fed raises rates, the pressure on banks' balance sheets will increase in terms of that interest rate risk and the likelihood of the fed raising rates went up a little bit yesterday. We got the inflation data from U.S. CPI numbers coming in as expected, but still triple the fed's target at 6 percent annually. That has raised the likelihood certainly in the eyes of the market with the federal raised rates again next week that, again, increasing pressure on those banks.

Big picture as well the issue of regulation. The Dodd-Frank reforms that came in after the 2008 crisis were diluted somewhat by President Trump. Initially, it was banks with assets over $50 billion that were subject to things like stress tests and enhanced regulations. Trump raised that to $250 billion which took Silicon Valley Bank out of the mix. There are now calls for that potentially to be reversed.

Take a listen to Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO, now Chairman, of Goldman Sachs.


LLOYD BLANKFRIN, SENIOR CHAIRMAN, GOLDMAN SACHS: I think at this point we recognize that a $250 billion bank is no small bank. And you know, perhaps a $50 billion bank is no small bank, and even smaller ones. So I think there is going to be regulation that normally applies to the biggest banks will probably have to be extended. And that regulation includes bigger stress tests, having to have more capital, and other features that are generally make the system safer.


SEBASTIAN: Congress is also set to look into the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the coming weeks. Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday if legislation is to change, of course, that's where it will happen.

CHURCH: All right, Clare Sebastian, many thanks for that live report. Appreciate it.

Well, meanwhile, the British government is getting ready to reveal its official budget. The latest Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement is expected in just a few hours from now. It follows a very volatile year with inflation, strikes, and fears of a recession looming large.

CNN's Anna Stewart picks up the story.


UNKNOWN: Morning chancellor. Are you going for broke?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It was a new budget from a new chancellor.

KWASI KWARTENG, THEN-BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: Today, we are publishing our growth plan that sets out a new approach for this new era.

STEWART (voice-over): Six months ago, then Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced mega spending combined with major tax cuts, at a time when the U.K. was facing its highest inflation in decades.

UNKNOWN: The pound is tumbling against the dollar as the government takes an economic gamble.

STEWART (voice-over): Investors panicked. The pound plunged to a multi-decade low against the dollar, and government bond yields were so volatile, the Bank of England made an emergency intervention.

SHAMIK DHAR, CHIEF ECONOMIST, BNY MELLON: And it clearly was very damaging at the time. And you know, for a period, it looks like -- it looked like we might suffer some serious permanent damage to our reputation.

STEWART (voice-over): The IMF, the International Monetary Fund, issued a warning.

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR: At this time, fiscal policy should not undermine monetary policy.

STEWART (voice-over): It wasn't long before the new chancellor was out, quickly followed by his boss, the prime minister.

LIZ TRUSS, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.

STEWART (voice-over): In came Jeremy Hunt, the fourth U.K. Chancellor in as many months to deliver an aggressive u-turn.

JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Firstly, we will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago.

STEWART (on-camera): Hunt is now ready to deliver the first formal U.K. budget in over a year and against a pretty challenging backdrop. Inflation may have fallen from its record levels, but it remains high. The Bank of England has been forced to raise interest rates 10 times in a row and fears of a recession, a cost of living crisis, and the biggest wave of strikes for decades means the chancellor doesn't have all that much room to maneuver.

DHAR: The economic outlook isn't that terrific, you know, possible recession, maybe we're going to revise down what we think the economy is capable of growing at over the median turn. And those two things mean I think he'll play it very safe come this budget.

STEWART (voice-over): If last year's mini-budget has taught us anything, these announcements have a real impact, for better or worse.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Some encouraging news for those with prostate cancer. The treatment may be less intense than expected. I'll speak with the authors of a new study. That's next.




CHURCH: A new long-term study out of the U.K. found most men with prostate cancer can delay or avoid harsh treatments without hurting their chances of survival. This cancer is the second most common among American men, but tends to grow very slowly, and usually takes a decade for any significant symptoms to emerge.

Around 11 percent or one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but only 1 in 41 will die from it, which is about 2.5 percent. Some $10 billion is spent treating prostate cancer in the U.S. each year. And it may now be possible to dial back some of those treatments.


I want to bring in two authors of the study now. Dr. Jenny Donovan is a social medicine professor at the University of Bristol, and Dr. Freddie Hamdy is a surgery and neurology professor at the University of Oxford as well as the studies chief investigator. Good to have you both with us.


FREDDIE HAMDY, CHIEF INVESTIGATOR, PROTECT STUDY: Good morning. CHURCH: So, your study has been running for more than 20 years and found that the majority of prostate cancers will not kill most men and won't require harsh treatments. Now, most doctors already knew this. So, Dr. Hamdy, why is your study so important in confirming this critical conclusion?

HAMDY: Thank you. It is important for a number of reasons. So, it is essentially a good news story. What we have found out, having started to recruit men since 1999 into the study. And so, a follow-up of an average of 15 years, but going up to 17 years and longer. What we found is that the men have low and intermediate risk disease live a very, very long time.

And the treatment does not seem to affect their survival. What it does do is reduces the instance of metastases, that's the disease spreading and the disease progressing locally. But it doesn't affect their survival in the long term.

The other thing that we found is that even men with metastasis do not necessarily die of prostate cancer. They live a very, very long time. So, this is good news because patients need to rethink of what treatment they choose. Particularly that we know now the side effects in detail the treatments for up to 12 years after these treatments are given.

CHURCH: So, Dr. Donovan, how might your study help improve the way doctors deal with men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer? And how do you know which men are likely to survive this and which will not, which will be in the 2.5 percent who will sadly die?

DONOVAN: What we hope is that clinicians and patients will be able to access the data that we have produced. Amend (ph) completed questionnaires for every year, for 12 years. Detailing all the side effects of the treatments that they experienced. And, of course, surgery can lead to urinary leakage which means that men have to wear pads. One in five had to wear pads every day throughout the 12-year period.

And surgery also affects men's sex lives. Radiotherapy too affects men's sex lives. Not quite as much as the surgery. But also causes some late urine or fecal leakage. So, you know, these treatments have quite long-lasting effects on men.

And what we hope is that our study provides information, both on the clinical aspects that Freddie just talked about and these patients reported outcomes, so that men can really consider the trade-offs between this issue of reducing the risk of cancer spread versus these side effects of treatments and really consider what's the best treatment for them in the long term, or even to consider whether they should have a test in the first place.

CHURCH: Right. So, Dr. Hamdy, given most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will not die from that, but instead probably from some other ailment, what is the best advice to men who received this diagnosis then? HAMDY: So, I think that there has been globally and other

indiscriminate use of the PSA test. And basically, what our study is saying is maybe the thinking should go before having the PSA test not after having the PSA test. Do I need a PSA test? What is it going to do?

The most important aspect is that once a man has a PSA test, it snowballs into a series of other tests and possibly the diagnosis of a cancer, which is never going to matter clinically. And that is giving a healthy man a passport, a new passport, which is a cancer passport that he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

So, I think unless there are really targeted screening methods, which we don't have yet where men have an increased risk of possibly having cancer which is lethal and dangerous and people have to think before having the PSA test.

If they have the diagnosis of prostate cancer, then again, before jumping into treatment, it is worth now, now that we have this new data, it is worth looking at what am I going to gain from the treatment and what is the cost for me personally as a cancer patient?


What is it going to cost me to have these treatments? And balance the benefits and harms between the two because priorities protections will be different. At least the data that we have gives the patients the opportunity to measure this trade-off between benefits of treatment and harms that results from them.

CHURCH: And Dr. Donovan, what are the worst side effects of prostate cancer and what are doctors looking for when monitoring men who are diagnosed with this type of cancer, so choosing monitoring over harsh treatments or any type of treatment?

DONOVAN: Yes. So, the radical treatment, surgery and radiotherapy cause effects on sex life, urinary and bowel function. With active monitoring, of course, the men tested regularly with PSA tests and various other tests. And the idea is to try to identify when the cancer changes so that men can then move to have one of the radical treatments if they needed.

But of course, because men will have regular testing, sometimes they'll become anxious about that and won't change to a radical treatment when they didn't really need to. And so, I mean, active monitoring has its advantages because (inaudible) the side effects. But some men will change to the other treatments and have those effects. But it's very good treatments there is close imaging and so on, but it looks for one cancer, develops so it changes. Intervention can be received.

CHURCH: Dr. Freddie Hamdy and Dr. Jenny Donovan, thank you to you both for your report, your study, and of course for talking with us. We appreciate it.

HAMDY: Thank you. DONOVAN: Thank you very much.

CHURCH: And still to come, combatting human trafficking. A look at how one country, or one county I should say, in southern California is moving to tackle this growing problem. We're back in just a moment.



CHURCH: The death toll from Cyclone Freddy has jumped to at least 190 in southern Malawi and the threat from one of the longest lasting tropical storms ever recorded is still not over. CNN's Larry Madowo has the latest.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People dig through the mud in Malawi's commercial city, Blantyre, hoping to find bodies after Cyclone Freddy tore through their houses. Over the weekend the storm hit southern Africa for the second time in a month, killing more than 200 people.

Cyclone Freddy has damaged roads, flooded neighborhoods and triggered blackouts in the worst hit areas. The death toll keeps climbing in southern Malawi, which suffered the most.

LAZARUS CHAKWERA, PRESIDENT OF MALAWI: It is one of those things that we look for help, not just from people and partners, but even from God itself.

MADOWO (voice-over): The storm has left thousands homeless across southern Africa. The Malawi Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says the cyclone is weakening, but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in parts of southern Malawi.

Aerial footage shows homes submerged in water in central Mozambique where the storm made landfall on Saturday. Early warnings allowed some residents to flee their homes while rescue operations continue to find those who stayed back.

UNKNOWN: Plenty of houses but they are all gone. Plenty of bodies down there in the mud there. Plenty of bodies.

MADOWO (voice-over): The ministry of health and Malawi has resorted to using beds, bed for COVID patients to overcome the number of people showing up at hospitals that are almost overwhelmed. Freddy may set the record for the longest lasting tropical cyclone in history. It has unleashed the same energy as an average full north Atlantic hurricane season. Malawi officials are on high alert for heavy flooding and wind damage over the next few days and have closed southern schools until Friday. Larry Madowo, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: San Diego County in southern California is said to be one of

the countries hotspots for human trafficking. And just weeks ago, a police raid led to dozens of arrests and the rescue of eight children. As part of CNN's "My Freedom Day," Stephanie Elam investigates how police, district attorneys, and even teachers are battling the issue.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Diego is a southern California border town best known for its surf spots and an elite naval fleet. But the city now finds itself in the midst of a different type of battle.

UNKNOWN: How are you doing?


UNKNOWN: It's cold out there.

UNKNOWN: I know.

UKNOWN: Oh, yeah?

UKNOWN: Yeah, how much are you looking for?

UNKNOWN: I don't know, you tell me.

ELAM (voice-over): In February, the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force raided several open-air prostitution rings operating in neighborhoods around the city.

UNKNOWN: Hey, baby.

ELAM (voice-over): The two-day sting netted 48 suspects and offered support to 41 potential victims, including eight children. San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan went to one of the areas just before the raids began.

SUMMER STEPHAN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SAN DIEGO COUNTY: It was around 3:00 p.m. and I thought, oh, I'm not going to see much, and here were a line of cars, like they're in a drive-through to get a hamburger.


And these girls and women that barely had any clothes on, it just stopped me in my tracks.

ELAM (voice-over): It turns out, the problem of human trafficking in San Diego is well documented. In 2016, a Department of Justice funded study found that in San Diego County alone, the illegal sex industry accounted for more than $800 million.

Even more concerning, the study found 90 percent of high schools researched across the county reported at least one case of sex trafficking in their school. Patrick Henry High School is on the front lines in this battle against modern day slavery. TERRI CLARK, TEACHER, PATRICK HENRY SCHOOL: We need to talk about

what makes someone more susceptible than you and more susceptible than the average person to being trafficked. When you hear the term human trafficking, what comes to your mind?

ELAM (voice-over): Teacher Terri Clark is educating her freshman and sophomore classes on how to spot signs of trafficking among their peers.

CLARK: We're going to look at some methods, some causes, some factors and a really big piece of this, the technology.

I see it on the level of like teaching kids CPR. Like you are learning how to save a life.

ELAM (voice-over): The students learn the ways traffickers lure in young victims and how they might coerce or threaten a student into a dangerous situation.

UNKNOWN: They told her that breaking up was not an option, that he owned her now.

AIDEN HERNANDEZ, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: What I learned today was that anyone could be trafficked.

SARAH VEOMETT, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: I do think this class was valuable because it can teach, like, kids like me to look at for the signs and maybe to help like protect their friends and prevent it from happening more.

CLARK: And that's a very, very sad and real situation for a lot of teenagers.

ELAM (voice-over): The topic of human trafficking hits particularly close to home for Ms. Clark when her niece was 16 years old, a trafficker lured her into a car just steps from her house in northern California.

CLARK: She was taken. She was immediately had her hair cut, her hair dyed and drugged. She was missing for nine days. She was rescued from that, but it has forever changed who she is and changed who she could become. And so, I think about, gosh, if she had had this information in high school maybe she would have been way more aware.

ELAM (voice-over): One teacher, going beyond the call of duty to make sure her students are well armed with the knowledge to protect themselves when they walk out that door and into the real world. Stephanie Elam, CNN, southern California.


CHURCH: This Thursday is "My Freedom Day." CNN is partnering with young people worldwide for a student-led day of action against modern day slavery. These students in Kosovo are pledging to take action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Small actions go a long way. Let us stay united in fighting

against human trafficking.

UNKNOWN: Knowing the signs saves lives. Let's take action together.

UNKNOWN: Let's end modern day slavery.

UNKNOWN: My freedom day!


CHURCH: Join CNN on March 16th for "My Freedom Day." Tell us what freedom means to you and share your message on social media using the hashtag My Freedom Day. We'll be right back.



CHURCH: The wizarding world of Harry Potter is heading to Japan this summer. Warner Brothers is launching a new studio tour in Tokyo showcasing the massively popular film and book franchise. The studio which shares the same parent company as CNN is looking to attract more fans across Asia and the Pacific with its first exhibition outside the U.K. CNN's Marc Stewart has a preview of the behind-the-scenes movie magic fans can expect to see.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harry Potter's magic --

UNKNOWN: You're a wizard, Harry.

STEWART (voice-over): -- is transporting to Tokyo. It's on this massive lot where fans will see some of the series most iconic set like the Great Hall of Hogwarts and the forbidden forest. It's part of the new Warner Brothers studio soon to open in Japan.

(On camera): What goes through your mind when you see the train and you see the sets, you see the costumes?

JEFF NAGLER, PRESIDENT, WARNER BROTHERS WORLDWIDE STUDIO OPERATIONS: Wow, I can't believe it. And when I come here, I have to remember that I'm here on business trip and not to -- not to be looking at this as if I'm just a fan.

STEWART (voice-over): Jeff is president of Warner Brothers worldwide studio operations.

(On camera): Why Japan?

NAGLER: I think that was one of the easiest decisions for us actually because of the whole global interest in Harry Potter. After the United States and after the U.K., Japan is the third best area for Harry Potter fandom. STEWART (voice-over): The Tokyo studio is modeled after the one in

London and will be larger. A big draw, the Hogwarts Express train that was made in London, transported by land and by sea to its new home here in Japan.

(On camera): It is not just about the set, it's about the accessories, the costumes, the props, like the ones you've seen in the movies.

UNKNOWN (through translation): We normally don't get to see what goes on behind the scenes in movies. But here we get to see how films get made.


For example, it shows us how the people who work in the costume, props, movie set departments, all work as a team.

STUART (voice-over): A glimpse into movie magic far from Harry Potter's roots in the U.K.

(On camera): Do you see Asia as a growth market for experiences like this?

NAGLER: Absolutely. We do look at China. And we look at Japan, we look at South Korea. We have a big fan base in Australia and New Zealand as well, all of -- it's not Asia, it's the whole Asia Pacific Region.

STUART (voice-over): Stories of imagination appealing to audiences around the world. Marc Stuart, CNN, Tokyo.


CHURCH: A good news story, how about that? Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo next.