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Credit Suisse Lends a Hand from Swiss National Bank; Russian Officials Orders Harassment of the U.S. Drone in the Black Sea; Chinese-Made Drone Appears Flying Over the Ukrainian Skies; Stormy Daniels Met Prosecutors to Offer as Witness; Israeli Protesters Sends a Blaring Message Against Judicial Reform; Finnish President to Visit Turkey and Tackle the Country's Alliance with NATO; Abortion Pill Under Threat in Texas; South Korea and Japan Renew Ties in Summit; CNN's My Freedom Day. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 16, 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, we are hours away from U.S. markets opening after a wild day on Wall Street, stocks tumbling after another bank lands in trouble. We're Live in London with a look at how this impacts your money. Plus --


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's important that great powers be models of transparency and communication.


CHURCH: A war of words intensifying amid an actual ground war. This, as US officials say a Russian crew has reached the site where a U.S. drone crashed in the Black Sea after being hit by a Russian jet.

And we'll take you live to Tel Aviv, where Israel's President is invoking the term "Civil War."

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

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well global markets are in jittery as another bank teeters on the brink of failure, but Credit Suisse will get a helping hand from Swiss National Bank as it plans to borrow $54 billion in the hope of assuring investors. The lender would be the first major global bank to be given such a lifeline since the 2008 financial crisis.

And that feeling of deja vu sent markets plunging in the U.S., Wednesday. Although the NASDAQ gained back some ground, the Dow and S&P 500 ended the day down significantly. Markets across Asia are also seeing declines amid fears of instability in the banking sector, but economists are trying to reassure investors.


LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Look, Americans' money is safe. I don't think this is a time for panic or alarm. This is not 2008, where people needed to be worried about whether they could get their money from the ATM machine. It absolutely is not that.


CHURCH: CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now from London with more. Good to see you, Anna. So, Swiss Central Bank will throw Credit Suisse a lifeline, but will this calm nerves?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Good Morning, Rosemary. Well, that setting remains to be seen. We'll be looking at the European markets even very close for that.

So, many developments overnight. Before I left the office late last night, the Swiss regulator, FINMA, and Swiss National Bank have said Credit Suisse meets all of the liquidity and capital requirements by regulation. However, they stood ready if necessary to inject liquidity into the bank.

With just hours later, we got news that Credit Suisse will be taking them up on that offer that borrowing up to 50 billion Swiss Francs, that's more than $53 billion from the Swiss National Bank. They are also buying back around $2.5 billion worth of their own debt which will help them better manage their liabilities, and interest payment expenses.

It was a choppy tale trade yesterday. The banking sector in Europe took some, well, a heavy beating, deeply in the red. And so much concern here revolves around interest rates and what that has meant really for bank balance sheets.

This, in many ways, was actually sparked by what happened with Silicon Valley Bank last week, the issue being that many of these banks hold these very long dated government bonds on their balance sheets. Very safe assets, I should say, but because of interest rates going up, they have been worth less and less and less.

And what does that mean, therefore, for those banks? And what do investors think those banks will need to do? Will they need more liquidity? And the weakest links are clearly breaking here.

So, Credit Suisse coming under huge pressure yesterday with the share price down over 30 percent at one stage, closed down around 24 percent lower. Will this be enough? That is the question we all want to know. We will be looking at the European market.

Looking at Asia, trade is very choppy there. You see all of the indices are off. Wall Street, though, paired some of the heavy losses we saw yesterday when they closed. And looking at the futures, they may open higher. And currently, that's the expectation for Europe.

Now, there's one key event we need to be mindful of amidst all this talk about interest rates and the impact that has on the banking sector. The huge sell off (ph) was seeing, I'm not sure whether it's good timing, but ECB decides on its next interest rate decision today in the next few hours.


Now, given what has happened, will this mean it pairs back on the expectation for half a percentage point rate rise? It could well. But it also provides the ECB with a big opportunity to speak about this, well, panic in the markets with the banking sector and perhaps that will also go some distance to restoring confidence. Rosemary?

CHURCH: See what happens. Anna Stewart joining us there. Many thanks.

Well, the banking meltdown over the past few days has left people wondering how to keep their money safe. And here's some advice from one financial expert.


SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL EXPERT & HOST OF "WOMAN AND MONEY" PODCAST: The safest place is, believe it or not, in a credit union or a bank that has FDIC insurance or treasury bills or notes. So, if you really are looking for safe, safe money, you want to make sure that whatever you're invested in is backed by something else that has never failed.

So, you have the FDIC for banks, you have the NCUA for credit unions, you have treasury bills, treasury notes, treasury bonds, backed by the authority of the United States government. You can have treasury money markets and things like that. But you want to know that whatever you're invested in is really insured or backed by something that has nothing to do with speculation.


CHURCH: U.S. sources say senior officials in the Russian defense ministry gave the order for its fighter jets to harass a U.S. drone over the Black Sea near Ukraine. Two officials say the Russians have reached the site where the drone crashed, but Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley reports it probably broke up when it went down in international waters.

And U.S. officials claim the drone-sensitive software was erased remotely before it crashed. Russia denies that one of its fighter jets flipped the drone's propeller forcing it down. The U.S. says, there is surveillance video of the incident which may be released to the public.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu. Austin says American aircraft will continue to fly wherever international law allows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AUSTIN: This hazardous episode is part of a pattern of aggressive, risky and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international air space.

It is incumbent upon Russia to operate its military aircraft in a safe and professional manner.


CHURCH: And CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following developments. She joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Salma. So, senior Russian officials apparently ordered the harassment of the U.S. drone. What are you learning about this?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Rosemary, I think really all eyes on the Black Sea, is there's a mad dash for the remnants, if there are any remnants of this MQ-9 drone.

Russian officials have said that they will try to recover it from the Black Sea. The United States has said it's unlikely that it will be able to reach whatever is left of that drone. I want to --- I know you have a map up, I want to start by explaining why this is so complex.

According to U.S. officials, this drone crashed about 70 miles southwest of Crimea. Crimea, of course, being an area that's occupied by Russian forces, has been for many years. And that drone fell one mile deep into the Black Sea. That makes it extremely difficult for the recovery efforts. Now, that's compounded, of course, by the picture on the ground.

The Black Sea is where the Russian navy ships are stationed. Russia has a huge presence there. It uses the Black Sea to launch operations and launch attacks in Ukraine. The United States meanwhile, of course, has no actual physical presence in the Black Sea. We'll have to rely on allies if it could even reach that area at all. And why is this so important? It's, of course, a concern for the intelligence that might be on that drone.

Russia has said it will try again to obtain that drone to find out what it can from those remnants. The United States said that's going to be impossible for the Kremlin. They say the United States says it's already erased all the sensitive information on that drone remotely and that any remnants obtained will not be a security threat to the United States.

And then, you have of course also, the diplomatic spat going on here, a flurry of diplomatic activity yesterday, with the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meeting his counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Russia. In that meeting, of course, again, Russia emphasizing that it simply doesn't buy the U.S. narrative. It's denying there's any direct confrontation at all between the U.S. and Russia.


The Kremlin describing U.S. relations as being at their lowest point, describing the actions as deplorable. But for now, both sides saying, they don't want to escalate this any further. really watch for what happens to those remnants if they are recovered at all, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. Salma Abdelaziz joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Well meanwhile, a new type of drone has appeared in the skies over Ukraine. It's made in China but was never meant to be used for military purposes. Still, both Russia and Ukraine claim the other side is using them on the battlefield.

More now from CNN's Ivan Watson in this exclusive report.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukrainian military footage of a drone strike on a Russian rocket launcher. The bloody war between Russia and Ukraine is being fought on the ground and in the sky, using drones and unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, some of which were never intended for military use.

(on-camera): This is one of the weapons in this war, a drone that could fly far behind the frontlines, carrying a powerful bomb rigged to hurl deadly pieces of shrapnel like this.

(voice-over): Ukraine's territorial defense gave CNN an exclusive look at what's left of a weaponized UAV, originally manufactured in China. Ukraine State Security Service says an agent reported the launch of the drone from Russian-occupied territory, and troops shot it down at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday.

(on-camera): This is remarkable. The officer is explaining his men shot this drone down using rifles, rifles.

UNKNOWN (on-camera): That's right. Yes.

WATSON (on-camera): So, the drone was flying low.

The drone was flying low and visible to the naked eye, he tells me.

This is where the bomb landed, the explosive device on the drone.

(voice-over): Troops rigged the unexploded 20 kilogram bomb with explosives and then sprinted for cover. Officers identified the drone as a Mugan 5, which the manufacturer, Mugan Ltd., also confirmed to CNN. The company is based in Xiamen, China, designing UAV airframes for activities like forest fire prevention and agriculture.

(on-camera): Mugan drones have been available for sale on Chinese online marketplaces like Alibaba and Taobao for up to around $15,000, prompting some tech bloggers to give it the nickname the "Alibaba Drone".

(voice-over): Mugan 5 condemns any use of its drones on the battlefield, adding that the company ceased to accept orders from both Russia and Ukraine since the start of the war. But in January, Russian forces displayed these images of what is also a Mugan 5. The Russian military claims it was a Ukrainian UAV that shot down. Drone Expert Chris Lincoln-Jones calls these militarized UAVs dumb bombs.

CHRIS LINCOLN-JONES, DRONE WARFARE EXPERT: this drone we're looking at would be more effective if it had a decent camera in it.

WATSON (voice-over): The former British army officer who specialized in drone warfare says he expected more from a military superpower like Russia.

LINCOLN-JONES: This seems to be a crude, unsophisticated, not very technologically advanced way of conducting operations.

WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, in Eastern Ukraine


CHURCH: An attorney for Stormy Daniels says the adult film star met with New York prosecutors via Zoom on Wednesday. She is offering to make herself available as a witness in their investigation of an alleged hush money payment from Donald Trump, days before the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, the former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, wrapped up his second day of testimony before a grand jury looking into the case. Prosecutors say they are nearing a decision on whether to indict the former president.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The position is that, at the end of the day, Donald Trump needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds, if in fact that's the way the facts play out. Plain and simple, this is not about him. This is about holding accountability, truth to power, and everything else in between.


CHURCH: That possible indictment is not the only legal trouble Trump is facing. We have learned there's another audio recording of him pressuring a Georgia official to help overturn the state's presidential election results back in 2020.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz has details


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: CNN has confirmed the existence of a third phone call Donald Trump made to top officials in the state of Georgia after the 2020 election, trying to put pressure on them to gum up the results.


So what is happening here is we know already about two phone calls that Trump made. We've even heard some of the audio from them where he was encouraging the Secretary of State's office to find votes after the election to help him. This third recording though was to the Georgia house speaker, a man named David Ralston. After that phone call took place, it was recorded, but Ralston had spoke about it before.

He said Trump would like a special session on the Georgia general assembly. He's been clear on that before, and he was clear on that in a phone conversation yesterday. This is in December 2020. You know, I shared with him my belief, but based on the understanding I have of Georgia law that it was going to be very much an uphill battle.

So, Ralston was pushing back in this Georgia grand jury investigation looking at possible criminality that may have taken place in that state. This came into evidence there. There were five jurors this week that confirmed the existence of this phone call recording they were able to hear to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So that was in news reports.

Ralston has been deceased since November of last year. So he was not -- would not be able to testify about this going forward, but that phone call, the evidence of it, the recording of it, still exists and it was memorable enough for those jurors to remark upon it. We haven't heard it yet. And so, we don't know exactly what Trump said and exactly what Ralston said back to him, but it clearly is another piece in this puzzle of what happened in that state in 2020.

Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington


CHURCH: Finland's President is kicking off a visit to Turkey with high hopes for his country's nation membership. Still to come, what's giving him the reason for optimism ahead of talks with his Turkish counterpart. Plus --


The opponents of proposed judicial reforms in Israel sending a blaring message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Plus, later in the show, My Freedom Day, students around the world are speaking up and taking action to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.


UNKNOWN: Small actions go a long way. Let's 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: Protesters against Israel's proposed judicial reform found a new way to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Wednesday, they slowed traffic to a crawl near Tel Aviv's airport ahead of his flight to Germany.

Israel has been rattled by weeks of demonstrations against the reforms, which opponents say would undermine the system of checks and balances in the government. And now, Israel's president is putting a compromise on the table, while issuing a warning about the state of the country.


ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT (through translator): I'm going to use a phrase that I haven't used before, an expression that there is no Israeli who is not horrified when he hears it, where it thinks that the real civil war of human lives is a limit that we will not reach has no idea. Precisely now, in the 75th year of the State of Israel, that abyss is within touching distance.


CHURCH: For more, Elliot Gotkine joins us now live from Tel Aviv. So Elliot, what is the latest on the compromise and warning from Israel's president that his country is on the verge of civil war?

ELLIOT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Quite striking words, Rosemary, weren't they? And in the tense of the latest as you can see behind me, the protests are still ongoing. And it is a, of course, a compromised proposal from President Herzog. It is a largely ceremonial role.

But what he's been trying to do for weeks now is to get both sides together to try to find some kind of compromise. You heard his words there, it seems like he's putting all his cards on the table. He's imploring the government and the opposition to find some kind of accommodation.

As we heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just before he got on a flight to Berlin last night that compromise seems some way off.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Unfortunately, the things presented by the President were not agreed upon by the coalition representatives. Key sections of the outline he presented only perpetuate the existing situation and do not bring the required balance to the Israeli branches of government. This is the unfortunate truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GOTKINE: (inaudible) heads off the proposals includes preventing the government of the day being able to step up to the supreme court with judges that are allied to it. Also trying to ensure that there's a supermajority (inaudible) votes, in order to change or introduce a new face of law, (inaudible) what these constitutional laws, but also emphasizing that there should be protections in place,(inaudible) trying everybody's right to free speech, to nothing discriminating, and to protest like they are today. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Alright, Elliot Gotkine joining us live from the streets of Tel Aviv. Many thanks.

Well, Finland's president is hoping for some favorable news about his country's NATO application when he begins a visit to Turkey on Thursday. President Sauli Niinisto said his Turkish counterpart has made it clear he wants to meet face-to-face when he makes a decision about Finland's application. Earlier, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted he may give a go-ahead to Finland before neighboring Sweden.


For more, Nada Bashir joins us now from Istanbul. Good to see you, Nada. So, Finland's President is expected to take a tour of Turkey's quake zone, actually, ahead of sitting down and talking with President Erdogan. So, talk to us about what more are you learning.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yeah. Well that's exactly right, Finland's president is expected to visit the province of Kahramanmaras in Turkey's southeast, was the epicenter of last month's earthquake and one of the areas hardest hit by the quake.

This is now almost six weeks on since the earthquake struck and this is a country still grappling with the aftermath, still dealing with the humanitarian crisis left in its wake. And of course, this is also a region now, parts of the southeast, which is dealing with severe flooding, which so far has killed at least 14 people. And it continues to be called for international support, and this will certainly be an important and timely visit.

Of course, as you mentioned there, this visit will also be followed by high-level talks between the Finnish president as well as Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul tomorrow, where this potential NATO membership with Finland is expected to be very high on the agenda of those discussions.

Now, of course, this has been a major sticking point for months now following Turkey -- following Finland's announcement that it wishes to end decades of nonalignment in order to join the alliance, along with Sweden it must be said, and of course, Turkey has for months now expressed concern over the accession of both Finland and Sweden to NATO.

Of course, NATO requires all existing members to unanimously approve any accession to the alliance, and it has been a huge sticking point, continues to be a major priority for the alliance. Now, as it has understood at this stage, Turkey's primary concern is with Sweden, and accuses the Swedish government of being too lax on groups that it considers to be terrorist organizations, namely Kurdish groups. And NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has himself acknowledged that Turkey's primary concern is with Sweden, not with Finland.

And now, of course, we are learning that this may be an opportunity, is maybe the time that Turkey wishes to express its decision to allow Finland or to rather approve and ratify Finland's decision to join the NATO alliance.

Now, Wednesday, speaking to reporters, President Erdogan hinted as much, saying that Turkey was willing to do its part and that it would fulfill the promise made by its country. And we heard similar hints, similar suggestions from Finland's president, who also reportedly said that in the event that Turkey would announce Finland's accession to NATO, while the Turkey's ratification of that accession it would seek a face-to-face meeting between both presidents and that Finland has now accepted that invitation.

So, this is certainly what is expected to be discussed at tomorrow's meeting. But, of course, questions still remain over Sweden's potential membership of NATO. This would be a huge concern for NATO, particularly ahead of July's NATO summit. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Nada Bashir joining us live from Istanbul, many thanks for that report.

Coming up next, all eyes are on Texas and a major legal dispute involving a widely used abortion pill. We will take a closer look at the judge overseeing the case.

Plus, more severe weather for the US, this time Dallas and Oklahoma are expected to get gusty wind, hail, and potentially tornadoes. We'll have details for you when we return.



CHURCH: A federal judge in Texas is promising to issue an opinion as soon as possible following a high-stake hearing in a medication abortion case. He now has to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would suspend all withdrawal approval of an abortion pill that has been available for more than 20 years. CNN's Jessica Schneider takes a closer look at the judge overseeing this case.


MATTHEW KACSMARYK, THEN-DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, FIRST LIBERTY INSTITUTE: At this point, first and foremost, President Trump for nominating me to this position. I would like to thank him.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Matthew Kacsmaryk was a lead lawyer working for the Christian group First Liberty when Trump nominated him to become a federal judge. By then, he had made his conservative views well known warning in a brief to the Supreme Court that a ruling in favor of the same-sex marriage would lead to potential tyranny against religious groups who don't approve.

And slamming the Supreme Court for finding a constitutional right to same sex marriage, hiding in the due process clause of the 14th amendment -- a secret knowledge so cleverly concealed in the 19th century amendment that they took almost 150 years to find. Kacsmaryk pledged he would be independent as a judge.

KACSMARYK: Senator, I stand in a long line of nominees who have been before this committee and state that it is not appropriate to state a personal view. I will say, for the record, that it is binding authority.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): But court watchers point out he's handed wins to the right in several recent cases. Judge Kacsmaryk struck down a new Biden administration protection for transgender people of late last year. In December, his ruling forced asylum seekers back to Mexico, while their cases proceed in U.S. immigration court.


And he struck down a federal program that allowed minors to receive birth control without their parents' consent.

KACSMARYK: I don't serve as a legislator. I don't serve as an advocate for council. I follow the law as it is written, not as I would have written it.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Now, Judge Kacsmaryk will unilaterally decide whether to block the FDA's approval of the abortion pill, mifepristone, an action antiabortion and religious groups are urging him to take,

and it's a move that could impact millions of women each year.

Abortion rights groups fear his record and own personal connection to the abortion issue with his 17-year-old sister giving up her baby for adoption, will influence his ruling. He is very passionate about the fact that you cannot preach pro-life and do nothing. Kacsmaryk's sister told the "Washington Post," "We both hold the stance of you have to do something, you can't not." But friends say Judge Kacsmaryk's beliefs will not be a factor.

ROGER SEVERINO, FRIEND OF JUDGE KACSMARYK: I would not characterize Judge Kacsmaryk as emotional. I characterize him as intellectual. That's one of the first things you know about him when you get to know him, is he's a deep thinker. And he's going to give this case its thorough examination to make sure that it comports with the law.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): And Judge Kacsmaryk heard arguments in the abortion pill case for four hours on Wednesday saying he'll issue a decision as soon as possible. And while it did appear that he is seriously considering undoing the FDA's approval of this drug, he also indicated that he could keep the approval in place and instead block recent FDA policies that actually make it easier to obtain this abortion pill. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: In the U.S., severe weather is expected to hit the Dallas area and extend north over southern Oklahoma, damaging winds, large hale, and possibly tornadoes are expected to wallop the region. Heavy snow is forecast across portions of the Plains and upper Midwest where winter alerts are already in place. And Minneapolis is expected to pick up another 4 to 8 inches of snow.

Well, the South Korean president is in Tokyo for talks with the Japanese prime minister, just minutes away and we will have a live report on this rare summit between historical foes who realize they have much to gain by mending fences. Back in just a moment.



CHURCH: North Korea has launched another missile and the timing is no coincidence. It fired an intercontinental ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula just hours before a historic high stakes summit between the leaders of South Korea and Japan.

The South Korean president released a statement warning the north will pay the price for its reckless provocations. And those key talks are about to get underway. You are looking now at live pictures from Tokyo where South Korea's Yoon Suk Yeol arrived just a few hours ago. You can see the two leaders there. He is standing next to the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida.

We are about to see this (inaudible). You could see them lined up there, the presentation ahead of a small group meeting between these two delegations after decades of disputes and distress. Japan and South Korea are trying to fight six frayed ties due to rising security threats in the region. A lot to deal with North Korea, very much top of that agenda.

So, let's turn to CNN's Marc Stewart. He is covering all of this live for us from Tokyo. We'll continue to take these live pictures too, of course, Marc. So, North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile just before South Korea's president arrive there in Japan for the country's first summit in 12 years. Talk to us about that and what the two leaders will be discussing in an effort to mend these fences, and of course, North Korea likely top of the agenda, right?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Rosemary. In fact, that North Korean missile launch that we saw earlier today, certainly has been met by condemnation. We heard immediate statements of rebuke, if you will, coming from the Japanese government shortly after that occurred. I also want to point out that I can't underscore the significance and the symbolism of seeing South Korea's president along the Japan's prime minister standing together here in Tokyo.

As you mentioned, this relationship has seen a lot of strain over decades, dating back to the 1900's. Among the issues that have really created some division by the two go back to wartime when Japan occupied South Korea and forced people to work. That is something that was recently discussed and an agreement was made between both governments to move forward.

These are moments that certainly created a lot of emotional despair between these two nations, but also got in the way of politics and economics. And now we have a world stage where both nations are having to confront North Korea and China as well as in economic hurdles, and that is why this meeting is so important, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yeah. And so how long will this -- well, we're going to have to leave it there, unfortunately. Marc Stewart joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.

And still to come, "My Freedom Day." We will check in with students around the world as they look to ways awareness of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: Today is "My Freedom Day." And CNN is teaming up with young people worldwide for a student-led day of action against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. One student in Ecuador sent us her take on trafficking.


UNKNOWN: Every, year thousands of men, women, and children are recruited by traffickers using deceit, violence, or coercion.


Every country in the world is affected by trafficking whether as a country of origin, transit or destination transportation. Human trafficking is a type of organized crime and a serious violation of human rights.


CHURCH: And CNN correspondents are covering this day of action at schools around the globe. Eleni Giokos is standing by at the American school in Dubai and Stephanie Busari is live for us at Dansol High School in Lagos. Good to see you both. Eleni, let's start with you. How are students there marking this day of action?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, I have to say that it is so embedded in the curriculum. This isn't just about one day or thinking about an event where you are focusing on the issues. It is so embedded in what these kids are doing. I'm in the library, there is a genocide project that has been worked on for so many months. Sixteen genocides are commemorated here.

This one is particularly interesting. This has to do with Darfur and it's a three-way sort of interaction. You have a written document, there's artwork, and also a QR Code. The students became so involved in this that they actually started contacting people affected and they got in line with what was going on the ground at the moment and they spoke to the Darfur women's action group. So, really fascinating.

I want to show you another genocide project which is really interesting. And it's the artwork that really got me, it's what's happening in Syria and here is the artwork. It is a picture of an eye, and photographs of eyewitnesses, eyewitness accounts and how important they are in telling that story.

But, more so than that, if you take it in the wider context here in the UAE, 90 percent of the population here are expats. They come from somewhere. Some people come here for better economic opportunity and so many are here because they've come here with their parents, they've come here to live a better life.

I've got two fantastic students with me. I've got Sabine and Zaina. Sabine is from Palestine and she's got a fantastic story to tell us. How important is freedom to you knowing that your family and friends and people that you know in Palestine have a different experience?

SABINE SERHAN, STUDENT: Yeah. Freedom is extremely important me because I've come to a country in a school that has given me the freedom and accessibility to and education where I can look at my culture and different cultures and see it through different perspective. And then I am fueled as a thinker and as a changemaker to continue making change for such people who can't. And so, I think it's really important to me to be given such an education.

GIOKOS: And Zaina, you are from Jordan. Do you have the same experience of what freedom means to you and it is so embedded in what you do at school, yeah?

ZAINA ABU HASSAN, STUDENT: Yeah. So, for me freedom means just doing what you want and like you have every right to do what you want, just as long as it does not infringe in other people's freedom.

GIOKOS: Fantastic.


GIOKOS: Thank you so much. It's great to see you. Rosemary, it's exciting to see what kids are immersing themselves with, here at the American school of Dubai. Back to you.

CHURCH: These young people today have just -- they have just been amazing. They've wowed all of us. Thanks for that. And Stephanie you are at a high school Lagos. How are students there marking "My Freedom Day of Action?"

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Rosemary. I will let you hear from the students. We are live in Lagos, Nigeria, at the Dansol High School. They are pretty pumped and excited. Good morning students.

UNKNOWNS: (Inaudible). This is "My Freedom Day." BUSARI: So, the students have been preparing all month long,

Rosemary. This is the fourth time actually that they are working on "My Freedom Day." Last year they connected with CNN and they said that the founder of this school is someone who is very passionate about freedom and child labor rights.

She was actually involved herself in helping to prosecute children's home that was abusing children. And so, the foundation of the school is really embedded in freedom and the rights of children. So, I have with me some students here who've been working very hard to put together activities. They've got a talk show prepared, they've got poems, spoken word poetry. Tell us your name.

FEYI-AKINBILE FIKAYO, STUDENT: My name is Feyi-Akinbile Fikayo and I'm a (inaudible) Dansol High School.

BUSARI: Okay. So, what is "My Freedom Day" mean to you?

FIKAYO: So, freedom to me means not being required at first to do anything against my will. And it also means being able to express myself without feeling a certain way about it.

BUSARI: Excellent. Thank you so much. And then I got someone else here who has been -- who has written a really powerful poem, Rosemary. Tell us your name.

ADESUWA OHONYON, STUDENT: My name is Adesuwa Ohonyon.

BUSARI: Okay. So, you're going to give us a little snippet of the poem that you've written.

ONHONYON: I was promised an offer I couldn't resist. My family was struggling and we needed an assist. Well, little did I know that saying yes would be the end, but the beginning of a mistake I would not be able to amend.


BUSARI: Thank you so much. And these children, Rosemary, are really passionate about this topic. They have gone to visit the agency that fought against human trafficking here and they've really learned a lot and we'll be joining them here later on today. Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you. And a powerful message there from all of those students. Stephanie Busari, Eleni Giokos, many thanks to you both for bringing those stories to us. And you can join CNN as we observe "My Freedom Day." Tell us what freedom means to you and share your message using the hashtag "My Freedom Day."

And thank you so much for spending part of your day with me. I'm Rosemary Church. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo, next.