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CNN International: FAA Holds Safety Summit Over Runway Near- Collisions; Protests Resuming in Israel Over Proposed Judicial Reform; Finnish President Hints at Favorable News on NATO Application; Fight to End Modern-Day Slavery. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 16, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Foster. If you are just joining us, let me bring you up to date with the top stories.

Shares of Credit Suisse jumped more than 30 percent as European markets opened this hour. The gains come as a result of the Swiss Central Bank agreeing to loan Credit Suisse up to $53 billion.

And investigators in Georgia say they now have a third recording of former president Trump trying to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 election in his favor.

NOBILO: U.S. aviation officials are trying to figure out why there have been so many runway close calls at the nation's airports. Commercial planes came too close to one another seven times this year. The FAA held a safety summit on the issue. The first of its kind in 14 years. Pete Muntean has the details.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Close calls on America's runways are landing under new scrutiny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we emphasizing efficiency over safety?

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The Federal Aviation Administration hosted a rare emergency safety summit bringing together investors and regulators, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: When you have all of these things happening at once it points to the need to make sure the whole system is strengthened.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Near collisions continue to climb nationwide, from Hawaii to the latest incident at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C.

ATC: United 2003 cancel takeoff clearance.

UA2003: Aborting takeoff, aborting takeoff, United 2003.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The FAA is investigating a total of seven dramatic runway incursions since the start of this year. In an exclusive interview, Buttigieg told me there is an uptick in incidents at airports.

BUTTIGIEG: What we're finding is that pilots, ground crews and controllers alike seem to be experiencing this uptick, some who describe it as kind of a rust. But that needs to turn into a very concrete diagnosis and specific action steps.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Airlines insist safety is always their top priority. But labor unions say airlines are pushing the limits, as they struggle to bounce back from the pandemic.

DENNIS TAJER, ALLIED PILOTS' ASSOCIATION: The data is right behind you. It's happening out there. These incidents, things we've been talking about well over a year ago are starting to show up on the flight deck and in operations.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): So far, the FAA sees no apparent common trigger of these incidents but the National Transportation Safety Board said change cannot wait.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: What I want to see is action. We get very concerned when there's discussion of cost. Of, oh, we can't afford this change or that change. These are lives. Our whole goal at the NTSB is lives saved and that has to be the focus.

MUNTEAN: Right now the NTSB is not launching an investigation into that latest incident at Reagan National Airport. That happened last week but it's only coming to light just now. We also got a readout of the closed-door part of that Safety Summit. Discussions on how to prevent these incidents, ranged from overstressed pilots to seasoned workers leaving the industry to installing better technology at airports.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Ron Reynolds, can he do anything wrong?

NOBILO: Apparently not.

FOSTER: He is about to have a very nice payday now. T-Mobile announced Wednesday that it's buying a budget wireless provider Mint Mobile in a $1.35 billion deal. Reynolds purchased a minority ownership stake in Mint Mobile in 2019 and will stay on as its spokesman.

NOBILO: The acquisition of Mint Mobile's parent company will also include Ultra Mobile an international calling service as well as wireless wholesaler Plum. T-Mobile CEO says Mint's $15 per month pricing plan will stay in place. In the deal is expected to close later on this year. FOSTER: The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. unless the app's Chinese owners divest from the popular social media platform. The demand marks a possible turning point in negotiations between TikTok and Washington. Federal officials have raised concerns that Beijing could pressure TikTok or its parent company -- the Chinese parent company, ByteDance to hand over the personal information of the 100 million users in the U.S.

NOBILO: TikTok says new ownership would not solve the dispute because that wouldn't necessarily change access to data. The company's CEO will be in the hot seat next week testifying before a U.S. House committee.


I'd imagine that people would be taking to the streets if they couldn't see your TikTok.

FOSTER: I agree.

NOBILO: U.S. Authorities have arrested an exiled Chinese billionaire with ties to former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Guo Wengui is accused of funneling investor money into various schemes.

FOSTER: Prosecutors also say that Guo tapped the funds to pay for luxury vehicles, lavish homes and even maintenance on his $37 million yacht. It was on the yacht in 2020 that federal agents arrested Bannon in unrelated fraud charges. Bannon was pardoned by then President Trump. But has since pleaded not guilty to state charges.

NOBILO: Israeli protestors are back in the streets pushing back against proposed judicial reforms. We'll have a live report about the latest protests and one attempt to find that middle ground.

FOSTER: Later marking "My Freedom Day", we'll check in with students around the world as they look to raise awareness of modern day slavery and human trafficking.


NOBILO: Across France workers are keeping up the strikes and protests against pension reform. Wednesday marked the eighth day of actions since January but turnout was significantly lower. Less than half a million people according to the Interior Ministry.

FOSTER: In the coming hours, the French Parliament will take up the Macron government's push to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Some unions have already announced plans to continue strikes and protests if Parliament approves the draft law.

NOBILO: Protestors are again hitting the streets in Israel trying to stop a controversial judicial reform plan. Similar rallies have been rattling the country for many weeks now.

FOSTER: Yesterday a protesters staged a traffic slowdown at Tel Aviv's airport when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was about to fly to Germany.


Israel's president is now stepping into the debate and putting a compromise on the table. But he's also issuing a warning about the state of the country. For more let's go to Elliott who is joining us from Tel Aviv. What is this compromise then -- Elliott?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Well, we're not going too much into the weeds, Max. It essentially means that in contrast to the government's current judicial overhaul, the government of the day would not be able to choose all the judges who sit on the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court would still be able to strike down certain laws which under the government's current proposals would only be allowed to do in narrow circumstances.

But we did hear from President Herzog in outlining more details to understand, which also for enshrining people's rights to freedom of expression, to not being discriminated against. And as you can see about 20 meters behind me, to be able to protest. But when he did speak in primetime to the Israeli people, he certainly didn't mince his words.


ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT (through translator): I'm going to use a phrase I haven't used before. An expression that there is no Israeli who is not horrified when he hears it. Whoever 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 this is within touching distance.


GOTKINE: And I should say that we heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the tarmac in Israel there, at the Tel Aviv airport and during there told he plans to meet to Berlin -- where he's meeting with the Chancellor there. And he essentially he said, these proposals by President Herzog and Israelis (INAUDIBLE) his proposals , Netanyahu said, basically lead things much, are too similar to the way that they are already. And therefore as far as the government is concerned, they're going to continue to ram through this judicial overhaul. They said they want it done and adjusted within the next couple weeks before the Jewish festival Passover.

And as you can see, the protests behind me, they are still continuing. It's still quite relatively early here, so it will build up throughout the day. This has been going on now with weekend protest included for the last two months. And it seems that although Herzog's words were certainly very striking, but there is still no opportunity or compromise between the government and between the protesters and the opposition in Parliament on judicial reform, (INAUDIBLE) overall say will continue and these protests will continue as well -- Max.

FOSTER: Elliott in Tel Aviv, thank you. NOBILO: On the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, one commander says a

Ukrainian soldier destroyed a Russian military jet near Bakhmut with new video appearing to show that very moment.

FOSTER: That dramatic video goes on to show the jet's wreckage burning and what appears to be a white parachute suggesting the pilot may have been able to eject from the plane. Ukraine says its military are down more than 300 Russian aircraft since the start of the war. Though CNN isn't able to independently verify that number.

NOBILO: Finland's president is hoping for some favorable news about his country's NATO application when he begins a visit to Turkey on Thursday. So far, his Turkish counterpart who Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not approved Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. But now Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is hinting that his nation's push to become a NATO member seems to be getting traction in Turkey.

For more, let's go to Nada Bashir who joins us from Istanbul. Nada, obviously Turkey as a NATO member has a veto on any new countries acceding to the alliance. And if you can explain to our viewers what their main issues are. Obviously, Sweden and Finland both accused by Turkey of harboring and supporting PKK, but the majority of the complaints are against Sweden and perhaps Finland is more guilty by association.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we've seen Sweden and Finland since Russia's invasion of Ukraine pledging to end decades of nonalignment, to join the alliance together. That has been their intention and it continues to be Finland's preference to join the alliance alongside Sweden. But as you mentioned there, such an accession to NATO requires the unanimous ratification of all 30 existing members, Turkey being a key member there.

And has for the last few months now refrained from offering its acceptance or approval of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Turkey's primary concern as you mentioned of course, targeted at Sweden, they accuse the Swedish government of being too lax in its approach to organizations, to groups that Turkey accuses of being terrorist organizations, namely Kurdish groups currently in Sweden.

But over the last few months, we have seen intense negotiations as well as some policy changes even in Helsinki and Stockholm and does appears as though this may be shifting.

Certainly that is the message we've been hearing from the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday speaking to reporters.


He suggested or alluded to the idea that Turkey may now be willing to offer its approval of Finland joining the NATO alliance. He told reporters on Wednesday that Turkey would do its part and in his words, would fulfill its promises.

And we heard a similar hint from the Finnish president speaking to reporters in Finland ahead of his trip to Turkey. Saying that it was understood that should Turkey make the decision to accept Finland as its intention to join NATO, that Turkey would seek a face-to-face meeting with the Finnish president and that Finland has accepted this invitation.

So that will certainly be high on the agenda for the talks which are set to take place in Istanbul tomorrow. It is expected that Turkey may now offer its approval -- Bianca, Max.

NOBILO: Nada Bashir in Istanbul, great to see you. Thank you.

FOSTER: Up next, "My Freedom Day." A look at how students around the world are trying to raise awareness of modern day slavery.



FOSTER: 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.

NOBILO: Student in Kosovo among those looking to raise awareness.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Small actions go a long way. Let's stay united in fighting against human trafficking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Knowing the signs, saves lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's take action together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's end modern day slavery.

GROUP: "My Freedom Day"!


NOBILO: CNN correspondents are covering this day of action at schools across the globe. Scott McLean is standing by at Caversham school in London and Stephanie Busari is why for us at Dansol High School in Lagos.

FOSTER: What's going on there, Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Bianca, Hey Max. So, this is a Queen Ann School in Caversham that we're at. We're just outside of London. And the students here -- it's an all-girls school -- have been learning about modern slavery and about human trafficking. And this is an issue that they learned affects millions of people around the world. And one quarter of the people affected are actually children.

And it is not just something that happens in far off places but according to the British government's own statistics affects 10,000 people in this country alone. So the students here have been doing performances, poetry readings, speeches, dances, musical performances to try to draw attention to this issue and also to express what freedom means to them. So I'm just going to introduce one of these performances, this is a dance by the upper fourth year students about freedom. So, so ahead, girls.


MCLEAN: So, there you are. So, this is just sort of one snippet of what we're seeing here throughout the day. The students are also going to be doing artwork, art installations throughout the day. So, we'll continue to check in with them -- Max, Bianca.

NOBILO: Scott McLean, thanks so much. And Stephanie Busari, let's go to you. What's happening at your school?

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, AFRICA: Good morning, Max, good morning, Bianca. We are at Dansol High School in Lagos, Nigeria. And the students here have been pretty engaged all month long. They've preparing performances, spoken word, poetry. And also, they even dressed up as superheroes.

And behind me here, they have dressed up as freedom fighters from the past. We have Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti who's a Nigerian feminist, first woman to drive a car in Nigeria and the mother of the famed musician Fela Kuti. We also have Kamini Kumar.

And what the students are saying is that the lesson is that you must remember the lessons of the past to not repeat them. And they are very engaged in fighting for freedom and also raising awareness. It's the fourth year they are doing it here at Dansol School.

And one of the teachers tells me that the head teacher here has actually been very engaged in fighting for freedom of children. And she was involved in prosecuting -- helping to prosecute a children's home that was abusing children in its care. So, this is an issue that is very important to this school and the students here are very passionate and excited about being involved in this day -- Max.

FOSTER: Steph, also Scott, thank you so much indeed for bringing us those stories. It's going to be a busy day.

NOBILO: And you can join CNN as we observe "My Freedom Day." Tell us what freedom means to you and share your message on social media using #myfreedomday.

A stunning new image from space. Experts say that they've discovered the first direct evidence of an active volcano on Venus.

FOSTER: Analysis of radar images taken during NASA's Magellan mission in the 1990s reveals changes in shape and size to a volcanic vent in the span of just eight months. Experts say it's a crucial discovery that raises questions about Earth. Experts say Venus may once have been like earth in fact until it was smothered in carbon dioxide.

NOBILO: An optimistic snapshot of what is to come.

FOSTER: NASA unveiling the spacesuits the astronauts will wear when they return to the moon. This prototype debuted during an event at the space center in Houston on Wednesday.

NOBILO: NASA partnered with a private company, Axiom Space, to design the modern lunar apparel for the Artemis 3 mission. The suit allows greater mobility and adds protections for walking on the moon.


The Artemis 3 mission will include the first woman and first person of color to land on the moon. And that is currently planned for 2025.

FOSTER: But why does he need a lightsaber?

NOBILO: Well, I feel like it's always handy to have one on your person and apparently, they are going to make the suit white -- our producer have told us.

FOSTER: And news that actually has nothing to do with space. Kellanova is the name for the new spinoff company behind some of the world's most popular snacks like Pringles and Cheez-It. The Kell part comes from parent companying Kellogg.

NOBILO: Kellogg.

FOSTER: That part is obvious. But the nova is --

NOBILO: It's Latin that means new. But interestingly if it was just Kellogg, it would have to be Kellogg nova because it would in the massive and knowledge of singular --

FOSTER: Intellectualizing when it


NOBILO: Kellogg's North American cereal business will be called WK Kellogg company. A hat off to its founder William Keith Kellogg. The food producer announced the plans last year saying that the split would help each business unlock its full potential.

FOSTER: Exciting stuff.

NOBILO: And finally perhaps the cutest story of the day depending on your taste. And now the French bulldogs are now the most popular dog breed in the U.S. dethroning Labrador retrievers. The American Kennel Club said that it's first time in 31 years Labrador retrievers were not top dog.

FOSTER: French bulldog, really. French bulldogs have been steadily climbing the club's annual ranking this year and is easy to see why. The club says the breed's small size and quiet demeanor make them perfect for those living in apartments and smaller homes. But here in the U.K., actually quite the campaign to stop people buying them because they been overbred and they're struggling to breathe.

NOBILO: Oh, goodness and you hear about that with all types of breeds. Oh, that's very sad. Hopefully, they managed to rectify that.

FOSTER: Thanks for joining us here. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: And I'm Bianca Nobilo. And "EARLY START" is up next for you on CNN.