Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin; Investigating Trump; Police Clash with Paris Protesters; Credit Suisse Shares Close 8 Percent Lower on Friday; California School Closes for Norovirus; Massive Seaweed Bloom in Florida. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 18, 2023 - 03:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from the United States and all around the world. I'm Laila Harrak.

A historic arrest warrant: Russian president Vladimir Putin wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

But could he actually be taken into custody?

Former U.S. president Donald Trump's legal troubles could come to a head quickly. A New York grand jury may indict him as soon as next week.

And hundreds of people detained across France following fiery protests. That after the government pushes through a controversial pension reform plan.


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

HARRAK: The U.S. President is voicing support for a historic decision by the International Criminal Court against Russia's leader. Joe Biden says the ICC had good reason to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it's justified. But the question is it's not recognized internationally by us, either. But I think it makes a very strong point.


HARRAK: The ICC on Friday said Mr. Putin bears responsibility for an alleged scheme to illegally deport thousands of children. According to Ukraine and its allies, Russia forced many Ukrainian children to undergo political re-education and to be adopted by Russian families.

Ukraine's president says at least 16,000 children have been removed from their country so far.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Separating children from their families?

Depriving them of any opportunity to contact their relatives?

Hiding children in Russia, dispersing them to remote regions?

All this is obvious Russian state policy, state decisions and state evil, which begins with the first official of the state.


HARRAK: The ICC's chief prosecutor believes Mr. Putin could stand trial for the alleged crimes even though Russia doesn't recognize the court's jurisdiction. Here's what Karim Khan told CNN's Clarissa Ward in an exclusive interview.



KARIM ASAD AHMAD KHAN, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CHIEF PROSECUTOR: Well, I think it is a very important moment, as the president said that, you know, these warrants have been issued.

And it shows that individuals whatever their position, however high, don't have a free pass and that the law binds us to some basic principles. So I think it is very important for that reason and many others.

WARD: What is the next step now?

What happens next?

KHAN: Well, the next step is that these warrants will be -- they have to be circulated and states will have to consider whether they can enforce those warrants but also we're continuing our investigations.

There are many other crimes in Ukraine that we're looking at and we also have some other options. If the warrants are not complied with, regarding applications for confirmation hearing in absence in the future.

WARD: Do you believe it's possible that one day we will see President Vladimir Putin in the dock?

KHAN: I think those that think it's impossible, fail to understand history, because the major Nazi war criminals, Milosevic, Karadzic, Mladic, former president Charles Taylor, Jean Kambanda from Rwanda, Hissene Habre, all of them were mighty, powerful individuals.

And yet they found themselves in courtrooms, whose conduct was being adjudicated over by independent judges.

And that also gives cause for hope, that the law can, however difficult it may be, the law can be supreme.

WARD: So is the message today that nobody is above the law?

KHAN: I think the message must be that basic principles of humanity bind everybody.

And nobody should feel they have a free pass, nobody should feel they can act with abandon and that definitely, nobody should feel that they can act and commit genocide or crimes against humanity, war crimes with impunity, because we have an International Criminal Court. We also have basic norms of customary international law.


KHAN: And there are many different fora around the world, which is reducing the scope and the room for impunity and fewer and fewer safe havens. So I think that's an important lesson that we need to, you know, render effective.

WARD: It feels significant that we're talking about out this in terms of months and not years. Often, the feeling is that international law particularly is a sort of slow-moving beast.

Was that very intentional for you to try to start these things, these investigations moving as quickly as possible with Ukraine?

KHAN: Absolutely not, not because it's Ukraine. I've been on the defense. I've been representing victims. For 30 years, I've been a barrister and international law has been effective in some cases, in many cases but I think the ICC has been a pedestrian in some respects and we need to accelerate.

And I think that's very important for us, if we feel that the law is for us, as prosecutors, as judges, as defense counsel or victims' lawyers and we don't feel the weight of responsibility that there are people in refugee camps or crossing borders with plastic bags with children in arms and grandparents and they're fleeing with fear.

We are not fulfilling our responsibilities under the law but also as members of humanity as well as we should and we will --

WARD: So about justice for victims, not about geopolitics?

KHAN: Absolutely. It must be. The law must be about and particularly criminal law must be about victims and survivors of humanity.


HARRAK: CNN's Nada Bashir joins us with more.

What have been some of the reactions to the ICC arrest warrants?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, from Moscow's perspective, as you might imagine, they have rejected this warrant. We heard yesterday from Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, accusing the ICC of being biased, of being prejudiced and, in his words, of acting as a puppet for larger Western nations.

We also heard from the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, who took to Twitter to say that this was outrageous and unacceptable but also to underscore that Russia does not consider the ICC to have any jurisdiction in the country.

That message was reiterated by the foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, who spoke yesterday, saying this simply has no meaning to Russia because they do not consider the ICC to have any jurisdiction in the country. Take a listen.


MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country. Russia is not a member of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it.

Russia does not cooperate with this body and possible pretenses for arrest coming from the international court of justice will be legally null and void for us.


BASHIR: So you heard there, "null and void" in Russia's perspective. And, of course, it is questionable, doubtful as to whether this will have any impact whatsoever on the reality on the ground on Russia's aggression and on its day-to-day actions in Ukraine.

We heard yesterday from the ICC president, speaking to CNN, saying that this isn't a magic wand. This isn't going to immediately end any of that aggression or violence that we are seeing inside Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

But the ICC's hope and belief is that this will act as some sort of deterrence going forward. And, of course, as you heard there in Clarissa Ward's reporting, that evidence is crucial.

And we've heard from the E.U.'s own foreign policy chief describing this as an important first step, as just the beginning. We've seen investigation teams on the ground still gathering evidence. That evidence could prove crucial in the coming years when it comes to holding Russia, holding President Putin legally to account.

HARRAK: Nada Bashir reporting. Thank you so much, Nada.

Well, international tribunals have been there before, going after presidents and other high-profile leaders for suspected war crimes. Matthew Chance looks back now at the record of bringing those leaders to justice. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspected crime of overseeing the abduction of Ukrainian children has earned Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova a place in a rogue's gallery of alleged war criminals.

Although the ICC, established in The Hague in 2002, has a checkered record of bringing those accused of wrongdoing to justice ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is guilty of the crimes of conscription and enlisting children.

CHANCE (voice-over): -- it took the court nearly 10 years to get its first conviction: Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of Congo sentenced for his role in recruiting child soldiers.


CHANCE (voice-over): Many ICC cases have focused on African states, prompting criticism of disproportionality. Libya's former leader, Moammar Gadhafi, was charged with crimes against humanity in 2011.

LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, ICC PROSECUTOR: Implementing the arrest warrant will send clear signals to those who commit crimes in Libya or elsewhere. You cannot gain power or retain power committing crimes against humanity. The world will not allow you to do it.

CHANCE (voice-over): But he was brutally killed by a Libyan mob before he could be brought to justice.

Before the ICC, war crimes were handled by special U.N. tribunals, like that set up to prosecute war crimes perpetrated in the Bosnia War and breakup of Yugoslavia, including the high-profile trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, for the mass killing of innocent people.

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, SERBIAN AUTOCRAT: I consider this tribunal false tribunal and indictments false indictments. It is illegal.

CHANCE (voice-over): He died in jail before his trial ended, denying many the justice they yearned for.

Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader, was indicted in 1995 but evaded arrest until 2011. The court found he was guilty of genocide. And in 2017, he began a lifetime prison sentence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tribunal will sentence you - sentences you to death by hanging.

CHANCE (voice-over): But it was, of course, the Nuremberg trials of prominent Nazis after the Second World War that set the standard for war crimes prosecutions.

There's far less unity among nations today, though, about who is guilty and who is not. And despite the indictments, few expect the Russian leader ever to see the inside of a court -- Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


HARRAK: China's foreign ministry says president Xi Jinping will meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow early next week. Beijing says the talks will take place from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of the Kremlin. Russia's war on Ukraine is expected to dominate the agenda.

Beijing says its position is, quote, "to urge peace" and promote talks. CNN's Will Ripley takes a look at the upcoming meeting.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly sends a very strong message to the West, despite now this news of an arrest warrant against Russian president Vladimir Putin, that President Xi Jinping is going to visit him in person, his first overseas trip since getting this massive endorsement in Beijing for an unprecedented third presidential term.

President Xi is really making his priorities crystal clear here. And those priorities are not working with the United States and the West on trying to punish Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. No, China has not condemned it. They say that Russia's security concerns are justified.

They've never criticized Russia or even called it an invasion, even in this peace plan that they've drafted up, claiming to be neutral, while having regular communication between Xi and Putin.

And on top of it, even though China and Russia are saying that they're going to be talking about strategic cooperation, signing important bilateral documents. A partnership that will benefit their peoples and benefit the world.

There is real concern in the United States and NATO that they're also going to be talking about something that could change the whole equation on the battlefield in Ukraine and that is, sending Chinese weapons in.

Chinese weapons that would potentially give Russian soldiers a far greater fighting edge than they have right now. And that could be very problematic, analysts say, for the Ukrainians, even with the western weapons primarily from the United States flowing in.

So the outcome of this meeting between two strong men in Moscow, with all the storm in the West about this arrest warrant, they're going to be talking about something they could have real life and real death implications on the battlefield in Ukraine -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


HARRAK: There's much more to come on CNN. We'll have the latest on the inquiry into hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels and the possibility that former president Donald Trump could soon be indicted.

And a family is pleading for their mother's safe return after authorities say she was kidnapped from her home in Mexico. That story and a whole lot more when we return.





HARRAK: Multiple sources tell CNN that a possible indictment against former president Donald Trump could come as early as next week.

In the New York investigation into the hush money scheme involving adult film star Stormy Daniels, sources say city, state and federal law enforcement agencies met all week to discuss the logistics of Trump's potential surrender and arraignment.


JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: If you get a criminal indictment on a felony against Donald Trump, a former president, that means you've got a prisoner who's arriving in a motorcade with a security cordon, escorted by armed Secret Service agents, where you're going to have to close off Hogan Place, you know, walk him into the district attorney's lobby.

And then while his Secret Service agents stand by, you'd have to go through that process of getting his fingerprints, shooting his mug shots and then getting him and his lawyers, Joe Tacopina and others, you know, a conference room to wait while they arrange an arraignment judge, who is going to examine the question of bail, which of course, you know, in the case, if he were indicted, he would be released on his own recognizance.

But nobody's ever done that with a former President of the United States before.


HARRAK: Sources also say authorities are discussing security amid concerns about both protests and potential threats against officials from Trump supporters.

Meantime, there has been a blockbuster ruling in the special counsel's investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents. A federal judge has ordered one of Trump's lawyers to answer more questions before the grand jury. Katelyn Polantz reports.


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Justice Department and special counsel Jack Smith have won a monumental court decision on Friday in their investigation into Donald Trump and his handling of classified records.

In this decision that they got under seal from Federal Judge Beryl Howell in the D.C. District Court on Friday, that decision says that conversations between Trump's attorney, Evan Corcoran, and Donald Trump himself may have been part of the commissioning of a crime.

So that's what a federal judge is now agreeing with the Justice Department on that. That is a really, really significant thing, the sort of legal opinion that's going to be remembered and give momentum to not just the special counsel's investigation but also be remembered for presidencies to come.

What the practical impact of this is that Evan Corcoran, the defense attorney for Donald Trump, he already testified in federal court before the grand jury investigating the handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Judge Howell at D.C. District Court is saying he's going to have to come back now and finish his testimony. All of the things he declined to answer because he said they were confidential, because they were attorney-client communications.

Those sorts of conversations he cannot protect any longer because of what the Justice Department has done in this case.

Donald Trump's team, they do have the opportunity to appeal and they are vowing to fight this. But they still haven't even seen the extent of the legal reasoning from Judge Howell. The opinion is not fully available to them yet. They are probably going to get a redacted version of it in the coming days.

So they won't know exactly what the Justice Department has at this time in this criminal investigation. And all of this is still sealed to the public, as special counsel Jack Smith wraps up his grand jury investigation into classified records -- Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.


HARRAK: The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of a dual Mexican American citizen kidnapped in Mexico more than a month ago. Authorities say Maria del Carmen Lopez was taken from her home in southwestern Mexico on February 9th.

Her family says she moved there after she retired and was living a quiet life back in her homeland. Federal officials say they do not believe drug cartels were involved in the kidnapping. Lopez's daughter tells CNN she remains hopeful her mother will be returned to the family safely.


ZONIA LOPEZ, MARIA DEL CARMEN LOPEZ'S DAUGHTER: It's -- it's a horrible feeling not knowing if she's OK, not knowing where she's at or who has her. We're literally powered, I think, by the strength that we know she has and the love that she has for us. And we're literally holding on to a thread of hope at this point.


HARRAK: The FBI is encouraging anyone with information about the case to speak with authorities.

Three people are lucky to be alive after the two small planes they were in collided over Mesa, Arizona. The single-engine aircraft were taking part in an aerial demonstration when the accident happened and one plane landed while the other crashed after reaching the runway.

Two people had non-life-threatening and were being treated in the hospital. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Angry demonstrators spar with police on the streets of Paris after president Macron pushes to raise the country's pension age by two years. A look at the protests that could escalate in the days to come.

And millions of Nigerians are going to the polls again, this time to elect new governors. We'll have a live report for you from Lagos.





HARRAK: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Laila Harrak and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Anger boiled over in the streets of Paris Friday night after the government raised the pension age from 62 to 64. Riot police threw tear gas into crowds of protesters as some chanted for president Emmanuel Macron to resign. Senior international correspondent Sam Kiley is in Paris with more.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in the Place de la Concorde, at the head of the Champs-Elysees, currently blocked by riot police, we're just outside the important building around which all of this has been focused, the National Assembly.

And it was there on Thursday that Emmanuel Macron's prime minister decided to use his presidential fiat to drive through reforms to the economy here, which would mean the pensionable age would go from 62 to 64.

Now that has ignited two days of demonstrations focused here on the Place de la Concorde but that have spread elsewhere in Paris. Earlier on in the evening, these monuments under reconstruction were very much the focus of the demonstrations; indeed, of the rioters.

[03:30:00] KILEY: There were pitched battles backward and forward, as the police tried to not only contain the violence and prevent these monuments and other sites that are being restored from being damaged.

Elsewhere, of course, there was a burning of cars and the previous day of rioting as the police managed to drive people away from this area. But they took the fight deeper into the city.

Now the local police have said that so far about a dozen -- and that number is likely to be rising -- people have been arrested and about 4,000 people attended this rally. Rallies have also been conducted elsewhere in the country.

There is a vote of no confidence scheduled for Monday against the government of Mr. Macron in the National Assembly. But even if that goes against him, it doesn't mean that he has to step down as president. He is elected independently of the National Assembly.

And then on Thursday, the unions, both private and public sector unions, are expected to bring many, many millions, they hope, out on strike and possibly onto the streets of the entire country in protest against these economic reforms -- Sam Kiley, CNN, in Paris.



HARRAK: For more, let's bring in CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. He joins us now from Los Angeles.

Dominic, a very combustible situation in France. Anger has been simmering for a while.

Why have the government's pension plan reforms sparked such violent protests across the nation?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Laila, that has been going on for a while. Emmanuel Macron made no secret that, were he to be re-elected, this would be one of the crucial cornerstones of his policies for his second mandate.

He, himself, pretty much has withdrawn from the process. There's been very little consultation. He has not met with union leaders and he let his prime minister run this through the parliament.

At the end of the day, the fact that the parliament didn't actually go about supporting it or it was clear they didn't have the votes, her relied on this Article 49.3, which gives them essentially the opportunity to pass legislation without going to a vote.

And I think that that was ultimately what ended up sparking these kinds of protests, because people don't ultimately feel that Emmanuel Macron has the mandate to legislate in this particular way.

HARRAK: This is a curious thing, though.

Why did he resort to pushing through the bill rather than securing the necessary political support?

Did he have no choice?

THOMAS: I think at the end of the day, he did everything he could to get that political support. I mean, this is a candidate and then a president, who has constantly run on the message of renewal. The party has a very different view as to where he thinks France ultimately has to go.

And he has committed to pushing these reforms through, which he sees as absolutely crucial to the sustainability of the economic model that he's pushing. And ultimately, I think that for him to back down at this stage would have made him look very weak and ultimately made the next few years of legislation even more complicated.

But the fact that this time around, he is unable to ultimately legislate, because he lost his majority in the 2022 election, has made it all the more harder for him to govern.

HARRAK: Why is this issue of retirement such a hot-button issue in France?

THOMAS: Yes, so it's an age-old issue. Of course, the government has its policies, its attempts to legislate. It listens to the street and you can hear the street loud and clear, letting Emmanuel Macron know that they don't want it. So it's a difficult situation.

On the one hand you have, of course, longevity. People are living much longer and Macron would argue therefore they should work longer. When he looks at other countries in the European Union and worldwide, France already has one of the lowest retirement ages. It also represents one of the highest percentages of GDP.

And for competitiveness, this is something he ultimately wants to do and push forward.

On the other side of the political spectrum, you have not only parties that would actually like to even reduce the age, let alone not increase it.

And you have ultimately two competing views of France, one of them that is far more attached to state support and social benefits and the other that sees itself as a kind of globalizing France, that needs to line itself up with some of its economic competitors and is pushing that kind of agenda.

And that's what's proving so polarizing in this political environment.

HARRAK: Very polarizing and it seems like he underestimated the level of opposition that this bill faces from lawmakers and from the general public.

I mean would you describe this as a pivotal moment for the French president?

[03:35:00] HARRAK: Can he politically survive this?

How precarious is his position?

THOMAS: Well, he can certainly survive it. It's the question of his government. It's a semi-presidential system. He's safe but his government is unlikely to be able to withstand this and may ultimately end up having to take the fall. The question is whether Emmanuel Macron himself will back down.

HARRAK: Is the country bracing for more protests in the days to come?

THOMAS: Yes, absolutely. And the question is whether or not those protests will ultimately lead to the president having to rethink whether or not to push this agenda. There's a precedent for this happening historically in France. The street must be listened to.

And in this case, they're making a very loud and clear statement that they do not support this legislative agenda.

HARRAK: Dominic Thomas, thank you so much.

THOMAS: Thank you for having me on.


HARRAK: Voters in Africa's most populous nation are heading back to the polls today to elect new governors in 28 out of Nigeria's 36 states. The election was delayed by a week so the country's electoral commission could reconfigure the voting machines used during February's presidential election.

Among the governorships up for grabs is Lagos, which has a $4 billion budget and is home to a city of 20 million people. For more on this story, I'm joined now by Stephanie Busari, who is in Lagos, Nigeria.

Stephanie, good to see you again. Nigerians heading back to the polls to vote in gubernatorial elections after that disputed presidential election.

What are the expectations?

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR AFRICA EDITOR: Good morning, Laila. Well, the expectations are that they be safe, free and fair. And we definitely didn't see that the last time. We saw outbreaks of violence in some polling units. We saw widespread delays. We saw polling units that just didn't open at all.

Now polls are just about to open behind me. There's a polling unit. You can see people gathering. And this polling unit is actually near one of the ones we visited the last time, where there was an attack on that polling unit and there was an attempt to snatch the ballots.

We're hoping that it's calm. There's military presence here.

But people are just saying that they want the electoral commission to deliver on its promise to produce results in real time through their technology platform, which they've touted as the game-changer in these elections and to start them without delay and make sure that polling units are open, Laila.

HARRAK: Stephanie, what role do governors play in the day-to-day lives of Nigerians?

How influential are governors?

BUSARI: Governors here are very powerful. They control states with massive budgets, just like here in Lagos. This is a city of nearly 20 million inhabitants. So the welfare of the people of this state lies in the hands of the governor.

They must make good decisions. They must be empathetic. They must steer the budgets well for education, for health, for all the things that are part of the social contract between governor and the electorate. So these are highly influential elections.

Lagos is one of Africa's wealthiest cities and this is where people come to seek their fame and fortune. So very important role governors play here, Laila.

HARRAK: Very crucial role they play indeed. Stephanie Busari reporting from Lagos, Nigeria. Thanks so much, Stephanie.

Still ahead, a tumultuous week for global markets comes to a close. But the fears of a banking crisis are still rattling investors. The latest from Wall Street coming up.





HARRAK: U.S. markets closed out a volatile week on Friday.


HARRAK (voice-over): Stocks ended the day down as the tumultuous banking sector continues to unnerve Wall Street. The Dow tumbled nearly 400 points or about 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq slipped 0.7 percent. And the S&P 500 fell more than 1 percent.

While there was a steep sell-off in the banking sector, a sign that investors are not satisfied with the response to the financial turmoil. First Republic saw its credit ratings downgraded by Moody's, which says the bank is facing significant challenges.

Shares of First Republic plunged about 33 percent on Friday. Meanwhile, PacWest is down about 19 percent and Zions Bank fell more than 7 percent. Investors are hoping next week's Federal Reserve meeting will shed more light on the trajectory of the economy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRAK: Well, another bank causing concerns is Swiss lending giant Credit Suisse. CNN's Anna Stewart has the latest now from London.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You only need to look at the closing share price of Credit Suisse Friday to know its problems are far from over. The Swiss bank has been under pressure for several years, a result of various scandals and failures of risk management and corporate governance.

However, following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. and the resulting concern over the sector, well, that piled on the pressure. And so Credit Suisse, already a weak link, started to buckle.

On Wednesday, the chairman of its biggest shareholder, Saudi National Bank, said it wouldn't be increasing its stake. He said that would push it above a regulatory threshold and argued the bank didn't need it.

Other investors didn't appear to agree.


STEWART: That day, Credit Suisse shares tanked, trading down 30 percent at one point. After the market closed, Switzerland's central bank said it could extend a line of liquidity if needed.

And Credit Suisse quickly agreed, accepting a loan of up to $53.7 billion. A relief rally followed Thursday but the rally lost luster as the day wore on. And on Friday it went in reverse.

Credit Suisse has closed the week down 26 percent despite the massive injection of money. It's already in the midst of a restructure but investors and clients are impatient. And if that continues, well, the bank may be forced to sell more of its units or be taken over altogether by a rival.

The markets have closed for the weekend but talks about Credit Suisse's future are likely underway. And the market open on Monday could see more share price volatility for this embattled bank -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


HARRAK: Parts of a massive seaweed bloom are starting to wash onto the beaches in Key West, Florida. Where the sargassum trail is headed next and why it's causing concerns.





HARRAK: An elementary school in Long Beach, California, is closing for three days following a norovirus outbreak. It comes after 126 students and 10 staff members at George Washington Carver Elementary School reported symptoms as of Thursday.

The situation was first reported to health authorities nearly a month ago. The school won't reopen until Wednesday. Anyone who has norovirus symptoms is being asked to stay home.

The Dutch government is setting a carbon emissions limit on all international flights leaving from airports in the Netherlands and the airlines are not pleased.

Under the proposal from the transportation ministry, the number of flights will be cut from 500,000 to 460,000 by the end of this year. Dutch airline KLM and other competitors issued a joint statement, calling the decision, quote, "incomprehensible."

Now that Atlantic seaweed bloom, that's so big it can be seen from space, is already starting to wash up on the shores of Florida's beaches and it may only be the beginning. Leyla Santiago reports.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here on Smathers Beach in Key West, locals tell me this is about the normal amount of things coming in that they normally see this time of year. But come on in a little closer and I'll show you what's mixed in it that is of note.

You see this right here?

This is some of that seaweed, that particular seaweed that is in that large mass, large body moving this way that could be hitting the East Coast of Florida. I talked to one scientist, who told me that this could be a record-breaking amount of it and it could also be a new normal.

JOE KAPLAN, RESIDENT, KEY WEST RESIDENT: It's thick in the summertime builds up and smells terrible.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Joe Kaplan captured these images about a week ago. Massive amounts of seaweed washing up at Smathers Beach, a beach he knows well because he walks it several times a week.

KAPLAN: And I was shocked when I saw that day where it wasn't even spring yet. It's still winter, which is very unusual.

CHUANMIN HU, USF COLLEGE OF MARINE SCIENCE: And this is about 5,000 miles long.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Professor Chuanmin Hu is one of the leading experts on what many have referred to as a massive blob of seaweed heading to Florida's coast. SANTIAGO: Fair to call it a blob?

HU: No.

SANTIAGO: No, we can't call it a blob, OK.

HU: I would never call that a blob.


HU: Because it's not.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Satellite images he says show it's not one massive body of seaweed; rather, a bunch of patchy clumps traveling from West Africa. It's called the Atlantic Sargassum Belt and it's considered a natural phenomenon. Right now, it's twice the width of the U.S., carrying 6 million tons of seaweed and headed to the East Coast.

HU: In June of this year it may turn into 20 million pounds.

SANTIAGO: So let me get this straight.

This -- what we're seeing the last month is 6 million tons and it's going to get bigger?

HU: Yes. There's no way to stop that. This is nature, just like no one can stop a hurricane.

SANTIAGO: Should we be worried about that?

HU: No.


HU: The reason is that sargassum is not toxic.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But it smells pretty bad and it's a nuisance for those trying to keep beaches clean to attract tourists. Just a few years ago, here's what it looked like in Mexico. Officials in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, have set aside more than $200,000 to clean and remove sargassum from its beaches.

CAPTAIN DAN MATTHEWS, MISS CHIEF FISHING CHARTERS: Seaweed is a mixed blessing. We need it. Seaweed is a nursery for all these large pelagic fish.

And the negative side to that seaweed is if it comes in the concentrations that I believe we're going to see, our fishing grounds are going to be completely covered with it. And there's almost no point to fishing because we're going to be spending the entire day cleaning weed off our lines.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): And as the Sargassum Belt heads toward Florida, another natural phenomenon is already hitting its beaches on the west coast -- red tide. It can be toxic, kill fish and cause respiratory issues.

This year's red tide concerns were enough to cancel at least one major event here in Indian Rocks, where one family visiting told us --

MARGO SAGE, CANADIAN TOURIST: But as soon as my son, my husband and I got out of our car, we all started coughing.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But for spring breakers, like this group from Iowa, the concerns of massive amounts of seaweed or red tide were not enough to change vacation plans.


ANNA SANDERS, TOURIST: I would rather it be red tide than raining every day.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Tourists noting friends back home --

SAGE: And they'd be pretty jealous -- regardless of having a little bit of the red tide symptoms, they'd be pretty jealous that we're here and they're not.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Because the pristine beaches of the Sunshine State are hard to resist for many, despite what may be looming offshore.

SANTIAGO: The scientists we talked to said they need more funding for research because, while they have a pretty good understanding of how this stuff moves with the current, they don't really understand why they see more some years over others because they've only really been tracking this in the tropical Atlantic since 2011, when it first popped up.

So they want to be able to understand it better so that they can one day forecast it --Leyla Santiago, CNN, Key West, Florida.


HARRAK: And that wraps up this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Laila Harrak. Kim Brunhuber picks up our coverage after a quick break and I'll see you again tomorrow.