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French Protesters And Police Clash In Marches Against Pension Changes; Coalition, Opposition Hold First Talks On Judicial Overhaul; Bodycam Video Shows Moment Officers Take Down Shooter; 39 Dead In Fire At Migrant Facility In Mexico. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 01:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Paul Newton. Ahead right here on CNN Newsroom. Garbage workers in Paris plan to return to work in the coming hours. Are national protests over at this point in terms of wanting to raise the retirement age? And are they beginning to lose stinks?

A woman cries for answers after her husband is taken away for treatment after a deadly fire at a migrant detention center in Mexico. And a Russian man goes on the run to escape a two-year prison sentence after this picture, his daughter Drew (ph) called attention to his alleged antiwar activities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Paula Newton.

NEWTON: And we begin in France, where anger, rages -- rages on, in fact, over the government's controversial move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

You can see there are hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday for another day of nationwide strikes. Now in several cities, protesters, as you can see, clashed with police, throwing stones and burning garbage piles.

The French Interior Ministry estimates more than 700,000 people participated in the protests. A lower number, though, than demonstrations earlier this month. Many union leaders are calling on President Emmanuel Macron to put the unpopular pension reform plan on hold, but the government shows no signs of backing down.

Meantime, trash collectors in Paris announced they're suspending their weeks long strike and will return to work Wednesday morning. CNN Sam Kiley has more from the French capital.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Ten days of demonstrations and the latest march through Paris begins to feel almost routine. Within a few hours, this, though, was the scene.

KILEY (on camera): Concern over the rising level of violence has led the unions to ask for a dialogue with the government. This is what a senior union official said.

MAHER TEKAYA, SENIOR UNION OFFICIAL, CFDT: The only solution is to sit around the table and to have a constructive dialogue on how to find a way out of this situation.

KILEY: The government's response has been this.

LAURENCE BOONE, FRENCH MINISTER FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS: Now there has been a democratic process. We've had hundreds of hours of debate at the parliament. The bill has been passed, and I think we need to move on.

KILEY: The government said that they were expecting about 1,000 extremists to join these demonstrations. And clearly they're hell bent on trying to make sure that they don't gain the upper hand in what beginning to turn into, albeit relatively small scale, but pitch battles here on the streets of Paris.

KILEY (voiceover): Interior Ministry numbers put today's demonstration in Paris at 93,000. That's a 27,000 drop on the union organized protests last Thursday. And across France, the numbers demonstrating were also down from a peak of about 1.28 million to only 740,000 today.

Opponents of the plan to raise the pensionable age in France from 62 to 64 must now pin their hopes on forcing a U turn on the French government through street protests. But after two months of frequent strikes, the austerity of protest in terms of lost earnings is beginning to bite.

Garbage collection will return for the first time in weeks to Paris on Wednesday. A sign perhaps that the fire is slowly going out on the opposition to pension reforms but not opposition to President Emmanuel Macron himself. Sam Kiley, CNN, in Paris.


NEWTON: Now several protesters have been injured during clashes with police in France. One of the demonstrators tells CNN's local affiliate that he was hit when police threw projectiles at the crowd during demonstrations last week.



CHRISTOPHE POULAIN, INJURED PROTESTER (through translator): The explosion gave me a lot of tinnitus on my left side. If the second vein had been touched, I could have drained my blood. I could have even died. I find myself alone in my bed. I think of my children. I tell myself I could have lost my life.


NEWTON: Now the protester has decided to file a complaint against the police.

Now after months of turmoil, representatives from Israel's ruling coalition and opposition sat down for their first face to face negotiations over the prime minister's attempt to overhaul the judiciary. This comes a day after Benjamin Netanyahu announced he was putting the reforms on hold to allow more time for dialogue.

More members of the opposition are expected to be at the table when talks resume in the coming hours. And while the demonstrations have yet to let up, they were in fact, noticeably smaller on Tuesday. The U.S. president says he hopes Netanyahu abandons the overhaul. Joe Biden was also asked whether the controversy had reached a so called inflection point. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I don't know they're at inflection point, but I think it's a difficult spot to be in and they've got to work it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you hope the prime minister will do on that particular law?

BIDEN: I hope he walks away from it.


NEWTON: And the Israeli prime minister has responded to those remarks. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is following this live for us from Tel Aviv. Elizabeth, good to have you on this story. I mean, we heard from the president, right? And those remarks were quite direct. At this point, though, is Netanyahu still standing firm despite all of it?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it seems like he is still standing firm, Paula. The tweets that he wrote in response to what President Biden said were also quite direct. So let's take a look at the tweets from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said, I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his long standing commitment to Israel. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us. My administration is committed to strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government which we are striving to achieve via broad consensus. Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decision by the will of its people. Here's the direct part, and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.

Now, Paula, there is a lot to unpack there. Let's start with his reference to occasional disagreements. I think it's pretty clear that this is more much bigger than just an occasional disagreement, given how direct and how strong Biden spoke. And also the prime minister made a reference to the will of the people. Well, the will of the people, there are some real questions as to whether Netanyahu would win an election if it was held today. It's pretty clear that much of his support has eroded.

I certainly being around the country talking to people, have spoken to people who voted for Netanyahu over and over again, but have now been out in the streets protesting against him. Paula,

NEWTON: Yes, that really is the litmus test, isn't it? I want to ask you, when Netanyahu says that there's a compromise to be had, that he wants to find balance, what does that look like? Because even the President is saying he wants them to just walk away from this.

COHEN: Yes, that was very strong and very direct, wasn't it, to use that word direct again. So, you know, clearly the two sides are at least sitting down. But, you know, President Biden went on to say that this needs to be a genuine compromise. And it feels like that's what the two sides are looking to Netanyahu to see. Is he being genuine? He is clearly a master politician. His longevity attests to that. But is he being genuine or is he just telling each side what they want to hear? Is he being genuine or is he just trying to figure out what's best for him to get out of his legal woes? Paula.

NEWTON: And that's what many people fear at this point in time, even though the Prime Minister contends that he's doing this in the best interest of the country. Elizabeth Cohen for us in Tel Aviv, really appreciate it.

Now I want to bring in author Daniel Gordis, who is the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalom College in Jerusalem. And I want to thank you for joining us. You know, I'm struck by the fact that even the groundswell of protests that we see day after day that visceral rejection to these proposed changes has not managed to move Netanyahu. Why not?

DANIEL GORDIS, KORET DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, SHALOM COLLEGE: Well, it has moved him in a sense that he has backed off of the claim that he had made originally, that he and his coalition partners were going to push these changes through even before Passover, which is coming up in just a week or so.


So he certainly backed off in terms of the timing. He will likely also back off in terms of some of the substance. We won't go into the details now, but this proposed judicial reform is really composed of four basic categories of changes. And it's quite likely that at least in two of them, one of them having to do with judicial review and the other having to do with the makeup of the committee that would select judges is he is going to end up in a position very different from the positions that were originally outlined.

So I think he actually is backtracking a bit. So I think he's on the run politically. As your correspondent just mentioned, polls are showing here in Israel that if were to have elections now, he would not win. He would find himself back in the opposition. He's in a good bit of political trouble. He's going to try to negotiate this in such a way that it looks like a win, but it's got to look like a win for the opposition also.

NEWTON: And that's what I mean by the fact that he's not moving, he seems to be stalling and even this in the face of U.S. criticism. Elizabeth and I just talked about it, but I want to underscore again that Biden said, look, we're not interfering. He's saying, they know my position, they know America's position and they know the American Jewish position.

And yet, it's extraordinary that some supporters of these laws in Israel actually are suggesting that the U.S. is motivating the protests on the street. What are the implications of Netanyahu and his supporters really delving into this as a theory.

GORDIS: Yes, that's a very dangerous theory. It's probably completely false the idea that the Biden administration somehow is funding the costs of these massive protests on the street. There is, to my knowledge, no evidence of that whatsoever. It seems to have been concocted by Netanyahu himself and his son, who is one of his closest political advisers, Yair Netanyahu. That's a kind of a crazy route to go.

Israel has had a long history of rejecting the involvement of foreign countries, particularly on the left, mostly countries from the European Union, getting involved in issues about Palestinians on the West Bank and so forth.

So Netanyahu's picking up an old trope here that over to the international community, once again meddling in our affairs. Biden has definitely expressed a position that I think many of those hundreds of thousands of people on the streets for the last three months actually very much endorse. I think very few people are convinced by what seems to many to be a ludicrous claim that the United States is actually funding these protests.

NEWTON: Yes, but one that may play to Netanyahu's base, or at least the base of his more right wing supporters and partners in government.

I want to ask you, is there any precedent for Netanyahu's reforms and the reason I ask is that he contends that, look, this is the way it works in the United States. This is maybe even the way it works in Canada. And yet, as we heard from Elizabeth, even his supporters are saying, not so fast. This does look like it will diminish our democratic rights.

GORDIS: Well, again, this is very complicated, and Netanyahu is not entirely wrong that there is good room in Israel for some judicial reform. It's not really been his issue. He has allowed the issue to take over his administration. It's the issue of Yariv Levine, who is the Minister of justice, and Simcha Rothman, who is the Chairman of the Constitution and Law and Justice Committee at the Knesset.

I don't think that Bibi himself is as diehard committed to these issues as they are, but he cares about them. Many Israelis do think that there is room for some judicial reform. I'm talking about Israelis in the center. Some Israelis on the Academic Left recognized that the Israeli Supreme Court under Justice Aharon Barakin the 1990s became a rather activist government and had taken for itself tremendous liberties in terms of the kinds of issues that it would get involved in.

So many people think that there actually is room here for some real judicial reform if it's done slowly, if it's done as a process of national conversation, and if it doesn't go too far. The analogies to the United States, which is another game that Netanyahu and his colleagues have been playing, of course, is a very silly analogy. The United States has a bicameral Congress. It's got the House, it's got the Senate. Israel has a unicameral Knesset. There's only one body in the Knesset.

In the Knesset, the Legislative and Executive branches are essentially wrapped up into one the ruling party and the Prime Minister. Whereas obviously, in the United States, you have a President who's the Executive and the Congress, which is the Legislative.

So, even if there is some --


GORDIS: -- similarity on the surface between the proposals that Natanao (ph) is making about how judges might be selected here in Israel and how they're to America, the background is so different --

NEWTON: Right.

GORDIS: -- that it's really a bit of a neat wink and a nod.

NEWTON: Yes, but he attempted it anyway. I will say that for me, he tried. I appreciate your context, though, because it's important context. Daniel Gordis for us and Jerusalem. Really appreciate it.

GORDIS: Thanks. Pleasure.


NEWTON: Now here in the United States, police in Nashville, Tennessee, have released a dramatic body cam video showing officers responding to Monday's school shooting, and they're revealing some disturbing text messages from the shooter. CNN's Emerald Walker reports. And we want to warn you, some viewers may find the footage disturbing.



AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Body cameras reveal police running toward the sound of gunfire without hesitation.

About three a half minutes elapsed between the time they go in and when they confront the shooter. Metro Nashville police said these two officers opened fire, killing the shooter at 10:27 a.m., about 14 minutes after the initial call for help.

CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, METRO NASHIVILLE POLICE: I was really impressed that with all that was going on, the danger that somebody took control and said, let's go, let's go.

WALKER: Police still have not isolated what motivated Audrey Hale, a former student.

DRAKE: The students that were targeted were randomly targeted. There was not any particular student that they were -- that she was looking for at the time of the incident.

WALKER: But Police did reveal Hale legally bought seven different weapons from five stores and was being treated for mental health issues.

DRAKE: She was under care, doctor's care for an emotional disorder. Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment she was receiving, but her parents felt that she should not own weapons. They were under the impression that when she sold the one weapon that she did not own anymore. As it turned out, she had been hiding several weapons within the house.

WALKER: During the attack, Hale was armed with an AR-15, a nine millimeter pistol caliber carbine, and a nine millimeter handgun.

DRAKE: Had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone and had been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons. As it stands, we had absolutely no idea actually, who this person was, if she even existed.

WALKER: Minutes before the rampage, a friend and former teammate of Hale says she got a message from the shooter that Hale wanted to die. One day this will make more sense. I've left behind more than enough evidence behind, but something bad is about to happen.

AVERIANNA PATTON, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF AUDREY HALE: At 9:57, I received a message from her. And at 10:08, I sent a screenshot to my dad, and he instructed me to call the suicide prevention helpline.


WALKER: A memorial growing outside Covenant Presbyterian.

CAROLYN MODISHER, TENNESSE RESIDENT: I just feel so for them. I'm 101 year old and I've done a lot of things, but this really hurts, and I just hope they're all with God.

WALKER (on camera): We're getting new information as well from the Metro Nashville Police Department regarding those writings found in Audrey Hale's car and also on the shooter's body after police shot and killed the shooter on Monday.

The writings, according to authorities, mention multiple other locations as potential targets, including a mall near the school here, the Covenant School. Apparently it was determined that there was too much security at these other locations and hence this school was chosen.

The writings also detail how the mass murders would play out. That's according to police. The investigators are still reviewing these writings and so far they say they have not seen any indications of a specific motive.


NEWTON: And our thanks to Amara Walker there reporting from Nashville, Tennessee.

Still to come for us, Vanuatu asks the United Nations tough questions on climate change after suffering hit after hit from severe weather. The island nation wants to know what countries are obligated to do about the crisis and the legal consequences if they don't.



NEWTON: Mexican officials have revised the death toll from a fire at a migrant detention center, down from 40 lives lost to 38. More than two dozen others, though, were injured. The incident happened in Juarez, and that is just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

There's new video now showing the moment the flames and smoke spread throughout that facility. CNN's Rafael Romo has the latest, and a warning his report contains graphic content.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): One by one, Mexican soldiers pull people out of the building. It quickly becomes tragically clear there's nothing they can do for some of them anymore. Mexican officials say more than three dozen migrants, mainly from Central and South America, died at this detention center after a fire swept through the building late Monday.

Surveillance video from inside the detention center, obtained by CNN, shows how quickly the flames spread throughout the holding area after inmates set mattresses on fire. It also appears to show that those detained were behind bars with the gate locked.

Calling the fire regrettable and sad, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said. The fire started Monday at 930 in the evening, hours before officials say 71 migrants living on the streets of Ciudad Juarez had been taken to the shelter.

The president added that the fires started after the migrants found out they were going to be deported. As a protest, the president said, the migrants put mattresses from the shelter against its door and set them on fire.

They never imagined this was going to cause this terrible accident, he said. As first responders tried to save victims at the shelter, family members desperately tried to get any news from their loved ones outside the building.

They're not telling us anything, this woman said. A relative of yours may die and they don't tell you anything at all.

We've seen they've been pulling people out and we have no idea if they're alive or not, this man said. Ambulances have left one after the other and we know nothing. And they give us no information.

Located across the border from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez is a transit point where many immigrants from different parts of the world arrive daily, hoping to cross the Rio Grande to seek asylum in the United States.

ROMO (on camera): As it has been the case with other border towns in Mexico, there have been multiple riots and tense situations in the last few years due to the fact that there aren't enough shelters that can accommodate all of these migrants and many end up living on the streets.

ROMO (voiceover): Through a statement, the Guatemalan government says 28 of its citizens were among the dead. Irregular migration, the statement said, carries with it a number of risks that have once again become evident. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


NEWTON: So, sadly, the fire is one of the worst in recent years in Mexico, and it comes as the U.S.-Mexico grapple with an influx of border crossings. Attorney and CNN opinion writer Raul Reyes spoke with me earlier about the White House response to the migrant crisis.


RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER: What the Biden administration has been pursuing is a deterrence policy trying to get people to not attempt to come here and claim their lawful right for asylum. This is an approach, the same approach taken by President Obama took this approach, President Trump took that approach.

And what we know from all these years of talking about the immigration issue and the border crisis is that it doesn't work.


I believe, in my view, there is a path forward. But both Republicans and Democrats have not been willing touch what seems like the third rail of immigration and address it. For example, right now what the Biden administration is doing is largely restricting asylum. Right? They want people to apply for asylum on the Mexican side of the border because our resources are overwhelmed and all we are doing is basically outsourcing the problem to Mexican officials.

Their side of the border becomes overcrowded and then periodically they do their roundups. They place people in detention. And this facility in particular has a history of inhumane conditions. And the result is these horrendous tragedies. That very sad, but they are also predictable and they could be avoided with a different approach.

NEWTON: When we talk about a different approach, the Biden administration has said that they're trying to alleviate some of the pressure on the border that includes an app, which you say immigration lawyers call that app Asylum Ticketmaster because it's so clunky, so arbitrary.

So what would be the better process? And I want you to address directly, you know, people who say, look, if we make it too easy, if the administration makes it too easy, we will get two, three, four million people trying to claim asylum every year at that southern border?

REYES: Right. Right. Well, the best and the most legal path forward, actually, that task rests with Congress because it was our Congress that set up the rules for asylum and claiming asylum in the United States a lot of people think, why do these people come here? And the reason they come here for asylum is because asylum by U.S. law requires physical presence in the United States.

It is a legal right. And we've seen successive administrations try to -- just try to hold that back to stop these increases we've seen at the border. And I think what the United States needs to do as a nation is perhaps set limits on asylum and rethink whether we want to continue to have this type of asylum system that has no caps like other forms of visas or other work permits do. There are set numbers for refugees. Asylum is not constructed that way.

And secondly, the administration must tackle the incredible backlog we have on asylum cases. Right now it takes about 4.3 years start to finish for an asylum case to be adjudicated. Now, anyone possibly see that as a functional system.

So when we look at people at the border, when we look at these unauthorized and these tragedies that are occurring, this isn't the first one we've seen people drowning at sea or migrants found locked in these truck compounds. I think what people need to think more realistically is what is a potential solution --

NEWTON: Right.

REYES: -- not just holding political theater, going to the border or trying to come up with unrealistic laws and policies that --

NEWTON: Right.

REYES: -- do not reflect the reality on the ground.

NEWTON: Well, we will see if the Biden administration has anything up their sleeve.


NEWTON: Again, thank you so much. Appreciate your insights there.


NEWTON: The Ukrainian military says the heaviest fighting in the war right now is concentrated in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, where they claim to have repelled at least 24 Russian attacks in the past day or so. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in eastern Ukraine and spoke with several residents who have endured the fighting.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): There isn't much to be salvaged from this business in Sloviansk, demolished Monday morning in a Russian strike, Oleg, his wife and some friends are loading up what's left.

I'm still in shock, says Oleg. I'm 62 years old, and I've invested my heart and soul and money to build it. And now that I'm old, it's been destroyed.

The attack killed two people and injured more than 30. The likely target, an army recruiting office next door.

In hospital, one of the victims lies unconscious, a 30 year old woman. A wall fell on her, fracturing her skull and damaging her internal organs.

Surgeon Sergei Okoviti (ph) has struggled since the war began, trying to mend shattered lives and bodies. Unfortunately, I've had to treat many serious injuries caused by mines and explosions, he says.


To the south in Krasnotorka, another Russian attack hit just next to this kindergarten, fortunately empty since the war began.

Strikes like this happen on a daily basis. This one occurred late on Monday evening. Hours afterwards, workers make repairs. This area is regularly hit, they may be back here soon.

Down the road in Kostyantynivka closer to the front, only a few residents remain. 73 old Tamara isn't going anywhere, putting her faith in a higher power.

"God protects me," she says. "God will save me." If not, it is what it.

Arkem (ph) sells seeds and other supplies to a dwindling community of optimistic gardeners. "Everyone is scared," he tells me. Only idiots aren't. Until now I'm here but I evacuated my children.

Not all children have left, however, one finding solace on a swing amidst the ruins.

Ben Wedeman, CNN -- Kostyantynivka.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: Now, a Russian man whose 12-year-old daughter drew an antiwar picture at school has been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison over his own anti war online post. Well, the man was charged with quote "discrediting the Russian military".

He had been under arrest, but the court says he escaped the night before he was set to be sentenced. Police investigated him after his daughter Masha drew this picture, you see it there, for an art class last April. It shows Russian missiles being fired at a Ukrainian family with the messages "No to war" and "Glory to Ukraine".

Now she was put in an orphanage at the beginning of March after her father was placed under house arrest.

A fearless advocate for girls' education in Afghanistan has been arrested in Kabul. Malala Yousafzai is among those condemning his detention. We'll hear from a prominent Afghan women's rights activists about how the world should deal with the Taliban.


NEWTON: And a warm welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

A prominent activist for girls' education in Afghanistan is now in the custody of the Taliban. Now, they've confirmed the arrest of Matiullah Wesa, whose NGO PenPath brings mobile schools and libraries to the most remote parts of the country.


NEWTON: The U.N. also confirmed the news, saying Wesa was arrested Monday in Kabul but his whereabouts and the reasons for his arrest are unknown.

Now in a video on social media was his brother who claims two of their other brothers were arrested as well and says the Taliban took their phones and humiliated his family.

Wesa's support for girls' education is happening in a country where the Taliban have banned girls and women from high school and universities. And of course, that's just one of the draconian restrictions imposed on women since the Taliban returned to power almost two years ago.

Now a newly released human rights report from Amnesty International notes that Afghanistan is the only country in the world that bans girls from secondary school and women who have protested have been dealt with severely.

Despite all this, our next guest says it is time to try and re-engage with the Taliban. Mahbooba Siraj is a Nobel peace prize nominee and the executive director of the Afghan Women's Skills Development Center. She is also the subject of the upcoming film titled "The Noble Guardian". I want you to take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAHBOOBA SIRAJ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AFGHAN WOMEN'S SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CENTER: I was not thinking that U.S. is going to be staying here forever and ever, but how can you just pack up and leave?

What about the consequences?


NEWTON: And Mahbooba Siraj joins us now from Hong Kong. Thank you so much for coming to talk to us about the issues at hand right now in Afghanistan. It sounds like what you're proposing, engagement on some level with the Taliban is something that you believe needs to happen right now. But what do you think will change if that engagement happens.

SIRAJ: Hello Paula. Thank you so much for having me here. I just, you know, I know from what the Taliban are actually doing in Afghanistan, and especially to the Afghan women, for me to say something like that, I know it sounds absolutely horrendous -- by all of the people in Afghanistan, by my colleagues, by the ones that there are, and other human rights activists and protectors of women's rights.

But at the same time, to tell you the honest truth, we really don't have any other options. I really don't know how long that country can go on like this. How long we can go on the way we are, how long the girls can be in Afghanistan and their homes locked up and not being able to do their education.

That is not going to -- this is not the right way to go. I know that sounds really horrible for what I'm asking, but I don't have -- I don't see any other -- any other, how shall I say it, any other way of dealing with this problem?

So this is the one way of doing it. Just to have a talk with them, have some kind of, you know, some kind of a dealing started.

NEWTON: Yes. And if you do, if you do talk, what kind of concessions do you think they might agree to first? You know, I note that right now they want the sanctions against Afghanistan lifted and yet the interim foreign minister wrote in an editorial. He did not even mention trying to restore any women's rights.

SIRAJ: Absolutely and unfortunately, they think by doing that, you know the world is going to give them, you know, everything that they asked without them giving a single, you know, and not even an inch to the right of the Afghan woman. It's not going to happen that way.

They really have to - have to give the women's right to the women. They have to let the girls go to school. They have to let the girls go to the university. They have to let the women work.

NEWTON: -- about some of the conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan right now, and Amnesty report, you know, makes it clear what's happened. The repression has been, in fact exponential in their words.

What is your fear of what is to come?

SIRAJ: Well, my fear of what is to come is that that the women of Afghanistan is going to be staying behind the walls and not being able to go to school or to have to take any part in the society and the world is going to forget about them.

That is my fear. And if that God forbid happens, we are lost. Because as --


SIRAJ: -- I think right now I want the world -- the world remembers us and the world, you know, even if I don't have a voice and a whole lot of us, the rest of the women of the world are going to be our voices.


NEWTON: And they're hearing your voice right now. We've been witness to your courage for several years. And we'll look forward to that film "The Noble Guardian" in the coming months.

Mahbooba Siraj thank you so much. Really appreciate you.

SIRAJ: Thank you, Paula. Thank you for giving me the time. Thank you.

NEWTON: Now, thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops have been conducting large scale military exercises that involve a practice assault. That's considered an offensive maneuver, even though the allies have long insisted the drills are for defensive purposes only.

Now we are waiting to see how North Korea will react. A day ago, state media claimed North Korea had simulated a tactical nuclear missile launch.


NEWTON: CNN's Paula Hancocks shows us the joint drills now underway.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. and South Korean presidents pledged last year to expand joint military drills, they said to counter the increasing threat from North Korea, and that's exactly what they're doing.

A ship to shore assault, grounding of fighting force and equipment while trying to maintain the element of surprise.

This is the drill that North Korea always reacts to the idea of American and South Korean marines storming a beach on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang sees this as a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

Now, the South Korean and American line has always been that this is defensive in nature.

2,500 U.S. marines and sailors, 3,000 South Korean marines and sailors working together on one large scale joint drill. The U.S. Landing Craft Air Cushion or LCAC bringing to shore all that's needed for the early stages of battle.

Now, we haven't seen this level of drills in the Korean Peninsula for five years, multiple drills across the country of South Korea they're being held on land, at sea and in the air.

We gained rare access behind the scenes of this training, flying out to the U.S. amphibious assault ship, the USS Makin Island.

On the back of North Korean missile launches and disputed claims of simulated underwater nuclear weapons tests, this is a drill that will be watched carefully in Pyongyang.

We're about 30 nautical miles from shore at this point, and this is one of the LCACs that is being loaded up right now. Ready for an amphibious landing.

The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is meant for rapid response to any kind of crisis -- military or humanitarian, self sufficient and often the first to arrive in an emergency.

But with the five year gap in training due to COVID-19 and previous diplomatic efforts with North Korea, there is an element of catching up.

CAPT. TONY CHAVEZ, USS MAKIN ISLAND: We've had to start from the basics again. There's some things that we're relearning. I mean the basic just as communications between ships, between aircraft, and then a partner and ally here in this region.

HANCOCKS: North Korean military moves, it appears, are not the main focus here.

COL. SAMUEL L. MEYER, 13TH MARINE EXPEDITIONARY UNIT: It's in an area of the world that's significant right now, but it is routine. It has been scheduled. We've done this many times. So the fact that those things are happening around us, really our focus is just on the exercise.

HANCOCKS: Interoperability is the most used term during this drill working on smooth American-Korean maneuvers.

CAPT. AARON PADEN, OSPREY PILOT: We're used to this now. So if we have to do this for real, we already done it. We've already worked with the (INAUDIBLE) Koreans, and we know how to operate with them.

HANCOCKS: A U.S. return to large scale drills in a region of both allies and adversaries.

And it's not just about North Korea but also Russia. The commander of the USS Makin Island told us that during this drill, they actually had a Russian intelligence ship shadowing them at a distance of some 15 nautical miles. He called it quote, "pretty routine".

Paula Hancocks, CNN -- Pohang, South Korea. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: In the coming hours, the U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote on a climate change resolution that seeks to clarify exactly what big polluters are responsible for. Now, officials in Vanuatu have been working towards the resolution for years now bearing the brunt of worsening severe weather.

CNN's Anna Coren has our report.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: High above the vast Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu's leader looks down on his fragile paradise.

The nation is one of the most vulnerable on earth. Its people at constant risk from cyclones, earthquakes and live volcanoes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe it's all because of climate change.

COREN: A village chief surveys the damage caused this month by two category four cyclones that slammed his community in the same week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cyclones are getting stronger and stronger every year.

COREN: The fight against global warming is Vanuatu's existential crisis. But it's not the only global issue that clutches at this tiny nation. The people of these islands are getting wrapped up in the great power tussle between the U.S. and China. Both want greater influence across the blue pacific continent.

U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand have always viewed the Pacific as their neighborhood. So when the cyclones hit Vanuatu, they were first in to help.

CAPT. JACE HUTCHISON, HMAS CANBERRA: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Australia is a direct neighbor of Vanuatu in our region. And just like all the other neighboring Pacific family countries, we respond to natural disasters when our neighbors are in need.


COREN: All know the value of winning hearts and minds in the Pacific.

Beijing sent in cyclone aid too but as China and the U.S. talk about new embassies, new military bases and new economic deals in the region, Vanuatu's climate change adaptation minister says to keep old friends or win new ones you have to listen to what they need.

RALPH REGENVANU, VANUATU MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: The U.S. and China could absolutely gain great influence in the Pacific by taking real action on climate change. If China and the U.S. profess to be our friends and want to support us they need to deal with climate change, which is the greatest threat to our existence. COREN: Vanuatu wants the International Court of Justice to determine

how culpable big polluters are for climate disasters in the developing world.

REGENVANU: This is a question about human rights, the rights of people to live on this planet.

COREN: That path to climate justice could also lead great powers towards geopolitical influence in the Pacific.

Anna Coren, CNN.


NEWTON: So you can add bribery to the list of charges, former FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is now facing. We'll explain whom prosecutors say he paid off with tens of millions of dollars and why they say he did it.


NEWTON: An alleged $40 million bribe to Chinese officials is the focus of the latest criminal charge against FTS founder Sam Bankman-Fried. An indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses Bankman-Fried of bribing one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze more than a billion dollars in locked accounts.

Now they belong to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Prosecutors say once he made the payoff, the accounts were in fact unlocked.

Bankman-Fried has not yet entered a plea on that charge. He now faces a total of 13 criminal counts in connection with the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.

Shares in Chinese tech giant Alibaba are soaring in Hong Kong after the company announced its biggest restructuring in its 24 year history and shares in New York closed up 14 percent Tuesday.

Now the company plans to split its businesses into six separate units, each with its own management team.

The news follows the reappearance in fact of co-founder Jack Ma in Mainland China. He had been spending time abroad and otherwise keeping a very low profile since the Chinese government began a fierce crackdown on the tech sector more than two years ago.

Argentina's president is in the United States for a visit to the White House in the day ahead. Alberto Fernandez met Tuesday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Argentina is facing some serious economic challenges and Mr. Fernandez hopes for some help from President Biden.


NEWTON: Stefano Pozzebon has our report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Labor never stops in the landfills of Buenos Aires, where an army of informal workers scavenged through the rubbish to find goods to recycle and resell.

Pushed by the relentless price hikes of never-ending inflation. People like Sergio Omar (ph) say their salary is no longer enough to make ends meet.

SERGIO OMAR, INFORMAL WORKER: Twice as many people are coming here because the situation is so bad. Every day is worse.

POZZEBON: As Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez heads to Washington on Wednesday his country is facing the worst economic turbulence since the early 1990s.

Inflation, one of Argentina's chronic weak spots topped 100 percent last month and is now one of the highest rates in the world. While according to UNICEF, two out of every three Argentinian children are either in poverty or lack access to basic services such as education, a safe home, and drinking water.

LUISA BRUMANA, UNICEF ARGENTINA: A job is no longer enough to get out of poverty. Of the miners who live in poor households, 90 percent of them have at least a relative who's working but doesn't make enough.

POZZEBON: Fernandez is the first left wing Argentinean leader to be received at the White House in a generation. His meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden will include conversations around mining, climate change and technology.

But in the background will be how the U.S. can help Argentina get back on its feet. The country needs to pay back $44 billion to the International Monetary Fund and negotiations are looming.

On the plus side, Argentina offers great opportunities for clean energy in agricultural development, but other investors are also looking at them.

LISANDRO SABANES, POLITICAL ANALYST, LA PLATA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: The message from South America is that if Washington wants the region to follow them, they need to open the purse because the alternative China is much more generous.

POZZEBON: Argentina is already the recipient of most of Chinese commercial loans in Latin America and Beijing is looking for more.

Back in Buenos Aires, the people eating at this soup kitchen have more urgent problems. Dinner is safe for today. Tomorrow, who knows?

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN -- Bogota, Colombia.


NEWTON: Still ahead for us a sweet new makeover for Pepsi. Why one of the most iconic logos in the world is getting a new look.


NEWTON: Prince Harry showed up for a second day of court in London, where he's one of a group of celebrities and others suing a British publisher and accusing it of privacy breaches.

CNN's Max Foster breaks it down and tells us what the lawsuit is all about.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince Harry, leaving London's high court after a second day of hearings. The lawsuit shaping up to be another explosive showdown between the royal and the media outlets.

Harry and six other high profile figures accused the publisher of the "Daily Mail Newspaper" of "abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy in its efforts to report on them".


FOSTER: Elton John joined Harry in court on Monday. He and filmmaker husband David Furnish also claimants against the publisher, Associated Newspapers. As are actresses Sadie Frost and Elizabeth Hurley and campaigner Doreen Lawrence, whose son was killed in a racist attack in 1997.

Together they accused Associated Newspapers of using listening devices inside people's homes and cars, surreptitiously listening to private phone calls and impersonating individuals to obtain medical information.

Associated has strongly denied the claims against it, calling them preposterous smears. The accusations in the lawsuit predate Harry's relationship with Meghan Markle, which has also been the subject of huge media scrutiny.

The pair left the U.K. in 2021 in part over what he described as the toxic British media.

This is just one of several suits that Harry has brought against British newspapers. Harry's teenage years and early relationships were blighted by the newspapers invasion of privacy, according to his legal team.

In the court documents seen by the press association, his lawyer says suspicion and paranoia was caused by Associated Publication of the unlawful articles. Friends were lost or cut off as a result and everyone became a suspect.

The lawyers representing Harry and several other claimants said in a statement last year that the crimes they alleged in the lawsuit quote "represent the tip of the iceberg" and that many other innocent people remain unknowing victims of similar terrible and reprehensible covert acts. This hearing due to last until Thursday. It's not clear yet whether or

not Prince Harry will attend every day. We do know that he's not going to meet Prince William or King Charles whilst he's over here in the U.K. that's according to our royal sources. And still no confirmation on whether he and Megan will be returning to the U.K. to attend the coronation in May. They are invited.

Max Foster, CNN -- London.


NEWTON: One of the most recognizable logos in the world is getting a makeover. Pepsi unveiled the new look on Tuesday. You see it there with bold black upper case letters placed between those iconic red and blue waves.

Now it's a bit of a throwback to the logo. Many people remember from the 1990s, but it's also a nod to Pepsi Zero sugar line, a big part of the company's growth plan, which includes a black can and label.

The new branding will launch in North America this fall and will go global next year.

I want to thank you for watching.

I'm Paula Newton.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with Rosemary Church. That's straight ahead.