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G7 Leaders To Put Up A United Front; U.S. Signals To Allies It Won't Block Their Export Of F-16 Jets To Ukraine; Man Arrested After Ramming Car Through Vatican Gates. China Woos Central Asia With Grand Development Offers; Assad In Saudi Arabia In First Visit Since Syrian Civil War; US Supreme Court Tech Ruling; Turkey Opposition Leader Vows To Repatriate Migrants And Refugees; Myanmar's Travel Restrictions Delay Vital Aid To Storm Victims; Speculation Over Who May One Day Lead Luxury Brand LVMH. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired May 19, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company. Coming up here on CNN Newsroom, world leaders officially get down to business at the G7 summit in Japan high on the agenda the war in Ukraine.
F-16could eventually be on their way to the war, after the U.S. signal that would not interfere if allies wanted to send the American made fighter jets to Ukraine.
And a question of succession with Shell French fashion mogul Bernard Arnault's five children will take over his LVMH luxury Empire when he finally stepped down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.
HOLMES: The leaders of the G7 are gathered at this hour in Hiroshima in Japan but their attention is focused half a world away on the war in Ukraine, the group holding a working lunch right now. They started the day with a visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Museum, where they laid wreaths that the flame of peace.
Hiroshima of course hit by the U.S. with atomic bomb that killed more than 100,000 people near the end of World War II. And we just learned in the past hour that the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be traveling to Japan to take part in the G7 summit. Also the U.K. and European Union announcing restrictions on Russia's diamond trade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES MICHEL, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: We will restrict trade in Russian diamonds. Russian diamonds are not forever. And we lay out openly and frankly, why these sanctions are necessary and justified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And joining me now from Hiroshima, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Ambassador, thanks so much for making the time busy week for you. As we just said, we saw the leaders laying the reeds in Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb was dropped.
One big topic at the meeting is nuclear threats, North Korea, Russia's talking nukes in the context of its war on Ukraine. China's got a growing nuclear portfolio. Speak to that and Japan's feeling on nuclear issues.
RAHM EMANUEL, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: Yes, well, I had visited that museum early in my tenure back in March of 2022. I've been there a number of times. It's a very powerful experience. It's a reminder to everybody the responsibilities that we have, especially as you have President Putin carelessly and cavalierly talking about the use of nuclear weapons. You have the threat from North Korea about a seventh detonation of a nuclear weapon, and China's rapid build-up.
So the importance of dealing with the issues of not only the spread of nuclear weapons, even in the worst moments of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union make progress. And the President yesterday talked about the importance of getting back on track and nonproliferation and progress on containing and restricting on nuclear weapons, nuclear testing in that area.
And I think there's no more powerful example than to have a conference on a summit, which is what the Prime Minister wanted right here in Hiroshima, given the consequences of actors like President Putin, and the head of the DPRK. And what's also going on in China right now.
HOLMES: Yes. Yes. I wanted to ask you this. You've worked a lot on, you know, economic deals and development in the U.S.-Japan relationship, particularly in the semiconductor realm, but elsewhere as well. Why is that so important? The semiconductor realm, particularly given China's moves in that sphere, and what I think you called China's economic collusion.
EMANUEL: Yes, well, a couple layers. First of all, we -- the three C's that changed the world in the last three years COVID, conflict and coercion. And it's clear based on all those events that up ended the world and we're never going back. How do you prepare for the future? And I think this G7 comes at a momentous moment in response to those assumptions that underpin the world because of COVID, because of conflict, and because of economic coercion what do we do going forward.
And the semiconductor space, which is so critical to the economy, we realized how vulnerable we were and making sure that A, we have a secure supply chain, there's going to be an investment that was announced that micron investment by the Japanese who worked on, it will be have the first new memory chip.
They will be slightly upgraded to compete with logic. Second, it will be done in one gamma. And also it will be done with the process of ultraviolet, which is the first time outside of Taiwan anywhere in the world will be right here in Japan.
Now about three months ago, as we were negotiating, China decided to take their portion from country specific coercion to companies specific coercion. So this has an added dimension of responding to China's coercion. The E.U. just passed a package relating to coercion targeting, making sure given what happened in Lithuania when they were targeted by China. And now Congress is also thinking of taking steps to deal with it.
So dealing with China's coercion, when Japan, Australia, South Korea, Philippines, Lithuania, have all been targeted, is to take one of the most precipitous and constant acts of high enough on economic means and tools to force political subjugation of another country or another company.
This act on semiconductors speaks volumes about where the future is going to go, and how the United States and Japan acting in unison protects a set of very key industry and a very key company that's part of the future in the security of our economy.
HOLMES: It's a crucial issue. I wanted to ask you this, China is obviously going to be a big topic of discussion on a number of fronts.
HOLMES: I mean, after a year in the post, what have you seen as your challenges perhaps in terms of the regional tensions North Korea's nuclear program China and Taiwan, Chinese expansionism and so on?
EMANUEL: Well, I think I would say let me go to where I think things are happening on a strategic level. This is a region. America is a permanent Pacific power and presence. We have worked with our allies in an incredible way things that people told me before I left the United States Oh, couldn't get done.
Japan moved in rapid space to 2 percent of their budgets, now we're going to go there, rather, the economy's going to go to defense, they're going to have counter strike capabilities. We've had this historic coming together of Japan and Korea because of the common interest, not just a military terms, but also economic in areas that they work together.
That's also true of understanding and working with the Philippines is understands in the area of having a permanent presence to secure the South China Sea and their sovereign rights. That's also true of Office. So on the diplomatic front, the strategic front and military front, and incredible alliances of working together.
There is also making sure that America through the international, what I call the -- what's referred to as AIPAC, making sure that we're involved and invested in the economic growth of this region. And in making sure our friends and allies see the United States is reliable, not just on the strategic front, not just on the defense front, but on the economic front area in the supply chain raw materials. HOLMES: Yes.
EMANUEL: So to me, I've seen a region that knows and unmoored China and anchored China is a threat to all working together across alliances, whether that's the quad with India, Australia, the United States, in Japan, the trilateral relationship between the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, the bilat, which is the relationship between the United States and Japan, where we've gone from alliances, protection to alliance projection, and it's a total transformation in those roles and partnerships.
And I think it's all in enhancing in all part of people that respect the individual, respect the rule of law, and embrace freedom for every individual. And it's happening. So it's a major transformation in that area. But they also -- everybody's reacting also to a China that is not playing by any rules in a collaborative way. And so there's a real hunger for America's leadership.
HOLMES: It was kind of you to let us steal you away for a few minutes on what is a hectic week for you, U.S .Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel.
EMANUEL: This is what calming down looks like.
HOLMES: It's a different role for you. And by all accounts ...
EMANUEL: I'm a new rum.
HOLMES: The new rum. Yes, yes, but not the Saturday night.
EMANUEL: But let' not go too far. Thank you very much.
HOLMES: Thank you.
All right. Sources tell CNN the U.S. will not stand in the way of allies who want to send F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. That's something Ukraine has been requesting for some time. CNN Oren Liebermann has details from the Pentagon.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The Biden administration has signaled to several European allies in recent weeks that it would allow them to export their F-16s to Ukraine, according to several sources familiar with the matter. This as the White House faces increased pressure not only from Congress, but also from allies to get Ukraine advanced fighter jets because of the increased barrages of aerial attacks that the country has faced especially in recent weeks from Russia.
However, the administration hasn't gotten any formal request to approve the transfer of foreign F-16s to Ukraine, nor have State Department officials begun the paperwork that would be required to do so. Several European countries possess F-16s and fly the U.S. made fighter jet and have signaled a willingness to put together some sort of package that would allow them to transfer their F-teens to Ukraine.
However, as the pressure has increased, the U.S. hasn't shifted its own position on its own F-16 fighter jets, namely that the U.S. isn't willing right now and is reluctant to send its F-16 to Ukraine at this time, instead focusing on several other areas that is armor and mechanized capabilities as well as aerial defenses which has really been the priority for the U.S. sending to Ukraine those at the moment.
it is worth noting that just earlier this week, there was a bipartisan letter sent to the White House urging the White House to shift its position on F-16. So I'll read you a part of this right now. As a bipartisan group of lawmakers, we view the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine as essential for providing Kyiv with the air support capability required to fully defend their nation against Russia's unprovoked, illegal and brutal invasion and to make the territorial gains necessary to reclaim their country.
The National Security Council's Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said the administration is willing to consider future capabilities though not specifying whether that includes F-16s. It is worth noting that there were two Ukrainian fighter pilots in the U.S. earlier this year from late February to early March having their skills assessed for a short period there to see what it would take for them to learn advanced fighter jets but at least as of right now that hasn't shifted the administration's position. Oren Liebermann, CNN at the Pentagon.
HOLMES: A U.S. made Patriot air defense system is fully back up and running after being damaged during Russian missile strikes in Ukraine. That's from the Pentagon which says the Patriot battery similar to this one has already been fixed. Russia claimed its hypersonic missiles hit the battery near Kyiv on Tuesday, but multiple U.S. officials told CNN the damage was only minor and the system never even went offline.
It's still unclear if the damage was caused by a missile strike or from falling debris.
Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy says Ukrainian offensive units are still preparing ahead of their expected counteroffensive. He spoke as Ukraine claimed progress in Bakhmut, saying it pushed Russians back by 700 meters west of the city. While Ukraine's air defenses say they had a high success rate during the latest barrage of missile strikes. Sam Kiley with more.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Russia has continued its aerial campaign against Ukraine with yet another intense wave of missile attacks including cruise missiles. Now the Ukrainians say that they shot down 29 of 30 missiles that came into their airspace so one appears to have got through but we've got no confirmation as to where that landed. The Russians claiming that they have destroyed an ammunition dump, no confirmation of that flow from the Ukrainians. One person was killed in Odesa, apparently by falling debris when one of these missiles was intercepted. But the overwhelming target was again Kyiv.
At the same time, there's been continued fighting in the east of the country in the city of Bakhmut, where the Wagner mercenary organization is claiming that it is making progress in its terms in the house to house or building to building fighting in the very bloody battle in the interior of that city.
But simultaneously with that, Ukrainians are saying that they are making gains in the northern southern flanks of that eastern city in what may in the end evolve into something that they could use or possibly exploit as part of a forthcoming ground offensive. But whilst the Ukrainian president continues to say that the offensive is imminent, there is no sign and no dates for where this may be conducted. Sam Kiley, CNN in southeastern Ukraine.
HOLMES: Palestinians were mostly out of sight on Thursday as thousands of Israelis held their annual marched through Jerusalem's old city. It marks the anniversary of Israel seizing control of the mostly Muslim quarter in 1967.
Since then, the march has become a magnet for Israeli nationalists, with several far right ministers joining on Thursday's procession. Unlike recent years, it's all violent clashes. This year's event was largely peaceful, thanks in part to heavy security there were several skirmishes.
However, here's what the Prime Minister had to say to mark the occasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): In Jerusalem, we have our roots. In Jerusalem, we have our identity. Jerusalem has the details of our lives. Jerusalem gives us the strength.
HOLMES: CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem and has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the thousands they came, nearly all in white waving Israeli flags. For these marchers, this is a celebration of when Israel took control of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 War, giving Jews access to their holy sites in the Old City.
For Palestinians, it marks the beginning of the occupation of East Jerusalem. But in recent years, the march has also become more like a right-wing nationalist rally, and a pretext for violence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians who make up most of the population in this part of the city.
While most marchers were peaceful, some groups sing songs about getting revenge on Palestinians erasing their names. Others going even further chanting (INAUDIBLE) burn. They were emboldened by the presence of right wing government ministers like National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who marched alongside them through the Old City into the Western Wall.
Thousands of police showed how tense the situation was even before the marchers started. Using heavy handed tactics to clear the route, including on senior CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman.
The marchers to targeted the press during rocks, bottles and cans at our position, forcing reporters to cower for cover. But Jerusalem day has seen much more serious violence than this. It was in 2021 as the thousands of Israelis made their way to the Old City but the Palestinian militant group Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem, setting off an 11-day war.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad threatened the march again if any of their unnamed red lines were crossed. But this year, most of the drama stayed on the ground in clashes and scuffles and not rockets in the sky. Hadas Gold, CNN Jerusalem.
HOLMES: Some Palestinians held their own counter demonstrations to protest the Israeli march. In Gaza, hundreds faced off against Israeli security forces along the border fence. According to Palestinian media, the Israelis fired tear gas to push people back, we've not received any word on casualties, but some people were seen being carried to ambulances.
A race against time to find for missing children in Colombia. Just ahead, questions and confusion over their fate more than two weeks after their plane crash deep in the Amazon jungle. Plus, a man is in custody after reportedly ramming his car through gates at the Vatican. We'll have details on the security breach when we come back.
HOLMES: Authorities in Italy are working to rescue more people after torrential rains caused heavy flooding and mudslides in the northern region of the country. As river levels continue to rise, the area was put on red alert the highest level warning for life threatening weather events. At least 11 people were killed about 20,000 force from their homes. CNN's Barbie Nadeau with more from Rome.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): Thousands of evacuations continue in Northern Italy after deadly floods and landslides wiped out key infrastructure. Several people died and rescuers continue to search for the missing. A pregnant woman was lifted to safety by the Coast Guard called in to help with water evacuations.
An elderly couple evacuated from their home overnight. Bridges washed away have hampered rescue operations. roads have become impassable.
FAUSTO CASANOVA, SUPERVISOR, PROVINCIAL HIGHWAY (through translator): We close the road to Ponte Di Retseli (ph) after the flooding of the river Kuderna (ph). A torrent flooded on the VA Amelia in the Castel (INAUDIBLE) Fuera. The Mata (ph) bridge collapse near (INAUDIBLE) Amelia. The situation is very complicated. The only road available to reach Faenza and Ravenna is the VA Emelia (ph). The highway is closed due to flooding.
NADEAU: The floods have even sparked fires.
KELI SHARK, FAENZA RESIDENT (through translator): I was expecting the river to rise after the red alert warning came through. But instead of breaking through in two or three places, it burst its banks in the water came with no warning. What can we do? We're waiting for the help of civil protection teams. They're not here at the moment. So we're helping in order to save our houses. What can we do other than that, we'll wait until someone helps.
NADEAU: Residents who can't stay with friends and family are being housed in local cinemas and museums. Weather conditions are expected to improve slightly before another system moves in. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN Rome.
HOLMES: A man has been arrested after driving through a Vatican gateway on Thursday night according to Vatican news, which cites the Vatican pressroom. The car is seen we're going to show you some video now meandering around the square. You can just see it there highlighted.
Security guards reportedly prevented him from entering when he first approached. Moments later, he returned at high speed and rammed through the gates. He made it to a courtyard where he got out of the vehicle and police arrested him.
A doctor assessed the man was and said that he was quote, experiencing a serious state of psychophysical alteration.
And indigenous community is accusing Colombian authorities of negligence in the death of its leader in a plane crash in a remote part of the Colombian jungle. It says the government is responsible for the tragedy due to a lack of safety controls and procedures. The bodies of three adults have been located since a small Cessna crashed in a remote part of the Amazon but the fate of four children is still mired in confusion after conflicting reports from government officials. Stefano Pozzebon has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A glimmer of hope Colombia's President tweeting that four children on board a single engine aircraft that crashed in the jungle on May 1st been found alive and well.
Rescuers using scattered debris to trace them. But on Thursday, the President's tweet was deleted, saying the information quote could not be confirmed. Government officials blame in poor communication.
And the head of the country's children welfare authority later saying she was quote, very confident about their rescue. She said, quote, we're still missing that very, very last link that confirms all our hopes. Until we have the photo of the kids we won't be stopping. We're not under estimating the information we received. But we want to confirm directly ourselves.
The Colombian armed forces have been using dogs to search for the children. The plane had taken off from the remote area of Araracuara bound for San Jose Del Guaviare.
Rescuers from the military and local indigenous communities aren't giving them hope to bring home the little ones as they follow a trail of small objects such as hair scrunchies, and baby bottles, or even bringing in a recording of the grandmother to at least one of the children to help in the search. But efforts are difficult given the rainfall in the dense parts of the jungle.
DAVID CANTERBURY, SURVIVAL EXPERT: Once the river starts to swell and things like that. And you have areas that are rapids that makes it more difficult to navigate. Obviously, as I said, rivers are kind of the highway so they're going to be using those waterways to get to and from places obviously to extract the survivors out and things of that nature.
POZZEBON: Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.
HOLMES: While the G7 meets in Japan, China is reaching out to Central Asia and offering former Soviet states all sorts of incentives. We'll have a live report on China's latest effort to expand its influence.
HOLMES: Welcome back. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN Newsroom and thanks for doing so. Now we are following the latest from Hiroshima in Japan where world leaders are gathered for the G7 summit. And now a source telling CNN that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will join them in person.
G7 leaders laid wreaths a short time ago at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, honoring those who lost their lives when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city near the end of World War II. For more on what's on the summit's agenda. Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak. Good to see you again, Kevin. So bring us up to speed on what's happened today. And what's next on the agenda? There's some pretty important discussions to be had.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, there certainly isn't. The leaders are in a working lunch right now. They went in after that quite powerful moment at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, really underscoring the backdrop that is that Hiroshima, the site of that nuclear bomb in 1945, really lending a certain amount of import and gravity to the talks that are underway now here in Japan.
Now later today, the leaders will convene a special session dedicated to the war in Ukraine and they are expected to announce a significant set of new sanctions, including export controls new sanctions on more than 300 individuals and entities really trying to close some of the loopholes in the sanctions regime and prevent those who have been evading the sanctions really trying to clamp down on the Kremlin war machine.
You also saw the United Kingdom today announced a ban on imports of Russian diamonds really trying to go after one of the untapped industries really trying to crack down on any way that Moscow can continue financing this war in Ukraine.
Now, as you mentioned, the source familiar with the planning tells me that Russian or Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a will travel from Ukraine to Japan to attend to these talks in person that will be really quite an audacious journey. He has been traveling more than he had been at the start of the war. He just concluded a major tour of Europe, gaining commitments billions of dollars and commitments for increased military assistance.
And so that will be quite a dramatic moment really the high point of these talks. When he addresses them in person, he will certainly use that moment to appeal for more aid.
Of course, Ukraine is preparing for a counter offensive. The hope among President Biden and his world leaders who are gathering here is that Ukraine will be able to regain some territory and use that as leverage at an eventual negotiating table with Russia. But of course when that happens, where that happens, all remains to be seen. So certainly plenty on the agenda for these leaders as they get underway here in Japan.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. As we said, important conversations to be. Kevin Liptak, good to have you there in Hiroshima, Japan.
Now, one American family is urging the President to address another issue asking Mr. Biden to press harder on Japan to release a US Navy lieutenant in prison there. Ridge Alkonis is serving a three-year sentence for what Japanese courts call negligent driving deaths of two Japanese citizens back in May of 2021. He says he suffered from "acute mountain sickness" when he fell unconscious behind the wheel driving down Mount Fuji, and that led to the deadly crash.
His wife Brittany, concerned for his health as he writes in a letter. I'm not doing that good. The walls and bars seem to be making myself even smaller as of late. I feel closer to an animal than a human being now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRITTANY ALKONIS, RIDGE ALKONIS'S WIFE: I was heartbroken. You know, I've been with Ridge for 12 years. He's really good at doing really hard things, things that people just don't want to do without complaint with a good attitude. And to hear his spirit just kind of breaking, it breaks my heart and it also it makes me mad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: His family wants to make sure that his welfare is top of mind for the US president this week as he attends the G7.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I promise you. We're doing everything we can.
ALKONIS: Thank you for coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: They're pushing for him to be transferred back to the US to serve out his sentence there, all right. China rolling out the red carpet for five Central Asian countries that have long fallen under Russia's sphere of influence. The Chinese president offering these potential allies nearly $4 billion in financial assistance for their long term development. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout covering this live for us from Hong Kong.
Yes, you've kind of got a split screen summits going on. Having a G7 in Hiroshima, Xi Jinping gathering the Central Asian leaders at a parallel summit in China. So, what then is China's message?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. You know, while this G7 is underway in Japan, you have China actively courting Central Asia with Xi Jinping hosting this first in-person China-Central Asia Summit. It's all happening in the Chinese city of Xi'an on which is a very symbolic choice. I mean, this is a city where the ancient Silk Road that spans Central Asia began.
Now on Thursday, there were a number of bilateral meetings that took place between the Central Asian nations that are there with Xi Jinping. And then today, we heard from Xi Jinping and he also delivered this grand development plan with Central Asian allies that would oppose external interference but also underscore strengthening ties. He said this, let's bring up his words for you, "The world needs a Central Asia that is stable, prosperous, harmonious and well- connected." He goes on to say, "China is ready to help Central Asian countries improve their law enforcement, security and defense capability construction."
Xi Jinping added that China would provide over $3.6 billion in aid. Now again, this summit underscores the growing ties between China and the so called stands the five Central Asian nations all former Soviet states that include and will bring up the graphic for you to remind you they include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Now on the agenda in Xi'an, regional security as mentioned, but also trade. These Central Asian nations they want access to the world's second largest economy to that market. And China wants to push ahead with its Belt and Road Initiative. Their two main projects that are being discussed. You have this multibillion dollar railway project and energy, and natural gas pipeline that spans Central Asia.
This is a project that has been slammed for selling nations with crushing debt but because, this is what analysts are saying, with the region's main backer, Russia, mired in the war in Ukraine. Central Asia is now more open to stronger ties with China. Back to you.
HOLMES: All right. Kristie, we have leave it there. Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong for us. All right.
The high level Arab League Summit is set to begin in the coming hours as leaders gather in Saudi Arabia this year mocking the controversial Return of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, for the first time since the outbreak of his country's civil war in 2011. Mr. Assad still controls vast swaths of Syria although he remains a world pariah with sanctions on his country.
Many Syrians angry and disheartened to see the Arab world welcome the Syrian president back into the fold after years of killing and brutalizing his own people. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh with that story.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Assad or we burn the country, vowed his supporters, and the country burned. It was a regime's existential battle, where no holds were barred. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost, maybe many more, and millions forced into a miserable existence far from home victims of a civil war.
Their pain was the world's to see, atrocity so shocking, yet the world did little. 12 years on, Assad still denies attacking civilians and claims he was fighting terrorism. Now the ruthless president who unleashed hell on his people with the help of his ally, Russia, is not only a free man, he's now welcomed in some world capitals with red carpets and handshakes.
WAFA MOSTAFA, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: And defeat is something that, you know, one, at some point, must accept. But this is beyond any conversation about defeat or win. This is about, you know, this is about the man who is responsible for the pain and for the suffering that I've been going through in the past 10 years. KARADSHEH (voice-over): Wafa Mostafa counts the days since she last saw her father, more than 3,600 days of searching, waiting campaigning. Ali Mustafa vanished into the black hole of the regime's prison system, one of more than 130,000 forcibly disappeared by the regime.
MOSTAFA: And living years of your life, wondering every night before you go to sleep, if your own father is still alive or not, is something that, you know, hard to explain and hard to describe. Instead of normalizing Assad now after 12 years, they should have, you know, hold him accountable for the war crimes he'd committed, for the war crimes that he is most importantly for the war crimes he is still committing.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Bringing Bashar al-Assad back into the regional fold, Arab leaders argue is for stability in the Middle East, is for an end to a refugee burden, its neighbors say, they no longer can bear. Those who survived his brutal battle for survival now facing new Middle East and new reality where they fear they may be forced back to the horrors of Assad's regime.
NABIL AL-OTHMAN, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (through translation): It's a monstrous regime in every sense of the word. We heard from many detainees what they went through. I'm from Idlib where he used chemical weapons and banned weaponry against us.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): 27-year-old Nabil Al-Othman is a former rebel, now an activist. Like millions of other Syrians, he found safety in Turkey, but with anti-immigrant sentiments on the rise and the fate of Syrian refugees now at the heart of the country's political debate, Syrians feel their safe space is shrinking.
AL-OTHMAN (through translation): Even if the whole world normalizes this regime, Syrians will never trust it. For me going back to this monstrous criminal was impossible. If I return, I'll be sent straight to jail, torture and to my death. If they want to forcibly returned me, I'll try to get to Europe.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): For more than a decade, they begged the world to end their nightmare. But they were left to face it all alone, and now face a world where their oppressor got away with it.
MOSTAFA: I think that instead of welcoming Assad to the yard, I think he should be welcome to the ICC. There is still this hope that, you know, my father will be free. I might be able to save him one day. But, you know, normalization feels like the end of everything. It feels like the end of this hope. It feels like the end of, you know, what started in 2011 and it was like the end of my life.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): America's highest court handled Silicon Valley twin victories on Thursday by protecting online platforms from liability for terror-related content posted by users, CNN's Jessica Schneider with the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Big tech companies winning big at the Supreme Court, not only did a unanimous court saying Twitter, Facebook and Google could not be held liable for aiding and abetting terrorism merely by letting terrorist groups post on their sites, but the court also let stand Section 230. It's a law that's been in place for decades. It shields internet companies from liability for any content that's posted by third parties on their site.
So the Twitter case involves an anti-terrorism statute that does allow individuals to sue anyone who has aided or abetted an international terrorist group. But the Supreme Court saying that the family who brought this suit just couldn't prove aiding and abetting.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the opinion, wrote, the mere creation of those platforms, however, is not culpable. To be sure it might be that bad actors like ISIS are able to use platforms like defendants for illegal and sometimes terrible ends, but the same could be said of cellphones, email or the internet generally.
Yet, we generally do not think that internet or cell service providers incur culpability, merely for providing their services to the public writ large. And as a result of this ruling, the court then dismissed a broader case against Google and its platform YouTube, from the family of an American student who was killed in the 2015 Paris attacks.
In that case, the family wanted the Supreme Court to really take drastic action and declare that Section 230, which again for decades has shielded tech companies from liability. They wanted to say that Section 230 would no longer apply when social media companies allowed terrorist organizations to post content on their sites.
Now tech companies had warned that if the Supreme Court went that far, it would really throw the internet into chaos. But of course, the Supreme Court not wading into that Section 230 debate and really giving tech companies a big win by saying that they do not aid and abet terrorism when all they do is allow groups to post on their sites. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: Warnings about strong winds after a Turkish resident captured a pretty scary sight with his mobile device. Coming up after the break, details about what happened after -- yes, that's a piece of furniture came flying out of a high rise building. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: 10 days before Turkey's run off election, the President's rival vowed to send all migrants and refugees back to their home countries. Kemal Kilicdaroglu's bold promises aimed at securing the support of a third candidate, the far right secularist Sinan Ogan, who netted just over 5% of the vote and is now poised to play kingmaker.
Kilicdaroglu needed his backing to have any real chance of beating the incumbent, President Erdogan, who barely fell short of an outright majority.
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KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER: I announce it to you here. I will send all the refugees home as soon as I come to power, period.
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HOLMES: And a quick programming note, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined CNN's Becky Anderson for an exclusive in-depth interview ahead of Turkey's first ever presidential runoff.
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BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Up until last Sunday, you had comfortably won every election that you have competed. And that is a remarkable record over 20 years. Now your leadership is challenged and you are competing in the first ever presidential runoff in Turkish history. How confident are you sir?
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translation): Current competitor has been challenging us for 15 times now, and he was defeated each time that he challenged us. And the forthcoming runoff elections which will be held next Sunday, I feel confident that my people will invest in a strong Turkish democracy. And I hope and pray that out of the runoff elections, our people will not let us down.
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HOLMES: And you can watch the full interview with President Erdogan on "Connect the World" at 5:00 PM in Istanbul, 10:00 PM in Hong Kong, 10:00 AM in New York City right here on CNN.
Turning now to Myanmar where humanitarian groups say the military hunters travel restrictions are delaying vital aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of people displaced by tropical cyclone Mocha. People in Rakhine State have been in urgent need of clean water, food and shelter since the storm struck Myanmar on Sunday. CNN's Paula Hancocks with more on the story
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: it was one of the strongest cyclones to ever hit Myanmar, and it hits the most vulnerable and desperate. Temporary shelters in this Rohingya refugee camp were destroyed, more than 400 people have died, and entire villages have been wiped out according to eyewitnesses.
Those who survive tried to salvage anything left of their homes, and later rest those who were lost. Aung Saw Hein already lost his home once, fleeing religious persecution by Myanmar's military 10 years ago, leaving everything behind. He's now homeless again.
AUNG SAW HEIN, ROHINGYA REFUGEE: Let me just show you the situation over here. My home is completely destroyed. Other people have already clear my area.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): He has been helping search and rescue missions, looking for the bodies of his neighbors and helping to bury the dead.
SAW HEIN: My heart is very, very broken. I don't know how to mention in words. But when I see the dead bodies, I can control my tears.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Myanmar's military has been accused of killing thousands of Muslim Rohingya in a bloody and brutal crackdown. It's been described by the United Nations as a genocide. About a million Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh starting in 2017, but hundreds of thousands still live here in Myanmar, many displaced and in dire need of humanitarian aid.
Abdul Hussein says he saw his wife and three daughters swept away by the water as they tried to flee to safety.
ABDUL HUSSEIN, STORM SURVIVOR (through translation): There are a lot of families like us. We need shelter. We have no food. We don't know what to do tonight, what we eat for lunch and what we will do tomorrow. We've just lost everything.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Hussein shows us where he slept with his surviving children and grandchildren last night.
(on camera): Do you think there will be any help coming from the military?
HUSSEIN (through translation): I don't believe they will come to help us. I will just have to struggle to feed the six members of my family that are left.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Myanmar's junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing, visited this same hard hit area, Sittwe, on Monday. He promised aid from the military, but the UN and many international aid organizations say they have been heavily restricted from entering the country and different rules since they seized power two years ago, leaving the residents of Rakhine many living in camps to fend for themselves.
SAW HEIN: The storms completely destroyed our life and bring us on the road again.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Already vulnerable communities hoping for help that may never come. Paula Hancocks, CNN.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: The mayor of Ankara, Turkey warning residents to be careful about strong winds and flash flooding from heavy rains, especially after a bizarre incident in by involving, yes, flying furniture. According to Reuters News Service, a resident says he was out checking his car when he saw a piece of furniture, there it goes, flying from a high rise building on Wednesday and was coming towards him for a while. He told Reuters, it actually crashed into nearby buildings and then fell into a garden. The man says no one was hurt, but understandably it was pretty scary.
A real life story of succession worthy of its own TV drama. Just ahead, a look at how the founder of one of the world's most valuable luxury brands is reigning his children to take over.
HOLMES: The CEO and founder of the luxury bland brand, LVMH, Bernard Arnault, remains a driving force behind the nearly $500 billion company. But many wonder which of his five children will take the reins one day. CNN's Melissa Bell takes a look at the family dynamic and why it bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain hit TV show.
(CLIP FROM TV SERIES "SUCCESSION")
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A magnate and patriarch.
(CLIP FROM TV SERIES "SUCCESSION")
BELL (voice-over): Preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Roy but the real world's richest man. 74-year- old Bernard Arnault worth more than $230 billion having built the world's biggest luxury goods company, all the while very personally raising, educating and evaluating his five potential successors.
BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN/CEO, LVMH MOET HENNESSY: I think my group is controlled my own family. So instead of looking everyday at the stock market, I look for the next 10 years.
BELL (voice-over): All five Arnault children work for their father. 48-year-old Delphine, the chair of Christian Dior, her brother, 45- year-old Antoine, who is CEO of the holding company of Christian Dior, and the three children from Arnault second marriage 31-year-old Alexandre, who's an executive vice president of Tiffany's, 28-year-old Frederic who runs TAG Heuer, and the youngest 24-year-old, Jean, the director of Development and Marketing at Louis Vuitton's Watches Division.
RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR, "SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD TEARS" (through translation): He is at once an attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss, so the children had to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses. And when the moment comes, we'll be able to choose. BELL (voice-over): The $500 billion dollar LVMH dominates the world of fashion, with some of its biggest names like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. It was built through ruthless acquisition and like Waystar is diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants and newspapers.
But it isn't a treatment of their children, that the fictional and real characters diverge far from fostering discord, Arnault ensured harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless.
The stakes are huge, the value of the company but also the power that it brings. Like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with the powerful acquiring, a vast media empire, and making LVMH a symbol in France. Its headquarters stormed by protesters only last month. But while Arnault has sought to protect his children, he's also made it clear what he expects of them.
ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO, CHRISTIAN DIOR: Of course we understand the level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things is that my father is super healthy and going to work 10, 15, 20, 25 years. His five children are now working together in different parts of the group, but we're very close.
BELL (voice-over): An empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs but so far without the family drama. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
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HOLMES: All right. Well, Rafael Nadal is going to miss the French Open for the first time since he made his debut in 2005. The Spaniard withdrawing due to injury. CNN's Patrick Snell has the details.
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PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, some big news from the world of tennis concerning one of the sports all time greats. On Thursday, Rafa Nadal, a men's record equaling 22 time Grand Slam champ and the undisputed King of the French Open announcing he won't compete later on this month, the Roland Garros, for the first time since he debuted there 18 years ago.
Nadal turned 37 early next month withdrawing due to injury and then revealing that next year is likely his last in professional tennis. And when that day does come, boy, will it be a truly momentous one for the sports world. And indeed beyond the Spaniard who had been hoping to challenge for record extending 15 French Open crowns suffering a hip injury during his second round. On the Open exit that was back in January this year. And initially saying he hoped to be fit again within six to eight weeks or so.
Nadal admitting now he did give it everything he could to try and make it for the season second Grand Slam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAFAEL NADAL, SPANISH TENNIS PLAYER: I'd love to be able to play him in Roland Garros, as you know. I was even working as much as possible every single day for the last four months, have been very difficult months because we were not able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia.
So today, I still in the position that I am not able to fulfill myself ready to compete at the standards that I need to be. My ambition is to try to stop to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year that probably going to be my last year in a professional tour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: Definitely an emotional press conference that in Mallorca on Thursday. Nadal burst onto the scene winning his first Grand Slam crown in 2005 when he triumphed at the French Open when he was just 19 years of age, the first of 14 Roland Garros titles to date. You know his record in the French capital is just formidable. He's lost just three times in Paris since his 2005 victory, undoubtedly one of the most dominant records in all of sports. I'll send it right back to you.
HOLMES: Thanks to Patrick Snell there. I'm Michael Holmes., appreciate you spending part of your day with me. Please stick around CNN Newsroom continues with Paula Newton.