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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Says The Drone Incident With Russia Is Being Investigated; Concerns A Major European Bank May Be In Trouble Spooks Investors; Israelis Protest Against Judicial Reform; Credit Suisse Shares Crash; Israeli Anger Over Judicial Reforms; Honduras To Ally With China; #MyFreedomDay; Harry Potter Studio Tour To Open In Japan. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 15, 2023 - 15:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, the U.S. says the drone incident with

Russia is being investigated as the Kremlin attempt to retrieve the wreckage from the Black Sea. We will have more on the diplomatic fallout.

Then concerns a major European bank may be in trouble when spooking investors leaving global markets in turmoil.

Plus, protests against Israel's planned judicial reforms continue, as Prime Minister Netanyahu shortens a planned trip to Germany. We'll explore why.

But I want to begin this hour, taking a quick look at the stock markets, because banking fears are spreading and spooking investors. I want to look

how indices look right now.

Dow Jones down only 1 percent or so, 325 points up, one point actually earlier on the day, it was down almost 600 points. The Nasdaq has just

turned green in the last few seconds in fact, and the S&P 500 is down almost 1 percent. But, you know, this is all happening after shares, if you

remember, of Credit Suisse crashed more than 20 percent Wednesday to a new record low.

We'll be getting to this story in a lot more detail, and the fears, of course, of contagion here in Europe, as well as in the United States. But

first, exactly what happened over the Black Sea between a Russian fighter jet and U.S. surveillance drone is a matter of fierce debate at this


The U.S. State Department says it suspects the collision that brought down a U.S. drone similar to this one here you're looking at, was probably

unintentional, more due to the incompetence and recklessness of a Russian pilot than a direct aggression. Other U.S. officials say they don't know

for sure. One saying even it wasn't on purpose. If it wasn't on purpose, the pilots aggressive behavior was intentional.

Now, Russia denies any collision ever took place, but U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said just moments ago, he was very clear when he

spoke with his Russian counterpart, and this is what he said. Have a listen.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: This hazardous episode is a part -- is part of a pattern of aggressive risk -- risky and unsafe

actions by Russian pilots in international airspace. Now, I just got off the phone with my Russian counterpart, Minister Shoigu. As I've said

repeatedly, it's important that great powers be models of transparency and communication.

And the United States will continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows. And it is incumbent upon Russia to operate its

military aircraft in a safe and professional manner.


SOARES: Well, let's get more on this U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood, is tracking the drone dispute for us from Washington. So Kiley, we

heard in the last 30 minutes or so from the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, as we heard there, as well as General Mark Milley. Just tell us a

bit more about what they had to say about this incident.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well listen, they very clearly called this a hazardous episode and talked about the pattern of

aggression that the U.S. and some of its allies have seen from Russia in international airspace is, over the course of the last few months or years.

But this, obviously, this incident is still being investigated.

We heard from Chairman Milley saying that it's very clear that the aggression of Russia was intentional. In such that they poured fuel onto

this drone, they obviously were seeking to intercept the drone. But what he said is not clear at this time, just as of yet, is if it was intentional of

them to come into physical contact with the drone if these Russian aircrafts were actually trying to create a collision that then led to that

drone going down.

That is still remaining question here. But the U.S. is still continuing to investigate this, and we heard from Milley explaining that, this drone is

not going to be easy to recover. He said, it's dropped into the Black Sea and is probably now down in the depths of 4 to 5,000 feet.

SOARES: Yes, but it did say that, you know, that it has no longer -- it erases sensitive data, right? Before it crashed. Do we know how early in

that encounter? I know there were like, 30, 40 minutes or so. Did that take place. Did that -- Intelligence was taken out because like you said,

General Mark Milley saying it's no longer of Intelligence value.


ATWOOD: Yes, that's right. So they are being pretty confident here in saying that whatever value this drone had at one point, it no longer has,

because as you said, they were able to remotely erase all of the data that was on the drone. We don't have a specific timeline for that, but the fact

that they have come out, you know, earlier today, even before this press conference and said that they erased that data is significant.

And even though, there are pieces of this drone that are in the Black Sea, what we heard today is that the drone probably broke into a lot of

different pieces. So, we have heard from the Russians saying that they're going to try and recover it. Of course, the U.S. Is also saying it's, you

know, exploring options to recover it. But whomever actually gets its hand on this, U.S. officials right now are downplaying any significance to

actually getting pieces of this drone at this time.

SOARES: Kylie Atwood for us there in Washington, thanks very much Kylie, appreciate it. Well, let's get more on all of this. CNN military analyst

and retired U.S. Force, Colonel Cedric Leighton joins me now from Washington. Cedric, great to have you on the show. I know you were

listening in to that press conference in the last 13 minutes or so.

What was your take-away? Because now we've heard from Russia and the U.S. What is your sense, on what may have taken place here?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Isa, this is really interesting because what we saw was the communications were established

between the Secretary of Defense and his Russian counterparts. So, that's a positive aspect here. But it's very clear from Secretary Austin's remarks

that he warned the Russians not to engage in this kind of behavior again.

Now, whether they heed that warning or not, of course, is another issue. When it comes to this specific case with the MQ-9 Reaper, it's also pretty

clear to me that, you know, the basic idea that -- the theory that we have right now, that the intercept itself was an intentional act, the actual

collision was perhaps not intentional. I believe that's probably accurate.

At least, based on the information that we have right now, and it seems that both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs,

General Milley, reiterated that and in essence said, they're giving the Russians, you know, like slight benefit of the doubt, if you will, on this

particular issue. But they definitely resent the fact that the Russians came in, intercepted it and were so close to the MQ-9, and in essence,

forced it to land.

SOARES: So, you're saying there's more due to the incompetence and the recklessness of the Russian pilot than a direct aggression?

LEIGHTON: Yes, the last part, especially, that's exactly right.

SOARES: One thing that stood out for me as we got the news this time yesterday, Cedric, was that, you know, we heard that the Russian jets first

dumped fuel on top of the drone when they encountered it. Why would they do that?

LEIGHTON: That was a very deliberate act, Isa, and I think the key thing here is that they wanted to damage the equipment. They thought that if they

leak fuel onto the nose cone and other parts of the MQ-9, that it would damage its sensors and it would possibly damage the ability of the Air

Force, the U.S. Air Force, to control the aircraft.

So, they were using some techniques that, you know, look a bit strange to us, but they were trying to modify the flight path by doing this, and they

were also trying to damage the aircraft.

SOARES: And we heard in the last 13 minutes from General Mark Milley, as we heard in the last few seconds, in fact, that General Mark Milley

basically saying, Cedric, that it's no longer of Intelligence value because it fell into the Black Sea, 4 to 5,000 meters deep. The recovery may be

difficult. Is that the right thing to do?

LEIGHTON: Well, I think he's probably right about this. I mean, it's -- you know, clearly, the recovery would be very difficult, and the fact that

the U.S. Navy does not have any surface assets in the Black Sea at the present time, that also makes it logistically difficult. General Milley did

allude to the fact that there are allies of the United States around the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, to name a few of them, and that

becomes, you know, the possibility, at least, that those countries would be asked to help with this.

But I don't believe that they really have the capability to mount a recovery operation at those depths. So, that might be the last best hope,

if you will, to recover this aircraft. But it seems to me that it's unlikely that they will be able to recover it, or at least recover most of

it, at this particular point in time.

SOARES: And Cedric, the U.S. is sticking to diplomatic channels on this. Is that the right response in your view? Or do you worry this could


LEIGHTON: Well, there's always the worry of escalation, but I think --

SOARES: Yes --

LEIGHTON: This particular case is best handled in diplomatic channels, and those diplomatic channels, of course, include the militaries talking to

each other. This is the key way to solve these kinds of problems.


This is not an act of war. Someone asked the question, you know, is this an act of war? But it is -- it's definitely not.

SOARES: Cedric Leighton, always great to get your insight and your perspective, thanks very much, Cedric, appreciate it. Now, Ukraine's

foreign minister says incidents like the apparent U.S. drone downing are inevitable, as long as Russia controls Crimea. Dmytro Kuleba told the "BBC"

that the Black Sea will not be a safe place until Russia is kicked out of Ukraine.

The country's defense forces are trying to do just that. Earlier, they shot down a Russian military plane near Bakhmut, according to Ukrainian

officials. The battle for the eastern city, of course, is raging and constantly changing. Ukraine's deputy defense minister, I should say, says

it's premature to draw conclusions about the state of the fighting.

And here, you can see the immense scale, of course, of the damage. The chief of the Russian private military company, Wagner, says his fighters

captured a small settlement north of the city, but he's complaining again, that Russian officials are not sending enough ammunition. Now to our other

top major story this hour.

Concerns about another major bank in trouble, this time, a European one, have brought fresh turbulence to global stock markets. Shares of banking

giant Credit Suisse hit a record low on Wednesday, dropping more than 20 percent after its top investor, the Saudi National Bank said it won't issue

any more funds to European markets, closed down sharply, lower, as banks shares plunged.

The U.S. Treasury Department says it's monitoring the situation at Credit Suisse. Meantime, Wall Street is in the impact. The Dow opening the day

with a decline of more than 500 points. Though, it has eased, as we showed you in the last few minutes. Well, we've got team coverage on this with

Rahel Solomon standing by for us in New York. But first, I want to go to Anna Stewart in London.

So Anna, look, this concern of a Credit Suisse is -- it is worrying, given the situation we've been with Credit Suisse before, right? Back in crisis.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: They need to be in the last --

SOARES: Conditions to be in. But the question I suppose on this, obvious question, is, do they have liquid funds? What is going to happen to them?

Will the banks -- will the government step in?

STEWART: There's clearly huge investor concern that they are not in a good financial position right now. But just in the last few hours, Credit Suisse

actually tweeted saying, "we are reiterating our core financials and key facts, and they include all sorts of stats about their CT One, the common

equity to the ratio, it's 14 percent, its liquidity is 150 percent in terms of the coverage ratio. Financials speak for we are a strong, stable bank,

stop worrying."

But given the share price news we've seen today, the share price was down over 30 percent at one stage. I have never seen Credit shares -- Credit

Suisse shares trade at $2. They've been trading at a $1.57, at one stage. I think at this stage, we can expect to hear something from the Swiss

National Bank, often amid the regulators in Switzerland, even if it's simply to say, the bank is fine, everyone needs to stop worrying, because

this panic we've been in, and it relates to broader issues in the sector, but they are pummeling this one bank.

SOARES: And really, Rahel, just put this into context for us. This coming just what? Several days after SVB. But now, I was reading before I came on

air that standard -- Fitch and S&P have now downgraded another bank in the United States. So, this fear, obviously, we saw the U.S. government

stepping in, taking very decisive and quick action. Those fears of contagion, that's not going away.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's not and Isa, essentially what you have here is looking for weakness, right? Looking for any sign of

the next domino to fall in the banking sector. And you're seeing it both in terms of investors and take a look at regional bank stocks, as you pointed

out. You can really see that reflected, that search for weakness, that fear, that jitteriness in the investment community. But also among

depositors, as we see funds start to float to some of the --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: Larger banks here. First Republic Bank of 17 percent, Isa, just to give you some perspective. Over the last five days, First Republic has

lost 70 percent of its value there, it's Fifth Third Bancorp, about 25 percent and Pacwest, about 55 percent. So clearly, a lot of jitteriness.

Even despite the unprecedented measures we saw from the U.S. government from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

But you're still seeing that jitteriness even among depositors. And so, this is really just a search for weakness. But Isa, as you know, of course,

confidence, sentiment, perception --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: Is extremely important in banking, also very important in the markets.

SOARES: Which begs the question, Anna, I mean, we're looking at the banking stocks -- I'm going to ask my producer, Anna(ph), to bring up the

European banking stocks because they took a major hit, not just obviously, that we don't have the banking stocks apparently, but I'm sure you can tell

me what they look like, I'm sure it wasn't great. But you know, the fear, of course, is who will be next?

And what will the ECB -- like the Fed, we'll get to the Fed in a minute. How will they act when they meet tomorrow?


STEWART: Right, because at the heart of the problem, both -- where Rahel is in the U.S. --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Also in the U.K., and also in Europe, in part, the problem of this sort of fear is about interest rates. Because --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: At the moment, people are questioning, what are on the balance sheets of all these banks? Lots of them have long-dated government bonds,

which are just worth less and less with each rate rise. As a result, will they need to do capital raising? What does that mean issuing new shares?

What does that mean?

Diluting shareholdings, making them less valuable and so shareholders are worried. So what are central banks going to do, because on the one hand,

they need to raise rates to tackle --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Inflation --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: And on the other, they need to be concerned about financial stability. Now, tomorrow will be a great test of what happens next --


STEWART: Because the ECB, unfortunately for it, the timing is not great, but it is due to have its rate meeting tomorrow. The expectation is, it

will still raise rates by half percentage point. The Federal Reserve in the U.S., well, they'd be -- may well be more cautious, but they're actually

kind of in a different stage I think of the right cycle.

SOARES: Where are you -- I mean, yes, they've been much more aggressive much earlier on compared to the ECB. But Rahel, then with -- where does the

Fed stand on this? Will it pause or will it be reduced, its hike here?

SOLOMON: It is the trillion-dollar question, right, Isa, because as Anna was alluding to there, you have sort of two competing objectives at this

point. You have financial stability, you have price stability --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: And both are very important for the Fed. And let's be clear here, interest rates were at the heart of SVB's failure, right? I mean --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: You can say what you want about them, maybe having hedge their bets a bit better in terms of that duration risk, but part of the reason

why SVB fell is because it had so many of those longer duration bonds. And so, when it had to sell, it ultimately had to do so at a loss as we've

seen. And so, this is certainly something that the Fed is going to have to be thinking about very closely over the next few days.

One thing I can tell you, Isa, is that tomorrow, one banking expert that I just got off the phone with, tells me that the Federal Reserve is actually

going to be releasing their balance sheet, and this is when we will learn tomorrow afternoon here in the U.S., this is when we will learn, how many

of these banks have already taken advantage of that lending facility? And so, we'll get much more clarity in terms of this program, and if banks are

actually using it.

But one thing he told me to think about is that, it comes with a stigma, a bit. If you have to use --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: This lending --

SOARES: Yes --

SOLOMON: Facility, it really sort of signals desperation, and at a moment like this in the environment, it's a bit tricky.

SOARES: Yes, when everyone's on tenterhooks, when everyone is trying to read, you know, between the lines and the tea leaves, it's -- you don't

want to give any signals that there's anything wrong, right? Rahel, really appreciate it, Anna, thank you very much, I'm sure we'll touch base on what

the ECB does again tomorrow, and we'll have a quick look at the markets.

Do we still have them, Anna(ph)? If you can bring them up. How stock markets are doing and there you go, Dow Jones down one -- just over 1

percent, Nasdaq, tenths of a percent or so, and S&P, almost 1 percent. So, much better picture, given what we saw at the beginning of the day. We'll

stay on top of those numbers for you.

Still to come tonight, though, Israelis are showing their anger, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed judicial reform is dangerous

to democracy. We'll bring you that story just ahead. And then, on its first visit to Antarctica, CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir got a warm

welcome from the locals. Bill joins me to talk about his trip and those Emperor penguins after this.



SOARES: Now, Cyclone Freddy, the longest lasting storm of its kind is continuing to leave a trail of destruction across southeast Africa. The

Malawi government says at least 225 people have died and they are still combing through the mud, in search of more bodies. Forecasters say, the

storm is weakening and they expect it to pass by tomorrow. Our Larry Madowo has the story.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People dig through the mud in Malawi's commercial city, Blantyre, hoping to find bodies after cyclone

Freddy tore through their houses. Over the weekend, the storm hit southern Africa for the second time in a month, killing more than 200 people.

Cyclone Freddy has damaged roads, flooded neighborhoods and triggered blackouts in the worst-hit areas. The death toll keeps climbing in southern

Malawi which suffered the most.

LAZARUS CHAKWERA, PRESIDENT, MALAWI: It is one of those things that we look for help, not just from people and partners, but even from God


MADOWO: The storm has left thousands homeless across southern Africa. The Malawi Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says "the

cyclone is weakening, but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in parts of southern Malawi." Aerial

footage shows homes submerged in water in central Mozambique, where the storm made landfall on Saturday.

Early warnings allowed some residents to flee their homes, but rescue operations continue to find those who stayed back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plenty of houses, but they're all gone. Plenty of bodies down there in the mud there. Plenty of bodies.

MADOWO: The Ministry of Health in Malawi has resorted to using beds built for COVID patients to overcome the number of people showing up at hospitals

that are almost overwhelmed. Freddy may set the record for the longest- lasting tropical cyclone in history, it has unleashed the same energy as an average full north Atlantic hurricane season.

Malawi officials are on high alert for heavy flooding and wind damage. Over the next few days, they have closed southern schools until Friday. Larry

Madowo, CNN.


SOARES: Incredibly troubling situation in Malawi which, of course, we will stay on top of for you. Now, after a dire warning about Antarctica's

disappearing sea ice, CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir, went to find out more. His team captured these breathtaking images you're looking

at, showing the broken alp and the melting icebergs.

Scientists are warning Antarctica's sea ice is at its lowest level since records began. And take a look at Bill's reaction, as he stepped out on the

first morning.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: You know, some days are more fun to get out of bed than others. Kind of like the morning when you wake

up in Antarctica.


Look at this. We made it to the bottom of the world. This is so gorgeous. First steps on my seventh continent. Welcome to Antarctica! Here's the

welcoming party. Hi, guys. Little colony of Gentoo penguins greeting us as we arrive.


SOARES: Just fantastic and Bill joins me now. And Bill, that smile of yours basically said it all. I mean, those images are truly breathtaking.

WEIR: Yes, Isa, it's life-changing. You know, you sail through three nights, you cross the 60th parallel into the only place in the world set

aside for peace and science, and then you wake up in this just unbelievable moving sculpture of light and ice, and the penguins, which are my little

boy's favorite animal.


But eventually, you know, the wonder turns to worry, as you realize while it's fascinating to us as tourists, for the creatures that are adapted to

living in these climates, are warming up so fast that they're struggling to keep up. Those penguins were making nests way too late in the season for

their chicks to survive as a result of freakish snowfall in December.

Now, the sea ice means that the queer(ph) population, which depends on that ice to reproduce --

SOARES: Yes --

WEIR: Is crashing and that feeds everything, from the penguins to the whales, to the -- to the seabirds there. So, these are sort of the

metaphorical canaries in this new coal mine of climate change.

SOARES: And just last month, you and I were talking about, you know, what science warned, which is right there, you know, about the sea ice hitting

record lows. And just remind us of the impact this has not just in Antarctica, but of course, but really beyond.

WEIR: Right, beyond. And yes, when the penguins start evacuating or to --

SOARES: Yes --

WEIR: Keep away, that means that warm water is melting these giant ice shelves around the continent from the bottom, and up through. And those are

the wine corks that keep all of that freshwater in-land down on that massive continent there, and that really affects sea level rise.

Ultimately, if someone like the deflated glacier goes, that means a couple of meters of sea level-rise around the world.

Whether that -- whether that takes, you know, half a century or many centuries to happen, it's going to happen. The warming is not going to

stop. A certain amount has built up. The only thing that can be controlled is how much and how fast, and that's up to sort of human behavior on that

point. But Antarctica is also this amazing sign of hope. It started with 12 nations, there are now 55 nations.

When they -- when they stop slaughtering the whales, the humpbacks are back to full capacity now, so it's a symbol the ozone layer is healing above it,

it's a symbol of what can happen with cooperation.

SOARES: And I want to end on a positive note. I mean, what was your take- away? Leaving aside the science and the dire warnings, that moment, what did it mean for you there, though?

WEIR: It just is the wildest place for me. I've been to Alaska, Greenland, you know, Iceland, and this is -- this place is on steroids, and it shows

how much is left worth preserving down there, how fragile it is though --

SOARES: Yes --

WEIR: If we're not careful. And really what's possible when humans decide on a little bit of restraint in order to protect the natural world, that

really supports everything in our lives. So, it's a little bit of horror, a lot of hope, though.

SOARES: On that note, we'll leave it, thanks very much, Bill Weir, you have to watch that -- this reporting from Bill, just truly breathtaking

images. Thanks very much, Bill, appreciate it --

WEIR: Thanks, Isa, you bet.

SOARES: Still to come tonight, an unwelcome message for Israel's prime minister. Protests turned out ahead of his departure for Germany, amid an

uproar over the government's judicial overhaul plans. Then, clashes in Pakistan, as police try to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan, details

on the political turmoil there after this.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Let me just bring you up to date, really, on one of our top stories.

The global banking sector is in turmoil and markets have been spooked very much all day. Now you are looking now at Dow Jones, which is down almost 1

percent, 340 points up. At one point, earlier today, it was down 600 points.

So it is somewhat, you can look at the Nasdaq there, pretty much flat, I should say. And the S&P down 1 percent or so. Shares of Credit Suisse

crashed more than 20 percent on Wednesday to a new low. The major U.S. indices have been down all day.

Banking stocks, also down and it's all related, of course, to the SVB bank we saw last week and fears of contagion. We shall keep an eye on those

numbers. Indeed, on the markets tomorrow when we get more details on Credit Suisse and whether the bank, the central bank and the government will step


Now Israel's president is making a new attempt at brokering a compromise over the Netanyahu government's judicial overhaul plans that are bitterly

dividing the country. Isaac Herzog addressed the nation just moments ago, warning the country was on the brink of civil war.

And plans to weaken the judiciary have triggered fierce protests as we brought you here on the show. We saw more today around the Tel Aviv

airport. Protesters attempted to block roads, hoping to disrupt prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's departure for Germany.

His trip has been delayed and cut short by one day. Let's bring in CNN's Hadas Gold, live in Jerusalem for us this hour.

So Hadas, do we know why Netanyahu decided to shorten his trip to Berlin?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the prime minister's office didn't give an official reason but shortly before the delay was

announced, it was announced he was having security meetings with his minister of defense.

And then a few hours later, it was allowed to be published, this information under a gag order, that a roadside bombing that happened on

Monday, where a civilian was seriously injured happened in the northern part of Israel, not far from the border with the West Bank.

The Israeli military says it was actually carried out by somebody who came into the country, sneaked across the border and came from southern Lebanon.

They say that a few hours after that person placed that explosive device and it detonated, they caught a ride back up toward the border, where then,

because of security checkpoints that were poured out as a result of this bombing, they were stopped by soldiers.

They were subsequently shot and killed because they had, the Israeli military says, a suicide belt on them, as well as a rifle and a gun. The

Israeli military didn't say whether the forces saw him pointing the gun at them or that they thought he was about to detonate the belt.

They said essentially that they believe he was a threat to them. That's why the person was shot and killed.

Now Israeli military says they believe there is a Hezbollah connection but they've not confirmed this because they essentially say, anything that

comes out of southern Lebanon Hezbollah must be involved in. We've not heard from Hezbollah yet about sort of claiming a responsibility from this.

But this is a very unusual security incident to happen. Perhaps somebody like this across the border, the sort of explosive device. The Israeli

officials say is something that is not typically seen in this region. Some Israeli media are citing that it's more seen in Lebanon and in conflict

between the Israelis and Hezbollah.

This is very concerning because when you talk to Israeli security officials, especially, while so much attention is on the West Bank or some,

Gaza, when it comes to security issues, the biggest fear that many of them have, in terms of regionally, is southern Lebanon, is Hezbollah and what a

major conflict with Hezbollah could look like.

Partly because of the arsenal that Hezbollah has, they have many and many sophisticated weapons on their hands. Isa.

SOARES: And I know, of course, you will stay on top of this angle. But I want to focus, if I could, on the overhauled judicial overhaul plans. The

protests that you've been reporting on. You and I spoke, when you when I spoke, I think was last week or the week before last.


You talked about how president Herzog had been pretty outspoken on judicial reforms. He's been speaking the last, what, 30 minutes or so.

Did he address it and if so, what did he say, Hadas?

GOLD: Yes, it was last week that we first heard from the Israeli president actually speaking out against the reforms, as they were currently written,

saying that they're a threat to Israel's democratic foundations.

Then tonight, Herzog unveiled his own proposed compromise set of reforms. Now I don't have time to get into every single one of them. But they do

take some elements from what the coalition government wants.

You know, for example, increasing the number of judges that would need to vote to be able to overturn a law. And there are a few other elements in

there that do bring in with the coalitions say they want, while also sort of toning down the full level of the overhaul that, as it's currently

planned out.

And also, he once again gave a very impassioned speech, warning about civil war, warning about the country being torn apart, worrying about families

being torn apart and saying that there needs to be a red line to this.

He also mentioned actually the security incident that we were just talking about, saying that Israel's enemies are seeing the disunity and are taking

advantage of it. Essentially warning that Israel's own security is at risk because of these internal's disputes.

But within minutes of the speech wrapping up, it wasn't a very long speech. We're already hearing from Netanyahu's government, essentially rejecting

it. The cabinet secretary tweeting that, you know, this was the president's own proposal. This has not been agreed to yet.

And we're hearing from other ministers, of course, speaking on behalf of Netanyahu's party, saying that the proposal, as the president laid out,

they say, only perpetuates the existing situation and does not create the necessary minimum balance.

So a proposal brought out and almost immediately, they are coming out and saying, this isn't the proposal that we will agree to. So not clear yet

whether there is a path forward for some sort of compromise.

The Israeli government, Netanyahu's government, says that they want to get their reform done really quickly, within the next few weeks, before the

Passover holidays.

SOARES: Yes, and if there is a path forward, at least no one's seen it yet. At least they're not considering this. Hadas, I know you will stay on

top of. It thank you very much.

Now Pakistan is on edge after a violent standoff at the home of Pakistan's former prime minister, Imran Khan. His supporters clashed with officers,

who were on the scene, to arrest Khan for failing to turn up for a court appearance. A court has upheld his arrest warrant after cooperation to

detain (INAUDIBLE) until Thursday.

All this comes months after a failed assassination attempt on Khan. He says he still too sick and vulnerable to leave his compound. Sophia Saifi has

the latest.


SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Concerns still remain here in Pakistan about whether Imran Khan is going to be arrested or not. There were more than 24

hours of clashes outside his residence.

But relief came on Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to arrest him. His supporters vowed that they would not let that happen and clashes ensued.

There was tear gas, there were water cannons used by the police against Imran Khan's supporters.

And they've so far been unsuccessful in detaining Khan. Now Khan's legal troubles stem from the fact that he's been called to make various

appearances in court and he has not done so.

Arrest warrants were issued for his multiple non-appearances in court and he has said his lawyers have made the argument that, because of the

assassination attempt against Khan in November last year, it's not safe for him to travel to Islamabad high court, in the city of Islamabad, about four

hours away from Lahore where Khan is in residence.

They said that there are threats to his life and the best way to do it is by a video link. The courts are not happy with that, so there's been a back

and forth between the various courts and Khan's legal team. Khan has separately said in an interview with CNN, he spoke to me.

And he said that this is the government which is inciting violence against his supporters. It has absolutely nothing to do with the cases and violence

is what we've seen. The information minister, Myanmar Enzi (ph), has come out and dismissed Khan's claims.

Khan went ahead and said this is because the government doesn't want elections to take place. The information minister has said that this has

absolutely nothing to do with the elections and it's just a simple court appearance that Khan needs to make and one that he's avoiding, as a coward.

Now we just need to wait to see the lower high court has said that the police will return to Khan's residence tomorrow morning at 10 am. Until

then, we have to see how the night unfolds -- Sophia Saifi, CNN, Islamabad.


SOARES: Just 14 countries around the world recognize Taiwan and that number may be about to shrink. Honduras has announced it is taking steps to

officially establish diplomatic relations with China, a move that could sever really long standing ties to Taiwan.


The Honduran foreign minister says, about, quote, pragmatism, not ideology. China is welcoming the decision. But Taiwan says Honduras should be aware

of what it calls China's false and flashy promises. Have a listen.


JEFF LIU, TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The only motivation for China to develop ties with Honduras is to limit

Taiwan's international space. They have no intention of implementing any partnership that could be beneficial to Honduras' people.

Honduras should seriously reconsider and not fall into China's trap, by making wrong decisions and damaging the long-standing friendship between

Taiwan and Honduras.


SOARES: Well, let's bring in journalist Stefano Pozzebon. He's the following developments from us from Malta (ph).

So Stefano, I mean, just explain the decision there by Honduras.

How much of this is financial?

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's definitely Honduras' point of view, that it is a purely financial decision, because China has

been investing in the region and Latin America, in particular, for decades and has promised a huge amount of investments to Honduras, which is a

country that has seen its foreign debt increase a lot.

So it almost seems that in love and in war and in diplomacy, everything is fair, especially when your coffers are empty and you need money. Perhaps

you can dump the diplomatic ally that you had cultivated for the last 80 years and go with this archrival, China.

Looking a little bit more the bigger picture, however, Isa, I think this was not a surprise. It was not expected but it's not a surprise because the

president of Honduras herself had already said in the campaign trail in 2021 that he intended to open diplomatic relationships with Beijing.

So it doesn't come as a surprise and it comes after Chinese investment in Latin America has grown massively over the last few decades. And as a

consequence, China's diplomatic weight in the region has increased a lot over the last decade or so.

We've seen up to five Latin American countries switching their allegiance from Taiwan to the People's Republic of China. This morning, I was able to

speak with an analyst who's an expert on the relationship between China and Latin America here in Bogota.

He said that it's happening not just when the United States are looking elsewhere but other countries like Europe, the United Kingdom and the

entire West are not paying enough attention to Latin America.


PARSIFA D'SOLA, FOUNDER, ABF CHINA-LATIN AMERICA RESEARCH CENTER: And this is basically something that Taiwan and the U.S., frankly, cannot compete


When you talk about investment in infrastructure, investment in green development, these are the types of investments, foreign direct

investments, that these countries are looking for in the international arena.

And absent other options, not talking only about the United States and Taiwan but European Union, the developed world in general, obviously, you

know, China is an attractive option.


POZZEBON: It really seems it didn't work. It's more and more polarized between the two superpowers, the United States and China, Isa. Latin

America's loyalty, Latin America's allegiance is up for grabs and, right now, China has the upper advantage, economically.

SOARES: Indeed. Stefano Pozzebon with the details there, all the details, appreciate it. Great to see you.

We will be back after this short break.





SOARES: San Diego County in southern California is said to be one of the country's hotspots for human trafficking. And just weeks ago, a police raid

led to dozens of arrests and the rescue of eight children. As part of CNN's My Freedom Day, Stephanie Elam investigates how police, district attorneys

and even teachers, are battling the issue.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: San Diego is a southern California border town best known for its surf spots and an elite naval fleet. But the

city now finds itself in the midst of a different type of battle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's cold out there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, how much are you looking for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. You tell me.

ELAM: In February, the San Diego human trafficking task force raided several open air prostitution rings operating in neighborhoods around the


The two-day sting netted 48 suspects and offered support to 41 potential victims including eight children.

San Diego County district attorney Summer Stephan went to one of the areas just before the raids began.

SUMMER STEPHAN, SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It was around 3:00 pm. And I thought, oh, I'm not going to see much. And here were a line of cars

like they are in a drive-through to get a hamburger. And these girls and women that barely had any clothes on just stopped me in my tracks.

ELAM: It turns out, the problem of human trafficking in San Diego is well- documented. In 2016, a Department of Justice funded study found that in San Diego County alone, the illegal sex industry accounted for more than $800


Even more concerning, the study found 90 percent of high schools researched across the county reported at least one case of sex trafficking in their


ELAM: Patrick Henry High School is on the front lines in this battle against modern day slavery.

TERRI CLARK, TEACHER, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: We need to talk about what makes someone more susceptible than you, more susceptible than the

average person to being trafficked.

ELAM: When you hear the term human trafficking, what comes to your mind?

Teacher Terri Clark is educating her freshmen and sophomore classes on how to spot signs of trafficking among their peers.

CLARK: We're going to look at some methods, some causes, some factors and a really big piece of this, the technology.

I see it on a level of like teaching kids CPR. Like you are learning how to save a life.

ELAM: Her students learn the ways traffickers lure in young victims and how they might coerce or threaten a student into a dangerous situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told her that breaking up was not an option. That he owned her now.

AIDEN HERNANDEZ, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: What I learned today was that anyone could be trafficked.

SARAH LOVETT, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: I do think this class is valuable because it can teach like kids like me to look out for the signs

and maybe help like protect their friends and prevent it from happening more.

CLARK: And that is a very, very sad and real situation for a lot of teenagers.

ELAM: The topic of human trafficking hits particularly close to home for Ms. Clark. When her niece was 16 years old, a trafficker lured her into a

car just steps from her house in northern California.

CLARK: She was taken. She was immediately had her hair cut, her hair dyed and drugged. She was missing for nine days. She was wrested from that it

has forever changed who she is and changed who she could become.

And so I think about, gosh, if she had had this information in high school maybe she would have been way more aware.

ELAM: One teacher, going beyond the call of duty to make sure her students are well armed with the knowledge to protect themselves when they walk out

that door and into the real world -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Southern California.


SOARES: And join CNN on March 16th for My Freedom Day. Tell us what freedom means to you and share your message on social media using the



We'll be right back after the short break.




SOARES: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is heading to Japan this summer. Warner Brothers, who shares the same parent company as CNN, is

launching a new studio tour in Tokyo, showcasing the massively popular film as well as the book franchise. CNN's Marc Stewart has this.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harry Potter's magic --


STEWART (voice-over): -- is transporting to Tokyo. It's on this massive lot where fans will see some of the series most iconic sets like the Great

Hall at Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest. It's part of the new Warner Brothers studio soon to open in Japan.

(on-camera): What goes through your mind when you see the train, you see the sets, you see the costumes?

JEFF NAGLER, PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE STUDIO OPERATIONS, WARNER BROTHERS: Wow, I can't believe it. And when I come here, I have to remember that I'm here

on a business trip and not to be looking at this as if I'm just a fan.

STEWART (voice-over): Jeff Nagler is President of Warner Brothers Worldwide Studio Operations.

(on-camera): Why Japan?

NAGLER: I think that was one of the easiest decisions for us actually because of the whole global interest in Harry Potter after the United

States and after the U.K. Japan is the third best area for Harry Potter fandom.

STEWART (voice-over): The Tokyo studio is modeled after the one in London and will be larger. A big draw the Hogwarts Express train that was made in

London transported by land and by sea to its new home here in Japan.

(on-camera): It's not just about the sets, it's about the accessories, the costumes, the props, like the ones you've seen in the movies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We normally don't get to see what goes on behind the scenes in movies. But here we get to see how films

get made. For example, it shows us how the people who work in the costume, props, movie set departments, all work as a team.

STEWART (voice-over): A glimpse into Movie Magic far from Harry Potter's roots in the U.K.

(on-camera): Do you see Asia as a growth market for experiences like this?

NAGLER: Absolutely. We do look at China and we look at Japan, we look at South Korea.


We have a big fan base in Australia and New Zealand as well. All of -- it's not Asia; it's the whole Asia Pacific region.

STEWART (voice-over): Stories of imagination appealing to audiences around the world -- Marc Stewart, CNN, Tokyo.


SOARES: Just brilliant.

Now a second chance at life. That is what double lung transplants gave these two people. Both had stage IV lung cancer and have been told they

only have months to live. Now they are breathing freely.

Northwestern Medicine helped both patients. One of whom, Tenasa Malie (ph) said she had no hope. Northwestern found that Malie (ph) fit the criteria

and she received a double lung transplant in July.

When she was told the procedure had made her cancer free, she could not believe it. This is what she says, today's quote of the day.

Am I dreaming, sitting here?

We will leave you on the happy. Note thanks much for your company. Do stay right here, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Eleni Giokos is up next. I will

have much more for us on the global marketonia (ph). Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.