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Isa Soares Tonight

Biden Marks 25th Anniversary Of Good Friday Peace Deal In Ireland; Russia To Introduce Tough New Conscription Policy; Thousand Two Hundred Migrants Arrive In Italy After Rescue Operation; Louisville Police Bodycam Video; Death Toll From Myanmar Junta Airstrike Rises To 133; Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque; South African Lawmakers Grill Prison Security Firm Staff; U.S. Library Of Congress Adds Popular Hits. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 12, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S. President Joe Biden calls for

parties to keep the peace in Northern Ireland. We are live on the ground as he continues his tour of the island. Then fresh fears in Russia of the new

mobilization wave as parliament approves a law which tightens military conscription rules.

Plus, two more boats arrive in Italy carrying hundreds of migrants following a rescue operation. I'll be speaking to one of the groups

involved in the search efforts about this very crisis. But first, U.S. President Joe Biden is in the Republic of Ireland after making historic

visit, of course, to Northern Ireland, marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

The peace plan was brokered by the U.S. back in 1998, ending three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland. Mr. Biden spoke at a university in

Belfast, urging local leaders to resolve the ongoing political crisis as well as keep the peace. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So let's celebrate 25 extraordinary years by recommitting to renewal, repair, by making this

exceptional peace the birthright of every child on Northern Ireland for all the days to come.


SOARES: Well, a short while ago, Mr. Biden wrapped up some meetings in Dublin. He's now stopping in the area where his maternal great grandfather

grew up. He's been getting a tour of Carlingford Castle, as you can see, right near his ancestral home. Our team is on the ground, Donie O'Sullivan

is following the very latest for us, Nic Robertson standing by in Belfast in Northern Ireland.

But first to Donie, at the president, not just political, Donie, but also a part of a pilgrim -- pilgrimage, I should say, a kind of home coming. Tell

us what you're seeing.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, so we're here in Dundalk County Louth, which is just south of the border with Northern Ireland. And

there's a lot of excitement here because the president is about to arrive any minute.

There are hundreds of people lining the streets here, and the scenes are quite reminiscent of 60 years ago when President John F. Kennedy, the first

Irish Catholic president visited Ireland and kind of began this tradition as you say, this pilgrimage almost of Irish-American presidents coming to

the country and tracing their roots.

You know, you mentioned that he gave speech in Northern Ireland today, and there are many formal political events on his itinerary. But this is very

much a very personal trip. He's spending most of the rest of the evening with family, friends or relatives here and also doing the same here. He'll

be traveling to the west coast of Ireland on Friday, where he's got more relatives and will be delivering a speech there.

SOARES: And as you're talking, we are seeing -- I imagine that's his car further down the road from where you are. Is he driving? Is he getting out

the car speaking to people, give us a sense what everyone's been telling you there, Donie.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, well, there's been people here who have been waiting in the rain is just about trade off. Right now there's still a few raindrops.

But people have been waiting here in the rain for hours, and it's difficult to say from here. There's certainly hundreds of people here, but possibly

thousands. Everybody is hoping that he will get out of the vehicle and shake hands.

He's known to do that. So folks here are certainly hopeful for that. From our vantage point, we can see him at the moment, but we can hear some

cheers in the distance.

SOARES: W can hear it too, and I had a little clip from him when he was at Carlingford Castle, someone asking how you're loving it? And he said, it's

great to be home. Stay with us, Donie, I want to go to Nic, and Nic, Donie mentioned this. We had a really impassioned defense from President Biden of

the Good Friday Agreement. But as you were telling us yesterday, the peace is fragile and the politics some may say are broken.


So, has the president been able to move the needle politically to try and restore power-sharing here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: On the surface, no. And one can say definitively no because we've heard from the politician who

with whom President Biden would perhaps have wanted to move the needle most. That's Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist


That's the party that at the moment refuses to go into the power-sharing government. And President Biden laid out how other than just bringing peace

to real big achievement of the Good Friday Agreement was to establish this power-sharing government, and it is this power-sharing government at

Stormont that the Democratic Unionist Party doesn't want to join right now.

They've got issues with Brexit, and the leader of the party afterwards, spoke and said, look, what President Biden has said does not change the

political dynamic. He said I agree with President Biden that revitalizing and improving the economy in Northern Ireland is the way forward. But he

said, I see it a different way, he said.

I see it that Northern Ireland at least, be able to have complete, free and unfettered access to the U.K. mainland market, and that's his point. And I

think -- so I said on the surface, it hasn't moved the needle, but I think what the expectation is certainly among politicians who are very close to

this process and diplomats, is that after the local elections here in May, Jeffrey Donaldson may then try to move his party back into that power-

sharing government.

It's not clear if he will, but it would be too sensitive, a decision for him to take. That's the assessment for him to take right now. And we

actually heard that from the Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, and then there's been a political space created for Donaldson essentially to do


SOARES: Nic, stay with us. I want to go back to Donie. And Donie, you and I were wondering whether the president would get out of his vehicle --

we're now seeing these live images right now, the president shaking hands, lots of children wanting to shake hands with the president -- a few

shrieks. The rain has stopped, thankfully. But you can see how loved he is, Donie.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, exactly, and he's a little further up the line here. He's going to be making his way down here through the center of Dundalk, and

he's actually going to a bar called the Windsor. So take from that what you will, given conversations about the Windsor framework as Nic was talking


But look, this is a -- you know, this is a trip that has been a very long- time coming for President Biden. He has visited here as vice president. He actually came here as a private citizen after he -- after he finished the

vice presidency. And we've been speaking to a lot of his relatives. He has many cousins here in Ireland or people who at least claim to be his cousin,

but he does have a connection with a lot of them.

You know, we spoke to some cousins who visited him this St. Patrick's Day in the White House. So there is that genuine connection there, they also

told us when he was a private citizen, essentially showed up in Ballymena, his other ancestral home on the west coast of Ireland here incognito and

was walking around, folks didn't realize it was the then former vice president of the United States.

SOARES: Boy, you can tell that the crowd is loving to see the president, same as well for President Biden, who for whom this is, as you said Donie,

is a very personal journey as well. Donie O'Sullivan and Nic Robertson, thank you to you both. Thank you, gentlemen, we'll stay on top of this

story, of course, for you as soon as we see more of the president, of course, we will bring that to you.

Now, to our second story of the day really. Ukrainian officials say gruesome videos posted on social media are proof of genocide and a

deliberate attempt by Russia to intimidate through barbaric propaganda. The videos are far too graphic for us to show you, and Ukraine is urging people

not to circulate them.

But we're going to show you still images from the footage to really give you an idea of what investigators are looking for, to try and bring the

perpetrators here to justice. And I want to warn you that the images are disturbing. Now, one video purports to show a Russian fighter beheading a

captured Ukrainian soldier. You see the attacker wearing a white leg banner, you can see there, and that basically indicates support for the

Russian military in an apparently separate incident.

Another video appears to show the beheaded corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground, the yellow arm band you can see on the right

of your screen you'll see is worn by Ukraine's military. Our Ben Wedeman is in eastern Ukraine with more on this extremely disturbing story. Ben, I

believe that you have seen these videos.


So what more can you tell us about what they show here?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video you referenced that has the headless bodies, corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers

there, next to a wrecked military vehicle, they also apparently had their hands cut off as well. And in that video, you hear somebody saying the

following: "they killed them. Someone came up to them. They came up to them and cut their heads off."

Now from -- according to the social media, in which these videos were circulated. There's a suggestion that this happened in the area of Bakhmut,

where a lot of Wagner fighters, mercenaries are involved in. And it's believed that they are perhaps involved in that video, which appears to

have been shot in whether or time of year much along the lines of what it is.

And now, the other video appears to be from the Summer perhaps. In that video, it's somewhat blurred, but what you see is what appears to be a

Russian soldier with a knife cutting off the head of a man in uniform believed to be a Ukrainian. And from the sounds in that video, it appears

that he's been beheaded while still alive. Isa?

SOARES: And that is, I mean, just barbaric. What are -- what are the Russians saying? What is Prigozhin saying?

WEDEMAN: Well Dmitry Peskov, who's the Kremlin spokesman, has said that the videos are terrible. But he said that their authenticity has led yet to

be very side -- verified. As far as Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner group goes, he says he's seen the videos, but there's nothing in

them that would indicate that those are Wagner fighters involved.

Now, obviously, the Ukrainians are going to be looking at every single fraction of a second in those videos to try to figure out who perhaps is

being killed or was killed, and who are the perpetrators. But they already have a huge file of Russian war crimes since the beginning of the full-

scale invasion in February of last year, so there's a lot of work that they're having to deal with apart from these latest atrocities. Isa?

SOARES: Indeed, Ben Wedeman for us there in eastern Ukraine, thanks very much, Ben. Well, Russia's military conscription policy is about to get more

strict. The Kremlin wants more men ready for battle like these troops you see training here in Belarus. The tough new measures include electronic

delivery of military call-up papers, even if a conscripted Russian doesn't log on to look at those papers, the government will still consider him

notified, and that makes evasion, all but impossible.

Let's bring in CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty. And Jill, Russian officials, I believe are denying that this new

bill, it kind of lays the groundwork for a fresh mobilization. But Russians must be concerned nevertheless here.

JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, the indications we have are that they indeed are, because of what happened last

September. You remember, it was a partial mobilization and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Russians left the country very quickly to avoid

that. And it was, you know, bureaucratic nightmare because there was chaos, you know, long lines of traffic of people trying to get out.

So that is the explanation that the Kremlin is giving, which is nothing particularly exciting about this. This is a bureaucratic step to make sure

we have a better unified military register. And I think what we've got here obviously, is of great sensitivity by the Kremlin, even about the word

"mobilization", because of what happened last year.

And you can imagine that many young people would be very worried if there were another mobilization that could send them to Ukraine.

SOARES: Yes, indeed, and the timing, I mean, the timing of this is important too, because what we have seen at least, from our teams on the

ground, Jill, in eastern Ukraine is you know, we're seeing a military basically bleeding manpower as well as weaponry and failing to make any

major gains. We were talking about the east of Ukraine here.

DOUGHERTY: Correct, and then we also have what's expected to be this upcoming counteroffensive by the --

SOARES: Yes --

DOUGHERTY: Ukrainians. And so, Russia wants to rush as many people into the battle as they can, and this is Spring mobilization time. They always

twice a year call young men up -- and, you know, it's an interesting thing. I was watching some video of the discussion in parliament.


There are two houses lower and high and upper, and then the lower house, there was only one person who actually did not vote for this, and she's an

interesting politician. She's the mother of Ksenia Sobchak, if you remember her, who actually ran for president against Vladimir Putin a few years ago,

and her name is Lyudmila Narusova, and she said, look, we all know what this is about.

And if you try to restrict the rights of Russians, you can only do that in time of war. And we're still not at that point in Russia where President

Putin wants to, you know, describe it formally as a war because that would mean martial law. So it's -- and a lot of sensitivity about this.

SOARES: Yes, a lot of sensitive internal politics, internal rifts as well seem to be playing out. Jill Dougherty, great to see you, thanks very much,

Jill. There are international concerns about the welfare of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Kremlin critic who is currently in jail in Russia. The German

government says it's very concerned about his worsening health after Navalny spokesperson said he had severe stomach issues, and has

dramatically lost weight over the past two weeks.

Vladimir Ashurkov is a Navalny ally and the executive director of the Anti- Corruption Foundation established by Navalny himself. He told me he's getting a little information so far on Navalny's condition. Have a listen.


VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ANTI-CORRUPTION FOUNDATION: Well our information flow from the prison where he is held is not very

informative. We learned from his lawyer yesterday, that an ambulance was called to the Penal Colony on the night from Friday to Saturday. We also

learned that he lost 8 kilos over the last two weeks.

And we believe that his health is in serious condition. It's something related to stomach pain. He has never had stomach problems. And, of course,

given the background of his poisoning by Russia's security services, this leaves us very worried.

SOARES: What did the ambulance say? What -- any sense of the diagnosis here?

ASHURKOV: The lawyer conveyed to us that when Navalny asked the doctor what the diagnosis was, his answer was very elusive. So we don't have a


SOARES: Now, you hinted at, Vladimir, which is something that I heard as well from the spokesperson, who said, "we do not rule out at all this time

in prison, he could have been poisoned with something to make his health deteriorate slowly, but steadily."

Do not rule out. Is there any evidence that he may have been poisoned? Would the symptoms that he has -- will that suggest poisoning anymore than

acute stomach pain? What more are you learning?

ASHURKOV: We don't have any more information at this time. Obviously, in the conditions of Russian prison, Russian authorities and Russian security

services are quite free to operate as they see fit. And given the history of Navalny's poisoning, we can't rule anything out. We don't have any

evidence, any direct and concrete evidence about his poisoning.

SOARES: But you wouldn't -- you don't rule that out and it wouldn't surprise you. And that order, would that come from the top? Would that come

from Putin? Would that come from Prigozhin? Where would that order -- who would it come from?

ASHURKOV: Well, Prigozhin is a relatively recent figure in the Russian public space. When Navalny was poisoned in 2020, a nerve agent novichok was

used, which was previously used in our scrap-up poisoning in the U.K. These agents are only available to security services, and nobody can authorize

use of such powerful agents other than the top levels of Russian government, which means Putin.

SOARES: And then if it is coming from the top, if it is coming from Putin, what then Vladimir, does this tell us about the divisions, the pressures

the Kremlin may be facing right nigh -- right now. Is it a sign of weakness or a sign of strength you think if this is what they are doing, and of

course, like you said, there is no evidence --

ASHURKOV: I don't want -- I don't want to overstate, and I don't want to speculate that the poisoning is taking place. It's a hypothesis quite

plausible, given the history of Navalny.


But I think the recent decisions that Russian government has been taking on making it easier to draft people into the army and introducing more and

more repressive laws, I think it all means that the Russian government understands that it cannot achieve victory on the battlefield in Ukraine,

and it needs to tighten the screws within the country.

SOARES: So the pressure is mounting clearly. One of the prison officers -- I wonder if you can shed more light here Vladimir. One of the prison

officers told Navalny -- this is according to the spokesperson, that a provocation was being prepared against him. Is this related to what is

happening? And how would you interpret a provocation?

ASHURKOV: Navalny has been subject to torture in -- during his two -- over two years in prison. Often, he -- an inmate is put into his room that has

problem with hygiene or who has just being exposed to COVID. So this is one type of provocation.

It's possible that something more sinister is being prepared. That's why it's important for us to share all this information and hints that we get,

so that the world attention is given to Navalny, who is arguably the most famous political prisoner in the world right now.


SOARES: And our thanks to Vladimir for that. Well, still to come tonight, more than a 1,000 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean today. We

are live in Italy to learn how it is handling the crisis. Plus, a look at the dramatic moments when the Louisville, Kentucky police were in a

shootout with a gunman from Monday's bank shooting. We'll bring you that body-cam video next.


SOARES: Welcome back. Two large boats carrying around 1,200 migrants have arrived in Italy after a rescue operation by the Italian coast guard. The

two boats ran into rough seas while making the crossing on Monday.


More than 31,000 migrants have arrived in Italy just this year alone. Italy declared a state of emergency over the situation on Tuesday, a move that's

drawn condemnation from Amnesty International. I want to bring in Felix Weiss from Sea-Watch International, has been monitoring the migrant

situation from Italy.

Felix, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. Look, I think it's fair to say we have been reporting on the story in the last few

days. It's been a pretty chaotic couple of days. Just tell us what you and your team have been seeing.

FELIX WEISS, SPOKESPERSON, SEA-WATCH INTERNATIONAL: So what we see in the Mediterranean Sea currently is the result of European migration policy,

right? So we see a completely overburdened Italian coast guard because there are still no European sea rescue program in place.

And we also see that people still have to flee Tunisia and Libya and have to take -- really un-sea-worthy thing is to cross the Mediterranean Sea

because there are still no safe entry routes and people are forced to make this dangerous journey.

SOARES: Yes, and the sea is pretty treacherous right now, it's not Summer, it will be very dicey indeed. I mean, we've heard the Italian government

put out this state of emergency call -- for the state of emergency. What does that mean, though, for NGOs and critically from migrants making this

perilous crossing.

WEISS: So the state of emergency is mainly used in natural disasters like an earthquake, for example, to unlock funds or to give the government power

to deal with the situation. But what we see in the Mediterranean Sea is not a natural disaster. It's like a political one. So the European Union could

change that immediately if they will do.

But this declaration of the state of emergency will not change that. It will not change the situation on the central Mediterranean Sea, and it

would also not change the current situation that we are facing. Moreover, we feel that this has an impact on the human rights situation for refugees

in Italy and also the current status that they are faced when they arrive here in the country.

SOARES: OK, so just explain and break it down for us. Why then announce a state of emergency? What is this? Just politics like you're saying?

WEISS: Well, first of all, it's definitely a political move. It's also that current government can show their society they will do something, and

as I said, it's giving the government to power the deal with the situation even faster. So they could do stuff without asking for the parliament and

things like this.

They could prevent the commissioner who is dealing with the situation even faster, so they don't have to play this political bingo and just make

decisions without going into the parliament.

SOARES: So just explain to our viewers around the world, you know, we're looking at some footage of several boats of migrants, dinghies, of very

small boats. I saw from some of the notes that there were many women and children. Can your team -- can -- how close -- are we seeing more Italian

ships? Actually seeing these boats rescuing, is Malta taking part in this as well?

WEISS: No, absolutely not. So the current problem that we are facing with our Aegean Sea missions by our aircraft seaboard 1 and seaboard 2 is that

European maritime rescue coordination centers, they don't work with us, so they don't verify information. They also don't coordinate with us. So on

the situation on Sunday where we found a boat in distress with 400 persons on board, there was the immediate danger of capsizing because the weather

got worse and worse, day -- hour-by-hour.

But we tried. We really begged the Maltese authorities for help, but there was no response. Luckily, we could find two merchant persons in the

vicinity -- well, then also changed their course, but they told us later via radio that they received orders from the Rescue Coordination Center in

Malta to not intervene, so not to rescue the persons in distress and to just --

SOARES: Why not? Why didn't they intervene?

WEISS: They just gave the orders to the merchant vessel to hand out fuel, so therefore they can make their way by themselves to Italy, because if

Malta would have launched a rescue operation by their own coast guards, for example, the migrants would have entered in Malta. This is nothing or this

is something that Malta tries to prevent.

So there was no rescue operation during the night and also on the day after, and luckily, which was also then a huge relief for us, was that, the

Italian coast guard then has -- released a press statement that they will take care of these two boats.

SOARES: Yes, I think people forget these are people in escaping very difficult situations, making a very treacherous journey, and I think that's

what everyone needs to remember here. Felix Weiss, really appreciate it, thank you very much, Felix.

WEISS: Thanks.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, we will show you the intense body-cam footage from the Louisville, Kentucky police as they respond to Monday's

mass shooting. And then later, a fire at a recycling plant in Indiana is sending toxic chemicals into the air. We are live on the ground.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

The Louisville, Kentucky, Police Department are releasing new material, shedding light on Monday's deadly mass shooting at a bank. They have just

released recordings of emergency calls and earlier they released dramatic bodycam video of their quick response to the attack.

We have to warn you that some of the images may be disturbing. And you can see here the tense moments between the police officers and the shooter,

the 25 year old gunman and an employee of the bank, open fire, killing five people and then wounding eight others, including an officer who was shot in

the head.

Police dispatch audio reveals that the gunman left a voicemail to his friends, saying he was going to kill everyone at the bank and that he was

feeling suicidal. Police say it appears he was waiting for their officers to arrive at the shooting scene.

I want to bring in Adrienne Broaddus, who is in Louisville, Kentucky.

So Adrienne, we now have the bodycam video.

How is this helping in the investigation in terms of piecing together the narrative of what happened here?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isa, investigators are still trying to determine the shooter's motivation. Yes, the body camera video helps

paint a clearer picture. We also have received 9-1-1 calls that our CNN teams are looking through right now.

But as you mentioned, investigators say it took this 25 year old shooter one minute to carry out that attack. That's after he shot individuals

inside of this bank behind me. After he shot people on the inside, he returned to the lobby.

The lobby's entrance is on the other side of the plywood. And the shooter had an advantage. As you can see from the body camera images, he's able to

see out. But the officers who responded weren't really able to see in. They could not see where the shooter was located because of the reflective glass

that was once there.


We now know the rifle the shooter used was purchased last week, six days before the shooting. He bought that gun legally on April 4th. That was a

Tuesday and he purchased it from a local dealership here.

His family releasing a statement overnight, saying, in part, they knew Connor struggled with depression. However, they were working to actively

address his mental health challenges.

The family also goes on to say they had no idea he was planning and they had no idea he was capable of such violence. I want to read some of their

statement to you.

It says, in part, "No words can express our sorrow, anguish and horror at the unthinkable harm our son, Connor, inflicted on innocent people. We

mourn their loss and that of our son, Connor.

"We pray for everyone traumatized by his senseless acts of violence and are deeply grateful for the bravery of the Louisville Metropolitan Police


And that rookie police officer, Nickolas Wilt, is still in critical condition, fighting for his life. Later tonight, a vigil will happen here

in the city, honoring the five who died here at the bank.

SOARES: And as you as you said, Adrienne, you know, the Louisville Metro Police Department has released 9-1-1 calls from the Old National Bank. I

know there have been six clips, of course, to 9-1-1 from the shooting. CNN is currently looking for -- through these calls.

As soon, of course, as we have more, we will, of course, touch base with you again. Adrienne Broaddus is there for us, appreciate it.

Now we are following a story out of Indiana, where a fire at a recycling plant is burning and emitting toxic smoke into the air. The fire started on

Tuesday afternoon, prompting evacuation orders for about 2,000 nearby residents. The fire marshal says there are a variety of chemicals in the

air and debris has been found in the yards of nearby homes.

CNN's Omar Jimenez joins me now from Richmond, Indiana.

And, Omar, I can see just over your right shoulder, I think that's a plume of smoke. I'm glad you're wearing a mask.

But just how toxic is this?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the concern is at the -- especially toward the tops of that plume of smoke behind me -- that there are

chemicals and potentially toxic ones that are given off when plastics burn.

This is a recycled plastic facility basically behind me. And it is plastic that is burning for the most part. It's, as we understand, the state fire

marshal here in Indiana has said that what is billowing out of there is definitely toxic.

I'm going to give you a little bit of a better view so you can see, even with this amount of smoke coming out, it is vastly better than it was this

morning, when the thick clouds were really billowing up past these trees, almost to the point you couldn't even see the structure of any sort of

building that was burning itself.

As we understand the fire started in a truck trailer that contained plastics. That fire then spread to debris that was littered around the

property, plastic debris. And then the compound began getting engulfed.

Now the good news is we've had some Environmental Protection Agency officials here on the ground, conducting some air quality tests. And what

they have told us is that at the ground level what most people are breathing, the air quality does not contain toxins, which is good.

However, they did see traces of basically smoke particles. And that's part of why we're wearing this mask, the N-95 mask, because it helps filter out

some of that.

But even though smoke particles can be the very, very troublesome for people with respiratory issues and so that is why they're urging everybody

within a certain amount of radius from this spot to evacuate. About 2,000 people or so that have gotten that order.

As for the cause of this specifically, we do not know. However, the mayor says they've had issues with this property before, citing them for

potential fire hazards multiple times, as the mayor's described it.

And so as officials thought about this place, for them it was more of a matter of when this would happen as opposed to if this would happen and

here we are. It has happened and we are left dealing with the aftermath.

SOARES: Omar Jimenez for us there in Richmond. Thank you very much, appreciate it.

And still to come tonight, the death toll rises from a deadly attack in Myanmar. We will tell you why one U.N. official says the attack shows the

military is getting desperate. That story after this.





SOARES: An airstrike attack in Myanmar appears to be one of the deadliest since the military took over. On Tuesday, the junta attacked a town if you

remember in Sakine region of the country. A spokesperson for the junta says he was targeting armed terrorists and explosives at the site caused the

blast and many of the deaths.

A U.N. official says the military is losing control and getting desperate. Have a listen.


THOMAS ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: They're losing control of the country. They're losing ground. Things are much more unstable on the

ground than they've ever been and they continue to become more and more unstable.

So there are soldiers, who they have put on the ground, are finding themselves to be subject to attacks, to ordnance of various kinds, guerilla

attacks by people in these areas and villages that are very strongly opposed to the military junta.

So as a result of that, they're using airpower more and more and, of course, as they do so, more and more civilians are being killed because of

that ordnance being dropped from the air does not distinguish between its targets.


SOARES: Women and children were among those killed in the strike. That U.N. official also says other countries need to do something more than just

condemn the attacks. We will stay on top of this story for you.

After days of violence triggered by Israel's raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a ban on Jewish visitors and tourists is now in effect for the

compound until the end of Ramadan. Our Salma Abdelaziz visited the mosque just before the ban took effect to learn more about the tensions.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A delicate balance that governs and binds this holy site is under strain. My producer and I, both

Muslim born, were granted access to film at the Al-Aqsa Compound by the custodians of the site.

Only Muslims are allowed to pray here under a long-running but unwritten status quo agreement that worshippers tell us is slowly being eroded. Non-

Muslims can visit the complex only during certain hours.

"I feel pain, true pain inside," this woman tells me. "This is a place of worship, not a place for occupation or for provocation."

This is what she means. While we speak, a group of largely Jewish visitors passes by the mosque under police escort. The women demonstrate by reciting

the Quran louder and louder. This mountaintop is revered by Jews, too. They call it Temple Mount.


(voice-over): A growing movement of Jewish extremists is demanding to perform prayers here. That could upend the status quo. We witnessed at

least two men praying as police stand by.

We've seen several small groups like this of non-Muslim worshippers passing through the complex as Muslims continue to pray inside the mosque. This is

where the friction is. This is where the controversy lies.

(voice-over): Jordan is the custodian of the grounds, but that role is becoming increasingly symbolic experts say, because it is Israel that

controls the security checks at entry points and therefore access. The director general of al-Aqsa sees the increasing visits of Jewish extremists

under police escort as a provocation.

I see these visits as an attack on our holy site, he tells me, and I warned the government of Israel to stay away from al-Aqsa Mosque because any

violation here drags down the entire region.

And there are taunts at the gates. Small groups of Jewish radicals saying the temple will be built, a reference to a far-right fringe call to build a

third temple on the sacred grounds.

Prime Minister Netanyahu insists he is committed to keeping the status quo. But under his government, the most far right in Israel's history, extremist

voices are growing louder and stronger. All this makes an already extremely contentious place ever more of a tinderbox. One event here can and has

sparked deadly cycles of violence across the region.

Al-Aqsa is seen as a political symbol as well as a religious one by the Arab world. The complex lies in the heart of east Jerusalem, which most of

the international community considers to be under Israeli occupation, but which Israel sees as part of its united capital.

Al-Aqsa is our life. It is the breath we breathe, he says. It is an ideology that we carry in our minds.

We enter the Dome of The Rock, an area designated for women to witness the afternoon prayer. Some go to great links to get here, passing multiple

checkpoints. But they tell us they find some peace when they arrive.

Of course, I don't feel safe, she tells me, and everything can change in an instant, so I'm always scared, but I'm here because I have faith in God.

This prayer passed peacefully as most do, but here, even quiet worship is not a guarantee -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Jerusalem.


SOARES: Officials from the private security firm G4S appeared before a South African parliamentary committee today to answer questions about the

prison escape of a convicted murderer and rapist, Thabo Bester.

Now he broke out of a facility run by the private company last May after faking his own death in a fire. He was arrested in Tanzania on Friday,

along with two others. Lawmakers want to know how Bester was able to flee from one of South Africa's most secure facilities. Three employees at the

prison were dismissed following his escape.

CNN's Larry Maduro joins now from Nairobi with more.

And, Larry, this sounds like something out of a movie.

How exactly did he manage to escape here?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If this was a movie, the plot would sound so farfetched it would be ridiculous. And yet entirely true. I just

returned from South Africa and the entire nation is captivated by this.

How did Thabo Bester, a 35 year old who was serving a life sentence for rape and murder, finally manage to escape from maximum security prison?

He had applied to be moved to solitary confinement just three days before this fire in the prison, where he faked his own death. And they somehow

planted a body in his cell and he left the prison and was living with his girlfriend, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, a celebrity doctor and entrepreneur

that's very well known in South Africa.

She has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, very glamorous. And this happened in May. But it's only until earlier this year when a local

investigative outlet started to ask questions that DNA analysis revealed that he did not die in the fire. It was believed that he was actually on

the loose.

A manhunt was launched and he somehow managed to flee South Africa, go through three or four countries. It was in Tanzania, where he was arrested

with the doctor and another accomplice. They were said to be just 10 kilometers from crossing over here into Kenya.

So officials are now in Tanzania trying to get them deported back into South Africa so that they can face charges. He will be sent right back to

prison. But officials were hard pressed to explain to parliament exactly how something this brazen could have happened. Listen.

SOARES: What a plot. That's all I can say. Look, what about the --



XOLA NQOLA, SOUTH AFRICAN MP: -- multibillion company with inside a prison, sir?

What was that laptop authorized to do in a cell of -- in a prison cell?


COBUS GROENEWOUD, G4S SOUTH AFRICA DIRECTOR: They have the right, if they are registered with a -- with a formal institution of learning, to have

access to a laptop. And for that reason, he had access to that laptop.


MADOWO: So Bester had that laptop and even a phone because he officially was studying some kind of course. But he was running what is called a

multibillion dollar business inside that prison, multibillion rand business.

In fact, one of the more outrageous things is he appeared to speak at a conference from inside prison. The guests were told he was speaking from

New York. They even sang him happy birthday. This man was in prison, a maximum security prison in South Africa.

And maybe the most audacious, Isa, is that he organized a women in media conference in South Africa that had big celebrity names advertised,

including Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson. This only unraveled when both celebrities said we don't know about this. We're not booked for this.

SOARES: And I'm going to say exactly what I said before you tossed that clip, what a plot. That's all I'll say. I can understand why everyone is

gripped by this. Larry Madowo, appreciate it. Thank you very much, my friend.

And we're back after this short break.




SOARES: Well the king, the prince but no duchess. Buckingham Palace says Prince Harry will attend the coronation of his father, King Charles III,

but without his wife, Meghan. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in the U.S. with the couple's two young children.

There had been speculation of over Harry's attendance after the release, of course, of his explosive memoir, "Spare," as well as the couple's tell-all

Netflix documentary. And King Charles will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6th. And, of course, we will have special coverage here on CNN.

Well, he is an icon. He is a legend. And he is the moment. And no, I do not mean Prince Harry. I actually mean Super Mario, not content with breaking

records at the box office nor capturing the imagination of generations of gamers, Super Mario has a new notch in his illustrious plumber's belt.

His theme song is the first piece of video game music to be added to America's National Recording Registry, which really preserves landmark

moments in the history of recorded sound. Take a listen and you'll understand why.


SOARES: That is a classic.


SOARES: Joining Mario are 2 dozen additions to the U.S. Library of Congress, including Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," John

Lennon's "Imagine," and the song that once scandalized the world before going on to define a decade.


SOARES: That's a classic.

Well, few women embody the term "diva" quite like Madonna. While the word can sometimes be used negatively, it is worth remembering that its literal

meaning comes from the divine, much like Madonna's own name, of course.

Now London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which has hosted past exhibits like these, is celebrating the word diva and the women associated with it

in a new brand exhibition. So what really defines the diva were in the words of Dame Shirley Bassey.

She says, "To me, diva is all about the power of the voice and the ability to entertain, to succeed against odds, to fight and break through barrier

after barrier, to have your voice heard."

We will leave you that as your quote on the day.

That does it for me. Thanks very much for watching. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest is up next. I shall see you

tomorrow. Bye bye.