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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Escalates Pressure For "Immediate" Israel-Hamas Ceasefire; U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Keeps Trump On Colorado Ballot; Haiti Declares State Of Emergency After Prisoners Escape; Finnish FM On Ukraine's Artillery Crisis; U.N. Team: "Clear" Signs Of Sexual Violence In Oct. 7 Attacks. 2-3p ET

Aired March 04, 2024 - 14:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Bianca Nobilo in for my friend Isa Soares. Tonight,

negotiators meet in Cairo in a desperate attempt to reach a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas with just days ahead of Ramadan. We'll have the

very latest for you.

Then a major legal victory for Donald Trump after the Supreme Court rules to keep him on the ballot in Colorado. We'll have all of the reaction to

that decision coming up soon. Plus, spiraling gang violence and a state of emergency in Haiti after thousands of prisoners escaped from jail, we'll

have a report from inside the country's violent gang lands.

We begin with a historic decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court and a massive legal victory for former President Donald Trump. Justices

unanimously ruled that Trump's name can remain on Colorado's Republican primary ballot despite claims he violated the so-called insurrectionist's

clause in the U.S. constitution.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot take somebody out of a race. The voters can take the person out of the race very quickly. But a

court shouldn't be doing that, and the Supreme Court saw that very well.


NOBILO: A lawyer from the group that brought the ballot challenge in Colorado says he's disappointed the justices took what he's calling a

procedural off-ramp. So, let's bring in CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider to discuss this with us. Jessica, always great to see you.

Talk us through the implications of this decision by the Supreme Court and the significance of the unanimity with which it was delivered.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is significant that all nine justices, Bianca, agreed that Trump should remain on the ballot,

and they really stepped in at the 11th hour here to really add some certainty to voters in 15 states here in the U.S. who will head to the

polls to vote tomorrow in the primaries for what's known as Super Tuesday.

So, the outcome of this ruling is that those voters, they know that Donald Trump will be on the ballot, and if they vote for him, their votes will

count. That's what all nine justices said unanimously. What's interesting is that there was a bit of a split, a 5-4 split in the particulars here.

Five of the justices said that states can't take this unilateral decision to take presidents or any federal officers off the ballot, and instead,

that's a decision that Congress would have to make in the form of legislation to decide which candidates could be disqualified by the 14th

Amendment's so-called insurrectionist ban.

And that's the ban and the clause that's at issue here. It says that "any officer of the United States who engages in insurrection can be barred from

holding office." And what we saw over the last several months were Colorado, Maine, Illinois, they all acted via their state's courts to take

Trump off the ballot because of that clause.

But now the Supreme Court stepping in to say, no, a state cannot decide who is on the ballot in federal elections. Now, we saw Donald Trump weigh in on

this today, he said on Truth Social, it was a big win for America, we saw him give that lengthy talk at Mar-a-Lago. On the flip side, though, the

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is involved in at least the K sound Colorado.

She spoke out on social media saying she was disappointed and she argued that Colorado should be able to bar what she called oath-breaking

insurrectionists from their ballot. But of course, Bianca, this is a unanimous decision. It puts some certainty going forward into Super Tuesday

that Donald Trump will be on the ballot in all of those states.

That he'll remain on the ballot if he's the nominee, the Republican nominee for the general election. So, a big ruling today, and now what we look

toward, Bianca, is this hearing at the end of April about whether Trump is immune from criminal prosecution. So, the Supreme Court continues to be

embroiled in what is a big election year as we barrel towards the general election in November, Bianca.

NOBILO: So, Jessica, can Donald Trump breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to eligibility, at least, like is this the end of the road for the

people it would want to see Donald Trump disqualified from the ballot?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, this is the end of the road because we're seeing multiple challenges or we did see multiple challenges in several states. And so,

there was this question, can these states actually take this action? We saw him disqualified in at least three states, but now, those decisions are



The Supreme Court definitively stating states, you cannot take federal officials off the ballot. So, yes, Trump is in the clear. His name will be

on the ballot, not only in the primaries, but if he's the Republican nominee, that seems very likely, he will definitely be on the general

election ballot because of this ruling, Bianca.

NOBILO: Jessica Schneider, thank you very much. As Jessica was saying, it is a defining week for the 2024 U.S. election. Donald Trump will likely

take a huge step forward toward the Republican nomination following tomorrow's Super Tuesday with 15 states holding primaries.

The former president won all 39 delegates over the weekend at the Michigan Republican Convention. Nikki Haley won for the first time in the race,

taking the D.C. Republican primary. On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden takes center stage when he delivers his State of the Union address.

It's a critical test for Mr. Biden who is facing sagging poll numbers and anger over the U.S. stance on the war in Gaza. I want to welcome in Larry

Sabato; he's the director at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. Always a pleasure to speak to you, sir. Let's begin talking about

the Supreme Court ruling.

Now, this is a vindication for Donald Trump, not in just the immediate literal sense of the fact that his name can appear on the ballot, but also

potentially in terms of him spinning it or the interpretation being that Donald Trump has been unfairly targeted in this election campaign.

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA'S CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, you're right, that's what he'll say. Of course, that's not the truth. The

truth is that if you read the plain language of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution passed after the civil war, ratified after the civil war,

one would think as a layman, that it fit him perfectly.

He was an insurrectionist and he organized January 6. But the Supreme Court has spoken, although there was, as your correspondent suggested, a clear

split between the six conservatives or at least five of the six conservatives and the three liberals.

Having said that, this was widely expected, no one thought that Donald Trump was going to be thrown off the ballot once the Republican Party chose

him. And he hasn't been, he'll be the Republican nominee. He's going to sweep or almost sweep the primaries and the delegates coming tomorrow on

Super Tuesday in 15 states and American Samoa.

So, not much has changed except that Donald Trump as usual will exaggerate the result and claim that he's been exonerated, nothing of the sort


NOBILO: You were mentioning what Jessica was discussing in terms of the split between the conservative and liberal judges. Can you flash that out

for us a bit and talk about the nuance of position there?

SABATO: Yes, the liberals were in agreement that Trump should remain on the ballot, but they were concerned that the majority of the conservatives had

made it virtually impossible to take anybody off the ballot except through action of Congress. Now, you talk about a court that's disconnected from

reality, I think even people abroad have recognized that the American Congress is broken, they can't agree on what day it is, much less get

something significant done.

So, this is a solution that really isn't a solution, for Donald Trump, it's a solution. It may not be the best to answer for the country as a whole.

NOBILO: So, 15 states, including Colorado, holding their primaries on Tuesday. What is the significance of this, in terms of the presidential

campaign, and what are you in particular going to be keeping an eye on?

SABATO: I think what's important is that it's going to bring Donald Trump very close to the 1,215 delegates that he needs to be nominated. And that

will be happening within the next week or two, Max. So, you know, he's on the ballot. For Joe Biden, clearly, he's already the nominee.

There's no real question about that. So, in a sense, voter turnouts won't be very significant because it's obvious to just about everybody what's

going to happen. That's not to denigrate Nikki Haley, who has continued bravely to run against Donald Trump and to make the arguments that should

be made within the Republican Party against Trump getting a third consecutive presidential nomination.

NOBILO: Larry, anger over the U.S.' involvement or some tacit involvement in Israel and Gaza has been mounting, and is becoming deeply problematic

for the Democrats as they look toward this long presidential campaign. We're now hearing shifts in rhetoric, or at least shifts in tone from

Kamala Harris as well as Joe Biden, do you think that's too little too late, meaning the U.S. is doing airdrops now.


But for the people who have been deeply hurt and devastated and feel angry about this. Is there any chance of Biden and Harris been able to claw back

that support at this stage?

SABATO: Well, it's early March, and the election voting really takes place in October and November. So, there's a long time to go. That's not to say

people will forget it or should forget it.

What was really significant was the vice president not breaking with the president, but coming out in much stronger language than President Biden

has used, directed really at Netanyahu, telling him and the Israeli cabinet, it's time for not only a ceasefire, but a real effort to break the

hunger that's taking place in Gaza, which is unacceptable to almost everyone, almost everyone.

So, things are changing, whether they're changing enough to please Democratic activists, I don't know, though time tends to heal wounds.

NOBILO: Larry Sabato, thanks so much for joining us today.

SABATO: Thank you.

NOBILO: Ceasefire talks are inching along in Cairo, but mediators are running out of time to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas before the

start of Ramadan. The U.S. is pushing for an immediate ceasefire and hostage agreement as we were just alluding to. And in her sharpest language

yet, Vice President Kamala Harris says people in Gaza are starving amid inhumane conditions, demanding Israel allowing more humanitarian aid.

She's set to meet in Washington next hour with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz; a fierce rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The call

for more aid comes amid reports of a new Israeli strike on a relief truck in central Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry says at least eight people were


Extreme food shortages are costing young lives as we know, the World Health Organization says it visited two hospitals in northern Gaza and witnessed

children dying from starvation. A top Palestinian envoy at the U.N. begged the General Assembly to take action.


RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Look at our children, look at Yazan(ph), look what agony they are enduring. Dozen more

children who died of malnutrition have been identified, and many more have died, and are dying in darkness and destitution. This has to stop for God's

sake. This has to stop.


NOBILO: We're joined now by Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv and MJ Lee in Washington. Jeremy, let's begin with you because we've been hearing over

the last hour reports of at least eight people killed in an Israeli strike on an aid truck in central Gaza. What more can you tell us about that?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. That's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. And we also have footage

of this truck, which I think you just showed there, showing bloodied seats, a medium-size truck, and some people can be seen in the footage gathered

around that vehicle, which clearly looks like an aid truck.

The Israeli military for its part hasn't commented directly on these allegations leveled by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, that this aid

truck was struck, but they did release drone footage of a strike that CNN geo-located to that very same coastal road in central Gaza.

And the Israeli military says that in that strike, it killed a Hamas terrorist, a man who they said was a recruiter for Hamas. Now, this of

course comes after those reports from last Thursday as we saw hundreds of people massing around the aid trucks in northern Gaza.

Israeli gunfire also involved in that situation, although depending on if you ask eyewitnesses on the ground who say that gunfire sparked the

stampede and aid trucks driving into the crowd or the Israeli military, which says that the gunfire happened after and to a separate group of


Nonetheless, this appears to be a different situation, but nonetheless, it's not the first time that we have seen aid trucks in Gaza being


NOBILO: And Jeremy, these reports like all of the others, frankly, really underscore the importance of a ceasefire to protect civilian life. Israel

is obviously not showing up for the talks in Qatar. Why is that? And presumably that's having a huge impact on the prospects for a deal.

DIAMOND: Yes, well, the Israeli government says that it did not send a delegation to these latest talks because they didn't relieve -- receive two

key pieces of information from Hamas. The first of which is a list of the hostages who would be released under this initial phase of the agreement.

The second of which is a response from Hamas to the ratio, the number of Palestinian prisoners that they would demand be released in exchange for

these Israeli hostages. But it's interesting because depending on who you ask, the sticking points in these talks are very different.


A senior Hamas member told us yesterday that they view the sticking points as Israel not yet agreeing to a permanent ceasefire, at least, a path to a

permanent ceasefire. Questions about the movement of Israeli troops during that ceasefire, and also the return of displaced Palestinians to be able to

go back to their homes in northern Gaza.

But regardless of what the sticking points are, we know that there are still gaps that remain in a very short amount of time to be able to resolve

those differences. We are less than a week away from the holy month of Ramadan, and Benny Gantz, who is at the White House today, meeting with

officials, talking about these negotiations, talking about a potential ceasefire.

He has said that if there is not a deal by the start of Ramadan, Israel will instead move forward with this major military offensive into Rafah, a

city where 1.5 million Palestinians are currently sheltering. Israel has said that it will work to evacuate those civilians from fighting zones in

Rafah. But so far, they have yet to publicly disclose what those plans actually are.

NOBILO: Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv, thank you. Let's bring in MJ Lee, who is at the White House for us. MJ picking up on what Jeremy was just saying,

there is this meeting next hour, I believe between Benny Gantz and Kamala Harris. What can we expect out of this meeting? What can be achieved by

that pairing?

MIN JUNG LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we actually just spotted Benny Gantz arriving here at the White House for that meeting with the

senior most U.S. officials, including of course, the vice president and the president's National Security adviser Jake Sullivan.

And this meeting couldn't come at a more critical moment in this Israel- Hamas war. For one, the humanitarian crisis, of course, in Gaza could not be more dire as you were laying out before with the human suffering and the

casualties that we're seeing across the Strip just intensifying with each day that this conflict drags on.

And with the U.S., as we saw over the weekend, even resorting to air- dropping aid, including food into the Strip. So that just captures how badly the situation there has completely deteriorated. And then of course,

the other factor is the growing calls that we have seen for a ceasefire in Gaza, including from the U.S., the president himself calling for a

temporary ceasefire to go into effect immediately as a part of that hostages deal that the U.S. has been trying to mediate and get across the

finish line.

And then, of course, there is the very complicated Biden and Netanyahu relationship, which has been complicated for some time and has been quite

rocky throughout the course of this war. And the fact that Benny Gantz is here, you know, that's not a move that is in any way sort of endorsed by

Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In fact, he has made clear, his displeasure at the decision by Gantz to come and have these high profile meetings. You know, the comments that the

vice president, Vice President Kamala Harris made over the weekend about the situation in Gaza were probably some of the starkest that we have heard

from any senior U.S. official.

I just want to play a clip of it because it was notable. You know, she not only called for an immediate ceasefire, that six-week ceasefire in the war,

she also just went into such painstaking detail to describe in really graphic terms what the situation is like in Gaza right now.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal feed. Women giving birth to malnourished

babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration.

Our hearts break for the victims of that horrific tragedy, and for all the innocent people in Gaza who are suffering from what is clearly a

humanitarian catastrophe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's it!


HARRIS: People in Gaza are starving.


HARRIS: The conditions are inhumane.


LEE: And as far as that ceasefire-hostages deal is concerned, a senior U.S. administration official told reporters over the weekend that the ball is

essentially -- is in Hamas' court right now, that they need to clarify which category of hostages would be released in that six-week truce when it

first goes into effect.

And you'll recall President Biden told us to just before the weekend that, he is still hopeful that a deal can be reached before Ramadan. But

obviously, this is an incredibly complicated situation with so much on the line right now.

NOBILO: MJ Lee for us at the White House, thank you. A senior U.S. envoy is visiting Lebanon, stepping up efforts to prevent a wider regional war. Just

today, Israel's emergency rescue service said an anti-tank missile hit northern Israel killing at least one foreign worker.


Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging near-daily fire since the October 7th attacks. The U.S. is concerned that Israel could launch a ground

incursion into Lebanon, possibly by late Spring if diplomacy fails to push Hezbollah back from the border. Listen to this warning from special envoy

Amos Hochstein.


AMOS HOCHSTEIN, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY: There is no such thing as a limited war. Escalation will not help the Lebanese and Israeli people return home.

Escalation will not resolve this crisis. An escalation will certainly not help Lebanon rebuild an advance forward at this critical time in Lebanon's

history. But a temporary ceasefire is not enough. A limited war is not containable.


NOBILO: Still to come tonight, concern about Ukraine's defenses as Russian forces advance in the east. How Ukraine's prime minister is responding. And

a historic vote in France. The country puts new guarantees on abortion rights in a global first.


NOBILO: In France, lawmakers have held a historic vote on abortion rights. Abortion access is now enshrined in the country's constitution. President

Emmanuel Macron called the vote, quote, "a French pride and universal message." CNN's Melissa Bell was in the middle of a loud crowd by the

Eiffel Tower when the news came out.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Celebrations here at de Triomphe de l'Etoile in the heart of Paris, just

after the joint session of parliament that took place in their sights, and that was shown on that giant screen there, voted overwhelmingly in favor of

a woman's freedom to get access to abortion.

And what the French government had said as it tried to push this bill through, was in light or the reversal of Roe versus Wade in the United

States in June of 2022, but also the reversal of women's access to abortion elsewhere. It was important that this become a constitutional right.

What the French government had argued was that it was important that future governments not be able to roll these rights back, and that this debate

should at least in this country be settled once and for all. So, celebrations here at de Triomphe de l'Etoile as France becomes the first

country to place into its constitution that crucial freedom. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.



NOBILO: The stream of mourners has not stopped in Moscow for the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, three days after he was laid to

rest. People have continued to pay their respects. Navalny died last month in Siberian prison. His family and close associates maintain he was


The Kremlin has denied any involvement in his death and has offered no comment on the massive turnout that we've seen for his funeral. Ukraine's

Prime Minister says the country's military forces are constantly working on building up their defenses, especially during a critical time following

Russian gains in the east.

Kyiv declared a new defensive line after losing control of the former Ukrainian stronghold, Avdiivka, and that new line has since come under

heavy Russian assault. Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking responsibility for an explosion on a bridge in southwestern Russia.

The blast brought railway traffic to a halt today. Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine pushed Sweden and Finland to join NATO. And President

Vladimir Putin recently vowed to strengthen Russia's western border in response to that. Last week, Isa spoke with the Finnish Foreign Minister

about those developments and here's part of that conversation.


ELINA VALTONEN, FOREIGN MINISTER, FINLAND: Well, first of all, it has to be said out loud and clear that Finland is not a threat to Russia, not as a

NATO member, and obviously not before. And NATO, of course, does not expand itself other than if the free people in democratic nations choose to join

of which Finland and Sweden are perfect example.

And NATO is an alliance for defense and obviously not there to threaten Russia or anybody else for that matter. So, we really don't understand

where he's coming from.

ISA SOARES, CNN: Let's talk about your 830, I believe, yes, mile border with Russia. For a time, Foreign Minister, I understand that sections of

the border were close, right? They were opened, now I believe they're closed again. What have you been seeing on your side of the border because

the -- I understand there were reports of hundreds or even thousands of migrants on the Russian side of the border.

VALTONEN: Yes, indeed, over the course of the past few months, we have observed Russia changing their border policy, so not only have they been

letting people from third countries mainly without valid documentation reach our border and cross the border, thrust them into the European Union.

But they have also actively been mobilizing these people right in their country, in Russia, but also out of the origin countries. And of course,

that's not something we can accept. We can't have an outside power, in this case, Russia, who has self-declared to be hostile towards us and towards

the west to choose on our behalf which people are to enter Finland, and by that also the European Union and NATO area.

So, we proceeded decisively, step-by-step first, but then we had to close the entire border because we didn't see any change from the Russian side.

So, we see this as an act of hybrid warfare.

SOARES: Let's talk ammunition, Foreign Minister, because the Ukrainian Defense Minister has spoken lately of a shell hunger in Ukraine. Europe

meanwhile -- and we've reported the less extensively here on the show has only delivered a third of their artillery ammunition and this is according

to President Zelenskyy. Why has this been so slow from your point of view?

VALTONEN: Well, to be quite honest, we really don't understand why it has been this slow. We have to do more, we have to do it quick. This is the

finished message to our European friends and allies that we simply have to ramp up our defense industry, our capabilities in Europe as well, not to

weaken the Trans-Atlantic link on the very contrary, in order to strengthen that as well, and in order to be able to help Ukraine in the short and

medium term in the extent that they need

SOARES: What about then using the $300 or so billion dollars -- billion euros, I should say, in Russian frozen assets to buy weapons for Ukraine,

because this is something the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen suggested this week. I mean, is this kind of the fallback if

U.S. aid for Ukraine doesn't come through, or should this, Foreign Minister, be done regardless?

VALTONEN: I think it should be done regardless, and we should start with the proceeds of those assets and find legal ways to introduce those. And of

course, in the longer term, I'm sure we will find ways to make use of the entire assets themselves.


VALTONEN: It's because of course Ukraine, who has been attacked by Russia, illegally invaded, they have the right to rebuild their country as a free

nation with the Russian money.



NOBILO: Still to come tonight, the horrifying reality in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince is under siege by gangs and now overrun by free prisoners.


NOBILO: The government of Haiti has imposed a state of emergency and a curfew. It comes amid surging gang violence and follows an alarming attack

on the capital's main prison over the weekend that allowed thousands of inmates to escape. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti is once again urging U.S.

citizens to leave the country. And while this latest swell in violence began just days ago, gang violence has plagued the Caribbean fir years.

CNN's David Culver takes a closer look at Haiti's brutal fight for power.




CULVER (voiceover): It's as close as we can get driving. So, we layer up and walk.

CULVER: Oh, yes. You can already smell it. Wow, look at people just still making their commute as tires are burning right in the middle of the street


CULVER (voiceover): No police barricade, no firefighters, most seemingly unfazed.


These flames have been burning for several hours. Haiti has been engulfed in turmoil for years.

"We don't have a home to live in, we don't have food to eat," that's what they're shouting.

CULVER (voiceover): Many here now fear their country is on the brink of exploding.

CULVER: Does it feel safe right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, there's a thing. My country is right now.

CULVER (voiceover): These folks blame the current government and Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, appointed, following the assassination of President

Jovenel Moise in 2021. They want Henry to go, but he says he's not yet ready to step down. This, as panicked street shootouts, like this one, have

become a near-daily occurrence. It's often a clash between police and the gangs, which have essentially taken Haiti hostage.

They flaunt their weapons and wealth on TikTok, threatening police and basking in lawlessness. Many residents now living behind barricades.

CULVER: This is not the gangs doing this, this is the folks that live in these neighborhoods who are putting these up to prevent gangs from coming

in and kidnapping.

CULVER (voiceover): Using whatever might stop or slow the kidnappers, efforts to protect families and preserve innocence, that innocence

shattered for others. This 14-year-old says he was recruited by a gang at 11, tells me he's often forced to burn the bodies of those killed by other

gang members. "I want to change my way of life," he says, with a heavy look of shame.

At an early morning food distribution, we meet dozens of women who have felt the wrath of gang violence. At times, we notice a lost stare in their

eyes. All of them have been * [00:01:50]35 said there's nobody here who has not been * [00:01:55].

CULVER (voiceover): This woman's sister, shot and killed. This one's husband burned alive inside their home. This woman tells us she was raped.

She shows us the marks left behind.

In recent months, gangs have seized more and more control over this country, including the roads leading to Port-au-Prince. Officials estimate

that gangs now control as much as 80 percent of the capital, even the U.S. Embassy and International Airport are mostly surrounded by rival gang

territories. It's led the Haitian National Police to create an undercover unit. We go with them to the front lines.

CAITLIN HU, CNN SENIOR EDITOR: This unit actually goes into gang areas, looks for gang members and then fights them.

CULVER (voiceover): The officers ask us not to reveal our exact location, and they tell us to work quickly, given we're standing exposed on a windy


CULVER: As police have described it to me, basically everything behind me is occupied by the gangs. It's under their control. There are homes all

around us. We're standing on the foundation of one home that had been abandoned.

CULVER (voiceover): They offer to drive us closer.

HU: And you can see they're getting ready.

CULVER: Yes, our driver's all geared up now, ready for potential gunfire to come our way. Stay away from the windows as we come in here. They describe

this as the last defensive point, and beyond here is what they consider to be their front lines.

CULVER (voiceover): From here, you can see the battlefield, no signs of any suspected gang members. For now. Police are not the only ones trying to

gain the upper hand here. In a fractured state, alternatives to the gangs in government surface. We're headed to meet a commander of BSAP, Haiti's

armed environmental protection agency that has splintered from the Henry government, challenging its legitimacy.

We pull up to a gated compound. The man on the purple shirt leads us in. He then changes into his BSAP uniform. It's the commander. He's in hiding from

police. His message echoes the anti-government protester. He flexes BSAP's strength in numbers and its potential to help bring stability. But when it

comes to his own family --

CULVER: you mentioned you have four kids. What do you think their future is in this country?

CULVER (voiceover): He fears their future is best served leaving Haiti. The desperation is felt beyond Port-au-Prince. In places like Jeremie, the U.N.

Chopper is the safest way to get there. It's about an hour ride. Members of the World Food Program take us through this rural coastal community,

devastated by recent protests.

JEAN-MARTIN BAUER, WFP HAITI DIRECTOR: Right back there, you had five people were killed last week.

CULVER: Right there?

BAUER: It was right there. Yes.

CULVER (voiceover): We arrive at this agricultural consortium. The WFP buys food from these local farmers to then hand out. But the recent protests

have blocked distribution efforts, leaving some food to spoil. It's frustrating for the WFP officials, as they know you don't have to look far

to find hunger here. These farmers pointing to their stomachs, lifting their shirts to us.

CULVER: Are you hungry? A lot of folks will look at Haiti, and they'll say it's had issues for so long.


The question that no doubt people in the U.S. will ask is, well, why should we help?

BAUER: Well, there are two reasons why you need to help. First of all, there's -- on humanitarian grounds. But then there's also a growing self-

interest in the U.S. So the longer you wait to act on Haiti, the more migrants there will be on our southern border. It's that simple.

CULVER (voiceover): Many here search for normalcy where they can't. Even with the threat of violence, missing mass for some is not an option. They

wear their Sunday best and unite in prayer. Places of worship are not immune from gang terror, but they at least offer a moment of tranquility

and hope for now.


NOBILO: And David Culver joins us now live from Los Angeles. David, phenomenal reporting and so timely as well. Give us a sense of what has

supposedly triggered this latest eruption of gang violence and what's happened in the prisons. Because from my understanding, it's very much

linked to the fact that the acting president had promised to step down by the 7th of February.

CULVER: There's a lot of frustration right now towards the government and you're absolutely right, Bianca. I mean, that frustration as we saw pouring

out onto the streets. And we were on the ground just before this most recent outbreak that we've been talking about over the past 72 hours. And

what stood out to us is the amount of control that the gangs have seized over the country and as we pointed out there, over the capital, Port-au-


I mean, the U.N. estimating the gangs now control 80 percent of the capital, it's incredible. Our driving route through the city would change

hourly at times, giving gunfire and violence would erupt randomly. You've got kidnappings and extortions that are rampant right now. It is a

desperate situation.

And so over the weekend, you've got more than 3,000 inmates who are estimated to have escaped from Haitian prisons. A Haiti police union

warning that if those numbers are accurate, this is what they say, "We are done. No one will be spared." So most concerning for the government is that

the gangs have actually started coordinating with each other. And it's showing a unified force against Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

And many folks were chanting as we were there, that they want Henry to go. Late last week, and this is to your point of really what sparked this,

Henry signed this agreement for a thousand Kenyan police officers to deploy to Haiti and this all part of a multinational security support mission, the

U.S. funding this in part as well.

The Prime Minister also said that elections would not happen until August 2025. You're right, that angered a lot of the folks on the ground there.

And that's fueled these protests and it's created, Bianca, this situation that is critical right now.

NOBILO: David Culver, thank you very much for joining us and for bringing us that reporting. It's so valuable and, you know, Haiti is in such a

difficult place after all of these natural disasters as well as institutional and historic failings as well as part of the international

community. It's so important and we know that you'll be covering it closely. Thank you.

CULVER: Thanks, Bianca.

NOBILO: And we'll be right back after a short break. Do stay with CNN.



NOBILO: Now to a developing story from the U.N., special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten, has been speaking about the

October 7th attacks on Israel. She recently visited the region with a team of experts. They say there are, "reasonable grounds to believe sexual

violence, including rape, occurred during the Hamas attacks." She also talked about sexual violence committed against hostages.


PRAMILA PATTEN, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT: We found clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including

rape, sexualized torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, has been committed against captives. And we also have reasonable grounds to believe

that such violence may still be ongoing against those still held in captivity.


NOBILO: Our Senior Global Affairs Analyst, Bianna Golodryga, joins me now from New York. Bianna, you've been listening to this press conference, and

of course you've been following this story very closely since October 7th. Tell us what you've heard.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, so there you just played sound from Pramila Patten, and she's the U.N. Special Commissioner

for the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. And as you noted, Bianca, she had been now conducting a multi-month investigation into

reports of sexual violence and crimes committed by Hamas on and after October 7th. She spent two and a half weeks in Israel, where she met with

government officials and independent investigators as well, and as you noted, some of their conclusions are that they believe the conflict-related

sexual violence occurred on October 7th in multiple locations across Gaza, including rape and gang rape at least three locations.

They also highlight their investigative findings at the Nova Music Festival. There are reasonable grounds to believe that multiple incidents

of sexual violence took place with victims being subjected to rape and/or gang rape, and then killed or killed while being raped.

With respect to the hostages, as you noted, the mission found clear and convincing information that some of them had been subjected to various

forms of conflict-related sexual violence, and that that may be ongoing right now. The Special Commissioner also said that they aren't offering any

insights in terms of their views politically about what this means on a military, you know, level in terms of the ongoing fighting. They say that

they continue to call for a ceasefire, and this is one of the reasons they say is to free these hostages that they believe may indeed be in harm's way

in terms of sexual violence being committed against them currently.

They also visited the Nahal Oz military base, and they reviewed reports of sexual violence, including a case of rape and genital mutilation, neither

of which could be confirmed. And that speaks to the bigger issue at hand. And this had been a very challenging investigation from the get-go, because

when it comes to any investigations into sexual crimes of violence, sexual violence, it is very hard to speak to those victims who, for whatever a

number of reasons, may not feel comfortable coming forward.

In this case, they found that a lot of these victims, sadly, were no longer alive and many still feeling that they did not trust the investigators, and

thus they couldn't get as much access to witness testimony as they would like still. They had 5,000 photographs that they went through, more than 50

hours of footage of the attacks.

Like I said, they spoke with government officials and independent private sources as well, and they conclude that the mission was unable to establish

the prevalence of sexual violence, and that the overall magnitude scope and specific attribution of those violations would require a fully fledged


Pramila Patten noted that she was only there for two and a half weeks on the ground and would have liked to have spent even more time given the

scale of this investigation and what's at hand.

One more thing I will note is that the mission concluded, and I'm going to read directly from their report, that a visit to Kibbutz Be'eri, was able

to determine that at least two allegations of sexual violence widely repeated in the media.


Especially in the early days after October 7th, were unfounded due to either new superseding information or inconsistency in the facts gathered.

These include a highly publicized allegation of a pregnant woman whose womb had reportedly been ripped open before being killed with her fetus stabbed.

If you'll recall, some of these gruesome details and reports were coming out, they were saying that their investigation found that that was

inconsistent with the facts gathered on the ground.

But overall, Bianca, a very chilling gut punch investigation concluding at this point that there was a wide-scale conflict-related sexual violence

that occurred on October 7th in multiple locations.

NOBILO: Bianna, thank you so much for bringing us your analysis of that report. We'll be right back after a short break. Stay with CNN.


NOBILO: Taylor Swift's eras tour has landed in Singapore, sparking some bad blood with nearby countries. The Philippines and Thailand are calling out

Singapore for reportedly offering the pop star up to $3 million a show, she did not play anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Singapore's culture minister

said yes, there was a grant, but it was "Not anywhere as high as speculated."

This comes as thousands of fans are making the pricey pilgrimage to see one of Swift's six sold out tours in the island nation. According to an

economist, seven out of ten concertgoers are coming in from overseas, spending up to $370 million in the city state, a huge boost for Singapore's


One of the sons of Asia's richest man is getting married and the celebration is going to be massive. With a guest list packed with the

global superstars and tycoons, no expense will be spared. Vedika Sud has the details of this lavish party from India.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): When you're the son of Asia's richest man, you have a few famous faces on speed dial when it comes to

your wedding invites. The media frenzy was intense at India's Jamnagar Airport as everyone from Bollywood actors to billionaires, politicians to

pop stars arrive for Anant Ambani's pre-wedding celebrations.

The younger son of Indian billionaire tycoon, Mukesh Ambani, is set to marry his fiance, Radhika Merchant in July.


With Mukesh Ambani's net worth estimated at $117 billion according to Forbes, no expense needed to be spared for the weekend festivities. Pop and

R&B superstar Rihanna was spotted leaving one of the parties after performing. And the young couple hosted a communal dinner for more than

50,000 local villagers.

NITA AMBANI, MOTHER OF THE GROOM-TO-BE (through translator): When it came to my youngest son, Anant's wedding with Radhika, I had two important

wishes. First, I wanted to celebrate our roots.

SUD (voiceover): The festivities took place in a township near Ambani's main reliance oil refinery in India's Gujarat state. The family

commissioned a sprawling temple complex especially for the event ahile guests went home with scarves woven by local artisans as wedding favors.

And all this four months before the couple officially tied the knot. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


NOBILO: Thanks for watching tonight. Isa will be back tomorrow. Do stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.