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Hala Gorani Tonight
Australian Fires Expected to Continue; Authorities Piece Together Carlos Ghosn Escape Route; Satellite Images Document Uyghur Cemetery Destruction; Joe Biden Scores High-Profile Endorsement; Reducing Gun Deaths A Big Issue In 2020 Election; Jakarta Floods Kill Dozens, Displace Thousands; Sex Trafficking Victim Sentenced To Life Now Freed. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 02, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), you are out. Good night, P.M. (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night, bye.
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GORANI: Fury and fear in Australia as fires rage and Prime Minister Scott Morrison fails to inspire confidence.
Then, a house raid in Japan, detentions in Turkey? The world is trying to figure out how Carlos Ghosn escaped to Lebanon. All he's saying is that he
And, later, Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg: CNN has all the frontrunners covered on the campaign trail, a month out from the Iowa
The most severe wildfires in decades have turned huge parts of Australia into a hellscape, and it's expected to get much worse. New South Wales is
declaring a seven-day state of emergency, beginning in the coming hours, and Victoria is under a state of disaster.
At least 18 people have been killed, and the fury of people who feel forgotten by their government and ravaged by the climate crisis is only
just beginning to be felt. CNN's Anna Coren is on the ground.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales, with authorities bracing themselves for the return of
catastrophic conditions, following those devastating fires on New Year's Eve.
Residents and holiday-makers, here on the south coast, are being told to get out, with fears there could be a further loss of life.
COREN (voice-over): This is what a mass evacuation looks like: thousands and thousands, fleeing the areas worst hit by the deadly bushfires that
have swept across the southeastern coast of Australia, a mandatory evacuation for tourists before catastrophic conditions return on Saturday.
But some want to head the opposite way.
TREVOR (PH) GARLAND (PH), AUSTRALIAN: Our daughter's stuck down in the southeast, some (ph) friends down there.
COREN (voice-over): Trevor Garland's 16-year-old daughter Haley (ph) is stranded in one of the hardest-hit regions with some friends. She told him
she's safe, but he's not taking any chances.
GARLAND (PH): We're (ph) here (ph) for (INAUDIBLE), trying to see if I'm (ph) going to get down there to get her out. I'd (ph) only be worried
because it's one road in, one road out.
COREN (voice-over): It's dangerous, but Trevor is not alone.
XANTHIA (PH) WALSH (PH), AUSTRALIAN: At the moment, we're just focused on trying to get the family back together.
COREN (voice-over): Xanthia (ph) Walsh (ph) and her family were away when fires struck the family home in Conjola, three hours south of Sydney. They
all escaped unharmed, but their house was completely destroyed.
WALSH (PH): It was a family (INAUDIBLE) house, so it's hit a lot of people quite hard. It used to be a holiday house prior to us living in it, so all
of our family's stayed in there at some point or another.
COREN (voice-over): Walsh (ph) and Garland (ph) are but two of the many stuck around and inside some of the areas hardest hit by bushfires across
the states of Victoria and New South Wales.
Dozens of roads have been cut off, and some communities remain isolated: stranded residents, dependent on the Australian military for the most basic
of supplies. It's part of the Australian government's efforts to deal with the crisis. But for some, it's too little, too late.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, who has been heavily criticized for his lack of leadership during this crisis, and his government's inaction on
climate change, was heckled by residents during a visit to Cobargo.
A large part of the town was destroyed during the New Year's Eve bushfires, and residents say the government has not done enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not fair. We are totally forgotten about down here.
COREN (voice-over): The prime minister left without responding.
Conditions have improved slightly in the past few days, allowing the countless men and women who continue to battle the flames a temporary but
very limited reprieve, and just enough time to say goodbye to one of their own.
Firefighter Geoffrey Keaton was honored for his bravery at his funeral, the medal given to his young son, just one of the many victims of a nightmare
with no end in sight that is expected to worsen in the coming days.
COREN: Searing temperatures and ferocious winds are expected on Saturday, whipping up fires. Many of them have been burning for months, and there is
no reprieve in sight, with Australia only halfway through its summer -- back to you.
GORANI: All right. Anna Coren, thanks very much.
I'm joined by Angela Burford, she's the spokeswoman for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Thanks, Angela, for being with us. How much of these
fires are contained at this stage?
ANGELA BURFORD, SPOKESWOMAN, NEW SOUTH WALES RURAL FIRE SERVICE (via telephone): So we still have over 140 bush and grassfires burning across
the state, and over 60 of those are still yet to be contained. So we still have a long way to go.
And the reason, for that, I guess, is of course due to the shoe (ph) size (ph) of some of these fires. We've already burned through more than 3.4
million hectares, which of course, the size and the effect that these fires have had across New South Wales, so far this season, is just unprecedented.
GORANI: And this weekend, the forecast will not be helpful to the firefighters. How concerned are you?
BURFORD (via telephone): Yes. We have grave concern for Saturday, tomorrow our time. So what -- we have asked for a number of areas,
particularly down the south coast of New South Wales, is for people to relocate from those areas to a safer location, particularly for the south
coast. It is suitable for people to move up towards Sydney, where they are much less likely to be threatened by a fire.
So the fires that are burning, down in that southern part of New South Wales, have burnt through some significant ground now and have, over the
last few days, particularly on New Year's Eve, threatened a number of communities. And just over the last few days, we've seen over 300 homes
destroyed, just in that area alone.
GORANI: What --
BURFORD (via telephone): So of course, the threat is very real under the conditions that are forecast for Saturday.
GORANI: Now, the fires are much worse this year. I mean, Australia has bushfires every year, but much, much worse this year. Why are they so
destructive this year compared to other years?
BURFORD (via telephone): Sure, you're absolutely right. This year is very unusual, although bushfires are part of the Australian landscape, and it's
something that we do deal with every year. This year is unprecedented, and it's due to a number of -- combination of reasons.
Of course, the weather patterns that we're seeing. So we've seen this constant sort of -- we'll have a couple of days of reprieve, and then we
see things deteriorate again, like they're predicted to tomorrow without any significant rainfall. So until we get rainfall, these fires will
continue to burn through, of course, very large areas of terrain.
And then, of course, the fact that the vegetation is so dry, particularly in New South Wales --
BURFORD (via telephone): -- we are experiencing significant drought, so it's very detrimental to the fires that are burning.
GORANI: And do you need -- does Australia need outside help?
BURFORD (via telephone): We've been lucky enough to have assistance here in New South Wales from our neighboring states, and we've also had
international assistance this season, which has been very gratefully received. So we have had special assistance from countries including New
Zealand, the U.S. and Canada.
So of course, the help has been much appreciated because our firefighters as well as our incident management team have been going nonstop now for a
number of months --
BURFORD (via telephone): -- where we haven't seen a break. And of course, fatigue comes into play under circumstances like this.
GORANI: Yes, very understandable. Thanks very much, Angela Burford, joining us from Sydney for more on these bushfires that are really ravaging
parts of Australia. Lots of frustration -- you saw it there in Anna Coren's report -- directed at the government, in some cases.
And I want to show you just how widespread these fires are. They've burned more than 3.5 million hectares, that's roughly the size of Romania.
European Space Agency satellites captured these stunning images of the fires from outer space.
This photograph shows the fires burning around Batemans Bay in New South Wales, and here's a satellite image of the fires from Clyde Mountain, also
along the hard-hit south coast of New South Wales. This is from space, that's how big and widespread the fires are.
And fire crews are bracing for a dangerous weekend ahead. We were discussing this with Angela Burford. Authorities are urging people to
evacuate before this situation gets worse.
Let's bring in meteorologist Jennifer Gray. So I was speaking with the spokesperson, there, for the fire department in Australia, and she's saying
they're very concerned about the weather this weekend, Jennifer.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. They've had little small windows where they've been able to make a little bit of progress, or haven't had to
worry as much with the weather. That's all going to change, those windows are very, very brief.
We're now going to see the heat come back, the winds are going to pick up yet again in the coming days. That's why they've been hurrying a lot of
those visitors out of the New South Wales area.
Forty-nine of these fires are out of control. We have more than 160, though, actively burning. We have a lot of total fire bans in effect right
now, the fire danger level a three out of six. Just yesterday, we didn't have any. So you can see how quickly the conditions change, and so all of
those total fire bans, now in effect.
The air quality is also a concern. We saw the huge smoke plume yesterday that was extending all the way south over New Zealand, an area that was
enormous. And so we're continuing to see the air quality deteriorate as the winds continue to shift offshore and then back onshore. Of course,
that's going to carry the smoke onshore and offshore as well. So the air quality, a lot depends on the wind direction.
High temperatures are going to stay very, very warm. We're in the mid- to upper 30s across a lot of the region. In fact, as we -- to the coming
days, Sydney is actually going to start to warm up even more, hot, dry, windy conditions definitely in play.
We do have cooler air on the way, though. The glimmer of hope here is this cold front that's making its way across, to the north. And that's going to
bring cooler air. It's also going to bring isolated showers to the region. So by Saturday into Sunday, we should have some showers come into play.
Now, it's not near about enough rain to extinguish the fires, but it is going to bring cooler air and it's going to bring some rain. And you can
see, it's going to bring it to that New South Wales corner, where we're seeing a lot of these fires.
So about 50 millimeters of rain, I know it's not a whole lot but any little bit will help, I believe, at this point. So here are the forecasts, wind
gusts. You can see 15 kilometers per hour, 17, 35 in Sydney. And then, along with this front, the winds will start to change directions. We'll
still hang on to the winds, but at least we'll get a little bit of rain by the end of the weekend. That's a little bit of good news we can bring you
GORANI: All right. Jennifer Gray, thanks very much.
Smoke from the bushfires has spread some 2,000 kilometers away to the south island of New Zealand, and it's having an unusual impact on the skies.
Look at these pictures from the coast of the south island. The skies above are an eerie mix of yellow, orange and gray.
And the smoke is even impacting glaciers. It effectively caramelized snow into this brownish color. The snow was pure white just the day before, and
that's what it looks like now. By the way, breathing in parts of Australia, we've been hearing, has been very difficult.
So we'll have more on these bushfires a little bit later. But for now, I want to bring you the latest about Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chief.
He's speaking out about his daring escape from house arrest in Tokyo, only just a little. He gave a statement, saying, "I alone arranged for my
departure. My family had no role whatsoever."
Earlier this week, Ghosn announced that he'd fled a, quote, "rigged" Japanese justice system. He was being held there on charges of financial
wrongdoing. He is now in Lebanon, where he's a citizen. He's also a citizen of France and Brazil.
The international police organization Interpol has issued a red notice request for his arrest. Japanese prosecutors are searching the Tokyo house
where he was staying, for clues to his escape. And Turkish state media say Ghosn traveled through Istanbul on his way to Lebanon. And seven people
working for a private airline company are now under arrest in Turkey for their possible role.
Gul Tuysuz joins me now from Istanbul with more. What more do we know about this possible stop in Turkey? Because I understand, according to
reports anyway, that Ghosn would have had to change planes there.
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER: That's right, Hala. There is flight tracker data that shows that a plane took off from Osaka, Japan and
made its way to here, Istanbul, Turkey. And a little while after that, a second plane, departing from the same airport in Istanbul, took off for
Beirut. Now, that is one of the presumed routes that Ghosn is suspected of having traveled to get out of Japan.
And the Istanbul prosecutor's office has taken this up. They've launched an investigation into what, if anything, happened in Istanbul vis-a-vis
Ghosn's escape. And what they've done so far is, they've taken in seven people into custody. Those people, presumably, now are being questioned.
Four of them are pilots, one of them is a manager at this private chartered jet company, as well as two ground service members have been detained now
by the Istanbul police.
And what they say in their testimony, what their questioning reveals is going to be one small part of the greater puzzle of what and how it is that
Ghosn managed to escape.
And the airport that we're talking about, here in Istanbul, isn't the main international airport. It's Ataturk Airport, it was decommissioned just a
while ago and now only services cargo planes and private charter jets, like the one that's -- that Ghosn is suspected of having fled on.
And while they're looking at that small part of the puzzle, here in Turkey, Interpol has issued a red notice for Ghosn -- red notices by Interpol are
more like requests than orders -- basically alerting the international law enforcement community that there is a fugitive, and that this person is
But, having said that, the red notice doesn't necessarily mean that Japan is going to get Ghosn back. There is no extradition treaty between Lebanon
and Japan, and Ghosn has been very outspoken so far and will continue to speak out. And when he does, we might learn a little bit more about how it
is he managed this audacious escape -- Hala.
GORANI: And do we know who -- where he is in Beirut? I mean, we -- Reuters quoted his wife Carole as saying this notion that he was smuggled
out in a music case is complete fiction. What is he doing with his days now, do we have any details on that?
TUYSUZ: At this point, Hala, we know that he's in Lebanon, he's in Beirut and that is what people have sort of tracked him to be. I mean, we know
that he escaped Japan, he said that he's in Lebanon and that basically he's not going to be leaving any time soon.
Next week, he is expected to sort of come out and reveal more about maybe perhaps how he escaped, and what he plans on doing, moving forward. But at
this point, what we do know is that he's in Lebanon and he's been welcomed there so far -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Gul, thanks very much.
Still to come tonight, destroying graves and trying to erase history: A CNN investigation reveals the latest atrocity in what some say is China's
war on Uyghur Muslims.
And Beijing takes action to bolster its economy amid fears that growth is slowing. We'll be right back.
GORANI: CNN has obtained new evidence of persecution in China against ethnic minority Uyghurs. We now know that entire Muslim cemeteries are
being flattened while Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities fill huge detention centers. Matt Rivers talked to a Uyghur exile who calls the
systematic imprisonment and destruction pure evil.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Aziz Isa Elkun's father died, it was too dangerous for him to go to the funeral in
China. Aziz is an ethnic Uyghur who lives in exile in North London, but he grew up in a western Chinese region called Xinjiang, an area activists say
is the center of an unparalleled human rights crisis in the world today.
AZIZ ISA ELKUN, ETHNIC Uyghur: This is not a normal state, normal country can't do like this. This is pure evilness.
RIVERS (voice-over): Xinjiang is where the United Nations says the Chinese government has detained hundreds of thousands of Muslim and ethnic
minorities including Uyghurs over the past several years. Critics say China is doing that to try and eliminate Islam within its borders. Some
detainees are seen here in leaked video, blindfolded and shackled as they're transferred between places.
Former detainees have told CNN they're kept in a massive network of detention camps where, inside, allegations of torture abound. China's
government denies that, and says they're just offering vocational training designed to fight extremism.
But earlier this year, we tried to see those camps for ourselves and were met with police.
RIVERS: Ma'am, can you tell me what that is? Is this something that you don't want us to see?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why you are here? You tell me. Why you are here? Why you are here?
RIVERS: We're here to film what we believe is a camp.
RIVERS (voice-over): In London, Aziz tells us his father was buried in this tomb, near his family home in central Xinjiang. In the past, he
visited him the only way he could, by using Google Earth to see the tomb from above. But in June, the satellite image changed. Before, rows of
tombs; now, a largely empty flattened field.
RIVERS: What happened to your father's remains?
ELKUN: I don't know, I don't know. I -- I have no idea.
RIVERS: In a months-long investigation, working with sources in the Uyghur community and analyzing hundreds of satellite images, CNN has found more
than one hundred cemeteries that have been destroyed, most in just the last two years.
Like this one, in the town of Aksu, a cemetery first demolished then redeveloped with a manmade pond. Or this one, in Xayar, distinctive white
tombs leveled and simply built over.
The AFP first reported on this destruction and visited some sites. At three different places, they said they found human bones. CNN has also
found multiple government notices online, in one case giving families just 15 days to move remains.
We showed these images to Rian Thum, an anthropologist who studies Islam in China and uses satellite imagery to study this region.
RIVERS: There's no doubt in your mind what that is?
RIAN THUM, UYGHUR HISTORIAN, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM: Right. No, these - - this is -- this is absolutely clear, what this is. You can see the destruction encroaching. And now, if you look at Google Earth today,
you'll see that this sort of flat surface now covers everything. And that is a phenomenon stretching right across the region of Xinjiang.
RIVERS (voice-over): In response, the Chinese government did not deny the cemetery destruction. They said in part, quote, "Governments... in
Xinjiang fully respect and guarantee the freedom of all ethnic groups... to choose cemeteries, and funeral and burial methods."
In public documents, official reasons for the destruction include wanting to build, quote, "civilized" cemeteries to promote progress.
Uyghur cemeteries are central to village life, a place to meet and connect one generation to the last.
THUM: It's akin to, for an American, seeing Arlington Cemetery razed and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier dug up and paved over. It's a great act of
desecration and a kind of open insult to Uyghur culture.
ELKUN: We are stronger together --
RIVERS (voice-over): Aziz believes it's a desecration that will have a backlash.
ELKUN: We cannot live anymore with them together. Because they are committing genocide against the Uyghur people.
RIVERS (voice-over): In Xinjiang, it seems even the dead can't rest. Matt Rivers, CNN, London.
GORANI: Well, the international community has not really confronted China about the Uyghur issue, nor, in fact, have Muslim countries, by and large.
They've remained silent, partly because of the country's global economic power.
But there are signs that Beijing is concerned about its own economy, now, and a slowdown. The unrest in Hong Kong and the trade war with the U.S.
has helped to make 2019 the worst year for China's economy in almost three decades. On Wednesday, China tried to boost economic growth by making it
easier for banks to loan money.
Let's talk more about China's economy as we head into 2020 with CNN business correspondent Paul La Monica. So how concerned are they? I mean,
they're essentially decreasing the amount banks have to keep in reserve so that there's more liquidity in the market, hoping that it'll stimulate the
economy. How concerned should they be that the slowdown is going to be maybe longer-lasting than they hoped that it will be?
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, Hala. I think that China is obviously very concerned. This move will pump about $115 billion or so
into the Chinese economy, which is clearly a significant sum.
And I think we all saw that, at the end of last year, the desire on the part of not just the United States and President Trump, but the Chinese
government, to get a phase one trade deal done. China was clearly starting to feel the pinch of this trade war, and needed to do something to
rejuvenate the growth prospects for the Chinese economy.
And, you know, this step, taken to relax these lending requirements, is another move to potentially get Chinese consumers and businesses to spend
GORANI: So Donald Trump is saying that on the 15th of January, there'll be some sort of preliminary agreement with China. We've heard that before,
though. Will it happen this time?
LA MONICA: Yes. I think your guess is as good as anyone's. And obviously, President Trump remains a very mercurial person, to put it
mildly. I think we have to take him at face value, that January 15th will hopefully be the date that they sign the deal.
But at this point, I think the markets have pretty much priced in that there is going to be a phase one deal. So what's really more --
LA MONICA: -- important now is, will there be a phase two in an election year, where President Trump obviously doesn't want the U.S. economy to cool
so substantially that it dampens his re-election chances. So I think everyone's going to be wondering now, yes, phase one, that's great, sign
the deal. What about phase two?
GORANI: But you talk about the U.S. economy, I mean, there are really no signs that the U.S. economy is cooling. Unemployment is low, wages are
growing, the stock market is high, though of course most Americans don't benefit from that, but it's a barometer in people's minds. So it doesn't
appear as though there's any danger, there, of the economy cooling. Or am I wrong?
LA MONICA: Well, I think there is a difference between cooling and obviously deteriorating. I think that there are concerns that U.S. growth
will slow, partially because of the effects of the trade war from last year. But a lot of people that had been thinking that a recession was
long-overdue and could happen this year, you are seeing calls for a downturn getting pushed out a little bit. Not as many people are worried
about an actual recession in 2020.
That being said, I think that President Trump obviously needs an economy that is really roaring on all cylinders, having consumers spend,
corporations spend and having those jobs numbers continue to do really well for his re-election chances to remain pretty high.
GORANI: All right. We'll see if January 15th is the day this time.
One way to stimulate the American economy is to be a presidential candidate, Paul La Monica, because they are spending a lot of money.
They're spending a lot of money on ads --
LA MONICA: A lot of advertising dollars, that --
GORANI: -- Michael Bloomberg --
LA MONICA: -- is for sure.
GORANI: Right. Exactly -- is over a hundred million. We're going to talk about that. Thanks very much, Paul La Monica.
And then there were 14 candidates. One U.S. Democratic presidential candidate has just dropped out of the race, while others are racing around
Iowa as the clock ticks down to the very first voting contest of 2020. And they're raising a lot of money, we'll talk about that.
Also ahead, U.S. cities tried to crack down on gun violence last year. Some failed, but others succeeded. We'll tell you what worked and what
didn't. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, after struggling to stand out in a very crowded field, the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate, Julian Castro, has just dropped out
of the race.
His departure, though, still leaves 14 Democrats battling for the right to take on Donald Trump in November. Several of the top tier candidates are
in Iowa today and that is because it is the state that holds the first primary voting contest just one month from now.
And these are live images coming to us from a Bernie Sanders event which is due to start any minute now in Iowa.
Well, Joe Biden is still the frontrunner, and he just got a boost, landing a high-profile endorsement from an Iowa congresswoman. But Bernie Sanders,
as I mentioned, and that's his event there about to start, is leading the pack on the all-important fundraising front.
All right. We have a team of reporters covering the Democratic race for you today. Rebecca Buck is in Washington, Arlette Saenz is in Anamosa,
Iowa. And Maeve Reston is in Los Angeles.
I'm going to start with you, Rebecca, as we await Bernie Sanders here.
He raised -- he beat out all the other Democratic candidates in the fourth quarter of last year, $35 million. That is huge. But his -- Joe Biden is
still very much the frontrunner.
What's going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign? What's his strategy now with all this money?
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, his campaign believes, Hala, that this not only reflects the enthusiasm among Sanders' most loyal
supporters which has been one of the things that really set his campaign apart from some of the other front-runners in this race is that loyalty
among his base, but they say that it also reflects the growing support for his campaign in this crowded Democratic primary, in this very fluid
In this last quarter, his campaign says 300,000 new donors gave money to Bernie Sanders' campaign. That -- just to put that in context, that is
roughly the number of people who gave to South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg's, campaign during the entire quarter.
So those were new donors alone for Bernie Sanders. They believe that he is surging at the right moment with one month here until the Iowa caucuses.
That key contest to kick off the Democratic primary season.
And Bernie Sanders, obviously, hoping to take that surge and turn it into momentum on the ground in Iowa. That's why you see him on the ground
kicking off this bus tour today across Iowa with three events just today.
And he has been polling very well in Iowa, across the country, and his team believes that he is going to be a frontrunner to the very end of this race.
GORANI: And, Arlette, Joe Biden is still the frontrunner and he just announced his fundraising figure. Almost $23 million for the fourth
quarter of last year. So on that front, Bernie Sanders is doing a lot better. So what is Joe Biden looking to achieve next?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, this fundraising total is definitely a welcome news for Joe Biden's campaign, bringing in $22.7
million in the final three months of the year. And compare that to his previous quarter when he had raised $15.7 million.
There had been some concerns about his fundraising ability after he posted that number. But the campaign is hoping that this is going to ease some of
Now, one thing that they are noting is that their online contributions have doubled compared to the last quarter. Biden has still remained -- placed a
lot of focus on those high-dollar fundraisers, but they are starting to see an uptick in the online donations, especially as Joe Biden has been at the
center of many attacks from President Trump.
Now, we're here at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa where Biden is going to be kicking off his first swing through Iowa of 2020, and
he's also landed a very important endorsement here in the state, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. She's 31 years old. She's a rising star in
the Democratic Party. And she announced that she is backing the former vice president, becoming the first member of Iowa's congressional
delegation to endorse a 2020 candidate.
She, in fact, actually worked for Joe Biden on his campaign back in 2008, so he's going to be here on the ground in Iowa. He has 10 stops between
today and Sunday trying to make that case. We're 32 days out from the caucuses.
And, Maeve Reston, what about Buttigieg and Warren? Those are the other sort of top tier contenders here. Buttigieg raising more than Biden in the
last three months of last year, almost $25 million.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Really bringing in a big haul obviously, Hala. And I was actually out with all four of the
candidates over the last couple of weeks in Iowa.
And what you really feel on the ground there is this kind of deadlock with so many voters still undecided. Buttigieg actually has been leading the
polls there in Iowa. Many undecided voters at his events telling me that they love his youth and vigor, some of them saying that he reminds them of
JFK when they were younger.
But also facing some big structural challenges. He is not bringing in the kind of support from young voters that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders
are. So he does, obviously, have the money to go for the long haul, but he's going to have to address that. And also a dearth of support among
black voters who are so key to those early primary -- in the early primary contests.
So it's really fascinating. We don't know exactly who has the edge right now in Iowa because there hasn't been much polling over the holiday season,
but definitely feeling like this race is going to be undecided for some time, Hala.
GORANI: Yes. And it's interesting that Warren and Sanders, as you mentioned, are more popular with young voters than Pete Buttigieg's, who is
the youngest candidate in the field.
What about Elizabeth Warren? Where do things stand for her here at the beginning of 2020?
RESTON: Well, you know, she did -- she did have this big surge last year, but clearly, what you're seeing with both Sanders and warren is this divide
playing out within the party over whether to go for the big structural change that Warren and Sanders are advocating for or whether to go with a
more middle of the road candidate like a Biden, a Buttigieg, a Klobuchar.
She's got a lot of energy at her events. But a lot of people are still struggling with the question of, you know, whether it would be possible to
get her agenda through Congress. And so she has been making the case over and over again that she can do this, that she can break the deadlock, that
2020 is a new era.
And she's also still confronting questions about being a female nominee. And we have to acknowledge that that's a factor here. There are some
voters who still have hesitation about whether gender would be a strike against her going up against President Trump.
GORANI: All right, that certainly is something I'm hearing as well.
Arlette, as far as Joe Biden is concerned, so nationally, he's still the frontrunner. And I guess, is the perception that this race is his to lose,
that all he needs to do is just keep things the way they are, preserve the status quo and he should be the nominee? What's the perception among those
who are, you know, following the former vice president's campaign?
SAENZ: Well, there are certainly some good signs for Joe Biden when you look at those national numbers where he is leading in almost every national
poll that's been conducted recently.
But then the thing is, they have to get through these states like Iowa and New Hampshire. And we wants to make sure that he has a good finish here.
You know, his campaign has said in the past that Iowa is not necessarily a must-win state for him, neither is New Hampshire.
And so one thing that the Biden campaign is really going to be focusing on trying to really get a good finish here in the Hawkeye State heading into
those caucuses. And then also, that would set them up to do well in Nevada and South Carolina, and potentially, in Super Tuesday and beyond.
He's doing well in states our -- a CNN poll recently found him in Texas doing particularly well. So it's going to be a long road ahead for all of
these candidates, but they need to get through Iowa and do well here in order to make it in the long haul.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much to all three of you, Rebecca Buck, Arlette Saenz, and Maeve Reston.
By the way, we were talking about Bernie Sanders fundraising figure, $35 million, which is huge, but Donald Trump the incumbent candidate, raised,
in the same time period, $46 million, so $11 million more than the highest -- than the most successful fundraiser on the Democratic side, which for
the last quarter, at least, was Sanders.
One of the big issues Democrats are trying to tackle is gun violence in America, and the numbers, really, are staggering.
According to one nonprofit research group, there were 417 mass shootings last year and more than 15,000 people killed by gun violence.
And while violent crime rates are down in some parts of the country, as Omar Jimenez reports, in other areas, they are very much on the rise. Take
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The earth shall soon --
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While mass shootings, at times, leave the country in disbelief, in places like
Baltimore and Chicago, gun violence is a grim part of life.
CHARLIE BECK, INTERIM CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: What people think of as traditional policing has to be much smarter, has to be much more
JIMENEZ: Former Los Angeles police chief, Charlie Beck, is now the interim police superintendent in Chicago, a city that ended 2019 with a more than
10 percent drop in murders for a third year in a row, and down more than 30 percent since a spike in 2016 that saw more killings than New York and L.A.
JIMENEZ (on camera): What are some of the questions that you get about the city of Chicago, about crime in Chicago and how do you answer those
BECK: To be brutally honest, you know, it's still not safe enough. Five hundred homicides is -- even though that's a nice milestone, it's way too
JIMENEZ (voice-over): But it's not just policing. Even hospitals are trying to break this deadly cycle, taking the time to sit with shooting
victims and evaluate the direction of their lives.
CAROL REESE, HOSPITAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION COORDINATOR: We use this unique opportunity to really drill down with people on not only their risk factors
but their hopes, their dreams, their emotional experience of being injured.
JIMENEZ (on camera): The goal is not to see them again?
REESE: The goal is not to see them again, ever.
JIMENEZ (voice- over): They're among the tactics being used in cities across the country trying to change what has become, in some places, an
Often among the highest murder rates of big U.S. cities, New Orleans has made progress, seeing its third consecutive drop in homicides last year.
But St. Louis, which had the highest murder rate of big U.S. cities in recent years, saw an increase in homicides compared to 2018.
And Baltimore ended the year with the second-most homicides they've had on record, just under 350. Cities like New York and Los Angeles didn't even
hit that mark and they have more than five times the people.
MAYOR BERNARD YOUNG, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: We can talk all day about what to do after someone is killed, but we must also have the hard conversation
about why the perpetrators of violence have no regards for human life.
JIMENEZ: Baltimore is now one of seven cities within the Department of Justice's Operation Relentless Pursuit, an initiative aimed at combating
And in Washington, Congress approved millions for federal research into gun violence for the time in over 20 years. Federal and city efforts meant to
go hand-in-hand at the dawn of the new decade.
BECK: I know it seems difficult when you're -- when you're in the middle of this, but I have nothing but the most positive belief in the outcome of
what we're doing here.
GORANI: All right. And that was Omar Jimenez reporting. And those numbers that I shared with you there before going to Omar's report, 15,000
gun deaths, obviously, that includes homicides and other gun deaths across the country. It's a very high number.
And now that anti-gun violence efforts are gaining traction in some cities, could that be a blueprint for others?
Omar joins me now from Chicago. So, you spoke to officials in Chicago about the gun violence issue there and they shared with you things that
work for Chicago. For instance, things that didn't work in St. Louis. What has been effective?
JIMENEZ: Yes. So, Hala, one of the -- it's basically a framework of ideas that Chicago Police Department, at least, laid forward and has now numbers
to prove for it after coming off of three years in a row of more than 10 percent decline in violent crime.
First off, you start with policing. Now, the police department has set up these technology centers in various districts here, police districts within
the city of Chicago here. And it has what's called shot spotter technology. They're able to find where some of these gunshots are
happening quicker, respond to them quicker and then use some of that data to basically be a little bit more predictive to find out where they need to
put more resources.
So that's one aspect, but it's not just policing. It also has to come from community involvement as well. So they have really tried to work with
community-based organizations that work to deescalate gang conflicts before it ends up with a shooting or a homicide, something like that.
And then from the mayor's office here in Chicago, they've been working with schools trying to expand the programs that are available in after-school
hours to make sure that kids have a place to go and they don't end up in some of these scenarios where conflict could arise.
So a combination of those three and more. City leadership tell me they believe the pieces are in place to set the city up for what they say and
what they call as making Chicago the safest big city in the country. Time will tell and they're hoping to continue this momentum of keeping these
numbers down, Hala.
GORANI: Well, the issue here is that it costs money to do all these things and people might not be onboard if you tell them that you need to raise
their taxes to pay for it.
In St. Louis, for instance, it's really not a great situation when it comes to gun violence. Why have efforts failed there in particular?
JIMENEZ: Well, in a lot of these cities, you know, they're very different as far as what they can invest in and what they can't indifferent and the
size of the city as well. So in places like Chicago, they feel they have found something that works. In places like St. Louis and Baltimore, they
are still trying to find something that works or, at least, some sort of balance between some of those factors I mentioned before, policing and
You talk about St. Louis, it has had the highest murder rate in the United States per capita in recent years. And Baltimore just basically is about
five under their all-time record of homicides this year. And the only other time came when they had 100,000 more people, about 15 years ago, so that is
a situation they are trying to correct.
I know from my time, I worked as a local reporter in Baltimore, they are working with various community organizations, safe streets as they're
called, trying to be sort of that mediator. Because in some of those communities, there is a distrust between some of those affected communities
and the police, so they've really tried to work through some of those intermediaries to try and help stem some of that violence.
But look, when you talk about the beginning of a New Year and a new decade, this is almost sort of a conceptual moment for these leaders to say, look,
we have the chance to define this decade for our cities. Where are we going to invest and how do we solve some of these issues? And these are
questions that cities are asking themselves across the country.
Some places it's worked, like here in Chicago or New Orleans that have gotten that murder rate a little bit down. And again, in places like St.
Louis and Baltimore, they're still trying to figure out what exactly will be the sparkplug to have these numbers trending in the opposite direction.
GORANI: Thank you, Omar.
Still to come tonight, torrential rain has left Indonesia's capital under water for a second day in a row. Why Jakarta is suffering its worst
flooding in decades.
And then children are among the victims of a deadly missile strike on a school being used as a shelter in Syria. More civilians killed, after the
GORANI: We are now getting the first pictures from a horrific attack that reportedly killed nine people in Syria. Multiple sources, including the
White Helmets rescue group, say the army fired missiles at a school where civilians were seeking shelter in Idlib Province.
Five children were among the dead. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled an intense bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces in recent weeks.
Syria, the government, claims it is fighting terrorism. And there you have the images of only the latest attack on civilians.
It's been a devastating start to the New Year for residents in the Indonesian capital, as some of the deadliest flooding in years engulfs the
city. And even more rain is expected in the days ahead.
CNN's David Culver reports.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The streets of Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, turned into rivers. The heavy rain
began as 2019 ended. It continued into the New Year, claiming multiple lives and forcing tens of thousands to leave their homes.
FARID, SON KILLED BY ELECTRIC SHOCK (through translator): My son's body was covered with newspaper and my second child passed by. If my other
child did not pass by, we would not know why my son had been killed.
CULVER: Escaping the flashfloods and landslides is not easy, especially in the eastern and southern portions of the city.
Jakarta police posting on Twitter that many roads are impassable. Train lines blocked and widespread power outages across Southeast Asia's most pop
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We hope this will never happen again. Because this keeps happening every five years. Floods happening
every five years.
CULVER: Indonesia's minister of social affairs tells CNN despite temporary relief centers set up, some people are refusing to leave. In recent years,
officials have tried to make Jakarta's low-lying areas less susceptible to flooding but the country's President blames land acquisition problems for
delaying much-needed infrastructure projects.
JOKO WIDODO, PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA (through translator): Regarding the flooding issue, the central government is still quite new. A lot of
projects are still yet to be completed.
CULVER: He also called on emergency and rescue officials to work together.
WIDODO (through translator): The disaster mitigation agency, leaders of the provinces, search and rescue teams need to move as one to give people
who are affected by the floods a sense of safety.
CULVER: Amid brief breaks from the rain, receding water leaves behind trash clinging to fences. Residents are cleaning out their homes, pushing
out the mud and debris.
Children, innocently playing in the water as locals fear more heavy rains could be on the way.
CULVER (on-camera): Indonesia's cabinet secretary warning that extreme weather may continue across the country through the weekend and even into
David Culver, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Stay with us, a lot more after a break.
GORANI: Now to the story of Cyntoia Brown-Long. As a teenager, she was forced into sex trafficking. One night something happened that would send
her to prison, sentenced to life behind bars.
But now, thanks to the efforts of some high-profile advocates, she's free.
Lynda Kinkade has her story as part of CNN's Freedom Project.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (on-camera): After 15 years behind bars, you're free.
CYNTOIA BROWN-LONG, SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM: Yes.
KINKADE: How do you feel?
BROWN-LONG: I mean, it's good, you know. It's a blessing. It's literally a miracle.
KINKADE (voice-over): Cyntoia Brown Long has spent half her life behind bars. At just 16, she was forced by her abusive boyfriend into sex work.
One night, she shot and killed a 43-year-old man who had bought her for sex. She claimed it was self-defense. A prosecutors argued, it was
opportunistic, after she fled with his wallet and two guns. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison for murder and robbery.
KINKADE (on-camera): Y ou would've been close to 70 by the time you got any chance of release. How do you deal with that at the age of 16?
BROWN-LONG: So in the state of Tennessee, I had an opportunity for parole, but it wasn't a meaningful opportunity. It was after 51 years I could be
considered for release.
And as I said, the prospect of that was just -- I mean, it was unbearable. I couldn't imagine.
KINKADE (voice-over): From activists to lawmakers to celebrities, people of all walks of life called for justice.
BROWN-LONG: Before all of the outcry had happened, my attorneys had already been meeting with the governor's office and trying to talk about
clemency, which clemency, less than one percent of applications are even reviewed by the parole board in the state of Tennessee.
So to say it was slim to none chance of me ever receiving any kind of relief through clemency, I mean, that's an understatement.
KINKADE: Singer, Rihanna, posted about her on Instagram, asking, "Did we somehow change the definition of justice along the way?"
KINKADE (on-camera): Did you understand how much support there was for you on the outside?
BROWN-LONG: You know, for me, the biggest thing was seeing how many people across the world, seeing teachers, doctors, you know, single parents
saying, I don't know what to do, I don't know how I can help, but I want to do something.
KINKADE (voice-over): In the United States, all underage sex workers are defined by federal law as trafficking victims. And now she's helping
others understand that.
BROWN-LONG: And, you know, so often, we're told that there are just certain young girls who are fast, certain young girls who are promiscuous,
that ask for these things. And it's important for young girls to know that you cannot consent to your own exploitation.
If you can't consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, then you can't consent to them taking advantage of you.
KINKADE (on-camera): There was another victim here, Johnny Allen. And his family feel like they're victims, too. They lost someone. What's your
message to them, given that they feel the justice system didn't work for them?
BROWN-LONG: I felt horrible about what happened. I felt horrible that they're still having to live with this.
KINKADE (voice-over): In a statement, they said, "Our hearts are broken because we feel like Johnny never got to defend himself. We never got to
be a voice for him."
Cyntoia Brown-Long is not entirely free. The newly-married 31-year-old will still have to report to a parole officer for the next decade on top of
holding down a job, performing community service and undergoing counseling.
BROWN-LONG: You know, from the time that they told me I'd do life in prison, I never believed it. I always thought that one day, that I would
be free and I held onto that. So --
KINKADE (on camera): You kept the faith.
BROWN-LONG: I did.
KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Atlanta.
GORANI: Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. A lot more ahead on the Australian fires, as well as on the latest statement from the ex-
Nissan chief, Carlos Ghosn. That's all coming up on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" on the other side of this break.
Stay with CNN, I'll see you next time.