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Clinton, Sanders Face Off in Second Debate; Possible Breakthrough in Syrian War; Humanitarian Aid to Syria; South Korea Briefly Halts Trading on Stock Market; Aftermath of Taiwan Earthquake. Aired3-4a ET

Aired February 12, 2016 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: -- Syria as world powers agree to a cessation of hostilities there. That's ahead here this hour.

Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Once I'm in the White House...

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton, you're not in the White House yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders trading barbs in their second one-on-one Democratic Party debate.

Also, we had here a couple who met during World War II reunite for the first time in more than 70 years.

We'll have that one for you this hour as well. Thank you for joining us. Thank you to our viewers from all around the world. Live in Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN Newsroom.

A possible major breakthrough in the Syrian war. Diplomats meeting in Munich have reached a ground breaking for a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says they hope it will be implemented in one week. But expanded delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria should begin right away.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Munich with more on this breakthrough.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: With the agreement here in Munich does seem to set the stage to get the peace talks up and running again. Humanitarian aid to be delivered to all communities across the country. Opposition communities, pro-government communities that are beleaguered and cut off, that is what they said.

The humanitarian aid to be overseen by a U.N. working group. Talks to begin immediately to make that effective in Geneva. Also, a cessation of hostilities to begin in a week's time.

Not a ceasefire per se but a cessation of hostilities.

So, what we're looking at here is an incremental process that builds confidence to humanitarian aid. Then the cessation of hostilities.

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry describing that cessation as a pause that could lead to a ceasefire further down the line. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: A ceasefire in the minds of many of the participants in this particular moment connotes something far more permanent and far more reflective of sort of an end of conflict, if you will, and it is distinctly not that. This is a pause that is dependent on the process going forward and, therefore, cessation of hostilities is a much more appropriate apt term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Now the United States and Russia to lead the task force on the cessation of hostilities. Secretary Kerry, though, saying that it was very important these are words on paper but the real decisions, the real actions have to come from all the groups on the ground.

Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. Special Envoy, also talked about the humanitarian delivery of aid. He said this would be a test of the willingness of all parties inside Syria and that for any difficulties he would come back to the international Syria support group. This is how he put it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAFFAN DE MISTURA, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA: We will test it very soon in Monday, Tuesday, not later, and see whether, in fact, we will have problems as we often have had in order to reach places. If that is the case, we will go back to you again and we will go back to the I.F. and say we are needing help in order to make it happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Well, de Mistura also said that he had a list of specific communities across the country that should be targeted first for this humanitarian aid delivery. But this was something that should reach all the way across the country.

He said that this is what he had heard from Syrian people, that if the U.N. can deliver on humanitarian aid, that there can be a cessation of fight being, he said, that will give the Syrian people the confidence that their leaders can move forward in these talks and that, of course, is what they've been trying to do right here.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Munich, Germany.

ALLEN: The humanitarian crisis is particularly intense in the City of Aleppo in the heart of Syria's devastating five-year Civil War.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen had a rare opportunity to visit Aleppo in the company of Syrian troops. And he joins us now live from Damascus with an exclusive report on what he found and what he saw. Fred, hello.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. Yes. Aleppo, of course, at this point really is the focal point of that major government offensive that's going on in the North of Syria. Not only in Aleppo Town but especially in the area North of Aleppo, where what the government is trying to do is trying to encircle the rebels who are inside the old town of Aleppo, and then push all the way to the border with Turkey trying to cut those rebels off.

[03:05:13] The devastation that we saw in central Aleppo really was something that was just plain sad. It's clear to see what five years of the Civil War have done to this once so beautiful city. Let's have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Years of urban combat have laid waste to Aleppo's old town. Syrian army snipers scan the terrain for possible movement on the other side. We're right on the front line in the Syrian government's offensive against the opposition. And the soldiers here tell us they still frequently see rebels on the other side.

But they also said they often pick them off from the sniper's nest.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

This soldier tells me morale has never been higher. "Thanks to God, everything here is under control," he says. "Our

fingers are on the triggers ready to destroy the rebels."

Bashar al Assad's forces have made major gains in the Aleppo area in recent weeks, while the opposition rebels say they're simply being slaughtered. But for years, this battlefield was in a stalemate in a front line right around Aleppo's ancient Citadel.

As Syrian and Russian war planes hover overhead, the commander knows who to thank for the new found momentum.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

"It's only a matter of months now until we win," he says. "Thanks to the Russian support with their air strikes flown from the Syrian air force. We will defeat the rebels once and for all."

Aleppo was Syria's largest and one of its most historic towns. Tourists from all over the world used to flock to the old town before it was engulfed by Syria's brutal Civil War.

The old Town of Aleppo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of these buildings are, hundreds, if not, thousands of years old. And now as you can see most of them are completely destroyed, burned out.

But now Assad's troops believe they are on the verge of a decisive victory. The commander warns the U.S. not to interfere.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

"We are steadfast," he says. "You cannot defeat the Syrian army because we are determined to win and we're loyal to President Assad."

Amid this divided and destroyed city, Syrian government forces believe they're dealing a crushing blow to the opposition, one that could end this five-year Civil War that's destroyed so much more than just the landscape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: Yes, there were many remarkable things that we saw while we were out there, Natalie. But one of them was simply the sad state of the residents of Aleppo where you can clearly see not just the physical toll that this war is taking on people, but also the psychological toll, as well as many of them have endured five years of combat.

Some of the most brutal right there in that area that we visited. And the other thing that really struck us was the presence and the influence that we saw there of Hezbollah, of Iran but also of Russia.

There were many posters there of the Iranian supreme leader of the leader, of the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. And clearly, Syrian forces came up to us and said they would not have been able to make the gains that they're making right now if it wasn't for Hezbollah, for the Iranians, and of course for those Russian airstrikes. Natalie?

ALLEN: Unreal. The consonance of various people and factions in that city and it is now left in ruins. Such very, very sad video.

Fred Pleitgen for us there in Damascus. We thank you.

Now to the U.S. presidential campaign. It started out friendly enough, but by the end of their two hour debate, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were throwing elbows and bickering over who was the bigger and most loyal supporter of President Barack Obama.

That was just among the things that they bickered about. Just two days before the debate, Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide.

Both candidates went out of their way to try and win over minorities whose support will be crucial in the next two voting states, Nevada and South Carolina.

Bernie Sanders tossed out one of the first jabs of the night after Hillary Clinton shared details on her tax and spending plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: I believe I can get the money that I need by taxing the wealthy, by closing loopholes, the things that we are way overdue for doing. And I think once I'm in the White House we will have enough political capital to be able to do that.

SANDERS: Well, Secretary Clinton, you're not in the White House yet. And let us be clear that every proposal that I have introduced has been paid for.

I will do away with the outrageous loopholes that allow profitable multi-national corporations to stash billions of dollars in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and in a given year zero, zero federal income tax. Yes, I'm going to do away with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:10:12] ALLEN: And the money hits kept on coming. Clinton defended President Obama for going after Wall Street, but as Sanders pointed out, some of Clinton's donations come from the very group she has vowed to target.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I debated then-Senator Obama numerous times on stages like this, and he was the recipient of the largest number of Wall Street donations of anybody running on the democratic side ever.

Now when it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street.

(APPLAUSE)

He pushed through and he passed the Dodd-Frank regulation, the toughest regulations since the 1930s. So, let's not, in any way, imply here that either President Obama or myself would in any way not take on any vested interest.

SANDERS: Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren't dumb. Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it. They want to throw money around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, President Obama's name came up fairly often during this debate and the two presidential candidates sparred over who supported him more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.

SANDERS: That is...

(APPLAUSE)

Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.

(APPLAUSE)

Last I heard, we lived in a democratic society. Last I heard, a United States senator had the right to disagree with a president, including the president who's doing such an extraordinary job.

So I have voiced criticisms. You're right, maybe you haven't. I have. But I think to suggest that I have voiced criticism, this blurb that you talk about. You know what the blurb said? Blurb said that "The next President of the United States has got to be aggressive in bringing people into the political process." That's what I said. That is what I believe.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: So, what is the analysis from this debate? Well, earlier I spoke with our CNN political commentator, Hillary Rosen who is a democrat. I asked Rosen what Clinton did after losing in New Hampshire during this debate to propel herself into the next critical State, South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hilary came into this debate really needing to show a few things. She needed to show, first of all, that she hasn't lost her confidence that she could be the eventual democratic nominee. Her supporters needed to see that, that the loss in New Hampshire didn't devastate her.

And I think she needed to continue to stake claim to the issues that Senator Sanders seems to want to hold for himself, which is that she understands that, you know, people in the middle class are hurting, that jobs and wages are stagnant.

I think she did that tonight. But I think we also saw a much more polished Bernie Sanders tonight than we have seen before. You know, I thought this was really a great debate among two formidable candidates.

ALLEN: When you say he was polished, can you elaborate on that?

ROSEN: He seemed readier for some of the criticisms, not as thrown off guard on some of the foreign policy questions. Clearly, Secretary Clinton is a stronger candidate when it comes to foreign policy.

Her mastery of the issues is just evident, but I thought that Senator Sanders sort of reached a little bit more tonight, particularly in criticizing some of the allies that, you know, Secretary Clinton has relied on in the last couple of years. His attack on Henry Kissinger was particularly effective, I thought.

ALLEN: Right. Some question how many of the young people will know who Henry Kissinger is. Perhaps they can Google him.

ROSEN: I think what they'll see is in Senator Sanders somebody who sort of had a -- you know, had a little more facility tonight I think in talking about his foreign policy philosophy. I don't think it comes close enough to Secretary Clinton's, but I thought Sanders did better tonight on the subject.

ALLEN: How did she do to try to win over the female voters out there who aren't gravitating towards her at this point.

ROSEN: You know, I loved -- I loved Hillary's opening line about women and support. She said, I fought all my right -- all my life for women to be able to make choices, including the choice not to support me.

[03:15:08] You know, that showed sort of a level of self-deprecation and lightness that I think she needed. She needed to show women that she does not expect their vote just because she's a woman but that she understands the struggle.

ALLEN: She also went after Bernie Sanders for charging that he is kind of a one-issue candidate because he does hammer repeatedly over and over again what he thinks of Wall Street.

ROSEN: Yes.

ALLEN: I think we all know that. And his tearing down of the super PACs. Did she score any points there? And do you think he is continuing to be effective hammering on that issue so strongly as he does?

ROSEN: Well, that's his thing, and, you know, I imagine that he and his campaign feel like it has gotten him this far and he should stay on it.

And her -- really her only choice here is to show a broader swath of issues that she can be an expert on, that she can make progress on because he's going to own that criticism of Wall Street, which is extremely popular among democrats and independents in this country, probably republicans, too.

So, she's not going to be able to out criticize him. All she can do is sort of agree and move on to some issues that she can own, like pay equity, like racial injustice, like, you know, criminal justice reform, like, you know, LGBT rights, things that he really hasn't, you know, had much of a history on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Our thanks again to CNN political commentator, Hillary Rosen.

All right. Well, let's look at the republicans. The candidates spent Thursday on the campaign trail, and Donald Trump revealed a softer tone. Who knew?

He pulled a negative ad against Ted Cruz replacing it with a positive one. Trump also warned his supporters not to believe political attack ads like this one from Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her home was all she had left. But it stood in Donald Trump's way and the Limousine parking lot he warranted for his casino. To him, she was a nobody.

So, Trump schemed with Atlantic City government to force hoping from her home using eminent domain. Now, Trump uses this power for personal gain. Imagine the damage he could do as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: An ad by Ted Cruz there. Well, Marco Rubio took on several of his opponents while in South Carolina Thursday. He called out Trump, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich. Rubio says they don't have the foreign policy and international experience as he does.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCO RUBIO, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.

Jeb Bush has no foreign policy experience, period. There is no one left in the republican field who has more experience or has proven to have better judgment on national security than I have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, Jeb Bush's brother, you might recognize this guy, former President George W. Bush will hit the campaign trail on his behalf. He has stops in South Carolina next week.

Still to come here, investors in Asia run for cover again as markets take a sharp turn. Ahead here, we'll see how Europe's trading day is starting.

[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: If you're interesting in planning a last-minute ski trip this weekend across the United States, the East Coast is where you want to travel.

In fact, we have the lake-effect snow machine kicking into a high gear across this region. And that will bring a dusting of snowfall to some of the upstate New York regions into Vermont, as well as New Hampshire.

And you can see temperatures will be bitterly cold so bundle up as you make your outdoor plans this weekend. Nonetheless, there have been a few inches of new snowfall for places like Killington and into the holiday Valley region.

Not impressive snow bases at the moment but that should improve as we go forward over the next seven days.

Now the heat ridge over the Western U.S. finally starting to break down. And that is good news for skiers and snowboarders because that means we should be cold enough to see some snowfall in those higher elevations.

So, let's start over Western Canada over the Vamp region. Whistler to Vamp, temperatures right around that freezing mark and there is an active weather pattern. Thanks to the jet stream in moving across this area. That will bring snowfall to the Canadian Rockies.

And we should expect some snowfall into Washington as well, throughout the Cascades, Mt. Baker to Crystal Mountain as well, as Mt. Hood. But I can't say the same unfortunately for the Rockies. It looks dry through this weekend. But that means bluebird days with sunshine dominating this forecast.

ALLEN: In Asia, trading halted for 20 minutes on South Korea's tech heavy KOSDAQ Index after shares fell by 8 percent. After trading resumed, the index regained some of those losses but still closed down just over 6 percent.

Other Asian markets also fell on Friday, including Tokyo's Nikkei, Australia's ASX 200, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng. In Europe, stocks are trading up. The London FTSE is up. The Frankfurt Xetra DAX is up as well. And the Paris CAC 40 is also up. And in Zurich the SMI is up.

So, four green arrows to share with you right there. But meantime, the falling price of oil helped to rattle U.S. markets on Thursday. The Dow fell more than 1.5 percent. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 also posted losses.

Joining me now with a closer look at the markets is CNN's Nina dos Santos. She's is in London for us, and John Defterios in Abu Dhabi. We'll get to you, John, in a moment. But let's begin with you, Nina.

My goodness, it's hard to follow all of the bad news. At least we could start with those green arrows there in Europe.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Yes, investors here in Europe definitely breathing a sigh of relief on Friday. Twenty three minutes into the trading session and as you just show there, Natalie, all arrows are pointing upwards. And we got a nice rebound underway.

Some of these gains in excess to 1 to 1.5 of 1 percent. But remember that the losses were pretty heavy yesterday. The Paris CAC quarante in France loss in excess of 3.5 of 1 percent in one day alone.

And as you now know we had stocks heading south on both sides of the Atlantic. The Dow also suffered quite significantly as well as the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ.

So, how does this set us up for today? Well, I should point out that based on yesterday's performance and things in America, global stock markets are now officially in bear market territory. This means that they've fallen about 20 percent since their recent high.

And we're only a month and a half into the New Year. So, this is one of the reasons why people are getting nervous. And what we're seeing here is an increasing disconnect between the fundamentals, if you like, the economic fundamentals, the growth figures, and projections for the world economy and what investors are becoming increasingly nervous about, which is Central Bank policy action.

[03:24:57] One of the reasons why the stock markets has had such a wild ride yesterday, is because Janet Yellen of the U.S. Federal Reserve has been commenting for the last two days to lawmakers in the states about the state of the world's largest economy.

And it didn't sound as though, it was strong enough to withstand further interest rate hikes later on in the year. That's one of the reasons why people are so nervous.

But today, we got a couple of good readings from German GDP. One of the German banks that was saved in 2008, coming out and paying its first dividend since that difficult period. And those are some of the reasons that give investors cause to cheer. But the question is, how long will it last from here because there's a weekend between now and next week.

ALLEN: All right. Thank you, Nina dos Santos for us in London. Well, our emerging markets editor, John Defterios is following events from Abu Dhabi with how oil prices are affecting these markets. John.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN'S EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. In fact, Natalie, we've moved in the oil patch from amber, if you will, on the alert to red alert. That's because investors right now are very concerned about investment in the oil sector, more bankruptcies.

We saw nearly 70 in 2015, more layoffs. Some 250,000, and whether we can see a consensus building between non-OPEC and OPEC countries. Let's go back 13-year to us right near at 13-low. In terms of U.S. benchmark the WTI. And we got very spoiled particularly here in the Middle East with very high prices $147 back in 2008, and we average $100.

Now we are at a level here, right near a 13-year low hovering around $27 a barrel. Interesting that Goldman Sachs says is suggesting we have to go down to $20 a barrel to wash out the higher cost producers around the world. And there's big concerns about a spillover to come of the overly dependent oil producers and what they need to do to shore up their economies.

Nigeria, and as Buhari where he ask for a bailout from the IMF in the World Bank. There are concerns about Kazakhstan, Angola, Algeria, and particularly Venezuela. So, this could be the global shock to the stock markets and why we see the link between oil and the equity markets right now.

And then internally within OPEC, it's a very disparate group, Natalie, with 13 members. The members here from the Middle East have low cost production. So, they're reluctant to cut right now. The higher cost producers some of them that I mentioned already want to see oil taken off the market to prop up prices.

And we have a confrontation between the major producers of the world, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait suggesting who's going to blink first going forward.

The market got overly excited yesterday when the minister of energy from here and Abu Dhabi was suggesting that OPEC is ready to cooperate. But he finished off by saying we're starting to see the higher cost production go out of the market suggesting, if not everybody is going to cut and take oil off the market, they'll stand pat.

That's why we're on edge today. Some recovery in the European equity markets. But it is a downward trend. And that direct link between oil and equity is still with us. Natalie.

ALLEN: It has certainly been a pretty volatile and shaky start in 2016. Thank you so much, John Defterios for the explanation there from Abu Dhabi for us.

Well, dozens of people are dead after a prison riot in Northern Mexico. And it comes just one day before Pope Francis touches down on the country's soil. We'll have more about that story and the pope's trip.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. I'm Natalie Allen, live in Atlanta.

Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

U.S. democratic candidates took the gloves off Thursday night during their latest debate. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders attacked each other on support for President Obama among other things. They also battled over foreign policy and minority voters.

The earthquake that hit Southern Taiwan last week has now killed 94 people. At least 550 were wounded when the quake rattled the island on Saturday. Taiwan State news says at least 30 people are believed to still be trapped under a collapsed building.

Diplomats meeting in Munich have agreed to a cessation of hostility in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says they hope it will start in a week, but he says expanded delivery of humanitarian aid should begin right away. The proposed deal will not include terrorist organizations such as ISIS.

Aleppo is at the heart of the conflict in Syria. Shelter, food, and water are precious commodities. So, is medical care.

I spoke last hour with Stan Taylor from Doctors Without Borders. He says clinics are operating under horrific conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAN TAYLOR, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: The conditions in which they're working, and the injuries that they're facing are absolutely horrific. And so, you know, right now the border's still open so we're able to bring it through even though the main supply route to Aleppo has been cut.

And we're still able to bring it at the moment but if the city gets cynical and we get into a besieged situation, then that's extremely concerning. It's worth bearing in mind that, you know, with the potential siege in Aleppo, this is just one place where sieges are being used as a tactic of war.

We saw recently, Moadamiyeh where people are starving to death. It's not just the government of Syria that besieging people. It's other group in the Atlantic State group also. But we estimate that between 1.5 and two million people are living in these conditions, which is just utterly unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Yes. The video there bears it out. Aid organizations have been sending enough humanitarian assistance into Aleppo meant to last about three months.

But one of the main routes they used to get food supplies into the city is now closed off, making their efforts more difficult and dangerous.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon spoke with aid workers about that struggle.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting humanitarian aid into Aleppo is harder and riskier than ever. Mercy Corps is the largest provider to Northern Syria after the United Nations.

This aid, if it doesn't get inside, how many people are left hungry?

DALIA AL-AWQATI, NORTH SYRIA DIRECTOR FOR THE MERCY CORPS: Well, if we're consistently unable to get aid inside, this is destined for Aleppo behind me, for Aleppo City in particular, where we serve 66,000 people a month with assistance.

So, if we're not able to get into Aleppo City, it will be 66,000 people that will be unable to get the food that they depend on to meet their day-to-day needs.

DAMON: And how have you had to adjust to your routes ever since the main road here got cut off.

AL-AWQATI: Well, we've had to change our routes. The main route between Azaz and Aleppo City, so the main route north of Aleppo City, which is the most direct route and the easiest route, of course, is cut off and has been for almost a week now.

So we now have to go through the western route going through Idlib to governor to all the way around. So, a longer route and more inconsistent route and ultimately, a riskier route as well.

DAMON: how have you had to adjust what you're doing here?

AL-AWQATI: Well, essentially what we're having to do is speed everything up. So, more deliveries into northern Aleppo governance to meet the needs -- the immediate needs of people of course, and then increased deliveries into Aleppo City just so we're sure we're able to pre-position stocks.

[03:35:05] To make sure that food assistance for up to three months is available inside of Aleppo City should the routes be cut.

It's a very difficult time for Syrians. It's a very difficult time for civilians in particular. It's been -- it's been a long conflict, it's been a very difficult conflict, and ultimately, the toll is on civilians. So, they are the people that are the most impacted.

For Syrians, today there's an overwhelming sense of frustration. There is an overwhelming sense of despair.

DAMON: despair that grows by the day as everyone braces themselves and tries to prepare for the seemingly eminent battle for Aleppo.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Kilis, Turkey.

ALLEN: Thank goodness for the groups who work to help all the civilians.

Well, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev has lashed out at Germany's policy on welcoming refugees dismissing it as, quote, "stupid." Mr. Medvedev made the comments in an interview with the German business newspaper, Handelsblatt.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's strategy has cause controversy at home and abroad with about 1.1 million migrants taken in last year alone. Resentment is rising and the new trend is emerging, that of migrants returning from Germany and other European countries back to their home nation.

It's a development that CNN has been following closely. Have a look at this clip from senior international correspondent Atika Shubert reported last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Since September, Iraqi Airways has had at least 100 refugees flying home every week and that number is rising. A ticket costs about $250. That's a bargain compared to the $9,000 Mohamed Kuokh (ph) spent to be smuggled into Germany. Today, he leaves bitterly disappointed.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE) "Honestly, it's a joke," he tells us. "We heard it would be wonderful here, but it wasn't. It's very crowded and it gets worse as more people come. The bureaucracy is slow. Many applications are not even accepted in the end because too many people are coming in, and that's the reason I'm leaving," he said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: The International Organization for Migration has helped about 3500 migrants return home from Europe to Iraq, but it says the total number is actually much higher.

I'm joined now by Sandra Black, the group's spokeswoman. She is in Irbil, Iraq. Talking with us right now. Sandra, thanks for joining us. This is quite interesting that what we're seeing. But let's talk about the numbers. How many Iraqis fled for Europe, and how many apparently want back in?

SANDRA BLACK, IOM SPOKESPERSON: We know that tens of thousands of Iraqis traveled from Iraq into Europe in 2015. There were over 80,000 Iraqis who arrived in Greece by sea alone and thousands more through other countries.

An International Organization for Migration facilitates in cooperation with our humanitarian partners arrival and assistance for the return for those Iraqis who choose to return to home country.

ALLEN: So, 80,000 at a minimum who left Iraq. And what are the numbers as far as the people that are giving up on Europe and trying to come back? And what is that process?

BLACK: In 2015, IOM assisted nearly 3,500 Iraqis to return. We averaged return assistance for 100 Iraqis per month since January to August, but since October we've been helping approximately 800 Iraqis per month.

IOM provides voluntary return assistance for Iraqis, but there are most likely thousands more who are choosing to return on their own or through the assistance of other government agencies.

ALLEN: When did it become such an issue that your organization reacted perhaps like wait a minute, what's happening? They're coming back.

BLACK: We saw an increase in August and September. In this past month, January, we assisted over 800 Iraqis to return, and assistance requests continue to come in at a very high rate.

ALLEN: And what are they saying and what does it say about the migration debacle we are seeing in Europe?

BLACK: Iraqi migrants tell us they're not finding the situation that they were hoping for in Europe, the job opportunities, the living conditions. They're concerned about the long time frame that their asylum requests take. And in the meantime, many European family members that they want them back home. They need to support their families and come back to work.

[03:40:07] ALLEN: And because that Europe is so divided over migrants, do you think this is a trend that's going to continue into 2016?

BLACK: We are seeing continued very high migration into Europe. In January alone, overall there were 76,000 migrants who arrived in Europe so far this year.

So, because of the high levels of migration to Europe, we expect that we will continue to receive high levels of requests of Iraqis choosing to return home.

ALLEN: Just almost surreal of the odyssey that they have been on. And good for your group that you're helping them, the International Organization for Migration. Sandra Black talking with us from Irbil. Thank you. We appreciate it.

BLACK: Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Well, Pope Francis is on his way to Cuba right now for a historic trip. The pope boarded his plane and took off last hour from Rome. He'll land in Havana later today to meet with his Russian Orthodox counterpart, the first such meeting ever.

After that, Francis will head to Mexico for a week-long trip.

A fight between rival gangs there sparked a deadly riot and fires at a prison in Monterrey, Mexico, just ahead of that visit from Pope Francis. Shasta Darlington is in Mexico City with the latest.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A shocking number. More than 50 inmates killed when a bloody fight broke out between rival factions at the Topo Chico Prison in Northern Mexico. This was in the City of Monterrey.

One of the gangs was led by the Zedas Cartel. They lit parts of the prison on fire. And it really led to hours of anguish for family members who rushed to the prison to try and find out what was going on as they watched the rescue workers bring out the burnt inmates.

Authorities say everything is under control now, but all of this happening just a day before Pope Francis touches down on Mexican soil. And he plans to visit some of the most dangerous corners of the country, including another notorious prison, one in Ciudad Juarez where there was a bloody riot in 2009 that left 20 dead.

Ironically, the pope sent a message to Mexicans before he left saying that he wouldn't try and cover up the violence and the crime and the drug wars that people were facing. At the time authorities shrugged it off. Now they're left in a position of trying to prove that they're prepared for his arrival.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Mexico City.

ALLEN: Pope Francis headed to Ciudad Juarez, considered the most dangerous city in Mexico.

CNN will cover every step of his trip as he stops in Cuba to meet the Russian Orthodox leader and then to Mexico. And he will hold a mass on the border with the U.S. Our live coverage of his visit starts Friday right here on CNN.

A theory by Albert Einstein is proven right more than 100 years later. The discovery that could open a new window into the universe. We'll explain next.

[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Well, scientists have announced that gravitational waves first theorized by Albert Einstein one century ago, are real.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID REITZE, LIGO LABORATORY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: We have detected gravitational waves. We did it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Somewhere Einstein's is going, yes, and fist bumping himself -- bumping himself. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time caused by two black holes that spiral together oh, about 1.3 billion years ago.

Scientists used a technique to actually hear the black holes collide. Something they couldn't do before. They say that could open up a whole new area of astronomy. So, what is this technique? How did they do this?

So, we have our own Derek Van Dam as an Einstein Junior for a day. Better you than me to explain this, Derek. He's got a very high tech soccer ball to explain it.

DAM: It's analogy time, Natalie.

ALLEN: It works.

DAM: The only way to explain Einstein's theory of relativity, what do you do, use an Adidas soccer ball. Listen, here it is. The ball is space in time. My hands, OK, stay with me -- my hands will actually be the gravitational wave. So, watch what happens as I press and act on space and time. It contorts, it construes that space and time continuum.

In theory, Einstein's theory, a 100 years ago, that's what exactly takes place during a gravitational wave. Let me show you this.

Einstein, you may have heard of him, yes, famous physicist, 100 years ago, E equals MC squared. You have a pretty popular mathematician there as well. Well, we won't get into the specifics of the math, but let's talk about the gravity wave that was detected in the United States that has blown astronomers' minds and also helped prove Einstein's theory. It took 1.5 billion years, by the way, for this little gravity wave to

actually reach us here on earth. It was only here for 200 milliseconds and it moved a vacuum tube 1/400th of diameter of a proton.

So, we're talking about a very minute space in time. A very minute length as well. How does a gravity wave this form? Well, we need some sort of large mass like the sun, or in this particular instance, like a black hole. How about two of them? And how about two of them colliding in some catastrophic, cataclysmic event 1.5 billion years ago?

Those two black holes were 30 times the mass of the sun. It created a pulse of energy that propagated across the universe known as the gravity wave. It finally reached us here in September of 2015.

It actually took scientists six months to actually prove what had actually been detected over six months ago. The mass of the black holes. Here it is. The pulse. The gravity wave that formed was actually three times the mass of the energy given by the sun.

That was enough to at least be detected here on earth by two different wave observatories, one in the U.S. State of Washington and the other in Louisiana.

Now this is a look at what these tunnels are. They're two and a half mile long tunnels. They have a series of mirrors. They're measured by lasers. So, they're extremely precise.

What they're looking for is this deviation or shift in the length in time that it was there. So, there it is. It's hard to explain but there was the deviation and the shift and it's amazing for astronomers. Because that allows us to look for far away stars -- we didn't know it existed, Natalie - galaxies and black holes...

ALLEN: Yes.

[03:50:01] DAM: ... and we have the potential to see the beginnings of time of our ever expanding universe.

ALLEN: It's unreal especially that over this giant antenna in Washington State and Louisiana.

DAM: I agree.

ALLEN: So, random.

DAM: And how we can prove it, with a soccer ball.

ALLEN: All right. We'll hold on the soccer ball, pursuing to updates, but you'll bring it back. OK. Thank you, Derek, Einstein Jr.

DAM: Oh, yes.

ALLEN: OK. Well, it is a love match dating back to World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOYCE MORRIS, NORWOOD'S WARTIME SWEETHEART: We're still vertical. Hello.

NORWOOD THOMAS, WAR VETERAN: Let me give you a squeeze.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: We got a sweet story coming up. How this kindness of stranger brought these love birds back together after decades. That's right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with the CNN World Sport headlines.

Manchester United might be languishing in fifth place in the Premier League right now. But as far as the financial coiffeurs are concerned, there's no doubt they're winners off the field.

The Red Devils are on stripe to become the British Club ever to earn more $700 million in one year. They're reminded the club's 10-year Adidas kit deal is said to be worth around $1.1 billion.

And on Thursday, it was revealed that second quarter revenues for the old soccer Giants rose to a record of $190 million.

The countdown is onto the much publicized FIFA presidential elections now just two weeks from Friday. There are five candidates standing to replace the suspended Seth Blatter.

And on Thursday, one of them, Prince Ali bin Hussein won that this forthcoming election will be FIFA's last chance to turn its back on the shame and turmoil of recent corruption allegations that have dogged the sport's governing body.

And the Paris Saint-Germain head coach Laurent Blanc has ended speculation over his future with the club by announcing a new two-year contract. Blanc has overseen back-to-back league and title for PSG, including last season's domestic travel.

And PSG looks set to win again with the current 24-point lead in the closest rivals Monaco.

That's a look at all of your sport headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Well, we now have a love story 70 years in the making. After being separated by war and with the help of generous strangers online, a couple has reunited just in time for Valentine's Day.

Here's CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: I'm going to give her a squeeze.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Norwood Thomas never stopped thinking about Joyce Morris. The pair first met in 1944. She, a 17-year-old British girl living in London, he, a 21-year-old paratrooper for the U.S. Forces. Young love blossomed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:55:13] (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MORRIS: First love, as you call it. You know, when it was start. Now because -- yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: But their brief romance was interrupted when Thomas was deployed to Normandy to fight in World War II. After the war, he returned to the U.S. and invited Morris to join him.

But she misunderstood his letter and thought he was already married. So, she refused his invitation and they went their separate ways.

They married other people, Thomas eventually became a widower, Morris got divorced. Last year, one of her sons found Thomas online and they reconnected on Skype after more than 70 years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORRIS: Picture frame (Inaudible) and I say good morning to you every morning.

THOMAS: And I will say good morning.

(CROSSTALK)

MORRIS: I don't want to miss you.

THOMAS: And I'll say good morning back to you. You broke my heart.

MORRIS: I don't believe that for a moment.

THOMAS: What would you do if I could give you a squeeze?

MORRIS: Oh, it would be lovely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: A crowd funding campaign raised enough money to make that actually happen. This week, Thomas made the journey from Virginia to Adelaide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORRIS: Well, you're still vertical. Hello.

THOMAS: Let me give you a squeeze. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: A couple that first met just before D-Day reuniting seven decades later just in time for V or Valentine's Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: You are the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me.

MORRIS: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN.

ALLEN: Oh, love that story. Well, on that love note, thanks for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen. Stay with us for CNN Newsroom with Max Foster in London. That's next. Thanks for watching.

[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)