Return to Transcripts main page


Republicans Back Off Pledge to Support Nominee; Trump Stands By Embattled Campaign Manager; Americans' Anger over Economy Impacting Presidential Race; Republicans Clash at Town Hall in Milwaukee; Brazil Court Weighs Controversial Appointment; Assad Accuses Multiple Countries of Backing Terror; ISIS Executioner's Brother Speaks to CNN; Family Mourns Newlyweds Killed in Lahore Blast; Plight of Myanmar's Rohingya; U.S. Democrats Battle for New York. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 30, 2016 - 10:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, the riff between Donald Trump and rivals gets even wider. The possibility of

impeachment looms over Brazil's president and Bashar al-Assad says the U.K. and others are supporting terrorism in Syria.


ASHER: Hello and welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Zain Asher. We want to start with the U.S. presidential race and the unity pledge from the

three Republican candidates to support the eventual nominee is now gone, finito, disappeared.

Donald Trump was the most explicit, saying that he will not back Ted Cruz or John Kasich if either emerges from the convention as the nominee.

Cruz and Kasich didn't go quite that far. They hinted at it but they didn't go quite that far but each of them made it clear they would be no

fan of Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential ticket. Here's more of what they had to say to Anderson Cooper at Tuesday's CNN's town



SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute train wreck. I think it would hand the general election to

Hillary Clinton.

Poll after poll after poll shows Donald Trump losing 10, 11, 12 points or more.

I don't want to see the White House given over to Hillary Clinton. I don't want to see us lose the Senate and the House, lose the Supreme Court for a

generation, lose the Bill of Rights.

I think nominating Donald Trump is a disaster and so the answer to that is not to scream and yell and cry and attack him. The answer to that is to

beat him at the ballot box. That's what we're working every day to do. It's what we're campaigning every day here in Wisconsin to do.





TRUMP: No. We'll see who it is.

COOPER: You won't promise to support the Republican nominee?


TRUMP: -- he was essentially saying the same thing. Let me just tell you. He doesn't have to support me. I have tremendous support right now from

the people.

COOPER: So the pledge you took is null and void, the idea of supporting whoever the Republican nominee is, you say you will no longer guarantee --

TRUMP: I have been treated very unfairly. Look, I won the state of Missouri, right?

No, I have.

(INAUDIBLE) Cruz people.

I have been treated --


TRUMP: -- I've been treated very unfairly. I'll give you an example.

COOPER: Unfairly by who?

TRUMP: I think by basically the RNC, the Republican Party, the establishment.

I -- honestly, I watched him tonight with you and I watched how tormented he was when you asked him that question.

I don't want to have him torment. I don't want to have him be tormented. Let me just tell you, I don't want his support. I don't need his support.

I want him to be comfortable.

Now if he wants to support me that'd be wonderful because I think I'm going to win. But let me just tell you. I watched him, you know, skirt around

like any politician would, skirt around the issues --

COOPER: You're not ironclad standing by the initial pledge to support whoever the nominee is?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You know, frankly, we -- all of us shouldn't even have even answered that question but it was the first debate and, you

know, what the heck, sometimes you answer questions you ought not -- you ought to just say I'm not answering it.

COOPER: And so now, just to be clear.

KASICH: I'm as clear as you're going to get out of me.

COOPER: You're not standing -- you're not standing by that --

KASICH: No, I don't want to be political here. I got to see what happens. If the nominee is somebody that I think is really hurting the country and

dividing the country, I can't stand behind them.


ASHER: So you just heard John Kasich there, saying that he won't stand by the nominee if it is somebody who is hurting the country. He didn't

specify Donald Trump though.

Meantime, Trump has been addressing the status of his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who turned himself in on Tuesday to face a simple

battery charge in Florida. Sara Murray explains.


TRUMP: She shouldn't have been touching me, OK?

My arm, it's never been the same, folks.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is vowing to stick with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

TRUMP: I think they've really hurt a very good person and I know it would be very easy for me to discard people. I don't discard people.

MURRAY (voice-over): Lewandowski was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple battery Tuesday and turned himself in to police in Jupiter, Florida.

The charge stems from a March 8th incident at a Trump press conference, seen on this newly released video from law enforcement.

Former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, seen in the light-colored jacket, said she, quote, "felt someone yank her left arm." And she fell

back but caught herself from falling after approaching Trump to ask a question, according to the police report.

Lewandowski initially insisted he never touched her, tweeting earlier this month that Fields was delusional.

Now Trump is acknowledging there was some contact but he's arguing the reporter was out of line to approach him.

TRUMP: All of a sudden she bolts into the picture. She grabs me or hits me on the arm. In fact, I'm --


TRUMP: -- like this with my arm up. And then he goes by -- I mean, maybe he touched her a little bit.

But I didn't -- it was almost like he was trying to keep her off me, right?

MURRAY (voice-over): After the incident, Fields tweeted a photo of the bruises on her arm. According to the police report, those bruises

"appeared to be several finger marks indicating a grabbing type injury."

Now Trump is calling those into question as well.

TRUMP: How do you know those bruises weren't there before?

Wouldn't you think that she would have yelled out a scream or something if she has bruises on her arm?

MURRAY (voice-over): Lewandowski's attorney said he is absolutely innocent of this charge and will enter a not guilty plea. But Trump's GOP rivals

insist the latest incident reflects the tenor of the Trump campaign.

CRUZ: It's consistent with the pattern of the Trump campaign. I think there is no place in politics for insults, for personal attacks, for going

to the gutter. And there should be no place for physical violence, either.

MURRAY (voice-over): Both Cruz and Kasich agreeing, if this were their staffer, he would be terminated.

KASICH: From what I understand, the video is clear. Of course I would fire him.


ASHER: And Donald Trump's surge to the top of the Republican field can be traced in large part to growing anger over the U.S. economy. To explain

all this, my good friend, CNNMoney chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, joins us live now from New York.

So Christine, it's always interesting when people talk about the American economy because when you look at the stats -- and I saw this in your

article, which is really good, by the way -- that the S&P 500 is up more than 200 percent over the past seven years, you look at unemployment, it's

roughly around 4.9 percent.

So explain to our international audience why is the American voter so angry?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So economists give the U.S. economy a solid B, maybe a B plus. That's a good, good grade, right.

The American voter is giving it an F. A failing grade. And here's why.

The things Americans talk about around the kitchen table, the economy they talk about, is an economy of pessimism, an economy of low self-esteem, an

economy where they feel as though it's going to be harder for them to get in and stay in the middle class.

It's going to take a lot of debt to get a college degree. They are worried about not having the right skills in a very nimble, very globalized

economy. And I think low economic self-esteem is what the voter is showing in poll after poll. And it's really come out this election season.

ASHER: Christine, is the concern widespread?

Is it all over the country or is it regional?

ROMANS: I'll tell you what. It is not widespread. It's almost like one America, two economies. That's the way I describe it because when you look

at the economy of people who have exposure to the stock market, people who have a 401(k) or a retirement plan, people who have a job, are moving up in

their job, someone who has owned their home for maybe more than five or six years, those people are not worried. Those people are enjoying a B, B plus

economy, a high scoring economy.

It's people who maybe have a lot of student loan debt. It's someone who maybe would have had a high paying manufacturing job a generation ago but

doesn't now. It's somebody who maybe does have a college degree but didn't really get in the labor market in a healthy time, like the time -- anytime

in the last six or seven years. And so they are worried about their earnings.

And it's somebody, frankly, who can't afford to buy a house or who has very high health care or health care or child care costs. Those are the kitchen

table issues that are really coming out in full force in this election.

I'll tell you something interesting, though, Zain. I cover the exit polls after every one of these primaries. And people are so fearful, they really

are. They're fearful about the economy and they really want -- they are drawn to Donald Trump's self-confidence, endless self-confidence. And they

are drawn to --


ROMANS: -- and his promise for jobs.

And they're drawn to Bernie Sanders on the other end of the spectrum for taking care of it all and making government work for you.

But when asked how are you doing personally right now, six in 10 Americans say they are holding steady. So things aren't as bad as they think they

are but it really is resonating on the campaign trail.

ASHER: Yes, because as I mentioned, when you look at the numbers, they don't seem to be bad at all.

But I know that's an international global concerns are also featuring in the election, like for example, free trade.

Christine Romans, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.

And you can read Christine's full article about this on our website. It has all the facts and the figures behind the economic pessimism in America

right now. Just go to for that.

OK. We want to take you back now to last night's Republican town hall. CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston joins me live now from

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the site of last night's town hall.

So, Mark, thank you so much for being with us. I want to talk first of all about Donald Trump's decision to stand by Corey Lewandowski.

Is that going to affect him going into the Wisconsin primaries, do you think?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, in many ways, I think that for the Trump supporters it's going to harden their support for him. Donald

Trump was very, very forceful last night in saying that he was going to stand by Corey Lewandowski and that he doesn't leave people behind.

This is the kind of rhetoric that works very well for Donald Trump when not only he's talking about employees but when he's talking about how he would

quote-unquote, "make America great again."


PRESTON: So as Donald Trump campaigns here for the next week, we will continue to hear him say that. And of course he's going to continue to

point to a new video that shows the incident occurring. And of course we have already seen his lawyers on the American television networks this

morning, already talking about how they feel like the reporter for that organization, Breitbart, might have fudged a little bit in her explanation

about what happened.

ASHER: And, Mark, one of the headlines that came out of last night's town hall was the fact that all three candidates now seem to be less likely --

this is incredible -- less likely to support the eventual nominee.

I'm just curious, just get your thoughts, what does that say about the state of the GOP right now?

PRESTON: Well, there's no question right now that it's a further illustration right now that the Republican Party here in the United States

is entirely fractured at this point.

We're talking about going into a Republican convention which we haven't seen in modern times that could potentially be contested, that you could

actually see a floor fight over who would be their nominee heading into November.

This is going to hurt the Republican Party if it comes to that because the Democrats will surely already have their nominee picked by then, whether

it's Hillary Clinton -- likely -- or perhaps Bernie Sanders, who will have more time to make their case to the American voters to support them in


However, the Republican Party right now, as we're seeing and certainly highlighted by Donald Trump right now, is fractured at every seam. And

when you have not one, not two but the three remaining candidates saying that they would not support each other heading into the convention, that

says something about the state of the GOP here in the U.S.

ASHER: And you touched on something I want to talk more about and that is the possibility of a contested convention. Wisconsin primaries are next


If Donald Trump loses, how much more likely is a contested convention going forward?

PRESTON: Well, Donald Trump needs to get to 1,237 delegates, basically 1,237 votes. He's got about a 50 percent chance of that happening.

Why Wisconsin is important next week is that we don't have any contests this week. This is the first real lull in the primary season here in the

U.S. So there will be a lot of emphasis focused on Wisconsin.

But after Wisconsin, we head to the state of New York, Donald Trump's home state as well as several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states such as

Delaware, such as Connecticut, such as Maryland, these are states that Donald Trump, you would think, would do better than Ted Cruz. These voters

tend to be a little bit more centrist in their policies. Ted Cruz tends to be a little bit more on the evangelical side.

But if Donald Trump does win Wisconsin, you would have to say the wind is at his back to avoid a contested convention. But who knows. This

campaign, Zain, as you know, has really been a guessing game all along.

ASHER: Yes, anything goes. Six days until Wisconsin, 42 delegates up for grabs. But it really is as you indicated more about momentum at this

point. Mark Preston, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

(INAUDIBLE) now to Brazil. A major political shift may spell the end for the country's embattled president. Brazil's largest political party is

pulling out of President Dilma Rousseff's coalition government. She faces calls for impeachment, which now seem increasingly likely without the

party's support.

This is the latest development in a power shuffle around Ms. Rousseff. I want to talk more about this with our correspondent, Shasta Darlington,

who's live for us in Rio de Janeiro.

So what are the chances now going forward without the support of the PMDB that Dilma Rousseff will actually end up being impeached?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, this was a real game-changer. And talking to political analysts, some say that

there's even a 90 percent chance that she could be ousted at this point.

This was a party that stood by the government for nearly 13 years, Brazil's biggest party and it took them all of three minutes to decide to pull out.

That means of course they are ordering all six of their ministers to step down, some 600 employees. And it makes it increasingly likely that the

lower house of congress will muster the two-thirds necessary to vote her out of office in an impeachment proceeding.

She's very unpopular and they are trying to ride this wave of popular protests. Get on the side of the 68 percent of Brazilians who say that she

should be impeached, take advantage of that. And of course the big irony here is that the one member of the PMDB, who is not being ordered to step

down, is the vice president, Michel Temer, and that's because he would step into her place if she were impeached -- Zain.

ASHER: I want to talk about the former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, very popular, also Dilma Rousseff's mentor as well. He's waiting to

hear if he can get that chief of staff, that minister appointment. That could potentially save him. We could hear about that today. The supreme

court is deciding.

DARLINGTON: Well, Zain, the supreme court is indeed reconvening today. It's unlikely that we'll get a decision from them that early. But this has



DARLINGTON: -- caused a huge amount of political tension here by because starting a few weeks back, this massive corruption investigation started to

circle in on former president Lula. They took him in for questioning. And then all of a sudden, President Rousseff is appointing him her chief of

staff, a move that really would shield him, at least in the short term, from those investigations because the members of government, high members

of government, can only be tried by the supreme court.

People took to the street. We saw more than 1 million people on the streets, really calling for an end to this government and what they call

this political maneuvering.

So now it's up to the supreme court to decide whether or not Lula can become chief of staff. The government claims they want him there to help

bolster support as they move forward and face these impeachment proceedings. He was at one point the most popular president in recent


So this is, again, another important piece in this complicated and highly tense situation here in Brazil -- Zain.

ASHER: Yes, I'm curious to see what will end up happening to Lula if Dilma Rousseff does end up being impeached. He won't have that shield


Shasta Darlington live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, Syria's president is leveling new accusations about foreign support for terrorists in his

country. What he had to say in an interview with a Russian news agency. That's coming up.

Plus: CNN speaks with a brother of an ISIS executioner. We'll take you to Antwerp, Belgium, where the fighter's family is reeling from the actions of

a man they say they no longer recognize. That's coming up next.




ASHER: Welcome back, everybody.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has given an interview to Russia's state- run Sputnik news agency and he accused Turkey, the United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia of directly supporting terrorism in his country and in

Iraq. Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is live now from Moscow.

So, Matthew, when Assad said that Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia had been supporting terrorists, was he referring to rebel forces?

Walk us through what that meant.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think he certainly was referring to rebel forces. This is all part of the rhetoric

that we have heard time and again from Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

Of course Western powers, United Kingdom, France, he specified particularly, backed certain factions fighting in the Syrian civil war, as

does Turkey, as does Saudi Arabia. Some of them are designated as terrorist groups. Others are not.

But the Syrian government and Bashar al-Assad in particular designates them all as terrorist groups. And that's what he's referring to when he said

that the main problem during this interview with Russian state television, he said the main problem was terrorism and that Saudi Arabia and --


CHANCE: -- Turkey and Western powers like Britain and France were responsible for backing those terrorists. So it was really just more of

the rhetoric on that score that we have heard on several occasions in the past.

ASHER: In terms of other things that he mentioned in the interview, obviously, we know that Russia has reduced its military presence in Syria.

Did Assad at all talk about how that will impact the Geneva talks?

CHANCE: He did talk about the Russian military presence quite significantly, saying that the presence of Russian bases in Syria -- and

remember Russia has two bases, an air base in Latakia and a naval base in Tartus -- were important at the moment because they were so effective. The

Russians military at it what it called fighting terrorism.

But interestingly he also said that even after this crisis, as he called it, is over there will be a need for Russia to maintain its bases in Syria

because the fight against terrorism is ongoing.

And also he said that the presence of Russian bases was necessary to balance the major powers in the world. And so very much reflecting that

the Kremlin relying, that Russia is an effective counterbalance against Western power in the Middle East. And indeed, that was one of the main

reasons that Russia intervened in the Syrian conflict in the first place.

ASHER: And in terms of Syria moving forward, he was quite specific and adamant about what he wants a traditional government in Syria to look like.

CHANCE: Well, he said he wanted it to be representative. He said he wanted independent groups, opposition groups as well as the government to

take part in the peace negotiations, which are expected to resume next month.

And he also said that the Syrian government, his government, had been flexible and would continue to be flexible when it came to the


What we didn't hear from this interview -- and this wasn't unexpected at all -- was any sense in which Bashar al-Assad was preparing to step down

ahead of any interim government, any transitional government inside Syria. This is something he's resisted all along. And it's something his Russian

backers have resisted as well.

ASHER: All right. Matthew Chance, live for us there, thank you so much, appreciate that.

We are learning more about what police found at the site of a so-called bomb factory for the Brussels terror attacks. A source close to the

investigation tells CNN a computer tossed in a rubbish bin near the apartment building contained some unsettling files on its hard drive.

Investigators found photos and plans for several Belgian government buildings, including the prime minister's office. The source says it

suggests that the terror cell might have been planning to target those buildings in addition to the airport and metro station.

Per capita, Belgium has the largest number of jihadist foreign fighters in Syria of any Western European nation. One of those men has become the

Belgian face of ISIS. His own brother spoke exclusively to CNN's Michael Holmes about what their family is going through.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an organization that revels in barbarity, the hands of this man are more soaked in blood than

most. Hicham Chaib, Belgian born of Moroccan descent, praises the Brussels terror attacks and promises more to come.

Chaib is a murderer of many, by beheading, crucifixion and gunshot. He ends this video warning to his country of birth by killing another man.

MOHAMED AMIN CHAIB, BROTHER OF BELGIAN ISIS FIGHTER (through translator): He was someone who couldn't hurt a fly and went through life laughing.

It's just disbelief and still the family doesn't believe this could happen.

HOLMES (voice-over): The brother of a killer: Mohamed Amin Chaib is sickened by what he cannot yet bring himself to watch, the actions of a man

he no longer recognizes.

HOLMES: What good memories do you have of him when he was younger, before all this took hold?

What are your memories of him as a young man, as a child?

CHAIB (through translator): What I remember is an older brother, who was always there. That's what I remember. If I had trouble, he was there.

HOLMES: Hicham Chaib grew up in this suburb of Antwerp in Belgium, by all accounts, a normal upbringing in a moderate Muslim family of 13 until, his

family, says he met people, radicals, who turned him to a view of his religion unlike that he was raised in, what his brother calls a twisted

cut-and-paste Islam.

CHAIB (through translator): That's an Islam that they fill in according to their own interpretations, colored by their own frustrations.

HOLMES (voice-over): Twenty-two-year-old Mohamed Amin has not seen his brother since 2013, when he left Belgium for Syria. Since Hicham Chaib's

latest grotesque video, the family who disowns his actions has received threats to their own safety.

CHAIB (through translator): With the latest video, we've had --


CHAIB (through translator): -- threats, hate messages. It's a major influence on our family, not just emotionally but also out of fear. Our

parents are very fearful that something might happen with their sons or daughters.

HOLMES: The family's angst does not end with Hicham, though. Another brother, Anwar (ph), faces charges after authorities say he, too, allegedly

tried to go to Syria, although his lawyer says Anwar is no Hicham.

MATTIAS LEYS, CHAIB FAMILY LAWYER (through translator): My client has taken notice of the video images in which his brother is seen and he wants

to absolutely distance himself from it. He rejects the acts and the words of his brother and is shocked by what recently happened in our country.

HOLMES (voice-over): Mohamed isn't sure if he'll see his brother again. But if his brother sees this, he has a message from a family paying for the

sins of a son.

CHAIB (through translator): Hicham, think hard, because you have a family here. Your own mother thinks about you every night and cries always about

you. Your father's old. He also always loves you. Think about the consequences for your family, because they're enormous.

HOLMES (voice-over): By his past actions, Mohamed Amin's plea, unlikely to be heeded -- Michael Holmes, CNN, Antwerp, Belgium.


ASHER: French president Francois Hollande says he no longer plans to pursue a controversial change to his country's constitution. His proposed

legislation would have stripped convicted terrorists with dual citizenship of their French nationality.

Mr. Hollande first floated the proposal after the November attacks in Paris. The idea did gain some traction at first but grew more and more

divisive in recent months amid French lawmakers could not reach a compromise.

The man who hijacked an EgyptAir flight bound for Cairo Tuesday has been formally charged in a Cyprus court. The charges include hijacking,

kidnapping and threatening the use of explosives.

Seif Eldin Mustafa claimed to have an explosive belt and he diverted the plane to Cyprus apparently over issues involving his ex-wife.

Take a look at this photo here. You can actually see Mustafa there. There he is, on the plane. He's actually wearing, if you look closely, a fake

explosive belt around his waist.

Once the plane had landed, he even paused to pose for pictures amid all the chaos. He has confessed to all charges against him. Egypt has asked for

Mustafa's extradition.

Still to come, a young couple married just months ago were among the victims of Sunday's suicide blast in Pakistan. We'll hear from their

grieving family come in coming up.

Plus: 36 years of military rule in Myanmar meets a peaceful end. We'll look at how the power transfer is giving new hope to one of the world's

most persecuted minority groups. That's coming up next.





ASHER: Welcome back to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Zain Asher. Let's take a closer look at your headlines.


ASHER: The death toll in an Easter Sunday suicide attack in Pakistan is now up to 74 people. Nearly 370 people were wounded in the bombing at a

popular park. A Pakistani Taliban splinter group says it was targeting Christians in the attack but most of the victims were indeed Muslims.

One mother is mourning the loss of her newly married son and daughter-in- law, who were killed in the bombing. She spoke with our Saima Mohsin -- and we want to warn you, some of the images you're about to see of the

aftermath of the attack are very disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): I entrusted them in God's hands, now they are with God.

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Naveed and Shawana Ashraf were married just four months ago. They both died in the bombing, both

just 21 years old.

Shawana usually wore the veil. Her family asked that we respect her privacy, even though she's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Everyone who saw her said, "She looks like an angel." Well, God made an angel come and take my son away.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Just moments before the attack, this is now the last video taken by the Ashraf family on a day out at the amusement park.

Laughter, happiness, then this: Shawana had never been to the park. They had taken Naveed's sisters with them.

They were sitting, having snacks close to this stand, when the bombers struck. The family searched for them at the park and then found them at

the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Oh, my lion son. I might as well be dead. I don't want to act like this but I just can't help it. He was my

lion, my big, strong son. Oh, my son was soaked I blood.

MOHSIN (voice-over): It's too much for his sister to listen to. Her leg was injured in the bombing; their mother, delirious; father, resigned and

unable to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): My daughter was covered in blood, her scarf was drenched in blood. He was screaming.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Naveed and Shawana died of shrapnel wounds to the head and neck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): If I could, I would swap places with them. I wish I could give all my years to my children.

MOHSIN (voice-over): They were buried as soon as possible under Muslim law, first thing Monday, leaving behind a family that says a darkness has

befallen them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): All I wanted to do was hold my son and daughter-in-law close like this.

How could they betray me like that?

They took them away in coffins.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Saima Mohsin, CNN, Lahore, Pakistan.


ASHER: Heartbreaking story there.

We turn now to Myanmar. More than half a century of military rule has come to an end there with the swearing-in of a new president with no military


Power was peacefully transferred from the military to incoming president Htin Kyaw of the National League for Democracy party. The party took a

decisive military -- paramilitary majority last November in the country's first free elections in decades. Mr. Kyaw is a close aide to NLD leader

and long-time opposition figure, Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi is expected to rule by proxy after being constantly barred from running herself.


ASHER: The change in government brings some hope for Myanmar's Rohingya community. The Muslim minority group has long faced persecution and being

denied citizenship. Thousands of Rohingya have tried to flee Myanmar by sea to gain freedoms. Here's our Ivan Watson with more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This may look like a typical village scene but don't be fooled. You're looking at a

modern-day ghetto in Myanmar.

For more than three years, members of the ethnic and religious minority called the Rohingya have been confined by the Myanmar government to a

cluster of villages and squatter camps on the outskirts of the capital of Rakhine State. Because of their race and religion, they're denied

citizenship in the country of their birth.

Among the residents here, 35-year-old Muhammad Ali (ph). He has asked we don't show his face.

He says Rohingya Muslims aren't allowed to leave the ghetto to find work, medical care or education. The situation's left him little choice. These

fishing boats, the possibility of escape. Ali (ph) and four other families scrape together money to buy a boat for a journey they hope will take them

to a new life in Malaysia.

MUHAMMAD ALI (PH), ROHINGYA (through translator): We hope it will be an easy journey. We think we might be at sea for one month. After that we

should arrive in another country and get our freedom there.

WATSON (voice-over): Ali (ph) is waiting, though, to see if Myanmar's recent move towards democracy could improve conditions for the Rohingya.

Last November, Myanmar held its freest elections in a generation. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party swept the vote.

After decades of oppression by military dictatorships, her party now stands poised to take over key positions in the new government.

ALI (PH) (through translator): We will wait several months. Maybe Aung San Suu Kyi will do something to make the situation better for all

communities and religions. But if the situation does not improve, then we will leave.

WATSON (voice-over): Tens of thousands of Rohingya have already tried to make the dangerous escape by sea.

Zoya's (ph) teenage son, Mohamed (ph), set sail months ago with human traffickers. In the weeks after, smugglers called, demanding ransom money

for her son's safety. She paid by selling off her family's food ration card and then got a call from her son.

ZOYA (PH) (through translator): He said, "Please don't give them money. I have already been sold to someone else."

WATSON (voice-over): That was the last time Zoya (ph) spoke to her son, who should be 19 years old now.

ZOYA (PH) (through translator): If he was alive, he would have contacted us. So we think he must have been killed.

WATSON (voice-over): There is hope for political change in Myanmar. But for some, it may already be too late -- Ivan Watson, CNN.


ASHER: Time for a quick break here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Coming up:




No, we don't all look the same.

ASHER (voice-over): Yes, that is Hillary Clinton's voice in her newest ad. We'll show you the rest of it and we'll tell you why the Democrats are

scrapping over every square inch of that state. That's coming up.





ASHER: Now let's go to the U.S. presidential race. State by state, voters are getting a chance to choose their candidates, Wisconsin and Wyoming are

next. But the next big prize on the horizon is New York, especially when it comes to the Democrats.

Both candidates have strong ties there but so far the Clinton campaign has rebuffed an offer for a New York debate and a new ad appears to frame her

as the presumptive winner. Take a listen.



CLINTON (voice-over): New York, 20 million people strong.

No, we don't all look the same. We don't all sound the same, either. But when we pull together, we do the biggest things in the world.

So when some say we can solve America's problems by building walls, banning people based on their religion and turning against each other, well, this

is New York. And we know better.


ASHER: All right. That was Hillary Clinton's new ad for New York. We're going to talk more about the race between the Democrats with our senior

Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, he's joining us live now from Harlem in New York City.

So, Jeff, the theme of that ad was togetherness. She was certainly attacking Donald Trump. But really she still has to worry about Bernie

Sanders in New York, because the race there is getting tighter. And that's a problem because it is her home state.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Zain. But even though the ad is about Donald Trump, even though Hillary Clinton

is trying to galvanize support, there's really one reason she's doing that ad. And his name is Bernie Sanders.

She's trying to use Donald Trump as something of a foil to galvanize Republicans to show that she would be the strongest Democrat to ultimately

defeat him, should he become the Republican nominee.

Of course she never thought that she would be spending money or having to campaign here in New York City, a state that she was elected in twice to

the U.S. Senate but that is exactly what is happening here.

New York is indeed going to be competitive. And the race here is just about -- just a little under three weeks or so. The Wisconsin primary as

you said is next week but Bernie Sanders is very strong there. So she's really trying to plant a flag here in New York. So many delegates at


But she's using Donald Trump to try and fire up Democrats. One thing her campaign has been lacking, Zain, is enthusiasm. She's hoping that Donald

Trump sort of helps her a bit with that by sort of scaring Democrats.

ASHER: And Bernie Sanders had a very, very good Western Saturday. So he's becoming a little bit more of a threat.

Jeff Zeleny, live for us there, thank you so much, appreciate that.

All right. That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Zain Asher but don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" with Amanda Davies is coming up