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CNN Obtains Proof of Life Video of Chibok Girls; Russia Defends U.S. Warship Fly-by in Baltic; Corbyn Backs Cameron on Keeping Britain in E.U.; Clinton and Sanders Brace for Contentious New York Debate; Daughters Upstage Presidential Candidate in Town Hall; Obama Gets Advanced "Game of Thrones" Episodes; Duke and Duchess on First Royal Visit to Bhutan. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 14, 2016 - 10:00:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, strong reactions from families in Nigeria after seeing our exclusive report on the

Chibok girls.

Russia responds to the close encounter with U.S. warships.

And Kobe Bryant scores 60 points in his final game.


CURNOW: Hi, there, welcome, everyone, I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

Now it's a day of sadness, anger and unanswered questions for families of the Chibok girls. Exactly two years ago, Boko Haram militants kidnapped

hundreds of schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria. On the anniversary, their loved ones are seeing a proof of life video obtained by CNN.

It's a heartrending moment for the parents as they watch our reporting. Nigeria's government and some negotiators have already seen the

video, believed shot on Christmas Day last year. But for the parents, this is the first inkling their daughters may still be alive.

CNN's Nima Elbagir, producer Stephanie Busari and cameraman Sebastian Noakes (ph) tell us more in this exclusive report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lined up against a yellow wall, 15 girls, only their faces showing. An off-camera voice asks

each girl, "What's your name?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Is that the name your parents recognize?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): "Where were you taken from?" the voice asks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Chibok School and the date, they say, is the 25th of December 2015. This video was obtained by CNN from a person close

to the negotiations to get these girls released.

For the parents, it's finally a glimmer of hope these girls are still alive.

Two years ago, we met Mary Ashia (ph), Atascata Ayuba (ph) and Yala Galang (ph) on our visit to Chibok after the abduction of their daughters

and more than 200 other girls. We ask them if they recognize any of the girls in the video.

They lean closer. Another girl is identified, Hawa (ph). One by one, they name all 15 girls.

But one mother, Yala (ph), realizes her daughter isn't there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The off-camera voice asking the questions is familiar to CNN as that of Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zinara (ph). A source

close to the negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government said the video was provided by the terror group as an asked-for show of

good faith.

Nigeria's information minister told CNN they have received the video but are still reviewing it.

LAI MOHAMMED, NIGERIAN INFORMATION MINISTER: If you study the video, you follow the questions that are asked in a rather very controlled

environment. (INAUDIBLE) a bit concerned, too, that, after two years in captivity, the girls in the video, who are under no stress whatsoever,

there has been little transformation to their physical appearance.

ELBAGIR: Is your government negotiating with Boko Haram for the release of these girls?

MOHAMMED: Well, there are ongoing talks. We cannot ignore offers; we can't ignore leads. But of course, many of these investigations are, you

know, are not be disclosed, you know, openly, because it could also endanger, you know, the negotiations.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): We took the video to a classmate of the Chibok girls. She'd been at home with family the day the other girls were

kidnapped. For her safety, we're not showing her face and not using her name. She told us there's no doubt these are some of her kidnapped


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): These two were prefects. Watching the video, I'm reminded of how we used to play together, how we

used to do chores, do our homework.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): She says seeing her friends again will likely give her nightmares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Sometimes still, if I hear news about them, I have bad dreams and I wake up crying.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The video ends with a girl addressing the camera with a message to the Nigerian government.

"We are all well," she says, pointedly, perhaps suggesting girls not seen in this video. She then delivers what sounds like a scripted plea,

urging the Nigerian government to fulfill unspecified promises.

For the mothers of these girls, rapidly becoming women far from home, the video is overwhelming. They say they just want someone to bring their

daughters home.


CURNOW: Nima joins me now from the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Hi, there, Nima. We could see it's hard for you to watch their response as well. But let's just talk about the interview the information

minister gave you. The subtext of that is that they are questioning the legitimacy of this video but without really verifying the details with the


Why hasn't the government done more with this footage?

ELBAGIR: Well, the information minister says that the government and the previous administration have both been burned, that they have, they

say, engaged in good faith negotiations with parties that ultimately didn't turn out to be credible, is how he put it.

So what they didn't want to do was to raise the hopes of the parents. But at the same time, for the parents to have no hope whatsoever for almost

two years, seems almost as cruel.

And you're right. He did seem to be undermining the premise of this video but, at the same time, the reality is that this video, as we

understand it, was distributed to the government in January.

And if they are still -- mid-January, actually, I should say -- and if they are still in the process of negotiations some three months on, then

clearly they do have grounds to believe that there is some credibility to this.

And that's always the difficulty when you're asking for comment on ongoing negotiations or situations that involve hostages. Governments have

to toe a very delicate line between giving the families and releasing information to the public sphere while at the same time, as the minister

put it, trying to maintain the necessary secrecy to carry out the negotiations.

CURNOW: You talk about negotiation; that's one prong, I think, of the government response.

But what has been the government response also in terms of the military and what more needs to be done?

ELBAGIR: It really gives you a sense, Robyn, of how emblematic the Chibok girls have become, how intertwined in both the consciousness here

locally and internationally with what Boko Haram has wrought in the northeast of Nigeria because even though the government has made some real

inroads, they have cut off pipelines, they are starving much of Boko Haram's revenue streams.

They have taken back 17 of the 20 wards just in Borno state that Boko Haram had under their control. But all of that really is overshadowed by

the reality of these 219 girls still missing because the people we have been speaking to just on the street, just in the general Nigerian

population, say that they find it extraordinary that the government can do all that but can't manage to rescue 219 girls.

CURNOW: Was help offered from foreign governments from outside?

And is there frustration over the way this Nigerian government and the previous one have dealt with this issue, particularly when it comes to

perhaps refusing help or intelligence on their location?

ELBAGIR: Help was offered. And you remember, you were covering this as well at the time. The United States, the U.K., France, an extraordinary

amount of help was offered to the Nigerian government and President Goodluck Jonathan's government, the slowness of their response is what is

being pointed to by so many that we're speaking to.

If they had taken that help, perhaps the trail wouldn't be as cold as it is. But, at the same time, if the girls are where so many of those

speak to believe they are, which is inside that Boko Haram fortress, inside the Sambisa Forest -- and that certainly seems to be borne out by the sheer

concentration of Nigerian forces in that area. And it's really the only cohesive footprint they have if they are in the Sambisa Forest then the

government really aren't able to penetrate it for the moment unaided.

CURNOW: Nima, thanks so much, great reporting there.

And you can ask Nima about the story in a live chat. Go to later today at 7:00 pm in the U.K. and Nigeria, that's

just four hours from now.

Moscow is now defending several close encounters between Russian warplanes and a U.S. Navy destroyer on Tuesday.


CURNOW: Take a look. Russia's defense ministry says it happened over neutral waters in the Baltic Sea when U.N. armed jets on a training flight

crossed where the U.S.S. Donald Cook was operating.

Our Matthew Chance has more from Moscow.


CURNOW: Well, that was quite a fly-by there, Matthew, but we're also hearing from President --


CURNOW: -- Putin in a very highly choreographed televised phone-in.

Has there been any response from him on this particular incident?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I certainly know there was a response from the Russian defense ministry a

couple of hours ago. This morning here local time in Moscow about these -- about this incident, about this dramatic video, which clearly shows a

Russia Su-24 fighter jet, a warplane of some kind, flying in very close proximity to that U.S. destroyer.

The Russian defense ministry issued this statement here, saying that all flights by planes from Russia's aerospace forces -- which is what it

calls its air force -- are completed in strict compliance with international laws on airspace over international neutral waters.

So the Russian defense spokesman there saying that there's nothing wrong with this. This didn't break any laws. And there was nothing to

criticize Russia for. Even though quite clearly and sailors on board that U.S. destroyer say that this could have been -- this was very close,

unprecedented in its proximity, in fact, and could have caused, if not a military incident with the destroyer, it could have caused an accident.

That's how close the aircraft was to the ship.

CURNOW: Yes, it is. You can see it from those images, speaking a thousand words there. Let's talk about this phone-in. It's always

fascinating. It goes on for hours.

Tell us what Mr. Putin has accused the U.S. and Goldman Sachs of doing?

CHANCE: Right. This is a response to a question about the Panama Papers, these millions of documents that were leaked by a German newspaper

initially, "Suddeutsche Zeitung," implicating as part of the revelations that emerged in the leak, implicating some individuals close to Vladimir

Putin, some of his close friends, part of his so-called inner circle though not specifically naming Putin himself.

The Russian reaction to that has been this is an attempt to discredit the Kremlin ahead of the parliamentary elections and that's something that

Putin repeated in this direct line telethon, sort of marathon press conference, so marathon Q&A session that he's been engaged in today, saying

that this is designed to discredit the presidency ahead of the parliamentary elections in September.

"Suddeutsche Zeitung," he says, is partially owned or controlled by Goldman Sachs and he suggested that there are U.S. intelligence officials

involved in the leak of documents as well.

So it was kind of part conspiracy, part repetition of what Putin has already said. But he said this time, as I say, is part of this set piece

media event in which he answered dozens upon dozens of questions over the course of nearly four hours throughout today.

CURNOW: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you so very much.

The U.S. and the Philippines have announced an increase in joint military patrols in the South China Sea. The region has faced increased

tensions over territorial disputes with China.

Our chief U.S. correspondent Jim Sciutto joins me from Washington.

Hi, there, Jim.

What's the message that these patrols send?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're directed at one country; it's directed at China. The agreement between the

U.S. and Philippines, of course, long-time partners, long-time allies but the Defense Secretary saying in so many words because China has, in his

words, been "raising global tensions" due to its activities in the South China Sea.

And these are significant military steps here. You have the U.S. and the Philippines agreeing to give the U.S. access to five bases there.

These will not be permanent U.S. military deployments but they will be rotational.

And since they are constant, effectively you're going to have a constant presence there. And these are significant presence. You're going

to have U.S. aircraft, including the A-10 attack warplanes and 200 airmen at Clark Air Base.

You're going to have soldiers based permanently at a command and control center in the Philippines to increase communication, including

monitoring Chinese activity in these disputed waters and Chinese naval activity.

And you're going to have joint patrols. The U.S. and the Philippines have done joint naval patrols in those waters before but these are now,

Secretary Carter says, going to become regular.

And as you know, Robyn, there's a lot of history here, too, because the U.S. used to have two permanent bases, a naval base and an air base, in

the Philippines. A number of years ago that ended for a whole host of political reasons. But now you have the U.S. military being welcomed

back, including the Clark Air Force Base.

And this is in direct response to China's activity in the South China Sea.

CURNOW: Jim Sciutto, as always, thank you so much for joining us here at the IDESK.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.


CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Britain's opposition leader takes sides as the real Brexit battle is set to begin.

Plus: a showdown in New York. We'll tell you what's in store for the next Democratic debate.




CURNOW: U.K. opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is weighing in on the great Brexit debate, backing Prime Minister David Cameron's push to keep

Britain in the European Union. Now the vote is two months away but the campaign begins on Friday.

Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins us now from London.

Hi, there, Nic. I'm reading today's "Telegraph," and one of the headlines is, "It's up to Jeremy Corbyn to stop Brexit."

So what is he saying?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, nobody's surprised to hear that he is backing the U.K. remaining part of the

European Union. That isn't a surprise.

What was always going to be difficult for him was framing it so he didn't look like he was supporting David Cameron.

Jeremy Corbyn is the most left-leaning leader of the Labour Party in decades. He had to frame it in such a way that it would work for him, that

it would be understandable to his supporters, that it didn't seem like that he was just sort of running along behind David Cameron.

So what he has said and the way that he has framed it, he has said, look, I am for it because, in Europe, there is a socialist agenda with good

alliances, other partners to make that socialist agenda inside Europe. And after all, he says, it's been beneficial for workers.


JEREMY CORBYN, U.K. LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The Labour Party is overwhelmingly for staying in because we believe the European Union has

brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment and offers the best chance of meeting the challenges we face in

the 21st century.


ROBERTSON: But he's adding something else here. He's saying that we need to remain in -- Britain needs to remain in so that it can reform the

European Union for all the benefits he says it's brought, there are democratic reforms, labor law reforms, other reforms, economic reforms that

he sees are still issues to be tackled within the European Union. But the overall benefits, he says, are there -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. So what is clear from all of this is David Cameron seems to need the Labour Party here because what also we have been seeing, it's

been a bit of a soap opera within the Tory Party over whether to stay in or not.

ROBERTSON: Yes, the Conservative Party is split. It's lost cabinet ministers. Last year he said, late last year, that once a decision was

taken, then cabinet ministers and --


ROBERTSON: -- other members of the Conservative Party, members of Parliament, could speak against the government line. And then he's lost

several cabinet members as a result of that. They are against his, the government's position.

So if he is to -- if there is to be a convincing argument in Britain to stay part of the European Union, it has to come from both sides of the

political divide.

So Jeremy Corbyn today, saying what people have been expecting him to say but framing it very strongly, unequivocally, clearly, it's going to be

absolutely essential because the way the polls are reading the mood of the public at the moment, it's pretty much even neck-and-neck. Even perhaps

the "Out" campaign with a slight edge. And it's still two months away.

I have talked to people today. A lot of people still have to make their minds up but the Labour push to keep Britain in the European Union is

absolutely, Robyn, important for Cameron because this is embattled within his own party.

CURNOW: Yes, thanks so much. It certainly is going to be close. Nic Robertson in London, appreciate it.


CURNOW: In the U.S. the presidential candidates are now on the cusp of the crucial New York State primary. That happens next Tuesday. And

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are staring down yet another debate. CNN's Joe Johns has more on their home turf rivalry.



JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rivals Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders both hosting dueling New York

rallies ahead of tonight's CNN Democratic presidential debate.

Sanders revving up a massive crowd estimated by organizers to be above 27,000 in Washington Square Park. Sanders receiving a rock star welcome

with celebrities before he aggressively went after Secretary Clinton.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our differences with Secretary Clinton go beyond how we raise money. It goes to an issue

which the media doesn't cover. That is our disastrous trade policies, which are costing us millions of jobs.

JOHNS (voice-over): Clinton making the case to voters in the Bronx, urging them to back her over Sanders.

CLINTON: I was honored to be your senator for eight years. And if you will give me the honor of your vote on Tuesday, we will continue to

make life better.

JOHNS (voice-over): And keeping her attacks on the Republican hopefuls.

CLINTON: One of them denigrates New York values.

Mr. Trump wants to set Americans against each other. He wants to build walls. I want us to build bridges.

JOHNS (voice-over): Tonight's high-stakes debate comes as the heated war of words between Sanders and Clinton intensifies.

SANDERS: I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.

JOHNS (voice-over): And accusations from the Sanders campaign that the primary process is weighted in favor of Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not a democratic way to carry out an election.


CURNOW: Joe Johns reporting there.

I want to get right to my next guest, CNN political commentator Sally Kohn, and joins me now from Brooklyn.

Great live shot position there.

Good to see you.


It's fantastic.

CURNOW: I kind of want to be in New York. We all want to be there with you. So let's talk, though, about this rally, this Bernie Sanders

rally last night.

Is the momentum shifting?

I know all of these nominees are trying to -- candidates are trying to out-New York each other.

But what's the momentum doing?

KOHN: Well, look, 27,000 people turning up in the heart of New York City in Washington Square Park, showing an incredible amount of enthusiasm

and support for Bernie Sanders.

Is it going to translate at the polls?

We don't know. Hillary Clinton is still ahead in the last polls. But -- and obviously tonight's CNN debate is, I think, going to be crucial.

The larger issue, though, is some of the momentum you're seeing from Bernie Sanders, we have to remember, it goes beyond just what's going to happen at

the polls.

They are supporting his ideas, they're supporting the idea of a political revolution, of changing the way we do business in the Democratic

Party and in American politics in general. That's what a lot of that movement, that revolution, if you will, is for.

And that's what we're going to see continue, regardless of who wins in New York or beyond.

CURNOW: Yes. A lot of people have connected with that. With Bernie Sanders, how should and how much should he attack Hillary Clinton?

There's been a -- they're sort of scraping the barrel a little bit more in the last week or two since things have got to New York.

But what's going to be Bernie's strategy going forward?

What are we going to expect from this debate?

KOHN: Well, the tone, I think, has sharpened a little bit. I'm actually disappointed in that. As someone --


KOHN: -- who tends to support and leans towards supporting Senator Sanders, I want to see him continue the high road focus on the substance

and where both Clinton and Sanders historically in this debate, 99 percent of the time, they haven't been going after each other on personality. They

have been going after each other on policy.

That's what it should be like. And it's such a welcome contrast I think for not only Democrats but Americans after watching what's happening

on the Republican side of the race.

So his task tonight, I hope -- I hope he won't -- he'll actually apologize for some of the more harsh-tone moments in the past several weeks

and instead focus on not only talking about his ideas, which I think voters are now pretty familiar with, but how he's going to accomplish them.

He has to be able to convince the people, which I think he can, that he can create single-payor health insurance in the United States, that he

can make college affordable, a free public college for everyone in the United States. Those policies are reasonable and realistic. But he has to

walk folks through how.

CURNOW: Indeed. And there has been a huge criticism that he might be a bit thin on some of the details.

With that in mind, Hillary Clinton, how aggressively should she go after Bernie Sanders? Because let's not forget, she doesn't want to

alienate his supporters going into a general election if she gets this nomination.

KOHN: Look, alienation here is the key thing. And this is hard. We don't want either -- and I think there's Democrats -- we want whoever comes

out to be able to win. Whatever sort of inherent strain of pragmatism tends to course through the Democratic Party is extra strong right now

when we're faced with the prospect of a President Trump or a President Cruz.

So what Hillary has to do, Bernie on the one hand, can't be damaging Hillary if she's the eventual nominee and, on the other hand, if Hillary is

still aspiring to be that nominee, she has to win the enthusiasm and support of Bernie's supporters.

I don't think it's by masquerading and saying, look, I am a progressive; I am a populist. She's not. But she can say I share his

idealism. I understand that idealism I wish we lived in that America. But we don't right now. And that's why I think we can do this and this,

which are the more realistic versions of those idealistic beliefs. It that's her best play to the Democratic left base.

CURNOW: Great chatting to you, Sally Kohn there in Brooklyn, appreciate it.

And you can catch the debate later here on CNN. Those are the times. It happens tonight at 9:00 pm Eastern time. That's about 2:00 am in London

and 9:00 am in Hong Kong, only on CNN.

Still ahead, Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz describes his 8-year-old daughter as "rascally" as she upstages him yet again in

front of the cameras. We have got the video.

Plus: a spectacular finale for basketball great Kobe Bryant. That's ahead in "WORLD SPORT."





CURNOW: Hi, there. Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.


CURNOW: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz took part in a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper Wednesday night and accused Republican

front-runner Donald Trump's supporters of acting like, quote, "union boss thugs" and wouldn't rule out Marco Rubio as a possible vice presidential


But it was Cruz's young daughters who, many agree, stole the show. They were fabulous. Cruz shared funny stories about being a dad to 5-year-

old Katherine and Caroline, who turns 8 today. Take a listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Katherine is sweet. Caroline is rascally. Catherine is like her mommy. Caroline is like her daddy.

Poor girl. She had 11 of her classmates come over. And their favorite game at the sleepover party was "Attack the Daddy." And I will

tell you having 11 6-year-old girls dressed as Disney princesses attacking him, and it's out of "Lord of the Flies," it is terrifying.


TED CRUZ: She gives these hugs she calls marshmallow hugs that are just the sweetest thing in the world.

And then she slides out of my lap and she says, "Daddy, who do you love better, me or Caroline?"


TED CRUZ: I was back for Caroline's Daddy-Daughter Picnic at school, which featured all the dads running and playing games. And --


TED CRUZ: Your favorite was that she got to dress up Daddy in like this pink boa and these big, goofy-looking underwear.

CAROLINE CRUZ: And I explained it was on a videotape the whole time.

TED CRUZ: Uh-oh.

CAROLINE CRUZ: And now it's a class video that they are sending out to all the parents.


CURNOW: Yes, she let that one drop, didn't she? There's proof out there.

Well, with more now on Ted Cruz, the family man, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

HEIDI CRUZ, TED'S WIFE: It's Heidi Cruz calling, wife of U.S. senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz. This is not a recording.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heidi Cruz on the front lines of her husband's presidential campaign personally dialing voters to

ask them to support Ted Cruz. She is not the type to sit on the sidelines.

HEIDI CRUZ: Ted and I are a partnership. And it has been the hallmark of our marriage really since day one.

KAYE (voice-over): That partnership is in full swing, with Heidi on leave from her job as an investment manager at Goldman Sachs.

As Heidi tells it, she was Ted's first fan, though today she has plenty of fans of her own.

She's her husband's chief fundraiser, helping to raise over $50 million last year.

KAYE: The California-born Heidi Nelson studied economics and international relations in college. A family trip to Washington when she

was a child reportedly got her interested in politics.

Her mother told "The Washington Post" that by 5th grade, Heidi announced she hoped to attend Harvard Business School, which she later did

after a short stint on Wall Street.

KAYE (voice-over): She met her future husband while working for the George W. Bush campaign in 2000. She told FOX News why she was so

attracted to Ted.

HEIDI CRUZ: He has a deep, deep intelligence but, at the same time, he's a lot of fun. Ted has an incredible command of pop culture, too much

for his own good probably. He's a big movie buff.

KAYE (voice-over): The couple has two young daughters, Katherine and Caroline. Both were featured in this 90-second campaign ad for Iowa that

slammed Hillary Clinton.

CAROLINE CRUZ: I know just what I'll do, she said with a snicker. I'll use my own server and no one will be the wiser.

KAYE (voice-over): The Cruz daughters don't say much on the campaign trail but they are prominently featured on Facebook and Instagram.


KAYE (voice-over): Ted Cruz posted this on Christmas last year.

TED CRUZ: Two beautiful snow angels. Get your wings, too. Get your wings. Awesome.

KAYE (voice-over): And more recently, this photo from the Cheese State, Wisconsin. But not everything goes as planned with kids on the

campaign trail. This photo op, where Cruz's older daughter shrugged off his kiss, went viral.

Memories from campaign 2016, all part of the Cruz family history -- Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


CURNOW: And if you're a "Game of Thrones" fan, like much of my show team, you're practically salivating for the new season to start in 10 days.

Here's a taste.


CURNOW (voice-over): Well, guess who else knows what happens? U.S. President Barack Obama. He may not rule Seven Kingdoms but he is the

leader of the free world. And that means he's getting advanced screeners of the new season.

Senior media reporter Dylan Byers joins me now from Los Angeles.

And there's a bit of a backlash to this.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sure, there's a backlash. Obviously there are a lot of "Game of Thrones" fans out there, who would

like to see this at the same time that the President of the United States gets to do it.

But, look, there's only one commander in chief in this country. And I will say this. If there's one person you can trust not to leak the footage

of "Game of Thrones" to the press it's probably the President of the United States.

That of course is actually a huge concern for HBO and the makers of "Game of Thrones." We have seen many times how seasons' videos can be

released and they go out before HBO would like them to.

By keeping it away even from the actors in the series, it's a way of making sure that that doesn't happen. But of course when the President of

the United States comes to call for something, you have to give it to him.

CURNOW: I think so. And I think you're right. He can be trusted with a secret or two.

This President Obama, is quite a TV buff isn't he?

We know that he likes to watch a lot of these series that we all love, "Mad Men" and "House of Cards."

BYERS: He does. And I think he genuinely enjoys watching those shows. It's not like he's trying to prove his pop culture bona fides. He

actually really enjoys these shows.

It's always interesting to get insight into what the president likes to do in his off time. We know for instance that he's a big sports fan,

oftentimes he'd rather be watching ESPN or checking his ESPN app for sports scores than listening to a briefing he doesn't necessarily care about.

But, no, he's a huge fan. He loves "House of Cards." He loves "Game of Thrones."

He loves a lot of the shows that do take place in Washington. There have been a plethora of political D.C.-based shows of late. I think he

probably sees a lot of what's going on in Washington with the gridlock and bitter partisan divides in a show like "Game of Thrones."

So it's great. And it's great for these shows. It's great for "Game of Thrones" to have all of this press out there, to have us on CNN talking

about the fact that the president wants to see this show before it even airs. You can't ask for a better endorsement.

CURNOW: No, you can't. We were just wondering before we went on air when he gets the time to watch all of these shows.

But thanks so much, Dylan. Appreciate it.

BYERS: Thank you.

CURNOW: Still ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the Will and Kate of the Himalayas. We'll tell you about

the British royal couple's first visit to Bhutan.





CURNOW: Breaking news now from Japan. A 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the southern island of Kyushu a short time ago. It's been followed

by several aftershocks. Local media, though, are reporting damage to buildings but, so far, no casualties.

Details are sketchy for the moment. We're trying to ascertain the seriousness of this and of course we'll bring you more as soon as it comes


Moving on, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived for a royal visit to Bhutan. As our Sumnima Udas tells us, they've met with their

counterparts of the Himalayas.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After a whirlwind tour of India, Prince William and Catherine are now in a remote Himalayan kingdom of

Bhutan, where they're being hosted by another royal couple, the king and queen of Bhutan, affectionately dubbed, the Will and Kate of the East.

Even though Bhutan and Britain are thousands of miles away and the two countries really have nothing in common, these two royal couples actually

have a lot of similarities.

Both are young and charming. They have got married in the same year, in 2011. Both are relatively new parents; just like Katherine, the queen

of Bhutan was a commoner before her marriage made her royalty.

And both are celebrated for their fashion sense. But in addition to building a personal relationship with the royal family in Asia, the Duke

and Duchess are also in Bhutan to learn more about a country that's famously prioritized happiness of its people above all other national


Instead of GDP, they look at what they call GNH or gross national happiness. It's a country that has long been isolated from the outside

world. The laws to introduce television just a little over 15 years ago. They have also made it relatively expensive for most foreigners to visit in

order to preserve that rich Buddhist culture that they have there and their nature.

But with these kinds of very colorful pictures of the Duke and Duchess splashed all over the international media, things for this once secluded

Shangri-la may change quite quickly -- Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


CURNOW: Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. I will be back in just over an

hour with more news. In the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to Alex Thomas and "WORLD SPORT."