Return to Transcripts main page
Russia Has Strong Military in Syria; Parades Close Out Party Meeting in North Korea; Trump and Ryan Prepare for Key Meeting; Political Uncertainty Ahead of Rio Olympics; Obama Trip to Hiroshima; Legal Tangle over NC "Bathroom Bill"; New London Mayor Khan Decries Trump; Controversial Philippines Mayor Poised to become President; Facebook Accused of Media Bias. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 10, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Russia's surprisingly big presence in Syria.
Donald Trump fights with the new mayor of London.
And a new controversy surrounding Facebook.
Hello and a warm welcome to all of you. I'm Zain Asher.
A cease-fire remains in effect this hour in the Syrian city of Aleppo after being extended for a second time. Russia has been a key player in securing
these truces. Moscow has promised to draw down its forces in Syria but hasn't. CNN's Fred Pleitgen recently traveled with the Russian forces and
he filed this report.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Russian intervention the world has come to know. But Russia's
footprint in Syria seems to be far bigger than just combat jets.
There are thousands of troops stationed at its main air base, disciplined and highly motivated.
We caught up with this first lieutenant during his boxing practice.
"I'm glad to serve my country here," he says, "and I'm not afraid.
"What is there to be afraid of in Syria?"
The West has criticized Russia, saying its airstrikes target mostly moderate anti-Assad rebels, the Russians claiming they bomb only ISIS and
other terror groups.
But while Moscow says it's withdrawn most forces from Syria, on an embed we saw what appeared to several bases in Western and Central Syria, with a
variety of attack helicopters, also a brand-new base in Palmyra for its demining crews with dozens of fighting vehicles and even anti-aircraft
On top of its own assets, the military spokesman says his forces closely cooperate with Bashar al-Assad's troops.
"We receive a great deal of information from the Syrian general staff," he says.
"They're on the ground and close to the rebels. As for the military technical cooperation, of course, we help them as well."
None of this seems to indicate a full Russian withdrawal from Syria anytime soon.
And for many in the government-held part of Damascus, that's just fine.
PLEITGEN: The people here in the government-held part of Damascus seem to be very well aware of the extent to which Russia's military has helped
Bashar al-Assad's forces. But they also say that if there's going to be a solution to the Syrian crisis, it has to come from Syrians themselves and
not from outside powers.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Violence still rages in most of the country; reconciliation seems nowhere in sight and neither is an end to Russia's
involvement in the conflict.
ASHER: And Frederik Pleitgen joins us live now on the phone.
So, Fred, when you were with the Russians and you asked them why they have such a heavy presence in Syria, what did they tell you?
PLEITGEN: Well, the Russians said that they've withdrawn a lot of their assets. They appear to have withdrawn at least some of their combat jets
from their main military base in Latakia.
But at the same time, it seems odd, as though they've put a lot of helicopters on the ground and a lot of ground assets as well. Now they
didn't really say why. One of the reasons why they might have done that is actually for a force protection, to protect their own soldiers who are on
But of course that also means that they have a presence on the ground. And that's -- they said they have in Palmyra, which is there for their demining
crews, does appear to be something that is very well maintained, that is freshly paved and certainly not like something that's going to go away
So the Russians really haven't said why exactly they have so many forces on the ground. So the impression that we get is that this is not a force
that's there to stay only for a limited or a short amount of time.
And also one of the other things that was really interesting, Zain, is that the ease with which the Russians moved through Syria. They don't have to
get permission from the Syrians. They fly where they want; they go where they want. And so certainly they are a full-fledged partner of the Assad
government on the battlefield.
ASHER: All right. Fred Pleitgen, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
We want to turn now to North Korea, where demonstration of power is surging through Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER (voice-over): That was Kim Jong-un a second ago, waving to crowds there as thousands of people -- you see them there paying homage. The
country is marking the end of a rare meeting of its ruling Workers Party, a four-day event that appears to have granted Kim Jong-un even more power.
CNN's Will Ripley has had unprecedented access. He joins us live now from Pyongyang.
So, Will, festivities capped off this Workers Party Congress.
ASHER: You saw the celebrations first-hand.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And if there is one thing that North Korea does in probably one of the most grand fashions in the world, it is
these massive displays of public adoration for their leadership. You mentioned Kim Jong-un gaining even more power.
It's hard to imagine how somebody who already has absolute power inside this country could become even more powerful. But celebrate this new title
given to him over the weekend, a unanimous -- unsurprisingly unanimous -- election to chairman of the Workers Party of Korea, there were two huge
The government officials were here with, say, half of the population of Pyongyang turned out for both of these events. So that would be more than
1 million people participating in either the morning parade or the evening parade, both of which were equally spectacular.
In the morning you saw floats that had models of missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.
And then in the evening, students held up torches for more than an hour and did these perfectly synchronized routines. People have been practicing
late into the evening for months to make sure that all over the moves are perfect to impress their leader.
And then there was a 20-minute fireworks show at the end, more extravagant than you'd see in many Western cities, in a country that has some real
financial hardship. Even here in the capital, people don't always have electricity more than a few hours every single day.
But yet these people say that they support wholeheartedly their leader, who was elected over the weekend as chairman. They say they support his
development of nuclear weapons; they believe that he will improve this impoverished nation's economy even though improving the economy would have
to mean trade with other countries. And this country is one of the most heavily sanctioned in the world as a result of its military activities --
ASHER: Yes, and that brings me to my next question because one thing that Kim Jong-un promised to do during this congress is that he was going to
expand his nuclear arsenal and revive the economy.
Just explain to us how he can possibly do both at the same time.
RIPLEY: Well, a lot of outside observers wonder if that is possible because they say you can't really have both when, first of all, billions
are being spent and developing rapidly nuclear technology and missile technology, resulting in some of the heaviest sanctions ever against North
Korea implemented by the United Nations in March.
And then at the same time, you have a country that struggles to produce enough food and electricity for its people; for example, the high-rise
buildings here in Pyongyang, people take the stairs up and down even from the top floor because the lifts don't work because the power is
And yet people do feel their lives are getting better and there are signs, traffic isn't -- there's more traffic on the streets. People are able to
purchase fashionable clothing. They have consumer electronics, at least in this part of the country that we're allowed to see.
And so the incremental economic growth visible here in the capital -- we have no idea what conditions are like in the rest of the country because
we're not allowed to go there -- they do seem to be, on the surface, at least, improving.
And so we were allowed inside this Workers Party Congress; 5,000 delegates were inside this cavernous hall. This is the most important political
gathering in 36 years, a highly secretive gathering. It was really a shock to a lot of us in the handful of journalist who were selected. We didn't
think we'd be able to get any access to this event. We were allowed to stay for 10 minutes, enough time to see Kim Jong-un, the leader, walk in,
get several minutes of applause and that new title, giving him clear power and authority to push forward with his plan to grow the economy and
perhaps, more importantly to the leadership, the nuclear arsenal as well -- Zain.
ASHER: All right, Will Ripley, live for there in Pyongyang, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
ASHER: All right. Time for your daily dose of politics. Polls are open in Nebraska and West Virginia, the latest states to hold political
primaries. For Democrats, West Virginia could bring victory to Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama there back in 2008. Polls
show Sanders with an edge in that state.
Donald Trump is the only candidate left in the Republican race but other names still do remain on the ballots. We'll see if any of them get larger
than expected numbers in what would pretty much amount to a Trump protest vote.
Now Trump is getting ready for this week's meeting with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. It could be their best opportunity to unite a very fractured
Republican Party. Here's our Phil Mattingly with more.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An offer from House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying he'll step down as chairman of the Republican
National Convention if Donald Trump asks him to.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: He's the nominee. I'll do whatever he wants with respect to the convention.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Ryan striking a conciliatory tone after a bombshell announcement last week that he wasn't ready to support Trump as
the presumptive nominee.
RYAN: First, I want to get to know him and understand him better, because I really don't know him.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The two men still set to meet on Thursday, along with RNC chairman --
MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- Reince Priebus. Trump will also meet with Republican Senate leaders on the Hill.
Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson reaching out to Ryan for a private meeting to help soothe tensions before Trump meets with him.
RYAN: Basically the kind of conversation I'm hoping we all can have is how we can actually unify our party.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump also making a big appointment, announcing New Jersey governor Chris Christie will serve as the chairman for his
transition team should he become the next president.
But party leaders still leery of Trump's conservative principles, Trump fending off backlash over his economic proposals, accusing the media of
mischaracterizing them in several interviews on Monday.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So it was totally misrepresented just now by you and it was misrepresented --
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa, whoa.
TRUMP: -- by NBC. They go there to talk about like I'm giving a tax increase For the wealthy. I'm not.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Explaining his proposal with lower taxes for all.
TRUMP: If I increase to the wealthy, that means they're still going to be paying less than they're paying now. I'm not talking about increasing from
this point. I'm talking increasing from my tax proposal.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump also on the defensive over his plan to repay the national debt, insisting he never said the U.S. should default or
attempt to renegotiate with creditors as reported.
TRUMP: This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money. I said if we can buy back
government debt at a discount, in other words, if interest rates go up and we can buy bonds back at a discount.
MATTINGLY: Now Donald Trump spending a full day trying to explain, clarify, maybe even backtrack on policy, certainly not ideal for a
candidate. But it's exactly what Hillary Clinton's wants.
Now policy areas were not areas where his Republican opponents were able to really pin him down during the primary. Clinton's team sees it the exact
opposite way. They want to attack repeatedly on his shifting policies, at least as they see it. They believe if they tie him up on policy issues day
after day, that lessens his ability to really take to the stump and attack in a way that was so effective in the Republican primary.
Now obviously Donald Trump receiving a slate of good news with those battleground state polls that show him trailing by only one in a couple
states, Florida and Pennsylvania, leading in Ohio. Good news there to kind of top off what has been a rough couple of days so far.
But it is interesting to note, guys, Hillary Clinton's team believes that they have an opening here on policy. Again, an area most of his Republican
counterparts were not able to score points on in the primary. It will be very interesting to see how able they are to continue those attacks, how
willing they are to continue those attacks in the weeks and months ahead -- back to you.
ASHER (voice-over): And be sure to tune in throughout the day for complete coverage of the West Virginia and Nebraska primaries right here of course
All right, coming up on IDESK, London's new mayor knocking Donald Trump's campaign threat to ban Muslims from the United States. Why Sadiq Khan says
that Trump's plan will cost him the presidential election.
But next, Brazil's political chaos just got worse. How a lawmaker's flip- flop added a new layer of uncertainty to the future of Brazil's president - - up next.
ASHER: I want to take you to Brazil now, where there's a new layer of confusion over the future of President Dilma Rousseff. CNN's Shasta
Darlington is in Rio de Janeiro for us.
So, Shasta, here's what's interesting. Yesterday, it looked like the impeachment vote may have been annulled; now it appears to be back on
Just explain to us, what is going on there?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point I think the real, what we need to know in a nutshell is that the impeachment
proceedings are going forward.
Of course, this is confusing because there have been so many twists and turns in this political drama that we often don't know what's going to
Yesterday morning the interim speaker of the lower house of congress came out saying, I'm going to cancel, I'm going to annul that impeachment vote
last month. We're going to start all over. We're going to have another vote.
Of course the legislators who voted overwhelmingly in favor of moving forward with the impeachment, they were outraged. The president of the
senate himself came out and said I'm just going to ignore that, really setting the stage for a potential institutional crisis.
Luckily for him, the same interim speaker of the lower house then changed his mind and said, actually, I'm going to revoke my annulment, which means
that tomorrow the senate is going to start voting on whether to launch an impeachment trial. That would mean if a majority is in favor, President
Dilma Rousseff has to step down for up to 180 days to defend herself in that trial.
We could see basically a change of who's in charge as early as tomorrow or Thursday -- Zain.
ASHER: Yes, so this really is the moment of truth for President Rousseff.
I want to talk about the reaction there on the ground there because we did get word that a famous Brazilian football star, Rivaldo, who is hugely
famous, did make some very controversial comments about the situation happening right now in Brazil.
What exactly did he say?
DARLINGTON: Yes. Pretty much the exact opposite of the message that Brazil wants to be getting out there less than three months before the
The famous Brazilian footballer, Rivaldo, tweeted and posted on his Instagram account a photo of a 17-year-old young woman who was shot by
robbers in Rio over the weekend in a botched robbery attempt.
And what he said is, "International visitors should stay away from the Olympic Games. They'll be putting their lives at risk if they do come."
He said, "Brazil is getting uglier and uglier."
And the problem that really criminal violence is just one of many problems South America's first Olympic Games. We've also seen this Zika virus
pandemic, which has caused serious birth defects at home, more than 1,000 babies have been born with these birth defects and prompting
international organizations to send out warnings for pregnant women to stay away from the games.
On top of that, of course, the political crisis, the economic crisis, Brazilians don't have the money or even the attention span to be buying
tickets so people are asking if the stands will even be filled. Just a lot of obstacles to overcome before those games.
And when you have your own stars at home pointing to all the problems, certainly doesn't help -- Zain.
ASHER: Right. Shasta Darlington, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima more than 70 years after an U.S. atomic bomb attack leveled the
city. CNN's Athena Jones is joining us live now from the White House.
So, Athena, what statement is the president trying to make with this visit?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Zain. This is a trip the president has been wanting to make since almost the very beginning of his presidency.
Back in 2009, on his first trip to Japan, he said he would be honored to have the opportunity to one day visit Hiroshima and now with only a few
more months left in his presidency, now is the time.
The White House says he wants to highlight the U.S.' continued to commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. And so what better place to
do that than Hiroshima?
The president has also said that the U.S., as the only country to have ever used a nuclear weapon, has the moral responsibility to lead on this front.
And so that is one of the things he'll be highlighting in his speech at Hiroshima, just a couple of weeks away -- Zain.
ASHER: And, Athena, what's interesting about this visit is that the U.S. has never technically apologized for Hiroshima.
So with this visit, could that change perhaps?
JONES: This is not an apology. I want to make that very, very clear. The White House is sensitive to the idea that the president has been called by
critics as an apologist in chief. This is not an apology. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, writing a post on "Medium," which was posted -
JONES: -- just after this announcement says that this is not about revisiting. The president in his speech will not revisit the decision to
use nuclear weapons at the end of World War II.
Instead, his speech will be forward-looking, looking at the cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, that the relationship that has been built up
and strengthened since the end of the war and about the idea of Nuclear Non-Proliferation. So this is not about apologizing -- Zain.
ASHER: All right, the White House certainly making that very clear. Athena Jones, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
ASHER: In the U.S., a legal battle is raging over the rights of transgender people and it has centered on the state of North Carolina.
Lawmakers there passed a ban requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms for the gender they were assigned at birth. Here's our Martin
Savidge with more.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An escalating legal battle over the state's controversial so-called "bathroom law." North Carolina
and the Justice Department filing dueling lawsuits within hours of each other, trading accusations of civil rights violations and government
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The legislature and the governor placed North Carolina in direct opposition to federal laws prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity. They created state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The state's governor responding to a Justice Department demand to drop the law or amend it with a lawsuit of his own.
PAT MCCRORY, NC GOVERNOR: We believe a core rather than a federal agency should tell our state, our nation and employers across the country what the
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The most controversial provision bans transgender people from using public bathrooms that do not correspondent with the sex
listed on their birth certificates. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a North Carolina native, comparing the law to segregation.
LYNCH: It was not so very long ago that states including North Carolina had other signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public
accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): North Carolina countering, saying the Obama administration is attempting to rewrite the law for public and private
employers across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not just a North Carolina issue. This is now a national issue. I think it's time for the U.S. Congress to bring clarity
to our national anti-discrimination provisions under Title 7 and Title 9.
ASHER: All right. And our Martin Savidge joins us live now.
So, Martin, just explain to our international audience how exactly this bill came about in the first place.
SAVIDGE: This bill came about because the community of Charlotte, which is located in North Carolina, was actually trying to pass legislation that
would prevent discrimination. The state leadership was angry because they felt this was a matter that the state should cover; it should cover all of
the cities and towns.
So that's when they began debating it. But they came out with legislation that many now say, including the U.S. government, discriminates against
transgender. So that's how it began.
ASHER: So has there been any sort of specific example of problems that have occurred because people have gone into certain bathrooms that didn't
correspondent to the gender that they were assigned at birth?
SAVIDGE: No. There has never been a case that's been reported where someone masquerading, I say, as transgender individual, going into another
bathroom and carrying out some kind of an assault. That has not been recorded. But that is a concern.
ASHER: Yes, that's what they say is a concern. But what happens next? Let's go all the way to the Supreme Court then.
SAVIDGE: It could. There's been another court, a 4th Circuit Court. It's just below the U.S. Supreme Court that has heard a case similar to this
regarding the state of Virginia. That federal court came down on the side of transgender people, saying that they cannot be discriminated against.
So it would appear that North Carolina does not have a strong case here. But they are pushing forward. And, yes, it could end up in the U.S.
ASHER: I was listening to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch yesterday. She made a very, very powerful speech. She invoked racial segregation in
the United States of the '50s and the early '60s. That really upped the stakes.
SAVIDGE: It did because, of course, North Carolina is a Southern state. It is one of those states that had a long struggle against integration in
this society of ours. So it's very easy for many people to make the connection and say, look, you have had this history of discriminating in
the past. And we just believe that that's continuing today, this time not based on the color of someone's skin but based on their sexual preference
or how they feel they are sexually on the inside versus how they appear on the outside.
Discrimination is discrimination.
ASHER: And there's already been so much backlash across North Carolina, especially from companies --
ASHER: -- and musicians, who are refusing to perform in the state now.
SAVIDGE: Huge economic boycott, yes. We've seen that, entertainers that refuse to perform. We've seen some companies that are either refusing to
move there or changing plans to expand there.
And then on top of that, the federal government is saying if you don't comply with the federal law as we see it, we will cut off federal funding.
That's billions and billions of dollars.
So the question is how much will the state leadership be willing to pay for what appears to be a stand that is in the minority?
When you look at the polls across the United States, the majority of Americans support transgender people. They don't support this kind of
ASHER: So here's one thing I'm curious about, especially as somebody who's not from the United States myself.
Why is it that there is so much confusion as to whether or not gay and transgender people are considered among the protected class, a protected
class in this country?
SAVIDGE: The federal government says there is no confusion at all. Everyone is protected by the same anti-discrimination federal law. And
this is one of the arguments they make, is that we had gay marriage that was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court. That has applied, they
say, to all people, including transgender.
They don't like to see individual states come out and say, oh, what about this group?
What about this subset?
What about this small category?
No. Discrimination is not allowed in this country. That was settled. The federal government --
ASHER: The federal government is clear but North Carolina seems to be making it slightly hazy.
SAVIDGE: Correct. They are saying that we would like to hear a clear, definitive ruling by a federal judge on this matter. So it drags on.
ASHER: We'll see what happens with these lawsuits. OK, Martin Savidge, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
SAVIDGE: You're welcome.
ASHER: Two people are dead after tornadoes hit the U.S. state of Oklahoma. One was said to be a kilometer and a half wide. You can actually see the
funnel there; look closely -- swirling on the ground. Take a listen to this storm chaser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys that are watching on this live stream, you guys need to send your prayers up. It's actually destroying homes right
now. You can see the debris being --
ASHER (voice-over): Absolutely frightening, another round of storms could be in store for the central and southern United States.
In the meantime, more weather for you in Canada, an enormous wildfire has now moved away from the city of Fort McMurray. Officials say 10 percent of
the buildings there have been pretty much reduced to ashes. Nearly 90,000 people were forced to evacuate. It's expected to be weeks before they're
allowed to return to what is left of their homes. Firefighters are still struggling to contain the fire; 1,600 square kilometers have been burned
since that fire started all of nine days ago.
Still to come here on the IDESK, London's newly elected mayor taking Donald Trump to task over his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United
States. Why Sadiq Khan says he would never meet a President Trump.
ASHER: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Zain Asher. Let's get you caught up on your headlines.
Donald Trump's campaign promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States is not sitting well with London's newly elected mayor.
Phil Black joins me live now from London.
So, Phil, Trump actually said that Sadiq Khan would actually be the exception to this rule, to this ban on Muslims.
What has Khan's response been?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zain, Donald Trump said that Sadiq Khan could be the exception after Sadiq Khan said that if he wanted to
visit the U.S. to talk to mayors there, to bounce some policy ideas around in big American cities, well, he'd have to do that before January just in
case Donald Trump does win and takes office around that time.
Now you're right; Donald Trump has said Sadiq Khan could be the exception. Sadiq Khan says, well, that's not really the point. He's not too
interested in that. It's not just about him, as in Sadiq Khan; it's about Muslims everywhere, including people very close to him. Take a listen now
to some of his comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR-ELECT OF LONDON: I think Donald Trump has ignorant views about Islam. It's not just about me. Donald Trump said I'm the exception
to his rule.
But if you're a Muslim from any part of the world, you can't go to the USA. My thought is this: there are many Muslims want to go to America's
Disneyland, to our business people want to do business in America or people who want to be students in America.
We showed last Thursday here in London that it's possible to be mainstream Muslim and to be Western, at least compatible with Western. My point to
Donald Trump is don't make any expectation for me. We consider your views (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: So Sadiq Khan says that what he describes as Donald Trump's "ignorant views" on Islam are, in fact, making both the United States and
the United Kingdom less safe because they play into the hands of extremists by alienating mainstream Muslims.
That's the exact opposite of what Sadiq Khan and his supporters have been saying right through his recent election campaign and that is by electing
Sadiq Khan to be the mayor of this big international city, it makes the world safer, in a sense, by really cutting through the terrorist narrative,
that the West hates Muslims by disproving that, in effect setting an example for mainstream Muslims everywhere -- Zain.
ASHER: In light of Donald Trump's comments and obviously the fact that Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim mayor of London, just explain to us overall
the significance of him winning this mayoral race in this type of climate, given what is happening in the rest of the world, given what Donald Trump
BLACK: So when he was voted in as the mayor just on Friday night, it was significant because he is London's first Muslim mayor. And this a big
international city with a significant Muslim population. Around 12 percent of London's population is Muslim at last count.
But it is particularly significant because of the international political climate, one where issues of Islam, race and religion are increasingly
being treated, to some degree, both in Europe and the United States, with some degree of fear and division and so forth.
So his win here cuts against that recent trend to a significant degree. And that's why it has been celebrated here to such a significant degree and
it is also why, in the very early days of him taking over this office, we are seeing him in a very public, very international disagreement with the
presumptive nominee to be U.S. President in the United States there -- Zain.
ASHER: All right, Phil Black, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
ASHER: Big changes could be coming to the Philippines. Unofficial results showed Rodrigo Duterte won Monday's presidential race. He wants to
rebalance the system of governance and that's not all.
CNN's Alexandra Field has more.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rodrigo Duterte vowed he was done after three decades in politics. Then he did an about-face. He
was last to join the field of candidates to become president of the Philippines. Now he's poised to win.
But until a few weeks ago, most of the world had never heard of Duterte until this outrageous comment landed him on the international stage.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE POLITICIAN (through translator): I was angry she was raped, yes. That was one thing. But she was so beautiful. I
think the mayor should have been first. What a waste.
FIELD (voice-over): A crude joke about the gang rape and murder of an Australian missionary in 1989 in the city of Davao, where he's still mayor
today, Duterte came under fierce criticism but he refused to apologize.
He has also made controversial comments about keeping mistresses in cheap boarding houses. His remarks didn't faze his diehard supporters. Duterte
has a reputation for tough talk.
DUTERTE: If I become president, there is no such thing as bloodless cleansing, I propose to get rid of drugs within three to six months.
Criminals, I go after them as long as I do in accordance with the rules of law, I will continue to kill criminals.
FIELD (voice-over): Dubbed "The Punisher," one of the Philippines' longest serving mayors ran his presidential campaign on his record of cleaning up
crime in Davao.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was able to tap on the voter frustration, voter anger, voter fear about the rising crime, the rising drug issue in the
FIELD (voice-over): But human rights groups have called for an investigation, saying more than a thousand people have disappeared from the
city during Duterte's tenure. Activists allege vigilante groups have carried extrajudicial killings of criminals that are tolerated by the
Duterte denies any links to the groups and he hasn't been charged with a crime. His message resonated well with over a third of voters in the
Philippines, a country struggling with issues of corruption, inequality and overburdened infrastructure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's being seen as the alternative to traditional candidates in Philippines. His demeanor, the way he speaks, the way he has
answered questions has shown that he is an alternative to the politics-as- usual candidates.
FIELD (voice-over): Early on Tuesday, Duterte visited his parents' graves, weeping as he asked for guidance and courage in leading the country.
Duterte has reached out to his opponents, saying it's time to heal and move forward. Though it's still not official, it looks highly likely this is
the Philippines' new leader -- Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
ASHER: All right. You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still to come, Facebook is facing accusations of political bias from a former contractor.
What he said he witnessed at the company that has raised suspicions. That's coming up next.
ASHER: Welcome back, everybody.
Facebook is facing an accusation of political bias. An anonymous former contractor for the social media giant told the tech site, Gizmodo, that he
witnessed co-workers suppressing conservative views. Facebook says that it found no evidence that that ever happened.
CNNMoney senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins me live now from New York.
So, Brian, Facebook says there's no evidence of this.
Who do we believe here?
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I just spoke again to a Facebook spokesman, who reiterated that an initial review has
found no evidence of these allegations. But these allegations are taking on a life of their own regardless. And I'll try to explain why.
It was the Gizmodo tech blog that first reported these allegations yesterday. This was sourced to anonymous former contractors, one of whom
said that there has been a chilling effect for conservative news on Facebook. This anonymous source described times where stories about Ted
Cruz and stories about other Republicans and about stories of interest to conservative readers were removed from the trending topics list. And in
those cases, this person described it as suppressing conservative news.
I can read a statement from Facebook about what they say is the truth here.
They say, "We take these reports extremely seriously and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true. There are rigorous
guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political
So it comes down to these guidelines and how these guidelines are used and enforced every day. Essentially, there's a team of editors working at
Facebook that choose what appears in the trending stories box and what doesn't appear in the trending stories box. The guidelines would say
you're not allowed to take out a story or add a story because it's pro or against a conservative point of view.
But in reality, when every editor's part of a process, there can be even unconscious biases that creep in. And that may have been what happened
here, at least according to this anonymous former contractor.
ASHER: All right.
So are they not going to at least perhaps update their guidelines to workers as a way of trying to rectify this problem?
STELTER: You could see Facebook going in a couple different directions with this. They could take editors out of the equation altogether and just
let the computer algorithms decide what's actually trending. But the problem with that is that there are lots of hoaxes that are trending, lots
of lies, lots of spammy stories and others that pop up in that trending box if there are not human editors to be involved.
After all, I think that's why our viewers at home like the fact that there are producers and editors and lots of journalists who help produce the news
every day. Increasingly, at sites like Facebook have more and more power, as they distribute more and more news, this will continue to become a
bigger and bigger challenge for those companies. They may say they're platforms but they are also publishers.
ASHER: That's it. There does need to be some filter, is what they're saying. All right.
That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thank you so much, Brian, by the way, before I forget.
I'm Zain Asher. Don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" with Amanda Davies is coming up next.