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Turkey/Netherlands Diplomatic Spat Intensifies; White House Criticized for Political Appointees Transition; Deadline Looms in Trump Wiretapping Allegations; Some Immigrants Lose Sense of Security after Trump Elected; Election to Replace South Korea's Ousted President in May; U.S. Northeast Braces for Blizzard; Wild Boars Take Over Fukushima; Republicans Divided Over Replacing Obamacare; Medicaid Beneficiaries Fear Losing Obamacare; ISIS Destroys Mosul Museum; 2 Scientists Mix Love for Belgian Beer with Space Discovery. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 13, 2017 - 02:00   ET




[02:00:32] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Thank you very much for joining us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

CHURCH: The diplomatic spat between the Netherlands and Turkey intensifies. Turkey's president is now threatening strong retaliation against the Netherlands after the country blocked two Turkish ministers from holding political rallies on Dutch soil this weekend. That sparked angry protests on the streets of both countries.

VANIER: The Dutch government said it barred the ministers due to safety concerns, but the Turkish president compared the Netherlands to Nazis and warned the country would pay the price.

CNN's Atika Shubert has more on the growing rift between these two countries.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rotterdam has returned to normal after Saturday night. Riot police were called in to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered at the Turkish consulate, angry at the banning of Turkish political rallies. A number of people were arrested, but the streets are quiet now.

On a diplomatic level, however, still very tense. Harsh words from the leaders of both countries. The Dutch prime minister insisted the country would not be blackmailed. Meanwhile, the Turkish president said the Netherlands was racist and Fascist and it was a dangerous game of election politics. Take a listen to what both leaders had to say. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translation): If you

sacrifice Turkish/Dutch relations to the elections held on Wednesday, you will pay the price. You will pay the price. We haven't started to take the necessary steps yet.

MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER: We are absolutely willing to de- escalate, but these utterings of the president of the Turkish Republic do not help.

SHUBERT: The diplomatic fallout may not end with the Netherlands. Denmark has announced it will now postpone the visit by the Turkish prime minister precisely because of rising tensions. And this all happens just three days before the elections in the Netherlands. We'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out how this fared in the minds of voters.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Rotterdam.


VANIER: Far-right Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, has also spoken to the diplomatic tensions between his country and Turkey. He said on Twitter that a Turkish diplomat should, quote, "Go away and never come back." Mr. Wilders is a polarizing figure for his outspoken criticism of Islam.

CHURCH: Some call him a hero, some call him a bigot, and some also call him the Dutch Trump.

And now here in the U.S., one prominent Republican Congressman is lending some support to Wilders.

Steve King is known for his anti-immigration rhetoric.

VANIER: He wrote on Twitter, quote, "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

This tweet was supported by the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

CHURCH: But others were quick to condemn the comment. Evan McMullen, an independent candidate in last year's presidential election, tweeted this, "Republican Congressman Steve King promotes the un-American ideas of white nationalism. Will any Republican Congressman condemn his bigotry?"

Well, in Washington, the White House is facing a backlash over how it handled what is usually a routine transition for political appointees.

VANIER: And a congressional deadline involving President Trump's wiretapping allegation is nearing.

Athena Jones previews the week ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another busy weekend for the Trump White House. A couple of issues dominating the headlines. There was backlash over the handling of the firing of 46 U.S. attorneys on Friday. These U.S. attorneys were holdovers from the Obama administration. Getting particular attention is the firing of the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara, and that's because he met with President-elect Trump last year at Trump tower and was told he would be kept on. In the end, he was one of the 46 U.S. attorneys who were let go.

Now, it's important to note that that is the president's prerogative. U.S. attorneys are political appointees and many president presidents have taken similar steps.

What's interesting here, it was the speed and abruptness of those firings that's raising a lot of eyebrows. Some of these U.S. attorneys only learned from media reports that they were expected to hand in their resignations on Friday.

[02:05:11] Meanwhile, an important deadline looms today. The House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week, asking the agency to provide all relevant documents regarding the president's explosive wiretapping allegations against his predecessor, President Obama. There's no indication that the White House or the Department of Justice is prepared to offer up any such evidence.

But this is something that members of Congress, not just Democrats, but also Republicans, very much want to see.

Here's what Arizona Senator John McCain had to say about all of this on the "State of the Union."


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA: President Trump has to provide the American people, not just the intelligence committee, but the American people with evidence that his predecessor, former president of the United States, was guilty of breaking the law. Because our director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, testified that there was absolutely no truth to that allegation. So I think the president has one of two choices. Either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve, because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we've got a serious issue here, to say the least.


JONES: And one thing that's interesting to note here, it's the Department of Justice being asked to provide these documents. It was only about a week ago that the FBI director, James Comey, asked the Department of Justice to publicly refute the president's baseless claims, saying they were simply not true. The Department of Justice has declined to do that. But it is noteworthy that this is the agency that's being tasked with providing this evidence, evidence that several officials say simply doesn't exist. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Well, one of President Trump's political advisers is downplaying his contacts with the online persona, who claims to have hacked the Democratic National Committee.

VANIER: Roger Stone says his brief exchange with Guccifer 2.0 was harmless. After published reports of contacts, Stone released screen shots of messages in which he said he was delighted to see Guccifer 2.0 reinstated on Twitter. It's the first time anyone in Trump's administration has acknowledged contact with a hacker.

And British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, says he has no doubt Russia is deliberately interfering in other country's affairs.

CHURCH: Johnson admits there's no proof the Kremlin is trying to interfere in the U.K.'s democratic process, but he said he believes Russia has had a hand in suspicious incidents in other countries.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: There's no doubt they've been up to all sorts of dirty tricks, bringing down French TV stations, undermining -- you've seen what happened in the United States where there's no question at all where they were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Convention. You've seen what happened in Montenegro, when there was an attempted coup in a European state and possibly an attempted assassination of the leader of that state. Now, there's very little doubt that the Russians are behind these things, to say nothing of what they have done in Ukraine.


VANIER: Many undocumented immigrants they say lost a sense of security after Donald Trump was elected president.

CHURCH: His stance on illegal immigration affects many so-called Dreamers, who were largely protected under the Obama administration, but now they worry that protection is over.

Our Rosa Flores takes a closer look.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So in a sense, did you become undocumented overnight?


FLORES (voice-over): Hezalias (ph) Rosenfeld was 7 when he came to the U.S. from Venezuela on a visa, which was dependent on his mom's work visa. A few years later, his mom, Anabella, died of cancer.

ROSENFELD: Her presence, though, is constantly felt. I feel it all the time. I feel her energy, her spirit.

FLORES: And to make matters worse, in middle school, he learned without his mom, he was undocumented.

ROSENFELD: You're literally standing in the country that does not want you, and you want to be so much part of this country.

FLORES: Hope came his high school freshman year when President Obama issued an executive order known as DACA, giving about 750,000 people like Hezalias (ph), who were brought to the U.S. as children, a work permit. He earned a full scholarship to Brandeis University, but says that hope came crashing down when Donald Trump became president.

ROSENFELD: The very little protections you used to have are gone overnight.

FLORES: And while President Trump's executive orders on immigration exempted DACA, the detention of this former DACA recipient in Mississippi.

UNIDENTIFIED FORMER DACA RECIPIENT: Today, my father and brother await deportation.

[02:10:04] FLORES: After she told her immigration story publicly, Hezalias (ph), who has published multiple op-eds in his college paper --


FLORES: -- and other vocal immigrants around the country, feeling added fear that they could be next.

ROSENFELD: It's very painful. It's a sense of a lack of security in a country that you should feel secure in.

FLORES: Fueling the anxiety, tweets posted by ICE this week saying DACA is not a protected legal status. Deferred action may be revoked any time, especially when someone commits a crime.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus releasing a scathing statement with Representative Gutierrez calling the move disgusting behavior.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D), ILLINOIS: I was very saddened and almost heartbroken to hear that Homeland Security, through a Twitter account, would say to 750,000 young people in this country, you're no longer safe.

FLORES: ICE is not commenting about the concerns of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, instead reiterating to CNN the contents of the tweets.

For Hezalias (ph), who wouldn't be battling possible deportation had his mom not lost her battle with cancer --

(on camera): Do you miss her, though?

ROSENFELD: All the time, yeah, it's rough.

FLORES (voice-over): He asked President Trump to create a path to citizenship for young people like himself who, by all accounts, feel American, in the only country they know.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Boston.


CHURCH: A high-profile trip for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, America's top diplomat, will make one of his first big trips overseas when he heads to Asia this week.

VANIER: The visit comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea and friction between the U.S. and China. Tillerson plans to make the trip without the press corps, a departure from previous administrations.

A new political era could be under way in South Korea. The country's ousted president, Park Geun-Hye, left the presidential residence on Sunday.

CHURCH: Her departure came after a court on Friday upheld her impeachment. Park has been at the center of a corruption scandal and now may face prosecution.

An election to decide her replacement is said to be held within two months, and the country's liberals stand to gain power.

VANIER: Let's get more on this with Paula Hancocks, who is in Seoul and has been following this from the beginning of this political crisis months ago -- Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Cyril. It was an eventful Friday, an eventful weekend, and now people are trying to get on with life as normal, as a sense of some sort of closure here in South Korea, that the president has been impeached. And there was a deep divide between those for and against the impeachment.

But this has implications far beyond these shores. It's much more of an issue for the wider region and, of course, Washington.



HANCOCKS (voice-over): Scenes of pure joy, a stark contrast to disappointment and anger just down the road.


HANCOCKS: South Korea is bitterly divided, but the implications of Park Geun-hye's impeachment reach far wider than these shores.

North Korea, who is still technically at war with its neighbor, has been watching the scandal closely, even showing relative restraint since allegations emerged last October.

North Korean state-run media called Park a common criminal.

DANIEL KANG, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: I think that in some ways North Korea is probably enjoying all this, unfortunately, and hoping that a president gets elected is going to take a more engagement stance. And I would say that probably appears likely.

HACKCOCKS: The latest polls show liberal candidate, Moon Jae-in, is the latest front-runner, but two months the election has to be held, anything could happen.

Past liberal presidents were more willing to engage with North Korea. This could be a potential sticking point with the Trump administration in the U.S., who publicly at least, seems more hardline in their approach.

And there is THAAD, the U.S. anti-missile defense system, which started arriving in South Korea on Monday, which liberal candidates have already said they don't want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, I would suspect part of the reason for accelerating the deployment of THAAD is not just responding to North Korean missile threats, but also trying to get the thing in place before potentially you have a liberal president who said, I'm not sure about THAAD.

HANCOCKS: China has been clear about opposition to THAAD. South Korean businesses say they're suffering due to boycotts the Chinese government put in place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this something we want, to have a problem with China? A lot of Koreans worry about that causing problems within China causing economic problems in Korea. So tensions are very high.


HANCOCKS: Really, the very first thing the president will have to deal with, whoever it might be, is to try and bridge this divisive feeling in South Korea right now. There's a very -- there are very deep divides, socially pro-Park and anti-Park, that this corruption scandal has really laid bare -- Cyril?

[02:15:08] VANIER: Paula, give us a sense of the political landscape in South Korea at the moment. Is it fair to assume, given that the conservative party has been tarred with some of the same brush as the president, that the Democrats are necessarily going to win the upcoming presidential election?

HANCOCKS: Well, I think there's certainly a sense that there is going to be some kind of a backlash against the conservatives. There's not just two parties in this country. It's really splintered at this point. Park Geun-hye's party itself is expected to do fairly badly but, of course, there's still two months to go before that election happens. Some politicians broke away from her group because of what was happening. Then you have a number of liberal groups as well. Certainly, that one front-runner, Moon Jae-in. He's been leading the polls for a number of weeks now. But it's very difficult to know who will win because South Korean politics is so fragmented and it does change quite quickly. But I think there's likely there will be a backlash against the conservatives. Most experts I speak to say it's likely to be a liberal win next time.

VANIER: Paula Hancocks reporting live from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here. But coming up, the eastern U.S. braces for a powerful winter storm. Which areas could be hardest hit? We'll take a look when we come back.




[02:20:28] VANIER: Spring is not far off, but it doesn't feel that way at the moment in the northeast United States, which is about to get hit by a blizzard.

CHURCH: Yeah. Lt's get the latest from our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri.

Pedram, what is going on here? We were having warm temperatures and now we seem to be going backwards.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLGOIST: Yeah, it's the one winter we thought we could write it off. Spring was going to start, it felt like it, with record warmth. Then you see Canada opens its door and the arctic air comes in, a storm system out of the Midwestern United States, put them together, sometime Monday night into Tuesday, and the models have been very, very bullish on this storm system going all in with a tremendous amount of snowfall totals across parts of the northeast. In fact, 103 million people underneath winter weather advisories, warnings, and blizzard watches. That's one in every three people in the United States, dealing with an impressive storm system in the final week of the storm season.

Take a look at the perspective. Wind-chill at this hour, single digits in spots. Boston at 1. Bangor, minus 2, what is feels like. If the storm system exits Chicago --it already canceled 300 flights out of Chicago's airports for Monday morning. Again, the snowfall amount is what is most impressive with this. I want to show you this. As you look at the totals, there are several models that shift based on it going west or east. One brings 10 inches to Washington. The European model puts the bull's eye close to New York City. 12 inches or more is possible with this forecast from Monday night through much of Tuesday as well.

Then you look at the forecast for the wind speeds towards the afternoon hours into Tuesday night. Really an impressive pattern, because the wind will also be a significant player. Right around lunch time on Tuesday, a wind gust potential. This model puts it right there near hurricane force at 73 miles per hour for New York City. Look at Montauk, up to 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts, coming down at the same time, as we could get a foot on snow on Tuesday. So certainly, blizzard conditions in place. This could lead to hundreds if not thousands of flights impacted. What Rosemary was alluding to is also impressive because March 1st

came in like a lamb, 70 degrees in New York City, Central Park. Forecast variations say potentially a foot, potentially 20 inches, depending on where the storm tracks for New York City.

So, again, the winter that was never to be seen, it looked like it at least, could be going out with historic March snow totals in the next couple days -- guys?

CHURCH: Certainly looks that way.

Thanks so much, Pedram. Appreciate it.


CHURCH: A landslide has killed at least 46 people searching for food at a garbage dump in Ethiopia. A journalist on the scene said piles of trash seemed to have collapsed. Authorities are still searching for survivors.

VANIER: Many people rely on the landfill to make a living. They sift through the rubbish, scavenge what they can to survive.

In northern Haiti, celebrations for a music festival became the scene of a deadly bus crash. Officials say at least 38 people were killed when a bus plowed into parade crowds on Sunday.

CHURCH: We're learning the driver was already fleeing another hit- and-run incident. An eyewitness said people were still trapped under the bus and pleading for help when it finally stopped. Police are searching for that bus driver.

This weekend marked six years since a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan. Soon, residents will be able to return home as the country gets ready to lift its evacuation orders.

VANIER: But they'll be met by some unexpected, unwelcome, and even potentially dangerous residents.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After six years, former residents evacuated from some towns near the nuclear power plant in Fukushima will soon be allowed to return home. But in their absence, wild boars have taken up residence. The boars used to live in the mountains away from people. Now they roam freely, walking down otherwise deserted streets and grazing in yards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): After people left, the wild boar's eco-system changed, they began coming down from the mountains and now they're not going back. They found a place that's comfortable.

WALKER: As nuclear refugees prepare to return home, local authorities say the boars have to go -- (ANIMAL NOISE)

WALKER: -- and have hired hunters to capture and kill them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I think it's a considerable risk the wild boars pose when they come down from the mountains to the residential areas and attack people or collide with cars.

WALKER: The boars could also pose a radioactive threat from consuming plants and animals within the radioactive exclusion zone. The Fukushima government imposed a ban on consumption of wild boar meat shortly after the disaster.


VANIER: Amara Walker reporting there.

Now we're going to take a short break. But when we come back, repealing Obamacare may well turn out to be easier than replacing it. The challenges Trump faces as he tries to fulfill one of his campaign promises.

CHURCH: And ISIS has looted Mosul's museum, leaving mostly rubble behind. Still to come, what they didn't know about the collection that was destroyed in Mosul. Back in a moment with that.


CHURCH: And a very warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

[02:29:40] VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier.

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


[02:31:04] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the battle over replacing Obamacare is heating up and Republicans are divided on exactly what they want in a new health care law.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House Republican health care plan is the solution, or at least a good start. But Senator Rand Paul is making clear the Senate will not pass the bill without significant changes.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When you're a governing party, getting consensus among your wide, big-tent party, not -- everybody doesn't get what they want. But we're getting much better policy here.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: If we get what we've got from Ryan, Obamacare-Lite, he will not have the votes. And we have to get to that point before true negotiations begin. Right now, I think there's a charm offensive going on. Everybody's being nice to everybody, because they want us to vote for this, but we're not going to vote for it.


CHURCH: One of the main challenges for Republicans is replacing Obamacare without leaving millions of people without insurance or in debt.

VANIER: And that's easier said than done. But President Trump and his administration have promised a health care plan far better than Obamacare.


TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we're going through, understanding that they'll have choices, that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not the government forces them to buy.


CHURCH: And we wanted to hear directly from those afraid of losing health insurance, including people in areas that backed Mr. Trump in the election.

CNN's Miguel Marquez reports from Kentucky.


MIQUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 24-year-old Alonza Tribun (ph) enrolling in Medicaid, the health care drama in D.C. playing out right here in Owensboro, Kentucky.

ALONZA TRIBUN (ph), KENTUCKY MEDICAID RECIPIENT: I feel like I was put in a position where it was either accept it or go into debt. I was not wanting to be in debt especially for me and my son.

MARQUEZ: Tribun (ph) works for a Head Start program and has a 3-year- old. She could get insurance through her employer but the cost prohibitive.

TRIBUN (ph): If I was to get that insurance I would only come home with like 1$100 a week.

MARQUEZ: Employer-based insurance just too much for this single mother.

Today, more than 1.3 million Kentuckians are on Medicaid. If the current Republican House bill becomes law, 440,000 of those insured, thanks to the Medicaid expansion, would likely see their coverage vanish.

(on camera): How many people have you signed up in Owensboro?


MARQUEZ: Thousands?

CRAIG: Thousands.

MARQUEZ: Suzanne Craig signs up residents for Medicaid in several western Kentucky counties. The population here, she says, is hard working but poor.

CRAIG: There are people who will make about 32,0$32,000 in Household income.

MARQUEZ: Mary Lou Adams, a nurse-practitioner, says since Obamacare kicked in, she's seen the health of her community improve.

MARY LOU ADAMS, NURSE-PRACTITIONER: We are seeing people that didn't come before with chronic diseases that felt like they did not have access.

MARQUEZ: 63-year-old Paula Murphy never had insurance until Obamacare helped her get Medicaid.

(on camera): What sort of ailments do you have right now?

PAULA MURPHY, MEDICAID RECIPIENT: High blood pressure, diabetes, I have a torn rotator cuff and a bad knee.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): 28 years ago, she broke her back. It took her a decade to pay off the debt.

Her message to Donald Trump, follow-through on your promise to make health care better.

MURPHY: All I know is at the moment, I'm gravely concerned. If he can do what he says he can do, I might be OK with it.

MARQUEZ (on camera): One more piece of the puzzle to consider, the health care industry is so big here in Kentucky that the Kentucky Policy Institute estimates that if the Affordable Care Act went away completely, some 56,000 jobs across the state would be lost, which is 3 percent of the workforce.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Owensboro, Kentucky.


[02:35:07] VANIER: We're joined now by Salena Zito, a CNN contributor, a columnist from the "New York Post" and a reporter from the "Washington Examiner."

Salena, great to speak to you again.

You heard that voter in Kentucky in that report saying she's gravely concerned about what might happen to her health care under Mr. Trump. Is that something you have witnessed? I know you have reported extensively from the Rustbelt, Midwestern states, you were in Virginia, all those states that handed the victory to Mr. Trump.

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's really difficult to politicize, health care, because it is the well-being of our health. Throughout Obamacare in the past eight years and for the past few weeks and in the repeal and replacement and how you deal with it, there are personal lives impacted. The toughest thing right now is the uncertainty. The uncertainty is created by the politics. So the sausage-making with Obamacare in 2009, 2010 was ugly and messy. Unsurprisingly, it's the same way in repealing and replacing it.


VANIER: This is U.S. Senator Cory Booker had to say about the sausage-making right now.


SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D), NEW JERSEY: That's really where we are. The Republicans cannot just force this down our throats. It's going to knock a lot of folks off, hurt long-term care, hurt good, working class folks. I don't understand this. I don't understand their political strategy, because this is bad politics.


VANIER: Salena, back to my question, you heard Cory Booker. He said it will hurt working class folks. Is that the feeling, the fear you feel right now in those regions?

ZITO: It's interesting you played that clip because I think that was said exactly by Republicans in 2009 and 2010. What I'm hearing from working class people is that they want to see something done. They want to see it changed because it has impacted their lives negatively. Now, it also could, firstly, impact their lives in a worse way. You know, it's a tough situation.

The one thing I will say Trump has going for him right now is that he has shown a willingness to listen to -- to listen to other things and also to change his mind. That's the one thing he has going for him in this process. It doesn't mean he'll make the right decision, but it does mean that he's willing to take in and absorb some of these problems that people are talking about, like the families that you talked to in Kentucky.

VANIER: A lot of people who stand to lose in the current version of the bill, and granted that might change before it becomes law, are people who voted for Mr. Trump. Have you met a category of people who are now conflicted because of that or not?

ZITO: At this point, no. Now, maybe I found the only people, but I went from West Virginia along the Ohio River down to Brilliance, Ohio, crisscrossing across the Ohio River. And at this moment, people are satisfied that President Trump is taking this on. They don't believe that Obamacare has been what it was supposed to be and has helped them in their lives. Everybody has a different story. Everyone's been impacted in a different way. Health care, in politics, was never going to be easy. The problem for Republicans is that Obamacare has created this entitlement that the government is part of the health care process. I don't know how you change that. I don't know how you put the toothpaste back into the tube. People are now going to expect the government to be part of it.

VANIER: Always a pleasure to speak to you, Salena. Thank you very much.

ZITO: Thank you so much.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here. Still to come, Mosul's museum left in shambles after a raid by ISIS fighters. But we'll tell you why much of its priceless collection is unharmed, despite the damage and how ISIS got fooled.

VANIER: Plus, two scientists are mixing their love for Belgian beer with a ground-breaking space discovery. The story when we come back.


[02:42:57] VANIER: A jihadist group is claiming responsibility for twin bombings in the Syrian capitol of Damascus. The umbrella group said they targeted Syrian soldiers and Iranian militias.

CHURCH: It's worth noting that Iran has supported the fighters helping the Syrian regime. According to activists, at least 74 people, most of them civilians were killed in the attack.

The Iraqi military says its forces have found a mass grave in northwest Mosul.

VANIER: They believe it contains the remains of about 500 people. This comes as officials say more than 10,000 people arrived at refugee camps on Sunday.

CHURCH: That's in addition to the nearly 100,000 civilians who have fled since the battle for western Mosul began last month. Iraqi forces say they've taken back more than half that area, after troops hit two ISIS strongholds.

VANIER: CNN's Ben Wedeman has seen the devastating impact ISIS had in western Mosul.

CHURCH: He went to the city's museum where militants have turned priceless artifacts to rubble.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ancient treasures that survived the ravages of time fell victim to the folly of man.


WEDEMAN: The remains of statutes dating back to the Syrian Empire, more than 2,500 years old, lie in pieces on the floor of the Mosul museum.


WEDEMAN: Two years ago, ISIS militants took sledgehammers and jackhammers to the museum's collection, posting a video of their vandalism on social media.


WEDEMAN: Characterizing the pre-Islamic inhabitants of Mesopotamia as idol worshippers, an unidentified man claiming the antiquities must be destroyed, even if they're worth Billions of dollars, he says.

Iraqi forces battling ISIS in west Mosul recently regained control of the museum.

[02:45:01] (on camera): This is all that remains of one of the museums, a winged bull, a symbol of the might of the great Assyrian Empire.


WEDEMAN: Not only did ISIS go to the trouble of breaking apart these statutes, but they also chipped away the face.


WEDEMAN: And as you can tell, the battle still rages all around us.

(voice-over): It wasn't all about implementing ISIS's twisted interpretation of Islam. When their cameras weren't rolling, they were looting the museum.


WEDEMAN: Captain Faras (ph) of the Iraqi federal police explains why there's a gaping hole in the museum floor.


WEDEMAN: "This vault," he says, "contained artifacts that weren't on display. ISIS took them out and sold them outside of Iraq."

All however is not lost. Three-quarters of the museum's collection was moved to Baghdad before ISIS seized Mosul because this museum was set for renovation.


WEDEMAN: As fate would have it, the final joke was on ISIS. Many of the statutes they toppled with such gusto were cheap replicas. They were fakes.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, west Mosul.


VANIER: And this Tuesday, March 14th, is My Freedom Day at CNN. CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery. Driving My Freedom Day, a simple question, what does freedom mean to you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is remembering who we were before the world told us who we should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me is for every individual to have access to the basic necessities of human life as well as for every individual to be able to express themselves without limitations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is having my own thoughts and being able to express them.


CHURCH: And we want to hear what freedom means to you, too. Post a photo or video, using the #myfreedomday.

VANIER: Coming up right after the break, a video you just have to see to believe, really.

CHURCH: How this car ended up on the roof of a house. We'll explain next.




[02:51:11] VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. A homeowner in China made a startling discovery. An SUV skidded off the road near his house and landed on his roof. The driver said he was trying to avoid a tricycle and another vehicle when he accidentally stepped on the accelerator, changing directions and skidding off the road.

CHURCH: Wow. And his final landing spot, as you saw, the roof. Luckily, neither the driver nor the stunned homeowner were injured. Incredible there.

Well, the recent discovery of seven earth-like planets has researchers saying we're in the golden age of finding planets that just might support life.

VANIER: But the part of the story we didn't know, and might not have guessed, the scientists who found and named the new planets were inspired by their love for Belgium and beer.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin has the story.



ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nestled in a valley of Belgium's Arden Mountain range, an almost 900-year-old monastery, known as Orval Abbey. Trappist monks have been brewing beer for a century.

(on camera): Now this world-famous Trappist monastic beer has inspired the name of one of the most extraordinary astronomical finds ever.

(voice-over): TRAPPIST is the name of a system of planets 40 light years away. They're known as exoplanets because they're outside of our solar system. Three of those planets sit in the habitable zone of the star, and it's possible they could sustain life.


MCLAUGHLIN: Exoplanet pioneers, Michael Gillon and Emmanuel Jehin, discovered the TRAPPIST system, part of a project at the University of Liege in Belgium.

From a modest laboratory, they monitor TRAPPIST using robotic telescopes in Chile and Morocco. Each night, TRAPPIST searches the heavens.

Because the telescope feed is online, they can monitor it from anywhere there's Internet. Dips and brightness around the stars indicate possible planets.

Incredibly, Gillon says he discovered the first TRAPPIST exoplanet while sitting on his couch at home.

MICHAEL GILLON, SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF LIEGE, BELGIUM: I saw this drop of brightness that I've been searching for -- I've been searching for, for five years. And I said, oh, wow, it looks really like an earth-sized planet.

MCLAUGHLIN: Gillon had a unique idea, to search stars smaller than the sun.

GILLON: I was dreaming of one planet, when we saw two, it was becoming crazy. Three, completely crazy. And then in 2016, four, five. Kind of a fantasy.

JEHIM: We were joking, it's not possible. How many planets are there.

GILLON: Like a cosmic joke.

MCLAUGHLIN: What separates this from other exoplanet discoveries, the star is small enough, and the planet is close enough for scientists to search for traces of alien life.

Back at the abbey, Brother Xavier, says he's extremely proud of the Belgian discovery.

As for the question of life on other planets --

BROTHER XAVIER, ORVAL ABBEY (through translation): If there are possibilities of discovering life in other forms than what we know now, that would mean a lot. The more we have stories that give meaning to human life, that gives an essential meaning to us all.

MCLAUGHLIN: A philosophical response to a question asked for thousands of years, now renewed hope the answer is out there.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Liege, Belgium


CHURCH: Very exciting stuff.

And thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.

[02:54:48] VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. And we'll both be back in just a moment with news from around the world.

You're with CNN. Stay with us.



[03:00:03] CHURCH: Hello, and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Thank you very much for joining us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.