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U.S. Investigates Civilian Deaths in Mosul after Air Strikes; Former South Korean President Faces Arrest; White House Backs Speaker Ryan Amid Calls to Step Down; Hong Kong's New Leader Faces Political Divide; Hundreds Detained as Massive Crowds Protest Corruption in Russian Government; Overseas Voting Begins in Historic Turkish Referendum; Trump's Illegal Immigration Crackdown Affects Abuse Victims; Mexican Inmates Escape Prison through Tunnel; French Voters Explain Emmanuel Macron's Appeal; Strengthening Tropical Cyclone Approaching Australia. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 27, 2017 - 02:00   ET




[02:00:40] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

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

The U.S. military is promising an investigation into the deaths of civilians in the war-torn city of Mosul and whether recent coalition air strikes are to blame.

CHURCH: The Pentagon confirms one strike hit an ISIS truck packed with explosives in western Mosul on March 17th, but it's unclear what happened after that.

VANIER: An Iraqi commander said the blast killed dozens in nearby homes. But Iraq's government says ISIS may have booby trapped the buildings.

CHURCH: CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following all this and joins us now from Istanbul in Turkey.

Jomana, an investigation is underway and we don't know what caused the deaths. What more are you learning?

JOMANA KARADHSEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRSEPONDENT: Rosemary, it has been more than a week since this incident was supposed to have taken place. Still, it's a confusing and chaotic situation. So many conflicting reports.

Here's what we do know. According to local officials in Mosul, according to the civil defense, they say an air strike caused a large number of civilian casualties. The U.S., as you mentioned, and the Iraqi militaries are both investigating the incident and what happened. The Americans say they did carry out an air strike in this area where the incident took place, but they are still trying to piece together the information and what the circumstances were. The Iraqis are saying they called in for the air strike, but it was targeting a large truck loaded with explosives. It's unclear because they are blaming the civilian casualties on the ISIS truck bomb. It's unclear how that truck detonated, whether ISIS detonated it or it was the result of that air strike. According to the civil defense units, Rosemary, it took them a few days to get to this area because of the situation on the ground. Up until Saturday, they say they managed to pull 81 bodies out of the rubble. We could expect that death toll to rise. According to eyewitnesses. One eyewitness, at least, that our team in northern Iraq, Arwa Damon and her team were able to speak to, he said a few days ago, as he was leaving with his family, he was close to the area, and as they were leaving, they could hear people screaming for help, presumably from under the rubble.

While the circumstances of what happened on March 17th in western Mosul are unclear, one thing is for certain, so many civilian lives were lost -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is a heartbreaking situation. Jomana, the U.S. and Iraq still have a tough fight ahead in Mosul. How will concern about civilian casualties impact that, particularly, given ISIS uses civilians as human shields?

KARADSHEH: That's a major concern. Rosemary, you and I used to talk about this in the lead up to the Mosul operation. The United Nations and other organizations were really concerned about the hundreds of thousands of civilians who were trapped in Mosul and that ISIS is not allowing civilians to leave, and they were caught in the crossfire. This is more of a concern when it comes to this part of the battle, in western Mosul, where Iraqi forces have been pushing into. This is the old part of town and it has narrow streets, really densely populated areas. Estimates by the United Nations, hundreds of thousands, they believe, are still in western Mosul. As you mentioned, the concern is ISIS using people as human shields and not allowing them to leave, using civilian homes as fighting positions. We've heard the Iraqi military looking at different ways to tackle the battle and try to avoid civilian casualties. They are talking about moving more on foot, about using drones, precision artillery rather than air strikes. But this is a very complicated urban environment and to try to avoid civilian casualties is to be a very, very complex battle. It's a very difficult urban environment. And to try to avoid civilian casualties will be a difficult task if not impossible at this point -- Rosemary?

[02:05:11] CHURCH: Certainly a very delicate operation.

Jomana Karadsheh, joining us live from Istanbul, Turkey, where it is just after 9:00 in the morning following the situation there in Mosul. Many thanks.

VANIER: The other big story we're following this hour, the former South Korean president in South Korea could face arrest for an abuse of power. Park Geun-hye was impeached for a corruption scandal. Prosecutors are investigating that alleged corruption and are seeking an arrest warrant. CNN's Paula Hancocks has the details from Seoul.

Paula, good to have you with us.

If the prosecutors are asking for Park's arrest, they must feel they are able to bring a compelling case. What do they have against her?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, they believe they have enough evidence that an arrest warrant is necessary. In the prosecutors' statements we read earlier this money, they said they were concerned there was a possibility of Park Geun-hye trying to destroy evidence, saying the investigation is ongoing, and there were serious violations from Park. Park Geun-hye herself has consistently denied wrong-doing. But prosecutors believe there is enough evidence that an arrest warrant is necessary. They believe there has been abuse of power and there's allegations of bribery, coercion, and they also say her confidant, who is at the center of this scandal, is already being investigated. She is in prison and on trial. And there are others related to the scandal who have been arrested. They believe it's only fair that, given the seriousness of the allegations, Park Geun-hye is arrested as well.

VANIER: Paula, tell us about the former president's version of events. What does she say happened? I remember, after she was impeached, Park Geun-hye said the truth will come out. What does she say happen?

HANCOCKS: She apologized on a number of occasions but she has never apologized for wrong-doing, stating she has not done anything wrong. Her lawyer said this is a political witch hunt, that her political rivals and the ones that have driven this impeachment and this investigation. From the former president's point of view, she doesn't believe she's done anything wrong. The allegation surround the likes of Samsung group giving tens of millions of dollars to two foundations which were controlled by Park-Geun-hye's confidants and were used for their own means. But Park Geun-hye said she has not done anything for personal gain. That is why she believes she has not done anything wrong -- Cyril?

VANIER: Paula, one more thing. There was huge emotional investment in the story by South Koreans themselves. And during the entire push to impeach the president that lasted weeks and months and people went into the streets over weeks. How is this playing out in the population?

HANCOCKS: There was another one of the rallies on Saturday, a candlelight vigil, where people came onto the streets calling for the impeachment that happened. They are also calling for Park Geun-hye to be put behind bars. They want her to face justice.

But there is a smaller group which is pro Park, which believes this impeachment shouldn't have happened and it was politically motivated. They were on the streets as well.

It's a divided country at this point. The group that believes that Park should go to prison is far bigger than those that don't, if you look at the numbers on the streets. It's a very divisive issue what happened with this corruption scandal -- Cyril?

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

CHURCH: President Trump's son-in-law is about to expand his already broad range of influence at the White House. The president will announce that Jared Kushner will lead the new White House Office of American Innovation.

VANIER: That office will have sweeping authority to reform bureaucracy, potentially with private business solutions. Kushner already drives foreign and domestic decisions and has a hand in the selection of presidential personnel.

The defeat of health care legislation last week in Washington dealt President Trump and Republicans a major blow.

CHURCH: Now there are questions about who is to blame and where the Trump agenda goes from here. A FOX News host, Judge Jeanine Pirro, calls on the speaker of the House to step down.

But as Athena Jones reports, the White House says it supports Paul Ryan.


[02:10:10] ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. As the White House recovers from this devastating loss last week, the failure to repeal Obamacare after years and years of promising to do so, they're spready the blame. We've heard the president blame Democrats in the House. Also this morning, on Twitter, he blasted the House Freedom Caucus, the conservative block of about 30 members who blocked this bill because they felt it didn't go far enough to un-do Obamacare.

One person the White House is not blaming is House Speaker Paul Ryan. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was asked on "FOX News Sunday" whether the president thought Speaker Ryan should step down. Here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Does he want Paul Ryan to step down?

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, he doesn't. He talked to Paul Ryan yesterday for about an hour. He believes what he said in the Oval Office on Friday. He doesn't blame Paul Ryan. In fact, he thought Paul Ryan worked really hard and he enjoys his relationship with Paul Ryan and thinks he is a great speaker of the House.


JONES: There you heard the chief of staff saying the president feels Speaker Ryan is a great speaker of the House.

But the question remains, how this White House is going to work with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, and not just with the leadership like Speaker Ryan and others, but also with the House conservatives, which the president has been blasting, and with moderate Republicans, and potentially Democrats. We heard Reince Priebus says over and over again during that interview they were open to talking to Democrats.

The issue here is that the president, whether on Twitter or to the press, has been blasting Democrats and the House Freedom Caucus, the conservatives. Is that conducive to working with the groups?

We've heard House Speaker Ryan say doing big things is hard and doing big things is going to require the White House figuring out how to maneuver things on Capitol Hill so the president can get done the big things he wants to get done.

Back to you.


VANIER: Josh Rogan is a CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post." He joins us now.

Josh, what does Donald Trump need to do to turn things around now that he's failed on his first major legislative effort?

JOSH ROGAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The first thing is, have a few days where he doesn't have any major bad news, scandals or failed initiatives. Last week, he had a string of defeats. There was bad news coming out of the Russia hearing and the failure of his ability to advance the health care legislation, and a tough week for a nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be the Supreme Court nominee. The Gorsuch nomination will move forward, and that will be Trump's best chance for a victory. After that, he needs to go ahead and stop stoking the fights in the Republican Party. His tweet this morning, attacking the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Freedom Caucus, is only adding salt to a fresh wound.


ROGAN: If the president wants to start off on the right foot, he needs to stop the bleeding and bring his caucus together and at least present a united front, even if one doesn't exist.

VANIER: You mentioned the tweet, and we will look at it, because it seems Donald Trump needs to nurture two important relationships going forward, one with the House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the other with the ultra conservatives, the Freedom Caucus.

He tweeted this about them on Sunday morning, "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood and Obamacare."

Donald Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Mr. Trump was surprised by the disloyalty of the House Freedom Caucus. How does he mend that relationship? ROGAN: We have seen a string of statements blaming others for the

failure of the health care legislation to advance. He started with the Democrats and moved on to the Freedom Caucus. At no point does he admit that he or his team played any role in this stunning defeat. He needs to, first, bring these people in and talk about the next steps. The next steps being tax reform. He can't afford another debacle. They will have to bring these people in and get them to buy in before they start the effort.


VANIER: But how, though? They have shown they are not going to back him just as a matter of principle, just because they are Republicans and he's a Republican president.

ROGAN: That's right. You are getting to the crucial part of his failed health care strategy. His basic line was to threaten them with primaries. They didn't think the threats were credible and didn't appreciate being bullied. So, by bringing them in before the legislation is brought forth and getting their ideas and their asks and their concessions into the original cake before it's baked, that's the best way to unveil a product that everyone can agree to. He also has to show them more basic respect. It's not enough to call up a bunch of members of Congress and threaten them with primaries. He has to give them more carrots and less sticks. It's not going to be easy.

Tax reform is controversial and more difficult than health care in a number of ways. At the same time, the president made his bed. We saw the chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, say the president might go the other direction and work with Democrats, moderate Democrats, on the next initiative. Reince Priebus said that's a warning to people on the far right. This is a doubling down on the strategy of, if you don't go my way, it's the highway.

[02:15:50] VANIER: Thank you very much, Josh Rogan. Thanks.

ROGAN: Any time.

CHURCH: We return to a tragic and developing story in Japan. An avalanche struck a group of high school students taking skiing lessons about 200 kilometers north of Tokyo.

VANIER: A fire official said a teacher told him eight of the students show no signs of life and six are injured. 32 students and teachers were able to get down safely. Emergency crews are having trouble reaching the area due to poor weather at the moment.

CHURCH: We will keep a close eye on that story.

We will take a break. But still to come, Hong Kong's new leader is not expected to have much of a honeymoon period. Why she was elected over another candidate who was more popular.

VANIER: Protesters defied police in Moscow. Why rallies were held across Russia, when we come back.


[02:20:40] VANIER: Pro-democracy activists say the Chinese government has effectively chosen Hong Kong's new leader. As predicted, an election committee selected Carrie Lam as the city's next chief executive.

CHURCH: The committee chose her over a candidate with more popular support and now she is facing a city that's divided politically.

Our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, has been following Carrie Lam's election. Ivan joins us from outside Hong Kong's government offices.

Ivan, Carrie Lam's election is historic, the first woman election. But what sort of mandates does she have, given the way she was elected,

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Someone argued that her mandate is somewhat dubious given that she won the election with 777 votes to govern a city of more than seven million people.

How is that possible? In Hong Kong's system, you have an electoral commission, a committee of less than 1200 people who are the actual people who do the voting. It is precisely that system that triggered protests in this country -- rather, in the city, three years ago, with people calling for universal suffrage, one person, one vote. That reform has not taken place and part of this political divisions that continue in the former British colony, divisions that the new executive referred to in her victory speech. Take a listen.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness and has accumulated a lot of frustrations. My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustrations and to unite our society to move forward.


WATSON: When you ask about the mandate, the most important she has is support from Beijing, the Communist Party that rules mainland China, since it is perceived to have a great deal of influence on how the members of that election committee voted in Sunday's quite limited vote here in Hong Kong -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: Ivan, what sort of leader will Carrie Lam like be. We heard her promising to heal the wounds, to unite the people of Hong Kong. How will she do that?

WATSON: We don't know yet, but presumably, it would be a continuation of the current administration since she is the number two. She has been the number two official in the outgoing administration and there would be an extension of that.

I have to highlight one other point. In the last couple of hours, a number of pro-democracy activists and a number of the organizers who helped put together the so-called Umbrella Movement, the occupy protests that took place in the parks and in the streets near where I'm standing right here in 2014, have announced they have been summoned to police stations in Hong Kong to face charges for the occupy protests of 2014. They are arguing that this is not a coincidence that the arrest summons are coming a day after the appointment of a new chief executive. They're interpreting this as a signal from the outgoing administration and perhaps, by extension, from the ruling Communist Party government in Beijing of how it will tackle the voices of decent in the city.

Another thing to keep in mind, since the protest movements, and since they failed in 2014 to get universal suffrage, a portion of Hong Kong's population has been radicalized. Instead of calling for universal suffrage, some of them are calling for out-right independence from mainland China, calling themselves localists. That's one of the challenges that the new leader of Hong Kong will have to face -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: A divided city there.

Ivan Watson, bringing us up to date on developments from Hong Kong, where it is 2:24 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

[02:25:10] VANIER: We're also developing what's happening - watching what's across Russia. Protests were planned across the country on Sunday in a bid to speak out against corruption.




CHURCH: State media reports thousands of people gathered in Moscow. Hundreds of people were reportedly detained, including a prominent opposition figure.

Our Fred Pleitgen as there and filed this report.



FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOAL CORRSEPONDENT (voice-over): There were many tense moments and, according to state media, hundreds of arrests made in Moscow alone. Our crew also getting caught up in the pushing and shoving.

(on camera): There is a massive police presence on hand at these protests. Time and again, we're seeing scenes like this, with the police pushing the protesters back.




PLEITGEN: Russia's official news agency put the turnout around 8,000 people at the march in Moscow declared illegal by Russian authorities.

Taking to the streets to criticize what they call widespread corruption among the country's elite, the organizers say similar gathers happened in about 100 towns and cities across this vast country.

The man calling for the action, opposition activist and Kremlin critic, Alexi Navali (ph), was himself detained.


PLEITGEN: But those who followed his call we're shy to voice their grievances.

UNIDENTIIED MALE: I'm against Putin, against the corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't support out government freely. They (INAUDIBLE), using their power.

PLEITGEN: These protests don't pose a serious threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who boasts approval ratings around 80 percent.


PLEITGEN: But they show the opposition is willing to take to the streets, whether the authorities allow them to or not.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


CHURCH: We will take a short break here. Still to come, overseas voting begins in Turkey's constitutional referendum. What it could mean for Turkey's prisoners.

VANIER: Plus, Donald Trump's tough stance on illegal immigration could be having an unintended effect. Why some say domestic violence victims are being hurt by the U.S. president's crackdown.


[02:30:56] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: A very warm welcome here in the U.S. and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.


Want to update you now on the top stories this hour.


VANIER: Overseas voting begins Monday in a historic referendum for Turkey.

For more on this, I am joined from London by Jonathan Friedman, a political and security expert focusing on Turkey.

Jonathan, why is this block of voters, overseas voters so important to President Erdogan as he prepares for the referendum a few weeks ago now?

JONATHAN FFIEDMAN, POLITICAL & SECURITY EXPERT ON TURKEY: It's very important because the current polling that shows the referendum between a yes and a no vote. Every little bit counts. There is a few close million Turks in Europe who are eligible to vote and it tends to be that European Turks vote for Erdogan and his party in higher numbers than Turk dos in Turkey. The hope here is that the same result you can get more yes votes from them in the referendum if they're able to vote and are mobilized.

VANIER: Voting is beginning. Tell us more about the referendum itself. The president has been pushing for the presidential system for years and never managed to get it done. A lot has changed recently. Has that helped or hurt Erdogan's chances?

FRIEDMAN: One of the big challenges that has hurt him is the economy has really slowed down over the past few quarters. Turkey, since Erdogan's party came to power in early 2000, has been doing quite well, but now it's facing headwinds, and Turks are feeling it. That reduces support for his party and for his initiatives.

VANIER: What changes in Turkey if the country becomes a presidential system. Why is it so important for Erdogan?

FRIEDMAN: Really, it's hard to see that much changing. The president is running the country almost as if he has the political system. What the changes would do is close those uncertainties, political and legal uncertainties. Take the executive power to the pedestrian when traditionally they have invested in the prime minister and his cabinet.

VANIER: Is there much appetite for this presidential system, for changing the country, and taking it towards the system or not? Are we able to gauge that?

FRIEDMAN: I think most people in Turkey, a slight majority, don't see a reason for this and they are concerned. They're concerned about the direction Turkey is taking. Turks, in their civics classes, they learn that the prime minister and parliament have the authority. It doesn't make sense to a lot of people why they transfer it to the presidency. So, a lot of concerns there.

[02:35:19] VANIER: Jonathan Friedman, thank you very much for your insights. Thanks.

CHURCH: The White House will be looking to pivot from a week that offered no victories.

VANIER: President Trump is coming off the collapse of the push to repeal Obamacare and shifting towards tax reform. His chief of staff suggests if Republicans won't work with him, Trump could turn to moderate Democrats.


REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's more or less a warning shot that we are willing to talk to anyone. We always have been. I think more so now than ever. It's time for both parties to come together and get to real reforms in this country, whether it's taxes or health care or immigration or whether it be infrastructure. This president is ready to lead. And sort of over with, with the games in the legislature.


CHURCH: President Trump is also expected to sign an executive order this week that will begin to roll back the Obama administration's efforts to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Well, as President Trump follows through on the promise to crack down on illegal immigration --

VANIER: Human rights groups say victims of domestic violence are afraid to report abuse, fearing deportation.

Rafael Romo speaks to a survivor facing such a dilemma.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This undocumented Mexican immigrant and mother of four said she was the victim of domestic violence for 12 years. In addition, fearing her husband, she was afraid of being deported and separated from her children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): My husband would tell me he was going to call immigration and they would take my children away.

ROMO: Cracking down on illegal immigration was one of President Trump's main campaign promises.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We put in place the first steps of our immigration plan, ordering the immediate construction of the border wall, putting an end to catch and release.

ROMO: But human rights activists say the policies are having an unintended effect. Domestic violence victims are now afraid to go to police.

UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST (through translation): Domestic violence victims are calling us to let us know what they are going through at home, but they are afraid and don't want to call the police or go to court.

ROMO: In the first weeks of the Trump presidency, immigration authorities carried out what they called routine raids throughout the country, detaining hundreds of undocumented immigrants. REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The disgraceful new

ICE raids targeting immigrant families are deeply upsetting, cruel, and designed to spread fear.

ROMO (on camera): Organizations that protect victims of domestic violence say many immigrants who are abused don't know they can receive legal help and support regardless of their immigration status under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The U.S. government offers the You Visa (ph) for victims of mental or physical abuse who are willing to cooperate with police.

(voice-over): For this undocumented mother, the You Visa (ph) was the answer.

"It gave me hope that I will not be separated from my children," she says.

But activists say, in this polarized environment, where anti-immigrant rhetoric is common place, the message is not getting through to victims. Perpetrators of domestic violence, they fear, are now more likely to go unpunished.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


CHURCH: More than a dozen Mexican inmates are on the run after breaking out of prison. A look at the elaborate tunnel they used to escape. That's still to come.

VANIER: And Emmanuel Macron is young and inexperienced, but some French voters say this candidate has their vote for president. Their reasons why, ahead.


[02:42:17] VANIER: Welcome back. British police made a new arrest in connection with the Westminster terror attack. Officials say a 30- year-old man was taken into custody in Birmingham suspected of preparing a terrorist attack. 12 people have been arrested since the attack but most have been released with no further charges.

CHURCH: Investigators believe the attacker, Khalid Masood, was not directed by ISIS, and likely acted alone. Police shot him dead after he killed four people, including a police officer, on Wednesday.

VANIER: 14 Mexican inmates are on the run after a prison break.

CHURCH: Authorities say they snuck out through a massive tunnel under a prison wall.

CNN's Leyla Santiago has the details.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This tunnel has since been sealed with concrete. But the question remains, how did something like this happen in the prison? Let's go back through the series of event.

On Wednesday night, 29 inmates escaped through the tunnel said to be 15 feet deep, 130 feet long. Then on Friday when authorities went in to search the cells and make sure that they could re-establish order a prison riot broke out and the inmates set debris on fire. Three inmates were stabbed to death. One was also injured. And upon escape we also know that one the inmates is believed to be responsible for a carjacking in which one man was shot. Then Saturday, that tunnel was sealed. And Sunday family members were allowed to go in to visit prisoners that were still there. The investigation led authorities to a few other inmates that have escaped.

But the big question now, again, how did this happen? Investigators have remained pretty tight lipped. When we called the prison, they would not answer our questions. But if you look back earlier this month, a son of a well-known cartel leader also escaped a prison in Mexico. In 2015, el Chapo, a cartel leader, also escaped through a tunnel. So this is something that's not new and speaks to the power of Mexican cartels inside and outside of Mexican prisons.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.


CHURCH: Far-right presidential candidate, Marine le Pen, has a grim outlook for the E.U. going into the final month of her campaign. Reuters reports that at a rally Sunday, le Pen said the block would die because the people did not want it anymore.

VANIER: She accused her rivals, Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon, for treason for their pro E.U. policies. Opinion polls favor le Pen in the first round of the presidential election, but forecast a runoff win from Macron.

[02:45:07] CHURCH: And Emmanuel Macron has never been elected to a public office and he is running without the support of any of France's major parties.

VANIER: CNN's Melissa Bell talked to people who plan to vote for him to figure out what he represents to them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intelligence and realism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say vision and a new way to approach politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is a progressive liberal offering us to go for a Democratic revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The premise is to renew the political personnel. We want new faces and we need new faces.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: He has been described as the candidate more and more likely to take on Marine le Pen, and as the candidate of the elite.

All of you speak English. Is it a fair charge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe the reason we speak English is because Europe represents something to us. Is he the choice of the elite? I don't think so. I think it's unfair for everybody.

BELL: Europe has been accused of a Democratic deficit and failing a number of key challenges over the last few years and one sensed this Europeanism rising. You remain pro-European. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am pro-European to the extent that today the debate is not whether we should be right or left wing, but whether we should be open or closed. It's true that there is a democratic deficit. Today European institutions are obscure and sophisticated, but it doesn't mean that the idea of the European Union should be dismissed.

BELL: Can you understand the fear of globalization that has led some people to turn towards the candidates of closure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an issue that has to be divided in detail and how you negotiate trade agreements, that there are real issues and there are no straight forward positions to take. One thing that seems obvious, if you close the French border, it's not going to work. France is not profiting enough to sustain their effort on its own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can fight against Russia, China, India. It's impossible. Alone, we can't fight it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand the fear, but we need to go beyond that fear and try to see the potential it represents.

BELL: You are all convinced. Can Emmanuel Macron speak to both those who want to see profound change in French politics, as we have seen out there in the world, the populist wave that wants to get rid of the old and bringing in the new, can he speak to that and gather together the left and the right? Do you believe he can do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, he can. He is new so he can gather that population. It is true that he is not starting on anger. That's really the difference with what we have seen elsewhere. The parties as they are that doesn't work anymore. It's not able to represent what the reality of the country isn't?

BELL: You're talking about a democratic revolution, aren't you? Is that too strong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been doing revolutions by cutting heads, so far, or getting into wars. One once, we are somebody who is doing a revolution agreeing with other people and smiling. What's not to like? (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: A bit of analysis there.

We'll take a short break. But a day at the mall turned hazardous to shoppers in Hong Kong.

VANIER: We will look at the escalator accident that sent dozens of people in the wrong direction. Stay with us.




[02:52:45] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Two workers from an escalator company have been arrested after a terrifying incident at Hong Kong shopping mall.

VANIER: An upward-bound escalator suddenly went into reverse and increased speed on Saturday, sending many shoppers tumbling. At least 18 people were injured in the incident.

CHURCH: Going very fast there, isn't it?


CHURCH: A well-strengthened tropical cyclone is approaching the east coast of Australia.

VANIER: And Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest on the storm.

Pedram, what do we know?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We know the storm system is strengthening pretty quickly. This is something we think in the next 12 hours could get up to category 2 storm and measuring the storm system and cloud feel from the northern fringe to southern fringe. If you were to place this along Europe, it will stretch out towards Warsaw. The winds with this, will land to category one hurricane. Oftentimes people get obsessive thinking if it's weak, you can discount it. Certainly, not the case with this system, it's very significant. The storm surge associated with this very significant as well. The communities it will impact rather populated. From Townsville, hometown, from that city down towards Mackey (ph), population about quarter of a million people. Certainly, very populated and a lot of people stand to be impacted. We think landfall in the predawn hours of Tuesday, storm surge is what we're concerned about, work your way south of Townsville. See storm surge up to five meters and some of those favorable communities as you work your way towards hide away bay and Conway, some of the regions again, four, five meters of storm surge not out of the question. You take the high tide and with the storm surge, you're talking about the entire body of water rising to a new level. Which will be four to five meters above sea level. A lot of areas have been evacuated. About 3,500 people evacuated and additional 2000. You take 150 kilometers are possible with the storm at landfall. If that is the case that's going to cause a lot of disruption right there on the coastal community. Something to keep in mind, that about 80 percent of all cyclone fatalities are associated with a water element not the wind element. So keep that in mind here and really go to show that you don't discount a storm by wind speed alone and the water here, you show us, there it is right there, it's 500 plus millimeters of rain fall. So a half meter of water could fall from the skies in the next couple of days. That's about the third of annual rain fall coming down in a matter of two days. This is a big storm system for this region. I know about a hundred schools have been closed across the area. Folks are taking this serious.

[02:55:54] CHURCH: Pedram, for people in that part of Australia, they are no strangers to cyclones like this. They know the drill, but it doesn't make it easier, does it?

JAVAHERI: Very good point. Absolutely.

CHURCH: Absolutely right.

Thanks so much, Pedram. Appreciate.


CHURCH: And thank you, everyone for watching. I'm Rosemary Church.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier.

We'll be right back with more news after the break. Stay with us.


[02:30:07] VANIER: A full investigation is underway after air strikes allegedly killed scores of civilians in Mosul. And the U.S. may have triggered --