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North Korea Fires Most Powerful Missile; Pope Avoids Mentioning Rohingya In Speech; Libyan Media Cite Trump To Discredit CNN story; Volcanic Ash Keeps Bali's Airport Closed Wednesday; U.N.: Government Agrees To Cease Fire In Besieged Area; Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Wedding Details Revealed; Diverse Group Of Artists Nominated For Grammys. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 29, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, North Korea claims it has just fired its most powerful rocket yet, one the U.S. says the ability to strike anywhere in the world.

VAUSE: Pope Francis delivers a message of forgiveness and compassion during his visit to Myanmar, but says little publicly about the Rohingya minority who are at the center of a brutal military crackdown.

SESAY: And we're learning new details about the next royal wedding along with more on the American actress set to marry Prince Harry.

VAUSE: Can't get enough. Hello, everybody! Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A. Well, North Korea has issued perhaps its strongest threat yet. Test-firing one it claims as a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that can reach anywhere in the United States. It flew over 4,000 kilometers in the air -- higher than any missile the country has tested before.

VAUSE: On state-run television, the launch was described in North Korea as a great success, a priceless victory, which would mean the country would not be a victim of nuclear blackmail by the U.S. It has been 74 days since Pyongyang's last missile test. A lull which some saw as possibly opening for diplomacy, now that seems unlikely. And from the U.S. president, a muted response, no threats or name calling, instead of saying he'll handle it. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham who has spoken extensively to Donald Trump about the North Korean crisis explained what the president meant.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The president has said, we'll take care of it, not the United Nations, not China; we'll take care of it. And my hope is that North Korea will realize that he is serious about this. The president is not going to allow North Korea to have nuclear weapons in their hands that can hit America with an ICBM that can make it to the United States. And if we have to go to war to stop this, we will.


VAUSE: Well, for more now, Paula Newton standing by in Seoul, South Korea; Andrew Stevens in Beijing; also, Phillip Yun, Executive Director of the Ploughshares Funds which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Thank you, all, for being with us. Shortly after that missile test, the U.S. Defense secretary gave this assessment. Listen to this.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They went higher, frankly than any previous shot they've taken. It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world basically.


VAUSE: So, Paula to you, what else have officials learned in the past few hours?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the words of the North Koreans, this is a super heavy, large warhead. What does that mean? They call this a success, because as we were just saying it has gone further into the air and has been in the air far longer than their other rocket. This is called a Hwasong-15, has many more menacing capabilities than the 14.

You know, the key here for North Korea was the fact that they say now they can hit anywhere in the U.S. mainland, and clearly that was their focus. What this also means, though, is that the pace of their nuclear program here has really sped up to the point that no one could have predicted. And that by next year, John, this means -- the North Korea keeps touting this -- that they could've completed their nuclear program. What does that mean? That they could put a nuclear-tipped warhead on one of those missiles, and essentially strike anywhere in the world.

VAUSE: So, with that in that mind, Phillip Yun, the North Koreans have told CNN: the world should prepare for a seventh nuclear test, possibly a test of an above-ground hydrogen bomb. How likely is that, and what happens if that goes ahead?

PHILLIP YUN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PLOUGHSHARES FUNDS (via Skype): So, we need to take that very seriously. I think the North Koreans have basically telegraphed what they are going to do. I don't know if it's going to be an open-air test per se, but there -- I have no doubt at some point there will be the seventh test. It will be their decision. It's purely a political decision. I'm sure there are preparations that they can do it at some point. And it will be, for them, what is the most opportune time -- both from an internal perspective in terms of the relationships and pushing that they trying to do vis-a-vis China, the United States, and Japan, and South Korea and militarily. So, I have no doubt.

[01:05:27] Let me just also say, the thing about this particular missile test, we don't know what the payload size is. You know, they can claim it's the heaviest this have, but until we get more numbers here, it's not really clear that the payload capability of this missile was actually one that could support a nuclear warhead. And, in fact, some people are speculating that there was -- the warhead was -- what's on the payload was actually relatively small. So, I am not as alarmed at this point as people -- this could be operational by year's end or in one year.


YUN: But the basic fact is if we get -- if North Korea's given enough time, and we continue the policies that we have, there's no doubt that North Korea will have that capability at some point and soon.

VAUSE: We heard from a very muted Donald Trump in his response to this. There was no bluster, no insults. He also said there was no change in strategy. This is what he said. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing changed. Nothing changed. We have --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe --

TRUMP: -- a very serious approach and nothing changed. We take it very seriously.


VAUSE: So, Phillip, given that sanctions and name-calling, and threats of nuclear war have done nothing to slow North Korea down. Why would the U.S. continue down this road?

YUN: Well, that's something that we've been talking about -- you and I, John, for the last couple of years. Every single time there's a nuclear test or a missile test like this, we still have this conversation, the fact that sanctions, pressure, strategic patience hasn't worked. And if you look at the records historically, if we're trying to stop the provocative behavior, if you look at the 25-year history of negotiations between North Korea, the United States, South Korea, there's a tendency for a correlation.

It's not a causation but a correlation between if there are high-level negotiations that are going on between South Korea, North Korea, and the United States or among those pair, that the provocations stop. The provocations become less. And quite frankly, negotiations and conversations and engagement really haven't happened for a couple of years now. It's really the only path that we can go to try to prevent North Korea from actually getting this capability and hitting the United States with a long-range missile.

VAUSE: And part of the strategy from the Trump administration has been to try and push Beijing to do more on the diplomatic front. It seems many, especially in Washington, are losing faith in that approach. So, Andrew, to you in Beijing, what is the Communist government there doing? Has it done everything it can or just everything it's prepared to do?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, the word online is, John, that it hasn't done everything it could do. But this is Beijing's dilemma: Beijing does have economic leverage over North Korea in the fact that it supplies most of North Korea's million or so 800,000 tons of crude oil every year. But if it cut that supply off, it would destabilize North Korea to the point, most experts say, where you would have a chaos -- which is something a red line for China. So, they're not prepared to go down that path. Yes, they've got the power; no, they're not prepared to use it because it will lead to an unacceptable resolution.

What I thought was interesting about Lindsey Graham's line was also that the president of the United States has chosen or is choosing homeland security over regional conflict. And that, if there is a war, it's going to be in China's backyard. Now, how that resonates here in Beijing? We'll have to wait and see. But at this stage, John, we haven't heard from China. We'll hear from the ministry of foreign affairs, and they're more than likely to say exactly what they say all the time. (INAUDIBLE) denuclearized Korean Peninsula, stability on the Korean Peninsula, and are abiding by every single U.N. resolution.

VAUSE: You know, this missile is believed to have a range of about 13,000 kilometers. The distance from Pyongyang to Washington about 11,000 kilometers. So, with that, these calls for some kind of military action continue to grow louder. Paula, Seoul is less than 60 kilometers from the DMZ. So, what's the reaction there to this talk of military action?

NEWTON: Yes, it's such a stark point, isn't it? I mean, I have to say here among the, you know, South Koreans, there is a bit of resignation. They have heard this for some time. Of course, they're concerned but they understand; they have seen it coming, and North Korea has kind of telegraphed that they would have this kind of escalation in the program. What is different though, and to Phillip's earlier point is that, no, South Korean officials -- I'm speaking to them yesterday -- they have a very different posture now.

And we certainly noticed a little bit more alarm from them, from unification minister saying that they had expected that they would have the nuclear-tipped warhead in two or three years. Now, they're saying it's possible at the end of 2018. For that reason, while they say they remain committed and they continue to defend South Korea, you will see a much more urgent South Korea saying, we need to get to some kind of negotiation if we can.

[01:10:26] VAUSE: Phillip, you know, when it comes to military action, here's an opinion piece by Marc Thiessen, he's a Former Speechwriter for the Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during the George W. Bush Administration. He believes military action is the only option. He writes, "Trump should declare North Korea a ballistic missile no-fly zone, and a nuclear weapons no-test zone. He should warn the North Koreans that any further attempts to launch a ballistic missile will be met with the targeted military strike, either taking out the missile on the launchpad or blowing it up in the air using missile defense technology." You know, that sounds pretty good in theory, how would that actually work in practice?

YUN: So, let me just say, you know, the military use of force is not an option. I mean, just think about what would happen here. You know you can see, theoretically, you could do a surgical strike, but that is risks, serious risk of a catastrophic exchange between North Korea, and South Korea, and United States as their ally. I mean, we're talking about 14,000 artillery tubes, less than 50 miles away from the city of Seoul -- a metropolitan of 25 million.

On the conventional weapons alone, you're talking about 20, 30, 100,000 casualties. Then, you talk it about chemical and biological weapons, and the possibility of a nuclear exchange, quite frankly, because of miscalculation. And not only that it's not going to end, just think about North Korea has 25 or 30 nuclear weapons, and maybe in the next two or three years has 75 or 50, that material has to be secured. And for us to find that material, we're going to have to commit ground forces to North Korea to find that.

And so, for us to 100 percent find, something the size of a softball, 100 of those, scattered throughout North Korea is probably not a high probability. And the chances are, one of the things are going to get out of North Korea. And if that's the case, we will have a nuclear explosion someplace in the United States, in Western Europe, or somewhere in the Middle East. This is what the ramifications are, and that's why military -- the use of force is not an option. And this is part of the issue here that, you know, we have to very much push against that this is something that is viable -- a viable option, it's not.

VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. Phillip, as always, thank you so much. Also, Paula Newton there in Seoul, Andrew Stevens also in Beijing, thanks to you all. We appreciate it.

SESAY: Well, Pope Francis is calling for compassion and forgiveness in Myanmar it was part of his message to about 150,000 worshippers who joined him from mass a few hours ago. The pope made a general reference to violence in the country but did not mention the Rohingya crisis. The tone of his homily was similar to the speech he gave Tuesday in front of the nation's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He never mentioned the Muslim minority but urged leaders to respect each ethnic group and its identity. Let's bring in CNN Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher, she's traveling with the pope in Myanmar and joins us now on the phone. Delia, the pope will shortly meet with Buddhist leaders, what are the expectations for that meeting?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (through telephone): Well, Isha, this is going to be one of the key meetings for the pope, because, of course, this is a predominantly Buddhist country. There is some 500,000 Buddhist monk, and the pope is meeting today with the supreme council of that monk -- a very influential group of monks here. And the idea is that the pope is meeting with these monks, in meeting yesterday with religious leaders, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhist, Christian, and even Jewish, he's trying to get religious leaders on border in a plea for tolerance, a plea for understanding and unity is what he's saying to the religious leaders.

Because the pope knows that even if there is a political solution for human rights, for ethnic minorities, it will also require a social solution and a change in mentality. There's a rising Islamophobia here. So, his message to the religious leaders is to be the example of tolerance, in their speech and in their interactions with one another. He said yesterday morning to the group of religious leaders that they need to work together in order to be the example to their communities. Isha.

SESAY: Delia, the pope as we have said repeatedly did not directly refer to the Rohingya, did not use the word Rohingya. I'm wondering as you speak to Vatican officials whether there's any concern there in terms of long-term, he may have done damage to his moral authority, moral standing, what are they saying?

[01:15:06] GALLAGHER: Well, on the part of the Vatican, for them the calculus was that the pope had already spoken about the Rohingya crisis from the Vatican that the Myanmar government was well aware of his stance on it, and clear that he wants to see a solution to that crisis. But at the same time, they are aiming for a long-term solution for all ethnic minorities in this country. And in order to achieve that, he felt that it was best not to use the Rohingya, which might embarrass or upset Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders, and shut down the dialogue with the very people they think can help achieve that long-term peace and stability.

So, that was the calculus made for the pope, probably not to speak on the Rohingya in that context. He may have done it privately, of course, and as I say, the with the understanding of the Vatican was that his position on Rohingya refugee crisis is clear. Of course, he'll be meeting with a group of them in Bangladesh on Friday as well. Isha.

SESAY: Delia Gallagher traveling with the pope, speaking to us there from Myanmar. Very much appreciated Delia, thank you.

Well, Tun Khin joins us now from Paris, he's a Human Rights Activist and the President of the Burmese Rohingya Organization U.K. Thank you so much for being with us. How disappointed are you that the pope did not use the word Rohingya or directly address the plight of your community in those public remarks on Tuesday?

TUN KHIN, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE BURMESE ROHINGYA ORGANIZATION U.K.: Well, it is very disappointing, you know. Someone who is not using our name. How can he defend the rights of our people? This is the very important thing we have to look at, you know. It's -- you know, we are witnessing the most horrific situation in our history, 25 centuries, you know, where Rohingyas are facing genocides in our (INAUDIBLE) -- western part of (INAUDIBLE) -- by the Burmese military, you know. So, this kind of situation where we are facing, and he's there, I had high expectation, I hope he would choose that. I can't believe it, he didn't use the word Rohingya.

SESAY: What do you say to those people who make the argument that if the pope had used the word Rohingya that would have set off a backlash against Catholics there in the country, and would've exacerbated the persecution of your community? What do you say in response to that that the pope made a calculated decision and took that stand instead not to directly use the word?

KHIN: For me, what I looked at is, you know -- what I look at is the situation, what we are facing, is not about current situation given kind of whether he uses or not. That is -- that is important, but the thing is Burmese military and government, they listen to -- they never listen to anyone. The thing is we are focusing here what international community can help to raise the issue and to solve the issue, that is what we have to look at.

And the thing is we need to call, currently, from the international level, like the U.N. Security Council or something, please do -- you know, U.N. Security Council to get a stronger resolution to one Burmese military and government, you know. To get a stronger resolution, to bring them ICC and to stop this genocide, you want to -- protection from U.N. peacekeeping forces and other. That is what we have to talk, and we have to stop -- we need to call a stronger action to stop these genocides.

This is not -- I mean, of course, this is important, but no matter what, the Burmese military and government they never listen to anyone. We have seen U.N. Security Council, presidential state, they ignore it -- anything. They're ignoring everything. So, that is what we have look at.

SESAY: So, let me ask you this question. Let me ask you this: why do you think until now there has not been a stronger international response to what has been called the ethnic cleansing of your community in Northern Rakhine State.

KHIN: Yes. This is -- we have seen international media covering the issue, but we have not seen much stronger action from international level. Where genocide (INAUDIBLE) this is ethnic cleansing, but there is no obligation on ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, it's kind of dual politics involved on our issues. And the thing is, there is not so far, a stronger willingness.

So, the thing, what we have to look at, the U.N. Security Council has a stronger resolution to bring them -- Burmese Military Chief Commander, Min Aung Lhaing, to international criminal court, and tag ascensions and U.N. mandated global arms embargo. And U.N. Peace Keeping Forces is needed to protect the life of the Rohingya in our kind of state. We need international intervention immediately.

[01:20:35] SESAY: Absolutely.

KHIN: That's what I can say.

SESAY: There's no doubt about that. With more than 600,000 people have crossed to Bangladesh, that is necessary. Tun Khin, we appreciate it. We're going to keep the conversation going with you. Thank you for joining us this evening to tell us about your perspective on the pope's visit and what need to happen next. Thank you.

VAUSE: When we come back, words have consequences, especially when those words come from the president of the United States. The real- world impact on the plight of human slaves in Libya after one of Donald Trump's tweets.

SESAY: And later this hour, what's planned for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding? We are getting some details, we're going to share them with you, stay with us.


SESAY: Hello, everyone. We have new evidence that President Trump's tweet can have real-world consequences. Over the weekend, you remember he tweeted: "CNN International is still a major source of fake news, and they represent our nation to the world very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them."

VAUSE: Well a tweet is now impacting human lives. Last week, CNN's Nima Elbagir filed a powerful report on human slave auctions in Libya. It sparked outrage around the world.


NEMA ELBAGER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One by one man are brought out as the bidding begins. 400. 500. 550. 600.

They admitted to us that there were 12 Nigerians that was sold in front of us. And I honestly don't know what to say. That was probably one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen.


SESAY: Now a Libyan media outlet is questioning the validity of that report with an article title: Trump says CNN lies, what about the slavery report from Libya?

VAUSE: OK. Let's bring in Democrat Strategist Caroline Heldman and Conservative Commentator Joe Messina with more on this. OK. So, Caroline other news organizations in Libya are picking up on Donald Trump's tweet, questioning that that report about the slave trade in their country. This could ultimately undermine an investigation into human rights violations. Do you think that's what the president had intended when he sent that tweet out, you know, on Saturday?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, I don't think that his intention, but it's an intended consequence. I think his intention is to discredit news organizations that are not essentially going along with his agenda. So, he's confirmed, right, that Fox News is essentially going along with his agenda, so endorses them. But anyone else who's critical of him, the free press, he's trying to silence.

And unfortunately, it's putting reporters at risk, it's putting stories at risk both abroad and in the United States. We have reports of reporters saying that they've been detained and that his rhetoric has emboldened actions against especially on warzones. So, it's not just the quashing of stories or the questioning of stories now in political ways. He's literally putting American citizen at risk in order to silence the free press.

[01:25:41] VAUSE: Does this get back to a bigger issue that, you know, sometimes it seems the president doesn't understand the weight that his word can carry, not just here in the United States but around the world.

JOE MESSINA, POLITICAL RADIO HOST: No, I think he fully understands the weight that his word carries. I think Twitter is a way for him right wrong or indifferent, and you think about something that another president in history has had the ability to reach out to over 100 million people without the news. You know, they usually have to play defense, they've never been able to be on the offense.

You know, I agree, and I said this a million times myself on my show that sometimes I wish he wouldn't tweet, sometimes I wish he wouldn't say something the way he does. But I also believe that getting out front of it helps. This was not one he should've got out in front of him. And maybe he did let his feelings get in the way of what's going on. But let's be honest about it too, there've been many major news sources that have been caught in lies or caught tweaking or twisting around the truth.

VAUSE: Look, I think there's a debate for other time, because, you know --

MESSINA: No, no --

VAUSE: mistakes are made --

MESSINA: It has been done.

VAUSE: I'm pretty confident at this network's credibility right now.


VAUSE: OK. Do you remember there was this one key moment last year during the campaign?


TRUMP: Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now, they all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you.



VAUSE: Not so fast, New York Times is reporting that recently Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity of Barack Obama's birth certificate. One senator who listened as the president revived his doubts about Mr. Obama's birth certificate chuckled on Tuesday as he recalled the conversation. The president, he said has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. Carolyn, it's not just the birth certificate, it's also the Access Hollywood tape, maybe it was fake that does seem to be a trend here with Mr. Trump.

HELDMAN: Indeed. And you know, he's almost a savant in terms of getting his followers too -- triggering their racial resentment. He was the head of the birther movement. We elected him after eight years of a Black president. I don't think that's random. He knows the power of this rhetoric. And so, I'm surprised that he's delving back into it because if you look at what he's been doing with football and the kneeling, a lot of issues that have come up. He's essentially throwing red meat at his supporters. The percentage of his supporters who have higher racial resentment. So, it's a real shame that we're now back to birtherism, which by the time of the election, about a quarter of Republicans actually believed.

VAUSE: Joe, your reply?

MESSINA: First of all, let's say that it was it, do we know?

VAUSE: We don't know.

MESSIA: That's OK. It's good to take that to the bank. But all right, so we've got an anonymous senator and this is what he said, we knew what we were getting into when we elected this man, right? But as far as, why does it always come back to racism? I didn't like Barack Obama, it had nothing to do with his color. It hadn't been to it; I didn't like his policy.

HELDMAN: But we're talking about birtherism here.

MESSINA: No, no, but you said after eight years of Barack Obama, Mr. President Trump came in. Obviously, it had to do with racism.

HELDMAN: Birtherism is racist. Birtherism is the --

MESSINA: Why is birtherism --

HELDMAN: -- because it's a form --

MESSINA: If I question whether where somebody is born that's racist?

HELDMAN: Well, because John McCain was actually born in another country.

MESSINA: You know?

HELDMAN: But Barack Obama wasn't. And so, it was a way of othering him because he was the first Black president. It doesn't -- you don't have to dig very deeply.

MESSINA: It had nothing to do with him being --

HELDMAN: Oh... MESSINA: Why did take -- and I don't want to beat this up again. Here the reality, ask me for the birth certificate, I'll have it all to you tomorrow. Do you want it? Give me your e-mail address, I'll have it you within 24 hours. Why did it take so long? We screamed about --

HELDMAN: How are we still questioning that? Why, why --


HELDMAN: Why are we even questioning where he was born? That's the --

MESSINA: We could argue this all day all long. And look what the news source is -- again, I'll go back to, we have a guy in North Korea that's playing with two I.Q.

HELDMAN: That doesn't mean that racism isn't important, and it's not important to call it out.

MESSINA: I don't believe racist at all. If he was any more racist than --

HELDMAN: You don't think saying that a black president was born in another country is a way of othering him.

MESSINA: I don't think saying -- I don't think saying that you believe a president wasn't born in this country is racist. We keep bringing --

VAUSE: Why was Barack Obama was questioned about his birth certificate, but John McCain never was?

MESSINA: I can't tell you that.

HELDMAN: And John McCain was born in the Panama Canal.

MESSINA: And maybe because -- where was he born?

HELDMAN: Panama Canal. He was actually born outside the United States.


VAUSE: He was born on a military base.

MESSINA: OK. He was born -- oh, there is what I was looking for. He's born on a military base, an American military base, right?

VAUSE: Yes, but it was still --

MESSINA: OK. But the law is really -- it's pretty simple there. But again, if you ask him for his birth certificate, if you ask him to prove where he was born and how he was born --

(CROSSTALK) HELDMAN: We never should have asked Barack Obama. That's insulting, it's racist. And the fact is he provided both the short and --

MESSINA: But -- insulting, yes. Racist, no.

HELDMAN: He provided both the short and long form and it still didn't change attitudes.

MESSINA: This is why I believe that the word racist has become -- it's a non-issue anymore.

HELDMAN: We can use (INAUDIBLE) we can use racial bias, we can use racial resentment.

MESSINA: Because you -- we throw it around --

VAUSE: I mean, I guess, the argument has been made, Joe, that that -- the birth certificate controversy was like stopping an African- American in a white neighborhood and asking for their driver's license even though they'd done nothing wrong. And that's why it was seen as being racist.

MESSINA: I don't see it that way.



VAUSE: OK. We're out of time. We're going to get to a few other things but I'm glad we got that. See, it's like the year 2008 or 20 -- all over again. OK. Guys, thank you for coming in, I appreciate it.

SESAY: Let's take a quick break, shall we? Thousands of people are on the move in Bali as the volcano keeps pumping out ash. The urgent warning straight-ahead.


SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And well, thank you for staying with us, everybody. I can't talk. I'm John Vause. We'll take the headlines this hour.

North Korea has launched what's believed to be a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile. Appears to have flown higher than the previous test. Experts believe it could reach almost anywhere in the world and that includes the east coast of the United States.

SESAY: Pope Francis celebrated mass in Myanmar with a call for forgiveness and compassion. Many hope he would mention the Rohingya crisis when he and Aung San Suu Kyi gave speeches on Tuesday, but he did not mention. The pope will meet with some of the Muslim refugees who had fled the country when he travels to neighboring Bangladesh later this week. VAUSE: Officials in Bali, Indonesia say more than 38,000 people have been evacuated from the exclusion zone around Mount Agung. The volcano is still spewing ash forcing the main airport to remain closed on Wednesday. Around 50,000 travelers are stranded on the resort island. Authorities say a larger eruption could be imminent.

SESAY: Well, Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is with us with more. Pedram, what's the situation looking like now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: OK. You know, guys, we're getting one element of good news coming in in the last couple of hours. Our NASA satellite's detecting a thermal anomaly right at the top across the crater region.

Essentially what that is telling us here is that the magma within this volcano is finding a chamber of path here of lease resistance to begin ejecting a lot of that energy. And that's good news as far as potentially seeing this being a nondestructive event if it plays out like that. Now, officials are being very clear about the significance of this and saying certainly could see the level of activity that we're seeing right now, continue for weeks, if not, months before anything dramatically improves.

[01:35:05] But at this point we're seeing at least potentially some energy being dispersed at a nonviolent, sort of, fashion. But here's what's going on as far as flight radar depicted right now. Look at the isolated pockets of aircraft scattered about this region.

There is Agung right there. And of course, very limited flights taking place at this hour. We take a look, canceled flights from Singapore out toward (INAUDIBLE) Perth, work your way towards Brisbane. Very little flights making their way across this region.

On the order, a thousands have been canceled. And, of course, 736 just out of Bali's international airport since Sunday. Report of 3,000 have been disrupted across this region as well. Here's the area of concern right now.

The concern with this is there is a tropical system to the south. In fact, there is multiple for multiple tropical systems just to the south that'll shift all that smoke a little farther towards the east. So Lombok, the airport there where a lot of folks have been taking the boats out of Bali onto the neighboring island there not going to be a good case over the next 24 hours. This has been -- comes short here and moves across this region because a lot of that ash now moves farther towards the east.

And this is the heart of the wet season beginning to take shape across this region of Denpasar. Notice this from December off towards January, February, and March, the wettest time of the year as well. So really a lot of elements against them right now. But again, one piece of good news, the volcanic act -- activity potentially easing a little bit across that region. Guys?

VAUSE: Thanks, Pedram.

SESAY: Thank you, Pedram.

VAUSE: OK. Syrian peace talks resume in the coming day in Geneva. The U.N. on voice says Damascus has agreed to a ceasefire in one of the last rebels' stronghold.

SESAY: Hundreds of thousands of Syrian still face daily bombings and crippling food shortage. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You may have thought this was over. But it is not. You may have heard Russia, Iran, and Turkey talking about their peace plans. Besieged eastern Ghouta near the capital.

Where hunger is so profound it's reportedly led to suicide, meals of trash. A ceasefire elsewhere means bombs here. Relentless over 10 days reported 100 dead. The mortars continuing Friday.

Even the headlong dash to the rescue is deadly itself. You may have heard of starve surrender. A favorite regime tactic, deprive their opponents of the strength to fight on. The bombs that came with it took the lives of their children here.

ISIS may be done, but the savagery is not, neither is the hatred or the need for vengeance. Nearly 200,000 are besieged here. So short of food, a single lemon has its price written on it. Imagine dealing with nightmares when awake but also with insane hunger.

Here sugar is $40 a kilo and a single egg $1.20. This week Russia, Iran, and Turkey declared a conference to settle the post-ISIS peace in Syria. And the day before Assad let the world know how grateful to Moscow he is. Perhaps unwittingly with this hug.

Due to the torture went unseen there, but its pain may mute the victory cries you hear in Moscow from Damascus. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.



SESAY: Well, engagement announcement has been made and now wedding details are emerging for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Max Foster has all the breathless and exciting details for the planned spring ceremony.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now that the royal engagement is public, it's down to the business of planning the wedding. It'll take place in May next year, though, no specific date has been announced yet. That'll be just after the birth of the Duke and Duchess Cambridge's third child expected in April.

CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: William and I are absolutely thrilled at such exciting news. And it's really happy time for any couple. And we wish them all the best and enjoyment this happy moment.

FOSTER: The venue is to be one of the Queen's favorite homes, centuries' old Windsor castle. The couple chose it they say because Windsor has become a special place for the two of them. Keeping with custom the royal family will pay the most of the wedding.

The chapel, St. George's, is where Prince Harry was baptized and it's hosted many royal marriages especially second ones. Harry's father, the Prince of Wales and stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall had their religious blessing there in 2005.

ROBERT JOBSON, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I think THE Windsor gives more control in terms of the fact that they can have who they want behind the walls of Windsor Castle. So George's Chapel is a magnificent chapel with so many kings and queens buried there and have tombs there. I think actually you'll find a big -- an incredible occasion.

FOSTER: The chapel holds around 800 guests. So it'll be more low-key compared with the 2000 capacity Westminster Abbey where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed in 2011. Charles and Diana were married at the equally ground St. Paul's Cathedral.

Meghan Markle will be the first American to marry into the royal family since Wallis Simpson famously wed King Edward VIII forcing his abdication from the throne. Like Simpson Markle is divorced. But 81 years later it's not an issue.

As the religion, though, she attended a Catholic high school in Los Angeles Markle is Protestants and plans to be baptized and confirmed into the church of England. The guest list promises to be high profile. Markle counts Serena Williams amongst their friends. The Obamas and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also likely to attend.

It's unclear whether U.S. President Donald Trump, though, will even be invited. Unsurprisingly, Markle will become a British citizen but plans to keep her American passport for now. A glimpse then into how this couple planned to be married and they say they're going to be across every detail. They also want the public involved and are working out how to do that. Max Foster, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Joining us now for more of it in Los Angeles journalist Josh Boswell. Josh, thank you for coming in. OK. You know, you -- when you think about the last, what, year and a half, you know, the paparazzi, to me, that type of (INAUDIBLE) sort of, freed Harry and Meghan with (INAUDIBLE) distance have been quite respectful. Now that it's official, now that it's out there, are all bets off, you know, will it be a frenzy following this couple around?

JOSH BOSWELL, JOURNALIST: I don't think there will be a frenzy now. I think, you know, there are quite strong privacy laws in the U.K. and the royal family and other celebrities have been making use of those laws to, kind of, keep the paparazzi at bay, I think. Also, there is a respect, you ow, the -- a certain amount of respect.

And that, you know, they are royal couple that, you know, the nation's favorite, I think at the moment, certainly at the moment. And so, you know, people don't want to see them dragged into the dirt yet.

VAUSE: Yes. They'd give them time. Because, you know, they did have a brush with the "Daily Mail" last year. Here was the story. Harry's girl is [almost] straight out of Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed. So, will he be dropping in for it -- to be?

[01:45:00] You know, the irony is that the neighborhood where Markle grew up it's nothing like that, I mean, the house price is listed like $800,000, you know, I mean, the home's actually heritage listed. So, was there a lesson learned from that story for the media?

BOSWELL: I think the point was that actually, Meghan grew up in quite an impoverished area. And so there was some justification for that kind of story. Obviously, it was spun and it was exaggerated for, you know, for a good headline. But Crenshaw which is, you know, the area that is a poor area. It's got a high crime rate. However, it's right in saying that Meghan's mother is actually on the edge of that and, you know --

VAUSE: Yes, Baldwin Hills more, yes.

BOSWELL: It's -- yes. I mean, well, it's Windsor Hills which is interesting --


VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) one Windsor to the other.


VAUSE: OK. What's been the reaction, though, here in Los Angeles to those who know Meghan Markle?

BOSWELL: Well, I think the reaction has been just overwhelming, kind of, joy and admiration for her being able to, you know, snag Prince Harry, I think. You know, but like we're saying about the tabloid journalists, you know, trying to dig up dirt, that kind of thing, it's amazing that actually nobody has said anything negative, almost nobody.

VAUSE: Yes. That -- Which is amazing because she's been in the public eye for so long. She's been an actress as well.

BOSWELL: Exactly.

VAUSE: OK. So, how will the older relatives -- clearly they -- it seems that they've embraced her. How will the Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, how will they embrace this lot of in-laws? Her dad is one cinematographer from T.V. shows like Married With Children. Her mother is a social worker turned yoga instructor. So, how will they be treated, you know, when they meet the royal family? BOSWELL: Well, I think the royal family probably more than anybody else in the world have schooled in politeness and, you know, how to be perfectly well behaved with anybody. So I think they will be very polite. It'd be interesting to see what happens because I, you know, my impulse meeting, you know, grandmother-in-law will be to give her a hug. Of course, you can't touch the Queen.

VAUSE: The Middletons have learned all about that, didn't they? When they - when Kate married William.

BOSWELL: Yes, exactly. So I think it'll be a bit of a culture shock there but I think also they will get on very well.

VAUSE: OK. There is also this, kind of, really bizarre coincidence that Meghan's ex-husband has this incredibly coincidental television show about to hit Fox.

BOSWELL: That's correct, yes.


BOSWELL: Trevor Engelson is her ex-husband and he's just sold a show to Fox and I Believe he sold it to them where it's about a man who is divorced from his wife. His wife -- ex-wife then goes and marry the prince but they've got kids, so the custody split between the royal family and this ex-husband.

VAUSE: He really came up with that before any of this happened?


BOSWELL: He says -- he says that it's complete fiction but of course, we'll be watching it to see for the similarities. I think I'll be hilarious.


BOSWELL: It may be in -- a little poor taste.

VAUSE: Yes. I guess we'll see how it's done. Josh, thanks. Appreciate it, thank you.

BOSWELL: Thanks.

SESAY: Coincidence?

VAUSE: I think not.

SESAY: I think not.

VAUSE: I smell a rat.

SESAY: Indeed a royal rat.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) Fox. SESAY: We're going to take a quick break. The Grammy nominations are in. Who made the cut this year? And why does the nominees look very different from the years passed? Stay with us.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. The stage is set for music's biggest night after the Grammy nominations were announced on Tuesday. And this time around it would be hard to complain about a lack of diversity.

SESAY: Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Bruno Mars lead the way with the most nominations. And this year's runaway hit Despacito is up for song of the year. If it wins it would be the first Spanish language song to do so.

Well, now that we have planted that song in your head for the next three weeks, joining me is entertainment journalist Segun Oduolowu and music writer --

VAUSE: Despacito.

SESAY: -- Bob Lefsetz.

VAUSE: Despacito.

SESAY: And that is John trying to drive us all out of the studio.



VAUSE: I'm not part of this conversation --


SESAY: And Segun and Bob -- and be quiet.


SESAY: Bob, Segun, welcome. So, Segun, as you well know in the years gone by the Grammys come in for huge amounts of criticism for its failure to recognize black artists and really diverse artist in general back in 2017, I should say back before 2017 Grammys, Frank Ocean sat out the Grammys and he said this in protest to "The New York Times" he basically said that he was going to use this as his Colin Kaepernick moment, "I'd rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience." Now, we're talking about nominations for 2018 and when you look at them they look completely different from years gone by. Is this a case of course correction?

ODUOLOWU: This is absolutely, Isha, a case of course correction and it's why a lot of singer-songwriters, and artists find the Grammys to use a Jay-Z term and Donnie Brasco term, Fugazi. Because when you had Macklemore win hip-hop over Kendrick Lamar, OK, that's Fugazi. When you have Adele beating up Beyonce that year and having Adele go on there and say, "I shouldn't have won."

SESAY: Apologizing for winning --

ODUOLOWU: Apologizing.

SESAY: -- album of the year.

ODUOLOWU: We don't know how the voting goes. We don't really know who's voting. I'm not trying to be ages, but you don't know the age gap of who's voting, how they vote. There's a lot of horse trading.

I was talking to a platinum-selling singer-songwriter name Travis Howard who worked with country music. And he says the Grammys have become basically just a -- you scratch my back, vote for me. I'll scratch your back, vote for you. And you have no idea how -- what the criteria is.

So yes, am I happy to see a lot of hip-hop artists and brown faces and that Despacito video should just win just because of the video? I'm happy for it, but I don't know what the criteria is.

SESAY: Bob, of the Grammy (INAUDIBLE)

BOB LEFSETZ, SONGWRITER: I agree with everything he says.

ODUOLOWU: God bless you, Bob. We're here, Bob.

LEFSETZ: The only -- the only thing I can expand is this is -- this is a demarcation a line in the sand in terms of baby boomers of the younger generation. So it's -- there's no transparency. We don't know who is voting. We certainly don't know the committees that have adjusted the nominations subsequent to the voting. But we can say this is a representation of what people are really listening to --


SESAY: So, they're find it relevant again?

LEFSETZ: They were no -- never relevant.

SESAY: But this year --

LEFSETZ: People were complaining -- so now everybody complained for 40 years, 60 years, 60 years of Grammys is now shocked. Because we've complained forever they're out of touch, they're not current. Let me ask you, OK? Does Jay-Z win because he is now the legacy artist? Because many would say he didn't have the best record --

SESAY: OK. Before you -- hey, before you answer that question and it's a very valid one, I want to just flash up for our viewers or at least remind them that Jay-Z is leading the pack with eight nominations for this year's Grammy. He's up for song of the year, record of the year, album of the year.

You heard Bob getting at is this -- does he really deserve the accolades for this album in particular for four -- for 44? What do you say? Is this a make good?

ODUOLOWU: Yes, well, it's -- I don't know if it's a make good or is it -- it's finally as we've been saying course correction. You have Jay-Z giving a -- an album that is deeply personal, it's basically his answer to Beyonce's Lemonade. If the Grammys are supposed to award artists for their artistry, then a lot of these people should have been nominated a long time ago. Kendrick Lamar --


ODUOLOWU: -- this is criminal, Childish Gambino. We're talking about a singer, songwriter, script actor --

SESAY: Actor, producer.

SESAY: -- producer, like, they're supposed to award artists then it -- high time it does that and this is what it looks like.

[01:55:01] LEFSETZ: Yes, but does Kendrick win or does Jaz-Z win?

ODUOLOWU: I'm rooting for Jay-Z because I'm a Jay-Z guy.


LEFSETZ: But isn't it supposed to honor the best music of the year?

ODUOLOWU: I think Jay-Z's music was the best music of the year.

SESAY: Do you think Jay-Z's album was better than them, Kendrick Lamar's album?



ODUOLOWU: Yes, yes, I do. I'm --


SESAY: I'm on the sense with that.


LEFSETZ: I believe many people would disagree with you but it's a matter of opinion.

SESAY: It's a matter of opinion. Bob --

LEFSETZ: But let's say, is Despacito the best track in that category?

ODUOLOWU: It's an earworm, like you can't get it out -- and you can't get it out of your ear.

SESAY: OK. And then can I -- let me work through --

LEFSETZ: We're taking it over. Don't -- SESAY: Let -- no, no, no, no.


SESAY: I hate to tell you, you're not. Album of the year, let's put that up and take a look at this. So it's been over a decade since a nonwhite artist picked up album of the year. And again, as we put that list up --

ODUOLOWU: A decade.

SESAY: Over a decade.

ODUOLOWU: A decade.

SESAY: Since a nonwhite artist picked up. Again, the question is, Segun, you can nominate them, but who wins? And there's all of this -- that drama across the big categories.

ODUOLOWU: Well, honestly, for me, like I said, I'm a diehard Jay-Z, I --


ODUOLOWU: -- but I would bet you that it's going to be Bruno Mars.

SESAY: But -- wow.

ODUOLOWU: Because Bruno mars is --


LEFSETZ: If I would second guess, it's prior to this year, if I didn't see the nominations I would definitely say, Bruno Mars, because he appeals to a wider spectrum of Grammy voters.

ODUOLOWU: Did you say whiter?

LEFSETZ: That's just -- that's not --


ODUOLOW: Wider or white.

LEFSETZ: Little pun there. But we're up in the air. Segun said earlier, we don't know who's really voting. We don't know whether committees adjusted this. So you would say Bruno Mars because of name recognition and appealing to wide people. But yes, if I had to bet my last dollar I would say Bruno Mars but I'm unsure.

SESAY: OK. Let me put up for record of the year. Let's take a look at this as well and see who's up in that category. Segun, when you look at this, again, it speaks to the fact that R&B and hip-hop rule.

ODUOLOWU: It -- well, it does rule. You know, you've got R&B artists, country artists, you've got everyone in popular music wanted to work with hip-hop stars. When you've got Taylor Swift doing songs with rappers it doesn't get any -- hip-hop is as huge as it's probably ever been. Now, the thing about the Jay-Z song, the story of O.J., the language in that might be what keeps him off that podium at the Grammys.

SESAY: Yes, it -- yes. Yes.

ODUOLOWU: Again, there's threatening, there's art, and then there's maybe too much in your face.

LEFSETZ: That is certainly why everybody else listen to that. Why would you think the vast majority Grammy voters are purely voting on name recognition?


ODUOLOWU: Well, if that's the case then it's between Bruno Mars and Jay-Z. They got the biggest names.

LEFSETZ: I totally agree.

SESAY: I'm going to wrap it here. It has been a fascinating conversation. You, guys, can keep going --


ODUOLOWU: Well, John, did you -- did you -- did you have anything to say, John? Was there an Australian artist that you like?

VAUSE: In Grammys, right? Is that -- is that music?

ODUOLOWU: Oh, go -- OK.

SESAY: Have you listened to the Jay-Z album or the Kendrick Lamar album?

ODUOLOWU: I know there are no didgeridoos on the --

SESAY: Yes, OK. Let's say that.

LEFSETZ: No, but the point -- the point is --


VAUSE: No kidding.

LEFSETZ: The public is shocked because they thought they know what's going on. This proves that 50 percent of America is clueless.

SESAY: Well, that's it. Segun Oduolowu --


VAUSE: OK. Well --

SESAY: Bob, Segun, thank you. I'm going to get your playlist, you have to listen to that.

ODUOLOWU: Oh, it's great to see you, Bob. Always a pleasure.

SESAY: Thank you for the wonderful --

VAUSE: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: This really is CNN. I'm Isha Sesay.


SESAY: Be sure to join us on Twitter @CNNNewsroomLA for highlights and clips from our show. We'll be back with more news right after this.

VAUSE: And more Segun (INAUDIBLE).