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Lawmakers Questions Trump's Fitness; North Korea Launch Hwasong 15 Missile; NBC Ousted Matt Lauer for Sexual Misconduct; North Korea Bringing World Closer To War; More Women Accuses Lauer Of Sexual Misconduct; British PM's Condemns Trump Retweets; CNN Reports On Slavery Prompt Actions; Croatian Prime Minister Slammed Court For Convicting Praljak; High-Flying Hazardous and Spectacular. Aired 3-4 ET

Aired November 30, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Donald Trump takes a swipe at Theresa May. The president's erratic tweeting is testing America's special relationship with the United Kingdom.

We'll also look at the far right Islamophobic group that's now gained a new platform because of Trump's tweets.

Plus, a warning on the world stage. Tough talks against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council after its provocation.

And then later, how scientists are using fertility treatments to help save the Great Barrier Reef.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Donald Trump holds arguably the most powerful job in the world. And what he did Wednesday morning is not only sparking global outrage it is prompting more questions about his fitness for the office he holds. The U.S. president re-tweeted not one, not two, but three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos posted by a far right British group.

The condemnation was strong and swift. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May says "Mr. Trump was wrong to share the videos." But the president wasn't done. Late Wednesday he was on Twitter again with a message directly for the prime minister.

He tweeted, "at the wrong Theresa May" at first, but his message was loud and clear. Quote, "Don't focus on me. Focus on the destructive radical Islamic terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine."

Well, now the White House finds itself in a familiar spot trying to defend the president's actions.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think his goal is to promote strong borders and strong national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But isn't it important to verify the video before he tweets them?

SANDERS: Look, I think it's important national security and national security threat. Whether it's a real video, the threat is real. And that is what the president is talking about. That's what the president is focused on, is dealing with those real threats. And those are real no matter how you look at it.


CHURCH: All right. Well, Scott Lucas is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham. And he joins us now from Birmingham in England. Thank you so much for being with us.

So, let's start with President Trump re-tweeting of those three anti- Muslim videos. He was slammed by the British prime minister, as well as the opposition leader and others.

But Mr. Trump fired back, and White House press secretary we just heard there, Sarah Sanders defended his actions saying it didn't matter that the videos were not verified, the point was that the threat was real. How viable is a defense like that coming from the White House and how long can this type of defense be sustained?

SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Let me be precise by re-tweeting those videos which come from an Islamophobic group trying to spread and hatred in the U.K. Donald Trump became an accomplice for that racism, how that hatred how that attempt to stir up violence.

Now the videos are fake. But it doesn't matter in the sense if they were real or fake and this is what we should be talking about dialogue and talking about cooperation and talking about respect for each other. The manners of the president United States is actually acting against all of those things.

I would not accept this type of Twitter behavior from someone I worked within my university. He or she would be fired. Anyone who did that at a school where my kids attend alongside Muslims who did this, would be fired.

We can't remove Donald Trump but the message should be symbolically. You're fired when you carry out this type of behavior.

CHURCH: The other part of this, of course, is that it gives these far-right groups a platform. They're thrilled with the fact that President Trump re-tweeted these videos. So what do we do with that problem that the leader of the free world has exposed indeed people across the globe to?

LUCAS: Well, I mean, of course, optimally Donald Trump should be prevented from doing this, but that's not going to happen. Let's be clear. Britain first is a group that it only has a few dozen people that attends its rallies or its invasion at mosques or its attempts to intimidate people. Its leader only got 56 votes in an election a couple of years ago.

But when Donald Trump basically gives them a platform on the internet it feeds their potential across social media. What should we do in response? What you and I are doing right now to discuss this, to talk about the fact that Britain is not being swamp by radicalism and terrorism.

[03:05:07] That Christian, Muslims, and Jews are working together here on important economic political issues. And the American-Muslims are working with their neighbors on those issues as well and should not be intimidated by the man who is in the White House.

CHURCH: And Scott, I do want to tackle the issue of President Trump's fitness for office. There have been whispers on hot mic by some republican senators calling Mr. Trump crazy. His stability was questioned publicly by Senator Bob Corker and others.

Now more concerns are being raised about his stability in the wake of this and many other actions by the president with many asking if he is losing his grip. What is your assessment given what we know so far?

LUCAS: Let me, let others judge whether he is fit to hold office. This is a man who does not really process information very effectively and is quite keen on spreading fake information. This is a man whose first and foremost priority is his own ego attention to himself.

This is a man who will not listen to criticism or even dialogue. This is an man who has endangered American foreign policy simply with 140 characters on Twitter. This is man who has endangering relations with America's allies by lashing out on them. This is man who has basically calling on America's fight on each other, whether it's issues over people of color, issues over religion, issues over the economy and healthcare.

This is a man who is tearing down American values and trying to tear down the American system. I'll leave it for others to decide whether he should be allowed to stay in office.

CHURCH: Scott Lucas, thank you for sharing you analysis and your perspective. We appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, those videos were posted by the deputy leader of the ultra-right anti-Muslim group Britain First. Last year a member of the British parliament Jo Cox was stabbed and shot to death in London. Witnesses say the killers shouted the phrase "Britain First" during that attack.

Brandon Cox is the husband of the late Jo Cox and he told CNN he is shocked by President Trump's re-tweets.


BRANDON COX, JO COX'S HUSBAND: She would have been if she were still here, as outraged I think as anybody that the president who whom we should have an incredibly close relationship is actively undermining our cohesions as a country. He's actively supporting the group, this extremist group I think should be horrified by it.

Because this is like the president re-tweeting the Ku Klux Klan. You know, this is not a main stream organization for the president of the United States, our greatest ally as a country to be re-tweeting, to be providing a microphone to those voices. I think everybody no matter what your political persuasion in the U.K. I think has been shocked by that.


CHURCH: And we will bring you the entire interview next hour.

Also sparking concern about the president's thinking is his apparent return to the so-called birther conspiracy issue. For years, Mr. Trump publicly questioned former President Barack Obama's citizenship and his eligibility to be president. Then in a news conference during the presidential campaign he made this definitive statement.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. You know what I mean. I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.


CHURCH: But sources are telling CNN's Jim Acosta the president never really abandoned his position.


JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: And I'm told by a source close to the White House that shortly after he made that announcement and ever since President Trump has questioned the politics of reversing himself on that issue.

He believe he would have done even better in the election had he just stood his ground and continued to say that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. It is a very curious position to take. And it also raises the question about the president's mental state. That obviously been something that's been talked about in recent days of people have said, well, maybe this means he's losing it if he now believes Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States.

But, Anderson, I think it also goes to the tactical aspect of President Trump and his advisers, that they do believe that there's a political benefit to trafficking in this kind of tenuous politics.


CHURCH: And this comes as the New York Times reports the president is questioning the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape in which he made vulgar comment about grabbing women. Mr. Trump apologized for his remarks of his campaign. The Times reports shortly after his election victory the president began suggesting the voice on the tape is not his.

[03:10:05] Well, one Senate democrat has a theory on what's behind Mr. Trump's thought process. And he says it's at odds with what's required of the U.S. president.


SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Conceivably what is happening that under the pressure of his falling poll numbers, falling approval, the investigation closing in on him, he is starting to turn into a very insular mind set in which he is starting to believe imaginary things that tie him to this very small extremist base that remains loyal to him.

And the quality of decision making that can be expected of somebody in that mindset is not consistent with what the responsibilities of the president of the United States entail.


CHURCH: We move to another major story we are covering here at CNN. The U.S. is renewing a stark warning about the threat North Korea poses. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday after Pyongyang's latest missile launch.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The dictator of North Korea made a choice yesterday that brings the world closer to war not farther from it. We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it.

If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday. And if war comes, make no mistake the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.


CHURCH: Well, the North Korean government said the missile was a new type of ballistic rocket tipped with what it called a super heavy warhead capable of striking the whole U.S. mainland.

Now, Paula Newton joins us now from Seoul with more on this. Paula, as the international community grapples with how to deal with North Korea's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, we are learning more disturbing details about the Hwasong 15's capabilities, we heard there from North Korea warhead. What do the photos tell us and what do the experts saying?

PAULA NEWTON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, the photos are key here. And we also just had video released from North Korean state TV. They're pouring over it and quite frankly, everything that you had heard after this launch. And remember, it was South Korean, Japanese and the U.S. authorities all agree with North Korea saying, yes, this was a significant improvement on their other missile.

Now the Hwasong 15, there is, and I know this sounds pretty simplistic, Rosemary, but many of the experts are saying look, it is large, it is very large, what does that mean? A key comes back to what you just said about the warhead.

It showed significant prowess and really progress on the part of the North Koreans, the fact that they could have this large missile with perhaps a very heavy warhead, it's tough to know exactly how heavy that warhead was. It was certainly very large, go that far up into the atmosphere, again, some 4,500 kilometers, splash down back into the water in terms of surviving that reentry.

All of this points to a lot of progress which is bringing people again into a different arena here in terms of dealing with North Korea. You know, it wasn't just a couple years ago where people would never have seen them progress this quickly on their nuclear program, and here we are. And it has change the politics around it.

I do point out that despite what Nikki Haley says, I mean, everyone is urging caution, especially China. That probably holds the key to trying to solve this problem, and they certainly don't see how military confrontation will do that.

CHURCH: Yes. You mention China. President Trump of course tweeted Wednesday that he had spoken to China's President Xi about North Korea's provocation and he referred to additional major sanctions being imposed on the country. So what does he expect China to do about it, and how far is Beijing likely to go on supporting sanctions or doing anything else?

NEWTON: Well, the key thing is the most recent round of sanctions are actually quite formidable. The problems that some of them haven't even come into effect yet. And it will take a while to get those sanctions to come into effect to ask for the North Korean regime to actually feel them.

You know why, Rosemary? Some experts believe that by time those sanctions actually bite this whole nuclear program could already be in its final stages. Having said that, what the Trump administration points to is the fuel. And basically without China North Korea could not survive in terms of the -- it imports almost all of its fuel. Fuel that is also key not just for the survival of the regime, but clearly, for this nuclear program.

China is reluctant to do what the United States says in terms of banning all exports of fuel to North Korea because they believe that will have catastrophic consequences for the entire Korean Peninsula. And that means if the regime falls that there will be huge destabilization here.

And, you know, Lord knows how many refugees crossing into the border. China doesn't that. They don't want to destabilize the Korean Peninsula by that much.

[03:15:02] Again, it will be interesting to see what new comes out of this in terms of diplomacy. Because I can tell you from sitting here Seoul the South Korean officials want to see more dialogue to that end. We're told a meeting of foreign ministers will happen early in the New Year in Canada.

CHURCH: yes. Some key points there from our Paula Newton in Seoul, South Korea, where it is 5.15 in the afternoon. Many thanks to you.

Well, another U.S. personality is fired after allegations of sexual misconduct. This time it's NBC News morning show veteran Matt Lauer. And now new stories about him are emerging. We'll have more on that when we return.

Also, President Trump's Twitter account sets off a global uproar. This time re-tweeting videos from a far-right hate group in Britain. We will get the U.K. perspective when we come back. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S. President Donald Trump again stirring controversy on Twitter on Wednesday morning. Mr. Trump re-tweeted three violent inflammatory videos, they came from the Twitter account belonging to Jayda Fransen, the deputy director of an ultra far-right anti-Muslim group, Britain First. And government leaders in the U.K. and others were quick to condemn the president's actions.

Julia Ebner is research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. She joins us now from our London bureau. Good to talk with you. Thanks for being with us.


CHURCH: So, leaders across Britain voiced their concern about President Trump re-tweeting those unverified videos, but far-right groups are thrilled of course with his actions. What are the ramifications of the leader of the free world re-tweeting, and effectively supporting material of this nature?

EBNER: I mean, it's incredible. This is really given this ultranationalist anti-Muslim organization a huge amount of exposure in the media but also on social media. Jayda Fransen, their deputy leader has really gained I think 20,000 new followers in the last 24 hours alone. And they have -- they have celebrated this huge publicity boost.

So the damage is done now I would say on this level. It's of course something that we've seen in the past, that this really feeds into inciting violence against the Muslim communities and against ethnic and religious minority communities, both in the U.K., in this case, and potentially in the U.S. as well.

CHURCH: So how dangerous do you think this is? And what does it signal to the far-right groups across the globe, given the White House press secretary has defended the actions of the president, saying the nature of the videos are not point, instead the message is that the threat is real?

EBNER: Yes. Well, I mean, what we saw now from far-right leaders across the world and especially from Britain First is that they really thanked Donald Trump for tweeting this, and that they, yes, that they celebrated this as a huge victory because it legitimizes their rhetoric and it allows them potentially to move further into the main stream.

[03:20:12] We're talking about a very fringe organization here that has barely managed to mobilize hundreds of people for their activities but they are doing -- they are doing, having a strategy of vigilantism, of intimidation and doing mosque invasion. So their attack is quite extreme.

CHURCH: Now as you mentioned, the U.S. president has effectively given the far-right a new platform. There's a lot of focus on them. I do want to listen for a moment to a British M.P. Khalid Mahmoud here what he had to say on this point.


KHALID MAHMOOD, BRITISH LABOUR M.P.: This is real lack of understanding on behalf of the president. He hasn't understood the hurt he's causing. This is going to increase hate crime against Muslims not just here, but more importantly in the U.S. And there is going to be a lot of answers for him to be able to give these people.


CHURCH: So what needs to be done to curb the influence of these far- right groups? So what's Britain doping about it, and more broadly perhaps what do other nations need to do about it?

EBNER: Well, I think we need in order to also stop hate crime -- hate crimes from surging further because in the U.K. we have the drastic increase in hate crimes, I think we really need to fight back against these extremist groups on all levels. And that means especially countering their rhetoric.

They should be considered as hate preachers just in the same way that we speak about Islamists extremists being often hate preachers and feeding into the climate of fear and anger. We also need to tackle this with strong account to messaging with -- and by not giving them simply a platform but by really openly criticizing and debating them for what they stand for and exposing their extreme and potentially very dangerous rhetoric.

CHURCH: And of course what's worrying is that the president of the United States is standing side by side with them essentially, isn't he? And we heard from that Member of Parliament there, that there was a real lack of understanding.

Is this time for some of the leaders across Europe to join forces and really express to the U.S. president how they feel about what he has done? EBNER: Absolutely. I think it's now really about time to put pressure

on President Trump to stop create or feeding into this fear and emboldening the far-right further. Because what has previously maybe we can assert with some of the figures on the extreme right is now turning into what seems to be he's almost cheering back with them. He's really becoming their biggest ally and their biggest propaganda tool.

CHURCH: All right. Julia Ebner, thank you so much for joining us.

EBNER: Thank you.

CHURCH: We really appreciate it bringing your perspective to this issue.

Well, yet another top U.S. personality has had his career crushed as a result of misconduct allegations. Journalist Matt Lauer's dismissal from NBC News was sudden and shocking.

On Tuesday, the network opened an investigation into his behavior, and the day later he was gone. Lauer was making tens of millions of dollars a year and was one of the network's biggest morning star at its highly rated morning show before his sudden reckoning.

Our Randi Kaye has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is today with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

RANDI KAYE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: It's what you didn't see on television that got Today Show host Matt Lauer suddenly fired by NBC. Late today, the disturbing allegations spilling out in the press. CNN has not independently confirmed them but Variety magazine is reporting that multiple women accused Lauer of sexual harassment.

Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, Variety reports, and included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her. Variety also found that Lauer allegedly summoned a female employee to his office then dropped his pants exposing himself.

The magazine said he then, reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act. Two women told Variety that Lauer had a button under his desk he could use to lock his door. It would allow him to initiate inappropriate contact with women at work without anyone walking in on him, according to the magazine.


SAVANNAH CLARK GUTHRIE, CO-HOST, NBC: Hoda is here with me at this is morning because this is a sad morning here at Today and on NBC news.

We are devastated and we are still processing all of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: Lauer's co-host for five years Savannah Guthrie delivers the

news of Lauer's firing this morning after reportedly being told herself just minutes before air.


GUTHRIE: I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here.

[03:24:59] And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story.


KAYE: The first woman to come forward the one that led to Lauer's firing complained to NBC's human resources that Lauer had sexually harassed her. A source with knowledge of the process told CNN the woman allege that the inappropriate behavior began when Lauer was in Russia covering the Winter Olympics in 2014.

Then late Wednesday the Times broke the news that after Lauer's firing, NBC received at least two more complaints about him. The paper says one former employee complained that Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001 and then had sex with her.

She told the Times that she felt helpless because she didn't want to lose her job. The paper says she did not report the incident because she felt ashamed. Lauer has not commented publicly.


MATT LAUER, FORMER HOST, NBC NEWS: The latest now on another scandal getting a lot of attention.


KAYE: Lauer's termination comes just one week after CBS News fired its morning co-host, Charlie Rose for sexually harassing women. At NBC Mark Halperin was recently fired for allege inappropriate behavior during his days at ABC News. And Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News following claims of sexual harassment. Lauer interviewed O'Reilly in September and made this prophetic statement.


LAUER: Think about those five women and what they did. They came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at. Think of how intimidating that must have been, how nerve-wrecking that must have been. Doesn't that tell you how strongly they felt about the way they were treated by you?


KAYE: Two months later, Matt Lauer could be asking himself the same thing.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: And CNN has not yet heard from Matt Lauer about the allegations against him. But NBC released this statement. "We can say unequivocally that prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaint about Matt Lauer's conduct."

Well, Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the coming hour. And he's got a packed schedule that includes a visit with the president. A few hours earlier, the pope ended his stay in Myanmar with a mass for young people.

Activists have criticized the pope for not mentioning the Rohingya or the country's humanitarian during that trip. A Vatican spokesman responded saying, wait and see what the pope does in the few days. He is expected to meet with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

We'll take a short break here. But still to come, Donald Trump takes a shot at Theresa May on Twitter. How the British prime minister and members of the opposition party are responding.

Plus, CNN's disturbing report on human slave auctions triggered global outrage. Now it's prompting world leaders to take action. That story, still to come.


[03:30:15] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church. Let us bring you up today to the main stories we are following this hour, at an emergency meeting the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned North Korea latest missile launch. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says Pyongyang is bringing the world closer to war and urged all nations to cut ties with the north. It also called on China to cut off Pyongyang oil supply.

U.S. morning show, Matt Lauer is facing more allegations of sexual misconduct a day after the U.S. Network NBC abruptly fired him for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Current management at NBC news says it was very made aware of any complaints about his conduct. There has been no comment from Laure himself.

U.S. President Donald Trump sparked outrage by retweeting three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right site. Among those speaking out is British minister Theresa May. Let us go to CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson. He joins us now from London. So, Nic, we've heard from Britain's Prime Minister and opposition leader as well as others. President Trump fired back at Theresa May essentially telling her to mind her own business. What's been the reaction across Britain to that whole exchange and of course the issue?

NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, people are waking up exchange this morning. Most people wouldn't be aware until they wake up this morning at President Trump tweet back after Prime Minister Theresa May, specifically at her, essentially getting her twitter name wrong and having to retweet it and retweet it again. It is quite staggering that the leader of the United States would say this, make this issue personal with the British Prime Minister. Remembering that it was her spokesperson who responded yesterday to those tweets-tweets, that he put out appearing to endorse the Britain first far right races British nationalist organization. The spokesperson saying it's wrong for the President to have done this. President Trump has taken Mrs. May this personally against Theresa May, the prime minister of the country. I supposed to have a special relationship with, and this is what he said, Theresa May don't focus on me, focus on the destructive radical terrorism that is taking place within the U.K. This is a staggering fire back and sort of the context you are asking what's the reaction today, but the context last night was the comments from the leader of the opposition, abhorrent from other politicians pointing out just how vial and extremist this Britain first organization is and that President Trump has endorsed them. So I think there's going to be shock. There's probably going to be dismay. It's going to be interesting to see how the Prime Minister handles this. But this latest spat comes on an increasing sense of distance. The British Prime Minister had to put between herself and Donald Trump, remember in January he was the first world leader to go visit him in Washington, they held hands and then within days of that she was having to distance him, distance herself from him and got in hot water politically for it for not only inviting him for a state visit to Britain, but for his apparent Muslim travel ban.

That didn't sit well in Britain, he got into twitter spat with the London mayor for the terrorist attack in London Bridge over the summer. He got into a tweet spat with again over another terrorist attack. Where he blame the police for not cracking down enough on terrorism. That moment the British public was not aware that the police even linked this to any particular terrorist organization.

The Prime Minister that time was quite reserved but tweeted back saying this was - such comments were un healthful and Donald Trump then goes on in October to try to use British crimes statistics, talking about general crimes to say this is increasing particularly in crime statistics were a result of a rise in radical Islamist terrorism in Britain and radical Islamic action. All of this sits unwell with the British public and unwell with politician and for President Trump to so closely align himself with an organization that Britain that is widely seen despicable, as vial, and as extremist as fringe, to Prime Minister this morning and made it personal is going to be shocking. That 1.8 millions of people sign the petition to prevent him from coming to meet the queen on a state visit, as Theresa May invited him early in the year. One can only imagine those people and more will be joining ranks again to say enough with President Trump on this issue.

[03:05:13] CHURCH: Yes this is the problem, what impact might this have on what was a very close relationship between United States and Britain on what more might Theresa May do given the sensitive circumstances.

ROBERTSON: The room for political maneuver I think the one that we can expect to come from Theresa May and government ministers is that United States President come and go. There really is little other option for them to say than a like that. There's clearly a huge day right between Theresa May and Donald Trump on their views on extremist right-wing organizations. President Trump appears to endorse them and Britain those organizations are held to be vial, destructive and undermining the very nature of British society.

I think the line we can expect to hear that this a presidency that this particular British government is clearly going to have to live. If they don't vote for the president of United States and that is very much an issue for the people of United States. However this government has to deal with this White House so I think the sense will emerge that it's incredibly unhelpful, best thing this British leadership can hope for is for the day to come when they have what they may feel more enlightened leader of the United States to deal with.

CHURCH: No doubt the British leadership grappling this all with how exactly to respond. Nic Robertson bringing us up-to-date from London where it is just after 8:35 in the morning. Many thanks.

CNN's horrifying report of human auctions in Libya's is driving world leaders to take action. France announce it was holding emergency talks about the issue with the leaders of five African nations on the frontlines of Europe Africa summit and this is just a small part of the shocking video and an exclusive reporting that triggered the global outrage. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now. So Melissa what exactly does France plan to do about this, on overall?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what France did last night at this summit of African-European leaders is hold an emergency session with all of those involved including Libya, by the way, to try and figure out what action could be taken. We spoke to the French President just after that meeting very late here last night about his reaction to CNN's reporting and about how urgently he believed this issue need to be dealt with.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I had my chance to express all the emotion we saw these images that were broadcast to reiterate France strongly condemns these atrocious crimes and the trafficking of human beings being carried out today in the African content which constitutes a crime against humanity. I can say the strongest response will be one that allows us to have an effective and resolute action to put an end to this trafficking. The African Union, the European Union and the United Nation have decide this evening to act in a determined way and action of extreme urgency. To evacuate from Libya all those that can and want to and help them return their country. We will act in solidarity with this urgent operations that will be conducted in the next few days.


BELL: Concrete measures those migrants currently trapped in those detention centers in Libya are going to be helped to go home, Rosemary. So urgent action is going to be taken in the next few days said the French president to help all of those who want to go back, go back. Furthermore this concerted action taken in the next few days and weeks to target those traffickers responsible for this dreadful human trade. Now when this summit began yesterday morning, there was a sense that yes, there was huge outrage for this, but this was such a complicated issue to deal with. But what Emmanuel Macron explain that outrage could really helped focus the minds of those around the table and that he believed that this sort of thing would not be able to happen again. There is a real sense here, that there was a before Rosemary, and there is now after those images. Everything is going to be done to prevent this from happening again. Also, by the way, an independent inquiry. That is another thing African leaders have managed to agree on here today. They are not making do the Libyan inquiry into this, an independent inquiry run by the African union to figure out precisely what happened to bring those responsible to book.

CHURCH: Good to see some positive action in the aftermath of that story. Melissa Bell joining us there. Many thanks to you.

[03:4009] Well take a short break here, but still to come a 20-year prison sentence is bitter pill to swallow, so a war criminal chose poison instead right in the middle of the court.

And while the new Zimbabwean President looks forward to his future some of his countrymen struggle with his deadly past. We will explain after this short break.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. At an international criminal court in The Hague, a shocking scene of former Coalition commander guilty of war crimes. Apparently took his own life even at the judge was upholding his conviction. Now many are asking how he got a vial of suspected poison in to that courtroom. CNN's Lynda Kinkade shows us how it all unfolded.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A dramatic end to the life of a convicted war criminal. Just seconds after the United Nations court up held his 20-year sentence for war crime Slobodan Praljak refuse to sit. Instead proclaiming his innocence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal.

KINKADE: And then the retire Croatian Army general pull a small vial from his jacket, tipped his back and drank the liquid. Telling the court it was poison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop please. Please sit down.

KINKADE: A short time later an ambulance arrived taking Praljak to a hospital where he died. The 72-year-old was sentenced in 2013 for his roles commander of the Croatia forces during the Bosnian war, a war which lasted from 1992 to 1995 leaving more than 100,000 people dead, more than 2 million displaced. He was one of six former Bosnian political leaders found guilty of the crime against humanity which included of rape and murder of Bosnian Muslims. The Croatian Prime Minister plan what he called the injustice of the U.N. court and express his condolences. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I along with all members of the

government who are here sincerely regret this act.

KINKADE: The courtroom is now a crime scene, and the big question is, how did the convicted criminal manage to get that vial of poison into the Hague where security is tight? Metal detectors are used and electronic equipment including cellphones as well as food and drinks are prohibited. The police are now investigating. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


CHURCH: We turn to Zimbabwe now and a prominent critic of former president Robert Mugabe has been acquitted of trying to overthrow the government, ask if Hariri could had face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His social media campaign and videos called on Mugabe to address his Zimbabwe failing economy and corruption and led to large protests. The court's decision is seen as a test of judicial independence now that Mugabe is no longer in power.

[03:45:15] In the meantime, Zimbabwe's new President has vowed to rebuild the nation and lift it up from years of corruption under Mugabe's rule, but Emmerson Mnangagwa legacy remains haunted by a massacre of thousands of civilians in the early 1980s. He served under Mugabe at that time, but denies any role in the atrocities. CNN David McKenzie recently traveled to the sight of one of the massacres to see what Zimbabweans think of their new leader.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For 34 years her physical pain has been a constant reminder. The soldiers got hold of me, she they threw me on the ground. And they said you are lucky we don't kill you. We're going to show you who we are. The soldiers broke her back. They were from the notorious fifth brigade sent in to crush rivals of Robert Mugabe. She says they wrapped her neighbors in plastic and set them a light. Yes, I saw the people being killed, she says. I saw them killed, and you could not say a word. The operation was called (inaudible). In January 1983, the North Korea trained units swept to the part of (inaudible) land we are travelling to, targeting mostly civilians, they chose their victims along ethnic lines.

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa says they must look to it future and as a mentor. The new President is deeply implicated in Zimbabwe's painful past. Showing us mass grave on the side of the road here. They're scattered all along this of Zimbabwe, and they're often hidden and the government doesn't like this at all. These 11 murdered souls are his heroes of Zimbabwe, the phrase handwritten into the concrete, a simple somber act of defiance. Why did they bring them here like this? When these people were killed, the villagers ran away and went to hide in the mountains and the fields he tells me. When they came back after a couple of days they could not stand the stench. That is why the villagers brought the bodies here and buried them. They can't openly commemorate the victims. And no one has ever been brought to justice. As then Security Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said the dissidents were cockroaches and the fifth brigade was the government DDT.

We can't say we trust the President because he was involved in the killing he says. I did not go to school because my father was killed during that time. There was no one to take me to school. For me to see that Mnangagwa is President, I really don't know what the future is like. Manawa has repeatedly denied involvement in the massacres, but without a full reckoning of his own past, many here struggle to trust their new President. David McKenzie, CNN, Zimbabwe.


CHURCH: Let's take a short break here. When we come back scientists race to save one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. Australia's great valley reef. We'll tell you how they are bringing new life to the dying coals.

Plus most people wouldn't dream jumping off on a top of a mountain. But two brave men did it. More than 1oo times to prepare for their latest stunt. The breathtaking scenes when we come back.


[03:50:42] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. On Thursday CNN's Clarissa Ward gives us a rare look at the changes taking place in the arctic. She accompany climate scientist Jason Box who warned of the dangers ahead.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ever where you go in Greenland you can see and hear the ice sheets melting, sometimes a drip sometimes a roar. Its surface is etched with fast flowing rivers that carry the melt water deep down to the bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The melt is winning this game.

WARD: And the more of Greenland melts, the more it speeds up the melting process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The amount of water is produced all across this landscape has increased, it has doubled in the last 50 years.

WARD: Doubled in the last 50 years.


CHURCH: More on what's happening in there and how it imports people around the world Thursday 3:00 p.m. in New York and 8:00 p.m. in London only here on CNN.

Thousands of miles from the arctic, in the warm waters of the western pacific another environmental crisis has been under way for years at the Australia's Great Barrier Reef. At least two thirds of the huge organism is at risk of slow death by bleaching seen here as white spots on your screen. Now scientists believe they have found a way to reverse it. Basically they're breeding new coral in special tanks at a research center and the juveniles had been transplanted back into the reef. One year later scientists found the young coral had taken hold in the open ocean. An encouraging sign the reef can be saved. Peter Harrison is the Director of the institute of development environment and sustainability in Southern Cross University he joins us now from Lismore in New South Wales Australia. Great to have you on the show.


CHURCH: And it is great to see some positive move in the right direction here. How long would you expect it to take, to see the Barrier reef restored to its original beauty?

HARRISON: It will take many decades to overcome the loss of corals that we've had in the last few decades. So prior to the last two bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, there was about half the corals on the Great Barrier Reef were lost. These last two years of bleaching have devastated other communities to the north of the Great Barrier Reef, and therefore it has been very widespread destruction. So it will take many decades for the reef system to recover back to the point that it was functioning really healthily in 1970s and 1980s.

CHURCH: Of course without this treatment, it would have taken many more decades. Who came up with the idea to use fertility treatments to help save the barrier reef, and it can it be applied to other parts of the world where there are similar problems?

HARRISON: I just thought about using millions of (inaudible) to stop restoring coral populations back in the 1980s when I was part of the team that found the mass coral spawning event. And these are significant for the health of the reef system. Because they provide literally hundreds of millions of larvae that allow corals to regrow in these populations. That process happens naturally where you have very healthy coral populations producing billions of eggs and sperm during these mass spawning events. Unfortunately, on the Great Barrier Reef and many other reef systems around the world in recent decades, the loss of corals has start, to compromise the larvae supply and that is what our research is trying to do. At relatively small scales at the moment, we're growing millions of larvae, experientially putting them back on the reef in enclosures to retain them during the settlement period and monitoring the rate those corals are growing over time.

CHURCH: Of course marine biologists across the globe will be thrilled watching this. It is extraordinary. How hard is it to get the corals to take, thought?

HARRISON: That is part of the challenge of the research. The research is logistically and physically challenging on the reef in the last couple of weeks. We have been facing really strong winds and wave action and so it is really challenge us in terms of working out how to do this in this reef systems, there is supposed to be elements.

[03:55:15] But we do know from the team that had been leading with post graduate students and colleague in the Philippines funded by Asia over the last five years. Is that we can grow corals successfully from microscopic larvae less than a millimeter long up to dinner size coral in three years and what is really exiting about that is when they get that size they become sexually reproductive and can start producing eggs and sperm and larvae that can replenish other parts of the reef. That is the basis on what we're trying to do on the Great Barrier Reef now. To see how we can scale up this this process so it may in future become meaningful for management of reef systems.

CHURCH: Peter Harrison is a remarkable breakthrough, I salute you. This is great work. Certainly all Australians across the globe will be saluting you as well. Many thanks. We appreciate it.

HARRISON: Thank you.

CHURCH: Before we go, I want to show some incredible video of a high flying stunt above the sweet Alps. If jumping off the plane scars you, try jumping into one. Two French wingsuit flyers did exactly that. They had practice more than 100 times and one attempt goes pretty scary when they slammed into the plane's door frame, but finally they timed their free fall perfectly to land right inside the moving plane awkwardly but safely. They celebrated of course with many hugs you can see there and a lot of screaming with joy. So well- done. And we'd like to thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. The news continues with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.