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Korea Talks; Trump Denies He's a Racist; Panic in Hawaii; California Mudslides; Rescuers: Almost 180 People Killed in Ghouta; Pope Francis Will Visit Chile and Peru on Six-day Trip; Celebrating togetherness in Trump's America. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 15, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A second round of talks as North and South Korea again meet face-to-face. Plus a rare look inside one of Syria's last rebel strongholds, where finding safety is nearly impossible.
And as Chile gets set to welcome the pope, we will look at the problems the pontiff may have to confront.
It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: And this just in to CNN. We are hearing that a floor inside the Jakarta stock exchange building has collapsed. Officials say it happened in the middle of the day in a space where tourists usually gather. It's unclear if there are any casualties. But a source says most people have been rescued.
Reuters reports dozens were seen running out of the building and we will keep an eye on this story and bring you more on it as it comes in to us.
South and North Korea are talking again for the first time in more than two years. South Korea has high hopes for the second round of discussions. But Pyongyang says it will not negotiate its nuclear weapons.
For now, they are focusing on how the North will participate in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea. CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now from Seoul, South Korea.
Ivan, what progress has been made in this second round of talks between the two Koreas and what are the overall expectations of these talks?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've just learned, Rosemary, that the North Koreans have proposed to have another round of discussions in the same compound on the demilitarized zone on Wednesday of this week.
And unlike the talks that are underway right now, the proposals for this to be a high-level series of talks unlike what is taking place right now, which is at the deputy ministerial level and these discussions today are focused largely on logistics on the cultural front, on the sidelines of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Notably on how to get an arc (ph) troop from North Korea to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics that are scheduled to begin in February. The logistics of how to get them there and where to put their stage.
Now judging on the participants coming from the North Korean side, one of the delegates there is a woman who's the leader of the Moranbong band, that is an all-female musical group in North Korea, often featured on North Korean state television, with instrumentalists, with singers, with dangers and presumably that group is one of the delegations that North Korea wants to send to these Winter Olympics.
The North Koreans only really qualified with two figure skaters, athletes to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics. And they seem to be compensating for that by sending many other groups, cheerleaders, journalists, a tae kwon do demonstration team, to attend and presumably to promote North Korean sports culture and culture in general at this international sporting event -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: And Ivan, you mentioned there the Wednesday meeting between the two Koreas on these high-level talks. What might that cover? Because we know North Korea insists it won't ever negotiate its nuclear weapons.
WATSON: We've learned, again, from the South Koreans that the leader of the North Korean delegation, Fijon Jung Su (ph), who's vice chairman of North Korea's equivalent of the unification ministry, the committee for the peaceful reunification of the fatherland.
One of the potential things that could be discussed is something that came together, that came up from the South Korean side last Tuesday in the first groundbreaking series of high-level discussions. And South Korea proposed what seems pretty benign; that was to resume the reunions of families that were separated by the Korean War of the 1950s.
These took place previously when relations were better between Seoul and Pyongyang. Highly emotional, because these were people, brothers and sisters in some cases, who hadn't seen each other for a half- century, getting a few short hours to meet face-to-face.
And what we've heard from the South Koreans is that North Korea basically came back and raised an entirely separate issue. The 2016 mass defection of 12 North Korean waitresses and one man from a North Korean restaurant in China.
In the --
WATSON: -- aftermath of this, which was highly embarrassing for Pyongyang, the North Korean government accused South Korean intelligence of kidnapping the 13 defectors, something that Seoul rejected.
But it highlights the fact that these two neighbors, though they are engaging in Olympic diplomacy, there is still a whole range of enormous issues that still divide them, such as defectors, reunions, evidently, and of course the 400-pound gorilla which is North Korea's nuclear weapons, something that South Korea and every other country here in the region says must be disposed of -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Our Ivan Watson, bringing us a live report there from Seoul in South Korea, where it's just after 3:00 in the afternoon and letting us know a third round of talks between the two Koreas will take place on Wednesday. Thanks so much.
U.S. President Donald Trump says if an immigration deal dies, the Democrats are to blame. His comments came Sunday when he spoke briefly with reporters at his golf club in Florida. At issue is DACA, the program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. But as Boris Sanchez explains, it's Mr. Trump's comments about immigration which have the president on the defensive.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump taking time before dinner to answer questions from reporters, alongside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, on Sunday night.
The president making news on several fronts, answering some uncomfortable questions; specifically, whether he is a racist after it was reported on Thursday that several remarks that the president made, specifically about African nations and Haitian immigrants to the United States, drew ire from both Democrats and Republicans.
Listen to the president's response.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.
SANCHEZ: The president also addressed the potential for a looming government shutdown as that Friday night deadline approaches for lawmakers to come up with a budget deal. He said that there should not be a shutdown but that he wasn't sure if one might happen or not. Listen to more of what the president said.
TRUMP: I don't know if there will be a shutdown; there shouldn't be, because, if there is, our military gets hurt very badly. We cannot let our military be hurt.
SANCHEZ: Now getting back to those reported comments that the president allegedly made during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Thursday, when discussing immigration, there is some division among lawmakers about what the president actually said.
Some Republicans like Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue initially said that they couldn't recall what the president said during the meeting. On Sunday both of them are outright denying that the president ever said those derogatory remarks about African nations or about Haitians.
Others, like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, said in a statement that he confronted the president about his remarks, though he didn't specify what those remarks were. Reportedly, he did tell fellow Republican Senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott, that the reports about the president's conversation was accurate.
Beyond that you also have Senator Dick Durbin, confirming that the president made those remarks and saying that they were hate-filled. All of that, the backdrop of this, not only a disagreement what the president said but also on policy, with the government shutdown looming on Friday, we could potentially see some kind of deal from lawmakers to keep the government funded or a stopgap bill that would keep the government funded and punt on this conversation about DACA and immigration.
Or we could see a government shutdown if some Democrats follow along, as they have promised to not vote on any kind of budget without a solution to the issue of DREAMers being included -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida.
CHURCH: CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer joins me now. He's also an historian and professor at Princeton University.
Great to have you with us again. In the wake of the president's vulgar comments directed at certain nations, Mr. Trump is now saying he is not a racist.
Is that enough and how does that language compare to other presidents who have come before him?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Once you have a debate on the issue you already have a problem. So the fact it's such a big question it is not a debate we should be having in 2018.
His saying that is not enough. You have a long line of statements from the president going all the way back to the 2016 campaign, where his critics will say he's used nativist language, racist language. And for him to just say, well, I'm not a racist, won't really do much to satisfy the concerns.
Other presidents have used terrible language: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon. But we're many decades from that and we would hope that presidents aspire to something better, not to aspire to the worst kind of comments that we've --
ZELIZER: -- heard in the past.
CHURCH: Of course it has to be said, a couple of Republicans have said he didn't actually say it. But that is another story in itself. Mr. Trump also tweeted that the DREAMer program, DACA, is probably dead in the water. He's blaming the Democrats. This all coming after he held an on-camera bipartisan meeting last week, where he indicated he was ready to make a deal.
What went wrong?
And given where things stand now, can this perhaps be worked out, do you think?
ZELIZER: Well, the first thing that happened was that the Republicans in the House of Representatives came out with a bill that was much more draconian in its border control and money for security than most Democrats would be able to accept for restoring DACA.
And then came the president's comments, which undermine the confidence Democrats will have that he would really follow through on his promises or that he would be sympathetic to immigrants.
So right now it is in a very perilous moment. And it's very hard to see how, in the next week or so, he will be able to achieve a bipartisan deal. Many Democrats are not willing right now to compromise with the president and they have all the leverage that they need on the budget. So he's the one who really needs concede if he wants a deal to be made.
CHURCH: Is he likely to do that?
What do you think his strategy is right now?
ZELIZER: I'm not sure there is a strategy. I think there is bit of ad hoc politics that we see from the White House. But I do think his sympathy is with the hardline elements of the Republican Party on immigration.
This is somewhere he's been pretty consistent. So I'm not sure there is a lot of give in the tweets we've seen in the last few days, suggest that he is focused more on blaming the Democrats than on reaching a deal with the Democrats.
CHURCH: And just finally, I do want to return to those vulgar comments from the president. You wrote this in your recent opinion piece on cnn.com.
"If we tolerate this in a president, what does it say about us?"
What did you mean by that exactly?
ZELIZER: Well, there's a lot of focus on what his comments, not just these but other comments that he's made say about the president. But the fact that he is president is a product of the democratic will of the United States.
And if we allow this to continue and if many people are passive when these kinds of comments are made, it ultimately says a lot about where the country is. If we normalize some of these kinds of things in the presidency, it reflects poorly on the United States, not just on the person who's president.
CHURCH: Julian Zelizer, always a pleasure to chat with you and get your analysis and perspective on the matters ahead. Thank you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
CHURCH: New procedures are being put in place in Hawaii to prevent another mistaken missile alert being sent out. Officials say a state employee pushed the wrong button during a routine drill, sending an emergency inbound missile warning to cellphones, TV and radio stations in Hawaii.
Panicked residents and tourists scrambled to find shelter Saturday; 38 minutes later, the mistake was finally corrected. In the hours after the alert, Internet searches for "how to survive a nuclear missile" surged in the United States.
And Sara Sidner is in Honolulu, Hawaii, and has the latest information on what's being done to make sure a false alert like this never happens again.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: We are told that the person responsible for pressing that button, so to speak, and sending that erroneous message out to the population here in Hawaii, that did create panic and fear, has been reassigned for the time being as the investigation is underway but not fired.
Now we spoke at length to the emergency management agency administrator, who apologized for what happened, said it was his mistake, it was his department that made the mistake but that they are going to make changes. They have already made changes.
First of all, they're able to now send out a false alarm warning faster than they did before it took them 38 minutes this time. A lot of time for people to be worrying and panicking.
And second, that a second person will be responsible for approving whether or not a message is sent out. Those are the things that have been done immediately as this investigation continues.
But the population here, there was fear. Even a state representative, who is very familiar with how things works, that's because the population here knows that if, indeed, North Korea were to fire a missile, from launch to the time of impact here in Hawaii, is just some 20 minutes.
The population would have about 15 minutes to try and get out of the way, to try to get to shelter and to try to save themselves. So there is a bit of a heightened awareness about this, with all the
rhetoric that was going on between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. At this point in time, they want everyone to know that this was a false alarm.
SIDNER: And they say it will never happen again -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Honolulu.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break. But still to come, police in Pakistan are hoping a sketch will bring them closer to finding a little girl's killer as a nation demands justice for her and others.
And racing against the clock: rescuers are desperately working to find the people still missing after deadly mudslides tore through a town in California.
CHURCH: More on our breaking news now We are just getting the first images after a floor collapsed inside the building of the Jakarta stock exchange. Officials say it happened in the middle of the day in a space where tourists usually gather near an entrance.
It is unclear what caused that floor to collapse. We're also trying to learn if there were any casualties. A source says most people have been rescued. We'll continue to follow this.
Police in Pakistan are hoping a new sketch will lead them to Zainab Ansari's killer and will start the process of getting justice for the little girl. On Sunday, officials released this sketch of the man they believe abducted, raped --
CHURCH: -- and murdered the 7-year old. Now they're waiting on DNA test results to see if Zainab's death is connected to eight other child murders in the area.
So far six of those murders are connected through physical evidence. Police suspect a serial killer is responsible. The little girl's death has horrified the country and led to mass protests last week, some of which turned violent. Many people accused the government of failing to keep children safe from predators.
It has been more than a week now since an oil tanker collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Shanghai and that tanker is now at the bottom of the East China Sea. The vessel was adrift and burning since the January 6th collision, sinking Sunday after an final explosion.
The bodies of just three crew members were recovered from the tanker, along with its data recorder. The families of the remaining 29 missing crew want answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The remaining crew members are presumed dead.
There are stunning new images of a passenger jet that skidded off a runway at a Turkish airport; 168 people were on board when it happened Saturday and you can see the plane's nose dangerously close to the Black Sea. A passenger took this video of other passengers mere moments after the incident happened. Pegasus Airlines says no one was hurt.
Rescue workers in California are combing through the wreckage left behind by mudslides last week. They're searching for survivors but there's not much hope left. Twenty people are now confirmed dead and at least four are still missing. Thousands of people gathered Sunday for an emotional candlelight vigil to honor the victims. Paul Vercammen is in California with the latest.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A week after this mudslide, they're now calling it more of a search and recovery. And look over here. You can understand why.
How could anyone survive this?
This is the 101 Freeway, that critical artery that links Los Angeles and San Francisco. And to the north of here, as this cleanup continues, they are complaining because the businesses there are open.
This is a heavily, heavily relied-on tourism region. As far north, more than a hundred miles in Morro Bay (ph), a shop owner saying we are giving kayak tours. You can come up here. We've heard this from hotels, from restaurants. But it's inaccessible. And they say they just need the business. They need this freeway back open.
And take a look at the hard work that has been going on over here, working to clear up the other side of the 101. We can see them reckoning with all of this mud. And they were thanking all of these first and these second responders throughout this area and in Montecito because they have been working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours, all weekend long.
And they're getting creative.
How do you reckon with all this mud?
And how do you reckon with a boulder that weighs multiple tons?
In one estimate they say that there are some boulders that might weigh 20 tons. We saw them sink holes, drill holes into these massive boulders all along Highway 192. And the creeks they were compromising, the bridges, they're worried about more rain to come.
After they sunk in the holes, drilled the holes, they were going to put in a special agent. And this agent can dissolve the boulders in 24 hours. So one massive rock could become broken into seven pieces in no time. That's the kind of stuff they are reckoning with in what has been just a heartbreaking week in Montecito.
I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks so much for that.
Smoke alerts are not exactly unusual in Beijing. But the one just issued, the first this year, actually has a positive sign.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. But still to come, many Syrians fled violence in Aleppo. Now they may have to flee again. We report from inside rebel-held Idlib.
And still to come also, candlelight vigil in Chile ahead of the pope's visit. Why some people are protesting instead. We're back in just a moment.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And a very warm welcome back to everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Rosemary Church. Let's check the headlines for you this hour.
A floor has collapsed inside the building of the Jakarta Stock Exchange, it's unclear what caused it or if there are any casualties. It happened midway near an entrance where tourists tend to gather. A source says most people have been rescued.
Two suicide bombers have killed at least 26 people in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. It happened in a busy square on the center of the city. Authorities reported 19 people were wounded and the number of dead is expected to rise. There's been no claim of responsibility so far.
South and North Korea are holding their second round of talks for the first time in two years, they are discussing how the North will participate in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. North Korea says the talks are about improving relations with the South, not about its nuclear program. A third round of talks will take place on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump addressed deals and disparaging remarks on Sunday, he told reporters Democrats are hindering a deal to keep the DACA program which protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as child. As for that slur against African nations, he reportedly said he insisted Sunday he's not racist.
Hawaii's emergency management agency says human error is to blame for the incoming missile alert that went out on Saturday. An employee push the wrong button during a routine drill. It took the agency 38 minutes to correct the alert. Officials are changing procedures and putting a false alarm message in place.
The New Year has brought more carnage to Syria's Eastern Ghouta. The enclave near Damascus has been bombarded by the central government and its allies. Rescue volunteers say almost 180 people have been killed over the last two weeks and the U.N. says at least 30 of the victims were children.
Eastern Ghouta was supposed to be a de-escalation zone, so was Idlib near the Turkish border. This video from Syrian rebels reports to show fresh fighting in the area. Turkey accuses the Syrian government of stepping out the taxpayer in recent weeks.
Well the war in Syria raging as U.S. President Donald Trump nears his first anniversary in office, next Saturday marks one year since he was sworn in as president. Under his tenure, ISIS was driven from Raqqa but violence has intensified in other areas. CNN's Arwa Damon has this report from war-ravaged Idlib.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It feels like one is peering into a (INAUDIBLE) dollhouse of broken lives. It's concrete tumbled down as people tried to clean up or salvage what they can amid the horrors that they can't escape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: There has been five of his relatives were told in that building, there were three children among them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON (voice-over): Images like this are familiar a year ago from the siege of Aleppo but this is Idlib City, this is where families were supposed to be safe, this was meant to a refuge, one of the last remaining ones, part of a so-called de-escalation zone that lately has become anything but.
The four strikes that hit here happened five days before we arrived and many of those we met have actually fled from Aleppo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: So lucky they were not back room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) is haunted by all he has lost. His wife was killed in Aleppo six years ago. He's raising his two sons on his own. We asked where the boys are now and his eyes filled with tears.
We fled from Aleppo to get here he tells us whispering, choking on his words. There is no solution, there is just no solution. The boys were both studying for exams when the bomb shook the building, suck the air out of the room and everything went pitch black. They were screaming, "Daddy, daddy" Mohammad remembers, he couldn't find them right away.
When the kids were younger, during happier times. What childhood (INAUDIBLE), what childhood? Children have lost everything in life.
We head south where some towns already feel deserted. And (INAUDIBLE) closer to the frontlines of the fighting, children rummaged through the aftermath of bombs to look for plastic to sell.
"We do get scared, we hide from the bombs," they say. The Syrian Regime and his foreign backer's latest push seems aimed at eliminating or at the very least suffocating the last major rebel stronghold.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been on the move for last few weeks. Many fling ahead of what they know is coming or as soon as the first strikes hit. Some live in makeshift camps along the road to Turkey bringing everything they can including their livestock. By now, everyone is resigned to knowing that no one is going to save them, no one is going to stop the violence.
Gaza (ph) and her family were initially in ISIS territory over a year ago. As they were fleeing, there was an explosion. Her daughter (INAUDIBLE) almost lost her leg. "I don't like to remember," the seven-year-old told us. They thought they would be safe but then the Regime and the Russian started bombing. Four days ago, they arrived here.
Turkish aid organizations are building new and expanding old camps in Syria right up against their border. (INAUDIBLE) Mohammad's youngest was born in the camp the day they arrived. He's saying freedom (INAUDIBLE)
"If the barrel bomb had hit us when we were sleeping, it would have been more merciful." Syria's remaining rebel areas risk turning into the next Aleppo. Only this time, even fewer people are watching, even fewer seem to care.
For many we spoke to here, it's not about if this area will also get bombed, it's about when and how many souls can get crushed into the shrinking safe space, and what happens when it's gone? Arwa Damon, CNN Idlib, Syria.
CHURCH: I'm joined by CNN Military Analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, he's also a former U.S. Military Attache in Syria, always good to have you with us.
So, what exactly are the Syrian Regime and Russia trying to achieve militarily in the rebel-held areas particularly in Idlib which was supposed to be a de-escalation zone but also in Aleppo and Hama?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This area is where all of the fighters were allowed to go. You remember the fighting that was going on throughout the country, every time the Syrian government would have them surrounded, they would make a deal when they would relocate all these fighters to Idlib.
Now, that's where they all are. So that's where the Russians and the Regime is concentrating their bombing, there's just no other place to hide and unfortunately, being a noncombatant in this area is just dangerous. There's nowhere for them to hide and this is going to get worst. It's only going to stop when the Regime is successful in destroying the opposition. Unfortunately, before then, a lot more of these civilians are going to die.
CHURCH: Yes. And I wanted to ask you that, what you think will ultimately happen to our position forces, you see that the Regime and Russia simply want to wipe them all out, will they be given any opportunity to simply depart the area?
FRANCONA: I don't -- they got nowhere else to go. Idlib was kind of a dumping ground for all of these forces as they were allowed to leave, now they're in Idlib. What the Russians did was very militarily significant because they've gotten them all in one area.
We in the military call this a target-rich environment, that's where all the bad guys are and that's where -- that's where the Russians and Regime were bombings. Unfortunately, they've mixed themselves into the civilian population, we've seen this before. The Russians and the Regime have got so much firepower now against the
opposition. It's only a matter of time before the opposition collapses.
CHURCH: Right. And what's Turkey's role in all this, particularly with its troops in Idlib?
FRANCONA: Yes. Turkey is really playing a dangerous game here. At first, they were supporting the Russian de-escalation zone, they thought this was going to be a good thing.
But the Turks are most concerned about the Kurdish population on their border. So if you see what the Turks are doing right now and the President Erdogan has already announced that they're going to conduct the military operation to cleanse the area of the YPG who they believe is nothing more than a terrorist organization.
So we're going to see the Turks conducting military operations right next to where the Russians and the Regime are conducting operation. It's going to get more dangerous for the civilian population in this area.
CHURCH: And with what we're seeing the role of Turkey and particularly the role of the Syrian Regime and Russia, how is the United States likely to respond to all of this and what should it do militarily?
FRANCONA: The United States is keeping its focus over into the Northeastern part of Syria where they have the Syrian democratic forces, this Kurdish group that they're supporting. They've just announced they're going to create a 30,000-men security force.
The Turks are not happy about that, you do not want the Kurds controlling their Southern border. So we're looking to -- there's going to be a showdown with the Turks coming. First of all, it's going to be the operation in the Northwest and then how are the Turks going to react when we do create a 30,000 armed Kurdish force on their Southern border, tough times ahead for both countries.
CHURCH: Yes. And before you go, I do want to get an idea, we talk about the opposition here but it's not one group, is it? Just very quickly just describe to our viewers if you would who makes up that opposition?
FRANCONA: You've got everybody in one area now. You've got the free Syrian army, you've got other malicious that are anti-Assad but they're not Jihadist. Then you've got the two major Jihadist organizations, (INAUDIBLE) cooperating sometimes, fighting each other at times.
So you've got these groups there and they're all under attack from the Regime and the Russians. So it's just kind of a free for all among the opposition.
CHURCH: Colonel Rick Francona, we thank you as always. Appreciate it.
We'll take a short break but Chile is preparing for the arrival of Pope Francis, why some may welcome him with protests, that is after the short break.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Pope Francis is leaving Rome in the coming hour for a six-day tour of South America. On Sunday, he led a special mass to mark the world day of migrants and refugees. During the service, he urged communities to not let fear keep them from welcoming immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [01:45:01]
POPE FRANCIS (through interpreter): Having doubts and fears is not a sin. The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The pope's message comes after sources say U.S. President Donald Trump made disparaging comments about refugees from Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador. Pope Francis' trip to South America includes visits to Chile and Peru. Worshippers gathered Sunday in Chile's capital Santiago for a vigil before his visit. Many people are coming from all over Latin America to see him. But there's some distrust, especially over the Catholic churches handling of child sex abuse cases.
CNN's Rafael Romo has the details.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Homemade firebomb exploded before dawn Friday at three churches in the Chilean capital. Police say no one was hurt and the damage was minor. But the vandals drew pamphlets as they fled. One read, "Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe." The incidents comes just days before the pontiff is set to arrive for a weeklong trip to Chile and Peru. The violence, a reminder of struggles both countries have faced with the Catholic Church.
JAMIE HUERTA, PAPAL MARS PARTICIPANT (through translator): We have to recognize that the church in Chile has suffered the shocks of scandals, of cover-ups, and therefore, we Catholics have pending issues to settle and tackle.
ROMO (voice-over): In 2015, the pope appointed a bishop accused of protecting an alleged pedophile, while the bishop denied any wrongdoing, demonstrations are planned in Santiago, Tuesday.
JOSE ANDRES MURILLO, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATIONS FOR TRUST (through translator): The pope today represents what we thought was an organization that was going to support those of us who accused the priest of sexual abuse and yet they did the exact opposite. Supporting the image of the church, its reputation, and the aggressors.
ROMO (voice-over): Another issue, the rights of indigenous people and have protested what they see as a history of oppression closely tied to the Catholic Church.
AUCAN HUILCAMAN, SPOKESMAN, COUNCIL OF ALL LANDS (through translator): It is not enough to the pope to say, "My peace I give you." Because their peace has been deposition, submission, evangelization, domestication. ROMO (voice-over): Despite the church's controversies, Francis is a much-loved pope. And the first from Latin America where many followers eagerly await his arrival Monday.
SISTER BEATRIZ SANDOVAL (through translator): I hope the pope gets here as soon as possible. I wish he would stay much longer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We welcome the pope who we are in need of here. People are in really bad shape. There's a lot of robbery, a lot of bad things. So we need some spirituality.
ROMO (voice-over): Something the pope says he plans to deliver.
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): Brothers and sisters of Chile and Peru, I greet you with affection. I want to share your joys, sorrows, difficulties, and hopes. I want to tell you that you are not alone and that the pope is with you, that the whole church embraces you, that the church sees you.
ROMO (voice-over): It is the message the inmates of the women's prison in Santiago hope to hear firsthand.
Clapping and singing, they rehearse for a live performance in front of Pope Francis during his visit there.
MARGARITA BERNAL, CHOIR PARTICIPANT (through translator): It's a very beautiful and happy occasion, because it was done here by the women who were deprived of their freedom. I'm excited to know that the pope is coming. I feel blessed.
ROMO (voice-over): Rafael Romo, CNN.
CHURCH: The South Africa's government plans to formally protest the U.S. embassy in Pretoria over Donald Trump's recent reported comments. The U.S. president denied using an explosive term denigrating African nations, but South Africa says the entirety of this statement was not addressed and it wants an explanation. Amid this diplomatic realm, one artist is exploring what it means to be of African descent in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOMI, AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER: Am I black enough for you, I had thought the way you do.
My latest album is called Petite Afrique: it is about the dignity of African immigrants in the United States.
They say blood is thicker than water, but you --
So some of the things that I wanted to really capture was that that working class sort of spirit of most of the African community in Harlem. They spent a lot of time just interviewing taxi cab drivers. I learned a lot about their experience, their struggle. It's a predominantly francophone community. Predominantly Muslim, Senegalese, Ivorian, some from Gambia and there are few Anglophone, as well Ghana and Nigeria.
I don't drink coffee, I take tea, my dear.
One of the songs I'm performing is called "Alien" and it's really a cover of same song, "Englishman in New York." This song is more about a westerner moving through the streets of New York and obviously the privilege that affords him. This is just a little darker and more breathing and thinking about how Africans move through the city of New York or anywhere in the western world.
I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien.
Music and art open hearts and I think that's one thing I've really been appreciating about being on the road with this music. Not only acknowledge the dignity of other people, but just to acknowledge themselves in those other stories and to really see ourselves in other people.
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile, be yourself no matter what they say.
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PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Weather meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri tracking a wintery set up across portions of the Midwestern. The Great Lake's United States, all of the state of Illinois, all of the state of Indiana as well underneath winter weather advisories, in fact altogether, 60 million people from the north toward the south under winter weather alerts. And could even see some flurries and certainly ice from San Antonio up towards Dallas, Texas who were pushing a lot of the activity well to the south here, as the front skirts of the south. You get a little ridge that build back behind the kind of reinforcing the shot of cooler and also the disturbance with it down towards the south.
Snow showers initially, not a major player. But as we go in towards the latter portion of Tuesday and to Wednesday, expect maybe five to 10 centimeters certainly the seem far worse conditions. When you put this down on major hubs like Chicago's O'Hare, it could be problematic. Down toward the south, it is all about the ice. San Antonio towards Austin. Less than a half of centimeter accumulation but still with ice. That could make it a dangerous go.
Looking at three below for high as Chicago, 16 above in San Francisco. The cold air once again where it likes to be settled. Right around the northern and central United States. We think some really can store going in towards this weekend. Dallas rebounds tremendously going into this weekend. But Atlanta, how about this? One of the cooler high temps you'll see at the season. The drop is about two below before warming up to 17 above by Sunday afternoon. Down at the Caribbean, San Juan, morning showers. Caracas, comes in with PM showers, 30 degrees for a high temp.
CHURCH: Former President Barack Obama is learning an important lesson these days. It doesn't matter if you were once the leader of the free world. If you have children, it only takes your eldest moving away from home to the first time to undo your resolve and make you realize maybe you're not so tough after all.
In Mr. Obama's case, it was as a simple disclaim on his daughter Malia's college move-in day that really made him lose it. Here's how he tells the story to T.V. host, David Letterman.
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BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Malia was very thoughtful. She says, hey, dad, you know, I've got this lamp in this box and -- you know, put this desk lamp together. I said, "Sure." So I grabbed it and, you know? It should have like my five minutes or three minutes -- and I have one of those little wrenches that are in --
DAVID LETTERMAN, T.V. HOST: Oh, it comes with a tool.
OBAMA: The little tool. And it only have, I think, four parts or Something. And I'm sitting there and I'm just toiling away at this thing and it's taking half an hour. And meanwhile, Michelle has finished scrubbing and she's organizing closets and all this and I was just pretty pathetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Mr. Obama says his daughter make sure to text him regularly to make sure the sentimental father is OK.
And that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. More news from all around the world is next with Natalie Allen and Cyril Vanier. Please stay with them.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. No, I'm not a racist.