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Shutdown Day Two, No Breakthrough in Sight; Thousands Protest for Women's Rights across the U.S.; At Least Five Killed in Kabul Hotel Siege; Pope Francis Blesses Disabled Child on Street. Aired 2- 2:30a ET

Aired January 21, 2018 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody, thank you for joining us, I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta and your CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


VANIER: We are now into day two of the U.S. government shutdown, most federal departments are shut and the employees are asked to stay home without pay. The Statue of Liberty is now closed. So is Ellis Island. Some national parks may be accessible -- that was a White House priority -- but not the things that require personnel, like trash collection at those same national parks.

In Washington, the Senate will convene at 1:00 pm and the House at 2:00 pm. When they left on Saturday evening, though, they had made no visible progress. Here's Phil Mattingly.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, day one of the government shutdown was defined much more by what didn't happen than what did: most notably, negotiations. This was the day that was defined by lawmakers more or less settling into their positions.

On the House floor, on the Senate floor, more partisan talking points, blame to be passed around, the natural negotiations trying to figure something out. Here's the reality as it currently stands.

Republicans, they have a House passed bill. It's a four-week stopgap funding bill and they're very comfortable in that position. You talk to aides in both the House and Senate side and they say, look, we've done something. Something is out there for Democrats to consider. It's time for them to consider that.

Democrats, they've made very clear this isn't about the four-week resolution, this isn't about shortening that from four weeks to three weeks. They want some type of firm commitment on the DACA issue that will get them to a resolution. There is a trust deficit on the Democratic side and that is really driving their position at this point.

As to those partisan talking points, well, if you want a flavor of them, take a listen to what Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had to say on the floor.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-o. That's why this compromise will be called the Trump shutdown.

MATTINGLY: The big question now obviously is how is this actually going to play out going forward. Is there an actual end game?

Well, if Saturday defines things it doesn't look like things are going to be ending anytime soon. Senate majority leader Mitch McDonnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, they didn't even speak throughout the day. President Trump and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, they didn't speak, either.

Lawmakers more talking past one another than anything else. Here's where something might actually be triggered though. The government shutdown really starts to bite on Monday morning, when hundreds of thousands of federal workers won't be allowed to go into work. They will be furloughed.

That's when the pressure will really pick up. And because of that, aides on both sides say, if there is a deal to be made in the near term, it would happen on Sunday. However, at this point, there's still no Senate vote scheduled on Sunday.

Talks still at the preliminary stage at best. So if something's going to happen, it's going to have to happen pretty quickly -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.


VANIER: And you got a pretty good sense for the fact that the blame game was in full swing on Saturday. Listen to this.


SCHUMER: This is the third or fourth time on this issue he's made some kind of commitment and then backed off because he's afraid of the right wing. Whether Stephen Miller does it, whether General Kelly doesn't steer him in the right direction and just lets it happen, I don't know.

But it's getting very, very difficult. You know, my hope has always been that Senator McConnell and Leader Ryan would see, knowing what they know about the president, that they would step up to the plate themselves. But they're afraid to, too, I think, or at least reluctant to. I wouldn't characterize it as afraid.

But they are reluctant. Leader McConnell has said publicly that he doesn't know what the president thinks and has told me repeatedly, I should negotiate with Trump. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: The American people cannot comprehend why the search and rescue senator from New York is advising his party to keep the government shuttered for American troops, American veterans, American military families and vulnerable American children until he gets exactly what he wants on the issue of illegal immigration.

The situation which not even -- does not even become urgent until March.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: There's no defense to what we're doing. The DACA population is very sympathetic, nice in public. The military is beloved in the eyes of the public. Most people want to find the government -- the president decided to give to Congress six months to find a DACA solution. That was plenty enough time.

The president needs to find a deal he can live with and stick with it. I think we look petty, we look like we care more about the party flag than the American flag.


VANIER: So how long is the shutdown going to last?

Well, who knows. The last one in 2013 lasted 16 days and it was the costliest on record.

In cities across the United States on Saturday, crowds --


VANIER: -- of women filled the streets, marching on sidewalks and singing in parks. They protests the state of women's rights in the country and they had some sharp words for U.S. president Donald Trump. CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of thousands protesting for the second year of Donald Trump's presidency. Mostly women and girls, but also men and boys. Marching not just for gender equality, but for issues ranging from gay rights to immigration and religious freedom. Across the country and around the world, they took to the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it's important to show Congress and the President that we need to be heard.

MARQUARDT: The demonstrators trying to keep the momentum of the movement going. Many of them hoping to turn this enthusiasm into electoral victories in this year's midterm elections.

In New York crowds gathered near the Trump hotel spilling into Central Park, among them (INAUDIBLE) a refugee from Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be accepted and welcome when you have nowhere else to go and no other recourse in this world is a very big thing. And for now to say you are not welcome here is against everything this country stands for.

MARQUARDT: In Philadelphia, women droned their message.

Chicago members of the cast of "Hamilton" sang to hundreds of thousands.

And in Los Angeles, celebrities like actresses Natalie Portman and Viola Davis were among the protesters.

VIOLA DAVIS, ACTOR: I am speaking today not just for the #MeToos because I was a #MeToo. But when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence.

MARQUARDT: In Washington, D.C., crowds marched to the White House. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi pushing for more women to get involved.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Nothing is more wholesome to a government, to a country, to a society than the increased participation of women.


VANIER: President Trump acknowledged these protests on Twitter but he used them to point to his achievements.

He tweeted, "It was a perfect day for all women to march, to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success" of his first 12 months in office and he touted the lowest female unemployment in 18 years.

Moving on now, officials in Afghanistan say an overnight siege of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul is now over. Moments ago, we saw what appeared to be security forces on the roof of the hotel.

Then we heard an explosion on the other side of the building. Officials say six people were killed during the siege, including a foreigner; about 100 others, fortunately, were rescued. Parts of the hotel caught fire during the attack. And this video here shows some people using bedsheets and curtains to escape.

No one has claimed responsibility so far and officials say that all of the four attackers have now been killed. Earlier, journalist Zakaria Hassani (ph) in Kabul told us more about the type of target that is this hotel.


ZAKARIA HASSANI (PH), JOURNALIST: The Intercontinental is a state- owned (ph) hotel, considered as the safest hotel in Kabul. Mostly the -- it holds events like (INAUDIBLE) political gatherings and also (INAUDIBLE).

(INAUDIBLE) because of having (INAUDIBLE) environment and a safer and (INAUDIBLE) very strong (INAUDIBLE), (INAUDIBLE) are likely -- they are eager to (INAUDIBLE) they are eager to settle in this hotel.

So maybe (INAUDIBLE) a few days ago and in 2001, also this attack came under the Taliban. This was a -- came under the Taliban attack, that there were nine men, nine Taliban members, involved. (INAUDIBLE). So again, after (INAUDIBLE) several years, again, this hotel came under the attack.

(INAUDIBLE) for the responsibility, that it might be a high-profile target for the insurgent groups, so that's why they target those kinds of places.


VANIER: As Zakaria (ph) mentioned, security in Kabul has been worsening for years, as insurgents and the government fight for control.

In Syria, one U.S. ally is bombing another in the Kurdish-held Afrin region. The Syrian Democratic Forces, which you may know as SDF, say that Turkish airstrikes killed at least eight people on Saturday. Turkey say it's going after what it calls terrorist groups, targeting ISIS and the Kurdish YPG militia that's part of the SDF.

But the YPG are an enemy of ISIS and a key U.S. ally in the fight against the terror group. Turkey's Prime Minister warns its ground forces could be taking action next and state media report that Turkish-backed rebels have already entered Afrin.

The offensive comes after the U.S. announced that it would train a largely Kurdish border force in Northern Syria.

Lebanese officials say that they have found the bodies of at least 14 Syrian refugees --


VANIER: -- who froze to death. The remains were found Friday and Saturday in a mountainous area near the border with Syria. Two of the victims were children, three other refugees found alive are now receiving medical treatment.

Thousand of Romanians took to the streets of Bucharest to protest government corruption.


VANIER (voice-over): Some 50,000 people marched toward University Square, where all major protests since the 1989 revolution have taken place. They are angry about the governing coalition's attempts to overhaul parliament and weaken judicial oversight. Romania's president as well is the European Commission and the U.S. State Department have criticized the move.

Pope Francis, we've been telling you about him this past week. He will be heading back to Rome Sunday after his weeklong trip in South America. Currently he is still in Peru, where the faithful flocked to see him. The family of a disabled child got an unexpected papal audience on the streets of Lima. Our Rosa Flores was right there.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 13-year-old boy gets a blessing from the pope, thanks to a police officer who took a chance. I happened to be walking by the Popemobile, when I met this couple, they were waiting on the sidelines, hoping to get a blessing from the pope and they say that Officer Alagon (ph) had mercy on them and decided to help them out.

And so they waited there for Pope Francis to finish his visit with the indigenous community in the Amazon of Peru. They waited and they prayed until the moment happened.

The police officer later told me that his plan was simple, he was going to carry 13-year-old Marcelo to Pope Francis, hoping that he would get his blessing. Marcelo is in a wheelchair; his family was filled with emotion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Very emotional, very, very emotional. I didn't think I would make it

FLORES: Officer Alagon (ph) says that they received a rosary from the pope. And, you know, statements it's these short encounters with Pope Francis that show the fervor and the faith of the people -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Puerto Maldonado, Peru.


VANIER: Finally, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is known for his romantic love songs. Even if you don't know his name, you've probably heard some of his music. Here's one of his hits.


VANIER (voice-over): So his songs are often played weddings, and now possibly at his own, he has announced that he is engaged to long-time girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. The two met in grade school, when they were 11 years old, and began dating in 2015.

The engagement comes a very successful year for Sheeran. The Grammy winner was Spotify's most streamed artist of 2017.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is up next and we'll have a reminder of the headlines for you in just a few minutes. Stay with us.