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Expelled Student Turned into Killer; Jacob Zuma Steps Down; Firepower for Sale Online; Netanyahu Uncertain Political Standing; South African President Announces He Is Stepping Down; Weather Delays Finally End At Olympics; Topless Tongan Defends His Heritage; Hundreds Of Millions Journey Home For Holiday. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 15, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just absolutely pure evil.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: A Florida community in shock after yet another American school is the scene of a mass shooting. Also ahead, a CNN exclusive. The surprising origins of some of the weapons being used in Syria.

And in South Africa after holding on to power despite multiple scandals an embattled president finally calls it quits.


JACOB ZUMA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.


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

A Florida high school will be closed for the rest of the week after a former student opened fire killing 17 people. Some ran from the sprawling campus and panic while others took cover in their classrooms until police arrived.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands, hands, raise your hands. Police. Police. Let me see your hands! Put your phones away. Put your phones away!


CHURCH: Police say the suspect pulled the fire alarm to draw students and teachers from there to kill more people. More than a dozen people are hospitalized. At least five have life-threatening injuries. Audio from the police scanner show just how chaotic the situation was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventeen Julia five, I have the gunshot victim. I have the gunshot victim here by the entrance to West Glade on the west side of the school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four-o-five, you're just being notified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know but we're in the building 13. Building 13. (Inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does anybody have bolt cutters? I can't get this kid out of the fence. He's stuck in the fence, I need bolt cutters. The coach is with him see if he can help him over the gate.


CHURCH: It is just harrowing even listening to that. And the Florida shooting ranks among the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. It's at least the 18th school shooting in the country this year.

Well, the state of Florida says it will pay for the funeral expenses of the victims and offer free counseling to families and survivors.

CNN's Martin Savidge has more now on the investigation.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The primary effort by law enforcement right now is to continue to identify all of those who were killed in this attack. Initially they began with the dozen or so that were inside of the school building, there were several other people that were killed outside of the school building and we know that there are two other people that died in a hospital.

Authorities have also identified the gunman 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who was expelled last year he was taken into custody. And we're also kind of breakdown as how this attack was carried out. At least through the eyes of law enforcement.

Broward County saying that their first officers on the scene around 2.40 in the afternoon were met by hundreds of students that were fleeing the school building and they later learned that's how the gunman was able to get away concealed by that terrified crowd.

They also identified the gunman by looking at security camera video inside of the school. They knew who they we looking for they got a name and then short time later in a nearby neighborhood he was apprehended. And authorities say at that time Cruz hard time breathing, labored breathing they said, so he was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out just as a precaution.

He was deemed to be fine. He has a hearing later this morning. The real question is why, what motivated him? And why did he carried out the attacks? There is still being closely held but authorities know. They are saying there were indications on social media they do believe

that later it's going to be learned others at least knew of this young man's anger and perhaps his plans. That remains to be seen. But the other concern is of course still in the hospital. There are 15 other people and a number of them they are considered life-threatening condition.

Back to you.

CHURCH: Martin Savidge for that report. And police say the suspect and AR-15 style firearm, the same kind of weapon used in a number of recent mass shootings in the United States. Investigators say he also had multiple magazines for reloading.

[03:05:02] CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has the details.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We're now learning from U.S. officials who have been briefed on this investigation that the shooter purchased the firearm. They now have information, the ATF has been tracing this firearm. And what we're being told by U.S. officials is that he purchase this himself. He went into a gun store and was able to purchase this AR-15 on his own.

We believe that it's been done in the -- it was done in the past year. And key here is that he passed the background check. What's interesting here is because he's 19 and so if he purchase this a year ago, let's say he was 18, that's perfectly legal.

You can purchase this style of weapon at a firearms store at his age. What you can't purchase is a handgun because you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun. So, it's kind of an interesting piece of detail here that there is essentially preventing him from purchasing this weapon.

CHURCH: CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow joins me now. He is also a former secret service agent for President Barack Obama. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So we have learned that the 19-year-old boy suspected of killing 17, at least 17 people at this Florida high school. Used and AR-15 rifle and had multiple magazines. How is it even possible for a teenager to have access to a gun like that?

WACKROW: Well, unfortunately, you know, access to weapons in certain areas of the United States they're easy to ascertain. You know, Florida being one of those -- one of those areas. Right now we are still at the infancy of this incident. The investigation, the investigative phase is just starting.

So we don't know if this weapon where it came from. Whether it was something that was purchased by him, whether it was something that was purchased by a family member. So again we're really not sure where the weapon the ammunition from. And that is, you know, something that law enforcement is currently looking at now. CHURCH: What we do know is that this teenager posted on social media

that he had an AR-15 and intended to shoot people with it. Why didn't that raise any red flags?

WACKROW: You're literally bringing up a -- an issue that I have been talking about all night. Unfortunately, I talked about this every single time that we experience a mass shooting event here in the United States. Every single time in the aftermath of one of these incidents we're asking the same questions.

There are always this leading indicators of, you know, potential violent acts by an individual whether it's online social media postings. It's, you know, something that was said to a friend.

Time and time again we're seeing past behavior an indicator to future violent acts. So your point is very well -- your question is very well taken. And it's something that we as a society need to start answering for is, you know, how can we miss these red flags? How can we miss these indicators so we can prevent these tragedies in the future?

CHURCH: Yes, exactly. It is a very important point. And we want to show our viewers a short video that was taken inside the classroom during that shooting. It describes the terror of the situation better than words ever could. And again, it's tough to watch and tough to hear and we've blurred the faces of the students for their protection.





CHURCH: Jonathan, when we see this and grasp the horror of it all and what those kids went through what's it's going to take to get this country to realize it's not normal to have school shootings like this? Like Sandy Hook and others.

What needs to be done and why is there a reluctance to do it and to take on the powerful in our lobby and to stop this from happening again?

WACKROW: Well, this is -- this is more about creating a culture of security awareness. We need to look at the pathways in the leading indicators towards violent acts. You know, the issue people point to all the time is, you know, it's the gun. The gun is the problem.

The gun is part of the problem, but it's also availability of, you know, proper -- you know, mental health care and availability to doctors if somebody has mental illness. It's about, you know, providing people pathways to report. See something say something about individuals that may cause violent acts.

[03:09:54] There's unfortunately not one single direct answer that's going to solve for this problem. It's a comprehensive strategy that we need to look at. It's about smart gun ownership and responsibility by gun owners.

It is, you know, availability of health care, mental health care for people that need it. There are multiple different taxonomies that need to come into play here to solve for this problem as a collective whole.

Creating a culture of security awareness is going to be the first step that we need to do to start, you know, eradicating this problem within our society.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, again, we look at Sandy Hook we look at this, what is what we saw play out on Wednesday. You still have to wonder if people can't be affected by what happened to the young children of Sandy Hook, you wonder if they'll ever do anything.

But hopefully there will be a point where this country says enough is enough.

Jonathan Wackrow, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

WACKROW: Thank you.

CHURCH: And as we mentioned this mass shooting is now one of the 10 deadliest in modern U.S. history. While some politicians offered prayers and condolences, Senator Chris Murphy let loose with a tirade against the failure to act on gun control.

He is furious and for good reason. He represents the state of Connecticut and that is where 20 children were gunned down at elementary school six years ago.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter. This scourge of school shooting after school shooting. It only happens here not because of coincidence not because of bad luck but as a consequence of our inaction.

We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else. As a parent it scares me to death that this body doesn't take seriously the safety of my children and it seems like a lot of parents in South Florid are going to be asking that same question later today.

We pray for the families, for the victims.


CHURCH: And here is a look at the numbers behind Senator Murphy's frustration. There are more public mass shooting in the United States than any other country in the world. The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world's population that has 31 percent of global mass shooters.

From 1966 to 2012 there were 90 mass shooting in the U.S. alone. Incredible numbers there. We turn now to another big story we're following. It is the end of an

era in South Africa after nearly nine years in power, Jacob Zuma announced Wednesday he was stepping down as president effective immediately.

Zuma have faced a string of corruption scandals that had led his African National Congress party to demand he resign. They also threatened to hold a no confidence vote.


ZUMA: Make no mistake, no leader should stay beyond the time determined by the people they serve. I've served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability.

I am forever grateful that they trusted me with their highest office in the land.

CHURCH: And Zuma's replacement is Cyril Ramaphosa who is expected to be sworn in as president later Thursday or perhaps Friday.

Eleni Giokos joins me now from Pretoria, South Africa with more on this. So Eleni, we spoke 24 hours ago in anticipation of very event. Now Jacob Zuma is out and Cyril Ramaphosa is about to take his place. What major challenges face him in coming days and weeks ahead?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are so many hurdles. It's going to be an uphill battle firstly from a political perspective but also just what will happen the next few hours. So his big challenge was of course Jacob Zuma that now is out of the way, he has stepped town. Now h, Cyril Ramaphosa is essentially the interim president of South Africa.

But a little later this afternoon the national assembly is going to vote for a new president of the republic. We know the opposition party actually want to petition to dissolve parliament and look for a new way forward even calling for fresh elections.

We know that the ANC has signaled that Cyril Ramaphosa is sits for third candidate. But I guess there is a chance that things might not turn the way that we think they will.

[03:15:00] Because just look -- taking a look at what's happened over the last few days and what transpired it's been very difficult to predict and also very difficult to kind of figure out.

But from a political perspective if Cyril Ramaphosa is in fact elected as the new president of the republic he will then have to decide whether he's going to dissolve cabinets whether he's going to put new people in key ministerial positions.

What we also know is that the state of the nation address needs to be done as well and that's going to come through later on Friday evening. So a lot is expected in a very short period of time.

CHURCH: Yes, he is going to have to hit the ground running essentially, isn't he? How hard will it be for Ramaphosa to tackle the many problems South Africa faces with its struggling economy and what forms or reforms might he put into place do you think?

GIOKOS: Yes. I mean, first we take a look at the way the local country has performed. And we've actually seen it hit levels since last night that we haven't seen since 2013, which a testament to the fact that he's got the confidence of the invested community.

But it's going to take more than just President Jacob Zuma signing. It's going to take a lot more work. So he's going to have to look at key positions that need to be filled, he's going to have to try and sort out the very slow growth in the country. You got unemployment rate close to 27 percent.

I mean, the list basically goes on and it's going to take not only the leadership change but also the ANC is going to have to relook its policy. Some say that the ANC cannot stop South Africa's decline, that it's the very policy that has created the problems in South Africa.

And the critics say that, you know, the outlook is relatively bleak unless we see extensive change coming from the top.

CHURCH: And what happens to Jacob Zuma now? Now he's out what's ahead for him?

GIOKOS: A very good question. Yes, a very good question. I mean, look we know that he's going to still get his package, he's going to be treated as a former president of the republic. But he's probably going to go to KwaZulu-Natal his home state in Nkandla.

But remember that you also have 780 counts of charges against him that he could actually be taken court for. So that is a big card hanging over his head. He could have his day in court. His corruption, the corruption allegation surrounding him could result in him perhaps going to jail.

I mean, that's what some are saying. So, two very different scenarios for Jacob Zuma. And now he's lost his protection. I mean, he was the president of the country in the sense that was protecting him and now he's going to be just another citizen of South Africa.

CHURCH: All right. We will of course watch to see what happens there. Eleni Giokos joining us from Pretoria in South Africa. Many thanks to you.

And we will have more later this hour on Jacob Zuma's rise to power, his sudden exit from the presidency and what lies ahead for the country.

Plus, an investigation reveals U.S. military weapons are being sold in Jihadi-controlled areas of northern Syria. CNN's exclusive report straight ahead.

Plus, one of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition partners is publicly criticizing the Israeli prime minister for his allege ties to a corruption scandal. We'll have a live report on that. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers are terrifying array of firepower is for sale online in northern Syria. The massive selection even includes one with an obvious and disturbing American connection.

Nick Paton Walsh has an exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After six years of war in Syria it's awash with weapons yet no more so alarming than here on Jihadi messaging forums in Al Qaeda-dominated areas of the north. Scan the hundreds of guns for sale on the app Telegram and you can see just how distant peaceful normality is.

Grenade launchers, sniper rifles, heavy machine guns missiles, shoulder-launch missiles, thermal sniper scopes. But one offer stands out. An M16A4 all the way from South Carolina company FN MFG. But somehow its seller says he's in the Syrian city of Idlib where Al Qaeda-linked Jihadists dominate.

He offers meet and that makes an extraordinary claim about where he got it from. Division 30 he says.

They were U.S. funded and trained elite group of Syrian rebels deployed in 2015. The unit was swiftly derailed by Jihadists some linked to Al Qaeda and eventually collapsed. The top-end U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons they had vanished into the void of the Syrian civil war. The weapon's serial number suggest it was supplied as part of a U.S. program in the region.

DAMIEN SPLEETERS, INVESTIGATOR, CONFLICT ARMAMENT RESEARCH: What this does show is that this weapon was made in the USA and its serial number is very close to another weapon that our field investigation teams have documented in northern Syria in July 2014 recovered from ISIS forces there, and who presumably sold from Iraqi forces earlier.

It doesn't mean that the exact same thing happened with this weapon, just that it probably shares the same or similar American (Inaudible).

WALSH: Over the past three months we've been observing this robust trade. And anything from rifles to cell phones to mortar shells. And we can't be sure that every Telegram user is in possession of the extraordinary array of weapons on offer.

The U.S. military declined to comment and Telegram say they blocked such content when it's encountered or reported but it barely seems to let up.

What's more it's all in an area where an Al Qaeda affiliate known as HTS is the predominant military power. HAID HAID, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Al Qaeda there being

active and having basically access to human resources with for sure increase the challenges of ending the war any time soon.

WALSH: Idlib is fast bearing the brunt of the regime's fresh onslaught. Civilians trapped. Among extremist whose clout has grown as the focus being on fighting ISIS. The market in sophisticated weapons just making peace for these people need distant dream.

Nick Payton Walsh, CNN, London.

CHURCH: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his coalition is stable making clear he intends to weather the storm after police announced there is sufficient evidence to indict him on corruption charges. Mr. Netanyahu is downplaying the allegations saying they amount to nothing.

The attorney general must now decide whether to file charges and that could take a while. But Mr. Netanyahu is already feeling heat. A key coalition partner publicly criticized him on Wednesday for his alleged ties to the scandal.

Our Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem. So, Oren, Netanyahu pushing back on all of this. But can he withstand the building pressure and there any indications what the attorney general may decide to do in the end.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, expectation -- expectations that the attorney general absolutely take his time on this one. Nobody here is talking about days or weeks until the A.G. makes his decision. Instead the talk is months, perhaps even more than half a year until the attorney general decides whether to indict.

Part of that is because the attorney general has considered here to move very slowly and methodically. So there is no expectation that this will come down quickly, instead the focus is on whether there will be public pressure and political pressure.

Netanyahu says, as you pointed out that his coalition is stable. but one of his key coalition partners has said Netanyahu has not lived up to the standard of the office that he hold, of course the prime minister's office.

[03:25:00] Netanyahu firing back saying the investigation is full of holes. Here is what he said the morning after the police made their statement.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): After reading the recommendation's report I can say that it is biased extreme document full of holes like Swiss cheese and doesn't hold water.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LIEBERMANN: You get a sense there that Netanyahu has ramped up his rhetoric against the investigation for claiming his innocence all along. But now the key players are of course the attorney general even though he's not expected to make his decision any time soon.

And his coalition partners who are effectively putting their finger in the air gauging the wind and gauging the public and how they're reacting to all of this.

CHURCH: Yes, that's going to be the problem for him. Because even though he says his coalition is stable we're hearing there are some problems there. Some members not so sure about this.

The attorney general may take maybe up to six months as you say to make a decision. But in that time what happened is the coalition starts to crumble?

LIEBERMANN: Well, then fresh elections which would be three months from the moment Netanyahu calls those elections. It's a possibility. Netanyahu knows it's one of his options he's called fresh elections before. But it comes down to the calculation of how is the public reacting to all of this?

Remember, this is a solidly right-wing coalition which means many of the parties are drawing from exactly the same voter base. So if one of the parties calls elections too early and the public is unhappy with it they lose out. But if they gauge that the public is unhappy with Netanyahu and wants to see him go then it's to their benefit to call elections early to tap Netanyahu and take down the government.

It's all now a political calculation of where does the public stand on Netanyahu? Netanyahu insists he has the public support, yet the coalition partners will be gauging to see whether they agree with him or not.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Oren Liebermann joining us from Jerusalem, where it is nearly 10.30 in the morning.

Let's a short break here, but just ahead on CNN, South Africa's president steps down. We will look at Jacob Zuma's legacy and what's next for the nation.

Plus, a longtime opposition leader loses his battle with cancer. Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsvangira dies at the age of 65. We will have the details and a live report.

And the latest on our top story the deadly shooting at a Florida high school. We'll be back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Back to our breaking news this hour. The deadly high school shooting in Florida. Here's what we know right now.

[03:29:58] At least 17 people are dead and at least five others have life-threatening injuries. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is a former student. Investigators believe he set off a fire alarm and then shot victims with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle. Cruz's first court appearance is Thursday the Broward County Sheriff and Florida's governor both condemned the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another horrific day to detestable day, on absolutely sick to my stomach to see children who go to school with backpack and pencils lose their lives. How could this ever happen in this country? How did this happen in the state. This is a state that its purpose is keeping all of our children safe. This is absolutely pure evil.


CHURCH: And we can only imagine how difficult it must of been for parents waiting to hear whether their children was safe after the shooting CNN affiliate WP TV spoke to one woman as she made contact with her daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been talking to Julia, she is a parent. She has her daughter lock on the school. Tell us the communication you had with her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My last text from her was that she was going to be evacuated soon but she's not answering text anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a mom who we saw almost all had been in tears, this her mom and her daughter being reunited. No words just the image for you to home. Thank god for just a moment as we all gather again this community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard screaming, I heard about five to six gunshots, and we thought they were firecrackers because it sounded like them. We are not sure what was used, we heard the police getting in here, banging on the doors, and we saw broken glass from the door. I think that was police to get in and I saw some bodies and it wasn't good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People that you recognize?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He was my friend teacher.


CHURCH: Awful story and we followed this one now friends and family of at least four Russian paramilitary contractors say their loved ones were killed last week in U.S. airstrikes in Syria. The rates targeted fighters attacking a base held by U.S. supported forces more than 100 people died, but perhaps the bigger headline is that the Kremlin wont confirmed the Russian casualties ever occurred. Our Fred Pleitgen reports.


night of February 7 the U.S. Air Force was called to repel an attack by pro-government militias against forces supported by the U.S. in eastern Syria around 100 of the attacking militiamen were killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are focused on a singular enemy, ISIS. We are not looking for a fight with anyone else. The secretary Mattis said last week. If you threaten us, it will be your longest and worst day.

PLEITGEN: The attackers killed belong to a Christian militia, known as the ISIS hunters, images of their funerals posted online, much less public. A number of Russian mercenaries supporting the group were also killed. CNN has been able to confirm the deaths of at least four Russian contractors allegedly working for secretive company called Wagner said hundreds of Russians to Syria, among them Vladimir Ladino 51 years old form a Cossack society, including Greg and Stanislav must be 38 from the Ural region. Russia has never acknowledge using paramilitary contractors in Syria in addition to its regular forces.

Despite the growing evidence. Moscow insisted nothing of Russian casualties in the incident. The spokesman for President Vladimir Putin saying in the Kremlin, we do not have specific detailed information that will allow us to draw any conclusions. It cannot be ruled out that citizens of the Russian Federation maybe in Syria they do not belong to be Armed Forces. This is all that can be ascertained, but Russian media, the opposition are demanding answers. (Inaudible) who is running against Putin in the upcoming presidential election writing on her Instagram account, to these death not lie on the conscience of those who have told us for three years how Russia is surrounded by a ring of enemies, all Americans encroach on our interests. Those who ponder to the creation of illegal mercenary formations for their shortsighted political intrigues.

The U.S. says it still does not know if Russians were among the attackers. Why the attack was launched, but has warned that any such intense in the future will suffer the same fate. Fred Pleitgen CNN Moscow.


[03:35:00] CHURCH: More now on these stunning political events unfolding in South Africa after nearly 9 years in power Jacob Zuma is out announcing his resignation as president on Wednesday.


JACOB ZUMA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization, I have always been a discipline member of the ANC.

As I leave I would continue to serve the people of South Africa, as well as the ANC.


CHURCH: ANC leader Ramaphosa is expected to be sworn in as president this week. The man his replacing almost same politically invincible, clinging to power despite hundreds of corruption allegations. More now from David McKenzie on Jacob Zuma's rise and fall.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A charismatic traditionalist with the common touch, Jacob Zuma was also a deeply divisive and presidents. He would never had the gravitas of Mandela all the intellectual rigor of Tavern Becky, his predecessors.

But he too was a key member of the ANC during apartheid spending a decade in Robin Island prison, lacking a formal education Zuma was a savvy politician and a brutal tactician. He helped to bring peace to his troubled region in the lead to the first democratic elections. He is credited with an aggressive expansion of HIV-AIDS treatments that save thousands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This trophy shall remain in Africa.

MCKENZIE: And presided over a huge successful (inaudible).

ZUMA: Why should I be jailed for nothing?

MCKENZIE: That it was the scandals. Seemingly one after another that would define Jacob Zuma, an acquittal after a rape trial that would have sunk most politicians. Followed by hundreds of allegations of corruption too numerous to list. Yet Zuma would firmly hold onto his power and always denied the allegations. The low point in order to pay back some of the millions of public funds used to upgrade his lavish private homestead including a chicken rant and swimming pool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is saying to uphold, defend and respect the constitution and the supreme law of the land.

MCKENZIE: The country's highest court ruled that the president contravened the Constitution that still Zuma remains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zuma has not put on the table a single policy position that has move the country forward. It is that we have one program after the other. The country is not a divided state, but it was when he took over.

MCKENZIE: He presided over the ratings downgrades a failing economy and widening wealth gap. He saw the ANC loose significant ground in elections local and national. Multiple no-confidence vote, street demonstrations. He survived it all until now. David McKenzie CNN Johannesburg.


CHURCH: We turn to Zimbabwe now and the death of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. He died Wednesday at the age of 65. He was being treated in South Africa for colon cancer. Tsvangirai was the main challenger to former president Robert Mugabe. He was beaten by police and arrested many times and later became Prime Minister in a power- sharing agreement, but he was never able to unseat his powerful rival. So let us bring in CNN's Farai Sevenzo. Now, he joins us from Nairobi. Faria has news of Morgan Tsvangirai is passing been received in Zimbabwe, and indeed across the African continent and what legacy does he leave behind?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, you must remember that this was in many respects told back in June 2016 Morgan Tsvangirai announce the world that he was suffering from, as you said, colon cancer and that even with the tumultuous events of November 2017 when Robert Mugabe his nemesis and rival for so long finally left off you could see is we move to Tsvangirai talk to men like us about his conditions that at the end was (inaudible).

The reaction of course has been overwhelmingly sympathetic and a great need to protect legacy just giving the flavor of the sentiments in Zimbabwe at the moment. (inaudible) his former finance secretary in the coalition government in 2009 tweeted just four hours ago, we are stunned, he was our father, our commander, our leader, the most loving of all of us, a father will know what did the first to lift his head and look the dictator in the eye.

[03:40:05] So his legacy really is a great deal, but the one man that had no opposition party, he is a one party state. When Robert Mugabe seems completely uncomfortable that he created an opposition party in the Southern African country with millions of common men. Remember he was one of nine children, the son of a miner and died at 65 and just on the verge when the legacy would contest him in the 2018 election and perhaps gave him some stronghold and now it looks like his party would have to do a gradual more to recover his kind of status and to convince the people to vote for them, because at the moment it is looking very much like an Emmerson Mnangagwa victory. And this just changes within his own party.

CHURCH: We will have to see what happens next. And who fills the vacuum that he leaves behind the rise of Enzo. Thanks so much for joining us. The U.S. Vice president is speaking out about that awkward counter with the sister of North Korea's leader. Mike Pence and Kim Yo-jong sat very close to one another at the winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang and with the world watching Pence gave her the cold shoulder and refuse to stand when the unified Korean delegation made its entrance.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't avoid the dictator's sister, but I did ignore her. I didn't believe it was proper for the United States of America to give you an accountant's to retention in that form someone who is not really the sister of the dictator, but was the leader of propaganda effort. You have to remember this is a family very recently ordered that their brother be murdered using chemical weapons in the world saw that in horror on airport videos reproduce. This is a regime and a family, but also ordered their uncle be executed with artillery fire in front of a crowd of 10,000 people and she's the leader of the propaganda effort of that government.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: So you heard Mike Pence there that refer to the murder of Kim

Jong-un half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. He was killed one year ago at the Kuala Lumpur airport when two women smeared a nerve agents onto his face. Investigators believe his killing was carried out by the North Korean government. We will take a short break here, but days of delays finally come to an end, the Alpine skiers get to compete, the Olympic action just ahead.


[03:45:00] CHURCH: Happy to report gusty winds eased up the Alpine events could finally begin at the Winter games in Pyeongchang and the North Korean pair skaters sets a new possible best in the free skate. So for the very latest on Olympic competition. Amanda Davies joins us now from Pyeongchang. Amanda I know you are happy. High winds of died down and it's looking pretty good there so what about the winter game Olympics.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Yes Rosemary it is really, really strange, I have to say I woke up very early this morning to head down to the cost of the figure skate, got dress as normal and I now feel like I'm a completely different place. After all the wind and the cold. It's really, really quite a lovely calm, sunny day today and for the first time I think about you too many clothes on. We have gone from about -25 to today.

We had the hour or so I would know in the minus after all which a great news long may it last. It is the busiest day so far of the games, there is nine goals that are being handed out than up at the downhill course (inaudible) took full advantage all the conditions. The 35 year old made history, he became the oldest man to win the Olympic downhill event ahead of his fellow Norwegian Kettle Yens he won by .12 seconds to complete quite a comeback after a serious injury.

His major ACL knee injury in January 26. He is now an Olympic downhill champion which adds to his super G victory from 2010 and in terms of the women we've been talking very much about Michaela Chevron, have we been talking her up and have at least and despise two days of delayed races for her, the 22-year-old regroups to produce what it in the giant slalom, to claim her second Olympic gold after victory in the slalom in Sochi, age just 18. She is widely regarded as the best slalom ski there is at the moment and you may remember, she a made her well-kept debut at 15 and has been turning head ever since, but the big question for her now this been the punching of the schedule, will she be able to go on and compete in all five events that she was hoping to. Will she be able to win a second gold in two days tomorrow which is what she's aiming for.

Also, as you mentioned, a really big day for the North Korean figure skating Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik the free skate final, I was there to watch they got an incredible reception from across the arena. The only North Koreans to qualify out right for this game. They will receive not only by the crowd, but also the North Korean cheering squads who are getting to know pretty well by sight at least and their fellow athletes who gave them a great reception as they were introduced in the arena. They put in a really good performance.

Then it gets to add when they skate it, but ultimately they went on to finish 13, no doubt they will be remembered for the incredible poise and performance with the eyes off the world watching the performance meaning so much more than just about sports and taking the gold was the German pair, (inaudible) and (inaudible). They set the free program worlds records of a 159.31, which beat the previous record set two years ago. It took them from fourth after a short program to the top off the podium, Japanese first gold since 1952 and Germany's 8 gold medal of this games and increasing their lead at the top of the medal table. As you can see, to three over the Netherlands and Norway and the United States.

And in the biggest rivalry in women's hockey they have taken to the eyes. The defending champions Canada up against the USA, Americans to 1 1/2 ballgame of the bundle hockey center. Canada's 23rd consecutive Olympic hockey win, they are now on to the course of final, there are not many people backing against the math to take what would be a face straight gold Rosemary.

CHURCH: Amanda Davies. Many thanks. Good to see you enjoy your better weather there, I appreciate it.

Tongan athlete created a sensation with his bare chested entrances in the Olympic opening ceremony, he has already competed in tae kwon do in Rio and he may seem like an unlikely cross-country skier at the Pyeongchang games. He is even considering a third sport as Lynda Kincaid reports he's getting noticed a game for his passion and patriotism.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: He is known around the world as the topless Tongan. Peter to the show again on Wednesday when he delivered a powerful message about his country. This time fully clothes.

[03:50:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My ancestors could sail across the Pacific Ocean for thousand years not knowing where the next piece of land is going to be, not knowing when the next meal was going to be going to war and I can walk for 25 minutes through an opening ceremony without a shirt on. And represent a thousand years of heritage.

KINKADE: Tonga is a tropical kingdom in Polynesia. And on Monday it suffered the most devastating cyclone in 60 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will rebuilt, what has been effective is the hearts of the people.

KINKADE: Representing Tonga to pedophilia competing tae kwon do in the Rio games and he will cross country ski in Pyeongchang, despite having almost no experience in the snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had no access to snow. We have no access to the funds and equipment.

KINKADE: But nothing to 34-year-old couldn't overcome. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are ways of how can we mimic being a snow

without actually being on snow.

KINKADE: And though he says he going with the medal this year, he hopes his efforts will pave the way to future generations of Tonga Olympians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People from the Pacific, this kids who are watching now, they will have access to something that they never knew existed before.

KINKADE: Having competed in the heat and this Friday in the snow to (inaudible) is already thinking about his next move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any order is the next thing. Maybe something to look forward. Stay tuned.

KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade CNN.


CHURCH: What an inspiration there and we are seeing another glimpse of unity between North and South Korea with the Olympics, the South figure skater Kam Alex King John posted to this selfie with fellow North Korean athlete Kim Ju Sik on his Instagram page and you can see it here, but the captions says this, with my bro from up north, wohoo let us go.

Well up next heading home for holiday like no other, Matt Rivers ride along with the world's largest annual migration. We are back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: It has to be said there is something about going home for the holidays in China. The big holidays Friday Chinese New Year and it brings the world's largest annual migration when's 100's of millions people make the journey home to see family. Here is Matt with us.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When we turn up my hygiene was hoping to sell a family pig for about $500, a lot of money for a typical family in China, becomes a good time, gifts for Chinese New Year get expensive. To set the scene we are in an extremely poor village in southern China. Most of the year. This place is quiet around now it starts to fill back up. People come home to see family welcomed with open arms. As we were at Mai's house. Over some food and lots of non-negotiable homemade rice liquor, he explains the holiday.

We Chinese have a traditional family reunion in our hometown, we will return, you don't really have a choice. So his entire family will soon arrive for a week's worth of eating and drinking in reminiscent, he got 12 siblings in the family become known to that. But no one can afford to live in the place they grew up. [03:55:00] The house is big enough to accommodate the entire family.

But the problem is if you live here, you can't make any money so most of the family leaves for the bigger cities to try and find work and they usually do. But one time in a year they come back to visit is right now. During Chinese New Year and that is why it is so important.

Hundreds of millions of Chinse people head home in this time of year. Planes, trains, cars, all those are comfortable, but if you got no money you can motorbike will have to do.

We saw thousands of bike over two days outside, riders outfitted for trips that can last for a day or more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had more money I will take a train, this trip is exhausting.

RIVERS: We drove along the route for hours, there are rest stops to make the trip bit easier. Volunteers serve hot meals, run clinics and even fix bikes. He was about to take off when we met him so we drove along of a bike of our own.

What is the hardest part of this trip for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is dangerous, especially during the holidays with so many more trucks and cars on the road, it is easy to get to an accident. But it is the only way to get home to see his family while making sure his children have a future.

RIVERS: So it ends up being totally worth in the end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't make money if I stay home. I don't to be like us, their lives should be as hard as ours.

RIVERS: The work is hard, the journey is hard, but the lure of tradition of family is strong when we left him, he still have hours to drive before reaching home, a rural village just like the one where my Mai insisted that we stay for dinner. The table will be more crowded when the rest of the family gets home. Reunions set to be repeated all across the country.

The most important thing in life is family. Matt Rivers, CNN Guangdong province in Southern China.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company this hour, I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues now with Hannah Vaughn Jones in London. You are watching CNN, have a great day.