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China Moves to Drop Presidential Term Limits; Beijing Will Host Next Winter Olympics; Spanish King's Visit to Barcelona Sparks Protests; Memorable Moments from the Winter Games; Possibility of Talks Between U.S. and North Korea; Unstoppable Shelling in Eastern Ghouta Killed More Civilians; Debate on Gun Control Continues After Florida Shooting. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 26, 2018 - 09:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): North Korean athletes have left South Korea but did the Winter Olympics cause a thaw in relations with the U.S.?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus airstrikes and bombs are still falling in Syria just days after the U.N. voted on a cease-fire.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also this hour, heavy flooding and tornadoes have caused catastrophic damage in parts of the U.S.

Thanks for joining us. These stories are all ahead here this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER (voice-over): I'm Cyril Vanier here at CNN HQ in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us. CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


VANIER: After the Winter Games, North Korea may be entering a new phase in its relations with South Korea. And judging by what we found out on Sunday, perhaps also with the U.S.

Now that the Winter Olympics have drawn to a close, the diplomatic challenges are just beginning.

ALLEN: South Korea announced Sunday the North is willing to hold talks with the U.S. The White House responded saying Pyongyang must agree to give up its nuclear weapons.

Meantime, President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, has left South Korea, where she represented the U.S. at the closing ceremony. Officials say Ivanka did not interact with the North Korean delegation, even though they were sitting close to each other, just like Vice President Pence was earlier in these Olympics.

Paula Hancocks joins us now live from PyeongChang. So, Paula, as the Olympics end, hope begins perhaps for some sort of diplomatic breakthrough.

But how realistic is it?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really hard to say, Natalie. Certainly from the South Korean point of view, they would hope that this sporting diplomacy will, in fact, transform into diplomacy even after the Olympics are over that North Korea and South Korea will continue this improvement in friendship.

But of course it is not just the two Koreas. The South Koreans have consistently said they want North Korea and the United States to talk. President Moon on Sunday night saying that the North Korean delegation had given him the message that they were ready to talk to the United States.

But, of course, the United States is saying that denuclearization has to be at the top of the agenda when it comes to those talks. As you mentioned Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president's daughter, senior advisor, has now left South Korea.

She didn't answer a lot of questions about North Korea when reporters asked her. But this is what she did say.


IVANKA TRUMP, TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: We are 50 miles away from North Korea. So affirming the U.S. position and our joint position of maximum pressure with our South Korean partners is very important.


HANCOCKS: There was also a response from the White House to that report that North Korea was ready to sit down and talk to the United States.

It said, quote, "We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime the U.S. and the world must continue to make clear North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end."

So clearly the U.S. is set sticking to its message that if they are going to talk, then it has to be about how North Korea is going to denuclearize, something that very few people think that North Korea would ever agree to, the North Koreans consistently saying they need their nuclear missile program for survival against what they call as a hostile U.S. policy.

Now the delegates and the athletes, the cheerleaders from North Korea left South Korea today. They have been a very big part of this PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

So of course the question now is, how do you keep that momentum going? Now that sporting diplomacy is coming to an end, can they move beyond that?

Bear in mind as well, once the Paralympics is over, mid-March, there are going to be U.S.-South Korean military drills, something I did ask the unification minister about on Sunday.

And he said that was going to be key, to talk to the North Koreans whilst they're here over the next couple of days to see how they can make sure that the momentum is not lost once those drills start -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely, it is a window to be sure. Paula Hancocks for us, thanks so much.

VANIER: Earlier we spoke to Robert Kelly about a possible dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea. Robert's an associate professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea. This is what he said.


VANIER: Robert, what do you think about all of this, this idea of direct talks?

And also what do you make of the American response, which, for the moment, is really unclear?

ROBERT KELLY, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Yes, it is. There's always a problem with the Trump people and North Korea because we're getting so much mixed messaging. I think the first thing the Americans need to do is just find a coherent message.

We need some message discipline and we need (INAUDIBLE) story is.

I do think it's a good idea the Americans and North Koreans talk directly. I think one of the reasons why the Trump people have been --


KELLY: -- sort of mixed on this is because the rhetoric has been so tough for -- he has been so tough for a year and (INAUDIBLE) how to respond. It will be awkward if the Americans were to strike North Korea at the same time the North Koreans were saying we want to talk.

Global (INAUDIBLE) not look at that very well. And so I think the Trump people need to figure that out. If they want to start going forward with strikes, which kind of is where they've been going for the last six months, then they have to find a way to get around this North Korean -- the negotiation.

VANIER: What about -- how do you interpret this move by North Korea, from their perspective?

Is this a smokescreen?

Because they've been -- they've sat down at that negotiating table with the U.S. several times before and essentially achieved nothing.

KELLY: Yes, that is right. We have been here before, which is why a lot of people I think out there in the analyst community, people who do what I do, are sort of like, well, you know, we've seen this before and the Olympics is a lot of hype.

And it's nice. It's good. You always want the North and the Americans to talk and it's better than shooting. But we've been here before and we have to see the Trump people really want to take this up.

But we also, to be fair to the Trump administration, we also want to make sure that the North Koreans are genuine on this. The North Koreans have said, have often given us stuff and then they pull things back and negotiations collapse.

We fight over microdetails and we get lost in the weeds. And that is what really matters. The North Koreans are actually going to make some kind of serious concession that is real, something like putting cameras back into the North Korean nuclear facilities for example or beginning some kind of discussion around this (INAUDIBLE).

There's got to be something real. It can't just be the atmospherics of the Olympics. Moon Jae-in goes to Pyongyang, he's got to come back with some kind of serious North Korean concession or we'll be where we've been for a decade and a half now.

VANIER: Well, look, that was going to be my question.

If they do sit down, what would they even talk about?

Because the U.S. want denuclearization --


KELLY: Right.

VANIER: -- and they're adamant about that. But we know one thing -- and you've told me before and every analyst that I've spoken to before has told me -- North Korea is not giving up its nuclear program.

So what would they talk about?

KELLY: Yes. I think that's right. I think maybe we can build towards denuclearization. Maybe we can actually get some trust on some smaller things that we can actually work our way there. I think if the Trump people come in immediately and say they've got to give up their nukes, the North Koreans are just not going to do that.

I mean I just don't know anybody who thinks they're going to do it. The North Koreans have not signaled in any way flexibility on that.

So I think we need to start with something small. I would say that's the answer to your question is sort of look for something small but meaningful. Like my sense is nuclear safety is a growing issue for example in North Korea. I don't think this is getting nearly the kind of discussion that it needs to but, you know, there's a good possibility of a Chernobyl- style incident in North Korea. We can only imagine what nuclear safety is like, disposal and maintenance in North Korea. That's something I would like to see. Get some inspectors back in there.


VANIER: Robert Kelly speaking to me a short while ago.

ALLEN: A Saturday cease-fire vote at the U.N. appears to have changed nothing in Syria's brutal civil war. Activists say airstrikes and artillery are raining down. Still on Eastern Ghouta, there are also reports pro-government forces are mounting a ground offensive.

VANIER: Some 400,000 people are estimated to still live in Eastern Ghouta. Some of them are fighters, of course, but others are just families -- mothers, children. And they, too, live under this constant bombardment.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh shows us what their life is like. And inevitably her report contains graphic video.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Images that the world has seen time and time again out of Syria -- another strike, another rescue of a bloody child, whose name we may never know.

Eastern Ghouta has become a killbox. People here say they've never seen a week like this before. Activists have been trying to document what life, if one can call it that, is like for civilians here.

In underground shelters, they hope they will survive. It's a miserable existence.

FATIMAH, EASTERN GHOUTA RESIDENT (through translator): There is no drinking water. We try our best to give children a little bit to drink. We eat once a day or we don't eat at all.

KARADSHEH: When the airstrike stops, the brave and desperate venture out.

"We've come up waiting here for the feed delivery. We have no food left," this boy says.

"We're waiting. If a round hits us, it's OK. We will die".

KARADSHEH: Aid groups say hundreds have lost their lives this past week, thousands more wounded. A U.N. resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire is nothing more than ink on paper, activists say. People fear the worst is yet to come with reports of the regime and its allies launching a ground offensive.

FATIMAH: We want a ceasefire so that people can get out and breathe; so that they can treat their children. No matter what we say, no one can imagine what it's like being in this situation.

KARADSHEH: And no one, it seems, so far, can stop the horror for this population trapped in a living nightmare -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Amman.


ALLEN: If there were a cease-fire, that would allow aid groups to bring in desperately needed help to these people. I talked to earlier with Sajjad Malik in Damascus.


ALLEN: He is the U.N. Refugee Agency's representative in Syria.


SAJJAD MALIK, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REPRESENTATIVE TO SYRIA: Since yesterday, we haven't seen the guns falling silent. We still hear, we are not far from this place. We can actually see the place from our location that we are.

But unless the guns fall silent, unless the bombs stop falling we would be unable to bring assistance there.

ALLEN: So you say you're so close you could get assistance, if it was safe, in there in, what, minutes?

I mean it has to be so frustrating.

MALIK: It is frustrating. And we know there are people in there, in desperate situation. We had a convoy to an area called Massabiyah (ph) just a few weeks ago and we saw first-hand for ourselves that people are cold. They are traumatized. They're hungry. They're sick and wounded in there.

We saw it ourselves and I'm sure there are many more. There are people living in basements. There are people living in skeleton buildings. They need food. They need water. They need blankets. They need medicines. They need their wounded to be evacuated.

And we are ready. We are ready here, sitting in Damascus with our trucks, with our convoys. We can go in any minute only if we are allowed to go in.

We don't go with armed escorts or anything. Our staff go in unarmed. We just go in our civilian cars and we need this fighting to stop to give us that small window of opportunity to bring assistance in.


ALLEN: Since this assault began on Ghouta, some 500 people, almost 500 people have been killed, 99 of them children.

VANIER: Still to come on the show, outrage over so many missed warnings about the school gunman in Parkland, Florida. We'll hear why the local sheriff is resisting calls to step aside.

ALLEN: Plus goodbye PyeongChang, hello Beijing. We look ahead to the 2022 Winter Olympics.






ALLEN: A week and a half after the deadly high school shooting in Florida, there's growing pressure on Congress to do something about guns. While the U.S. president has indicated he's open to considering gun law reforms, Mr. Trump is also proposing arming teachers.

VANIER: And his daughter, Ivanka Trump, was asked about exactly that on NBC.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a mom of three young children.

Do you believe that arming teachers would make children safer?

IVANKA TRUMP: To be honest, I don't know. Obviously, there would have to be an incredibly high standard for who would be able to bear arms in our school. But I think there is no one solution to creating safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you advising your dad on this?

You advise him on other topics.

IVANKA TRUMP: I think having a teacher who is armed, who cares deeply about her students or his students and who is capable and qualified to bear arms, is not a bad idea. But it's an idea that needs to be discussed.


VANIER: And President Trump told governors at the White House this weekend that school safety is a top priority for him and that he would make that first on his list in meetings with them later on Monday.

One of the things that makes this latest shooting especially painful is how many red flags about the gunman were missed or ignored; 17 people are dead and there are growing demands for someone to be held accountable.

ALLEN: An armed deputy stayed outside even as the gunman fired on students and teachers inside the school. The Broward County Sheriff's office also said it had received 23 calls related to the shooter or his family in the past decade.

Now dozens of Florida lawmakers want the Broward County Sheriff suspended. Sheriff Scott Israel spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that if the Broward sheriff's office had done things differently this shooting might not have happened?

SCOTT ISRAEL, SHERIFF, BROWARD COUNTY: We understand everything wasn't done perfectly and if it happened in Los Angeles or Chicago or any other city, every person wouldn't perform perfectly. That's not what happens.

Yes, if Scot Peterson went into it, do I believe if Scot Peterson went into that building there was a chance he could have neutralized the killer and saved lives, yes, I believe that. But as far as anything else done at this point, I can't say that.


VANIER: And Martin Savidge has more for us from Parkland, Florida.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even as the chorus of voices demanding that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel either step down or the governor the state of Florida fire him, there seems to be only defiance coming from the sheriff himself. He has said that he definitely has no intention of resigning and he also says that all of this is now being driven by politics.

He points out the fact that of course the governor is republican and most of the lawmakers so far that have come forward demanding that the governor remove Israel are also republican lawmakers. The sheriff himself is a democrat.

But here in the community where this tragedy played out, it is not about partisan politics. It's about something much more simpler and even easier to understand. It's about personal pain. It's about the loss that they have suffered.

And it's about almost the day to day revelations that seem to imply that the Broward County sheriff's office either failed to see serious warning signs coming from the alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz, that one of their deputies failed to intervene when the shooting was taking place and that there were other deputies that failed to rush in the in the immediate aftermath.

As parent who has lost a child, as a community that has lost so much in all of this, the anger has jut reached a breaking point and they believe the sheriff is directly responsible. He is the head of the department.

Meanwhile, the governor of Florida is still pushing forward with his plans to bring about change and to improve security at the schools within the state. There is one point, though, in which he disagrees with the President of the United States.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): President Trump --


SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- has come out and said he thinks it's a good idea that some teachers and high schools should be trained and armed with side arms. Governor Scott does not agree with that.


RICK SCOTT, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I disagree with him. I believe you've got to focus on people that are well-trained, law enforcement that are trained to do this. I want to make sure that we have significant law enforcement presence on top of hardening the schools, metal detectors and bulletproof glass, better perimeter fencing, all these things.

And the other thing is I want to give our sheriff's department in each county the authority to do, create the program on a per school basis that the parents can feel comfortable that their child is going to is a safe school.


SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, the investigation into the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School is continuing. It is currently being handled by the Broward County sheriff's department. But now the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in by the governor to investigate the Sheriff's Department as to how they responded on that terrible day -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Parkland, Florida.


VANIER: Let's bring in our political commentators, Andre Bauer and Marc Lamont Hill. Marc is a host on BET News. He's also a professor at Temple University. Andre is a former Republican lieutenant governor from South Carolina.

Gentlemen -- we may be at a tipping point on gun reform here in the U.S. Here is the proportion of Americans who now support stricter gun laws. That's according to our latest CNN poll. Let's put it up -- 70 percent.

Now that's an overwhelming number. And it also suggests that the Florida school shooting had a much bigger impact on a public opinion than previous shootings because just a few months ago after the Las Vegas shooting it was actually deadlier. Only 52 percent of Americans wanted more gun control so the country was evenly split just a few months ago.

Marc, do you see, do you think this has lasting power? Do you see stricter gun control on the horizon in the U.S.?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if history is any indicator, the answer is no. We have this ritual of having a tragedy, mass shooting followed by outrage.

Followed by people telling us that we shouldn't be outraged and that we shouldn't politicize our outrage, followed swelling opinion polls although this is bigger than normal and then ultimately nothing happens.

There are two things we have to think about. One, I think is, you know, what does stricter mean. Yes, everyone is for stricter gun laws but when it comes down to laws that really intensify the pressure to say hey, background checks, mandatory background checks. Getting rid of some of these bigger assault weapons, getting rid of other forms of checks, limiting (INAUDIBLE) purchasing even more.

Those things don't necessarily resonate. Seventy percent want some kind of control but it becomes much more important when you're looking for details.

And the second quick thing is that just because the majority of Americans want it doesn't mean it gets done because we have lobby groups particularly in the NRA which is far more powerful than every day citizens. And so money in not having guns.

VANIER: Andre -- do you think the current mood can translate into action. In other words, do you see bipartisan support for gun reform, for a new law which hasn't happened since the 90s?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'll tell you what I do see. I do see a lot of my friends who are actually more conservative and more gun folks telling me, hey, you know, maybe we do need to address some of these issues.

I see a softening of some of these folks that I haven't seen before. And I find it interesting just listening to what others are saying that have been pretty staunch about hey, you know, don't take my rights. I even see some of those folks saying some of these things need to be addressed.

Another mass shooting, another unfortunate situation -- there is a lot of other things that need to be discussed like The FBI, law enforcement not doing their job correct.

However someone that can purchase a gun that can fire off unbelievable amounts of rounds, you know, does that need to be addressed? Yes, it does. And I think you're seeing a lot more folks like myself that have been gun advocates say there needs to be a bigger discussion. And I think you're going to see that this week in Congress.

VANIER: Yes. And there are a number of things now that seem to have, at least judging by, you know, the public pronouncements, the public statements that have been made over the last week. It seemed to have bipartisan support. Listen to what Donald Trump said about potentially raising the age at which it becomes legal to buy a rifle.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Perhaps we'll do something happening, you know, on age because --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. D. TRUMP: -- it doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait until you're 21 years old to get a pistol but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school you get that at 18. I mean that doesn't make sense.


VANIER: All right. So the President is in favor of raising the age. Marc -- you see that happening?

HILL: Again -- I hope so. And I hope Andre's right. I hope the people who are strongly --


VANIER: In terms of the actual path towards change, do you see when you factor in the President's political calculus and when you factor in the support that may or may not be there in Congress, what do you think?

HILL: Maybe I'm just cynical but I see moments where the President says we need to get something through regardless of (INAUDIBLE). We saw this with immigration reform. Everyone was on board with it but nothing happens. I think that the lobbies are too strong. I'm not sure two weeks from now or a month from now. I hope I'm wrong but I don't see it.

VANIER: All right. Let's listen to the lobby or at least the voice of the lobby. Dana Loesch is spokesperson for the NRA. And she was asked that question specifically about the age at which it is legal to buy a rifle. This is what she said.


DANA LOESCH, NRA SPOKESPERSON: So far nothing's been proposed yet. The NRA has made their position clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Dana, the position is you don't want to raise the age.

LOESCH: That's what the NRA came out and said. That's correct.


VANIER: Ok. Andre -- to you, help us separate the fact from fiction about the power of the NRA because Marc was -- this is really, you know, a story thing that keeps being brought up. Mass shooting after mass shooting and Marc was referencing the power of the lobbies. Obviously he had the NRA in mind and here we have a specific issue on which the President and the NRA seem to be at odds namely raising the age at which you can buy a gun from 18 to 21.

Do you think Mr. Trump can afford to go against the NRA which has specifically drawn that line in the sand?

BAUER: Well, I think he can; his election's several years away. I think the folks that are more concerned are the people that are in the United States Congress -- they're up for election this year.

And if you're in a heavily conservative state and you start fighting -- it's not just the NRA as in itself. You're talking about those members who are very active and most of them vote and involved in campaigns and they care.

And so I think part of the big fight will be what are they talking about?

Are you talking about a hunting rifle versus an AR-15?

If you address AR-15s or these massive rapid fire weapons, I think a lot of folks say look, you know, allow my 19-year-old son to go hunting and I don't have a problem with that.

So I think a lot of the devil's in the details. But I think that it's healthy to have a discussion and hopefully we'll come to a better understanding and address some of these issues and at least take out some of these things that are really just killing machines.


VANIER: Marc Lamont Hill and Andre Bauer, who joined us on CNN NEWSROOM earlier.

And one more thing to tell you about the Florida school shooting is that the children of the school should be going back to school on Wednesday. They actually went back on Sunday; classes start again on Wednesday.

ALLEN: Got to be a --


ALLEN: -- very hard thing for them to do, I can imagine.

China's president is just finishing up his first term in office but a power play could keep him in office for years. We'll tell you what's going on, ahead here.

VANIER: And the search is intensifying for more than 100 missing Nigerian girls. Why their parents they are doing what the government could not.



ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's take another quick look at your headlines this hour.



VANIER: China's ruling communist party wants to drastically change the country's constitution. They have proposed removing presidential term limits that would pave the way for -- that would pave the way for the President, Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely.

ALLEN: President Xi will be formerly elected to his second five-year term next month.

VANIER: Our Matt Rivers is following the latest from Beijing. Matt, Xi Jinping look set to run China for a very, very long time.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Basically as long as he wants to at this point and there's a number of different reasons for that not only because of this latest move would eliminate presidential term limits. That will formalized at that same National People's Congress in early March there.

But basically, that sets Xi up to run the state. He'll be head of state for basically as long as he wants, perhaps as long as he is alive. But also remember what happened last year, he was reelected as the general secretary of the communist party, he's Xi Jinping thought as (INAUDIBLE) is written into the party constitution. So when you take all of the events over the past several months, these two main ones being the most preeminent and you combine them, that's the context. And the context you need there is that this is Xi Jinping's China, he is running it like an authoritarian dictator and that is not changing anytime soon.

VANIER: It looks like we're going to have a lot of time, you and I to talk about this, she's hold on power. But I know before this news broke, you were out reporting. Tell me what you've been working on.

RIVERS: Yes. Well one of President Xi Jinping's big goals has been to elevate the sports industry here in China and one of the benefits of being an authoritarian dictator-style ruler is that you can kind of do what you want.

He's a big fan of soccer, of football. He's put a ton of state money into investing in that and he also is investing in winter sports ahead of the Beijing Games in 2022. And so we went up to one of those sites where the games will be held to take a look at what as of right now is a country with very little winter sports tradition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPES) RIVERS: Twelve million Chinese people skied in 2017, so says a widely

sighted ski industry report. Might sound like a lot but that's less than one percent of the country's total population.

Like most winter sports here, skiing is growing fast, but so far lax mass appeal which is why this might seem surprising. Beijing will host the next Winter Olympics in 2022 in a country with little winter sports tradition but lots of Olympic experience. In 2008, China put on a show at the summer Olympics in Beijing. Come 2022, you'll see some of those same venues retrofitted for the cold events. Three different areas host it all, not without their problems. Start in Mountainous Xiaohaituo where the freestyle stuff, think halfpipe ski moguls.

To do all that though, you need snow. And nearly all of it on this on mountain is made by machines. But organizer say there is plenty of fake snow to go around, and so the focus is on building out competition sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to have everything ready by 2020.

RIVERS: Right. And you're on pace for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're absolutely on pace for that, yes.

RIVERS: Speaking of pace, a lot of hotels and Olympic villages still need to be built. Chinese official say they're on target too, not to mention this $9.2 billion railway designed to cut travel time between venues.

Even though it might not look like it, at the moment, officials are promising that it will be done on time. A tougher task, getting ordinary Chinese people to truly care about the games.

MARK DREYER, CHINA SPORTS EXPERT: So the challenge has to be to expand that winter sports base.

RIVER: The government is trying though. According to state media, a series of state-run initiatives will try to create a $160 billion winter sports industry by 2025 by getting 300 million people on skis and skates. Defense of the games will be a hit here though faces legitimate skepticism.

CHARLES ZHENG, SKIER: Because China is still a very beginner ski market.

RIVERS: The skiers and skaters and lugers, and curlers will be here in just four years whether lots of Chinese people are engaged in the same sports by then is an open question.


RIVERS: And look Cyril, the push is on by the government to try and get people to care about the games, to get engaged in the kind of sports that those games feature. But there is one way that I think we can all agree just is a guaranteed way to get people to care and it's by selling overpriced merchandize.

We picked this up at a store in Beijing, says "Beijing 2022" cost way too much money. But it did keep the tea at the mountain this weekend warm, so, you know, there's that. Whatever that's worth.

VANIER: Love it. Love it. Keep us a couple. Natalie wants one too for her collection. I love it. I love your report.

RIVERS: You got it. We'll (INAUDIBLE) later.

VANIER: I love the story. One thing missing in your report, we don't see you skiing and I think that's on purpose. I have knowledge about your skiing ability.

RIVERS: Oh no. I can -- I can ski, just ask the photographer, you know, who is there. We've got proof on camera, OK?


VANIER: All right.

RIVERS: We got it.

VANIER: Matt Rivers reporting live from Beijing, thank you very much.

ALLEN: Now the story we're following, the Nigerian government intensifying its search for 110 girls who've been missing since Boko Haram militants raided their school a week ago. Now, the air force has fighter jets, helicopters, and surveillance planes conducting round the clock searches over Northeast Nigeria.

VANIER: That's where the girls' school is and that's where they were last seen. After a week of confusing contradictory statements from government agencies, agonized parents have joined forces and put together a comprehensive list of their missing daughters. The country's president calls the situation a national disaster and is promising the families, the girls will be found.

OK. Now, imagine signing up for a journey in which you're warned upfront that you may be raped. That's what Nima Elbagir faced in a following -- in a follow-up to her undercover report on slave auctions in Libya.

ALLEN: She went undercover to Nigeria to learn how people are smuggled through Libya trying to get to Europe.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To prove just how brazen these criminals are, we're trying to see if someone will agree to traffic us to Europe. He calls himself (INAUDIBLE) one of an army of pusher man. The brokers who work alongside smugglers on the Nigerian end of the Africa to Europe migrant.

Taking me aside, (INAUDIBLE) repeats again, "Condoms, don't struggle if you're raped and ultimately trust in God." From here begins the journey to Europe, the journey into the unknown. Many who undertake this journey are still unaccounted for.


VANIER: Now tune in Tuesday for Nima Elbagir's exclusive report on the business of smuggling people through Africa.

ALLEN: Heavy thunderstorms, flooding, and tornadoes all causing much damage in parts of the U.S., we'll show you the hardest hit areas coming up.

VANIER: While Samsung unveils its newest Galaxy phone, will it be the iPhone killer that Samsung needs to climb back on top? We'll be taking a look.



ALLEN: The king of Spain is visiting Barcelona and that is not sitting well with those who support Catalan independence. Hundreds of demonstrators filled the streets Sunday night banging pots and pans in defiance of the king who is a vocal critic of the Catalan separatist movement.

VANIER: Some protest is also clashed with police in front of the city's music palace where the king attended a welcome event for the 2018 Mobile World Congress. It's the first time he's visited the Catalan region since the independence referendum back in October.

And as protesters brawled in Barcelona, outside the Congress, Samsung was inside fighting for dominance of these smart phone marketplace.

ALLEN: CNN Samuel Burke is there, he shows us Samsung's newest Galaxy phone which the company hopes will give Apple's new iPhone X a run for its money.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Samsung is hoping to take back its spot as the top smartphone maker in the world. When Apple launched the iPhone X, they took the number one spot, Samsung moved to number two.

But now they're hoping with the enhanced cameras on the S9 and the S9 Plus, that they'll be able to beat Apple plus they're really separating themselves from Apple when it comes to the headphone jacks. They're actually keeping a spot for that, Apple abandoned it and with price. The new S9 will cost $720, much less than an iPhone. Any attention on a Samsung device rather than a family behind that company is welcome news for Samsung.

The defector leader of the company just got out of jail after spending less than a year there for corruption charges. This upset many anticorruption campaigners in South Korea who thought that he might spend much closer to his full five-year sentence there. I'm Samuel Burke, back to you.

ALLEN: Thanks Samuel. The Central U.S. is dealing with heavy flooding.

VANIER: And tornadoes and thunderstorms have caused severe damage in the south. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now. Ivan.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We have had a tough weekend. In fact, we continue to see heavy rainfall that is now moving further to the east, and so we'll talk about that and, of course, the tornadic threat as well.

Let's check in on climatology here, right? This is the time of year the United States begin to see severe weather and they see it in the form of tornadoes which, of course, impacted the Central U.S. over the weekend, we'll talk more about that. But there you see the ramp up here. We're still in February averaging about 30 and then we really get going in the season as far as April and into May. But this is what happened over the weekend, we had hail reports but 69 is severe wind reports and these, 12 tornadic reports and that was the big deal across the Central U.S. And in fact, some of these resulted in fatalities unfortunately as they were devastating as far as their intensity.

I want to focus in on Clarksville, Tennessee, an EF2, we measure them by how much damage they cause and this one was a two out of five, a 125 miles per hour. That would be about 200 kilometers per hour. And folks, this is what that looks like as it rolls through a neighborhood here. There you see some of the damage here, incredible as folks are just trying to pick up the pieces at this point here, obviously, total destruction there. I must tell you, the video you're seeing here, there were no fatalities here but there injuries.

And notice the track here, this is where the tornado landed and it just continued moving through some areas. Some homes not receiving damage, and some homes completely obliterated. That's the kind of situation that we're in that when you talk about these types of tornadoes here and how they develop. We'll continue to see flooding as well as a result of the rainfall that has been falling over the last several days. In fact, numerous centimeters of rainfall and this is basically what's left as far as the flooding.

At this point, no additional rain is going to fall but what will happen is we're still going to have these residual floods because of the rivers that were involved. This is an improvement compared to what we've been but still, 21 rivers at major flood stage. And, of course, that water has to drain out and it will continue to do so. As far as any additional rainfall, this is what's left of it, pushing through the Atlanta metro area, southeast, busiest airport in the world, now you see some delays early this morning with a severe weather threat significantly diminish now heading into the next couple of days. Guys.

ALLEGN: Now it's good that it's leaving us. Thank you Ivan. Well Pyeongchang, speaking of leaving, bids farewell on a spectacular celebration.


We'll look back at the best moments from the 2018 Winter Games in just a moment.


CABRERA: Winter weather watch on CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. We are ramping up a deadly winter across the United States, the first major severe weather outbreak. We get these outbreaks during the early spring months as the winter and spring seasons collide as far as those air masses and well, that resulted in multiple tornadoes across the southeast and also some very heavy rainfall with flooding that -- in some cases the water is still yet to recede.

However, the severe weather threat has certainly gone at this point here, we're just leftover with some rainfall across the Southeastern U.S. On the back side of it, we actually have dry enough conditions where there will be a fire risk (INAUDIBLE) the southern plains of the U.S. and then lot of action now across Pacific Northwest, another system rolling through there. Here's what's left of the rainfall as it continues to push towards the east across the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States if you're traveling through that part of

the U.S., not really expecting anything as far as significant delays.

But here's where they're likely going to be as the snow will continue to fall. Higher elevation but certainly in places like Seattle, Portland and across Northern California we'll be seeing wet weather over the next 24 to 48 hours as this rain continues to fall from north to south and, of course, higher elevation snowfall will continue there. And nothing unusual about that and we'll see several centimeters of accumulation. Look at the cascades here with a significant snow upwards of 50 centimeters in the next couple of days.

VANIER: Movie goers in India have been watching Actress Sridevi since she was four-years-old.


ALLEN: Now the world is remembering the performer and producer who died suddenly in Dubai. She was at a family wedding and she was just 54-years-old. The press trust of India says she suffered cardiac arrest. India's prime minister was among those sharing (INAUDIBLE)

VANIER: And you may remember hearing about Pita Taufato -- let me get this right, Pita Taufatofua, we said this name a couple of times over the last two --

ALLEN: I'm glad you had to say it.

VANIER: The shirtless flag-bearer at the Olympics, that's him. We asked him about My Freedom Days, student-led day of action against modern-day slavery and we asked him what freedom means to him.


PITA TAUFATOFUA, TONGAN OLYMPIC STAR: Freedom means the ability to have choices in your life than can influence in, I guess, whichever way, positive or negative and not to have those choices impact other people's own freedom or their own choices. So I think it's really important with freedom that people have the -- have this ability.



ALLEN: What does freedom mean to you? Share your story on social media using the #myfreedomday then join CNN for special coverage leading up to in #onmyfreedomday, again, it's March 14th.

VANIER: All right. So, Pita was in the Winter Games, let's tell you more about those. It's been a bittersweet farewell to the 2018 Winter Games where over two weeks, more than 3,000 athletes from 92 countries competed for 102 gold medals.

ALLEN: Sport and diplomacy went hand-in-hand to try to help fall relations between North and South Korea, our team in Pyeongchang looks back at their favorite moments from these games.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I was at figure skating most of the Olympics and I saw so much falling and thrills and spills from the Americans that I just to go to the women's ice hockey gold medal game. That was U.S. and Canada. Of course, one of the great rivalries in sport, not just the Olympics but of all of sport and the U.S. hadn't won a gold medal.

In 20 years, Canadians kept winning time after time after time and once you know, the game lived up to its hype, lived up to its building, it's that great moment in sports when you expect it's going to be great and it's even better than you hope. And that game, of course, went to overtime, then went to the shootout, you have another shootout because they were so closely matched and the U.S. pulls it off a dramatic goal, the dramatic save my Maddie Rooney. It was just I thought one of the great moments of these fames. For me, it was the best moments of these games .

And when you think about it, it occurred exactly on the 38th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the greatest moment in U.S. men's hockey. So you've got your greatest moment in U.S. women's hockey occurring 38 years to the day after the finest, most historic moment in men's hockey and one, of course, the great moments in sports, that Miracle on Ice.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: To be there when the first unified Korea hockey team took to the ice, I remember looking at Christine and saying, "This is history." It really was incredible, the atmosphere and the build-up, we had the families turning up with their children, carrying the two flags, having all those photographs on the steps with not only the South Korean flag but also the unified flag.

It's not every day you have an early round women's ice hockey match at the Olympics and you have a top level presidential delegation not only from South Korea but also the North as well. And then there were the cheerleaders, that was really our first experience of that North Korean cheer squad which are unlike anything I've ever seen at any sporting event before and probably will do every again.

And you've got a real sense talking not only to the players that we've spoken to or we've been here and also to their families that, well, they haven't necessarily agreed with the political implications of what has happened. They have understood the bigger picture of what has been playing out here at the Olympics. And you wonder how we will reflect on it, maybe five years, 20 years' time. Whether it is something that we'll just have had an impact here for one Olympic games or how it will play into the much, much bigger political picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventeen-years-old Chloe Kim becoming the youngest woman ever to win gold on snow in the Olympic Games. Her dad immigrated from South Korea with just $800 in his pocket. So you can imagine the feeling of her parents and for Chloe when she won gold in this country.

I was right there with her parents when they celebrated their daughter's victory and actually turned into a temporary bodyguard for Chloe's mom, escorting her all the way over to be there to see Chloe and I saw the first hug. Hugging their daughter as an Olympic champion for the first time, the tears were flowing, and I love being right there to snap a picture of her father, sipping a cold one after his daughter just won the gold one, epic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two skiing superstars going head-to-head for the first and last time at the Winter Olympics has a potential for blockbuster drama. In the end though, the wind picked up which means that Mikaela Shiffrin didn't have the chance to go for five gold medals and we didn't have the chance to see these two compete against each other three times.

In the end, it was only once but my goodness, it was dramatic. Lindsey Vonn missing out on a chance of going for another gold medal saying this is her last Olympic gaemes but you never know with her, she is one of the fiercest competitors in sport. As for Mikaela Shiffrin, well, bitter, bitter disappointment for her. I went up to her after she had finished her last race and gave her a hug and I could just feel it and sense it. But she's just 22 years of age, she's won two medals here, she's now got three in total. I think she'll be going for five again in Beijing, it's just that this time she probably went to stay out loud.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only did I get to see figure skating for the first time in person, I got to see what some are calling the greatest figure skater of all time, 23-year-old, Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan, I have seen Tom Brady in person, I have seen Lebron James in person and none of them receive the fan passion inhalation that Hanyu received.

People crying, it's like in Justin Beaver or Michael Jackson out there performing, not just your ordinary athlete. And then to get nearly trampled by people trying to throw Winnie the Pooh's out on to the ice, I'll remember that forever. The thing I love most about the Olympics though, people from all over the planet from different ethnicities and cultures, and backgrounds coming together to do that which they love. Breaking down barriers is the power of sport, our world needs a lot more of that.


VANIER: And that's it from us. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Another hour of NEWSROOM is next with Rosemary Church. Thanks for watching.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The North Korean team has packed up and gone home.