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Russian Spy Mystery; South Korea Delegation to Deliver Message from North Korea to U.S.; China's #Metoo Movement; World Illiteracy; Uber Unveils Self-Driving Trucks. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 8, 2018 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: A double agent and nerve agent -- a former Russian spy deliberately poisoned in the U.K.

VAUSE: After meeting with the North Korean leader, South Korean envoys are heading to Washington. And with them, a secret message from Kim Jong-un.

SESAY: And on this International Women's Day, a global fight -- a global campaign rather to fight illiteracy and help level the professional playing field.

VAUSE: Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Hope you can stay with us for the next three hours. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. It will worth it. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

VAUSE: British police believe Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent and his daughter were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent which was meant to have been deadly. The two were found unconscious on a park bench in southern England over the weekend.

SESAY: And police say one of the first officers on the scene also became ill and is in serious condition at the hospital. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has a warning for whoever is responsible.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If this does turn out to be in any way the result of hostile activity by another government or directed led by another government then the people of this country can be absolutely sure that the U.K. will respond robustly.


VAUSE: CNN's intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer is with us now. Bob -- good to see you.

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Good to see you. VAUSE: As a former CIA operative when you look at what we know right

now, does this seem like an open and shut case in terms of Kremlin involvement because there does seem to be a very big question about the timing. Why now?

Skripal spent years in a Russian jail. If the Kremlin wanted him dead, he'd be dead.

BAER: Well, I think it's pretty clear that it was the KGB or a proxy that did this. I mean the fact that it was a nerve agent tells the whole story. And the Russians are very good at this.

There's dozens of assassinations they've committed between the Ukraine and Britain. And it certainly looks like it to me. And you also have the suspicious deaths of basically his entire family -- his wife, his son, and now his daughter has been poisoned.

Look, here's what the Russians are mad at this guy and we're clearly mad at him because he continued to work with British intelligence, MI- 6 and MI-5, helping them on cases, identify GRU agents, you know, trade craft, the rest of it.

And under Russian law, Putin is allowed to carry out assassinations abroad. This is a law passed in 2006. And this man is vindictive, Putin, and no question he'd go after this guy.

VAUSE: So that pardon Skripal was given back, what, in 2010 by Dmitry Medvedev when he was President, that doesn't count for anything? Because back in the old days you might be so lucky on an all clear, hands off pass?

BAER: No, not at all. I mean he just wanted to -- he only let this guy go because the trade he made with the United States, with the Russian agents who were caught in New York City and Washington. So that was -- otherwise, he would have stayed in jail forever.

I mean he didn't want to let this guy out, but that was the terms of getting his Russian agents out. So no, it doesn't count. I mean this is an authoritarian regime and he acts with impunity everywhere he wants between U.S. elections to assassinating people in Britain.

And we don't know that he's behind this for certain, but I just can't imagine who else would be.

VAUSE: I guess that begs the question, is something this high profile that's attracted so much attention, it does, you know, sort of imply that there would have to be some kind of high level authority to sign off on an assassination like this.

BAER: I do not think there's a rogue element inside the KGB that would carry this out without Putin's authority. I've never heard of that existing. These people would be removed immediately or worse. So this would have come from the Kremlin.

I think Britain has decided last year or the year before that Putin himself authorized the assassination of Litvinenko, the former FSB officer. You know, they had to provide the polonium. It came from a specific reactor. You had to get people to carry it to London. And the two assassins were rewarded afterwards.

[00:04:58] So yes, I mean clearly this would have been ordered by the Kremlin if, in fact, this was a Russian-attempted assassination.

VAUSE: Then comes the question what will the British be able to do about it? I mean what are their options here?

BAER: Well, I mean this puts them in a horrible position. I man what are they going to do? I suppose they could put more sanctions on Russia. Could they start expelling Russian diplomats? They may do a symbolic expulsion, declare them persona non grata.

But other than that they can't do much about it and especially when the United States is refusing to retaliate against Russia for interfering in our elections in 2016. Putin is saying, you know look, I can get away with what I want to and no one seems to care. And what happened after Litvinenko after a commission decided that it was Russia and no doubt the Kremlin behind the murder of a Russian in London, downtown London and there was basically no repercussions.

VAUSE: A sample of the explanation for that, the amount of money that the Russians -- wealthy Russians have invested in London which is one reason why, you know, there is this accusation that the British have been less than enthusiastic about investigating past assassinations like this.

BAER: Clearly there's Russians all over London. A lot of money is laundered for London. They don't want to touch it. I mean, you know, with Brexit coming along, it's now the time to drive out the Russians or scrutinize the origin of this money. If it's being, you know, property-purchased LLCs and the rest of it to get into it. It would do serious damage to Britain.

You've got British Petroleum. It's got investments all over Russia, do the Brits want to take this on and pull out of Russia? It has enormous economic expanse. So what do the Brits do at this point? You know, it's a dilemma.

VAUSE: Yes, to say the least. Bob -- thanks so much. Good to see you.

BAER: Thanks.

SESAY: A secret message from North Korea's supreme leader is now on its way to the United States. South Korea special envoys, fresh off their visit to Pyongyang, are headed to Washington to deliver that message in person though it's not clear who the message is for.

This comes the day South Korea announced the North is willing to discuss denuclearization with the U.S. Earlier the Pentagon chief weighed in on whether that possible concession will affect military planning.

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We're cautiously optimistic that there's some forward progress here but we've been optimistic before so we're going to have to watch actions and see if they match words.


SESAY: Well, joint South Korea and U.S. military drills resume start March 31st. Those drills will probably infuriate Pyongyang because they always do.

Well for more on this, let's bring in our Andrew Stevens who's in Seoul.

So Andrew -- those South Koreans on their way to the U.S. to meet with their U.S. counterparts. They're carrying a message. Any details about that message? Anything emerging in the media where you are?

And I mean the bottom line is no matter what it says as far Americans are concerned they'll be looking for signs that the North is actually serious about its offer of giving up its nuclear weapons.


Now, there's nothing in Seoul suggesting what the contents of this letter are. The head negotiator who actually went to Pyongyang is leading the delegation to Washington. And he had a brief conference at the airport and he said then that he was not going to reveal the contents, he wouldn't in fact reveal who he's meeting in D.C.

But he did say the most important thing, of the utmost importance is a meeting between the North Koreans and the U.S.

Now, Chung Eui-yong, who is the head of this delegation, is going to be very, very hot property in the U.S. As I say, we don't know who he's going to meet but Rex Tillerson the Secretary of State, James Mattis the Defense Secretary, H.R. McMaster national security adviser would all want to talk to him. What do they want to talk about?

Well, first and foremost is what did Kim actually say? The only information we had is what the South Koreans have been saying about this meeting. There's been nothing from North Korea.

They're also going to want to know about the security guarantees that Kim -- the North Koreans are asking for if there is going to be a denuclearization. Is it going to be same old demands that they want all U.S. troops out of South Korea or is there something else?

Also the moratorium, the North Koreans have also -- have said that they will freeze all their testing but does that mean that they won't be going ahead as well with other research behind closed doors?

And on top of all that, those sort of -- those hard issues, the actual sort of looking at the interpretation of Kim himself -- Isha. You know, his mannerisms? How did he say things? His sincerity -- all those things that they're going to drill down as minutely as they can of this delegation. [00:09:57] Remember, the lead guy here, Chung Eui-yong is close to H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor, so they have a good rapport. And he will certainly be pushed very, very hard on every aspect of that visit.

SESAY: Yes, they're going to want to know every small detail -- big and small.

And Andrew -- we have the date for the delayed U.S./South Korean military drills currently scheduled now for March 31st. As we were just saying, in the past these drills have greatly angered the North. Do we anticipate that the staging of these drills will be in any way altered as a result of this denuclearization offer?

STEVENS: Nothing official on that. And you're right. These annual exercises enrage the North Koreans they say it is basically a dress rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.

But interestingly, this time around, Isha -- is that that topic did come up at the meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong-un who said that he understands that the South Korean's position on this, that they have to take part in this annual drill.

Now what the North Korean response will be to that we don't know yet. But certainly in the past, in the past 12 months they have been, yes absolutely, as I say, enraged.

Last year there were some 12,000 U.S. troops involved in this. The North Koreans accused Donald Trump during these drills to taking the Korean Peninsula to the point of a nuclear war, the brink of a nuclear war.

So it will be key to see both what the Americans do. How big the drills are going to be. These go for a few weeks by the way, and what the North Korean response is. As to how the relations are going to move forward between these two on future negotiations on denuclearization.

SESAY: We shall be watching very closely. If the South Koreans are to be believed certainly Kim Jong-un seems softer and gentler these days but we shall see.

Andrew Stevens -- thank you.

VAUSE: See how long it lasts. >

SESAY: We'll see.

VAUSE: You never know.

Ok. We'll take a break and when we come back, the White House continuing to struggle with questions about Donald Trump's alleged affair with an adult film star.

When we come back, some of the answers from press secretary Sarah Sanders might just have made everything worse for Donald Trump. SESAY: Plus, see how women in China are fighting against sexual

harassment and assault even when it's ignored by those in power.


VAUSE: It is a difficult and delicate dance at the White House around questions about Donald Trump's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. Press secretary Sarah Sanders says she's not aware if the President knew about his personal lawyer paying Daniels hush money as part of a non-disclosure deal. Daniels is suing the President to try and void that agreement and according to her lawyer she's been threatened by Trump's attorney to stay quiet.


[00:14:54] MICHAEL AVENATTI, DANIELS LAWYER: He's actually -- Anderson, attempted to do that by means of a number of steps including filing this bogus arbitration against her, communicating through her prior counsel, making threats to her relating to what may happen to her from a legal perspective in the event she does not deny allegations of the affair.


VAUSE: Joining me now for more on this Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican strategist Chris Faulkner.

Caroline -- just the big picture here, it seems the efforts to cover up this alleged affair between the President before he was president and the adult film star it seems to be falling apart before our very eyes.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is because he continues to deny that it happened. And honestly I'm less concerned about the consensual sex he may have had with Stormy Daniels and more concerned about the non-consensual allegations against him from 22 women including two women at the same bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel where Stormy alleges they had an affair, Summer Zervos around the same time.

I am concerned about the allegations of sexual violence than this. But unfortunately it appears that, you know, his supporters aren't concerned about the infidelity or the alleged sexual violence.

VAUSE: It also seems almost like the country isn't concerned about this either. This story has been bubbling away for weeks, really hadn't led with it. I mean porn star sues President -- it's a pretty big headline and it's not our lead.

HELDMAN: Well, because we're not -- right, there are so many things coming all at once. And I look at my preparation for various shows every week and typically, you know, stories carry over from week to week especially scandals. That's not what happens here. It's a completely different set of scandals virtually every week with this White House. VAUSE: And maybe White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made this

a lot worse for the President during Wednesday's briefing. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the President approve of the payment that was made in October of 2016 by his long-time lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the President has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true. This case has already been won in arbitration and anything beyond that I would refer you to the President's outside counsel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that there's arbitration that's already been won? By whom and when?

SANDERS: By the President's personal attorneys. And for details on that I would refer you to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're aware of them so what more can you share with us?

SANDERS: I can share that the arbitration was won in the President's and I would refer you to the President's outside counsel on any details beyond that.


VAUSE: Arbitration -- way to keep it in the national spotlight. Chris -- you know, apparently Daniels and her lawyers were never informed about this arbitration. So it seems odd that you have private arbitration and a secret restraining which was the end result of that arbitration but the end result though, this seems like an awful lot of trouble to keep someone silent about something the President denies ever happened.

CHRIS FAULKNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, clearly whatever actually happened we don't know. It's all alleged. And even if you want to say that it did or somehow it didn't, at the end of the day Stormy Daniels is getting what she wants. I'm sure she's booked herself in many a gentlemen's club across the country if you want to call them that because she's on the news.

Look, we're talking about her right now. She's been on a lot of different channels. She's being interviewed. And this is in a very sick and sad way, probably a great boost to her career, if you want to call it that.

VAUSE: But what about the damage to the presidency?

FAULKNER: The damage to the presidency every time someone accuses somebody in the White House of something like this, it can damage the office, you know. And of course, the damage to the presidency is only in consideration of how we perceive it and whether or not we think it's true.

The number of allegations that have been made about this president certainly had surpassed presidents in the past and the President's character in such a way where the President is very -- lives out loud about what he says and what he does.

And so it gives people sometimes that reality show glimpse that somehow maybe some of this is actually true.

VAUSE: According to Daniels' lawyer there has been this ongoing effort to try and stop the story from getting out there. Here is what he said.


AVENATTI: It happened within a matte of hours. All in an effort, and I want to be really clear about this, all in an effort to keep this matter under wraps, keep it out of public view, hide the facts and silence my client.

There's a pattern and practice that is governed the way that my client has been dealt with by Mr. Cohen and President Trump for months.


VAUSE: Caroline, it may be one thing to use these kind of tactics of subpoenas and restraining orders and private arbitration when your client is a real estate salesman from Queens but it seems that those tactics I mean don't work when you're the President of the United States. It's a whole different matter, rather.

HELDMAN: Absolutely. Not only does it not work because we are talking about it but it does damage to the presidency. The fact that this is not that big of a deal -- and I'm not talking about the consensual sex -- I'm talking about the cover up, right -- the $130,000. We now know that McDougal (ph) a Playboy bunny is arguing the same thing was happening at the same time.

[00:20:02] But none of this seems to matter because Donald Trump has so damaged the presidency in so many ways with his scandals that this is at the end of the day kind of a blip. And what does that tell us about the state of the presidency and about the state of U.S. politics, and about the state of the American public that we're so exhausted that this doesn't even really register?

VAUSE: It may be a (INAUDIBLE) when you talk about the money because here's more from the Daniels lawsuit. Mr. Trump, with the assistance of his attorney Mr. Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Miss Clifford -- which is her real, Stormy Daniels' real name -- as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.

Daniels goes into a lot of detail from her account with Donald Trump in this lawsuit as well. But Chris -- if this is true, if this money was paid essentially to help Trump win the election that does seem to be a violation of FEC law when it comes to contributions to an election campaign and in terms of transparency and limit.

FAULKNER: No. You're equating it the same thing as an in-kind contribution to a campaign, which it's clearly not. If it was a personal matter, if -- again this is all alleged -- if something like sex actually happened and somebody settled something in a private civil suit outside of a political campaign, there's no correlation. There's no violation of FEC law there.

VAUSE: Ok. I guess you're saying we shall have to wait and see because this is a legal issue now.

Very quickly now, the big story from "The New York Times" in the past couple of hours. the special counsel apparently is aware of at least two key witnesses who the President spoke to after they had been interviewed by the Mueller team.

Here's "The New York Times" reporting. "Mr. Trump asked his former chief of staff Reince Priebus how his interview had gone with the special counsel investigators and whether they had been nice according to two people familiar with the discussion."

Caroline that sounds innocuous on the surface but it could be seen as an awareness by the President or some kind of wrongdoing. I guess maybe it's not quite witness-tampering but it doesn't look good.

HELDMAN: You know what, the fact that it happened afterward doesn't actually bother me. There's nothing illegal here, at least not on it face --

VAUSE: Not even coordination with testimony?

HELDMAN: Well, if he's coordinating he's going to talk to them beforehand. And that it's the timing of it that makes it seem like it's a molehill out of a -- sorry, a mountain out of a mole hill but it also speaks to the fact that the President is pretty paranoid or is concerned about this, right. That he's trying to contain it after the fact.

It's not obstruction of justice, it's not tampering, but it certainly speaks to the fact that he is concerned about the Mueller investigation as he should be, given everything that Mueller has already uncovered, the tip of the iceberg that we know about.

VAUSE: Chris -- nothing-burger.

FAULKNER: It' all alleged. It's an investigation. It's going to continue going. I understand why people are interested in it. If there was some sort of smoking gun, if there was some sort of compelling evidence you think we probably would have known about it by now.

VAUSE: Well, there's lots of stuff coming out. I guess --

FAULKNER: Anyone who says that there's lots of stuff coming out, I just go back to Whitewater.


FAULKNER: You're going to keep digging until you find something.

VAUSE: Ok. We will finish with steel tariffs, close (INAUDIBLE) to Stormy Daniels. There are a number of reports that on Thursday, we get the big tariff announcement from the President. Canada, Mexico, even China will actually be exempt. It could be on a rolling 30-day basis at least. Caroline -- is this the beginning of the big back- flip, the big walk-back on this decision?

HELDMAN: You know, this is the flip-flopper in chief. Perhaps he's actually listening to people who say that his tariffs plan will set off a trade war or it could set off a trade war will be disastrous not only for people in the United States who have to pay more their consumer goods but also for other countries that might retaliate and it could have global economic effects. And a lot of people in his White House, including Cohn who left over this, were highly concerned about that.

So my guess is that, you know, he makes this rash statements and then people -- moderates talk to him and he starts to flip flop. We've seen this on, you know, immigration. I would argue he went in the wrong direction but flip-flopped on guns. So yes, the flip-flopper in chief strikes again.

VAUSE: Very quickly Chris -- we're almost out of time. But is this an issue that Donald Trump is actually able to climb down from given where he's been for his entire life?

FAULKNER: I think that if we think that somehow the President is inconsistent in this, all you have to do is watch this. He's negotiating. You can say he's negotiating with a hammer or a baseball bat but he's negotiating. And he's going to get his way with this.

VAUSE: Ok. It's not subtle, I guess. That's one way of putting it.

HELDMAN: Or successful.

VAUSE: Well, not yet. We're going to wait and see.

FAULKNER: Based on the state of our economy, I think we can argue whether or not it's successful.

VAUSE: Ok. Good.

Good point to finish. Chris and Caroline -- thanks so much. Good to see you both.

SESAY: Well, Thursday is International Women's Day, and this year's theme is Press for Progress, a Push for Gender Parity.

While the #metoo and #timesup movement are driving change in many places around the world, China is a different story. The government there says sexual misconduct isn't a problem. But a growing army of women beg to differ.

And as our Matt Rivers found out, they want to be heard.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After it happened, she would sit and she would read, withdrawn, a way to escape reality for a bit because the reality was that Zhang Cimao says she was sexually assaulted and nobody seemed to care.

[00:25:06] ZHANG CIMAO, SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM (through translator): He took off his pants and he also took off my pants. He was trying to rape me.

RIVERS: She avoided rape that night, but says she was assaulted nonetheless. Angry and afraid, she took her case to a police station near her home. A full week later, they agreed to question the suspect.

ZHANG: After questioning, an officer told me, why don't you just have him buy you a necklace or something and drop this case? I said, "That's impossible". The officer went back in and talked to the man again. He returned by saying the man was willing to marry me. I found it both ridiculous and infuriating.

RIVERS: The police in Guangzhou (ph) did not respond to a request for comment. Activists say sexual assault and harassment is both rampant in China and constantly ignored by those in power.

WEI TINGTING, AUTHOR: Obviously it exists in China.

RIVERS: Wei Tingting (ph) is one of the authors of that report and was arrested back in 2015 for planning a campaign against sexual assault on public transit. She says the problem is not just that sexual harassment exists, but that victims often feel it's their fault.

WEI: The family, the society, I don't think it's quite supportive of victims to share their story.

RIVERS: The Communist Party's central committee has 204 members. Ten are women. The all-powerful standing committee led by President Xi Jinping has never had a female member. And activists say a government run only by men has been slow to address what's considered a, quote, "female problem".

That's why there is no legal definition of sexual harassment here and no standardized way of reporting sexual assault. It's why state-run newspapers run articles like this one that claim sexual assault isn't problem here. Quote, "Chinese traditional values and conservative attitudes tend to safeguard women against inappropriate behavior," it read. And it's why the government so swiftly censored online discussion of harassment late last year.

And yet things are changing. Buoyed by a burgeoning movement across the world, Chinese feminists are taking a stand.

WEI: They are very brave to speak about their stories. RIVERS: Zhang Cimao's case was eventually dropped. The police told

her she had no proof, but she is inspired by #metoo and her motivation for telling her story is simple --

ZHANG: When you speak out, you become strong.

RIVERS: Matt Rivers, CNN -- Guangzhou, China.


VAUSE: Interesting times in China.

When we come back, for millions of women it's an invisible obstacle to better jobs, even justice. Ahead, the new campaign to fight illiteracy.




VAUSE(voice-over): Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY(voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:


SESAY: As we continue to feel the reverberations of the #MeToo movement, the theme for this year's International Women's Day is "Press for Progress," a push for gender parity worldwide.

But millions of women and girls have no chance of ever attaining that goal because of illiteracy. According to the humanitarian organization Care, 76 million young women around the world lack basic reading and writing skills.

So now they're teaming up with cosmetics giant Lancome to tackle the issue. Together they are launching the campaign, Write Her Future.




SESAY: Dar Vanderbeck is Care's chief innovation officer. She joins me now from Washington, D.C.

Dar, thank you.

DAR VANDERBECK, CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER, CARE: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

SESAY: Let's start with the statistic that two-thirds of the 758 million illiterate adults in the world are women with almost no progress since 2000 in reducing the share. Dar, that's tens of thousands of women being held back.

But just as troubling is that fact that the number has remain stubbornly unchanged for two decades?

Why is that?

VANDERBECK: Yes, it's partially a lack of focused investment but it also requires new types of partnerships with schools, with large NGOs and corporations and brands like Lancome in this partnership.

We definitely have believe that we have examples around the world in Care's 76-year-old history, where we have changed the game for women in illiteracy and now we need to move the needle on it and that's what this partnership's about.

SESAY: If people are wondering why this is critical, when you break down the numbers further, you look at the numbers involved here, almost a quarter of young women, aged 15 to 24 today, that's 160 million in developing countries, have never completed primary school so they lack skills for work.

Young women make up 58 percent of those not completing primary school. Dar, when you look at the numbers and when people ask why there should be a sense of urgency to this, the reason is extreme poverty.

We keep talking about the issue of extreme poverty and we know that more women than men live in that condition. Poverty and education go hand in hand.

VANDERBECK: Exactly, exactly. We know that I know that injustice and unjust systems, one of the most silent but dangerous manifestations of that is illiteracy. And it perpetuates itself because when you cannot read or write, it's difficult to express your own predicament, to tell your story. That's why we're tackling the problem.

SESAY: Tell me about the functional literacy programs you have launched with the help of Lancome.

First of all, how widespread are they?

VANDERBECK: Care and Lancome launched a partnership last week. It is a global partnership. It's actually Lancome's first global philanthropic initiative. We'll be working this year in Guatemala, Thailand and Morocco.

But we have plans to expand globally. For context, Care working in 93 different countries around the world. Last year we impacted the lives of 63 million people. So our partnership is able to scale the solutions that we create to reach millions and millions of people.

SESAY: I think what would be interesting -- and help me with this -- Guatemala, Thailand and Morocco, what we're looking at is varying cultures, different cultural context.

What's the plan or is there a plan to adjust for the different regions across the world and adjusting for older versus younger people?

VANDERBECK: Absolutely. The reason we chose the three countries are twofold. First, it gives us a diversity of geography, so that when we go to scale we have different --


VANDERBECK: -- models and different context and we can learn from and look at the program as a whole. The second is that the conditions of the most marginalized women, often indigenous women in these three countries, are strikingly similar: a lack of access to school, to support.

This all manifests in not being able to have the support system and access to reading and writing.

SESAY: With these programs, as we know, with all of these programs to deal with issues regarding women and girls, the issue of community engagement is always key.

VANDERBECK: Absolutely.

SESAY: It's always key to be able to get the parents involved when it's girls, community leaders, religious leaders, it's absolutely critical because some of that cultural context played a part in the fact that those women and girls weren't sufficiently educated to begin with.

How is Care going to work with that?

How are going to achieve that?

VANDERBECK: I think that's actually what distinguishes Care's work. As I said, 93 countries, 76 years working on these issues. And we've found that the most successful approach is one that's community owned and led and right spaced.

So we approach this, that reading and literacy is not nice to have but an essential human right.

So how do we work with communities in places where we've been for a very long time to find solutions that they feel ownership in, that they can lead and take it to the next level?

SESAY: It's also the thing that ultimately we always want to stress when we talk about women and girls' programming, which is that if you educate and you empower your women and girls, you give them opportunities, it's not just good for them; it's good for the families. It's good for the communities and the country as a whole.

VANDERBECK: Absolutely. At Care, our mission is to end the injustice of poverty. We know we can't do that without gender equality. So when we educate women, we're also educating the men and boys in their life that support them. This is a whole community approach.

SESSIONS: Dar Vanderbeck, that is a good place to leave it on this International Women's Day, that people recognize that it's not just doing something nice; it's doing something that's right and it benefits everyone. Thank you, Dar.

VANDERBECK: Thank you.

VAUSE: Up next here, nine years since Uber hit the road and it's been burning though the cash like no other startup, begging the question, will it ever be able to turn a profit?




VAUSE: Few startups could burn through more than $10 billion in nine years, show zero profits and still attract investors. But Uber is no ordinary company. It's investing in technology for self-driving cars. There's already a fleet of self-driving trucks on Arizona's highways.

And then there are the side businesses like Uber Eats, which are healthy and they're also growing.

For more, Ed Kim is vice president of industry analysis with Auto Pacific.

Ed, it's been a while but good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. Here's part of the report from Bloomberg.

"Few companies have grown so fast or lost so much money in --


VAUSE: "-- such a short period of time. Uber has developed what may be considered a Peter Pan syndrome. After reaching a stage of maturity most companies never realize, it has yet to turn a profit and remains deeply in the red."

Again, so how does this company with those kinds of numbers at this point in its lifespan, how does it actually make money?

KIM: It's amazing that a $54 billion company hasn't made any money and, for the last nine years, I think they've blown through about $10.7 billion of investor financing.

So how do they make money?

Quite frankly, I don't know there's a short-term path to them making money. This is a company that's been appealing to the investor community because of the growth that it's been exhibiting. From 2016 to 2017, there was 95 percent growth in bookings.

That's all very impressive stuff. So and on top of that, there's also the long-term vision of Uber, which is the, you know, which is really revolutionizing transportation, partly through autonomous vehicles, that will serve in their ridesharing, ridehailing fleet, very exciting stuff.

But all that stuff is still years away. The autonomous cars are years away. And those autonomous cars, I believe, are really key to Uber actually turning a profit.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) because why are people willing to be patient with Uber, because this is obviously a long-term bet, when they're not patient with other tech startups?

KIM: I think the key here is that Uber, like one other tech company that I'll get to in just a second, does have a very, very compelling long-term vision. This could truly revolutionize transportation in the future.

If Uber continues successfully for the long term and these autonomous ridehailing cars really do take over the Uber fleet, then this will radically change things. There will be less of a need for privately owned cars, there will less cars on the road, less pollution, less congestion.

So these are very, very big things. Up to this point in time, that's been sufficient. That's been one of the things that's been sufficient enough to keep the investor community interested.

And this is a trick that Tesla has also been able to pull off as well. Tesla is also a company, a tech and an automotive company, that hasn't made any money but has been able to keep the investor community excited.


VAUSE: I guess it's the imagination part of it.

Until we get to the point of self-driving cars, they still need drivers. And that's one area where Uber is unlikely to squeeze any money from. There was a study that came out in the U.S. It was revised; it was controversial. Initially it said that drivers earn about less than 4 bucks an hour.

That's been revised upward to between $8.50 and $10 an hour. It's still not a lot of money.

And there is this study in Australia, which found, accounting for unpaid time, spent waiting for the next fare and collecting the passenger from their pickup point, this translates to a net hourly wage of $14.62. That's Aussie, which is about $11 U.S.

Again, this is not a lot of money for a company -- at the moment, the business model is based on, for the most part, attracting drivers.

KIM: Yes. And it's -- already, as it is, most of the revenue that Uber makes goes to the drivers. Their gross revenue last year was, I think, about $37 billion. But about $30 billion of that went to pay the drivers.

And that's paying the drivers at basically poverty wages. They're not going to be able to squeeze the drivers any more than they have been already. Somehow they have got to walk the fine line of somehow keeping these pretty underpaid drivers happy but still keep the --


VAUSE: OK, 30 seconds left. Sorry to interrupt. Uber goes public next year.

Do they have to change this business model?

KIM: Well, I think ultimately the business model will change when the autonomous cars get here.

VAUSE: OK. So it's the technology will drive the model.

KIM: The technology will drive the model, absolutely.

VAUSE: Ed, fantastic.

KIM: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Good to see you.

SESAY: We shall see if it ever comes that day where they make money.

VAUSE: Every car is a driverless car until someone gets in.


SESAY: Well, thank you for those words of wisdom. We'll take a very quick break. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.



VAUSE: You're watching CNN. We'll be back at the top of the hour.