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South Korean Envoys Make Case for Trump-Kim Jong-un Meeting; New Gun Safety Proposal; Trump Presidency; U.K. Russian Spy Mystery; Russia Claims to Test-Fire Hypersonic Missile; New Cuban National Assembly to Choose Post-Castro President; Tillerson Resumes Schedule after Illness in Kenya; Florida Teacher Removed from Class Over Racist Podcast; College Students Fight Human Trafficking. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 01:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): South Korea's looking for support for a planned meeting between the U.S. and North Korea, dispatching top officials from Seoul to meetings in Beijing and Tokyo. We'll have live reports about that.

Also the White House puts out its proposals on gun control and school safety.

But does it go far enough?

And the man who could become the first Cuban president in decades who is not a Castro.

These stories are ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. We're coming to live from Atlanta. Thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.


ALLEN: Our top story: just days after Donald Trump announced that he would hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, preparations are already underway. South Korea has dispatched envoys to China and Japan to get support for the meeting.

South Korea's national security adviser has left for Beijing while the South's spy chief Suh Hoon is heading to Tokyo. This as the national intelligence head leaving Seoul on Monday that you had see here.

The Trump-Kim meeting is being orchestrated by Seoul because the U.S. has no diplomatic ties with the North. The meeting is expected to take place by May after North and South Korea hold their previously scheduled April summit.

Let's bring in Paula Hancocks. She's in Seoul for us. And Matt Rivers in Beijing to talk about these developments.

Paula, first to you. Fast work that South Korea needs to do to see if this meeting can indeed take place.

And what will the regional players want to be hearing from South Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, I think the South Korean delegation would have been as surprised by the swift response from the U.S. President Donald Trump as many others.

We heard from the Blue House that Mr. Trump actually wanted to have this meeting as soon as possible, potentially even in April. And it took the national security advisers of both the U.S. and South Korea to suggest to Mr. Trump that it should be after the meeting between the North and South Korean leaders.

That's expected to be in April being planned for the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. So that's why we're hearing from the delegation that it will be by May that this North Korean and U.S. meeting is being planned for.

Now what we're seeing today is, as you say, the delegates are heading in two different directions. One heading to China and Russia to explain exactly what had happened. One heading to Japan, potentially a harder sell in Japan, as that is a country with a more hardline policy towards North Korea, a policy which, up till very recently, was a policy that the United States shared with sanctions and pressure.

But obviously as we now know that the U.S. president has agreed to meet with the North Korean leader -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, we'll talk with you more in a moment.

Let's go to Matt now in Beijing.

As Paula just reported, South Korea is headed to Beijing to talk about this and so the question is, what will China want to see from this, if it indeed takes place?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China wants a stake in these negotiations. The fact that this meeting could be happening is something that the Chinese government is going to be very pleased with, given that has been their consistent position of how best to solve the Korean Peninsula crisis for years and years and years.

The government here has always said that the only way to come up with some sort of lasting peace is to get the United States and the North Koreans to sit down in a room and hash things out.

So on the one hand, they're going to be very happy about this but on the other hand, there will likely be some sort of concern inside the government offices here in Beijing, that because this could just be a bilateral meeting perhaps with a robust presence from the South Koreans as well, that China might get shut out of this negotiating process.

That's something they'll be loath to accept because Beijing, if there some sort of an agreement down the road, they want to make sure that their interests are served just like Russia, just like Japan, the South Koreans, the United States.

Everybody wants a piece of an eventual peace process pie, if you will. So that's what Beijing is going to try to get across to their South Korean counterparts. And they've already sort of tried to take credit for this step happening in the first place.

You've seen in state-run media here, including in newspaper editorials, that they're calling this meeting the result of a Chinese proposal called suspension for suspension. Basically the Chinese for years have been saying that if the United States halts its military drills with South Korea, the North Koreans should in turn stop its nuclear and missile testing.

You did see that happen during the Winter Olympics. But the military drills weren't put off indefinitely. They were just postponed. So a little bit of fibbing there on the part of the Chinese government to say that this really is the --


RIVERS: -- personification or the result of their suspension for suspension proposal.

But you're seeing the Chinese government try and take some credit I think in order to have an ownership stake in the process as it moves forward.

ALLEN: And what about the sanctions, Matt, that we've seen?

China has come around; President Trump just this weekend praised China for coming down hard on North Korea. And you have reported firsthand that you've seen much less happening across the border.

RIVERS: You heard President Trump praise President Xi and China for actually enforcing the sanctions that have been levied by the U.N. Security Council over the last 18 months or so.

And the criticism against China for a very long time is that they were only willing to go so far with North Korea, that they weren't willing to really put a stranglehold economically on the regime for fear of it perhaps collapsing at some point.

But you have seen the Chinese government -- and credit where credit is due -- make the decision to say what North Korea is doing right now is unacceptable and we are willing to take unprecedented steps in terms of enforcing, not only signing onto sanctions but enforcing them.

We've seen that firsthand along the North Korean border. Of course there is still a vast amount of commerce going back and forth between North Korea and China but it is far less than what it used to be.

And so perhaps that economic pain is what -- is part of the reason that the regime in North Korea is considering sitting down with President Trump. ALLEN: And back to you, Paula, have we heard anything from North

Korea since President Trump says let's talk?

HANCOCKS: Well, interestingly, Natalie, we haven't at this point. The state-run media, KCNA, has not mentioned this up until this point, which is somewhat surprising, although they are quite slow to react to things most of the time.

We did hear in a unification ministry briefing this morning there was a question about whether or not there had been any response from North Korea since this summit had been -- or this meeting had been accepted by the U.S. president, Donald Trump.

The spokesperson said they haven't heard anything at this point. But they gave a reading of what they think is happen, saying that they believe that they are being prudent and they believe that they have to decide their agenda as well. So they have decisions to make before they can make a public statement.

So potentially that's what's happening, at least that's the way the South Korean government is reading it.

ALLEN: All right, much to follow. We thank you, Matt Rivers in Beijing, Paula Hancocks for us there in Seoul, thank you. both.

And, of course, to our viewers, you can follow the developing from the upcoming talks online, of course. Our website And you can read Fareed Zakaria's take on these pending talks. Once again,

The Trump administration has unveiled new proposals for gun and school safety. This comes nearly one month after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Since that shooting, students across the U.S. have rallied for tougher gun control measures, especially in Florida.

And Florida has passed a number of new laws, including raising the age requirement for all gun purchases in the state. For more on what the White House is proposing, here's CNN's Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House promoting a multipronged effort to try to prevent school shootings in light of last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The White House announcing the creation of a new federal task force that is going to be headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the purpose of which is to study school violence and explore policies and funding strategies that would best address the issue.

Secondly, the White House is going to push Congress to enact certain legislation. The so-called fix NICS bill that would incentivize local municipalities to report certain information to the national background checks system and the Stop School Violence Act which would provide funding to schools to better defend themselves.

Perhaps the most controversial part is the third aspect. The White House is going to be advocating for states to enact certain policies, one of them very controversial, something that the president has long talked about, dating back to the 2016 campaign, is the hardening of schools.

The White House wants local municipalities to push for certain school personnel to receive training in order to be able to carry concealed weapons in schools.

Secondly is the idea of risk protection orders, which would allow law enforcement to take weapons away from individuals that are deemed at risk, also preventing them from being able to buy firearms for a certain amount of time.

I was able to ask a senior White House official if they believed that the NRA would back that kind of move, fearing potential lawsuits like the one we saw in Florida last week. They said that, no, that they believed that the NRA would get behind this proposal.

There are two things we have to point out are not included in these guidelines from the White House. First, raising the age, the minimum wage --


SANCHEZ: -- to be able to buy an assault-style weapon, from 18 to 21, something that President Trump was very vocal about shortly after the Parkland shooting.

And secondly, the issue of comprehensive universal background checks, not mentioned in these guidelines at all, though the president said he was warm to the idea during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House two weeks ago.

It appears that the White House is now moving back from even where the president was shortly after the shooting in Parkland -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: Meantime, President Trump is denying a "New York Times" report that he's unhappy with his legal team on the Russia investigation. The newspaper reported the president met with this man, Emmett Flood, a lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings.

While not specifically denying that he met Flood, Mr. Trump insisted in a tweet he's very happy with his lawyers. He added there's no collusion between his campaign and Russia as he always maintains and again accused former election rival Hillary Clinton of collusion.

The president's tweets come one day after a rally in Pennsylvania. Mr. Trump was ostensibly there to support a Republican congressional candidate in a tight race this week. But the bulk of his 75-minute speech was list of his own achievements on issues like tariffs, North Korea and the economy.

And he even praised foreign countries for imposing the death penalty on drug dealers and he attacked the media and Democratic opponents.

From gun control to the tweets to the Pennsylvania special election, there's a broad range of issues. Let's talk about it now with Daniel Lippman. He's a reporter for Politico and co-author of the site dailynewsletterplaybook.

Daniel, thanks for joining us.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Let's start with this new proposal handed down Sunday from the Trump administration on guns. Back when the Parkland shooting happened, he first kind of sided with Democrats on some steps. Then the next day he met with the NRA. And now we have this step.

Is this significant?

LIPPMAN: Yes, I think a lot of the victims from the Parkland massacre, those brave students who have been rallying for gun control measures, they're going to be pretty disappointed by this.

The White House and President Trump seem to have backed away from raising the age limits to -- or age restrictions to buy certain assault weapons and I think they think that Trump has been cowed by the NRA, that the NRA has been calling the White House every day.

They've been pressuring lawmakers to really prevent Trump from helping enact severe gun control restrictions. And I think it's a big disappointment for a lot of those victims and also just people who had supported gun control measures as to try to stop the 35,000 people in American every year who die from gun violence.

ALLEN: Right. And as you say, it will be interesting to see how these high school activists who are leading a walkout this week of schools nationwide will react to this. They certainly want more than that.

Do you think this move by the White House will translate into steps by Congress?

LIPPMAN: I think Trump supports some of these modest reform efforts like the Fix NICS bill to try to prevent people who have no business owning a weapon from buying a gun. I think his support will help those bills get through.

But it's not going to prevent these thousands of shootings that you see every single year in America from taking place. It will only limit a few of them. And so we'll see what the impact of this rally that's happening in a few weeks in Washington organized by these students, which, interestingly, Jared Kushner's brother, Josh Kushner, has donated $50,000 to support the rally for these kids.

Whether that rally has an impact on what Congress does. ALLEN: We'll certainly see because we all know that these kids are to

be reckoned with. They really mean business on this.

Let's look at the president's tweets today. He talked about the Russia investigation as we mentioned. And he criticized "The New York Times" report, saying that he was unhappy with his legal team on the Russia case and going to another lawyer to help out.

"I am very happy with my lawyers." And then said they're doing great job. And he criticized the reporter who wrote the story, Maggie Haberman, also an analyst here CNN. He said she didn't have access. She certainly had access to the president before.

But as usual, the media is a target and the question is, is he shaking up his legal team?

We don't know that.


LIPPMAN: Yes, I think clearly Maggie Haberman has gotten a lot of Trump's scoops right. And she has talked to Trump on the record many times. And so Trump's criticism of her just does not lend to reality.

And if Trump does hire this guy that Maggie talked about in a few weeks, then it will just show that these tweets were kind of a deflection. And I think the -- what's interesting, what people thought was noteworthy from the rally on Saturday is that he praised some of the undemocratic things and he also told the crowd not to boo Kim Jong-un, who he's going to meet with by May.

But he told the crowd to boo the media. And so that was just kind of an ironic thing that a lot of people took note of.

ALLEN: Yes, and his 75-minute speech. But he knows how to play to his base as Politico wrote someone yelled from the crowd, "You're just like us."

So he certainly is working to try to save that Republican seat in Pennsylvania but there's strong pursuit by a Democratic opponent there. We'll wait and see what happens. Daniel Lippman, thank you so much for talking with us.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

ALLEN: We'll turn to Britain next. Authorities say some places have been contaminated by the dangerous nerve agent that poisoned a former Russian spy his daughter, who are still in the hospital. We'll tell you more about that next.

Plus, the U.S. Defense chief responds to a new Russian missile. We'll tell what you James Mattis thinks about it.





ALLEN: British prime minister Theresa May will lead a National Security Council meeting Monday on the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned there last week and remain hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

Police say traces of the dangerous nerve agent were found in a restaurant and a pub. The two may have visited the day they became ill. Though authorities say there's only a low risk to the public they are issuing a precautionary warning.


SALLY DAVIES, CMO FOR ENGLAND: Some people are concerned that prolonged long-term exposure to these substances may, over weeks and particularly months, give rise to health problems. I'm therefore advising as a belt embraces approach that the people who were either in Zizzi's restaurant or The Mill pub from 1:30 pm last Sunday until evening closing on Monday should clean the clothes they wore and the possessions they handled while there.


ALLEN: To get more on this story now from CNN's Phil Black.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does seem like remarkably simplistic advice for dealing with possible exposure to a chemical weapon. But health authorities here in the U.K. are warning hundreds of people they should wash their clothes, clean and wipe their personal belongings if, at any point, last Sunday, they spent any time in Zizzi's Italian restaurant just behind me or The Miller pub, which is just a short distance from here.

The reason: because authorities have found what they describe as trace contamination of a nerve agent in those two locations. Those are the two locations visited by Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the hours before they succumbed to the effects of the nerve agent, before they were found unconscious and seriously unwell at a nearby park bench.

These new facts, the detection of the nerve agent in these two locations, it paints a scenario that suggests authorities are looking at a slow-acting nerve agent, one where the Skripals were at some point exposed to the substance, then continued with their day, unknowingly transferring the substance at the locations that they visited before eventually succumbing to it some hours later.

Meanwhile, across Salisbury, military have been here in some force over the weekend doing what the police called them in and asked them to do, and that is deal with vehicles and other objects that may also have been contaminated by the nerve agent.

They've been wearing full protective gear, loading up cars, wrapping them up and then trucking them away. The forensic examination has continued here as well over the weekend, focusing noticeably on a local cemetery. That's where the graves of Sergei Skripal's wife and son are both located.

The officers have been focused specifically on those grave sites as they continue their investigation to determine precisely where and how the nerve agent was deployed -- Phil Black, CNN, Salisbury, England.


ALLEN: Russia is showing off what it claims is an invincible new type of weapon. It says this is video of a hypersonic missile being successfully test-fired. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new line of weapons earlier this month.

He said they cannot be stopped by missile defenses and he showed video animation at that time that appear to depict a nuclear strike on the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is not impressed. He spoke with reporters Sunday.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I get paid to make strategic assessments and I would just tell you that I saw no change to the Russian military capability.

And each of these systems he's talking about, that are still years away, I do not see them changing the military balance. They do not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture.


ALLEN: Mattis is also sending a stern message to Syria as he begins a trip to the Middle East. He warned Damascus would be unwise to again use chemical weapons on civilians. He signaled it could lead to a military response from the U.S. --


ALLEN: -- and blames Russia for letting Syria stockpile chemical weapons.

Meantime, the Syrian government is reporting major gains in the rebel held areas outside Damascus which it has been bombing. According to state media, Syrian forces have broken up Eastern Ghouta now after seizing the town of Madera (ph) on Sunday.

Its capture isolated two other key cities in the enclave, one of them Douma, that is the largest settlement in Eastern Ghouta. Activists say it's been hit with nonstop airstrikes and shelling since Saturday. Four children were killed in bombs this weekend. After almost 60 years, the next Cuba president will not be a member of the Castro family.

Will the new leader be any different?

We'll have a report next.




ALLEN: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. Thanks for being with us. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories this hour.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Political power in Cuba is shifting to a new generation of communist leaders for the first time in almost six decades. The next Cuban president will not be a member of the Castro Family. Cuban's voted to approve a new national assembly Sunday but voters will not directly elect a new president and many are skeptical that life in Cuba will be any different. Our Patrick Oppmann is in Havana.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cubans on Sunday came out to a vote as part of a process that is expected to lead the beginning of the post-Castro era on the island.

This is how it works, they are not direct elections to pick a new president, what they are is a process where Cubans vote either yes or no for a slate of candidates that have been preselected by the government. They are people who are invariably supporters of the Cuban Revolution, usually are members of the communist party of Cuba, the only political party that is allows on the island. Then that new national assembly next month in April will pick a new president and for the first time in decades that president's last name will not be Castro.

Raul Castro is 86-years-old, he said that he is stepping down after two terms as president and it's time for the next generation to pick a leader. The smart money is on a man named Miguel Diaz-Canel, he is a longtime official in the government, he is currently the country's first vice president, he is the backing of Raul Castro and on Sunday we had the opportunity to follow him to his home province, go along with him as he voted.

He lined up just like Cubans do every day, it's not something you see top officials typically do here. He was accompanied by his wife, that was also unusual. And he talked about a number of issues including U.S.-Cuban relations under the era of Donald Trump.


MIGUEL DIAZ-CANEL, CUBAN'S FIRST VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): The re-establishment of relations with the United States has been deteriorating lately thanks to an administration that has offended Cuba.


OPPMANN: If Miguel Diaz-Canel is elected by the New National Assembly, it's unclear how different a leader he really will be. He says he will follow closely an example set by Fidel and Raul Castro. Of course, this island is still grappling from the fall of the Soviet Union, the economy here is very much struggling.

So many Cubans are still left for the question of whether a new leader for their island will bring new ideas. Patrick Oppmann, CNN Havana.

ALLEN: Marine Le Pen, Leader of the French National Front thinks our organization needs a name change. She wants to rename the far right party as the National Rally to broaden its appeal.

The name is reminiscent of a facetious political party from the 1940s that collaborated with the Nazis. On Saturday, the National Front hosted former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and he told the group to handle accusations of racism with pride.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: [Speaking in Foreign Language]

BANNON: Let them call me xenophobes. Let them call me nativist. Wear it as a badge of honor.


ALLEN: Party members will vote on the name change by mail.

Parts of Western Europe were starting the week with heavy rain and gusty winds and the U.S. Northeast is bracing for yet another winter storm. Our Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera tracking both of these events. Ivan, Hello.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good to see you Natalie. The big event I think will be for the Eastern U.S. for travels going to be disrupted and, of course, that impacts the whole world, right?


Folks trying to fly in to New York and points across East Coast. But we'll talk about the storm here which winding down a bit and that the winds have come down a bit but we're still looking at some pretty good rain. Look at Berlin now, that's a morning commute that you don't want to be going through. Very heavy rain moving in with some gusty winds and all in association with this moisture coming in out of Eastern Med spun, there used to kind of be a ping wheel here. That is the area of low pressure that's moving through the channel.

The direct center of the lower right bypassing the channel right now and impacting that with London with a few showers this morning and a few gusty winds. Next system moving in it will be in cue. By the way, the storms that impacted Eastern U.S. usually can make their travel all the way Transatlantic and eventually end up here, that's exactly what's happening with this one, this next storm will be coming in through the week and by the time all is said and done, this is the next three days now of rain accumulation and snow, of course, through the mountains.

But big story I think will be across Spain, we'll have likely flooding there with significant totals over the next few days. Look at that curly cue, they're hurling like a winter hurricane which is exactly what's going to be happening across Eastern U.S., not technically a hurricane, of course, these storms, these winter storms get their energy differently but the effects can be very similar as far as the winds. I'm thinking the potential here for some hurricane force winds by the time all is said and done.

So, millions of Americans now across the Northeastern U.S. under threat from this winter storm which will get going pretty quick, we don't have much time to prepare. This is Monday evening, and so the day on Tuesday. Tuesday is going to be just a mess across the northeast because of what is currently over what we call here the Tennessee Valley. Natalie, look at Kentucky now getting hit with snow, you don't see that every day. We're talking about the potential for upwards of 15 centimeters plus of snowfall here, winter storm warning is fine.

So this is kind of a one cue storm, right? It's currently in this area, by the time it gets into the Mid Atlantic it will really get juiced up, crank out, yes, you will be hearing the term bomb cyclone the next few days because technically this is what will happen, we'll have some bombogenesis here. As the pressures fall, the winds pick up, these snow will be heavy and when you combine the heavy snow and a very gusty winds, I'm think 120 kilometers per hour, not out of the questions, that's going to be a mess.

In fact, that technically would be in fact a blizzard and we could have some blizzard conditions across New England Monday night into the day on Tuesday, Natalie.

ALLEN: No. And they've already seen bomb cyclones, that's a new one for this year. And I don't know, a storm or two ago it really shook up people in the nor'easter are used to, really serious storm. So how might this one stack up against the others?

CABRERA: Yes, good point. So each storm has their own character event. Let's go another map here, I'll show you what's going to be happening. I think this is going to be a classic New England storm and that New York, D.C. won't be impacted so much, it would be New England, right? Hartford -- or Connecticut into Rhode Island and Boston, here in Massachusetts, heavy snow, winds over 80 KPH. As I said, gust of 129, out of the question, coastal flooding and power outages. It is going to -- these people still without power in New England because of the last few storms and here comes the third one Natalie.

ALLEN: Get ready.


ALLEN: All right Ivan, thank you I guess. Up next here, we will take you to Kenya where young people are being recruited by Islamic militants of Al-Shabaab. We'll talk with a family whose son disappeared.

Plus, a school district investigates with a teacher who crossed the line of Florida with her white supremacist-themed podcast.



ALLEN: The U.S. Secretary of State resumed his schedule in Kenya after cancelling event Saturday. A spokesman for Rex Tillerson said he didn't feel well after several long days working on major issues like North Korea. Tillerson is on a five nation tour of Africa. He heads to Chad then Nigeria later Monday.

The Muslims in Kenya have a message for Mr. Tillerson, we are victims too. CNN's Farai Sevenzo visit one neighborhood in Nairobi that has become a recruiting ground for the Islamic militant group, Al-Shabaab.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is nearly three years to the day since Al-Shabaab murdered 147 people, mostly students in Kenya's northern town of Garissa on April the 2nd, 2015.

And for years now, Kenya has been living in the shadow of Al-Shabaab's Islamist insurgency in neighboring Somalia. Kenyan Somalis in this bustling Nairobian neighborhood say they too have felt the reach of the terror group. As Rex Tillerson came in to Nairobi, some had a message for the U.S. Secretary of State.

MOHAMAD ABDULLAHI, FOUNDER, AGENTS FOR PEACE: I would like to advice (INAUDIBLE) when you're addressing issue pertaining to terrorism, do not target only the Muslims or Somalis. You must know that even in Somalia there are victims of the attacks.

SEVENZO: Thirty-three-year-old Mohammad Abdullahi became a peace activist after the Garissa tragedy. He is concerned about Al- Shabaab's recruitment of Kenyan Muslims into his fighting ranks.

ABDULLAHI: We have some children from youth who join Al-Shabaab, but not the whole Somali community who join Al-Shabaab. SEVENZO: These groups are recruiting from areas like this and those

who are fighting them have to try and win the hearts and minds of the very same residence of these places.

(INAUDIBLE) Majengo, one of Nairobi's oldest and poorest slums, Muslims that are originally from Somalia are also been recruited. Mothers here have long known that Al-Shabaab has been targeting their children for radicalization, the reason --

LAYLA CHOPKIMOI, MOTHER: Why we are affected in radicalization is because the poverty. The poverty is too high, there are so many single parents with kids here in this area, that's why -- so people -- they are the target.

SEVENZO: Layla Chopkimoi son was recruited at his local mosque, she fought hard to keep him from going to Somalia.

CHOPKIMOI: He had a phone, I took the phone and whatever. I say, "Why are you getting this phone? You're not watching." Shoes, nice shoes, 7,000, I can't afford.

SEVENZO: She saved her son by sending him away to Qatar, in the Middle East far from these streets. But for this widowed mother of four, the outcome was very different. One of her sons converted to Islam in 2013 and became a Hadji bandit, he was 13-years-old.

How did he go? How did he live to Somalia? You don't know?


SEVENZO: And you were telling me that he destroyed all his pictures.


SEVENZO: He destroyed everything?


SEVENZO: Her son now 17 called her five months ago.

WANGLOGU: He called me (INAUDIBLE) speaking in a low (INAUDIBLE) I don't know if (INAUDIBLE)


SEVENZO: You never heard from him? So, how do you know that he's gone?

WANGLOGU: I don't know.

SEVENZO: You just can feel it.

WANGLOGU: I feel there's something.

SEVENZO: You feel that he's dead.

WANGLOGU: I think so.

SEVENZO: I'm sorry. Do you think that he was recruited here in Kenya?

WANGLOGU: Of course. I think so.

SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN Nairobi.


ALLEN: We turn to Florida next and a teacher under investigation. Satyr and exaggeration is what she called her white supremacist podcast. We'll tell you how her secret persona was discovered.


CABRERA: Winter weather watch, I'm CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera, another disruptive winter storm on the way for the Eastern United States. If you're flying anywhere from say New York all the way to Florida, there, of course, rainfall but particularly the Mid Atlantic U.S. and the Northeast are the big cities here.

We'll be looking at a significant weather event once again. We're talking New York headed up towards Boston particularly. This will be a big New England storm. (INAUDIBLE) already posted they will become warnings later today and (INAUDIBLE) Monday and Tuesday. We could even have blizzard warnings and that we'll have very heavy snowfall combined with very strong winds and the visibility will be nothing at a certain point here, so this is going to be just treacherous travel as this area of low pressure begins to get going.

This is now the third coastal winter storm that we have seen here in the last couple of weeks. There goes spinning up all the moisture which will fall in the form of snowfall, the air is cold enough for that and we could be looking at several centimeters of accumulation and unlike the last storm, this one tends to be colder. So even right along the coasts, places like Boston, Hartford, Providence will be seeing the heftier amounts of snow as oppose to areas across the interior Montreal, Quebec, you'll be seeing some snow but nothing like what they'll see across portions of New England where we're going to reserve the heaviest snow for that region as the cold air moves in.


ALLEN: A school district in Florida is investigating a teacher's behavior after discovering she secretly hosted a white supremacist- themed podcast. The middle school teacher is still employed by the school but she's been removed from the classroom. CNN Sara Sidner has the story for us.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-five-year-old Dayanna Volitich had one job, teaching social studies to middle school students at this Florida public school. On her off time, she had another passion, sharing white supremacist ideals and anti-somatic conspiracy theory on a public social media website including her own podcast under the Russian pseudonym Tiana Dalichov.

DAYANNA VOLITICH, SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER: So many other researchers have already looked into this, and that's just the way it is. There are racists that have higher IQs than others.

SIDNER: She also shared her views on Twitter under the same pseudonym saying this like, "It isn't supremacist or hateful to prefer your own people over others" and "You know America's education system is designed to enable victimization when teachers are forced to learn about institutional racism and prove its real when it isn't."

After the myriad of tweets and comments were first reported by "The Huffington Post" the publication shared what they found with the Citrus County School District. The district has removed Volitich from the classroom pending an investigation. In a statement through an attorney, Volitich denies being racist or anti-somatic saying her comments online were all political satire and an attempt to get more followers.

"None of the statements released about my being a white nationalist or a white supremacist have any truth to them nor are my political beliefs injected into my teaching of social studies curriculum." But she did admit at least one parent complain about her political bias in class.

VOLITICH: I've had a couple instances where parent were concerned. I had one at the beginning of this year who e-mailed the principal over my head and basically told her, "I'm worried that your teacher is in -- she's injecting political bias into her teaching." And the principal came to me and she was like, "I'm not worried, should I be worried?" And I'm like, "No." And she believed me and she backed off.

SIDNER: Another parent, Meredith Blakely says her daughter attended Ms. Volitich's class.

MEREDITH BLAKELY, PARENT: On a personal level I'm outraged that people in 2018 still think this way --

SINDER: Blakely's daughter told her she remembered a comment by Volitich that made a mixed race child in class uncomfortable.

BLAKELY: She believes she heard a comment from a teacher where she was saying that during segregation they had separate water fountains and the teacher somewhat alluded to that and the teacher's opinion it would be okay if that was the way that it was today.

SIDNER: But Blakely says she strongly believe in due process and the first amendment and that she will wait to see what happens with the investigation into the teacher before she passes judgment on whether or not that teacher should be fired.

She did say though that this is a wakeup call to parents that they should teach their strong values in the home as well and she says she's teaching her daughter about inclusion and acceptance.


ALLEN: CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern day slavery this week. It happens Wednesday, March 14th. Students at a California campus show us young people are passionate and committed to promoting change, here they are.


DIANA SHEEDY, FOUNDER OF CLIFF: I would always push the buffet, if you know another person you have overall to play in this fight. My name is Diana Sheedy and I am the founder of CLIFF, the Collegiate Leadership in the Fight for Freedom.

CLIFF is an organization run by students and practitioners that really wants an equipped and connect experts in the field with students. Our focus is really on the students involved. We are hosting a regional convention here in San Diego at UCST.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People who fall victim to trafficking are pushed into circumstances against their will and they cannot escape from.

SHEEDY: I have been working a lot with the Regional Leader Ashley Halabi and a fantastic team of four other girls who have been helping her to plan the event. Ashley and her team have really spearheaded the entire process of creating the programs, recruiting people.

ASHLEY HALABI, REGIONAL LEADER OF CLIFF: It's very empowering to see that we can have a conference and we can raise awareness ourselves.

SHEEDY: Listening to the students give their own pitches with just the epitome of why we do what we do. Students are in a really unique period of their life where they aren't connected to an organization necessarily, they're not married to a certain approach or idea and they also are constantly learning.

And I think seeing the way that sparks are going off in conversations and ideas I think is really important for everyone to feel like we're making a difference, this is worthwhile.


HALABI: There are so many stories of students at many schools that get trafficked because they don't have enough money, so they sign up to do a photo shoot and the photo shoot turns into extreme pictures, extreme pictures turn into trafficking and that's how the cycle goes.

That person will still be going to school. So if you can learn to identify the signs or learn to like know who to contact when you see something weird, there's a huge impact that you can make.

SHEEDY: Modern slavery and issues of exploitation, they can be daunting to work on and sometimes you wonder, "Am I making a difference? Does this matter?" And the answer is, yes, it does.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: Join in. Tell the world what freedom means to you. Share

your story using the #MyFreedomDay. Again, it's Wednesday, the 14th. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. My colleague Cyril Vanier is up next with another hour.