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Countries Preparing for the U.S. and North Korea Summit; U.S. and South Korea Plan to Move Ahead with Joint Military Exercises; NICS to be Fixed; Chlorine Gas Attacks in Eastern Ghouta Killing Thousands; Youth's Action to End Various Abuses; More Prescriptions Equal More Money; Russians Soak Up 'Power' of Siberian Red Deer Blood; South by Southwest Festival. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Top South Korean officials are meeting with their neighbors to settle any concerns over Donald Trump's decision to meet face-to-face with Kim Jong-un.

Plus, President Trump is proposing new gun and school safety policies. They do not raise the legal age for purchasing a rifle, but they do suggest arming some teachers.

And it's no secret that the Russian president is proud of his physique. So we'll have a look at the anti-aging potion that President Putin apparently believes in. And you cannot find this one in a pharmacy.

You are watching CNN. I'm Cyril Vanier. Great to have you with us.

So, diplomacy is moving fast in the Korean peninsula right now after Donald Trump said that he would meet with the North Korean leader. Just days after this announcement, South Korean envoys have been dispatched to sell that summit to their regional allies.

South Korea's national security adviser is being sent to Beijing to discuss the summit with President Xi Jinping. And it's going to be a harder sell in Tokyo, Japan. South Korea's spy chief is just dispatched there hoping to get Prime Minister Shinzo Abe behind the summit.

North Korea, for its part, is quietly preparing for the talks. That's according to the South Korean unification ministry.

Ivan Watson is in Seoul, South Korea. Matt Rivers is in Beijing. And Kaori Enjoji joins us from Tokyo so we've got all of this covered. Ivan, can Seoul set this thing up because they're doing all the legwork here?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They sure are, and they're clearly positioning themselves as kind of Pyongyang whisperers. Because when a unification ministry official was asked about why we haven't heard from North Korea just yet, he responded by saying, "Hey, they probably are being careful and cautious. They probably just need time to respond to this momentous announcement that President Trump would be willing to be the first American president in history to sit down with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un."

Now, we've heard from the South Korean president, Cyril, in the last couple of hours, speaking to advisers here in Seoul where he described this as a, quote, "very precious chance to denuclearize the Korean peninsula." He is urging different factions here in South Korea to overcome their differences to unite with an appeal to conservatives to please seize the moment that this could be a chance to set up a lasting and permanent peace here on the Korean peninsula.

But certainly, it is the South Koreans who have more experience than probably anybody at the delicate dance of meeting face-to-face with North Korean delegations. They have been doing a lot of this just in the first couple of months of this year with the breakthrough around the Winter Olympics and the face-to-face meetings over the last couple of months. Cyril?

VANIER: Yes, you know, Ivan, that's really interesting because we've been saying for months now -- for years, in fact, that China is the country in the region that has the most leverage over North Korea, and they've been, for the moment, blindsided by this.

Let's turn to Matt Rivers who is in Beijing. Matt, China has been pushing for a diplomatic solution. So I guess they won't be hard to bring on board.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not going to be hard to bring on board. This is what the Chinese government -- their stated position for years and years has been that the only way to solve this problem in a lasting way is to get the United States and North Korea to talk directly, whether that's under the kind of six-party talk framework.

Those talks failed in the mid-2000s or some sort of new approach. And I think what we're seeing here would definitely qualify as a new approach. But you bring up an interesting point, Cyril, in that setting this meeting up, the Chinese didn't really have a huge role in that, at least directly.

What they will take credit for, though, is indirectly setting the stage, if you will, for this potential meeting to happen. They're going to point to two things. One is that the Chinese not only signed on to but then enforced the toughest ever U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

China has that responsibility of enforcement more than any other country given the trade ties between both sides. And maybe one of the reasons why the North Koreans are willing to make this meeting is because the Chinese are enforcing those sanctions and inflicting that kind of economic pain on the regime.

But the other thing the Chinese government is pointing to is they're saying, "Look, this is essentially what we had proposed the entire time under the sort of suspension for suspension deal."

The North Koreans agree to suspend all missile and nuclear testing in the United States, the South Korea agree to suspend their military drills. Now, that's not totally true given that the military drills aren't suspended indefinitely. They were postponed for a couple of weeks during the Olympics.

[03:05:05] But China is clearly making sure that it is getting its positions out there to say, "Look, you couldn't have gotten to this point without us. And as we move forward, China should be a part of this negotiations."

LEMON: The other regional voice in this is that of Japan. Kaori Enjoji is there. Kaori, and Japan is a really more complicated case because they've had North Korean missiles fly over their heads. So justifiably, Japanese -- that the Japanese government is rattled. How is South Korea going to sell them on a new diplomatic push?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, Cyril, for years now, Japan has been saying that talking just for the sake of talking is meaningless. And anyone can talk about denuclearization, but they really want to see concrete steps. So I think for them to tone down that rhetoric, it's far too early in the game.

But I think a lot will depend on what the South Korean spy chief, Suh Hoon, has to say tonight when he meets with the foreign minister, Taro Kono. He has just landed in Tokyo. They will be speaking tonight. Mr. Hu Soon -- Suh Hoon will be meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on Tuesday.

And I think what Japan wants to hear is whether or not when the envoys went to North Korea, whether there was any explicit message from North Korea to Japan. I think a lot of it has to do with optics as well.

As I said, for years Japan has taken a very hard-line stance. And particularly over the last year, it's been vulnerable with these missiles flying over the country and into its water. So it's very difficult politically for the government here to backtrack from that immediately.

But you know, I think a lot of people do give credit to Shinzo Abe and the way he has played his diplomatic card, particularly with Washington. He's been in the good graces of Donald Trump since he has taken office, and I think he's willing -- he is not a politician that really basks in the spotlight.

So, I think he is willing to pay -- play the so-called bad cop role, if you will, in this so long as Japan gets something out of the negotiations in the end. I mean, they've been talking about the abductee issue, citizens of Japan were abducted by North Korean agents in the '70s and '80s, and that has been a very high profile topic.

Donald Trump met with the families of the abductees when he was here last year. So this has been on the agenda for the government as well. If there is any kind of progress in that, I think that would be a concession for Japan.

But for the moment, until we know the details of whether or not North Korea had any explicit message to say to Japan ahead of these scheduled talks, I think it would be very, very difficult for Japan to lighten up on the stance that it has had towards North Korea. Cyril?

VANIER: All right, Kaori, gentlemen, thank you very much. Matt Rivers is in Beijing, Ivan Watson in South Korea, Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo. So that gives us an understanding of what the reactions and the perspective is from the region.

How is that meeting playing at home for Mr. Trump? Lawmakers at both ends of the political spectrum are warning the president tread lightly.


ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Here's what I'm concerned about. I want the president to succeed. When the president succeeds in negotiations like this, the United States succeeds. It makes us safer. It makes the whole world safer. But I am very worried that he's going to go into these negotiations and be taken advantage of.

RON JOHNSON, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Let's not be snookered again. Let's not be Charlie Brown to North Korea's Lucy. We've seen this movie before. That's why we've called on President Trump to make sure that we maintain the maximum pressure campaign. If anything, I would continue to ratchet up sanctions until they, again, have complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.


VANIER: The Trump administration is backing new gun and school safety proposals nearly a month after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school. But the new measures fall short of some of the recommendations President Trump had said that he would consider.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has the details on this.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN 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 Check System and the Stop School Violence Act which would provide funding to schools to better defend themselves.

Perhaps the most controversial 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. [03:10:07] 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 age 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. But 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.

VANIER: OK. Let's talk about this. Steve Erlanger joins me now. He is the chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times. Steve, two weeks ago, the president said it was time to do something about guns, and he seemed really determined.

Everybody picked up on his tone and his body language, and just his general -- the way he brought this to the table. Is this the strong response that Mr. Trump promised?

STEVEN ERLANGER, CHIEF DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, as you know, after he said all those things, he then had breakfast with NRA --


ERLANGER: -- which is the great gun lobby in America, very powerful. And suddenly his tone shifted. Yes, he wants to do something. I think he was moved by what happened in Parkland. I mean, anyone would be. But the teeth of what he had originally proposed had been pulled out and left by the roadside, left to a study commission.

Donald Trump is the sort of person who when he campaigned always decried study commissions as the way that governments chew up proposals and don't do anything about them. Well, he has just started another one with Betsy DeVos.

VANIER: Yes. ERLANGER: So, you know, yes. You know, some good things could happen. And also, the other thing he has pulled back on as your very good report said was this idea of arming teachers. I mean, if it happens at all, it's going to be voluntary. Nobody is going to be forced to do it. Schools won't be required to do it.

I think again in this case Donald Trump is learning the difficulties of being president. It's not an all powerful job. And the strength of the NRA who supported him very, very strongly during his election campaign.

VANIER: Yes. I want to circle back on a couple of the things you mentioned starting with the NRA, in fact. At the time that the president had the bipartisan lawmakers around the table we showed the picture. He said he was not afraid of the NRA. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reason I had lunch with the NRA on Sunday, I called them, I said you got to come over. I said, "Fellows, we got to do something." And they do have great power. I agree with it. They have great power over you people. They have less power over me. I don't need it.

Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can't be petrified. They want to do what's right, and they're going to do what's right. I really believe that.


VANIER: But Steve, in the end, the propositions that were put out by the White House are pretty NRA friendly. I mean, arming some teachers, that's something that the NRA backs, and not raising the age at which you can buy a rifle. That's also something the NRA was hoping to see.

ERLANGER: Yes. And also, not doing the thing that probably would be the best, which is insisting on a month or more wait time and a serious look at people's background and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. Now, those would make a difference, and he has not even come close to anything like that.

Look, you know Trump is a great talker. He thinks of himself as a great negotiator. Whatever he comes up with will be the best thing ever. But you don't always have to hear him talking about things will be done. I'm not afraid.

Usually when people say they are not afraid, they are afraid. I mean, it's just human nature. It's very much on his mind. They gave him quite a bit of money. And money matters because he already announced that he is going to run for reelection.

So he really is as much, you know -- I mean, the NRA has as much impact on him no matter what he says as it does on different House and Senate members. It's just in a broader way in a more general way.

[03:15:04] But it is certainly a point of view that he should listen to. He is the American president and weigh (ph) as good -- as good leaders do. But I'm afraid he has ended up, as I say, pulling the teeth out of his own desire, I think, to do something serious about gun control.

VANIER: And look, there is also this. When you hear the White House putting together a committee -- you mentioned this earlier -- putting together a committee to propose, to make some recommendations on preventing gun violence in schools, it's impossible not to think back to what the president was saying just 24 hours ago. On Saturday night in Pennsylvania, he was talking about drugs. This is what he had to say.


TRUMP: We can't just keep setting up blue ribbon committees with your wife and your wife and your husband. And they meet and they have a meal, and they talk, talk, talk, talk. Two hours later, then they write a report. Look, that's what I got in Washington. I got all these blue ribbon committees.


VANIER: So, look, committees when it comes to drugs apparently are useless. But committees when it comes to his gun policy, that's good policy. Is that double standards?

ERLANGER: Well, he's very good at these things, I have to say. I mean, it was pretty funny. Maybe we'll call this a yellow ribbon committee rather than a blue ribbon committee and it will be fine. Well, that Trump defines things that suit him.

I mean, again, don't confuse -- which you don't, of course -- politics and substance. Trump is really good at politics. Every president has trouble with substance. He is having trouble with substance too, whether it's substance abuse like drug commissions or gun control like gun commissions. But if it's his commission, it's going to be the best commission that ever, ever happened.

Let's see what they come up with, and let's what actually gets passed into law. That's the important thing. And right now we don't know.

VANIER: All right. Just want to make it very clear by the way. The president doesn't have a problem with substance abuse.


VANIER: I get what you were saying. I get what you were saying.


VANIER: But I just have to push back.


ERLANGER: Well, I have problem with you. VANIER: But I understand your point. And I think everyone did.

Steven, Steven Erlanger, New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent, thank you very much for coming on the show.

ERLANGER: Thank you.

VANIER: Coming up, the U.S. warns Syria after reports of more chemical attacks. Why the U.S. defense chief says Russia needs to be held accountable. Stay with us.


VANIER: The U.S. is issuing a new round of warnings over potential chemical weapons attacks in Syria. There have been multiple reports in recent weeks that people in rebel-held areas showed signs of chlorine gas exposure.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters he couldn't confirm that chlorine was used, but he had this message for the Syrian government and its ally Russia.


JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We have made it very clear that it would be very unwise to use gas against people, civilians on any battlefield. Russian -- Russia was the framework guarantor that Assad would get rid of all of it. Again, either Russia is incompetent or in cahoots with Assad.


VANIER: U.S. President Trump ordered a missile strike just last year over Syria's sarin gas use. The CIA director told CBS News that the president is still concerned about chemical weapons.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES CIA DIRECTOR: The president asked me nearly every day what it is the intelligence community knows about the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons, and who else? The Russians or the Iranians who might be responsible for them.


VANIER: Meanwhile, in Syria, the government is paying little heed to global calls for a ceasefire. It is actually wrapping up its ground offensive in Eastern Ghouta and pounding this rebel-held enclave with shelling and with the airstrikes.

An activist says that pro-government troops captured the major town of Hawsh Zreika (ph) on Saturday. Analysts believed it is just a matter of time before those forces seize the entire enclave.

CNN's Ian Lee is tracking events from Turkey. He is live from Istanbul right now. Ian, is there any way for civilians -- there are about 400,000 people living in Eastern Ghouta. Is there any way for civilians to leave that area right now?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, there is supposed to be at these somewhat ceasefires, these corridors where civilians can flee on a daily basis. That being said, no civilians really have fled from what we're hearing. And that's mainly because we're seeing blame on both sides.

The rebels are accusing the regime and the Russians of bombing and shelling these areas. And the regime is saying that the rebels aren't allowing anyone to leave. But you're right. You do have about 400,000 civilians trapped in this area.

And when you look at the map as the regime controls more territory, the civilians are being pushed into smaller and smaller areas at a hospital. One activist told CNN that the shelling is just so heavy, you can't hear the people crying in the hospital. It's just getting denser, those civilians.

You know, on the other side too, we've seen this kind of tactic in the past by the Syrian regime where they will encircle an area. They'll pound it with artillery with air strikes and trying to force the people inside to either move to another rebel-held area or to leave.

But you know, in the past, we've seen this also from civilians saying they don't want to leave. They are afraid to leave because there is no international body guaranteeing their safety once they get to the regime side. They're afraid that if they do go to the regime side, they're uncertain of what will happen to their safety, Cyril.

VANIER: Ian, give us some context about this area. Why is Eastern Ghouta so important to the regime?

[03:25:00] LEE: Eastern Ghouta is east of Damascus, about six miles. It's one of the last major held rebel areas on the outskirts of Damascus and really one of the last major rebel-held areas.

And when you are just following this war, you've seen the Syrian army do this. Just go to one part where the rebels hold territory. Bomb it. Take it. And then move on to the next. And this is where they are now. They did this in Aleppo. Now they're in Eastern Ghouta.

And if they are able the take this area, then they will have a good chunk of the Damascus countryside under their control. There are still other areas, the Yarmouk refugee camp still under rebel and ISIS control. But Eastern Ghouta is really a prize for the Syrian regime. One that they seem intent despite international calls for a ceasefire; they seem intent to take it.

VANIER: Yes, it's been out of their control for a number of years. But you're absolutely right. Ian Lee, joining us from neighboring Turkey. Thank you very much. You'll continue to monitor this for us. Thanks.

Now I want to tell you about something that matters to us here at CNN. You don't have to look far. You don't have to look far to find a victim of sexual exploitation or human trafficking. They could be living next door or sitting next to you in a classroom.

Some dedicated college students are making the fight for human dignity a personal one. CNN is also joining in the fight against modern-day slavery for events around the globe on March 14th. As we learn from one California campus, young people are among the most committed and passionate activists.


DIANA SHEEDY, FOUNDER, COLLEGIATE LEADERSHIP IN THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM: I would always question people and say if you know another person, you have a role 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.

DIANA SHEEDY, FOUNDER, CLIFF is an organization run by Syrians and practitioners that really wants to equip and connect experts in the field with students. Our focus is really on the students themselves. We are hosting a regional convention here in San Diego at UCSD.

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 the fantastic team of four other girls who have been helping her to plan the event. Ashley and her team have really spearheaded the process of creating the programs, recruiting people.

ASHLEY HALABI, STUDENT, SCHOOL OF GLOBAL POLICY AND STRATEGY: 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 was 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 ways 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.

ALISAR EL-RAYESS, STUDENT, SCHOOL OF GLOBAL POLICY AND STRATEGY: 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 is a huge impact that you can make.

SHEEDY: Modern slavery and sex 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.


VANIER: And remember, CNN is partnering with young people around the world on March 14th. That's Wednesday for a day of action against modern day slavery that is led by students. We have special coverage leading up to My Freedom Day, and we want you to tell the world what freedom means to you. Use the hash tag My Freedom Day.

The U.S. response to a new Russian missile, what Defense Secretary James Mattis has to say about the threat it possesses after the break. Stay with us.


[03:30:00] VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. Let's take a quick look at your headlines this hour. South Korean envoys are in China and Japan, hoping to make the case for U.S. President Donald Trump's meeting with North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un. China has been supportive of U.S.- North Korean talks, but Japan is taking a harder line against Pyongyang. That meeting could come as soon as May.

The White House has unveiled new proposals for gun and school safety nearly a month after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida. They include arming some teachers and improving a national criminal background check system. But there is no mention of raising the minimum age to buy certain guns, a policy President Trump had said that he would support.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will lead a National Security Council meeting on Monday about the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Traces of that agent were found in a restaurant and in a pub after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. Customers who visited those businesses are urged to wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution.

Russia is showing off what it claims is an invincible new type of weapon. It says this is a video of a hypersonic missile being successfully test fired. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new line of weapons earlier this month, and he says they can't be stopped by missile defenses. He showed video animation that appeared to depict a nuclear strike on the U.S. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is not impressed by Russia's new weapons. He spoke to reporters on Sunday.


JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES 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 is 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.


VANIER: Despite the announcement that U.S. President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un will meet, the U.S. and South Korea plan to move ahead with joint military exercises. Before the summit was announced, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift, spoke to CNN's Paula Hancocks.


[03:35:00] SCOTT SWIFT, ADMIRAL, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET: My expectation is that the exercise will unfold to a scope and scale that is about what it's been in the past. And in the past, I would point out that the scope and scale is adjusted as well. But I suspect that this series of exercises that's approaching, that they will be consistent with previous exercises.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What the U.S. appears to be doing at this point or is publicly doing is the diplomacy backed up by a very strong military plan. This isn't the first time that this has happened, though. Is there a danger of the U.S. falling into the same trap when it comes to North Korea?

MATTIS: Well, I would -- first of all, I wouldn't say the danger is to the U.S. The danger is to the region and because we have a global economy. It's a global concern as well. So the stakes are very high. People may very well be surprised. I think President Trump has characterized that in his public comments. But the prospect of a nuclear North Korea is compellence enough to take an opportunity that has been presented and treat it seriously.

HANCOCKS (on camera): Admiral, if I can ask you about the South China Sea as well, what concerns you about China, about the militarization of some of these islands? I mean, there is some very significant militarization going on.

MATTIS: It's the lack of transparency -- is I think what concerns those in the region. So this discontinuance (ph) between actions and words on the part of China, Xi Jinping's famous statement in the Rose Garden that we were not militarizing -- China wasn't militarizing the islands in the South China Sea. And now we see there is great inconsistency between that statement and the reality that we see in execution.


VANIER: We are also tracking the major weather stories around the world. This one is in the northeastern United States, which is bracing for yet another powerful winter storm. Meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, joins us now with the latest. Ivan, this is the third one that we've seen in three weeks.

CABRERA: Third one that we've seen in very short amount of time. And sometimes, you know, we just get one and that's it. But this time, three rounds. And people still -- look at this.

This is in Philly, still recovering from the last two storms. The first one, of course, was a powerful hurricane-like creature with incredible amounts of wind. We had Category 2 hurricane-force wind gusts. This one will be pretty powerful. Look at what it has done. In fact, this has just blinked in the last few minutes as far as the advisories. A lot of colors here, but basically New England will be under a winter storm warning once these blue colors here turn pink. I think that's basically what's going to happen.

In New York, we're looking at lesser amounts. We are talking two to four inches. But by the time we get into Eastern Long Island, Coastal Connecticut, and then the rest of New England, this is taking a track that is going to be perfect for big snows across New England unlike last storm.

By the way, how about some snow in Nashville? Can you imagine that? Snowing in Nashville this morning. That's how cold it is. The cold air has made its way through. When you get moisture and cold air, it makes snow. That is what we are dealing in Kentucky as well where winter storm warnings will fly. This will be through this morning.

I think by later this afternoon, we'll be in much better shape and through this evening, Appalachia will begin to wind down. However, thereafter that's when our coastal low begins to get going. How many times do we mention that? This one, once it hits that Atlantic, boy, it's really going to get going as far as the winds. It will intensify big-time, and then it will move to the north.

And yes, you will hear bomb cyclone. That's what this is going to be, very fast-moving system with a low pressure dropping in 24 hours. It's going to be a quiet market here and that will mean very high winds along with the heavy snow and that's going to combine. I think the potential is here for blizzard warnings. Not just yet, but we could be seeing that in Massachusetts.

I think it has the potential for that, winds in excess of 50 miles an hour. Snow this morning across the south and here is the blockbuster totals (ph). This is for Monday night and into Tuesday, right? So right along the coast here again, a New England classic here with 12, perhaps as much as 15 inches of snowfall across the region.

I'll leave you with what will be happening in Boston. I think by the time we get into Monday night and into Tuesday, what we're going to be talking about, some heavy amounts of snowfall here, the likes of which we haven't seen in a while.

With the last storm, Boston got just a few inches of accumulation. And then west of 95 we really got clocked. This time around, I think the city itself is in for some significant snow Monday night into Tuesday.

VANIER: Ivan Cabrera, working hard from the CNN Weather Center. Ivan, thank you very much. Appreciate the update.

CABRERA: You're welcome.

VANIER: As the U.S. continues to grapple with an opioid crisis, we asked what is fueling this. A CNN exclusive investigative report finds that doctors who proscribe the most are getting paid the most by drug companies. Stay with us.


VANIER: The U.S. opioid epidemic has killed tens of thousands of Americans and it continues to do so. But how does this continue? We teamed up with Harvard researches to investigate. The investigation follows the money from opioid manufacturers to the doctors who prescribe them. The bottom line is there is a distinct correlation.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports that the more prescriptions physicians write for these addictive and deadly drugs, the more money they make.


ANGELA CANTONE, STRUGGLED WITH OPIOID ADDICTION: You would take the cartridge and you would spray it under your tongue like this.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is Subsys, a prescription opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. For more than two years, Angela Cantone's doctor prescribed it to her to treat her pain from Crohn's disease.

CANTONE: It completely destroyed my life. I was not able to function for my family. It was a zombie-like state. I suffered for two -- over two years thinking that I was dying. I made arrangements for my children if something were to happen to me.

COHEN (on camera): When you told the doctor that you didn't feel very well on this medication, what did he say?

CANTONE: The response that I got floored me. It was opioids or nothing.

COHEN (on camera): And in particular this opioid?

CANTONE: Subsys, yes.

COHEN (on camera): He didn't give you other alternatives?


COHEN (voice over): Cantone then learned that her doctor had receive more than $200,000 from the company that makes Subsys for speaking, consulting, and other services.

CANTONE: The medication that was being prescribed to me was for his benefit, not my own.

COHEN (voice over): As the nation's opioid epidemic rages, CNN and doctors, Anupam Jena and Michael Barnett of Harvard University School of Medicine and Public Health, did a new analysis of government data.

(on camera): This is a pretty dramatic line.


COHEN (voice over): What we found is stunning.

BARNETT: The big picture is that the more money a physician receives from an opioid manufacturer, the more likely they are to prescribe opioids.

COHEN (voice over): As you can see here, the doctors who get paid the most money, they prescribe the most opioids.

[03:45:00] BARNETT: We don't know which way that relationship goes. Is it that the payments motivated the physician to prescribe more or did the high prescriber attract the money?

ANUPAM JENA, PHYSICIAN AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: If there is the possibility that paying doctors leads to increases in inappropriate prescribing of these drugs, that's something that we have to take seriously.

COHEN (voice over): We showed opioid researcher, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, our findings.

ANDREW KOLODNY, CO-DIRECTOR OF OPIOID POLICY RESEARCH, HELLER SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT: It shows that the drug companies are really getting what they pay for. In effect, they're almost bribing doctors to prescribe their drugs aggressively.

COHEN (voice over): But pain specialist, Dr. Steven Stanos, says pharmaceutical companies are paying doctors to educate other doctors.

STEVEN STANOS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PAIN MEDICINE: I would hope that they, you know, choose physicians that have an understanding of the drug, are respected physicians and can speak objectively about that.

COHEN (voice over): The pharmaceutical industry told us it works to make sure patients' needs are met while also preventing overprescribing.

Cantone is suing Insys, the company that makes Subsys, and her doctor for fraud. Both deny the allegations.

In court documents, Insys said its product marketing conformed with industry standards. And Cantone's doctor said the medical care he gave her was reasonable and appropriate and in keeping with the standard of care. But Cantone says her doctor did over-prescribe opioids for money.

CANTONE: I was used as a pawn in a chess game which later ended up making him and the pharmaceutical company a ton of money.

COHEN (voice over): Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Greenville, South Carolina.


VANIER: Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly believes in the healing powers of the antlers of Siberian red deer. But animal activists say the practice is barbaric. We'll tell you more after the break. [03:50:00]


VANIER: President Vladimir Putin is reportedly one of many Russians who believe the Siberian red deer has special healing powers. Our Fred Pleitgen explains, and a word word of warning, his report contains some graphic video.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The strong Siberian red deer are tough enough to withstand the harsh winter in Russia's Altai Mountains. But look closer. The animals have had their antlers removed, because the people here believe they have special powers. Deer herder, Alexei Steinbrecher, tells me they must be cut at exactly the right time.

ALEXEI STEINBRECHER, DEER HERDER (through translator): How do I even explain it? I just feel when the antlers are ripe and ready. I just see it.

PLEITGEN (voice over): The images are graphic. Farmers saw off the deer's velvet antlers to drain the blood. Animal rights groups have called the process inhumane. The farmers say that's not true. The Siberian red deer's antlers grow back every year.

(on camera): This is Dima (ph). And Dima (ph) is obviously very cute, but he is also a very important commodity to the folks here, because he could give antlers in his lifetime up to 15 times.

(voice over): This farm offers antler blood creams and pills, blood drinks, and even baths in what they call antler broth, allegedly with a revitalizing effect, though there is no definitive evidence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly a believer in the special powers of the antler blood and horns, the manager of the farm tells me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Of course it's not a drug. It's more of a supplement. But it makes the immune system strong, heals the body, and gives us great strength. Men's libido strength in particular.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Although there is nothing to prove whether Siberian red deer antlers and their blood really have healing and revitalizing powers, the belief that they do will mean the animals' horns will remain in high demand.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, (INAUDIBLE), Russia.


VANIER: Imagination, innovation, inspiration, it's all on display at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Laurie Segall is there.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Well, it's a little bit sentimental being here because, you know, this is my 10th year coming, and this is a conference that really celebrates innovation in technology.

This is where Twitter really got its start. This is where I interviewed the Twitter founders for the first time, where I spoke to the Uber founder for the first time. And there has always been a certain sense of optimism about technology.

Things have changed. This is the first year I have been here where people are really questioning the power and influence of technology. It's this idea that with great power comes great responsibility. You have panels this year where tech executives are being grilled on if their platforms had become too powerful.

And you also have Hollywood coming here, depicting this very interesting moment in time, wondering the impact of the algorithms. I actually sat down with the creators of "West World". You know, this is a show about robots overtaking human beings and artificial intelligence.

And I asked them, who is in control? This is a question a lot of folks are asking here at the conference. Who is in control, man or machine? Take a listen.

JONATHAN NOLAN, CO-CREATOR, HBO'S WESTWORLD: We've lost control quite some time ago. I think the last year has been a fairly stark illustration of that. We struggled with this from the beginning.

But the idea now that, you know, we built systems that are so subtle and able to be manipulated so subtly that it's hard to even -- you got a congressional inquiry now to try to understand what happened with the election, what happened with social media in general.

It's already been gamed to a point. We don't even understand how to -- you know, how to fix it. So the illusion that we have any control over these systems is long gone. We elected quite some time ago to not have the conversation.

SEGALL: You have a massively influential show. There aren't many people that look like you in these roles. And I know that everyone is starving for a role model and an example in this era of "Me Too" and "Time's Up" but way, way long before that. Do you feel the pressure of it?

LISA JOY, CO-CREATOR, HBO'S WESTWORLD: You know, I think I feel the pressure of wanting to do something that is good. For a woman, I think it comes with a little bit more pressure. You've known that to get that chance is sometimes harder. And if you messed it up, you become the excuse to not give that chance to other people. I think happily things are changing.

SEGALL: You know, we're hearing so much about this moment in time with women here and the "Me Too" movement and how we push that forward. That's on everyone's mind as it pertains to

[03:55:00] Hollywood, media, technology. You hear a lot of that. And I will say, this is not all doom and gloom. There is so much incredible innovation happening in technology.

I interviewed a designer (INAUDIBLE) who is creating a baby camera that would be able to detect postpartum depression in mothers by looking at movements. There is someone looking at how to build a car that would be able to sense our mood and try to make us feel better. Obviously that comes with a lot of privacy concerns as well.

So, you know, I think the optimism is still there. I just think there is a lot more pressure now for us to look at our tech companies and hold them accountable because we're all hooked. The algorithms, as I like to say, they are shaping us and impacting us in every way. Back to you.

VARNIER: And while the show "Westworld" isn't known for its hopeful story lines, show writer Jonathan Nolan wanted inspiration at his panel on Saturday so he planned a plot twist. An Elon Musk surprise. The Tesla and SpaceX founder had words of motivation for the next generation of innovators.

ELON MUSK, CEO, SPACEX AND TESLA: Life cannot just be about solving one miserable problem after another. That can't be the only thing. There needs to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity.


VARNIER: That is why Musk says he launched SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. Musk and Nolan showed off this highlight of the launch at the panel, reminding people of the rocket that carried a red Tesla roadster into space. Musk also said SpaceX will be ready to fly a rocket to Mars next year. He did admit the timeline is a little optimistic, though.

That is all from me this hour. I'm Cyril Vanier. If you're in the U.S., you got "Early Start" coming up. For everyone else around the world, the news continues with Max Foster in London. In both cases, you are in great hands. Have a great day.