Return to Transcripts main page


Chemical Nerve Agent; Former Russian Spy Murdered; British Prime Minister Therese May; Russia Investigation; Stormy Daniels Scandal; Education Secretary Betsy Davos Interview; U.N. Expert Says Myanmar Government Employs Starvation Policy in Rakhine; U.N.: Hate Speech Spreading On Facebook; Victims Of Human Trafficking Inspire Play In Mexico; French Fashion Designer Givenchy Dead At 91. Aired 2- 3a ET

Aired March 13, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN NEWSROOM, HOST: This is CNN Newsroom, live from Los Angeles, ahead this hour.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM, HOST: The U.K. blames Russia, the British Prime Minister demanding the Kremlin explain how a former spy was poisoned.

SESAY: First, eradicating Rohingya villagers, the U.N. officials say the crisis in Myanmar has all of the hallmarks of genocide.

VAUSE: And a rush to diplomacy, South Korean envoys rallies their allies for proposed talks between the United States and North Korea.

SESAY: Hello to our viewers from the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. You're watching Newsroom L.A.

SESAY: British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling Russia out over the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter on British soil.

VAUSE: She says they died (ph) over a deadly nerve agent in southern England last week tied. The White House condemned the attack but stopped short of putting the blame on Russia.

SESAY: At the same time, the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, went farther, slamming the country for attempted murder. Now, Prime Minister May says Moscow has until the end of Tuesday to explain what happened.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world leading experts of the defense, science, and technology laboratory at Port and Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so. Russia's record of conducting state sponsored assassinations and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations. The government has concluded that it's highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.


SESAY: Well, CNN is covering this story from multiple angles. Erin McLaughlin is in Salisbury, England and Sam Kiley joins us from Moscow. Erin, to you first, I know that you know dozens and dozens of officials and investigators have descended on Salisbury as this investigation continues. Are they any closer to discovering where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were first exposed to this nerve agent?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, if they are, authorities at this point aren't saying, being very tight lip of the investigation. What we do know is that they found traced contamination of that nerve agent that Prime Minister Theresa May was just referring to there, called Novichok, here at the pizza restaurant where Skripal and his daughter had lunch that day, and around the corner at a nearby pub.

And they're offering advice to people here as well, saying that anyone who was in either of those locations after 1:30 p.m. on March 4th should wash their items. I was actually speaking to some of the patrons of the pub. Steve Cooper, he was telling me he was really concerned. He was worried that that advice is not enough. Take a listen to what he had to say.


MCLAUGHLIN: Salisbury is known as a sleepy little city, remarkable for its stunning cathedral, now the center of an international spy mystery, after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned, found slumped on a park bench on a Sunday afternoon. An hour before the grim discovery, Steve Cooper says he and his wife were sitting in the exact same spot.

STEVE COOPER, SALISBURY RESIDENT: When I saw the bench on the news, that's when it started to hit home how close we were to the events, going actually what transpired (ph) there in the pub, as well, and were contaminated, it became real (ph).

MCLAUGHLIN: Now, Cooper worries he is still not OK. Seven days after the poisoning, news that remnants that the deadly and the rare nerve agent were found at both the pub and a nearby pizza restaurant, both visited by Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier in the day.

SALLY DAVIES, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER FOR ENGLAND: Some people are concerned that prolonged, long term exposure to these substances may, over weeks and particularly months, it raise the health problems.

MCLAUGHLIN: The warning that along with advice that patrons should wash their clothes and belongings. Even though authorities say the risk is low, Cooper says he wishes he had known sooner. COOPER: I myself had been in contact with the general public, some

major companies, major customers, some colleagues, my family and friends. And I would like to know how serious it is, whether it would impact them, where it would affect them or whether we should have taken action earlier.

MCLAUGHLIN: There are also fears of further contamination. Military removed police cars and ambulances, objects tied to the attack. Parts of the city remain cordoned off, including the cemetery.

[02:05:01] Mothers Day visits are not allowed, as experts collect evidence in hazmat suits.

COOPER: We were concerned that we didn't know there would be a spy, a Russian spy in our mix who would be a threat and there would be assassins after them, who would make all of us threatened by their actions.

MCLAUGHLIN: I asked what he wanted to see done.

COOPER: If there are spies in our mix or actually got outside (ph) protection and that we are protected from the chemical substances that they use coming in to the country or being obtained in the country and that we, the general public, are protected.

MCLAUGHLIN: It seems like a simple enough request. Now, Cooper says he is concerned about the long-term health impact of his decision to go to his local pub for a Sunday pint.


MCLAUGHLIN: You know, I was speaking to security experts. They were telling me that the issue with Novichok, is that it sticks around and that it can be potentially dangerous even weeks or months after the attack due to repeated exposure if there is repeated, prolonged exposure with remnants of the nerve agent, which is why, you know, authorities are really concerned, which is why, Isha, it is so important they determine just exactly, and of course, who poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

SESAY: Indeed. Erin McLaughlin, thank you for that. Sam Kiley in London -- sorry -- in Moscow rather. And Sam, the British Prime Minister being very clear that Russia had something to answer for that either they were directly involved in this or they have lost control of chemical agents -- nerve agents that they produced at one point in time. It kind of puts Russia in a little bit of a tricky position, doesn't it?

SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it puts Russia in the position of either confessing to having lost control of a nerve agent that was developed deliberately to try to circumvent international treaties, binding the Russian state or then Soviet Union to getting rid of exactly these kinds of weapons or to admitting to a state sponsored attempted assassination. Now, Russia has forum on this with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko using polonium 210, a substance that effectively could have led back to the Kremlin in terms of authorization for an attack of that nature.

And I think similarly, this use of this extremely rare really unknown nerve agent, Novichok or the brand Novichok, a category of nerve agents that was deliberately developed only by the Russians, first time it's ever been known to have been used, is intended really to send a signal, if it was ordered by the Kremlin, that we can reach you anywhere and we will do that if you are in kind to spy against us and turncoat and become a traitor.

And I think that is really the message being sent out, but we won't expect anything other than a fairly opaque response by the deadline set by the British by midnight on Tuesday going into Wednesday morning local time in terms of Russia's response to this, because there isn't really very much in Russia's interest to respond.

I think what they will do is try to exploit areas between Britain and her allies of disagreement. The Trump administration seems to be internally divided with Rex Tillerson, saying, absolutely pointing the finger towards Russia, a different, slightly milder position being struck by the White House spokesman -- spokeswoman. And then within Europe, with British calls for support from the European Union, that's going to be very interesting to see whether that can be brought together.

Because of course, Britain is negotiating an exit from the European Union, firstly. And secondly, there are quite a lot of anti-European Union, pro-Moscow political elements within other members of the European family, who themselves will be disinclined to supporting any kind of serious efforts at sanctions, whatever that may be coming from the United Kingdom. So yes, Russia is in a bind. But I think the United Kingdom is even in potentially in a bigger bind, Isha.

SESAY: Yeah. No doubt. And Sam Kiley, there in Moscow and Erin McLaughlin joining us there from Salisbury, England, many thanks to you both, much appreciated.

VAUSE: Well, for more, joining us now from London is CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson. Nic, the British Prime Minister shared some very tough words of empowerment to Russia. This is part of what she said. Listen to this.


MAY: Mr. Speaker, this attempted murder using a weapons grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripal's.

[02:10:00] It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil.


VAUSE: Tough words and warnings, especially given that the Prime Minister has some fairly limit options here, right? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: She does. And the Russian Embassy here in London yesterday was trying to sort of prescribe those options or just highlight how difficult they might be for Theresa May, warning her of the damage to the future relationship between the two countries, depending on the actions she takes. But there were other lines as well, that came from the Russian Embassy here in London that will be particularly worrying for the United Kingdom, for Britain, for Theresa May, and its allies in Europe because of the similarity of the language being used here about the situation in Britain and the allegations that Russia, the Kremlin, Putin, responsible potentially for this use of a nerve agent.

And what we've heard from the Russian authorities in Moscow before engagement in military activities in Crimea and the Ukraine, for example, and this is the language used by the Russian Embassy yesterday, "We're outraged by the anti-Russian media campaign in Britain." They go on to say, "Our compatriots and British nationals of Russian origin are worried about their future in this country."

When Russia starts to talk, as it is doing there, about the safety and security of Russian nationals, people ethnically Russian, Russia is often used as a pretext for engagement to protect those people, even beyond their borders. This will be very worrying language. Theresa May knows absolutely there's a huge amount of public pressure on her, political pressure, to take a tough line. But I think we're already seeing from Russian authorities just the type of way that they're prepared to ratchet up the rhetoric on their side.

You know, Theresa May as a historic example. Prime Minister Ed Heath back in 1971 expelled one-fifth of the Russian over that time soviet diplomatic corps in the U.K., 105 diplomats. It's not clear that Theresa May is going to go to those lengths, but she is expected to take a very tough line because in part she looks so weak right now.

VAUSE: And nothing happens in vacuum. This is a time of Brexit. How much support can she expect from Europe?

ROBERTSON: She's obviously going to find this is a difficult needle to thread. She has maintained and she went to Munich to appeal to European leaders at a security conference to remind them -- and this was just last month -- of the important security relationship that Britain offers the rest of the European Union that it wants to keep but the European Union. So this narrative of a common security threat and a common interest in maintaining strong security ties will be an important one for her.

She will be able to embellish and build on that, but she has literally now less than 24 hours to build whatever coalition of support she think she can get from the European allies to take a robust position against Russia. It's not enough time to build strong diplomatic fences and make combined response against this type of action. So yeah, she's going to find it very difficult because she has essentially been upsetting her European partners over the past couple of years.

Britain has been doing that. Her party has been doing it. She's been doing that. But even worse than that, for Theresa May right now, so much of her political focus has been on maintaining party unity because of Brexit and much distraction for because Brexit takes up so much of her time, so much of her cabinet members' time, that in many ways, you know, the Russian issue is what they could least hope at this very critical time.

Next week is a very important deadline and step in the whole Brexit negotiations and talks, so all of this is really just coming at one time.

VAUSE: Almost out of time, Nic, but we've noticed the White House's lukewarm response, essentially not saying Russia or blaming Russia for this attack. The U.S. Secretary of State, though, Rex Tillerson, a slightly tougher tone, he was asked if this attempted assassination of Skripal would trigger mutual defense. He replied, "It certainly will trigger a response. I'll leave it at that." This seems to be a reference article for the NATO treaty allows a member state to convene a meeting in the alliance and it feels it's under threat. That would certainly get Putin's attention. But it would seem to be a long shot that that would actually happen, right?

ROBERTSON: Yeah. And a long shot that Theresa May is going to be able to call a meeting like that, get something firm agreed in that meeting that she can then respond to Russia with. Again, she said that the deadline is the end of today. And she will be under pressure very soon after that to make clear what her next steps are going to be. I think when you look at Tillerson, Secretary of State, and the White House response.

[02:15:00] Tillerson's response came several hours after the criticism of the White House for not saying that they believe that Russia was behind this. In the very short statement from the State Department, Tillerson mentioned Russia three times. I think there was a very deliberate intention on his part to say this is -- to say that Russia is responsible, what kind of rift does that increase and open up between him and the White House, it's not clear yet.

VAUSE: There are a lot of questions about Rex Tillerson and the White House within this administration, I guess. This just adds to that. Nic, thank you, good to see you.

U.S. House Republicans have closed down their investigation, declaring not only was there no collusion between Trump campaign and Russia, but they're also questioning the full assessment of every American intelligence agency, more of that.

SESAY: And Rohingya refugees are being ordered to return home. But Amnesty International report says they have no homes to return to, the latest reports on devastation in Myanmar just ahead.


VAUSE: Floor Republicans on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee say there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And in a break with the U.S. intelligence community, they say Vladimir Putin was not trying to help Donald Trump actually win the 2016 elections. SESAY: The House panel ended its investigation Monday, much to the dismay of Democrats who called it tragic, thinking it was another capitulation to the Trump White House.

VAUSE: Michael Genovese is the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, and Peter Matthews is a Professor of political science at Cypress College. And both of them join us now for more on the story. OK, so clearly the President sees this as a good day and vindication. We had one of those rare all-caps tweets to show his excitement.

The House Intelligence Committee has, after a 14-month long in depth investigation, found no evidence of collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian to influence the 2016 Presidential election. The people at Fox News have not been this happy since hundreds of thousands of children are about to lose their government pay for health care, because they have going with this story all day. Case closed.

But Michael, there are still two ongoing investigations, including the special counsel, which seems to be expanding. It seems they're a little bit ahead of themselves here if they think this is in fact, case closed.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, you don't find what you're not looking for. And I think in this case this committee was poisoned from the beginning by former chair, Nunes. And I think their conclusion that there's no collusion, that all contacts were inadvertent, it's sort of like Donald Trump's contacts with Stormy Daniels were inadvertent.

VAUSE: Right.

GENOVESE: That's about as inadvertent as those contacts were. Plus, when they said there seems to be no effort by Russia to help Trump but just flies in the face of all of the evidence. And so, I think what we're seeing this is a fig leaf for the President. He's going to make the most out of it. It might give him some ammunition to fire Mueller, but it's certainly not going to be enough because Mueller's investigation is going to go on.

VAUSE: OK. So not only does this report from the House Intelligence Committee find no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. It goes even further. Mike Conaway, the Republican leading the investigator, he told reporters, "Bottom line, Russians did commit active measures against our elections in 2016. And we think they will do that in the future. It's clear they sow discord in our elections but we could not establish the same conclusions that they specifically wanted to help Trump."

And Peter, to Michael's point, how could it be remotely possible that every intelligence agency in the U.S. got this wrong and the Republicans on this House committee are the ones who -- they're the only ones who really know the truth about what happened here. It just seems ludicrous in some ways. PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Because essentially a political decision on their part is not an investigative one. And they try to cover their President's -- how do I say on --


-- covering the president's behind, exactly. They've done it for now, temporarily. The Democrats will have say when they come up with their statement tomorrow, and everyone else is looking at the truth and this does seem to be this is the truth.

VAUSE: Remember last year when the chairman of the House Committee, Devin Nunes, he went secret agent man and on the White House grounds because he had information from a whistleblower about this illegal government surveillance. It was all sort of hush-hush, where he was getting the information from, and what are you going to do in terms (ph) of White House with the whistleblower. And it looks like this great Sean Spicer moments a White House briefing. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you rule out that the White House or anyone in the Trump administration would give Devin Nunes that information?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don't know what he actually briefed the President on, but I don't know why he would brief the President on something that we gave him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why he was accusing (inaudible).

SPICER: Right. I don't know that that makes sense. I did not sit on that briefing. I'm not -- it just doesn't -- so, I don't know why he would travel -- agree to speaker (ph) and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn't really seem to make a ton of sense. So, I'm not aware of it, but it doesn't really pass the smell test.


[02:22:03] VAUSE: I really miss Sean Spicer a little bit. OK, so this sort of blew up in Nunes' face because the information came from the White House. Then we had this Republican memo, which was meant to discredit this dossier. Again, that backfired on Nunes' and the Republicans. So Michael, what are the chances that this finding by this Republican-led House Intelligence Committee, but also be another rake stepped on by the Republicans?

GENOVESE: It's not going to have much of an impact. It will get a 48-hour boost for the President, but Mueller's investigation is going to go on. And for Devin Nunes, it's almost like a bad version of Animal House, lurking around the White House and jumping around, hiding behind bushes.

That's all for show. Mueller is the serious grown-up in the room. And I would say patience is what you need. Mueller is going methodically. Let him do it. The House has already showed us they're not going to cooperate and give us a real report. The Senate, who knows? They seem to be less partisan right now. But it's really going to be all on Mueller's shoulders.

VAUSE: Peter, it seems like this whole investigation was written off from the very early days of when Nunes was busted on the White House ground, playing inspector.

MATTHEWS: It's a partisan organization. The House has got Democrats and Republicans. It's a partisan decision basically.

VAUSE: The intelligence committee never used to be partisan.

MATTHEWS: No. It didn't.

VAUSE: What damage has been done here?

MATTHEWS: It's the way to shift of the parties. Would the Republican Party going right wing and deciding to just play -- completely cover the President, cover the leader, as opposed to what is the truth and investigating what actually happened more carefully and objectively. And so it's a shame because this could have been a nice bipartisan decision, with much more all-encompassing facts.

VAUSE: OK. Well, a source told CNN, we're moving on to Stormy Daniels because we're hearing that Stormy Daniels scandal going to be the bigger threat to Trump's presidency than the Russian investigation. This is all about -- the story about the hush money, $130,000, which was paid by Trump's personal lawyer. It was hush money. It was kept in the headlines against this offer from Daniels' attorney to pay the money back to Donald Trump. This is what he said on CNN's New Day.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: I don't understand why the President cannot come out and state unequivocally did he know about the agreement? Did he know about the payment? And did he have anything to do with the payment being made, three very simple questions. You don't need 140 characters on Twitter in order to answer those three questions.


VAUSE: Michael, you don't need 280 characters either on Twitter to answer those questions. It is a very straightforward series of three questions.

GENOVESE: And it's humiliating for the President. I don't think he's in political hot water unless this is a campaign contribution that his attorney gave out of the kindness of his heart to a porn star. But I think when you have a President, Dennis or David, Dennis or who else, why does the President have to use an alias and why do you need to bring a fixer, like Cohen in, if nothing needs fixing? And so I think it's really the humiliation factor that there are so many women that have come out and accused the President. This is the one that sticks closest to home. This is the one that could have more legs. And as such, the President can be humiliated. I don't think he will be politically damaged as much as he personally humiliated.

[02:25:03] VAUSE: OK. Well, there does seem to be some sluggish (ph) there, Peter, when we look at -- you know, he survived so many sex scandals, but this one seems to be different.

MATTHEWS: It is. And the fact that the Evangelical Christians who are a big block in his voting team, some of them are going to peel away from him. They would see so much in this what they think is immorality in their part of their judgment. If even five percent of Evangelicals pull away from him, that's going to be unbearable for him to win re-election, especially the two candidate election.

VAUSE: And we'll have the midterms which are coming up in November. I want to finish with what was a less than impressive interview over the week on CBS' 60minutes program from the Education Secretary Betsy Devos. Listen to this.


LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES, HOST: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: I don't know. Overall, I can't say overall that they have all gotten better.

STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.

DEVOS: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well.

STAHL: Your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan. Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?

DEVOS: I have not. I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should. Yes.


VAUSE: Maybe. Secretary Devos joins a growing list of those on the naughty list as far as the President is concerned, those he's unhappy with, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Housing Secretary Ben Carson, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Scott Pruitt, Head of the EPA, David Shulkin, head of the Veteran's Affairs. Michael, at this point, it might be easier to list the ones who are not out of favor with President.

GENOVESE: Well, there's been an incredibly high amount of turnover in this Presidency, much higher than Obama, Bush, and Clinton. You can't really govern with that kind of disheveled organization. But Devis, from the start, she was a liability. She is a handicap because she doesn't know the issues.

And we have a President who came in, who didn't have a lot of political background, so he didn't know about the players that play the games to bring in. So the Devos family has given him a couple hundred million dollar and very generous to conservative causes. There is your answer as to why she's where she is.

VAUSE: Yeah, there are 50 Republican senators who may have to rethink about the whole confirmation hearing. We are out of time, but good to see you both. Peter and Michael, thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

SESAY: Quick break. So far, North Korea isn't saying much. They don't say anything. But South Korea is talking to Japan, China and Russia about U.S. President Trump's expected meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.

VAUSE: Also ahead, more proof if any was needed of the atrocities suffered by Rohingya refugees takes up the U.N. scathing report and a call for action in Myanmar.


[02:30:18] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this house. British Prime Minister Theresa May says all signs points to Moscow for the nerve agent attack on Salisbury, England. She says the military grade substance was used to poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter. Mrs. May is demanding a response from the Russian government by the end of Tuesday.

VAUSE: Republicans on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee say to no one is surprise. There is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. They ended their investigation on Monday without consulting Democrats on the committee. Republicans also claim Vladimir Putin wasn't trying to help Donald Trump get elected.

SESAY: Officials in a Nepal investigating what caused a plane to crash while landing at Kathmandu airport. At least 49 people were killed. Airport officials say the plane approached the runway from the wrong direction. The airline blames the air traffic control for giving the wrong signals.

VAUSE: The White House still expecting that meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to go ahead providing they say the North Koreans keep their word and refrain from nuclear test and missile launches. Notably, North Korea is still -- has yet to say anything publicly about this summit. SESAY: The South Korea's envoy is finding out across the region to

persuade a wary ally that the meetings would be a cognitive development. South Korea spy chief has been talking with Japan's Prime Minister. They agreed on the need to keep pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

VAUSE: In the meantime, South Korea's top security adviser meets with the Chinese president also on Monday. Next, he's off to Russia.

SESAY: Well, joining us now CNNs Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea and Kaori Enjoji is in Tokyo. Paula to you, as the South Korean envoys make the round heading to as we know they were in Japan and also in Beijing, will head off to Russia. What exactly is the message that they're carrying? They're saying that they want buy in but to what end?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, they want to make sure that everyone is effectively on the same page. They're giving the messages that they received from North Korea, from Washington and passing them on to China, to Russia, to Japan to make sure that all of those countries that were involve in previous peace talk efforts with North Korea are on the same page to make sure that everybody agrees that this is the right way to go. Now, when it comes to South Koreans themselves on what they think about what's happened over recent days, there's quite an interesting poll out today I wanted to mention that says it's from real meter which says 73 percent of those polls welcome North Korea's change in attitude. But at the same time 64 percent don't trust that change in attitude.

Now, that speaks volumes that poll the fact that many South Koreans are clearly relieved that we have come back from those very high tensions on the peninsula just a matter of months ago when there was talk of potential war and they are happy that change of attitude in North Korea has happened. But of course there are few people who trust that change in attitude. So it's an interesting indication of the skepticism in this country and of the fact that realism is within these discussions here. Obviously, officials within the government would be very well aware of that as well having tried and failed in the past to get some kind of peace deal with the North.

SESAY: Yes. No, absolutely. Really interesting poll. Thank you for sharing that. So Kaori in Tokyo, interesting to see over 60 percent of South Koreans, you know, wary, not exactly trusting Pyongyang and the North Koreans. I'd imagined in Tokyo there's a similar sentiment. They have been very clear eye Japanese officials about dealing with North Korea. How is the message delivered by the envoy received there in Tokyo?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, I think as Paula pointed it out, this is going to be -- they're trying to make this a full court press and that there are no loopholes particularly between the United States and South Korea, and China loopholes that could -- can be taken advantage of by North Korea should this talks progress. And I think that was why the envoy was here and had a full round of diplomatic talks with the prime minister and also with the foreign minister last night to see -- to make sure that everyone is looking at the same thing. And I think the comments from both sides, from South Korea and Japan are pretty much a continuation of we've heard before that one from South Korea the fact North Korea is talking about denuclearization is a good thing. And Japan stressing that, yes, it might be a good thing, but we want to see them walk the walk because time and time again they've seen them backtrack twice in fact in -- over the last few years alone.

[02:35:02] So I think in general, people feel that after months of nuclear missiles, nuclear testing, and missiles falling into the water close to Japan over the country a couple of times compare to that and the rhetoric being traded, name-calling between the U.S. and North Korea, sure, it's a little bit better than that. But I think there is a lot of deeply held skepticism about whether or not it's time to raise the bar so to speak. So I think in terms of the mission itself, the envoys are here. They will be departing soon. It's a two-day trip. It really to make sure that everyone is looking at the situation from the same point -- viewpoint.

But I think, you know, over the -- as the days progress, things are going to change because there are, you know, there are issues that are singular to japan, singular to South Korea, singular to the United States and I think that's why the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe quickly said that he would be going to Washington in April to meet with Donald Trump and I think he has been showing that he's a fairly desk politician in dealing with Mr. Trump. I mean it look like the two could be off to fairly, you know, strained start in terms of trade talk and so forth. But he's become, you know, he's developed a very strong rapport with him and I think it will be a clear of test of his diplomatic skills as to whether or not he can push forward with Japan's agenda in these upcoming talks.

SESAY: Yes. You're right. He's a desk politician to go back to puller that in soy, you know, Kaori makes a point that, you know, each of these countries that will be, you know, South Korea, Japan all have their unique prism if you will that they're looking through. And when it comes to dealing with Pyongyang, they have their own unique considerations. And I think when you look at these countries, they all are looking at also the issue of concessions and how far they America should be willing to go, what does North Korea want in return? There in South Korea, what is the sense in terms of concessions and how far, you know, regional actors should be willing to go to get North Korea to take their nuclear weapons off of the table?

HANCOCKS: Well, there are a couple of points to that, Isha. What the South Korean delegation, he went to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came back with last week was the fact that he had said he was not going to carry out nuclear missile tests during these negotiations. That is something that Washington and Seoul have said in the past was really a must if they're going to sit down and talk. It was also the fact that they had talked about the joint military drills, the U.S.-South Korean military drills which will start at the end of this month potentially beginning at April. These are drills which every year annoy, frustrate, anger Pyongyang. But this year according to that South Korean delegation, Kim Jong-un said that he accepted that they had to go ahead and understood why they had to go ahead. Now, this is all coming through the South Korean delegation. Not words exactly from the North Korean leader himself. But certainly interesting that those two issues which just a few weeks ago, we could have thought of as huge stumbling blocks appear to have been papered over for now in order to allow these talks to happen.

SESAY: Yes. And Kaori, same question to you, when it comes to Japan in terms of concessions, are there any red lines for Tokyo?

ENJOJI: You know, I just want to get back to the point of the freeze on nuclear missile testing. I mean we haven't seen one in a couple of months. So I think from the perspective of Japan, a pledge from North Korea that they're going to stop, you know, shooting off missiles towards Japan is really an extension of the status quo. And they don't view this as a concession on the part of North Korea. And it's very hard politically when for years, Japan is saying they must be insist on denuclearization for talks to go through to really bring the bar down at this point. But as I say, it's still early stages since the surprise announcement.

SESAY: Yes. It certainly is. We're all still processing it and still waiting to hear from Pyongyang. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea and Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo, thank you. Appreciate it. Now, the U.N. Special Rapporteur in Human Rights in Myanmar says the atrocities committed against the Rohingya they're all the hallmarks of genocide. According to (INAUDIBLE) report by Yanghee Lee, she says there's evidence that Myanmar's military is still burning villages and possibly using new starvation tactics to forced out the remaining Rohingya.


YANGHEE LEE, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: This task further dealt on the sincerity of Myanmar regarding repatriating the Rohingya from Bangladesh. Importantly, it will be impossible for anyone to claim where they are from or describe where they had previously live if the region landscape has been so significantly altered.


SESAY: The Amnesty International has also released several before and after satellite images that appears to show military efforts to reshape the region. You can see before on the left where there was a burned village on the right exactly where that village was there was a number of new -- there are now a number of new structures and helipads.

[02:40:07] In here you can see where villages were raised on the left and the larger area farmland in the square, but now on the right, new structures and more helipads have been erected in the middle of the farmland. Amnesty International and the United Nations are calling for accountability. But Myanmar's ambassador has rejected these claims. Early, I spoke with Matt Wells and senior crisis adviser to Amnesty International.

MATT WELLS, CNN INTERNATIONAL SENIOR EDITOR: Well, a new report today shows us that in the absence of the Rohingya population, as they shelter in camps in Bangladesh, the Myanmar authorities are in fact remaking Rakhine State where there used to be Rohingya villages, homes, markets, and mosque, these have now been bulldozed. Farmland and vegetation has been clear in -- clear their way and it's place we see new constructions including new security force bases, roads built directly on top of where villages used to be another infrastructure. And it shows that the campaign of ethnic cleansing, you know, has never really stopped and that the Myanmar authorities are determined to completely reshape this part of the country as this the Rohingya in camps in Bangladesh.

SESAY: All of which makes a mockery as repatriation deal, you know, paving the way for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar and what would they be coming back to?

WELLS: Yes. That's exactly right. I mean you have the government even today the ambassador in Geneva saying that the bulldozing is to pave the way for the return of the Rohingya, and yet, what the satellite images show is not just bulldozing which itself is problematic and that many of these villagers are crime scenes where massacre and other violations took place. But in addition to the bulldozing, we see again that they are building directly on top of these villages and building things that have nothing to do with the Rohingya's ability to return. In fact, things that directly undermine their ability to ever return doing things like building a security force base directly where a Rohingya village used to be.

SESAY: You know, over the months and, you know, Matt, you and I have been speaking for a while and so we speak to various people involved in the effort to draw attention to this and seek justice for the Rohingya. I mean I thought I heard it all in terms of the violence and the atrocities. But then we're now hearing of something else, something new coming to us from the chairman of the fact-finding mission on Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman. Take a listen to what he said.


MARZUKI DARUSMAN, INDONESIAN LAWYER: All the information collected so far points to violence of an extremely cruel nature where the ample and corroborated information on brutal gang rapes and other forms of sexual violence against women. We have again to receive information of sexual violence against men and boys as well. Fourthly, the violence has not spared children.


SESAY: So, Matt, we're hearing of violence against men and boys according to the chairman of the fact-finding commission. Is that something that has been ongoing and has been under reported or is this a new feature of this crisis?

WELLS: I believe every segment of the Rohingya population has been targeted, you know, we have documented sexual violence firmly against women and girls. We have documented widespread human rights violations against children. I remember, you know, one of my first days in Bangladesh back in September as this crisis was erupting I interviewed a 12-year-old girl whose from the village of (INAUDIBLE) her name is Fatima. As the military surrounded her village, she and her family ran out of the house trying to escape and the military opened fire from behind. Her father was killed right next to her. Her 10-year-old younger sister was killed next to her and she too was shot in the thigh. She had a neighbor thankfully that picked her up and carried her to a neighboring village and ultimately on to Bangladesh, so that she survive. But when I spoke with her, not only had her father and sister been killed but also her mother and one of her brothers. And I mean again this just speaks to the fact that everyone throughout the Rohingya population has been targeted. There have been scores if not hundreds of children who have arrived in Bangladesh with gunshot wounds from being fired upon by the Myanmar military.

SESAY: Gosh. Matt, we're also hearing from Yanghee Lee about how the violence is being organized. I want you to take a listen to this.


LEE: I think it was used to convey public messages. But we know that the international food is served there on Facebook and really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya, or other ethnic minorities. And I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast than what it was originally intended to be used and maybe in other parts of the world too.

[02:45:14] SESAY: So, Matt, Yanghee Lee, now talking about Facebook being involved in the dissemination of hate. What's the answer here, as we trying find -- you know, ways of bringing this to -- bringing this to an end. And this stopping the actors from being able to continue to terrorize this community. How do we disrupt the dissemination of hate?

WELLS: Now, hate speech has been a really disturbing and - you know, key part of what's happening, in terms of mobilizing the anger, the hatred against the Rohingya population of treating them -- an entire group of people as on other who were seen as not belonging.

And therefore, you know, in some way, you know, being treated as if this violence is deserved. And so, it's critical that, that be addressed. Facebook has almost become -- you know, like the internet and its entirety in Myanmar, it's so essential in terms of how everyone uses the internet.

But I think, you know, on the other hand, what we really need to focus on is what the government itself has done, what the military itself has done. Because that's really what's behind this campaign. And that is, you know, in terms of the violations themselves, an also when terms of it times, disseminating, inflammatory and out-right hate speech themselves. It has to stop first, start from the top in Myanmar, in sending a clear message, this sort of speech -- you know, will not be tolerated.

SESAY: Six months on the violence and the atrocities continue. Matt Wells, thank you for joining us as always and thank you for the insight into the new Amnesty report.

WELLS: Thank you for having me. VAUSE: The reports keep coming and I been gets up. OK, hopefully, it will change.

SESAY: And I hope so.

VAUSE: Well, ahead here on My Freedom Day, (INAUDIBLE) a theater production about human trafficking hilts home for one of its actresses.


KARLA DE LA CUESTA, ACTRESS, FROM HEAVEN TO HELL (through translator): Even though, I was never exploited for the purposes of prostitution, which is what the play, From Heaven to Hell, it talks about. But I endured five different forms of human trafficking punishable by Mexican law. And therefore, you know, very well, the trafficker's modus operandi.


VAUSE: The next top up is "AROUND THE WORLD", the joining CNN to fight modern-day slavery.


SESAY: My Freedom Day is on March 14th.and young people around the world are teaming up with CNN for a day of activism against modern day slavery.

VAUSE: Artists are also using their talents to raise awareness. Rafael Romo, reports now on a theatrical production in Mexico City, inspired by victims of human trafficking.

[02:50:05] RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The play has been well received by audiences across Mexico. But the producer's goal goes well beyond getting standing ovations.


ANDRES NAIME, THEATER PRODUCER, FROM HEAVEN TO HELL: The audience realizes that anybody can be a victim of human trafficking, and it's shocking. And it brings you out of your comfort zone.

ROMO: The play is called From Heaven to Hell. It makes the point in a not-so-subtle way that human trafficking and slavery are still happening today around the world.

NAIME: Everybody can help to bring out the victims out of that situation. That's our main focus.

ROMO: For one of the performers getting on stage, it's not just about playing a role. Karla de la Cuesta, says, she was one of several young singers and actresses held captive and assaulted by an abusive talent manager.

DE LA CUESTA (through translator): It reminds me of the story I lived, even though I was never exploited for the purposes of prostitution, which is what the play, From Heaven to Hell, it talks about. But I endured five different forms of human trafficking punishable by Mexican law. And therefore, I know very well the traffickers' modus operandi.

ROMO: Audiences hear the stories of girls who have been tricked into prostitution and a life of sexual exploitation. The real victims that inspired the play, sometimes appear side by side with the actresses at the end of the show.


ROMO: The idea originated several years ago, when the play's producer says, he had a conversation with the author of a book on human trafficking. It took them a couple of years to come up with the most effective and relatable way to take the book's message to the stage.


ROMO: Audience has seemed to be getting the message.

MELINDA FAMUGIA, SPECTATOR: It's going to happen to anybody, and that we shouldn't judge so easily at people that are in this type of situation. Because, well, they were tricked.

ROMO: Actress Karenina Ivankovich, one of the actresses on the play says, every time she goes on stage, she thinks of those still held in bondage and the ones who will no longer be able to escape.

KARENINA IVANKOVICH, ACTRESS, FROM HEAVEN TO HELL (through translator): There are many people who are still trapped and some others who lost their life. And it's very important, but we don't forget about them, and that we honor their memory knowing what's happening. We need to be courageous and raise our voices so that girls cannot keep on getting kidnapped.

ROMO: The show ends with an angel that saves one of the victims. Cast members say their hope is that anybody in the audience can be that next angel who saves a victim from human trafficking and slavery. Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


SESAY: Hello, before My Freedom Day, we're asking students what freedom means to them. And here's some of what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel free when I do art.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I feel free, it's like just a Saturday morning. And I can do whatever I want and go outside swimming. And I can also just read a book, or sometimes I can just go inside and relax. Just go inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel free when I got outside, where do like climb a tree and -- or I play with my friends. Sometimes, and imagine about life questions or inventions.


VAUSE: Thank you, like that kid on Saturday morning. I'm telling with you. OK, tell the world what freedom means to you. Share your story using #MyFreedomDay. And we'll be back after this.


[02:55:18] SESAY: Well, the fashion industry has lost an icon. Hubert de Givenchy, died Saturday at his home in France, he was 91 years old.

VAUSE: His works spanned decades, including iconic designs to some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Here's Lynda Kinkade.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hubert de Givenchy was a giant of the fashion industry. His legendary career spanning more than 50 years beginning in the Golden Age of Haute Couture. Where designers catered to wealthy clients and ending in the mid-'90s, when ready to wear fashion ruled the clothing market.

It all started in 1952, where Givenchy launched his own label and a revolution in women's fashion. His first collection was built around separates, skirts, and blouses that women could mix and match. It was a novel concept at the time.

Givenchy's clothes were simple and elegant. They quickly caught the eye of some of the world's most well-heeled women. The Duchess of Windsor, wear Givenchy to her husband's funeral in 1972. He dressed Princess Grace, for her visit to the White House in 1961. And he created the wardrobe for Jackie Kennedy's State visit to France, that same year.

But his most often linked with Audrey Hepburn. They were a close friend until her death in 1993, she was his muse. He was the man responsible for some of her most Iconic look. Including the strapless organza ball gown, he created for Sabrina. And that famous little black dress for Breakfast at Tiffany.

Givenchy sold his brand into the LVMH group in 1988 and completely bowed out of the fashion business in 1995, but his legacy lives on. Today, the house of Givenchy is a thriving fashion label with the devotees and boutiques around the globe. The company released the short statement on Twitter calling its founder a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century. It went on to say, he will be greatly missed. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

SESAY: Well, passing of a fashion icon. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause, the news continues next with Hannah Von Jones. She is in London, she'll have all of the headlines and everything else.

SESAY: OK, enough. VAUSE: It just not.