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Trump's Exhaust of Frustration Ends up in Twitter; Benjamin Netanyahu Making About-Face on Refugees Solution; Trump and U.S. Troops Not on the Same Page; Russia Strengthen Deals with Middle East; Financial Market Down, DOW Drops 450 Points; Syrian Rebels Make Deal For Safe Passage; Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Anti-Apartheid Died At 81; Rail Unions Opposed Macron's Economic Reforms; The Healing Power Of Music. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 3, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Fears of a trade war along with more tough talk from U.S. President Donald Trump send stocks plummeting. A check on the markets straight ahead.

Plus, deal and then no deal. The Israeli prime minister gives the end of political pressure and reverses a decision that affects thousands of African asylum seekers.

And we are live in South Africa where an anti-apartheid icon is being remembered for her life and work. The legacy of Winnie Madikizela- Mandela.

Hello to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Well, since Donald Trump started his latest round of attacks on Amazon last week, the retail giant has lost $60 billion in market value. Those losses are carrying over the financial markets in Asia with Tokyo, Shanghai, and Sydney are all in negative territory. Hong Kong is up slightly.

But there hasn't been as severe as it was on Wall Street. The blue chip plunge 459 points with Amazon down more than 5 percent. Investors are also worried about a developing trade war between the U.S. and China.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now from Tokyo with more on this. So, Anna, tech stocks and fears of a trade war triggered these losses on Wall Street. Talk to us about how these Asian markets are responding. It doesn't seem as bad as what many people thought and what can we expect to see across European markets as trading gets underway?

ANNA STEWART, PRODUCER, CNN: Sure. I mean, yesterday was a terrible day to start Q2 in the U.S. We had such huge trade losses, and today all of Asia was opening in the red. We had fairly, fairly heavy losses, more meters (Ph) than the USSA, but let's check in on them now. We have the Nikkei which is down under half a percent, that's a lot better than it was, it was down minus 1.4 percent earlier today, the Hang Seng is now up so that's turn into the green. We had all the S&P pretty flat, and the Shanghai Composite which is now minus now .8 percent. So it's actually that's free from when we last check an hour ago when it was down 1 percent.

Now on the European markets, we were expecting more of a mixed story to be honest, but let's see whether they have updated. We can see that the FTSE 100 has opened down, as has the Paris CAC 40. We are seeing the Xetra DAX is also down nearly by a percent, and Europe at least down but that could be dated that haven't yet updated today.

So we are seeing a bit of a spread here, Rosemary, in terms of fears of a trade war and that tech impact from the tweets.

CHURCH: All right. We will continue to watch those numbers across European markets. Of course, we're trading only just starting to get underway. And as you say some of those numbers may not have updated. Anna Stewart joining us from Tokyo, keeping an eye on the markets across the globe. I appreciate that.

Well, in addition to his attacks on Amazon, President Trump has been busy going after Barack Obama, the Democrats, the FBI, immigrants, Mexico, Canada, and the news media of course, and it's been quite a Twitter feat for the commander in chief.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was supposed to be very rainy and nasty and cold and windy, and look what we have. Perfect weather. Perfect weather. Beautiful weather.


JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Just before President Trump welcome guest to the White House for the annual Easter egg roll, he was hammering away on immigration.


ACOSTA: Blaming Democrats for failing to extend the program that protects young undocumented people from deportation known as DACA. "DACA is dead because the Democrats didn't care or act," the president tweeted, "and now everyone wants to get under the DACA bandwagon. No longer works. Must build wall and secure our borders with proper border legislation."

When I pressed Mr. Trump on that at the Easter roll he neglected to mention one thing, he terminated the DACA program.


ACOSTA: Mr. President, what about the DACA kids, should they worry about what's going to happen to them, sir?

TRUMP: The Democrats have really let them down. They've really let them down. They had this great opportunity. The Democrats have really let them down. It's a shame. And now people are taking advantage of DACA, that's a shame. It should have never happened.

ACOSTA: Didn't you kill DACA, sir? Didn't you kill DACA?


ACOSTA: The president didn't respond. Mr. Trump launches these immigration tweets storm over the weekend shortly after a segment on the issue aired on Fox News.

But the president's tweets weren't limited to immigration; he also defended the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Company which has come under scrutiny for asking its local stations to air identical segments that appeared to have carried Mr. Trump's attacks on the media.

[03:05:03] The president tweeted, "So funny to watch fake news networks among the most dishonest group of people I have ever dealt with criticized Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased."

Mr. Trump also continued to harass the Washington Post and its owner Jeff Bezos who also founded the online retailer Amazon. Claiming the Post Office, this is a portion, "shipping packages for the company." He even took a swipe at the Department of Justice putting justice in quotes, describing officials there as an embarrassment to our country.

The president's hard line rhetoric comes just as aides confirm he's considering hosting meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin at the White House, a sit down he hinted at last month.


TRUMP: We had a very good call and I suspect that we'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future.


ACOSTA: Another sign of the chaotic atmosphere at the White House, the back and forth over whether the president actually fired his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin says he was fired.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you receive a phone call from chief of staff John Kelly who fired you?

DAVID SHULKIN, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: General Kelly gave me a heads up that the president would most likely be tweeting out a message in the very near future and I appreciated having that heads up from General Kelly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So the tweet fired you.



ACOSTA: While the White House has offered a base of statements insisting Shulkin resigned.


MERCEDES SCHLAPP, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: General Kelly calls Secretary Shulkin and gave him the opportunity to resign. Obviously, the key here is that the president has made a decision.


ACOSTA: As for DACA, the president apparently does not have his facts straight he keeps saying people are flowing into the U.S. to take advantage of DACA, but new comers would not be eligible for the program because, in part, the president ended it himself.

As to the president blaming the Democrats for DACA, that's also false, as Democrats and Republicans are both offered proposals to save the DREAMers from deportation, the president has rejected those claims.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: And another target of the president's tweet of fury is Mexico. Mr. Trump again threatens to scrap NAFTA accusing Mexican leaders of doing, quote, "very little, if not nothing, to stop migrants from entering the U.S." But the president's attack on Mexico is factually inaccurate. With the help of USAID Mexico is not only doing something on border security, it sometimes more than the U.S. is doing.

Non-partisan researchers found that Mexico deported roughly twice as many Central American immigrants as the U.S. did in 2015 and 2016. Experts also found that Mexico has apprehended tens of thousands more Central Americans than the U.S. did at the border in 2015.

Well, President Trump is also citing a march of migrants crossing Mexico right now to fuel his twitter attacks. Meanwhile, Mexican leaders are defending their country's immigration laws.

Our Leyla Santiago has more now from Mexico City.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto is now responding to a series of really aggressive tweets from President Trump. The Mexican president says that Mexico is taking the negotiation seriously, he wants mutual respect and he also wants to finds points of interest to help further develop the three countries negotiating in NAFTA.

So Canada, Mexico, as well as the U.S., and those are the things that were brought up in those tweets from President Trump. Also mentioned President Trump talks about dangerous caravan making their way north. And typically, when people talk about caravans during Holy Week here in Mexico they're talking about what's called Via Crucis. Those are sort of pilgrimages, religious marches that they become such symbolic annual tradition that now people are using it to make a statement.

In particular, there is one group of more than thousand people collaborating with an organization that is San Diego called Pueblo Sin Fronteras which means that people without border. And they are getting a lot of attention because the group is so big and they're making statements about immigration, as well as the conditions in Central America.

We're talking about Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The group right now is in Oaxaca, so they're about 2,000 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. And the plan is for some of them to make it all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border and seek asylum. But it is still not clear exactly when they will arrive.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.

CHURCH: Well, the U.S. Justice Department special counsel will mark a milestone in the coming hours as we get first sentencing in the Russia probe. Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators and likely faces up to six months in prison. Court filing show van der Zwaan knows key details about the ongoing investigation and the special counsel is trying to keep those secret.

[03:09:58] Prosecutor say that van der Zwaan was aware of communication between former Trump aide Rick Gates and a man tied to Russian intelligence.

We'll take a short break here, but coming up next, the Israeli prime minister backtracking on a migrant deal hours after saying it was the proper solution for thousands of African asylum seekers. So what changed his mind, we'll take a look.

Plus, the U.S. president wants to pull troops out of Syria while his military says the opposite. Does he know something they don't? We'll take a look at that as well.

We're back in just a moment.



BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It's a good agreement. I'm very glad that we have talk with the U.N. commissioner on refugees and enable us to solve this problem in a way that serves and protects the interest of the state of Israel.


CHURCH: Now that was the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising a new deal to relocate about 16,000 African migrants to western countries. But hours after making that announcement the prime minister backtracked, so he suspended the agreement with the U.N. after facing heavy criticism from members of his right wing coalition.

CNN's Ian Lee is following the story from Jerusalem, he joins us now live. Good to see you, Ian. So, how is it possible that just hours after the Israel prime minister publicly approved and supported this plan to relocate these African migrants he would backtrack due to political pressure, and what does that say about his leadership.

IAN LEE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, this was a dramatic about-face, you know, when we saw this press conference when the prime minister announces plan he had the minister of interior with him to talk about how would be implemented, but it looked like this was just a small group of people, small circle that came up with this plan, dealt with this plan.

We heard from different coalition partners who said that they were aware something was brewing but they didn't know the details and so that when it came out that's when we saw this backlash from not only his coalition partners but people within his own party.

That said, this isn't a good deal. You know, what this deal proposed was that there's about 39,000 migrants, illegal immigrants here in Israel and so this plan would deal with them it in a way that where half of them would go to western countries. The Prime Minister said like Italy, Canada, Germany and the other half would remain in Israel with temporary permits.

And so this was a plan that he came up with UNHCR and it look like it was going to go through, and this is something that Israel has been grappling with for a long time. What to do with these people and then that's when we heard his coalition partners come out against it.

[03:14:59] One partner, Naftali Bennett of the Jewish home party said that this would create a paradise for infiltrators if this plan went forward.

And you got to look at what they previously had arranged that this was other -- this old plan was to give migrants an option. You either are deported or you get $3500 and a one-way ticket to unspecified African countries, and we believe those countries would been Rwanda and Uganda -- and Rwanda and Uganda.

And so that plan was frozen by Israel's Supreme Court. The prime minister said OK, let's do another plan, came up with this and it looks like we're back at square one, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So what happens now to this plan for African migrants, would they ever see the light of day and what might happen to the migrants affected by this suspension?

LEE: Yes, that's the big question now. The prime minister said he's going to be meeting with people today to discuss this plan. He said it's on pause, it's on hold. Not killed yet. But he's going to have an uphill battle trying to convince people that this is in fact a good plan. He is also going to be meeting with community leaders in south Tel Aviv. This is an area where a lot of these migrants were residing. As for those migrants they're back in limbo. You know, this was a plan to kind of make a legal pathway for them but now that pathway seems to be close so they also are back to square one and to their status is in jeopardy too.

But the prime minister said he's going to work with people, he's going to and work with his coalition partners to try to come up with some sort of plan, although from what we heard in the immediate aftermath of his press conference yesterday, it's going to be quite difficult, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, no doubt. Our Ian Lee joining us live from Jerusalem just after 10.15 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Well, the largest rebel group in Syria has begun evacuating the town of Duma. That is, according to Syrian state media, which, as the group made a deal with the government. And you can see here, a lineup of buses moving people out of the area. Representatives for the group have not yet confirmed that agreement, if it is confirmed, it would mean the end of fighting in the Damascus suburb of east Ghouta and another rebel stronghold gone.

Now if there are any more strides towards peace in Syria, the U.S. might not be there. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the 2,000 American troops in Syria may be coming home soon. However, that contradicts top military brass who say, the war against ISIS is far from over.

Barbara Star explains.

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: CNN has learned that military plans are in the works that could send dozens of additional U.S. troops to northern Syria defense official says just as President Trump was saying this.


TRUMP: We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.


STARR: Killed in northern Syria hours after President Trump said the U.S. should get out. Army Master Sergeant Jonathan Dunbar and Sergeant Matt Tonroe of the U.K. both killed in an IED blast while on a classified mission to capture or kill an ISIS operative.

Dunbar is part of the army elite of the delta force. The National Security Council meets Tuesday to discuss Syria and the 2,000 U.S. troops there. So far no one is rushing to agree.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: All of his military advisors of said we need to leave our troops in Syria.


STARR: The president's top diplomatic envoy for the fight against ISIS tweeted, "Our fight against ISIS is not over."

The Pentagon press secretary just before the president spoke.


DANA WHITE, SPOKESWOMAN, UNITED STATES DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: While the coalition has significantly degraded ISIS important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of these violent extremists.


STARR: The White House press secretary, again, trying to soften Mr. Trump's words.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We want help but at the same time we want other people to step and put a little skin in the game.


TRUMP: President Trump also his frozen $200 million in recovery funds for Syria for restoring water, power and roads and early U.S. pullout will only benefit Iran and Russia skeptics warn.


JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: Russia also wants to keep their foothold in the Middle East and the only one that they have right now is really too serious so they don't want to give that up.


STARR: And Iran to then achieve its goal a trade group from Tehran to Damascus.


GRAHAM: It would be the single worst decision the president could make.


STARR: And if the president goes against Defense Secretary James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs.


KIRBY: I think it's too early to say that, you know, this is the litmus test that if it doesn't go their way they walk. But I do think it's going to be very interesting to see what their advice is, a degree to which it's being followed.


[03:20:03] STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

CHURCH: And as Barbara just reported, critics believe a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would only benefit Russia and Iran.

And in just a few hours Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his Turkish counterpart. Then on Wednesday, the two will be joined by Iran's president talking the agenda - Syria.

CNN's Gul Tuysuz joins me now from Ankara with the details. So, Gul, what more you learning about the possible future of U.S. troops in Syria and of course, the likely impact of these Russia, Turkey and Iran talks?

GUL TUYSUZ, PRODUCER, CNN: Well, Rosemary, right now hear in Ankara, and I'm sure across the region there is some confusion about what President Trump meant when he said that he might be pulling troops, U.S. troops out Syria at best.

There is ambiguity until very recently here in Ankara officials were in touch with Washington over some sort of plan to (AUDIO GAP) together on the (AUDIO GAP) U.S.'s allies in Syria this Kurdish fighting force used as a national security threat.

What happens to those discussions if the U.S. pulls out is a question mark. We just don't know at this point what it will mean and it is very, very ambiguous at this time. And what it will do to U.S. allies on the ground in Syria, of course, is something that will be watching for very carefully.

It is of grave concern to that Kurdish rebel force to see the Americans take their boots off the ground and leave them sort of at the wills of Ankara here, which views them as a grave threat.

Tomorrow, Putin and Erdogan will be joined by the Iranian leader where they will be coming together to try to find and force a political solution to the war in Syria. That, of course, given how complicated Syria is, is going to be a very, very hard task for them.

But of course these three countries are the key players who have proxy (AUDIO GAP) have any chance of forging through any pollution to the bloodshed that has been ravaging Syria over the last couple of years, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Gul Tuysuz, thanks so much for joining us there from Ankara. We appreciate that.

And I want to take a closer look now at what these three leaders have on their agenda. John Defterios joins us from Abu Dhabi to talk strategy. So John, good to see you.


CHURCH: And while this meeting is focused on Syria, Vladimir Putin has an economic agenda. What does that entail?

DEFTERIOS: Well, this is fascinating. This is where geopolitics in the business meet, the nexus, if you will, Rosemary, as Gul has suggested, of course Syria is on the agenda because we have Russia, Turkey and Iran, all with the stakes in the game. Not all in the same side.

But Vladimir Putin has a counterstrategy that he has to face with isolation from the west that goes back to the annexation of Crimea, and of course, the poisoning of that double agent in Salisbury.

Now (AUDIO GAP) includes both Iran and Turkey and the common bond here is this is the strategy. Let's take a look.


DEFTERIOS: The diplomatic isolation of Vladimir Putin by the west is in the word unprecedented, but if recent history is any guide the Russian president won't be left wanting for partners. He's made a big pivot east to Asia initially built around selling oil and gas.

RICHARD CONNOLLY, DIRECTOR, CREES, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Since 2014, Putin and other key members of the Russian foreign policy in this are being very systematic in seeking closer ties with the likes of China, South Korea, and even Japan.


DEFTERIOS: Back to back deals in China when economic isolation was at its peak best illustrate the point. In 2013, he signed a 25-year oil agreement worth $270 billion. A year later, a 30-year gas deal was in for a projected $400 billion.

And Russia has expanded its reach by adding military equipment and nuclear know-how. Recent contracts with countries like Turkey and Russia is now a dominant figure in the nuclear power plant industry with contracts in over a dozen countries.


CONNOLLY: For the Russian leadership they like to see nuclear power generation sold to as many countries as possible. It makes Russia a lot of money, it keeps people working in a high technology industry.


DEFTERIOS: And President Putin keeps on pursuing more emerging-market alliances. Five years ago here in the Middle East, Russia signed a $5 billion strategic investment with the UAE, and last autumn he made another major push inking deals with Saudi Arabia despite the partnership between the kingdom and the Trump administration.

[03:24:58] But Putin did the same with the kingdom's regional archrival Iran signing contracts pegged $30 million, while the Russian president is a wildly survivor his economy under western sanctions did suffer when energy prices collapsed. After hitting a peak of nearly $2.3 trillion in 2013, GDP shrank by $1

trillion three years later. French energy group Total is invested in Russia. Its CEO says he sees high risk with the geopolitical standoff.


PATRICK POUYANNE, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, TOTAL: We can be worried if it continue to escalate in the event around the world as clashes between big tensions. I'm not sure in the interest of everybody is to come back to Cold War system.


DEFTERIOS: A diplomatic Cold War is brewing but an economic defeat seems less likely with Putin's new partners.

CHURCH: And John, Russia and Turkey with in fact be finalizing a nuclear power plant agreement. How does this fit into the strategy?

DEFTERIOS: Well, Russia has moved very quickly in this space, Rosemary. I've been seeing they are overly dependent on oil and gas when prices collapsed in 2014 from above $100 a barrel down to 30 and that's what where we saw that correction in the GDP in Russia.

But it's amazing how quickly they have moved. A few years ago they had that contract in over a dozen countries, say 19 plants. That nearly double that in the year. We're looking out of backlog of some $300 billion.

I think the other twist of the stories we had Russia and Turkey at odds at the end of 2015. Remember when Turkey shot down that Russian fighter jets.

Today they are signing contracts on nuclear energy and looking at opening up their gas pipeline directly from Russia but Turkey to cut out Ukraine. It's a geopolitics at its best.

CHURCH: Certainly. John Defterios, thanks for explaining that to all of us. We appreciate it.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, one of South Africa's most revered and polarizing figures has died. A look back at the life and legacy of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Plus, rail strike hit France as French unions get on board to fight changes the policies in place since the end of the Second World War.

We're back in just a moment.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

I want to update you on the stories we've been following this hour. European financial markets are starting the day in negative territory after a bruising Monday on Wall Street, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich, all opening lower.

[03:30:03] Markets in Asia finish mostly lower, only Hong Kong managed to gain some ground. The Dow plunge 450 points after more attacks on Amazon by Donald Trump. Investors were also spooked by the renewed possibility of a trade war.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is suspending a plan to relocate some 16,000 African migrants to Western countries. In return, Israel would have given temporary residents permits to the same number of migrants, members of Netanyahu's Right-Wing Coalition, heavily criticized the deal reached with the United Nations.

A group in Syria has begun evacuating from Houma, that is -- a Syrian state media, which says the group -- deal with the government. Now if it's confirm, it would mean the end of fighting in the Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta and another rebel stronghold gone.

One of South Africa's foremost icons in the struggle against apartheid has died, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's family, she passed away after a long illness. She was 81 years old, Madikizela-Mandela and her former husband, Nelson Mandela, were married for 38 years, the pair worked tirelessly to end white minority rule in South Africa. CNN David McKenzie, joins me now from Soweto in South Africa, David, how are people responding to the news of the passing of Winnie Madikizela- Mandela and what legacy does she leave behind?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, initially, their responded with shock, though she was sick for some time, but really was even a shocked to the family that she died over the (inaudible) that we can end here in South Africa. They are delivering the Marquis to the house here in Soweto for the official commemoration which will be some days away.

Winnie Mandela was certainly an icon, one of the last icons said the ruling anti -- of the anti-Apartheid struggle. The president of South Africa was here at the homestead yesterday as we were throngs of supporters celebrating -- that were lifting the mood of the nations in mourning. Here is Cyril Ramaphosa.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: People are grieving very, very deeply. The death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is a great loss in that she has been one of the strongest women in our struggle, who suffered immensely under the Apartheid regime who was imprisoned, who was banished, who was treated very badly, separated not only from her husband, but from her children as well and her people, but withstanding all these, she remains strong --


MCKENZIE: During the darkest days of Apartheid, Winnie Mandela really was the voice for her late husband -- late ex-husband and was one of the few senior members of the ANC that manage to keep that flame alive. While many people from here in Soweto and all across the country went into exile, many others like Nelson Mandela went to prison. So, she was a controversial figure, but for now it seems that South Africa is celebrating and mourning their loss.

CHURCH: And David, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was convicted of theft and fraud back in 2003 and was accused of gross human rights violation. She denied those allegations, but was she ever able to clear name?

MCKENZIE: No, not entirely and certain segments of the South African population see her as a polarizing figure. She certainly wasn't universally as love as Nelson Mandela, but her contribution to the anti-Apartheid struggle is definitely seen as the one of the unsurpassed members of that organization.

So, it is a clouded legacy on -- in some sense, though there is some, you know, arguing hear in South Africa as what should be the prominent aspect of her memory and her legacy that is talked about and rarely people are suggesting that it's those earlier days when she was that strong and vibrant and sometimes fierce voice against the security police of the Apartheid era and the government itself.

It late years, she was a thorn in the side of some of the post- Apartheid presidency here South Africa, but she always had a seat in the table and was a member of the parliament here in South Africa until the day she died. Rosemary?

CHURCH: David McKenzie, joining us there from Soweto in South Africa with the legacy of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Many thanks to you.

[03:35:05] Well, three months of rolling nationwide Whales strikes are getting under way in France and some commuters already feeling the effects this morning. It's the latest challenge to the French president's plans for label reform. And as Jim Bittermann explains this is not the first time that Unions have taken on the French government.


JIM BITTERMANN, SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For decades French leaders have tried to reform the nation's economy. And while that have some successes, there had been some spectacular failure as Union, especially at the public sector have pushed back against attempts to change workplace rules.

In this case the protest against Jack (inaudible) plans in 1995 went on for weeks, while the country go halt and contributed to the downfall of Prime Minister Allan Juppe. There has been one attempt after another to send out French President Emmanuel Macron was elected at a promised to enact reforms and who began the process shortly after Election Day is taking on the most difficult one yet.

Modifying the work rules of the public transportation sector. For economist like Pascal Perri is long overdue. If for no other reason than France is facing a deadline at the end of the year when European Railway Systems must open up the competition, meaning that there could soon be German and Italian trains running on French tracks.


competitiveness off, you know, profitability. So, today the government has decided to play its role.


BITTERMANN: Perri, points out that the French Railway System suffered a loss each year and is currently 50 billion euros of debt. But French Railway workers, some of whom are employed under work rules that go back to World War II and the days of coal-fired locomotives are resisting any attempt to tamper with their pay, pensions or benefits.

What's more is that they fear the government as it done in other sectors is headed toward privatizing the rail systems, assisted sub- Union leaders they should be entirely free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I want to explain to everyone that like medical costs, health care costs and education, transportation should be free in order to have true social equality in France.

BITTERMANN: Even among the other rail Unions involved. Not everyone would agree with that. But Ponce points out that public employees in other sectors like the ones he mentioned and others like Air France will go on strike in labor actions that could continue well beyond this week.

In fact, the leadership of one rail Union is calling for train strikes from April to June at a pace of two straight days for every three days' work and innovative protest that could infuriate rail users and bedeviled the government and so the government and passengers could be in for some trying times ahead. Jim Bittermann CNN, Paris.


CHURCH: We turned to London now with the Labour Party is having trouble shaking off a controversy centered on its leader. British media say Jeremy Corbin has deleted his personal Facebook account less than two weeks after he was accused of belonging to social media groups were people had posted anti-Semitic content. CNN's Phil Black, has the details.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeremy Corbin, Britain's alternative Prime Minister and man once critics would saving the fortunes at the labor party is now accused by his own colleagues of tolerating bigotry towards Jewish people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's been too tolerant and I think he's perhaps been -- to generous and his interpretation of certain things that are offside.

BLACK: Tolerance and generosity are usually shown towards anti-Semite in mainstream British politics. The Sunday Times investigation found more than 2000 people and anti-Semitic messages posted by Corbin fans on Facebook. Another Times report claims latest membership is fully, because of Corbin's failure to tackle the issue and among those who are banned in the party, is one of labors biggest private donors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is nuts, over party, this is a party which has been hijacked. Why would I remain in a party that has become so manifestly supportive of anti-Semitism, Amanda (inaudible)?

BLACK: And to Corbin's leadership humorous anti-Semitic scandals involving labor politicians, officials and members led to an internal inquiry two years ago. Many of its recommendations have not been implemented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you are lying racist.

BLACK: Last week, Corbin admitted to publicly supporting the (inaudible) responsible for this anti-Semitic murals in 2012. He says he should have looked more closely at the artwork.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We in the labor movement will never be complacent about anti-Semitism.

BLACK: Corbin's critics are not buying that line anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he cares a lot of weakly way, I think people are at the end point of their tolerance and they want to see actions now.

[03:40:05] BLACK: Well, on this issue, the party is divided, some Corbin supporters who lead the attacks are unfair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think this has been exaggerated by Corbin's enemies and the labor party and the conservative party.

BLACK: The comedian, Eddie Izzard, has been appointed to the labor party's national executive committee after his predecessors supported an accused Holocaust denier. In a statement, Izzard said, we must make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community as Jeremy Corbin has promised to do.

On the streets of London's Jewish communities. There is concerned about the scenes hatred within a party many Jews had long supported and what they believe is a significant rise in anti-Semitism across the wider community as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we've gone through one holocaust, and he's got people on his team, that are denying that there was a holocaust, I mean, how should I feel?

BLACK: Anti=Semitism isn't the first significant test for labor and the Jeremy Corbin. But it is proving to be one of the most persistent and damaging to his leadership. Phil Black CNN, London.


CHURCH: OK. It is not Woodstock or live aid, but a concert on Pyongyang could still be just as historic. Why the event may help heals strain ties between two nations. We'll be back with that.


CHURCH: At this hour, in Pyongyang, performers from North and South Korea are putting on a historic show. The South Korean R-troop has been in North Korea for several days now. Entertaining audiences including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who attended Sunday's performance.

Now you are looking at video from that performance at the performers North Korean tour is part of a new era of diplomacy between the Korea's. What a big boost during the Olympics this year if you recall and our Alexandra Field, joins us now from Seoul with all the details. So, Alex's, what has this music diplomacy achieve so far in terms of improving relations between the two Korea's and more performances are planned in the next few hours?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly symbolic of the fact that we are in a very different place than we were in here on the Peninsula, you know, just a few months or even a year ago. The fact that a performance like this can happen. South Korean artists haven't travelled to North Korea in more than a decade and you saw them up on stage in Pyongyang. The audience received them warmly.

The images weren't just shown in South Korea, but there were also images from that concert that was shown in North Korea and that really an incredible thing to step back and think that North Korean saw Kim Jong-un in the audience of that performance. We know that he greeted the performers. Afterwards, he spoke highly offering praise about their performance expressed a lot of interest in these singers, expressed interest in doing another kind of exchange which North Korean singers would head to South Korea perhaps as soon as this.

[03:45:05] Although he suggested, he also told North Korean officials that has been reported that he is interested in other exchanges like sports exchanges, there is another concert that should be happening right now involving both South Korean and North Korean artists on both sides. Performers had said that they hope that this concert will be about winning hearts. A lot of the songs have to do with unity. They are rich with symbolism, we know that in some cases they are performing North Korean songs that are actually known to some South Koreans, so really a lot of thought has gone into the program here, what it would be reflective of, what would it would be represented about, but it is more than a concert.

Certainly the fact that this can happen at all does speak to these swift diplomatic developments that we have seen unfolding in just the course of the last few weeks. All of this, of course is leading up to a summit that will take place at the end of month between North Korea and South Korea, a big focus of that Summit, not just Thursday (inaudible) Peninsula, but how to improve inter-Korean relations. This is certainly regarded as one step forward toward doing that, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Certainly a historic moment, but that many analyst warning the two, tread carefully here and remain cautious, Alexandra Field, joining us there from Seoul works, coming up to 5:00 in the evening. Many thanks to you.

Well, deadly flooding has followed a tropical cyclone, of course, Fiji, this past weekend. Meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, joins us now with more on that and Ivan, of course many locals affected, many tourists and a very small island.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, and lots of chores there impacted, unfortunately have four deaths as a result of that and they are still looking for other folks as well and just to highlight here that you do not need a very intense tropical cyclone, right, to wreak havoc and caused significant damage and also lead to casualties. This was account one as a passive Fiji over the weekend, basically what it did, is it had provided torrential amounts of rain with slow moving center and that is what the creator -- (inaudible). I want you to take a look at some of the scenes that are coming out of the region there, the rain began, that late through the weekend and continued relentlessly over the weekend and so what we had was very heavy rainfall that involved rivers and streams, those overflow their banks and folks that were driving along some of the highways they are getting two points A and B unfortunately did not make it to B, because some of the roads and bridges were washed away along with folks there as well.

You can see some significant damage with lots of economic damages. While, as a result of the heavy rain which has been falling on the area, the good news is, I can tell you, it has stopped at this point here, we are still tracking the tropical cyclone. It still continues to move south that east -- South of Tonga, but at this point, it is nothing, but water was as far as that has potential rain -- at 75 km per hour winds. It will continue to get sheared apart, that means that upper-level winds basically kind a have blown the thunderstorm tops away.

I cannot really continue to intensify, so we will say goodbye to Josei, but Iris, how about Iris? This thing had continued to regenerate. It was no longer being tracked and then as it approached the Queensland coast there. It really started getting it back together once again and it has been bringing some very squally weather across to the coast here. We have Gail warnings that remain in effect. It has 85 km per hour winds. I do not think those particular winds will make it onshore, but we could have some gust 60 - 70 km per hour, all the while some very heavy rainfall, but it only involves the immediate coastline here.

It is not going to penetrate too much inlet, there are the Gail warnings that I was mentioning and then south of the (inaudible) looking at just the potential there, heads up -- gusty winds over the next I would say 12 to 18 hours and then things will begin to improve, thereafter, as a storm system will begin to -- pull away from other Queensland Coast and will leave us alone here.

So, at this time of year, we don't think of too many tropical cyclones. The typhoons are getting going yet, but there is action that -- especially this time of year, south of the equator and we certainly have that on the map saw today. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes and certainly Queensland is no strangers to cyclones, but that does not make it any easier for anyone. Ivan Cabrera, many thanks to you for joining us, bringing us up-to-date on all of those weather issues. We'll take a short break here, still to come, propaganda in the age of trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.


CHURCH: Yes it is. Word for word, a script from the corporate top is read up by local news anchors around the country. News not reported, but -- is it?

And -- no money -- exactly what is going on, especially the one of -- our Jeanne Moos hops to it. That is next.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone, well Malaysia is clamping down on what it calls fake news, ads like this with a message sharing a lie makes you a liar were plastered across the capital Kuala Lumpur ahead of a key vote on Monday. That is when lawmakers approved a new anti-fake news bill. Offenders including foreigners who spread false reports could be fined $120,000 or given up to six years in jail. Critics say the government is trying to suppress freedom of speech ahead of a general election.

Well fake news is also a hot topic in America's heartland. Local news anchors employed by Sinclair Broadcast Group will -- the readers -- President Donald Trump vitriol -- media, CNN Money's senior media correspondent, -- Brian Stelter has details on the story that came straight from the board room instead of the newsroom.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: A broadcasting behemoth with many critics. Some are now calling it a propaganda arm for the Trump administration with around 200 stations. Sinclair is the biggest local TV player in the country. Today it reaches more than a third of U.S. households and it is trying to get bigger awaiting government approval for its takeover of Tribune Media.

The company's conservative ban is becoming more visible with promos echoing Trumps anti-media rhetoric.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are extremely proud of the quality balanced journalism that seditious for news produces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But -- STELTER: That viral mass soap is just the latest example. Stations

are required to run terrorism alert desk segments about security threats. These are known as -- on inside Sinclair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the bottom line --

STELTER: What must run these raw-raw commentaries from former Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: The president is here to get result and not the (inaudible) staff or cabinet members.

STELTER: During the presidential campaign, Jared Kushner reportedly inked a deal with Sinclair for better coverage. Sinclair calls that a mischaracterization, but the company's politics are no secret. It is controlled by Executive Chairman, David Smith and his family with his brothers in the early 90's, Smith build his father's three TV stations into a mega broadcaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of your stations are in the top 20 markets?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well were in Baltimore to Tucson, Alabama with the vast majority being in the middle-market, the Flint, Michigan, Kansas cities, Birmingham --

STELTER: His viewers radiate out to local stations, sometimes creating tension between management and local journalists. Some local staffers are expressing anger about recent corporate mandates with one telling me, quote, "it sickens me the way this company is encroaching upon trusted news brands in rural markets." Responding to the uproar, Sinclair sent a memo to stations, it says quote, "We are focused on fact-based reporting and it cost the goal of those now viral promos to reiterate our commitment to reporting facts and the pursuit of truth," Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Well, it seems even the Easter Bunny has been caught up in Washington politics. When President Trump joined a surprise rabbit for the Annual Easter Egg Roll, things got a little colorful on social media. Our Jeanne Moos, hops to the latest story out of the White House.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it is not President Trump's running mate in 2020, it is the Easter Bunny and it was the bunny face that stole the show. How we all feel when at real Donald Trump opens his mouth.

[03:55:09] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We call it sometimes tippy top shape.

MOOS: The bunny will perpetually stunned a WTF face or as a conservative commenter tweeted, the Easter Bunny looks like a Hillary supporter on election night. The president's Easter greeting veered off the bunny path, despite his youthful audience.

TRUMP: Just think of $700 billion, because that is all going into our military.

MOOS: Actually, there was a U.S. Navy commander inside the bodysuit tweeted a rabid relative, I can't watch. The Trump Easter bunny is traumatized threaded tweets showing photos of less shell-shocked White House bunnies.

But enough about the Easter Bunny's expressions. What about expressions of affection between the President and the First Lady with stories of another type of bunny making a rounds. Maybe the Trumps have hit a rough patch, but the president thanked and patted Melania, they held hands.

They blew whistles together, to start egg roll races, he kissed he goodbye. The truth be told the president handholding embrace with Energy Secretary Rick Perry seemed even more impassion. The First Lady and other luminaries read to the kids --

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: The name of the book is "You."

MOOS: And before Kellyanne Conway read God gave us Easter, she egg the kids go on.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Girls, we have left open the first team-up president of the United States job if you want it.

MOOS: Before the president went his whistle, he check.

TRUMP: If anybody hears this whistle --

MOOS: What big ears you have Mr. President, all the better to ignore the press. Jeanne Moos CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Lots to see there. Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues next with Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN, the world news leader. Have a great day.