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Pyongyang Set the Record Straight; Boris Johnson Wants Trump to Stay in Iran Deal; Lebanese Cast Out Their Votes; Protesters Welcomes Putin's Fourth Term; No Signs of Kilauea Slowing Down; Turkey Flooding; Alex Ferguson Recovering After Emergency Surgery; Outrage in India; Pakistani Interior Minister Wounded In Shooting; "Avengers: Infinity War" Beats Another Record; Sanctions Hit North Korean Art. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 7, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: We will look at how this might impact the planned talks between U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Plus, people in Lebanon wait for the results from their first election in nearly a decade. Our CNN team is live in Beirut.

And later, residents in Hawaii facing unnerving scenes like this. Fountains of lava shooting up from the ground.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and of course from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. This is CNN Newsroom.

Well, North Korea is accusing the United States of deliberately provoking Pyongyang by raising human rights issues and deploying military equipment to South Korea. State-run media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying it was a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one.

The report said Washington was misleading public opinion. The spokesman said the country's vow to denuclearize was because of the summit between North and South Korea, not because of U.S. pressure.

And this all comes ahead of a planned summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Our Alexandra Field joins us now with more on this from Seoul in South Korea. Alexandra, what impact might all this have on the upcoming meeting between these two leaders?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I mean, frankly, Rosemary, you have seen North Korea certainly temper their criticism of the United States in recent weeks or months. They don't use the kind of incendiary language that raised the level of tension here on the peninsula just about a year ago.

But they do continue to defend themselves against the United States in terms of what their state media says, and they do continue to take the lead or take credit for having brought this moment about, this change in the nature of the atmosphere right here on the peninsula.

So we have seen KCNA state news certainly fight back in the past and say that it is not the strong economic sanctions against North Korea, that it is not this international campaign of maximum pressure that is bringing them to the table with President Trump.

Instead, North Korea likes to flex its muscle and insist this has been the maneuvering of their own leader, that this is a demonstration of the world's recognition of North Korea's power and their place in it.

So these are the kinds of lines that certainly we've heard from North Korea before. At the same time, you have officials in Washington and within the administration sort of sticking to their position, expressing a note of optimism about the fact that this summit is going to happen, but insisting the U.S. won't strike a bad deal, and insisting they will maintain all necessary pressure on North Korea in advance of this sit-down.

When exactly will the summit happen? Well, last week, President Trump said that finally a date and a location had been set. He didn't reveal the details, only said that we would soon be learning. We'll keep an eye on it. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Our Alexandra Field joining us there from Seoul in South Korea, we appreciate that bringing us the latest.

Well, another nuclear issue, this one with a deadline just days away. Of course, we are talking about Iran. Britain's foreign secretary is urging President Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

In a New York Times opinion piece, Boris Johnson writes this, "At this delicate juncture, it would be a mistake to walk away from the nuclear agreement and remove the restraints that it places on Iran. I am sure of one thing. Every available alternative is worse. The wisest course will be to improve the hand counts rather than break them."

Well, Iran's president for its part warned the U.S. would come to regret it if it chooses to quit the deal. Take a listen.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): If America leaves the nuclear accord it will soon see that this will entail historic remorse.


CHURCH: Mr. Trump is said to decide by Saturday whether or not to waive sanctions against Iran. Again, if he does not, he will be effectively pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement.

So let's get some perspective on the future of the Iran deal. And we are joined now by Gina Reinhardt. She is a senior lecturer in the government department at the University of Essex. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So Britain's Boris Johnson will meet with the U.S. vice president and the national security adviser in Washington this week. How likely is it, do you think that he will be able to convince the U.S. to stick with the Iran nuclear deal, of course, with the May 12th deadline looming, and how high are the stakes, do you think?

[03:04:58] REINHARDT: I think that unfortunately, I'm not sure that Boris Johnson is going to have much effect on the outcome. And that's because there is a good chance that the president is using this and using all of the kerfuffle that he is creating around it to distract from other things that are going on in his presidency right now.

It's quite likely that he will sign the deal. It is also likely that he will say, you know what, I'm going to ask for everything I could possibly ask for, and I'm going to get a certain percentage of it, which is what I wanted to begin with. That seems to be his best strategy for negotiating things.



REINHARDT: And I don't have--

CHURCH: So we'll come Saturday, the May 12 deadline, if the U.S. does pull out of this nuclear deal, Iran has said it will do the very same. Then what?

REINHARDT: Well, then I think we're seeing a lot of sort of tit for tat escalation going on. And President Trump doesn't like to back down and doesn't like to make it look like he is backing down. So if somebody can convince him before the deadline that things could get bad very quickly, then he will probably sign it. But I'm not sure that anyone can. I'm also not sure that he is really concerned about this right now.

It's quite -- like I said, I think it's quite likely that he is using the distraction of this deal right now to take attention away from his own problems that are going on with Stormy Daniels and Cohen and Mueller and the Russia investigation.

CHURCH: All right. And we'll get to that in a moment. But I do want the turn to the politics of North Korea and of course the rhetoric coming out of that country right now.

Just weeks before Kim Jong-un and President Trump hold their face the face meeting. North Korea says the U.S. is deliberately provoking the country by saying it will not ease sanctions until the North gives up its nuclear weapons. What impact to you think this will likely have on the upcoming summit?

REINHARDT: I think it's going to have a pretty big impact. The U.S. really doesn't need to have an active or loud voice in what's going on right now with North and South Korea. And everything that Donald Trump says, all the credit he is taking for what's going on is taking away the legitimacy of South Korea and actually legitimizing North Korea in a way that it hasn't been legitimized before.

When if he continues to make a lot of broad sweeping statements, it's likely to make Kim Jong-un put a lot of stock in this summit and say despite all these problems, he is still meeting with me. We're still having a one-on-one meeting with nothing but us and translators, which the president has said he wants. And it's going to give him a lot of reason to show other people that he's a valid leader, and a leader of a recognized country.

CHURCH: Right. And of course we will see if it goes away. We don't even know where it's going to be held at this point. We don't have a firm date.

But we will watch that just enough time to turn to domestic politics now, and Mr. Trump's new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani tried to set the record straight over the weekend on a number of issues.

But instead, seemed to muddy the waters somewhat. What impact is his media blitz having on the president's situation both politically and legally do you think?

REINHARDT: I'm not sure that it's having, well, it could be having a quite a legal impact based on what Giuliani is saying. He is revealing things that no one has revealed before with respect to Stormy Daniels. He is making statements like, it's just a nuisance payment. It's nothing that anybody would really care about, and admitting that the payments were taking place and saying that they were repaid to Cohen be a retainer and all sorts of things that haven't been said before.

However, I think it's pretty clear that there is a good track record of Trump and the people surrounding him taking back, correcting, or completely flipping the things that they've said before. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of those things happen.

The media blitz is what's really important here. And I think the reason why Giuliani was brought on board. And that is to make it seem as though Trump is taking control of the situation, making it seem as though there is really -- trying to show that this is really just a witch-hunt, as he said over and over, and that with Giuliani in charge, he can shut it down really quickly. I don't think that's really going to happen. But that's what the attempt is.

[03:05:01] CHURCH: Right. He is not sure he has achieved that mission. Gina Reinhardt, thank you so much for joining us in Essex in England. I appreciate it.

REINHARDT: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: Well, the U.S. chairman of the House intelligence committee said he plans to hold the U.S. attorney general him in contempt of Congress. Republican Devin Nunes accuses Jeff Sessions of withholding documents related to the Russia investigation and the committee's probe of allege government surveillance abuses.


DEVIN NUNES, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Two weeks ago, we sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a classified letter. Per usual, it was ignored, not acknowledged. Just completely ignored. So last week, we sent a subpoena, and then on Thursday, we discovered that they're not going to comply with our subpoena.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what are going to do about it.

NUNES: About very important information that we need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what are you going to do?

NUNES: The only thing left that we can do is we have to move quickly to hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt. And that's what I'm going press for this week.


CHURCH: And in response, the Justice Department explained why the documents were held back. And I'm quoting here, "Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives. Damaged to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations and interference with intelligence activities."

And we'll take a very short break here. But still to come, what we know about the results in Lebanon's parliamentary vote. A live report for you from Beirut.

And we will go live to the Manchester United stadium as former manager Alex Ferguson recovers from emergency surgery. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Lebanon is still waiting to find out who won in its parliamentary election. Official results are expected very soon. Voting wrapped up Sunday, and reports so far are that voter turnout was low. The interior minister says it was just under 50 percent. Now that compares to 54 percent in the last election nine years ago.

The drop in turnout comes despite many potential new voters. Up to 800,000 people under the age of 30 were set to vote for the first time this weekend.

And for more, CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now from the Lebanese capital Beirut. Good to see you, Ben. So why was the voter turnout so low, and when might the people of Lebanon know the results?

BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: As far as why the voter turnout was low, it's not all together clear at this point as we actually wait the final results. But many believe it was for one thing this new electoral law which was introduced was absurdly complicated. Very hard to understand. It did represented a transformation from a winner take all situation to a proportional representation.

But I spoke to the interior minister just a couple of days before the election. And he himself told me it's nonsense. It doesn't make sense. It's confusing. And I think that's part of the reason for the low turnout.

Another reason is that people are simply discouraged by the inability of Lebanese politicians to be able to agree on much and move forward. So you've seen, for instance, this country has had problems with, for instance, electricity. Every day there are three-hour power cuts. You've had perennial garbage crises where the garbage fills up in the street. The landfills are all full. They don't know what to do with it.

And people have protested, made themselves, made it very clear to the leaders of the country that they're not happy with this situation. But it doesn't appear that there is a lot of faith in the political process here.

Now nonetheless, what we have seen is that, for instance, one party, the so-called Lebanese forces which is staunchly anti-Hezbollah seems to have made significant gains. The Hezbollah bloc which is -- it's important to keep in mind, composed not only of Shia parties but also Maronite Christians and others, they seem to have done relatively well.

It appears that the big loser at this point was Saad El-Din Hariri, the current prime minister who many people are frustrated with because he has made deals with Hezbollah. His cabinet included two Hezbollah ministers. But until we see the final official results, which were supposed to be out a few hours ago, I'm afraid, Rosemary, we're just going to have to wait and see.

CHURCH: Yes, we do a lot of that in our business. Well, we will see too, because for a lot people they don't seem to think the outcome will make any difference to their lives anyway, but we will watch and see.

Ben Wedeman, always a pleasure to chat with you. Thanks so much.

Well, one year ago, Emmanuel Macron became the youngest president in French history, a centrist who promised to liberalize the labor market and revitalize the country's economy. But 12 months later, Mr. Macron faces stiff opposition from the left and angry labor unions, which could prove to be the toughest challenge of them all. Here is Melissa Bell.

MELISSA BELL, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It was to Beethoven's Ode to Joy that Emmanuel Macron completed his march to power. In less than a year he founded a new party and seen off the old ones. Now he had won the presidency and could take his vision to the world stage.

He began with Vladimir Putin receiving him grandly in Versailles, but speaking plainly alongside the Russian president of human right abuses and allegations of meddling in foreign elections, including his own.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Politicians have the responsibility to make decisions, to say things. And when press organs spread infamous counter truth, then they're no longer journalists. They're organs of influence.


[03:20:04] BELL: With Donald Trump, the exchanges would be warmer, but the strategy the same. The building, whether in Paris or in Washington, of a solid relationship combined with tough talk and plain speaking.


MACRON: I do not share the fascination for new strong powers. The abandonment of freedom and the illusion of nationalism.



BELL: Emmanuel Macron has been determined to represent and forcefully the world view based on common values and multilateralism that used to be fashionable in London and in Washington. And domestically, he has been equally determined to liberalize France.

Last autumn, he saw off protests to reform France's labor code, among other things giving companies more opportunity to hire and fire. Now he is in the middle of a battle with rail union. And despite strikes, protests, and popular discontent, he says he won't back down.

There are those in France who remain skeptical of the spin, accusing Macron of being more style than substance, and those on the left who worry about the liberalizing of the economy and the direction in which Emmanuel Macron's march is taking them.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

In less than two hours from now, Vladimir Putin will begin his fourth term as Russia's president. His inauguration will take place inside the Kremlin. A new cabinet will also be appointed.

However, not everyone is happy about Mr. Putin's new presidential term. This weekend, thousands of protesters took to the streets for anti-government demonstrations. Police arrested about 300 protesters, among them Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who was briefly detained in Moscow.

Well, there is a lot to discuss surrounding Mr. Putin's inauguration. So we want to bring in Anna Arutunyan, she is a senior Russia analyst at the international Crisis Group and joins us now from Prague. Anna, thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Mr. Putin, as we said, set to begin his fourth term. And we reported people, not everyone is happy. How surprised were you to see so many people, so many protesters out on the streets? And what will likely happen to those who were arrested?

ARUTUNYAN: Well, this was not really a surprise. We've seen ongoing protests. That's on the one hand. On the other hand, I don't think this really causes any immediate threat to Putin's rule. But it is rather an indicator of discontent that's been around for quite some time. And we're going to see that simmering. It's not really I think going to change things drastically in the next six years where Putin's fourth and likely last term. But it is an indicator of what could come next.

CHURCH: And how different could we expect Mr. Putin's fourth term to be, or will it just be more of the same?

ARUTUNYAN: I think one of the chief problems that has emerged in part as a result of the things he has done in his last -- in his previous term, his third term is that we're seeing domestic policy has become in many ways subordinate to foreign policy.

This has been what a lot of Kremlin insiders and experts have actually been complaining about, because it's been hard to focus on a lot of things that need to be done domestically because Russia has in many ways gotten itself into this position where it's on the one hand exploiting this besieged fortress narrative, on the one -- on the other hand, trying to fight it back.

So this, I mean, given that this is likely his last term, he is going to need to really focus on two things. That's going to be reforming the economy and looking to what's going to happen after he is preparing for some kind of transition after he is gone.

But in effect, he is going to be dealing with the effects of mounting sanctions and the implications of what he has been doing in the foreign arena.

CHURCH: So what does he hope his legacy will be? What is he trying to achieve here?

ARUTUNYAN: As we saw from his third term, what -- a clear tendency that emerged from the beginning, pretty much starting from when he was reelected and inaugurated in 2012 was this drive towards domestically making Russia -- returning to Russia's traditional identity and manifesting in the foreign sphere making Russia matter on the world stage. That's his legacy.

[03:25:01] He was trying through -- in many ways, through his foreign exploits in Ukraine and in Syria to restore some sort of identity, some sort of unifying idea of what Russia is and what it's doing in the world. And that's really been in a ways looking outward. He's been -- he's been trying to find that idea, find that identity through the foreign sphere. It's going to be a question to what extend he succeeded. Again, because in many ways, ramifications of that have been

domestically, people are not too happy. There are domestic issues that people are discontent about. And that's not going to be fixed any time soon.

CHURCH: Anna Arutunyan, thank you so much for speaking with us. We appreciate it.

ARUTUNYAN: Thank you.

CHURCH: We turn to the volcano in Hawaii now. And it is putting on quite a show, but it's very deadly. And the latest on that when we come back.

Plus, some lawmakers have concern about the Trump administration's pick to run the CIA. Why Gina Haspel's past may affect her future. We'll explain when we come back.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, to CNN newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you on the main stories we've been following this hour.

North Korea says the U.S. is deliberately provoking the country by saying it will not ease sanctions until the North gives up its nuclear weapons. According to state-run TV, Pyongyang claims it is willing to denuclearize because of the North-South summit, not U.S. pressure.


Britain's foreign secretary will meet with the U.S. vice president and the national security adviser in Washington this week to try to convince President Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Boris Johnson wrote this, of all the options available to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, this pact offers the fewest disadvantages.

Official results are expected later Monday in Lebanon's parliamentary election. The interior minister says turnout was low in Sunday's voting. It was just under 50 percent compared to 54 percent in the last election nine years ago.

The woman President Trump has picked to lead the CIA may have a rough road to getting the job. CNN has learned Gina Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination after questions arose about her past activities with the agency. Michelle Kosinski has the details.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: For a long time, in fact ever since Gina Haspel has been nominated to be the first woman to head up the CIA, there have been these serious questions about her more than 30-year tenure there. Her support for U.S. torture programs after 9/11, the fact that she headed up a secret U.S. detention camp in Thailand, that somebody was water boarded there under her watch.

But now leading up to her nomination hearing on Wednesday, the White House has been getting plenty of questions from lawmakers wanting more clarity. The debate has been growing. And it got to the point on Friday, we now know, that the White House had significant concerns and Haspel herself had enough concerns about this hearing, that she offered to withdraw her nomination.

We know that she met with people in the White House on Friday. We also know she participated in this practice session known as a murder board where you go over all of these tough questions that she will absolutely face on Wednesday. And that reached the point where she said, you know, she would be willing to step away from this if it was going to be too tough.

The Washington Post first reported this story and they reported that she was concerned not only about how this hearing would go, but also how the CIA's reputation would come out of this. We know that later on Friday, she met for hours with two people on the White House staff, including White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders.

And in the end, it was decided she would continue with the nomination. So how tough will that hearing be on Wednesday? We already know the kinds of questions that lawmakers, especially Democrats are going to hammer her with, but it is expected to be tough enough that at one point on Friday, she was willing to walk away from this nomination.


CHURCH: Michelle Kosinski with that report.

Well, experts say there is no sign the Kilauea volcano will stop its destructive eruption in Hawaii any time soon. This is molten lava spraying up in bright burning fountains, more than 90 meters. That's 300 feet into the air. It's in the neighborhood of Leilani Estates on Hawaii's big island, which has been under siege from constant volcanic activity for days now.

Right now, there are 10 volcanic fissures releasing lava and dangerous concentrations of toxic gas. Hundreds of people have been evacuated, and at least 26 homes have been destroyed. Many people are terrified of losing everything they own, having no insurance to protect them.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For people who live in the areas affected by these fissures in Leilani Estates, many of them were able to get back in to retrieve anything they weren't able to evacuate with the first go-around. But still, officials do not want them to stay there. They're saying these fissures continue to open and they don't know when the fissures are going to stop opening. They don't know when the Kilauea eruption will finish.

They want people to get out of there not just because of the lava that is bubbling up out of the earth and shooting up into the skies some 60 to 100 feet based on what some residents told us, they don't want people to stay there also because of the toxic gases. You're talking sulfur dioxide that is also very dangerous so that's why they've widened the perimeter around where these fissures are opening.

I want to show you where I'm standing right now. This is a lava flow from 2014. As you can see, it came down and cascaded around, threatening some buildings right here nearby. There is no way to stop a lava flow when it coming down. Hot, molten lava. So you just have to let it go.

And that is the danger here for the people who have built their homes in these communities. If lava comes in and takes the homes like it has done to several homes at this point, they may never be able to go back to their neighborhoods. And for many of them, that is the most devastating news.


CHURCH: Stephanie Elam there.

[03:34:59] Let's turn now to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, with more on this. Pedram, of course we have no idea how long this is going to last, but we do know that it has completely changed the landscape there and people are terrified.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is a very, very scary sight. You know, one way to gauge potentially how long this could play out, Rosemary, is to look at historical events in this region. We know several weeks to several months is a good bath soil (ph) especially for a lot of people. Summer 2018 could be plagued by an event like this.

So you're living amongst an active volcano. You expect much of the summer to bring such threats and of course additional quakes. We know 1,000 quakes have been reported in the past seven days alone. We had a 5.0, a 5.4, and a 6.9 among the strongest if the 1,000 quakes but additional fissures could be expected, more poisonous gas in the environment across this region.

So, certainly folks really taking this very serious when it comes to additional fissures being reported, removing people from that area. And of course when you're on an island, there is only so much you can do to get away from a certain threat zone. That's something they're watching across this region very carefully.

But historically, this is a geological work all taking place and essentially history taking place as well, because you can go back to 5.1 million years ago, that's when the oldest island in Hawaii and that's Kauai right there on the northwestern periphery, and you come close to Oahu, 3.4 million years old, towards areas around Maui as young as 1.3 million years old and of course the big island of Hawaii where we have the impacts right now the most active, and now we have the youngest island here at 700,000 years old.

So, really, something that you see happen right now is something that has happened for upwards of millions of years across this region. We know the eruptions typically happen near the summit or along these areas of rift zone, essentially cracks in the rocks that allow magma to surface and of course the gases to be released.

But with the thousand plus earthquakes, the eruption being active along this boundary, the communities of Leilani Estates really severely hit by the events taking place there. You can go back as recently as 1983 when we began this particular area of the rift zone on the eastern side being impacted.

In 1986, we had an eruption that actually brought lava some 12 kilometers down towards the coast. In 1992, we lost three villages and the communities across this region because of the lava and at times, the lava going to 35 meters in thickness. So a couple hundred feet in thickness there, Rosemary, from 2012 to 2014.

We saw this region where Stephanie was kind of pointing out in her video there, some 200 hectares of land gained on the island alone. The island certainly is growing very rapidly in the situation like this. Makes it a very, very scary place to be right now.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. When you explain that this can good on for months, those people will not be able to return to their homes, their lives will be turned upside down, it is just horrifying to think what they're feeling at this time. Pedram Javaheri, thank you so much.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Appreciate that. Well, Turkish leaders are assessing the damage after torrential flash flooding this weekend caught residents off guard. Dramatic footage shows a man kneeling on the hood of a car as flood waters swept it away. Turkish media say he escaped before the car was submerged.

It happened in the capital city Ankara. And as you can see, dozens of other vehicles were damaged. State media says at least six people were injured and many shops were flooded as well.

We are following the recovery of one of the most successful managers in the history of football called soccer, of course, here in the United States. The former coach of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, is in intensive care after having emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.

The club said the surgery went very well, and this video shows the moment his statue was unveiled at the Old Trafford Stadium where he managed Manchester United for over a quarter century.

And CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz is outside that stadium in Manchester. She joins us now live. So, Salma, fans across the world have been sending their love, their thoughts, their prayers to Sir Alex Ferguson. What more are you learning about how he is doing right now and what he went through?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, he is still recovering in hospital this morning. That is of course as you said after he suffered from a brain hemorrhage on Saturday. He underwent an emergency surgery which went well, according to the Manchester United Club, but he will need a period of intensive care to optimize his recovery.

It has come as a shock, of course, because just last Sunday, he was here at this club celebrating the achievement of another manager. And here in Manchester, people are hardest hit. But the outpouring of support has come really from all over the world.

Football giants like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, among others taking to social media to wish well to the man they call the boss. Take a listen to what a couple of fans here in Manchester told us earlier.


[03:39:59] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard about the news and it's really sad because Sir Alex is like one of the most memorable -- like, yeah, persons in football and that's really sad. So we'll all hope he will be better soon, and I wish him all the best, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm actually devastated. I just hope he gets better and we're all praying for him. And I hope he makes a speedy recovery.


ABDELAZIZ: You can hear there just the support of a heartbreak of many of his fans here in Manchester and of course around the world. This is the man that is considered the most successful manager in British football history over the course of more than a quarter century. He won 38 major trophies. And it's that winning spirit that his fans hope will get him through this latest health scare. Rosemary?

CHURCH: He is so very admired, isn't he? And how is this all being covered across Britain, throughout the media? And what is being said about the many achievements of Sir Alex?

ABDELAZIZ: Rosemary, it's hard to overstate the legacy of this man in his impact on football. As we said, widely considered the greatest manager in British football history. A 26-year career which included 13 premier league title wins, two champion league crowns. It's absolutely unmatched and unrivalled in the industry.

But it's also how many star football players that are still on the field that he touched, everybody from Cristiano Ronaldo to Wayne Rooney to David Beckham. They were just teenagers when they came across Alex Ferguson.

And then there is his personality, the beloved man, the man they call Fergie, pacing back and forth on the field, tapping his watch to get his players those last few minutes he needs, so-called Fergie time, to win or the hairdryer treatment in the locker room, the dressing down of athletes who had underperformed during the game.

He is just an absolutely adored man here in Manchester, but around the world, taking Manchester United from a little known club to one that now has hundreds of millions of fans, is one of the wealthiest clubs in the world. And you can be sure everyone will be tuning in and waiting for an update on him. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Most definitely. And our thoughts and prayers from CNN, we send them to him. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate that.

We'll take a very short break and be back in just a moment with more here on CNN.


CHURCH: Another horrific sexual attack in India is sparking outrage as protesters demand justice. A teenaged girl in a rural village was allegedly gang-raped last Thursday, then she was burned to death in her own home after her family sought justice from a local village council. Earlier, we spoke with CNN's Nikhil Kumar from New Delhi.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: The family alleges that on Thursday evening when they were attending a wedding, a girl, the 16- year-old was kidnapped, brutally gang-raped.

And on Friday, the family then approaches the local village council in this village, as you said in the northeastern state of Jharkhand, one of the poorest parts of the country that in itself is in a remote section of the state quite far away from the nearest urban center.

They approached their village council, seeking justice, as you said. These village councils don't have legal authorities. They tend to be made up of local elders. But in these distant parts of the country, they can sometimes wield enormous influence. The family goes to them, demanding justice, narrating what happened the night before.

The village council imposes punishment on these men, but listen to what it is. They impose a fine of 50,000 rupees. That's about $750. And they ask the men to do 100 sit-ups. That's it.

Then the case takes another very disturbing turn. The men, the accused men in retribution, in a chilling retribution for the family going to the village council to report this, attacked the family. They attacked the family home. They burned the house down. The girl is inside. The family says that's when she died. She was burned to death.

The case is now with the local police. They've arrested more than a dozen men, including the head of the village council. And the body has been sent for an autopsy as we wait. And we're waiting for more details to see how the investigation unfolds. But it has, again, these very horrific details once again turned the spotlight on the problem of sexual violence in this country.

CHURCH: Nikhil Kumar with that disturbing report.

Pakistan's interior minister has survived an apparent assassination attempt. Ahsan Iqbal was shot and injured while attending a political meeting in Punjab Province. Police say they arrested the gunman. They believe the shooting may be linked to a hard-line Islamic movement, demanding tougher enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws. The attack comes ahead of Pakistan's general elections which could be held as early as July.

At least 14 people were killed in Eastern Afghanistan after a bomb exploded at a mosque that was being used to register people to vote. Thirty-three others were wounded. The Taliban has denied being involved in the attack and no other group has claimed responsibility.

The blast is the latest attack targeting preparations for parliamentary elections in October. Just last week, nine journalists were among those killed in two suicide bombings in the Afghan capital.

Unique artwork is coming out of North Korea, but recent sanctions are slowing down the creative flow. We'll have that story for you in just a moment.


CHURCH: "Avengers: Infinity War" will open in China, the world's second biggest movie market, this Friday. But even without those sales, the blockbuster film has already smashed another record.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this does put a smile on my face.


CHURCH: Can't wait. The latest marvel film has grossed $1 billion in just 11 days, the fastest in film history. And just last weekend, "Infinity War" broke the record for the biggest global opening ever. Incredible.

For years, an Italian art dealer has been distributing some rare works of original North Korean art. Artists there create everything from oil paintings and bronze sculptures to tourist souvenirs. But now, U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang are slowing the flow. Michael Holmes reports.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a small community in Tuscany, Italy lives the man who has connected the world with art from one of the most isolated places on earth.

PIER LUIGI CECIONI, ART DEALER: I had never heard of it. Nobody had actually heard of it in the west.

HOLMES (voice over): Inside North Korea's capital lies Mansudae, a massive state-run art studio with which Pier Luigi Cecioni has been dealing for more than a decade.

CECIONI: Doing business with North Korea is very -- in a way old- fashioned, so to speak. So, they are very trustworthy. And what they say, they do. And what you say, you have to do.

HOLMES (voice over): Pier initiated the unlikely partnership during a 2005 trip to Pyongyang with an Italian orchestra.

CECIONI: I ask of them, would you be interested in doing something of the west? And they say sure.

HOLMES (voice over): And so began a mutually beneficial enterprise.

CECIONI: These two football (ph) paintings, sir --

HOLMES (voice over): Pier brought works from North Korea then sold them to western customers, wood cuts to embroideries to jeweled paintings made of crust semi (ph) precious stones, which he purchased for between $300 to $7,000.

[03:55:03] But the best-selling items, says Pier, were those perhaps most emblematic of the hermit kingdom.

CECIONI: It says if the U.S. come, we'll stop them with one blow.

HOLMES (voice over): With several thousand employees and studio space of more than 100,000 square meters, Mansudae's global output once stretched far beyond Pier's business. It reportedly owned tens of millions of dollars for the regime, making it a target of international sanctions last year.

Particularly lucrative were statues and monuments the United Nations says Mansudae built in more than a dozen countries in Southeast Asia and Africa.

CECIONI: That's something that's really Mansudae but is so different from all other things.

HOLMES (voice over): Now that Pyongyang's art enterprise has been internationally blacklisted, Pierre's business in North Korea has come to an abrupt halt.

CECIONI: We do not have works on consignment. We go there, buy it, bring them here, show them, and try to sell. And now since last year, we can't buy any longer.

HOLMES (voice over): Pier's work in North Korea may be blocked for now, but as the regime appears to welcome thaws with the world, there is a chance Westerners may be able to one day again purchase North Korean art.

Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. I would love to hear from you. "Early Start" is next for our viewers here in the United States. And for everyone else, stay tuned for more news with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. Have yourselves a great day. [04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)